"I've always wanted to be in some kind of ministry, but I always thought of it as being a pastor's wife. But now I'm sensing that God is calling me into more pastoral ministries." Kaylah was a sophomore on the campus where I served as communications pastor of an adjoining church.
"That's great, Kaylah!"
"Well, not really. My home church doesn't believe women should preach or be in any kind of authority."
"And what do you think about women in ministry?"
"I don't know. I'm just confused. What do you think?"
It's a difficult question with multiple conclusions. Some denominations allow women to be ordained and to fill any pastoral and administrative position. Some limit women to children and women's ministries, but don't allow any administrative authority or teaching over men. And all believe they have biblical arguments for their case.
In looking at this issue, it might be helpful to utilize what has become known as John Wesley's "quadrilateral." While the founder of Methodism and the holiness denominations didn't call it such, he did teach that finding God's position on an issue or decision involves scripture, tradition (the two-thousand-year-old history of the church), reason (rational thinking and sensible interpretation) and experience (not a personal experience, but an experience of the larger Christian community). "When all four line up, it's evidence of God's approval concerning the issue or decision."
"So, Kaylah, what kind of roles for women do you find in Scripture?" Kaylah had just taken Old and New Testament Survey classes, so she had a ready answer.
She began with Adam and Eve both being created in the image of God and both being given authority to rule over creation. It was not until after the fall that Eve's equal role was diminished. She also noted that the mutual dominion and mutual submission was reinstated "in Christ" (Galatians 3:28, Ephesians 5:21).
Kaylah moved on to Miriam, the sister of Moses, who was a prophetess. Hulda was...