Another response to a paper arguing for women being pastors

The following is a response from the pastor who's original article was answered here.  We have reproduced it along with CARM's response.  I was under the impression that I had permission to reproduce his original article and have since received confirmation that I may reproduce it as well as this one.  I apologize if there was a misunderstanding in this matter previously.

Is the issue of women pastors serious enough to warrant multiple responses?  The answer is most assuredly yes.  The reason is that the Christian church has a tendency to move into apostasy; after all, we are sinners by nature.  But when the Scriptures clearly teach on a topic and if the Christian were to go against that clear teaching, it then becomes necessary to address the issue.

Please understand that it is not the position of CARM that women are to be belittled or are subservient to men.  CARM's position is that women are underutilized and underappreciated in the church, but this does not mean that it is okay to violate scripture's teaching concerning eldership.  The Scripture is our guide, and we must submit our preference to it--whether or not it is popular, comfortable, or likeable.   To do otherwise is to sin against God.

Of course, there will be those who say that this is a debatable issue, and that we should not declare someone's opinion to be authoritative and then force that opinion upon others.  Doesn't Rom. 14:1-12, when speaking of debatable issues, declare that we should be gracious to those with whom we disagree?  Yes, it does; but we must realize that because someone debates an issue does not mean it is inherently debatable.  Mormons, for example, will debate whether or not people can become gods since they affirm it is possible; but the Scriptures clearly teach they cannot (Isaiah 43:10). Therefore, just because it's debated does not mean it is debatable.

Basically, there are three reasons why those who claim to be Christians will affirm that women can be elders and pastors.

  1. They are ignorant of what the Bible truly teaches in this matter.
  2. They are listening to the opinions of non-Christian society and are projecting those preferences into the scriptures.
  3. They are not regenerate, do not have the Spirit of God in them, and cannot discern spiritual matters (1 Cor. 2:14).

Taking God's Word seriously is the obligation of every Christian who should submit his/her preferences to it; but, sadly, this is not happening enough in the Christian church today.  We must all be mindful of the warning of 2 Tim. 4:3, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires."  Christians should never be so arrogant as to say, "Thank you Lord that I am not like other people who gather to themselves teachers who tickle their own ears." (See Luke 18:10-14).

What we need in Christianity is more people who will stand for the truth of God's Word instead of trying to water it down in order to meet the needs and preferences of the politically correct or the unregenerate.  To such a heresy CARM says boldly may it never be!

CARM calls out to Christian men to stand upon the word whether it is popular or not, whether it is easy or not, and whether it costs them or not. Women pastors exist because of the failure of Christian men, and this failure extends all-too-often into the pulpit.

The elders and pastors of Christian churches need to be called to account for allowing women pastors.  They need to be rebuked publically.

  • 1 Tim. 5:19-20, "Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.  20 Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning."

CARM takes this warning seriously which is why the first article from the same pastor did not include his name or the church.  It was my contention to show respect to a pastor who leads God's flock. Therefore, in this paper I still seek to show that same respect. Nevertheless, this pastor is in error as will be shown in the analysis of the defense he gives to his position.

Should we leave a church over this?

Is this an issue which could cause a person to leave a church?  In my opinion (Matt Slick, president of CARM) yes it is.  If a pastor cannot discern such clear teaching of Scripture and instead imposes upon the Word of God faulty exegesis and faulty logic (as he has done and does do in his response), then in my opinion, I would be forced to leave.  I would not be able to trust his judgment concerning the rest of the Word of God.  Again, this is my opinion.

What about those who have invested years in a church when a woman pastor is introduced?  Should they leave or just stick it out in silent disagreement?  It is ultimately up to the individual Christian to answer this question, but, I offer my opinion.  If I were to continue to attend that church, then am I not publicly displaying my support for the eldership of that church in its actions and teaching in this regard?

If more Christians across the world were to study biblical theology, stand up for it, and sacrifice some comfort, then the pulpits would be that much better.  Truth is truth.  Stand on the truth.

Also, if the elders of the church approved of having a woman pastor, then I would not be able to trust them either since they are not acting as competent elders and are not refuting error.  Please consider the following twelve qualifications of being an elder.

  1. The elder must be above reproach (Titus 1:6; 1 Tim. 3:2).
  2. The husband of one wife (Titus 1:6; 1 Tim. 3:2).
  3. Have children who believe (Titus 1:6; 1 Tim. 3:4).
  4. Not be a new convert (1 Tim. 3:6).
  5. Should be self-controlled and temperate (Titus 1:7; 1 Tim. 3:2).
  6. Must be honorable, hospitable, seeking good (Titus 1:7).
  7. Have a good reputation (1 Tim. 3:7).
  8. Not be addicted to wine (1 Tim. 3:3).
  9. Not be greedy (1 Tim. 3:3).
  10. Able to exhort (teach) sound doctrine (Titus 1:9; 1 Tim. 3:2).
  11. Able to refute false teaching (Titus 1:9)
  12. Must be ready to earn his own living if necessary (Acts 20:17, 33-35).

Points 10 and 11 above are applicable here.  If the elders (who must be male per #2) of a church do not correct the teaching of having a woman pastor, then they are not doing their job and should not be elders.

Is this making a mountain out of a molehill?  No, it is not.  The Scriptures teach that an elder must be the husband of one wife.  The authority issue related to it is based not on culture but on God's created order (as will be demonstrated below). Therefore, CARM takes the position of standing on God's Word and believing what it says in spite of political correctness, social influence, or personal preferences--as every Christian should do.

Finally, it is my understanding that I had permission to use the pastor's article in my earlier examination which is why I reproduced his previous work and analyzed it.  I also have received permission to use this response from him to which I'm also examining.  This is to be commended on the part of the pastor.

Apparently, someone asked him why he did not include two important verses in his analysis of the issue of women pastors.  Following is his published response.



ORIGINAL: "Dear Pastor,
Thank you so much for your article declaring your stand on women as pastors.  In your response you clear that many of my questions, but I still have two:
1) 1 TIM 2:12 regarding not permitting a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, and
2) 1 TIM 3:12 the standard for deacons.

Thank you for your time.  I await your response.

Mr. A."

"Thank you for your kind letter asking for explanations regarding 1 Tim 2:12 and 1 Tim 3:12.  If you took notice (which I'm sure you did), I purposely did not address the issues that can be argued concerning women in ministry.  I have found that to argue these issues accomplishes little.  Well, actually it does accomplish something--division.  Instead, I simply presented a case which I believe had clear Biblical support for woman to function as ordained ministers of the gospel in Biblical context.  Everything in life has a Biblical context--love, sex, hate, confrontation, war, peace, dancing, mourning, killing, marriage, money, work, prayer, holiness, people in ministry, etc.  God clearly defines and contextualizes.  This is what keeps the universe (God’s creation) in proper balance with His approval (blessing) or disapproval (curse).

CARM: There is nothing wrong with division per se.  The Bible speaks about division in the church in positive and negative light.

  • 1 Cor. 11:18-19, "For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you."
  • 1 Cor. 1:10, "Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment."

1 Cor. 11:19 uses the Greek word "haireses" for "factions." We get the English word heresy from this Greek word.  A heresy is a false teaching--something that deviates from orthodoxy.   If we see that the Scriptures declare something clearly (orthodoxy) and if someone teaches contrary to that clear teaching, then he or she is teaching heresy.

The Scriptures teach that there is a place for division and that is when opposing teachings that are contrary to sound doctrine.  But division can only occur when the truth is known, and those who abide with the truth should correct those who do not.

By way of correction, the pastor said, "God clearly defines and contextualizes.  This is what keeps the universe (God’s creation) in proper balance with His approval (blessing) or disapproval (curse)."  I am not sure what he is trying to say here, but he is inserting a subjective and undefined opinion by which he is trying to establish how God operates in creation.  The truth is that the universe is "in proper balance with his approval" because of God's omnipotent power to sustain the universe combined with his grace to continue to sustain it.   This grace is solely and completely based upon his goodness and finds its focus and realization in the person of Jesus Christ, God in flesh, who was crucified, died, and rose bodily from the dead.

ORIGINAL: As to the two questions you raised, here are my answers: The entire passage reads: "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.  12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent . . . 15 But women will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.  1 Tim 2:12

ORIGINAL: Paul is addressing the attitude that woman should possess (as does Peter in 1 Peter 3:1).  As to women teaching or having authority over a man, God says in Proverbs that sons are not to forsake their mother’s teaching or their father’s instructions (Prov 1:8; Prov 6:20).  Again, please note that God is defining roles.  The woman is allowed, in fact is instructed, to teach, but her teaching comes under the authority of the husband, just as in the Church a woman’s teaching should come under the authority of a man.  (In the case of GCCC, Pastor Debbie’s teaching comes under the authority of her Senior Pastor who happens to be a man. Smile!)  Paul, in this passage, is setting down an order of things.  He is not saying that a woman cannot teach or give input.  If that were so, God would not have completed man with the creation of woman.  If you recall, Jesus submitted to his mother’s request, before His time had come, in performing His first miracle at the Wedding in Canaan of Galilee.  (John 2: 4-5) Mary was not silent.

CARM: Notice how he says it is "the entire passage," and yet he omits two important verses in the heart of the passage he references. The actual entire passage is as follows (with the verses he omitted underlined), "But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.  13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.  14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression. 15 But women shall be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint." (1 Tim. 2:12-15).

First, Paul clearly says that he does not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man but to remain quiet.  In other words, she is to be silent regarding teaching and exercising authority over men in the church since 1 Timothy is a pastoral epistle dealing with church topics.  Some people have said that this is only Paul's opinion.  Fine, if it is Paul's opinion, then it carries profound weight since the opinion of the apostle Paul outweighs any opinion of any pastor in the pulpit today, and it should be followed.

Second, Paul is laying the issue of teaching and authority not in culture but in the created order.  Please take note that this pastor skipped over two verses (after saying it was the entire passage) and went to verse 15.  How are we to understand what is being said if the passage is "gutted"? If someone were to only read versus 12 and 15, he could get the idea that Paul is merely stating an opinion; and that we can, somehow, demote his opinion to a social custom that is no longer valid.  But when you see that Paul is basing his teaching on God's created order ("For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve"), the issue of authority and teaching takes on a whole new level of seriousness.  It is something that Paul is equating as doctrine and not opinion and not as a cultural norm. Therefore, those who say that this is only an opinion and/or it is a cultural norm are simply wrong since Paul ties it to the created order.

Third, 1 Pet. 3:1, says, "In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives."  This pastor is correct when he says that this verse deals with the attitude that a wife should have.

Fourth, I cannot help noticing how this pastor uses Old Testament scripture to interpret New Testament revelation.  It is true that we should not forsake the teaching of our mothers or the instruction of our fathers.   But these truths do not apply to the qualifications of an elder (detailed in the previous paper).  Furthermore, to use these verses in such a way demonstrates a lack of ability to properly apply interpretive methodology.  It is an exegetical error of mixing unrelated contexts and is to be avoided since it leads to error.  To go to Proverbs where we are taught to listen to the wisdom of our parents and then say that this somehow can be applied to the idea of a woman being a pastor is very poor interpretive methodology.

Fifth, the reason Jesus submitted to Mary his mother was that he was made under the law; (Gal. 4:4) and since he was under the law, he was under obligation to honor his mother and father according to that Law (Exodus 20:12).  Honoring your mother and father does not mean that a woman can be made an elder or a pastor in the church.  Christ's submission to his mother is not dealing with the issue of church eldership.  The two contexts are not related, and this pastor should know better than to apply erringly the passage about Christ submitting to his mother to the issue of Christian eldership in the church.

Sixth, the pastor has inadvertently set up a contradiction in Scripture without dealing with the solution.  He has cited where women are to be silent and then demonstrates where Mary was not.  He has set Scripture against itself in an attempt to support his position.  The truth is that the 1 Timothy passage is dealing with church order and church authority where the passage in John is dealing with Christ in subjection to his mother.  They are completely different topics and contexts which should not be blended into an inadvertent and apparent contradiction--nor should they be united to affirm a position that is contrary to biblical teaching.  This is a serious problem.

ORIGINAL: We could go on. God told Abraham to heed Sarah’s instructions and send Ishmael away with his mother, Hagar. (Gen 21:10; 21:12) Sarah was not silent.  The angel of the LORD appeared to Manoah’s wife (not Manoah) who then told her husband about Israel’s next deliverer. (Judges 13) She was not silent.  An entire nation submitted to the leadership of Deborah. (Judges 4:4) Deborah was not silent.  Apollos, the gifted evangelist and apologist, submitted to the teaching of Priscilla. (Act 18:26)  Priscilla was not silent.  It is clear that Paul cannot be saying a woman cannot teach or speak.  He is addressing the posture women must possess as mothers and teachers of the word, for God does not contradict Himself.

When we look at this passage in its entirety, it appears that a woman’s salvation is conditional upon bearing children and holy living.  Salvation is not predicated upon “good works” but upon His grace.  What I am saying here is--this is not an easy passage to understand. Therefore, to take one sentence and build an entire doctrine around it is dangerous.  Furthermore, if you hold to the position that “a woman must be silent and not teach men” it contradicts Biblical precedent set by the Old Testament--(see my last article “Women in Ministry,” Bulletin Vol 4, Issues 169-170) and New Testament pattern as well.

For instance in Acts 21:8-9 we are told that Philip had four virgin daughters who preached.  The Bible does not say they only preached to women. They were given by the Holy Spirit the gift to preach and “they were not silent.”

CARM: Again, citing Old Testament and New Testament references where women are not silent is an inadvertent contradiction because the pastor has not resolved the apparent discrepancy dealing with the passages and 1 Timothy where Paul declares women to be silent.  I have resolved that apparent contradiction above by looking at each contextually.  It is not the position of CARM nor the Bible that women are not to speak at all.  Paul's admonition deals with the context of authority and relates it to the created order, and this relates to women eldership and pastor-ship.

It is not simply that Paul is addressing "the posture of women as mothers and teachers of the Word."  Paul is dealing with the issue of authority when speaking of church order.  The fact is that the male is the authority in the home just as Christ is the authority over the man.  Likewise, the male is the authority in the church.  Why?  Because Adam was created first. Let me explain further.

Federal Headship

There is a concept in the Bible known as "Federal headship."  It is the teaching that the father is the one who represents his family--his descendants.  Proof of this can be found in Heb. 7:8-10.

"Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.  9Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, 10for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him."

Levi was a distant descendant of Abraham, yet it is said that Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek even though he wasn't born. How is this so?  We know that Levi did not physically carry out the act of paying tithes to Melchizedek, but we do know that Abraham did; and we also know that Abraham was the representative head of his descendants.  This is how it can be said that Levi also paid tithes to Melchizedek.

Federal Headship also finds its place in the Epistle of Romans when Paul says in Rom. 5:12-14,

"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned--13(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come."

Who sinned first, Adam or Eve?  It was Eve who sinned first.  But, through whom did sin enter the world--through Adam or Eve?  It entered through Adam and not Eve even though she was in the world and sinned first!  Why?  Because it was Adam who represented mankind and not Eve (Federal Headship!).  The Bible knowledge Commentary says, "The federal headship view considers Adam, the first man, as the representative of the human race that generated from him.  As the representative of all humans, Adam’s act of sin was considered by God to be the act of all people and his penalty of death was judicially made the penalty of everybody."1

As Adam represented all mankind, Jesus represented his people. 1 Cor. 15:45 says, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.  The last Adam became a life-giving spirit."  The "last Adam" is a reference to Jesus because of the similar relationship that exists between them both.  That is, both Adam and Jesus are representative heads.   Please consider 1 Cor. 15:22 that says, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive."  This is teaching us that Adam and Christ are heads of groups of people. Notice "in Adam" and "in Christ" referencing our position in relationship to both of them.

This has serious implications even for salvation.   If Adam did not represent mankind, then Jesus could not represent the Christians when He died on the cross.  As Adam's offense resulted in condemnation to all people, so also, Jesus' sacrifice results in justification for those who believe in Him (Rom. 5:18).  It is because of Federal Headship--this legal representation--that we are able to be saved at all.  As Adam's sin was imputed2 to us because of the Fall, our sin was likewise imputed to Jesus on the cross; and Jesus' righteousness is imputed to us when we receive Him.  In other words, if it was not for the biblical idea of Federal Headship (of one person representing others), then Jesus could not have represented us on the cross.  If Jesus did not represent us on the cross, then it could not be said of us (the Christians) that " . . . you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." (Col. 3:3); and, "Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him," (Rom. 6:8).

Why is this important?

If you have followed this, then you can understand why Paul, who taught the concept of Federal Headship, references the issue of authority resting with the male and not with the female.  This is why he cites the created order about Adam being created first and not Eve since Adam represented mankind--not Eve.  This means that by nature it is not the position of the woman to be in spiritual authority over a man, and that is why Paul says, in the context of dealing with teaching authority in the church, the woman is to remain silent.   In other words, she's not to exercise authoritative teaching over men in the church which is why Paul says that elders are to be the husband of one wife--they must be male!

An elder and a pastor are automatically in positions of spiritual authority in the church body.  This is not how it is supposed to be.  Again, this is why Paul says that the elder is to be the husband of one wife.  He naturally assumes the male responsibility and male authority concept and the Christian Church.

In light of this, if a woman is a pastor in a church, it is because the people who put her there do not understand proper biblical theology regarding male headship and God's created order therein . . . not to mention the clear teaching were Paul says that the elder is to be the husband of one wife.

Lest anyone think that a pastor is not an elder, let's look at 1 Peter 5:1-3 and 1 Tim. 5:17.

  • 1 Peter 5:1-3, "Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock."
  • 1 Tim. 5:17, "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching."

The elder is to shepherd the flock--exercising oversight (authority), and some elders preach and teach. Therefore, a pastor is an elder.

ORIGINAL: Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven.  [9] He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.   The word here is “preach.”  The passage further implies that although they had the gift to preach, they did not possess the gift to foretell.  But, that addresses another question for another time.

CARM: Let's look at Acts 21:9 which the pastor cites, "Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses." (NASB). He says that "the word here is 'preach.'" I looked at the Greek for this verse and the ones immediately before and after it.  I found no "preach" in the verses. I assume the pastor is referring to the word "prophetesses." Strong's Enhanced Lexicon on the word "prophetess":

  • 4395 propheteuo {prof-ate-yoo’-o} from 4396; TDNT--6:781,952; v AV--prophesy 28; 28 GK--4736 {profhteuvw}
    1) to prophesy, to be a prophet, speak forth by divine inspirations, to predict
    1a) to prophesy
    1b) with the idea of foretelling future events pertaining esp. to the kingdom of God
    1c) to utter forth, declare, a thing which can only be known by divine revelation
    1d) to break forth under sudden impulse in lofty discourse or praise of the divine
    1d1) under like prompting, to teach, refute, reprove, admonish, comfort others
    1e) to act as a prophet, discharge the prophetic office.

If I am not mistaken, the most common word for "preach" used in the New Testament is kerusso.

  • 2784 kerusso {kay-roos’-so} of uncertain affinity; TDNT--3:697,430; v AV--preach 51, publish 5, proclaim 2, preached + 2258 2, preacher 1; 61 GK--3062 {khruvssw}
    1) to be a herald, to officiate as a herald
    1a) to proclaim after the manner of a herald
    1b) always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be
    listened to and obeyed
    2) to publish, proclaim openly: something which has been done
    3) used of the public proclamation of the gospel and matters pertaining to it, made
    by John the Baptist, by Jesus, by the apostles and other Christian teachers

I hope that this on the part of the pastor is a simple and honest mistake when looking at the original Greek text. Nevertheless, the reference this pastor sites in Acts 21:9 incorrectly references the word preach as being derived from the original Greek.   In fact, it seems that his understanding of the passage contradicts what the passage itself says.

ORIGINAL: If you hold to the position that women should not teach or preach then every mother should be removed from the home and every woman Sunday School teacher should be removed from the classroom.   This cannot be what the Apostle Paul is saying because, as I have stated, it contradicts Old and New Testament pattern and theology.  Paul is addressing the attitude and posture a woman should exhibit, and her role as one submitted to male authority; he is not removing her from office.  If she has been gifted with a calling, as in the case of Debbie Groller, then she should use her gift and she should be accepted by the congregation as one ordained by the LORD.

CARM: I'm trying to be respectful to this pastor since the Bible tells us in 1 Tim. 5:19, "Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses."  As a Christian theologian, I am under obligation to follow the Scriptures; and so I seek to be truthful to the Word of God. Nevertheless, I must point out that this pastor has made a serious error in his conclusion.  He has failed to understand the issue of authority of men over women in the church (because it was Adam who was created first) and has failed to apply the concept of Federal Headship which further designates the necessity of male leadership in the church.   Furthermore, he has extended his error into a misapplication of the issue of Sunday School teachers.  A woman Sunday School teacher is not an elder or a pastor (at least she should not be).  And, to be consistent, a woman should not teach (in an authoritative context) men in Sunday School.  This does not mean that a woman could not give a testimony or an opinion about what a Scripture means or relate a valuable experience in the presence of men.  But she is not to assume the position of teacher (when it entails an authority position) over men.  Like it or not, that is what the Bible says.

ORIGINAL: As to your second question “a deacon must be the husband of one wife and manage his children and his household well.”  (1 Tim 3:12) I do not see any conflict here.  Since God is “no respecter of persons” and “there is neither male nor female in the body of Christ” then the same standard and requirements for a man would hold for a woman (in context of a woman’s submission to male leadership).  She would need to be the wife of one husband and manage her children.  (I believe Debbie meets these requirements).  Throughout the Bible, we are often given only one gender (the male) when indeed the female gender is likewise included.  John 3:36 tells us “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.  Does this exclude women from salvation since only the male pronoun is used?  Certainly not!  I believe the same is true of those who qualify for ministry by gifts given to them by the Holy Spirit.

CARM: This pastor has repeated his earlier error.  God is "no respecter of persons" is Acts 10:34 in the KJV.  Let's look at the context.

  • Acts 10:33-37 (KJV), "Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come.  Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. 34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 36The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) 37That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached."
  • Note: Romans 2:11 says, "For there is no partiality with God."  The context is dealing with both Jew and Greek.

The context is dealing with the preaching of the Word of God to both the Jew and Gentile.  There is no partiality with God when it comes to acceptance of people due to nationality, race, sex, etc.  This context has nothing to do with pastoring, or teaching in the church, or authority in the Christian Church.  To apply this context to the topic at hand, is a mistake.

The phrase, "there is neither male nor female in the body of Christ” is a reference to Gal. 3:28.  Let's look at its context.

  • Gal. 3:26-29, "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise."

The context of this passage is dealing with salvation and not with pastoring, or teaching, or authority in the Christian Church.  As I have stated above, to apply this context to the topic at hand is a huge mistake.  The result of such application is false teaching.

The error of this pastor is very obvious since he misapplies the conclusion by stating that a woman must be the wife of one husband.   I am honestly perplexed at why he would try and use this to support the position that women can be pastors.  The Bible nowhere states that a woman must be the wife of one husband in order to be an elder.  But it does very clearly state that the elder is to be the husband of one wife (Titus 1:6; 1 Tim. 3:2). Whether or not the reader of this paper agrees or disagrees or likes or dislikes this is irrelevant to the truth of what is taught.  If you are a Christian and you understand that this is indeed what the word of God says, then you should submit to it.  What you like or dislike has no bearing on what is true.  God is the author of truth, and we as Christians need to submit to what God has said.  He has his reasons, and his ways are above ours.

Nevertheless, the pastor goes on in the above paragraph to draw other irrelevant conclusions not supported by his argument or by the text at hand.  Since I have analyzed them, put the verses in context, and demonstrated that they cannot be misapplied as he has done, his conclusions have been demonstrated to be erroneous.

ORIGINAL: In closing, may I say that there is ONLY one teacher and that is the Holy Spirit.  I may have the gift to preach and teach, but what a person receives and takes home is up to him or her.  People accept what they want to accept and they reject what they want to reject. Therefore, each person decides who is his or her teacher--is this not true?  Whether the instrument is a man or woman, what we hear from God is up to us. Those who heard the testimony of the “Woman at the Well” could have easily rejected her message because she was a woman; instead, they received her message and were gloriously converted.

Ultimately, this responsibility (authority) in deciding who our teacher is has been entrusted to us and we will answer to what it is we have accepted as truth.  (That does not negate the responsibility of those called to Pastor and teach, and as Scripture tells us: “they have the greater accountability.”)

CARM: I am dismayed by this closing comment and am cautious about addressing it.  I sincerely desire not to bring any disrespect on this pastor. But, there is a problem in his approach.

As a teacher, he is responsible before God to present the truth.  Instead of laying the responsibility of what he teaches (and is received) at the feet of the hearers, he needs to focus on that for which he is responsible regarding the presentation of God's Word. The pastor is responsible to present the truth according to scripture regardless of whether or not anyone accepts it.  I have demonstrated that his position is against scripture. The pastor needs to adjust his position and align it with the revealed Word of God.  Doing so demonstrates proper action.  Nevertheless, it is good that the pastor has admitted that he is responsible to teach the truth.  He should do so and abandon the error of woman eldership/pastor-ship.

ORIGINAL: This is what I believe.   It is what I believe the Bible teaches concerning women in ministry and the ordaining of women to ministry, and I believe I have the mind of God on these matters.  It is my prayer that our gracious Lord through the Spirit of the loving God would settle this issue in your mind, heart and spirit and grant you peace as you continue to faithfully support and serve the Lord at GCCC.
Pastor Bruce Sofia

CARM: Pastor Bruce can believe all he wants about him having the mind of God on this matter.  But since his position is contrary to scripture, he does not have the mind of God in this matter.


1 Pet. 3:15 says, "but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence."

I am glad that Pastor Bruce has attempted to defend his position for the instruction of 1 Pet. 3:15.   Unfortunately his position is unscriptural. Therefore, I politely offer the opportunity to attend his church and publicly debate him on this issue.  Since he has stated he is not interested in debating this, I assume he will drop it. Nevertheless, I consider this topic to be very important in the Christian Church since in my 25 years of apologetics, I have learned that oftentimes the first inkling of apostasy in a group is the acceptance of women into the pulpit.  Please understand that I greatly support women being used in the church--just not as elders or preachers since it is against Scripture.

This is important.  If a pastor of a church allows a woman pastor to preach from the pulpit (a definite place of authority), then those who see this will be more likely to accept this unbiblical position.  However, since the Word of God commands all Christians to give an answer for the reason of the hope that lies within them, I am doing that very thing in responding to Pastor Bruce's error.  I respectfully offer him the opportunity to defend publicly his position before the congregation which he pastors by having a debate on this issue.

  • Acts 17:17, "So he [Paul] was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present."
    • The word in Greek for "reasoning" is dialegomai and it means to dispute, reason with, preach unto, speak, etc.

Also, I must be clear in stating that I do not believe Pastor Bruce to be ungodly, unloving to his congregation, or that he is trying to mislead his people.  Such an assertion would be unfounded. I believe he is acting with integrity according to his own conscience.  However, I also firmly believe that he is in great error on this topic, that it has serious ramifications, and that he should alter his position to be in line with Scripture.

  • 1. Walvoord, John F., and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.), 1983, 1985.
  • 2. To impute means to reckon to another's account, to credit to another's account.