I was pointed to your page incidentally and have been fascinated with the wonderful, Scriptural responses you have provided. I thank God for this work and, through Him, you. But I do have a question and pray you can help me: I am a member of ___________ Church in __________ NY. We are an independent, Bible-believing church. One of our important ministries is an Elementary School, ______________ Christian Academy. (All the more important because we are in a belt of strong Roman Catholic influence.) The oversight for this school is a school board, which is subordinate to our Elders. Two of the elders sit on the board in a liaison capacity. I am a member of the school board and the treasurer of the school. Several women are also members of the school board. In fact, our board governing documents prescribe that at least one member of each gender (provided we have a quorum, of course) must be members of the board. Is this right? (I do not believe it is.) I believe there is ample Scripture which shows this should not be. It is an issue I have raised just recently in our search for new members–since the term of service for two has just expired. The initial reaction from an elder was that the prohibitions concerning women pertain only to the church, by which he means our assemblage on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, etc. In light of Scripture which speaks to the role of women in the churches and in general, I cannot reconcile the membership of women on our school board. It is a ministry of our church. Our discussions are grounded in Scripture, which we use always as our guide. Consider that a woman may sit as an equal on the school board with her husband. Or a woman may take headship over the men on the board as the Chair(woman). Could you please help me by scripturally articulating the reasons for which this should not be, or, if I am wrong, in showing me scripturally why I am wrong. As even the churches slide deeper into apostasy, I pray we are able to continue to be a light unto the world. Perhaps I have overstayed my welcome, but if I may also ask… Is it permissible for women to speak during Bible studies? You have noted in one of your studies that a Bible study is not the church because it does not have an ordained head, per se. Even so, it seems uncomely for women to debate Scripture and express their feelings during a Bible study which includes men. Your very introduction to this section of your site directs women to ask their husbands at home or have them ask a question for them. This seems to support my understanding. How, again, can I express this Scripturally? I must thank you for this site. Yes, I thank the Lord for all He has worked through you, and that you are obedient in your pursuits. I am immensely grateful. This is a site I will willingly share with others. Your brother in Christ.
There are several examples which can help us gain some basic principles of leadership from the Bible that will guide us in the home, in the church, in the ministries of the church, and even for public office.
Remember when the Pharisees were tempting Jesus about the matter divorce? Matthew 19:3-6 says, “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” They were expecting Jesus to side with one of the two prevalent schools of thought: that divorce was allowed for about any reason; or that it was allowed for very limited reasons. Jesus surprised them all by saying that it was not allowed for any reason. What did He use as His basis for that conclusion? Jesus went all the way back to creation.
All questions about leadership should go back to creation, as well. When Eve sinned, it was because she was not under the proper leadership of her husband. I Timothy 2 :11-15 comments on what went wrong, and how women can avoid that problem in the future. “Let the woman 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.” How can a woman be saved from being in a position of leadership and making mistakes? She avoids that danger by being in the home. As any mother of children knows, when you have small children, they take all the time and energy that you have in a day. They are your responsibility, first and foremost. There is no position available in the land that is more important than those children. And the Bible warns what will happen if you do not believe that. Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but A CHILD LEFT TO HIMSELF BRINGETH HIS MOTHER TO SHAME.”
Please notice the context of that passage above. It is not just dealing with leadership positions in the church (or the ministries of the church), but it starts right out with the highest public positions in the land. I Timothy 2 says, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; FOR KINGS, AND FOR ALL THAT ARE IN AUTHORITY; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. Let the woman 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.”
So the principle of leadership FOR ANY POSITION goes right back to creation. Should a woman run for President of the United States? What was the order of creation? Should a woman run for the Senate or the House? What was the order of creation? Should a woman run for Township Supervisor? What was the order of creation? Should a woman run for the school board (for the public school or the Christian School)? What was the order of creation? What will save a woman all of the pressure from making decisions and policies that affect other people (decisions that some people will not like, and possibly decisions that will not help, but hurt other people)? She is saved from all of that if she will obey the Scripture and stay in the home. “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.”
It is up to the man to protect his wife from getting into positions that may harm her reputation, or that put unnecessary pressure upon her. Notice that Adam was right there with his wife when she was being tempted, and he did not silence the serpent from tempting his wife. Genesis 3:1-6 says, “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto HER HUSBAND WITH HER; and he did eat.” Adam was not off in the Garden wandering around, but was right there with her. It is no wonder that Romans 5:12 says, “Wherefore, as BY ONE MAN SIN ENTERED INTO THE WORLD, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Interestingly, the Bible does not lay the responsibility at the feet of the woman for sin entering into the world. It lays the responsibility right at the feet of the man. Adam was right there with his wife, and being the senior member of creation, should have stopped what was happening, but he did not.
Part of our problem today is that we see too many leadership positions filled with men who are not saved and/or not Spirit-filled (and by Spirit-filled, I am NOT talking about the Charismatic foolishness of so-called speaking in tongues — I am talking about men who are in the Word of God daily, and are living lives controlled by the Holy Spirit). They (men who are not Spirit-filled) thus make poor decisions, and so women feel the need to “get on the boards” and thus have a voice for women and the needs that they see going unmet.
Notice what God did when there was a problem with the women in the New Testament church. Acts 6:1-6 says, “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.”
What do we have in the passage above? As the church grows, so does a problem. The number of the widows increase who have no means of support. And, the Grecians start murmuring against the Hebrews, because it seems that some widows are being favored above their own. So how is the problem solved? Do they create a “Hospitality Board” made up completely of women? (After all, what do men know about cooking and grocery shopping?) No, that is not what is done. Do they create a “Widow Board” that is made up of at least half women? No, that is not what they do.
Well, what did they do about the problem? “Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you SEVEN MEN OF HONEST REPORT, FULL OF THE HOLY GHOST AND WISDOM, whom we may appoint over this business.” Unbelievably, in regard to a problem that is dealing with women, and that is dealing with food, they ONLY appoint men to oversee it. But the question is, “Did it work?” The answer to that is very clear. Acts 6:7 says, “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Yes, the seven men appointed to oversee this problem did correct the need, and the church was saved from a spilt, and the church went on to grow. But not just any seven men could have corrected the problem. The key was that they were “full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom.”
Women “cry for a voice to be heard” for two reasons. Number one, because men are often not the Spirit-filled leaders that they should be; and number two, some women are not willing to be meek and quiet, and keepers at home.
It is surprising what one Spirit-filled man can accomplish. Remember that God called Moses alone to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. Exodus 3:9-12 says, “Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee.”
Moses just refused to do it alone, so God sent Aaron with him. Exodus 4:10-16 “And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.”
Later on, Moses’ father-in-law thought that Moses’ schedule was too rigorous, and was going to wear him down, so he proposed a plan that resulted in thousands of leaders (approx. 327,500). Exodus 18:13-24 “And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to inquire of God: When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws. And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone. Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace. So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.”
This was suggested and implemented in Exodus chapter 18, and the Ten Commandments were given just two chapters later, in Exodus 20. It was while Moses was still up on the mount, that God told him what had happened below (even with all of those leaders). Exodus 32:7-10 says, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.”
All of those leaders did not help. In fact, Moses later cried out to God that he needed help (despite all of those leaders that had been chosen). Numbers 11:11-17 says, “And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness. And the LORD said unto Moses, GATHER UNTO ME SEVENTY MEN of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I WILL TAKE OF THE SPIRIT WHICH IS UPON THEE, AND WILL PUT IT UPON THEM; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.”
God would take the power of the Holy Spirit which He had placed upon one man, Moses, and would now give it to seventy men (which tells us that no more power was needed — God simply took what He had given to Moses, and now gave it to seventy men). God’s perfect will was one man with the mighty power of the Holy Spirit upon him. Man’s plan was 327,500 with leadership qualities, but no mention of the Holy Spirit’s power in their lives. Then, when the one man got frustrated and impatient, God used seventy men to do his job, and divided up the power amongst them.
God’s perfect will is for ALL leadership positions to be filled by men. That is the order of creation. That is the order of the home. That is the order of the church. That is the order of government. That is the order of any ministries of the church.
The question is, “Where are the Spirit-filled men?” Ezekiel 22:30 says, “And I SOUGHT FOR A MAN among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” And the other question is, “Where are the meek, quiet, virtuous women who will trust God and let the men lead?” Proverbs 31:10-12 says, “WHO CAN FIND A VIRTUOUS WOMAN? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”