Our shameful denial of women pastors

May 29th, 2015

As a Christian, I am embarrassed that many among us still think that women can’t be spiritual leaders for men. This is an issue that should have stopped being an issue at least a century ago, especially in the United States.

Yet, some Baptist churches won’t allow women to be pastors or to preach. Catholics won’t allow women to be priests, only nuns.

And Seventh-day Adventists — my church — will be discussing yet again whether or not women can be ordained to be pastors later this July.

Before I bash the other Christian denominations, I’ll start with my own. It is absolutely ludicrous that a denomination whose sole prophet was a woman still isn’t sure if women can be pastors a century after her death. It’s mind-boggling that this same woman is a founder of the SDA church — and herself had ministerial credentials — but women aren’t allowed to pastor with the same level of authority that men are in most SDA churches.

It’s appalling that the Catholic hierarchy won’t allow women to be priests, yet they were amazingly tolerant of sexual abuses by many priests — even to the point of covering up their criminal acts and fighting attempts to be held civilly and criminally liable. Meanwhile, fewer Catholic men are committing to the priesthood, leaving many parishes without priests.

It’s ridiculous that at many Christian churches across this nation, the pastoral and preaching gifts of women are dismissed while the corruption and incompetence of male pastors are tolerated, if not indulged. Google “corrupt pastors” or “pastor scandals” if you don’t believe me. You’ll see more than a few familiar names and faces, as well as some not-so-famous ones. Yet some still believe that gender, in and of itself, indicates efficacy when it comes to spiritual leadership.

We men long ago proved that we have no monopoly on morality. Bible stories that chronicle our failures abound. Secular history reveals that we have been the most notorious criminals, the most horrifying despots. We have left trails of blood, corruption and devastation throughout the world. We have raped, stolen and killed for our personal benefit — and far too often in the name of God.

And that, if nothing else, should prove that we are no more capable of being spiritual leaders than women are. In fact, I’m sure some would argue that it suggests we are less capable.

But that’s not my argument. I believe women and men have the same capacity, the same gifts to lead spiritually.

Perhaps given enough time and opportunity, women will eventually prove that they are as prone as men to being corrupt pastors and scandalous preachers. But that day is a long way off; we men gave ourselves a running head start. 

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