NEW HARVEST’S POSITION ON SEXISM
Although sexism (the exclusion of a particular group of people from a role in an organization or society on the basis of their gender) has been rife in the Church, New Harvest believes that there is no scriptural justification for this practise.
Genesis 1:26,27 indicates that both male and female are made in God’s image – possibly each expressing a different aspect of His nature – but without dominance.
Jesus’ handling of the woman taken in adultery (John 8:1-11) in the midst of a sexist culture (where was the man she slept with, and what punishment was due to him?) indicates a very different approach to the status of women. The thrust of the incident shows that from God’s perspective there is equality before Him in relation to sin, guilt and the need for mercy.
Although many may consider Paul’s position to be sexist on the basis of verses like 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 and 1 Timothy 2:12, this view is inconsistent with what he communicates in Romans 16:12, Philippians 4:1-3 and Galatians 3:26-29.
The message that shines through 1 Corinthians 12-14 is that God gifts different individuals to serve the Body of Christ, and that the parts of the Body are interdependent without preference. The section that is gender specific (14:34, 35) relates to orderly worship and seems to address a problem arising from the segregation of men and women in worship.
For these reasons New Harvest will not exclude anyone from the possibility of being called to serve in any capacity on the basis of gender. Our selection of people into leadership positions will be determined by their spiritual character, our recognition of their calling, and their ability to exercise servant leadership rather than on the basis of their gender.
We do however recognize that men and women are, broadly speaking, gifted differently and will in all likelihood exercise different leadership styles. As a body seeking to be responsive to servant leadership we will attempt to protect and encourage those in leadership so that their particular gifting can bless and grow us.