I just sat down at my computer to check something really quick. Uh. About 3 hours ago.
I somehow clicked on an article my friend Holly shared with me on Facebook. She tagged me, because I honestly am passionate about God’s Word and teaching. It is the great desire of my heart. So here is the article. http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2015/january/what-happens-when-we-see-women-teach-bible.html?paging=off#comments
It was an inspiring article for me and for so many women who’s hearts burn for the Lord. Truly, our passion to be at the feet of Jesus like Mary and then spreading the gospel, as we are all commanded, catches our hearts on fire. When we see other women taking up the banner, we know that women CAN use their God-given, Spirit-filled gifts in more ways that doing laundry. (The way that men’s spiritual gifts go beyond their mundane duties in the home, like taking out the trash or mowing the lawn or whatever the man of your house likes to do.)
Anyways, as my heart was on fire, reading the article, suddenly, the whole intention of the article went down as a hot mess in a blaze of glory in the comment section. Eyes were getting poked out, people reaching through cyber space and strangling each other with Bible verses and theological positions ensued. Really. It was messy.
I got so worked up that I started pacing the floor and actually cleaned my entire kitchen in 5 minutes flat, after I stared at it helplessly for the entire day.
I called Holly and we sliced and diced some scriptures up together faster than a Japanese Steakhouse Chef chops up shrimp at your table and flips them onto your plate. We vented some feelings, and admitted that our feelings aren’t always in line with God’s word.
After talking to Holly, I sat back down, fuming at some of the 233 comments I had taken the time to read. I was going to say something, and I was going to use my name…
This is a BIG deal to me. I struggled under the desire to serve God with my mouth all my life. Usually, I was just told I was too young, or trying to take over a youth group as a child or no one wants to listen to their sister talk. I had a desire in my heart to share the gospel and to teach people what I learned from God. It wasn’t about me. It was about helping others.
I felt like I would burst, if I couldn’t share what was inside of me.
So, update. I didn’t burst. Good thing.
Years went by where I shared one on one with people, mentoring teens and making friends, who I later learned laughed at me the first time I prayed out loud for them. (You know who you are.) ha ha. But, that’s okay. We are fast friends now and pray together all the time.
Anyway I can share my passion for Jesus, I will do it. No matter now much of a nerd people think I am.
So, basically, the comment section melted down into positions about why women shouldn’t teach. Some people say women shouldn’t teach at all in churches, others say preach to men, others say that’s all hogwash and cultural and invaluable and out of date. Women were called heretics. Men were chauvinist pigs. Everyone acted like a bunch of sinners. Because we are. Shocker.
But, really. We do need to expect more from the body of Christ.
Anyways, even in the body/family of Christ we argue.
So, basically, if you read the article linked above, you probably read my comments. If not, I will post my position below, briefly. This position comes from a wrestling in my heart and with the Word of God. My heart is desperately evil. But, my heart loves Jesus desperately, too.
I won’t include all the scriptures in this post, because then it will be really long. I’ll reference them and attempt to post again this weekend with scriptural references.
I appreciate this article. I understand your passion and heart and hunger to do what God is leading you to do! As a woman in church leadership, who teaches women and teens, I have struggled with these passages in prayer and also in reading through The Bible for the full counsel of the Word of God.
I would like to take an aside and say (perhaps with a bit of bad attitude), that I hope all the men on this thread who are so adamant about women not teaching at ALL or going to hell or being false prophets will also hold as firmly in their own belief of the sanctity of scripture on their personal practices of personal purity with lust/online pornography. Honestly, this is a way BIGGER issue for the church today and it is hidden inside of the hearts of people, so only you and God know. I know that there are MANY Godly, pure men out there, and praise God for them. I just want to say, as Jesus did, “Let him who is without sin among you, cast the first stone.” I really mean this respectfully. But, I am sure that men will not take that well from a woman, which may be one of the reasons that men need to be taught and mentored by men. (in many situations, it’s just not appropriate.)
Next, I am not one to dismiss this as purely cultural. (As I know some people believe that Paul was just addressing culture.) I do agree that women are easily deceived, and as a result of the fall we need to be guarded against this. Everyone, men and women, need to be submitted to authority, the way that God ordained it. The first authority is Jesus Christ, The second is the Word of God and thirdly, our marriages and our church leadership.
There are places in scripture that allow for women to minister. In fact, it teaches women to teach women. It teaches women to cover their heads as a sign to the angels when prophesying or praying publicly. I try to make this a habit, as I believe God’s Word on this subject. So, what does prophesying mean? I think it can look a lot like teaching/preaching. If God gives a woman a word for the body of Christ, she can give it in order, and under the authority of church elders/leadership and God. Women can also lead in prayer, with her head covering on. Some people even say that the interpretation of this is her long hair covers her. The point is that women CAN and DO have an anointing from God to pray and speak in front of the people of God, if they are in order (just like men need to be in order), and submission, (just like Jesus was in submission).
I do believe in qualified and anointed male leadership in the church to men, because of our fallen nature. I think this is not something that women should think is like a second place to a qualified man’s first place. I say qualified for the reason that just because someone is a man, does not give him a right to teach. There are rules in scripture about qualifications and it is way more exclusive than the gender issue.
To women who feel this is sexist, I would say, I know the feelings you are having. They come from our society’s lies about what is demeaning. I would contend that Jesus himself submitted to the authority of The Father and if submitting is good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me. We need to be humble. This is a spiritual issue about order. It is not about talent, ability or worth. Remember, the Word of God says that when we humble ourselves in the sight of The Lord he will lift us up.
I do know that Jesus references times to the pharisees about when David broke the law about eating grain consecrated to the priests. In Hebrew culture, they teach there are commands and rules that are greater than other commands (Thus, the greatest commandment Jesus spoke of.) So, there are situations where one principle of God overrules another principle. Many times this is special circumstances. Let’s not forget Deborah. When the men wouldn’t step up and be men, God anointed a woman. In doing this, I believe God was “putting men in their place, so to speak.” This was very embarrassing in their culture. God created us equally. God was showing them that he can and will anoint a woman whenever he wants to. Yes. Women can be anointed. *Gasp* (Someone questioned that in one infuriating comment….) We should also examine the exceptions in church history where there WERE NO MEN to lead the men. Literally. There were no men. No qualified men. Case after case of missions organizations reveal that many times there is such a great harvest that there are more new converts than the men can handle teaching without the help of Christian missionary women/wives. Jackie Pullinger in Chasing the Dragon is a great example. She was discipling and leading gang members to Christ. She was like a mother to them. They had no one else. (Until she had sufficiently discipled the young men into leaders.) The point of it is the growth of the kingdom of God. I dare anyone to say that she wasn’t a Christian or that she wasn’t operating under that anointing of the Holy Spirit. I’m not sure how else the drug addicts were coming off of heroin in 24 hours with no side affects.
Oh…and what about the situations when all the men were killed and their wives stayed behind in the jungles to lead the naked, native men to Christ? I’m sure someone has a doctrine that they should have gone home. (Thanks for being obedient Elizabeth Elliot.)
Closing out my little comment. A part of the fall that Paul references is Eve being deceived at the fall. What about the rest of that verse? Adam INTENTIONALLY sinned against God. So, that’s not a badge of honor to wear. Men, as the curse goes, are willful sinners. Women have a tendency, in their sinful nature, to be deceived and men have a tendency to willfully reject God. This is part of the problem that Paul, I believe, was addressing. Men need to stop willfully rejecting their roles as leaders and ministers of the gospel. I see this in Christian homes, frequently, and we see it happening all over America, where churches are full of women and the husbands are home watching football. So, women, we need to pray for our husbands to submit their hearts and wills to the Lord and pray for a humble heart as we see God’s powerful role for us in the church. Submission is powerful. We CAN lead and teach, in order, and with respect and spiritual and scriptural submission. Praise the Lord! We all follow Christ.
@Briana Nei I agree with your well thought out article even when you spoke hard truths about men. I am incline to agree with you.
You have a very good incite to the problems of women’s roles and have acknowledge and seems to accept that women are NOT to be in Authority Positions, because it is an Issue of Order. You are right. It is not who is better than ,inferiority or superiority , but what God has said and design for his Church and Family.
Having said that, can I ask you to re-visit [Genesis 3 :17 kjv ] for you will find that Adam did NOT INTENTIONALLY sinned against God, but was punished instead for Hearkening to the voice of Eve.
In the Hebrew, “hearken” means Listening to someone in authority giving instructions.
Man’s Problem was and is Always towards the weaker more fairer sex. That’s one reason most men have a problem with sex and porn, and immodestly dress women and lust of the eye. David was no different.
But God knows that Men are Strong in Keeping His word and Contending for the Word, that’s why He entrusted the Authority Positions in His Church to Men. Your role and women’s role is to help men so that his weakness, in the flesh area is not a Stumbling Block , that Will affect us ALL. The same is NOT true if Women are deceive.
Men are to Cover her and Lovingly correct Her and set Her in right relationship with God. That’s what Adam was to do with Eve, that’s what Jesus does for His Bride the Church. That’s what every Christian man is to do to his wife , to wash her and cleanse with the Word. [Eph.5].
But it is Sad – many Men are NOT the Priest of their Home to do Just that, rather than doing the Abusive thing, which is NOT Like Christ.
But I am NOT going exonerate women and mothers from their responsibility to raise and train boys to be godly men , to be HEADS of Families and be godly Fathers and Husbands.
Nevertheless, great comment.
@Wit D @Briana Nei I do agree that the greatest issue here is what you said. Women are the greatest weakness of men. Which is why women should take that seriously. My mother in law always said that a wife has the power to encourage or tear down her husband. I have been aware that it can be a distraction when women are in front of men teaching about God, when they may even be distracted by it.
May I respectfully insert that by Adam’s following of Eve, he willfully sinned against God? He basically knew he was choosing her over God. That is a willful act. And the pattern continues to this day with the headlines of men of God falling into illicit relationships. However, I must say, a man who sets his heart and that same will on God is a force to be reckoned with! The Bible is full of pictures of stubborn men whom God had to break. When he breaks them, they are powerfully changed from “reeds” to “rocks.”
Also, I believe that teaching is more than hearing words, but it is learning by example. This is a reason that weak men need strong, qualified and spiritually tested men to lead them. So, it’s not that a particular woman is incapable of spiritually teaching men or a man truth. It is that God’s perfect way is for a powerful, Godly man to be an example to a weaker man. If women who have gifts of teaching can understand this, they will want men to be built up the best way possible. It is not a position of offense in the Body of Christ, but a case of each part doing what it needs to do for the sake of Jesus Christ and the kingdom.
Women can be deceiving, (ouch) I agree, as we see in Ahab and Jezebel. This is a classic example of the order of God going upside down. Women are definitely capable of leading and strengthening their husbands. Jezebel was most effective and very powerful. (Not is a good way, like Deborah, who had the anointing and call of God.) However, Jezebel tore down Ahab with her power and all of Israel with her. Men and women ARE created equally. Christian women need to know that they can use their power of influence to build up or tear down.
I think the devil has led us to think that it is a low position to raise children or to nurture the family. On the contrary, the Devil knows this is the most powerful position in the world. The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world. The Devil wants Christian women to flee from this beautiful position and to disdain it and to consider it menial. This is one of the reasons our culture is falling apart.
Women DO have a role in the home and in the church and it is important. (I think women react to men talking about it, because it feels like they are saying they are lower or unequal. This is not what is taught in scripture at all.) And here is where, if you don’t me me sharing, I think men need to teach on this topic with gentleness and honor. It is not uplifting or helpful to call out the desire in a woman to share about The Lord or to use her gifts as heretical or anti-Christ, which I have seen many men do. I can think of ways that women could equally pull down men for their weaknesses with name calling, and I wouldn’t approve of that, either. So, I ask my brothers in Christ to bear with our weaknesses and needs, as we are needing to bear with yours.
The thought that comes to my mind is that men are physically stronger than women, which they must use that strength carefully and to lift women up and honor them, protect them and love them as they love their own bodies. (Like you said.) Men can use this power to abuse women and dominate the home or use it in restraint. My husband is very strong, but he has never physically assaulted me. I am sure he would be able to beat me into a pulp, but I will never see that happen. He has a power and strength that is best served in check in anger and in carrying the luggage out to the van, or chopping up wood for the fire on a good day.
So, women, we need to understand that we have strengths…more than we know, apparently. We need to be careful to be aware of our own powers to seduce, even when we don’t know it. We need to bear with the weakness of men. Sometimes, being in certain teaching positions can be more of a distraction and a temptation than a building up. We also need to admit, as women, that many women tend to think with their feelings, which God gave us for nurturing- a very important trait! (Not a throw away job!) This same God given trait of being deep feeling, can also be given to deception, because of the fallen nature. I have seen this in myself. One of my daily prayers is, “Lord do not let me be deceived. Reveal to me any lies I am believing and lead me in your way everlasting.”
Men and women who truly seek God are willing to tackle these difficult subjects with humility. We are equally strong and equally fallen. We must live the way Jesus would want us to live in this fallen world.
Your ability to be objective and talk honestly about issues that don’t make you “feel good” is rear… a good thing very much need in the body from a woman’s perspective.
I did not read your entire post ,but I believe I have made the correct conclusion base on what you have written.
Be Blessed !
If you make it to the end. God bless you. Feel free to share your thoughts, but keep it civil, please. Honestly, we can discuss these things without tearing each other down!