By W.R. Jones
As the Women’s Movement grows in the world about us it is having its effect on some ladies in the church. I was recently confronted with this question by a Christian who worships with a congregation where sisters attending business meetings is a fairly common practice. I am told they attend and speak out concerning their views. The first thing this practice tells me is that sisters who attend and so exercise themselves do not properly understand their role in the kingdom or they have no respect for God’s &vine arrangement. The second thing this practice tells me is that brethren who allow it are either poorly informed of women’s role in the New Testament or they have lost their courage to speak against such conduct. In either case it is an indicator of spiritual decline.
On the basis of what I see and hear, I fear some ladies in the church think the Women’s Movement as seen in the world has liberated them from the role assigned by our Lord in the New Testament. We must Dot judge the church by the standards of the world. I freely admit that faithful sisters in the congregation have a right to know what the church is trying to accomplish. I would readily listen to and respect their sound counsel. But this can be effectively accomplished without women pushing themselves into a “leadership” position in church decisions.
I do not question the “value” of faithful women in Christ Jesus. Dorcas assisted the needy (Acts 9:36). Priscilla and her husband taught a young preacher in the right way (Acts 18:18). Phebe and Mary were commended for their assistance to Paul in the gospel (Rom. 16:1,6).
Women were waiting in prayer following the ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:14). In Philippians 4:3 Paul said, “Help those women who labored with me in the gospel.” As a young preacher I kept preaching appointments where there would have been no congregation, except for the faithful sisters. I have won battles for truth on some occasions only because faithful women backed me. Godly women have done much to encourage, mold and shape me, for a half-century of effective preaching, Don’t try to tell me they are not valuable. But the truth remains, the Lord did not put them in places of leadership. Men and women are equal in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28), but they are not equal in their role assignments. Women were not assigned leadership responsibilities in kingdom matters.
What Can a Woman Do in the Worship?
She can do anything a man can do – except take the lead. She can sing, pray, commune, contribute and study – anything but take the lead. Women’s rights to equality in worship is not to be questioned. But dominion over and teaching men publicly is forbidden. Why is this so? 1. God so commanded (1 Cor. 14:23-35). 2. Adam was first created, then Eve (1 Tim. 2:13). There was no woman among the apostles, the seventy, elders, deacons, preachers and evangelists in the New Testament. But, women must not feel badly about this. They have been vindicated by the Lord. The word “mother” has elevated her above all in another role (v. 15).
Yet, a sister may ask, “Is there nothing else for me? Can I do nothing but quietly sit in the assembly and praise God?” If this were all, it would still be an honor, but God has not limited your duties to simply that.
Woman and Her Work in the Church Daily
Women are commanded to teach. But, what about 1 Timothy 2:12? Of course, she is not to usurp authority. She is not to push her way into the lead. Older women are to teach the younger. They are to teach the younger women to be good wives (Tit. 2:3-5). They are permitted to teach privately (Acts 18:26). Sisters can teach classes of children or other women. They can teach their neighbors. Many individuals, male and female, have been converted by women. Women would do the church a great service if they would teach our young ladies to be proper wives for elders, deacons and preachers. You can’t believe how many elders, deacons and especially preachers I have known whose labor was greatly hindered by a wife whose heart and conduct was not in his work. Sisters, you can visit the sick and shut-ins at home or in the hospital, help the needy, and like Dorcas, you could even make a garment.
Female Christians, ask yourselves these questions. 1. Am I an asset or a liability in the church? 2. Am I a help or a hindrance to the work? 3. Do I add strength and character to the church? 4. Is my daily life an influence for good? 5. Am I daily growing in grace and knowledge? 6. Have I led anyone to Christ? Am I even trying? 7. By my attendance and interest am I giving encouragement to the young converts and the unsaved?
Let me proudly say, “God bless our righteous women!”
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 9, p. 265
May 2, 1991