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More Tough Questions (17-25) About Women And the Church
Welcome to another one of our Egalitarian Hubs! Once again we will be reviewing Mr. J. Lee Grady's inspired book "25 Tough Questions About Women and the Church," (Questions 17-25). We hope many of you ladies who read this Hub will be inspired to seek a better understanding of why you should be part of Jesus Christ's true ministry. Though some of you may be shy about becoming part of the ministry of Jesus Christ do not hesitate to find your calling, 1 Peter 2:1-10. The Holy Spirit has many gifts to give us and there should be some suitable to go along with your womanly talents and gifts that you may already have, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. Also, that we men may learn to be helpers to our wives and female friends, to treat them and other women with dignity the way Jesus Christ does today, Ephesians 5:25.
So let's continue to explore J. Lee Grady's well written book and see what else patriarchal men will try to use to discourage you ladies from serving God Almighty's Son, Jesus Christ. We will be starting with Question 17 from J. Lee Grady's informative book put together just for you ladies that want a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. If anyone can help you come to a better understanding, Mr.J. Lee Grady can.
Question #17, SHH! Be Quiet, Girls!
My pastor told me that women should be silent in church. He was quoting the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. How should we view that verse of Scripture?
Their are many conservative evangelical Christians that use these verses against women preaching and teaching because they beiieve that the Bible is inerrant.. They take every Scripture in a literal way without much investigation as to why the apostle Paul made such a statement. So, this is very strange because in most fundamentalist Churches in the United States if this were so, many women would not be allowed to sing in choirs, read from the Bible and pray publicly. Many of these same women are would be excluded from roles as a pastor or teacher on the basis of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, as if the voice of women is a shame if spoken in church or obscene by some biblical literalist. So women should be silent in the church?
So, did the aposle Paul really deny women the opportunity to preach and teach and what law would he have been referering too? Were these "noisy" women? It sounds plausible but there are several unsolved problems that remain that must be dealt with here by further investigation of these unresolved verses before they should be accepted:
1. We still haven't answered what "Law" (v.34) restricts female speech. The Bible does not prohibit women from speaking, and we have several OldTestament examples of female prophets.
2. Why would Paul say, "If the women desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home"? The tone is condescending as if he does not believe that most women want to learn spiritual things. Yet we know from Paul's ministry he ministered to female converts such as Lydia and discipled them.
3. Why would Paul, who ordained Phoebe as a deacon and Junia as an apostle, say that it is "improper" for a woman to speak in church? The King James Version translates it this way: "It is a shame for women to speak in church." How can this be?
The mystery of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 can be solved by using what Mr. J.Lee Grady calls the "inserted comment theory." It proposes that the statement in in verses 34 and 35 were not written by the apostle Paul, but were taken from a letter that had been written to him by leaders of the congregation in Corinth. Paul quoted them in his letter, and then replied to them in verse 36.
How do we know this? The Greek language does not have quotation marks, but the symbol "n" (with a grave accent) is used after quoted material to denote that it was taken from another source. The symbol appears at the end of verse 35 in the Greek.
In other places in 1 Corinthians, Paul quoted from a letter that had been sent by the leaders in Corinth. in reference to 1 Corinthians 7:1, Which says: Now concerning the things about which you write, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. Paul was witing this letter in response from leaders of the Corinthian church, and he addresses each of their concerns one by one from biblical equality, to a women's head covering, to a dispute about sacrifice to idols.
In 1 Corinthians 7:1, Paul shows concern that it was all right to marry and that sex is good. There were certain persons in that Corinthian church, who were false prophets who were trying to ban marriage. Paul was quoting one of their slogans that represented a serious heresy that forbid marriage and sex. These sound like combination of either Gnostics, or Jews from the Jewish Kalabah who where trying to teach from the Babylonian Talmud into the early New Testament Church.
Paul was probably shaking his head in unbelief and saying "Huh?" He challenged these men in verses 36-38 of 1 Corinthian 14, as to whom God was using, them or him. He is chiding them for their arrogance and reminding them that the first people to announce the resurrection of Jesus Christ were women. Paul dismissed their arguments quickly and said, "If any man be ignorant let him be ignorant." This was more than a mild rebuke. He confronted their sexist views of women with a stinging sarcasm by inferring that these men were acting stupidly, not the women.
Jesus Christ Himself often told the Pharisees that their religious formulas where offensive to God. Jesus was in a heated exchange with them about their rabbinical codes when he corrected them, for example in Matthew 15:4-6,7-9, He quoted one of their rabbinical laws that made it impossible to take care of aging parents.
So, what Paul was doing in 1 Corinthians 14:34-38, was quoting more of this same type of nonsense from the Oral Babylonian Talmud Laws, which denigrated women and put women back in spiritual bondage again. Even today modern Pharisees in the so called "christian churches" continue to make up their own religious rules against women to the hurt of the whole church. All in the name of "institutional patriarchy". Oppression of women has no place in the church of God. (Where the Holy Spirit is there is liberty, My comment).
Question #18 - Its All about Eve
My pastor does not allow women to teach or preach in a worship service. He says that because Eve was deceived in the Garden of Eden, woman naturally lead people into deception. Does the Bible really say this?
One very bad example of how rude men pastors can be was J. Lee Grady's reference to how Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of Billy Graham was treated when she gave a sermon to some Southern Baptist evangelical ministers. They turned their front row chairs around so they would not have to face her when she spoke. How, silly this makes them look. Just like all those ancient Pharisees in Jesus' and Paul's days.full of contempt for what women that God through the Holy Spirit and Jesus made holy.
Their faulty logic goes like this, Eve was deceived by the devil; therefore, all women are capable of being deceived and in turn of deceiving others. So, in order to protect the church from deception by women we must keep our daughters out of the pulpit, so the notion goes. It is fortunate for men that this same logic has not been applied to males. After all, Adam rebellled against God by partaking of the forbidden fruit. Men do not seem so concerned that every man who stands in the pulpit will automatically lead the church into rebellion simply because he is a "son of Adam."(With so many churches hindering Christ's church with so many false teachings about women and many other doctrines it makes you wonder if they still follow in Adam's shoes, and are not God's church at all? Our input).
The idea that women are the blame for all of society's ills is not a biblical notion, but it became part of Christian tradition (From Emperor Constantine's Edict in 321 A.D. to present day tradition of paganized churches.) because of the writings of the early church fathers (Pharisees and the Oral Babylonian Talmud and Gnostic and Kalabah writings) in the first, second, third and fourth centuries. Even the theologian Tertullian ( 160-225 A.D.) called women the "devil's gateway," and stated that women must forever bear Eve's guilt.. Origen another theologian said he had no use for women teaching. He wrote, "It is not proper for a woman to speak in church, however admirable or holy what she says may be, merely because it comes from female lips."
There have been many of the so called church leaders from tthe past that have put down a woman's ability to lead and speak in church. However, Scripture contradicts all of these foolish men who were puffed up by their own intellectual egos. Jesus Christ in person extended His kindness, compassion and redemptive justice to many women in the past and still does today. He has called them to His ministry and even layed down His life for them, Genesis 3:15, Matthew 28:18-20, so they can go and preach the gospel for Him. Just the same, men like Martin Luther and John Calvin, the Reformers, helped to eventually make this negative attitude towards woman, which they adopted from the prevalent philosophy from the medieval church fathers. This is what haunts the churches today, male pride which loves to disguise itself in religious garb.
The is all very rediculous that most churches today blacklist women to keep them out of church leadership, (This includes both 7th Day and 1st Day Churches and many Messianic churches.) Especially since the Bible gives so many examples of women, like Deborah, Huldah, Phoebe and Junia being used to further the word of God in both the Old Testament and New Testament. These Pharissical men must read over all the Scriptures pertaining to these inspired ladies by the Holy Spirit. Women like Huldah, Esther, and Deborah pointed kings and generals in the right direction for the good of God's people. So how can men say all women are like Eve? Even, Eve had a more repentant attitude than Adam, Genesis 3:14, and did not try to blame Adam for not coming to her aid..
There is one other area of Scripture that men try to use to keep women out of ministry. Most will try to use 1 Timothy 2:12-15. This is a curious passage and one that puzzeled biblical scholars for centuries. It is confusing for several reasons:
1. It seems to contradict how women have been used to speak for God in the Old Testament (woman such as Deborah and Huldah, for example).
2. It does not fit Paul's owm practice, since he had woman teachers on his ministry team such as Priscilla, and he also encouraged women to be teachers (Titus 2:3-4).
3. Paul encourages women to prophesy in the local church meeting in 1 Corinthians 11:5, and invites equal participation in the exercising of spiritual gifts in their Christian assembly, (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
So, traditionalist who believe that Paul never allowed women to teach men in any setting or to hold positions of authority in the church must play games with these other portions of Scripture. That is why you rarely will hear traditionalist speak about all those ladies that Paul did use, like Priscilla, Phoebe, Junia, See Romans 16, for a longer list of women that were Paul's co-workers.
So what do we do with Paul's words to these Pharissical men of yesteryear and today?
1. The women in Ephesus needed more instruction. We should take note that this passage in 1Timothy 2:11, was and admonition from Paul that women needed to be better educated at home by their husbands. We must remember that women in that culture had been denied educational opportunities. Except for Roman women in the upper class, women in the Middle East and Asia Minor were kept at home and kept away from books and learning. The only thing men wanted them to learn was how to cook, fetch water, tend goats, tend house and raise the children. Even Jewish Rabbis believed that it was blasphemous to teach a women the Torah. Jesus contradicted this view when he invited women to sit at His feet and learn. Paul likewise, invited women to learn from God's word as long as they did it in a proper way, not like the know-it -all men, but with a teachable spirit.
2. The church in Ephesus was plagud by false teachers, some of them female.
There are scholars that propose that Ephesus was a seat of paganism in the ancient world, it was overrun by heresy and false doctrine because of various cults and Gnostic sects. Archaeology does indicate that cult of Diana, a mystic religion dominated by female priest, flourished in Ephesus and Corinth at the time Timothy was leading churches there.
You need to get a copy of, I Suffer Not A Woman, authored by Richard and Catherine Clark Kroeger. This excellent book by them proposes that certain women from that cult crept into the church and were usurping authority from the teachers Paul had appointed. Check our link to CBE and find more articles from CBE's resources..
J. Lee Grady writes, "Whether Paul was fighting false teachers in this case or simply requiring women to receive proper instruction, we cannot use , 1 Timothy 2:12 as a blanket prohibition against releasing women into ministry. Rather, this passage opens the door to women to be trained for public ministry and challenges them to handle the Word of God with accuracy. It is obviously we do not need women ministers today who are undisciplined or untrained, or who are seeking to spread heresy. But we should by all means commisssion and ordain as many capable and anoited women as possible to advance the spread of the gospel. What we need in this crucial hour are women like Huldah who have studied God's Word and have the anointing to proclaim His counsel."
Question #19 - Covered... or Covered Up?
My church allows women to minister, but they say that a man must provide a spiritual "covering" for our prayer meetings or Bible Studies. Is this a biblical policy?
No it is not. Listen to what Mr. J.Lee Grady says about such a thing: The rule you are describing is quite common in many conservative evangelical churches, even though it is almost always an unwritten policy. He says, He received a letter once from a woman who led a weekly woman's Bible study. She told him that when the pastor learned that she planned to serve communion during the meeting, he told her that she could not do so unless a male deacon or elder from the church was present. The elder did not have to serve the elements but had to be in the room to watch the proceedings.
Another woman He knows who was organizing a women's conference was told that a man must be seated on the stage, even if he did not teach or say anything from the pulpit. In some denominations that sponser women's conferences, a man is often appointed to fill at least one speaker's slot so that here can be a "male covering" for the event.
Is this a biblical policy? It is certainly acceptable to have a man speak at a women's conference. But there is no verse in Scripture that requires him to be there. The apostle Paul did not mention anything in his discussion of church order and spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 11 & 12. This is where he gives both men and women freedom to prophesy as the Holy Spirit directs. The leaders of the congregation in Corinth were arguing about whether a woman could pray or prophesy without wearing a veil or head covering, a cultural issue that we are not concerned about today, 1 Corinthians 11:16.
When Paul instructed Titus that the older women (who were women elders, or presbyters) should teach the young women, he did not add the condition that men should be present during the teaching, Titus 2:4, KIV) Obviously, there were women's meetings occuring in the first- century church, and we can assume that they did not always have male supervision since this is never mentioned.
If the "male covering" policy is not a biblical rule, then where did this notion come from? We might find at least part of the answer by studying the history of the foreign missions movement. It was not until the mid-1800's that a large number of women began to become involved in fulfilling the Great Commission. Until this time, except for a few shining beacons who were wiling to challenge the status quo, most women assumed that only men could be evangelists or Bible teachers. But as the Holy Spirit's call went out concerning the desperate spiritual and physical needs in Africa and Asia, women began to respond and men did not know how to handle this dilemma.
Ruth Tucker and Walter Liefeld wrote about this phenomena in their book, "Daughters of the Church", tell us that so many women responded to the call of world missions in the late 1800's that by 1894 there were thirty-three women's foreign mission boards. These newly appointed women missionaries caused no small stir on the field, in fact many of them found disappointment once they arrived at their assignments because they were told they would not be allowed to do much more than teach girls' classes or serve as secretaries. But some Southern Baptist pioneers like Lottie Moon, protested loudly; others were given liberty to teach or even start churches without interference.
These woman of the late 1800's rocked the boat too much (caused whimpy men to respond(my words) and caused traditional minded men to react. Some general board officials felt the need to remind women of their place in the church. It is obvious that these leaders did not believe in the equality taught by Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, even though they tried to flatter them with "being the better sex.".
The whole idea of requiring a male head covering presents a myriad of ridiculous questions. I think not, since the only covering she needs is Jesus Christ sacrifice on the cross for her, (My words).Without the Holy Spirit in us no ministry will be effective. The presence of the Holy Spirit makes the difference in Christ's priesthood of all believers, 1 Corinthians 1:27-31; 2:10-16. It seems to me that most men but not all, are blind to the teachings of the Holy Spirit.
Biblical Principles for women's Ministry
J. Lee Grady advises women not to trigger an argument with their pastors by insisting that you do not need his or some other man's spiritual covering. But to graciously invite him to consider thes biblical principles as he developes a policy concerning women and ministry.
.There areThree Things Needed to be Known
1.Headship pertains to marriage.
Remember, when church leaders raise the issue of male leadership, they are referring to two passages in the New Testament: Ephesians 5:23 ("For the husband is the head of the wife), and 1 Corinthians 11:3("the man is the head of woman"). Some assume that this means men have been designed by God to be the leaders in society, while women are called to be followers. and they assume this is God's model for the church as well.
We need to be careful here, noting that in both of these passages Paul is discussing a wife's relationship with her husband, not a woman's relationship with other men. In actuality, it would be a heretical concept to teach that all women are some how to be placed in subjection to all men. Paul is not talking here about men and women in general. He is discussing marriage in particular.
When we investigate these passages deeper, we discover that the concept of headship is not really about authority at all. It is about intimacy, mutuality and the unique connection that exist between a husband and a wife. The word head in Greek is kephale, which can be interpreted "source" as the headwaters of a river are the source of the river. If Paul meant to say, "If the husband is the boss of the wife," or "the husband is the leader of the wife," he would have used the Greek word "archon", which is often used in the New Testament to denote authority.
Paul did say the husband is the source of the wife. In both of the above passages he is referring to the orgin of woman in the Garden of Eden. Adam was the "head" or "source", of Eve because she was taken from his side. And because she came from him, she as the wife enjoys a unique connection to him that cannot be paralleled by any other human relationship. The headship principle really has nothing to do authority in the home. It stresses mutual dependence that a man and wife have for each other, and it calls for the husband to nourish and cherish his wife since they have such an intimate connection with them in the spiritual sense, Genesis 1:26..
2. Spiritual authority is necessary.
Now, while it is unbiblical to state that a woman must have a male covering to perform any kind of legitimate ministry, this does not mean she does not need to recognize spiritual authority. Neither should any man or woman called to ministry be a spiritual Lone Ranger. Because we all have human frailities, and are susceptible to the temptations of pride, deception and offense, we all need fellowship with other mature believers, who can provide guidance and correction as well as encouragement and counsel. That is why we have denominations, church networks and missionary agencies and Christians for Biblical Equality.
The spiritual authority established in Scriptures is five-fold ministry of Jesus Christ: apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists mentioned in Ephesians 4:11. We are told that these gifted individuals are not to rule the church in a gentile fashion(patriarchy or chain of command), but rather "for the equipping of the saints for the work of service" (v.12). They are being released into the liberty of a Spiritual empowered ministry not of controlling the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers.(This is what institutional patriarchal churches do to control the Holy Spirit's leadership.)
3. The anointing of the Holy Spirit is not restricted by gender.
As J. Lee Grady relates to the Holy Spirit, he says, "It should be noted that women in the Bible in both the Old Testament and New Testament carried out ministry assignments and held positions of authority without the presence of men. The apostle Paul himself wrote to the church in Rome and asked them to support the woman named Phoebe, a deacon on Paul's apostolic team.(Rom. 16:1-2. Paul was not there when she arrived but told the disciples there to help her carry out the work given to her, which was more than likely evangelizing and helping to organize new congregations. Paul made no mention of any man travleing with her to act as her covering. Paul's endorsement of her was covering enough.
In the revival atmosphere of the early church, the Holy Spirit was moving too fast for the apostles to worry about whether women were posing a treat to their control. Paul and his apostle colleagues were happy and trilled to have trained women on their teams. Whether it was a deacon like Phoebe or an anointed Bible teacher like Priscilla, or a woman like Junia, who was "outstanding among the apostles" (Romans 16:7). Now with, Mr. J. Lee Grady, we can all pray that the modern church will soon be allowed to enjoy the same atmosphere of liberty, that will reap more of the same supernatural results as the first-century apostles did.
A good place to start is with Christians for Biblical Equality. Check our link to CBE, and get your own copy of Mr. J. Lee Grady's Inspired book , 25 Tough Questions About Women and the Church.
To be able to do this we all need to rexamine ourselves to see if we are really following the teachings of Jesus Christ. Do we all believe what Jesus taught in His eglitarian Church that men and woman have a special unique relationship with themselves in the flesh and a even more greater responsibility towards our Heavenly Parents: Yahuweh the Father, Ruach HaKadosh - Our Holy Spirit Mother, and Yeshua - Jesus Christ their Son and our Savior, in their physical and spiritual calling.
Question #20 - When Woman Are in Charge.
I think it is wrong for a man to receive spiritual instruction or mentoring from a woman. Doesn't it emasculate a man if he submits to a woman in this way?
Well, no it is not wrong no matter what some traditionalist say. It is the Holy Spirit who places men and women in Christ's ministry, not men who think they are inspired by God in their ministry, which has been running away from their responsiblity to God's Ways. Some men feel intimidated by well educated women who serve God unwaveringly with the truth of the Bible. Thanks to men like J. Lee Grady, he exposes this sorry account of men who resist the Spirit's calling of women when gender is not what God looks at but women and men who are humble enough to give a good account of themselves because they stepout in faith, Galatians 3:28-29, makes it plain that those that are of the seed of Abraham, Jesus Christ, have every right to preach the gospel message in all the world as a witness to all peoples on earth. This includes all men and women!
As Mr. J. lee Grady says, '"This is a common argument by those who oppose women in church leadership." But it is Jesus and the Holy Spirit who gives women this right and not men in some church or denomination who are trying to push patriarchy as the norm for church leadership. Men who teach this believe that if a women holds a position of authority over a man, he will lose his ,manhood by forfitting the ability to lead. Some will say "After all if men and women can both lead, than what's the difference between the genders? (Hmm, they seem lost if they cannot yet figure out the need for genders? It's for men and women to have loving intimate relationships and sex, to make more children as a blessing. This is not hard to figure out. God could have made us robots if he didn't want males and females to do his work, my comments).
But when it comes to ministry it's equality where certain abilities of both men and women can be used together to advance the Kingdom of God, in God's image. That's not hard to figure out at all. This will strengthen the fabric of society and not encourage devious sex like homosexuality in the genders, Romans 1:18 -32.
It seems strange that the preversion of sexual homosexuality came after men began to dominate women since the Fall. Men's leadership seems to be the one with all the flaws. The Greeks and Romans were notorius in that they preferred men as their sexual equal partners. A very interesting book to read on this subject is, Greek Homosexuality, K.J. Dover,published by MJF Books, Fine Communications, Two Lincoln Square, 60 West 66thStreet, NewYork,NY, 10023.
A classic example of this reasoning is the book, "Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood," in which evangelical scholars, Wayne Grudem and John Piper make the case for what is known as the "complimentary" view of gender relationships. Though this seems reasonable but it does not come from the reasoning of Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit, but men who see institutional patriarchy as the only solution. They like most "complimentary patriarchists" think God is male only and leave out the feminine attributes of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Galations 5:22-23, 25-26. I guess they never had a woman that taught them anything about God. So, they have applied an Arian view, by men, which seems to leave out the Holy Spirit's Feminine nature and Her attributes.. This crisis in the church must be solved but it will not be by having men always in control of such a church ministry. To assume that women should never have the "role" of a leader in any capacity in church life except in chidren's or women's ministry is not right..
Though, J. Lee Grady agrees that men need to perserve their masculinity it is not by excluding women from church leadership. It is evident that men would like to continue with a male chain of command church and leave women to take care of themselves and children in submission to men as their male authority. This will not wqrk in Christ's priesthood of all believers and is determental to preaching the gospel in all the world. Since it was God (Elohim) who made them to work together in harmony, mutuality and submission to one another, Genesis 1:27-28. Sharing in sacrifical servent leadership is the example that Christ left us, Matthew 20:25-28, Ephsians 5:21. Both the characteristics of men and women combined together make for an awesome witness.
God does not reguire women to be masculine but has given them their unigue feminine charcteristics to help men accomplish a strong witness for Jesus Christ. It has been proven over and over from the Bible and secular history that women make the best teachers for children. So, what makes men think women could not possible teach grown men today, without men losing their masculinity? Women have proven to be great teacher and leaders with the attributes that should not intimidate men to lose their security as being masculine males. It is sound logic that women have proven to be excellent teachers down through all ages of leadership from kindergarden to good leaders of nations. The Bible gives so many examples. If you research CBE, you can find many women that proved that they mirror the works of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23..
Women are humans too. And yes, there have been some who were used to appear as dominate leaders. These were used by either Gnostic or Jewish leaders from the Jewish Kabalah to try and lead God's work astray. Richard and Catherine Clark Kroeger's book, I Suffer Not A Women, explains very well what was going on in verses 1 Timothy 2:12. So, these two were needed scholars who diligently searched out just what was going on in Corinth and Ephesus.
1. Women who were teaching false doctrines, or
2, Women who were untrained and unprepared for public ministry.
The detailed research by Richard and Catherine Kroeger did a deep study of this verse and the other verses around it..They showed that certain women from the pagan Diana's Temple (or Artimus) were being taught by either Gnostic's or Jewish Kalabah men to teach that Eve was the dominate person in Genesis 1-3. That Eve brought Adam into life. Such nonsense was used to try and pervert this young New Testament Church. Paul but restrictions on these women, who's only intentions was to distrupt God's Church with noise and twised doctrines. This temple of Diana was the habitation of 1,000 female prostitutes who taught sexual perversion to men. And the Gnostic heretics were trying to do it to the church through these women. These women loved to have authority to dominate men and its was their Gnostic teachers who tried to put down sex and marriage in the church. I wonder if the "complmentarians are Gnostics? What a shame.
Such false teachings of course would be blasphemous. It is contrary to the Bible just as Grudem and Piper's book is on Complimentarian Patriarchal leadership by men is. To suggest that trained Spirit empowered women cannot teach the Scriptures with authority is just plain stupid. Nor can we say that women who have been gifted with Spirit endued giftings of leaderhip, pastoral anointing or teaching ability must limit their teachings to women and children only. Men who receive instruction from women like those inspired by the Spirit and Christ, will not be emasculated men; on the contrary, they will grow stronger in Christ. It's time for godly male leaders in the church to become secure enough in their manhood to give women a platform.
Question # 21- Whom Are You Calling Jezebel?
Mr. J. Lee Grady says he has met a lot of strong women who think they are called to church leadership roles. They seem to have a feminist agenda. Don't you think this is harmful to the church?
This is an excellent question to ask J. Lee Grady. Even we ourselves have run into this very same problem, even recently while trying to help some ladies have a better understanding about how women should fit into the scheme of serving in leadership in church. I even have offered them to search by Hubs or view some of my videos from Christians for Biblical Equality. But they seem to have some type of different agenda. Maybe they think that they can do this without training from the Holy Spirit or maybe they have a different spirit that is just interested in causing contention and upsetting men by objecting to the way men treat women. Of course if they are not careful it can or may make matters worse for themselves, especially if they were to read books like, 25 Tough Questions About Women and the Church. They may get irritated towards men and rant and rave at them. Its really all about having a proper female agenda as Christian women. That's one thing about CBE is they are ever ready with answers to help you follow Christ's and the Holy Spirit's agenda and train you.
J. Lee Grady has run into this problem many times and says, In modern American culture, conservative Christians tend to associate feminism with some kind of radical, ungodly set of values that includes legitimizing abortion, gay marriage and homosexual adoption. Many radical feminist who have been elected to political office spend their time fighting wholesome family ideals. Some feminist in the work place have lobbied for health insurance benefits for the domestic parteners of gays and lesbians.
Of course these objectives are not on the agenda of Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit. These people need to change their objective of course and that is why they need a change in their ways like most other woman who have become upset with the male patriarchal agenda that has upset them in the first place. This is another good example why more Christian women are needed to teach all these women who are desperate to find a ,more comfortable enviroment in a male dominant society and especially in the chuches that call themselves "christian". So many are looking to fine a place like New Age churches that recognize womens abilities to lead. They feel more comfortable having more godly women that follow something like maybe a "Temple of Diana" with a goddess to lead them. Of course God will never sanction such teachings that's so over the top, that encourages things like abortions, gays, lesbianism and more of the Devil's Satanic activities like witchcraft.. It is more a matter of directing these unhappy ladies to a better Christian enviroment of men and women working together.
This is why this book on Twenty-five Tough Questions About Women and the Church, is so important to help women to get on the right track and unto the right femininist agenda. Men will try to use this term to describe women who aspire to leadership. If a women is ambitious enough to give it a try then God bless her, but she will automatically be labeled a feminist. I know quite a few that are being trained by CBE, including my own wife. And, oh yes they will call me and any other male a feminist or what ever they can to put down what God calls Biblical Equality. So don't be a fence sitter or give up, keep educating yourself with the best information available to you at Christians for Biblical Equality, you need to be trained by the Holy Spirit. She is dillgently working there!
Mr. J. Lee Grady goes on to say, that in some Christian circles, any woman who has natural leadership gifts becomes suspect. If she expresses interest in leading a particular committee or ministry, she is labeled "controlling" or "dominating" even if she has a soft -spoken manner. And if she has a charismatic, aggressive personality, peope may label her "power hungry" or "manipulative." in some churches a strong gifted woman may be labeled a "Jezebel," a very similar term, since the Bible Jezebel was an evil authoritarian queen, who worshipped pagan gods and made eunuchs of God's true prophets.
What we need to remember is that the true feminist movement in the United States was actually of Christian roots. It began in the mid-1800's when a group of Quaker and Methodist women along with some very brave male pastors that supported them, began calling upon society to endow women with the right to vote. It was up until this time that no democratic government in the world gave marginal civil rights to women. This is another blessing given to us to make this a better nation. Since then many doors have been opened to make strides in equal pay for equal work and better education for more men and women. Women have more rights and protection from abusive males by better laws in our U.S. Constitution.
Many of these leaders of the Sufferage movement drew their inspiration fron Scriptures. They believed the gospel of Jesus Christ was the only true power in the world that could free women from the curse of cultural oppression and devaluation. Some of these ladies called themselves feminist because they believed in restoring women the dignity that God intended for His daughters to have.
The problem today is some of these modern feminist leaders have abandoned their Godly roots of their original mission. These early pioneers of women's rights did not encourage abortion,gay rights or any homosexual activities and they would be horrified to see what has been happpening today to the feminist movement that has left its Christian roots for more paganized activities like the New Age movement and witchcraft.. So, modern feminism is no longer the true feminist at all, since true feminism is the belief that women have God given rights and human dignity. The sad part is to many modern feminist have abandoned any mention of religious faith and embraced this New Age spirituality and goddess worship.
The number one problem is with the male dominated churches that continued to make females second class citizens just like several hundred years after Jesus Christ started His New Testament Church. It is more now then ever that women are needed to restore what was has been lost in our supposidly Christian nation. Where have all the Christians churches that follow patriarchy been taking us?
This is all very absurb as J. Lee Grady says, "The church through out the centuries has advanced the cause of Christ through the efforts of dedicated women of faith and we need more of them. Were would we be today without the fearlss women who carried the torch of the gospel in centuries past?
Since the Days of Jesus', His female followers have bravely risked their lives to stand besides Him at the cross and then became the first witnsses of His resurrection. Women have throughout history faced incredible opposition to take the gospel to the world, Matthew 28:19-20.
Here is a list of what women have had to endure for their Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Female martyrs of the early church were beheaded, thrown to lions, burned at the stake and raped and mutilated by their Roman oppressors, yet they maintained their testimony for Christ. Some of these women were even forced to watch their own children tortured and killed, yet they would not recant their faith.
2. In the medieval period courageous mystics like Catherine of Siena withstood imprisonment and criticism from Roman Catholic bishops. Outspoken women such as Joyce Lewes and Joan Waste were burned at the stake by Catholics. (Joan Waste's crime was that she memorized parts of the Bible.)
3. In colonial New England, an outspoken woman named Anne Hutchinson dared to criticize the religious control of Puritan leaders. They labeled her a rebel because she believed the Holy Spirit could speak to any Christian. For refusing to denounce her beliefs, she was banished from th Massachustts Bay Colony and was killed by Indians becoming the first female Christian martyr in the New England World.
4. Fearless Quaker women in the late 1700's rode on horseback to preach the gospel from town to town. So did many early followers of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement and (in the the latter part of his life) Wesley himself encouraged women to enter public ministry. ( We must not over look that it was John's own Mother, Susanna Wesley, who taugth him the Scripture at an early age. He knew the spiritual strength of women's influence on him and his brothers.)
5. During the 1800's, countless women missionaries risked death and disease in order to take the gospel to treacherous mission fields in Africa and Asia. Some of them, like Mary Slessor and Amy Carmichael, blazed a trail for mission work that flourishes today.
6. During the Pentecostal revival of the early 1900's,numerous women were "filled" with the Holy Spirit" and began establishing churches and organizating revival crusades. Aimee Semple McPherson founded a denomination that as of 2001 clamed more than 3.5 million members. Brave African American women, including Jerena Lee, had itinerant preaching ministries at a time when blacks had no civil rights.
7. In China today, it is estimated that two thirds of the church planners in the underground Protestant church movement are women between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four. Most of these brave young women have been jailed, beaten with iron rodbars and shocked with electric cattle prods for their faith, but it as not stopped them from aggressively taking ground for Christ. In fact, many missiologist believe that the Chinese are leading more people to Christ today than believers in any other country.(See our - The Back To Jerusalem link)
These woman are not weak as some say that are. They certainly are not weak in faith, though physically women are weaker than men. Real strength for these women comes from their willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit's loving strength and leadership. Men can learn from these brave feminist Christian souls who are forever advancing the gospel for Jesus Christ in the strength of Jesus Christ, Eph.6:10. They too are brave and bold as lions just as many of their men need to be and are, Proverbs 28:1.
God is not glorified when disciple are timid about preaching the gospel. So women give up being timid and shy but to act with courage and not being reluctant to speak for Christ. Timidity is never protrayed as a virtue in the Bible, Galatians 5:22-23. God has called his servants whether men or women to put aside their shyness and timidity so they can have spiritual power to obey the Holy Spirit's orders.
Even though th modern churches expect women to be quiet and passive God does not. An in some churches male leaders find strong women as treats to their positions and want women to not be heard. But this only encourages women to become lazy. The way most churches are today that follow any patriarchy led congregations, it affects the whole church to be of no effect for Christ. This can be understandable if these churches are still giving place to the pagan practices they pollute their foundations in Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. Our societies today are in great need for female reformers who will stand up to the ungodly teachings of patriarchy and pagan customs that berate women..
Were are all the female prophets? For that matter where are all the male prophets that should be encouraging them? God raised up both men and women who served in powerful positions of authority like Deborah, Ester, Huldah, Mary Magdalene, Junia. We are told in Psalm 68:11 - where the Psalmist cries out in joy for the greart company of women who bore the teachings of the Bible. This Scripture points to our present day New Testament when many women would be called to preach the Gospel for Christ. We can see this in China were there are more Christians, 200 million of them, that out numbers the Christian population of the USA by 100 million. God wants sons and daughters to fufill this mission for Them today, Joel 2:28, in all nations, Act 1:8; Acts 2:17-18.
How sad it is to find that many women are still are complacent and let themselves be musseled for Christ and still listen to their patriarchal leaders like John Piper anf Wayne Grudem's "Complimentary Patriarchy" leadership. This is far from being the servant leadership of sacrifice to others like Jesus Christ said it should be, Luke 22:25-28. So it is time the churches stop pretending that they have God's heart in them. Selfish men will only bring God's wrath on themselves, Mattew 7:19-24. It is time for men to stop being afraid of women in the pulpit. As long as their agenda is for Jesus Christ. So don't drive them off to a New Age church. Work with them and see the good results when equality is allowed to flow again among you for Christ. To drive them away can cause more harm to a church by weak women than strong ones. A new generation of women is needed to emulate the women of courage from Sarah (Genesis 17:15), and Catherine Booth to Catherine Clark Kroeger and so many other of these find lady instruments for God.
So if you are labeled a "feminist," count it all joy" it shows you have simply stepped out in faith to obey God's will and call in your life to His glory. This should only be a minor distraction because they will call you nastier things that feminist to try and discourage you more. Get used to it and consider it an honor for Christ's sake. Its to God's glory that we lay our reputations on the altar of God, Jesus Christ did it for us. So, let your spiritual lights shine, John 15:20-27, Matthew 5:10,44-48.
Question #22 - Pastors Who Wear Lipstick.
I've attended a church with a woman pastor, and I was appalled by her domineering leadership style. Don't you think women are too controlling and manipulative to be in the role of senior pastor?
Do you mean that you never noticed that men can also be very controlling and manipulative? There will be some very aggresive women just like men but its what motivates them from the heart as to whether they are doing it to be seen of other woman to castigate both men and women or motivated to move God's work ahead. Timid women are not needed but strong women of courage just like strong men of equal courage are the gospel movers.
Here's an interesting example from Mr. J. Lee Grady that we need to be concerned about by our examples to other Christians by what they see in us. So, who is more manipulative men or women? For the last nearly 6 thousand years it seems that men have had their way most of the time. Let's see what J. Lee Grady says about a letter from one of his woman followers about seven very outrageous statements about men.
* Men are to emotional to be pastors. Their conduct at football and basketball games proves this.
* Some men are so handsome they will distract women worshippers.(Have some of you women not noticed what Mr.J.Lee Grady looks like? Does he distract you? Or does he inspire you?)
* Their physical build indicate that men are more suited to task such as chopping down trees and wrestling moutain lions. It would be "unnatural" for them to do other forms of work.
* This person who betrayed Jesus was a man. Thus, his lack of faith and ensuing punishment stand as a symbol of the subordinate position that men should take.
* Men are more prone to violence. No truly masculine man wants to settle disputes without a fight. Thus men would be poor role models, as well as being dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.
* Ordained ministers are required to to nuture their congregations. But this is not a traditinal male role. Rather, throughout history, women have been considered more skilled than men at nurturing. this makes women the obvious choice for ordination.
* For men who have children, their pastoral duties might distract them from the responsibility of being a parent.
* Men can still be involved in church activities even without being ordained. They can sweep sidewaks, repair the church roof and maybe even lead the singing on Father's Day. By confining themselves to such traditionaql male roles they can still be vitally important in the life of the church.
Awesome, it seems that men can be just as radical as women. They have the same capacity to ruin things that they claim women are quilty of. So what do we do? Keep both women and men out of the ministry? Well, no not quite, since God's church is a family matter and both are in training to learn, how to use power in the right way, by sharing in leadership in the family oriented church the many responsibilities to make the church run right. Ministry is like God the Father's husband-wife team with the Holy Spirit-Ruach HaKadosh having the same responsibilities to see that children follow their parents examples. The Father doesn't leave His children for her to bring them up on her own. it's a two parent family resposibility to raise children. Jesus was raised this way and so should we be taught by both men and women in the church. After all isn't the church like a woman with the Holy Spirit doing the work in the Bride of Christ. So why can't we follow Their examples, Ephesians 3:14--20; 5:21-33, 1 Corinthians 3:16..
Both parents are to be good communicators but I've heard some men that should not be even preaching. It's all about proper training. J. Lee Grady has many experiences and has seen many things that go on in churches that men should be ashamed of. So maybe this is another reason why men don't want woman in the church leadership because they would have the power to control men's wicked behavior which seems to riddle most churches with divorce and remarriage even in the marriages of the ministry. Also, many men have been caught in homosexual acts with other men and young children. What a shame! Is this what Martin Luther saw going on in the Catholic Monasteries in his days as a Monk of the Augustinian Order, with his 95 Thesis? So we see that men can be just as untrustworthy as any women if they are not following Christ's leadership.
It seems with all these mistakes men never seem to blame their problems on their gender. but when women do something wrong in leadership roles in the church or in society men are so quick to blame the fault on their femininity.
J. Lee Grady says there are three main reasons for this.
1.Deeply Ingrained Gender Prejudice.
He says that even after women gained the right to vote in 1920's and achieved economic rights in the work place in the 1960's and 1970's, our culture still struggles with gender bias and stereotyping. Just as racism has been slow to die down so have attitudes that are put downs on women still are around, as long as the Devil is in the details, in our culture and in the church. Among conservative evangelicals Christians, many people both men and women say women are weak and incapable of handling pressure or stress, talk to much, are too manipulative, and indecisive, along with being unpredictable because of hormonal swings. These are all only stereotypes. (What happens when men lose their tostesterone levels doesn't this affect their hormonal swings? My comment)
Both women and men can both be very manipulative and indecisive and this has nothing to do with their genders but there early training in the home by watchful Christian parents to make sure they are suitably trained to go out into the world. This can come from part of our church canonizing of literature that tries to explain male and female "biblical roles" but these often present nothing more than stereotyping of the genders. We are told that men "bury their emotions" which is not a healthy quality and can break out with young men producting acts of murder in schools and churches. And young women are said to be called to nurture as if young men are not too be called to be loving and nurturing. What sorry reasoning.
Men are said to be aggressive and women passive but many times these roles are reversed and just the opposite reaction are a result of distorted relationships with each other. It kind of like that relationship by the women in Diana's Temple where women are aggresive and men become passive and less masculine turning to homosexuality.perversion at times. This is all very strange, this happens when Satan is in the details everytime. It is one way or the other, but God calls all believers to be filled with God's Spirit and not be passive but aggresively working in His bold mission to reach the world for Christ, Matthew 28:18-20.
Both men and women are to be leaders and followers and this depends where the Spirit places us. Listening to Wayne Grudem or John Piper putting down the prophet Deborah makes you wonder if these men have lost their sense of direction when they read God's Word.. They think Barak was a coward, but no way. Barak saw God's hand on Deborah and accepted her counsel. They see Deborah as not fitting into the scheme of God's work the way they want her to be passive and submissive. So they just cut her out of the Bible.
2. Missapplied Scriptures
This is where many men show their lack of real investigative research. A good example is the Scriptures we have already mentioned on these question - 1 Timothy 2:12 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-36. These verses are proof that men just do not do their homework well. As it has already been pointed out by J. Lee Grady, the apostle Paul had many women that worked beside him as co-workers, evangelists, deacons and apostles. Paul was quick to counteract false teachers and still make sure women were installed as teachers in the Churches of God in whatever capacity the Holy Spirit needed them. It seems as though modern evangelicals have lost track of just how the work of the Holy Spirit is accomplished through Her gifts to Her children both men and women, 1 Corinthians 12:4-13.
3. The Lack of Female Role Models
The women and men called by God are not to be pushed around by ungodly men or women trained to be aggresive and ungodly by a different spirit in many so called patriarchal institutional or uninspired churches that have along historys of following doctrines of uninspired men that were Greek philosophers and pagans who preferred men as their sexual partners. Or women who went off into a New Age denomination. You will find many female axe-grinders from these churches who resent men just as much as men resent women in so called "christian churches" and these do not help the cause for women. The church needs women role models trained to carry the work of God to the world.
There are however, other women that accept the Holy Spirit's teaching, who are humble hard workers like the ones Mr. J. Lee Grady found in China several years ago when he visited them. He met twenty-five such women from the underground house churches and all of them have been in prison and abused for their hardwork for Jesus Christ. They still are excited about taking the gospel to the villages of China.
Let me tell you about his account one evening when he returned to his hotel room. He met two ladies with one other lady as their interpreter standing by his door. He was told that these two women wanted him to pray for them and their house churches. because they did not receive ministry at the altar during the previous meeting. He asked them if they were "pastors or evangelist?" They said yes, with smiles. He asked how many churches do they oversee? The first one said 2,000 and the second one 5,000. (the average house church usually has about at least 50 people more or less. Wow, was he surprised. He was stunned! They had the responsibility for more churches than most men he knows in church planting in the USA. They were very humble women who had a passion to serve Christ and see him move in miraculous ways in China.
We could sure use women like those in China here in the USA, but they would probably not be allowed to teach the way they do in China but I do not see why not. This would be a new mission field for them and a blessing for the United States since many of these ladies and men are leaving China as part of The New Back to Jerusalem Missonary Ministry to take the gospel into all the world. If there was anyhing to stop them it would be the same so called orthodox and evangelical churches that would put them down for being women or Christian feminist. But the Holy Spirit is moving so fast that these erroneous men cannot stop Her work. Yet, they would not be acceptible because they would be called non-traditional.
So, it is time to take our cue from these Chinese Church ladies and leaders that women can make a difference. Their underground church is growing at the rate of 25,000 every day for Christ! Wow, maybe if we could release our sisters here in the USA, we could also grow just as fast.We need revival here more than ever as the Chinese church has been growing these last twenty years or so. We can thank the many hard working men and women, even like Mr.J. Lee Grady and for the women and men from CBE who don't give up praying and fasting for more growth here and there.
Question # 23 - The Stigma of Divorce
The Stigma of Divorce is one of those sad areas of God's work because it can keep good talented people with gifts from fulfilling their part in God's work. Many men and women that have experienced painful rejection from their Christian friends after their marriage ended. Though it might be understandable if a person committed adultery and was unrepentant but it is very hard on the innocent person who is also looked at as being just as quilty as the person who was unfaihful in the marriage. The innocent person is ostercized by his or her own congregation as if divorce we some kind of disease. You can be sure Satan is very clever about distroying any marriage and making people think that they somehow they are failures for the rest of their lives. So hope and recovery is the last thing that they can expect from their congregation. Church congegations can be very hard on people that they expect to be perfect in the Lord.
This however is not the last word on this matter as we can see from Mr.J. Lee Grady's insightful answer to this problem. Lets take a look at what he says can be done to recover faithful people back in to God's ministry. Now, God knows the heart of all of us and will ultimately vindicate or condemn the guilty person because we are all humans and make major mistakes when not careful how we treat one another. But a Church, if he errs, must be on the side of mercy rather than judgment The apostle Paul allowed for the existence and remarriage of an innocent party, and it is time that many Christians today learn to do the same.
So if you are or were divorced and even remarried but still feel a call to some level of ministry, you will need to be aware that there are some churches and denominations that have strict policies that can limit your involvement. Here is a list for you to see how different churches handle this dilemma. Take a good look because the Holy Spirit may still have great need for your talents which other humans may see as flawed and of no use to them.
It's human to err, and Satan will try very hard to get you stuck somewhere in a embrassing bad marriage. So be careful and count the cost before you give up. You do not have to be an ordained minister to be used by God. It can help in certain circumstances but God has other things for us to do like being prophets, judges, speakers in tongue, healers. God is the one who sees your heart and They are the Ones that really ordain you.The very first members of Jesus little flock were fishermen who were baptized and received the Holy Spirit, which is needed for whatever or wherever God wants to put you. It's best to have a humble contrite heart with God with and aggresive zeal to do the best that you can.
1. For example the Asemblies of God will allow a divorced person to be ordained, but not a person who has been divorced and remarried ( unless the remarriage occurred before salvation).
2. Southern Baptist chuches are autonomous, therefore each church makes its own decisions about pastoral candidates. But as a rule, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) frowns on ordaining divorced and remarried persons because of the 1 Timothy 3:7 rule. Also, the SBC's foriegn mission board will not appoint a divorced person as a missionary. (Note also that the SBC does not ordain women to be pastors.)
3. The Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) will credential a divorced minister if he or she can prove that the marriage ended because of the infidelity of the former spouse.
4. The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel ( whose founder was Aimee Semple MacPherson, who was divorced twice) ordains divorced people, but it appoints an ethics committee to look at each individual case.
5. Many independant charismatic church networks do not have a blanket prohibition against ordaining divorced ministers. Meanwhile, no specific policy has been enacted to restrict divorced ministers in the United Methodist Church or the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). (And traditionalist conclude that the lax policy on divorce in these mainline groups has encouraged theological drift. Hmmm, fault finders?)
We find this all very interesting to see these different attitudes toward divorce and I am thankful for this list from Mr.J. Lee Grady to answer such a tough question. I'm glad that I am happily married and do not have any problem like this. Whatever, I do it is because I was ordained when I was baptized many years ago by God's very own hands. Later I joined a non-denominational Church and was baptized into that church by a ordained minister. I can see now that God is still with my wife and I in our egalitarian ministry. Thanks to my wife because she is the one who found CBE for us to join as part of their egalitarian ministry.
Yes, it is especially hard on ministers who have had a church. They can lose their churches this way, even if they were faithful with Gods Word.. This no- divorce- pastors policy is very common in many denominations but is also loosely based on the apostle Paul's qualifications for elder. in 1 Timothy 3:7. A good reputation can be ruined by divorce so ministers need to be careful to make sure that they keep close to God and treat their wives gracefully and be at peace with them.
Now, for you that feel called to pursue an ordained ministry it is more than likely that you will not change your present churches rules. So, you would more than likely need to change your denomination and look somewhere else or start your own house church like many do in China. At least you will not have to put up with rejection and criticism from well intentioned religious people. Always keep you priorities open to God's healing of you to continue your new ministry. Yes, there is hope for total recovery of divorce and for you to continue working for God in your new ministry. Keep an open mind on doing God's work the very best that you can and you will succeed. God will be with you, so you will no longer need to feel rejected and hurt. If you need to join a divorce recovery group at a healthy church do so and you can surround yourself with friends who understand your dilemma.
As Mr. Grady points out in this tough question, "Genuine, compassionate ministry will flow from you when you have put the wounds and failures of the past behind you. And because you understand the pain of divorce and suffered its stigma, God will use you to offer mercy, restoration and grace to divorced people who have been wrongly judged as unfit for the Kingdom."
And remember that marriage is one thing that Satan loves to destroy, but don't let him destroy you, or your zeal to serve God, Revelation 12:9. Jesus is the way and the truth and our heavenly Father will place you with Him to serve in His Church and Kingdom of God Almighty forever, John 14:6-7..
Question # 24- Tough Choices
What if a women feels called to ministry, but her church or denomination doesn't allow women to teach or to serve in certain positions. What should she do?
Another tough question that Mr. Grady answers with wisdom and inspiration from the Holy Spirit. This is one that even he must have had to face several times. He says this can be difficult but the answer should not be surprising. Always stick with the decision God and Christ would have you make. Their are civil auhorities and church authorities that can demand that you do things their way. They may even treaten you with some kind of punishment if you do not comply to their demands. This is were your faith will be tested. This is not the time to wimp out or use their authority to break God's rules on certain issues like lying about something. The best way is to be direct and to the point. Jesus Christ always was, so follow his footsteps. Ths will build your Christian character and refect the fruits of the Spirit in you, Galatians 5:22-23.
There are many examples in the Bible about God's people having to obey God rather than men (Rules of men, Romans 13:1-14 - Do the best that you can to do the right thing asked of you but you do not have to be obedient, but be careful to obey God first. There are always times when you will be put to the test though it an be difficult at times when certain religious leaders in your church may tell women that they do not ordain women as ministers in their congregations you may have to find another church that does. Find one that takes women serious as teachers and preachers. Human rulers can be different at times so you may have to shop around for a church that sees women as assets. Remember the midwives in the book of Exodus they stood up to Pharoah and answered with wisdom because God helped them by having the Israelite ladies deliver their children (little boys) before the midwives could get there to help them.
Many other women in Scripture were tested to see if they would obey God or not. Like Esther, Miriam, Rahab and even in our modern days like Corrie ten Boom during the holocaust in World war II by helping Jews to escape We can find ourselves having to make tough decessions but do make them and go on with you lives. One of the remarkable things done in 2001 during the Afghanistan conflict as part of the war on terrorism was by two unknown female missionaries, Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry. They disobeyed strict rules of the Afghanistan government against preaching for Christ by showing a gospel video to a Muslim family. They were arrested along with six other missionaries and put in prison. They lived to tell about it but others are not always successfull and some are killed. These brave Christian missionaries counted the cost to spread the gospel for Christ. So, we should not be surprised if we too suffer hardship fo our efforts. Usually most of these courageous people are more than willing to suffer for Christ. There are groups like The Voice of the Martyrs, The Back to Jerusalem Church, and many other groups that have faithfully endured persecution in matters were their and our faith will be tested.
So, we should be thankful for women that do not always obey the rules. Mr. J. Lee Grady had a personal experience when he was a senior in high school and attended a Southern Baptist Church in Georgia. He remembers his Sunday School teacher who was a middle aged woman, named June who was told not to never to talk about her experience with the Holy Spirit. The pastor thought she was to radical in her faith, because of her dynamic prayer life. She heard God speak to her and she sometimes spoke in tongues. So, because her denomiations tradition did not endorse this Pentecostal phenomena, the pastor told her never to talk about these things in the Sunday School. But J. Lee Grady says, it gave him a whole newrelationship and way of looking at the Holy Spirit and Scriptures.
This happened to us in a Southern Baptist Sunday School, with a woman teacher, about the personality of the Holy Spirit being a female.* The minister came in, and though he didn't accuse me directly, I think he may have been after my wife who had told them that the Holy Spirit was a female. I also did the same thing recently and was about to add more to their understanding on this Sunday. I was about to iniroduce them to Walesia Robinson Cates, M.D.'s , awesome written book, "Holy Spirit MOTHER ...Because God is Family,"I guess he was afraid it would affect their Southern Bap[tist Doctrines. I had her book out on the table but after what he Said i just dropped it back into by brief case. You can probably find a copy on Amazon.com.
It was not yet time for them to undrstand this powerful relationship between the Holy Spirit and Her children. You see we had been using an article by a Messianic Rabbi who was explaining the role of the Holy Spirit from his Hebrew Scripture Bible, compared to the Greek texts. The minister seemed upset because he thought we were not using a King James Version. However, I had my King James Version and always read from it to show the comparison from the Old Testament and New Testament verses in Genesis 1:2 and John 3:5-8,16 about the Holy Spirit's ability to born us into the church in a similar way our own physical mothers born us into this world. Scriptures like Mattthew 1:20, Luke 1:30-35 discribe the Holy Spirit who conceived Jesus in Mary's womb, as our Heavenly Father overshadowed both of them as Jesus was placed through the Holy Spirit Mother to fertilize Mary's womb.
* Not everyone sees the Holy Spirit as our Mother God at this time. We have been blessed with this understanding, since, 1967. So do not be offended because we seem to be on different page than you. It's all a matter of time so keep close to Jesus's teachings in Genesis 1:2 and John 3:5-8,16, There are still many Christians that still use the "he" word for the Holy Spirit. Don't forget men begat and women conceive. Our Heavenly Father begot Jesus, John 3:16 and the Holy Spirit conceived Jesus in Mary's womb, Matthew 1:20 . We now who are grafted into the Body of Christ have been begotten by Our Heavenly Father and are born of the Holy Spirit as new borns of Abraham through his "Seed" Christ Jesus, as new born babes, Galatians 3:29.
*Do you remember what Jesus said to do in Matthew 10:26-27? - Fear them not therefore; for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that ye speak ye in the light; and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the house tops. Jesus told Nicodemus secretly and it has been taught to us here in Scripture, so we are more than ready to shout it from the roof tops of our house, John 3:1-3. This is why we do teach this wonderful good news about our Holy Spirit Mother- Ruach. HaKadosh.
Well, we tried to be bold as young lions, Proverbs 28:1! So, we never got to give them more details, and they must have been set against us in their hearts, so we have left for awhile. We are not mad at them but we see that their minds are closed to the teachings of the Holy Spirit by their obvious institutional patriarchal Southern Baptist Church doctrine. What new hope they could have had. But instead they are still stuck in a rut that has them blinded to some real truths by Jesus Christ, John 14:6. May God have mercy on that litttle congregation. We also must be carefull not to cast our precious pearls before people that are not ready for sound teachings to them, Matthew 7:6..
So, we stopped and are moving on to find a church that will listen, hopefully. We share a little inter-denominational Chinese- American Bible Study on Saturday which seems to be delighted with this good news. Especially our young Chinese, members both females and males.. Some of the Southern Baptist seem upset by our Bible Study about the Holy Spirit - Mother and the facts that women are like Her and they should step out with more faith. It should be interesting to see what will happen in this Sabbath Bible Study as we move on. So please pray for us that much good will come from our efforts.
Everyone of us will have different situations to tangle with so here are some guidelines for us to follow from Mr.J.Lee Grady. So keep the faith and endure all kinds of dissapointments but do not be sorry for trying, but do keep preaching the truths of God..
Guidelines for Consideration:
Perhaps your pastor has told you that you will never be allowed to teach from the pupit of your church. Perhaps you have beeen told that women will never serve as elders or deacons in your congegation. Perhaps you have expressed an interest in going to seminary or entering the pastorate, and your denomination has tried to steer you away from this plan because "woman can't be pastors." There are no pat answers to solve such dilemmas but these guidelines can be helpful:
1. Don't allow yourself to become bitter or critical. Never take it personally when a church leader tries to restrict your ministry or calling. If he is motivated by gender prejudice or by a limited doctrinal position, then you must have compassion on him. Pray for him regularly and ask God to bless him. Carefully watch your heart so that a root of bitterness does not spring up. If Satan can tempt you to harbor unforgivenes, then he can derail you.
Mr. Grady has met many women who felt called to ministry, but because they allowed an offense to grow in their hearts they became hardened and cynical. They began to view everything in life through the lens of their hurt. Even their demeanor became hard, angry and insensitive. God cannot use a person who is bitter, so don't even go there! You must reflect the love of Christ in your response to injustice or predjudice.
2. Ask the Holy Spirit for Her direction.
You have legitimate questions that need to be answered. So, should you leave your church since they have rules that restrict women? Or is God perhaps calling you to stay so that you can influence the situation from inside? Does God want you to be involved by some "holy shrewdness"? He may even want you to stay so that you can confront the leaders in a loving way, with Scripture.
You can't ever be sure what you will do until you surrender to God's will. Tell God you will obey Him, no matter the cost. Tell Him you will stay or go. Then watch and wait for His signals. God will make it clear by speaking to you, either through circumstances, through a Scripture, through the counsel of others or by hearing His voice during payer.
3. Don't place too much importance on the approval of church leaders.
People that enter the ministry must have a humble attitude and spirit, and we should never treat church leaders in a disrespectful way. But at the same time we cannot elevate leaders higher than God Himself. I know some women who are stifling their gifts and callings because they don't want to "rock the boat". They don't want pastors or other respectible people in church to think of them as being "out of order" or :troublemakers."
So, guess what? If you are a woman called to ministry, you are going to make trouble. You are going to upset religious people on a regular basis. Get used to it. You cannot care too much about what they think. The Bible says that the fear of man brings a snare (Proverbs 29:25). You will find yourself trapped and immobilized if you place too much value in other people's opinions of you. And no woman trapped in this snare will do anything worthwhile for God.
Billy Graham's daughter Anne Graham Lotz appeared on the Larry King Live program in 2001 to talk about her father and about his ministry. When King asked her if she worried about upsetting Southern Baptist leaders (who do not endorse women in senior leadership positions), Lotz fired back, "Larry i don't believe I am accountable to them."
Anne understood a important principle of ultimate accountability. You too must understand that you are first and foremost accountable to God for the spiritual gifts He has entrusted to you. If you bury them just because a pastor told you to be quiet, will God accept that as a valid excuse?
4. If you leave your church, keep a positive and loving attitude toward those who rejected you.
Mr. Grady knows many women who had to leave their denomination eventually because their ministries are not recognized. One woman was told she could not be a pastor in the Church of God in Christ, the largest black Pentecostal denomination in the United States. So she joined a denomination that does ordain women, and today she has a two-thousand - member church in Virginia that is transforming the inner city and reaching drug adicts, single moms and underprivilileged youth.
He also knows another Church of God in Christ woman, who employed a bit of "holy shrewdness" to find her place in the ministry. She asked her father, who was a bishop in the denomination, to ordain her even when this was against the rules. He defied the presiding bishop's board and ordained his daughter because he believed he was right and they were wrong. Eventually his daughter's church became highly successful even though the elders of the denomination no longer welcomed her into their fold, and she never spoke a negative word against the men who rejected her.
If you move on God's blessing will more than likely move on with you as long as you continue to trust him. But don't curse people who oppose you. Don't speak ill of those who did not recognize your gifts. At least you were given a foundation to build upon, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. Keep the lines of communication open to those who rejected you. One day they may ask for reconciliation.
5. Make sure you surround yourself with godly counselors and mentors.
Don't allow yourself to have an independant spirit. This can be a serious temptation, especially if people you have trusted in ministry end up betraying you.. But if you don't stay humble, you are setting yourself up for a troublesome fall later. Pride will always lead you down the wrong path.
You should be able to find a place to become a minister if this is what you want to be. If you want support you may have to leave your denomination and it's traditions for a more egalitarian one. God will provide you with an opportunity to grow and meet other like minded Christians. So allow them into your life but be careful that they are following the teachings of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ pertaining to woman in His ministry of equality.
We agree with J. Lee Grady. that you ladies should join Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE). This organization exist to promote reformation in the church and greater acceptance of women in ministry. They are Bible supported with many scholars both men and women. CBE provides conferences, an online bookstore, a quarterly journal callled Priscilla Papers and other good resources for people who want to share their passion to empower other women for service. You can check our link to them to get their facts about Biblical Equality
You are never alone in this struggle to advance the gospel for Jesus Christ.
God knows your needs. God the Father calls us and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will work with you. God is now calling many women along with many men for a strong witness, and knows your dilemma and who would like to be with you in His Church. We all need encouragement. by working together as equal co-workers like the apostle Paul had with all those women and men that worked with him in, Romans 16:1-23, 24 - The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all..
Question #25 - Don't Give Up on the Church
I quit going to church because the leaders are so prejudiced agains women. They won't let us serve in any capacity, so why bother? Is there hope that the church will change its views?
This is the final 25th Tough Question that Mr. J. Lee Grady answers for us.. Well, he says women have had to put up with all kinds of prejudice and injustices in the church. The truth is that women in previous generations faced even tougher challlenges. Despite the bleakness of anything changing these women never stopped trying to over come all the obsticles that Satan through men has placed in their ways to speak and preach for Christ. Some gave their lives as the ultimate price to serve God's Word to a decrepit world that wanted none of God's truths in a pagan world devised by a wrathful Devil.
They kept the faith so should you!
Our lives here in the USA are a lot easier, though in many other countries not to much has changed for most women of Africa, Asia, India,and Moslem countries. The history of the Church is filled with examples of women of faith who held on to hope that someday if they presevered thing will change. We have some very fine examples in Mr. Grady's last question not to quit. We have Amanda Smith,, Mary McLeod Bethune who were born slaves but were able to overcome some immense circumstances that should have dampened their spirits. They, like Malla Moe, another servant lady, served where they were when they pursued to give their lives in service to God's work even when male prejudice against their color and their gender should have worked against them. We must face it, the Holy Spirit will use you just like these women to move God's word forward. So please do not quit as Mr.J. Lee Grady exhorts you to be patient with the church. and expect resistance. You may eventually affect some to come to a better understanding..
Though these churchs seem filled with Phariseism in its worst form, women still need to witness to them on a regular basis. It may cost suffering and pain but the Holy Spirit will work with you to open new doors when necassary. The Devil wants you to quit but you may just have to prevail a little longer for a new door to open for you. God's plan is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ through His church. Maybe the church you are in is not His church but it could be changed with you teaching them God's truths about Biblical equality. You can have hope because they are probably not aware that they are the children of Israel gone astray but God is reaching out to them through you to seek God's real truths and to get ready for Christ's return, Jeremiah 30:7-9. God will eventually break their yoke of bondage to Satan's deranged patriarchal system that has hidden the truths about who they are and what our genders really need. You can be one of God's secret weapons to over throw Satan's kingdom. So, silence is not our calling but to step out in faith with God's powerful witness as part of God's Great Commission.. There are times when things seem slow but you must prevail as an instrument for God to open their eyes.
The Promise of Female Prophets
Long ago God foretold through the prophet Joel 2:28-29, that They would send both men and women to preach the gospel in all the world as a witness. This began to be fulfilled in Acts 2:17-18 at the first Pentecost. Many women were called by God and Christ to preach the gospel in all the world as a big witness, Acts 1:8. Now, this is not the time to be timid. Now is the time for women to be revoluntionaries as God's prophets today before Christ returns. The world will still try to scare you and restrict you from doing your part but the Holy Spirit will help you to prevail as God's women did in the first century in a Roman enviroment.
This promise says: And it will come after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. And even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days, Joel 2:28-29
This promise was filled when woman like Priscilla, Phoebe, Junia, Nimpha, Mary, Martha, Blandina and Perpetua stepped out in faith in those centuries. It wasn't easy then and many were martyred for Christ's spoken truths. We can expect the same thing but don't quit because our rewards far out weigh the persecutions that will come our way. Joel was fulfilled in a greater way in the1800's when an army of European women responded to the Great Commission to take the gospel to Asia and Africa. So, what about this twenty-first century? Mr. Grady believes the prophet's promise will have its most significant fulfillment in this generation, as women in every region of the world are more fully equipped and released to prophesy.
The Promise of a "Great Company" of Women Ministers
Mr. Grady points out that Psalm 68:11 is a curious verse, because it is worded so differently in various translations. The New International Version says, "The Lord announced the word, and great was the company of those who proclaimed it." Yet scholars concede that it should be translated this way: "God giveth the Word: the woman that publshed the tidings are a great host."
He also shows us that there was a great promise from the Old Testament that one day a great company of women will be involved in the proclamation of God's truth. When this Psalm was written, women were bought and sold like property and treated like animals. Yet, king David, by the Holy Spirit's inspiration, saw a glorious day ahead when males and females would be set free into the glorious liberty of the children of God so that they might inherit His covenant blessings and carry the gospel into all the world.
If you will notice this verse says that God gives the Word. This is an emerging, End-Time company of women ministers who will not be sent by men or commanded by their own power or ability but my the Holy Spirit. These women will not go on their own agenda, nor will their ordination be the results of a political or social movement. It is the Work of God. He will open the doors for them, and He will send them with the power of the Holy Spirit. And no man or religious tradition will be able to stop them, Zechariah 4:6.
The Promise of Victory to the Women's "Seed"
In the Genesis account of man's fall into sin, we are told that God cursed the Serpent and then warned him of his ultimate fate which was curiously linked to the woman whom the devil had deceived. God said to Satan: And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed: she shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel, Genesis 3:15.
This is the first prophecy in the Bible that represents the glorious promise that one day a Messiah would come to earth, born of a virgin, and strip the devil of all his power. And because God planned to use a frail teenage girl the Virgin Mary, to bring forth the promised Redeemer, the Bible says, an unusual hostility would be aimed at women by Satan's forces.
Mr. Grady shows us that this was the case. Now since the Garden of Eden, Satan has targeted women. In every culture on this planet they have endured untold oppression, injustice and abuse. Why? Because the devil fears what may happen to him if women unite against him. If the Virgin Mary could give birth to Jesus Christ and destroy the kingdom of darkness, what will an army of women, overshadowed by the miraculous shadows of our Father and the Holy Spirit do to his demonic forces in this hour, John 3:5-8,16.
Here is something very interesting that Mr Grady says, about Argentinean evangelist Ed Silvoso. He likes to call woman "God's secret weapons." He suggest that Satan fears what women will one day do to him: "The devil knows that God does not lie - what God promises always comes to pass, (1 Thessalonians 5:24). This is why Satan has spent centuries belittling women and weaving a web of lies into a formidable worldwide network of oppression to hold them down. He knows that when women find out who they really are, his evil kingdom will come to an abrupt end. He cannot afford to have women walking upight. He desperately needs to keep them down."
God's promise is that women will share in this victory. They will not just watch the battle from the sidelines; they will be actively involved in this great spiritual conflict. So if you have been called into the Lord's Army, don't give up if you feel you have been marginalized or mistreated. Many women have paid a higher price already then you have, their good examples can give you hope. Be lights to deceived men and forgive them, Matthew 5:14-16.
This is God's perfect vengeance. The woman who was doomed by the devil will one day be instrumental in his ultimate defeat. It seems as if the last grand battle with the dragon, that Mr. Grady makes it clear in Scriptures, that Jesus crushed the serpent's head. In the same way the ministries that come forth from anointed women in the End-Times is reserved for women who will drive a spike through Satan's skull, just as the maiden Jael did when she drove a tent peg through the temple of the enemy commander, Sisera, (Judges 4:22-23).
This promise of God is that God wants you women to share in God's victory! Again, woman, will not just watch the battle from the sidelines; they will be actively involved in this spiritual confict. So being called by God now you are part of God's Army,. So don't give up, you are just getting started. You may feel margenaized or maltreated by Pharissical men of the world's religions but God will correct this wrong through Jesus Christ as he will rebukes those that were nasty to you for their short sightedness about women called to be used by God, Matthew 7:15-24. So keep trying to do the best that you can do now. There is a high reward for those that suffer for Christ and you may be expected to give your life for Him.
We hope that you enjoyed this last group of Tough Question (17-25) from J.Lee Grady's book, "25 Tough Questions About Women and the Church". Hold on to your promise like he exhorts us to do . Jesus wants your help and He and the Holy Spirit will give you the courage and help that you need to break through the obstacles that stand in your way. Remember, your enemy is Satan the devil not men, churches, or denominations. Yes, they are deceived but be willing to forgive them. Show nothing but love to those deceived men and women. God never said we would not be persecuted and resisted for what we teach and preach. Trust God, who will open the doors for your witness to them on his timetable.
Oh, please don't forget to check our link to Christians for Biblical Equaliy. CBE has Mr. J. Lee Grady's very inspiring DVD there for you titled, Why the Devil Hates Women in the Ministry, and see how you can learn a new way to do your nails.
Do as the apostle Paul encourages us to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:14-25., "Now we exhort you, brothers and sister, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble minded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man, but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men and women. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Depise not prophesying. Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. and the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that called you, who will also will do it.
Sisters and brothers in Christ we pray for you, so pray for us too. Amen.
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