The controversial question of whether or not it’s right for women to pastor churches or co-pastor with their husbands has come up again. This time, in one of my circles. My view has been that God prohibits this practice. So I did another study to be sure if my view aligned with God’s.
What prompted this study was when a prominent, well-loved and respected pastor by me and many others came out and said that he supported the practice of women pastors. After launching his new ministry page on Facebook, it featured him and his wife as pastors of their church.
His announcement, through a public video on Facebook, drew almost 300 comments. Half of which included the pastor and those that agreed with the practice, and the rest that didn’t.
It was that argument with both sides bringing up scriptures to justify their position. In those 300-plus comments, all I saw was a back-and-forth about what the Bible says. But no one talked about the dangers of this practice and the end effect on the human soul. And so, this is the reason behind this article.
First off, I’m not against women teaching other women or children. I do believe women can prophesy, and share the gospel. However, I do believe God prohibits women from leading his flock.
So, I will present to you the real reason why women are not allowed to lead and teach men in the Church, I’ll submit scripture to back it up, and then I’ll talk about the adverse outcome of this disorderly practice.
The real reason
The real reason women aren’t allowed to pastor is not because they’re easily manipulated, or too emotional for the pulpit, no, it’s simply because it’s not in their assigned roles as women.
God assigned roles to men and women from the beginning of creation. He expects those roles to be played out in his church as well—there are no exceptions. When the roles are switched, God is angry, and Satan has an entry point.
Let’s see what the Bible explicitly says (this is the apostle Paul speaking):
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer [tolerate] not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. (1 Timothy 2:11-14)
There are 5 points I want to bring out about these passages:
- Learn in silence
- All subjection
- Not to teach
- Nor usurp authority over the man
- Adam was first formed, then Eve
Learn in silence
It’s commanded that women should learn in silence and it’s mentioned twice. Why is this? Perhaps this passage in first Peter will shed some light on that:
1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. (1 Peter 3:1-6)
We see in the latter part of verse four that God considers a woman who is meek and quiet (silent) to be precious. This doesn’t mean women can’t ever speak; it just means they should guard against the fallen nature which is loud and proud (Prov 9:13; 7:11).
Silence and meekness are how godly women ought to behave because this is God’s will. So all Paul is doing is repeating God’s will, but this can’t be accomplished if she’s shepherding a church.
The next word we find is “subjection;” this means obedience, yielding to another’s admonition or advice. This is the role of the wife concerning her husband. If the man isn’t telling his wife to disobey God, she should be submitting to her husband’s direction in all areas.
We must also remember why women were created: to help the man fulfill the call of God for his life (Gen 2:18-24). After the fall, God said that the husband would rule over his wife (Gen 3:16). This is because Adam initially submitted to his wife’s advice, disobeyed God, and perverted the roles. So God had to re-establish his order again. So how can a woman co-pastor the flock and be in subjection to her husband? She can’t.
Not to teach
Because a woman’s role is to support her husband in all subjection, she can’t fulfill her role as a woman if she’s teaching men at her local church. Teaching men requires authority and leading which isn’t in her role as a woman in relation to men and especially husbands. Instead, she should be learning, and if she has children, teaching them.
Usurp means to take (a position of power or importance) illegally or by force; this may have been what was happening in Timothy’s church back then, and what’s surely happening in many churches today—women taking the authority of men; and by force! As Paul says, this must not be tolerated.
Adam was first formed, then Eve
By stating that Adam was made first and then Eve, Paul was re-establishing order once again. God has set up an order, and it must be followed. It doesn’t matter if a woman has an anointing on her life, or a revelation to start a church, this isn’t her role.
She should be focused on supporting her husband in his duty as pastor. And if she’s not married, to concentrate on learning how to be that meek and quiet spirit God so treasures so she can adequately support that husband God brings her.
The order is: the husband leads, the wife follows and supports. The wife cannot co-pastor the church of God, this is not her role.
So what are the consequences of female pastors?
By allowing women to pastor and teach men, they commit the sin of disorder and this gives the devil entry into the family and the church to destroy it. What is sin? Whatever you know to be right, but you do the opposite. If God commands one thing and you do another, this is sin. And if we continue in unrepentant sin, we give a place to the devil (Eph 4:27, 2 Cor 2:11).
Satan is the antithesis of God.
We shouldn’t be ignorant of Satan’s devices. He’s always suggesting something contrary to God’s word. If we obey Satan rather than God, Satan becomes our master and he has control over us.
- When God says, “Man must be with woman,” Satan says, “Man can be with man.”
- When God says, “Humble yourself,” Satan says, “Pride is strength and humility is weakness.”
- When God says, “Tell the truth,” Satan says, “Lie.”
- What God calls evil, Satan calls good.
- When God says, “The man leads and the wife follows,” Satan says, “The woman should lead and the man should follow.”
Satan appeals to our human emotions and says, “Women should be in authority. They should be in control. They have an anointing too!” But with the woman in control, Satan knows that he gains the advantage. That co-pastor-wife, her pastor-husband, the children and the church will gradually lose the protection available from God because of the sin of disorder. No matter how well things are going for a church that practices this sin, they will eventually fall.
The Bible is clear about proper headship:
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. (1 Cor 11:3)
I remade an image I found on the Internet that best illustrates the correct order:
You tolerate that woman Jezebel
In the book of Revelation, Jesus addresses several churches, one of which was commended for their love, faith, and patience, but they were tolerating a woman who called herself a prophet, and who was teaching the people to commit fornication (Rev 2:18-24). Jesus refers to her as Jezebel. We know this isn’t the same Jezebel of the Old Testament because she was killed for leading God’s people to rebel against him; this is a spirit of Jezebel.
Now, this is not to say that all women who desire to teach or pastor have a spirit of Jezebel or want to bring the people into sin. I believe that this spirit is always looking to get in and if men and women of God reject the word of God about his creation roles, they will eventually come under this spirit’s control. It doesn’t matter how great the church is doing, if they allow this sin of disorder to go unchecked, Satan will take advantage.
So why can’t women pastor or co-pastor with their husbands? It’s not in their role. What’s the danger? It allows Satan entry to destroy the Church.