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
Opposing Arguments (continued)
16. Paul authorized women to be preachers in Galatians 3:28
The Claim: On account that God is not a respecter of persons (Romans 2:11), secular feminist point to and emphasize the sociological implications of Galatians 3:28 to claim that Paul authorized women to be preachers. Because secular feminists want to rule out the submission of women to male leadership in the church, they allege that Paul rendered void any gender-based differentiations within the church.
Rebuttal: To assert that this verse eliminates differences in authority and submission will simply not suffice. In Galatians 3:28, Paul is not discussing the matter of whether Jews or Gentiles, slaves or those who are free, or men or women, could take authoritative positions in the church. If we read the preceding verses, it should be clear that Paul is speaking in the context of salvation, which is also the theme of Romans 2:11.
In expounding the meaning of salvation, Paul asserts that in Christ there is "neither Jew nor Gentile, slave or free, male or female." Everyone who is baptized into Christ, irrespective of ethnicity, economic status, or gender, inherits salvation; and thus, are to be unified in the Body of Christ (Gal. 3:22, 24, 26).
Although those within the Body of Christ are considered equal by God, this does not eradicate legitimate gender distinctions and God's divine order of authority between men and women. For example, Ephesians 5:23 clearly states:
"For the Husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body."
Thus again, Galatians 3:28 pertains to salvation, not headship in the home or the authority structure within the church.
17. The exclusion of women from the pastoral position is comparable to slavery, which also existed during ancient biblical times.
The Claim: During ancient biblical days, just as in our present age, there were oppressive systems that regarded women and other nationalities as inferior. For example, likened to the hierarchy of men over women, slavery was a system that was in force during biblical times. It is an oppressive structure that is defended by Christians today that is similar to their defense of male headship.
Rebuttal: The principle of male leadership is similar to slavery, but not in the context of conventional thinking. The word, "slave" is not necessarily a negative term. A slave is simply one who is owned by another. It is the abuse of slavery that is problematic. God never condoned nor condemned slavery, but regulated it simply on account that it existed during ancient biblical times. Where slavery existed in the New Testament, God commanded masters and slaves to conduct themselves in Christ-like manner. For Christians, we are slaves to Christ (1 Cor. 6:19-20; 7:22-23, Romans 6:17-22); and Christ is our leader and master.
Similarly, man is the leader in the home and church. Again, male leadership is a principle that was established by God at creation. On the contrary, the abuse of slavery is a man-made cultural system that misrepresents God's perfect will for mankind, is morally wrong, and cannot be comparable to male leadership within the home or church. The Illustrated Dictionary of The Bible states:
“The Bible contains warnings about the practice of slavery. The prophet Amos spoke woe to Gaza and Tyre for their practices of slave-trading entire populations (Amos 1:6-9). The Book of Revelation declares that disaster awaits those who sell slaves.” (Rev. 18:13).
("The Illustrated Dictionary of The Bible", Slave, Slavery, p. 998, Herbert Lockyer, Sr., Editor)
The Baker Theological Dictionary of the Bible says:
"The Old Testament record of Israel's origin and development demonstrates that they functioned within the cultural milieu of their own time. God's self-disclosure and direction to his elect nation often accommodated existing cultural aspects. While such accommodation reflects God's way of dealing with his creation, it does not necessarily imply his ideal will. Slavery is accepted in the Old Testament as part of the world in which Israel functioned ....The Old Testament raised the status of the slave from property to that of a human being who happened to be owned by another person (Exod. 21:20, 26-27; Job 31:13-15; Eccles. 7:21-22) .... Inhumane treatment by masters was grounds for release (Exod. 21:7-11, 26-27; Deut. 21:14)."
("Baker Theological Dictionary of the Bible", Slave, Slavery, p. 740, Edited by Walter A. Elwell)
Although slavery existed during biblical times, we cannot assume that it was a system established by God and place the principle of male leadership on par with such a system.
18. Jesus did not ordain women preachers on account of the culture during His time
The Claim: Some proponents of women preachers insist that Jesus could not ordain women as pastors because the culture during His earthly ministry would have opposed Him. This is the reason that the twelve apostles were all men.
Rebuttal: Do proponents of women's ordination mean that Jesus was taking a politically correct position rather than doing the will of God? I don't think so. The Word of God states that Jesus never yielded to sin (Heb. 4:15); and "sin" in this case includes putting the traditions, customs, and cultures of men on a higher plane than Scripture.
Christ understood the headship principle as it relates to the creation order established by God. This is the reason the Lord chose twelve men to be apostles. His choices were not rooted in cultural conformity. Jesus was well-known for fearlessly rebuking and shattering the traditions of men when they conflicted with the Word of God (Matt. 15:1-12; 23:1-36; Mark 7:1-23; John 2:14-17). It was this argumentation that provoked much hatred towards Him.
In any case, the cultural disputations employed in this matter by proponents of women’s ordination sounds inane and clearly reveal their lack of biblical knowledge as well as demonstrating contempt for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
19. The new Priesthood of Believers
The Claim: Pro-women ordainers argue that since there is now a new priesthood of believers (1 Peter 2:5, 9-10), then it is permissible for women to pastor a church.
Rebuttal: Yes, all believers are priests, which include women. However, the Christian priesthood is not a concept that means every believer has been called by God to preach. Under the new covenant, the priesthood of believers is not related to gender functional roles in the church.
Christians are a part of the new priesthood on account that all believers have immediate accessibility to God through Christ without any requirement for further mediators.
Moreover, the priesthood of believers was patterned on an Old Testament concept regarding the nation of Israel. Exodus 19:6 says,
"'you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." (Exodus 19:6)
Using proper exegetical balance of the scriptures, an understanding of Paul's directive in First Timothy 2:11-14 should become evident; and thus, does not negate his command that women are prohibited from teaching within the church. If we read the entire New Testament, we will discover that there are no priestesses or women pastors in the scriptures.
20. No women pastors, then no Gentile pastors!
The Claim: Pro-women ordainers argue that if Jesus' example of not electing women Apostles applies to this issue, then similarly, Gentiles should be prohibited from teaching on account that Jesus ordained no Gentiles to be Apostles.
Rebuttal: Jesus did not ordain Gentiles to be Apostles because initially the church consisted solely of Jews. There were no Gentiles present during the ordaining of the Apostleship. After the resurrection, Jesus' mission expanded to embrace Gentiles (Matt. 28:19, Eph. 2:16).