Back when I was studying the Bible in college, I was introduced to a young biblical scholar named Knofel Staton. He was a professor in a college that was part of the Independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, the denomination of my youth. Over the years I read many of Staton’s 35 books. I was impressed with his careful scholarly work.
Just recently I came across one of Staton’s newest books called The Biblical Liberation of Women for Leadership in the Church (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2003).
Staton’s thesis is that although women are restricted from leadership roles in many churches, it is God’s intention for them to be included along with men.
He believes that a holistic view of the Bible clearly encourages full leadership for women in the Church. The picture here of women at the empty tomb is but one of many, many examples sited by Staton.
Throughout the book, Staton discusses the works of scholars on both sides of the issues. He tackles the tough biblical texts from I Corinthians 11 and 14 and I Timothy 2, that seemingly prohibit women from leadership roles. He then carefully draws his own conclusions. I agree with almost all of his biblical conclusions and I fully agree with his thesis.
Staton himself attends Crossroads Christian Church in Covina, CA. Crossroads is part of the Christian Church/Church of Christ denomination and one of the very few that allows and encourages women elders.
Like Staton, I grew up in a church in the Midwest where women did not have leading roles. You didn’t see women preaching as in this rendition of a woman preaching in the early church. Like Staton, over the years I have seen the growing perspective among Christian scholars that the Bible does not prohibit women from teaching/preaching or holding other leadership roles. And like Staton, I have seen the inconsistencies in conservative Christian churches that, say, prohibit women leaders in congregations while allowing women to be authors and editors of biblical materials taught by men to men.
Staton’s book is thoughtful, scholarly and evenhanded. What’s really impressive is to see a man, now more than 70 years old, change his mind on a position that he says he staunchly held for more than 30 years. Good for him…