What are Different Perspectives on the Role of Women in the Church?

Thank you @Balajied_Nongrum for answering questions for us this week! I have lately been interested in the different perspectives of women’s role in the church. Traditionally in America I would say women have not been allowed to serve in any leadership role in many churches, although they are very active in more background areas. Some churches allow women to pastor, become elders and deacons, etc. I am curious to hear what your perspective is on this issue and in general what the churches in India believe about this. Thank you!

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Hello@Carrie,

Deeply appreciate the question you have raised.

Let me begin with the second part of your question which is concerning the context of the Churches in India and the role of women. Well, more or less, the situation among the main line (denominational) Churches in India are similar to the one that you have mentioned about the traditions that the Churches in America have mostly adopted. However, with more and more independent Churches (Non-denominational) emerging these days, the context seems to be gradually changing wherein some of these Churches are becoming more & more open to women taking leadership roles.

Furthermore, I believe that women have always played an important role in the growth of the church. For instance, we learned from the scripture (Mat. 27:55-56) that they were among the few who were present at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus when the other disciples had fled away. Similarly, in the resurrection account too. They were the first to whom Jesus appeared. Again, the apostle Paul in most of his writings would pay high regards to the women. He would even mention them by name and in other places, he would address them as “co-workers” e.g., Phil. 4:3. In fact, on the basis of Rom. 16:1, one can even conclude that Phoebe held some position in the the church. All of these truths goes only to demonstrate the fact that there is no prohibition against women playing a role in the christian ministry.

However, it seems to me that the point of contention lies in the text which forbid women to ‘teach or have authority over a man’ (1 Tim. 2:12). On the other hand, there are those who would argue on the basis of Gal. 3:28 that there is neither ‘Jew nor Greek…male nor female…all are one in Christ’. But, Paul also argues in 1 Cor. 11:11-12, “In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.” Implying that the one way dependence of woman on man is turned into mutuality by a recognition of the dependence of men on women. This MUTUALITY is pronounced to be ‘IN THE LORD’. This is brought about by the coming of Jesus and his deliverance (or liberation) of women from the male dominance which was the result of the fall or sin. Thus indicating that women (as men) too had the same capacity for relationship to God quite apart from any male mediation except his own.

What is interesting is that Paul is arguing in light of the new status of women inaugurated by Jesus’s thus connecting it back to Gal. 3:28. So, the move is from the one-way dependence toward mutual interdependence. Therefore, in light of these text, I would submit that the concern from the scriptural point of view is the issue of ‘spiritual authority’ rather than the ‘position or role’ a woman takes in the Church.

Hope this is helpful.

Thank you,

Blessings,

Balajied.

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Thank you @Balajied_Nongrum, that does help. I appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions this week! Good bless you brother! :blush:

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