Friday, February 12, 2010

Females preach in the Bible so they should preach in our churches

"Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided." (Judges 4:4-5, TNIV)

"Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter." (2 Kings 22:14, TNIV)

"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy ..." (Acts 2:17, TNIV cf. Joel 2:28)

"Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied." (Acts 21:8-9, TNIV)

In the biblical sense, prophesying is proclaiming a message from God. Preaching is all about proclaiming a message from God. Prophesying is preaching. Above are some of the biblical instances of females being called prophets. In other words, we have passages in the Bible that identify females as preachers. Because females preach in the Bible they should be allowed to preach in our churches.

It really is that simple. I am convinced that those who still bar females from preaching do so based on cultural norms rather than biblical teaching. There is just no getting around the fact that the Bible says women proclaimed the word of God and that's preaching.

I once heard a leading evangelical who opposes female preachers say that there is some debate about what exactly the biblical concept of prophecy is all about. I found his analysis terribly flawed. While the exact expression of biblical prophecy varies widely, at a basic level, the fact remains that prophecy is the proclamation of the word of God and that's preaching.

But there is a larger issue. Even that leading evangelical goes so far as to say there is a debate about the meaning of the biblical concept of prophecy. Again, I find his analysis flawed, but even he acknowledged there is a debate.

Okay, we have gifted and dedicated females in our society who believe God has called them to preach. Should those females be disqualified from responding to that calling based on an acknowledged debatable point of biblical interpretation? Again, I don't consider the matter debatable--prophecy is preaching and so females in the Bible preached. But for those who take the other side of this issue I think it is dangerous to bar a whole class of humanity, comprising half the population of the planet, based on a "debatable" point.

It is a serious thing to interfere with a calling from God. Better to let each person answer to God for his or her own calling.

I bring this up because
Baptist Women in Ministry is promoting the Martha Stearns Marshall Month of Preaching this month. You let your sons preach. How about following the rest of Acts 2:17 and let your daughters preach too.

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