Women in the Church
By your servant, Dan Baxley
This is a really quick study on women in the Church. It is not about women only, but men too. It is about the Body of the Christ on earth as represented by the called believers and not with the world. These instructions could apply and can be a benefit to all, but we need to remember, our Lord and Savior did not pray for the world but for those given to Him --
(John 17:9-10) I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given me, for they are Yours. all mine are Yours, and Yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.
Believing this we then commit ourselves to Him first and then to His teachings and the instructions from His Aposltes. Instructions for those professing YaHshua as Savior and Messiah not for the world because the world see the things of our God as foolishness --
(1Cor 2:14) But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor 1:18) KJV
This is a touchy subject for the modern woman, of course, listening to the world as it teaches every kind of lie concerning relationships between men and women and it all seems to be just the opposite of the Word of God. The accusers say the men of YaHshua want to make women slaves, that's right, we men want to beat the women into submission, our submission, right? WAIT A MINUTE -- where does it say that in scripture? IT DOESN"T, so get that out or your head -- if it was ever there.
If any man, claiming to be a man of God are subjecting their women to harsh treatment and trying to ensalve them, making them second class citizens of the Kingdom then these are not men of God but abusers of women. I repeat, they are not men of God, or they have been greatly misled themselves and have become abusors women physically and, or spiritually. Where does this accusation about men of religion wanting to make women second class citizens come from? Usually the women that want to be leaders, that want to have authority over men, that resent the order established by our Creator -- and, of course, men that want control. What we are about to discuss is a balanced view according to the truth of the Word, not what we may want but how it is. Women being surpressed by men have the right to get out of such abusive relations and men, too, being abused by their wives, ignoring their position might as well stop worshiping the Christ as well. We need to look at this, as believers, not as the world sees it but as the Apostles taught, from our Heavenly Father to them and then to us.
First, let's answer the question, can a woman be a leader among men? And the answer is, Yes -- and -- NO! We have the biblical answer to this question found in the woman Deborah -- Judges 4:4-9 -- this woman sat as Judge of Israel, also called a "Prophetess" which did NOT give her the rights of a Priest but of a person that would speak for YaHWeH just as the other male "prophets" could and did -- she sat as a judge, not a King, but as a woman endowed with the wisdom of God (YHWH) and the people would come to her for advice and to settle disputs. You see, a prophet could be just about anyone, anyone whom YaHWeH would chose to speak through -- not some babbling idot making foolish remarks or threats that always seem to fail. Not only that, she was a "wife" as well. All woman, a strong woman and clearly one of the Judges of Israel.
(Judge 4:4) And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.
Here, we have, by example, a woman as a leader of men and women, over a nation of people, Israel. She sat as a Judge to guide and lead Israel (This before Israel elected to have a King - 1 Sa 10:18-19). If you read the full account you will see she even acted as "Commander in Chief" of the armies. This is a rare example, of course, but a true one -- apparently there were not any men suitable or worthy but there was Deborah, approved by God to do the job the men did not want to do. We see this in the record, Judges 4:8, where Barak, the chosen Commander refused to go unless Deborah went along on the campaign against Sisera and his chariots. Deborah relented and then told Barak he would lose the honor and fame of having defeated Sisera because if she went along then the enemy would be handed over to a woman. This was meant to be an insult to Barak -- Deborah then went along and under her command Sisera was defeated. This demonstrates the attitude of the strong men at that time. They lacked courage. So, when the men will not step up to the plate, so to speak, then YaHWeH is not opposed to using a woman. In fact, if you read the rest of this adventure you find that Sisera, himself, escaped and was in hiding under some blankets when Jael, wife of Heber, drove a tent spike through Sisera's temple and when Barak came looking for him a woman, Jael, delivered him dead.
No woman, however, has ever sat as High Priest or a priest, ever, no matter how dispicable a priest might have been, only men sat in the seat of Moses or Aaron. Speaking of Aaron we have his sister, Miriam, listed as a prophetess as well -- Ex 15:20 -- a leader of women -- Miriam.
Mariam assumed too much at one point in her career and was struck down for questioning Mose's right as the Head man, spokesman for YaHWeH over all of Israel. Reading this account in Numbers 12, a short chapter, we see where Miriam is mentioned before Aaron which indicates that she was on the attack and brought Aaron along, both upset over Moses having taken an Ethiopian woman as a wife. But notice, when they confront Moses, Miriam immediately makes an accusation against Moses that has nothing to do with the Ethiopian woman, the ruse she used on Aaron to get him to side with her. Aaron, you might say, was blind sided by Miriam, and this would explain what happens later. Miriam is turned "leprous" but not Aaron.
The charge they initially went to Moses about may have been acceptable to YaHWeH, even reasonable, but this all changed. Miriam became the spokes person for Aaron and herself charging that Moses had no more rights than she did when it came to speaking for YaHWeH -- after all, hadn't YaHWeH spoken to them equally? Well, the answer to her question would be a resounding, NO! What we see is a jealousy over leadership. Surely, Aaron had to have been surprised at how the charge against Moses had changed as Mariam riled against her brother Moses and this caught the attention of, guess how.
YaHWeH comes down in a pillar of smoke and speaks to them equally, just as Mariam said, all at the same time, and it did not turn out so well. Miriam was turned leprous and Aaron in horror begged Moses to do something. Aaron had learned his lesson in a hurry, not asking YaHWeH but begging Moses to take his rightly place, between them and their God, just as the people had begged at the foot of the mountan of Laws. Moses then asks YaHWeH to not lay this plague on her, and it was the voice of Moses, the voice of reason among the people. From all of this we see a complete and immediate change -- YaHWeH did as Miriam claimed, speaking to them equally, and the results turned everything over to Moses. YaHWeH heeded Moses' request but with conditions -- Miriam would remain in this condition, outside of the camp for seven days. A bitter lesson, not only showing support for the choosen man to lead the people, but showing the dangers of seeking such a close position to the Creator of all the Universe. All religious leaders feeling they are called to talk for God should walk carefully, very carefully.
This, then, leads us into this business about a woman remaining silent in the Church. Deborah was on her own, apparently, there wasn't a man found suitable so YaHWeH spoke through Deborah, as one to Judge over Israel. This was not like Mariam, trying to usurp authority that was not hers -- Mariam wanted equal billing with Moses -- being a leader of the women was not enough for her, or so she thought. This is what we find under the Old Covenant, but this was not the rule, not at all -- men were to be the leaders of home and family and the tribal states of the nation, only when a suitable man could not be found was a woman raised up. This leads us into the New Covenant teaching concerning a woman's position in the Church (among the ekklesia -- group of believers).
We will cover Paul's instructions for the married couples and then concerning the widows, or elderly women and younger women in the church and, hopefully, see the order of things, how our God meant for it to be, even from the beginning of Creation.
There were female prophetess in the New Testament Church and there were women teachers but the postion of the women, in general, was to be quiet and peaceful with no authority over the men -- IN THE CHURCH -- that is to say, in the gatherings or the meetings of fellow believers -- in fact, as you will see, women were commanded to be silent in Church -- silent does not mean talking in tongues, it means silence.
Before we get into this, and believe me, it has as much to do with men as it does women, but first, let's touch on something Paul says that seems to contradict what he says in other places. This is something e over looked by some but has to be considered -- and we read:
(Gal 3:28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in the Christ YaHshua.
Paul makes his position concerning women in the Church very clear. He repeats what is to happen in the Church of the New Covenant, once to the Corinthians and then to Timothy -- Deborah was an exception to the rule, certainly, but you will notice Deborah never conducted religious meetings or temple service or anything resembling priestly duties. She was a Judge and called a Prophetess, meaning she was an "inspired woman" through whom YaHWeH would pass information and as a Judge she made political decisions -- this would have be different, say, than a woman being President, or a leader of the Senate, but in the New Covenant and for the New Covenant Church the instructions are clear, as you will see -- women are not called to be priests, or preachers, or Apostles. Prophets, or Prophetess? Certainly, but this is as an "inspired woman", able to teach from the Word and be guided by the Spirit, but not at the gatherings of believers for the purposes of worship.
What is going to be revealed in this brief study is that there is a proper place for everyone in the Body of the Christ but everything in these instructions is voluntary. Yes, the instructions tell you how you should act but not that you are command as from the Lord. Paul uses common sense and observations about how things should be and the instructions so offensive to the modern woman is also aimed at men -- men are not excluded as some seem to read it. What follows will be some instructions that if applied would benefit the Church and rain down blessings upon men and women alike. Ignore the plain instruction, think it is old school, whatever, then look around at your friends, family and neighbors and ask yourself, are we better off, happier, or more blessed in their marriages. Do we see more or less unity in our families?
So, lets get one thing clear -- Men, love your wives as yourself and treat all women with respect, not forgetting that you came from a woman, your mother. And by the same rule; Women, love your husbands as the lord of the house, not because he demands it but to the Lord you both worship, and see if your house is not blessed. Keeping a peaceful and orderly house, one everyone wants to come home to.
Everyone, it seems has turned their lives upside down. Divorce is becoming the norm and kids having babies out of wedlock and everyone acting as if this topsy-tervy life style is normal, calling good bad and bad good (Isa 5:20). So, let's read how it could be, according to Paul's instructins and see what you think. Remember, this is about men as well as women.
The following is the woman every man needs and what every woman should aspire to --
(Pro 31:10) An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
(Pro 31:11) The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
(Pro 31:12) She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
(Pro 31:20) She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
(Pro 31:21) When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
(Pro 31:22) She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
(Pro 31:24) She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
(Pro 31:25) She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
(Pro 31:26) She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
(Pro 31:27) She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
(Pro 31:28) Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
(Pro 31:29) Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.
(Pro 31:30) Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD (YaHWeH) is to be praised.
In the Church? Not just Women, but Men too.
(1Co 14:33-35) For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silentgen in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says (Gen 3:16). If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
Offended yet? I know this raises the hackles on some, especially those women that have taken on the role of Church leader, priests and elder. But, like I said, this is all voluntary -- well, it is address to the Confregations of the Saints, isn't it? Some are not of that Congregation. Please read further, it gets better.
(1Ti 2:9) I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
"Braided hiar"? This used to be a sign of glory, women would grow their hair to excessibe length and would then braid this glory into a pile like a badge of honor. So, it is not the braiding of the hair it is the vainity which fits in with the rest of the modest instructions. It is not about braided hair, it is about attitude. I remember seeing a cute segment about some ladies at a Church that were designing and wearing, displaying, these way over-the-top hats to wear to worship services, each trying to out do the other in colors and feather and whatever -- it was not about the worship -- same idea.
(1Ti 2:11-12) A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. KJV
(1Ti 2:12) I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. ESV
Men are not commanded to be the oppressors of women. For one thing, men are told to Love their wives as themselves. This is a kind of love that is always considerate of the woman and most often puts the woman and women in his life first. The man cannot be the slave master if he is required to treat the women in his life with this kind of love and respect. Yes, I said women, first his wife and then his mother, his daughters and women in general as a matter of courtesy and respect. Men are not to be or act as brute beasts, as the anitchrist, a beast among the beasts in beating women, subdueing them and making them cower in fear. What kind of men would do this to the blessing of a man. Eve may have come from Adam but ever since then men have come from Woman, even our Lord.
(Eph 5:25) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her
Wow, now this is some powerful statement. Men, are you willing to die for your Wife? Find that attitude and nurture it, your wife will appreciate it and maybe it would make it easier for her to then love you back and to at least act like you are the boss, the head of the household. A true head of house will engage and invite help and that is what his wife is, a helper. He needs her help on all fronts, making decisions, working as a team, not combatants. Love our wife as yourself, that is a tall order for selfish man, but one with great benefits.
(Col 3:18-20) Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
There it is boys, you are to be gentle with your wives, and this kind of thing translates over to all women. Your wife received first respect and then other women. Our immediate head is Christ Himself and once when asked about His mother He pointed out all of the people gathered around Him, a mixture of men, boys, women, mothers, and girls. He indicated they were all His family and so it should be with us of those in the Congregation of the Saints, so it should be with us. Men are also instructed to lead a quiet life and to mind their own business and to make a living for themselves and their family, not afraid or too lazy to work with their own hands. See, I told you it is about men as much as women.
(1Th 4:11) Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,
For some reason, in this day and age, when it comes to what women should do it always turns into some kind of accusation against men -- men trying to enslave women. That may be the case with Islam or even some other wild religions but it is not to be the case with the Congregation of the Saints, of those professing YaHshua as their Savior, of anyone claiming the New Covenant for themselves.
Someone may point at Phebe, called a deaconess by Paul, the same Aposlte that said women should remain silent in the church. And then there is Priscilla and Aquila, a husband and wife team. These two examples are used by the pro-woman preacher as proof women can have authority in the church and ulitmately over men. First, we need to be honest within our one minds -- we have the instruction of Headship: First head the Christ then the man then the woman, and in that order. Then we have the command, by Paul, that women should remain silent in the Church. There is no interpretation need, the verses we have already covered are clear. So, what about Paul, the Apostle teaching Headship and that women should remain silent in Church? Is he changing his mind? Let's have a brief look at this.
(Rom 16:1-2) I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That you receive her in the Lord, as becomes saints, and that you assist her in whatsoever business she has need of you: for she has been a succourer (helper) of many, and of myself also.The word "servant" is identified in Strong's Greek Dictionary as "diakonos", pronounced as "dee-ak-on-os". Sounds like Paul is calling Phebe a "deacon", doesn't it? The way most see the office of a Deacon in the Church would seem to suggest Phebe was a "preacher". Oh, wait, a "deacon" is not a preacher. Notice what Paul says, "... she has been a helper of many and of myself also". What, are we to say we preached to Paul, then? No, the context speaks for itself --Strong's Greek Dictionary: diakonos
dee-ak'-on-osProbably from διάκω diakō (obsolete, to run on errands; compare G1377); an attendant, that is, (generally) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specifically a Christian teacher and pastor (technically a deacon or deaconess): - deacon, minister, servant.
Notice the first definitions, an attenand, a waiter, someone who runs errands and this fits the context in which Paul uses this term. The Idea that t Deacon was a Christian Teacher or Pastor is a later use, or definition. If we stary true to Paul's previous teaching then we can determine the correct meaning and what Paul is saying about Phebe and putting this togeter with defining word, "succourer" which is to say "helper"., not preacher. Reading this way, as Paul is saying it, locks in with the other teachings perfectly. In this same writing, Priscella and Aquila are also mentioned.
(Rom 16:3-4) Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in the Christ YaHshua: Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
These teachings are handed down from the Apostles of the Christ for the benefit of men, women, young women and young boys as we read in the following instructions --
(Tit 2:1) You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.
(Tit 2:2) Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
(Tit 2:3) Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.
(Tit 2:4) Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children,
(Tit 2:5) to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
(Tit 2:6) Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.
(Tit 2:7) In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness
(Tit 2:8) and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
(Tit 2:9-10) Teach slaves (employees) to be subject to their masters (employers, bosses) in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
Note: Today this would apply to employees -- in that time period I don't think they had a word for "employee" and it did not seem as though they had unions, maybe they did in later years when slaves became paid employees. A person working for another person whether for room and board or for wages or salary are to act with respect and honor so that your religion will be looked upon with respect. Slaves and serfs were the equivalent of employees -- yes, there were slaves and by definiton were considered property and were not free to come and go as they pleased and some were treat terribly. But we have biblical examples of such servitude being turned into more than a man or woman being just a slave in the sense of being owned by another person. We have to live in the position we are called, then as now and to make the best of it and who knows, perhaps bringing others to the Lord by our own actions. In the free nations slavery has been reduced to an emplyee, emploryer relationship.
I have applied the principles written in Titus 2:9-10 and it has served me well, I have been promoted and trusted by my employers and bosses and it has made my working life much easier and profitable, paying them the respect of their position as I worked for the Lord. Now, the hard view, not meaning to offend anyone but sometimes it cannot be avoided if you are going to stick up for the Inspired Words of the New Covenant.
I said earlier that I had learned from women on matters of religious subjects, and I have. The word, "evangelist" has been somewhat misapplied by some, taken on as a title for an office in Christianity, but in reality it is a statement. Anyone can be an "evangelist" simply by agreeing with others concerning the Gospel Message -- called evangelicals. If you share your belief in the four Gospels teaching that the Christ or the Messiah is the Son of God come to forgive sin by sacrificing Himself for us then you are an evangleical and this would include the Protestant Churches. However, the Pentecostal, or spiritualist, side of Christianity has taken this word, evangelical, to themselves, almost like a cover fogging up the past history of Christians gone mad, as many see it. Talking in tongues, being slain by the spirit, as they say, and becoming drunk (literally) on the spirit. Becoming Evangelical Churches seems to remove this black eye the "spiritualist" has given Christianity over the past 100 years. To be an Evangelical Preacher, in this day, is to be a "spiritualist", with the message of the Christ almost taking a back seat to "signs and wonders", ever seeking some kind of sign or exhibit of spirit possession. They claim this spirit is from God, of course.
There are books on this subject and the one I would suggest reading is "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse", this is not written by a critics of Christianity, David Johnsom & Jeff Vanvonderen are both believers. Of course, anyone that dares call our any other evangelical is called a person of division and "judging" other believers -- all in an attempt to shut the person or persons that would dare expose the false prophets, teachers, and abusers of others under the diabolical use of the spirit as opposed to the godly use. Men have been abusers, like the wolves in sheeps clothing that we were all warned about -- not men only. We have seen women rise up as great abusers too, taking positions in the Church that the New Covenant clearly opposes.
Women strutting around, every bit as egomaniac as any man, twisting the truth with deception. Can a devout woman write a book? Certainly and sharing the Gospel with others, great, but to stand up in the Congregation as a priest or peacher is forbidden. I have seen some of these female wolves twist the word so violently in efforts to make the words of Paul no effect that it makes me sick. Of course, those believers that chose not to study their own bible, trusting in these imposters, get pulled into the good feeling they get from these women -- most of whom are women themselves. One self appointed evangelical preacher told me that I was not a disciple of the Christ because I would not listen to her. This was here test of a believer or not? This same female imposter does not deny the word and clear teaching of the inspired word, no, she even quotes how it was the woman that was deceived and therefore women need to be more on gaurd. You see? She talks around it -- by mentioning this truth others then fall into believing she must be totally honest or why would she mention that truth? After mentioning this verse, given by Paul as a good reason a woman should not be the Master of any in the Church, she then calls for inspired women to rise up and take the power positions in the church -- feeding the ego of the woman, that she too can become a leader of men. This is but one example.
The biggest excuse by women preachers and priests is that what Paul wrote was for then and may have been fashionable way back then but today it is different. And they are right in this as they become a fulfillment of prophecy --
(Isa 3:11-12) Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done. Youths (your children) oppress my people, women rule over them. O my people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path.
I can imagine someone in the time of Paul saying that verse, revealing our God's attitude about such thing, was for then but not for their more modern days. He said this to HIS PEOPLE then and Paul upholds this as a curse in the Church. What do we see in these "modern days"? We see children as an oppression, some rebelling against the authority of the parents. We see women becoming the rulers of men, as this becomes the rule not the exception. It is happening and if a man stands up against this kind of oppression and rule he is quicly shouted down. How many Churches have succumb to this is only a guess but it is becoming ever more apparent in the secular world as women become the "Lords" of the household and as this happens the children soon turn against the father. This is not so apparent but I have personally witnessed children speaking kindly to the father of the house only to turn and savage him as some kind of idot behind his back. As the women take control and the men become outnumbered he must either be a bully to maintain his manhood or give up and become the follower, or, a third option, leave, if he is not thrown out first.
Not all women, of course, but the numbers are growing, not as a conscious action but a subconscious movement coming about by the continual onslaught of modern media presenting the woman as stronger and smarter than any man. If you have a male super hero you have an equally strong female super hero. There is this constant suggestion that men are not so smart and women are. I have heard it said that if women were in charge there would be no more war -- this is the kind of fantasy that is besieging the minds of our women in a constant, unseen, campaign that seems planned. One of the bloodiest times in European history was under the rule of women. There has never been a woman in power that brought about peace -- that idea is a fantasy promoted to make women appear as the more peaceful, the more loving.
If we believe in a God then we must also believe in a Satan and he was there in the Garden, and it was not the man he went after, it was the woman. So it was from the beginning, so it is now.
Put all of what you have read here into practice and you will see the truth of these words, words the Apostle Paul endrosed. By putting all of the verses he has given, as instruction to the believer, into practice and you will reap the benefits. Men and women alike would be blessed to put these instructions into practice. Men, love your wifes as yourself and women, love your husbands, if for no other reason than they need you, we need you, just as you need us -- stop the insanity -- stop listening to the angry abusers of both women and men -- stop listening to the haters. Peace, Dan -- still working on getting it right.
The instructions we are about to consider does not say stay out of Church but to be quiet on on matters of religion and if they have a question about anything to wait until they get home and discuss it with their husbands -- this is, of course for a believing couple. Unfortunantely a lot of couples are not believers of the same doctrine or god and this becomes obvious one's conduct.