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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Women in Ministry



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
Aser
prophetess
daughter
seven
great
tribe
husband
years

Luke 2:36
                There is a touchy subject that I want to tackle today; and that is the subject of women in the ministry.  Now stay with me on this.  The question is should we have women preachers?  My answer might surprise you.  I say no...not usually.  Let me explain.  It is a fact that men hear things better when it comes from another man.  In fact, I would dare to believe that as long as the man is a godly man, women probably would listen to a man better than she would another woman.  That being said, is there a place for a women to be preaching?  YES.  Why can I say both no and yes? There is undoubtable Biblical evidence for the man to be the head of the household and by extension the leader or pastor of the church.  We look at texts in the Bible such as Genesis 3:16 "Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." and the very controversial 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 " 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. 35 And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."  This verse has been explained by some this way:  Back in Biblical times the women sat in the balconies and thus had to shout to ask their husbands questions.  This would have created some chaos with different people shouting back and forth.  While I can accept this explanation there are others who cannot.  The reason that I accept this as the best explanation is that the rest of the chapter is talking about only one person speaking at a time and if they speak in tongues someone should interpret.  Thus the main idea of the chapter is to reduce chaos in the sanctuary.
            For those that maybe will still not accept that explanation let's explore the Bible a little further.  Our scripture reading for today is found in the Book of Acts chapter 2 and verses 17 and 18, which reads: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon ALL flesh: and your sons AND your DAUGHTERS shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:"  These verses are quoted from the book of Joel chapter 2 verses 28-29 "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit"  The wording is almost the same!  So a prophet, in Biblical times was God's chosen messenger or "preacher".  Let's take a look at some Biblical examples and then a modern day example.
            In order Biblically there are at least six women called prophetesses in the Bible.  Miriam is listed in Exodus 15:20 "And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances." Deborah is mentioned in Judges 4:4 "And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.  Huldah is mentioned third in 2 Kings 22:14 "So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her."  Fourth is Noadiah, which seems actually to be a false "prophetess" according to Nehemiah 6:14 "My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear."  These people were trying to stop the Jews from rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.  The fifth one isn't even listed by her name, she is the wife of Isaiah the prophet and she can be found in the book of Isaiah 8:3 "And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the Lord to me, Call his name Maher–shalal–hash–baz."  The last woman in the Bible that we will read about is found in Luke 2:36 Anna--"And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;"
            Let us take a turn now to a more modern story.  It is one that this church was founded upon.  It is the story of two men the first one is William Foy.  He was bi-racial.  While he did share his visions at first, he did not continue to do so.  Then God called on Hazen Foss.  As it happens, Hazen Foss was related to  Ellen Harmon, for his brother was married to Ellen's older sister Mary.  Hazen Foss was given some of the same visions that were later given to Ellen. The following is an excerpt from a letter written by Ellen White about his experience.
            Ellen Harmon, who became Ellen White also did not want to share the visions that God had begun to give her.  She was a sickly woman who could barely speak due to having tuberculosis.  But God warned her repeatedly by the examples of the previous men that she should not grieve the Holy Spirit by refusing to share the light that she had been given.

            Biblically, and in modern times, God mostly chooses men to lead and guide His people.  However, when for whatever reason, a man could not be found that WOULD do the job, God chooses women. I really only needed one text to prove my point and that is 1 Corinthians 1:27 "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty" Okay just a little joke, but in all seriousness sometimes the "mighty" preachers get wrapped up in the Greek or Hebrew meanings of the words.  I don't know about you but sometimes it makes me despair of learning the Bible because I don't know Greek or Hebrew.  Just because I don't have a big fancy theological degree doesn't mean that God's Spirit can't speak through me or anyone else. However, God gave guidelines for us to follow as to who should be our leaders.  The basic principles are that the person, whether man or woman that we put in leadership roles should be people filled with God's Holy Spirit, honorable, just, and upright in character.  But that no matter who we are, if God gives us a message to spread we must spread it no matter what or our very souls could be in danger.

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