Women Leaders As Gifts To The Church
EPH Ch. 4:10 God measured out his favor to us and the Anointed One has given each one of us a gift.
This is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended on high, he led along prisoners and gave gifts to people.” This “he ascended”, what does it mean! It means that he also descended into the lower parts of the earth! The one who descended is also the very one who ascended above all the heavenly places, in order to equip the universe.
11-13 He himself gave, as gifts, some people as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, and others as shepherds and teachers, in order to equip God’s people for the ministry work. This was to build up the body of the Anointed One, until we as a whole arrive at the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a complete man, measuring up to the full maturity of the Anointed One.
14-16 This is so we would no longer be people who are under age. When winds of instruction and training blow this way and that, we would not be carried to and fro on the waves. We would not be tossed about at sea by the sleight of hand and schemes of people, and we would not be driven off course by people’s plots and schemes.
Instead, we should speak the truth in a loving way and grow up to maturity in every way, so that we will realize our closeness with our source of growth, the Anointed One, and be more like him. The whole body grows when individual parts of the body combine and are supplied by ligaments. The Anointed One is the source of the whole body, and love makes the body grow.
When it comes to teaching the Bible those who maintain that women cannot teach its contents surely cannot mean that the biblical content is beyond a woman’s intelligence or ability to share it with others. Millions of women believers in every generation live exemplary lives, many of those have undergone dramatic changes and continue to discipline themselves in order to maintain themselves and their testimony that God’s grace is sufficient for them.
However, what they are suggesting is that God differentiates between whom the gifts are given. The sole reason for this differentiation, according to those who maintain this stance, is one of authority. Take authority out of the equation, and of course we all know women and men are well able to do the work of the ministry. The question then begs to be asked, what kind of authority are these people talking about that does not allow women to have access to a position of leadership?
The kind of authority being discussed here is to do with women making decisions that affect men. It must be the kind of authority that allows women to rule over men. But women today are in all kinds of positions where they rule over men – in political positions, in corporate positions and so very many others. Women are in Bible colleges teaching men who are there to be trained in the ministry. Women are serving in churches everywhere doing the work of the ministry. However, only a very small percent would be in positions of the kind of authority we are talking about here.
Even those women who are pastoring churches are generally accepted because they have a husband or another man alongside them to ‘cover’ them. In this position they are viewed as not holding the ‘power’, not having the final decision, not responsible to have the final say. This is the kind of authority that such people who oppose women in leadership are against women having.
Two kinds of authority: earth and heaven.
In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the Jewish religious leaders seemed to have the same problem with Jesus exercising a certain kind of ‘authority’ as those people today in the church who oppose women in leadership exercising what they believe is their God given right along with every other believer.
But are we all talking about the same thing? Is the exercise and understanding the same?
What kind of ‘authority’ did the Lord exercise that so incensed the Jewish religious leaders?
Is it the same kind of authority that our Lord Jesus has delegated to the members of the Christ’s body and wants to see exercised in it by all believers?
Does it match up to the kind of authority believer’s experience in our relationship with the Lord?
When the word ‘authority’ is used in the New Testament what does the word mean in the original Greek language of the day when the New Testament was penned?
Here we will take a look at the Greek words translated ‘authority’ in the NT. There is another word used with authority and that is ‘power’, ‘dunamis’ which means ‘ability’ and has nothing to do with the Greek words shown here and translated ‘authority’.
Exousia: privilege, authority.
Jesus’s teaching with authority (skilled instruction and training) incensed the Jews
Mt 7: 29 (also in the same context: Mk 1: 22; Lk 20: 22); ‘because he taught (‘didache’), with authority, not like the bible teachers’: skilled instruction and training.
Here, ‘authority’ is used in connection with a person who also worked under authority who simply obeys
Mt 8: 9 (Lk 7: 8), a person under authority- I give orders and others obey. to do with healing.
The Jews wanted to know who gave Jesus authority to clear out the greedy moneychangers in the temple
Mt 21: 23 (Mk 11: 28; Lk 20: 2; after Jesus had chased out all the buyers and money dealers and overturned the tables etc. The chief priests and bible scholars asked him ‘by what authority are you doing these things? His answer?
Mt 21: 24 Mk 11: 29, The Baptism of john – from heaven or from people? (From heaven the same place Jesus is saying He gets his authority to do these things)
Mt 21: 27 (Mk 11: 23; Lk 20: 8 they answered him ‘we don’t know’ so he said then I’m not going to tell you where I get my authority from.
Once again giving an example of people working under authority
Mk 13: 34; Like a person going away from home- they leave their servants in charge each person has their assigned task- they tell the person at the door to keep watch- so keep watch.
The realm of authority for the believer is in healings they go out to proclaim Gods kingdom.
Lk 9: 1 Jesus called the 12 together and gave them power and authority to heal all demons and diseases and he sent them out to proclaim God’s kingdom. And to instantly, divinely, heal the sick. Lk 19: 17 Good on you, you excellent servant, his boss replied, since you’ve been so trustworthy in a very small matter, I’m going to put you in charge of 10 cities.
Government authority and jurisdiction
Lk 20: 20 they were trying to catch Jesus out on something he said so they could hand him over to the governors jurisdiction and authority
Only mentioned once in John
Authority given to the Son by the Father. Jesus himself said he was a man under authority
Jn 5: 27 ‘And the Father has given the Son authority to decide issues, because he is a member of the human race’’ 30’’By myself I am not able to do anything! I judge just as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I don’t try to please myself because I try to please the One who sent me.
The Jews wanted to kill Jesus for breaking the law of the Sabbath: religion is anti- anointing- anti Christ.
15-18 The person left and told the Jews that it was Jesus who restored him to his original undamaged state. This is why certain Jews started to persecute Jesus, because he did these things on the Sabbath. Jesus’ response was, “My Father is still at work and I myself am at work.”
So because of this certain Jews tried even harder to kill him, not only because he broke the Sabbath, but also because he said that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
Jesus understands their idea of authority: like the gentiles they lord it over people.
19-23 Jesus said to them, “Let me emphasize this, the Son is not able to do anything independently. He can only do what he observes his Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son does in the same way. The Father loves the Son and shows him everything he himself does. And to your amazement, he will show him even greater things than these! Just as the Father brings the dead back to life, in the same way too the Son gives life to whomever he wishes. The Father does not judge anyone, but has handed over all issues to be decided to the Son, so that everyone will honor the Son just as they honor the Father. The person who doesn’t honor the Son doesn’t honor the Father who sent him.
Jesus continually reiterates he only has what God has given him.
24-26 “Let me emphasize this, the person who hears my account and believes him who sent me has eternal life and does not come to judgment, but is transferred from death to life. The time is coming and is now here when the dead will listen to the voice of the Son of God, and those who listen will live. Just as the Father has life-giving power, in the same way too he has granted to the Son to have life-giving power. And the Father has given the Son authority to decide issues, because he is a member of the human race.
Jesus has been given authority by God to judge
28-30 “Don’t be surprised at this, because the time is coming when all the people who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good things will rise to live, and those who have done careless things will rise to be judged.
Jesus again says he is not able to anything and the reason he is just is because he tries always to please God
“By myself I am not able to do anything! I judge just as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I don’t try to please myself but I try to please the One who sent me.
Aim for the good reputation that comes from God.
How then can you believe, if you receive your good reputation from each other, and make no effort to aim for the good reputation that comes from the one and only God?
The son’s of Zebedee’s mother asked for a position of authority for her sons
20-23 The mother of Zebedee’s sons came to him with her sons. She knelt down and asked something from him.
“What do you want?” Jesus asked.
She answered, “Give permission for these two sons of mine to have the highest places of honor in your Kingdom, one sitting on your right side and the other on the left!”
“You don’t know what you’re asking!” Jesus responded. “Are you able to experience the suffering I am about to experience?”
“Yes we can!” they insisted.
“You will certainly experience the suffering I am about to experience!” Jesus told them. “But it’s not up to me to say who will sit in places of honor, at my right side and at my left! My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”
Kingdom authority and leadership: The comparison two kinds of authority
24-28 When the ten heard, they were annoyed with the two brothers.
Jesus called them over. He said, “You know that the rulers of the non-Jews act like big shots over them, and their high officials make sure they use their authority over them. You are not to do this!The person who wants to become important needs to be your servant, and the person who wants to be the most prominent, needs to be your slave. In the same way the Human Being did not come to be served, but to serve, and to exchange his life for those who are held hostage!”
Mark says the two brothers asked Jesus for position and authority
Mk 10: 35-40 James and John, Zebedee’s sons, went to him and said, “Teacher, we want you to do something for us – whatever we want!”
“Well, what do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.
They answered, “Let one of us sit on your right side, and the other on your left, in your splendor!”
41-45 When the ten heard about this, they got annoyed with James and John. Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the so-called rulers of the non-Jews act like big shots over them and their high officials wield authority over them. Not so with you – those of you who want to be important must be your servants, and whoever wants to be important must be everyone’s servant. The Human Being did not come to be served – he came to serve, and to give his life as the ransom price in the place of many people.”
Example of Gentile authority
Acts 9: 14; he is here with authority from the chief priests to imprison everyone who calls on your name (Anananias about Paul)
Acts 26: 10;-12. I shut up many people devoted to God and put them in prison I had authority from the high Priest. When they were sentenced to death it was I who cast my vote against them.
Jesus mission: to render inoperative every rule, -subdue every enemy- until finally – death also will be rendered inoperative.
24-26 Next is the fulfilment, when he hands over the Realm to God the Father, after he renders inoperative every rule and every authority and power. It is necessary that he reigns until he has subdued every enemy. The last enemy that will be rendered inoperative is death.
Kingdom authority is for the building up, not for destroying
8-11 In fact even if I should boast abundantly more about our authority, which the Lord gave for your building up and not for your destruction, I will not be put to shame! Otherwise it seems, as it were, that I frighten you away by my letters!
1 Pet 3: 22
But it is the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you through the resurrection of Jesus the Anointed One. He has gone to heaven and is at the right side of God. Messengers and authorities and powers support him.
Gentile authority is idolatrous
Ch.13:1-3 And I saw a creature coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads. There were ten diadems on his horns, and a blasphemous name was on each head.
The creature was given a mouth to speak and he talked arrogantly and he spoke blasphemies. He was given authority to act for 42 months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to blaspheme his Name and the place where he lives, and everyone who lives in heaven.
7-8 He was given permission to make war against the people devoted to God and to conquer them. He was also given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All the inhabitants of the earth will worship the creature – all those whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life – the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world.
‘hyperoche’ a holding over authorised authority
1 Tim 2: 2 Ch.2:1-4 Therefore I encourage above all else that earnest requests, prayers, intercessions, and gratitude are to be made on behalf of all people, on behalf of kings and all prominent people, so that we would lead an undisturbed life in a dignified and godly manner. This is favorable and welcome in the sight of our Savior God, who wants all people to be saved and to come to the full knowledge of truth.
‘exousiazo’ to use or take privilege’
Lk 22: 2524-30 Now it turned out that the disciples got into an argument over which of them was considered to be the most important. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the non-Jews act like big shots over them, and the ones who wield authority over them call themselves ‘Benefactors’. But you are not to be like that!
Kingdom authority: servant of all
Instead, the most important one of you should be like the least important, and the one who has authority should be like someone who serves. Which one is the more important – the person who sits down to eat, or the person who serves? Isn’t it the person who sits down at the table? But I myself have come among you as a person who serves!
‘katexousiazo’ to use privilege over. Earthly rule
Mt 20: 2524-28 When the ten heard, they were annoyed with the two brothers.
Jesus called them over. He said, “You know that the rulers of the non-Jews act like big shots over them, and their high officials make sure they use their authority over them.
Kingdom leadership: Not an abuse of privilege kingdom rule
You are not to do this! The person who wants to become important needs to be your servant, and the person who wants to be the most prominent, needs to be your slave. In the same way the Human Being did not come to be served, but to serve, and to exchange his life for those who are held hostage!”
Mk 10: 42 “We sure can!” they said.
But Jesus said, “You will indeed suffer the suffering that I’m undergoing, and you will indeed be baptized with the baptism that I’m being baptized with, but to sit at my right or left side – it’s not up to me to grant that. These places belong to the ones they’ve been prepared for.”
41-45 When the ten heard about this, they got annoyed with James and John.
Kingdom privilege of leadership: serve
Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the so-called rulers of the non-Jews act like big shots over them and their high officials wield authority over them. Not so with you – those of you who want to be important must be your servants, and whoever wants to be important must be everyone’s servant. The Human Being did not come to be served – he came to serve, and to give his life as the ransom price in the place of many people.”
‘dunastes’ powerful one: gentile rule
Acts 8: 2726-28 A Messenger of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go out towards the south on the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
(It is a desert road.)
He got up and went on his way. And there was an Ethiopian, a High Court Official who had great power under the Kandake (Queen) of Ethiopia. In fact, he was in charge of her whole treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship, and he was on his way back. He was sitting in the chariot, reading Isaiah the prophet aloud.
‘Autheteo’ to use one’s own armour
1 Tim 2: 12 8-10 So then I would like the men everywhere to pray, leading clean lives, without anger or argument. And the same goes for women too. I would like women to dress themselves with good taste and in decent clothes with modesty and good sense, not with ornamentally arranged hair or gold or pearls or very expensive clothes, which is fitting for women while they are giving a ‘Convert to Judaism’ instructions, and which is fitting for women while they are doing good works.
11-14 A woman must learn and she is to learn without causing a fuss and be supportive in everything. I most certainly do not grant authority to a woman to teach that she is the originator of a man- rather, she is not to cause a fuss – for Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman made a mistake as she was beguiled, and she will be saved by means of the Birth of the Child if they continue to be trustworthy, loving and holy and have good sense.
Scripture taken from The Source New Testament. Copyright 2004 by Ann Nyland.
Authoritarians are always banging on about “who is the greatest” and “who is in charge”.
Why aren’t they concerned about who is willing to serve in whatever capacity they have and gifts and let’s get the job done.
As for me, (I don’t have a house or a household), I will serve the Lord… : )