Female Subordination Challenge: -- By: Gilbert Bilezikian

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 17:4 (Fall 2003)
Article: Female Subordination Challenge:
Author: Gilbert Bilezikian


Female Subordination Challenge:

Proponents of female subordination are asked to prove their case from the Bible.

Gilbert Bilezikian

Gilbert Bilezikian is professor emeritus of biblical studies at Wheaton College (IL) and cofounder of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. He is the author of many books including Beyond Sex Roles and Community 101. This article is on CBE’s Web site at www.cbeinternational.org.

Presented here is the ninth of ten challenges being printed in Priscilla Papers to prompt Christians to grapple with biblical facts rather than accepting without question traditional assumptions about female roles and following blindly institutionalized mis-readings of Scripture.

Challenge 9

Cite a biblical text that prohibits the ordination of women to church ministry positions.

The facts

The evidence indicates that women were entrusted with the ministry of the Word in New Testament churches. There were female prophets (Acts 2:17-19; 21:9), female teachers (Acts 18:26; Titus 2:3), female church leaders (Rom. 16:1, 3-5; Phil. 4:3; Col. 4:15), and even a female apostle by the name of Junia (Rom. 16:7).

There is no text in the Bible forbidding women to be ordained because, according to the New Testament, all believers without exception are ordained by God to do ministry on the basis of their spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:7, 11; 14:31; Col. 3:16; 1 Thess. 5:11, 1 Peter 4:10-11). In fact, those very ministries that are traditionally viewed as requiring “ordination” carry only a supportive role according to the New Testament (Eph. 4:11) while the executive part of the ministry, the works of service that build up the body of Christ, belongs to the “non-ordained” people of the congregation (v. 12).

The practice of ordaining select people to hold positions of authority in churches should be viewed as an ecclesiastical tradition rather than as a biblical prescription. Thus, Paul and Barnabas were already among the recognized prophets and teachers of the church in Antioch ...

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