Why Not Women Elders?

Why not Women Elders?

Of all the qualifications for elders taught in scripture, the most controversial in our day is the requirement that they be men.

Why is this so controversial?

Because we live in an era when people both worship equality and misunderstand it.

The Bible is clear that both men and women are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). It is also clear that God, from the beginning, gave men and women different roles in his plan – even before the Fall. Adam was put in charge of the Garden to work it and take care of it (Genesis 2:15) and Eve was tasked with being his helper (Genesis 2:18).

Male and female roles across the board are beyond the scope of this article but the point is equality of worth does not require equality of function. Unfortunately many people today, even inside the church, do not understand that. They’ve drunk deeply from the well of the Spirit of the Age and believe that to deny women any role is to deny their worth and equality before God. This is the same spirit, by the way, that says men and women are completely interchangeable because gender itself is a merely social construct.  But, you do not have to do the same job as another person to be equal to that person in value. Even among the persons of the Trinity there are differing roles yet all are equally God.

Scripture tells us the church is made up of people with a variety of gifts and that each of those gifts is necessary for the church to be healthy (I Corinthians 12). If we all had the same gift we’d have the kind of equality our culture seeks but we’d have an unhealthy church. As Paul says, if everyone is an eye we’d never hear anything!

What is the biblical evidence for male only elders?

The clearest passage is I Timothy 2:12-14:

I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

 With a similar passage in I Corinthians 14:33-35:

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

Notice the two functions Paul calls out in the I Timothy passage:

  • Exercise authority
  • Teach

These are the functions of elders. They are, when taken together, uniquely functions of elders. Elders are the ones given leadership responsibility for the local church (I Peter 5:1-3, I Timothy 5:17) and the ones responsible for teaching the congregation (I Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:9). There are other passages you can point to but if a woman is not permitted to do these two things with regard to men, she cannot function as an elder because she cannot lead and teach a large portion of the church.

It’s as simple as that.

Some people claim Paul is speaking from a cultural perspective, that this was true in the first century but does not apply today. Paul, however, doesn’t give us that option because he tells us why he forbids women to teach:

For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

 This is not cultural it is creational. It goes back to the roles ordained by God for men and women from the beginning and to the dynamics of the Fall. Paul uses the same logic to argue against women teaching and exercising authority over men that Christ uses in Matthew 19 to uphold marriage as one man and one woman – that God ordained it so from the beginning.

So elders are to be men. Always, in every era and every culture.

 

Photo credit: twm1340 via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Betty and Gloria Survive A Not Terror Attack

Betty and Gloria Survive A Not Terror AttackBetty & Gloria were on the subway headed home from their weekly fight the patriarchy rally. As the train pulled into the next stop a man dressed in black boarded. As soon as the doors closed he pulled out a gun and began waving it around.

“Alluha Akbaaaaaarr.” He shouted

“Oh no, Betty,” Gloria screamed “it’s one of those fundamentalist Christians who hates gay people!”

“I know and he’s, he’s, he’s got one of those things!”

“What things?” said Gloria

“Those gun things. It could jump out of his hand at any moment and kill us all!”

“Listen infidels,” the man said “I’m a loyal soldier of ISIS here to inflict Allah’s justice on the decadent west.”

“What did he say?” asked Betty, who was cowering under the seat by now.

“That he’s from the NRA and he’s here to make sure ten year olds can buy fully automatic weapons at gun shows,” whispered Gloria.

“Oh no, we’re doomed. Those people are as crazy as it gets!”

“Shut up infidel spawns of Satan!” the man barked.

By the time the train pulled into the next station the platform was filled with police and SWAT. The man began threatening to shoot the passengers.

As he leveled his gun at Betty & Gloria, a shot rang out. The man dropped to the floor. The police rushed the car and in moments it was over thanks to a police sharpshooter.

Afterwards Betty & Gloria were interviewed by the police.

“Ma’am, what can you tell us about what happened?”

“Don’t you ma’am me you cisgender fascist,” said Betty.

“Oh, sorry, well, what did you ladi…um…I mean can you tell me what happened?”

“It’s all kind of a blur,” said Gloria. “The only thing I remember for sure is that he was waving a Confederate flag.”

Betty and Gloria walked along in silence as they headed home wondering how this could have happened. Finally Betty said:

“You know Gloria, it occurs to me that perhaps we’re wrong about this man.”

“How do you mean?”

“I bet he was just a self-loathing transgender man who had been oppressed his whole life by being forced to use the women’s restroom and he finally just had enough.”

“You could be right,” said Gloria. “And if that’s true, you can’t really blame him. I bet he’s even had people bully him by refusing to use his preferred pronoun.”

“Yes,” said Betty. “It’s sad. What a mixed up world we live in.”

“Indeed.” said Gloria.

 

 

 

 

A Few Questions for the Gender Warriors

A Few Questions for the Gender WarriorsIt’s hard to keep up with the gender and sexuality culture. Just when you think you have all the permutations and combinations memorized, another letter is added to the sexuality alphabet.

You may have seen a recent story about a 52-year-old man who identifies as not only a woman but a six-year-old girl as well – who goes by the name of “Stefonknee.” I wrote about it here. He has been “adopted” by a couple with (real) children who role-play as his “mummy and daddy.” Continue reading “A Few Questions for the Gender Warriors”