I will now start to attack the gender biases and presuppositions surrounding 1 Timothy 2. To start off, I’d like to attack a presupposition common among evangelicals who tend to disagree with the idea of women pastors, elders, or deacons in the body of Christ. Grudem says it best in his book, Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth, page 167 (Answer 5.4C):
“Some complementarians argue that Christ’s maleness shows that all pastors should be male as representatives of Christ. But all complementarians see CHRIST’S MALENESS AS INDICATING A PATTERN OF MALE LEADERSHIP AMONG GOD’S PEOPLE.”
Grudem’s view, and the view of all complementarians, is that, because Christ is male, all of those who represent Him (as “shepherds,” He being “The Good Shepherd,” John 10) should be male. All pastors should be men, no exceptions!
I picked up an old commentary of mine last night and thumbed to the section on 1 Timothy 2 to see if I could get some background information on Ephesus. I didn’t get any (not a surprise), but this is what I did get (commentary on 1 Timothy 2):
“The teaching of the Scriptures is more appropriate to THE MALE’S FUNCTION IN THE CHURCH AS A MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND PEOPLE because it involves interpreting God’s Word to the church as an authority figure” (New Testament Survey. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999, pg. 465).
Did you catch that? The modern-day Pastor is “a mediator between God and people,” making it necessary for the pastor to be a man. But notice that Paul mentions nothing of the sort—being male like Christ is not a requirement for the bishop of 1 Tim. 3. Second, what gets me the most about this line of argument is that, by making the “male” leader the “mediator,” we are suddenly turning Roman Catholic (as though we need a priest), or even heretical (as though we need a current mediator)! Grudem (and most complementarians) have not actually read 1 Timothy 2! In this beloved passage they quote so much and write so much about, surely they’ve read 1 Tim. 2:5—“For there is one God, and there is ONE MEDIATOR between God and men, THE MAN CHRIST JESUS…” (ESV).
There is ONLY ONE MEDIATOR—and He is Christ Jesus! There is no other mediator that can stand in His place, or needs to. When He paid our debt on the Cross, He paid it IN FULL! There is no balance remaining, no debt yet to be paid. All debt has been paid, we are free in Him, and He has purchased His people back with His own blood.
The modern-day Pastor is a shepherd for the people, but nothing more: like the priests of the Old Testament, even today’s pastor can’t take away the sins of the people.
Hebrews 7:23-25 (NASB) reads, “ 23The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing,
24but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues (A)forever, holds His priesthood permanently.
25Therefore He is able also to (B)save forever those who (C)draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to (D)make intercession for them.
Because Christ has already paid our debt for us, there is no need for another mediator. The language of the New Testament concurs with Christ’s mediatorial role, as Peter wrote to the elders of the churches scattered abroad:
“So, I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed, SHEPHERD THE FLOCK of God that is among you…” (1 Peter 5:1-2). Notice that Peter does not tell the elders to “mediate” the flock. Only Christ can adequately stand between mankind and God Almighty. The shepherds, however, are to be like their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in one thing: they are to be “shepherds” of the flock, as Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who gives His life for the sheep (John 10).
I will leave you, the reader, with these words, as they comfort me when I think about God’s service and the work of the ministry:
“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, NOT UNDER COMPULSION, but WILLINGLY, as God would have you, NOT FOR SHAMEFUL GAIN, but EAGERLY; NOT DOMINEERING OVER THOSE IN YOUR CHARGE, but BEING EXAMPLES TO THE FLOCK. AND WHEN THE CHIEF SHEPHERD APPEARS, YOU WILL RECEIVE THE UNFADING CROWN OF GLORY” (1 Pet. 5:2-4, ESV).