homebeliefsactivitiesabout usleadershipsermonslinks


What we believe


Position Papers:

The New Hermeneutic





Headship & Women in Office

We understand that the question of women in office has roots in the issue of headship.

1.  The headship of a husband over his wife has its origin in the very creation of the world itself.
The Lord created Adam first and Eve second (1 Tim. 2:13). Furthermore, we believe that our union by faith with Christ (Gal. 3:28) does not do away with this creational design. Rather, as Christ is the head of the church, so a husband is and remains the head of his wife (Eph. 5:22,23). The husband, being the head of his wife, must rule over her in love, giving himself for her. The wife must submit herself to her husband (1 Cor. 14:34; Eph. 5:22,24,33; 1 Pet. 3:1-6).

2.  Permitting women to serve in the offices of the churches is in direct conflict not only with (a) this Biblical principle of headship and (b) scripture’s clear instruction that only men may hold offices in the church, but (c) also with the example of scripture.

a.   It is, in part, the function of each special office to hold a certain authority in the church, authority in keeping with the nature of the particular office. Therefore, no wife can hold an office in the church thus ruling over her husband and yet remain in subjection to her husband. Since women are not to have authority over a man (1 Tim. 2:12), a command dealing with the way we are to behave in the house of God (1 Tim. 3:15), they are barred from all the special offices of the church. Furthermore, the Lord instructs His church through the apostle Paul that a woman is to keep silent in the church (1 Cor. 14:34,35; 1 Tim 2:11,12; 3:15). Thus, all women are barred from preaching, expounding, or declaring the Word of God in the gathered visible church, whether it be in the office of elder or minister (or merely carrying out the function of said offices).

b.  Furthermore, when our Lord gave the qualifications for the offices of elder and deacon the only persons called are men, who, it is stated, must be husband of one wife, etc. (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Tit. 1:5-9).

c.   The leaders of God’s people, in both testaments, have been men chosen by God. In the Old Testament we read almost exclusively of male leaders such as judges, priests, kings and prophets being appointed over Israel. Exceptions such as Deborah (Jud. 4, 5) and Hulda (2 Kings 22) only serve to prove the rule. The Lord, in these exceptional instances, sovereignly raised these women and is free to do so; whereas we are not, for we are not sovereign. (We note that part of God’s purpose in raising up Deborah was to shame the men of Israel who refused to give the leadership they should have.)

      In the New Testament, Christ chose twelve men to be His disciples; the church, with the Spirit’s guidance, chose a man to succeed Judas (Acts 1:15-26) and seven men to be deacons (Acts 6:1·8). And when the churches gathered to consider questions which had arisen in Antioch they met in Jerusalem with the leading men. Phoebe (Rom. 16:1) was a servant of the church, as all Christian women ought to be. To suggest she held a special office in the church is to misconstrue the passage.
       We can only conclude, then, that men (not women) are chosen by Christ to hold the special offices of His church, just has He places a man over his wife as head. God Himself has designed it thus since the beginning of the world, and thus it will be until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.

[Return to top]



All content © 2006-2019, United Reformed Church of Burlington, Washington • 778 North Burlington Boulevard, Burlington, WA  98233 • (360) 757-4620
Federated with the United Reformed Churches of North America
If you have comments or questions about the website, please email webmaster@burlingtonurc.org