When we approach the topic of “Women in Ministry,” whose authority are we seeking on the matter? Are we pursuing God’s guidance via the Scriptures (exegesis), or are we writing our perspective into the Bible (eisegesis)? Please take time to watch this video, along with the rest of the series, as Pastor Mike shares them on YouTube and/or www.BibleThinker.org. And as you view, sisters, please have your Bibles open and ready!
Where do I stand on this important issue? Here are a few reasons why I hold to a complementarian stance:
- God’s Word is my lens, not my emotions;
- God’s assigned role and calling for me far outweighs any cultural expectations;
- My identity was not earned but received (in Christ); therefore, both my worth and my role are by His Grace alone;
- Role does not equal with worth; and
- Submitting to God is the best option…not to mention, the right one.
“I’m going to let Scripture be Scripture. I’m not going to submit it to culture.”Mike Winger
Complementarianism vs. Egalitarianism—which view is Biblically correct?
Summarized by “The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood,” complementarianism is the viewpoint that God restricts women from serving in certain church leadership roles and instead calls women to serve in equally important, but complementary roles. Summarized by “Christians for Biblical Equality,” egalitarianism is the viewpoint that there are no biblical gender-based restrictions on ministry in the church. With both positions claiming to be biblically based, it is crucially important to fully examine what exactly the Bible does say on the issue of complementarianism vs. egalitarianism.
Again, to summarize, on the one side are the egalitarians who believe there are no gender distinctions and that since we are all one in Christ, women and men are interchangeable when it comes to functional roles in leadership and in the household. The opposing view is held by those who refer to themselves as complementarians. The complementarian view believes in the essential equality of men and women as persons (i.e., as human beings created in God’s image), but complementarians hold to gender distinctions when it comes to functional roles in society, the church, and the home.
An argument in favor of complementarianism can be made from 1 Timothy 2:9-15. The verse in particular that seems to argue against the egalitarian view is 1 Timothy 2:12, which reads, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” Paul makes a similar argument in 1 Corinthians 14 where he writes, “The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says” (1 Corinthians 14:34). Paul makes the argument that women are not allowed to teach and/or exercise authority over men within the church setting. Passages such as 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-9 seem to limit church leadership “offices” to men, as well.
Egalitarianism essentially makes its case based on Galatians 3:28. In that verse Paul writes, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The egalitarian view argues that in Christ the gender distinctions that characterized fallen relationships have been removed. However, is this how Galatians 3:28 should be understood? Does the context warrant such an interpretation? It is abundantly clear that this interpretation does damage to the context of the verse. In Galatians, Paul is demonstrating the great truth of justification by faith alone and not by works (Galatians 2:16). In Galatians 3:15-29, Paul argues for justification on the differences between the law and the promise. Galatians 3:28 fits into Paul’s argument that all who are in Christ are Abraham’s offspring by faith and heirs to the promise (Galatians 3:29). The context of this passage makes it clear Paul is referring to salvation, not roles in the church. In other words, salvation is given freely to all without respect to external factors such as ethnicity, economic status, or gender. To stretch this context to also apply to gender roles in the church goes far beyond and outside of the argument Paul was making.
What is truly the crux of this argument, and what many egalitarians fail to understand, is that a difference in role does not equate to a difference in quality, importance, or value. Men and women are equally valued in God’s sight and plan. Women are not inferior to men. Rather, God assigns different roles to men and women in the church and the home because that is how He designed us to function. The truth of differentiation and equality can be seen in the functional hierarchy within the Trinity (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:3). The Son submits to the Father, and the Holy Spirit submits to the Father and the Son. This functional submission does not imply an equivalent inferiority of essence; all three Persons are equally God, but they differ in their function. Likewise, men and women are equally human beings and equally share the image of God, but they have God-ordained roles and functions that mirror the functional hierarchy within the Trinity.
Essential (Core) Beliefs of Christianity
What Does Scripture Say?
1 Corinthians 14:34
The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.
2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
1 Timothy 2:11-12
Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.
For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,
1 Corinthians 14:34-35
The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church
1 Corinthians 11:2-16
Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. …
“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. …
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior; To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— …
2 Timothy 3:6-7
For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 2:14-19
Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. …
2 Timothy 1:5
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.
1 Timothy 3:11
Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things.
1 Timothy 3:1-13
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? …
1 Timothy 2:15
Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
1 Timothy 2:13-14
For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
1 Timothy 2:9-15
Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; …
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. …
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
1 Corinthians 7:3-5
The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority ..
To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
1 John 4:1
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
1 Peter 3:7
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
1 Peter 3:5
For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands,
To be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
2 Timothy 4:3
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
1 Timothy 5:13
Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.
1 Timothy 5:10
And having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.
1 Timothy 4:2-7
Through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. …
1 Timothy 3:15
If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.