“Second, the role of an apostle can be a formidable impediment to raising a family. True, many women are not called to raise a family, nor wish to. There are also a handful of women that God has indeed called to ministry, but then specifically separated them from their children (as was the case with Ellen White). But for those who are called to be mothers, the demands of apostolic ministry would be a severe challenge during child-rearing years, making a call from God to do both at the same time seem unlikely.“
When reviewing and listing the many reasons people develop mental (and spiritual) issues, chief among them will eventually the ridiculous notion that only “women raise a family.” The fact that we ever thought one half of the parenting team had no input beyond making money to bring home, speaks volumes about adults growing up only to feel unloved and insecure. If Ellen White flunked parenting, then James failed as well, since he also left his children when he traveled.
I appreciate your mention of a gift-based ministry/apostle model. The veil was torn on the priesthood, and many would argue that their ceremonial role in religious ritual was never a model of ministry in the first place. At the appointment of Aaron as the first of the Levitic order, God also called Moses and Miriam as leaders. Their roles, Moses as prophet, organizer, and arbiter of disputes, Miriam as prophet and worship leader, both performed leadership much closer to what we define as pastoral ministry today.
An examination of the apostolic ministry of the early church would answer your earlier question of whether God would bother or be interested in “calling many women.” In fact, the early church was full of women working alongside men. Junia is listed as a female apostle, Lydia and Priscilla labored alongside Paul both as wage earners () and church workers. Euodia and Syntyche, who’ve populated countless sermons as emblems of bickering, petty female stereotypes, are actually described as women “who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel.” (Phil 4:2-3) It’s worth noting that Peter and Paul, and a good many male apostles knew a fair amount about bickering to the point of estrangement as well.
Dorcas had a ministry akin to the job of a deacon, when such were appointed to take some of the burden of meeting needs of the congregation, to ease the burden of the preaching apostles. Phoebe was sent between churches with sermons and letters. The list goes on and on, and does not even include Mary of Bethany who participated in the role of a disciple (sitting at Jesus feet during his teaching), or Mary of Magdalene, Johanna and others who financed and housed Jesus and his followers.
When we tell the full story— of how both mothers and fathers fully parent and matter, of how God calls and has always called women to lead and minister, we enter into a better reflection of the image of God in humanity. We realize a more fully-functioning body of Christ in the experience of church.
All that having been ignored by so many educated enough to know better, I’m very sad if it’s true that someone unsupportive of women in full ministry has come to pastor the major church body at the university where our denomination’s pastors receive their graduate training.