Sunday, August 21, 2011

Michele Bachmann for Pastor

Michele Bachmann preaching, picture by Brendan HoffmanMichele Bachmann for President!? How about Michele Bachmann for Pastor? I don’t see her as a strong candidate for President of the United States, but after hearing Michele Bachmann preach at a church in Iowa, I’m convinced she would be a great candidate for becoming a pastor. It’s true she won the Ames Straw Poll last week in Iowa, but why did she win it? Wasn’t it because of Bachmann’s compelling Christian testimony and her faith-inspired conservative values? If so, isn’t this poll really telling us that Bachmann would be a great pastor more so than telling us she would be a good president? I really think she could be a great pastor. She would have to drop the political rhetoric and stick to her more compelling message about her faith, her experience as a Christian, and what she’s learned from the Bible. If she could do that, I could see her being a serious candidate for becoming a pastor. Bachmann’s passion would be far better applied on this church track rather than on this bid to become President.

Michele Bachmann is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Minnesota, the first Republican woman to represent that state in Congress. In Washington DC, Bachmann founded and chairs the Tea Party Caucus within Congress. Now, with little to no political accomplishments, she’s a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. And she seems to be very focused on winning the Iowa Caucuses which is the first step toward that goal. The Ames straw poll victory certainly helps her.

In the midst of this campaigning in Iowa, on Sunday, July 24, Michele Bachmann spoke at a conservative Christian church that bans women from leadership and preaching. New Life Community Church Pastor Brian Hagerman explained, “We generally would not have a woman to come to specifically teach because we feel God calls men as pastors to be the primary teachers of their churches.” Yet they did invite Michele Bachmann to this church in Marion, Iowa to “share her testimony”—to speak as one believer to fellow believers about what God had done and is doing in her life. They just did not want her teaching the Bible or speaking too heavily about politics.

Doesn’t this beg the question as to whether Pastor Hagerman and the members of his church would actually vote for Michele Bachmann to become president? If you do not believe that women should be leaders or preachers in the church, would you be able to support a woman taking on the highest leadership role in the country? Often the belief that woman cannot lead in the church is accompanied by other conservative values like the belief that the man is “the head of household”—Presidents Bush Obama Bush Clinton Carterthe key decision maker and the preference to see women staying at home rather than being in the workforce. I’ve certainly been in conservative churches that do not believe women should run for political office. In fairness, though, when asked the question, Pastor Hagerman said, “Outside of specifically leading a church or pastoring a church, I personally don’t read in scripture that God says a man can have this job and a woman have this job.” That seems a bit conflicted to me to believe that a woman cannot lead a church of 200 people  but could lead one of the most powerful nations in the world.

Today, there are a growing number of churches which recognize that Jesus fully included women in his teaching ministry and appointed a few of these female disciples to be the very first witnesses of his resurrection. To believe that only men should be leaders in the church like they do in Marion, Iowa is to disregard a lot of evidence for women in leadership in the New Testament church. The Apostle Paul, for example, when writing to the Romans, sends greetings to 27 people who helped to lead the church in Rome and 10 of them are women, more than one-third of the church’s leadership. He clearly identifies some of their titles and positions in the church such as Junia the “outstanding” apostle, Priscilla his “co-worker,” and Mary, Tryphena and Tryphosa who “worked very hard” for the church. Not only that, this letter to the Romans which some regard as Paul’s greatest theological work was delivered to Rome by Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae. It is more than likely that she would’ve presented it to the church in Rome, having been commended to the church by Paul, thus preaching the words written by the apostle. Given this reality of women in leadership in the New Testament era church, there is no reason why women should not be serving as teachers, preachers and pastors in our churches today.

Bachmann prays, pic by Brendan HoffmanMichele Bachmann is a strong candidate to become a pastor. Though New Life Community Church in Iowa said that Bachmann was not to teach from the Bible, in her speech that day, she preached a sermon, easily the best preaching I’ve heard this year. It was great. She was interesting and engaging as she shared how she grew up in the church yet somehow missed the gospel, but later did become a Christian and decided to live as a Christian making a difference in this world just as God was calling her to do. And, then, she riveted everyone’s attention as she opened the Bible and began to preach. “This is a wonderful story in 1 Samuel 14 that I want to share with you.... [King] Saul was so disheartened that he didn’t know what to do. But his son Jonathan did not give up hope. He had a heart that would not be defeated. He had a heart that said we can do this.” Bachmann continued, narrating through this incredible biblical story of courage and faith. Then, with Billy Graham-like passion, she made that Scripture come alive to every person listening, as she preached, “Oftentimes challenges that come into our life, whether they are small or whether they are large like Jonathan was facing—those challenges are often brilliantly disguised by our God as an opportunity for him to show his greatness. That he is powerful to save. And so I say to you this morning... never look at a challenge and think that you go it alone. Never think that we serve a God who is not mighty to save. He prevails.... Don’t think for a moment that he is not more powerful yet to save.” Amen!

I’ve had the opportunity to hear several new preachers fresh out of seminary preach this year as well as a few seasoned pastors. None of them had even a quarter of the passion and power with which Michele Bachmann delivered that message. Look, I don’t understand her political views or how the Republicans could even consider her to be a good candidate for the presidency when she actually advocated for defaulting on the U.S. debt, but I do know that Michele Bachmann can preach. She’s a passionate Christian who sincerely wants to live for God. When you look at what is best about Michele Bachmann’s campaign presentations in Iowa—her biblical preaching, her faith and her Christian values, let’s be serious, she is a great candidate for becoming a pastor. I, for one, would vote for her to be pastor of a church, but not President of the United States.


  1. Ken, I have no objection with women in the gospel ministry, however having said that I do have an objection to Michele Bachmann to her being a pastor by virtue of your comment. 

    "I don’t understand her political views or how the Republicans could even consider her to be a good candidate for the presidency when she actually advocated for defaulting on the U.S. debt, but I do know that Michele Bachmann can preach."  

    As far as I'm concerned this type of action ought also exclude her from ministry.  If she is unfit for the Presidency, she is even more unfit for the Lord's work.  Do you not agree?

    I don't understand where you state that Christ appointed a few of these female disciples..... I don't recall Him appointing any women correct me if I am wrong.  We have ample evidence that He chose the twelve apostles.  I do not object to women in the gospel ministry, I welcome it.

    The SDA church was blessed with the presence and leadership of Ellen Gould White from the 1840's until her passing in 1915 who authored numerous christian books particularly the well known volume on the life of Christ entitled "Desire of Ages."  During her lifetime she wrote more than 5,000 periodicals and 40 books.

  2. Thanks for the comments, Andy.

    You asked about Jesus appointing female disciples. What I said was he "appointed a few of these female disciples to be the very first witnesses of his resurrection." As I understand the Twelve disciples were 12 selected from a group of disciples that grew to around 500--there were certainly women and possibly children in that number of disciples. In Matthew, Mark and John's gospels, Mary Magdalene and other women are the first to see Jesus resurrected. They are commissioned by Jesus to be the first witnesses, to tell the others he has been raised and to give them specific instruction. Matthew 28:10, "Go and tell my disciples to go to Galilee; there they will see me."You raised the objection that if she is not qualified to be president, how could Michele Bachmann be qualified to be a pastor. I don't see the problem here. I don't think many people are qualified to be President of the U.S. I don't think I've ever had a pastor that I would consider to be qualified to be president.  For example, to be president one should have political experience, international experience and economic insight. I do not think Michele Bachmann needs to be an advocate of Keynesian economics to be a pastor, but I think she should at least thoroughly understand it to run for president (which she doens't, btw).  So I don't agree with you on this. Every pastor I've ever had has not been fit to be president but most of them have certainly been qualified and called to church ministry.I see Michele Bachmann growing in popularity for reasons that should make her to be a good candidate for becoming a pastor but they are not the kind of reasons that should boost one to becoming a candidate for president.

  3. Bold! Real bold, Ken!

    Just one paragraph to show that churches which prohibit women from preaching and leadership are, in fact, out of sync with the New Testament. That is BOLD! Well done!

    So if I have this straight, you don't want Bachmann as president, but you think she would be a good pastor. Of course, she would have to be pastor of a conservative church and most conservative churches are opposed to women in leadership. So in one bold paragraph you try to convince them that they're wrong and Michele Bachmann would be actually be a great candidate for pastor. I love it! That is bold.

  4. I guess I wasn't clear enough in regards to your statement regarding Ms Bachmann advocating to default on U.S. debt.  If she was prepared to do that, what would she do as a pastor, could she be trusted there?  Secondly, preaching does not a pastor make.

    I still maintain that Christ only appointed the original 12 Apostles.  The women who went to the tomb went because they loved the Lord and cared not of the consequences of being seen unlike the Apostles who scattered and Peter who denied, and not of being appointed as you implied.  They acted as messengers if you really want to get technical in behalf of Christ.

    "I see Michele Bachmann growing in popularity for reasons that should make her to be a good candidate for becoming a pastor" 

    Your above statement.  What is that all about?  Where does God's calling and spirituality come into to the equation?

  5. Thanks J.

    I'm still not sure if I succeeded, but you correctly picked up that I was attempting to show  in just one paragraph that obviously women can be in church leadership and serve as pastors because this was obviously the case in the New Testament.

  6. Hi Andy. Glad you got back.

    While I think that Michele Bachmann has some weak or incorrect political and economic views, I don't see how this would stand in the way of being a pastor. Again, as I said above, I do not think Michele Bachmann needs to be an advocate of Keynesian
    economics to be a pastor, for example, but I think she should at least thoroughly
    understand it to run for president (which she doesn't).

    Andy, your second point was "preaching does not a pastor make." I don't know what to say to that, other than to admit you must be right. I have to admit it's been a long while since I've run into a pastor who can preach really well. This seems like an odd maxim to me, but evidently you're right.

    OK, yes, Jesus appointed Twelve Apostles. Agreed. But this same Jesus after his resurrection appeared first to the female disciples who had come to his tomb on Sunday morning. Thus they became the first witnesses of his resurrection and they carried on behalf of Christ a message to the Twelve Apostles and the rest of the disciples. Yes, you're right, I'm getting technical here, but so was Matthew who formulates Jesus' words in Matthew 28:10, "Go and tell my disciples to go to Galilee; there they will see me" very close to his words to all the disciples in Matthew 28:20, "Go and make disciples of all nations..."

    I don't know why we're making such a big deal over that one point. I gave much more evidence for women leading the church in the New Testament, citing in particular Junia the “outstanding” apostle, Priscilla, Paul's co-worker, Phoebe, a deacon of the church
    and many others listed in Romans 16. I could've added to that list the two house church leaders in Philippi who were both women (Euodia, Syntyche from Phil 4:2) and still others. But I was trying to keep it brief and make it clear. Women taught, preached and led churches in the era of the apostles. There's no reason they shouldn't do so today contra the church in Marion, Iowa.

    Look, if Michele Bachmann were to become interested in becoming a pastor, I would recommend some seminary training. And, yes, a demonstration of God's calling to the vocation of pastor would also be necessary. The point in the article is that the things about Michele Bachmann exciting the people in Iowa are mostly qualities one would look for in a pastor more so than they are qualities one would look for in a presidential candidate. Yes, Michele Bachmann has a vibrant faith, she's doing her best to live for God, she reads her Bible, she prays and she preaches a pretty good sermon. That's all great but to be fair, these are not the qualities that made Bill Clinton, Al Gore, George Bush, John Kerry, John McCain or Barack Obama presidential candidates. It's just not enough to make one a serious candidate for president.

  7. I guess I have nothing against female pastors Biblically as I have been going to the same church for 6 years and we have a female leader.  Having said that I think most of the big thrieving churches have Men at the helm. There is just something about male leadership that I like.



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