Can Women be teachers, elders, and ministers in the Church?

Can Women be teachers, elders, and ministers in the Church? By Jack Kettler

In this study, we will seek to understand what the Scriptures teach regarding women and the biblical injunctions for them not to be elders or ministers in Christ’s church. As in previous studies, we will look at scriptures, commentary evidence and confessional support for the glorifying of God in how we live.

“Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.” (Psalm 25:4)

New Testament Church Offices:

Presbuteros, (elders, bishops, overseers) Diakonos, (deacons)

The English word “priest” comes from the Greek word (presbuteros). The priests (presbuteroi) are known today as “presbyters” or “elders.” The words bishops, elders, presbyters are used interchangeably, see, (Acts 20:17-28; 1 Peter 5:1 1 Peter 5:2; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:2).

The New Testament offices listed above have their roots in the Old Testament Israel’s system of priests and elders along with the patriarchs. In regards to Old Testament priests, Aaron and his sons were called by God to serve as Levitical priests. As will be seen this calling was limited to Aaron’s sons and has implications for New Testament Church offices.

How did the New Testament offices arrive? The roots of the New Testament offices have their beginning in the Old Testament.

For example, from the Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology on elders:

“The New Testament. The office of elder in the New Testament church cannot be fully understood without the background of the Old Testament local elder, an office still functioning in New Testament Judaism with duties pertaining to discipline and leadership (cf. Luke 7:3 ; and the implications of Matt 10:17; and John 9:22 ). The first Christians were Jewish and the office was familiar to them. Thus, Luke did not need to explain his first reference to Christian elders in Acts 11:30.

New Testament elders (presbyteroi [presbuvtero]) are also called bishops (episkopoi [ejpivskopo]) without implying any essential difference in the office referred to. In Acts 20:17, 28 and Tit 1:5, 7 the two names are used interchangeably. Also the requirements for the office of the elders and bishops are very similar (cf. Titus 1:5-9; and 1 Tim 3:1-7). The term “elder” stresses the connection with the age of the office bearer, while the term “bishop” emphasizes the nature of the task that is to be done. A distinction is made (in 1 Tim 5:17) between those elders who rule well, especially those who labor in the preaching and teaching (who are now called ministers), and others (who are now referred to as elders and whose full-time task is directing the affairs of the church).” (1)

Who are and what is an Old Testament Patriarch?

PATRIARCH; PATRIACHS

“pa’-tri-ark, patriarches). The word occurs in the New Testament in application to Abraham (Hebrews 7:4), to the sons of Jacob (Acts 7:8, 9), and to David (Acts 2:29). In Septuagint it is used as the equivalent of the head of the fathers’ house, or of a tribe (1 Chronicles 24:31; 27:32; 2 Chronicles 26:12). Commonly now the term is used of the persons whose names appear in the genealogies and covenant-histories in the periods preceding Moses (Gen 5; 11, histories of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc.; compare “patriarchal dispensation”).” (2)

The Patriarchs:

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were patriarchs as were the heads of the tribes of Israel were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulon, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Benjamin, and Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh.

The reader will notice that the priests and patriarchs were all men. Patriarchy in the Old Testament was a system where males exercise main power and the principal roles of leadership, and moral authority.

Deborah a prophetess (Judges 4:4) and Esther in the Old Testament were individual cases of women who were in influential leadership roles. These individual cases do not invalidate the norm of male leadership in the Old Covenant system. Prophets in the Old Testament functioned external of the governing body of elders and priests. The prophets were sent to rebuke the leaders of Israel or the nation itself.

This section of the study will look at the Old Testament office of the priesthood and its implications for the question of women elders and ministers.

What do the Scriptures say regarding the priesthood?

Old Testament priesthood was restricted to the sons of Aaron and was perpetual:

“And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest’s office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons.” (Exodus 29:9) (Underlining emphasis mine)

“And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats: And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting (‘olam) priesthood throughout their generations.” (Exodus 40:13–15)

Comments:

The Hebrew word ‘olam (everlasting) can have a temporal aspect ascribed to it. It can be used regarding ordinances in the Older Covenant that were to be kept by the people of Israel, which were not carried over into the New Covenant Church practice in their Older Covenant forms. The outward Old Covenant forms changed, the substance of the forms did not. Said another way, there are discontinuities and continuities between covenants. The temporal aspect was the forms changed. The everlasting aspect was the substance did not change. In truth, there are significant discontinuities and continuities in redemptive history when moving from the Older Covenant into the New Covenant era. To illustrate this, Saturday/Sunday Sabbath practice, circumcision/baptism, Passover/communion, and priesthood/elder pastor changes.

Besides, there is a fundamental change in the Old Covenant high priesthood because of Christ Jesus and His role as the only priest after the order of Melchisedec. Instead of many high priests, there is now only one high priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. From many high priests to one is a critical discontinuity. One continuity going into the New Covenant is the continued leadership role of men.

The next passage regarding Aaron’s sons carries the death penalty for its violation:

“But only you and your sons can serve as priests at the altar and in the most holy place. Your work as priests is a gift from me, and anyone else who tries to do that work must be put to death.” (Numbers 18:7CEV)

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible provides valuable information on Numbers 18:7:

“Therefore, thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest’s office, observe all the duties of it, and keep out others from intruding into it: for everything of the altar: both of incense and of burnt offering with respect to burning incense on the one, and offering sacrifices on the other; both were to be done by priests, and by no other: and within the vail; in the most holy place, where the high priest entered but once a year, and he only with incense, and the blood of sacrifices, see Hebrews 9:7, and ye shall serve; do all the business that is to be done at either altar, whether in the court, or in the holy place, and whatsoever is to be done in the most holy place within the vail: I have given your priest’s office unto you as a service of gift; it was not what they had taken to themselves of their own will, or had thrust themselves into, but what the Lord had called them to, and had freely invested them with, see Hebrews 5:4, and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death; any common person, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan; any Israelite, one that is a stranger from the priests, though a Levite, as Aben Ezra; such an one might not come either to the altar of burnt offering to offer any sacrifice upon it, or the altar of incense, to burn incense on that, or trim the lamps, or put the shewbread in order, or to do anything peculiar to the priest’s office.” (3)

Moving into the New Testament:

New Testament Scriptures that are relevant to the question of women teachers and elders:

Paul’s commandments to the Churches:

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. What? Came the word of God out from you? Or came it unto you only? 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 Corinthians 14:34-37)

Comments:

First, Paul says, “Let your women keep silence in the churches.” There is some debate as to what this means. If it is literal, this will prohibit women teachers. Also, Paul says in the above passage “as also saith the law.” When Paul says this, he is most certainly referring to Genesis 3:16, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow, thou shalt bring forth children, and; thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Paul’s instruction is in regards to the creational patriarchal order that he says is still binding.

In addition, Paul says his instructions “are the commandments of the Lord,” and he says “churches.” “Churches” are mentioned in the plural. Therefore, “the commandments of the Lord” are not issued to just one church. These commandments of the Lord are different from a culturally conditioned directive like “Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you” (Romans 16:16). Greeting or parting with a kiss is still a norm in some Mediterranean countries. This custom never took hold in Northern European countries. Sexually modest clothing would be a commandment. The actual type of clothing styles can vary from country to country and be culturally conditioned. For example, Jesus probably wore a Middle Eastern robe that was the norm in Israel. A robe, however, is not commanded in the twenty-first century. A commandment is not a suggestion, and it signifies divine rule.

How are these commandments of God implemented in the Church? The following abridgment of James W. Scott’s article on women speaking in the church explains this quite well.

May Women Speak in Church? By James W. Scott

What Speaking Is Forbidden?

“As we have already indicated, the speaking that is forbidden to women is public speaking, or speaking out, in the church assemblies. Speaking in general seems to be prohibited.

Praying (that is, leading in prayer) must be included in this speaking. Indeed, 1 Timothy 2:8 specifically states that “men” (in Greek, “males,” not “people”) are to “pray in every place [of worship], lifting up holy hands [that is, leading in prayer].”

Since singing is a form of “speaking” (Ephesians 5:19) and “teaching” (Colossians 3:16), it would also come within the scope of activity prohibited to women. This would rule out “special music” sung by women.

However, it is important to distinguish between an individual addressing the congregation and the congregation as a whole worshiping God audibly in the recitation of a prayer or the singing of a hymn. One aspect of such congregational speech is that the members of the congregation speak to one another (Ephesians 5:19), but in this case no individual teaching or leading is involved.

Would it be right for a minister to read a sermon or congregational prayer written out for him by a woman? Clearly not. Consider, then, whether it is right for him to lead the congregation in singing a song written out by a woman. As much as we may like the sentiments expressed by, say, Fanny Crosby, her words should not be given authority in the worship of the church. To sing her hymns in public worship is to make her a teacher, a worship leader, and a prayer leader in the church assembly.

Is there any way to escape the relentless logic of the rule of silence? Yes, says James B. Hurley, in Man and Woman in Biblical Perspective (Zondervan, 1981, pp. 185-94): the speaking prohibited to women in verses 34-35 is the judging of prophets mentioned briefly in passing way back in verse 29. And since prophecy has ceased, so has the judging of prophets, and thus this passage can now be ignored (pp. 185-94)!

However, verses 33b-36 form a distinct unit, not a continuation of the previous discussion of spiritual gifts. Thus, the previous discussion cannot be imposed on the passage to provide a limitation on its language.

Second, there is not the slightest hint in verses 33b-36 that the judging of prophets is in view. If Paul merely didn’t want women to judge prophets, why didn’t he simply say so?

Third, verses 34-35 are much too far from verse 29 to suppose that a reference there to evaluating prophets would control the subject matter of verses 34-35. Various kinds of speech are mentioned in verses 26-32; why should anyone think that verse 34 harks back to verse 29?

For these reasons, Hurley’s view must be rejected.

The only possible qualification that I can see in the rule of silence is that the verb “speak” has the nuance of “assert one’s views” or “express oneself.” The similar instruction in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 also requires women to remain silent, but more specifically prohibits teaching and other leading.

If this is so, it would be proper for a woman to give a personal testimony, report, announcement, or prayer request to the congregation, provided that it does not become exhortation, teaching, or leading in worship. (Whether such activity is appropriate in a worship service is a separate question.) The woman must be careful to remain “in subjection” (that is, not leading the assembly).” (4)

The New Testament biblical pattern of authority:

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” (Colossians 3:18)

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ, and; the head of the woman is the man, and; the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3)

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary explains the apostle Paul on 1 Corinthians 11:3:

“3. The Corinthian women, on the ground of the abolition of distinction of sexes in Christ, claimed equality with the male sex, and, overstepping the bounds of propriety, came forward to pray and prophesy without the customary head-covering of females. The Gospel, doubtless, did raise women from the degradation in which they had been sunk, especially in the East. Yet, while on a level with males as to the offer of, and standing in grace (Ga 3:28), their subjection in point of order, modesty, and seemliness, is to be maintained. Paul reproves here their unseemliness as to dress: in 1Co 14:34, as to the retiring modesty in public, which becomes them. He grounds his reproof here on the subjection of woman to a man in the order of creation.

The head—an appropriate expression, when he is about to treat of woman’s appropriate headdress in public.

Of every man … Christ—(Ephesians 5:23).

Of … woman … man —(1Co 11:8; Ge 3:16; 1Ti 2:11, 12; 1Pe 3:1, 5, 6).

The head of Christ is God—(1Co 3:23; 15:27, 28; Lu 3:22, 38; Joh 14:28; 20:17; Ephesians 3:9). “Jesus, therefore, must be of the same essence as God: for, since the man is the head of the woman, and since the head is of the same essence as the body, and God is the head of the Son, it follows the Son is of the same essence as the Father” [Chrysostom]. “The woman is of the essence of the man, and not made by the man; so, too, the Son is not made by the Father, but of the essence of the Father” [Theodoret, t. 3, p. 171].” (5)

“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” (1 Timothy 2:11-12)

Matthew Poole’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 2:12 are helpful:

“But I suffer not a woman to teach; not to teach in the public congregation, except she be a prophetess, endued with extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, as Mary, and Anna, and Huldah, and Deborah, and some women in the primitive church, concerning whom we read, 1 Corinthians 11:5, that they prophesied.

Nor to usurp authority over the man: ordinary teaching of the woman was a usurpation of authority over the man, who is the head, which the apostle also forbade in 1 Corinthians 11:3, and here repeateth. It is probable that the speaking of some women in the church who had extraordinary revelations, imboldened others also to aim at the like, which the apostle here directs his speech against. Nevertheless, women may, and it is their duty to instruct their children and families at home, especially in the absence of their husbands.” (6)

Comments:

We can conclude from the above Scriptures and commentary that women are not allowed to teach or lead in public worship services. Women can teach in Sunday school classes, present information in congregational meetings, speak and lecture in theology conferences. The above Pauline passages rule out women ministers and elders.

Qualifications for church officers that speak to the prohibition of women elders:

“A bishop (elder) then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach.” (1 Timothy 3:2)

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible on 1 Timothy 3:2 provide essential information:

“A bishop – A minister of religion, according to the foregoing remarks, who has the charge or oversight of any Christian church. The reference here is doubtless to one who had the government of the church entrusted to him 1 Timothy 3:4-5, and who was also a preacher of the gospel.

Must be blameless – This is a different word (ἀνεπίλημπτον anepilēmpton) from that rendered “blameless” in Luke 1:6; Philippians 2:15; Philippians 3:6 (ἄμεμπτος amemptos); compare however, Luke 1:6 note; Philippians 3:6 note. The word here used does not mean that, as a necessary qualification for office, a bishop should be “perfect;” but that he should be a man against whom no charge of immorality, or of holding false doctrine, is alleged. His conduct should be irreprehensible or irreproachable. Undoubtedly it means that if “any” charge could be brought against him implying moral obliquity, he is not fit for the office. He should be a man of irreproachable character for truth, honesty, chastity, and general uprightness.” (7)

In his comments, Barnes leaves no room for women elders.

“One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.” (1 Timothy 3:4)

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:1-7 is most helpful:

“3:1-7 If a man desired the pastoral office, and from love to Christ, and the souls of men, was ready to deny himself, and undergo hardships by devoting himself to that service, he sought to be employed in a good work, and his desire should be approved, provided he was qualified for the office. A minister must give as little occasion for blame as can be, lest he bring reproach upon his office. He must be sober, temperate, moderate in all his actions, and in the use of all creature-comforts. Sobriety and watchfulness are put together in Scripture, they assist one the other. The families of ministers ought to be examples of good to all other families. We should take heed of pride; it is a sin that turned angels into devils. He must be of good repute among his neighbor’s, and under no reproach from his former life. To encourage all faithful ministers, we have Christ’s gracious word of promise, Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world, Mt 28:20. And he will fit his ministers for their work, and carry them through difficulties with comfort, and reward their faithfulness.” (8)

An observation:

The commentators and scriptures use no gender-neutral language. The leadership language is always masculine. As seen in the previous passages, regarding the qualifications of deacons, male leadership is assumed.

“And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so, must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” (1 Timothy 3:10-12)

Comments:

It is true that “wives,” (γυνᾶικας gunaikas), could mean women. The apostle is dealing with the ordination of elders and deacons. Let us assume women to be the preferred translation. How would verse 11 fit into the context of Paul’s instructions to Timothy?

Dr. Leonard Coppes has some pertinent observations on this section of Scripture:

What then does one do with 1 Timothy 3:11:

“Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.”

Certainly, women cannot be ordained-that is, invested with authority to represent and participate in ruling over men. Perhaps this statement refers to the wives of deacons as Peter Y. DeJong (The Ministry of Mercy for Today, Grand Rapids, 1952, p. 97f.) argues. He notes that the deacons of the New Testament times would be faced with situations, which would pre-empt their successful execution of their responsibilities, and necessitate the use of a woman (no doubt, he says, their wives). For example, men could hardly tend widows and women who were ill. If so understood, the qualifications for these women are understandable. Another more plausible explanation might be that Paul is here speaking of women who were so used by the church, but who were not ordained. This would certainly explain why verse 10 precedes verse 11.

Verse 10 reads:

“Let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach.”

If the intent was to speak of women office-bearers that verse would more consistently follow verse 11.

“Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.”

Our argument is further strengthened (1) by verse 12 which seems to contrast “deacons” with “women” (vs. 11) and thus distinguishes the wives of deacons and these women of verse 11, (20 by verse 13 which suggests that deacons are good candidates for the eldership; and (30 by verse 8 which is virtually parallel to verse 11 except that verse 8 begins with deacons (therefore, deacons are different from women).

The rest of the New Testament makes it clear that women were prominent in aiding (Rom. 16:1f.) and otherwise serving (Rom. 16:3, 6) the saints.” (9)

See * note below under “for more study” for a different view on the translation of (γυνᾶικας gunaikas). This study argues for the translation of “wives” rather than “women.”

What can we learn from the book of Hebrews on the standards of ordination?

“For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.” (Hebrews 5:1)

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on this passage from Hebrews:

CHAPTER 5

“Hebrews 5:1-14. Christ’s High Priesthood; Needed Qualifications; Must Be a Man; Must Not Have Assumed the Dignity Himself, but Have Been Appointed by God; Their Low Spiritual Perceptions a Bar to Paul’s Saying All He Might on Christ’s Melchisedec-like Priesthood.

1. For – substantiating Hebrews 4:15.

Every – that is, every legitimate high priest; for instance, the Levitical, as he is addressing Hebrews, among whom the Levitical priesthood was established as the legitimate one. Whatever, reasons Paul, is excellent in the Levitical priests, is also in Christ, and besides Excellencies, which are not in the Levitical priests.

Taken from among men—not from among angels, who could not have a fellow feeling with us men. This qualification Christ has, as being, like the Levitical priest, a man (Hebrews 2:14, 16). Being “from men,” He can be “for (that is, in behalf of, for the good of) men.”

Ordained – Greek, “constituted,” “appointed.”

Both gifts – to be joined with “for sins,” as “sacrifices” is (the “both … and” requires this); therefore not the Hebrew, “mincha,” “unbloody offerings,” but animal whole burnt offerings, spontaneously given. “Sacrifices” are the animal sacrifices due according to the legal ordinance [Estius].” (10)

Final concluding observations:

“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” (1 Peter 3:1; 5-6)

Peter calls the married woman to be in subjection unto their husbands and offers proof for this by referring to Sara obeying Abraham. Peter’s instruction is similar to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:34 where he says “as also saith the law.”

The primary reference in 1 Corinthians 14:34 is to Genesis 3:16. The reference to the law may also be a general reference to the whole Old Testament system of patriarchy as defined the entry on PATRIARCH from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. See note 4.

In these next two citations of Scripture, the leadership of the Old and New Covenant Churches pictured together in heaven.

In Revelation 4:4, the twenty-four elders sitting on twenty-four thrones surrounding the throne of God represents the entire church starting with the twenty-four for the twelve patriarchs (men) of the Old Testament and the twelve apostles (men) of the New Testament, see Revelation 21:12-14.

A pattern in Scripture:

1. God’s covenants were made with the men Adam and the Adamic covenant; Noah and the Noahic covenant; Abraham and the Abrahamic covenant; Moses and the Mosaic covenant; and David and the Davidic covenant.

2. New Covenant is made with the God-man, Christ Jesus, and the head of the Church.

3. God is referred to in masculine terms biblically. For example, a brief list of similes used to describe God is King, Father, Our Father, Husband, and Him, and He.

These concluding observations bring us back to the New Testament declaration:

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man, and; the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3) What Paul is saying is creational as seen in Genesis 3:16 and an ongoing New Testament norm.

In his Doctrinal Considerations of 1 Corinthians 11:3, Simon J. Kistemaker explains the parallels the headship between and husband and wife and Christ and the Church. The continued headship of the husband over the wife has inescapable parallels to male church governance:

“In a discussion on the word head in the current text, we ought to look at the other places where Paul uses this term. In his epistles, it occurs seventeen times; of which seven instances have the literal meaning of the word and ten the figurative connotation.

When Paul develops his teaching of Christ’s authority over the church and all creation, he expounds the headship of Christ. In Ephesians 1:22, Paul introduces Christ’s headship with a reference to his heavenly exaltation far above all “rule and authority, power and dominion.” The text itself speaks of the execution of Christ’s divine authority: “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him head over everything for the church.” The theme that Christ is the head of the church also occurs in Ephesians 4:15; 5:23; and Colossians 1:18; 2:19. Christ is called the head over all things (Col. 2:10).

In one passage, Paul parallels the headship of Christ and the church with the husband as the head of the wife. In this particular text, we have a parallel that is instructive for interpreting 1 Corinthians 11:3. This is the reading: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior” (Eph. 5:22–23). The analogy of husband and wife to Christ and the church is clear. The wife submits to the husband as the church submits to Christ. But headship has its own unique quality, as the text indicates: Christ is the Savior of the church, which is his body. The church, then, has its existence in him. Likewise, on the basis of the account of Eve’s creation (Gen. 2:21–23), the husband acknowledges that the woman is from man and is dependent on him. Thus, headship signifies authority but it also includes a reference to origin that affects a continued relationship.

We infer from the parallel of 1 Corinthians 11:3 and Ephesians 5:22–23 that Paul presents Christ’s headship as a model. Just as Christ is the head of every man and of the church, so the husband is the head of the wife. As Christ submits to God the Father, so the wife submits to her husband.” (11)

A partial list of churches that do not ordain women, priests or ministers:

Orthodox Judaism does not allow women Rabbis. The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church does not allow the ordination of women to the offices of bishops or priests. Conservative Presbyterian and Reformed churches, the Southern Baptist Convention churches, Reformed Baptists churches, Lutheran Wisconsin Synod and Missouri Synod churches do not ordain women. This list is not exhaustive. These different expressions of the Christian faith agree on the doctrine of male-only ordination. Agreement on the non-ordination of women is significant in light of the other differences between these churches.

A relevant question, does the ordination of women lead to theological liberalism?

In a review of “A New Path to Theological Liberalism?” Albert Mohler seeks an answer to this question:

“In Evangelical Feminism, published by Crossway Books, Wayne A. Grudem argues that evangelical feminism now represents one of the greatest dangers to the continued orthodoxy of the evangelical movement. ‘I am concerned that evangelical feminism (also known as “egalitarianism”) has become a new path by which evangelicals are being drawn into theological liberalism,’ he explains.” (12)

Dr. Gordon Clark on the history behind not ordaining women:

“The Protestant Reformation, for all its opposition to Romanism, never questioned the practice of ordaining men only. Now, if this practice has continued from the time of Abraham down to 1960 or thereabouts, those who are innovators surely must bear the burden of proof. The Westminster Confession indeed says, ‘All Synods…may err, and many have erred.’ Therefore, it is theoretically possible that the Reformed Presbyterian Church is in error. But when the agreement is worldwide over 4,000 years, it is, I repeat, extremely improbable. Therefore a mountainous burden of proof rests on those who advocate the ordination of women.” (13)

Therefore, in light of the above biblical material, women cannot be ministers’ or elders, nor teach in worship services in the churches of Christ.

Notes:

1. Walter A. Elwell, Editor Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House), p. 347.

2. James Orr, M.A., D.D. General Editor, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Definition for ‘PATRIARCH; PATRIARCHS’, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing), p. 2264.

3. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Numbers, 9 Volumes, Romans, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 261-262.

4. James W. Scott is the managing editor of New Horizons. He supplies his own Bible translations. Reprinted from New Horizons, January 1996.

5. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977), p. 1211.

6. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, vol. 3, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985), p. 778.

7. Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, 1 Timothy, p. 3867.

8. Matthew Henry, Concise Commentary, 1 Timothy, (Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson), p. 1964.

9. Leonard J. Coppes, Who Will Lead US: A Study in the Development of Biblical Offices with Emphasis on the Diaconate, (Chattanooga, TN, Pilgrim Publishing Company, 1977), pp. 136-137.

10. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977), p. 1408.

11. Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary, 1 Corinthians, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 1986), pp. 366-367.

12. Albert Mohler, A New Path to Theological Liberalism?, ttps://www. christianheadlines.com/…/a-new-path-to-theological-liberali…

13. http ://www. trinityfoundation.org/reviews/journal.asp?ID=016a.html.

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: http://www.thereligionthatstartedinahat.com/

For more study:

* How should γυνᾶικας gunaikas be translated in 1 Timothy 3:11–“women” or “wives”? http://www.rbap.net/1-timothy-311-women-or-wives/

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem

http://cdn.desiringgod.org/pdf/books_bbmw/bbmw.pdf

The Ordination of Women by Dr. Gordon H. Clark http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=17

Who will lead us: A study in the development of Biblical offices, with emphasis on the diaconate by Dr. Leonard J. Coppes

Where can the teaching of women ordination lead? By Matt Slick https://carm.org/where-can-teaching-women-ordination-lead

Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism? By Wayne A. Grudem https://www.amazon.com/Evangelical-Feminism-Ne…/…/1581347340

Dangerous first step Scholar Wayne Grudem on how “evangelical feminism” undermines Scripture and leads to theological liberalism https://world.wng.org/2006/11/dangerous_first_step

Women Servants https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/women-servants/

A Historical and Biblical Examination of Women Deacons by Brian M. Schwertley http://www.all-of-grace.org/pub/schwertley/deacon.html

Archibald Alexander Allison OPC pastor
Biblical Qualifications for Elders
Biblical Qualifications for Deacons (part1)
Biblical Qualifications for Deacons (part2)
Biblical Qualifications for Deacons(part3)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s