HERE IS a vital subject which greatly NEEDS to be
understood in every home, in every church, in every nation. Untold misery and
suffering can be avoided if Godís truth is understood and obeyed!
The very fact of women preaching reveals a striking condition in our modern
churches of which very few are aware. Thousands of people of both sexes have a
prejudicial conception of this subject. In nearly every instance, they look on
it as an isolated topic having little or no bearing on the gospel itself - or on
the very purpose of our human existence.
But they fail to realize that this subject deals with the very FOUNDATION of
the gospel itself - and that its proper understanding carries an URGENT message
to our present society.
Before this world goes crashing to its doom, itís time of OPEN our minds to
One Clear Answer
Where should a Christian look to find the
truth on this important subject - or on any subject for that matter?
Should you look to men, to groups of men, to the many
differing churches of men? Where is basic truth to be found?
As a Christian, you should know that there is only one source
of spiritual truth. Jesus Christ said, "Thy WORD is truth" (John
17:17). And Godís word reveals - IF we are willing to receive the truth - that
the subject of women preaching is more far-reaching and more fundamental than
you have probably realized. It is VITAL that every Christian man and woman
understand the truth on this matter.
Godís word is clear and definite in revealing the status of
women in the church, in society, and in the home. From Genesis to Revelation,
the same principles are consistently revealed by God on this topic. Here is one
subject upon which there is just no place for disagreement if we are to accept
Godís word as truth.
Yet here is a matter upon which whole church denominations
disagree - a matter which is causing much of the wretchedness and rottenness in
our toppling modern civilization.
Itís time to find the truth! Free your mind from blinding
prejudice. Ask God humbly to open your mind to His truth as CLEARLY revealed in
His word, the Bible.
Why Woman Was Created
After God had created the man, He said, "It is not good that the man should
be alone; I will make him an HELP meet (suitable) for him" (Gen. 2:18).
Finding that none of the animal creation fitted this need, God created woman out
of a part of man. And Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh
of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man"
Notice that the very purpose of womanís creation was to
provide a help for the man. But on the first occasion when man had a severe
trial and needed help, what happened?
Genesis 3:1-16 shows that the woman allowed the serpent,
representing Satan, to beguile her into disobeying her Creator, God. And she
thereupon caused her husband, whom she was supposed to help, to disobey God also
and cut himself off from Godís blessings.
The woman had taken the initiative. She had tried to lead the
man - a thing for which she was not intended nor equipped - and as a result the
whole human family was cut off from God until Christ came to obey God and make
Because she had sinned in doing this thing, God told the
woman, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception, in sorrow
thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he
shall RULE over thee" (Gen. 3:16).
Plain words, these. And these are Godís words - not human
opinion. God had made the man first - in His direct image, as God is always
spoken of in the masculine gender. God had made the man physically stronger, and
with every necessary quality to be the womanís leader. Adam knew that the
woman was to be his helper - and he her head.
But now that the woman had taken the initiative without
consulting her husband, and had sinned and led him to sin in so doing, God made
their status doubly CLEAR: "thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he
shall RULE over thee."
Adam had not fulfilled his God-given responsibility to lead
the woman in the right way, but had let her wrest the initiative from him. And
so God told Adam, "Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife,
and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not
eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake, in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all
the days of thy life" (Gen. 3:17). Yes, Adam was punished
"Because," God said, "thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy
wife" - and so had been led to disobey God.
It is easy for a man to bog down and let his wife "run
things." Adam did and Satan soon took over! Thousands of modern men are
doing the same thing - particularly in America. And crime, almost universal
corruption in every phase of life, broken homes, unhappy homes, and juvenile
delinquency are abounding and growing EVILS which beset our society on every
Itís something to think about seriously!
In the final analysis, man will learn that when the
God-constituted system of authority breaks down, real TROUBLE is in store. This
pattern of authority is conspicuously violated today in the realm of the
relation of men and women in society and in the home.
The examples and teaching
throughout the Old Testament reveal that the man was recognized as the head of
the house, and was always designated and used by God to carry out any group
project. The genealogy always came down from father to son. When Jacob was
inspired to give prophetic blessings (Gen. 49), they were given to his sons, not
his daughters in any case.
In other words, man was regarded as the direct representative
of God over all the animate creation, and woman was recognized and respected as
his helper. She derived her honor and blessings indirectly through her husband,
her God-constituted head.
God called Moses to lead his people out of Egyptian bondage.
And when it came time to institute Godís physical priesthood, God chose Aaron
and his sons (Exodus 29:9).
Note this point. In every case, God chose men- not women- to
be the leaders and spokesmen, or preachers - if you wish to apply it that way.
What a striking contrast to our society where women are
conducting themselves in a way that would have made their great-grandmothers
blush! But letís get the point and not try to excuse ourselves. The contrast
is not between us and what is termed "old-fashioned." It is between
our way and GODíS way as revealed in His word.
Godís word is consistent in teaching that woman is to be in
subjection to the man - never his leader or spokesman. Another point to notice
is that while in both ancient and modern times the Gentile nations often had
queens or women ruling over them, at no time did God ever appoint a woman as
queen or to ANY administrative office either in the nation of Israel or in the
church either in Old or New Testament times. That is Godís way! If our own
human idea or way is different, then it is we - not God - who should REPENT of
this error and change our own carnal, human ways.
Are we going to defy our CREATOR on this point?
In both the Old and New Testament, we
find that God did use some righteous woman in the office of a prophetess. If we
study these examples carefully, we will see that their function has often been
misinterpreted and that their office carried no administrative authority, but
that they were simply used of God to convey a message to one of his servants, or
to other people - but never in the capacity of preaching or exercising authority
Exodus 15:20-21 gives the account of Miriam the prophetess
leading the women out to dance and praise God in song. But she is nowhere spoken
of as having preached or having had authority of any kind over the men. And any
honest Bible student knows that it would have been contrary to existing mode of
conduct, and to Godís command, for her to have done so.Deborah
An unusual situation in Israel which in
many ways parallels our own present day DEGENERACY is described in chapters 4
and 5 of the book of Judges. To properly understand this account, we need to
realize that the entire book of Judges is primarily devoted to a history of
Israelís mistakes because: "In those days there was no king in Israel,
but every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:6;
In Judges 4:1 we find that Ehud, Israelís present
"deliverer" (Judges 3:15) had died, and the people began doing evil in
Godís sight. There seems to have been no man of real purpose and leadership to
guide Israel at this time, and God sold them into the hand of the king of Canaan
for their disobedience.
At this point, we read: "And Deborah, a prophetess, the
wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time" (verse 4).
Since no man had the courage and leadership to master the
situation and take the initiative, Deborah - being a prophetess and knowing Godís
will - reminded Barak, "Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded ..."
And she proceeded to remind him - not command him, because she had no such
authority over the men - of what God had commanded should be done.
Barak, being a weakling and too fearful to exercise his
God-given responsibility of leadership, told her, "If thou wilt go with me,
then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go" (Verse
Knowing full well that Barak ought to be man enough to carry
out this responsibility without having to cling to the skirts of a woman,
Deborah told him: "I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey
that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera
into the hand of a woman" (verse 9).
Deborah herself - a righteous and God-fearing woman - had no
desire at all to usurp manís responsibility for leadership. And her own words
betray how ashamed she must have felt of her men, who were so weak that she had
to "mother" them along to get them to carry out Godís will. She
later sang of this national tragedy: "The inhabitants of the villages
ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I arose a MOTHER in Israel!"
This pitiful spectacle of men being too
weak and too lazy to carry out their God-given responsibility for leadership is
closely paralleled in America today - right now! And it is a growing trend in
many other nations. It seems to be a part of our so-called
"civilization." And it is wreaking havoc in our homes, our churches,
Women preachers constitute only a small part of this general
problem. The big problem is that men and women have departed from the WAY of God
in their lives. They have forsaken the knowledge and practice of exercising the
God-constituted authority He set in the home, in the church, and in society.
The divorce rate and the number of juvenile delinquents and
criminals is constantly growing. And most people donít seem to know why.
Asked to account for the rise in juvenile delinquency, an
expert on this subject, Police Commissioner Gibbons of Philadelphia, answered:
"Throughout the country there is a general disregard for CONSTITUTED
AUTHORITY. I think that goes for the adults and is reflected in the thinking of
the juvenile." Yes, Commissioner Gibbons and many other men and women who
are constantly dealing with this problem have been forced to realize that proper
understanding and respect for authority is rapidly disappearing from our
In its wake, we find increasing violence, murder, rape,
corruption in many forms.
Commenting on Americaís problem of growing juvenile crime,
a famous, visiting British general said that he remembered that when he was a
boy, fatherís word was law and disobedience was quickly rewarded by physical
chastening. But now, in both countries, most fathers just donít seem to care,
and the mother is either unwilling or unable to properly handle the situation.
Yes, men used to feel their God-given duties as head of the
house and exercise them. But now it seems they just donít care.
In fact, the whole population seems to delight in ridiculing
manís position as head of the house. This attitude of contempt for what GOD
has ordained is prominently displayed in comic strips, movies, radio, and now
television - all of which like to portray the husband as a big, helpless dumb
brute who has to be "managed" by his intelligent, "modern"
A recent newspaper report says: "The United States is
moving rapidly toward the Ďwomanís worldí with diaper-changing husbands
and independent wives." Yes, the weak, spiritless American husband is fast
becoming the butt of every joke. This situation may strike some as being very
funny, but it is an ABOMINATION to Almighty God! The lack of a real father and
HEAD in every home is leading to more broken homes, broken young lives, and
wretchedness than you have realized.
Itís time to wake up and get back to the WAY of God.
There are a few other prophetesses
mentioned specifically in the Bible, and in every case they were used as Deborah
was - to impart knowledge to others as to Godís will. In no case did they
We read of Huldah the prophetess in II Chronicles 34:22-28.
Here we find that the King of Judah sent to Huldah to find out what Godís will
was. But, upon learning, he made the decision as to what should be done.
In Luke 2:36-38, we read of Anna, a prophetess, who was a
widow 84 years old. She was a very righteous woman who "served God with
fasting and prayers night and day." And so it was revealed to her that the
child Jesus was the expected messiah, and she was privileged to announce this to
those who were gathered informally about Jesus and His earthly parents.
The four virgin daughters of Philip the evangelist are
mentioned in Acts 21:8-9. The account says they "did prophesy," but we
find an example of how this was often done in the following verses (10-12)
describing Agabus, the prophet. Notice that Agabus did not preach to the group
or have authority over them, but simply warned Paul personally, and those with
him, of what God had revealed would befall him at Jerusalem.
So, although the word "prophesy" means to "forthtell
for God," whether in the sense of a revelation of future happenings or of
inspired preaching, we see that the latter function was never exercised by women
prophetesses, who never held authority over the men or the congregation, but
only spoke privately to convey a message from God.
New Testament Teaching
The New Testament teaching, example, and direct commands on
this subject are very clear.
In I Corinthians 11:3-16, the apostle Paul says (verse 3),
"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the
HEAD of every woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."
Paul says the man "is the image and glory of God: but
the woman is the glory of man" (verse 7). Man stands in the direct image
and as the visible representative of God, and so should not have his head
covered as a sign that he is in subjection to any visible being - he being in
subjection only to the invisible God.
But the woman is to subject herself to the man; she was made
"for the man" (verse 9). Therefore, she ought to have power - or to
make the meaning clear, a sign that she is under authority - on her head because
of the angels. If she acknowledges her subjection to the man by this outward
sign, she will be granted special favor by the ministering and guardian angels,
whose help the woman - as the weaker sex - is particularly in need of.
Notice that this symbol of being in subjection - this
covering or veil spoken of - is the wearing of long hair by the woman. Some
interpreters have falsely assumed that their covering was a veil or scarf, but
this was not the custom of Grecian women, as they assume, and Paul clearly
defines, the womanís covering as her long hair, which he says is a glory to
her (verse 15 of chapter 11).
Paul concludes this passage by saying that if anyone brings
up a contrary idea, the churches of GOD recognize no such ideas of men. However,
many of the churches of today have rejected these commands of God. Many
unthinking modern women, kept in spiritual ignorance, now cut their hair short
like a man - thereby dishonoring their human head, man, and their spiritual
head, Christ, whose command they are rejecting.
Itís time to realize that true Christianity means OBEDIENCE
to Godís commands!
Paulís Inspired Commands
The apostle Paul was inspired to give
directions for exercising spiritual gifts in chapters 12,13 and 14 of First
Corinthians. He concludes these instructions in I Cor. 14:34-40 by commanding:
"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" (verse 34). Here is a direct command from God that women are NOT to
speak in church even in exercising the spiritual does not mean presiding over a
group in these activities (I Cor. 11:5).
Their husbands are to study Godís word and to be their
head, their leader in spiritual as well as physical matters. Thus, if women wish
to ask questions, "let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a SHAME
for women to speak in the church."
Present circumstances are no excuse for disobeying the
commands of God. Nevertheless, how many husbands are qualified to fulfill their
responsibility as spiritual head of the family?
The shameful answer is: far too few. But this is no reason
for women usurping this authority. For in I Timothy 2:12, God inspired Paul to
write: "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the
man, but to be in silence." He continues (verse 13 and 14), "For Adam
was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being
deceived was in the transgression."
The woman is not to have authority over the man, for she was
created to be his helper. And this passage and others (II Timothy 3:6) indicate
that women do tend to be more easily deceived than men. They were not intended
by God to be physical or spiritual leaders over men - and most God-fearing women
realize this and would be thankful if the men would AWAKEN to their God-given
duty to guide the family and instruct their wives in spiritual knowledge. But -
alas! how far men have fallen short of this CHRISTIAN DUTY.
Godís Way Best
Women preachers? Women leaders?
The answer is abundantly plain if we seek Godís way!
This knowledge should certainly cause no "battle of the
sexes," but rather bring both men and women to the sober realization of how
far we have departed from the ways and commands of God.
If men and women everywhere will both acknowledge the great
error they have made, the great SIN they have committed in transgressing the
commands of God in this matter - and will REPENT and turn from this wrong way,
God will forgive and abundantly pardon.
Yes, we need to restore Godís system of authority in our
homes, our churches, our nations. Then growing children will be properly trained
for life by firm but loving parents. And wives - as many of them secretly
realize - would have a new respect and love for their husbands. And with people
understanding Godís authority and why, our church life would become cleansed
of all the mixture of paganism and human tradition with what is left of real
Christianity - the kind found in Godís word.
Society as a whole would be immeasurably benefitted by a
renewed respect for constituted authority - and the realization that authority
comes down from God himself.
God Holds Men Responsible
Women - and women preachers - have
taken unto themselves much authority that is not rightfully theirs. But in most
cases they have done so because men were too lazy or indifferent to carry out
the responsibility as they should. And so it is a situation for which we should
But you will have to realize that God at no time had used a
woman as His minister in preaching or writing His word. Any woman usurping this
authority was so doing in direct violation of the commands of God, and so cut
herself off from God and from the Holy Spirit, "whom God hath given to them
that OBEY Him" (Acts 5:32)
And any church or denomination which continues to REJECT this
truth is not being used of God at all, for He says: "My people are
destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will
also reject thee" (Hosea 4:6)
Jesus Christ said: "Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word of God" (Luke 4:4).
Godís word is consistent. His will is clear.
Where do you stand?
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Roderick C. Meredith