Question:

Thanks so much for the care and effort that has been put into this web site. It has proved incredibly helpful when I am trying to understand difficult biblical passages.

I started off on the site looking at the information on Heaven and Hell and eventually ended up looking the information about the role of women and whether they should preach or teach or not. I understand what is being said here, but find it very difficult to accept. I know God challenges us, and that we are often called to walk a harder path, but I seriously believe that God is calling me (a woman) to be a church leader.

I have preached in church before, and am a leader of a youth group in my church. God gives me words to say, and from what people have said, they have been touched by what God says through me. I have battled personally with accepting this calling, but for other selfish reasons not my gender, but God has sent people, and passages of Scripture which strongly have told me that this is my purpose, my calling.

Yet, your teaching (which is excellently presented, and very persuasive!) suggest that this is wrong. Women should not speak in church.

Furthermore, my current church leaders are a couple. Both the man and women are inspired by God, and their teaching is helpful and powerful. All my Christian life I have been taught by female church leaders, who have been influential in supporting my spiritual growth.

Please explain to me, without repeating what has been said before, how it can be possible for God to call me, and thousands of other God-following women to speak in church, and for God to use them powerfully. Furthermore, the verse Galatians 3:28, strongly shows how in God, all are equal. Is this a case of, all are equal, but women are more equal than others?


Answer:

"For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:28).

"Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all" (Colossians 3:9-11).

"Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered" (I Peter 3:7).

You assume that because Paul says all Christians are one in Christ that therefore there are no differences in the duties given. But the point being made in the Scriptures is that men and women are equally saved in Christ. They are joint heirs of the promise of salvation.

Several times Paul points out that though each Christian is a part of the one body, it doesn't mean they all function the same -- just as the different parts of your body do not function in the same way.

"For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness" (Romans 12:3-8).

"There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all" (I Corinthians 12:5-6).

"For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?

But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.

And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another" (I Corinthians 12:12-25).

Let's emphasize verse 18 again, "But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased" (I Corinthians 12:18). The different roles different people perform in the church are established by God. Thus, we find in the chapter just before this one that Paul points out: "Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God" (I Corinthians 11:2-3). That was the order God laid out. Not you or I. Therefore, when you claim that God is calling to to lead, I know that this isn't the truth because "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent" (Numbers 23:19). Paul, by the proven inspiration of God stated, "But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet" (I Timothy 2:12). You, but a vague claim of feelings say that God wants you in a position of authority. Now, who should I or anyone else believe?

It doesn't matter if you violated God's law in the past or that you decided by your own standard that you benefited from other women not adhering to the will of God. Neither of these prove that this is what God requires in His religion. "Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church. Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached? If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord" (I Corinthians 14:34-37). The Lord doesn't allow much leeway in this command. Yet you are telling me that you are being "led" in a direction opposite of the Lord's command and I'm supposed to accept that this is from God?

Actually, it is clear to me that you are putting your own wants and desires ahead of God's commands. You then use terms vaguely hinting that you are being led by God, though you can't justify your actions by what God has said, as "proof" that you are an obedient child of God. It reminds me of the mother who after mopping the kitchen floor called out the door for the children to stay out for a while. The next thing she knew her four-year-old was standing in the middle of the kitchen. "What are you doing here?" she asked. "You told me to come in," said the little girl. "Did I? I don't recall saying that. What did I say?" And the little girl admitted, "You said to stay out. But I wanted to come in to find out why." You're much like that four-year-old.

"Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me" (John 14:23-24).

Instead of ignoring God's teachings, or searching for loopholes to go your own way, why not accept that God has duties for you to apply your talents. They don't involve being a leader in the church or standing in front of church to deliver a lesson, but there is teaching to be done for other women (Titus 2:3-5) and for children (I Timothy 2:15). There are people in the world who need to be taught about Christ on an individual basis and individuals who need encouragement to follow God more accurately (Acts 18:26). There are services which need to be done for the church (Romans 16:1-3). It is so sad when there is so much to be done and you find a Christian pouting because the work assigned isn't what she wants to do.