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Women in the Ministry #6

WELCOME TO MESSAGE #6 of our series entitled “Women In The Ministry”. What part do women play in the churches today or in the Body of Christ? What part do they play? This is the question we’ve been asking, and we have found out that a lot of people are all mixed up because of a misunderstanding of Scripture.

     On one hand you have the school of thought which teaches that women can’t say anything in Church; they must remain silent, and they have no ministry. Their job is to take care of their husband, raise the kids, feed the preacher when he comes over and so on and so forth. Then on the other hand you have people who have a little more light on the subject. They believe that women can’t really teach and preach above the men, but they can pray and prophesy, they can sing, and they can even teach Sunday school. But when it comes to the heavy duty Word of God, it’s the preacher man that does it all.


“We have found out that a lot of people are all mixed up because of a misunderstanding of Scripture.”


     Then finally you have those people who have studied this subject in depth, like we have, and who have found out that women are a very special species, because she came out of the heart of God and out of the side of man, and she represents and depicts a part of God. And when you deny her a position in life and in the ministry, you’re denying God. For years we have fought for women’s rights, in the true sense of the word. We’ve stuck to our guns that women are not underdogs, they’re not inferior, they’re not lesser, they’re not weaker in terms of their relationship with God.

     Women have a place and they have a ministry in the work of God. Through the years there have been many great women of God. There are many great women in the Bible who were used greatly of God along with the men. So the question we have been asking is, “Is it true that women are to remain silent in the Church, and if so, who says so?” There are women who are in bondage to this “keep silent” doctrine all over the world. For generations and generations and generations, they’ve been in bondage to the idea that women have no place in the ministry, or even in the affairs of society in general. Even the practicing pagans have taken certain Scriptures out of the Bible and have used them to oppress their women for centuries, even though they don’t believe in Christianity. Some way, somehow, people all over the world have come to believe that women are dogs, and that they are inferior and should only be used as sex objects and servants.

     We’re looking for the perfect balance, and we’re going to discover it in these messages. It is really liberating when you study this subject out in the light of Scripture and you look up the Greek and Hebrew words. And we need to approach this subject with an open mind, ready to accept what the Spirit of God would reveal to us. In this message, to start off, I’m going to go back, once again, to the statement in I Corinthians 14:34-35 to give even more ample proof that Paul never made that statement which basically says that women are to keep silent in the Church. Paul never said it, and God didn’t say it either.

     Let’s go to I Corinthians chapter 14 and read our text, and then we’ll go back and get a little background on it. Verse 34 says, “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 35: “And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

     You know it’s often puzzled me why, if someone was teaching a message, the women couldn’t listen and learn as well as anybody else. Why did they have to go home and ask their husbands everything that was said? Didn’t they have any brains to think on their own? These are some more questions we need to ask ourselves. For example, if you are a woman and you are reading this message right now, don’t you have enough brains to think about what I’m saying? Can’t you learn on your own, or do you have to go home and ask your husband what I was saying? Isn’t that kind of ridiculous?

     It also says, “for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” The question I want to ask is, who says it’s a shame? Who says so? I’ll tell you who, it was the Jewish tradition that said it was a shame for women to speak in the Church! The truth is that Paul would have never said it was a shame, because in I Corinthians chapter 11 Paul said it was good for women to pray and prophesy in the Church, as we have said, which meant they opened their mouths. And you can find other Scriptures in the New Testament where Paul commanded them to sing in the Spirit. Remember, he said that when you come together, some of you will have a song, some of you will have a hymn or spiritual song. And these hymns and songs always contained a message, which meant that if the women were allowed to bring forth their hymns and spiritual songs that they were delivering a message, and that’s just like preaching the Gospel. So it is foolish to think that Paul would come along later in the same letter and dictate silence to the women in the Church.

     Then it goes on in verse 36 and says, “What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?” Who is Paul talking to? Is he talking to the women? Is he talking to the Church? Is he talking about himself and the statement that he just made? Is he rebuking himself? We can find the answer in verse 37. It says, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” Obviously some men from the Corinthian church had written Paul a letter asking him to clarify the issue of women in the Church, because some so-called prophet had told them that women must remain silent. So what Paul was actually doing at the end of chapter 14 was answering the Corinthian’s question concerning the Jewish traditions which were trying to pass themselves off as the Word of the Lord. Many people who don’t understand this believe that Paul is confirming verses 34 and 35 when he says “let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” in verse 37. This is an easy assumption to make when you don’t read verse 36 because it may seem to follow logically, but it is false. The commandments concerning women in verses 34 and 35 WERE NOT something which Paul had ever written the Corinthians but they were something which the Corinthians had written to Paul, in asking him to clear up the controversy. And in answering their question, Paul restated the controversial (false) commandments as part of his reply. That’s all.

     Let’ s go back and start in I Corinthians chapter 1. We’ll go back to the very beginning and ask ourselves why Paul even wrote I Corinthians. What is the essence of the epistle? Why did Paul even write to the Corinthians? One point we need to consider is that the Corinthian church was mostly made up of Gentile converts, which meant that they were not familiar with all the Jewish traditions. Now even though the majority were Gentiles, obviously there were some Jewish converts who were trying to carry over their traditions from Judaism and force them on the ignorant Corinthian Gentiles. This point is most important, and it is vital that we grasp what was going on between the Jews and the Gentiles in the Corinthian church. If we can understand that Paul was not legislating doctrine but that he was settling a dispute which had risen over Jewish traditions, it will become clear what Paul was talking about in I Corinthians chapter 14.

     The Jewish converts were trying to bring their traditions into the Christian Church and Paul said, “NO! You’re not bringing Jewish traditions into the Church of Jesus Christ because the Jews have rejected our Messiah!” God canceled out the traditions of men and He brought in a whole new order with Jesus Christ.

     In I Corinthians chapter 1 verse 11 it says, “For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.” Alright, point number 1—it was declared unto Paul that there were contentions in the Corinthian church. Then he goes on in verse 12: “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” Obviously there were contentions and divisions in the Corinthian church. Some men liked Paul as a teacher, some men liked Apollos as a teacher, and some men liked other men as their teachers. They were divided on who really had the true Word of God and they had contention going on and division. And how many know that when you’ve got contention and division you’ve got disagreements and problems? So we’re dealing with a troubled church. That’s a springboard. Paul is responding to them because they had problems. Paul is dealing with a mixture in people’s beliefs. He was dealing with people of different backgrounds. All these things have got to be considered when you study the Scriptures. Many times you can’t just read your Bible and say, “Oh, that’s what it meant.” You’ve got to go back and study the circumstances surrounding the events.

     Alright, chapter 7, verse 1, it says, “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” This is an important point we need to go over. If you go back and study the way they wrote letters in the very early days, what they did was when they were writing back to a person, they restated the subject matter in their reply. In this instance what they wrote to him was, “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” Some people believe that it was Paul making that statement as a rule—“It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” If a man isn’t supposed to touch a woman, how were people going to have babies and fill the earth? How dumb can we get? Paul is the one that laid out the order in the Church about men and women, and he did not contradict himself or the rest of Scripture. If Paul had made that statement as a cardinal doctrine then he would be defeating the purposes of God because the Church is a picture of a bride and a husband producing children.

     Then in verse 2 Paul goes on to give them his answer to their question: “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” Now I don’t see anything here where Paul is expressing that men are superior to women. What Paul was saying was that the woman is to give to the man and the man in turn is to give right back to the woman. This is a very good example of what I am trying to explain. The Corinthians wrote Paul with several questions and statements regarding Church operations, and in answering their questions and correcting their errors he starts out by restating what they had written to him.

     Going on down to verse 25 it says, “Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgement, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.” Earlier in chapter 7 he dealt with married couples and now he is coming over here and dealing with questions concerning virgins. Then he goes on to give them advice regarding that subject. Obviously he is dealing with the roles of men and women in regards to each other. I would like to note that Paul spends all of chapter 7 answering questions concerning the things which they had written him about men and women and marriage. He must have felt it important enough to warrant an entire chapter of explanation. Paul wanted to make sure that the Corinthians had a clear understanding in these areas, and he also knew how easily false doctrine could creep in and beguile ignorant Christians. But yet we do not find one place where Paul says that men are superior to women and that men are to be the absolute rulers over their wives.  

     Moving on to chapter 8 he begins by saying, “Now as touching things offered unto idols...” So far he has touched on the questions of sex and virgins and now he is moving to another subject which the Corinthians obviously wanted to know about.



“The Corinthians wrote Paul with several questions and statements regarding Church operations, and in answering their questions and correcting their errors he starts out by restating what they had written to him.”


     In the following verses Paul goes on to explain and exhort about idols and idolatry, and the points that he made are good to this day. We should not eat food offered unto idols. When you go into certain restaurants you’ll find that they have offered their food unto idols, and when you eat it you’re partaking of that idolatry and you’ll bring a curse upon you. That’s why it’s good for Christians to pray over their food. We should make it a habit to pray over our food that God would bless and sanctify it.

     Going on to chapter 9 we read that Paul deals with the question of his Apostleship, because obviously there were Gnostics and Jews and lots of other men that did not believe he was an Apostle. He starts out by saying, “Am I not an apostle?” and he is defending himself against those who were questioning his authority. Then we go on to chapter 11 where he deals with the subject of head coverings. This is another subject which they had written to Paul about with questions, and he takes time in chapter 11 to break through their traditions, which is a whole teaching in itself. Then we go on to chapter 12 where we find Paul starting out again with the phrase “Now concerning...”, stating, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.” Then he goes into a long exhortation on spiritual gifts.

     The reason I’m taking time to go over these different points is so that you can see that almost the entire letter of I Corinthians was spent in explaining things, answering questions and exposing Jewish traditions which had the Corinthians all confused.

     I want to turn right now to Acts chapter 15. It says in verse 1, “And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” Now this point does tie in to the question of whether or not women should be silent in the Church. Once again, I’m trying to show you that there were troublemakers, there were unbelievers, there were people that challenged Paul’s Apostleship and authority. It says, “And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren and said, Except ye be circumcised...” These men where trying to force the new Christians to obey the Old Law, and Paul was not going to stand for it. He was not going to sit by and watch as the fruit for which he had labored was corrupted by Jewish traditions which Jesus nullified at His death.

     Now circumcision was a law that was given under Moses, carried down from Abraham, and God instituted laws that were right for that time and circumstance. Circumcision was a cutting away of excess flesh, which was a shadow and type of better things to come. What were the better things to come? Cutting away of the excess flesh from your heart, instead of off of your physical bodies. You see, in the physical, only men can be circumcised, so where does that leave the women? But circumcision of the heart deals with men and women. We’ve all got carnal, fleshly hearts that God wants to cut away, symbolically speaking. He’s not going to go in with an actual scalpel and cut away at your physical heart. No, what He is going to cut is in the spirit.

     The Jewish converts in the Corinthian church were trying to set back up the dead ordinances of the Law regarding circumcision, and they only partially understood that Christ had brought in a New Order, a spiritual order. They wanted to have the best of both Old and New, just to play it safe. They believed in Jesus but they also wanted to be circumcised, and that is where Paul stepped in to straighten things out.



“...almost the entire letter of I Corinthians was spent in explaining things, answering questions and exposing Jewish traditions which had the Corinthians all confused.


     This situation reminds me of the denominational Apostolic Church’s doctrine we find today which teaches that you can’t be saved unless you’re baptized in water first. How ridiculous! If that were true then Christ would have drowned for our sins rather than hung on the cross and poured out His blood. The Apostolics, as they call themselves, have made a twisted cardinal doctrine out of baptism. Yes, they teach that you’ve got to be baptized in water before you can be saved, and they don’t even take time to study it out, and they condemn people to Hell over their doctrine, and they think they’re the only ones that are saved and the rest of us are not saved because we accepted the blood first and then we were baptized in water. They say it’s the water first and the blood second. NO! Christ died by the way of the cross, His blood ran out for us.

     Yes, I agree, baptism is right, yet it is only symbolic. The water doesn’t save you, it just gets you wet. But the blood of Jesus Christ will not only cleanse you, but it will make you a new creature. It will wash away your sins and rejuvenate you. And the Scripture in Hebrews doesn’t say that without baptism there is no remission of sins; it says that without the shedding of BLOOD there is no remission of sin. The reason I wanted to bring this up is because it is similar to what was happening in Paul’s day. The Jewish converts were insisting on circumcision as a prerequisite to salvation, when in reality, the physical circumcision was only a symbolic rite, and moreover it was fulfilled in Christ and thereby annulled. God wants a spiritual circumcision of our carnal nature.

     Going back to Acts chapter 15, reading in verse 2: “When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain other of them should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.” Brother, they argued and they contended for the faith. They didn’t just take whatever came along as the truth, because they knew better. This was no small matter going on in the early days of the Church. So many Christians had and many have all kinds of problems because they don’t understand Christ.

     In Paul’s day there was a great stirring up, there were great contentions, divisions and arguments over doctrine. There were debates, and the debates have not stopped today. We still have men and women that absolutely can’t see. Their eyes are blinded to the truth and they are so dogmatic when it comes to the subject of women in the ministry. They use I Corinthians 14:34-35 to justify their false doctrines. They always yell, “Paul said...Paul said...”, but what they don’t understand is that Paul was relaying to us what somebody had written to him. And they can’t grasp this subject because they’re baptized in ignorance. They’re baptized in ignorance and they don’t want to change, because if they change they have to admit they’re wrong, and their pride won’t allow them to admit they’re wrong, because if they admit they’re wrong then they have to admit that they really weren’t in tune with God like they claim they are. So when it comes to this subject of women in the ministry, we are dealing with ignorance and pride.

     Now I want to go to one last Scripture in Galatians chapter 3, starting in verse 26: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Now listen to me, if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Messiah, and you repent of your sins and you become born-again by faith, you are the children of God by Christ Jesus. He birthed you. Then he goes on in verse 27, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” It didn’t say baptized into water, it said baptized into Christ. Christ was the Word. You need to be baptized into Christ. Christ was the Word, He was the water, the water of the Word. Then it says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Now if we were to take this Scripture literally as some would like to do, we could say there is no male or female. Well, obviously, I can look at men and women and I can tell the difference between male and female. But if I wanted to take it literally without studying it out, I could say there is no difference between men and women, and I would be ignorant. But that is exactly what so many Christians do when they insist that Paul teaches that men are superior to women and that women should be silent in the Church! They fail to study the background and find out exactly what Paul is saying. Instead they continue on in their ignorance, denying women their place in the ministry and doing great damage to the Body of Christ.