Over time, it would seem as if some of the more recent interpretations with regard to the Adam and Eve story, recovering favorable accounts of women in leadership roles, and clarifying notes in Galatians 5:13–18 would correct the reading lens for Scriptures where Paul and Peter defer to the law and tradition with respect to women’s behavior and roles, such as in 1 Peter, 1 Corinthians, and 1 Timothy. Carol A. Newsom, Sharon H. Ringe, and Jacqueline E. Lapsley sum it up well by saying, “Paul understands freedom not as the opportunity to pursue one’s own interests but to be even more at the service of others.” The focus has for too long been on order in the church, instead of why the order in the church is important – if anything is going to be a stumbling block for someone to come to know Christ, it certainly should not be the body of Christ. Not only do women still need to temper their freedom with consideration and respect for culturally accepted behavior so as not to be a stumbling block to men, but men need to do the same so as not to be a stumbling block to women. The fact ought to be recognized that cultural appropriateness is not defined for all times by the Greco-Roman culture and Jewish law and tradition of those times. Instead, it is defined by the norms associated with that culture. As more join the voice to have one set of membership privileges and allow the Holy Spirit to determine giftedness for roles, the more likely the concept will be attributed with increasing validity and influence. The pressure to consider this perspective for the Churches of Christ as well as for other religious groups with the same restrictive policy will grow. If and when the one set of membership privileges becomes the pervasive culture in American churches, transitioning to this perspective may become a matter of necessity of a congregation’s survival. Now is the time to exchange restrictions for women for freedom for all in serving the cause of Christ.
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