In my ongoing desire to see churches function biblically and to see Christians think clearly, one area that we must think about, especially as African Americans or as black people, is the role of women
in the church and to some degree in civil society.
Let’s consider these questions:
1. Is a woman biblically permitted to serve in the church? If so, how? (Please provide Scripture references to justify your answer.)
2. Is a woman biblically permitted to serve as a pastor or co-pastor of a local church? (Please provide Scripture references to justify your answer.)
3. Is there a difference between preaching and pastoring?
4. Is it okay for a male pastor to give bible teaching opportunities to a woman to a congregation of men and women at a Sunday gathering or in a bible study setting?
5. Are there any consequences for allowing women to serve as pastors, co-pastors or teach a mixed crowd at a Sunday gathering or bible study?
These types of questions are issues that we should be thinking about when we consider how we think about the local church and what the Bible prescribes. Really, at the heart of this discussion is the glory of God displayed in the worth and in the roles of men and women (yes, genders are distinct and created by God) as God intended them in general, but specifically in the church for the purpose of this discussion. I readily affirm women are gifted to serve. This is not an issue of competence, but of design and purpose.
Concerning gender roles circulating in the church, the two opposing ideas are:
As brief descriptions:
Egalitarianism states that men and women are ontologically (the essence of being) equal and therefore should function (roles) as equals. (i.e. Since women are equal to men, then a woman can do what a man can. If a man can pastor, a woman can too.)
Complementarianism states that men and women are ontologically equal, but have differing roles as men and women according to God’s design. (i.e. Even though men and women possess dignity as image bearers of God and are equal in essence, God has ordained that men lead and women serve in assisting roles in the life of the church.)
Complementarians root their argument in Genesis 2:18-25 and this is very crucial to understand the order in the church.
Whether or not you’re in a church that has an egalitarian philosophy of ministry, it’s important to understand these things so we can think more clearly and live as God intended in these areas.
I would love to engage with you on this topic!
Grace & Peace,