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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Various Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Part Two)

Don Stewart :: Can Women Have the Gift of Pastor?

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Can Women Have the Gift of Pastor?

The Various Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Part Two) – Question 2

One area of controversy concerns whether women can have the gift of pastor. There are three basic views on the subject. They are as follows.

The Three Options

Option one says that if we understand the gift of pastor as different from the office of pastor, then women can have the gift. Others argue that women can have the gift of pastor and well as hold the office of pastor. A third view says women can hold neither the gift nor the office.

Simply stated, the support for each of these options can be seen as follows.

Option 1: Women Can Have the Gift of Pastor but Not the Leadership Position

If pastor is understood as a spiritual gift, and not an office, then some people argue that it is perfectly permissible for women to have this gift. The only limitation is where she can exercise her gift. Paul wrote about the necessity of women exercising silence in the church meeting in certain instances. He wrote.

Women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says (1 Corinthians 14:34 NRSV).

Since there are times when women are to be silent, this indicates that men are to have the ultimate spiritual authority.

Paul also wrote about women learning in submission to the men.

A woman should learn in silence with full submission. I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent. For Adam was created first, then Eve (1 Timothy 2:11-14 HCSB).

If women do have the gift of pastor, then they are not to exercise it in a way in which they have authority over men, but rather they exercise it in teaching other women. In fact, the Bible commands women to teach other women. We read.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored (Titus 2:3-5 NASB).

Therefore, according to this view, women can have the gift of pastor and exercise it in a way that is consistent with the limitations Scripture puts on their calling.

Option 2: Women Can Have Both the Gift of Pastor and the Leadership Position

Another view believes there are no restrictions on the gifts or the offices that women can hold. They believe the New Testament makes no restrictions whatsoever on who can hold the gift or where the gift can be exercised. In fact, Scripture says there is no distinction in Jesus Christ.

For example, Paul wrote to the Galatians about the equality of men and women. He explained it in this manner.

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are all Christians—you are one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and now all the promises God gave to him belong to you (Galatians 3:28,29 NLT).

Therefore, anyone, no matter their gender or race, can serve in leadership in the church. Jesus Christ has made this possible.

Option 3: Women Cannot Have the Gift of Pastor Nor Hold the Leadership Position

There is also the view that women can neither have the gift of pastor nor serve in the office of an overseer. This perspective believes that God gave the gift of leadership only to men. Teaching the congregation is something that only males are allowed to do.

While women can teach other women as well as teach children, they are not allowed to teach an assembled congregation of men and women. Since pastor is a title that is reserved for those in leadership, it is believed that women should never have that title. This view says nothing about whether men are better qualified than women to hold these positions; rather it attempts to follow the God-established order in the church.

As can be imagined, this is a very controversial subject with Bible-believing Christians who hold each of these positions. Furthermore, there far-reaching ramifications depending upon which view is held.

Summary – Question 2
Can Women Have the Gift of Pastor?

Bible-believing Christians hold three basic views with respect to the idea of women having the gift of pastor. They can be simply stated as follows.

First, there are those who believe a woman can have the spiritual gift of pastor but not serve in a leadership role. They can teach children and other women but never be in a position of leadership in the church.

Others believe that women can have the gift of pastor and also serve in a leadership role. This perspective sees each and every position within the church as possible for a woman to hold. Finally, there are those that believe that women cannot have the spiritual gift of pastor, nor can they be in a leadership role. These roles, it is argued, are reserved for men only. This has nothing to do with qualifications of men over women rather it is the God-ordained order that He set down in the Scripture. There are Bible-believers which hold each of these views.

What Is the Pastoral Gift? ← Prior Section
Is Pastor/Teacher One Gift or Two? Next Section →
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