— Women in the Ministry —
“WOMEN IN THE MINISTRY has been one of the most hotly-debated
issues in the history of the Christian Church, and it remains among the most
volatile and emotionally charged subjects in the Church today. From the
one extreme of misogyny (hatred of women) and chauvinism to the other
extreme of militant feminism and everywhere in-between, strident voices
claim to speak for God, giving the answer to a ‘woman’s place’” (John D.
Garr, Ph.D., Editor and Publisher of RESTORE magazine).
Women are wonderful. I’m married to one (and it’s been 44 years now!).
But women can be a pain to God’s heart as well as to society. With the
militant feminist movement well underway, lesbians and bi-sexuals and all
other types are DEMANDING a place of power and status in the Church.
Those are NOT the kind of women I champion, and those are not the kind
of women the Bible champions in ANY place!
It is now interesting to see the Islamic religion, which is pretty much
misogynistic (women-hating), having women leading prayers and preaching
in mosques. Of course, this is a total outrage to many, but you see, the
women are defying orders to stop. The same goes for the Roman Catholic
Church (RCC). Women priests are being ordained and accepted in certain
locales but to the disfavor of the top leadership. However, I’m not really
concerned about what’s going on in Isalm or the RCC. I want to put forth
what concerns the Body of Christ.
There is no doubt as a whole, that for many centuries, male
bureaucracies have denied women any positions, particularly leadership
positions, in the ministry. The women’s role basically has been that of a
nice housewife. Nothing wrong with that. My wife is that too. But my wife
also has a calling from God for the ministry, and I allow her that calling
despite what certain churches teach.
Silence and Submission
Silence and submission have their place in the Church. These modern-day
Jezebels need to keep silent and submit. They do not need to be in the
ministry at all unless they are truly saved and sanctified from their sinful
habits and attitudes. You won’t get me to change my mind here! But these
women make up a small minority when we think of the universal Body of
I mean to re-examine the Scriptures (in these studies) that are keeping a
great “work force” imprisoned because of the lack of true Bible
The anti-women movement (which is old) relies upon eisegesis (reading
meanings that you want into the Scriptures to make it so that they say what
you want and you get out of the Scriptures what you want them to say). It
has little concern for proper exegesis (gleaning meanings and
interpretations from out of what the Scriptures really say). This has been
the BIG problem all along.
It has been pointed out that since the second century AD, the Church (really,
the Ekklesia—the Body of “called-out ones”) has molded its doctrine and
practices after what scholars call “Neo-Platonist dualism.” (Some converts
of early Christianity were formerly philosophers from the Platonistic
Philo, who had his roots in realist Judaism, pointed out the doctrine that
Plato taught: “an ethical dualism between matter and spirit.” Plato
separated the material world and the spiritual world, making one evil and the
Platonistic dualism declared the spiritual (ideas) as good while declaring
the material world as evil. As Dr. Garr points out, “In this construct, it was
only a small leap of ‘logic’ to label those who bring new life into the world,
trapping sparks of the divine in inherently evil bodies, as epitomizing evil
itself. Women were so characterized in ancient Greece and other nations
that embraced its philosophy.” In other words, women were blamed for
“trapping” the good spiritual substance of life in an evil material body since
women are responsible for the birth of babies. Thus women were declared
evil. (But aren’t men equally responsible for the conception of babies?)
If one studies the Old Testament carefully, one clearly sees that women
were not despised but honored, loved, even followed as leaders. Lenore
Lindsay Mullican, a teacher of modern Hebrew at Oral Roberts University,
says, “Paul’s use of ‘neither male and female,’ probably alludes, in a typical
rabbinic method of interpretation, to Genesis 1:27: ‘So God created man in
His own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female
created he them.’” As Mullican points out, alluding or referring to Scriptures
was a method of rabbinic midrash, which was characteristic of Paul as well
as Jesus. So we go back to Genesis, and we read that man and woman are
given equal authority over the rest of God’s earthly creation since they both
were created in the image of God. It is equal authority that we see, not
slanted or unequal authority.
What Mrs. Mullican was saying is that MAN AND WOMAN EQUALLY
SHARE THE GOD-ASSIGNED TASK OF RULING OVER THE CREATION,
AND THERE IS NO INTIMATION OF ANY ROLE DISTINCTIONS. THAT
MEANS MEN AND WOMEN RULE EQUALLY. G. Bilezikian, in his book,
Beyond Sex Roles, repeats the same thing. I’ll cover this subject more in
It has also been pointed out that the Bible teaches freedom of choice in
reference to marriage: when it comes to being single or married, a man or
a woman may choose whether or not he/she wants to submit to God’s will
for his/her life (e.g., see Genesis 24:58). A lot of religions deny that right, at
least to women.
“So we go back to Genesis, and we read
that man and woman are given equal
authority over the rest of God’s earthly
creation since they both were created in
the image of God.”
We also see women in the Bible having rights of inheritance (Numbers
27:7-8). And we find that “the model woman” in Proverbs 31 is, as some
point out, an “independent businesswoman” who is also in the authoritative
position of supervisor in her own household—she even owns land. Also, it
is worth mentioning that according to Exodus 21:15, striking one’s mother
was punishable by death just as striking one’s father was punishable by
death. These examples do not exist in many religions, even in entire
societies (including modern ones). (You may want to request General
Deborah’s teaching tapes and videos on “The Tale of Two Women.” You’ll
The Talmud, a collection of teachings from Jewish leaders, has many
ugly, blasphemous things to say about Jesus, Christians, and women. Of
course, the Talmud does not speak for all Jews nor did it speak for the
Biblical Hebrew religion (see our section on the Talmud).
The Talmud teaches that Jesus Christ was illegitimate (had no legitimate
father) and was conceived during menstruation. It calls Mary a “stada,” that
is, “a prostitute.” This view of Mary is found in both the Jerusalem Talmud
as well as in the Jewish book Toldath Jeschu (“The Generations of Jesus”).
So Mary is thereby placed in an untruthfully sinful light. Mary was a sinner
just like all of us, but she was not a whore who slept around and became
pregnant with Jesus during menstruation.
In our section on the Talmud, we give a series of references that very
negatively speak of women. In contrast to all this, the Old Testament and
New Testament speak very highly of women—the right kind of women.
Therefore, one cannot use the Talmud as proof that Biblical Judaism or
Christianity teach misogyny.
Good and Evil
Throughout the ages, men have commonly been portrayed as “good”
whereas women, being the ones who produce offspring, have been
commonly portrayed as “evil.” For example, take Aristotle, the “high priest”
of Greek rationalism. He considered women to be evil. One writer notes
that Aristotle taught that women were “little more than a deformed man.”
Aristotle once said, “Amusement does not go with learning, for learning
is a painful process.” It seems he took his study of rationalism very
seriously. That means he took his declarations about women very seriously,
and many people have been affected by his teachings. You can just
imagine the role of women he portrayed in his teachings!
Plato was Aristotle’s disciple. Certainly, Aristotle and Plato had profound
negative effects upon the unsuspecting minds of their male students, and
those effects have lasted the centuries. Males were looked upon as much
superior. Not only were men considered physically superior but also
intellectually superior, which made women seem basically worthless.
(Remember, women were considered the pinnacle of evil.) This idea crept
into Christianity and we can still see it at work today. Don’t many Christians
think of women as basically worthless for the ministry despite the fact that
the Bible teaches otherwise?
In the days of the early Church there had already been an infiltration of
crafty men who “crept in unawares” (Jude 4). Jude tells us about such
men “who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly
men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying
the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 4). Not only was
unrestrained vice or sexual freedom being taught, accepted and practiced,
but men were teaching others to hate and despise women, especially to
hate and despise women assuming roles within the Church, particularly
To extrapolate is to extend the application of some thing or idea or
conclusion. The early Church, drawing from the Platonistic dualistic
worldview of crafty men, extrapolated the idea that one could become
“spiritual” (or “more spiritual”) by separating from the material, natural world.
This extending of Platonistic views into the Church led to the promoting of
such things as celibacy and the orders of monasticism. Celibacy and the
orders of monasticism have been carried to the maximum by groups like the
RCC. Because of the withdrawal from marriage and the withdrawal from the
raising of families, all kinds of sick perversions have resulted. Need we talk
about this in light of the current lawsuits against the Roman Catholic priests
who are accused of child molestations and a number of other vices?
Getting too religious (men believing in their own self-righteousness) was the
problem that opened up the door for self-righteous men to embrace the
Greek idea that women are personifications of sexual lust and are ipso facto
(by that very fact) the personifications of evil.
The Apostle Paul deals with the “sex problem” in detail. In I Corinthians,
chapter seven, Paul speaks about marriage and the duties of husbands and
wives. Notice verse one: “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote
unto me: ‘It is good for a man not to touch a woman.’” Paul was not
making a point here about women but was quoting what someone else had
said. Paul quoted the statement and then he answered it: “Nevertheless,
to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every
woman have her own husband.” And he says in verse 9, “...if they
cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn
The phrase “not to touch a woman” means “not to marry.” Where
did the RCC come up with such things as all priests must be celibate? Is
not that church taking what Paul was merely quoting and then making it
something that he was declaring? Has not their misinterpretation of the
Word created a “vicious pendulum,” a swinging to extremes—from
uncontrollable passion to self-hatred to self-mortification and back to
uncontrollable passion again?
False doctrines are dangerous. For the promotion of one false doctrine
leads to the promotion of another. Think about this: If women are specially
classified as the personifications of evil, then the next line of logic is that
there certainly could be no higher order of spirituality than to completely
withdraw from conjugal (marital) relations, for it is spiritual to withdraw from
evil and, having defined women as evil, that means it is spiritual to withdraw
from WOMEN! So, you see, one lie does beget another.
God did NOT create women EVIL any more than He created man EVIL.
God’s creation of man (male and female) was deemed “very good”
(Genesis 1:31). Everything He created was pronounced as “good.” Sin
ruined His creation. Sin changed the whole creation. That’s right, sin
changed the whole creation—it ruined women and men equally, not just
women and not women more than men. But Jesus Christ opened up the
way for us to be healed and reconciled unto God, and this too affects
women and men equally.
“False doctrines are dangerous. For the
promotion of one false doctrine leads to
the promotion of another . . . [for] one lie
does beget another. ”
It has been rightly said that men and women under evil influences have
found themselves entangled in a mess, in an addictive web of co-dependency with domination and submission. They have found themselves
trapped in an ever-widening chasm, a deep canyon of sinful inequality
between themselves and others. But thank God, HOPE ENTERED THE
WORLD THRU THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD, JESUS CHRIST
THE LORD (MASTER), WHO LITERALLY BROKE THE POWER OF SIN’S
DOMINION (SOVEREIGNTY, CONTROL). Yes, we can be freed from sin
thru Christ and gain dominion, and God can bring us—men and
women—into His true intentions of equality.
ADAM Brought Sin Unto the World
Romans 5:12 tells us, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the
world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men...” There
are lots of Christians (so called!) who do not believe this Scriptural fact
because they want to blame Eve for everything (and we have dealt with this
subject in other studies already). The truth is, by the transgression and fall
of Adam, sin as “an active principle or power” gained its entrance into the
entire human race (vv. 17, 19; Genesis 3; I Corinthians 15:21-22). And it is
rightly said that two main results followed Adam’s sin: 1) Sin and corruption
entered into and filled Adam’s heart and life; 2) Adam transmitted sin into
the “life stream” of the entire human race, corrupting ALL (with a capital “A”)
people thereafter. This is FACT! You may want to look up the following
Romans 5:19; 1:27; 7:24; Genesis 6:5, 12; 8:21; Psalm 14:1-3; Jeremiah
17:9; Mark 7:21-22; I Corinthians 2:14; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 2:1-3;
Colossians 1:21; I John 5:19.
These ought to prove the FACTS to any and all who believe the Bible.
“That’s right, sin changed the whole
creation—it ruined women and men
equally . . . But Jesus Christ opened up
the way for us to be healed and
reconciled unto God, and this too affects
women and men equally.”
Did you know that before Christ, there was only ONE man upon the
earth? Since Christ arose from the dead—He conquered death!—there are
now TWO men upon the earth. The first man is the first Adam (i.e., sinners
under the curse) and the second man is the second Adam (i.e., Jesus’ Body,
His many-membered Church). We are all either the first man or the second.
The history of the Gentile world plainly reveals the fact that women were
often reduced to a sub-human status in order to be literally bought and sold,
used and abused and kicked out like a bag of garbage. They were
commonly used as sex-slaves and were degraded to very inferior roles and
deemed as merely “the procreation species.” Even in our modern times,
there are church organizations that put women on a lower plane of just child
bearing, child rearing, and so on (not to say that those things are “lower”
responsibilities or meaningless jobs), but they never allow women to have
any say-so in church matters—women are to be silent, remember? Other
societies and religions have gone to the other extreme—worshipping the
female as a deity. But the former practice (lowering women) is by far the
major and most popular one.
More Susceptible To Sin?
Are women really more susceptible to sin than men? Who decides the truth
on this matter? Is not the Word of God the deciding factor? Yes! Well,
what does the Bible say about men, women, and sin?
Let’s take a look at the Biblical record of Romans chapter one. Verse
21 declares that “when they (male and female) knew God, they (male
and female) glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but
became vain in their (male and female) imaginations, and their (male
and female) foolish heart was darkened.” Read the rest of the story.
Sinful men (males and females) “CHANGED the glory of the
uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man...” (v.
23). They (males and females) “CHANGED the truth of God into a lie...”
(v. 25). They (males and females) “DID CHANGE the natural use into
that which is against nature” (v. 26; compare with v. 27). Obviously, men
and women have equally sinned and must be equally susceptible to sin, for
both have gone to the same depths of sin.
Yes, my friends, sinful men and women have CHANGED many of God’s
truths into lies. That means both men and women have a susceptibility to
lying. And we can clearly see that one of the lies that men (and women,
believe it or not) have told is that women are more susceptible to sin than
men and are inherently more evil.
Back in Romans 1:18 it says that “the wrath of God is revealed from
heaven against ALL ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (males/
females; humanity), who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” This verse
clarifies how God feels about sin. God’s wrath is revealed against ALL sins
committed by men and women. The sins of men are not singled out.
Women’s sins are not singled out either. ALL sins incur God’s wrath, and
all have sinned.
Restoration and Revelation
We need a restoration of the real Biblical truth about God’s design for both
men and women, husbands and wives. The only solution to this unholy and
un-Biblical pollution is DIVINE REVOLUTION! A new appraisal or
evaluation of male and female relationships is at hand. Let’s face it: the
Church has fallen short of teaching the truth about men and women.
With God’s help I’ll try to do what I can in bringing forth correct teachings
on this subject. I do not consider myself to be a Bible scholar (there are
good ones out there). I do consider myself to be a serious seeker of truth.
Trust me, having traveled the world for years now, I’ve seen just too much
abuse against females to let the lies go unchallenged.
Imbalances beget imbalances. For example, this whole movement of
militant feminism is a result of an overemphasis on male dominance.
Feminists are rebuked, but we must consider that promoting male
dominance is as bad, in one sense, as outright misogyny (the hatred of
women). The only real balance is found in the teachings of the Bible. I
should say, in the PURE, CORRECT teachings of the Bible.
A true sensitivity to women demands honor and protection. We must
appreciate women and value them as co-equal with men, their God-ordained counterparts. Dr. John Garr points out in his essay on “Biblical
Women” that a true Biblical “help mate” should be an equal partner.
(Forgive me, I personally dislike using “partner” now since it is closely
associated with the homosexual movement!)
What about submission? In holy matrimony, a woman’s submission to
her Christian husband is truly a demonstration of her submission to Christ.
It is not about male dominance, but a demonstration; and it does not take
away from her equality to her counterpart.
I have known pagan men who quote the Scriptures (out of context, of
course) that DEMAND women “to submit” to the man. These pagan men
have heard such things from “Christian” men who rule with a rod of iron in
the home and Church. How does this affect things? Well, the pagan world
is not receiving an authentic witness of the truth, and that means the pagan
world cannot come into the full freedom that the truth can bring. If things
were different, perhaps more men could humble themselves and find their
need of God, and perhaps more women would see that God does long for
them to press into Him and receive the callings He desires them to walk in.
Now, let’s face the ugly fact that Christian homes are no better than
pagan homes these days. So what can we show the unsaved?
Nothing—until we get back into the truth and fulfill our God-given roles as
men and women, equal counterparts, in Christ Jesus the Lord.
What about male headship and leadership? Male headship and
leadership were designed by God for protection and guidance, NOT
domination that leads to damnation; and God has appointed women to be
leaders too. Many people hate these facts. Over the years, my wife has
received her share of abuse from many people (particularly so-called
Christians) because she is co-equal with me in the ministry. Of course, we
get the same old Scriptures thrown at us, and we’ll be studying those
Scriptures in these lessons.
Operating In the Gifts
It is time to acknowledge that God abundantly gives gifts and graces “to
every man (both male and female) to profit withal” (I Corinthians 12:7).
Are these gifts to be used at home only or in the Body of Christ—in the
midst of the assemblies of believers? If they are to be exercised in the
Church, then women must operate in the gifts just as men do—OPENLY IN
Speaking in tongues was and is one spiritual gift that must be verbalized
in Church for the edification of the believers along with the interpretation of
tongues for the edification of the entire Church. But are women allowed to
“speak” in Church? Well, were not the women in the book of Acts (2:4) filled
with the Holy Spirit and did they not speak in new spiritual tongues as well
as the men? Did not Peter explain in his sermon that “...your sons AND
YOUR DAUGHTERS shall prophesy...” (v. 17)? Where will these
DAUGHTERS prophesy? At home only? No, in the Church. How can their
prophecies edify others if these daughters speak only to themselves or to
their husbands in private? Think! If it is the Spirit that comes upon both
men and women to prophesy, would not the same Spirit anoint both men
and women to preach and teach God’s Word? The gifts of God are for both
male and female, men and women, for the equipping of both sexes to work
in the ministry.
“If things were different, perhaps more
men could humble themselves and find
their need of God, and perhaps more
women would see that God does long for
them to press into Him and receive the
callings He desires them to walk in.”
Time For Liberation
As the early Church was influenced more and more by Greek and Latin
culture, its views and practices toward women drifted away from the pure
way of the Holy Spirit. Let us quickly get back to God’s original intent.
It is not time for male dominance. It is not time for feminist liberation. IT IS
TIME FOR A SPIRITUAL REVOLUTION—FOR WOMEN, CALLED OF
GOD, TO TAKE THEIR PLACES IN LEADERSHIP IN THE MINISTRY; and
FOR ALL WOMEN TO BE ALLOWED THEIR PLACES IN CHRIST’S
Different Schools Of Thought
There are several schools of thought concerning I Corinthians 14:34-35. Of
course the most dominate one holds to the top “literal” view that doesn’t take
the context of chapter 14 into consideration. It simply states, “LET YOUR
WOMEN KEEP SILENCE in the churches, for it is NOT PERMITTED
UNTO THEM TO SPEAK...”
Another “literal” perspective states that verse 34 may be interpreted by
verse 35, which says, “And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their
husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the
church.” It is believed that Paul was rebuking certain married women who
were interrupting church services by asking questions which could be asked
at home. We could view things that way. Nothing wrong with that kind of
reasoning . . . but we must realize something. It was ONLY married women
who were to be silenced, not single women.
If we are really going to take these verses “literally” without examining
the context or interpreting these verses as generalized principles, then the
second perspective mentioned above is the most accurate one (i.e., the
command was only dealing with married women). Yet many anti-women
men who brag about interpreting the text “literally” are the same ones who
wrongly include ALL women, married and single, in the “command.” Is that
fair, say, if these were really Paul’s instructions for certain married women
who had been causing problems? Is that really an honest interpretation of
I May Be Wrong...
I may be wrong...but I’ve always held to the view that Paul himself never
made those statements found in verses 34-35. “Did he not write I
Corinthians, General Jim?” you ask. Sure he did. But let us go back to
chapter seven for a minute. Read verse one: “Now concerning the things
whereof ye wrote unto me...” The entire seventh chapter is Paul’s
response to questions which were asked by certain members (obviously
men!) of the Corinthian church. Also, if we examine chapter eight, we find
the same question-and-answer pattern: “Now as touching things offered
unto idols...” (v. 1). Here Paul responded to questions about food that was
offered unto idols. As we continue through I Corinthians, we discover that
this question-and-answer pattern repeats itself in other places, for example,
in chapter 14. The point I am getting to is that the statements in 14:34-35
were made by others whom Paul answers in verses 36-40 (and continues
to answer in chapter 15). This clearly and best explains the drastic
“What?” response made by Paul in verse 36 (KJV) and also clarifies the
points Paul made in the rest of the chapter as well as those in chapter 15.
Remember, in the early writings of the Old Testament and New
Testament, there were no numbers for verses or chapters and so on, and
there was no punctuation. Thus you cannot judge these verses by whether
or not your translation has quote marks surrounding them to show that
someone else said the words. There were no quote marks in the original text! Paul could have easily quoted verses 34-35 from a question asked of
him or a statement made to him. It is the context, the immediate and
broader context, that must be examined when we interpret these verses.
“Paul himself never made those
statements found in [I Corinthians 14]
verses 34-35...[but] the statements...were
made by others whom Paul answers in
verses 36-40 (and continues to answer in
I believe Paul was quoting what someone else said. I may be wrong...
but in light of the immediate context, particularly Paul’s drastic response in
verse 36, not to mention all his other writings about women and their roles,
positions, and privileges, and not to mention the rest of the New Testament,
I believe this interpretation is right. We are really left with no other option.
We may say that a woman or certain women must be silent in the
Church if we are speaking about a specific situation that involves rebuke
and correction because of sin. However, it makes no sense to say that all
women or certain groups of women must forever be silent in the Church. It
just doesn’t fit into the context of I Corinthians 14, I Corinthians itself, or
particularly the rest of the Bible.