Recently, while perusing the Christian Standard website, I ran across an interview.
The interviewer was Brad Dupray, who is senior vice president with Church Development Fund, Irvine, California, seems to be the regular interviewer for the Christian Standard.
The interviewee is Lynn Anderson, who is touted in the interview introduction as “one of the most respected authorities on church eldership, not just in the Restoration Movement, but in the evangelical world.”
In the course of the interview came this exchange:
Q: Is a church missing out on a large pool of potential leaders by not having women as elders?
A: I believe, first of all, the issue needs to be addressed locally and contextually. Even if your theology allowed for women in leadership, it may not be a prudent thing to do if your church culture is not ready for it. If your congregation's hermeneutic/theology makes room for women to fill a church leadership role (preaching, teaching, etc.), then yes, we are obviously missing a great deal having only male elders. The yin is missing from the yang.
Q: What if a church’s hermeneutic doesn’t allow for women as elders?
A: Then, of course, this is a moot question. This issue must be addressed in the context of the local church. However, again, even if your theology/hermeneutic allows for women in leadership roles, that does not necessarily mean it is the prudent thing to do “at your place” and “now.”
It seems fairly clear that Brad Dupray is enamored with the idea of women elders. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, Mr. Dupray will ask questions to “make a point” about the value of women elders. You can see this in his interview with Eleanor Daniel.
Notice how the “question” here is more than a question. How much more loaded and leading could words be than “missing out on a large pool of potential leaders”?
I was a bit surprised by the answer that comes from a supposed “expert” on eldership. Placing women in a position that contravenes the teaching of scripture - wouldn't that be a great idea if only “your congregation’s hermeneutic/theology” allowed for it?
Notice how the interviewer picks up on this kind of talk when he asks, “What if a church’s hermeneutic doesn’t allow for women as elders?” What if the clear teaching of the Apostle Paul, whose writings are scripture, doesn’t allow it?
Is this not strange language for people who supposedly claim the Bible as the sole rule of faith and practice? If “your hermeneutic” can so easily distort what the Bible says about this, you need a new hermeneutic. If “your theology” allows for women elders then it is faulty theology.
According to Lynn Anderson, “we are obviously missing a great deal having only male elders.” What we are “missing” is disobedience to scripture - and that’s a good thing to miss!
The only reason we might not want to have women as elders is if it is not "the prudent thing to do 'at your place' and 'now.'" But, as we all know, places, times, hermeneutics, and theologies can change, so perhaps soon, women elders will be coming to a congregation near you! (Far be it from us enlightened ones to be trapped in something unchanging like the very words of God.)
People so inclined can come up with a multitude of excuses to ignore the word of God, especially when it conflicts with the prejudices of our culture. But it is amazing that someone claiming to be an expert in church eldership would so glibly sidestep the teaching of the Bible about elders.