My Letter To The Elders
To the Elders of CFC:
I has recently come to my attention that a woman was not allowed to share sermon time with her husband for the purpose of teaching her perspective on the topic.
I am aware that this was connected to a decision made many years ago that women 1) cannot be elders at CFC, and 2) cannot preach (teaching from the Bible during the “message time”).
I have three concerns with this stance: Two that are very important to me, and one that is more for practical purposes.
My first concern is that we are losing perspective, insight, and information. The woman considered for preaching is well-educated. She also has substantial experience in church life, mission work, and counseling. Gender aside, I believe she is more than qualified to speak at CFC. She is more qualified than I am and I spoke. The result of whatever theology lead to this decision meant that the congregation missed out on what a person has to say about our faith – a personal who has unique and important insights and knowledge. Our church could have grown by hearing her perspective and teaching from the word of God- but we did not.
My second concern is the message this sends to women. Although CFC only told one woman in particular this time, this message affects other women with similar desires to preach. We told her that her gender disqualifies her from speaking at our church. To my knowledge, that was the only criteria that held her back. The results of this theology can be damaging to the self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy (feelings of competency) of an individual. Please be aware that we just told her that because she is a woman, she is not allowed to share her knowledge and perspectives through the venue of teaching from the Bible during the message time. This is a very damaging idea to give a person: it runs along the lines of “you are not good enough to _____”(I have not spoken with any individuals involved in this aside from my dad, and cannot speak to their feelings or concerns regarding this issue).
My third concern is that this appears to me as a very blurry line to draw. We say that women can teach the Bible, in the form of Sunday School. We say that women can speak during the message time, say, to share information on missionaries, or maybe a testimony. But a woman cannot teach the Bible during the message time? How is that different? We allow each of those events separately, but somehow combining them is wrong? From where did we find this line?
I would appreciate if the elders would take the time to 1) explain the theology behind the decision to not let women preach at CFC, and 2) examine the concerns I presented above.