Christian Household Leadership
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Bishop Theodora 190

Warning Against Immorality

Bishop TheodoraWhen it comes to Christian household leadership, it is not gender but the person's spiritual and moral qualities that were and are essential for leaders. (see the picture of Bishop Theodora, a female bishop unusually sainted in her own lifetime, hence the square halo.) Overseers sometimes called bishops or elders and other Christian household leadership were probably both male and female. The qualification for a bishop as, "the husband of one wife," is however rather strange in its New Testament context but may be loosely translated as "married only once," It could be more a warning against immorality and bigamy than against a woman becoming a bishop, overseer or elder. In fact, a few prominent women in Christian household leadership are mentioned in Acts 16.15,32-34 including Lydia, a dealer in fine cloth. Paul lists the moral and leadership characteristics required of leaders. He writes in 1 Timothy 3.12 similarly of deacons, "A deacon must be the husband of but one wife, and must manage his children and his household well." A third passage describes in 1 Timothy 3.11 the qualities of their "wives" who "are to be women worthy of respect." "Wives" here is the same word used of "deaconesses." Women and men had an equally important role as Christian household leaders in the New Testament church.✞

"Christian Household Leadership"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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