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SHOULD WOMEN REMAIN SILENT IN CHURCHES?

A presentation based on 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 made during the weekly Word of God Study

By Elder Seme Ndzana, 07-10-2013

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. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Cor 14:34-35).

When you read some Biblical Scriptures, you feel that you are touched and moved, which is the reaction of your spirit as the Spirit of God makes it feel that such Scripture is the Word of God. On the other hand, there are other Scriptures which either leave you unmoved or hurt your conscience. We know how the Word of God and the Holy Spirit sharpen human conscience to make it sensitive to any strange teachings, sins or disobedience to God.

This Scripture by Apostle Paul hurts some consciences like mine, which reject it as unfair, discriminatory, and contrary to the teachings of our dear and loving Lord Jesus Christ.

The Scripture is grounded on two bases: Paul’s own opinion when he says “Let your women keep silence in the churches,” and the law of Moses.

 

Are Christians to be subjected to the law or to the Word of God?

Let us take some Scriptures to show what Jesus teaches us about both the law of death after the fall of Adam and the law of Moses.

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)” (Galatians 3:13).

What is the curse of the law? Read this: In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19)

Therefore, Jesus Christ, Who is the incarnated Word of God, came to die in order to redeem His followers (the Christians) from the curse of death pronounced by God after the fall of Adam. Let us understand here very well that Jesus came to reverse that divine law.

About the law of Moses, let us give you some of the rebuttals Jesus made against the Jewish high priests, teachers of the law and elders.

Jesus abolished the law allowing men to stone adulterous women: Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”  This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (John 8:3-7). More clearly, Jesus told that if they stone adulterous women, they should also stone adulterous men. In this case, we may understand that if women must remain silent, men should also remain silent in churches.

Jesus changed to law about divorce: The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:3-8).

One would think that Jesus said Moses wrote this law based on his own mind, not based on God’s Word. Not at all so. We know that God Himself said that He talked to Moses mouth to mouth (Numbers 12:8), which means both had conversations and Moses presented his arguments and God would grant or deny his requests. Jesus means here that in this case, God granted the divorce because He saw that the hearts of the Israelites were too hardened. Therefore, Jesus came to change that law of Moses.

Jesus changed the law on the clean and the unclean: “Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,  Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread (…) And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man” (Matthew 15:1-2, 10-11)

We can go on and on in the list of changes Jesus made to the law of Moses.

 

Why would God give His Holy Spirit or the gift of prophecy to women?

The tolerance and the love the Lord teaches us, based on the strong rebuttals He opposed to the teachers of the law of Moses make us believe and teach Christians, who are the followers of Christ and not the followers of Paul or Moses, that they are not subjected to the law of Moses.

Paul is the same man of God who says it so well in Romans 7:6 “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter”. So what law is he putting forth in 1 Cor 14:34? The same old law unfortunately.

For, why would God make Mary a prophetess beside her brother Moses if she were forbidden to speak in public? How would she obey God’s instructions meant for the people?

Why would God make Deborah a judge and a prophetess of Israel if she were forbidden to speak in public?

Why would God make Candice, Shiva and Esther queens of their countries if they were not allowed to speak in public? How would they have ruled their people?

God gives indiscriminately His Spirit to women and men, with the same gifts and talents, with messages to be delivered to churches. To fulfill such divine missions and obey His instructions, the elected women must speak in churches without any authorization from their husbands.

Another question would be: why would women even be in churches if they must not speak therein? For they wouldn’t even pray in that case!!!

I am inclined to believe that Apostle Paul, an admirer of Apostle Peter, followed the later in his discrimination toward women, specifically toward Mary Magdalena. Two gospel citations, the gospels of Apostles Thomas and Mary Magdalena (both rejected and excluded from current Bible by the first, Roman church) show it clearly. In both cases, Jesus rebuked Peter strongly. Let us read them.

He [Peter] questioned them about the Savior: Did He really speak privately with a woman and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did He prefer her to us? Then Mary wept and said to Peter, My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I have thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Savior? Levi answered and said to Peter, Peter you have always been hot tempered. Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries. But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well. That is why He loved her more than us. Rather let us be ashamed and put on the perfect Man, and separate as He commanded us and preach the gospel, not laying down any other rule or other law beyond what the Savior said. And when they heard this they began to go forth to proclaim and to preach. (Mary Magdalena 9:4-10)

“Simon Peter said to Him, “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of Life.” Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Thomas 114)

Therefore, if a church discriminates by shutting her down, Jesus will surely make her male so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males.

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