Ask Your Preacher
MEN & WOMEN
What is the role of a brother in Christ with regard to a sister in Christ who is not his wife, daughter, sister, mother, or any other female family member? I'm a sister in Christ. I don't want to be husbanded or fathered. I just want a brother and a friend, not someone who is trying to manage my life like he does a wife or one of his children. Shouldn't there be a difference?
Dear Not Yours,
The Bible teaches that men in the church should treat women in the church like sisters and mothers (depending on their age). Paul clearly says this in 1 Tim 5:2. It isn’t the job of a Christian man to manage the lives of all Christian women – frankly, we’ve got enough work just taking care of ourselves!
We aren’t entirely sure what your complete question is, but it is possible for men and women in the church to have friendships, as long as they are careful to avoid anything inappropriate (1 Thess 5:2). Both genders in the church are to seek healthy relationships with all Christians… whether male, female, young, or old.
The only people within a congregation who would have a responsibility to “manage” you would be the elders, who are given the task of watching over the saints (1 Pet 5:2).
I have belonged to a church for the past two years that did not have a woman as a preacher. I left a church nine years ago because they ordained several women to be preachers. One month ago, my husband finally joined this church I am speaking of, and I was elated. Approximately one week after he joined, the pastor of the church ordained a woman to be a preacher in the church. I stopped going to that church the first time I saw her in the pulpit and wrote the church a letter to explain why I was stopping my membership. I told him that I did not believe that a woman was supposed to be a preacher based on Scripture, and I no longer trusted him to correctly interpret the Bible. He came to my house, and he, my husband, and I had a long discussion. His feelings were hurt because I said that I no longer trusted him. We were not harsh with each other, and I apologized to him because it was not my intention to hurt his feelings, but I felt like I felt. He even stated that I needed to be at the church with my husband even though I may have reservations regarding this matter. My husband was raised in the Church of the Living God, so he is very used to women preachers. He also does not read the Bible, so he does not know what the Bible says. I am not putting him down, but this is the truth. It does not matter who I talk to; everyone seems to want to make every woman that was ever mentioned in the Bible a preacher. I do not believe that to be so. Please help me with this once and for all. Thank you.
You are right to stand against women being in the pulpit. 1 Cor 14:34-35 makes it clear that women are not supposed to be in leadership positions during the church assembly. Women have a zillion different roles within the church, but leading the public assembly isn’t one of them. Men have the responsibility of preaching, teaching, and leading the worship services (1 Tim 2:12). In today’s politically correct atmosphere, this can be hard for some to swallow, but as Paul said, “We have no other custom” on this topic (1 Cor 11:16). There is simply no biblical precedence for women preachers.
I've seen good examples in many Christian marriages in my congregation, and I think to myself, "Maybe I can find a wife like that and have a marriage as excellent as theirs.” But later, I've learned how I am when I interact with women. I've lessened my communication with women of the world by only sharing the Gospel with them and only with a sister with me. But with the sisters in the church, I've learned of their characters, which I cannot endure. I've seen this in sisters from my congregation and other congregations just by being in their presence and holding a conversation with them. I've been told that it will take time for their characters to become noble, but it’s as if they're unwilling to let God build them into the women He wants them to be. I have no mold for a woman, and I've learned that it is impossible to uphold a relationship with a woman who is in the church but refuses to be godly. Now I'm at the point where I've decided to remain single and not find a mate due to the fact that there are unwilling, unrepentant sisters with immature souls unwilling at heart to become a helpmeet. As a man who has decided to remain single, how can I, a Christian man, live a single life in a world filled with so much temptation?
Man Of Maturity
Dear Man Of Maturity,
Up front, we’d like to say that your opinion of Christian women is far too low. You either are hanging out around the wrong people, or you are seriously underestimating the greatness of godly women. Having said that, Jesus answered your question about how a man can live a single life. When Jesus’ disciples told Him that the best thing to do is to remain unmarried, Jesus answered by saying, “Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given.” (Matt 19:10-12)
Most men are built for marriage and aren’t designed to live their entire lives single. If you aren’t able to comfortably live a single life faithfully to God, then God’s protection against fornication is for you to seek marriage (1 Cor 7:1-2). However, in order for that to happen, you are going to need to start raising your opinion of women and, most likely, be a little more honest with your own shortcomings.
Why does the Bible seem to think either women are completely useless, women don't know anything, or women can't be good preachers or teachers for anyone (including men)?
Dear Woman Woes,
Any religious groups that treat women as inferior aren’t reading their Bibles. The Bible clearly states that women are equal heirs of life with men (1 Pet 3:7). Men and women are different, but different doesn’t mean one is better than the other. The Bible is the only great religious document to treat women with such esteem. Two books of the Bible are named after women (Ruth and Esther). An entire chapter of Proverbs is dedicated to the worth and wonder of godly women (Proverbs 31). While the Koran, Dharma, and Veda all treat women as inferior… the Bible protects your rights and esteems your value.
The Bible is clear that men and women have different roles within the church… but lots of things are different but equally wonderful. Men are to lead the congregation as elders and deacons (1 Tim 3:2, 1 Tim 3:12). Women are to teach in more private settings and by their godly demeanors (Tit 2:3, 1 Tim 2:9-10). Husbands are to lead their families in sacrificial Christ-like love (Eph 5:25), and wives are to bind together their families by their respect for their husbands and love for their children (Tit 2:4, Eph 5:24). Yet, in all these differences, God makes it clear that neither male nor female is greater than the other (1 Cor 11:11-12).
This might seem like a stupid question, but I have always wondered when I get to heaven, will I still be a man? Is there still a gender difference in heaven? Or is everyone just spiritual with no gender distinction?
Both men’s and women’s spirits are equally made in God’s image (Gen 1:27), which leans toward an understanding that we are neither male nor female in heaven once we shed our physical bodies. Also, Jesus’ statement that there is no marriage in heaven seems to point out that there is no gender difference in heaven (Mk 12:25). Lastly, Gal 3:28 states that we are neither male nor female in Christ. Overall, the Bible paints a picture that gender probably isn’t a part of our life in heaven.