• Subscribe
  • Apple Podcasts
  • Spotify
  • Google Podcasts

Should women be pastors?

Because we are living in a social climate of complete equality in all things, many Christian churches have adopted the “politically correct” social standard and have allowed women to be pastors and elders in the church. We must ask, “Is this practice biblical?” According to Scripture, the answer is, “No.” 

Going back to creation we learn that God made Eve from Adam’s side. She was to be a helper to Adam (Genesis 2:21-22). The Apostle Paul refers to this order of creation when in his letter to Timothy he says, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.” (1 Timothy 2:12-14) 

The Apostle infers from the above statement that there is an authority structure set up by God. Woman is not to have authority over man in the church context. However, this lack of authority does not extend to the political and economic world. We observe even in the Old Testament that Deborah was a judge in Israel over men. In the New Testament, although Phoebe, in some translations described as a deaconess, in other translations as a servant, played an important role in the early church at Cenchrea (Romans 16:1), she was not an elder. 

The word “deaconess” as it has been applied to Phoebe can be a bit confusing. The word “deacon” (diakonos) as it appears in Romans 16:1 is Strong’s #1248, taken from #1249. It can have a variety of meanings ranging from servant to pastor. Since the Apostle Paul specifically says that deacons must be “men of dignity” (1 Timothy 3:8) and then in verse 12 he says “let deacons be husband of one wife,” it is clear that the specific position of deacon in the church to which he refers belongs to males, not females. However, in a more general definition of “deacon,” the word “servant” is applicable in many instances. Apparently, Aquila and Pricilla, who served under Paul’s administration, were deacon and deaconess. As husband and wife they took Apollos aside, whose knowledge was imperfect, and explained the way of God more accurately to him (Acts 18:26). 

Even though women should not assume the role of pastor or elder, there are many roles of service to their churches as well as witnessing the good news to the world that they may assume, especially in our modern era of Internet and technology. It is important to remember that God does not perceive men as “better” than women. Women and men just have different roles within the church. God created each gender with various strengths and weaknesses and in his wisdom determined which roles fit each gender. The good news is that in terms of salvation, God gives men and women equal opportunity to enter his heavenly kingdom. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

For more on the role of women in the church listen to, “Is the Bible Behind the Times on #MeToo?” and “Does the Bible Advocate for Women’s Rights?”