Grace, Mercy, and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
A few weeks ago we addressed briefly what it means to be a Pentecostal Man, and I would like to address for the next couple of weeks what it means to be a Pentecostal Woman. Let me begin by addressing some of the sociological and theological issues involved in dealing with women in the church. Addressing women and their role in the church is not an easy task today. On the one hand, liberals from all perspectives want to equalize the roles of men and women in the church. They want equal opportunity for male and female; they want to undo what God has done, which was creating man and woman different, but complimenting one another. The arguments feminists where making many years ago about political rights for women are now the same arguments they are using for the church, which is, if men can do it, so can women. Of course, this has never been an issue of ability; this has always been an issue of what does God say. Women who dream of careers are now choosing a career in the church, and the result is that mainline churches find this argument compelling. The logic of this thinking only leads to one result: the de-feminization of women. The report in an article this week proves that point. The article was entitled: “More American Women not having children.” One individual who praised this recent report said the following: “Women have more options than in the past to build strong careers and to exercise the choice not to have children.” There is much to be said about this trend in our society and the culprits for this de-feminization are first of all 1) husbands and fathers in the church who have not matured in their understanding and thus have not helped mature their wives in their understanding, and 2) women who have bought easily into the lies of our culture. Guilt goes both ways. And since guilt goes both ways, let me also address the conservative fault in these matters. Liberals are too easy of a target for us. The difficulty arises when self-examination occurs close to home. The reaction of conservatives– and by conservatives, I am simply referring to the broad evangelical church—is that conservatives have reacted to the liberal agenda by abandoning the women all together. They act like redemption has not moved forward. They act and talk like we are still living in a farm in ancient Israel before Jesus. They forget Paul’s words that in Christ we are one, male and female; yes, different functions, but covenantally one in Christ. In this New Creation women are given more responsibilities; the same is applied to men. As creation in Christ matures, so do our responsibilities. Many conservatives fail to see this progression in redemptive history. And so it is that in discussing the role of women in the church in this Pentecostal season and in this era of the church in which we see the dominion mandate being fulfilled, we see that women’s roles do not fit well into a party or into a movement. My exhortation to the women this morning is to focus on the oneness you have with the men. There is plenty of time to talk about distinctions in roles. We conservatives, spend endless hours focusing on the distinctions, but let us focus on your oneness in this body as worshipers, as respondents to the grace of God, as active participants in the worship of God’s people. Ladies, you are one in Christ with your brothers; let that energize your worship and your zeal for the kingdom of God and as new women in a new creation.