Friday, March 26, 2010

vlog: women as teachers, preachers, and leaders...

At the core of who we are, we must admit that we don't have all the answers. The truth is, I could feel dogmatic about a certain topic then read a commentary or listen to a theologian and completely change my mind.

I've been asked several times via Twitter, formspring, and facebook what are my views of women teachers. I found it interesting how some the questions were phrased because it felt like entrapment, more than a inquiry of my personal thoughts. I also found it difficult to respond to because not only is it part of my profession, but it's part of who I am.

Given my gender I tread cautiously and respectfully in certain church realms. Some churches allow women to serve as leaders, lay-pastors, or even senior pastors. Other churches won't allow women to teach, lead, or wear makeup (obviously I'm not invited to the non-makeup churches!). Both groups have scriptures, convictions, historical cultural contexts to support their beliefs.

All I know is one day I will stand before God Almightly and be asked, What did you do with my Son? The only thing I want to hear after is, Well done good and faithful servant!
This post comes with much fear and hesistation because my church has graciously invited me to share during Passion Week. My church celebrates the equality of women, yet understands Divine Hierarchy and the need for theological order within church walls. But for the first time in our church history, a woman will be sharing about Jesus, Easter, and us. That woman is me.

I had reservations knowing there may be some who want to bring out the theological whip. But, as my pastor/daddy reminded me, I'm simply doing what the first evangelists did: proclaiming Jesus rose from the dead, He is who He said He is, and our lives will never be the same because of His demonstration of love displayed on the cross. Furthermore, my father wisely concluded, the first evangelists were women. Touche Daddy, touche!

If you're in the SoCal area like to join Shachah and me for a night of worship and teaching, come down April 3rd at 6pm.

Eugene Cho stands on egalitarian view of women serving in Church and it's an interesting read with a hilarious link on a satiric post on why men shouldn't be ordained. *Note: Satire is tongue-in-cheek humor.
Pricilla Shirer gave a great answer to the Should Women Teach/Serve question on her website.
Tyler Braun wrote three posts about this exact topic. As a seminary student, I valued what he had to say greatly and appreciated the links he provided for further discussion. Read all three posts!


Jason said...

Well, you're certainly stirring the pot on your way out the door for the weekend. :) Hopefully this won't get too heated.

I tend to agree with Tyler out of the links you posted.

Stephanie said...

You are an asset to the Kingdom of God. Truly, we are better BECAUSE of your heart & walk. Keep preachin', keep lovin', keep allowing His passion to motivate you!

I love that His redemption power is VISIBLE in your countenance!

(Can I be your personal cheerleader?! ;))

Jenn said...

I think you have handled this very well. If you gave your opinion, you might be stoned. If you just ended with "I don't know" it would've been lame.

Thank you for sharing your heart. My husband believes women should be pastors but he enjoys your insights and perspective.

But... I'm nosey. Would you become a pastor? If you don't answer, I understand.

Krystle said...

In my point of view the church is simply people getting together to talk about Jesus. The pastor is answering his/her call to pastor much like I am answering the call to be an entrepreneur. There is nothing more spiritual about my pastor being a pastor than me being an accountant/entrepreneur. If a woman can have a job then why couldn't it be in ministry?

Personally, not a big fan of the idea of a lead woman pastor because I think women tend to be more emotional. That being said, I'm also not a fan of a pastor who is led by his emotions rather than the word.

Bianca said...

@Jason: I'm SO glad you commented. I knew you would agree with Tyler and he's the deal: SO DO I. Weird, right? But I think he gave a balanced view and well-supported arguement! Where I have issues is when people expect me to hide my gifts or stay under a rock. I'll tell you a story one time that nearly knocked my socks off. I was SO sad.

@Stephanie: Thank you for your constant support and encouragement. You make my day with every single comment.

@Jenn: I will answer this question for YOU. Why? Because you sincerely want to know and have been a long-time commentor on the blog. So... I have no desire whatsoever to become a pastor. I'm not called. Period, the end. My father is an amazing pastor and I have seen him go through the ringer in pastoral ministry.
My aim and gifts are equipping the Church and teaching believers. By and large it's women and I'm very content doing that :)

Anonymous said...

I think when GOD calls you to serve him, he doesn't seem the gender but the servan and willingly heart to serve him.. keep doing what has has command you to do which is teach, preah and love people that usually other don't love..

Rachel H. Evans said...

Brave post, Bianca! Having been told myself, "You'd make a great pastor if only you were a guy", I can really relate.

Please keep using the gifts God has given you. And please keep that humble and open attitude that allows you to be so gracious in the midst of controversial issues. It really sets you apart.

A great book on the subject of women and leadership is Scot McKnight's "The Blue Parakeet." He points to women in Scripture who were prophets, warriors, leaders, preachers, teachers, and disciples.

I'm an egalitarian myself, but I respect those with different viewpoints and ideas.

Faith, Food and Fitness For Real said...

Preach on Girl! Hahah Watching your blog this morning really encouraged me, it fanned the flame in my heart to get out there and do my part. Haven't been feeling it lately.

I know that wasn't the intent but Praise God for the Holy Spirit to speak in different ways and use you this morning to do that for me.

You are def gifted and I pray that the Lord uses you in a mighty way!


Diandra Ann said...

Oh Bianca... I love that you deal with tough issues head on :)

You and I have talked about this so I know you know where I stand, but for the sake of conversation... here it is :)

First of all, I believe that God gives us gifts for the purpose of glorifying Him. If you have the gifts needed to do ministry, then why on earth wouldn't God want you to use them? I don't believe that these gifts and talents should be wasted because I happen to be a woman.

Second, the verse that I hear most often used as a backing for why women shouldnt preach is found in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and it says,

"34women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church".

Now we need to take into account that this was spoken by Paul to the church in Corinth. This is not a command from God, but rather, Paul's solution to a problem that was happening in that church at that time. There was a problem of gossip and women speaking out of turn in that place at that time. Paul was simply offering a solution to a problem.

The other passage that is often quoted in favor of women not being in ministry is found in 1 Timothy 2:8-14 and it says,

"8I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.

9I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

11A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner."

Women in that day were less likely to be literate and educated than men and were not often trained in philosophy as the men were. Paul's point here is that a "novice" or someone who doesn't have much knowledge should learn submissively and quietly. During that time, heresy was spreading in the Ephesian churches through false teachings and these false teachers would use the women's lack of knowledge to spread their errors. Paul offers a short term solution: that these women should not teach (which helps explain verse 14). His longer range solution is "let them learn" (2:11) It seems to me this is more an issue of not having the needed knowledge rather than gender itself.

He uses Eve to compare the women to in this situation, although earlier in his teachings to the church in Corinth, he also compares the church as a whole to Eve. Once again, it seems to not be a gender thing. It wouldn't make sense that he is implying that all women are more easily deceived than men, because then his illustration in 2 Corinthians 11:3 would lose it's weight. Not only that, but the local false teachers at the time were men themselves!

Now this is all said as a woman who is a youth pastor. I do not feel called to be a senior pastor at a church, and I do see that there are situations in which it could be very difficult for a woman to be in that position simply because there will be men that will not be willing to hear their words. However, I do NOT think that it is not Biblical for women to be in ministry. As with everything, we need to take into account the background and the times.

That is my (very long) 2 cents :)

Anonymous said...

This is an intesresting conversation and definitely dangerous territory.

I do believe that the bible is clear on certain roles in regards to gender.

It's not a matter of capability or ability, because there are men and women who are capable of great things, but rather it's a matter of God-ordained roles.

I believe that when you think about it along these lines, certain roles and leadership positions either become welcomed, or unwelcomed. God has perscribed and ordained certain roles to males, and certain roles to females.

Again, it's not a matter of ability or wherewithal, but rather a matter of being the best in the role that God has ordained for you.

Jennifer Lebron said...

Hey B. I have been asked and ask this question SOO many times. I LOVE being able to teach and mentor, but when boys are involved I hesitate because of 1 Cor 14 anf 1 Tim 2.

I taught in a few home bible studies in college and my youth pastor found out and asked my friend, "With guys in the study?" And he didn't hesitate to tell me, "that's not what is allowed in the bible."

I was definitely convicted, because it was a concern, I asked our study leader then, "What about the whole, no woman over man thing." And he said just this, "I am not here to judge or tell you when you can, or can't use your gift."

But to this day, I get uneasy when I am in a group of men and women.

Because... if I question 1 Tim 2... then I am questioning God's word and intention...

And if all the word is "God breathed." It's not like there is some hidden agenda to keep the woman down...

It's just... it's all or nothing with the Bible...

I was VERY curious to hear what you had to say, because I saw a picture you posted once, right before you went to talk, and I immediately saw the men sitting in the front row, and I wondered...

So thanks for this.
I think and weigh the situations I am in all the time...

I wish, there are days when I seriosuly wish, "Man. I wish Paul didn't write that." LOL. But he did.

Bianca said...

Wow, great and diverse comments and discussion.

@Jen, I've wrestled through those scriptures as well. @Diandra really spoke passionately about this topic one time over lunch and we had a REALLY good talk.

For crying out loud I feel like a FemiNazi!

STORY: The youth pastor at my church asked me to give a brief overview of the book of Ruth before we began a 6-week study on it.
He asked me because the year before I had done an exhaustive study through the book.
He asked me to share because I'm literally 10 years older than the kids.
He asked me because he knew how I respected our male leadership.
*However* when I got up for my 5 minute overview, two men left the room. I was SO hurt and SO thrown off I couldn't believe it. I wasn't trying to usurp male authority. I wasn't trying to bemoan women's roles. I was simply laying a quick foundation for the study.
Does it have to be like this? Do we have to get legalistic about things? Really?

Bianca said...

@JonsReality: GREAT input and insight. That is a view I can respect and understand.

@RachelHeldEvans: L-o-v-e-d your view point... you FEEL me! I've got to go pick up that book... thanks!

@FFF (Monica): Woohoo! If I've spurred you to use your gifts, holler! Thanks for not thinking I'm crazy.

@Anonymous: Yes, I agree. But I also want to respect people who don't view things the way I do. I don't want to be a stumbling block to people, yet I don't want neglect my calling :) Thanks for your continued support.

Anonymous said...

I love it! Preach it lady! God totally gave you the gift, and you are using it... and that is awesome! God will bless you and bless other's because you are listening to HIM and doing what he asks of you!!

Anonymous said...

I love it! Preach it lady! God totally gave you the gift, and you are using it... and that is awesome! God will bless you and bless other's because you are listening to HIM and doing what he asks of you!!

Dana said...

Should a woman serve as pastor/teacher/preacher of the church? Of course she should if that is what God has called her to do on this earth. Ultimately, we are here to please God. Not a man, not a woman, not a rule or regulation. God. That is who our lives are centered around. We are to follow what He says no matter what and with total faith knowing that He will provide what He promises. Persecution and other unwanted things may come, but as long as His will is being done, that's all that matters. God used unconventional people throughout the Bible to preach and teach His word. It's not about the person delivering the message. It's about the message!! =)

Léa said...

thanks, very good vlog.
Sharing His goodness is what WE are ALL called to do.
enjoyed listening to you.


Kelly said...

I know many who wrestle with this subject as well. I attend and work in a Church of God in Christ church. Our stance is that women can teach the bible.
I have an amazing opportunity to "speak" to a young adult bible study from another denomination. I went to God in prayer asking how I would be received. The Lord has led me repeatedly to Psalm 135:6 -"Whatever the LORD pleases He does,In heaven and in earth,In the seas and in all deep places."
I've heard a preach say, "Sometimes the best person for the assignment is a WOMAN."

Brianna said...

I really like Diandra's explanation and clarification on the scripture and I would tend to agree with her viewpoint.

I believe that God is not a God of confusion. If a woman feels a calling and a conviction from God to preach/teach/whatever, she should listen to it.

love ya.

Anonymous said...

WOO HOO - GREAT vlog today!!!!
Wonderful insight from all your blog followers...I agree most with "jonsreality". :)

ps...the scripture that always gets me is 1 Tim 3:12...


Anonymous said...

side note-regardless of our view Dre and I will BOTH be there next Sat to hear you preach it!!! Holla! :)


Anonymous said...

Me again... you know I just LOVE this topic!!

So, I finally read through the 3 different view points from the people you linked (mentioned) and I agree with Tyler about 99%. :)

love you, love you, love you!!

Tyler said...

Love what you had to say in the video. Thanks for including my posts!

Renay said...

I love your boldness, B! Way to attack these touchy/controversial issues head on. Having said that... I am not ashamed to say, "I don't know" either!
Although I feel (and this is just me) that it would be out of context to use 1Cor 14:34,35 to argue against a woman teaching men; I do, however, wrestle with 1Tim 2:11-15 and two particular views/arguements.

VIEW 1: Girls don't teach boys.
Some teachings/commentaries I have heard/read state that God's word is clear that women are not to teach men or have authority over them. Period. The end. But, and even though I think jonreality said it better, it doesn't mean that your purpose and calling is thwarted by your gender. Serve the Lord within your God-given role. We can teach children, young women, we can serve, encourage, pray and prophecy, etc; just not teach or have authority over men (I know there should be scripture references here but I don't have them... believe me they're in there).

On the other hand...

View 2: Girls can teach boys sometimes.
I happened to read one commentary that states that "Paul spoke of a CONSISTENT practice of teaching or exercising authority, which would not preclude an OCCASIONAL teaching situation to be done by a woman for men." I also feel this is valid because of who Priscilla was in scripture. Priscilla and her husband Aquila were "co-laborers" with Paul in the early church and scripture states that both "Aquila and Priscilla ...took [Apollos]aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately" (Acts 18:26). They BOTH instructed Apollos. And Paul, by frequently mentioning them in scripture, recognized, and for the sake of this arguement, HER, her abilities, gifts, etc. However, she did not instruct or have authority over the men always.

So, here are two views that I consider legit, even though I have yet to make a decision. :)

Abraham said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sunny Cain said...

As a female leader in the church (I am in the Worship Leader role, but am a worship pastor @ heart), I have been divided over the years on this topic. I do appreciate the fact that you gracefully expressed all sides of this intense subject. Diving into the theology is extremely critical, but so often I think we get hung up on the theology and border on "Pharisee-ism". The fact is that I am a woman, who loves the word of God, has been radically transformed by God, and has been called by Him into my "position" to be a light to the nations, allowing God to shine His light thru me, to encourage the hearts of weary folks, to stand on a platform of redemption, to spur them on to love & good deeds, & to allow them to see that which my Savior did for me. The way I see it...Church leaders are faucets that God pours His living water thru, and faucets aren't trapped in a "what sex are they" kind of circle...they simply are turned on (by Almighty God) and poured thru! God chooses to speak words thru me, and if men can't learn from them simply because they are hung up on the fact that I am a deeply saddens me....and I believe that it brings sadness to my Father too.

I am in complete agreement that a woman should not hold the office of elder or senior pastor...but for goodness sakes...let's stop being so hung up on people's sex, status, etc...and focus on going out and making disciples of all nations...EVEN THE WOMEN!

James said...


I don't believe in women pastors. Just to clear the air...

BUT what do pastors do?
*serve others
*cast vision

All those things women do. So, biblically I'm against it. But in the GRAND scheme of things, women have been doing it for years. We don't need titles... God knows what we do.

Keep rockin' it out Bianca. But be careful of people who want to start drama. You don't need so I'd advise you to stay away from the title. But you already know that :]

Abraham said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lauren said...

Ah! this is so crazy that you started talking about this! On wednesday, my youth pastor and I were discussing this and trying to find answers from the bible, but it was just left a little bit unsolved. Thank you SO much for your opinion and insight! I love following your blog because of your passion and insane love for Jesus!
Thanks again :)

Anonymous said...

"insane love for Jesus!"

Agreed! Insane! From the mouths of babes we shall find the truth.

Anonymous said...

My hubby and I will be there!! We will be praying for you!! We are very excited for this!! :)

Christa said...

I was quite taken with your comment as to why you're not a Pastor.
I attended Bible college to complete a 1 Year certificate, which basically prepares you to continue on with regular college/university studies.
You also have the option to change over to the 4 year theology degree program, thus leading to be an ordained minister.
Anyway...I completed the certificate much to the dismay of many people. A lot felt I 'should' have changed my program and were very clear in letting me know that.
Truthfully I think they just wanted me to become a Pastor's wife.
But I agree 100% that we can be used by God and still not be "called" to be a Pastor. I don't understand why some are still so closed minded about such things.

Mama D.'s Dozen said...

Always LOVE your controversial discussions. :)

I have had a speaking ministry for 25 years. I have, primarily, spoken to women's groups. But ... I have also spoken to mixed groups of men and women.

Biblically ... I think there is a HUGE difference between a woman being the regular "teacher" of men, and especially an "authority" over men ... versus the occasional speaker/teacher that shares with a mixed crowd. I personally would NOT feel comfortable being the weekly Sunday School "teacher" of men, nor would I (in a church setting) want to be the spiritual authority over men (while I have been the authority over men in a workplace setting ... and even was my husband's "boss" for 4 years). I believe that women have stepped into far too many leadership roles in the church, and sometimes (even if we have the gifts) we need to step aside and encourage the men to take their God-given authority/leadership.

On the flip side ... a couple of my own experiences.

#1 After writing an article for our local newspaper about my son's deployment in Iraq, I received a phone call from a Senior Pastor asking if I would be interested in giving a Sunday Morning Message at their church (on the same topic). I knew that this church was one of the "women are NOT to be in leadership" types of churches. But, I said, "Yes", fully believing that the Lord was going to use me in this most unusual situation (for this denomination). On Sunday morning, upon my arrival, the pastor took me aside and explained that "women are not allowed in the pulpit", and would I mind standing down on the floor (not up on the stage) behind a podium rather than "the pulpit". I said, "No problem." I was not in the least bit offended or upset. No ... I was proud of this pastor for stepping out of the box, but I also wanted to respect these long felt beliefs.

#2 I was the nightly speaker for a 5 day Family Camp. (My husband gave the morning teaching.) One of the men that attended the camp refused to come to any of my sessions (and forbade his wife from attending my sessions, as well). While I was sad, I still respected his right to his own belief system and I was glad that the Christian Camp had given me the opportunity to speak, even if some of their "campers" might be offended. (This same camper was VERY upset that my daughter was the teen leader for the week, and SHE was "teaching" his son.)

While I agree that many women are gifted as pastors ... I would not feel comfortable in a church where a woman had the role of Senior Pastor or Associate Pastor. I am fully supportive of women as Worship Leaders ... Women's Ministry Pastors ... Children's Pastors ... etc... Just NOT in a position that would place the woman in any type of spiritual authority over men of the congregation.

Love ya B.

Mama D. :)

Lindsay said...

Love this discussion! I agree that God is not a God of confusion and that he designs our gender and personalities and gives us callings and passions for a reason. I think sometimes people get tied up with titles and positions when it should be about our heart and serving God. Lots of things to think about...thanks for being honest!

Bianca said...

I totally appreciate the insights, convictions, and clarifications offered. This is a touchy subject and I hope toes weren't stepped on.

I believe in divine hierarchy. Just for the record...

Anonymous said...

The Eugene Cho link is hilarious!

I love that, in the end, you're not letting anything get in the way of using your gifts. It doesn't matter what your job title is, as long as you're doing what God has called you to do.

Ms. Trish said...

THANK YOU FOR THIS. you put into words what has been in my heart.

i like you a lot. =] im glad i stumbled upon your blog.

Adam said...

I think you've really hit the nail on the head. You're here to preach the Gospel and that's all that matters anyway. I'm sure your Dad is really proud of the strong Woman of faith you have become. The flip side to that guy's comment is that even if you were born a man then that would not necessarily make you Pastor material.

It's sad really that in the body of Christ we spend so much time trying to address doctrinal issues while people are out in the world crying out for help. I guess sometimes instead of sweating the small stuff we need to look at the larger picture (which is what I think you've said well in the video).

Becca said...

I wanted to ask you, how did you get involved in ministry?

tabbath said...

Hi my name is Tangie. I watched Your video.. Thought it was interesting. Bible says when we speak lets us speak as the orcales of God 1peter 4:11. So I pray that you hear his voice an not mine. In your video you said you are not sure whether women should be preaching or not. We must remember who we are and our roles according to Gods Word we know that he is not the author of confusion 1Corinth 14:33. We are to speak where the bible speaks and be silent where it is silent.

Ish 55:8-9 Says our thoughts are not his thoughts neither our ways his. Often time when we have to ask for man opinions over an over again "theologians as you said" Is a sure sign that you refuse to hear the Answer God as already Given you.This is call rebellion someone wanting to direct their own path and not letting the LORD direct their foot steps. Here are some scriptures you may already know but refuse to bow down too also a video.. I hope this will Help. Acts 17:30 and the times of this ignorance God winked at: but now commandeth all men every where to repent.

1 corth 11 good chapter (remember to KEEP the ORDINANCE)
Titus2:3_5.. (Teach the WOMEN) there is a lot of us out here. Your job would be endless
1tim 2:12..
I pray that your heart is not harden on the matter.. that your spirit is not as jezebel. Pm me anytime.. Take care May the spirit of God Lead you and guide you to all Truth.

Mpumelelo Kunene said...

My Dear sister in Christ..

I write this with full confidence that you are a sister in Christ. One, because I scoured through your videos on Utube and was blessed to see a young lady actually speaking some sense. Two, because of the way you treated this here topic.

I'd like to admonish you, sis, as a fellow brother in the ministry of Christ, and I'll be very short. The scriptures, in the NT canon, prohibit you as a female mainly from two things : 1. Teaching in the church (1 Tim 2:11-15, also note the wording in 1Tim 3 and Titus 1:5-9).
2. Speaking in the context of weighing prophecies in the church (1Corinth 14;29-35)
In summary, you are not allowed by Our Precious Lord to talk doctrine in the church. That's something He's reserved for men. It's a matter of roles.

You can, however, teach YOUNGER women (Titus 2;3-4) and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ wherever you go to whomever (Matt 28:18-20-Jesus said this to all His disciples, not only to the men, and John 4 - the Samaritan woman went and told everyone about the Christ. basically pointing everyone to the Christ, which preaching the Gospel is.)

You'll do well to even remember to learn from your husband, for the main problem I see these days with women who think they can teach is they forget to learn from their husbands in quietness and full submission. Anyway, the Grace of the lord and the fellowship of the Spirit be with you always.

andrea chiu said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for inspiring us.
Keep it up and continue on what your doing. Visit my site too.


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