“What Can Women Do In the Church: A Study Into The Scriptures Concerning The Role Of Women In The Church And Ministry” by Don Willis
The following text is the first email I received from Don in late September of 2013. This email was the opening of a discussion and an online friendship of two Church of Christ members on two continents with a full one half a world separating us. He had read an article by John Waddey regarding gender equality that was written by a man in here in the United States that had mentioned this web site and yours truly. The article was not “friendly” to the movement toward gender inclusion or gender equality in the Churches of Christ nor this web site nor was it friendly to the churches of Christ in my online directory who have moved into either gender inclusive or true Christian egalitarian practices in their congregations. Don sent me a copy of the article and asked me what my response to the article would be. Here’s the email from
“Dear Wiley and Linda
My background is with the churches of Christ (non-denominational) in Australia. Over the last 25 or more years I have extensively researched the issue of the role of women in the Church and Ministry and have come to the conclusion that the small number of passages frequently used to promote male “headship” and female “followership” are based on interpretations which do not give due regard to context, content or historical/cultural background of the passages in question. However, among churches of Christ in Australia there would be very few who would share my view (I have tried to raise awareness but either there is not the interest or there is outright hostility). I note from a recent publication by John Waddey, in which he quotes from your website, that this view is similarly seen as heretical by traditional churches of Christ in the US (copy attached).
I am wondering what your response would be to the article by John Waddey and some of the points he advocates?
Thanks for your time and God bless
The following are excerpts from my initial reply to Don.
“Thank you for bringing this to my attention. We are in agreement. I do not know John Waddey personally nor do I know much about him. The little I have heard about him tells me that I should be proud of being written about by Mr. Waddey. He is welcome to his views. Since he listed my web site in his attack on gender equality in the Churches of Christ, I will consider it free advertising and exposure to a group of Christians who need to know there is a truly Biblical view that says God created humankind in his image and that males and females share that image equally, without restrictions………..I hope Mr. Waddy will take the time to read some of the material on my web site with an open mind. Maybe he will learn something from one of them. To repress the use of spiritual gifts in the church because of gender is just a much a sin as repressing a person in the church who wears a different color of skin. Men in the church need to hear the voices of women in the worship, hear their prayers, and hear their thoughts poured out in the form of sermons and bible class teaching. We have heard only our own voices for far too long. The church that uses people according to their giftedness instead of their gender, race, or status in society is the church of Christ that will carry the church into the future and make a difference in bringing the lost to Christ.”
In follow-up emails, Don then told me about his study regarding gender equality in the Churches of Christ and the printed studies he had completed in June of this year and asked me to read them and give him my opinion on them. He also offered them to me for this web site. For the immediate future, Don has allowed me to post this excellent study to my web site http://www.wherethespiritleads.org in pdf. This is a wonderful addition to my web site and I hope many will take advantage of the availability to down load and read his study in its entirety!