got me a college girl

in celebration of formal education in the life of the Christian girl

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Gender Issues at Covenant Article (Allison)

A quote from a recent ByFaith Online article titled "Responding to Gender Issues at Covenant College" (sorry, the exact link isn't working for some reason. You may find it under the "In the Church" section.):

Within the order ordained by God, both women and men are called to serve with all the talents given them, and it is right that they should develop those talents as fully as God allows. Problems arise not when women are educated; problems arise either when women are encouraged to use their education contrary to the order God prescribes, or when people wrongly use or abuse that order to prohibit productive and biblical avenues of service. In both cases, the problems stem from a lack of attention to the Scriptures as primary.

This fairly recent article touches on some of the issues that arose following the Gender conference at Covenant College. The authors, while affirming the complimentarian view, manage to strike a balance between both sides on the issues of women in education which I hope posters and readers of this blog find admirable.

In particular, they mention the issue of the education of women:

Consider, for example, the passionate debates these days concerning the inadequate ways in which the church makes place for theologically educated or even simply educated women. This is an important subject of discussion; surely we all have much to learn in this area – both the ones critiquing the church and the ones being critiqued. We can make progress here, but not if the discussion takes place apart from an explicit and shared biblical foundation. We regularly see separate camps of thinkers develop around these topics. There are the ones who want to encourage women to develop and use their gifts as fully as possible – in deep study of the Word of God, potentially in graduate school or seminary, and then ultimately for the good of the church. Then there are those who want to encourage women to pursue involvement at home, with discipleship and nurturing of children and other women. Deep rifts loom, with women’s important work in the home, in the church, and in the world potentially misunderstood and demeaned.

We believe these camps can and should come together, standing on the firm ground of the Scriptures’ teachings concerning the order of home and church. If we don’t make that ground clear, then we are in danger of trying either to negate or to misshape God’s order according to our own likings. We too often desire to encourage women – and men – these days without giving them the great gift of the Scriptures’ beautiful, comprehensive teachings on the subject of who they have been created to be, in Christ and in the church and in their families.

It seems that part of the purpose of this blog has been to highlight the importance of educated women within the home, the church, and in the world. I think our discussions here strive to find that "coming together" of all sides.

Things have been quiet around here for a while, but I was wondering what others in blogland think of this article. The author specifically mentions Carolyn James, and we've discussed her books and talks around here, as well as opposing points of view from those who think higher education for women is unnecessary. Is it possible to have a "coming together" while maintaining a Biblical view? One might describe it as "Christian women fully developing their gifts for the good of the church AND the home AND the workplace." What do you think?


  • At 4:37 PM, Blogger Ben, Kyri & Rachelle said…

    I often wish that the N.T. provided more details on the lives of women. However, it seems to me that Priscilla and Aquila are spoken of as a team, in their work (tentmakers) and in ministry. Priscilla is certainly not mentioned as the keeper of the home, though she very likely was. To limit women one sphere seems to limit God. The most happy fulfilled women I know have used their gifts in the workplace, in the home, and in the church. I think we're meant to be in all three places, just not necessarily at the same time of life. -rlr

  • At 3:43 PM, Blogger Cathryn said…

    Years ago while at Bok Gardens (can't quite remember but I think that is the name, in central FL, I came across an OLD article, I believe entitled, "Should women go to College?"

    I wanted to get a copy, bring it back to Orlando and pull together some rts women and have a good rousing talk. The gist of the artilce though wasn't really against educated women in general but educated women that were effected by their education by becoming hauty and condescending to those not educated, by belittling the role of the wife, mother, homemaker, as if education puts a woman in a place where she should be served rather than a servant (which we all should be). One time someone appeared to equate having a knowledge of scripture/theology with being holy. I DON'T THINK SO, at least I haven't seen that in the men (or women for that matter) that attended with me at Cov College and Covenant Seminary, nor at nearby RTS.

    All this to say that I agree with the article that education, whether college, graduate school or whatever, should not put us above others as much as it gives us an understanding of who we are and knowing our gifts and talents be able to serve in more holiness and humility.

    a little rambling but I hope you relate.

  • At 3:54 PM, Blogger Light said…

    I think we can only have the "coming together" you describe if we can agree on the premise that while women have responsibilities at home, their domain is not limited to the home. The strong patriarchal wing of the Christian church today cannot accept that premise - they believe that it is sinful for women to live independently of father or husband, and/or to work outside the home. They believe that woman's only legitimate role is to marry, have children, and be lifelong homemakers. I don't see those who hold this opinion changing their minds any time soon.

    Then there are those of us who believe in the inerrancy of scripture (despite accusations to the contrary) who believe it is fully biblical for women to serve as pastors, elders, etc. We also believe that women should be educated appropriately according to their skills, gifts, and calling to equip them to serve not only their families and churches, but also in the community and business world.

    Both camps have studied the scriptures prayerfully, and believe in the inerrancy of the scriptures, yet reach such different conclusions. I am pessimistic that there can ever be middle ground here.


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