UCG has been letting women write articles for blogs and their main web site for some time now. Some men in the church have been highly offended with this over the years and now it has reached a boiling point. How dare women write articles based upon bible teachings! Men are only allowed to do that!
Chairman Webber welcomed those that joined the gallery for this discussion. He welcomed the media department and the women who came in to hear this session. Mr. Webber mentioned concerns had been raised in the Media and Communications Committee (MCC) regarding the role of women writers dealing with certain biblical subjects. His desire with the Council’s approval was to keep this in open session.
Rex Sexton led the discussion as the chairman of the (MCC). There have been articles written by women in our official UCG publications (Beyond Today and United News) and that have appeared in our blogs (unofficial) on specific subjects that have been raised as whether being appropriate for women to address. The question was asked if there were any written policies for what kind of articles can be written. Currently there are no specific policies written up. One of the Council’s responsibilities is to have oversight and write policies when questions and needs arise. Input was already received from the media department, and Mr. Sexton thanked them for it.Its a fact that there are many women in the Church of God who are better educated and understand scripture than many of the men. This does not sit well with some of the men who feel that no woman should ever tell them what to believe.
Peter Eddington, operation manager of Media and Communications Services, mentioned the August 1999 Council report under the media section that was discussed by the Council. It was a non-issue for there to be women writers. Mr. Sexton asked if the substance of the content had changed over the years since then. Mr. Eddington said since 1999 we now have more women writers, and one of the reasons is because the media department wants more ways to relate women to women in our writings.Robin Webber then enters the fray:
Chairman Webber desired to establish focus of what was being discussed. We are discussing the role of women in media, so we are looking at what might women do with our understanding of Scripture. We are not talking about women ministers or preachers or getting up now to give messages in services. We understand there is a structure in the Church that has been recognized through the ages, so we are not going there. We all agree with that. Now we are dealing with comments by Paul about women being silent in the Church. How does that apply to teaching through writing? Culture needs to responsibly move forward, and we have to look at the context of the Scriptures. What was the apostle Paul addressing, and why was he saying it? If we use our heads and hearts and trust the administration with monitoring, the one article that came to our attention on repentance was dealing with the heart and the approach. It wasn’t dynamically preaching to the world to repent. We need to use wisdom. He was concerned that we need to take our time with this. A year or two ago we had a policy on the role of women in the Church that was not complete in tone and emphasis, so we withdrew that paper. We need to be very careful about the policies we might possibly create.Don Ward then weighs in with at lest a slightly more enlightened point of view
Don Ward advised that we be circumspect with what commentaries might be used and their rendering interpretations towards explaining the culture of Paul’s day. He advised some interpretations convey that Paul didn’t really mean what he said because of the culture of that particular time. We see the culture has shifted as a result of the Industrial Revolution and many other things that have come to pass. Dr. Ward does not see the Word of God shifting with the culture. Dr. Ward read from 1 Timothy:2:11-12 (KJV). The Bible does give clear instruction why Paul wrote that, and it wasn’t based on the culture of the day. The question is not if they can teach. Women teach in Sabbath school. Titus 2 gives clear instruction that the older women are to instruct the younger women.
Mr. Bradford raised the questions we need to be asking ourselves are: 1) What are the unique reasons that women do not preach at church and, 2) Do the same principles apply in writing corrective articles?Then to backpedal and blame the woman who wrote the article, Rainer Salomaa says it could have all "been a mistake or poorly written", all of which ignores the fact that a MAN approved the article to be printed in the first place.
Rainer Salomaa was asked if he had any comments. Mr. Salomaa said nothing really jumps out at him that has been a problem. Regarding the article in question there shouldn’t be hours and hours of time put into policy for one article. The article could have just been a mistake. It could have been stated better perhaps. He would just trust those in that position to monitor it. He’s not sure there needs to be a Council-driven policy. He then asked if they could get the input from some of the women in the audience. Robin Webber agreed that he was going to do that. He asked for a few comments from the women or media department in the audience.Then Beverly Kubik dared to rock the boat and asked some pointed questions:
Beverly Kubik asked if there was a well done study paper on the verses brought up today about women not speaking at church, because if you take these verses literally then women have to put gags in their mouth when they enter the building. She asked if there was a study paper and said we should have that when addressing this topic. Robin Webber agreed that there are many commentaries on this, and they could be put together. Mrs. Kubik said she would like to see an unbiased study into those scriptures.
She went on to comment that we encourage discussion of the sermon after service and, if we take those verses literally then women can’t talk about the sermon after services. She didn’t feel that interpretation of those verses make sense with the context of rest of the entire Bible. When Christ came He showed more respect to women than had been in the culture prior to that. She asked why that was. She asked why some women are called “prominent women.” Why were they prominent, and what were they doing in the churches there? She feels we are so fearful of anything that comes near preaching for women, yet we have no problem with women singing scriptural words. She would like to understand why these lines are being drawn, and she wants to know what is right or isn’t right. She isn’t trying to promote any idea over another.It will be interesting to see if the men can do what is right. But this is the UCG after all.
You can read the entire March 2016 report here.