Bill Mounce has just posted an interesting item, in his regular Monday series at Koinonia, on the requirements for church leaders. listed in 1 Timothy and Titus. He gives primacy to “an overseer must be (δει) above reproach” in 1 Timothy 3:2. But he points out that if every aspect of the list of requirements which follows, and of the similar list in Titus 1:6-9, is taken as absolute, the requirements are in tension with one another and with other New Testament teaching. So he writes:
My conclusion is that the lists show us the type of person who can be in leadership. Some of the requirements would by definition apply to all people: above reproach, hospitable, skilled teacher, etc. But others would depend on the person’s life situation: if married, he would have (δει) to be a “one-woman” man; if he has a family, he would have (δει) to manage his family well.
And to extend the same argument, if male and married, he would have to be a “one-woman” man. That is to say, it would be wrong to read this passage as an argument that overseers or elders must be male. This is the same conclusion as I came to, for similar but not identical reasons, in my series from several years ago The Scholarly and Fundamentalist Approaches to the Bible. It is good to see my conclusions supported by the complementarian (I think) scholar Bill Mounce.
So, if this argument is conceded, on what other biblical grounds do some Christians not allow women to be elders/presbyters/priests or overseers/bishops?