Theological Basis for Male-Only Ordained Ministry
“I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” (First Timothy 2:12-14, ESV)
To our democratized and feminized broader culture, the words of Saint Paul the Apostle, recorded above, would no doubt be viewed as deeply “sexist” and offensive. The feminist movement has so captured and permeated our cultural and intellectual environment, that not only does our society as a whole affirm a woman’s right to vote and to equal pay for equal work (rights that I and most other Christians today would affirm); many in the professing church today (even many who would profess an orthodox and evangelical understanding of the faith) also believe that God calls women to the ministry of the Word, and thus that women have a “right” to pursue and receive ordination to the sacred office of the holy ministry. However, as a plain contextual reading of the passage above and others like it show, God’s infallible Word bars women from exercising an official teaching and governing authority in the church; and thereby Holy Scripture bars women from ordination to the ministry of the Word. While Christian women participate with all of God’s people in the general office of believer; and while God gifts them with spiritual gifts that they may use in the general office of believer to build up the Body of Christ; yet God forbids women from serving in pastoral and governmental offices in the church. And the reasons for this are not grounded in the alleged “sexism” or “chauvenism” of the Bible; rather, the reasons are deeply theological and grounded in the very created order itself.
While I would strongly disagree with some of his theological views, the Rev. Jeffrey J. Meyers does a good job of explaining the fundamental theological basis for a male-only ordained ministry in his book, “The Lord’s Service: The Grace of Covenant Renewal Worship” (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2003):
“Ordination is a role, something a man does, not merely a “profession.” It gives him the authority to say and do things in the Lord’s Name. Otherwise stated, the minister has an instrumental, ritual-symbolic function in the church service. He represents the Husband to the Bride. He acts for Jesus. He speaks for Jesus. He is authorized so to act and speak. And everybody should know it. This is key. The minister is set apart to function in this capacity for the congregation. The congregation should be assured that when their minister reads, pronounces, preaches, prays, breaks, distributes, and blesses he does so speaking and acting for the Lord Himself. The congregation should have no doubts, rather they should believe that what they receive from their minister they receive from the Lord Himself.” (p. 270)
What does this have to do with the issue of women’s ordination? Well, as Rev. Meyers goes on to explain: “This is precisely why a woman is prohibited from serving as a pastor. She cannot represent the Husband to the Bride…This is why the pastor who leads worship must be an ordained man. By virtue of his office, he must represent the Husband to the Bride. A woman cannot do so. It would upset the entire fabric of God-ordained role relationships within the Church and home. The symbolism of male-headship must be maintained in the corporate liturgy of the Church. The Church submits to her Lord as she receivers from Him the Word and Sacraments by the mouth and hands of the pastor. The pattern of male headship is rooted deeply in the created order (Gen. 2:15-24; 3:15-19; 1 Tim. 2:11-15; 1 Pet. 3:1-7) as well as in the recreated order of the Church (1 Cor. 11:3-16; 14:33-35; Eph. 5:22-33). These role relationships are nonnegotiable. It is about theology not cultural imperialism.” (pp. 271-272)
The above being the case, churches which ordain women to the ministry of the Word do so as an act of open rebellion against the Word of God and the Lordship of Christ. Women’s ordination is a rejection of the God-ordained order of creation and recreation in Christ, a taking of the Lord’s Name in vain, and an indication that the church body which practices such ordination is on the road to apostasy against Christ and His gospel.