Women in Ministry Leadership- Biblical support for positions

 

  1. Biblical support for restricting women in church leadership
  2. Biblical support for affirming women in church leadership

1.  Biblical support for restricting women in church leadership

Women in creation

  • The image of God involves both male and female – Genesis 1:27
  • Man is given primary leadership responsibility in God’s arrangement of order in creation (Genesis 2:4–25):
    • Adam is responsible for the environment
    • Adam is responsible for obedience before God
    • Adam is responsible for naming animals and the woman
    • The woman as “helper” signifies one who assists
    • Adam was created first, then Eve
  • The distortion of God’s order after the fall is not annulled by redemption – Genesis 3:16

Women leaders in the Old Testament

  • Women were restricted from the priesthood
  • Women’s involvement in the prophetic ministry was temporary or the exception

Jesus and women

Women in the early church

Women in the New Testament letters

  • Galatians 3:28
    • The context of Galatians 3:28 does not address social implications
    • While women and men are equal in status in Christ, functional differences in the church remain
    • The analogy between women and slaves does not apply since slavery is not a God-ordained institution
  • 1 Corinthians 11:2–16
    • “The head of the woman is man” (headship is defined as “authority”) – 1 Corinthians 11:3
    • Women prophesying in the church cannot be equated with preaching – 1 Corinthians 11:5
    • The significance of a head covering represents man’s authority over the woman
      • Serving in the church without the proper “head covering” is “shameful”
    • Woman was made from man and for the sake of man
    • Nature requires that the distinction between the sexes be reflected in different roles in the church
  • 1 Corinthians 14:34–35
    • The principle behind the command for women to be silent in the church is based on:
      • An appeal to the practice of the churches
      • The principle of submission of wives to husbands
  • Ephesians 5:22–33 (Colossians 3:18–19; Titus 2:3–5)
    • The husband is the head of the wife – Ephesians 5:23
      • Headship is defined as “authority” reflected through loving leadership and responsibility
      • Wives are to submit to their husbands in everything
    • The husband/wife relationship is the pattern for the relationship of men/women in the church
  • 1 Timothy 2:9–15
    • Women are to learn in quietness and in submission – 1 Timothy 2:11
    • The meaning of authentein is “to have authority” – 1 Timothy 2:12
    • Women are not to teach men or have authority over men – 1 Timothy 2:12
    • The appeal to man’s priority in the “order of creation” indicates this command is a permanent principle that transcends cultural practices
    • Woman’s role in the fall reflects her overstepping of God’s order for male/female relationships
    • “To teach” and “to have authority” are equated with pastoral leadership and eldership
  • 1 Peter 3:1–7
    • Women are to submit to their husbands and husbands are to provide considerate leadership

2.  Biblical support for affirming women in church leadership

Women in creation

  • The image of God involves both male and female – Genesis 1:27
  • Both male and female are commanded to be fruitful and have dominion over the earth – Genesis 1:28
  • Woman was created as a “helper” of man to address the social dimension – Genesis 2:18
  • Adam recognizes the mutuality of woman – Genesis 2:23
  • The hierarchy of the husband over his wife is a result of the fall and is not prescriptive – Genesis 3:16

Women leaders in the Old Testament

Jesus and women

Women in the early church

Women in the New Testament letters

Doug Heidebrecht is Academic Dean at Bethany College in Hepburn, Saskatchewan.