Attending service taught by woman

Status
Not open for further replies.

SeanAnderson

Puritan Board Freshman
I am looking for some advice.

I am a complementarian. I believe that women should not be teaching from the pulpit and should not be assuming spiritual headship over mixed congregations.

My evangelical Baptist church is egalitarian and believes there is no perpetual prohibition of female elders (I have already debated this matter to no avail). Now this has not been a problem so far because we have a male minister, but it has been pointed out to me that there may be female guest preachers in the coming months.

If I know in advance, should I attend anyway or should I visit another church where there will be a male teacher?
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
I would never attend a service where there is a female preacher. If your church is liberal on this issue, what other issues have they abandoned to the all-important god of relevance? The hermeneutic involved in saying that a woman may preach is the same hermeneutic that results in saying that homosexuality is not a sin. I know that Reforme churches are hard to come by in the UK, but you might seriously consider relocating to a place where there is one. Try the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of England and Wales. They have about 16 churches, I believe in the UK, and they are a confessional denomination.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
It's a pretty gross violation of biblical order. I won't tell you what to do but if it were me, if I knew it in advance, I would visit another church. If it happened unannounced, I would get up and walk out with as little fuss as possible. But honestly; there's no way I would belong to that kind of church so easy for me to say.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
I would talk to your elders, tell them your view (not trying to convince them but to give them information of yourself). Your view being what you have stated and that presumably your conscience is bound and you cannot worship well in such a context when there is a woman 'preaching'. I would seek their counsel with the suggestion to them in the back of your mind/heart that on such days you will attend worship elsewhere.

Though be prepared to be attacked unless they already know your view.


Lane's suggestion of the EPCEW closest church to you would be in Cambridge (1hr. 17min away).
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
The adoption of egalitarianism began in the general culture, moved to the mainlines, and was finally adopted (nearly wholesale) by broad evangelicalism. I was in seminary in the mid 70s when the battle was being fought and remember when Paul K. Jewett's "Man as Male and Female" was published. He was the leading theologian at my seminary (and a Westminster Seminary grad) and his work swept up most of the students who still had not made up their minds on the subject. Following Jewett's argument that Paul was wrong on the issue of women in the church, his last work (left uncompleted at the time of his death) revealed liberal views on evolution, abortion, capital punishment, and homosexuality, following the trajectory well established by his book on feminism.

Pragmatically, you are unlikely to change the consensus among broad evangelicals. Their hermeneutic includes according immediate experience a validity that often trumps Word and Sacrament. And, if they "feel" that God has "spoken" to them, it overturns two millennia of Christian doctrine and exegesis. Remember that for the broad evangelical, God acts primarily in the theater of the human heart. What right does an outmoded, culturally insensitive, politically incorrect complementarianism have up against the sure knowledge that God has "spoken to my heart" and "called" me to do X,Y, or Z? Since our broad culture, evangelical church culture, and almost all popular media support egalitarianism on a consistent basis, it is hard to believe that evangelicals will EVER "feel" that God is calling them to change their views.

Not sure about the UK, but I'm afraid that you will be fighting a losing battle if you are looking for an evangelical Baptist church that does not support egalitarianism. You would have a better experience with an intentionally confessional group among conservative Presbyterians/Reformed. Here in the US, among the more established denominations only very conservative Presbyterian, Reformed, and Lutheran bodies take a united stand against egalitarianism (other than the Romanists, of course). The SBC has an official position that prohibits ordination of women, but I'm not sure how widespread egalitarianism is in their ranks. Other than that, the situation is more ad hoc: a congregation here or there perhaps, or a micro denomination.

If you know about the preaching in advance, would it be the end of the world for you to visit another congregation that day? It sounds as if your congregation's leaders have settled convictions on the matter and are not likely to change. Ultimately, you will probably need to heed Lane's advice to avoid the issue in the future.
 
Last edited:

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
Not sure about the UK, but I'm afraid that you will be fighting a losing battle if you are looking for an evangelical Baptist church that does not support egalitarianism. You would have a better experience with an intentionally confessional group among conservative Presbyterians/Reformed. Here in the US, among the more established denominations only very conservative Presbyterian, Reformed, and Lutheran bodies take a united stand against egalitarianism (other than the Romanists, of course). Other than that, the situation is more ad hoc: a congregation here or there perhaps, or a micro denomination.

While it may be true that many Baptist churches have adopted egalitarianism, I would point out that the BFM 2000 does specifically exclude women from the office of pastor.
 

Elisabeth

Puritan Board Freshman
What are the roles of these women in their home Churches? Do they usually serve as elders? If so then it would be better not to attend in my opinion. The bible does clearly teach women not to take a position of authority in the Church.
 

Cymro

Puritan Board Junior
The thin edge of the wedge broadens out! Once the congregation is given an introduction to this aberration,then it
generally follows the example set by the session. It would also indicate an underlying proneness for compromise
that may degenerate other doctrines. Keep your hand to the plough brother, and cut a straight furrow.
 

SeanAnderson

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you, all. I understand this is not a light matter.

No preachers have actually been named or lined up yet, but I wanted to be prepared, since it was mentioned. I will make my position known again to the minister should such plans go ahead. In the past, some members of the congregation have simply suggested that I might change my mind over time - but scripture does not change.

I don't want to be too negative about my church or the minister. They believe in the inerrancy of scripture and do not compromise on fundamental doctrines or issues such as homosexuality. I have had one disagreement in the past over a second commandment violation. I can, however, vouch for their passion for Christ and I get along well with them. The minister is inclined towards a Calvinistic soteriology, which was very encouraging, as I have a very limited choice of churches: living in a village outside of a small town, in England's smallest county - and none of them are confessional. I am also unable to drive, so I am reliant on public transport (there aren't any early trains on Sunday).

In the future, relocation will be an important decision. I want to be part of a confessional Presbyterian church if I can, and this will be an influential factor. In the meantime, I will do what I can to avoid and refute unbiblical practice.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
You might consider attending the Pollard Evangelical Church in Kettering. It's only about a 30-40 min drive from Oakham and they appear to be a doctrinally sound church.

I've tried looking around and that's the closest church I found to Oakham that looked sound. There may be others but from what I could see, you are in a pretty barren part of England for confessionally Reformed churches.

I don't know your circumstances but if you were willing, I would encourage you to consider driving a little further to find a more doctrinally sound church. Here in the U.S. it is not uncommon to have to drive a little while to attend a solidly Reformed and confessional Church. We have members that drive up to an hour one way to be with us on the Lord's Day. A handful of others drive 30-40 minutes to be with us. But I'm confident that worshipping with like-minded brethren will more than reward your effort.

I hope you do not take suggestion as presumptuous, but that is what I believe I would do if in your location and situation.

UPDATE: I was writing this before reading your last post. I see now you cannot drive. That makes things much more difficult.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
Not sure about the UK, but I'm afraid that you will be fighting a losing battle if you are looking for an evangelical Baptist church that does not support egalitarianism. You would have a better experience with an intentionally confessional group among conservative Presbyterians/Reformed. Here in the US, among the more established denominations only very conservative Presbyterian, Reformed, and Lutheran bodies take a united stand against egalitarianism (other than the Romanists, of course). Other than that, the situation is more ad hoc: a congregation here or there perhaps, or a micro denomination.

While it may be true that many Baptist churches have adopted egalitarianism, I would point out that the BFM 2000 does specifically exclude women from the office of pastor.

In the SBC I grew up in, women were allowed the title "minister" but not "pastor" and in worship were permitted to pray, lead in singing, read Scripture, and on occassion, preach (not sure if they would use the word "preach," but it was not functionally different). This was a more evangelically minded SBC of staunch social conservatives.
 

Pilgrim72

Puritan Board Junior
One of the best churches I have ever visited was Emmanuel Baptist Church in Salisbury. If I was looking for a good church in your area, I would definitely get in touch with someone there. They might be able to assist you.

Emmanuel Church Salisbury
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
Considering your situation at the moment- "location, lack of personal transportation", I would not leave the church just yet. I would however not attend during those times that a female preaches. I would respectfully let the leaders know ahead of time of your convictions and decision not to attend. Prior to joining a Reformed church I was in a situation that was somewhat similar. The pastor of the church would forgo preaching/worship on Sundays every couple of months for other events. It ranged from panel discussions to musical shows. I let him know what I thought and that during those times my family would not attend. Nothing changed but at least I did what I felt I could. We eventually left when we had the opportunity to change churches. We ended up driving over an hour for 8 months until we were able to move closer to the Reformed church.
 
Last edited:

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Not sure about the UK, but I'm afraid that you will be fighting a losing battle if you are looking for an evangelical Baptist church that does not support egalitarianism. You would have a better experience with an intentionally confessional group among conservative Presbyterians/Reformed. Here in the US, among the more established denominations only very conservative Presbyterian, Reformed, and Lutheran bodies take a united stand against egalitarianism (other than the Romanists, of course). Other than that, the situation is more ad hoc: a congregation here or there perhaps, or a micro denomination.

While it may be true that many Baptist churches have adopted egalitarianism, I would point out that the BFM 2000 does specifically exclude women from the office of pastor.

Bill, of course you are correct. My brain must have skipped a couple of synapses there. The SBC represents a large and faithful body of Christians. And, with the Founder's movement, there are many solidly Reformed pastors in it. I have heard (perhaps in error) that egalitarianism was rife within the denomination despite the formal prohibition of the ordination of women. But, I was aware of the official statement against it. That is one reason for the various quasi SBC niche groups.
 

Curt

Puritan Board Graduate
I have been put in the position of showing up and finding that the pastor's wife was preaching that day. I quietly left, but it caused a major rift between that pastor and me. I was in the process of planting a church anyway, so I just left with no big blowup.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Unfortunately, if the cultural consensus did not create enough problems for us, the natural gifts of a smart woman are not incompatible with the mechanics of preaching. My seminary graduating class had nearly 700 graduates. A woman was the best preacher in our class. If you did not have a biblical and theological reason for opposing the ordination of women, it would be very difficult to resist the force of the cultural tsunami, the evangelical rationalizations, and the force of secular agreement with egalitarianism. Those of us who hold to complementarian views are a decided minority today.
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
They believe in the inerrancy of scripture and do not compromise on fundamental doctrines or issues \

I commend you for not wanting to be too negative towards the minister.

I think any church who allows woman to preach, which is clearly taught in the inerrant Word of God, has either redefined inerrancy or "talks the talk" but clear doesn't walk the walk. In any case, God has been put to the wayside and man/culture has taken fruition over and against God. Also, I would consider this "fundamental" and would suggest a respectful absence from the church might be in order for a church with a biblical understanding on this issue.
 

Sensus Divinitas

Puritan Board Freshman
I've dealt with this issue to some extent in my church (EPC). The church allows for and has several female elders. Of course, I do not agree with this. However, unlike your situation, the church does not allow for women to preach (I'm not sure by what logic but that's another issue). If I showed up and a woman was preaching I would probably politely leave and then discuss the matter with the pastor and elders afterwards. If it became a habit, I would find a new church (there is a fine OPC church about 45 minutes away from me).
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
Not sure about the UK, but I'm afraid that you will be fighting a losing battle if you are looking for an evangelical Baptist church that does not support egalitarianism. You would have a better experience with an intentionally confessional group among conservative Presbyterians/Reformed. Here in the US, among the more established denominations only very conservative Presbyterian, Reformed, and Lutheran bodies take a united stand against egalitarianism (other than the Romanists, of course). Other than that, the situation is more ad hoc: a congregation here or there perhaps, or a micro denomination.

While it may be true that many Baptist churches have adopted egalitarianism, I would point out that the BFM 2000 does specifically exclude women from the office of pastor.

Bill, of course you are correct. My brain must have skipped a couple of synapses there. The SBC represents a large and faithful body of Christians. And, with the Founder's movement, there are many solidly Reformed pastors in it. I have heard (perhaps in error) that egalitarianism was rife within the denomination despite the formal prohibition of the ordination of women. But, I was aware of the official statement against it. That is one reason for the various quasi SBC niche groups.

Of course one of the drawbacks of congregationalism is that churches are free to ignore what is contained in the BFM. You are correct that many Baptist churches practice a form of semi-egalitarianism whereby there are female "ministers" in charge of music or children or the like. Despite this, I have never heard of a single SBC church where women are allowed to preach, at least not in a formal sense.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Sean, I have been emailing a guy in Warwickshire. He says he's about 40 minutes from you. His church is Reformed and congregational. The church's website is www.bulkingtoncongregational.org

I have directed him to your blog, and maybe you can make contact with him, and work out something.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
Not sure about the UK, but I'm afraid that you will be fighting a losing battle if you are looking for an evangelical Baptist church that does not support egalitarianism. You would have a better experience with an intentionally confessional group among conservative Presbyterians/Reformed. Here in the US, among the more established denominations only very conservative Presbyterian, Reformed, and Lutheran bodies take a united stand against egalitarianism (other than the Romanists, of course). Other than that, the situation is more ad hoc: a congregation here or there perhaps, or a micro denomination.

While it may be true that many Baptist churches have adopted egalitarianism, I would point out that the BFM 2000 does specifically exclude women from the office of pastor.

Bill, of course you are correct. My brain must have skipped a couple of synapses there. The SBC represents a large and faithful body of Christians. And, with the Founder's movement, there are many solidly Reformed pastors in it. I have heard (perhaps in error) that egalitarianism was rife within the denomination despite the formal prohibition of the ordination of women. But, I was aware of the official statement against it. That is one reason for the various quasi SBC niche groups.

Of course one of the drawbacks of congregationalism is that churches are free to ignore what is contained in the BFM. You are correct that many Baptist churches practice a form of semi-egalitarianism whereby there are female "ministers" in charge of music or children or the like. Despite this, I have never heard of a single SBC church where women are allowed to preach, at least not in a formal sense.


It seems more common in churches that are both SBC and CBF.
 

Somerset

Puritan Board Junior
I would suggest e mailing the Pollard and the Warwickshire churches mentioned above to see if anyone drives throuigh Oakham. The EPCEW at Sheffield would also be worth contacting, as would their congregation in Solihull.

I've walked out as quietly as possible twice. The second time was at the wedding of a family member - they haven't spoken to me since. So praying for you on this one brother
 

SeanAnderson

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you for your responses and prayers.

It is good to know of some confessional Reformed churches in the area.
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
The hermeneutic involved in saying that a woman may preach is the same hermeneutic that results in saying that homosexuality is not a sin.

I am no egalitarian, yet I must note, with all due respect, that the particular claim made above is incorrect and making it will prove counterproductive in the long run. There are better arguments to use.

The indications that point to, and for some appear to allow, the possibility of women elders in the NT are of an entirely different order than what adduced in favour of eliminating homosexuality from the classification sin and any competent egalitarian advocate will be able to demonstrate the point quite easily. To put the difference at the most basic level, both homosexual inclination and homosexual activity are categorized as among God's judgements of sinful men (Rom. 1:26,27), while the key text against women teaching men is (1 Tim 2: 12) has the grammatically ambigous change from the imperative "Let a woman quietly receive instruction" of v. 11 to the present indicative of v. 12 which may be legitimately translated in two ways. First, the imperative may carry over as in "I do not allow" or it may be that Paul intended to be understood as writing "I am not permitting" thereby implying a departure from his normal practice.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
First, the imperative may carry over as in "I do not allow" or it may be that Paul intended to be understood as writing "I am not permitting" thereby implying a departure from his normal practice.

If Paul merely intended this to be a one time prohibition pertaining specifically to this church, why then does he make an appeal to creation order in the next verse? "For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression." It seems odd that Paul would appeal to a universal truth and condition merely to justify a command to a particular church in light of a particular situation.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Tim,

There are a variety of egalitarian arguments: culture has changed and it would present an offense for the church to champion a now discredited social order; Paul was wrong; the Holy Spirit reveals new directions for Christians today than he did in NT times; we must examine the trajectory of teaching in the NT and allow for some evolution of attitudes; Paul was only criticizing a local problem in 1 Tim 2 occasioned by the conversion of women who had been active in the pagan cultus in Ephesus, the hapax "authentein" and the Pauline "kephale" do not mean what the complementarians say they do; etc.

While some egalitarian arguments differ from some arguments for homosexual practice, when Paul Jewett advanced his case for egalitarianism in print in '75 at my seminary, several of us mused that the same logic could apply to homosexual ordination as well. And, as a matter of fact, before his death Jewett did draw the same conclusion. So, while your caution may be well taken in that it may do damage to use that argument as one to explain all forms of egalitarianism, I do not think that you should dismiss it out of hand. Some egalitarian arguments lead to similarly permissive views on homosexuality.

Frankly, egalitarianism and progressive views of homosexuality have something in common other than a particular hermeneutic. When the egalitarian tide swept through evangelicalism, it had already won over the secular culture, and then the mainlines. Evangelicals had a desire to conform to the norms of cultural expectations. They knew the conclusion (egalitarianism) and set to work on finding hermeneutical loopholes that would allow that conclusion to stand. Now, following the cultural embrace of all things gay, and the mainlines relaxing their standards on the subject, many evangelicals are working overtime to find a way to reach the desired conclusion, no matter what hermeneutical and exegetical gymnastics they must practice. When you hear some of the big box preachers opine on the subject, you can almost feel the struggle they have to make the Bible agree with the culture on this topic. In both cases, the outcome is decided, all that needs to be done is to fashion an academically acceptable argument for how to get from there and then to here and now.
 
Last edited:

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The hermeneutic involved in saying that a woman may preach is the same hermeneutic that results in saying that homosexuality is not a sin.

I am no egalitarian, yet I must note, with all due respect, that the particular claim made above is incorrect and making it will prove counterproductive in the long run. There are better arguments to use.

The indications that point to, and for some appear to allow, the possibility of women elders in the NT are of an entirely different order than what adduced in favour of eliminating homosexuality from the classification sin and any competent egalitarian advocate will be able to demonstrate the point quite easily. To put the difference at the most basic level, both homosexual inclination and homosexual activity are categorized as among God's judgements of sinful men (Rom. 1:26,27), while the key text against women teaching men is (1 Tim 2: 12) has the grammatically ambigous change from the imperative "Let a woman quietly receive instruction" of v. 11 to the present indicative of v. 12 which may be legitimately translated in two ways. First, the imperative may carry over as in "I do not allow" or it may be that Paul intended to be understood as writing "I am not permitting" thereby implying a departure from his normal practice.

The hermeneutics at hand are essentially those that say well Paul was only talking about his time we know better now.
I see Dennis has said the same thing but did not read his post first....
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top