Women in ministry, part deux

Thank you to all who commented/engaged in the discussion about women in ministry.  This is a subject about which I am passionate.  Obviously.

I understand that there are several camps:  pro-female pastors; anti-femal pastors; pro-female pastor as long a the women dare not assume a role of authority over a male; pro-female pastor when the woman is lucky enough…ummm, I mean married to a man who is a pastor.

If I’ve stepped on your toes, I can’t honestly say that I am sorry.  I’m calling it like I see it.

Scripturally, I understand that some passages seem to lean toward have a male in the lead role in a church–in the case of the scripture I will quote, of having males in the role of elder.  Titus 1:5 says, “An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.”

But my Bible (and yours, too) also says in Galatians 3:28 that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Which scripture is correct?  Or shall I say, which scripture has been translated more closely to the original text?  I’m not a biblical scholar (yet) but it seems that these two scriptures may be in opposition to one another.  If God does not distinguish between male and female, is it possible that elders can be women who have only been married to one man, whose children love & serve God, are not wild and disobedient?  Or does God distinguish between Jew & Greek, slaves and free, male and female?  It has to be one or the other because God is not a man that He should lie.  The Bible, being the inerrant word of God, cannot contradict itself.  So which is it?

Revelation 12:11 says, “They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”  Given that scripture, I am going to tell you why, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know that God calls women into ministry–even into a pastoral role that *gasp* may place her into a position of authority over men.

I gave my life to Jesus Christ when I was seven years old.  I cannot give you date and hour, but I remember making a firm decision for the Lord.  One night I was in my bedroom, and God spoke to me.  I saw myself preaching to large groups of people.  I knew distinctly that God was calling me to something bigger than I.  I knew that He was calling me to preach the gospel all over the globe.

Now, I was seven years old.  This was before I could read and fully comprehend the debate that was raging (and still does to this day) about female pastors.  It is something onto which I have held–heck, I’ve bet my life on it, and I will continue to do so until I meet Jesus Christ, face to face, on the day that He takes me to be home with Him.

I have to give props to the Holy Spirit as well.  No matter how far I’ve walked, nay run away from the Lord, the Holy Spirit has always been a quiet voice, urging me to walk forward with the Lord, toward the Lord, toward that He had called me to do.  I value the Holy Spirit–He is my Comforter, Wisdom.  I’ve seen Him do miraculous things in me, through me, with me.  I’ve seen Him move powerfully, gently, wonderfully in the lives of those I hold dear, those I’ve never met, me. 

Any questions, comments?  I welcome them. 

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8 Responses to Women in ministry, part deux

  1. markcole says:

    I think people read in to the Bible a lot of their own ideas. May God free us to do everything we can to love Him and worship Him in complete freedom! He has set us free – that is what the Bible teaches. There were women leaders and even one apostle who was a woman in the Bible. Don’t let anyone hold you back from doing what God wants you to do!

    Here are ten reasons why men should not be pastors that I found on a Swedish Christian blog 🙂

    10. A man’s place is in the army.

    9. For men who have children, their duties might distract them from the responsibilities of being a parent.

    8. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do other forms of work.

    7. Man was created before woman. It is therefore obvious that man was a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment, rather than the crowning achievement of creation.

    6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. This is easily demonstrated by their conduct at football games and watching basketball tournaments.

    5. Some men are handsome; they will distract women worshipers.

    4. To be ordained pastor is to nurture the congregation. But this is not a traditional male role. Rather, throughout history, women have been considered to be not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more frequently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.

    3. Men are overly prone to violence. No really manly man wants to settle disputes by any means other than by fighting about it. Thus, they would be poor role models, as well as being dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.

    2. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep paths, repair the church roof, and maybe even lead the singing on Father’s Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the Church.

    1. In the New Testament account, the person who betrayed Jesus was a man. Thus, his lack of faith and ensuing punishment stands as a symbol of the subordinated position that all men should take.

  2. deneenwhite says:

    Thank you for your response. I can honestly say that you are the first person who made me laugh, out loud, with your comment. I love the Top 10 list…that is great!

    ~D

  3. chill pastor says:

    I’ll try my best to be short, clear, and right to the point…(yeah, right)

    I’m glad you shared what you did with the scriptures…I’m glad you shared what you did about your experience with The Holy Spirit…

    Because in my humble opinion, you gotta have both..A non-believer can memorize scripture…does that mean that he or she knows how to discern (not interpret) scripture…Absolutely Not!!!…

    If we read Genesis 1 where God tells man that he will leave his mother and father and be untied with his wife…If we then read 1 Corinthians 7, Paul clearly states, it’s good for a man not to marry….

    What do you do…Get married, stay single…

    That’s where having the Holy Spirit as an absolute guide for your life can help you discern what God’s will is for your life…God calls some people to a life of singleness, He calls some of us to be married…

    God calls some women to be in pastoral ministry…God calls some women in other areas…If Paul would have left out his now famous line about women being silent, would we have trouble with women pastors???…my point is, don’t ignore, understand and discern what Paul really meant….

    Deneen, you have heard God speak…God is going to ordain your steps for His plan…

    Just like Samuel, the more we get to know His voice, the more we will recognize the true calling that He has on us…Remember when God first called Samuel, he thought it was Eli calling…The longer he walked with God the more clearer his calling became…We are no different…

    Scripture has to be Spirit led!!!

    chill

  4. morningmeditations says:

    I find this to be a most dangerous way to interpret Scriptures: Find two passages that you think disagree. Say that they contradict each other, and pick the one that suits what you want to believe.

    Quite simply put, the Scriptures don’t contradict each other. “All Scripture is profitable for doctrine” (2 Tim. 3:16). There are no Scriptures that we can ignore because of difficulty or personal bias.

    There are only contradictions because we wish to find them so that we can disobey a certain Scripture or because we have not yet understood them. But, “if any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men liberally…” (James 1).

    For example, in chillpastor’s question about marriage and singleness. There is no contradiction here. Paul clearly stated in 1 Corinthians 7 that his comments on the benefits of singleness over marriage were for “the present distress”, or “the present difficulty.” Later, the author of Hebrews (I presume Paul himself) would write, “Marriage is honourable in all…” (Heb 13).

    I guess it goes without saying that the passages regarding men and women in the church are not contradictory either. But I leave off commenting on that b/c I don’t wish to stir up strife.

    There is though a second type of Biblical interpretation here which is dangerous. That is giving experience precedent over the Word of God.

    Experience is a wonderful thing. We can claim anything happened to us. No one can argue with it because we’ll simply claim that ‘they didn’t experience it so they don’t know.’ It is an unanswerable argument.

    Experience is also a dangerous argument. Remember that the human heart “is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). Our heart can trick us so easily when it comes to experiences. That’s why the Word of God is an essential control to our lives.

    More could be said I suppose, but I just want to remind us all of these truths:
    1) Scripture is inerrant. It does not contradict itself.
    2) Experience should not interpret Scripture. Rather, Scripture should interpret our experiences.
    3) We ought never to play favorites with passages from Scripture to find one that suits us. Rather, let us examine all Scripture in the light of context and other passages to know the truth.

    In all this, please do not think that I am judging. I’m only seeking to help those who wish to know God in the way that He intended – through the study of the Scripture.

  5. deneenwhite says:

    For the record, I mentioned that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. I am not seeking out two scriputres that contradict one another so that I can disobey one and follow the other. My point in doing that was to raise a question of the translation of the scriptures, which I believe I also mentioned in my post.

    I believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Word of God is inerrant. I do not allow my experiences to override scripture. What I do allow for, however, is the Holy Spirit to interpret the scriptures during my devotional time.

    The last thing that I am trying to do is to cause anyone to stumble as a result of reading my blog. The bible says that it is better to have a millstone tied to your neck and be thrown into water than to cause someone to stumble. I take those words very seriously.

    ~D

  6. chill pastor says:

    Just a comment to my brother from morning meditations…

    I think that there is a huge difference between “Experience” and the third part of the Trinity…aka, “The Holy Spirit”…

    God’s Word is necessary for our daily discernment of His will on every subject that we will ever encounter, but if we ignore the guidance of The Holy Spirit, God’s Word can’t have the proper impact on our life…So please don’t confuse the two…

    Do you really think that because that Paul told 1st Century women to be silent, that he meant that women could not be in a pastoral role???…Do you not see what was going on with the disorderly worship that was going on???…Do you not recognize the women that were partner’s with Paul in all the churches he planted???…How do you reconcile that???

    I am not angry when I ask you that…you say that scripture does not contadict itself, and it doesn’t…So, how can Paul have women as “Partners” with his ministry, and then tell them to be silent???…I got to beleive that this passage is being used out of context for how our society is using it….This passage is speaking to women in the 1st century that needed to be controlled…

    Can anyone tell me that God has not ordained Joyce Meyer’s ministry???…If that was man made, it would have failed years ago…Joyce Meyer is only one example of a Spirit led, woman pastor…There are tons more out there today…

    I’m sorry, but the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, is bigger than we give Him credit for…Gender will never hold Him back for reaching this generation, and generations to come…

    If it sounds like I’m on a rampage, I’m not….I truly believe it is time that this generation gets past this issue…

    chill

  7. morningmeditations says:

    Hi Deneen,
    I didn’t want to seem as though I was accusing you of anything in my reply. I only want to affirm and remind all of the importance and indispensability of Scripture.

    There is a difficulty for the inquirer today when he looks at Christianity, because everyone claims to be speaking for the Holy Spirit.

    The catholic pope professes that he speaks for the Holy Spirit. The Reformed theologian claims that he is proclaiming the truth that the Spirit has for us today. The charismatic says that he is the one manifesting the spirit.

    All of these claim to be following the Spirit’s mind, and yet what they teach is contradictory to each other. They cannot all be speaking for the Holy Spirit. So, which one is… ?

    So many spirits are out there … but which is the Holy Spirit? John warned us, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1).

    But how do we test the spirits? How do we know if it is truly the Holy Spirit that is speaking to us? How can we recognize his voice?

    Remember that “no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever produced by the spirit of men, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:19, 20).

    So, we have already heard the Spirit speak volumes in Scripture. Therefore, we can test every voice that claims to be the Holy Spirit by seeing if it is consistent with what we know he has already said.

    If a friend of mine came up to me at work and said, “Your wife called and asked me to tell you to bring home some olives for her to have for a snack tonight,” I would be very careful about believing him. Why? Because it is totally contrary to everything that my wife has ever told me about herself and her feelings about olives.

    Likewise, if we think the Spirit is telling us something that’s completely contrary to what he has already told us in Scripture, shouldn’t we question it?

    Remember, Samson had far more outwardly ‘impressive’ experiences with the Spirit of God than you or I could likely claim, yet the Word of God says that a day came when Samson “did not know that the presence of the Lord had left him.”
    If Samson could drift until he didn’t know that the Lord had left him, isn’t it possible that sometimes we think the Spirit is telling us something, but it’s really not his voice at all? That is why we must test every voice by the voice that we recognize: that of the Spirit in the Word of God.

    But let me talk about your verses. First of all, I don’t think translation is an issue here for two reasons. 1) We have dozens of solid, reputable translations made from different manuscripts, and as far as I know, all of the reliable texts translate this verse the same way. 2) It’s not just one single verse that teaches this, there are several others that are equally clear (more about that later in my reply to chillpastor).

    So, how do we put these verses together? You theorized that God didn’t distinguish between men and women anymore. But this doesn’t match other passages like one which we quoted earlier, “I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Cor. 11). God clearly distinguishes between a man and a woman there. So where does that leave us?

    Galatians 3:28 is not teaching that God doesn’t distinguish between people, but rather that He doesn’t prefer one person above another or value one more than He values another. Elsewhere Scripture says that God shows no partiality. Even though he has not ordained the same role for men and women, children and adults, Peter and Paul, etc; all all still equally valuable to Him.

    Again, notice the context of Gal 3:28. Paul is not talking about roles in the local church. He’s talking about law and grace – and whether the Gentile has to become a Jew in order to please God. Paul’s answer is that the Gentile doesn’t need to convert to Judaism to find favor with God, because God doesn’t favor one group over another when it comes to His salvation.

    However, just because all are on equal footing before God, doesn’t mean that he has the same plans for each of them. For example, God loves the sinning saint as much as the faithful saint; yet his command through Paul to the church at Corinth was that they should put away the man who had his father’s wife until he repented. Even though God still loved this man, his sin required that he be put away from God’s assembly until his restoration.

    Likewise in the church. God loves even a polygamist, and he can save the man with two wives. Yet, as long as he has several wives, he cannot be an elder according to 1 Timothy 3:2. And God loves the Christian who struggles with drinking as much as any other, yet he cannot be an overseer as long as he’s a drunk, according to 1 Timothy 3:3.

    Yes, God loves all equally, but he has different roles for each. He has some roles for men, that he has not given to women. He has other roles for women, that he has not given to men. The church on earth is a portrait of heavenly things. We ought to ensure that we adhere to his pattern.

    I don’t want to discourage you from serving God. Rather, I want to draw you to His Word so that you can know Him and His mind in a deeper, fuller way. I commend your interest in spiritual things, and I pray for you that God will help you as you write this blog and as you seek to serve him in daily life.

  8. deneenwhite says:

    We are going to have to live with the fact that we disagree. I value what you have said, but I do not agree with it.

    The fact is that we both serve the same living Savior, Jesus Christ. I don’t wish to debate scripture. It is more important that we draw people unto the Living Savior rather than saturate them with church doctrine.

    That being said, I am going to shut down comments.

    It is my hope that this discussion ends amicably.

    ~D

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