|Yann Forget/Wikimedia Commons|
Today is International Women’s Day. The theme for this day is “Better the Balance, Better the World.”
Sadly, many of my male evangelical friends who are pastors will either privately or publicly denigrate this day as another cultural sign that society is going “liberal” and the church will soon follow.
That’s just not so.
Society is just now beginning to reflect what God’s Word has always taught as truth.
Better the balance, better the world is God’s way of doing things. God created males and females with the equality of value, and God created males and females with the equality of vocation based upon His image bearers divine giftedness.
In other words, the world is a better place when we understand intrinsic worth is a settled truth and that integrated work is a superior tactic.
Let me prove this biblically and then anecdotally.
At the time of Creation, the Bible says:
So God created man (Hebrew: Adam) in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)
Adam is the Hebrew word translated “man” in English.
Notice something very important. Adam is created in God’s image. Adam is not just the half-portion of the human race called “male.” The Hebrew word Adam encompasses the “female” half of the human race as well.
“Male and Female” compose the biblical definition of “man” and together reflect the “image of our Creator” (Imago Dei).
Nobody should be offended by using the word “man” to refer to both males and females. The Bible does it. Man is both male and female. The way I put it is simply this:
“You will never see and appreciate the full-orbed image of God until you view both males and females relating and working with one another in equality.”
That’s God’s way.
Anytime society works to have males dominating females (patriarchy) or females dominating males (matriarchy), you have a society that is “curse-filled.”
When the world is balanced, the world is better.
|Wade Burleson and Vera Porter at Emmanuel Enid|
I’ve written multiple articles on God intending, creating, and sustaining male and female equality (go to the top left of my blog and type the word “women” in the Google search bar). I’m a conservative, Bible-believing Christ-follower who believes that homosexual behavior in the bedroom is sinful but that gender equality in the boardroom is sacred.
I realize that my friends who identify as homosexual will be offended at the first part of the previous sentence just as many of my conservative evangelical pastor friends will be offended at the last part of the previous sentence.
I don’t’ consider those who disagree with me an enemy. I’m just telling my homosexual friends and my pastor friends my mind can be changed. It will require your ability to show me in God’s Word where I’m wrong. As it stands now, none of you have convinced me.
I believe the Bible makes a massive distinction between sexual identity and sexual behavior. If God intended sexual behavior between males to be the creative norm, then males would be able to give birth to babies. Likewise, if God intended sexual behavior between females to be the creative norm, then God would have created females with the ability to generate babies without males.
But God did intend males and females to be co-regents, co-workers, and co-heirs of the Universe.
It may be that those who struggle with sexual identity have never come to an understanding of the worth, dignity, and value of both males and females because a cursed world attempts to exalt one gender above the other.
God’s way is better the balance, better the world.
I have been the pastor of the church I lead for over 27 years. When I came to Emmanuel in 1992, it was a traditional, patriarchal church where males only were in roles of leadership and females only were in roles of service. Leadership at the church was based on position and authority rather than service and humility. Only males could be in “a position of authority.”
Gifted females were restricted in their roles. They couldn’t teach (with other males present), serve in leadership roles (if other males were present), or provide direction to God’s people unless “in submission” to the male leaders present in the room.
I’ve often scratched my head how followers of Jesus speak so boldly against homosexual behavior in the bedroom but then practice homosexual behavior in the boardroom.
Both, according to God’s way, are sinful behaviors.
Today, after years of change, Spirit-gifted females at our church now provide leadership, publicly teach from the Scriptures, and give direction to others without even caring whether or not males are in the room. The Chairman of our Leadership Team is female. Half of our trustees and standing committee chairmen are females. Women teach men and women, men teach and women. Women lead males and females, and men lead males and females. We appreciate giftings regardless of the gender of the gifted. We’ve noticed that God gives the same gifts to both males and females. That gifts of the Spirit are given to both males and females is proved by the Bible, our experience, and the logic of a world balanced by the genders.
Our church is much better off today than it was a quarter-century ago. We are more balanced. We’ve been prevented from many mistakes because of the full-orbed image of God (males and females) at Emmanuel. It’s a settled truth among us that men and women possess equal worth and perform integrated work.
Why? Are we following the society? No. We follow the Scriptures. Better the balance, better the world is God’s Way
A friend of mine in Washington D.C. said he had lunch with a well-known pastor who said to my friend: “Word is Wade Burleson is promoting women pastors. That’s the word on the street.”
When I was told that, I laughed.
“No. Wade Burleson is tearing down any philosophy or practice in the church or society where males dominate females by position or Divine authority as well as any philosophy or practice in the church or society where females dominate males by a hierarchal position or any alleged spiritual authority.”
The problem is a skewed view of authority in the church (and society), which unfortunately is a sign of the original curse brought into this world by Adam’s (men and women) rebellion against God. When either gender seeks to rule over the other gender, God’s way is not being followed.
Better the balance, better the world.
Happy International Women’s Day.