Jesus Creed

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IBC

posted by xscot mcknight

Irving Bible Church last Sunday had a woman — Jackie Roese — preaching in all three services. The first time in that church’s history. Here is a church that is courageous enough to permit women do what women did in the New Testament times. We were once at IBC and have to say it was one of the highlights of our preaching life … a church that is vibrant, exceptional worship, and missional in several directions at once.



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GLWJohnson

posted August 30, 2008 at 5:52 am


Scot
Please give chapter and verse that conclusively backs up your claim that the NT sanctioned women preaching in church or calling them to the office of elder/pastor.



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Scot McKnight

posted August 30, 2008 at 6:42 am


Pastor Johnson, this is not the place to dispute IBC’s decision, and you know well that the issues here are disputed. The issue is not about the “office” of elder or pastor, which involves three conclusions you are assuming. It is about whom God gifts to teach/preach, and Priscilla is probably all that needs to be said.
If you’d like to see my defense of this, you’re invited to read Blue Parakeet when it comes out in a month of so. The last 3d of that book is a short defense of women in ministry.



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Gavin

posted August 30, 2008 at 7:36 am


Scot… It seems that above you are leaning towards making the argument that we can argue for correctness on this issue on the basis of perceived giftedness (“I perceive that I am called to preach, therefore I should preach.”). However, just because a person “feels” gifted in a certain area, does not mean that they can go against the Bible’s design for the church (of course this is disputed re: men and women and eldership).
Priscilla does not make your case by any means, or so it seems to me.
My question for egalitarians is this: What must you do with Paul to make your (historically new) position work? What must you do with the text? What must you say concerning Paul’s competence and exegesis of the OT? What must you say concerning the concept of cultural conditioning and how we ought to read the NT? What must you assume about human progress (i.e., “we know better now”)?
I’ll just say this: It seems fairly clear to me that God’s Word teaches that (normatively) elders are to be the main leaders in the church, governing and teaching, and that this model carries from God’s design for marriage, which comes from God’s design for humanity from before the foundation of the world (i.e., from before the Fall). This seems to be Paul’s understanding. Quite clearly, if you ask me. It’s very easy to show this in the text, and that it carries from Genesis through the NT.
Where am I going wrong here?



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riddle

posted August 30, 2008 at 7:45 am


Scot,
My honest first blush response to reading about IBC was…
IBC has never had a women preach?
I’m glad they have now!
thanks Scot!



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Allie

posted August 30, 2008 at 7:56 am


@ Gavin: As Scot said, this isn’t the place to discuss the issues surrounding women in church leadership. Scot has written often on this, and there are other forums to discuss his position and yours.
This is about a specific church taking a risk and investing in a specific leader and giving her a chance to shine. To try to use it as any sort of springboard for any agenda misses the point of the story.



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Scot McKnight

posted August 30, 2008 at 8:18 am


Gavin,
Again, not the place for this … but let me say a few things and then let’s drop this discussion for this post. Jackie Roese has been recognized by the elders at her church as gifted by God to teach and preach.
But I must say this: to move in your comment from “perceived” (what is not perception?) to “feels” is not fair. It has to do with whom God gifts, not with who “feels” (a pejorative word in your usage here) gifted. Some can say I “feel gifted” and not have to do with what you mean by “feel.” To say “I feel called to…” is common language that can’t be reduced to the pejorative sense of feeling.
Priscilla taught; that is the point. Junia was an apostle. Phoebe’s role is not entirely clear but many agree she was at least a significant leader. I could go on. Again, read Blue Parakeet when it comes out and we’ll discuss the arguments then.
I don’t want this post to be a defense of what I’ve already posted about here and what I will post about again, but a note of congratulations to a church that I happen to think has made a courageously biblical decision. You disagree. There’s a place for that, too.



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Gavin

posted August 30, 2008 at 8:21 am


Allie…I disagree completely. The story is about a church that has recently changed its views concerning the teachings of Scripture re:men and women and eldership. Scott is celebrating their (now) egalitarian views. The story IS ABOUT “women in church leadership.” The story IS agenda-driven. Pushing the egalitarian agenda (which I believe does damage to the Word of God) is the point of this story.
To suggest otherwise is sort of naive, don’t you think?
Having said this, I do understand that this is an egalitarian and even emerging/emergent blog, and therefore Scot’s ardent supporters will come to his defense. I actually happen to like Scot’s a great deal. I just happen to disagree with him on a few scriptural points. This story draws out one of those differences.



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Gavin

posted August 30, 2008 at 8:28 am


Scot. You are completely fair here. I appreciate that. I’m not one of those red-faced haters. I rather prefer to sit with a friend over a Mountain Dew and open the Bible together and wrestle over it together, agreeing that the Bible is our ultimate authority and that it is a love letter to us from our Lord.
Perception. Perception is reality, as some say. I get it. But I suppose some would also say that since this particular woman preached, and perceives/feels that she has been gifted by God to preach, God must have therefore gifted her and called her TO preach. I get all of this. My question still remains, though: Must we not test/check our perceptions and feelings with/against God’s Word? And, of course, what God’s Word says on this subject is a matter of great debate, and we reach different conclusions.
Issue dropped.



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Denny Burk

posted August 30, 2008 at 9:00 am


For anyone interested, there was a report about IBC’s decision in the Dallas Morning News. FYI.
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/082308dnmetpreach.3ba3b5c.html



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Denny Burk

posted August 30, 2008 at 9:05 am


Oops! I’m an idiot. Scot already linked the article in the original post.



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Ellen Haroutunian

posted August 30, 2008 at 9:18 am


Goodness. What is the resistance to good Bible study? A study of 1 Timothy 2 on the word authentein, as well as looking at the cultural context into which that epistle was written will shake up the perception that women should not be allowed to lead and teach men. However, one cannot see what one will not see.
Look at Jesus, the Word himself, who encouraged Mary to sit at his feet and learn with the men. (We know that those who were taught the word of God, had the responsibility to teach in that culture.) He came to bring low the mountains and fill up the valleys. He was restoring mutuality to all of our relationships.
Seriously guys, so much good study has been done on this passage and others. Could it be that you do not want to see? You have decided what these passages mean (convenient for you!) so no further study is necessary? If you stand over the word in authority, how can you be transformed by it?
You could also check with Junia, a female apostle until her sex change surgery in the 12th century. ;-)



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Jennifer

posted August 30, 2008 at 9:33 am


Sweet! I love when churhces make brave choices. Good for them!!!



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Gavin

posted August 30, 2008 at 10:17 am


@ Ellen: Alright. I didn’t want to keep debating on Scot’s blog. I suppose maybe I aided in the starting of the debate. My apologies.
but Ellen…you’re comment is filled with too many assumptions and presuppositions to let it go unanswered. Let me get this straight: YOU are the one sees the Word perfectly, and those who disagree with YOUR exegesis are the ones who do not and refuse to see “truth”. YOU are the one who has been “transformed” by the Word, and by definition, those who disagree with your exegesis are those who have NOT been transformed.
Lots of straw men burning there. If you had been transformed by the message of Jesus, I would expect to see a lot more charity… Gavin (me), take heed, lest you fall.
One question: Why did Jesus choose 12 men? Isn’t that fact just as instructive in some way, as the issue with Mary?
Sorry Scot… I couldn’t resist commenting. Tell me to stop. I’m hopeless.



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Carl

posted August 30, 2008 at 10:21 am


When I first saw the title on my RSS feed, I thought Scot was taking a break from coffee to talk about a great root beer, but alas…
For those interested in reading more about IBC’s decision, you can read more about it here (a link on the right side gives a fairly lengthy pdf):
http://www.irvingbible.org/index.php?id=1259



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Scot McKnight

posted August 30, 2008 at 10:39 am


Gavin,
One comment. Jesus didn’t choose twelve “men” but “twelve” who were men. That they were men does not mean that they had to be males. The assumption here is unjustified … namely that the choice of the twelve, who were men, means Jesus could only have chosen males or that there is something “male-ish” about this. One can argue all kinds of things, none of which is found in the text — Jesus didn’t say “I am choosing twelve men because this is work for males.” We could say that Jesus really wanted to choose 6 women but the world was not yet ready for it. Really, if you want to add to the text or explain the text with concerns outside the text, what limits are there?



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Gavin

posted August 30, 2008 at 11:29 am


I hear you, Scot. And by the way, I feel bad for perpetuating this comment strain on such a nice day! It’s 80+ and Sunny here in SD today (and maybe even Chicago?).
My point was that the fact of the 12 male apostles is at least as good a point as pointing out that Jesus asked Mary to sit at His feet.
But Scot, how can you suppose to be in the mind of Jesus any more than any other exegete? Fact: Jesus DID choose 12 men, when He clearly did not have to (He’s God, afterall). I’m not putting words in Jesus’ mouth or putting thoughts in His head. I’m simply pointing out a fact (a fact that happens to square with the normative experience of Israel concerning primary leadership, and with the teachings of Paul concerning eldership in Christ’s church – God is consistent – imagine that!).
And Scot, why so sensitive on the 12 apostles issue? The facts that God chose to be addressed as a male and chose to have the second person of the Trinity be designated as “Son” and have His Son appear as a male and choose 12 male apostles, etc., etc., do not cancel out the Bible’s clear teaching that men and women are created equally in the image of God. I affirm both! This is not a debate over dignity or worth. It is a matter of design. And if God is totally Sovereign and in control over all things from before the foundation of the world, and He is good and just and perfect and holy, then why try to argue His choices away in THIS area (male eldership)?
I don’t want to be rude, or anything like that. I comment at your discretion and approval. If I’m being rude or divisive or whatever else, or if you’d rather carry on our conversation over email, let me know. I’m not married to the comment section!



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Paul Miller

posted August 30, 2008 at 11:41 am


Scot ?
Wish you were there last Sunday. It was awesome! This has been a matter of discussion at IBC even before the decision of the elders a few months back, and since then has been quite the topic of conversation, as you might imagine. As I read these comments it?s all coming back. :)
Within our little IBC family the whole process seems to have been very amicable. I know there are those who have strong opinions and traditions on this, and have decided to part ways. Though sad, I’m encouraged the disagreements have been civil and love and respect has been the order of the day. I’ve talked with others who are a little skittish, but consider it a grey area and are so in love with our church family and what we’re doing have decided to “ride it out”. Most are thrilled!
My biggest surprise was the amount of attention it got outside of our walls. I hope some of the good things being done has as much of a ripple effect.
I’ve been a Christian for about five years, and though I have a hunger for theology, and have studied the issue, I?ll pass on jumping into the debate. I will say on a personal level, I?ve never actually heard a woman speak from the pulpit. In the current series on the big dreams we have for IBC’s kingdom work, Jackie spoke on the very familiar story of the woman at the well. She shared with us in a transparent way pain and shame in her life that connected her with the Samaritan. And because of that she was able to make me really GET that moment at the well.
And for a moment I was at that well, with my shame made bare before the King, and His healing was on me, and His will was stoked in me. It was sacred. And isn?t that what it?s all about?
Thanks for the encouragement – Paul



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Scot McKnight

posted August 30, 2008 at 12:00 pm


Gavin,
My point is that Jesus does not say God chose twelve “men” because the job was for men. Yes, the twelve were males but there’s not a word about their being males. It is an inference from the twelve to the importance of being male for that task and calling.
Done on this.



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Ellen Haroutunian

posted August 30, 2008 at 12:26 pm


Gavin – you are right. I did make a lot of assumptions based on study I have done but I did not want to go into all the biblical study here. There’s been plenty of good study and its worth reading! No straw women, LOL. I am sorry that you did not feel I was charitable enough but it is important to ask the tough questions! The reason I feel so strongly is because of the overwhelming existence of gender based injustices in the world. After spending the week working behind the scenes to assist trafficked woman leave their captors, I feel even more strongly that we as Christians need to do a much better job on this issue.
Hey IBC folk, don’t be surprised at the attention! This impact of this issue ripples out far beyond our doors. Thanks for being risk takers. :-)



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Luke

posted August 30, 2008 at 12:58 pm


Good for IBC! It always baffles me why people are so vehemently against stuff like this. Maybe certain contexts in 1st century culture couldn’t handle it and it would be a hindrance to the Gospel, but this is not the case in 21st century America. I pray that they will continue to stand firm in the truth and to kindly answer their accusers with sound defense or just to ignore the situation.
Some people (especially bloggers) amaze me with their rhetoric and hatred against such a wonderful thing where lives are being impacted. Thanks for telling the truth, Scot



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sheryl

posted August 30, 2008 at 2:04 pm


Gavin,
If you want to argue about the Twelve, then be thorough. The Twelve were exclusively Jewish, which also excludes all Gentile males. If you want to make an argument about male leadership based on the Twelve, then you’ve just excluded any and all Gentile males, in addition to your exclusion of women in leadership.



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john

posted August 30, 2008 at 2:09 pm


I lean towards the Lord using women in ‘speaking gifts’ [pour out my Spirit on all flesh...sons and daughters will prophesy] but do not see any biblical mandate for women Elders [though Paul alludes to a possible woman apostle- Romans 16]. Actually just wanted to cooment on the excellent critique you just gave in Christianity Today, on Brian Mclarens books. I liked it a bunch! God bless. John



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Gavin

posted August 30, 2008 at 2:31 pm


Why must this go on?
@ Sheryl. Your argument is sort of silly, to be honest. Maybe I have a low IQ or something (probably), but your argument seems rather nonsensical to me. What is your point? And if they all had beards, that excludes all non-beard sporting males? And since they wore robes that excludes all non-robe wearing males?
Quite simply, the point is that Jesus could’ve chosen women to be a part of the 12, but He did not. Agreed? That’s really my only point. And, well, that this fact is not insignificant as we think about the normative pattern of leadership in the household of God, given throughout God’s revealed Word.



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Scot McKnight

posted August 30, 2008 at 2:43 pm


Sheryl … you got it going again.
Well, Gavin, no the point about Jewish males is not so silly. Why not? Isn’t it rather clear that the first Christians had an awful time spreading the gospel to Gentiles, or at least many did? Why? There was a perceived inherent ethnic component to the redemption. The choice of Twelve surely relates to the twelve tribes and those tribes were Jews, and I doubt very much that Jesus could have chosen either Gentile males or Jewish women in that cultural context.
Let’s get back to the point: the text does not say Jesus chose males because they were males but twelve to be his apostles. The difference might but subtle, but the second view sticks to what the text actually says.
On the biblical pattern, isn’t that the QED?



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Richard

posted August 30, 2008 at 3:02 pm


Not remembering asking God to make me a male or female I must take sides with a Pastor who once wrote:
And here I may remark in regard to one of the vexed questions of the day — the rights of women — that what women demand it is not for men to withhold. It is not their business to lay down the law for women. That women must lay down for themselves. I confess that, although I must herein seem to many of my readers old-fashioned and conservative, I should not like to see any woman I cared for either in parliament, or in an anatomical class-room; but on the other hand I feel that women must be left free to settle that matter. If it is not good, good women will find it out and recoil from it. If it is good, then God give them good speed.
The Seaboard Parish – George MacDonald



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Alice

posted August 30, 2008 at 3:11 pm


My hat is off to Jackie, and her church, for being brave enough to re-examine an issue that has the potential to wind some people up (see many of the above comments for example). I can’t imagine how much courage it took for her to stand up and share her gift with the church! (Well, I guess I kind of can imagine it …) My hat is off to the group of folks (maybe all men?) who were willing to study, pray, read, discuss, drop old assumptions and opinions, listen to others, practice humility, kindness, gentleness, self-control … in order to land in a new place as a church body. Sometimes courage does NOT look like squeezing tight to the status quo until it breaks in your hands …
In my humble opinion, this event at this church “moved the chains” for the Kingdom.
Go Jackie! Preach it, sister!



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sheryl

posted August 30, 2008 at 4:11 pm


Scot, I apologize. The “silly” ball was sitting there waiting to be hit and I swung. Forgive me. I am going to enjoy one of the last summer days now and forgo anymore comments. Blessings to all.



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Ellen Haroutunian

posted August 30, 2008 at 4:21 pm


Well said, Alice. The Kingdom is the point, isn’t it? You know, I think it is ok for people to be “wound up”. That’s part of the kind of conversation that helps the church to “land in a new place” as well. (I like that phrase!) I doubt it was all rainbows for the IBC staff all the time as they dug into this issue. But more importantly, it is about far more than who gets to teach, though I daresay, a feminine voice and a feminine hermeneutic added in will enrich us all, as will the voices and eyes of other marginalized readers of the Word. (I am fortunate to have a church that does invite me to preach.) I feel this is about the message that we give to all the world about the heart of God for women – like the woman in Northern India who just a few days ago gave birth on the rocks outside a medical clinic because she was afraid her husband would beat her if she went in. The actions and words of the Church that follows Jesus, who toppled the status quo again and again and who lifted up those who have been oppressed must speak well and loudly. This issue goes far beyond us.



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Rachel H. Evans

posted August 30, 2008 at 5:38 pm


Good to hear that with all the buzz about breaking the glass ceiling in politics, we continue to make progress on breaking the stained glass one!



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Glenn

posted August 30, 2008 at 10:12 pm


To comment on #7, “Scott is celebrating their (now) egalitarian views.” This church is not egalitarian is it? The article states, “But the elders also concluded that their office “seems to be biblically relegated to men.” So Mrs. Roese will preach at Irving Bible Church under the authority of an elder board that will continue to be all male.
I’ve been a member of two complementarian churches that teach and practice exactly what IBC has decided to do. And upon checking IBC’s website they again affirm eldership is male. How is this egalitarian?
BY the way Scot, what would be a solid resource or two a person could use when researching the apostleship of Junia?



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Scot McKnight

posted August 31, 2008 at 5:29 am


Glenn,
There is one really good source that considers all the issues:
Junia by Eldon Jay Epp



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Bob Brague

posted August 31, 2008 at 6:35 am


Up there at #20 in the comments, Luke used the words “rhetoric and hatred against such a wonderful thing where lives are being impacted.” I suddenly perceived or felt :) a parallel in the current Democrat and Republican campaigns. The rhetoric of pro-choicers’ (mostly Republican) implies hatred by the pro-lifers against the unborn. The rhetoric of pro-lifers’ (mostly Democrat) implies hatred by the pro-choicers against women’s rights and the poor.
Somewhere in Texas, a woman speaks (preaches? takes on the mantle of an elder?) from the pulpit.
Scot has a book to sell and doesn’t want to talk right now about the very subject he raised. Just read the book, he says (which implies buying it).
Change comes slowly in the naked city. But change does eventually come. And some things never change.
I suppose Scot is going to call my remarks snide again, so I apologize in advance. I should never blog without having had my coffee.



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Denny Burk

posted August 31, 2008 at 6:49 am


Glenn,
You’ll also want to take a look at this critical review of Epp’s book on Junia: http://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-13-No-1/Reassessing-Junia-A-Review-of-Eldon-Epp-s-Junia-The-First-Woman-Apostle.
Thanks,
Denny



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nathan

posted August 31, 2008 at 7:10 am


I don’t know if this was mentioned, but on the whole “perceived/feel” thing:
It appears that IBC’s elder structure perceive in this woman a teaching/preaching gift.
I guess how those men feel must carry some weight/significance.



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Luke

posted August 31, 2008 at 1:03 pm


Denny,
Your link took me to a “file not found” page. I’ll give the review a read, but the bias of cmbw should be obvious (or noted) to most.



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Denny Burk

posted August 31, 2008 at 2:41 pm


Yes, Luke. th editorial stance of JBMW is complementarian, just as that of the Priscilla Papers is egalitarian.



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Luke

posted August 31, 2008 at 2:49 pm


I agree Denny. We all have our biases (I have more than I particularly want!), I was just making sure the readers knew



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Denny Burk

posted August 31, 2008 at 4:05 pm


Luke,
Try this link: http://www.cbmw.org/images/jbmw_pdf/13_1/reassessing_junia.pdf. It worked when I tried it, but let me know if there are problems with this one.
Thanks,
Denny



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Denny Burk

posted August 31, 2008 at 4:08 pm


Luke,
I figured out the problem with the previous links. The period at the end of my sentences got included in the web address! Here are the correct links:
http://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-13-No-1/Reassessing-Junia-A-Review-of-Eldon-Epp-s-Junia-The-First-Woman-Apostle
or
http://www.cbmw.org/images/jbmw_pdf/13_1/reassessing_junia.pdf
Thanks,
Denny



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Luke

posted August 31, 2008 at 4:50 pm


Thanks Denny, that’s much better!



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John Frye

posted August 31, 2008 at 8:18 pm


Three cheers for IBC! Blessings on Jackie Roese!
John & Julie



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Mike

posted September 1, 2008 at 9:55 am


Alice (#26),
I sat through Jackie’s sermon. She was anything but timid. And while the message was centered on the woman at the well, the topic was not a women’s topic. Se spoke equally to every one of us.
IBC has had little internal friction on the subject. We have no agenda. The decision was made a few months ago and this was the first woman to speak “from the pulpit.” The decision was made by the elders (all men) after 18 months of study and deliberation, but with the input of many others, including women, one of whom is a seminary professor and member of the church. The final decision was not exactly what each one would have decided, but they agreed jointly that “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit…”



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Ellen Haroutunian

posted September 1, 2008 at 10:04 am


It’s good to know that the Holy Spirit still has a role in our understanding of things. :-) Again congrats to IBC for the humility to listen and courage to risk.



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Beth

posted September 1, 2008 at 10:26 am


Just wanted to add my cheers for IBC. While the debate will undoubtedly continue to rage, it is encouraging to see another woman released into greater ministry. It is a bold and brave thing to go against the status quo and make such a decision.



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ron

posted September 1, 2008 at 1:23 pm


IBC has started down the “slippery slope” to more fully realizing Galatians 3:28 — power to them.



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ryan

posted September 1, 2008 at 11:03 pm


Why is the debate always phrased as “women in ministry?” I mean isn’t the debate really about women as elders? I do not know of anyone (outside of a few crazy backwoods churches) that do not think women should be involved in ministry.
I am not even picking a horse in this matter but I think the phrase “women in ministry” is a bit misleading, since the friction is women as elders.



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Faith J Totushek

posted September 2, 2008 at 8:45 pm


Good News, Congrats on IBC’s courage to stand strong for women preachers.



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Anonymous

posted September 2, 2008 at 10:10 pm


Linkathon 9/3 at Phoenix Preacher

[...] Scot McKnight and on the woman who preached at Irving Bible Church. [...]



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