Teach Us, Mary: The Authority Of Women Teachers In The Church In Light Of The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) -- By: Nijay K. Gupta

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 29:3 (Summer 2015)
Article: Teach Us, Mary: The Authority Of Women Teachers In The Church In Light Of The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)
Author: Nijay K. Gupta

Teach Us, Mary: The Authority Of Women Teachers In The Church In Light Of The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)1

Nijay K. Gupta

Nija Gupta teaches New Testament at George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He has earned ThM and MDiv degrees from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary as well as the PhD in New Testament from the University of Durham, UK. He has published a commentary on Colossians (Smyth & Helwys, 2013), Worship that Makes Sense to Paul (de Gruyter, 2010), and several journal articles.

Several years ago, when my family had moved to a new city, we contacted a nearby church that had been recommended to us and we inquired about their stance on women in leadership. The pastor wrote this in reply:

As far as our position on women is concerned we take the view of Genesis 2 that man and woman are equal in status but different in role. Our own position is that it is inappropriate for women to preach to a mixed congregation since in 1 Timothy 2 Paul expressly forbids that. That having been said we have a very high view of women’s ministry, so women are involved in a whole range of different ministry opportunities including teaching children, teaching in the youth group ministries, helping in student ministries, and helping in many other ways. We have a number of women on the staff team who are engaged in these various ministries, though none of them are asked to preach, since we feel it is biblically inappropriate for a woman to address and teach adult men.

This is a relatively standard stance among many hierarchical churches and it is clear that congregations such as these promote women in leadership, but stop short when it comes to the area of preaching and authoritative teaching over adult men. The pastor above noted 1 Tim 2, and it merits citing the relevant paragraph here: “A women should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing— if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety” (1 Tim 2:11-15 NIV).

To many Christians, the implications of this text seem self- evident, as they apparently were to this pastor.2 Most hierarchicalists point to the importance of an argument from creation, especially the priority of Adam, but few are willing to go as far as ...

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