Top Ten Reasons Why Men Should Not be Ordained Clergy

Top 10 Reasons Why Men Shouldn’t Be Ordained

(Kudos to Jason Jackson for this).

10. A man’s place is in the army.
9. For men who have children, their duties might distract them from the responsibilities of being a parent.
8. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do other forms of work.
7. Man was created before woman. It is therefore obvious that man was a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment, rather than the crowning achievement of creation.
6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. This is easily demonstrated by their conduct at football games and watching basketball tournaments.
5. Some men are handsome; they will distract women worshipers.
4. To be ordained pastor is to nurture the congregation. But this is not a traditional male role. Rather, throughout history, women have been considered to be not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more frequently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.
3. Men are overly prone to violence. No really manly man wants to settle disputes by any means other than by fighting about it. Thus, they would be poor role models, as well as being dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.
2. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep paths, repair the church roof, change the oil in the church vans, and maybe even lead the singing on Father’s Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the Church.
1. In the New Testament account, the person who betrayed Jesus was a man. Thus, his lack of faith and ensuing punishment stands as a symbol of the subordinated position that all men should take.

  • Jaymes Lackey

    I would add that the curse in Genesis 3 says that man must eat by the sweat of his brow in tilling the ground… men can’t be ordained because they are supposed to be sweaty farmers.

    Also we could use inclusive language here as a tool against men: “men love darkness” – wouldn’t make a good preacher of light. etc.

  • Myron Williams

    thank you for this excellent posting, further showing why ordination is simply not a matter of service/ministry. people are called to work for the kingdom in the world, so let’s get to the work and quit arguing about who does it!

  • Rusty Bullerman

    Item 5 could go both ways.

  • Robert A

    Perhaps it is an attempt at being trivial but there are good, biblical reasons why many of us see the role of pastor as being for men. Certainly there are terrible arguments against women as pastors. I’ve heard them and rebuke those who use them. However, there are equally bad arguments for women being pastors that fail to engage a coherent theological position. Yet for this of us who continue to champion the biblical view concerning leadership in the local church we recognize that there is a more thorough theology to be worked out than a trivialization permits. It is not oppressive or hateful, but reasoned hermeneutics that preserves the complimentarian position. The conversation needs to be sensible and engaged in thoroughly by both sides. Marginalization and trivialization don’t help advance that conversation.

  • Ben Witherington

    Hi Robert. This a humor not ridicule, and everyone should be able to laugh at themselves occasionally, and not take themselves too seriously, whatever their views. The problem with the view you are referring to is that it is quite unBiblical and involves a bad misreading of texts like 1 Cor. 14.33b-36 and 1 Tim. 2.8-15. It also involves a total misreading of the creation order as described in Gen. 1-2. I have engaged those issues in my commentaries and in my 3 books on women in the NT at length in serious ways, and I’m all for respectful discussion, but the fact of the matter is that some of the most used arguments against women in ministry are as flimsy as these ten in the other direction. BW3

  • Krissi

    Robert, as a woman, I can say it IS oppressive and hateful. And I find the egalitarian interpretation just as biblical as you find the complimentarian interpretation. Saying you “champion the biblical view” automatically shuts down conversation by assuming any other interpretation is not biblical. And reasoned hermeneutics can be oppressive and hateful. We need only turn to church history to discover examples of that.

    I saw this list a couple of weeks ago when it popped up on Facebook. I personally think it’s hilarious!

  • Bill

    Glad to hear that you base your egalitarian beliefs on the Bible. The problem is that many people think that the complementarian view is necessarily oppressive and hateful, no matter what the Bible says. In other words, there is no possible world where a just God would teach this view. What is the alternative to “reasoned hermenuetics?” As you know, abuse does not destroy right use. Many people have abused belief in God but this does not prove that belief in God is not a true belief.

  • Evelyn

    Rusty – I think the point is that ALL the items have been used in the other direction, with some modifications. Or did you mean the pastor would be distracted by the good-looking female worshipers? Which could also be a serious problem, and another reason men should not be ordained.

    FTR, the list can also be found here:
    The site has some cogently argued pieces on the role of women in ministry based on sound hermeneutics.

    “people are called to work for the kingdom in the world, so let’s get to the work and quit arguing about who does it!” well said, Myron Williams!

  • Oscar

    A number of these replies prove that humor is lost on the religious in many instances.

  • Mlkehoe

    Love it! What a spoof and on Mother’s day.

  • Aravis

    For what it is worth, I have studied (the bible) in great depth (among other things) to work out my position on the matter (as it does have practical implications for how I attempt to serve God in a biblical manner), and still don’t think it is particularly clear. I come from a church where they are prepared to let me do more as a woman, than I actually feel comfortable doing. Either way though, this list is just a really funny way of highlighting SOME of the foolish arguments people use to make a case. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and appreciated the humour regardless of my theological position.

  • Robert A

    I appreciate the replies, and did get the joke in the post. If I didn’t communicate that adequately (my vocal intonation made sense, it just never got through my keyboard) my apologies. I did read the list and recognized (as I mentioned) a number of silly arguments people make from the patriarchal view.

    BW3, I completely appreciate the egalitarian position and your contribution to the ongoing discussion. We certainly need to recognize the equality of men and women as created beings and in salvation. However, I still see a complimentarian position presented in Scripture with distinct roles and headship in both the home and church settings. Of course here we must note that male leadership is in submission to Christ and always to be servant leadership. I’m still working through a lot of this (being young helps with this) and find alternative views helpful.

    Krissi, I appreciate the reply and point that any view should be considered for the damage it can do to others. One point of pushback is that I would be careful labeling complimentarianism as “hateful” and “oppressive.” While in my ministry we happily partner with egalitarian churches we remain graceful in our position for our ministry. Perhaps many of our reactions are to the extreme positions, in my circles patriarchal views, and not a sensible, graceful middle.

    Always enjoy the conversation here.

  • Cassie Kile

    This is absolutely wonderful and hilarious! Made my day :)

  • Ryan

    “The problem with the view you are referring to is that it is quite unBiblical and involves a bad misreading of texts like 1 Cor. 14.33b-36 and 1 Tim. 2.8-15. It also involves a total misreading of the creation order as described in Gen. 1-2.”
    I look forward to tracking down your commentaries at some stage BW3 and seeing how you arrive at this conclusion. As it stands, from the work I have done on Genesis and 1st Timothy, I am at loss for how you can call the complementarian position ‘quite unbiblical.’

  • Bobby Weaver

    I think that post was really funny and that it makes an important point. Viewing the issue from only the male side is weak. My wife (who is my fellow seminary student) showed this to me. She has significant skills and training that far exceed many ministers we have encountered. I would be shamed if a congregation wanted to hire me instead of her because of my gender.

  • Kyle

    Bill, I do think the notion of assigning someone a lifelong, comprehensive leader is necessarily a diminishment of someone’s personhood. If my wife were my “spiritual leader,” it would mean that my voice always matters a little less than hers in terms of decision making: even if it were 49% and 51%. I think this winds up treating the submissive party as perennially less than a fully mature adult. There’s noting wrong with leadership per se, but complementarianism, whether comprehensive or even just husband/wife hierarchicalism, essentially winds up assigning a person a life-long parent.

    Now I think that many complementarians in practice wind up being functional egalitarians–out of love, husbands consider their wives’ opinions as equally important and weighty as their own. But in theory, as the logic as has it, complementarianism undermines the full personhood of the submissive party, I think.

  • Kyle

    Husband/wife complementarianism winds up being comprehensive for the submissive party, precisely because husbands and wives share each others’ lives without limit or boundary. More limited forms of hierarchical leadership seem fine, when they are based on difference of skill or just temporary expediency. But husband/wife hierarchy is based on gender alone–there is no difference of skill, and no need to have “one leader” of the home (as egal’s see it). Moreover, it is not limited, but is an overall hierarchy that involves the overall direction of the life of the submissive partner–again, because the husband/life partnership is one of unlimited, mutual sharing of lives.

  • Eric

    If it weren’t so true it’d be even more funny.

  • Jon Noble

    It is weird reading the name Ben Witherington on a post like this and thinking, “I’ve used this guy’s books in my papers.” I’m not religious any more, so this isn’t my issue. I think canon is pretty clear on women’s place, and that twisting this is like trying to twist what canon has to say about slavery or homosexuality. At some point, I think we need to admit that the canon is human, and that our morality is and always has been nothing more than human. Suggesting that some deity cares about us enough to guide us only constrains our ability to think about morality logically and compassionately.

    When I read the posts in dicussions like this, I’ve often bewildered by the hate and arrogance that follows. I’ve grown used to people assuming that since I don’t believe, I must be ignorant, evil or illogical, but Christians treat each other this way too. I guess we all do. A belief in that the Holy Spirit is guiding us isn’t necessary for such unvirtuous behavior, but sometimes it seems to me that it helps justify it in people who probably ought to know better.

    Of course, thinking that women are inferior to men in almost anything other than physical strength is just plain silly.

  • Gina Westbrook

    These are the problems that arise when a Goddessless religion is followed. Bring back the true ole’ time religion.

  • Ben Witherington

    Gina, Gina, Gina. Goddess religion, including fertility goddess religion is no older than god religion. Do your religious history homework. BW3

  • Alejandro

    Really, really thought for a moment you were serious here.

  • Matt Stewart


    I just have a quick question, though it is not related to this post, and for that I must apologize. Coming across Matthew 24: 1-36 the other day I was very confused, specifically with verse 34 and what Jesus meant by “this generation”. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

    Since I started learning a bit about NT textual criticism, you have been the guy I go to the most. I do plan to get your Matthew commentary soon.


  • Ben Witherington

    Hi Matt: It’s easier to answer in regard to the text that is the basis for Mt. 24, namely Mk. 13. There is an A, B, A, B structure to the discourse. A has to do with ‘these things’ the preliminary events on earth which take place between A.D. 30 and A.D. 70 leading up to and including the desecration of the temple. Then there are the ‘after those days’ events with cosmic signs in heaven for which there is no time table and Jesus warns no one knows the timing of the second coming except the Father. So generation here in the A sections means what it would normally mean— 40 years. BW3

  • Mark Baker-Wright

    Bill (quite a bit ago) said “The problem is that many people think that the complementarian view is necessarily oppressive and hateful, no matter what the Bible says”

    I have an honest question for you. Is it reasonable to conclude that the Bible promotes a God who is “oppressive and hateful”? I assume you would find such a conclusion abhorrent, no matter your view on this matter, yet it is well-established that many people read the Bible and come this exact conclusion.

    The problem isn’t so much what the Bible “says” (i.e., the words on the pages), but what the Bible means. This is a difficult question, made more so by the layers of time, culture, and language that we have to wade through to even get the “words” of our English Bibles.

    But if someone concludes that the Bible “says” that God is promoting something “oppressive and hateful,” I would submit that the problem isn’t with the Bible itself, nor with God, but merely with the (false, in my opinion) way the Bible has been interpreted.

  • Ben Witherington

    Hi Mark:

    First of all, I agree with your concluding remark— the problem is misinterpretation of the Bible, especially in an age where people mistakenly think meaning is in the eye of the beholder. But secondly no its not reasonable to conclude that the Bible promotes anything abhorrent to the very character of God who is holy love. BW3

  • Mark Baker-Wright

    By the way, Ben, I see you’ve given credit to a “Jason Jackson” for this piece. Do you know whether or not he is the actual author? I’ve seen (and been spreading) this list for years, and a lot of folks think that my one-time professor (and yours, wasn’t he?) David Scholer wrote it, although he himself said otherwise (he claimed to have found it on the internet some years previously) and we haven’t been able to determine the original author.

  • Ben Witherington

    Jason is just a colleague here, and he did not create it. It wouldn’t surprise me if my old mentor David Scholer did, but alas, I do not know. BW3

  • Sue Smith

    LOL! Fantastic humour. Just as funny as the arguments against women being ordained only some people take those more seriously. Thankyou, you’ve made my day!

  • Alice Hopper

    Thank you! First this was funny! Being a woman in the church and having had a female pastor I have heard many of these arguments against ordained female pastors.

    Second – thank you for the discussion in the comments below. Even though there are some very different oppions on here the tone of the posts was kept respectful (from my vantage point). Its unusual to see a comment thread go down this path and still stay on discussion instead of going after people on a personal level. Thank you for keeping it to the topic at hand and not jabs and people.

  • Joseph

    I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments but has anyone thought about the question of ordination. Who introduced this practice? Is it Biblical? Wasn’t it the Holy Spirit who set people apart…. Didn’t Jesus breathe on His disciples in the power of the Holy Spirit setting them apart… Just. A few thoughts

  • Ben Witherington

    Hi Joseph: The practice of ordination grew out of the practices of anointing and laying on of hands, and from texts such as we find in 1 Timothy 2 etc. It was not the Holy Spirit by himself that set apart Timothy and Titus, but rather Paul who did so, on the basis of the precedent of Jesus of course, who chose disciples. BW3

  • Peter

    Since the theologians can’t agree on which position is “biblical,” the rest of us will have to first read scripture to determine which position seems correct, then read arguments on both sides by qualified Bible scholars, and then gracefully agree to disagree with those who have done this and come to a different conclusion than we have.

  • Tarasview

    this = awesome

    You seriously just made my day!

    Thanks :)

  • Andrew Giles

    For some or other reason I feel the need to comment on this topic. It seems strange that any person involved in this conversation, has failed to take into consideration that Jesus himself was male and he chose Male disciples. They in turn, as Apostles, past on leadership chiefly to male Elders and Deacons etc. although did not stand in the way of women being involved in ministry.
    If the Bible is to be considered as the reference point for Christianity and this is the example set for the church, both historically and in modern times, then there should surely be no argument at all about the suitability of one sex over another. Did God not create us all?
    Why not consider the 1st book of Timothy, specifically chapter 3 if you are looking for the qualities of a leader/minister?
    It is my opinion that if any person who would have the Church start justifying who would be better suited as a shepherd based on any qualities other than a life that honors God and shows the continuous fruit of a life devoted to him in Faith, should seriously consider their personal motives.
    Or perhaps consider rewriting the Bible…

  • billy mcmahon

    HA! Brilliant!!!

  • Janet

    An excellent set of arguments! And they are all just as valid as the arguments against women being ordained.
    I will do what God has called me to do, and no man or woman can stand against it.
    If the idea of a spiritual leader of a particular gender makes you uncomfortable, remember, God does not call us to be comfortable. As I have heard it phrased, “We are called to comfort the afflicted, and to afflict the comfortable.”

  • Op3

    What I find hysterical is that the inverse of this is preached (loudly & constantly) in a lot of “Fundamental” Churches…. sad.

  • Cindy

    LOL Hilarious!
    One time, my friend–let’s say friend A for confidentiality purposes–told me that s/he wouldn’t ever go to a church where a woman was pastor/preacher. I love my friend, but this hurt and made me feel worthless, no matter how s/he tried to pretty it up.
    So, to the men out there, listen to the Lord’s voice no matter who’s mouth it comes from. If you close your mind, ears, and heart, then you’ll be missing out on many of God’s blessings.
    Jesus didn’t exclude Mary (Martha’s sister) from learning at his feet; he welcomed and embraced her as his disciple. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are just as open to bless women as they are to bless men. Do you think that the gifts of the Spirit are reserved for only you, men? Jesus didn’t exclude Mary from learning the Good News, so why would he exclude them from teaching the Good News and furthering his kingdom?
    Priscilla taught Appollos (with the help of her husband Aquila), and there’s just no ignoring this instance in scripture. Try as you might to reconcile this passage with 1 Timothy 2:12, but the two conflict no matter what (if you maintain the “traditional” interpretation of the Timothy passage). And the words “in the church” simply aren’t in the Timothy passage. Furthermore, the Lord promises that wherever two or more gather, “there am I among them.” The church, the body of Christ is the people, whether
    one person or two people or five people or a congregation of a thousand. Priscilla, Aquila, and Appollos were members of the body of Christ, and the Lord’s spirit was there among them, and they might as well have been in church. So, Priscilla taught and lead in the body of Christ, and so should the Lord’s women whom he calls to preach, teach, and lead. And, in 1 Timothy 2:12, the only meaning for the Greek word “authentein” that would truly fit the context is to domineer. Having a positive position of authority just doesn’t fit the context. Think about it: the men had been arguing with anger (a thing I consider pride-driven), and the women were wearing expensive clothing to show off (another thing which I’d call pride-driven). Now, what fits this theme more: women having a positive role of authority, or women domineering? You be the judge.
    Women, do not be silent in the body of Christ anymore. Don’t hide your faces anymore. Don’t ignore that still small voice, the Holy Spirit, which urges you to do the Lord’s work, anymore.
    Paul didn’t say “Neither male nor female” for nothing. Should we assume that since all of Jesus’s disciples were Jews, church leadership is reserved for Jewish men only? Well of course not. “Neither Jew nor Greek,” right? So why do we stop short before submitting to the teaching, “Neither male nor female”? Listen and submit to the Lord’s voice, and you will be blessed greatly.
    Love through Christ,

  • David Naas

    Marvelous article, marvelous comments. Even from the people who use “The Bible Says…” (after suitable interpolating) to _prove_ that their point of view is God’s point of view. (And, I always just love it when TBBs (True Blue Believers) start tossing verses at each other as if they were grenades, with the same intent to maim.