Summary: This sermon discusses the different roles assigned to men and women in the church and explores the biblical basis for those roles.
A. Phyllis Trible wrote an article titled, “If the Bible’s So Patriarchal, How Come I Love It?”
1. In the article she recalls a story from her childhood when a woman missionary came and taught her Sunday School class.
2. The missionary was teaching the girls about the creation account and was helping the girls notice that everything God created got better and better and more refined and more sophisticated as each day of creation progressed.
3. Then the woman missionary asked the girls, “What was the last thing God created?”
4. Immediately, in unison and with much vigor the girls said, “Man!”
5. The teacher gently corrected them, “No, the last thing God created was woman!”
B. In recent years, there has been a liberation movement in all churches, including churches of Christ.
1. The liberation has to do with the role of women in the church.
2. Proponents of this movement labels as sexist any attempt to differentiate between the roles of men and women.
3. People who hold this view promote a doctrine of sameness in which women should be allowed to exercise the exact authority as men and hold any position a man can hold.
4. This movement has called for a reinterpretation of the Bible and in some cases a rejection of any part of the Bible that is Patriarchal (families, groups or governments lead by men) or misogynistic (a hatred of women).
5. Sadly, some have even rejected the Genesis account of creation because they can’t believe in a God who would create men first and women second.
6. That’s why I really liked the story I opened with which suggests that God’s creation of things were in a positive progression culminating with God’s final and finest creation…woman!
C. Ultimately, what matters is not what you or I think about this subject, but what God thinks about it.
1. That’s why it is so important for us to look to the Bible and allow it to say what it says about this subject, whether we like it or not.
2. So, what does the Bible teach about the roles of men and women in the church? That’s what I want us to consider today.
3. In all honesty, I can’t provide an exhaustive answer to that question in one sermon, but I want to give us an overview of what the Bible says, and then look at two primary NT texts.
I. A Biblical Overview
A. First of all, the Bible reveals that God has created both men and women in His image.
1. The Bible says: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Gen. 1:27).
B. Second, the Bible makes it clear that all who are in Christ are equal in value and spiritual benefits.
1. The Bible says: 26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:26-28)
2. This is a favorite verse for those who push for removal of a differentiation of gender roles.
3. But notice that Paul is the one who wrote this passage, and he is the same apostle who will in other passages push for gender differentiation.
4. Paul’s point in this passage is that one’s gender or race does not restrict them from oneness in Christ. It doesn’t exclude them from salvation and spiritual benefits.
C. Third, the Bible reveals that God highly values women and that they have always played an important role in what God accomplishes in the world.
1. Eve, was the first wife and mother (Gen. 2:18-24, 3:16, 4:1-2).
2. Deborah, was a judge in Israel (Judges 4:1-9).
3. Ruth, was a noble person and her son was the grandfather of King David (Ruth 4:13-22).
4. It was Esther whom God used to save God’s people from Haman’s evil plan (Book of Esther).
5. Consider the impact of the mothers of Isaac, Moses and Samuel and what about Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:42)?
6. Consider all the women who helped Jesus and the disciples (Mark 15:41).
8. The first person to witness the resurrected Jesus was Mary Magdalene (Luke 20:10-18).
9. From all these examples, we can clearly see that God values women and that they have always played an important role in what God accomplishes in the world.
D. In addition to the important role of women, the Bible reveals that God has always assigned roles of primary spiritual leadership to men.