Well, not all Christians agree on this issue. In fact, there are now several denominations of Christianity that are allowing women to be pastors. So what is your opinion Pastor Mark?
Its not that men or women are better than the other, but that based on the way we are built, men tend to be better than women at certain things and woman tend to be better than men at certain things. Men are better sprinters and women are better long distance runners. Men are better at jig-saw puzzles and women are better at word-scramble puzzles. Men are better in a fist fight and women are better in a verbal argument. We are equal in worth, dignity, and value but we differ in the roles God built us for.
While men and women are equal in worth, God created them to fill different roles. The husband is called to be the head of the household (1 Corinthians 11:3). Likewise, it is men who are called to lead the church. The Bible uses the words pastor, overseer, and elder interchangeably. Both 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1(which contain lists of the qualifications for elders/pastors) say that overseers are to be men who aspire to the position and are the husband of one wife. There is no room in these texts in the Bible for women to qualify as overseers of the church.
In fact, right before 1 Timothy 3 saying that men should be pastors, Paul seems to clearly prohibit women from being pastors.
But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. -- 1 Timothy 2:12
Look, I know those words will prompt anger in some of my female readers. But I'm not the one who made the statement. Paul did in the Bible under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In the context, he is speaking of the church as seen in chapter 3 with the qualifications of an overseer. What will probably spark even more disagreement are the reasons Paul gives that women should not hold the highest authority in the church as pastors/elders/overseers. He says...
For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. -- 1 Timothy 2:13-14
Paul appeals to two things. First, he says that it was men who were created first and therefore men who are to be the leaders. This was the case with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jesus, Peter, James, John, and Paul. God uses men to lead because that's the way He designed this world to work. Men were the patriarchs. Men were the prophets. Jesus was a man. His apostles were men. The only real female leader we see in the Bible is Deborah in the book of Judges. However, even she asks a man to lead in Judges 4:6. She was leading because men weren't rising to God's call.
Second, Paul says that women should not be allowed to hold authority over the whole church because it was a woman and not a man who was deceived by the false teaching of the serpent in the garden. The devil went to Eve to trick her not to Adam. She fell for it. How does this connect? It seems to me that Paul is saying that women are more easily deceived and tricked than men, which is obviously a problem in terms of leading the church. While I understand those women who get upset with this verse, I also see this practically in the lives of most of the women I know. When its time to buy a car, a house, or anything expensive all of the women I know want their husbands to do it or ask a guy to come with them because the they don't want to be tricked and don't feel able to handle themselves in the negotiations. I don't think that women are dumber than men, God knows my wife has given me much needed advice on many occasions. However, it seems Paul is saying that women are more gullible than men, which possibly comes from a mixture of being too trusting, too kind, and maybe too naive.
I believe that this passage (1 Tim 2:12) clearly shows that women are just not allowed to hold authority in the church as pastors/elders/overseers. BUT, this passage cannot mean that Paul prohibited women from speaking, teaching, or serving at all in the body of Christ. This is seen from passages like 1 Corinthians 11:4-5 (in which women are allowed to pray and prophesy in church) and Philippians 4:3 (where Paul mentions the women Euodia and Syntche as fellow workers in the cause of the gospel). In fact, the woman Priscilla played a role in instructing the man Apollos in Acts 18:26 alongside of her husband. As such, I believe that Paul clearly allowed women to teach, pray, and serve in the church but prohibited women from teaching with authority. Thus, the Bible does not seem to permit women to hold the office of elder/pastor/overseer. Again, this distinction does not reflect on the worth or value of either sex. Instead, it is comparable to the relationship within the Godhead. While the Father and Son are equal in power, glory, nature, and all things, the Son still submits to the Father. Similarly, men and women are equal but function in different roles.
I believe that this issue has often been abused and misapplied in churches today. This does not mean that women should have no influence or impact on the church. Quite the opposite! Women possess the image of God! They are a vital part of the ministry of the Body of Christ. The focus should not be on the one position they are not permitted to fill, but on the many positions they can and are deeply needed to fill. The church is in great need of godly women to serve by to volunteering in every area of ministry and especially in teaching younger women to live a godly life.
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