“How Does the Bible Support Your View That God Intends for Males to Grow into Masculinity and Females to Grow into Femininity?”

Your article “What is a Biblical View of Transgendered People and Hermaphrodites?” makes this statement: “The biblical view is that God’s intent for every male is to grow into masculinity, and for every female to grow into femininity.” What Bible passages support that contention?

I would define masculinity as the characteristics of being male, and femininity as the characteristics of being female, per God’s intention. I would also suggest that as a culture, we have a too-narrow idea of what it means to be male and to be female. I think that masculinity is a spectrum from the rough-and-tumble, athletic-loving male to the sensitive, artistic, musical, aesthetic-loving male, and everything in between. I think that femininity is a spectrum from the girly-girl to the tomboy/jockette, and everything in between, and it pleased God to make both male and female, masculine and feminine, in His image. That’s a VERY wide range!

But there is a difference between male and female, between masculinity and femininity. When people of one gender long to be the other other, and indulge the fantasy of being or becoming the other, there is a hatred and contempt for the gender that they are—and that means something is wrong. God chose their gender, which means it is good; to hate what God has made means someone’s thinking is skewed and needs to be adjusted, to come into alignment with God’s.

I say this to lay a foundation for the scriptures that answer your question: I believe that “male and female” and “masculine and feminine” mean the same thing. When they don’t, I believe, it’s because we have adopted a too-narrow understanding of masculinity and femininity.

From the beginning, the binary nature of “male and female” has been God’s design and God’s intent:

Genesis 1:27: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Genesis 5:2 “He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created.”

Genesis 6:19 “And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.”

Then, in the New Testament, the Lord Jesus reiterated this truth:

Matthew 19:4 “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female. . .”

Mark 10:6 “But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.”

Then there’s this:

Deuteronomy 22:5 “A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”

The point of this law, like that of many other OT laws, is to underscore the importance of not blurring distinctions, of maintaining boundaries between separate things. One of the reasons for this importance is so that God’s people would think clearly about reality. The differences between male and female are God-designed and good, because He reveals His glory differently through men and through women. (Note throughout the Psalms the way God reveals Himself to be a God of strength and protection, masculine glories, as well as a God of nurture and caring, feminine glories. Our masculinity and femininity both come from the heart of God.)

Scripture also teaches that God’s plan and design is for things and people to grow to the mature forms of what they are (references to animal husbandry; parables of crops growing; God’s intention for us to grow to maturity [Ephesians 4:13]). Apples do not grow up to be corn, and lambs do not grow up to be bulls. Boys grow up to be men, girls grow up to be women.

My husband the scientist points out from Psalm 139 that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” as God knits us together in our mother’s womb. Part of that is genetics, which is that God determines if we are male or female. These days, some people are unhappy with their gender as if it were a mistake or a joke, but God has made that determination for His glory and our good.

Thanks for asking.

Sue Bohlin

© 2011 Probe Ministries


See Also Probe Answers Our Email:

“What is a Biblical View of Transgendered People and Hermaphrodites?”

“My Daughter’s School Wants Us to Welcome a Transgendered Student”

See Also Staff Blog Posts:
The 3rd Grade Transgender Bus Driver
DWTS and the T in GLBT


“My Daughter’s School Wants Us to Welcome a Transgendered Student”

I received a letter from my daughter’s public elementary school that they are welcoming a new family with a “transgendered third grade girl.” This letter is urging us to welcome and accept “her” and treat her the same as any other girl. She will be in third grade and my daughter is in second grade. The letter also informs us that our school district does not tolerate discrimination in respect to gender identity and or expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability or religion.

There is a meeting at the school next week for parents to come and ask questions, etc. about transgender children. The parents of this student, staff, district personnel and the principal will be at this meeting.

I am really in need of some advice on how to handle this. We are a strong Christian family who believe that God did not make a mistake when He created this child. I am having a very hard time saying I will go along with the school district and tell my daughter to accept him as a girl. I want to be a loving, yet clear witness for Christ at this meeting.

Oh my word! I am so sorry you have to deal with this very difficult situation. I have thought about your question a lot and sought the wisdom of some of my friends who are immersed in ministry to those with gender issues.

I think you have a challenge here to balance the Lord’s command to be loving and compassionate to this family in crisis, and the need to disciple your own daughter in truth and love and wisdom.

One thing that really strikes me is the presence of overt spiritual warfare. This confused child and the parents most probably have no idea that they have been attacked and conquered by the lies of the enemy who comes to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). I don’t know about you, but it breaks my heart to think about a child who so despises gender to the point of wanting to change it, and parents that think they are helping by going along with it.

When it comes to the parent meeting, I respectfully suggest that you seek to be overwhelmingly kind in your words and your tone. You might communicate that you are concerned about the ridicule that this child will receive from the other students, regardless of their hope to head it off. Children are still in the concrete stage of operations at this age, and they may not accept that this student is a girl. It’s quite possible that this child will be ostracized and marginalized, called names, and whispered about in ways sure to cause pain. It would be appropriate to ask how the school is planning on handling that. It would also be a good idea for you to be empathetic to the difficult situation that these parents are in. You could say that your prayers are with them during this transition to the new school.

You can’t control what a school does, but you have total control over how you talk to your own children about it. Since you are committed to biblical standards of truth and love, that means framing this unfortunate challenge to your daughter in a way that tells her the truth and honors this new student. Something along the lines of, “Sweetheart, there is a new third grade student using a girl’s name who looks like girl and acts like a girl, but God made him a boy. He isn’t bad, he’s confused. We don’t know why, but he doesn’t understand that being a boy is a good thing, and God makes lots of different kinds of boys. This is very sad, and we need to pray for him and be kind to him.”

This means that your daughter may have an opportunity to show kindness and compassion to a hurting child—not by joining into this game of “pretend,” but by simply reaching out to connect with a smile, an invitation to sit together at the lunch table (if second graders even mingle with third graders?!). . . basically, showing the love of Jesus to this hurting child. Part of that might include encouraging her not to discuss what mommy and daddy say about this child or their family to other children at school.

This is definitely a sticky situation. It’s easy to be broadsided by the fact that in your wildest dreams you never thought this would happen at your daughter’s school, and therefore rise up in defense for truth and justice regarding these poor children’s hearts and souls. That being said, let me encourage you to see yourself as the ambassador of Christ in this circumstance. Try not to get caught in a debate with non-believers. Speak as Jesus would speak, sharing truth in a way that leaves no room for debate or verbal retaliation.

It is very sad that our children are growing up in a generation where they are exposed to things that are difficult for grown adults to understand themselves. I will be praying for you, your family, the family of this child, and your school at large.

As I am writing to you, I am continually reminded that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Therefore I urge you to trust the fight for truth to the Lord. In the meantime, pray for the lost souls that are at your daughter’s school, and look for opportunities to communicate the gospel to those who have not trusted Christ, starting with compassion.

I hope you find this helpful.

Sue Bohlin

© 2009 Probe Ministries


See Also Probe Answers Our Email:

“What is a Biblical View of Transgendered People and Hermaphrodites?”

“How Does the Bible Support Your View That God Intends for Males to Grow into Masculinity and Females to Grow into Femininity?”
See Also Staff Blog Posts:
The 3rd Grade Transgender Bus Driver
DWTS and the T in GLBT


“What About Abortion in the Case of Rape or Incest?”

Dear Sue,

I just read your article on abortion as a source to prepare a message on abortion. Thank you for a well written, well documented work. Many of the sermon reviews I have done so far lack documentation for the claims being made in the sermon. I am curious to know more regarding your point when you touched on the issue of abortion because of rape or incest. What you would say to women in those situations, and do you leave a little more room for personal decision there?

Thank you for your kind words about my article.

Since I am a woman, I’ve definitely thought about the possibility of pregnancy resulting from rape: what would I do if it happened to me? As traumatic and life-altering as rape is, I would still need to pass it through my Christian worldview filter, and I come to these conclusions (which also apply to incest):

1. God is still in control, even when He allows unspeakable evil into our lives.
2. Because He is good, that means He has a purpose and a plan to redeem even unspeakable evil, which means we can trust Him.
3. Pregnancy resulting from rape or incest brings an innocent child into existence, who has a right to life because God has made him or her in His image. He loves them and He has a plan for their lives, or they would never have been conceived.
4. Aborting a baby conceived by rape or incest doesn’t make the pain go away, and it doesn’t make the problem go away.
5. It makes it worse because the lingering guilt of abortion is horrific. A woman will often start to think of her life as divided into BA/AA (before the abortion/after the abortion).
6. In addition to the trauma of being raped or incested, a woman is then further burdened with post-abortion syndrome. (See my article “The Dark Underside of Abortion.”)

I understand that from a human standpoint, giving “more room for personal decision” to abort in the case of rape or incest makes sense. But from an eternal, biblical perspective, it still violates God’s command not to murder, and it still incurs the consequences of one’s own sinful choice. When a woman is victimized by rape or incest, she is not responsible for what was done to her, but she is responsible for her response to being sinned against. Sinning against her unborn baby and against herself is not justified, even though we certainly understand why she would do it. The need for compassion is excruciating. Which is why, if I were were talking to someone pregnant as the result of rape or incest, I would gently and lovingly give her the bigger picture of what is at stake.

Thank you so much for asking for clarification on my position on this important question. I am grateful for the chance to explain what I have hammered out concerning this very difficult issue.


© 2009 Probe Ministries

“Is It Biblical for a Woman to Lead a Nation?”

In view of John McCain’s pick for Vice President [Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska]: Is it biblically sound for a women to be in charge of a nation? I feel very sound on the fact that the husband should lead the family and in a church structure a man should be in charge of the church. Can a woman lead on the national scale?

We are in total agreement with you that God’s plan is for men to lead in both the church and the family. But the Bible does not prohibit women from exercising leadership in civil governments. Note that the references to the Queen of Sheba and Queen Esther contain not even a hint of anything negative. It does seem to be understood that men will generally be the ones in authority, but there are no restrictions for systems and hierarchies outside the church and the family. So there’s nothing intrinsically wrong or evil about women ruling in civil matters.

The created order, before the fall, makes Adam and Eve co-regents and co-stewards of the earth:

Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Gen 1:27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Gen 1:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

God’s plan for the future is that believers who endure, both men and women, will reign with Christ (2 Tim. 2:12). So the idea of women reigning is biblical within a certain context.

I do feel compelled, however, to note the sadness of Isaiah 3:12 where women ruling over God’s people is a sign of judgment. However, the context is that of a theocracy, and that makes a difference. The United States is definitely not a theocracy, with our strong lines of demarcation between church and state!

Hope this helps!

Sue Bohlin

Shortly after this answer was posted, we received this email:

Re: Your article “Is it Biblical for a woman to lead a nation” — Why was Deborah never mentioned when she is a prominent figure all through Judges?

I addressed the issue of Deborah in the answer to email “Should Women Be Pastors?” here: www.probe.org/should-women-be-pastors/

By the way, there are 21 chapters in Judges, and Deborah’s story is in only two of them, chapters 4 and 5. She’s a major player to be sure, but not all through Judges.

Thanks for asking.

Sue Bohlin

“Are Single Women Purposeless Beings?”

You have biblically and honestly tackled the question of the roles of women in your articles.

But I have a question concerning the meaning of women’s lives. What does the Bible mean when it says that God intended to create a woman to help man? Does it then reduce single women to purposeless beings who have nothing to do on earth? I mean not the widowed, but the never marrieds.

No, the Bible does not reduce single women at all. I believe God’s design of women means that when we operate in our strengths and giftings, we are helping other people in a variety of ways. People have many needs on many levels: physically, emotionally, spiritually, aesthetically. When women bring our God-given beauty and sensitivity, nurture and compassion, intellect and leadership skills to our communities, I think we are contributing in ways that matter. Please note, none of these have to do with marital status.

I think of single friends who are teachers, helping children and adults learn and grow.
I think of single friends who are medical professionals, compassionately treating the sick and helping people get and stay healthy.
I think of single friends who are interior designers and decorators or work for them, bringing beauty and order to homes and offices.
I think of single friends who are counselors, helping people deal with pain and problems and restoring them to functionality.
I think of single friends who are serving in ministry, pointing people to Jesus and helping them grow spiritually.

It’s true that God created Eve as a helpmate for Adam, but not all women are called to marriage. Some women are called to help others in their singleness. Many of the women I know, regardless of career or calling, delight in helping others in a variety of ways. And lest anyone think being a helper is an inferior status, may I respectfully point out that God is glad to be our helper? The Psalms are rich with references to God as our helper, our rescuer, our protector. And that’s just the beginning. He created us to need help, to need Him and each other, so there is nothing “lesser than” about orienting one’s life in terms of helping others.

I hope this helps. <smile>

Sue Bohlin

© 2008 Probe Ministries

“Is Christianity a Male-Dominated Religion?”

What is your view of Christianity as a male dominated religion?

Unfortunately many have this misperception due to abuses of Bible verses made by some Christian leaders or just a misunderstanding of the text. The Bible teaches that men and women are equal in nature but different in their physical makeup and their roles. Men and women are equal in nature and value but complementary to one another in their design. Where the present day feminist movement goes wrong is the teaching that says men and women are essentially the same. The Bible teaches they are equal in nature but different in many ways. Just looking at the physical anatomy of men and women shows they are different.

Of all the world views, only Christianity gives the woman her full God-ordained dignity. Genesis 1:27 states, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.” Man and woman each are created in the image of God. In Genesis 2:18 God makes woman as a “helper suitable for him.” The term “helper” means one who will complement the other. In other words, Eve would be a complement to Adam, not an inferior being. 1 Peter 3:7 states, “Husbands, in the same way be considereate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as co-heirs with you of the gracious gift of life…” Women here are co-heirs in Christ with their husbands. They are not inferior, they are equal in nature and fellow heirs in Christ.

What a contrast to Islam, which teaches that only men go to heaven and women are allowed to be beaten by men if they are disobedient. Also remember, when the New Testament writers were writing, the Jewish faith did not look highly on women. In fact there was a prayer Jewish men prayed: “Lord, thank you that I was not born a Gentile, a dog or a woman.” In contrast, the New Testament writers give women their full dignity as co-heirs to the kingdom of God.

Also, Jesus and the apostles are the first to give women such a prominent role and raise their value in society. The first evangelists to proclaim the gospel are women. This is important to realize because the testimony of women was not considered credible in Jewish society at that time, yet Christ appoints them to be the first to proclaim the resurrection. The apostles are shown to be hiding from the authorities while the women go to the tomb. Luke records the prominent role women had in the ministry of Jesus. Paul and Peter constantly call on husbands to treat their wives with respect and honor.

So once we understand the biblical teaching, we can see that Christianity teaches men and women are equal in nature. However, Christianity also fully acknowledges the differences of men and women and teach the differences to be complementary.

I agree that the leadership role of the family and the church fall on the men. However, that in no way means that men do not or should not listen to their wives, nor does it mean women cannot have a prominent role in the church. Husbands are to listen and honor their wives and they are to honor them in the church as well. There are some tough passages that many misuse but when understood correctly, they in no way devalue the role of women.

Patrick Zukeran
Probe Ministries

“I Liked the Article About Modern-Day Knights”

I read the article “Raising a Modern-Day Knight” by Louis D. Whitworth. I would like to thank him and the others involved with the article. I am going to be turning 20 April 16 of this year. I know that I am not a teenager anymore but that did not make me a man. At least I do not feel like one. I do have Jesus in my heart. I was raised at a FBC understanding. Also I did not get a Father till 12. I would like to thank him again and the site. I will be looking at your site in the future. I pray that Mr. Whitworth will get this message of thanks.
Hi ________,

Happy Upcoming Birthday!

I will certainly make sure that Lou gets your message. He is no longer with Probe, but I will forward your note to him. Do yourself a favor and get a hold of the book he reviewed (Raising a Modern-Day Knight by Robert Lewis), or another truly exceptional book that we enthusiastically recommend to all our high school and college age guys who come to our conferences: Tender Warrior by Stu Weber. If you want to know how to grow into being a godly man, that’s the best book there is. Lots of men in their 30s and 40s have been greatly impacted by this book, and if you read it as you turn 20 you will be SET!

God bless you.


Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries


“Weaknesses in Wild at Heart”

Read your article “Is the Tender Warrior Wild at Heart?” on the Probe website. I have studied Eldredge’s book in a one-on-one mentoring situation, and in a small men’s group. The book came highly recommended.

I found it interesting, but left us hanging and created unresolved gaps in thinking and process. My one big question centered around “the wound” — what about the man who has already addressed and recovered from his wound? The exploration of it only creates more anguish, not healing; more pain, not godliness.

As a pastor, teacher, and consultant, I have encountered several churches who have or are using “Wild at Heart” but finding the need to augment the material. Too bad, since there is some good material in here as well. But for many (and myself), too much to sort through and interpret, so not worth the trouble… There are other resources.

Interesting analysis you did, though. Thanks for your thinking on it.

Tender WarriorThanks for your reaction and comments on Wild at Heart. I agree with much of your concerns and criticisms of the book. Hopefully you caught some of that in my article. (There is a little more in an extended footnote at the end of the article.) I too have found it valuable but incomplete. I believe the book is largely written for those men who have spent most of their lives on the sidelines. Tender Warrior continues to be my book of choice for mentoring all men on God’s intention for a man. Those who have experienced a vital walk with the Lord and a fulfilling ministry will only find Wild at Heart helpful in understanding why so many men never get to that point.

Thanks again for your input.


Ray Bohlin
Probe Ministries

“Single Men Struggle, Too”

Dear Probe,

Even though I am a man, I found the article on the role of women (5 Lies the Church Tells Women) quite interesting. I especially enjoyed the section on the struggle/opposition faced by single women engaged career/ministry activity. Though perhaps not as intense, I have also found a similiar attitude toward single men with the verses saying a pastor should be the husband of one wife being taken out of context and meaning unmarried men aren’t fit for leadership either. It might be fruitful for Probe to conduct a similar study for singles.

Thank you for taking the time to share your response to my article! What an insight. It does seem, doesn’t it, that sometimes people in the church are better at excluding than making people feel like they belong. . . .sigh . . . . . I’m so sorry. The people with the anti-single-man attitude would probably have a problem with the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul as well!


Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries

“Your Position Against Women Pastors Is Outdated”

Question for Sue Bohlin regarding women pastors:

It seems like your reasoning centers on one verse: 1 Tim. 2:12. [But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.] My question about that verse would be: Is it a timeless teaching? Wouldn’t you agree that there are some culturally relevant areas of the Bible? Is the particular application of the principles of this passage timeless or are they culturally relative? When I study the Bible, to determine whether the teaching is timeless or culturally relative, I ask, was the teaching taught uniformly throughout the Bible. If it is a timeless teaching, then there won’t be any variations on it. If it is culturally relative issue, sometimes it might be there and sometimes not. For example, throughout the Bible you hear differing views on drinking wine, but there is a consistent message about getting drunk. The view that states that women cannot be in leadership in a church context is drawn mainly from 1 Timothy 2:9-13. Due to the pagan religions in Ephesus in Paul’s day this prohibition was necessary to distinguish Christianity from other religions. However, that cultural context is no longer applicable to the church today.

If you think that 1 Tim. 2:12 is timeless, then what do you do with the fact that women wrote parts of the Bible? Luke 2:38 (Anna); Luke 1:42-45 (Elizabeth); Luke 46-55 (Mary); Exodus 15:20-21 (Miriam); Judges 5 (Deborah—was leader of Israel). What do you do with the fact that woman are prophets? Ex.15:20-21 (Miriam); 2Kg 22:14 (Huldah), Isa 8:3 (Isaiah’s wife); Luke 2:38 (Anna); 1 Cor. 11:5 (others). Another thing to consider is that many women are described as having authoritative roles, over men and women in the Bible. Deborah (Judges 5), Anna (Luke 2:38), Isaiah’s wife (Isa. 8:3), Aquilla and Pricilla (Acts 18:26) and others to name a few.

Women were not only recorded as being prophets but also judges and apostles (Rom. 16:7). The cultural restriction of women in leadership roles is not a timeless principle. This restriction denies women who are called into leadership from fulfilling their unique role in God’s kingdom. Also, women not being allowed in leadership denies the church from the benefit of half of its leaders, pastors, visionaries, prophets and so on. Men and women are different but together in leadership they can complement one another by bringing out different characteristics of God’s character. Not all women, just as not all men, are called into leadership roles in the church. Each person should follow their personal calling. However, women can be free to follow God’s call into roles of leadership if God chooses to gift, equip and call them into that role. How can all this be ignored? I am a conservative Christian, but I use my mind to study issues like this to learn the truth. Can you explain how all these references can be ignored?


I completely agree that we must seek to separate timeless principles from cultural, time-bound issues. That is an essential part of reading and interpreting the Bible accurately.

I believe the pivotal verse of 1 Tim. 2:12 is but one link in a chain that teaches male headship and leadership because of the way God reveals Himself through the teaching that men are to assume the mantle of leadership for the church and the family: the husband as the head of the wife; male elders in church leadership; Jesus choosing twelve men as the foundation of his church (even though He was constantly flying in the face of the anti-female culture of His time, elevating and honoring women in a way no one had seen before). I am particularly struck by Eph. 3:14-15, which can (and I think should) be translated “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every fatherhood in heaven and on earth derives its name.” I am struck by how, as a woman, I am unable to represent the Fatherhood of God, which is why male leadership (who can manifest the Fatherhood of God) is so crucial. (There are other aspects of God that I and all other women are able to represent particularly well, such as His beauty, compassion, nurturing, comfort, relational sensitivities—but not His Fatherhood.)

Then what do you do with the fact that women wrote parts of the Bible?

I would respectfully disagree that women wrote these parts. Luke and Moses wrote the verses you cited, quoting these women. Which is awesome, considering the cultural value of women at the time. It shows that God speaks and blesses through women, and the Holy Spirit made sure godly women were credited with being the conduits of praise and blessing that they were. But they didn’t write those passages.

What do you do with the fact that woman are prophets?

I thank the Lord for using believing women in this way. A prophet is a servant, the mouthpiece of God. A conduit. This is a separate issue from being a pastor or elder or serving in leadership over men.

Another thing to consider is that many women are described as having authoritative roles, over men and women in the Bible. Deborah (Judges 5), Anna (Luke 2:38), Isaiah’s wife (Isa. 8:3), Aquilla and Pricilla (Acts 18:26) and others to name a few.

Deborah: Indeed, she did serve as a judge. But note how she led—not as a man would. She called herself “a mother in Israel.” Her role was more one of advisor and counselor, the way a mother would counsel her children, and making judicial decisions. She used her “authority” in indirect ways to influence, as opposed to the direct kind of leadership as the male judges did. When the need for military leadership arose, she called on Barak to lead the men into war with the Canaanites.

Anna: All scripture says about this godly woman is that “she never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. She came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” There is nothing here to indicate an authoritative role. She served in the temple and testified about God. This does not constitute authority.

Isaiah’s wife: she is described as “the prophetess,” which I understand from Bible scholars may well refer to her role as the prophet’s wife. But even if she were a full-fledged prophet in her own right, she had no authority. She would have been a mouthpiece for God. The authority was in the words that would have come through her, not in the woman herself.

Priscilla, along with her husband Aquila, “took Apollos aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” This doesn’t mean she was in leadership; it means she sat and explained things, in tandem with her husband, peer-to-peer. Not as a church leader.

Women were not only recorded as being prophets but also judges and apostles (Rom. 16:7).

I’m sorry, but we cannot know that Junias was a woman. The argument that Junias was a female apostle is shaped by modern feminist thought rather than by robust Biblical scholarship.

Also, women not being allowed in leadership denies the church from the benefit of half of its leaders, pastors, visionaries, prophets and so on.

Women are not denied a place of leadership in the church. We are restricted from CERTAIN positions of leadership. Some of the most gifted leaders, teachers, pastors (it helps to use the term “shepherds,” which means the same thing) and visionaries in the church are women, and when we use our gifts to lead and serve and teach women and children (which is over half the church), I think God is making a statement about the value of women and children. When we use our gifts and strengths to influence in indirect ways—note the importance of character and maturity in requirements for elders’ and deacons’ wives or deaconesses, 1 Tim. 3:11—we see the complementarity of male and female gifts and strengths combined to glorify God and serve the Kingdom.

For what it’s worth, when my husband served as an elder in our church and it was time to find new elders and deacons, they wisely went to the nominated men’s wives first to ask in private, “Your husband is being considered for this role in our church. Please be honest: is there any reason he should be disqualified?” A wife’s “yes” was a deal-breaker. That’s a powerful position! Not a direct position of authority, but an indirect position of influence. Also, some of the best ideas, and valuable warnings, and concerns borne of sensitivity and awareness of the needs of people, come from women. Wise men in leadership listen to wise, godly women. When men dismiss the contributions and gifts of women, everyone misses out. But that doesn’t mean women should be in all positions of authority and leadership.

However, women can be free to follow God’s call into roles of leadership if God chooses to gift, equip and call them into that role.

God will not call women into a role that is outside His stated limitations for us. I think it’s extremely important that these new ways of attempting to throw off millennia-old understandings of the scriptures only came after feminist philosophy invaded the church.

You write to me because you are aware of my position (which is shared by my colleagues) at Probe Ministries where I have a platform and a voice through our website and radio ministry. I am grateful for this example of how women can use our gifts and callings to serve the Kingdom without transgressing God’s order of male leadership. None of the women at Probe are in positions of authority over men, but we are still able to make a difference through our stewardship of influence. And as a woman (and one with an intense personality and pastor-teacher gifts), please let me assure you that this position of influence without authority is not in the least bit demeaning or disrespectful to me.

Thank you for writing.

Sue Bohlin

© 2007 Probe Ministries


See Also Probe Answers Our E-Mail:
Should Women Be Pastors?

I Have Some Questions About Women in the Church

So Are All Women Pastors Deceived and Going to Hell?