Archive for June, 2011

Why Not Women? A Fresh Look at Scripture on Women in Missions, Ministry, and Leadership.

Two Authors, both apart of the world missions organization Youth With A Mission have put their hearts and minds together in this important book, “Why Not Women”.

Loren Cunningham, the founder of Y.W.A.M (pronounced, y-wam), and David Hamilton, a dedicated student of Christian scripture have brought light to this critical debate within Christian praxis.


Loren starts out the book by putting a great focus on the suppression of women within both church history and the modern mission movement. He questions the majority opinion that Leadership is Male. He talks about Deborah, both a leader and a Prophet, the head of state. He notes Miriam’s leadership as well. In the New Testament Loren points out Phoebe a minister, and Junias an Apostle. Apparently 886 verses of Scripture are from that of Women. He then articulates a principle of allowing for Women to teach if they have the God given and recognized gift. Simple logic says, if God gifted them, then they ought to teach. Sometimes simple logic works best. Of course, it doesn’t always win out the detailed skeptic. That is where Hamilton compliments this book’s message so well.

As David Hamilton begins his contribution to this work, he talks about the overwhelming oppressive sexist ideas and beliefs that have pervaded in both the “Gentile” and “Hebrew” cultural backdrop to the historical context of the books of the bible. Hamilton finishes up the remaining majority of the book with in depth exegesis of all the key relevant passages. He works through the Timothy, Corinthians, and other passages in great detail. There is quite a bit of great detail within these chapters that would at least give “traditional” readings and translations much pause and cause for a reevaluation on this subject.

Youth With A Mission Logo

The Shaping of Things to Come

If you have heard any of the following terms in religious conversations as of late, Missional, Incarnational, Meta-Narrative, Post-Christendom Culture, being an authentic community, it was probably encouraged at least in part by this book,  “The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church“. Both Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch have done an excellent job in describing what is at the the center of the  fresh expressions of church that are emerging.

Frost and Hirsch explain how “Western” society has been moving into what they describe as a post-christendom era. They say, “Christendom has been in decline for the last 250 years.” They argue that many are now or many ought to be moving in to a “Missional” phase of church expression. One where we are moving away from the many things that defined the era of Christendom, such as Buildings, Institutional Centralized Leadership, Institutional Sacraments, Church as center of Society,  and ex-tractional Conversions.


The Missional emerging shape of things to come will not be focused on a Church building. The new leadership mode is one that is pioneering-innovative in nature, including the five-fold ministry ethos, not just majoring on the “pastor/teacher” role. It will move towards being more grassroots and decentralized. It Redeems, re-sacralizes, and ritualizes new symbols and events. Church is once again on the fringes of society and culture. The church re-embraces a missional stance in relation to culture.That is a mouth full.

They suggest the idea of Shared Projects. Rather than only doing church based programs,  instead getting involved in programs and initiatives that are already helping the community.

There is this group in San Francisco calling itself ReImagine.  They have been meeting to explore the goal of living in what they call Green space. Green is the goal. The color green is made up of course by both the colors yellow and blue . “Yellow space refers to a Christian spirituality that is only concerned with the personal, interior world of faith. It characterizes the classic individualized form of faith the focuses on personal quiet times, Bible study, church attendance and personal moral/ethical behavior. Blue space refers to an exclusively other-focused form of Christian spirituality, one that takes context seriously and features such activities as social concern, justice-seeking, activism, and public moral/ethical behavior.” These two parts of faith ought to be blended and not separated.

Rather than being an attractional church, the goal of the emerging church is to be Incarnational. “The incarnational church seeks to infiltrate society to represent Christ to the World” A long chapter toward the end is about what they call “the genius of APEPT“. This is the five-fold ministry or functions of disciples: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher. The newer expressions of church are giving a more rounded recognition within the leadership of all these roles, not just favoritism to the Pastor/Teacher C.E.O. style of things from the past.

I have read many books in this genre and this one is is quite unique and stands out amongst the rest in many ways.