What the Bible says about female clergy

Ben Witherington III from Asbury seminary shares an old post he wrote aimed at all the common arguments why women should not be clergy or leaders in churches.

The post goes into a fair amount of detail and exegesis. It serves as a caution against assuming we understand everything in the Bible. If you find the post too dense, I suggest you pick up some of Witherington’s books. I’ve found them to to be excellent and his insights into the New Testament always valuable.

Of course, there are people who disagree with Witherington’s argument on the issue of women in leadership. I am persuaded by his case, though. And I am grateful that it is made without declaring the Bible — or Paul — simply wrong or outdated.

Here’s how he ends this blog post:

As I have learned over many years…. the problem in the church is not strong and gifted women. We need all those we can get, and were it not for them, many churches would have closed long ago. I remember so vividly meeting the babooshkas– the grandmothers in the Moscow Baptist Church, who had stopped Stalin from closing the church by standing in the door and not letting his troops enter and close it down. Thank God for strong, gifted women in the church. No, the problem in the church is not strong women, but rather weak men who feel threatened by strong women, and have tried various means, even by dubious exegesis to prohibit them from exercising their gifts and graces in the church.


One thought on “What the Bible says about female clergy

  1. Thank you, John. One of the things that concerns me about the future of the church IS the role of women. Sadly, I think some conservative male #umc clergy would embrace Anglican faith if they felt compelled to disconnect from the UMC–even though many Anglicans do NOT endorse the ordination of women. It seems to me that there SHOULD be a clear place in the church for orthodox women to be in ordained leadership roles. I don’t see that place anywhere EXCEPT in the United Methodist Church; but if the United Methodist Church changes it’s position regarding homosexuality, that place will be lost.

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