Volume. XXII, No. 15
Sunday, 07 October 2007

From the Pastors Heart: Biblical Womanhood and Biblical Leadership (Part 1)

In some schools of theology, nearly 50 percent of the students are female.  In American churches at least 6 percent of solo pastors are women.  It is even more amusing to know that female solo pastors reported 10.4 percent higher total compensation.  The roles of women in Christian churches have been controversial for decades.  The ordination of women to be pastors has been a controversial issue in every corner of the world.  In Australia, many church groups and organizations have already practiced women’s ordination.  For example, the evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland’s Bishops’ Conference in Finland declared, “The exclusion of female pastors cannot be accepted. It goes against the church’s law, which naturally grows out of the Bible concerning principals of love, respect for each other and equality, as well as the laws of our society.”   The Vineyard, A Community of Churches (formerly known as the Association of Vineyard Churches) now accepts the practice of ordaining women as pastors, while allowing individual churches the freedom to deal with the topic.  Recently, this issue was revisited by Anglican churches in Australia.  Peter Young, president of the Appellate Tribunal, presented a report on women bishops (26 September, 2007).  The following citation comes from its article no. 12:

The statutory majority of the Tribunal is of the view that the questions should be answered as follows:

Question 1: Is there anything in the Constitution which would now prevent the consecration of a woman in priests’ orders as a bishop in this Church in a diocese which by ordinance has adopted the Law of the Church of England Clarification Canon 1992?

Answer: As regards diocesan bishops: No, provided that the woman has been duly elected as the diocesan bishop and has had her election duly confirmed in accordance with the criteria for canonical fitness set out in s74(1) of the Constitution.  As regards assistant bishops: As two bishops have not indicated agreement with the remaining members of the Tribunal, there is no statutory majority to support an answer to the question. The majority view is noted in paragraph 13 of this report.

Question 2: Is there anything in the Constitution which would now prevent the installation of a woman so consecrated as a bishop of such a diocese?

Answer: No, provided that the woman has been duly elected as the diocesan bishop and has had her election duly confirmed in accordance with the criteria for canonical fitness set out in s74(1) of the Constitution.

Many reasons have been proposed to ordain women as pastors.  Let me list a few examples: (1) God created woman and man in the same human condition.  Therefore, man is not superior to woman.  (2) Women comprise the largest percentage of church members.  (3) Gender discrimination is a hate crime like racism.  (4) God does not respect persons.  Therefore, both male and female can be pastors.  (5) The Great Commission was given to all believers, not just to the male believers.  (6) Ordaining women is very practical.  Look at those large denominations, such as the Full Gospel organizations, that have a great number of women ordained pastors.  (7) God used women in the Old Testament.  (8) Women can do better jobs in many areas of pastoral works.  (9) Women are as smart and intelligent as their male counterparts.  (10) Women are highly educated these days.  (11) Paul’s teachings in 1 Timothy and Titus only show his chauvinistic view of women in the first century.  Therefore, his teachings need to be re-evaluated in the light of the present culture and civilization.  (12) There are women called by God to be pastors.  From these examples, we can make three observable conclusions: (1) women’s ordination is a matter of gender equality issue (equal rights), (2) women’s ordination must be understood in the light of the desire and ability of women, and (3) women’s ordination is a cultural issue.  Paul’s teachings on pastors’ qualifications reflect only the first century male-centred mentality, and are not applicable in today’s context.

I need to make it clear that I do strongly oppose any proposition to justify women’s ordination.  In order to explain why I believe what I believe, I need to go over these three conclusions one by one.  First, let me begin with the issue of equal rights.  It is very unfortunate that some people bring the issue into gender conflicts.  Who amongst us says that man or woman is superior or inferior to the other gender?  There is no justification to make one gender superior to the other.  However, I believe that feminists are wrong by arguing that the difference between men and women is only a matter of mere biology.  I must say that femininity of women is God-made.  Their femininity is a gift from God, especially to men, as we can see in God’s creation story.  Femininity does not have anything to do with the ability of women, or their level of higher education.  Quite often, the proponents of women’s ordination quote Galatians 3:28 to justify their practice.  In order to understand the context better, I’ll quote from 3:26 to 3:29: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 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. 29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

They argue from verse 28 that there is neither male nor female because the believers of Jesus Christ are one in Him.  Therefore, women should be allowed to be pastors.  Such use of the Scriptures only shows the level of their wilful ignorance of the Biblical teachings.  I am not saying that they are ignorant.  I simply say that such interpretation of the Bible is only a sign of their wilful ignorance.  The text simply explains that the way that we are saved is not by keeping the law but by the promise.  It is explained in verse 16, saying, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”  It was an answer to the question from verse 1-2, saying, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”  The conclusion of this controversy in the Galatian church is found in verse 26, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  Verse 28 is a further explanation of verse 26.  If we have to say that there is no difference between male and female based on verse 28 as the proponents of women’s ordination have said, then we must say that there is no difference between the employers and the employees (bond and free), and between the Jews and the Greek.  Galatians 3:18 is a clear declaration that we are saved not by the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.  Thus, we are the heirs according to the promise.  It does not have anything to do with God’s calling into the ministry.  If we use the Scriptures in the same way as women-ordinationists, we may have to argue that all workers will sit in CEOs’ seats because they have the same roles.  If they are right, then we must fight to erase any racial and national differences between the Jews and the Gentiles, and they must have the same roles.  We must understand that women’s ordination is not an issue of equal rights.  Of course we have equal rights (between men and women, employers and employees, and the Jew and the Greek) but in different roles.  I’ll elaborate this point further in two weeks time.


Your Pastor

More Lively Hope




New BBK class to start today. Anyone interested in baptism, reaffirmation, membership, or in the Christian faith, please see Elder Michael D Lee.

Christmas Concert Practice commences with Ladies’ Fellowship Choir next Saturday. Anyone interested in joining please see Sis Sally Teng.

Farewell: Sis Gillian Ong leaves Adelaide for Melbourne on Wed, 10 Oct, to take up a permanent position

Greetings from Dn Edwin D’Mello (Mumbai) & Sis Mag Yu (Shanghai).


Looking Ahead

Christmas Concert on Sat, 8 Dec.

National B-P Youth Camp, 11-15 Dec.

Family Bible Camp at Victor Harbor, 24-26 April 2008. Please arrange your day off work on Thurs, 24 April, now.


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies– Rev Peter Clements; Bros James Clements (Cootamundra) & Jonathan Liao (KL); Sisters Joyce Chen’s mother, Vanessa Tan & Mary Ting (Adl), & all who arrived safely.

Church activities: BSAG, Joy, Ladies’ Fellowship, Maranatha, Sunday School outing, YAF & Sparks4Christ.

Birth of Ruth Fidelma, daughter of Bro Chris & Sis Jenni Budiman, and sister of Daniel, on Tuesday, 2 Oct. Praise God that both mother & baby are fine & healthy.

Recovery from surgery: Sis Joyce Chen.

YAF September30in30 Evangelism programme: organizers and participants.


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam, & Hans Ziegelman; Grandpa Ki; Sisters Joyce Chen, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson, Aranka Rejtoe, Julia Son, Juanita Tong, Susan Veradi, Sylvia White & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Auntie Oei & others in affliction.

Cambodia Missions - Bro Sam Nang & Sis Chulamy; preparation for our team.

Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam.

India/Pakistan Missions - Pastors & Believers.

Kuching Missions - Teo family.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim.

Journey Mercies - Bros Elton Law (Jpn) & Jonathan Liao (Adl); Sis Gillian Ong (Melb), & all those travelling this week.

Job -  Sis Juanita Tong.

Sister B-P & other Bible-believing Churches & Fellowship groups all over the world.

Drought to cease in Australia.

Year 12 students - Bro Samuel Ki & Sis Amelia Tan.

YAF Committee Elections - guidance.

God’s comfort for Bro Jonathan Liao on the passing away of his grandfather.

Job decision in 2008 - Sis Min Yen Chia.

Persecuted believers in Islamic & Communist countries.

God’s future guidance for Sis Gillian Ong in Melbourne.



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