By Lillie S. McCutcheon
God, our great Creator, designed creation with a purpose. The Scriptures proclaim, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou has created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev 4:11). Human beings are the crown of creation, made in God’s likeness; and God made them male and female.
“God is a Spirit” (John 4:24). A spirit is neither female nor male. Our soul has no gender. It is just housed in a feminine or masculine body. The masculine image of God as “father” and Jesus as “son” has blinded some individuals, obscuring the truth that God is much more than that. One relationship cannot begin to reveal God. God is Deity, Creator, Lord, Savior, Friend, Brother, and so much more! All languages combined could never explain the fullness of who God is.
God also has a maternal nature. God said, “As one whom his mother comforted, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13). Many of Jesus’ parables depict God as our Father. The parable of the lost coin, however, is in feminine gender, portraying God as the woman seeking that which is lost (Luke 15:8).
The truth of the matter is that we are all created with both feminine and masculine characteristics innate within us. To properly balance the Christian faith, God has provided both women and men with ministries to meet the needs of the whole person. As children need the balance of a mother and father, God’s children need both male and female models to give guidance and nurture.
The woman minister is endowed with maternal characteristics projecting a mother or sister image. (God knows the family or church needs “mothering.”) Female ministers are by nature concerned about spiritual food, exercise, and rest to assure growth. Their intuition is helpful in detecting and healing hurts. Expressing love, compassion and understanding comes naturally.
Some males are more comfortable in expressing their failures to a woman, feeling it unmanly to reveal their weaknesses to another male. Women can be more intimate in their relationship with one of their own sex. Youth who alienate their own parents often seek help from a minister who has built an understanding relationship. Children are attracted to the “mother” minister. All this is most gratifying.
God is an Equal Opportunity Employer. One standard is set for both female and male Christians. All are saved the same way: entering through Christ (John 10:9). Requirements for baptism, sanctification, Communion, and foot washing are alike for everyone. Paul expresses it well, saying, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither make nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).
In Old Testament times only males could serve as priests, but the New Testament proclaims the priesthood for all believers (1 Pet 2:5).
“God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34), and gives spiritual gifts to both women and men.
To serve as the mouthpiece of God proclaiming the Scriptures and their meaning in the pulpit is the highest profession granted on earth. Preaching with authority is demanded by God; but the authority is in the Word—not in the preacher—be that preacher male or female.
Performing priestly functions of baptism, weddings, baby dedications, Communion, funerals, and so on is a reminder to the woman minister humbly to be grateful to Jesus, our Lord, who has liberated women. In the teaching and administrative ministries God has gifted women to do the divine work and to recruit leaders to function in positions where the laity is more skilled. Most congregations have many more women attending than men. It is imperative to use this potential source of Christian service.
Sometimes the secular world more readily acknowledges the position of the woman minister than the church itself. She is recognized to serve in community affairs, chaplaincy at hospitals, and prisons. But this potential reservoir of women serving in ministry has been only slightly tapped. Let’s not rob the kingdom of dedicated ministries because of human traditions.
Compensation for Christian ministry is most rewarding for both women and men. The God-called woman who prepares herself well and serves faithfully finds assets are abundant. She need never wish that she had been born as a man.
The late Lillie McCutcheon was a beloved, longtime pastor and evangelist in the Church of God. Article originally published in the May 1989 issue of Vital Christianity. Republished by permission. All excerpts of Scripture taken from the King James Version.
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