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Devotionals

Women and Ministry -- What the Bible Says

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But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. -- 1Corinthians 11: 3 (ESV)

To try and dismiss this verse, the writers turn to alternative translations for the word "head." They come up with "authority over" and "source or origin." Can you guess which one they like? They side with source and in doing so try to turn 1Corinthians 11 into a chapter about everything coming from God. The problem is when you read the entire chapter it is painfully obvious Paul is teaching about proper roles for the genders within the body of Christ. Don't get me wrong, if this was the only verse supporting male authority, I might be worried. There is however, overwhelming evidence. Now we come to the key verses for today:

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. -- 1Corinthians 14: 33-35 (ESV)

Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. -- 1Timothy 2: 11-14 (ESV)

Beloved, if you approach these verses honestly, there is very little to persuade you from the fact that women are clearly not to hold roles of authority within the church. That is not to say they cannot exercise the gifts of the spirit and contribute greatly to the cause of Christ. It is simply not God's design for a woman to hold a leadership position within His body. So how do the writers get out of this dilemma? By trying to undermine Scripture unfortunately:

"Since these must be placed alongside Paul's other statements and practices, they can hardly be absolute, unequivocal prohibitions of the ministry of women."

Cleverly mixing apples and oranges as they have the entire paper, no one is saying that women are not allowed in ministry. But Scripture is most certainly absolute. It does not change. The writers try and pretend that these two Scripture sets must be dealing with a "local problems that needed correction." The only problem with that theory is they simply made it up. There is no context to support that and within these verses it is painfully clear Paul is talking about in all churches. He even says "As in all churches of the saints" in the Corinthian verses! Both verse sets have the same language yet they are for two different congregations!

The trump card no one wants to talk about is found at the end of the Timothy verses. Paul actually explains why God says women should not hold an authoritative or teaching position within His church. Two reasons. Adam was formed first and it was Eve who was deceived in the Garden. As we have seen the feminization of the church we have hea r d the recount of the Garden be changed to equally blame Adam and these verses destroy such a politically correct notion. Eve was deceived and became a transgressor. I understand if you think it is harsh. Take it up with God. I sometimes think it seems harsh to not let Moses into the Promised Land or to make Uzzah pay for his life for merely following the orders of King David. At the end of the day it does not matter how I feel. God is God and He didn't ask for my input. We conclude with the last verse the writers referenced, from Galatians:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. -- Galatians 3: 28 (ESV)

The writers state that in their opinion this verse, "carries a ring of universal application for all our relationships, not just an assurance that anyone can come to Christ." While that sentiment fits their pre-determined outcome it is simply not supported contextually. The immediate context revels this verse is specifically referring to salvation. When it comes to salvation, we are all one in Christ Jesus. Here is an excerpt from Barnes Notes on The Bible:

"There is neither male nor female - Neither the male nor the female have any special advantages for salvation. There are no favors shown on account of sex. Both sexes are, in this respect, on a level. This does not mean, of course, that the sexes are to be regarded as in all respects equal; nor can it mean that the two sexes may not have special duties and privileges in other respects. It does not prove that one of the sexes may not perform important offices in the church, which would not be proper for the other. It does not prove that the duties of the ministry are to be performed by the female sex, nor that the various duties of domestic life, nor the various offices of society, should be performed without any reference to the distinction of sex. The interpretation should be confined to the matter under consideration; and the passage proves only that in regard to salvation they are on a level." -- Barnes Notes on the Bible

That is the problem when one approaches the Bible as these writers appear to have done. You are forced to throw off the confinement of context in search of some magical combination of factors that proves your point. Suddenly a woman who was generous "ran an effective benevolence ministry." Suddenly Scripture which flat out says what women's roles are, and is repeated in a different portion of Scripture written to a different church, is hazy or somehow unclear enough to stand on its own. The reality meanwhile cannot be clearer when you approach the Bible just to hear what sayeth the Lord. That reality is that the roles for women and men have not changed in the eyes of God but they have changed in the eyes of the world. It is amazing that most Christians will correctly point to the changing roles for women in the world as a root cause for the breakdown in the family which has fueled the breakdown in morality but they cannot see the folly in trying to apply that same change standard to the church.

Beloved, God sets the standards; not man. While the world spins out of control in the change it thinks is progressive and positive, God does not change. The world might view this line of thinking as sexist but God's ways are so much higher than ours. We are not to think like the world. There have been plenty of women God has used through the millennia to further His cause and kingdom. There are plenty of roles women are allowed to pursue. Essentially there is one they are asked to be submissive in and that is leadership within the body of Christ. Just like there was one tree that Adam and Eve were told not to eat the fruit of. Yet no matter how much God says no, our flesh says, surely God did not say"

Without apology my dear sisters in Christ. Yes He did.

Reverend Anthony Wade -- July 1, 2016

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
 

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