This subject is a topic that has resonated with me since I went to Bible College in the early eighties. The President of the Bible college believed that the calling to an office leadership gift (e.g., apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor-teacher) was gender-specific – for males only. He did make an exception for this, however, stating that if a man had a call on his life to be a pastor and he chose not to pursue it, and there was no other male in the periphery that was called, then God could raise up a woman to be placed in this position. He also believed that the offices of apostle and prophet were no more.
There probably were as many as 100 branch ministries or churches of various sizes that were affiliated with this Bible college. Whatever was taught from the pulpit was advocated to be taught in all of the branch ministries. I’m sure that the effect of any doctrinal view is far-reaching in the sense that when you have a worldwide ministry with many members, there are views that are espoused, which are expected to be followed by its members, whether or not they agree with them.
Probably, in most worldwide churches, it’s possible that there may be at least one doctrinal view that some of its members have second thoughts about. For instance:
● The Catholic Church believes that the Scriptures forbid women to hold the position of a priest although they do allow a place for the women in the church, being that of a nun.
● The Episcopal Church believes that members must confess their sins publicly before the group during worship service so that they can receive absolution (the assurance of God’s forgiveness) from the priest.
● Some Born-Again Christian Churches advocate that a believer can lose their salvation.
● Some Seventh Day Adventist Churches believe that Jesus is not God, but an angel.
● The Church of Latter-Day Saints believes that Noah’s Ark was built in Missouri, USA.
● Buddhism believes in reincarnation.
● The Jehovah’s Witness group believes that the Holy Spirit is not God, but a life force.
● Christian Science believes that sickness does not exist.
● Islam believes there is no original sin.
● The Unitarian Church believes there is no continued human existence after physical death.
Interesting perspectives, aren’t they?
I have no official position as to whether the Bible is gender-specific concerning the calling of a Christian to an office-gift in the New Testament Church. I hope to have a better understanding of this topic after this undertaking. Since much of the contention in the church seems to question whether a woman can be the pastor of a church, we will initially focus on this idea. If it is confirmed that she can be, then we could assume that she also could be called to the office of an apostle, prophet, or evangelist. If it appears that we can derive very little information to confirm this, then we will look to see if there are any indications that a woman could be called to any of the other leadership positions.
Before we begin to look at Scriptures that speak about gender as relating to a person occupying the office of a pastor, let’s take a look at the conjecture that there are two ways to formulate a perspective on any biblical topic. What would be the reasons that would support such divergence? Let’s find out in the next chapter.