Recently one of my blog posts has garnered some interesting comments regarding the issue of ordination. At the same time I received a request from a lady who believes that she has been called by God into ordained ministry. This post will deal with the issue of whether a female must be ordained to be a Pastor and the other comments regarding Paul and his ordination by Jesus will be moved to this post.
First of all there is the issue of whether a body of believer’s decision to reject the ordination of certain people constitutes a binding limit to a person’s gifting and calling from God. The question that I had posed earlier, is whether the leadership’s ordaining of a person actually makes them a legitimate Pastor? Also I was questioning whether the fact that one is rejected for ordination would take away a person’s calling from God to be a Pastor?
There have been times in the church where men thought that they could judge the gifts of God and that their own pronouncement was official. Because of this some of the books of the bible were not originally accepted as canonical but their rejection by some leaders did not take away the authority of these inspired books of the bible. In time the inherent authority in each inspired book of the bible was accepted. In this we see that the church did not have a right to make a book canonical. At best the church could only recognize a book as authoritative because it (the inspired book) had within it the witness to the inspiration of God. The final list of books was not chosen by a synod or council of the church. These met to ratify the books that the people of God had already chosen because of the witness of the scriptures themselves.
Now how does all of this relate to the ordination of a women Pastors? I personally believe that a true God-ordained choice of Pastor should be only to ratify and recognize what God has already chosen. Man’s ordination cannot make one a Pastor nor can the failure of some to recognize God’s gifting take away one’s gifting and calling from God.
Have you ever met a Pastor that was ordained but who did not have the fruits of the Spirit or the heart of a shepherd? Such a one is not a true Pastor gifted by Jesus himself. Jesus said that there would be hirelings who do not care for the sheep but who are there as shepherds for other reasons. These hirelings run away when the wolves come to make a meal of the sheep. The fact that they have been ordained by a church cannot truly make them a gift to the church. Only Jesus’ choice and gifting can do that.
Eph 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Eph 4:8 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
Eph 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
So what does a woman do who has been called by God to be a Pastor but the leadership of the church that she attends will not recognize a woman as qualified to be a Pastor? Some women will stay within the denomination and work within the acceptance of the people within that church. While they may not have the official “title” of Pastor, they can operate within their gifting in an unofficial way. They can shepherd the flock in home bible studies and in small group settings or in one-on-one situations.
Yet others will feel the need to be officially recognized by the church in order to do the full work of a Pastor. These may stay in the church and earnestly contend for the truth in order to change the mindset of the leadership and the church itself. Or they may find the fight for their acceptance too draining and they may leave for a church that will accept their shepherding without a fight.
On one of my other posts I received this comment from “Called and wanting healing”:
I am living in the parish in England where this is what’s preached http://www.stalkmunds.stixworx.com/mp3/roleofwomen.mp3. It’s hard because I feel so called into ordained ministry. Could you post this up on your site so that it can be commented upon and critiqued. After all it has to have been interpreted differently for the Church of England to have decided to ordain women in 1994. For example, I do not understand how the vicar can say that biblical submission is to put yourself under someone’s authority – I thought it had more to do with putting their needs ahead of your own. The vicar talks of Christ and beauty of his submission but surely that was in sacrificing himself for us – atoning for us, dying for us – there’s the beauty!
If you want to post it on your site so that people can respond to it that would be great or if you could recommend someone else who would be able to offer an critique of this sermon.
Thanks so much.
I will put my comments later into the comment section of this post. I encourage others to listen to the audio and comment and encourage this dear sister too.
One comment that I will post here is that submission of one to another is commanded in the New Testament. The reason that submission is commanded is not so that one takes authority over another and the one under submission is to be the door mat of those who take the lead. Instead submission is commanded because one cannot use their God-given gift unless the body submits to accepting that gift. I operate in the gift of a teacher yet I cannot force my gift onto anyone. My authority is not to take authority over others but my authority is to give out what I have been gifted with by the authority of the word of God. 1 Peter 4:11 says:
1 Peter 4:11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances [or oracles] of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
My gift will always be there whether I am accepted or not, but it will not be of benefit to another unless that one submits to learn from me. Submission then is needed to receive another one’s gifts. Submission does not create the gift but it allows the gift to flow into one’s own life and for one’s benefit. When a church accepts a woman Pastor, that church is accepting the gift of God and submitting to learn what God has to say through her. When a church is influenced by prejudice and refuses to submit to learn from a woman, that church may not experience God’s best. What God gives is to be received with blessing and not with a heart of rejection.