Should There Be Women Pastors?

The Bible clearly states that the man is to lead in the home and church, and the woman’s role is to submit to the man’s headship. There is widespread rebellion against this divine plan, though, and many women are being appointed to leadership positions in churches. Consider some facts from our files:

There are almost 4,000 licensed and ordained women in the Assemblies of God.

There are 1,225 ordained Southern Baptist women. Roughly 200 of the ordained women serve as pastors and associate pastors.

The United Methodist Church has ordained women since 1956 and today has 4,743 women “clergy.”

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has 2,419 female leaders.

The United Church of Christ has 1,803 female leaders.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has 1,358 ordained women.

The Episcopal Church in the United States has more than 1,000 female priests.

These facts are evidence of the apostasy of the hour. Men and women in the world, having rejected Bible truth, are confused about the most basic things.

Many men are trying to be like women in dress and manner, while many women are demanding the right to be like men, to dress like men, to do the same work as men, to play the same sports as men, to fight in armies like men. They want more than equal pay for equal work; they are demanding a man’s place in the home, church, and state.

Sadly, the church is always affected by society. Thus the rebellion of women in the world is causing similar problems in the churches, and we find women demanding leadership roles in many Christian groups.

The Bible speaks too clearly on this subject for there to be any confusion.

The problem is that churches too often are looking to sources other than the Bible for guidance. God loves women as much as He does men. Women are as important to the home, church, and society as men are. In Jesus Christ, women enjoy the same spiritual position and blessings before God as men do.

This does not mean, though, there is to be no difference in men and women in their appearance and roles. There is a basic truth which needs to be restated in the church and society today: Men and women are different!

Men and women were made for different roles. The New Testament affirms that men are to be the leaders in the home, church, and state. Women were not created to rule these divine institutions; men were. The prophet Isaiah was condemning Israel when he said women ruled over them (Isa. 3:12).

In the church, according to the Bible, no woman is qualified to be a pastor or a deacon or in any other leadership position over men. Who says? God says!

“Let the woman learn in silence, with all subjection. But I do not allow a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, was in the transgression” (1 Tim. 2:11-14).

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak: but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also says the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:34-37).

How could a woman possibly be a pastor when she is forbidden to teach or to have any authority over men? Women can only be pastors if they openly disobey the Bible’s teaching.

Further, the Lord Jesus Christ appointed no female apostles. All of them were men. The standards for pastors apply strictly to men. Only a man can be the “husband of one wife” and can “rule his own house well” (1 Tim. 3:2,4; Titus 1:6).

If men will not lead, women will

One reason why women are taking leadership positions is that the man has too often failed to take his place. When men are weak, women must be strong. This is often seen in the church.

Men should willingly step forward to lead the church in every area, but often the men are weak and lazy. They don’t give; they don’t go soul winning; they don’t volunteer to fill vacant positions; they don’t come out on work days. Someone has to lead, so the women step in and take control.

Christian men should respond to the call of world evangelism, but few do. A great number of Christian men are too weak, or lazy, or fearful, or busy with selfish plans to be concerned about world missions. So the women do what they can.

When men are strong and obedient to God’s commands, there is not a serious problem with what the women should do.

Didn’t God use women to lead men in the Old Testament?

Why did God make DEBORAH a judge in Israel (Judges 4:4-5)? The answer is not difficult. God’s perfect will is for men to lead. That is too clear to misinterpret, but when men will not assume their responsibilities, God uses women.

The men in Deborah’s day were very weak and cowardly. This is seen in the fact that Barak, the captain of the armies of Israel, refused to go into battle unless Deborah went with him. What a brave man! What a hero!

The woman had to remind him that God had said it is time to fight; the woman had to encourage and challenge him to go; the woman had to go with him!

“And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go” (Judges 4:8).

Deborah clearly realized that this was not right nor natural, and she told Barak it would result in shame upon his name. “And she said, I will surely go with thee; notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; FOR THE LORD SHALL SELL SISERA INTO THE HAND OF A WOMAN…” (Judges 4:9).

Obviously it was a period in Israel’s history during which God could find no man to do His will, so He used a brave, willing woman. We can praise God for women like Deborah who are willing to be strong when the men are weak. This has often happened, both in secular and church history.

The root problem in Deborah’s day was spiritual apostasy. When God’s people turn away from Him, He renders the men powerless against their enemies and removes wisdom from their hearts. It is a judgment upon apostate people.

We can see this very thing today in apostate North America and Europe. The leaders are weak and seem entirely lacking even in common sense. It is God’s judgment because of the apostate condition of professing Christendom.

Israel in Deborah’s day was in bondage to their enemies only because of their apostasy from the true God and His revealed will recorded in the Scriptures (Judges 4:1-2). This was why the men were so weak. God had removed their power as He did from sinful Samson.

“Therefore the flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not strengthen his force, neither shall the mighty deliver himself. … And he that is courageous among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day, saith the Lord” (Amos 2:14-15).

What about THE DAUGHTERS OF PHILIP? They were prophetesses (Acts 21:8-9). Doesn’t this mean women can preach to men in exercising their gifts of prophecy? The fact that God gave gifts of prophecy to women does not mean they are free to take authority in the church.

My friends, there is no doubt that God gave the gifts of prophecy to women. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, had promised that God would do this: “And on … my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:18). But the Holy Spirit, the Spirit who gives the gifts, has placed restrictions upon the exercise of those gifts. 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Corinthians 11 and 14 are Holy Scripture.

Immediately after forbidding the women from speaking in the church meetings, the Apostle Paul warned that those who ignore this instruction are not spiritual.

“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:377).

Doesn’t Acts 2:17-18 teach that both women and men will prophesy?

As for women prophesying, we know that Philip’s daughters prophesied, but, as noted previously, when God wanted to speak to Paul He brought a man to do it (Acts 21:8-11).

God richly gifts women in spiritual things, but they are restricted in the exercise thereof. The woman’s ministry is to be focused on women and children (1 Tim. 2:15; 2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15; Tit. 2:3-5).

To say that the woman’s ministry is restricted is not to say that women are not valuable for the ministry of Jesus Christ. Paul had female co-workers (Phil. 4:3).

Phebe is an example (Rom. 16:1-2). Priscilla is mentioned right alongside her husband Aquila in the ministry (Rom. 16:3). They were church planters (Rom. 16:5).

Beware of being influenced by the rebellion of the hour. God forbids a woman from preaching and usurping authority over the man. He forbade this 1900 years ago, and He forbids it today.

Let the woman learn in silence, with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, was in the transgression (1 Tim. 2:11-14).

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak: but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also says the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord (1 Cor. 14:34-37).