Empowered To Serve -- By: Gretchen Gaebelein Hull

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 09:3 (Summer 1995)
Article: Empowered To Serve
Author: Gretchen Gaebelein Hull

Empowered To Serve

Gretchen Gaebelein Hull

A founding Board member of CBE and currently Editor of Priscilla Papers. Gretchen Gaebelein Hull is author of Equal to Serve (Revell, 1987). The material in this article was first presented at the CBE 1995 National Conference.

At first glance, being empowered to serve appears to be an obvious and familiar concept to many people. The thinking is: Of course we Christians are called to serve God first and then to serve our fellow human beings, and obviously if God calls us to do something God will give us the power to do it.

However, even among sincere Christians, familiarity with a Bible truth does not mean either in-depth understanding of that truth, or —just as important — excitement about putting that truth into action, making it an integral part of our daily walk of discipleship. For, as has been aptly said, the only part of the Bible you and I believe is the part we obey.

We can profit from taking a fresh look both at the overall concept of being empowered to serve and at how it affects Christians who stand for biblical equality.

The CBE faith statement affirms that God’s free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is offered to all people, and that the power and presence of the Holy Spirit are present in the life of all believers. The statement further declares that because all persons are created in the image of God and each has essential equality and dignity, we Christians are called to reflect that image by using our God-given gifts for the good of others.

Again, familiar concepts to most of us. But simply because they are familiar, we can be in danger of failing to see how very revolutionary they are, and also how uniquely inclusive they are.

The Power Of The Controversial Gospel

Back in 19901 received a phone call that highlighted how familiarity can breed indifference to Bible truths. I’ve used this illustration many times since, because it makes the point so graphically. My caller represented a conservative women’s religious group, and invited me to speak at their annual meeting. But she put a limitation on what I was to say. She told me I was not to talk about women in ministry because (as she put it) discussing Christian service would probably mean discussing ordination of women. She said, “Our group is very conservative and we want to avoid anything controversial. So we just want you to talk about the Gospel.”

Quite frankly, I was stunned. This sincere Christian did not want to be controversial, and yet she was asking me to present the Gospel! As she expounded on how I was to give a “simple” Gospel message, I thought:

I wonder wh...

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