Thank you for joining me again for the second installment of this week’s blog. During the week we’ve discussed womanhood restored and redeemed and what this means for us. I also talked about the traits we ought to nurture as women in pursuit of biblical womanhood, some of which include; Godliness and obedience, a submissive and quiet heart as well as keepers of the home. We also touched on the role women play in the home (this will be tackled further in later posts).
Now I would like us to chart different waters on the same subject matter of womanhood. Have you ever wondered what the role of women is in the church?
As women pursuing a life in Christ one of the most important things in our lives should be church community and our membership in it. As children of God we have to embrace the blessing of other believers as we sit corporately to listen to the word of God. So again I ask, what is the role of women in the church? This question has stirred up a lot of controversy over the years! My hope is that we set our opinions aside and visit the ancient book; the bible.
Our central focus for this post will be 1 Timothy 2:11-14; “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. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived and became a sinner”.
The Apostle Paul in the previous verses, was addressing the role men play in the church. He then proceeded to the conduct of women. Many have concluded that this passage only applies to the church in Ephesus (due to the problems they were facing). It has also been suggested that perhaps Paul was trying to prevent some heresies that some of the women were teaching from spreading. Others have also inferred that Paul prohibited women from teaching because they were theologically untaught. Regardless of the reason, Paul makes it clear that women must learn in quiet submission and not exercise authority over men. In this passage, we are given the principles to use when developing roles for women in today’s society without violating God’s design of manhood and womanhood.
Although women have to learn in quietness (same word as silence) and in all submission, this does not put a barrier on how women serve in the church. Women in the church should exercise their gift in the context which God specified, not exercising authority over men regardless of how theologically sound or “anointed” or “called” they might be. The authority of men was made clear in the pattern of creation (for Adam was formed first), He made men to be leaders and women helpers. “God has given headship to males. Women are meant to be suitable helpers to men in their God ordained work. To give headship to females is to turn creation over on its head. We must never do that!” (Conrad Mbewe, The role of women in the church). The first time authority was given to a woman, the fall happened, which goes back to remind us that we must never reverse the roles that God ordained.
On the contrary, we as women will find more satisfaction in embracing our God given role of being the helper and supporting men in the church with their God given roles, this opens up a vast array of opportunities that women have to use their gifts in the church. As John Piper put it in his book what’s the difference; “The realities of headship and submission in marriage have their counterparts in the church. Thus Paul speaks of authority and submission in 1 timothy 2:11-12. We will try to show that “authority” refers to the divine calling of spiritual, gifted men to take primary responsibility as elders for Christ like servant-leadership and teaching in the church. And “submission” refers to the divine calling of the rest of the church, both men and women, to honor and afﬁrm the leadership and teaching of the elders and to be equipped by them for the hundreds and hundreds of various ministries available to men and women in the service of Christ. That last point is very important. For men and women who have a heart to minister—to save souls and heal broken lives and resist evil and meet needs—there are ﬁelds of opportunity that are simply endless. God intends for the entire church to be mobilized in ministry, male and female. Nobody is to be at home watching soaps and ballgames while the world burns. And God intends to equip and mobilize the saints through a company of spiritual men who take primary responsibility for leadership and teaching in the church. The word “primary” is very important. It signals that there are different kinds and levels of teaching and leading that will not be the sole responsibility of men (Titus 2:3; Proverbs 1:8; 31:26; acts 18:26)”. As I mentioned, there are other avenues in which we are able to serve in the church as women some of them include;
• Responsibility as a Deacon; women may perform the duties of a deacon (Romans 16:1), because this office does not carry any authority.
• Ministry support; through personal resources we are able to give support for some materials that pastors and Elders may need.
• Teaching ministry; as I mentioned earlier women have a place in which they can teach, in 1 Timothy 5:10, Titus 2:3-4 and Acts 18:26 lists teaching children, women and men outside public gatherings.
• Prayer; women can regularly serve in the church by praying with the congregation and fellow women.
• Evangelism; as the quote from John Piper said, women who have a heart to minister will not spend time watching series or hobbies with no benefit as the world burns. But rather they will use their time to share the good news of Christ.
• Hospitality; I personally believe that this is one of the ways in which women can uniquely serve the church. Hospitality doesn’t always mean hosting people, but also taking care of the church and making sure the church building is not looking shabby for worship.
• Music ministry, youth ministry, audio-visual ministry, counseling, outreach and missions.
For most, it’s easier to think that the bible devalues women. That is not so. There is no other religion in the world that values women as much as Christianity. Jesus Christ died for both men and women. And there is no other religion that has a man laying his life down for women. There is no other religion that has a man laying his life down for people who don’t deserve it. Jesus Christ first appeared to His female disciples, in a culture where a woman’s word was not regarded as much, Jesus showed the value of women by placing them first. And lastly Christianity is the only religion that truly liberates women so we can be all that their creator made us to be, women not being able to serve in other avenues in the church does not restrict but rather liberate us to thousands of opportunities to serve.
*Special Thank You to my friends who have been assisting me in editing these articles! God Bless Y’all!
Grace and Peace,