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Women Pastors?

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

Written by: John Sernaque

Dear Reader,

A young woman recently asked me what I think of women pastors in the church. My answer is that it does not matter what I think, it only matters what does the Bible say. Let the Bible speak for itself. The answer to her question is found in the following question: Has the Bible changed or has culture changed? The Bible is the same as it was yesterday, it is from everlasting to everlasting. It is the culture that has changed, and secular humanity is as the reed blowing in the wind. The reed wavers back and forth, as do the Christians who are not firmly grounded in the Word of God. Distinctions between men and women have become blurred i.e. unisex everything. Is it woman or is it man? It is whatever you want it to be say the liberals, politically correct, tree loving laissez-faire class of just let everyone be who they want to identify with. You want to be a 6 year old girl trapped in a 50 year old man’s body? Well that’s ok, if you’re comfortable with that, then it is your right. Who came up with that idea? Was it God? Certainly not, and it is certainly not in the Bible. Heathen nations used priestesses in their religions, 2 Kings 23:7, but the Israelites didn’t follow their customs and traditions, nor did Jesus (God forbid!). So, why now? It has only been since approximately the 1950’s that this has even been an issue or has been discussed as a subject. The women’s right and empowerment movement which began at about that time has had a big impact on the women’s ordination movement inside the church and has also led to LGBT as an accepted Christian practice. The Bible teaches that all are the same in the eyes of God, the Jew and Gentile, men and women alike. But it also outlines clear distinctions as to the role of men and women in the church and what is good, favorable, and well pleasing in the sight of God. It is true that there are distinctions in roles, but not in salvation. God loves all His children equally. However, these distinction in roles between men and women are outlined throughout the entire Bible, from the Old Testament to the New.

The words Priests and elders are used synonymously in the Bible. The Bible states that the Husband is to be the priest of the home. (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 1 Tim 3:5. Men are to be the spiritual leaders of the home and of the church. Also, not every man is qualified to be a Priest or Elder.

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 1 Timothy 5:17

For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. Titus 1:5-9

The worldly movement is calling for women to be ordained as pastors, equal with men. Ordained means set aside. God has set aside all of His children for service, but only men as the Priest in the church. The woman’s role and duties are distinct both in the home and in the church. The woman is appointed as a helper, an assistant. When the Priest is not available, a woman can step in to assist with these duties. Many a woman is blessed with Pastoral and ministerial gifts and are well capable in these areas of serving God. It’s about service, not recognition. Pastoral and ministerial gifts are not the same as being an ordained pastor, one who is set aside as the Priest of the church.

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. 1 Timothy 2:11-15

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35

What about all the women prophets spoken of in the Bible, the young woman says. Surely a prophetess is worthy of being an ordained priest. Well, the Bible makes a clear distinction between Priests, prophets, and judges. Prophets were advisors and counselors to Priests, judges, even kings.

““There were prophetesses, but not priests or elders. Moses, Aaron, and Miriam were all prophets, but only Aaron was a priest. I believe God established men as the servant leaders in the home and church. Women can preach and do evangelism, but there is no example doing the 'priestly' roles.”

There is no example in the Bible where a woman was ordained as an elder or priest, nor carried out any priestly role i.e. Communion service, baptism, or marriage. There are a number of women prophets in the Bible who are spirit filled, and in that respect they teach. But the word "elder" and "pastor" in the Bible specifically refers to ordination, and there's no example in the Bible anywhere of God ordaining a woman in the capacity of pastor or elder. While many priests were prophets, no women prophets were priests. The fact of the Bible is that there is not a single example of a woman being ordained as a priest, pastor, or elder. Indeed, Jesus only ever ordained men.

Jesus only picked male apostles, and it only speaks of men elders and pastors in the Bible.” Pastor Doug Batchelor, Amazing Facts

Several examples include Deborah, who was a judge of Israel (Judges 4:4); Huldah and Anna, who were prophetesses (2 Chronicles 34:22; Luke 2:36); Priscilla, who was active in evangelism (Acts 18:26); and Phebe, who was a deaconess (Romans 16:1).

Women were commanded to edify the body of Christ, which included teaching (Titus 2:4) and prophecy (Acts 2:17, 18; 21:9; 1 Corinthians 11:5).

Somehow, the following scripture verses are presented as proof that women may be ordained as priests. We have to be very careful in looking for things in the Bible which are not there.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:28-29.

In verse 28, no distinction is made by Jesus regarding male or female, but verse 29 goes on to say we are all Abraham’s seed. We are all heirs to the Royal Family. That is the point. Nothing can be insinuated from these verses regarding women being ordained as priests.

And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. Joel 2:28-29

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: Acts 2:16-18

Yes , Acts 2 states that it is a fulfillment of Joel 2, but again, nothing regarding women being ordained as priests. We have already covered women prophets, who were never spoken of as priests. These are all self-evident truths.

Ellen White was ordained as a prophet by God at age 17. What does she say about being called a prophetess.

I said that I did not claim to be a prophetess. I have not stood before the people claiming this title, though many called me thus. I have been instructed to say, “I am God’s messenger, sent to bear a message of reproof to the erring and of encouragement to the meek and lowly.” With pen and with voice I am to bear the messages given me. The word given me is, “You are faithfully to reprove those who would mar the faith of the people of God. Write out the things which I shall give you, that they may stand as a witness to the truth till the end of time.” { RH January 26, 1905, par. 18 }

It is a most fatal mistake to suppose that the work of saving souls depends alone on ordained ministers. All who are ordained unto the life of Christ are ordained to work for the salvation of the souls of their fellow men. “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” It is by the Spirit’s power that souls that are dead in trespasses and sins are quickened to hear the words of life. { RH April 26, 1898, par. 10 }

The members of God’s remnant church in this our day depend too largely on the ministers to fulfill the commission of Christ to go into all the world with the gospel message. Many have seemed to lose sight of the fact that this commission was given not only to those who had been ordained to preach, but to laymen as well. It is a fatal mistake to suppose that the work of saving souls depends alone on the ordained ministry. All who receive the life of Christ are called to work for the salvation of their fellow men. { RH March 24, 1910, par. 8 }

Women should be set aside for church work—Women who are willing to consecrate some of their time to the service of the Lord should be appointed to visit the sick, look after the young, and minister to the necessities of the poor. They should be set apart to this work by prayer and laying on of hands. In some cases they will need to counsel with the church officers or the minister; but if they are devoted women, maintaining a vital connection with God, they will be a power for good in the church. This is another means of strengthening and building up the church. We need to branch out more in our methods of labor. Not a hand should be bound, not a soul discouraged, not a voice should be hushed; let every individual labor, privately or publicly, to help forward this grand work. Place the burdens upon men and women of the church, that they may grow by reason of the exercise, and thus become effective agents in the hand of the Lord for the enlightenment of those who sit in darkness.—The Review and Herald, July 9, 1895. {PaM 75.1}

The Bible is a book of self-evident truths. The Word of God is quite clear as to the appointment of men being the Priest, and nowhere in the Bible is any example found of a woman priest. You either believe the Bible, or you don’t. The Bible is not subject to any private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20-21). If any man tells you that Jesus is in the desert, believe him not. If any man, or woman, tells you that a woman may be ordained as a church Pastor, believe them not. God is our commander in chief. We are all His servants in this spiritual warfare against Satan and his demons. If you wish to deviate from His chain of command, you do so at your own risk. The plan of salvation has been laid out in the Bible for all to follow. The work is plenty but the laborers are few. Who will you serve? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Amen.

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