The Problem with Men Presuming to Speak for Jesus While Silencing Women

This meme is troubling.

“When we listen to pastors bring the word of Christ to us, we listen not merely to men, but to Christ himself, because they are stewards of the things of God.” Steve Parks

Two issues come to mind. First, the meme assumes only men are pastors. Second, it states that listening to these men is the same as listening to Jesus.

Women and Men Preaching God’s Word

Of course, not all pastors are men. Pastors such as April Fiet and Kate Wallace Nunneley serve their churches and preach the word of God faithfully. Those who think women can’t preach or be pastors won’t be swayed by their example, but those who understand God’s word will see that there is no restriction on women serving where God has called them.

As Paul said,

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28.)

Paul’s advice to Timothy about how to run the Ephesian church does not restrict women generally in all churches. (See Gail Wallace’s Defusing the 1 Timothy 2:12 Bomb.) If a woman is a preacher, she should be given the same hearing as a man.

Neither are any preachers described as speaking from the same position as Jesus. He is the one Peter said:

Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God. (John 6:68-69.)

Jesus, the Holy One of God, is unique, and from the earliest days of the New Covenant there has been an emphasis on preaching about him.

Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:22-24.) 

While miraculous signs show God’s power and wisdom is encouraged for a right understanding of God, neither of those bring reconciliation with God. Reconciliation is through Jesus and what he has done in his death and resurrection.

The fact that a sermon is about Jesus does not mean the preacher is somehow elevated to a position of trust different from that of everyone else. Everyone who belongs to Jesus is entrusted with the same responsibility in that regard.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. (Jude 1:3.)

Preachers contend for the faith. Non preachers contend for the faith. Women and men contend for the faith. And even Paul was subject to scrutiny as he did so.

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11.)

So eagerly receive the message of Jesus, and examine the message to see if it truly represents God faithfully. You can even be appreciative of those from whom you learn. But to elevate the preacher as that meme suggests leads to a tendency to remove the preaching from proper scrutiny, as if the listeners must not question for fear of insulting Jesus himself.

Don’t restrict your learning solely to men and reject women, and don’t elevate preachers to a position as if you were hearing Jesus himself. Remember, all of God’s people are “stewards of the things of God”: women and men, preachers and non preachers, everyone.

Including you.

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16 Responses to The Problem with Men Presuming to Speak for Jesus While Silencing Women

  1. Laura says:

    Yes, I saw that meme and it bothered me too. Although I do generally appreciate White Horse Inn. As you point out, all Christians are to be stewards of the things of God.

    • JYJames says:

      “This is the official facebook “fan” page of the White Horse Inn talk show. However, we are more than a talk show and a magazine. We long to see a second reformation take hold of our churches. Join the conversation and be part of a “Modern Reformation”!

      “White Horse Inn is a nationally syndicated radio talk show hosted by Michael Horton, Rod Rosenbladt, Kim Riddlebarger and Ken Jones. On the air since 1990, the show features a regular roundtable discussion of Christian theology and apologetics.”

  2. Leah says:

    This is a great post Tim! That meme is shocking! I almost wonder if it is a mistake. I keep thinking to myself, “Does the creator understand what this meme is communicating?”.

  3. Jeannie Prinsen says:

    Thanks for this, Tim. It is good to know that we’re all stewards of God’s word.

  4. “The fact that a sermon is about Jesus does not mean the preacher is somehow elevated to a position of trust different from that of everyone else.”

    Indeed! In fact to elevate one man, or woman, over the body in this way is in direct contradiction of Jesus’s own words. We are all brothers and sisters, and we are called to love and serve one another, not lord it over each other.

  5. inohnothing says:

    Thank you. We’re on shaky ground if we think men and/or women speak for God without examining and testing their words and that meme is very troublesome. A guy once told me he had been like Jesus to me in a certain situation. I didn’t correct him since I want nothing to do with him as he is an abusive person, yet it just seemed to reek of pride and not humility to me. Be a Berean. Search the Scriptures. We are living in such deceptive times, as always.

    • Tim says:

      Been like Jesus? I’d be tempted to ask for a picture of him on the cross. Too snarky?

    • Lea says:

      ” A guy once told me he had been like Jesus to me in a certain situation.”

      I don’t trust people who say things like that. When I was in middle school, a pastor told me he was like a father to me and I was flabbergasted, as I have an excellent father who was fully present in my life! Creepy and weird.

  6. Tim, I hate to interrupt again, but I need some (more) urgent prayer. My Dad’s friend, that friend’s friend and my Great-Aunt (the one I had you pray for before) are facing potential illness. Please pray for them and for us (so we can know how best to support them). My Great-Aunt and my Dad’s friend say they are Christians (I don’t know what their relationship with God is like). As for my Dad’s friend’s friend, I don’t know if he’s saved or not.

  7. Laura says:

    Hmm it would be great to know the context of this comment – it definitely shouldn’t have been plucked out as a standalone. I did a google and can’t find which episode this may have come from to even listen to the whole thing. Disapointing.

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