ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH
In this modern day and age, the question has come up in the church about women preachers. In the area where I live there are the headquarters of a denomination that was founded by a woman and where they ordain both men and women to be pastors and to lead congregations. Is it Biblical for a woman to be a pastor or to preach a sermon or a Bible study? We know times have changed but what does the Bible say?
Let’s talk about what women can do in the church. Women may pray and prophesy in a mixed congregation: (1 Cor 11:5) But every woman who prays or prophesies . . . Women may teach children: (Pro 8:1) Does not wisdom cry out, and understanding lift up her voice? Women may teach other women: (Titus 2:4) that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children. Women may serve in background positions in deference to men: (1 Tim 2:12) And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man . . .
Women are amazing creations of God and gifted in so many ways. We have seen them rule governments and corporations with expertise and excellence. But when it comes to the home and the church God has chosen the man to lead the woman: (1 Cor 11:3) But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. This is not because men are superior to women because the Bible teaches the equality of the sexes: (Gal 3:28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. It’s just what God has chosen.
Both in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 Paul speaks of male elders and deacons, never female. So, what should we do because someone has to fill those roles in the church? My recommendation is to hold out until the men come forward. One time a sister in the Lord approached me with an honest question. She asked if women could be ushers. She said her former church had women ushers and then asked what is our position as a church? I appreciated her question and she got me to think. I thought through it and hammered out from scripture that ushers seem to serve in a deacon role and deacons are to be male from scripture, so that was my answer. But what if we don’t have enough ushers at the door? We are to wait until God provides them even if we have to suffer lack for a while.
So, what do we say about women preachers? Dr. Harry Ironside told of a woman who was preaching in a park as he and one of his friends were walking by. His friend said, “It is a shame for a woman to get up and preach like that. I deplore it. She should not be doing that.” Dr. Ironside replied, “I agree with you that it is a shame, not that a woman is preaching, but that there is not a man to take her place.”
Come on men . . . let’s step up to the plate!