I Am Woman

Aug. 27, 2012

 

 

 

 

RESEARCH PAPER: THINKING CHRISTIANLY: HE MADE ME WOMAN?

 

 

 

 

 

A Paper

Presented to

George R. Haraksin II, Ph.D.

A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary

 

 

 

 

In Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Course

TH 6180 Intellectual Leadership: Developing a Christian Mind

 

 

 

By

Norine Rae

 

 CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 1.  THINKING CHRISTIANLY: HE MADE ME WOMAN?   

                          What Is Woman?

                          Knowing God     

                          Pain in the Journey         

                          Importance of Identity  

CHAPTER 2.   CLOUDS OF WITNESSES            

                         Those Before

                         To Name a Few:Tribute:               

                         Valued in Traditional Roles        

CHAPTER 3.    KINGDOM LIVING: CALLED BY GOD      

                         Feminine Beauty             

                         Serve from Passion         

                         The Battle Cry     

 CONCLUSION                      

 BIBLIOGRAPHY          

 

 

INTRODUCTION

The beauty of a woman
Is not in the clothes she wears,
The figure that she carries,
Or the way she combs her hair.                 

 The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes,
Because that is the doorway to her heart,
The place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole
But true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.

It is the caring that she lovingly gives,
The passion that she shows,
And the beauty of a woman
With passing years only grows!

By: Teresa Mahieu[1]

            He made me woman, but what is that? For questions never cease to arise as thoughts provoke my very soul to dread in search for fulfillment within this gender. He is my Maker; my best friend, yet did not He know the turmoil I would face? Beauty: they call me beautiful, but what does that mean? Is not my mind and soul part of this evolving theme? And what of my mind that questions so deeply, the very reason for this dilemma of my body; confined and conflicted. For this body does not conform to my plans, my aspiration, my devotion, and dedication. Yet, I will serve Thee no matter what. My yearning is not to be limited by man or my excuse of my gender. Have You not taught me that satisfaction comes through Your presence and in rest. To live victorious through Your love, with passion and devotion, amidst confusion and persecution.  I choose to serve Thee willingly; wholeheartedly; even as this flesh is fading… forever through eternity – as I am – woman!

In the delight of serving God fully, this paper is an opportunity to passionately and logically share what it means to think Christianly regarding women.  It is my hope that revelation will be imparted to the reader as they discover the nature of women who walk into their divine calling through the topics of: He Made Me Woman, Cloud of Witnesses, and Kingdom Living. Being a woman is a blessing and as women embrace their gender they will find satisfaction and wholeness.  As David so eloquently said in the Psalms, “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You…” (Psa 139:14&15).[2] My heart is that women will embrace their frame which was not hidden from God. This work is an earnest tribute to women and the frame from which we live.

 

THINKING CHRISTIANLY: HE MADE ME WOMAN?

 

What Is Woman?

 

            Starting at the beginning, we look to our Creator who formed woman in hope of understand her framework. By doing so, perhaps women will no longer question the goodness of God and His unfailing love for their gender. Looking at Scripture (Gen 2:8, 15, 18-24) we find the origin of women and that Adam was first alone in the garden to dress it and keep it. But Adam, despite the beauty and harmony of the, Garden of Eden, was not satisfied so God put Adam to sleep, took his rib and formed Eve (Gen 2:18). Man and woman were made in the divine image of God. “God said; Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen 1: 26-27). Women are included in the likeness and image of God.[3] . Prohl in his book, published in 1957, Woman in the Church powerfullyshares how,

 

“As Sanctifier God works in us and through us that His will both as Creator and Redeemer may be done, that we may work our faith in love in our God-given relationship to our fellow men. We are to be “imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us,” and at the same time we are to be “subject to one another.”[4]

 

Working side by side collectively men and woman can use their God given abilities to advance the kingdom. God designed everyone unique for a common purpose and as we commune with Him and creation from a stance of love much will be accomplished. 

Fitzwater proclaims in Woman, Her Mission, Passion, and Ministry that Eve is not only the same substance of man, but she is doubly refined for she was one step further removed from earth since she was formed from Adam. Adam and Eve communing together with God are the Divine likeness and image of God and with woman being the feminine of man or “maness.” God formed woman because it was “not good” for man to be alone (Gen 2:18).[5] Matthew Henry said woman “…was taken out of Adam’s side not out of his head to rule over him; not out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him; from under his arm to be protected by him and near his heart to be loved by him.”[6] Women are to be a ‘helper’ and a complement to man (Gen 2:18&20). Without a woman next to man in leadership the church is missing the feminine expression of God and His full nature.

To think Christianly is to trust God’s word, yet scholars such as Augustine, have formed worldview to think otherwise. In Men and Women in the Church by Sarah Sumner, Ph.D., shares,

Augustine believed a mind focused on the truth is the image of God, and a mind distracted by lower things is not the image of God. Remember what Augustine concluded? He said that a woman is not the image of God because women’s minds are “directed to the cognition of lower things.” With that, he said that a woman should “cover her head” (1 Cor 11:6) during worship because female heads are naturally filled with thoughts of “lower things. [7]

 

Sumner elaborates on Augustine’s views in which he felt men have a mental advantage because men have a “spiritual mind” and women “smaller intelligence.”[8] Unfortunately, Augustine’s assumptions, although false, have had a lasting effect on shaping cultural thinking in the Western world. His words expressed not what women are, but what they are not.

            Yet, what are Christians to believe the philosophers or the infallible Scriptures?  Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit said, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority (Col 2:8-10).”[9] We can learn from the great philosophers and theologians of the past, but we must always measure what they say with the written Word. As servants of Christ we must pursue with passion our relationship with God humbly seeking truth through the Scriptures and trust that the mysteries will unfold (1 Cr 4:1).

 

 

Knowing God

 

            Being made complete is to walk with God: knowing and abiding in Him (Jn 15:4). "Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the LORD'S commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good” (Deu 10:12-13).[10]  God desires relationship with His bride. Oden in The Living God speaks freely of not compromising woman for “…the Word of God is spoken through the life of a man born of woman, who remains an intrinsic part of God’s historical self-disclosure, hence actually seeks to promote the dignity and healthy self-identity of women and men when rightly understood.”[11]  

Knowing God is essential to thinking Christianly no matter the gender. The quest of knowing God is obtainable for every believer and the prize like hidden treasure revealed (Pro 2:3-5). Believing is - trusting God!  He is the revealer to all humanity. He “reveals the deep things of darkness, and brings deep shadows into light” (Dan 2:47)[12]. Therefore we must also trust God to reveal all things to humanity in His given time (Hab 2:2).[13] There will be those who do not believe or understand the things of God, but our position as women of faith must be one of prayer and hope that revelation in time will come (Rom 12:12).  Knowing God is accepting Him fully as Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Regardless of gender in this discovery the person can begin to understand themselves and celebrate the special purpose or calling for which we were born.[14]

Pain in the Journey

Women for centuries have been devastated by male biases. Author of Religion and Sexism, Ruether shares a blessing recited daily by Jewish males, “Blessed be God, King of the universe, for not making me a woman.”[15]  He goes on to share that women are repelled with the statement. Yet, if women were true to their feelings could they possibly agree that there are times that they wished God had made them male? It is verifiable that throughout history women have overcome many difficulties due to their gender. God knows every form – He made all of creation – He calls ‘all’ of His creation good, not inferior. Ruether explains it is only when the blessing is read outside of its full context that it is misunderstood and therefore taken negatively towards woman. Otherwise its intended purpose is to be an expression of gratefulness for the gender for which men were born.[16] Whether or not his perception is true, perhaps the blessing might be better stated as to not debase woman who have fought long and hard to stand on equal footing with men. C. S. Lewis said, “All men are feminine relative to Christ.”[17]

However, many women have faced great pain and suffering because of their desire to serve God whole heartedly while maintaining harmony and balance within their homes. Lorry Lutz acknowledges her husband in her book Women as Risk-Takers for God she says,

 Fortunately, my husband helped me to keep things in balance, encouraging me, yes depending on me, to give vision and guidance to the youth ministry we had started. At the same time he truly played the role of spiritual leader in our home, making sure we had family devotions and spending quality time counseling and guiding the children in the right direction.[18]

 

Mr. Lutz is to be commended as women need the support of their spouse, children, church, and community to successfully fulfill their divine call. Christians are not promised that it will be an easy life, women and men will suffer for Christ if they are to stay true to their faith (Phl l: 21; 29). Christians can look to Jesus for examples on how to address changing cultural norms. He believed in the importance of intimacy with God thus teaching his disciples to pray saying ‘Abba’ (daddy or father) which was unthinkable in Jewish culture. Jesus had a way of breaking cultural tradition to prove a point thus teaching a better way. He wanted followers to know the Father as greater than an earthly father as he shared how the Father gives good gifts to those who ask him (Mt 7:11).[19]  

Although, Jesus brought forth teaching to initiate change in Jewish culture, breaking Greco/Roman thought is not an easy matter.  But with God all things are possible (Mt 19:26). Those who choose to think Christianly trust in the power of God and His ability to bring forth change (Psa 40:3; Psa 102:26). Mature Christian leaders recognize that it is the process of discipleship and sanctification which ultimately influence culture. It simply takes communion with God through prayer and the renewing of the mind as believers forgive and step into their true identity beyond gender.

 

Importance of Identity

 

“The earliest Christians understood themselves as freed by the Spirit to a new life of egalitarian discipleship. This theological understanding is expressed in the pre-Pauline baptismal formula (Gal 3:27).”[20] Scripture is clear in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”[21] We have established that all believers are free to walk in their God given authority as priest, and women are no exception. Women must embrace their true identity - for identity, voice, and grace are necessary elements for women. In Caretaker of Our Common House, Carol Hess explains, “Rather, identity might better be understood as a sense of confidence in offering one’s voice while also listening to the voices of others.”[22]  

She continues to share the importance of authority in exercising agency and voice as leaders operating with compassion. Leaders demonstrate love through caretaking using discretion and embrace while listening to the views of others. She states, “A caring leader supports the transition between an interpersonal and an institutional orientation; she enables others to ‘author’ their own views, even as they respect and remain in relation to others.”[23]  While it is important to carefully listen to the rhetoric of individuals, faithful followers of Christ should analyze teachings to ensure they line up with Scripture. To be free is to have a voice and also to have a mind to discern good from evil wisely dividing the truth from a lie (Jn 8:24).

The confidence of godly women leaders should be first and foremost in their relationship with the Lord (Psa 71:5 & Job 31:24). Scripture teaches believers, “For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you” (2 Cr 1:12).[24] To be effective, women leaders should gracefully share their testimony of faith to all who will hear, reverently conducting themselves in humility and holiness. Therefore, the Christian voice should come forth in the spirit of love through all its believers presenting the message of Christ. Thereby, advancing the kingdom by inspiring others to acknowledge their true identity as children of God empowered to live in freedom and fullness glorifying God (Jn 1:12).[25]

Furthermore, Sumner discusses how the issue of gender is not just negatively bent towards women: When there is evidence or even perceived role reversal within culture it is often ridiculed by scholars such as Piper. The priestly anointing is for the body of Christ and Satan is working hard to bring devastation on all the children of God.[26]  R. Pierce Beaver writes, “The church has always been the bastion of male arrogance and power, and the men were most reluctant to share control and ministry with the women.”[27] In the fight for identity members within the body of Christ should link arms in unity as royal priests not waging war against one another for our true battle is not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities of darkness (Eph 6:12). May we strive to remember this.

In the struggle for identity, John MacArthur discusses the battle for the priestly anointing in his Daily Devotional stating,

Peter identified believers (both male and female) as holy priests but many Christians don’t really know what that means because priests aren’t part of our culture as whole…Faithful priests had a positive impact on believers and unbelievers alike. Malachi 2:6 says they “turned many back from iniquity,” Verse 7 adds that “the lips of the priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.[28]

 

As messengers and priests believers should confidently bring forth instruction to the world. Once the church fully recognizes this truth and hears the trumpet sound to save souls (Mt 28:19-20) as being more important than the issue of gender, then celebration shall break forth bringing revelation as ‘all’ sacrificed voices are heard creating a culture of freedom.    

 

CLOUDS OF WITNESSES

Those Before

            Perhaps the church and society today needs to ask themselves, again, why not a woman? There are numerous biblical and historical examples of godly Christian women leaders. Cunningham is his book Why Not Women asks that very question giving tremendous substance to his argument. He takes us to the book of Acts picturing the characters present where one hundred and twenty men and women were waiting as instructed praying expectantly in the upper room of Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit fell baptizing everyone with the baptism of fire. Then Peter went out into the streets teaching from the prophet Joel: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”[29]  

            The global Christian church was launched that day in Jerusalem calling forth the servants of God both men and women to rise up and declare the good news to humanity for every tongue, tribe and nation (Rev 5:9). Peter’s sermon reflects the heart of God for freedom to break forth so that there are no longer barriers for various nationalities, social classes, and gender.[30] With regards to women Peter already had seen and heard of many anointed women. He was declaring an edict of more to come forth.  

Biblical examples of women prophets, evangelists, and teachers include Miriam, Deborah, Anna, and in the days of Josiah , Huldah authenticated the scrolls found in the temple as God’s Word. Isaiah, described his wife as a prophet; Acts 21:8-9 tells us that Philip’s four daughters are prophets.  Even though Jewish culture did not give rise to women in leadership the apostles and priest of old obviously believed and heard their messages. They discerned that indeed these women had heard and spoken truth from God.[31]

            There is one woman in Scripture who surprisingly fully demonstrates the redeeming power of Jesus and the call to evangelism. It is the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus breaking Jewish tradition speaks to a Samaritan woman mid-day in the town of Sychar. The two have a theological discussion and the woman clearly impressed by Jesus goes throughout the town telling people that they must come and meet the man who prophesied. She asked them the question: could this be the Messiah? The unconventional situation and her words persuaded the people to meet with Jesus and many were converted. The Samaritan woman drank of ‘living water’ and shared her new found faith with others.[32]  Teaching the better way, Jesus once again demonstrates his embrace of all people despite cultural norms and tradition.

To Name a Few: Tribute

Daughter of the Church by Ruth Tucker and Walter Liefeld gives tribute to several women throughout history. Since the beginning of the church in the book of Act through to today there are so many valuable stories of Christian woman who suffered for their faith, dedicating their lives to Christ by sharing the gospel message as a witness to the world. This is by no means a full list but it is an attempt to give tribute to some heroic figures who have made contributions to the life of the church: St. Catherine of Siena, St. Apollonia, St. Lucy, Hildegard of Bingen, Christina of Sweden, Katherine von Bora Luther, Katherine Zell, Jeanne D’Albret, Joice Lewes (martyr), Anneken Heyndricks (martyr), Maria Cazalla, Susanna Wesley, Lady Salina Huntingdom, Phoebe Palmer, Catherine Booth, Amanda Smith, Frances Willard, Carry Nation, Antoinette Brown, Ann Hasseltine Judson, Maria Taylor, Amy Carmichael, Mary Slessor, Mrs. Lau, Fatima Hanum, Pandita Ramabai, Lilavati Sigh, Maria Woodworth-Etter, Aimee Semple McPherson, Alma White, Eva Booth, Elisabeth Schmidt, Corrie ten Boom…[33]  Other committed Godly women include: Paula, Perpetua, Margaret Fox, Julian of Norwich, Junia, Sarah Platt Doremus, Hannah More, Mary Slessor, Frances Willard… whether martyr, mystic, evangelist, prophet, missionary, reformers, or teacher these intellectual and spiritual women were dedicated to the truth of the gospel message. [34]

The exhaustive list goes on and on for every country within the world has women Christian leaders who continue to stand up and speak of the goodness of Jesus Christ, just as the Samaritan woman (Jn 4).  Women of faith joyfully declare the Psalms with word and deed, “O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the LORD, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want (Psa 34:8-9). Despite opposition, the redemptive message of salvation will not cease from women’s lips because of their enormous passion and love which burns within them for Christ and the world.

Valued in Traditional Roles

            One area of great concern for Christian women leaders is their heart for family. Harvard scholar Anthony Guerra addresses the roles of women in Family Matters: The Role of Christianity in the Formation of the Western Family. He explains how Christianity has had a positive influence in the function of healthy families. Christian women according to Guerra contribute to the society’s success within families and are actually countering the deteriorating family units. He concluded saying, "faith-based families and family-based religion are the necessary and achievable cornerstone of a peaceful, abundant, and progressive new millennium for all humankind."[35] Women have assisted church growth historically by their good social and communication skills: Their gifts of help, ability to talk and relate with people, being a good neighbor, friend, and influencing their husbands all contribute to the successful growth of the church.[36] 

            Previously we have shown women called by God operating in their divine gifts throughout the world because of their love for Christ.  But, for many this has not been without a price. Women who are reinforced and encouraged by a stable community have greater ability to reach out fulfilling their divine commission without neglecting family. Fitzwater states, “It was God’s plan that the woman should be a wife and mother.”[37] While agreeing with Fitzwater on the point that being a wife and mother is a wonderful gift from God, as discussed in Valued in Traditional Roles surely we must not neglect to give credit to those women who feel called never to marry and live fully devoted to Christ. Fitzwater also says, “”By loyalty to her family, industry, frugality, and prudence, she makes herself known in public through her husband. Her virtues are made known through the testimony of her husband and children.”[38]

Yes, the testimony of the woman can and should be made known through her husband and children who declare her virtues, but also – surely – women who walk with God and experience the revelation of His power and glory have their own story to tell. We see this in the biblical story of Deborah and Barak as Israel sang a song declaring Deborah a ‘mother in Israel’ for the victory at Sisera (Jdg 4-5).

Women have a powerful living testimony of the goodness of God as they are used to heal the sick, cast out devils, freeing the captives, and saving the lost (Mt 10:8). Prohl in his book Woman in the Church argues for qualified women to be permitted to speak, act as delegates to church conventions, deaconesses, missionaries, teaching the Word to men. He purposes that for kingdom work, “Why not send the best qualified members regardless of their sex?”[39]  Mature Christian women eagerly give credit where credit is due knowing that they can do nothing outside of their Savior and thus all the glory goes to their Father in heaven (Rom 16:27). Now that is a form of beauty!

KINGDOM LIVING: CALLED BY GOD

 

But you who have the gift of reason were made not for yourselves but for Me, to serve Me with all your heart and all your love.   By Catherine of Siena 13-1380[40]

                                  

Feminine Beauty

It is important to touch again on the issue of feminine beauty as it relates to thinking Christianly thus advancing the kingdom of God. Earlier in the introduction Teresa Mahieu poem stated, “The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.”[41] This poem was selected because of the greater discussion as too the depths of women. Yet, there is a feminine beauty displayed within the physical make-up or frame of woman.  Scripture reads, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Th 5:23).[42]  Beauty is internal, but it is also external and Christians are instructed to care for their bodies as well as our intellect and spirit.[43]  

Mary Kassia speaks frankly declaring that Female Beauty Matters. She is looking at beauty from a Christian perspective as it relates to character and appearance. Christian women who disregard their external beauty by ‘letting themselves go’ do not seem to care what their husbands, God or Creation thinks. The reason for caring about your personal hygiene and appearance is not merely to please your earthly husband, but Creator God as well. We are ambassadors to Christ who live in an earthly body (2 Cr 5:20). It is not an issue of measuring up, but again one of balancing spirit, soul, and body as you live a holistic kingdom lifestyle. Feminine women should not be afraid to appear feminine as they clothe themselves in the beauty of Christ. Mary Kassian said in her article, “We live—as C.S. Lewis coined it—in the “shadow lands.” The earthly, physical and the realities of our lives are but shadow—copies—of true and heavenly realities (Heb 8:5; 9:24-25). The physical and temporal exist to point us to the spiritual and eternal. And nowhere is this more the case than in the relationship between male and female.”[44]

Since we live in this reality here on earth, kingdom living would include holism as women’s perspective regarding beauty relative to their age. Both men and women are warned in Ecclesiastes regarding vanity. Having a holistic approach to godly living is not a form of vanity, but one which embraces the beauty which God celebrates. Women are not to be objectified, but cherished and protected as the bride of Christ shining ever so brightly for the world to see (Mt 5:16; Th 3:3).       

Virtuous Women Serving from Passion

Within the constraints of a patriarchal society women must serve from passion choosing higher moral virtuous character.  In Mademoiselle de LaVallière's reflections on the Grace of God she meditated on God's compassion, examining the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. Prudence is particularly of importance when comparing and contrasting the illusory moral virtues. Using the female-voice her text speaks through redeemed biblical women like Mary Magdalene. It was argued that despite mystical rhetoric the subjective spiritual experience displayed strong theological virtues in these women.[45]  

Given the opportunity to serve within the church, Sumner shares that she has discovered  “Many Christian women see themselves caught between two undesirable choices: either to flee or to fight….Or they can march forthrightly into their calling, shake their fists and fight for women’s right to be ordained.” [46] She goes on to explain that there is an alternative using Esther as an example. A virtuous woman, Esther, like Jesus, violated cultural norms when necessary. Women of moral incite need trust the conviction of the Holy Spirit which empowers us with greater strength and courage necessary to disregard cultural protocol. When God designs the plan, He will give His children everything required to bring it to completion. [47]

Virtuous women though they may be bent toward social justice are not necessarily feminist as Sumner expresses. It is a matter of focus. In Sumner’s discussion on feminists she shares that the feminist focus is on women’s equality and power whereas hers focus is instead on Christ truth and grace (Jn 1:17).[48]  May it be so with today’s Christian women who pursue the cause of Christ. Social justice is seen in those who practice piety and virtuous living. Kingdom thinking promotes love and strategy to bring heaven to earth.

There may always be those who do not embrace women in leadership, but we are called to love even our enemies (Mt 5:44; Lk 6:27) demonstrating prudence. Lutz shares regarding the women she interviewed as most were not optimistic regarding women’s roles changing in the church and in fact their thought is that polarization is increasing.[49] But despite her findings, she would most likely agree that there are anointed women Christian leaders unafraid of breaking tradition and conventional cultural norms to continue to encourage women to move forth in their divine call as priests. Moving with passion, as priests and Disciples of Christ our position need be that of building the kingdom. Like the familiar hymn declares, “God can make a way where there seems to be no way.”[50] What an amazing God we serve who declares, "I will lead the blind by a way they do not know; in paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them And rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, And I will not leave them undone" (Isa 42:16). [51]

The Battle Cry

The kingdom is advancing as women choose to forge forward in love not being defeated because of cultural biases or misunderstood Scriptures. The theological tension regarding various Scripture (1 Cr 11:2-16; 1 Cr 14: 34, 35; 1 Tim 2: 8-15)[52] may continue and that is why women need to be risk-takers willingly facing persecution in hope of ushering in a culture of freedom for the next generation.[53]  The battle cry essential for the success of women is one of virtuously trusting and loving God as they move forth declaring the kingdom within their vocation or field of influence.

 A wonderful example of this is Jarena Lee, a black female spiritualist, who in the same period while President Abraham Lincoln was appealing to the states for freedom and union, Lee believed that she was called by God to preach the gospel.  It was shared that she knew that God was the higher power over any opposing religious brethren. In her memoir she said, "If a man may preach, because the Saviour died for him, why not the woman . . . seeing he died for her also. Is he not a whole Saviour instead of a half one as those who hold it wrong for a woman to preach, would seem to make it appear?"[54] She called out to God for her sanction and carried the message of salvation in Christ throughout the Northeast having tremendous influence on other evangelicals.[55] Joyously women are given authority to “…make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit., teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt 28:18-20). Women are responding to the battle cry as seminary statistics indicate 51percent of those studying in seminaries are women.[56]  The Scriptures are true for today as believer are commissioned to go forth speaking the truth in love, declaring the ‘good news’ of the gospel thus establishing the kingdom on earth (Eph 4:15). May Godly women of passion join with men in bringing forth revival on the land as people cry out, “Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let those who love Your salvation say continually, "The LORD be magnified!" (Psa 40:16).

CONCLUSION

The challenge before humanity is one of identity and purpose no matter the gender. We live in a fallen world, but we have been given hope as our loving Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier has given every person the opportunity to commune with Him. Women need to embrace the beauty of their femininity knowing and trusting that God designed them as women for a special purpose. Just as in Teresa Mahieu’s poem, “It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!”[57] As women walk out their God-given destiny, no matter their age, they will grow in stature, beauty, and wisdom as God’s radiance shines through them.

Celebrating past victories of Christian women in leadership and gleaning from mistakes of the past, women are able to triumphantly build from their foundation. Establishing a culture of freedom by advancing kingdom will require Christians to take the necessary risks. At times it may require breaking tradition and established cultural protocol as Jesus did. Yet, to think Christianly also means that we must never forget as co-laborers with Christ we are build this kingdom with prayer, power, and love fully devoted to God and His mission (Jn 3:16-17; Col 1:1-6). Therefore, as people of virtue demonstrating love and appreciation of our Creator we ought to choose to also embrace the frame from which we serve: I do - for I am - woman!

 

 



[1] “Poem : A Woman’s Beauty”, n.d., http://www.turnbacktogod.com/poem-a-womans-beauty/, (accessed March 14, 2012).

[2] “Psalms 139 (Blue Letter Bible: NASB - New American Standard Bible)”, n.d., http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Psa&c=139&v=14&t=NASB#14, (accessed March 14, 2012).

[3] P Fitzwater, Woman, her mission, position, and ministry. (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1949), 15–19.

[4] Russell Prohl, Woman in the church  a restudy of woman’s place in building the kingdom. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1957), 20.

[5] Ibid., 20-23.

[6] Ibid., 22.

[7] Sarah Sumner, Men and women in the church : building consensus on Christian leadership (Downers Grove  Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 223.

[8] Ibid.

[9] “Colossians 2 (Blue Letter Bible: NASB - New American Standard Bible)”, n.d., http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Col&c=2&v=8&t=NASB#8, (accessed March 14, 2012).

[10] “Deuteronomy 10 (Blue Letter Bible: NASB - New American Standard Bible)”, n.d., http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Deu&c=10&v=12&t=NASB#12, (accessed March 14, 2012).

[11] Thomas Oden, The living God, 1st HarperCollins paperback ed. ([San Francisco  Calif.]: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992), 9.

[12] “Daniel 2 (Blue Letter Bible: NASB - New American Standard Bible)”, n.d., http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Dan&c=2&v=47&t=NASB#47, (accessed March 23, 2012).

[13] Oden, The living God, 19.

[14] Prohl, Woman in the church  a restudy of woman’s place in building the kingdom., 20.

[15] Rosemary Ruether, Religion and sexism  images of woman in the Jewish and Christian traditions. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974), 196.

[16] Ibid., 196 & 197.

[17] Sumner, Men and women in the church, 186.

[18] Lutz, Women as risk-takers for God, intro.

[19] Ann Brown, Apology to women. (Inter-Varsity, 1991), 33 & 34.

[20] Rosemary Ruether, Women of spirit : female leadership in the Jewish and Christian traditions (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979), 31.

[21] “Galatians 3 (Blue Letter Bible: NASB - New American Standard Bible)”, n.d., http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Gal&c=3&v=28&t=NASB#28, (accessed March 15, 2012).

[22] Carol Hess, Caretakers of our common house : women’s development in communities of faith (Nashville  TN: Abingdon Press, 1997), 83.

[23] Ibid., 85.

[24] “2 Corinthians 1 (Blue Letter Bible: NASB - New American Standard Bible)”, n.d., http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=2Cr&c=1&v=12&t=NASB#12, (accessed March 15, 2012).

[25] Sumner, Men and women in the church, 35.

[26] Ibid., 91.

[27] Lorry Lutz, Women as risk-takers for God, New paperback ed. (Grand Rapids  Mich.: BakerBooks, 1998), 35.

[28] Sumner, Men and women in the church, 319.

[29] Loren Cunningham, Why not women? : a biblical study of women in missions, ministry, and leadership, 1st ed. (Seattle  Wash.: YWAM Pub., 2000), 58.

[30] Ibid., 58 & 59.

[31] Ibid., 57.

[32] Ruth Tucker, Daughters of the church : women and ministry from new testament times to the present (Grand Rapids  Mich.: Academie Books, 1987), 33–35.

[33] Tucker, Daughters of the church.

[34] Lutz, Women as risk-takers for God, 4–6.

[35] “Family Matters: The Role of Christianity in the Formation of the Western Family - ProQuest”, n.d., http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library2.simpsonu.edu:2048/docview/196802004/135A2AA905A6D05463B/18?accountid=25342, (accessed March 23, 2012).

[36] Tim Miller Dyck, “Women Building the Church,” Canadian Mennonite, April 30, 2007.

[37] Fitzwater, Woman, her mission, position, and ministry., 84.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Prohl, Woman in the church  a restudy of woman’s place in building the kingdom., 79.

[40] Lutz, Women as risk-takers for God, 3.

[41] “Poem : A Woman’s Beauty”, n.d., http://www.turnbacktogod.com/poem-a-womans-beauty/, (accessed March 15, 2012).

[42] “1 Thessalonians (Blue Letter Bible: NASB - New American Standard Bible).”

[43] “Female Beauty Matters | Girls Gone Wise: Spiritual Smarts for Womanhood, Life & Love”, n.d., http://www.girlsgonewise.com/female-beauty-matters/, (accessed March 9, 2012).

[44] Ibid.

[45] Edith J Benkov, “The Suspicion of Virtue: Women Philosophers in Neoclassical France,” Renaissance Quarterly 57, no. 3 (Fall 2004): 1023–1025.

[46] Sumner, Men and women in the church, 25.

[47] Ibid., 26;27.

[48] Ibid., 28.

[49] Lutz, Women as risk-takers for God, 39.

[50] “God will make a way where there seems to be no way- Don Moen - YouTube”, n.d., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YBwMQwr8AI, (accessed March 16, 2012).

[51] “Isaiah 42 (Blue Letter Bible: NASB - New American Standard Bible)”, n.d., http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Isa&c=42&v=16&t=NASB#16, (accessed March 16, 2012).

[52] Prohl, Woman in the church  a restudy of woman’s place in building the kingdom., 24–36.

[53] Lutz, Women as risk-takers for God, 36–39.

[54] Amrita Chakrabarti Myers, “Black Women, Religious Rhetoric, and the Legacy of Abraham Lincoln,” The Journal of African American History 94, no. 4 (Fall 2009): 561–570.

[55] Ibid.

[56] “Ben Witherington: 51% of all Persons in Seminary are Women”, n.d., http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2006/08/51-of-all-persons-in-seminary-are.html, (accessed March 22, 2012).

[57] “Poem : A Woman’s Beauty.”