Questions of leadership, value, and authority

Since we do not believe that Scripture permits women pastors, how do we look upon the work of these pastors? Does God accept their work and use them in saving souls? If so, how can we be against them?

There are two issues here that must be answered separately.

What makes the means of grace effective? They do not receive their power from the person administering them. They have their power in themselves from the Holy Spirit, who uses them as his tools. If baptism is administered according to Christ's command, it works with saving power even if it is administered by a Catholic priest or a woman pastor. We, therefore, recognize the validity of any baptism that was performed as Christ directed.

If the gospel is present in the preaching and teaching of a false church, people will still be brought to faith through its power. The false teaching that a heterodox church mixes in with the truth is, however, a danger to faith and may turn people away from the gospel.

This brings us to the second question: Which pastors should we accept and support? Scripture says that we are to support only those who continue in the true teachings of the apostles. If we accept false teachers, we share in their sin (2 John 1:9-11). We, therefore, cannot support the work of women pastors because it departs from apostolic teaching. We, nevertheless, rejoice that God continues to save people through the means of grace wherever the gospel truth is present, also in heterodox churches.

Our congregation won't let people who aren't members of our church sing solos at weddings and funerals since they would be leading the service in violation of fellowship rules. But we let women sing solos at weddings. Aren't they then leading the church, which they aren't supposed to do?

In the two situations you describe, two different issues are involved. The word "lead" is also being used in two different senses.

In the case of non-members singing a solo for a service, the question is whether they agree with the doctrine of the Bible as confessed by our church. Individuals, whether male or female, who are not in agreement with the doctrine of our church cannot serve in "a leading role" as visible public representatives of the church, whether that involves singing, teaching a class, or doing evangelism. Only individuals who are one with us in faith can lead the church in such activities.

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