It is not my intent to continue harping on the subject and re-emphsizing the fact that women cannot hold certain positions in the church. I think that point has been well made by now. It is necessary to point out what women can do in the church and still be in obedience to God and his will for them. There has always been a ministry for women in the church but it is not ‘the ministry’ that that word applies. This is where some of the confusion comes in with this issue.
The professional position in the church is the most commonly held definition of the word ministry thus that is what most people focus on when discussing what role women may have in the church. You can have a ministry without being in the ministry and for women that is where their objective lies. God does not call people to disobey his word or rules yet time and again I hear women pastors say,’ God has called me to be a pastor’. No he hasn’t and such women need to recheck that call or their ears to make sure they got it right.
As we saw in part two, God is consistent thus he would not call women to a position in the NT church where he did not call them in the OT temple. So yes, women do get a call to minister to others but that call does not equate to being eligible for the position of pastor or elder. Women do get spiritual gifts and talents from God and they should be exercising those abilities yet again, they must do so under the limitations set by God’s rules and consistency.
I am going to go to Dr. Stott’s book, Guard the Truth, fr a couple more examples and then add a few suggestions at the end as he doe snot cover a wide territory for opportunities for women in this work.
#1. Whom are they to teach?. Their own family no doubt but also and specially they can train younger women… (pg. 188)
I have said this elsewhere. Biblically strong women are a great asset to their husbands as they can mentor their children spiritually, set the right rules for them, provide wise guidance and so much more. Their family should be so important that they would want to be at their spiritual best. I do not know who said it first but ‘there is nothing like a mother who truly prays for her children.’
A woman does not have to be a pastor to be able to communicate with God, especially as an intercessor for her family. The biblical teaching on going to your prayer closet is not restricted to men or pastors only. Neither are the teachings on obtaining, wisdom, knowledge, understanding and so on. To be a wise counselor to your family and younger women, you really need to know something; thus being truly educated is important for the woman. her husband should support her in the gaining of the right knowledge because it will both help him and his children.
#2. it is noteworthy that, although Titus is himself to teach the older men ad older women and later the young men, it is the older women who are given the task of teaching the younger women. (pg. 188)
Women, if you want to protect your pastor, elders, young women and the church from sexual immorality then you need to step up and make yourselves available for this ministry. Helping to keep temptation from ruining the church and its leaders is a very important responsibility and one that is vital to the spiritual health of the church.
Male leadership are not made of stone and they do cave to sexual temptation thus it is important to have older women relieving them of this stress and take over the care of the younger women in the congregation and community. Your pastor’s and elders’ wives will thank you for this effort. Protecting the family unit of your church leaders is a daunting task because evil will look for weak spots to enter and ruin men of God and their families so you need to be spiritually prepared to handle all that comes from this duty.
#3. The younger women are to be trained to be self-controlled and pure, and to be busy at home…it would not be legitimate to base on this word either a stay-at-home stereotype for all women or a prohibition of wives being also professional women. (pg. 189)
I would agree that we need to be careful in how we apply biblical verses, especially in this case as it is easy to become a mini-dictator and selfish in this issue. I would go further than Dr. Stott here in defining how that verse should be applied (the non-italicized words in that quote) and state that whether a woman stays at home or goes off to work is between her, her husband and God’s guidance.
It is not for the church leadership or other members of the church to impose their wills upon families that are not their own. This is a boundary where too many people violate and the sticking the nose in where it does not belong really ends well. God has made the husband the head of his family, not one man, or a small group of men, to be in charge of all families.
We must be careful when presenting our advice to others. We should be wary of interfering with God’s instructions to individual family units and imposing human ideas where the do not belong.
#4. But that is exactly what the apostle Paul is summoning Titus, and through him us, to do. Older men are to be dignified and mature. Older women are to be reverent and teachers of the young. Younger women are to be good wives and mothers. Young men are to control themselves… (pg. 196)
I think that is self-explanatory and very clear. if you need help in achieving this, ask the HS to guide you to the correct verses you need to start with that set you on the right path to achieving that objective. Then if that is not enough, ask the HS to guide you to the right people who can help you along the way, making sure that those people are leading you away from the sinful world and its ideology and towards God’s will for you.
Like I said, Dr. Stott is a very good teacher and if you read his works as a place to start in understand scripture. Just remember he is not perfect, his words are not inspired or infallible and that he too makes mistakes in understanding what God wants. Read his works, or the works of other good spiritual writers, with the aid of the HS asking him to lead you to the truth God wants you to learn and you should be okay.
Getting on the right path will not be easy but if you do as Paul said and persevere, you will make it. Now a few words on suggestions where women are needed outside of the professional ministry. First, I realize that many individual churches have so many programs it wants its members to participate in that you may feel that you do not have the time to do more. That is okay. Even though I am not a fan of those churches who demand a large chunk of their members time or require them to be in the church building 7 days a week.
That is unrealistic and hardly biblical. The church should be encouraging its people to go out into the world and put into practice what God has taught them, just like Jesus did with his disciples.. Most people who need us will not darken the doorway of a church thus we need to be flexible in our program implementation and requirements plus give more freedom to congregation members to follow god’s leading to do different activities outside of the church property.
Second, the list doe snot mean that you have to preach an evangelistic message every time you do these things. Be a true friend instead. Wait for God’s timing and leading before acting. Too many opportunities are lost because of those believers who feel presenting the gospel is the only thing that can be done.
–Visit senior citizen centers or the elderly in their own homes. These people desire human contact and some are not lucky enough to have their families visit often.
–Visit the sick, both at home and in the hospital. Like the elderly, they are lonely and have way too much time on their hands which allows evil to have its way in their lives. Both groups need to see that God and the church cares about them.
— Visit your female neighbors. I qualify this because I am making suggestions for women to use their spiritual gifts and their meeting males outside of the presence of their husbands would bring the appearance of evil and God warns against that.
–Seek out the poor and see where the church can provide needed aid. It doesn’t have to be financial aid, but fixing the house, or cars. Find a way to help them out from their burdens. If their mortgage is too high, help them find better financing that will relieve some of their money troubles.
— Visit women in prison. They need to know that someone cares about them as well. I remember reading how one of the worst leaders of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia became a Christian then later took responsibility for his part in that atrocity. Not all prisoners are beyond hope.
–Helping others receive true justice. Not just those imprisoned but those who have received unfair and bad treatment by corporations or other entities.
You would be surprised how far a genuine act of kindness goes with the person we think is unreachable. All of these, and the many more you could probably think of, areas of need do not require a woman to be a pastor or church leader. They simply need to be strong in their faith, humble and obedient to God. Then, I am not proposing that we do a social gospel activity here because good works to other members of society is what we all need to be doing. Our good works are not done to obtain salvation for ourselves but rather, they are done BECAUSE of our salvation through Jesus.
We should not be afraid to do good things for others and the Bible has many verses telling us to do good for others, especially those who cannot repay us for our efforts. We do them so people can see God and glorify him. The verse in Dr. Stott’s book that he uses is:
9 A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man, 10 having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the [c]saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work (1 Tim. 5 NASB)
Doing good is not a bad thing, it is the right thing to do.