Please discuss the role of women - in the church and out

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by jules5solas, Jul 27, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Idelette

    Idelette Puritan Board Graduate

    This discussion brings up another question that I have. What does a woman do in the case that she has no spiritual head? How does she learn and whom does she go to for counsel if she cannot be taught spiritual things by other women, or cannot ask questions at church?
  2. JennyG

    JennyG Puritan Board Graduate

    ... or supposing she is married, but she is converted and her husband isn't?
  3. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    When single, I was very blessed to have some elders see me as a bit more directly under their care -- they and their wives were very free with their counsel, encouragement, instruction and so forth. Much of what made me appealing to my husband can be attributed to what they taught me!
  4. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I haven't responded so far in this thread, because honestly, I just didn't want to get into the topic again, and I've said a lot in the past, but this question immediately sets off red flags in my mind.

    Christ is our head. There is no mediator between God and man except Christ. Men are not the mediators between God and women. There is a teaching that has gone around the church for many years, (I've seen leanings toward this on this board) that somehow because God made man the spiritual head of his wife, that men are the spiritual head of the church and that women married or single are always to be under the physical leadership of man. That is NOT what Ephesians 5 says. It says, that man is head of his wife, and Christ is the head of His church.

    Ephesians teaches a comparison between men and their wives and Christ and His church. It does not set up a headship of men over the church. Now before everyone goes nuts on me, let me continue by saying that I in no way advocate women leadership in the church. It is clear from Scripture that men are to be elders and pastors. However, if we forget that Christ is the head of His church, then sometimes we let men think they are the head. They are not the head, they are the appointed leadership until Christ comes back.

    Going on to the issue of submission. That means that women are to respect that leadership role that Christ has given to the men and listen and pay attention and learn when they speak. That does NOT mean that everything that the leadership says is right, nor does it mean that women are to blindly obey everything that is said. Women are just as responsible before God to search out the Scriptures as the men are. The only difference is that men are the ones Christ put in charge. It is a natural order.

    In my mind it is pure nonsense to think that women who are not married, who have no father and who are forced to be out on their own can't think for themselves or make wise decisions. Scripturally speaking, those women should look to Christ as their head, and find a good church where they can taught the Scriptures under the leadership of godly men.

    I deeply respect and follow the leadership of my pastor and elders, and I have no desire to fill their shoes, and they know that. I also see from them a deep respect for me as an individual, and in no way do they treat me as their inferior. In many cases over the years, I have been treated more with disdain than respect because I'm a woman.

    What does a woman do when her husband is not a believer, or her husband does not follow the Lord? Christ is still her spiritual head, and to the best of her ability, she should submit to the leadership of her husband. If the husband openly disobeys the Lord and asks her to do the same, then she will have to follow the Lord first.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong in my mind with women going to both men and women for counseling depending on the situation. My husband is not a godly man, so when it comes to spiritual advice, it's pretty much useless. However, my sister is a godly woman, and she is married to a godly man. I go to them both for advice all the time. My father is no longer alive, and so I often go to my mother for godly counsel. She is wealth of wisdom. There are also other godly women in my church I go to. I've sought advice from men on this board, from my pastor, from my elders.

    I know this is a long post, but let me add just one more point. Women who buck God's authority and try to lord it over the men miss out on a lot. The same is true for the men. Men who lord it over the women in their lives, and lord it over the churches where they lead, are also missing out on a lot. In both cases, they are destroying the beautiful picture of how Christ and the church works, they are damaging the testimony of the Gospel to the world, and worse, they are damaging one another.

    -----Added 8/18/2009 at 09:56:18 EST-----

    NOTE: On my comments about single women. In US society, women are still pretty much free to support themselves more than in other societies. One of the roles of fathers and husbands is to protect their daughters and wives, and keeping them at home may be a way to do this. However, unless someone can show me, I don't see anywhere in Scripture that commands fathers to keep their daughters at home until they are married.
  5. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Rachel, yes we are agreed :).

    Yvonne and Jenny, those scenarios are one reason why I agree with Joy that a strict association of theology with headship isn't biblical or practical (we have the example of Timothy's mother who was knowledgeable in the Scriptures without being able to learn via her husband); and why it seems important not to apply teaching about the sphere of the church as if it were teaching about all other spheres. It's clear that a woman married to an unbeliever is under the headship of her husband as regards submitting to his will and pleasing him; but as I understand from other discussions on the board, she is at least in some respect considered a 'spiritual' head of her household in the church? (because her children are considered 'clean' on her account?) It seems from the example of Timothy that such a woman is right to take up the responsibility of educating her children in God's word. I think that a single woman in more of Lydia's circumstance is the legitimate head of her own household (whether you're a paedo or a credo baptist, the way 'and her household' is used seems to indicate that she and her household didn't have to come under male household headship to come into the church?).

    However all of us are under male headship in the realm of the church as Joy lays out. I think life can be especially hard for single ladies, widows, and those married to unbelieving husbands; and it's important to have good encouragement and counsel from godly men in the church.
  6. Idelette

    Idelette Puritan Board Graduate

    So, practically speaking, couldn't we still apply the principle of headship here? The Scriptures give a clear command that the Church should care for the widows and the orphans for this very reason. So could we say that in the case of a woman without a head that the session of the church now becomes her head?
  7. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Yvonne, I don't think they become her head in the same way that a husband is the head of his wife -- that is a different relationship involving a different covenant, and a different picture. I don't think they can, in that case, be responsible for the decisions of her household (she is still the head of her own household). But I do think they are commanded to take special care of these ladies who are without male protection from all the cares of the world, as God takes special care of those who are defenseless.
  8. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    Great discussion- edifying and helpful, reflects spiritual maturity.

    I Timothy 5 specifically details how dependent widows were taken on as a support charge of the church.

    They have to be destitute financially- that is without visible means of support, especially from family, including of course a husband.

    At least 60 years old, vow to remain unmarried (vow to the church), without responsibility for children.

    They must have the exemplary life qualities mentioned.

    (Incidentally, this is the only place where the concept of 'deaconess' came from historically in the church- not at all the same thing as the authoritative office of Deacon and Elder in I Timothy 3, as modern proponents now assert).

    I'm not exactly sure how this fits into the discussion about headship, but it does show how the church is to care for one destitute class of persons as part of its witness.

    It's interesting to note that if one of these "servant widows" were to marry, the implication is they would come under the support charge of their husband, and would no longer be qualified as a "widow indeed" for the church to assume the support charge for.

    It also seems clear that if a widow were able to support herself financially or was otherwise provided for, she would not be qualified as a "widow indeed."
  9. A2JC4life

    A2JC4life Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't typically hear headship supported primarily from Ephesians 5, but from 1 Corinthians 11. This says that "the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." How does one derive an exception from that?
  10. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Rachel I don't think anyone is trying to derive exceptions from 1 Corinthians 11, which addresses the created order in the context of the church? Is that what you are asking?

    Scott thank you for posting that explanation: I was wondering how that would play into the discussion.
  11. A2JC4life

    A2JC4life Puritan Board Freshman

    I was wondering how the teaching referenced here:

  12. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Rachel, I think the answer lies in the context -- 1 Corinthians is addressing the created order as it functions in the church. No one is disputing the created order, and no is disputing the way it functions in the church -- what we do not wish to do is to apply teaching specific to one sphere (the church) across the board and come up with something Scripture never teaches or even assumes (ie, that every single woman must be under a male household authority, whether her own husband or somebody else's)?
  13. A2JC4life

    A2JC4life Puritan Board Freshman

    Gotcha! I was missing the distinction that was being made between the church and the home. Thank you for clarifying. :)
  14. Idelette

    Idelette Puritan Board Graduate

  15. A2JC4life

    A2JC4life Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm not sure what happened with that quote. I just used the quote button at the bottom of the one post, and it seems to have nested them. Sorry for the confusion.
  16. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

  17. Idelette

    Idelette Puritan Board Graduate


    Thanks for posting that excerpt for us, I look forward to reading it tomorrow when I have more time!
  18. ericknowsChrist

    ericknowsChrist Puritan Board Freshman

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page