Perhaps one of the most volatile discussions surrounding Christian feminism is “Should Christian women be allowed to teach in the church?” There are faithful, goodhearted Christians on both ends who strive to uphold Biblical doctrine.
Most people have good reasons and intent in their beliefs, but a conversation that determines the fate of women who feel called to ministry is bound to get messy. As previously stated, I hold an egalitarian view of scripture, and thus, support the notion of women in ministry. I have done extensive research on this topic and believe that scriptures support women in ministry. In this blog post, I’m going to lay out my case for women teaching in the church, and give passages to support my stance.
- The Greek words used are gender inclusive. To quote Charisma magazine “1 Corinthians 14:26 gives a list of things that everyone is expected to participate in. “When you come together, every one of you has…” The Greek word for every one, hekastos, is a word that encompasses both genders. This list includes teaching. Several times in chapter 14, the word “all” is used. Verses 24 and 31 both say that all may prophesy, and we know from Paul’s teaching in chapter 11 that this includes women.”
- We need to understand the context of Biblical passages. Most often, knowing why the Bible says something is as important as knowing what is says. For instance, we know that the Bible talks about slavery, but we should by no means believe that it supports the unbiblical practice of owning slaves. In fact, I believe that the Bible set the very framework for abolishing slavery, particularly in the book of Philemon, where Paul urges Philemon to think of his former slave as a brother. Similarly, many understand passages like 1 Timothy 2:12 to be a command to a particular context, rather than one that should be applied universally. An article in Christianity Today says “Because women in Ephesus at this time were uneducated and secluded, Paul was warning that they could be misled by the false teachers trying to lure new Christians away from the church Paul wanted to establish.” Paul’s job, first and foremost, was to protect Biblical doctrine so that all might be saved. If the women in this particular church did not have a stable foundation for their faith, it would have been necessary to forbid them from teaching for the greater good. This does not mean that he was forbidding every women in every context from teaching.
- If women were not allowed to teach, it would literally handicap the body of Christ. More and more each day, Bible-believing Christians are becoming a minority in society. It is estimated, according to Washington Times in 2012, that thirty-two-percent of people in the world are Christians. This is literally less than half of the world’s population. Numbers are bound to be lower if we exclude women (Half of the world’s population) from the percentile. There are thousands of people out there who don’t know Christ, and by limiting women from leadership, we’re making it harder for people to hear the Gospel. I do not believe this is what God wants for His children, especially in light of The Great Commission, which instructs every believer to “go and make disciples of every nation.”
To conclude, I believe that God is calling both genders to work in His kingdom. We are all His creation and though there are some obvious differences in men and women, both genders are equally loved by our Lord and Savior. He died for both men and women and I believe that He is calling both genders to spread the news of His glorious resurrection. I believe that equality in leadership is one of many ways that He is using His people to be a light, redeem the world, and spread the awesome love of our Lord, Jesus Christ. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”* Galatians 3:28
*This verse in context is referring to salvation, but I believe that it can also be applied to ministry and leadership.