Women in the pulpit

This morning I listened to the Jackie Roese’s (pronounced “Reese”) sermon, “Fight for the Heart of Our King” at Irving Bible Church this weekend.  This was the much-discussed event in which a woman was allowed to preach at this church which has long been opposed to such an event.

[Aside:  I also found on the church website a fair amount of information about their understanding of women’s role in the church.  As I perused (I didn’t read everything, nor did I read in detail) the section, I was reminded again of a professor’s comment about conservative professors going to liberal seminaries to acquire advanced doctoral degrees in the name of scholarly progress — “you can always tell when ‘Bossie’ (the cow) has been in the onion patch — it will come out in her milk.”  That is, you can always tell when scholars or professors or students or pastors or anyone else is reading the wrong kinds of material (eating bad spiritual food) — it always comes out in his theology.  So it seems to me about the input that Irving Bible solicited.  Reading and accepting the kinds of things they accepted, with the goals they have, it’s no surprise they ended up where they did.]

She is a very effective communicator.  She is a compelling story-teller and strong motivator.  But that is not the issue in whether or not she should preach.

I also have questions about her interpretation and application of the passage she preached.  The sermon was weighted far too much on illustration and application and very little on interpretation and exposition (explanation of what the passage meant when it was written by John).  But those also are not the primary factors in whether or not she should preach.

What she preaches and how she preaches is not the issue.  Giftedness is not the issue.  Spiritual maturity and fruit is not the issue.  Her worth and value as a believer in Christ is not the issue.

What is preeminent in this discussion is whether or not God has decreed that it is permissible for a woman to teach a man in the context of the local church.  That is, can a woman preach when men are present in the audience?

And when the Bible unequivocally says, “I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet” (1 Tim. 2:12), that is enough clarity on the topic.  There are other passages and other reasons as well, but that says it as clearly and concisely as possible.  The answer is, “No, a woman may not teach or preach when men are present.”  That does not demean her value as a follower of Christ, it doesn’t mean she uses poor hermeneutics, it doesn’t mean she is spiritually immature or demonstrating meager fruit.  It means that God has ordered and decreed that men function in the role of pastors and teachers in the body of Christ to demonstrate the headship of Christ over the body of Christ.

As I said the other day, the events that transpired at Irving Bible Church this weekend are just another demonstration about what’s wrong with the American church.

2 thoughts on “Women in the pulpit

  1. Seems to me that in one of my classes of late, we discussed Genesis 3:16 To the woman He said: I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children, your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Would this apply to woman’s desire to teach over man? Is this the first issue that caused woman not to teach man, why we must be silent in church?

  2. That discussion was in the class on anthropology (doctrine of man). Interpreters have taken the desire that the woman has for her husband in various ways (3 primary views — sexual desire, desire for him to provide security, and desire for his authority and leadership.” A woman’s desire to exercise authority in the church is very definitely an application of what happened in the fall of man in Genesis 3.

    As to the question whether this is a reason that women should not teach men — this is not the reason why women are not to teach; the reason they are to teach men is rooted in the order of creation (1 Tim. 2:12-13). That is, the reason they are not to have authority over men was established by God at the moment of creation, prior to the fall. What the fall did was introduce sinful desires where a fundamental struggle for a woman would be to submit to the leadership of her husband and to not give in to the temptation to usurp his authority.

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