Women in Ministry: God Did Call Them, So He Still Does

 

Women in Ministry

God Did Call Them, So He Still Does

by Rich Vermillion

 

“Prophetess Deborah,” an engraving by Gustave Doré, dated 1865

I have been asked more than a few times through the years whether I believe God calls women into general ministry, i.e., whether they can preach/teach to men too, and not just other women or children. Of course, I have answered their inquiries personally. Nevertheless, I now believe it is now time to PUBLICLY address this important issue for the benefit of the Body of Christ.

Frankly, the Church is in dire need of born again, godly women rising up to fulfill the call to leadership that many “handmaidens of the Lord” have on their lives. While critics of such a move of the Spirit of God likely believe the Bible is on their side in condemning female leaders, I will prove in this post that the truth of the matter is the exact opposite. I will do so in several ways, but primarily by explaining the subtitle of this article: Namely, that since God DID use women in ministry in the Bible, He STILL DOES so today because the Lord never changes.

Let’s begin our discussion with some important points about tradition, however. It is my hope that these preliminary points will help people to be as open-minded and discerning as the Bereans were when Paul brought the Gospel message to them:

Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.

(Acts 17:10-12, NKJV)

The Bereans where hearing a message about the Messiah that completely upended their traditional view of the Scriptures on that subject. Understandably, they had a healthy skepticism about what Paul was explaining to them during his time in their synagogue. Nevertheless, they were NOT stubborn or hard-headed, as the tradition-loving Jews in Thessalonica had been previously. Rather, the Bereans were open-minded enough to listen to Paul, and studious enough to “search the Scriptures” to test his thesis. Since what Paul preached was the Truth, and thus, it was fully supported by the Old Testament, then “many of them believed” once they saw this fact for themselves in God’s Word.

Obviously, their eventual faith in Paul’s message and the Word of God that supported his sermons was extremely beneficial to the Bereans. Apart from believing the Gospel, it is impossible to be saved at all. Therefore, abandoning tradition for TRUTH (i.e., whenever the two are in conflict) was the best decision that the Berean Jews could make for the sake of their own souls.

Likewise, it’s in your best interest to open up your heart and mind to the points that will follow. Freedom from unbiblical, man-made traditions is liberating and  profitable to the individual. However, it is also a benefit to the Body of Christ as a whole since “…if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it…” (1 Cor. 12:26). So stated another way: We ALL need to abandon unbiblical traditions for the sake of the entire Body of Christ, as well as for our own benefit.

By the way: Since most of the people that have opposed women in ministry to me were associated with Reformed Theology, I’ll direct the following points about tradition in that direction, although these same principles certainly apply to other theological groups who hold the same errant view about female leadership.

Traditions: The Good, the Bad, and the Unscriptural

I have a lot of respect for the original Reformers and their theology. I am a big fan of the “Five Solas” in particular, and have learned many good things from reading Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion and Luther’s works, such as his Commentary on Galatians. While I do not agree with them on every point, I do agree with them wholeheartedly on the major doctrines of Scripture (e.g., such as those found in the Apostle’s Creed, which they both affirmed also). Indeed, Luther and Calvin were men who truly sought to live by “Sola Scriptura” to the best of their abilities, although they often fell short in some respects (as we all can do).

(NOTE: For the sake of clarity, let me say here that I do not identify myself as either Calvinist or Lutheran, despite my respect for both men and their writings. In fact, I don’t identify by any denomination. Paul wrote in 1 Cor. chapter 3, such distinctions are carnal and breed unnecessary strife. These theological silos also inhibit spiritual growth by isolating camps from one another, which is also why they cause contention. Paul said that “all things” are ours, i.e., every legitimate theological stream is ours to examine in order to glean spiritual truth. So I refuse to participate therein and self-identify simply as a Christian, or more specifically, as a Spirit-Filled Christian, since the Bible also makes that distinction in places like Acts 19:2 and 1 Cor. 14:23, etc.)

So I respect the views and much of the typical tradition found among Reformed Theology camps, but I do not agree with their common opinion that their doctrine regarding women in ministry is purely “Sola Scriptura.” Therefore, I have rejected the view that women cannot be used by God ministry by His grace. In fact, Jesus told us all that — regardless of the theological source — any and all “traditions” that contradict the Word of God need to be rejected, lest we receive a similar rebuke to that which the scribes and Pharisees received in the following quotation:

He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”

(Matthew 15:3-9, NKJV)

No matter how sincere its adherents might be, and no matter how long a tradition has been held, if it does NOT agree with the Bible WITHOUT contradiction, then it must be rejected as false. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day made “exceptions” to God’s hard-fast commandment that fathers and mothers are to be honored by their adult children too. As I will now begin to demonstrate, Reformed theologians and people in other streams of Christian thought, have similarly contradicted God’s clear will as revealed in Scripture with respect to whether women can be ministers or hold other positions of leadership within the Body of Christ and the local church.

An Irrefutable Test of Truth

The most frequently cited passage in the New Testament for the argument against women preachers is found in 1 Timothy chapter two. Before quoting the passage, let me note briefly that despite their sincerity, their interpretation of this passage is clearly wrong. Indeed, at first glance and in isolation from the rest of the Bible, many people may be tempted to read the passage (which is quoted below) and conclude similarly to what the traditionalists have erroneously done.

Nevertheless, the manner by which they interpret this passage creates a contradiction with other parts of the Bible. As I explained in more detail within my article, True Doctrines (i.e., do not equal) Contradictions, it is impossible for correct doctrines to contain contradictions with other known truths of the Scriptures.

Since God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2; etc.), and He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13), then it follows that the Lord cannot contradict Himself. This is true because both lying and irrational self-denial are, at their root, contradictions. Therefore, they cannot POSSIBLY be true. Intuitively, most of us know it is self-evident that lies are always untrue, even if a few nuggets of fact were included therein in order to provide greater plausibility (i.e., to make the lies more deceptive). Most of us also realize that irrational denials (i.e., denying a truth by claiming it is false) are necessary untrue too. The reason both of these are ALWAYS false is because they are always contradictions. Understanding this fact will prove helpful to you in your study of the Bible, and in life generally.

The Law of Non-Contradiction is one of the Four Fundamental Laws of Rational Thought (about which I plan to write extensively in a book at some point). Apart from adherence to this basic law of logic, we cannot discern truth, for no truth can possibly self-contract. All contradictions are automatically null, or completely devoid of truth merit. Therefore, any statement or belief that is based upon a contradiction is necessarily incorrect and useless to us if we are seeking verifiable truth upon which to act. (And again, please read my full article on this subject to better comprehend these points.)

So let me demonstrate this principle using the verse that most traditional people cite with respect to their opposition to women in ministry. However, in doing so, I will include the last verse of that passage too. Many people stop one verse short, which deprives them of some necessary context (as we will soon see):

Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

(1 Timothy 2:11-15, NKJV)

Again, at first glance a person might be tempted to say, “Well, Rich, that sure does look like the apostle Paul did not allow women to be in the ministry.” However, please note the following facts about the above passage:

  1. The Greek word translated as “woman” (“gynē,” or “γυνή” in literal Greek, Strong’s #1135; from this word is derived the English medical term “gynecology”) is also translated in the New Testament (NT) as “wife.” The Greek word translated as “man” (“anēr,” or “ἀνήρ” in Greek, Strong’s #435) is also translated in the NT as “husband.”
  2. The context includes a reference to Adam and Eve (who were husband and wife), and even ends with a discussion of childbirth (which, of course, is the biblical “fruit” of a marriage).

Thus, the passage above is NOT discussing church leadership as its primary topic, but rather, the family order. The Greek words used, in conjunction with the fact that Adam and Eve are discussed along with child-bearing, makes it clear that the primary point is being made is regarding marriage. Young’s Literal Translation of the same passage implies this too:

…and a woman I do not suffer to teach, nor to rule a husband, but to be in quietness, for Adam was first formed, then Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman, having been deceived, into transgression came, and she shall be saved through the child-bearing, if they remain in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety.

(1 Timothy 2:12-15, YLT, emphasis mine)

So the Greek text of this passage says that a wife is not allowed to teach or “usurp” (KJV) authority over her own husband. It is not a categorical prohibition against ALL women teaching ANY men, but rather, it disallows wives trying to be the boss over their husbands. To conclude otherwise requires one to ignore the immediate context of this passage and the correct use of the original Greek terms (remember that Paul originally wrote in Greek to a Greek-speaking Timothy). Therefore, such a view against women in ministry would contradict with these important contextual elements.

And the contradictions are even more pronounced when we compare this passage with the many examples of women ministers in the Bible.

The Most Obvious Contradiction

There are the stories of women leaders in the Bible, such as Miriam, Moses’ sister (Exodus 15:20), Deborah (Judges chapters 4 and 5), Isaiah’s wife (Isaiah 8:3), a woman named Huldah (2 Kings 22:13-14; 2 Chronicles 34:22), and, of course, Anna (Luke 2:36). All of these women are called by the term “prophetess” in the Bible, which is just the feminine form of the word “prophet” in the original Bible languages (just as it is in English).

Since the Bible NAMES specific women whom God used in the office of “prophet,” and even describes their ministries OVER men in several instances, then there is a direct contradiction created by a “no women in ministry” interpretation of 1 Timothy 4:11-15 against what God obviously DID with these other women.

THIS IS KEY: For us to be correct in our theology, our interpretation of a biblical PRECEPT must match any EXAMPLES that are given in the Bible too. This is the only way to ensure that we have the correct interpretation. If you believe Precept-A must be telling you to do Action-X, but the Bible’s examples of how people applied Precept-A show them doing Action-A, then your interpretation of the commandment is wrong. Period.

Thus, the “traditional” interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11-15 used by some people “makes the Word of God of none effect” by contradicting what God said elsewhere. Why? That “traditional” interpretation that claims that God doesn’t use women in leadership roles is in direct blatant contradiction to the fact that God DID use women in that manner in the Bible.

Now let me restate my subtitle for this article as follows: Since God DID use women in ministry and leadership roles in the Bible, then He STILL DOES so today! Why? Because…

“For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.”

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

(Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8, NKJV, emphasis mine)

And since Christians live under the NEW Covenant, it must be even MORE TRUE that God chooses to use women in ministry today as He has done with examples such as Deborah, etc., from the Old Testament:

But now He [Jesus] has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

(Hebrews 8:6; Galatians 3:28, NKJV, bracketed note and emphasis mine)

Again, True Doctrines ≠ Contradictions. Since God clearly used women in ministry in the Bible, then ANY attempt to contradict God’s examples by interpreting 1 Timothy 2:11-15 (or any OTHER passage) in a contradictory manner creates false doctrine. This absolute truth is known by logical (and of course, biblical) necessity. It is self-evident that you cannot contradict God’s examples with your interpretation of His precepts and yet somehow still be accurately understanding the Mind of God on those subjects. Period.

Profound Irony

So what have we seen so far?

  1. The literal Greek words used in 1 Timothy 2:11-15, coupled with its immediate context, reveals that the primary subject is the family order.
  2. The context of the Bible as a whole reveals that God DID use women in ministry — even in leadership roles over men!

Oh, but here’s the fabulous irony of the 1 Timothy 2:11-15 passage: When this passage is understood in this non-contradictory manner, we then realize that Paul was really AFFIRMING women in ministry by explaining how such roles do NOT supersede the family order! Look at the passage again with the proper translations made:

Let a WIFE learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a WIFE to teach or to have authority over a HUSBAND, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

(1 Timothy 2:11-15, NKJV)

Look at what Paul was saying! By explaining a LIMITATION that is exclusively on married women acting in church leadership roles (including public ministry), he was affirming the fact that they CAN be in those very same leadership roles — just not with respect to ruling over their own husbands!

Stated another way: By discussing a limitation that applies to married women with respect to their own husbands, Paul was indirectly (by logical implication) affirming that they COULD be in church leadership, so long as they respected the family order as preeminent (i.e., of higher standing).

Thus, the VERY passage that’s considered the most “cut and dry proof” that women are NOT to be in ministry is actually PROOF of the opposite: Women can serve the Body of Christ in leadership roles, so long as they don’t attempt to do so over their own husbands. Oh, the irony!  😆

Absolute Silence?

The fact that Paul was affirming women in ministry is revealed even more clearly when we study the Greek word translated as “silence” twice in the Timothy passage (i.e., in verses 11 and 12). It’s the term “hēsychia” (ἡσυχία), listed as Strong’s #2271 in the Greek. Thayer’s Lexicon explains that this word is primarily “…descriptive of the life of one who stays at home doing his own work, and does not officiously meddle with the affairs of others.” It’s the same word that Paul used in this passage:

For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.

(2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, NKJV, emphasis mine)

Paul contrasted “quietness” (aka “silence” as translated in 1 Timothy 2-11-12) with being a “busybody.” Elsewhere in Paul’s instructions in 1 Timothy he similarly warns against such behavior:

If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness….

Honor widows who are really widows…But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.

(1 Timothy 4:7 & 5:3, 11-13, NKJV, emphasis mine)

Therefore, utter “silence” was NOT Paul’s point about women in chapter two. Rather, he was condemning trivial talk, gossip, and being a busybody, as he did when he wrote to the Thessalonians; when he exhorted Timothy regarding his own behavior; and when Paul discussed regarding younger widows.

A study of this Greek word’s usage in the New Testament (which is easy to do since it appears only four times) highlights this fact, but further proof comes from the term translated “learn.” It’s the Greek word “manthanō” (μανθάνω), listed as Strong’s #3129. It means rather obviously, “to increase one’s knowledge.”

If Paul was exhorting women to be educated concerning theological matters (and that’s exactly what he was doing), then it’s quite absurd to assume that they were to keep that information to themselves only. Rather, just like he exhorted the Thessalonians to “work in quietness” (i.e., mind their own business while they earn a living to buy their own food), Paul was saying in verse 11 that women should STUDY in quietness and NOT be gossips, busybodies, etc.

In a similar manner, by repeating the same Greek word translated as “silence” in verse 12 with respect to wives submitting to their own husbands, Paul was simply emphasizing his previous point that women leaders SHOULD NOT teach or attempt to rule over their own husbands.

Thus, with these points in mind, we can translate the passage in the following manner and be true to the Greek text, the immediate context, and in agreement with what God has done throughout the Bible regarding using women in ministry and leadership roles:

Let a WIFE learn [study, research the Scriptures, listen to instruction] in silence [i.e., without unnecessary or trivial chatter, and certainly without gossiping, and] with all submission [i.e., to the leaders who are instructing them]. And I do not permit a WIFE to teach or to have authority over [her] HUSBAND, but to be in silence [i.e., not berating him, giving him commands, or trying to instruct him]. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

(1 Timothy 2:11-15 in Rich’s “expanded” translation)

Dictators in the Church?

And another key point to consider is what Greek word Paul used with respect to a WIFE attempting to have “authority,” or as the KJV says, “usurp authority.” If this passage was forbidding women from being in leadership roles at all, he likely would NOT have chosen this word. Why?

The term used is “authenteō” (αὐθεντέω), which is Strong’s #831. Thayer’s Lexicon says that it literally means, “one who with his own hand kills either others or himself” in its original usage. YIKES! 😯

Of course, the meaning of the word didn’t stay that way. It came to mean metaphorically, “one who does a thing himself, the author; one who acts on his own authority, autocratic; to govern one, exercise dominion over one.” Thus, this is a word that means that someone is being a little dictator, a little fascist tyrant, who self-appoints themselves into leadership over others (i.e., rather than being delegated genuine authority by God or by men).

Since the Bible doesn’t permit ANYONE to rule over Christians as self-appointed dictators, it cannot be the case that Paul was saying that only men should wield such “authority” in the church. This term doesn’t apply to biblical ministry at all, for we are taught by our Lord to practice “servant leadership” (as modern management science calls it) by serving the people who we lead:

But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.”

(Matthew 20:25-26, NKJV, emphasis mine)

Thus, Paul wasn’t implying that “only men” can be leaders, for any “ruler” of this tyrannical nature is condemned. The third epistle of John actually condemns a man named “Diotrephes” who acted like a little dictator in the church in the hometown of Gaius:

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.

Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true.

(3 John vs. 9-12, NKJV, emphasis mine)

We can certainly see also that Diotrephes’ behavior was certainly NOT congruent with how Jesus taught leadership principles. John took the emphasis further and called that man’s behavior “evil.” Consequently, it isn’t surprising that John closed this topic out by recommending Gaius switch churches and join the fellowship being led by Demetrius. (So, yes, it’s also biblical to exhort people to leave bad churches.)

Thus, the “traditional” view that Paul was insinuating that women cannot serve in leadership roles, but that such “authority” was reserved only to men, must be false. This isn’t the type of leadership style permitted to ANY leader, regardless of gender.

Of course, someone might argue in rebuttal, “But if Paul was saying that women can’t serve in leadership roles in the church, then his use of this word for ‘authority’ would imply that women doing so are self-appointing themselves into leadership and ministry roles that they shouldn’t have.” Nevertheless, such a counter-argument can’t be true because:

  1. That interpretation contradicts the clear examples of God using women in leadership roles, and thus, must be a false doctrine.
  2. Many women in ministry, particularly in Western countries, were ordained by men and placed into those roles.  Thus, they can’t be “self-appointing” or “usurping authority” that is delegated to them by others. On the other hand, a husband cannot delegate his authority to his wife to rule over him because that’s a contradiction: His authority cannot grant her authority over him because she would be in submission to him while trying to rule over him. No, that’s an absurdity that, hopefully, few couples attempt to do since it is both irrational and against the commandments of God.

So my points above are valid and similar counter-arguments are necessarily self-refuting. Paul was simply telling Timothy that he doesn’t permit WIVES to be domineering over their husbands. In so doing, he was specifically implying that women CAN BE in leadership and ministry roles, but that they have a limitation upon them in that they are not allowed to use those roles to undermine the biblical family order.

The fact that this exhortation is confirmed by EXAMPLES in the Scriptures is additional confirmation that this pro-women interpretation must be true. So, let’s take a look at one of those next.

A Closer Look At Bible Women in Ministry

Let’s look closer at Deborah in particular as an illustration of everything that I just explained above:

Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time. And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, ‘Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun; and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand’?”

(Judges 4:4-7, NKJV)

Not only was Deborah “a prophetess,” but she also “judged Israel at that time.” Please note that the Hebrew word used here for the verb “judged” is “shaphat” (שָׁפַט, Strong’s #8199). This is NOT AT ALL a weaker term that could be construed as minimizing her leadership role. Rather, this is one of the EXACT SAME WORDS used to describe ALL of the “judges” in the Book of Judges. It is also used of Moses’ ministry repeatedly, such as in Exodus 18:13-26. Solomon used this very word in 1 Kings 3:9 when he asked the Lord to enable him to “judge” the people of Israel as their new king. David used this same word to describe earthly rulers in Psalm 2:10. & etc. When the men of Israel asked Samuel for a “king to judge us” in 1 Samuel 8:6, it was this very same Hebrew word again.

Thus, Deborah was not only a prophetess, she was also appointed by God during her lifetime to RULE over Israel like ALL of the male judges and kings that both preceded and followed her. Nevertheless, please note that the description of Deborah in the passage above does NOT indicate that she “ruled” or had any authority over her husband, Lapidoth!

It appears that this godly woman was in submission to her husband with respect to her household. Since the family order is commanded by God, it is necessarily true that a godly woman would obey that commandment. Otherwise, the Lord wouldn’t promote her into ministry or a leadership role of any kind.

It ALSO seems clear that Lapidoth was secure enough in his manhood to let her fulfill her ministry as a prophetess and ruler over Israel, without feeling threatened thereby. (The Body of Christ needs more godly and secure husbands like him!)

Thus, please note what happens if we interpret 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in a manner consistent with the Greek and its immediate context, i.e., that it is ONLY forbidding WIVES teaching or usurping authority over their own HUSBANDS when they served the Body of Christ in leadership roles:

  • If we interpret 1 Timothy 2:11-15 (and other similar passages) in a pro-women in ministry manner (as I have just outlined), then the RESULT is an interpretation that is consistent with the story of Deborah — and ALL of the other women ministers included in the Bible! (And yes, there are others, including those in the New Testament.) Thus, since this interpretation of God’s PRECEPT is in full agreement with His explicit EXAMPLES, it is biblically and logically  proven to be correct.
  • However, all opposing interpretations are necessarily wrong since they create contradictions between the interpretations of those precepts and the explicit examples God gave us in His written Word.

Let me state this again: Since God DID use women in ministry and leadership roles in the Bible, then He STILL DOES so today!

Therefore, the ONLY correct interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is the one that fits the Greek, the immediate context, AND the rest of the Bible.

Again, no doctrine that contains contradictions can possibly be true. To proclaim “Sola Scriptura” while simultaneously holding a doctrine that’s in contradiction to the Bible’s clear examples, is necessarily irrational and proof of errant doctrine. The cure is simple, however: Just interpret 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in the light of the original Greek and the passage’s immediate and biblical contexts. If you do, then the contradictions disappear.  😀

(NOTE: “Sola Scriptura” is a Latin phrase meaning, “Only Scripture,” i.e., as the source of genuine Christian doctrine versus traditions invented by humans. It is one of the Five Solas of the Great Reformation, and is indeed a true biblical doctrine to hold.)

Support for SOME ≠ Support for ALL

Please do not mistake my general support for Christian women being called by God to the ministry to mean that I categorically endorse EVERY woman who claims to be a Christian minister. Obviously, I am quite supportive of GODLY women ministers. Nevertheless, for a woman to qualify as such it can only be under the following conditions:

  • IF AND ONLY IF they are born again;
  • IF AND ONLY IF they are truly called to be in the ministry or leadership (i.e., they are not trying to invent a “ministry” for themselves);
  • IF AND ONLY IF they have been prepared by God’s Word for fruitful ministry, i.e, they are mature in the faith, godly in conduct, and have sound doctrine;
  • IF AND ONLY IF they have been separated by the Spirit of God to the ministry for which He has called them (compare Acts 13:1-3 to 26:12-20).

Of course, these are the exact same requirements for MEN to be in ministry. Note that, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ… there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:27-28 excerpt). Therefore, it should be of no surprise that the same requirements for men to serve in ministry and leadership roles apply to women also, and vice versa. These requirements are universal, regardless of a person’s biological gender.

Likewise, just as there are FALSE ministers who are male, there are FALSE ministers who are female too (e.g., Revelation 2:20-23). Therefore, do NOT think that I am endorsing female wolves in sheep’s clothing any more than I ever would endorse a male wolf. Heretics are heretics, and self-serving people serve only themselves. Again, these statements are true regardless of the God-given biological gender of the person in question.

However, the opposite point is also quite true in the light of the Bible: Just like there are (and have always been) TRUE ministers who are male by gender, even so there are (and have always been) TRUE female ministers of God too.

So the very FACT of false ministers is proof that there are true ones, for the “false” derive their identity (fraudulently) from that which is “true.” You can’t have a “false leprechaun” because there aren’t any REAL ones. There aren’t any “false $7 bills” circulating in the public because there are not any REAL ones in the United States currency. Something has to EXIST in order for it to be COUNTERFEITED.

Thus, the fact of female heretics (i.e., false ministers) is proof-positive that God calls REAL ones to the ministry still today, just as the Lord did within the Bible too. Logically, this is necessarily the truth. Additionally, true and false ministers have ALWAYS co-existed, as the Bible frequently reveals. Therefore, the common counter-argument that some heretic female ministers (e.g., famous televangelists) are somehow “proof” that women shouldn’t be in ministry, is self-refuting. The FACT of a “false” is PROOF of the corresponding “true.” Period. By pointing to one, you imply the existence of the other. Just like there are false female preachers, there are true ones too.

For More Study

If you want to explore these topics more, then I have good news for you. I have already produced in-depth teaching videos that cover this and related topics. So let me share these with you here:

Learn about the biblical limits of a wife’s submission to her husband as we discuss the family order in this two-part series on Handmaidens of the Lord. The New Testament is clear that wives are to be submissive, but can a wife submit too much? Should a wife outright refuse to cooperate in some types of situations? Is it possible that a wife might be blessed by God when she intentionally does the opposite of what she knows her husband would want her to do?
Oh, this will be a fun as I bring biblical balance to this subject! Many of you will be very surprised to see what the Scriptures REALLY say on these topics.

Of course, the video below builds on the foundation laid by the one above. It also expands the subject matter that I just covered in this article here about women in ministry in several ways. I delve into some related side-topics that will likely bless you too:

In this episode we begin our discussion of how God DID — and thus, STILL DOES! — use women in the five-fold ministry and other church leadership roles. We are building upon the foundation previously laid last week in Handmaidens of the Lord (Part 1): The Biblical Limits of a Wife’s Submission by extending into the next logical discussion regarding godly Christian women.

I am planning to do a third episode in order to tidy up a few loose ends that were left undone in the videos above, and to expand the content into what God’s Word says prophetically about an increase in women ministers and leaders during these Last Days. I would also like to include answers to your questions, as well address any concerns that anyone might have.

So, if you would like to have your input into what I cover in my third teaching video for the series above, then be sure to comment on those pages.

(PLEASE NOTE: I have comments turned off here on this article because I want to encourage everyone to the other website pages for our discussions. Of course, discourse about the family order should be done primarily on the first post, and women in ministry on the second. Also, in accordance with Proverbs 18 verses 2 and 13, as well as 26:16, I would like to encourage you to watch both videos before engaging me or others on those pages. It will improve the quality of our threads. Thank you.)

Thank you for taking the time to read this article, and I trust that you will be blessed by the additional information conveyed in the videos too.

Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

(Ephesians 6:24, NKJV)

Always in Jesus,

— Rich Vermillion