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The controversy

women leadership in the church

It is no easy task to explain the most controversial passages on women in the New Testament and numerous passages need to be collected to get a broader view, the main Scriptures are 1 Cor. 11:1-18, 14:34-35 and 1 Tim. 2:11-14. “Let the woman learn in silence, with all subjection. But I do not allow a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, was in the transgression” (1 Tim. 2:11-14). The Bible tells us the Devil deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden, not Adam. He sinned by intentional disobedience from listening and being persuaded by His wife, he was not deceived. Eve was manipulated into a position of decision making without her husband, something she was not supposed to do.

1 Cor. 14:34-35 specifically addresses women teaching in the context of official gathering, what is not covered in Corinthians is covered in Timothy (1 Tim 2:12-14) as he addresses a general prohibition. Prior to this Paul writes how men how to pray and the women how to adorn themselves, from this he moves to the instructions of a woman learning and not teaching or having authority over a man. The words “have authority over” are the key to understanding this passage. Women should not be permitted to exercise authority as instructors of doctrine in the home or church over men. This role of authority is given to the apostles and elders, who are men appointed by the Holy Spirit, women are clearly not to have authority over them. 1 Tim.2:12 (en); a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), hupotasso -to subordinate; reflexively, to obey: dominate (Strong’s Concordance).

There is to be submission and authority, otherwise Paul states deception will occur like it did originally. We need to note that there is no evidence in Paul’s pastoral epistles that the women were teaching false doctrines as some of the men he mentions were. However in Revelation we see Jesus mention a prophetess, Jezebel, who seduces his people. Also a false (harlot) church that is deceived becomes the dominant church, as the Woman rides the Beast.

In both the Jewish Temple and synagogue the women were segregated from the men, this practice changed in early church, male and female were not separated in the congregation (Acts 12:1-17; 1 Cor.11:2-16). Why were the woman instructed to wait and ask their husbands at home? Because the men are the teachers. Paul is saying that women should stop asking questions that would disrupt the service, they should be educated, and receive private teaching from their husbands at home. Men were permitted to publicly ask questions, to object, attempt to refute in the synagogue; but this liberty was not allowed to any woman. In Judaism a women to speak in public among men would be an act of independence, as if they were not subject to their husbands. Women were not to contend with the men in public, but wait until they get home to converse with their husbands. It was the woman’s duty to learn in subjection and the man’s duty to instruct her as Peter states to wash her with the Word.

Silence that is mentioned in 1 Tim 2:12-14 refers to lifestyle, a principle of quietness that is not just addressing what is to happen in a official church gathering. The same rules of submission apply to home and church. So it does not matter if this about the home, as the same conduct applies in the church. In the home wives are instructed to “submit to their own husbands”(Col.3:18). In the letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor.14) he is specifically addressing the church meeting. From these letters and Titus we have the apostle’s entire instruction on the matter of women teaching and speaking in the Church. No women teachers over men but to children and other women who are younger and need their instruction. Teaching to a mixed group in unofficial settings, is not implied such as in evangelism and sharing.

Silence in (1 Cor 14:34-35) refers to a plain “hold your peace during meetings” instruction. If they desire more full information on any particular subject ask at home. Notice if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church. This is not just about their asking questions as Paul says in v.35 and if they want to learn ask at home, whereas prior to this he addresses their speaking and this being related to v.26 of the church coming together and the gifts being exercised.

“Let your women keep silent in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak: but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also says the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. What? Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it to you only that it reached? If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:34-37). The speaker is under the authority of God being used to communicate his instructions to the church. They were not to teach, nor were they to interrupt those who were already speaking. V.33-35 Paul says his instruction is for all the churches, not just this one he is writing. And these rules still apply today. They are not subject to change because of culture or our understanding. No one who claims to be a prophet or an apostle today can change the rules that were handed down by the original apostles.

Paul ends this command with questioning the Corinthians in v.36 “did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it to you only it reached?” Were the Corinthians going to think they know better than Paul on these matters, did they produce the Word of God or did it come to them by the apostles?

Immediately after forbidding the women from speaking in public church meetings, the Apostle Paul warned that those who ignore this instruction are not spiritual. “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). As he stated in the beginning of the epistle (1 Cor. 1:2) everyone in every place that calls on the name of the Lord. “for it is not permitted unto them to speak: but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also says the law.” What law is Paul speaking about? Certainly it is not the Pharisees law that Paul had formerly practiced and rejected nor is this found written in the Old Testament; there is no such specific injunction on women except in principle. Most see this as the law of creation order (as is stated in 1 Tim.2 referring to the Genesis account) in Gen.3:16, “your husband shall rule over you.” The word “to speak” is laleo in Greek and is used in v.21 an Heb.1:1, it means to speak authoritatively. What about this passage referring to only married women? The Scripture is giving a general instruction and not addressing each individual case; if unmarried women were to have a question they can ask their father at home.

Paul is addressing the church assembled for public worship, made up of males and females. So there are two things women are not allowed to do in the Assembly: speak publicly by teaching men or rule over men collectively. Sunday School nor other types of meetings come under the apostle’s idea of a public church meeting, and women are allowed to teach non adult men. Women can do worship they can give announcements, they are not to expound the Scriptures to men as this is what a Church meeting would consist of (Acts 2:42).

If women were allowed to exercise leadership over men the rest of Scripture should indicate this, there should be some clear statements explaining their positions and qualifications, but there is no concrete evidence. As Paul instructed Timothy in 2 Tim 2:1-3 “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Notice men are to teach, there is nothing that mentions his training women to teach.

Women as leaders

Peter Jones in his book The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back states, the feminization of God led directly to the ordination of women. Marcion, who was excommunicated from the Roman Church in A.D. 150, established his own church, in which he appointed women as bishops and priests. In Valentinian Gnosticism women functioned as teachers, evangelists, healers, priests, and perhaps as bishops (The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back p.30.) So we can see that this feminine movement began early on in the church from those who were enemies of Christ, both these men denied the Scripture. Marcion rejected the entire Old Testament and the gospels by Matthew, Mark and John and made a canon of his own. This consisted of the gospel of Luke, which he rewrote. He accepted 10 of Paul writings excluding the pastoral epistles, thereby making up his own Bible.

Arguments against Pauline epistles continue today from the liberals who are no friends to Biblical authority.

Much of their opposition to equal treatment of women is derived from their rejection of the inerrancy of Scripture, the Bible we have today. Liberal theologians generally take the position that 1 Timothy was written by an unknown author during the first half of the second century, long after Paul’s execution. Ephesians was possibly written 30 years after Paul’s death. Colossians was written, to counter Gnosticism, which they believe did not enter the church until later in the second century, many decades after Paul’s death, all which is completely untrue.

Men have mostly dominated business, politics, various professions, and even religion. Opportunities for women in any of these vocations were rare until the 19th century. It was in religion where women had their own associations for many centuries. The Roman Catholic Church had its orders of nuns. Other denominations, like the Anglican Communion and the Lutherans also had communities of women whose work focused in teaching and charitable endeavors. Through the 19th century opportunities for women in education, politics and the workforce gradually opened and they were able to participate. Women formed social reform organizations working toward goals of the right to vote. By the 20th century all major Jewish and Christian groups had women’s societies contributing at both local and national levels.

Today the secular society accepts participation of women in government, professional work, and the military. Women have moved into the work force and Women have become professionals, in Law, Management, Police, and politics etc. and it has become acceptable to see them in leadership roles in society.

There are numerous organizations promoting women’s rights, one that we are all familiar with is the National Organization for Women (NOW). The feminist movement is doing well in the National Organization of Women, they have held conferences promoting pagan/occult concepts. At their twentieth annual conference held in Denver in June 1986, one of their workshops was entitled “Feminist Spirituality-The Goddess returns.”

There are many women associations that deal with social issues. One of the oldest and best known in the United States is the National Women’s Christian Temperance Union, founded in 1874. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, was founded in 1980 continues its fight against alcohol abuse and driving. Other associations that addressed social problems are Women Against Pornography, Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament, National Abortion Rights Action League (a pro- abortion group), and Feminists for Life of America (an anti-abortion group).

The women’s movement from the world has eventually influenced the church with the argument we must be fair and open, they deserve equal rights. The church being influenced by modern culture has become open to allowing women positions of leadership by ignoring or changing the Biblical commands. It may be true that we should be fair but when it comes to the Church and home, but there is certain restrictions set in place for the Christian Church. Although we should correct any suppression of women in ministry, we should not overreact and be more open than the Bible instructs because of pressure for gender equity. It’s a fact that men and women’s makeup are different and should not be ignored when they are applying for certain positions.

In our modern time women ministers can be traced back to Antoinette Brown who was ordained by the Congregationalist Church in 1852, they later merged with others to create the United Church of Christ. Olympia Brown (1835-1926) who was a religious leader and social reformer. Brown was ordained in 1853 as a Universalist minister with congregations in New England and Wisconsin. She was a pastor involved in the campaign for women’s suffrage and gave up her pastorate after 24 years in 1887 to devote herself to the cause. The Universalists and Unitarians united to form the Unitarian Universalist association UUA. Anna Howard Shaw (1847-1919) was the first woman Ordained in the Methodist Protestant Church in 1880. Margaret Newton Van Cott (1830-1914) was the first woman Licensed to Preach in The Methodist Episcopal Church in 1869. Ann Allebach was the first Mennonite woman to be ordained in 1911 at the First Mennonite Church of Philadelphia. Lydia Sexton (1799-1894) was the first woman to be voted as a Pulpit Speaker by the General Conference of The United Brethren Church, as they could not deny her gifting in 1851.

Some other noted organizations and churches that ordain both men and women are the Salvation Army founded in 1865. Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship issued a position paper in Oct.1993 but then reversed their previous stance stating that “gifts, character, essential theological faithfulness, and experience” are more important than gender in selecting employees for leadership. YWAM (Youth With A Mission) promotes women leadership along with men. The founder of YWAM Loren Cunningham felt so strong about this subject that at a 1992 conference, he spoke on what he called a “cultural bias” against women. Warning that God's blessing might be removed if YWAM did not commission female leaders (Charisma magazine 7/92). YWAM holds no ordination of women pastors because they are not a church. In 1995 the Christian Reformed Church voted to allow women ministers, elders, and evangelists. The North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council suspended the CRC’s membership in Nov. 1998 because of their decision.

Today many Universities offer associate, bachelors and master’s degrees. Men only slightly outnumber women on many campuses. Many of the Charismatic and Pentecostal colleges recognize women, offering degrees for the pastorate. The percentage of female graduate students at 229 North American Christian schools of theology has risen from 10% in 1972 to 30% in 1997. Today about half of all American denominations ordain women, and about 30% of all seminary students (and in some seminaries over half) are female.

The newest US federal labor statistics, which are several years old, lists an increase in the number of women describing themselves as “clergy” in the United States. This has increased by 27,134 between 1983 and 1996 (“A Chorus of Amens as More Women Take over Pulpit,” The Washington Post, July 25, 1998). In 1983 the number was 16,408 the number of female “clergy” had risen to 43,542 by 1996. 1 in every 8 clergy is female in the U.S. Women now make up more than 12 percent of all the “clergy” in the United States.

In 1997, 30 percent of the students at 229 North American graduate schools of Christian theology were women, compared with 10 percent in 1972. Some institutions, such as the Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in Alexandria and the United Methodist Church’s Wesley Theological Seminary in the District, half the students are women (Ibid.).

There are almost 4,000 licensed and ordained women in the Assemblies of God.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has 2,419 female leaders.

The United Church of Christ has 1,803 female leaders.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has 1,358 ordained women.

The fall 1997 edition of Folio, the newsletter of Baptist Women in Ministry, reported that there are 1,225 ordained Southern Baptist women. Roughly 200 of the ordained women serve as pastors and associate pastors. The Southern Baptist currently has about 1,600 ordained women and 41,099 churches. 30 of the senior pastors are female. This recommendation was approved at their annual meeting on June14.

The United Methodist Church has ordained women since 1956 they currently have 43,688 clergy of which there are 5392 women clergy. <http://www.bu.edu/sth/shaw/retention/methods-tables.html>

The Episcopalians ordained the first Anglican female bishop in 1989. In the Anglican Communion, there are still 10 Provinces (of 35) which do not ordain women as priests and three about which information is not available: <http://www.episcopalchurch.org/women/seven/provinces.htm>

In 1973 the Episcopal Church in the United States had no women priests. They approved women’s ordination in 1976. There are currently altogether 14,167 Episcopal priests. The 1998 Episcopal Clerical Directory contains ordination dates for all but one of 1,955 women priests. Women now constitute 13.8% of those listed in the 1998 Episcopal Clerical Directory. Women Deacons make up 31.7% men 7.9%. Women Priests make up 68.0%, men 89.9%. Women Bishops 0.3% men 2.2%.

The general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) considers that the ordination of women in Orthodox churches as not a closed matter. This is not surprising from an apostate organization that has as much to do with the Church as a fish walking on land. They have united themselves with other religions denying Christ is the only way, teaching the Holy Spirit is not for the Christian only and working with other religions. 1948 began the modern ecumenical age.

We find that it is mostly in the liberal Christian denominations that ordain women and give them access to other positions of leadership over men.

The Order that God Ordained

1 Cor. 11:8-9 “For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.” This describes an ontological order, a creation ordinance of man over women.

In creation, God made Adam first and then Eve was taken from his side to be his helper. This is the order of creation. In giving the instructions about women in the church, the Holy Spirit referred back to the original order of creation--Adam first, then Eve. Woman was taken from man. Since Eve was created second this order stands today, there has been no command to reverse it.

There are some pro-feminists that argue from the Genesis account by changing some of the words and meanings to circumvent around Paul’s teaching of the creation order in the epistles. This way they are able ignore what is being said of woman possessing a lesser position than man in the home and Church. Some claim in Genesis 2:18 Yahweh-Elohim said, “It is not good for the adam to be alone” some interpret the creation of the adam as a human pair, that adam is not the man without reference to the woman, adam is a single human being, undifferentiated according to gender. That there is only one of the species adam, and it is inaccurate to call adam “him,” as it is to call adam “her.” The account of the creation in chapter 2, adam is then made into male and female. Adam in this portion of Scripture refers to what was left after God had taken the material from the side of the adam, what was left was now male.

This is a ridiculous interpretation, for Adam did not change his gender after Eve was taken from his side, he was still male and Eve was made like him, but female. The whole purpose was to find a mate suitable for him, as the animals already had mates. In Gen.1:26 the Hebrew ha adaam the man, distinguishes him as a species different from the animals, but in v:27-28 it states He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them” this is clearly speaking of the fact when Eve would be taken from Adam. Man (Adam) was made last of all the creatures from the earth, as the crown of God’s creation, Eve was made after Adam, not from the ground but from Adam himself. “She shall be called woman, Isha, a she-man, differing from man in sex only, not in nature-made of man” (from Matthew Henry’s Commentary). He (adam) was always man it is for this reason God made a woman, both were in His plan of creation.

The Hebrew word baanaah from the side of the man God builds the female, through whom the human race is to be built up by the male. Gen 1:27-28 “He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them” “The distinction drawn between ‘otow (OT:853) (in the image of God created He him) and ‘otaam (OT:853) (as man and woman created He them) must not be overlooked. The word ‘otaam (OT:853), which indicates that God created the man and woman as two human beings, completely overthrows the idea that man was at first androgynous (cf. Gen 2:18ff.). (from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary)

It is in chapter 2 we have more detail of this account. When he took the new person out of Adam he called her ‘ishshah meaning feminine, a woman. Gen 2:18 signifies one like, or as himself, standing opposite to or before him. And this implies that the woman was to be a perfect resemblance of the man being neither inferior nor superior, she was made with the same nature as he was. However she was designed to be his helper. In Genesis 2:22,23, where we find reference to Adam calling the female ‘woman’. Adam says, “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh”, or the same substance, a blood relation, of the same body. “She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Notice, she was taken out of Man, not Man taken out of woman. She was made from a small part of Adam that he once had authority over: it cost Adam a part of his own body to have Eve. Also, Adam called her ‘Woman’ which literally means “opposite of man or male.” A certain order of creation is given in the text; the object of creation for the woman was man, not the opposite. A Source has often been important in determining rank, in this case we have God, man then woman. This is why Paul explains “but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man”(1 Cor. 11:7-9).

God has revealed himself as a Father one reason is because he is the source of all things. It is for this reason that Christ the Son became a man (not a woman), because of the order of creation in humanity.

‘Woman’ in Genesis refers to wives and all single females! What is applied to the married woman concerning subjection in the New Testament text also applies to all women believers. It would make no sense that husbands are to be the head of the home and men are not to be the leaders in the church. The inconsistency should be apparent if we reverse this. If women can rule the church as pastors, they certainly could be the head of the household. But there is no such allowance in the Scripture. Paul who was guided by Holy Spirit used this order of creation (1 Cor.11:8-9) to instruct that women are not take authority over men. Since the order of creation has not changed since Genesis and 1 Timothy was written, and Scripture does not change by culture or time, we know that the instructions of the New Testament about the woman’s role in the church still apply to us today. It is this order that Paul mentions in 1 Tim. 2:11-14 when addressing authority. Being a pastor or an elder is being in the place of high spiritual authority. Any woman wanting to assume the position of a pastor or elder in the church would of course have authority over both women and men, contradicting the clear instructions given in 1 Tim. 2:11-14. The woman took the lead in the fall therefore she must continue to be under authority.

Does male leadership make women inferior? Jesus was sent by God (John 6:38) and lived as a servant on earth. He listened to his Earthly father (step dad) and mother. He was under authority by God the Father and He submitted (Matt. 28:18) to His instructions. He also said the Father was greater than I (John 14:28), meaning in position. Does this submission make Jesus inferior? No, He was the same nature as the Father. Even within the Trinity there is an order, a position of one to another. The Father sent the Son (John 6:38) and both the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26). Clearly God is a God of order and structure. This is our example of humility, and submission which has order. Women are of equal value in the church and need to be used according to their gifts and position given to them. A wife submitting to the husband does not mean that she is less than the husband. Not having a place of leadership in the church does not mean a woman is less of a person either. We are equal before God whether it be Jew, gentile, free, slave, male, or female. But in the church, God has set up an order the same way he set one up in the family. The order of headship is God the Father, the son Jesus, the man, wife, and then the children. That’s the way God set it up. This is not ignored or changed if men and women are unmarried. Paul arguing from the order of creation it eliminates any local custom of the time or a matter of Paul’s own opinion. Women are no more inferior to man than Christ is to the Father; it is all a matter of position and submission.

The Apostle Paul made it plain that women were not allowed to teach or to usurp authority over men (1 Timothy 2:12-14). A woman as a pastor over the church is not obeying this apostolic command. There are no woman shepherds. Women who ignore this prohibition are not being obedient in this area to the clear teaching of the Word of God. They bring confusion and a church that allows this is proving they are compromising and heading toward ruin. This can come in several ways but it is sure to come. However it may not be noticed since they have accepted the compromise but it is sure to affect other aspects of ministry.

Some argue the expression “every male among the priests” in Exodus and Lev.7:6 insinuates that there were women among the Levitical priesthood. This is reading into the Scripture and drawing an interpretation from silence. Scripture clearly mentions males each time in the priesthood. Men were appointed shepherds to the sheep, they were kings and they were priests. This can be better interpreted as the males officiating as priests, or engaged as a priest at the time as not every Levite was serving as a priest. In the New Testament both men and women are priests, ambassadors with the gospel, (no relationship to Levites) so there is no restriction in this because of gender.

In other religions women were often priestesses, and were also deified. We find the concept of equality of the genders mostly among neo-pagan groups; some give their priestesses greater power than priests. In the cult of Ishtar in Babylon, women were connected with the immoral rites of temple-worship as they were during the time of the apostles.

The Deception

Eve was deceived by the Serpent in the Garden from acting in a decision without the man whom God had given her to be under authority of (Gen. 3:13). Eve was made after Adam and she is instructed by God not to eat of the tree. The Bible makes it clear that she is aware of the command by her arguing with the Serpent (Gen. 3:3). This is what Paul is referring to (1 Tim.2:12) when he explains the woman was deceived and brought into sin and Adam was not deceived. Not consulting with Adam about the fruit offered, she told him what to do after she ate it. Women that find independence from the men unwilling to learn “in quietness and full submission” and instead seek roles that have been given to men in the church (verse 12), make the same mistake Eve made. And they will bring similar a disaster on themselves and the church. How women react to these Scriptures shows their heart in this matter.

Women need to be careful in ministry and leadership especially being alone, as Eve was deceived because she did not consult with Adam. Because women also have a unique sensitivity and openness to spiritual things they can easily become susceptible to false teaching. It is no coincidence that certain women have been responsible for starting or involved in major false Christian movements and other religions (this of course does not exclude the men). These are only a few: in 1747 Mother Ann Lee was believed to be the 2nd coming and was fulfilling in herself Christ’s kingdom on earth she started the Shaker church. The Seventh-Day Adventists false revelation on the Sabbath came by E .G. White’s vision of seeing the commandments in heaven; the men followed it. Christian Science came by revelation to Mary Baker Eddy and she blended metaphysical concepts with the Bible. Rev. Moon who calls his wife, Hak-ja Han Moon the true parent, they believe the Holy Spirit is a “female spirit”, she came as the True Mother, that is, the second Eve and spiritual wife of Jesus, together as True Parents of mankind they will restore what Jesus failed to.

Women have also played key roles in spiritism, metaphysics, the new age movement, and mind science cults. There is Barbara Marx Hubbard, Theosophy was founded by Madam Helena Blavatsky, Alice Bailey, Annie Besant, and other top Theosophists-were well known leaders in the women’s Masonic movement of her day. The revival of Spiritualism was attributed to the Fox Sisters. Most of the fortune-tellers, tarot cards, crystal ball and palm readers, psychics and those involved in the Occult arts are women. All this being repetition of what Satan did in the Garden. When women step out from God’s appointed position, they also step out of His purpose for them.

Peter Jones points out in The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back in the early church the Gnostics distortion of doctrine led to a lifting up of women “In Paul, Adam is first, then Eve; in the Testimony of Truth Eve is given first place, and Adam follows along. In Paul, the man teaches (didaskein) while the woman learns in willful submission; in Testimony of Truth the woman teaches (tcabo [Coptic]) and the man submits to her teaching. In Paul the woman is deceived by the serpent; in Testimony of Truth she is enlightened by the serpent. In Paul the woman gives life through child-bearing; in Testimony of Truth she gives life through her instruction (47.1)--cp. the heavenly Eve, “Instructor of Life” who comes into the serpent, also called the “instructor” (the Hypostasis of the Archons 113.33; cp. 89.32; 90.6, cited by Pearson, Gnosticism, 45) (cited in The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back p.40)

This current growth in female leadership has a spiritual background that I see is going to a certain goal. It all seems to have a leaning of influence in correlation with the Mary of Roman Catholicism. The Roman catholic church has exalted her position to share with the Son of God’s leadership. On August 6,1981, the Lady of Medjugorje identified herself as “the Queen of Peace” a position of equality to the prince of peace. In these visions and apparitional appearances Mary is exalted to the unbiblical position to bring help to the church. She offers her three-Point plan to bring peace to our families, to our nations, to our communities and to the entire world by consecrating to her immaculate heart and praying to her. She has usurped the authority. In the Roman Catholic Bible Mary is defeating the Devil “I will put enmities between thee and the Woman, and thy seen and Her seed: She (not He) shall crush thy head and thou shalt lie in wait for Her heel.” (Gen. 3:15). If we can see the acceptance of a woman figure being put in position in Roman Catholic Church as near equal with Jesus and having many affirm her, we should be able to see the same strategy on a lower degree at work inside the various Christian church’s. It is all to remove us out from God’s headship in authority.

We can  also see the promotion of equality of sexes applied in the contemporary inclusive versions of the Lord's Prayer that address God as Our Father/Mother in heaven (Inclusive version by Oxford university press).

Women prophets

The Daughters of Philip were prophetesses (Acts 21:8-9), and there were others but this did not mean women could preach or prophesy without being under submission. God gives gifts of ministry to women as He does men, but it does not mean they have the freedom to use them by taking authority in the church and to ignore the apostolic injunction against preaching to or teaching men.

As for women prophesying, we know that Philip’s daughters prophesied, but when God spoke to Paul it was not by the women prophets he was present among, He brought a male prophet from another city to come and prophesy to him. “And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles” (Acts 21:8-11).

So how do we reconcile 1 Corinthians 11, where Paul approves of a woman praying or prophesying in public, and in 1 Corinthians 14 he forbids women to speak in the public meeting of the church. Prophesying or speaking in a tongue is not the same as teaching, instructing with doctrine, ruling or asking out loud questions. It should be obvious that women could sing in the worship. Paul is not saying they can’t open their mouths at all, but to learn quietly. (This word is found in two other places Acts 22:2; 2 Thess 3:12) it means to keep quiet while another speaks. Not “to have or exercise dominion over.”

We need to read carefully the prohibition of Chapter 14 as applied to Chapter 11. 1 Cor.14:33-35 “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.” This is about order in the church, about speaking out in the course of the service because in 11:5 Paul is addressing women praying and prophesying in the church, not just asking questions. This of course would follow the order that is to be contained. Also (1 Cor.14:34) it seem that the women may have been involved in bringing disorder with the gifts as he states prior, that the prophets are to speak 3 at the most one at a time then says God is a God of order and then the women are to keep silent. Just as Paul instructs if there is not interpreter of tongues then the one speaking should not speak out loud.

Joel 2:28 predicts that in the last days the LORD will fulfill Moses’ prayer that all the Lord’s people, men and women alike, will prophecy (Numbers 11:29). At Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given to both men and women, young and old alike. But there is no record of the women speaking in tongues to the unsaved or prophesying at Pentecost because this is reserved for the next outpouring at the end of time before Christ comes back. Just as there were no pillars of smoke or fire. Prophecy will be spoken by both men and women (Acts 2:17,18) that His spirit will be “poured out on handmaidens” just as it was stated by the prophet Joel.

Modern Women apostles

Peter Wagner who taught at Fuller Theological now heads up Wagner’s Leadership Institute (WLI). He tells the story about how Cindy Jacobs was the one who introduced him to prophecy by teaching his whole Sunday school class on a weekend retreat. Wagner describes how she prophesied over almost all 50-60 members of that class. Since his forming of his apostolic leadership, those who are under Peter Wagner’s leadership have become some of the main promoters of the women ministry movement as both pastors and apostles. Cindy Jacobs, John Eckhardt and others all want to see women have equal leadership in the church, especially in key leadership positions.

Cindy Jacobs speaking about Naomi Dowdy who has a church of 5000 in Singapore, “How many people are under her apostolic network, that she works in the assemblies? I think I heard maybe a thousand or something. She’s gonna teach a course on the woman as a pastor.” (Cindy Jacobs, National School of the prophets, May, 2000)

John Eckhardt “And their just embracing it and we have two of our female apostolic leaders to leave and fly to China and go into China and make the contacts with the Chinese church and begin to prophesy over them. We’re finding out that a lot of Chinese apostolic leaders are women. And we have two women from our church that really did the apostolic work to go into China.” (John Eckhardt, National School of the prophets, May, 2000) “The Spirit of God began to show me other emerging apostolic leaders right in our church.…and two of them were females.” (John Eckhardt, National School of the prophets, May, 2000)

I need to mention that they do not mean secondary apostolic positions, as pioneer missionary church planter’s but one who rules and can have signs and wonders follow just as the 12 apostles.

One of the ways the devil brings us into pride removing us from humility is by making us important. The purpose is to remove us out of our gifts, talents and roles so we no longer operate in God’s given authority, but our own. Certainly there are many talented women, some may even be better at preaching and teaching than many men, but the Bibles instructions have not changed. Paul says they cannot rule over men in the church or in our home. Women are weaker than men, “the head of the woman is the man;” but yet honour is to be shown to the wife, “as unto the weaker vessel” 1 Peter 3:7 (Greek- asthenes- strengthless: more feeble, less strength) (1 Cor. 11:3, 8, 9). True servants will not Lord it over them but will lift them up and be a comforter. Women were not designed for leadership over men because she is the weaker vessel, not just in physical strength (yes, there are exceptions). Women were designed for a different role in life--that of a wife and mother because of her makeup of emotions, and sensitivity.

Principles in living

1 Cor. 11:2-3 “Keep the teachings just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (means a rule authority or source, there is no mention of church offices of pastor, or even elders here). The word for man has the definite article where the word for woman does not. There is the subjection of female to the male. The word for woman- gune primarily means a female and only secondary as a wife. It should be kept consistent throughout this portion of Scripture because the topic extends beyond marriage [as in v.12 referring to the creation account, men are born from their mothers not their wives].

V.7-12 “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.” The fact that Paul is addressing outward attire of the woman shows the concept of submission is upheld in his instructions. These proceeding instructions are for the Church as Paul states in v.18 “When you come together as a church”

Eph.5:21 it tells us that we are to submit to one another in the fear of God, then it gives the order of authority in the home and Church. Christ is the head of the whole church in the same way man is over the woman. This teaches a positional hierarchy the same as Eph 5:22 the subjection in marriage, the wife to her husband. Vs.23 “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the whole church; and He is the Savior of the body.” Man as a husband has a special responsibility over the woman and his family. If man is not supposed rule over women as a servant, than Christ is neither the head of the Church. When God took (a rib possibly) one of Adam’s bones He made a woman, whom he presented to Adam when he awoke from his operation. Adam received her as his wife, and said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” So because she was “taken out of man” (Genesis 2:23), the man has the preeminence, as he was the source of the helper given to him, therefore we have the principle and the position that “The head of the woman is the man.” In the same manner the head of man is Christ, as the Son of God was the creator of Adam. The woman was made a helpmate for man, in the same manner the Scripture says “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28).

1 Peter 3:1-2 “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear” and in v.5 “in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands.” Even if a husband is unsaved, as long as there is no abuse and they are acting in love, the wife is to be obedient and stay with them. Here is a good example of spiritual leadership, the husband is ignorant on spiritual matters and yet the wife is not to take the role of authority that he has in the home. It would be improper for her to teach him, as her authority is not to be exercised over him, so she is to win him without a word.

You have world order the church order, and home order, each having it’s proper authority restricted to it’s own order. In the home order the woman has a headship, and that is man. In the church women have a headship and that is man, man has a headship and that is Christ. The fact that we are one in Christ (Gal.3:28 male and female) does not mean that we dispense with the order of creation. Men and women share spiritual equality but this does not negate our assigned offices or roles we are to function in. Restriction in the church does not mean that women are to be demeaned, ignored or treated as slaves.

Various roles are open to them, both within and outside of the church. Today the average church could not be in a healthy condition without women serving along with the men. They are able to minister in ways men cannot, but men can minister in ways women cannot. We should all be serving in our correct roles and offices, not the incorrect ones. God has gifted women in spiritual things just as he did men, but they are restricted in their exercise. The woman’s ministry in the Church is to be focused on women (younger women) and children (1 Tim. 2:15; Tit. 2:3-5) for this reason we find them often teaching Sunday school. This is allowed because children not grown men. For a woman to teach men as a pastor in a church, it shows they are not in submission to God because they are exercising unlawful authority. They can teach men language, math, art, science, geology etc. but they cannot teach them the Scripture in the Church. Contrary to the popular opinion that we have church whenever two or three are gathered, that is what the Bible calls fellowship. A Church meeting is when the elders are assembled with the congregation.

So what of women missionaries planting a church or teaching men where there are no men available? Well we should not be so myopic in our view. The foremost important thing is the gospel of salvation presented to the unsaved, both men and women can present the gospel. However once there is a church started and men are available to take the ministry there is no reason a woman should be pasturing. This should be looked as temporary situation and working toward the proper order of the church as set in Scripture.

The question comes up, why does it look like God’s blessing is upon women pastors that teach to men? I can only answer this with God having grace despite our ignorance. He will bless the ministry of His Word whether it is a man or a woman, as long as the error is not too significant. God looks upon the heart as well as the actions. However if they are following the Lord and in His Word, it would only be a matter of time before they see it is wrong. Then they have to make a decision or they would be intentionally disobeying a important aspect in ministry. Essentially we cannot judge by what it looks like to us now, it will be later when rewards will be received because of what we have all done in right motivation and in accordance to the Word of God (1 Cor. 3:6-15; 2 Tim. 2:5).

After reading and researching the arguments, pro and con and weighing them out along with my own research in the Scripture, the evidence weighs in on the side of men apostles, pastors and elders. However this does not exclude women from a teaching ministry with women and children as previously stated. This does not hinder them from giving out the gospel or writing books or serving on the mission field. There is need for balance.

Even if one does not agree with the scriptures in 1 Timothy or 1 Corinthians, the other numerous examples cited in the Scripture that show that it was men that were ordained for ruling the church. As stated: women can serve in ministry in various ways even in a teaching capacity with women and young men, but they can’t lead the church, they can’t rule over men as Church leaders; even my wife agrees.



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