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‘They Don’t Believe in Women in Pulpit:’ Female Preacher Was Pulled Off Air Because She’s a Woman—CBNNEWS.COM
Southern Baptists Expel Saddleback Church Over Female Pastor—The New York Times
Scripture changed his mind on women in ministry; Rick Warren tells Russell Moore—Baptist New Global
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH WOMEN IN THE PULPIT? — Leading the Way
Prominent headlines in contemporary media outlets highlight an escalating debate. In recent times, numerous Protestant denominations have amended their ecclesiastical guidelines to allow for the ordination of women as “ministers” or “priests.” Notably, this shift encompasses Lutheran, Episcopalian, and Anglican faith communities.
Several denominations allow women to serve as pastors, preachers, and ministers. These include the Methodist Church, Presbyterian/Reformed Church, Pentecostal Church, Wesleyan Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, and Episcopal Church. Some individual churches of other denominations may also allow women to serve in these roles. However, some denominations, such as the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention, do not permit women to be ordained as priests or pastors. John MacArthur’s The Master’s Seminary will not even allow women to take pastoral courses.
Considering these developments, one cannot help but ponder: ‘What has precipitated the present-day deliberation, given the historical prevalence of male-dominated pulpits?’ The consensus identifies the women’s liberation movement as the primary catalyst. Advocates of feminism argue that women possess qualifications commensurate with their male counterparts, rendering a modification of longstanding traditions not only necessary but imperative.
In reality, the crux of the controversy appears to revolve around the prospect of “dismantling tradition.” However, the primary inquiry should instead focus on determining the individuals to whom God bestows the responsibility of instructing the congregation. Indeed, eschewing the examination of human-generated customs, let us direct our attention toward the perspective offered by the Bible itself.
Jesus, in his profound compassion for humanity, cherished women as well. Contrasting the attitudes of Pharisees and their contemporaries, he demonstrated respect towards females and eagerly imparted his teachings to them. Women consistently offered their unwavering support to Jesus and were the initial witnesses to his resurrection.—John 4:27, ASV; Luke 10:39, ASV; Matthew 27:55-56, ASV; 28:1, 9, ASV.
The Gospels offer no evidence to suggest that Jesus sought to deter women from disseminating the “good news” of salvation. In fact, following the outpouring of God’s spirit upon approximately 120 men and women congregated at Pentecost, Peter cites Joel’s prophecy: “And it shall be in the last days, saith God, I will pour forth of my Spirit upon all flesh: And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” (Acts 1:14, ASV; 2:1-18, ASV; Joel 2:28-29, ASV) Consequently, within the developing congregation, men and women exuberantly shared their newfound hope with all receptive individuals.
Conversely, we must meticulously examine the Bible’s employment of the Greek term di·aʹko·nos. At times, this word is utilized to denote an individual of either gender “serving” or “ministering to” others in a general sense. It is seemingly in this context that Paul refers to “Phoebe our sister, who is a minister [servant, AV].” (Romans 16:1, ASV; Luke 8:1-3, ASV) Nonetheless, in numerous instances, the term evidently pertains to a designated role within the congregation—a ministerial assistant.
The criteria for this authoritative role encompass: “Let deacons be husbands of one wife.” The same stipulation applies to those entrusted with spiritual guidance, referred to as “elders” or “overseers.” A congregational elder is required to be “a man presiding over his own household in a fine manner.” (1 Timothy 3:2-4, 8, 12, ASV) Consequently, baptized men are designated to assume both leadership positions (elder and ministerial servant) within the congregation.
The Greek New Testament provides unambiguous guidance on this subject. Paul articulates: “I permit not a woman to teach [the congregation], nor to have dominion over a man.” (1 Timothy 2:11-12, ASV) Simultaneously, he acknowledges women’s instructional capabilities, as he urges mature women to serve as “teachers of that which is good” to “young women.” (Titus 2:3-5, ASV) How can it be that women are permitted to teach those external to the congregation but are restricted from assuming leadership within it? Does this imply that the Apostle Paul harbored “anti-woman” sentiments, as some assert?
This line of thought overlooks a foundational biblical doctrine: headship. In alignment with Peter and other scriptural authors, Paul penned: “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.” (1 Corinthians 11:3, ASV; 1 Peter 3:1, ASV)
God stands alone, devoid of any authority above Him; all others are subject to some form of headship. Naturally, considering the manner in which numerous men have exploited their position of authority, it comes as no surprise that certain women fervently demand equality. Nevertheless, in actuality, God established this hierarchical structure for the benefit of all. In what manner does this configuration serve a positive purpose?
God meticulously crafted the familial structure to foster the most intimate of human connections. To guarantee the happiness and safety of all involved, consistency and harmony are crucial. Clearly, one individual must assume the role of providing guidance. Jehovah entrusted this obligation to men. Concurrently, He instructed husbands to “love their own wives even as their own bodies”—treasuring and esteeming them.—Ephesians 5:28-33, ASV.
Consequently, if a woman adheres to her husband’s guidance within the household, how could she assume a position of authority over both men and women in the congregation? What potential complications might arise if an elder and a female leader in the same capacity were wed to one another?
Advocates for women occupying the pulpit maintain that Jesus refrained from including female apostles among the twelve solely due to the prevailing societal norms. However, Jesus acted in harmony with God’s initial intent. In the Garden of Eden, Adam was designated as Eve’s head, a status established even prior to their descent into sin.—Genesis 2:18, 22, 24; 1 Corinthians 11:7-9, ASV.
Is this celestial blueprint oppressive towards women, rendering them “second-rate Christians,” as some contend? Nowadays, the term “submission” is frequently associated with “inferiority.” However, the Bible and the Christian way of life teach us that it is solely by submitting to Jehovah’s will—endeavoring to discover our purpose within His structure—that we can experience true joy.
The apostle Paul is frequently misunderstood with regard to his views on women. In addition to expounding on how women should be adored and held in high esteem, he frequently greeted and praised individual sisters by name. (Rom. 16:3, 4, 6, 12) Moreover, it was this same apostle who authored the verse frequently cited by supporters of female “priests.” It declares: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”—Gal. 3:28.
The Bible teaches a profound truth about women, one that is reflected in the favorable view of women by both Christ and the Apostle Paul. According to the Bible, women are going to heaven as well as men, and there is no gender distinction. By studying this scripture in context, we see that God’s favorable view of women is clearly demonstrated in the Bible.
In the midst of the ongoing debate among churches about women in ministry, it is important for Christian women to adhere to Biblical teachings. By doing so, they are not being held back but rather find fulfillment in presenting “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God.” The most significant reward is the favor of God. As Peter wrote, “you also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5 ASV)
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