What do American Baptists believe about Christian ministry?
Sharing the Vision*The American Baptist Women In Ministry program began as a shared vision of concerned women and men in the early 1970s. Their goal was to recognize and encourage women who answer the call to ministry, serving in local congregations and other church-related organizations. Since then, great changes and dramatic progress have marked the journey!
The American Baptist Women in Ministry program works to:
American Baptist Women In Ministry publishes a quarterly newsletter and other resources to encourage, educate, and inform those concerned about issues of women in ministry. The program, part of ABC Education Ministries, provides financial support, program planning assistance, and conference and retreat leadership for American Baptist Women In Ministry and ABC events.
For more information, please call 1-800-ABC-3USA, ext. 2058
A Biblical Basis for Equal Partnership
Women and Men in the Ministry of the Church**by David M. Scholer
Used with author's permission.
Rev. Dr. David M. Scholer is Professor of New Testament in the School of Theology,Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA, where he has taught since September 1994. He received the B.A. and M.A. from Wheaton College, the B.D. from Gordon Divinity School and the Th.D. from Harvard DivinitySchool. He is ordained in the American Baptist Churches USA. He is a member of the StudiorumNovi Testamenti Societas, the Society of Biblical Literature, the North American Patristic Societyand other professional and academic societies. He has published widely and lectures frequently.
Women have contributed much to the ministry of the church throughout its history. However, their role in this area has never been free from controversy. Today, most church bodies are discussing the place of women in their ministries. Crucial to these discussions for many of us are the matters of faithful biblical interpretation.
Perhaps a few words should be said about the concept of ministry itself on the basis of the New Testament. Today, we tend to confuse our specific church traditions about ordination with the biblical concept of ministry. The New Testament says relatively little about ordination. It clearly portrays, however, the fact that the early church had a varied and faithful ministry arising from the fact that all of God's people were "gifted" by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of edifying or building up one another (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 12:4-31, 14:1-19; Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:7-16, 1 Peter 4:8-11). Any person could exercise ministry (which means, remember, service) who was called and gifted by God and affirmed by the body of Christ, the Church. Some were set apart in leadership positions and some were assigned specific tasks to accomplish, but the differences among ministries were not distinctions of kind. Eventually, certain types of affirmation were combined with certain functions of ministry to produce our current understanding of ordination.
Modern debates over the ordination of women often miss the crucial and basic issues of the holistic concepts of the ministry of the church reflected in the New Testament. Of course, no person should be ordained or given any responsibilities of ministry within the church because of sex or for the sake of a "point." On the other hand, we have affirmed in the church that no person, called and gifted by God, should be denied any role of ministry or leadership in the church because of one's sex.
Addresses and Phone numbers:For more information about American Baptist Women In Ministry, call the national office at: 1-800-ABC-3USA, ext. 2058
Last update: Mon, Jan 31, 2000
General questions about this page can be directed to: Rev. Barbara Bullock [firstname.lastname@example.org]