Why Don’t We Have Female Pastors (Or Deacons)?

We don’t have female pastors because we believe the Bible teaches women are not permitted to hold main (lead) positions of teaching and authority over men in the assembly of the church. This limits them from holding the offices of pastor and deacon. They are permitted to serve in equally important, but complementary roles. God does expects them to live feminine lives according to His Word, obey His will, and glorify Him with their lives.

Equality And Difference By God’s Design

  • Equality: Women are created equal with men in the sight of God. This means that the female gender is neither more or less important or valuable. They can equally serve, love, and worship God. As a female believer, you should accept your gender as God’s will.
    Genesis 1:27; 5:1-2; Galatians 3:27-28
  • Difference: Women are equal with Christian men but they have different roles—including being limited in the kind of positions they can hold—by God’s design. God set a pattern for the roles of man and woman at creation. He created man first to be the leader, and the women second to be the helper. God is the head of Christ. Christ is the head of Man. Man is the head of Woman. This is based on God’s original intent at creation and will not change over time or because of culture.
    1 Timothy 2:13-14; 1 Corinthians 11:1-16

Offices, Authority, Qualifications, Examples

  • Offices: A healthy church has proper leadership that meets the Bible’s requirements. Jesus is the Founder, Builder, and Head of the church. A church has two main offices: pastor and deacon (although they can have the gift of deaconess or service as we see in the Bible). The leadership should meet the Bible’s requirements and lead by example. Women are not to be in positions of lead teaching or offices of authority in the local church.
    1 Timothy 2:11-14
  • Authority: Christian women are not permitted to speak out and publicly judge what is being said by the men (as in a leading and non-submissive manner) in the assembly of the church. Instead, they are to discuss any issues they have with the teaching in the church with their husbands at home (as in a submissive and non-leading manner). An unmarried woman can find a couple in the church to discuss it with. The idea is to not be combative and have a proper and complementary structure to deal with teaching in the local church.
    1 Corinthians 14:26, 33-37
  • Qualifications: The qualifications assume that the person desirous of the office of pastor or deacon is going to be male and therefore must be male. (For example: “the husband of one wife”; “ruleth well his own house”.) These qualifications also show that the authority structure of the home is reflected in the authority structure of the church. Thus, a healthy church structure is one that is in harmony with that of the home.
    1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9
  • Examples: In the Bible, there are no examples of women teaching the people of God in an assembly like a pastor. There are no examples of women pastors. For the people of God, there is only a pattern of male lead teaching and leadership. (Also, a study of church history will show that women have not been permitted to hold main positions of teaching and authority over men in the assembly of the church has been the rule and not the exception.)

Realigning Your Ministry With The Word Of God

  • Christian women should realign their focus on what the Bible says concerning them: She loves God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. She loves, serves, submits, and takes care of her husband. She loves, teaches, cares for, and bears children. She manages, guides, and keeps her home. She is full of good works, good speech, prayer, hospitality, and compassion. She is modest in appearance, demeanor, and behavior. She is a teacher and mentor to the younger generation of Christian women/wives/mothers.
    1 Timothy 2:9-15; Proverbs 31:10-31
  • Christian women should realign their focus to edify the church through their spiritual gifts and service. You should live holy lives that glorify God. You should be teaching the younger believers on how to be Christian wives, mothers and servants of God so that people will not mock the Word of God. Women are permitted to teach in the proper complementary roles and should be actively discipling others.
    1 Timothy 2:11-14; 5:2-16; 1 Corinthians 11:3-16; 14:33-36; Titus 2:3-5

Answering Tough Questions

  • What about the women in authority in the Bible? There are examples of women in authority in the Old Testament (government, judge, prophetess), but they are not examples for the authority structure inside the New Testament church.
  • What if there is no other option but having a women pastor? Unfavorable situations do not change God’s authority structure inside the New Testament church. If such a situation existed where only a women was able to lead the church, then she could help, serve, and teach the church in a way that wasn’t in rebellion against God’s authority structure or against the culture she was ministering in with the goal of assisting in raising up the proper leadership according to the Bible’s qualifications. But she is not permitted to fulfill the office of the pastor—even if there is no male leadership available.
  • Wasn’t the Bible’s limitation on women teaching in the church just cultural? No because it is based on God’s original intent at creation and will not change over time or because of culture. Although, certain expressions and “symbols of authority” (like head coverings) are cultural and they can change according to culture, the authority structure does not.
  • What if women serving as pastors and deacons was a normal part of the church I attended or part of the church culture that I am most familiar with? There are many things that we get comfortable with and are willing to accept because of our upbringing or culture, but that doesn’t always mean they are right. The Bible is our ultimate authority and we need to bring every doctrine or teaching into submission with the Bible. Thus, we need to realign our view with the bible’s and act accordingly.
  • What if the church I currently attend has a women serving as a pastor? According to the Bible, she is not a biblical pastor because she doesn’t meet the biblical requirements. The church is unhealthy because it doesn’t have proper leadership. You should try to find a healthy church that has proper leadership, teaches the Bible correctly and obeys it.

Review Questions

  • What is “equality and difference” by God’s Design?
  • What are the two offices within the church authority structure?
  • What are the gender qualifications of the two church offices?
  • Are there any examples of women pastors in the Bible?
  • Christian women should realign their focus to do what?

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