Women in Ministry

13 08 2010

The question I want to address in this essay is: Can a woman serve in top leadership positions — including being a senior pastor, preacher and/or teacher — or are these roles to be reserved for men? In this essay I shall argue that, while there are intensely patriarchal contexts in which its not expedient to place women in top leadership roles, God’s ideal will is for people to exercise whatever gifting they have in the body of Christ and in society regardless of their gender.

I’ll first provide an brief overview of the main biblical passages cited when people argue against the idea that women can hold top leadership positions in the church (I). I’ll then begin refuting this case by showing that very few churches are consistent in the way they apply these verses (II). Following this, I’ll review the role of women in leadership ministries in the Old Testament (III), in the ministry of Jesus (IV), in the book of Acts (V) and in Paul’s writings (VI). I’ll then explore the broader issue of how we are to discern what is and is not culturally relative in the Bible (VII) and then end this essay by applying this discussion to the two passages most cited in the argument against women in leadership ministries, I Tim.2:11-15 (VIII) and I Cor. 14:35-35 (IX).

Click here to read the rest of Boyd’s essay on ‘Women in Ministry’.

Greg Boyd

Most likely, worship gatherings in Corinth would have been taught in the popular language of the day: Greek. Unschooled women lacked education and were less likely to understand, as they were fluent in their own local ethnic dialects. They could have become bored or had questions that caused them to talk loud amongst themselves until the minister would have had to say: “Women, be quiet! Ask your husbands at home.” Paul may have written this to promote order in the Corinthian context so that worship would be orderly. In any case, it was not a prohibition on women in a general sense, but an occasional circumstance.

Click here to read the rest of Part 1 on 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.

Part 2: Timothy 2:11-15 & Galatians 3:28

Part 3: If our main texts are taken at face value, the synthetic task demonstrates canonical tension, which seems to favor equality of gender roles in the church. Based on our reading however, the canon clearly gives witness to the opportunity for women to function in any leadership role within the body of Christ.

Part 4: The SYMBOLIC WORLD is evident in Gal. 3:28 in which Paul paints a picture of God’s new creation people that are separated by nothing. This is a new humanity that although it is multi-faceted (made up of different ethic, social, tradition, and gender classifications), it remains untied in Christ as one common family; Abraham’s family.

Part 5: Surface readings of the Bible are not only evident on this issue, but have created many distorted theologies that must be revisited. On the particular question of female leadership, we have demonstrated that both women and men can be encouraged to discover their unique gifts including those of the leader and teacher within the body of Christ. We also have the opportunity to be missional in a whole new way. For the woman who is highly educated, in vocational leadership, and has gifts of public speaking and teaching, this is an opportunity to let her know that the church is relevant for using the natural abilities that God has given to her.

Women’s Work in the Church

Hermeneutical Issues Concerning Women’s Roles

Ladies, Does the Bible Tell You to Zip it?




3 responses

13 08 2010
Kurt Willems

Thanks for linking to my blog!

13 08 2010

Fo sho! 🙂

2 08 2011
Ryan Bassett

Hey, Jeff.

I think women the bible is clear that women should excercise their spiritual gifts completely. I don’t think they are limited by God’s holy word. What I do think, however, is clear from the BIble, is that women are not to exercise leadership within the function of the church. That is ordained by God for men.

In this context women would be able to teach outside a church setting. Women can have their own ministries, speak at speaking conferences, and even have a time to instruct men outside the church.

But the church leadership — pastors, shepherds, elders, the people involved in shepherding the flock of God in a church setting, are odained by men.

1:00 on speaks on Femenism which I would ask you to listen to with an open heart.

Another clip on femenism

God bless.


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