The Theological Implications Of A Woman’s Role In Church Leadership -- By: Mike Stallard

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 12:1 (Spring 2008)
Article: The Theological Implications Of A Woman’s Role In Church Leadership
Author: Mike Stallard


The Theological Implications Of A Woman’s Role In Church Leadership

Mike Stallard

Professor of Systematic Theology
Baptist Bible Seminary, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania

We live in a schizophrenic society. On one hand, it is alleged that we have evolved socially to the extent that women are equal with men in every social area of life. Women can lead the home. They can oversee the church. They can govern the nation. They have a government-sanctioned right to do with their physical bodies what they want, including the abortion or murder of unwanted children. On the other hand, right across the hall from where an abortion might occur, in the same hospital, tens of thousands of dollars or more are spent on high-tech equipment, high-priced drugs, and expensive health expertise to keep a premature female baby alive.1 The contrast is striking.

From the vantage point of such a conflicted mindset, our culture is struggling with the identity of manhood and womanhood. What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman? What do men and women have in common and what is different about them? Do any differences go beyond mere biology and influence the social realm? The schizophrenia continues. There are simultaneously the drive on the part of many modern feminists to mold men to be more sensitive and caring in a perceived feminine way and the often asked question, “Where have the real men gone?” One cannot have it both ways. Both concerns cannot radically coexist in present dialogue about social issues. It is not possible (at least for the same promoters) to seek to feminize men and then reasonably complain about the fact that true masculinity has declined.

This paper is designed to look at how the feminist impulse brought on by the modern feminist movement has affected the theology and practice of the church. To be sure the placing of a woman in the role of pastor has consequences that must be covered in such a study. However, the presentation here swings a larger orbit to analyze the impact that feminism, which is usually behind the idea of female pastors, has upon theology in general and church practice in particular. Hopefully, the result will be a more complete theological mosaic showing many potential points of damage to life, ministry, and theology which must be avoided.

This study is the first in a series of articles given on this issue by numerous authors. Many of the other articles will deal with specific biblical texts in the debate so it is not necessary to do so here. As such, this article assumes that the exegesis of the many significant passages has already been done (

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