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 7)

Opposing Arguments (continued)

21. Junia was an apostle

 

The Claim: Romans 16:7 states:

 

"Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me." (Romans 16:7)

 

Based upon the phrase "who are of note among the apostles", pro-woman ordainers contend that Junia was a woman apostle; and thus, occupied a position of authority in the church.

 

Rebuttal: There is much debate concerning the gender of the name "Junia" (feminine) or "Junias" (masculine). The name is rendered "Junia" in the KJV and NKJV translations; while it is rendered "Junias" in the Amplified Bible, NAS, and NIV translations.

 

For the sake of brevity and irrelevance to my rebuttal, I will not contest the gender issue. Why? Because I submit that the phrase "who are of note among the apostle" does not mean that Junia (woman) or Junias (man) was an apostle.

 

Firstly, the Amplified Bible states, "....held in high esteem among the apostles....", whereas the NAS and NIV states, "are outstanding among the apostles..."  Both of these phrases mean that Junia/Junias was well known to the apostles, rather than actually being an apostle.

 

Secondly, the word "among" is used in the wrong context by pro-women ordainers. It does not mean that Junia/Junias was one of the apostles. This word is more accurately rendered as "in the midst" or "amid". For example, in 2 Peter 2:7-8 it states: " ....and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them ..." Take note that Lot resided among the wicked, but was not himself wicked.

 

Last, also take note that Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:5,

 

"Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas?" (1 Cor. 9:5) 

 

The "other apostles" were clearly all men; with each one having a "believing wife". Thus, Junia could not have been a woman.

22. If women are restricted from teaching, then does this also mean that they are prohibited from wearing braided hair and jewelry?

 

The Claim: Some contend that if women are restricted from pastoral offices, then the context of 1 Timothy 2:9-14 also commands the prohibition of wearing braided hair and jewelry in the church. Thus, since such demands are not put on women today, then why should they be prohibited from holding positions of leadership within the church?

 

Rebuttal: In 1 Timothy 2:9-14, Paul explains that women should dress modestly as an expression of love and reverence for God. During Paul's day in Eastern culture, elaborate hairstyles such as braided hair and extravagant jewelry were considered an incessant preoccupation with the outward appearance to the dismissal of the inner character (1 Peter 3:3-4).

 

Today it is permissible for women to wear standard braided hair and jewelry. God's Word does not completely prohibit women from wearing those things (Song of Sol. 1:10, Isaiah 61:10, Proverbs 31:22). However, women are encouraged to dress modestly attractive with a primary focus on inner beauty rather than a self absorption of outward attributes. The Bible prohibits women from wearing braided hair and jewelry with inappropriate or concealed motives. Attired for worship service as if one is participating in a fashion show or dressing in a sexually provocative manner are two examples which would be deemed improper.

 

That said; the interdiction of specific apparel worn by women is distinct from the interdiction of women pastors. Paul explains that men are the spiritual leaders in the church on the basis of the creation order of man and woman by God. The woman, while equal in person-hood, was created to help man and to submit to his leadership, just as Christ acknowledges the headship of God the Father. This is a universal principle that is independent of cultural issues.

23. The meeting at the well between Jesus and the Samaritan woman

 

The Claim: Based on John 4:7-42, there are those who assert that Christ ordained a Samaritan woman as a preacher on account she shared and brought forth the Word among the townspeople.

 

Rebuttal: In verse 39, the Bible states that the Samaritan woman "testified" ("He told me all that I ever did."). Thus, many (but not all) Samaritans believed in Christ due to the woman's testimony.

 

Bringing the unsaved to Christ through a personal testimony does not qualify or constitute one as a preacher. There are many Christians today who can offer personal testimonies to those who are unsaved. Would that establish them as a preacher/pastor? I think not.

 

In any case, after Jesus stayed with the Samaritans for two days, many more believed in Christ not on account of the woman's testimony, but because they heard Jesus for themselves (verses 41-42).

24. Some New Testament passages were not written by Paul

 

The Claim: The perspective of some feminists is that Paul did not write New Testament passages of Scripture which teach the submission of women to male leadership. They allege the passages of Scripture that relate to women's submission to male authority in the home and the church were added by scribes, and therefore, are not valid.

 

Rebuttal: Apparently, some feminists will accept God's Word where they find it favorable. In instances where Scripture does not fit their agenda, they resort to scripture twisting tactics, taking scriptures out of context, as well as blatantly conjuring up falsehoods ... as in this case.

 

According to this viewpoint, some parts of the Bible were inspired by God, while other parts were not. Thus, rather than conforming to God's Word, the individual (Christian?) serves as the judge of the Bible... making personal choices about which passages of Scripture are inspired and which are not. The Bible, however, says that all Scripture is inspired by God, not by human authors (2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21). True and intellectually honest Christians do not cherry-pick scriptures from the Bible that they find personally advantageous while contorting and dismissing other portions of scriptures which do not fit their agenda.

25. Submission for women existed only as a result of the fall

 

The Claim: Some feminists allege that role distinctions of male headship and submission for women were not divinely ordained prior to the fall, but actually began in Genesis 3:16. This allegedly signifies that Adam's rule over Eve is God's curse on Eve. After the establishment of the new covenant, submission for women to male authority has become abolished. Therefore, there are no gender distinctions in the church today.

 

Rebuttal: Submission for women to male leadership did not emerge after the fall. Firstly, it bears repeating, Paul interprets male leadership based on the creation order (1 Tim. 2:13). Adam was created first (Gen. 2:7). Eve was created as Adam's helper (Gen. 2:18-23). Thus, we have it on the authority of Scripture itself that Adam being created first and Eve created later indicates that Adam properly had authority over Eve at creation.

 

Recall that there is a discernible functional role distinction within the Trinity itself. The Word of God says that "the head of Christ is God" and that Christ "will be made subject to him" [God the Father] (1 Cor. 11:3; 15:28).

 

While men and women are equal in person-hood and in spirit, God has also empowered distinctive and authoritative role functions to mankind. 1 Corinthians 11:3 states,

 

"But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." (1 Cor. 11:3)

 

Secondly, the fall actually confirms why women are not suited for leadership positions. In 1 Timothy 2:14, Paul also states that it was the woman who was deceived, not Adam. By nature, as the "weaker vessel", women are not fully equipped to undertake the position of ultimate responsibility in the church and home. On account women, in general, are more emotional than men, they have greater vulnerability to Satan's clever and smooth talking lies. Strong emotions have an inclination to weaken discernment skills.

 

Thirdly, the feminist interpretation of Genesis 3:16 is in error. As we discussed earlier, the Hebrew translated "your desire shall be for your husband" betokens a desire for a woman to dominate her husband.

 

Taking these facts into account, the establishment of the new covenant does not rid us of authority and submission. Actually, if men and women obey the guidelines as expressed in the New Testament, it would bring harmony to authority and submission in relationships.

(Continue to page 8)

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