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Lausanne And Gender

Autor: Jane Crane
Datum: 05.03.2010
Category: Frauen & Männer

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Ursprünglich geschrieben in Englisch

Welcome to this blog on the topic of empowering women and men to use their gifts together in advancing the Gospel. I thought the best way to begin would be to provide a history of Lausanne and gender as recorded in its formal documents. 

The following was published in a compendium of Lausanne Occasional Papers that came out of a Lausanne gathering in Pattaya, Thailand, in 2004. It looks back to the beginning of Lausanne’s documents with the Lausanne Covenant in 1979, addresses the Manila Manifesto of 1989, and includes a statement that came out of Pattaya. I look forward to hearing your comments and dialoging with you on this topic.

Preface from “Empowering Women and Men to Use Their Gifts Together in Advancing the Gospel,”  Lausanne Occasional Paper No. 53.

After two years of research, the Lausanne Committee identified 31 roadblocks to world evangelism, one of which was the need to empower men and women to utilize their gifts together for the Gospel.  This discussion was a natural progression.  Through the Lausanne movement’s major worldwide gatherings over the last 30 years, the topic of gender has been addressed in increasing depth.  

The historic Lausanne Covenant of 1979, signed by many leaders and translated into over 20 languages, cites gender under the topic of social responsibility.  It states that we should share God’s “concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for the liberation of men and women from every kind of injustice.  Because men and women are made in the image of God, every person, regardless of race, religion, colour, culture, class, sex or age, has an intrinsic dignity because of which he or she should be respected and served, not exploited.”  

The Manila Manifesto, produced 10 years later in 1989, addresses gender issues in more specificity in two of its 21 “Affirmations:” 

Affirmation # 13:  “We affirm that we who claim to be members of the Body of Christ must transcend within our fellowship the barriers of race, gender and class.”

Affirmation # 14:  “We affirm that the gifts of the Spirit are distributed to all God’s people, women and men, and that their partnership in evangelization must be welcomed for the common good.”

Further, The Manila Manifesto stated that women “must be given opportunities to exercise their gifts” and called for suitable training for both men and women.  The Manifesto deplored “the failures in Christian consistency,” including “sexual discrimination,” and affirmed that “co-operation in evangelism in indispensable,” with “both sexes working together.”

As the 2004 Forum for World Evangelization drew to a close, “Summary Affirmations” were released with this powerful statement on gender:  “In this Forum we have experienced the partnership of men and women working together.  We call on the church around the world to work towards full partnership of men and women in the work of world evangelization by maximizing the gifts of all.”

This Occasional Paper, written by the 2004 Forum’s Issue Group 24, “Empowering Men and Women to Utilize Their Gifts Together for the Gospel,” addresses the foundations for men and women in ministry-partnerships.  Our Occasional Paper begins with a Declaration made to the entire Lausanne 2004 Forum in Thailand.  We have also proposed action steps to engage the spiritual gifts of women and men in service to Christ. Finally, we offer research papers that provide a biblical, theological, historical, sociological, and missiological basis for empowering men and women’s shared ministry.

Stichwörter: empowerment, evangelism, gender, Lausanne Occasional Paper 53, image of God, dignity, Manilla Manifesto, gifts, equality, partnership

Gespräch Kommentar übermitteln

Antworten Kennzeichnen 0 Daumen hoch Daumen nach unten Priscilla-Musoki (0)

This is an area that is of great interest to me since I am involved in evangelism at grassroots level. Without the full appreciation of women in evangelism we run the risk of failing to evangelise the youth and our children as the mother is often in the privileged position of being the first evangelist! The church in my country, certainly, would not go very far without the full participation of women as they dominate the pews in church.

Our Lord Jesus Christ had a passion for the inclusion of women in His ministry. The Bible as a whole is clear about the importance of women in the history of our Faith.

Sadly, often women are appreciated only in areas where they lead other women and not the church as a whole. My prayer is that we get involved as women with confidence because by not doing so we are betraying the Great Commission. 

Antworten Kennzeichnen 0 Daumen hoch Daumen nach unten felicitydale (0)
Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika

One of the main issues I encounter is the "challenging Scriptures" which seem to imply that women should be silent in church and are not allowed a position of authority (1 Corinthians 14, 1 Timothy 2).  A faulty (though well-intended) understanding leads both men and women to believe that women are intended to have a supporting role to the men. This attitude is so ingrained in us that it takes a major paradigm shift in our thinking to overcome it.  Women, especially those who have been Christians for some time, have been so conditioned to this way of thinking that even when given the freedom to do more, they fail to do so.  

Antworten Kennzeichnen 0 Daumen hoch Daumen nach unten Veraly_M (0)  
@ felicitydale:

Felicity, I agree with you.  Specially in countries where there is a strong "macho" attitude even among our Christian leaders.  This paradigm is hard to shift, and yet it is not only a matter of genders but culture.  How does Christianity give such an equal opportunity to both genders when a specific culture, aside from religion, does not accept such position for women, without harassing the culture itself?

Antworten Kennzeichnen 0 Daumen hoch Daumen nach unten Joseph_Paul_Cadariu (5)  
Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika

The founder of my church was a woman, a Godly woman who started most every service with the folowing words, "Praise the Lord, everyone.  I’ve heard from God."  And within 15-20 minutes her words touched our hearts in such ways that we immediately went forward to the altar to pray and speak to our Savior.

Whe she passed on, a man took the mantle and taught us from the Word, kept us from error and helped build a solid, Bible-believing church of several thousand people.

When he retired, again, a woman became pastor.  She is combining the ministries of her forbears.  Understand His presence in worship and praise, and God’s word that cuts through bone and marrow.

Either there is no difference between man and woman, Greek and Hebrew, and God is not a "respector" of persons, or all of that is just fine, except positions of leadership.

Antworten Kennzeichnen 0 Daumen hoch Daumen nach unten Herman_Heyman (0)  

I agree with Emmanuel M. Luna, whe he writes : "We need more understanding and advocacy by both women and men so that empowerment is not just in the hand of the men but by all."
I want to add an aspect that was quite disturbin when I stumbled with my board over it.
From 1997 tot 2009 our ministry was seeking how to get the debate going on this issue in Belgium. Several discussions such as a national conference by Christian educational institute and denominations only led to either a more "orthodox" point of view which was expressed in the sloagn: no women in leadership. The partners in the discussion seeking to make a more balanced approached were close of being accused of heresy.
Now there are many historical, sociological and theological reasons for that hard stad, but the result was that the large
majority of the churches cosed the doors (again) to untap what God meant to be a marvelous partnering for His Kingdom.
this taught us a first lesson: if people do not understand their historical roots, and do not put these in a sociological context, any thorough discussion is quickly deteriorating into a discussion on orthodoxie.
Lesson 2 happened in 2006 when our ministry sought to develop a platform for women in order to ive them some tools to participate in the discussion themselves.
One detail was that we for instance also sought to have 2 women on our Belgian board. After some 15 initial contacts, we had to accept that all the women - well capable of leading, with talents and competences that we really would have liked to get on board - declined the invitation for resaons varying from demands of children, husband, church or for limitations they that felt were put on them by the church leadership.
Allthough they are capable, a majorty of the women seem to be accept the implications of what is perceived as the "orthodox".
Lesson 3: Just recently we approached a young woman who is developing a s a leader - but from the emerging generation. Having no long Christian background prior to accepting Christ (enough years ago to qualify for becoming board member), she is delightfully forward and engaging in what the work of the board puts on the table.
So this is probably a valid conclusion for cultures like mine (Belgium - Latin oriented Europe):
1. Yes, women MUST get their place. We need that perspective and competence that God entruste to them.
2. If women from the older generatons stand up: the better they can put the case on the table. But most likely it will be those from the next generation that will pick up the stick and run the race.
I am looking forward to hear/read input from other perspectives.

Antworten Kennzeichnen 0 Daumen hoch Daumen nach unten Christine_Tennant (3)  
Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika
@ Herman_Heyman:

Herman, thanks for this feedback. I share the frustration you faced when trying to add women to your board and, after identifying legitimately qualified women, having them decline because of other involvements/priorities. After attending the Dallas US gathering, I wanted to invite more women to participate in the NYC Conversation gathering, but found myself struggling to get women who are mature believers interested in serving outside of their local churches. They are involved with ministry, but not available/interested in getting involved with things outside of their local church, becuase of the demands of time. But there was more to it: several of the women I approached were intimidated by the thought of being at the table with church leaders, because they are so deeply entrenched in the "manage my home and children’s ministry" thought. The idea that they have vital imput for the bigger picture was too intimidating for them. I was really discouraged by that, because many studies - faith-based and secular - show that it is vital for women to give input in order for something to be healthy, whether a church-related thing or a civic or cultural or business venture.

Simply put, there still needs to be a healthier balance of leadership and I am praying about how I can help bring that about.

PS - as to the comment, "No women in leadership," I always think to myself when I hear this, "As long as there are mothers, there will be women in leadership." I am convinced that no one has a stronger impact on a person’s development than his/her mother.

Antworten Kennzeichnen 0 Daumen hoch Daumen nach unten Kim_Kerr (0)  
Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika
@ Christine_Tennant:

Thanks, Christy and Herman, for sharing your hearts and experiences in this matter. And, many thanks, Jane for calling us into the conversation of this topic of men and women serving together as I believe this reflects the heart of our God, as He created us in His very image, both male and female.

I loathe the controversy surrounding this issue because it seems to distract us from the power and beauty of the Gospel. Yet, I realize we need to address it as there is an anemia in the Church created by the misunderstanding of Galatians 3:28, Acts 2:17-28 and the elegant ways women are included in the work of ministry and specifically ministry as leaders in both the Old and New Testaments in their homes, communities, churches and nations. The synergy we can employ when we "get this right" is worth the conversation and hard work it requires to celebrate our unique contribution as women!

I’m grateful for this conversation and all that have laid the foundation before. I hope that we can learn and apply our learning to spur us on to love and good deeds as Good-News bearers (Isaiah 40:9) on the high mountain of Lausanne 2010.

Antworten Kennzeichnen 0 Daumen hoch Daumen nach unten Christine_Tennant (3)  
Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika
@ Kim_Kerr:

Thanks Kim! I love the phrase you used here, "the elegant ways women are included in the work of ministry and specifically ministry as leaders in both the Old and New Testaments in their homes, communities, churches and nations."

Will you be in Cape Town?

Antworten Kennzeichnen 0 Daumen hoch Daumen nach unten Kim_Kerr (0)  
Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika
@ Christine_Tennant:

Yes! I look forward to meeting you face to face, Christine. I appreciate your comments also. Until then, let’s keep the conversation going.

Antworten Kennzeichnen 1 Daumen hoch Daumen nach unten Melluna (2)    

In my college, there is a Department of Women and Development Studies that is actually concerned with gender and development. One of the many comments I hear from the feminist group is their criticism of the Christian faith because of "its biases against women, making the men the head...the women as second class citizen" This perception is one barrier to the Gospel. Reaching out to the world means also reaching out to clarify wrong perception of the faith by showing what the Word say about women and men. We need more understanding and advocacy by both women and men so that empowerment is not just in the hand of the men but by all.

Antworten Kennzeichnen 1 Daumen hoch Daumen nach unten Christine_Tennant (3)  
Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika
@ Melluna:

Emmanuel, I am totally with you. A big part of my work is the unspoken effort to undo what people believe about Christianity, including what the Bible actually teaches about women. We have to be willing to dig through the scriptures, the mandates, the cultural norms, and get to the heart of what was going on... how Jesus related to women in a very counter-cultural way, how God placed women in key roles within our faith’s history, and the call for mutual submission (Eph. 5:21) as well as order (Eph 5:22) and sacrifical service (Eph 5:25).

In the area of wives submitting to husbands, I love something I heard Kathy Keller (Rev. Tim Keller’s wife) say once: it wasn’t beneath Jesus to submit to the Father... why should wives think it is beneath them to submit to their husbands? Of course, the whole idea of submission has been abused and misused, hence the terrible view many people have of that word - "submission."

I pray that as more men and women incarnate the beauty of mutual submission, considering one another above themselves, dying to self, looking out for the other’s best interest, we might see that we need less instruction on submission - people will be loving one another and honoring and respecting one another so well, it will be irrelevant to emphasize submission.

Til then, we still have a lot of work to do. Thanks for caring about this topic!

Antworten Kennzeichnen 0 Daumen hoch Daumen nach unten Robyn (0)

hi Jane, Looking forward to the multiplex and dialogue sessions at the Congress on Men and Women in partnership to extend the Kingdom. The work can only be done when the gifts of all God’s people are encouraged.
love from "Down Under"

Antworten Kennzeichnen 1 Daumen hoch Daumen nach unten Ellen (1)  

Great history Jane. Thank you! It really heps to have this context.


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