I have just finished reading Scott McKnight’s “Junia is not alone” and I can feel the seismic reaction beginning to rumble inside my thinking.
I am aware that the arguments around whether Junia was a female apostle will seem to some, weird and to others old news, but for me, this book has been profound.
It goes like this… I read Romans 16 and I find not only a woman apostle but also a woman deacon. Not “deaconess” but deacon. Church leader. And Junia, not treated any differently in her apostleship, mentioned with no special fanfare… and therefore her position a perfectly natural thing.
Suddenly Paul saying:
“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26-28)
makes perfect sense.
This means for me, as a Christian woman, that I really am able to be whatever God calls me to be, regardless of my sex. What freedom.
There is of course a more troubling side to all of this, McKnight points to the use of politics in church history to suppress the voice of women in the Bible and therefore in society. But then what’s new? There was a time when people used God’s word to justify slavery. Thank God for people like Wilberforce and Luther King Jr.
And of course Mary McLeod Bethune.
All this draws me into thinking, how can I tell the stories of these women both in the bible and in our history without swinging the pendulum too far the other way? How can I as a woman leader, preacher and teacher (all part of my church youth worker job) draw up both young women and young men in a balanced view of scripture and how God sees them? How to raise up young men and women without one half feeling less significant?
A sensible contribution to this topic can be found via Krish Kandiha and part two here.
The journey continues…