“Women are not lesser, or below men, but they are just different.”
And yet... is it not considered lesser to say God does not speak to me as clearly simply because I look physically different from you? Is it not considered lesser to state that I, as a woman, am not really created in God's image, but in man's image? Is it not considered lesser to say that I, as a woman, can't have truly heard a word from the Lord because it doesn't fit your preconceived ideal?
Who am I to say that based on my personal view of the what the Bible says, God couldn't speak to someone else in a different way? We are simply talking about lifestyle choices here, and ministerial outreach, and I don't recall God saying that if a woman hears from Him that she should be a missionary instead of get married and raise a family, that is a sin. I don't recall God saying it's a sin for a woman to have a job outside the home, or to wear culturally-defined women's clothes, or to feel His spirit move in her to preach or teach or bring the gospel to a forgotten tribe in Africa.
Abigail went directly against the wishes (perhaps even command) of her husband by providing David with everything he needed when her husband foolishly refused it. She was blessed by God for that very action, and I don't recall any punishment was given for her apparent complete disregard for her husband's wishes in regard to his property. She did what God moved her to do, and was blessed. - 1 Samuel 25:1-42
Joanna, the wife of Chuza the manager of Herod's household, LEFT her husband's home for presumably hours at a time, just following Jesus and providing for their needs out of her own means. I don't recall Jesus calling her out on her obvious neglect of her own household when she “should have been home”, instead of out ministering with the men. - Luke 8:1-3... Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.
Mary, instead of doing the women's work with Martha, chose instead to place herself on the same level as the men, at the feet of Jesus as her teacher – unheard of. Yet what did Jesus say? “Mary has chosen the better thing.” Isn't that right there an example of a woman deciding to step out of the gender roles of her day because she recognized a word from the Lord, and God acknowledged that as the better thing? - Luke 10:38-42 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
It will not be taken away from her.
Martha would have taken away Mary's closer walk with the Lord, and the teaching Mary would receive, based on her view of gender roles and her sense of “fairness”. Who am I to take the Word of the Lord away from someone He has spoken to, and called, and equipped?
God is not bound by our earthly view of things, by our clouded and finite view of His infinite Being and everlasting Truth. He is not bound by the rigid gender roles we want to read into His word by cherry-picking a few verses and fitting them to our preconceived mindset.
God calls, gifts, and equips women equally and to the same extent as he does the men. It does not make any sense to cut off the spiritual power of over half the Christian population based on our biased view of “gender roles”. Yes, men and women ARE different. Physically they are different. Sexually they are different.
But we all have the same Spirit of God, and that Spirit does not play favorites or distinguish between the genders when passing out gifts and equipping us for the battle. We all are in a massive battle of spiritual warfare... why would you want to immobilize half the troops?
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29