August 01, 2004 Q & A

Women Missionaries


Can a woman be legitimately and biblically a missionary? I guess what I am asking is an ecclesiological question regarding missions. As far as understand it, if a missionary is to fulfill the great commission, then he must be ordained, and if so ordained, must be a man. Can you elucidate for me? Also, can you recommend any good Reformed Presbyterian books on Ecclesiology, especially as it regards the functions of the offices of the church? Thank you.


As you no doubt know, the term "missionary"' does not refer to a Biblical office. To be sure, those missionaries who have been ordained and called by Christ's church to serve as Evangelists or Teachers of the Word of God on a field will only be men. However, we also use the word "missionary" to refer men or women who have not been called as Evangelists or Teachers but who are appointed to diaconal service that is done alongside the preaching and teaching of God's Word.

Such service includes the medical service of doctors and nurses, Christian school teachers and administrators, and those who maintain the mission's facilities or who otherwise do that work which demonstrates the love of Christ to those who are the objects of the preaching of the Gospel. It is in this diaconal type work that the Committee on Foreign Missions of the OPC has found it appropriate to appoint non-ordained men and women to "missionary" service.

With regard to books on ecclesiology, I would humbly recommend just a couple beginning with the appropriate chapters of the OPC's Form of Government found in the Book of Church Order on the OPC website. I would also recommend R. B. Kuiper's Glorious Body of Christ, the appropriate chapters of Louis Berkof's Systematic Theology, and Mark Brown's Order in the Offices.



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