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Should Women be in the Ministry?

Episode 89

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Hosted by
Carl Joseph

Carl is a biblical scholar, minister, husband, father and life coach. In his mid-twenties he had a powerful encounter with God and saw miraculous healings as a result. He passionately shares these stories and empowers others to fulfill their God-given potential.

Many women have been held back from serving God in ministerial capacities due to several scriptures which have been taken out of their historical context. Is it true women ‘should keep silent’ in the church or was Paul addressing a unique issue in the Corinthian church, at the time? Did you know the first preacher of the Gospel was a woman and entrusted to share the good news? In this controversial broadcast, Carl reminds us, ‘there is neither male, nor female in Christ Jesus.’ Ladies, you will not want to miss this one!…

Here is a complete transcript of the broadcast (below)…

Gentlemen, it’s time to close your ears because we’re talking to the ladies today and more specifically about a woman’s role in the ministry. All joking aside, in truth Gents you need to hear this too because we’re the ones guilty of discriminating women in ministry, so we need to perk up and listen intently to this message. Now some conservative denominations think women should just keep quiet in church and forget about ministry altogether, and they use two of the Apostle Paul’s statements to back this up, namely 1 Cor 14:34 and 1 Tim 2:12. So let’s read 1 Cor 14:34, “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.” Then again Paul goes one step further, stating that that, women should not teach either, in 1 Timothy 2:11–12, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

But friend, we must study scripture in context and in light of its Geographical and Historical setting for accurate interpretation. If you’re lady out there, relax, you’re going to enjoy this broadcast because we’re going to get out our sharpest blade and slay some of the sacred cows that have held back anointed women of God for many years due to religious traditions. We’re going to look at these apparent doctrinal contradictions, spoken by Paul in the entirety of God’s word instead of culture or popular opinion, amen!

Let me start out by asking, who was the first preacher of the Gospel? …That would be a woman. The good news of Jesus resurrection was proclaimed by none other than Mary Magdalene. In John 20:18 it says, 18 “Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her”. Mary was indeed a faithful servant to the very end. She was at the crucifixion and also saw where Christ’s body was laid to rest in Joseph’s tomb and helped to prepare the spices and ointments for embalming His body. She and the other women present also returned to John and Simon Peter to let them know the stone that covered the tomb had been rolled away. Like I said Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus in His fully resurrected body and the first person sent to tell the others of the resurrected Christ. Friend, it looks like Jesus trusted women enough to be the first bearers of the good news of the Gospel and appeared to them firstly, so why should we limit women preaching the Gospel or teaching in any other capacity within the Church today?

Remember that when Jesus was dying on the cross only Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of Jesus and John remained at Golgotha whilst the rest of the disciples fled into hiding but after the resurrection, Jesus appeared to women firstly, which shows just how much He valued them, being in equal measure to the men. Mark 15:40–41 speaks of the women at the cross, (KJB), 40 “There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; 41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.”

It’s also evident friend that in the early days of Jesus ministry He was followed by a large group of women as documented in Luke 8:3 lets read it now ,”And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.” Based on this account, several women were partners of Jesus ministry and assisted him provisionally and even financially. This tradition carried through into the book of Acts and the Epistles, as women served other disciples also.

Now let’s get down to the facts here. Throughout the book of Acts there’s a careful inclusion of women as well as men, both as believers and as objects of persecution as all true followers of Christ will endure. No fewer than eleven women are specifically named in Acts, and five are involved in church-related ministries. Interestingly, after the ascension of Christ, Mary the mother of Jesus and her female associates are included in the decision-making process to select Judas’s replacement in (Acts 1:14), so we can see just how important they were. The qualification for an Apostle of course, is that the person traveled with Jesus throughout his earthly ministry and must have been a witness of His resurrection. So clearly these ladies fit the qualification to be deemed an Apostle otherwise they wouldn’t have been consulted for Judas replacement. On a different level one woman named Tabitha or also known as Dorcas, is specifically called a “disciple, full of good works”, in Acts ch:9, because her ministry of social and spiritual outreach rendered her invaluable to the church.

Also, if we review the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, greetings are sent by Ignatius to Tavia and her family, and Alce is mentioned twice. Alce’s name occurs too in the Martyrdom of Polycarp as a relative of the official responsible for Polycarp’s arrest. These preservations in writing indicate a tradition in which respect might be accorded to female leaders in the early church. So clearly female leaders were embraced in the first three centuries of the church according to History. The record of female ministers indeed continues throughout the NT where Phoebe is mentioned as a servant in Rom 16:1-2. If you look up the Greek word for ‘servant’, that very same word is translated deacon elsewhere in the KJV. Some of the newer translations actually render Phoebe as a deaconess. Then later in Romans 16:3-4, Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned; whom Paul calls ‘helpers’. If you s

What’s interesting here is that Paul mentions the wife Priscilla before the husband Aquila, with an implication that her ministry superseded that of her husband in terms of importance or usefulness, at least to Paul anyway. Acts ch: 18 documents Priscilla’s ministry. Aquila was likely a Jew from Pontus in Asia Minor but Priscilla was originally a native of Rome. Priscilla was actually a name more frequently given to patrician women or a member of one of the original citizen families of Rome, perhaps denoting non-Jewish birth enjoying a higher social status, so clearly this lady had social standing in her time and perhaps great wealth also. So right now, friend I’m showing you that Paul might have told to the ladies to be quiet in the church at Corinth but you can also see he wasn’t a “Woman Hater” because he valued their ministries and seven of them assisted him.

Further still, Paul at the very end of his letter to the Roman church in Rom 16:12, salutes, Tryphena, Tryphosa and Persis. From the Greek we know these individuals were women and since Paul said of these ladies, “who labor in the Lord” then it’s safe to conclude they had some kind of ministry and were recognized by Paul as being faithful in their service to the Lord.

But what about the prophetic ministry? Are women supposed to be prophesying like men do? Of course, friend, a resounding yes! Don’t you recall the Apostle Peter quoting the book of Joel in acts chapter two, when he said, “And on my servants and on my handmaidens, I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy” (verse 18) and earlier in verse 17, “your daughters shall prophesy.” The Holy Scripture also states in Acts 1:13-14, that several women were in the Upper Room when God poured out His Holy Spirit in addition to Mary the mother of Jesus, so the ladies were certainly not excluded from this majestic outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit for ministerial service. To the men out there, clearly God wants the ladies prophesying as much as the men and we shouldn’t stop them from doing so! When the Apostle Paul visited the house of Phillip the Evangelist in Caesarea in Acts 21:8-9, it says there were four women in that household who prophesied. Some speculate these four virgins were indeed Philips daughters.

Friend it’s important to realize in 1 Cor 11:3, that when Paul said ‘the man is head of the woman’, his context was marriage. In other words, not all men are head of women, only the husband of the wife in question. So, guys, in church settings we don’t have authority over women or other people’s wives but only the husband of that wife has the authority over her. No man is the head over every woman; this is simply ridiculous but religious people have jumped on this bandwagon and used it to wrongly boss women around. The man is only the head of the wife in the “husband and wife relationship” not outside of it, because it does say in Eph 5:23 that certainly “the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church and he is the savior of the body.” But it’s not sane to say every wife must obey her husband in everything because no husband can ever supersede any of the Lord’s commandments.

Friend the truth is some folk want to Lord it over the ladies but there’s no precedence in scripture for doing so. In the Genesis account of creation there is no sign of inequality. Clearly male and female were created equal in the sight of God. This is further clarified by the Apostle Paul’s statement in Gal 3:28, when he said,” 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Friend, there is neither male nor female in Christ Jesus, for we are all one, get this friend! The truth is women are called the sons of God in the NT as much as men are.

Now let’s go back to our source text in 1 Cor 14:34-36. In the original Greek remember there’s only one word for “man”, none for ‘husband’ and only one Greek word for woman, none for ‘wife’. We must then determine whether or not these controversial passages where Paul tells the women they “can’t teach” and to “keep quiet” in church, whether or not he’s talking to wives or women in general. But as with any interpretation we need to look at the prior verse and the verse following. So, let’s read it again…1 Corinthians 14:34–36 34 “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.” 36 

Did you notice that Paul switches in verse 35 to husbands and this is the correct hermeneutic. He’s talking to wives and husbands. Friend, in the Corinthian church scholars have revealed that men and women were seated separately across the isles, as was the custom in other churches of that same time-period. So, what would happen is some eager wives were asking their husbands questions during the service. So, Paul was saying, they should wait until they are at home and then ask the husband instead of disrupting the service. So, in this passage, Paul’s not talking about women in general but wives specifically and their untimely questions, better saving them for later on. Also, in 1 Tim 2:12 Paul says he suffers not a woman to usurp authority over her husband but she’s better off seeking greater clarity on the sermon preached at home.

Friend, in summary, let’s get real here, the desire to oppress women and keep them down is satanic in origin and some religions around the world heavily oppress women and it’s frankly disgusting what some ladies have to put up with in religious forums or churches and even marriage for that matter but I’m not going there today. Suffice to say are you telling me the ministries of Joyce Meyer and Marilyn Hickey who is a bastion of truth in this city of Denver and performed wonderful works for the Lord overseas and Pastor Lynnette Hagin and other wonderful female ministers down the years are working against God’s will, including thousands of salvation’s and healing’s in their ministries? Are you kidding me? No, I don’t think so! What about the female Pioneers of the Pentecostal movement like Aimee Semple McPherson, Jenny Seymour, Ivy Campbell and later Kathryn Kullman, Francis Hunter, and many more who’ve served God faithfully but were never accepted by the wider Christian community. Friend, we do these women a great disservice to negate their enormous contribution. We should thank the Lord they never kept their mouth shut as Paul instructed them to!

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Episode 89