There is a hot debate in the church today regarding whether a woman is in “sin” for teaching the Bible to men. While some say that a godly woman’s teaching of the Bible is okay for use with women and children, but all teaching by women to men is considered sinful. Others state that a woman may teach the Bible to men as long as it is in her home or perhaps outside on the lawn, but if she were to teach men inside a church building, she would immediately be involved in committing a sin.
The issue of a “special sin” that is only applicable for one gender becomes complicated by the understanding that the church originally met only in people’s homes. There were no designated church buildings during the early years of New Testament Christianity, so how could the “place” where she taught be a source of sin for the godly Christian woman?
Yet there is an issue much deeper than just the issue of what building men allow women to teach in. The issue is whether God taunts and torments a woman with gifts that she cannot use. If God gifts a woman with the spiritual gifts of pastor or teacher is He tempting her to sin when she freely uses her God-given gifts for His glory and for the benefit of His body?
Let’s think this one through. First of all it is God’s Sovereign choice regarding whom He choses to gift. Many complementarians will freely admit that God has gifted women with the gift of pastor and the gift of teacher. If only a man is allowed to be a pastor, surely God would not gift a woman with a forbidden gift, would He?
Secondly a spiritual gift is not passed on to a woman through the sin nature of her father so her “gift” cannot be the result of her sin nature. Logically the only source for a godly woman’s spiritual gifts can be God Himself. Does God gift a woman as a pastor and then take away the gift because she is a woman? This doesn’t seem reasonable. God surely knew that she was a woman when he gifted her in the first place.
Why would God gift a woman and then charge her with sin for using her gift? Is it in the nature of our God to be delighted to torment people with temptations to sin through what He alone provides? That can’t be right since the Bible says that God cannot tempt anyone.
James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
The problem extends further because God not only gifts us with His spiritual gifts, but He commands us to use these gifts for the common good.
1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
1 Peter 4:11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.<
I am not sure if complementarian men even understand the questions I am asking. Has a man ever been gifted by God and then forbidden to use his gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ? What would that feel like? Would there be tension between his passion to serve the Lord Jesus and then a holding back of his spirit while he is forbidden to fulfill his God-given desire? This kind of thing actually does happen in parts of the world where God has gifted and called men to serve Him but they are forbidden by ungodly governments who want to destroy the church and prevent the gospel of Jesus from going forth. But can we say that God joins these ungodly governments by restricting some from using their gifts for the benefit of the church?
So where is the nature of God in this debate? What does the Scripture say about God giving gifts on one hand and then apparently mocking women by charging them with sin for daring to use their gifts for the common good? Doesn’t the Bible say that He will not withhold any good thing from those who walk righteously with Him?
Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Is not being a part of the giving out of the gospel a good thing? Is God going to go back on His promise and withhold women’s ministry to half of the body of Christ?
How about this scripture:
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
Is the act of a woman sowing godly Christian doctrine into the lives of men an act that will reap eternal punishment in hell? How dare we say such a thing?
And what about these scriptures:
1 Cor 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,
1 Cor 6:10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Cor 6:11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Is it also true that godly women who teach the Bible to men will not inherit the kingdom of God? Shall we add “women pastors” to the list of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God because they dared to love their brothers in Christ enough to use their God-given gifts for the benefit of men? In 1 Cor. 6:11 are we to add that “Women pastors or Bible teachers to men – such were some of you but you have been washed from being a woman pastor and you have been sanctified from being a godly woman Bible teacher to men? Is this really how the Scripture reads?
Jesus described what defiles a man or a woman.
Matthew 15:10 After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand.
Matthew 15:11 “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”
Does godly Bible teaching coming out of the mouth of a woman defile her?
Is it possible that some who restrict women from preaching the gospel to men are so in love with their own unlimited freedom in the body of Christ that they are unwilling to even think through this issue to release God’s women for service? Is it possible that some are more than willing to portray God as One who tempts women to sin by gifting them with gifts that they dare not use for the common good?
Is it possible that some have a hardened heart which is quick to attribute sin to a God’s wonderful gifts?
Matthew 15:7 “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:
Matthew 15:8 ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
Matthew 15:9 ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'”