Feminism In The Church – What Men Have To Say

To a great extent men are silent on the subjects of feminism in the church and women pastors — unless they favor these things. I suspect there are two principle factors involved in this silence.

First, fewer and fewer pastors are expository preachers. They aren’t working their way verse by verse through a passage of Scripture, thus having nowhere to hide when they come to difficult subjects. Or topics that will empty their pews and reduce their weekly offerings.

Instead many pastors pick and choose the topics they wish to bring before their congregation, meaning they can focus on the subjects that won’t bring angry emails clogging their in-boxes.

Which brings up the second factor — our society all too often makes men look stupid and selfish and power-hungry. For a man to stand up and say that a woman should not be a pastor puts him in the line of fire for accusations of being stupid and selfish and power-hungry.

It’s a risky thing. People might get angry and stop giving or even leave the church.

I for one, want to see more men stand up and say what the Bible says. After all, they aren’t giving their opinion on the matter. They are standing by God’s word, teaching the generations to come.

Scripture is given us for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. I’d like to see men stand for the doctrine that contradicts feminism. I’d like to see them correct those who are deconstructing Paul’s words (as if Paul, not God, is teaching in the passages of Scripture about women and our role in church services).

After all, our young men and our daughters take their cues from the godly men in their lives.

Perhaps men who are not pastors or elders are best equipped to teach on this subject. That way no one can accuse them of wanting to protect their own personal role. They, like women should, have accepted the fact that God has a different role for them to play. Not lesser. Not one of no importance. Just different.

As it is, the people who seem to stand against feminism in the church are mostly stay-at-home moms — who don’t have the largest platform from which to be heard.

Mind you, I don’t think we need to join the cultural wars and make this a plank in a political program — no abortion, no gay marriage, and no women pastors. No, no, no. That is not want I’m suggesting.

As I see it, the only thing we need to do is advocate for God’s word, not against anything. We need to put our time and energies into understanding what the Bible says, and not what someone using a kind of retooled higher criticism manipulates it into saying.

I read, for example, one article that refers to Paul’s admonition to women in 1 Corinthians 14 as “the classic bondage scripture.” Somehow, when I start an article that talks about a portion of the Bible that way, I lose confidence that the author reveres God’s Word or believes that even the hard things are true, whether he understands them or not.

I’m also not inclined to give much credence to an argument that ignores other passages of clear teaching such as 1 Timothy 2:11-14. The Bible is the best interpreter of the Bible, and the various passages of Scripture we’ve looked at in the previous posts on this subject ( “Feminism In The Church”, “Feminism In The Church, Continued”, “Women As Leaders Of The Church?”) are remarkably backed up by the Old Testament when God established the system of worship for the Israelites, choosing only men to be priests.

Interestingly Aaron and Miriam at one point challenged Moses’s authority as the leader of God’s people:

And they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?”

God made it clear that Moses was His choice to lead His people by striking Miriam with leprosy. Not Aaron and Miriam. Just Miriam. (See Numbers 12).

It’s my belief that women wanting men’s roles is actually a consequence of the Fall, but that’s a matter for another day. For now, I want to go on record as saying I’ll happily stand beside any man who teaches even the unpopular parts of God’s Word. That’s what I long to see more of in the Church.

Published in: on October 3, 2011 at 7:02 pm  Comments (5)  
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  1. Laughing at that post you quoted that characterizes 1 Corinthians 14 as bondage scripture! Actually, for the day and age it was written in, it was incredibly enlightening and freeing with regard to the status of women. Paul is clearly writing to both men and women throughout the passage and in many parts of it, it is clear that he sees them as equally privileged and equally responsible before God for keeping order in the church.

    Contrast that with the Roman empire’s view of women:
    Legally in the Roman empire, women had lower status, fewer opportunities and less legal recourse or protection, although they were permitted to own and run businesses like Lydia did. Roman women were the property of their husbands.

    As for the part about women being silent in church–he seems to clarify that this is especially with regard to inquiries/asking questions.

    I’ve always wondered which inquisitive, half-deaf chatterbox aggravated Paul to the extent he felt compelled to address this here. The whole “You can’t hear me telling you what God has to say through me to you if you’re talking…” issue is as old as time itself.

    And I suspect that he said it to the women, because he knew they’d be amused and elbow their men who had similar tendencies. “If I can’t annoy the preacher with my questions, neither can you!” (I happen to know a few women from that part of the world.)

    Wasn’t there somewhere else in Scripture, where Paul met with the believers in a town he came to, and prophetesses who were sisters prophesied over him? (or am I remembering that incorrectly?)


  2. “I for one, want to see more men stand up and say what the Bible says.”

    That phrase made me stop and think: The Christian community is ruled by women, just like homes are…even among anti-feminists. A man is the head of his house…because his wife says to. Men in the church should stand up…because the women in the church say to. I’m wondering whether or not there can be any real change as long as it involves Christian women telling men what to do.


  3. Jenny, there are plenty of men who don’t need to be told, who are already standing up and taking the lead spiritually in their churches and homes, while the women who know them cheer them on from the pews!

    And you’re right: nagging a man to be a leader doesn’t work any better than nagging them to take out the trash. But I’ve gotten to know how Becky thinks, and i really don’t think she meant that we should do nag them.

    I think of it more as, let’s get out of the way and let them lead, and when they aren’t so naturally inclined and say things like, “Who’s in charge here?” we ladies can grin, and point and them, and say, “YOU are!” I’ve gotten the impression that they really do like it when we acknowledge their God-given role as leaders.

    And I’ve observed that men do need to hear the women in the lives articulate that they are looking to their menfolk for leadership. It’s a good thing to do it in a positive way; “I so admire you for the way you led us in family devotions tonight,” or “the way you got our boys started on their homework while I bathed the baby was awesome! They wouldn’t have gotten it all done in time for bed if you hadn’t kept them on task.”

    But not every man in the church is able or willing to be a spiritual leader. We all have our areas of personal strength and weakness, and not every personality-type lends itself to strong overt leadership. I love my dad, but he’s very quiet, and nine times out of ten, if he and Mom are talking to other people together, Mom is carrying the conversation. However, she is careful to only say things that he would agree with, and it is clear that they are a team and that she defers to him. She’s just the more talkative!


  4. Great post.

    I don’t see a problem with pastors teaching on women not being in authority in the church. Parents tell their children that they are in authority and they must be obeyed. And Pastors should tell the flock that they also are under authority (both men and women) and they need to obey.

    I agree with your guess on why pastors don’t do this. It’s a travesty, though. God will add to the church the ones being saved if our pastors will be faithful to preach the word. If the pastor won’t preach the hard things, he will have his pews full of milk drinkers who are weak, I think.


  5. Actually, for the day and age it was written in, it was incredibly enlightening and freeing with regard to the status of women.

    Krysti, that’s an excellent point. We start comparing what Paul said (actually what God said) to what our culture says, and we for some reason think that people today see things aright and people “back then” were unenlightened. The truth is that listening to God will always make us more enlightened than someone who does not listen to Him.

    Thanks for joining the discussion and giving us your input.



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