Biblical roles of women in the Church

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Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Since I've seen disagreements even among confessional Reformed believers as to what does and does not fulfill the title of this thread, I'm wondering what people here think of the issue.

Do some people think counseling is a biblically-legitimate position for theologically-trained women to undertake? A prayer ministry? Why or why not? I think most of us would agree that a woman could teach a class (even theological) to other women - would people say such a situation would have to only include women who were younger than the one teaching? What about teaching children in God's Word or the catechism or the like? What about things that are and aren't biblically-permissable during settings and events associated with someone's church, but outside worship services or teaching sessions?
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
The only Biblical offices of ministry are Doctor/Teacher, Pastor/Elder, Deacon, and Evangelist. Men alone are to be ordained to these positions. No other office or position is warranted by Scripture, ESPECIALLY not to be held by women. Older women should lead the younger women in their spiritual growth, however, and having them lead women's Bible study groups is a very good idea.
 

biblelighthouse

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
The only Biblical offices of ministry are Doctor/Teacher, Pastor/Elder, Deacon, and Evangelist. Men alone are to be ordained to these positions. No other office or position is warranted by Scripture, ESPECIALLY not to be held by women. Older women should lead the younger women in their spiritual growth, however, and having them lead women's Bible study groups is a very good idea.

:up:

I agree with Gabriel.

There is a woman who teaches some psychology-ish class at Westminster Theological Seminary. --- I really hope I can graduate from WTS without having to take that class. If not, I think I will be ticked.



[Edited on 1-27-2006 by biblelighthouse]
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Though older women are to teach younger women...they do not need a theological degree to do this and neither do I believe a theological degree will make them more 'qualified' to do so. Women's relationships in this area are simpler in what needs to be taught (woman to woman vs husband to wife) and more complex (in that we do better with when we find another female to have a sister type/mother type relationship with...thus more personal and can't just be anyone or necessarily one with a degree).
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
Originally posted by biblelighthouse
There is a woman who teaches some psychology-ish class at Westminster Theological Seminary. --- I really hope I can graduate from WTS without having to take that class. If not, I think I will be ticked.

And I think you're being way too oversensitive. WTS is not a church, nor is the subject matter such that her instruction will amount to interpretation of God's word...
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
The only Biblical offices of ministry are Doctor/Teacher, Pastor/Elder, Deacon, and Evangelist. Men alone are to be ordained to these positions. No other office or position is warranted by Scripture, ESPECIALLY not to be held by women. Older women should lead the younger women in their spiritual growth, however, and having them lead women's Bible study groups is a very good idea.

Where do you get the idea of these offices being what you stated?
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
Originally posted by SolaScriptura
Originally posted by biblelighthouse
There is a woman who teaches some psychology-ish class at Westminster Theological Seminary. --- I really hope I can graduate from WTS without having to take that class. If not, I think I will be ticked.

And I think you're being way too oversensitive. WTS is not a church, nor is the subject matter such that her instruction will amount to interpretation of God's word...

ditto.

Not a church. Not preaching. And there is evidence in the Bible of women teaching men outside the church, even teaching and explaining to them Scripture! Acts 18:26.

Phillip
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by Romans922
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
The only Biblical offices of ministry are Doctor/Teacher, Pastor/Elder, Deacon, and Evangelist. Men alone are to be ordained to these positions. No other office or position is warranted by Scripture, ESPECIALLY not to be held by women. Older women should lead the younger women in their spiritual growth, however, and having them lead women's Bible study groups is a very good idea.

Where do you get the idea of these offices being what you stated?

Jus Divinum Regiminis Ecclesiastici
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
Originally posted by Romans922
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
The only Biblical offices of ministry are Doctor/Teacher, Pastor/Elder, Deacon, and Evangelist. Men alone are to be ordained to these positions. No other office or position is warranted by Scripture, ESPECIALLY not to be held by women. Older women should lead the younger women in their spiritual growth, however, and having them lead women's Bible study groups is a very good idea.

Where do you get the idea of these offices being what you stated?

Jus Divinum Regiminis Ecclesiastici

You actually read it in Latin? Or are did you give the Latin title simply to intimidate him? :p
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
Originally posted by Romans922
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
The only Biblical offices of ministry are Doctor/Teacher, Pastor/Elder, Deacon, and Evangelist. Men alone are to be ordained to these positions. No other office or position is warranted by Scripture, ESPECIALLY not to be held by women. Older women should lead the younger women in their spiritual growth, however, and having them lead women's Bible study groups is a very good idea.

Where do you get the idea of these offices being what you stated?

Jus Divinum Regiminis Ecclesiastici

So you don't get them from Scripture, you get them from men?
 

BlackCalvinist

Puritan Board Senior
:lol: @ that....

Philip - I'm assuming from your post that you don't have a problem with women 'teachers' in the church and possibly (correct me if I'm wrong) 'deacons' (deaconess), as long as its' not the office of pastor or deacon (officially) ?
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
Older women are expected to teach the younger, and our church allows for deaconesses, though it is not an "ordained" office. We do not view the office of deacon as an office of authority, it is a position purely of service to the body under the direction of the elders.

For more on our view from Scripture, listen here:
The Wife's Role at Church: Serving
The Wife's Role at Church: Teaching

Now to prevent any knee jerk reactions, from jerks with hyperactive knees.....we do not hold to the idea of women having authority, serving as elders/pastors/church staff, or preaching/teaching to men in the church.

We do hold that women are responsible (as are all members) to serve one another, older (mature) women are to teach the younger (immature), and that outside the church there is nothing wrong with men or women discipling others, even those who serve as teachers in the church (just as Apollos was discipled by Aquilla and Priscilla outside the church)!!

Questions? Listen to the sermons.

Problems? Call 1-800-READ-YOUR-BIBLE

Phillip :eek:
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
Originally posted by pastorway
Now to prevent any knee jerk reactions, from jerks with hyperactive knees.....
and
Questions? Listen to the sermons.

Problems? Call 1-800-READ-YOUR-BIBLE

:lol: So, did you have a bad morning or something? You seem kind of sarcastic and testy.... :p

[Edited on 1-29-2006 by SolaScriptura]
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by pastorway
Older women are expected to teach the younger, and our church allows for deaconesses, though it is not an "ordained" office. We do not view the office of deacon as an office of authority, it is a position purely of service to the body under the direction of the elders.

For more on our view from Scripture, listen here:
The Wife's Role at Church: Serving
The Wife's Role at Church: Teaching

Now to prevent any knee jerk reactions, from jerks with hyperactive knees.....we do not hold to the idea of women having authority, serving as elders/pastors/church staff, or preaching/teaching to men in the church.

We do hold that women are responsible (as are all members) to serve one another, older (mature) women are to teach the younger (immature), and that outside the church there is nothing wrong with men or women discipling others, even those who serve as teachers in the church (just as Apollos was discipled by Aquilla and Priscilla outside the church)!!

Questions? Listen to the sermons.

Problems? Call 1-800-READ-YOUR-BIBLE

Phillip :eek:

Glad to hear that you have an "office" that people can completely ignore. Because of course if anyone was expected to follow the lead of someone in an office - in anything - that would imply authority. You know, kind of like deacons. That is, like the deacons Paul describes in 1 Tim 2, the ones who are the husband of one wife. Although I suppose it is possible for a woman to have a sex change operation and then marry a wife.... :lol::lol::lol:
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
Not testy, per se....

we just had our annual business meeting this afternoon. Went well. Just all the details!

And it is held by Greek scholars and many sound Reformed Baptist ministers that the word translated "wives" in 1 Tim 3:11 can also be translated "women" - and Phoebe was to be joined and supported in a specific ministry (or in an official capacity) as a servant of the church in Chechrea (deaconon) - Rom 16:1-2.

An office or official capacity does not require authority over the church other then the authority to carry out the ministry (service). Example - Servants may oversee things in the running of the household, but they do not have authority over the house. In the church they may be given an area of responsibility, but the authority still belongs to the overseer/elders who assign their tasks. Simply put, there is no inherent authority in the role of a servant. And to make it an office of inherent authority fails to take the whole Biblical account of the working of the New Testament church.

For further information check out John MacArthur and Mark Dever on the topic.

While the Presbyterian church has multiplied the office of elder (teaching + ruling), they have reduced the office of deacon (no deaconesses)!

:judge:

Phillip

[Edited on 1-29-06 by pastorway]
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I think when someone asks the question: "What are legitimate roles for women to hold in the Church?", the question does not have to immediately degenerate into: "GET BEHIND ME SATAN! ONLY MEN CAN BE ELDERS AND DEACONS!!"

Sheesh! Some of you have serious axes to grind here. The question was simple enough. There are certainly other roles that women can take beyond the explicit roles of elder and deacon.

There are roles that men play that include more than official offices as well. I suppose there may be Churches that only allow ordained men to teach Sunday School but I haven't attended one yet.

I will express a pet peave here that is sure to draw fire. I have one of those flak jackets in my office that has been recalled and am waiting for a new one to be issued so please be gentle.

Why are some of us so quick to draw more hard lines than Scripture does and then yell at local sessions for coloring outside of them? There are clear commands as to who is qualified for the position of elder and deacon. Elders are then given the authority to rule on matters within their local church. Not much is said as to the "Thou shall and Thou shall not" regarding a list of roles that men and women may or may not play within the Church. We may draw some conclusions about the propiety of certain activities in terms of how they comport with the Scriptures but we ought not to be too quick to take away the liberty of a local Church to determine who ought to be allowed to serve in roles outside of formal Worship.

For instance, should a woman be allowed to teach pre-school boys and girls in Sunday School or a catechism class? If not, is she even permitted to train her own boys?

If she is permitted to teach a class must she stop at some arbitrary age? What age would that be? 13 because the boys are now at puberty and are "men" now? Is that the age she must stop training her own male children because women aren't permitted to teach men?

Honestly, if you're going to come to a position on this don't just glibly throw out some charge of throwing away all male/female authority distinctions. I think we're smarter than that. I want to hear the "rulebook" in all its preciseness because some of these rules strike me as so much Rabinnical teaching on how many seconds have to transpire before the light comes on in the refrigerator in Sabbath mode.

I see a Scriptural command for my wife to submit to no man except me and the ordained Office holders (through my authority). She does not submit to just any man. I also don't believe there is any reason why a woman cannot teach Sunday School to men if she is well studied and it is under the authority of the session. Simply because a woman is teaching does not mean she has authority over other men in the class. Unless your Church only permits ordained men to teach Sunday School, then it already permits others (men) who have no "official" authority. Class participants are not under the authority of the teacher, per se, but under the session who are ultimately responsible for the content of the teaching.

I do not consider Sunday School to be a stated Worship event otherwise even women asking questions during Sunday School would be inadmissible as women speaking in Church.

I'm not hard over on this but would like to see some grace added to the discussion. We need to be careful that we are not using Theology as a license to be masogonistic. If you're going to deny any role to women in the body life of the Church beyond raising their kids then I'd like to see some Scripture.

[Edited on 1-30-2006 by SemperFideles]
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
On a related note. I'd like to have opinions about an occurrence that took place this previous Lord's Day at my newly joined PCA church.

First, a little background to help paint an accurate picture. The pastor of 26 years has recently left (Dec 05) as he was called to teach at Seminary full time. Our church is looking for a new man to fill the office. Our elders have been picking up some of the slack by leading the call to worship, announcements, and "Children's chat" (usually the pastor talks to the children that come up front about the upcoming sermon or spiritual application of it). We've been having guest preachers sent by session for the sermon. On to my subject about the "Children's chat."

This past Sunday, one of the women in the church came up front and did the Children's chat." Is this right and proper? I'm not sure but I immediately thought of the Authority/women issues this thread has been talking about. I'd like to hear opinions on the matter. (BTW, I am still working through/struggling with head coverings as well).

Any input would be greatly appreciated. Admin, If this needs to be a new thread then so be it.

Thank you all.


In His service,
Chris
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
An interesting side note given how the Roman church has held the line on male-only ministers. Roman seminaries often have women, such as nuns, teach theology courses. They also often have women lead and design liturgy. Very strange and I have seen no discussion within that camp on the propriety (does not mean there is none - I realy have not looked too deeply into it).
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
On the children's chat topic, I would not have a woman do that in this instance because she is indeed speaking where all in the church can hear her. Yes it is aimed primarily at children - but she is teaching and everyone can hear, so in this case I would think she is in violation of the admonition not to have teaching authority over a man in the meeting of the church.

Maybe this is not the case, but I have never heard a children's sermon that the preacher did not at some point make a comment aimed to the rest of the "eavesdropping" congregation for their benefit!

Phillip
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by trevorjohnson
Oh yeah,

In case anyone wants to impress me with Latin:


Heus, modo itera omnia quae mihi nunc nuper narravisti, sed nunc Anglice?

Listen, would you repeat everything you just told me, only this time say it in English?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by trevorjohnson
If questions arise out of the Biblicity of women teaching Sunday School and any "Children's chat"or "Children's Church"...then why not get to the root of the problem of its "Biblicity" and cut these two extra-biblical practices out altogether?

I would have a problem with the "children's moment" example above because it is during Worship.



Oh yeah,

In case anyone wants to impress me with Latin:


Heus, modo itera omnia quae mihi nunc nuper narravisti, sed nunc Anglice?
Trevor,

Latin aside, would you agree or disagree that the issue of women teaching during stated Worship and women teaching a class outside of stated Worship are two distinct issues? Might one be Biblically prohibited while the other is adiaphora?

[Edited on 1-30-2006 by SemperFideles]
 

Puddleglum

Puritan Board Sophomore
Guys,
Can I make a request? If the Latin is something important / worth reading, could you please give a rough translation (for the sake of people like me who are interested in the topic and are trying to read/learn but to whom Latin is rather intimidating).
Thanks,
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
As far as women teaching men, i think the more biblical distinction to draw is between teaching in an official capacity in the church and teaching in an unofficial capacity in conversations or other situations.

I think the later is allowed and even encouraged, but i would be very wary of the former, even if it was outside stated worship times.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
John Calvin on Acts 18.26:

Again, this was no small modesty which was in Apollos, in that he doth suffer himself to be taught and instructed not only in [by] an handy-craftsman, but also by a woman. He was mighty in the Scripture, and did surpass 10 them; but as touching the accomplishment of the kingdom of Christ, those do polish and trim him who might seem to be scarce fit ministers. Also, we see that at that time women were not so ignorant of the word of God as the Papists will have them; forasmuch as we see that one of. the chief teachers of the Church was instructed by a woman. Notwithstanding, we must remember that Priscilla did execute this function of teaching at home in her own house, that she might not overthrow the order prescribed by God and nature.

Matthew Henry on Acts 18.26:

[4.] Here is an instance of a good woman, though not permitted to speak in the church or in the synagogue, yet doing good with the knowledge God had given her in private converse.

Matthew Poole on Acts 18.26:

If we allow Priscilla to have contributed towards the instruction of Apollos, as doubtless we may, it is certain it was only in private discourse; which being joined with a meek and humble behaviour, might be very effectual for the conversion of souls, 1 Pet 3:1-2. Thus Timothy was indebted for his knowledge in the things of God to his mother and grandmother, 2 Tim 1:5. But otherwise it is not lawful for a woman to teach, 1 Tim 2:11-12.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
By the way, I posted Latin because that was the name of the book. Apparently that makes me a snob or trying to be "cool." Whatever.
It is only the name of the book... in Latin. It is perfectly ok to write: The Divine Right of Church Government.

Similiarly, it is okay (in reference to Calvin) to write "Institutes of the Christian Religion," or (in reference to Augustine) to write "City of God," etc...
 

Puddleglum

Puritan Board Sophomore
Trevor & Gabe - thanks; though sorry I was asking about nothing!

Gabe - Latin is cool, I just don't understand it!

I honestly don't mind people talking / writing Latin, and I'm sure that sometimes there's a good reason for it . . . sometimes I get confused, that's all.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Originally posted by Romans922
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
The only Biblical offices of ministry are Doctor/Teacher, Pastor/Elder, Deacon, and Evangelist. Men alone are to be ordained to these positions. No other office or position is warranted by Scripture, ESPECIALLY not to be held by women. Older women should lead the younger women in their spiritual growth, however, and having them lead women's Bible study groups is a very good idea.

Where do you get the idea of these offices being what you stated?

My question hasn't been answered, probably because I wasn't specific.

Where do we get biblical offices of 'doctor' and that doctor being a teacher? The office of evangelist? Or the office of 'teacher'?
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
The Westminster Form of Presbyterian Church Government sets forth the Biblical basis for the church offices (all of which are for men only).

THE officers which Christ hath appointed for the edification of his church, and the perfecting of the saints, are, some extraordinary, as apostles, evangelists, and prophets, which are ceased.

Others ordinary and perpetual, as pastors, teachers [doctors], and other church-governors [ruling elders], and deacons.
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by SolaScriptura
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
By the way, I posted Latin because that was the name of the book. Apparently that makes me a snob or trying to be "cool." Whatever.
It is only the name of the book... in Latin. It is perfectly ok to write: The Divine Right of Church Government.

Similiarly, it is okay (in reference to Calvin) to write "Institutes of the Christian Religion," or (in reference to Augustine) to write "City of God," etc...

Except the latin "Jus Divinum Regiminis Ecclesiastici" is the title the book is commonly known as. Similiarly, in (reference to Aquinas) its ok to write "Summa Theologica". Infact, if you wrote "Summery of Theology" less people would probably know what you were talking about.
 
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