Conservative Lutheran Denomination Studies Role of Women in Church

Apostle Paul wrote that a woman is not permitted to “exercise authority” over a man, according to a report by one of the more conservative denominations in the U.S.

The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, the second largest Lutheran church body and one of only a handful of denominations that prohibit the ordination of female pastors, made the conclusion after conducting a study of the language used by St. Paul in 1 Timothy 2:12.

The verse, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man (NIV),” is often cited by conservative biblical scholars who believe the pastorate should be restricted to males only.

The denomination’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations studied the Greek term “authentien” as used in this instance upon the request of the 1994 Atlantic District. The word “authentien” appears only once in the New Testament, and some scholars have said the term was not intended to keep women out of the ministry but rather meant to admonish women who take authority away from men.

Upon conducting the study, the Commission concluded that the term probably means to “exercise authority,” not to “usurp authority,” and reaffirmed the denomination’s original stance on the topic. The study upheld the findings of a 1985 church report dubbed “Women in the Church”.

The findings were released during the CTCR’s meeting in April 14 – 16, 2005.