Women and Church Eldership


Moreover, AFTER THE FALL, woman's subjection to man was intensified. For God then told her: "You shall be subject to your husband, and he shall rule over you." Gen. 3:16. Of course, in Christ, the two sexes are both fully "heirs together of the grace of life." I Pet. 3:1-7. And even outside of Christ, the two genders cannot properly function without one another. Cf. I Cor.11:11-12. Indeed, the sexes are both equally saveable. For both "male" and "female" are "one IN CHRIST" (Gal. 3:26). Yet this does not in any way eliminate their functional DIFFERENCES.

Indeed, PARTICULARLY amongst Christians, the wife is to be in subjection to her own husband — AND the female gender-as-such is to be under the protection and rule of the male gender, in the Lord. Cf. I Cor. 1:2 & 11:2-10 & 14:34f. & Eph. 5:22f. & Col.3:18 & I Tim. 2:2-5,11 to 3:5. Now because especially Christian wives are to be subject "to their own husbands in everything , they must obviously also be subject to their own husbands even in Church Leadership (as part of that "everything"). This clearly precludes the Christian wives from becoming either Ruling Elders or Preaching Elders. Eph. 5:22-24 cf. I Tim. 2:11 to 3:5. And if even UNMARRIED


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women are to be subject to men while the former are in CHURCH — it is clear that unmarried women too may neither rule over nor preach to the men in the Church. I Cor. 11:3-13 cf. 14:29-35 cf. 7:36-37 & Num. 36:1-12 & Judg. 11:34-39.


THROUGHOUT the Bible the norm was and is CHURCH GOVERNMENT by MALE Elders ALONE. In Old Testament times, the Elders were always males. Gen. 24:2f.; Ex. 18:l2,21,25; Deut. 1:13-16; 21:19-21; 22:15-21; I Kgs. 8:lf.; II Chr. 5:2f.; etc. One should note that the "Elders" mentioned in Ezra. 10:7-16 are all 'bearded ones' or zeqeeniym. And we should further note in the celebrated Prov. 31:10-23 that it is not the "virtuous woman" but rather her "husband" that "sits among the Elders" (or zeqeeniym).

Even Lapidoth's wife, the brave Deborah, who judged (shooftaah) the Israelites during a. time of great religious unmanliness and national apostasy, did not act — and unless she had a 'beard' could not have acted — as an Elder (or zaqeen alias 'a bearded one'). To the contrary, she "sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam" (who either had or could have grown a beard) himself to lead God's armies against the Canaanites. For she rightly protested against herself being asked to do Barak's job for him. Judg. 4:1-9,l6f. See too section 14 below. Compare also Isaiah's infallible rebuke to Judah that women ruled over that land in his own day — and were leading God's people into error. Isa. 3:12.


When Christ came, in New Testament times, the Sanhedrin councils or kirk sessions and presbyteries were still composed only of male Elders (Matt. 5:22 cf. Luke 20:1). There should be no doubt at all — especially not to Presbyterians — that Christ's New Testament Church "steps into the shoes" of Christ's O1d Testament Church. Cf. Acts 7:58 & Rom. 11:16 & Westminster Confession 7:5-6 & 25:2. So, even the (all-male) New Testament Eldership of Christ's New Testament Church (I Tim. 3:1-5 cf. Tit. 1:5-7) is essentially a continuation of the (all-male) Old Testament Eldership of Christ's Old Testament Church (Deut. 17:6 & 19:15-17 cf. Matt. 18:1617 & I Tim. 5:17-19; Num. 11:11-24f. cf. Luke 10:1f,17f & Acts 11:25-30; cf. the use of the word presbuteerion meaning 'presbytery' in Luke 22:66 as well as in I Tim. 4:14.)

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