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Joined: 2007/10/28
Posts: 1232
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 Women Leaders - Zac Poonen

Women Leaders - Zac Poonen

Does God appoint women to be the leaders of His people? God's first choice is always a man –as it says in 1Tim.2:12-14, for two reasons. First of all, because Adam was created first, and Eve was created to be a helper for Adam. Secondly, because Eve was deceived and sinned first. Therefore the Lord says through Paul there: "I do not allow a woman to exercise authority over the man in the church."A woman can lead and teach the children in a Sunday-school class, and women in women's classes. She can also teach her children at home. But she cannot be an elder in the church. That is the perfect will of God. In Isaiah, God says that things are indeed in a pathetic state, when His people are led by women (Isa.3:12).

But what should God do when He finds that all the men in Israel (or in a church) are lazy, sluggish and cowardly! Then God raises up a "Deborah". And through the years, He has raised up many "Deborahs" in Christendom to be His servants - and I want to praise God for every single one of them. God has used women mightily as missionaries and as writers to save souls and to build the body of Christ. When God cannot find a man, He will use a woman – in any ministry. That is what we learn from Deborah.

The promise in the new covenant age is :"I will pour out My Spirit on your sons and your daughters and your sons and on My bondslaves – both men and women – and they will (both) prophesy" (Acts.2:17,18). Philip had four unmarried daughters – all of whom took advantage of that promise of God and prophesied (Acts 21:9). Even though women are not called to be elders or to teach, they can still prophesy ("build up, encourage and comfort" – 1 Cor.14:3) and speak forth God’s word to build up the church 1 Corinthians11:4 is very clear on that.

Deborah was a prophetess (v.4). She was the wife of Lappidoth. I don't know what type of a man Brother Lappidoth was. But he didn't hinder his wife from being a judge. He sat beside her with a meek and quiet spirit and encouraged her in her ministry! Perhaps he helped to look after the children at home too. God could not use Brother Lappidoth, but He could use his wife. Praise God for such brothers.

In the Acts of the Apostles, we read of a couple – Aquila and Priscilla. It appears as though Priscilla knew God and the Scriptures better than her husband Aquila. I say that because in the five times that they are referred to together in the New Testament, four times they are referred to as "Priscilla and Aquila", and not as "Aquila and Priscilla" (Acts 18:18,26; Rom.16:3; 2 Tim.4:19)! The order there has a significance. It is a plain fact that there are many wives who know God and the Scriptures better than their husbands.

Priscilla however was a wonderful sister who knew how to submit to her husband Aquila. When she heard Apollos once in the synagogue and realized that he did not understand the truth fully, she invited him home and sat down with her husband and explained the way of God to Apollos, and thus revolutionized Apollos’ ministry (Acts 18:24-28). She didn't get up in the synagogue and correct him. No. She called him home. That's a beautiful example of a sister who knew her place as a woman, but who had the anointing of God upon her life to bless other men. Apollos finally became a co-worker of the apostle Paul. But the one who set him on the right path first was a woman – Priscilla!

Deborah used to sit under a palm tree and the sons of Israel would come to her for judgment (4:5). Maybe her husband Lappidoth was cooking the food in the kitchen, while she was judging Israel. God had to do it like that, because all the men in Israel were so effeminate. Then she called for the bravest man in Israel – Barak - to lead Israel in battle. She recognized her limitations and knew that, as a woman, she could not go to battle. She needed a man, just like Priscilla needed Aquila.

Deborah told Barak,"Take 10,000 men with you and go and fight against Sisera and the Lord will deliver him into your hand" (4:6,7). That was such a clear and specific prophecy from the Lord. But what does the bravest man in Israel reply. Barak said,"Sister, if you come with me I will go. Please come with me." He was scared to go without her! So Deborah agreed to go with Barak. How effeminate the bravest man in Israel was! And he was typical of all the others. But because Barak was so effeminate, Deborah told him, "The honour of killing Sisera will not come to you. It will go to a woman." Finally, it was a woman, Jael, who killed Sisera (v.22).

There is a lesson here for all men. God is disappointed when He cannot find a man to lead His people. But God's work will not be hindered just because the men fail Him. He will use women instead. God has used many women, through the centuries, in all the continents, to do a tremendous work for Him. God is not limited to men to get His work done.

After Israel was liberated from Sisera, Deborah and Barak sang a song. It is called the "Song of Deborah and Barak."(Chap.5). Verse 16 speaks about the different tribes that came to fight in the battle. And then in verse 23, we read, "Curse Meroz." Why does Meroz have to be cursed? Because they did nothing. They did not commit any sin, but they did nothing. They did not come to the help of the Lord when the enemy was coming.

Maybe you have not committed any sin. But if you don't go out to battle to fight for the Lord, you are sinning. It is a sin to sit back and do nothing, when others are fighting the battles of the Lord. That's not a sin of commission. It's a sin of omission."

There are two types of sins - sins of commission and sins of omission. Sins of commission are those where we do something wrong. Sins of omission are those where we did nothing, when we should have done something. In the parable of the good Samaritan, the priest and the Levite did nothing. Theirs was the sin of Meroz. When there was a need for warriors to fight for the Lord, Meroz did nothing. So when you don’t support the Lord's soldiers and don't go out yourself and fight, you are sinning.


 2010/9/14 23:59Profile

Joined: 2007/2/28
Posts: 86

 Re: Women Leaders - Zac Poonen

Awesome post, sent this article to my pastor.


 2010/9/15 0:14Profile

Joined: 2009/5/29
Posts: 146

 Re: Women Leaders - Zac Poonen

good article.answered some of my questions.


 2010/9/15 8:16Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7509

 Re: Women Leaders - Zac Poonen

This article comes on the heels of a problem that is rampant in our churches: that of males with so few convictions! The wives will ask them how they should dress and they say it is OK,(but it is not OK)! So, they, grudgingly give in the demands of the[ir] daughter[s]. This is just one way in which males are abdicating their God-given role as leader in the home.

I have been thinking a lot about this issue in recent weeks and then the story of Abigail and Nabal comes to mind. (1Samuel 25) Nabal was a mind with much self-esteem who thought he needed nobody else, was ungrateful, unthank-ful...His wife on the other hand was very observant and understood reality. Acting alone on her instincts, she saved her own life.

Given the situation in the world and church with males refusing to accept their God-given responsibility, more women will have to act like Abigail. (Modern feminism has nothing to do with this mindset - it is a situation where a woman has to act when her husband refuses or is willingly blind to realities.)

Many will say 'pray' but sometimes time is of utmost importance and action is required NOW.

There are two types of sins - sins of commission and sins of omission. Sins of commission are those where we do something wrong. Sins of omission are those where we did nothing, when we should have done something. In the parable of the good Samaritan, the priest and the Levite did nothing.

This sums it up beautifully. (I will need to save this quote to use in our church bulletin.)


Sandra Miller

 2010/9/15 8:58Profile

Joined: 2010/6/26
Posts: 483


Brother Zac has it right.
He doesn’t make a rule out of exceptions, neither does he impose undue restrictions; he doesn’t ignore God’s design and purpose, neither does he restrict God’s grace. Moreover, he uses this issue to exhort men to do what they are supposed to do: lead!

Husbands and fathers are supposed to lead their family. In the same way, men are supposed to lead their church family. Both are supposed to be done by the washing with water through the Word. However, we do so not by “lording it over” them; we do so with gentleness, love, and patience. Jesus is the perfect example: meek and mild, though He spoke with chilling authority.

Lord, put a fire in our hearts; get us out of our comfort zones! Forgive us for sinning by complacency or by despotism. Make us strong in Christ and make us meek in Him. Help us to reflect the glory of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Give us grace to run the race with exemplary vigour. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 2010/9/15 10:06Profile

Joined: 2009/5/9
Posts: 64

 Re: Women Leaders - Zac Poonen

Good post -- thanks for sharing this one!



 2010/9/15 16:00Profile


I enjoyed Zac's insights and gracious manner in sharing on this topic.

In the past I was in a thriving church where a relatively new pastor subsequently decided to make his wife a pastor as well. The largest outcry against this came from (ironically) the women. And there was no lack for men of God in that church, so it was not necessary to make her a pastor.

Since that error went unchecked then further error developed when she was "called" to spend nine months of the year apart from her husband as dean of a Bible college several hundred miles away. Again, knowing of the available men of God in that situation I could only shake my head.

Then in attempting to create a relationship between this two year school and a larger Bible university (which offers a 4 year degree) the university required that the dean of the smaller school be male and also hold a doctorate. To "solve" the problem an honorary doctorate was obtained from a "degree mill" school and the dean's initials were used to obscure her gender---and it worked. No good fruit can come from that. Legally, an honorary degree cannot be used for educational purposes; it is simply an honor.

The church then appointed a (godly) woman as an elder (when again there was no paucity of godly men). Sadly, her house is not in order, and a number of her children have rejected the Lord---yet she sits among the elders and deacons. I am not surprised to have heard of the growing money problems of this once affluent and generous church among the other uncorrected problems.

May this serve as a cautionary tale to obey God in His clearly revealed will, as found in the Scriptures and confirmed by the Holy Spirit, or else the problems will be compounded and the blessings He desires to bestow upon us will be hindered.

Kind regards in Christ Jesus,


 2017/4/9 8:14

Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 2114

 Re: Women Leaders - Zac Poonen

Where pragmatism rules, the majority excuse!

And the serpent said to the woman...

"You Go Girl!"

 2017/4/9 9:03Profile

Joined: 2012/9/25
Posts: 769


Excellent post.

This is very encouraging as a women who serves..

This made me think of this sister.. I wouldnt want to meet her in a dark alley (:

Judges 4:21 Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

Sister Frannie


 2017/4/9 20:13Profile

Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 2114

 Re: Women Leaders - Zac Poonen

" it says in 1Tim.2:12-14...the Lord says through Paul there: "I do not allow a woman to exercise authority over the man in the church." A woman can lead and teach the children in a Sunday-school class, and women in women's classes."

NO, it does NOT!

1 Tim 2:8-15

Therefore I desire the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, apart from anger and dissension.

Likewise also women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but with what is becoming to women, professing the fear of God through good works.

Let a womana learn in quietness, in all submissiveness. 
But I do not permit a woman to teach, nor to use authority over a man, but to be in quietness.For Adam was formed first, then Eve.And Adam was not deceived, but the woman, having been deceived, has come into transgression. But she will be saved through childbearing, if they abide in faith and love and holiness, with self-restraint.


 2017/4/9 20:58Profile

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