According to the scriptures that govern the qualifications of a “pulpit” minister, a deacon, a woman may minister, but not from the pulpit from a pastoral perspective. Over the years of life and ministry, I’ve wrestled with this issue and wish to offer my own beliefs.
In the bible there were prophetess in the Old Testament as well as the New. Such was the case in the New Testament of an elderly woman named Anna: (Luke 2:36-38 NIV) "There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well up in years. She had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then after his death was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped there night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the "promised child" to all who were looking forward to for the "redemption" of Jerusalem.
In searching the International Standard Bible encyclopedia for a clear-cut definition and examples of a prophetess and I came across the following excerpt from their research. In reference to prophetess," women were not excluded from the prophetic office in the Old Testament, and were honored with the right of prophetic utterance in the New Testament. It should be noted, however, that women like Miriam (Ex 15:20), Deborah (Judg 4:4) and Huldah (2 Kings 22:14) were not credited with the seer's insight into the future, but were called "prophetesses" because of the poetical inspiration of their speech. Among others mentioned as having the prophetic gift we find Hannah (1 Sam 2:1), Anna (Luke 2:36) and the four daughters of Philip (Acts 21:8-9)".
From the research I conducted, I found it very interesting that in every case, none of these prophetess had what we would call today a “pulpit” ministry, nor did a lot of the women make oral proclamations of God’s word from a “preaching” vernacular. They were more like "evangelists" who “forth told” in the marketplace or gave praise and sung in the Synagogues. Another thing I found interesting was though the bible identified them as “prophetess”, their “position” in ministry was unlike the call of the modern clergy. I didn't find it written anywhere in the Old Testament texts any mention of when and under what circumstance God called any of them in the Old Testament. yet when you read the Word, you see that they did exist and obviously God had called them and pressed them into active ministry. In Acts 4:17, we read that the Apostle Peter eludes to a fulfillment of an Old Testament prophesy, (Joel 2:28) where God will pour out his Spirit upon all flesh in these “latter” days causing both men and women to prophesy or proclaim as a witness Jesus Christ, so the fact is historically, God did use them and to say that God didn't have a calling upon their lives would be biblically inaccurate.
The Social, economic, and political cultures of many nations historically and today still don’t permit women to take a leadership role over a man. Many of the prophetess of yesteryear were not endowed with the gift of being prophetic seers, but were more gifted with poetically inspirational in the way they spoke in public. In other words, they possessed gifts that were tantamount to being what we call in today’s culture biblical “motivational” speakers. In truth, God has allowed more and more women in this church dispensation to preach for reasons only he knows. Many believe that this is the fulfillment of Joel 2:28. There are also some from the scholastic community that dispute this. I’ve personally heard many women proclaim the word of God and in my opinion the ones I have heard did very well, preaching theological sound and educationally valid messages.
I don't question the fact God historically has and still uses women in ministry in many capacities, but I must admit, I have yet to endorse the belief that women were called to the pastorate ministry, or whether they have been called to office the of "deacons" because of the following reason:
The biblical qualifications as given in 1Timothy 3:1- 13 are written in the male “vernacular” The term deacon occurs in only two passages in the NKJV (Phil 1:1; 1 Tim 3:8-13). But the Greek word "diakonos" from which it is taken is found 30 times. In most cases diakonos is translated as "servant" rather than "deacon." In the Greek world, diakonos was used to describe the work of a servant-a person who waited on tables or ministered as a religious official. When the office of deacon was established in the New Testament church, it may have paralleled the function of the Jewish synagogue assistant-an official who took care of the administrative needs of the assembly.
The origin of the office of deacon is usually related to the events described in Acts 6:1-6. The young Christian church in Jerusalem was experiencing growing pains, and it had become increasingly difficult for the apostles to distribute charitable gifts to its needy members without neglecting their ministry of prayer and preaching. The widows of Greek or Gentile background complained to the apostles that they were not getting their just share of food and money. To address this critical concern, seven men were chosen by the congregation and presented to the apostles in (Acts 6:1-6). Although these men were not called deacons at that time, the Greek word used to describe their work comes from the same Greek root word.
While these "table servers" were appointed to relieve an emergency and their assignment may sound somewhat menial, these men possessed the very highest moral and spiritual credentials. They are described as "men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom" (Acts 6:3). They were formally installed or commissioned in a service of prayer and the LAYING ON OF HANDS by the apostles (Acts 6:6) - a practice regarded as the scriptural precedent for the ordination of deacons as church officials.
And since then according to the Bible, the bible was written as the Holy Spirit moved upon the 40 different authors that helped in its compilation, God knows what assignments he has placed upon both male and female in and out of the church and why he did it the way that he has done it. . The bible clearly spells out the office of Bishop. In (1 Timothy 3:1-7) (that is a pastor, superintendent or overseer) is a male and a husband (man) of a wife (woman). The qualifications of a deacon are given to a man and a deaconess a woman.
The qualifications are that different for his wife or a woman who may seek to occupy the office of a “deaconess” and this is implied in 1 Timothy 3:11. They are called “deaconess” in many modern churches because they were married to deacons and as their wives were “labeled “ such because they assisted their husbands or held positions within the church administration that assisted in the carrying out of that church’s auxiliary ministries or business affairs, rendering ministry pertaining exclusively to other women this taking place in and out of the church.
Concerning "deaconess", the Nelson Bible puts it this way: “In the early centuries, deaconesses were especially called on to serve women in situations where custom forbade the ministry of the deacon. Deaconesses instructed female candidates for church membership, ministered to women who were sick and in prison, and assisted at their baptism, especially in the act of anointing. Through the years deaconesses have been assigned various types of educational, charitable, and social service work in their churches and communities. Today, deaconesses traditionally served in other functions in the church as doorkeepers in some churches and on advisory and trustee boards in others.. Depending upon the church and denomination, they may be seen frequently today as ushers and lay leaders”. The position of deaconess is scriptural, The position of women deacons is not. The controversy has arisen, in many churches when women who are appointed as deaconess have attempted to break the "traditional" mold of just ministering to women, not because there aren’t enough women and young girls to minister to, but out of a need to break down "gender barriers" that God himself put in place. A lot of churches for" political" reasons and a few for "expediency" have allowed women to function in biblical positions that men historically have functioned in.
Finally, there is a truth that must be told: Because there is a man shortage in the church and too many men young and old behind prison walls or still frolicking in the streets in their sins, many women either because they were widowed or abandoned by irresponsible men have been thrusted into "non-traditional" roles both at home and in the church.. If theyhadn't taken the initiative to do the required work and see that The "church work" was done, it’s possible that work very well may have been left undone for a longer period of time. God declared way back in the Old Testament that He would always have "witnesses" and will use whoever is available until the ones who were called to the positions takes their rightful place.
Simply put, if Adam (the man) would stop advocating, his responsibilities and rightful place in Christ , society and reelationships and simply do the ministry and community and relationship work God place upon him (Ephesians 6), Eve (women) would not have to do the work both her work in Christ and the work God placed in Adam's hands.
Finally, on a personal note: this article or any article that will ever be written from this website will not be "personal sour grapes" against any one or any issue. I write as I am moved by the Holy Ghost to do so on any Biblical and Church Doctirnal issue and make no appologies for this. Every article is written in love and is not design to bash anyone.
No matter what a person writes, there will always by those who will have their opposition and that is to be expected.