Women As Pastors Elders And Leaders In Bible
Sadly, many women we talk to have been disrespected by Christian men in authority, especially in the local church context.
Some years ago Kristi and I were leading a midweek seminar at a Bible church. Our topic was discipleship to Jesus and personal soul care. There were about twenty people attending. I opened our meeting with prayer, introduced our topic, and made some comments from the Bible. Then Kristi shared her insights with a personal example.
Right after she stood up to speak a man abruptly got up from his chair and left the room in a fuss, shaking his head and muttering under his breath.
As Kristi continued speaking, the mans wife kept turning around to see if he was coming back. Soon she picked up her purse and left too. Later she contacted us, Im sorry we left your talk. My husband believes its not Biblical for a woman to teach in church when men are present.
This was quite demeaning of Kristi and women in general. Though I dont imagine that any of the churchs elders or pastors wouldve walked out on Kristi, their official church doctrine supports the belief behind doing that. They do not allow women pastors, elders, or preachers/teachers they limit women to roles like pastors wife, admin staff, hostess, womens ministry leader, teacher of children, or deaconess.
These elders are sincere and not intending to be sexist or disrespectful of women, but thats the effect theyre having.
Why Many Churches Dont Let Women Teach or Lead
What Does The Bible Say About Women Ministers
As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lords command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. .
Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression. .
Older women likewise are totrain the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored. .
What Did St Paul Say About Women
Can two sides in a debate – both composed of sincere, intelligent people – look at precisely the same set of evidence and reach precisely opposite verdicts?
With the Church of England’s first women bishops to be named soon following the final seal of approval for legislation allowing them, that is exactly the case.
Supporters of women bishops say St Paul was part of an early Christian world in which some Church leaders were women. Opponents believe he forbade women to exercise power in church.
As an authority on life in the earliest Christian communities, Paul is unsurpassed. He was a key figure in the first Churches spreading outside the Holy Land.
His letters to early Christians were reverently collected to form a major part of the New Testament – though they are preoccupied with local disputes and organisational matters and often angry.
Jimmy Dunn, former professor of divinity at Durham and author of the Cambridge companion to St Paul, and Dr Lee Gatiss, director of the evangelical Church Society, and opponent of women bishops, examine some of the texts.
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Can Women Be Elders
The very description of an elder is that of an older man. I could not find one single Scripture where it mentioned the qualifications of an elder to be anything but a male one not new to the faith . Some denominations have teaching elders. Any one designated as a pastor is already an elder but these can be separate offices. Paul writes to Titus that An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient . Since the elder is to be the husband of one wife, we can naturally conclude that he is a male.
Paul also instructed Titus in appointing elders in the Crete church writing, For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man be above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as Gods steward . The fact that pastors are also elders is found in these verses as he uses the words elders and overseer interchangeably and includes the fact that elders must be a man above reproach and the husband of one wife. What is obviously missing is any reference to a woman being an overseer or an elder.
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Quite a lot, actually, and its very affirming. Take for example, the Apostle Pauls words to the early church in Rome:
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith if it is serving, then serve if it is teaching, then teach if it is to encourage, then give encouragement if it is giving, then give generously if it is to lead, do it diligently if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
The call of God is connected to gifts that are received from the Holy Spirit. Nothing in this passage connects the gifts and calling of God to a specific gender.
When Paul tells leaders to “lead” diligently, he uses the Greek word “proistamenos” . The noun form of this word is “prostatis.” In Romans 16:2, Paul refers to Phoebe as a “prostatis.” When Paul refers to himself as a “minister of the gospel,” he uses the Greek word “diakonos” . Similarly, Phoebe is described by Paul as a diakonon in the church of Cenchrea .
Priscilla taught a man “the way of God more accurately” . The Greek word is “exethento” this is the same activity Paul engaged in when he explained from the Law and the Prophets that Jesus was the Messiah .
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Should Women Be Pastors
The Bible emphasizes how important the role of women in the Church is, and it also implies how men should do their roles similarly to how Christ loved the Church. Both play a huge part in making the Church a success.
- Glory DyChristianity.com Contributing Writer
- 202012 May
The topic of whether women are allowed to be pastors in a church is a continuing debate among many denominations. Throughout the centuries, theologians have studied this issue and have come to the majority conclusion that pastoral duties are for men.
However, despite this, there are still arguments being raised that women, too, can be pastors. What does the Bible tell us about this topic?
Teaching In The New Testament
I agree with Dickson that the prohibition against women teaching in 1 Timothy 2:12 should not be taken in the broadest sense possible. Paul does not mean to forbid women from ever transmitting knowledge to someone else. He is addressing propriety in worship, not the sort of teaching we find from women to women in Titus 2 or from Priscilla and Aquila to Apollos in Acts 18. But just because we reject the broadest definition of teaching does not mean the only other option is the narrowest definition. Dickson would have us equate teaching with passing on oral tradition. That was certainly part of teaching in the apostolic age, but many of the places in the New Testament that speak of the apostolic tradition never mention didasko . The language instead is of receiving, delivering, or passing on.
Crucially, the Sermon on the Mount is labelled as teaching . According to Dickson, the Sermon on the Mount is teaching because Jesus is correcting the tradition of the scribes and handing down his own authoritative traditions. What Jesus is not doing is expositing a text . Of course, Dickson is right in what Jesus is doing. He is wrong, however, in asserting what Jesus is not doing. The Sermon on the Mount is filled with Old Testament allusions, parallels, and explanations. One doesnt have to claim that Jesus is giving a modern sermon as we might. The point is not that teaching everywhere in the New Testament means exposition, but that the two ideas cannot be neatly separated.
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Pauls Emphasis On Charismatic Ministry
Ministry in the New Testament is charismatic in nature. It is made possible and energized as the Holy Spirit sovereignly distributes spiritual gifts to each member of the body of Christ . While some gifts are a spontaneous work of the Spirit and others are recognized ministry gifts to the Body, all are given for service without regard to gender differentiation. For example, the gift of prophecy is explicitly for both men and women: Your sons and your daughters will prophesy . The New Testament confirms that women received and exercised this gift of the Spirit .
If Peter found certain statements by Paul hard to understand , it is no surprise that we, removed by nearly two thousand additional years of history, would share his struggle in interpreting some Pauline passages. While the original audiences were familiar with the problems that Paul addressed, we are left to reconstruct them and apply his prescriptions as best we can in light of the larger context of his letters and biblical revelation. And we, like Peter , must respect and love our brothers and sisters who hold alternative interpretations on issues that are not critical to our salvation or standing before God. We only request that those interpretations be expressed and practiced in love and consideration for all of God’s children, both men and women.
Famous Female Pastors Today
As we look at the Christian world today, it is not hard to find popular female pastors. In the United States alone, female pastors are highly efficient when it comes to drawing a lot of followers. In fact, most of them are more eloquent, charismatic, and knowledgeable than their male counterparts.
You might have heard about Paula White, the personal Donald Trump. Or maybe Juanita Bynum, a famous evangelist, televangelist, author, and gospel singer based in Chicago. I should also not fail to mention Joyce Meyer, Bimbo Odukoya, Ida B. Robinson, and Darlene Zschech. If you want to know more of the popular female pastors, a list found in Ranker.com will show you.
Now, what Im pointing it out here is that women ministry or female pastors and preachers are actually a reality today. We even have female priests in some churches.
According to a study released by the Barna Group, The State of Pastors 2017, there is a slow but steady rise in the number of female pastors. In the Protestant denomination, one in every 11 protestant pastors is a woman.
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Are Women Pastors/preachers What Does The Bible Say About Women Pastors
Perhaps there is no topic more vigorously debated than that of women as pastors/preachers in todays time. Therefore, it is crucial to not look at this issue as a male vs female one. Some women consider that women shouldnt serve as pastors. And Bible prohibits women from serving in the church, and some men believe that women can and should serve as ministers. There is no restriction on women. It is not a matter of superiority or discrimination, and this is a matter of interpretation of the Bible.
Gods Word declares, One must learn in silence with complete submission. I say not to teach, nor to command men, but to be silent . God assigns different roles to women and men in the church, resulting from how man was created and how sin entered the world . Through the apostle Pauls writings, God restricts womens right to spiritual education over men. It forbids women to be pastors over men, including everything from preaching to teaching and having spiritual authority.
There are many objections to the view that women are in the pastoral ministry. A common objection is that Paul prohibited women from teaching because women were exclusively uneducated in the first century. Although 1 Timothy 2:1114 does not mention educational level anywhere. If education were the only qualification for the ministry, most of Jesus disciples would not be qualified. Another common objection is that Paul forbade only women from the Ephesians to teach .
Can Women Be Pastors
This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.
We have seen Pauls clear instruction to Timothy to select overseers among men who qualify. Since a pastor must also be apt to teach, Paul addresses the role of women in the church and says, But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression . A pastor has authority over the church and so no woman, according to Scripture, is to be over a man in authority in the church or at home . This does not mean that the church board can not discipline a pastor and the church board may well be composed of some women members.
Even in the Old Testament there was not one single woman that was ever a priest in the 700 times this office was mentioned. In the New Testament, both elders and pastors are mentioned in the masculine, saying he must be blameless , he must be the husband of one wife , he must be apt to teach , he must rule his own household well , he must have his children in subjection , he must not be a novice lest he be filled with pride , he must have a good reputation , and hold fast to the faith that he was taught
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The Children Of God And His Church
We are reminded by this in Ephesians 5:22-25, as it is written,
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
This passage emphasizes how important the role of women in the Church is, and it also implies how men should do their roles similarly to how Christ loved the Church. The roles are not a walk in the park. Yes, it is different, but both play a huge part in making the Church a success.
To further affirm this, let us talk about Lydia, the helper in the ministry. In Acts 1:13-15, we meet Lydia as it is written,
On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Pauls message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. If you consider me a believer in the Lord, she said, come and stay at my house. And she persuaded us.
It Is God Who Assigned The Role Of Men And Women
We can read in the scripture that it is not the Apostle Paul who decide which gender to rule, but it is God. God is a God of order. He does not want His people to live in disarray and chaos. God knows that there will come a time when people will be confused with their role and thats why right at the beginning, in Genesis 3:16, God already set the role. He said that the desire of the woman shall be for their husband and the husband shall rule over her.
We have read that the role of a woman is to support the man. The man leads the woman follows and supports. Now, how can she fulfill this role if she is leading? You know, teaching requires leadership and authority, things that women cannot have if she was to fulfill the role God has assigned to her. Women should be too busy supporting her husband to the point that she doesnt seek a leadership position anymore. And if a woman is not married, then she should be busy seeking the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price .
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