Which Is the Bigger Threat: the Wolf or the Woman?

September 26, 2012

Ususally, I end each post with a question for you.

Today, I just want to ask you a question.  That’s all.

Why…

Why do we put up with preachers who do not know how to preach,

Or never got trained in Bible interpretation,

Or who are obviously gluttons,

Or gossips,

Or are reckless with the Word of God…

Or have enormous egos,

Or are wolves in sheep’s clothing,

Or have hidden sins they aren’t willing to fess up to,

Or have apparently burned out,

Or just checked out?

Or youth pastors who are emotionally and spiritually immature,

Or just don’t know what they are doing,

Who attract crowds but fail to make disciples?

Why do we listen to poor sermons,

And poor theology,

Sermons that miss the Kingdom of God

And focus on the kingdom of this world,

But we ignore pastors with good theology,

And passion for the Word;

We show them the door,

And call them a threat to the faith?

Why do people shut their ears to the good preacher,

And continue listening to the bad preacher,

Just because the good preacher

Is a woman?

When Paul told Timothy about what qualified an overseer, he said

He should be able to teach, be self-controlled, be faithful, and not be drunk, greedy or violent.

Was Paul’s emphasis on the actions and attitude and spirit of the overseer,

Or the gender of the overseer?

Which is the bigger threat,

The scores of charlatan male preachers,

Or the anointed female preachers?

Would Paul have encouraged women to preach and lead,

If it would have spread the gospel?

How can I deny the power the Spirit gives to women of faith,

when my biggest spiritual mentor, minister, encourager and friend

is my wife?

25 responses to Which Is the Bigger Threat: the Wolf or the Woman?

  1. “Would Paul have encouraged women to preach and lead,

    If it would have spread the gospel?” Many believe he did. Junia is not alone ; )

  2. we put up with this stuff because we are a mile wide and an inch deep. We are addicted to the entertainment value of preaching and church. We come for the light show, the fog, the storyteller, the comedy, the technology, the temporary uplift – sort of like the five hour energy drink. But we’re immune to discipleship, digging deep down to build our life on the rock, putting our hand to the plow and not looking back, and picking up our cross to follow Jesus. We have itching ears and we like to major in the minors and minor on the majors.

  3. Good read. Thought-provoking.

    And I am not even referring to the gender part…I am referring to the first half. While I am not totally sold on the “Training in Bible interpretation” point, I do often wonder why wolves and immature youth pastors are accepted. It is a running joke across most protestant faiths about the youth pastors being immature. Why is that accepted? Hmmmm.

    Again, good read.

    • Don’t know. My biggest qualification as a youth pastor was my age relative to the teenagers. :)

    • I think we will find, if we have not already, that to a very large extent our congregations reflect an adolescent and pre-adolescent level of maturity regardless of the chronological age of said bodies in the seats. The irony is that we insist our 10 year olds be able to do high level trig and calculus at the same time within the ranks of so many congregations the dumbing down of the spiritual, integrative, and applicational parts of life have led to a complete immaturity of the masses. I for one am done with it.

  4. I’ve always thought the biggest reason was Paul’s statement that he did not permit women to speak in church. It was years before I discovered that there were other interpretations of this passage, and that was only when the pastor of a charismatic church I was attending (an internationally known evangelist) had invited a woman to speak, who announced that she was, among other things, “going to preach.” I brought up the aforementioned passage to my mother after the service, who pointed me to Kenneth Hagin’s small book, “The Woman Question” (which will never leave my shelf). I admit that the Southern Baptist in me still looks slightly askance at women in the pulpit sometimes. But an example of how that verse is still used by many to keep women silent, which I will never forget, came from the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood., In response to the question of what women who believed they were “called” to the pulpit were supposed to do with that calling, CBMW responded that such women were not really hearing God’s call, since this would contradict scripture. Apparently, CBMW dismissed all such women as deluded.

  5. Are you speaking as a preacher or as the senior pastor of a church? From the people I’ve spoken to, the difference has really been overall leadership of the church vs. preaching.

  6. Playing devil’s advocate here, the complimentarian would simply say that this is a false dilemma. Their answer to the problem would be to find good male pastors rather than throwing away their views on gender.

    • That may be a fair point, but it is a bit like affirmative action in the worst way. Promoting some candidates based on gender while passing over equal or superior candidates.

      And on a pragmatic note, the number of men preaching is decreasing. I wonder how many churches will have to compromise just for practical reasons.

      • My understanding is that a majority of the Chinese house churches are pastored by women for exactly that reason. Those churches are healthy, growing, deep in the Word, and clearly blessed.

  7. Well stated.

    Regarding the comment from Darrell that complementarians would just say that we have to find qualified males, you are exactly right. I have heard that before and when I questioned it by asking “what if every woman in this church was ahead of every male, spiritually”, the question was ignored (it was through email, so easy to ignore).

  8. I think these are two separate issues:
    1) Why do we accept inferior quality preachers?
    2) Why don’t we accept women preachers?

    In response to #1, I’d say because we (as a vast generalization) tend to prefer flash to substance. The ones who really have something Biblical to say usually ruffle our feathers because they then expect us to actually change our behavior in response. The ones who are smoke and mirrors just want you to feel good about yourself so you’ll keep paying them. One makes you feel bad (for good reason)….the other makes you feel good (for bad reasons). Which do you prefer?

    And to #2…..eh…I think it’s tricky, but I think it’s more than “why don’t we let women preach since there are so many bad male preachers?” Just because someone else is bad at it, doesn’t make it a good thing for you to do. But I agree with Jason (above) that the issue isn’t so much “women preaching” as it is “women leading a church.” It just so happens in the current institutional church model that most churches follow that the person who preaches is also usually the “leader” of the church. Personally (having come from a church staff home), I’ve always seen a pastorate as a familial calling, not just the calling of the pastor himself. When we call someone to pastor our church, we also bring his family with him, and his wife is an invaluable part of his ministry, even if it’s simply through supporting him. So an extension of that idea would be to have the “co-pastor” route that many (predominantly black, I believe) churches are taking where the church actually pays both. Both are on staff. Possibly both preach (I dunno), both counsel, etc. When you say that the “two have become one,” then it makes some sense to do it this way. It also helps with the pesky “male pastor counseling female congregant” issue since the wife can take the females and the husband the males.

    Having said all of that though, I’d be uncomfortable with a woman preaching regularly. I wouldn’t mind the occasional guest speaker, and I certainly wouldn’t mind a female teacher in a more classroom-like setting (smaller audience, less formal, more of a discussion than a monologue).

    But then I’m also a female “worship leader” (hate that term) at our church on a weekly basis….but that’s a different issue to me because I’m commanded to worship and to gather with other believers. The Holy Spirit should be “leading” the worship, not me (hence my distaste for the term), so I’ll just be worshiping at the piano up on stage with a microphone keeping everyone on the same page of music while everyone else worships. I’m not “above” them in any way (except maybe physically since our stage is 4′ high), I’m just worshiping in a different location.

    I’m just full of contradictions, aren’t I?

    But to end on a lighter note, I was told the following story:
    There was a famous evangelist held a gathering every Sunday for many months on the Mall in Washington DC. Occasionally, his wife would preach. One day someone asked him if he had a problem with a woman preaching and his response was, “well, when my wife is preaching, she’s inhabited by the Holy Spirit and He’s a man, so….”

  9. Well, I guess the answer to one question is the same answer to “why do we put up with politicians who wind up exploiting us?” and maybe “why is Honey Boo Boo so popular?”—because it’s just easier that way. Refusing to be forced to think too hard is pretty much human nature.

    And as to the “female preaching” question–well, to me there is no question. God calls men and women the same, and if I walk into a church where the opposite is preached, I walk right back out. Sorry. Not to sound smug, but the issue of whether or not women are fit to preach or lead churches has been a non-issue for Episcopals for some time. (I understand that some hard-core evangelicals will point to that as evidence of our ongoing backslide into apostasy, but whatever.)

    Sounds like your wife is lucky woman, BTW.

  10. So, what do you think? Can you replace their position and you’ll be the best one, more better than them, more holy than them?

  11. I don’t understand why you joined the two issues Matt?? Seems a bit odd.

    • Well, the way I see it, I’m not joining two separate issues. I responded to someone else that it seems to me like affirmative action in the worst sense. Passing over one qualified candidate while promoting another, lesser qualified candidate. If we are discouraging women from entering ministry in the first place, and only have men to choose from, that doesn’t make it two separate issues in my mind.

  12. We put up with the obvious sinners, because we realize that God has no one to use.

    We should not put up with those who think that they are doing a pretty good job of it (living the obedient life), or those who place the law, (‘what we do’) in place of the gospel of the forgiveness of sins.

    There are a lot of terrible preachers out there who are leading back into themselves. That’s the last place they need to be directed.

  13. I agree with others, that there are two questions being asked. The reason we put up with bad preachers and immature youth leaders is the same reason people like McDonald’s and Walmart–people have gotten so used to the cheap crap that they don’t know what quality products really look like. Oh, wait a minute, it might have something to do with sin, too.

    As far as women preachers, I think Jason has hit it–God did not appoint women to be leaders or to have authority over men. Pastors are usually leaders in the church along with elders. In my “old” church, the way it was explained was that God appointed men to be leaders, not because they were necessarily more deserving or wise, but because that is the hierarchy God established as good and that sin marred. It doesn’t mean that God doesn’t speak to women, because there are examples of women in the Bible being in leadership (Deborah) and in the New Testament (Lydia?). In my old church, women were allowed to be children’s pastors and women’s ministry pastors. Women were involved in prayer leadership and would be standing side by side with men at the end of service so that they could meet with any women who needed prayer. I can think of many women I have enjoyed listening to in the past, when I had more spare time, like Beth Moore, Nancy Leigh DeMoss and several women in my church. However, these have all been at women’s retreats and both Beth Moore and Nancy Leigh DeMoss state that their intended audience is women, though they will not turn men away from their ministry.

    Some people would say that Paul was a little biased in his opinions, but one day, I remember reading Isaiah 3 and found that one of the punishments that God was giving to Jerusalem and Judah for their rejection of Him was that women and children would lead them (Isaiah 3:4, 12). In the next verse (13), it sounds like God still holds the elders and leaders accountable for letting bad things happen. This passage sounds like God would back up Paul’s statement. I would really be interested in hearing your explanation of this passage if I am taking it out of context and mishandling it.