In a document about qualifications of a teacher, you wrote (in the eighth criterion): "His wife must have passion for the ministry as well; they must be well matched in leadership." Why must he have a wife with a passion for the ministry as well? Can a man not be in the ministry as a teacher if his wife does not have a passion to be in the ministry? How would this be different from my current situation. I'm an engineer. My wife has no desire or passion to be an engineer. Yet she can fully support me in my work. Is it really biblical to discount a person from the ministry if his wife, who will support him, does not personally want to be in the ministry? Can a man not be an evangelist even if his wife does not want to be a women's leader? -- Jason Heinze (Omaha)

I have thought it over and I agree with you. Accordingly, I removed number 8 from the list -- which now has 11 criteria, instead of the original 12, in the 2000 version. For more on this, see our paper, The Women's Role Reconsidered. The original intent of the guideline was to ensure that husband and wife were not pulling in different directions, away from one another. I think in some situations it might be better if both were "matched" in leadership; in other situations, this would be irrelevant.

As for "ministry," as we strive to eradicate "clergy-laity" distinctions, it is vital to keep in mind that every single Christian -- without exception -- is in the ministry and has a ministry. Even in the 2000 criteria sheet, this was the idea -- not that "ministry" implied a staff position. With that in mind, I would still contend that the most effective teacher will be one whose wife, by virtue of her passion to serve God, is able to support him in spirit. The deeper her convictions, the better she will understand her husband's calling and be able to assist. (Unless, of course, she is aiming to be a women's teacher herself -- but then that is another matter!)

This article is copyrighted and is for private use and study only. © 2004. Reprints or public distribution is prohibited without the express consent of Douglas Jacoby.