As off-putting as the title of the article is, it is a true statement.
Women, according to the Bible, are not allowed to take the role of an elder, overseer, or pastor of the church.
Now before we rise in defense of women in ministry or call to attention the faithful women who serve in our church, we must recognize first and foremost that the church doesn’t belong to us, rather it belongs to Christ. Regardless of denominational stripe or distinctive, the church is Christ’s and He paid for it with His own blood (Acts. 20:28).
If Christ owns the church then He has a right to call the shots.
Whether women can be pastors is a hotly debated issue within the church today and one that people in our own community have to wrestle with. However, we need to understand that this is not male versus female or somehow chauvinistic or patriarchal. Rather this has everything to do with how we interpret the Bible and do we let the text speak for itself.
Supporters of a female pastorate will cite Old Testament examples such as Deborah who led the people of Israel (Judges 4-5). Even though she had a very clear calling of God on her life and was an example of courage, the is no correlation between Israel and the New Testament Church structure. The circumstances surrounding Deborah was not normative then nor is it now, given the clear revealed admonitions against women filling the church’s pulpit as pastor.
Another objection towards the Biblical prohibition towards women pastors many will cite is found in Galatians 3:28 where it reads, “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”. Taking the verse in context, Paul is not addressing church structure or organization rather those who are saved by Christ, the divisions of ethnicity (Jew and Greek), economic status (slave and free) and gender (male and female) are no longer present. In other words, there is complete equality and unity within the Body of Christ because He saves all kinds of people.
1 Timothy 2:11-12 provide the strongest proof text against female pastors by saying, “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man; rather she is to remain quiet”. Undoubtedly this will raise the hackles of some, especially within our egalitarian society, or others will try to explain it away saying “that was for back then. Our society is different now”.
If I may speak to those who think that because our society is different and we have to adapt to the culture, please understand that culture doesn’t dictate how we interpret the Bible. In fact, the Bible dictates how we interpret the culture.
Secondly, in both instances where the qualifications of overseer or pastor are specifically mentioned, they are directed toward the men. The use of the male pronoun is clearly seen in both 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Moreover, how can a woman be a pastor/elder when they are required to be a “one-woman man” (Titus 1:6)?
To be blunt, the argumentation for women pastors does not derive from Scripture alone rather it is a product of an ever-changing, ever-evolving and increasingly humanistic culture. Incidentally, only within the 20th century has the church decided to overthrow a long-standing historical and Biblical precedent that the role of the pastor is reserved for men. Either the church has been wrong for 1900+ years or our move toward “progression” has very little to do with the Bible and has everything to do with thoughts of man, not God’s.
This prohibition towards women pastors doesn’t mean that women cannot serve in the body or are inferior to men. Women are gifted in many areas and are not only a blessing but vital to the church. I know of many women who are amazing teachers, powerful evangelists and can out pray even myself.
Additionally, there is no restriction against a woman exercising the gifts of the Spirit. The only prohibition mentioned in Scripture is they are not allowed to have authority over a man which excludes them from being a pastor.
Again, this is no misogynistic traditionalism or chauvinism, this is how Christ has organized His church and who are we to argue with Him?
He is Lord, after all.