contribute a great deal to a
congregation. While every woman may not be personally involved, those
involved often labor selflessly in doing the many tasks that need to be
Among other things, they are often active in prayer, music, providing
the sick, cleaning, cooking and teaching the children. All of those
important, and will not be overlooked by God. However, God’s Word makes
that He wants men to shoulder the responsibility for leading the
and teaching the Word of God (1Timothy 2:11-12, 1Corinthians 14:34-35).
there has been no problem with
this arrangement. However, those influenced by the modern “feminist”
-- which assumes that humans have evolved from lower animals, and whose
aim is free sex not what is best for women -- would like to overturn
Bible says on this issue. Furthermore, there are many in the church who
like to go along with them, often deciding the issue on the basis of“feel-good”
sentiment, rather than God’s Word. However, as Bible believing
have a responsibility to teach and practice exactly what the Bible says
Before looking at
what the Bible says we need to
understand that placing someone in a position of leadership or authority
congregation is not a way of rewarding them, honoring them, or exalting
On the contrary, that is the world’s way of thinking, not God’s way
(Luke -25). Those
invested with a position of
leadership have been called to serve the congregation by shouldering
responsibility of teaching and leading the congregation (James 3:1).
Furthermore, God may want men to shoulder that responsibility because
lead the congregation, they are far more likely to exercise spiritual leadership in the home. And, as many women well
need all the encouragement they can get, when it comes to spiritual
in the home.
1Timothy -15But I do not allow a woman to teach,
or to have authority over a man, but to remain silent. For Adam was
formed, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived, but the woman
deceived led in transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved, and find
fulfillment in child-rearing, if they continue in faith and love and
passage plainly tells us that Paul did not allow women to teach or hold
authority over men in the congregation. Furthermore, it is important to
that the reason Paul gives has nothing to do with culture. On the
reason given has to do with the role that God had in mind for women in
beginning. Moreover, there is little difference between ignoring what
in these passages, and ignoring what He said about the forbidden fruit.
either case it is rebellion against God (Isaiah ).
1Corinthians -37Let your women keep silent in the
churches: for they are not permitted to speak; but are commanded to be
obedience, as the law also says. And if they desire to learn any thing,
them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak
church… If any man thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, let him
acknowledge that the things I write to you are the commandments of the
though we generally apply this passage in a spirit of Christian love,
than in a legalistic way, it clearly excludes women from the ministry.
Furthermore, the words that speak of women asking their “husbands at
telling men that they need to have the answers. And, having the answers
involves shouldering the responsibility of spiritual leadership in the
1Corinthians For this reason the
woman ought to have authority over her head because of the angels.
this passage is not explained, it implies that a reversal of the roles
intended for men and women is a stumbling block to the angels. And, if
the case, then ignoring what the Bible says about the role of women in
church is a far more serious sin than we realize.
PASSAGES USED TO
the passages just cited are perfectly clear, those who have their heart
rebellion try to find passages that they can interpret to teach the
However, no interpretation they come up with will ever change what
passages say, because no valid interpretation will ever contradict what
Bible explicitly says (Isaiah ).
Nevertheless, let us take a brief look at a couple of passages.
Acts And it will come to
pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out my Spirit on all
your sons and daughters will prophesy.
who reject what the Bible says about women preaching and teaching in
church, interpret the word “prophesy” in this passage to mean “preach”.
contrast, the Bible defines the word “prophesy” as testifying of
it says, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation
Those who interpret the word “prophesy” (in this passage) to agree with
interpreting it in the light of what
Scripture says elsewhere. However, the Bible makes it clear that those
interpret the word “prophesy” to contradict those passages, are
against God and have a spirit of error (1John 4:6, Psalm 107:11).
Romans 16:1I commend unto
you Phebe our sister, who is a servant of the church that is at
only reason this passage is cited is because the word translated
the Greek word “deacon”. However, that Greek word means servant, and it
in reference to Paul (Colossians ),
Timothy (1Thessalonians 3:2), and Christ (Luke )
none of whom ever held the office of deacon in a congregation. Here
interpret the passage to agree with (not contradict) 1Timothy
and 1Corinthians .
THE ROLE OF WOMEN
women are not to teach men or hold authority over them in the
women are free to teach other women. In fact, the Bible urges the older
to teach the younger (Titus 2:4-5). Likewise, women are free to testify
Christ to those outside the faith. Furthermore, because the priesthood
believers extends to both men and women alike, in a situation where
there is no
Christian congregation, or Christian men to start one, women are free
converts, baptize them, and gather them together for worship. However,
should not usurp the role of a pastor. If men are among the converts,
woman might instruct them privately until one (who meets the Biblical
requirements) is sufficiently grounded in God’s Word to lead the
course, in such a situation, sermons would not be deep theological
but would instead consist of reading God’s Word, talking about what it
and testifying of Christ, while urging the congregation to shun evil
Christian love and charity to all.
Almost a century
ago an English parlor maid named Gladys Aylward traveled to a remote
area of China.
There, together with a 73 year old missionary widow, Jeannie Lawson,
opened an inn and entertained their guests with stories from the Bible.
time, they not only made converts, but also took in a number of
they brought up in the faith. The point I want to make is that, by
inn, or taking in orphans, they did nothing contrary to what is taught
Scripture. If they had tried to usurp the role of pastor, or if Gladys
preached in congregations after she returned to England,
that would have been wrong. However, there was nothing wrong
starting an inn. And, what they did goes to show how many things are
open to women who think creatively.
I pointed out earlier, women contribute a great deal to the life of a
congregation. Moreover, they usually do not need to be asked. They just
that something needs to be done, and jump in and do it. However, men
that way. Men think in a much more military way, and do better when
responsibilities are clearly defined. In fact, if a certain
not been assigned to them, they are hesitant to do it, and may feel
are butting into someone else’s business. That may be another reason
has assigned men the role of leadership in the congregation.