Encouraging Women's Mobilization
In World Evangelism
We have a distinct and unique privilege at the turn of this new millennium of looking back over a while century of Christianity. God, in His purposes could have caused us to be born at another season of history; but yet, He did not. Therefore, there remains for us the responsibility to be stewards of what may very well be the wrapping up of the ages and the return of Christ.
With this weight and privilege, we must take a discerning look at every hindrance to the whole world being evangelized. We have spent the last few years dealing with injustices such as racism, poverty, and, most of, the need for every unreached people group to receive the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is true that we still have a long way to go in some of these areas, but progress is being made.
There is yet another pioneer area that the Holy Spirit is bringing to light--that of gender reconciliation. Quoting John Dawson, the head of the International Reconciliation Coalition, "Gender conflict is the biggest reconciliation issue of all, outside of our need to be reconciled to God the Father."
According to Dr. David Barrett's encyclopedia Our Globe and How to Reach It (1990), 84 million women had been genitally mutilated to date. Women make up 70 percent of the world's poor, and 75 percent of the world's sick and disable. Two million are raped each year. There are 200 million battered women in the world; 23 percent of all married women are battered, and that number grows by 15 million women per year.
Women work 62 percent of all the working hours and receive 10 percent of the world's income, while they only own 1 percent of the world's property and make up 35 percent of the paid labor force. There are 950,000 ordained clergy in the world and 50,000 or 5 percent of them are women.
It is not secret that there are serious problems between the genders in the church. One just has to look at the statistics of some which indicate that the divorce rate in the church is the same or greater than that of the world.
Whole books have been written trying to explain the mysterious differences between men and women. While we are making some progress, there are still serious schisms within the home and the church concerning the these relationships.
A part of the gender gap really is physical in nature. Gary Smalley and John Trent have this to say about it:
"Medical studies have shown that between the 18th and 26th weeks of pregnancy, something happens that forever separates the sexes. Using heat-sensitive monitors, researchers have actually observed a chemical bath of testosterone and other sex-related hormones wash over a baby boy's brain.. This causes changes that never happen to a baby girl. here's a layman's explanation of what happens when these chemicals hit a boy's system:
The human brain is divided into two halves, or hemispheres, connected by fibrous tissue called the corpus callosum. The sex-related hormones that flood a baby boy's brain cause the right side to recede slightly, destroying some of the connecting fibers. One result is that, in most cases, a boy starts life more left-brain oriented.
Because little girls don't experience this chemical bath, they leave the starting blocks much more two-sided in their thinking. And while electrical impulses and messages do travel back and forth between both sides of a baby boy's brain, those same messages can proceed fasted and be less hindered in the brain of a little girl."
The good news to this is that God is able to bridge any gap. In fact, He came to stand in the gap for us! I believe that it is God's desire to bring about restoration between the genders so we can labor side-by-side in the harvest field to see the greatest influx of souls the earth has ever seen.
God created us to be teamed together when He created us male and female. He has deposited unique gifts between men and women and told the first union,
Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Genesis 1:27-28 NJKV)
There are many aspects of women and men working together for the harvest which are hotly debated today. In fact, women in ministry may be one of the most controversial topics in Christianity today! This is certainly not a new debate. Lottie Moon, one of the most respect Southern Baptist missionaries to China wrote a letter home in the late 1880's that:
"What women want who come to China, is free opportunity to do the largest possible work.What women have a right to demand is perfect equality." Again she wrote, "Simple justice demands that women should have equal rights with men in mission meetings and in the conduct of their work."
While we are not sure what she meant by perfect equality, it can be assumed that she did mean that they should have be able to preach the gospel to anyone who was lost in darkness without Christ. As we read her words and they echo in our hearts we have to ask ourselves the question, "Where would China be without Lottie Moon's sacrificial life and other women like her?" I am so glad that she bravely answered the call.
Women are entering seminaries and Bible schools at unprecedented numbers. They are hungry to "go tell the good news that He is alive." Young women around the world have shared with me their burning desire to answer the call of God. The harvest fields of the nations are ripe.
I know that each person represented here wants to see the nation's reached for Christ or we would not be here. We have a desire to see marriages and families healed. At the heart of this issue there is a need for healing between men and women. No matter what our theological viewpoints are on the some of the issues I've stated, we know that the work of the gospel is hindered when there is pain between the genders.
Let's ask the Lord to begin a healing here at Celebrate Messiah 2000, at the turn of this new millennium that will begin to unravel this pain. Both men and women are guilty of hurting each other. Jesus Christ, the son of the Living God, is will able to send a message from this great congress that will affect the whole world and begin a work of healing that will result in a new release of cooperation to see the whole world evangelized.
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