What does this all mean?
It also does not appear that Paul has given us a timeless edict. He has laid down a principle that cannot be ignored: namely, that whoever serves as a pastor must be educated and prepared so that they are not easily deceived. This would apply to men and women. Anyone who is not educated well enough is more subject to deception (modern studies have confirmed this to be one of the leading factors for deception among adults), and therefore should not be in the office of pastor in the church. This corresponds with Paul’s list of qualifications in 1 Tim 3 for pastors: including the fact that they cannot be a ‘new convert’ (1 Tim 3:6) and that they must be ‘able to teach’ (1 Tim 3:2). For those who are new converts will be susceptible to deception as they are not likely well educated in the teachings of the church.
It is tragic that some of these very churches who adamantly restrict women from being pastors and teachers have men in these positions who also lack the education necessary to protect the flock from the deceptions of the devil. The principle, as Paul has set forth in this passage, is that anyone who is more easily deceived cannot serve as pastors and teachers over the church. Paul eliminated all women because in his day they were, generally speaking, not privileged to the education necessary to qualify them for such positions. But, in 1 Timothy 3, when he lists the qualifications for pastors, he notes that men who are not educated (i.e., new converts and not able to teach) are similarly excluded from the office of pastor over men.
In all, women have tremendous gifts and callings from the Lord. These gifts and callings are essential to the full growth and edification of the body! It is time that we all recognize them for who they are and what they can bring to the table!
This means that as long as there are no cultural factors that create a hindrance to the gospel (as would be the case in various part of the world even today), women should be allowed to teach and have authority in the church. In fact, if women teaching and having authority were a help to the gospel in a particular cultural context (such as Europe and much of the west), then we should absolutely permit it. Imagine if, in our progressive culture, the church were leading the way in the area of women’s rights, how much it would potentially positively affect the spread of the Gospel!
Why is this important?
First, hindering women from roles of leadership in the church suppresses women and both denies them the opportunity to use the very gifts given to them by the Holy Spirit, and denies the church the blessings that would come from their doing so. When women are not given their proper role in the New Creation alongside men, the Kingdom of God suffers. Just think about: we lose half (or more than half) of our resources.
Secondly, the church’s backward views of women often fosters the discrimination and abuse against women mentioned at the beginning of these posts. Instead of leading the way in terms of justice for all, we are silent. At times we are in fact leading the charge for the suppression of women. Many may take offense at this accusation. But, I know well that many men in the evangelical church are afraid to speak up for women’s rights because they would not want to be seen as supporting the liberal movement of women’s rights. Shame on us. Our women are suppressed, marginalized, abused, raped, forced into slavery, and unwanted marriages and we are afraid to speak up because we don’t want to be considered liberal? I say that to speak up is to be Christian!
Jesus said, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38). You may not agree with me on the theological conviction of women in ministry. But for the sake of women in our world, I dare say that we must reconsider our views, for the impact on women is atrocious!
Recently a very popular conservative evangelical pastor (John MacArthur) put down a popular woman teacher (Beth Moore). When asked to give a one word association to “Beth Moore” MacArthur replied with two words: “go home.” The host and the assembled crowd applauded in an uproar of laughter. I am sorry but this was despicable. It was rude. It was a display of arrogant and pretentiousness.
Just because one does not believe that women should be allowed to teach in the church, does not give one the right to disgrace those who do or the women who teach. The NT is emphatic, and the repeated emphasis only serves to accentuate its importance, that we are to maintain unity in the church. We must love and respect one another. MacArthur did not reflect any notion of love for the other. His comments were offensive to Beth Moore, to women in general, and to all who affirm the right of women to teach and preach. Moreover, he was cavalier and somewhat arrogant and the response of the crowd only served to foster division in the church. This is radically unbiblical.
As I have argued in my posts, women should be allowed to teach and pastor in the church today as a sign that the kingdom of God has come. If you do not agree with this position that is one thing. But the continued attitude that denigrates women is unacceptable and the church must cry out against this.
 Cf Rom 12:10, 16; 1 Cor 1:10; 3:3-7; Eph 4:2-6; Phil 2:1-4; Ps 133:1. It is through our unity that the world will know that the Father sent the Son (John 17:23).
 John 13:35; 1 John 3:14; 4:12; 1 Pet 3:8.