Women Pastors. Yes or No?

It seems to me the you @Rjbuckley are saying that when a husband and wife become one, they become identical? Am I understanding correctly? (If this is what you are saying, it would bring question as to why the Bible addresses the roles of the husband and the wife in different ways and light.)

I just want to know that I am understanding what you are saying there👍

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My wife would be upset if she thought she was identical to me! I think what I’m saying is too much is being made of this it’s the man’s way or the highway. It’s a different time, it’s a different culture, and it’s neither errant nor inerrant.

HI @Rjbuckley!

I’m curious how you mean this in light of Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 5:5, Ephesians 5:21
Also 1 Corinthians 12: 12-28 talks of the church as being the body of Christ and everyone members of that body. You report to Jesus and while that is a noble and great concept, I wonder how you submit to him when you don’t recognise his body nor any submission to it. In 1 John it basically says that if we say we love God and hate our brothers than we are liars. The principle being that if we cannot love the brother who we do see, we cannot love God who we canot see. Does this principle not apply also to church authority? If we say we submit to Christ but not to his church doesn’t that make us a liar? I would believe Christ gave the church a measure of authority, see Matt 16:18-19. If we cannot submit to a church we can see, how can we submit to Christ who we cannot see?

Also I’m curious if you would feel the Bible should conform to the culture at large or should we, as born again believers conform to the Bible? I would like to know your thoughts on these questions, thanks!

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I’m not sure where in this discussion to jump in, but I do have a question for those who say women should not teach men (1Tim. 2:12): I am a woman and have answered questions posed by men on Connect. Does this mean I am in error? RZIM has many prominent female speakers and teachers, one of whom is Amy Orr-Ewing. Is the wisdom she has imparted not acceptable if men benefit from it?
Does God impart knowledge to share and teach only to men and not to women? If we exclude women from being teachers and evangelists, etc. to men, are we not also negating the grace God freely gives to us all by limiting the gifts He freely gives to those whom He determines? (1Cor. 12:11)

In the list of gifts (Eph. 4:11; 1Cor. 12:7-11), I don’t see where just men are pastors or teachers. It says to “some”, meaning, “to this”, or “to that”, as in distribution. The gifts are masculine nouns, yet we know there were female prophetesses (Luke 2:36; Acts 21:9).

Both Paul and James refer to “brothers” when addressing a congregation (Rom. 10:1; James 3:1) James is referring to the need for teachers to be careful how they teach. Was he just referring to men? Paul also used the same word, “brothers” in referring to the fact that Christ was the firstborn among many brothers (Rom. 8:29). Did that mean that women were excluded from being beneficiaries of Christ’s resurrection? If not, then did he and James mean that women were included in being gifted to teach? “Brothers” was a universal word referring to Paul’s fellow believers. (Yet, we know Paul didn’t allow women to teach men: 1Tim. 2 :12).

It seems to me that since we have such gifted women as Amy Orr-Ewing and other RZIM speakers and teachers, then Paul was dealing with a culture where women were not educated and most were illiterate, and a society that viewed women as frivolous gossips, socially. They were not allowed to be witnesses in court. So, in an environment such as that, it was necessary to maintain order in the church meetings. If women were interrupting to ask questions, or were attempting to teach (including men) without the authority of having such a gift, then Paul needed to instruct the proper “orderliness”.

This order in the church is not the same as a relational order that Paul speaks of when he states that God is the head of Christ; Christ the head of the man; and man the head of the woman (1Cor.11:3)
In that day (and in some churches today), a woman was allowed to exhibit the gift of prophesy but she needed to have her head covered (1Cor. 11: 5) symbolizing her relational authority was under the the sequence Paul laid out: God to Christ; Christ to man; man to woman. There have been multiple threads on this question, and my point is not to pick that up again, but to demonstrate a difference between church orderliness at that time and the relational order, keeping in mind that Christ is the head of the Church body -men and women (Eph. 1:22).

In 1Cor. 11, 1Cor.15, and 1Tim. 2:12, Paul was dealing with church order while, simultaneously, maintaining relational order. The culture of the day dictated this method of church order. Today, we have many women who are more educated, trained, and gifted than men. I don’t think we can negate the Amy-Orr Ewings and others like her by confining them to the culture of Paul’s day. However, the relational order still exists. God as head of Christ and Christ as head of the Church has not been changed. Why should we assume the further relational order of Christ to man and man to woman has been changed? However, that relational order does not affect the distribution of gifts. We have many women evangelists/missionaries; administrators; teacher; pastors, etc.–all within the body of Christ. If, as Paul emphasized throughout his ministry, the body of Christ is being edified and Christ lifted up, how can we judge these women’s gifts and callings?

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I appreciate your addition to this thread:)

The Bible is definitely the most unique and powerful Book ever written! I am amazed that it covers the principals for every concept in every aspect of life. Your biblical support for your upholding and support of woman teaching and influencing, even in ways that reach men along with women, is very well supported.

What is intriguing to me is that the passages you mentioned do indeed refer to women in the ministry, yet when the Bible specifically addresses those in ordained leadership within the church, such as in 1 Timothy 3, it goes beyond the typical and general word “man” or “brethren”, to addressing nouns such as husbands or nouns referring to the head leader of the home. In 1 Tim. 2 I think I can definitely agree that that was for order’s sake, yet, that addressing wasn’t even about whether woman should be ordained leaders, it was how they should simply conduct themselves in the church. And yes, I believe there probably did need to be order straight in that church whom Paul was addressing. However, in the next chapter (chapter 3), the specific topic of ordained leadership within the church is addressed. And again, it uses nouns that can’t just be understood as a general Christian noun, it addresses ordained leaders (if the leader is married and has a family) as husbands or nouns that refer to the head leader of his home.
I also acknowledge the dynamic influence and God-provided ministry through prophetesses. And I believe they were used greatly and accomplished the calling God had for them. However, when, in the NT, it specifically addresses the church ordained roles, I have yet to see supportive Scripture that specifically addresses both woman and men in these specific ordained roles in the church. Everywhere I see in the NT, when it talks about the ordained leaders within the church, to me it is clearly addressing males (beyond the general terms).

I would love to hear your answers to my questions that would arouse within me concerning this in-depth and insightful topic:

And…

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@ChristinaLinzey: You have made an excellent point. I think there are some fine lines when distinguishing between clergy, bishops, shepherds (pastors), and deacons.

I agree with you in regard to the shepherd (Eph. 4:11) of the church. Biblehub.com makes this definition about shepherds.

**"Metaphorically, the presiding officer, manager, director, of any assembly: so of Christ the Head of the church, John 10:16; 1 Peter 2:25; Hebrews 13:20 (of the Jewish Messiah, Ezekiel 34:23); of the overseers of the Christian assemblies (A. V. pastors), [Ephesians 4:11]

"Usage: a shepherd; hence met: of the feeder, protector, and ruler of a flock of men."

" 4166 poimḗn – properly, a shepherd (“pastor” in Latin ); (figuratively) someone who the Lord raises up to care for the total well-being of His flock (the people of the Lord)."

1Timothy 3:1 refers to “overseers” or “bishops”. This position is derived from a feminine noun because it involves care and nurturing and visitation.

1984 episkopḗ (a feminine noun, derived from [1909]/e(https://biblehub.com/greekhub/1909.htm) pí , " on , appropriately fitting," which intensifies 4648 /skopéō , “look intently”) – properly, oversight that naturally goes on to provide the care and attention appropriate to the " personal visitation ."

" From episkeptomai; inspection (for relief); by implication, superintendence; specially, the Christian “episcopate” – the office of a “bishop”, bishoprick, visitation."

In terminology today, especially in the liturgical denominations, a bishop is not the pastor. However, because of the nature of the early churches, bishops were most likely serving as traveling pastors.

In regard to deacons, 1 Tim 3:8-10 also is speaking of men. However, when referring to “their wives”,(1 Tim 3:11) other translations of the manuscripts did not refer to them as “their wives”, but as “deaconesses” who needed to possess the same qualities as a deacon.

In my initial response, I concluded that if a person felt a calling into whatever service gift of apostle, teacher, prophet, etc., and the church is being edified by the glorification of Christ, I wouldn’t judge the veracity of his or her calling.

Having said that, I will add a personal opinion: I believe a person’s success in being called to be a pastor(shepherd) can be seen in the fruit of his/her labor. I have seen pastors fail miserably, and that is between them and the Lord. But, I’ve also seen many successful pastors. It is not by the size of their congregation that evidence is seen, but by the quality with which they pastor their flock.
In my experience, I have known women clergy who have not had the responsibility of shepherding a flock but have been successful in their particular ministry. But I have only known men who have been shepherds. My personal view is that I believe men are called to shepherd the flock. If the flock includes women with teaching gifts, clergy ordination and responsibilities, etc., I believe men can learn from them and I won’t judge their calling.

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Hey @sgewehr, welcome to the conversation! You brought up some excellent points regarding the original translation of Greek words.

You also mentioned:

as well as:

I often see this line of reasoning and would be interested to hear how you would relate it to Galatians 2:1-2 (or if you think there is any relationship at all)?

I was really challenged when I first came across this passage. The Apostle Paul, who was an eye witness to Christ’s resurrection and wrote 1/3 of the New Testament, checked his entire body of work (all the fruit he bore) with the Gospel to see if he was running in vain. That’s crazy to me! Who would have dared questioned Paul’s gifts or spiritual fruit? No one has done more to edify the body of Christ than Paul, yet after fourteen years of ministry, he still had to weigh himself against the Gospel to ensure his entire ministry wasn’t a waist.

Paul’s demonstration of submission and humility has taught me that no spiritual leader, regardless of any perceived fruit, is above the authority of scripture. I do not weigh scripture against their success; I weigh their success against scripture to see if it’s in vain. No circumstantial body of work can overcome or make up for a posture that doesn’t submit to the authority God has placed in our lives.

Let me conclude by assuring you that I am not trying to sneak my opinion in through the backdoor here. In fact, my entire point is that my opinion doesn’t really matter, nor does my sense of right, wrong, or farness. The word of God is alive and will cut right through all that stuff anyway.

I look forward to hearing any thoughts you have on the matter!
Stay Sharp
(Prov. 27:17)

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Thank you for your question, Nathanael @noverby. It’s true that some passages can be difficult, especially when there’s no reference to the situation elsewhere in Scripture.

Fortunately, this is not the case with Galatians 2. Paul was not weighing his ministry, concerned that it was in vain. If you have a good cross reference Bible, what Paul was describing in Galatians 2 is found in Acts 15:2. Paul had previously presented his gospel to the Apostles for their approval and grace in ministering to the Gentiles. Yet, while he was in Antioch teaching the Gentiles, people called “Judiazers” had infiltrated and were claiming that the Gentiles needed to be circumcised in order to be saved. Paul and Barnabas were concerned that the Gentiles were being swayed by that teaching and that their gospel to the Gentiles would be undermined (or in vain). Hence, they went to Jerusalem and spoke privately with the ones they felt were true leaders to get a decision on the matter. However, there was a sect of Pharisee believers there who maintained circumcision was necessary. A controversy arose until it was agreed that salvation was by grace, not circumcision.
Paul never doubted the effectiveness of his ministry nor his calling. In the previous chapter of Galatians, Paul spells out what the evidence of his true calling was. Gal.1:9 says that anyone who preaches a gospel other than [the life, death, and resurrection of Christ] it is to be condemned. Verse 10 says that faithfulness as a servant to that gospel is required. The true test of the fruit of one’s ministry is seen in who the minister is trying to please: men or God (vs.10).
All through Paul’s gospels we can see character traits of good fruit which he spells out. One is that the servant is not a burden to his congregation (2 Cor.11:9). His admonition to Timothy, especially, is a good measuring stick. (2Tim. 2). Jesus said we would know true believers by their fruit (Matt. 7:15-20).

You are right that often fruit can be deceptive. I’ve known of some pastors who fit that description. But, I think committed believers who seek God’s word and grow in their faith and devotion to Christ will be able to ferret out truth from deception. And, as Paul admonished Timothy, we are ultimately to submit ourselves to God for His approval:
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." (2Tim. 2:15)

God’s word is sharper than a two-edged sword, cutting to the marrow. (Heb.4:12). But we should not belittle the sensitivity God gives us in raising questions. In fact, God welcomes our doubts and questions, even in regard to the teachings of others, so that we will be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.(Matt.10:16).

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Hey @sgewehr- Thank you for your explanation and taking the time to walk me through that understanding. I really appreciate it!

I completely agree with the context you offered on Galatians 2 and did not mean to indicate that Paul’s meeting had anything to do with women and the order of worship in churches. As you said, the reason for Paul’s meeting is easily understood through other accounts of his travels.

I also agree that:

If I devalued any questions, that was certainly not my intent. In fact, I would take it a step further and say we should ask questions “especially” in regard to the teachings of others. I just think that any teachings in the name Christ should be subject to an evolution that beings with biblical affirmation, as opposed to beginning with the produced outcome of that teaching. That is not to say the produced outcome bears no weight or is irrelevant; it’s just secondary to biblical authority.

I second this statement! However, I would encourage people to use scripture as the primary source/means to ferret out the truth. All other indicators, including the perceived fruit of one’s ministry, should be secondary.

My primary point is that our experiences and conclusions should be understood in light of scripture, rather than scripture being understood in light of our experiences and conclusions. With that said, I do agree that our experiences and conclusions do hold secondary value and should be considered.

I do have one follow-up question?

How did you come to this conclusion in light of Galatians 2:2?
Paul uses this same language in 1 Corintihson 15 to state that those who hold to the wrong message are believing in vain (vs. 2). This seems to put a lot more weight on believing the right message, rather than the sincerity of the belief itself. I am not relating this to salvation or saying that we need to believe all the right things in order to be saved. It just seems we have elevated sincerity over truth, and I would hate to be the friend encouraging someone down the wrong path based on their sincerity. Sincerely wrong is the worst kind of wrong.

Thanks again for your investment,
Stay Sharp!

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@noverby

My cross reference referred me to Acts 15 which further explained why Paul and Barnabas were sent to Jerusalem. There were infiltrators who came into the church at Antioch claiming salvation was through circumcision. We see how Paul and Barnabas felt about this situation when verse 2 says they came into sharp dispute with this claim. It is why Paul and Barnabas were sent to Jerusalem: to get a clear statement that circumcision had no bearing on salvation. Peter, knowing Paul’s calling to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, and knowing that salvation was through Christ’s death took Paul and Barnabas’ position by restating Paul’s calling in verses 8-11.
If circumcision was declared necessary, Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles pronouncing salvation through Christ was going to be undermined. That was his fear that he mentions in Galatians 2:2. We have to put the two passages there and deduce what he was concerned about, knowing how passionate he was about bringing salvation to the Gentiles.
You are right. Just as Paul was saying that if Christ wasn’t resurrected, his preaching was in vain (1Cor. 15:12-19), he was also saying that his preaching salvation through Christ to the Gentiles in Antioch was in vain if circumcision was declared necessary. Salvation and resurrection go hand in hand. If Christ hadn’t died for our sins, and if He hadn’t been resurrected, his preaching was for nothing.

I agree that we grow in Christ through Scripture and a deepening relationship with Christ.

Likewise, stay strong.

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My question to this question is what is the greatest truth of the Gospel?
If your Answer is Jesus’ resurrection from the dead that He conquered sin, death and hell itself, then you have to look at who Jesus first presented Himself to after His resurrection. He chose the women to carry the greatest truth of the Gospel. The women delivered the message Jesus didn’t wait for a man.
Look at the woman at the well she was broken she had 5 failed marriages and was living with a 6th man, but the 7th man (Jesus) came Gave her the truth and her shame became her testimony. She became the First evangelist for her city. When we read scripture we must read it in its context. Context… Context… Context. Why does Paul state he does not permit women to teach a man, what is going on during that time etc.

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Hey @Douglasj- welcome to the conversation! I’m a little uncertain of your connection between Jesus revealing Himself to women first and the topic of pastorship. Would you mind clarifying that connection?

I hope everyone would agree that the Bible needs to be read in context and that narrative does not always equal normative. With that understanding, could you offer some context through your questions?

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I would tend to agree more with the original statement:

than the latter statement:

Regardless, I respect and appreciate your recognition that scripture must be understood through it’s historical and literary context. Thanks for the conversation and for allowing me the opportunity to process through these scriptures in detail.

Stay Sharp!

I know this topic is old, but I wanted to add my opinion for perusal of the community:

What does God have in mind for the relationship between his sons and his daughters? What was the original design, and how was it corrupted after the Fall? Now that Christ has come, and put an end to the curse of the law, what should our relationships look like?

Man (Hebrew Adam 0120) is created on the sixth day per Genesis 1:26 in the image (Hebrew Tselem 06754) and likeness (Heb. Dmuth 01823) of God. Specifically, like all other living creatures, man is both male and female (v 27). Thus, both man and woman were created on the sixth day. In chapter two, we find that originally man was alone, on a mission to dress and keep the Garden of Eden (2:15). God warns man to not eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil lest he die. Even though Adam is male and female, he is alone. I don’t know how this could be, yet that is what the text says. In some way, Adam needed a helpmate (Ezer, 05828). The animals can’t help, for they are not created in the image and likeness of God. Thus, God performs surgery on Adam, takes one of his ribs, and forms the woman.

What did their relationship look like before sin? Well, we don’t really know. But here are some observations:

  1. The male is larger and stronger, perhaps for protection and provision. The female is smaller and weaker, and the chosen vessel from God to bear and nurture the children, though none are recorded before sin entered the world.

  2. Physically, the male gives and the female receives, then produces the child, and gives back. The two have become one flesh (Eph 5:31)

  3. The woman is the Ezer for the man. Every other time this word is used in the Bible, it refers to God. She is sent by God to be his helper, for man can’t make it on his own. She helps him the way God does.

This paints a picture of interdependence. Woman receives her life from man, then gives it back again. The man provides and protects and the woman cares and nurtures. There is no power struggle, but a well oiled machine that is in perfect relationship to God.

But unknown to Adam and Eve there has been a war in Heaven. Lucifer has rebelled against God and has taken a third of the angels with him. He has lost his place in heaven, and now finds himself cast down to Earth. He asks the woman about the commandment. In her response, she adds to what God had told Adam. Perhaps Adam has not done a great job of dividing the Word for Eve. Nevertheless, she got the point: Don’t eat from the Tree of Knowledge. If you do, you die. Satan challenges her, claims it’s not true, tells her a bunch of lies appealing to her sensual nature. He’s not saying anything to the man. He knows the manual. He would not be deceived. So Satan lays the trap. Adam leaves his place of leadership and allows Eve to be deceived.

Messiah has come as promised in chapter 3 of Genesis. As in Adam we are dead in our sins, in Christ we have been made alive. But has the original design of male and female changed, so that she is just as able to lead as he is? No. Paul tells Timothy that because Eve was deceived she is not to rule over man. Adam was made first. Eve is designed as his helper. If men continue to bail out, and let her lead, disaster awaits. Not because Eve is in any way inferior, but because God designed her for the nurture of her family just as He gave Adam the task of provision and leadership. Both man and woman have natural roles, and the family, and the church, work best when we lay egos aside and function interdependently.

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In understanding the Bible, we need to be very careful to not impose modern usage of words onto the original meaning of those words in the Biblical text. The word Paul used for “wife” in I Tim 3:2,11 & 12 is a Greek word referring to a woman or one of the female sex. And the word for “husband” in the Greek is referring to a man, an adult male person. According to a lexicon I use as a resource, the word “wife” in the New Testament always refers to a woman, someone of the female sex.

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3 posts were split to a new topic: Adam vs. Adam & Eve

Paul’s damage control measure

I’ll begin with a little bit of ancient history and mythology. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus also known as the Temple of Diana and the Artemision, was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was a structure famous for its imposing size and for the works of art that adorned it. Like all of the Ancient Wonders other than the Pyramids and Sphinx complex at Giza, after almost 2000 years of neglect the temple is just foundation and rubble. Only one reconstructed column still stands.

The temple was 130 meters long and 67 meters wide, and it had 127 18-meter-tall columns supporting its roof. It looked approximately like the Acropolis of Athens and was built on level ground. Artemis, in Greek religion, is the goddess of wild animals, the hunt, and vegetation, and of chastity and childbirth. Goddess Artemis was identified by the Romans with goddess Diana. The temple was destroyed by invading Goths in AD 262 and was never rebuilt. Little remains of the temple, though there are many fragments, especially of sculptured columns, in the British Museum.

The controversial issue of women in church leadership arises mainly from the Apostolic Ruling of 1 Timothy 2:11-13.

“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.”

1 Corinthians 14:33-35 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

At first glance these few verses seem to disqualify women from leadership in the church in any position. But often the first impression may not the right reading, as in this case. Moreover this is not consistent with the rest of the scripture and Paul’s own Epistles.

Galatians 3:28-29 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Ephesus was famous for the Temple of Diana and Corinth for the Temple of Aphrodite. Both Diana and Aphrodite are pagan fertility goddesses. Prostitution flourished in Ephesus and Corinth. There were hundreds of temple priestesses who worked as sacred prostitutes. These temples were more like sacred brothels. Paul saw the danger from these converted pagan women and had to adopt DAMAGE CONTROL measures to protect the church. His instructions were culturally shaped and sensitive. He had no other option but to restrict the role of women.

The Gospel of Jesus is never presented as a suppressing influence in the lives of women, but a liberating force. We find women playing key roles of ministry in the New Testament. In today’s world, we see many women who give testimony to the call of God in their lives. God has chosen and seized their lives and they must submit in obedience. God is calling women to leadership in church today in every capacity or status or role.

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Thanks so much for sharing this background information on the cultures in Ephesus and Corinth at the time Paul was writing his letters to them. It is helpful for understanding Paul’s words written for these particular contexts. Without knowing such background it is easy to come to some inaccurate conclusions.

Paul did value women workers. In Rom 16:1 Paul wrote, “I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.” In this same chapter he refers to Priscilla (and Aquila) as fellow workers in Christ Jesus and also says to greet Mary, someone who “labored much for us.” In Philippians 4 he refers to Euodia and Syntyche as “women who labored with me in the gospel.” They were having some kind of squabble at the time he wrote, and he addresses that, but he also affirms their value to him.

Paul gets a bad rap regarding his view of women, but it is not valid if we balance the context of some of his words with his commendation of women as fellow workers elsewhere in his letters.

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