Ethics: Fiancée Disagrees with You on Female Pastors

What would you do Wednesday!

A friend brought the question up on Facebook recently of marrying someone with whom you disagreed with about female pastors. I thought the subject would make an interesting WWYDW topic.

You met at the local church you have both been members of for a few years. You had been courting for about a year. But the courtship is now over and you are engaged. The date set for marriage six months away.

Biblical marriage counseling begins with the pastor.

While the pastor explains the biblical roles of men and women in the home, the topic of pastors and elders comes up. The pastor explains that Scripture limits the office of pastors and/or elders to men. Women can serve in other areas in the church, but not in the pastoral role.

You’re fiancée disagrees and thinks women may be pastors and/or elders. A slightly heated discussion began until your pastor calmed the conversation.

You wonder why this topic never came up before now. (But it never came up from either of you.) Your fiancée explains that since your current church has all male pastors, which they are fine with, there was never really any reason for such a discussion.

You and your fiancée agree theologically on everything, but female pastors.

What would you do?

  • Marry them regardless because we’re in love.
  • Put the marriage on hold to work through this issue.
  • Call the marriage off unless they change their mind.
  • Explain how no one is going to marry them with that kind of theological ignorance.
  • Or…

Here I blog,


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tagged as , in Christianity,Church Issues,Culture

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Zack Stepp August 28, 2013 at 9:58 am

Well, I’ll go ahead and poke a stick in that ant hill:
I would say, without question, that it’s time to call the marriage off, for multiple reasons.
First, while the role of women in the church is not an issue of first-order importance, (to borrow Mohler’s triage terminology), it’s nonetheless an important theological issue which touches upon, and interplays with, many issues beyond church leadership. What one believes on this issue is informed by their own personal hermeneutics, which in turn informs a whole host of other theological beliefs. I can worship along side, and count as brothers and sisters in Christ, those with whom I disagree on this issue, but being married to an individual requires a much, much, much deeper level of theological agreement. If you don’t agree here, I would almost guarantee that there will be other significant disagreements. For example, I’d suspect that if the couple disagrees about the role of women in the church, they will likely be on different pages when it comes to the role of men and women in the home. Which leads me to my next issue:
Second, theological beliefs are not merely abstract concepts when you’re married to someone. You can’t just agree to disagree about the role of women in the church and then turn around and find a church to join. You can’t just agree to disagree about the role of women in the church and then teach your children conflicting views. The list goes on and on. When it comes to this specific issue, a disagreement between a husband and a wife will inevitably cause very real and very significant issues in the marriage.
Third, despite the fact that they apparently courted for a year, the fact that they could have made it this far in the relationship without ever having run across this issue (or the myriad of other interrelated issues) is a red flag for me. Pre-marital counseling is not the place to be discovering, and solving, major areas of theological disagreement.

2 rhology August 28, 2013 at 10:08 am

You still have six months. Just start working on this issue with significant focus. 
It *might* be a good reason to back off from the marriage, if the fiancée refuses to listen to the Scripture. Would she expect her husband to bear a child in his own body as well? That would be good reason to call off a marriage.

3 David August 28, 2013 at 10:28 am

I was in a courtship with the daughter of a female pastor several years ago, and I called it off. The girl was from a Pentecostal background, and I am Reformed / Southern Baptist. I was giving her the benefit of the doubt early on because my parents and I, despite being in the same denomination, disagree on several key doctrines. What I learned was that everyone I know who ignores 1 Timothy 3 regarding women preaching also compromises on more significant doctrinal issues. As my former pastor told me, most Pentecostals don’t have a filter and just accept everything. This girl and her family take the gift of prophecy to an extreme in their ministry and do not reject the prosperity gospel. Now two years later, I recently found out that some of her relatives are now listening to Joel Osteen. Sad, really.
It was a decision I had to make, as hard as it was. She and her family are some of the nicest people I have ever met, and I’ve met very few young ladies who could rival her outward beauty even to this day. I didn’t date again for almost a year because I had a lot of anxiety, and I have not gotten into another relationship yet. But ending this courtship was the right decision. My pastor and other godly people in my church told me what I needed to hear.

4 nvahalik August 28, 2013 at 10:47 am

I suppose she can disagree on that point all she wants, but to a large extent, if she agrees to submit to her husband’s authority, then that disagreement should be a non-issue.  Does that make sense?

5 stevebag August 28, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Are they getting married or starting a church?

6 Tim Scott January 30, 2015 at 11:17 pm

So, since his picture is up there, what I want to know is, what does R.C. Sproul think?


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