“How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership” is a new collection of essays on gender and roles by Dr. Alan Johnson of Wheaton College. It includes the stories of a wide range of scholars and evangelical leaders such as Bill & Lynne Hybels, who became converted to the position of biblical egalitarianism (biblical gender equality).
This is good news.
John Stackhouse, Jr. posts his essay in its entirety here, in which he makes several insightful observations. He rightly, in my opinion, points out that our work in interpreting scripture is to find the meaning that makes sense of as many pieces as possible. (An example would be an interpretation that explains both why Paul would instruct women to keep silent in the church, and also instruct them how to properly speak in church.)
Stackhouse makes another point based on personal observation:
“…I was being prepared to entertain and even embrace a different view of gender as I encountered female Christians who were the spiritual equal of men. Indeed, they seemed the equal of men in every way pertinent to leadership in church and society, and also to partnership at home.
My mother was herself such a woman: articulate, ambitious, tireless, creative, assertive, self-possessed, inspiring, critical—easily a match for any man I knew on any scale of leadership qualities. As everyone in our family will attest, she was certainly a match for my high-performance dad! And I saw her lead competently outside the home: in our church, in summer camp programs, on university and civic boards, and more.
But on Sundays, things got strange… I began to wonder why my mother, who was otherwise so esteemed as a leader in our church, remained demurely silent week after week and year after year while Mr. So-and-so rose to bore us once again with his meanderings through Scripture and Mr. Such-and-such followed with his interminable prayers.”
Read the whole thing. Then buy the book.