Professors to lead discussion about women in ministry

Both men and women are invited to attend a meeting from 7-8:30 p.m. tonight at University Baptist Church to discuss I Timothy. Photo credit: Dayday Wynn

By Joy Moton | Staff Writer

Truett Women in Ministry is a group that seeks to educate both men and women regarding women’s issues in ministry, Baylor and the larger church community.

The group was formed out of the larger Texas Baptist Women in Ministry group that addresses women in ministry in Baptist churches.

“Our mission is to educate women about their roles and their call, to help them live fully in the call that God has placed on their life and also to empower men by teaching men alongside women,” said Val Fisk, president of Truett Women in Ministry.

The group will host a discussion about passages from I Timothy from 7 to 8:30 p.m. tonight at University Baptist Church, located at 1701 Dutton Ave. The discussion will cover Scriptures that are regarded as some of the most controversial in New Testament scholarship.

“We wanted to address the way this epistle talks about women’s voice in ministry and women’s voice in the church, specifically talking about silence,” Fisk said. “We really believe that women have a voice and a very specific message to share out of our experiences. The voice women have is different from the voice that men have because of our experiences.”

The group selected Dr. Beverly Gaventa, distinguished professor of New Testament, and Dr. Lidija Novakovic, associate professor from the department of religion, to lead the discussion. The group specifically picked female scholars in New Testament studies so that they can speak from their experiences as women in ministry.

“There is a different perspective that comes from learning from a woman who is in New Testament scholarship, and that’s why we decided to invite professors from the religion department-women who have been in this field for years that can speak with us about the particular concerns of exegesis in these passages as a woman,” Fisk said.

The event will begin with the professors discussing the context of passages and the importance of not taking verses out of context. They will also make comparisons between the passages in I Timothy and other Scriptures that can be taken out of context. The floor will then be open for questions.

“Our hope is that it will be a round-table discussion with different people giving input, asking questions and having a real dialogue instead of asking questions and getting answers,” Fisk said.

Rebecca Pettit Houston, a student at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, said she is excited for an event that will allow for candid discussion about such a relatable topic.

“I’m really looking forward to talking about the hard-hitting topics,” Houston said. “It’s not shying away, and I really like how pointed the event is going to be.”

Fisk said many people are under the impression that the issue of women in ministry is settled. The group hopes both men and women from various backgrounds will attend the event so they can learn about the struggles women face in ministry.

“Men should come so they can hear about a woman’s experience,” Fisk said. “They should also come so they can be more aware of how they can be most supportive and how they can help educate other men that say women are not allowed to be doing ministry.”

The group hopes for this to be the first of many conversations to be had about Scripture. Fisk said she hopes this event will empower people to carry on conversations beyond the event.

“Men and women were both made in God’s image. It’s a problem to silence half of what God gave to the world,” said Julia Wallace, vice president of Truett Women in Ministry.