Women in Ministry
Some time ago, we were asked for additional answers regarding our free e-book, “Should Women Keep Silent?” We felt it might be helpful to again share the link to this free e-book. Published in 2015, it discusses the claims many make about how women need to be silent in church. Clicking on the title will lead to a specific page where you can read the free e-book online, as well as find the new printable PDF for studying or sharing.
We hope this will be helpful for many as they explore the Word of Yahweh in scripture regarding women's roles in church, and in building better and stronger assemblies/congregations.
We also wanted to share some replies we had to those questions that were sent to us through email. We hope these will help.
1) 1st Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6-7 where Paul seems rather clear when discussing positions in a church organization. He does not seem to account for women in these church positions.
Reply: This is in regards to Paul saying "Husband of one wife...," and this question/topic comes up often. The claim is that, because Paul ONLY MENTIONS HUSBAND here, that this means only men can serve in certain positions in church. Specifically mentioned here is what is commonly translated as elder/overseer/bishop.
Titus 1:6-7 KJV If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
1 Timothy 3:2 KJV A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
We have to take into account WHO Paul was teaching at the time and the culture of the day. It honestly was not common at that time for women to have more than one husband, and yet there were situations where the reverse was true. It would not have been likely for Paul, because of culture, to counsel against women having more than one husband because there would not have been any need.
He DID counsel women on issues that they WERE exhibiting, however. An example of this would be where he counsels women to remarry if they are widowed young (1 Tim 5:11-14). He mentions WHY, too, because if they are not busy tending to their households and family, they will fall prey to the temptations of Satan, becoming gossiping busy-bodies. In turn, causing issues amongst the community. Throughout the bible we are counseled to NOT gossip – it is considered an abomination by Yahweh. This could lead women into serious sin issues.
Additionally, women are warned about false teachers and letting those doctrines into their homes – Paul even calls them “silly women” – 2 Tim 3:1-6 are great verses for women to study and be forewarned. Sadly, this is what we are seeing quite often in ministry now. Women who fall prey to THIS and MORE. You see, Paul was led to warn women against what would most likely lead them astray.
Men, however, were not warned as strongly about those things, yet were warned about what they tended to lean toward. In this case, one topic Paul mentioned more than once was polygamy. Historically, it was well-known some men married more than one wife. Paul felt it necessary to point out that a man who serves Yahweh in the church, needs to be the man of ONE wife, not a polygamist. Basically, he was saying, “If a polygamist is inquiring about serving as the leader or bishop of the church, he is NOT qualified.”
2) How do men and women serve together in the assembly/church? One message we received mentioned a husband and wife who see that each has gifts the Father gave them individually in church-life and in the raising of children. They know each other's strengths and weaknesses, and those come out as they work together in their home assembly.
Many couples/families belong to a very open fellowship group like this, where discussions and teachings are led by members, regardless of a presenter’s gender. They reached out to us, desiring a better understanding of what the biblical model looks like – open as they were experiencing, or more restrictive for women, as some profess.
Our Reply: We teach that the model exhibited in this study group IS the more biblical model. These families allow both genders to teach, as did Paul and others in scripture. You see this whenever you look at Paul and the women he acknowledges, Phoebe, for one, is recognized as being a deacon (diakonon). The only other use of this specific word (diakonon) in the New Testament is when Paul refers to Yeshua in Romans 15:8 as a servant. This clearly shows daikonon/servant as a gender-neutral term. Paul shows through this example and the others mentioned in the book that there IS female leadership in the churches.
This actually brings to my mind a husband/wife team example where the wife seems to “…have all the say while the husband takes the back seat to her leading.” This is a case someone may need to look at very cautiously. It MAY be a case of which Paul speaks AGAINST, where women are acting out inappropriately. If a woman becomes overbearing in ministry, strongly assumes the role of leader herself, and becomes one of those women who is controlling, domineering, or bossy, it could fall into the counsel which Paul felt he needed to give. This is where he says women being silent or asking their husbands at home, rather than speak up, loudly, at church, appearing to by unruly.
You see, at the time Paul was writing to the churches, the Diana Cult was running rampant still. Some were not willing to give that up, as you can see by the scripture: Acts 19:23-25. Demetrius speaks of how it will cost them a lot of money – their whole business is wrapped up in those statues! The women in that cult were VERY authoritative, domineering, controlling – and women at the time were used to having that control in religion. As they left that cult, and came to Yeshua’s teachings, it was something Paul HAD to discuss to ensure that Yahweh’s church did NOT go down that same road. The women needed to learn the submission that Paul speaks of.
We see women in our modern society doing these same things. Watch any women’s rally in Washington, DC and listen to the women who have made it their mission to destroy the literal “MANkind” in our nation!!! Men have become an evil fixture in our society, and it is a message created by wicked women.
Now I must say, too, the Biblicial submission I mentioned a moment ago is NOT the same as what we see in some churches today. It is NOT a heavy-handed control which appears as dictatorial, where the men literally rule, while women are dominated over. I will touch on that negativity in a moment.
There can be two different extremes which we may see in a meeting, women dominating, or men, yet neither is Biblical. In the case which may appear to be an authoritarian wife, a few leaders might need to sit and take a careful look at the couple where the husband appears to take a back seat. If it is NOT as Paul was warning against (domineering, overbearing, bossy wife trying to take control), it may be something completely beautiful and genuine.
The wife may have an actual calling to serve Yahweh! I know SEVERAL sisters of faith who have been called by Yahweh to be POWERFUL preachers, teachers, and leaders in their communities. They lead entire congregations – BIG ONES. And their husbands, however, choose to “take a back seat.” Not because the wives are negatively leading, but because the husbands are not called by Yahweh to the same ministry position as their wives. And yet they support their wives in their callings – completely and wholly.
We each may run into this in life, and we should use Paul’s counsel to take a careful look from a distance. Measure if THIS may be the situation, rather than it being a domineering woman.
3) What of a brother who appears “very controlling, authoritarian, and overly patriarchal?”
Our Reply: No, this is the other extreme I mentioned and it is not Biblically sound. Being a domineering husband is not the answer either. It becomes a situation that must be watched carefully because this may be a behaviour which extends into the home. It is my experience that in these cases, the men aren’t always receptive to receiving feedback. Especially by the kind of leader who may be able to use scripture to justify his entire thinking.
THIS is actually one of the things our women’s ministry was called to help address - the true Biblical balance in ministry and homes. We are fully aware that, these messages coming from a woman in ministry is even less tolerated. Therefore, my husband, James, has written or co-written all books on these topics. These free e-books are available on our website and we recommend couples read them. We believe they will help families, couples, and even ministries explore and test the doctrines around women in church, from solely a Biblical perspective.
I would invite everyone to read the first book mentioned at the beginning, “Should Women Keep Silent?” This should be followed up with our e-book titled “Women In Ministry.” These may include some material which is redundant, yet it will help strengthen the teaching and clarify many of Paul's words.
We also recommend couples read and study, “Answers For Men About Women” and “Should I Call My Husband Lord and Master?” Both of these books were specifically written by Jim from his perspective to help the brethren understand.
For quite some time, the church has relegated women to “the back seat,” so to speak, by using the words of Paul. But when you take them in context with the rest of the Bible and the historical evidence from that era, one cannot deny how Yahweh called WOMEN to serve. Sometimes it was simply because they had gifts which He needed to put forth at that time, and other times it was when men were not able or righteous to do what He needed to have done. Deborah is one example of the latter.
I hope these words help you and will clarify things.
Blessings - Judith Garton
Let’s take some time to discuss the most well used form of gossip in the millennium: social media!
But shun empty chatter, for they will proceed further in ungodliness, and their word will consume like gangrene,
2 Timothy 2:16-17a
There are six things which Yahweh hates; yes, seven which are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood; a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness who utters lies, and he who sows discord among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-17
I often look at things that happen on social media among adults and say to myself, “If this were two children or teens, we would call this bullying!” Yet because “WE” do it as adults, we just call it “posting.”
I was never on MySpace, and I didn’t join the newer versions of social media until 2011. I was a bit behind the times. When I first got “on board,” I did the same as many do, posting daily updates of things I am doing, sharing funny memes, videos of cats, and what not. After a while, though, you do find yourself getting into heated debates, conversations, and sometimes even arguments on posts. It is easy to get caught in the melee. And, admittedly, I did as well!
Over time I learned, as some do, that I didn’t enjoy THAT kind of atmosphere. Instead, I changed to only posting ministry posts, prayer requests, and certain personal shares I felt would be uplifting to others. In recent months, we have all gotten into sharing political posts and “lockdown” posts as we keep up with what is going on this presidential election year. And, true confession, much of these last two topics has NOT been positive.
Currently, there are more than 10 platforms you can use to reach others around the world. We won’t go into name dropping them all in this article because you already know who they are and are likely using several of them yourself. These platforms are a hotbed for sharing the latest “truth” to ensure it reaches around the globe. Yet, one has to ask, what IS truth when it comes to social media?
My husband shared a story just this morning of seeing a photo posted. When he right-clicked the photo to search the internet for the original, he discovered the photo was of something completely different than what was being claimed. Had he just shared, and continued to spread the lie, who would have known? So many already had. Do you see how easy it is to fall into just sharing something you see on the internet?
Yet we are warned – many times in scripture – to guard our tongues and watch our words. We have shown this and more through our free e-book, The Sin Of Gossip, through our podcast series of the same name, and through this series of articles you are reading right now. Our Part 3 goes into some real-life examples of the difference between simply sharing updates on family and friends, or falling into the slippery slope of gossip.
It used to be, for a story to make the rounds, you had to schedule time with friends either out and about, or at someone’s home, where you could sit and chit-chat about stories you had heard recently. Quilting bees, canning sessions, or coffee time with friends were all great opportunities to spread the gossip to others in your neighborhood or town. Today, however, we have invited the coffee klatch into our homes – in some cases, for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
Social media gives a false sense of anonymity in many cases. You are “safe” and “secure” inside the walls of your own home. You can say what you want, when you want, and how you want, then think comfortably, “what repercussions will there be?!”
Sadly, though, in many cases, social media has become nothing more than the internet version of the “rag magazines” that still, in some stores, grace the front aisles along the cash registers. Social media is easily filled with lies, deceptions, exaggerations, half-truths, and more. Several times in recent weeks, believers have shared random posts on various platforms which I checked by simply searching online for the information. Sadly, many times I find out that the information is untrustworthy, distorted, exaggerated, or worse, blatant lies.
Worse than just sharing these things is when I mention to someone that they ought to pull that down. I always back my request up with some kind of counter evidence to show the truth. Yet time after time I am shocked at how many believers refuse to retract what they originally published or shared. I am taken aback by the lack of concern for another reputation or well-being.
As believers, we should have no part in these things.
These are all things we are counselled against in scripture.
Social media CAN be a good tool to use in our lives – it can be used to spread good news, share family histories and stories, find old friends, keep in touch with loved ones who live far away. It can be a means of getting the word out on political truth, emergency information, business updates, and ministry sharing. It CAN have great value to us if we use it properly. I would like to challenge each of us, going forward today, to guard our literal fingers and thoughts which we share on social media, just as we would guard our literal tongues when we are speaking out loud.
Even on social media, we should be willing to uphold the principles we portray as our witness in public and in family. It should be even stronger online – because what we say will likely be shared. And one day it MIGHT go “viral.” If it does, and is false, it becomes like a critical case of gangrene that spreads throughout the body.
Rather than speak lies, deceptions, speculations, we should be willing to speak what is stated in Philippians 4:8 (WEB): “…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Please, let’s remember not to just THINK On these things – let’s SPEAK on these things.
Over the years I have come to think of posting on social media in THIS way: If you would NOT shout it from the rooftops in the center of town over a loud speaker for ALL the town to hear, AND BE PROUD OF EACH WORD YOU HAVE SPOKEN, then you ought not put it on social media!
Blessings and Shalom!
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Some time ago I wrote an article titled Why Do We Make Ravioli From Scratch. In it, I sound a bit sassy at one point where I mention that I make homemade ravioli because I CAN. But there is MUCH more to it than that. It isn’t just because I know how, or that there is a cost savings. One day we may NEED to do it without running to the store to buy a bag of manufactured frozen ravioli, and it is a comfort to know I have it covered!
So many people believe that the grocery store will always be there for them to run to and grab the things they have come accustomed to eating. So many believe that there will not be sacrifice in the future when it comes to our family’s comfort foods. We have gotten so spoiled here in the United States and many other countries with on demand conveniences.
Yet this “thing” we have been going through these last several months - I PRAY has shown that things may not always be the same as they were before. It is hard to say what is in store with “this drama.” Will it ever go away under our current presidency? Will it make a come-back? Who knows. It may stay the same as now, go away completely, or more likely – become a strange “balance” in between two places.
I recall listening to my grandparents, great grandparents, and even my parents when I was little. They would recall stories of being young during The Great Depression and suffering/struggling with having food in the house. My grandfather talked often of how little men were paid for all their hard work – only to be able to afford ONE loaf of bread to share among the whole family for an entire week.
Recent months have brought up a lot of discussion on the Mark of the Beast which people will take just to be able to buy food. Haven’t we seen a practice version of this mentality by governments commanding citizens to place an object on their face or be denied food? We have friends and relatives who have even been denied access to medicine if they don’t follow these directives. We are in strange times.
Over the years I have watched many people take the stance that “preppers” are nutty – but we aren’t. Instead, many of us are preppers because we have “been there and done that” in life. When I was young, for example, I recall times when my dad was out of work, laid off. And we scraped by. Yet I also recall when we HAD to go on “food stamps” because we NEEDED to eat. Mom and dad had three of us girls then, our little sister hadn’t yet been born. We just needed that extra help. There was also the time in Tucson when dad and mom were both working but making minimum wage. It was tough times. What if they had some kind of food storage stocked up in their pantry or basement during those times?
Even in my own adult life, I can recall at least two times where financial issues caused me to need food storage for a time to feed my family. And now, in 2020, many people have discovered that maybe setting aside foods in the pantry isn’t such a crazy idea after all.
Still, the thoughts of many turn to prepared foods that they can stockpile in their freezers, fridges, and pantries. While my mentality has evolved into thinking of ingredients that can be used to make and create MANY things if emergency arises. In recent years, this thinking has spread from just food into other areas of our lives.
A thought came to me last year, for example, yet I never put it into practice until this week. In trying to clean out our storeroom, I decided that it would be a good day to work down the pile of “projects” I had created for myself and pushed aside. In that pile was an idea for making rags for my dry mop. Rags that can be used wet or dry – for dusting or mopping. Over the years I have been one of those wives, too, who got comfortable using disposable everything. Now, I do have to confess, I am NOT ready to use washable “toilet paper” (aka wash rags!) or reusable “paper towels” right now. But I have officially stopped using Swiffer products. Sorry, Swiffer! But you won’t be getting more $$$ from our home!
I have to make a note here, because there are some in my life who will read this article and claim I am just trying to make it sound better. Or that I just don’t want to admit we can’t afford to buy disposable wet or dry rags for the mops. They will say, “Mmmmm, Judi is just trying to make an excuse for the fact that they can’t afford to buy all those products.” Yes, our budget is tight. Yet not affording them is just NOT the case. In fact, if I want to buy disposable dust cloths, dry mop rags, and wet mop rags, I can and have! No problem. It is as easy as just tossing some into your cart at the store.
However, I have several reasons why I stopped and will not go back.
1) I no longer need to! And this is a big one. Since I now have an alternative, I just don’t need to any more!
2) I DO LOVE my environment!!! My world is so very precious and I appreciate so much of what Yahweh has given us! I will say that I am not one of those people who goes around sacrificing farms to save a slug. However, I AM one of those who tries to decrease the amount of waste we toss out each week.
If I buy disposable dust rags, floor rags, or wet mop rags, those ALL end up in a landfill SOMEWHERE. Or worse. They take up space as trash and contribute to the ruining of our environment, physically and chemically.
3) Although we COULD afford them, there are other items we would like to stock up on for our food storage that currently take precedence. One box of wet wipes for the mop handle costs us about $9.00 here. My brain works this way: $9 is equal to two weeks’ worth of chicken when it is on sale; 5 bags of frozen vegetables I can dehydrate; 5 gallons of milk; or ALL the dairy we eat in one week. Cost and effect analysis demonstrates that $9 will buy nourishment, while the other merely cleans the floors!
4) I choose not to waste my money on them when I can easily use a washable rag which may last years. It is easily tossed into my washer with the load of towels each week, too.
5) I get to choose what kinds of cleaners I use for which task at hand. The chemicals on some of the disposable rags are just not something I want in the home. Between the overwhelming fragrances and the chemicals which linger, it makes for a toxic indoor environment. There are a FEW chemical cleaners that I DO use in our house – but that is VERY limited to about three products because, no matter what I have tried, nothing works better than these three at the tasks they accomplish! Our home will be clean without risking toxic chemical sensitivity.
I can honestly say, as of this week, we will no longer need to buy those disposable rags again! I finally took the time to sew up some rags that will do both wet and dry. We had an old towel, not so old that it was falling apart. But old enough we don’t want to use it for showers. I measured, cut, stitched the edges, and set them aside for cleaning day. One day this past week, I decided it was the perfect day to try them to clean up the kitchen floor which was getting grungy from all my trapsing in and out from the garden.
I am SO HAPPY! I can honestly say that if things hit the fan again and stores are short on cleaning products, I can use these handy little mop rags to wash our vinyl floors, toss them in the washer, dry and set aside for the next time. They can also be used to dry dust the floors and are the perfect size for dusting shelves, frames, and such around the house! Additionally, they can be used to scrub the tubs AND, while on the Swiffer handle, DUSTING THE WALLS AND CEILING FANS!
I LOVE these silly things. I only whipped up two, but will be cutting more this week and sewing them up, too!
Are they perfect? Not quite – my design is flawed in that it doesn’t stay very tight on the ends of the mop head. So, there IS room for improvement – but I already have a few ideas on how to fix that problem, like adding elastic. Now it becomes a fun experiment to discover which design will work best. In the meantime, I keep adding to the list of things I can do with them and asking myself, “WHY, WHY, WHY did you put off making these for so long??????”
These beautiful rags worked wonderful getting up all the garden dirt. I only needed the two because they are reversible. Our kitchen is big - with a large open eat in area. When the rags get dirty, you can rinse them in a bucket of hot water, flip them over and use the other side. The terry cloth is nice because it makes a great scrubbing surface that gets into the nooks and crannies of our vinyl flooring. One day I pray to make some that LOOK nicer than these and will share photos - maybe even directions!
I believe, if we had hardwood floors as I did in one of my old houses, these would also be nice for dusting those and leaving them with a refreshed shine. The multipurpose nature of such a simple creation is a wonderful blessing to our home and our world.
As I develop these a bit more, maybe I can encourage you to make a change, too.
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
Torah For Women
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