Doctrine and Polity Committee Examines Women in Leadership

Members of the Church of God Doctrine and Polity Committee have released a paper entitled, “Romans 16: Women in Leadership.”

The paper is the tenth in the series and is written by Dr. Terry Cross, a professor in the School of Religion at Lee University. His research centers on Romans 16 which Cross states, “presents something like a counter-balance to the Pauline passages that seem to restrict a woman’s activity in the body of Christ.” Cross’s extensive research cites the women named by Paul in the chapter, which of the 28 cited, “no fewer than seven are women,” according to Cross. He specifically examines the passages that address Phoebe, Pricilla, and Junia.

“What can we ascertain from this selection of names and descriptions in Romans 16?” Cross asks in his conclusion. “First, scholars seem to agree that these individuals were in leadership in the church. Precisely what they did and how they functioned in relation to others in the body of Christ is not entirely clear. At the very least, we can determine that these women were held in high esteem by Paul and were commended to the church in Rome as exemplary models of women in leadership roles. Studies of 1 Timothy 2:8-12, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, and 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, may be more difficult to interpret, but this passage holds general agreement among scholars in terms of women functioning as leaders. That in itself should assist our discussion today concerning women in church leadership.”

The paper can be read in tis entirety, along with endnotes, at the Church of God website ( under the BELIEFS tab on the home page. They are also available in Spanish.
Past Doctrine and Polity paper topics have included such issues as defense of the denomination’s stance on total abstinence from strong drink, observance of the Sabbath Day, human cremation, Spirit-filled worship, same-sex marriage, and the Hyper-Grace movement. The most recent release, a commentary on spiritual gifts, was released earlier this year.

The Doctrine and Polity Committee exists to routinely examine the belief statements, doctrines, and polity in place within the structure of the denomination. The group considers amendments reflective of modern culture and offers recommendations for modifications employing extensive biblical research.

Serving alongside Cross is a group of ministers, scholars and academicians. They include professors at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary Dr. French Arrington, Dr. David Han, Dr. Lee Roy Martin, and Dr. Miriam Figueroa, and Lee Professor Dr. Jerald Daffe. Second Assistant General Overseer Dr. J. David Stephens serves as executive liaison.

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