Guest Post: Are Women Oppressed in Churches?

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Special Note from Dr. Brown. We are frequently asked about the role of women in ministry. Can women preach or teach? Only to women? To men also? Can they be pastors? Elders? Recently, my friend Kris Vallotton posted his understanding of some of the key Scriptures. This is a response from Nataliya German, who is married to Dr. Igal German, my assistant at AskDrBrown in Jewish ministry. Please enjoy this article and share it with your friends!

I recently came across Kris Valloton’s article where he writes: “Many women wake up every day to a world of discrimination simply because of their gender. But the most troubling aspect of this oppression is that the church is often found leading it! Many believers have developed a theology that proactively uses the Bible to disqualify women from the most formidable roles of leadership, especially in the Church. I am appalled by the number of Christian leaders who are convinced that women are not as qualified, called, and/or gifted to lead as men. The argument for disempowering women is illogical, unscriptural and beyond-outdated! I’d like to propose that any stinking thinking that relegates women to a lower seat of power or authority is way past its expiration date and it’s high time we get with the program that Jesus preached throughout His ministry” (

As a woman, I respect this male author for supporting and appreciating women but I strongly disagree with his perspective on the role of women in ministry. In his article, Kris argues that oppressing women is unscriptural. Of course, I wholeheartedly agree. At the same time, I submit that the Bible presents ample evidence for the fact that God assigned men and women their unique spiritual roles in the very beginning of primeval history. Are we in the position to judge God’s decision as oppressive just because it does not fit our limited human understanding? Of course not! Moreover, I submit that any attempt on our part to reconstruct the order established by God for male and female ministry would be dishonoring God. Before we proceed with our discussion, let us be reminded of God’s warning given in Revelation 14:6-7: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (KJV).

Contrary to many misogynist trends throughout church history, both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament present women as God’s precious vessels. Just like men, women are created in the image of God, called to advance God’s holy Kingdom on earth, responsible for their actions and equal to men in God’s plan of salvation (Genesis 1:27–28). Both Eve and Adam receive God’s blessing and are commanded to multiply and “have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28). This text demonstrates that God wants both genders to be in charge and take care of the beautiful nature He entrusted to them.

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