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You Can’t Do That at My Church

How I found my voice and answered God’s call to preach


Who wants to be labeled a devil? Not me. I tucked my feathers and clucked like a chicken. I continued to sing in the choir, participate in youth activities, and testify. Why? Whenever a woman "appeared" to be preaching, a carefully crafted 1 Corinthians 14:34 message was bashed into our brains. This bash-and-smash method kept us submissive. Imagine this: eager and excited about the call of God, only to have your dreams smashed to powder, using the Bible.

I knew about Deborah, Esther, Phoebe, I even knew about Priscilla. I studied them on my own. How did these women get omitted from the Bible? Well, they were not technically omitted from the Bible, just from the one that was used at my church. In my Christian upbringing, some of the most powerful women were never discussed, although they were undeniably catalysts used to usher the plan of God into motion. In traditionally legalistic environments, women are almost always viewed as inferior and could never be selected by God for gospel ministry. How can that be possible if the woman at the well ignited the revival in Samaria and Priscilla, alongside her husband, taught Apollos a more excellent way?

It's so important that we understand the real context of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. Why? This Scripture has been used to keep women in bondage for many years. These Scriptures taught in improper context or without biblical interpretation have thwarted many destinies, thus hindering the real work of God in many lives. The amazing part of this diluted context is that many never read verse 36. The Apostle Paul was addressing a concern at the church in Corinth, which was known for idolatrous worship and continuous confusion. One of the major problems with the Corinthian church was they often tried to bring the customs of the day into the body of Christ.

Historically in Corinth, the women were considered second-class citizens and their places of responsibility were the kitchen and the bedroom. Therefore, according to those in leadership, they should have been regarded the same way in the church. So the Apostle Paul addressed their concern by regurgitating what they said and then rebuked them with a rhetorical question in verses 36-38. How could women be commanded to keep quiet in the service when they were permitted to pray and prophesy in 1 Corinthians 11? The only reason these Scriptures have been successfully used as they have been over the years is because many of us have failed to obey 2 Timothy 2:15 and have the guts to stand firmly on the Word of God in the face of extreme opposition and rejection.

February21, 2013 at 8:00 AM

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