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Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? to enter the digital future

Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? to enter the digital future

WIM digital

Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? will soon be available online!

Update: I have posted all of the videos from Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? DVD series free online! The first DVD is found online here and the rest of the video files are linked on that page as well. The link is to my new Women in Ministry blog. Please sign up at the new site for updates.


I am working on a new video project at the moment, but I am also working to convert each of the 4 DVDs of Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? to a lower quality online downloadable product. We are working hard so that those with computers around the world may also have access to the DVDs.  The entire set will be available for purchase online or each DVD in the 4 DVD set will be available individually as a video download.  We have upgraded the security on our website and we are presently working through all of the logistics to make this all possible.  it is a huge step forward for our ministry.  If all goes well, we will start offering the downloadable version this fall (2012).  Please watch this blog for further information for the launch of the downloadable version.

The DVDs also include audio bytes from those who disagree with women in ministry and we break down the arguments and compare the arguments to the Scriptures.

The 4 DVDs are broken up into scriptural passages as follows: 

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Calling God to account for His gifts

Calling God to account for His gifts

God's gifts on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

While God is Sovereign, some men believe that they can set a limit on God’s gifts.  In the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s doctrinal stand, they believe that God is allowed to distribute gifts to men and women alike with the gifts listed in 1 Cor. 12:4-26 but that He does not gift women with the gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 or 1 Peter 4:10, 11 for those gifts are for men alone.  Randy Stinson and Christopher Cowan writing an article for the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood a work of CBMW write that: 

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WIM blog picked as one of the top 55 Pastor Bloggers

WIM blog picked as one of the top 55 Pastor Bloggers

Top 55 pastor blogs on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

I have been notified that my Women in Ministry blog has been picked as one of the top 55 pastor bloggers on the online Christian Colleges web site here.  My blog is listed up women pastors.  Also my blog has been picked up as a bibiloblog by and this biblio blog site.  It is nice to see that the issue of women in ministry has received notice.

biblical-blog on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

Examining the complementarian view: Does God like to torment women?

Examining the complementarian view: Does God like to torment women?

Does God torment Women?  Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

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.

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Julie Pennington-Russell talks about the Georgia State Convention

Julie Pennington-Russell talks about the Georgia State Convention

Thanks to one of the followers of my blog, I received a link to some excellent clips about Julie Pennington-Russell’s talks about the Georgian State Convention and issue of the church being kicked out of the GBC.  The clips were record before the official word came through about the removal of her church from association.


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Evaluating the Schatz/Seaver debate

Evaluating the Schatz/Seaver debate

Evaluating the Schatz/Seaver debate


On July 27th, 2009 Mike Seaver and I started a 10 session debate on Women in Ministry where I was able to ask Mike questions on his position, he answered my questions and then we each had one response.  Mike is still considering whether he will continue with another 10 sessions where Mike will ask me questions and I get the privilege to answer his questions on women in ministry.

Today I would like to summarize the 10 sessions that I had with Mike.

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Aussie debate on women in ministry

Aussie debate on women in ministry


fight3 on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

There is a good natured debate going on over at the Women in Ministry blog conference at the Presbyterian church in Ryde blog between myself and Peter Barnes.  Those who would like to watch an Aussie and a Canadian duke it out over the issue of whether there is a “law” that forbids women to teach the bible to men can see the “brawl” (tooth and nail fight!) happening on this post linked here.

In the meantime I am visiting with my elderly folks for the next few days and will be in and out of my own blog as I have time as I also try to make time to help an Aussie realize that all of his arguments are invalid 🙂

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 10

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 10

Whose commands are women to obey? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

Responses to question #5

In the last blog post Cheryl Schatz posed her fifth set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #5 and Mike’s rejoinder.  Mike’s matching blog post is here

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 9

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 9

Does God Contradict Himself?  Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry

This is question #5 of a 10 question discussion/debate between Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry.  The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz.  Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl.  Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.

Question #5 by Cheryl Schatz:

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Blog conference on Women in Ministry set for September 1 – 15, 2009

Blog conference on Women in Ministry set for September 1 – 15, 2009

Women in Ministry Blog Conference September 1 - 15 2009

Sign up to receive blog conference email updates at This should be an interesting conference as participants have different views and will be interacting with anyone wanting to dialog and question the presenter on their view.  You will see from the conference promotion that I am a participant.  I look forward to the opportunity to answer questions and interacting with people from a world away down under in Australia.  I do not yet know which day I will be presenting my thesis.  I am sure that it will be announced on the web site so if you sign up for email updates you should be able to get that information.

I hope that many of you will interact with this unique venue so that it is a successful venture for Pastor Dave and the Presbyterian church in Australia.

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 8

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 8

Freedom or Restriction? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

Responses to question #4

In the last blog post Cheryl Schatz posed her 4th set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #4 and Mike’s rejoinder.

Cheryl Schatz responds:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 7

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 7

What authority do men have to restrict women's gifts? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

This is question #4 of a 10 question discussion/debate between Mike Seaverand Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry.  The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz.  Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl.  Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.  Mike’s corresponding post on his blog is here.

#4 Question by Cheryl Schatz:

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First woman elected to Executive Presbytery of AOG

First woman elected to Executive Presbytery of AOG

Beth Grant

A woman has become the first woman elected to the leadership of the national Assemblies of God USA.

Elizabeth (Beth) Grant, a veteran missionary and coordinator of the Women in Ministry Network, was greeted with a standing ovation from ministers and delegates after her election as the ordained female executive presbyter. The Assemblies’ Executive Presbytery is a 20-member body that serves as the board of directors for the 2.8 million-member fellowship of Pentecostal churches.

She was one of four candidates for the position on the Executive Presbytery that the 2007 General Council set aside for a woman, the first female position on that body.

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 6

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 6

Who's the boss? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry 6

In the last blog post Cheryl Schatz posed her third set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #3 and Mike’s rejoinder.


Cheryl’s response:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 5

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 5


Are men restricted?  Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discussion/debate on women in ministry

This is question #3 of a 10 question debate between Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry.  The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz.  Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl.  Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.


#3 Question by Cheryl Schatz:

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New blog conference on women in eldership

New blog conference on women in eldership

I have been invited by Pastor Dave Woolcott to participate in a new blog conference on women’s eldership in the church put on by the Ryde Presbyterian Church in Ryde, Sidney, Australia.   The blog address for the conference set for September 1 – 15, 2009 is The blog is on line now and active and I invite you to participate by commenting on Dave’s blog.

There is a thought-provoking article on “Should a Pastor Rule Over You?”  It is very appropriate to the issue of women in ministry and what the real issues are.

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 4

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 4

Witnesses and repetition needed?  Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

In the last blog post Cheryl Schatz posed her second set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #2 and Mike’s rejoinder.


Regarding Mike’s denial that there is a need for a law to have a second witness:

Cheryl Schatz responds:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 2

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 2

Judge on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Last post Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz started a discussion/debate on women in ministry.  Here is a link to Cheryl’s Question #1 given to Mike.  This post will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers and Mike’s response to Cheryl’s response.  Mike’s corresponding post on his Role Calling blog is here.


Cheryl responds to Mike’s answers:

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Round 8 Interview with the Apostle Paul on women pastors

Round 8 Interview with the Apostle Paul on women pastors

Julie Pennington-Russell is pastor of First Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia
Julie Pennington-Russell is pastor of First Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia

This is the eighth in a series of simulated interviews with the Apostle Paul taken from the position of what he might say if we could transport Paul from the New Testament account through a time tunnel into our present day.

Doug, a strong complementarian will be questioning Paul on his own strong hold today.  The issue will be women pastors.   Let’s listen in.  (Links to the previous interviews are at the bottom of this post.)

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King Uzziah and women lepers?

King Uzziah and women lepers?

girl_cook on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

In an interesting blog post on Pyromaniacs the February 10th post, author Dan Phillips tries to link the rebellion of King Uzziah and his punishment of leprosy with the “unfaithful” act of women who apparently are committing treachery against God by becoming pastors.  Is this really true?  Are women pastors committing treachery against God?  First let’s look at Dan Phillip’s article to see how he equates women pastors with illegally burning incense on the altar.   Taking the opposing view for effect he says:

Surely King Uzziah had every bit as much right to burn incense on the altar as… well, as women have to be pastors in our day!

No matter how wonderful it (women pastors) looks, treachery is still treachery.

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1 Timothy 2, authority and the magical pulpit

1 Timothy 2, authority and the magical pulpit

Many people feel that the pulpit is a place for authoritative proclamation.  However many people also believe that the pulpit gives a man that authority and allowing someone into the “pulpit” who isn’t allowed to exercise authority over the sheep, an authority that the pulpit gives them, is seen as a great sin.

There are several problems with this view.  The first problem is an obvious one, in that there is no such thing as a pulpit in the Scriptures.  Christianity Today says this about the pulpit:

Pulpits, which are associated with traditional churches today, haven’t always been included in churches. In the earliest days of the church, Christians met in homes. In the Middle Ages, pulpits were installed in churches, but sermons rarely were preached out of them…The pulpit became more prominent during the Protestant Reformation, when the preaching of God’s Word became the primary ingredient of worship. The pulpit became more than a place to stand or a structure on which to place notes and a Bible. It became a symbol of the authority of the Bible, the church, and the preacher.

So the pulpit as a symbol of authority is a modern invention not found in the Bible at all.  Many years into the church age what originally was just a piece of furniture convenient to hold one’s notes, has become the symbol of the authority of the speaker.  Somewhere along the way, it appears that the authority of the Word of God which held preeminence during the Protestant Reformation, has been transferred to the messenger.  In our day the word “pulpit” is synonymous for church authority:

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Questions of faith for semi-egalitarians

Questions of faith for semi-egalitarians

USA Today has an editorial written by David P Gushee in which Mr. Gushee challenges complementarians that they are actually semi-egalitarians and they should be willing to openly acknowledge this.  Gushee says that he writes about this issue as a moderate evangelical Christian.

Gushee writes that there are many theologically conservative Christians who accept Sarah Palin as the Republical vice presidential nominee.  Yet at the same time:

…at the local church level many congregations would not accept Palin or any other woman even as associate pastor, or deacon, or youth minister or Sunday school teacher in a gender-mixed classroom.  The most conservative would not consider it appropriate for her to stand behind a pulpit and preach a sermon, or teach from the Bible, or lead a praise chorus, or offer a prayer, unless her audience consisted entirely of women or children.

He notes that even CBMW (Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) who Gushee calls “an influential advocacy group” and who are against women teaching men in the church, have no problem in allowing for a woman to serve as vice president of the country.  CBMW has replied to the article welcoming Gushee’s questions:

Dr. Gushee is the Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University and challenges complementarians with many questions in the September 15, 2008 issue of USA Today.

CBMW writes:

While we are honored that Dr. Gushee considers CBMW “an influential advocacy group” on gender issues, we don’t claim to represent the “evangelical voting base,” or even all complementarians.

It certainly is a fact that CBMW does not represent all complementarians.  There is a group called Vision Forum who were formerly associated with CBMW from its beginning, but who have since separated themselves from CBMW now calling CBMW in actuality semi-egalitarians.  Vision Forum has written that Dr. Gushee is “spot on”.  In an article regarding USA Today’s editorial, Doug Phillips writes this about CBMW:

It is our view, however, that they have erred by overtly embracing an egalitarian perspective of the roles of men and women in the public arena.

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The unorthodox view of the Trinity related to women in ministry

The unorthodox view of the Trinity related to women in ministry

Wade Burleson has blogged on the Trinity and the unorthodox trend that has come into the church that teaches an eternally subordinated Son of God in the Trinity.

Wade writes:

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is composed of many Southern Baptists who are introducing to evangelicalism a novel, if not peculiar, view of Christ which has more in common with Arianism than the historic, orthodox view of Christ’s person. The theologians and teachers who write for the CBMW are teaching what they call “the eternal subordination of the Son to the Father” as a basis for their hierarchal view that the female is to be subordinate to the male. Women’s subordination to man, according to the teachings of CBMW, is not a consequence of sin or a reflection of cultural values, but is built upon the heirachical order God established before the fall as a reflection of the Trinity.

This view of the Trinity has been used by some complementarians who have a lot of sway in Southern Baptist circles to support the functional subordination of women.  I would recommend that you read what Wade has written and then have a read through the comments on his blog as well.  It is a frightening thing to me to see the spread of this unorthodox doctrine and how many have accepted it as gospel truth.

It also comes at a very timely place for us as we are just getting ready to release our new 2 DVD set called “The Trinity: Eternity Past to Eternity Future, Explaining Truth & Exposing Error

The DVD will be availabe by mid October at or from

(October 2008 update:  The DVD is now available and a preview is available on Youtube at

Gospel Today magazine pulled from Christian bookstores’ shelves

Gospel Today magazine pulled from Christian bookstores’ shelves

A Christian magazine is treated as pornography merely for reporting on the trend of women pastors.

The Atlanta Journal reports:

Smiling women on the cover of a slick magazine. Sold from under the counter. Must request it from store clerk.  That’s not something a buyer would typically find in a Christian bookstore. Not unless it’s one of the more than 100 Lifeway Christian Bookstores across the United States, including about six in metro Atlanta.

Gospel Today, the Fayetteville-published magazine, was pulled off the racks by the bookstores’ owner, the Southern Baptist Convention. The problem? The five smiling women on the cover are women of the cloth — church pastors.

So what is the big deal?  The deal is that when a denomination says that a secondary issue of faith is so important it warrants barring people from reading about the other side, Lifeway Christian Bookstores has stepped into the realm of milieu control.  Milieu control is the control of information and communication.  Wikipedia adds that milieu control is about limiting contact in order to restrict the ability to make judgments about information that would present itself against the accepted position:

Additionally, Milieu control “includes other techniques to restrict members’ contact with the outside world and to be able to make critical, rational, judgments about information.”

How did Gospel Today react to their magazine relegated to a place behind the counter?

Teresa Hairston, owner of Gospel Today, whose glossy pages feature upbeat articles about health, living, music and ministry, said she discovered by e-mail that the September/October issue of the magazine had been demoted to the realm of the risque.

While saying that she was “shocked” at the reaction by the books stores, she adds:

“We weren’t trying to pick a fight,” Hairston said. “We just did a story on an emerging trend in a lot of churches.” reports about the controversy:

Published for nearly 20 years, Gospel Today is the largest and most widely distributed urban Christian publication in the country, with a circulation of 240,000. The magazine’s publisher, Teresa Hairston, said she was just reporting on a trend, not trying to promote women pastors.

“They basically treated it like pornography and put it behind the counter,” she said. “Unless a person goes into the store and asks for it, they won’t see it displayed.”

Pastor Tamara Bennett of This Is Pentecost Ministries in Sacramento, Calif., one of the pastors featured on the front cover of Gospel Today is encouraging people to ask for the magazine:

“All Dr. Hairston did was tell a story, she didn’t preach a doctrine,” Bennett said of the article. “It’s just sharing news.”

A radio broadcaster from Atlanta has produced his own comments on Youtube regarding this pulling of a Christian magazine and he brings out the Southern Baptist Convention links to Lifeway Christian Bookstores.

Women preaching equated with adultery and homosexuality

Women preaching equated with adultery and homosexuality

Wade Burleson has commented on Irving Bible Church’s decision to allow women to preach the gospel to the congregation on a Sunday morning and the attacks that this church has experienced because of this decision.  Wade writes:

I shiver when I hear my fellow evangelicals call a church that asks a woman to preach the gospel on Sunday morning a church of “grave moral concern.” WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT FEMALE PASTORS!

The idea that a woman teaching or preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ is a “grave moral concern” shows us how far the church has fallen from the place of accepting one another as brothers and sisters in Christ who have gifts given for the benefit of “one another”.  Is not the “grave moral concern” rather an issue of saying that “I” (a man speaking) do not need “a woman” teacher?

1 Corinthians 12:21  And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

Why is it that scripture says we “cannot say” something that we do say?  The scripture says that we do not have permission to say that women preachers and women teachers are not needed by some in the body of Christ.  When we reject God’s gifts merely because of the package that they are housed in, we are rejecting the Lord Jesus in this area.  Jesus is responsible for assigning the gifts.  If he did not want a female to teach a male the gospel, then Jesus should have created a list of female gifts which list would not include teaching.  Then it would be easy for men to disregard something that doesn’t exist.  When are we going to stop saying what scripture has forbidden us to say?  Saying “I” do not need you and your God-given gift should be treated as a serious moral concern.

Irving Bible Church releases women to serve

Irving Bible Church releases women to serve

In the news is Irving Bible Church who recently took 18 months to study the issue of women in ministry from the scriptures, and now they have implemented a clarification of their position on women regarding the use of their God-given gifts for the common good.  They have produced a 24 page paper on Women in Ministry that documents the findings from their study.  It is at this link on the right hand side, the PDF document.  Although at this point they are still holding to the teaching that only men should become elders, their renewed view coming from the scriptures allows them to release women to teach and preach and use all of their gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ.  It is very encouraging to see another church freeing women to serve with their gifts for the benefit of both men and women.

Below is the brief description of their journey from the front page of the above web site:

Women’s Role in the Church

The May 2008 issue of Chatter, a publication of Irving Bible Church, contained several stories, interviews, and research resources based on Women’s Role in the Church. This web section contains those stories as well as additional resources for your reading and exploration.

Unleashing God’s People

When the issue of women’s role in the Church specific to practicing the spiritual gifts of teaching, leading and preaching was raised, the IBC Elder Board embarked on a journey to discover what God had for all of his people and how he might unleash them to glorify his kingdom. Chatter listened to the Elder Board to learn about that journey, what it involved and where we’ve landed today.

When did the Elder Board begin to look at the role of women?
In 2006, people began asking questions about the role of women in the Church specific to teaching and preaching. For example, could they teach adult Bible Communities? Why didn’t we have a woman on our teaching team? There was also a healthy discussion taking place on Table and Fire. We realized as a board how important it was for us to clarify IBC’s position on this, and thus began an 18-month journey of prayer, study and discussion.

Was there any trepidation on the part of the board?
We knew that once we began, we would need to devote a considerable amount of time and prayer toward it. Each of us had wrestled with this issue on some level, and we came at it from different experiences and with varying perspectives. As a group, we were committed to moving forward with spiritual, biblical and intellectual integrity.

Specifically, what steps did the board take?
We held more than 12 meetings in which the ministry role of women was the primary topic for discussion, study and prayer. We looked at likeminded churches that walked this journey before us and read several books and commentaries that held varying viewpoints. In addition, we dialogued with women both in ministry here at IBC and from other churches. We sought godly counsel, and invited three professors from Dallas Theological Seminary—Dr. Jeffrey Bingham, Dr. Scott Horrell, and Dr. Bob Pyne—representing different positions on the issue to present their studies and insights to us.

What were the most enlightening things you learned?
Jesus was completely radical in how he elevated women in his day. He ignored cultural barriers and invited women to be part of his ministry. Throughout the Bible we found God using women as leaders, prophets and teachers to further his kingdom. We also looked at how God effectively uses women in ministry today. The fact is, he’s used women throughout history and today in powerful ways—in teaching, leading and preaching roles—and there’s fruit. We’ve seen it, and we can’t deny it.

Did this lead the board to feel as though the issue is truly black and white?
Not at all. We quickly learned that there are many God-honoring, spiritually mature, biblically astute Christians who have different views on this topic. We realized that, instead of presuming to determine what is “right” for all times and places, we were called to define “what seems to be good to us and the Holy Spirit” for IBC in the spirit of Acts 15:28.

With that in mind, how does IBC plan to move forward?
We are going forward with the strong belief that God wants to unleash all of His children using all of their spiritual gifts to further His kingdom. Women represent 50% or more of the body of Christ, and having them fully unleashed to use all of their giftedness makes us 50% more effective and powerful for Christ. We need the whole body of Christ fully engaged for the kingdom. So we’re not just saying, “It’s OK.” We’re saying, “Come on!”

How do you expect the IBC community to respond?
We hope that people will be excited about women being unleashed for Christ’s kingdom. For those who are surprised by or unfamiliar with this approach, we hope they will interact with the scriptures and prayerfully consider the validity of our position. After 18 months of committed prayer, godly counsel, reading God’s word, and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak, we believe this is the right and best course for IBC.

How will this change what IBC is currently doing?
Truly, it doesn’t change very much. We’re really looking to provide clarity as to what, in many ways, we’ve already been practicing. A noticeable change may include an occasional woman preacher at IBC as God raises up gifted and qualified individuals for that task.

Women in Ministry list of sins?

Women in Ministry list of sins?

*This original post created on August 21, 2008 has been changed/updated on September 11, 2008.  I have given the individual listed below time to show integrity by stopping the stalking and the vitriol, but this individual is not repentant nor will she remove the offenses on line.  It is time to warn the church about the public sin.

As one goes public concerning the biblical teaching that the bible in context does not support a restriction on women teaching the bible to men, it is not uncommon to have one or more people who are so upset by this teaching that they are willing to call a sister in Christ a heretic and resort to tactics that are designed to smear their good name.  This is what has happened to me.  I now have a stalker who is producing vitriol against me personally having purchased my own name three different ways on line and who is directing these named sites to a blog that is set up to mock and defame me. The person’s name is Diane Sellner.  Diane is employed by a ministry that makes a very public issue of calling people heretics and dangerous to the church, whose only crime it is, is to teach that women can be pastors and elders.   I have been receiving the brunt of her anger.

I personally feel very sad for Diane Sellner who has produced such a mocking blog.  Her lies and half truths do not speak well of the ministry that she works for since she has been allowed free reign to post her vitriol and she has received support from them instead of discipline.  No attempt has been made by Diane to contact me privately.  Her “fruit” should be easily seen for what it really is.  Those who mock and attack without care for their brother or sister in Christ are not showing that they operate with the Spirit of Christ.

**Another update on September 12, 2008 Because of this expose, Diane Sellner has now redirected my name, the name sites that she purchased, to her bosses critical work against me, and at times back to her own mocking blog.  This kind of vitriol should never be called “ministry”.  Apparently there are many others that Diane has done this to while calling it her ministry.  Moderators and CARM workers are not exempt from the abusive treatment.

Working alongside Diane is the pages that she now links to on and off, a mixture of half truths and false accusations that are easily refuted to anyone interested in the full truth.  The promise that Diane Sellner’s boss made on August 22, 2008 to stop the attacks against me coming from his ministry has been shown to be about as good as his accusations are.  It is worth nothing.  Anyone wishing to see the truth that has been distorted and how I have been libeled please email me.  A ministry like Sellner’s that focuses on half truths, distortions, libel and mockery brings shame on all of us.  Christians need to stand up for truth and deal with those who are divisive.**

2 Corinthians 12:10  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

**Note: A public statement regarding Diane Sellner’s role in the public attacks against me is at**

Is ordination a requirement for a female Pastor?

Is ordination a requirement for a female Pastor?

Recently one of my blog posts has garnered some interesting comments regarding the issue of ordination. At the same time I received a request from a lady who believes that she has been called by God into ordained ministry. This post will deal with the issue of whether a female must be ordained to be a Pastor and the other comments regarding Paul and his ordination by Jesus will be moved to this post.

First of all there is the issue of whether a body of believer’s decision to reject the ordination of certain people constitutes a binding limit to a person’s gifting and calling from God. The question that I had posed earlier, is whether the leadership’s ordaining of a person actually makes them a legitimate Pastor? Also I was questioning whether the fact that one is rejected for ordination would take away a person’s calling from God to be a Pastor?

There have been times in the church where men thought that they could judge the gifts of God and that their own pronouncement was official. Because of this some of the books of the bible were not originally accepted as canonical but their rejection by some leaders did not take away the authority of these inspired books of the bible. In time the inherent authority in each inspired book of the bible was accepted. In this we see that the church did not have a right to make a book canonical. At best the church could only recognize a book as authoritative because it (the inspired book) had within it the witness to the inspiration of God. The final list of books was not chosen by a synod or council of the church. These met to ratify the books that the people of God had already chosen because of the witness of the scriptures themselves.

Now how does all of this relate to the ordination of a women Pastors? I personally believe that a true God-ordained choice of Pastor should be only to ratify and recognize what God has already chosen. Man’s ordination cannot make one a Pastor nor can the failure of some to recognize God’s gifting take away one’s gifting and calling from God.

Have you ever met a Pastor that was ordained but who did not have the fruits of the Spirit or the heart of a shepherd? Such a one is not a true Pastor gifted by Jesus himself. Jesus said that there would be hirelings who do not care for the sheep but who are there as shepherds for other reasons. These hirelings run away when the wolves come to make a meal of the sheep. The fact that they have been ordained by a church cannot truly make them a gift to the church. Only Jesus’ choice and gifting can do that.

Eph 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.


Eph 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

So what does a woman do who has been called by God to be a Pastor but the leadership of the church that she attends will not recognize a woman as qualified to be a Pastor? Some women will stay within the denomination and work within the acceptance of the people within that church. While they may not have the official “title” of Pastor, they can operate within their gifting in an unofficial way. They can shepherd the flock in home bible studies and in small group settings or in one-on-one situations.

Yet others will feel the need to be officially recognized by the church in order to do the full work of a Pastor. These may stay in the church and earnestly contend for the truth in order to change the mindset of the leadership and the church itself. Or they may find the fight for their acceptance too draining and they may leave for a church that will accept their shepherding without a fight.

On one of my other posts I received this comment from “Called and wanting healing”:

I am living in the parish in England where this is what’s preached It’s hard because I feel so called into ordained ministry. Could you post this up on your site so that it can be commented upon and critiqued. After all it has to have been interpreted differently for the Church of England to have decided to ordain women in 1994. For example, I do not understand how the vicar can say that biblical submission is to put yourself under someone’s authority – I thought it had more to do with putting their needs ahead of your own. The vicar talks of Christ and beauty of his submission but surely that was in sacrificing himself for us – atoning for us, dying for us – there’s the beauty!

If you want to post it on your site so that people can respond to it that would be great or if you could recommend someone else who would be able to offer an critique of this sermon.

Thanks so much.

I will put my comments later into the comment section of this post. I encourage others to listen to the audio and comment and encourage this dear sister too.

One comment that I will post here is that submission of one to another is commanded in the New Testament. The reason that submission is commanded is not so that one takes authority over another and the one under submission is to be the door mat of those who take the lead. Instead submission is commanded because one cannot use their God-given gift unless the body submits to accepting that gift. I operate in the gift of a teacher yet I cannot force my gift onto anyone. My authority is not to take authority over others but my authority is to give out what I have been gifted with by the authority of the word of God. 1 Peter 4:11 says:

1 Peter 4:11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances [or oracles] 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.

My gift will always be there whether I am accepted or not, but it will not be of benefit to another unless that one submits to learn from me. Submission then is needed to receive another one’s gifts. Submission does not create the gift but it allows the gift to flow into one’s own life and for one’s benefit. When a church accepts a woman Pastor, that church is accepting the gift of God and submitting to learn what God has to say through her. When a church is influenced by prejudice and refuses to submit to learn from a woman, that church may not experience God’s best. What God gives is to be received with blessing and not with a heart of rejection.


Matt Slick's radio station to host "Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?"

Matt Slick's radio station to host "Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?"

Below is what I posted on Matt Slick’s discussion board. I will add the day and time of the airing of “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” when the radio station gives me the finalized details.

Scripture warns us not to make a hasty judgment on a matter. When two sides have conflicting interpretations, those who wish to be Bereans should be willing to carefully consider all of the facts from both sides of the issue first in order to avoid making a hasty judgment.

In an effort to allow the hearing of the other side of the story on the issue of women in ministry that hasn’t been given a full hearing on Matt Slick’s radio show “Faith and Reason”, the radio station where Matt hosts his radio program has offered to allow the airing of the 4 DVD set “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” over four consecutive weeks in the month of February. Listeners will then be able to hear and judge for themselves if the teaching on the DVD set treats scripture respectfully and in context. The entire DVD set is 3.5 hours of teaching and will be broken down into 4 segments to air over 4 weeks.

Here in Canada it is a ruling that if one misrepresents a person, they are given equal time to defend themselves and to present their side of the story. In the US, this is also a fair ruling and I greatly appreciate My Family Radio Station in Boise Idaho for agreeing that this is a fair and reasonable solution.

I am sure that Matt will also agree that this is fair and reasonable when Christians have biblical disagreements. It is only when we can hear the full story that we can then be bible Bereans and make the choice for ourselves which side represents a better biblical view.

The dates and times of the airing of “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” on My Family Radio are posted below. The DVDs are a very visual verse-by-verse view of the hard passages of scripture on the women’s issue. Although the radio will not do justice to the DVDs in that there will of course be no video or graphics, the audio that will be heard should be thought-provoking.

You can listen live to the audio from my 4 DVD set at the following link. The listen button is at the top right hand side and it will allow you to pick the radio station that you want to listen to for the times listed below. The link is Remember the times are Pacific and if you are listening at Eastern time you need to add three hours so instead of 12 noon it will be 3 pm and instead of 4 pm it will be 7 pm.

KBXL 94.1 FM

  • Saturday March 8, 2008 at 12 noon – segment one
  • Saturday March 15, 2008 at 12 noon – segment two
  • Saturday March 22, 2008 at 12 noon – segment three
  • Saturday March 29, 2008 at 12 noon – segment four


  • Saturday March 8, 2008 at 4 pm – segment one
  • Saturday March 15, 2008 at 4 pm – segment two
  • Saturday March 22, 2008 at 4 pm – segment three
  • Saturday March 29, 2008 at 4 pm – segment four

(Note: after the announcement of the airing of my DVDs, Matt Slick increased his attacks against me to the point that in August 2008 I had a Matthew 18 meeting and traveled twelve hours to meet with him in the Boise, Idaho area.  The link to the public statement regarding the outcome of this meeting is listed here

From Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives and Women Preachers to Woman Be Free

From Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives and Women Preachers to Woman Be Free

I am very pleased that Stan Gundry has given me permission to post his story about how he changed his view from a staunch complementarian to an egalitarian. I would also request that if you have a story about your own journey from prejudice to freedom in Christ regarding women in ministry that you email me at mmoutreach [AT] gmail [DOT] com or use the contact tab at the top to reach me. I also have Stan Gundry’s personal email address. If anyone is interested in contacting him, you can leave a comment asking for information or you can email me directly or use the contact form and I will contact you back.

And now…sit back and enjoy this very compelling testimony by Stan Gundry.

From Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers


Woman Be Free

My Story*

by Stan Gundry

*Copyright © 2004 by Stanley N. Gundry. All rights reserved.

I have agreed to tell my story for two fundamental reasons. 1) I want to give tribute to the person who opened my eyes to a new paradigm through which to view scripture and who did not allow me to be satisfied with the easy answers. These were answers that had been drilled into my head as a youth and were assumed throughout my college and seminary training. 2) Arguments alone often do not convince. This is especially so with theological and exegetical arguments on this subject that for many has so much emotional baggage associated with it. So, when people come to me asking questions and searching for answers on the “women’s issue,” I often just tell them my story–where I have come from, where I have landed, and how and why I got there.

Arguments in which both sides launch aggressive offenses and structure fortress-like defenses can be unnecessarily adversarial. I am not suggesting that such arguments have no place, but let’s acknowledge that their value is vastly over-rated.

Stories cover the same territory, but they are testimonials–and it is hard to argue with someone’s testimony. Some who hear my story may think I became a biblical egalitarian for inadequate reasons; but more often than not, the response has been, “That makes sense. You’ve given me something to think about.” (1.) And a new story begins, or at least takes a new turn in the road.

Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers

My story begins with a book prominently displayed on my father’s bookshelf. Norman C Gundry was a Fundamentalist Baptist pastor who represented some of the best and worst of that tradition. He graduated from the two-year course of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (then known as BI, but now BIOLA University). He and my Mom, Lolita Hinshaw, married in 1932. Within two years they were on their way to Nigeria as missionaries. After three years in Nigeria they returned to the States on regular furlough so my mother could deliver her second child (me) and so my father could receive a much-needed medical check up. Because my father’s hearing was being destroyed by quinine, the drug of choice to treat malaria, they were unable to return to Nigeria. Throughout the years leading up to World War II and during the War, my father was a “tentmaker,” eking out a barely adequate living, first as a warehouseman and then as a farm hand. On Sundays he would preach in small rural churches and Sunday Schools.

During this time, he gradually came to the conclusion that he was a Baptist, a Fundamentalist, and a Separatist. As is so often true of those in that tradition, he was legalistic and rigid to the nth degree. But he also loved God, loved people, knew his Bible exceptionally well, and had a fervent desire to be “true to the Bible.” He was remarkably free of narrow, idiosyncratic views of biblical teaching, with only a few exceptions. One of those exceptions was “the place of women” as he would have put it. His views on this subject were so extreme that they would almost make Wayne Grudem seem like an egalitarian by contrast. He made sure that the women in his congregation, and especially his wife, knew and kept their “place.”

A fitting metaphor for my father’s view of the place of women was the title of a little paperback book prominently displayed on his bookshelf. Just to the right of his study desk was Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers, authored by the well-known Fundamentalist evangelist of the second third of the twentieth century, John R. Rice. (2.) The title said it all. Bobbed Hair–women as a sign of their submission and obedience to men were not to cut their hair. Bobbed hair was a sign of rebellion against husband, father, and God. Bossy Wives–the man was the head of the wife and the home, and the wife was to keep her place and obey her husband in all things, even if the husband was unsaved. Women Preachers–heaven forbid the thought! Eve had led Adam astray in the Garden and ever since women had been the source of false teaching and the temptresses of men! Obviously they should not be pastors or teachers of men.

My father kept extra copies of Rice’s book on hand to give to those he thought needed its instruction. The summer I left for college, I received my copy, along with a subscription to the paper Rice published, The Sword of the Lord. I confess that I read neither of them. I did not need to; I had been thoroughly indoctrinated by my father’s teaching and modeling. My mother never cut her hair (at least not that anyone could tell), and though the women in my father’s congregation were less compliant, my father regularly alluded to their rebellious actions from the pulpit. Women could hold no offices in churches my father pastored, could not preach, teach, or otherwise lead men. Women could “testify” on Sunday evening; pray publicly at the mid-week service, but not on Sundays; could participate in special music, but could not lead congregational singing or a mixed musical group; could teach Sunday School classes containing boys, but only until they became teenagers. Yes indeed, I had been thoroughly indoctrinated by word and example and really did not need that copy of Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers he gave me as I packed my bags for college.

Asking Questions

I suspect my father was fairly confident that the apple would not fall too far from the tree. But if that was the case, there were three things that he did not count on. He did not reckon with the possibility that I would meet and marry a wise and strong woman who thought for herself, asked hard questions, and would not be satisfied with canned answers. In fact, he probably did not consider that I might actually think for myself on this matter, or assumed that if I did, I would come to the same conclusions he had. But my father also failed to realize the consequences of another rather radical idea he had instilled in both of his sons. He taught us to test everything by scripture–to be “true to the Word” to use his phrase, to follow that out no matter where it might lead.

I don’t remember precisely when I began to realize that the woman I would marry might challenge everything I had been taught about the place and role of women. Perhaps it was when we discussed deep philosophical and theological questions in the college library, and she just assumed that she was my intellectual and spiritual equal. Perhaps it was when she questioned why the president of the small college we attended would call on two or three of the young women to lead in prayer in chapel, when it was apparently sufficient to call on only one of the young men to pray. Over time it became clear that Patricia Lee Smith was a seeker after truth and she would pursue that path no matter whom it made uncomfortable, whether that was the college president, me, my father, my mother, or anyone in the male church hierarchy.

One event stands out as a defining moment and a turning point for Pat. It would also have profound implications for me, though I did not realize it at the time. It was November 1964, one year after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It was my second year as pastor of a small, rural Baptist church. Our church had invited a pastor from Everett, Washington to lead a weeklong Bible Conference. He had the reputation of being an able Bible teacher. One evening we entertained this well-known pastor for dinner. The conversation over Pat’s spaghetti and meat sauce started out on a congenial note. Chuck was an out-going conversationalist who laughed and joked easily–that is, until Pat asked her question. She started out by saying that she’d been curious about the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and she wondered how he interpreted it.

Instead of treating the question seriously and deserving of a reasonable answer, he rudely and abruptly demanded, “Why do you want to know?” Though I had no good answers to Pat’s question about the passage either, even I was shocked by the dismissive nature of Pastor Chuck’s response.

At that moment Pat realized Chuck did not know how to interpret that portion of scripture, and he did not want to talk about it. Yet he was willing to restrict the role of women in the church based to a large degree on one of the most difficult passages to understand in the New Testament. Pat resolved to search for the answers to a matrix of questions surrounding this issue and to share the information with other women, questions like:

  • If women are not to be the leaders and teachers of men, how does one account for Deborah, Huldah, Phillip’s daughters, and Priscilla’s role in the instruction of Apollos? (3.)
  • Why is it that Paul instructs women to be silent in one place and acknowledges with apparent approval that women publicly pray and prophesy in another? (4.)
  • Doesn’t the prominence of women among the followers of Jesus and in the Pauline Epistles suggest something significantly more than women leading and teaching children and other women? (5.)
  • How is it that in the church the benefits of Galatians 3:26-28 apply equally and in very tangible ways to men, Jews, Gentiles, slaves, and those who are free, but not to women?
  • If a woman is to obey her husband, is she not responsible directly to God for her actions? Is he in effect a priest, an intermediary between her and God? Is she to submit and obey even when his instructions are morally wrong or contrary to her understanding of God’s desire for her? (6.)
  • Aren’t husbands and wives to mutually submit to one another as all believers are to submit to one another, and how does this qualify the presumptive one-sided submission and obedience of wives to husbands? (7.)
  • Are all women to submit to all men?
  • Is the husband to be the leader of the home even if the wife has better leadership skills, or the husband is disabled, or the wife has greater spiritual insight and sensitivity?
  • Just when does a boy become too old for a woman to legitimately continue to teach him, and if women really are not to teach men, isn’t it odd that women are allowed to teach them in their most formative years?
  • Does it make sense that God would endow women with gifts but disallow women the privilege and responsibility of using those gifts to their fullest, or for that matter disallow men from the benefits of those gifts? (8.)
  • In fact, doesn’t the Protestant doctrine of the priesthood of all believers give the lie to the view that women are to submit to and obey men? And of all Christians, shouldn’t Baptists and others in the believer’s church and congregational traditions who claim to most consistently live out that doctrine, as well as the doctrine of soul liberty, extend those doctrines to women, acknowledging women as equals in all respects?
  • And isn’t it more than a bit inconsistent for women to have an equal vote in congregational decisions, especially in the selection and/or discipline of male church leaders, if in fact they are to submit to men?

Looking for Answers

I am quite sure Pat already had most of these questions in her mind as she looked across the bowl of spaghetti at Chuck. But he cut her off before she got a chance to ask them. My suspicion is that this man who later went on to become first a seminary and then a college president cut her off because he did not know what to do with 1 Timothy 2. Not only that, he also knew he did not have good answers to the questions he feared would follow. This not-so-pleasant encounter with Pastor Chuck in 1964 was the catalyst that prompted Pat to get really serious in her search for answers. (9.)

I was not much help to Pat, especially in the early years of her research. While I (eventually) acknowledged the legitimacy of her questions, I had few answers, except of course to say that if the Bible says a woman is to submit to her husband, then of course she is to submit. And if the inspired words of Paul are that women are not to teach or exercise authority over men, then of course that settled the matter. And whatever prominence women had in the New Testament, it was nevertheless clear that they were not to be pastors or elders.

Pat was no more satisfied by my rote responses than she was with Chuck’s brush off. But through her own reading, research, and study of Scripture she gradually began to make her own discoveries and form her own conclusions. In 1968 we moved to Wheaton, Illinois, and I accepted a faculty position at Moody Bible Institute. Frequently in the evenings after I returned home from the long commute to Chicago, she would share with me what she had discovered others had written and bounce her own ideas off me. Sometimes we’d debate the issues late into the night. Pat’s a night person, and the later it got, the more cogent her arguments seemed to me, and eventually I would reluctantly agree, or give an inch or two, only to have second thoughts the next morning and recant a good deal of whatever I had conceded the night before. My reservations about where she was headed and wanted to lead me would resurface when I awakened. Why? I wish I could say that my only motive was to be faithful to the Bible. That certainly was a key element in my thinking. But in retrospect, I have had to acknowledge less honorable motives that can be summed up in one word–fear.

Fear. Fear of where it would all lead–could Pat be right and what seemed like the rest of the church wrong? Fear of losing my job at MBI, though there was no credible basis that I was aware of for that possibility. Fear of being taught by a woman, or worse yet, fear of admitting I had been taught by a woman, my wife.

This last fear was the most pernicious and enduring of all. I remember with great shame an episode in the early 1980s, well after I had become an egalitarian, indeed after I had been forced to resign from the Moody faculty for supporting my wife’s egalitarian views as expressed in Woman Be Free. I had been invited to Houghton College to debate the women’s issue with a gentleman who held the traditional hierarchical view. Even back then I normally refused to engage in point by point argumentation of the issues. I simply told the story of how I had become an egalitarian and what I had found compelling that changed my mind–but with one huge omission and distortion. I failed to acknowledge Pat’s key, indeed pivotal part in my journey to biblical egalitarianism. Why? Fear. So I want to say with unambiguous clarity now, Pat started me on this journey and was my teacher along the way.

But I have run ahead of my story. Throughout the rest of my time as a pastor and in my early years on the faculty of MBI, I continued to be troubled by the questions Pat was raising. Over time I came to accept the urgency of the questions and eventually her questions truly also became my questions, and more than a bit more slowly, some of her answers began to become my answers. But I remained troubled by many of the “problem passages,” those passages that had seemed to clearly reflect a predominant pattern of male leadership of the people of God in both testaments and those that seemed to explicitly teach the submission of women to male leadership in the home, church, and perhaps even in society.

In this early phase of my journey it was really Pat who was the researcher. She discovered God’s Word to Women (Katherine Bushnell) (10.) and The Bible Status of Woman (Lee Anna Starr) (11.) She would bounce her ideas off me, occasionally asking me to check out something in the Greek or Hebrew for her. Gradually she began to find answers; a bit more gradually–no, a lot more gradually–I began to accept some of those answers as possible answers to some of the questions that prevented me from embracing the full equality of women, an equality that did not recognize gender as a disqualification from spiritual privilege or any aspect of Christian ministry.

Understanding the Big Picture

In the early 1970s I began to view and understand the Bible less atomistically and more wholistically, and this was a shift that would profoundly affect how I understood the texts related to the women’s issue. And for this too I am indebted to Pat. One of her great strengths is that she has the ability to think synthetically–the ability to have a grasp of the details and then stand back and look at these details, many of which may appear to be disparate, and bring them together in a congruent whole. That is what I observed her doing with the body of evidence related to the women’s issue in scripture. And as we discussed these matters together, I began to see that the passages that were barriers to my moving to a fully egalitarian position needed to be understood in terms of the big picture. It is the big picture that establishes the context for understanding the difficult passages. If one has the big picture right, it is acceptable to admit that for some passages there are several possible interpretations. It is alright to say, “I don’t know, but here are some possibilities.” This insight from Pat was the piece that began to put the rest of the puzzle together for me.

By 1974 in my lectures and discussions with students at Moody Bible Institute, I was affirming a view that was essentially egalitarian. I had come to believe that though it was important to understand isolated texts on their own terms, it was nevertheless futile to believe that the debate between egalitarians and traditional hierarchicalists could ever be settled by debating the exegesis and interpretation of individual texts in isolation. For me, the more significant question had become, how is the grand sweep of biblical or redemptive history to be understood? What is redemptive history all about, and how do the relevant texts fit into that?

When examined with that question in mind, it seemed to me that hierarchicalism, if consistently held and applied, was its own undoing. This view holds that women are by God’s design inherently disqualified from leading and teaching men. It goes against the creation order itself. (12.) But if that is indeed the case, scripture contradicts itself, because women throughout the biblical narrative did lead and teach men, with God’s apparent approval and blessing. Further, if the hierarchical view is correct (submission to male leadership/authority and silence), certain things should follow. Women should be allowed absolutely no public roles within the church, whether that be in worship, prayer, or any other form of public speaking such as teaching, preaching, or prophecy. They should not be allowed to participate in congregational decisions. Nor should they ever be allowed to teach a male, even in settings that are not public. Why? Because it is essential to the very nature of being female. If it is not essential to the nature of being female, the whole hierarchical edifice begins to fall apart because that is the foundation on which it is built.

Relatively few hierarchicalists follow the implications of their foundation to its consistent and logical conclusion. To do so would be the demonstration of the absurdity of the premise. It would be clearly inconsistent with the many indications of scripture that women did in fact do the very things that the foundational premise of hierarchicalism implies they should not do. How then do they deal with the biblical indications of women in these unlikely roles, and how do they justify even the limited participation of women in similar roles in their own churches? The devices are ingenious but hardly convincing even if one accepts the premise. Some instances are viewed as exceptions to the rule, allowed by God because men did not step up to the challenge. Or, women can prophesy, but not have the office of prophet. Or, women can teach, but not authoritatively. Or, women can teach and preach, but only with the permission of or under the authority of her husband, or of men in general. These explanations strike me as contrived and desperate attempts to save the system and to preserve the benefits of male privilege that are built upon it. It’s no wonder that hierarchicalists cannot agree among themselves on just what a woman may do and under what circumstances. As Pat pointed out recently, the only thing that hierarchicalists agree on is that it is the men who get to tell women what they can do.

If the foundation of hierarchicalism is that the creation order itself establishes that for time and eternity women are subject to men, they also see this order reinforced in God’s word to Eve immediately after she and Adam disobeyed God’s command in Eden, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Gen. 3:16). Instead of understanding this and the other aspects of the so-called curse on both men and women as the natural consequences of human sin, hierarchicalists understand this particular result of the Fall as reinforcement of the divine ideal for humankind–male rule and female submission, in other words, patriarchy. This is the filter through which hierarchicalists view the rest of the Bible, including those passages that would otherwise seem to imply or explicitly support full equality, and, contrary to the patriarchal conventions of the biblical world, are examples of women leading, teaching, prophesying, or ruling.

Yet this is the polar opposite of what was already hinted at in Genesis 3:15 when God said to the serpent that Eve’s seed would crush his head. As the NIV Study Bible so aptly puts it, “The offspring of the woman would eventually crush the serpent’s head, a promise fulfilled in Christ’s victory over Satan, a victory in which all believers will share.” From Genesis 3:15 onward, the overarching theme of all scripture is the defeat of Satan, the redemption of humankind, and the reversal of the effects of the Fall. This includes not only the restoration of the divine/human relationship, but also the restoration of broken human relationships in general and male/female and husband/wife relationships in particular.

When I began to view the Bible and redemptive history in this manner, the big picture began to emerge that helped me put the pieces of the biblical puzzle together as it related to men and women. Starting at the beginning in Genesis 1-3 we are clearly and unambiguously told that both were created in the image of God. They were created for fellowship with God and with one another. Though Adam was created first, Eve was created of the very stuff Adam was made of, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, a “suitable helper,” one that corresponded to him. And lest we think Eve the helper was a flunky assistant, the text uses a Hebrew noun (‘ezer) that is elsewhere used to refer to Yahweh; in fact, four times the Psalmist refers to the LORD as “our help and our shield.” (13.) As full and equal partners Adam and Eve were responsible to tend the garden, to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, to subdue the earth and to rule over the creatures. In other words, together they were given stewardship of the earth because they were equals. And because they were equals, they were each fully responsible directly to God to obey his commands. Thus, when they each sinned against the command of God, each was accountable directly to God for their transgression.

The Fall turned everything topsy-turvy. After the Fall, the relationship between man and woman is quite different than it was before the Fall. It morphed from one of equality and complementarity to one of male domination and patriarchy, and that is the backdrop to all that follows in the Bible. But as alluded to earlier, immediately after the Fall the story of redemption begins, and part of that story is the restoration through time of what had been, and what still was God’s desire for the world and for humanity. God, though, does not in one instantaneous snap of the fingers restore what the Fall had destroyed and distorted. Instead, in his dealings with humankind God accommodates himself to the realities of the fallen world. Patriarchalism, the result of the Fall, remains, and it is accommodated in God’s relationship with and rule of his people Israel–the patriarchs, the judges, the prophets, the priesthood, the monarchy. But it is mere accommodation to the reality of the times and culture; it is not a reflection of the divine ideal for humanity. When the Old Testament and Old Testament history are viewed from the perspective of this big picture, the Old Testament women who break the patriarchal paradigm–Deborah, Jael, Abigail, Huldah, Esther, and the wise and virtuous business woman of Proverbs 31–are not embarrassing exceptions to some divinely instituted patriarchal creation order, as hierarchicalists are compelled to say. Instead, each of these women is an affirmation that the Fall is not the end of the story, that patriarchy is not the divine ideal, and that restoration of what originally was is coming once again.

The Incarnation is the central and decisive event of redemptive history. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Of course Jesus was a male. But more significantly he was human (flesh) so he could be the savior of all of humanity. He who crushed the serpent’s head and took the curse upon himself, repeatedly broke the patriarchal conventions of his time by honoring women and welcoming them into this band of disciples. By his life, death, and resurrection he got the victory over Satan and all the forces of evil, he died in our place and bore the punishment for sin, he conquered death and gives us resurrection life, and he provided for us the supreme example of love and obedience. So, in Christ right relationships are restored and in him “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female.” “All are one in Christ,” and, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3: 28-29). It could hardly be more clear that patriarchal order is not the ideal.

Nevertheless, the full realization of the divine ideal awaits the end of history when redemptive history is consummated. In the church of the New Testament era, there were still plenty of accommodations to the realities of the fallen patriarchal order–the Twelve were all men; and however one understands the polity of the New Testament church, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the elders, pastors, or bishops were likely all men. But if we keep our eye on the goal toward which redemptive history is moving, the apparent limitations on women evidenced in the New Testament are best understood as temporary and ad hoc.

In other words, when the big picture of redemptive history is kept in mind, the New Testament is seen as a huge leap forward toward full restoration of what was lost or distorted in the Fall. When I came to understand Scripture in this manner, the problem passages that had troubled me, and that are so often used by hierarchicalists to justify the submission of women, are understood as ad hoc accommodations to the fallen patriarchal culture. And the many scriptural examples of women doing what allegedly they are not supposed to do can be given their full evidential weight of how God, as an “equal opportunity employer,” really values women.

Resolution and Confirmation

My journey to biblical egalitarianism was essentially complete. While I did not, and do not now, claim to have the final answer to every question or difficult passage, I was convinced the framework sketched above was clearly a superior way to account for the varieties of biblical evidence. It has an elegant simplicity that is consistent with the authority of biblical texts. I find it far easier to live with the unresolved problems of egalitarianism than the problems of hierarchicalism, problems that seem to me to be far more serious, calling in question the very unity of the Bible.

But there was one more piece to my journey that is important, though seemingly small and unrelated to anything that had happened up to this point. It was the final piece that confirmed for me that I was on the right path.

In early 1974 I was preparing for a doctoral field exam in American church history by reading selections from some of the more important primary source documents representative of that history. When I came to the early and mid-nineteenth century, I was immersed in the literature surrounding the questions of slavery and abolition. The defenses of slavery by leading theologians and churchmen from the southern states were especially fascinating. Whether the men were from the Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Congregational, or Roman Catholic traditions, the biblical and theological arguments in defense of slavery were essentially the same.

Abolitionism was said to be anti-Christian. Defenders of slavery claimed that abolitionists got their ideas from other sources and then went to the “Bible to confirm the crotchets of their vain philosophy.” Scripture, it was repeatedly argued, does not condemn slavery. In fact, scripture sanctions slavery. In his parables, Jesus refers to masters and slaves without condemning slavery as such. In the New Testament, pious and good men had slaves, and were not told to release them. The church was first organized in the home of a slaveholder. That slavery was divinely regulated throughout biblical history was evidence that the institution was divinely approved. When scripture, as in Galatians 4, uses illustrations from slavery to teach great truths, without censuring slavery, it was considered more evidence that the institution had divine approval. The Baptist Declaration of 1822 did accept that slaves had purely spiritual privileges [as Christians], but they remained slaves.

The defenders of slavery within the churches all claimed the Bible as their starting point and all developed their defense by appealing to scripture in much the fashion I have summarized above. With one voice southern churchmen defending slavery charged that to reject slavery as sinful was to reject the Word of God. (14.)

I had heard about this line of reasoning before, but to actually read it for myself was an eye-opening experience. I was appalled and embarrassed that such an evil practice had been defended in the name of God and under the guise of biblical authority. How could churchmen and leading theologians have been so foolish and blind? I had been reflecting on these readings several days, then on one, cold, Chicago-gray wintry day as I crept home on that parking lot known as the Eisenhower Expressway, it slowly began to dawn on me that I had heard every one of those arguments before. In fact, at one time I had used them–to defend hierarchicalism and argue against egalitarianism. By this time I was close to home and I still remember the exact spot on Manchester Road just west of downtown Wheaton, Illinois where it hit me like a flash. Someday Christians will be as embarrassed by the church’s biblical defense of patriarchal hierarchicalism as it is now of the nineteenth century biblical defenses of slavery.

For me, that was the piece that once and for all put Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers in the waste basket. And it confirmed my determination to stand with Pat as she completed the book that would eventually be published by Zondervan as Woman Be Free. (15.)


  1. I prefer to the use the phrase “biblical egalitarian” to designate the position I hold, though at times I simply use the term “egalitarian.” I believe it is the most accurate and descriptive because I believe this view is biblically based and because the essence of the position is that all individuals are equally created in God’s image. Consequently, they have equal worth, privilege, and opportunity in God’s Kingdom without reference to gender, ethnicity, or social status. I use “hierarchicalism” or “patriarchal hierarchicalism” to designate the opposite view. I am aware that those who hold this view prefer to be called “complementarians.” That term was invented in the mid-1980s allegedly to portray the position as holding that men and women are complementary to one another. The problem is, though, that egalitarians also believe that in the body of Christ all believers, including men and women, are complementary to one another. So the term does not apply uniquely to those who would now claim exclusive ownership of it. It is difficult not to think that the term was invented as a euphemism to avoid calling attention to the real essence of the position–that men are in hierarchical order over women who are to submit to men. In any case, I use the term hierarchical because I believe it is the most descriptive and accurate term to designate this view.
  2. Originally published in 1941, this book is still available from Sword of the Lord Publishers.
  3. Judges 4-5; 2 Kings 22:14 and 2 Chronicles 34:22; Acts 21:9; Acts 18:26.
  4. 1 Corinthians 11:5 and 14:34; 1 Timothy 2:12.
  5. Romans 16:1-16; Philippians 4:2-3.
  6. Ephesians 5:21, 24; 1 Peter 3:1, 5-6.
  7. 1 Corinthians 7:4; Ephesians 5:21.
  8. Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.
  9. I know the reader is tempted to think that “Pastor Chuck” was Chuck Swindoll. I assure you it was not.
  10. First published privately by the author in 1921.
  11. First published in 1926 by Fleming H. Revell.
  12. For instance, see Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), p. 461.
  13. Psalm 33:20; 115: 9, 10, 11.
  14. Documents representative of the pro-slavery arguments as summarized here are contained in H. Shelton Smith, Robert T. Handy, and Lefferts A. Loetscher, American Christianity, Volume II, 1820-1960 (New York: Scribner’s, 1963), pp. 177-210.
  15. Patricia Gundry, Woman Be Free (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977; still in print from and may also be ordered from and, the online Book Store of CBE).
Women teaching, men's prejudice and God's glory

Women teaching, men's prejudice and God's glory

Many complementarians have been so used to hearing what women are not allowed to do in the body of Christ rather than what scripture says women should do as followers of Christ, that the focus has become automatically set to see restrictions when the subject of women in ministry is discussed.  With this post I would like to lay out some of the allowances for women in ministry as well as the obligations of mature children of God including God’s female “sons” so that we can contemplate on God’s own instructions.

What should be the attitude of women who are dedicated, mature and reverent followers of Christ?  In 1 Peter chapter 3 Paul has been writing about how women followers of Christ are to show their love for their Lord in the respectful way that they treat their husbands.  Men followers of Christ are also to show their love for their Savior by treating their wives with love and respect as fellow heirs of the grace of God.  Then in verses 8-17 Peter continues on to speak to both men and women about their attitude, their behavior and actions and their obligations.

1 Peter 3:8 (NASB) To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;
1 Peter 3:9  not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:13  Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?
1 Peter 3:14  But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED,
1 Peter 3:15  but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;
1 Peter 3:16  and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.
1 Peter 3:17  For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.

Since Peter says that this is written for “all of you”, let’s focus on what we can see about God’s will for women from these verses.  Peter writes in verse 8 that women are to be harmonious (of like mind with all believers) humble in spirit, kindhearted, brotherly (fond of the brethren which is the body of believers) and sympathetic.  How does this work out in practice?  Peter writes in verse 9 that women are not to return evil for evil or insult for insult but they are to practice giving a blessing even when they are reviled because women in Christ are called for the purpose of inheriting a blessing.

Peter goes on in verses 10-12 to encourage women to keep from speaking evil words and women followers of Christ are to do what is good and to pursue and seek after peace.  When women followers of Christ live this way they have the eyes and ears of the Lord Jesus toward them because the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears hear their prayers.

In verses 12-14 Peter writes that God is against those who do evil so that if women are zealous for doing what is good that God will be on their side and look out for them regarding those who do evil to them.  Women are told that even though they may suffer for doing what is good, God will bring them a blessing for suffering for the sake of righteousness.  God tells women that when they are reproached for doing what is good, they are not to fear the intimidation of those who are against them.  God tells women they are not to be troubled when they suffer for doing good and they are not to fear those who try to intimidate them, instead these women are to be prepared to defend their faith in God.  Verse 15 says:

1 Peter 3:15  but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

Women are not only allowed to give a defense to everyone who asks them to give an account, but they are commanded to do so.  They are not told to be prejudiced against men but to give a defense to everyone.  Women’s obligation is to be ready with a gentle and reverent spirit to give an account to whoever challenges them on their faith in Christ.  When Jesus gifts and equips a woman she is to use these gifts without fear.  In 1 Peter 4:10,11 Peter records that each one of us has been gifted and we are commanded to use our gifts for the use of the body of Christ.

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.

If God has gifted a woman to speak she is commanded to speak as one who is speaking the very utterances of God.  She is to do this because it pleases God to gift her.  When she uses her gift God will strengthen her in that gift because this brings honor to Jesus.  Whenever she uses her gift she is bringing glory and honor to Jesus Christ her Lord.

What about if someone challenges a woman follower of Christ that women are to be prejudiced against men and must refuse to use their God-given gifts for the benefit of the men in the body of Christ?  What if someone says that teaching the bible for the benefit of men is an evil act and not allowed for godly women?  What if someone says that women followers of Christ are sinning against God if they refuse to turn away men from hearing them teach the bible?  Peter instructs the women to keep a good conscience and in doing the good works of a mature follower of Christ, if she is slandered by those who hate her good works and who say that her good works are evil, these ones who have slandered her will be put to shame by her good behavior in Christ and her gentle and reverent spirit even during her persecution and her suffering.

1 Peter 3:16  and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.
1 Peter 3:17  For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.

God’s word for women followers of Jesus, is do not fear intimidation and do not be troubled.  Be glad that you are counted worthy to suffer for the sake of the Lord.  Do not return evil for evil or return insult for insult but keep on doing what is good.  Teaching God’s word is good.  Using your God-given gifts is a good thing.  Scripture never once tells women to turn their backs on men and to refuse to use God’s gifts for the benefit of men.  That is prejudice and prejudice is not a godly thing.  God’s way is to use your gifts for God’s glory without prejudice.  Do this good work in a gentle and respectful manner without responding back with evil words if you are insulted and slandered by your brothers in Christ.

Let me tell you a story about our ministry partner Lorri MacGregor.  Lorri was a Jehovah’s Witness for 15 years and when she came to Christ and had come to a full understanding of the truth of God’s word, God called her to teach the scriptures especially to Christians who had no idea how to witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Lorri was faithful to go wherever the Lord called her even though she had many barriers put up in her pathway because she was a woman.  God caused her testimony to be heard by men and women, lay people and Pastors alike.  Many Pastors were so impressed by her testimony and her ability to teach Christians how to witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses, that they allowed her to teach on this subject even though they have never allowed a woman to teach the bible to the congregation before.  Lorri’s ability to make the gospel clear and to teach difficult subjects like the Trinity and make these teachings understandable to the average Christian was clearly noted and she was asked into many churches to share her testimony and her special gift of teaching.  Lorri never refused to teach anyone because of their gender nor did she act in a prejudicial way to the men in the audience.  When some objected to her teaching on the platform, she asked if she could teach from the floor using a music stand instead of a pulpit.  Her humility and her respectful manner allowed her to receive a hearing and because of this many men and women were equipped to share their faith in a way that brought much fruit and brought Jesus much honor.  Lorri’s ability and her gifts were strengthened by her experience coming out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Pastors saw the benefit of her teaching as a unique gift.

Because Lorri’s desire was to use her gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ and it was not her desire to elevate herself or stand in open opposition to the tradition held by many Pastors and many churches, the doors opened to her for her to teach what is good.  In fact her teaching was so clear and so easy to understand that Lorri was invited into the pulpit in places that had never before allowed a woman to teach the congregation.  Lorri did not make an issue of being a woman teacher, she just used her gifts in a God-honoring way that benefited both men and women followers of Christ.  She was not deterred by those who tried to stop her and who tried hard to put up a roadblock in her pathway.  Lorri stayed the course and followed Jesus through every open door that he provided.  The Lord provided ways for Lorri to serve in her gifts because she trusted him to make a way for her to serve him.

My path has been somewhat different than Lorri’s.  My focus is not to go around the roadblocks but to respectfully and methodically dismantle the roadblocks with the gifts that God has given me.  I deal with the opposing arguments head on and I use God’s word in context using God’s inspired words and his inspired grammar to understand God’s will for women.

If you are a woman who has been called to serve Christ in teaching the bible, yet you have been told that this work is forbidden to women unless women are willing to turn their back on men and refuse to use their gifts for men’s benefit, you need to see the hard passages in scripture on women in ministry in their context.  I would encourage you to get a copy of my 4 DVD set called “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” so that you may have a tool to help you give a defense to everyone who demands of you an answer and this DVD set can help you give an answer with gentleness and reverence.  Do not let anyone stop you from doing the good works that God has prepared for you.

Matthew 5:16 (NASB)  “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

1 Peter 4:14  (ISV) If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God is resting on you.
1 Peter 4:19  So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should entrust their souls to a faithful Creator and continue to do what is good.

1 Peter 2:15  For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,
Colossians 3:24  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

Don’t stop doing what is good.  Do your godly works in a respectful way and trust that God will open the door for you to serve him in exactly the way that he has called you.  If we can be an encouragement to you on this blog community, we are at your service.

Spiritual gifts and authority

Spiritual gifts and authority

What has the spiritual gifts got to do with authority? It has plenty to do with God’s granting us all authority to use our gifts as representatives of God himself. In 1 Peter 4:10, 11 God tell us:

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.

Our gifts come with the ability to use these gifts with the authority from God himself. The one who speaks is to speak as speaking the “oracles of God” or the “utterances of God”.

While authority to operate in our gifts has been given to us, nowhere in scripture is authority given as a power to use over someone else. Jesus gave authority over the demons to his disciples, but the leaders of the church have not been given authority over people.

Matthew 10:1 Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

It was the worldly people who took authority over others as their right.

Matthew 20:25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.

But in the church, authority is only given as an authority to serve and authority to use our gifts. It is never given to be used to take control over another person in the church. The Christian way is service.

Matthew 20:26 “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,
Matthew 20:27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;
Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Since authority is to be used in the church for service and not for domination of one person over another, authority to use one’s gifts belongs equally to men and women in the body of Christ.

Gift vs Office and women in ministry

Gift vs Office and women in ministry

Continuing in our series on the gifts and their use by men and women in the body of Christ, we come to an unusual passage where the gift seems not to be a thing but a person.

In Ephesians 4:7, 8 we see that grace is given to each one of us apportioned out by Christ himself:

Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

The Greek word for “men” is a generic term meaning mankind and applies to both men and women. Both men and women (each one of us) is given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Continuing on with verse 11 we find that the gifts that Christ gives in this passage are gifts of people for the equipping of the church.

Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
Ephesians 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

Now take a look at the first gift which is that of apostle. Some consider this not to be a gift but an office. In fact this is the way that the first apostles may have looked at it because they set out to appoint a replacement for Judas.

Acts 1:20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE, AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT’; and, ‘LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.’
Acts 1:21 “Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us–
Acts 1:22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us–one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
Acts 1:23 So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias.
Acts 1:24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen
Acts 1:25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”
Acts 1:26 And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

The apostles appointed two men as candidates for a replacement of Judas, then after praying to God to show his choice, they cast a dice and chose Matthias. But can men actually appoint an apostle this way if an apostle is a gift? No ordination by men can make a man an apostle if it is a gift given by Jesus to the church. And similarly no failure of men to ordain a person will take away God’s choice of the gift of apostle to the church.

Paul was given as an apostle to the church but he struggled with being accepted because the other apostles did not ordain him as the twelfth apostle. Paul continually had to defend his being an apostle because many had made their minds up already that the position was already filled. In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul responds that the Corinthians have pushed him to defend his apostleship and he is not happy to have to do this. Paul says:

2 Corinthians 12:11 I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody.
2 Corinthians 12:12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles.

Paul tells the Galatians that he is not an apostle because of any man’s choice:

Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead)

Paul boldly states that he is an apostle of Jesus by the will of God:

2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God…

So could Paul then be the 13th apostle after the 12th apostle was appointed by the disciples? Scripture gives an interesting answer:

Revelation 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

There are only twelve apostles of the Lamb, not thirteen! So what do we make of Matthias? He is never spoken of again in scripture after Acts chapter 1. Paul himself claims over and over again to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, chosen by the will of God.

What does this mean? It means that an apostle is a true gift of God and an apostle cannot be appointed by man. Some wonder why Matthias was chosen by the casting of lots. Nowhere in scripture is this way of assessing God’s will ever practiced again. Was it necessary to cast lots because God never answered the eleven apostles regarding their own choice for the replacement of Judas? Is it because a gift cannot be appointed by man since it is God’s prerogative alone? Paul claimed to be an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God yet he was never appointed by man to this “position”. Rather he was gifted by Jesus and given to the church for the building up of the body of Christ. Paul was such an awesome choice that the church would not be the same without his writings. And Matthias? We never hear of him again.

What about another “gift” in the list at Ephesians 4:11 – the gift of pastor? Can a pastor be appointed by man? If a pastor is truly a gift as Ephesians 4:11 states, then a pastor is not a pastor because they are appointed by man. Similarly a pastor is not any less of a pastor because they are not appointed by man. This gift is given for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, for the building up of the body of Christ and it is not an appointment but a gift.

What does this all mean? I believe that it means that if you are called and gifted to be a pastor you do not need to have man’s ordination to flow in your gifts as a pastor. You are a pastor by God’s calling and gifting and not by the will of man. And if a person is a pastor that isn’t called or gifted to be a pastor they are not a true pastor just because man has ordained them. Paul said that there were false apostles who disguised themselves as true apostles:

2 Corinthians 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

Would it be any wonder if we would also have false pastors too? Jesus calls these people hirelings or hired hands:

John 10:12 “He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
John 10:13 “He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.”

So if you are a woman and God has called you and gifted you as a pastor, do you really need any man to make you a pastor? Should you not just pastor the sheep? Be it a small group setting or a big group or a congregation, shouldn’t you just do what God has called you to do? If you are in a church that refuses to allow a woman to take the name of pastor and you want to stay in that church, do you think that God will allow you to do the work of a pastor without the name? A pastor is a gift to the body of Christ by the will of Jesus. Just be that gift and use your gift to nurture and tend the flock.

The rest of the story – 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and Matt Slick

The rest of the story – 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and Matt Slick

Proverbs 18:17 (ESV) The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.

Scripture warns us not to make a hasty judgment on a matter. When two sides have conflicting interpretations, those who wish to be Bereans should be willing to carefully consider all of the facts from both sides of the issue first in order to avoid making a hasty judgment. This week the opportunity of hearing complete evidence, weighing the evidence and then judging between the two interpretations was stopped as I was barred from giving out my full view of 1 Timothy 2 on Matt Slick’s Faith and Reason show. Since brother Matt refused to allow me to give my conclusions as to what my full belief is and why I hold my view from scripture alone, and since Matt has subsequently banned me from coming back on his radio program, in all fairness to his listeners and to others who are interested in what I have to say, this post will present “the rest of the story”.

First if you haven’t heard the audio debate where Matt said that I was not polite and he also accused me of being a heretic, you will probably want to listen first by clicking here.

While Matt claims that 1 Timothy 2:12 is absolutely clear in its meaning, there are several very serious problems if we take the verses in this passage out of their context. Unless one can understand the whole teaching unit, it is dangerous to try to extract some part of it. For example if one takes 1 Timothy 2:15 in isolation, one might reason that a woman is saved by having children and this would question the salvation of unmarried, childless women. Verse 12 could be reasonably interpreted to restrict a woman from teaching any thing to any man. A woman couldn’t even give a man directions on how to find an address for fear that she would be teaching him something.

Taking 1 Timothy 2:12 out of its context would also cause the Bible to contradict itself since Priscilla taught the Bible to Apollos in Acts 18:26. 1 Timothy 2:12 does not say that a woman will be out from the restriction and allowed to teach a man when certain conditions are met. It simply says “I do not allow a woman to teach or authenteo a man”, period. 1 Timothy 2:12 also does not tell us why Priscilla was not disciplined for teaching a man. Was she wrong in teaching Apollos or are there exceptions? It also appears that any woman cannot teach any man anything since Paul used the negation particles ouk and oude translated usually “neither…nor” respectively. If there are exceptions and this is not a hard and fast law of God’s, then where are the exceptions listed? More problems comes with verse 14 which could be interpreted as all women are easily deceived and unreliable in regard to decision-making and women could be considered inferior because they were created second.

Is this passage really as “clear” as Matt would like us to think it is? If so, then why is it that we need another book to identify all the things that women can or can’t do? The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) has created a whole section of white, grey and black applications of 1 Timothy 2:12 and this is to give directions to churches who can’t figure out from 1 Timothy 2:12 whether a woman can be an usher, serve communion, teach math at a high school or at a college or whether she can teach Hebrew in seminary even if she isn’t teaching the word of God per se. Who is authorized to make these rules and why don’t Christians and Churches know the answers to their questions if 1 Timothy 2:12 is so clear? The fact is that it isn’t a clear cut verse that can stand on its own. It must be taken in its context.

One of the most fundamental principles of Christian rationality is that God doesn’t contradict himself (2 Tim 2:13). Therefore, no Christian may offer an interpretation of any verse that contradicts any other verse. In order for 1 Timothy 2:12 to remain consistent with the rest of scripture, we need to work hard to understand Paul’s letter to Timothy as it would have been understood by the recipient. Timothy was a young apostolic representative of Paul’s who was appointed by Paul to deal with a bevy of false teachers and false teaching in Ephesus. Paul’s letter to Timothy was not written in chapter and verse so we need to read the whole letter in context. We also need to understand the reason for the letter. Paul said:

1 Timothy 3:14 (ALT) These [things] I write to you, hoping [or, expecting] to come to you soon.
1 Timothy 3:15 (ALT) But if I delay, [I write] so that you shall know how it is necessary to be conducting yourself in [the] house of God, which is [the] Assembly [or, Church] of the living God, [the] pillar and foundation of the truth.

Paul writes a personal letter to Timothy so that Timothy knows how to conduct himself in the body of Christ. Timothy is told how to handle the problems and the problem people that Paul was concerned about. Timothy must handle the problems with the deceived, the deceivers and one particularly thorny problem that required Paul to single a woman out from all the other false teachers.

This brings us to the most important verse that is necessary to deal with to understand the issue of women in ministry and Paul’s prohibition against teaching in 1 Timothy 2:15. Without a correct understanding of this verse, we risk falling into a pattern of unrighteous judgment against women. Why is this so important? Because there are those who say that women who teach the bible with authority are sinning against God and these women must be stopped. This is a very serious charge. The primary verse they derive this understanding from is 1 Timothy 2:12 and 1 Timothy 2:15 is so interconnected with verse 12 that to focus on a prohibition without highlighting the completion of the prohibition is a recipe for disaster.

The key to understanding the object of the prohibition in 1 Timothy 2:12, is found in the specific grammar of verse 15. Paul says:

she will be saved if they…”

Through this hard passage of scripture, Paul has:

1. Given priority to the solution – Verse 11 is the only verse in the imperative. Timothy is commanded to “let a woman learn” 1 Timothy 2:11

2. Identified the subject of the prohibition – “a woman” 1 Timothy 2:12 is stopped from doing something

3. Identified the reason for the prohibition – the deception of the one who was not the first one formed. 1 Timothy 2:13 says “for” or “because” and 1 Timothy 2:14 says “and” thus connecting these two verses to the prohibition in 1 Timothy 2:12

4. Identified the action needed as a result of the prohibition – “continue in faith, love, holiness and self control”.

5. Identified the subject “she” in verse 15 (a 3rd person singular) and attaches a condition, ” if they continue”. Continue is aorist active subjunctive, third person plural, which is used by Paul to identify not only the woman doing the teaching, but also the man whom she is deceiving as mentioned in verse 12. If an action is required then the people required to do the action must be alive and not dead.

6. Identified the means of the solution – “saved”. This Greek word sozo is only ever used by Paul in his epistles in reference to spiritual salvation.

7. Identified the source of the solution – literally translated “the childbearing”. This word in Greek is teknogonia and is a unique word only used this one time in scripture and it is a noun and not a verb. It is a reference to the promised child, the Messiah who would be born to the woman and in spite of the deception of the first woman, the Messiah would come through her to destroy the deceiver.

8. Identifies the promise – “she” will be saved…if “they”

1 Timothy 2:15 (LITV) but she will be kept safe through the childbearing, if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with sensibleness.

So while Paul prohibits “a woman” from teaching in verse 12, he goes on to promise her salvation in verse 15 “she shall be saved” if she continues in what he has commanded in verse 11 namely “let a woman learn”. This, in her case, was how she was to persevere in holiness etc.

I believe that the only way these verses can be understood at all is to reference verse 15 back to verses 11 and 12. I see no other way to take verse 15 with the precise grammar than to see that verses 11 and 12 are referencing a specific woman that Paul is prohibiting from teaching and influencing “a man” (the Greek word aner can also refer to a husband and with this close relationship with this woman, the Greek word aner I believe should be taken as husband because he is shown to be in direct relationship to “a woman” or “wife”.)

Why do I say that this is the only way to understand verse 15? It is because Paul has been so precise in his grammar that there is no other way we can get past the fact that he is stopping a specific woman in verse 12. The reason is that he says “she” and “they” in verse 15 and the only singular feminine that “she” can be attached to is “a woman” from verse 12. It is future tense so it cannot be Eve since Eve is dead. It cannot be taken to indicate a reference to plural women (as mistranslated in the NASB, NIV) since “she shall be saved” is a correct translation of the future tense, passive voice, 3rd person singular form of the verb sozo (sothesetai). Again, note that Paul also says “they”. “She” and “they” cannot refer to the same thing otherwise the grammar is nonsensical. “She” must be a specific woman and “they” must refer back to “a woman” together with “a man”. (I believe that “they” is unlikely to refer to women in general or that “a man” in verse 12 is men in general. The reason is that if “a woman” is required to complete the grammatical usage of “she” in verse 15, then it would be highly unlikely that Paul would say “a woman” to mean a specific woman and “a man” to be generic men. In that case Paul would be only working to confuse us instead of using specific grammar to identify specific people. If “a man” was meant to be men, then Paul should have grammatically said “I do not permit a woman from teaching or to authenteo men.” It is my view that Paul was consistent where he used the same grammar and so “a man” would be a particular man. Secondly since “she” and “they” were to do something together “continue on in faith, etc”, then a relationship between the “she” and “they” has been established. It is possible that Paul is requiring other women to work with this woman to help her get established in her faith, but the most direct reference back to “they” would be “a woman” and “a man” from verse 12 since no other living people are referenced that would allow the “they” to be a reference back to since “a woman” was introduced in verse 11.)

Why is all of this of such vital importance? It is because Paul is passionate about those who have been deceived. Paul says that the ones who are ignorant and thus act out of their unbelief are just like he was and they have the opportunity to receive mercy just like he did:

1 Timothy 1:13 (LITV) the one who before was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and insolent; but I received mercy, because being ignorant I did it in unbelief.

Paul tells us in his own words that he received mercy because he was ignorant of the truth and because of this, his sinful actions were done in unbelief. Paul is so focused on the salvation of the ignorant that he repeats the reason that he received mercy:

1 Timothy 1:15 (LITV) Faithful is the Word and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
1 Timothy 1:16 (LITV) But for this reason I received mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for an example to those being about to believe on Him to everlasting life.

Again Paul refers to his ignorance and his unbelief and says “but for this reason I received mercy“. Paul’s act of stopping the false teachers in 1 Timothy 1:3 is a heart of compassion for their salvation:

1 Timothy 1:3 (NASB) As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,

1 Timothy 1:4 nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.

1 Timothy 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Paul then picks up on one of these false teachers who is a special problem. It is easier for Timothy to stop the individual false teachers who are men, but one of these teachers is a woman and the man who is likely her husband is letting her influence him with her deception. There are two markers in the text that indicate that the man is likely the woman’s husband. The first marker is in verse 11 “A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.” It was normative for a woman to be married and if she was required to have entire submissiveness then this was a sign that she was married because “entire submissiveness” is only ever spoken of as something that a wife does for her husband. Secondly for a single woman to be teaching a single man on an on-going basis would be highly unlikely in that culture unless he was married to her. The cultural norm was that men kept their distance from women who were not their wives. Even Priscilla was not alone when she taught Apollos. Her husband was with her.

With Timothy’s timidity, being a very young apostolic representative would have caused him problems in dealing with a specific false teacher who was likely married to the man whom she was influencing. For Timothy to stop her meant that he was interfering in her marriage. Her husband (or “a man”) was not stopping her from teaching error. In fact he was being influenced by her in a way that Paul likens the situation to that of Adam and Eve (the first married couple). The husband Adam was not deceived but his wife was the one who fell into sin through deception. The man in verse 12 is like Adam who was not in a place of deception (Paul does not say in verse 15 “they” will be saved if “they”. He only says “she” will be saved if “they”.) The question of salvation is directly tied to the woman alone and her teaching had to be stopped even if it was interfering in a marriage where the husband was taking no responsibility for the problem. Timid Timothy was reminded in 2 Timothy 1:6, 7 that we need to operate in our gifts without timidity (even if he is correcting someone else’s wife!)

2 Timothy 1:6 (NASB) For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NASB) For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

Paul’s reminding Timothy that God wants us to act in power and not with timidity shows us that Timothy’s age may have been an additional component showing us why Paul wrote the way he did to Timothy. The stopping of this one deceived woman would require Paul to push Timothy to act out of compassion for her salvation. Paul then promises that she too can be saved just like he was. This is not a woman who was a deliberate deceiver and the action was not to kick her out of the body of Christ as Paul had done when he turned Hymenaeus and Alexander over to Satan:

1 Timothy 1:19 NASB keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.
1 Timothy 2:20 (NASB) Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.

Paul’s belief was that she was one of the ones who were acting ignorantly and in unbelief so that she too could receive mercy if she was taught the truth. Paul’s words that she *will* be saved if… shows us the confidence that God was going to show this woman mercy just as he showed Paul mercy at the time that Paul was acting in ignorance and unbelief.

Now for those who think that the word for “teach” didasko cannot refer to false teaching because Paul didn’t specifically use the word for “another teaching” heterodidaskaleo in Greek, we only have to turn to the book of Revelation to see that John used didasko twice to reference false teaching.

Rev 2:14 ‘But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.

Rev 2:20 ‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.

Revelation 2:20 is an interesting case because teach and lead are attached together and both are negative things. Didasko is used here without a doubt to reference false teaching. Also the Lord Jesus does not say that he has something against the church in Pergamum because they have a woman leading and teaching as if it was her gender that was the problem but rather that she was teaching error. Scripture says that she calls herself a prophetess but God did not call her this. God does gift women as prophetesses (Acts 21:9). Deborah was not only a prophetess, but she was also a judge over Israel, chosen and gifted by God. But the woman in Revelation 2:20 was not one of the true teachers of God’s word and the evidence was not her gender but her teaching.

Again, it seems that if a traditionalist interpretation is taken, then 1 Timothy 2:12 is a clear blanket statement that prevents a godly Christian woman from teaching true doctrine to adult men. Where does the Bible have a law prohibiting this? I believe this is a large inconsistency in the complementarian understanding of 1 Tim. 2:11-12 and inconsistency is one of the signs of a failed argument.

Instead this passage is best seen as a complete story of ignorance, unbelief, false teaching and ultimate salvation through the correct teaching of biblical doctrine that leads to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (the promised Messiah through the woman see 1 Timothy 2:15 and Genesis 3:15). After many years of study, this is what I conclude about the meaning of this passage. This is what makes sense to me given everything in the context of verses 12 and 15. I recognize that other sincere, godly people have come to different conclusions from mine, but I think that this interpretation deserves to be given a fair hearing. To this date no one has shown me any other valid option for the “she” in 1 Timothy 2:15, nor have they shown me any scripture where God prohibited his words from being spoken through a woman. As lovers of the incarnate Word and the written word we should always try to practice consistent, contextual interpretation. In my opinion, for us to take one verse and rip it from its inspired context is to refuse to rightly divide the word of truth:

2 Timothy 2:15 NASB Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

This is the message that I was prohibited from sharing on Matt Slick’s radio program Faith and Reason. Matt forbid me from sharing why I believed that 1 Timothy 2:12 was referencing one specific deceived woman the first two times that I appeared on his program and he has forbidden me from coming back on his radio program to share the rest of the scripture on this passage. What this does is leave my teaching hanging so that people are not able to understand what I was saying about this difficult passage. Matt says that I was not polite to him and that is why I cannot come back. Listen here to the second session with Matt Slick and you decide for yourself if I was polite or not.

Those who hold back the words of God that are spoken with authority by a woman will have to answer to God. 1 Peter 4:10 and 11 gives women not only the right to speak for God but the obligation to do so:

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;…

Since Peter is not limiting those who speak the utterances of God to men, Paul too would not have contradicted the word of God spoken through Peter. In 1 Timothy 3 Paul is not digressing into an unconnected subject about how to pick overseers and deacons. Instead Paul is continuing on to give hope that anyone can aspire to a place of responsibility and servanthood even though a person had been previously deceived. Those who had been false teachers and who submitted themselves to correction might be restored to such a ministry. Paul himself had been deceived in ignorance and unbelief and thus he obtained mercy. Paul’s original state of deception did not stop him from moving on to maturity and to greater responsibility as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus.

Women who believe 1 Peter 4:11 and obey the command to teach with authority as one who is “speaking the utterances of God” should not be accused of sinning against God when they employ their gift to “serve one another” in the entire body of Christ. For those who teach that men alone are allowed to give out God’s word with authority, I ask a pointed question about authority. When a godly woman teaches orthodox doctrine from God’s inerrant word, where does the “authority” reside, in the woman or in God’s word? If authority is in God’s word alone, then there is no special authority given to one gender alone to give forth God’s words just as there is no special authority for only one gender to hear from God. We need to test all things and hold fast to what is good.

In closing, we want to be very careful that we do not rip 1 Timothy 2:12 from its context because some who have done this in the past have taken the church into a precarious position where the world sees us as prejudiced and unkind to women. May God help us to stand up for women and release them into his service.

*Copyright 2007 by Cheryl Schatz. Permission is granted to use this article to post on a web site or on a blog site as long as it is kept in its original full form without editing and that credit is given to myself and a link back to this blog site For any other use, please contact me at

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