Recently there was a small dust-up between John MacArthur, California pastor and Beth Moore, a famous Bible teacher. It revived an age old complaint about women in authority in the church based on a passage which has been for centuries completely misinterpreted.
Thirty years ago there was an awful fuss about women serving in the Church in some official capacity as though they should be limited to the Cs – cooking, choir and children.
The advantage of having years of looking back is that one can see patterns and I see no difference between then and now. Many men do little to move the Kingdom forward and the presence of some women ministers is of meager value as well. Then there are women doing mighty works for God and some men too. In other words, the leadership of the church of God wherever it exists takes on the coloring of its membership. If the congregation is OK with theological basics, fine. If they want something more, they will get that.
The chief argument against women is Paul’s famous requirement that women not speak.
1 Corinthians 14:34 Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.
But he adds something that makes this statement sheer sarcasm. He says, “as says the law.”
There is no mention in the Law of God forbidding women in ministry
Check it out folks; the law of God says nothing of the kind. The command comes from Jewish legal writings known as Mishnah and Gemara which have no bearing on Christian belief or practice, any more than their food laws do. The Law Of God is simply the 1st five books of Moses – Period. The rest is prophets, history, Psalms and worship material and common sense writings. All are God’s word; none is to be thrown out. But neither is anything to be thrown in.
Lesbian women are not to preach and teach, but neither are gay men! The Bible is clear on that. Sin must be dealt with before anyone takes leadership over God’s people.
Paul more than any other writer says nothing under the Jewish legal system has any effect on people under grace – that is we, Christians. He is throwing old Jewish law back at the readers to tell them what path they are on. Paul wrote an entire book, Galatians, scolding them for living under Jewish rules.
So here is what we find. There are many believers who are very comfortable living under the old law. Whole denominations live under the law, as Christians, with little freedom to move forward for the Kingdom. Please remember. That is their choice and Free Will is always the program of God. He will not countermand your desire to live wherever you faith system is comfortable.
My friend Wanda, a missionary to Belize, did all the preaching, teaching and counseling and her husband did all the cooking, an arrangement which brought hundreds into the Kingdom and the natives were happy. You know that kind of arrangement would not fly in many parts of the USA.
There are penalties for living in less than God wants but that is between you and Him. God is used to this law-business.
Numbers 14:4 So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”
When the going gets tough trying to obey God, there is always a group headed back into trouble, sin and death. When we stay fixed in our theology or position, how can we move on? And many individuals, denominations and congregations do not.
Denominational life has its focus on buildings, money, jockeying for position, and satisfaction in what they have. Opening up the ministry to women forces them to change, to widen their tents, and look at the world the way God does. God still speaks to His people within the confines they have set up for Him. He uses everyone and everything if He can. And if He can’t, then He finds other people to do the work.
The decision is not what others want, but what God wants for you. Choosing God’s will for your life leads to an overwhelming confidence. Confidence comes from two root words – con meaning with and fideo, a Latin word meaning faith. If you are with God in His will your confidence will empower you and frighten others. But not to worry, let God handle that.
Beth is right about one thing in particular. God calls individuals to the work He has for them as individuals. It is not the job of human beings to decide or control that. All of us answer to God for the level and sincerity of our obedience. And that includes me as well.
#BethMoore #JohnMacArthur #womenteach