I recently read one theologian’s viewpoint on why women should not teach, preach or pastor. Turns out, it all goes back to that crazy apple (1 Tim. 2:8-15). Eve was deceived and ate the apple and disqualified every other woman from ever having significant insight to impart to a man, henceforth and forever. Amen. So be it. Selah.
It’s interesting to note how many other Scriptures have to be eliminated or reinvented in order to build a whole philosophy on 1 Timothy 2:14. These include Galatians 3:28, Ephesians 4:12 (“the” and “saint” are gender-inclusive words, so Paul is saying, “Equip men and women for the work of the ministry”), as well as all the biblical accounts of women who did amazing things, like Deborah, Jael, Miriam, Huldah, Esther, Phoebe and Priscilla. (This particular pastor mentioned these women but said they’re too rare to establish a pattern. Sigh. Don’t even get me started, Mr. Theologian.)
Anyway, I’m not here to duke this one out, just interested in how we arrive at our opinions. Most people I know who have disqualified women from leadership would not really be able to tell you why. They usually have picked a comfortable viewpoint without applying much muscle to analysis, and you’ll generally discover a wide-load philosophy teetering on the tiny shoulders of 1 Timothy 2. (If you wonder how I know this, you’re welcome to stand next to me on a Sunday after I speak and listen to the conversations that ensue.)
It’s taken a long time for me to build a philosophy as well. I’m blessed to be married to a man who loves what God is doing in my life as much as he loves it in his own. I’m also grateful to have a pastor who frees me to speak without fear of reprisal or rebuke. If these human men in a fallen world want that much for me, wouldn’t my Father in heaven want even more? Or am I—2000 years after the greatest act of redemption and release in all of history—still silenced by an apple?
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Bo Stern is a blogger and the author of the newly released Beautiful Battliefields (NavPress). She knows the most beautiful things can come out of the hardest times. Her Goliath came in the form of her husband’s terminal illness, a battle they are still fighting with the help of their four children, a veritable army of friends and our extraordinary God. Bo is a teaching pastor at Westside Church in Bend, Ore.