Women pastors is not an essential doctrine, so why worry about it?

by Matt Slick

There are essentials of the Christian faith.  That is, there are essentials that you cannot deny and still be a Christian.  Some of these are that there is only one God in all existence (Exodus 20:3; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6, 8), that salvation is by grace through faith (Gal. 2:21; 5:4; Rom. 3:20; 4:5), that Jesus rose from the dead physically (1 Cor. 15:14, 17), etc. The issue of women pastors is not in the essential doctrines' category.  Since it is not, why then should we make a big deal about it?  Shouldn't we just let those with whom we disagree go ahead and believe what they do about women pastors and not worry about?  The answer is that we should be concerned--very concerned.

The reason is that in order to justify having women pastors and elders, several Scriptures need to be reinterpreted.  The Bible clearly tells us that the elder is to be the husband of one wife (Titus 1:5-6), and that a woman is not to teach or exercise authority over a man (1 Tim. 2:12-14--in the church context). Alright, so this is what it says, but the Liberals will ask, "But is this what it means?"

What they do is reinterpret the Scriptures in order to hold to their egalitarian position.  This is the problem, and this is the door to liberalism.  Whenever anyone disregards the plain teaching of Scripture, it usually follows that other areas of teaching are then compromised.  That is how it works.

Besides, how much can we trust a person to rightly interpret the word of God when he or she disregards the plain and clear teaching of Scripture in this area?  It is not simply an issue of opinion.  Again, what to do Scriptures teach us?

  • 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. 2:12-14, "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."

Do these verses teach what they say or not?  Isn't it clear that the elders are to be males, and that women are not to have teaching authority over men in the church?  Of course it is--whether anyone likes it or not; but, in order to justify having women pastors and elders, these verses, and others, must be reinterpreted. 


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.