1CORINTHIANS 14:33b-40: Authority and submission in the Church
The Apostle admonished that it is disgraceful for women to ask contentious questions and argue with opinionated assertions during fellowship/service (1Co 14:33-35). Women should desist from issuing authoritative directives and instructions (1Co 14:34; 1Ti 2:12) and from raising argumentative contentions in the Church (1Co 14:35; 1Ti 2:11). Such personal assertiveness toward or over men in the congregation should be eschewed. St Paul’s ‘not to speak’ and ‘keep silence’ and ‘not exercise authority over men’ in the Church here (1Co 14:34; 1Ti 2:11-12) indicate that women should not be ordained into priestly overseer office nor assume presbyterial authority IN THE CHURCH. Therefore, this does not mean muteness or dumbness but ‘courteousness’, ‘submission’ and ‘obedience’; which equally applied to non-leading male members. Notice that this does NOT extend outside the Church.
Again, this could NOT have abrogated other utterance or spoken ministrations and responsibilities enjoined and permitted for women in other portions of Scripture such as:
(1) prophesying, praying, tongues-interpretation and even singing (before all in Church) Luk 2:36-38; Act 21:9; 1Co 11:3-12; Eph 5:18-21; Exo 15:20-21; Jdg 4:4-9, and
(2) teaching and even questioning (before women in public but before men in private and at home Act 18:26; 1Co 14:35; Tit 2:3-4; Pro 31:1-2), and
(3) other spiritual ministrations, exhortations and helps (Act 16:14-15; 1Ti 5:10).
(4) Also their ‘subjection to authority’ does not exclude official delegation or responsibility (Rom 16:1-4); even protesting maladministration and voting for lay Church leaders of their choice (Act 6:1-6).
One proviso is that all women should minister IN CHURCH GATHERING with veils on their heads: not for submission to men or culture as is often mistakenly believed, but for dignity before the Church and for authority before the Angels (1Co 11:5-6, 1Co 11:10). Why the Angels? Angelic company is always in attendance with God at any true Church assembly where God is present (Matt 18:20; Heb 12:12-14; 1Tim 5:21). Angels are God’s liturgical (worship ministry or homage service) spirits (Heb 1:14). (See http://www.scribd.com/doc/28479877/SHOULD-WOMEN-USE-WORSHIP-VEIL-IN-THE-CHURCH for more details on the Worship Veil).
In the apostolic Church as recorded in the Scriptures, though women ministered in several prominent RESPONSIBILITY roles as Deaconesses, Helps, Prophetesses, Matrons, Financiers, and Hosts, they were neither ordained nor in anyway expected to be ordained as oversight Presbyters. Spiritual GIFTS are variously given to all males and females alike as ABILITY for ministry and ministrations among the saints. Apostolic and presbyterial OFFICES are reserved for a few as positions of AUTHORITY for oversight and presidency over the saints – all such ecclesiastical authorities in the Scriptures were held by males only. This divine wisdom and rule should not be challenged or changed but upheld.
In the secular society, OUTSIDE THE CHURCH, where the sacerdotal Priesthood and Presbyterate are not in charge, though women may be socially disadvantaged (1Pe 3:7), yet they are not forbidden from temporal prominence and authority over men. Like the men, they could come to ruling power by circumstance (Debora, Jdg 4:4-6; Jdg 5:6-9), by force (Athaliah, 2Kin 11; 2Chr 22-23), by political manoeuvre (Esther, Esth 8:1-14), by popular acclaim and personal merit (Esther, Est 2:15-18), by prowess (Jael, Jdg 4:9; Jdg 4:17-22), or by royal birth. There were the Queen of Sheba (2Kin 10; 2Chr 9; Mat 12:42) and Candace the Queen of Ethiopia served by eunuchs (Act 8:27), who were well spoken of by the Scriptures.
Christian women should therefore, contribute their spiritual gifts/abilities in Church and could be licensed, commissioned, elected, delegated, appointed, into various roles, responsibilities and ministries as applicable to all laymen with whom they are equally Spirit-baptised INTO CHRIST (Joh 7:37-39; 1Co 12:13-14; Eph 2:19-22). They should operate with their veil of authority in Church (1Co 11:5-6; 1Co 11:10), but they should NOT assert themselves over men or be ORDAINED into priestly authority or oversight presbyterate presidency over men in the Angelic Assembly of God’s Church? (1Co 14:34-35; 1Ti 2:11-12; 1Ti 5:21; Heb 1:14; Heb 12:22-24). However, amongst fellow women in the Church, amongst their male and female children and dependants in their homes, and among all men and women in socio-political circles outside the Church, Christian women could oversee, judge and preside at any level? (Tit 2:3-4; Pro 31:1-2; Jdg 4:4-9).