WOMEN LEADING
IN THE LOCAL CHURCH









A letter to the Editor and the answer


From: Paul _______________
To: 'steve@balaams-ass.com'
Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Subject: Biblical Women

 

A WOMAN WHO LEAD
IN THE BIBLE

Exodus 15:1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.
3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.
4 Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.
5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.
6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.
7 And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.
8 And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.
9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.
10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.
11 Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.
13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.
14 The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.
15 Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.
16 Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.
17 Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.
18 The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.
19 For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.
20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.
21 And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

So, in verse 1 through 19 Moses lead Israel.
In verse 20 through 21 Miriam lead the women.

Was this simply an isolated event? No. First, it was culturally significant. The women in the Middle East and Ethiopia will lead in the rejoicing with the joy cry. As the men come back from war, or as they celebrate the king's coronation or birthday, the women rejoicing often have a clear leader who is a woman. I man would NEVER be caught leading the ladies because he would look like a fool trying to do the joy cry. I had the privilege of being at the local city council's celebration of Heile Salassie's birthday in Eritrea. The women gave the joy cry as the leading men arrived in the compound, and this was the obvious keynote of joy and exuberance to all the man AND ladies.

Now, what did God think of Miriam's role in these days coming out of Egypt?

Micah 6:3 O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.
4 For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

GOD appointed Miriam a leader. The text in Exodus is very consistent with the New Testament, for she did not take authority over men. She was a leader of women. But, it is obvious that she DID lead. She was not a whipped puppy groveling at Moses' feet.

Now, in retrospect, Miriam's leadership role was a temptation to her as well. As Moses smote the rock the second time against God's command, Miriam stood against Moses, God's authority over her, and she suffered for it.

Numbers 12:1 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.
2 And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.
3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)
4 And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out.
5 And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.
6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.
8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
9 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed.
10 And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous.
11 And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.
12 Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother's womb.
13 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee.
14 And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again.
15 And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again.
16 And afterward the people removed from Hazeroth, and pitched in the wilderness of Paran.

When a lady in leadership in the Lord's Church rises up against the man of God, she is looking for a thrashing from the Lord.

Also, and you preachers better pay attention here, when a lady is under chastening for rebellion in the church, YOU are the one who must go before God and plead for her to receive mercy. Most of you jack boots will whip her right on out the door and make some snot nosed remark. That is why you also have leprosy, or maybe high blood pressure, or heart failure, or diabetes etc etc.

A leading lady, one who is in submission to the man God has called to lead, one who leads the ladies in the joy cry in the precious name of The Lord Jesus Christ, is a most choice blessing in the assembly.

Lady-- BE ONE if God permits. If not in the assembly, raise the joy dry daily in your home with your kids. You will be a great blessing to your husband.

 

Can you send me some help on how a woman should behave in the church?

For instance:

Should a woman lead groups within the church? Should woman be taught to lead at all?

Answer: Acts 21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. 9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. I don't know if men were listening, but it sure seems like it. I know what Paul taught later, but it also seems like we better not be telling God how to do his work. The problem always comes up to make trouble when a woman is Sunday School Supt. etc. But, I have seen pastors demand that a man lead the women's fellowship, and that is insane. Such a pastor is admitting that he has not taught the older women to lead woman. That pastor is a failure. Of course, it is very evident from the New Testament that there were NO women deacons, elders, bishops, or Apostles. Paul's teaching to Timothy assumes only men will lead. I Timothy 3

Should a woman be teaching the Bible, even to other women, as if she is the spiritual leader of the woman in the church?

Answer: Deborah certainly had some impact on Israel. I see nothing in the New Testament other than that a woman should not take authority over a man. That would include Bible teaching. So, women may teach women, and possibly young boys. Once a boy is expected to be among the men, probably around 12, as when Jesus visited with the doctors in the temple, that boy should be taught only by men. I would not include the home though where a mother is to lead her children in giving commandments and instruction.
Deuteronomy 4:8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? 9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;
The best one to teach the law to a son is his father. But.....
Proverbs 6:20 My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. 22 When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. Who usually wakes a young child in the morning? Answer; His mother. She should be teaching him just as eagerly as her husband.

Question: Who taught Ruth the laws of Israel about gleaning and the kinsman redeemer? Answer: Naomi
And, Ruth learned well, and Naomi's reward for teaching a heathen to keep God's law brought Ruth AND Naomi into the heritage of Messiah !!

Question: Who taught Timothy the Word of God so well that Paul rejoiced in his upbringing?
2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; 4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; 5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
The teaching of the Law was the foundation of Timothy's ministry as a pastor and disciple of Jesus Christ. That teaching came exclusively from his mother and grandmother. Too many preachers today think that they were made a servant or Christ and minister to his church by Clown College or Pensacola Chispy Cream.

Should woman question a man in the church? Or should she talk to her husband about it?

Answer: Almost too obvious to do other than give the well known text I think: 1 Corinthians 14:34 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. 35 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.
A word of caution. Based on the fact that the Holy Ghost used Philip's daughters to prophecy, beware of demanding that woman be deaf and dumb in the assembly. The issue seems about learning, and that implies they NOT be teachy and ask leading questions of any sort.
Let me add this. To talk about women keeping silence without dealing honestly with Philip's daughters is the arrogant art of using private interpretation, which Peter condemns.
2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
Use the whole Bible when forming standards for women in the Lord's Church. Also, watch Jesus with women. He showed NO tendency to demand that women be groveling at the feet of men. That one did so was a point of exaltation for her, but the point is clear-- She was at Jesus' feet, not her pastor's or Paul's feet. Meditate on that please. Luke 7:36-39 Let me put it another way, if any man but Jesus demanded that my wife or daughter fall at his feet, I would assume that such a man was a pervert. If I could not leave the scene, with my wife and daughters safely, that man would leave it under my eager assistance, to include First Revolvers 3:57.

Are men and women "equal" in the church as far as our roles?

Answer: Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. Other than the areas where Paul restricts the woman's participation there is no limitation put on women. Baptist culture, which is often NOT biblical, has come to make women more and more useless and belittled. God cannot be impressed with this.

Other than that, male and female should not be observed. I believe husband and wife should be rebuked when they cuddle at the church house during the teaching or preaching time. None of the sexual distinction should be present for anyone for any reason.

Should a Godly woman have respect in her voice when speaking to a man? Or can she boss him around like a child?

Answer: If this is really a problem, never try to preach it away. That is the way of a wimp. Use the Apostolic way: Titus 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient
to their own husbands
, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

You may need to reprove or rebuke the husband, WITH ALL LONGSUFFERING AND DOCTRINE, ALONE, AFTER an older woman has talked to his wife. You have NO business demanding special treatment, or a respectful voice, from ANY woman, even your wife. You should disciple your wife so that she WANTS to be respectful to you. Other women do not have to show you one bit of deference, sir. There is something very sick about your question. Those other women are NOT your women unless you are a Muslim or Mormon.

If YOU get involved bringing other women into subjection to you, it is because you get a rush out of bossing other men's wives. This is the way of perverts. Do it right, and you have some chance of getting victory. You also need to examine yourself and see if you demand respect. That is wicked. Jesus NEVER asked for, let alone demanded, respect.
Luke 11:27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. Jesus corrected her, "yea, rather" means, "True, but even better....." The manner of correction was exalting to God, and the woman was not made to look like a fool. Master that my friend, and the women will be only too eager to hear from you.

 

END THOUGHTS:

If you are having a struggle in your assembly over these things, you first need to examine your motives. Are you just mad because you do not have absolute control? If so, you are doomed to a church split because the flesh will rule from you on down to the kids.

So, if your heart is right, is the woman a new believer? If so, she is immature. She and her husband need tenderness as you deal with the thing. They need to grow in the Word rather than get a sound whipping. She needs to become the friend of a very experienced woman, NOT you.

Is the husband unsaved? If so, you may ONLY deal with the woman by using the older women. You better stay clear of it. You do not need to be the big cheese all the time. God knows how to deal with the woman.

Is the woman in rebellion from past history? Is it her heritage to push with her horn? Has she done this in other churches, and her husband is a cream puff? If so, run them off. You will never get her into victory. Save your sheep a lot of pain. Wait to act, and you will have a church split.

Again, don't try to preach your way out of an existing problem. Be a man, and send in the right troops, those one or two older sweet heart ladies who are tender but savvy with life and other women. Stand back, keep on your knees, and let the Holy Ghost do something without you micro-managing it this time.

1 Timothy 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; 2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. Not as a jerk jack boot woman basher.

Study the story of the woman at the well: John 4:4 and following. This woman was a sincere seeker, but she was a bit cheeky also. Jesus did not rebuke her. He convinced her that he was Messiah, and she went and brought the men from her city to Jesus Christ. Meditate on that-- You cannot get around the fact that Jesus set in motion a missions program based on a woman's zeal. Jesus could have gone on into the city and done a miracle, and the men would have believed. The men of that city believed on Jesus Christ without seeing one miracle because of the woman's witness, which was convincing. Don't dodge and duck that, friend. I dare you to preach it some day to encourage the godly women in your assembly.

Let me know if I can be of any further help.

In Christ Jesus

Steve Van Nattan

 

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