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No women speakers

Submitted: 12/18/2004
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Question: You list a host of things that women are permitted to do in your congregation, which effectively permits them to address the congregation, if my understanding is correct. Please explain how this fits in with 1 Cor 14:34-35 'Let your women keep silence...' bearing in mind (a) the preceding context ie Paul is clearly addressing the men (brethren) and how they should behave, who then no doubt have responsibility to instruct their wives and family at home (1 Cor 14:35)and many other scriptures showing wives submissions to husbands; and (b) 'women' includes prophetesses since the commandment of the Lord does not distinguish them different from other women in the context of the text. Just because Phillips daughters prophesied does not mean they did so in the general assembly, and it is unlikely that they did on the basis of 1 Cor 14:34-35. The same scripture which suggests that women will prophesy also suggests men will dream dreams and have visions, presumably this does not mean in church?! Further that same scripture (Acts 2:16-17) simply acknowledges that the fact that the people were staggering as if drunk, and speaking in tongues and 'speaking in our tongues the wonderful works of God.' Acts 2.11, was the receiving of the promised Holy Spirit. The context suggests they were praising God, not preaching, or evangelizing or prophesying in the sense of addressing the church since it is doubtful all 120 addressed the gathering Jews (who I might add are not the church), and even if this is what they were doing, this was the birth of the Church. Paul had not yet received instruction as to church order. But he had at the time of the Corinthian church receiving this gift. They (Corinth) thought they could do as they felt, thought it was a free for all, since both men and women had the Spirit, but Paul soon corrects them by showing them in 1 Cor 11:3 and 1 Cor 14:40 that God is a God of order and that the 'spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet' so there is no excusing acting on the impulse of the Spirit, to interrupt or all speak in tongues etc we are rather to act on the Word of God. God clearly has commanded that in the church, when the whole church come together, that women are to be silent when it comes to addressing the church and are to be in absolute submission. I don't see where the Word of God says 'Let your women keep silent, unless they want to testify, evangelize, teach other women, address the congregation with a song' It says 'keep silent'!. Indeed, since women cannot 'teach' in church, there must be a more informal setting for them to do their teaching which it appears is limited to children at home and teaching women how to be good wives and homemakers, which as far as I can see, from the silence of women throughout the scripture (not one single epistle is to or from or by a woman) a woman's place is at her husband's side as a helper (just as it was in the beginning) and if she has no husband (God is her husband says Isaiah) and she can still help and support the church but this must be in a subordinate and non-public facing role ie she cannot pastor, preach or teach. How then can you justify your support of that which you say they do in your congregation? I was struggling with this subject for a long time and one morning the following just floated into my spirit 'a woman must not Pastor, Preach or Teach.' Since this fitted in absolutely with the teaching on women's silence and usurping of authority I was convinced it was God answering my prayers, but because every church I entered into permitted women to speak, I asked God again well Lord what do I do, when every where I go women are speaking in church, and one morning again I was given this answer 'honour the office, that is what I do'. I am convinced to this day that this was God since only God could have given me such an answer. It all suddenly made sense to me. Of course I thought, He works through the offices of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers (all of which are positions for males not females). I then could see that what God was saying was, just because someone assumes any of these positions eg a woman or a man not ordained to them, does not prevent God using such an individual (since He will not deprive His sheep who have come to be fed), but God will deal with that individual accordingly. Please accept these as just my thoughts, if you can support your views with scripture, I would love to hear from you, for I have been battling with this subject for a long time.

Answer: Please read our response to the question titled Women preachers (December 20, 2004) and the one titled Women in the ministry (January 1, 2005).

Thank you for your sharing your thoughts on this subject. May the Lord give us all wisdom.