The classical Christian consensus that only men should be set apart in Holy Orders to preach and celebrate the sacraments has been the target of withering critique at least since the sexual revolution that began in the 1960s. Many Christian communions have succumbed to the pressure to ordain women and to give them authority over congregations, dioceses, and denominations, accepting new and revised interpretations of biblical passages that for centuries undergirded the traditional practice. Alongside this development and wholly entwined with it stands the broad rejection of gender differentiated marriage roles. The once ubiquitous notion within the church that a husband should lead his wife and family and that a wife should help him in this task and even submit to his leadership is met with increasing disdain. Among the many casualties resulting from this departure has been the elimination or, at the very least, the de-centering of one of the grand “types” or portraits revealed in the Bible that once imbued both marriage and the pastoral vocation with transcendent importance and beauty. When God made the first man from the dust of the earth, forming from his body the first woman and then joining the two together as one, He was doing more than creating a companionable pair for the propagation of the species. He was painting the portrait of Christ and His church, His own Son and the people who would become both His body and His bride. That theme, running from Genesis to Revelation, was to be embodied in every marriage and reflected in the ministry of every pastor.

This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Matthew Kennedy on his article in the 44:3 issue of the Journal entitled, “Christ and His Bride: Why Your Pastor’s Gender Matters.” 

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