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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 a church.


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.

Some 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.

Objections : (In green is what one might say- in blue what a good response is)

1. "Ministry should be determined by gifts not by gender" respond -spiritual gifts HAVE to be used within the guidelines given in Scripture. The Holy Spirit who empowers spiritual gifts is also the Holy Spirit who inspired the Bible, and he does not want us to use his gifts in disobedience to his words.

2. "If God has genuinely called a woman to be a pastor she should not be prevented from acting as one." same response as above - an individual claim to have experienced a call from God must always be tested by subjecting it to the words of God in Scripture. If the Bible teaches that God wills for men alone to bear the primary teaching and governing responsibilities of the pastorate, then by implication the Bible also teaches that God does not call women to be pastors. (often what a woman discerns as a divine call to the pastorate may be indeed a call to full-time Christian ministry, but not to be a pastor/elder in a church)

3. "The NT emphasizes on servant leadership" - this makes false distinction between servant hood and authority.

4. "just as the church finally realized that slavery was wrong, so the church today should recognize that male leadership is wrong and it's an outdated cultural tradition that should be discarded" ---this objection fails to realize the difference between the temporary cultural institution of slavery, which God certainly did not establish at creation, and the existence of a difference in male-female roles in marriage (and, by implication, in relationships within the church) which God established at creation.

5. "Priscilla and Aquilla together spoke to Apollos and 'expounded to him the way of God more accurately' "(Acts 18:26) This is true, and it is helpful evidence showing that informal discussion of Scripture by men and women together, in which both men and women play a significant role in helping one another understand Scripture, is approved by the NT. But does not overturn the principle that the publicly recognized governing and teaching role within a church is restricted to men. Pricilla was not doing anything contrary to this restriction.

6. "It is inconsistent to allow women to vote in churches that have congregational government, but not to serve as elders." - The authority of the church as a whole is not the same as the authority given to specific individuals within the church

more from Lanaiah:

Just thought I'd elaborate a bit on this subject....

I was searching through Scripture and 1 Timothy 2:11-12 and 1 Cor. 14:34-35 tells us that when the church comes together, women are not to speak in tongues, prophesy, or teach the Word of God. When the church comes together the appointed men are to do the teaching. The key point to these passages is...when the church comes together for corporate worship.

Can women proclaim the Word of God? -yes, at any time and at any place, except when the church comes together for the worship service.
Can women share what they've learned? -Yes, in the right environment there is nothing wrong with a woman sharing what the Spirit of God has taught her out of the Word.
Can women pray in public? -Yes, women can pray in public. Acts 1:13-14 describes a prayer meeting where the disciples of Jesus as well as several women were present. There is a time and a place when it is perfectly appropriate for woman to pray in public.

When Paul writes in 1Tim. 2:11, "Let the woman learn in silence," he means that women are not to teach during the official meeting of the church. The responsibility of being the preacher, the teacher, or the one who leads in prayer in the worship service is a role ordained for men (by God).

That doesn't mean women can never speak God's truth. We all know that God used women such as Miriam (Ex. 15:20-21), Deborah (Judges 4:4), Huldah (2Kings 22:14-22), and Anna (Luke 2:36-38) to speak for Him. Paul spoke with various churches and synagogues during his missionary journeys, answering questions from women as well as men (Acts 17:2-4). I believe there is a time and place for women to publicly offer a testimony of praise to the Lord. I don't believe Paul is saying women can never do that. But he does forbid women to take leadership roles in the church.

In 1Cor. 11:3, Paul says, "The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." That verse teaches that women are to be in submission to men in the sense that they are not to usurp the role of leadership in the church, which belongs to qualified men. No believer will argue that Christ is not the head of man. And believers understand that God the Father is the head of Christ. Phil 2:5-8 teaches that Christ took upon Himself the form of a servant during His incarnation. Since Christ is the head of the man and God the Father is the head of Christ, why do we debate about whether the man is the head of the woman?

Women are not inferior to men; we simply have a different role. Many people believe that the only place of power and influence is in a leadership role. They believe it is more fulfilling to lead than to follow. But people in non-leadership roles can be significantly influential as well.

The role of subordination and subjection often brings the greatest peace, happiness, and contentment. The idea that the greatest experience in life is to be on top of the pile and control everything is an illusion. I advise any woman who desires to be a leader in the church to stay under the loving care and protection of her husband and the current church leaders. It's a happier place to be. The burden is significantly lighter. Subjection is not a punishment, it's a privilege.

Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says women are to accept their God-given role. They must not seek the leadership role in the church. Primarily they are to raise godly children. How tragic that so many women feel their lives are unfulfilled because they can't function in the same roles as men. Yet God has given them the unique privilege of rearing a godly generation of children and of having an intimate relationship with them that no father can know.

Elisabeth Elliot is a godly example of a woman who accepted her role as a women. After the murder of her husband and several other missionaries in Ecuador, was the only missionary left who could speak the language of the Auca Indians. She taught one of the Auca men the sermon each week, and he then preached it to the church.

(by Wayne Grudem)

All glory, honor and praise to Jesus Christ our Lord.
Serving the Lord together since Dec. 2002!!