It is said in many places today, that there is to be no woman in leadership in a church, because that puts them in a place of authority over the men, and that such a thing is un-scriptural. Admittedly, these people make a strong argument for this, and a scriptural argument as well. But what about the people who say that women should be allowed as preachers also? They also make a strong scriptural case for their point of view. The fact that both sides can make a scripture based case for this has led me to contemplation. It gave me pause to consider the topic at length, and to look deeper into the scriptures to find God’s heart on the matter.
First of all, I want to take apart the notion of pastoral authority and look at it closely. Jesus told Peter, “Feed my sheep.” Now then, not once in scripture did Jesus say that Peter was going to be the shepherd, and as David said in the Psalms, “The Lord is my Shepherd..”
Before we go any further into this, I want to stop and point out something. The people in charge of Judaism were the Levites, the priesthood of Israel. If the clergy is in authority over individuals, then what David claimed there is considered heresy or blasphemy. Because only the High Priest could go before the Lord and bring the blood sacrifice for the remission of sins. If anyone would have such authority as many pastors in today’s church world claim, it would be the High Priest, right? Well, our High Priest is Jesus Christ, a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Of note from there, we are all made to be priests, when we choose Christ as our Lord and Savior. Each priest answers first to the High Priest, and then if directed, to the Lord’s anointed. I’m not saying that we don’t need preachers or apostles, or prophets or healers.. I’m saying every single Christian is supposed to be all of those things at any given point in time. I’m not saying don’t go to Church. Church is helpful. It brings about an organization factor into the body of Christ. I am saying, however, do not rely upon it. Everyone will stand before the Throne and give an account for what they did, believed, and taught. Individually. There will be no excuse worthy of voicing before Him, because none of them are valid.
How many voices of God have been turned aside simply because they were woman? How often have we amputated ourselves because of our strongly held conviction that women should not lead a church or be a preacher? What if Amy Carmichael or Elisabeth Elliot had ignored that call from God to heed the wisdom of men who said that missions work was men’s work? What about Corrie Ten Boom? Just these three individuals alone stand out as giants of the Faith for Christ. And they were all women. I believe our churches have become stuck a little too much to their notions of a pastor’s responsibility to them. Let us outline this responsibility in full.
- A Pastor is responsible to teach the Word of God to the Body of Christ.
- A Pastor is responsible to encourage others to be reading their Bibles.
That is the responsibility of a Pastor. He can do more as the Spirit leads him, and it is always been Christ’s way to lead people in obedience to God, before making other sacrifices and commitments. These other things vary, but often include: Discipleship, counseling, wedding ceremonies.. to name but a few. This is what we call going above and beyond. And there is nothing wrong with that. However, Christ gives no one on this earth spiritual authority over His people. God made all of us equal in Christ, first in Salvation(Galatians 3:24-29), then by that work of Salvation making us priests and kings(Revelation 1:5-6). He gives each people and gender different roles, but Jesus broke all the conventional ideas of their culture, making exceptions to them. The first was that men could be believed over women. Whom did He announce His resurrection to the disciples through? Two women. The very first preachers of the Gospel of Jesus after He rose from the dead, were women. By that example alone, I firmly believe that there is an allowance for women to preach in churches.
Other examples I have found for this, include: Deborah, Judge of Israel – Given full authority over all, even the men; Priscilla, wife of Aquila, whom Paul said was his helper in Christ; Phebe, an unmarried woman, who Paul called a servant of the Church, and gave instruction that they were to help her in whatever things she required of them(Romans 16:1-2).
Yes. Looking at scriptures, it is easy to see that the Early Church was balanced heavily on male leadership, but also made allowances for women as well. It would be a foolish thing to prevent a woman from being a preacher if God calls her to it. Searching out the Will of God for ones life is something one does for oneself. And once discovered, who are we to stand in the way of those people who are trying to do so? We have no authority for it, in Christ.
The biggest thing I have to point out, is that leadership within Christianity is not about authority over people. Jesus made a point of doing the job of the servants and slaves and washed peoples feet. Leadership within the Church is about servitude, because we are all supposed to be following in the footsteps of Christ, and Him alone.