"We, the members of the
a non-profit organization, do ordain and establish the following
articles, to which we voluntarily submit ourselves."
ARTICLE 5: ORDER
Paragraph A. The Place of Women in Church Membership.
Christ has clearly revealed His mind that women be admitted to the community
of His disciples (Jn. 4:1,2; Acts 5:13; 8:3,12; 9:2; Gal. 3:27,28) and that this entire
community, the whole church, participates in the exercise of congregational suffrage
(Acts 6:2,5; 15:22). Therefore, every woman who is a regular member in good standing is
entitled to the plenary privileges of membership, including full participation in the process
of congregation advice, consent and approval, as defined in this Constitution. Similarly,
every woman who is a regular member is responsible to fulfill all the obligations of
membership, and is liable to church discipline (Acts 5:1-11), as defined in this
Paragraph B. The Place of Women in Church Leadership.
The Lord, through His apostles (1Cor. 14:37), has clearly revealed His mind that men
alone should give leadership to His church (1Cor. 14:34,35; 1Tim. 2:11-15). This restriction
is not derived from the changing and temporary cultural mores, or limited to a specific culture
or era, but is derived from the unchanging norms of the creation and fall (1Tim. 2:13,14), and
is therefore binding upon all the churches of Christ in every culture and era (1Cor. 14:33,37).
Therefore, no woman shall ever be eligible or permitted to give leadership
to this congregation either by holding the office of elder or of deacon, or by teaching or
preaching in the gathered church (1Tim. 2:12). Furthermore, God requires that the corporate
worship of His people be regulated by His revealed will alone (Deut. 12:32), which includes
the exercise of authority and spiritual gifts (1Cor. 14:23,26,33-37,40). Therefore, women
are not eligible or permitted to give leadership to this church in its corporate worship
whether by presiding over the service of worship, or by ministering or distributing the
church's ordinances, or by administering the congregation during its worship. In addition,
the regulative principle also applies to our drawing near to God through the corporate prayers
of the gathered church (Deut. 12:32 g.p.); and, the Lord has commanded only the men, not the
women, to lead in corporate prayer (1Tim. 2:1,8 with 3:14). Therefore, women are not eligible
or permitted to lead the gathered church in prayer at the stated meetings of this church.
They are however, expected to pray silently with those who lead the congregation, and to
participate in the corporate affirmation by saying the "Amen" (1Cor. 14:16).
Paragraph C. The Place of Women in Church Ministries.
God, our gracious Creator, has ordained that the woman's role is to be a helper
to her husband (Gen. 2:18; 1Cor. 11:9), and thus, that her focus should be upon her husband,
her children, and her home (Prov. 31:10-31; Tit. 2:3,4). In accordance with her created
nature as a helper, and within the constraint of the priority of her domestic focus, the Lord
Jesus, our loving redeemer, has given to women a broad and valuable place of service and
ministry in His church. Women are therefore eligible to serve the Lord and the church by
assisting and helping the deacons in the broad spectrum of diaconal ministry, in accordance
with scriptural qualifications for this service (1Tim. 3:11). The church should gratefully
aid those women who are called to such labor on the behalf of the church (Rom. 16:1,2). A
woman may also help and assist the congregation in its public worship by playing a musical
accompaniment. Furthermore, women are also eligible to care for minor children and to teach
them the things of God in church ministries designed for that purpose (Prov. 1:8; 2Tim. 1:5;
3:15). In addition, the older women of the church should train the younger women in domestic
piety in accordance with their ability and opportunity (Tit. 2:3,4).
Paragraph D. The Place of Women in Church Assemblies.
The Lord's will is that women should behave in church meetings in a
manner consistent with decorum (1Tim. 2:9,10) and submission (1Cor. 14:34,35; 1Tim. 2:11).
Inorder to behave with decorum in church, every woman should be dressed in such a manner as
to avoid both immodesty and ostentation (1Tim. 2:9,10), so that the congregation's attention
will not be intentionally diverted from God and drawn to her. In order to behave with
submission in church, every woman should adorn herself with a meek and quiet spirit
(1Pet. 3:4). Therefore, she should not speak out individually in corporate worship
(1Cor. 14:23,26,33-37), nor should she, while receiving corporate instruction from the
scriptures, publicly question her teacher before the gathered church, but, in deference to her
husband, should first address her concerns about the teaching privately to him (1Cor. 14:34,35;
1Tim. 2:11), or if she has no husband, to an elder.
This mandate of decorum and submission does not, however, cancel or
nullify her privileges and duties as a church member in good standing. Therefore, since women,
as well as men, are commanded to participate in congregational suffrage, women who are members
in good standing are permitted to address the gathered church on all matters in which
congregational advice and consent are voluntarily sought or constitutionally required, yet
always with a meekness befitting their femininity. Therefore, also, since women are commanded
by the Lord personally and publicly to confess their repentance towards God and faith in Christ
(Mt. 3:6; Acts 5:13,14; 8:12), every woman who is a member in good standing is permitted to
participate freely in all church assemblies gathered for the purpose of public testimony and
praise, or public confession of sin or faith, whether by testifying to the church of God's
goodness to her, or by confessing before church her sin or her faith and hope in Christ.
Similarly, with a view to confessing their faith, women may compose hymns and spiritual songs
which, if suitable, may be sung by the gathered church (Heb. 13:15). Therefore, also every
woman who is a member in good standing is permitted to participate freely in the lighter and
informal social gatherings of the church, at which she may address those assembled in a manner
befitting the occasion (1Cor. 11:2-16; 1Cor. 14:40). Finally, this mandate of decorum and
submission in church assemblies does not deny Christian women all opportunity to exercise their
spiritual gifts. Therefore, in the auspices of their own home, or in private company, women
may exercise a gift to teach (Acts 18:26; 21:9), or put forth questions regarding the
Scriptures (1Cor. 14:34,35), or lead in prayer (1Cor. 7:5; 11:5; 1Pet. 3:7), or bear witness to
any sinner of the grace of God in the gospel (1Cor. 7:16).