Saturday, April 8, 2017

Does The Bible Permit Women To Be Pastors?

  • Defining The Issues: 
           -For decades, churches have been divided over the issue of the functions of women in ministry. In other words, there are varying points of view as to whether Scripture permits women to serve in ordained, authoritative positions of the church or not. Even if they can, the question remains to what extent? Is it appropriate for a woman be a pastor in God's church? For illustrative purposes, note that some congregations have only male deacons while others allow for deaconesses. Although Christians will not be disqualified by God from salvation for attending a church with female pastors, it is not something to be ignored. Such may be symptomatic of a church seeking to be politically correct and influenced by feminism. 
  • Husband Of One Wife: 
          -The New Testament plainly tells us that appointed ministers of the church are to be the husband of one wife (1 Timothy 3:1-13; 5:1; Titus 1:5-9). These passages discuss other characteristics of appointed men such as not being alcoholics, greedy, selfish, foul-mouthed, and being responsible in general. Scripture provides a thorough list of stipulations for men who desire to take on the obligations of a bishop or deacon. We are told what morals these individuals must uphold and how they must conduct themselves in order to qualify for a position of leadership. These men are to set the primary example of godliness for others to follow. However, Scripture does not apply this list of qualifications for female pastors or deacons. We know that these passages address men because they say, "the husband of one wife." Scripture affirms heterosexual marriage. These passages are silent about female bishops, elders, or pastors (these terms have a synonymous meaning in biblical usage). Interestingly, all twelve apostles were men. 
  • Women Must Remain Silent In The Church And Cannot Exercise Authority Over Men (1 Corinthians 14:33-35; 1 Timothy 2:10-15)?:
          -The church authority structure pointedly rules out women from exercising spiritual authority over men. This principle does not in any way pertain to the political, social, or economic categories of the secular world, but specifically in the context of church leadership. Male headship in the church is grounded on the order of the creation of human beings and how sin entered the world, as recorded in the Book of Genesis. Adam was created before Eve. He is the federal representative of mankind. Therefore, all humanity falls in Adam (Romans 5). The grounding in creation gives Paul's reasoning a universal application. He affirms that what he is writing is the "Lord's commandment" (1 Corinthians 14:37). When the apostle says that women should remain silent in churches, he means they should not be interruptive but peaceful and orderly. We can infer that Paul did not advocate for the silence of women at all times because he mentioned elsewhere them praying and prophesying in the church (1 Corinthians 11:5).
  • Affirming That Women Have Dignity And Purpose:
          -Generally speaking, women excel in areas pertaining to hospitality, instruction, and support. They are not restricted from occupying gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). Women are neither forbidden from educating children nor from exhorting other women to remain in the truth (Titus 2:3-4). They, just like men, have been called to demonstrate the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), contend for the faith (1 Peter 3:15), and to proclaim the Gospel of Salvation to the lost world (Matthew 28:18-20). Women are not inferior to men, being created in the image and likeness of God. It is just that men and women have different purposes at home and in the church. Some women were direct witnesses to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, even when other disciples went into hiding (Matthew 27:55; John 19:25). Moreover, the Apostle Paul acknowledged individual women for their work in ministry and even addressed some as "co-workers" (Romans 16:1; 6-7; Colossians 4:15; Philippians 4:2-3). Scripture is not in any way sexist, biased in favor of one specific gender over the other. The accomplishments of women ought to be acknowledged accordingly.

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