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Churches That Do Not Allow Female Pastors

Do you know churches that are not allowed female pastors? Some of them believe women should not be leaders in the church. Why do they believe this? My sister is wanting to attend college for the next few years and I would like for her to attend a church that allows women to lead, break the mold if she wants to make a difference in the world. Churches that do not allow female pastors are considered to be a misrepresentation of the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ. Given that most American churches have working women in their congregations, yet they do not provide them with opportunities to assume positions of leadership, this is an unfortunate position to hold. In most Churches that do not allow female pastors, you need to hold and maintain a certain level of qualification. You will also have to be in attendance at the Church for at least six months before you can try for any leadership role. Usually there is a trial phase for the new pastors and this is usually determined by the Church Council. Do you consider yourself an orthodox Christian? Do you have anyone in your circle on orthodox Christians? If yes, the chances are that your circle has been influenced by the Churches that do not allow female pastors. Churches that do not allow female pastors are a growing trend. According to the Pew Research Center, there are over 1,000 churches in the United States that do not allow women to be pastors. These churches exist in all 50 states and represent a wide range of denominations. The reasons churches give for their decision vary widely. Some say they want to avoid confusion among members who may not be able to tell the difference between a man and a woman pastor. Others say that women should only be allowed to preach at home or in other private settings. Still others claim that only men can hold positions of authority in churches because it was God’s original intention for leadership roles. While some critics have accused these churches of being sexist or misogynistic, many church leaders maintain that they are simply following scripture, which teaches that only men should hold positions of authority in the church (1 Timothy 2:12). Churches have women who serve as elders, deacons, and in other roles of ministry. But when it comes to the top leadership positions—the senior pastor (or ministers) and elders—these churches will only allow men to occupy those roles. Many people believe that this is due to their interpretation of scripture. Some believe that women should never be allowed to preach, teach, or lead in any capacity because they are inferior and incapable of doing so. Other people believe that they can’t be trusted with such responsibilities because they are prone to temptation and sinfulness.

Churches That Do Not Allow Female Pastors

It’s easy to assume that, in today’s world, women can be anything they want. Indeed, it’s a source of pride for many to say that gender bias is no longer an issue. Unfortunately, this isn’t true of all churches. The following nine Christian denominations do not allow women to be pastors—or even deacons:

Seventh-day Adventists

Seventh-day Adventists are among a small minority of churches that allow only males to serve as pastors, elders and deacons. Like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, the church teaches that women should be subservient to men in the home and at work.

According to the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s official website, “It is not wrong for a woman to hold responsible positions in business or government. The Bible teaches us that ‘the ruler’ (whether male or female) ‘is God’s servant for your good.’ But God gave spiritual leadership responsibility first to men.”

Old Order Amish

The Old Order Amish is a conservative Christian group that consists of about 100,000 people living in 26 states across the United States. The Amish form a part of the Anabaptist movement and are considered to be one of its most conservative groups, though there are some other one-pointed Anabaptists as well.

The Old Order Amish trace their history back to the 16th century persecution by the Roman Catholic Church, which resulted in many suffering martyrdom at the hands of Catholics. They fled to various regions around Europe and eventually migrated to North America after being invited by William Penn, who was looking for farmers who would settle on his land.

Southern Baptists

Southern Baptists are the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. They believe that females should not be pastors, and Southern Baptist churches do not allow women to be pastors. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) officially defines itself as “committed to fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission by making disciples among all people groups” and believes it is their responsibility to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.

The church believes that “men alone are authorized by Scripture to minister as pastors or elders/overseers” and therefore refuse to ordain women into ministry positions such as a pastor, elder or deacon within their church structure. They also believe that women should not serve as missionaries because they do not want them traveling away from home for extended periods of time without supervision from an older male relative or husband who can ensure her safety at all times during her travels abroad.

Roman Catholics

You may be surprised to learn that the Roman Catholic Church takes a very conservative position on women in the clergy. The church’s official stance is that women cannot be priests, it has not allowed female bishops since 1958, and it insists that deacons and cardinals must be men.

The church has also historically been very restrictive in terms of what roles women can hold within its structure: they cannot serve as ministers or pastors (in any context), they cannot hold positions of authority (such as dean or abbot), they cannot be deacons or priests themselves, and they are discouraged from attending mass (though this rule appears to have been relaxed recently). If you’re interested in learning more about these restrictions or how they affect your experience at Mass today, take a look at our article on “Why You Can’t Sit Up Front at Mass.”

Eastern Orthodox Church

You will find that the Eastern Orthodox Church does not ordain women as priests. This does not mean that women cannot lead churches or serve in church ministry. Rather, it means that a woman cannot be ordained to the priesthood of her own accord.

A woman can be a deacon, which is comparable to a priest but with different responsibilities and authority.

Women may also be teachers and nuns in the church hierarchy, but they are not allowed to teach doctrine or lead services at parishes because these positions are reserved for men only.

Women can become laypeople who attend services regularly without holding any leadership roles within their local congregation; however, they must follow all liturgical rules set forth by those who do have leadership roles (such as bishops). They can also join movements such as Roman Catholic Womenpriests who perform non-liturgical ceremonies such as weddings outside of official church protocol–but these actions fall into what would be considered heresy by mainstream Christian theology and therefore carry serious consequences if discovered by an authority figure within one’s faith tradition.


The Anglican Church is the third largest Christian denomination in the world. It is part of the larger family of Catholic churches that includes Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians, who share common beliefs and practices.

The Anglican Church began as a branch of the Catholic Church, but developed over time into its own unique institution with its own doctrine and structure.

In addition to being a state religion in England, Anglicans also make up 25% of all Christians around the globe.

Assemblies of God

In order to become a pastor, women must go through the same process as men. They must complete seminary, be licensed by the Assemblies of God and then apply for an appointment. The church’s leadership team will interview them and decide if they are qualified to serve in this capacity.

If a woman wants to be an evangelist, teacher or officer in the church she can lay hands on people during prayer, teach classes at church and lead bible studies all without being ordained as pastors or deacons. Women may also serve as elders if there aren’t enough male candidates who are willing or able to do so (1 Timothy 3:1-7).

According to precedent set by past General Councils, women have served as missionaries since the early days of Pentecostalism (1910s), deacons since 1921 and elders since 1922; therefore it appears that women have been serving in these roles for nearly 100 years now!

Missouri Synod Lutherans

The Missouri Synod is one of the largest Lutheran church bodies in the United States. It was founded in 1847 by German immigrants who sought to preserve their confessional identity and establish a synod that was independent of any foreign or domestic influence. The Missouri Synod has grown considerably over time and now has nearly 1 million members across 15 districts with more than 5,600 congregations serving them.


Mennonite churches are conservative and traditional, so there are no female pastors. In addition to not being allowed to be a pastor, women are also not allowed to speak in church or wear pants, jewelry, makeup or short hair.

These churches do not allow women to be pastors.

  • Southern Baptist Convention: This is an organization that governs over thirty thousand churches in the United States and other countries. Although they do not have a formal policy, they have stated their belief that men are the heads of women, thus there should be no female pastors.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Jehovah’s Witnesses do not allow female to be pastors, but the reasoning is unclear due to the fact that this religion does not allow people to read outside sources such as books or articles about their beliefs.

Should I Leave A Church With A Woman Pastor

Opinions will vary when it comes to answering the question of whether or not we should leave a church if it allows women to preach and teach from the pulpit. I would quickly leave my church if it started to have women preach from the pulpit. I would leave because I would no longer be able to trust the leaders of the church to interpret the word of God properly. For me it is simple. It would not matter how many friendships I had developed in the church. It would not matter if I was being used in the church; and, it would not matter that people might look down on me for leaving. But that’s what I would do because I would be afraid that the door to liberalism had been opened since the church would be violating scripture.

Is this an overreaction? Not at all. We must remain faithful to God’s word, and this requires that we act. If I believe that women are not to teach and exercise authority in the Church and that the pastorate is reserved for elders who are each a “man of one woman,” (see below) then how could I in good conscience sit under the teaching of those who would contradict such clear Scripture? I could not. Could you?

Let’s look at what the Bible says.1 Tim. 2:12-14, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.”

1 Tim. 5:17, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.”
Titus 1:5-9, “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, 6 namely, if any man be above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. 7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, 8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”
We can see that Paul did not allow women to teach or exercise authority over a man; elders preached, and they were to be the husband of one wife. This is what it says, so shouldn’t we believe it?

Husband of one wife
The term “husband of one wife” needs to be examined. Literally, the Greek says “a man of one woman.” Does this mean that if a man is not married, then he is not qualified to be an elder? The historical context of Paul’s writing was that people got married very early. Marriage was a natural and normal condition of life, and it was assumed that people were married by an early age–often in their mid to late teens. Also, polygamy was a common practice then. It is in this context that Paul is speaking, and he says that the elders are to be the husband of one wife. Why? Because Adam had one wife, Eve. That is the pattern that God set up, and that is the pattern that needs to be followed.

So, what happens if an elder’s wife dies? Is he suddenly disqualified from being an elder? It would not seem so. Instead, what Paul is getting at is that the elder, who is naturally assumed to be male, is to be the husband of one wife. That is, he’s not to be a polygamist.

But, some will say that since it is okay for an elder to be single, then the literal requirement of being a husband of one wife is not an absolute requirement. But, as is stated above, the context is dealing with the plurality of wives issue, and the natural requirement is monogamy. Furthermore, the text of Titus 1:5-9, which continues on the requirements of being an elder, also says he is to not be self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not argumentative, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, etc. If the elder isn’t to be monogamous, then is he also dismissed from these requirements as well? Of course not.

We Christiansa must take the Word of God seriously. Sometimes doing this means that we have to act in a manner contrary to what others may believe. So be it. Since I have examined this topic very thoroughly, I am convinced that the office of elders/pastor is for men only, the Scriptures clearly teach this, and that those who would contradict it could not, in my opinion, be trusted to interpret other areas of Scripture. Therefore, I would leave the church if it began to have women pastors.

There are many denominations that have embraced women as pastors. However, there are still some churches that do not allow women in the pulpit. If you are considering a church with a strong stance on gender roles and cannot find one near your home, these denominations may be able to accommodate your needs. We hope that this article has been helpful to you in finding out more about what churches do not permit female pastors and how they can help you find a place for worship of God together with other believers who share your beliefs about gender roles within the church.

The divide over ordaining women

The recent election of the Rev. Amy Butler as senior pastor of New York City’s influential and historic Riverside Church, as well as the installation of a number of other women at high-profile American congregations, has brought new attention to the theological divide among religious groups concerning the ordination of women.

While many major religious  denominations in the United States now allow women to pastor churches and synagogues, only 11% of American congregations were led by women in 2012, according to press reports of an upcoming National Congregations Study survey. That figure hasn’t changed since 1998. Many of the nation’s largest denominations, including Roman Catholics, Southern Baptists, Mormons (Latter-day Saints), and the Orthodox Church in America, do not ordain women or allow them to lead congregations.

Other religious groups have taken small steps in the direction of female ordination. For instance, while there currently are no women in the U.S. serving as Orthodox Jewish rabbis, a number of women recently were ordained by one Orthodox seminary as maharats, or female leaders of Jewish law, spirituality and Torah – but they will not be given the title of rabbi. 

Do Presbyterians Allow Female Pastors

A number of American churches, such as the United Church of Christ (whose members were once called Congregationalists) and the Universalists (who eventually merged with the Unitarians) started ordaining women in the 19th century. But it wasn’t until the decades following World War II that many of the larger and more prominent denominations began to allow women into leadership roles.

In 1956, the United Methodist Church and a part of what would become the Presbyterian Church USA ordained their first women ministers. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Reform Judaism, and the Episcopal Church followed suit in the early 1970s.

In recent years, women have ascended to a number of high-profile jobs in American churches. Many, including the Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church, now allow women to be bishops and hold other top leadership positions. In 2006, for instance, the Episcopal Church, for the first time, elected a woman, Katherine Jefferts Schori, to be its presiding bishop, the church’s highest office.

Women in Ministry: Does the Bible Allow Women to be Pastors?

Many Christians think that the Bible does not allow women to be pastors. For many people, the key verse is 1 Timothy 2:12: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet” (ESV throughout). Let’s start by looking at this verse in more detail.

If we look at only this one verse, we might see that it would forbid much more than being a pastor:

  • “A woman cannot teach a man.” This means that women cannot be doctors, professors, or high-school teachers. The verse does not say that it is restricted to the church.
  • “A woman cannot have authority over a man.” This means that a woman cannot be elected to political office, or to be a manager in a store that has male employees, or to be a principal of a school that has male teachers. The verse makes no exceptions.
  • “Women are to remain quiet.” They cannot be entertainers, news reporters or have any role in mass media.

However, almost no one understands the verse in this way. Conservative Bible scholars, theologians and church leaders all say that the verse should not be understood in such a literal way. We need to understand why. This will involve a lesson about how we should read and apply the Bible.

Two lines of reasoning tell us that the verse does not prohibit women from all forms of teaching, authority, or speaking. The first is an examination of the context of the verse, and the situation in which it was written. The second is to see that God sometimes inspired women to speak, teach, and have authority over men.

The context of the verse

1 Timothy is an open letter from the apostle Paul to Timothy, giving him some public instructions about what Timothy should do in Ephesus (1 Tim. 1:3). Timothy would not be able to implement these instructions anywhere except in the church, so that is the focus of the letter and its instructions.

Paul is concerned about what people were teaching in Ephesus (1:3-4), and he urged that believers should pray for everyone, specifically the civil authorities (2:1-2). Paul then gives instructions about how the men should pray: “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” (2:8). What does Paul mean by “in every place”? Taken literally, it would mean that believers should travel throughout the city, to every building and open area, to pray. But we do not take those words literally.

Additionally, very few Christians believe that men must lift their hands when they pray. Paul may have meant for men to lift their hands, and that is what he said, but we do not take it literally. It was appropriate in his culture, but it is not necessary in ours.

Similarly, in the next verse, Paul says that “women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire” (2:9). Taken literally, the verse says that women should not wear their hair in braids, and should not wear gold. But few churches today think that women have to follow these rules. No one gets upset when these details are ignored. Although “costly” is hard to define, some of the clothing worn to churches today would probably violate what Paul writes.

Then Paul says that women should learn quietly, not teaching the men (2:11-12). But as we have just seen, we do not always take what Paul wrote literally. Therefore, when we come to verse 12, we have to choose: do we take it literally, or do we make allowance for cultural changes? How can we decide?

Some scholars say that we should continue Paul’s policy because he supports his policy by referring to the biblical story of sin in the Garden of Eden: “Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (2:14). It is hard to follow the logic of this. If Adam was not deceived, then he sinned deliberately, out of rebellion rather than ignorance. It is difficult to argue that men should be in charge because the first man was a deliberate rebel. It seems that some people are trying to explain verse 12 by appealing to a verse that is even more difficult to understand.

Verse 15 is also puzzling, since it says that women can “be saved through childbearing,” which contradicts verses that say that salvation comes only through Christ. These puzzling verses tell us that we don’t understand the passage as well as we’d like to. Something was happening in the church in first-century Ephesus, and we presume that Paul’s instructions made sense to people in that historical context, but readers today are puzzled because we are missing part of the picture.

Paul’s policy is clear: he did not allow women to teach in the first-century church in Ephesus. However, it is not clear that we should have the same policy today. We make allowances for changes in culture when it comes to prayer posture and women’s clothing. Should we also make allowances for changes in culture when it comes to women teaching and having authority in the church?

How God has used women

One way to answer our question is to see how God has used women in the past, and we will see that God has not required women to be silent, even in a religious setting, and that he has sometimes allowed – even appointed – women to have authority over men.

An illustration of that is Deborah. “Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment” (Judges 4:4-5). She had political authority, and the people respected her decisions.

Deborah had religious authority, too – in verses 6-9 she gave the Israelite general an authoritative message from God. Chapter 5 is her victory song; her words have become part of the Bible, and men have been learning from Deborah ever since (see Judges 5:7 for evidence that the song was written by Deborah).

Some have suggested that God used Deborah because all the men were incompetent or unwilling. The Bible does not say that – it just says that God was working through Deborah as a civil judge, as a spokesperson for God, and as a worship leader for his people.

When Paul says, I do not permit a woman to have authority over a man, was he giving a permanent and timeless principle from God? Apparently not, for it seems that God does not have that policy. Paul’s policy may have been appropriate for first-century Ephesus, but we have evidence in the Bible that it is not a statement about the way that God wants his people to work together at all times and in all places.

Most leaders of Israel were men, but it takes only one example to show that it is not a universal principle. The Bible never says that Deborah is an exception to what would otherwise be a rule – it just says that God worked through her. He is willing to put women in positions of authority.

Huldah is another example of a woman God used. In the time of King Josiah, as workers were cleaning the Temple, they found a scroll. “Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord’” (2 Kings 22:8). They took the scroll to the king, and he told them, “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found” (v. 13).

Where did they go to ask the Lord? They “went to Huldah the prophetess…and they talked with her” (v. 14). The text says nothing about this being unusual – it was apparently normal to go to a prophetess for a word from the Lord. God used a woman to give his words to the men of Israel (vv. 15-20).

If God saw anything improper or irregular about using a woman to teach men, he could have raised up a man to do his work. But he was apparently willing for a woman to serve in this way, and he was happy for this woman’s words to be in Scripture, and for this example to be there for our instruction. So again we see that God does not have a permanent policy against women speaking authoritative words to men.

New Testament women

In the New Testament, we again see that most of the leaders were men, but God occasionally used women to teach men, and these again indicate that God does not require all women to be silent. This does not mean that Paul was wrong in having his policy for first-century Ephesus, but it means that Paul’s policy should not be taken as a permanent rule for all churches in all places.

When Jesus was raised from the dead, he appeared first to women. “Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me’” (Matthew 28:10). The women were not merely transferring information – they were delivering a command from Jesus, given to his “brothers” (apparently the apostles; see the angels’ message in v. 7) – and Jesus expected these men to obey the message delivered by the women. Jesus gave the women authority to relay his instructions to the men.

Women were an important part of Paul’s missionary work, too. Paul mentions two women, named Tryphaena and Tryphosa, and says they are “workers in the Lord” (Romans 12:12). In his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul says that another two women, Euodia and Syntyche, “labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers” (Philippians 4:3). In both passages, Paul says that women were working in the gospel, apparently teaching. Women are able to teach Christian doctrine accurately and effectively.

The verses do not specifically say that the women were teaching men and women in public. Some modern commentators therefore say that it is permissible for women to be teachers, but not teach the church when it is gathered as a church.

However, this distinction between public and private teaching leads to an odd application: The commentators admit that women can be effective teachers, and that they can be spokespersons for God, but they say that it would be wrong for these women to deliver the message in church. However, we have already seen examples that show that God sometimes gives his message to a woman and wants men to learn from what she says. So, if men want to hear the message that God has given these women, then men have to go outside of the church to hear the word of God. The church is not allowed to have the whole counsel of God!

Women can write books, and men might learn from what women write, and men can quote from the female-written books (just as they can quote from the female-written parts of Scripture), but women are not allowed to deliver the message themselves. This is a distinction that is foreign to what Paul wrote.

When Paul listed various gifts of the Spirit, he did not designate any as restricted to men (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). The gifts of teaching, administration and leadership can be given to women as well as to men. When the Holy Spirit filled the disciples on the day of Pentecost, men and women were given the gift of prophecy, or inspired speaking (Acts 2:17).

Paul gave instructions to the church at Corinth for how men and women were to dress when they prayed and prophesied (1 Corinthians 11:4-10). Although Paul does not explicitly say that this was “in church,” that is the most likely place for men and women to pray and prophesy, and the most likely place for clothing styles to be important. Paul’s next instructions in this chapter are about the church participating in the Lord’s Supper (vv. 17-34), with no hint that he is talking about a different location. God was apparently inspiring women to speak in public, and if their words were from God (as Paul presumes that they were), then they were words of authority.

In Corinth, Paul allowed women to pray and prophesy. In Ephesus, he had a different policy. This change in policy was most likely due to a change in the circumstances. Paul was inspired to write this prohibition as his own policy, not as a command from God, and it is a mistake for us to take it as a command for us today. God sometimes gives authority and words to women, and he expects men to listen, learn and heed.

Considering the nature of Paul’s letter to Timothy, it is not surprising that Paul described a policy that was of temporary validity. It was written to help Timothy refute some heresies that were causing problems in Ephesus; its directives include cultural matters such as the posture of prayer and the way in which women might adorn themselves. Paul’s instructions about widows (1 Timothy 5:3-16) is not required for the church today. The letter was written for a specific situation, and we should not assume in advance that its instructions are timeless truths.

Should women be silent?

We can now discuss one more New Testament verse that is sometimes used to restrict what women can do in church. This is also in Paul’s letter to Corinth: “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church” (1 Corinthians 14:33-35).

Paul’s instructions are good only for married women, because widows are unable to “ask their husbands at home.” And what about women who had unbelieving husbands? We do not have the complete picture here.

In chapter 14, Paul is dealing with the somewhat chaotic Corinthian church services, and women are not the only people he tells to be silent (vv. 26-33). People were interrupting each other, and more than one person was trying to talk at a time. Paul’s instructions here would be needed if (this is the most likely situation) women were being unruly and asking their husbands questions during the church service. So Paul tells them to stop talking, and ask their questions later.

Paul does not say to what (or whom) they should be submissive. The Law of Moses does not tell women to be submissive to their husbands (although that was probably assumed in their patriarchal society). However, the Law does say that people are to be submissive to the word of God. The word of God was being preached in Corinth, but the women were talking and not being submissive. (The Greek word for “speak” in these verses does not refer to public speaking in particular – it is the general word for talk, and it is in the present tense, which often denotes an ongoing activity.)

In chapter 11, Paul allowed women to pray and prophesy, presumably at a public meeting, but in chapter 14 he tells women to stop talking. Was Paul contradicting himself in the same letter? No matter what kind of literature we are reading, we normally want to read in such a way that the author is not contradicting himself. If there are other ways to understand what the person wrote, then we should prefer an interpretation that is not contradictory.

If this case, interpreters have a choice: either chapter 11 is about a limited situation, or chapter 14:33-35 is about a limited situation, or both passages are limited. Some interpreters choose the first, saying that the first part of chapter 11 is not about church, even though the last part of chapter 11 is.

We believe that the passage in chapter 14 is limited, because (at the minimum) it is applicable only to women who have husbands who believe in Jesus. Almost no one takes this passage literally – no one expects women to be silent during all parts of the worship service. Those who allow women to sing (for example) but not speak are allowing their own traditions to filter what Paul has written. We are being submissive to Scripture when we understand Paul to be writing about a limited situation – that of noisy, chaotic meetings – and he did not intend to make universal prohibitions on what women can do in church. If the Spirit leads a woman to prophesy, then she may do so, even if it’s in church.


Two passages in the New Testament have traditionally been used to say that women cannot speak in the church or have authority over men, and therefore cannot be pastors. But this interpretation contradicts other scriptures that show that God sometimes places women in positions of authority over men, and gives them authoritative words. Some modern scholars try to maintain the traditional interpretation by suggesting a distinction between what women can do in church and what women can do outside of church, but this leads to the improbable idea that the church cannot include all of God’s gifts.

We believe that the verses of restriction were written for specific situations, and should not be used as mandatory for all churches in all times and places. Rather, if God gives a woman abilities in speaking and leadership, then those gifts may be used in the church and if the most spiritually gifted woman in the church is a woman, then she may be a pastor, and speak and teach with authority.

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