Sunday, July 23, 2006

Stella got me wrong, it doesn't signify that women are superior to men - Rayvonne P. Bourne

Here's a letter published in Kaieteur News:
Dear Editor,

On Monday July 10, 2006 a letter of mine was printed in the Kaieteur News expressing my disapproval that women should not be allowed to serve as priests and become leaders in the house of the Lord following an article I came across by columnist Ms. Stella Ramsaroop in the Kaieteur of 22nd June, 2006, in which she mentioned that a woman was elected to lead the denomination in the Anglican Communion worldwide.

However, I noted in my letter that women should not be allowed to serve as priests for several reasons, because God has chosen the man to be leader of the household and to be the spiritual leader when it comes to preaching the gospel.

In all of God's physical creation, he made only man in the image and likeness of himself. He gave only man dominion or rule over the creation. Additionally, I said that women were created for the comfort of men and not to have control over God's supreme creation. Mr. Editor, please don't misinterpret me like what Stella did. When I say that women were created for the comfort of men it does not mean that they are superior or inferior to men. It simply means that women are the partners and companions of men and are not inferior to men.

However, please allow me to respond to Ms. Stella Ramsaroop's [column] in the Kaieteur News on Wednesday July 13, 2006 challenging my position on women should not be allowed to serve as priests.

Conversely, she seems to have the wrong understanding and beliefs that women should be allowed to become religious larders in the ministry of God because of woman's ability to produce new life in the world. I do understand that Stella has a strong vision for women in having equal footing in every social, political, and religious aspect of life in society and to be involved in decision-making in the church.

I believe that Ms. Stella Ramsaroop does not understand the Bible and women's purpose here on earth today because she would have recognised that God has given man the power to have control over everything on the face of the earth.

God himself explained His purpose for creating mankind and besides that, God said: Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping things that creeps on the earth' (Genesis 1:26) In all of God's physical creation, he made only man in the image and likeness of himself. He gave only man dominion or rule over the creation.

Therefore, it would be extremely hypocritical and double standard in the eyesight of God in having a woman to become priest and bishop in our society today.

However, Stella added that before the Bible was written, women served as priestesses and larders of religion. Long before Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which all used Abraham as the central figure; the primary deities were female because of the woman's ability to produce new life. Conversely, if Stella Ramsaroop had examined the Scriptures very carefully she will find that women indeed held many very important roles in the history of Israel and the Church.

Women such as Ruth, Esther, and Deborah were important in both leadership and serving within the plan of God.

But in the New Testament we will find that none of them was chosen to be God's disciples, as well we will find that the older, experienced women (wives and mothers) were to teach the younger women.

Titus 2:3-5 says, “The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—that they may admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Also find that many early Christian women taught their families out of the Word of God.

Paul reminded Timothy of the things he had learned as a boy from his mother and grandmother. In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul wrote, “When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.

“Clearly, Paul was referring to the fact that much of Timothy's faith and understanding came as a result of the example and teaching of his mother and grandmother! Obviously, they were very good teachers. Notice later, in 2 Timothy 3:14-15, that Paul refers to the teaching Timothy received when he was a young boy:

“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

All of that said, but when it comes to teaching in a Sabbath service, God gave that responsibility to the ordained elders of the Church—which were men. In 1 Timothy 3:1-2 it says, “This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach.”

Throughout the New Testament, the ordained elders were to be the primary teachers during a Sabbath or worship service setting. Paul even wrote that women were not to be fulfilling that role within the Church: “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.

And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35). In his letter to Timothy, Paul added, “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence” (1 Timothy 2:10-12).These verses may seem to be a bit harsh or direct today; however, Paul was dealing with a number of issues that were resulting in people not serving or functioning in their respective roles—and there was confusion on this issue. These teachings are not a matter of ability or importance of women—but the teaching role that God defined in the Bible.

Therefore, women should not be allowed to become priests in societies of today. It is so amazing to observe how people can so influential and persuasive to stimulate and mislead people from their own beliefs and understanding of things in life. Ms. Stella Ramsaroop further stated that in the beginning before the bible was written women had served as priestesses and leaders of religion with the intention of fooling people that women had once play a role in preaching the word of God in the beginning.

Nevertheless, everybody already knows the creation story and believes that women's role should be secondary in our society because in the bible women had never played an important role in preaching the world of God.

Stella, please don't use your intelligence to impress and mislead people away from the bible. Let us put the teaching of God's words into practice and make a difference in our society today. However, we must not forget that in the beginning, when God created the universe the earth was formless and desolate and so on and then he created man and the lord God said, it is not good for a man to live alone and so he made a suitable companion to help him so then the lord God made the man fall into a deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, he took out one of the man's ribs and closed up the flesh and then he formed a woman out of the rib and brought her to him.

I do understand why Ms. Stella Ramsaroop has a mental picture for women in society of today and wanted to witness that they are on the same breath and length in making decisions in church and preaching the word of God.

But I am very sorry again, Stella, God has never given women the power to serve as priests. However, we must use the bible as example of life and forget about our personal beliefs and understanding about life and follow the teaching of the bible.

However, my best columnist, Ms. Stella Ramsaroop's desire for women in having equal footing in every social, political, and religious aspect of life was never intended to be so in the beginning because God would have had his disciples both women and men.

Traditionalists say that the 12 disciples of Jesus were all men and there is no precedent of women as priests and ministers.

Rayvonne P. Bourne (Mr.)

NOTE: Sorry, I am male, and wish not to be addressed as a female or (Ms. Bourne) because of my name Rayvonne.

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