The Chimes

Women belong in church leadership

The roles women have been given in the church are often based on scriptural interpretations that may not be accurate.

| flickr.com/CREATIVE COMMONS

| flickr.com/CREATIVE COMMONS

Benita Fatusin, Writer

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Due to the rising popularity of feminism the roles of women have increasingly become unlimited. Yet, women’s roles in church leadership stay restricted due to evangelical culture and flawed hermeneutics. I have come across a lot of people that believe the church should remain a male-dominated institution and as a result misconstrue the meaning of biblical passages that pertain to women in roles of worship.

I recently had a conversation with two students — a male, who did not believe that women should have leadership roles in the church, and a female, who believed that they should. Both views had biblical texts supporting their argument, making it difficult to arrive at a mutual understanding. Since their personal interpretation of the texts bound their perspectives, they were bound to end in a disagreement.      

SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT

It is safe to assume feminists often interpret scripture to allow expanded roles for women in church. Feminists support those who understand the Bible as a text that allows women to have full access to leaderships roles in church. They put down those who believe that God intended for women to act as subordinates to male leadership in church.

In Genesis 1:26, God refers to “man” as humanity, both male and female. Therefore there are scriptures that pertain to man as humanity but, due to the time and culture it was written, it was interpreted as male only. I interviewed a student taking a theology class who had previously discussed the topic with her professor, and she shared examples and scenarios in the Bible that explore the nature and context of women in the church.

Genesis 3 tells us that Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of life, sinning and invoking God’s curse. In that, God cursed women to be ruled by men. However, the birth of Jesus in the New Testament brought grace through which God used to redeem us from the curse and the sin of Adam and Eve for those who are born again and believe in Him. In regards to the modern societal aspect of gender roles, one can safely say that the perception that women cannot be in roles of leadership over men is false.

WORKING TOGETHER

It is agreeable that the Bible was written in a patriarchal culture, scriptures tell us women are not supposed to be in roles of leadership over men. However this does not diminish women in the church. In 1 Timothy 2:11-15, Paul writes that women are not to teach or assume authority over men, but it is hard to argue that Paul’s statements are meant for universal application when God honored so many women from scripture. This included women like Deborah who was a prophet and judge, Priscilla who was a teacher alongside her husband Aquila and so many more.            

Every man and woman has a calling and each is called to work together for the benefit of the church and God’s order through biblical teachings.

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Women belong in church leadership