Leadership of Women
Mickey Hukill

There is controversy in the religious world whether there is authority for women in the leadership of the church.  While it is true that men are not better than women; God has given each specific roles that each must uphold.  Everything pertaining to man, God had previously planned, and prepared, so that man would lack nothing (2 Peter 1:3).  This includes the function of both men and women.  This is clearly the design that God had for mankind from the beginning.  “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3).

God formed Adam first, and then said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18).  God then formed Eve from a rib taken from man, and brought her to the man (Genesis 2:22).  It is important to realize, that God knew from the beginning, that he would create male and female, just as he did the animals (Genesis 1:20-22).  God simply allowed Adam to see that there was not a help meet for him in any other created creature, by parading the animals before him and having him name each kind (Genesis 2:20).  This made the creation of the woman that much more significant to the man.  When God brought her to man this signified that she was to be submissive to him, “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man” (1 Corinthians 11:9).  However, he was not superior to her, for she is “…bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23).  “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God” (1 Corinthians 11:11-12).  The problem arose when Eve usurped the authority of the man.  The serpent deceived the woman and she took of the tree and did eat and then gave to her husband that was with her and he ate (Genesis 3:1-6).  It is obvious that the problem developed from reversal of the roles that God had instituted.  If the man had been the authority figure, as he should have been, he could have prevented Eve from being deceived.  God gave the man instructions concerning the tree “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen 2:16-17).  Therefore, it was his responsibility to instruct his wife and keep her from harm.  We can see that this is the case when Adam, trying to push the blame off onto the woman told God, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”  (Genesis 3:12) He unintentionally was admitting that he had taken the role of submission and her of leadership.  We can also see then, that God was simply affirming their roles when he said to the woman, “…thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”  In addition, to the man God said, “Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life” (Gen 3:16-17).  Adam should not have listened to her, rather helped her to know God’s will.

Many today have the same problem, as did Adam and Eve concerning the roles that God has set forth for men and women.  Many men have submitted themselves to the authority of women preachers and teachers.  The Scriptures are clear concerning the roles God has ordained.

“I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.  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.  For Adam was first formed, then Eve.  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.  Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety” (1 Timothy 2:8-15).

Here, Paul is stating that the men are to be in the authority over the women, specifically stating that women are not to take the leadership role in preaching and teaching.  Paul then explains the reason for the commandment.  Adam was formed first, thereby given the position of authority, then the woman was created as a help meet for him.  The woman was deceived, not him.  Adam stood idly by and allowed the woman to assume the leadership role and be deceived.  Paul then explains that if the woman continues in the role of a woman, not that she must bear children, but perform the role of being submissive to man, she shall be saved.  Notice however, “If they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety” (1 Timothy 2:15).

God has instituted a wonderful plan for us to function on this earth while we prepare ourselves to be with him.  In God’s plan, there is a role each of us must perform.  God is head of Christ, Christ is head of man, and man is head of woman.  Therefore, the answer to the question of whether women have the scriptural authority to preach and or teach in a public assembly is no.  The advent of women usurping the authority over men in the religious world is sinful, and against God’s purposed role for men and women.

Please e-mail me (Mickey Hukill) if you have any questions: mickhukill@earthlink.net

©2001 This paper may be freely distributed as long as there is no cost to others and no changes to the content of any material in this paper.

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