Misgendering our pulpits
Updated: May 5, 2022
The church is currently up in arms about Disney’s transgender ways. But we transgendered our pulpits decades ago. How can we wave the finger at them for abandoning creational norms?
“As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” (Isaiah 3:12, emphasis added)
Many people would be surprised to know that their churches are under God’s judgment. But the passage above shows that a clear indicator of God’s displeasure is that you have a woman in charge.
How many New Zealand churches have women filling their pulpits? How many church members think nothing of this? The Scripture teaches us that the pulpit is an exclusively male domain, and when we ignore the will of our Lord, we provoke his anger.
“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” (1 Timothy 2:11-12 Emphasis Added)
Since we have neglected to teach what Scripture clearly says about gender and its relationship with the created order, we are suffering due to ignorance. Many men are leaving, sensing that the women-led church is soft and missionless. Those who stay are on their way to becoming soft and missionless themselves. In the same way, men who want to remain in the pulpit have to become like women to avoid all appearances of “toxic masculinity.”
Women, in turn, no longer go to church to be equipped biblically for their distinct female mission in the home, or for growth in feminine virtue. Instead, they go for emotional therapy as they press on toward the same tiresome goals as all the other women in the modern world.
Of course, I’m speaking in generalities. My church does not allow women in the pulpit. But it is nonetheless true that feminism has the NZ church by the man-parts—and at this point, it would be impossible to draw back from our current unbiblical practices without feeling the worst kind of pain. If we repent, we know that there will be a mass exodus.
But it has to be done.
The Shameful Transition Of Our Pulpits
Though it could be said that feminism stripped men of their role, men have always had it within their power to easily resist this enemy. They simply have not. All forms of female leadership in the church are supported and maintained by men who have handed over their God-given roles without a fight. The transition of our pulpits from male to female was achieved through male self-sacrifice.
Now that we’ve gone the whole way, just as it is with biological men who try to become women, our transitioned pulpits look like a woeful imitation of the real thing. But at least Bruce Jenner was up front with his ugly gender-bending designs. We have the shameful and confusing spectacle of women parading around the stage like men, yet still wanting to be called women. It is somewhat understandable, since for the most part, the church knows that someone’s gender cannot be changed, no matter what mutilations they subject themselves to. But as our female pastors claim the roles of men, their cross-over efforts are no less futile and ugly than Bruce Jenner’s attempts. Maybe even more so.
Even if she wears a pantsuit, has a short haircut, and puts on a deep voice, a woman cannot carry the gravitas of a man when declaring thus saith the Lord in the pulpit. She can go full Joyce Meyer, but the created order will always work against her efforts to usurp the authority that was given to man at creation. What she does when she is preaching is a different thing than the real thing. It is impossible for her to truly wield an office that is male, because she is not male. She is designed and made for a different purpose.
“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve*.*” (1 Timothy 2:12-13, emphasis added)
The most common objection to the passage above by progressives is that Paul was trying to deal with a particular cultural context that was different than today’s. They argue that today, we have progressed beyond the thinking of those uninformed, crusty patriarchal societies of the past.
But these objectors ignore the fact that Paul rooted his teachings in the created order, not culture. The man was formed first, and by being the first, the man was given authority.
Scripture shows from cover to cover that when men abdicate their built-in authority and refuse to lead, the people who should have benefited from their rule come into judgment. The consequences are disastrous. A culture that is being influenced by feminism is necessarily in decline. To work against the created order is not progressive but regressive. If we return to what God established in the beginning, that will be progress.
The Need For A Consistent Witness
Looking at the church with natural eyes, it is hard to see us recovering the biblical norms for gender any time soon. The world is out the gate, but the hypocrisy of the church, only using the biblical standards for gender when it suits…is it any better, really?
The church is currently up in arms about Disney’s transgender ways. But we transgendered our pulpits decades ago. How can we wave the finger at them for abandoning creational norms? Likewise, many churchgoers are joining the chorus of conservative mockery aimed at the supreme court nominee who couldn’t define what a woman is. We are proud that we can point out the biological facts without blushing.
But if we are then asked what a woman is for, would we be as capable of answering?
If we are going to successfully dismantle the nonsense ideologies of our day, if we are going to define gender correctly and sufficiently, we are going to need to consistently appeal to the standards given to us by God. We cannot place ourselves over God by picking and choosing which parts of the Bible are allowed to speak with authority on this subject.
If the verse, “He created them male and female,” is going to speak with any authority in the public square, we need to not shy away from “a woman should not usurp authority over a man.” We need the whole biblical counsel on maleness and femaleness. Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument, and those who want men out of women's bathrooms, yet also want women in men's pulpits, are vulnerable to the arguments of the world.
To use the scripture when it suits is hypocritical, and even if the world is not quick to pick up on our double standards, God sees what we are doing.
The Need to Recover Biblical Masculinity
Seeing with natural eyes, our country and the church have no hope. But the Holy Spirit blows where it wills, and if he chooses to have mercy on us, there will be a supernatural change in our culture.
If he does move in the hearts of the church, we will be willing to suffer for the truth, and unashamedly exclude women from our pulpits. Not because women are inferior in worth, but because we acknowledge that men alone were made for the task of bearing that particular weight. Faithfulness in preaching requires toughness. It requires a father-like firmness that is willing to endure the displeasure of those under the preacher’s care. It requires the kind of headship that is ready to lead troops into battle, for the life of a pastor is a life of warfare (1 Tim 1:18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
None of these roles are fit for a woman. Unless we repent and recover male and masculine leadership within the church, we will remain culturally impotent and under the judgment of God. May God have mercy on us.
“As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.” (1 Corinthians 14:33b–38 Emphasis Added)