This is part fourteen, the final one 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. He confronts the issue by responding to the most popular arguments made in its defense. You may disagree, and that is your right, but please be able to point to the Bible for your reasons and not the culture which is normally wrong.
Argument #17: — “Sister ______ is a God-recognized pastor (or elder, or prophet, etc.), because the eldership of our church formally laid hands on her to set her in that ministry office.”
A Biblical Response: Local churches and their elders sometimes act contrary to Scripture. That would be the case here. Elders are not infallible. Laying on of hands is indeed a biblical method of setting someone into a biblical ministry role. It happened often in the Bible. But there is not one instance recorded in the Scriptures where hands were laid on a woman for this purpose, while there are a number of instances where men were set into ministry by the laying on of hands. For example:
• The Levites (Numbers 8:9-11)
• Joshua, to take the leadership of Israel (Numbers 27:16-18, 22-23)
• The seven deacons (Acts 6:5-6)
• Barnabas and Saul (Paul) as apostles (Acts 13:1-3; 14:4,14)
• Timothy’s ministry gift (1 Timothy 4:14)
•• Consistent with other Scriptures we have looked at affirming men’s leadership and preaching/teaching roles, the biblical examples of establishment in ministry by the laying on of hands involve men 100% of the time.
Argument #18: “Scriptures like 1 Timothy 2:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 14:33-35
(or Titus 1:6 or 1 Timothy 3:2) are controversial and therefore should not be dogmatically used to validate any one particular position.”
A Biblical Response: These verses are "controversial" only because they were defined so by a surprising, unintentional coalition of liberal Protestants in the 20th century and a substantial number of Pentecostals and charismatics in the same time frame. They deem these Scriptures controversial because they don’t fit the conclusions that they choose to draw — conclusions that cannot be comfortably supported in light of these and other verses without casting doubt on them by naming them “controversial”. In fact, there is nothing controversial about Bible verses which say:
•• Do not have women teach or lead men in the churches (1 Timothy 2:12).
•• Women are “not allowed to speak” in the churches (1 Corinthians 14:34). At the very least, this verse says women are not to be what we call “the speaker” in a church service.
•• Elders, who are spiritual leaders in the local churches, are to be the “husband of but one wife” — that is, elders are men (1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6).
•• The Gospels show that Jesus’ chosen apostles were all men.
These verses are unclear or "controversial" only if one is uncomfortable with the clear message that they communicate about male headship in the Lord’s Church.
Satan offered the forbidden fruit to the first woman, Eve, along with the promise "...you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). Satan is tempting today’s Christian women with a similar siren song: "You will minister like men, teaching and leading men".
The larger context of Eve’s temptation includes Satan’s subtle question to her, “Did God really say...?” (Genesis 3:1). From the earliest times Satan’s tactic has been to discredit and cast doubt on the Word of God.
I believe that Satan is continuing that tactic today, by saying in essence to Christian women, “Did God really mean in First Timothy that women are not to teach or have authority over men?” Satan’s assault on God’s Word continues. And unfortunately many contemporary Christian women, supported by church leaders, are choosing to reinterpret this and other Scriptures to push for a blurring, and even a denial, of the distinctions God has established between men and women and their respective roles in the home and in the Church.
My concluding, heartfelt exhortation to the Church is this: the Bible is not an evolving document that adjusts to fit in with current cultures and changing societal values. It is a timeless document for all cultures over the centuries. “Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89, KJV). Do not let our contemporary cultural values shape the Church. Rather, let the churches, grounded in the immutable principles of Scripture, be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” that will model to the world the kingdom that God is establishing on earth.
God has placed His Church on this earth and has populated it with spiritually gifted men and women. Following God’s revealed pattern, and under the divinely-decreed spiritual leadership and pulpit ministries of God-called men, the Church is then blessed by the multifaceted spiritual gifts of dedicated Christian men and women. And the results are dramatic in the Church and in the world touched by the Church as “the whole body [of Christ] grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:16). Churches who elect to follow this heaven-sent pattern can be assured that the blessings of God will rest upon their labors!