Now the response you often hear in response to an argument like mine is that when men take charge in the church that this is a form of service and servanthood. Being the leaders is how men serve the church. And if this is the case then men aren't lording over by being Lords they are, rather, being servants.
That's an impressive bit of rhetorical derring-do. So allow me to respond.
Here's a simple and easy test to determine if you are actually talking about service or lording over:
A Simple Test of Service:Basically, if you are excluding people from locations of service then you aren't talking about service, you're talking about power.
An activity in the church is truly an act of service if, in principle, every Christian can participate in it.
Let's take this test out for a test-drive and see how it does:
Case #1:Personally, I think this test does a great job showing that the emperor has no clothes with the whole "leadership is an act of service" response. To be sure, leadership is an act of service but it's not an act of service if Holy Spirit-filled Christians are excluded from it.
I'd like to sew some new curtains for the church offices.
Wow, you don't see guys sew curtains very much but, sure, knock yourself out. You are good at that.
I'd like to be the church handy-man. I'm good with carpentry, electrical work, plumbing and generally knocking stuff down with sledge hammers.
Wow, you don't often see girls doing that sort of stuff but, sure, knock yourself out. You are good at that.
I have an M.Div. degree and was the best preacher in my graduate homiletics class. I'd like to fill in as a guest preacher when we need one as a service to the church.
No, you can't do that because you're a woman. Even though you are good at that.
Which brings me back to the point I made last week. I really don't think this issue is about gender roles. I don't care if you are man who stays at home or if you are woman who is a high-powered CEO. I don't care if you are a man who is a pastry chef or if you are a woman who is a Marine. I don't care if you are a man who works to provide for his family or if you are a stay at home Mom who loves to cook meals everyday for her family. I don't see how any of this--the ways you configure your life and the lives of your marriages and families--has anything to do with the only role we are called to perform in the Kingdom: service.
And to my point today, it's only service if it's universally available to every Christian filled with the Holy Ghost. It's not service if people are being excluded from participation. If you have one group in the church shutting off avenues of service to fellow Christians then we aren't talking about service, we are talking about lording over.
And if Jesus is to believed--let's call a spade a spade--that's a sin.