The Role of Women in the Church

Why pick such a controversial topic to blog about? Oh I didn’t realize there was controversy surrounding this issue. To use NoCo language: HENNO. Well, what else do you expect from a ministry whose tag line is always biblical, always controversial, always in that order.

The equality of women with men has nothing to do with their role or function in the home or in the church but has everything to do with their identity. In other words, the Bible says that women are equal with men in the church because of who they are in Christ, not because of what they do. The philosophy of the world on the other hand says that women can do anything men can do and that is the basis of their equality.

Consider for instance these foundational truths. Both men and women were created in the image and likeness of God(Genesis 1:27-28) and wives are fellow heirs with their husbands of the gracious gift of life(1 Peter 3:7).

Biblical roles that God has ordained for men and women in the church are to be adhered to for Jesus Christ alone is the Head of the Church. It is His body. Thus we are to submit to Him.

Some have fallen prey to the demonic(yes demonic, that is not a typo)notion that we should do what the world tells us to do for the sake of reaching people for Christ. That is we should allow women to teach and exercise authority over men. After all, women are equal with men the world screams. GONG!!!(Think the Gong Show, if you’re old enough) The Bible is clear that we are not to be conformed to the pattern of this world(Romans 12:2). The idea is that we are not to let the world squeeze us into its mold.

But the church has fallen prey to such notions because we tolerate ministries that promote this. And why do we tolerate? Very simply because the church has lost all mooring of biblical discernment. Let me illustrate. Beth Moore. I can almost see with just the mention of her name some of the hairs on the back of your neck are coming up.

She teaches men in her conferences. Women love her so they see nothing wrong. I won’t even get into her bad hermeneutics and her supposed listening to God, and that not through Scripture. As Pastor and Author Mike Abendroth of NoCo fame has asked in a previous episode, “Where is Beth Moore’s Husband?”

So how are we not to conform to the pattern of this world(Romans 12:2)? The next part of the verse gives us the answer.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”(emphasis added)

Romans 12:2

Transformation comes through our minds. We are to set our minds on things above(Colossians 3:2). Right thinking leads to right living. But before we look at the right way of thinking about this issue, that is what does the Word of God say, let us first confront some of the wrong thinking. In other words, let us bring every thought captive.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”(emphasis added)

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Wrong Thinking #1 – God used women in the Old Testament such as Esther and Deborah.

This is one of the reasons people cite as to why women can teach and have authority over men. This comes from people who believe the Bible to be the Word of God and want to submit to the authority of Scripture. Their hermeneutical(the art and science of biblical interpretation) approach is just so rudimentary they think that just the mention of women qualifies them. Obviously they are untrained in using the literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutical approach as the only valid one that gets to the original meaning of a text.

Wrong Thinking #2 – Jesus Himself ministered to women like the woman at the well(John 4).

To use this as support is to miss the entire point of the Gospel of John. The beloved disciple wrote “so that  you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”(John 20:31) So John’s purpose was evangelistic. In line with that authorial intent, he includes the account of the Samaritan woman in John 4 to demonstrate that Jesus came after all not for the righteous but for sinners(Luke 5:32). Her sin was apparent(John 4:16-18). And on top of that she was a Samaritan, a half-breed as Jews considered them.

In the previous chapter John records the account of THE teacher of Israel, Nicodemus(John 3). Why are these chapters juxtaposed by the Spirit of God? It was to show that the Savior came for both religious leaders who needed to be born again and also for those who were the social outcast of society. He came for both men and women. By recording Chapter 4, John was showing that salvation in Christ was available to women as well.

Wrong Thinking #3 – “there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”(Galatians 3:28)

Paul opened this epistle with a very strong indictment.

“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”(emphasis added)

Galatians 1:8-9

Twice he mentions the Greek term anathema, accursed, literally eternally condemned and damned, without the possibility of redemption. Strong language. And rightfully so. The Gospel is at stake. Paul was disturbed that they were turning to a different gospel because of false teachers, “some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ”(Galatians 1:7) His motive was because he was a God-pleaser, not a man-pleaser(Galatians 1:10).

Paul did not yield in subjection to these Judaizers, who believed circumcision was necessary for salvation(Acts 15:1). His motive was for the sake of the truth of the Gospel(Galatians 2:5). That would make a good verse for a Christian radio program ministry. 🙂

The protection of the purity of the Gospel was no side issue for the apostle. So much so that later on he even confronted Peter(Galatians 2:11).

Therefore he teaches that justification is not by works(i.e. circumcision) but by faith in Christ(Galatians 2:15-16).

“for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith”

Galatians 3:26

So in light of this historical background of the false gospel promoted by these Judaizers and thus the teaching of the apostle Paul in this epistle to correct any error, Paul emphatically states the truth of the verse that…

“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

Paul’s intention was not even to discuss women’s role in the church, but to expose the false gospel, to exposit the truth of the doctrine of justification by faith and to emphasize that because both male and female are sons of God through faith in Christ, they are one in Christ Jesus.

THE VERSE

“I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.”

1 Timothy 2:12

In this his first of 3 pastoral epistles, Paul expressed the purpose for writing.

“I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”(emphasis added)

1 Timothy 3:14-15

Everything else Paul writes in this pastoral epistle has to line up with this authorial intent, how one ought to behave in the church. And Paul gives two reasons why women are not to teach or have authority over men. Adam was formed first(1 Timothy 2:13) and Eve, not Adam, was deceived(1 Timothy 2:14). Paul goes all the way back to the beginning, to Genesis, to the account of Creation and to the Fall. He is saying that to deny the order of creation and the account of the Fall is to deny the God-ordained roles that men and women have in the church.

But you say,        “God has gifted me with the gift of teaching.”

I say,                     “Great. Use it.”

You ask,                “How, if I can’t teach men?”

I say,                      “Teach, train and disciple women.”

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”

Titus 2:3-5

Meet regularly with other women to teach them theology. Teach at your church’s women’s retreat. Teach in the children’s ministry. Disciple a group of women on being a godly wife. Make yourself available and get involved with camps and conferences where you can teach at ladies’ events.

You are a woman who loves to teach the Word of God. You can sulk in your misery for not feeling equal with men. You can find a church that cares nothing for the Scripture and teach men. You can be a pain to your pastor and elders by pushing the feminist agenda. You can grumble to others how you are slighted for not being able to serve in any capacity. You can constantly nag your husband about it.

OR

You can submit to the authority of the Word of God, consider your God-ordained role a high calling and serve the Lord with joy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By | 2017-04-03T20:34:40+00:00 August 30th, 2016|Articles|Comments Off on The Role of Women in the Church

About the Author:

Hariton Deligiannides
Pastor Hariton Deligiannides is the head of the elder board at Bethlehem Bible Church in West Boylston. Born in Greece, Hariton has a love for his culture and language. But his greatest love is the Lord Jesus Christ and serving Him. Married to Meta in 1996, they have 3 children, Isabella, Elizabeth and Zachary. Saved in 1985, Hariton attended Bethlehem Bible Church during his college days at WPI. He graduated Dallas Theological Seminary in 1992. He was on staff with the Navigators from 1993 to 2001, ministering in NY city. Then in 2001 he moved to Boston to church plant with the Southern Baptists. He was ordained to gospel ministry on June 21, 2003. He pastored Compass Community Church from 2001 to 2010. He joined Bethlehem Bible Church in 2010. Hariton‘s passions are theology, expository preaching and discipling men.