Biblical Roles for Women in Ministry in the Local Church.

9Marks.org has recently put out a newsletter focused on Complementarianism in the Local Church. It is full of very helpful articles and perspectives on the Biblical roles of men and women within the local church.

In particular, I found this article quite instructive by Jodi Ware on Complementarianismin the Gray Areas.  Click here to read the whole thing.

Here is a helpful excerpt, again from Jodi Ware:
Some people with complementarian convictions may have questions in what might be called “gray areas.” These questions can include: Can a woman teach a mixed-gender Sunday school class? Is a woman allowed to preach as a guest in a church?

These are questions I hear somewhat regularly as I seek to encourage women in their understanding of their biblical roles,in the home and the church. Sometimes these questions are purely an academic exercise; other times they stem from a woman’s experience, or perhaps her desire to serve the church in these ways. . . .
Now let us look at the basics of biblical roles within the church.

We learn from 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 that elders are to be qualified men. We also learn that elders are to fulfill particular ministries in the church, most pointedly teaching and exercising authority, managing the church body (1 Timothy 3:4-5), and being able to rebuke (Titus 1:9). Elders are to “hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught” (Titus 1:9). Elders are given the sober responsibility to teach and apply the Word of God in a way that is faithful and effective. Thus, 1 Timothy 2:12—“I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather she is to remain quiet”—seems to clearly limit the function of elder, as well as the office of elder, to qualified men.

In my opinion, these passages clearly prohibit women from teaching the Word of God to men. All adult members of a church are to receive their primary teaching in biblical exposition and doctrinal training from qualified men. This is the authority structure that God has put into place, and it is good. Additionally, this is the uniform testimony of the Bible. As theologian Wayne Grudem said,
I base my position [of not allowing a woman to teach/preach to men] on a pattern in the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, where there is never an instance where a woman does teaching of God’s Word to an assembled group of men. It was the priests in the Old Testament who did the Bible teaching or the teaching of God’s law, and they were all men. In the New Testament, elders all had to be men. So that’s consistent with Paul’s specific instruction in 1 Timothy 2:12 where Paul says, ‘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 and Adam was not deceived. But, the woman who was deceived then became a transgressor.’ That is not an isolated passage.
As we think about authority and submission within the church, we need to be reminded that our sinful inclinations rebel against such things. No one likes being told what to do, and we especially don’t like being told what we cannot do. Our hearts are inclined toward autonomy, and restrictions of any kind are hard to swallow. In addition, our Western culture prizes independence and disregards any structure of authority, any hierarchy. But we must remember that authority and submission are part of the biblical narrative, even part of the Godhead himself.

MODELING THE TRINITY
So, as we live according to God’s clear teaching and instruction, our varying roles of authority and submission model Trinitarian relationships. The eternal Son was sent by the Father to become incarnate and accomplish the will of the Father. It was his joy to obey the Father, to do and say only what the Father wanted him to do and say (John 8:28).

It is apparent the Father and the Son are equal in worth and value since each is fully God, yet they model a relationship marked by authority and submission in the roles they carry out as eternal Father and eternal Son. In the same way, men and women within the church are equal in worth and value even as they live out differing roles.

The truth is, God designed his church this way, because he is the original designer of men and women. God knows what will work best. When women push to take on roles that are intended for men, it is far too easy for men to then sit back, passively letting the women “run the show.” It seems quite obvious that as churches become more “feminized,” men become less active and involved, and may even quit attending. We must constantly have our minds and hearts recalibrated by God’s Word, seeing his authority as completely appropriate and completely beneficial. He is God, and we are not, I trust you know from experience, as I do, that appropriate submission to appropriate authority brings blessing, order, and flourishing to all involved.
Read the whole article here

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