BACC STATEMENTS OF POSITION
Approved by the Elder Board on August 17, 2016
THE ROLE OF MEN AND WOMEN IN CHURCH LEADERSHIP
The purpose of this Statement of Position is to communicate BACC’s position regarding the role of men and women in church leadership at BACC.
We live in a society that places a high value on independence and equality. As a culture, we strongly oppose discrimination based on race, color of skin, gender or religious background, all of which are good things. So when we come to 1 Timothy 2:11-12, it smacks against our value system of right and wrong, or fairness, seeming like discrimination.
“Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” 1 Timothy 2:11-12
In order to interpret this difficult text, we bring the broader counsel of Scripture into view.
Equality, diversity and unity in the Trinity:
Within the Trinity there is equality and diversity in unity. We worship One God revealed in three persons: Father, Son and Spirit. All are equally God in nature and essence, yet have diverse roles. For example, in redemption, the Father decrees the plan of redemption before the foundation of the world. He then sends the Son, who obeys and accomplishes the Father’s plan. The Father and Son send the Spirit, who applies redemption to those who trust in Jesus. So within the Trinity, there are equality of essence and diversity of role – with absolute unity, as God the Father, Son and Spirit are One.
Because God in Himself has equality, diversity and unity, it is not surprising that equality, diversity and unity are intended to be reflected in human relationships that He has established.
That is indeed what the Bible teaches; namely, that men and women have complementary roles in marriage and in the church, reflecting the equality, unity and diversity of the Trinity, which are designed for our fulfillment and God’s glory.
Equality, diversity and unity in marriage:
Scripture teaches that men and women are equal in worth as both are:
Scripture also teaches that God created man and woman to fulfill different, but complementary roles, which are rooted in their unique sexual identity and God’s design in creation (Genesis 1:27-2:25). In a marriage, God created the man with the primary role of “servant-leader” (Genesis 3; Ephesians 5:25-30; Matthew 20:20-27), and He created the woman with the primary role of “helper-lover” (Titus 2:3-5; Genesis 2:18).
This picture of equality, diversity and unity in marriage is a mystery. According to Ephesians 5:31-33, it is to reveal the mystery of Christ and the church. Christ loves, serves and dies for the church. The church loves, helps and submits to Christ. When equality, diversity and unity are portrayed in marriage, it is a mysterious picture of Christ and His bride, the church.
Equality, diversity and unity in the church:
Since God has designed husbands and wives to be equal yet have distinct roles in marriage, it should not seem surprising that He would also design the church with distinct roles for men and women.
In 1 Timothy 2:12, the apostle Paul writes about roles in the church, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.” We believe this and related Scriptures (1 Corinthians 14:34-37) teach that women should not serve in the roles of elder and pastor1 at Bay Area. And that is why, at Bay Area, godly men (1 Timothy 3:1-7) serve as elders, exercising teaching and governing authority.
The Bible does seem to teach that women served as deacons in the church (1 Timothy 3:11; Romans 16:1,2), and as such, both male and female deacons minister to the body of Bay Area under the direction of the elders.
Both men and women can serve in all other leadership roles at Bay Area – to include directing ministries and teaching both men and women – as long as it is done under the authority of the elders. For example, women can teach Learning Communities , co-lead mixed-gender Missional Communities, lead and teach students and children, lead in global missions, lead in worship, help serve communion and baptize, be a staff team leader, and serve in many other roles of ministry. God is the One who sets a limit or ceiling on any leader’s influence in ministry when it comes to using his or her gifts to build the church.
In summary, men and women have complementary roles in marriage and in the church, reflecting the equality, unity and diversity of the Trinity, which are designed for our fulfillment and God’s glory. When we fulfill our God-given roles, we reflect the unity and diversity of the Trinity and God is glorified. And what God designs is beautiful, for our good, and for His glory.
1 The qualifications for elder and the office of pastor are equivalent.
2 If the subject matter is specifically doctrinal in nature and deemed to be authoritative teaching (1 Timothy 2:12), then the teaching is to be done with a male co-teacher.