God Wants More For You. So Do We.

According to the Bible, Can Women Be Pastors?

Ask Pastor Alex, Ep. 28

This is the Ask Pastor Alex podcast with your host, Pastor Alex.All right, welcome back to the podcast, everyone.We’re here with another episode and another question, and this one has the potential tobe heated.It has the potential to be controversial.You know that I don’t shy away from the controversial questions.All I do is just answer the questions that are submitted to me, and so that’s what we’re going to do with this episode.Question for this episode is, according to the Bible, can women be pastors?Now that is a good question, and as you know, it’s an incredibly relevant question because the topic of women pastors is one of the hot topics of our day.And again, I’ll say that this is an incredibly controversial topic that has the potential to get heated and upset a lot of people, and I recognize that.So let me just say, at the start, it is not my intention to offend anyone or demean anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings.I’m simply going to answer the question that was asked, and I’m going to do so by looking at what the Bible says.So I’m not going to be giving you Alex’s opinion on this.I will be telling you what the Bible says on this issue.So if anyone has a problem with this answer, I want you to understand that I’m deriving my answer from the Bible.So that’s our ultimate authority.That’s what we’re going to look at.And before we can even look at the passages concerning whether or not women can be pastors,we have to understand that this issue ultimately comes down to who or what is our ultimateauthority.And here’s what I mean by that.Whether we’re talking about this issue or another issue, our answer will reveal whether God is our ultimate authority or if we are our own ultimate authorities.If the Bible says something, God says something, because the Bible is the inerrant, infallible,inspired Word of God.And I make this point because sometimes when you address controversial issues like this,people sometimes claim, well, that was Paul’s opinion, or that’s what Paul thought, but Paul’s not God.And I agree, Paul is not God.But do you see the danger there with separating the inspired author from the one who is inspiring his writing?You cannot separate a biblical author from the voice of God if God truly is the one speaking through the biblical author.So all of that is to say, when we read the words of Paul or Peter or John or any of the other biblical authors, we are reading the very words of God since God inspired them.So no, it is not Paul’s opinion or just what Paul thought.It’s God’s truth and rule for our lives.Another reason I mention ultimate authority is because very often people will claim that God tells them to do things that go directly against His revealed Word.So for instance, I know of a couple who went to speak to their pastor and the husband told the pastor that they wanted to get a divorce.And the pastor counseled them, telling them that the Bible prohibits divorce with only two extreme exceptions.And then the husband told the pastor, well, God told me it was okay for me to divorce my wife.God wants me to be happy.And the pastor wisely responded and said, well, God tells us in His Word that He hates divorce and only allows for it in two extreme circumstances.So what am I to believe?What God has revealed to us clearly and plainly in His Word or what you claim God told youin private?That was a great response by the pastor.Because God will never contradict Himself or do something that would go against His Word.It’s important to keep in mind in this discussion because very often there will be women whosay, I feel very strongly that God is calling me to preach.Or even, I know that God has called me to be a pastor.But here’s the thing, if we look into Scripture and if we find that God’s Word prohibits that very thing, then we are forced to say that those people are mistaken because God would never do something that goes against His Word.He would never contradict Himself.So I’m not denying their feelings.They may feel a certain way, but just because they feel a certain way doesn’t make it true.Our feelings cannot and should not be our ultimate authority.God is our ultimate authority.And what He says in His Word must be what guides us and directs us in our lives. Every belief that we hold to as Christians must derive from Scripture.It must come from Scripture.That is God’s Word to us.It is His infallible and near-inspired Word.And so we shouldn’t create our own beliefs based on what the culture says or what the society says or even what we feel our beliefs must be rooted in Scripture.So without any mind, let’s jump into what the Bible says about pastors.And the first passage to consider is in 1 Timothy chapter 2 verses 12 through 14.In this context, Paul is talking about regulations for the church.And this is what he says.I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man.Rather, she is to remain quiet.For Adam was formed first, then Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.Now that passage again is Paul stating regulations for the church.And he clearly says that women are not to teach or exercise any authority over men.That immediately excludes them from the pastorate since pastors must both teach and exercise authority in the church.Now one of the most common rebuttals at this point to this passage comes from the historicalcontext.Those who do support women pastors will say, well, the reason that Paul prohibits women from being pastors in this passage and teaching in this passage is because back then women were not educated.And so they wouldn’t have had the capabilities to teach and would have led people astray since they were uneducated.But they claim since women are highly educated today, this principle is no longer binding on us, therefore women can be pastors today.Now listen, that would be a very compelling case if that was in fact Paul’s reason for prohibiting women from the pastorate.But that’s not Paul’s reason.And how do we know that’s not Paul’s reason?Well, it’s very clear.Look again to what the verse says.Paul does not say that the reason women aren’t to preach or exercise authority over men is because they aren’t educated.He doesn’t say anything at all about education.He grounds his reasoning all the way back in the beginning to God’s creation.He says Adam was created first, meaning God created men first and ordered creation in such a way that men are to be the leaders of their families and leaders in the church.They are the ones who carry the burden and the responsibility of leadership.But then notice what Paul also says.He says the other reason is that the woman was deceived, not the man.In other words, when Eve assumed a role in a position that was never meant for her, she fell into sin, led others into sin, and plunged the world into sin.So Paul says absolutely nothing here about women lacking education as being the reason they’re not permitted to be pastors.He grounds everything in God’s ordering of humanity and creation.God made men to be leaders in their families and in the church.And when women assume those roles and the order is reversed, you end up with disorder and chaos.Now listen, another reason the education argument doesn’t hold up is because of the book ofActs.When Peter and John in the book of Acts were preaching Jesus, it says that the crowds marveled at them because, as Acts 4.13 says, they were uneducated, common men.Now notice that.The Bible clearly says that both Peter and John were uneducated, but we know that God called both of those men to become pastors.Peter became the pastor of the church in Rome, and John served as the pastor of Ephesus fora time.Yet God did not prohibit them from becoming pastors due to their lack of education.So the education rebuttal fails on multiple fronts.Another two passages to consider are 1 Timothy 3, verse 2, and Titus 1, verse 6.In both of these chapters and verses, Paul is listing the qualifications of pastors.And in those particular verses, he says that the pastor must be the husband of one wife,or literally a one-woman man.Now that immediately disqualifies women from the pastorate, considering that they are not men, they are not husbands, and they are not a one-woman man.So based on those verses, here’s what we have to say.We either have to say that only men can be pastors, or if women can be pastors, then there are literally no qualifications for them at all, because all of the qualifications for pastors that we find in the Bible concern a one-woman man or the husband of one wife.So don’t miss what I’m saying here.Every single list of qualifications for pastors in the Bible pertain to men, not women.So if women can be pastors, there are absolutely no qualifications for them whatsoever.Now there are some pretty common responses at this point that we need to address.When you look at the Bible and see that God clearly prohibits women from serving as pastors,people will sometimes point to the numerous examples of women serving in ministerial roles in Scripture as proof that women can be pastors.For instance, some people will say, well look at Deborah.Deborah served as a judge in Israel.And yes, yes she did.But the role and position of judge is not the same as the office of the pastor.So the example of Deborah is not a good defense for making the case that women can be pastorstoday.But there are a few more examples that they point to.They’ll say, well, women were the first to discover the empty tomb of Jesus and proclaim the resurrection of Jesus to others.But again, I hope that you can see and understand that women discovering the empty tomb and then telling people that Jesus is alive is drastically different than serving in the office of the pastor.So that’s not a good example either.Another common response at this point is people will say that women served as prophets in the New Testament, such as Anna and the daughters of Philip.Other people will point to examples like Priscilla and Aquila and how Priscilla was ministering along with her husband Aquila.But again, I hope that we can see that serving as a prophet or ministering beside your husband,not in the position of a pastor, by the way, is not the same thing as serving in the office of the pastor.The office of the pastor is different than being a prophet, and the office of the pastoris different than having a helper come alongside you as a wife and assist you in your ministry.So we aren’t denying that women have been judges, prophets, and bold witnesses for Jesus.They have and praise God for it.All we are saying is that the Bible limits the office of pastor to men.So please understand this, folks.There isn’t a scriptural case that can be made for women pastors.Those in support of women pastors either have to ignore the clear teachings of scripture or interpret them contrary to their plain meaning and twist them to make them mean whatever they want them to mean, according to their feelings.And this is often when feelings get brought into it.Some will say, well, this is sexist.This isn’t fair.And listen, I don’t believe that to be true.The fact that God has called men to be pastors and restricted women from being pastors is not in any way, shape or form saying that men are better than women or men are more valuable than women.It simply means that God has a certain order for the church and for the roles of men and women in the church.So you can think about it like this.Let’s say that I go to my local hardware store and I purchase a $20 hammer and $20 gardenshears.Then I go home to do some work.Well, if I want to go out and prune my garden or prune my shrubs, I’m not going to grab the hammer.I mean, I can and I can try to use it, but it’s not what it’s meant for.Does that mean that the hammer is less valuable than the shears?No, not at all.They both cost $20.It just means that each tool has its own task that it’s best equipped to handle.And so it is with men and women in the church.God has designed us and ordered his church in the way that he deemed best.Not that men deemed best, not that humans deemed best, but that God deemed best.So listen to me.We’re not denying that there are women who are incredibly gifted communicators.There are.We’re not denying that there are women who have the ability to teach.There are.We’re not denying that there are women with valuable insights into the Scriptures.There are.My wife, Anna, is one of these.She often will see things that I miss or that I overlook or she’ll bring out a point ina passage of Scripture that I haven’t thought about in that way before.There are women with very valuable insights into the Scriptures.All we’re saying is that the Bible limits and restricts the office of pastor to menas qualified by Scripture.There are plenty of other important ways for women to serve and function in the church,and we’re actually going to be addressing that and discussing that in a future podcastepisode.I’m going to spoil it now.But please understand, this isn’t a personal issue.It’s not a matter of how we feel or what we think.It literally all comes down to what the Bible says.And if we consider ourselves Christians, then we must submit ourselves to God and His rule as revealed in His inspired, inerrant, infallible Word.He alone is our ultimate authority, not our feelings and certainly not the culture orthe times.So let’s please make sure that as Christians, we are basing all of our beliefs on what Scripture actually says, not what we want them to say, not what we twist them to mean, not what the culture says they can mean, but what the Scripture says clearly and plainly.So that’s what the Bible says about who can serve as pastors.I appreciate the question.I look forward to answering more in the future.