Why Women Are Not Pastors
Needless to say, many women today have taken pastoral positions in churches everywhere. It’s common to hear about a church with a woman pastor. But is this biblical? Is this something that God ordains and blesses? What does God’s Word have to say about women who want to be pastors?
I understand this is one of those touchy subjects. And I am not seeking confrontation. Truly, I want to be a good steward of the truth revealed in Scripture. Since it’s a secondary issue (though very important to me) I don’t take every opportunity I get to share what the Bible says about it. And this goes for any teaching/topic. For instance, if I meet a woman pastor I don’t immediately bring up the teachings. What I hope to do in this post is address this issue with as much gentleness and respect as possible.
Since this is a secondary issue, many leave the conversation after hearing one or two arguments against women eldership. They agree to disagree and go on about their business without seriously considering what they’re doing. Now, there’s already many videos and writings out there on this subject. If you’ve researched this topic and have seen what the Bible says about it, you probably won’t learn much more in this post. But here, I want to clearly lay out for you why it is absolutely unbiblical for a woman to pastor a church.
The issue is NOT about whether they are able to preach well or not.
I would like to quickly clarify that I don’t believe women are unable to properly exegete biblical text, or counsel, or pray, or lead, or shepherd. Some women can do this way better than I can. When I talk to people firsthand that have a female pastor they are quick to defend how well they can preach and teach. But that is not the issue. Some, indeed, are really good at teaching.
Common push-backs include the accounts of Mary or The Woman at the Well (John 4). They say, “Look here at how God used these women to spread the word about Jesus.” But this is a misapplication. Women are not excluded from evangelism. Nor are they exempt from The Great Commission. Everyone is included in this. But this is not the same as taking on a pastoral position.
Also, this is not a supremacy thing. It’s not that women are less important or less valued. We are equal. But God has given men and women complimentary roles that the other is not to take on. God has designed women for certain roles, and men for certain roles. This is not a matter of opinion, but what the Bible says.
The following passages are three well-known verses that oppose women eldership. These are not the only verses that can be found, but give us enough to chew on.
1 Tim. 2:11-5
11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.12 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. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children.
1 Corinthians 14:33-35
33 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.
Here’s a good place for us to remember that Payte didn’t write the Bible…
The issue is about how to properly handle what God has already said.
For those who love God and his Word, reading these passages is enough. But many people want to find their own way around what God’s Word says to fit their own preferences and convenience. The Bible is clear that God has ordained men to be the head of the household (cf. Eph. 5:22-33), and lead the rest of the family. This is the duty of every family man.
For those who are being led by a woman in the local church, I would advise you to leave. But before you do, however, ask your pastor what she thinks of these verses… Women pastors are not obeying these Scriptures, and will likely excuse other foundational Christian teachings found in the Bible. Their main argument will be that the passages are out-dated and unimportant these days. But God has spoken through the Apostle Paul for New Testament church structure.
The fact is, the Bible does not support women eldership anywhere. There’s not one female major prophet, high priest, or pastor anywhere in Scripture. I’m not saying there are not women judges, women leaders, or women who prophesied. This is about the position in the local church as pastor-elder. Furthermore, when it does address the issue, Paul says he does not “permit a woman to teach, or exercise authority over a man.” Again, the issue is not about agreeing with my opinion, but whether or not we will submit to this biblical instruction.
In conclusion, I understand this stuff involves wise, genuine conversation over multiple cups of coffee together. I’m not out to get women pastors, but I see this is clearly unbiblical. In regards to matters like these, sometimes it just takes time to discuss these Bible matters in person to see any change. However, it must be understood that those who strive to obey the whole counsel of God’s Word have no freedom to navigate away from these texts. It’s clear and settled. It is not a matter of whether or not women are capable of preaching well; it’s about what God said. If He said women may pastor along with men, there would be no dispute! Alas, God has spoken through Paul to the New Testament Christian church that women are not permitted to fulfill the role as pastor in the local church.
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