TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13 ESV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I’m back to dreading another question on the list… SIGH. But I’m committed to this series and I’m too far into it at this point to shy away from another hard question. We’re on Day 11. Today’s question is, “Why is the Bible against women leading in the church?”
Let me just start by sharing a little about my background. I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church and I went to an Independent Baptist school. Women did not serve in leadership, the pulpit, or in teaching positions over men (I had women Sunday School teachers and a woman who was my GA and Acteens leader). That was my norm and honestly, I don’t have an issue with it. I am not offended by churches that do not allow women in leadership or in a pastoral role. And let me remind anyone who may get bent out of shape about my opinion… I am a woman.
On the other hand, let me tell you about my other opinion. I don’t have a problem with women in leadership. I have heard some tremendous sermons and teachings by women that I know were Biblically sound.
So, I sit on the Biblical fence for this one. The primary debate on this is based on 1 Timothy 2:11-12 which says, “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” I will admit, this verse understandably ruffles some feathers. I get it. While I believe the Bible is wholly accurate, truthful, and without error, I also believe we have to take into account some factors including cultural norms of that time. Women were not educated in those days and while many of the disciples were not educated either, women were not valued in society. We know they did not enjoy the same rights as men.
Whichever way you go on this, we can all agree it’s a hotly debated topic and rather than answer the question as a definitive “Yes, women should be able to preach/teach,” or “No, women shouldn’t preach/teach,” I’m going to continue to be Switzerland and simply say — women, whether they serve in the pulpit or not — have a valuable role to play in the church.
God designed women to be different from men. We are not valued any more or any less. We are all given gifts and it’s our responsibility to use those gifts, just as men are called to, to help grow and strengthen the church. And the Bible, no matter where you stand on today’s question, gives us several amazing illustrations of strong women and how they served God and the church! Let’s consider the enduring stories of Rahab, Ruth, Abigail, Esther, Hannah, Deborah, Mary mother of Jesus, Mary Madeline, Mary and Martha, Phoebe, Eunice, Priscilla… To name a few! These women (and others!) have dynamic stories! Whether they have small or large roles in Scripture, they all played a big part in the history of our faith. Several women even made it in to the Faith Hall of Fame found in Hebrews 11!
Finally, let us remember that no matter what, Jesus valued women. We see several instances in Scripture where He treated them with extraordinary kindness—the Woman at the Well, the Bleeding Woman, the Adulterous Woman, in addition to others. And after He was resurrected, the first person to whom He revealed Himself was a woman!
So I don’t believe that those who disagree with women serving as pastors/teachers are being sexist or wrong. Personally, I think the church has bigger issues to contend with than this one… So whether we agree or disagree on women’s roles in the church is not relevant to me. What we need to do is encourage women to grow in their faith. Just as we encourage men to grow in theirs. Obviously, as a woman who writes a Christian blog, I am all in favor of this! And after a year’s break, I’ve resumed my role as a volunteer for Proverbs 31 Ministries which is a ministry focused on helping women grow in their faith.
Instead of focusing on gender in the church, let’s remember that we are the body of the church. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 says, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” And because we’re one body, let’s nurture one another. Encourage one another. Hold one another accountable. Both men and women.
Today, as you pray, thank God for the opportunity to serve Him. Thank Him that the church has many roles and many needs to which we can contribute. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be a willing servant wherever He leads you and to simply act in obedience to His calling.
SHARING ••• Please share with others! Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. ***Unless noted otherwise, all Scripture references are from the ESV translation.