The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
+ Ordained Female Clergy +
“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
I Timothy 2:12
The latter part of the twentieth century has brought much change in the thinking about women’s role in the church. The Bible forbids women preachers and any argument in support of them must come from outside sources. Women preachers have contributed to the rise of many sects and cults which promote false doctrine. Even though there are many sincere women who feel called to preach, they are sincerely wrong. It is unnatural and unbiblical for women to be ordained in the ministry. Please consider the truths in this article.
“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.” I Corinthians 14:34
“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” I Timothy 5:14
The Bible must be our final authority on this subject or any other, for it is the only rule book for the Christian and the church in all matters of faith and practice. There are no contradictions in the Word of God, so we will let the clear statements stand, and determine doctrine based on them.
The Ordination of Women Preachers
The church has been feminized in recent years even to the point of producing sissies and social affairs. More John the Baptists are needed today in our pulpits. The majority of mainline denominations ordain women into the ministry, whereby they serve as pastors, associates, deacons, chaplains, missionaries, counselors and social workers. For example, the Southern Baptists have over one thousand ordained women filling various roles of ministry even though at their convention in 1984 they adopted a resolution saying Scriptures “exclude women from pastoral leadership.” In the American Baptist Church USA there are over seven hundred women ordained; the Presbyterian Church USA has over two hundred; in the United Methodist Church over three thousand; in the Episcopal Church USA about one thousand four hundred; in the Evangelical Church in America over fifteen hundred; in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) over nine hundred; and in the Assemblies of God over four thousand. These numbers are from a Hartford Seminary study in 2001. Through liberal churches and the tremendous growth of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement, the number of women preachers continues to rise.
The Qualification of Preachers
The Bible in I Timothy 3 gives the Biblical qualifications for ministers and deacons. According to verses 14-16 the book of Timothy shows us how to behave ourselves in the house of God. Many women are intelligent, know the Bible, can speak well and may have a desire to preach, but this still does not qualify them for the ministry. I have had a desire to fly helicopters for years, but just because I have a desire does not qualify me to do so. In I Timothy 3:1 a woman is disqualified immediately because it says, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.” Please notice that it did not say, “If a woman desire the office of a bishop.” Then in verse two, that man is called a husband and of course a husband is a man who has a wife. According to verse four, the bishop is to rule his own home as well as the church. The pastor is to rule (Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24). But a woman is not to usurp authority nor rule over a man (Genesis 3:16, I Corinthians 11:3, 7, I Timothy 2:11-12). She could not be submissive and rule at the same time. A woman preacher is usurping authority and ruling over her husband and other men. A bishop is an overseer which has authority and is to rule in God’s church. In the Bible there are no women priests, pastors, deacons, apostles, evangelists or missionaries. Not one of the apostles of Jesus Christ was a woman. There is not one sermon in the New Testament given by a woman preacher. All words for preachers in the Bible are masculine. For example, in the qualifications of a bishop in I Timothy 3:1-7, the masculine pronoun is used throughout the text (he, his).
Let us consider the subject of “prophetesses” in the Scriptures. Several women were called prophetesses: Miriam in Exodus 15:20, Deborah in Judges 4:4, Huldah in II Kings 22:14, Noadiah in Nehemiah 6:14, Anna in Luke 2:36, and the four virgin daughters of Philip in Acts 21:9. The meaning of the word prophet and prophetess is the same in the Old and New Testament. A prophet or prophetess is simply someone who received divine revelation of things to come under the anointing of the Holy Spirit to give to others. A prophet does not have to be a preacher, but is one to whom God speaks to and who speaks for God as Agabus in Acts 11:22-28. Miriam was called a prophetess in Exodus 15:20. She never preached but did lead women in singing (not men). She also was used as an object lesson to other women in Numbers twelve when she was cursed with leprosy. She tried to seek authority and leadership in religious matters and God dealt with her severely. According to Judges four, Deborah was called a prophetess but she never preached one sermon. She had no authority but did give counsel to Israel at a time when there was no king or government in the land. She gave a brief message from God to Barak but never led the army or pastored a church. Again, the four virgin daughters of Philip were prophetesses. They received revelation from God but did not preach. According to Acts 2:17-18, God poured out His Spirit upon all (including daughters and maidens), and they would prophesy. This does not mean that every one preached, but it does mean that God spoke to them and they spoke for God to others. All showed a desire to prophesy, but not all were called to be a minister.
The Role of Women in the Church
According to I Timothy 2:13-15 and I Timothy 5:14, the primary role of women is to marry, bear children and guide the home. She is not qualified to execute authority. She was created as a helpmeet to follow and not to lead. She is commanded to be silent when it comes to teaching and usurping authority over men: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (I Timothy 2:11-12) and “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. 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” (I Corinthians 14:34-35). She is allowed to teach children and younger women, but not men (Titus 2:3-4, II Timothy 1:5, Proverbs 6:20).
In conclusion, there are many good and godly women mentioned in the Bible and not one of them is a preacher. Even though a woman is forbidden to preach or usurp authority, she plays an important role in the New Testament Church. They serve in many areas for Christ’s sake. God praises women throughout His Word and we should be thankful for their labor of love.
“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry”
I Samuel 15:23
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523