Monday, June 20, 2011

Deborah the Judge - An Example of Leadership?

It’s very interesting to me when Deborah the Judge is presented as an example of Biblical female leadership. I’ll often ask the person, or group, if they can tell me where the story of Deborah is found, but most people "guess" wrong for the Bible reference. Their answers have been one of the books of Samuel or Chronicles, or the book of Acts. It is amazing how many people will take what someone else has said as the gospel truth, instead of reading the gospel truth for themselves.

Here is another question to ponder - who leads a country? Most would answer, the president, congress, parliament, but no one would say "the judge, or judges". The role of a judge is that of an arbitrator, similar to a magistrate. The judge has the obligation to know the laws of their country, and then to apply these laws as they make decisions regarding cases that are brought before them.

Deborah’s story can be found in the book of Judges chapter 4, with chapter 5 as her song of celebration with Barak. Deborah was a judge, but Deborah did not lead the children of Israel (Nation of Israel). The position of judge is a very important position, but a judge is not a leader. It was Barak who was accountable to God for his role as the leader of the Nation of Israel, not Deborah.

In the book of Judges there were two positions sometimes given to one man; to judge, and to be the deliverer (or the leader) of the children of Israel (Judges 2:16-23). In Judges chapter 3 a pattern begins to be established with the children of Israel doing "evil in the sight of the Lord", with the Lord sending chastisement upon them, and with the people crying "unto the Lord" for the Lord to give them another deliverer. By the time of Judges chapter 4 many years have passed with this same "roller coaster" pattern. Now, the children of Israel would have a judge in Deborah, but a weak and fearful leader/deliverer in Barak.

Granted, Barak was a weak and fearful leader, but he was the leader none the less, and it was Barak who was accountable to God for his neglect of leadership, not Deborah. Deborah had gone to Barak to encourage him to fight the battle against their enemies, but God gave the credit for the victory to Barak, in Hebrews 11:32, because leadership is male, and God has never changed His mind on this distinction. Male leadership is always accountable to God, when it is weak, when it is strong, when it is neglectful, and when it is successful. Barak was the leader, not Deborah.

Deborah’s role with the Nation of Israel was very important, but Deborah was not the leader. Deborah called herself "a mother in Israel" - a mother is not a leader. A father is the leader; a mother consoles and gives comfort. (Judges 5:7) It is also interesting to note that Deborah "dwelt under the palm tree..." "...and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment." (Judges 4:5) she did not seek to lead them; they sought her for godly counsel.

Thank you for reading my post. Your comments and questions are welcome.
God Bless!
Jane Coley

Thursday, June 16, 2011

God is Gender Specific ~ Leadership is Male

Leadership is male and God has never changed His mind on this distinction. God never intended women to hold positions of leadership in the church, nor in the home. God’s intent in leadership being male is for the purpose of protection and provision of the woman, it always has been and always will be. (Numbers chapter 30; Ephesians 5:21-33; Titus 2:1-8; I Corinthians 14:34, 35; I Timothy 2:9-14; I Peter 3:1-6)

But there are good Christian women and men who are using other verses in the Bible to support their argument that women and men are able to share the same roles of leadership in the church.

The two verses which are often used are Galatians 3:28 and Acts 2:16-21. They use these verses to argue the point that a woman is able to serve in positions of leadership as a pastor of a church, as a preacher or an evangelist preaching the gospel message, or as a teacher of Bible doctrine to men, because (they argue) women and men are equals. However, spiritual equality is not role equivalence and God is gender specific, leadership is male.

They wrongly use: Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." The rules for understanding scripture always cautions us to not take a verse out of context. The context of this verse is spiritual, not physical. The correct teaching of this verse is referring to a spiritual equality in Christ.

The first illustration of this verse is using Jew and Greek. By their spiritual birth, born again (John 3:1-7), the Jew and the Greek have spiritual equality in Christ with all who are born again. But the Jew is still physically a Jew and the Greek is still physically a Greek, and as such they were still subject to the laws of their day.

The second illustration continues with that of bond and free, or slave and master. Salvation made the slave spiritually free, but it did not make the slave physically free. The slave still served an earthly master.

Then, the third illustration continues with male and female. Spiritual equality is not role equivalency and the role of leadership still remains male, while women are in the place of care, protection, and provision.

They wrongly use: Acts 2:16-21 "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh sons and your daughters shall prophesy... ...The sun turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day...".

 There are also other references for this passage, Joel 2:10, 28-32; Matthew 24:21, 29; Mark 13:24; Luke 21:25; and Revelation 6:12. The correct teaching of this passage in Acts is that this is prophecy still to come. The most notable indication of that is "the sun turned into darkness, and the moon into blood...". These are things still to come in the tribulation and will specifically happen with the Nation of Israel, as the verse 32 in Joel 2 declares; Joel 2:32 "...for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance...".

Restating: Leadership is male and God has never changed Him mind on this distinction. Spiritual equality is not role equivalence.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post.
God Bless,
Jane Coley (June 2011)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


written by Jane M. Coley

If you read the first article by this same title, Women In Ministry, thank you for revisiting this subject with me. If you have not, you will find it located below this one.  Now, to continue with the question from the previous article, "What are the ministries that God has ordained for women?".

There are seven areas of service that a women is able to scripturally participate in, of these seven, there are some that God has specifically and distinctively designed only for a woman. It won’t be necessary to identify those specific areas, as that will become obvious from their descriptions.

Before we get into the specific areas of service, I wanted to briefly look at the object lesson that the Apostle Paul taught in I Corinthians 12:12-26. His teaching was not only about the different parts making up the whole, but that each part was needful. We cannot all be ‘the eye’ or ‘the foot’ for just as the physical body has different parts/members/roles/functions, so too must the body of Christ, the church, have different parts/members/roles/functions. It is these differences that bring balance to the whole.

The Apostle Paul goes on to teach that there is not a respecter of parts/members/roles/functions because there is an equality of need. Our roles, within the church, are, by necessity, different. It is this difference that brings balance to the whole; different roles with an equality of need.

Leadership is male and God has never changed His mind on this distinction - spiritual equality is not role equivalency, men and women do have different roles and each is equally needful.

Women of the Bible in Ministry ~ Seven Areas of Service:

1. A "help meet" to her husband. - For a physically, emotionally, and spiritually balanced relationship. - Genesis 2:18-20; Pro. 31:10-12; 12:4; 18:22; 19:14

2. A helper with her husband. - A wife is most successful in her Christian walk when she walks with her husband. You cannot honor God when you harbor dishonor towards your husband.
Priscilla with Aquila - Acts 18:2, 18, 24-26; Romans 6:3; I Corinthians 16:19; II Timothy 4:19 - Together they were most effective for the cause of Christ.
Sarah with Abraham - Hebrews 11:8-11; I Peter 3:5, 6 - It is interesting to note that Abraham took another wife, after Sarah died, and there were concubines, but no other relationship was as effective for God as Abraham and Sarah’s was together.

3. A godly mother to our children. - Proverbs 31:28 
Hannah with her son, Samuel. - I Samuel 1:1-20
Grandmother Lois with her daughter, Eunice, and Eunice with her son, Timothy - II Tim. 1:5
 Deborah who judged and "arose a mother in Israel" to comfort and guide. - Judges 4 and 5
4. A counselor, and teacher of younger women. - Titus 2:3-5
Elisabeth with her cousin, Mary, the mother of Jesus. - Luke 1:36-45, 56
As the example of Sara (Sarah) to the Jewish women. - I Peter 3:1-6
Deborah who "judged Israel... as they came up to her for judgment". Judges 4:4, 5
5. A helper to the sick, the poor, and the needy - ministering to the needs of others - as a soccourer. - Proverbs 31:20; Hebrews 10:24
This is one of the greatest areas of service which is sadly being neglected by women in our churches today - too many women want a more important status in the church than seeing to the physical needs of others.Ruth served her mother-in-law, Naomi, and an entire book of the Bible was dedicated to Ruth.
Esther served her people, and an entire book of the Bible was dedicated to Esther. All Ruth and Esther did was serve others.
Dorcas served other women. - Acts 9:26-29
Phebe succoured many, including Paul. - Romans 16:1, 2
The many women in Jesus’ time who served Him and His disciples with provision of food, a place of rest and comfort, providing a meeting place in their home, which became the early churches. Faithful, serving women anointed Jesus’ body for burial. - Martha and Mary, Salome, Mary Magdalene, Lydia. - Luke 10:38; John 11:2, Mark 15:40; 16:1, 9; Acts 16:14, 15, 40
6. A prayer warrior - one given to prayers and fastings.
Rebekah - Genesis 25:21-24;
Esther - Esther 4:15-17;
Hannah - I Samuel 1:13-28; 2:1-10;
Anna - Luke 2:36-38
7. A witness for Christ.
Anna gave testimony of Jesus "to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem." - Luke 2:38
The woman at the well, the woman of Samaria, told the city "come, see a man..." - John 4:4-30
Many followed Mary and Martha to the tomb of Lazarus. - John 11:45

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.  Your comments and questions are welcome.  God bless. ~ Jane