Men and Women in Ministry

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We believe the Bible teaches that God created men and women and they equally bear His image (Genesis 1:27). However, God’s intention for woman was to be complementary to man, and they were to share oneness and community (Genesis 2:23-24), even as the Godhead experiences oneness within the Trinity. Each had a direct relationship with God and they shared jointly the responsibilities of rearing children and having dominion over the created order (Genesis 1:26-28). However, human oneness was shattered by the Fall. The struggle for power and the desire to “rule over” another is part of the result of human sin. Genesis 3:16 is a prediction of the effects of the Fall rather than a prescription of God’s ideal order.

It is God’s intention for His redeemed ones to experience the oneness that exists between the Father and the Son (John 17:11, 20-23). This means that old unbiblical divisions and hierarchies between genders and races are not to be tolerated within the Church, for “there is neither male nor female” because we are all “one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

However, regarding the role of women in church leadership, we believe that women are not to teach or exercise dominion over or govern men in the Church based upon the original created order ( 1 Corinthians 11:8-9; 1 Tim. 2:12-13). The phrase in the ESV “to exercise authority over” means rather, “to exercise dominion over.” In the sphere of doctrinal disputes or questions of interpretation, where authoritative pronouncements are to be made, the woman does not have authority to make such pronouncements. Therefore, what the Scriptures details is that men are those whom God has deemed to have authority in the Church in matters of leadership, doctrine and interpretation. The prohibition of a woman to teach, does not include the teaching or leading of women, girls, or children in a Sunday School, for instance, but does prohibit the woman from being a lead elder, or a doctrinal teacher. With certain exceptions, it would not be correct, either, for a woman to teach a mixed class of adults.

In the home the woman complements the man and is to submit to her husband in all things, while the husband is to love his wife as Jesus Christ loves the Church, the Bride of Christ. (Ephesians 5:22-25; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Peter 3:1-7).

In the formation of the Church at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on men and women alike, as had been predicted long before the coming of Christ (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:18). In the New Testament, women as well as men exercise prophetic and priestly functions (Acts 2:17-18; I Corinthians 11:4-5; I Peter 2:9-10). Further, the sovereign Spirit bestows gifts on all members of the Body of Christ without giving anyone preferential treatment based on gender (Acts 2:1-21; I Corinthians 12:7,11). Every believer is to offer his or her gifts for the benefit of the Body of Christ (Romans 12:4-8; I Peter 4:10-11). The Church must not prevent believers from exercising their spiritual gifts, if this occurs, it will quench the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

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