I don’t think churchwatchcentral realise what they have done, but they seem to be owning up to the fact that if they relegate women to John MacArthur’s suggestion that they ‘go home’ they have lost a significant number of workers in the vineyard and denied women any kind of useful place in the Body of Christ, something to which scripture never attests.

So, in answer to someone’s question on the same issue, they have produced an article, with some teaching, ironically, by a woman, Katie McCoy, that lays out for us very nicely some of the roles of women in the Church, and it is quite an astonishing turnaround considering how vehemently churchwatchcentral oppose the notion of women in ministry.

The five allowables

So now they say that it’s OK for women to be in ministry. They lay down five specific areas of service: Evangelising and discipling, serving the poor and vulnerable, caring for the sick, meeting a material need, and showing hospitality.

Any Bible believing Christian would agree with this, although there are many other areas of service that women can and are engaged in, but for now we’ll focus on the first in the list, evangelism and discipling.

Here’s Katie’s take on this ministry…

Evangelizing and Discipling. – All other ministries provide opportunities for these two. Ask your neighbor or co-worker how you can pray for her, and look for opportunities to initiate spiritual conversations. Join in the evangelistic efforts of your church or go on a mission trip next summer. Find a younger Christian woman, pick a book of the Bible, and study it together (also, see Titus 2:3-5). Teach a Bible study for women. Memorize Scripture with a group of friends and talk about how God is using it in your lives. Be the listening ear for a younger mom who’s in tears over raising her toddler and share your wisdom. The possibilities are endless!

Katie McCoy • Why women are critical to the mission of the Church

Well this isn’t what churchwatchcentral have been saying up to this point. They wanted women to go home and wait for their husbands to come home and go through the lesson for the week so that they can remain silent in the assembly.

Evangelism and discipleship are serious ministry components of the Church. There is no church growth or development without the active involvement of all members in making disciples, and to do this they have to evangelise.

However, it is impossible to either evangelise or make disciples without preaching or teaching the Word. The gospel is the key component to evangelism. Unless the gospel is preached a person cannot be saved.

Romans 10:11-15 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?

As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Yes, they can’t be saved without a preacher. They cannot believe unless they have heard something – the gospel. Evangelism is the ministry of the gospel. The Greek word for preach is kērysso. It means to proclaim in the manner of a herald. It is an announcement of news, in this case the glad tidings or good news that Jesus has paid the price of our sin and we are able to be saved into eternal life through faith in Him.

Preaching, then, is not, as some polemicists claim, merely pulpit preaching to which a person must have had to go to seminary for a few years to be indoctrinated into denominational ideology and be ordained by that denomination to sermonise. Every believer is called to preach the gospel of peace to the poor.

Preaching is for all

This is where the claim against women in ministry begins to fall apart. Seminarians seem to have been taught that preaching is only allowable in an ordained pulpit.

John Wesley met this issue when he began evangelising England and was told to desist. He took the pulpit outside and began preaching away from the confines of the church sanctuary, out amongst the people who really needed to hear the gospel.

The idea that the only place to preach is in the sanctuary and the only people who can preach are male ordained denomination seminarians is quite foreign to scripture. They’d be hard pressed to back it up in the Word. Simply, we are all called to evangelise and all called, therefore, to preach. We are all called to make disciples.

Here’s another interesting paragraph from Katie’s article…

From its earliest era, Christianity gave meaningful ministries to women. Women like Priscilla were fellow-laborers in the faith (Romans 16:3). Women like Lois and Eunice nurtured future leaders in the church (2 Timothy 1:5; see also Acts 18:2). Phoebe was a trusted and valued helper (Romans 16:1-2). Junia was a pioneer missionary (Romans 16). Women struggled for the cause of the gospel (Philippians 4:2-3), provided house churches and hospitality (Acts 16:40), and were known in their communities for acts of kindness and charity (Acts 9:36-42).

Katie McCoy • Why women are critical to the mission of the Church

‘Junia was a pioneer missionary.’ Well previously churchwatchcentral articles have rejected this. In effect, a pioneer missionary is another name for apostle. Suddenly churchwatchcentral are agreeing, in essence, with the rebuttals of their previous claims that a) there are no longer apostles, and b) women can’t be in ministry, let alone pioneer missionaries. The churchwatchers are even letting another woman teach them. This is indeed a major backtrack. A breakthrough, perhaps.

‘Lois and Eunice nurtured future leaders in the church.’ Nicely put. It’s always intrigued me that those hard-line ministers who say that women should never teach a man must never have been influenced Biblically by their mothers or grandmothers. Yet Timothy clearly was.

Talking of pioneer missionaries, there is still no response from Pulpit & Pen to the incredible revivals taking place in China and Iran where women are leading literally thousands of people to the Lord and overseeing large congregations, mainly in the absence of their husbands and fathers who are imprisoned for their faith. I’ve met women pioneer missionaries like this in Indonesia. Humble women who are leading churches of thousands. Against all odds.

It seems that God has no objection to women leading in certain situations after all.