The Tribe of Inman

Amy Roller is the associate pastor at Central United Methodist Church. She will be preaching at FBC Meridian tomorrow during the noon Lenten service. I had the privilege of preaching at her church a few weeks ago for the same gathering. I'm looking forward to her being here and hearing her message. Amy's coming has given me a chance to think about women serving in ministry and the influence of Wesley's tradition. A little cross-pollination can help us at times.

Many people assert that the Methodist movement really began with Mamma. Susanna Wesley was passionate about Christ and her family. In 1711, her Anglican preacher husband, went to London and left the church in the care of a Curate named Inman. J.B. Wakeley described him as a, "very stupid and narrow man." Ouch! The church suffered under his leadership and starved for the word. Susanna Wesley began an "unauthorized evening meeting" in the parsonage. It began small but grew fast. Inman complained loudly but the ox was out of the barn. The work could not be stopped. Mrs. Wesley's strong spiritual influence impacted her sons and marked the Methodist movement.

I went to seminary at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. I had a friend there that was an Assemblies of God pastor. She walked in the tradition of Susanna Wesley (Many Pentecostals affirm the inerrancy of scripture and recognize the ministry giftings of women). She loved God, held a high view of scripture, and believed God called her to lead and preach. She is far from liberal. That label just won't stick to her. It is true that all liberals affirm women in ministry. It does not follow that the affirmation of women in ministry makes one a liberal.

Some of my friends just returned from a mission trip to India. One of them told me just last week of the female tribal pastors (Baptists) that labor to spread the fame of Christ. I celebrate their work. Sadly, there is still a tribe of Inmans that refuse to recognize that God's, "sons and daughters shall prophesy." I know that there are some difficult passages that we must take seriously. I don't think we shouldn't wrestle with the text. I just think we should wrestle with all of it and see grace at work in the lives of our sisters that faithfully share the message of Christ. May their tribe increase.

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