Why women are prohibited from certain positions in Church

I was recently having a conversation with someone, and this came up:

I think his [the Church’s pastor] ‘spiritual maturity’ line is no so much hostile as it is a belief that we should be willing to accept any teaching from the word, provided it lines up with the word

Essentially, the reference is this: anyone should be able to teach in Church — man or woman — if they are spiritually mature and all of the Christians in the congregation should be accepting of it. This pastor unfortunately did not heed the Scriptures forbidding women from this in 1 Timothy 2.

Such a line sounds good on the surface, but it’s not true. In fact, it is very much like the ‘equality’ schtick in feminism and liberalism.

For example, if a wife is “spiritually mature” or even “more spiritually mature” than her husband (e.g. unbelieving husband) should she be the leader in her marriage? Surely not. 1 Peter 3 speaks to wives to submit to their unbelieving husbands to obey God and win their husbands through their chaste and respectful behavior and gentle and quiet spirit.

A woman can have the same message as a man, but it will be taken differently. For example, a mother’s criticism of behavior comes off much differently than a father’s. Then there is simply the fact of nature that women cannot teach men to be men (see: single mothers)… no matter how much she knows about men and know what men are supposed to do. She just simply isn’t a man. It will never come off as right — it will always come off as nagging or similar. From the mouth of a woman is simply different than from the mouth of a man.

For perhaps that reason the revelation of God’s primary identity in the NT is a Father to us, why Jesus came as a man, and why He only took men as apostles. A woman could not teach the things Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus in order to teach them to be men of God.

Women are only forbidden from positions of leadership in the Scriptures namely:

  1. Apostles (church planting),
  2. Leadership in the form of pastorate and teaching, and
  3. Overseers/bishops.

There are many different positions and spiritual gifts, listed in the Scriptures: Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11, and 1 Peter 4:11 lists all of the spiritual gifts. They are:

  • Prophecy
  • Serving
  • Teaching
  • Exhortation
  • Giving
  • Leadership
  • Mercy
  • Word of wisdom
  • Word of knowledge
  • Faith
  • Gifts of healings
  • Miracles
  • Prophecy
  • Distinguishing between spirits
  • Tongues
  • Interpretation of tongues
  • Apostle
  • Prophet
  • Teacher
  • Miracles
  • Kinds of healings
  • Helps
  • Administration
  • Tongues
  • Apostle
  • Prophet
  • Evangelist
  • Pastor
  • Teacher
  • Whoever speaks
  • Whoever renders service

Additional positions are:

  • Overseer/Bishop
  • Deacons

Yet women covet mainly positions of leadership in the Church.

Leadership in the Church is not based on human merit or ability (aside from things not to do such as in 1 Timothy 3) but by positional calling. Women are not called to be in the positions of leadership either in a marriage or the Church. Perhaps because of some of the qualities I mentioned before.

I would be very wary of going to any Church that has women “pastors” or other leadership or allows women into the pulpit for any sort of teaching. Teaching being namely “This is what the Scriptures mean, and this is how we should live because of that.”

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23 Responses to Why women are prohibited from certain positions in Church

  1. Neguy says:

    I’d disagree with one thing you say, namely that men rather than women being in certain positions is not a matter of merit. In this you echo the complementarians like Piper and Grudem who specifically deny that men are more competent than women in leading a marriage or church. This view seems to argue that God made a purely arbitrary decision. Why would God put men only in these roles unless he created them in a way that makes them (generally speaking) more qualified for those roles?

  2. @ Neguy

    Perhaps it better to say “human merit.” I’ll change it to that.

    Many times God takes those that are “unqualified” to become His “biggest supporters.” Paul, for example, was a persecutor of the Church having been responsible for killing many Christians. According to “human merit” he is absolutely unqualified.

    On the other hand, women can now go to theological seminary and learn everything possible theologically to be a pastor or teacher… but that doesn’t make them qualified to be a pastor or teacher because God doesn’t base it on those things.

  3. Ichaelmae says:

    In church this Sunday, the pastor was teaching on Romans 15 & 16. In Romans 16 is a big list of names, and he made a big thing about 9 out of 24 of those names being women, including Junia, who were told, an apostle (I realise this is a matter of interpretation and translation). I muttered a muted “lol” (my translation simply said she was well known to the apostles). Have you come across this line of thinking before?

    He used this opportunity to reiterate the churches position on women in leadership (positive, though a woman teaching or preaching on a Sunday is thankfully very rare)

  4. @ Ichaelmae

    I too have heard that Junia is used as an example of a “female apostle.”

    We don’t even know if “Junia”or “Junias” in Greek was male or female (most manuscripts denote female, though), and it only says is “well known among the apostles” not necessarily that he/she was an apostle. Even if she was then what about it? We don’t have any surviving evidence of her good works or deeds. It’s quite reasonable to default to what Jesus did in his ministry namely, commission only men as apostles. Jesus had many women He was close to, even ones that visited Him and believed before the disciples did after His resurrection. Yet He never did commission them as apostles.

    Seems to be grasping at straws just as the egalitarians grasp as straws to say there are no positions of authority in marriage.

    Not that I agree with the position, but if they were so “enlightened” they would understand it in context of 1 Corinthians 8. It’s a stumbling block for some, so they wouldn’t exercise their “freedom” and cause others to stumble. Yet they do it anyway.

    1 Timothy 6:3 If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not [d]agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing; but he [e]has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that [f]godliness is a means of gain. 6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.

    Sound familiar with the “debates” over egalitarianism and women in leadership positions in the Church?

    That’s how you can tell they are not of Christ in addition to the bad fruit that they bear. All of these people always have an agenda: their own and/or a feminist one.

  5. SnapperTrx says:

    Therein lies the problem. I have said over and over that the best way to get everyone in line with scripture is to take it at face value and not try to ‘interpret’ it. When everyone starts to add their own point of view on a scripture then it doesn’t work anymore and starts to become the ‘different doctrine’ explained in the preceding verses! There is only one truth, anything else that deviates from that truth is therefore either a mistaken lie or flat out lie! Modern Christians cant read the bible and take the words at face value, they MUST gloss it over with various interpretations and viewpoints to make it more palatable! The word of God is a tough pill to swallow, but narrow is the path that leads to salvation and wide is the road of destruction. Most ‘christians’ wont get with the program if you start enforcing the exact words of the bible.

  6. @ SnapperTrx

    Case in point: “Don’t judge me!” verses are one of the most out-of-context twisted Scriptures.

    “Cheap grace” is one that is quite prevalent inside the Church.

  7. Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:

    One objective test of spiritual maturity is obedience to the Word of God. If there is a form of “spirituality” that is not in conformity and obedience to the Word it should strongly rebuked.

    2 Corinthians 10:4-6 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

    Spirituality is not feelings, sentimentality or even empathy, it is life in harmony with God’s Word empowered and enlightened by the Holy Spirit. We err when we equate spirituality with monasticism, churchian activity, watching TBN, refraining from masculine activity or the separation of faith and life. Feminists are attempting to equate spiritual with feminine; that vain thinking (more likely feeling as little logical thought is involved) needs to be crushed and anathematized.

    If a woman is in fact spiritually mature, she would heed the scriptures and not only not be a leader in the church, but remain silent in the church and ask her husband spiritual questions at home to learn. She would informally gather with less mature women and teach them how to love their husbands and children that the Word of God be not blasphemed. Likewise a spiritually mature man in leadership would also heed the scriptures and refuse to let women lead, to disallow women to teach men, to insist that women pray with their heads covered to show honor to her husband or father as head and would instead require that the women of the church remain quite and submissive to their own husbands.

  8. Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:

    Quiet not quite. Shhh — I am spelling impaired.

  9. Looking Glass says:

    To put the issue in a more rhetoric-based context, as I’ve thought about it, I think the way to frame the issue is maybe this:

    We are to walk as Christ (Ephesians 4 through 6, as it’s actually one long explanation), but the first steps is to get to where Paul was. Saul, who became Paul, was left with a choice: follow the Lord or lose everything. So when he became Paul, it he was in full-on “Ride or Die” mode with the Lord, and it still shines through in his writing.

    For all of the things we talk about, that’s really the core issue for most Churches. They want to be liked; they want the benefits of the Lord without the Righteousness. Their Vanity consumes them and they are ashamed of who the Lord truly is. They’ve chosen the feminine way to rebel, which is why so many Pastors come off so poorly.

  10. SnapperTrx says:

    You are correct, but when the ‘head’ of the body (ie: the pastor) is tainted with various ‘other doctrines’ like equal headship, cheap grace, ‘born again virgins’ and such then no one underneath them knows how to properly be obedient to the word of God. I mean, the pastor tells them they are being obedient, and they believe they are, but if they actually sat down and read their bibles and understood what is asked of them they would see they are not. It doesn’t mean they would accept that and change, though. I’m sure plenty of Christians in the modern church know what they are to do and what they are not to do, but since they have cover from the leaders of the church they are able to continue in feigned ignorance, knowing that no one will call them on it.

    A sign on a church near my home reads “Drama free fellowship”. Translation: “Come on it! We wont hold you to anything!”.

  11. SnapperTrx says:

    A church with a pastor that ‘gets it’ will be a church with a very small congregation. At least to start. God willing He will enable it to grow.

  12. Don Quixote says:

    Notice how these women always want positions of authority. In direct opposition of what the word of God says. There is always a shortage of people to ‘carry the cross’, but they are not content to follow Jesus they want to take the lead. IOWs get the attention.

    Next time you hear a woman preaching or teaching, ignore what is being said and just listen to the tone of their voice. They either try to imitate a man <== very off putting. Or worse they are just nagging with their nerve grinding blah blah.
    Some women try to do the stand up routine thing but they are unaware that they shouldn't be in that position to begin with. It sadly highlights how misinformed we are regarding who does what.

  13. donalgraeme says:

    I have said over and over that the best way to get everyone in line with scripture is to take it at face value and not try to ‘interpret’ it.

    So when you are going to gouge out your eye or cut off your hand then?

  14. feeriker says:

    LG says:

    For all of the things we talk about, that’s really the core issue for most Churches. They want to be liked; they want the benefits of the Lord without the Righteousness. Their Vanity consumes them and they are ashamed of who the Lord truly is. They’ve chosen the feminine way to rebel, which is why so many Pastors come off so poorly.


    SnapperTrx adds:.

    I mean, the pastor tells them they are being obedient, and they believe they are, but if they actually sat down and read their bibles and understood what is asked of them they would see they are not. It doesn’t mean they would accept that and change, though. I’m sure plenty of Christians in the modern church know what they are to do and what they are not to do, but since they have cover from the leaders of the church they are able to continue in feigned ignorance, knowing that no one will call them on it.

    These two comments, as well as Jonadab’s final paragraph, sew it all up nicely

    Christian women KNOW that they are in rebellion. They KNOW that they are disobedient qnd sinful. They KNOW that they are, for all practical purposes, giving God the proverbial “middle finger salute.” But they can’t stop and change course. The sacrifice would be too great.

    Most Christian women today, deep down and viscerally, don’t really want to be Christians, knowing what God, via the Bible, expects of them. If they were to live and behave as actually prescribed by Paul and Peter (Jonadab’s last paragraph cites some examples), they would be shunned, ridiculed, and persecuted not only by the modern world that is their real god, that they’re in love with, and that they can’t bear the thought of not being of, but also by the church that is supposed to be their source of love, spiritual nourishment, and discipline. It is much more comfortable to hamsterbate away God’s directions to women as being “of a different time and place long past” than to obey it for what it clearly says.

    While most Christian women would love to openly apostasize if they could do so without an overwhelming sense of guilt and, even if they won’t admit it, visceral fear (they almost certainly would do so, in massive numbers, if compelled to live acvording to dtrict new testament precepts), the really don’t need to do so as long as a respected male authority figure, however openly heretical, condones and sanctifies their behavior. They can then delude themselves into thinking themselves righteous, even as they openly and sinfully disobey and mock God by placing human authority over His and deliberatey ignoring and blaspheming His commands by flaunting behavior that is their polar opposite.

    To address SnapperTrx’s comment, I’ve pointed out repeatedly, here and elsewhere, that the LAST thing most churchian leadership wants is a biblically literate and aware congregation. Such people would waste no time in pointing out the grotesque negligience and errors of the wharped Scriptures being flung from the pulpit and would demand that leadership see and correct the error of its ways or be gone from the flock. This is why most churches wallow in the Soma-like destractions of churchian best-selling books rather than Scripture itself. Far safer and less controversial, to say nothing of elating the sheeple by not making them cast themselves out of a fog of ignorance that only benefits the churchian powers that be.

  15. Robin Munn says:

    Re: Junia,

    DS is right. The phrasing is “well known among the apostles”, which means that all or most of the apostles knew her. To give an example that’s quite clear: Lady Ada Lovelace is well known among computer programmers today. But, being dead, she clearly does not fall into the category of “computer programmers today”. Or take another one: the comedian Jerry Lewis is (I hear) very popular among French people. That sentence does not claim that Jerry Lewis himself is French, only that many French people like him.

    And there are plenty of positions of leadership that the Bible says women SHOULD be taking, like older women teaching younger women to love their husbands and children (Titus 2:4-5). But those positions aren’t glamorous, so they’re not sought-after by the modern-day Pharisees (the ones who want everyone to see their good works).

    Thankfully, I have seen many examples of Christian women serving faithfully in quiet, unrecognized roles, so I know that there are also some good ones. And the more good ones you know, the more the bad ones stand out like sore thumbs.

  16. What about Phoebe (Acts 16) and Deborah (Judges)?

  17. @ chokingonredpills

    Phoebe is a servant/deacon. Women are not prohibited from being deacons, to my knowledge (at least in some denominations). Deacons are those who serve others’ needs.

    Deborah is an interesting case. She was a prophet. Women are not prohibited from being prophets in either the OT or NT, though most of the examples are men. When time came for action, it wasn’t her but Barak who was commanded by God to lead Israel.

    In terms of prophesy Joel 2:28 which is quoted in Acts 2:17: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”

  18. Looking Glass says:

    Phoebe (which is Romans 16) falls into what is called a “deaconess” position. Something that Paul would further go on to say to not less a young widow do (1 Timothy 5). But the “deaconess” as a Church position fell massively out of favor over the next 300-400 years, pretty much ceasing to exist as an “office” within the Church. It’s a calling for a Woman, not an office the Church should fill.

    Deborah was simply prophet. (There was actually a lot more of them that didn’t have books in the Bible than did. Plus a lot that did really stupid things.) Barak was the Judge of Israel. The Lord gave Barak no glory because he was hiding behind the apron strings of an old Woman.

  19. Looking Glass says:

    “less” = “let”. Argh.

  20. DS and LG: Thanks.

    Is there a definition or explanation of deacon or “deaconess” (from the Bible, if there is any)?

    In Judges 4:4, it was stated clearly that Deborah was judging Israel which, I believe, puts her in a position as a judge?

  21. Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:

    From another author:author

    “…the context of Deborah’s judgeship is a picture of biblical manhood being absent or lost and the position that Deborah found herself filling, was not a true picture of the sum of biblical womanhood, but rather of a faithful biblical woman who took on the additional responsibilities of biblical manhood in the absence and abdication of the men.”

    We should remember the rules of proper hermeneutics, namely that precepts interpret the narratives, not the narratives interpret the precepts. Also we interpret what is less clear by what is more clear, bearing in mind that what was concealed in the Old Testament is often revealed in the New Testament. Deborah is notable because she was the exception and not the rule; it is therefore a mistake to make her the rule.

    The book of judges is more about the failures of Israel to love Yahweh and repent of than the faithfulness of Israel to be duplicated. It is a possibility, therefore, that Deborah stands as an example of how bad things, ie women and children rule (Is 3:12) come to be when a people are unfaithful to the duties that God has called them.

  22. Looking Glass says:

    The best Judges in in the book of Judges get about 2 lines each. They did their job, so there was something to explain how stupid they & Israel were being.

  23. Pingback: If you’re spiritually immature, you should expect your wife won’t submit | Christianity and masculinity

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