I will grant a zealous female converts or confirms several souls by her preaching. But may she not, by this example, in the future introduce an amount of confusion, intrusion, strife, error and scandal which will greatly overweigh the first partial good? This question cannot be answered until time is ended, and it will require an omniscient mind to judge it. Thus it becomes perfectly clear that present seeming good results cannot ever be a sufficient justification of conduct, which violates the clear Word of God. This is our only sure guide.
The apostle expressly excludes “new converts” from office. Yet no one dreams that he would have made the newness of their salvation a ground of discrimination against their equal privileges in Christ… So every sane man would exclude children from office in the church, yet no one would disparage their equal interest in Christ… If, then, the equality of these classes in Christ did not imply their fitness for public office in the church, neither does the equality of females with males in Christ imply it.
The only teaching function ever hinted for the women is Titus 2:4 that the older women should teach these private domestic virtues to their younger sisters. Does not the apostle here assign the home as the proper sphere of the Christian woman? That is her kingdom, and not the secular workplace or the church.
There can be no doubt whatever that the Spirit calls no person to do what the Word dictated by him, forbids. The Spirit cannot contradict himself. No human being is entitled to advance a specific call of the Spirit for him individually to do or teach something contrary to or beside the Scriptures previously given to the church… Hence, when a woman preacher professes to have felt this call that the Word distinctly precludes from the work…although we may ascribe her mistake to an amiable zeal, yet we absolutely know she is mistaken; she has confounded a human impulse with the Spirit’s calling.
Who can believe that God’s Spirit is the agent of such anarchy as this, where the Church hold in their hands the Word, teaching them that God does not call any woman, and yet a woman insists against them that God calls her?
The Old Testament, which contained, in seed, all the principles of the New, allowed no regular church office to any woman. When a few of that sex were employed as mouthpieces of God, it was in an office purely extraordinary, and in which they could produce a supernatural attestation of their commission. No woman ever ministered at the altar, as either priest or Levite. No female elder was ever seen in a Hebrew congregation. No woman ever sat on the throne of the theocracy, except the pagan usurper and murderess, Athaliah. Now…this Old Testament principle of ministry is carried over to a degree in the New Testament where we find the Christian congregations with elders, teachers, and deacons, and its women invariably keeping silence in the assembly.
If human language can make anything plain, it is that the New Testament institutions do not permit the woman to rule or “to have authority over a man” (See 1 Tim. 2:12; 1 Cor. 11:3, 7-10; Eph. 5:22, 23; 1 Peter 3:1, 5, 6).
Paul does not say that woman must not preach in public because he regards her as less pious, less zealous, less eloquent, less learned, less brave, or less intellectual, than man. Those who advocate woman’s rights have a continual tendency to confuse this issue, claiming that the apostle, when he says that woman must not do what man does, meant to disparage her sex. This is a sheer mistake. You will search in vain for any disparagement of the qualities and virtues of the female sex; and we may at this place properly disclaim all such intention also. Woman is excluded from this masculine task of public preaching by Paul, not because she is inferior to man, but simply because her Maker has ordained for her another work which is incompatible with the public preaching and teaching of the Word.
Now, a wise God designs no clashing between his domestic and political and his church institutions. He has ordained that the man shall be head in the family, thus it would be a confusion full of mischief to make the woman head in the church. But we have seen that the right of public teaching must involve the right of spiritual rule. The woman who has a right to preach, if there be any such, ought also claim to be a ruling elder. How would it work to have husband and wife, ruler and subject, change places as often as they passed from the home to the church? We see that this amount of switching roles would result in little short of absolute anarchy.
Supreme authority in both church and home has been divinely vested in the male as the representative of Christ, who is Head of the church. It is in willing submission rather than grudging capitulation that the woman in the church (whether married or single) and the wife in the home find their fulfillment.
When women lead, men withdraw from both church and home. But when male servant-leaders abound, young men eagerly volunteer to serve. Vibrant, godly, male leadership attracts men. It encourages their involvement. It motivates them to serve in the church and home. Men are irresistibly attracted to other men who model biblical masculinity.
God has not given us one set of leadership principles for marriage relationships, another set for biological family relationships, and yet another for relationships in the larger (church) family. Though each sphere of influence broadens in terms of function and responsibility, the basic leadership principles are the same. A husband is to be a servant-leader to his wife, a father is to be a servant-leader in his family, and elders/overseers are to be servant-leaders in the family of God.
[The Bible] does not say the husband “should be the head of the wife” but the husband “is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church.” The husband is therefore placed over his wife constitutionally… Just as one cannot confess Jesus Christ without affirming His lordship, so it is impossible to confess maleness without affirming male leadership.
In North American churches, female attendance doubles male attendance. In many African-American churches, females quadruple males. And if the men do show up, in most churches, they are often less likely to serve, sing and participate. Strong male leadership is dwindling and in some cases, strong male leadership is simply forbidden. The casual conclusion from young people is that church is a “woman-thing.” And it becomes a very slippery slope because the more the women lead, the more the men pull away and further abdicate their responsibilities in the church and in the home. The reality is this. You cannot have a feminist church and keep the men. And if you do not have the men (and studies back this up), you will not keep the children.
Genesis 3:6 tells us that after Eve was tempted by the serpent that “she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” Both were guilty, but I’d say the fall was primary Eve’s fault. But who did God blame? According to verse 9, “Then the LORD God called to the man.” Adam was held responsible. The fall is not known as “Eve’s Sin”, but throughout the Bible as “Adam’s sin.” And Jesus came to be the “second Adam” to fix the mess that the “first Adam” created. God expects the man to provide leadership.
There is no reference anywhere in the New Testament to a female elder. You may wish to object by pointing out that this is an argument from silence… The bottom line is that we simply have no biblical precedent for female elders nor anything in the text that describes their nature, function, and qualifications that would lead us to believe that this could ever be a possibility.
The most critical need of the church at this moment is men, bold men, free men. The church must seek, in prayer and much humility, the coming again of men made of the stuff of which prophets and martyrs are made.
To Paul, the human race is made up of families, and every several organism, the church included, is composed of families, united together by this or that bond. The relation of the sexes in the family follows it therefore into the church. To the feminist movement the human race is made up of individuals; a woman is just another individual by the side of the man; and it can see no reason for any differences in dealing with the two. And, indeed, if we can ignore the great fundamental natural difference of sex, and destroy the great fundamental social unit of the family, in the interest of individualism, there does not seem any reason why we should not wipe out the differences established by Paul between the sexes in the church.