Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Women's Roles Debated

An interesting pairing today in the CNN Newsroom. Margaret Feinberg, speaker and author of books such as The Sacred Echo, and Voddie Baucham, Pastor of Grace Family Baptist Church, went head-to-head on the issue of women in leadership. The debate was inspired by the recent nomination of Sarah Palin, and the segment can be found here.

Personally, I don't know much about Voddie Baucham except that he is an Oxford-educated, well-spoken pastor and I certainly wouldn't want to take him on in a live, television forum. That is why I was so impressed that Margaret handled herself with grace while standing her ground. And that is also why I was so stunned to hear his comments representing beliefs about women that I thought only existed in the distant recesses of Quaker country.
Bauchum believes that a woman's place is as "keeper of the home" (Titus 2:5), which he interprets as Joan Cleaver or Donna Reed or something. When faced with the Biblical figure, Deborah, a woman and wife that God hand-picked to lead the nation of Israel--a nation full of capable warriors, I might add--Baucham replied, "She certainly was, and the fact that something happened doesn't mean that it's normative for the church. In Isaiah Chapter 3, for example, one of the signs that a culture is under judgment is that women are in leadership in their nations. So Deborah was actually a sign that things were very bad in Israel. Not a norm for the church."

So, according to Mr. Baucham women in leadership illustrates divine judgment. Luckily, Margaret responded to this looney-toon comment with her trademark kindness refusing to call Voddie a "sexist" even when CNN Anchor Kyra Phillips pressed her.
When Voddie stated that a woman should be "keeper of the home," Margaret aptly replied, "But Voddie, being a keeper of the home can be translated in so many different ways. And that means that if a woman happens to be the breadwinner, shouldn't they have the opportunity to step out and take care of their family in that way?"
Baucham was left speechless.

Voddie holds a view of women that is surprising for a man with his pristine educational background. (Not to mention that he keeps referring to things as "the gospel" that are clearly NOT part of the gospel.) I certainly believe that God has uniquely equipped women for motherhood. I don't think anyone is denying that. But, when Baucham claims that women lack the occupational credibility and Biblical license to work in the 21st Century, he twists the scriptures and places an unfair constraint on many working Christian women.
Take a look, and you be the judge.


Carolyn said...

She was gracious, witty and sharp.

Definitely an inspiring combination.

Heather Marie said...

Hey Jonathan,

I have heard Voddie speak before and I think he is very charismatic. I have typically agreed with his interpretation and application of scripture -- that is, until now. His view on women in leadership is not that surprising to me, mainly because I spent four years at an undergraduate institution with a number of people who felt the same way.

I appreciate Margaret's poise and handling of what could have potentially turned into a volatile situation.

Thanks for posting this.

in Christ,

Heather Marie

Katie Corbett said...

I would like to applaud Margaret on her fabulous appearance on CNN. I appreciate the way she stood her ground in a manner that was kind, yet obviously firm. As I watched the video I really was truly amazed that there were men out there who still believed that women were best suited for the home. Margaret made an excellent point that a woman may very well be taking care of the home in her choosing to work. In tough economic times, why should the husband be the only one responsible for the families finances...that is a serious amount of pressure for some families. I very much appreciate Margaret's grace under fire. She is just lovely.

Chip Parker said...

I have also had the opportunity to hear Voddie speak in person and he is very sharp and inspiring. However, I was surprised to hear his take on women in leadership. I would love to see he and Wayne Grudem discuss those views. Even though I hold to a complementation view of the relationship between women and men, I will be the first to admit that without the work and leadership of women most of our Southern Baptist churches would fall apart.

I just found the blog and it's nice to see another young 20something pastor's point of view. I'm 24 and the pastor of a church in Florida. It's nice to hear another "young Southern Baptist pastor" who isn't fifteen years older than I am.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure why everyone is backing Margaret like she perfectly handled the Scriptures. She mentioned that she believes there should be no limit on gender roles even in the church! There really was not much wrong with Voddie's opinion. He basically was up against a feminist and he was backing what he believed. I dont agree that a woman should only be in the home, but I much more agree with that than I would with Margarets view that since we live in a new culture that women should serve in all ways. I know that some on this blog may know Margaret but come on, be faithful to the text, not to Margaret.