Christian House Leadership
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Christian House Leadership
Page 190

Warning Against Immorality

Bishop TheodoraWhen it came to Christian household leadership, it was not gender but the person's spiritual and moral qualities that were and are essential for leadership. Bishop Theodora was a female bishop unusually sainted in her own lifetime, hence the square halo. Overseers sometimes called bishops or elders and other Christian house leadership were probably almost always male. The qualification for a bishop as, "the husband of one wife," was therefore rather strange in its New Testament context but may be translated as "married only once" as a warning against immorality or adultery. It could be a warning against bigamy for anyone becoming a bishop, overseer or elder. A few prominent women in Christian house leadership were mentioned in Acts 16.15,32-34 including Lydia, a dealer in fine cloth but not specifying them as "bishop." Paul listed the moral and leadership characteristics required of those who desired this calling. He wrote in 1 Timothy 3.12 also in the same vein of deacons, "A deacon must be the husband of but one wife, and must manage his children and his household well." A third passage described in 1 Timothy 3.11 the qualities of their "wives" who "were to be women worthy of respect." "Wives" here was the same word used of "deaconesses" and from this we can deduce that women and men had an equally important role as Christian household leaders in the New Testament church. The role of the leader of the house however was generally reserved for male persons as it was in Roman society.

"Christian Household Leadership"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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