I must always study to show myself approved and to be a good instrument for the Holy Spirit. But even Paul stressed the necessity for the Spiritually Mature to teach. In Acts 14, Luke tells us that Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in each congregation. And another lesson that I have learned is that I have much, much more to learn.
A person who is knowledgeable and capable of teaching the Bible and biblical principles in the middle of a bunch of newbie Christians… It stands to reason that this person is a missionary.
I want to share two examples…
Born in Virginia on December 12, 1840, Charlotte Digges Moon grew into a cultured and educated woman. During a sermon in 1873 at her church in Cartersville, Georgia, she heard her call to China to share the gospel. On July 7, 1873, the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention appointed her a missionary to China and in autumn of that year, she set sail for Tengchow. Lottie spent most of her missionary years in Tengchow and P’ingtu where she taught at mission schools and ministered to women. She eventually adopted Chinese dress and learned the Chinese language. Having immersed herself in Chinese culture, Lottie earned respect among many Chinese people and her missions work won many to Christ. At the urging of Annie Armstrong, the SBC annual Christmas Offering for foreign missions was named Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.
Throughout the 1880s and 90s Utah Methodism's force of women missionaries varied between 10 and 15. Most of them assisted a male minister, but in smaller towns the ladies often worked by themselves, even holding Sunday services and delivering sermons. Most were single and thus able to devote their entire energies to one- to two-year missions. A few married while in the Utah mission field. And many developed trusting relationships with the Mormons among whom they worked. A Miss Baker, while teaching in Moroni, was asked on two separate occasions to give a talk at a Mormon funeral. Although most of these missionaries went quietly about their work, a few were outspoken warriors for national Methodism's campaign against polygamy. Missionary Angie Newman wrote and lectured with some success against the appointment of a Mormon army chaplain and the seating of two Mormon polygamists in Congress. She was also the guiding force behind the Salt Lake Industrial Home for polygamous wives.
Now look at this passage from Matthew 28:18-20
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Did Jesus mean make disciples of just the men? Did He mean just the Jews? When Paul used that Greek word translated “nations”…Ethnos he meant the Gentile Christians. But here, I take Jesus to mean all the human race.
So who was He talking to? The eleven disciples, of course. So when those guys died, did the Commission die, too? Of course not.
There is a cross reference in the NASB: Mark 16:11 “When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it.”
Gee. Was this because it was a woman that shared the Good News? Of course not. Belief is a personal choice and does not stem from gender.
What about other commands to preach and teach? Matt 10:27
“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.”
Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord
To name a couple… The fact is, we all have a responsibility which is given to us the instant we become Christians. Paul names them in 1 Corinthians 12 and we find in Romans 12 the motivating gifts we are given to do the job we are given responsibility for. The fact is, not all of us have the same responsibility or the same gift. This is what makes us a whole body and not a bunch of ears or eyes or hands or spare hearts lying around.
Were these commands just to men? Some people think so and even preach it to be so. It would seem Paul says so blatantly: Col 1:28 Him we preach, warning every man (anthrōpos) and teaching every man(anthrōpos) in all wisdom, that we may present every man (anthrōpos) perfect in Christ Jesus.
Did he mean to leave out the women? No, obviously not because of Titus 3 “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things–” But wait! What is that word translated “man” in the above verse? It is the Greek word anthropos meaning “of the human race whether male or female. Also meaning different from plants, animals, from God, from angels. In three words – anybody, everybody human.
Frankly speaking, when a person obeys the Lord and shares the Gospel with those around him, he is in the will of God, nothing else matters! When a person is in the will of God, He blesses their work, regardless of gender, race or stature.
So, if there is only one person who is Spiritually Mature to teach Biblical Principles and lead a Bible study (which btw is the same as preaching sometimes), that one person must obey God’s command through Jesus and teach!
The authority for the missionaries is the church. Why is it okay for women to be missionaries and teach men, but not okay for them to teach men in church? If it is against God’s will for there to be women teachers in the church, why does God bless the efforts of millions of women who teach in the church?
…unless, of course, Paul really was talking about a specific problem within the church at Ephesus.
The way I read that Great Commission is this: The Goal is when we meet someone to make sure that someone is never the same again because he or she has met Jesus. If everyone would keep that goal in mind instead of worrying about what color a person is or what gender the person is…the entire world would be changed one person at a time.
I do not think a woman should be president nor do I think a woman should be a Pastor. The reason for this is physiological–menopause. I don't care how many hormones a woman downs, she cannot control her emotions 24/7 when gripped by this monster inside, regardless of what Martha Stewart says. On the same coin, men have been known to lose self-control, too. But, there is a hierarchy set by God and that is 1. Christ; 2. Husband; 3. Wife; 4. Children. This godly hierarchy gives us the responsibility priorities, and I believe there is too much Scriptural evidence that illustrates God's willingness to set women in leadership roles when the men do not have the willingness or the ability or the maturity to step into their proper role. When a woman is God-called, she is given all authority for that position from God, not mankind.
The first example of this is Deborah (Judges 4). It takes a special woman to do well in the Spiritual leadership of a nation. Deborah did it. Does that mean all women can? No. Nor, can just any man do it. But, God does the calling, not humans. When God calls, it is our responsibility to answer that call with a pure and willing heart in obedience to our Lord Almighty.