True Power

True Power

Monday, January 31, 2011

Know Your Place Woman!

Below is an article I read on the subject of women in the pulpit. I took a little creative license and recounstructed the flow of the article in an effort to break up redundancy in my post on the topic. For the complete unedited article by Gerald Williams go to http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/women-in-the-pulpit-gerald-williams-sermon-on-apologetics-general-50300.asp?page=3 I enjoy presenting a male voice to this discussion whenever possible to put to rest that this is only a concern to feminists or women who disrespect the position of men within the church and family.

A WOMAN NAMED JARENA LEE WAS THE SECOND BLACK WOMAN IN AMERICA TO TRY TO ANSWER THE CALL TO PREACH ON HER LIFE ONLY TO BE TURNED DOWN IN HER ATTEMPT TO BECOME LISCENSED. SHE HAD AN INTERESTING THOUGHT ON THE MATTER. SHE WROTE...
“IF A MAN MAY PREACH BECAUSE THE SAVIOUR DIED FOR HIM; WHY NOT THE WOMAN? SEEING HE DIED FOR HER ALSO. IS HE NOT A WHOLE SAVIOR, INSTEAD OF A HALF ONE? AS THOSE WHO HOLD IT WRONG FOR A WOMAN TO PREACH, WOULD SEEM TO MAKE IT APPEAR.” I THANK GOD THAT THOSE WOMEN PIONEERS DIDN’T GIVE UP BUT CONTINUED TO FIGHT WHEN THEY WERE DENIED ACCESS TO THE PULPIT. SISTERS LIKE JARENA LEE, QUINCEILA WHITLOW, IDA B. ROBINSON, ROSA HORN, ELLA EUGENE WHITFIELD AND MARY J. SMALL.

HERE IS A THOUGHT BY DR. CRAIG KEENER FROM HIS BOOK ENTITLED “PAUL, WIVES AND WOMEN”.”IT IS A DANGEROUS THING TO TURN PEOPLE FROM THEIR CALL, OR TO OPPOSE THEIR CALL IF IT IS GENUINELY FROM GOD. ON WHAT BASIS DO ANY OF US MEN WHO ARE CALLED PROVE OUR CALL? WE TRUST INNER CONVICTION AND THE FRUIT OF HOLY LIVES AND TEACHING AND FAITHFULNESS TO THAT CALL, AND IF THESE EVIDENCES ARE INSUFFICIENT DEMONSTRATION OF DIVINE CALLING IN THE CASE OF OUR SISTERS, HOW SHALL WE ATTEST OUR OWN?”

GERALD WILLIAM'S MOST RECENT ENCOUNTER WITH RESISTANCE TO WOMEN PREACHERS HAPPENED AT A WOMEN’S DAY SERVICE HE ATTENDED. THE GUEST SPEAKER WAS A MINISTER. SHE WAS NOT ALLOWED THE COURTESY OF THE PULPIT AND SO SHE SPOKE FROM A ROSTRUM ON THE FLOOR. AFTER HER WONDERFUL MESSAGE, THE PASTOR GOT UP, COMMENTED COURTEOUSLY ON HER MESSAGE - (AS ONE DOES CHILDREN AFTER AN EASTER OR CHRISTMAS PROGRAM) - THEN HE PROCEEDED TO PREACH ANOTHER ENTIRE SERMON. WILLIAM'S RECALLS THAT HE FELT A BIT INSULTED FOR THE LADY MINISTER. IT IS HERE I WILL ALLOW HIM TO SPEAK IN HIS OWN WORDS.

AND SO I BEGAN TO SERIOUSLY WONDER WHY THESE FEMALE MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL WERE TREATED LIKE SECOND CLASS CITIZENS OF THE KINGDOM. AS I BEGAN TO RESEARCH THE MATTER AND QUESTION FOLKS. I QUICKLY FOUND SOME ANSWERS. A LARGE PART OF THE PREJUDICE WAS BASED ON A COUPLE OF SCRIPTURES.

I CORINTH 14:34 “LET YOUR WOMEN KEEP SILENCE IN THE CHURCHES; FOR IT IS NOT PERMITTED UNTO THEM TO SPEAK: 35 AND IF THEY WILL LEARN ANYTHING, LET THEM ASK THEIR HUSBANDS AT HOME;
I TIMOTHY 2:11-12 LET THE WOMAN LEARN IN SILENCE WITH ALL SUBJECTION 12 BUT I SUFFER NOT A WOMAN TO TEACH NOR TO USURP AUTHORITY OVER THE MAN, BUT TO BE IN SILENCE.

IT’S AMAZING TO KNOW PAUL TAUGHT MANY THINGS THE CHURCH HAS CHOSEN TO IGNORE BUT, THEY DECIDE TO LATCH ON TO THESE SCRIPTURES THAT SEEM TO DENY WOMEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO PREACH AND HOLD ON TO THEM FOR DEAR LIFE. LET ME POINT OUT TWO CRITICAL THINGS THAT PEOPLE DIDN’T TAKE THE TIME TO DO BEFORE THEY WENT ABOUT RESTRAINING WOMEN FROM GOD’S PULPITS.

FIRST, THEY DIDN’T DO ANY BACKGROUND STUDY ON THE CULTURE THAT EXISTED OR THE HISTORY OF THE TIMES WHEN THESE SCRIPTURES WERE WRITTEN. SECONDLY, THEY FAILED TO READ FURTHER OR TAKE OTHER FACTS, PRESENTED IN SCRIPTURE, INTO CONSIDERATION.
TAKING TIME TO RESEARCH THESE SCRIPTURES AND THE CULTURE AND HISTORY OF THE TIMES WOULD HAVE REVEALED THAT DURING THE TIME THESE SCRIPTURES WERE WRITTEN - THE DEEP PARTICULARS OF THE NEW CHRISTIAN RELIGION WERE NOT WIDELY KNOWN BY EVERYONE, ESPECIALLY WOMEN. REMEMBER, CHRISTIANITY WAS NEW. PAUL AND HIS ASSOCIATES WERE RUNNING ALL ACROSS THE KNOWN WORLD TRYING TO ESTABLISH CHURCHES, TRAINING CHURCH LEADERS, MONITORING THESE NEW CHURCHES AND TRYING TO HELP THEM WORK OUT PROBLEMS AND GROWING PAINS. THERE WAS A LOT GOING ON.

LETS EXAMINE THE FIRST ISSUE, THE ISSUE OF WOMEN BEING COMMANDED TO BE SILENT IN CHURCH AND ASK QUESTIONS OF THEIR HUSBANDS AT HOME. READ I CORINTHIANS 14: 27-29 AND YOU’LL SEE THE BIG ISSUE PAUL IS ADDRESSING IS “ORDER” IN THE SERVICE. AS YOU READ YOU‘LL SEE THAT IN ADDITION TO ASKING THE WOMEN TO NOT DISRUPT THE SERVICE WITH THEIR QUESTIONS, HE ALSO ADDRESSES THE "TONGUE TALKERS" AND THOSE WHO WOULD "PROPHESY" IN THE SERVICE -- INSTRUCTING THEM ALL HOW TO BEHAVE THERE MIGHT BE ORDER IN THE SERVICE.

NOW, AS FOR THE WOMEN AND THEIR QUESTIONS... THEY WERE ASKING QUESTIONS TO PROBE WHAT THE SPEAKER WAS SAYING IN THE SERVICE, IN ORDER TO LEARN. MOST OF THE WOMEN WERE NOT NEARLY AS EDUCATED IN THAT SOCIETY AS THE MEN WERE. THEY WERE EXCITED ABOUT THE NEW RELIGION, THEIR NEW FOUND FREEDOMS IN IT AND WERE EAGER TO LEARN MORE SO THE QUESTIONS FLOWED FREELY. NO DOUBT MANY REDUNDANT AND IRRELEVANT QUESTIONS WERE ASKED. WHY WAS THIS QUESTIONING LIKELY TO HAVE CAUSED A PROBLEM IN THE SERVICE?
QUESTIONING WAS A LEGITIMATE PART OF LEARNING IN THIS SOCIETY BUT, IT HAD TO BE DONE IN AN ORDERLY FASHION. THIS INTERRUPTION OF THE SPEAKER WAS LOOKED UPON AS A DISRUPTION AND RUDE... AND IT WAS. SO, SILENCE WAS REQUESTED BY PAUL. IT WAS NOT A FORBIDDING THE WOMEN TO EVER SPEAK IN A SERVICE, BUT A CALL TO ORDER IN THE SERVICE. PAUL’S POINT WAS THAT THOSE WHO DIDN’T KNOW THE BIBLE VERY WELL SHOULD NOT PACE OR RESTRICT THE SPEED WITH WHICH THE REMAINDER OF THE CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION WAS LEARNING . THEY SHOULD INSTEAD SEEK PRIVATE HELP (IN THIS CASE FROM THEIR HUSBANDS) TO HELP CATCH UP ON THE BASICS OF CHRISTIAN INSTRUCTION OR DOCTRINE, THAT THE REST OT THE CONGREGATION ALREADY KNEW.

WOMEN FORBIDDEN TO TEACH

AGAIN, AS YOU READ THIS SCRIPTURE, IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE WOMEN OF THIS SOCIETY WERE RELATIVELY UNEDUCATED, ESPECIALLY WITH RESPECT TO THE NEW RELIGION (CHRISTIANITY). THE BOTTOM LINE HERE WAS THAT, IN SPITE OF THE ZEAL THAT THESE NEW CHRISTIAN WOMEN HAD, PAUL DIDN’T WANT THEM TEACHING OTHERS YET, BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT YET EDUCATED OR LEARNED OR MATURED IN THE WORD THEMSELVES. HE WAS NOT SAYING TO ALL WOMEN - THAT THEY COULD NEVER TEACH OR SPEAK OR PREACH. HE WAS SPEAKING TO THE EPHESIAN WOMEN WHO WERE UNLEARNED AT THIS TIME. YOU READ IT AND THINK ABOUT THIS... PAUL DIDN’T BELIEVE WOMEN SHOULDN’T TEACH MEN. PAULS CO-WORKER, IN THE LORD, PRISCILLA... WHOM PAUL COMMENDED, TAUGHT APOLLOS, THE GREAT PREACHER (SEE ACTS 18:24) IN ADDITION, PAUL HIMSELF OFTEN MENTIONS OTHER WOMEN WHO HELD POSITIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY IN THE CHURCH. PHOEBE WAS A DEACONESS / MINISTER / PREACHER OF THE CHURCH AT CENHARAEA (SEN - HA- RAY - AH_). SHE IS ALSO THE ONE DELIVERING PAULS LETTER TO THE ROMANS. THE FACT THAT SHE IS DELIVERING IT MUST MEAN THAT SHE IS QUALIFIED TO EXPLAIN OR INTERPRET ANYTHING CONTAINED IN IT THAT IS NOT CLEAR TO THE ROMAN CHURCH LEADERS OR MEMBERS. OTHER WOMEN WHO HELD RESPONSIBLE ROLES IN THE CHURCH MENTIONED BY PAUL ARE - MARY AND TRYPHAENA (TRY-FA-ENA) AND TRYPHOSA. THEY WERE MENTIONED AS THE LORDS’ WORKERS IN (ROM 16:6,12). AND, EUODIAS AND SYNTYCHE (SIN-TI-CHEE) MENTIONED IN (PHIL 4:2).

THEN, NO DISCUSSION OF WOMEN INVOLVED IN MINISTRY IS COMPLETE WITHOUT ACKNOWLEDGING MARY MAGDALENE, SALOME, AND MARY THE MOTHER OF JAMES. THESE PRECIOUS SISTERS ARE THE WOMEN THAT GOD CHOSE TO BRING THE GOOD NEWS, TO THE DISCIPLES, THAT JESUS HAD RISEN FROM THE DEAD!!!

SO NOW I HOPE YOU CAN SEE THAT THIS ATROCITY AGAINST WOMEN PREACHERS HAS NO SCRIPTURAL FOUNDATION. THE ONLY FOUNDATION SEEMS TO BE THE PREJUDICE AND INSECURITIES OF SOME MALE MEMBERS OF THE CLERGY. AS I ALWAYS DO, LET ME ENCOURAGE YOU TO READ AND KNOW FOR YOURSELF. THERE ARE MATERIALS AVAILABLE TO MEET ANY AND ALL OF YOUR BIBLE STUDY NEEDS. WE HAVE NO EXCUSE FOR PREJUDICE AND ERROR ON THE PART OF OTHERS, LEADING US OFF INTO ERROR LIKE THIS THING THAT HAS BEEN GOING ON AGAINST WOMEN PREACHERS FOR SO VERY LONG. READ TO SHOW YOURSELF APPROVED.

LET ME SUGGEST FOUR ABSOLUTELY AWESOME BOOKS THAT DEAL WITH THIS SUBJECT OF WOMEN IN THE PULPIT, IN GREAT DETAIL. THEY ARE...

* DAUGHTERS OF THUNDER BY BETTY COLLIER THOMAS
(Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1998)
* STONY THE WAY WE TROD EDITED BY CAIN HOPE FELDER
(Fortress Press, 1991)
* PAUL , WIVES AND WOMEN BY DR. CRAIG S. KEENER
(Hendrickson Publishers, 1992)
* WHEN WILL EVE BE FORGIVEN? BY DOROTHY GUYTON
(Infinity Publishing, 2010)

****My note******
No matter who the defender is of women being able to preach, they will encounter cultural considerations. Most of the restrictions of culture or customs of antiquity have been over ruled or nullified in regard to our male Christian counterparts, but historical customs for women remain. To ensure accurate doctrine the same guidelines for interpretation must apply across the board.

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