God’s Created Order for the Pulpit | October 6th, 2023
It was a beautiful Sunday morning – a perfect day to spend at church giving gratitude to the Lord in worship, listening to solid preaching, and fellowshipping with many dear friends. Our pastor teaches directly from the Bible, verse by verse. This is called expository preaching, a comprehensive explanation to expose the meaning of Scripture through studying the grammar, context, and historical setting of the passage to understand the author’s intent. With all of the deception entering the church today, I especially appreciate this type of preaching as it protects God’s flock from false teaching and error.
After reading the first few verses of the text, our pastor always says something that nearly brings me to tears every time: “This, beloved, is the Word of the Lord. And the mouth of the Lord has spoken it to you and me.”
Isn’t it so incredible to think we have full access to the actual words Jesus spoke anytime we want to read them? They were written down for us to be able to know Him intimately and to know how to live in such a way that brings Him glory in all we do.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
His Word was written to us, not to be twisted and changed to our liking, emotions, or opinions but to be taken as sound doctrinal truth. Unfortunately, we are seeing Bible churches bend more and more to the world’s ideas of truth to be whatever makes you happy and feel good. The messages preached often become so twisted and distorted that what was originally stated in Scripture is no longer recognizable.
One such truth is God’s created order and the established roles of men and women. Starting with Creation, before sin even entered the world, God began the pattern of male headship with man being created first, then woman. Man was given authority over Creation and woman was created for him to be his helpmate.
For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 1 Timothy 2:13-14
When it comes to marriage, God requires husbands to take the primary leadership role and wives are to submit to their husbands and let them lead. The husband’s love is to be a lifelong commitment, willing to make any sacrifices necessary on her behalf. It is a beautiful picture of Christ as our Bridegroom, head of the Church. The Church is the bride, comprised of those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. He has given Himself sacrificially for His bride through His death on the cross so we could have eternal life.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her Ephesians 5:25
Pastors and Elders
This role of male headship is also seen in the way God has designed the leadership for the church. We can see it clearly in the description of qualifications for pastors and elders in I Timothy 3:2-7:
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? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
God inspired the Apostle Paul to list very masculine qualifications for an overseer, a pastor or elder who is the spiritual leader or shepherd of the congregation. Feminine pronouns are never used. If the Holy Spirit had intended for women to pastor, He would have inspired Paul to use different wording.
To deny gender roles in the pulpit is to deny the perfection of God’s design in Creation. To look for loopholes to see just how close to the line of sin we can get is having a mind that is not set on pleasing God. We are to pursue righteousness, not rebelliousness. We are to strive to be obedient to His Word, not look for ways to get around it.
Our obedience (submitting and surrendering to God and His Word) is how we show our love for Him. And God richly blesses and rewards our obedience. In John 14:15, Jesus said: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
The Role of Women in the Church
Women have a strong, innate desire to push against the natural order for male headship. If you are married, you probably experience it on a daily basis! It’s not easy to submit to our husband because we have a strong will and want it our way. It started in the Garden of Eden when Eve went out from under the protection of her husband, Adam, and believed the lie from the devious serpent. Sin entered the world and it was a struggle from then on. That was the beginning of the battle of the sexes!
Listening only to the prideful, self-focused voices around us saying, “Do what your heart tells you!” “Don’t let anyone stop you!” “It’s your life!” could cause a lot of confusion. But thankfully, God has made the role of women very clear in His Word, especially when it comes to preaching and teaching the Bible to men and exercising authority over them.
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. 1 Timothy 2:11-12
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people. Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 1 Corinthians 14:33-34
The very fact that a woman is to be quiet prohibits her from teaching or preaching. Obviously, the woman who teaches or preaches is not quiet. To stand behind a pulpit teaching the men of the church from God’s Word at any point in the church’s corporate gathering is sinning against God and His Word. This call to be quiet is within the context of teaching / giving instruction to men in the Scriptures and not in regards to lifting her voice in praise to God during worship which is expected.
Exercising authority includes any official position such as pastor, elder, teacher, director, or other leadership positions which places men in a role that is subordinate to a woman. Teaching and exercising authority over men has become so acceptable in the church today that we no longer see it as sin. Husbands and pastors will often reassure a woman that it’s perfectly fine for her to teach from the pulpit now and then, lead a mixed Sunday School class, or take on a leadership role reserved for a man because she will be doing this under his authority.
But this is not biblical. Only God has the authority to declare what is sin and what is not sin. Does your husband or pastor have the authority to tell you to sin in other ways? Of course not! There is nothing in Scripture that allows him to permit you to sin in that way or any other. It’s simply his own opinion which has been strongly influenced by the church accepting this sin as no big deal.
No matter how sound a church’s doctrine, when a woman accepts a position of authority over the men in the church she is leading by example that God’s Word can be ignored and disobeyed. Husbands and pastors need to uphold God’s Word, protecting their wives and other women in the church from sinning by encouraging them to fulfill the great roles God has chosen for them.
If a woman views standing behind the pulpit as giving her the greatest worth and value, she is believing a lie. She never has to steal the role of a man to be valued and esteemed. Subverting the gender roles is antithetical to Scripture. God does not and will not ever call women to preach or pastor. Nowhere in the Bible will you find that God called a woman to preach. And He will not today. The Bible’s author, the Holy Spirit, does not contradict Himself. What is written in His Word is truth for all time and does not change.
You have probably heard the saying, “Anything men can do, women can do better.” In our culture’s vicious fight for the feminist agenda, the objections are endless for women who are told they cannot preach. Many churches gave up the fight and threw away the principles of Scripture questioning its authority. They began ordaining and allowing women to preach. “Did God really say…” soon changed to “God did not say, or if He did say, we know better than Him.”
These churches that permit or encourage women into the pulpit to teach or preach are on a slippery slope toward even more compromise and disobedience. Denying and ignoring God’s created order is rejecting the book of Genesis, the foundation for God’s plan of salvation. Remove that foundation to the Word of God and the church will self-destruct and crumble.
God Loves and Values Women
If you are a woman reading these verses you may be thinking, Does God value women as much as men? He certainly does! God loves and values women so much that He has provided equally amazing and unique roles for us to experience incredible joy and reap eternal rewards. The joy that comes from the fulfilling and purposeful work He has planned for us to use our gifts for His glory is beyond our imagination. When we are obedient and stay within the boundaries of what He has created for us, that’s when we will experience true joy.
There are many examples in the Bible of women who God used in great ways as they acted in obedience to God’s roles for women. Deborah was a judge. Esther was a queen. Priscilla accompanied her husband Aquila in a private meeting to share the Good News of the gospel to Apollos. The women at the tomb gave an eyewitness testimony of what they had seen when Jesus resurrected from the dead and got to carry a message from Jesus to the disciples. None of these women were pastors. None taught men the Scriptures or assumed authority over men in the church or temple setting. But they were all used of God in amazing ways.
Men and women are created equally and for different purposes that the other is not meant to fulfill. Paul teaches this in Titus 2:1-5, first giving instructions to the older men and then to the older and younger women:
You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 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. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 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.
There are many women who are very gifted Bible teachers. God desires for them to be exercising their gifts rather than keeping them to themselves. When they stay within God’s parameters of not teaching men, they thrive and bring honor to the Lord.
I have studied the Bible most of my life and when God finally opened the door for me to start teaching the Bible to women, I cannot even describe the joy it has brought me. There is nothing more exciting than to watch women grow in their relationship with Christ and become transformed to be more like Him. Their desires change to God’s desires and they have a new hunger for His Word. As they grow to love Him, they want to learn all they can about walking in obedience so they can please Him. It’s so encouraging to see this and to have prayerful support, growing together in our walk with the Lord! It is pure joy.
The duty of every follower of Christ, whether male or female, is to recognize His Lordship over all creation. We must take His Word seriously, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it to you and me. He has created a clear distinction between the roles of men and women for His glory and our good. May we stay within the perfect boundaries written down for us in His Word so we can flourish under His blessing, bringing honor to the One we serve.
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