In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Should women be ordained as ministers?
Recently I watched a movie entitled Welcome to Paradise with my 15 year old son Daniel. We enjoyed the movie. But the movie featured a female pastor; so Daniel asked me why there are not more ministers who are women. I explained that most Christian religious groups think that the role of pastor is reserved for men; so Daniel asks me, Where does it say that in the Bible?
Of course being the deeply spiritual and knowledgeable person that I am (NOT), I didn't remember.
I'm delighted that Daniel bases what is right or wrong on what the Bible says. I want to be honest with him and, when I don't have answers, search the Word to find them. So I spent some time looking up what the Bible has to say on the topic. I'll share here what scriptures I came up with during the time I had to spend on this today (obviously this is not an exhaustive list of what the Bible has to say on this topic).
I found that this study led me to ask myself a lot of questions. I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts on these passages and this topic in general.
In the interest of post length, I've linked some of the longer scripture passage locations with the actual passage over on Bible gateway instead of writing out all of the Bible passages.
Ephesians 1:4-13 - This passage talks about Believers being one body in Christ and that He has given us gifts to use in relationship with one another for the purpose of building one another up in Him and training for service. Both pastors and teachers are listed, and in this specific passage there's no gender indication.
1 Corinthians 11:3-16 The key verse here as it relates to this discussion, is verse 3: "Now 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." But when I read this passage I find myself asking why do churches typically consider the whole bit about women covering their heads from the 5th verse to be a cultural, but believe the hierarchy to be relevant today? Coffman Commentaries had some interesting thoughts as to why the head covering was cultural, but I felt somewhat confused because his comments on verse 3 were related to the Ephesians 5:22-33 relationship for marriage; that men should be the head. Throughout this Ephesians passage there is the comparison to Christ, who is the head of the church, and the husband who is the head of his wife. I recognize that the church, the body of Christ, refers to all Believers. The local church is part of "the church"; so it's obvious that Christ is head of the local church. But since husbands are compared to Christ's relationship to the church, and Christ is head of the church, does it follow that men should be the authority in the local church?
1 Timothy 2 - Verses 11-13 are the strongest point for why many Christian churches believe women can not be pastors: A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. This passage indicates that a woman can not teach or have authority over men. The pastor in most, if not all, Christian churches both teaches and has some degree of spiritual authority over the congregants.
It would seem that the whole issue is one of order and authority.
There are definitely Bible passages that show women in positions of ministering to people:
The first 24 verses of Acts 2 show the account of when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost. In this passage we see that prophesy regarding this day was fulfilled, and that part of this prophecy was that it says in verse 17 that: In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. So women are shown in this passage to have God's spirit and prophesy.
In Acts 18:18-26 I can see a husband and wife team working together to share the gospel. In the second half of the 26th verse I see: When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
In Romans 16:1 I see Paul saying: I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea.So obviously Phoebe is ministering in some capacity in the local church.
Churches that do ordain women as ministers often refer to Galatians 3:28 that states: There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. When I read this particular passage I see it as referring to our access to God through Jesus instead of roles we fulfill. But I can see the point being made that since we all have access to God through Jesus Christ, why can't we all function in all gifts of His Spirit in the local body. I just don't know how to get around the 1 Timothy 2:11-13 passage.
What about you, do you think women should be ordained to be pastors in local churches?
I'm just grateful to God for His goodness to me and want to live my life following after Him. I've been blessed with 3 awesome sons and in July of 2005 I remarried. My husband truly knows me and still loves me - how much more blessed could I be!
I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left. God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It's a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It's a good thing when you're young to stick it out through the hard times. When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face. The "worst" is never the worst.
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Perceptive words spread knowledge; fools are hollow—there's nothing to them. GOD can't stand pious poses, but he delights in genuine prayers. A life frittered away disgusts GOD; he loves those who run straight for the finish line.
So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.