WOMEN AND THE CHURCH
In 2018 I was asked by a Pastor I knew quite well, who was beginning to embrace Evangelical feminism and rethink his views, what my perspective was on women, leadership, and the church. I felt given the dangerous times we are living in, what I wrote would be very relevant and helpful to all of you to read yourselves. This is what I wrote to him:
Dear Pastor and Fellow Christian
I believe we are living in unprecedented times. Men, and in particular, white Christian men, are being maligned, denigrated, and castigated from every direction, both inside and outside of the church. Maleness itself is under attack and seen by many as a problem that needs to be overcome. Evangelical feminism is spreading in dangerous ways in churches around the country. Fatherhood and the role of fathers in the family is seen as minimally important and by many others, not important at all.
I believe the things I mentioned above make all of this an extremely important topic.
I will offer my view of Scripture and what I see as the overall narrative in the Bible on this matter. These are views that I believe are clearly supported by Scripture in God’s word, given to us by God with our very best interest in mind as men and women whom God created.
First, we have the created roles, by God, in Genesis. He created them male and female, but more than that, right from the beginning God created Adam, and shortly thereafter created a woman specifically to be his wife, his helper as the Bible clearly states. Of course, sin entered the world. God makes clear that the man/husband would have the headship role of his wife in Genesis. This is also consistent with the New Testament and Ephesians. God places the husband as the head of his wife, just as Christ is the head of his body and bride the church. Ephesians clearly states that marriage is a picture of this great mystery of Christ and the church. That as the church submits to Christ our head and leader, the wife is to submit to her husband who is her head and leader. Our willing submission to this structure that God set up and designed for our good, is one primary, powerful way that we are a good advertisement for the Christian faith. Yet, thousands of Christians are abandoning this structure and this God-given design. Many church leaders are no longer teaching these truths or have compromised them, or watered them down, in order to placate the culture of radical feminism. While others cower in fear of their own parishioners to speak out on this crucial topic as they know there will be a severe backlash.
Secondly, we consistently observe over, and over again in both the Old and New Testament, that God chose men, men, and more men, to be kings, leaders, prophets, priests, teachers, etc.
Jesus chose 12 men to work with, not 6 men and 6 women to be his apostles. We also clearly see the role of women who traveled with Jesus and his disciples, as the Bible states in Luke 8:1-3 NASB “they provided for Jesus and his disciples out of their own private means.”
It seems obvious these women played a very significant role in supporting Jesus and the disciples financially, and probably in other supportive type ways. This explains a lot, in how Jesus and his disciple were able to seemingly do no work to earn a living, but for 3 years were able to travel doing full-time ministry work. These sisters in Christ played a significant behind-the-scenes role in the public ministry of Jesus Christ and his disciples.
We see Paul’s pattern as well, primarily, if not exclusively working with men, traveling with men, and teaching this principle “The things you have seen and heard from me, entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”
A few times Paul refers to women who were co-workers in the gospel, but I believe the best assumption would be they probably served Paul and his team, just as the women who traveled with Jesus and his male disciples supported and served Jesus and his men. This seems to be the clear Biblical pattern.
As for the single, primary example of Deborah, my perspective is that it was more to Israel’s shame than glory, that no man would step up in courageous godliness to lead his nation, or lead them into battle. See Judges 4:8-10.
There is no doubt Deborah was a courageous godly lady. In light of overall scriptural examples and practices that can be seen throughout the Bible, I would view her as an exception, not as a rule to apply and follow.
Also, I do not see a clear example of any women, clearly named as teachers in the churches, in the New Testament. Some have used Priscilla. I think Priscilla is a weak example. It is easy for me to grasp that she and her husband had Apollos in their home, and in the course of conversations over meals around the house, they would have talked about Jesus. That is a far cry from being a public teacher in the church. Personally, I am not a Beth Moore fan. I believe she has overstepped her Biblical boundaries as laid out in Scripture.
I believe a very careful look at Titus 2, makes it quite clear that older women were to teach younger women, to be effective in their domestic role, of a godly wife, mother, homemaker, etc. That passage is so specific, and in my mind very clear. Our young women today, and young moms especially, very much need this example and they need advice on carrying it out, as so few have seen it lived out or effectively done. I believe literally, that the greatest harvest and potential future disciples are our children born into these Christian homes, but in fact, the Evangelical church is doing a horrible job in helping families/women/men do this. As a result, we are losing the majority to hell, worldliness or both. We only get one chance to do this right, and we have to help our ladies grasp this, and put a laser-like focus on their role as wives and mothers in the home.
I believe the greatest need we have today is to re-masculinize our men. To help them step up to lead, to love, to be strong, godly, and dependable men, both in the home and outside the home.
The American church has become increasingly feminine, and it has not been a healthy thing whatsoever. Countless men in our churches have grown up without fathers, or with emotionally disengaged fathers, or fathers who were walked all over, by their controlling, domineering wives.
I believe Scripture clearly teaches that elders and pastors are to be men and that it is the elder’s and pastor’s primary responsibility to shepherd, guide, lead and teach the church. I actually believe the primary way we lead is through the public teaching of the church as it allows the pastor to influence, shape, envision, direct and lead God’s people through the preaching and teaching of Biblical truth.
It is for these reasons I believe we must avoid all forms of cultural drift and its embrace of feminism and its ungodly tenets.
My sincere prayer is that God would help each and every one of you embrace the truth, live the truth, give yourself with renewed commitment, passion and zeal to your God-given marriage roles, and responsibilities, and raise and train your children in the Way’s of Christ.
Men, I believe your wife would find this 3 part series, Becoming a Proverbs 31 Wife, extremely helpful, inspiring and a tremendous blessing to their spirit.
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling