Go Ahead! Prove That You Can! -- By: Jill Rasmussen
PP 9:3 (Summer 1995) p. 16
Go Ahead! Prove That You Can!
Jill Rasmussen is a supervisor of software engineers at MCI and is also studying for her M.Div. at Fuller Theological Seminary. She is co-coordinator of the Pikes Peak Chapter of CBE. Her article was presented three times in a Young Careerist competition sponsored by Business and Professional Women’s Clubs; Jill was a runner-up at the State level.
Has anyone ever told you that you can’t do something? And then you just can’t wait to prove you can?
I had that experience two years ago when the drain valve on my hot water heater was leaking. My father in Montana told me that I couldn’t repair it and that I’d be without hot water for a week if I didn’t hire a plumber. You’re right. I couldn’t wait to prove to him that I could do it.
I had an experience that was even more invigorating in a local Protestant church whose policy prohibits women from teaching males of junior high age or older except under male supervision. Furthermore, all teachers are subject to the board of elders, which is strictly composed of married men.
Let me tell you (1) why such beliefs are important to us as women, (2) where research is on our side, and (3) what actions we can take.
First, why are these beliefs important to us?
With Bibles found in 92 percent of homes in America, even if this book is not a part of your belief system, it is an ingrained part of our culture. Furthermore, our country’s largest Christian church denomination still bars women from priesthood. Do you think these beliefs are left behind in church on Sundays? Did you know that members of this most prominent denomination make up more than 27 percent of today’s 104th Congress? I conclude that you and I are impacted by beliefs of such people, whom I refer to hereafter as traditionalists.
Secondly, where is research on our side? While there are volumes of documented research, I will address three issues: women as teachers, women as elders, and headship.
Traditionalists use certain Bible verses to exclude women from teaching in the church. One such verse is I Corinthians 14:35 where Paul states that “it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”
John Temple Bristow (in What Paul Really Said About Women) unveils how, before Paul’s time, women were not allowed in church or given education. They were accused of near adultery if they talked to any man except their husband. Paul clearly included women in worship services. Of thirty Greek words that can be translated “speak,” here Paul did not use one of the five words which denote preachi...
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