[ A NOTE FROM JERRY ]

I love, appreciate and respect those who have believed and taught differently. My burden 'here' is not to 'cast a negative reflection' against any Christian brother or sister or any Christian 'group.' My burden is to share my best and trust the conclusion with the Holy Spirit, who is our teacher.

I would like to encourage you to consider whether the Word of God is given to ALL "Mankind" with the same equality. The woman, coming from the very being of Adam at the command of God, became part of all "Mankind." Inviting the Spirit of God…by His Word, I am trusting Him to open the hearts and understanding of many concerning this issue, which I believe, needs to be addressed within the Body of Christ. I trust, you agree…or will.

As we begin, please consider with me the neutrality of gender concerning God's concept of male and/or female. The word "Man" is always used as a "neuter Gender" referring to both male and/or female in the Bible. The word "man" or "mankind" is applicable to ALL humanity, male and female according to the inspired Word of God. You will never find God differentiating between the two genders.

"Mankind!" May we begin?

John 3:2-4, "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a MAN be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto Him, How can a MAN be born again when he is old?" Does this scripture exclude WOMEN? Can MEN only be born again? Why didn't our Lord make a distinction here? Why didn't He include the word WOMEN also as one who could be born again?

NOW! Some may have already 'thrown me over the dump,' and others of you may be just 'about too!' BUT! I 'beg you' to just 'hold on' a little longer…PLEASE!

2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any MAN be in Christ, HE is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Can a WOMEN be in Christ? Are not WOMEN also made new creatures in Christ?

2 Corinthians 5:11, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade MEN." Do we not also persuade WOMEN?

2 Corinthians 9:7, "Every MAN according as HE purposeth in HIS heart, so let HIM give, not grudgingly, or of necessity: For God loveth a cheerful giver." Is not a WOMAN to give unto God also as SHE purposeth in HER heart? Is SHE excluded from being a cheerful giver?

Romans 6:6, "Knowing this, that our old MAN is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Isn't a WOMAN crucified with Christ, that HER body of sin might also be destroyed? Do not WOMEN also share in this experience?

Romans 7:24, "O wretched MAN that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Is not the WOMAN faced with this same dilemma? Doesn't a WOMAN need deliverance from the body of this death?

Romans 8:14, "For as many are led by the Spirit of God, they are the SONS of God." How about the WOMAN? Is SHE not also to be led by the Spirit of God? Can SHE be a DAUGHTER of God? Does God only have SONS and no DAUGHTERS?

John 3:18-19, "HE that believeth on Him is not condemned: but HE that believeth not is condemned already, because HE hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and MEN loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." How about SHE that believeth? How about the WOMEN who loved the darkness because their deeds were evil?

John 3:36, "HE that believeth on the Son of God hath everlasting life: and HE that believeth not the Son shall not see life: but the wrath of God abideth on HIM." Is a WOMAN denied everlasting life because the scripture does not say, SHE? Does the wrath of God abide only on the MEN?

1 John 3:1-3, "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the SONS of God…Beloved, now are we the SONS of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be…And every MAN that hath this hope in HIM purifieth HIMSELF even as He is pure." Isn't the same manner of love from the Father bestowed upon the DAUGHTERS? Are not the WOMEN included in this hope?

Surely we can answer; Yes! Yes! Yes! to all the previously mentioned questions concerning the woman's place in God's scheme of faith. Search the scriptures…you will NEVER find anywhere that God differentiates between the male and female. He has always referred to both genders as "Mankind." All these scriptures and multitudes of others, affirm the truth of the neutrality and equality that God places upon the "male and female" of His humanity.

The Apostle Paul wrote: "For ye are ALL the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 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." (Galatians 3:26-28).

Negative Reasoning…Have they originated in traditional religion?

1 Corinthians 14:34-35, "Let your women keep silence in the church; for it is not permitted unto them to speak; for they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for a woman to speak in the church."

1 Timothy 2:11-12, "Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but be in silence."

Now! If we would take these scriptures out of their context, this might 'virtually eliminate' the work of the church on earth! Think with me a moment, look around in any given congregation; I believe you will find that the WOMEN outnumber the men seated in the pews. Listen, and I believe you will hear more WOMEN'S voices singing in worship.

Look into the Sunday school rooms (especially the babies through the Jr. High children) and you will find that WOMEN again outnumber the men in being the "care givers." Remember…the scripture said, "Let your women keep silence in the church." How could this be? It appears that the male gender has usurped the privilege of 'picking and choosing" the jobs that WOMEN are qualified to do within the various denominational churches. It appears that the more "menial" tasks are "permitted" the women. There seems to be no problem with women cleaning, cooking, and bodily serving in the church.

Considering the spiritual realm, some denominations "permit" women to teach the children, but not the adults! What is the difference? Didn't the scripture say, "I suffer not a women to teach." I do not read in that scripture where an age is mentioned! Wouldn't you think that the children would need to be guarded from any unscriptural procedure, more than the adults? Aren't children more vulnerable than the adults?

It appears…the confusion goes on…Other denominations "permit" women to be members of certain boards, but disqualify them to be on others. Some denominations "permit" women to be a Sunday school Superintendent, others say, No! Perhaps this confusion is coming from MAN'S private interpretation, apart from the Holy Sprits guidance(?).

Do you find this 'picking and choosing" in the scriptures? I don't. If the WOMEN were to be silenced in the church, who would carry on in all these activities that have been delegated to them seemingly by default(?) Would there be enough men to volunteer?

Do we find contradiction in the infallible Word of God?

Now…If, these so-called negative scriptures under consideration, were the ONLY ones mentioned concerning a WOMEN'S "Job description" in the church, we would gladly concede. However, this is not the case.

When we read the letter to the Corinthian church, we find this same Apostle Paul now giving instructions to WOMEN as to how they should appear when they were praying or prophesying (isn't that preaching?) in the church.

1 Corinthians 11:4-5a "Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every WOMAN that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head."

This same Apostle Paul visited the house of one called Phillip, an evangelist who had four daughters, which did prophesy. As it is recorded…

Acts 21:8-9, "And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came to Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Phillip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had FOUR DAUGHTERS, virgins, which did PROPHESY."

We read of no reproof from Paul about these daughters preaching the Word of God. If, in fact, God were displeased about these daughters preaching the Word of God, surely under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, this apostle would have expressed some form of reproof or correction.

Please consider another recorded experience concerning a women's station in the church…

Acts 18: 24-26, "And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, and eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and PRICILLA had heard, THEY took him unto THEM, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly."

Remember! We have the scriptures that say, "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor usurp authority over a man." Yet! Here is a WOMAN by the name of PRICILLA, who with her husband, "Expounded to Apollos (a MAN) the way of God more perfectly." There is no record of Apollos rejecting HER instruction or that he felt that she had "usurped authority" over him. Evidently Apollos received this instruction and profited by it for it is written in the following verses (27-28), "And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace. For he mightily convinced that Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ."

Hear this commendation that the apostle Paul wrote concerning a WOMAN PASTOR at the church, which was at Cenchrae…

Romans 16:1-2, "I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrae: that ye receiver HER in the lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist HER in the Lord in whatsoever businss SHE hath need of you: for SHE has been a succourer of many, and of myself also."

Brother Paul clearly commends these believers into the PASTORIAL care of Phebe. He instructs them to receive her in that calling in the Lord. He requests that they should "assist her" in the business of the church.

Would you like to deny 'this' commendation? Well! Would you agree that many traditional views do? I wonder if Jesus' words might apply 'here:' "Your traditions have made void the Word of God." Perhaps 'this concept' has caused a VOID in the Body of Christ, for many women have been denied the exercise of the hope of their calling(?) Did you notice that Paul does not refer to Phebe as "Reverend Phebe?" He speaks of her as a "Servant." I believe there is only One who is worthy to be called Reverend. God Himself! Perhaps we all know that the title of Reverend is a traditional term, which grew out of the apostasy. Many denominations have followed 'this practice.' I wonder if 'they' realize it is 'a way' of exalting 'clergy' above 'laity.' I don't think you will find this self-exaltation anywhere in the scriptures.

'Sorting This All Out!'

Let's return now to those seemingly "negative" scriptures and do our best to read them in their proper context…The apostle Paul was referring to a Jewish ordinance, when he wrote, "Let your women keep silence in the church." In the Jewish synagogues, women were never permitted to teach, speak, or even ask questions! Why was that? It was because MEN had usurped the position of honor in reading and studying the scriptures. The Scribes and Pharisees had written the Jewish Talmud, which denied the WOMAN this privilege! God did not inspire the Jewish Talmud!

The Apostle Paul has written: "If they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home." Why were they told to do that? It was because the women were causing a disturbance in the assembly by asking questions. They were acting out of order, for they did not know the scriptures as the men did. They wanted to know about God also.

Adam Clark, one of the most recognized historians and theologians of the Christian Judeo faith, gives this understanding in his commentary…

"It was permitted to any man to ask questions, to object, altercate, attempt to refute in the synagogue; but this liberty was not afforded to the women. Paul confirms this in reference to the Christian church. He orders them to keep silence; if they wished to learn anything, le them ask their husband at home, because it was perfectly indecorous for women to be contending with men in the public assembly on points of doctrine, cases of conscience etc. But this by no means intimated that when a woman received any particular influence (calling) from God to enable her to teach, she was to ignore that influence; on the contrary, SHE WAS TO OBEY IT."

Why did Paul confirm this ordinance within the Christian assembly? It was for the same reason that had been prevalent in the Jewish synagogues! The WOMEN were still in ignorance of the scriptures, having never had the opportunity to be a part of the learning fellowship. Paul was instructing them to "Ask their husbands at home," because they were still causing a disturbance and acting out of order.

Adam Clark's comments speak in harmony with the scriptures, as he relates the same "Hope of the woman's calling," as the Apostle Paul has done. Let us return to the conclusion of Clark's comments…

"All the Apostle Paul opposes here is the women's question, finding fault, disputing in the Christian church, as the Jewish MEN were permitted to do (because they knew the scriptures) in their synagogues together with the attempts to usurp the authority over the men by setting up their opposition to them, for the Apostle has in view especially acts of disobedience, arrogance etc…of which no woman would be guilty of, who was under the influence of the Spirit of God."

What could be more clearly understood than this truth?

If these truths were accepted, this understanding would eliminate all the confusion concerning the issue being addressed! What more can we say? For time would fail us, to tell of God's calling upon all the WOMEN throughout recorded history of the Old and New Testaments!

There was Miriam…"And Miriam the PROPHETESS the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances." (Ex.15:20)

There was Deborah…"And Deborah, a PROPHETESS, the wife of Lapidoth, SHE JUDGED ISRAEL at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and bethel in mount Ephriam and the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL CAME UP TO HER FOR JUDGEMENT." (judges 4:4)

There was Noadia…"My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to their works, and on the PROPHETESS Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear." (Neh. 6:14)

Amazing, as it may seem to the male gender, God chose a WOMAN to bring the greatest announcement that the world would ever hear!

There was Anna…"And there was one Anna, a PROPHETESS, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant (Mary and Joseph's entrance with the baby Jesus) gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spoke of him to all of them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem." (Luke 2:36-38)

The Samaritan WOMAN went back to her people and 'preached a citywide revival,' after meeting Jesus at the well, according to John's record. (John 4)

Mary Magdalene, a WOMAN was last at the cross. (Mark 15:47)

A WOMAN…was first at the tomb! (John 20:1)

A WOMAN…was first to proclaim the Resurrection! (Matthew 28:8)

The Clarion Scripture to End ALL Controversy

"And it shall come to pass in the last days; saith God, I will pour our my Spirit upon all flesh; and you sons and YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY." (Acts 2:17)

I believe, the day of Pentecost should have settled all the "questioning" concerning God's acceptance of both male and female gender as equal! The blessed Holy Spirit is the Giver of every gift and gives some apostles, some prophets and some teachers etc…and makes NO difference. Why then, do MEN (and even some women) not accept this assurance? Needless to say, again, His Word does not contradict itself!

Is it not very clear that Divine gifts come from the Creator to WOMEN the same as they do to MEN! One need only turn to Paul's Corinthian letter to find this admonishment…"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you to be ignorant…" He goes on to explain in verse 27, "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps governments etc." We do not find a difference made as to a WOMAN or a MAN being "set in the church" by the Holy Spirit. May I reiterate this admonition…My BRETHREN, please do not be "ignorant" concerning the spiritual gifts.

God is not concerned about whose voice He speaks through, as long as He has called them for this intended purpose. When God's anger was kindled against the Prophet Balaam, He chose to use the mouth of an ass to correct this MALE Prophet!

Surely in God's sight, a WOMAN would be placed in a more accepted station than an ass to speak His Word. Please forgive my 'reference,' but you know what? It's true, anyhow! (BIG SMILE!)

Please Remember!

"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." (Galatians 3:28). [Selected]