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Women's role in an apostolic assembly

Submitted: 9/8/2004
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Question: I want to be part of a local body that is biblical in all details. I want to be in submission to authority. I accept biblical boundaries on my role as a Christian woman. However, God does give women the Holy Ghost and endows them with spiritual gifts. Therefore, I would like to hear, not what a woman is not allowed to do to use those gifts, but what we can do. What would be a legitimate role for a woman who is anointed to teach and lead in the church?

Answer: Women can serve in a local assembly in a wide variety of very important ways. Here are a few biblical examples. The Bible says of Tabitha, “This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did” (Acts 9:36). Concerning Philip the Bible says, “Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied” (Acts 21:9), clearly a fulfillment of Acts 2:17, which says, “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy....” Romans 16:1-2 says, “I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea...for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.” Romans 16:6 says, “Greet Mary, who labored much for us.”

In 1 Timothy 5:10, Paul instructed Timothy that a widow may be supported if she is “well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.” In Titus 2:3-5, Paul instructed Titus that older women should be “teachers of good things-- that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”

In our assembly we have women involved in leading and teaching children and other women. We also have women who prophesy, testify, evangelize, and teach both in home groups and in congregational settings. Many of our women are involved in various service ministries and in the behind-the-scenes planning for various activities. In short, we believe that women can be involved in just about every facet of church life with the exception of pastoral oversight (see our article in the Apostolic Free Library titled Why Women Cannot Serve in Oversight).