Ken helped me write this!
Recently our pastor preached on biblical submission and the authority in Church. Ironically, the topic arose from a sermon on the need for unity and deference to one another in humility in the body body of Christ. Towards the end of his sermon, he made it clear that although unity is a critical essential in the Church, unity at the cost of doctrinal clarity and the authority of God’s Word is useless. Imagine a Church that just “gets along” at all costs to the point that it allows heresy and false teaching to enter and mislead or harm the sheep?
Then he made the sharp turn to address one of the most pressing and contentious issues in the Church today:
What is God’s design for leadership in the Church?
To preface the matter, he made it clear that both male and female are created in the image of God, and not only that, but both are joint heirs with Christ in such a great salvation God has given us. There is no distinction of equality of persons between men and women in the Kingdom of God, but there is an important distinction by God’s design in their roles as defined clearly in God’s Word. For from the very beginning of time, Man was made to rule over creation and be a provider and protector, while woman was made to be Man’s helper.
He gave five succinct and convincing points that prove that God has ordained men to be in leadership positions in the churches and homes. (How thankful I am to have a pastor who doesn’t fear speaking the Truth on this issue!!!)
The first point is the definitive pattern laid out in the Old Testament. The Patriarchs, Elders, Priests, Judges, Kings, and Prophets, all of the OT structures for leadership prove that God’s will is male leadership. Yes, a few women enter as minor exceptions to the rule of male leadership, but cannot negate the hard fast rule of male leadership of Israel.
The second point, which few have considered, is Christ’s own maleness. It is not by accident that Christ, the second Adam, comes to earth to restore in mankind that which was lost when Adam sinned and plunged all of mankind into sin. God did not send His daughter, but rather His only begotten Son; the Word of God who became flesh. God provides Himself as a man and the perfect Lamb for the sacrificial atonement for sin. The firstborn son is an important concept in Judaism for it carries with it the significance of redemption, looking prophetically forward to God’s promised One, His Son, and not His daughter. The first born son received a double portion of the inheritance and the daughters received no portion because they were to depend upon their husbands for provision and protection.
The third point is that Jesus, the One who came to “make all things new” and create new wineskins and a new way for mankind to relate to God, chose only men to be his Apostles. These Apostles, just as the twelve patriarchs, the sons of Jacob, were in a unique position for the launching of the Church age. They were all eye witnesses of Christ and each specifically chosen by Christ to be foundational to the Church.
Some like to argue that Jesus chose only men to be his twelve disciples and apostles because the culture of the time did not allow women to lead and to rule. But since when did Jesus care about what others thought of him? Or when did he simply follow along with the culture of the time just to be correct when he could have easily chosen one woman to be his apostle? Even when Judas must be replaced, they chose a man to replace him. Then, Christ appears to Saul and transforms him into his faithful apostle Paul, an apostle much disliked by feminists.
Forth, all of the New Testament church leaders are to be men in the churches. There are 16 qualities necessary for elders, 13 for deacons, and each are indicated in the masculine, including the demand that he be “the husband of one wife.” The scriptures are very clear that a Christian husband is to be head of his wife and family, to lead them and care for them as Christ leads and cares for his Church. It is impossible to envision in God’s design that somehow a wife is to be an elder in the Church, leading her own husband under her spiritual authority, yet at home living in submission to his headship. God is not the author of confusion but of order.
Lastly, male leadership throughout Church history has been the irrefutable norm for 1,950 years, until the recent advent of feminism. Almost nowhere in history is there any question as to what God has clearly designed for male authority in the Church and home as admonished in His Word. Would it not be strange and troubling if Christ could not get his Church to conform to His will for leadership until now, the end of times, where personal preference and selfish desires trump the Word of God?
Then back to the original premise of the sermon that we are to seek unity in the Church, yet what causes conflict and divisions is when personal preferences and selfish desires seek to void God’s Word on such important matters of Church, family, authority, and leadership. Those who desire to defend their personal preference that women lead believe that culture was to blame for male leadership, and yet it is God who before culture and time creates man first, and then woman from man to be his helper. “He shall rule over you” (Genesis 3:16) is God’s statement as to what He intends before culture ever existed.
It all goes back to the Garden in so many ways. “Hath God said” (Genesis 3:1)? When Churches go apostate, it is because personal preferences and selfish desires begin to trump the Word of God. I went to a Church where the pastor had a recent Christian College grad come up on stage and shared her personal preference and desires with the congregation. My husband walked out of the service and later met with the pastor, asking him how he could have this young lady come on stage and say, “My girlfriends and I had a regular Bible study and we determined that God could not want to exclude women from being elders and pastors in the Church.” They decided to reject the authority of God’s Word and obedience to God for what they desired instead of what God commands.
Once that slippery slope begins, there is no end to the undermining of God’s Word on almost every area of obedience. There is less biblical evidence against homosexuality, premarital sex, divorce without adultery, porn, and you name it then there is to void male leadership in the Church and home. Once God’s Word is undermined, everyone in that church begins to question, “Hath God said?” Personal preference and feelings become more important than what God actually says in His Word.
Let me be clear that there is no separate distinction for gifting of the Spirit between men and women. God grants His gifts, all his gifts to men and women alike for the building up of the body of Christ, but the gifts granted to Christian women are to be used within the confines of God’s Word. Men being the elders and teachers for the Church, and women teaching other women what God commands they teach in Titus 2:3-5. All of the women preachers and those who support them, are not listening to God and His Word but rather have followed after their own selfish desires. May God open their eyes before they meet Him face-to-face that they may repent, turn around, and use the gifts that He has given them for His glory and not for their own selfish ends. God hath said, and now let us be obedient to His Word.
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.
1 Timothy 2:12