The Role of Women in the Church Essay
My friend Mary wants to be involved in ministry at her church; before she commits, she had a few questions about the role of women in the church in light of the debate between equalitarianism and complementarianism. When we look at the Elders and Deacons in the Church they have different jobs, Elders according to the New Testament are responsible for the primary leadership and oversight of a Church. Elder’s lead the Church (1Tim 5:7; Tit 1:7), teach and preach the Word (2Tim 3:3-17; 1Tim 4:13), visit the sick and pray (Jam 5:14, Acts 20:35), and judge doctrinal issues if Pastor or Assistant Pastor under him are not available.
Elders and Pastors are not considered different offices but one in the same. They are two different words for the same office. First in 1Peter 5:1-2, elders are exhorted to Shepard the flock of God that is in their charge, and in Acts 20:28, Elders are encouraged in the “Pastoral” duties of overseeing. The office of Deacon and their responsibilities are different but similar to those of elders. According to 1Timothy 2:8-13 Deacons are to be worthy of respect, blameless, husband of one wife, grave, not given to wine, not greedy for money, good rules of his house, proven ability to serve and not double tongued.
The office of Deacon was created for the purpose of handling the benevolence of ministry (Acts 6:1-3), to free the Apostles (who functioned as the first Pastors) to pray and prepare to minister the Word (Acts 6:2-4). The Word of God is explicit regarding the role of women in society, the home and the Church. “Let your woman keep silent in the Church; for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the Church (1Cor 14:34-35)”. “A woman is to learn in silence with all subjection, and is not to have authority over man. For Adam was formed first, than Eve; it was woman who deceived and became a sinner (1Tim 2:11-15). For a woman to be an Elder or a Deaconess, she would have to adhere to the biblical doctrine and qualifications for such an Office. 1Timothy 3:1-2 states that “A Bishop than must be blameless, the husband of one wife”.
A woman could never be the “husband of one wife”, nor could never “rule well his own house, having children in subjection with doctrine. She is to be in subjection to her husband in everything (Eph 5:24). Galatians 3:28 says “There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female, for you are all on in Christ Jesus”. Jesus is saying, no matter what or who you are he loves us all the same. As we look at Romans 16:1 it states “I command to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon (servant) of the Church in Cenchreae”.
This is talking about when Paul told Phoebe to go to the church in Rome where Paul was telling they received her worthy of a saint and to help her in the same way she helped others. Romans 16:7 states, “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me, they are outstanding among the Apostles, and they were in Christ before I was”. Paul is saying, they too should respect them and receive them as people in Christ. While reviewing scripture, it is apparent that women are not to hold the Office of Elder or Deacon, because God did not give women power to have authority over men.
A woman can teach, preach, or usher but not hold an Office of Deaconship in a Church. I believe that there are limitations for woman in the Church according to the Bible and scriptures presented. I do feel that woman, although limited within the Church, are not and do not have to be limited outside of the Church. I believe men and women have reached a point of equality, women are taking part in many areas of the world that was once and totally ruled by men. Women have contributed a lot, not only biblically but socially and educationally.
Women have mastered areas in science, medicine, business, and politics. A woman’s knowledge and life skills can be a great asset to the Church in many of ways, and should not be overlooked within any Church or congregation. (WC770)
* Holy Bible, NIV Study Bible, Grand Rapid, MI: Zondervan Publishing 2011. * Internet: www. wikipedia. com * Goodrick, Edward W; Kohlenberge III, John R, The Strongest NIV Exhaustive Concordance, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan publishing 1999