One of the most asked questions in church is, “Why do you let women speak in church?” I know this to be true, I have a church. Still, if it is asked so often, then the answer should be given, and believers should all be armed with the answer. I want to arm you with the sword and shield you need to answer what is so often posed.
It’s interesting that the question is being asked so often. When it’s asked, it’s because someone is trying diligently to be obedient to God’s idea of church, and not have our morality weakened by changing cultural and social norms. But the question poses a deeper question about God’s positioning and value for the women who He created.
In many cultures and throughout history, the beloved women that God so wonderfully created have been devalued. They have been pushed down, held back and oppressed. American women have only been allowed to vote since 1920. And women in other parts of the world are still waiting for that privilege, as well as the right to drive a car, become a lawyer, or even sit at the same table with their husbands in public. Over the years, women around the world have been forbidden to read or learn, for fear they might get ideas and start thinking for themselves.
Is the oppression of women God’s intention? Is it a theme in the Bible? Some non-believers think the Bible and God are oppressive to women. Is that true? Are liberated women in violation of God’s plan? Are men better than women? Are they smarter? From my own personal experience, I would have to say that’s a resounding, “NO!” I’ve been married long enough to know that my wife is a formidable thinker. She can remember things far better than me and can find a needle in a haystack (by “needle” I mean my keys or my wallet). I can’t argue with her for very long, because her memory arsenal reduces me to a four-year-old child. I’m like, “Well, yeah, you…you…um, okay wait, give me a second…” And she’s still going, saying things like, “You always get home late from work! Even years ago! Remember that time when my parents were over for dinner and you came home late from working at the jiffy Lube?” My inside voice screams, “Wait! I don’t even remember working at Jiffy Lube; let alone being late on a particular day!”
When women began to enter the American work force during WWII, companies were impressed. Here was an untapped labor source that was often sharper and more organized than their off-at-war predecessors. I’m not saying women are better than men, or vice versa; I’m simply pointing out the reality that we each have our own strengths and weaknesses that create a balance of equality. This shouldn’t surprise us. The Bible is not some male-dominating, sexist book; it notes from the beginning that we, both male and female, are created in God’s likeness and image.
Genesis 1:27 (NIV) 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
So, on to the topic of this book, the question at hand, and a question I hear frequently: “Why are women permitted to teach in the church? The Bible forbids it.” It is a common question, especially among new believers, because there are places in the Bible where Paul tells us that women should be silent in the church. In this book I will show you God’s view of woman, His creation, and her ability to lead and certainly to speak in the church. We will discuss the idea that Paul’s teaching on the subject is specifically relevant to the era in which he lived and a particular situation that he was addressing, so that we can rightly divide God’s Word and be in His will. We will also take some time to view impressive women in leadership, their roles in the church and the idea of us all being one in Christ…
There are many instances of women being placed, by God, in positions of leadership over men. I really only need one though, Ready?
Judges 4:4-6 (NIV)
4 Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. 5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramahand Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. 6 She sent for Barak son of Abinoamfrom Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor…
A prophetess would have been in the tabernacle ministering, as well, as Moses did. Moses was the prophet and judge while Aaron was the High Priest. Here she is – Deborah. She was the “Moses” of her time, she was in charge, and God put her there. It’s a good thing she was in charge, too, because under her reign, Israel was freed from oppression.
She was over the General of the Army, Barak, the son of Abinoam. He was taking orders from her, as was God’s design.
Man may fear having a woman in leadership, but God does not. During Paul’s time, he felt it best to address these issues, but they were not God’s views.
Not only do we see God’s intentions in His actions, but also in the way He has spiritually empowered women, just as He has men. Women are armed with the same born-again spirit as men. They received the same Holy Spirit on the inside of them, when they receive Jesus. God makes this all clear to us, in many ways, so that we won’t make the mistake of suppressing the ministry God has given them. Praise God that, in today’s Church, the leadership has studied enough to see these truths and have made them evident. In Acts, God points out how it is also the women who are endowed with power:
Acts 2:17-21 (NIV)
17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
God clearly has daughters prophesying. He makes mention of “sons and daughters” and “men and women.” It makes good sense that Satan has attempted to twist God’s Word a bit in an attempt to get 50 percent of the Church to be silent. This is not God’s plan. He gives women the same access to the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead…
It was Paul who noted that, in Christ, everyone is equal:
Galatians 3:27-28 (NIV)
27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
In Christ, there is no difference between male or female…
Excerpt from Pastor Jason Anderson’s book
Women Teaching in the Church: Why do you let women speak in church?