“Yeah, I guess that’s fine. I’ll allow you to do this. You have my permission. Let me know how it goes.”
“I believe that it would be so God-honoring and honoring to us as your local Body if you would use the gifts He’s given you to do this. I believe in His ability to work through you.”
Which of these makes your soul feel called? Which one “spurs you on toward love and good deeds”?
I’ve hardly ever heard the first phrase in my church home (praise God for Kingdom-oriented leaders!), but I have heard it elsewhere. “Allowed…Permitted…” If I had the
gumption patience to contend with the brothers in Christ who’ve used these phrases then I’d ask them where their list of permitted activities ends and what is out of their realm of permissible ministry options. Furthermore, what do they think the word has to say concerning this?
And one more question…how does this pattern of partnership in ministry play out in other relationships; friendship, dating and marriage?
A.”I’ll allow you to call me out when I’m cranky. Here’s a list of what’s approved for you to do as my friend.”
B. “I’ll permit you to be forthcoming with your emotions and thoughts on how things should be, but only in certain company.”
C.“I’ll allow you to be an influential voice in our family on a particular, pre-approved list of topics.”
Well, that’s one way to be (alone). 🙂
Here’s something a little different, something with some pursuit in it.
A. “Please don’t shy away from sharing edifying truth with me…even the kind I don’t always want to hear.”
B. In dating: it’s not so much words as it is a study of her likes, dislikes, thoughts and reactions and an endeavor to find outlets for her to grow in her gifts; a pursuit.
C. In marriage: a continuation of B with an emphasis on pursuing Christ on her behalf and leading her heart toward His.
We can all see that it is one thing to permit a woman to use her gifts and her voice for the glory of God and quite another thing to help cultivate (read pursue) her gifts as the Body of Christ.
What would things look like if the Church reacted to women the way the first man reacted to the first woman? “This is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Does that sound like Adam was permitting Eve to enter his life? What if, at the chance of a woman serving to her full capacity in the church, the response wasn’t “I guess.” but, “At last!“?
Wouldn’t it be awesome if more women could point, not only to other ladies, but to their brothers in Christ as cultivators and encourages in their gifts? If men were known for celebrating the unique gifting of other women. So, hey guys…don’t give us ladies a chance to ask for permission. Get out ahead of us and make a way! I would be so bold as to say that more men doing this would take the bite right out of the word “submission”. It would, instead, stand as the beautiful picture of Christ loving His Bride.
The temptation for me now is to slap a disclaimer on this about what I’m not saying, but I trust that hearts gravitate more toward grace than skepticism. So, if I needed to write a disclaimer maybe it would say something like,
“This is not a license for women to boss men around and demand their own way in the name of complementarism. This is not me railing against the men in my life. They are the ones who’ve taught me how to say these things. This is not saying that women are to be pastors or usurp the authority that God has given to men in the home or in the church.”
But…I’m so glad I don’t need to write a disclaimer here in this space. 😉
I’m so thankful for His daily pursuit of us!