Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Are the Women Too Part of the Fivefold Gifts of Jesus to the Church?

Q: Can a women be a pastor or be called to be in any other fivefold ministries?

A: Women can and should equally exhibit their gifts within the Church (1 Cor 11:4-5; Acts 2:18; Titus 2:3-5). But the fivefold ministry gift is something that is exclusive for men but it is not a principle but an exception (Titus 1:5-9; 1 Tim 3:1-13); Eph 4:11). God may call a women and give a women any of these gifts but rarely this happens (Rom 16:7). The fivefold ministry is something in which the gifted men have authority over all people and especially men in the Church, to make them accountable in order to guide and shepherd them to maturity in their spiritual lives (1 Peter 5:1-7). This is the only thing that Apostle Paul forbade the women not to get involved in (1 Tim 2:12-15; 1 Cor 14:34-36).

When Jesus gave gift of the ministry office, he gave
"gifts to men" (Eph 4:8, d). Note the male emphasis in this word men and it is not women. All these gifts of fivefold headship function is a place of exercising authority spiritually over men and all the Church in common (Eph 4:11; 1 Tim 2:12). Yes "Junia" is a female apostle who was an exemplary one (Rom 16:3), but how many more? You can count it by hand. All I say is that, God can choose a women in to the fivefold ministry if he really wills. Who is man to ask God why he did it, if that man who asks such a question is a male chauvinist. God sets the rule, we are here to follow and not debate whether God should take a vote and bring the majority opinion in to force. This is the reason I said, it is not a principle or a rule to God but an exception.

You see according to the context of
Eph 4:11,"gifts to men" (Eph 4:8, d) does speak about the fivefold ministry. The word in Greek used for "men" here is 'anthropos'. Generally it may mean 'manfaced, that is, a human being: - but certainly it means, man.' This does'nt mean that women are not at all gifted in the Body of Christ. All women are gifted but in this context it certainly mean a man because Paul speaks both in Titus 1:5-9 and 1 Tim 3:1-13 for the qualification of the same fivefold office of 'Bishop and Deacons [i.e. Fivefold Ministers]' to be certainly men. Because Paul the Apostle is the author of this Book of Ephesians, it implicitly refers to 'man'. This certainly shows that men are the first choice of God for fivefold ministry.

Some people who are neo-feminist
[i.e. one who stand for social equality of both sexes] think that because God has given men the prime priority in the fivefold headship ministry, they think that God is not just. God has his own reasons for doing it, this is what Paul the Apostle describes as the reasons for God doing it, 1) Man is not from woman, but woman from man (1 Cor 11:8). 2) Man was not created for woman, but woman for the man (1 Cor 11:9). 3) Man is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man (1 Cor 11:7). 4) Head of every man is Christ, but the head of every woman is man (1 Cor 11:3). 5) The word of God first came originally to man, who was expected by God to teach the woman and all his progeny (1 Cor 14:36). 6) Adam was formed first, then Eve which implies that God wanted man to be the head of the family of God and human family (1 Tim 2:13; 3:5; Eph 5:24, 32). 7) Adam was not deceived first, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression (1 Tim 2:14).

For example, because boys can handle the hot sun, a teacher of the class says to her boys, go and cut the unwanted plants using big heavy cutters and then push those heavy lawn mower and beautify the whole thing. Then it is like the same teacher telling the girls to help the boys in pulling up the plant and taking all the plants that were cut to be collected in the trash can. Who is better? Nobody is. All have the gift to do a particular thing and the teacher has assigned the job according to each one's ability. The boys are strong physically so the teacher knows that those boys can handle strenuous work and for girls the teacher has given a complementary work to make the whole work of cleaning the school ground to be efficient. Without the girls doing it, the boys may take more time to finish that job. But with both working together for this particular cause, the whole work is done efficiently. GLORY TO GOD! This is the reason man and women are both equally gifted in many things, but the roles they play are different. Both men and women are made to complement each other rather than compete against each other. When both work together with one purpose, the end product will be efficiently achieved with great success. God has given unique role to play and He loves to see it happen his way. Think about the great apostolic ministry of Jesus, always people speak greatly about the miracles and the teaching that happened through Jesus, but many forget that it was women who financed the whole thing and it would not have been possible if it were not for them
(Luke 8:1-3). Praise the Lord! Together we extend the kingdom to the ends of the earth!

People say, "In Christ, there is no male or female, even as there is no racial difference. If a woman can be an evangelist or prophet, she can be a pastor, apostle or teacher. Ephesians 4 makes no distinctions." The above quote is derived from
Gal 3:28. We cannot mix this Scripture in Gal 3:28 with Eph 4 because in Ephesian 4:11, He is particularly speaking about the authority of fivefold hand of God which He has appointed within the Church (1 Peter 5:1-6). But the way people interpret this Scripture is little bit different from its intended context because of mixing both. It's original interpretation is, "Whether man or woman, slave or free, all can relate to God equally and are equal in God's sight. In those days women were not considered equal in Jewish religion with the men worshipers. Hence Paul made it clear by explaining it to them that they were equal in God's sight and that they can relate to God equally because all who have faith are the sons of God [i.e. mature personality who can intimately relate with God in a deeper way and not like a child]. This Vertical relationship with God which Paul is speaking about should not be mixed with the Horizontal relationship with in a family or in the bigger family of God [i.e. the Church]. God has set roles and given gateway authority according to it, within the family and also in the same way within the family of God [i.e. the Church] (1 Tim 3:5). In other words, we cannot mix our relationship with God to the lifestyle He has set and has commanded us to live in this earth.

I have told these things based on the context of the Scripture which Paul is emphasizing to the Galatians Believers, who have started to be legalistic by falling from grace and by rejecting faith formula for law of Moses, which is not God's New Testament way of living. And also this is not a exhortation or correction for dispute that has happened either in the family or in the church because of gender issues or social difference."

All the fivefold gifts of Jesus to the Church are the following which Paul describes saying,
"... He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." (Eph 4:11-12). All the fivefold ministry gifts are Headship ministry. All of the above are like fingers of a human hand which Peter the Apostle after understanding its work clearly, portrayed it in 1 Peter 5:1-6. Generally speaking about gifts, we cannot separate them and say this particular gift is for men and the other is for women. All men and women in the Church are gifted. But the fivefold ministry headship gift has been given to men. When all of the five gifts work together we are actually working in apostolic order and that hand will not be a paralyzed or handicapped hand, but will be a mighty and a powerful hand of God.

Prophesying is a gift and both menservants and maidservants of God will do it when they are filled with the Spirit
(Acts 2:18). If Paul wanted no women to preach or prophesy inside the Church where they have men sitting in the congregation, why should he say to the women in the Church to cover their head and prophecy inside the Church (1 Cor 11:5). When Paul was saying women to keep silent in the Church (1 Cor 14:34-40), he was not saying not to allow them to speak in the Church, but not to allow them to dispute about doctrines inside the Church and create contentions among the believers. He is advising the women in the Church to discuss such doctrinal issues with their husbands and clear it all in their home. The fivefold ministers set the doctrines of the word during the first century and taught it to the congregation as a standard to live by in all Churches (1 Tim 4:12-16). Also fivefold ministers were foundational Apostles who wrote the Scripture like Paul and God later canonized it through godly men and made it the Sacred Book that we use today as our main text Book of all books.

When women teach the word of God, it comes under the section of the gift of the Father to all believers in the Body of Christ
[i.e. Body Ministry] (Titus 2:3-5; Rom 12:3-8). Women also come to receive all the gifts of the Spirit which belongs not just to the fivefold ministers of Eph 4:11, but to the whole Body of Christ [i.e. Supernatural ministry] (1 Cor 12:7, 11, 27). Paul the Apostle compares the sovereign appointment of the fivefold ministers of Eph 4:11 with the sovereign choice of the Holy Spirit, who gives a particular gifts to a particular person at a particular time in 1 Cor 12:28-31. Paul used these comparison to make us understand that it is God the Holy Spirit who is the one who will decide which gift will fit us for a particular time of need. But we must be open to all the gifts and should desire it all earnestly, especially prophesy because it will bless some one with a word directly from God (1 Cor 14:1; 24-26).

Please check the following link which will give a balanced and a thorough view of "Women in life and ministry" :

Much LOVE and Blessings......


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