Differing Roles of Men and Women in the Church
There is an oft spoken cliché' that goes like this: “As members of the church, the body of Christ, we are called to be in the world, but we are not to be of the world”.
This is interpreted in different ways by different folks, but what I see in it is a composit paraphrase of Romans 12:1,2 and 1 Cor. 5:10
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”.
“I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world”.
The first passage calls the church to sacrifice by abstaining from conformity to the world, while the second says, in order to be a witness to the world, the church must remain in the world.
This is no mean admonishment. To remain in the world, and to maintain relationships with the “the fornicators of this world”, but at the same time not be conformed to the ways of the world, can be a difficult thing to pull off.
Another cliché that speaks of an unfortunate truth is: “the church is in the world, and world is in the church”. One way, among others, in which the church has given in to the ways of the worldly culture in America, is in its crumbling to the pressure of feminists to allow the ordination of women as pastors of church congregations. Until the latter part of the twentieth century, women pastors were virtually unheard of in the church. But the whithering pressure from worldly elements has changed this in recent times, most prolifically in the old line Protestant denominations, as well as the independent Protestant Evangelical community, where the most recent surveys showed that around 10 percent of church senior pastorates are now occupied by women,1 a number, according to a survey, that doubled between 1999 and 2009..2
Biblical Basis claimed in the argument for the ordination of Women Pastors
What Biblical basis is put forth by proponents to warrant the ordination of women pastors? Although the OT priesthood was reserved for males of the tribe of Levi (Exd. 38:21), there were a number of OT women figures who are often sited as examples of women's ability to lead, and thus their fitness for filling the role of a pastor in the church of the present dispensation. The usually names included in this group are Miriam, Mose's sister (Nu. 12:6-14; Micah 6:4), Deborah, a prophetess and judge over Israel (Judges 4:4), the prophetess Huldah (2 Kings 22:14), and Esther, the Israelite queen of a Gentile King (Esther).
The usual New Testament women who are sited as figures who occupied ministerial roles include Mary Magdelene, who was obviously a follower and confident of the Lord during part of his three year ministry, Mary, the Lord's mother, Anna the prophetess at Jesus' presentation (Luke 2:36), Lydia (Atcs 16:14, 40), a business woman who was one of Paul's most devouted followers and supporters, Priscilla, who with her husband Aquila, taught the preacher Apollos “the way of God more perfectly” (Acts 18:26), Phoebe, who aided Paul in delivering the letter to the Romans, who Paul called “a servant of the church" (Rom. 16:1), and, I'm sure, there were many other women not sited in Scripture who had influence in the first century church.
Perhaps, more pointedly, are the usual passages of scripture proponents of the ordination of women to the pastorate often site, which would include the following:
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23)
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.(Gal. 3:28)
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons. (Acts 10:34) Paul also made this claim in Galations 2.
These references are all meant to show that, in the spiritual sense, men and women are on equal footing, which I have no argument with. Moreover, Peter's referrence to the wife being the “weaker vessel” in the man/woman relationship (1 Peter 3:7), and Paul's referrence to the woman being the one who was “deceived” by the serpent in Genesis 3 (1 Tim. 2:14), has led to the contention that Paul's declaration in 1 Cor. 1:27, that “...God hath chosen.the weak things of the world to confound the wise”, is conclusive that women are included in the “weak things”, and thus are qualified to pastor a church.
While it is certainly true that God used women throughout Scripture in a profound way, when attempting to use this as the basis for allowing women to become pastors of church congregations, we run headlong into the wall of 1 Tim. 2:12:
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
Within the context, one man over which women are not to usurp spiritual authority is the “bishop”, described in chapter 3.
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;
(1 Tim 3:1-4)
I believe a pastor is equal to a bishop, and the references to “man”, “husband”,3 and “his”, clearly indicates that only a male of the species is qualified to occupy the bishop's/pastor's office, and therefore renders a female occupation of this office as illigitimate. Moreover, the designation “deacons” in verse 8, an obvious custodial office in the church, is also reserved for males only.4
The other “man” a woman is not to usurp spiritual authority over is her husband, “for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church”. (Eph. 5:23) No man of God would ever place himself in authority over the Lord Jesus Christ, and neither should a wife do this with her husband. A married woman who is a pastor will have definitley reversed this pecking order.
But some will contend that women pastors are indeed meeting with success in leading and building church congregations, to which evidence on the ground clearly testifies. These successes are routinely presented as clear evidence that women are, indeed, called by God to occupy pastorates, otherwise He would not be blessing them with success.
This flimsy success argument is, of course, routinely used to justify every kind of unscriptural and extra-scriptural practice now going on in the Christian community. If this is applicable, then we would have to conclude that king Solomon, who managed to accumulate “seven hundred wives, princesses and three hundred concubines”, completed the building ot the temple, and accumulated an unrivaled store of gold and possessions (1 Kings 11:3; 2 Chron. 9), was immensily successful and thus approved of God. But indeed he wasn't, as he was counted by God as an idolater, who caused the break up of Israel into two opposing factions, starting the nation on the road to destruction (1 Kings 11:4-13).
This is certainly not saying that success in this world is always wrong. But it is always wrong in the church when it is accomplished at the expense of the truth, and in defiance of God's clear commandments. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith; not by site”. This means that we operate in this world according to the way we are instructed in the word of God, rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15), not according to what will bring visible, quantitative success here in our earthly existence. If our desire is to please God, and to obtain “the reward of the inheritance” (Col. 3:24) at the Lord's appearing (2 Tim. 4:1,8), why would we want to risk losing that by engaging in a scripurally questionable practice to appease the world and gain some sort of earthly, worldly acclaim or success?
In the spiritual entity referred to as “the body of Christ”, “there is neither male nor female, for....all are one in Christ”. (Gal. 3:28) The forbidding of women to occupy the office of a pastor in no way means a woman is spiritually inferior to a man, or can't teach or show the truth to males and females alike. If that were the case, then Pricilla would have been out of line in teaching Apollos, and Paul would have been in error in instructing the “aged women” to be “teachers of good things” (Titus 2:3).
While women are obviously not forbidden to speak and teach and instruct, they are not to do this within the office of the pastor/bishop/deacon, nor or they to attempt to usurp his authority. These positions in the church are reserved for males only. This is the model to be followed in the church on the earth—then and now. Just because social mores and customs have changed in the 2000 years that have elapsed since then, doesn't mean God has changed his mind about this. There may be some question over why he chose it to be this way, but there can be no question over the fact that he forbids women to take on this role. Those in the church who decide to abridge this commandment may very well achieve success in this life, as many have. But they and their followers and supporters will surely suffer eteranal loss (1 Cor. 3:12-15) in the trade off.
All Scripture is taken from the King James Bible
3 The gay community's contention that the “husband/wife” desginations are gender nuetral is notwithstanding here, as Romans 1:26,27 clearly declares gay sexual relationships to be illigitimate.
4 The 2011 revision of the New International Version Bible has made an attempt to make Scripture gender neutral, obscuring the distinction between the sexes, by rendering “men”, “man”, “women”, “woman”, “persons” and “person”.
None of us knows when this world in which we presently exist will come to its end. Neither do we know when the Lord will return to take his true church out of it. What we do know is that our individual lives will someday come to an end, and that we aren’t guaranteed another heartbeat, much less another day, week or year here. What we can know is, if the end of this life comes for us today, that we will be present with our Lord in heaven. In this respect may I ask you: are you personally assured of this? Have you ever trusted Jesus Christ and what he did for you at Calvary to secure your salvation?24 Do you know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you are saved, sealed and bound for heaven? If you aren’t sure, make this the day of your salvation by admitting your lost condition,25 and then simply ask the Lord to save you. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”26