By Adam Brown –
Southshore has been blessed by God with many women who are passionate and capable of speaking, teaching, and writing. As a complementarian church that takes seriously God’s creative purposes for men and women, it is essential that we provide good and biblical contexts for our women to speak, teach, and write.
First, we affirm that God has called men to teach and to lead in the church. Women are not permitted to teach or to exercise authority over a man (see 1 Timothy 2:11-15). Does this mean that women are never to teach? Is there ever an appropriate context for women to teach? Of course, there is. The women who have been gifted by God to teach ought to teach if they are to be good stewards of the gift that the Holy Spirit has entrusted to them.
What is this context? Qualified women ought to teach and lead in any context so long as they are not intending to teach and exercise authority over men. Therefore, there is but one thing to consider: If I teach in this context, will I be putting myself over a man? Rather than drafting a never ending “thou shalt not” list that makes women teachers feel unwanted or unneeded, why not focus on thy many, many, contexts where robust biblical teaching by a woman is a blessing and a need?
Thus, to this end, we desire to disciple women to be effective Bible-teachers, workers who have no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). And, if we are going to do this, our women need to be trained just as men are trained, to exposit the Word of God. When we neglect rigorous biblical and hermeneutical training of our women teachers, then our women’s discipleship misses what it needs most, namely, the Word of God.
Nancy Guthrie has articulated a vision for women’s Bible teaching that is very much in line with Southshore’s vision for women’s Bible teaching. In this podcast (originally posted by The Gospel Coalition on October 26, 2017), Guthrie laments that in North America it is uncommon for women to be expected to be Bible teachers. Moreover, she is grieved by the fact that many women’s ministries are based on much less than the faithful presentation – by women for women – of God’s Word. I encourage you to listen to it as a way to get a better handle on what we are working toward at Southshore:
I am encouraged by God’s generosity toward us as a church. I pray that God would use us to demonstrate that women can – and should – teach the Bible, and teach it well. As complementarian Christians, may we demonstrate to the church and the world that God has given women tremendous gifts and, with these gifts, appropriate contexts within which they are to use these gifts. All of this is for the building up of the Body of Christ and to the exaltation of God our Father.