Bible Answer

Should a Christian attend a church with a female pastor?

Recently, my pastor began allowing women to preach from the pulpit. I believe Scripture teaches against this practice. What should I do? Should I leave the church?

The Bible is abundantly clear about the role of women teaching in the church. Another article on this website provides the full exposition of the related scriptures, but to summarize, scripture establishes that the church leadership must be men, and since teaching is inherently a position of leadership, Paul also prohibited women teaching men in the church. 

Anytime a woman is permitted to lead or teach men in violation of clear scriptural requirements, we display an uwillingness to follow Biblical authority. Such a perception is damaging to the church, because it suggests we may set aside the clear instructions of scripture whenever it suits us. Taken to its inevitable end, this attitude will lead to the church walking farther and farther away from the truth of God's word in into an acceptance of the enemy's lies.

Regarding your situation, we cannot advise you whether to stay at your church or seek fellowship elsewhere, because such a decision is between you and the Holy Spirit. Remaining a part of a church where women preach and teach men is not a sin on your part, since you are not accountable for others' decisions. On the other hand, remaining in a church that does not respect the commands of scripture may eventually cause you greater concerns.

The Lord will lead you as He desires, and in the meantime, if you choose to confront your pastor, we recommend you take the following steps. First, ask your husband to take the lead in pursuing this issue with the church leadership. Ironically, you risk violating the very principle you advocate (i.e., male headship in the church) if you take the lead in challenging your pastor's decisions. Instead, your husband should provide spiritual cover for you by leading in the challenge.

Secondly, conversations with the pastor should focus on his interpretation of specific Scripture. Rather than conducting a general discussion about scripture, ask him to carefully and thoroughly explain the texts of 1Tim 2 and 1Cor 14 for your benefit. These passages contain specific prohibitions for women teaching men, so hearing his interpretation of these texts will be insightful.

Thirdly, you can compare his interpretation to ours. Our ministry has given its best effort to interpret those same passages and made them available in the article mentioned earlier, so you can compare his answer (if any) to ours as a reference. Be discerning and allow the Spirit to speak to you about which perspoective is true.

Finally,  If your pastor can't adequately explain his decisions in light of these Scriptures, then you should pray for the Spirit to lead you to a decision concerning where to fellowship. As we described in our articles, respecting male headship in the church while permitting women to teach men may be theoretically possible (under very specific circumstances), but it generally not advisable and should never be the norm in any congregation.