Women Missionaries?

by Robert Breaker III

copyright 2000

 

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Something that really bothers and disturbs me greatly is to see a woman go to a mission field by herself.  I've seen several do so, and have been in many churches that teach that it's perfectly acceptable.  But, what kind of message is that sending to young girls in our churches today?  Will they look to the example of these women and someday want to be a single woman missionary's as well?  I thought the Bible taught that the older women are supposed to teach the younger to be keepers at home (Titus 2:4,5).  But, why are so many Churches, Bible Colleges, and Christian schools in America teaching the opposite?  Shouldn't we follow God's words? 

My question on any subject is always, "What does the Bible say about it?"  Should churches send out single women to be missionaries on foreign fields?   Let's take some time and look at a few things from God's word to see if this should be done.

According to the Bible, there is a difference between a man and a woman.  And, as we read the Bible, we find that a woman is the weaker vessel (1 Pet. 3:7) and should have a Protector and a Provider over her to keep her from the evils of this sinful world, that would like to use her and abuse her.  We also learn from Paul in 1 Tim. 2:14 that a woman is more easily deceived than a man.  Because of this, I can't see how any pastor (who loves God) could support sending a poor young lady out to a mission field all by herself with no one to protect her and keep her from deception.  But, yet they do. 

I myself have been to several Missions Conferences and seen young ladies that said they were "on deputation" for such and such a mission field.  Yet this is quite confusing to me.  I thought a missionary was only what a man was called to do, and if he were married, then his wife would go with him.  But, sending a poor defenseless woman off all by herself with no protection, to a country she's never been, and put her in a situation that could jeopardize her health and well being.  That just doesn't sound very Christian to me.  That sounds like you're trying to get rid of her, and as quickly as possible.

Now, I know what you might be saying.  "Well, Bro. Breaker, your old fashioned..., and you don't understand..., and  Times have changed... etc."    And, you're right.  I am old fashioned, but I don't care how much change time brings about.  What I want to know is what does the Bible say about it?  Should we allow a young woman who claims to be called of God (how do we know she's not deceived) take the saints money (when God said to give it to orphans and widows, and not young ladies) to go to the mission field by herself and try to start a work?  That's a good question, I'm glad you asked.  Let's look to what the scriptures say about it, and see if we should do this according to the Bible.

                The word "missionary" simply means one sent on a mission.  And, the greatest missionary in the Bible is of course the Lord Jesus Christ.  He came a long way to this field we call earth, and his mission was one of grave importance.  He was to die for the sins of the whole world.  And, thank God that he obeyed the Father and offered himself up as the ultimate sacrifice for all those that will come unto him by faith in his precious blood.  I'm so glad he went a little bit further, and endured the cross, despising the shame.  But, what a calling!  What a mission!  Thank God he did it!  If he had not, I would not be born again today.  And if the truth be known, I'd probably be out in the back woods of Florida somewhere sacrificing lambs to atone for my wicked, dirty sins.  But, thank God my Saviour Jesus Christ performed his calling unto the end!  And, you'll notice that he was a man!  God didn't send a woman to do a man's job.  You say, "Oh, Brother Breaker, you're a bigot, and sexist, and racist, etc."  (Same old gas!  When you say something someone doesn't like, they call you names.  Then when you point it out to them, some how, you're the bad guy. Even though they are the ones calling you names!) 

Well, you can think what you want, but let's look a little deeper into the scriptures at probably the second greatest missionary in the Bible.  This man was the one whom God used to go out and start local churches and to be an example for us to follow.  And, what he has written to us should answer once and for all the question of whether or not a woman should go by herself to a mission field. 

I'm speaking of course of the apostle Paul.  This man God called to us Gentiles (Rom. 11:13), and he did his best to go out and preach the gospel to a lost and dying world.  He won souls, he taught new converts the Bible, he started local churches, and he trained men to be pastors over them.

                Now, if we read Paul's epistles, and look at the missionary example that Paul set up, then we run into some problems with a woman being a missionary by herself, (at least in following in Paul's footsteps and establishing works as he did).

                One thing about Paul that we notice is that Paul started local churches.  So, the question arises, "Can a woman start a church?"  Well, if we follow Paul's example we see that no woman in the New Testament ever started a church a day in her life.  And to start a church, the missionary for a time, has to be the pastor until he is able to train another to take his place.  It was always men who did this.  No where in the Bible does a woman do this or does she take over the church as a pastor.  In fact, this is forbidden.   In 1 Corinthians 14:34-37 we read this:

1 Cor 14:34  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.

1 Cor 14:35  And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

1 Cor 14:36  What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

1 Cor 14:37  If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

 

The Bible says a woman is to keep silent in the church.  Now, don't you get mad at me!  I didn't say this, Paul did.  If it ruffles your feathers, get mad at Paul, not me!  Right him a letter or something!  But, regardless of your thoughts on the matter, the bible says that women should not speak in the church.   So, how is a woman able to start a church if she isn't allowed to preach in a church?  Is she allowed to pastor in sign language only?  Come on!  Now you're grasping at straws.

                God has always chosen men to be pastors in the church (1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9), and he has chosen men to be the deacons (1 Tim. 3:12,12 and Acts 6).  There are no "deaconesses" in the Bible (unless you have a funny bible).  God always chooses men to start and take care of the church!   Clearly Paul presents this fact when he writes to Timothy and Titus about being a pastor.  One things he says is that a Pastor should be "the husband of one wife."  Now, how can a woman meet that qualification?  Are we supposed to now allow women to pastor our churches, but only if they are homosexual lesbians that are married to another woman?  Come on man!  That's ridiculous.  God chose men to be in the office of a pastor and not women.

                How about preaching?  The Bibles says that we are all supposed to go forth into all the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15), but I'm not talking about witnessing.  I'm talking about the call to preach.  Can a woman be called to preach?  Let's look in Acts again at what a Missionary is to do.

                The first time the word "Paul" shows up in the book of Acts is in chapter 13.  Here we find he has his named changed from Saul to Paul, and he in this passage is preaching.   And, throughout the rest of the book of Acts, Paul is preaching to Jews in the synagogue (Acts 13:5,42, 19:8), preaching on the streets (Acts 17:2), and preaching in the local churches (Acts 20:7).  Paul preached as a missionary quite frequently.  So, can a woman do this too?  Well, if you remember our verses in 1 Corinthians 14, we see that she's not supposed to preach in the church.  How about on the street corner?  (I've yet to seen a woman with enough guts to do so).  No, the Bible says in Titus 2:5 that a woman should be a keeper at home.  She should not be out on a street corner somewhere screaming and yelling (1 Tim. 5:13, 14).  Well, what about in local churches?  As we have seen before, she is supposed to remain quiet.  And, the context in 1 Corinthians 14 is tongues (or prophesying in other languages).  So, you'd better be careful when a young lady says she is called to be a missionary to a foreign field.  Ask her if she has been called to preach.  Paul sure was, and he did, because he could!

                 Another thing that Paul did was train men to be Pastors and Missionaries.  Can a woman do this?  Not according to Paul in his letter to Timothy (one of his trainees).  In 1 Tim 2:12 we read, "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."  How can a woman train men to pastor churches if she is not allowed to do so herself, or train them how to do so?  You are probably saying, "Oh, well Bro. Breaker, you are just twisting the scriptures and making them say what you want them to say."  Oh, no I'm not!  Read the verse again!  How can you twist that?  It says what it means and means what it says.  Now, would you like to know why Paul said this? (Or do you want to quit reading right now, and close your mind to the truth like you so often do, and shut off what's being presented because you don't like what's been said?  Hmmmm?)             

                May I show you the context in a few verses down?  In verse 14 we read, "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression."  Did you get that?  Eve was deceived the Bible says, and Adam was not!  How was she deceived?  By the devil.  His smooth lips and flattering words caused her to sin.  And, by so doing, she fell.  The devil used the oldest trick in the book – sweet talk!   And, are you aware of the fact that women make decisions based on how they feel, and men make decisions based on facts?  And, are you aware of the fact that most of your cults were started by women?  Mary Baker Eddy was the founder of Christian Scientist Movement.  The 7th Day Adventist founder was a woman from Battle Creek, Michigan who started the church in an insane asylum!  The Charismatic movement started with a woman in the early 1900's in the Azuza Street revival in California. And, on and on the list goes.  Maybe God really knew what he was talking about when he said for the women to keep silence in the churches.  Because those who have become "preachers" usually start cults!

                Now, I know what you're thinking.  "Well, what about Lottie Moon and Mary Slessor and Corrie Ten Bloom."  They were missionaries, and they went to the field.  Number one, I ask you, "Was it right for them to go according to the scriptures?"  And, number two, "Can you show me one church that they started that is still going on today?"  (And, even if you could, it would have been started against God's word.)  Did you ever stop to think that maybe if these women had prayed a little longer, and had submitted themselves to God a little more, that maybe, just maybe, God would have sent them a husband that was going to that field and together they could have started a work that was blessed of God, with the man as the pastor and trainer, and the woman as his helper?  I have. 

Did you ever think that these girls on "deputation" to a foreign mission field by themselves are stealing support from men who can go to start churches and train men, when these women by themselves aren't allowed too?  I've thought about it quite a few times!  You say, "Oh, but they win people to Christ!"  So what!  That's the problem today.  We have too many Christians going to win souls, and not enough to train them to win others.  We win them to the Lord to brag about what we did, then we leave them for the wolves (cults) to devour.  Did it ever dawn on you that if these women won a man to the Lord, then they couldn't disciple him, because the Bible says they aren't supposed to teach him?  What about that?  I'm asking, "What about that?" 

                According to the Bible, a missionary is one who is sent to a specific place (or places) in order to win souls to Jesus Christ, plant churches, and teach those in the churches to do the same.                And, for a woman to do this is unscriptural. You say, "What about a woman going on Deputation?"  Let me ask you in return "deputation for what?" If a church sends a woman out to do deputation, then she is by herself, and traveling all over the country to raise support.  But, support for what?  If she is going to the mission field as a missionary that follows in Paul's footsteps, then she needs to start a church, and then she must preach.  But, the Bible says she should not do so.  So, why is she on deputation?

                You say,  "Oh, Brother Breaker, she is going over there to help another missionary."  Well, I two problems with that.  Why doesn't she get married and help her husband?  And, two, why doesn't that missionary that is in that country take care her?  Why does she need to go on deputation.  What will she need money for if she has a place to stay and food to eat?  Why do we rob Peter to pay Paul (figurative expression).  Why don't we send our money to men that can start churches, train men, and are able to preach in that country, instead of paying some young lady a couple thousand dollars a month to start a "sign language" ministry or a "puppet show" and then become self willed, and independent.  Help me understand if you will?  We call this missions?  I call it supporting ERA.  I call it sending money to someone that has no business where they are and who should be at home praying for a good godly husband.  We should instead support to a man that will get the job done.

                So, according to the Bible, we have problems if we send out a woman by herself on a mission field to start a work by herself.  For her to follow Paul's example and God's word, she has to disobey it.  Why can't she just get down on her knees and pray and ask God to send her a husband that God has called to that mission field?  Wouldn't that be better?  Doesn't the Bible say that two are better than one?  Every missionary man needs a good wife.  But, sadly a good woman nowadays is hard to find (Prov. 31:10).  They are just too independent, and it's because we are paying them to be so.

                God help us, and God help you!  May you and your church support missions the right way (as they are set forth in the New Testament from Paul's example), and quit supporting ERA.