f The Wittenberg Door: Female Elders/Pastors? A Debate - Part 3 (Conclusion)

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Female Elders/Pastors? A Debate - Part 3 (Conclusion)

Here we pick up where we left off in the debate. Before that, though, I would like to mention that having this discussion with one of my former Pentecostal pastors (he is still of that persuasion) was quite a breakthrough. When I left the fellowship (and Pentecostalism) the pastors announced to the church that I was demon possessed and that no one was allowed to talk to me. So please pray that God will continue to open doors such as this, for this man is quite influential in his circles, and his wife (my wife’s former best friend) is a popular recording artist; so a change towards orthodoxy could positively affect others.

The Bible does make it very clear that women are to play essential roles in local church ministry and thank God we have had the privilege to see the fruit of Grace working within submitted women Pastors already in our church. Roles for women in the church are visible in biblical times to the dawning of the 21st century and women as I know you agree have always played key roles in the church. In my opinion, New Testament scripture in the Bible still presents a pattern for service with women in roles of ministry oversight. Many churches in our generation use terms as Director, Overseer, coordinator or minister as a title used to describe a woman in a role of oversight. Even though these titles can be appropriate for those who do not have the calling or gift to Pastor, sometimes these titles given to women are just a politically right term defining their Pastoral role over a specific ministry within the church.

We do agree that women can have very fruitful and valuable ministries. And I think you’re right that sometimes churches make women pastors and then just call them something else. This brings us to something else to consider: women pastors is a modern issue. In the Old Testament the priest were men. In the New Testament there are no examples of women pastors, and Paul excludes them by limiting the role to men in his “overseer” instructions of Timothy and Titus. It wasn’t until the last few generations that this started gaining traction, until women were pressing for more civil rights. (Something to chew on.)

In my opinion when The Apostle Paul challenged the women to be silent, not to teach or not to have authority, It was to re-establish Godly order and to detour those who were being disruptive or insubordinate to the authority of Godly men in the church NOT to set the rule of NO WOMEN PASTORS.

If you’re referring to 1 Cor. 14, then I agree.

There is no indication that Paul restricted women in their callings to specific GIFTS before God for the service of the church. Throughout Paul’s ministry he speaks of women as his co-laborers in the gospel and in Romans 16:7 it says "Salute Andronicus and Junia (feminine), my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me." Here we can see confirmation in the Bible that Paul had women working Key roles with the original apostles as well as Priscilla in Acts 18:26 & Romans 16:3.

In his letter to the Romans 16:1-2, Paul commends Phoebe a woman deacon, to the church of Rome. He is sending her himself as a minister of the gospel. The Greek word for “servant” is diakonos, a deacon. It implies that Phoebe had the same status in the early church as Stephen the martyr and Philip the evangelist. In speaking of Phoebe Paul also charges the Church to serve her with anything she would have need of to accomplish her business or in other words – ministry. This implies that she as a woman was sent with authority to fulfill a certain mission. Throughout the centuries, God has raised up remarkable women in the Body of Christ to places of leadership. They have stood in the five fold ministry of the church as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. As I mentioned to you before according to Ephesians 4:11-“ It was He who gave some to be Apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be Pastors and Teachers.”

We agree that women can have wonderful ministries. And yes, in modern times, women have served as pastors. The question is, should they serve? And that question isn’t answered by quoting Eph. 4:11, which simply teaches that God provides ministers. If we want to find out the qualifications for those ministries, pastors in this case, then we must go to the Scriptures that provide us with that information: 1 Tim. and Titus.

Postscript

On a final note, My brother- and sister-in-law also attended that fellowship (it’s where we all met as teenagers). When my wife and I left, the pastors met with my in-laws and acknowledged that there would be occasions that they, my in-laws, would have to talk to me; so they were forbidden to talk to me about the bible—they misjudged my brother-in-law terribly. He immediately called me and requested a meeting to go over the Scriptural case for my departure. Today he is a deacon in the Reformed Church of the United States.

--The Catechizer

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