Monday, July 6, 2009

Some of my friends are women--pastors!

Some of my friends are women—and pastors!

When I was a member of the Assemblies of God, the denomination my husband grew up in, and also one that has always allowed women pastors, I never really liked the sermons the women preached although I didn’t hear that many of them. But I found that my dislike was simply because they, like many of the male pastors, only preached from their spiritual experiences, not really from God’s word.

But today I know better. The women of the Bible portray a wide range of ministries. There are the two Hebrew women, Shiphrah and Puah, who protected the Hebrew male babies in the land of their slavery.

There is Miriam the sister of Aaron and Moses who is referred to in the word of God as a prophetess. That is, one who proclaims the word of God. She led the women of Israel in dance and song because God had delivered the Hebrews. She proclaimed, “Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted; the horse and his rider he has hurled into the sea.”

There is Abigail who kept David from sinning and then proclaimed God’s promise to him. “Should anyone rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, then the life of my Lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the Lord your God: but the lives of your enemies he will sling out as from the hollow of a sling.” (1 Sam 25:29)

There is Rahab who sets the tenor for the book of Joshua with her faith in what God will do for his people Israel. Calvin writes much of her faith including this when she states that “He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath:”

“Here the image of Rahab’s faith appears, as if reflected in a mirror, when casting down all idols she ascribes the government of heaven and earth to the God of Israel alone. For it is perfectly clear that when heaven and earth are declared subject to the God of Israel, there is a repudiation of all the pagan fictions by which the majesty, and power, and glory of God are portioned out among different deities; and hence we see that it is not without cause that two Apostles have honored Rahab’s conduct with the title of faith.”

And I could go on, but instead will introduce you to some ladies who I think are great preachers and pastors.

The first is my friend the Rev. Tracee Hackel who writes the “Girl Preacher” column for the Voices of Orthodox News Letter. She is also on the board of Voices of Orthodox Women and her wonderful care for the word of God and Reformed theology can be seen in this article she wrote a few years ago “Monologue or Dialogue? The Relationship Between Reformed Theology and Contemporary Theologies of Women.”

Another friend is a pastor in Tennessee, The Rev. Terrye McAnally. She is on the board of VOW also, and recently we shared a wonderful lunch in Denver while I was waiting for my plane. We all wear a little white cross with a heart on it meaning we love the cross of Jesus Christ. As we sat talking about the Church, wearing our crosses, the waitress just couldn’t help but ask if we were “nuns.” Terrye said no we were Presbyterians that she was a Pastor and I was an Elder. Then the waitress wanted to know the difference. Terrye said “I preach and she rules” and then we both started laughing. What can you say about a lady who reads Calvin’s Institutes in the original language in which it was written.

When I first became a Presbyterian one of my pastors was a person that everyone will recognize if they were at the GA or know anything about last year’s GA. That is the Rev. Tammy Letts, she was running for Vice Moderator with Rev. Bill Teng. Tammy was instrumental in my husband becoming a Bible study leader. She is such an equipper and encourager. This last Sunday afternoon my husband taught his first class to a group of young men in a maximum Security Facility in Ione California. What a gift Tammy has been to Brad and I and the whole church.

And speaking of GA, I sat behind an amazing woman most of the time at General Assembly watching her pray with and encourage commissioners as the need arose. The Rev.Mary Holder Naegeli not only is a pastor but also teaches at Fuller Theological Seminary in Northern California. In the past, quite a few years ago, I read her sermons on line. And that is when I truly realized that women who preach from the Bible, using proper exegete, have a strong proclamation. They are God’s servants too!

A preacher I have not met face to face is the Rev. Kathy Horstman. When I read her sermons I understand her call and her complete absorption in Reformed theology. I am particularly overcome by the sermon she preached for Consistory member Toby Brown's installation at Jefferson Center Presbyterian Church, Saxonburg, Pennsylvania. That sermon is The Battle is the Lord’s. Which can be found at her blog Not exactly as Preached.

Here is part of her sermon:

"Fearlessly, constantly preach Christ and Him crucified. With all your skill, wield the double-edged sword of the word of God, so your people and your peers may see how it judges and reveals the thoughts and attitudes of man. And remember, you are in the world but not of it. Exercise godly discernment. Fight against the temptation to take sides for or against an issue according to human factions and understandings. Make war on our culture’s sinful tendency to identify Jesus Christ with any human cause or commonwealth, however noble or great. Struggle against the world for the world’s own sake, boldly proclaiming the Gospel of peace through the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Finally a friend I use to see at Presbytery all the time. I think she knows our Book of Order by heart, but she is now a pastor in an Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Roseville Presbyterian Church. Rev. Nancy Duff's wisdom and faithfulness to the word of God is always missed in our meetings.

I would be happy to sit down and listen to any of these ladies as they preach. I would hear God’s word.



Mac said...

I can't say that I know any of the other pastors, but Nancy Duff has been a blessing to our presbytery and the EPC.

St. Blogwen said...

Oh! Thank you, Viola! That mention was a real encouragement, and Heaven knows I can use it these days.

Kathy Horstman
Beaver, PA

(My verification word is "caring"!)

Viola Larson said...

Good that must have been just for you! The verification word I mean.

Viola Larson said...


Aric's last statement is interesting but not very scriptural. And it certainly is a caricature of what is actually happening in the Presbyterian Church between the orthodox reformed and the progressives. He writes:
“God is playing until everyone takes their place at the table. God is playing until everyone joins the fun. God is playing until everyone realizes that there are not a limited number of invitations to this game and so there is no need to elbow and shove and try to secure your place by pushing others away. In fact, the more you fight the more clear it is you haven't realized what game it is we are playing here. This is not 'Go Fish' or 'Manipulation' and it is most certainly not 'War.'”

Let me address the caricature first, that is his explanation for why the orthodox believe that practicing homosexuals (and let me add here unrepentant adulterers and fornicators) should not be ordained. It is not because they feel they need to shove others away in order to keep their own place at the table. But rather it is because they believe that the Bible, God’s word, has ultimate authority. And God tells his people that to practice any kind of sexual sin and not repent is grounds for discipline. It certainly does not leave open the door for ordination.

On top of that I know that Aric knows better than that because of his argument about ethics and how he believes the orthodox Christian’s resort to Scripture is just another kind of “Deontology.”

I think he is upset and is just being snarky-forgive me Aric but that is how it sounds.

But for the theological idea that God is playing and waiting until everyone joins the game some clarification is needed. Is Aric referring to salvation-until all are in the kingdom or is he referring to just a point in time until all, no matter who can be ordained.

So two sets of questions and thoughts come to mind. I am pretty sure that Aric is a pluralist and a universalist. (meaning that he believes everyone will be saved even those in other religions) If I am right and that is so, it simply cancels out most of what he has said about Carmen’s posting. Most of the Church in the past has believed, if reformed, that God chose the elect but that we are nonetheless called to witness to them about Jesus Christ, without Christ they cannot be saved. Even those in most past church splits did not dispute this belief. The game has changed.

On the other hand If Aric means that God is waiting for the Church to allow anyone to be ordained he has formulated an image of God that is in contradiction to the Scriptures. On all kinds of levels.

I won't take this argument any further since it belongs to Carmen and Aric, so don't attempt to push it further. It is their postings.

Jesus' Gal said...

Wow, Viola
You do have many Lady Pastor friends!

You know, I have since my seminary year, develop a heart to support my pastors friends from my class. They are constantly in the spiritual-human-politics battle, very much in need of healing of our Christ.

Pray for the heart of Pastors to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so they have the love and wisdom in Christ.