Over on ChurchLeaders.com, a new article went up today by Raleigh pastor J.D. Greear. It is called, "The Church Needs More Deborahs." And it is a great title. Unfortunately, the article starts strong but completely derails by the end. Greear seems to want to give women the chance to be the ministry leaders that God calls them to be, but he also wants them to stay in "God's order." God's order is the code-word/catch-phrase for complementarianism--a long word not too many people outside of evangelicalism will care about (or for). It means that there is a hierarchy to follow in a household. And it is best shown by this illustration you may have seen before:
In his article, Greear was so close to true revelation. I hope he keeps praying that the Holy Spirit will show him a better way of allowing women to lead--under God's authority alone. Here is a better graphic for what that looks like:
Anyway, back to the article.
Deborah was an Old Testament prophet whose story is found in Judges chapter 4 & 5. Deborah was called by God to lead the Israelites to victory over Sisera, the Canaanite commander who had oppressed the Israelites for twenty years. But there is one gem of a half-sentence in the article's conclusion: "[Deborah] is still identified by her husband...". That makes me laugh. I'm sure you immediately remembered Deborah's husband's name, right? We don't remember his name. It is mentioned in passing, but that's it. His name was Lappidoth. I had to look it up.
A long time ago on a Wednesday in mid-June (June 14, 2000), the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a statement that said that the role of pastor in a church was reserved for a man. I grew up Southern Baptist. I was also in divinity school, and I had also been called by God to preach. So on June 18, 2000, I joined a church that was aligned with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship--a group that had broken away from the Southern Baptists over the women in ministry issue. I had been attending that church, First Baptist Church of Forest City, NC since my husband Phillip and I had married 3 1/2 years earlier.
And I was known as Phillip's wife.
By the time I finished divinity school, Phillip was known as Amy's husband. And here's how that happened....
I had to complete a year of internship in a local church to complete my degree. So I presented myself to the leaders of First Baptist, and they found me a place. I taught children, helped with the youth, went on retreats, attended meetings, led worship, served communion, and yes, preached. That church recognized my call was from God. They didn't need to identify me by my husband at the end of the year as they licensed me to preach and affirmed my call.
No one remembers Deborah's husband's name. Her authority didn't come from her husband--it came directly from God. As women called by God, that is also where our authority comes from. The Church does need more Deborahs--women called by God and God alone. Only then will the true Gospel be realized and restoration can occur.
We do not say Lappidoth's wife. We say Deborah's husband.