God, Gender, and the Pastoral Office
by S. M. Hutchens
In the brave new world of the public elementary school my daughters are confronted daily with graphic assurances that boys and girls, men and women, are mere variations on the theme "human." This means that as a Christian father I am obliged to supplement their education by explaining that while I have no direct objections to women doctors or truck drivers, the differences between men and women are less superficial than their schoolbooks imply. The deeper problem involved is that in omitting something about us they are also omitting some things about the God in whose image and likeness we are made. There are connections between what God is and what we are that define our existence, that tell us what we are as human beings who are men and women, connections which the egalitarian gospel of modern culture and the secularizing churches must because of its very nature deny or overlook.
The time will no doubt come when they will ask me why if a woman can direct a ship or a school she can't be a pastor. It is a reasonable question. Anyone can see that women can teach, address the congregation, and handle the elements of the Lord's Supper as well as men can. Why should they be forbidden to do these things? What denies them but an absurd old prejudice, akin to the sort that regarded women as incapable of education because of their intellectual inferiority? Perhaps Daddy, as nice an old fellow as he might otherwise be, has a bit of a problem, and as soon as his consciousness is raised to where it can accept women's equality, the difficulty with their pastoral ordination will likewise disappear.
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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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