Guest post by Heiko Poth: Women and the Great Commission

Heiko Poth is a chemist, a musician, and writer. He and his family are involved in simple/organic church in the southwest part of Germany. A few weeks ago, he sent me some comments which were so pertinent to our current discussion on 1 Timothy 2:12 apparently forbidding women to teach men, that I asked him to rewrite them as a guest post. Here they are:

Do women have to obey Jesus? (Silly question, isn’t it?) Are they also entrusted with the Great Commission? Are they authorized to make disciples? Let’s have a look at the Great Commission and its implications, especially in regards to the question of whether a woman can ever teach a man.

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus told his eleven remaining disciples (who should soon be twelve again) to go into all the world to make disciples of all nations. In order to do so, they had to

  1.  baptize them
  2. teach them to obey everything Jesus has commanded them 

Now let’s play through a possible scenario that results:

The apostle Peter meets a fellow Jew named, say, David. He tells him the Gospel, and David wants to become a disciple. What is Peter to do? He baptizes him, and then tells him to obey everything Jesus commanded. Among many other things, Peter will have to tell him: “David, one of Jesus’ commandments was to go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations. So you too have to go now and obey that commission. You do that as I do it – baptize them and teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded.”

So David meets Deborah. He tells her the Gospel, and Deborah wants to become a disciple. What is David to do? He baptizes her, and then tells her to obey everything Jesus commanded. Among many other things, David will have to tell her: “Deborah, one of Jesus’ commandments was to go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations. So you too have to go now and obey that commission. You do that as I do it – baptize them and teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded.”

So, Deborah meets Marcus. She tells him the Gospel, and Marcus wants to become a disciple. What is Deborah to do? She baptizes him, and then tells him to obey everything Jesus commanded. Among many other things, Deborah will have to tell him: “Marcus, one of Jesus’ commandments was to go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations. So you too have to go now and obey that commission. You do that as I do it – baptize them and teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded.”

What if there was a universal commandment that women are not allowed to teach men? Then the last generation of making disciples as described above could not have taken place, because Deborah would not have been allowed to teach Marcus anything. But does this comply with the Great Commission itself?

The Great Commission is to go and make disciples of ALL people of ALL nations. That includes women. There is no gender discrimination in the Great Commission. Women are to be made disciples, not “just believers or attenders” or whatever. And ALL disciples are commanded to be baptized and to obey ALL that Jesus has commanded.That goes for female disciples as well as for male disciples.

Now ALL that Jesus commanded includes two other very universal commandments: The Great Commission itself again, from Matthew 28:18-20, to go and make disciples of ALL nations. So women are also to go and make disciples of just everybody they can – including men! Another commandment of Jesus is the Great Commission as it was given in Mark 16: To go and preach the Gospel to EVERY creature. Women, as female disciples, are also obliged to carry out this order, as they are to obey ALL that Jesus has commanded. So they have to preach to everybody – including to men!

This means that if there is in fact a universal commandment for women to be silent and not to teach men, they could not obey the Great Commission about half of the time! They could not make a man a disciple! Is that really the case, or are we turning a special instruction, that Paul wrote to a church in a special situation to fix a specific problem, into something more than it was intended to be? Slowing down and delaying the fulfillment of the Great Commission would be the cost of limiting half the harvest workers in what they can do,?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://synerchomai.org/ Tim Day

    Felicity, if you’ll forgive my including a link here, I recently posted an anecdote along these lines. The woman who became my wife once very likely saved me from a physical altercation with someone twice my size – and then began a process of discipling me that continues to this day. I ask: was she disobeying Scripture?
    Here is the link: http://wp.me/p301Hn-i2

    • felicitydale

      Tim, great post. I highly recommend others to check it out.