Women as Church leaders: An egalitarian view on women preaching and pastoring

www.christianpost.com | 8/19/2019 | Staff
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Did the Apostle Paul really say women can never be pastors?

Christianity - Debate - Women - Ministry - Leadership

Within evangelical Christianity the debate surrounding women in ministry, particularly in ordained leadership capacities, is usually framed as complementarianism vs. egalitarianism. Complementarians believe that women are forbidden from holding certain offices in the Church. Egalitarians insist that Scripture does not warrant such restrictions.

In part 1, The Christian Post examined the views of some female complementarians. For this second part, CP interviewed an egalitarian, Ben Witherington III, a professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Evidence - New - Testament - Women - Men

"There is evidence in the New Testament of women teaching men," Witherington said, noting that it's short-sighted to frame the subject about whether that can happen on a Sunday morning from a pulpit in a church setting.

The Apostle Paul was dealing with socially elite women in places like Ephesus who have likely played important roles in the cult of Artemis or other pagan religions in town, he explained, women who, once they receive Christ, are inclined to think that because they are literate and have the gift mix that they do, they think they can contribute in their newfound faith in similar way as their past.

Paul - Leadership - Teach - Witherington

"What Paul says to that is that you need to listen and learn before you assert leadership and teach," Witherington said.

In a problem solving text the phrase "exercise authority over" means to usurp authority, he clarified.

Authority - Teachers

"He's saying I'm not now permitting you to teach or usurp authority over those who I have already authorized as teachers."

"Neither of those passages has anything to do with ruling women out in general from teaching men. It certainly rules out interrupting a worship service or asserting yourself into a role of leadership when you haven't been authorized to do that."

Cultures - Patriarchal

That these ancient cultures were all patriarchal...
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