Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Women Pastors—What Does the Bible Say?

The Bible makes it clear as to the woman's position in the church. Observe:
"As in all the churches of the saints, the women are to keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church. Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? If anyone thinks he is a prophet, or spiritual, let him recognize that the things I write to you are a command of the Lord. If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized." 1 Corinthians 14:33b-38
Now, this passage is not saying that women are forbidden from ever talking in church altogether. That would be a gross misrepresentation of what this passage is saying. It is speaking in regard to role, authority, and revelation. Note Paul's questions to them: "Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached?" (v.36). The answer is, of course, no. Paul makes it clear what the end result should be: "If anyone thinks he is a prophet, or spiritual, let him recognize that the things I write to you are a command of the Lord. If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized" (vv.37-38). In other words, if a woman believes herself to be gifted or spiritual, she should recognize that what Paul is saying is coming directly from God and that she ought to be obedient to God's Word. Otherwise, she is living in open rebellion and disobedience.
"The connection seems plainly to include [prophesying], in the limited sense in which it is taken in this chapter, namely, for preaching, or interpreting scripture by inspiration. And, indeed, for a woman to prophesy in this sense were to teach, which does not so well befit her state of subjection. A teacher of others has in that respect a superiority over them, which is not allowed the woman over the man, nor must she therefore be allowed to teach in a congregation: I suffer them not to teach. But praying, and uttering hymns inspired, were not teaching. And seeing there were women who had spiritual gifts of this sort in that age of the church (see Acts xxii. 9), and might be under this impulse in the assembly, must they altogether suppress it? Or why should they have this gift, if it must never be publicly exercised? For these reasons, some think that these general prohibitions are only to be understood in common cases; but that upon extraordinary occasions, when women were under a divine afflatus, and known to be so, they might have liberty of speech. They were not ordinarily to teach, nor so much as to debate and ask questions in the church, but learn in silence there; and, if difficulties occurred, ask their own husbands at home.
Note, As it is the woman's duty to learn in subjection, it is the man's duty to keep up his superiority, by being able to instruct her; if it be her duty to ask her husband at home, it is his concern and duty to endeavour at lest to be able to answer her enquiries; if it be a shame for her to speak in the church, where she should be silent, it is a shame for him to be silent when he should speak, and not be able to give an answer, when she asks him at home.
We have here the reason of this injunction: It is God's law and commandment that they should be under obedience (34); they are placed in subordination to the man,
Note, Our spirit and conduct should be suitable to our rank. The natural distinctions God has made, we should observe. Those he has placed in subjection to others should not set themselves on a level, nor affect or assume superiority. The woman was made subject to the man, and she should keep her station and be content with it. For this reason women must be silent in the churches, not set up for teachers; for this is setting up for superiority over the man.

He lets them know that what he said to them was the command of God; nor durst any true prophet, any one really inspired, deny it (37): "If any man think himself a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge, &c., nay, let him be tried by this very rule. If he will not own what I deliver on this head to be the will of Christ, he himself never had the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit of Christ can never contradict itself; if it speak in me, and in them, it must speak the same things in both. If their revelations contradict mine, they do not come from the same Spirit; either I or they must be false prophets. By this therefore you may know them. If they say that my directions in this matter are no divine commandments, you may depend upon it they are not divinely inspired. But if any continue after all, through prejudice or obstinacy, uncertain or ignorant whether they or I speak by the Spirit of God, they must be left under the power of this ignorance. If their pretences to inspiration can stand in competition with the apostolical character and powers which I have, I have lost all my authority and influence; and the persons who allow of this competition against me are out of the reach of conviction, and must be left to themselves."
Note, It is just with God to leave those to the blindness of their own minds who wilfully shut out the light. Those who would be ignorant in so plain a case were justly left under the power of their mistake."
Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible,
1 Corinthians 14:34, 37
Why are women not permitted to speak? Observe:
"A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression." 1 Timothy 2:11-14
The reason has to do with roles and authority given by God. Nowadays, people attempt to use the ignorant arguments that either "that was for back then, it is not for today," or "Paul was a chauvinist." Let us address the second argument first. The Bible informs us that "All Scripture is inspired by God" (2 Tim. 3:16). Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote what God wanted him to write. Ergo, if Paul is "chauvinistic," then so is God because He inspired Paul with what he should write. Note carefully Paul's source of authority: "the things I write to you are a command of the Lord" (1 Cor. 14:37). Furthermore, since God "is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb. 13:8), what was written for back then also applies for today. God's Word is an extension of Himself, and if He does not change, neither does His Word.
"Women must learn the principles of their religion, learn Christ, learn the scriptures; they must not think that their sex excuses them from that learning which is necessary to salvation.
They must be silent, submissive, and subject, and not usurp authority. The reason given is because Adam was first formed, then Eve out of him, to denote her subordination to him and dependence upon him; and that she was made for him, to be a help-meet for him. And as she was last in the creation, which is one reason for her subjection, so she was first in the transgression, and that is another reason. Adam was not deceived, that is, not first; the serpent did not immediately set upon him, but the woman was first in the transgression (2 Cor. xi. 3), and it was part of the sentence, Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee, Gen. iii. 16.
According to Paul, women must be learners, and are not allowed to be public teachers in the church; for teaching is an office of authority, and the woman must not usurp authority over the man, but is to be in silence. But, notwithstanding this prohibition, good women may and ought to teach their children at home the principles of religion. Timothy from a child had known the holy scriptures; and who should teach him but his mother and grandmother? 2 Tim. iii. 15. Aquila and his wife Priscilla expounded unto Apollos the way of God more perfectly; but then they did it privately, for they took him unto them, Acts xviii. 26.
Here are two very good reasons given for the man's authority over the woman, and her subjection to the man, 13, 14. Adam was first formed, then Eve; she was created for the man, and not the man for the woman (1 Cor. xi. 9); then she was deceived, and brought the man into the transgression."
Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible,
1 Timothy 2:11-12
Verse 13 of 1 Timothy 2 begins with "for" and gives the "cause" of Paul's statement in verses 11-12. Why should women not teach or have authority over men? Because "it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression." Eve was created to be a "helper" for Adam. This order of creation has universal application in the family (Eph. 5:22-33) and the church. God has ordained that only men are to serve in positions of spiritual teaching authority in the church. The qualifications for elders/overseers/bishops/pastors clearly indicate men. Observe:
"It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. These men must also first be tested, then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus." 1 Timothy 3:1-13

"For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it." Titus 1:5-9
An examination of the Greek reveals that masculine pronouns are used exclusively. Ergo, women are not allowed to be pastors!

Many ignorant arguments have been made using the Bible in an attempt to draw support for women pastors. Some of those arguments are as follows:
  1. Deborah the prophetess (Judges 4:4-14). Deborah was a judge over Israel; not a pastor. Her being a judge over Israel was judgment upon Israel because no man was willing to step up and take on the responsibility for leading Israel. You can see this in Barak's words to her: "If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go" (v. 8). If ever there was a call to man-up and be a man, it was here.
  2. The talking donkey (Numbers 22:22-33). This has got to be the most ridiculous argument ever. Because the donkey was female, they say it is okay for women to be pastors. First of all, what does a talking donkey have to do with being a pastor? Second of all, the donkey, while being female, spoke with a man's voice (2 Peter 2:16).
  3. Phoebe (Romans 16:1-2). Phoebe was not a pastor. She was a deaconess, as revealed by the Greek word diakonos (διακονος). She was a servant of the church.