Where I Stand: The role of women in the church and in ministry

This is another issue that has plagued the church over the years. There are those who take a very strong stand against women serving in the church and there are others who feel that women should be elevated perhaps even above men. Just like any issue, the real question is, ‘what does the Bible say?’ I am of the position that we must simply follow the Bible and live according to its principles and not according to the various winds of change within our culture.
First of all, let’s examine the role of women in general according to the Bible. In the book of Genesis we find that the woman was created for man. She was not created for man’s amusement; she was created as a companion and helper for man. Notice also in Genesis that the responsible party was the man. If Adam never ate of the fruit, even though Eve did, sin and death would not have been passed down to us. When God came to the garden, He did not approach Eve, He approached Adam. Why? Adam was the ‘head’ the ‘leader’, he was the responsible party. We see this theme all throughout scripture as women play the very important role to be a companion and a help to man. We see this concept taught in the New Testament as Ephesians tells us that the man is the head of the wife and he is the one that is responsible to teach his family the Word of God and to provide for his family. Man is a picture of Christ who sacrificially gave Himself for the church and provides for the church, while the woman is a picture of the church, the bride of Christ, who responds to Christ in love, adoration, and in service. We conclude then that a woman’s general role in society is to be a helper and companion for her husband and to serve her husband in love and adoration. If the woman is not married, her total devotion is to Christ and Christ alone.
Now concerning the huge debate that is found in many churches, the issue of women serving in ministry. Look at 1 Timothy 3:1-13. The Bible clearly teaches that there are two basic offices in the church. These offices are pastors and deacons. In the requirements given for both pastors and deacons we find that it must be a man. Nowhere in scripture does it indicate that women can serve as a pastor or deacon. Now, there are some who will say that this was a culturally issue. However, if you use the simple rules of Biblical interpretation: literal, grammatical, context, historical, and dispensational; you will come to the conclusion that this is not just a culture issue. Paul is writing to a young pastor during the church age, thus it is written for the dispensation of time in which we live. When you look at the grammatical implications you will find that that there is no way to truthfully interpret the passage without confirming that it means that the pastor and deacon must be the husband of one wife, therefore, it must be a man. When you look at history you see the theme throughout scripture of the man as the head of the home and the responsible party and the woman as the companion and helper. When you look at the text literally you will find that it means what it says, and it is very straightforward and simple. The conclusion then must be that women are not to serve in the role of pastor or deacon.
There is also the scripture in Corinthians that speaks concerning how women should cover their heads and also how they are to be silent in the church and not have authority over the man. Now, these verses do have some cultural implications. However, the principle does apply to us today. The basic principle we learn is that women are not to have authority over the man. It is not that women cannot speak or that they must have their head covered. The issue in the Corinthian church was that there were women acting like men and men acting like women. We see this very problem in our churches today. When men and women do not fulfill their God-given roles or those roles are switched, then the church is not blessed by God and it falls apart. Men need to be men and women need to be women. Man is the responsible party, he is the leader, therefore, in the church, and those in positions of authority must be men. For a woman to take on an authoritative role in the church violates the clear teaching of scripture. For a man to not fulfill his role to lead his family and the church he also is in violation of scripture. Does this mean that a woman cannot serve in the church? Absolutely not! Women play a very important role in the life of the church. Women can and should be involved in various ministries. But to have a role of authority in the church is unscriptural.
As we consider this issue, the real question is whether we are going to be obedient to scripture or are we going to follow the trends of society. Based on the clear teachings of scripture I believe that women have a very important role to play in the home, in society, and in the church. The problem is when men do not fulfill their roles and women take on the roles of men. Clearly, women should not serve as pastors or deacons nor should they have any desire to do so. Godly women who love the Lord will understand their God-given responsibility and will fulfill that responsibility with joy and without any desire to take on the role and responsibility of a man. To ensure that women can be the women that God intends, men must be men and take the responsibility as the responsible party before God seriously. Men should lead and love as Christ leads and loves the church and women should honor God in their submission to authority and in their service to God. And that is where I stand!

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