Thursday, October 15, 2009

Should Women Be Allowed to Preach?

Even in this day and time this is a topic that has fueled many debates within the church, it has even divided some churches. With all of the anointed women preachers God has appointed, there is still a question…should women be allowed to preach, minister, prophesy or hold leadership positions. Let’s go to the scriptures for the answers.

In God there is no male and female, nor does he have any respect of person. God will use any willing vessel he sees fit to carry out His mission.

In any of these discussions or debates on this subject, the first scripture that is referenced is 1 Corinthians 14:34 “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience , as also saith the law.” Some ministries today have used this scripture to keep women completely out of the pulpit and leadership positions, even if God has anointed and appointed them. This scripture has been misinterpreted and taken completely out of context.

What we must first understand that 1 Corinthians is a book of instruction. Paul was writing to the church to get things in order. Chapters 1 through 4 Paul writes about his ministry. Paul goes on to write about things he heard were happening at church in chapters 5 and 6. Now in chapters 7 through 14, Paul was setting order to the church by responding to questions and statements that the Corinthians wrote to him.

What does God say about male and female? 1 Corinthians 12:7 states “"manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man”. Every man includes male and female according to Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” We are all the body of Christ because there is no "male or female" when it comes to being an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, moving in the gifts of the spirit, miracles, healings, speaking in tongues or anything in Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:27-30 states, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular; And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues; Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?; Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?” Now that we have established that when it comes to the things of God there is no male and female, let us move on the who God is using in church.

1 Corinthians 14:27-33, “If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret; But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.; Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.; If anything be revealed to another that sitteth by , let the first hold his peace.; For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.; And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.; For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” Now Paul is setting things in order therefore these verses are instructional. When any man (of course meaning male or female) is lead of the Spirit to speak in tongue or prophesy, there is a correct way to do this to keep order in the church. These gifts are not to be used to edify oneself, but the church. This will keep peace in the church and allow the Spirit to flow.

Now we will examine the infamous scripture used to hinder the progress of the church for years. Let me start by reminding you that in these chapters Paul is responding to questions posed to him by the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 7:1). Here he is not only responding but also rebuking them for their foolish laws set in place by man and not God. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.; And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” Look at these verses carefully, Paul is not making these statements but reiterating what the church has written to him. The end of verse 34 states “as also saith the law”, not God. This is key because in the very next verse Paul questions where these statements came from. Did they come from God or are they man made laws created by the church. 1 Corinthians 14:36 “What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? “. How could this be missed for so long? Then Paul goes on to say those who are spiritual should focus on the commandments of God, not the laws of man for this leads to ignorance, which is a nice word for stupidity. 1 Corinthians 14:37-38 “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.; But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant .”

Anyone with even the smallest knowledge of the bible cannot help but see all of the women used in ministry throughout the bible. I can’t possibly name them all but Deborah, the judge, is the first to jump out at me. Let’s not forget Mary, Priscilla, Tryphaena and Tryphosa…this is just to name a few. Both Paul and Jesus himself had many female followers that labored in ministry right alongside of them.

Here is the icing on the cake…the only referenced woman apostle in the bible, Junia (Romans 16:7). Who was the only named female disciple in the bible…Tabitha (aka Dorcas in Greek). So if women were anointed and appointed to minister throughout the bible, why not now? God’s word has certainly not changed, so man’s opinion is the only change I can see. Why do we want to keep such powerful vessels of God at bay? Is it really about what God wants, or is there a hidden agenda?