A Christian theologian believes recent actions by two mainline Protestant denominations reveal they have a fundamental lack of confidence in the sufficiency and authority of Scripture regarding the role of women in the church.
Last month, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) elected a woman to be its general minister and president. Sharon E. Watkins is the first woman to head the 750,000-member denomination.
Also in July, the Church of England, which already ordains female priests, voted to begin what it calls "the process to remove obstacles to the ordination of women" bishops. According to the BBC, 14 of the world's 38 Anglican Churches worldwide have already decided to allow women bishops - and women now make up half of those training as Anglican clergy.
Dr. Randy Stinson is executive director of the Louisville-based Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Stinson contends the New Testament gives explicit instruction with regard to the setup of the church.
"The New Testament is certainly clear that Paul tells Timothy, 'I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man' - and he's dealing specifically there in the context of the Church and he's dealing specifically with how the Church should be governed," Stinson says. "So we believe that, according to the Bible, certain leading and teaching roles are restricted to men."
In the case of the Disciples of Christ and the Church of England, the CBMW leader believes the two denominations are failing to abide by God's command outlined in the second chapter of 1 Timothy.
"It's very dangerous for churches, [for] denominations to begin to slowly, sometimes quickly, undermine the authority of the Word of God in this way," he says. "I think it has incredibly devastating effects on church members. I think it has devastating effects on lost people who aren't familiar completely with the Bible. It offers confusion."
Stinson says more and more denominations are giving in to a "sinful, fleshly pull away from Scripture" in order to accommodate the culture.
And the recent actions by the Disciples of Christ and the Church of England, he says, indicate they are continuing down a "slippery slope" of Scriptural compromise.
Biblical Council on Manhood and Womanhood (www.cbmw.org)
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