Can a woman be a Pastor or a preacher?

(Andrea L) #25

I’m still pondering on the thought of how to interpret the letters in the NT. As far as I know they were written to specific churches / people facing their specific challenges. I mean that while they speak for us they don’t speak to us. I think of such as women covering/not covering hair, wearing / not wearing trousers.

@PierreD your last question triggered another question in me. Are we talking “in general” or in the church ? Would this rule be applicable in everyday life, meaning no women bosses, no women teachers to men or is it only applicable in church environment but how do we know that? (Forgive me, my Bible literacy needs improvement.)

I can see a parallel issue with “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” Ephesians‬ ‭5:23‬ ‭KJV‬‬. If there’s a contradiction between what the husband says and God says, who to obey?

Another aspect others have pointed out is the risk of falling into legalism. While in the OT the law was kind of boundaries given from the outside (although I think God wished to have it kept by the love for Him from the heart) the NT is not a list of rules, it’s centrepiece is love - we keep God’s commandments because we love Him, not because we must otherwise we are heading to hell. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭2:16‬ ‭KJV‬‬
We are not saved and justified because we keep every word, even if it is not particularly addressed to us. That I think would be the “by works”. But God offers more, much more for us - if we listen to His voice.

I think at the end the ultimate authority is God’s.

(Steven M Levine) #28

I know there are passages in the Bible that explicitly say that a woman is to subservient to men. However, did Jesus himself live that way? If so, why did he reveal himself as bodily risen from the dead to women? At that time in history, women were not even allowed to testify in a court of law. Yet, the greatest miracle, the thing in which hangs the entire Gospel, is revealed to women. The Gospel according to Matthew 28: 5-10

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Is this not a commissioning? Doesn’t this give the women “power” over the disciples? Some chose not to believe them, but that was their choice, not Jesus’, and not the women’s.

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(Steven M Levine) #29

I guess I have question. We are on a discussion board that is hosted by and created by RZIM. So, I would assume that we all at least know who Ravi Zacharias is, and have some degree of respect for the man. For me, it is tremendous respect.

The original question was “Can a woman be a Pastor or a preacher?” We can argue over semantics about Pastor and Preacher roles, right now, I am both. I would prefer to be a Preacher, and not be saddled with the Pastor’s role. But, as of now, here I am.

On Ravi’s team are some women who are incredible speakers, and are far more intelligent than I am. Are we going to tell women like Naomi Zacharias, Michelle Tepper, Alycia Wood, Jo Vitale, etc, etc, that they can’t preach to me because they are women? This is really where the rubber meets the road on this question. And, that is only mentioning a few of the women on the staff at RZIM. Are they wrong for employing this women? Was the University of Oxford wrong to allow Jo Vitale to get her doctoral degree, because she is a woman?

(Kathleen) #30

Hi, @smlevine75!

First off, I wish I could double-love your above reply about the women on the RZIM speaking team. They are, indeed, stellar, and those who would not listen to what they have to say by virtue of them being a certain biological sex have truly missed out! But I don’t wish to beat up on any straw men…or women…

Secondly, I was wondering where you see the subservience of women explicitly taught in the Bible? I know that both Paul and Peter speak of submission (which I see as different than subservience) in their pastoral letters, but even as they say, ‘wives submit to your own husbands’, it always in the context of mutual submission and love. It is always preceded or proceeded by the call for both to submit to one another or submit to the Lord. Even the exhortation for ‘husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her’ is a kind of submission on the man’s part.

[1 Peter 3] Wives, in the same way [as Jesus submitted to the Father’s will] submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker [i.e. more physically vulnerable] partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

[Ephesians 5] Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God…

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church … 33 …each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

[Colossians 3] 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

(Kathleen) #31

@PierreD, I assume you are referring to 1 Timothy 2?

11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.

Would you see the example of Priscilla and Aquila in Acts 18 as contrary to this directive? As in, it is implied that Priscilla was just as important as her husband. They were a team…

When Priscilla and Aquila heard [Apollos], they invited him to their home and [they] explained to him the way of God more adequately.

(Steven M Levine) #32

Continuing the discussion from Can a woman be a Pastor or a preacher?:

Thank you for your reply. First, I may have overstated things a bit when I used the word “subservient”. That word means very different things across today’s cultures. As an American, that word is not used that often, and certainly not as strong of a word as it is in say, Saudi Arabia. So, please don’t read too much into my use of that particular word. It’s difficult to always deduce tone through the typed word. My thought process at that time was brush off the rather feeble arguments in 2018, for women taking a submissive role in speaking and / or pastorship. I belong to a denomination that, I don’t 100% agree with everything that is done, but we have had women in priesthood roles for several decades now. I have heard some of the most thoughtful and beautiful sermons, preached by women.

There are a couple of things that we need to address when looking at this topic. First and foremost, I think, is culture, and the role women play in the culture. The overall culture of 1st Century Jerusalem looked very different than 21st Century America does. Even a woman of station in Jesus’ time, would not have been allowed into court room to defend herself, nor would she have been allowed into the Temple. There is strong evidence in the scriptures that Jesus, and God Himself (just using that designation for clarity), challenges those cultural norms. We have already mentioned the Mary’s at the tomb, and them being commissioned by Jesus to go an tell the disciples what they had saw. Ravi often speaks of the woman with the alabaster ointment. There’s the adulterous woman who Jesus prevents from being stoned, and the woman at the well, that became the 1st Evangelist to the Samaritans.

The Old Testament has many instances of women being the crux of a story. Pharaoh’s wife plucks Moses from the river and gives him a chance at life. But, one I really like often get’s over looked, and that’s the slave girl in 2 Kings 5.

5 Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.

2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

The compassion this girl has on her captors is amazing. After being torn from her home, she tells her captors where to go to be healed of this horrible disease. She didn’t have to. She could have kept her mouth closed, and been submissive. But, she didn’t. The bible doesn’t even give her name, but she is the reason that Naaman was cured.

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(Steven M Levine) #33

Also, you are absolutely correct in that it is a mutual submission to love. And, if we take what Abdu Murray often says that God does not just love, but He is Love, then it is in submission to the father. I would take it one step farther though. When I am preaching a wedding service, it is hard to avoid the scriptures that you cited above, so I don’t avoid them. I meet them head on, and make the point that 1 Peter says that the woman should submit to their husband, it mutually places far more of burden on the husband. And, I will point this out. This isn’t a throw out your chest “I am man” moment. Indeed it is exactly the opposite of that. The biblical burden of marriage rests solely on the husbands shoulders.

Now, we know this isn’t the case most of the time. Indeed, healthy relationships are a 2 way street. They are not one or the other giving 100% of the energy, it’s not even a 50/50 relationship. A marriage, is a covenant with God and your spouse, and in that covenant, each participant, the man and the women, should be giving 100% to each other. God will play his part. He’s not the weak link here. We are.

(Armando Bordales) #34

Hi Abby! I don’t know what is RZIM “official” position on this but they do have women apologists. That gives us a clue I think. :wink:

(Armando Bordales) #35

I came across this passage today and I thought I should copy paste here. :slight_smile:

Mat 28:5-7 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. (6) He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. (7) Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.”

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(Sanjib ghosh) #36

Dear all,
Praise God for giving all of us wisdom and guidance by His Holy Spirit.
Thank you all for giving so much opinions and insight.
It’s one of the most challenging topic.
As question title obsevered ,
It’s mentioned about women’s Pastoral eligibility.
To keep in mind the title, I might try to focus of the insight on that scope.
With due respect to all of you,
I thought bible never objected to oppose women in ministry (personal observations).
Women can share gospel , preach and also lead the community.
But it might minimize to do direct teaching from Pastoral position.
We can explain so many things for or against to defend.
We may seek many supportive fellows to establish our logic.
But nothing can sustain.
Again, I am respectful to all irrespective of any gender.
Also, I have to acknowledge that fear of God beginning of wisdom.
I might trust on Him to direct each one of us to find His sufficient grace to have joy together man and women to glorify His name.
No church or any organization cannot define the standard, except Christ alone.
Jesus may help us to seek His will and have peace .
Extending my respect to all,

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