There are two ways of approaching this issue, cultural and scriptural. Unfortunately, they result in opposite conclusions. The cultural argument begins with studies into women's place in society as well as the church. It concludes that New Testament teaching prohibiting female ordination is based on first-century cultural bias that considered women inferior to men, and thus, were more easily led astray. This approach is gaining adherents worldwide, especially among progressive and liberal theologians and laymembers.

Conversely, conservative Christians say that Scripture is to be the final authority on all theological matters. This is the position of Church of the Great God.

I Timothy 2:12-14 is the passage of Scripture that has come under a great deal of scrutiny in recent years: "And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression."

Paul's reasoning and conclusion on this subject is based on Genesis 3:16, God's "curse" on Eve. Modern theological thought would reason that the effects of "the Fall" are nullified under Christ's blood, but Paul says, "Not so!" They may be diminished, but not eradicated.

He cites the fact that God created Adam before Eve as his proof that God intended the man to lead. He backs this up by showing that while Eve proved subject to deception—thus, she was the "weaker" of the two—Adam, whose sin was sheer disobedience, did not. Thus, Eve's sin establishes that woman should not take the lead from man; that route, by the biblical example of our first parents, generally leads to problems. The apostle concludes that a woman, formed by God as a helper to Adam and more inclined to being deceived, should not teach or lead men in the church.

Thus, God considers this matter to be one of "difference" between the genders rather than one being "better or worse" than the other. Paul's teaching is that men and women have different "roles" within society as well as in the church. God created each sex with various strengths and weaknesses, and in His wisdom He has determined which roles fit each gender (for instance, see Titus 2:1-8). In the church, as the apostle Paul explains here, ordination of women deviates from the roles God has judged to be appropriate from the beginning. There is no difference, however, in terms of salvation; God gives men and women equal opportunity to enter His Kingdom.

The New Testament does, however, give a precedent for the ordination of deaconesses (I Timothy 3:8-11; Romans 16:1). Apparently, Aquila and Priscilla, who served under Paul's administration, were deacon and deaconess. In the church at that time was a powerful and effective teacher named Apollos, whose knowledge, however, was imperfect. "When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately" (Acts 18:26). Here we find a man and his wife together instructing a man in God's way.

In addition, Scripture includes examples of instruction collected from outstanding women, such as Hannah's prayer, Deborah's song, and the teachings of Lemuel's mother. It also records examples of prophetesses within the church (Acts 21:8-9; see Luke 2:36).