As our culture continues in its downward spiral of the gender/egalitarian debate, I think the topic of women teaching outside the walls of the church is interesting to explore. I would like to focus on the question, “Should a woman teach a Bible class at a seminary?” Some closet egalitarians will say, “It’s not the church, so a woman has the freedom to teach since she is not preaching.” Let’s take a deeper look…
1 Timothy 2:12, “I [Paul] do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent.”
This verse, set in context of Church functions, is a clear-cut verse commanding that women are essentially not to be pastors. We also see in this verse that a woman is to not teach or have authority over a man. What does this look like for today? Going beyond the topic of seminaries is not for this week’s discussion, but the implications should definitely be explored in the future.
A seminary, by nature, is a school that teaches Theology and Biblical Studies (aka: the Bible). Typically speaking, men who are training to be pastors are the attendees. Of course, there are men and women who attend who do not intend to be pastors. Historically though, seminaries were for those who were to become pastors, missionaries, or theologians. In the past, the church/Pastor was the Seminary! We had a pastor (a man) teaching a man.
Because seminaries are relatively a newer concept, it seems that if they were around during the time of the Apostles, it would have been included in this passage of Scripture, because the verse explicitly says, “I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man…” This is in the context of teaching the Bible—where the context of a seminary is also that…teaching the Bible.
Going further on in the passage to Paul’s reasoning is very enlightening:
v13-14. “For Adam was created first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed.”
Why in the world would Paul give this as his reasoning to women no teaching or having authority over men? It’s quite simple actually. “For Adam was created first, then Eve.” Wayne Grudem and John Piper with the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood will affirm that because of the Creation order, the man (Adam) is ultimately responsible for the woman (Eve) and she is to submit to his authority because he is responsible before God. So, a woman should not teach or have authority over a man is because men, in general, are the authority of women. How the home functions will exude over into the church and society.
Some reasons it is not good for women to be teaching in a seminary are as follows:
- It is not good practice because it sends the wrong message about women in church leadership and opens the door for women to become elders and eventually pastors. It is only a matter of time.
- The main reason that it is not good for women to be teaching at seminaries is because the Bible, letting Scripture interpret Scripture, does not condone it.
Wayne Grudem, in his book, Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth states, “I do not think it appropriate for women to hold Bible teaching positions in Christian colleges and seminaries, because this responsibility is very similar to the Bible teaching role of elders in the New Testament…”1
We as the Church must remain faithful to what the Bible teaches. We cannot let the influence
of our confused culture influence our interpretation of the Bible. We must stand for truth and women must stand down.
- Wayne Grudem, Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth: an Analysis of More Than 100 Disputed Questions, Reprint ed. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 389.