What can women do?

After my annoyance expressed in More nonsense on what women can do about a post "What the Bible clearly says women can do" I thought I would write a more positive post on the subject.

So "What can women do?"

Short answer: Anything.

Slightly longer answer.

Biblically we see in Genesis 1:27 that men and women are both created by God and in God's image. Nothing about a hierachy here.

However, I recognise that in the Bible we see a patriarchial society. Yet despite that human structure God continually calls and equips Women for a wide variety of tasks that their society frequently believed were for men only.

When we come to the New Testament we see a very different picture in Jesus. Among other things he taught women, he learned from women, he called women as evangelists and he was financially supported by women. Jesus tells us he came to bring us life in all it's fullness and he does nothing to make it appear that this is a promise for men only.

We also see early Churches led by women in their homes, we see Paul praising women in many ways and clearly he worked with them in different places. Given that the (very) few occasions when Paul restricts the role of women must be connected with specific circumstances or individuals as otherwise he would be contradicting himself. Paul recognises that in God's kingdom there are no distinctions based on gender.

In the Church and world today we see that God blesses the work of women just as much as the work of men.

In the Church the Holy Spirit is active where there are faithful women in leadership just as the Holy Spirit is active when there are faithful men in leadership.

In business writers such as Tom Peters have consistently pointed out that businesses with women in senior positions tend to do better.

So are there limits on what women can do? Yes but they are the same ethical and moral limits that apply to men and so are not connected to this post.

Got to dash now as I have a membership class of people wanting to celebrate all God is calling them to!

12 thoughts on “What can women do?

  1. PamBG

    Why are New Frontiers so interested in limiting what women can do?
    If we believe what we do (as in writing blog posts), it would appear that New Frontiers men think that they are going to be liberated (aka “saved”) when they limit what the other gender can do.
    I wonder how limiting half the population will save them? I wonder why they don’t think Jesus can?

  2. Simplepastor

    Interestingly, I agree with almost all of what you say Dave and I think I made almost all the same points in my post. I don’t think I mentioned hierarchy once, did I?
    Wide variety of tasks in OT: check
    Teaching women: check
    Women as givers: check
    Women hosting churches in their homes: check
    women as evangelists: added as a comment which I agree with so, check
    And then I stopped there because the point of the post was listing clear examples in the Bible of women doing things.
    So Pam, I fail to see how this is putting limits on anything. If you do a similar exercise – look in scripture for clear positive examples of women doing things then I’d be surprised if the two lists weren’t very much alike.
    A restriction would be if I said, and now women today can only do what the Bible says – so just weavers, midwives and shepherdesses please. I haven’t said any such thing.
    The whole intent and tone of my post wasn’t limits but examples. Instead you talk of limits where I haven’t.
    So I’m glad Dave has attempted a more positive engagement. He extended the scope of his response beyong what I was doing in my post. At the end of the day I agree with most but not quite all of what Dave has written.

  3. londonviews

    To be honest there is not a lot that men can do and women can not.It is just that society has defined roles for the sexes.
    That said, society is dynamic and ever changing so with time these roles get less and less defined.

  4. Dave

    Just make life simple and drop the bit about there being things, however few, that men can do and women can’t. Just leave it to the individual to do what they can. No need to prescribe anything by gender.

  5. Dave

    You ignore the whole premise of your post as indicated in the title. You wrote a post about what you think the Bible says women can do and then you act surprised that people notice the unsubtle hint that if this is what the Bible says you can do then you had better not do anything else.
    Even your own supporters on your blog get that point:

    “Thanks for this post! Its nice to read some positives about what women can do instead of all the things we can’t do ;)”

    Then when your response didn’t say “oh no this is not a restriction, you are not limited to what these examples from the Bible” instead you replied:

    “Excellent point Cat, very true! Thanks for reading it in the spirit it was intended.”

    When you as a man in a role that women are not allowed to hold write a post telling women that this is what the Bible says they can do you are relying on and enforcing a hierarchy.
    And no your checklist is not complete. You missed the Syrophoenician Woman (Mark 7 and Matthew 15) who challenged Jesus and from whom he learned a different set of priorities. God as Christ was willing to be challenged by and learn from a woman.
    You wrote:

    “So Pam, I fail to see how this is putting limits on anything. If you do a similar exercise – look in scripture for clear positive examples of women doing things then I’d be surprised if the two lists weren’t very much alike.”

    Not for me. I gave my full list of what women can do based on the examples given in the bible at the start of this post:
    Any list longer than that places limits and relies on hierarchy.

  6. PamBG

    “So Pam, I fail to see how this is putting limits on anything. If you do a similar exercise – look in scripture for clear positive examples of women doing things then I’d be surprised if the two lists weren’t very much alike.”
    But I’m not the one writing posts about what women can or cannot do.
    Let me explain what I’m getting at. It’s my conviction that our deeds prove our beliefs. If I say that I love my sons as much as I love my daughters but I spend no time with my sons and all my time with my daughters, then it is my deeds that speak the truth about my beliefs rather than my mouth.
    New Frontiers men seem to spend a lot of time talking about the role of men and women. Yet I see nothing in Jesus’ teaching that gives any indication that he cared about this. So I’m wondering why New Frontiers is so obsessed with this issue. What on earth has it got to do with the Good News of the Gospel?
    One thing I’ll give you is that you addressed me. You are the second NF man who has actually deigned to speak to me directly – Dave will testify that I’m not exaggerating. So, for that, I thank you.

  7. Simplepastor

    Dave, you seem bent on misunderstanding and miscontruing everything. Is that deliberate? My response to Cat, was simply that I’m glad she saw some positives and that my attempt was positive. You should also notice that she added something I missed and I agreed with her.
    I’m not entirely convinced of your reading of the Syrophoenician woman but it’s a story well worth discussing.
    As for the anything, jolly good. Now give some clear and unambiguous examples from scripture – which, for the umpteenth time, WAS ALL I WAS TRYING TO DO.

  8. Simplepastor

    Pam, thanks for the comment. I guess I feel like I spend too much time talking about it too.
    It’s simply an attempt to try and explain a position and to try and do so in the right spirit. So as I’ve tried to explain to Dave, the post was an attempt to show clear, positive examples from the Bible of the many women doing great things. That was my intent & I stated it in the introduction. It was a discussion point, an attempt at buiding a bridge from my side of the river if you like. But so far, I’m just getting rocks thrown at me.
    So the post title was – what the Bible clearly says – because that’s what I did. I picked clear examples, nothing more, no agenda, no attempt at restrictions. I agree there’s lots to debate about and examples arent everything. It was just a place to start.

  9. Dave

    Simple Pastor,
    I am not going to respond with examples as I have said (and you agreed with) it is not an appropriate way to use Scripture.
    My Anything response to “What can women do?” is simply backed up with 2 passages and a reflection on Jesus
    Genesis 1:27 Women and Men are both created in the image of God
    Galatians 3:28 “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
    Everyone accepts this for Jews/Greeks and Slave/Free I accept it for Male/Female.
    Jesus does nothing to contradict these two verses and radically challenges the understanding of male/female roles, although men soon re-establish control.
    Examples from before Jesus have been outdated by his example and teaching.
    Restrictions from Paul’s teaching have to be considered in the light of what he did and his theology (which fits with what Pam said above).
    If you have no agenda and are not trying to set restrictions then why not sign up to the simple approach:-
    What can women do? Anything!

  10. Simplepastor

    Actually Dave I meant lists are not helpful, examples by their very nature are. Jesus is my example, a list of the ways could be very helpful, couldn’t it?
    Anyway, this is in danger of going round in circles again. So until the next time, signing off.

  11. Simplepastor

    Clarification: Lists alone are not always helpful. I find shopping lists helpful, to-do lists and lists of examples. Like Hebrews Great cloud of witnesses. It’s a list of helpful examples albeit without the bullet points. I simply meant, to read the Bible simply as a list isn’t enough but then I don’t know anyone who does just that.


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