Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Women's Role in Church Leadership

As there is much debate about the role of women in the church, I believe that we should, as in all circumstances, rely on the Word of God to instruct us as to God's will. In many religious circles, this is a hot-button subject and everyone will not easily accept this teaching. Nevertheless, because it has become a church dividing issue, it demands an appropriate review.

First, let me say that God is a God of order. In His written word, He has laid out a specific order for all things. In 2 Tim 2:15, Paul instructs us to rightly divide the word of truth. Until we rightly divide ALL of His word, we cannot claim to know the truth.

In the beginning, God created Adam, then the Garden of Eden and placed Adam in the Garden then He created Eve. In Gen. 1:28, God gave them dominion over all the earth. By this passage we can see that God saw Adam and Eve as equals, I do not believe God loved, or held Adam in any higher regard than Eve. God loved them the same but had different functions for each. The fact that God created Adam first is very important because the Apostle Paul refers to this in 1Tim. 2:12-14.
"But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression."
By this passage Paul makes it clear that because Eve was the one that fell to Satan's temptation, she could not be trusted to make the important decisions regarding the church. Also, in this passage, the word authority comes from the Greek word "authenteo" which means to dominate. One crucial point I'd like to make here is Paul was referring to behaviors inside the church. There is no indication that this premise was to extend in a political or social environment. On the contrary, Judges Chapter 4 talks of Deborah who was a prophetess and judge. Some say that she "usurped authority" over men because she was a judge. This is true in a social climate but not in the church. And as we know, a prophet or prophetess has no known authority in church.
Many believe that there were deaconesses in the early church such as Phoebe mentioned in Romans 16. Paul simply refers to Phoebe as a servant of the church and to read anymore into that would be in error. The word deaconess does not appear in the King James Bible and a woman would not meet the requirements that Paul spelled out in 1 Tim. 3:10-12 and in Titus 1:5-9.
1Tim 3:10-12 - And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

Titus 1:5-9 - For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

By these passages Paul made it abundantly clear that the positions of deacon and elder were to be held by the male gender.

God is a God of order and balance in our families and in church. According to God's Word, the family order is Jesus, husband, wife, and children. (Gen. 3:16; 1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-21)
Furthermore, not only did Paul require leadership to be of the male gender, but also spoke of their abilities to be church leaders in 1 Tim. 3:1-5.

"This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)"
As we see in this passage of scripture, Paul required the leadership to be able to rule his own house (wife & children). Paul's point here is if a man cannot govern and be the spiritual head of his own house, he should not be afforded the responsibility of leading the church. Many leaders in today's churches have wives that are unbelievers or are in a back-slidden condition. If these leaders are unable to govern and provide spiritual leadership in their own homes, how can we expect them to provide spiritual leadership in the church? I believe this is exactly the thought Paul was conveying in 1 Timothy.

Some say that taking this position about women in leadership belittles women. I do not agree with this at all. Being subservient in no way belittles anyone. Jesus was given his authority by God the Father (Matt. 28:18). He was sent by God (John 6:38). He said the Father was greater than He (John 14:28). Did this belittle Jesus? Of course not! Jesus understood that there is a chain of command in the home, church, and even within the Trinity. The Father sent the Son (John 6:38) and both the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26). Jesus said, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me," (John 6:38). It is clear that God is a God of order and structure. Does the wife's submission to the husband mean that she is less than or inferior to the husband? Absolutely not! Does not having a leadership position in the church mean that she is less important or less of a person? Again, absolutely not! All are equal in God's eyes. God has gifted everyone with specific abilities according to His will. Because God never contradicts Himself, it is illogical to believe that He would place a call on a woman that caused her to "usurp authority" over a man. That is not to say that women are not an important part of the church or God's plan; it simply means that everyone has a specific purpose and it is our responsibility to determine what our call is, keeping in mind that our call cannot contradict God's written word. Simply put, God has set up an order of hierarchy in the home as well as the church. Anytime we deviate from God's plan, we open the door to Satan's attacks. There are female pastors that I believe love their congregations and have a heart to serve the Lord, and firmly believe that God has called them to the office of a pastor. In lieu of the previous scriptures, I cannot agree. I believe they are basing their theology on experience instead of the Word of God.

Also, in the Old Testament, priests were mentioned over 700 times and in every case they were males. This is important because priests were ordained by God to hold a very important office of ministering the sacrifices. This was not the job of women then, and I can find no New Testament scriptures indicating that has changed.

The women's liberation movement that began in the late 60's and persisted through the 70's was by far one of the most destructive acts of Satan regarding the church. This movement "implanted" the idea that women should hold any position that a man could hold. As I stated before, this idea has validity in the social and political arena, but this theology has spilled over into the church as well. And as we can see through the scriptures, this contradicts God's divine order for His church. In today's churches we have become overly sensitive to political correctness to the point that we have allowed the world's ideas to penetrate and taint the church of Jesus Christ. "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." (John 15:19). The church needs to remember that it is OK to be different from the world and it is OK that our views and beliefs are different because we have been chosen "out of the world".

The biggest problem that this theology has caused in the church is it has swung the door wide open and allowed the Spirit of Jezebel to take root. This is a powerful demonic spirit that leads God's children astray by manipulation. As you recall, Queen Jezebel controlled King Ahab by various methods. She ordered the murder of Naboth to obtain a vineyard for Ahab. She introduced the Israelites to pagan worship and had enough control over Ahab that he ordered pagan temples to be built for the worship of Baal. This spirit will use any method necessary to distract God's people. She seeks power and control. I believe this is why it has never been God's plan for a woman to be put in a position that she could usurp authority over a man. This spirit has infiltrated the church and has caused the church to embrace many different idols such as ungodly music and money. She has been given free access to the church by way of political correctness. Too many men are afraid of being labeled a "male chauvinist". Some will say that no such spirit exists, but they do not take into account that although Queen Jezebel lived in Elijah's time (520bc), Jesus' message to the church in Thyatira included Jezebel. "Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols." Rev. 2:20

God's word clearly tells us that the elder is to be the husband of one wife. A woman cannot qualify for this position by virtue of her being female. Whether we accept it or not, the fact is, this is what the Bible teaches.

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