The Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) has moved my heart and mind and soul to apologize. Although I won’t take down prior posts, I am sorry for having participated as a blogger and commenter in the ongoing divisiveness among Christians on the internet. There are so many non-essentials of the faith about which we can disagree (Biblical equality or not, roles of women and men, pre-tribulation rapture or post-tribulation rapture, or not, and so on). And it is clear in these times that we need to focus on strengthening our faith and love in Jesus Christ (also the Father and the Holy Spirit) as we and the world continue to face what’s daily in the news and implied eschatologically behind the scenes.
Recently I heard a Messianic Jewish pastor discuss something that had always troubled me about 1 Peter 3:7 and its description of a wife as the “weaker partner.” (I’d given birth to a premature baby after excruciating precipitate labor without drugs, had my husband escape to his lab immediately afterward and been the parent who nursed the baby to health including arrangements for a mobile unit to mechanically facilitate the milk she needed. I’d finished a 4-year college curriculum in 3 years followed by 3 years of a tough graduate program at a top-ranked university. I knew I wasn’t physically the “weaker partner” also when I chased away an intruder from our home. So what did it mean in 1 Peter about “weaker”?)
According to this pastor, women are weaker vessels insofar as their personality structures are more permeable (less strong, less rigid) than men’s and therefore more susceptible (at both ends of the spectrum, for good and for bad) to receiving an influx of spiritual influence. Thus, this pastor did not recommend against women using their gifts in the church as Christian women — indeed women could have extraordinarily strong gifts at the good end of the spectrum. But as a check and balance he suggested that in areas (like senior pastoring) where there might be a female tendency to operate at either extreme, the church would benefit from the less susceptible (more in the middle) overview of authentically Christian male leadership. He honored that women, at the extreme good end, might be more truly prophetic than a man with a “word of the Lord,” but that also a woman at the extreme other side of the spectrum might be more sincerely deluded.
It made sense to me based on self-knowledge and the humility of where my zeal has taken me —along the spectrum, intensely — in the seeker’s journey before ending up a solid Bible-believing Christian in love with Jesus, blessed by my Abba Father, also comforted and counseled daily by the Holy Spirit. I’m not sure it convinced me to change my overall view that women or men equally in all leadership roles in a church may be fitting, but it softened my heart about those who believe otherwise. And in any event I am certain that I do not want to be part of divisiveness among those who sincerely know and love Jesus Christ and have been called unto His (not man’s) purpose.