What to say about Women Pastors:
In the creation narrative in Genesis 1:27 it views men
and women as equally created in the image of God. Therefore, men and women have equal value to God, and should be seen by
us as having absolutely equal value as persons, and equal value to the church. Scripture assures men and women of equal access
to all the blessings of salvation (Acts 2:17-18; Gal 3:28). This is affirmed in the dignity and respect which Jesus accorded
to women in his earthly ministry.
Evangelical churches have often failed to recognize the full equality of men and
women, and thereby have failed to count women equal in value to men. The result has been a tragic failure to recognize that
God often gives women equal or greater spiritual gifts than men, a failure to encourage women to take full account of the
wisdom that God has given women with respect to important decisions in the life of the church. Yet the question remains, should
women be pastors or elders in the churches. The Bible does NOT permit women to function in the role of pastor or elder within
1. 1 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."
These are the
functions that are carried out by the elders of the church, and especially by what we know as a pastor in contemporary church
situations. It is specifically these functions unique to elders that Paul prohibits for women in the church.
objections to this verse
a) passage applies only to a specific situation that Paul is addressing, probably one
where women were teaching heretical doctrine within the church at Ephesus. This objection is not persuasive, since there is
no clear statement in 1 Timothy that says that women were actually teaching false doctrines. (1 Tim. 5:13 talks about women
who are gossiping, but does not mention false doctrine). Also Paul is not telling women who are teaching false doctrines to
be silent he says "I permit no women to teach or to have authority over men." The reason Paul gives for this prohibition is:
the situation of Adam and Eve before the fall, and before there was any sin in the world and the way in which a reversal in
male and female roles occurred at the time of the fall. These reasons are not limited to one situation in the church at Ephesus,
but have application to manhood and woman hood generally.
b ) Paul gave this prohibition b/c women were not well educated
in the first century and therefore were not qualified for teaching or governing roles in the church. Again there is nothing
that says it was for lack of education, he points back to creation. It is not safe to base an argument on a reason Paul did
not give instead of actual facts of the ancient church. Formal training in Scripture was not required for church leadership
in the ancient church and ancient world. Several of the apostles did not have formal biblical training (Acts 4:13) the skills
of basic literacy and therefore the ability to read and study Scripture were available to men and women alike (Acts 18:26;
Rom 16:1; 1 Tim 2:11; Titus 2:3-4)
c) those who make argument are sometimes inconsistent in that elsewhere they point
to women who had leadership positions in the ancient church, such as Priscilla. Yet Paul does not allow even well-educated
Priscilla or any other well-educated women at Ephesus to teach men in the public assembly of the church. The reason was not
lack of education but the order of creation which God established between men and women.
2. 1 Cor.
14:33b-36 "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?"
Here Paul cannot be prohibiting all public speech by women in the church, for he clearly
allows them to pray and prophecy in church in 1 Cor. 11:5. It is best to understand this passage as referring speech that
is in the category begin discussed in the immediate context, namely, the spoken evaluation and judging of prophecies in the
congregation (see v 29: "Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said".) While Paul allows women
to speak and give prophecies in the church meeting, he does not allow them to speak up and give evaluations or critiques of
the prophesy. This understanding of the passage depends on our view of the gift of prophecy in the NT age, namely, that prophecy
involves not authoritative Bible teaching, and not speaking words of God which are equal to Scripture, but rather reporting
something which God spontaneously brings to mind. Paul's teachings are quite consistent in 1 Cor 14 and 1 Tim 2: in both cases
he is concerned to preserve male leadership in the teaching and governing of the church.
3. 1 Tim.
3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 Qualifications of Pastor and Elders both assume men in these roles.
4. The Example
of the Apostles. While the apostles are not the same as elders in local churches, it is still important to realize that Jesus
established a pattern of male leadership in the church when he appointed twelve men as apostles. It is not true that women
have equal access to all offices in the church, for Jesus, the head of the church, is a man. And the twelve apostles who will
sit on twelve throne judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28) and whose names are written forever on the foundations
of the heavenly city (rev. 21:14) are all men. There will be no eternal modeling of equal roles for men and women at all levels
of authority in the church. Instead, there is a pattern of male leadership in the highest governing roles of the church, a
pattern that will be evident to all believers for all eternity.
(a) argument is the claim that the culture at the
time would not have allowed Jesus to choose 6 men and 6 women or husband-wife teams as apostles. But such an objection threatens
Jesus' integrity and courage. Jesus was not afraid to break social customs when a moral principle was at stake: he criticized
the Pharisees publicly, healed on the Sabbath, cleansed the temple, spoke with a Samaritan woman, ate with tax collectors
and sinners, and ate with unwashed hands.
5. The History of Male Teaching and Leadership Through
the Whole Bible. Throughout the history of the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, there is a consistent pattern of
male leadership among God's people. There are occasional example of women having leadership in government positions such as
Queen (Athaliah did reign as sole monarch in 2 Kings 11:1-20, but she is hardly an example to imitate) or judge (Deborah in
Jud. 4-5) and though there were occasionally women such as Deborah and Huldah who were prophetesses (Jud 4-5; 2 Kings 22:14-20),
we should note that these are RARE exceptions in unusual circumstances. Hardly patterns for NT church office. There is not
one example in the entire Bible of a woman doing the kind of congregational Bible teaching that is expected of pastors/elders
in the NT church.
6. History of the Church. The overwhelming pattern through the entire history of
the church has been that the office of pastor/elder has been reserved for men. Although this does not demonstrate conclusively
that such a position is correct, it should give us reason to reflect very seriously on the question before we rush ahead and
declare that almost the entire church throughout its history has been wrong on this issue.