There are still church pastors and church leaders worldwide who believe women have no authority to pastor and should remain silent in the church.
It is further exacerbated by the misinterpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11-12. St. Paul wrote these scriptures to guide a troubled, first century church, not to create a discriminatory church policy against women in the 21st century.
Yet, the reality is women are being discriminated against. It is a silent and stifling church policy that must come to an end!
Sacred scriptures are misused to silence women and some stop women from pastoring because there is no biblical model. The truth is men use sacred scriptures to limit competition for pastoral jobs, church management, and remain in power.
There are some churches founded by women, but women are expected to submit to misogynistic messages and discriminatory church policies and practices limiting women to cooking, cleaning, and giving money to finance the church.
Rev. Hermia Shegog Whitlock graduated from the University of Chicago Law School, was a successful corporate attorney, is a graduate student at Claremont School of Theology, ordained co-pastor of an African Methodist Episcopal Church, mother of two, grandmother, and worked tirelessly both inside and outside of the church.
She has made measurable contributions toward church growth, mentored children, and preaches a great sermon. But there are some churches and ministerial alliances that will not permit her to enter the pulpit, pray or preach from the church pulpit.
There are a number of pastors who refer to her as “sweetie,” “darling,” and “dear” in church during worship service. There are ministerial conferences that will not recognize she is a pastor.
The history of murder, incarceration, drug abuse, alcoholism, wars, and divorce in the United States has removed men from church and family. For decades, women have held the church and family together without the help of men.
Currently, women outnumber men in seminaries, on college campuses and are the largest population within church congregations nationwide. The fabric of Christian faith is grounded on a woman agreeing to carry the seed of God for nine months giving birth to Jesus. Women have been the backbone of the church and family from the beginning. It is time for the truth to be told.
Rather than argue the biblical interpretation and church application of sacred scripture, let us pray to end discrimination against women in the pulpits, church board rooms, and church pews through the world!
The Rev. Mark Whitlock, Jr., is the pastor of Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church in Irvine and president of the Orange County Interdenominational Alliance