And now for the conclusion of Anne on women in ministry:
And from that day to this I have been very confident of my call. And I’ve seen that He has made me like a strong pillar on that platform. Because I know that He’s called me, in humility, to share His word.
You know I met a pastor one time who had a problem with the fact that I was speaking at his convention but he was brave enough to come sit on the back row and he came up to me afterward and he said, “Anne, I didn’t think you should be here today but you know what? He said, “I was sitting back there listening to you and you know what you’ve done? You’re just like a waitress and you’ve gone into the kitchen and you’ve prepared the food and you’ve served it to us and I want to thank you for not messing it up.”
All I can say is, “You have got to be kidding me.”
Anne recounted this with a smile and a laugh and her audience laughed, too. But I wonder how many hearts sank.
I cannot tell you how many times I have had to sit and listen to a man “mess it up”. This whole misogynistic bent on the Scriptures is a massive mess up.
And I thought, “You know what, when we go out to a restaurant we don’t have a problem that we’re served by a female waitress. And so when I give out God’s word, I want to give it out faithful to the text. I want to prepare it so that it is tasty and attractive and meaningful and relevant and then I want to serve it – to whoever God puts at my table – without messing it up.
My daughter and I interpreted the pastor’s comment differently. I took his comment as him trying to frame her speaking in a way that was doctrinally acceptable. As long as he could see her as a waitress serving the men a plateful of words, he was okay with it.
My daughter took it as him saying, “You, a mere waitress, went into the kitchen – where only (male) chefs belong – and prepared the meal. I’m just glad you didn’t mess it up.
Either way the guy’s a jerk.
So, beware, if I had listened to the body language of those dear men – who I know meant well – and actually, I thank God for them because it drove me to my knees so I could settle that issue – but if I had listened to them, for over twenty years I would be stripped of probably 75% of the ministry God has given me. And I can’t tell you the changed lives and the fruit….fade out.
Dear men who meant well? That’s generous. And enabling. The men might be dear to someone, sometimes. And they might have been sincere in their objection. But rude behavior is rude behavior. And there is nothing well-meaning in knocking someone down as they step up to the podium. I wonder if they would dare behave so badly if a man with whom they disagreed was stepping up to the podium.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.” Acts 3:19-21 NIV
God is going to restore everything back to the way He intended it to be. Restoration is hard on the thing being restored. For a piece of furniture to be restored, it must first be stripped down. For a relationship to be restored, it too must be stripped down. Restoration is also hard on the restorer. For us to be restored, Jesus had to be stripped down and nailed to a cross. I believe God is beginning to strip down and restore some of the erroneous teachings of the church with regard to women.
“For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17
Restoration will be hard on the church, but we have to get it right before there is any hope for anyone else. Let’s be part of the solution dear reader.