This letter appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Women's role in Church set out fully in the Bible
There has been a lot of media coverage regarding women bishops and priests.
However, not much has been covered regarding what the Bible says about the role of men and women in the church of Jesus Christ.
Is the distinction between men and women in the Church simply a relic passed along to us as a custom from a past biased against women?
One thing I know is the Bible teaches men and women have different, complementary roles to play in the Church.
The Bible says 12 men were chosen to be the founders of the Old Testament Church when they had a sister, Dinah, who could have been selected – Exodus 7:1; 5:20. Only Moses was selected to lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt and Aaron was to lead as the high priest, despite Miriam, their sister, being a prophetess and older.
Only the male first-born son was to be the priest.
A system of male priests was established even though Israel was surrounded by nations that had a culture of selecting priestesses.
Twelve male apostles were chosen as the beginners of the New Testament Church when there were able women who might have been chosen.
The apostle Paul was inspired to write that bishops and elders should be male.
A bishop then must be "blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober minded, of good behaviour, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence". 1 Timothy 3:2-7
In Ephesians 5:22-25, he wrote: "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is 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."
When Adam was created, the Bible says: "It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helpmeet."
Women also have an important role in the church – see Matthew 28:1-10; Luke 8:3; 23:49; John 11:1-46; 12:1-8,1 Corinthians 12:27-31; Romans 12:3-8; 1 Peter 4:8-11; Titus 2:4; Acts 2:17-18; 21:9; 1 Corinthians 11:5. From these we can see women in the Church played a very important role.
The problem comes when, as a body of believers, men and women, we do not do what the Bible says Christians must be doing in these last days – in Matthew 28:18-20 – but instead spend most of our time striving about who can occupy which position.
Ronald Mupfeki, Leicester