God created Male & Female to display his image and to reflect the Relationship within the Godhead. They were created equal in status, yet different in role & responsibility. They both carried out Gods plan together, complimenting each other, yet had clearly defined roles. -Gen 1:26-31Man’s role- God created Adam to work the Ground. He was created to build, to provide, to protect and to bring about order in creation. He was created to take responsibility and given the role of leadership within the family unit. - Gen 2:15.
Woman’s role- God created Woman as a Helper (Hebrew word ‘Helper’- ‘ezer’- Meaning, strength, power to rescue, save and be strong. Used 21 times throughout OT, and 16 of these times are talking about Yahweh himself). ‘Ezer’ is a word describing woman and God- Psalm 121.
Equality in salvation
A few examples of Ladies with influence & Leadership in the New Testament Church:
A study from-
1 Corinthians 11:2-16 (3) But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife[a] is her husband,[b] and the head of Christ is God
A study from-
1 Timothy 2:8-15 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
What is an elder?
The Bible uses three words interchangeably to describe the office of the church senior leader/s.
The biblical pattern for eldership is plurality-elders lead as a team together, drawing on different gifts within the team. But where there is currently only one elder, the local apostolic team will step in and support the elder, until a team is established.
The main roles of an elder- With thanks to PJ Smyth (Elders)
Qualifications for elders-
Soon after this in 1 Timothy Chapter 3, Paul deals with the qualifications for eldership, as he also does in Titus 1:5-9.
In this list of qualifications, it seems like Paul is drawing on principles he has mentioned in the above chapters regarding the order of headship, within the Godhead and reflected into Family life. Pauls writing in both 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1:9-9, assume the elders are going to be men.
He mentions, an elder (or bishop/overseer) must be the husband of one wife…… he must manage his family…. He must train & keep his children submissive. To my ears these traits sound like ‘Fatherly characteristics’, and not necessarily motherly characteristics. The Father is the head of the Godhead, Fathers are the head of the Family, and fathers are the elders in the Church.
Some might object, saying these directions were given because of the cultural situation in the antient world, where woman were not educated. However, it is believed that there were woman who had leadership positions, who were well instructed. One such person would be priscilla, who had spent many years under Pauls teaching- in Ephesus (Acts 20:27), listening to Paul teach on the whole counsel of God. Although Priscilla and aquila moved to Rome, we find them back in Ephesus at the end of Pauls life (2 Tim 4:19). So, it is likely they were in Ephesus A.D 65, about the time Paul wrote 1 Timothy. Yet Paul does not even permit well educated Priscilla or any other well-educated woman to teach men in the public assembly of the Church.
In creation there are many harmonious pairings such as Sun and Moon, Day and Night, Earth and sky, these basic building blocks of creation are complimentary pairs that are equal in worth, yet different in function. This is consistent with humanity too, father and mother, husband and wife, brother and sister. The bible teaches that these pairs are completely equal in worth, whilst they have different God-ordained roles. In contrast to culture that blurs distinctions between the sexes, the bibles perspective is clear- Male and female equal in status, yet distinct function.
Within the Church elders are seen as Fathers -bringing fatherly guidance and leadership. Yet, if there are fathers then there are also mothers, who different in function, have a crucial role of being involved in strengthening, nurturing and building the Church through their motherly love. This is also True of ladies, who might not necessarily be married, yet carry a God-ordained role within the Church to help facilitate growth and health.
History of the Church
The overwhelming pattern through Church history has been that the office of elder/pastor has been reserved for men. Although this does not demonstrate conclusively that such a position is correct, it should cause us to reflect seriously on questions, before we rush ahead and declare much of the entire church history has been wrong.
Although I do not see any evidence of woman elders in scripture, I think biblically speaking they should be encouraged to be involved in all areas of Church life and mission (Apart from eldership). They should be encouraged to be on the leadership team, deacon team, be able to preach, bring Prophetic Gifts, alongside other spiritual gifts. I believe they can also be part of the Ephesians 4 ministry gift teams- serving other churches. And they should definitely be encouraged and released into their spheres of life, work and business.