Women and the Office of Elder
At CBC, we do not believe that women can serve as elders. This office is exclusive to men. While this idea was assumed in my sermon last week, I never explicitly stated it. For one biblical passage that supports this idea, see 1 Tim 2:12. We believe that this Pauline prohibition is for all churches during all times.
This is one belief that puts us at odds with our culture. We live in the shadow of third-wave feminism. This ideology teaches that women should pursue sexual freedom, birth control, and even abortion if necessary. Children can be a burden and a hindrance. Traditional values and norms for women are oppressive and outdated, constructs of the patriarchy. 1 Timothy 2:12 is one of the chief problems with our world. Paul is nothing more than classic misogynist.
How should we respond to these criticisms?
On some level, we should accept them. Throughout Scripture, God tells us that Christians will be persecuted. This persecution can come in many different forms, ridicule being one of them. We’re okay going against culture. Cultural trends come and go. Yet, as Luther said, “God’s truth abideth still.”
On another level, we should reject them. The criticism that Scripture is misogynistic—women are inferior to men—is invalid. God’s commandments have a rationale to them. One way to think of the coherence goes like this:
God made both men and women in the image of God. They have the same value and worth. There are differences, though, between men and women. These differences are good and beautiful. These differences shape the roles that men and women have in the church. God exercises his “stewardship” of the church in accordance with these differences (1 Tim 1:4). Due to heightened levels of testosterone, men are generally (key word) more confrontational than women. This is evidenced in the fact that men are more prone to fight, kill, and be incarcerated than women.
The office of elder can involve confrontation (see Titus 1:10–14). God, thus, places those persons who are more prone towards confrontation (men) in the church office that involves confrontation (elder). This idea is not misogynistic. On the contrary, it best suits the differences between men and women.