I am sure that those who read this article will have seen on their television screens female “evangelists” or preachers. Also, you have probably seen where many of the denominations have employed females as pastors for their various congregations. In light of this, it is interesting to note the following from the US News & World Report of September 10, 2007:
In the past two decades, the number of American female clergy has more than tripled. In the past 50 years, nearly every major religion that allows female clergy has seen membership plummet. And every major religious group that doesn’t, such as Roman Catholics, has seen a rise. It’s tempting to say that women’s presence has caused flocks to stray. Most likely, the link is that female clergy are part of a larger liberalizing trend that is itself unpopular among the religious. The cold statistics show that this new class of female is struggling because the stricter religions are growing and the liberal religions are shrinking. Female clergy, whose top issue is social welfare—not men’s “family values” may be the pioneers of a new movement This pendulum has swung many times before.
For those who know their New Testaments, it should come as no surprise that churches that accept women as pastors/preachers have “seen membership plummet.” When a female enters the pulpit to preach, by so doing, she is forced to reject that which she claims to advocate. The Word of God is not ambiguous but is very plain on the matter. In writing to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul stated: “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. 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” (1 Cor. 14:34-35). Paul also wrote to Timothy stating: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (1 Tim. 2:11-12).
Some would try to blunt the force of Paul’s statements indicating that such was Paul’s own personal opinion. However, to express such is to deny what Paul wrote is Scripture. Further, in the letter to the Corinthians church, Paul further stated: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). Thus, to deny that he was living a command from the Lord would be to show that one was not spiritual and clearly would be repudiating the very words of Scripture.
Our Lord, Himself, clearly embraced the proposition of male leadership. If such were not the case, would He not have had a Mary, Martha, or Joanna among the Twelve? Indeed, the apostles were all men. Elders are to be the husband of one wife (1 Tim. 3:2). There is no basis from Scripture to justify female elders, preachers, or females in other leadership roles in the church. Thus, it should be no surprise that when clear biblical teaching is rejected and religious groups go their own way a steady decline in membership is seen.
In all of this, there is a message for those who are members of the Lord’s church today. There are those who would seek to take the Lord’s people down the same road of compromise, digression, and a repudiation of the will of God whether it is as a result of directly embracing false teaching or by endorsing, fellowshipping and supporting false teachers contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture. Those who engage in such need to remember that to follow such a path leads to rejection by God for they are following a way that is contrary to God’s way—a way that leads to death (Mat. 7:13-14). As a congregation of the Lord’s people we need to be committed to following His will, even if such puts us at odds with others. We must remain on the Lord’s side.