“There is no difference.” If any phrase caught my attention during the webinar, it was that. To God, there is no difference. We are made equal before Him. We are equal to oversee creation and we are also equal to respond to God’s call. Men and women, we are equal before God.
Rev. Dr. Monica Mastronardi led us in a time of reflection on the four main biblical arguments showing us that women as well as men are made in God’s image without differences in their roles and responsibilities.
It was a consequence of sin that God’s perfect order was corrupted and from that point and forward man took over the role of lord, subordinating women and children to his control. The patriarchal culture is contrary to the original purpose of the Creator.
This patriarchal view was reinforced primarily through the literal interpretation of Pauline theology; however, this Paul’s theology as it was grounded in the theology of Jesus, cannot be contrary to the inclusive ministry of Jesus toward women. In spite of the cultural treatment of women, Jesus dignified them and involved them in his ministry. He received them as apprentices in his group of disciples. He equipped them for service and sent them to disciple others full of the Holy Spirit.
In fact, the thinking of the Apostle Paul is summed up in the passage from Galatians which says, “There is no longer male and female.” (Galatians 3:38, NRSV). Paul was aware of the restoring act of all things that Jesus came to institute on the Earth. There is no difference, relationships are equal as described in Genesis 1:38.
The webinar published on the SENDAS Facebook page was viewed by more than 7,000 people and logged more than 600 comments that recognize the work of the Church of the Nazarene to teach ministry equality.
“I love the Church of the Nazarene because it allows men and women to serve God with the same freedom. I have served God for 15 years as a pastor and twelve as a teacher, and that is a true privilege,” said Rev. Leyla Ramirez of Costa Rica.
“Thank you so much, sister Monica, for sharing on such a relevant subject to help us to team up to complete the Great Commission,” shared Rev. Obdulia Martinez from Mexico.
“Thank you for this important topic. There still exists so much confusion and distortion about this subject,” said Dr. Samuel Perez of Puerto Rico.
As a woman and elder in the Church of the Nazarene, I am glad to know that our theological institutions promote the Wesleyan heritage of equality in ministry and that they help new generations to break cultural patterns that are contrary to the life of disciples of Christ.
At a time in which society as a whole is looking for gender equality, the church must elevate its prophetic voice from different spheres to say, “There is no difference; we are equal.” Just as Dr. Monica Mastronardi said. “The church God dreams about is not a church where the women are subjugated” because women and men are equally called.
Rev. Sharon Víquez Sosa
Founder of Transformed Ministry
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