This is part nine in a series on what the Bible says in regards to the ordination of women in the church. Again, instead of rewriting what I believe has already been well laid out, I am sharing Dr. Jim Feeney’s writings on the subject for your edification. You may disagree, and that is your right, but please be able to point to the Bible for your reasons and not the culture.
Argument #9: “But sister ___ is not exercising ‘authority’ in violation of 1 Timothy 2:11-12. She is simply ministering her ‘giftedness’ (as an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, or elder).”
A Biblical Response: I have heard this erroneous argument more than one might imagine. The response to that is simple and biblical. We cannot isolate authority from these God-ordained ministries. For example:
•• Matthew 7:29 [Jesus] taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. One mark of a God-called and anointed teacher is teaching with authority.
•• 2 Corinthians 13:10 This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority — the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down. Paul’s apostleship to them included God-given authority.
•• Titus 2:15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. The Bible does not state precisely which of the fivefold offices Titus held. But whichever one(s) it was, he was to exercise it “with all authority”. It is illogical and without Scriptural support to suggest that one can receive a fivefold ministry office from the Lord without the God-given authority to fulfill it.
•• Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. These unnamed spiritual leaders had authority, to which the saints were to submit and obey.
•• 1 Timothy 5:17, KJV Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. Here we see elders ruling, a clear statement that church elders have authority from God.
In sum, we see again and again in the Bible that when God grants a fivefold ministry gift, He grants the authority to fulfill it. So the argument that ordained women ministers with great giftedness are exercising that gift without authority is not biblical. To be a pastor of a church and yet not have authority in that church is nonsensical. To be an apostle and not have what Paul called “the authority the Lord gave me” is antibiblical. To be a teacher without authority is to be like the scribes of the Law, not a Spirit-anointed teacher. This argument of giftedness-but-not-authority is a nonbiblical attempt to circumvent the clear teaching of 1 Timothy 2:11-12 that a woman in the church is not to have authority over men. Without God-given authority, ministries such as pastoring and teaching would be flat, lifeless, and ineffective.