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Women In The Church

I recently read this in a ministry newsletter:

ďA woman pastor or elder may be a tremendously inspiring speaker, but she is violating the Law of God when she rules (spiritually instructs) men.Ē

I was aghast! I exploded, ďRubbish!Ē

Yet I realise that this medieval dogma is rife in the Church. It is so commonly believed that it is rare to see women taking an active part in the speaking aspects of worship services. One result is that most churches and fellowships are held back spiritually.

In an age which majors against discrimination of every sort (I am talking about western society in general), this sexual discrimination seriously harms the credibility of believers in the eyes of outsiders.

No Sexual Discrimination With God

About six or seven years ago, I wrote a paper entitled The Woman Question, which outlined what God says about womenís rightful place in meetings, and whether she is permitted to preach or speak on those occasions. Paulís statements about women not being allowed to speak have been taken completely out of context and used to apply to women in every situation. That is entirely wrong.

Itís like taking Jesusí statement in Matthew 19:21, where He advises a man to sell all his possessions and give the money away, and saying that every man who wants to enter the Kingdom of God should do that.

No. That would be ridiculous. What Jesus said to that young man was pertinent to him because of his individual circumstances and spiritual condition. So it was with Paulís statements about women. They were relevant to that time, and specifically because of the individual circumstances and spiritual condition of those particular women.

I will not go into the entire explanation here. You should read The Woman Question to fully comprehend the issue. But I will say two things:

1) If God discriminates against women speaking or preaching in church meetings, why did He make an issue of sexual equality at the very time when He made the Holy Spirit widely available? Remember, He said:

Your sons AND your daughters shall prophesy (Acts 2:17)... on My menservants AND on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit (2:18).

2) If, as the quotation at the outset claims, it is against the Law of God for a woman to lead men or to spiritually instruct men, why did God raise up a woman to lead Israel in the time of the Judges? Why did He speak through her to men? And why was she extolled as a woman of great virtue and lifted up as an eminent example?

If you donít know to whom I am referring, she was Deborah (Judges 4). Not only was she instructing the people as a leader, she was judging also (Judges 4:4-5). In judging them she was giving them spiritual direction. She fulfilled all aspects of leadership that are conventionally considered a male domain. And there is not one word of condemnation from God against her! In fact, itís the very opposite! If you read Judges 4, you will see that God was behind her efforts to deliver Israel from oppression, and He empowered her for that very commission.

God does not commission people who are in flagrant violation of His Law. He commissions people who are willing to teach about Him to the people. (Now I realise that many of those whom He has sent will end up shut outside the door Ė Matt 7:21-23 Ė but that is because, although they started out on the journey of obedience, they didnít go through with it to completion. At some point along the road, they decided to step back from complete submission to God, and did their own thing instead.)

Do You Give Homage To Demons?

This dogma that women cannot speak or teach in active fellowships or worship services is satanic! It is the antithesis of Godís ideal. He wants complete equality of the sexes, where women complement men, and men complement women, and both complement the Holy Spirit.

At the moment, too many are complementing demons! It is a doctrine of demons that denies women an equal say in spiritual activities and which denies those women who have an anointing of God upon them to teach.

It is spiritual repression. God commands us to come out of false systems of worship (Rev 18:4) and to fight such repression.

Consider these facts:

1) God did not depict His people, or His Church as a man in scripture. He chose the symbol of a woman. See Rev 12:1; Gen 3:15; Gal 4:21-31; Matt 25:1-13.

2) In Isaiahís pivotal prophecy about the Church at the end time (the typology also includes the Jewish people) she is depicted as the daughter of Zion. She is commanded:

Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion! (Is 52:2).

Wrong spiritual concepts are bondage!

I have now expanded The Woman Question into a booklet because the subject is so vital.

Malcolm B Heap, July 2001

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