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WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP

 

By Dr. Richard Ing

May 22, 2010

 

The apostle Paul has often been called a male chauvinist and given other nasty labels.  He speaks in seemingly harsh and politically incorrect words regarding women in church and family:

 

            Let the women 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 Ti. 2:11-15.

 

In Ephesians 5, Paul instructs as follows:

 

            Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies . . . This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  Eph. 5:22-28, 32.

 

Today, most Christian denominations ordain female pastors and place them in positions to rule over men.  The Episcopal church of America recently ordained a practicing lesbian woman to be a bishop that rules over every pastor within her region,  mostly males. 

 

Many think that Paul's statements did not come from God but was a personal opinion long obsolete and out of sync with modern social values.  Others point to female prophets in the Bible such as Miriam and the daughters of Philip the evangelist who "had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy".  Ac. 21:8-9.  However, there was no mention that any of them were "ordained" church leaders.  Some claim that there was an apostle with a female-like name.   

 

So, did Paul make a mistake?  Is he putting women down? or calling women inferior to men? or demeaning women?  Was he just old-fashioned, now out of touch with the times, or worse,  a male chauvinist?  Was it just a personal opinion? or was Paul actually Spirit led? 

 

If the apostle Paul was Spirit-led, what is the reasoning behind it? 

 

GOD'S PLANS AND PURPOSES

 

Part of the answer lies in God's purpose in creating both the earth and Adam and Eve.  It wasn't an accident and it wasn't on a whim.  That answer is - He wanted sons and daughters perfect in the image of His Son, Jesus, children He could share His goodness with.  Ro. 8:29; Eph. 4:11-15.  He even sacrificed His own Son so that we can be forgiven and cleansed of our sins and come before Him washed by the blood of Jesus - made pure, holy and acceptable in His sight. 

 

Secondly, God is looking for a perfect church without spot, wrinkle, blemish or any such thing, to become the bride of Christ.  Eph. 5:25-27; Rev. 19:7-9; Rev. 21:2; Rev. 22:17.  A perfect bride is made up of perfect saints.  Those are God's two goals and purposes for mankind.  He hasn't changed. 

 

HIS NATURE MUST BE OUR NATURE

 

If we are to be conformed unto the image of our Lord Jesus Christ, what exactly are we to be like?  What characteristics of God must we have in common with Him?  The first and foremost, of course, is love. God is love.  1 Jn. 4:8, 16.  Love sums up the fruit of the Spirit.  Gal. 5:22-23.  The other great characteristics of God are humility, submission and obedience. 

 

The children of the  kingdom of Satan are directly opposite.  Hatred, rebellion, disobedience and pride describe the character of every demon and demonized person in the kingdom of darkness.  See 2 Pet. 2:10-22; Jude 10-13.

 

GOD'S PLAN FOR CREATING PERFECT SONS AND DAUGHTERS

 

Godliness must be taught and learned.  God has given us at least three fundamental sources of learning godliness: the church, our schools and our parents.  Of course, the Bible, the Holy Spirit and life's trials, tests and chastening push us along the way and are God's primary tools.  Heb. 12:6-12. 

 

THE CHURCH

 

It is the church's responsibility to teach, guide and feed the sheep.  The Bible tells us about God's character and ways, and it is the Holy Spirit that teaches us spiritual things that man cannot teach.  However, the church is a major vehicle used by God to interpret, lead, encourage and guide the sheep into perfection according to God's word.  That is why God gave us the five-fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.  Eph. 4:11.  They are all extraordinary teachers of the word.  We learn godliness from and through the church, as inspired by the Holy Ghost.

 

That is why Satan strives so hard to destroy the church and its leaders.  He doesn't have to physically demolish it (although he will in the end of the world); all he has to do is distort the truths given by the first apostles and bring the lusts of the world and flesh into the church.  His primary strategy is to introdice man's (Satan's) ways, thoughts and intentions until the church is no longer God's church.  This brings much confusion, as evidenced by the over 34,000 different Christian denominations and cults around the world (over 7,500 in America alone).  Today's church is both deceived and confused.

 

OUR SCHOOLS OF LEARNING

 

Another main source of godliness training is our schools, both secular and religious. They shape the character and belief system of every student, often for life.  Schools mold our attitudes, goals and perceptions of the world, who we are and what we need to do in order to be a good citizen and person.  They greatly influence our behavior, feelings and points of view.  That is why Satan fiercely attacks our educational systems in an all-out effort to eliminate the teaching of God's character and ways.  In the last fifty years, prayers have been outlawed in schools, religion (primarily Christianity) banned from public places, our Christian heritage systematically eradicated and denied and Christianity replaced by a secular culture of evolution and humanism.   When Christ-likeness is not taught in schools, ungodliness and immorality take its place, based on selfishness and the idea that man is God.

 

OUR PARENTS

 

As important as the church and our schools are, the most influential source of teaching godliness and spiritual perfection in Christ is our parents.  From the time of birth, an individual responds to and learns from his parents.  Psychologists claim that a baby's basic personality is fully developed by the age of six, including many of his responses to people and circumstances.  Knowingly or not, parents shape a child's attitudes and points of view towards others, the world and himself at an early age.  He observes his parents and family, how they interact and respond to situations, and their attitudes.  He mentally stores up early experiences and records their behavior.  No doubt, the family, and especially parents, have a pivotal role in developing godliness in an individual.

 

Parents are God's primary teaching tools to produce godly children for the kingdom of God.  It is the parents' responsibility to teach their children to fear God and be Christ-like.  While the church and schools sometime succeed in rescuing and teaching a young person despite the failures of his parents, parents remain the strongest influence on a person's early training in godliness.

 

 

WHY SATAN ATTACKS FAMILIES

 

That is why traditional Christian family values are being attacked so fiercely by the kingdom of darkness.  Same-sex marriages, civil unions and the like are designed to destroy the family and a mother's and father's ability and right to bring their children up in the image of Jesus.  Satan seeks to destroy families through sexual uncleanness, homosexuality, adultery, free sex, pornography, and so forth.  Today, over 45% of all children born in America are born out of wedlock.  Communism, an atheistic form of government, takes infants away from their natural parents and indoctrinates them with its principles and beliefs before parents can teach their children otherwise.  So with most forms of ungodly governments and societies.   Propaganda and brain-washing instill the character and attitudes that the government desires.  Islamic jihadists, for instance, start brain-washing children at an early age to hate America and all non-Islamic people, even to kill them if necessary. 

 

Satan's prime target is parents.  He wants to make sure that children do not have godly parents and family to train children in accordance with God's kingdom principles.  Satan's ultimate goal is to thwart God's desire to have perfect sons and daughters in the image of Jesus Christ, and the bride of Christ. 

 

MOTHER'S ROLE

 

Mothers are the first line of defense against the devil and the primary teachers of righteousness in a world of unholy, rebellious people.  From the time of birth until around ten or twelve years of age, a child's most important teacher is his mother.  True, church and school help formulate a person's character, but the primary source of learning from time of birth until the age of understanding is mothers.  Churches and schools do not usually enter the picture until the child is around three or four years of age.  For the first ten or twelve years, fathers too are mostly secondary.  Even at that age, a mother's influence is usually far greater than a father's.  Mothers have the first and primary role as teachers to their children.  

 

So, what in particular does God want mothers to teach their children?  The answer is clear:  humility, submission and obedience.   That's why the apostle Paul said, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husband, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing."  Eph. :22-24.

 

Children constantly observe how mother reacts and responds to father and male leadership.  A wife cannot teach humility unless she too is humble.  She cannot teach submission without a submissive attitude towards her husband, and she certainly cannot teach obedience and be disobedient and disrespectful towards her husband at the same time.  That would make her a hypocrite. 

 

Without a wise Christ-like mother to teach humility, submission and obedience, children will learn to be like the devil's children - arrogant, rebellious, disrespectful towards government and authority and destined for hell.  Childbearing and the subsequent proper upbringing of godly children in the image of Jesus Christ are the salvation and honor of women.  1 Ti. 2:15.  She has the most profound effect on her babies and infants and the privilege of bringing up her children in the fear and admonition of God.  Paul's statements have nothing to do with who is smarter - men or women, or who is better, or who earns more, or who make better leaders.  It has everything to do with teaching humility, submission and obedience to the children of God.


Husbands are also required to be humble, submissive and obedient towards Christ.  They learn this from their mothers and are commanded to be humble, submissive and obedient to people in authority over them, even secular authority.  1 Pet. 2:13-15.  Not just wives or women, but all of God's sons are to be taught humility, submission and obedience.

 

FATHER'S ROLE

 

Today, many children are being brought up by single mothers.  Without a father in the family, God's children cannot be taught love in its fullness.  Fathers are to teach love.  Divorces and illegitimate children are Satan's strategy to stunt the spiritual growth of Christians.

 

That is why Malachi 4:6 speaks of turning the hearts of the fathers back to the children and the hearts of the children back to the fathers.  That failing, God promises to strike the earth with a curse.  Fathers cannot ignore their role in teaching their own children, especially their sons.  True, mothers are given the primary position for the first years of a child's life, but mothers cannot teach what Fathers can.  If is often said that a single mother can raise a good boy, but she can never raise a good man. 

 

What is a father's role as teacher?  Paul is firm in this regard.  Fathers must teach love, responsibility, willingness to die for wife, family and others.   

 

            Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it, with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.  Eph. 5:25-28.

 

Through willingness to die for his wife, a husband expresses the highest level of love one human can have for another.  "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  Jn. 15:13.  Is not a wife closer than a friend?  So much more should a man be willing to lay down his life for his wife who is one flesh with him.  Christ sanctified and cleansed the church with the washing of water by the word.  By his love for his wife, a husband sanctifies and cleanses his wife to present her to himself without spot, wrinkle or any such thing - holy and without blemish.  He should love his wife as he loves his own body and treat her as such.  "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies."  Jn. 15:28.  Through love, the wife is cleansed and sanctified by her husband.

 

How does a father teach his children love?  Like mother, he teaches by example.  His children observe how father treats mother and learn from it.  Adam was not deceived by the serpent.  He didn't have to.  He already deceived himself.  He already wanted to be  like God but he didn't have the courage.  When he heard the serpent beguiling Eve, Adam stood on the side and let his wife be deceived.  Adam had plans of his own.  He already wanted to be like God.  What went through his mind at the time?  Probably this:  "I'll let Eve stick her neck out and won't stop her.  If things don't work out, I can always blame her."  Sure enough, when their sins were revealed, Adam said to God, "Don't kill me.  Kill her!"  That was what Adam was really saying when he answered, "The woman, whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat."  Gen. 3:12.  First, he blamed God, then he blamed Eve.  Adam played the victim.  The truth is, he didn't love Eve enough to protect her unto death.  He loved only himself.

 

When Moses came down the mountain with the Ten Commandments written in stone, he saw the Israelites dancing naked around a golden calf.  He said to God:  "Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.  Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin -; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written."  Ex. 32:31-32.  Moses was the only innocent one, yet he was willing to die for the people's sins, so great was his love for his people. 

 

Jesus Christ was the only innocent one, yet He died on the cross to pay the price for the sins of the world.  That's how much He loved us.  A father teaches his children by the love he has for his wife.  Even as Christ died for us, husbands must love their wives and be willing to die for them.  If fathers are irresponsible, laid back, selfish and bossy, how can the children learn godly love?  Instead of the family being the training ground for God's children, it becomes the training ground for the kingdom of darkness and the children of the devil.  When fathers or husbands take responsibility and show great love to their wives, the wives feel loved, secure and happy and will pass this on to their offspring. 

 

Once again, we are not talking about male chauvinism or who is smarter or more spiritual.  We are talking about the process by which we as parents must bring into being  perfect sons and daughters in the image of Jesus.  

 

JEZEBEL AND AHAB

 

The spirit of Jezebel leads women to usurp the role and authority of men.  God hates that spirit and will bring severe punishments against those who surrender to that ugly spirit.  In Revelation 2:20-23, the Lord says,

 

            Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.  And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.  Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.  And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

 

The apostle Paul feared that Jezebel would come into the churches to teach the ways of the kingdom of darkness instead of humility, submission and obedience.  That is why he was careful not to allow women to teach men and to keep silence.  If the women lead the men in church, what would the children see?  Would it not bring confusion?  To be consistent, women in church must submit to the men in church.  Keeping silence is one of the most difficult thing to do for many women and men too.  It is but one way of stepping aside and letting the men lead and by so doing, serve as examples. 

 

Jezebel teaches and seduces God's people to follow the ways of Satan instead of God.  That is what the words "to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols," mean.  Jezebel women are men haters, emasculators, usurpers of authority and self-promoting.  They want to be the boss in everything.   True, the spirit of Jezebel can be in men too, but the vast majority of Jezebel people are women.  That is why the above passages refer to a woman. 

 

God promises to destroy Jezebel and her followers.  Fornicating and committing adultery refers to worshipping other gods and goddesses or following a religion that is not of God.  Living according to Satan's principles is fornication and adultery.  God will kill her children with death.  Who are her children?  First, it is her natural children that were taught by her to ignore God's principles of humility, submission and obedience and to live according to the ways of the world.  Second, it refers to Christians that follow her principles of aggressive authority by women over men and usurpation of the power, position and authority given to men by God Himself - her spiritual children.  Mothers that are influenced by the Jezebel spirit produce aggressive, smart, men-hating and bossy daughters in her image and wimpy, laid back, lazy, crybaby, unambitious, and unspiritual sons in the image of their Ahab fathers. 

 

Of course there can be abuses by both sides.  It is hard for a wife to submit to her husband if he is a jerk and it is hard for a husband to love a wife who emasculates him and teaches the children who is the boss in the family by having little respect for the husband.  The children end up being confused.  Nevertheless, God's lines of authority and responsibility are clear.   Think about it.

 

 


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