God created both men and women in His image (Gen. 5:1-2). There are three views of a woman’s role in the church.
- The Traditional View: Men are better than women. Women should stay home, cook dinner, and have babies. This view is not Biblically supported.
- The Egalitarian view: There is no difference between men and women. Anything a man can do, a woman can do. This is the most popular view in culture today. The Biblical support comes almost exclusively from Galatians 3:28-29. While this view is the most popular that doesn’t make it the most Biblical. Taking this view creates some other challenges in dealing with Biblical relationships.
- The Complementarian view: Men and women are different. Not in value, but in purpose. They are both image-bearers of God and are both equally valued and equally loved by Him (Gen. 1:27). This view is a minority position. Part of that is because it seems, on the surface, to be like the Traditional view. Let’s flush out what it really means.
Here is what that means in the home and in the church:
- God designed a patriarchal family. The man is responsible to lead, serve, provide, protect, and love his wife and children (Eph. 5:22-33, 1 Tim. 5:8).
- A Christian husband loves his wife as Christ loved the church (Col. 3:19).
- A Christian wife submits to her husband as the church submits to Christ (Col. 3:18).
- God made marriage to reflect the relationship of Jesus and the Church (Eph. 5:32-33).
- Only men should be appointed into authoritative positions of leadership in the church (1 Tim. 3:1-7).
- Both men and women are to serve the kingdom of God in mutual submission to Christ (Eph.5:21).
Here is what that does not mean:
- Women cannot hold leadership positions
- Phoebe, was a leader in the church at Cenchrea and is commended by Paul (Romans 16:1-2).
- Women cannot have any authority over men
- Barak was a leader, but he obeyed the commands of Deborah (Judges 4:14).
- All men are in authority over all women
- A husband has authority over his wife (Eph. 5:22). Scripture does not teach that men are in authority over women. Paul notes that Christ makes everyone equal (Gal. 3:28).
- Women are inferior to men
- God created both men and women in His image (Genesis 1:27).
- A man will always be a better leader than a woman
- Acts 18:19, Pricilla and Aquila were a husband and wife leadership team. Pricilla (the wife) is mentioned first indicating she was the more important leader
- All men are good Godly authorities
- King Saul (1 Sam. 22:6-23), Pilate (John 18-19), Adam (Genesis 1-2).
We need to live in grace knowing that God’s model for leadership sets the ideal. Due to our imperfections we don’t always live up to that ideal.
God designed it that way (1 Cor. 11:3). He placed men as the point leaders in the home and in the church (Titus 1:6-16). He has equipped His sons and daughters with a variety of gifts and abilities for our own use for blessing and supporting each other.
Who can do what?
While most ministry positions are open to both men and women whose gifts and abilities match the role, we believe the roles of elder and lead pastor (point leaders) are reserved for men (1 Tim. 3:1-7).
What does Godly authority look like?
Men are given this authority to love and care for those placed under their authority. In Ephesians 5 Paul equates the responsibility of a man’s authority in his home to Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate authority and the perfect example of how all authority should work. Jesus was in authority over us. He did not dominate us with that authority instead He took responsibility for us. Jesus took our sin upon Himself and paid the price for our wrongdoing. He wasn’t guilty of any sin but He paid the price for all sin because He assumed responsibility. That’s what Godly authority looks like. The acute focus of these roles is on doing what is best for others, even to the point of self-sacrifice.
Key Characteristics of a Godly Leader
- Servant (Matt. 20:28; John 13:1-17)
- Humble (Matt. 20:25-26)
- Responsible (Eph. 5:25-27)
- Above Reproach (1 Tim. 3:2)
- Loving (1 Thess. 3:11-13; 1 Jn. 4:8)
- Leading by example (1 Peter 5:2-4)
- Self-Sacrificing (Phil. 2:3-8)
We’d encourage you to read the following Scriptures which deal with Godly authority:
Genesis 1:27 Matthew 20:20-28 John 13:1-17
John 15:9-17 Romans 13:1-7 Romans 16:1-2
1 Corinthians 11:3-9 Ephesians 5:22-33 Philippians 2:3-8
Colossians 3:18-20 1 Timothy 2:11-3:13 1 Timothy 5:8
Titus 1:6-16 1 Peter 5:1-7 1 John 4:8