SHOULD A WOMAN PREACH?

Maurice A. Meredith

e live in an age in which the "unisex" movement has sought to eliminate all lines of distinction between a man and a woman. Women are wage earners, and men are becoming house 'husbands.' Men are wearing their hair long, and seeking in other ways to appear effeminate. A lot of this may be harmless insofar as Christian ethics are concerned, but when it comes to women preaching, they are running counter to the Word of God, as we shall see.

This statement is made in full view of the fact that women have been doing it for years, but that can hardly make it right. The first record we have of women preachers was with a charismatic-premillennial movement in the second century, called "Montanism." Closely allied with Montanus, its founder, Prisca and Maximillia experienced ecstasies which outdid those of their leader. Both women left their husbands, but were revered as prophetesses, very much in the same manner of Ellen G. White, Aimee Sempie McPherson, and Mary Ann Morse Glover Patterson Baker Eddy.

The Disciples of Christ have had women preachers for years. Quaker women have ever preached in Friends Churches. Christian Science churches do not have preachers, as such, but have Readers, who are often women. Many of the Holiness churches have 'clergywomen.' All of this in the face of a very clear statement from the Scriptures, made by a divinely inspired apostle who wrote, "Let a woman learn in silence in all subjection, but I do not permit a women to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to be in silence." (I Tim. 2:11-12).

The word that the Apostle Paul uses for "teach" (didaskein) is the infinitive "to teach" and is from didasko, which is found in the New Testament 95 times. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology says, "In 13 places in the Gospel didasko is used absolutely as a comprehensive term for Jesus' preaching (Mark 2:13; 6:6; 10:1; 12:35; 14:49; Luke 4:15; 13:22, 26: 19:47; Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 11:1). In addition, the verb is also used to denote His preaching and teaching in given situations (e.g. Mark 1:21f; 8:31; 11:17; Matt. 5:2; 21:22; Luke 5:3, 17; 6:6; 13:10" (op. cir., Vol. III, p. 761).

Permit me to point out just here that the context of the statement from Paul has to do with the public assembly and worship of the church. This ought to be enough to prove to any honest seeker after the truth on this topic of women preachers, when we look at Paul's admonition in the light of Matthew, Mark, and Luke's usage of the precisely exact same term.