Women In Ministry – Part 2

1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him.

2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,

3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:

5 A sower went out to sow his seed… Lk. 8:5

The issue of women in ministry is a touchy one;  but the reason this issue is so delicate is because the spirit of the world has been allowed to enter the church; the ‘Beijing Conference’ spirit. People are jostling for position; everyone wants to be somebody. So we have to tread delicately because we are fearful of hurting people!

But we ought to leave those attitudes to the world. Women want equal rights, etc. That is for the world. In church it is different.

I pray that the Lord may give me grace in disseminating this subject. But I want to introduce two scriptures that will lay the foundation for what I believe is God’s order in the church.

The first scripture is 1 Corinthians 11:3. The Apostle Paul writes:

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

The word “head” in the Bible speaks of authority. God is fully sovereign. All power, dominion and authority is invested in Him. It is for this reason the Bible says that God sent His Son Jesus Christ to earth to accomplish His plan of salvation. God did not say to Jesus, “Ok, sonny, let’s throw the dice to see who goes”. No; God sent Jesus.

What did Jesus do?

He obeyed His Father.

Grasping these facts is pivotal in our understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Notice in the above scripture that there are three heads mentioned: God, Jesus, and the man. The woman is not mentioned with respect to the word “head”. That means she is not invested with authority in the church.

Moreover, the head of the woman is not Christ; it is the man.

Through this scripture, Paul was setting forth God’s order for the church. Each “head” of necessity has to have authority: God has authority, Jesus has authority; and the man has authority. Therefore the ministry gifts that Jesus gives are gifts of authority; and He gives them to the man, for the man of necessity must have authority. Jesus does not give them to the woman because the woman is not a “head”. Moreover, as we stated earlier, Jesus is not the head of the woman; the man is.

There can therefore be no women apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors or teachers in the sense that they have been ‘called’ by God (Jesus) into those ministries. Nor can they exercise the authority that is inherent in these ministries. God does not call a woman to a position of authority in the church.

That does not mean that God does not anoint women to teach or preach, or even to lead. What it means is simply that a woman cannot exercise authority in the Spirit. In the Spirit she always has to be under a “covering”, implying she always has to be under authority, the authority of the man, for that is the order that God has set forth.

There are women pastors today; women apostles, etc. That contradicts scripture, for those positions hold authority. How can a woman be a wife at home (submission) and be a pastor in church (authority)? It is a contradiction in terms; but, above all, it is contrary to the Word of God.

During His earthly ministry, Jesus did not give in to ‘political correctness’ and overstep God’s order by giving authority to a woman.

Jesus, who was obedient to His heavenly Father, has been invested with the authority to give the ministry gifts. Knowing God’s order fully, during His earthly ministry, Jesus gave His ministry gifts to men. And He did so because He is the head of the man. That was what Jesus did when He was here on earth; He gave gifts of authority to men, hence “the twelve” (apostles).

As it says in Matthew 10:2-4:

“Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.”

Those are the names of the twelve apostles that Jesus set up for ministry. No woman is included in that list. It is clear, therefore, that, if Jesus did not set up women apostles, there can be no grounds for women apostles in the church today. And this goes for all ministry gifts that form the authority of Christ in the church.

Does that mean that Jesus was a chauvinistic male bigot? Does it mean that Jesus did not value women as He did men?

Hardly. On the contrary, Jesus was following God’s order. God is a God of order, not of confusion. In Timothy 1:23, the Apostle Paul reminds us a simple fact about God’s order of creation.

“For Adam was first formed, then Eve.”

There is order with God. We cannot be what we want to be. We can only be what God wants us to be. God alone is sovereign; and we are His subjects.

I have heard that in a certain tribe in a neighboring country, there was, long ago, a woman “chief” who used to sit on men as one sits on a stool. That culture of control continues to this day among the women of that particular tribe and it has brought untold grief to that community.

But there is order with God. Another un-politically correct man, the Apostle Paul, states:

“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” (1 Tim. 2:12)

I believe there were things happening in church that were out of order during the Apostle Paul’s time.

Finally, let us look at a scripture that captures the grace that is in God’s wonderful plan for both the man and the woman. The Apostle Paul, writing in Ephesians chapter 5 concerning the responsibilities of both the husband and the wife, exhorts both parties thus:

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…” (v. 25); and

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands…” (v. 22)

But it is the conclusion that blows us away. Paul concludes thus:

“This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (v. 32)

What exactly is Paul talking of in this and the preceding verses?

What he is saying is this: God has put two people in the world. He has put man to show the authority and love of Christ to His church; and He has put the woman to show the church’s obedience and submission to Christ.

What grace! When we see beyond our carnal understanding, it is something to be wondered and rejoiced at that God has made both the man and the woman equal heirs of His grace. Each complements the other.

The woman can teach and minister in different capacities in church; but always in submission to the man. That is God’s order in the Spirit.

[“… the head of the woman is the man”]

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3 thoughts on “Women In Ministry – Part 2

  1. I speak as one called of God to encourage those whose heart would submit to God in The Spirit and to shed light on the Bible through knowledge.
    You are correct that there are 3 heads, except the Greek clearly says that “Christ is the head of every male”, husband or not. In 1 Corinthians 11:3 the Greek says clearly, as does the context, “the head of the wife is the husband” not any male, and not the neighbour guy, so the issue is not gender.
    This is made very clear by Paul in Galatians 3:28, “…there is no longer male and female…”. The words here are different than the verses you quote, for it applies to all females and all men. There are special rules for husband and wife, but no one is defined by their gender in the sight of God. So any teaching based on gender misses the mark. Paul writes to affirm the sanctity of marriage, and the relationship of husband and wife, namely she is defer to him when he loves her like Christ loves the Church (not when he is abusive, cruel, evil, etc.).
    You state that women cannot be pastor or apostle. Andronicus and Junia appear to be apostles (Romans 16:7) so Paul accepts her as such. There was a congregation led by Priscilla and Aquila, and we know they shared this pastorate because she is named before Aquila, the way you showed preeminence in the Greek language.
    You refer to 1 Timothy 2:12-13, but here again the Greek suggests Paul would not permit a wife to boss a husband. The context even supports this for talking about Adam and Eve is about husband and wife, not mere gender.
    Your use of the marriage as a metaphor for the Church seems sound, because if a believing couple show respect for each other, serve rather than grasp for power of leadership and show kindness and hospitality to their ability it stands as a glowing witness to the place of human servanthood under God.
    You refer to the ministry gifts as “gifts of authority”, but this cannot be so. There is one Head of the Church, and it is Christ. When the disciples asked who would be chief among them Jesus rebuked them and said none of them would have authority over another. God would view the most innocently serving as great, having no authority over other people, but only self. Ministry is service, and anyone who claims to “lord it over” another is acting like an unbeliever. Human desire is for structure, but God has no such compulsion. We are all under God, and should view all others as “better than ourselves”.
    What the Bible repeatedly demands is humility, honouring one another and the absolute supremacy of God over any human or human institution. I accept that you desire a careful and wide discussion of such matters and it is welcome. I pray you have opened many doors for deep and respectful discussion on God’s Word.
    Peace

    • Dear David. In school we had a headmaster; and here you are my headmaster! I respect and love you greatly and it is an honor when you correct me. Yes, I know this is a broad and sometime controversial subject, and I respect your views. I would want to clarify, though, that I was not talking about man’s authority, but God’s. There can be no question that the word “head” refers to authority; but it is the authority of God. In the church, the man is subject to Christ and since this subjection is in the Spirit, it gives him a bigger responsibility in humbling himself than it does even the woman! How unsearchable the ways of God!! Secondly, there can be no question also that a woman cannot be in the five-fold ministry. Jesus set the precedent by appointing men only amongst the twelve, and we would need a long rope indeed to bring a counter idea. But since the central idea in the gospel of Jesus Christ is of obedience and humility (whether apostle or church sweeper), we see the apostles led the way in these two. We could say that settles it.

      • If the issue is gender, not marriage function, then Paul would be wrong to say “no male or female”. Nothing allows for every man to be the head of any woman. This is a time when the language Paul wrote in must be considered. Also, the Twelve were all apostles and did not serve in the other parts of the five-fold ministry. Their ultimate calling is to judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28), so to use this as a basis for putting the female gender in a certain status is shaky.
        Dear Brother, there is a time when the mysteries of God can may considered through discussion, study, learning, and that is why I learned the Biblical languages to be able to dig deeper into the message of God’s Holy Word.
        And yes, obedience and humility would be one key for believers to serve Almighty God everyday in every way. May The Spirit guide us to be in that position before Creator.
        Peace

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