I’m going to do it… I’m going to tackle the role of women in church. I have no doubt that I’m going to offend some people with this blog but I’m going to go for it anyway. I am happy to field any angry comments afterwards but PLEASE read the whole blog first!
There are all sorts of teachings out there when it comes to the role of women in church and they can cause a whole lot of confusion for God-fearing women. I believe they are epitomised by the following two extreme cases.
The first extreme
The first one is that women can, and should, do everything Jesus commanded his disciples to do. That is to preach the gospel, pray for people for healing, baptise new believers, cast out demons and teach other disciples. Everything else in a woman’s life, such as family and work, should be secondary to this.
Famous examples of this type of woman are Kathryn Kuhlman and Joyce Meyer.
The second extreme
The second extreme is that women should not speak or teach in church and that it should be left up to men. Instead, the woman should focus on keeping the home well maintained and everyone who dwells in it clean and fed.
Famous examples of this type of woman are Susanna Wesley (known as the mother of methodism) and Titus’ grandmother (2 Tim 1:5).
I have seen a range of women at both extremes and all sorts in between. Clearly, there is a huge difference between the two. So, which one is right?
Should women focus on preaching the gospel or should they remain silent?
For a long time, my wife has been torn between the two extremes. She is on fire for God and has learnt how to preach the gospel, pray for healing, baptise people and cast out demons. She desires to see people set free from the kingdom of darkness and would love to be doing that all the time. But we also have three young children who need to be cleaned and fed, and they are hard work! If she only focuses on making disciples, our children get neglected. If she focuses solely on our children, she ignores Jesus’ commands to make disciples of all nations.
It has been quite a tormenting time for her because she simply didn’t know which direction to go. She was fully committed to doing either one, but she just couldn’t decide.
Then she started researching what other faithful women disciples have done and came to a startling conclusion.
For a woman, to not manage your household well gives the devil a foothold in your life.
There are 2 scriptures to back this up. They are 1 Timothy 5:14 and Titus 2:3-5 and they are the conclusion of Paul’s advice to women on what their role should be.
“So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households and give the adversary no occasion for slander”
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
After stumbling on those scriptures, my wife has decided to be the best house-keeper she can be.
Everyone in the house is fed, clean and happy. The children are well trained and given responsibilities. It is hard work for my wife but she feels like she is fulfilling her God given role and it allows me the freedom to minister to many people because I know that she is taking care of our little sanctuary.
The wonderful thing about it is that she still manages to preach the gospel! She has trained our children to be obedient so that if an opportunity arises to minister to someone while she is out on daily duties, she is able to take it with both hands.
She knows she won’t have a screaming child to distract her from sharing the gospel.
Imagine if every woman was content at home. Imagine if every husband had full confidence in their wives to manage the house well. Imagine if every child knew that Mummy was always there when they needed them. Imagine if whenever disciples gathered in your home, the house was clean, everything was in order and the meals were prepared on time.
Personally, I would love to see more women today focus on their role as keepers at home. Instead of trying to compete with their husbands, they would push him forward and show him respect in every way she can think of.
You are designed to complement your husband, not compete with him.
Submit to him joyfully (as long as he’s not asking you to do anything sinful) and encourage him to be a strong man of God. Train your children in the way they should go, keep the house tidy and the meals warm. If an opportunity arises to share the gospel, take it with both hands! If you are a single woman, learn from an older woman how to manage a home properly and to be an awesome wife and mother for the future.
I have no problem with a woman ministering to others.
Whether that be a home church or traditional church, I believe they can do it. I know Acts 2:17 says that God’s spirit will be poured out on all flesh (including women) in the last days. I believe that women can teach others, pray for healing and baptise people. That is a huge step in advancing the kingdom of God. However, if their house is a mess and their family is dysfunctional, the words they speak will be carried off by the wind because their actions aren’t matching what they say.
Pastor mike says
Thank you for your blog. The bible says let the women be silent in church. But I also believe that God will use anyone including women, to help spread the gospel.
God made man to be the head and women as a helper to him, being equal, no below him nor above him but beside him.
I am going to search further and prepare myself with the word on this matter. Thank you for the two references.
Keep the word going and God bless your wife.
Pastor Mike Boger
Ngaire Booth says
Before you promote this legalistic approach any further we suggest you do a wider kind of study about women in the church,Firstly did Jesus die for men only? Does Scripture say that the Spirit was only to be poured out on men only in the last days?
Please read" I Suffer Not a Woman" by Richard Clark Kroeger and Catherine Clark Kroeger. Read also "The Ten Lies the Church Tells Women" by Lee Grady. All these authors are or were (now dead)holiness preachers and all VERY experienced. DO a MUCH WIDER study before you open Pandoras box.It would be a very wise move.
Elizabeth Peters says
Andrew. WELL DONE for addressing this matter. Women can function successfully in this role, when they are LOVED BY THEIR HUSBANDS. Eph 5:33 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. The role of the husband / father has become degraded, because of the media making a laughing stock through comedies and films and sitcoms. This has indeed been compacted by the Feministic movement, which overturned the equilibrium and – as you mentioned – brought competition, rather than working together – at marriage, at raising children, at work, at play and at revealing The Father’s Heart through teaching the gospel.
Your wife functions so well, because you are supporting her in this matter. It is both of you who participate in working your marriage, your children and your fulfillment of God’s desires. It is a 100% from both of you and you are doing it extremely well.
This is good to teach other young couples (and older ones) how to do this successfully and restore God’s Heavenly Kingdom Way to bring solid relationships back into our broken society. I bless you & your wife in the name of the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and Holy Spirit to be fully equipped through relationship with Father to execute this.
Clara Weinholz says
Thank you! always for your blogs. I enjoy reading them. This one is excellent! I was also in the tug of war of thinking what to do but found a balance in serving God as a mother. In encourging husbands to be a strong man of God, we should be praying a lot for our husbands. Clara
Henry Gomez says
Did you ever consider helping your wife with the house and the children? This article is an anachronism and more suiter for the 1930s when misogyny ruled the day.
Andrew Stirling says
Hi Henry. Thanks for your comment. My wife is currently writing a blog to give her side of the story which we will upload as soon as she is finished. She has a bachelor’s degree and also reads the Bible daily so is well researched on her role.
what about single moms? what is your advise on how they could be the provider, mom and at the same time obedient to the great commission?
Andrew Stirling says
Hi Kate, really good question. I won’t go into too much detail here because it requires more than just a simple answer. To provide a full answer would require knowing a bit more about your situation. My wife may e-mail you soon. I will suggest you read her blog responding to the role of women in church where she explains how she fulfills the great commission. Although she is not a single mother needing to provide as well as nurture children, she does look after our 3 children under 5 years old and still has time to share the gospel. https://stirlingfamily.nz/2018-12-12-the-wifes-response/