BLOG: Female Pastors vs. Male Pastors


Female Pastors vs. Male Pastors
Companion blog to our Adult Discipleship Class: “What’s the Difference?

Obviously not every specific scenario we encounter in life is addressed in the Bible.  We are merely looking for principles to stand on that tell us we are doing the best we can to be faithful to God’s Word.

Last week we asked the question, “Why does the Bible tell women to be quiet?” In 1 Timothy 2:1-11, Paul’s main focus is to teach all believers the principle of submission and deportment inside the church (not just women).  He is simply telling everyone[1] to listen with a peaceable and gentle spirit while they are learning and teaching in the church.

In today’s audio[2] from our Adult Discipleship Class, Those Who Lead (November 11, 2018), Pastor Wilson focuses in on…

1 Timothy 2:12
“I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, rather, she is to remain quiet (peaceable, gentle).”

This doesn’t mean that a woman can’t teach at all. Priscilla, in Acts 18:26, was teaching Apollos, a recognized male leader in the church.  His doctrine of Jesus was not well shaped.  She and her husband helped him to be a better preacher.  Timothy himself was taught the scriptures, at an early age, from his mother and grandmother.  Titus 2:3 tells us that older women should be teaching younger women the ways of a peaceable believer.

Women can already be prophesying apostles.

In 1 Corinthians 11:4-5, the scripture tells us that there may be times when a woman will pray or prophesy in the church.  We’ve already covered the issue of women being able to “pray” corporately in Peaceable Women vs. Rebellious Women.  Prophesying simply means to speak forth the word of God.  Sometimes that “word” (The Bible) speaks of stuff that has already happened, and sometimes that “word” (The Bible) relates to what is happening right now.  And sometimes that “word” (The Bible) speaks of what is to happen in the future.  In each of these cases the “word” (The Bible) is “prophesy.”

We’ve come to believe that the word “prophesy” ONLY speaks to predictions of some sort that has yet to happen or of someone receiving direct revelation from God (which is no longer happening).  That is not true, and we really need to start pushing back on the redefining of words, especially as it relates to the truth of God.  Yes, there were prophets in the Old Testament receiving direct revelation from God, and the Apostles (prophets in their own right) were also receiving direct revelation from God in the writing of the New Testament: but that spiritual gift has ended now that we have a complete Bible.[3]

In a very real sense, if you teach your children the Lord’s Prayer[4], you are prophesying.  All believers are considered little “a” apostles; those sent out into the world to tell what has already happened with our Savior.  Only men directly appointed by Christ Himself are considered to be big “A” Apostles.  So, when you read on the side of a church van, “Apostle JJ Jones ~ New Revelations From God,” you know it’s considered big “B” Bull-oney.  This is not a qualified man submitted to the authority of God.


Unique Authority

The central concern of 1 Timothy 2:12 is not about teaching; it is about authority.  Women clearly taught in the church and held a measure of authority over men in various aspects.  However, we still need to look at the Bible as a whole.  We never see women as priests in the Old Testament or women serving as elders in the New Testament church.  This issue isn’t about blanket-authority for authority’s sake; it is about the unique authority vested in the office of pastors and elders by God for His purposes.

 1 Peter 2:25 tells us that Jesus is the Shepherd, Guardian and High Priest of our souls because He is the living Word of God.  This is clearly a unique authority owned by no other until Jesus passes this on to the disciples (Apostolic authority).

Acts 20:17-32 tells us that the Apostle Paul used his unique Christ-given authority to pass on the job of shepherd and guardian to the leaders/overseers of the church.  He warned these men that wolves would come and that they would have to preach with the authority (the Word) entrusted to them to defend the flock.  These men were not granted any other jurisdiction outside of the Word of God.

Hebrews 13:7-9 beautifully follows this up by talking about leaders who lead with the Word of God and nothing else.  They are never to make up rules about food and clothing.  It tells us to imitate their faith.  It further tells us that leadership and authority in the church never shall change because Jesus never shall change.  Hebrews 13:17 then confirms that we should submit to and obey those men charged with the office of elder or pastor.

Pastors are to be MEN because God said so!

1 Timothy 3:1-16 tells us exactly who these “men” were to be.  These offices were without question to be staffed by particularly qualified men and not women.  Paul then goes on to talk about specially qualified servant-helpers to those offices (deacons) who are both men and women.

Taking it too far…

Pastor Wilson postulates that some churches, in a misled diligence, have taken the biblical dictate for men being elders/pastors too far; to the point of saying women have to be seen and not heard in the church.  God didn’t say that at all.  He equates this with the sin of Adam.  Remember how Eve told Satan that she couldn’t even “touch” the fruit?  God didn’t say that.  He said they couldn’t “eat” of the fruit.

Adam, in trying to be ultra-careful with his gift (Eve) may have added the “touch” part just for good measure when he was telling Eve what God said.  Despite Adam’s good intentions, this exposed Eve to confusion and the treachery of adding to the Word of God.  Satan jumped on this opportunity.  The church is still doing this today — maybe out of fear for the flock, but it’s still wrong.

  • God said greed is a sin and the church often has said riches are a sin.
  • God says getting drunk is a sin and the church often has said drinking is a sin.

While it might be good counsel to tell the flock to stay away from things that can lead to sin, it is not okay to say to them that something is a sin when God never said it.  The flocks best defense against sin is the truth, not man-made fear.  When you add law, you will naturally multiply sin.  We must stick to what God says, not men!  When the church un-biblically silences women against God’s design, they will rebel — leading to their sin.

We see this with evangelical feminism in the church where disenfranchised women are deciding to usurp God’s design and become pastors and elders.  Some churches say they aren’t violating God’s plan because the authority isn’t vested in the pastor/elder.  These churches believe that they have the power to reorder Christ’s Church and its offices vesting the authority with other entities like the deacons or the congregation.  God doesn’t agree with this.

Men have been given the burden and authority of staffing the offices of pastor and elder.  God will call them to account for how they have run their households[5] and His church[6].  When Adam and Eve sinned, God called Adam out, not Eve.

Mary Mary, quite contrary…

The tension for women comes in the God-given contrariness[7] they feel toward their husbands (men) while at the same time loving them and wanting to do good for them.  It’s no wonder men can’t figure us out … we actually are a contradiction.  Can you think of a more profound way to teach submission to authority?

Women are for sure going to fail often and need to repent.  What woman doesn’t want to scream the house down when her husband makes a global decision that she feels is completely ludicrous?  It’s not easy loving someone who you see as doing harm; unintentional or not.  This is our problem, not the man’s.  This is how God grows us to be more peaceable and Christ-like.  We (women) have to accept that God did this thing (submission & authority) for our good.  God’s in charge even if a wrong decision comes out of our husband’s mouth.

Women aren’t being asked to trust men and hold them up as better blindly.  They are being asked to trust God faithfully.  We can clearly see that He started a good and orderly thing (creation) and He is seeing it rightfully restored through Christ for our perfection in eternity.  Women’s voices are to be heard in a mighty way in the church.  It just isn’t in the role of pastor or elder.

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[1] 1 Timothy 2:1 “all people.”

[2] Audio time 11:08,  Those Who Lead”

[3] “The Authority and Nature of the Gift of Prophecy” article & audio by Pastor John Piper

[4] Matthew 6:9-15

[5] 1 Timothy 5:7 – men are akin to “infidels” or unbelievers (hell-bound) if they don’t take care of their households.

[6] Hebrews 13:17

[7] Genesis 3:16