Ordination is the practice by which a person is set apart for leadership and administration of religious services and rites, usually accompanied by prayer and the anointing of olive oil by a previously ordained minister. Ordained church leaders equip other believers in their Christian service by teaching Biblical doctrines, serving as an example of Christian lifestyle, and ordaining new leaders to Christian service. These leaders, which may be called elders, pastors, or ministers, are seen to have a distinct role in teaching, pastoral leadership and the administration of the sacraments, such as marriage, baptism, and the Lord’s supper. Many Protestant denominations understand ordination as the acceptance of a person for pastoral work in a church. The ordination of women for leadership roles in a church is a controversial issue in those denominations where either the rite of ordination, or the role that an ordained person fulfills, has traditionally been restricted to men because of cultural prohibitions, theological doctrines, or both. But within Christianity, women historically have been in ministry roles since the time of Christ. Mary Magdalene was a female sent by Christ to tell the other followers, who were male and female that Christ was alive. She was the first female evangelist as seen in Matthew 28:1-10.
As Saturday night ended and it began to dawn on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And there was a great earthquake because the Angel of God came down from heaven, and rolled back the stone from the door, sitting on it. And the Angel’s appearance was as bright as lightning, whose clothing was as white as snow: And the guards shook with fear, frozen stiff like the dead. And the angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid because I know that you’re looking for Yeshua, who was put to death. But Yeshua isn’t here because the Christ is alive, as was foretold. Come and see the place where the Christ lay. And go quickly, and tell the followers that the Christ has come back alive from the dead; Who’s going to come to you in Galilee; where you’ll see the Christ: Listen to what I’ve told you.” And they went quickly from the tomb, fearful, but with great joy; and ran to bring word to the followers. And as they went to tell the followers, Yeshua met them, saying, “Hello!” And they came and worshipped the Christ holding Yeshua by the feet. Then Yeshua said, “Don’t be afraid, but go and tell my followers that I am going into Galilee, and they’ll see Me there.”
In Romans 16:1-16, Paul exhorts those in the church to accept women as church workers in God. He also greets a long list of church workers, both male and female.
I entrust to you Phebe our sister, who is a church worker, which is at Cenchrea. I ask that you accept her in God, as Christians should, and that you help her in whatever business she needs of you because she’s helped many people, and myself also. Say hello to Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Yeshua, who have for my life risked their own necks: to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the other peoples. Say hello also to the church that is in their house. Say hello to my dear loved one Epaenetus, who is the first one to be won for Christ in Achaia. Say hello to Mary, who worked very hard for us. Say hello to Andronicus and Junia, my kin people, and my prison mates, who are of note among the followers, who also were in Christ before me. Say hello to Amplias my dear loved one in God. Say hello to Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my dear loved one. Say hello to Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Say hello to those who are of Aristobulus’ family. Say hello to Herodion my kinsman. Say hello to those who are of the family of Narcissus, which are in God. Say hello to Tryphena and Tryphosa, who work together in God. Say hello to my dear loved one Persis, who worked very hard in God. Say hello to Rufus, chosen in God, and his mother and mine. Say hello to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the Christians which are with them. Say hello to Philologus, Julia, Nereus, their sister, Olympas, and all the Christians which are with them. Say hello to one another with a kiss of love. The churches of Christ say hello to you as well.
In 2 John 1:1-6, John writes to a chosen lady and her children, who many believe was a church leader in John’s day.
From John, the elder, to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not just I, but all those who know the truth, as well; Because of the truth’s sake, which lives in us, and will be with us forever. May grace, mercy, and peace be with you from Yahweh God, and from Yeshua the Christ, the Child of God, in truth and love. I celebrated greatly that I found your children walking in the truth, as we’ve been told by God. And now I beg you, lady, not as a New Word to you, but as a reminder of what we were told from the beginning, that is, that we love one another. Love is to do what Christ’s words say. This is the Word that you’ve heard from the beginning, so that you would do it.
And finally Acts 21 tells us of four women who were prophets (preachers).
And the next day, we that were of Paul’s company went, and came to Caesarea: and we went to the house of Philip, the evangelist, which was one of seven; and stayed with him. And this person had four daughters, who had never been sexually active, who preached.
Miriam served a leadership role in the musical praise and worship of God as early as the time of Moses. Deborah was also an Old Testament Prophet (Preacher), so there is some proof even in OT passages that there was a place for women in ministry. If we look at Deborah more closely, we see that she stood in the gap for her people when the male leader refused to do what God told him to do. So women may be seen to take a leadership role where a male will not serve or cannot serve in that particular leadership role.
It wasn’t until much later that some branches of Christianity began to prevent women from being ordained on the basis of certain scriptures often interpreted as prohibitions of female ordination. Mainly I Timothy 2:12, which states, “Allow the women to learn quietly, accepting the Word of God. But I don’t allow a woman to teach, nor to have power over her own husband, but to be quiet in this case.” Some have interpreted this text to say that a woman should not teach any man, but the original Greek implies husband, not man. This preserves the headship of the man in a marriage but does not hinder women from leadership roles in ministry. Although these roles were restricted to males for much of Church history, over the last century an increasing number of denominations have begun ordaining women for service in the ministry. Over one-third of all seminary students are now female, and over half of all American Protestant denominations now ordain women.
A key theological doctrine for most Protestants is the priesthood of all believers, based on Ephesians 4:1-16, which supports the ordination of women as well as men. It teaches that all believers are priests and that as priests, they are to serve God. All believers are priests to God, regardless of whether they are a male or female.
So, I, the prisoner of God, beg you to walk worthy of the work that you’re called to do, in humility and gentleness, and with patience, forgiving one another in love. Try to be as one in the Spirit, coming together in peace. There’s one body, and one Spirit, just as you’ve been called in one hope; There’s One Christ, one faith, one baptism; One God, the same Yahweh God we are all from, who rules over everything, and is everywhere, and is in every one of you. And Christ has measured out gifts to everyone of us by grace. This is why it is said, “The Christ went up to heaven leading a long line of freed prisoners, and gave gifts to humanity.” So now that the Christ has gone up, the Christ must also have come down first to the earth? So the One who came down is the same One also that has gone up to the highest heaven, in order to complete everything. And the Christ chose some of us to be followers, some great preachers, some evangelists, some pastors, and some teachers; And Christ gave these gifts to complete the Christians, for the work of the ministry, and for the good of the body of Christ until we all come together in the same faith, and the same knowledge of the Child of God. This is so we can become a complete person, that is, so we can become mature like Christ. We should not act like children anymore, getting confused by, and being swayed by every new teaching, by those who would fool us with their evil lies, who are only waiting for a chance to mislead us. But we should always tell the truth in love in everything we do, so we can grow up in Christ, which is the head of the body. In Christ, the whole body is perfectly joined and held together by everyone that does their own work and helps the body to do its work, which helps the body to grow for its own good in the love of Christ.
Furthermore, in Acts 2:14-21 Peter quotes Joel from the Old Testament and clearly tells us that in the last days God’s Spirit would be poured out on all people, men and women, old and young. If these are not the last days, I don’t know what would be. The last days began with the death of Christ on the cross.
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, spoke out, saying to them, “You people of Judea, and all you that live at Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen carefully to My Words: because these people aren’t drunk, like you think. You can see it’s only nine o’clock in the morning. But this is what was spoken by the great preacher Joel; And in the last days, says God, I’ll pour out of My Spirit on all people: and your sons and your daughters will preach, and your young people will see visions, and your old people will dream dreams: And on My male and My female workers I’ll pour out of My Spirit in those days; and they’ll all preach: And I’ll show amazing things in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and smoky vapors: The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon will shine blood red, till that great and notable day of Yahweh God comes: And whoever will call on the Name of Yahweh God will be saved.
Finally in Galatians 3 God’s Word tells us that there is no difference between races or genders and that we are all one in Christ Jesus. When the whole of Christian Biblical text is taken into consideration, it’s clear that there is an equality in all people, who acknowledge Christ as Lord and Savior.
For you’re all the children of God by faith in Christ Yeshua, and whoever has been baptized into the faith of Christ has put on the likeness of Christ. There’s no difference between races, there’s no difference between workers or those who are free, there’s no difference between males or females because you’re all one and the same in Christ Yeshua. And if you’re Christ’s, then you’re of Abraham’s lineage, and heirs of the promise.
In light of these passages and others in Scripture, the ordination of Women for service in Ministry seems reasonable enough. Debate will go on for as long as we let it, but if women find a place of service for God and there is not leadership in that area, I believe God would want that place of service filled by whoever was willing to fill it. God calls us to go into all the world and make followers, and that is a calling for each and every one of us. Every Christian should be willing to serve wherever God puts them and if it calls for ordination, then so be it.
Women in Christian Ministry
A Journey of Faith
Authored by Sis. Kimberly M. Hartfield
Women in Christian Ministry is the culmination of my writings on women’s ministry and related topics of concern. It is a reflection of my personal journey into Christian Ministry and my search for truth in questions concerning a woman’s place in ministry, types of ministry, and whether or not she should be ordained for that purpose. It was an answer to God’s calling on my life and God’s confirmation of that calling. I hope that my journey of faith may help you in your search for truth and encourage you in your calling. This book includes samples of a Baptism, Wedding, and Funeral ceremony. God bless to all!
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- When Women Lead. (greatriversofhope.wordpress.com)
- Biblical Proof That Mary Did Not Continue To Be a Virgin and That Jesus Had Brothers and Sisters (rantsandrage.wordpress.com)