Women In Ministry?

[Download MP3]

As a follow-up to yesterday’s interview with Christian leader Naomi Dowdy, Dr. Brown discusses the relevant scriptures and takes your calls on women in ministry. Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.


Hour 1:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: I encourage each and every one of you to study the scriptures and come to your own conclusion about women in ministry. Then affirm, and support, and back what God is doing and what He’s established in His Word!

Hour 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: Deception is a real threat to those who walk in pride, to those who play games with sin, to those that neglect the Word, and to those who say, “Deception could never happen to me!”



Receive Naomi Dowdy’s Book, “Moving On and Moving Up,” plus Dr. Brown’s Interview with Naomi on Women in Ministry for $15 Postage Paid.!

Call 1-800-278-9978 or Order Online!

Other Resources:

Dr. Brown Interviews Naomi Dowdy on Women in Ministry (and More)

What Is and Isn’t Marriage; and Dr. Brown’s Radio Debate with a Local Gay Activist

Dr. Brown debates Dr. Nathaniel Frank, author of Unfriendly Fire, (and is joined by Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt); and Dr. Brown Answers Your Questions

  1. In response to the question, “By nature, are women more able to be deceived than men?”…..I would opine that it depends on “what area?” Men and women seem to (generally) have their “areas of expertise”…based on what they are most involved in, at least traditionally. But I know some women whose knowledge of sports, while not typical, would exceed that of many men; and some men whose knowledge of interior decorating, for example…, etc. There are no iron-clad rules about this, but generally speaking, one’s ability to be deceived about a particular subject or in a certain area tends to depend oftentimes on how much one may know of that given subject.

    Again, there are no absolute rules, and “blind spots” exist, even among so-called “experts” as well.


  2. A couple things to ponder about Paul’s instructions and what he meant.

    So this is a look at the text itself.

    (KJV) 1 Timothy 2:12-14
    12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

    13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

    14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

    Paul gives a reason for verse 12 in verse 13, that Adam was first formed, then Eve. That is the reason, then Paul adds more with the word ‘and’ and gives the rest of verse 14. It doesn’t seem Paul is speaking about a situational setting here since the reason is Adam was formed first. Unless that somehow ties into a rowdy crowd that I am not seeing.

    (KJV) 1 Corinthians 14:33-34
    33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

    34 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 saith the law.

    This passage in Corinthians is also not situational since it is prefaced and concluded with “as in all churches” and “in the churches”. So it’s not to one particular church in Corinth but to all churches.

    If Paul was writting to that particular Church because they had a problem, it is still not for that church alone because Paul includes all churches, and all scripture is profitable for instruction for us today.

    So I think from a strict textual view these passages cannot be intended for a specific problem at a specific church. It has a much broader application.

    But I love to learn so if there are problems with my take of the text I’d love to learn.

    Your brother in Christ,

  3. Another text that gives more information to Paul reason that Adam was formed first, then Eve. It comes from 1 Corinthians 11:13;

    3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

    4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.

    5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

    6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

    7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

    8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.

    9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

    10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

    So this sheds more light on Pauls reasoning in 1 Timothy 2:13. God’s created order and the relationship between Christ and the Church that it reflects.

    I thought of this text and thought I would throw it into the discussion.

  4. Let’s take a short quiz on I Tim 2:12 and some related ideas.

    True or False?

    1. According to I Tim 2:12, Paul told Timothy not
    to let a woman teach.

    2. Paul did not tell Timothy not to allow a woman
    to teach, but rather told him what he (Paul)
    himself thinks about women teaching and what
    he personally decided to do about it when he
    is the one who runs things in a church.

    3. Paul always demanded of Timothy that he should
    be an exact replica of the personality of Paul

    4. Paul taught Jews to disobey the law of Moses
    saying that the law was wrong.

    5. By what Paul wrote Timothy in I Iim 2:12, Paul
    encouraged Timothy to let women teach.

  5. Dr. Brown,

    I have read that the church of Ephesus (the church where Timothy was at that time) was being influenced by false teachers who were teaching some of the false beliefs coming from the pagan worship of Diana & other Gnostic teachings. Some of these false beliefs included:

    1) Eve was created before Adam
    2) Woman was the originator of man
    3) Eve was the illuminator of Adam
    4) Adam was deceived, not Eve
    5) Child-bearing is evil

    This is the background for Paul’s instructions to Timothy.

    What do you think?

  6. Ray, Paul didn’t say that the law is wrong. You might be wrong about that one. He loved the law, but God had to send him to the Gentiles.

  7. The issue is not whether or not a woman could teach a man, but does the Bible CLEARLY sanction female Pastors. Again the husban of one wife seems clear. How do we get around this?

  8. Just to throw the cat among the pigeons: Every church has women teaching children’s classes (what we call Sunday School in the UK). About 80% of Christians are saved before the age of 20. So where is the powerhouse of missionary and evangelism? I often say that if this were more widely known, women would be banned from teaching the kiddies!

    Yes, youth groups are seen as cool and cutting edge,where professions of faith take place, but the foundation is often laid at a much younger age.

    Sometimes, in practice, women are kept out of certain roles because they are high-status, and not because of Scripture. Children are not really valued in Western culture, so the women are let loose on them. In a local Brethren church, there is consistency: the men do all the teaching, including the children’s Bible Club. In my own church, there is also consistency: women can teach everywhere. That’s what I want to see, actions that follow what churches CLAIM to believe.

  9. What an offensive question. Are women more deceived than men? As if women are born with a higher level deception gene or something. Yes, I am a male human being, but the notion is ludicrious. My rebuttle: Snow Flakes. How much more are each female human being completely unique, same the uniqueness of male human beings. To suggest their is more easily deceived gene in a human being because their soul was put in a female body is scientifically unfounded.

    The question of women in ministry is misleading. The misleading-ness of using english words to the Greek words of the NT writings. The misleading-ness of two different worlds (1st generation Jewish and 21st generation Evangelical) colliding. The greek uses the greek word “diakonia” and the english uses the word ministry. The Greek uses the word “presbuteros”, the english uses the word elders. The first century was in synagogues and modeled the Jewish synagogues and the 21st century models going to see a band play with a devotional, or a concert with a choir attended with a twenty minute speech. Two different worlds and two different languages.

    My only advice is to not do anything that will condemn your own conscience. If you truly believe it is a sin to have any women speak in your evangelical meeting, then do not go against your own conscience. To me it is absolutely ridiculous to ban a woman from prophecying. We know that Deborah prophecied. We know that Joel prophecied of the daughters prophecying, we know that Isaiah’s wife has been commented to a female prophet, we know that Huldah was a great female prophetess that the southern wall of the Temple was named after her.

    It amazes me when Evangelicals have more rules than even Pharisees. They should write about the 613 rules of the New Testament. About 50 years ago it was a sin to wear a feather in the hat, that can be one of the Evangelical rabinical rules to their 613. (I’m being facetious) Banning women from speaking in your meetings seems ridiculous. At least stay consistent and ban worship leading and teaching children, is what Anthea (the above commentor) would desire.

    Preach the good news to all creation, but women can’t if they are at an evangelical get together, got to wait till you are outside the walls to start speaking again. Ridiculous interpretation.

    God gives the gifts of the Holy Spirit to human beings, but the females have to wait to use their gifts after they have left the church premises.

    Do not grieve the Holy Spirit. Does the scriptural abuse of women grieve the Holy Spirit the last two millenium. Do not quench the Holy Spirit. Does the quenching of the Holy Spirit in a female human being grieve the Holy Spirit?

    Dr Cho from South Korea says that he surrounded himself with a team of 70 women full of discerment to help him lead one if the largest churches in the universe. He says his reasoning was that men were always trying to compete with him and rival him, this way it was easier to work in complete unity. Are all these women NOT doing “diakonia”, who dare point the finger that these women and Dr Cho is living in, God forbid sin, for letting the Holy Spirit produce good fruits through the female human beings.

    Is Pricila a sinner for, oh no, teaching a man further truth in Scripture. Lastly, even though my mother was used by El Shadai to heal the most impossible diseases and conditions, her congregation smashed her head in with the Bible trying to tell her that women should be silent and sit in the corner attitude. She came to the point that he was so wounded that she went through a season of fearing to open up the Scriptures that Hated and considered women second class human beings. I reject that notion 100%. So did my mother but she did not know how to respond to these Scripture verses that they would beat her down to a pulp with.

    Saved from the law – the evangelical stance – but yet create a law even heavier than the first.

    If I had a daughter I would not want her condemned for prophecying as Joel prophecied when the Holy Spirit falls and speaks powerfully through her. I always said that if I was married I wanted to have a marriage like Isaiah and his wife also a prophet. Its a good thing the Evangelicals were not around to condemn Deborah, Huldah and Isaiah’s wife when they were prophecying.

    As a male, I will stand with women on this issue. But if your conscience will condemn you for letting a women speak or teach in your church building, then don’t do it, if you think its a sin, then don’t sin in your own perspective.

  10. The issue is not whether or not a woman could teach a man or for that matter function in ministry, but does the Bible CLEARLY sanction female Pastors. Again the husban of one wife seems clear. How do we get around this?

  11. In case it wasn’t clear Eliyahu, I am in an Assemblies of God church where men and women preach, pray, lay hands on people — the whole lot. So I agree with all your points.

    What I was trying to convey is that I find it especially offensive when *other* churches make a big song and dance about how women shouldn’t preach, teach, disciple or lead — and then have women teaching children or send women out on the mission field. In those churches, they are effectively saying by their actions that some groups are so lowly that even a –gasp — woman will do. But don’t let them near the precious (white Western) men… Yuk!

    There is a well-known Calvinist blogger who was writing about how his church will not even let a woman read a Bible passage from the front of the church, or pray,because that’s preaching (he said). I bruised my chin when my jaw hit the floor over that one…

    Thanks to Dr Brown for putting the *other* point of view. It’s a timely and much-needed series of shows.

  12. For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you– if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, Titus 1:5-7 (NKJV)

    This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.
    A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence1 Timothy 3:1-4 (NKJV)

    In response to Eliyahu Moshiach, the role of women in ministry has long been established in both the Old and New Testament, and you highlighted that adequately. The question that is left unanswered is whether or not it is biblical for women to be Pastors/Elders/Bishops or Overseers. I am not certain that The New Testament sanctions women in these roles. You would be hard press to find scripture to support such.

  13. Here is an expert discussing the Prophetess Deborah from the book ‘Recovering Biblical
    Manhood and Womanhood’. And a portion on the differences between prophecying and teaching.

    That women prophesied to men is clear in the case of Deborah, other women cited above, and 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. The last passage cited, however, is absolutely crucial for rightly understanding a woman’s relationship to man as she prophecies. What is Paul’s concern in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16? It is that women who prophesy do so with proper adornment. Why is Paul concerned about how they are adorned? Because a
    woman’s adornment says something about her relationship with men (11:3-10). Indeed, as I show in Chapter 5 of this volume, 11:3 is the key to the passage: “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (niv). Thus, the reason Paul wants women to be adorned properly is that this adornment shows that a woman is submissive to male headship, even while prophesying. The way she is adorned indicates whether the man is the head, i.e., the

    The implications for our study are clear. Paul affirms that women can prophesy, but even in the process of prophesying they are to do so in a manner and with a demeanor that will not violate male headship. Paul does not place the same limits on men, and thus upholds and preserves the notion that male leadership is God’s ordained pattern in the church. Note carefully that this does not mean that women will not prophesy in church. Paul affirms that women have prophetic gifts, and he wants them to exercise those gifts in church, but he does not want them to overturn male leadership.

    The only passage that creates any difficulty for such a supportive and complementary view of prophecy is Judges 4, where Deborah commands Barak what to do and is a judge in Israel. But there are several reasons why this is in harmony with the notion of male headship explained in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16: (1) Deborah is a special case because she seems to be the only judge in Judges who has no military function. The other judges also lead Israel into victory in battle, but Deborah receives a word from the Lord that Barak is to do this (Judges 4:6-7). Deborah is not asserting leadership for herself; she gives
    priority to a man. (2) There is an implied rebuke of Barak because he is not willing to go to battle without Deborah (Judges 4:8). Because of his reluctance, the glory that day will go to a woman (Judges 4:9), but note that the woman is not Deborah but Jael (Judges 4:17ff.). In other words, Deborah did speak the word of God, but her attitude and demeanor were such that she was not asserting her leadership. Instead, she handed over
    the leadership, contrary to the pattern of all the other judges, to a man.
    Also, prophecy differs from teaching. Prophecy is based on spontaneous revelation (1 Corinthians 14:29-33a), while teaching is an exposition of received revelation. A prophet, therefore, does not hold the same office as a teacher. Prophets speak forth God’s revelation to the people, but the people go to the priests in the Old Testament to receive authoritative instruction based on tradition (Leviticus 10:11; Deuteronomy 21:5; Malachi 2:6-7). It is instructive to note in the Old Testament that some women were prophets, but
    never priests. It is the priests who had the more settled and established positions of leadership in Israel. This is not to deny that the Old Testament prophets spoke with great authority. Indeed, they criticized priests who abused their authority. The point is that prophecy is a different kind of gift from teaching, and when women functioned as prophets they did so with a demeanor and attitude that supported male leadership.

  14. Matthew 20:25, “ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτοὺς εἶπεν· οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ ἄρχοντες τῶν ἐθνῶν κατακυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν.” [ And Yeshua having called them (his disciples) to himself said, “You all know that he rulers of the nations Lord over them and the Great ones exercize authority over them.”]

    Yeshua continues with, “οὐχ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἐν ὑμῖν ἀλλ’ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν μέγας γενέσθαι ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος”. [This should not be among you but those that desire to be great must be a servant (diakonos), from which the word ministry comes from in Greek.

    Then the number 1 disciple of Jesus, arguably, Peter (Kefas) said the same sentiment in 1st Peter 5:3, “μηδ’ ὡς κατακυριεύοντες τῶν κλήρων ἀλλὰ τύποι γινόμενοι τοῦ ποιμνίου”. [Not as ruling (as Lords) over the assigned lot (congregation) but AS EXAMPLES to the flock (congregation).]

    Yeshua and Kefas in unison are teaching that there is a right and wrong way to shepherd the flock. Heeding their advice is wise. Yeshua uses the word “diakonos” (servant) to describe the quality he finds “megas” (great). So if the conclusion of anyone’s interpretations leads them to announce that only males may be shepherds of the flock, then remember that this means that they must be a “diakonos” and not Lord over the flock but be an example to the flock, precisely being a servant to the flock.

  15. Eliyahu, amen.

    Lets look at these verses:

    Matthew 20:25:28
    25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

    26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

    27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

    28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

    Here we have a great example of how men are to tend the flock. Not as the “princes of the nations” do, but with humble service and ministering. Our Lord Yeshua is our head (authority), yet he served and ministered unto us. This is how men are to lead their congreations. I’m sure Paul had these sayings of Jesus in mind when he spoke of the headship of men because of the relationship of Christ to the church. This is also a great example of why Paul exhorts wives to submit to the headship of their husbands and for husbands to love in a sacrificial serving manner their wives. It’s all a reflection of our relationship with Yeshua and the relationship of Him to the church. It all locks together.

  16. Paul the supposed never let a women utter a word on church property said in Romans 16:1, “Φοίβην τὴν ἀδελφὴν ἡμῶν, οὖσαν [καὶ] διάκονον τῆς ἐκκλησίας τῆς ἐν Κεγχρεαῖς,” [Phoebe, our sister, being the “diakonon” (same word for deacon in Timothy) of the congregation in Cenchrea.]

    Then in Romans 16:13, the great Apostle Paul says about another female, “Ἀσπάσασθε Πρίσκαν καὶ Ἀκύλαν τοὺς συνεργούς μου ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.” [Greet Priscilla and Aquila (notice: the wife is actually written before the husband, odd for a man that does not let women supposedly speak on church premises) my fellow laborers in the Messiah Yeshua.]

    Here we have Paul asking another congregation to greet a female who he does not call his spiritual daughter like he did with Timothy (spiritual son) but instead calls his relationship to this female as joint and co-laborers in Yeshua. Paul was an original apostle who was Priscila to be called a co- worker with Paul and have her name written before her very own husband’s name in this instance, in this letter. Was she also a deacon like the first female I mentioned in this post, Phoebe, or was she even higher, a female “presbuteros” elder as Paul was, hence, her called co laborer and not spiritual daughter of Paul/Shaul.

    Romans 16:2 uses the words, “αὐτῂ προστάτις πολλῶν ἐγενήθη καὶ ἐμοῦ αὐτοῦ.” She is “prostatis” (female guardian and protector, overseer) over many even including me. You may ask how or what is the nature of her “prostatis”, even with Paul. Yet it is clear that she is deserving of the title “prostatis” of many. Was she the intercessor of many, a prophetess, or just a rich woman that took care of the saints with both protection and or possible necessities, or all of the above. But if the Holy Spirit raised her up to be a “prostatis” a word only used for females usually that oversee and protect the flock as a shepherd.

    In 1 Corinthians 16:16, “ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς ὑποτάσσησθε τοῖς τοιούτοις καὶ παντὶ τῷ συνεργοῦντι καὶ κοπιῶντι.” [In order that you guys be submit yourselves under these, every one that co-workers with me and co-laborers with me.] Since females have already been clearly stated as co-laborers of Paul/Shaul, and one was even called a “prostatis” of Paul, and since this verse tells everyone to submit to those that are known co-laborers of Shaul/Paul, then is it that hard to grasp that Phoebe and Priscila were not at bare minimum deacons, possibly even higher positions such as elders or overseerers.

    Beware of the sinful nature men, if Paul can call a woman named Phoebe his “prostatis”, then maybe its not a sin for a female to speak on church premises. If Paul called a female a co-laborer, a title he used also for Titus, Timothy, Apollos and Mark. If Paul called a female “diakonon”, the same word used as deacon in the letters to Timothy.

    1 Corinthians 11:5, πᾶσα δὲ γυνὴ προσευχομένη ἡ προφητεύουσα·.” [Every female praying or prophesying.] Paul did not forbid females to prophecy. But instructs women to be modest when doing so. Example: Try not to distract men from God and to your own beauty by wearing clothes or outfits that would cause men’s eyes to stumble, try to be modest. But Paul does not forbid a woman to prophecy here in this verse but instructs women how to be wise when they do.

  17. Eliyahu, I think were we are not seeing eye to eye is that you take it to mean that anyone who affirms what Paul is saying to think that Paul was teaching “never let a women utter a word on church property”. That’s not it at all. Sure maybe some have abused this verse in such a way, but faithful God fearing men know better. And know that to be in leadership/headship means to be a servant of servants.

    Regarding Phoebe, here’s an excerpt from Wayne Grudem.
    “Another misstatement of fact occurs, where they attempt to show that the King James Version exhibits male chauvinism in Romans 16:1. There the KJV translates the word διάκονος as “servant” to say that Phoebe is a “servant in the church at Cenchrea.” The Mickelsens take exception to this translation, arguing that the word should be translated “deacon.” They say “Only in reference to Phoebe does the King James translate Paul’s word as ‘servant.’ In 1 Timothy 3:8, 12, it is translated ‘deacon’ but in all other places the King James uses the term ‘minister.’ Only of Phoebe is Paul’s word διάκονος translated ‘servant.’“
    That gives the impression that the King James translators never used “servant” to translate διάκονος except when their male bias intruded in dealing with Phoebe. But in fact, διάκονος is translated by “servant” six other times in the KJV: Matthew 22:13 (“then said the king to the servants”); Matthew 23:11 (“the greatest among you shall be your servant”); Mark 9:35; John 2:5 (“his mother saith unto the servants”); John 2:9; and John 12:26 (“there shall also my servant be”).
    ….. many think that Phoebe is called a deacon in Romans 16:1. It should be noted, however, that the word diakonos, as we pointed out above, is often a general term, and thus one cannot be sure that Phoebe was a deacon. And it is very unlikely that the word prostatis (Romans 16:2) is being used to say that Phoebe was a leader, as an examination of that verse shows. Paul commends Phoebe to the Romans and says “help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper [this is the word some think should be translated “leader”] of many, and of myself as well (nasb).” That Phoebe is being called a leader here is improbable for three reasons. (1) It is highly improbable that Paul would say that Phoebe held a position of authority over him. He says that about no one except Christ, not even the Jerusalem apostles (Galatians 1:6-7, 11), so confident is he of his high authority as an apostle (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:37-38; Galatians 1:8-9; 2 Thessalonians 3:14). (2) There seems to be a play on words between the word prostatis and the previous verb, pariste¯mi, in 16:2. Paul says to help (pariste¯mi) Phoebe because she has been a help (prostatis) to many, including to Paul himself. It fits the context better to understand Paul as saying “help Phoebe because she has been such a help to others and to me.” (3) Although the related masculine noun prostate¯s can mean “leader,” the actual feminine noun (prostatis) does not take the meaning “leader” but is defined as “protectress, patroness, helper.”

    I need to cut this response here as I have run out of time for now.

    Your brother in Christ,

  18. I was thinking about Jesus, our example and final authority.(Not Wayne Grudem, fashionable as he may be right now!) How did Jesus lead? In Phil 2 we are told that He humbled Himself. In John 13 He washes the disciples’ feet — a menial job for the lowliest and least-regarded house slave.

    Where are the traditionalist posters/callers saying: “If we follow the Bible, men should take the role that Jesus and the disciples had. Jesus took the grottiest job in John 13. All the invisible, low-status jobs should be reserved *exclusively* for men. It should be only men cleaning the sanctuary, the bathrooms and toilets. It should only be the men serving in the creche/nursery with the under-5s. It should be the men who launder the priest’s/pastor’s robes. It should be only the men making the tea, washing up and wiping down the counters. These servant-leader jobs belong to the servant-leader men.”

    Funny that we only hear arguments for men to have exclusive hold on the jobs that have status, a job title — and often a salary. Sadly, the Bible passages that are quoted and argued over are never the ones about opening up opportunities to Christians. Glorious exception, the caller on the show who quoted Joel.

    Eliyahu is spot on in post number 16 when he notes the modern Western church has too much regard for its pet customs and rules.

  19. Why is there even a debate regarding women teaching men?! God through Apostle Paul clearly wrote that it is NOT to be done. God didn’t say it is not to be done because women are uneducated or more easily deceived like Eve. He said it is because Adam was created first! Sadly, even well-educated, trained and meaning pastors and leaders just can not obey God in this matter. They tried to come up with their own reasons to the point of saying that that part can not be apply with our modern world. Was the Holy Spirit who inspired Apostle Paul unable to foresee the future then?! Did the Holy Spirit not know that oneday women will be well-educated, have desires to teach and a group of “well-meaning” men will support them? Of course not! That’s why Paul made sure to give a reason or explanation. Granted we imperfect people do not obey everything in the Bible like veiling but 2 wrong doesn’t make it right!

  20. Anthea, I would love to be corrected if I have a wrong understanding of this topic. Please point me to scripture that shows that male headship is a western church pet custom and rule.

    All of the helping duties you mentioned in post #27 are done by men, along with women in my church (except for the washing of robes since our pastors wear clothes from home). The men clean the santuary and clean the toilets (we have a male care-taker), we have men serving with women in the childrens ministry. Men who make the tea and coffee, etc. Those duties are shared and available to anyone who gives their time to serve the congregation. I often help in preparation for our 3rd Sunday brunches, setting tables and setting food out, making sure people have what they need.

    But scripture seems clear that the head of the church is to be a man. How do you interperet the words of Paul? who based his words off of the example of Yeshua.

    You have argued that men should do more humble jobs. Now argue why women should be the head.

    In Christ,
    -Benjamin Warkentin

  21. There are Scriptures about women prophesying in church, which were quoted even in a comment that was generally against women in ministry (post 21). The Bible does not keep women away from speaking in public (although churches which see prophecy and teaching as synonymous tend to do just that). The Scriptures show the Lord using everyone. However, if anyone doesn’t want to be part of a church with females in upfront teaching, preaching and leading roles, I endorse the points made in post 16 about following our consciences. There is also the need for flexibility and discretion in how anyone is chosen for ministry roles.

    Dr Brown’s view seems to be balanced. Women can and do preach, and also can be pastors. Even in denominations which have women in that sort of role (such as the Baptist and Assemblies of God), it is the norm to have a male senior pastor. The church that is my home is run by a husband-and-wife team, with the husband as the senior pastor. This seems a good way to allow for the priesthood of believers, and without causing cultural offence or difficulty between husband and wife in the privacy of their own home.

    Re the comment above: “All of the helping duties you mentioned in post #27 are done by men, along with women in my church”

    … but does anyone ever suggest that the humble jobs are *exclusively* reserved for men, using Jesus’ actions as our guide? Notice that these were described as “helping duties”, as if all the real spiritual action is up the front at the pulpit. This is one of our modern Western preoccupations: The guy or guyette with the title – pastor, elder, canon, rector – is seen as being a key. The big perspex pulpit has become our Holy of Holies. Other posters have pointed to the Scriptures about how we tend to fight to protect our positions (eg no 23). Eliyahu also tried to show how our modern Western church is v different from the world of the NT (post no 16). In the Bible, Paul mentions how *everyone* should bring something to the meeting — a word, a prayer, prophecy. But in many of our Western churches, we say that the senior pastor does all that sort of thing.

    (BTW, I am sure that it was a slip of the keyboard in post 28 to state that the head of “the church” is to be a man. Christ is our head.)

  22. I fully endorse women prophesying in church as stated in post 21.

    You stated “… but does anyone ever suggest that the humble jobs are *exclusively* reserved for men, using Jesus’ actions as our guide?” Not at all because women are members of the congregation as well and fellow co-workers in the Gospel. I’m not sure where this question is stemming from?

    You seem to be saying that since Jesus washed feet that men should exclusively wash feet if we are to follow His example. But what about when Jesus had his feet washed by Mary?

    Luke 7:38
    And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

    “Notice that these were described as “helping duties”, as if all the real spiritual action is up the front at the pulpit.” – I apologies for the impression that gave you, but are we not helping when we do these things? My local church operates by people volunteering to help in any way they can. That is the reason I described it as such. And teaching/pastoring is exalted in scripture in 1 Timothy 5:17-18

    17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

    18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

    Are the pastors better than everyone else? No. But since they are apt to teach, and have qualified to be an elder/pastor, they are worthy of double honour according to the Apostle Paul.

    “(BTW, I am sure that it was a slip of the keyboard in post 28 to state that the head of “the church” is to be a man. Christ is our head.)”
    — No slip at all. You just have to look at the context to see what was meant. This discussion was on male/female headship of local churches, and my posts have been about the scripture teaching that men are to be the heads of the local church, and scripture teaches that the head of every man is Christ.

    My call still goes out to show us from scripture that women are to head the church. We all here dearly love the Word and I desire that we all rightly divide it in truth and sincerity and are open to further learning.

    Your brother,
    -Benjamin Warkentin

  23. A very common theme in apostasies from scriptural truth is the lie that scriptural precedent is merely cultural, not spiritual and definitive.

    This lie is used to throw out many Biblical instructions.

    What’s sad is how people bow down to their own intellects, instead of the word of God, by picking and choosing the parts that they personally agree with from the Bible, while rejecting the parts that ‘don’t seem valid or applicable in today’s advanced society,’ much like the Rabbis in the reform movement do, as if western culture is superior to Biblical culture.

    My personal prayer is that Believers will whole hearted embrace the word of God for everything it has to teach us, even if it offends us initially, but to humble ourselves by submitting to its instruction, not just selective parts which we have no problem with.

  24. I had left this on the AskDrBrown FB post – but this may be a more appropriate place for my response to your question. So – sorry to repeat 🙂

    I don’t think the question is – “which sex is more easily swayed away from the truth?”. Men and women can be equally grounded in and equally faithful to the word of God. The Spirit of God is the author of the word. The Spirit of God is what keeps us in pursuit of the truth, not our natural tendencies – male or female. The Spirit of God is what enables us to be faithful and obedient to Christ, our fleshly nature wars against this.The Spirit of God IS the Spirit of Truth, and we have the same Spirit. We would be equally lost without Him. Equally imprisoned to and fated to follow the flesh without His intervention, without the freedom Christ purchased for us. We are equally saved. With that said –

    Instead of coming at this from the negative – “Women are more easily deceived”, I would come at it from the positive – “Women are built to nurture. Most are guided instinctively by empathy, and because of this it takes more work to discern the intentions of an individual. Women are more sensitive emotionally, which can make mediating interpersonally difficult in some circumstances. Not ALL women are built like this, we are each unique, and shaped (sometimes softened or hardened) by the events of our lives and the environments that we grow in. These “feminine” traits are not a weakness, they are a strength when used properly (as intended). These traits become weaknesses when used in the wrong way. I would classify a position of authority in the church – to the point that a woman is teaching, discipling, and leading men – as the wrong use of the gifts that God has given us as women.. Is it possible? Yes. Is it ideal? I really don’t think so..

    In my experience, because men are built by God to lead, they tend to have a more direct/clear view in discerning the true intentions of an individual and in mediating/guiding people through interpersonal issues. This is essential when shepherding a church – pastoral duties and accountability goes far beyond the pulpit. Because of this, I think that men are uniquely endowed to lead the church in positions of authority. The church IS a family, in a global and local context. The man is the head of the family at home for the same reasons that he is the head of the family that is the church. And Christ is the head of the man in all circumstances.

    Even if a woman is a learned Bible scholar, a brilliant theologian and philosopher, a pillar of the truth and example of holiness, and a charismatic powerful speaker.. That does not mean that God has called her to pastor a church by enabling her to develop these qualities. God can work and lead through ANYONE, He does not need us to accomplish His purpose.. Even the weakest, most soft spoken, trembling, and simple-minded man can be a powerful tool in the hands of God. I would argue that in any circumstance it is better for that incredibly gifted and godly woman to be building up and supporting the men.. Encouraging them to lead. We need more men to step up and take charge, ESPECIALLY in the church. By taking that place of authority in their absence we enable the men who would rather take it easy hanging out backstage.

    Naomi Dowdy did say that it is possible for a woman to spend her days pastoring a church, to come home afterwards and submit herself to her husband as his wife/helper. But here’s what I don’t understand about this.. A pastor is not ONLY a teacher, a pastor is a shepherd. A mentor. An example. The person you go to with your struggles, questions, grievances, etc.. If the head of the family is the husband, the man – and the female pastor of the church is shepherding the men – is she not indirectly impacting the way that the man leads his family? Maybe she is in submission to her OWN husband, but is she then indirectly the head of every other family in the church? How can a woman who has not been equipped to lead as head of her own family stand in the pulpit as the example to the men in her congregation?

    In the context of missions – I can’t speak with as much certainty on my position. I understand that sometimes the work of the kingdom must be done and only women are there to do it in that moment. But I would also fall back to my point that a good portion of the men in the church need to step out and step up.

    The passage of scripture that has me consistently questioning my own motives as I work alongside my brothers in Christ is Genesis 3:16 “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
    A part of the curse of sin is the desire to push the man out of the way and put on the trousers. That makes it suspect, however “right” it may feel.

  25. Needless to say that Messiah is the head of THE CHURCH and HE is a HE. The church is a she. She is His bride. The picture is wrong when women (the brides) teach. It is proclaiming that the BRIDE teaches Messiah. Both the spiritual reality and the physical picture must line up. Also the wife is supposed to wear a covering on her head to show submission. Paul did not suffer a woman to teach or usurp the authority that YHWH has given to the man. There is no place in scripture that shows that the teaching or eldership ministry was given to woman.

    The older/elder women are to teach the younger women…not doctrine, but how to love and submit to their husbands and how to guide the home, etc. Younger men are not generally supposed to teach. Timothy was considered to be young and was probably in his late 30’s or early 40’s when Paul told him to let no man despise his youth. It is really the older man’s place to teach and the younger man’s place to submit to the older’s leadership. How much more the younger and older women should be in subjection to their heads.

    Personal ministry is for every member of the body of Messiah. Elder, Overseer, Pastor, Teacher, Apostle, Evangelist, Prophet and Bishop are ministries that are given to Men for the sake of the Body. They provide for the Churches needs in Messiah’s stead just as the Husband provides for the wife.


  26. @Bo, Amen, except I believe that women should be able to teach other women doctrine, IF, they know their stuff. Remember that all the Apostolic Churches had the men on one side, and the women on the other, or behind a curtain. So I have no problem with a senior knowledge and wise woman of God explaining to other women the truth of God, but her teaching the men goes against the spiritual imaginary and principle.

  27. Ashley. I really enjoyed your post. Very well explained and thought out and a joy to read. You have a great heart and it came through in your post.

    You brought a different angle and that is much appreciated.

  28. I translate the text I Timothy 2:12-14

    I do not allow women to teach in a way so as to be domineering over men.

    Paul is using a Greek word for authority not used anywhere else in scripture. It is an antchient Greek word that lit. means to take ones life or Self abuse of authority. Notice that he did not use the common word for authority as to not have this kind over a man. It is the way these women were behaving.

    Also Paul is dealing with a cultish cultural teaching where woman believed they were superior to men, that the woman was created first and has the right to rule over men. This mentality infiltrated this church. This same idea existed in Corinth. Paul is not giving an irrational reason why women should not be in leadership because Eve is more easily deceived. This is poor logic – for this logic would support not to be married at all. Paul is showing that man was created first and Eve was deceived first. Paul is not showing the weakest link in the deceptive chain of events, but is showing that their cultish teaching of lording over men had no biblical ground to stand on. Paul corrected two faulty teachings that infiltrated this churches thinking, that women where superior – and that they were created first by God. Notice that there are only two problems, One, with teachers (Timothy- Ephesus ), and two, with female students (Corinth).

  29. Also to add…

    If we don’t know the cultural struggles with false doctrines – we might be baptizing for the dead, and not understanding correctly John’s response to the Gnostics. It’s not using culture to side step – but to get at the truth by understanding context.

  30. I don’t see any passage in Scripture properly understood in its original context that would limit the role of women in the church.

    Thank you for this, Dr. Brown. 🙂


  31. Dear brother in Christ,
    Greetings in the lord,
    i am a Kenyan fellowship leader of 31 members fellowship under a shade. I am 32 years of age married with one wife and blessed with four children. I am also blessed to have a church.. I operate out of good will of well-wishers, to enable ,give the brethren s a hope for the future. Having been touched and moved by your statement of faith and your focus to make the gospel reach all corners of the world,i have taken a step of faith to partner with you to enable us learn more from you so as God`s word may reach all corners including Kenya. Having faith that you may want to connect me with all other contacts of yours from Kenya,i will appreciate if you do so for fellowship purposes,be blessed,and hopes to hear from you.Yours pastor

  32. R. Knuebuhl, No problem.

    I believe that if we are very much in the last days we will likely see a lot of grace poured out
    (lots of women in ministry for one example) because we will need this much grace to do the work the Church needs to do.

  33. Paul was speaking under inspiration, even when he says I not the Lord. “I not the Lord” probably means Jesus didn’t give a specific command on the topic. All Scriptures are inspired.

    Deborah wasn’t an Elder in the Church

    It doesn’t matter if Men or Women are easily deceived, Paul said Adam was formed first, true he also said the woman was deceived. The command is about exercising authority.

    Both men and women could hold or teach false doctrine. Peter and some other apostles were uneducated, so women’s education is not under consideration by Paul.

    Obviously women can prophesy as 1 Cor 12-14 would clearly suggest.

    There were many godly educated, spiritually mature women known by Paul in his ministry, yet his instruction to Timothy and Titus clearly suggest a male Eldership. People also ignore the multiplicity of Elders. The early Church had male leadership and I believe it had all to do with scripture not culture.

    Do not go beyond what is written.

Comments are closed.