Dear Church family,
In Acts, Chapter 18, we are introduced to Priscilla and her husband, Aquila. Let's consider some characteristics of Priscilla:
(1) She was career woman, a tent maker by trade. We know this because Paul refers to her and Aquila in the 3rd person plural when he speaks of his own experience in the trade.
(2) She was a teacher perhaps similar to a seminary professor in the sense that she taught Apollos a clearer understanding of orthodoxy (Acts 18:26). So great a teacher was she along with her husband that when Apollos arrived in Achaia, he greatly encouraged the Christians there and powerfully defended the faith (Acts 18:28).
(3) She was obviously a devoted wife for she is constantly mentioned along with her husband, Aquilla, beside whom she served the Lord faithfully.
Isn't it interesting that in the first century church, a woman could have a career (okay... a trade), be a teacher OF MEN (oh... perish the thought), and still be a devoted wife? Why do so many leaders in my denomination insist that a woman cannot be a "biblical" wife and still have a career while enjoying equality in the church as one who is "made in God's image?"
As a Southern Baptist and as a doctoral student at one of our seminaries, I have been utterly embarrassed by the way one of the other seminary presidents treated Dr. Klouda. It is absolutely insane. So why am I bothering you with all this now? Well, it seems that ever since the Klouda fiasco, some Southern Baptists have been pouring out of the woodwork to somehow defend their twisted and unjust view of gender issues. On his blog, Wade Burleson has commented on this phenomenon which seems to be getting out of hand. You can read Wade Burleson's latest blog article by clicking here.
Before you run off to Burleson's site, let me say one other thing in the way of empirical testimony that has shaped my understanding of gender issues more than the Klouda case or anything else going on in this "La La Land " known as the Southern Baptist Convention. My mother was a career woman out of necessity not out of feminism or any other social movement. The 70s was a time of mind-boggling inflation, and it was no time to be worrying about social movements especially if you wanted to put food on the table. As a single parent, my mom worked hard for little pay. Nothing was saved; it took all she could make just to live.
Now, don't get me wrong. Strong godly homes with two godly parents (Mothers and Fathers) are the ideal. Single-parenthood is nothing to strive for, and I take my own responsibilities as a husband and father to be the MOST important responsibilities that I have. Yet, when I was young (and I think my sister would agree), our best days spiritually, emotionally, and morally occurred in the absence of a man in the home despite the financial burden. I was brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in the absence of man in the home. When I found myself wanting to be like my earthly father instead of my Heavenly Father, that's when I ended up in trouble as a teenager.
I know many of you do not care for Barak Obama, and as pastor (not to mention an elections official), I'm not endorsing or condemning Obama in anyway. However, I've heard him say something recently concerning the one time that he met his father at the age of ten that has resonated with me and it's this: "I considered the absence of my father to be a strength."
I say all that to say this: My mother, when left alone, was able to work and be a mother raising a future attorney (my sister) and a future Christian minister (me) doing doctoral studies at the seminary. It was only when the man returned to the home from time to time that much of my mom's work was undermined and at times, seemingly destroyed (and would've been if it had not been for God's grace).
Thus, like Priscilla who helped prepare Apollos for his ministry in Achaia, my mom did more for me shaping my future ministry than any man ever could. Unfortunately, the giftedness of such women in the church is being stifled for the goofiest of reasons. Therefore, I speak out now because as I watch many Southern Baptist churches become stagnate and slowly die or being built around personalities rather than the Holy Spirit, I know that the church will continue to decrease in relevency until ALL those gifted for ministry by the Holy Spirit are allowed to serve the Lord just as they were allowed to do in the first century when one woman helped prepare a man for the mission field.
May the tribe of men like Pastor Billy increase in the SBC.