I believe that men and women are equal yet men and women have different roles. Scripture teaches different roles in the family and in the church. When the men do their job properly, then women can fill their biblical roles without problems.
1 Timothy 2:12-14 states, “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.” This command which applies to the local church states that women should not teach or have authority over men. It means that women should not serve as preachers. Although not all believe as I do, I also believe that women should not teach a Sunday School class that has men in it. Scripture does not speak to Seminary education which is different than a church, but I would avoid females teaching men in pastoral track degrees based on the principle of modeling the example you desire to produce.
I don’t want to focus on the few items Scripture says women should not do rather than the many things they should do. Many women have what I consider to be the highest calling on earth of being a mother. Women may train other women and especially younger women as indicated in Titus 2:3-4 in the church. Women may also train children and serve in important counseling ministries in the church. Women serve an important role in Seminary education. Christian Universities, which are in a different category than Seminaries, need great women teachers in non-pastoral classes and great female administrators that will lead and teach well, inspiring greatness with the message of the Gospel while standing firm on the inerrant Scriptures and teaching biblical truths to the next generation. One of the most meaningful teachers in my life was a female English teacher at a Christian University, and I continue to be grateful to God for her impact on my life.
In order to elaborate on all of these issues would take a series of posts, which I hope to do at some point in the future. For now, I will only elaborate on two items related to service in the local church.
First, the most popular argument against biblical roles states that this command was cultural and does not apply to our day. This dog won’t hunt because Paul himself appeals to creation for establishment of his argument. God created Adam first and then Eve from Adam developing the pattern of male headship in the very beginning—before the fall and in a different cultural setting.
Second, a pastor of a church does not have the right to authorize any woman to act contrary to Scripture. This is what happens in churches which state that women teaching men do so under the pastor’s authority. Pastors, in my opinion, will have to provide an answer for this action in the future and have no right to go against Scripture. More to come in the future on this topic…
I also believe that God has designed a role for women in the home. Consider Ephesians 5:22-24, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” I admit that the command given to husbands in the following verses is more difficult. Nevertheless, the role for women exists, and in the following verses you have three examples of submission and then requirements for the authority figure. 1) Wives submit; husbands love, 2) children obey; parents do not provoke, and 3) bondservants obey; masters treat them well. Some argue a cultural argument which states that because slavery no longer occurs then female submission should also not occur. However, I believe that misses the point of the passage. Every person is under submission to some authority, and must learn to live under authority in order to submit properly to Christ. In addition the cultural argument does not answer whether children are still under the command to obey their parents or was that cultural too? More to come on this topic in the future…
I believe that our society is quickly becoming a matriarchal society. Females now outnumber males in college applications by 57% to 43% and the Chronicle of Higher Education documents this fact. I believe we are watching a reversal of roles to an unbiblical state. Men become more passive while women assume unbiblical roles of leadership both in the home and in the church. Stay-at-home moms are ridiculed and the title of “mother” is no longer the most blessed name in the world. Parents neglect the obligation to rear their own children delegating this responsibility to a daycare in the name of multiple incomes and materialism more often than necessity. Until our society returns to a biblical understanding of satisfaction in the roles God has designed and submission to His authority, I do not believe we will experience revival. This is why I believe it is essential that we recover biblical roles for women.
Editorial Note: This post has been updated since its original posting. My views have not changed, but the changes in this post more clearly articulate my position.