In the eyes of some, we are “behind the times.” To them, we are stuck in an “old school” mentality that is based on human tradition. Some of them may even conclude that we are afraid to have sisters in a leadership position because, well, we are afraid . . . afraid to do things differently than we have done them in the past, afraid of what others might say about us.
“Grandma, why are you not one of the elders here? You are a good person and you are a good Bible teacher. Why do you not want to become an overseer?” That is a fair question. Actually, there are a couple of questions there, both good ones.
I assure you that Green’s Lake Road, where I serve as an evangelist, like so many other local churches, has women among us who are holy in conduct, kind in spirit, strong in Bible knowledge, sound in the faith, and capable teachers of God’s word. Within that lengthy sentence which you just read is the answer to the question about why Grandma does not desire to be one of the congregation’s overseers/pastors. She has no such longing because of her Bible knowledge coupled with her soundness in the faith. She strives to walk in love (Ephesians 5:1,2), she is zealous of good works (Titus 2:14), and she seeks to live for God’s glory in all that she does (1 Corinthians 10:31). Her unwavering conviction is, she never would entertain the thought of being an elder/shepherd of God’s flock because she knows it is not God’s will for her or any other female to do so.
Our sisters at Green’s Lake Road are not embarrassed by our lack of female leadership in the church, nor do they feel inferior or intimidated when they acknowledge to others that they do not take the lead in worship when adult men are present. They also would not hesitate to refute the faulty notion that if the leaders of a local church give the sisters “the green light” to take the lead, then the women may do so with God’s approval. Justifying what God does not allow is abomination in His sight (Proverbs 17:15).
Coupled with other Bible statements, four teachings in the book of 1 Timothy serve as the basis of our belief and practice in matters of church leadership and worship leadership. Here they are:
1 Timothy 2:8 – “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” The word “men” is from the Greek word “ ν ρ/aner,” which means males. It is God’s will for males to lead prayers.
1 Timothy 2:12 – “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” If a woman is not allowed to have authority over a man in teaching God’s word, she certainly will not be serving as a gospel preacher/public evangelist (except in the limited case of presenting a Bible message when no adult males are present).
1 Timothy 3:2 – A bishop “must be blameless, the husband of one wife . . .” If a bishop/elder is a husband, then he definitely is a male, because God’s arrangement for marriage calls for one male (“husband”) and one female (“wife”). No females will serve as a pastor with God’s endorsement.
1 Timothy 3:12 – “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife . . .” As is the case with elders, a deacon must be a husband. Thus, he is a male.
I have never known what it felt like to be a female because I have been a male my whole life. I am not whining about it, just stating it as a fact. I would like to think, though, that my commitment to having male leadership in the church is not based on my gender. I would like to think it is due to a willingness to accept God’s word as our guide in all spiritual and moral matters. Since the Bible says what it does about male leadership (remember those four points we just observed from 1 Timothy about praying, teaching, bishops, and deacons), I want to stick with what the Bible says. It is not about culture. It is not about ability. It is not about tradition. It is not a question of a person’s worth in God’s sight. It is about trusting that God knows what is best for His family and being willing to “go with” what God wants.
Do you still recall the actual title of this article? Go ahead, take another look at it. Go on. Here is the answer: God being our Helper, while our mind is still clear in its thinking, we will n-e-v-e-r have a plan for sisters in the Lord to be congregational leaders or worship leaders in God’s church.
— Roger D. Campbell