I was talking to a friend of mine who is a pastor in a small rural church. When they hired him, they hired his wife. When he quit, they wanted to fire his wife. Why? The reason given is because women can't be in ministry, at least without their husbands to be there to guide them. Interestingly enough, they didn't end up firing her because her husband stayed at the church.
There is a lot of discrepancy between churches, even along denominational lines concerning what women can and cannot do in a church.
A common scripture that is used here is 1 Timothy 1:11. This seemingly prohibits women from being church leaders, especially if there are men involved. However, most people who think that it is OK for women to be in ministry note that Paul's words were only intended for that point in time. Oddly enough, the rest of that chapter isn't usually treated this way.
This is a tough issue and one I've been looking at again as a female worship leader. For instance, our service format now has left out a scripture reading so I almost always include a scripture reading as part of our worship set. And if I'm reading it... Well it has authority all on its own and I want to read it that way. But is that a problem? And then there is the discussion on WTR regarding theology in worship music and that is my earnest desire - to have biblical truth and good theology in every set. Does that count as having authority over men in the congregation?
Actually, there is clear biblical support for women teaching other women. I don't think this question is whether women can be gifted with the same gifts that men are...the question is how to use those gifts within the church in a way that is edifying to the church and doesn't go against the principles that the apostles set forth when it comes to the authority in the church.
God calls us ALL to be ministers in different areas. We are ALL the body of Christ and God commands us ALL to go out and preach the Gospel to ALL people. If God calls someone to be in ministry then who are we to come against that?
many people misinterpret scriptures about the issue of ladies being in the church ministry using the verse about Paul saying ladies ought to keep quiet and be under their husbands. I n her book "confident woman" Joyce Meyer goes into the theological history as to why Paul made this claim. There were particular women at that time who made the services hard. that time ladies never got education. and in the synagogue they would not understand and keep consulting from their otherwise very educated husbands in the middle of the mass or service. that was distracting. but there are women who have moved the world's history and economies like Joan le arch. Torry, and now Joyce.....there are many
Much has been written on this subject. Some of it varies in why Paul wrote what he did there. The more I read on the subject the more I start to think that the people who claim to be experts here (including Joyce Meyer) are just trying to fulfill an agenda. The experts all tend to agree that Paul wrote that segment of scripture for that time in space, but the particulars are disagreed upon. In other words, nobody really seems to know exactly why Paul thought what he did.
This doesn't change the notion of the original question though. If (I just realized that I used the wrong passage in my initial post) 1 Timothy 2:11 was written to a particular time and place, don't we have to make the same assumptions about 1 Timothy 9 (which almost nobody does)?
One of the things I'm always aware of in this issue goes way back to the original curse....Gen 3:16. to Eve: "Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you". My understanding of this verse is that there is a struggle for leadership between woman and man and that 'desire' means desire to rule over or master - study notes show how the Hebrew term corresponds to Cain's desire over Abel.
There is something natural in me that tends to resent the idea that women aren't to have the same authority men have been given by God in my marriage and in the church. It's why I don't fully trust when a lady gives an exposition that gives us reasons to understand Paul's writings in another way. I know my own self and how appealing it would be to rationalize all that away. But I feel compelled to take another honest look at it....and have a serious attitude check about the whole thing...partly because of the public role I do play within our church body.
In my own case, I never sought the position of worship leader. I have been on teams under other leaders and I never had any issue with that. When I was asked to lead, I accepted because there was a need and I just wanted to serve in any way that I could. And I've always felt that works well under the authority of the pastor and elders.
In response to Verah about the importance of ladies in history: Biblically, I love the story of Deborah the judge. She definitely had authority and "summoned" Barak and gave him orders. And then Jael, a lady, killed the enemy. And there were definitely many women like Ruth and Rahab and Mary and Prisca in the leadership of the early church and many others who have huge roles in history and leadership. And I don't think anyone can argue that women are not gifted and capable.
But that's not the question...at least as I see it. The question is where we fit within the authority structure God designed for the church and I think it's really valuable to discuss it in such a great forum with the sincerity I find on WTR in general.
I am a member of the Foursquare Church, and they have an excellent resource on women in ministry and the Biblical basis for it. Here is a link to the website. There is a 13 pg. PDF booklet you can read there that gives an indepth look at scripture and what it says about women and their roll in leadership.