Recently a blog article entitled God Sends Both Men AND Women by Susanna Krizo was published over at The Junia Project. This week I would like to review that article and demonstrate the errors in logic and Biblical interpretation. I am not trying to attack the author as an individual, but rather focus on the arguments themselves. The types of arguments employed in the article are often used by people pushing for equal roles for men and women in church leadership. Understanding where the arguments go wrong can help us to both support women who are truly called to Biblical positions and also be faithful to Scripture where certain roles are restricted to qualified men. Before I even begin this 5-day and nearly 4000 word series, let me state up front that I believe both married women and single women can serve as Christian missionaries, as long as their specific missionary tasks and roles are not explicitly prohibited by Scripture.
Now before we jump into the blog article, we need to review some specific background. The Junia Project teaches incorrectly that:
“The Bible teaches that both men and women are called to serve at all levels of the Church, and that leadership should be based on gifting and not on gender” (About the Junia Project, emphasis in the original).
Notice that they use a straw man to imply that their opponents are arguing that church leadership is only based on gender. Not true. Has anyone ever argued that all men are automatically qualified for church leadership positions simply because they are men? I doubt it. And, if they did it would not be Biblical. Rather, the Bible defines requirements for pastors, elders and deacons that include both their gender (males) and their gifts (or qualifications). The Bible does teach that these church leaders must be men (1 Timothy 3:1-13), and that they must also meet numerous important qualifications including:
- above reproach
- husband of one wife
- able to teach
- not a drunkard
- not violent but gentle
- not quarrelsome
- not a lover of money
- manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive
- not be a recent convert
- well thought of by outsiders
Is gender included within this list? Yes, absolutely. It is impossible for a woman to be a husband. Is gender the only thing in the list? Far from it! Many (probably most) males do not satisfy all of these requirements. So, it is a straw man argument to say that “leadership should be based on gifting and not on gender.”
The correct, Biblical, position is that church leadership must be based on meeting that full set of qualifications of which one of the 14 in that list above is gender. On that list, I suspect the only one the people at The Junia Project want to ignore is the “husband of one wife.” Would they be okay with a pastor who was a drunkard or violent? How about a husband of four wives? Of course not. Well, at least I hope not!!!
The second error in their “About” statement is a little more subtle, but seems to have become ingrained in our modern culture. Notice how they say “leadership should be based on gifting and not on gender.” The unstated presupposition is that gender is not a gift from God. They are making gender to be mutually exclusive from God’s gifts. In reality, our genders—both male and female—are one of our wonderful gifts from God. I certainly rejoice in the God-given female genders of my wife and daughters. Gender was part of God’s original design:
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them…God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:27, 31).
So, addressing the actual article will have to wait until Day 2. Hopefully my post today will help you spot the incorrect presuppositions that often underlie discussions about gender and the Christian church.