Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Women in church leadership -IPC

Just to show we have thought about it recently and that these are binding on all IPC congregations, from the BCO (revised 2014/15)...
(see also article by Matthew Roberts (the then Moderator) on the issue which is helpful as well as candid and honest: Women in Church Leadership?)

In accordance with the consistent witness of Scripture to the different roles of men and women in the family and in the Church, and in agreement with the unanimous practice of the worldwide Church until very recent history, Elders in the IPC may only be men. 
Given that eldership is about service and sacrifice (Mark 10:43–45; Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:1–3), this is neither demeaning to women nor exalting to men, but works for the blessing of all the men, women and children and all relationships within the Church.A few quick things to show we have thought about it in the past:

10.2 The Leadership of Public Worship 
Christ rules over his Church by his Word and his Spirit; and so the worship leader at every Christian worship service is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Christ applies himself and his benefits to his people by the Spirit working through prayer, the reading, preaching and teaching of the Word, sealed by the sacraments, and received in faith by prayer. He does this through the working of the Holy Spirit in his people, including the ministry of the officers of his Church. For this reason: 
(i) The Session is responsible for the immediate oversight of the public worship of the church, and is not to delegate this responsibility to others outside the Session. 
(ii) Public worship is normally to be conducted by one or more Elders of the church, or those deemed appropriate by the Session. 
(iii) Other members of the church may give readings of Scripture, lead in prayer, or lead congregational singing, provided that they are appropriately trained and overseen by one or more of the Elders. 
(iv) The Session may allow men who are ordained as Elders in other churches or denominations to lead worship and/or to preach, provided they are satisfied as to their orthodoxy of faith and life. They may also allow other men who are deemed competent to be permitted to preach or lead worship, under the authority of the Session. At all times the Session remains responsible for all that is said in the pulpit and is to guard the pulpit with great diligence. (v) For the avoidance of doubt, women are not permitted to preach. This is: a) in accordance with Christ’s own practice in his appointment of apostles; b) in obedience to the Apostles’ instructions; c) appropriate for the Church as Christ’s bride, as she listens to the instruction of her Husband and Lord; d) in accordance with the created nature of male and female in the beginning; e) in accordance with the universal practice of the Church from the time of Christ onwards; and, f) so as not to undermine the men, women and children of the Church in their endeavour to live and shape their lives according to the God-given roles of men and women in the Church and in the family. 
It should be noted that in the kingdom of God, because of our justification only by the merits of Christ, that the role an individual plays in the Church has no relevance to that individual’s importance to the Church and value in the sight of God. Therefore the limitation of the role of Elder and preacher in the Church to men neither exalts men nor denigrates women but works for the good of all the men, women and children of the Church.

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