Complementarianism

Seven Reasons 1 Timothy 2:12 Isn’t the Crazy Aunt We Hide in the Closet when Company Comes Over

A while back I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and happened to catch part of an interaction between two women discussing a false teacher. I couldn’t come close to the exact wording if I tried, but the gist of it was…

Discerning Christian Woman: Divangelista X is a false teacher and preaches to men.

Non-Discerning Christian(?) Woman: How can you say she shouldn’t be preaching to men? So what! She’s out there helping so many people and charitable causes! People love her! I think she’s great!

Discerning Christian Woman: Well, I’m really not as concerned about the fact that she preaches to men as I am about the false doctrine she teaches.

I didn’t butt in because neither of them was talking to me, but what I wanted to say was, “Why?” Why, Discerning Christian Woman, did you back off the completely biblically valid point that this false teacher is rebelling against Scripture by preaching to men? If you had been discussing a male false teacher who was running around on his wife, you probably would have led your argument against him with his sin of adultery, with the false doctrine he teaches relegated to a level secondary importance.

Ladies…pastors…why are we so embarrassed to stand up boldly and say that women who preach to men are in unrepentant sin and disqualified from teaching regardless of what their doctrine might be?

It’s a simple little thing called the fear of man. Or, more specifically, fear of woman. We’ve seen women whose feminist ideals are challenged. Even feminists who call themselves Christians have been known to fly into a demonic rage, bent on destroying any person, pastor, or church who dares to topple their golden “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar” calf. No one wants to be on the receiving end of that kind of vitriol.

We’re more afraid of the wrath of woman than the wrath of God.
And shame on us for that.

God doesn’t call us to be wimps, people. He calls us to stand on His Word no matter the cost. The great men and women of the faith who have gone before us have done just that, giving their lives rather than renouncing Christ, refraining from sharing the gospel, compromising the Lord’s Supper, stopping the translation of Scripture into the language of the people.

And we’re worried that feminazis might yell at us or make trouble at church.

We need to stop blushing ashamedly and stand unapologetically firm when it comes to denouncing female teachers who preach to men. Here are seven reasons why:

1.
Women preaching to men is personal sin.

When a woman takes it upon herself to disobey Scripture by preaching to men, she is sinning. If we’re the Christians we claim to be, how can we see someone mired in sin and not want to rescue her? It is not loving to ignore someone’s sin, or worse, affirm her in it. To do so is the ultimate act of selfishness, because we’re more concerned about the the consequences for confronting her and how that will affect me than we are about her soul and her relationship with Christ. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”. Sometimes laying down your life means dying to self and confronting sin out of love for someone else.

2.
Women preaching to men is public rebellion.

When a woman stands up in front of a group of men and women and unashamedly preaches to them, she is initiating a public act of aggression against Christ and His church. I don’t care how sweet and pretty and “aw, shucks” she is – that’s what she’s doing. She is leading a rebellion against God’s clear command for all the world, and the church, to see. This is a blot on the reputation of Christ’s Bride whom He wishes to be “holy and without blemish“.  Christians are people who submit to and obey Christ, not leaders of rebellions against Him.

3.
Women preaching to men is false doctrine

She may not say it with her lips, but when a woman preaches to men in defiance of Scripture, she’s teaching false doctrine through her behavior. What is the false doctrine she’s teaching? “I don’t have to obey God’s Word, and neither do you. If there’s a part of the Bible you don’t like, you’re free to disregard it.” Call it antinomianism. Call it whatever you like. But it’s one of the oldest and most fundamental false doctrines.

4.
Women preaching to men undermines
the authority of Scripture.

Christians are “people of the Book.” We are to live under the authority of the written Word of God breathed out by the Holy Spirit. Those who truly love Christ love His Word and want to be obedient to it. When a woman preaches to men in defiance of God’s Word, she is stating with her actions that Scripture has no authority over her. That she can do whatever she wants regardless of what God has spoken. Those who follow her learn, “I am the authority in my life, not God.”

5.
Women preaching to men is God’s judgment on the church.

My people—infants are their oppressors,
    and women rule over them.
O my people, your guides mislead you
    and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.
Isaiah 3:12

The fact that God allows a thing to take place in no way indicates that He is pleased with it. When God allows people to persist in sin, it’s not that he’s blessing that person or church, but that He’s giving them over to sin in judgment.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God,
God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

Romans 1:28

(To the church at Thyatira)
But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart,
and I will give to each of you according to your works.
Revelation 2:20-23

6.
Women preaching to men undermines
God-ordained male authority.

Jesus Christ is the head of the church. That means He gets to make the rules for it, not us. And one of His rules is that men are to be the pastors, elders, and those in authority, not women. When women try to push themselves into positions designed for men, it waters down and cheapens the beauty of male leadership the way God designed it, just as it would if men tried to push their way into the roles God has designed for women. And just as a woman would feel disenfranchised if a man tried to usurp her position as an older woman teaching younger women (Titus 2:3-5), biblical pastors perceive the threat to their God-given authority as more and more women take the pulpit.

7.
Women preaching to men is
an indicator of further false doctrine.

I have researched dozens of female teachers, and every single one of them who unrepentantly preaches to men also teaches other forms of false doctrine (usually Word of Faith {prosperity gospel} or New Apostolic Reformation). Every. single. one. If you see a woman unrepentantly preaching to men, that is God’s warning signal to you to stay away before you’re engulfed in even more false doctrine. Refusing to speak out against women preaching to men is to put fellow Christians in a gasoline-doused house of straw without a fire detector. It forces them to stop and search for the fire or examine it to see if it really is a fire – which could end up getting them killed – whereas, if they had a fire detector they would know to make an immediate exit.

 

Every family has that one crazy relative that you just pray will act normal for once – or that you could lock her in the closet – when company comes over. (In my family, I’m pretty sure that’s me.) First Timothy 2:12 is not the “crazy aunt” of the family of God. There’s no need to be embarrassed about putting her front and center for the world to see. She is beautiful and precious and serves an important purpose for God’s glory and our good. Let’s let her out of the closet and be proud of her.

26 thoughts on “Seven Reasons 1 Timothy 2:12 Isn’t the Crazy Aunt We Hide in the Closet when Company Comes Over”

  1. Wow I’m not as locked into this as you, but I loved your points. I see woman as judges and as prophetesses: preacher? I don’t exactly like them, but still not sure. I don’t think Paul’s view is the beginning or end on this. He listened to spiritual women: is that the same as preaching? I think so. Yet, I know you have a good spirit and mean what you say. Thank you. I don’t expect agreement and it is okay. God bless you.

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, T.F., and God bless you too! :0)

      “Listening to spiritual women” is not the same thing as preaching to/teaching men or holding authority over men in the gathered body of believers. I mean, you can see how strongly I stand behind this passage of Scripture, yet I talk to my pastor all the time and give him my perspective on various things, discuss theology, etc.

      Also, we need to remember that Scripture is not “Paul’s view” or Peter’s or James’ or Moses’. Scripture is God’s view. These are the very words and thoughts of God breathed out by Him personally. We need to be “locked in” to every jot and tittle of Scripture.

      If you’re interested in learning more about the Scriptures governing women’s roles in the church, may I suggest my Rock Your Role series of articles, particularly Jill in the Pulpit and Oh No She Di-in’t.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Why doesn’t the Bible specify which spiritual gifts are for men and which spiritual gifts are for women?

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      2. None of the spiritual gifts in operation today are restricted to one sex or the other. It’s how a person uses those gifts that God may put some parameters on. When God wants women to use a gift a certain way, He says so, and likewise for men. For example, teaching is a spiritual gift that God gives to men as well as women, but He has instructed women not to use that gift to teach men in certain circumstances (ex. 1 Timothy 2:11-14) and He has limited men from using that gift to teach women in certain circumstances (ex. Titus 2:3-5).

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  2. THANK YOU for this post. Once I learned through careful Bible study that women who preach and teach in authority over men was unbiblical I began to speak out. However over time I will admit, the fear of man started to set in because the feminist Nazi Gestapo are vicious and loud. Their rebellion and delusion runs so deep that it can be exhausting sometimes. But this post was the conviction I needed. I have nothing to fear. THANK you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So thankful for your continued telling of biblical truth. I am always blessed by what you write and share. Happy 2018 my sweet sister in Christ! Thank the Lord for your continued sharing!

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  4. Ditto on the article! Can this issue be handled on a case by case basis? If a woman speaks to the congregation in any way that is an exhortation or personal witness of scripture, is that preaching? Example: in my small church, the pastor’s wife plays & sings the piano, leading the music & a couple of other instrumentalists. If before or after a song, she lends her comments to the congregation in a manner that affirms scripture or speaks to the things of God, is she preaching?

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    1. Hi Barbie-

      I think this article will help: Rock Your Role FAQs

      It could be that your pastor’s wife is stepping over the line. A simple remark of testimony like, “I’m so glad Christ saved me,” isn’t a problem, but if she veers off into preaching/teaching Scripture, that would be inappropriate.

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  5. Hi Michelle,
    Thank you so much for this article (and all your posts which are so edifying and encouraging to me). I have lost some friends because they did not appreciate my gentle admonition using this passage. Their golden calf worship runs deep and they do not allow anyone to disrespect their false idols. It breaks my heart. And in our church there is the once a year message on Mother’s Day given by the women’s ministry director. Because my concerns have not been addressed I have begun going to another church on that day. I cannot handle hearing a woman preach to our congregation. I get discouraged that the pastors don’t seem to want to hear my concerns about this and the false teachers’ materials being used in the women’s ministry. I was involved for over 27 years in women’s ministry at this particular church and love teaching God’s Word. But I can no longer be a part of a group of women that enjoys hearing too many false teachers. Please pray for me. Thanks for your great website.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jamie- Good to see you back! I’ve been praying for you.

      I know this is really difficult for you to understand and embrace and, I’m sorry, but it’s going to remain that way unless you get saved. First Corinthians 2:12-14, 1 John 2:3-6, 5:3, are really clear about this. I could give you all the explanations in the world, but until Christ regenerates you heart and mind, you’re not going to be able to grasp these things, because it is only the indwelling Holy Spirit in the heart of the Believer that makes that possible.

      I urge you to repent of your sin and place your faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross, His burial and resurrection to forgive you and make you clean. A relationship with Christ is not about intellectual debates or having everything figured out academically. It is about the mercy and grace of Christ toward sinners. Your greatest need is a Savior from your sin. Issues about women’s roles in the church come later. One step at a time, and step 1 before step 2.

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  6. I love your blog but I have made it a point to reason with each blog post before I chew it in. This is because you discuss valid issues but I have these questions; in today’s world, a blog like this teaches multiples of people throughout the world, do you have men reading it too? Does that not come forth as taking a position of authority over men in a public space? This is because we do gather in numbers (on a digital space) to read your blog, it is public.

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  7. I absolutely agree with all you have written. I think personally and do not consider them ‘preachers’ that teach bible studies. Thus I can learn from their insight but not as from a preacher. My question is: there were no men able to lead and preach when Deborah in OT was asked to do so. Would it still be wrong if (there were NO MEN available or qualified to preach) women were in leadership role and in position of authority until a qualified man came? Thanks in advance.

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    1. Hi Theresa-

      Deborah wasn’t a preacher, she was a judge. And it was God’s judgment (as I mentioned in the article) on Israel that a woman was in that position. It wasn’t a positive thing. I think this article will help you better understand Deborah’s situation and how it had nothing to do with women preaching in the church.

      If there were a group of people who wanted to form a church and none of the men were able to lead it, I would suggest:

      –the group find a doctrinally sound established church to attend instead
      –contact the nearest doctrinally sound seminary and/or the group’s denominational headquarters/mission board and ask for help in finding a pastor and establishing the church
      –the most qualified woman could lead the women in study while the men study the Scriptures together until one of them is able to teach well enough to lead the whole group

      Finally, the most important thing would be for everyone in the group to fervently pray that God would send them a qualified pastor. When Christians want to obey God, He WILL provide a way. There is never a circumstance in which it’s OK with God if you just give up and sin because things are difficult. (1 Corinthians 10:13, Hebrews 12:3-4)

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  8. First, thank you for speaking on this topic. I completely agree with your interpretation of women and Pastoring (noun). We are not the head of the church, all of you quotes clearly tell us that. God also points clearly that He is the head and will take a bride (female) despite all the sexual confusion of this time; however, pastoring (verb) I cannot agree entirely with you on. Jezebel was not taken to task for being a prophetess (noun) but for what she was teaching, sexual immorality and other acts against the Holy Word.

    Deborah, also a Prophetess, preached (Judges 4). She taught, she led when the lead was yielded to her. This did not bring personal sin onto her, but great wisdom and glory. Her story leaves us with the impression that in addition to these roles she was a good wife. Where was her sin?

    We must always be careful as we speak and teach God’s Word. It is always my prayer that my fingers are led by the Holy Spirit as I type, admittedly not always successful. As I said, I agree, a woman should not be a Pastor, but she should speak, teach, sing, worship and praise in whatever way and to whomever and wherever the Holy Spirit gifts her and guides her (and him) to do so. (1 Cor 12:1-20). Anything else, in my opinion, is disobedience.

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    1. Hi Seeking-

      Thanks for your comment. Let me see if I can clarify a few things. Along the way, I’ll include links to other articles that might be helpful…

      1. If I’m understanding you correctly about the noun/verb thing, what you’re saying is that you agree that a woman should not hold the office or position of pastor, but that it’s fine if she teaches Scripture/preaches to men, say as a guest preacher, in a co-ed adult Sunday School class, or at a co-ed conference worship service. But 1 Timothy 2:12 (and the rest of Scripture) does not make that distinction. It simply says women aren’t to teach or exercise authority over men in the church. That includes both the office (noun) and the functions of the office (verb). Jill In the Pulpit Rock Your Role FAQs

      2. Sorry I wasn’t clearer on the Scriptures in #5. The Isaiah passage is meant to demonstrate that women in unbiblical positions of leadership is a form of God’s judgment. The Romans and Revelation passages are meant to demonstrate what the paragraph above them says, i.e. that “When God allows people to persist in sin, it’s not that he’s blessing that person or church, but that He’s giving them over to sin in judgment.” In other words, this passage shows that God is judging the church in Thyatira because they’re persisting in the sin of idolatry and false doctrine (which in this case happens to be being taught by a woman). It’s not a passage about women being pastors.

      3. I don’t believe I said anything about Deborah being in sin. However, Deborah’s story is not supportive of women preaching to/teaching men the Scriptures in the New Testament church. God doesn’t contradict Himself like that. Oh No She Di-int! Priscilla Didn’t Preach, Deborah Didn’t Dominate, and Esther Wasn’t an Egalitarian

      4. “but she should speak, teach, sing, worship and praise in whatever way and to whomever and wherever the Holy Spirit gifts her and guides her (and him) to do so.”
      Speaking and teaching are not equivalent to singing, worshiping, and praising. Furthermore, all Scripture is breathed out by God, the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16), so the Holy Spirit has already led all women on this issue. He has told them not to preach to, teach the Scriptures to, or exercise authority over men in the church. That is the Holy Spirit’s leading, and He does not contradict His written Word. So if a woman experiencing some sort of “leading” to preach to men, teach men the Scriptures, or exercise authority over men in the church, she can be 100% certain it’s not the Holy Spirit leading her. The Bible is Our Authority The Bible is Sufficient

      Hope this helps :0)

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      1. I’m curious what your background is. I think you and I 100% agree, women should not Pastor, yes, end of that discussion.
        I do understand, based on what you say here, how you draw your conclusions, and you’re right, you didn’t bring up Deborah, I did as an example. I think you and I could debate the role of women in church for days, and that’s fine, we are suppose to discuss since we are human and we do err. We educate each other and build each other up with conversation. We also help ensure false teachings don’t occur by doing this questioning. You are also correct that the Bible is 100% certain, it is our Authority, it is Sufficient, it is not to be added to or taken from. No other writings need or should be used to help the Bible stand up as it stands alone.
        This question is not meant to be flippant but must be asked. If you believe 100% what you have written here, then you believe 100% what you have taught, proselytized, preached (different people will apply different words to what we bloggers do) here. How does your work here not go against what you have said the Bible does? Again, not being flippant, trying to understand and have a conversation.

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      2. I appreciate your response and desire to interact, but I’m afraid I don’t generally engage in conversations in the comments section of my articles (see the comment parameters in the “Welcome” tab at the top of this page). Not because I don’t enjoy it but because I found it was taking time away from my family.

        I’m not positive I understand your question: “How does your work here not go against what you have said the Bible does?” But if what you mean is “Doesn’t blogging violate 1 Timothy 2:12?” the answer is no. The instruction is that women are not to preach to, teach Scripture to, or exercise authority over men in the church. A blog is not the church. I’ve written more about that here and here.

        I think the articles I’ve linked to in my two comments as well as the articles in my Rock Your Role series will be really helpful to you in understanding what the Bible says on this issue.

        It’s been great chatting with you. Have a blessed day!

        Like

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