A couple of clarifying remarks, if I may!
1. I'm certainly not saying that no women should ever lead anything, that would be ridiculous - thanks for all the examples! My focus is on women in eldership (i.e. that role held by the twelve in the Jerusalem church). Female deacons, prophets, evangelists and so on are to be cheered on as gifts to the kingdom!
2. Limiting eldership to men only (or holding a view of male headship in the home) doesn't have to be bigoted, and doesn't imply that women are somehow second-class or are not gifted; within the Trinity we see that the Son submits to the Father in everything and only does what he sees his Father doing, yet he is equally infinitely holy and worthy of our praise.
And a couple of responses:
I can't see Priscilla and Aquila called 'church leaders' in my Bible, I only see them referred to as 'fellow workers'. The word order is certainly interesting and would suggest that Priscilla was a gifted leader (good news for the early church, and thank God for many gifted ladies in the church today!) but certainly doesn't suggest that she (or he!) was an elder. For a genuinely fair and balanced view on this check out this article
by a guy who knows Ancient Greek better than I do.
The Bible talks about male headship (carried out with sacrificial love) within two (AND ONLY TWO) contexts: (1) marriage - a wife should submit to her own
(and only her own) husband, and (2) eldership. The instructions in the Bible are incredibly clear, with 1 Timothy 2:12 indeed being the 'sit down and shut up' most extreme instruction there - I think we should take the verse and ask 'how can we faithfully, fairly and lovingly submit to the Word of God' here rather than write it off as bigoted. Thankfully, a very clever guy has already asked (and answered) that question over here
Finally, let me drop two more comments in:
1. The fastest-growing churches and church movements globally are those that hold to a male-only eldership view, and the fastest-shrinking churches and church movements are the ones that are becoming more liberal. That doesn't prove anything, but it's interesting to note.
2. Just as both men and women can agree with female elders (as has been demonstrated here), both men and women can agree with the male-only eldership view. Seriously, if I went home today and said to my wife that I didn't want to lead in the house any more she'd tell me to grow up and read my Bible again (she's a loving, joyful, submissive wife but is not
a pushover, believe me)!