CON Contact Us DON Donate
Our History General Assembly Worldwide Outreach Ministries Standards Resources

Question and Answer

Should a woman teach older teenage boys in Sunday School?

Question:

I have read the answers about women teaching in the church. What is the typical solution when a woman teaches a Sunday School class of teenagers and a boy turns 18? Is it the norm in OP churches that he would then leave that class because a woman is teaching it and he is now a "man"? Is it more common in OPC churches that a woman would not teach a mixed class of teenagers?

Answer:

I am not sure that I can answer your question definitively. There are several reasons for this.

1) OP churches vary widely in what they offer in terms of Sunday School classes. There are a number of possible scenarios:

a) Some churches, like my own, have classes for younger teenagers, but when the teens are juniors or seniors or college age, they may be blended in with an adult class which is, almost without exception, taught by a man. In this case the situation does not arise.

b) In some OP congregations there may be a special class for teenagers team-taught by, say, a husband and wife, in which case the husband provides the leadership.

c) In some churches there may be separate male and female classes for teens in which case it would be normal for the boys' class to be taught by a man.

d) In some churches there is only one "family-oriented" class and there is no age or peer division and the class is taught by the pastor or an elder.

So, there are a number of ways in which the question you pose would not arise.

2) Each OP congregation is under the authority of its own session and the session is responsible for ordering things in the way they see is most edifying to the people of the congregation. But, at the same time, each session is bound by the Word of God and the standards of the OPC which both set forth that leadership in the church is to be male (1 Tim. 2:12). A session could construe this to mean that as long as the elders (male) diligently oversee the whole of the life of the church, and people, both men and women, are submissive to that leadership, the elders could delegate responsibility for doing certain things, in this case teaching a class, to whomever they deem best suited to do that, be they male or female. This is what I mean: routinely elders will delegate the leading of a women's Bible to a woman but the final responsibility and authority rests or remains with men (the session). So, presumably, a session could permit or request a woman a teach of Sunday School class which might include an eighteen year old male but recognize that they themselves are the ones with the authority to approve the teacher or the material, etc. I don't know of any OP congregations where the elders do it that way but since the elders are the spiritual undershepherds of the flock and everything that happens in it (cf. Acts 20:28, Heb. 13:17), they could do this.

In summary, the OPC believes 1 Timothy 2:12 is truth, and how that is implemented in each congregation rests with the authority of the local session to operate within the boundary of the Word of God and our Book of Church Order.


About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by email. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

OPC
© 2014 The Orthodox Presbyterian Church
o

Search OPC.org

MINISTRIES

Chaplains and Military Personnel

Diaconal Ministries

Historian

Inter-Church Relations

Pensions

Planned Giving

Short-Term Missions

RESOURCES

Church Directory

Daily Devotional

Audio Sermons

Trinity Hymnal

Camps & Conferences

Gospel Tracts

Book Reviews

Publications

Newsletter

Presbyterian Guardian