When we talk about big churches, the usual suspects come to mind: Saddleback Church in southern California (nearly 20,000 weekly), multi-site Life Church of Oklahoma nearly 11,000 combined, New Spring Church, 8,000. Yet in a recent article, Mimi Haddad, president of Christians for Biblical Equality writes, “five of the 10 largest megachurches are located in South Korea… According to last year’s research by the Economist, the Yoido Full Gospel Church claims 830,000 members, and continues to grow by 3,000 members each month! Astonishing, isn’t it? But, what if I told you that this church, pastored by Dr. Cho, is also egalitarian?”
Mimi goes on to quote Dr. Cho, who, shocked by the small size of churches in another country, said, “I told them to release their women, but they insist that’s not the problem. They ask me “What’s the key to your church?” I tell them again, “release your women…” She then observes,
“if, as Scripture suggests, God gives spiritual gifts to all Christians (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:7 ff, and Ephesians 4:11-13) regardless of gender, education, class, or ethnicity, then one would expect to find healthy, vibrant, growing churches where the spiritual gifts are given their fullest breadth of service.”
CBE consistently makes calm, well-reasoned arguments for equality in the church. And the truth of these arguments is finally beginning to gain acceptance in the mainstream, even among the Southern Baptists. Men and women are created with a variety of gifts, and the body of Christ is stronger when all aspects of these gifts “are given their fullest breadth of service.”
10 thoughts on “release your women”
jan, you make a great point. we need great women leaders in our churches. mainly because they’re a lot smarter than us.
Well Done! As a UMC I have seen the amazing things that can happen when you “release your women!”
I was there last month and visited Yoido.
Perhaps a deeper understanding of the cultural context in which this particular instance plays out might help as well.
There also might be some wisdom in understanding the formation of Yoido, and the historical context of how Christianity evolved in this country might shed some light on “how” and “why” this all came to pass.
Yoido is certainly not SBC and their “denominational” background might give a bit of insight.
Just some thoughts.
The active suppression of the gifts of women is among the most destructive effects of the so-called “conservative resurgence” that has unfulfilled its mispromise by (together with inexorable demographic change) reversing the path of Southern Baptist denominational growth.
Amen! Denying women the opportunity to use and develop their gifts is nothing less than keeping the body of Christ from being whole.
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
My former pastor quoted Dr. Cho once. Dr. Cho asked what the secret to his church growth success was. “I pray, and I obey,” he replied. But we also must treat our women correctly. Otherwise, our prayers will be hindered, as Peter wrote.
What about the answers to each of the claims of CBE by CBMW.com? Egalitarianism is selling out biblical truth to accomadate the culture!
The answer is simple:
“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded” (Titus 2:1-16 KJV).
The older men should teach the older men. The older women should teach the older women. When Paul instructed Timothy and Titus that bishop-pastor-elders must be men, he was not putting down women. The wife of a pastor is, in essence, Mrs. Pastor, who should teach the younger women in the church.
Putting this into practice is difficult because our society is messed up. Most men (and far too many women) are far too busy to disciple anyone, male or female. “The Shack,” for example, has gotten a bad rap because God has been represented as a woman in it. (I have not read the entire novel, but I have heard that.) What is more controversial, though, is that, even in conservative, male-led churches, women do most of the ad hoc discipling. Most of the people who took the time to disciple me in a major way in my life were women.
I do not have a problem taking advice and learning spiritual things from women. If not for one woman in my life, my “spiritual grandmother”, what would have become of me? But I would much prefer to be taught and SHOULD be taught by a man because I AM A MAN.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22 KJV).
This is one of those verses that the enemy of our souls twists almost as soon as the average person reads it. I could begin reading out loud the entire epistle to the Ephesians, and as soon as I get to that verse, I am sure I could watch my listeners and see people squirm.
Go back to Ephesians 3:13. Then read forward to Ephesians 5:22. If a husband excelled in all the things Paul wrote up to Ephesians 5:22, what spiritual woman would not want to submit to such a man? Now read Colossians 3:18. Go back to Colossians 1:23 and read forward to Colossians 3:18. Notice the similarities. Now read 1 Peter 3:1-6. Go back and read 1 Peter 1:13 forward to 1 Peter 3:1-6. Note how an apostle, other than Paul, also parallels much of what Paul says in the other two epistles.
Three times in Scripture is this pattern laid out for us. (Now, men, read the next verses after what the wives are supposed to do.) Why? Maybe because we are that hard of hearing.
This is a hard matter for liberated America. I once studied sections of the Scripture about how women are supposed to submit. I had a spiritual experience. I was looking at my Bible, and I could “see” what Paul was talking about, even if I could not explain it in plain English. What I was reading was freedom for the man and woman. But I soon returned to becoming hard of hearing on the matter, so that I am sure what I just wrote here is my clumsily oafish attempt to explain a plain truth which we could understand if we really sought the Lord.
“Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy….There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not….the way of a man with a maid” (Proverbs 30:2-3, 18, 19 KJV).
Poor Agur was too dumb to understand how a man and a woman should treat each other. Things have not changed much!
This is a great discussion! It’s interesting to me how Eph. 5:22 always gets quoted, and Eph 5:21, which actually begins the “submission” discussion, always gets skipped: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Excellent post! I’m going to link to it this morning on my blog. Love it.
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