Sunday, November 26, 2017

Theology is for Girls Too!

I was not a particularly charming child. Yet, the minister at our church, Clay Woods, and his wife Karen took a very grandparently interest in me.  I was as awkward and gawky as could be.  But they saw this love for studying about God in me and thought it well worth cultivating. 

They lent me books.  They listened to me babble and led my thoughts down new paths.  They took me with them to singings, gospel meetings and lectures.  And one day they made me an amazing promise. 

In my hometown, for as long as I can remember there has been a school of preaching.  It used to be called ETSPM and is a work of the Karns Church of Christ (now the Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies) When Clay became a student there, Karen was already retired and so she sat through all his classes with him.  Not because she was going to be a minister but because they both believed that for her to know God was just as important as it was for him.  

That preaching school has always been open to women to sit and learn.  Not to ignore their gender and the gifts God gave them as women.  Not so those women can be preachers. But so that they can follow the women of God’s word: Miriam who led the women is a song of praise (Exodus 15); Hannah whose prayer moved God and whose song of praise to the God who heard her echoes in comfort to the infertile to today (I Samuel 1); Deborah who prophesied and judged who turned God’s victory into a song of praise (Judges 4), Mary the mother of Jesus  who raised powerful theologians (read more)-the very son of God and James (author of the book of the same name) and Mary the sister of Lazarus who while her sister puttered in the kitchen sat at the very feet of Jesus to learn (Luke 10).  

So the Woods took me aside and promised that if I wanted to take a couple of years before college and study at the school of preaching, they would pay for it. 

Think about that.  It stopped my whole world.  Their vision of a gawky teenage girl as a theologian changed my vision of myself. Forever.

I didn’t take them up on the offer.  I went to Bible College and double majored in “Vocational Ministry” instead.  I became wife and a mother, a missionary and an author.  And most importantly the education they inspired me to get let me share my faith effectively.  There are women who will be in heaven in part because Clay and Karen Woods knew that girls can be theologians too.

I share that story for a couple of reasons. 

One, I shared this story to brag on my friends. I don't know what inspired them to take a random kid from their church under their wing, but it meant everything to me.  

But more than that I share this story to encourage you.  Theology mattersWhat we know about God must inform every decision we make.  If we don’t know the Lord, we do not have the wisdom we need to walk through life.  

Would you do two things for that gawky teenage girl?  

1-Don’t sell yourself short.  You are able to read, study, and understand the word of God.  You can be Mary and sit at the feet of Jesus.  Tell Martha the dishes can wait.  

2- Believe in the women around you.  Go to ladies Bible class.  Chose challenging material. Give spiritual gifts this Christmas.  Give them another chance to study the word of God and say to a woman in your life, “You are theologian too!”



  1. YES! I challenge the women in my Sunday School class to think theologically, to move beyond devotional reading and to dig for truth on their own! This is a motivating and inspirational word, Helene!

  2. Sadly this needs to be said. I know growing up I felt that the most important jobs in the church for strictly for men and that women had no place teaching about the bible. I no longer feel that way but for the longest time it sure did seem to be true.

  3. I think the most effective ministry that any mature believer can do is to be intentional. True ministry is relationship, and we miss it completely by solely focusing on 'programs' and activities. Thanks for the reminder. Lovely!