There are two main viewpoints on the roles of men and women in the church:
1) Egalitarianism: This is the view that there is no unique leadership role that belongs to the husband in a marriage, and that all governing and teaching roles in the church should belong to both men and women alike.
2) Complementarianism: This is the view that men and women are equal in value and personhood, but different in roles, both in marriage and in the church. Some roles of governing or teaching belong to men only. However, others are open to both men and women.
We teach a complementarian view of male and female roles both in marriage and in the church.
By this we mean that we believe that ‘headship’ roles in the church and the family are the responsibility of the men.
Women must submit to their husbands as required by the scriptures (Ephesians 5:22-32 Colossians 3:18). Their submission to the Church Leaders , required also by the scriptures, is the same for both men and women (Hebrews 13:17). There is a further requirement for us all to submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21). In every case this refers to submission to ‘Godly Authority’ and does not refer to submission in every and all matters. There is no requirement for all women to submit to all men but “…to their own husband”.
Submission in The Bible, simply means that women should not try to exercise domineering control over their husbands, just as all church members should not try to exercise domineering control over each other or the Church Leaders.
Leaders must be examples to the flock, as required by scripture and this includes:
- Being an example of submissive attitudes; and,
- Not ruling the flock by being overbearing or controlling (1 Peter 5:2-4).
Teaching roles of men and women
Most teaching of the assembled church is an outworking of the ‘headship’ role of the church leaders and must, therefore, be done by men. One of the reasons this is important is that it sometimes results in conflicts and confrontations as error is refuted and correction is brought (Titus 1:5-11).
Women – particularly the older and more spiritually mature women – can and should teach the younger women and the children (Titus 2:3-5).
However, this does not mean that women can never teach men. There are many other situations where a gifted woman teacher can exercise her gift, teaching both men and women, as judged appropriate by the church leaders (Proverbs 31:26, 2 Timothy 1:5, Philippians 4:3, Luke 2:36 and Acts 21:9).
There could also be occasions where such women could teach the assembled church; for instance, when the church leaders have asked her to do so because of her specialised knowledge on a topic. This kind of teaching does not exercise headship, but is delivered in response to the wise headship of the leaders, so in our view is permissible.
N.B. It should be borne in mind that the suitability of men and women for these roles is dependent on their gifts, maturity and personality.
Guidelines for men and women involved in teaching or witnessing to the opposite sex:
- Never be completely alone with someone of the opposite sex.
- Always avoid sharing too many personal details.
- Where the person wants to talk about personal matters in more depth, direct them to someone of the same gender or to a married couple.
For further information and in-depth study on these matters please refer to the following media: