by Matt Slick
Here's something you can do to promote biblical fidelity. If you find a church on the web that affirms women pastors and elders, perhaps you might want to copy the text below the line and send it to them in an email. Check it out and see if it is something you'd like to do. Just copy the text and paste it in an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want, let us know you've done this.
Maybe we'll post some replies from churches on CARM, too. It should be interesting.
_________ For Churches that affirm women pastors and elders _________
We believe that you want to honor the word of God and teach His Word in truth which is why we are contacting you. We notice that you permit women pastors and/or elders. 1 Pet. 3:15 says to give an answer to everyone for the faith that lies within you. So, we are asking you to give an answer as to why you allow women pastors and elders in light of what the Bible says:
- 1 Tim. 2:12-13, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.”
- Titus 1:5-6, “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, 6 namely, if any man be above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.”
- 1 Tim. 5:17, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.”
1 Tim. 2:12-14 is where Paul explicitly states that he does not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man but to remain quiet ("quiet" is hesuchia, not complete silence but respectful quiet)--because Adam was created first. In 1 Tim. 3:15 we are told this is how we are to conduct ourselves in the household of God. When a woman is a pastor and/or elder, she is in a place of authority over men. Paul clearly tells us this authority in the church structure is not the place for a woman because Adam was made first. This is not a cultural issue. Remember, Eve sinned first; but sin entered the world through Adam and not Eve (Rom. 5:12) because Adam was in the position of authority. This is why husbands are the head of the wife even as Christ is head of the church (Eph. 5:23). The place of authority in the church and family is not the place of the woman.
In Titus 1:5-6 it says that the elder must be “the husband of one wife.” The Greek is literally “man of one woman." This same phrase is used of the Bishop in 1 Tim. 3:2 and the Deacon in 1 Tim. 3:12. Remember, Paul is speaking of church officers--not servants (diakonos) in homes (Rom. 16:1, 27). So, the pastor/elder is to be a man of one woman.
1 Tim. 5:17 tells us that the elders are to receive honor--especially those who preach and teach. Therefore, the pastor is an elder by definition, and the elder is to be a “man of one woman.” The word “elders” here is masculine in the Greek. So, Paul is telling us how the church is to operate (1 Tim. 3:15), and that the place of ecclesiastical authority is based on male eldership because Adam was created first (1 Tim. 2:12-13). This is doctrine--not culture.
Some say that women pastors and elders are not an essential issue, so we should not worry about it. If that is the case, then why did God tell us women are not to teach or exercise authority over men (1 Tim. 2:12-13) in the church (1 Tim. 3:15)? Why did he tell us that an elder is to be a “man of one woman” (Titus 1:5-6) if we are not to worry about it?
What about equality and verses with women in leadership?
Gal. 3:28, “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.” This verse is not about women pastors and elders. It is about salvation--in Christ, not church eldership, so it doesn’t apply.
Deborah (Judges 4, 5) was an Old Testament Judge--not a New Testament elder. Prophesying women (Acts 21:8, 9) are not elders/pastors. Priscilla (Rom. 16:3, 4), a fellow worker in Christ, is not said to be an elder/pastor. Phoebe (Rom. 16:1) is a servant (diakonos) of the church--not an elder/pastor. Note that Jesus came not to be served but to serve (diakonos) (Mark 10:45). The government is called a minister (diakonos) of God (Rom. 13:4). Junia (Rom. 16:7 (see www.carm.org/junia) may have been a female apostle (not one of the 12) though this is debated. Still, even if she were, apostles are not for today; and an apostle is not a pastor/elder. The Chosen Lady of 2 John 1 is an honored woman--not a pastor/elder. Basically, the standard verses cited by people to support women being pastors and elders do no such thing.
What about a woman who is called by God to minister as pastors and elders? Essentially, this is making doctrine based on a woman’s experience. Just because a woman “says” she is called by God or feels she is doesn’t mean she is because it isn't biblical. God’s word is the standard--not our feelings and experiences.
Why is this important? This is important because compromise in one area often leads to compromise in other areas. Even if the biblical position is not popular or politically correct, it is biblically correct. As Christians, we must never let compromise seep into the Christian church and weaken it. If Christians refuse to submit to the teaching of God’s word in this matter, can they be trusted to rightly deliver God’s word to us in other matters?
We hope for a response and kindly urge you to seriously consider this brief article. If you are interested in more in-depth material on this topic, please go to http://www.carm.org/women-in-ministry.
Do you disagree? If so, then please answer two questions. 1) How can an elder/pastor who is a woman be “the husband of one wife," lit. “a man of one woman," (Titus 1:6)? 2) How can a woman be in a place of authority as a pastor/elder and not violate 1 Tim. 2:12-13 where Paul clearly says he does “not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man?" This is what it says, and there aren't any qualifications to it. What do you do with it?
Please understand that we believe women are under-appreciated and under-utilized in the Church; but we also believe that God’s word is supreme, that it is above our desires, above culture, and that we need to adhere to what God tells us and not substitute it with a feeling or even an experience. The health of God’s church is linked to its dependence on God’s word, and pastors and elders will be held responsible before God for what they teach.
Finally, research shows that the majority of churches and denominations that affirm women pastors and elders often then adopt pro-homosexual and pro-abortion positions. We are not suggesting you are doing this; but it is important to note that when compromise occurs in one area of scripture, it is easier to compromise in another. See http://www.carm.org/denominations-women-ordination-and-other-errors for documentation on what tends to happen.
So, where do you stand? Do you care? Are you seriously dedicated to God’s word? We hope so.
List of churches this has been sent to