Matthew 20.25-28 (NLT)I find a lot about the gender roles debates to be distracting and off-topic. What does it mean to be a man or a woman? What are our proper "gender roles"? Can a man stay at home and a woman be the bread-winner? And so on and so on.
But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
To be sure, these are important questions and important debates. But for me, they are often beside the point.
The problem, as I see it, is less about what men and woman can or can't do than with a group of men in the church exerting power over another group--women. In short, men are "lording over" women in the church, exercising top-down power via a hierarchy. More, this group of men is prohibiting another group (women) from having access and input into the very power structure that is being used against them and excluding them. That's lording over. And gender aside, that sort of lording over is prohibited by Jesus. "But among you it shall be different."
For example, what rankles in my own local church context is that women have to ask men for permission. Women have to be allowed to do things. And it is this concentration, use and gatekeeping of power that is sinful.
The issue isn't really, fundamentally, about what "roles" men are equipped for versus women. The whole debate about "gender roles" is often beside the point and, I think, often a manipulation to keep our eye off the ball. Because the only role in the church is the role Jesus took upon himself. The only role in the church is being a servant.
So when you see a group in the church using and then excluding others from power--rather than eschewing power the way Jesus did--you move about as far away from Jesus as you can get. This is importing into the Kingdom satanic, worldly manifestations of power, bringing sin into the very heart and life of the church.
Dear brothers, repent. Repent and believe the gospel. The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Among us it shall be different.