Archive for October, 2014

Women in the Gospel of John

October 31st, 2014
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It is quite amazing how society attitudes to gender equality have changed in some respect and how they haven’t in others. For example we were watching at our rowing club a rather condescending news item back in the 30′s about women rowers and how their ironing strengthens their arms for rowing. It was the surprise that the little women were actually doing what men do.

However just recently a report showed how many men blame women for rape and justify domestic violence against women. The report revealed there is a resentful class of men who blame women for their unemployment or their inability to be men. They have an idea of ownership over their wives and children or the warped idea that their wife and children would not survive without them.: witnessed the murder /suicide by men of their families. And this is in Australia – not some misogynist Islamic group.

In many ways how men and women respect one another is a major test of understanding who Jesus is. The gospel writers describe Jesus and how challenging he was to the attitudes to leadership, women, children and those who seen as unclean and on the outside, lower down the social scale.

I think we can say the book of Luke does offer some interesting and challenging insights.This has been very evident as we have gone through it over the last several years.

Luke has Jesus depending on the financial support of women

Luke 8:1-3.

 1 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

Women are listed in the inner circles with the Twelve, with Jesus depending on their financial support. In Acts Luke also describes women being patrons of the church, with their houses used as bases for evangelism and worship.

Today I want to focus some helpful insights about Jesus’ attitudes to women in another NT work, the fourth Gospel, John.

It is a late gospel and thus its emphasis seems to be correcting ideas that were coming into the Christian church. So it gives us an insight into what was seen as important to understand as the church was developing.

For example the term “apostle” is not used in the technical sense almost as if John wishes to remind the Christian that what is primary is not to have had a special church role from God but to have followed Jesus, obedient to his word – being a true disciple.

In short, it is a Gospel that seeks to make certain that in the inevitable structuring of the Church the radical Christian values are not lost. Another example would be the including of the footwashing rather than the more sacramental bread and wine.

It would seem he wants us to be reminded that the whole purpose of being a follower of Jesus it to be a servant – an upside down doctrine in that very hierarchical world. It was not to develop an elevated priesthood or to even give the Lord’s Supper some superstitious emphasis. It was to be reminded of our union with the life of a servant who gave his life for us all.

With this in mind do we have any such corrective about the role of women? Society was very male dominated, yet Jesus is very radical in his acceptance of women into his group.

Let us begin with the story of the Samaritan woman.

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Message for the Day

Update Bangladesh

October 30th, 2014
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Our local churches have had a long association with the work of John Biswas in Bangladesh. The Wollongong congregation especially has been a strong supporter of the work being done there.

We have just received a report from John’s recent visit. To view the report please click Bangladesh Report October 6 and for the photos please click Bangladesh Photos October 2014-1.



Reports from Ghana

October 30th, 2014
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The Sydney congregation has been involved for along time with the Buduburam Ghana congregation. Because of this we  share the life of the church in Ghana.

We have just received two reports from Pastor Emmanuel Okai.

The first one features the 40th Anniversary of the Church in Ghana. It may be viewed by clicking REPORT – GCI GHANA CELEBRATES 40TH ANNIVERSARY-3.

The second is about a new youth camp in August. It may be viewed by clicking GHANA Maiden Y.E.P. Camp in August-1