Counsel of Chalcedon

Women in the Church

The Bible makes clear that each congregation has the authority from God to elect its own officers, rather than having officers imposed on it by church or state. But who in the congregation has the duty to vote for church officers? Is it the privilege of every baptized member of the church? Of every communing member, but not of non-communing members? Of adult members but not children? Of both? Of men and women? Does the Bible have any direction to give us on this issue?

Before we see what the Bible leads us to believe on this subject, we must keep in mind that the subject of "voting rights" is emotionally charged. "Women suffrage" is even more highly charged emotionally. Regardless of what the Bible may say, people become excited when they feel any encroachments on, injuries to or denials of their perceived "human and civil rights." And, in this age of egalitarianism, those feelings are all the more intense when people feel that they are viewed as inferior to other human beings. Therefore, when we ask the Bible to direct us as to what we are to believe and practice regarding the identity of those who are to vote in congregations for their church officers, we must earnestly pray that God's Spirit would enlighten our hearts and minds, govern our emotions, and help us to think clearly, as in all matters of faith and practice our desire must be to bring our every thought into captivity to Christ.