As described in the position statement on Women in Ecclesiastical Office, the CRC believes that two sincere, educated, and devoted followers of Christ may come to different conclusions about the issue of women as elders, ministers, and evangelists, each based on an understanding of scripture. There is no higher ground here.
Our congregation has for many years avoided the debate by just continuing with historical precedent, largely avoiding the potential conflict and division that other churches have experienced. However, our demographic is changing as more people are joining from different faith backgrounds, and questions come up about the lack of women among our elder nominees. The Council feels it is time to bring this issue before the congregation in small group educational sessions over the next few months, and then decide where the Lord is leading for this church.
We believe that it's important to hold a series of small group sessions with members of the congregation, objectively explaining the two interpretations of scripture, and emphasizing the CRC's position that biblical scholars have concluded that neither is definitive. We would prefer to use denominational resources to explain this, so that individual Council members are not seen as promoting their personal agenda or bias when describing one position or the other. Ideally, we would like to show a video that describes each interpretation clearly, earnestly, and with respect, followed by group discussions that help us avoid the distinctly unhelpful scriptural arguments from each side that simply divides.
Unfortunately, when looking for balanced educational materials, we find only one-sided views that refers to the others as either "the patriarchical unenlightened who promote the oppression of women" or the "liberal feminists who substitute political correctness for biblical authority." (Neither is a direct quote!)
Can anyone recommend objective materials that we can use to help present the two sides, and then help us lead our congregation to a decision that is in the best interest of our congregation, whatever the Lord may desire for us at this time?
Thanks in advance,
Tom Cooper, Elder