Based in New York City, Bishop Reid and Pastor Reid discusses the people and instruments of revival n this weekly podast series, Arrows of Revival

Women Leading?

Women Leading?

CAN WOMEN LEAD IN MINISTRY?

 

Scriptures & Highlights

  • The Question: Can women lead as pastors or ministers?

  • Interesting Fact: According to Barna Group Research about 9% of Senior Pastors in the USA are women, despite the fact that the number of women in churches far outweigh men. Note also, that the majority of the 9% lead nominal mainline churches such as United Methodist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Lutheran Church, AME, etc.

Some churches prevent women from exercising their gifts and lead in ministry based on the following two scriptures:

I Corinthians 14:34 - 35 Let your women keep silence in the churches:

I Timothy 2:11-12  Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

However, in our understanding of the topic, we must allow all of scripture, and its general teachings to inform our interpretation and doctrine.

 

  1. Evidence from the Old Testament

Miriam - First, there is Miriam, who was a prophetess (Exodus 15:20). She is also named as one of the top three leaders in Israel in Micah 6:4 For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. Miriam was counted as one of the spiritual leaders of the called out people of Israel.

Deborah - Deborah was also a spiritual leader in Israel, and governed the people. She served Israel in the office of a  prophet. (Judges 4)

Huldah - Huldah was a prophetess in Judah in the time of King Josiah. She was a notable prophetess since Hilkiah the priest, and the appointed officials of the king went to her on behalf of king Josiah to inquire of the Lord (2 Kings 22:14)

II. Biblical Progression

  • Over time, God has increased the number of people upon which he pours out his Spirit and use for ministry. Numbers 11:29 “Would God that all Lord’s people were prophets”.

III. New Testament Examples

Junia in Romans 16:7 is mentioned as notable among the apostles.

Philip’s Daughters - Acts 21:9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

Anna the Prophetess  (Luke 2:38)- Anna was a prophetess and spent all her time in the temple. She was known as a prophet according to the scripture. Therefore, her prophecies took place within the temple.

Priscilla the Pastor-Teacher -  Acts 18:26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. Paul called her a co-worker in Romans 16:3; I Corinthians 16:19 - she led a church in her home and was known among other churches.

 

IV. General Scripture

Joel 2:28 … I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy...

In I Corinthians 12:7, the scripture states, Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one of us. There are no gender restrictions given as to who would receive the manifestation of the Spirit.

Since women are given the gift of prophecy by the Spirit, by the same outpouring the other gifts are given for women.

But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ (Ephesians 4;7)

The Bible teaches the following concerning all believers, male and female:

  • Desire spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 14:1). Remember the gifts listed by Paul In I Corinthians 12 includes gifts that would involve leading and or publicly speaking in a church setting such as an apostle, prophet, and teacher.

  • Excel in gifts that edify the church (I Corinthians 14:12). This would mean that women that desire to follow this scripture would be ministering and speaking in the church.

  • The scripture speaks of all prophesying in the church (I Corinthians 14:24). Again this would include women prophesying in the church.

  • Everyone should come to church services ready to utilize their spiritual gift, and minister to each other (I Corinthians 14:26).

  • We must minister according to the gifts given to us. This includes prophecy, teaching, leading, among others. There are no gender restrictions given (Roman 12:5-8).

  • We should all faithfully use whatever gifts have been given to us. Again no gender restrictions are given.

These Scriptures should bear the weight when considering the scriptures below:

I Corinthians 14:34 - 35 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. 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.

If we conclude that women should not speak in churches based on the above, then even Paul disagrees with himself in I Cor. 11:5

I Corinthians 11:5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

Therefore, it is clear Paul expected women to minister prophetically in the church, so the seeming ban on women speaking must have been limited to a certain time or place.

The scripture below is also used.

I Timothy 2:11-12  Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

This scripture seems to be focused on women not usurping authority. Meaning, women should not take charge over a man in any position that God has not given her. Women should not take over the leadership of the home from her husband. Women should lead and minister in the church under the leadership of men God has placed over her. But she can function as a pastor, or other leading gifts, without assuming an authority that God has not given her.

PRACTICAL BIBLICAL FACTORS

Along with the weight of scripture taking precedence, we must also see that there are two overarching factors why women should be in ministry leadership:

  1. Need

Throughout scripture, God has used the unqualified to fill a need in the fulfillment of his purpose. He used a donkey to speak to the prophet Balaam when Balaam could not perceive God’s will. Jesus told the Pharisees that if the people stopped shouting Hosanna, the rocks would cry out. Mary Magdalene was the first woman to spread the message of Christ’s resurrection; the men were not available. To fill a need, it seems God would use anyone; he would surely use a woman. If there is a need to be filled, God raises up women to pastor, evangelize, teach, prophecy, and do apostolic work.

II. Time

The progression of scripture reveals that as time gets closer to the coming of the Lord, there would be an increase in both men and women doing ministry. The widespread outpouring of the Spirit of God upon all flesh is the catalyst for a massive increase in ministry among both men and women. Joel  2:28-29 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

The Spirit of God gives great emphasis to women prophesying. The scripture mentions not only sons but specifically daughters. Secondly, not only servants but specifically handmaids. The two verses show that God is intentionally stressing the presence of women in this prophetic revival. Isaiah calls forth for the women to arise until there is a mighty revival. Isaiah 32:9, 15 Rise up, ye women that are at ease; hear my voice, ye careless daughters; give ear unto my speech. Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. To usher in revival, women seem to have a prominent role. Huldah, the prophetess, was instrumental in igniting a revival in Judah instructing King Josiah to follow the teaching of the biblical scrolls he had found.







 

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