Apparently, as I was preparing my sermon for this Sunday, a video went viral with a statement by John MacArthur during his conference, “Truth Matters.” During this all male meeting the mention of Bible Teacher, Beth Moore, (who is said to have become the most popular Bible teachers in America) was brought into a discussion, and when asked what he thought about her, MacArthur’s response was, “Go Home.”
The stigma associated with Women in Ministry is not new. As a woman Pastor for nearly two decades, I have experienced this Firsthand.
When I became a follower of Jesus over 35 years ago, I felt the call of God on my life, and since I attended a full-gospel church (and Bible School) where women in the pulpit were welcomed, along with sitting under the teachings of many well known women ministers of my time, including Bible teacher, Marilyn Hickey, I was encouraged to follow my heart and what I believed the Lord was calling me to do. It wasn’t until our family heard the call to move to Florida to launch the first church in the history of our town – Ponce Inlet (Ponce Church) of which both my husband and I are Pastors – did I learn that women ministers were frowned upon. This was very surprising to me.
As a woman in full-time ministry I have come face-to-face with many who have scoffed at my leadership as a Pastor, and due to the scrutiny, I decided to write a blog titled: Woman Preach. Which later became a chapter in my new book: LOVE AWAKENS. In both, I address the “women keep silent” issue which has been a sting to women in ministry for years.
Just before my book was published I learned a very important point about Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Church that I had never seen before, and quite frankly, that most have never seen before, and yet it’s right there staring you in the face!
Before I share Paul’s letter to the Church and Corinth, I want to share a quote that I recently read in an article from MacArthur, who has had various derisive remarks on the topic of women ministers, one of which is said to be his most notable of all: “There is no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher. Period. Paragraph. End of Discussion.” Here is a man who has been a pastor for five decades and has no idea what Paul was saying to the Corinthian church, in 1 Corinthians 14. A man of leadership who “should” study the scriptures, but like many others, refuse to look at the ENTIRE context of Paul’s letter.
The Refreshing TRUTH of Paul’s Letter to the Corinthian Church:
As I have stated in my book LOVE AWAKENS, I am overjoyed to to say that I have a sound biblical answer to the verse, “women keep silent.” As you open your Bible and follow along (please do, especially you ladies who believe in your heart that God has called you to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ) in 1 Corinthians chapter 14, beginning in verse 26, pay close attention, because you will see word for word that Paul is addressing BOTH men and women, “brothers and sisters” regarding how to use their “gifts” in the “church.” Allow me to repeat: Paul is teaching the Corinthian Church, how men and women are to properly use their gifts in the church. Let’s continue:
V26 Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you (brothers and sisters) meet together, one of you (my brothers and sisters) will sing, another (brothers and sisters) will teach, another (brothers and sisters) will tell a special revelation God has given, one (brothers and sisters) will speak in tongues, and another (brothers and sisters) will interpret what is said. But everything that is done (brothers and sisters) must strengthen all of you.
V27, No more than two or three (brothers and sisters) should speak in tongues. They (brothers and sisters) must speak one at a time, and someone (brothers and sisters) must interpret what they say. V28, But if no one is present who can interpret, they (brothers and sisters) must be silent in your church meeting and speak in tongues to God privately.
V29, Let two or three people (brothers and sisters) prophesy, and let the others evaluate what is said. V30, but (brothers and sisters) if someone is prophesying and another person receives a revelation from the Lord, the one who is speaking must stop. V31, In this way (brothers and sisters) all who prophesy will have a turn to speak, one after the other, so that everyone will learn and be encouraged.
V32, Remember (brothers and sisters) that people who prophesy are in control of their spirit and can take turns. V33, For (brothers and sisters) God is not a God of disorder but of peace as in all the meetings of God’s holy people.
Now, let’s take a look at the verse used by religions all over the world in efforts to silent women from using their God given gifts:
Notice, Paul is speaking to men and women (brothers and sisters) in the verses above regarding using their gifts during church meetings. Why then would he tell women to keep silent? Let’s continue: V34, Women should be silent during the church meetings. It is not proper for them to speak. They should be submissive, just as the law says. V35, If they have any questions, they should ask their husbands at home, for it is improper for women to speak in church meetings.
KEY POINT: As we read V36, we will see Paul correcting the Corinthian Church for using the law to try and keep women silent. Keep in mind the the “law” never said for women to keep silent.
Remember, in verses 26-33, Paul was addressing the Corinthians regarding church meetings, and he spent a great deal of time teaching the “brothers and sisters” how to properly use their gifts in the church; prophesying, teaching, tongues and interpretation of tongues etc. According to verses 26-33, it’s obvious that Paul was emphasizing that the women no longer had to keep silent as the Corinthian church had told them.
In verse 36, we will see Paul correcting them for telling women to keep silent, and that in V34, Paul was NOT telling women to keep silent, on the contrary, in fact he was quoting what the Corinthian church had been telling the women.
V36, (KJV) “What? Came the word of God out from you? Or came it unto you only?” (meaning, he’s asking them, “Has God revealed this to you alone? Are you the only church that God has said this too? Because none of the other churches are teaching such doctrine.) V36, (NLT) “Do you think God’s word originated with you Corinthians? Are you the only ones to whom it was given?” Paul is saying – Did the word of God on this matter come to you only? We’re the Pillars of the church and God has not revealed this to us.” Listen friends, Paul knew the law, and he knew that the law NEVER said for women to keep silent!
Let’s continue with V37, “If you claim to be a prophet or think you are spiritual, you should recognize that what I am saying is a command from the Lord himself.” Paul is saying that aside from verse 34, that the command is from the Lord himself, and the command is: Make sure that the “brothers and sisters” use their vocal gifts at church meetings in an orderly fashion.
Paul continues in V38, “But if you do not recognize this, you yourself will not be recognized.” This is a very powerful correction that God has given to Paul to bring to the Corinthian church.
Paul continues to speak to the church at Corinth to use their gifts: Verse 39, “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues. V40, But be sure (brothers and sisters) that everything is done properly and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:26-40.
Ladies, I decided to write this blog to encourage you in your gifts, and remind you that you have a God given right to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are many women throughout the word of God that were gifted by God himself to speak for Him. Please do not allow any religion or voice no matter how popular or prominent they are to keep you from fulfilling your calling.
I provide much more scriptural proof in my book: LOVE AWAKENS, by Nina Tidwell.
“The Lord gives the command; The Women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host.” Psalm 68:11 NASB.