Thursday, March 29, 2007

Biblical Church Leadership - Pt. 6

Male Leadership

Contrary to what many in contemporary society think, excluding women from the role of church leadership is not a ploy to discriminate and dominate unfairly over women. To discriminate against women is a sin that grieves the heart of God. While it is true that there have been times when men have abused their authority and acted cruelly toward women, that behavior is inexcusable and anyone who truly seeks to adhere to Scripture would recognize that error and avoid making the same error. It is unfortunate that there have been times where male have unjustly and cruelly discriminated against women.

But unfortunately, the feminist approach in its attempt to carry out justice for the wrongful acts of discrimination, have gone too far and denied the complementary functions of men and women. These role distinctions were designed by God so that the sexes complement each other in order to perform different functions in society. The Bible teaches that both men and women are indeed equal in personhood and value, but have distinctly different gender roles designed by God. It is tragic that there is so much confusion concerning these distinctive roles. Women are in effect, being exploited by a false view of female identity.

I have seen so many attempts to contort Scripture on this subject, in an attempt to discredit the notion that the Bible emphatically teaches that men are to be in charge of the spiritual leadership in the church. Yet if we take Scripture as it is plainly written, it teaches nothing but the fact that only men are to serve in the role of Spiritual leadership. The way I see it, attempts at undermining male leadership is just another sign of how the church is being unduly influenced by the culture.

But it is impossible to get around the emphasis on male leadership in Scripture. The most obvious example of male leadership is the person of Jesus Christ. He was the Son of God, not the daughter of God. This was theologically necessary to His person and work.

- He was to be a first-born male (Luke 2:23)
- He was the “last Adam”, making Him the antitype of Adam, not
Eve, which mandated that He be a male. (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47; Romans 5:14)
- He needed to be the first-born son of David and Abraham; He was the King, not Queen of Israel.
- In the created order, the male partner alone is charged with the authority and headship role. Therefore Jesus could not have been a woman, and He is the Head of the Church and the model for male leadership.
- Jesus appointed and trained twelve male apostles (Luke 6:12-16). His choice was after spending an entire night praying to His Father, indicating He was acting in obedience to His Father’s will.

It is interesting that in spite of these facts, there are those who claim that Jesus was just accommodating the culture. But since when did Jesus at any time in His life display an accommodating attitude toward the culture. It is clearly illustrated in Scripture that He stood in stark contrast to the culture, including the false rabbinical traditions. Scripture clearly tells us that Jesus showed no partiality to anyone (Matthew 22:16).

Another common argument is that the work of redemption by Christ did away with all male-female distinctions. But if this is the case, then why did Jesus not indicate this by appointing women to be apostles. It would stand to reason that He would have appointed at least one woman to be an apostle. Rather, Jesus continued with the Old Testament order of creation with male headship. And this practice was continued by both Paul and Peter.

The fact that Jesus maintained an all male apostolate does not take away from the fact that he sought to honor women, ministered to them and encouraged them in their service and devotion to God. This was distinctly different from the religious leaders of that time. However, Jesus still established an all male apostolate as the foundational office of His Church (Eph. 2:20; Rev. 21:14).

We can also look at the example of the apostles when they appointed servants to care for the church’s widows. Seven men were appointed to the task, not women (Acts 6:1-6). It is also apparent when Peter addressed the churches in Asia Minor, instructing the Christian women to submit to their husbands, using the example of the women in the Old Testament. He also admonished the men to take care of their wives and consider them as “fellow heir of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:1-7). In doing so, Peter was upholding both gender role distinctions and male-female equality. Those who want to find justification to allow women elders are at a loss to find valid examples used in Scripture.

1. Alexander Strauch, Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership, p. 51-54.


Janna said...

Thanks for this post. I might just use it in a discussion with a friend regarding this issue. I wholeheartedly agree. I've searched the bible too for biblical examples of women as "pastors" and cannot find one. Not that I "like" the fact that I can't find one, being a woman in leadership after all. :) But, I do understand why and after all, the bible is my absolute authority. Thanks again.

Mark said...

How about this scripture for instruction to the church:
1Ti 2:12
And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.

AuthenticTruth said...

Janna, glad that you found this post helpful and thanks for stopping by.

Mark, stay tuned; I will be getting to that passage soon:) That is a very definitive passage and coupled with the overwhelming examples in Scripture, should prove beyond any doubt the emphasis on male leadership in the Bible.

Morgan said...

I am currently figuring this all out, personally. The biblical references are valid, but the general trend of your arguement tends to be: "because that's the way its always been done." Not enough for me, but not enough to turn me away either. Anyway, I will read on and see what more I find.