Women And Governmental Authority In The Church

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1. God’s Word prohibits women from being in positions of authority or government over men, and even to teach men (1 Tim. 2:11-15).

2. God has ordained that the Church be governed (1 Tim. 5:17) and managed (1 Tim. 3:1-7) by elders/overseers. Elders “rule” or govern the local church, and administrate or manage all its affairs. Governmental authority in the Church is a matter of Divine Order, not gifting.

3. “Elders,” “Overseers,” “Shepherds,” are all synonymous terms in the Bible referring to the role of Fivefold ministers (Ac. 20:17,28; 1 Pet. 5:1-2), which women are prohibited from functioning in (1 Tim. 2:11-12; 1 Cor. 14:34-35).

[Note: Since God calls a husband and wife together as one to a ministry function, and the wife is the image (reflection) and glory (tangible manifestation) of her husband (1 Cor. 11:7), the wife of a fivefold minister, as a “helpmate suitable” to him in the office/function to which God has appointed him, can reflect some essence of her husband’s spiritual gifting, under his authority and authorization. It is on this basis that a few women in the Bible were referred to as “prophetesses” or “deaconesses”—because they stood with their husbands in these functions, or possibly in a very few cases because they from time to time operated a spiritual gift or grace, as opposed to an office. Nonetheless, the preponderance of Scripture makes it clear that a woman is unauthorized to stand in a fivefold ministry office, an office of elder, or any office of authority in the Church on her own apart from being the reflection and manifestation of her husband.]

4. 1 Tim. 3:1-2 states explicitly that overseers (which by definition also means: elders, governors, shepherds) must be “men,” as well as “one woman” (lit., Greek) [i.e., committed and unflirtatious] “husbands” (obviously only men can be husbands).

5. The Church is the family extended; the family is the Church in minuscule (Eph. 5:22-33, et al.). The government for both is predicated on the same principles and criteria. Moreover, in both, men are to provide the government under the Headship of Christ as delegated leaders (Eph. 5:22-33; 1 Cor. 11:3). “But I want you to understand that Christ is the Head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:3). Notice that The Holy Spirit, and Paul, through whom He was speaking, specifically expressed that He/he wanted the Corinthians to understand this, because obviously they were not understanding this Truth. The Truth He/he was wanting them to understand was that CHRIST is the Head (the authority) of EVERY man/husband, which, since this entire letter was addressed to the Corinthian church, meant believers, which, by definition means is obedient followers of Christ. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that any woman is the head of any man; rather that is ruled out by virtue of this very phrase in this verse in that it expressly states, “CHRIST is the Head of every man.” By definition, it also means that Christ is the EXCLUSIVE and SOLE Head, or authority, of every male believer. And, that by definition means that no one else can be a male believer’s head, not a woman, OR a man, for Christ Himself is his Head. The irrefutable and unavoidable meaning, then, is that a) there is no such a thing as ecclesiastical authority vested in any woman; b) no man has any Scriptural authority whatsoever to submit to any purported ecclesiastical authority vested in a woman; they can, because all humans have been given freewill and personal autonomy by God, and millions of men do, but they nevertheless have no Scriptural, and therefore legitimate, authority to do so. That’s why the next verse goes on to say that “Every man who has something on his Head while praying or prophesying disgraces his Head.” It’s talking about spiritual headship, not physical head-covering, as some think. It is saying that if a male believer covers his true Head, who is Christ Himself, with some other head, male or female, He is disgracing or dishonoring His true Head, who is Christ. The Amplified Bible renders the verse thusly (parenthetical amplifications are part of the rendering, and not mine): “Any man who prays or prophesies (teaches, refutes, reproves, admonishes, and comforts) with his head covered dishonors his Head (Christ).” Again, CHRIST is the HEAD (authority) of every man, and no one else can legitimately be a male believer’s spiritual Head. That in itself eliminates the possibility of any woman being the spiritual head of any male believer.

6. Women/wives (plural), individually and collectively are to willingly subordinate themselves under their husbands, and subject themselves to his leadership “IN THE SAME WAY” that the Church is in subjection to and subordination under Christ (Eph. 5:24).

7. Of the two human genders, women are the “weakER (not weak) vessels” (1 Pet. 3:7). Of necessity this can only mean women are “weaker” in their physical (body) and psychological (soul) constitution, since the Spirit reveals in God’s Word that there are no diversities or distinctions between the two genders in their spirit being (Gal. 3:28), the male spirit being created in the Image (Spirit) of God (Gen. 1:26-27), and the female gender (Eve) being fashioned or formed after the Image of the male gender (Adam) (1 Cor. 11:7). After the fall, God established that the wife be subordinate to and in subjection to the government of her husband (Gen. 3:16) as a protection (covering) for her against subsequent seduction and deception of the fallen angels (1 Cor. 11:10). It is very important to understand that the term “weaker” does not in any way connote or imply “inferior,” as critics falsely allege is being said in this regard. For the Holy Spirit to express through the Apostle Peter that the woman is the weaker vessel, of necessity, totally debunks the utterly false concept of egalitarianism that has become infused into so many feminisim-permeated cultures around the world today. Even with respect to the infamous statement in the U.S. Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, all men are created equal…,” it evokes the word “men” as opposed to women—not that women are not included in that use of the anthropological connotation of the word, they ARE!—but they are included for that very reason, that in that connotation, it is speaking of “mankind” anthropologically as opposed to genderally, and thus it is NOT referring in any way to genderal equality. God did not fashion the female gender to be “equal” in terms of interrelations and interactions with the male gender, and to foolishly maintain that He did is a road leading ultimately to Biblically-antithetical and -condemned homosexuality, or the utterly absurd notion of androgyny or genderlessness.

8. Outstanding women of old, despite their respective exploits of great significance, nonetheless manifested their true holiness and godliness by submitting to their own husbands (1 Pet. 3:5) and their leadership in every aspect of their lives. Sarah “obeyed” her husband, Abraham, and attributed ultimate human honor to him by calling him “lord” (1 Pet. 3:6). Moreover, Sarah’s honoring of Abraham, and indeed the pattern represented by all the O.T. Jewish women, establishes the paradigm for the proper relationship of wives to their husbands.

9. Jesus appointed ONLY men as apostles (Mat. 10:2-4). Historically, the Church’s teachers and theologians have considered what Jesus did during His fleshly life and ministry on the earth to be the example He was establishing for the Church to follow throughout the Church Age. It would seem fairly obvious to most unbiased observers that had Jesus intended for women to function in any of the Fivefold Ministry offices (functions), He would have certainly appointed at least one woman as an Apostle, but He did not.

10. All elders, apostles, and deacons (leaders) of the Early Church were men (Ac. 6:1-6; 1 Tim. 3:1-13). God never changes (Mal. 3:6), nor does His thinking ever change. He is the SAME yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). So what He was and thought in the Old Testament did not change one iota in the New Testament. In neither of the Testaments did He establish a gynocracy, nor gynocentric leadership. God is male, and He IS ultimate authority and thus all authority is HIS, and emanates or extends from HIM. Hence, all legitimate authority manifested on Earth emanates directly from Him and is an extension and delegation of HIS authority. Therefore, leadership in both Testament periods, as well as any coming age, were/are/will be male-centric. In other words, it could be summarized by saying that all Kingdom authority, including all authority manifested on Earth by virtue of being delegated by God, is male-centric. It is just that unambiguous and unambivalent. Any convolution of the issue of authority requires deliberate corruption, distortion, and hermeneutically unsound parsing of Scripture, particularly when it is understood that Scripture never contradicts itself. The only way in which the invoking of the matter of culture in regard to the issue of authority is apropos is with respect to the irrefutable fact that “Kingdom Culture,” i.e., the culture of the Kingdom of God, is entirely male-centric. In no way, shape, or form, or at any time, does the Word of God, and thus God Himself, authorize or sanction women to occupy a place, position, function, or role of ecclesiastical or spiritual authority over men. That is unequivocal and unimpeachable Truth of the Word of God, and nothing in Scripture contradicts it.

11. Jesus disbursed His Fivefold Ministry gifts and anointing (building, instructive, and governmental gifts) unto men exclusively (Eph. 4:7-16). As indicated previously, He did not appoint one woman as an apostle, nor in all the Gospels is it recorded that He appointed any woman to in any form or fashion be in a position or role of leadership over any man.

12. Women cannot properly assess the spiritual validity of the prophet’s message, because it can only be assayed by other prophets and women are not anointed or appointed by God to Fivefold ministry offices, of which the prophetic office is one (1 Cor. 14:26-40). It was as a result of a failure to properly assess a spiritual message (i.e., emanating from a spirit: Satan) and assaying whether it was inspired by God that the original woman (Eve) was deceived, and the female gender (Eve’s progeny) still has an intrinsic proclivity toward spiritual deception, and needs the spiritual government of her husband to protect her from the deception of the fallen angels (1 Cor. 11:10).

13. Women are prohibited from praying and prophesying (i.e., spiritual communication) without doing it under the auspices and through the authority of proper spiritual covering [1 Cor. 11:1-16].

14. While some women were used by God in O.T. times, none were elders or priests. Women were specifically prohibited from the Levitical priesthood. All O.T. elders and priests were exclusively men (Num. 1:1-15; 3:1-15, et al.). “No passage in either the O.T. or N.T. suggests that women have historically functioned as elders” (Lawrence O. Richards, Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, p. 245). The O.T. provides the basis for the N.T. The O.T. was “written for our example and for our instruction upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11). The types and shadows of the O.T. are fulfilled in the N.T.

Summational Comments:
The sum of the role of women is that they have been anointed and appointed by God as “facilitators” of sorts in the framework and operations of both the family and the church. In the same way that the original woman, Eve, the progenitor and prototype of all women, was fashioned and formed by God out of the riven-side of the original first man, Adam, as a “helpmate suitable” to him, so also the wife is to essentially be a facilitator/helper of all that her husband is called and appointed by God to do and accomplish in his life. It is together, as a single unit composed of a male and a female who have become “one flesh” in Holy Union that God calls, anoints, and appoints a husband and wife to accomplish the particular tasks and assignments of His master plan and purposes which He has ordained for them.

Nothing in Scripture is in any way intended to inhibit, hinder, hamper, or impede women functioning in their vital and indispensable God ordained role as helpmates to and extensions of their husbands, helpers and workers (in a word: “facilitators”) in the local church, ministers of the Manifestations of the Spirit as the Spirit wills and distributes, and performing all that the Lord Jesus said all believers (male and female) would do in the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Mk. 16:17-18), and operating to their fullest potential and ability their God given Motivation Gift. Subjection to Divine Order does not restrain, but rather releases.

Every believer, men and women alike, has been bestowed with a primary Motivation gift by God, which “energizes,” drives, and directs the general course of their life (Rom. 12:6-8). This gift is the believers function and the preeminent element forming their unique, God-given personality. Every believer, including women, are exhorted by Scripture to diligently employ those gifts and perform those functions according to the measure of faith given them by God, and not to be slack in this regard (Rom. 12:6; 1 Pet. 4:10).

The Body of Christ (the local church) is only able to grow and increase, spiritually and physically, commensurate with the proper functioning of each individual part and by that which each member of the Body supplies in service to the whole Body (Eph. 4:15-16). The Church desperately needs the proper and complete contribution of the God given function of every believer—whether male or female.

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We don’t need any members of the Body of Christ doing less in the Church. Rather, we need everyone to do everything they have been anointed, appointed, and gifted by God to do. In their role as “facilitators” women often are better at “getting things done” at the practical or operational level than men. However, men possessing leadership gifts and attributes, are better visionaries, decision-makers, managers or overseers, and policy-setters. Jesus said the problem was not with the magnitude of the harvest, but that the “laborers (to reap the harvest) were few” ─ the problem is the same today in the Church. The last thing we need to do is to discourage or in any way deter any believers, regardless of their gender, from participation, according to their God-bestowed giftings and appointments, in the accomplishment of God’s purposes. We need more faithful and diligent laborers, rather than less.

But, believers can only perform that role and those functions they have been called, anointed, appointed, “fitted and joined,” by God to perform. They cannot perform the role of someone else. The human body exemplifies that. If the ears, for whatever reason, are not performing the role of hearing, the eye cannot step in the void and fulfill that role; rather there just won’t be any hearing. If the eye is not performing the role of seeing, the nose cannot step into the void and fulfill the role of seeing; rather there just won’t be any sight. If the brain is not working properly, the kidney cannot take up the slack and perform the functions performed by the brain. If the heart is not functioning properly or stops beating, the liver cannot step into the heart’s place and pump the blood that circulates through the circulatory system. And, so forth. Likewise, if men are not properly performing the role of leadership they have been ordained by God to perform, in the family or the church, in particular, then God-ordained, God-anointed, God-appointed leadership will be absent and a void in that regard will exist. There may be a female substitute performing the role and functions of leadership, out of necessity, but it will only ever be just that—an unnatural and therefore inferior substitute juxtaposed to the natural design of God. Again, it’s not that the woman, or female gender, is inferior to the man, or male gender, but the woman’s capacity for performance of the role and functions of leadership is inferior to that of the man’s in terms of original intent and design of God. Of course, myriads of men shirk or under-perform in their leadership role and functions, and there are myriad women who unarguably out-perform myriad men with respect to the role and functions of leadership, however, none of that is a matter of original intent and divine design, but rather a matter of human weakness and failure due to the corrupting influence of sin. Not all men shirk and wantonly under-perform in the role and functions of leadership, though, any more than all women excel in leadership capabilities or any other category. Certainly, though, to infer that women make for better leaders than men, as some feminists do, spiritually speaking, is an oxymoron. The fact is, as politically incorrect it is to say today, God did not design women for leadership, per se, in a general and broad sense, and as a pattern or paradigm. When, in cases of failures or abdications of men, women are forced to assume leadership roles, divine grace and all it entails often manifests for a time, but it is a mistake to presume that that grace is unending. Moreover, in cases where women are filling leadership roles due to irresponsibility or refusals of men, divine accommodation sometimes exists for a season to fill the void, but regarding that divine accommodation as never-ending divine approbation would likewise be a mistake that could result in adverse circumstances and consequences when the grace period comes to an end.

Since the family is the pattern for the Church, and the government is the same for both, men (the husbands) are to serve the wife (the Church) by providing governmental authority, that is, leadership, to the Church. Women are not to “stand before” men in a leading or teaching capacity or posture, wherein they are exercising authority over men, either in the family or the Church (1 Tim. 2:11-12). Men are to lay down their own life in order to provide Godly surrogate leadership to their own natural wife as well as to the spiritual wife, “the Lamb’s Wife” (Rev. 21:9). And, the women are to willingly, voluntarily, and fully subordinate themselves under that leadership, knowing that that leadership has been provided for them by the Lord, and that their natural husband is a “stand in” for the Lord Jesus Himself, who is the ultimate Husband of the entire Bride of Christ. To put it simpler, both in the Church and in the home, men are to lead, women are to follow their leadership.

In a nutshell, all that is being said here is that every believer, whether male or female, is under Divine commandment to fully perform all that God has called and enabled him or her to perform, and to accomplish all that he or she has been charged by God to accomplish. God wants every believer to rise to his or her fullest potential in the Lord. However, none of this can be done unless we are under Divine Order. Disorder, which is insubordination to God’s established system of Order, will negate all that we are trying to accomplish even on behalf of God. Every believer will only realize his or her greatest fruitfulness or productivity and reach their maximum potential when they are functioning within the boundaries of the special abilities with which God has created them and in accordance with the proper structural order God has established. True and effectual authority is engendered by being in subjection to Divine Order. In a phrase: Authority derives out of, or is a derivative of, Order!

The matter of Babylon, the manifestation of Satan’s kingdom on Earth, provides further corroboration of these truths:

  • Babylon is the kingdom of total and complete rebellion against God, His Kingdom, and His Word, Will, and Ways.
  • Babylon literally means: disorder, confusion; it is replete with “every evil thing” (Jas. 3:16).
  • Babylon is a WOMAN—Rev. 17:5.
  • Babylon is a Jezebelic HARLOT (ibid)—an adulterous, unprincipled, self absorbed, wicked, woman in rebellion to her husband’s authority, and unfaithful to her covenant with him.
  • In the end, because of her continued rebellion and contempt for God’s authority and established order, Babylon brings utter, eternal destruction upon herself.

The preponderance of Scripture establishes that women are precluded from authority roles and positions in the Church. Yet, it must also be acknowledged that throughout history certain outstanding women rose to stations of prominence and functioned in de facto leadership roles among God’s people. Notwithstanding, because of the clear delineation of Scripture with regard to the role of women, these historical aberrations must be viewed as “Divine accommodation” rather than the pattern, and in many cases, “Divine necessity” stemming from wholesale default of men who failed to rise to the occasion when the eyes of the Lord sought to and fro across the Earth looking for Godly men to stand in the gap and to come to the fore to lead His people.

Individual believers’ lives, as well as the corporate life of every local church—i.e., its government (polity), structure, operations, functions, activities, and culture—must be predicated on and compliant with the Word of God in order to thrive, prosper, and succeed in the accomplishment of its God-assigned mission, goals, and purposes. No entity, whether individual or corporate, can achieve those ends without obedience to the Word of God. The “culture” of any individual, family, or corporate entity must be congruous with the Word, Will, and Ways of God to in the end receive that ultimate approval of Jesus saying “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” rather than the alternative in which He decrees, “Depart from Me you workers of lawlessness, for I never KNEW (lit., APPROVED) you!” (Mat. 7:23). The sobering and frightening truth is that when the end comes it is possible that though we have lived in compliance with some worldly “culture” and its code of political correctness, and thereby received the approval of men, nevertheless we receive the condemnation of God because that culture that we comported our lives to was contrary to the culture of the Kingdom, and therefore Jesus says to us, “Though Man approved you and your life, I did not, depart from me, you worker of lawlessness!”###

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Read related article: Exposing the Jezebel Spirit!

Highly recommended videos explaining the Biblical evidence regarding this vital matter:

“The Role of Women in the Church (Part 1)”:

“The Role of Women in the Church (Part 2)”:

Pastor Tim Conway ~ Another 7-Minute Video of clear, concise, unconfrontational teaching on the topic:

Derek Prince (Derek Prince Legacy Radio) ~ The Roles of the Husband and Wife (Part 1):

Derek Prince (Derek Prince Legacy Radio) ~ The Roles of the Husband and Wife (Part 2):

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