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Should Women Be Priests?

One of our readers recently submitted a question of only two words: "Women Priests?"  We understand him to be asking about the ordination of women, as this is now being done in the Anglican Church and in many other Protestant denominations. 

Before we address the matter of women's ordination, we wish to say something about priesthood.  Holding to the great Reformation doctrine of the "priesthood of all believers," we do not hold with a special priesthood of any kind in the NT church.  If there is any priesthood in the NT Church besides that of Christ (Heb. 4:14-16), then it belongs to every believer and not just to a select few (I Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6).

As priests we all have access to God, without any intermediary except Christ (Eph. 2:18; 3:12).  As priests we make intercession for others in Jesus' Name (I Tim. 2:1, 2; I Thess. 5:25), and as priests we all offer to God that only sacrifice that can be offered in the NT, the living sacrifice of our own bodies in thankful worship (Rom. 12:1, 2; Heb. 13:15, I Pet. 2:5).  There is no special priesthood, male or female, in the NT.

As far as the ordination of women is concerned that, too, is clearly unbiblical.  In every passage that speaks of the place of women in the church, the Word of God insists that women are not to be in authority but in subjection.  They are not to rule or teach in the church (I Cor. 14:34, 35; I Tim. 2:11-14).  Indeed, one qualification for elders and deacons is that they be thehusband of one wife (I Tim. 3:2, 12).

The verses that speak of women keeping silence do not mean that women are not allowed to say anything at all in the church, but that they may not speak in positions of authority.  They may not teach or rule or lead in worship.  They are to be "under obedience" in those cases, and may not "usurp authority.

The issue, therefore, is not whether God gives spiritual gifts to women.  He does.  The issue is not whether women ought to use their God-given gifts.  They should.  Only, the Holy Spirit who gave them those gifts forbids them to use their gifts in the offices of the church.  That is the issue.

We do not deny that women have a role in the church.  They have a very important place and calling in the church (I Tim. 2:15; 5:9-14; Tit. 2:3-5).  They have responsibilities in the church that belong to them alone and to no one else.

On the subject of women's ordination, however, Scripture is absolutely clear..  The only way to get around the teaching of Scripture is to deny that Scripture is the infallible and inspired Word of God.  That is why those who favor women's ordination say that the passages we have referred to are only Paul's words, reflecting the culture in which he lived and his own low view of women.  If Scripture is the Word of God, then these verses are not Paul's thoughts but the mind of will of God Himself.  He says: "I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man!

The integrity of Scripture is real issue here.  The whole women's ordination movement constitutes an attack on the authority and inspiration of Scripture.  In opposing women's ordination, we are not only opposing an unbiblical practice, but another attempt to undermine and destroy the Scriptures as God's infallible and inerrant guide for all of our faith and life.  Let us, then, stand fast!

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Additional Info

  • Volume: 7
  • Issue: 5
Hanko, Ronald

Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)

Ordained: November 1979

Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002; Emeritus October 15, 2017


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