One of our missionary colleagues wrote...
Could it be that, in the biblical sense, that a woman could be a pastor in the city/region church just as there were women prophetesses and a female apostle in the city/region church, but that women could not be elders in the house churches?I confess these thoughts have gone through my mind as well: women functioning as ApostlesProphetsEvangelistsPastorsTeachers in the city/region church, and men only as "elders" of local assemblies.
But we still have to deal someway with the whole "Let the women keep silent in the churches for they are not permitted to speak..." and "I [Paul] do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man but to remain quiet..."
Are women to be silent in local assemblies, but free to speak to the church at large? If so, Paul's admonition doesn't make much sense. If they are to be silent in one, shouldn't they be silent in the other as well?
I fear all of us have violated these admonitions of Paul because I see plenty of women out there speaking in churches and teaching men. What was Paul saying when these admonitions were made?
In most of the churches we relate to we don't refer to leadership (whether men or women) as pastors. We try to instill in all our people that ALL of us are ministers of the Gospel charged with fulfilling the Great Commission.
We stress Peter's words in 2 Peter 2, "YOU [all of us] are a chosen race, a royal priesthood...that YOU may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light..." All of us.
Our part is to "make disciples". His to "build his church". When half of the work force are women. It only makes sense that a good percentage of these have been gifted in shepherding. But again, is shepherding/pastoring a function or an office?
When it comes right down to it, can we wiggle our way out of the mess by saying we will not give the title/office of pastor to women, but women who are gifted in shepherding should be encouraged to exercise their giftedness?
In 1Tim.3:1 most versions say, "if anyone (male or female?) sets his heart on being an overseer..." I am no Greek scholar but a literal reading of the text implies ANYONE can aspire to being an overseer/shepherd/pastor/bishop/presbytero/elder.
Or if the above interpretation is too hard to swallow, how about a scenario where named "elders" of local assemblies will only be men, but any believer (male or female) who possesses shepherding gifts use those gifts to build up the church? In such a scenario male elders would share the shepherding and care of the local church with all those who possess the gift and aspire to shepherd/oversee/pastor.
Still open for input and instruction from anyone out there caring to share your thoughts on the matter.