God Never Directs Against His Word

The Local & State section of the Monday morning, March 12, 2007 Fayetteville Observer paper really got me fired up. The title of the article was “THE CALL TO PREACH.” The more I read the paper and ate my breakfast the more vocal I got with Pam. Let me tell you about it. The feature story is about a lady who believes she was called to preach 40 years ago and finally got her chance to preach in her home church which up until recently had taken a Biblical standard toward males only as pastors. However, in 2006 the church changed its policy and Mrs. M. was able to deliver her first sermon in this church and was ordained as a Reverend this past Sunday.

My issue is quite simple. This (I am sure) wonderful, godly lady believes God directed her toward something, in this case a call to preach, that is clearly prohibited in His Word. The apostle Paul, under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, makes it clear for the church that bishops (pastors and elders) are to be husbands of one wife—the Greek noun there, both husband and wife, is not gender neutral and any translation that does not translate in the male and then female gender is ignoring the text. Paul did not write the spouse of one spouse.

This lady is the wife of one husband which is not the same and is not what the Bible says. The heart of the issue today is the prevalence in our “Christian” society to state that God is revealing truth that contradicts His written Word—the Bible. The Bible is not a dated religious book for the 1st Century church. It is the very revelation of God in so much as we do not know the Truth—our Lord Jesus—apart from the Bible. Far too many Christians are too quick to assume God is giving them something different from His Word. Truth is not relative.

Now let me also hasten to say that I believe that God probably has equipped this sweet lady, who presently calls herself a Reverend, with a gift to teach or orally communicate His Word. This is wonderful and needed. Every church needs women who are willing to share what God is teaching them from His Word with other women. A spiritually gifted woman can communicate very effectively with other women and should do so. She can and must say things to other women that the preacher would never be able to say as effectively. The church needs to create venues and opportunities for women teachers to use their gift. But the church pulpit is not one of these places. While there are some OT examples of female prophets, there are no NT examples of female elders, bishops or pastors. The church is a NT assembly of believers. Furthermore, let me say that a church and Christian school are not the same. There are many godly gifted female leaders who should be using their administrative and leadership gifts in schools, businesses and other non-profit agencies. Christ did not say I will build my Christian school and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The church is a very unique entity which is quite different from the government, a business or any other organization of the planet. Nothing else can claim to be the body of Christ.

Finally, I also realize that there is an example in Acts 18 where a husband and wife co-taught the Apostle Paul truth. However, this should not be taken as a license to presume that the pulpit is an acceptable place to do such teaching. I believe anyone who is being fair to the text will admit that they took Paul aside and privately “expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.” In the privacy of a home, conference room, or office, I think a wife, with her husband present, should feel comfortable adding to the conversation or discussion when God’s Word is being taught. However, the Bible also teaches that when a question arises concerning what is taught the wife should ask her husband first at home (1 Corinthians 14.35). There is a tension presented that requires spiritual maturity.

God’s plan is for the male to be the spiritual leader of his home and for males to be the spiritual leaders of His churches.


  1. Many of us struggle with God's will and God's call for our lives. We want to know God's long term plan, who will we marry, where will we work, should we move, etc. However, I struggle more with hearing God on a day-to-day basis. I'm talking about God's will in the smallest decisions.
    I was listening to praise music while driving to lunch today. I felt led to change the radio station. I quickly asked myself, "Is this the Holy Spirit telling me to do this? Or is this just a thought from a memory or even a Satanic influence?" You know the deal, it's "the voice" or conscience saying eat an apple instead of an orange, or turn left instead of going straight. It's often not a decision between right and wrong, between a moral or immoral action.
    I changed the station and immediately knew it wasn't the Holy Spirit telling me to change. I felt embarrased, listening to my gut feel or voice in my head instead of continuing to praise the Lord in song.
    I want to know God's Word SO WELL that I don't have to question my every decision. I don't want to interview my conscience to determine who's doing the talking. I want to know scripture so well that I already know God's will about most (maybe all?) issues.
    If the sister knew God's Word SO WELL, she would know the calling to be a preacher 40 years ago didn't come from God.

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