Two Views on Women in Ministry-Revised Edition Copyright © 2001, 2005 by James R. Beck Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Two views on women in ministry / Linda L. Belleville . . . [et al.] ; general editor, James R. Beck.-2nd ed. p. cm.- (Counterpoints) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN-10: 0-310-25437-X (softcover) ISBN-13: 978-0-310-25437-9 1. Women clergy. I. Belleville, Linda L. II. Beck, James R. III. Series: Counterpoints (Grand Rapids, Mich.) BV676.T96 2005 262'.14'082-dc22 2005008670 All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: Today's New International Version®. TNIV®. Copyright © 2001, 2005 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations in Thomas R. Schreiner's essay are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means-electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other-except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. Printed in the United States of America 05 06 07 08 09 10 /? DCI/ 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Chapter One WOMEN IN MINISTRY: AN EGALITARIAN PERSPECTIVE Linda L. Belleville WOMEN IN MINISTRY: AN EGALITARIAN PERSPECTIVE Linda L. Belleville One of the continuing hotbeds of debate in evangelical circles today is the nature and scope of leadership roles open to women in the church. Can a woman preach God's word? Can she serve communion, baptize, or lead in worship? Can she marry and bury? Can she serve as the lead or solo pastor? Can she teach an adult Bible class? Can she serve as a bishop, elder, or deacon? Can she put "Reverend" or "Doctor" before her name? These are the questions with which numerous churches in the last fifty years have struggled and over which some have divided. In large part this has been due to the absence of any middle ground. The issues and terms have been defined so as to force a choice either wholly for or wholly against women in leadership. The interpretive approach of traditionalists, in particular, has been notably selective. The focus has been on one or two highly debated passages (first and foremost, 1 Tim. 2:11- 15), with little acknowledgment of the roles of women in Scripture as a whole. What about today? Has any middle ground been reached? What currently separates the traditionalist and egalitarian? As recently as two decades ago the polarity was vast. It was not uncommon to hear evangelicals talking about a woman's flawed, self-deceived nature or her secondary creation in God's image, which ruled out any leadership role for her in the church.2 Now there are very few who would go this far, and most who thought this way in the past have changed their minds. What accounts for the change? It is not that a biblical consensus has emerged, for traditionalists still claim that theirs is the "Christ-honoring, Bible-believing perspective" and that the egalitarian's perspective is the "liberal, culturally acceptable view." The primary impetus is actually social in nature. The feminist movement and economic pressures have catapulted women into the workplace, where they have shown themselves to be equally talented, wise, and levelheaded-so that whereas twenty-five years ago only young adult males were challenged with the slogan "Uncle Sam wants you," today women and men alike are encouraged to "be aThomas R. Schreiner is the author of 'Two Views On Women In Ministry' with ISBN 9780310254379 and ISBN 031025437X.