Why Men Should Not be Pastors

October 18th, 2011 / 22 Comments

I find unconvincing the reasons people give for why women should not be ordained pastors or priests. For each reason, I can think of a corresponding reason a person might argue men should not be ordained.

A few years ago, I found a list of reasons why men should not be ordained. I thought I’d post it here to provide a forum for folks to respond.

These reasons are, of course, meant to be humorous. But they wryly reveal flaws in reasons Christians give for why women shouldn’t be pastors or priests.

Ten Reasons Men Should Not be Ordained Pastors

10. A man’s place is in the army.

9. For men who have children, their duties might distract them from the responsibilities of being a parent.

8. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do other forms of work.

7. Man was created before woman. It is therefore obvious that man was a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment, rather than the crowning achievement of creation.

6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. This is easily demonstrated by their conduct at football games and watching basketball tournaments.

5. Some men are handsome; they will distract women worshipers.

4. To be ordained pastor is to nurture the congregation. But this is not a traditional male role. Rather, throughout history, women have been considered to be not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more frequently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.

3. Men are overly prone to violence. No really manly man wants to settle disputes by any means other than by fighting about it. Thus, they would be poor role models, as well as being dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.

2. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep paths, repair the church roof, change the oil in the church vans, and maybe even lead the singing on Father’s Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the Church.

1. In the New Testament account, the person who betrayed Jesus was a man. Thus, his lack of faith and ensuing punishment stands as a symbol of the subordinated position that all men should take.

Conclusion

I sometimes take for granted how great it is to be a member of a denomination — the Church of the Nazarene — that affirms women in all levels of ministry.Since its inception more than 100 years ago, women have officially been accepted as equals to men in ministry.

Of course, some local congregations don’t do well at inviting women into pastoral leadership. The practice of some churches does not correspond with the denomination’s official affirmation of women in ministry. But I remain hopeful that changes are coming that will rectify these oversights.

I’m especially interested in hearing any constructive or strategic suggestions for how Christians in any particular community might encourage congregations to affirm women in all levels of ministry leadership.

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Comments

wendy

This is superb!  And easily transferable to any other profession.


Jennifer

It’s amazing how farcical these seem when applied to men, but when the method is applied to women, it seems convincing to many. I don’t understand that for others, nor do I understand why the bad arguments against women do not always seem as ridiculous to me as they should! Thanks for posting.


Dan Masshardt

That list does point out the subjectivity often used in preventing women from serving in ministry roles.

I think it is a discussion that can be had – and of course the Bible ought to be important in the discussion.  Unfortunately, it is how we use the Bible that can become problematic…

I, too, serve in a body that affirms women in all roles of ministry and we probably have the similar challenges as the Nazarene Church.

I do have some thoughts on changing the culture of the church.  Although some might disagree, I feel as through the wise approach might be more subtle (and effective in my opinion) than a heavy-handed approach of requiring churches to hire women, for example.

I believe that much of the responsibility for change falls on MALE pastors and leaders.  Often we – those of us men who affirm women in all ministry capacities – do little to nothing to prepare the way for women to serve.  Do we ever preach / teach on female leaders in the Bible or do studies on the texts that are used to preclude women from ministry?

Do we ever invite women into the pulpit – encourage women who sense a call to ministry by giving opportunity and affirmation?

My own experience is that often when people are hesitant about female pastors, they open up when they get to know the particular person and experience her ministry. 

I could say more, but I’ve already written a long comment.


Steve Carroll

Tom i don’t think i ever shared the story of how i came to ENC…

I was planning to go to ENC but on a whim I decided i wanted to fly a bit further from the nest. So I went to a Christian College in NY. it became instantly clear that Nyack was a bad fit. As a First year student right out of High school I was not ready to share the kind of maturity needed for learning in an environment that was teaching thing that I had strong personal differences with.

The biggest issue was the Women in ministry. The school i was attending taught that women could be missionaries in other countries but not ordained ministers and not in key leadership roles within local congregations. (basically they could lead the ‘savages’ just not our men.

about the 3rd week into classes a prove in teaching a intro to Christianity or some such gen ed class. The Prof was trying to instigate discussion he began to rail against women ministers after about five minutes of him telling a full lecture hall full of first year students that if they even sat under a women’s leadership they were defying Scripture…

I stood up informed him that he was talking about my Mama and told him that if he didn’t stop we could take it out side. Then i left… he didn’t follow

By J- Term i was enrolled at ENC.

As far as constructive or strategic suggestions: Female ordination is often seen as a liberal feminist phenomenon.  This idea needs to be debunked in public perception . The is a very strong stereo type of Female ministers.
To do this, I believe it is key for Faith Traditions such as ours (the Church of the Nazarene and The Salvation Army) to model strong female ministry. While we do better than many we still have a long way to go.  The big area that seems to be lacking is with Married Women I have not met a lot of Nazarene “Pastor’s Husbands” and even in the Salvation Army while Husbands and wives are always ordained together. Key leadership roles are almost never given to a wife over a husband.  While we have had 3 women as international leaders (General) all of them including our current General Linda Bond have been single.


DinkyDau Billy

Very similar to the ‘arguments’ against wimmin serving in the armed forces, especially when presented by the ringknockers.

I rather liked Metcalf’s “Ablaze with Love: The Living Legacy of Our Nazarene Foremothers.”

IIRC, it’s mentioned in the video that the number of women pastors has actually declined from the early days of the denomination. Women’s participation is not at all a new thing in the Naz. According to the video, at least one interviewee/commenter seemed to attribute the decline in women pastors to a fundamentalist attitude within the denomination. I would agree with that. The wonderful Wesleyan theology of the Naz seems to have been corrupted by a mean streak of fundamentalism that – in my view – stems directly from the Holiness movements. American Holiness Movements can be downright unholy in many ways; legalistic; rife with judgmentalism; narrow-mindedly intransigent. Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to have started out that way, for as Metcalf documents, there were a lot more women pastors percentage-wise in the Naz until … when? Starting just after WWII, when we all were bitten by the Red Menace bug, McCarthyism, and the need to prove with our loyalty oath our all-American “Christianess” (this being a Christian nation and all). Isn’t that about the time the numbers began to decline? What would Ozzie have said, had Harriet decided to answer a call to the ministry?

But you ask about “… constructive or strategic suggestions …”.

OK. How about a dramatic shift by the denomination away from the Holiness component, back toward a ‘purer’ Wesleyanism? Wesley believed in a form of Holiness, but what would he have thought of the rather unique Americanized holiness viewpoints? Wesley had an egalitarian view of women and their role in the church that is seemingly quite at odds with the current Holiness component of the Naz, if we agree that the Holiness component brings in that mean streak of fundie-ness.

Reassessing and reshaping the Holiness component of Naz theology would go far toward fixing the problem.

That’s my story, and I’m a-stickin’ to it, at least till someone comes up with a better story.


Todd Holden

Tom

I have a definite passion for all of us to hear God’s voice and to do what He says, thus being used here and now for God’s glory!

When I think about this a scripture that comes to my mind is Mark 4:21-25, “Jesus said to them, “Does anyone bring in a lamp in order to put it under a basket or a bed? Shouldn’t it be placed on a lampstand? Everything hidden will be revealed, and everything secret will come out into the open. Whoever has ears to listen should pay attention!” He said to them, “Listen carefully! God will evaluate you with the same standard you use to evaluate others. Indeed, you will receive even more. Those who have will receive more, but as for those who don’t have, even what they don’t have will be taken away from them.”

I believe that if we are listening to the Lord we cannot help but notice that the good Lord uses those who will listen, making no distinction as to whether they are male or female.

When we make a distinction as to “who” we think is allowed to hear God and this act on His words, we are just like those spoken of in this passage in Mark.

We need to receive the whole counsel of God and see the joy that can be ours by encouraging all to listen and obey our gracious and merciful God!


Michael

Quite amusing. Thank you!


Carla Sunberg

Tom,
Thanks.  I really enjoyed this!
Carla


John W. Dally

One area is to get WOMEN of the church to accept women in leadership. Between men who fear loosing their “God given right” to lead, women seem to be the strongest proponents of women in ministry.

We need to point out the Biblical arguments. While those against women in ministry point to the pastorals to support their argument we need to point out that that is a much later writing and that even conservative scholars do not credit Paul with authorship. We need to point out that Paul had female apostles. We need to show how God created man AND women in his image. We need to point out that the reason women are treated to subjection is SIN.  Why, as the Body of Christ would we want to codify sin as part of practice and polity? 

I am afraid it is left to pastors to present the case for women in the pulpit. A place to begin is by letting women preach.

P.S. Why did God create man first?  He did not want someone telling him how to do his job. grin


Nichole Henselman

Obviously, being a woman, this blog peaked my interest. I had mixed emotions about it. First I want to tackle the list of ten reasons why men should not be pastors. I thought it was pretty funny and I admit I smiled to myself a few times while reading it. But, the alarming thing to me was the truth of those top ten. All the things mentioned were true in regard to men. They may have been a little exaggerated, but the base of it all seems to be true to me. I kept thinking how blessed we are to have a gracious God that allows/calls not only men into the ministry, but allows/calls women into the ministry.
That was the other thing I was thinking about while reading this. I am so thankful that I am a part of a denomination who is for the most part good with women ministers. I don’t know where I would be if it weren’t allowed. Maybe a martyr? Ha! It’s a sad reality that people still post reasons why women shouldn’t be in ministry. So, I thought that this was kind of a nice change of pace Dr. Oord. smile Good blog.


Rachael Yacovone

I actually just found this blog, or probably would have read it much sooner. Simply because I appreciate it. I do not appreciate it, because it makes fun of the silly reasons that are given for Women’s place vs. Mens place in the church, but because it simply shows how much we dramatize the situation. If we could simply laugh at these excuses, which I think most would agree these would be aweful reason to not allow male leaders, as well as the ones offered for females, we might get to the truth of what really bothers people about women ministers in the church. I know that even as a woman going into ministry I think it would be a hard change to see a woman pastor simply because it is different. Yet, this does not make them incapable of leading, it just makes me realize that I may need to question why I feel that way. After researching the passages of scripture used to defend this, I can see why people came to the decision about women not being in ministry, but I would beg they take a closer look and see that it also if taken in context could change their minds. I found it actually very encouraging to read those passages as well as these top ten and see that really women can have a leadership role, and I think quite confidently. I would be discouraged if many of the women I am in school with could not continue, because of the strength and intelligence they bring,and our guys too. I am glad you posted this as a chance to open up and see both perspectives.


Elizabeth

I really enjoyed this blog. I have never thought of reasons why men should not be pastors. I am glad that I was raised attending a church that had a female pastor.
I am so blessed to been raised without gender roles.


Kathy

this article is priceless,brings about a change in our attitudes, and i say it is for the better….LOVE IT


Jordan Iwami

I think it is important to not these simply for the sake of realizing that putting down women in ministry is silly. Obviously gender plays a role and makes a difference in ministry, but both have strengths and weaknesses to offer.


Pam Western

This made me laugh and cry all at the same time.  Great perspective.  I oversee a women’s conference ministry called “unearthing Destinies”.  I believe that God desires to see women released into all they were created for.  Thanks for this post. I’m passing it along.


Kris Bos

I agree to alot of the comments of men shouldn’t be pastors. I think everybody is different but each person has a unique talent to spread the gospel. It can be either male or female but most priest are male. I don’t know any female priest as far as I am concerned. I think these things can go both ways. You said that if men were handsome then the woman would have a hard time to stay on topic. It goes the other way too. All in all I think it was a humorous post and most people wouldn’t think about it.


Loralee Scott

Bravo! Amen! and Hallelujah!  THANK YOU for this creative, humorous way to show the ridiculous, counter-intuitive logic too often passed as gospel truth.


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thomasjayoord.com is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!


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Karen

They all seem a little shallow, but as a women I like #7 🙂


Bethanie

As a female in pursuit of ordination with the Nazarene denomination, there is still much room to grow. But I would agree with the previous comment that it is important that women step up and preach as much as they can for their church. This will inspire other women to step up and lead as well. I have been running the Celebrate Recovery ministry for almost 6 years and have very little flack about my leadership because I have proven time and time again how important God is in my leadership ability. Winning men over to my side was really about demonstrating the right way to lead.


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