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God Determines the Role of Women in the Church, Not Personal Preference or Culture

by | Mar 18, 2023

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Genesis 5: 1-This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; 2-Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam [man or mankind], in the day when they were created. (Matt. 19:4, Galatians 3:28)

It is clear from the entirety of scripture and explicitly from this passage in the 5th chapter of Genesis that God regards both the male and female of mankind, His crowning creative achievement, as equally bearing His image and likeness and equally human. “He called THEIR name man.”

This short treatise should not be construed as an exhaustive treatment of all the detailed outworkings of this set of principles. Its purpose is to make a general point and a very important one in the midst of the raging apostasy we see all around us. That point is this:

Women are no less capable or important to Christ and His Gospel than are men. They are however very different in their design and prescribed function both in the home and in the church body.

The Bible clearly states that the Lord has commanded that called and qualified godly men are to take leadership in the church and that women are not so-called or qualified. This divine delineation of callings and qualifications has nothing to do with superior or inferior intelligence. We see inescapably before our eyes that many women are more intelligent than many men. Neither is it based upon men being more sanctified or committed to Christ and His Glory than women. Once again, we see before our eyes and even in scripture itself that many women are far more committed to glorifying God by their holiness of life and commitment to His truth than are many men.

What it is based upon is God’s created order. In the most well-known, and I might add unnecessarily controversial passage in 1st Timothy chapter 5, Paul’s prohibition upon “a woman teaching or exercising authority over a man “ is a call back to the creation account of the first man and the first woman found in the opening chapters of Genesis.

The apostle gives two reasons in this passage for his thinking. One is the fact that man was created first, making him God’s eldest child. If the objection arises that simply being chronologically first shouldn’t make the man the head, the answer is that God doesn’t care what you think. He says through Paul that that’s how it is.

The second reason is that it wasn’t the man who was deceived, but the woman, who by the form of the Greek word there was thoroughly deceived (ἐξαπατηθεῖσα).

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It’s important to note that Paul is not talking about culpability here. The woman was not more culpable than the man and she was not guiltier. It is not the content or the enormity of the sin that he is discussing. It is the mechanism by which it came about, deception, which was the failure of the woman, but not the man. Are we to conclude from this then that women are more easily deceived than men? If we’re honest with what the text says, then yes. Especially in light of the fact that Paul is, at that moment, giving his reasons for the headship of men.

Someone may ask: “ok, but didn’t you just say above that men are not necessarily more intelligent than women?” Intelligence and gullibility are not the same things. It’s a sure path to instant cancellation in today’s postmodern woke world…and church…to even say this, but generally speaking, women are more given to emotional manipulation than men. That’s the point Paul is making and it’s not a qualitative one either. It’s not that men are “better” than women, it’s that God designed women to live under the protective headship of men. The first sin is the prime example of what happens when that model is violated.

It’s also not insignificant that the serpent went after the woman and not the man even though the text says he was there with her.

Nonetheless, and further demonstrating God’s design for male headship, it is in Adam that all died (Romans 5:12, 1st Cor. 15:22). For this reason, a case could be made for Adam actually being the one who is more culpable because of willful open defiance of the Lord’s command and obeying his wife instead, but that’s a different discussion.

Many Churches are Allowing Women to Hold Positions Reserved for Men by Finding New Interpretations of Scripture Completely Unheard of in the Whole of Church History Before the Last Quarter of the 20th Century. The fact of the matter is that before the latter decades of the 20th century, there was nary a whisper of suggestion that the Bible might not actually teach male headship in the home and the church. That trend began in virtual lockstep with the rise of feminism in western civilization. With Christendom then compromised and weakened in its cultural influence, they became partners, feeding off of each other with this present sexually psychotic revolution being the eventual and inevitable result.

In every single case where a professing Christian body has cracked the door open to reconsidering the biblically self-evident order of male headship, those bodies have descended into homosexuality, transgenderism, the embrace of abortion, and the whole catalog of perversions we now see tightening its stranglehold on the western world. It’s always the first step and it never stops there.

These people will howl about how vital it is to recognize that women are being stifled and even that the cause of Christ is suffering due to being deprived of the contributions of female teaching and leadership and how displeasing this is to God. Yet, these same people have no answer when asked that if this is the case, then why would God leave His people universally and comprehensively in the dark about such important matters for 2000 years until the pagan culture around them embraced it? According to them, something this fundamental, this foundational, and this vital to the life of Christ’s bride and every last one of His servants from the death of John the apostle to the 1970s missed it? We’re supposed to believe that the one true and living God of the Bible allowed this? Please.

Further, the prohibition against women teaching and preaching does not devalue women in any way—unless you draw your values from the Pagan culture rather than Scripture. While we don’t settle doctrine or practice based on who it may or may not “devalue” in our own minds, it is also very true in this instance that the prohibition of women teaching and preaching in the church does not devalue them as people or relegate them to 2nd class citizenship in the kingdom of God as many modern church leaders would have you believe.

In fact, it is the recognition of their unique and essential design as women. Women are called to serve in many vital roles in the church. It is also beyond the scope of this article to comprehensively and precisely define what these roles are. What we are establishing is that they do not include governmental or theological leadership.

It’s worth mentioning here that what these egalitarians actually accomplish, though inadvertently so, is to illegitimately elevate maleness to the ultimate standard of what dignity and value are. It doesn’t seem to occur to these people that demanding that women assume the roles reserved for men presupposes that maleness is the pinnacle of goodness and virtue and that only by usurping the role of men can women be truly regarded and valued.

On the contrary, obedience to God’s Word is the true measure of success in the eyes of the Lord and is its own reward. A woman grasping for what is commanded to men alone is no different than a man who has not been gifted or called to the office of the pastorate resenting that he is not recognized as a pastor. A woman who faithfully and joyfully walks in the station prescribed for her by God is pleasing in His sight and a man who does not, is not. Willing obedience is the measure of righteousness, not manhood.

In light of Scripture, it is manifestly clear that the prohibition against women teaching and preaching in the Church does not slight or devalue them. It is simple obedience to God’s commands. While some spiritual gifts are gender-neutral, the office of pastor or elder is not among them. The Church is to follow God’s plan for leadership as prescribed in His Word and the Church is not at liberty to innovate according to the emotional whims or the expectations of culture. By capitulating on this issue, many churches, including some that you would really think should know better, are seeking to please man rather than God. It is of first importance for the Bride of Christ to remain true to God’s self-revelation in His Word if she wishes to honor Him and glorify His name.

The prohibition of women from teaching or preaching found in biblically faithful churches and denominations is neither a diminishment of womanhood nor an undue exaltation of manhood. Contrariwise, the postmodern campaign to turn women into men is, in fact, a diminishment of womanhood, an undue exaltation of manhood, and most importantly, rebellion against God’s created order.

Those who would please their Lord and live as effective ambassadors of His Gospel must recognize that God alone, and neither they nor the world, is authorized to prescribe the roles of men and women in all of His creation.

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