Ask Your Preacher
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 felt for a long time that God has called me to be a preacher (I have no clue how, why, or where). I have just recently began re-walking with Christ after I fell off the path. I feel I’m getting closer with God as I rid my sinful life, particularly one sin that’s been a huge addiction in my life. As this sin fades, I feel the call more and more. I started a Bible study group about two months ago. Honestly, I put off the call because I knew that particular sin was still very present. Every day I feel a little farther from this sinful life; I think I might be ready to accept the call, but how do I know if I’m ready?
Eager To Speak
Dear Eager To Speak,
If you want to know whether or not you are qualified to preach, read through 1st and 2nd Timothy. These are letters Paul wrote to the young preacher, Timothy, and see if you are doing what a preacher should do. Preaching begins with studying to know what the Bible says and then actively doing it. If you are in a faithful congregation, you can ask them about how to get practice preaching and experience in the pulpit – that is what we do with our young men in our congregation. If you need a faithful congregation (after all, lots of them aren’t following the Bible pattern), we would be happy to help you find one. Simply e-mail us at email@example.com.
Can a preacher who has divorced his wife still preach?
It would depend on a lot of factors. A preacher isn’t expected to be perfect, but at the same time, he should attempt to live a life that models Christian virtue (1 Tim 4:12). It would depend on why he was divorced, what type of life he is living currently, and how he is viewed by the brethren. In short, it is a case-by-case issue, but a divorce in a preacher’s past certainly would be something that should give us pause.
[This question is in response to “Feminine Ways”]
How do you view Deborah in the Bible? How do you explain why God mentions her at all? She judged both men and women in Israel. I'm not convinced that God will be boxed in to whom He can use at any given time. God Bless.
Thinking Outside the Box
Dear Thinking Outside the Box,
The only rules God is “boxed in” by are His own. The Bible is full of women that taught and shared God’s wisdom… Deborah is just one example of them. Miriam, Moses and Aaron’s sister, was a prophetess (Ex 15:20), and so were Philip’s four daughters (Acts 21:8-9). The problem is not with women teaching; it is the venue in which they do it.
We didn’t make 1 Cor 14:34 and 1 Tim 2:12 – those are God’s laws, not ours. We also didn’t make the qualifications that an elder be a man – the Lord authored Tit 1:5-9 and 1 Tim 3:1-7. The qualifications for an elder restrict women from being pastors, but it also forbids young men, unmarried men, and those without children. It isn’t a matter of the value of people; it is a matter of what God’s law says.
I wonder why our gospel preacher, along with several others, think they need to go overseas to preach the gospel. I feel there is a great need here in the United States for preaching also, but he doesn’t do that; he only holds gospel meetings from time to time. I know it is good to let others hear the gospel all over the world, but why not go out into areas in the U.S.?! It seems like a lot of wasted money, and everyone knows the people in the poor nations are always looking for money. Why do so many preachers think they have to do this?
Stick To The States
Dear Stick To The States,
The key to answering your question is in your own words – you said, “I feel there is a great need here…”. God has told us to bring the gospel to all of the world (Matt 28:19), and it is a matter of wisdom and personal preference as to where, when, and how to do that.
Some feel it is more practical to focus on those of their own country because there is a real need right here. Others feel that since we are the wealthiest nation in the world and have the means to preach in foreign lands, we should focus on that. Both are right. There are needs in both America and abroad. There are preachers needed here and elsewhere.
Yes, some people in poor nations only want money and are deceptively listening to the gospel in hopes of a handout… but the same could be said about people here in America, too! Wherever the gospel has been preached, there have been sincere and insincere hearts. Even one of the apostles, Judas, used religion as a disguise for greed (Jhn 12:6).
The best thing we can do is all work to preach wherever we feel we can make a difference and not judge those who put their zeal towards other evangelism fields – we both serve the same Master (Rom 14:4). The problem isn’t that we aren’t preaching enough in the right parts of the world… the problem is that we aren’t preaching enough.