I enrolled at Moody Theological Seminary (MTS) in 2000. A new millennium. A new beginning. And from the first day that I joined the ranks of women in theological education, you treated me as an equal, as a co-labourer and co-combatant. You didn’t embrace female ordination, and neither did I. Still, you invited me into your study groups, you asked to borrow my notes after class, and you broke bread freely with me in the campus dining hall.
When I transferred to the MDiv program and was the only woman in most of my classes, you welcomed a female voice in a sea of male ones. In our preaching classes, you humbly received my feedback after you presented your expository messages and proffered equally helpful constructive criticism when my turn came to present my work. You didn’t embrace women preaching from the pulpit on Sunday mornings, and neither did I. But you believed that your sisters should be trained to rightly divide the Word of truth alongside you.
I have since learned that sisters who studied at other conservative seminaries did not all experience the warm welcome that I did. Some men viewed them with suspicion or mistrust. They avoided eye contact with them. They stayed as far from them as possible. They treated them as invisible. Some even walked out on them in protest when they presented their work in homiletics class. These brothers contributed to an environment in which women were made to feel like interlopers in a space that should have been reserved for men.
You, on the other hand, demonstrated Christ-like love and humility to me. I cannot recall a single instance in which I felt like I didn’t belong in your midst. On the contrary, you bantered with me, you encouraged me in my calling, and you loved me like a sister, co-heir, and co-regent. Some of you have gone on to become lifelong friends and prayer and/or financial partners as Dan and I serve cross-culturally. Others of you have remained Facebook friends, at times cheering me on from afar, at times laughing at the bonehead comments I share on my feed. 🙂
MTS’s faculty modelled this, but it never needed to be forced upon you. Brothers, you simply demonstrated that you believed in the full inclusion of both God’s sons and daughters in the Cultural Mandate, in the Great Commission, and in our mutual flourishing in the Kingdom of God. The Lord used my years in seminary to refine my character, my competence, and my knowledge of his Word. And you were instrumental in that process. I am convinced that your churches and families are beacons in a dark world because of your leadership in them. And that your wives, your daughters, and the women in your churches are free to thrive because of your Christ-like character. I salute you, brothers!
So then, dear brothers, be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor 15:58)
Originally published here. Used with permission.