In our continuing topic of common objections to women in ministry, the objection is raised that women cannot have authority in the church since wives are under their husband’s authority. The concern is that if women had leadership roles in the church, then their leadership role would be in submission to their own husbands. So instead of women making individual decisions, their husbands would be the ones making the decisions for them and the wives would be obligated to obey.
The objection comes from the theory that the husband is the ruler of the wife so that any decision she would make in a leadership role outside the home would come under his control. In essence, it is believed that women’s leadership in the church would result in their own husbands leading through their wives and how would that look if he was an unbeliever?
This common objection is easily countered with the fact that women can biblically make their own spiritual judgments without consulting their husbands. In fact God Himself went around a betrothed husband in order to bring a very important arrangement solely to the attention of his betrothed wife. The husband was never even consulted concerning his wife’s agreement.
God set a precedent by sending an angel to Mary to tell her of His plan for the birth of the Messiah.
Luke 1:30–31 (NASB)
30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.
31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
Mary’s agreement with God’s plan did not involve her asking for Joseph’s permission even though the pregnancy and birth would affect him too.
Luke 1:38 (NASB)
38 And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Matthew 1:18–21 (NET)
1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way. While his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 1:19 Because Joseph, her husband to be, was a righteous man, and because he did not want to disgrace her, he intended to divorce her privately. 1:20 When he had contemplated this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 1:21 She will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”