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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Women in the ministry

           First some history: God tried to call two different men to do his work, they refused.  Here are their stories.
           William E. Foy, a member of the Freewill Baptist Church, who was preparing for the ministry, was given two visions in Boston in 1842—one on January 18 and the other on February 4. In the first of these revelations, Foy viewed the glorious reward of the faithful and the punishment of sinners. Not being instructed to relate to others what was shown him, he told no one of his vision; but he had no peace of mind. In the second revelation he witnessed the multitudes of earth arraigned before heaven's bar of judgment; a “mighty angel” with silver trumpet in hand about to descend to earth by “three steps;” the books of record in heaven; the coming of Christ and the reward of the faithful. He was bidden, “Thou must reveal those things which thou hast seen, and also warn thy fellow creatures to flee from the wrath to come.”—The Christian Experience of Wm. E. Foy, Together With the Two Visions He Received (1845). Two days after this revelation he was requested by the pastor of the Bloomfield Street church in Boston to relate the visions.  Although he was a fluent speaker, he reluctantly complied, fearing that the general prejudice against visions, and the fact that he was a mulatto, would make his work difficult. The “large congregation assembled” was spellbound, and with this initial encouragement, Foy traveled three months, delivering his message to “crowded houses.” Then to secure means to support his family, he left public work for a time, but, finding “no rest day nor night,” he took it up again. Ellen Harmon, when but a girl, heard him speak at Beethoven Hall in Portland, Maine. (Interview of D. E. Robinson with Mrs. E. G. White, 1912. White Publications, D.F. 231.) Near the time of the expectation in 1844, according to J. N. Loughborough, Foy was given a third vision in which were presented three platforms, which he could not understand in the light of his belief in the imminent coming of Christ, and he ceased public work. (The Great Second Advent Movement, pages 146, 147.) It so happened that a short time after this, Foy was present at a meeting in which Ellen Harmon related her first visions. She did not know that he was present until he interrupted with a shout, and exclaimed that it was just what he had seen. (D.F. 231.) Foy did not live long after this.

Hazen Foss


            Near the time of the expected advent in the fall of 1844, there was also given to Hazen Foss, a young Adventist of talent, a revelation of the experience of the advent people. Shortly after the passing of the time, he was bidden to relate the vision to others, but this he was disinclined to do. He was warned of God as to the consequences of failing to relate to others what had been revealed to him, and was told that if he refused, the light would be given to someone else. But he felt very keenly the disappointment of 1844, and “said that he had been deceived.” After a severe mental conflict, he “decided he would not relate the visions.” Then, “very strange feelings came to him, and a voice said, ‘You have grieved away the Spirit of the Lord.’”—E. G. White Letter 37, 1890. “Horrified at his stubbornness and rebellion,” he “told the Lord that he would relate the vision,” but when he attempted to do so before a company of believers, he could not call it to mind. In vain were his attempts to call up the scenes as they had been shown to him; and then in deep despair he exclaimed, “It is gone from me; I can say nothing, and the Spirit of the Lord has left me.” Eyewitnesses described it as “the most terrible meeting they were ever in.”—Ibid.
           Early in 1845, Foss overheard Ellen Harmon relate her first vision to the company of believers at Portland, Maine. He recognized her account as a description of what was shown to him. Upon meeting her the next morning, he recounted his experience, of which she had not before known, and encouraged her to faithfully perform her work, stating: “I believe the visions are taken from me and given to you. Do not refuse to obey God, for it will be at the peril of your soul. I am a lost man. You are chosen of God; be faithful in doing your work, and the crown I might have had, you will receive.”—Ibid. On comparing dates, they discovered that it was not until after he had been told that the visions were taken from him, that Ellen Harmon was given her first revelation. Although Hazen Foss lived till 1893, he never again manifested interest in matters religious. (Arthur L. White in Ellen G. White, Messenger to the Remnant, pages 29, 30.)
           Here is Ellen White's description of Foss's experience: Washington, D.C. December 22, 1890.
Dear Sister Mary Foss:
            “I wrote to you a few days ago, and now another matter comes up. Elder Loughborough is writing me, asking if I know of any one now alive who was present at the meeting I have mentioned held at MacGuire's Hill, where I related the first visions I had. You know Hazen Foss had visions once. He was firm in the faith that Christ would come in 1844. He interpreted the visions given him in harmony with his belief that time would close in 1844. After the time passed, he was told by the Lord to relate the visions to others. But he was too proud spirited to do this. He had a severe conflict, and then decided he would not relate the visions. The people had assembled to hear him, but he refused. The first vision given to me while in Portland, Maine, was right after this decision. I had three visions, and was then bidden to relate these to others. At this time your husband, Mr. Foss, came to our house in Portland in a sleigh, and said that Mary was anxious that Ellen should visit her. I thought that this was an opening from the Lord. I was in feeble health; my lungs were diseased; I was spitting blood. But I decided to go with your husband. As I could not bear the cold air, I sat in the bottom of the sleigh, with the buffalo robe over my head. I had not spoken in a loud voice for some time. After I arrived at Poland, you said that there was to be a meeting at MacGuire's Hill, and asked me to go. I went with you and your husband. There, that night, I stood upon my feet to relate the testimony given me of God. For above five minutes I labored to speak, and then everything broke away, and my voice was as clear as a bell, I talked for about two hours. I knew nothing of the experience Hazen Foss had been passing through. In this meeting the power of the Lord came upon me and upon the people. The next day I had related to me the exercises of Hazen Foss. I was told by one, in the presence of a room full, that they had urged Hazen Foss to tell them the things which the Lord had shown him. He had been greatly disappointed that the Lord did not come in '44. He said that he had been deceived, and he refused to obey the promptings of the Spirit of God. After having plainly declared that he would not go from place to place and relate the visions God had given him, very strange feelings came to him, and a voice said, ‘You have grieved away the Spirit of the Lord.’ He was horrified at his stubbornness and rebellion, and told the Lord that he would relate the vision. The Lord had told him that if he refused, He would give the light to someone else, and when he attempted to relate the vision, his mind could not grasp it. He tried and tried to relate it, but he said, ‘It is gone from me; I can say nothing, and the Spirit of the Lord has left me.’ Those who gave a description of that meeting said it was the most terrible meeting they were ever in. The next morning, I met Hazen Foss. Said he, ‘Ellen, I want to speak with you. The Lord gave me a message to bear to His people, and I refused after being told the consequences. I was proud; I was unreconciled to the disappointment. I murmured against God, and wished myself dead. Then I felt a strange feeling come over me. I shall be henceforth as one dead to spiritual things. I heard you talk last night. I believe the visions are taken from me, and given to you. Do not refuse to obey God, for it will be at the peril of your soul. I am a lost man. You are chosen of God; be faithful in doing your work, and the crown I might have had, you will receive." http://www.whiteestate.org/books/pay/PAYaxA.html#sth7
           Thus within nineteenth-century Adventism one finds strong anti-slavery actions, women licensed as ministers, and health reform principles that included abolition of alcohol and tobacco within the membership. http://www.adventist.org/world-church/facts-and-figures/history/  
           The Bible tells of a few women who were called to the prophetic office. Both Old and New Testament incidents reveal that women were not excluded from a place among those who served as spokesmen for God. Let us discover the time when each of these women served, the nature of her work, the results of her activities, and the manner in which her work was received. http://www.whiteestate.org/books/pay/PAYc07.html
           Miriam. Three times we glimpse the life of the first woman mentioned as a prophetess. “Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath He not spoken also by us?” Numbers 12:2 
            Deborah. This time the judge was a woman, and she is designated not only as judge, but as a prophetess. “And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.” Judges 4:4. Deborah served in a prominent position, for men and women came from many parts of Israel to consult her about their problems and to obtain judgment.  
          Huldah.“So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess; … and they communed with her.” 2 Kings 22:14. For them to inquire of the Lord signified to inquire of the prophet, and in this case they turned to a woman to make their inquiry. The interest in this incident is heightened when we realize that by this time Jeremiah had been a prophet in Judah for five years. Compare 2 Kings 22:3 and Jeremiah 1:2. Huldah was held in high esteem by the king and the important delegation he sent to her.
           Noadiah. In Nehemiah 6:14  My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works, and the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have made me afraid.
            Isaiah's wife.Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said to me, “Call his name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz; Isaiah 8:3
           Anna. Luke 2:36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
           Philip's daughters. Acts21:8 On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.
           "A direct necessity is being met by the work of women who have given themselves to the Lord and are reaching out to help a needy, sin-stricken people. Personal evangelistic work is to be done. The women who take up this work carry the gospel to the homes of the people in the highways and the byways. They read and explain the word to families, praying with them, caring for the sick, relieving their temporal necessities. They present before families and individuals the purifying, transforming influence of the truth. They show that the way to find peace and joy is to follow Jesus.
           All who work for God should have the Martha and the Mary attributes blended—a willingness to minister and a sincere love of the truth. Self and selfishness must be put out of sight. God calls for earnest women workers, workers who are prudent, warmhearted, tender, and true to principle. He calls for persevering women who will take their minds from self and their personal convenience, and will center them on Christ, speaking words of truth, praying with the persons to whom they can obtain access, laboring for the conversion of souls.
           Oh, what is our excuse, my sisters, that we do not devote all the time possible to searching the Scriptures, making the mind a storehouse of precious things, that we may present them to those who are not interested in the truth? Will our sisters arise to the emergency? Will they work for the Master?" Testimonies for the Church Volume 6, Page 118
           Despite our limited knowledge of them and their activities, several vital points are apparent. While they are fewer in number than the male prophets, yet there is every reason to believe that their sex caused no distinction to be made in their prophetic function. They are pictured as leading the nation, explaining the Scriptures, counseling leaders, and making predictions. They were recognized as God's spokesmen, and their testimonies were accepted as the messages of Jehovah. http://www.whiteestate.org/books/pay/PAYc07.html

http://www.circleofchristianwomen.com/women_pastors.htm



Y C X S N H P C D A Z Q
C L J S E U U Y Z G O D
A I T E V B Y S E E D Q
N V M T E E N O B A T Z
N E P E S B Z L K A R Q
A D C H Y I Q E O A N S
I R T P W R H U U S P D
S M A O I T L N Y E C E
T Y E R J X L A F R D E
L Y R P R E T H G U A D
V I G R G J C P Y D E F
T S R A E Y N N P U A I
age
lived
Anna
Phanuel
prophetess
daughter
seven
great
tribe
husband
years
Acts 2:36



 
 

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