Women as Disciples And Disciple-makers (ZT Fomum)
From the command of the Lord, it is obvious that He intended that disciples (men and women, boys and girls) be made of all nations.
The Lord Jesus said,
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew 28-19-20).
Again He said,
“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day arise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:46-49).
Those who were in the upper room and who were clothed with power to be witnesses included the disciples,
“Together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers” (Acts 1:14).
When the Holy Spirit came down, all these, the men and the women,
“were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).
The Bible that could read, “Go therefore and make disciple of men in all nations, baptizing the men in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching the men to observe all that I have commanded you: and lo, I am with the men always, to the close of the age,” would be the devil’s and not from the Lord. Yet that is what the traditions of men have made it appear to us.
From the command of the Lord, it is obvious that He intended that disciples (men and women, boys and girls) be made of all nations. He intended that these disciples (men and women) would be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. He also expected that these disciples (of both sexes) would be taught to observe all that He had commanded, which meant that both men and women, who had been made into disciples and baptized, would be taught to make other disciples and baptize them and teach these other disciples (men and women) to go and make disciple of men and women, etc.
So women are also to be made into disciples. Women are to be baptized. Women are to be taught to go and make disciples and baptize them and teach them to make other disciples, baptize them and teach them to do the same.
The command to be discipled and to disciple is for the women also. If you are a girl or a woman reading this, you should know that the Lord has commanded you, first of all, to be a disciple. Secondly, He expects you to be baptized. Thirdly, He expects you to teach all that He commanded both theoretically and in experience. Fourthly, He expects you to go and make disciples. Fifthly, He expects you to baptize these disciples. Sixthly, He expects you, sister, to teach these disciples, be they men or women, to do the same.
There is not one verse in the entire Bible that says that women should not make disciples. If they should not make disciples, then they should not become disciples, because a disciple should labour to grow and then make other disciples.
There is not one verse in the entire Bible that says that a woman should not baptize. If a woman should not baptize, then she should not be baptized. Those who are made disciples and baptized and taught, receive these ministries with the understanding that they will cause them to continue.
There is nothing in baptizing a disciple that should make it an affair for men. The Lord did not teach that. He taught the very opposite. Each one must make up his mind as to whether he will obey the Word of God or the traditions of men that have no Biblical foundation.
The Bible talks of the twelve as having accompanied the Lord beginning from the baptism of John until the ascension. They followed Jesus all that time. We also notice that the Bible talks of women who followed Him,
“Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means” (Luke 8:1-3).
These women and others who are not named followed Him and learned from Him.
Women are to be made into disciples. They are to be baptized. They are to be taught all that the Lord commanded. They will then go out, make disciples, baptize them and teach them.
The making of disciples is for all disciples. It is not something for the male sex. The women also must obey. They have responsibility to the Lord for what He says in His Word. They shall be judged by what the Word says and not by the traditions around.
There is nothing in the Bible that prohibits a woman from leading one woman to the Lord, baptizing her and teaching her. The Bible instead commands this. There is nothing in the Bible that prohibits a woman from leading a man to the Lord, baptizing him and teaching him to make disciples, baptize them and teach them to do the same. Some will quote the apostle Paul forbidding women to teach or to usurp authority over men. We do not want to argue. We only say that this is in the context of the assembly gathered together. In private homes this has no application. The Bible says of Apollos, “He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and expounded to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26). The husband and wife taught him, but the fact that Priscilla is mentioned first, contrary to the normal tradition which sometimes did not even mention the women, possibly indicates that she was the better of the two in expounding the Scriptures to Apollos. Nevertheless, at least she was part of the team of two that taught Apollos.
Finally, we are not talking of disciple-making in terms of masses. It is one person giving himself to another to help him to mature in the Lord and later on to help others similarly. In that context, women as well as men are fully entitled to teach the Word and to help others to apply it.
We recommend that normally, people should disciple those of their own sex. If a man leads a woman to the Lord, he should prayerfully seek from the Lord a mature woman or girl in the assembly who can help to disciple the young disciple. This will help to avoid any emotional complications that could develop. This will also remove any temptations that could rise up. None of us is too strong to be tempted. The temptations in the realm of sex are strong. We make this recommendation out of love and practical wisdom and not as a rule. To the pure all things are pure. Unfortunately, not all are as pure as they ought to be. If a person must disciple someone of the opposite sex, he should seek the counsel of the leader of his assembly and only do so with his full permission. Even then, he must treat her like a sister or a brother “in all purity” (1 Timothy 5:2).