Listen live! Jocelyn Andersen and Shirley Taylor discuss Whose Authority Friday, February 25 at 10:00 a.m. Central time.
The discussion has now been posted. Listen to us at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/jocelynandersen/2011/02/25/the-complementarian-cult
We have talked about authority in the government and in the home, and we will finish this series with authority in the church.
One of the reasons women cannot preach is because of 1 Timothy 2: 11-12 where Paul says “I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain silent.” Oh, how they love this scripture! And Oh, how they abuse this scripture! They use it to say a woman cannot preach – but we know that some churches do allow a woman to teach men and women in a Sunday school classroom, while some throw up their holy hands and declare that the Bible says she can’t.
We don’t know what that scripture means in today’s world because its usage varies from church to church and from pastor to pastor. If we knew exactly what it meant, there would be no discrepancy. A few years ago I was at the funeral of a cousin that was held in a Church of Christ sanctuary. He had two sons and a daughter. The two sons stood up behind the pulpit and talked about their father. The daughter was not allowed behind the pulpit to eulogize her father. In that church a woman was not allowed behind the pulpit. But in your church, she might be. Not to preach, but to speak, or to sing, or make an announcement. We may declare that the apostle Paul was clear on the subject, we are far from clear.
In his book, Why Men Hate Going to Church, David Murrow says that in a few years the clergy will be a woman’s job, just like being a secretary is today. You know that scares these preachers! They are fighting for their positions. Catholics, Southern Baptists, Mormons, Churches of Christ, and others are a hard-sell, and while I am working diligently day and night (it seems) to make it happen, the odds are against it. But he says it will happen. Women will have authority over men as Pastors of the church.
A Baptist Standard article on February 14 called “Churches manage myriad changes,” by Tom Ehrich said, “We also need radical diversity, not tokenism or stale politics. This, too, will be painful. In many congregations, the pendulum swung from male-dominated to female-dominated, and neither extreme works. Balance will be the goal going forward. New ways of thinking about power and authority will emerge – neither “patriarchy” nor “matriarchy,” but something new that is truly gender-neutral.”
More than likely when fundamental Baptists read that they see matriarchy as being the opposite of patriarchy. Immediately they would rebel because they have been led to believe that the church is being feminized. However, a church with a woman pastor would have both men and women as deacons, taking up collections, (in a Baptist church this is usually reserved for the male deacons), and Sunday school classes could be taught by a woman even if there were men in the room. Whereas a patriarchal church would have a male pastor, male deacons, and only males would be allowed to teach a mixed Sunday school class of men and women. You can see that a church with a woman pastor would allow for equality.
Recently 1,200 Anglicans in England left their churches and became Catholics simply because the Anglican church is going to allow women bishops. Their distaste of women pastors is so prevailing that they will actually change their spiritual belief and its practices. That is no small thing. It is an extreme insult to women.
One thing to keep in mind is that whenever you hear that women should not have authority over a man, what they are really saying is that men should have authority over women. Again, this is a distortion of the scriptures. Jesus said “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
One pastor emailed me that when his congregation submits to his leadership, they may be more important, they may have more influence, and they may receive greater rewards in Heaven, etc. That is so arrogant, and unlike Christ that it takes my breath away. But I found many pastors who believe this.
Look what authority Jesus gave his disciples when he sent them out. It was NOT authority over people. Only God can have that. “And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons, and to heal diseases, and He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God, and to perform healing.” (Luke 9:1-2)
Neither men nor women can have spiritual authority over one another. My pastor does not have authority over me. What authority does your pastor have over you? He cannot forgive your sins, he cannot forbid you to take communion, he cannot keep you from making a profession of faith. Many people in church preach the gospel message, but they do not have authority over any member of the congregation. Neither does the pastor. So what is it about women having authority over men?
Those who quote 1 Timothy 2: 11-12 have a problem.
- Does it means spiritual authority? Our answer is that nobody has spiritual authority over another person, in a church context or out.
- Does it mean administrative authority – which is essentially what a pastor has over a church? Our answer to that is that the church treasurer also has administrative authority in the church – and we know that many church treasurers are women.
- Does a woman teach a man when she answers a Biblical question in a Sunday school class?
“One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 5:6-7