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Hebrews 6:1-3

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Can a Woman Preach

I’ve struggled with this question. As a man raised in America seeing the strong women in leadership my entire life the question itself didn’t even seem to make sense to me. And so began my journey of learning.

In the past this page said something else. I believed I had figured it out. Going into the context of the scriptures I found a way to understand it that seemed like it was right. And so I taught that view.

But, even after that I still felt uneasy. I had gone through the scriptures but I couldn’t get away from the feeling I was missing something.

Years later, now I know why. I was trying so hard to understand if the Bible really did or did not view women as less than men. But I never considered that they could be equal, but different.

Is It Right for a Woman to Preach

1 Timothy 2:11-12

11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

First, let’s talk about some of the things people have said about these verses. There are those who have tried to justify it by saying it doesn’t apply to us. They say that the women he was speaking of in this letter were being unruly and causing disruptions during church. Therefore he was telling them SPECIFICALLY that they should remain silent.

The problem with this line of thinking is that Paul isn’t saying “I suffer not a woman in your church to teach.” Paul is speaking generally of all women here.

Then there are others who believe it to be very clear that the Bible says women are to be in silence. They will refuse to allow a woman to teach, preach, or give prophecy. Women are, to them, commanded to take a back seat.

Then there are some like myself at one time that believe women may take on the rolls of leadership in the church. They, like myself, would say that Paul is just saying they shouldn’t seek to be put in the position just like a man shouldn’t. Obviously, I have altered my opinion.

Love and Respect

Esther 1:15-18

15 What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she hath not performed the commandment of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains? 16 And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus. 17 For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not. 18 Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king’s princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath.

I know this is an odd set of verses to bring up. But they are very important to understand why God has commanded women not to take these positions. It’s a matter of order, and the function of family, even of society as a whole.

If you have never read it I would love to suggest the book Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. It talks about the fact that men and women have different needs. Women need love, to feel cared for and taken care of. Men need respect, to feel wanted and appreciated. There’s a lot to unpack in that. But for now I just wanted to point those two points out.

Vashti committed an act of disrespect to her husband. It may not seem like a big deal to many, but remember he is also a king. He and his family set examples for their nation. So this unloving act of disrespect (because even if she didn’t know it she was still disrespectful in the eyes of men) was an example to the nation of the way a husband and wife should act.

Suddenly you have women thinking it is ok to disrespect their husbands. Women not married are being taught the same. They become disrespectful to potential husbands. Now men everywhere are not getting the respect that they need in order to feel loved. The family breaks down, society breaks down, and where there was a give and take relationship between men and women with defined roles there is now chaos.

I know that sounds extreme. But this small act of disrespect has the power to snowball. We have seen it in our own society through the centuries that the roles of men and women reversed eventually lead to disorder. For example, today while both parents work they leave their kids to learn from a computer. We have yet to truly see the result of that.

Now, this verse is an example of a husband and wife. It shows that a woman not giving respect to her husband is unloving. But what does this have to do with ministry?

Remember, this couple had to be an example. This is also true in ministry.

Ladies, how do you feel when you see your husband humiliated? Some may become angry. Some may not have an issue with it. But either way, humiliation is not something you would wish on them.

Isaiah 3:12

12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

Judges 53:54

Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A women slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died.

Jeremiah 51:30

The mighty men of Babylon have forborn to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces; her bars are broken.

We see a theme in these verses. It is a shame for a man to be ruled over by a woman. It takes away his self respect. Because God created man to rule over the earth and the woman to help the man. For the roles to switch would be shame.

I tried at one time to say it was ok if the woman had a husband that supported her. But the reality is even if she had a husband over her she would still be ruling over other men. Removing their respect.

There are times that God will give a nation to be ruled by women though. Sadly, this is to put them to shame. I believe the church is put to shame in the same way. Because the men who were created to lead sit under a pastor that is a woman, who was created to help the man lead. And so even without knowing it sometimes men are feeling disrespected because its their NATURAL place to be in the lead. Yet they are not.

Is there not a man able to lead? Are all men become like women? This is what the spirit of a man cries out when a woman rules over him. God has shamed the men in this way. And, I believe the church deals with this because they would refuse to listen to someone unless their ears are tickled. So they are given women pastors.

With all of that said there is one important thing left to consider.

Who Can Really Be in Ministry

Acts 2:17-18

17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

The Bible says your sons and daughters shall prophesy. How can the daughters do so if they are to be quiet? This raises a problem if you don’t see the full picture.

Matthew 10:20

20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

Galatians 3:28

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

preach it sister

In God there is neither male nor female. God is a Spirit. When a woman gives a message from God it is no longer a woman speaking. It is the Spirit speaking through the woman. When a man gives a message it is no longer a man speaking. It is the Spirit speaking through the man.

And so this is how we can understand this. A woman preaching in the Spirit is not subject to be kept silenced. Because it is not her that speaks.

If you are unable to see how there is a difference between a person speaking and the Spirit speaking then you may not understand this. But God has given His Spirit to women and the same gifts as men. This is because it is the same Spirit in them all.

Now, let me explain something. I know this seems like a contradiction to some. How can a woman be silent and yet speak? If she were always to speak in the Spirit why would she be told to be silent?

Can a Woman Be a Pastor

There are two things that are key to understand this. The first key is that a woman speaking in the Spirit is not speaking by her own authority. The second key is understanding that there is a difference between a pastor and a preacher. There is a difference between a teacher and a speaker.

Believe it or not, pastors take on leadership rolls in matters that are not always spiritual. They are not always just preaching or teaching. They are coordinating, planning, and delegating. So to place a woman in the role of a pastor would be placing her in a roll in which she would be leading men in practical areas of the church, rather than just spiritual. A teacher also has to play these kind of roles.

A woman can be a preacher speaking by the Spirit. A woman can be a teacher speaking by the Spirit. But a woman is not supposed to be a pastor. And, a woman may teach the young and other women as Titus 2:4 says. But she can not be placed in a normal position to teach men except for temporary moments when the Spirit speaks. Likewise she can not be placed in a normal position to pastor men.

Ministry out of Love

The bottom line is this. Women are not less than men. Women can do everything God would have them do. Truly, some women are even better able to take on leadership roles. But just because you can do something it doesn’t mean you should do it.

Men feel love through respect. Be loving and let them take these roles. If the Spirit of God moves on you to do or say something in the moment then do it because it is not you, but Him. But let your love be seen by all men, and by other women, and by your children.

If you feel “called” to these positions remember that what you are called to is not the position itself. You are called to do what God commands of you. And that can be done with or without a title.

Your gentleness and love is seen by the men who lead and they are inspired by it. It strengthens them. Do not think women are second class. They hold more power in a support role than some leaders ever could.

As a movie I watched one time said, “The man may be the head but the woman is the neck. And, she can turn the head any way she wants.”

God doesn’t restrict women because He feels they are less than men. It’s because He created them to be DIFFERENT than men. He created man with an inner need for respect from those around him. When a woman lets a man lead he feels loved. This isn’t just romantic love.

So if you are a woman that feels called to ministry remember that ministry must be done in love. If it isn’t loving to take away a mans respect, which he feels love through, then is it ministry? This isn’t just for husbands and wives. It goes for the whole of society.

But what about the needs of a woman to feel respect? Doesn’t this cause her to lose respect? It doesn’t have to. She can look at it as being held back by not being given a title and position. Or she can look at it as the title and position isn’t needed for her to fulfill her calling. Its ambition and drive for power, or authority that causes one to feel held back (this applies to men too). Love puts others first and supports them.

The final answer is that women are not supposed to be pastors and leaders of a church. But they are to be willing vessels for the Spirit to speak through. This brings honor to them. It brings honor to the church. It shines the light of love to the world.

October 1, 2018 at 11:19 pm | | No comment

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