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A Collection of Articles on the Male Priesthood & Women Ministers

pulpitMany Christians have an almost sacramental view of church leaders and of the Sunday morning message.  Even many evangelicals believe that only an ordained, priest-like man can preach a sermon from the “hallowed” pulpit.  This sacramental view – and the tradition and jargon that goes with it – hinders many people from seeing the possibility that godly, gifted women may also teach and preach in congregational settings.

Here are a few previously posted articles which look at arguments commonly used to keep women out of church leadership, in particular, arguments that use the idea of a male-only priesthood or clergy.  [Click on the titles to read more.]


Old Testament Priests and New Testament Ministers

One common argument that is used to support the position that women cannot be church leaders is the fact that in the Old Testament only men were permitted to serve as priests in the Tabernacle, and later in the Temple.  However there are several significant shortcomings in this argument. [1500 words]


Is it only men who can represent Jesus?

Some Christians believe that, because Jesus is a man, only men can represent Jesus.  Many of these same Christians also believe that church leaders somehow represent Jesus to the congregation, and so, because Jesus is male, women cannot be church leaders.  This article looks at some of the flaws in these beliefs, and it answers the question: Is it only men who can represent Jesus? [1000 words]


The Twelve Apostles were All Male

An argument often brought up in discussions about women in church leadership is that Jesus’ twelve apostles were all male, and, because there were no females among the Twelve, this means that women cannot be church leaders.  This article gives several reasons why this argument is not valid. [1500 words]


Gender Division Divides the Church

Revelation 5:9-10 is about the universal and inclusive nature of the Church and the priesthood of believers.  Hierarchical Complementarians, however, are intent on separating and dividing the Church into two distinct groups, solely on the basis of gender, effectively creating a male priestly class. [500 words]


Ten Reasons Why Men should not be Ordained as Ministers

This list has been doing the rounds on the internet at least since 2005.  But, just in case you’ve missed it, here are the top ten reasons why men should not be ordained as ministers.  This insightful (and satirical) list was compiled by the late Dr David M. Scholer, a former New Testament professor at Fuller Theological Seminary.  [350 words]


Authority in the Church

It seems that many Christians are overly concerned with the issue of who has authority over another person. In particular they are concerned about whether a woman can have authority over a man.  This article answers the question: Who has authority in the church?  [1500 words]


Gender Roles and Speaking Ministries in the Church

I believe that the culture of male primacy and privilege in ministry – a culture that has been pervasive for centuries – is wrong.  It is wrong for the church to be effectively “owned and operated” by men only.  It is wrong that the Bible, God’s Word to humanity, is effectively “owned” and interpreted by men only.  Having only men as leaders, teachers and speakers in the church goes beyond any valid understanding of what the Scripture says about women speaking in the New Covenant community of the church. [1300 words]


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Posted March 25th, 2013 . Categories/Tags: Equality and Gender Issues, Equality in Ministry, , , , , ,

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8 comments on “A Collection of Articles on the Male Priesthood & Women Ministers

  1. […] A Collection of Articles on the Male Priesthood and Women Ministers […]

  2. […] A Collection of Articles on the Male Priesthood and Women Ministers […]

  3. Wayne says:

    Our house church was recently discussing the issue of women speaking in the church which is a gender equality issue. I have been working on an article covering the Scriptures on the issue. Here is the beginning of the article along with the link if anyone wants to offer feedback:

    “If you have done any research on the subject of house church women speaking, you’ll find that there is a lot of controversy over the subject. This issue becomes more prominent in the house church where a participatory style of meeting is used during the service. In a traditional church, where a senior minister preaches a sermon as the only major form of speaking in the service, there is less of a conflict about women speaking during the service. In an organic church where everyone participates during the meeting, the opportunity for house church women speaking is much more available. If you are in a house church that is working through this issue, it can be helpful to break down the different levels of speaking available to women to help everyone arrive at a consensus as to which one is appropriate. The following list starts with the most restrictive form of speaking and progresses up through the least restrictive form of speaking. As you can see, there are a lot of variations to consider when arriving at consensus with this doctrine.”

    http://www.truthseeker6640.net/house-church-women-speaking-during-the-meeting/

  4. Marg says:

    Wayne, I’m genuinely surprised that house churches would have a problem with women speaking. Since some of the basic principles of house churches are freer participation in ministry and more spontaneity in meetings, I didn’t think there were different levels of speaking for women. Are there different levels for men? I guess there are a variety of styles and methods of doing house church.

    Thanks for leaving a comment. I’ll have a look at your article when I get a chance.

  5. Wayne says:

    All but one of the leaders believe that woman should be free to speak and contribute during the meeting of the assembly. The elder against women speaking cites the series of articles by Steve Atkerson. As outlined in my article, Anna spoke publicly in ministry.

  6. Marg says:

    Hi Wayne,

    Do you have any women leaders in your house church?

    I removed the link to Steve’s article. There were many things in it which I disagree with. Here are just a couple of criticisms. Steve assumes (incorrectly I believe) that patriarchy was God’s ideal because Israeli society was patriarchal. And it’s annoying – and misleading – that he quotes 1 Cor 11:8-9, but does not quote the parallel statement in 1 Cor 11:11-12.
    [More on this here.]

    In regards to your article, you might want to note Isaiah 3:12 NET. Here is a footnote about the NET’s version of this verse:

    The Hebrew text appears to read literally, “My people, his oppressors, he deals severely, and women rule over them.” The correct text and precise meaning of the verse are debated. The translation above assumes (1) an emendation of נֹגְשָׂיו (nogÿsayv, “his oppressors”) to נֹגְשִׂים (nogÿshim, “oppressors”) by moving the mem (ם) on the following form to the end of the word and dropping the vav (ו) as virtually dittographic; (2) an emendation of מְעוֹלֵל (mÿ’olel, a singular participle that does not agree with the preceding plural subject) to עֹלְלוּ (’olÿlu), a third plural Poel perfect from עָלַל (’alal, “deal severely”; note that the following form begins with a vav [ו]; the text may be haplographic or misdivided); and (3) an emendation (with support from the LXX) of נָשִׁים (nashim, “women”) to נֹשִׁים (noshim, “creditors”; a participle from נָשַׁא, nasa’). Another option is to emend מְעוֹלֵל to עוֹלְלִים (’olÿlim, “children”) and read, “My people’s oppressors are children; women rule over them.” In this case the point is the same as in v. 4; the leadership void left by the judgment will be filled by those incompetent to lead the community – children and women. (The text reflects the ancient Israelite patriarchal mindset.)

    You can look up this footnote on the NET Bible site here.

    I like your 10 gradations of ‘silence’ from women. It shows how flexible the interpretation and application of 1 Cor 14:34-35 can be. Have you seen this article of mine?

    I agree that Anna and other Bible women spoke and taught publicly about theology, etc.

  7. […] Despite the fact that the Bible nowhere teaches that men better represent God’s image and likeness, the Church has traditionally taught that men are the superior sex, that men more fully represent God, and that only men can be ministers and leaders.  In many regards, this message continues today.  Some well-known Bible teachers state that God is only to be understood in masculine terms, and, following on from that understanding, they teach that church leaders must be male.  (This is especially true for Christian denominations which regard their church leaders as priests.) […]

  8. […] [1] Many evangelicals believe that only an ordained, priest-like man can “preach a sermon” (i.e. speak) from the “hallowed” pulpit. This sacramental view – and the traditions and jargon that goes with it – hinders many people from seeing the possibility that women can speak, teach and preach in congregational settings.  (There were no “pulpits” in New Testament house churches.) More on this here. […]

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