Christianity,  Theology/Bible

What is the role of women in ministry?

Todd Wagner is the pastor of Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas. He was my pastor for several years when I was a student in seminary, and I am very grateful for his ministry. In the video above, he gives a quick answer to the question, “What is the role of women in ministry?” It is a concise, eight-minute summary of biblical manhood and womanhood, and I commend it to you.


  • Dean Cathcart

    I would take issue with his statement at 6:34 that if a woman finds herself under godless leadership she is to “step up… and call those men to account.” To rebuke or confront is to “exercise authority,” which 1 Tim 2:12 forbids.

    • Akash Jonathan Charles

      also he says Godly men are not misogynists…
      what is his definition?
      is a man who wants his wife to be a homemaker a misogynist?
      will the elders punish that man?

      churches these days

      also complementarians still need to provide a single verse where God condemns Patriarchy…

  • Christiane Smith

    What is not clear to me is what happens when patriarchal interpretations of sacred Scripture intersect with the role of moral conscience in the life of a human person affected by such interpretations. I would appreciate more clarification, especially after reading the comment made by DEAN. And thanks for any help here.

    I remember attending a lecture given by a woman who had written on ‘Bloom Where You Are Planted’ at a hall in a Methodist Church. We were invited to ask questions at the end and, having heard that ‘women are to submit to the authority of their husbands without question’, I thought immediately about the role of the woman’s conscience IF she was told to do something that would violate her conscience. I asked the question, and what followed was a VERY spirited debate among the speaker and the ladies present. Fortunately, the minister of the Church was there to keep order. I had inadvertantly touched on a very sensitive area (I was Catholic and had been invited by a friend and was sorry to have caused any problem.)

    I never did get any resolution to that question from the speaker herself. In retrospect, I think she may have been following teachings inspired by patriarchal points of view.

    The role of moral conscience . . . does it have a CLEAR position of importance in patriarchy. And, if it does, what role? How is the gospel lived out when conflicts arise within the moral conscience of any person who is supposed to be ‘under authority’ that may not be ‘godly’? These are important questions not easily sorted out.

    • Ben Carmack

      Did the (un-named) woman speaker in the Methodist church really say, “Women are to submit to the authority of their husbands without question”? Sorry, it seems to me you are conveniently remembering that quote, since NO ONE who supports biblical patriarchy, including Denny, would ever say such a thing. Surely you recognize that you are straw-manning here…

      All feminists, and really all people, submit to authority. At some point in our lives, all of us are “one under authority,” like the Centurion. When a professor sets a deadline for a term paper, the dutiful feminist student turns it in by that deadline. She submits to authority. When a feminist is told to stop by a crossing guard, she submits to authority. When a feminist is ordered by her boss to complete a task, she does so to his specifications, submitting to authority. As Chesterton observed, women rise in the workplace because they are dutiful, and quite suited to office work.

      In these cases, she thinks nothing of submission, nor of compunction of conscience. It is assumed that submission is the norm, but no one would think this submission is total, i.e. if your boss told you to kill a baby you wouldn’t do it out of blind obedience. Everyone knows there are limits to submission but submission is still accepted. This is how the social order works.

      The bitter irony is that a feminist who obeys her professor, her boss or a traffic cop refuses to submit to her husband in their home. ONLY there is submission “degrading” to her “humanity.” ONLY here do we become precious about the “moral conscience.” Yet the same feminist could go to work at Planned Parenthood, sell baby parts for profit and think nothing of submitting to the grisly dictates of her employer…why bring up conscience when there’s money to be made, right? Just tissue, right? Another boy!!!

      Dear woman, do you see the double-mindedness of your critique? Do you see that authority is all around you, and that you submit to it? Why make a principle of disobeying authority in only the home or church? Why not obey what our Father recorded in His Word about His Creation Order? Why not see that authority is connected to the fatherhood that is inherent in the male sex, created to be a sign of the Fatherhood of God over all Creation?


      • Christiane Smith

        Hi Mr. Carmack,
        I recount the incident as I remember it. My own concerns over the specific position of ‘moral conscience’ in relation to ‘patriarchy’ remain unresolved. Thank you for responding.

        I think the issue of ‘authority’ and ‘moral conscience’ is an important one, but is very complex. There comes a point at which most people will face some kind of ‘moral dilemma’ and when that happens, it is good to know that the Church does have teachings on the dignity of the human person and the validity of informed moral conscience in the life of that human person. God Bless you, too.

  • dr. james willingham

    I wrote a response the other night, but it is not posted. My post called attention to the fact that congregationalism undoes the issue and that Matthew Poole, Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall and even John Robinson, the Pilgrim’s pastor acknowledged this fact. Ou problem is that we know so little about our past.

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