Godly women have a place in the ministry.

Let’s take a look at this beginning in Genesis 1:26 (NIV).  The Bible says, Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they (man & woman) may rule…  God has called women to “rule” or have “delegated authority” as well as man according to design in Genesis 1:28.  

We then see God delegate authority to Godly women throughout scripture.  Deborah was a Judge ordained by God.  She was a female, and she led all of Israel in the Book of Judges.  Miriam was a prophetess according to her description in Exodus 15, Joel prophet says that God would pour out His Spirit on sons & daughters and they would prophesy.  Phoebe in the New Testament is referenced as a deaconess. 

The verse most used as a prohibition on women in ministry is 1 Timothy 2:12 where Paul says a woman is not to be in authority over a man.  The problem with using this as a unilateral prohibition is that the Greek tells a different story.  In 1 Timothy 2:12 the word for authority is the word authenteo, which is only used once in the whole Bible.  Paul specifically uses it here in his letter to Timothy for a reason.  Timothy is leading the Church in Ephesus and Ephesus is overrun with women controlling society and worship in an unsubmitted, unhealthy, and ungodly manner.  Authenteo means to act in a self-appointed, domineering & autocratic (acting without submission or covering) way.   So, a woman who is unsubmitted and self-exalted with no accountability is what is most conveyed when looking at the original Greek. If Paul had wanted to say a woman could not be in any position of authority it would make more sense to use the Greek word Exousia.  

However, we do believe we must hold the Bible in tension, so we do believe in Paul’s description of what an overseer should be in 1 Timothy 3.  So, as we begin to put the picture together that Genesis tells us that man AND WOMAN can “RULE”, and we see Biblical examples like Deborah selected to lead all of Israel as a spiritual leader and we know that Paul was not broad stroking a prohibition on healthy female leadership from the use of the word authenteo, CHR has found its position.

We will not lean all the way to one side and say women should shut up and never speak or help in ministry which is the position of some.  And we will not go all the way to the other side and forget Paul’s instruction on what an Overseer of the Church is to be a man with one wife.  But we will embrace that God has called women to minister and lead inside of the Church at large when they are not acting in a self-exalting, autocratic way that is unsubmissive.