Brothers I have come to the conclusion that many people are mixed up on an issue that is so simple that it millions of words to discuss it so......... 1. There is not one Scripture in the Bible that forbids women from preaching, but on the contrary, there are many verses that encourage both men and women to preach the Gospel. 2. The Bible teaches that God is not a respecter of persons, and He will use any and all who will yield to Him, regardless of race, age, or sex. Galatians 3:28 - "...neither male nor female...for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Acts 10:34 - "...God is no respecter of persons...." Moses said in Numbers 11:29, "Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His spirit upon them!" The crying need of the hour is for more laborers. It is a trick of the enemy to try to down rate thousands of our faithful laborers just because they were born females. 3. The Great Commission, Mark 16:15, "Preach the Gospel," is to ALL believers, and to all the church of Jesus Christ. The command to "preach the Gospel" is to both male and female. I had someone try to tell me that it was only for the twelve Jesus choose. There is too much conjecture and not enough true Bible teaching. Many have taken the few verses that most of you have, and disregarded the rest of the Bible. WHY? 4. It is an undeniable fact that God has called and anointed thousands of women to preach the Gospel. The Full Gospel organizations have hundreds of licensed and ordained women who are preaching, teaching, evangelizing, pastoring, and doing mission work with the signs following their ministry and BTW they don��t ordain homosexuals. God is using them for the salvation of the lost, deliverance from sin, gifts of the Spirit, and infilling of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says, "Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm." And may we be reminded of the Scripture in Acts 5:39, "If it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." When someone says, "God does not call women to preach," it is like saying that God does not baptize with the Holy Spirit today. We know better, because we have witnessed and experienced it with our own ears and eyes. I would be afraid to condemn women preachers, lest I would be found to be fighting against God, and to be committing the vile sin of attributing the works of the Holy Spirit to the devil. 5. Women preachers are a fulfillment of Bible Prophecy and another sign of Christ's soon return to earth (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17-18). 6. The Bible declares that women will prophesy: 1 Cor. 11:5, "For every woman that prayeth or prophesieth...." Both the Hebrew (Nebrah), and Greek (Proph) used for prophetess means (female preacher). (See Young's Concordance, Pg. 780.) The word "Prophet" means a public expounder. The word "Prophesy" means to speak forth, or flow forth. The Bible says in 1 Cor. 14:3, "But he that prophesieth speaketh unto MEN to edification, and exhortation and comfort." The dictionary says, prophesy is "to speak under divine inspiration...to preach." Therefore we learn from the original translation, from the Bible interpretation, and from the dictionary, that to prophesy means more than to tell the future, but it is to speak publicly about the past, present, or future. It is to preach under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The Old and New Testament prophets and prophetesses were preachers of God's Word. Even if the words prophet and preacher could be separated, how could anyone prophesy to bring exhortation, comfort and edification to the church, if she were forbidden to speak in church and was to keep silent? Would God inspire and anoint someone to do something that was wrong and sinful??? * (There is a difference between a prophet, and the gift of prophecy.) 7. God called and used women preachers in the Old Testament. a. DEBORAH - Judges 4:4-5. Deborah was a Judge for both civil and criminal cases. The children of Israel came to her for judgment. She was the chief ruler of Israel for 40 years, giving orders to the Generals and all the army. She did the work of an evangelist, prophetess, Judge, and a preacher. God gave her authority over the mighty (Judges 5:13). b. MIRIAM - Exodus 15:20; Numbers 12:1; Micah 6:4. She was a Prophetess and a Song Leader in Israel. c. HULDAH - 2 Kings 22:14. Five men went to Sister Huldah and communed with her. She spoke to a congregation of men concerning the book of the Law. A female preached to a man's congregation, and her message was taken to the nation and produced a revival. d. MAHER-SHALAL-HASH-BAZ'S MOTHER - Isaiah 8:3. She was a prophetess. 8. God called and used women preachers in the New Testament. a. The first message of the Resurrection of Christ was spoken by women to a group of men. b. Anna - Luke 2:36-38. She must have prophesied in church, because she did not depart from the temple. c. Phillip had 4 daughters who prophesied. Acts 21:9. d. Priscilla assisted Paul in his revival meeting and even taught Apollos in the way of the Lord more perfectly. e. Phebe - Romans 16:1-2. Paul commended Phebe to the Church at Rome and requested that they assist her in her business. She was one of Paul's assistants in the work of the Lord and delivered the Book of Romans to the people from the hand of Paul. 9. There is no sound reason why a woman or man should not preach the Gospel. There is a desperate need in the church for more workers. Laborers are few, and God will use any and all who will go for Him. Some say God will not use a woman to preach, because "The woman was deceived," but remember Romans 5:12: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world." It seems to indicate that Adam was just as guilty as Eve in the fall of man. If anyone should be kept from preaching because of sin, it would be Adam. But God does not forbid anyone from preaching, because of Adam's or Eve's sin. 10. 1 Cor. 14: 34-35 does not say anything about women preachers. If Paul intended this verse as a general rule to bar all women from speaking in church, then they cannot teach Sunday School, testify, pray, prophesy, sing, or even get saved, and this would contradict the rest of the Bible (Acts 2:4; Acts 2:16-18). Paul was rather dealing with a particular problem in the church. Women were not educated as were the men in that day; therefore the women would talk back and forth to their husbands in church and ask questions concerning the sermon. Paul said, "If they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." If they want to talk things over let them wait until they get home. This rule is still good for the church today, where people are talking and causing confusion in the church service. They should not speak in church. (Not in the back of the church either before or after services.) If a woman cannot speak in church, then she cannot speak in prayer meeting, young people's service, etc., for who can deny that Sunday School and Prayer meeting, and Youth work are parts of church? Christ's Church is not a building, but rather it is found where two or three are gathered together in His name, whether at a street meeting, in a tent, a home, church, classroom or anywhere else. 11. 1 Timothy 2:12 is not a blanket rule for all women of all churches. If it were, then the women could not speak at all, for the same verse that tells them not to teach also tells them to be silent. If all women had to keep silent in church, then that would be promoting disobedience to God, for they could not prophesy, pray, testify, sing, exhort, do personal work, or even get saved. Whenever an interpretation to a verse contradicts the rest of the teaching of the Bible, we know this interpretation is incorrect, for the Holy Spirit will never contradict His own Word. 1 Timothy 2:12 has brrn misinterpretated for many many years. It is time we accept the full word of God. This is the chief verse that is used to oppose women preaching and yet it says nothing about preaching, nor does it say anything about a public worship or church service. But, on the contrary, this verse is giving instructions to wives as to how they were to conduct themselves in regard to their husband. Paul says in 1 Cor. 14:35, "And if they will LEARN anything, let them ask their husbands at home. The husband is the head of his own wife and no body else's. Now he states in 1 Tim. 2:12 that the woman should learn in silence, and should not usurp authority over the man. Paul is dealing with more of a home problem than a church problem. This verse still applies to us today. It is wrong for a woman to usurp authority over her husband (in church, home, or any place else) as was the case in Paul's day. She should not try to teach him or speak words that would cause discord and confusion, but should rather be silent and in subjection to her husband. It is also to be understood that if anyone, whether man or woman, is usurping authority over the God-given leadership of the church, she or he is to be silent, and not to teach, or act in such a way that would create discord in the assembly. 12. Some have used Titus 1:6-7, "If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children...", but there is a difference between a preacher and a bishop. For I was an Evangelist and now am a Pastor, but I am not a Bishop, and most Pastors are not. If God called a single man with no children to be a Bishop, as Paul was, surely this verse is not opposed to it, nor would this scripture oppose a woman Bishop if she was called of God for the work, as was Deborah. What this verse does teach is that a person who is to be a Bishop must not have two living companions, either husbands or wives. The Bible often speaks of "man" when it refers to both men and and women inclusively. The word "mankind" also includes both men and women. For an example of this word usage see 1 Cor. 13:1 - "Though I speak with the tongues of MEN and angels...." This word "MEN" includes women as well, for we do not have one language for men and another for women. 13. To condemn women preachers and women church workers is a serious offense, because God has stamped His approval on them by His Spirit over and over again, and who is man to fight against the Spirit of God? To condemn women preachers and women church workers is in a sense to claim they are doing wrong and committing sin...and all those who support them and listen to them are having a part in that sin. For anyone to do this, he must condemn approximately 99% of all the Spirit-filled believers and the vast majority of all of Christianity. "Of a truth, I perceive that God is no respecter of persons..." (Acts 10:34). Can Women Minister? What does it say in the Book of the Lord? This same account can also be found in 2 Chronicles 34. 2 Kings 23: 8 And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. 9 And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD. 10 And Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. 11 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes. 12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying, 13 Go ye, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us. 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. 15 And she said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me, 16 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read: 17 Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched. 18 But to the king of Judah which sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard; 19 Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD. 20 Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again. 23:1 And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. 2 And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD. 3 And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant. Funny, that passage is not taught much! The king, the high priest, and the court looked for God's person and it was a woman! Obviously, her life showed trademarks of knowing the Lord. Psalm 68: 11 The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. 12 Kings of armies did flee apace: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil. 13 Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. On "The Elect Lady"... from Ralph Beamish I have been looking again at this question and then these reports show up on the mailing list from others confirming what I believe scripture teaches. The ordination of women pastors Osmundo Ponce Introduction From the beginning of my theological and pastoral training, I have realized that the ordination of women has been a prohibited subject in some churches. I have listened to the arguments of those who defend exclusive rights for male pastors, but their explanations have not satisfied my uneasiness. I have seen that many women do the work of the ministry without ordination. They do it very well, in some cases even better than men. What, then, are the differences and similarities when men or women are ordained? This has led my wife, Lic. Ana Ligia Sanchez, and myself to carry out an investigation of the role of women in the Protestant church. Moreover, we are working on the problems of women as a vulnerable part of our society in another investigation. Many observations in the paper are the result of that work. We believe that this theme has implications which could convert the church into a true community of faith, for both men and women, with more justice and solidarity. As we reflect on this theme, several questions emerge: �h Why do certain churches not ordain women? �h Why have certain churches ordained women? �h Why should churches ordain women? Why do certain churches not ordain women? Our understanding is that the ordination of women pastors confers the religious authority of an institution on women to act freely and extensively in services, both of sacramental and ministerial nature, including the making of decisions. All of this is for the benefit of the community of faith. This understanding differs sharply from those who oppose the ordination of women by claiming that women are fully free to serve the church, but should not have institutional authority nor participate in the decision making. Three aspects must be considered in responding to this argument: �h the fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible; �h the concept of the church as a community of faith; and �h cultural influence on the church. The fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible In Latin America the majority of churches assume a fundamentalist approach to the Bible. This is characterized by an elaborate theology which emerges from a mythological speculation of the relation between God and humans, leaving out the historical and social context. (Several of the Bible studies presented at the consultation discussed this issue.) This has allowed, in particular, the male leaders of our churches to perceive the exercise of ministry as something that does not permit social conflicts, either of class or gender. Thus, promoting the ordination of women would initiate a discussion on gender conflict within this theology which would break down the passive scheme of fundamentalism. This is why fundamentalists emphasize the existence of a "plan of God for women" as dogma. The dogma sanctions women caring for and serving men so that, in turn, men may worship and serve God. The happiness of a woman, it is claimed, should consist in following man because she was formed after him. This gives her a secondary status and makes her submission unconditional. The fundamentalist dogma, however, allows women to follow her interests when they do not threaten man. With regard to leadership, it is argued that men provide the stability and security for the community. There should only be one leader who, of course, should be a man. Thus, the man has authority over the woman. Clearly, fundamentalist theology defines women as inferior to the men by divine mandate. Therefore, women should not able to be ordained as a pastors with the institutional authority to act freely and extensively in the ministry. The concept of the church - a community of faith Undoubtedly, one's attitude toward the ordination of women also depends on one's concept of the church. In most communities of faith that do not ordain women, the church is a vertical or pyramid-like entity. In other words, the ordination to ministry is understood as a symbol of power and privilege. In this sense, within the church, a patriarchal scheme or structural "machista" is produced in the secular world. It is the male who rules and is in charge of maintaining power and order. At the same time, traditional patterns of domination are reproduced according to status. Generally in our context, a white, male missionary, who was educated abroad and represents a church of the North, is seated at the top of the ecclesiastical pyramid. Under this person are the pastors, some of whom are educated, others not; but surely all are men. Subordinate to these, we find lay leaders; some women appear here. Finally, at the base of the structure is the rest of the congregation. It seems for this reason, that the woman, when she does occupy a place in the ecclesiastical structure, it is nearly always subordinated, often as secretaries or in commissions of charity. Such is the case of the category of deacon, which emphasizes the role of women as servants in relation to men. They are the helpers and not the people who exercise the important jobs such as ministry. In other cases, we use the image of the church as a family. This image is also patriarchal; the male is the head of the family and the woman is subordinate. It stereotypes the sexist idea of the couple in its home. For example, women are assigned the motherly jobs in the church such as the care and education of children. Therefore, man continues in power in the church structure in spite of the fact that, in some congregations, they have already realized that there are more women than men. After all that has been said, even the churches that do send women to seminaries are at fault. They often delay and create difficulties for the women's eventual ordination. Even if they have women in their church structure, they often do not make room for them to exercise a real ministry and refuse to give them positions of higher authority. In spite of this, it is important to note that in some communities of faith there is a glimmer of change. On one occasion we found an Association of Neighbours, created thanks to the encouragement of a Presbyterian Church. In this board, they named only women, explaining that: 1. women were the majority in the church, and 2. they were especially suited to take on the duties of directing the project. Also, in one presbytery in Latin America, a group of women with theological training has united. They have demanded that the directors facilitate the process of ordaining women and that they recognize the real labour that is being done by women in chaplaincy, and pastoral work with children, teenagers and women. These are the fields of action of an ordained woman. The cultural influence in the church Undoubtedly secular myths about women have affected the ordination of women. In fact, these myths have helped to form the myths against church women. In the first place, throughout the last 500 years in Latin America, the image of the religious leader has always been that of a man. Since the European conquest, the image has been that of a male priest. This image has been assimilated also by the Protestant church to the extent that in some churches only men are considered "called" to the pastorate. In other churches, women are not ordained because they carry the image of being the "reproducer", the maternal being, and therefore do not have time to do the work of a pastor. However, it is not taken into account that many women are carrying out ministerial roles very actively and sometimes are even more productive than male pastors. Even women who are not married and without children are often not accepted for ordination because it is said that they probably are not married due to problems of frustration, aggressiveness or resentment. This, according to the culture, makes them suspicious since they are not considered "whole women". The sexist myth that a woman, as a descendant of Eve, is by nature seductive, has resulted in the belief that women should not be in contact with men because they might lead them to sin as a result of their beauty and seductive nature. An extreme case of this is in a certain Central American community which does not allow women to greet men with a handshake because it could be considered as a sign of seduction. Due to this attitude, a woman may not be ordained because, in her pastoral functions she would be in constant contact with men who are not members of her immediate family. We must realize, however, that in some cases male pastors have had to be severely reprimanded because of their immoral behaviour towards women who are not their wives. Another myth in Latin America is that women are "gossips". There are religious people who emphasize the necessity to maintain severe discretion in pastoral secrets, and they argue that a woman pastor would not be able to maintain such a silence. We could ask here: are all men pastors strictly discreet about the information they receive? It is also said that women are the fragile, weaker sex, and that the Church must be directed by someone with sufficient energy. Some people, whose baptism rites are by immersion, mention the problem that a woman might not be able to rescue from the water an overweight convert. Couldn't this also happen to a male pastor? Finally, a woman who has a liberal outlook is not ordained because of the fear that she might break down the structure of male authority in the Church. Is it not true that some of our male pastors are already conscious of this and are breaking down the vertical structure in the Church? Why have some churches ordained women? We have observed that some churches have ordained women out of extreme necessity, in view of the scarcity of male pastors. In one Latin American church, two women were ordained who did not have sufficient theological preparation. But, since they were filling important secular positions, they were ordained. There was such a scarcity of pastors (only one ordained minister) that the ecclesiastical structure was about to collapse. Since this problem was solved, two decades have passed and no other women have been ordained. In another church, a woman ordained as a pastor acted in such an authoritarian manner toward women and children that she reflected the same "machista" attitude as her male counter-parts. Thus, this woman minister was only reinforcing the attitude of subordination before the men. As such, she was not a threat to male supremacy in the church. However, there is new hope that in some churches there now exists a new conscience about the equality of women in exercising ministerial duties. Probably after a process of re-reading the Bible and de-mythologizing theology, some have come to the conclusion that it is important to ordain women. Such is the case of some "main-line" churches such as the Lutheran Church in Central America, the Methodist Church, the Fraternity of Costa Rican Churches, the Baptist Church in Cuba and the Presbyterian Church in Colombia, which in the coming days will ordain another woman. Why should the church ordain women? God created woman and man in the same human condition (see Genesis 1:26-2:4a). Theologically, we cannot believe that man was created superior to woman. Therefore the pastorate is a vocation in the service of others, equal to men and women, without distinction of gender, race or social condition (see Galatians 3:28), which cannot put obstacles in front of anyone carrying out the ministry which God has given to all in need. It will be this spirit of solidarity that will help us form a community of faith in which human relations are horizontal (see Ephesians 4:11-16). Acting in this spirit, we will not perpetuate a vertical pyramid system where a few are maintained at the top of an ecclesiastical structure which merely mirrors the structures of the larger society and its levels of privilege and domination. In other words, we are faced with the challenge of implementing a base for ecclesiology, in which every member of the church community can develop his or her gifts and offer a variety of services as part of the growing faith. Women comprise the largest percentage of church members. For many of them, the church is a place of hope. At times, it provides their only escape from the depressing socio-economic conditions in which so many women and their families must live. It has often become a place of hope because women sought in it people who could help them solve their problems. The challenge to the church is to engage these women with other women in similar positions so that they may work together to find the solutions to their problems. It is the women who suffer higher levels of malnutrition, illiteracy, unemployment and exploitation. They work double shifts, doing heavy physical work for low wages and suffer from discrimination for being poor and female. These women need pastors who empathise with them. Women pastors would have more possibilities of being in solidarity with them since they understand better the problem of women as a social group which is more vulnerable to marginalization, domination and exploitation. As we can see, the ordination of women is an important element as we strive to realize some of the signs of the reign of God among us here on earth and in our time.