lets Ask Phil

Women in Ministry

What is Grapevine Church view about women leading or teaching in the church?

Our church – Grapevine – does not prescribe any distinction between men and women in Ministry or Authority in our church organisation. Currently Grapevine Church is led by four Elders, two male, two female. Our Church Prayer Leader is female. Our Sunday School leader is male. Our seven elected Trustees (to whom the Elders are accountable) currently comprise five males, two females.

We realise that many churches with whom we hold close relationships either disagree with this stand, or cannot yet muster enough support within themselves to decide as we have done. So, on what do we base our position?

In the New Testament we see Christian women in very prominent roles, compared to the part played by women in the rest of Middle Eastern society in the time of Jesus.

We see women as Prophets (Acts 21 9)

A woman is a prominent Teacher (Acts 18 26)

A woman is an Apostle (Rom 16 7. NB. “Junias”, as several translations have it, is an incorrect translation of what was most certainly a woman’s name “Junia” to simulate a man’s name. The Greek form allows for either rendering, but there was no masculine name of “June”  at the time. As in our society, “June” was an exclusively feminine name. Those who seek to render it Junias, and so to claim that this apostle was male, are allowing their theological presuppositions to influence their translation.)

Jesus, in assigning his own mother to John (John 19 26, 27) inescapably gave her a pastoral role over him.

Women were Deacons (Rom 16 1)

Women hosted church assemblies (Col 4 15)

The modern church, of whatever kind, seems to have no problem with women being evangelists, for many of the men of the church have abrogated their responsibilities in that respect and left the women of the church to fill most Missionary positions.

When we compare these roles with 1 Cor 12 27 and Eph 3 11, we can justifiably ask why a woman should be barred in the modern church from ministry she could exercise in the Early Church.

The only other criteria to consider are Paul’s remarks about women not being allowed to teach. This can easily be attributed to the fact that women of the day typically had no education.  By contrast, my wife achieved a Distinction in her three year Bible College Diploma, and is easily my equal theologically. Things are different now in this respect.

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