Ladyship In Leadership (Battle Of The Red-Dirts!)

“But I agree discuss over at SP2 is more civil.” – MJ

This article is in response from the comments of Groupsects here:

TO get the conversations going, I’ll post a few key responses from GroupSects so that it may continue (if it is not too late already!):

“Don’t forget to include Titus 1:6…., the husband of but one wife.” – teddy

“Funny how you’ll grasp an old testament teaching on women in leadership and say it’s valid but when it comes to tithing you say because it’s OT it’s not relevant?

I’m not against either, if one feels so led then fine. I have received some great insight into some passages of scripture from the preaching of women, as with men. Even out of the mouths of children… and Teddy, to say “take it up with God..” what a weak, weak position.” – Alias

“Where else do we go then beside His Word. The heart is deceitful above all else so our views can’t be validated anywhere else. If my opinion doesn’t line up with God’s CLEAR teaching, guess who’s wrong? Where’s the OT scripture your’e referring to – Deborah in Judges I guess, but that in itself is judgment. Her leadership was not spiritual by the way. Let me clarify that last statement, I posted too soon. She acted primarily in the role of an arbiter, not as an ongoing leader, which explains why she called on Barak when needing military leadership against the Canaanites. There’s no other occasion where she had engaged in any ongoing prophetic work.

God has given women a different role in the church. Men and women are equal in spiritual privilege, capacity, blessedness, and promise. Both are able to serve the Lord effectively. But the responsibility of overseeing a church is limited to men.” – Teddy

“… Paul wrote many times of women who were doing equal work in the church to men, Lydia, Priscilla, Junia (who was commended as an apostle and see as an outstanding one) and also Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis, “women who work hard in the Lord. He also mentions Phoebe as a deacon in the church, as well Mary and Chloe. He wrote far more about women and appreciated women in Ministry far more than we generally recognise. Teddy I see you accept that both men and women are able to serve the Lord effectively, however I think from Pauls writing that women were in leadership in the early church and that there is no real reason why women can not be heads of churches.

Gal. 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” is a call for equal roles within the church, despite the fact that it is speaking about salvation primarily it has impact on social roles as well.

this is a great discussion on women in ministry – very long but well worth the read I think.” – Greg The Explorer

“The ultimate result of a woman being given authority -Katherine Schori claims individual salvation is heresy– Teddy

“I feel sorry for you Teddy, in this instance. In case you’re serious about your sarcasm question, my point was that you can’t possibly expect anyone to draw a line between one example of “women in authority” and all women who preach. I mean, seriously? That’s the best you’ve got?” – Alias

“Why do you feel sorry for me? What a strange thing to say. Especially to someone that has come out of 22 years of church lite aka C3. Katherine Schori is a pretty good example of what happens when church denominations go liberal. And I’m a member of a great anglican church now. And that’s the last thing I would have expected to happen – btw!” – Teddy

“I think it’s great that you are doing well, please don’t misunderstand me. I guess I’m surprised that you seem so resigned to your ‘fate’ as a female.” – Alias

“And now we have Paula white back “pastoring” Without Walls the charismatic church founded by she and her now ex-husband – this list of flaky, no sound doctrine, female leadership just goes on and on!! Sorry to be seeming to belabour the point. Attached is a fine example of what she believes:

– Teddy

“Teddy, I do respect your view, but do differ based upon scripture itself. But regardless of which perspective we have, really, Paula White??? Its a bit like putting Steve Munsey or Phil Pringle up as examples of male preachers/teachers. Not fair!” – RavingPente

“Teddy, I’d like to hear your take on Galatians 3:28 and how it affects the position of women in ministry. Also have you had a look at the paper I linked to?” – Greg The Explorer

So there are a few comments. I will post up Craig’s comments too. Just recently in my church environment, this issue came up with eldership and counselling women as leaders. So my views on this are being challenged. I might add my tuppenceworth a bit later. So fire away. For the sake of just stirring the fire; I will take a side blindly and say that it is biblical for women to submit to men, married or not, when it comes to leadership. Taht’ll get a few people hopping. This is an important issue to discuss.


27 thoughts on “Ladyship In Leadership (Battle Of The Red-Dirts!)

  1. I actually don’t see that women being in leadership leads to negative impact…in fact my rector is a woman and in the time she has been rector of our parish it has virtually doubled in size. It used to be just her as rector and now we have another full time ordained assistant. I see just as many men leading the church down the wrong path as there are woman who do…it’s called human nature, it has nothing whatsoever to do with gender or headship. Our Diocese (Newcastle) which is viewed by the Sydney diocese as being quite liberal when actually it has quite a solid mix of high and low church, liberal, anglo-catholic and evangelical traditions has many strong, evangelical women rectors and a few who I wouldn’t set foot in their churches – but it’s about their doctrine not their gender – there are just as many male rectors whose churches will never see me inside them.

    I’m not saying Teddy that God has dropped you into more deception – for example God brought me back into his church through the writings of Bishop John Shelby Spong who is anathema to Sydney Anglicans and I too agree that there is a whole raft of areas where he has got it wrong – and yet so many more where he is spot on – John Macarthur is obviously someone like that for you – he may well be right on many issues – he is wrong on the women in ministry issue.

    “I would still like you to respond to this comment of mine:

    Why is it that woman can lead in civil society but not in church? Show me any intelligent person who believes that?

    To clarify I mean to ask, show me any intelligent person who thinks that women should not lead in civil society. Many women have led entire countries – and yet you think they are not qualified by virtue of nothing other than biology to lead a church?” – Greg the explorer

  2. “I am going to add my two cents to this discussion on Women in the Church and Ministry (I have been working too hard this week to do any visiting here…):

    Having been exposed to “feminism theology” (a view from women on theology), I must admit to my eyes being opened. Lots of people will use the scriptures to bar women from entering the ministry, running churches or even just being themselves! For me, women have so much more to give to the world – and their viewpoints can be so life altering. While not being a total Joyce Meyer fan, I admire her.

    Now as for the scriptures, we have to remember the world view that in existence. Paul writing to Timothy was writing with a Jewish cultural background. Now that would influence his point of view massively. The New Testament world was an extremely Patriarchal society. Roman men “owned” their family. Even sons of Romans were under their authority until the father passed on! Women were just above slaves in certain respects. While women will always have immense influence on their husbands, they were still subjected to abuse and discrimination.

    Also let us remember the Levitical law when it came to marriage – if the husband died before he had sired a child, then the woman was to marry his brother and the first child would be considered to be heir to the deceased husband’s estate. (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). While this had practical reasons, this would be considered barbaric today. Also lets not forget that women had no choice in whom they were to marriage – it was arranged in most cases.

    We should also remember the example of the women caught in adultery and brought to Jesus, with the intention of catching him out. Why was the man not there?

    Finally women would marry at young ages – Joseph passed away before Jesus’ ministry – he would have been around mid twenties to early thirties when married, Mary would have been married off at age 13 or 14!

    So why have I brought up these examples? Because we don’t live like this, and Scripture should be interpreted in its correct context – historical, socio-cultural, textual and reader response criticism should be taken into consideration. We need to read the Bible through the eyes of the original author/audience. We have enough historical evidence to understand a lot of the customs and culture of biblical times.

    Women in biblical times cannot be considered to today’s women. Since the advent of the enfranchisement of women and the women’s lib movement, women have been liberated to a large degree except in the church! We have come a long way since the middle ages and victorian times – women are almost equal to men in every way. My wife is an extraordinary women as a wife, a mother and what she does in her profession as a veterinary surgeon! I take my hat off to her!

    I know of some really good women in ministry. One of them is Lyndie McCauley, Ray McCauley’s ex-wife, who was a reluctant minister at first. She had to take a service one Sunday morning – without any preparation, because Ray had been delayed on a flight back from the US. I found her immensely real – that to me is what defined her. Her theology is sound and what she has taught is fantastic! She has a massive heart for people and that comes across in her messages with huge dollops of compassion for people.

    In summary, I believe that Scripture should not be manipulated to suit people and Women have their place on an equal standing with men in ministry.

    Teddy has her own convictions – and that is fine. I think that some times you have to just accept that some will have their own viewpoint.” – Craig

  3. “But if you go into the reasons why Paul was prescriptive about women dressing modestly and not wearing jewellery and make up, just think about it – the women who did dress like that were out to make themselves attract to the opposite sex for only one reason – sex, and most of those women would have been prostitutes. Sex in the Ancient Near East was a very private affair occurring in marriage. But in the Graeco-Roman world, there was a very different view. Homosexuality was an accepted practice in Greek society, women were fair game for men in the Roman world. Orgies were common place in high society of Rome. For a Jew like Paul this was totally repugnant and this would have come through in his writings and his prescription of morality and norms and values.” – Craig

  4. “Teddy if you believe in the scriptural place and role of a woman I would respectfully ask why you are trying to “teach” Craig (obviously a man?) or others on blogs such as these? Clearly, that is not the role of a woman in scripture.

    I actually agree with almost all of your points on a woman’s role and the infallibility of scripture, even though it is considered anathema and oh-so politically incorrect to come out and say these things. Having said all that, I would be keeping this in mind:

    1 Timothy 2:12 “…But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression…”

    A woman teaching a man amounts to the same thing as the church teaching Christ. In the “pecking order” of God’s church, women may teach women, men may teach both sexes and Christ is above all save the Father.

    Ephesians 5:21 “…For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Savior of the body..”

    1 Cor 11:3 “…But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God…”

    If Craig or any other person on this blog won’t accept the plain words of scripture, they should not consider themselves “spiritual” at all –

    1 Cor 14:37 “…If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I WRITE unto you are the commandments of the Lord…”

    Don’t fall into the trap of being baited Teddy. Stick to your guns but don’t go against scripture and try to teach men. Let God sort these clowns out.” – Whatever

  5. “I’m going to let John Macarthur express this issue as he does so much better than I can. As I’ve already said, this is a subject that won’t be resolved here. When someone comes out of a gospel lite charismatic church and starts embracing reformed theology as my husband and I have done, we can only rejoice in the freedom it brings. I’m a very outspoken, opinionated woman and haven’t felt any loss of freedom in “biblical submission” – in fact for all its so-called liberated women preaching at C3, I would suggest they are under “bondage” particularly to the “word of faith” stuff they espouse. This conversation is not about C3 women, I know you are referring to all women in the body of Christ but we have only ever known that style of church.


    If more Christians understood the methods of feminist thinking and what kind of biblical interpretation they must do in order to arrive at their conclusions, they would likely be more hesitant to accept the feminist position. To understand the feminist interpretation process, we begin by examining their view of Galatians 3:28 and how their interpretation of that verse affects their interpretation of the rest of the New Testament.

    FEMINIST VIEW OF GALATIANS 3:28 – The foundation for all feminist interpretation of the New Testament is Galatians 3:28–”Their is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Feminists interpret this verse to refer to an equality which is both theological, regarding men and women’s standing before God, and also social, regarding all of their relationships in day-to-day living. If men and women are equal before God, feminists say, then there can be no differences within their roles and responsibilities in society. Feminists therefore use this verse as the basis for the elimination of all role distinctions between men and women in Christianity. They then interpret all other New Testament verses on women in light of the feminist understanding of Galatians 3:28, thus demanding that no other verse be allowed to teach role distinctions for men and women.

    PROBLEM WITH FEMINIST VIEW OF GALATIANS 3:28 – Feminists fail to interpret Galatians 3:28 in its proper context. The verse concerns the subject of justification and the believer’s relationship to the Abrahamic covenant. Paul was not seeking to establish social equality in the relationships he mentioned. Rather, he was showing that all, regardless of their standing in society, may participate by faith in the inheritance of Abraham to be sons of God. He was teaching the fundamental equality of both men and women in their standing before God. Even the feminists emphasize that this is a theological passage rather than one dealing with practical matters.

    Equality of being before God does not require the elimination of all role distinctions in society. Equality of being does not rule out authority and submission in relationships. We could point to many examples of relationships in which there is equality and yet a difference in roles involving authority and submission–the Trinity, the President and U. S. citizens, parents and children, employers and employees, Elders and church members.

    The theology of Galatians 3:28 will result in certain social implications, but they will be the ones given in the Bible. Where authority and submission are discussed in relationships in the New Testament, instructions are given for how those relationships may be regulated so that they function in Christian love and harmony and not with abuse. The Bible does not eliminate authority but cautions that authority should be exercised in a way that honors Christ. Those in authority (husbands, Elders, parents, employers) are instructed to use their authority in a godly way. And also, those who are to submit to these authorities (wives, church members, children, employees) are instructed to submit to authority in a godly way.

    Because feminists want to rule out the submission of wives to husbands and of women to male leadership in the church on the basis of Galatians 3:28, they face a serious problem in biblical interpretation when they come to the Pauline passages which explicitly teach the submission of wives to husbands and women to the male leadership in the church. Beginning with their interpretation of Galatians 3:28 that all role distinctions must be abolished in the name of equality, they seek to interpret these other Pauline passages (Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18; I Pet. 3:1; Ti. 2:5; I Tim 2:11-15; I Cor. 11:1-16; I Cor. 14:34-35) in light of that questionable interpretation of Galatians 3:28. Feminists of various persuasions have come up with four different ways of handling this biblical material in order to reach conclusions favorable to the feminist viewpoint:

    FEMINIST VIEW #1 – The New Testament passages which teach the submission of women were not really written by Paul but were added by scribes, and thus are not part of the inspired Word of God.

    PROBLEM WITH VIEW #1 – This position reveals a low view of the inspiration of Scripture. According to this view, some of the Bible was inspired by God and some was not. Therefore, the Christian, rather than submitting to Scripture, must function as the judge of Scripture–always making decisions about what is inspired and what is not inspired. Both II Timothy 3:16 and II Peter 1:20-21 indicate that God inspired all Scripture, that he was overseeing the process of the writing of Scripture in such a way that the end product is His Word, not the product of human authors. Thus, the Christian views all of the Bible as God’s inspired Word and does not set himself as judge of the Bible.

    FEMINIST VIEW #2 – The New Testament passages which teach the submission of women were written by Paul, but he was wrong. Those who hold this view believe Paul was too much influenced by his rabbinical background and that in his writing of Scripture he had not reached a full understanding of how the gospel related to relationships between men and women. Thus, he was mistaken in some of the passages he wrote.

    PROBLEM WITH VIEW #2 – This position is also based on a low view of the inspiration of Scripture. In this view, too, the Christian must become the judge of Scripture to determine for himself what is correct and what is incorrect. This view assumes that twentieth century man has a better understanding of God’s truth than did the Apostle Paul writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Again, II Timothy 3:16 and II Peter 1:20-21 indicate that God worked in and through the writers of Scripture in such a way that the end product was God’s perfect Word and not a conglomeration of truth and error put together by human authors.

    FEMINIST VIEW #3 – The New Testament teaches the submission of women, but the teachings are no longer applicable in the twentieth century. According to this view, Paul was teaching the world view of his own culture in the first century, but our twentieth century culture is more enlightened about the equality of men and women, so the teaching no longer applies. Or sometimes it is said that writers of the New Testament knew that the ideal was to abolish all gender-based roles but feared to hinder the gospel if they broke so radically with their own culture. Thus, these Pauline passages are relegated to temporary cultural truth rather than universal truth for all cultures and all times.

    PROBLEM WITH VIEW #3 – The foundation for Paul’s teaching on the role or responsibilities of women is never the culture of his own day but rather the purpose of woman’s creation and the woman’s failure in the fall as Paul points out in I Corinthians 11:1-9 and I Timothy 2:8-15. Adam was created first, and Eve was later created as a helper for him rather than their being created simultaneously and independent of each other. Eve was deceived and led her husband into sin rather than submitting to his leadership. If the reason for the woman’s submission is related to the creation and the fall, than it is not something which can change from year to year and culture to culture. Rather, it is a universal principle.

    Some feminists say that there was no submission for the woman in creation but only as a result of the fall, that Genesis 3:16 was the beginning of authority and submission. But Genesis 2:18-25 teaches a submissive role for Eve in relationship to Adam, and Paul interprets it that way in the New Testament. Thus, the cross does not rid us of authority and submission, but it brings harmony to authority and submission relationships.

    FEMINIST VIEW #4 – The New Testament, if rightly understood, has never taught the submission of women. If the literary context, the historical context and the theological context were carefully studied, Paul would be clearly seen to be egalitarian, and thus the New Testament teaches that women may fulfill any responsibilities in the marriage and the church that men may fulfill. Thus, “headship” means only “source” and never “leader” or “authority.” “Be subject” means only “relate yourselves to” or “respond to” or “adjust yourselves to” and never “submit to.”

    PROBLEM WITH VIEW #4 – In these last two views the confusion among the various feminist representives comes to the surface. Both groups read these same passages, and some say they teach submission and others say they do not.

    Greek lexicons include “authority” as one of the meanings for “head” and “submit” as one of the meanings” – Teddy

  6. This is an interesting very biblical point of view from Tim Challies –

    The Source of Submission
    Is submission a consequence of man’s fall into sin?

    The concept of submission is a tough one to get our minds around. There was a time when I’m sure it came more naturally to people–a time when inequality and hierarchy were assumed. In that kind of social situation I’m sure submission would seem more natural. But today, when we acknowledge that all men (and women) are created equal and when and when there are few things we value higher than equality, submission seems like a relic of the past. And yet the Bible is clear that submission is a duty we all share. All of us are to submit to God and to submit the the authorities He has placed over us. And then there is the one that continues to raise eyebrows: women are to submit to their husbands.

    I have often been challenged with the subject of submission and how it relates to the role of women in a marriage relationship. In particular, I have been challenged to understand and then prove that the submission prescribed by Scripture is inherent in God’s created order. In other words, the fact that women are to submit to their husbands is not merely the product of the Fall of the human race into sin, but is a product of God’s creation. Even if sin had never entered the world, a wife would still be expected to submit to her husband. Having studied this issue I believe that is a fair statement and wrote this brief article in an attempt to prove my understanding.

    I have discussed this topic with several women and have been a little bit surprised by their reactions. It seems to me that women would be glad to know that the idea of submission precedes the fall. This shows us that the headship of the husband is not rooted in a punishment, and perhaps even an unfair punishment where woman was given the harsher penalty of having to submit, but is rooted in the very purpose and creation of mankind. Yet women have told me that they prefer to think that submission is a product of the Fall. Perhaps this shows just what a poor job the church has done in teaching this subject and what a poor job husbands have done in making submission joyful. Or maybe this is simply society echoing even in the church.

    Strange though it may seem, submission is a good and beautiful and godly thing. The most perfect relationship in the world, the relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, displays a perfect example of submission. The Son submits Himself to the Father. They are, to echo the Shorter Catechism, “the same in substance, equal in power and glory.” Yet the Father demonstrates headship. We speak of Jesus’ mission to the earth in two ways. We speak of Jesus being sent by the Father. And this is true. From eternity it was decided by the Father that man would have to be ransomed by a perfect substitute. The Father tasked the Son with this responsibility. But we also speak of the Son willingly giving up his life. These are both true. The Son’s perfect submission to the Father’s will meant that a command of the Father is indistinguishable from a decision of the Son. Christ was perfectly willing to submit to His Father’s will. This relationship within the Trinity provides us many clues as to the nature of the relationship between husband and wife.

    So let me provide ten proofs that submission precedes the Fall and is part of God’;s natural order. We will follow the structure outlined by Wayne Grudem in his thorough study on the subject, Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth.

    The order of creation: Adam was created before Eve. This may seem to be weak grounds for an argument yet it was significant enough for Paul to mention in 1 Timothy 2:12-13 where he does not “permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man…For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” Inherent in the order of creation is the foundation for the order of human relationships.
    The representation of the human race: It was Adam who had a special role in representing the human race. Though Eve was the first to sin, it was Adam who was considered most responsible for their combined disobedience. In Corinthians we read that, “as in Adam all men die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). Christ is the second Adam, not the second Eve as we might expect if the Bible held Adam and Eve as being equal in representation and headship.
    The naming of woman: Adam was given the honor and responsibility of naming his wife. “She shall be called woman,” he said, “because she was taken out of man” (Genesis 2:23). Within the Scriptures we see that the person who names something is always the one who has authority over it. This parallels the account of creation where God named the night and the day, the expanse, the earth and the waters. By naming them He showed His authority. And in naming Even Adam proved his headship.
    The naming of the human race: The human race is named after Adam, not Eve. Neither is it named after both Adam and Eve. God named the human race “man.” “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created” (Genesis 5:1-2). While this does not provide a cut and dry case, it points again to the headship and leadership of the man in the created order.
    The primary accountability: God held Adam primarily accountable for the Fall. While Adam and Eve hid from God, God called “to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?'” (Genesis 3:9). God did not call to both Adam and Eve, but called to Adam alone. Dr. Grudem draws an analogy of a parent who, upon entering a room where several children have been misbehaving, will summon the oldest and demand answers. It is the oldest who bears greatest responsibility. In the same way God summoned Adam and demanded an account of both his sin and that of his wife. Notice that Satan reversed this order, approaching Eve before Adam in an obvious (and successful) attempt to disrupt the God-given pattern.
    The purpose of women: Eve was created as a helper for Adam, not Adam as a helper for Eve. While feminists have made much of the term “helper,” the fact remains that in any given situation, the person doing the helping necessarily places himself in a subordinate role to the person needing help. Yet helping does not remove accountability. While I may help my son with a paper route, the ultimate responsibility is still his. Eve’s role, from the beginning of creation, was to be a helper for Adam. This does not by any means indicate a inferiority, but a helper who was Adam’s equal. She differed in ways that would complement Adam.
    The conflict: A dire consequence of the Fall is the conflict it has introduced into the relationships of husbands and wives. In Genesis 3:16 God tells Eve, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” This desire is to interfere with or distort the role of her husband. The roles God gave to the husband and wife have been distorted through the Fall. Eve would now rebel against the God-given authority of her husband and he would abuse the authority to rule poorly, forcefully and even harshly.
    The restoration: When creation is restored through the work of Christ we do not find an undoing of the marriage order. Were submission a consequence of the Fall we would expect Christ to “make all things new” in this manner. Instead we find that Christ provides power to overcome the sinful impulses of a wife against her husband and the husband’s response of ruling harshly over her. But Christ does not remove the order of a husband being in authority over his wife.
    The mystery: When the Apostle Paul wrote of a “mystery” he was describing something that was understood only faintly in the Old Testament but became clear in the New. In Ephesians 5:31-32 Paul shows that the ultimate purpose in marriage is to mirror the relationship between Christ and the church. “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Dr. Grudem says, “Although Adam and Eve did not know it, their relationship represented the relationship between Christ and the church. They were created to represent that relationship, and that is what all marriages are supposed to do. In that relationship, Adam represents Christ and Eve represents the church…”
    The parallel with the Trinity: The triune nature of God provides the perfect example of submission. “The equality, differences, and unity between men and women reflects the equality, differences and unity of the Trinity.” We are blessed and honored to be able to represent that relationship in our marriages.
    The ultimate reason a wife is to submit her husband may not have been clear to Adam and Eve. It was not clear to God’s people until after the writing of the New Testament. The ultimate reason a wife is to submit to her husband is that the marriage relationship is to mirror that of Christ and His church. Just as Christ is head of the church and we submit to Him, in the same way man is the head of the family and the wife should submit to Him. A husband is to lead in the same was as Christ: lovingly, tenderly and always seeking the greatest good for his wife. A wife is to mirror her relationship with Christ in her relationship with her husband. She is to trust him, be loyal to him and help him. This can only be done in a relationship of humble, loving, godly submission.

    When men lovingly lead their wives and when women respond in joyful submission, we see a beautiful echo of the relationship of the Father to the Son and we model the love of the Son for His bride. Submission may be unpopular, it may be a difficult word to say, but it is a concept that existed in a perfect world and is one that will endure for eternity.


    © Tim Challies

  7. Nice article. I agree with the stance in marriage.

    But what about outside of marriage?
    Do you think unmarried women should submit to men married or unmarried?

  8. Those same principals apply to church and the role of women/leadership/authority. However having said that, what do you think of the premise that a single woman is only under the spititual authority of (1.)Father when living in a christian home? (2.) Pastor of the church she’s attending? Get’s interesting, doesn’t it?

  9. John Macarthur outlines limits of authority from his perspective quite well here –

    “I believe that as far as authority, the only authority any pastor or elder has is the Word of God. When you step beyond the Word of God, you’ve overstepped the bounds of your authority. I have no authority, if you’re in my congregation, to say to you, “Go here and get this training. Go there. I command you to…”–I have no authority to do that. That is overstepping my bounds. I am nothing more and nothing less than an instrument by which God makes known to you his revelation. That’s my role.

    Now, I may say to you, “Given the circumstances, I would recommend this because it appears from what I know about that and what I know about you that this would be a good choice,” but that is not authority; that is counsel. My authority stops when I close the page of this book, and then all I’m doing is giving you counsel. You can consider that counsel as to its inherent value and make your own decision. But I have no authority to command you, beyond the pages of the Word of God.

    That very point is where pastor’s and elder’s leadership becomes out-of-bounds and abusive and overbearing. God never intended that. The best we can do is give wise counsel. That’s why the Old Testament says, “In much counsel, there is wisdom.” The point is there. If God wanted us to just listen to one guy, He would say, “If you want to know what to do, go ask the elder.” But He says, “Get much counsel and you’ll get wisdom.” So I believe that our authority stops where.”

  10. I had this discussion on the old SP, and reached the position put by Challies and McArthur without having read them.

    One thing I remember having read was a chapter of book by John Stott that dealt with the issue of women in the church, and how weak it was. Firstly he apologised for being a man and dealing with this issue. Secondly he put a case supporting the above from his understanding of scripture. And thirdly he walked away from it because he could be wrong – he did to have the courage of his convictions. Very disheartening.

    I raised the issue in my church putting up the reasons above, heard the response which really wasn’t one, challenged that response then got sandbagged.

    A couple of minor points of what’s been put above:

    1. Eve did not lead Adam into sin – he was standing right there beside her and refused to do anything. He knowingly allowed Eve to go down that road without uttering a peep, except when God called him to account, and then tried to blame it on the woman that God gave him. Gutless prick – and so it has ever been.

    2. Eve is a helper, but in the Hebrew that is a very strong word – not woosy at all. So when we bandy around the word ‘submit, I’m not sure that it gets the right emphasis. Part of being an ‘ezer kenegdo’ is actually to make sure that man is who God created him to be. it is not a passive thing at all – very powerful and very strong in fact.

    My own personal bias in this is that there is nothing new under the sun, and as I have expressed on previous occasions I think what men and women know or pretend to know often is in the nature of hubris, and a justification to get whatever it is that we want – I see this issue as being no different.

    What does it mean in practical terms?

    I have become less sure on this over time – not because of having lost confidence in the God’s inspired word, but because:

    1. a recognition that interpretation and hermaneutic is a something to be very cautious about;

    2. the blurring of the lines by all and sundry resulting in the world we have today where anything goes, we know more than we have ever known before so therefore we must be right;

    3. I believe God uses anyone where they are in a number of different environments – including women in roles that historically they have not previously done so – I for one even though I think God is looking for us to manage ourselves in a particular relational way, will use what we do no matter how much we stuff up.

    I think at the moment ‘we’ collectively don’t really understand how the roles of men and women differ very well, particularly in a church setting. Too many agendas…

    And for the record for me the issue is not about equality, or capability. It is about whether God has set up a particular order, what is the fundamental nature of that order (even acknowldging that God has infinite variety within that order), and what does it mean to lovingly and humbly work that out with one another.

  11. A friend of mine who never gets visions, finally got a vision at the start of the year. She was looking out her window and as she did so, words were being scrawled over the glass.

    It was the entire chapter 3 of Genesis. So believing it was from the Lord, she started reading it and learnt something so shocking to her paradigm, she went to her NKJV. Then she prayed more about what she received and thanked the Lord and was transformed in her mind and now believes in submission to manly authority.

    I believe in equality of both sexes, but after her explanation of Eve’s place of submission beside Adam, I’m not sure anymore.

    This was the bit that stood out to her:

    Gen 3:6-7
    So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

    When Eve ate of the fruit, her eyes were not opened. But when Adam ate of the fruit, that was when their eyes were open. If he did not eat, her eyes would not have opened.

    This is why Adam was found at fault and why God sought and talked to Adam first. Adam was created first and in the natural order of creation was given authority over all creation. Satan took that crown of right’s from him.

    What my friend addressed was the fact that women are so busy not seeing themselves not equal with men that they are de-railed with their thinking and focus.

    My friend told me that women should find their authority as women when it comes to marriage and their place/calling in life, just like a man does. This keeps women radical, beautiful, free and cherished.

    This a paraphrase of what my friend said:

    “Once I discovered who I was as a woman in God, my husband grew to honour and love me more. When I gave him my counsel and advice and he’d ignore it, I would pray to God to change his mind. If he was right, I grew to love him more. If I was right, my husband would come back to me repentant or in agreement with me, appreciative of my love and support for him.”

    A husband who knows his authority, who’s married to his wife who knows her authority, I would say is dynamite.

    Both women and men can be used be used powerfully by God. This has been proved in scripture.

  12. A very interesting reading of the text.

    Check out ‘The Silence of Adam’ by Larry Crabb.

    I am not prepared though to offer up any templates for how things should work – walk with Jesus apart – that is the hardest road there is.

  13. Yes – agreed.

    But I have to say one of the practical difficulties is that often one spouse is a lot smarter than the other, which brings with it a whole lot of issues to work through.

    the other article looks quite interesting….read it tonite

  14. In my own case there are some things that my wife is hopeless with, in other instances she’s got me cold and I seem to be incapable of learning

  15. Very interesting folks.

    I haven’t read that last link, but want to go into what churches have done on this issue.

    Some have gone all fundamental and shut up shop with regards to women in leadership and women preaching etc.

    Some have gone all liberal and had women pastors etc.

    Others have gone for the compromise route and had women elders, but only if they were married to Male elders.

    That last one is a crock. Either it’s right or its wrong for a woman to be in leadership. To allow it, but only if her ‘head’ is in leadership with her is an ungodly compromise in an attempt to be ‘relevant’.

    More later …

  16. The question is not really one of interpretation of scripture. It is one of Authority.

    We do have to untangle Paul.s letters a bit … he dialogued with his readers, so when he writes things like “a woman must learn in quietness and full submission” we have to ask, is Paul teaching this? Or is he only putting down what they have already written to him, so that he can deal with it?

    He is usually dealing with issues and people who have either been communicated to him directly or indirectly and so we need to read between the lines of what he says, to deduce what was written or said to him.

    The qualifications for elder indicate what type elders they already had in Ephesus and therefore why Timothy was there … to get rid of the bad ones!

    “The husband of one wife” … many remarried divorcees and perhaps polygamous men were in leadership. They may also have had women in leadership, but I think it unlikely.

    Why the prohibition on men with more than one wife? Discipline.

    The pastor is on his third wife already so how can he say to his church member “leave your mistress and go back to your wife”? No, he’d say “Divorce your wife and marry your mistress.”

    Alternatively, he’d try and talk the man out of divorcing his wife but the response would be “why not divorce my wife? You did!”

    Discipline is gone out of the window. It would be the height of hypocrisy for the church member to be thrown out of membership for taking the grace of God so lightly, when the Pastor obviously couldn’t stop thinking with his crotch.

  17. ok … let’s deal with blessing.

    It is undeniable that the ministry of Women has been blessed by God.

    However, this is not proof that God approves of them being leaders. If it did, then the success of “Healer” proves that God approves of everything Michael Gugliemucci did.

    God will usually bless us despite what we do, not because of what we do. The prosperity gospel would be valid otherwise.

    Women were involved in leadership … no question. Deacons, Prophets, Hospitality, spiritual gifts etc. Women were an important and vibrant part of the church and were involved in leadership duties, but were not the elders.

    Paul followed Jesus. If Jesus wanted 6 men and 6 women to be his disciples, why didn’t he do that?

    If it was right to do that Jesus would have done it!

    Jesus was NOT culturally conditioned. Neither was Paul. We kick up a fuss when we read “A woman must learn in quietness and full submission” and say Paul was a misogynist. But Orthodox Jewish Rabbis cough and splutter “a woman must learn?”

    In fact I think I have already cast doubt on Paul’s supposed misogyny … he was probably dealing with his readers misogyny.

    So … women are equal to men in Dignity, Depravity and Destiny. Men have to be elders to deal with the bad apples who refuse to repent in the fellowship. They also have a role in preaching and teaching. All other ministries are open to women and in fact Jesus and Paul were both ministered to by Women. The real trouble is, we don’t esteem most ministries, but Jesus and Paul did.

    If we esteemed everyone as Jesus did, this issue wouldn’t be an issue.

    If men did what God expects of them, then many women wouldn’t feel they had to go and do the things they do for God, because men would pull their weight.

    If men in the church stopped being so effeminate, we might actually start winning men for Christ. As it is, Real men don’t want an emotional crutch and quite like to sin, in a manly way.

    In all of this debate, of course, we say what we think and feel about the whole thing. Nothing wrong with that. But no one has asked “How does God feel about this?


  18. In all of this debate, my view has always been “what has God said about this” which pretty much determines how He feels about this.

  19. Glad I was away for this one. Probably God’s will. 🙂

    My only comment is that the meaning of ‘submission’ has been distorted over time; context is vital (both of scripture and of submission); plus I appreciated the points MN raised re ‘helper’.

    We frequently tend to naturally interpret things through the lens of the result of the Fall, where woman was doomed to be ‘ruled over’ by her husband. Its important that Jesus has saved us from that, as well as restored so many other aspects of our relationships when we allow his Kingdom to live within us.

    The other tendency is to interpret things through our historic human desire for kings, and raise leaders and those in authority to that level. Respect and a hearing is due. However, Jesus is our Master, the Holy Spirit our Guide.

  20. Paul was probably quoting back to those he was corresponding with …

    “[you say] a woman must learn with quietness and full submission”

    We need to very carefully read between the lines with much of Paul’s correspondence.

    The other thing I would say is that we make Elders and Pastors into superheroes we all look up to.

    The Hero-Preacher is, in many ways, the Bane of our time. I think that we pick Elders on the basis of whether or not they are good at public speaking.

    This is just plain wrong. We need to pick Elders on the basis of their Character. Only a person of good character should be able to offer counsel, judge disputes between believers and so on.

    Regarding preaching/teaching … this person must also be of good character.

    BTW, Did Paul make a statement of his belief and practice or was he repeating the question he was about to answer when he said “[he did] not a woman to preach or teach or have authority over a man.” I can’t remember … I think he gives a theological argument to say that as Eve was deceived first, then the Man should perform that role. But … what really matters is the character of the person performing that role.
    If you have one man of bad character and a lot of women in the church …

    we have the reason why there are no other men!

    Welcome to Waco … and don’t stare at the M16s in the basement!

    Anyway, speaking of nutters, Matt Ford has been branded as a lunatic by my wife, who is the most discerning woman I have ever met. She makes me feel humble when I am around her anyway. The best help-meet I could have ever hoped for. I am gushing now …

    I sent her an email with the link and her response was … “He looks and sounds like a lunatic”

    Nuff said.

    Right … Elders …

    A team of Men who have no favourites. Not one Man setting himself up as ruler of a fiefdom … with courtiers.

    While gender politics could come in here … we can all agree that in leadership we need people of good character.

  21. These are some very good comments from a young Facebook friend of mine

    “Egalitarianism vs. Complementarianism vs. Chauvinism
    This topic is worth a post by itself, and there is a good chance that I will eventually dedicate an entire blog post to it. For now it must be sufficient to summarize the views.

    Egalitarianism is the belief that men and women are essentially equal, deserve equal human rights, and are all equally candidates for any position or responsibility both within the home and within the church.

    Complementarianism is the belief that men and women are created complementary to one another, deserve equal human rights, and limit positions and responsibilities to reflect the positions and ordinances God has designed and ordained.

    Chauvinism is the belief that a particular sex is superior to the other, should restrict or dominate the inferior sex’s human right, and that the inferior sex should be subject to the positions and responsibilities of the superior.

    When God created Eve, he created her as Adam’s helper. This is to say that Eve is complementary to Adam. She is not inferior to him, for they both were made in the image of God. If it bothers you that Eve is called a helper, remember that the Holy Spirit is also called the Helper in John 14, 15, and 16, yet the Holy Spirit is coequal with the Father and Son. Man is also called to loving headship in the family and woman to loving submission, just as the Father is the head of the Son, who is the head of the Holy Spirit, and each person of the Trinity fully love one another. Complementarianism was designed around the desire to be a plain description of the Biblical relationships between men and women.”

    And I would put myself in the complementarianism category.

  22. Yes, Bull, thanks for raising that issue re Paul quoting from other letters. I’ve read about the quote mark in the Greek etc, and think that view makes the most sense given the other examples of women and comments re gender elsewhere in Scripture.

    Also, I do agree that men and women are complementary, despite holding the view that it is scriptural for women to teach and preach, including to men who want to listen. The two views are not exclusive, despite how some people like to frame the argument. It’s pretty clear from Genesis that the pattern is for men and women to unite; to help one another, and to love one another, and for neither to seek to rule the other. Unity, which I think is the goal for our relationships in Christ, both in marriage and as communities, is not helped by playing a ‘who is in charge of whom’ game with its human power play. Submission is voluntary and mutual, in love. If someone is working on our behalf, or serving us, then respect and honour is right, and so is submission in the sense that we do not take advantage of their service in order to further our own agendas, but seek to ease their service by helping and aiding as we may, not putting our own needs first.

    If ‘unity’ is achieved by applying an order of who has the final say, or who must ultimately be ‘obeyed’ (which is what that comes down to), then we avoid the hard and rewarding work of knowing each others hearts and minds, growing as we do so. A situation where one person rules over another will frequently result in a relationship where submission becomes repression or supression – this will not bear good fruit in the long run. This is true whether in marriage or in a community.

  23. Re Hero-Preachers – couldn’t agree more. Doesn’t matter what movement or denomination they are a part of. People follow like sheep, and hold strong views because of the strength with which the Hero Preacher states them, and exclude other scriptural views which the Preacher doesn’t espouse. But it does save time in our time poor society.

    And it can distract from the main issue, which is our relationship with Christ.

    BTW – I also don’t have an issue with men as the ‘head’ of the family – but what does that mean? I am also aware of the ‘source’ view which John MacArthur likes to rubbish (he would), but I think it fits with the pattern of unity which God originally set for us. Jesus is our Head, but even He does not coerce, manipulate, order us around, or wield His power. He refused to. Usually when people talk about men being the head of the family, there is a power hierarchy there; this is a mistake I think. Now if a ‘Head’ is a leader, who leads by example rather than by law or power, there would probably be no arguments from anyone, whether they take the view of ‘head’ or ‘source’.

  24. I think men are called to die for women, because someone has to be left around to look after the kids. 🙂 (Poor joke??)

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