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Women Speaking in Church

October 15, 2003

Hi Mike and Debi,

Its a churchs decision that confuses me lately. We are going to have two new female pastors at our church. We did receive special newsletters from the church addressing this issue and explaining that what Paul said in the Bible was due to their cultural background.
My husband and I have gotten so much insight on parenting and Bible truth from your books and magazine.  Lately, I just finished reading the book, Me? Obey him? that Debi suggested.  And so I questioned if that should include the church family also?  Like, if a man is the head of the house, would that mean that the head of the church should be a man, too?  I am just wondering that, if the head of the church is a woman, how does she adjust her role in her family when facing her own husband who goes to the same church?
Although this is not a parenting-related question, I am eager to know what to tell my kids about this.  Please share your thinking regarding this matter.  Thanks!

Michael Answers:

Right now, in the news, we read of major divisions of Protestant Christianity that say that the Bible teaching on sodomy is just a cultural view, peculiar to those ancient people, that we should not take the Bible literally in these areas. Others tell us that devil possession, healing, and miracles as represented in the Bible were just Jesus accommodating himself to the crude beliefs of that primitive culture. The Catholic Church tells us that the book of Genesis is not literal, that God did not create this present world in six 24-hour days as it says in Genesis. Either the Bible is the Word of God, not to be questioned, but to be believed and obeyed, or it is an outdated religious record to be applied at our discretion and convenience.
If you accept the Bible as the Word of God, you can't pick and choose which Bible verses are pertinent to our culture. You must believe that God is capable of writing a book that is supra cultural. God told women to love their husbands in the same passage that he said a woman was to obey her husband. God tells a woman to be modest in the same passage that he says she is not to teach.
Which one of the twelve apostles was actually an apostlette? Which Biblical writer was a woman? You read of the early church Fathers, but not the early church mothers.

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

That is clear enough. Silence was the same thing in the first century as it is today. Men should not permit women to speak in the church. Women are commanded to be silent.

1 Timothy 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

Paul said that he did not suffer (allow) a woman to teach or assume any authority in the Church. It seems that it was the responsibility of the men to not allow women the opportunity to teach. Any man who sits down to listen to a woman minister in the church is disobedient to the Word of God. John rebuked the early church for allowing a woman named Jezebel, who called herself a prophetess, to teach the church false doctrine (Rev. 2:20).
Paul continues in 1 Timothy, telling men why they should not allow a woman to teach.

13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

It points out that women are more subject to deception. But the most interesting thing is how he associates successful childbirth with subjection. A woman who is not in subjection to God in this regard is not guaranteed deliverance in childbearing.
It is not a mans responsibility to police women who would be teachers or church leaders. It is a free country and we allow most anything, but it is the responsibility of Christian men to never sit and listen to a woman minister in the church. Women can speak on a variety of subjects outside the church service; they can run a business, be president of a company or a country. They can teach on health, child training, or any other subject, but God does not permit them to take spiritual authority over men or to teach the Bible to men. That is Gods view. There are other views. Take your pick.

Leave a Reply

19 comments on “Women Speaking in Church”

  1. Keep in mind the Lord anoints as He wills. If Moses' friends would have couselled him on wether or not he should obey the voice from the fire surely they'd have thought him crazy. The Lord does use women and they must be free to obey the Lord if the prophetic gift is given. Surely the church calls many "pastor" who function as teachers and prophets & evangelists. Our church culture doesn't quite know what to do with these other gifts - especially the prophetic. Women should be free to submit to their husbands and follow the Spirit anchored by the Word. Thanks for letting me comment. I've been thinking a lot about all this.

  2. I have never been one to like female preachers because of the teachings in the bible, but there is one thing I am unclear about. When the bible says that women are to be silent, does that mean complete silence or simply when bible study/preaching is happening? Surely a woman would be allowed to speak in general matters outside of the study time as long as it is not specifically on the topic discussed.

    Another question I have is, when your husband is not a believer but the wife is, what is the most honorable way for her to learn? Is it wrong for a woman to seek out the truths of the bible in her own personal bible study time?

  3. Just a thought and a question. Donot want to offend anyone but I thought we were no longer under the law. Isn't that why Christ came? Furthermore are we going to be male and female black and white in heaven, arent these things of the world, of the flesh? Please give me more insight to this.

  4. people often seem to use what paul said about us all being equal in heaven to say that women can be pastors. but that isn't what paul was saying at all. just because we are equal doesn't mean we are the same or that we were created for the same purpose. guys will never be able to give birth to children but we don't think its wrong to tell them so. that being the case why do people think its wrong to tell women that they are sinning by trying to usurp a mans athourity by being a pastor in the church?

  5. There were actually several "church Mothers." There are even biblical references to women in positions of authority such as Deborah from Judges 4:4, Miriam from Exodus 15:20, Priscilla from Acts 18:26 and the daughters of Philip from Acts 21:9. What about Phoebe (Rom 16:1-2,), Priscilla (Acts 18:2-3; Rom 16:3), and Junia (Rom 16:7)? Anyone who has studied the history of the early church knows that women played an important role. To ignore that can only be a dangerous combination of ignorance and sexism. Women stood by Jesus at the hour of his Passion (Mt 27:56, 61) and Mary Magdalene herself was the first witness of Jesus' resurrection (Jn 20:1, 11-18). Women have always played an important role in the church and to demean that role is wrong.

  6. I understand what Micheal is saying as far as women not to teach the men, etc. But I am confused as to our silence in church. Does that mean that I cannot be in the Choir? or even Pray in the service, or even participate in the worship service? I really want to be obedient to God. If Michael could please explain in further detail, it would be great. I love reading their books, and I think there ministry is a blessing.

  7. I'm going to try and explain this as it was explained to me. Think about the trinity. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. They are all equal but have different roles. Now, Husband are the head of their wives. They are equal in God's eyes but they play very different roles. God used women to play important parts in the Bible and women were very important to Jesus' ministry. But if the Bible states that women are to be silent then who are we to question the Word of God? God has a reason for it, and a good one I think. God calls many women to be "ministers" but that could be in the form of hospitality, teaching children or other women, missionaries, helping out those in need. Why must women feel they need to have "power" over a man? Our culture sees these passages as sexist, but God does not care about what our culture feels, His Word never changes and never will.

  8. what about testifying in the testimony service, are women aloud to speak then? what about when a lady stand and testifies and uses scripture in her testimony, is this wrong. i'd really like to know, because i don't like to say anything passed giving a prayer request and an update on one, i feel bad even for say "i thank the Lord for saving me." even when i am asked to testify.

  9. 1 Timothy 3:2 & 3:12 states it as clear as you can get.
    "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
    My pastor put it this way to me in a nutshell. "Is she the HUSBAND of one WIFE?" Its the Lords criteria for Bishops and deacons. If she's not meant to be a husband then she isn't meant to be a teacher either.

  10. For Kate Mazur. Women are free to obey the Lord, but the Lord will never lead them to do anything contrary to Scripture (KJV).

    For Shannon. The Bible (KJV) says nothing about Dorcas being an apostle.

    For Samantha. The Bible (KJV) uses no such terminology as

  11. Not a comment, l wasn't sure where to post a question. I thought l once heard Michael teach the those that die in the wilderness according to our calendar were approximately 18.5years of age. l mentioned this at 21st birthday in a speech for my nephew and a women asked me afterwards does this mean that the Jewish calendar is out of sync with the moon and seasons. l tryed to reseach it on the net, but the explanations went well over my head. Can you shed a little light on this subject or at least refer me to a site that's written in layman's terms. Thanks, Ke.

  12. I was very encouraged to hear Michael Pearl's response as to what the Bible says in regard to the healing gifts. I had been taught that many gifts have "ceased" yet when I read stories of missionaries like, "Bruchko: The Astonishing True Story of a 19-Year-Old American, His Capture by the Motilone Indians and His Adventures in Christianizing the Stone Age Tribe" by
    Bruce Olson & God's Smuggler I think if God can work in other countries and do such miracles, why not here? So I am thankful that you brought Scripture to light and also being a light so that the body of Christ can be encouraged and strengthened with God's truth from His Word. I wonder if in 2 Timothy 3:5 when it says to avoid those who "have a form of godliness but deny its power" that I have been one to not allow God to work, because I did not think to ask Him to do such great things. I have a brother-in-law with MS (multiple sklerosis) and my sister is due with their first baby very soon now. I very much want to see him healed, I am praying that God would send someone to heal him. To the glory of God!

  13. One point of clarification I would like. What about a woman participating in a discussion of Biblical issues outside of church, say on an online forum or in a cafe?
    Is there something wrong with a woman expressing her views on a passage of scripture or point of doctrine outside a church setting?

  14. I saw this video right after it was first posted and have been thinking about it and your answer ever since.

    I'm glad you made the point that your portrayal of Mary Magdalene was artistic license in your comic book. However, I can't help but think there are two reasons why you shouldn't have.

    1: It isn't Scripture and perpetuating an idea which has become so popular (given the blasphemous movies & novels about Christ these days) doesn't help.

    2. How would you feel if someone took that kind of artistic license with someone in your life, when telling your life story?

    I'm curious why the video is not available any longer.

    All the same, thanks for all you have done for me and my family!

  15. Speaking on Woman of the Bible. Was Queen Esther a person who lived or not? People are saying that it wasn't historical. Therefore it was a mistake that it was even canonized. So the Bible can't be trusted. That is the thread. I just can't except that God made a mistake when it say's, All Scripture was given for instruction, correction in righteousness. What advise do you give for a family argument? Lisa

  16. Praise God for His truth. Why is it so difficult for us to understand Gods exact scripture. Thank you that you proficy Gods real truth to us, it is life changing and incurraging. God bless you and God bless us.