Monday, May 17, 2010

Should Women Preach in the Church?

Ordination of Women for Ministry

Women in the ministry is a huge issue here in the southeastern United States. We are a more conservative region of the country but Sarah Palin would have trouble getting votes in the southeast because of the strong, prevailing belief that women should not be pastor in a church often bleeds out into the political realm. Their thinking would go something like this: "If it's not biblical for a woman to pastor a church she surely she no business being president of the nation."

Nazarenes, since their inception, have been approving of women pastors. They use Galatians 3:28 as a scripture supporting women in church ministry. "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." This issue is not necessarily a "man verses woman" issue. Many women also contend that women should not be a minister in the church. It seems to be more of a scriptural-interpretation issue. I'm sure the Baptists in my area would ask, "Is Galatians 3:28 referring to ministry or to and equality achieved through salvation.” Their favorite verse is 1 Tim. 2:11-12 "“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent".

Those who would exclude women from ministry will argue that God, from the beginning, created men to hold positions of authority. Men are more naturally suited for leadership and their aggressive nature equips them for the difficult task of leading. They would also argue that the women in Paul’s day were unqualified because they lacked education. If that were true, many of Christ's disciples were grossly unqualified as well. If education were still the qualifying factor many of our nation's greatest evangelists would have been disqualified.

When Paul wrote those words to Timothy he was addressing the pastor of the church of Ephesus where women were acting as leaders in the worship of Artemas, the Greek goddess.

Those who would support women in ministry often lift Miriam and Deborah as evidence that God approves of female leadership in the church. Priscilla was a minister in the New Testament.

Those against women in ministry believe that the biblical restriction is not that women should not preach and prophesy but that they should not have authority over men.

Supporters believe the Great Commission is anti-discriminatory. Does God not also give women spiritual gifts? Are they also not gifted as preachers, pastors and evangelists? If God gives them gifts to perform these functions in the church would he not call them to use these gifts? Acts 2:17 says, ""I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters will prophesy…"

Is it inconsistent to teach that men should be authority figures in the home but it is surely proper for women to be authoritative in the church?

My local church is very proud to have been home to Nazarene traveling evangelist Miss Leila Dell Miller.


  1. I really enjoyed this blog. It brought back interest to me about Miss Leila Dell Miller. I remember seeing and hearing her speak while I was a young boy in a Nazarene Church. She was the one that I feel brought me to God and has kept me in the faith. Do you have any information on her. Her life and later life in Columbus. Thanks
    David B

    1. Dell and her husband, Mike, are still members at Crosspointe Nazarene Church, formerly Macon Road Nazarene Church. Dell teaches an adult Sunday School class and Mike recently stepped down from Sunday School Superintendent position. I'm sure they would love to hear from you. Dell can be found on facebook. If you have trouble please email me: or friend me on facebook and I'll help you make contact with her.