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”]