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The Role of Women in the Church

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Jim Hubbard

THEO 202-D04 201230

Short Essay # 3

July 28, 2012

The Role of Women in the Church

It is always a joy for me to hear about Christians wanting to get off the sideline and serve God. Mary, you are wise to look before you leap in serving in the church as there is some controversy about how women are to serve. First you should ask your pastor his view on women serving. Then see what the bible says. Today, with women's equality everywhere, it is not popular for a church not to allow women to be pastors, elder or deacons. Aside from those leadership roles, there are many opportunities to be involved in ministry.

The Bible defines, in the New Testament the qualifications of the spiritual leaders of the church. The terms used are that of "elder" and "deacon." The word deacon means, "to serve". The word group surrounding "diakoneo" actually initially referred to a waiter, as in one that serves a meal. The qualifications for these positions may be found in 1 Timothy 3:1-13. To summarize, these leaders were to be men of integrity and held in high esteem, not easily angered, not greedy, a one woman man, gentle and not given to alcohol. They must not be men of violence or argumentative, they must run a stable home and take their positions in the church with great seriousness. They must not be new to the faith and have a good testimony among those in and out of the church. Today, the main difference between the deacon and the elder is the elder must be able to teach. These are the basic qualifications of the spiritual leaders of the church.

Nowhere in the New Testament does it teach women are spiritually inferior. Women have the same promises, responsibilities, commands, and blessings of the New Testament as men. We have the same spiritual resources and the same spiritual responsibilities. I also believe the bible is clear that women may not be in spiritual leadership over men, to include teaching since teaching is a form of spiritual leadership in developing the spiritual understanding and growth of the student. This is not to say women may not teach for I believe women so gifted make great teachers.

A couple controversial verses are 1 Tim. 2:11-15, "Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control." 1 Cor. 14:34-35 is similar. I believe Paul was reinforcing his stance that women are not to be in spiritual leadership over a man and women are to keep quiet in the sense of not teaching, and they are to demonstrate subjection by not usurping authority. He is further stating the fact God has placed men in a position to be spiritual leaders. Throughout Paul's descriptions of deacons and elders it is always men. Romans 16:1 and 7 demonstrate the significant role women played in the early church. These verses name Priscilla, Phoebe, Junia, and Mary as women that were instrumental in Paul's eyes. Phoebe is called a "servant of the church" in Romans 16:1.

Galatians 3:38 says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." This is reinforcing the fact there is absolute spiritual equality of men and women. There are some that disagree with me and use that verse to say women have every right to preach, teach or pastor. I think they have interpreted the verse out of context. The context of that verse was related to the New Covenant in that the emphasis is placed on all being equal in salvation; Jew or Gentile, man or woman, slave or master.

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