My response to “Why shouldn’t women preach to men?”

(This would be one of the way’s I’d respond to someone who wanted to accept the bible’s teaching on male and female roles in ministry, but struggled to understand why God put them there.)

If a gunman ran into your church meeting and started spraying the crowd with bullets, in that split second, how would you hope to see the Christians react?

I’d expect to see adults of all ages jumping in front of kids to protect them. And I’d expect to see men jumping in front of their wives and other women to protect them. I’d also expect to see guys rush the gunman to subdue him. They’re both things you’d hope to see guys do, aren’t they?

Now, imagine that same scenario, but instead you see men ducking behind their wives. You see men using their wives as human shields. You see single men jumping behind young women and children for safety… what would you think of those men? Not much eh?

There’s something that tells us that the second scenario is not ok. Guys are meant to protect girls, take the bullet for them, die for them. That’s actually what Jesus does for his wife; the church. Jesus steps into the firing line and takes the punishment to save his loved one. That’s his job, that’s his purpose in coming to earth… to be responsible for his wife. To do what Adam didn’t do; because remember Adam was “with” Eve while she was being tempted, but his great crime was that he “listened to his wife” rather than stepping between Satan and his wife and dealing with the lies and bearing the brunt of the temptation. Adam’s crime was shirking the responsibility he was appointed to.

It all comes back to God and who God holds responsible. Women teaching men is not an issue of skill or talent or cultural perspectives. It’s an issue about who God wills to be held responsible for what. You see God do this in Ezekiel 3:17ff

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman over the house of Israel. When you hear a word from My mouth, give them a warning from Me. If I say to the wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ but you do not warn him—you don’t speak out to warn him about his wicked way in order to save his life—that wicked person will die for his iniquity. Yet I will hold you responsible for his blood. But if you warn a wicked person and he does not turn from his wickedness or his wicked way, he will die for his iniquity, but you will have saved your life.”

God chooses who he will hold responsible, and he appoints them to have certain authority to match that. Again, Jesus is a great example. Jesus is responsible to reconcile “all things” to God because he has supremacy over “all things” (Col 1:15ff).

Along with this we are reminded that “not many should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgment” (Jam 3:1). Teaching God’s word is a very very dangerous profession. Teachers will be judged more harshly. Every word spoken will not only affect us, but how others will stand before the throne of God (1Cor 3).

Teaching other people is like going to war on their behalf. It’s putting your hand up and saying, “I will dare… I will take the risk of telling you what God says. I will bear the potential danger of teaching God’s word to you. I will take the bullet.”

So, men, would you dare hide behind a woman if a gunman burst in? No? Then why would you let a woman be held accountable to God for what other men are taught?!? Yes, God will hold women accountable for what they teach children and other women (Titus 2:4). But God does not want to hold women accountable for what they teach men!

You see, the whole idea of “Women not teaching men” is not an attempt to restrict women or keep them in their place… rather its an attempt to protect women from a judgement that God does not want to hold against them. It’s a command filled with mercy and love and protective intent.

The day will come when Jesus returns and all the bible teachers are judged, and men and women will look and say, “Oh my… I now understand why God didn’t want women to teach men… God was looking out for them… God didn’t want to subject them to this level of judgement.” Remember what God said to Ezekiel… the wicked person will die for his iniquity. Yet I will hold you responsible for his blood.

2 thoughts on “My response to “Why shouldn’t women preach to men?”

  1. Geoff Chambers says:

    Assuming of course the Bible forbids women to preach. It says they must not teach, but the work needs to be done to show that teach means preach.

    It’s more of an in-house argument for those who are convicted that the bible forbids women preaching, not really an argument that convinces us the bible forbids women preaching.

    Anyway, nice work. I think you do strike a chord that men should be protectors in some sense. I live in a part of a town where men have abandoned almost every notion of responsibility toward women and children, and it’s very depressing. Come Lord Jesus Come.

  2. Kate D says:

    Just reflecting on your post…

    1. I’m not convinced your analogy isn’t cultural.

    2. My feeling is that I agree there is something wrong with the picture of men ducking behind women to hide but I also don’t feel comfortable with women ducking behind men to hide (I know this wasn’t stated in your scenario). I think the right response would to be courageous regardless of whether you were a man or a woman… so your scenario says more to me about courage than about manhood/womanhood…

    3. Back to the question “why shouldn’t women preach to men” and further back to the preceding question “should women preach to men”… this topic frustrates me so much because I still don’t know where I stand on it. :-) In one sense, it doesn’t matter- I’m convinced there are godly followers of Christ searching the scriptures who have come to different conclusions about different topics. I could compare different views of baptism for instance. But I’m convinced in my own mind about what the bible says about baptism but as for the role of women in church- I feel frustrated that I personally have a lack of conviction either way about women preaching to men. When I was doing the gg training course at HBC, I refused to lead guys because even though it was training, it was a real bible study and I knew HBC’s position and I didn’t want to ‘fake lead’ a bible study… But I’m not at HBC anymore (miss you all) and recently I’ve been looking around and thinking about ‘do I want to try and start a bible study/ prayer group at work’… and ideally I want to have some conviction either way so I’m prepared if men join. And I know that a bible study at work is different to preaching at church… but aren’t the principles very similar?

    Anyway those are my reflections. I liked your blog post- but after a day of mulling over it (on top of several years of on and off reading and thinking and praying for clarity and chatting with other believers) I still don’t have clear convictions about what women’s roles in church should be. (And I’m a women who loves church! *sighs* *remembers Jesus is in charge of church and everything else as well* *smiles*).

    PS: Please don’t feel like you have to reply. I just posted here instead of fb because I wanted to give feedback but didn’t want to post a huge post on fb.

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