- The 66 books of the Protestant Bible “are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life”.
- “Holy Scripture is to be received, believed and obeyed because it is the word of God”.
- “The whole will of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, and for our salvation, faith and life, is either expressly stated in Scripture, or by good and necessary reasoning may be deduced from Scripture”.
- “Scripture is to be interpreted by Scripture. Scripture does not have several different meanings but one true and genuine meaning (which may embrace several different applications) arising from the words properly understood in context”.
- God has complete sovereign dominion over His creatures to do by, to or for them whatever He pleases. God is completely holy in all His purposes, in all His works, and in all His commands. To Him is due whatever worship, service or obedience He is pleased to require from angels, human beings and all other creatures.
The Apostle Peter called the Apostle Paul’s writings Scripture, equal to all other Scripture that has been written (2 Peter 3:15-16). Jesus said that the Scriptures could not be broken [meaning: altered] (John 10:35). He also said that the Law of Moses could not be broken (John 7:23). Paul said that the things he has written are to be received as “the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37). Therefore, the things that Paul wrote on the issue of women and leadership roles are to be received as Scripture (which cannot be broken/altered), they are to be received as the commandments [Law] of the Lord Jesus, and Jesus’ Law cannot be broken. The Apostle John wrote: “Everyone who sins breaks the Law; in fact, sin is lawlessness” (I John 3:4). Therefore, it is a sin to adopt a position that is contrary to the Apostle Paul’s writings on the issue of women in leadership roles.
Much of the discussion on the issue of women in leadership is informed by feminist propaganda. Sadly, this propaganda has, in many cases, been accepted by church leaders [hence the twisting of the plain teaching of Scripture that only men may qualify as elders and deacons to justify women in leadership roles in the church]. If we have committed ourselves to being informed by Scripture, and by the Reformed standards, which point us to the authority of Scripture for faith and practice, then that may mean that we are compelled to adopt a position that is contrary to the main stream; perhaps even a position that is illegal in the eyes of secular humanist authorities, as the Apostle Peter did when he said, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you (God’s delegated authorities who were acting contrary to God’s Law) rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).
Paul identified four foundations for his teaching on gender roles. The four foundations are:
- The account of the Creation and Fall that appear in the first three chapters of Genesis;
- The testimony of the Creation itself;
- The Law of God; and
- The relationship between Christ and His Church (the type and the archetype).
A. The Creation/Fall Foundation
From the Creation Account, Paul clearly states that man (male) was created as the image and glory of God, woman (female) was created for the glory of man. Man was not from woman, but woman was from man. Man was not created for woman, woman was created for man. Because of this pre-Fall, historical reality, women need a symbol of authority on their heads (I Corinthians 11:3-16). A woman, because of the Creation order, is to be under authority, and not in authority.
Further, Paul writes that Adam was formed first, then Eve. From the account of the Fall, he notes that Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression (1 Timothy 2:8-15).
Paul assumed a literal and historical interpretation of Genesis Chapters 1, 2 & 3. These chapters, therefore, form an important foundation for our understanding of gender roles. What do they teach?
First, God created a man in His own image, as a sovereign act. We can only understand a man’s personhood through an understanding of God Himself. We can only understand God through the revelation of Himself that He has given us in the pages of the Bible. The first man was created for a purpose, and that purpose was rulership under God. Male and female were created with distinctive and definable roles. However, the roles were to be complementary, not competitive. When the roles were in cooperation, then the task that God gave them would be achieved (Genesis 1:26-31).
Second, God created the male first. God created an environment and a task for the male – to cultivate (including the making of culture) and keep the garden. In consideration of man’s aloneness in the task, God took part of the male (part of his side), shaped it, and made a female for the male. The woman was to be a complementary helper, for and to the man. The woman was brought to the man. She was received by the man as part of himself, to which he was to cleave. Their union instituted the law of division of labour. This law only works where there are definable roles, and specific tasks set within those roles. Procreation was secondary to dominion in the relationship (Genesis 2:7-9, 15-24).
Third, the woman was deceived by the tempter (Genesis 3:1-6a). The woman tempted her husband (Genesis 3:6b). The woman received a curse because of her being deceived: sorrow would be multiplied, conception would be multiplied, childbirth would be painful, she would have a desire for a husband, and her husband would rule over her (Genesis 3:16a). She would be a victim in the battle between the seed of Satan and the Seed of God (Genesis 3:15).
Fourth, Adam was cursed because he listened to the voice of his wife: his dominion task would be frustrated with problems and inconveniences (Genesis 3: 16b-17).
So, what can we understand from the account of the Historical Creation/Fall event in regards to gender roles?
- God deliberately and specifically created men and women different for a different purpose. The different purposes were to be complementary, so that there was to be a single direction in the relationship between the male and the female.
- God created the male for Himself (for God’s glory), and the female for the male (for the man’s glory, and to assist the man in his dominion task under the government of God).
- The male was created first, and as a consequence, has a functional priority. This functional priority means also a higher degree of accountability and responsibility.
- Men are to be under God’s authority (in submission to His Law/Word), but in authority when engaged in the affairs of men. Women are to be under authority; either under the authority of a father, a husband, or church authorities. However, this is only to be within the defined limits of God’s Law/Word. Being under authority is not to be thought of as being a slave to or owned by the authority. A man’s authority over a woman is not to be despotic and absolute, rather it is to be governed by the limits and conditions set by God in the Scriptures.
- This line of authority was established in the Creation order. It is pre-Fall. The Fall made the order of authority more pressing, and also injected frustrations and discontent with God’s sovereign decree, because of sin (sin on the part of women who revel against God’s sovereign order, and sin on the part of men who exercise their authority in a sinful way (either by being despotic or by refusing to exercise their authority at all).
- Paul’s plain writings give no indication that the creation order has been superseded after the resurrection. He does advocate a redemptive equality between men and women (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11). This inclusivity is on the level of equality between Jew and Gentile in their access to God for salvation. However, redemptive equality does not equate with functional equality. In every reference to functionality, Paul reinforces the distinction that was established historically in the Creation/Fall account. Salvation is not for the purpose of breaking free from the Law of God. We are saved so that we have access to all of God’s resources (His Holy Spirit, His Law/Word, the blood of Jesus, the cross of Calvary, the Triune name of the Lord Jesus Christ, etc.) that enable us to become Law-abiding (Jeremiah 31:33-34; Ezekiel 36:24-27).
B. The testimony of the Creation itself
Paul identifies a woman’s hair as a symbol of her need to be under authority.
“For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head ... Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonour to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her, for her hair is given to her for a covering” (1 Corinthians 11:10, 13-15). In Romans, Paul tells us that: “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, ...” (Romans 1:20).
From these Scriptures we can understand that the Creation itself clearly reveals elements of God’s eternal purpose, so clearly, in fact, that men are without excuse. The Creation, amongst other things, demands that a woman needs to be under authority, not in authority, and her hair is given to her as a symbol of this requirement.
C. The Law of God
In addition to the account of the Creation/Fall, and the testimony of the Creation itself, Paul makes his argument on the basis of what the Law of God states on the matter. Paul writes:
Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church (1 Corinthians 14:34-35).
So, what does the Law say? There are so many Scriptures on this issue, it would be prohibitive to mention them all in the context of this short essay. However, the following number that are cited will be convincing to those who want to be convinced. If there are exceptions, then they will be very few, and will tend to reinforce the rule, rather than negate it. We must also keep in mind that John wrote: “sin is the transgression of the law (lawlessness)” (1 John 3:4). Jesus also said of those who have a form of godliness, but live it without obedience to the Law of God, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23). “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 13:41). “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:28). Without too much commentary, we will let the plain reading of Scriptures speak for itself.
Many times God refers to sinful acts as “an abomination.” Very few times does he refer to a person as an abomination. However, one of these few occasions is found in the following reference:
A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination (detestable) to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 22:5).
Most commentators identify in this more than just the wearing of clothing that pertains to the opposite sex (although it includes that). The commentators refer to the intention of addressing the confusion of gender roles. Men who assume feminine roles, and women who assume masculine roles are an abomination to God. The unisex dress of the 1960’s (jeans and T-shirt) was a deliberate move to blur sex distinctions, and pave the way for a blurring of gender roles. The wearing of the clothing of the opposite sex succeeded in paving the way for a feminist agenda to be applied throughout the western world, and beyond to much of the rest of the world. Moving beyond unisex, there is the contemporary notion of metrosexual. The metrosexual man is a blurring of male and female identity to such an extent, that the metrosexual can neither be called a man, nor can he be called a woman. This transvestite identity is exactly what God calls an abomination in Deuteronomy 22:5.
The Law of God, itself, is written from a male perspective (refer Deuteronomy 6:2). The Ten Commandments were especially written from a perspective of male functional priority (Exodus 20:1-17): families are identified in terms of fatherhood (v.5); fathers are mentioned before mothers, a Scriptural means of identifying functional priority (v.12); the sin of covetousness is addressed to men directly, and to women indirectly and by implication (v.17). God entrusted His Law to men, and men were commissioned by God to be custodians and administrators of that Law.
In Deuteronomy 24:1-4, it is a man who takes a wife, it is a man who marries a woman, and it is a man who issues a certificate of divorce. The laws of marriage are addressed to men, not to women.
In Deuteronomy 25:5-10, widows are commanded to be remarried. This is to ensure that they come under covering and authority and headship. Nowhere in Scripture is the same commandment given to men. As confirmation of this notion, Paul writes: “Therefore I desire that the younger widows (re-)marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully” (1 Timothy 5:14). The reason Paul commands this, is that younger women are vulnerable without male covering (1 Timothy 5:11-16; 1 Timothy 2:14).
In Exodus 21:1-11 piercing is a symbol of submission and service. The one who is pierced is in submission to the one doing the piercing. Without trying to be crude, the reality of God’s design of males and females is that women are designed to be pierced by a man. This is an ongoing symbol of a woman’s submission to the man. By implication, God calls an abomination the act of a man piercing another man (Leviticus 18:22). Once again, Paul writes: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord (Colossians 3:18), and this submission incorporates the sexual relationship.
In Exodus 34:19, only male sacrifices were acceptable, and sacrifice was made so that firstborn males could be redeemed (Exodus 34:20). This highlights God’s value place on Male functional priority; the female was not acceptable as a sacrifice, nor was the firstborn daughter received in the same way as the firstborn son (see also Leviticus 1:3).
The priesthood, ecclesiastical leadership, was an exclusively male domain under the Law (Exodus 39:27; Numbers 8:5-26). Religious leadership was to be given by Aaron and his sons, not his daughters (see also Leviticus 8).
After childbirth, God differentiated between the days of uncleanness between boys and girls. For sons it was 7 days plus 33 days. For daughters it was 14 days and 66 days (Leviticus 12). This highlighted the functional priority of males over females.
The Law accords honour to old men (Leviticus 19:32). Nowhere is mention made of old women, and this is because of the assumption that men would take the public profile that is necessary in leadership. A woman’s place, under the Law, was not in a public office of leadership.
The Law made provision for unmarried sisters, but not unmarried brothers (Leviticus 21:3). This emphasised the fact that women need covering. A brother did not need this same covering.
The prerequisite qualifications of the priesthood are all related to men (Leviticus 21). It was assumed under the Law that women would not take up ecclesiastical leadership (Numbers 18:1-2).
Civil leaders of the nation were to be men, under the Law (Numbers 4:34; 7:2; 11:16; Deuteronomy 1:13ff.). Judges, the administrators of the Law, were also to be men (Deuteronomy 1:13ff.).
Under the Law, only men who were heads of households were to be included in the census (Leviticus 4:34; Numbers 26). The men were the Federal heads of their household, representing the whole family that was under their authority and care. Women were not given this functional priority, under the Law. A woman had to find her place under a Federal head; either her father or her husband. She could not be a Federal head.
Under the Law, the test of jealousy was given to women, not to men (Numbers 5:11-31).
Women and children were judged with the judgement of God that was placed upon the lives of their Federal heads. God dealt Federally with His covenant, and through the Federal head, the man (Numbers 14:26-38).
Under the Law, God differentiated between a man and woman’s vow ((Numbers 30). A man’s vow was binding, and could not be annulled. A woman’s vow was subject to the approval of her covering (either her father or her husband). If her covering did not approve of the vow, the vow was annulled.
The Law made provision for male soldiers, and women were not included in defence and policing provisions of the Law (Numbers 31:12-54). The laws that governed warfare were applicable to men (Deuteronomy 20:1-9).
Under the Law, land was apportioned to men as heads of families (Numbers 34:16-29).
Inheritance was through fathers, according to the Law (Numbers 36).
All of God’s Covenants have been made with men. He has made NO Covenants with women: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac,
God relates to His people as a man relates to His son [not daughter] (Deuteronomy 8:5).
The Lord’s delight was with the fathers (Deuteronomy 10:15), who federally represented the women folk.
God’s Law concerning civil leadership and how it was to conduct itself was written to men. The qualifications to be a civil leader could only apply to men (Deuteronomy 17:14-20): “neither shall he multiply wives for himself” could never apply to a woman.
The laws that governed witnesses were written from a male perspective (Deuteronomy 19:15-21). It was assumed, under the Law, that justice would be administered by men, not by women.
The Elders of a city were to be men (Deuteronomy 21:1-9). In Proverbs 31, it is the husband of the virtuous wife who sits as civil and ecclesiastical leader at the gates of the city, not the wife (Proverbs 31:23). Her role is to so order the home, and administer he domestic duties so efficiently and faithfully, that her husband can fully trust her to discharge her duties while he attends to his public, civil and ecclesiastical duties (Proverbs 31:11a, 23).
The firstborn son was to be given priority in inheritance because the son would assume the governmental role over the family that he was to be trustee of (Deuteronomy 21:15-17).
A woman who attacks the symbols of a man’s masculinity, and in so doing challenges his role as image-bearer of God, and administrator of God’s covenantal Law, was to be punished WITHOUT PITY (Deuteronomy 25:11-12).
Under the Law, the men were to represent the tribes (Joshua 4:2).
Men were circumcised into the covenant of God, as representatives of their families (Joshua 5:3). A woman’s equivalent to circumcision took place at marriage, when she was circumcised into the marriage covenant with her husband (Deuteronomy 22:13-21) through the breaking of the hymen.
Achan’s family, women and children, was federally imputed with Achan’s sin (Joshua 7:24).
It is recorded that the men of
Throughout God’s Law, males are stated to be the referent, and females are identified as the male counterpart. There is a very clear functional priority for men.
Under the Law, the few times that women did take up roles of leadership, it was ALWAYS in the context of God’s judgement. In Judges 4, the context was: “the children of
The Prophet Isaiah wrote that because
1. Some argue that the cultural context of the Law is a patriarchal society, and that we are not to apply laws that were made by men who were dominant in their culture to an enlightened culture that gives a better place to women. The Apostle Paul said that the Law of God determined the role and place of women in regards to civil and ecclesiastical leadership. The Law of God is just that, “the Law of God.” The male dominance of the Hebrew culture was shaped by the Law that God gave to them. The Law was not written in the flavour of the culture that pre-existed it. The Law of God is a Law for all men, for all times, in all places. The Law of God is a revelation of God’s holiness, and a declaration of His sovereignty. To question the Law’s integrity is to question the integrity of God Himself. To do so is blasphemy.
2. The Law of God clearly states a functional priority of men over women. Men are functionally leaders, and women are functionally helpers. The Law of God reflects the order that God established in Creation, and then reaffirmed at the Fall.
3. It is because of sin that women are unsatisfied with God’s ordination in this regard; sin both in dissatisfied women, and also a greater sin in men who selfishly and self-centredly exercise their leadership role, or who refuse to exercise that role at all.
4. Under the Law of God, it is clearly an indication of God’s judgment upon a people when they are submissive to female leadership. It is a prelude to greater corporate sanctions upon a disobedient and covenant-breaking people.
D. The Relationship Between Christ and His Church
Finally, Paul identifies that the functional relationship between husbands and wives is based on the relationship between Christ and His church. By implication, this speaks to the separate and different roles of men and of women.
Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body. Therefore, just as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything (Ephesians 5:22-24).
The relationship between men and women is a prophetic type of the relationship between Christ and the Church. Every male / female relationship preaches Christ, and reveals to the world Christ’s relationship with His people. The message is either glorifying of Christ, or denigrating to Him.
When women take up leadership roles over men, they distort the type of Christ in relation to His Church. Christ is the Head, and the Church is to live in submission to His Word. When a woman is in leadership, typically it states that Christ is subservient to the Church – and this is blasphemy.
Jesus Himself stated what an abomination female leadership in the church was:
Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who call herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants ... (Revelation 2:20).
The story of Jezebel is found in 1 Kings 16:31; 21:25. She exercised civil leadership, effectively, and introduced Baal worship (statism). By referring to Jezebel, Jesus condemned both civil and ecclesiastical leadership by women.
In the context of the church, Paul stated that women were to learn in silence, not to speak, not to teach, nor to have authority over a men. In fact, Paul stated, it was shameful for women to assume these responsibilities in the church
(1 Timothy 2:8-15; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35). When women take authority in the church, it proclaims to the world that Christ is subject to the will of man. This is not true. Christ is the sovereign God, to whom man must submit. His offer of grace is extended, but the offer is to become a covenant-keeper, and obedient keeper of God’s Law-Word through cleansing by the blood of Christ, and by the empowering of the Spirit of God.
Paul argues that there are four clear foundations for the doctrine that relates to women in leadership. These foundations are:
- The account of the Creation and the Fall;
- The testimony of the Creation itself;
- The clear commandments of the Lord; and
- The typical relationship between Christ and His Church.
These four foundations are consistent, and each is based on the foundation preceding. There is no indication in Scripture that God has changed His standards on this issue. In fact, Christ’s last words on the issue, in the Book of Revelation, reaffirms and underscores God’s original statement on the matter. Redemptively, men and women are equal. In Christ there is no male nor female. However, this does not, in anyway, alter the functional differences between men and women. Men were created to be functionally in leadership, and women were created for the supporting and helping role. Just because someone can, doesn’t mean that they ought; just because women can take up leadership roles in the church, doesn’t mean that they ought to. In the Book of Genesis God clearly states that He reserves the right to declare that which is right and that which is wrong (Genesis 2:9b; 16-17). God calls those who reverse gender roles an “abomination”, and Biblically an abomination was something that was set apart for destruction. Isaiah affirmed that this was the case culturally, when women took up political leadership. Such a culture was poised for greater corporate sanctions, unless it repented. Jesus pronounced His judgment upon a church that admitted women leaders. His message to them was the same, “Repent or be caste into great tribulation.” The same is implied in a family when the head is not a man. Such a family is at risk of judgment unless it repents and re-establishes God’s order.
 Burges, Cornelius, 1976 , The Confession of Faith, The Larger and Shorter Catechisms with the Scripture Proofs at Large Together with the The Sum of Saving Knowledge (Contained in the Holy Scritpures, and Held Forth in the Said Confession and Catechisms,) and Practical Use Thereof, Scotland: The Publications Committee of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
 A comment from Steve Swartz in an email: “Feminist thinkers find this concept of ‘helper’ demeaning, as if it denotes subservience and weakness. But what then when we speak of God as being our help and strength (Psalm 46:1)? One person cannot help another unless he/she is stronger in some area. You cannot help me to learn something unless you know more about it than I do!”
 Rushdoony, Rousas John. 1973. The Institutes of Bibilical Law.
 Henry, Matthew. 1960. Commentary on the Whole Bible (New One Volume Edition).
Rushdoony 1973. op.cit. pp. 434-438.
 Wikapedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrosexual “Metrosexual is a neologism generally applied to heterosexual men with a strong concern for their appearance, or whose lifestyles display attributes stereotypically seen among gay men. The metro- (city) prefix indicates this man's purely urban lifestyle, while the -sexual suffix comes from "heterosexual," meaning that this man, although he is usually straight, embodies the heightened aesthetic sense often associated with certain types of gay men.”
 “...that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.”
 This thought was stimulated by the musings of Steve M, Schlissel (a converted Jew), who wrote: “... piercing is normally an act appropriate only for women and, in some cases, male slaves. Delicacy is difficult her—and I want to avoid a charge of misogyny—but the fact is that woman, by her from-the-creation role in the marriage act, is a “piercee.” Within marriage, of course, no stigma at all attaches to his, but outside of marriage, Scripture often refers to it as a “humbling” (Dt. 21:14; 22:24; 22:29). (In this regard, too, childbirth is woman’s triumphant vindication—consider when exegeting 1 Tim. 2:15). Obviously, piercing for a woman need not involve sodomy or “lowering.” She was made a woman, for man, a fact to which her body testifies. Man, however, was not made a woman nor was he made to abide piercing. It is still a universal that he is not expected to. .... Piercing may or may not bring a woman down, depending on many factors. But piercing always brings a man down. That piercing bespeaks a relational subordination is implicitly recognized even in our American culture, yet often below the surface.” Schlissel, Steve M., My Back Pages Tattoo You? p.2.
 It is not irrelevent to include laws that relate to animals in this discussion about male and female roles. In 1 Corinthians 9:8-10 Paul establishes that the Law’s application to animals in the first instance has a secondary application to human affairs. “‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it reads out the grain.’ Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plaws should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partake of his hope.” (see also 1 Timothy 5:17-18).
 A priest: is a master, husband, chief man; has a beard; can take a wife; may be the father of a daughter; has testicles; is a male descendent of Aaron. None of these qualities can be sported by a woman.
 Latter comment suggested by Steve Swartz in an email.