Women’s Ministries as Pestilence

Women’s Ministries as Pestilence

Written By Doug Wilson

When it comes to sexual role relationships in the church today, we are so far gone that if we all got back to the status of “severely compromised,” more than a few people would call it a great reformation. One of our issues is the result of our gradual dismissal of biblically-assigned roles for men and women. We have done the same with creational roles, along with traditional roles, saying that they are all simply “outdated stereotypes.” This is a datum that is so self-evident in our confused generation that if you even want to discuss it, we can only attribute your perverseness to a secret desire to relegate women, with all their hopes, dreams, and aspirations, to the drudgery of making quilts.

We have gotten to the point where, in ostensibly conservative churches, we positively celebrate our diseased condition. As long as somebody on the premises affirms inerrancy, and as long as Suzy Q stays out of the pulpit between 11 am and noon on Sundays, she can do anything an unordained man can do. Perhaps someone might wonder how that got to be the standard, which I call a reasonable question. But if you persist in being a troglodyte, you will soon find there are three women on staff with M.Divs to wrap around your neck, who will explain to you why kephale really means something other than that icky feeling we all get whenever someone suggests what it might have actually meant back in Paul’s day.

The central thing I am talking about, of course, is the pestilence that we, for some reason, want to call women’s ministries.

Someone will no doubt object and say that the way I introduced this subject, I am making women’s ministry sound like a bad thing. And far from this being the place where I violate my NQN rule against qualifications, I will simply nod and say that yes, women’s ministries were a terrible idea, and have already been the destruction of numerous churches. Whoever thought it up should have been flogged in front of the synagogue.

So yes, women’s ministries have been a disaster. And don’t get me started on women counselors.

Attention, please: Regular readers of this blog are invited to compose their own set of qualifications and insert them here. This is where they go. This exercise, if you choose to conduct it, may then be compared with the paragraph at the bottom of this post, which is distinctly separated from the body of this post, and thus fully in keeping with our very strict November rules.

The Nature of the Problem

Women’s ministries have rapidly become the third rail in ecclesiastical politics. Many church leaders don’t even know they have a problem, while those who do know they have a problem have no idea how to address it without electrocuting the entire session.

The church leaders who don’t know they have a problem are in this situation because they are not really the church leaders any more. If they were, they would know about the problem. If they sit on the session, serenely ignorant of how the church is really run — i.e. from the control room of the women’s ministry — then this blog post is arriving for them about thirty years too late.

But what about the churches that are still alive enough to know they have a problem? They have a she-wolf by the ears. It is not safe to let go and it is not safe to hang on.

Women ministering is one thing. But women’s ministries are something else. What kind of something else are they? I will tell you. They are a complicated tangle of sentiments and grievances and emotions and rage and resentments. Please note that it is not really an adequate reply to say something like, “Sure, our women’s ministry is just like that, but surely not all of them . . .”

In the olden days, women were ministered to the same way the men were — through Word and sacrament. When the women got together as women, it was to conduct some kind of outward facing ministry to others. But today, a better description of women’s ministries, and the kind of thing I am talking about, would be the common practice of gathering all the women in the church together so that they can form a weekly impromptu ICU ward, and then all take turns playing doctor and nurse for one another.

In other words, the women of the church, considered as a class, considered as a group, are being treated by the church as an oppressed class, as a victimized group. If you are wondering how intersectionality got into your otherwise healthy church, a good place to check would be the women’s ministry. All the doors down there are left unlocked, almost all the time. And lo, the serpent got in. On his account, who are the oppressors? Well, husbands, of course. And the elders. And the finance committee. All the women in the church are gathered together and are treated as a small tribe of needy buckets with grievances. When this happens, because you always get more of what you subsidize and less of what you penalize, you find the needy buckets proliferating, and the grievances metastasizing.

But the women are not supposed to form their own little segregated church within the larger church, with their own (woman) pastor and everything. That director of the women’s ministry, aka the women’s pastor, then becomes an apostle “to the women,” which means that the elders are not really responsible for the women. As Peter was apostle to to the Jews and Paul to the Gentiles, so also the elders are the ministers to the men. For the time being.

The very last thing in the world that the women of your church need is feminine pastoral care. Men, women, and children, all together, need to be shepherded by qualified men. The women who will be extraordinary in their ministering are those who are more than good with this. They are the women in your church who recognize that whining is not a spiritual gift.

So suffice it to say, if you have any arrangement even remotely like this, you are already in trouble. If the mere existence of this blog post causes a stir in your church, you are already in trouble. If a civil conversation about these or any related issues is already an impossibility in your church, you are already in trouble.

And at the very least, it is a trouble that should move to the very top of your prayer list.

Lindsay Harold’s response: “‘Women’s ministries’ today are generally awful hotbeds of emotionalism and false doctrine that encourage women in rebellion against their husbands and complaining about their lives. Most women’s Bible studies don’t actually study the Bible, but instead study a ‘Christian’ book by a woman (generally Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, Priscilla Shirer or another false teacher like those). It’s horrendous. The women aren’t supposed to have their own alternate church inside the regular church. They’re supposed to be taught by and accountable to the qualified male church leadership just like everyone else.”

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
1 Timothy 2:11-14

17 thoughts on “Women’s Ministries as Pestilence

  1. Honest question so what will be an appropriate way for older woman to teach young without making a small church ? And if they study books but of really biblical womanhood is not bad, right ? (Not an older woman of course but want to know what to avoid and what is aceptable)

    1. God is very clear on what He wants the older women teaching the young women (Titus 2:3-5), therefore, this is the only teachings that should be going on in and out of the churches. I wrote my “Biblical Womanhood A Study Guide” for this purpose since most older women have no idea how to teach the young women biblical womanhood. Marriages and families would be a LOT stronger if older women were teaching the young women what God commands that they teach. IF older women want to teach my book to the younger women in a class at church, they need to first take the book to the elders and get permission. I believe the elders should be overseeing all of the ministries happening in the churches, since they are God’s ordained leadership.

      1. I help with a traditionalist Church women’s group. We try to help and encourage women and girls in following Christ in their own behaviour, lifestyle and family relationships. But we are very strict in avoiding any preaching or Biblical interpretation.

        We have our Priest conduct prayers before our meetings and approve any literature etc. If the conversation strays into theology or what I would call interpretation we try to call a halt. I can remember on a couple of occasions when a debate has been stopped because it was felt to go too far towards active ministry.

        God means us to listen and to submit to his authority and that of his Priests and our ‘heads’ under him our husbands and fathers.

  2. Agreed on all points, although it’s significantly worse than even described here. These “womens ministries” are all totally unbiblical and nothing but dens of rebellion, heresy and all kinds of evils. No dutiful pastor or elders in their right minds would ever allow such a thing to exist within their church.

  3. Also, the problem of cliques within these groups can be addressed. A hierarchy is developed and those without are left feeling lesser. I am an older woman of 60 and have experienced this. If one does not become a devotee of the popular women’s teachers, books and conference circuit , one is often lonely. A.W. Tozer wrote of the loneliness of the Christian and I find this well applies. God bless ✝️🙏🏻

    1. SO true! I went to a Beth Moore study many years ago since many women raved about her. I wasn’t impressed at all but I didn’t feel I could tell women this back then. She would create an entire story out of a verse that wasn’t even in the verse! Then she’d try to relate it back to us when it wasn’t about us at all.

      1. Yes, I understand. If you are not in agreement with the majority, you are treated like an outcast. How wonderful it is, though, when God blessed you with a godly friend who shares a thirst for biblical truth and who does not discard it in order to be “popular”. 🙏🏻✝️

  4. I fully agree with this article. The sad thing is that the acceptance of these ministries is rotting the Christian brain and theology. God created a perfect world, where we each have a role to fulfill. My wife does her part and I do mine, creating a perfect balance. So many have left this for hopes of better things, but find themselves empty.

    1. Women’s studies don’t transform us and renew our minds with Truth. It’s only God’s Word that can do this. Many women are being led astray by these false preachers and are easily deceived by any new revelation or teaching that contradicts the clear teachings in Scripture, sadly.

  5. I love Doug Wilson. Thanks for re-posting this.

    As he notes, women are supposed to be “ministering” – i.e. caring for families with the church, etc. When it turns into “women’s ministries,” it’s actually a mini church-within-a-church with female pastors. It always ends badly.

  6. Wow. Thank you so much for illuminating the problem of women’s ministries. Of course I’ve seen this in many churches, but never seen quite so clearly!

    The problem of women in positions of authority in a church are the same as women in positions of power in politics. Sure it “sounds fair” to the feminists and their supporters, but inevitably, after 10 or 20 years, it turns into a huge “hotbed of complaints”.

    What modern people don’t want to admit, refuse to admit, is that women aren’t men are fundamentally mentally different. Men are hardwired to “provide”. Women are hardwired to “take”. In a healthy family these mental states, as designed by God, are perfectly in tune. The woman wants more, and the man gives as much as is prudent, but no more. He is the governor that keeps things in check.

    However once the women gains power over the man, the system spins out of control; women never stop wanting more, more, more, more. They can’t stop themselves. Only when men are in charge, and can say “NO!” can a woman be stopped from draining every dime from the bank account, every breath of oxygen from the room.

    Any organization run by women eventually self-destructs. Any nation run mainly by women will collapse. Any church that creates a “women’s ministry” will inevitably dump its men and children into the spiritual refuse pile.

    1. While I agree that women ministries are terrible, I don’t agree with “Only when men are in charge, and can say “NO!” can a woman be stopped from draining every dime from the bank account, every breath of oxygen from the room.”

      Many women are far more competent to deal with household budgets then men. After all, it is our domain and we know what is needed and what is simply a frivolous luxury. It’s sad if the women in your life have simply wanted to empty the bank account, but most of us know ways of cutting costs that you can’t imagine, all so we can stay home with the children while you provide, as God ordains.

  7. Dear Lori and Friends, with so many gainful opportunities available to women, isn’t that more than enough for women gifted with a high iq to choose from? Why some women want to bust themselves in behind the preacher’s pulpit…well we know where that’s coming up from.

    1. Excellent question Sue; “Why some women want to bust themselves in behind the preacher’s pulpit” The answer is written in Genesis 3:17 in, “. . . your desire will be for your husband” (for more info about the word ‘desire’, see Genesis 4:7, where similar word is used by God talking to Cain. According to the Contemporary English Version; “If you had done the right thing, you would be smiling. But you did the wrong thing, and now sin is waiting to attack you like a lion. Sin wants to destroy you, but don’t let it!)

      So, the woman naturally (not transformed) wants to take the man’s place, his place, subdue him, rule over him, attack him, or destroy him, etc. God assigns man as the provider, well she wants to take his place; God assigns man a place of authority, but she wants to take it (under the seductive philosophy of “equality” nowadays), etc.

      And, yes Sue, we know where that’s coming up from; lies that she is so prompt to believe like Eve. Not much really has changed. Do you think Eve has changed after the fall? (Or Adam for that matter)

  8. It’s sad that women feel the need to be in power over men in a church because there are many things a woman can do, in church. Not every older women can teach younger women but they can set a good example by their behavior and how they relate to male leaders or just men in general.

  9. The rise of women’s “ministries” is symptomatic of the modern western church’s abandonment of the Scriptures in favor expediency. As most bodies that call themselves “churches” bear no resemblance whatsoever in either structure or function to a New Testament church, it is unsurprising that they have lost their way. Churches have become non-profit businesses, and tickling ears at the expense of God’s Truth is the ticket to success under such a model. Women’s “ministries,” in which women are deliberately led astray so as not to “offend” them with what God’s Word actually prescribes for them as their life’s mission, is probably the most obvious manifestation of this corruption.

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