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 Issues | Ministry | Women and ordained ministry

Part 2 : Biblical teaching on gender and ministry? Is it still relevant?

Behind the issue of the roles of men and women in Christian ministry lies the question of authority.   In fact this matter lies behind most religious disputes.

The classical evangelical position is that Scripture is normative for Christians.  By this we mean that it does not simply describe what the early Christians did, but rather it gives us positive models for our own faith and conduct today.

We believe that the Bible is divine revelation, that is, the very Word of God.  This is what the Christian Church has historically held through the last 2,000 years.  For loyal members of the Church of England this truth is expressed in our formularies, in particular Article 6 but also the Canons of the Church and the Worship and Doctrine Measure

This truth about Scripture, that it is the very Word of God, dictates how we understand and interpret what the Bible says.  We cannot entertain the idea that one part contradicts another and we will always try to uphold the harmony of the whole.  We will approach the Bible with a great deal of reverence and humility knowing that we are handling the oracles of the living God.

Justin Martyr, one of the early Church fathers, commented when dealing with difficult passages;

since I am entirely convinced that no Scripture contradicts another, I will rather acknowledge that I do not understand what is written.

We also believe that God has spoken and presumably wished therefore that we should hear and has spoken in ways that are at least intelligible to us. On the whole we should not expect the Bible to be difficult or to require immense expertise to understand it. We will believe that because God has spoken then what matters supremely in interpreting the Bible is not how we read the Bible, but what God its author intends to teach us through it. This will make us particularly eager to test our understanding today against that of Christians through the ages. Finally, we will want to ensure that
if God has spoken, we are eager to listen. As the Homily says, the Holy Scriptures are God's
treasure-house; wherein are found all things needful for us to see, to hear, to learn, and to believe, necessary for the attaining of eternal life.


We believe and seek to show in the next part that the Bible does give us a model and pattern for Christian ministry.  We will show that this included the expectation that only men should be presbyters/priests in the New Testament Church.  Our conviiction about the nature of the Bible means that we believe this is God's will for His Church today.


A Biblical Perspective on Women's Ministries. Jessica Bowen outlines what the Bible has to say on women's ministry and discusses the ways in which women can serve today.


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Part 3 : Biblical teaching on gender and ministry – key texts

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