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 9)

Opposing Arguments (continued)

31. First Corinthians 14:26 proves that women may teach in the church assembly

 

The Claim: Some feminists allege that 1 Corinthians 14:26 (NIV) provides firm evidence that women are permitted to teach in the church. This verse states:

 

"What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up." (1 Cor. 14:26, NIV)

 

Since this verse is addressing "brothers and sisters" in the church; and it states "each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation", then the "brothers and sisters" have a word to teach in the assembly. Thus, men as well as women can hold pastoral positions in the church.

 

Rebuttal: Pro-women ordainers have an incorrect understanding of this verse. Although women are in the assembly, what they fail to realize is that Paul is addressing men in the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 14. It is not Paul's intention to exclude acknowledgement of women in the congregation, but his speech is clearly directed to the men.

 

In verse 26, the Greek word "adelphoi", which is the masculine plural form of  "adelphos" (Strong's Concordance #80), is rendered "brethren" or "brothers and sisters" depending upon the context of the verse and surrounding passages. That said, in proper context the word "adelphoi" in verse 26 is more accurately rendered "brethren".

 

Here is further evidence: 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 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." (1 Cor. 14:34-35)

 

If Paul was focusing on women as well, why did he not write directly to the sisters if they were included in the term "brothers and sisters"? Take note that there is a major pronoun shift from "you" ("When you come together ...") to "they" (third person pronoun) in verse 26 relative to verses 34-35 concerning women. Clearly, the women in the congregation were written about, rather than directly addressed by Paul. Thus, when Paul says in verse 26, "When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.", he is specifically alluding to the men, not the women. If Paul was referring to the women as well, then he would have contradicted himself (verse 26 vs. verses 34-35). This would also contradict 1 Timothy 2:11-13 where Paul restricts women from teaching on account of the creation order established by God. The King James Bible provides even greater clarification. Let's take a look at it ... including verses 26 through 39.

 

"How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 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 any thing, 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. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues."

(1 Cor. 14:26-39, KJV)

 

Now ... take note of the following:

 

1. Verse 26 says, "How is it then, brethren?"

 

2. Verse 27 says, "If any man speak in an unknown tongue ..."

 

3. Verse 28 says, "But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God."

 

4. Verse 30 says, "If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace."

 

5. Verse 34 says, "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." (Again, take note of the shift)

 

 6. Verse 35 says, "And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." (Again, take note of the shift)

 

7. Verse 37 says, "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."

 

8. Verse 38 says, "But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant."

 

9. Verse 39 says, "Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues." Again, take note that Paul is directly addressing the men in the congregation. The word "your" before "women" in verse 34 provides compounding evidence that the term "brethren" (KJV) and "brothers and sisters" (NIV) throughout 1 Corinthians 14 are specifically alluding to the men, not the women.

 

"All the previous directions given by the apostle, including the inclusive 'each one' of v. 26 and the 'all' of v. 31, were not to be understood as including women."

(New International Commentary on the New Testament: The First Epistle To The Corinthians, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing p. 706).

 

The evidence makes it factually clear that Paul was addressing the men in the congregation. The Expositor's Bible Commentary states,

 

"women were not to speak in public worship (33b-36) . . . The command seems absolute: Women are not to do any public speaking in the church" (Vol. 10, pages 275-276).

 

Once we understand the proper exegetical context of 1 Corinthians 14:26, it collapses the argument that women may teach or even prophecy in the assembly.

32. First Timothy 3:1-5 proves that some of Paul's commands was cultural

 

The Claim: It is suggested by some supporters of women pastors that 1 Timothy 3:1-5 indicates that the list of requirements of a "pastor" includes being married and having at least one child. The wording "let him be a husband" and "having his children in subjection with all gravity" is used indicating both requirements; that is husband AND father. Thus, it would strongly seem to be saying that a man who is married, as an example, if he has no children, cannot fulfill the requirements of a pastor and should not be permitted to be one. Therefore we must look at the cultural context of Paul's statement in 1 Timothy 2:11-13.

 

Rebuttal: In 1 Timothy 3:1-5, the male headship principle within the church had already been established. Again ... recall, Paul's command in 1 Timothy 2:11-13 is rooted in the creation order, not culture. Furthermore, in order to exegete 1 Timothy 3:1-5 correctly, we need to examine other passages of Scripture and rightly divide God's Word

(2 Tim. 2:15).

 

Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 7:8,

 

"But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am;". (1 Cor. 7:8)

 

In 1 Corinthian 7:32-33, Paul says,

 

"But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord --- how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world -- how he may please his wife." (1 Cor. 7:32-33)

 

If we read 1 Corinthians 7:1-9, Paul states that both marriage and singleness are good and right before God. Taking into consideration these three passages of scripture, we can conclude that in 1 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul is addressing both single and married men. Both single and married men can be "blameless, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous..." However, if a man is married, he must be the "husband of one wife; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence."

 

Thus again, Paul is referring to all men, both single and married. If a man is married, he must be loyal to his wife. If a man has children, he must guide and manage them well. Paul in 1 Timothy 3:1-5 does not mean that single men cannot qualify for church leadership. If that was Paul's intent, then he would have disqualified himself (1 Cor. 7:8). Moreover, singleness is commended by Paul as caring "for the things of the Lord --- how he may please the Lord" (1 Corinthians 7:32).

 

Taking into consideration all Scripture regarding this issue, both a single man or a married man can lead in the church as long as he meets the qualifications of godliness.

33. Scripture is not always "Cut and dry"

 

The Claim: The bible says it is a "shame for a man to have long hair" but Samson had long hair which, as long as it was kept long, enabled his strength (God's power flowed through him). And, John the Baptist didn't seem to get to the barber much. Therefore, things are not always cut and dry in Scripture.

 

Rebuttal: Both Samson and John the Baptist were Nazarites who took part in the Nazarite vow.

 

Numbers 6:1-5 states:

 

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord, he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink; he shall drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from similar drink; neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin.' All the days of the vow of his separation no razor shall come upon his head; until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the Lord, he shall be holy. Then he shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow." (Num. 6:1-5)

 

The Hebrew word "nazir" is rendered "to be separated or consecrated." The Nazirite vow is taken by those who have willingly devoted themselves to the Lord. Several features of the Nazarite vow is it is voluntary, has a certain time frame, and has specific requirements and restrictions. One such restriction was shaving one's head. Once the specific time frame concluded, the person who had taken the Nazarite vow, would cut his hair (Numbers 6:18).

 

In the New Testament, Paul had taken the Nazarite vow (Acts 18:18). Thus, we can conclude that there are times when it is permissible for a man to have long hair and be acceptable to the Lord. However, if a man has not made a vow or comparable vow to the Lord, then it is indeed a shame for him to have long hair. The fact that nature has equipped women, and not men, with long hair, demonstrates that man was created to be uncovered, and woman covered. Those who took part in the Nazarite vow, however, wore long hair lawfully, as it was a  part of a vow approved by God.

 

Now ... when people make such comments such as "Things are not always cut and dry" as it relates to the Word of God, it is usually on account that people willingly fail to exegete Scripture in proper context. Pro-women ordainers have been conjuring up numerous arguments and excuses for quite some time in their efforts to dismiss Paul's clear command in 1 Timothy 2:11-13.

(Continue to page 10)

toc - 1 - 2 - - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - next page

Truth & Discernment Ministry