Has God Really Said? Discussing Female Pastors With Janet Mefferd

Americans are We live in a revolutionary age. We are in the midst of a third modern sexual revolution. In April I sketched this history briefly in another article. One aspect of that revolution is what is known as “Third Wave” Feminism. Those waves have not only changed the way that men and women relate but also the way that those who have been born after the onset of the third wave read Scripture. Thus, we are having again today some of the discussions that we were having in the 80s and 90s. Among those questions is generally the role of women in the church and specifically the propriety of the ordination of females to presbyterial (ruling), ministerial (or episcopal or the preaching) office, and the Diaconal office.

Janet Mefferd and I discussed it this week on her program. One of the key texts is: 1 Timothy 2:8–15, which says:

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 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. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Whatever difficulties there may be in the text, its main thrust is clear enough. Are we dealing squarely with 1 Timothy or we evading it? Are we seeking to leverage it (control) it with dubious or hypothetical historical reconstructions? E.g., consider Steve Baugh’s critique of the theory that the Apostle Paul wrote as he did contra a sort of Amazonian feminism. See also his marvelous commentary on Ephesians for background on Ephesus.

Here is the interview.


Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!


  1. Great interview! In particular, I noticed a reference to the term “ordained” when referring to women serving a congregation from the pulpit. This strikes a particular chord with me and it may well be why, as Janet Mefferd stated, that evangelicals are now falling into the pattern of “ordaining” women as have mainline denominations.

    Over the past 15 years I’ve attended and/or been a member of two different “independent” congregations. The first had its roots in a Baptistic origin; the latter grew out of a Congregationalist background. Neither one of them had any requirement in their church’s constitution for a “preacher,” or “pastor,” to be ordained. In fact, the latter is a very large congregation with several assistant “pastors,” non of whom have been ordained.

    Having come from a confessional Lutheran background I was quite taken aback when I discovered this “non-requirement.” I had always seen seminary graduates ordained at a special service where other pastors from around the district or circuit were present and conducted a “laying on of hands” as a sign that the church body saw and approved that the candidate was ready to serve as a qualified minister and where the candidate, in turn, took specific vows to carry out his function in light of scripture and the confessions of the church.

    I raise this issue because I believe that in some ways this “non-ordination” of those serving as pastors helps to open the door a little bit wider to those seek women’s ordination. Just my thoughts on the matter.

    • Great comment. I am currently at a LCMS Church with ordained women by other denominations serving as school staff. It’s a mess.

  2. I think your question, “Has God really said?” is at the bottom of the problem. A low view of Scripture that sees it as not THE Word of God, but rather as human words that must be interpreted in the context of the culture.

Comments are closed.