Women Pastors: Not the 'Path to Blessing'

A Bible scholar says women who preach to men are disobeying the word of God.

Wayne GrudemWayne Grudem is Research Professor of Bible and Theology at Phoenix Seminary and the former president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. A graduate of Harvard, Westminster Theological Seminary, and the University of Cambridge, Grudem strongly supports traditional roles for men and women within the church. He spoke with Beliefnet editor Laura Sheahen about his book Countering the Claims of Evangelical Feminism, which lists church activities that should be available to men only or to both men and women.

Your new book is about women’s roles in the church. Can you go over the Bible verses you base your position on?

I base my position on a pattern in the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, where there is never an instance where a woman does teaching of God’s word to an assembled group of men. It was the priests in the Old Testament who did the Bible teaching or the teaching of God’s law, and they were all men.


In the New Testament, elders all had to be men. So that’s consistent with Paul’s specific instruction in 1 Timothy 2:12 where Paul says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first then Eve and Adam was not deceived. But, the woman who was deceived then became a transgressor.” That is not an isolated passage.

Your book includes specific lists about which roles should be open to women. What motivated you to create those lists? Were people asking you how to address gray areas with women in various ministry roles?  

It was more [of a] response to things that were being written and published. But when I would speak about appropriate roles for men and women in the church, I would get a lot of practical questions: Should a woman teach an adult Sunday School class? Should she teach a college class?

The lists go over activities that you think should be restricted to men, like being president of a denomination or presiding over a baptism, and activities that can be open to either men or women, like teaching high school Bible study. Could you explain how you broke the lists down?

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