by KHAKI LANO| GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Our teaching leader, Jana, opened today’s lesson with a look back at the church’s mission statement that was handed out at last week’s class. Ladies shared how our book study aligns so nicely with the CPC mission statement. The women’s ministry and CPC both purpose to be gospel-driven and reflect mutual encouragement, support, and accountability. We mutually want to see sanctification flourish in each one’s life and to know the importance of discipling one another and coming alongside one another. The Women’s Ministry is important because, “through it we have an opportunity to address helpfully the issue of the nature of manhood and womanhood.” (p. 69) A women’s ministry helps refocus/re-establish the a biblical viewpoint of the male/female role relationships.
The Text: 1 Timothy 2:9-15. The ladies discussed that appropriate apparel should be respectable and modest. Jana shared that when Paul wrote to Timothy and the church that the Greco-women who were now redeemed were still drawn to express themselves and their stature by their adornment. Rather, the attitude of the heart is a better reflective measure of who we are called to be – rather than outside clothes or adornment. Paul states, “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.” Instead of taking offense, Jana pointed out that we should see this as an invitation to learn scripture – a serious study done quietly and with humility – it’s difficult to learn if we’re talking all the time! Ecclesiastical Submission “has nothing to do with status…is about function. Equality of being and differentiation of function characterize the Trinity. The Persons of the Godhead are ‘the same in substance, equal in power and glory, ‘ but each has a different function in the accomplishment of our salvation.” (p. 73) The ladies discussed what this passage does not do -it does not tell us to be in submission of false teaching or male leadership outside the church and family, especially domineering or mean-spirited men. Instead, Paul’s letter to Timothy, “tells us how one ought to behave in the household of God.”(p. 74-75) Jana reminds us that we are called to be like Jesus who was submissive and obedient to His Father. A Captivating Conclusion is when Paul concludes, “she will be saved through child-bearing.” It was shared with the group that most likely Paul is saying in spite of the fall and deserved death sentence, Eve was going to live and have children. Her role would be to “bring forth children.” (Gen 3:16) We read the top paragraph on page 76 about how every woman, whether or not she gives birth, has a life-giving mission. We are all saved by faith in Christ alone and should declare, “the Lord is upright, he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” (Psalm 92:14-15) When the creation order is inverted, we become life-takers instead of our calling to be life-givers.
The Task and The Tools. Submission is being under the authority and oversight of another, and in the case of women’s ministry, it is the elders. We discussed the plurality of leadership at the church and the need for submission to each other. Elders have a great responsibility as they are accountable to care, appoint, discern, study, and pray for the women’s ministry as well as other ministries in the church. Jana shared that the CPC Women’s ministry have 3 elders which is encouraging, and she describes it as “freeing” to be under their authority. Our ministry is covered in their prayer and protection and has accountability. Donna Dobbs, who is the Director of Women’s ministry, never had children of her own but understands her role as life-giver. The ministry compliments the church, pastor, and community. “We do not want two separate agendas – ours and theirs – so the key question that dictates the mission of women’s ministry is: How can we help you?” (p.80)
Jana shares further thoughts on submission with several scripture verses. “Submit yourselves therefore to God ….Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” James 4:1-9. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Rom 13:1) In conclusion, our life should reflect Christ who was humble, submissive and prayerful.