Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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January 2008 • Volume XI, Issue 21


Jesus Christ Forbids Women in Church Office!

On 25 December, 2007, "Rev." Christina Bradley did not preach in First Portadown Church. First Portadown’s minister, Rev. Stafford Carson, (rightly) refused his "colleague" in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) ministry permission to preach in his congregation. PCI moderator, Dr. John Finlay, stepped in to seek to "resolve" the issue of women ministers in his denomination: "We have to accommodate both points of view" (Belfast Telegraph, 29 Dec., 2007). Though this recent scene took place in N. Ireland, such incidents have occurred, are occurring and will occur in departing churches all around the world.

What saith the Scriptures? "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church" (I Cor. 14:34-35). The head of the church declares women preaching "shameful"—for the woman herself, her husband and family, and the congregation. Yet the PCI dishonoured the Lord Jesus by ordaining its first woman minister as early as 1976, and its moderator says that such a disgrace must be "accommodated." Regarding the role of women vis-à-vis special offices in His instituted church, Christ proclaims, through His apostle Paul, "I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (I Tim. 2:12). The Lord Jesus does not permit women as ministers, elders or deacons (church offices with "authority"); the church’s king calls this unlawful "usurpation"—never mind the compromises and fudges of the PCI and its "evangelical" moderator.

Among the qualifications of elders (teaching or ruling), we find the following: "A bishop must be ... the husband of one wife" (3:2)—an impossible qualification for women. Similarly, "Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife" (12), and "their wives [must] be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things" (11). This teaching of God’s Word in the first pastoral epistle (I Timothy) forbidding women office-bearers is an intrinsic part of godly behaviour "in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (3:15). Any church or denomination that disobeys is not holding up the truths of Scripture’s absolute authority, biblical church government or Christ’s headship; it is acting as a "pillar and ground of the lie." All ministers (and office-bearers) are solemnly charged "in the sight of God" and "before Christ Jesus" to "keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ" (6:13-14). In this (as in many other areas), the PCI, and other departing churches in N. Ireland and elsewhere, are unfaithful to Christ and His Word. They have been "spotted" by the worldly philosophy of feminism and so they must be "rebuked." How terrible it will be on the last day when Christ Himself rebukes women office-bearers and false churches for despising His Word!

All women office-bearers (as well as all unfaithful male office-bearers) fall under Scripture’s condemnation as hirelings and false shepherds, those who run without being sent by Christ. The administration of the sacraments and the preaching of women ministers are not means of grace, and baptisms dispensed by them are invalid, because such women are not "lawfully called"—an indispensable qualification for those who preach, baptize and administer the Lord’s Supper (cf. Presbyterianism’s Westminster Confession 27:4; 28:2).

The three marks of the church—faithful preaching, proper sacramental administration and biblical church discipline—are subverted through women office-bearers and especially women ministers. This is very serious since a true church is recognised by these marks and a false church is discerned by their corruption. The false church, including a denomination with women ministers, "ascribes more power and authority to herself and her ordinances than to the Word of God, and will not submit herself to the yoke of Christ. Neither does she administer the sacraments as appointed by Christ in his Word, but adds to and takes from them, as she thinks proper; she relieth more upon men than upon Christ; and persecutes those, who live holily according to the Word of God, and rebuke her for her errors, covetousness, and idolatry" (Belgic Confession 29).

The holy God—whom alone the church is to serve—warns that unbiblical teaching tolerated in a church spreads like gangrene (II Tim. 2:17), and "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (I Cor. 5:6; Gal. 5:9). Denominations, congregations and church members who appoint or accept women office-bearers grieve the Holy Spirit; disobey and dishonour Jesus Christ, the head of the church; and further the development of the false church. Irish Presbyterianism is following modern feminism and political correctness and not its Westminster Standards and the God-breathed Scriptures. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:20).

If John Knox, the father of Scottish (and Irish) Presbyterianism, were alive today, he might well write another book, The Second Trumpet Blast Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women Office-bearers in the PCI! Rev. Stewart

Rev. Stewart’s BBC Radio Ulster’s interview on women in church office with David Dunseith and Rev. Ken Newell is available free on-line ( or for £2 (inc. P & P) on tape or CD.

Preparing for Another World (1)

And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations (Luke 16:9).

A reader asks, "What does Luke 16:9 mean? What kind of friendship can be made with unrighteous mammon, and how can such friends receive one into an everlasting home when one fails?"

This verse is part of Jesus’ explanation of the parable of the unjust steward (Luke 16:1-12). Some have said that this parable is the most difficult to explain of all Jesus’ parables. This may be true, although the meaning in general is clear and, indeed, the Pharisees understood full well what Jesus meant (14).

The main lines of the parable are these. A wealthy man had a wicked steward who was unfaithful in his duties as overseer of his master’s possessions. A steward in Bible times was a servant, sometimes a slave, who, because of his abilities, was given the responsibility of overseeing all the business and the financial affairs of his master. In some cases, he was even responsible for seeing to it that the children of the master were educated. In the Old Testament, we read that Joseph was made steward of Potiphar’s possessions (Gen. 39:4-6, 8-9) and Eliezer was steward of Abraham’s household and business (Gen. 15:2; 24:2). Stewards were always to seek the well-being of their masters, for they were servants and nothing over which they ruled was their own.

As Christians we know that all God’s people are stewards in His house. That is, the creation is God’s world and His possession; He calls His people to be stewards over possessions that are His, but that are entrusted to the saints while in this world to use for their Master’s benefit.

The unfaithful steward in the parable who "wasted his [master’s] goods" (Luke 16:1) was soon to be without a job. In fear, lest he be without any means of support, he took some steps to ensure his well-being in the future. Being too proud to beg and too flabby to dig, he decided that he would make friends by using the remaining days of his stewardship to gain the loyalty of some of his master’s debtors (3-7).

This act was wicked, but it was a shrewd move in preparing for his uncertain future. It was, in fact, so shrewd that even his master, while suffering the loss, could not help but admire the steward’s shrewdness (8). It was a mere earthly shrewdness, but, in this way, the steward did make good preparations for his future.

This merely earthly shrewdness elicits from our Saviour this penetrating remark: "the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light" (8). In other words, on a purely natural and carnal level, the wicked in this world do better than God’s people, on a spiritual level, in preparing for their future. The wicked know how to save their money for retirement; the civil government knows how to provide for retired people with its social security program. Businesses know how to care for their employees by profit-sharing plans, retirement funds and pensions. But God’s people, who have a bright and glorious future beyond this life in everlasting blessedness in heaven with Christ, are so frequently foolish in preparing for that day. In this world, the wicked are wiser than the righteous.

In other words, Jesus applies this earthly wisdom of a wicked man to the calling of the "children of light" to be faithful stewards in God’s house by preparing for their own wonderful future when they shall possess all things.

And so we can see clearly what Jesus means by the various elements in His application of the parable. The "mammon of unrighteousness" is this earth’s possessions, all God’s creation, over which we are called to be stewards. It is called "unrighteous mammon" because (a) it belongs to this present world that is under the curse, and (b) it becomes dangerous and destructive when we "waste our Lord’s goods" by using the things that belong to Him for ourselves.

The expression "when ye fail" refers to the moment of our death when we leave this present world forever. To be received into everlasting habitations is to go to heaven where the saints already are and the angels dwell in glory.

But we are called, as stewards in God’s house, to use God’s world and that part of it entrusted to us to prepare for our future—as the unjust steward prepared for his future.

How, specifically, do we prepare for our future in our stewardship over the things that belong to God? We are told "to make friends" of these earthly possessions (9). Making friends of these earthly possessions is explained in verse 10 as being faithful and just (or righteous) in our use of what belongs to God and is never our own.

Then Jesus drives home with great force the importance of making friends with unrighteous mammon. This unrighteous mammon is nothing of importance and is called by our Lord "least" (10) and "another man’s" (12), namely God’s. The everlasting habitations, on the other hand, are called "much" (10), because they are so much better than the possessions of this earth. They are called "true riches" (11) and our own possessions (12) in distinction from these present things we have, which belong to God.

Next time (DV), we shall consider more fully how all this applies to our lives, as God’s stewards, preparing for another world. Prof. Hanko

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