By Brian Mavis
Colleges are training them. Churches areÂ using them. And Christ is being exalted.Â Here”s what we learned when we talked to women who preach and the professors who have taught them.
Jodi Hickerson”s journey of becoming a preaching/teaching pastor began at 19 when she joined the teaching team for the high school ministry at Southland Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky. A few years later she was part of the programming team at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, and then at 26 became one of the teaching pastors at Heartland Community Church, Rockford, Illinois. Today she is part of a four-person teaching team at Mission Church Ventura in California. Hickerson represents a small but growing trend in Christian churches””women who preach/teach.
A few more examples would include Jen Oakes, who is another teacher on the Ventura team; Rhesa Storms, who is part of the teaching team at Forefront Church in Manhattan (New York); and Jess Alston, who teaches occasionally at Mosaic in Baltimore, Maryland.
Additionally, Christian church colleges are training more women than ever in homiletics and expository preaching. Five years ago the preaching faculty at Ozark Christian College decided to revamp how they included women interested in preaching. The motivation for this came, in part, from a survey of students. Damien Spikereit, director of the preaching department, said, “When we asked, “˜What do you want more of?” the female students said, “˜We want what the guys get. We want the preaching classes too.””
“We then,” said Spikereit, “had to ask ourselves, “˜How do we do that? How do we do this in a way that honors Scripture and our tradition?””
So What About Scripture and Tradition?
There are two passages, found in 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2, that the Ozark professors had to address because many Christian churches have applied them in ways that preclude women from preaching or teaching in a church assembly. “The key issue,” Spikereit believes, “is differentiating between the act of preaching and the role of preacher. Preaching has to do with proclamation, edification, and teaching of the gospel. The role of the preacher is more than that. [A preacher is] the teaching elder, the spiritual leader of the church. In contemporary language, [a preacher is] the “˜senior minister.” The act of proclaiming the gospel and exhorting fellow believers with the Word is not equivalent to authority. If a woman is gifted to preach and teach, [she is] free to do so under the authority of the elders. By the way, men are also to teach in submission to the eldership””it”s no different.”
Daniel Overdorf, dean of the school of congregational ministry and a professor of preaching at Johnson University in Knoxville, Tennessee, agrees.
“I believe the boundary falls within the function of an elder,” Overdorf said. “Because the senior pastor functions like an elder, I”m not comfortable with a female senior minister. I am comfortable, though, with a woman on the preaching team who is under the authority of the eldership.”
For those who still don”t see it that way, Mark Scott, former academic dean at Ozark, makes another point about the validity of training women to teach and preach.
“The work of the kingdom is larger than developing preachers for a church,” Scott said. “The preaching of the Word is much broader than what happens in the assembly. Women can preach and teach in ways and places””in missions, parachurches, and campus ministries””that don”t conflict with even the most restrictive applications. The issue might not be women and preaching but women and the preacher.”
Training Women to Preach and Teach
Hannah Randolph enrolled for the new class””Biblical Communication for Women””that Ozark created as a result of the survey and study. The class was identical in design and content to Homiletics, with the only difference being the gender of the students. Randolph went on to take Expository Preaching and Advanced Biblical Communication, both of which were coed. Today she is on the youth ministry teaching team at Christ”s Church of Oronogo in Missouri.
“I was apprehensive at first,” Randolph confessed. “I had never seen a woman preach or teach. I didn”t have a female role model, so I had trouble picturing myself doing it. But I was looking for something that would grow and use my gifts to teach. The first class, the female-only class, gave me confidence to enroll, and it was a comfortable environment. The next two advanced classes only had three or so girls in them, but the guys were very encouraging and supportive.”
Jodi Hickerson didn”t attend a Christian college or study preaching in a classroom, but she had tremendous training from the churches she attended. “I wish every young communicator””boy or girl””could have had the experiences I had. I was encouraged by all the churches and given opportunities to develop the communication gift God gave me. They gave me a safe place to learn and grow in front of them. I wish more churches would take risks like that. When church leaders see the gift in a person, the church needs to develop the gift, regardless of gender. It would have been nice to have a female role model, but I really didn”t have one. My dad (Mike Breaux) was my biggest role model, and then people like Jon Weece, Rusty George, and Gene Appel, whom I had the privilege of sitting under on a regular basis. It isn”t about men communicators verses women communicators; it is about each of us doing our very best with what God has given us and relying on the Holy Spirit to speak through us.”
What Value Will ChurchesÂ See by Including Women Â in Their Teaching Teams?
So if more women become a part of preaching and teaching teams, how will it affect the church?
“Well, women are half of the human race and the other half of the image of God,” said Randolph. “No one would say that men and women think alike. In general, women tend to be more compassionate, and we would probably understand better what a woman needs to hear in terms of application.”
Rhesa Storms said, “It became obvious that a sermon series would benefit from a woman”s perspective. A natural one was a sermon series on marriage. But for a woman to teach, the topic doesn”t have to be just about women”s issues. It”s about what God has to say about human issues.”
Spikereit saw several benefits.
“In the classes I”ve taught, the girls have had different insights into a text. Not different in a peculiar way, but in a fresh way,” he said. “For example, I”ve heard a ton of sermons on Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac, but it was a girl in my class who preached on Hagar and what it must have been like to be her. I”ve never heard that. And it wasn”t about novelty. It was a neglected text. Female teachers will bring sensitivity to issues that women relate to. They bring an emotional content that men sometimes miss.
“Another benefit,” Spikereit continued, “is that by seeing a woman use her gift to teach, women in the church are empowered to think, maybe I have something to offer. In most churches, 60 percent of the congregation is women. This can encourage and unleash many gifts that are being held back in the church.”
Storms echoed that thought, “I find it exciting to see women pick up more roles. Honoring how God has created us.”
But It”s Really Not About Women Preaching
I will end this with an editorial note. When I spoke with the three women quoted in this article””Jodi Hickerson, Hannah Randolph, and Rhesa Storms””all three emphasized that the preaching/teaching issue isn”t about the gender of the preacher or teacher. What mattered was that Christ was being exalted””Christ was the cause. I found all three of them humble, sensitive, and thoughtful. Personally, I would love to have the chance to hear them teach the Bible and lift up Jesus as Lord.
Brian Mavis is executive director of the Externally Focused Network. He also serves as community transformation minister at LifeBridge Christian Church in Longmont, Colorado.Â
I believe both reasons for women preachers [provided in the article] are unscriptural and give in to the sin nature of wanting what someone else has. As innocent as it appears, when will just preaching be not enough? I am in agreement with the apostle Paul to not sit under the teaching of a woman.
As a former student at Ozark Christian College, I can tell you Hannah Randolph truly was one of the most powerful, gifted student preachers I heard on campus. I had known her since we were both freshmen, but I never would have expected the way the Spirit communicated through her. It was one of the most memorable sermons I’ve heard. For real.
It is not fair to consider 1 Timothy 2:12 apart from its context (1 Timothy 2:9-15). If women are forbidden from teaching and having authority over men, they are also instructed not to braid their hair or wear gold, pearls, or expensive clothing (v. 9). And we must not overlook the rationale for her submission, namely that “the woman was deceived and became a transgressor [before Adam]” (v. 14). Is the implication that all women are more easily deceived than all men and that, therefore, no woman is fit to teach except under a male’s authority? Although church commentators up into the 19th century routinely drew this conclusion, I think it is impossible to make this case. If it were the case, women would be unfit to teach or have authority over men in any venue””college, university, business, or wherever.
In response to “Women Preaching” in the April 2013 issue, I heartily agree that women have a valuable role within churches, yet caution with this thought: Do we have the right to change what God instituted?
The author of the article cited two passages, yet left out one that I believe is important, 1 Corinthians 11:8 and 9. In these verses, Paul argues that man is the head or leader. Jesus could have appointed or designated a woman as an apostle, for surely some women had the qualifications cited by Peter in Acts 1:21 and 22, yet he didn”™t. Instead, Jesus appointed men to be his designated witnesses to the world. And in the New Testament letters, the apostles were sent either to churches or to leaders of those churches””men, not women. And Paul”™s qualifications of those who would be the spiritual leaders of a church begin with this fact, they must be men (husbands).
At the same time, the Bible says there were women who preached or proclaimed the good news. Acts 8:1 and 4 indicates when the early church came under great persecution, those scattered “preached the word” everywhere they went. Surely this must have also included women. And, in Acts 21:9, the Bible says a man named Philip had four daughters who “prophesied.”
So could it be, as others have suggested, that women served in these roles in private settings, but not when the church officially assembled together?
When I watch women preach on TV, I notice the audiences are mostly comprised of women. Is this intentional, or do women naturally gravitate toward female preachers?
Personally, I”™ve known several women who are passionate about the Lord and sharing him with others. But most of the time these women shared Jesus either on a one-to-one basis or in a group setting such as a women”™s retreat.
Could it be that God wants the modern-day Adam to rise to his role as leader, to do what the first Adam did not””lead? And are we becoming like King Saul, who became tired of waiting for Samuel, so he went ahead and offered the sacrifice himself””much to his later regret?
Sunrise Christian Church
Is Christ exalted by disregarding his instructions?
If we can disregard Christ’s instruction that women are not to teach men in the church, can we also disregard the qualifications for eldership in 1 Timothy 3? Can we permit unrepentant sinners to preach occasionally as long as they exalt Christ? Can we permit atheists to preach occasionally something that they don’t actually believe as long as Christ is exalted? What’s the limit? Where’s the line? The line becomes relativistic. It becomes too easy to twist Scripture to suit our own will. The line gets moved to where we can do what we want to do and call it “spiritual” and say that it exalts Christ.
I think that we exalt Christ by submitting to him, even when it hurts . . . even when we don’t really want to.
Even if there is no slippery slope, we are still willfully (mis)interpreting Scripture in order to disobey the Lord’s will. The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has done a good job at dealing with 1 Timothy 2, as has Dr. Jack Cottrell. Although I think that the passage is perfectly clear and that the issue is more of the will then of a genuine confusion over what the passage is instructing, these resources may be helpful in clear up doubts raised by those who have invented ways of reinterpreting 1 Timothy 2.
In my personal experience teaching homiletics, I have decided to permit women to take the class. I give the strong caution throughout the class that I am not condoning any disobedience to 1 Timothy 2. I give examples of activities where one can use their homiletical skills without violating the Lord’s instructions for us, such as youth ministry.
Again, Christ is best exalted when we show that we truly love him by obeying His commandments (see John 14 and 15, etc.).
We have no authority to revamp or edit God’s word to our own pleasures and desires. The obedience of God’s word as he gave it is evidence in itself that we submit willingly. If we do not aggressively follow his intent we are lost with the world. Our opinions of what we want are tantamount to rebellion of God’s desire to save us. Isaiah 55:8-11
“Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your forefathers.” Proverbs 22:28
One verse, which has not yet been mentioned in this discussion of women preaching and teaching men, is found in the beginning, Genesis 2:18. “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'” We have long since abandoned the idea that God created women for a different purpose than men. We educate our daughters in a similar fashion as our sons with no distinction of purpose in mind. We send them off to work and higher education with never a thought that they might be designed for something higher, holier, grander. Not a one of us should be surprised that our women pursue their own careers, that they are now filling our pulpits or that they will one day be drafted to serve in military combat.
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Galatians 6:7
Praise God for Jodi, Jen, Rhesa, Jess, Hannah, and the several other women preachers in our movement. Don’t let the naysayers get you down. “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2, ESV).
In the words of Sister Silena Moore Holman: “If the silence of Scripture as to woman”™s public work “¦ is reason sufficient to oppose it, then no woman should be allowed to sing in church, or partake of the Lord”™s supper as there is not the faintest allusion in the Bible as to her having ever done either.” ~Gospel Advocate (November 21, 1888).
We ought to be careful when we wrestle with the Scriptures. I may have admiration for Charles Stanley and other denominational preachers preaching, however when they blatantly twist Acts 2: 38 and other Scriptures concerning salvation, they are wrong. So too, we must stand on the word that we have received as true and accurate. A woman may minister in several different areas. But when we place her in a role as a preacher, an authoritative role in the church we are “flying in the face” of Scripture. It is not a matter of qualification, it is a matter of ordination that comes plainly from God’s word. Christ’s Church must stand on the known, not the speculative.
I think we forget that maybe God understood how men and women work when he put these guidelines into place. For a Woman to be on a preaching team with men, means that the risk of closeness and a percieved spiritual bonding might take place. When a woman spends large amounts of time and passion outside her family, her focus becomes diverted and infatuation can take root as well as lack of judgement. Her Children suffer, her husband suffers, her future suffers, as well as the families of the Men around her. I think our focus and talents need to be focused on our Children and honoring our Husbands. Are these girls single? Even more the danger of emotional entanglement. Every Church, Campus Ministry, Mission team, and Para Church organization has had issues of Staff becoming sexually entangled because they spend so much meaningful-purpose filled time together. I have heard from more than one staff person, intern, pastor or missionary that “God just wants us to be happy!” or “We share the same ministry, we are meant to be together!” Men compartmentalize their lives, women don’t. Our focus is our focus and becomes all encompassing.
Is there any scripture which considers the person who stands at the pulpit the church’s “leader”? On occasion we use guest speakers or someone other than the “official preacher” to do the sermon. Does that make the person our “leader”?
I would submit that the elders “lead” the church, and the preacher(s) teach the church. While they are related, they are not at all the same. Since we have evidence that women taught in the Bible, I find it hard to see how we should prohibit that today or only allow it in Sunday School or “private” settings.
“Do not… put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:28
How could God state his desire that his people refrain from tattooing themselves any clearer?
We don’t tattoo ourselves because his will is not clearly stated.
We tattoo ourselves because we are selfish, willful, disobedient children.
Women should: Women should not:
“learn in quietness and full submission” “teach or have authority over a man”
“be silent” “speak”
“remain silent in the churches”
“be in submission, as the Law says”
“ask their own husbands at home”
“train the younger women”
“be busy at home”
“marry, have children, manage their homes”
How could God state his desire that women “remain silent in the churches” any clearer?
We don’t allow women to “teach or have authority over a man” because his will is not clearly stated.
We allow women to “teach or have authority over a man” because we are selfish, willful, disobedient children.
“Youths oppress my people, women rule over them.
O my people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path.” Isaiah 3:12
Excellent article – thank you, Brian.
This is a very interesting, thought-provoking article. It saddens me that so many people jump to the conclusion that someone’s desire to share the Gospel and use her gifts and talents is sin. I don’t have the particular gift of preaching/teaching, but I do sing regularly in church settings, and often times I’ve led worship music in a large group setting of both men and women. I’ve taught small groups of high school girls and guys. So I guess my questions for those of you who so strongly oppose women teaching/preaching/leading would be:
1. How much can I say in between songs without sinning? Am I allowed to read scripture to the congregation? Can I share parts of or my full testimony?
2. How old does a male have to be before he is considered a man and authoritative over me/all other women? Should we go by the American legal adult age of 18? 21? Or the old Jewish 30? New Jewish 13?
This is a topic that I have been very curious about for years because my upbringing tells me one thing, but reasoning, my studies of the Bible and discussions with other Christians make me question that upbringing. I would appreciate your loving, knowledgeable feedback.
Man… Lots of sad responses to this article… I can’t believe that nearly everyone is all right with a women teaching children, the future of our church, every theological idea that will guide them throughout their life, but they’re so opposed to a woman merely speaking from a stage. Sad stuff.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
A lot of heat on this topic. Let’s at least agree that we’ll look for guidance from Scripture. I’m not sure where I’ll end up on this issue. At 56, I’ve grown up with a set point of view (only men in the pulpit, as if that needed clarification). However, I am willing to re-examine my thinking as long as a discussant is as willing to “go to the source” as the Bereans were…
Excellent article. I too would love to have the opportunity to hear these women preach. How thrilling that they are using their gifts to the fullest.
This was a well written article that was also very thought provoking. As a Bible college student in the late 60s I noticed that women were taking the same course work as men, except for the preaching classes. As I matured it dawned on me, if women take the same course work as men in our Bible college, why wouldn’t we expect them to be “ministers of the word.” Is the word “preacher” what disturbs us? If we really don’t want women preachers, then all of our Bible colleges need to stop accepting women as students! Now we know that is not going to happen, so it is only logical that we are having women ministers coming out of our colleges. Personally I’m all for it! If I understand the New Testament correctly, Christ came to restore what was lost in Eden–equality. Why are some today against what God wanted in the first place–women equal with men. As we all know the Bible can be used to prove almost anything. We do need to look carefully at the scripture. And when we do I think we’ll find God wants to use women. Are we going to question where God wants to use them?
In the O. T. women are mentioned prophesying five times: 1.) Miriam , Ex. 15:20 was given a song by the Lord to share with Israel. She had NO ongoing prophetic ministry aside from this. 2.) Deborah, Judges 4:4 was used by God to give one singular revelation to Barak. She had NO ongoing prophetic ministry apart from this., 3.) Huldah II Chron. 34:22 was given a revelation from God to “give” to Hilkiah the priest about God’s judgment on Judah. She is not mentioned as having a continuing prophetic ministry., 4.) Isaiah’s wife in Isa. 8: 3 is referred to as a prophetess, but only because she bore a son whose name had a prophetic meaning. NO where else is there mention of her having an on-going prophetic ministry, and 5.) Noadiah, a false prophetess mentioned in Nehemiah 6: 14 who CERTAINLY DID NOT have an ongoing prophetic ministry from God. None of these women had an ongoing ministry of prophecy. The first four were all given a revelation of sorts from God for one and only one specific purpose and occasion. They can not be used as a “proof text” for today’s current preaching ministry.
In the N. T. proponents of women having preaching ministries consistently go to Gal. 3:28 to prove “role equality”. Paul here writes, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, their is neither slave nor free, their is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ.” Only problem is this does in no way show role equality when it comes to ministry. The context if you look at verses 13, 22, 24 and in 4:6 where Paul is still on the same point is that we all share the same salvation in Christ Jesus.
In the Bible we have no books authored by women. We have no women Apostles. We have no women Elders ( in fact the qualifications clearly exclude women ). We have no women evangelists. It was not a cultural bias. It was because those were roles which God chose to be filled by men.
In the N.T. in Acts 21:9 we are told that Philip the evangelist had four daughters, “who prophesied”. At some point each had given a prophetic utterance ( this is a fulfillment of Joel 2: 28-32), however they are not referred to as “prophets”, but daughters “who prophesied”. Again in I Cor. 11:5 we are told that women did prophesy, but there are none mentioned as being a “prophet” in the sense of an on-going role.
If God had desired women to have such a role as preaching, I believe He would have given us an example in His word. The lack of such an example means that we have NO scriptural authority to place a woman in such a role. It is not a talent issue. It is not an intelligence issue. It is not a performance issue. It is a Scriptural issue and we do not have the right to go beyond the Scriptures and do as we please.
The article clearly states the sad state of Ozark College. Let’s take a pole or our students and see if they oppose abortion, pre-martial sex, homosexuality, or other socially acceptable sins. When we put our finger to the air to examine popular opinion we are caving to the world. Once again the world is teaching the Church rather than the other way around.
Brothers and Sisters,
The Word of God has NEVER changed, My God Don’t Change, neither does HIS wrath Revelation 22:18-19 (KJV). We human beings want to change it to fit what we are doing at the moment.
When the BIble says it is wrong, then it’s wrong, that’s all there is to it.
Timothy was very clear in 2 Timothy 3:17 (KJV) That the MAN of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. All scripture was orignated with the Living GOD, who cannot lie. (Hebrews 6:18) then its TRUE.
“It’s a fearful thing to fall into the Hands of the Living God” Hebrews 10:31. (KJV)
Numbers 6:24-26 (KJV) 24. The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: 25.The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26. The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Rev. Greg Finch-TN-
I wish I could fully know the mind of God Almighty in this matter of women preaching, teaching, or being a leader in the body of CHRIST . . . I don’t. I am going to go as far as the Holy Spirit will allow me to go without shame or doubting what God desires of me to do. You see, I have a desire to please and bring glory to Jesus, my LORD and SAVIOR. I do believe this: no one can go beyond God’s will when fully led by the HOLY SPIRIT . . . because being in line with God and His Word will produce fruits of obedience. The WORD SAYS WE ARE ONE IN CHRIST JESUS.
Feminism in the colleges and universities has been growing at a very fast pace. I have written about this in my blog, and it is also clear where this is heading: addressing God as “Mother.” Theresa Garbe, in her thesis at Emmanuel, clearly describes how we ought to view God as having a womb and breasts, and address God as “mother” in our worship services. See my two-part blog (thebladeonline.org/wordpress) here:
It seems that Christian Standard, by printing this, endorses it. The authority of God’s Word again takes a hit. If it was unacceptable for women to preach 30 years ago on the basis of God’s Word, what changed? Did someone come off of one of the seven hills of Cincinnati with stone tablets in hand proposing to modify the Truth? The camel’s nose is fully in the tent.
Not surprising to see this becoming the new norm. As the culture goes, so goes the Church. My prediction is that baptism will be the next “essential” doctrine to be abandoned.
I’m still stuck on 1Timothy 2:12..women prachers that teach women..no problem…I don’t know how you are getting around this instruction..
The problems I have seen within the context of the church body – 1 – Men not leading, 2 – so much focus on who is behind the microphone, so little focus on individuals living the Word as best as possible. 3 – Dissociation from holiness with deference to attendance… What if we started there? The other aspect we seem to ignore is the structure of a ‘Sunday service’ in the first place… so, so far removed from the original intent of Jesus. It’s built from the premise that whoever stands behind the microphone is Paul. It is a shadow, and more close to being false than true.
What a great article! I believe Spikereit and Overdorf handle the text well. It’s pleasing to hear of woman who are playing a major role in the Kingdom by using their gifts of preaching. Thanks Brian for giving insight and clarity in this matter.
Let us not forget, “In essentials, unity; in opinions, liberty; in all things love.”
Jesus while here on earth, could not offer a sacrifice at the altar. He could not wash in the laver, he could not eat of the shewbread, he could not trim the lamps, he could not offer incense at the altar. He could not enter the most holy place. Had he lived in the time of the tabernacle he could not carry the curtains or furniture.
Of course He was Only the Son of God, the creator of the world, the first begotten from the dead,the eternal Word, and the upholder of the universe by the power of His Word. But He could not do the work of the priest or levites.
It was not that He was inferior to the priests, or that He was not as intelligent, or strong, or talented, or was in anyway inferior. It was just that He was obedient to the Law under which He lived. God is sovereign! God has the right to say only priests could do the things priests were told to do. Others who presumed were put to death or struck with leprosy. Women who presume to preach and elders who allow it usurp the soverignity of God. Churches, schools, magazines who continue to encourage this slippery slope, sin against the women and the Lord. You are in our prayers for in my judgement your sin is one of presumption.
Peter Rasor’s blog (linked a few entries above ) says, “Hannah Randolph preaches at Christ’s Church of Oronogo in Missouri.” But the article above says she “is on the youth ministry teaching team.” I cite this recent example of misinformation because such distortions have the power to cause considerable trouble for real people. Whatever one’s view of women’s roles, Christian leaders have a heightened responsibility to speak and write the truth. Loose lips sink ships. Loose blogs sink jobs. Readers also have the responsibility to read carefully. The oft stated “Don’t believe everything you read” should be heeded, especially when a Christian brother or sister is being criticized.
To Mr. Miller’s allusion of “misinformation” I offer a page presumably filled in by Miss Hannah:
One might assume that if she lists “Microsoft Office” as part of her “Skills & Expertise,” she has probably performed work in “Microsoft Office.” If she lists “Community Outreach” she has likely been involved in planning/implementing outreach efforts in communities her church is a part of. If she lists “Preaching” she has… well, what reasonable conclusion should be drawn.
I find his exhortation of “Christian leaders have a heightened responsibility to speak and write the truth” to be telling. In his earlier response he included:
“Praise God for Jodi, Jen, Rhesa, Jess, Hannah, and the several other women preachers in our movement. Don”™t let the naysayers get you down. “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2, ESV).”
This strikes me as double-minded, bolstering his erroneous position on women preachers with a quotation from the Holy Spirit (via the apostle Paul). Why should 2TI 4:2 be considered wind in the sails of this modern ‘Jeroboam’ maneuver (see 1KI 12:32) whereas in the same missive (2TI 1:13,14) the same Spirit (through the same mouthpiece) exhorts the same reader to keep true to the previous body of instruction and guard it, including, presumably, 1TI 2:11,12?
Bro. Faull wonderfully illustrated the issue: It’s not about inferiority or intelligence or strength or talent – it’s about obedience – and apparently a rising number of ‘stage personnel’ will publicly, shamelessly overthrow obedience all the while touting their desire to follow/serve/fill-in-the-idiom-of-the-day God. Echos of MAR 7:8,9 ring in my ears as I see so many churches submitting to the now-ensconced tradition of feminism.
One problem that I see in this article, as many men have pointed out. There is no Biblical evidence for the claim that has been made. 1 Timothy 2 is very clear that women are not to have authority over men. And for the response above my brother has misplaced, woman are to adorn themselves with modesty, and the very next thought I, the apostle Paul, do not allow a woman to have authority over a man. Both of these were established to honor the husband, and to prove it, Paul takes the argument back to creation.
Order is important to the Lord, it does not make a difference how well a person can speak, and if they are not able that does not glorify God, but it is subject to the wrath of God. Paul warned Timothy of this same kind of false teaching right after he gets done telling him that all Scripture is God breathed in 2 Timothy 3:16-4:4. And this fits very accordingly to the proposition here. For I wonder how this fits into John 14:15.
The restoration churches were not established so as to take doctrinal truths as liberties and licenses, they were established to restore the Biblical order of things as they appear in Scripture. And this appears to contradict what the restorations churches established rather we have followed the paths of the disciples churches, from whom we broke off for the same kind of doctrinal problems such as these. What a sad day.
I find myself ashamed and embarrassed by the shallow understanding of the Bible presented by so many in response to this article. I have lived my whole life associated with the conservative branches of the Restoration Movement, but find myself today uncomfortable being linked with that group. Such bigotry, hatred, ignorance and pride all defended by shouts of holding to the “word of God.” I sincerely believe that most “church of Christ/Christian church” preachers have done little advanced study beyond what they were taught in Bible College so many years ago. Most of what has been argued here is little more than defending long-held traditions rather than real attempts to understand the writings of the New Testament.
Thank you Jeff whoever you are. Your a bold one. With your comments of calling saying your brethren were quilty of bigotry, hatred, ignorance and pride I thought maybe I said something about homosexuality or abortion and that a progressive had objected to quoting Romans one or something like that. But no, the brethren based their objection on scripture, love, reason and humility before God.
The prevalent (read: progressive) mindset today has outlawed anything previously held to and treat with contempt those who hold to the old ways. Adherence to “the faith once for all handed down to the saints” is painted as “little advanced study” and at variance with “real attempts to understand the writings of the New Testament.”
The present standard of scholarship is to study to uncertainty, and proclaim all as opinionated position, so as to leave room for disagreement without judgment of another’s position. There is neither understanding of nor room for the polemicist* in the faith today (except for the polemic of uncertainty).
Those of Jeff’s mindset, don’t despair – your world view is in ascendancy amongst (falsely so-called) ‘Restoration’ colleges and churches (and, apparently, publications).
While I am not very excited about the manner in which my alma mater is said to have gone about this process , I do applaud Ozark’s decision to give women the same access to preaching classes. I have come to the same position on the texts that the article mentions; i.e., that there is a difference between the act of proclamation and the office of teacher-elder, and the entire matter seems to me to center on the issue of authority. Given the dynamics and reception of preaching in our current context today, authority becomes less and less of an issue.
I have been here in my current ministry for almost eight years now, and I still cannot get women to step up and give a communion meditation because of the hard-line views of my predecessor on this topic.
I can understand the criticism; this is not an easy issue to deal with, hermeneutically speaking. But speaking as a student of our movement’s history, the vitriol against the idea, Ozark, and those who see the Scriptures this way sounds eerily similar that of our non-instrumental brethren 150 years ago.
Edinburg Christian Church
“A few years later she was part of the programming team at Willow Creek Community Church” – nuff said!
As a student at Ozark Christian College, and a Biblical Communication for Women major, I would like to share that my own heart – and the hearts of any of the women in this major at Ozark – is not to be a senior minister at a church. I understand that such a concept is a hang up for many people, however, that is not the motivation behind my desire for this degree, or for my peers. (I’m sure you all understand that I cannot speak for all of them, just the ones I have spoken with and, naturally, myself.)
My peers and myself desire to gladly and willingly submit ourselves to the authority of the elders within whatever teaching/preaching opportunities we have. The general consensus and understanding for the women in this degree at Ozark is that we will not be weekly behind a pulpit, serving as the senior pastor of a church. We do not desire to just be on stage and the face of a church, or to rebel against the traditions of the church and Scripture, but we desire to be able to clearly communicate and proclaim the Gospel of Christ to those who desire to hear, whether that be behind a pulpit, in a classroom, or within a small group.
My personal goal with this degree immediately after graduating is to be able to serve as a campus minister; one who has the ability to clearly communicate the message of Christ. Eventually, I would like to be able to attend graduate school and become a professor in New Testament. I feel my degree well-equips me for the opportunities I will have to stand before a crowd – be it a congregation, a group of college students, or my peers – and effectively communicate the Gospel. The preaching classes I have taken has increased my confidence and taught me valuable first-hand lessons on how to present the Gospel in any situation or circumstance, and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to become a better communicator for Christ and that Ozark was willing to aid me in that endeavor.
As my preaching professor, Damien Spikereit, said in the article: “In contemporary language, [a preacher is] the “˜senior minister.”™ The act of proclaiming the gospel and exhorting fellow believers with the Word is not equivalent to authority.” This is the mindset of the women in Biblical Communication at Ozark Christian College.
As a woman studying in seminary (who has preached to mixed audiences, yes), the responses above both encourage me and leave me somewhat dismayed. I came up in the conservative Christian Church, grand-daughter of one of our preachers, with uncles and cousins in the ministry (one teaching at one of our colleges), and so some of the above responses are exactly what I would expect, knowing the rhetoric and scriptural arguments inside and out. They were the exact arguments I myself made at one time, and the arguments I had to work through as I felt myself called to ministry.
What I didn’t expect was how many of you seem supportive of the idea of women in ministry, or expressed interest to learn more. That is truly encouraging to me. I don’t feel the need to re-hash the arguments or defend my calling and life path here – for those who are interested and want to learn how one can validly understand scripture in such a way that women may preach, there are plenty of sources. It’s a worthy exploration.
Mostly, to those who were affirming of the article and the women mentioned in it, I wanted to say thank you. As you might imagine, it’s not always an easy road to walk. In your support, you weren’t speaking to me directly, but you were still speaking to me. Thank you…
And to my sisters in Christ living it, may you be so richly blessed. Thank you for your testimonies.
As a complementarian myself, I have always defended the complementarian position against charges of misogyny. After reading many of the comments above it has become a little more difficult. What is frustrating is how quick we are to condemn and dismiss and judge. Is this the Restoration plea? This is one of our precious essentials that we are willing to fight and die for? That strikes me as small and sad. I see a lot of rhetoric and a lot of grandstanding. I don’t see much humility or clear, critical thought.
Thank you for pointing out the mistake in my blog in response to this article. I have made the correction to reflect accurately Randolph’s position at her church. Clearly, however, the point of the “Standard” article above mentioning her was to use her as an example of a woman who has been liberated from the shackles of patriarchy. So, although my statement did not reflect accurately her position at the church she serves, it still captured the intended meaning of this article. I did, however, still correct my blog so it would be more accurate. Here’s a direct link to my blog with the correction made:
I just now read all the comments above, and to my surprise Mark W. Duhon has articulated very well my point I just posted to you. Randolph lists her skills as “preaching” and “pastoral care.” It seems to me that Duhon has done a good research job. And he has done a good job pointing out that you yourself–Jeff Miller–even referred to her as a preacher in your first comments above. If I have somehow misled my readers on my blog, then you have, too. I expect a retraction of your comments above as I have done in my blog.
I just now had the opportunity to read all the comments above, and to my surprise Mark W. Duhon has done a great research job: Randolph lists her skills on the link he provides as “preaching” and “pastoral care.” I agree with Duhon: If these are listed as skills, she must be doing these things somewhere. Moreover, in your first comments above you–Jeff Miller–refer to her as a preacher. Are you going to retract your comments as I have done for my blog? “Loose lips sink ships.”
It is clear that Hannah Randolph’s current role involves teaching, preaching, and providing pastoral care to youth. I am therefore comfortable using the words teach, teacher, preach, preacher to describe her and her work. If someone considers it unbiblical for a woman to teach youth, let that person make a case.
Context matters. My reference to “women preachers” was a few inches below the article about those women. All of them preach; some of them preach to adults. Thus it was fair for me to refer to them collectively as “women preachers.” Peter Rasor’s statement (which has kindly been corrected) was in a separate online blog on the topic of feminism potentially leading our movement to another division. Thus in it’s original wording his readers may have assumed that she was the senior minister. The intent of my second comment above was in part to reduce the amount of grief that readers send Hannah’s way; she likely has enough on her mind already.
Thank you, Jeff Miller, for kindly retracting your comments to make it more clear that you did not intend to refer to Randolph as fulfilling the role of “preacher,” as many have understood your reference. As you mention, context is very important. My blog just as your words above were both referring to the Standard article here, so you are correct that we need to make sure we use the correct wording that the article provides. May God bless you.
Every time a “male-type” word (man, he, his, husband, etc.) is used in 2 Timothy 3, it is an erroneous translation from the original Greek which is exclusively GENDER NEUTRAL.
v1-3 It is a true saying, if one desires the office of supervision, one sets their heart upon a good occupation. (The word translated man is gender neutral. It literally means “one”; a person. Reflexively, then, the antecedent “he” is also gender neutral because it refers to the subject.) A supervisor then must be inculpable one man one woman (a traditional family marriage) vigilant… (the rest of the words are descriptors and gender neutral.) The gender neutral words could be translated in the feminine or masculine throughout the passage.
The enemy has used the male-biased KJV translation as a way to minimize the role and ministry of women for centuries. Bible teachers, homiletic professors and plain old Believers ought to spend more time in the original languages when they study the Word instead of relying on ANY English translation or any MAN or WOMAN to tell them exactly what the Word says.
The “faith once for all handed down to the saints” is the proclamation “Christ crucified” and that consistent with that proclamation. I do not believe it is shorthand for “Lord’s Supper every Sunday,” or “women can teach only other women and boys under the age of twelve.” The passages of the Bible that are used by many “restorationists” to argue on these matters need to be studied and understood within the context of their writing, otherwise it is no “restoration” of NT Christianity, merely an abuse of the writings of NT authors for the purpose of justifying one’s traditions, while condemning those of others.
Some of what embarrasses me in the Restoration Movement is the constant labeling of “progressive,” “liberal,” on those who sincerely question positions held for little more than two hundred years by others descended from their Restorationist forefathers. Those forefathers were seeking, more than anything, to bring unity to followers of Jesus Christ.
My standard of scholarship is to study to deeper understanding not uncertainty. It leaves room for disagreement without judgment on other’s opinions as they, too, go to the Bible humbly, rather than with arrogance and a presumption of certitude.
Far too much of the commentary above is simply irrelevant. While we might debate the general age at which boys become men, that is not the point. The Apostolic teaching seems at least fairly clear. There are nearly limitless ways female Christians may minister with and administer the word of God, but there are two separate (though perhaps related) things they may not do in the context of the church of God: teach men, or have authority over men.
We might seek to evade the force of that teaching by creatively reinterpreting the Apostolic teaching. But points about things like whether or not a young lady was a youth minister, how someone feels about women preaching, or the attitudes of women who preach to men are not relevant.
Also, the attempt to evade the point of the Apostolic teaching, as done in the original article by claiming it is permissible as long as the elders approve, runs up against this question: since when does a local eldership trump the Apostolic teaching? If elders can trump Paul by allowing a woman to preach to men in the church, why can’t the elders trump Paul by allowing a woman to be an elder?
The application of even the smallest dose of logic to this discussion would help focus it on the issue at hand.
What you have done, which is not proper translation by an means, is take a word that could be either masculine or neuter and say that it is neuter without even realizing that the text from the very beginning is masculine, which follows that any word in a pronoun form will follow the masculine line, such as idiou, the word for keeper could be translated either neuter or masculine, however, the word overseerer, the word that you missed is masculine. So what you are arguing is not actually true, because it has started off with an improper premise. However, in saying that it is not surprising that this kind of translation has come about. But it should be known and I am not sure what lexicon you are looking at in order to get you second statement, the word idiou and other words in the passage like it cannot be translated as feminine, for one reason, it is not true. In order for the word to be considered feminine in the Greek you must add a sigma, that will allow the word to be translated feminine, but this is not found in any of the words you described, and this is not relying on any man or woman, but the WORD OF GOD.
let me make a correction, I did say pronoun and that is not correct, but what is correct, is any word that you are not sure of which way to translate will be dictated by the context of the passage, and the passage from the beginning is masculine, therefore all the nouns in context that follow will also be translated masculine, you cannot pick and chose to translate some to be masculine and others to be neuter on a whim without proper justification to do so.