‘Ordination of women as pastors and bishops in Christ’s church is unbiblical’

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Dr. Larry B Patrick

In Summary:  Should Women be ordained as Pastors and  Bishops in the Christian Church?  Pastor Dr. Larry B Patrick,  Professor of Theology  Charis Theological Seminary, Houston, Texas, USA asks.  But he doesn’t stop there. He offers his answer. Grounded in Scripture, Pastor Dr. Larry Patrick, in a candid and categorical manner states that those calling for the ordination of women as pastors and bishops in the Christian Church are reading the Bible upside down.The erudite pastor is spoiling for a spiritual fight with those calling for the ordination of women in the wake of the recent enthronement of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Samuel Stephen Kaziiba Mugalu as the 9th male Archbishop of the Province of the Church of Uganda on Sunday March 01, 2020. So, take it or leave it, Prof. Larry Patrick’s answer to his set question and response to recent calls by some commentators that it was now time to ordain women as bishops in Christ’s church is as provocative as it is sobering. The ‘blue corner’ is still without a fighter. Anyone?

Pastor Dr. Larry B Patrick,  Professor of Theology  Charis Theological Seminary, Houston, Texas, USA

Houston, Texas--Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. My heart is heavy as I write this article for, I must speak to so many well intended Christians who have fallen into a modern-day snare of Biblical interpretation.  As a professor of theology for 32 years and a  pastor since 1975, I have personally witnessed the fall of academic excellence and the spread of liberal interpretation of the Bible to the modern day “follow what is popular”  movement. This liberal and socially accepted interpretation, based on a “no context belief”, is being used by so many, that experts are surfacing who have no training in Hermeneutics and yet are being accepted as scholars.

Could the enthronement of Rt Rev Dr. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu as Archbishop of the Church of Uganda have re-ignited the debate on the ordination of women as pastors and bishops in Christ’s church or it was just a coincidence?

Nowhere is this more evident than in the recent articles supporting “Women Pastors and Bishops” being published worldwide.  When the bible has over 200 verses teaching a principle of Divine truth, and someone takes one verse to try and say the one verse overrules the 200, then you know we are in a serious condition in the Church. Nowhere is this abnormal tendency being used more than in the defense of “Women Pastors” by taking Galatians 3:27-28 out of the context in which it was written. When I was a student the most emphasized rule that was taught was  “context, context, context”. And to always interpret a doctrine by the teaching of all scripture in the Bible. Using the numbers above, we can safely say that the new trend is to take two verses to force an unbiblical interpretation of the other 198 verses that teach a divine principle.

I do not think any Christian is unaware of the plain teaching in the New Testament concerning the relationship between men and women in the Bible. None of this Biblical teaching is based on culture since God is omniscient and would only allow the writers to write a Divine viewpoint and not human viewpoint. If, however, we begin saying it is cultural, then the Bible cannot be taken as God’s whole truth and interpreters can “culturize” whatever disagrees with what they do not want to accept. I will attempt to be brief yet as thorough as possible by beginning with the Old Testament teaching on God’s established truth concerning men and women. Peter summed up this tendency 2000 years ago with the following statement: As 2 Peter 3:16 states, “they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto  their own destruction.”  If you are one of those that believe the writers of the Bible interjected their cultural beliefs into what God was saying, then you need not read further. The author believes that according to 2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. Therefore, scripture should not be interpreted by conveniently removing what you believe is bias to your beliefs, based on what you believe is outdated cultural teaching.

Let us begin by stating, that Paul is not trying to undo the Biblical teaching in the Old Testament, for he reaffirms them when he wrote this verse in 1 Corinthians 14:34, Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.  Please note that when he said “as also saith the law”, he just obligated the entire teaching of the Old Testament to the teaching of the New Testament as concerning women in the church. Therefore, the teachings of both  Testaments are not cultural but divine teachings that will ultimately help us understand the divine truth of God. God does not arbitrarily establish an order just for the sake of doing it. Everything He does has meaning and can only be understood through much study and prayer. He says in Isaiah 28:13 “But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and they're a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.”

In the light of the “weight” of scripture on any topic, these immoral teachers run for the cover of cultural interpretation, making the true author of the Bible (God the Holy Spirit) non-omniscient and bigoted.  First, let us look at some things in the Old Testament worthy of consideration:  God sees woman rule as a curse: Isaiah 3:12,  Only Males Received The Sign And Seal Of The Covenant: Genesis 17:10  Abram Is Called; Not Sarai: Genesis 12:1  God Appointed Only Men To The Priesthood: Exodus 28:1  Elders Were To Be Men: Exodus 18:21, 25.  Only The Males Were Commanded To Appear Before The Lord: Exodus 23:17 Deuteronomy16:16-18. The Firstborn Son Got The Inheritance: Deuteronomy 21:16-17.  The Firstborn Male Had The Birthright: Genesis 25:31-33

Men Were To Rule The Children Of Israel: Deuteronomy 1:13-15.  God Commanded Men To Represent Israel And Carry The Twelve Stones In The Jordan River: Joshua

4:1-3. No evidence of the covenants was given unto a woman. God included all in salvation, but only in the Jewish male was evidence of the covenant required by ‘Divine Law’. Yet, Moses came close to death for not circumcising his son on account of the objections of his wife. Also, please take note of the anger of Zipporah at having to save Moses’ life by circumcising her son. Exodus 4:24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. 26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.

Zipporah did not relate to God, but Moses did. She did not want her son’s foreskin cut off and Moses had abided by her wishes. Now, however, he was being called as the messenger of God, and the first requirement is that the messenger himself demonstrate obedience. This same mentality was demonstrated by Job’s wife, who despite all that God had given her before Job was tested, grieved so much at the loss of her children and possessions that she was willing to curse God. Job 2: 9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse  God, and die.  Both Job and Moses’ wife found their relationship with their husbands more important than their relationship with God.

The desire of woman to be equal with man began in the “garden of Eden” and led the world to ruin. Satan knew that the women could be deceived and that the only way to conquer man would be to get him to choose against God because of his love for the woman.  1Timothy  2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. But the most telling scripture in the Old Testament is found in Zechariah: 5:5-11, “Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth  forth.  And I said, What is it? And he said This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth. And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah. And he said This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah, and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. Then lifted I up my eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? And he said unto me, To build it a house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.”

In speaking of the woman in the ephah, the writers of “The Bible Knowledge Commentary” wrote:  The material of which the measuring basket was made is not identified, but it had a cover of lead to assure the security of its contents. When the cover was lifted, a woman was observed inside and was identified as wickedness. The woman (probably because the Hebrew word for wickedness is in the feminine gender) was wickedness personified, a term denoting civil, ethical, and religious evil. The interpreting angel had to keep

the woman (wickedness) in confinement. Not only must the wicked in Israel be punished (the vision of the flying scroll, Zechariah 1:1-4) but also wickedness itself must be removed from the land. The writers of “The Bible Knowledge Commentary” did not understand that God was not just taking wickedness  out of Israel; He was delivering it to a specific land, the “land of Shinar.” Shinar, as a land, did not exist at the time of the writing of the prophecy. In the above verses, woman is considered “wickedness” and is locked away in a large kettle “ephah” with a 100 pound plus lead lid [talent of lead] to keep her in the large kettle. She was then taken to land in the future that did not exist yet, “Shinar” where there and only there she and the  “wickedness” she represented would be let out of the large kettle “ephah”.

Bible scholars have already identified the “land of Shinar” as latter-day Babylon. The Shinar of Zechariah is the Economic and Political Babylon of the last days as mentioned in the Book of Revelation and many have further identified latter-day Babylon as the United States of America. Since before the birth of Christ, the Jews have written that the words “……….To build it a house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established,  and set there upon her own base” meant that the time would come that in the land of “Shinar” women would have political, economic and religious authority. It has become popular to view Gal.3:28 as an expression of the most basic and authentic Pauline attitude toward women and to interpret it as establishing equality between man and woman that annuls any gender-based distinctions within the church. Four objections to this view may be offered.

First, Paul in this text is making an assertion about the equality of all people before God, probably with a view to the Jewish prayer in which the man expressed his thanks to God that he had not been created a woman, a  slave or a Gentile. Although it is frequently pointed out, it must be reiterated again: equality in status before God does not require the abolition of all hierarchical relationships. Secondly, it is false to view Gal.3:28, therefore,  as the central Pauline text on women, since that is not the basic topic. Thirdly, it is methodologically objectionable to exalt one text to programmatic status and dismiss or interpret in a forced manner the “weight”  of all others. Fourthly, and by far the most important, it is the Spirit of God, not Paul who is the true author of  Galatians. Therefore, all complaints of sexism must be directed toward God.

Now let us look at a few New Testament scriptures worthy of consideration:  God told Eve that Adam shall rule over her and that Adam is the head.  Genesis 3:16, Ephesians 5:23 & 24 and 1 Corinthians 11:3 “But I would have you know, that the head of every  man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God.”  Women are to be in subjection to their husbands 1 Peter 3:1-6, Titus 2:3-5 and Ephesians 5:22 “Wives,  submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” A Bishop had to be the husband of one wife, not the wife of one husband 1 Timothy 3:1-2 "This is a true saying, if a man desires the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the  husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach."  Elders were to be the husband of one wife, Titus 1:5-6 "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest  set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be  blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly."

What are we to conclude from such a sexually oriented presentation of scripture? God did not allow, except in a few instances which are easily explained, women to rule his people Israel. Also, He never allowed a woman to act as a priest before Him or before the people or a pastor in His church. The Jewish Aaronic priest is what we would call a pastor today, yet this is the very thing that the women’s movement in the United States (Shinar), declared they wanted as far back as 1966.  The National Organization for Women's 1966 Statement of Purpose: We organize to initiate or support action, nationally, or in any part of this nation, by individuals or organizations, to break through the silken curtain of prejudice and discrimination against women in government, industry, the professions, the churches, the political parties, the judiciary, the labor unions, in education, science, medicine, law,  religion and every other field of importance in American society.

After accomplishing their purpose in the United States, they have now exported their victory to every country in the world. But we are not blind today to what women really wanted in the garden, that is why in His judgment,  God told woman that because of her sin, man would always rule over her.  Genesis 3:16, Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow, thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Our final consideration is found in the prophecy of Jude 11, Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of  Cain and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.  Although all this verse in Jude is worthy of consideration, only the words “and perished in the gainsaying of  Core” will be examined here. Core is the Korah of Numbers chapters 16 and 17. Only one group of people qualify without debate to “perish in the gainsaying of Core (Korah)”, the women of the church. As was Korah, all members of the body of Christ are priests [Levites], but as with Korah, not all members qualify to be a [Aaronic]  priest or pastor before the Lord. There were qualifications given to Moses as to who could serve in the temple as a direct representative between God and man, they had to be born of Aaron. Korah ignored what God had said, for he lusted for the attention of the position and claimed that we are all holy and equal.

Just as it is today, ignoring the biblical qualifications, women have lusted for the same thing as Korah did, and have used the exact same reasoning as did, “we are all equal”. Needless to say, just as with Korah, who had the support of the people even after God judged and punished him, women today have been carefully guided by their “stroked” winged protectors of Zechariah and are receiving greater and greater support for their drive to become pastors of the Body of Christ. And just as the people rejected God’s judgment and were ready to stone Moses in protest, Jude says that when Christ returns He will have “to convince (with vigor and thoroughness) all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” It seems unbelievable that after the tribulation, Christ will have to convince those of the false Church that all they had done was evil.

With all the above evidence of the difference between men and women and why God has continued that difference, women have run in these last days to Galatians 3:27-29 to once again try to accomplish what they tried to accomplish in the ‘garden of Eden”: equality or rulership over man. In the last few decades, Christians have increasingly debated what the Bible teaches about the roles of men and women and Galatians 3:28 is a critical text in this discussion. In 1999, a book was written by Richard W. Hove, director of Campus Crusade for  Christ at Duke University entitled “Equality in Christ?”. Below is a book review by Dallas Theological Seminary:

Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 158. Dallas Theological Seminary, 2001; 2002, S. 158:246.

I shall let this report speak for me.  In chapter 1 Hove examines the broad context of Galatians 3:28 by examining the flow of Paul’s argument in Galatians 3–4. Paul argued that with the advent of Christ (3:23, 25) and the coming of the Holy Spirit (3:14; 4:6) believing Gentiles are included as the people of God. Thus, the context supports the notion in 3:28 that before God there is neither Jew nor Greek but all are one in Christ Jesus. Chapter 2, the longest chapter, deals with the more immediate context, namely, Galatians 3:26–29. Hove demonstrates that the structure of these verses shows that verse 28 is not an isolated verse but is an integral part of the passage that is framed by the two clauses in verses 26a and 29. He then examines each verse in this passage in more detail, investigating the contextual, lexical, and syntactical issues with a thoroughness that is often missing in commentaries.

In his lexical study of the term “one” he concludes that the diverse parts share something in  common, that is, “they are united in some respect, in contrast to their diversity.”  Hence the expression “you are all one” denotes unity as opposed to plurality. Thus those who accept the claims of Christ, whether Jews or Gentiles, have no distinction in race, nation, class, or gender in their status with God. Notably, this absence of distinction results in unity, not equality.

Chapter 3 examines two basic interpretations of Galatians 3:28. Hove demonstrates how egalitarians emphasize the sociological implications of the verse whereby everyone who is “one in Christ” enjoys equal opportunity regardless of race, class, or gender. In contrast, he observes that complementarians emphasize the theological implications of the verse, that is, the inclusion of all people, men and women alike, united in Christ. Hove next defends this latter view by showing that the expression “you are all one” implies some sense of equality,  that is, oneness before God. Oneness involves theological equality which differs from unqualified sociological equality. Men and women while one before God;  nevertheless, represent differing roles in the church and in the earthly family.

Feminist  Christians find the above verses of the Old and New Testaments offensive and relegate their inclusion in the Bible to the cultural bias of the authors of both Testaments. But we have already shown that it was not Paul’s cultural bias but the determined “revelation” of the Spirit of God which included them in the Bible. If we could not find cultural bias in 1Timothy 2:14, then every New Testament verse of scripture relating to a woman’s relationship to man comes from the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is not schizophrenic, He has not said two totally different things about the same issue. It is a gross violation of hermeneutical principles and a direct assault against God to try and force a meaning on scripture for the sake of one lust pattern. Korah tried it once, and  God showed how He felt about it then. Does He really need to do that again? If He were to open the earth at a  convention of women pastors, would the Church get the message, or would they respond as the people in  Korah’s day responded? The choice is yours.

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