WOMEN SERVING AS PASTORS

STEPPING OUT OF DIVINE ORDER

By: Victor T. Stephens

"People often claim to hunger for truth, but seldom like the taste when it's served up."

~ George R.R. Martin

(Page 5)

Opposing Arguments (continued)

 

11. Philip's daughters were leaders in the church

 

The Claim: Based upon Joel 2:28 and Acts 21:8-9, pro-women ordainers allege that Philip's daughters were teachers in the church. Furthermore, Paul permitted women to prophesy in 1 Corinthians 11:5. Therefore, this gives women the right to be preachers in today's church age.

 

Rebuttal: Supporters of women pastors assume that women who prophesied did their work publicly in the assembly of the church. There are no indications from Scripture that Philip's daughters or any other women preached or taught to a congregation of believers. First Corinthians 14:34-37 directly restricts women from prophesying in the church. Paul says, "Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command."

 

Take careful note that Paul says it is, "disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church." and he makes this declaration in the context of giving prophecy. Paul then comes forth with the challenge that if any person claims to be a prophet, they must recognize that what he said came by God's command.

 

While a woman could not prophesy in a formal congregation, there were other settings which were appropriate. These circumstances included, but were not necessarily limited to private meetings. For example, Agabus brought a message to Paul (Acts 21:10-11).

 

Lastly, it is inappropriate to employ the accounts of New Testament prophets since there are no prophets in today's church age. A prophet, like an apostle, served only as temporary office. In the New Testament, when the foundation for the Church was being established, the gift of prophecy served to communicate new revelations. These new revelations would eventually become the written Word of God. On account that the Bible is now complete, prophecy is no longer necessary in order for Christians to know the will of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 13:8-13). God has bestowed a full revelation which is adequate in all matters pertaining to faith and godliness.

12. Phoebe was a preacher

 

The Claim: On the premise of Romans 16:1-2, some have contested that Phoebe was a preacher. The Amplified Bible states that Phoebe was a "deaconess." On account that Paul is referred to as a deacon in 2 Corinthians, some have suggested that Phoebe was an overseer in the church. Since the church was to "assist her in whatever business" and she was "a helper of many", the implication in Roman 16:2 is that she was in a position of authority over the church in Cenchrea.

 

Rebuttal: Phoebe was not a preacher. However, she did hold office of deacon or "deaconess." A "deaconess" is a female believer who serves in the office of deacon in the church. Depending upon the context of the passage involved, a deacon could be a servant and / or a preacher. In Romans 16:1, the Greek word for deaconess is "diakonos"; simply rendered as "servant". In reference to this verse, the King James, New American Standard, New International Version, and New King James Bibles have translated "diakonos" as "servant".

 

While the scriptures do not explicitly define Phoebe's responsibilities, as a servant, she could have been responsible for taking care of the administrative needs of the church, teaching other women, caring for the sick, poor, etc. The qualifications of deacons as it relates to pastoral positions can only be occupied by men (1 Tim. 3:12). Furthermore, the Greek word "prostatis" ("helper") in verse two simply means "assistant" or "patroness". There is no such rendition during New Testament times to suggest that "a helper of many" is exclusively indicative of one who exercises a position of authority in the church. If this was the case, then Phoebe exercised authority over Paul, for she had been his helper. Clearly, the latter viewpoint is extremely vague at best.

13. Euodia and Syntche were leaders in the church

 

The Claim: Based upon Philippians 4:1-3, ordainers of women assert that Euodia and Syntche were pastors. Since Paul stated in verse three that these women, "contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers", then they had leadership roles in the church.

 

Rebuttal: While Euodia and Syntche held a place of prominence in the church, nowhere does Scripture indicate that these women were overseers or pastor-teachers. Thus, while these women played important roles within the ministry, they did not occupy a place of ultimate authoritative leadership in God's church.

 

Euodia, Syntche, Clement, were among others who were co-workers of Paul. Someone who is a "co-worker" does not exclusively indicate a preaching ministry. There were many women who followed and supported Jesus. However, simply because they "followed" Him and helped advanced the gospel does not exclusively imply leading a church assembly of men and women.

14. First Timothy 2:11-15 was written about a particular woman who was teaching false doctrine. Paul was not speaking in reference to a church.

 

The Claim: Since Paul's letter was in reference to a particular woman who was teaching false doctrine, it should therefore be considered that the letter is related to the personal circumstances of an individual woman, not the church.

 

Rebuttal: First Timothy 2:11-15 is not in reference to one "particular woman".  First, verse 15 says "But women will be saved through childbearing -- if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety." As we can see, verse 15 is referencing the gender of women in all humankind.

 

Secondly, the notion that Paul was referring to a single woman who was teaching false doctrines does not fit the context of the entire chapter.

 

Thirdly, if this "particular woman" is restricted from teaching false doctrine to men, then is she permitted to teach erroneous doctrine to women?

 

Fourth, how do we reconcile the creation order in verse 13 with the idea of an individual woman teaching false doctrine?

 

Fifth, in 1 Tim. 3:14-15, Paul says

 

"Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth." (1 Tim. 3:14-15) 

 

It should be clear that 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is a part of Paul's instructions to the church. It was not in reference to a particular woman who was teaching false doctrine. Rightly examining the context of 1 Timothy 2:11-15 easily exposes the foolishness of the "particular woman" invention.

15. Second John 1:1 is addressed to a church and its woman pastor

 

The Claim: Based upon 2 John 1:1, pro-women ordainers claim that John wrote a personal letter to a woman pastor and her children. The term "chosen lady" means that this particular woman was elected to the pastoral position.

 

Rebuttal: The terms "chosen" or "elect" can, but does not exclusively define a person who is a leader in the church. These terms are also defined as a person or group of people specifically chosen by God.

 

In the Old Testament, the Hebrews were represented as God's chosen people. In the New Testament, the church ... individually and collectively is described as God's elect (Rom. 8:33; 16:13, 1 Peter 5:13, Rev. 17:14). Although all Christians are termed "chosen" or "elect", clearly not all believers are called to the pastoral position. Romans 16:13 says

 

"Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too." (Romans 16:13) 

 

While Rufus is termed "chosen", there are no scriptures that say Rufus was a pastor.

 

First Peter 5:13 states,

 

"She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark."

(1 Peter 5:13, NIV) 

 

The KJV says,

 

"The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son." 

(1 Peter 5:13, KJV)

 

Take note that the (She) "elected" in this case is in reference to the collective church, not a woman pastor. Therefore, to allege that the "chosen lady" in 2 John 1:1 must have been a woman pastor has no basis in Scripture. There is no text within the surrounding passage or any part of the Bible to indicate that John was writing to a woman pastor.

Now ... as an additional note, ordainers of women attempt to argue that since the church is called a "She", then that indicates that women can engage in the role of pastor/teacher.

Factually, it does not. Christ ... a man, is the head of the Church. Next in order of authority structure is man ... man is the head of women. Thus, the notion that women can occupy the position of pastor/teacher based upon the fact that the Church is termed as a "She" has no basis in Scripture.

(Continue to page 6)

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