There has been a debate going on another site about the role of women in the church. Namely, the opposing side states that women should be ordained as pastors as they have the gifts, the eagerness, and the ability to serve as pastors, the same as men do. Scripture is easily brushed aside as part of the culture or the writer was trying to repress women and not speaking on behalf of God but on behalf of himself. I have mulled the Scripture over in my head, read the Confessions, listened to trained and ordained theologians on this issue, and have come up with the same conclusion as I did before: women are not meant to be pastor’s in God’s church. However, in all my studies, I started thinking about something that I would like to share here. I don’t think I have ever put it to words before, so I’ll try to be as clear as possible.
Before the fall into sin by Adam and Eve, there was still something that Lutherans call the Order of Creation. God created Adam first and Eve second. In that order, God created Adam to be head of the household and Eve was his helpmate. Ephesians 5:22 states that women should submit to their husbands and husbands love their wives as Christ loved the Church. It seems like the people of our modern time stop at the Scripture that states “women, submit” and don’t read any further. Instead of focusing on that part, my mind wandered to the second part about men loving their wives as Christ loved the Church.
Our work world today is harsh. It’s hard to balance work, home life, Christian duties, and the like. On top of that, work seems to be more stressful, more cutthroat, and may have a relationship between the rising depression and anxiety found in society today along with other factors. It has been said that people spend more time planning their vacation than they do planning what they will do at work. Most people don’t look forward to a long days work but the time home that they will spend after the work is over.
The more I thought about all of these factors, the more I thought to myself, “The role of the homemaker is a gift from the husband to the wife to protect her from the outside world that would batter her and abuse her. In the home, she is safe and in a loving Christian environment where her faith will be nurtured and strengthened and he then can take the brunt of what the world will do to the Christian.” Homemakers are so often put down. They don’t have a career or money to show for their time and talents. Too many see talent wasted or worse, an abused woman who is repressed by her husband, unable to leave the house, but stays at home and is his personal maid and servant. Could the gift that the husband is giving his wife be abused? Certainly! All good gifts can! But the homemaker, the helpmate, isn’t repressed for taking the “lessor role”. She is honored, because she doesn’t have to do the worst of the work. It’s not to say that she can’t, but more that she doesn’t have to.
The same could be said in the church. The women are the helpmates. There are definitely things that women do to help from Altar Guild to cleaning crews. However, God honors the woman and does not place her in the Office of the Holy Ministry, but spares her the pain that the Office can bring, instead, allowing her to see a picture of Himself happening in Church, where Christ served His disciples, the Pastor serves God’s people. She is honored by being the object of the service. She is honored, because she doesn’t have to do the worst of the work. It’s not to say that she can’t, but more that she doesn’t have to. By the grace of God, it’s done for her.