Women Pastors and Elders

There was a dog breeder and trainer who had become internationally famous for his expertise in breeding and training dogs to fulfill specific “callings” in life. Some were bred and trained to be aggressive watchdogs, some to herd sheep, some to be “seeing eye” dogs for the blind, and some to be loving playful, cuddly puppies ideal for children.

Probably one of the reasons for the dog breeder’s success was his great love for each and every dog he handled. He gave each one the same tender care, whether it was to be a future watchdog or a child’s house pet. He truly valued all of them equally, although each would have different “callings” in life.

One dog will maintain a vigilant guard in the yard of some future owner’s property. One will spend most of its life in the pastures of some farmer. Another will literally be a form of “lifeline” for the blind. And, one will spend its life in the cozy confines of a warm home and a loving family with adoring children.

Would you fault this dog breeder for what he has done? Would you accuse him of being unfair or biased in how he has dealt with these dogs? Not at all, because each dog was equally loved and cared for; each serves a necessary, valuable and important position in life.

Would it be wise to disobey the breeder’s instructions and give the aggressive watchdog to the small children to play with? Would you use the cuddly puppy as a watchdog? Would you put the “seeing eye” dog in the pasture to herd sheep, while giving the sheepdog to the blind? Of course not!

Why? Because all would agree that the breeder who “created” these specific breeds of dogs, knows best what positions, duties and roles they should fulfill. And, although they have different positions in life, most would probably agree that the breeder in my illustration still loved and valued them equally.

In the twentieth century, an issue of debate and disagreement throughout Christianity arose regarding the role of women in the Church. Some maintained that men and women had been assigned different roles in the Church, with men being designated by God for leadership; while others insisted that this was not true for the New Testament Church for various reasons.

Numerous scriptural references were presented to attempt to prove God’s choice of men for leadership; simultaneously, arguments were offered in an effort to rebut these scriptures. By the close of the twentieth century, these arguments had been accepted and endorsed by the vast majority of the Church. Women are now regularly ordained to serve as elders and pastors in churches across America.

It is my assertion that we need to revisit this issue, and reexamine the biblical evidence. Why? Because, as with so many other doctrines, the Church has adopted its official position on this issue based on weak biblical arguments and the opinions of men. In fact, the weight of biblical evidence strongly contradicts the Church’s stance. And, I ask you not to rush to judgment regarding my position until you’ve heard all of the biblical evidence. Also, men should admit that they have certainly been at fault regarding this issue of the proper roles of men and women. If men were conducting themselves as Scripture teaches, and loving their wives as Jesus loved the Church, women would probably find it much easier to submit to their leadership. Well, what is the biblical evidence, and what are the arguments used to oppose it?

In 1st Timothy 2:11-15 and 1st Corinthians 14:34-38, the Bible states that women are not to teach or to have authority over men, that they are to be submissive, and that they are not to speak in church (That is, in a “teaching, instructive capacity”, based upon the context of the verses that precede Paul’s counsel in 1st Corinthians 14). Scripture also declares that man is the head of woman even as Christ is the head of man; moreover, wives are to submit and be subject to their husbands in everything as the Church is to Christ (1st Corinthians 11:3-10; Ephesians 5:22-24).

These texts seem to clearly teach that God assigned leadership to man. What arguments were presented which prevailed over this seemingly clear biblical counsel?

There have been several primary arguments used. First, they remind us that the New Testament teaches that we are all one in Christ, and that there is no differentiation between male or female (Galatians 3:28). Therefore, the point is made that men and women are equal in the New Testament. It is also emphasized that the Bible says we are to submit to “one another” (Ephesians 5:21).

Some also suggest that the submission of women pertains only to their husbands at home, and not to public or church life. Additionally, they remind us that there are records of women prophets in the Bible, which they say reflects equal leadership status with men from God’s perspective.

Another common argument is that the apostle Paul’s instructions concerning the submission of women were based upon the customs of the times. In other words, his counsel only applied to Christians living in his day, because it was motivated by cultural reasons rather than biblical reasons. And, accordingly, they remind us that this is the twenty-first century, and times and customs have changed.

There you have it. These are the arguments which the Church has chosen to accept and endorse; that is, allowed to prevail over the scriptures listed earlier. Do you agree with the Church’s decision, based solely upon the Bible? How do these arguments measure up scripturally?

Unfortunately for the Church, their stance on this issue reveals some very troubling things. Scripture has been twisted and manipulated in order to support their final decision. Plain Bible truth has been completely ignored and contradicted. And, once again, man’s opinions have been exalted above God’s Word!

It’s time to unveil the manipulation and deception employed by many in church leadership regarding this issue. We’ll begin with the text used in Galatians 3:28, which says there is no differentiation between male and female. Church leaders know that the context in Galatians is dealing with how we receive justification, righteousness and salvation. It has nothing to do with particular “roles” or “callings” in life from God. Galatians is simply stressing that we are all justified and saved in the same way through faith in Jesus Christ, whether we are Jew or Gentile, male or female, etc. To attempt to use this scripture to contradict the earlier texts from Ephesians, Timothy and Corinthians, is flagrant manipulation of God’s Word. After all, the Apostle Paul is the author of all of these Bible books. He does not write one thing to the Ephesians and Corinthians, and then write something completely opposite to the Galatians. Modern theologians should not attempt to make Paul contradict himself, in order to justify their unbiblical positions.

Regarding the argument that men and women are equal, it is important to distinguish between being “equal” and being the “same” or “identical” in every respect. Men and women are of equal value and importance to God. He equally loves and cares for both. However, it is obvious that they are not completely the same or identical in every respect. Women can bear children, but men can’t. Women can produce milk to feed their babies, but men can’t. Women, for the most part, are naturally more gentle and nurturing than men. On the other hand, generally speaking, men are stronger, faster and more aggressive than women; they are more competitive, independent and calculating. According to the Bible, men and women are “equal”, but they are not the “same”; that is, they are equally important and loved by God, but their roles and callings are not identical.

It is also indisputable that, by God’s design, they have been created with at least somewhat different callings in life. The woman has been created and called to bear and nurse the children. The man has been created and called to protect, defend and provide for his family.

As with my opening illustration of the dog breeder, our Creator is sovereign and knows what is best. He has created each of us to fulfill specific roles and “callings” in life, and it is not for us to question Him or try to change His plan. He made us, and He knows where we can best serve Him and accomplish His purposes. God can love and value men and women equally, while still calling them to different positions in life.

The argument taken from Ephesians 5:21, which says that we should be submitting to one another, is another classic example of twisting scripture. Once again, the context of the passage is ignored. Verse twenty-one is the end of a long sentence, which began in verse eighteen. It is part of Paul’s counsel to the church members in general, to be filled with the Spirit, to speak and sing to each other with psalms and spiritual songs, to give thanks for all things, and to have an attitude of submission to one another. Verse twenty-one is not dealing with the issue of submission between a man and his wife. The husband and wife scenario first begins in verse twenty-two. In fact, when Paul addresses this situation in Ephesians 5:22-24, it is in obvious contrast to the Church’s position today. Paul states that the wife is to submit to her husband as to the Lord. He says the husband is head of the wife, just as Christ is head of the Church; and that wives should be subject to their husbands in everything, as the Church is to Christ. You will find no such verse in the entire Bible instructing the man to submit to the woman in any such manner. The Church’s misuse of this passage in Ephesians is a gross manipulation and misrepresentation of Scripture.

The preceding text also refutes the fourth argument used by today’s Church, that the woman’s submission and subjection is only in the home setting, and does not apply to public or church life. This passage plainly states that the woman is to submit in everything, as the Church does to Christ. Everything means everything, and not just some things. That would include church life! Also, her submission is compared to the Church’s submission to Christ. Is there ever a time, place or situation where the Church should not be submissive to Christ? Obviously not! The Church should always be in submission to Christ, thus indicating that the woman should likewise always be in submission to her husband. Paul’s additional counsel to the Corinthians, that women were to be obedient and silent in the churches, is added proof that their submission was not limited to the home setting (1st Corinthians 14:34-38). Furthermore, the Bible states that these admonitions are the commandments of the Lord, not mere human opinion (1st Corinthians 15:37). Contemporary church leaders are defying the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ with their current conduct regarding this issue.

Perhaps the most popular argument is the fifth one, that Paul’s instructions were motivated by the customs of those times, rather than by biblical principles. This argument, as with the others, is totally invalid. This argument blatantly contradicts the Bible. In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he gave his own reasons why women were not to teach or have authority over men; it had nothing to do with the customs in that culture. Paul cited biblical reasons. He said that it was because Adam was created before Eve; moreover, that the woman was the one who was first deceived and fell into transgression (1st Timothy 2:11-15). These are clear biblical reasons, and not customs or cultural reasons!

The argument regarding God’s use of women prophets in the Bible, actually has nothing to do with this issue. Prophecy is one of the gifts of the Spirit listed in the Bible. Women and men can both receive gifts of the Spirit. Also, Paul is the one who wrote about these gifts in Corinthians, so he obviously was aware of God’s usage of women prophets when he instructed the women to be in submission and not to have authority over men. Paul clearly did not consider it to be a contradiction for women to have access to the gift of prophecy while submitting to the leadership and authority of men at the same time.

The final argument, that this is the twenty-first century and times have changed, is the weakest of all. We should not point to this day and age as a time of spiritual enlightenment and growth, but rather of spiritual and moral decline and decay! Our churches in America are spiritually dead and steeped in sin. They are ordaining “practicing homosexuals” and performing gay civil unions. Church surveys done by the “Barna Group” reveal that sinful behaviors in the American Church rival those among non-Christians. The Church divorce rate equals that in our secular society. Our nation has murdered more than forty-million babies. This is the twenty-first century indeed, and it is nothing to boast about. The Church would be wise to drop this argument. These are not the days of progress, but of compromise and rebellion.

In fact, it would be appropriate for the Church to ask itself why this change, regarding the role of women in the church, did not happen until this time of general spiritual decline in the twentieth century. Why did this so-called “progress” happen in the sinful Church of our day, and not in the anointed, first-century Church or the powerful, reformation Church?

If it was God’s will for the New Testament Church to have leadership roles filled by both men and women, why did Jesus only choose men as His apostles? Why didn’t the disciples even consider a woman when they chose a replacement for Judas in Acts, chapter one? Also, why was it only men who were ordained as “deacons” in the sixth chapter of Acts? And, why is there not one single reference to a woman apostle or elder in the entire New Testament? Moreover, when Paul listed the qualifications for being an elder, why did he just assume it would be a man, by saying he must be the “husband” of one wife?

The indisputable, biblical truth is that there is no New Testament precedent or authority given for what the Church has done. All that we have is a list of excuses that contradict Scripture. God loves and values men and women equally, but He is the potter, and we are the clay. He determines how and where the vessels He has created, can best serve Him. I call the Church to repentance and reformation. God’s way is the best way, and He has shown us His way in the Bible. As the disciples of Jesus responded to the compromising and wayward church leaders of their day, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

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23 Responses to Women Pastors and Elders

  1. John Stanton says:

    After hearing arguments on both sides of the debate for many years, I evidence suggests that the writings of Paul are not completely understood by the church pertaining to the role of women in leadership. One fact you did not mention is that God’s calling for some women in history has clearly been one of leadership. Consider how Deborah was among the judges of Israel and highly regarded for her leadership and counsel? Consider the role of a prophetess, which continued into the New Testament church? They were to be God’s instrument to keep the church on the right path.

    Nor were Paul’s writings with regard to women speaking out in the church intended to take away a women’s voice. Here, the issue of that day was the confusion caused when women, who were often relegated to the side areas of the church during the services, would speak out by raising their voices to be heard (remember, culturally the men treated women as a lesser half and did not involved them in the “higher discussions”). Paul was speaking more to the CULTURAL issue, not God’s opinion on the role of women in the church. In light of how God used women to lead and guide His people in the past tells us this cannot be.

  2. Henry Bechthold says:

    Thank you for your response. I understand your position regarding cultural reasons for Paul’s statement. However, we do not want to put our own words into the “Apostle’s mouth” when he has already spoken his own words under divine inspiration. And, Paul consistently gives “biblical reasons” for his statements regarding women’s submission to men, as I clearly point out in my article.

    Paul specifically said that it was because man was created first, and because the woman was the one deceived by the serpent. That has nothing whatsoever to do with cultural reasons.

    I have specifically and biblically addressed your point regarding there having been women prophets in the Bible in the “fifth to last” paragraph in my article. However, you have not biblically responded to any of the many clear, specific, biblical positions that I have presented throughout my article.

    Henry Bechthold

  3. I have studied this topic for some time now, because I know that God has called me to preach and to teach God’s Word. I do not have time to pull out all of the specific resources to”prove” this form of thought, because I just happened to run across your article, looking for something else on the web.

    It is my understanding that the statement presented by Paul regarding “permitting a woman not to teach” because man was created first and women were deceived was made because there were false teachers during that time. They were women. They were teaching that women were not deceived and were created first. Paul writing a “letter” to Christians was simply addressing the issue that was occuring.

    The issue was: Women (False Teachers) were teaching that women were not decieved and that man was not created first.

    Paul’s response: Do not allow “women” (those false teachers) to teach that they were created first
    because man was created first. And do not allow these women to teach that Eve was not deceived because Eve was deceived.

    Whenever we are reading “epistles” we must always remember that we are indeed reading someone elses mail. Therefore the writings in the letter is a “response” to a specific topic or issue. When we take what’s written in a letter out of context and create “doctrine” we create confusion in the church.

    I believe that as finite human beings that we are not allowed to “limit” God in any way by saying what one gender can do and another gender cannot do. God uses whomever wherever and whenever he so chooses based on the “need” not on the gender. God’s wisdom is to infinite to put himself in a box and determine how he is going to meet a need based on whether there are men around to meet it. If there are no men, he’ll use a woman, if there are no women, he may use a child, and if there are no men, women, children, he may use a donkey (I’m sure you know where that is).

    Ask God the truth regarding the scriptures, and don’t put your “personal” bias in as you read the text. I also think it is “strange” that you would use an example of a “dog” to explain the roles God would give men or women in the church.

    This is lengthy, I will be interested to read your response.

  4. Henry Bechthold says:

    Joycelyn,

    Thanks for your comments. I went to your website, and it is obvious that you are someone who loves the Lord, and who has a great passion to serve Him. I commend you for being a devoted servant of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    However, for me to be a faithful minister of Jesus christ, I must biblically admonish and correct you. My article is filled with specific scriptures which I have quoted verbatim. I have not changed or “tweeked” them to establish my position.

    On the other hand, your response does not have one single scripture to support your position. Instead you refer to some unnamed “sources”. First of all, as a Christian, the only source that really matters is the Bible.

    You mention that it is “your understanding” that Paul is addressing a specific group of women who were teaching that God created women before men. What do you base this on biblically? Paul does NOT say anything that is even remotely similar to what you’re stating. In fact, Paul does not ever mention any such “false doctrine” or practice as you suggest in any of his letters; NOT EVEN ONCE! And, Paul wrote half of the New Testament.

    I have been preaching and teaching the Scriptures for 30 years, and I have been involved in biblical debates on various doctrines, but I have never heard such an argument as the one you’re presenting, and, believe me, I have heard many arguments during those 30 years. You have created your own argument from certain “sources” without one shread of biblical evidence. Joycelyn, that does not constitute “rightly dividing the word of truth”, as Paul also counsels Timothy to do.

    You said that when we’re reading the epistles, we are reading someone elses mail. Dear Joycelyn, those epistles are NOT someone elses mail. They are the holy, inspired Word of God that is written to all of us. I certainly hope that you do not approach Paul’s letters, which equal about half of the New Testament, with that kind of uncertainty as your general rule of practice.

    You accuse me of “creating doctrine”, when I’m just quoting the scriptures as they’re written. However, you’re the one presenting a strange new doctrine that I’ve never heard before, and without any biblical evidence whatsoever to back up your argument. I’d say that you’re the one “creating doctrine”.

    I will admit that you are right when you state that we don’t have the right to “limit” God. However, God, as our Creator and Redeemer, certainly does have the right to “limit” us to whatever callings in life that HE HAS CHOSEN, and which HE HAS REVEALED to us in His word.

    You conclude your response by counseling me not to put my own “personal bias” on the scriptures, but I have simply quoted them literally as they’re written. It is obvious that your new scriptureless argument is the one with “personal bias”.

    The truth is the truth, and it is found in the Scriptures, not in other “sources”.

    Henry Bechthold

  5. Jay Cee says:

    The article by Mr Bechtold, is an article that will help a lot of women, who may think that they can also teach, because men are teachers. The Lord will be happy with us his servants, if we point out error as Mr Bechtold has done. I am a woman and I believe that the Lord God Almighty, is not stopping women from having faith in the Saviour, Lord Jesus Christ, our Messiah but that the women have different roles in the Kingdom of God at present and there are reasons for this:

    1.Man was created before the woman, and this was an order being established by the Almighty God and further, woman usurped her position by taking instructions from the serpent, she could have consulted Adam but did not, further increasing her condition of being deceived and being disobedient. Both Adam and Eve, knew the commandments of God and knew woman was a derivative from man, created from the rib of man.

    2. Besides what happened in the Garden of Eden, God re-stated this commandment, that woman was to be led by man and be submissive to man. That the modern day woman fails to understand this position is a consequence of her being led by forces of darkness, that now engulf our world.

    The Lord will definitely deal with the children of disobedience, as He has stated in the Bible but, as Mr Bchthold has pointed out, Paul, as Apostle to the Gentiles, was expected, through his epistles to offer instruction to the Gentiles and he did just that. For that we are grateful that the Lord Almighty gave Israel the right to teach Gentiles.

    3.The Lord works in mysterious ways and therefore our world is condemned because they follow after darkness instead of light. The women, in leadership do not inspire in me, any confidence in their knowledge of the things of God, because of their disobedience to stated instructions from the Bible. The women of our day can also read what the Lord God Almighty says in the Book of Isaiah Chapter 3: 12 which reads as follows: “As for my people,children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.”

    Thank you.
    Jay Cee.

  6. Steve says:

    What a great article! As a pastor of a new church in New York City, I am confronted with this issue a great deal! New York probably has the greatest number of women pastor’s anywhere in the world and it’s a mostly accepted fact here in the City, so anyone, like myself, who goes against the cultural grain is seen as old fashioned and a male chauvinist! But as I study God’s word I have come to the same conclusions as the author. God’s ways are above man’s ways and we must take His word as the final authority.

    I cannot say how it is in the rest of the country, but here in NYC I have noticed that most of the churches with predominantly female leadership are not well balanced and have a below average number of men attending. Yes a woman can expound on the scriptures and can comprehend whatever a man can regarding theology and doctrine, but that is not the issue. The issue is obedience to God’s Word and the roles that He has established. I say unbalanced because those qualities that God has blessed a woman with are not ideal for leadership in the church. I can say this from first hand experience because I grew up in a church that was pastored by a woman, complete with women elders, evangelists etc. Looking back on it now there were a lot of things missing and there was no way I could have been adequately instructed on how to be an effective male leader by a female pastor. It was only in my 20’s that I began to really search the scriptures and understand God’s ways in regard to ministry and leadership in the home and in the church. I don’t say this as a put down to women or from any sense of superiority. Only that God has a reason for ordering things the way He does. We should respect and honor the differences between men and women and realize that we are stronger in God’s plan than we are apart from it!

    God Bless!

  7. Sergio says:

    The question is not whether a woman cannot be a pastor. This puts the burden of proof on those who say no. Rather the question is whether a woman can be a pastor. The burden of proof should be on those who advocate this because St. Paul very plainly said in 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1: 5-9 that the pastor ought to be a man. So if there is a biblical (notice I did not say, emotional, or cultural, or feminist, etc.), if there is biblical basis to the contrary, I will certainly entertain it. A true Christian should be able to change his/her mind upon the weight of biblical evidence that he/she is wrong. So prove the nay sayers wrong!

  8. Tammy says:

    I’m sure many (if not all ) of you know about “type and shadow” in scriptures, yes? Jesus used “type and shadow” in His parables, as did Paul. That’s why so many of their teachings and words were misunderstood. People would ask about the physical, and Jesus (and Paul) would answer or speak of the spirtitual. In Matt. 19, the Pharisees asked Jesus about divorce, and Jesus said “in the beginning it was not so”…so let’s look at “the beginning”. The first “type and shadow” written…
    Genesis 1:27
    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
    God is spirit, not flesh and blood, so it was *the spirit/man* which God created in his image. The “female” is the soul (bear with me).
    Genesis 2:7
    And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
    Gen 2 is the creation of the flesh(body).
    Matthew 19:6
    Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
    God “joined” the spirit and the soul within “one flesh” in Gen. 2. The spirit was created first, and is the head of the soul (or should be). The soul (Eve) is easily deceived, and goes on to deceive, so the soul is supposed to submit to the spirit, which is created in the image of God. The soul is what makes up the person…ego, passion, emotion, desires,…and it seeks after “self”. To please self. When Paul said he would not suffer a woman to teach, he was speaking of the soul/woman. We see in the churches today how the preachers/priests/ministers/pastors are teaching from the soul, rather than the spirit which seeks after God. The soul that God joined together in “one flesh” has committed adultery against her husband (the spirit), and commits fornication in the world. Paul said 1 Timothy 2:15
    Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
    Now, if this were talking about flesh and blood women, it seems that having children will cause one to be saved. So what about the women who are barren? Do they not get saved? Salvation comes from Christ, not from having children. Again, Paul was speaking of the soul, not flesh and blood women. If the soul produces good fruit (children), she will be saved. If she submits herself to her husband (the spirit), she will produce these fruits. If, on the other hand, she commits adultery and fornication by following her own desires,
    Rev 2:
    20Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
    21And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
    22Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
    23And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

    The “Jezebel” here is the soul within us. If we don’t cause our souls to submit to our spirits, we will be deceived, go on to deceive others, follow after our own desires and the world,….our fruits (children) of the soul will be judged, and we will be rewarded according to our works. We must deny our*selves* and follow after Christ…

    It’s a bit confusing at first, trying to understand how it all ties together, but if one has the spirit to understand, it will all come together by the time one finishes reading. Remember, this is a spiritual teaching, so must be seen from the spirit, and not with the natural eyes. Once you have read this, go back and look at the things Paul said about “husband/man” and “wife/woman” and see it as “spirit” and “soul”. Scriptures never contradict, and they are never for just one period and culture. They are for every person of every age. What Paul said about women seems to contradict how Jesus saw and treated women. A woman was the first person Jesus revealed His divinity to (the woman at the well). A woman (Mary) was the first person Jesus sent to the male Apostles to tell the Good News of His resurrection. Several of Paul’s messages “seem” to contradict Jesus, but the “contradictions” are just clues. Clues to look deeper, look further to find the hidden treasures of God.

    • hank says:

      Hi Tammy,
      Thanks for your comment. I may be a little old-fashioned, but I believe that God says what He means and He means what He says. I believe He has written the Bible so that common ordinary people can read it and understand it without needing some theologian’s “spiritual paradigm” to read into biblical passages meanings that are not conveyed by the literal wording in the texts themselves.

      I believe that the scriptures I’ve shared in this article are quite clear, and that they speak for themselves. I left out the website “link” that you shared because I do not endorse other websites on this site.
      Henry Bechthold

  9. Tammy says:

    Female apostles…Paul made it a point to greet a female apostle (Junia).
    Romans 16:7
    Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

    It was accepted by everyone up till the 1200′s that she was a woman, but then Pope Boniface VIII tried to change it to a masculine name. Read up on him…he was mysogenistic, evil, and certainly not a godly man!

    How did Junia become known as a male?

    The change took place in approximately 1298 which was during the reign of Pope Boniface VIII (Benedict Gaetani, reigned from 1294-1303). You will remember that the first person to record the two (Andronicus and Junia) as “men” was Aegidus in Rome, a contemporary of Pope Boniface VIII. The Catholic Encyclopedia goes on to tell us that this pope was accused of infidelity, heresy, simony, gross and unnatural immorality, adultery, magic, loss of the Holy Land, death of Celestine V, and more. When King Philip IV of France brought these charges against him five archbishops, 21 bishops and some abbots sided with the king! This evil man had persuaded the pope before him, Celestine V, to resign, and then following his own election as pope, imprisoned the elderly man until his death.

    One famous quote from Boniface VIII is, “It is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman pontiff.”

    Many argue that the name of “Junia” could be either male or female, but while there are records of other “Junia’s”, there are no masculine forms of this name. The word “among” has also been argued that it can also mean that she was well favored by the Apostles. But I remind you, Junia *was* accepted as a female apostle until the pope tried to do the gender change.

  10. hank says:

    Hi again Tammy,

    There are thousands of ancient manuscripts of the New Testament written in Greek. Many of these manuscripts have the Greek word “accented” so that it translates into Junia, which is feminine and is similar to our English name “Julia”. However, many of these manuscripts have the Greek word “accented” so that it translates into “Junias”, which is masculine, and that is why many Bible translations, such as the NIV, Amplified, and NASB, use the masculine word Junias in Romans 16:7.

    It may be true that the pope made his own decree regarding this issue, but these Greek manuscripts were around for several centuries before the pope that you quoted.

    So, the bottom line is, that we don’t know for sure whether Romans 16:7 should have the feminine name of Junia, or whether it should have the masculine name of Junias. There are ancient manuscripts supporting both translations. Therefore, in a situation like this, in order to maintain contextual integrity and consistency, you must select the translation that agrees with other scriptures written by this particular Bible writer regarding this subject. If you choose the translation of the feminine “Junia”, you make Paul contradict his other clear and authoritative statements in the scriptures that I listed in this article. Paul was not “two-faced”; he did not contradict himself. However, if you choose the translation of the masculine “Junias”, this Romans text agrees with the other passages written by Paul. Therefore, the masculine “Junias” is obviously the correct translation.
    Henry Bechthold

  11. Tammy says:

    Hi Henry, No problem about the link. Anyone who has the spirit to want to understand what I was trying (so feebly) to explain will see it :)

    I know what you mean about “God says what He means and He means what He says”, but don’t you agree that the way 3000+ denominations and splinters teaching so many different “truths” negates your belief that ‘He has written the Bible so that common ordinary people can read it and understand it without needing some theologian’s “spiritual paradigm” to read into biblical passages meanings that are not conveyed by the literal wording in the texts themselves.”? I’m definitely not a “theologian” nor is the one who wrote the article in the link. Did the scriptures not say that the Holy Spirit will lead us to all understanding? That we are to go to Him, and not to men? Do the scriptures not say that “the letter (literal meaning) killeth, but the spirit gives life”?
    The scriptures were inspired by God via His Holy Spirit, and only He can perfectly know and understand and teach them, yes?
    1 Corinthians 2:14
    But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
    Just walking the aisle and calling Jesus “Lord and Savior” doesn’t automatically make one able to understand the mysteries and hidden things of God that the scriptures talk about. The “common man” can’t understand them, they are foolish to him. They must be spiritually discerned, and one can’t spiritually discern as long as they are listening to men and not the Spirit. One has to be willing to reject what man holds as wealth (“I know a lot of scriptures and I go to church every Sunday and I give money to the church and I keep all the commandments and I…”), and obtain the true riches of God…wisdom, understanding, and righteousness.
    Matt 19:
    16And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
    17And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
    18He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
    19Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
    20The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
    21Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
    22But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
    23Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    24And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

    The man thought he was rich in godliness, because he had kept all the commandments, but Jesus said it wasn’t enough. He had to give up worldly wealth…the teachings of the Pharisees. Jesus wasn’t asking him to sell every possession he had, any more than we are asked to. The man had learned from men…he had to give up that teaching to learn from God and follow Jesus. The Pharisees couldn’t teach what they themselves didn’t know. They didn’t have the *spirit to understand*. The Pharisees had dedicated their lives to knowing the scriptures, so they weren’t “common men”, and yet they still didn’t understand.

    Rev 3:17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
    18I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

    He is not talking about material wealth, He is talking about righteousness and wisdom, which the church/individual thought they already had.

    Please explain your understanding of a few things if you would…
    What does the verse about “she shall be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” mean to you? Does God literally mean that bearing children will cause a woman to be saved? If so, what about the barren? How are they saved? And isn’t Jesus the ONLY way to salvation, and not a carnal act of the flesh?

    What does the verse about the two shall join “in one flesh” mean to you? I’ve been married to my wonderful hubby for almost 19 years, but we still walk around in two bodies, not one flesh. It isn’t that they become “one mind” because the mind (thought/goal/belief/desire) isn’t flesh. It isn’t talking about the two coming together in the “one flesh” of a child, because that would (again) leave out the barren, and this is talking about when they are joined in marriage, not having children…?

    Ahhh Henry, while I am pleasantly shocked that you even allowed my previous post to show up, I’m a bit disappointed :) I thought, after reading how you believe we need to get away from mans teaching and seek after the Truth, that you would look beyond what the natural mind and eye (common man) can see. The type and shadow of the spirit and soul mirrors the marriage of man and woman, which mirrors Christ and the church, which mirrors Christ and His Bride…the spirit is the husband/head of the soul/wife, the husband is the head of the wife, Christ is Head of the Church.

    1 Corinthians 2:14
    But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    “natural man” is defined as
    ψυχικος adjective – nominative singular masculine
    psuchikos psoo-khee-kos’: sensitive, i.e. animate — natural, sensual. “soulish”.

    The common man is a natural man…he understands from the soulish point of view, rather than the spiritual point of view.

    It’s a pleasant thing to be able to discuss this with you. I was afraid you would delete my post as so many others have done :) Blessings and grace to you!

    • hank says:

      Tammy,

      I have no reason to delete your posts, because I have nothing to hide or fear. It may be that we will simply have to “agree to disagree” on this particular subject of women elders and pastors.

      I can only say what I’ve said in my previous response and in my article itself. I believe the Bible is very clear on this subject. When people start taking the liberty to “read into” passages extra meanings that are not taught by the specific wording used in the scriptures themselves, and then claim that their meaning has been received from God’s Spirit, they have left the solid foundation of the Bible and have entered into the realm of “impressions” and supposed “spiritual understandings” that they believe that God has given to them.

      This leads to contradicting the clear wording of the Holy Scriptures, and it creates a scenario where each individual can create his own personal interpretation of the scriptures that he or she claims to have been impressed with by God’s Spirit. The end result is that one passage of scripture can have ten different interpretations from ten different people who all claim to have been “listening” to God’s Spirit for the true meaning of that passage. In other words, this type of biblical interpretation leads to “confusion”. And, God is not the author of confusion.

      I prefer to stand on the solid foundation of God’s word, and to trust the message that is clearly conveyed within the literal meaning of the scriptures themselves.

      Once again, it appears to me that we simply need to “agree to disagree” on this particular subject. But, as always, thanks for visiting the website and sharing your thoughts.
      Henry Bechthold

  12. Tammy says:

    Hi again Henry! :)
    ” If you choose the translation of the feminine “Junia”, you make Paul contradict his other clear and authoritative statements in the scriptures that I listed in this article. Paul was not “two-faced”; he did not contradict himself.”

    I agree that Paul doesn’t contradict himself, and that’s where the spiritual teaching of the spirit/man and soul/woman comes in. Pauls words were as hard to understand by the “natural man” as Jesus’ were. Why? Because he was using spiritual teachings, not natural ones. Meat, as opposed to milk.
    1 Corinthians 3:2
    I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
    Hebrews 5:12
    For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
    He couldn’t teach them of the spiritual things, because they couldn’t understand. They were still drinking the milk of babes. Later, he did find some he could feed meat without them choking on it :)
    Matthew 19:11But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
    Jesus was plainly saying that the “common man” can’t understand, but only those to who it was given…those who had the spirit to understand. Without the spirit, it is foolishness and “contradictory”.

    Junia *was* known and accepted by everyone as a female apostle until much later…
    Dr. Leonard Swidler states, “To the best of my knowledge, no commentator on the Text until Aegidus of Rome (1245-1316)…Pope Boniface VIII’s croney… took the name to be masculine.” So >>>until the late 13th century, historical references all agreed that Junia was female<<<, as did the men below.

    Origen, of Alexandria who lived toward the end of the second century (c. 185-253).

    John Chrysostrom, 4th century, (337-497) wrote, "Oh! How great is the devotion of this woman, that she should be even counted worthy of the appellation of apostle! (Homily on the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans XXXI).

    Jerome (340-419) wrote that Junia was a female. (Liver Interpretationis Hebraicorum Nominum 72, 15.) Also Hatto of Vercelli (924-961), Theophylack (1050-1108), and Peter Abelard (1079-1142) 6

    History proves it, but modern teaching denies it O.o Even looking at how Jesus Himself used a woman as a messenger/apostle to tell the Apostles of His resurrection, people deny it. Even seeing how Paul wrote of Pricilla instructing Apollos in correct doctrine, people deny it.
    Acts 18:26And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
    THEY expounded unto him…it wasn't the man talking while the woman remained silent. And please don't tell me Pricilla was a man! O.o lol
    No, Paul didn't contradict himself, and he didn't contradict Jesus. Pray. Ask God. Let Him show you what you haven't seen before! Things ARE hidden, and they are only for the seekers of Truth to find.

    • hank says:

      Hi Tammy,

      I am quite sure that Priscilla was a woman; if not, Aquilla, her husband, must have been very surprised and disappointed (tongue in cheek). I am also sure that she is never referred to as an apostle, pastor or elder.

      As to the Junia or Junias situation, I have given my position in my previous response. It all comes down to the way the Greek manuscripts have the Greek word “accented”; and some have it accented in the feminine (Junia), and some have it accented in the masculine (Junias). As I previously stated these manuscripts predate any papal decrees. Either translation could be the correct translation, so, once again, we must choose between the two plausible translations. If you choose the feminine “Junia”, you make Paul contradict himself regarding his other statements concerning this issue. If you choose the masculine “Junias”, there is biblical harmony and consistency.

      I only go by the Bible, not by statements of opinion from other theologians or historians who are “mere men” spouting their own opinions. After all, their are numerous doctrines being taught that clearly and blatantly contradict the Bible, as documented on this website. And, I believe that the ordination of women is another one of those contradictions of Scripture that the majority of the contemporary Christian Church has adopted.

      However, as I said in my last response, I think that we both need to simply “agree to disagree” on this subject, because we are clearly and obviously on opposite sides of this issue at this time.
      Henry Bechthold

  13. Tammy says:

    1 Corinthians 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.
    Acts 2:17
    And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
    1 Corinthinas 14:29Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

    Hmmm…Acts says “sons AND daughters shall prophecy, 1 Cor 14:29 says let 2 or 3 prophets speak (in the church), and 1 Cor 14:34 says Let your women keep silence in the churches….Paul doesn’t contradict himself here. It’s just another “clue” that something is up, and that one with the heart to know is to look deeper.

    The soul is to remain silent, and to be under obedience to the spirit. It’s a spiritual thaaang :D

    • hank says:

      Hi once more Tammy,

      I think we must have just about worn out this issue. Prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and is certainly available to both men and women. God can and does at times give prophetic messages to both men and women that they are to deliver to others whom these messages were intended for.

      This in no way contradicts Paul’s other statements that women are to be submissive to men in “everything” as the Church is to Christ (Ephesians 5:22-24), and that women are not to teach or have authority over men (1st Timothy 2:11-14). You can exercise the gift of prophecy and deliver messages from God to others without teaching or taking authority over them. And, you can maintain submission to your husband while sharing a prophetic message with him that God had given to you for him.

      Wow! I think that we have “beat this horse” to death. Once again, let’s “agree to disagree” on this subject, and move on to other topics/doctrines on this website that you may want to comment about.
      God Bless You Tammy!!
      Henry Bechthold

  14. Marna says:

    I have a comment on this topic. First of all, I once visited a woman who was leader over her small church because no men were willing or able to lead, and her denomination had no one nearby enough to be willing to travel and serve this small group. She believed the Bible said it was wrong for a woman to have authority over men, but she believed God would forgive her because no one else would do it (Psalm 32:1 “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”), and her prayer was for a man to come and lead them. I suggest that it is not a “sin” for a woman, with , defined as “transgression of the law” according to. Second, there is no evidence that God’s order of man “having dominion” over a woman extends to her spiritual life, or that it was meant to be forever. Of course Paul would teach the early church not to have women leaders, because the men wouldn’t allow it. But if today, a male leader allows a woman to lead, is it still wrong? Paul is the one who forbade it, not God, and there is no evidence that his writing on that particular subject was to govern every congregation for that moment on, no matter what their situation is. There are other examples where he himself admits what he wrote on a particular subject was him, not God, in other words, his opinion, not necessarily inspired. I would say a knowledgeable, willing woman leader is better than an incompetent, unwilling male leader. This is similar to my belief that although Paul said it was a “shame” for a man to have long hair, it cannot be a sin, because if it were, God told men who take a Nazarene vow to sin by letting their hair grown long! I conclude that although it is generally inappropriate for a woman to be an elder or a pastor, it is not a sin, and it should be only by agreement among the men, not by usurping their authority.

    • hank says:

      Hi Marna,

      Thanks for your comment. You said that “Paul” forbade the women from serving in leadership positions, but that is not what the Scriptures state. Paul said that his instructions concerning women were the commandments of the Lord, not his own (1st Corinthians 14:37).

      It is a “slippery slope” to start giving yourself the liberty to say that the Bible writers, whoever they may be, are just writing their own opinions, whenever you happen to disagree with them. The Bible is the the word of God inspired by the Holy spirit, not just a conglomeration of individual human opinions.

      However, I again thank you for your comment.
      Henry Bechthold

  15. Tammy says:

    Hi Hank, we can certainly agree to disagree on the subject of Junia :)
    But please, you didn’t explain what these verses mean…

    “Please explain your understanding of a few things if you would…
    What does the verse about “she shall be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” mean to you? Does God literally mean that bearing children will cause a woman to be saved? If so, what about the barren? How are they saved? And isn’t Jesus the ONLY way to salvation, and not a carnal act of the flesh?

    What does the verse about the two shall join “in one flesh” mean to you? I’ve been married to my wonderful hubby for almost 19 years, but we still walk around in two bodies, not one flesh. It isn’t that they become “one mind” because the mind (thought/goal/belief/desire) isn’t flesh. It isn’t talking about the two coming together in the “one flesh” of a child, because that would (again) leave out the barren, and this is talking about when they are joined in marriage, not having children…? ”

    If it is talking about flesh and blood women in the first verse, and not the soul, then how am I to be saved since I can’t have children? You see, when taken literally, 1 Tim 2:15 contradicts everything Christ and the Apostles taught about being saved by believing in Christ alone. If I, as a woman, have to bear children in addition to believing in Jesus Saviour, I’m lost. If we are to take this verse literally, no matter how much I love Him and seek after Him, He will turn away from me….

  16. hank says:

    Hi Tammy,

    My position regarding the Scriptures “saying what they mean and meaning what they say”, does not mean that I don’t believe that there are also other spiritual meanings within these scriptures as well. However, these additional spiritual meanings will not contradict the literal meaning of the texts themselves, if they were truly spiritual meanings received from God. There will always be harmony, not contradiction. If the spiritual meaning someone claims to have, of a particular passage in Scripture, contradicts the literal wording of the passage itself, then that person’s “spiritual meaning” is in error, and is not from God.

    If you do not follow this rule, there will be no “absolute truth” in the Bible, because then the truth is determined, not by the passages themselves, but by the various “spiritual meanings” that each individual claims to have received from God. As I stated in a previous response to one of your comments, this results in one Bible text having ten different “spiritual meanings” from ten different people, which can all contradict each other, and yet all ten people can claim that their “spiritual meanings” are truths they received from God. This eliminates “absolute truth” in the Bible and replaces it with “confusion”.

    Regarding the man and woman becoming one, there is both a literal physical meaning which is true, and there is a spiritual meaning which is true. They have become one “spiritual unit” in God’s eyes. And, they also literally become “joined” as one physically during sexual intimacy.

    Regarding the passage in 1st Timothy 2:15, about the woman being saved in and through child bearing, there have been many explanations given from different human sources through the years. And, to be totally honest with you, I’m not sure if I totally agree with any of them.

    It is possible that the term “woman” is not referring to any particular individual woman, but rather to woman as her “gender”. In other words, it was through the precious gift of childbearing that was bestowed upon the gender of women, that salvation has been made available, for the Savior was indeed “born of a woman”, as the Bible states.

    Am I sure that this is the correct answer? No, I’m not 100% sure. There are some passages in Scripture that are hard to understand and explain, because Scripture comes from the infinite God, and we are just finite human beings. Sometimes we just have to quote Deuteronomy 29:29, regarding the “secret things” belonging to the Lord our God, while the things that are revealed belong to us and our children forever.

    Do I claim to be able to understand and explain every single scripture in the Bible with 100% accuracy? No, I don’t. However, just because I am not 100% sure about the meaning of a particular passage, such as 1st Timothy 2:15, certainly does not mean that I should stop believing the clearly stated and easily understood truths presented in the scriptures which precede that one “challenging text”.

    There might be a couple of texts difficult to understand and explain written by Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, John or Peter. Do we then stop believing the other clearly stated and easily understood truths that they’ve written because of a couple of “challenging texts” written by them? Of course not! The same principle pertains to Paul’s writings as well.

    Thanks Tammy,

    Henry Bechthold

  17. Rochelle says:

    You know, Hank…

    I now understand why God has placed such regards to the order of the Church and the woman. Reading over the contention that Tammy has brought to the discussion, clearly gives me an understanding that ‘we’ (I’m a woman, African American woman who has seen many AA women usurp authority in the church) again, ‘we’ woman need to sit down and be taught. If we feel we are called to teach, the bible tells us to teach the younger women how to be godly wives and mothers. We are not left with nothing to do…
    and you know what? If we, (godly women) put our hands to the tasks God have given to us, we would not be witnessing such moral and social calamity as we are in this 21st century.

    Tammy, you need to repent and ask God to forgive you. You have brought nothing but contention to this site.

    And Hank, you have brought the Word of God, Not men. Thanks

  18. ray says:

    jay cee and rochelle, your obedience is witnessed

    woman is in almost complete rebellion now, as at the beginning, wanting knowledge and power over God and man

    female spiritual “leadership” is also becoming common in western judaism, in “reformed” synagogues

    good article … late in the day to rebuke babylon, but better late than never

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