Debating on Women Pastors

Debating on Women Pastors

Did you ever feel pulled in a direction you really didn’t want to go in? Well, this has been my life for the last 3 1/2 years. If anyone wanted to talk about the issue of women in ministry, women Pastors or anything similar, I just wouldn’t go there. I just wanted to talk about Jesus and I wanted to stay away from controversial issues. Looking back on my attitude I think I was just being selfish because I didn’t want to touch a subject that didn’t affect me. After all I wasn’t a Pastor and if there were no women Pastors in the entire body of Christ, it really didn’t matter to me. I am an apologist called by God to witness to those caught in the cults and to teach correct biblical doctrine to those who had been deceived into believing that they had the right Jesus, the right gospel and the right spirit when all they had was a spiritual counterfeit. I had my eyes on the right goal, but I closed my eyes to the plight of multiple women in the body of Christ who were being stopped from ministering in their own God-given gifts. It wasn’t until I was treated badly for being a woman in ministry that I embarked on my own study of scripture to find out God’s will in the matter of women’s gifts in the body of Christ. I was open to being corrected and I came to scripture believing that if I was wrong to teach the gospel or correct people’s doctrine, then I would submit to whatever God’s will was for women.

That led me to the most amazing journey through scripture delving into the hard passages of scripture and after scripting my findings into a DVD series called “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” I can honestly say that I have a tremendous respect for the Apostle Paul and the full inspiration of scripture that frees women to serve God in whatever way that He calls them.

I praise God that my journey has brought freedom to many men and women in Christ. The first Pastor that contacted me after viewing the series said that the DVDs were instrumental in correcting his faulty tradition on the subject of women in ministry. All the praise goes to God for his faithfulness! Yet through the wonderful things that I was learning from each inspired word and each inspired piece of grammar in the hard passages of scripture, I lost two people whom I considered to be good friends. Just because I pointed out the scriptural basis for women to have freedom to minister for the common good, I was treated with anger, disrespect and ultimately shunned as a person sinning against God. God allowed this for his glory because what my friends intended as a rejection, and as a punishment for my beliefs, God saw fit to train me through suffering to understand what other women have experienced because they too chose to be obedient to God rather than to man-made tradition.

So here I am once again finding myself compelled to speak out even though my shy nature doesn’t want to experience the anger and rejection again. I have been listening to Matt Slick’s radio program called “Faith and Reason” and although there are many things that I do not agree with Matt on, I applaud his determination to reach out to the cults and to atheists with the good news of Jesus Christ. (Matt Slick’s radio program is at 790 AM,Boise, Idaho streamed at 6 – 7 pm Mountain time Monday through Friday, phone number 208-377-3790.) In fact, I used Matt’s web site ( to get information on Universalism several years ago when I was dealing with a former Pastor who had become a Universalist and had infiltrated a Calvary Chapel Church where my former friends attended. The information that I got from Matt’s site was very helpful in dealing with the subject of Universalism and the end result was that my friends did not get pulled into this deception and the Universalist/former Christian Pastor was asked to leave the church so that he could no longer influence the people in the congregation. It was really amazing to me that I could put in a major amount of effort to help keep my friends safe from deception and then years later this same couple would turn on me and reject me merely because of the secondary issue of women in ministry. That is truly sad.

So, back to Matt. I have been listening to Matt’s podcasts and it has grieved me that he is counseling women to stop following after God’s calling on their lives regarding pastoral ministry. I felt that it was time that women and men who listen to his broadcasts realize that there is another side of this issue that they weren’t being told and I wrote to Matt asking for time to speak about the issue of women’s ability to teach the bible for the common good of men and women so that I could share the opposing viewpoint with his audience. Matt has had my DVD set for about a year and although I have asked him several times to point out what he considers to be my “errors” and to explain where my exegesis is wrong, he has chosen not to answer. While it would be more comfortable for me to just leave him alone and just to consider him a rather rude brother in Christ, I have a great concern about those whom he is influencing. So bottom line, I think this is the week when I will call into Matt’s program (probably Sept 10, 11 or 12, 2007) and say some words to defend our sisters in Christ whom God has called into ministry.

My concerns are that Matt is extremely passionate against women in ministry so that he comes across as rude and crude. He called me a feminist, a liberal and someone not interested in the truth of scripture. For those of you who have been reading my posts for some time now, you should have picked up by now that I am a big stickler for biblical inerrancy and for the full inspiration of scripture including inspired words and inspired grammar. Matt apparently cannot fathom anyone with this kind of respect for scripture who would believe differently than he does.

Listen to Matt’s comments here regarding women in ministry and my email to him. It is about 4 minutes long and is the section where he chides me for not believing in scripture. I am awed at how he could say the things he said after having read my emails and after having viewed my DVD set. It totally blows me away.

What Matt didn’t read from my emails was this:

Why do you treat cultists with respect and Christian sisters with such disrespect as if they were terrible sinners against God?

Before one can even discussion the issue of Pastors, one must be able to discuss the gifts of women in the church and whether God has given them freedom to teach and use their gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ.

I am gentle and respectful. Will you try to be respectful too since you are my brother in Christ? If so, then let’s talk. Set a time for after the 8th of September and I will let a bunch of Pastors through the US know about the show and let’s have a go at showing the cultists and atheists how godly Christians can talk about an issue that doesn’t affect one’s salvation.

The only answer I got from Matt was his comments on his radio program. He read this part of my email:

I am not a woman’s libber. I do not burn bras or rake men over the coals for all the atrocities that they have done to women through the years.

Apparently what I said that I do not do was cause for him to continue to say that I sounded like a woman’s libber. This is the kind of misrepresentation that creates an atmosphere of contention. Yet I still believe that what I can say in a loving and kind way will touch someone’s heart.

Please pray for me as I consider how and what I should say so that I can show God’s grace and God’s love to a brother in Christ who has not much respect for women whom God has called to minister without prejudice to the entire body of Christ.

If you have any words of wisdom, I am all ears.

19 thoughts on “Debating on Women Pastors

  1. Cheryl, I listened to a bit of his show and to say that he is rude is an understatement. You probably will not change his mind but there may be some listeners who will be Bereans. I will pray for your wisdom and composure.

    Is it me or is this issue becoming more vitriolic in Christendom? As I read from one person recently, it seems the church is more interested in waring with the popular culture than being what it was meant to be.

  2. Lin,

    Yes, I know I won’t change his mind. He has a real attitude towards women in ministry and this is difficult to get through to a hardened heart. My goal is to touch the hearts of women who have been challenged to stay away from God’s calling on their life if it involves anything that is pastoral. Will that be good enough to hope for God to accomplish even if it means I will suffer persecution? Yes, I think this is worth it. If I can help, I should be a help if even to one person. Thank you for your prayers. I do not enjoy confrontations with someone who is vitriolic. It also seems to me that those who have set themselves against women in ministry have become very vitriolic and they seem to forget that as the body of Christ we are to love one another. We are not to rip at the sheep. We are the sheep of Jesus and if we mistreat any of the sheep, we will have to give an account to the Master.

  3. Sis. Cheryl,

    The condescention in Mr. Slicks tone was undeniable. But, this is usually the normal reaction from teachers of his sort when asked to discuss concerns over women in the service of God. Most commentators can wax eloquent and be quite persuasive when they are alone with a microphone and not under pressure to awnser tough questions.

    I received the “Women in Ministry” DVD’s and have reviwed them three times in the last few days, Sis. Cheryl, you have nothing to worry about, you can hold your own! Your apologetics and interpretation dealing with the difficult passages on women are hard to refute by even the toughest complimentarians……..that’s why they prefer to “agree to disagree.”

    It is my prayer that God will fill your mouth with His Words, so that the doubters might be astonished and silenced.

    Some people mistake being loud for Holy Ghost boldness, and listening to the short broadcast I think Mr. Slick might feel compelled to try that with you, just don’t let it confound you.

  4. Terri,

    I sure appreciate your words of encouragement! I am looking for the Lord to help me to respond with kindness and clarity and not react when I am attacked. I have a very strong base of biblical understanding and from that base I can speak with kindness if I don’t allow my flesh to well up to react in a defensive way. It is easier to do this with email or with a script because one has time to think. I may not be so quick in a live radio show, so I want to be filled with God’s grace for all my inadequacies. I also agree with you about the loudness and brashness. It appears to have scared off a lot of challengers.

    About your viewing WIM three times in the last few days – oh my dear sister in Christ, that is an overload of hearing me teach! You ought to get a reward for your stamina!


  5. Mom,

    Stay focused on expositing scripture and whatever you do, avoid defending yourself. Kindly remind Matt to please refrain from assuming your motives or ad hominem, and ask him if he would let you explain how you exposit these hard scriptures he keeps referring to. If he doesn’t let you speak, ask him questions and teach him by leading him to the water as you usually do.

    Will be praying for you!


  6. Cheryl,

    I have been familiar with Matt Slick’s ministry for years. I share many of his views regarding the sovereignty of God, spiritual gifts, etc., but on this issue I have to demur. His condescending tone in the .mp3 link is sadly, a characteristic of his that rears its ugly head sometimes when challenged. When and if you call, stay focused, ignore the ad hominems, and stick to your understanding of the “tough passages” of Scripture. However, because of the fact that he is controlling the mike and volume thereof, he may be willing to “get loud” and shut you out. This is typical with reformed complementarians (I used to be one! :-)). With that being the case, I’d be glad to hear his carefully crafted response to your WIM DVD set . . . I’ll be listening diligently.

  7. This unfathomable hatred of women by people who should know better is a sign of the nearness of Jesus’ return. I wrote a little about that at if anyone is interested.

    Any of us who have stood for how God views women have felt that same sting of betrayal. We tell them what scripture says as kindly as possible yet they react almost like unbelievers. Their anger reveals a deep-seated refusal to fully obey God, because they are proud. Pride in one’s gender is no better than pride in one’s skin color or social rank, and God hates it all.

    I’m no one to talk, but I’d suggest going into this arena like a brave Christian thrown to the lions for the entertainment of the crowds. Or like going out for a drive in the car: expect people to cut you off and act like jerks, so that when they do this it won’t be a surprise. I dunno, just trying to help. 😉

  8. When I posted on some public forums other than this one, I was shocked at the amount of verbal abuse that some who do not believe in gift-based leadership are willing to display and this to a male, I can only imagine what it must be like for a female. Such antics bring disrepute to the cause of Christ and give reasons for non-believers to stay that way.

    Here are some examples:
    1. As my name is Don, I was accused on actually being a woman, Dawn.
    2. I was accused of being a feminist, despite my repeated requests that I not be called that, as I am not that, I am an egalitarian.
    3. I repeatedly asked that I not be misrepresented, to little avail.
    4. I was repeatedly told that I was “changing the clear meaning of the Bible”.
    5. One person in particular repeatedly try to bait me by making outrageous accusations and misquoting me. This person was essentially trying to bully me to be quiet.

    At some point I realized that my challenges were slight compared to what many others have gone thru and that God was just allowing me to get a glimpse.

    Those that are willing to publicly proclaim freedom in Christ have my deep respect.

  9. Don,

    It’s sad to see that some Christians would launch an ad hominem your way by accusing you of falsely portraying a male . . or worse, knowing that you are a male, yet making fun of you instead and calling you a name instead of actually intelligently and courteously interacting with your position. Your testimony got me thinking. In my case as a pastor, some folks have been pretty surprised to learn my views re: women in the church because to them egalitarianism = liberal feminism &/or an effeminate disposition.

    They get a little confused because they know that I like hard, sin-killing, convicting, preaching & teaching from the Scriptures, they know that I have a very high view of the sovereignty of God, they know that I believe in the absolute necessity of contending for the faith once for all handed down to the saints (Jude 3), and they know that I dogmatically believe and defend the full, verbal, plenary, inspiration of the Scriptures and hold that the autographs were inerrant and that the copies we have today are sovereignly preserved copies that faithfully represent those autographs.

    They also are aware that I am what could be called “a man’s man”. That means that I thoroughly enjoy shooting guns/target practicing for fun (like many Christian men), love hard workouts and the martial arts (like many Christian men), don’t mind having a fat beard and enjoying a good beer with my pizza (like many Christian men), and believe in the importance of hard work and mental or physical “sweat” for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31) over and against a soft, lazy, and sluggardly disposition (like many Christian men).

    More importantly, they know that I believe in the absolute necessity of striving to love my wife like Jesus loved the church and gave Himself up for her. I strive to demonstrate this daily through being the head of my wife in our marriage relationship *through providing a consistent and faithful spiritual example* to her and exhorting her by my actions as well as my words as to what it means to be an incurable God-lover (Eph. 5:22ff). I also see the absolute necessity of a godly woman submitting to such a spiritual example.

    To me, the view that the husband must provide spiritual headship in the marriage relationship is also conducive to promoting a correct understanding of women in church.

    Nevertheless, most folks see these things as mutually exclusive to an egalitarian understanding of Scripture and I think that nothing could be further from the truth. They believe that “head” should = “authority over” and this is nothing but a blatant eisegesis of the text of Eph. 5 and a convenient ignoring of the husband/wife “authority” issues of 1 Cor. 7:4. Sadly, what most folks don’t understand is that I believe the way I do about women in the church *because* I believe in the verbal, plenary, inspiration of the infallible Scriptures and not in spite of it.

    Yes, the truth of the Scriptures have been muddled and distorted by god-hating feminist, religious liberals. However, we need to be sure that we encourage those conservative complementarian brothers and sisters who unjustly call us names to be sure that when they reject our biblically faithful understanding of women in ministry, that to be consistent, if they are going to reject us because we are supposedly liberals, then they need to reject the other things that feminist liberals practice as well; things like Scripture reading in church, baptism, singing hymns, participating in communion, and pastors without wives and children. Isn’t consistency grand? 🙂

  10. Ryan,

    Thanks son for the reminder that dealing with Christians is sometimes akin to skillfully dealing with the cults where you must win them to truth in a loving and non-combative way. I do have to be reminded of that fact because it is easy to assume that dealing with Christians should be different than dealing with the cults. (Sigh!) Note to self: if teaching isn’t allowed, then questions are the next best thing.


    Yes, I too share a tremendous appreciation for the sovereignty of God as I understand that the scriptures are truth even though they sometimes appear to be teaching conflicting ideas. Sometimes I think God arranged it that way so that we have to sweat hard to understand God’s way instead of seeing a too-simple way of exegeting scripture. Yet I can have a grace-filled heart of love towards those who do not agree with me on the non-essentials. Pushing through hard concepts about God’s sovereignty and the existence of evil for example, cause us to stretch and grow. As we grow we should be able to see others through God’s eyes and not through our own insecurities. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that Matt’s inability to be challenged on his black and white view of the non-essentials may stem from his own insecurities. He has suffered by being forced out of a church because of his belief in Calvinism and people have been very unkind to their brother in Christ. Yet I see him doing the same thing to those who see scripture as affirming women’s spiritual gifts. He wants to force them out of the church by attributing to them an attitude of sin. I would have thought that his own unfortunate experience with people who are intolerant of beliefs that do not conform exactly to their own would have made him more tolerant on the non-essentials and not less tolerant. Perhaps Matt needs to go around that bush one more time so that he can understand true compassion. A friend once told me that if we don’t learn our lesson the first time around, God sends us around the same bush again until we get it. I for one am not interesting in having to experience that kind of pain more than once. I have learned that caring for others in the body of Christ goes far past our own experiences and our own comfort zone.

    I also appreciated your interaction with Don assuring him and others that a “manly-man” can be in favor of God’s use of women’s gifts in the body of Christ. I also loved it when you said:

    “I dogmatically believe and defend the full, verbal, plenary, inspiration of the Scriptures and hold that the autographs were inerrant and that the copies we have today are sovereignly preserved copies that faithfully represent those autographs.”

    Amen and amen! I tell people that those who do not hold to this strong view of scripture will do poorly with witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons.

    I have been so disappointed with people like Dr. Ben Witherington who by the way is an egalitarian, but who tells people that Matthew’s reference to prophecy in the OT was his own interpretation and not the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, and that the early Christians put Jesus into the OT by “noodling” with the Septuagint. For anyone interested in the discussion on Ben’s blog that my son Ryan and I have been trying hard to stick up for full biblical inspiration against a wishy-washy who-knows-what-is-inspired-and-what-isn’t attitude, have a look at Ben’s blog here and the comments after.


    Thanks for your wisdom! I think you are right in that if we expect persecution, we may be better able to respond instead of being side-swiped and surprised and tempted to respond back in anger. There is a hostile audience out there and if they are angry enough to cut you off, God will provide another way for us to be a messenger for our Lord.

    As a side note, I got cut off of the Worthy Boards that I was witnessing on. Worthy Boards is a strong complimentarian discussion board. I got cut out because I was accused of “teaching” and not just being part of the “discussion”. I guess you just can’t let women teach after all or people might actually learn something 😉


    I feel bad that you have been painted with the same brush as we women. I was told a long time ago that men who stand up for women in ministry will be treated exactly as they treat the women. Your experience proves that this warning is true. But this should never be! Where is the love? This is the way I look at it…how would the opposer like to be treated if they were the one who is wrong? Would they like to be treated gently and with respect? Of course they would! When one is wrong and they are shown that they are wrong, there is a whole ego thing that happens. It hurts our egos to be found out to be foolish and someone who let’s us survive this experience with our ego intact is a gracious, godly person who is tender and compassionate. Why would anyone think that berating a person will help them to “get it”? It doesn’t help. It just hardens one’s heart. If they truly believe you to be in the wrong, then they should have a mature Christian love that will follow Paul’s admonish to a true servant of the Lord:

    2Timothy 2:24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil
    2Timothy 2:25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth…

    Lord Jesus, may we all be patient, kind, compassionate especially to our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ!

  11. I am a “full egalitarian” in that I believe the Bible teaches both husband and wife are partners and co-leaders of the home. For example, Eph 5:22 is subordinate (I can use that word when referring to grammatical structure) to Eph 5:21, which teaches mutual submission and then follows it with 6 practical examples in the 1st century world as Paul’s commentary on Aristotle’s household codes. But this is not the topic of this forum, so I will stop there.

  12. Dear Cheryl,
    grace and peace be with you in abundance.

    I so look forward to hear the debate 🙂 I’m sure that God is using you to set many people free learning the truth about Women in Ministry.

    WIM, tithing, speaking in tongues, sabbath keeping can really keep people busy discussing.

    Hugs from Denmark,
    your brother in Christ,

  13. Thanks Martin. Isn’t the internet great that we can all have access to hear audio files even across the world?

    One other thing that I just caught from listening again to the audio clip that I put up from Matt’s radio program. Matt left out part of one sentence and the full next sentence. Here is what I said and what he left out:

    I had an active support group for Jehovah’s Witnesses where they came to my home to have their doctrine sorted out. I taught them the truth of God’s word and loved them with the love of Christ.

    The bold part is the part that Matt left out. I wonder what the reason was that he left out the full impact of what I said.

  14. Cheryl,

    Be sure and listen to a very wise man… Ryan. I think I will too when facing people or situations as you’ve described. What great, mature words of advise those are to us all.

  15. I have to share this treasure with you all:

    Gribble, Florence L., Stranger Than Fiction (Winona Lake, IN: Brethren Missionary Herald Co., 1957)

    I recently found the above old book in some boxes of books left behind by my mother when she died. Even though my mom was SBC, I did not find this book out of place because she was so involved in international missions.

    This woman’s story is incredible and stranger than fiction! A doctor/missionary to unreached parts of Africa in the early 1900’s she spent most of her life living in tents and suffering from maleria and black fever.

    She was raised by unbelievers and put herself through medical school. Yet, she did not shrink from witnessing/preaching to men in the United States and Africa. She went to Africa WITHOUT continual support soley trusting God for her needs. Even down to planning the trip without funds to buy the boat fare which came as a gift at the last minute. She never asked for money, she simply prayed for her needs. The entire story is like this and is such an inspiration. She married on the mission field and I must say, her marriage was more egalitarian than we can imagine. Many times her and her husband separted in duties so they could reach more people. Both teaching and preaching. He died very young in Africa and Florence simply carried on.

    The entire book is filled with her sharing her experience of being called. She had many opportunities and offers to do other things but she knew she was called to Africa to minister to both physical and spiritual needs of the people there.

    I feel as if I have found an old dusty treasure worth millions.

    What if Florence had been told she could not teach or preach to men anywhere? What if she had been taught that she would be in sin?

    (By the way, in one instance, in French controlled Africa during the war, Florence was told by the French Administrator she could not witness at all. She told him she could not help but witness and teach. She had to. She was confined to her ‘yard’ around her tent, so she witnessed on the edge of the yard to anyone coming by.)

  16. I wish someone would expound upon the scriptures here. In particular, I would like to understand people’s perspective on 1 Timothy 2:12-14 and the reasoning Paul gives.

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