During an episode of the TV show the Office(Season 6 Episode 3), there is a situation where Oscar is commenting on the recent power-shift at the Office. Jim had been promoted to be a co-manager alongside Michael. In a sarcastic tone, Oscar say’s,
“Look, it doesn’t take a genius to know that every organization thrives when it has two leaders. Go ahead, name a country that doesn’t have two presidents. A boat that doesn’t set sail without two captains. Where would Catholicism be without the Popes?”
Leadership works best when one leader is held accountable to other leaders yet takes the headship of responsibility.
Watching basketball this weekend my friend commented on a player who wanted to play out of his position, he said, “Losing happens when you don’t know your role.”
Why is the team concept understood so well in business, in sports, but in the family, there cannot be one leader? In every area of life, teams do well when each participant knows their role and does it well. But then in regards to marriage, the thought of a leader in each marriage bothers many people.
What about the terminology in the scriptures regarding gender?
Do we completely disregard gender terminology in the scriptures simply because we don’t view it as being culturally relevant today?
Is the bible subjective to our opinions of truth or is it perfect as it is, not needing interpretation beyond the original meaning by the Holy Spirit through the authors?
Given that I believe in the bible as being the ultimate authority for my life, I will lay out my beliefs regarding controversial issues pertaining to gender roles in the home and the church. This is an issue I have spent several years wrestling through. At times seeing the rationale for one side and at other times seeing the rationale for the other side.
(Bruce Ware provides fair and objective summaries of each position.)
There are two primary belief systems regarding the issue of Gender roles in the church and home. One belief system is called the Egalitarian position. Who named these positions, I don’t know but I’d rather see simpler wording used. Regardless, the Egalitarian position holds three primary beliefs:
- God created male and female equal in all respects.
- Sin causes an illegitimate hierarchy between men and women.
- Christ redeems and restores equality between men and women.
The other position that is held is called Complementarian(Another overly large word). There are three primary beliefs that summarize this position like the one above.
- God created male and female equal in essence but distinct in roles.
- Sin disrupts the roles and brings desire for rebellion.
- Christ redeems and restores the roles in the homes appropriately.
There are scriptural arguments that can be made for both positions. I know automatically that when people hear where I believe scripture is most clear on, I’ll be viewed in many negative ways. But as well though, I must not worry about others opinions as much as what God has clearly laid out to me that I can’t deny in his scriptures.
I’ll lay out the latter argument and explain, why I believe what I believe.
When God created the world, he created man. Jesus was a man. The Father is male. Jesus chose 12 male disciples. Jesus had women involved in his ministry, and I don’t think he was too scared of societal norms obviously by allowing women to follow. As well though, he didn’t allow women to lead. The last apostle appointed, Paul, was a man. The leadership that is continued in the church from the book of Acts is all men. God is a father, not a mother. The son is a son, not a daughter. Even the Holy Spirit is referred to with masculine terminology. This is important to lay out because gender is important to see in the scriptures.
The bible does show equality of men and women.
26Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Male and female equality laid out being both made in God’s image.
1 Corinthians 7:4
4The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
28There 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.
We are all on equal footing before the cross of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:7-11
6There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
We are all given gifts to lift up Christ and his church with.
1 Peter 3:7b
show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
Man is to honor woman as a FELLOW HEIR. If both saved, we both get salvation equally.
None of those passages get argued over or disputed much. We can all agree on those passages. But this is where we either part ways with scripture or seek to find if scripture is true.
God gives leadership in the home and relationship, firstly, to man.
22Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30because we are members of His body. 31For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
There is a lot in that passage. A lot to chew on. Maybe too much for many. Regardless, it is worth dissecting and meditating on, not throwing out.
The most important thing to notice though is the comparison of the husband and wife to Christ and his bride, the Church. As well, we can look at the submission between and wife and her husband the submission of the son and the father. Both are equal. Both are one. Yet also, the son submits for the sake of order in humble obedience.
A man is the head of the home. This is not an easy task or a task that should be taken lightly. This is a burden. This is a responsibility. This is stewardship. Being held accountable to God for how the home is led.
Wives are subject to their husbands but as well, Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. No easy task, in fact, almost impossible. But the example that the Holy Spirit gives us is how Christ loves his church. There cannot be a greater challenge given to a husband. This is a love that is completely sacrificing of self.
Men need respect. When a woman wants to have an unhappy and miserable husband and live in a marriage that she doesn’t enjoy, disrespect your husband. Do it privately and for kicks do it publicly. He will become a shell of a man and you will still be seeking a “man” who can “handle you”.
Likewise, Women need love. If you want a woman to hate her life, don’t love her. Ignore her needs. Ignore her desires. Have a robotic relationship that is based off meeting selfish needs. And not only do it privately by neglecting and ignoring her, but do it publicly. Be a man that looks at every woman that walks by. Be a man that embarrasses and belittles her in public. You do this and you will accomplish a life of misery for both parties.
But if you want to live according to the scriptures, try respecting your husband. Let him lead the relationship. Let him make the big decisions with your opinion. Don’t nag him when things have messed up. Give him your full support and tell him, “I will follow you wherever, the Lord leads”. This sounds stereotypical and unreal, but this is how you ought to treat your husband. Almost like he’s a machine. If you want him to be a real man, oil him by convincing him of the man he is. He will walk differently. He will talk differently. His swagger will change. You will empower him more than you ever know. And in the meantime, his love will naturally flow out.
Men, if you want to live according to the scriptures, love your wife. Tell your guys of how much you love her. Give her flowers and notes privately while opening her door and adoring her publicly. Show the world who this woman is with. Make her feel loved. Involve her in all of your plans. Ask her opinion on topics. Listen to her without a solution.
You can turn a house into a home, men, by empowering your wife to see what God has given her dominion over. Empower your woman.
There is plenty more to go in about but I will move on.
Of all topics, this is ratherly controversial and tough to discuss. I want to say, I have taken years on this topic and wrestled through these scriptures for much time. I have heard arguments made for every angle. What I have concluded is based off what I believe scripture is rather clear about.
The church has many positions that can be held by anyone. I believe a deacon can be a man or woman. I believe an usher can be a man or woman. I believe that women can teach and preach to women. I believe that a woman can do that towards children. I as well believe that a woman can preach and teach to the youth. But I don’t believe a woman can be a Pastor of a church.
1 Timothy 2:11-15
11A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.
Paul, writing Timothy about church structure, gives one of the latter letters leading to his eventual death. He goes in to tell Timothy of how to structure the church. Does he go on a sexist tangent? Does he step outside of the holy spirit’s leading and then use the creation account to feel justified? I don’t think so. If people believe the scriptures to be sufficient, this is a hard passage to handle.
Let’s say Timothy was dealing with some really disruptive women. And let’s say Paul was addressing that specific situation, what can we say about why he is saying women should be like this in the church. There is no explantation that can be logically handled outside of the explanation that God’s design is for men to lead.
Paul wrote a letter to the church in Corinth and as well explained women’s role’s in the church. He explained that Godly women can speak in a Godly way in the church(1 Corinthians 11:2-16). But the problem is that unGodly women were being disruptive. Women can talk in the church. But hear what Paul say’s about women in the church while referencing the women who were disruptive.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35
34 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. 35 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.
Does this mean women can say nothing during the service? No. What it is saying though is that they are to learn humbly. And they are to be under their husbands teachings, which their husband should be the priest of the home.
I do believe that a man is to be the leader of the home. I do believe a man is to lead the church. But what about Daily life? What about my job? What about a music program? What about things outside of the church and home?
4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. 5 She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment.
I posted this scripture as an example of a Godly, gifted woman leading outside of the church. Deborah was a Prophetess and Judge. She was used to Judge Israel and was a woman of God. Her leading outside of the church was great for Israel by having a Godly woman in that position instead of an UnGodly man.
I have no problem working under a woman outside of the church or home. I have worked under several female leaders and bosses. I have submitted to the order that was put befor me in each position for each time.
I believe that women should be bringing the gospel to men and women in many different arenas. I am thankful for the boldness of sisters who will tell all of their co-workers the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Questions and Answers for Clarification
*What about a woman living under a UnGodly husband? You can lead your husband to the Lord by how unworldly your submission is towards him. Submission is not a natural thing. But it shows humility.
1 Peter 3:1-2 1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
*What if he is abusive?
Obviously, get out and find a safe place. Do not allow your children or yourself to be in a place of harm. Protect yourselves from such evil actions. But seek restoration and reconciliation.
*What about single mothers?
Is a Godly Female Pastor less qualified then a Carnal Male Pastor?
I have known great women of God who feel God wants them to be pastors. I believe their saved and many of them are great women that I would work alongside with on many platforms. But this is more serious then simply a role in the church(See below question regarding What’s at stake).
Disqualified means disqualified. When working at the airport, we would send animals as cargo on the planes. There is a check-list that must be met for the animal to fly on the plane. The shippers would many times be upset when we explain that the animals cannot be shipped. We would explain that the animal can’t go because one of the questions on the check-list couldn’t be answered “yes”. Whether or not it’s one question wrong or all wrong, the animal can’t go if any answers aren’t all “yes”. It’s best for the health of the animal because we don’t want the animal to die or become sick while with us. In the same token, It’s best for the health of the church for all the qualifications to be met with a “yes”. We value the church and want the church to have the best leadership.
So my answer is, yes and no. Yes, I believe that I would rather see a church with a female pastor who is led by the spirit, at least until men can be raised up. But it is not ideal. If these are your only options for leadership, I’d rather see a leader who humbly seeks to obey Christ lead until a qualified leader can take over.
*Can we be associated with churches that allow female pastors or have a female Pastor?
Of course. I believe that this doesn’t mean that a church is heretical. But what I do believe is that if this is because of an outright denial of scripture, not a false understanding of scripture, then we have a problem.
*What is at stake when hiring a female Pastor?
Scripture is clearly against the hiring of female Pastors. But the bigger problem is that if a church supports female pastors, it better be because of an interpretation of scripture and not an outright denial. When outright denying scripture, you are taking a sledge hammer and putting it to the word of God, which is foundational in understanding your faith. When you deny the scriptures, your faith will crumble like a building with no foundation. Jesus talks about this in Matthew 7 when he explains how applying his Word will strengthen your life.
Like I have said, I have many close sisters in the faith who disagree with me on this issue. I know many godly women who are Pastors. I enjoy their fellowship and am thankful because Kingdom work is being done in their lives regardless. But I also look towards the health of the church and want to see churches that are growing by number but also growing in truth and grace. I am thankful for the many women that I have seen sacrificing and submitting for the sake of their families and the body of Christ. It is a great thing to see.