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.
8 thoughts on “So What About Feminism? (Part Two)”
Wow !!! I love your passion for this topic and completely agree with you 100 % . Furthermore, I love how you supported your stance with scripture and extensive biblical evidence.
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Hmmm. It’s interesting that you talk about limiting leadership roles(?) of women. The very next chapter talks about the role of a bishop being for a man. An observation. 🤔
Is the verse or the chapter – 1 Tim 2 talking about within the church (as a building or place) or within and without?
On dividing what was said and why it was said in verse 12, don’t the next few verses do that?
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Thank you for the positive feedback! I always try to use the Bible as my #1 source!
You have a very good question, and I’ll do my best to answer it in my comment.
One thing that’s important to take note of, regarding the first question, is the fact that Paul wrote his letters to multiple different churches. Each church had it’s own unique situations and thus, needed different types of counsel. Searching through Scripture, it becomes evident that this command was not applied universally. In Romans 16:1, Paul describes a female deacon (The same term used to refer the male leaders in 1 Timothy 3) by the name of Phoebe, who he commends. If his command in 2 Timothy was to be applied universally, it would seem strange that he would choose to commend Phoebe rather than rebuke her. Furthermore, Euodia and Syntyche are described as two women who worked alongside Paul in spreading the Gospel, essentially taking on the role of a pastor or missionary (Philippians 4:2-3), and an even clearer example can be found in Colossians, where a women leads a church out of her house (Colossians 4:15).
Because of these verses, it would seem to me that the Bible supports women ministering both in the church and outside of it.
So, what makes the women in 1 Timothy 2:12 different? It would seem to me, based on my research, that the problem with the women in Ephesus was not their gender, but rather their immorality and faulty beliefs about God. If you search through the other verses in 1 Timothy, you’ll find tthat the women in this church have been lead astray by false teachers (Hymenaesus and Alexander, 1 Timothy 1:20.) and were living sinfully. 1 Timothy 5 makes it clear that the women in this church were engaging in sexual immorality, idleness, gossip, and even following satan (1 Timothy 5:11-15). That considered, it would make sense that Paul limited leadership in this particular church to men. He could not ordain people who would teach something contrary to the Gospel. 1 Timothy 1:7 says “They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently.” This verse could very well be talking about the false teachers and the women of Ephesus.
As far as the last part of the passage, I would assume that verses 13-14 are used as a metaphor, comparing Eve’s deception in the Garden to the deception of the women in Ephesus. Lastly, concerning verse 15, it would seem that Paul is urging the women in this church to abandon their wild living and settle down into a holy and God-honoring lifestyle. It is highly unlikely that Paul actually means the women will be saved by having children (As that contradicts the wider, Biblical message of salvation). It seems that he is simply urging the women in this church to live in a way that is glorifying to God, avoiding immorality and living within Biblical guidelines.
Sorry this got a little long, I wanted to make sure I did a good job answering your questions thoroughly. I hope this helps! 😊
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I really love your passion about in dissectioning this topic which you have done thoroughly.
I totally supports your stance 100%
Thanks Immanuel, your encouragement is always a blessing! 😊
Courtney, what an excellent observation – every church that is addressed in the Bible had different issues Paul addressed each of them separately.
In the Book of Revelations the churches are mentioned by name and it is
stated what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong.
It definitely helps to have the historical background of the time and church.
I gleaned so much from your thorough response – Thank you and be blessed
as you continue to share your passion for the Lord.
I’m totally loving this mini series. Clearly you’ve done extensive research on this and I’m so happy to be partaking of your well of knowledge on this subject. I love how you responded to the tough questions thrown by Tony (I see you Tony!) 😀 Good job Courtney!
Thanks savedbygrace2009 and Mfon!