Can a Woman Be an Elder or a Pastor?

In an era of rampant feminism, many Christians believe that women can be elders and pastors, but what does the Bible say? Can a woman be an elder or pastor? #WomenLivingWell #truthinlove #church #pastor

Recently a dear friend told me she doesn’t read a lot of books – she simply reads her Bible.  She doesn’t feel the need to have a lot of pastors, authors and {ahem} bloggers telling her about what scripture says or how to apply it, but rather she simply reads and obeys it.

To an avid reader and listener of on-line sermons like me, the simplicity of her walk with God is endearing.

And so today – I would like to take her approach when trying to answer this controversial question:

Can a Woman Be an Elder or a Pastor? 

2 Timothy 3:16 says: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. (esv)

Scripture is sufficient to answer this question. There’s no need for me to make a video explaining it, quote a theologian or write a detailed blog post – we simply need to look at God’s word together and together we will find our answers.

So for the next 3 Mondays, we will be looking at the book of Titus and I’ll simply point out a few of my observations and allow you to interact with God’s word as well.

Let’s get started.  {I am using the English Standard Version.  If you prefer another version – feel free to open up your Bible and read it for yourself.}

Titus 1

1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began 3 and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;  4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

According to verse 1, what was the purpose of Paul writing this book?

Qualifications for Elders

5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must notbe arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

According to Titus1:5-9, what are the qualifications for an Elder or a Pastor?

Can a woman meet all of these qualifications?

10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

In Titus 1:10, what were many of the teachers?

According to verses 11 and 13, what should the leaders of the church do with insubordinate teachers?

According to verse 11, what was the motivation for their teaching?

According to Titus 1:16, do all teachers in the church truly know God?

My Final thoughts:

Paul talks about false teachers, sound doctrine and “good works” in every chapter of Titus.  He also includes instruction on the roles of women in the church, in the home, and the gospel.  We cannot separate the gospel from sound doctrine and right living.  And we cannot live rightly without taking God at his word.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8,9

Let’s shut out the noise of the culture and tune in –to the higher ways of our creator.

Modern Christians hope to save the world by being like it. But it will never work. The church's power over the world springs out of her unlikeness to it. Never from her integration into it. A. W. Tozer #WomenLivingWell #truthinlove #church #pastorWalk with the King,


****Additional Notes: I now see the comments coming in and quite a few of you are saying you disagree with me.  First, I want you to re-examine this post.  I did not say what I believe but rather literally posted scripture – so when you post that you disagree you are saying you disagree with Titus 1.

Secondly, some are saying that I am a pastor.   I am not ordained and  I do not hold the office of pastor or elder of a local body of believers.  I attend a wonderful local church that has a group of elders and pastors who all meet the above qualifications.  I am a writer/author/speaker, here to serve and encourage other women.

Thirdly, women are smart, capable and able to spread the word of God.   Use your gifts to the glory of God.  God gives us guidelines – may we seek to understand and embrace them…even the difficult ones.  God Bless.

The other posts in this series:
Speaking the Truth In Love
The Authority of Scripture and 5 Ways to Defend Truth
The Ultimate Cultural Sin –Intolerance
How to Respond to the Labels – Intolerant, Judgmental, and Hater
What is Sound Doctrine?
Should Christians Simply Unite Around the Gospel?
Can a Woman Be an Elder or Pastor?
Should a Wife Submit To Her Husband?
Can Good Works Save You?
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing


  1. Brave topic and great answer, Courtney. Of course, the Bible states men are to be the pastors and elders in the church. It is so abundantly clear. It doesn’t mean men are any better than women, just that this is God’s design for order. Period.

        1. I agree! A noble wife will always respect the position God has given us. Rebellious spirits in women try to distort the word of God to take back control. It is pure rebellion, the truth is right their in the scripture!

    1. I am very encouraged by your dedication and not being ashamed to share the truth of Gods word. Thank you so much. When men and women walk in the roles that He designed for us, there is great harmony.

      1. Courtney,

        Please do not grow discouraged or weary. There are many that are encouraged by your willingness to speak the truth in love and with God’s word as your guide. Thank you so much for this series.

        1. Yes, I agree with Karen. Thank you for this series and for your willingness to share. I think this is a great conversation to have. Thank you Courtney!
          2 Timothy 3:14-17 (MSG)
          14-17 But don’t let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.

    2. Definitely a tough topic these days! Courtney, don’t be bullied into saying “I didn’t even share my opinion.” If your opinion is Biblical, own it! No need to try and hide behind technicalities that you didn’t really say this or that, or may or may not feel this way or that way! Yes, the Bible is clear…own your position 🙂

    3. Yes, and women have a great role. We are to teach younger women how to love and care for their husbands and children. Just because what we do is less public doesn’t make it of less importance. We don’t see the work our blood does inside our bodies, but it as important (or more so) than the foot’s ability to move.

    4. Wholeheartedly agree! 🙂 God’s word is clear. Thank you for bravely speaking up about this topic!

    5. Do you cover your head when you pray? Do you braid your hair? These also things that Paul says women should and shouldn’t do. If that’s cultural then maybe this is also. Remember how women were and still are thought of in the Middle East where this took place.

        1. Exactly. Nonsense. The none of the verses pointed out in the message above clearly confirms women Pastor’s but the contrary. Specific roles were created for a reason and divine order. This world along with the church is so out of order today. God help us.

  2. This is a brave post! Believing that the Word of the Lord is always right, I cannot help but agree.

  3. Well I thank God for my Pastor (which is a woman) she loves God and there are souls added to the kingdom weekly and that is the only thing in which I believe matters. Are you spreading the gospel and are souls being added to the kingdom. I will have to respectfully not agree but the good thing is we all love God and are after His heart.

    1. I encourage you then to read scripture in context and examine your heart. Are you disagreeing with a man-made idea, or with God’s word?

      1. There are absolutely women of God called to be pastors or preachers. Joyce Meyer for example is an anointed preacher and the fruit of her ministry is proof (as is Beth Moore) and as Joyce states, don’t you think God knew she was a woman when He called her? Not to compare us women to anything lower, but if God will call up a donkey to speak if he needs to – he can surely use a woman.

          1. True … and neither does Joyce Meyer! She herself clearly has stated that her husband is the head of her household and she is subordinate to him. She does not pastor “the Joyce Meyer Church”. She is a Bible preacher, teacher and author who started out leading a women’s ministry. Now here’s the thing… she did not start with the intention of teaching MEN… but if you are a man, you have a responsibility of your own. Turn the tv channel dude! Put on Adrian Rogers. But leave Joyce alone. She is following what she believes is Gods call on her life and I, as a woman, have been very blessed and grown immensely by her teaching. I am aware of the verses in Timothy and in Titus about women teaching men in the church, but this is referring to the structure and hierarchy of church leadership specifically! I love how Some Christians are so quick to throw daggers at other Christians and call them False teachers and heretics. I think God probably grieves at the way we are so quick to condemn other Christians who CLEARLY (if you have ever listened to Joyce Meyer without a condemning POV) are trying to lead people to CHRIST! I am no child, I was saved over 40 years ago, and I am wise enough to know that if you are looking for a PERFECT person to spread the gospel and to teach about Christ then you will never find them.

        1. God’s love can be communicated to others in many ways. What is important is not the form that it comes from, be it a Man or a Women, but the affect that God’s love has on its recipient.

    2. Im a member of the Lutheran Church, ELCA. We’re the only Lutheran denomination (of which I know) that allows women to be ordained. My favorite pastor (other than my husband and father, but I AM biased) is a woman. I’m just curious as to which denomination you belong.

      1. The ELCA also has a Female Bishop head that is gay. A homosexual. Which is a sin. So, per the Bible, that’s TWO things the ELCA is doing that’s Non Biblical. Allowing female pastors and allowing Homosexual pastors.

        1. YOU try being a pastor, regardless of gender. YOU try being God. Tell ME what is and isn’t Biblical, and YOU can cast the first stone.

          1. Also, Deborah, Ruth and Esther come to mind. THEY were leaders. Or, is that one of the things from the Old Testament that was supposedly changed?

          2. The Bible does say women are not to be leaders in the church. I believe we could parallel that with the temple and priests in the Bible. God’s servants in God’s house. God never appointed the women as priests. Only men. The occasional references to the powerful things that women accomplished in the Bible were never in the priesthood position. Yes, Esther was a queen, she still submitted to her husband, the king. Ruth was a wife and mother, not a pastor. The story about Deborah being a judge goes on to reveal that God’s people were punished because they allowed a woman to fill a man’s role. Also, it is silly to challenge someone to TRY to be God- YOU KNOW that no on could ever BE God, and no one here is trying. I praise our Almighty Lord that He is the only one who could ever fill His role, and I praise Him for having placed a headship order for men and women so that we can clearly follow Him in the ways that He meant for us to.

          3. Those women were not leaders. Show me one, just one scripture that says ANY OF THEM WERE LEADERS? That’s ridiculous.

        2. Actually, the elca’s presiding bishop is not gay. She is married. While I disagree with women pastors/bishops I wouldn’t want Elizabeth Eaton’s character criticized over something that is not true.

          Courtney, I commend you for being willing to open up this topic on your blog. I am with you on taking scripture at its word on this, and all other, matters.

    3. 1. Tim. 2: 11-13 11A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.…

      I know people don’t like this verse, but it’s there. And I don’t believe this means a woman can’t be a missionary and share her testimony. Obviously, Aquila and Priscilla taught helped a brother see the truth more clearly. But it’s the leadership issue. When a woman is the pastor, trust me, the men are submissive. This is not God’s design. He made men to lead from the very beginning.

      Our society is very pragmatic. If it ‘works’, then why not do it. You can follow a bad diet for quite a while before your body begins expressing its deficiencies. Our bodies, if even remotely healthy, have a lot of ‘give’. But ultimately, the consequences will be seen.

      1. Hi everyone, I’m commenting specifically on this thread because brither’s keeper mentions headship. I want to hop in and say, “Hey! I think this is the key to the heart of the debate, “What is the definition of headship regarding the length/extent of women’s (mutual) submission?” I percieve a contradtiction in our current definition, and I hesitate to say, “Absolutely, no women in the pulpit. Male only eldership in every scenario.” I want to tell you why, and I’m wondering if anyone else sees this, or agrees with me… If we have the correct definition of womens submission –> headship, and it is truly transcendent, if the law of God is sure, and the law of God does not change, and the principle dates back to creation, Adam was formed first, then Eve, then how is it possible that Deborah could judge Israel in good order, in ordination, in a position of leadership (under this definition)? The same principle that we (most Complementarians) proclaim, “Headship: This passage bars women from the Pastorate/Eldership.” ought to disqualify Deborah. If we adhere to this interpretation, then we are saying something like, “Deborah was self-appointed, Lapiodoth [her husband] ought to have been ashamed, and as Joseph had it in mind to divorce Mary who was with Child, Lapidoth should have shunned, or rebuked his wife [Deborah] for her insubordination. Because “Absolutely, no women in leadership. This principle is transcendent. Right?” But Deborah was not in error and she carried authority over men. Scripturally, Deborah was ordained. Judges 2:18 says, “And the LORD raised up judges for them, and the LORD was with the judge…”Deborah was not self-appointed, and she led both, men and women. She judged Israel. So, I perceive a contradiction between this extreme? interpretation, call it, “Absolutely, no women in the pulpit.” and Deborah’s authoritative God ordained lady-leadership. What do you ladies think? Do you see the hole?

    4. I am really amazed and hurt at how much ignorance still exist in the Body of Christ. The first person to proclaim that He had risen was a woman…and might I add a woman once scorned but changed by Jesus and chosen by Him to be the first one that He spoke ti and told to go tell my disciples and Peter… does anyone remember that or are we such great interpreters and proclamations of God’s word that we know better than God who He should call? Preaching is not a job but a divine calling to which I am not ashamed nor defensive of. Who are we to decide whip should preach and who should teach? Fir our information, God called God servants. followers, preachers, healers Evangelist, not genders. We need to read the Word and ask God for clarity before we speak declaring and attesting. Someone needs to tell God that the preacher He called was a woman because evidently He had blinders on when He called me and told me to stand in the gap for the lost souls that had been overlooked, walked on and left for dead. Funny thing these people didn’t seem to care that I was a woman…they just said they felt God Himself came to see about them. Before Job’s counsel continue let me say there was no man that was willing to get their hands dirty and God needed a wiling servant to bring His sheep into the pasture…To those who know more than God before you continue to speak for or against gender in the leadership role of the church go in Prayer and tell God He made a mistake when He told Mary the Magdalena to go and tell that He has risen that He made a mistake…He must have not known she was a woman… I know my calling is sure…I paid my dues and I am confident that my reward awaits me for loving God enough to die to myself and obey His call to bear the burdens that comes with souls coming into the kingdom for His glory as well as enduring the ignorance of people. God speaks in the now…and He is no respecter of persons… By the way did you know that there is no gender in heaven? Check that out.

      1. What Bible do you read? You cannot take parts of the Bible and make them fit your purpose. The Bible clearly states that a woman is not to be over a man. Therefore YOU shouldn’t be over a church.

        Revelation 22:19 We cannot take parts of the Bible away or sway them to fit our thinking. We must change or thinking to the way of God, the word of God, which is the Bible.

        1. Also remember what the Samaritan woman at the well did after speaking to Jesus. Did she not go and convert her whole village? I’m sure that was exactly what Jesus intended!

          1. Amen. I have been reading and exploring women pastors etc. it bases back to the translations of the Bible. As the word moved through king James and a long history of catholic reprints. The Maccabees etc. the common argument against women in leadership fails to speak the Pentecost where women and men were filled with Holy Spirit. Paul starts these statement with I. Not God. Paul spread grace not the law. Men and women equal to God. In genesis. If women are labeled sinners by clergy. Be cautious if clergy is wrong the leadership damage is what they are judged by God. Wow

        2. THANK YOU SO MUCH. AMEN AMEN AMEN. There were many men and women servants but Not Pastors. The scriptures are clear and so many people get angry because the truth can hurt their cause and their ego. Rise up and seek truth. When you look at it, the reason women pastors are bothered is due to pride and not wanting to relinquish TITLE.

      2. During the 40 days of temptation, Satan tried to deceive JESUS by perverting scripture . Of course he stopped when Jesus used the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, to counterattack. How much easier would it be to deceive us?The scripture is clear and God is not the author of confusion. Women have a beautiful, God ordained, necessary role to fill in His kingdom. We should embrace our role and encourage and support our men to do the same… deacons and elders.

      3. Dear Rosa Griffin, You are not receiving the word of God. Do not take offence at the what the scriptures say. If you love the truth and do what the scriptures say, obeying from the heart, you will do well. Anything else is sin.

      4. Mary the Magdalena, the Samaritan woman any many other examples in the Bible were doing what every Christian is called to do – spreading the Gospel – that is not the same as shepherding a flock.

      5. I totally agree with Minister Griffin. I am not a pastor or minister, but I know the Word of God. He said to study and show thyself approved. He called some pastors, apostles, prophets, etc. The Lord also said in the Word that there is no male or female, so if this be true, how can you come to the conclusion that women are not to be preachers, pastors or leaders of a church when there is no genders with God. Oh yes, I forget, you are going off of Titus and what Paul said to the Corinthians. First let me try to explain that in lamest terms. There were a lot of confusion going on in the church of Corinth and Paul, not the Lord stated how women should be silent. It wasn’t what God said, but what Paul taught for that time and because of the issues they were having in the church at that given time.

    5. Beautifully said Kristie! A dear friend of mine (& we actually do not agree on this topic) once told me this is not a matter of salvation and I couldn’t agree more. Loving one another and winning souls for Jesus is what God has called each one of us to do. Thank you for sharing your opinion so honestly and so respectfully. God Bless!:)

    6. You CAN NOT respectfully disagree if the truth is as plain as the nose on your face! To disregard the word of God, to suit YOUR twisted interpretation of HIS infallible word, is a position NO Christian should EVER want to be in! Our desire to be culturally relevant as to try and “draw more people into the church ” is a direct offspring of heretical teachings. See the above quote of A.W. Tozer. The long and the short of it is that if you believe the WHOLE word of God then it must be obeyed. You simply can not pick and chose which verses you want to obey! We have to obey even the ones that go against our own personal interpretation, even if we don’t like it. I’m not trying to attack you my sister, but rather exhort you to study and just contemplate on what God’s word really says concerning this topic.

    7. I have also attended several churches with wonderful female pastors. I honestly don’t understand why, if the Bible says these things, are women allowed to enroll in seminary schools? Or I’d this just extreme conservative thinking?

    8. I grew up in the Foursquare Church and currently belong to a Chapel with a lady pastor.
      In my humble opinion, God reads hearts without preference. Those who follow and help lead others to Him are His children.

    9. The good thing is that if we love Jesus we obey His commandments. The Apostle Paul spoke under the Authority of the Holy Spirit. Are you disagreeing with him?

  4. Great post Courtney! God laid out HIS design in scripture, according to HIS wisdom. I think the scripture is clear on this topic.

  5. Appreciate you just pointing out scripture and letting God speak to our hearts on the topic.. Like you pointed out, all scripture is God breathed and useful! We can’t pick and choose what we want. I think God still uses false teachers/ people with selfish ambition to usher in His kingdom, think Paul talks about that in Philippians, but I don’t think it’s His will for these scenarios to exist. The Gospel is a mirror to show us where we have wrong thinking, to convict us of our sin and show us our need for Jesus. I agree with your friend, often times we rely too much on what man teaches which often omits or adds to what God teaches. Loved the wisdom of this post! God bless!

  6. There are many women called to preach. No one can stand in the way of that. It’s legalistic to say a woman cannot be a preacher or be an elder. Women are an answer not a problem. Same way we women lovingly support, encourage, love, and bless our husbands with our words/presence is the same way we bless our church. Women are winning souls all over the world and I wouldn’t focus on the law do much that we miss the BIG PICTURE!

    Christ died for us and we are to spread the GOOD NEWS!

    1. The apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:12 (specifically regarding roles and reponsibilites when the local church are gathered together), “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence”.
      We can all be very active in spreading the Gospel – and should be – without directly disobeying this very clear command.

        1. I agree wholeheartedly with Mary too. Women can win souls for the kingdom-in a God-ordained way. We all have our place in the body of Christ.

      1. So true! I am in full agreement with Gods word! One may disagree, however like I tell my children: ” just because people say there is no God does not make it so. He is The Great I Am, and who are we to go against HIS WORD!

      2. Many of you keep quoting this scripture out of context. My pastor is a man… And extremely well-versed in the original language and meanings of the scriptures. He explained that this scripture is speaking of business matters – which were, in addition to church services, conducted in the church at the time. Please allow me to remind that Philip had seven daughters….and ALL were prophets. Which unfortunately disagrees with your views that God will not use women in leadership roles. Yes, scripture is clear….when you do not narrow it down to one passage in the Bible but take the scriptures and their teachings in their entirety. Surely you do not think that God views women as lower than an animal? And yet, God spoke to Balaam through the mouth of a donkey. He said the very rocks would cry out to praise him. God will use who and what He will…and where there is no man willing to step into a role of leadership, rest assured that He WILL use a woman…or a donkey or a rock if necessary. His Word will go forth.

        1. Absolutely correct Jessica. People are taking one scripture and forgetting about the other references as one I made where the Lord said with Him there is not male or female.

      3. He also spoke about hair and head coverings in 1 Corinthians. Just wondering, is everyone sticking to that part also?

    2. Legalism is when you account your works as righteousness. It is not legalistic to adhere to what scripture says.

        1. This one is going up on my wall. So true and such a good answer for people who accuse legalism!!!

    3. Women are a wonderful answer to the things GOD calls them to. Men and women become a problem, when they are uncomfortable with the roles God has assigned them and step outside of His design. Obedience to God’s word is never seen as legalistic, but imperative, and the sign of a believer. Making up man made rules is legalism:

      Matthew 15:9 And in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrine rules made by

      John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me

      1. So if we take the bible literally without taking the culture into consideration, does that mean that we shouldn’t have women sing in worship. Women shouldn’t read the scripture in church? After all, your argument is that woman should be silenced?

        1. That’s exactly what would have to happen. If you believe that women are to be silent in church, they would not be able to read the scriptures aloud, lead singing or any other ministry where men were involved. This truly saddens me. The scriptures quoted have been quoted out of context. The body of Christ suffers as a result.

  7. I must be honest in saying that as a female minister, on the path to becoming an elder and perhaps even a pastor one day, I have learned to be confident in what I’m sure God has called me to do for the upbuilding of His Kingdom. There are numerous points I could make in support of the faith that I have as to why I’m not in error (I will add that my husband, a deacon, and I are on one accord), but it comes down to being led of the Holy Spirt as I, too, have searched the scriptures on this topic. Ultimately I pray that those who are in such a position, men and women, would take their calling and the Word of God seriously, because there are too many lost souls who are in desperate need of His loving grace and guidance. The Lord knows that my sincere heart is to be an open epistle read of men, and for people to know God through the truth I may speak as a vessel for Him.

    Blessings to you Courtney and to all of my fellow sisters in Christ!

    1. I appreciate you feel that the Holy Spirit has led you and you have searched the scriptures. However, if you’ve searched the scriptures, why did you come to a different position than the Apostle Paul on the matter? What gives your searching more authority than the plain words of scripture?

    2. With all due respect to you, the Holy Spirit will never lead you in a manner that is contrary to scripture.

      1. Agreed Emily! Just one simple question for Patricia, How can a woman be the “husband of one wife”? No matter the denomination, that simply cant be possible and that is just one verse.

    3. Patricia where I am confused is how can you say that what you are doing is from God if it contradicts the scripture? Scripture is very clear as to what the roles are for men and women in the church. If we don’t agree with scripture then we are adding to the scripture and God tells us we are not to add or take away. This is how so much confusion comes into the church because we either do not take time to really study the scripture and seek God, don’t really care what He thinks and will continue to do what feels good, or feels like we need to help God out by going ahead and doing what we want even if it goes against scripture. I honestly believe that if all would take all the scriptures that Courtney laid out, pray about them, study them and seek God over them, He will guide you in the right direction. The question is, are we willing to take the path He guides us on, or be resistant to stay right where we are? We know that scripture does not lie and is clear, why is that not enough when God knows best?

  8. I have read many things you’ve written. I think your heart is pure and in the right place. In writing this article that is posted publicly for sooooo many to read… When dealing with scripture we have to dig in to the context in which scripture is written, to who it was written, why and such. Our English language is so limited in its vocabulary. The bible was written in Greek and Hebrew- and in it being translated to the English language we for lack of a better word have lost the true meaning of words. For instance, the word “life” is mentioned over 400+ times through out scripture. However if we just leave it at the word-“life” in our English vocabulary we miss what God is trying to say to us. There are multiple Greek and Hebrew words used for “life” in different scriptures and they mean different things. “Life” in the English is time span, also the experience in the time span. In scripture there are multiple meanings to life- I learn when digging deeper to the Greek and Hebrew meanings of “life” I learn God intended for my “life” to inhabit His fullness- His power His authority. Changes how I view “life.” It changes me from viewing “life” as some would say “life is hard” or life not fair” me from realizing God is not hard and He is “life” He’s the life giver. Like wise- the word man in the Greek and Hebrew have many meanings. I firmly believe women can be elders, pastors, prophet, teachers and apostles. I urge you to search the scriptures. If you take the scripture literally… Then we must not cut our hair, we have to cover our heads, we must be silent in church meetings etc… If we take scripture at face value, then Jesus told the disciples to hate their Mother and Father in Luke 14:26 Now did Jesus really want us to hate- by no means. We must dig deeper to the context, the history in which it is written. I’m sorry to write such a long comment… But I believe there is a generation of women who are rising up taking their place, fully devoted to their Maker, passionately in Love with His word and devour it as it is “life” to them. They wield the word of God as the sword it is. I believe they are women fully submitted to their husbands as the head of their household if they are married. I pray the women who read this particular blog would search the scripture out. If you’ve been called to be a solely a housewife and mother, I believe we must steward that calling with highest regard. I also believe when God places in the heart of an eight year old girl, like I once was 🙂 the heart of a pastor, she must steward that calling in the same way. Ahh I hope my heart comes thru in my writing… I wish I were a better communicator via the “pen” or blog post. My heart is for men and women to know the word and to search it out, not just take what one blogger and a commentor write. 😉
    Something my husband always says from the pulpit…” Don’t take everything I say and believe it, go search it out for yourself- test the word!”
    Let’s be women of the word and search it out-

    The beauty is, we love the same Jesus.

    1. I love your response Christy :). I especially see the sensitive care you took in selecting your response. I too am a HUGE believer in knowing the word of God for yourself. I agree with Courtney, if in fact she is basically saying women should not LEAD men. However, if we search the scripture in its Greek (new testament), we are able to “TEACH” men. Does that mean that a women should be in a leadership position over men? No, they should not. Well, at least that is where I stand on the issue today. I am not so foolish and prideful to think that what I THINK I know today, can change as God teaches His willful daughter 🙂

    2. “I firmly believe women can be elders, pastors, prophet, teachers and apostles.”

      Right there is your issue. You name 2 offices that have passed away. That shows the lens you view scripture through. Get your theological presuppositions out of the way and come to the Bible and read the text as it lay. You can’t come to the same conclusion you have here.

      1. Emily, If I lay aside my theological presuppositions which I take what you mean as I am assuming what scripture means instead studying them out- let me say I want to be a student of the word- not living a life based upon assumption. (I won’t assume you were being harsh in your comment.) Then I sincerely believe what I wrote.
        Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22 NKJV)
        The two offices you speak of as passing away- apostles and prophets. I just don’t find it anywhere in scripture. In fact I find more that support it.
        My heart sincerely is not to stir up strife. I desire men and women to study to show themselves approved. I am doing the same… I am continually challenged by the word and my wrong thinking. It’s amazing as I spend time with Him how much I realize my thoughts are not His thoughts. I am growing… I haven’t arrived. I probably won’t respond on anymore blogs like this one-or even comments as I obviously struggle in communicating via the pen and the harsh words I see- yikes! Not implying you Emily whatsoever.
        I think Rachel did a far better job at communicating my thoughts and studies than I did at a comment I posted at 1 in the morning . It’s a great read!
        I am madly in love with Jesus and His people.

        1. Respectfully, Christie, you have not explained in any way how you came to your belief that women can be pastors. Really, all you did is tell us that you are versed in Greek. My dad has been a Greek professor for over 60 years, but that doesn’t mean he always interprets scripture correctly. In fact, he has made some very serious mistakes in his interpretation.

          I will agree with you that we should be open to not cutting our hair and wearing a veil. It seems a taboo subject in the church I attend. I’ve brought it up to my husband many times. We once attended a church where it was practiced, and it was very uncomfortable wearing it. Questions as to wearing it all the time, since we should pray ‘continuously’. Honestly,. I am not 100% sure if the veil doesn’t have to do with the gifts being expressed in the assembly, since prophecy is mentioned in context. It would clearly denote submission on her part, as I’m sure a prophecy could take on the feeing of a teaching. I know that not all of us agree on whether the gifts are still in operation, or not, but we won’t go there for this discussion.

          It’s sad how we can be so adamant on some things and not on others, esp. when they would make us look funny in our culture. And that is exactly what this whole topic is really all about. Should a woman stay at home, as Titus mentions? Clearly, per Proverbs 31, she can be very industrious and ‘out there’, as long as her home is her primary domain and well managed, so that she brings no shame to her husband.

          All said and done, to be madly in love with Jesus means to obey His words. If my husband spoke something to me and I reinterpreted it, I could not be said to be madly in love with him. I think we have questions on many biblical subjects that we may never get an answer to until we see Him face to face, but we must obey what we do know by faith, even when we don’t have all the answers, and give grace to others. The only reason I challenge you, is that as I was reading your post, I was really hoping for a succinct explanation of why you believe differently. I just want to encourage you to not interpret feelings for the Lord as love. Love will include feelings at some point, but obedience is the fruit of Love as John the Apostle tells us.

    3. Dear Christy, as God placed in your 8 yr old heart, the heart to serve and care for others, and as God has placed desires in other hearts also, then if we truly love the Lord, we will fulfil our calling in accordance with his word not contrary to it. “Unless the Lord builds the house the labourers labour in vain.” Regarding your belief that “there is a generation of women who are rising up”, don’t bring the agendas of the world into the church. As the scripture says they are based on “the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.” And if such a generation were as you say “passionately in love with his word”, ought they not to obey it? “If you love me obey my commandments…” Regarding your lost in translation issue, consider that “God is not the author of confusion” and he is well able to make his will known to the sicere seeker after truth.

    4. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
      Context is everything.
      The Bible is so much deeper than face value.
      It is the LIVING breathing word of God.

    5. I love your response Christy! Thank you for mentioning the difference between the original Greek and Hebrew and our English interpretations. And actually, I do take the Bible literally… My hair is my covering and I don’t cut it.

  9. I must respectfully disagree with your interpretation of Scripture. While I do agree the all scripture is Inspired by God, we must also take the audience into consideration, especially when reading Paul’s letters. Paul wasn’t writing scripture, he was writing a letter to a specific person or group of people. Who was he writing to and why? The message obviously has meaning for us today, but are we reading it in the correct light? Where the translation says “man” is it referring to men as a gender or as the al inclusive man for “human”? Where it states husband to one wife, does that indicate that single men are unable to be an elder or that only those who practice monogamy? There is so much we do not know about the Bible and the translations — as I am unable to read the original language, I have to rely on the Holy Spirit and others’ interpretation to teach me. My experience has also taught me that God calls women to be leaders in His church, as elders & pastors. (And as a female blogger, even if you are not ordained, I would call you a minister/pastor as you are teaching those who visit your blog, be they male or female.)

    We all have our calling in the kingdom of Heaven, but it is so much bigger than our human understanding.

    1. 2 Peter 3:15″…as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.”

      Peter obviously believed that Paul was writing scripture when he was writing his letters. Regarding the texts Courtney has posted, a quick check of a Vines or other good New Testament greek dictionary will show you that the word translated there “man” is referring to the male gender.

      1. Thank you Courtney for speaking the truth in love. You have been used by God to bless my life. Iron sharpens iron for sure. Just because people don’t like what the Word of God says, does not make it invalid or give us the opportunity to twist scripture to suit us. The Bible says Gods Word is settled FOREVER. That means it all applies. So Ladies, it means what it says and is very clear…read 1 Corinthians 14:33-35.

    2. I highly suggest getting a comprehensive concordance in the version of the Bible that you study. This will help you understand the original meaning of the words, along with other scriptures that use the exact same word. An inductive Bible study will teach you have to use the concordance and discern scripture as well.

      Being a blogger is very different from being a minister or pastor. Additionally, she is in line with scripture by writing to women.

  10. I adore your page, however, I would disagree with this post! You are preaching to thousands from your page and book. I’d hate to think how different life would be for many women who hadn’t read your book or visited your page. Your calling is being used to bless other woman and families.

    Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who were the first to show up at Jesus’s tomb. Met the angel and he spoke to them.

    Matthew 28:6-7
    New King James Version (NKJV)
    6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and “TELL” His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”

    Can’t read that passage and not believe women shouldn’t spread the gospel.

    Paul has been taken out of context and ou must consider the circumstances.

    1. I think it important to understand that ministry of evangelism and spreading the word of God is clearly the responsibility of All believers, not just a few who are called Pastors. But it appears from the Scriptures that God wants a certain order in the Church and in a marriage where men are to be the leaders.

      Christian women can be teachers of men outside the church. Paul seems to be specifically referencing how the church is to function and the desire for things to be done in an orderly manner in the church. Evangelism happens outside the church and so do many other ministries lead by godly women. But godly women should desire male leadership of the church because this is what God desires and requires. Paul is not taken out of context when he explains why men are to be the leaders (I Timothy 2:12-15).

      1. Yes, well put, David. We cannot confuse the subject of women being pastors with the important role women play in overall ministry and evangelism. That would be like saying if we believe the husband is the head of the family, then the wife has no role or importance at all.

    2. Joyce-I’m going to have to disagree with you. This passage you quoted in no way supports women being preachers. It simply states she is to tell the disciples what she saw, that’s not a license for women to preach. You’re taking it out of context.

    3. Being the first privileged to tell of the Savior’s rising and being a pastor/elder are apples and oranges in comparison.

  11. As a student of the Word I can only surmise that those who believe women can be elders, or can pastor men, have concluded that Paul’s directives are now no longer culturally relevant. It is the ONLY argument that has any merit whatsoever in this discussion. Paul was very clear in the Greek and in his writings that church leadership was the responsibility of godly Christian men, and that women were not to teach men in the church.

    There are many roles in the church that women may serve, including the pastoring of women, youth and children’s ministries. To assume that God did not desire to carry forward male leadership of the church is only that, an assumption, based on what? No clear teaching of the scripture in any way permits or desires female church leadership, yet when some churches are confronted with culture change they sense the need to change what is found in God’s Word.

    Christy, it is mistaken argument that somehow the Bible translation from Greek to modern English cannot convey Paul’s true intentions on this matter. What you imply is that Paul intended women to be elders and pastors, which you know is not the truth, if you truly have studied the Greek, and the passages related to this subject. If you are going to advocate women as elder/pastors at least give it the only possible legitimate argument that Paul was speaking to the culture of the time and not our culture. Then step out on this unproven assumption instead of on the firm and clear teaching of God’s Word. Out where you must stand before God some day and explain that “I did it all for you because I was sure You did not mean what you clearly said in your Word.”

    What I have found with those who desire to cut out parts of the Bible like “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet” (I Tim. 2:12), is that this is the start of a long and fallen slippery slope where soon Adam and Eve never existed, hell does not exist, and God’s love covers all people. Once one starts picking and choosing what to believe in God’s Word the slide soon takes them to other areas of the scriptures they want to cut out.

    If you can hold the line at just this one issue of women elders/pastors, the harm is perhaps small in being wrong. But with most of the the church’s theology being explained clearly by Pauline writings, when one guts the words of Paul you no longer have Christianity, you have a whole new religion based on love without necessary obedience.

    Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matthew 7:23) I will let you look up the next verse and see that Jesus is speaking this to the many who actually thought they were ministering in His name, yet he says they were not doing His will.

    I do not want to come across as harsh here, because if I could somehow reconcile what I know to be true in the Greek with endorsing women elders/pastors I would love nothing more than to encourage women to jump on and do what they feel God has called them to do. God may perhaps be pleased with women pastors teaching men, but if He is, He certainly has not been clear with us about this, when He easily could have been when Paul wrote His Words.

    1. David because you specifically mentioned my name in your comment I will do my best to respond. I already responded one and lost it in translation- so this one will be much briefer. It’s late and the typos are flying.
      If I “Implied” cutting out scripture- because it’s not relevant that was not my intention whatsoever, if I “implied” on the particular scripture that Paul was stating woman could be elders or pastors- that was not my intention either. I think I separate the two thoughts- I think I prefaced that it’s MY belief women can be pastors and elders. It was not related to the scripture you mentioned.
      You had stated that women can serve as pastors over women, or children and youth. What happens when the young man in youth turns 18- is she no longer his pastor? It’s really a rhetorical question.

      In my understanding and studying of the scripture in 1 Timothy 2:11, 1 Corinthians 14:35 Paul is not talking about all women but about wives. He is talking about learning something and asking questions. Lots of history there- women weren’t educated then etc…
      The Greek word in my study of translating it is gyne-it’s translated as wife rather than woman. In Timothy, Paul refers to Adam and Eve as husband and wife. The law of scriptural interpretation must be interpreted in the light of what other scriptures say on the subject. In my searchings everywhere the word gyne-the geek word is used it’s in context of wife. I believe wives are to submit to their husbands. Ephesians states wives submit to your husband and in the same passage it’s also states submit one to another. This is talking of husband and wives not a woman in leadership. I firmly believe we cannot pick and choose scripture to fit for us. I would never want it said of me by our Daddy God that I was picking and choosing the scriptures I believed in or discounted all together. I have a holy reverence for His word. I stand in awe of Him daily- He astounds me! I am continually convicted by Holy Spirit for actions and attitudes that do not represent Him as I am His ambassador. God knows I would not want to be labeled by people as one who is disobedient to His word. I do know it may be said- it hurts my heart as I it hurts my Fathers heart too. This is why I firmly believe in submitting to the man God as placed over me, my husband – I don’t always get it right. However I press on toward the upward calling… I lean into Him daily for His new mercies.
      I am thankful for a husband who has sat hours with me searching Scriptures and believes that the call of God on my life wasn’t a mistake or meant for a man. I am thankful for the many godly men in my life throughout the years who have championed me and haven’t limited me because of my gender. I realize this “argument” can go back and forth and I really have no desire for that. I conversed with my husband with all of this. I rarely if ever have responded and leave comments on blogs… But with a daughter who is now 22 and currently pastoring children and so many other young women I mentor I felt I had to respond. I now realize this blog and the many views expressed are definitely not shared.
      David, I kindly back out now of this conversation. I felt I had to clarify of my “implications” since I was mentioned.
      I am in hot pursuit of Jesus. I want to be like Him in all I do and say! I want to make Him known! I think we have that common ground.

      1. I love what I hear from your heart Christy and I know that as you keep being faithful the Lord will guide you into His truth.

        You are correct that gune often is translated “wife,” but even if Paul is referring solely to “a wife not teaching her husband,” does your husband plan on stepping out of every service when you teach? :).

        Also, as you know, all qualifications to be an elder refer to a male. To Titus Paul writes to appoint elders , “if any man be above reproach, the husband of one wife.”

      2. I will add that if you feel strongly of God’s calling in your life be open to having Him continue to direct you. I have found that things I was certain of the Lord were truly of Him, but I ended up in a place far from what I originally thought He desired of me.

        Women can pastor in many ways without being in church leadership or teaching men. If God does not want you teaching your husband, why would he want you teaching other husbands? Is not the church similar in many ways to a family? The family of of God?

        I know our God will make it clear to you as you seek. love and serve Him. God bless!

        1. excellent point, David…about women teaching others’ husbands. I have watched men cower in bible classes when a woman became adamant and started teaching in her demeanor, as opposed to sharing a view/testimony/conviction. I’ve been guilty of being that woman before. It’s frustrating when men won’t carry the conversations….or are the men not speaking up, because of the women’s demeanor?? I am trying to learn to be more at peace. To not feel I always have to set things straight. I think many women struggle with this. That is why God mentions a “quiet and gentle spirit”.

        2. I agree with what you have to say David however to clear up the issue of the words wife/woman…….in the greek language and in the hebrew language there is only one word for woman and wife. They don’t have separate words as we do. The greek word is gyne or gyneka (wife and woman) and in the hebrew language it’s isha (pronounced eee-shah) (wife. woman). Of course when you use these words you are either speaking of a woman who is married, wife, or a just a woman in general. Dig a little deeper into the hebrew language and you will see that God made us to be a “help meet” “a helper corresponding to…” The hebrew word for this (ezer k’negdo) is found throughout the bible. Take time to study this word as it’s meaning has too much depth for me to go into here.
          There are too many believers today who think God and HIS Word have changed just like our culture has changed however that’s not the case. HE says HE changes NOT!!

  12. Beautiful post Courtney….this was God’s design for a perfect reason. He sure does use women (as he is using you!) to spread His word- but it does say that men should be the heads (Pastors) of the church. There is so much freedom in God’s word…it’s the way we interpret it that can really cause us to stumble. Our ways are not His ways. But, He died for us nonetheless….what an amazing God we serve. Love you so much, Nelle

  13. Thank you for this post Courtney-obviously causing much of a stir (I was a bit surprised by this, but this is the same line of thinking that caused Eve to fall buying into the lie “did God not say?”
    John MacArthur is doing a great series right now that extends through Mother’s Day two of the sermons have to do with “younger women” and and their role in the church. They can be accessed through GTY site. If people don’t like your post, Macarthurs message and the Bible itself-I think there is either simple stubbornness, deception, or lack of knowledge on their part. Gods word doesn’t change, it’s the same yesterday today and tomorrow.

    1. Could not agree with you more Jill. Glad you recommended MacArthur’s rock solid verse by verse teaching. Some of the responses here deeply saddened me and is an alarming example of the state of the “church”. I sincerely pray that the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

    2. Hi Jill, I’m responding to your statement above (here’s a quote)…

      “If people don’t like your post, Macarthurs message and the Bible itself-I think there is either simple stubbornness, deception, or lack of knowledge on their part. Gods word doesn’t change, it’s the same yesterday today and tomorrow.”

      I disagree with the majority here and the interpretation of the Titus Scriptures Courtney has shared, but it’s not because of stubbornness, deception, or lack of knowledge on my part (although I am always learning something new and don’t believe I perfectly understand God and His Word). 🙂

      I have studied the subject of women in ministry/home. I believe you and everyone else here has studied God’s Word as well and that we all take it very seriously. I think the issue is one of interpretation – not just of the text above in Courtney’s post but interpretation of the whole of God’s Word seen not through our western cultural lens, but through God’s eyes, heart and character. I always ask myself if a particular interpretation lines up with what I know of God’s character (I’m not saying that you and others here don’t do the same, just sharing some of my process). 🙂

  14. Great post, Courtney! Scripture gives ALL the answers. It’s just so unfortunate to see so many women twisting the Word to suit their desires. 🙁 As women we have so much influence in this world that I can’t understand why we have to pursue a title that God clearly didn’t give to us. James and Jude were Jesus’ half brothers but they introduced themselves as a bondservant of Jesus Christ, rather than stating they were his half brothers. They chose a lowlier and more God-glorifying title than what they could have chosen. It’s always a red flag for me when I hear a woman say she’s a pastor. It tells me two things: she’s either disobedient to the Word of God or she isn’t rightly dividing the Word of God. (ouch, I know!)

    Stand strong, girlfriend!

  15. Excellent post and it was all done with Scripture….We need to remember the Holy Spirit is not going to tell us it is okay to do something if it doesn’t line up with the Word of God….wish there were ‘like’ buttons to click for the comments because there some very good comments.

  16. This is a touchy subject in my home. My husband is 100% against women pastors, but that wasn’t always the case. This was never an issue until I was serving on our church’s call committee, and, when he told some guys at work about an interview I had done with a female pastor, they informed him that women couldn’t be pastors according to the Scriptures. When he brought this to my attention, I prayed and thought about it considerably, wondering if I was doing wrong for my church and family by considering calling a female pastor. I attended a parochial school for 6 years and was never once taught that women couldn’t be pastors, so this really caught me off guard. After careful consideration, I felt I was not in the wrong for wanting to call a female pastor. My role as a call committee member and as a mother was to find a person that would TEACH my family, both home and church; a person that would GUIDE them on their journeys with the Lord; a person that would ENCOURAGE them to come to church and know His holy house. Therefore, I voted to call our current pastor, who is female. I didn’t make the call because my Synod says it’s okay; I did so because I felt she was the best candidate for what I believed my family (again, both home and church) needed.
    Pastors, in my experience, don’t technically lead the church. Depending on the church, either elders or committees lead the church…and Pastors serve the people of the church. In my church, we have various ministries (committees) that plan (or govern) how the church is run; the ministries are made up of elected congregational members, so, therefore, we are the voices and leaders of the congregation. The same goes for churches with elders – they, too, are elected to be the voices and leaders of the congregation.
    I’m sure there are people that will read this who will tell me I’m looking for the loophole in the Word, but I don’t feel I am in the wrong as to how I am interpreting or living out the Scripture. For those wondering, my husband did leave our church, but my kids and I remain active members.
    I asked myself one question when I was praying about whether or not women could be called and ordained, and that question was, “How would I feel if my daughter came to me and said she was being called by the Lord and wanted to be a pastor?” And the answer that made the most sense to me would be to feel honored that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were working in her and calling her to carry out their work here on Earth.

    1. This particular reply broke my heart. Your stand in regard to a female pastor leading your church caused a fracture in your home, stepping out from the covering and leadership of your husband, and no longer worshipping together as a family. That to me is tragic. The very reasons you state for believing this woman was the right person to be the pastor, led directly to division in your home. My heart grieves for that. My belief of a pastor being a man based on scripture is not a part of this, (yes, I believe a pastor elder is to be a man according to scripture) I would be broken hearted over this situation if the pastor was male or female. I am praying your family is reunited in spirit. My husband is a pastor and he has counseled women to leave our church when the husband wanted to worship somewhere else, in order to maintain unity in their home, and the proper order of leadership. Their family flourished in their walk with the Lord, because the husband was allowed to lead them. May the Holy Spirit lead you.

      1. You’re right, there is division in our home because we choose the follow the Lord differently. I sought out advice from the Pastor (a male) who married us and baptized both our children because I was not okay with my husband leaving the church and his family. I was hurt, sad, became resentful towards him, and am still struggling with supporting his decision. This Pastor advised me to follow my heart, to remember that I cannot change another person’s mind, that I can’t stop my husband from leaving the church but that I didn’t have to join him. I followed my heart and supported my decision that the Pastor I chose to call will teach and guide me and my children.
        Also, as a side-note, our Pastor is the first female pastor called to our church. In the short time she’s been there, she has strengthened our church and ministry. Our congregation members took to her more positively than we expected. (Because we are an older congregation, we anticipated some backlash for calling a female pastor.) Our former pastor made himself available with examples of women leaders in the early church, as well as suggestions of reading material, to help us with the transition and any oppositionof

        1. (alright, it posted before I finished my sentence)

          Our former pastor made himself available with examples of women leaders in the early church, as well as suggestions of reading material, to help us with the transition and any opposition in our call.

          1. I think you might find a lot of peace if you submit to your husband and follow his leading in worshiping where he feels he and his family should go. Your children would benefit also. The advice your pastor gave you to follow your heart is counter scripture as scripture says that our hearts are most deceitful of all. We need to follow scripture not our sinful hearts.

          2. Alicia,
            In all humbleness and humility, it’s seems as though you emasculated your husband. I understand why you sought advice from your pastor however your pastor (any pastor) isn’t your covering…isn’t your head…YOUR HUSBAND IS!!!! It seems like other than this one issue you love and trust your husband and the two of you have a wonderful marriage so why not trust that God is leading your husband in the way he knows your family should go. Even if you don’t agree submit to your husband and pray for him. Don’t pray that he would see things and do things your way. Pray for clarity, wisdom, and discernment. Pray that God would speak to him continuously.
            My next concern would be for your children. How do they feel about this division? How do they view you in this situation? How do they view their father in this situation? Do they feel as though they have to choose? This can be a very hard and confusing place for children can be. We are not to be stumbling blocks to our children. Food for thought. Praying diligently for you and your family!

        2. Unless your husband is walking in open rebellion to God’s Word and asking you to do something that is sinful, you have no Biblical basis for following your pastor instead of submitting to your husband. For all the clarity that exists in the Scriptures that elders are to be men, there is twice as many verses telling Christian wives to submit to their husbands “in everything,” even to those husbands who are “disobedient to the Word.”

          You write: “I was hurt, sad, became resentful towards him, and am still struggling with supporting his decision. This Pastor advised me to follow my heart, to remember that I cannot change another person’s mind, that I can’t stop my husband from leaving the church but that I didn’t have to join him.”

          First it is understandable that you felt hurt, but put things in their proper context and imagine how hurt our husband is that you have disrespected him so badly. You have told him by your actions that you and your pastor are more spiritual than he is, that he has no right or ability to lead you or your family, when you and your pastor disagree with him. That is not submission, or honoring.

          You were given such bad advice and I will give you one practical reason why. You Alicia have one primary responsibility before God that trumps all others and that is to be a great wife and mother. Everything else that happens in ministry is secondary. For that matter, you cannot have a ministry and are disqualified until such time that your relationship with your spouse is put back into order. Not my words., talk to the apostle Paul about that in his qualifications of the elder. You must be able to manage your household well, and it must be at harmony and peace. Besides, you are not to be the manger, but your husband is to mange, and you will not allow him to do so. You are unfortunately in rebellion.

          Alicia, it would be far better for you and your marriage for you to follow your husband even if he is wrong and allow the Lord to deal with him in his life, instead of you making him wrong, and disrespecting him so greatly. I can only imagine that such a huge error happens because now for a second time God’s Word is ignored, by the pastors you call friends. If they are friends they would send you home repentant to your husband and telling him how much he means to you and your relationship, and that you are ready to follow him in all areas, except for those which clearly are contrary to God’s Word.

          May the Lord bless you as you seek him. We all are finding our Christian walk each day, but to find it we must depend on God’s Word alone.

          1. David, I have gotten involved on this topic on another forum just today and have discussed this at length with my husband. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you have said thus far and refrained from commenting until having read Alicia’s comment. I, too, am saddened by the state of her marriage and family because of her unwillingness to submit to the order that God has clearly established in His word and the heretical advice that she has been given and is following. My husband wishes for me to have you know not to back down from the clear truths from Scripture that you’ve laid out and which people are not following because of their own pride and rebellion. Don’t back down!
            Alicia, I encourage you as others above to submit to the word of God and your husband. Read Philippians 2:1-8. That is the only example we need. There you will the the peace you have admittedly lack. This passage trumps this whole conversation. I think you will find if you submit to your husband God will bless and honour that decision incredibly. Don’t underestimate the working of the Holy Spirit in both your lives.

    2. So you submitted to your pastor instead of your husband? Sister, there’s your problem right there! In reading your reply I heard a lot of ‘I spoke to my pastor, I felt this was right for our family’. Where was your husband in all this? I don’t mean to sound harsh, but if you’re not submitting to your husband’s leadership of your family, then you’re on a slippery slope! Please, be reconciled to your husband and be of one mind as Christ intended.

      1. To answer your question, Emily, my husband had walked out. My husband left our church before our new pastor was ever called. He just stopped going to church with us without ever discussing his wanting to leave. I continued my duty serving on the call committee, still filling him in on the interviews and my likes and dislikes of the candidates, and he never said a word of wanting to leave the church. It wasn’t until the call was made and our new pastor took over that I received an email (Yes, I said EMAIL) from my husband telling me he was joining a new church and wanted me to follow him. Our disagreements and division aren’t based just on our differences in opinion about female pastors. My husband didn’t have religion in his life until we met, whereas I had religion my whole life. I support my husband in his journey with the Lord and in finding out what the Scripture means to him, but submitting to my husband should not mean that I forfeit my beliefs. Nor should my kids have to be uprooted from the church, the people, and the traditions they’ve come to know because my husband and I are in disagreement. I have no doubt we will get through this as we share a common goal – a goal to praise and serve the Lord.

        1. The last few comments in your reply here give me the impression that you think that somehow you’re a ‘better Christian’ than your husband because “My husband didn’t have religion in his life until we met, whereas I had religion my whole life”. If you both believe in God and the words of the Bible, then you are called to submit to your husband’s wishes and allow him to lead his family as God has called him to do. I agree with everything David says in his last reply to you. I will pray that you find it in your heart to submit to your husband as we wives are called to do as set forth in Scripture. God bless.

          1. No, Kelly, I KNOW I’m not a better Christian, but I am a wife of a man who did not find the Lord until later in life. If anyone knows anything about adult believers, it’s that they search much harder than life-long believers because they haven’t had the knowledge of what the Word says; they find it more difficult to know what to believe because every church, both with denomination and non-denominational, tend to preach something different or utilize the Bible differently. When we first started seeking churches together, his question was, “Why do we have to go to the same church every week?” Church is about family, and he saw that when he chose our (his previous) church and was baptized. Like I’ve said in prior responses, I support my husband and his journey with the Lord and in finding what the Scripture means to him. However, what I struggle with is leaving the church I know and have learned the teachings of because I’m not seeking to know the truth in various ways. Trust me, our situation is much more than just a disagreement about a female pastor.

          2. I grew up Roman Catholic and learned their teachings and went so far as to be confirmed in the Catholic faith. Trust me when I tell you that I am no longer a practicing Roman Catholic for many reasons.

            You are being selfish here, when you say that you don’t want to leave your church because you grew up in this church that you know and learned it’s teachings. For whatever reason, your husband no longer feels comfortable there. Would it hurt you to go to the church that your husband attends? Unless it’s a Mormon or Jehovah Witness Church, I don’t see how that would be an issue. The bible clearly states that we as wives are to submit to our husbands. You are doing everything BUT submitting to him, which is what we are called to do.

            I will continue to pray for you my sister-in Christ.

        2. Alicia,

          I sounds like you are searching and I appreciate your candid responses. I agree that the Lord will help you through this if you continue to have a heart open to His Will.

          I lived with a wife who for 20 years was sure she was more spiritual than I was, because she was! She knew it, I knew it, maybe the kids knew it, but my spiritual life did not take off until she “won me without a Word” by being obedient herself to God’s Word.

          What we both discovered was that no matter how much more she read her Bible, and how much more she lived a more righteous life, we were both New Creatures in Christ and both completely covered by the righteousness of the Lord Jesus, not our own righteousness. She decided to take submission to the Lord and in turn to me seriously, and such a display of true obedience has indeed made our relationship One as I have fallen madly in love with her the past 10 years.

          I have to laugh at the Email your husband sent, because for many years I sent lots of emails to my wife. Emails allowed me to express my thoughts clearly while not having to battle her argumentative nature. She argues better than me, and does not have to follow the laws of logic at times, as her feelings seem to trump logic. It was a vicious no win cycle.

          Bottom line is that when she obeyed God, everything God promised came true in our marriage. I had always loved her, but she never felt loved enough. I always loved the Lord, but she felt I was not righteous or spiritual enough. I never felt I could measure up. When she started respecting me and submitting, she found she got everything she wanted from our marriage and life. Ironic perhaps, but it is God’s way of doing things. His order and design.

          Good luck to you on your journey and I hope it does not take you and your husband 20 years to figure it out like it did us. But God is patient, and unfortunately it was the two of us that really lost out. We could have had so many happy years so much earlier.

          1. David,
            I appreciate your story and am grateful you and your wife found your way to each other spiritually. Our stories seem almost switched around as I can relate to how YOU felt. Since my husband has found his new church, it’s as though he acts more spiritual than I. I’ve wondered if I can ever measure up to his expectations of reading the Bible and knowing its every word, which is something that has never felt natural for me, even during parochial school. My husband and I have discussed how we serve the Lord different – he through the Word and I through my time. But we’ve also had the discussion where my husband has told me he worries about my salvation because I don’t follow the Bible like he feels it should be followed. Feeling judged by your spouse makes your marriage hard because your spouse is supposed to be one person who loves you unconditionally. I felt my husband made a big decision and left me completely in the dark…until it was too late. At the time we hit our lowest point in this situation, he was able to tell me that it wasn’t just the church situation but that he felt unhappy in our marriage and that he was finding comfort and support with the people and pastors of his new church. So now bitterness settles in me because I feel that I am now judged by people I don’t know (because I don’t know what he’s told these people about me or our marriage (because he won’t tell me)).
            There’s so much more going on than just our disagreement in following the Word, whether it be word for word or just in our hearts. Yes, our marriage needs the Lord just as any marriage, and we both agree we would love to worship together again, but with my husband it’s all or nothing – I either follow him completely or not at all. I guess from him I want the support I’ve given him over and over again in our marriage.
            I believe the Lord does have a purpose for having our marriage go through disarray, and I’m sure it’s to bring us closer to Him.

    3. Alicia, I’m so sorry for the tough situation you and your husband have been going through. I believe God leads and calls us to different things and not everyone will always agree with our choices, and that’s okay.

      1 Corinthians 12:11 says, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” God gifts and calls us to what He wills & chooses, not according to our gender. I love this. Keep following God as He leads you and your family.

      1. Thank you, Tami.
        God is leading our family – my husband, myself, and our kids – just not in the same direction right now. My husband and I need to be more appreciative of each other’s relationship with the Lord instead of hardening our hearts because we’re not doing so in the ways we want or expect it to be.
        May the Lord bless us all as we do our best to live out what He truly wants for each of us…and our Lord is the only one who knows what that is.

    4. I’m new to replying to this kind of blog or format but I don’t believe my opinion will differ than many on here. I have not combed every comment or reply but several assumptions about the holy, inerrant, infallible word if God concern me. In Genesis 3, during the fall of man God makes this claim in verse 16 “Yet your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.” The key word used is “desire”. A bad interpretation says that a woman will have a loving desire for her husband, but if that’s true, why is that a curse? Just one chapter later the word “desire” returns but in a new light. God is informing Cain prior to his murder of Abel that sin is crouching at the door and it’s (sins) “desire” is for you (Cain). The reason the word desire is used in the curse is because the desire a woman would have is for her husbands role and position as head of the household yet he is placed, by God, to be in that position. This conflict shows that women will have a propensity (like Cain) to fall into the crouching hands of sin when it comes to the biblical roles of manhood and womanhood as they will desire the mans positions. The bible is quite clear on the role of pastors in the church. And a true search into the language and cultural background of the text will show that a female pastor is a manifestation of the fall and a product of the curse. In fact, the term pastor in Greek is ποιμήν which is a masculine noun meaning “shepherd”. It’s not feminine and it’s not neutral. But let’s assume the role of pastor and leader of the house of God was open to being a role for woman in the church (which it’s not). Your actions of undermining your husbands leadership and the work at dividing the one flesh union you have is disheartening. He maybe opening up to pastors at that church, but your gossiping with total strangers online about your maturity vs his concerning spiritual matters. Let’s be honest, who is more mature, he who goes to the pastors or she who slanders online? On that note, I love the section in Proverbs 31 that says, “She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.” I challenge that you are not doing him good when you allow division to sit and idleness to prevail in this situation. Even if your spiritual maturity was superior, would you not be committing the sin of the weaker brother when you force him to indulge in an action that he struggles with? As the stronger you would have recognized that the family ties are MORE important than the church ties. Yes a church family is important, it’s required in the life of a Christian. I believe 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is quite clear on the matter and I hope a pray a restoration can take place in the spiritual unity within your marriage. I recognize that the verse I mentioned may sound like a over spiritualized Christian way to say “shut up”, but that’s not my intent. I’m not saying women can’t serve, nor am I saying woman can’t have leadership. But the role of pastor is a masculine call originated by God. If a woman receives that calling I would challenge that it’s not God, but sin crouching at the door prepping to devour the roles as set forth by God.

      1. Marsha,
        I thank you for your response. This post has gone way beyond male vs. female pastor and who’s interpretation of the Word is correct. I pray your marriage your has been free of turmoil as you’ve submitted to your husband in every way. My husband doesn’t want to be HEAD of the household; he wishes for us to be ONE. He understands my disagreements, but that doesn’t mean he accepts them, and the same goes for me with him. I am not expecting him to “indulge” in anything he doesn’t want to be a part of, but him leaving the church may not have been as hurtful if he hadn’t left me in the dark. I am not slandering my husband online because everything I’ve posted is stated in truth. I am not posting my story online to turn complete strangers against my husband, but rather I am using this forum as a means to help guide me through this tough situation. We are all family in the kingdom of the Lord, so as I read through these comments, I ponder the encouragement and discouragement in hopes that the Lord is working through you to help me.

        1. Alicia. I’m deeply concerned. Many statements you are making, are revealing your heart. I pray you print my response, and the other ones and prayerfully consider each thing that is said without arguing with the response immediately.

          following are the responses that bother me:

          I FEEL is best
          How would I feel if MY daughter FELT called
          follow MY heart
          husband walked out without ever discussing wanting to leave
          never said a word of wanting to..
          having to email, telling you he was joining a new church and asking you to follow him
          disagreements and division, not just based on male/female issues
          nor should MY kids be uprooted
          his question: “why do we have to go to the same church every weekend”
          left me completely in the dark
          because he won’t tell me…
          with my husband, it’s all or nothing…I either follow him completely or not..
          he was ABLE to tell me that it wasn’t just the church situation but that he felt unhappy in our marriage and that he was finding COMFORT and SUPPORT with the people and pastors of his new church
          “I pray your marriage your has been free of turmoil as you’ve submitted to your husband in every way”
          husband doesn’t want to be head……be ONE

          I pray you read those sentences carefully, because to me they are major red flags that your man can’t really express himself in your home. I am in no way saying your husband is perfect, but am here discussing your response to him, and how you are being perceived by him. The question he asked you about why you had to go to the same church each week was the clincher. A man who asks his wife a question starting with “why do we have to”, is clearly not head in his home. And he should be, per scripture!! Jesus should be his head and he and Jesus should be one, same as he should be your head and the both of you be one. Oneness does not erase headship. A man doesn’t want to be head because he either a)caters to our culture b) has seen sad abuse of it, +/or c)he knows he truly CAN’T be head in his home without it being a fight. And the next to last statement I included seems to mock the truth that a woman can be happy when she fully submits. She can, and you will be when you do! Alicia, it truly IS an all or nothing. You are either submitted to the LORD or not. As long as you are holding back, you are not submitted. I’m not talking about unknown sin…He reveals that over time. I’m talking about what you know. And as long as you are not obedient to His every command, you are not loving and trusting the LORD. You are cherry picking and independent. Submission comes in where you disagree, so it is ALL. The only time you can’t submit is if he asks you to violate a specific command of God. Oh, and I’ve heard that one juggled as well by those who are often very spiritual sounding….”well, the Lord clearly spoke to me….”. NO, he DIDN’T, if it violated the opinion of your husband. Yes, his opinion. Now,if he tells you to murder your son, then you can disobey him. If he tells you to not be on a certain committee, get off of it. I would even agree a wife should stay home from church if her husband asked her to. Stick with me here. I’m not asking you to bow and scrape. Submission is glad. It is knowing God is in control and you don’t have to be. Whew! Carrying a man’s load as a woman is very wearying. You weren’t meant to carry it. And if your man can’t make a mistake(such as church membership/calling a woman pastor, or whether we should tithe a certain percentage, etc., not to mention the littler things that involve the discipline of your children)without you getting all out of sorts, how are you showing him the grace of God, and what are you teaching your children? Clearly what the world teaches now…men are the insensitive, dominant oafs and women the sensitive and spiritual ones who are constantly emasculating their men(Just remember all the movies where the man, primarily, had to do the changing!. Choosing to stay home from assembly to honor him, is not the same as ‘forsaking the assembly’. Forsaking is an attitude. You yourself know there are proper times to miss an assembly. How about if that woman puts her hope completely in God and tells her husband, “you know, assembling with the believers is important to a believer’s growth, but honoring, respecting and loving you is primarily how I show you my love for God. God teaches me to honor and submit to you, and if I’m disobeying one command to fulfill anther, something is obviously wrong with my thinking, and me leaving you behind without your approval just says to you that I think you’re not very spiritual. Sister, if you were in solitary confinement, as many believers are today, would you be missing church? Technically, yes. But not really. Many, at different times in their lives, have had to miss an assembly. If you, for the love of God and your husband as the primary love in your life(??) would consider that God is faithful and that He can work out the situation, you could do this. I know not all would agree, but I think all WOULD agree with a woman’s intent in that. And that IS what the man sees. Is he your project to reform, or is he simply the man you married and love? Can you JUST LOVE HIM and win him without a word? IMHO, Christ would CALL you to repent of your attitude of spiritual superiority, set your heart to adoring your husband, resign from all committees at your church, leave it, join him in the new church(without judging him or them for what you think he has told them. God can set that straight, and won’t, probably, until you give it completely to him. Repent of your bitterness(know your husband is struggling with the same!) and put your husband first above your children, because I promise you, putting them above him will all come back to bite you in a big way. I know what I’m talking about because I’ve been there, so I’m not judging you. I was the super spiritual wife, and did many things behind his back…things he would have probably never found out unless I told him. I am walking out some of the bitter fruit now. I am deeply concerned, Alicia, and I know you don’t really see the issue. I will be prayerful that He will open your eyes.

        2. While I believe the Bible does not support the practice of women serving as pastors, I do recognize that passages speak clearly and forcibly to the inherent worth and value of the biblical role of women hood. Women in the New Testament engaged in significant ministry, performing valuable service in sometimes-difficult situations. This is readily seen in the Acts of the Apostles. Priscilla and who we assume is her husband spoke privately to Apollos at Ephesus (Acts 18:24-26), correcting his incomplete and flawed theology. Further, women clearly played a significant role in the work of the Apostle Paul. In his letter to the Romans, Paul identified sixteen significant helpers in ministry (16:1-16), and at least ten of them were women. Who knows what the health of the church at Philippi would have been were it not for Lydia (Acts 16:13-15), apparently a benefactor to the church, and others such as Euodia and Syntyche (Phil. 4:2-3)? And of course, women made a significant contribution to Jesus’ ministry. Luke recalled with appreciation their financial support and company with Him (Luke 8:1-3). With all this being said, I find it a major red flag that you are part of a “church” body that fails to plant itself into proper biblical theology concerning Men and Women. A female pastor who advises that you follow your heart is clear representation that it not God because A)Biblically speaking she really isn’t called to pastor but is continuing to teach false doctrine by living in a manifestation of desiring the role that God has called for specific elect men. and B) The holy scriptures talk about the dark corruption of the human heart. I’m not giving her interpretations of the Bible, I’m giving you empirical data as quoted from scripture. What scripture even halfway accepts the role of Pastor to be practiced by a female?

          The place to begin is to ask, “What does the Bible say?” Even a cursory reading of the pertinent texts reveals three important observations:
          1) there were no known women pastors in New Testament times;
          2) none of the instructions regarding church order include instructions for women pastors;
          3) some texts on church order explicitly forbid women to occupy that role.

          Concerning your marriage, your actions on this post….regardless of whether or not its truth undermine the leadership of your home creating division. Mark 10:9 “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” — Matthew 19:6 “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” I recognize this is hard news and may appear like salt in a freshly opened wound, but if a pastor or minister or any person of God is allowing you to stagnate your marriage and let the devil seep in the fractures of your marriage body by advising you to “follow your heart” is leading you down the road to divorce. When the storm comes you are going to be glad people called you out in your error and pushed you to prepare and you will curse those who lovingly embraced yet provided no true preparation. If your husband has a flawed view of the roles of a man or husband, then you don’t need to be here talking to us nor does he need to be talking to his pastors YOU BOTH…. TOGETHER need to be in good pastoral biblical marriage counseling. Yes following god may cause our families to hate us, but that verse should not be interpreted as hate between husband and wife. The marriage is supposed to be the image of God’s relationship with us, so when your marriage is not that you purse help not separately, but unified together.

  17. Courtney, I’m not sure you read every comment on here, but I just wanted to say, “thank you”. In a world ridden with people thinking they know better then the Creator of the Universe, it’s so refreshing to hear the Bible and God being taken at His word. This was a brave post. There are so many things in the Bible that perhaps don’t make sense to us, but that is where faith comes in. It seems as if women, who have such a caring and approachable nature would be so well suited for a position like an elder. However, God does not call women for that role and we MUST respect His wishes. No matter how much it doesn’t make sense. That is true faith; taking the unpopular position because we have full trust in God and His plan.

  18. I thought this was very good, Courtney. I grew up in church, but lately, I’ve started to stray…had some things happen in my life, and I became disillusioned and bored……I haven’t been as faithful to my home church, as it doesn’t really feel like I belong there anymore. Trouble is, it’s very difficult to find a solid Bible-preaching church in the area. I’m looking for a place where I can use my gifts and talents, but where the preaching is relevant to my life and situation. You could be in prayer for me that God will direct my path…it’s very difficult for me to feel like I don’t belong in the traditional church setting that I grew up in..and exploring a different stripe of Christianity (visiting a different church) has been weird for me as well, as I can’t fully agree with their doctrinal stance on things. In 2008 I was visiting a church that believed it was okay for women to be elders in the church, and something from one of the small groups that I attended I thought was a little askew doctrinally too…however that church had small groups with people who were in the same life stage as I was- unmarried and single. It’s very difficult to try to “fit in” with a traditional church that seems to forget about its single members. But thank you for writing this post. Even as a gal who’s in her early thirties, it’s very easy to feel like I have no “older woman” to help mentor and guide me along the way. Would you please consider writing a series for younger women like me- early singles, in their thirties who are seeking godly guidance on life issues, career, relationships, community, etc.? It’s probably because I don’t know very many people, but are there actual older women out there who are actively mentoring younger women like me? Because we need it. Thank you!

    1. Have you reached out to an older woman at church that you could see yourself in a mentoring relationship with and asked if she would pray about getting together for lunch or coffee to discuss it? That’s basically how my mentoring relationship started.

  19. THANK YOU, Courtney! You nailed it right on the head. So many pick and choose what parts of the Bible they want to ignore and which they want to follow.
    There is a wonderful book explaining this and many subjects about eldership in the church. It is a bit dry, but well worth the full read. A lot of Scripture and footnotes.
    Biblical Eldership By: Alexander Strauch

    My husband and I read it several years ago. Unfortunately it is in storage at the moment so I cannot quote directly from it. The gist of the section about women spoke on how it was not seen in the early Church and elevating women to a position of authority over men {older women are called to teach the younger women}, is even called a disgrace. Even with Deborah {Judges 4 & 5}, it was in a way in which it demoted Barak not edifying him. There is an order to the structure of Leadership. Just as a God is over man and man over woman.
    Women can be great leaders! Within the boundaries GOD set. I think of women like Beth Moore, Pricilla Shirer and others who lead wonderful ministries and Bible Studies. I do believe our role is NO less significant in the Church, as we are covered, encouraged, edified and admonished as part of the Body of Christ. God is Good and His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are above our thoughts and I am so grateful for His Word and His Spirit filling me and guiding me each day!

  20. “For the time will come when they will NOT endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And they shall TURN AWAY their ears from the TRUTH and shall be turned into fables. 2Tim 4:3-4 KJV” (caps my own).
    Paul I believe is talking about a time like now in history where we have so many churches and preachers saying what ever they believe is truth not what the world of God says is truth. People want what is easy what is fun the broad road. The narrow road is hard to sallow dying to self is not easy or fun and people don’t want to hear about it.

  21. Here’s something that may not appear to be linked, but I suspect that it may actually be: the Bible was written to men, for men, by men. It was given to MEN so that they could LEAD, and TEACH their families. So THEY could RUN the church. Women taking the scriptures and TEACHING men with it is an abomination to God. HE set the order of things.

    It’s great you have a lot of women who are responsive to your message, however I see that you also have a number of rebellious women who will NOT submit and surrender to the order that God has prescribed for everyone to follow.

    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.

    35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

    36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

    37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

    38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

    39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

    40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

  22. Courtney, What do you think is sound doctrine on the subject of slavery? Many Christians who argued for the preservation of slavery felt that the abolitionists (who wanted to end slavery) were not taking the Bible seriously and threatened it’s authority.

    I’m confused, because by the standard you teach God’s Word speaks plainly on this!

    Genesis 9:26-27
    “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Shem!
    May Canaan be the slave of Shem.
    27 May God extend Japheth’s[a] territory;
    may Japheth live in the tents of Shem,
    and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.”

    Deuteronomy 20:10-11
    10 “When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. 11 And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you.

    Ephesians 6:5
    5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.

    Colossians 3:22-25
    22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.

    Colossians 4:1
    1 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

    I Timothy 6:1-2
    6 All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves.

    According to my research, in biblical times, Israelite slaves were automatically freed after six years of work, and/or at the next Jubilee. Non-Israelite slaves could be enslaved indefinitely and were to be treated as inheritable property.

    1. I would like to reply. The Hebrews were in slavery to Egypt, but God did not want them to be slaves to man any longer. He brought them out of Egypt as His own possession. He gave Moses laws in the OT. As these were given, we still have nations who practice these things. The laws show how other people are to be treated. Slaves were not to be kept indefinitely because they were to remember that God brought them out of Egypt as slaves. The law did permit those to be slaves who were happy with their masters. It was voluntary. I think it also gave them some protections. In the NT times, slavery had changed some. The Romans were in charge of much of the world. Even though Jesus died to set all who believe in Him free, the world’s rules were different. As long as slavery was legal, these believers were to show they were different than the world. The world was not practicing God’s laws about slavery. I don’t think God wants people to be slaves of people. He told Adam and Eve to rule over all the animals and to keep the garden. This is not servitude to other people or nations, but then the fall. Humans want to rule over other people instead of doing what God originally said. Now slavery is no longer recognized in the US, but we do have to submit to governing authorities and bosses at work and work as we are working for God and not for men.

      1. But Courtney said: “The Bible is truth – it is not subjective – or determined by the subject or person. It is not relative to time, location and people groups. It is absolute truth. “. Texts about slavery shouldn’t change meaning depending on time or location.

        1. You’re correct, Annabell, that the Bible does not condemn slavery. What it does condemn is the poor treatment of those slaves. It calls slaves to be in subjection to their masters, but it also calls for the masters to treat them well and fairly. Slavery, as awful as it seems, would not have the stigma attached to it if those slaves were treated fairly, paid well, shown kindness, etc…. The problem is not in slavery itself, but in the treatment of those slaves, which God does address. Furthermore, the Bible calls us to be in bondage (slavery) to Christ. But what a loving and just master He is 🙂

          1. “The problem is not in slavery itself, but in the treatment of those slaves, which God does address. ”

            No, no, no, no , no, sister.

            This is why context and history is so important. The slavery mentioned has nothing to do with the horrific modern slavery that has and does exist. Please take the time to research the meaning of these verses.

            God’s heart is always that the captive become free.

      2. Annabell..I’m so glad you brought this subject up.

        1. Cor. 7:21 20Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called. 21Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. 22For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave.…

        Clearly, by the above verse, the Lord encourages freedom from slavery, just like He provided for slaves to be freed under the old covenant. But He says not to worry about it. Now that is a hard one for a modern westerner! And He reminds us, that yes, we are still bond slaves. If a person can keep a right heart toward his master, as many who are in prison for their faith do joyfully, and so win their captors to Jesus, then that person can truly be said to be free and that he/she understands true freedom, whether bodily captive to another man or not.

        This plays out in marriage, too. Look at the following passage:

        Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are BEATEN for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For TO THIS YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED, because Christ also SUFFERED for you, leaving you an example, so that you might FOLLOW in his steps.
        3 LIKEWISE, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct

        Are we supposed to believe that the God who commended slaves for submitting to unjust masters that beat them, and allowed the suffering of Christ, is giving women a pass? In chapter 3, verse 1, where it says, LIKEWISE(referring back to the suffering the slave is enjoined to and that Christ suffered), this word clearly implies she should arm herself for potential harsh treatment. Ok, I know I just lost some of you here, but stay with me. I’m a woman, btw, so I’m speaking for my own sex. If Christ suffered at the hands of others, and slaves were allowed by God to do so, and our brothers and sisters in other lands do it joyfully, why can a woman not bear up under a brute of a husband in faith, without fear, as Peter says further on? I am here NOT saying it’s right, nor preferred, and there are women who have grown up with abuse, and marry right back into it and to them it is normal. And many of these women are very attached to those bullies. These are sad situations indeed, as most of them don’t even know how to pray in faith. So, along comes a girl like me, raised in church, knowing how a woman should be treated by a godly man, and if my(your?) husband so much as raises his voice, ignores me, won’t talk, won’t discuss the budget, or keeps other things from me for whatever reason, we start screaming abuse, don’t we? Emotional abuse is the big psychological word now, and we’re seeing more divorces as a result! Wow. We have come a long way, baby! NOT! If a slave has to bear up, so can we. We can pray with pure forgiving hearts and ask the Lord to be our strength to love and YES, respect him, because it’s his office. We want to be loved even when we’ve blown it, and that is the man’s hardest task. He would just assume walk away when we’ve disrespected his leading, but he is called to stay and love to the death. But we aren’t??

  23. Way to go Courtney. This is God’s design. He is always right whether we agree or not. I’m proud of you for being brave enough to say it on God’s behalf. Just cling to the passage that states that “All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16 Keep the faith! Praying for you!

  24. American churches, by and large, have used “cultural context ” to more graciously apply vs 6 in that we allow single men , divorced, widowed and remarried men to be elders . As well we acknowledge that great Christian parents don’t always produce great Christian kids who walk with The Lord, and yet we allow these fathers to be elders . So why should we also not use “cultural context ” to interpret that the culture of the day would not have accepted a woman but the culture of 2014 would without question? It feels a bit like faulty logic to not use outside text to interpret this passage . Let me qualify that by saying I am a bible teacher who teaches from typed manuscripts to eliminate titles which interpret for us what the passage might be saying so I totally agree with focusing on scriptural text for first interpretation but I also know my understanding of scripture is based on my cultural lens which limits my understanding . In times like this I value outside research and text to help broaden my understanding.

  25. Thank you for sharing this controversial post, Courtney. I am one who believes that men should be elders according to how I understand what is written in scripture. I, too, struggle with what to take at “face value” and what gets” blurred” in translation. I must say that it is hard for me to compare scripture that talks about not cutting hair or covering our heads to the specific position of elder/teacher in the church. The former things are cultural. I don’t know, perhaps we should be taking this scripture at it’s word, too. But I don’t like to compare them with the high calling of teaching in the church.

  26. Thank you, Courtney, for not actually answering the question for us, but pointing us to read the scripture and God’s Truth. I appreciate that you did not share your feelings or experience on the subject but relied solely on His Word. Our feelings and experience are not Truth. We always have to examine our hearts against scripture because Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart is deceitful above all things. Thank you for standing firm and encouraging us!

  27. Thank you for the scripture Courtney. I recently taught a bible study at my church and this topic came up. The one thing in our study we found is that we are ALL called to be witnesses for Christ and even teachers. However, being a preacher, pastor, or elder is a very different calling and sometimes what people feel is a calling is us wanting to do what we want to do and we claim it as a calling. Thank you also for mentioning that you didn’t give an option but pure scripture. Too often we take Gods word and try to make it say what we want and you quoted it and it’s clear that even as Christians some still want to twist his word to fit our personal wants and needs. Blessings to you for using your gift to speak HIS truth without falter.

  28. I agree, more women are pastors because of the feminism movement not the bible. If Jesus wanted to put women in the position of leadership why are the 12 disciples all men? Women can be soul winners but not the head of the church.

    1. I believe that Jesus chose 12 men to be his apostles (not disciples — many many women were disciples or students) because the people of that time would not have accepted healing from women. Jesus chose the apostles to go out not just teaching but healing the people because he could not care for all. As Jesus chose to appear to Mary Magdalene first, I have to believe that she was a very important disciple of his (regardless of what men in leadership positions have lead the world to believe about her).

      Also, though tradition holds that there were 12 apostles, the 4 gospels do not agree on who they were. John doesn’t even name 5 of them!

    2. Hi. Just a quick, but important, clarification. The 12 were Apostles, there were many disciples – both men and women.

  29. Thank you for being bold. I am in charge of the Women’s ministry at my home church, and occasionally am a speaker. I think that women struggle with this passage because they don’t understand the differences between authority and leadership. I am often able to speak with authority, not because I have it, but because God’s Word is the authority. Likewise I am able to lead in a Biblical manner, because the Bible tells me how! Often my a Bible teacher is very pastoral. Not any of those things makes me pastor or an elder. We, men & women alike, need recognize that our gifts must be exercised for the benefit of the Church, and that we must do that within the boundaries that God has given us.

  30. I want to thank you, Courtney, for stepping out in Faith and addressing these important truths from God’s Word. Scripture speaks for itself! I am lifting you up in prayer and all these dear ladies that read your blog, that the Lord will pour out HIS truths in our hearts and replace any errors we may have learned or held onto. All Scripture is given to us by God and was completely inspired by Him. I believe it is safest to say He meant exactly what He said. Yes, we need to look at who it was written to and the content as a whole, but these scriptures were written to the Churches and to me the interpretation is clear. There is an authority structure(an order) that the Lord set up from the beginning of time, that is now applied to the Church according to this verse. It does not appear to be just a social custom.
    1 Timothy 2:12-14 “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. “

  31. I agree completely. I love how you continually point us to scripture for answers instead of relying on our own feelings or opinions. So thank you for that 🙂

  32. I think it’s of upmost importance to do research behind scripture when reading. The English language does little to convey the original greek and hebrew text accurately. Particularly when discuss major topics like this – you MUST go back to the original hebrew and greek – and the situation of the early church and why Paul addressed this topic in the first place.

    Although the word “man” is used in 3:1, 5 for someone seeking the office of Bishop, the Greek word used is tis, a neuter word meaning male or female. Had Paul wanted to communicate that this office was to be limited to the male gender, he would have used the word andron which specifies male only. In the KJ on Titus 1:6, the word is also tis.

    I’m certainly not going to go into a huge debate on this topic – because this type of discussion does not win souls to Jesus Christ – in fact – sinners seeing other Christians get into heated debates of these issues does more to drive them away.

    1. The Greek word used in Titus 1:6 is “Aner” – which means a male human being; a man, husband.

      For further study of the Greek text I encourage you to read here:

      We do depend on Hebrew and Greek scholars to translate scripture into English – but we must remember that they are scholars and they have worked diligently to translate the passages without error. They used “husband of one wife” because that is the meaning of the original text. But I do think it is wise if you disagree with the translation to research it – it is something I do often because I like to see the truth for myself. Just go to this link for clarification.
      Lots of Love,

  33. MEN and WOMEN will continue to be led by God to preach! NONE of these heated debates will change that. God will continue to use them to save souls for HIS kingdom. End of story.

  34. Thanks Courtnery, I had a similar chat with a friend last week. I quoted Paul’s instructions and she insisted that I was being legalistic about the matter. The truth is following God’s word is hard work and we need the humility to take in all the ‘hard’ instructions. The bible is clear on what we should do..everything else is in rebellion. Thought I’d share this link with all of you
    Stay blessed

    1. I dont think Rachel Held Evans would agree with Courtney on this post. In fact she most recently has announced she doesnt want to be considered evangelic anymore either as she finds that she no longer identifies with orthodoxy.

    2. I enjoyed Rachel Held Evans entire series on mutuality. RHE’s articles were well articulated and researched. 🙂

  35. Some are called to be teachers, some are called to be preachers, some are called to be ministers of the gospel, 1 Cor: 27-31a. Says so much more than we can… but, also in my thoughts and opinion on some of this in the end it is that it doesn’t matter if we each pass on chances to win the lost because some people think it is not their place…We have let down the kingdom…
    Would I hesitate to share my exciting news about the car that really has impressed me and won my vote of confidence with a quieter voice than I would use to share my joy and happiness at being saved with a person whether male or female…no and if that spot happens to be with a bigger group than some one I just met or even someone I have known for ages, I would be seriously failing in my call as I hear it from the throne room of heaven.
    All must share, it’s just that some have pulpits to share from and some have car-pools and some have soccer bleechers, some have water cooler conversations in an office, and some have it on GO Transits systems, the important thing is that we have that God-Appointed conversation, whether we are male or female…
    In the end what matters is doing what we are instructed and it will not please everyone with skin on, but if we are seeking to please the Lord and Serve Him and His purposses then male or female matters not because according to scriptures there is neither male or female in heaven we will all be singing and praisiing and hopefuly doing so with the people’s souls God set up for us to share our very personal faith with.
    Hopefully people will be kind here because we all obviously have an opinion and the real thing is we know and settle it in our hearts and somehow still have unity in the kingdom as we share and walk with our differences… lets not shoot our soliders; and let us have a huge huge awe-inspiring respect for God Almighty.

    1. Way to tackle such a controversial topic! I have always grew up knowing what the bible clearly instructs from its pastors, elders, and teachers. My Dad is a minister and is now a Pastor to his own church, I grew up in the UPCI church with without getting into a debate with others and/or downing their choice of church I will say that my family we personally are blessed to be out of what we consider a very unhealthy church. But, I did learn the distinct roles of women and men from their teachings right out of the bible.
      I believe that women CAN be wonderful teachers of the word and spread the gospel, but are not meant to hold a position of Pastoring a church or being over others in certain roles. Being a woman myself of course this did not always sit well with me, nor did I understand it, especially in the age we live in with ‘equality for all’ but if we wish to stay true to the bible, the whole bible and not just pick out the pieces and parts that suit us, then we would all agree and understand it is clear on the role of who should and should not govern over the church body.
      Women however are instrumental to spreading the gospel, helping others especially women, and being there to support their husbands and pastors. A great example of this is your blog here, you are a writer, you have a blog following of mostly women I am sure 😉 and you give great advice! A man trying to write and maintain a blog like this would have a horrible time trying to get the messages across in the way that you do. 🙂 so we each have roles that God gives us, he made these for reasons and while we may not like them, you just have to decide if you will follow Gods plan and what he laid out for our lives.

      Yes, of course you would share Gods word, love and your experiences and lessons with someone. But as far as leading others in a congregation and having followers to lead, the bible is very clear on this position as to who should be pastors, who should also be elders. It gives in depth descriptions of each and the role for it.

  36. Great discussion and one I feel believers need to have–to learn how to divide truth–and Truth comes from God’s Word. One thing I really took from Courtney’s post that scared me—there are teachers in the church who do not know the Lord. It makes me want to re-evaluate my children’s Sunday School teachers just to make sure what they are teaching is true. Also as a SS teacher, I want to make doubly sure I am in the Word of God and teaching it correctly.

  37. I agree 100% with this because it is just scripture, and I cannot argue with God’s Word. I have not found a verse that says it is open to my own interpretation. So, I accept it, by faith, that God inspired Paul, and the other writers of the Bible by the Holy Spirit, to write what I need to know to walk holy before Him. Is my faith simple? Yes. I have enough in this life that is complicated. If stating just scripture causes us to be Bereans, then it has accomplished it’s purpose. Thank you, Courtney. May you continue to be strengthened to teach and exhort as God leads you by His Spirit.

  38. Oh how I agree with your humble, yet honest words… or rather the Scripture you have posted. :o) I also love to write and share Scripture with other ladies but I’m always careful to stay in my place. Thank you so much for sharing. It’s rare to see a lady share on this topic… May God richly bless you.

  39. Courtney: I must speak the truth in love and respectfully disagree with the conclusion of this post. As many have said, we must read Scripture in context. Also, our English translations are very limited since English doesn’t have the richness and diversity of Greek. Also, unfortunately, some of the translations are not necessarily neutral, as translators with specific agendas will interpret Greek words to correspond. I have studied this issue and am still studying. I would commend the work of Dr. Kenneth Bailey in his analysis of 1 Corinthians. He is a well-respected scholar who reads and understands and has studies various Middle Eastern language translations of Scripture and has concluded that Paul’s words have been taken out of context and used by men through translations and interpretations to further their desire to have men retain control over leadership.
    When reading Scripture, we have to look at its context–what Jesus, Paul and the other apostles did, not just said. Jesus and Paul exemplified honoring women as equal partners in ministry, and Jesus especially broke down the gender barriers put in place by men. If He and Paul served alongside women and commended their service, then why would they contradict their actions with words? Of course, they wouldn’t. Please see the link below that makes some of these points, looking at Scripture.

  40. Courtney, I said a special prayer for you this morning because this must be very difficult for you to speak about. I loved how you pointed out that you are not telling people what you believe, but rather what it says in God’s Word. I spent much of the weekend pondering Proverbs 3:5-6. God knows what He is doing and while I sometimes question why He says what He does, my job is to listen and obey what He says to do. Stay strong sister. Your goal is not be liked here on earth, but rather to please your Father in Heaven.

  41. The bible was written for a certain audience but with us in mind for the future. Thanks for being so bold in saying things that you know may cause some disagreements. Now what makes us different than the world, is how we can lovingly discuss our disagreements and interpretations.

  42. Courtney,
    I have to confess that when I saw your post, I was a bit nervous at the answer you would arrive at and share with others. God bless you for handling God’s Word with truth and accuracy.

    I am afraid that the world is :creeping in unnoticed” far too much, and attempting to influence us in dangerous ways. My husband is an elder and I am a teacher. We follow God’s Word and we don’t try to alter anything so that we can satisfy or tickle anyone’s ears.

    My husband is concerned that due to the lack of spiritual leaders (men), women are being called. I believe that as well, but would add that women get into a dangerous situation by seeing a need and thinking they can fulfill that need. Beware of that thinking!

  43. I agree with you my sister that Scripture speaks clearly on this issue. I do think we have to be careful
    to reject what pastors and theologians say since we are called a priesthood of believers. We have such a wealth of info thru the great cloud of witnesses that has gone before us.

  44. Just feeling like you don’t need more comments Courtney, but wanted to encourage you……

  45. Way to tackle such a controversial topic! I have always grew up knowing what the bible clearly instructs from its pastors, elders, and teachers. My Dad is a minister and is now a Pastor to his own church, I grew up in the UPCI church with without getting into a debate with others and/or downing their choice of church I will say that my family we personally are blessed to be out of what we consider a very unhealthy church. But, I did learn the distinct roles of women and men from their teachings right out of the bible.
    I believe that women CAN be wonderful teachers of the word and spread the gospel, but are not meant to hold a position of Pastoring a church or being over others in certain roles. Being a woman myself of course this did not always sit well with me, nor did I understand it, especially in the age we live in with ‘equality for all’ but if we wish to stay true to the bible, the whole bible and not just pick out the pieces and parts that suit us, then we would all agree and understand it is clear on the role of who should and should not govern over the church body.
    Women however are instrumental to spreading the gospel, helping others especially women, and being there to support their husbands and pastors. A great example of this is your blog here, you are a writer, you have a blog following of mostly women I am sure 😉 and you give great advice! A man trying to write and maintain a blog like this would have a horrible time trying to get the messages across in the way that you do. 🙂 so we each have roles that God gives us, he made these for reasons and while we may not like them, you just have to decide if you will follow Gods plan and what he laid out for our lives.

  46. Courtney,
    I have to admit that I even though I receive your posts in my inbox I do not always read them… many I have not recently. However, last weeks Monday email caught my eye. I’m so thankful to God for that! I read it right away and was so excited!

    I LOVE and APPRECIATE your heart for teaching and laying out God’s TRUTH! Thank you for your boldness and courage to face these tough topics that come up. God’s Word is so very clear and I pray that women will read His word and understand how clear it is.

    I love that God gave us women knowledge on how we are to minister to others and be His light in this world. But He clearly gives us boundaries because he knew we would need to know our boundaries as women. Even on those days where I want to trump my husband, I’m so thankful to the Lord for laying out clearly how my Husband is to lead our family, to lead me and our children. I love my role as wife and mother and daughter; and how I can serve in my capacity.

    Again, thank you for the way you are serving God’s Kingdom with boldness and Godly Wisdom! God bless you and your ministry and your family. BIG HUG TO YOU sister!

  47. 1 Tim 2:11-13
    11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.

    That verse was addressing a specific problem in the church 2000 years ago that some background helps to understand. During that time period women were not educated…at ALL. When families went to synagogue back then the women sat on one side while their husband’s sat on the other side. When the leader would read scripture and teach the women would SPEAK OUT to their husband’s across the isle asking questions about what was said. Just imagine a bunch of wives on one side asking their husbands questions on the other side *during the services* while this occurred. It was very disruptive. For that reason when Paul was teaching Timothy who was pastoring he instructed it would be best for “women to learn in silence *in the services*”.

    1. I agree Tina. Women weren’t allowed to learn but now Paul was saying,”let a woman learn” – this was revolutionary! This is why it’s so important to understand the context. 🙂

    2. It was disruptive when women were shouting out during Sabbath services. They were to go home and learn form their husbands who are their covering.

  48. Hi Courtney,
    I thank you for being willing to take on these difficult subjects. I agree with scripture and therefore God as well. But this is a subject that is under attack today. Thank you and I will be praying for you as you continue uphold God’s word. :o)

  49. Excellent insight from the word of God! Tozer’s quote is thought provoking
    as well. I do not see you as a pastor, but one sharing wisdom with women,
    not men. May God bring you strength through HIS word.

  50. Thank you for your post. I must agree with you and stand on the scripture as written. I have two female family members, although raised in the same denomination, disagree. They believe that women can hold leadership positions if led to do so and equally capable as a man. Feminism has crept into our churches and scriptures are often twisted in order to “fit” what we want it to say.

  51. I appreciate what you are saying. We cannot win the world if we are like them. We need to love the Lord with all our hearts and lean not unto our own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our path. We need to read God’s Word and believe it. Thank you for sharing the Scripture with us.

  52. Courtney, Thank you. I know this is not a popular thing to discuss. We have to trust God and His Word. More importantly, we have to obey God and His Word. This topic raises the hackles because the Word of God is able to divide bone and marrow — in other words, it reveals what is really in our hearts. If we balk at the plain teaching of God, then it is we who are thinking wrongly and need to change our thinking. If we expect God to kowtow to our thinking then we are creating God in our image, rather than being transformed into His. We are called to examine ourselves daily, to put to death the flesh, and to walk after Him. Will we travel the broad way of the flesh or the narrow way of Christ?

  53. This is amazing Courtney! I love how you just posted the scripture and let it speak for itself! Anyone who is arguing against the points “you” made are simply arguing against the word of God. I am so encouraged to see other woman taking a stand for God’s truth, I’m loving this series, thank you!

  54. I grew up ( 60 years old) and heard a many women preachers. I always felt uncomfortable with it. I find it very easy to believe that a women can teach, even reaching out in a way that touches the heart of men. I feel scripture is clear in who should be an elder, deacon and pastor. I am a very indepenent woman who will share my opinion, but I do not feel I can take on the role of a man in the church. I can be very strong on a woman being paid fairly for equal work and many of these types of things. I don’t feel these are against what the Bible says. I teach children, work in an all male media tech group and have even passed communion trays when the deacon who was suppose to be doing it failed to show up. I will not take a spiritual leadership role over the men in the church.

  55. Courtney, thank you so much for being willing to tackle this ever-more-controversial topic! It takes courage, and a solid confidence in the Word of God. I have been growing increasingly uneasy at the prevalence of female pastors in our country, but haven’t had the opportunity to share something publicly about it. I am so thankful for your boldness, for this series about sound doctrine, and for your sweet testimony of integrity. Praying God blesses you richly with Himself, as you take even greater stands for Him!

  56. I agree wholeheartedly. It was with a very heavy heart that I left my church years ago because they appointed a woman tovthe position of not only pastor, but head pastor. I feel the church is where we are supposed to be led and encouraged to follow the word of God, not taught how to twist it and compromise it to fit our beliefs. To me that’s just backwards. I believe in exegesis, not eisegesis. I love that you just put it out there without your interpretations. Great job, Courtney!

  57. Great job, Courtney!!
    Sticking to the truth of scripture is best.
    God knows best. It’s His design and I agree!
    Keep spreading Truth and Keep your faith in Jesus!

  58. Thank you for sharing the scriptures — Those that are balking at this Truth, need to look again 🙂

  59. I just received insight from the Lord on this very matter…..I was an elder at my church and felt used by God and so fulfilled. I saw something though that so bothered me… husband started being angry with me and short tempered. I started to see a difference in him towards me. He was asked to be a usher and I was appointed an elder. I was reading the very passages you quoted and it hit me, a husband of one wife. There is no mention of a elder being a woman. I left the church with great sadness, but, I know I honored the Lord in my decision! My husband is the leader of my home and not me, it is his God given roll. I embrace being a homeschool mother of 4. I will honor the Lord. I so love my Pastor at our former church, but, I so feel he is elevating women in men roles. Isn’t this the problem with our country now. Men are losing and abandoning their roles as leaders in the home and there goes the family unit. I understand some women will hate me for my post! But, I know without a shadow of a doubt this is really a spiritual problem and itching of women’s ears and heaping up of pastors that do so. Women need to quit letting their emotions rule their spirits and submit to what the Word of God says. God help our country!

    1. Praise God Renee. The spirit of God within you, convicted you, when you were in rebellion. Praising Him for your obedience, to His design, for your role as a woman. It is beautiful to see other women grow. Hoping your new church teaches His word accurately, verse by verse. 🙂

    2. Renee,
      Thank you for sharing your heart. I am so happy to hear that you are doing all that God has asked of you!

    3. Renee that is so awesome that you put feet to your obedience. Jesus said we love him if we obey his commands. Scripture is clear. Eldership is a man’s God-ordained role. There are many women who are in the same situation that you were but they won’t see, listen or obey. Praising God for your bold move to put your God and your family first!!! 🙂

  60. Scripture is clear about this topic and i think you displayed it. I think there is a power struggle and not enough surrender and trusting in the Holy Spirit to do His thing in God’s timing. Women want to fix something that’s not working. I think because men are not accepting and being obedient to the calling God has called them to, women are not trusting God in who He is and the power we as believers have through the Holy Spirit, therefore taking the reigns and stepping up to the “call.” This drives me nuts. I have a hard time understanding how a ministry can be blessed when the start of it is not God honoring?
    God has called the man to lead, it lines up so perfectly with how God designed them and how He designed man and woman to work together, within marriage… and in ministry. As a woman and mom of 3 little babes, i grew up in a home that was very dysfunctional. My mom was a single mom for most of my life and when she would get in to a relationship she made it known what the rules were and how she was in charge. I didn’t grow up in the church but yet i knew the way she was acting was not what i desired for myself or my future family. Once i got saved i have searched it out for my own as to what it looks like to be a Godly woman, wife, friend… I was never taught those things or shown what it looks like. I am grateful that i have been able dig deep and let the Lord lead me through His Word regarding those topics. I am by far no amazing woman, but i desire and strive to honor Him in every aspect of my life, i fail… a lot, but His grace is sufficient and His strength is perfect. To think of what our church, world would look like if we truly obeyed and took the Word for what it is… Truth, and stopped trying to mix in our emotions and ‘follow your heart’ attitude. Thank you for this post.

  61. What a topic 🙂
    It is so important to take the scripture for what it says, but this perspective is specifically addressing the western church. What about in many places around the world where there are mostly women believers and very few men, and the men do not qualify as elders? Does a persons character come 2nd to their gender? Just thinking Jesus is probably not mad at woman pastors in China 🙂
    What about the definition of church? It is not the building but all areas do our lives… May I teach my son? Only certain topics? Can I teach him as long as it’s not from a pulpit? Only until he is 18? If God is apart do all aspects of our lives and not just in a ministry setting then there has to be some answers other than this…
    Not trying to go against anyone who disagrees with me, just coming with a perspective other than the Western Church.
    Believing for the Holy Spirit to come and guide us all!
    Thanks for your article

    1. Linz. I have asked these kinds of questions before, but I found out they can be a slippery slope. Did God really say? That was Satan’s question. And questions that imply that God didn’t think of every potential situation actually dishonor his all-knowing and wisdom, as if He hadn’t thought about it before we did. God will always provide, and as has been discussed here on other posts, sharing my faith as a woman, and sharing what the Lord is teaching me in a class setting, is far different than leading a group, though even that must be done in the right spirit. I can ‘share’, but really be teaching. Been there, done that!! I believe if godly women will take their place, men will fill their own proper spots. Many women use the passive man as an excuse to take the reigns, when actually those men are in that position because women have demoted them to it. Of course, you can teach your son, but as he grows older, you will sense when to back off. I have a friend who told me she quit instructing her boys around age 10. I was stunned, but I see the fruit. They are far more aggressive, in a good way, than most other boys i know. They know their mother isn’t going to smother mother them, and are being led by God’s Spirit. Even the dad has backed off and let them learn. He does occasionally direct them, but treats them as men. (they now are in their twenties) Most boys’ character is pretty locked in by that age. I stayed on my boys way too long; I know that now. They broke free…I called it rebellion, but in reality, they had enough of God’s manliness installed in them to buck a domineering female. I’ve reestablished my relationship with my oldest, but am still picking up the pieces with my youngest. No one ever told me.

      A woman of good character(quiet and gentle spirit) will treat men with such respect and encouragement, that they will rise to the occasion. The one who knows the most about the Bible is not always the one who should lead. It is the spirit of the person leading that matters most. One verse, read and prayerfully expounded on by a male, who is then encouraged, will bear much fruit as the women pray for him. I visited an Indian reservation. They had a woman translator. That in itself would not be a problem, but what I sensed, made me very uncomfortable. It didn’t feel like a quiet and gentle spirit. She came across more forcefully than the pastor. This is what I’m talking about.

  62. Titus 3:10-11

    10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

    1. This is a very interesting scripture. Does this scripture refer to someone who stirs up division simply to cause division or does it mean any division whatsoever? I’m truly asking because I do not know. I could use an answer. I have something that I am praying over now. If I speak the truth about this situation I’m concerned that division will happen. If I don’t say anything then something that needs to be addressed, won’t be addressed. I feel weary from thinking about it. I am seeking the Lord on it because right now I don’t know what to do. I am the type of person who does not like to make waves of any kind. But by keeping silent am I contributing to the problem? Oh goodness, life can get really complicated sometimes.

      1. oh, Lee Ann. I so hear you. I, too, don’t like to make waves. I’ve had to learn how to pray and not move until I really felt I should. Truth, though, is divisive. Jesus said He came to bring a sword. He said families would be split by truth(Luke 12:53). Yes, I believe it has to do with a contentious spirit. This person argues their view without even thinking things through. They don’t stop and consider correction, and they are highly sensitive to their rights, instead of dying to self. Some of the posts I’ve written here today and yesterday, were posted with great fear, because I know they won’t be popular. But I’ve held back many years and stayed quiet so as not to offend. At the same time, as a mother, I was always on the spot Johnny. Correcting them as soon as it happened. This bred a deep insecurity and mistrust in my children. I was following the scripture that says that men do evil because they are not corrected quickly. My mistake was not the correction, but not backing off soon enough and trusting that they had heard me before(I became a nag) and desired to follow. I trusted Satan more(fear), than what we had sown into them. Now, my husband and I are often involved in helping families that are struggling. We are not psychological counselors. We are the body, and when we see a need, we pray and invite them into our home and allow God to lead. Sometimes it comes right up. Sometimes, they beat a path to our door and we have been simply praying. Sometimes, it just isn’t time, but we keep the door open. God wants healing of every kind, and if you pray, pray, pray, and stay in His Word for the fresh manna every day, He WILL use you! I always say, if I’m too eager to share it, I need to pray some more, but if I’m fearful, I need to pray more, as well. The Lord gives a holy boldness when the timing is right. God bless you and guide you, dear sister!!

      2. I think the beginning of the passage is even more convicting:
        3 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

        I’m sorry, but I feel what you are doing here Courtney is profitable, or helpful to the Kingdom. I know your heart is in the right place!

  63. Thank you for having the boldness to address this important issue Courtney. I find that people tend to use the “you’re being divisive” mantra when they are being self-seeking and rebellious. I’m glad that doesn’t deter you from standing up for the truth of God’s precious Word!

    Paul makes it clear that women are not to have authority over men in the church setting because it violates God’s created order. The same leadership model for the family is what God intended in the church setting. This has nothing to do with political or economic settings. Women can be bosses and leaders in these settings. Christians tend to conveniently forget that the church and the world are separate entities.

    When a woman claims she is called by God to be a pastor, I believe she is being rebellious and just following her own will and desires, not God’s will. God would not call a woman, because it would violate his Word and make Him a liar. Culture and time has nothing to do with this. God doesn’t change… His Word doesn’t change.

    Paul’s words were not his own opinions or chauvinistic attitudes. They were the words of the Holy Spirit… God-inspired, just like all Scripture. If women can’t accept that, they need to take it up with God. To say this was just cultural or just Paul’s opinions denies the inspiration of Scripture… that’s a dangerous path to go down. The church has become too focused on equality and being politically correct. Feminism and the world have infiltrated the church.

    Elders, according to Scripture, are clearly to be male. Pastors are elders, therefore pastors are to be male. Women are under-appreciated and some could possibly preach a better sermon than a man… that doesn’t make it right though. Women have their own unique calling… one that many are missing because of their rebellion and selfish desires.

    There is a distinct difference in having a ministry and being the pastor of a church. Courtney has a ministry geared appropriately toward women… she is not a pastor/preacher, nor has she ever professed to be one.

  64. Marcy, I’m assuming in your response above that you did not intend to come across as disrespectful, dismissive, and judgmental (it can be so hard communicating over the Internet (at least for me) without seeing each other face-to-face).

    I respect that you and others here hold a different viewpoint and interpretation of Scripture. However, only God knows the heart of each person. To judge those who believe differently, saying they are rebellious and cannot possibly be following God’s will is presumptuous; to say that if women can’t accept that then they need to take it up with God is incredibly dismissive. 🙁

    I believed this to be a place where all are welcome to share differing Biblical interpretations, learning from one another without judgment but perhaps I was wrong (?).

    I may often disagree with the interpretation of Scriptures shared by Courtney and others, yet I do respect Courtney…her heart for God, family, and ministry shines through. 🙂

    ( Courtney, I’ll understand if you feel you need to delete my post, the last thing I want to be accused of is causing division or stirring up trouble.) Thanks. <3

    1. Tami… It wasn’t my intention to be disrespectful and I don’t feel I was being dismissive. I just don’t believe in dancing around an issue, tickling ears, and sugar-coating it for unity’s sake. I don’t feel that’s being judgmental or divisive, nor do I feel it helps anyone. Peace if possible, truth at all costs…

      This is an issue I’m passionate about. I live in an area where many churches have caved to social pressure (and some legal threats) and allowed women pastors and preachers. I have seen firsthand the false doctrine and destruction of the church and Christian family unit in these churches. I stated my personal belief that this is because of rebellion and a refusal to interpret and accept God’s Word as it is written.

      I just don’t know how the Bible could be any clearer on this subject. I don’t believe it’s open to personal interpretation. We get into deep trouble when we look beyond the literal interpretation and try to interpret based on our experiences, personal desires, or feelings.

      Also, may I ask you… How is someone following God’s will and not being rebellious when they refuse to abide by what His Word says?

  65. There are so many comments on this topic I hesitate to leave yet another in the sea of comments here. It is true, it’s is the mans position to lead – men, women, and children. Women have a very speical helpful place in this dinamic, please let us remember that. If we as the helpers are not helping, who will do this job? When someone comes along and takes the job of another does that first person take the job that is not being filled or do they leave? We need to be sure to do our job, for having a pinky toe is quite nice for balance purposes. *big smile* And with the pinky on my finger, though it seems quite useless in many cases, it’s quite useful in typing! *big smile* We all have a part and if we all fulfill our parts then the body can be whole. We must work together otherwise we will not be able to funciton. Women are scriptually able to do the following : teach other women, children, mentor younger women (it’s a very lost art!) in loving their husbands and training up their children, if those three things are not enough to fill your plate to overflowing I am not sure what will. *big smile*
    As you read, remember to pray always. Sincerely, Mommy of two growing blessings & so much more!

    1. yes, yes, yes!!! You are so spot on! Such a blessing 😉

      Mentoring younger women is sooooooo needed today. So few women are able to stay home, but it can be done, with planning. Invite them into your home, teach them to cook, share your love for things of the home…knitting, crafting, gardening and share your Jesus with them. They will open up!

    2. I completely agree!!! If we each fulfill our own Biblical role and calling instead of trying to fill that of others, then things would go much more smoothly! God planned things the way he did for a reason, after all.

      I also agree that there is a major lack of mentoring of younger women these days. Very sad 🙁

  66. Discussions like this is what helps turn people AWAY from the church and the Bible.

    I’m at point in my life in which I have little respect for some pastors (gender aside). Last year, based on what he saw, without discussion, the bishop of our denomination’s synod stripped my husband of his collar. Then he asked questions. Really, my husband is on “probation”. Ha. I only have respect for the bishop because he is a fellow human being– not because he is a pastor or a bishop. I attend the local church of the synod (it’s the one in which my husband grew up) with my husband and kids, but really, I’m bored in church. I don’t like that church either. (I sat in the auditorium last week reading the recent issue of “The Lutheran” and only one person said hi to me. This is not the first time this has happened. People only seem to address me when I am with my husband, children, or mother-in-law. Perhaps my DUI holds a stigma with them. One of these weeks, I’m going to go to the NALC Lutheran Church just to check it out…. IF I decide to go at all. (I went last week and was bored, sleepy and crabby. Once again, I tore holes in the pastor’s sermon and the highlight was seeing a pregnant woman and deciding that God must think I don’t deserve any more kids after last year’s miscarriage.)

    However, I also think that from my own studies and discussions with pastors that women DID hold positions of power in the Old and New Testament but given the culture of the times, and the culture of when the Bible was compiled, things were eliminated (and translation mistakes from decayed parchments, words and phrases getting lost in translation…). Mary and Martha are mentioned in the Gospels. My husband said that his NT professor speculates that the women funded Jesus’s ministry, even. (And Lazarus.) Priscilla and Phoebe were previously mentioned as well. If women weren’t important, then God could have just dropped an adult Jesus from the sky (and John the Baptist) and skipped the whole coming to Mary and Elizabeth thing. (I’d like to read The Gospel According to Mary. Sure, it was compiled years after Jesus but there still might be some truth in it. Perhaps it was eliminated BECAUSE it was from a women’s point of view. There are parts in it, from what I understand, in which Mary outsmarts Paul [or Peter, I don’t recall which] in discussions. Hm. Why would a group of men compiling the Bible, in a time in which women were still secondary, want to put that in?)

    As for the Old Testament… What about Deborah, Esther and Ruth? Not exactly wusses waiting around for a man to tell them what to do and to respond with, Yes, sir. Right away, sir. Your wish is my command, sir.” I also find the passage in which Paul tells women to submit to men and then tells people to submit to each other confusing, if not contradictory. Which is it?

    Brought together and divided by the word….

    1. Existing on Empty… The OT women you keep mentioning aren’t really relevant to this discussion. They held leadership positions, they were not pastors of churches. Plus, their leadership was only relevant to Israel and OT existence. The NT sets a new paradigm for the authority structure of the Christian church.

      Many women in the NT had ministries that assisted men. They also were not pastors/elders and never participated in any way that violated the church’s authority structure.

      1. When we look at biblical Women such as Deborah the only female Judge amongst 12 men. A wonderful godly sister who God raised up to judge Israel, because there were no other men willing to lead; so Deborah worked alongside Barak. Judges 4:8

        This is a case of the exception not the rule!

      2. Marcy,
        I have to disagree with you. Everything in the scriptures is very very relevant to our lives no matter where you find it. We can learn from all these women no matter their roles and station in the scriptures. Esther wasn’t a pastor/elder/deacon, etc however she was under the covering of a man (her uncle), who was under God’s covering. As well, Esther still submitted to the king’s authority while doing all that her uncle had instructed her to do as I believe he he was following God’s lead.
        Naomi and Ruth (whether or not they knew it at the time) went looking for a redeemer. If you understand the times and culture in which they lived, the story makes much more sense.
        Existing on Empty,
        I too was where you were once. Continue to press into relationship with God, His Scriptures and much prayer. Open your completely to Him and he will give you peace and direction. I have been praying for you since I saw your post many many months ago on one of Courtney’s other blog posts (can’t remember which one). I am still in fervent prayer for you.

        1. Jamileh… I agree that we learn from all Scripture. However, using the OT women to try and support a view allowing women pastors is flawed. These women were not Christians and not relevant to Paul’s teaching about the authority structure for the church. There is no substantial support for women pastors in the Bible (OT or NT).

          1. I absolutely agree, there is NO scriptural basis for women being pastors or having any kind of position above men. A lot can be learned from these women in regards to the order in that God established in scripture as well as in the home, church, etc. I wouldn’t categorize anyone in the scriptures as being a christian. That word cannot and is not found anywhere in the original texts. They were believers.

          2. Christian…believer, it’s all semantics. I just used the more common modern-day term for those who follow Christ.

    2. Existing on empty: hope things are going better for you and your spirit has been replenished. Life can make us weary at times. Grace , peace and love to you!

  67. Thank you for this post. I know that it is controversial and many will likely disagree. I have been chastised by friends who do not understand why my husband is the head of my home and gets final say over decisions. They do not understand why I am going to seminary school if I have no desire to be a pastor. Others do not understand my willingness to give up a steady income to be a work-at-home mother that pours hours into my studies, family, and home and then devotes time to work. However, what changed me was a Mother’s Day that we visited a local church. I had been praying about where I felt God calling me and why I was so bad at things I felt were important. That is when I heard Titus 2 preached for the first time. Years ago, if I had heard Titus 2, I would have thought it irrelevant, but I also was not actively seeking God daily at the time. The more I actively sought a relationship with God and prayed for a purpose, the clearer the message became and the more open I was at receiving it. The Bible clearly said that I am not to be head of my home or a pastor. It also outlines the importance of being a keeper of the home, which society tends to deem an unworthy position. Most importantly, it outlined the role of women as mentors to the younger generations. What is interesting is that I prayed for a mentor since I had never had one, and God delivered! She also pointed out that we are all always the older and the younger woman at the same time, so while she was my mentor, I need to actively mentor younger women as well. Anyway, long story short, God has called me into women’s ministry and nouthetic counseling. I am working on a seminary degree and will work on becoming a counselor when the time is right. I just had to explain to someone this past week that I was not going into seminary school to be a pastor, because not only is that not my calling, but that is not inline with scripture.

  68. Sabrina, such a beautiful testimony! You are a perfect example of a woman who didn’t miss out on her true calling because you are being obedient to God’s Word. May God richly bless you as you continue on your journey!

  69. I think that we really need to ask ourselves…..Why did Paul say this to the women of the church? I will obey God always, and submit to His word. I have heard that Paul was confronting certain women of the church because they were being disruptive, disobedient, unruly, and sinful in the church. They were trying to get men to notice them. I heard that is why Paul addressed the women in this way. I am not saying that I think this is right, but I am seeking answers with these verses for myself. I am still in question and still seeking. I hope that in this and through this that we all seek God and find answers.

    In Prayer,

  70. As a Christian woman, I appreciate yoir posts and your admiration for the Lord. I have been readig your blog for a little while now. One thing I will suggest, is better articulation. In this article, your point and biblical baking was not strong enough to really convey your opinion on this topic. For your average readers than generally hold your same beliefs, I am sure it makes sense. But for those that hold different beliefs , were raised in a differet church, etc. I think you can do a better job articulating for them. When I read this, all I read were Bible verses with some highlighting, which doesnt do much…readers want to know what is behind it. Hope that makes sense.

  71. For those of you that are set on taking the Word of God out of context with this one verse, I would LOVE to hear your explanation on the rest of the passage. In particular…Chapter 2, verse FIFTEEN.

  72. I just happened to stumble on this page, and cant seem to understand why this is such a big issue, when I accepted Jesus as my Savior I did not do this because of anyone else just me, so if someone says; God said my calling is to preach and I am a woman who are we to judge them for it? I am neutral on this subject, I know many many woman that preach and run churches and will never tell them they are wrong, I see the souls being saved and I know many many men that run churches and there again they are not wrong, the highest calling we have from God is to save souls, everyone should be, it is an honor when God calls us to a higher point like running a church so many more people can be saved, so why beat that person down over it, why not pray and hold them up and let GOD be the one to determine what is right and wrong. As far as marriage, the wife does need to be submissive but that is not saying she has to stop saving souls to accomplish this,prayers need to be said together and separate, daily keeping God the head of the marriage, I also agree with the comment we do not know the whole “scope” of the Bible as that is where the Holy Spirit comes within each of our lives…God gives us the Holy Spirit so we can all learn what HE wants us to learn at the time, that is why you can read the Bible and it tells you something and you reread it a while later and there is something you didn’t think of the first round…Hats off to each of you…ALL of you are Amazing…Prayers and Gods Blessings

  73. Being a women pastor/elder or trying to be a women pastor is WRONG. there is no way around that, God did not design a women to be Pastor, just as God did not design a Man to give birth. When a women decides to take that role as a pastor she is stepping out of line and being disobedient and God is not in that. You can never say you were never told, BIBLE has all the answers just read them for yourself and not make things complicated.

    1 Timothy 2:12-15 (New American Standard Bible)

    12But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
    13For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.
    14And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
    15But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.

  74. Its refreshing to see a woman of God boldly share the word in its fulness instead of just the ” socially acceptable” ones. I agree with you 100%…. because it is what the bible says. There are plenty of amazing messages out there explaining a womans role in the church and I recommend anyone here who is offended by this biblical truth, to
    A- Check your heart and pray. Because when the bible makes it clear, whats to get upset about?
    B -Read it for yourself, see what the word says.
    C- Listen to some messages about it if you need more clarity. John MacArthur does some wonderful, thorough messages on the topic.

    all because we aren’t to be pastors or elder, does not mean that we can’t be writers, speakers/teachers to fellow women, counsellors etc etc etc. We can still share the word and evangelize, we csm still do pretty much anything else…. coveting two positions that werent meant for us is like a 10 year old stamping her feet on the ground screaming “NOT FAIR!” To her father when he says no to her running the household instead of mum. Its not a matter of hindrance, its a matter of the God given order of things for a greater purpose.

    God always has and always will use women in mighty ways. But women who are pastoring churches are not in the will of God, according to the scriptures. Does that mean they are going to hell? No. Does it mean they are bad ppl? No, but, it does mean that they are in disobedience to God. All because you enjoy a womans preaching doesnt mean she should be doing it. Instead of women throwing a rug over clear scripture in order to do whatever they want, we ought to be accepting what the bible says, taking our issues with it to God, and realising, God’s sovereign order of things is there for His glory and our protection. God is not depriving us of anything, He delegates for a purpose.

    proper exegesis of the bible and an open heart will see to it that we can understand, accept, and LOVE the truth in Gods word. All of it, including the parts that may stir up fleshy emotion initially.

  75. You also need to apply context to the time period in which the Bible was written. There is still room for change as times change. The Bible taught on slavery and did not condemn it. However, it would be condemned now. It was how life was at that time and you were to accept your lot in life. When you become too ritualistic, you risk becoming like the pharisees.

  76. I agree with SarahJ–sorry I do not have time to look up scriptures today. I used to write online devotionals for Proverbs 31 Ministry 17 years ago when it started! My main concern is to follow Jesus and His teaching and the whole of the Bible which is Truth. I also need to use wisdom to discern cultural and historical precedents as they affect the context that the scripture was written–who it was written to–problems it was addressing. Back in Jesus’ day women were nothing–had no rights at all. I would say the treatment of women was very similar to current extreme Islamic treatment such as being killed if you are caught in adultery or even raped. We see Jesus break every rule concerning the inferior treatment of women by touching them, saving them from stoning for adultery, allowing them to touch him and be with his disciples. Jesus broke down so many of the Jews social practices concerning women. Our current church that we attend has a history of 100 years which includes a woman pastor who became pastor after her husband died. I also read of a woman pastor in Ignite Magazine whose husband totally supports her. There have always been women in the mission field working as pastors. I think a woman can act in the role of pastor and teach scripture to men and women in certain instances.

  77. Dear Courtney,

    Thank you so much for using Scripture to make clear to me and answer some of the questions I had about this topic, and have also been asked of the same by my niece who is 17 years old and is a follower of Christ, but has so many questions about salvation most of which challenge me to go back for answers from God’s Word. Really my take home is there’s no need for me to struggle with how to answer appropriately, but open the scripture and allow God to teach, train, correct and rebuke us!

    You are indeed a God-send I’m so encouraged by your faith in God and have learned a lot from you blog as a wife and continue to do so. I can’t thank you enough. Scripture admonishes us to test the spirits like the Bereans and see if what you we are being told is true, and I can tell you I have done that and found that you are using sound doctrine to answer the difficult yet necessary questions we are faced with on a daily basis as women. Indeed knowing the truth has set me and so many others free. Be encouraged by: “To the pure, everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; in fact, both their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work. (Titus 1:15, 16 HCSB)” and “But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, quarrels, and disputes about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. (Titus 3:9 HCSB)”

    Last but not least, thank you for standing and speaking boldly for God and not being ashamed of Christ who paid a price to save us from our sins! Keep it up, your reward is in heaven!

    Love in Christ,


  78. This seems to have been a very heated discussion and so I see why the *edit* had to be done! Here is what I see and please point out Scripture if anyone disagrees simply because of where or who has taught you.

    First, thank you Courtney for taking this brave stand against what the world wants to infiltrate the Church with today. I am praying for this attack to NOT prevail!

    The enemy has derailed numerous children of God by simply distorting words. The difference here is that women can TEACH, not be a PASTOR. The Bible does not say a woman can not PREACH. In fact, we are to all as His children PREACH the Gospel, or is that not Scripture?

    What I see as confusion is that simple twist. An elder, as in Titus 1, is a man… that simple. But if a man and woman are joined together, the are an elder together with him being the one to hold the title, correct? You as a wife deal with your husbands calling in many different ways. Praying, listening, suggesting, etc. I mean if you truly remove emotions and think, every GOOD president has had a wife who was his HELP MEET (she helped him meet his goals), or is that not true wither?

    I wholeheartedly agree with Courtney that a woman should not pastor or be an elder over a man. But if a man is a pastor, wouldn’t his wife be under him as a leader as well? I don’t think she is saying women cannot be leaders, but should NOT lead a congregation or men… in other words, should not be a pastor or elder. A minister, correct me if I am wrong, is something totally different. There was a minister who commented and was attack in this post. I don’t believe she is in the wrong, the Bible does not say a woman cannot be a minister (we are to all minister) but should NOT lead a church. See the confusion setting in along with preconceived teachings. If I have always been taught, in disobedience, by a woman pastor, it’s gonna be hard for me to accept that there ought not be any. But as Courtney suggests, dive into the Word before attacking. This may simply be a light that is a little too bright right now and Holy Spirit is needed to guard and lead with smaller steps. Attacking will only prove what loveless, judging, hypocrites we are as the world would describe. The title of this section is TRUTH IN LOVE, not feelings, attacking/ insulting, judging or accusing!

    One last thing, the Word is simple and clear. When you begin to get confused because of what you have always known or believe you are called to do (again being called to minister is not against His Word) PRAY!! Ask God for wisdom in this area! I am one who struggled with this for a while but I am seeing clearly! And to those who believe there are elections that are dead…. if His Word is alive, so are all of His elections/ giftings! Just because we have stopped believing does not mean it is dead, it means our faith is dying! Let’s wake up Church and fight the GOOD fight! Not the idle ones!

  79. Wow! I so appreciate the dialog that is done in love and from scripture. Thank you. Today, I stumbled upon this post and tried to read every comment. I have been in full time ministry for over 20 years (Children’s Ministry Director, Women’s Ministry Director, Church Office Manager, and a Pastor’s Wife) in non denominational, Bible teaching churches. I have held the opinion that no women should be teaching or leading men, as did, our church. I think it is interesting that the men that held the same position I did, were called Children’s Pastors. The jobs were exactly the same (just title and pay were different). Women Sunday school teachers were allowed to teach the boys. High School leaders were allowed to teach the young men. I could oversee the male Sunday school teachers. I could share a devotion to the entire Children’s Ministry (men and women) and be OK. Ann Graham Lotz and Joni Erickson Tada could come and teach and share on a Sunday morning from the pulpit and that was OK – No other women though. I think the church picks and chooses what is acceptable to them in light of scripture. The more closely I walk with the Lord, the more I see grace for how we honestly interpret scripture. My heart has always been one to obey and honor the Lord. I’m no longer as quick to place judgment on others for their honest interpretation. I now attend a church where there is a woman who is in charge of local outreaches. She has “pastor” in her job title. It is really no different than what I did. Just the title. That would have, in the past, made a stumbling block for me. Now, I can just praise God for how He works. I find it interesting that the scriptures about this are also with the scriptures about wearing head coverings. How many of you wear your head covered to church? I pray for those who have been discouraged by some of the people commenting here and ask for God to pour His extravagant love and grace on them. God bless each of you!

  80. what a refreshing post!! It’s so nice to see people stand on the word of God and not ease off for popularity. I agree with this post 100%!! How can you despute Gods word? It’s plainly clear. So glad I found this through pinterest!! Will def be looking for more posts from you!

  81. I have a genuine question. In my bible it says Elders. It does not say anything about pastors. Where is pastor mentioned? Also, I would be curious to know what original Hebrew words were used. Thank you! I am really wanting understanding here as the church we attend have several female pastors in charge of Women’s and kid’s ministry and what not.

  82. I guess I shouldn’t be amazed because the devil is alive and well, and he is most certainly involved in this conversation. However, I am amazed because I have read all these comments by intelligent, thoughtful people and I just can’t figure out how a simple, point blank verse such as Titus 1:6, can be misunderstood. As has been stated by several, God is not the author of confusion.

  83. Well, I since I don’t get a reply here, I will let others know I have been doing Lisa Bevere’s Lioness Arising study and her teaching on this verse is amazing! Very easy to understand and it is most certainly not excluding women.

  84. Courtney,

    I am a traditional/conservative Christian man with a couple questions related to this post and your others about sound doctrine, submission and unity. I agree with what I’ve read from you about the Gospel, morality, family structure & church structure. What I’m about to ask, I ask out of sincerity as one looking to live in truth and grace with my future wife and future children, God willing.

    If you are married, do you and your husband ever disagree on an application of specific Scriptures? How do you handle that between yourselves, and how do you present those beliefs to children?

    (Again, a genuine question…) Do you wear a head covering to church? If not, why not? I know this is usually an antagonistic question posed to conservative Christians by progressive ones, but I am torn between approaching the Bible completely void of hermeneutics (per your method above), vs. taking culture and audience into account (which seems important, despite the fact that hermeneutics has been a means to re-defining the Bible while upholding its authority in recent years).

    All other things in agreement, would you lead a Bible study with someone who holds the opposite belief regarding head coverings? Baby baptism? Would you marry a potential mate who holds the opposite belief? Why or why not? My hypotheticals purposely avoid differences regarding doctrine of salvation, morality, and family structure. Let’s assume those are all held in common.

    My fiance and I agree on everything except the role of women in church leadership. I hesitated to share this, but I also don’t want to trick you into answering one way or the other.

    Your Brother,

  85. Some are saying, that people pick and choose the parts of scripture that they agree with. It is not about picking scripture and using the parts that you want. It’s about understanding. We don’t live in the past. Culture, and just plain old time makes way for changes .When Jesus came He said I am the new covenant. The bible speaks of handling snakes, but few churches do that. Maybe it is easier to handle women than snakes?
    In today’s society, there is this confused belief in certain churches that women are not qualified, to be Pastors etc. These churches, have determined this, by reading the scriptures. The problem is in the translation. There are many things in the old testament that are not relevant today. This is not a matter of belief, or faith, but a simple fact. I am not discarding anything in scripture, but I have to look at it in an educated way, and determine what the translations are for today. Behaving like the Pharisees, being self righteous and judgmental, are not the teaching’s of Christ. Yes, I have been persecuted for my faith. I am currently immersed, in this hurtful controversy. I don’t think Jesus would approve. That is NOT what He taught. Maybe those of you, who believe that women are not permitted to be Pastors, Elders ect should go back to not having voting rights, and no say in anything unless you are male. I have many male friends, and leaders, and a great husband, who is supportive in every way. Do you believe that a loving God would exclude anyone???

  86. God gave men and women specific roles. If the book of Timothy (definitely read the books of Timothy) specifically commands something, you obey it! The Bible is the word of God. Never should you use the love of God to bypass commandments (which is what the last writer attempted to do). He suffered and gave his life for us (even though we didn’t deserve it), the least you can do is do your best to obey his commands. In this day and age, it is much different than it was in Biblical times, but guess what? God never changes (Malachi 3:6) and Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away (Matthew 24:35). Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
    Remember, Jesus will separate the Sheep (the true followers) from the Goats (the non-followers). But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God (1 Corinthians 11:3). No, women should not be pastors nor should they teach or assume authority over man (Timothy 2:12). Hopefully, this helps!

  87. Acts 2:17 English Standard Version (ESV)

    17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
    that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
    and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams;

    If you dedicate yourself to the Lord by doing his will, praying, fasting, reading the scriptures, and seeking God with all of your heart, you will be filled with the Holy Spirit. God will use you in many ways, including being a Pastor or an Elder in a church. It’s not about gender, it’s about who is pursuing a genuine relationship with God. If you are in a village and you have 30 men, whom do not desire a deep relationship with God and you have one female that is seeking God desperately, do you think God is not going to use her just because she is a female? Salvation is the number one interest here and if she is willing to give herself to God for His glory, God will definitely use her for the sake of those 30 men.

  88. Bravely spoken!
    It is not easy these days to stand firm when the whirlwinds of the adversary and his confused and misled masses are beating upon you from all sides. I aspire to your courage, and salute you.

    Well done!

  89. Haha!
    I was looking for some input into this topic from another woman…. SO very thankful that you DIDN’T share your own opinion, but ONLY posted what Scripture says. 🙂 Smart thinking!
    I too am in the boat of not doing other Bible Studies and relying on the Lord to teach me through His Word. But I also see value in listening to others (men and women) whom the Lord has anointed to speak Truth according to His Word. Always taking what is being said, back to the Word to see if it lines up with God’s Truth. God has given many men and women the ability to teach, write, and encourage the body of believers.
    Thank you and be blessed!

  90. When women say they were called to preach, why do they assume its God doing the calling? Satan has tricked me more times than I can count against Gods word. I think women have the hardest time accepting who they are in God. We believe the world over Him, and justify our beliefs BC we misunderstand scripture.

  91. When Paul talks about women not preaching he is actually referring to the women that were priestess in pagan temples of the time. God can choose whatever person he decides. If you are smart you will listen and if you also have the gift of discernment you will know what is of God and what is not. Being male does not mean you are qualified anymore than being female means you are unqualified. Let me ask you all who the first person was that Jesus revealed his risen self to. It was Mary Magdalene. Does anyone remember what he told her to do? Does anyone remember what happened when the women returned and told the others that the stone had been rolled away? Seems pretty important to me. Jesus was born of a woman. Jesus refers to the church as a woman. Seems like Jesus was pretty clear how he felt about women. Paul also mentions not marrying. Remember that? Paul was not Jesus. Paul wasn’t even Paul until Jesus told him he was Paul! Paul also mentions that these are his beliefs and they are not supposed to be a cause of division. Why does no one ever remember that part? My great grandmother was an elder in the Pentecostal church. People invited her, even begged her to come to their homes because she had a gift. That gift is still alive. I assure you that when you put limitations on how you are willing to hear from God you are doing yourself no favors. You should be weary of false prophets regardless of their gender. You should also have enough faith to know God can use anyone.

  92. This is very topical today.

    The error comes in looking at verses, pulling them apart, and ignoring the entire creation, purpose and function of humanity.
    God has not done away with male and female.
    I am saved, so is my wife, but we are still male and female.
    Husband, father, wife, mother, son, daughter, sister, brother, family?
    People should not quote ‘there is no male and female‘ out of context, unless your prepared to cast the entire concept of family out with the bath water with it!

    If there is no male and female, marriage is gone! And in many quarters it has, because the church has abandoned it first.

    The church is the sole benchmark for the family, which is the bedrock of society. Take out the standards the elder is to uphold, then you have no standard to model to Christians, to then model to the world.

    Paul no more aimed his teaching at culture on eldership, than he did on circumcision.
    To think God would address challenging Peter on circumcision, but be wrong on marriage and church leaders is crazy.

    Paul makes the clear parallel of church, Christ, bride, and the husband, wife family.
    If the church is not to be lead by men, and is not gender specific, then neither is the family! It’s that stark!

    If we don’t need a man in the home to lead, then why not mix gender? If there is no male or female, we don’t need fathers!
    You may think this silly, but it’s the reason that progressive liberalism is rampant in the church and families are in chaos, and now children do not identify with the gender they are born with.

    Why? Because we reject the creation and order of God. We challenge his design, function and purpose.

  93. I am a man. I am not a feminist. I am an ordained minister as well. However the understanding of the Bible prohibiting women in ministry is actually wrong. Church history and Old Testament theology and history does not preclude women from ministry, It is rather Church tradition.
    In fact Church tradition tells us that there were presbytresses and that until the 5th century their ordination was a given, until it was clamoured that these same warrants from the New Testament should be used.
    In Scripture as Paul and co experienced it females being ministers of God was very much acceptable as the examples of Huldah, Deborah, Miriam and co show. The example of Anna and the daughters of the Elder Phillip. Prophetess actually means preacher in NT language. Now what most people claim is neither biblical nor historical but it has become traditional that women should not be made presbytresses or even deaconesses in the Orthodox Catholic Church and this has been passed on to her Roman Catholic Church and Protestant Catholic daughters, However women in ministry does not hinder the work of God in any way, The office of the female apostle became the Abbess and in double monasteries the Abbess was senior to the male prior for the male section. So much for Pauline injunctions. Also the female presbyter became the nun and the deaconess became the sister. However these superficial distinctions mean nothing to a Reformed or Protestant Catholic denomination. Let the women be apostles, presbytresses and deaconesses. Nothing bad will come out of it. We like enforcing traditions of the Catholic Church over Bible and Church History too much. How can half the Church (if not more) be discouraged from ministry and we expect her to thrive. The work of Roman Catholic sisters and nuns for centuries and the work of female Protestant Catholic preachers over the years have proven that both the male and female are blessed by the Holy Spirit with ministerial gifts. Keeping a tradition no matter what your English Bible says is a poor way to understand what the Greek New Testament itself says

    1. The Bible is for the prudent that a child can understand. God it’s a god of order and not chaos. The same rules that apply in the house apply in the church. Paul gave the reason why woman are not to preach and uph authority over a man. He went all the way back to Genesis and creation and said Man was created first and the woman was caught in transgression not the man. Look either you going to obey the word or just throw the book into the Sea. How can we be obedient and going against the truth. God don’t change we change the truth into a Lie. If Satan trick the woman once ♀️ 🔂 Samual said obedience is better than sacrifice🕊️

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