Student Opinion – God clearly says women should not be pastors, and that’s okay

In 2019, reformed pastor John MacArthur said, “Women who pastor and women who preach in the church are a disgrace and openly reflect opposition to the clear command of the word of God.” 

The topic of women’s role in the church continuously spurs arguments and debates among believers. Whether it be a heated conversation about Beth Moore and her ministry or the ever-growing number of female pastors, the discussion of women leading churches in any regard can unmask possibly ill feelings in the heart of immature believers. 

Reading through Scripture, a few passages stand out that directly speak to the role of women in the church: 1 Corinthians 11:3-12, 14:34-35, 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and Titus 1, 2. These passages are the foundation for the conclusion that women cannot be lead pastors in churches.

In my experience, many defenses arise through these types of conversations, leading to an uncertain end grounded in cultural misunderstandings and eventual negation of the passages themselves. These New Testament Scriptures, as a part of the original documents, should be taken seriously. Believers should desperately search through Scripture to find answers to any questions they have; adding feelings and autonomous thoughts into the interpretation of one or two passages leads to incorrect theology and the risk of unbiblical division between believers.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 provides a good starting point for any discussion. The passage begins with, “as in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches.” The author Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. In the latter portion of his letter, he explicitly identifies issues regarding spiritual gifts and the misuse of prophecy and tongues. The mystery of verses 34-35 is that it seems out of place after a fast read-through. The odd aspect of the passage is how Paul directs his instruction from speaking about incorrect worship to women keeping silent. In the current mind, no connection between these two subjects makes sense. 

Some theories about verses 34-35 explain how someone may have added them in after Paul wrote the letter, but they were still a part of the originals. Other theories explain how Paul refuted specific statements made by the church or that he wrote about wives, not women in general. With any view, both verses are still considered New Testament canon. 

And just because someone may have added it in does not imply Paul wasn’t aware of it. Considering the context of what Paul wrote about prophecy, it could be understood as women not judging prophecy. Now, the question of women’s authority in the church comes into play. Why can’t women judge prophecy?

The concept of judging implies church authority. Judging prophecy says, “my words hold enough weight to be valued as the authority.” In reality, Paul spoke to women acting on authority rather than purely speaking. A woman should be able to say something within the church context because, looking at 1 Cor. 11, Paul explained how women could undoubtedly prophesy.

1 Timothy 2 provides more clarity: “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. Yet she will be saved through childbearing — if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” — 1 Timothy 2:11-15

Paul’s reasoning here has no connection to current culture or possible misunderstandings. An important note here is that Paul makes his argument from the order of creation. This order placed Adam, then Eve — man, then woman. Because God created Adam first, this gave Adam authority. God also commanded Adam about the trees of the garden of Eden, and that commandment passed on to Eve when God created her from man with the intention of her acting as Adam’s helper. 

Paul could have used the cultural reasoning of why women can’t act in authority, but he didn’t. He referred to “all the churches of the saints” (1 Cor. 14:33), including the current church today. 

Titus 1-2 along with 1 Timothy outline requirements for leaders within the church. Each qualification refers to elders, overseers and deacons as male: “the husband of one wife,” “he must manage his household well” and “he must not be arrogant.”

With the increased debates, I find it interesting that God told Eve in Genesis 3 that her desire would be contrary to her husband’s. She will desire to exercise authority over him directly resulting from the Fall — just some food for thought.

My desire strays from pure knowledge. My passion is for the local church to function as it ought to. Men need women. Women need men. God gifted each with beautiful gifts that he intended to complement each other for the sake of his glory. God created man for authority and woman for help. Men need help. However, women also need authority. Women should not help through an arrogant understanding of their necessity but through humility. Likewise, men shouldn’t lead in authority with a proud heart and ignore help but ultimately desire meekness and understanding. 

“Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.” — Ephesians 4:1-2

DuVall is the opinion editor for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on Twitter

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