Women in Church Office: Is It Biblical?
Many of the denominations today are admitting woman
to the church offices of minister, elder and deacon. They claim that
this is the only way to recognize the gifts that God gives to women, and
that only in this way does the church do justice to the biblical
teaching that are all equal in Christ (Galatians 3:28).
Are these claims correct? Does the church deny women
the right to exercise their God-given gifts if it denies them the right
to serve in the offices of the church? Should women be ordained as
ministers, elders and deacons? What does the Bible say?
The teaching of the Bible on this issue is as clear
as it can be. Women may not serve in the offices of the church. I
Timothy 2:12 says, "But I suffer not a women to teach, nor to usurp
authority over the man, but to be in silence." I Corinthians 14:34
teaches the same thing: "Let your women keep silence in the churches:
for it not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be
under obedience, as also saith the law."
These verses do not mean, of course, that a woman may
not say anything at all in the church, but that they may not speak in
positions of authority, that is, to teach or lead in worship.
They may not speak by way of praying, prophesying, edifying, exhorting
or teaching as the rest of I Corinthians 14 shows.
All this is confirmed in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1,
which speak of both elders (bishops) and deacons as husbands. To
ordain women, therefore, contradicts the plain teaching of Scripture.
The only way to get around what Scripture teaches on
this matter is to deny that Scripture is the inspired and infallible
Word of God. That is why the churches that ordain women say that the
passages quoted are only Paul’s words reflecting the culture in which he
lived or a low personal view of women. If Scripture is the Word of God,
then these verses are not the mind of Paul, but the mind and will of
God! God says, "Let your women keep silence in the churches!"
But what about the gifts God gives to some women? Is
it not true that some women are better qualified than many men to do the
work of the various church offices?
We must understand that the issue is not whether God
gives gifts to women. He does. The issue is not whether women ought to
use their God-given gifts. They must. The only issue is where
they are to use there gifts. The Holy Spirit who gave them those gifts
forbids them to use their gifts in the offices of the church.
But does this mean that women have no role at all in
the church? By no means! Women have a very important place and calling
in the church. The Bible speaks of it in I Timothy 2:15, 5:9-14, and
Titus 2:3-5. They have a God-given role in the church that no man can
What must we think, then, of a church that allows the
ordination of women? Such a church has denied that authority of Word of
God and is in disobedience to the Word. It must repent or Christ will
come and remove its candlestick from its place (Revelation 2:5) so that
it will no longer shine with the light of the glory of God as a witness
in the world. Then those who are part of it will be in darkness and not