Apr 7, 2023
What if the conventional limitations placed on women in the church aren't really Biblical at all? Today's guest, Julie Zine Coleman, reveals the accurate ways to interpret scriptures about a woman's role as she serves God.
Julie grew up in a strict church environment, where many restrictions were placed upon women with regard to ministry. When she married her husband, who had a more egalitarian view, he asked her to remove the word "obey" from their wedding vows. Julie reacted with indignance because she thought it might be unbiblical at the time, but later expanded her view of how scripture outlines gender roles.
Coleman was later asked to serve on her church's teaching team and taught sermons, but she felt a compelling need to examine the scriptures often interpreted as prohibiting women from speaking or teaching in church. She did not pursue the study to contend with anyone, but sought the truth because she didn't want to disobey God by teaching.
When Julie offered to share what she discovered about women's roles in scripture, attendance doubled at that service. Coleman saw how many women were hurt and began to leave the church. Even more disturbing were the numbers of women who also turned away from God because of how they had been treated in church. Julie felt led to write her book to help those who were losing their faith due to a misunderstanding of scripture. Though she prefers to avoid conflict and controversy, she felt compelled to help the women who had been wounded by the misuse of scriptures that were taken out of context.
Julie emphasizes speaking the truth in love. She encourages having respectful conversations with those with different viewpoints. Coleman clarifies that she is not speaking against any particular group, but simply wants to request all Christians to take another look at scripture.
For those who feel called to ministry, Coleman advises the following steps:
If experiencing setbacks or difficulties after pursuing a call to ministry, don't assume it's because you're doing something wrong or God is displeased with you.
Tests and trials can grow us for leadership.
Ask what you can learn from the trial.
We discuss the battles to expect when pursuing a call to ministry. Coleman encourages us to be aware of spiritual warfare but also to remember that God is greater and keep it in perspective.
Women in ministry can find community and support on podcasts like Come to the Table, Facebook groups, or organizations like Christians for Biblical Equality.
Julie closes with the encouragement that God has made us unique and God is calling us to share with those around us. Whatever he is calling you to do, take steps and do it. God didn't limit half of the church. If we were designed to walk on two legs and we're trying to walk on only one, we're not operating according to God's design.
Connect with Julie Z. Coleman and sign up for a free study of Colossians at juliezinecoleman.com. Her book, On Purpose: Understanding God's Freedom for Women Through Scripture, is available on Amazon, Kregel Publications, or wherever books are sold.
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