Is it right for women to preach? What is wrong about it? Is it biblical? These, and other, questions are asked when the subject of "women preachers" is discussed. Surely these questions are valid and deserve to be answered. Who is qualified to authoritatively answer this very important matter? The answer rests with the One who alone is omniscient, and with Him whose Word shall never pass away. It is He who ordered all things from the beginning, and looked upon them and saw "It was good." It is this One who gave the mandate to "preach the Word," in and out of season, with all authority. Supreme authority is held by the Author, who is God, and the Bible, which is His inspired Word to mankind.
A consideration of the matter at hand must necessarily relate to two particular subjects; firstly, the Ministry of the Gospel, and secondly, the God-ordained status of the woman. The Holy Scriptures very definitely, and clearly, set forth the basic truths of both subjects. Each of these subjects must be given its proper esteem as ordained by God, and recorded in His Word. Then, as all these truths are related to the primary subject under consideration, truth will be apparent, and humble and sincere hearts will be convinced to walk in the Light.
The Apostle Paul, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, admonished the Church of God at Corinth to do all things decently and in order (I Cor. 14:40). This admonition to them was prompted by the contentions which were among them. In various ways God's ordained ways to promote orderliness and peace were frustrated because the Corinthians failed to abide in the power of God, and rather stood in their own wisdom (I Cor. 2:5). The ultimate result of departing from God's ordained order has always and will continue to gender confusion. This is not compatible with God (I Cor. 14:33). Many zealous persons, eager to perform Christian obligations, are misdirected in their endeavors because they lack knowledge of the proper way to fulfill their desires (Rom. 10:1-3). God's order, wisely adhered to, will bring about effective witnessing. Our heavenly Father promises to supply wisdom to those who sincerely seek fork (James 1:4-8).
Preaching the Gospel is the public proclamation of the Word and will of God. Throughout the ages God has employed righteous men to tell the "Good News." Early in earth's history, when all flesh was corrupt and violence filled the earth. God commissioned Noah to make known His will to the earth's inhabitants. Later the prophets suffered themselves to be used as mortal instruments to publicly, and privately, reveal heavenly things to their fellowmen. Isaiah, charged by the Lord's fire, responded with the cry, "Here am I, send me." God answered him thus, "Go, and tell" (Isa. 6:7-9). Preaching is God's way to inform the masses of people of blessings upon the righteous, and pending doom upon the ungodly (Isa. 3:10, 11). John the Baptist came preaching, "repent ye; for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3:2). Heaven's greatest message was committed to men who God used to reveal His will to people who sat in darkness. Prophecies were gloriously fulfilled when Jesus Christ preached the Gospel to the poor, and deliverance to the captives, healed the brokenhearted, recovered the sight of the blind, and set at liberty the bruised ones (Luke 4:17-21). At the conclusion of our Lord's earthly ministry He charged His disciples to, "go — tell all nations. Do it in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Teach them to observe all I have commanded. Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28:18-20). The Apostle Paul preached by divine appointment (Acts 9:15, I Cor. 9:16). During his missionary journeys he ordained elders in every church (Acts 14:23). Timothy was commanded by Paul to commit that which he had received to other faithful men, who in turn would teach others. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans and impressed them with the fact that salvation is by faith in the Lord Jesus. How shall they call upon the Lord if faith is not present? Faith cometh by hearing. How shall they hear without a preacher? How shall they preach except they be sent? How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things (Rom. 10:13-18). The foregoing observations are made to impress the mind of the reader with God's divinely ordered procedures as executed by His able servants of the past.
We now come to the second division of subject matter relative to the topic under consideration, namely, the God-ordained status of the woman. As noted earlier, God has ordered all things to be done decently and in order, and is. not the author of confusion. Points of order which govern a person's participation in promoting the Lord's Kingdom on earth must also come under this consideration. In this light the disapproval of a woman preaching the Gospel of Christ must be viewed. The Apostle Paul, by the inspiration of God, very clearly declares that a woman should not take the prominent responsibility of preaching the Word, but rather, in subjection and humility fulfil! her obligation to God in sobriety. To properly understand why a woman is forbidden to undertake the profound responsibility of preaching the Word, it is necessary to be acquainted with God's established order of authority, as vested in man and woman, respectively, and how each one should submissively accept and yield to His decrees. The Genesis account of creation firmly reveals God as Supreme Authority, who after each act of creation stated, "It is good." Finally, after the creation of Adam and Eve, He again approved His entire work with this same pronouncement, "It is good." This "good order" sets forth that, "The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and head of Christ is God" (I Cor. 11:3). Today we confidently believe that this divine order endures, and God's blessings are upon the faithful. To further clarify the foregoing thoughts, the following observations are offered.
Among all the created beasts of the field, and fowls of the air, there was not one creature found who was a help meet for Adam. God took a rib of Adam, and made a woman, who met Adam's need. Eve was not an entity apart from Adam. She was not created of the dust of the ground, as was Adam. Eve subsisted as a created being divinely related to Adam, and made to stand as a help to him. Is it not true that if she had been created from the dust of the ground, that then she would have stood as a person equal to Adam in all respects, and not subject to him in any way? By the same token, it is true that because she was, as Adam said, "Bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh," that this demands subjection to her husband, as well as it is true that a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh. After Adam and Eve transgressed God's Law, in the Garden of Eden, God decreed that Eve's desire would be to her husband, and he should rule over her (Gen. 3:16). The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians that the man is not of the woman; but, the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man (I Cor. 11:8, 9). Other scriptural references are heavily relied on because each one substantiates this divine order as established by virtue of creation (Eph. 5:22-31: I Cor. 11:3; Col. 3:18).
The conclusion of this matter stands on the pedestal of God's order as briefly outlined in the foregoing words. It must be concluded that the preaching of the Gospel of Christ is divinely ordered, and must be faithfully accepted, and engaged in, by those who are called of God, and sanctioned by the Church of God, which is the Body of Christ. No one must dare to appoint himself to this responsible work. How is it consistent that the foot of the body would act independently of the head and other body members? Order? No! Confusion! Christ the Head: the Church the Body, Christians, the members of the Body. God the Father of all, who is above all (Eph. 4:1-16). The Apostle Paul's Epistles to Timothy and Titus very specifically set forth the spiritual qualifications of these men (not women) who are called to minister the Eternal Word of Tmth (1 Tim. 3:1-15; Titus 1:5-9).
The preaching of the Word involves more than only proclaiming to the public the Word of the Lord. The faithful minister of the Word must be a shepherd and pastor to the flock of God. He is willing to take the oversight thereof (I Peter 5:2). This will require counseling in different matters. At the proper time authoritative rebuke will be in order (.II Tim. 4:2,). Official functions such as administering baptism, officiating marriages, etc., are in the realm of the minister's work. In the face of this highly responsible calling, is it meet to suppose that women ought to engage in this work which carries such heavy demands and responsibilities? Rather, it is reasonable to understand that God would require that such heavy responsibility must be undertaken by men, who are held accountable to God to charitably assume their God-given role as head of the woman.
The Apostle Paul's order which forbids the preaching of the Gospel of Christ by a woman stands consistently against the background of the role that God has ordained for women. The Holy Word of God again and again reveals that this order was observed effectively. Many examples are seen of how godly women of old lived in subjection to their husbands and were blessed of God (I Peter 3:1-12).
The foregoing views do not relegate women to a base and undeserving level. These views are in no way meant to minimize the intellectual abilities of the woman. The Christian woman is not barred from harmonious fellowship in Christ, or His Church. A godly woman who is subject to God and His order, commands the respect of her husband and her fellowmen. Christian women find places for active participation in Church affairs, where they can humbly and consistently fellowship with other Christians. There is no disparity in Christ Jesus. His grace and salvation are for all. Praise His name (Gal. 3:28).