Women’s Role in the Church

WomanAlthough there seems to be lots of arguments about this issue in churches today, it seems like a pretty clear-cut case to me when you consider Scripture. The traditional view stresses the woman’s duty to
“submit” to the authority of men and that they should not “teach” men. Scriptures used include:

Ephesians 5:22 – Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.

I Corinthians 14:33-35 – For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. 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.

I Timothy 2:11-14 – A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

I Corinthians 11:3 – Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

Now, let’s consider the Scriptures that point to women being involved:

Gen 1:27-28 – Women were created in God’s image as well as man

Exodus 38:8 – Women served at the Temple entrance.

Exodus 15:20 – Miriam was a prophetess.

Micah 6:4 – Miriam led alongside Aaron and Moses.

Judges 4-5 – Deborah was a judge.

2 Kings 22:8-20 – Huldah was a prophetess.

I Chronicles 25:5-7 – Women sang in the temple choirs.

Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:16-18 – Women will prophesy.

Luke 2:36-38 – Anna was a prophetess.

John 4:7-26 – Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman in particular.

Mark 1:29-31; 5:25-34 – Jesus cared equally for the sicknesses of women.

Luke 10:42 – Jesus allowed a woman to sit at His feet.

Matthew 19:9-10; Mark 10:11-12 – Jesus reinterpreted issues which were against women

Mark 16:6-8 – Women carried the news of the resurrection even though a woman’s testimony was not considered valid.

Acts 2:1-4 – Holy Spirit fell on both men and women.

Acts 1:14 – Women prayed with men.

Acts 9:36; 12:12; 16:14-15 – Women served in lots of ministries.

Acts 18:26-28 – Priscilla and Aquila helped Apollos understand his faith.

Acts 21:8-9 – Philip’s 4 daughters were prophetesses.

Galatians 3:28 – In Christ there is no male or female.

Romans 8:9b – Women and men are indwelt equally by the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 11:4-5 – Women have access to God in prayer just as men.

1 Corinthians 11:5; 14:26 – Women are allowed to speak in church.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11; 27-31; Romans 12:3-8; 1 Peter

4:10-11 – Women are given Spiritual gifts just as men.

Philippians 4:2-3 – Euodia and Syntyche were co-workers with Paul.

Romans 16; 1 Corinthians 9:5 – 10 out of 29 people commended for service are women.

Romans 16:1 – Phoebe is called a “deacon.”

Romans 16:7 – Andronicus and Junia are said to be “outstanding among the apostles.”

OK – so here’s my take on it all:

With all of the Scripture that affirms women’s involvement in the church, it seems
pretty clear that God approves. Each of the verses which are used to hinder
their involvement can be explained as problems within specific communities/churches or as issues of order. Voddie Bachaum uses an illustration that may be helpful. – An all-pro lineman submits to the authority of a rookie quarterback because the team is stronger when it’s structure/order is upheld. It’s not that the rookie is more valuable – but it’s an issue of order, not worth.

Now, there’s one catch in my opinion. There is only one role which Scripture has no example of women holding – elder or Sr. Pastor. I believe that women can and should function in all roles in the church except Sr. Pastor. Teaching is a spiritual
gift, not an office and so those roles should be open to anyone (male or female) who has that spiritual gift.

Now as to why I don’t think a woman should be a Sr. Pastor. . . .there are three
reasons. One is valid and others are simply my opinion.

(1) the valid one – because we don’t see a Scriptural example.

(2) my opinion – If we ask men to be the “head of household” and for women “to submit” to them at home, we are sending a mixed messages to our men when it comes to their role at church. Again, it’s not a matter of value or worth, but only of order.

(3) I also think that culturally, here in the Bible belt, it’s difficult for men to respect a woman’s leadership in such a way that a healthy situation can be accomplished. As long as there is a Male Sr. Pastor, you also have a situation where this “order” can still be established and women can exercise their gifts in all areas of ministry.

How will this impact my life? I hope to be involved in a church plant one day, so this will have a very direct impact on how it all comes together.

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