Summary: The Bible establishes role distinctions in the Lord’s churches.
God’s Glorious Church
Role Distinctions in the Church
Woodlawn Baptist Church
May 29, 2005
Today we come to the last of the four messages I want to preach about women and their roles in the Lord’s New Testament churches. It has been a joy for me to study these passages and subjects and share them with you, and it has been a reminder to me that no matter how long we are saved there are still many things we need to learn.
In today’s culture, it is clearly difficult to talk about God-given differences between men and women. On the one hand we don’t want to be attacked or mocked by others. Perhaps we fear that someone will take offense if we talk clearly about God-given differences between men and women. Others simply turn a deaf ear to talks about our differences, as some did last week when they told me and others that they had been hearing this stuff all their lives and didn’t need to hear it again. That sort of statement reveals hurt and woundedness, or perhaps pride and spiritual arrogance. When I preach salvation or heaven or many other subjects that have been preached all your lives it is okay, but to talk about male headship in the home or church puts a preacher in troubled waters.
I must admit that to a large degree, we have a wonderful church in that I am given great freedom to preach and teach the Word of God. I believe I am given that freedom because you pray for me and for God to lead us. I am given that freedom because you want to know what the Bible says and how it applies to every area of our lives, whether it be our personal lives, your marital relationships, or our church life. The freedom you give me to preach reveals much about our church and our desire to be first and foremost biblical in all we do and believe.
Now, let’s continue our discussion of male headship and women’s roles in the church as we read Galatians 3:28. I want to preach from this verse because it has served as one of the chief verses of those who deny that the Bible teaches role distinctions. That is, there are many Christians today who claim to have a high view of the Bible, but also believe that the Bible does not teach that there are role distinctions between men and women. Since this is one of the verses that these people go to, let’s read in Galatians 3:28 God’s Word which says…
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Before we continue, let’s review what I have preached so far:
• God places great value on women, and this high value has been demonstrated throughout history.
• Jesus demonstrated great value for women
o By His treatment of them
o By the way He spoke to them and about them
o By ministering to them
o By engaging them in ministry
• When God created man and woman, He instituted male-female equality
• In the institution of marriage and the church, God’s design is for male-headship
• In the context of the church, women are vital and important members of the church who can and should be involved in many areas of ministry and responsibility, but they are not permitted to exercise authority over men as teachers or preachers.
Now, the argument that is usually given is that when God created Adam and Eve, He created them both as equals in terms of their roles and functions. There was no headship for Adam; there was no submission for Eve, and that these ideas only came into the world after the fall. The argument goes on to say that in redemption in Christ, male and female are restored to the original created relationship which has no male headship, no male authority in the church or in the home. Galatians 3:28 is one of the verses used to prove this idea. “See, here is what the Apostle Paul says, that there is no male or female in Jesus Christ.”
Just last week someone said to me, “Brother Kevin, you said that women should not exercise authority over men, but Paul said that in Christ there is neither male nor female. Men and women are equals now, so that stuff you said about women not teaching men doesn’t work because we are all equals.”
Here’s how we’ll approach our subject: first, let’s see if the New Testament teaches role distinctions. Second I’ll share with you three popular arguments against the Bible teachings, and thirdly I want to give you the proper responses to those arguments.