Christian women, Church, Complementarianism, Ministry

Throwback Thursday ~ Let Me Count the Ways: 75 Ways Women Can Biblically Minister to Others

Originally published September 1, 2017

I recently heard someone remark that, among complementarian Christians, there’s a lot of emphasis on the things women can’t do, biblically, when it comes to ministry, but not much has been written about how women can serve in ministry without violating Scripture.

There are some valid reasons for that.

First, the false teaching of egalitarianism (women can hold any position in ministry that men can hold) is running rampant through the church, even infecting traditionally conservative churches and denominations. It is imperative that Christian men and women who have a biblical understanding of the role of women in the church continue to teach loudly, boldly, and relentlessly against this doctrinal error.

Next, there are so many ways women can serve the body of Christ without violating Scripture that it would be impossible to list all of them. The prohibitions placed on women in ministry are comparatively infinitesimal and, therefore, faster and simpler to dispense with. In other words, it’s quicker and easier to say, “Women can serve in literally any scriptural position or function of ministry in the Body as long as they’re not instructing men in the Scriptures or holding authority over them,” than it is to list every particular ministry women can participate in without transgressing God’s word.

But sometimes our brains get stuck and we need some specific, real world examples to oil the gears and get our own thought processes moving. Especially when we hit that mental roadblock of “Ministry equals only preaching, teaching, and leadership positions. Period.” That’s not all ministry is. In fact, it’s only a tiny part of ministry. God uniquely gifts His people in a variety of ways for a variety of services. And Scripture is very clear that all members of the Body are essential regardless of the role God has called us to. Jesus was the best preacher, teacher, and leader of all eternity, and yet the pinnacle of His ministry was not a sermon, a Bible lesson, or position of leadership. The most important act of ministry Jesus ever performed was to humble Himself and to give His life for sinners. Let’s make sure we think about ministry the way Jesus thought about ministry:

…whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43b-45

Keeping that in mind, here are just a few of the ways women can freely serve God, their churches, and their neighbors without violating Scripture:

1. Pray for your church, your pastor and staff, your teachers and elders

2.  Teach a women’s Bible study or Sunday School class. (Remember, teaching isn’t the only avenue of ministry, but it is one of them.)

3. Teach a children’s Sunday School or Bible class.

4. Play an instrument in your church’s music ministry.

5. Sing in the choir or on the praise team.

6. Direct a children’s choir.

7. Run the Power Point for song lyrics during the worship service

8. Learn how to run your sanctuary’s sound system and board

9. Help set up and put away chairs for services or classes

10. Be the hero who gets to church early and has the coffee ready when people arrive

11. Serve as a greeter

12. Serve on the security or parking lot duty team

13. Serve in the nursery

14. Volunteer to help out in the church office

15. Serve as a chaperone for a youth trip, fellowship, or other activity

16. Open your home to traveling pastors or missionaries who need a place to stay

17. Volunteer your home for the next church fellowship

18. Organize a potluck dinner for your church or Sunday School class

19. Take some treats up to the church office during the week to encourage the staff

20. Serve in Vacation Bible School

21. Offer to help your pastor vet new Bible study and Sunday School curricula for doctrinal soundness

22. Go on and/or help organize a short term mission trip

23. Organize meals for a new mom or a church member who’s ill

24. Help clean the church kitchen after an activity or event

25. Visit hospitalized church members

26. Visit church members who are shut-ins or in nursing homes

27. Pick up someone who needs a ride to and from church

28. Nursing home residents often have no way to attend church. Organize a way for your church to take church to the nursing home.

29. Many people have difficulty attending church because they’re caretakers for an ill or disabled loved one. Set up a rotation of church members to be sitters so the caretaker can come to church.

30. Mow the church’s grass

31. Serve on a committee

32. Volunteer your IT expertise for the church’s computer system

33. Open your home to a college student who needs a place to live

34. Open your home to a woman in a crisis pregnancy who has nowhere else to go

35. Teach cooking, homemaking, or parenting skills to the younger women of your church.

36. Start an after school tutoring program at your church where kids get help with their homework and hear the gospel.

37. Volunteer at a Christian crisis pregnancy center

38. Organize and serve at a church work day (cleaning, painting, facility maintenance)

39. Donate money, gift cards, gas cards, or hotel vouchers to your church’s benevolence fund

40. Get trained in disaster relief and serve the physical and spiritual needs of those impacted by natural disasters

41. Serve in your church’s food pantry

42. Serve in your church’s clothes closet

43. Help organize fundraisers for missions, youth camp, disaster relief, church needs, etc.

44. If your church decorates the grounds for Christmas or other special events, lend a hand

45. Start a backyard Bible club (Bible lesson, game/activity, snack) at a park, apartment complex, school, or other gathering place near your church

46. Start a women’s prayer group with sisters at church

47. Organize a “mechanic ministry” – church members who can fix and maintain the cars of your church’s widows and single moms

48. Organize a “honey-do ministry” – same idea but for repair jobs around the house

49. Disciple a younger woman one on one

50. Invite new church members over for dinner

51. Be your Sunday School class’ secretary or fellowship organizer

52. Take food baskets to church members who are in need

53. Do baptistry duty (help those being baptized with robes, towels, etc.)

54. Set up a sewing or craft ministry, making items for the elderly, disabled, newborns, the homeless, or missions. This idea is one of my favorites (don’t forget to include the gospel, verbally or in print, with your ministry project items).

55. If your church is in a high traffic area, stand out front on hot days and hand out bottled water and tracts to passers by (be safety conscious). You can also put a sticker or label on the bottle with your church’s info or a web site that gives a gospel presentation.

56. Sit and talk – but mostly listen – to the elderly people in your church. You’ll minister to them, and they’ll minister to you.

57. Serve on your church’s wedding, funeral, or special event team

58. Volunteer to care for small children of wedding or funeral attendees in your church’s nursery during the event

59. Work in your church library, or set one up

60. Organize a Parents’ Night Out so church members with young children can have a couples’ night without the expense of a babysitter

61. Babysit your pastor’s children so he and his wife can have a date night

62. Clergy appreciation month is October. Organize gifts or other demonstrations of appreciation for your pastor, minister of music, associate pastor, youth director, etc. (Make sure none of your ministers are inadvertently overlooked.)

63. Teach an ESL (English as a Second Language) class to minister to church members and others who are learning English.

64. Write letters and e-mails of encouragement to the missionaries your church supports (send care packages too!)

65. Send texts of encouragement to your Sunday School class members

66. Start a birthday card ministry. Pray for each church member as you send out his or her card. In a year, you will have prayed individually for every member of your church.

67. If you’re a health care professional, volunteer to provide basic health or dental screenings to church members in need.

68. Minister to battered women at your local shelter by listening, sharing the gospel, and caring for their material needs.

69. Instead of Toys for Tots, organize a “Bibles for Tots” drive for Christmas. Give young readers Bibles to children at local schools, the mall, or a community event as a Christmas gift from your church.

70. Research and write a book about the history of your church.

71. Help set up for the Lord’s Supper

72. Do laundry duty. Take home towels and robes after baptisms, table cloths after church dinners, costumes after the choir’s musical, etc., launder them, fold them and return them to the church.

73. Go to the grocery store and run other errands for church members unable to do these things for themselves.

74. Run your church’s web site or admin your church’s social media accounts

75. Organize an abortion clinic sidewalk ministry team from your church

As I said, there are so many ways women can biblically participate in ministering to others that there’s no way to even think of all the possibilities. But I’d love to add more ideas to this list.

That’s where you come in!

What are some ways you, women at your church, or women you know at other churches minister to others without teaching or preaching to men and without holding authority over men in the gathered body of Believers? Leave a comment and let’s see how many more ways women can minister biblically!

Christian women, Complementarianism

Solving Misogyny- You’re Doing It Wrong

For the next several weeks I’ll be preparing to speak at the
Relying on God and His Word conference, so I’ll be re-running
some popular articles from the archives. I hope you’ll enjoy this one.


Originally published June 8, 2018

If God is the God of Romans 8:28…

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

…then Satan is the god of the anti-Romans 8:28. He wants to twist anything and everything that’s the least little bit good into harm, especially for those who are called according to God’s purpose.

Several very good things have come out of the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements. Many victims who previously kept silent out of fear and shame have found the courage to tell their stories and begin healing. We’ve had the opportunity to offer them comfort and encouragement through the gospel. Churches have become more aware of how widespread the problem of abuse is and have begun to respond accordingly. In several cases, abusers have been exposed and brought to justice.

Unfortunately, Satan has also used this movement to harm people. False accusations have been made against innocent individuals. Sweeping accusations have been made against Christian men in general. And now, perhaps worst of all, there are rumblings afoot to right the wrongs of real, and imagined, misogyny by “empowering” Christian women and giving us greater, often unbiblical, positions of church and denominational leadership, either as reparations for past mistreatment of women or prophylaxis against future mistreatment of women, or both. (Pastor Tom Buck wrote an excellent article on this yesterday, which I urge you to read for more details {and bookmark for subsequent installments, which I’m sure will be equally stellar}.)

Don’t fall for it, ladies. This is Eden all over again.

In the same way that God created a very good tree, planted it in the midst of the Garden, and put a “do not eat” fence around it, God also created the very good “tree” of Christian leadership, planted it in the midst of the church, and put a 1 Timothy 2:12 fence around it.

God’s restrictions about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were minimal: don’t eat from it. Eve was free to sit in its shade, admire its beauty, fertilize it, plant flowers around it, pretty much anything, except eat from it. And that one restriction is what Satan used to tempt her to sin.

For women, God’s restrictions on church leadership are also minimal: don’t instruct men in the Scriptures and don’t exercise authority over men. That’s literally all there is to it. There are scrillions of ways women can serve the Body of Christ without getting anywhere near that fence. But these two small restrictions are what Satan is using to tempt us to sin. And, unfortunately, this time, instead of approaching Eve in the form of a serpent, he’s approaching Christian women in the form of the sinful or misinformed words and ideas of pastors and Christian leaders. “Did God really say you can’t have that particular position of leadership?”

But there’s another issue at play here that needs some airing out.

Power. Leadership. These are the ideals that are being touted as the way to lift women up. Is that what Jesus taught? Is that the example He set? No. Jesus taught and exemplified humility, lowliness, and servanthood:

But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
Mark 9:34-35

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:25-28

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
John 13:12-15

God doesn’t think the way we think. We think that the only way someone can be valued and heard is if she has power and prestige in the eyes of her fellow humans. That’s where this “empower women and give them positions of leadership” idea is coming from. It is a worldly way of thinking.

God’s way of thinking about this is that we are already intrinsically valuable in His eyes because we are made in His image. Being valued by God is so infinitely more significant than being valued by other humans, that how we look to others shouldn’t even register on our radar. Letting go of what other people think of us frees us up to live in the holy gratitude to God that says, “It is my joy to serve You because I love You. I will live like Jesus no matter what I have to give up, no matter how much I suffer, no matter how humbling it is. You are worthy of my self-abasement.”

He must increase, but I must decrease.
John 3:30

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 84:10b

In God’s economy, the way to greatness is to be a slave. The way to fame is anonymity. The way to exaltation is humility. Why are Christian women being encouraged to stand up and demand the seat at the head of the table instead of being encouraged to give up their seats for others, serve those at the table, even clean up after the meal? What do these Christian leaders want for women – that they find favor with man or that they find favor with God? Orchestrating outward appearances, such as giving women positions of unbiblical leadership, is merely attempting to fix the very real problem of women being sinned against by putting another coat of whitewash on the outside of a tomb that’s full of dead men’s bones. You don’t fix one sin by creating another. You clean out the tomb.

In any instance in which women are being sinned against by men, the answer is not to “elevate” women to improper places of leadership. The answer is to exercise biblical church discipline against the men and disciple both the men and the women to humbly serve Christ and the church in accordance with God’s Word. Broken, sinful men do not need to hear what broken, sinful women think about how women should be treated. They both need to hear what the holy, almighty God who created men and women has to say about how women should be treated. And the way God has structured leadership in the church, the responsibility of teaching what God’s Word says about this or any other issue falls primarily to the pastor.

That’s especially of note in this particular situation. Why would these Christian leaders further burden women they consider mistreated with any part of the responsibility of fixing their mistreatment? Why aren’t they instead urging pastors to step up to the plate and properly train the men of their churches to regard and treat women in a godly way?

This whole idea of solving the problem of alleged misogyny in the church with an “I am woman, hear me roar” groundswell is backwards, wrong, and – ironically – man-centered. And encouraging women who have already been victimized to act in ungodly ways is just victimizing them all over again, this time, spiritually. As the Body of Christ, we must be Christ-centered. God has given us all of the necessary instructions for handling problems in the church and between Believers in His Word. We need only to follow them. And Him. Let’s do this right, church.

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (A rabbi, Rosaria, and a boy mom walk into a blog…)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question. I also like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!


Do you have any recommendations for mothers raising Godly men? I became a believer after I was married and my husband is not a believer yet.

As a mom to five boys myself, the best advice I can offer you is this: If you want to raise godly men, be a godly woman. Model godliness for your boys. Study your Bible, and teach them to study their Bibles. Pray, and teach them to pray. Be faithful to your church, find a way to serve there, and teach them to do the same. Obey God’s Word, and teach them to be obedient. When you sin, use it as an opportunity to teach them about repentance and forgiveness. Ask God for wisdom, strength, guidance, and patience. Pray for your boys’ salvation. Submit to your husband. Pray for him and for his salvation.

Some other resources you may find helpful:

Your pastor – Set up an appointment with your pastor to get some counsel. This is part of his job in shepherding you. It would also be very helpful to find an older, doctrinally sound sister in Christ at your church (preferably one who has raised boys) and ask her to mentor/disciple you.

Imperishable Beauty: A Study of Biblical Womanhood – If you’d like to learn more about being a godly woman, join our current Bible study here on the blog.

Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson – Although I wouldn’t endorse everything from Dobson, I found this book to be helpful years ago when my sons were young. (I have an older edition of the book, so I can’t vouch for any revisions in this newer edition.)

Six Ways to Raise a Godly Man

Parenting Articles


Are you preaching to men here? Are you instructing them?

This has been my frustration with this whole issue. I read the Bible a lot and can see so very much deception here in the West but feel like I am not allowed to say anything to the males who are deceived. And there are many, many false teachers who are male.

I’m not preaching to men or instructing them in that article. As I stated in the conclusion:

…in the end, this article is not meant to be a castigation of pastors or other Christian men, but an impassioned plea from a church lady who wants to see her sisters make it out alive. Help us. Please.

But even if that article had been instructive to men, that’s not a violation of Scripture. What the Bible prohibits is women preaching to men, instructing men in the Bible, and holding authority over men in the gathered body of Believers – the church setting. A blog is not the church. I think these articles may help as you study through this issue:

Rock Your Role: Jill in the Pulpit
Rock Your Role FAQs
Are Female Bloggers Violating Scripture by “Teaching” Men?
The Mailbag: Is it OK for Christian men to read Christian women’s blogs?

The Bible also does not prohibit you from having a conversation with a male friend or relative to scripturally discourage him from following a false teacher or being a false teacher. (Obviously, you should use biblical wisdom about appearances and temptation when meeting with someone of the opposite sex, though.) That’s essentially what Priscilla and Aquila did when they corrected Apollos – they took him aside privately and explained the gospel more accurately to him.

I would just encourage you to think about your relationship with the man you’re considering talking to. Are you the best person for the job? Not because you’re a woman, but perhaps there’s someone he’s closer to or looks up to as a mentor whose correction might make more of an impact. What about you and your husband (if you’re married and he’s biblically able) approaching this man together as Priscilla and Aquila did? Just some things to consider.


Could you recommend your most trusted watchdog or heresy sites? I’m trying to find info on [a certain rabbi] as my mom has asked me to watch his teachings.

Well…if he’s a rabbi, he is – by definition – not a Christian, so you should not believe anything he says about God, Jesus, the Bible, church, theology, etc. If any Christian discernment sites have anything on him it will probably be Berean Research, Pirate Christian’s Blogs, or Fighting for the Faith. These are the sites I most often use for researching false teachers. I’ve listed a few other helpful discernment sites here (see #6).


In a recent article you said, “I’ve often cited the false teaching that prayer is a ‘two-way conversation’ (you talk to God and then He talks back to you).”

Are you saying that God never “talks” to us in reply to our prayers/talking to Him? Or are you saying that the idea of God talking to us as we talk to each other is wrong? (Thanks so much, in advance, for taking time to answer. I really think assuming things makes us vulnerable to misunderstanding…. May God bless you!)

May God bless you too, and thanks for your question.

The answer to both of your questions is “yes”. God does not “talk” to us, and the idea that He talks to us is biblically incorrect. God has already spoken to us, and even went so far as to have His words written down for us – it’s called the Bible. I’ve explained more about this in my article Basic Training: The Bible is Sufficient.


“You made a bunch of allegations in this article but didn’t back them up with any evidence.”

“You mentioned [a particular word, phrase, or concept] in your article. I don’t understand what that is. Can you please explain?”

Hyperlinks, y’all. They’re called hyperlinks. And you need to click on them to find the information you’re looking for.

If you’re reading one of my articles and you see a word in red that’s underlined when you hover over it (other sites might use other colors), clicking on it will take you to another article or resource that will provide you with more information. It’s a little bit like a footnote in a book.

If I stopped to explain every concept I thought people might not understand, gave the full details of every incident I allude to, or wrote out every Scripture that supports the point I’m making, my articles would be tediously long (even more so than usual!). Hyperlinks are a convenient way to provide you with the details, information, or Scriptures you need without adding unbearable length to the article.

All you have to do is click on them.


Our church recently did a book study on “The Gospel Comes with a House Key” by Rosaria Butterfield. The book’s theme is “radical hospitality”. She and her husband invite non-believing people into their home for meals etc. They place no boundaries on this, many are strangers to them.

Concerns my husband and I had were the lack of safety for their family, and the spiritual danger of being yoked together with unbelievers. When we expressed our concerns, no one else spoke up in agreement with us. We have no problem inviting non-believers into our home, we just want to have some idea of who they are. What is your opinion of this book?

I haven’t read the book, but I have listened to two or three interviews with Rosaria in which she talked about the book and the way she and her husband practice hospitality, so I’ve heard her explain how they open their home to those in their neighborhood whom they may not necessarily know. (For those who aren’t familiar with Rosaria – I do not follow her closely, but from what I know of her, and the people who endorse her, she is doctrinally sound.)

The Butterfields’ Method The Bible tells us to practice hospitality, but it doesn’t specify precisely how we are to do that. That’s because the Bible has to be applicable to all people across all cultures, contexts, and time. Hospitality will look different even between two families in the same church who are next-door neighbors.

You and your husband are not the Butterfields. You do not live in their town or neighborhood. Your family is different from theirs. And all of that is perfectly fine. God does not call or expect Christians to be carbon copies of each others. That means the way you practice hospitality may not look exactly like the way the Butterfields practice hospitality. And that’s perfectly fine, and biblical, too.

I don’t think the purpose of Rosaria’s book was to say, “This is the definition of hospitality and this is how every Christian has to practice it.”. I think the purpose was to explore the topic of hospitality and stress its importance. Her description of the specific way her family practices hospitality serves as an example of one way to practice it if that would be a fit for your family.

The Butterfields’ Safety I can understand why, in this day and age, you would be concerned about their safety and the security of their home. They have chosen to accept this risk and practice hospitality this way.

There are two “no-no’s” that go along with your concern and their decision. Your concern does not mean they have to change their decision (not saying you think that, but a surprising number of Christians do), and their decision does not get to dictate the way your family practices hospitality. That we practice hospitality is a biblical command. The way we practice hospitality is a matter of Christian liberty and wisdom for each individual family.

Yoking with Unbelievers The mere act of inviting unbelievers to your home for a meal or social event is not a violation of Scripture, especially when the end game is to share the gospel with them. This is the kind of hospitality Jesus practiced with unbelievers, except He didn’t have a home to invite them to. He went to their homes.

The only danger of yoking with unbelievers that could come with practicing this kind of hospitality is getting too intimate with unbelieving friends you’ve made and allowing them to pull you away from Christ and into disobedience. For Christians who are mature enough to stand firm in the faith and keep a wise amount of distance with unbelieving friends, the Butterfields’ method of hospitality should not present a problem in this respect. If your family is more spiritually vulnerable, it would probably be wise to consider other ways of practicing hospitality.

 

It’s wonderful that you’re considering ways to practice hospitality. I would suggest you and your husband pray for wisdom and guidance. Brainstorm some ways you could tweak what the Butterfields do so it’s a fit for your family, or come up with your own unique way of practicing hospitality.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Christian women, Complementarianism, Mailbag

The Mailbag: Is it biblical for women to carry out The Great Commission?

 

Last week, I received some questions from a Facebook follower regarding my article Basic Training: The Great Commission. I thought they were very insightful and that other readers might have the same questions, so I’m sharing and expanding on my answers to her here. (I’ve edited/condensed the reader’s questions and comments {in bold type} for the sake of brevity.)

Given my understanding of what Jesus is commanding, and comparing it with other examples in the New Testament, it’s not for women to do the Great Commission. Our role is not to make disciples, teach, or baptize, but to keep the home, edify other women believers, etc. The Great Commission is for men, not women, to do because…

1. The Great Commission requires teaching and baptizing.

2. Jesus was speaking the Great Commission to His disciples, who were all male.

3. We don’t see any specific New Testament examples of women sharing the gospel with the lost through their own witness or example.

4. Because we don’t see any specific New Testament examples of women sharing the gospel or any explicit commands for women to share the gospel, it violates the regulative principle for women to share the gospel with the lost.

This reader’s questions really got me thinking and digging. I love questions that make me think hard and dig into Scripture and theology for answers!

First, let me briefly address the points of this issue that are not in dispute. As I understand her, the reader is in full agreement with Titus 2:3-5 and the example of Lois and Eunice. She agrees with the biblical principles of women training their own children in the gospel and discipling Christian women (already saved) inside the church. Her questions have mainly to do with sharing the gospel with the lost outside the church – evangelism.

Next, before we dive into the reader’s questions themselves, it is very important to distinguish between two types of Scripture:

Broadly speaking, there are two main types of Scripture: descriptive and prescriptive. Descriptive passages describe something that happened: Noah built an ark. Esther became queen. Paul got shipwrecked. These passages simply tell us what happened to somebody. Prescriptive passages are commands or statements to obey. Don’t lie. Share the gospel. Forgive others.

If we wanted to know how to have a godly marriage, for example, we would look at passages like Ephesians 5:22-33, 1 Corinthians 7, and Exodus 20:14,17. These are all passages that clearly tell us what to do and what not to do in order to have a godly marriage.

What we would not do is look at David’s and Solomon’s lives and conclude that polygamy is God’s design for marriage. We would not read about Hosea and assume that God wants Christian men to marry prostitutes. We would not read the story of the woman at the well and think that being married five times and then shacking up with number six is OK with Jesus.

Descriptive passages may support, but never trump, the clear instruction of prescriptive passages.¹

Now, let’s see if we can come to some biblical conclusions on her questions:

1. The Great Commission requires teaching and baptizing.

Teaching:
Often, when we’re looking at women’s roles in the church and being obedient to 1 Timothy 2:12, people conflate evangelism with teaching. Teaching Scripture to saved people inside the church gathering is not the same thing as sharing the gospel with lost people outside the church gathering. They are two separate, distinct things. First Timothy 2:12 (and other prohibitive passages) only prohibits the former, not the latter. The Great Commission, and the New Testament overall, commands the latter.

As Christian women we want to be sure we keep these two things straight and carry out The Great Commission in the way God has prescribed for women to carry it out. May we share the gospel with a lost man or woman “as we are going”? Yes. If that person is a man, once he is saved is it biblically appropriate for a woman to teach and disciple him? No. If he is saved, he is supposed to be joined to a local church. Once inside the church body, he is to be taught Scripture and discipled by men.

Here are some resources which may be of further help:

Rock Your Role: Jill in the Pulpit

Rock Your Role FAQs (see #11 for using wisdom on sharing the gospel with men)

Basic Training: 7 Reasons Church is Not Optional and Non-Negotiable for Christians

Baptism:
When it comes to teaching inside the church, we have clear, prescriptive passages that specifically tell us what women are not to do. With evangelism, we also have clear commands in The Great Commission, and elsewhere, that disciples of Christ are to share the gospel.

But when it comes to baptism, we don’t have a clear “this or that person should or should not perform baptisms” passage, so we need to look at the principles and precedents surrounding baptism.

The people specifically named as personally performing baptisms in the New Testament were John the Baptist (who baptized Jesus), the twelve apostles, Philip the Evangelist, Paul and/or Silas, and Paul. All of these were men, and all held pastoral or pastoral/elder-type formal leadership positions in the embryonic or infancy stages of the church. All of them were commissioned, ordained, or set apart to their positions by God, Jesus, or the church. We do not see any New Testament instances of random church members – male or female – performing baptisms, only those in positions of church leadership.

Additionally, baptism is a formal, official, consecrated ordinance of the church, not a casual, personal, relational activity between individuals, friends, or loved ones. It should no more be administered by any church member who wants to do it than the Lord’s Supper should be. Both ordinances should be administered by an ordained pastor or elder of the church. That leaves out women as well as most men. Does the responsibility of pastors to baptize mean that men who aren’t pastors shouldn’t carry out the Great Commission? Of course not. We – men and women – share the gospel with someone, and if that person gets saved, part of our responsibility is to do what we can to get him plugged in to a local church where a pastor can baptize him. We don’t have to baptize him ourselves in order to be fulfilling The Great Commission.

Basic Training: Baptism

2. Jesus was speaking the Great Commission to His disciples, who were all male.
Yes, they were all male. They were all apostles, too. But first and foremost, they were all disciples – followers of Christ – just as Christians are today. Our identity in Christ – who we are, spiritually – trumps what we are, physically (male or female), and what we do (different roles and behaviors) as a result of who and what we are. Galatians 3:28 tells us:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

In Christ, there is only one type of being: Christian. There is only one kind of spiritual DNA. There’s no XX and XY. There’s just X. Ontologically, Christians are all the same kind of spiritual being.

The Great Commission is based on who the disciples, and we, are – followers of Christ – just as many of the other things that Jesus taught His disciples were. For example, when the disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray,” and Jesus responded with the Lord’s Prayer, did Jesus mean that only the Twelve, or only men should use it as their model in prayer? When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, did He mean that only the disciples or only men should serve one another in humility? When Peter asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive, did “seventy times seven” apply only to Peter, only to the disciples, or only to men? Of course not. Christ’s instructions to His followers apply to all who follow Him. It is in the way in which we carry these instructions out that Christ differentiates and delegates divergent and discrete responsibilities to men, women, and church leadership.

As disciples, we are to carry out The Great Commission. As Christian women, we carry it out in a different way from men and pastors.

3. We don’t see any specific New Testament examples of women sharing the gospel with the lost through their own witness or example.
We don’t see any specific verses that say something along the lines of “Miriam shared the gospel with Simon, and he got saved,” that’s true. But how about these…

✢The woman at the well in John 4: “So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’ They went out of the town and were coming to him.” (28-30)

✢The widow (and townswomen) of Nain in Luke 7: “Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has arisen among us!’ and ‘God has visited his people!’ And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.” (16-17)

✢The friends of Tabitha in Acts 9: ” And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then, calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.” (41-42)

✢Lydia in Acts 16: “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well…” (14-15)

1 Corinthians 7:12-16: “If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife…For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband?”

1 Peter 3:1-6: “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives.”

The first four examples imply that various women, to one degree or another, were pointing people to Jesus. But, again, these are descriptive passages. They lend a bit of support to the idea of women sharing the gospel with others, but we build doctrine on prescriptive passages like The Great Commission. The last two examples are prescriptive passages instructing women in sharing the gospel with their lost husbands. These passages are supportive of women sharing the gospel.

Evangelism at Theology Gals

4. Because we don’t see any specific New Testament examples of women sharing the gospel or any explicit commands for women to share the gospel, it violates the regulative principle for women to share the gospel with the lost.
Well, as I mentioned above, we do see descriptive passages that at least hint at women sharing the gospel, and we also see prescriptive passages that explicitly instruct women in sharing the gospel with their lost husbands. But The Great Commission and other passages that are general commands to all followers of Christ to share the gospel are the strong and emphatic passages we draw doctrine from, not the more tangential passages. So even if the regulative principle did apply to evangelism, it would be supported by Scripture.

But the regulative principle doesn’t apply to evangelism as the full terminology – the regulative principle of worship – helps us to understand. The regulative principle applies to the corporate worship service, not evangelism, not marriage, not finances, not employment, not parenting, nor any other biblical issue. Just corporate worship.

 

Are women to carry out The Great Commission? Yes. We are to carry it out in the way Christ has prescribed for godly Christian women.


¹Rock Your Role: Oh No She Di-int! Priscilla Didn’t Preach, Deborah Didn’t Dominate, and Esther Wasn’t an Egalitarian

If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Favorite Finds

Favorite Finds ~ June 12, 2018

Here are a few of my favorite recent online finds…

I honestly teared up a couple of times listening to the Get Up and Eat! with Rachel Jankovic episode of Sheologians. Sometimes I feel like the lone voice in the wilderness crying out for women to ditch the canned Bible studies and simply pick up the Bible and study it for themselves. It was nice to hear somebody else saying it.

 

I love the designs Scripture Type creates for Bible verses and Christian quotes. They have lots of lovely items you can purchase, and they also have a Freely Given page where they post designs that are free to download for use as wallpapers, lock screens, and printable coloring pages. It’s a great way to help you memorize verses!

 

If you found helpful the put off – renew your mind – put on concept for changing behavior from my recent article The Christian Introvert: Putting Off Social Anxiety, Putting On Serving Others, then you’re really going to like Clint Archer’s recent article series over at The Cripplegate. In his Just Stop It articles, he applies the same biblical concept to various sins you might be struggling with:

Just Stop It: Instructions on how to repent

Just Stop it, Part 2: How To Repent Of Lying

Just Stop it, Part 3: How To Repent Of Anger

Just Stop it, Part 4: How to Repent of Stealing

Be sure to subscribe to or follow The Cripplegate for any future installments Clint might write.

 

Are you a Southern Baptist (or a curious onlooker) who couldn’t make it to the annual meeting in Dallas this year? Keep up with what’s going on via live stream or at your convenience on demand. And please don’t forget to fervently pray for the SBC. We are facing some serious issues in these days. The Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting is being held today and tomorrow (June 12-13).

 

One of those serious issues we’re currently dealing with in the SBC is that a vocal few are pushing the idea of electing a female president (Beth Moore’s name has been floated). Pastor Tom Buck has written a phenomenal series of articles dealing with this issue from Scripture. Even if you’re not Southern Baptist, you will find Pastor Buck’s careful exposition of 1 Timothy 2:11-15 extremely helpful in his articles Will the Next SBC Resurgence Include a Redefining of Complementarianism?

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4