Women are increasingly taking the roles of evangelists and pastors, but is this the work of God or of people in rebellion against God? What does the scripture say?
The Preacher’s Role
An evangelist publicly proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ. An evangelist is a preacher or minister of the gospel and here is his work: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; re-prove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Tim. 4:1-5). An evangelist may travel from place to place at times; he also may remain with the same church for several years, teaching “publicly” or from “house to house” (Acts 20:20,31).
The Elder’s Role
A pastor is a shepherd of God’s people viewed as sheep. He is also called an elder because of his spiritual maturity and a bishop because he oversees the local church. Pastor (or shepherd), elder (or presbyter), and bishop (or overseer) refer to the same person doing the same work (Acts 20:17, 28 f; Tit. 1:5, 7). This work involves overseeing and managing all the affairs of a local church: Take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28). Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind (1 Pet. 5:2).
The unique work of a pastor is not publicly proclaiming the gospel as a preacher. False religions confuse the roles of pastor and preacher. Each local church must have a plurality of pastors, never a one-man pastor (Acts 14:23; M. 1:5).
God’s Word teaches men, not women, to serve as pastors in a local church and as public preachers of the gospel. Christ, as head of his church, forbids women to take the roles of public leaders in the church. Christ commanded, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I do not allow a woman to teach, or to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (1 Tim. 2:11-12).
Women are not to preach in assemblies with or without men being present. How do we know this as absolute truth? Because women were to remain silent in the churches under the full subjection of the elders of the church (1 Cor 14:33-40). Women were not commissioned to preach the Word of God outside of the assemblies as well. How do we know this as absolute truth? Women were placed under the authority of her husband and to remain in the home and to bear children (Tit 2:4,5).
Can women teach young children in the assemblies? First, where is there such a commandment for women to do so? There isn’t any! Secondly, who was commanded to teach their children? That’s right, their own parents (Eph 6:1-4).
Did elderly women teach younger women? Yes! However, they only taught them to love and obey their own husband and to love their family, being a chaste keeper at home. Was this ever done in the assemblies? Absolutely not! There is no example or commandment for such to be done in the assemblies. To do such would contradict the commandment of Christ for women to keep silent in the churches.
Did Priscilla preach? No where in the bible does it even suggest she ever preached the word of God to anyone. There is one scripture which tells us that she and her husband took Apollos aside privately and there it was explained to Apollos the Word of God more accurately (Acts 18:26). No where was Priscilla ever called a preacher or teacher of God’s Word. If Priscilla had taught Apollos she would have violated God’s Word in two ways. One, she would have usurped Aquila’s authority. Secondly, she would have violated God’s Word by teaching a man. As Paul commanded the Corinthians, “But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent (1 Cor 14:30). This was true for Peter and John when this was spoken, “But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19,20) Did both speak at the same time or did one speak and the other hold his peace? The same can be applied to this verse as well, “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). Did all the apostles speak at the same time or did one speak and the others hold their peace? Even so, in the case of Priscilla and Aquila, Priscilla was commanded to hold her peace and let the man, her husband, speak.
Friends, God has given two separate roles for Christian men and women. Faithful men are commanded to preach, to teach, and to lead. Christian women are commanded to guide the home, bear children, and to be under the subjection of her own husband. Children are to be under the subjection of their parents. Without this order there would be no elders to guide the church. Without this order, false teachers will enter into the church and devour it (Acts 20:28-31). If you are attending a church which violates this order, you are attending a church which is not under the subjection of God.