In the beginning, God created male and female. The characteristics of each are very unique for some basic functions. Men, usually more muscular, are more suited for heavy physical labor. Women were created with equal mental strength but with a physical makeup closely related to childbirth and childrearing. The beauty of that diversity is a wonderful balance in society. Men are more cognitive in their thinking. “Just the facts, Ma’am,” many men have said. Their ability to see the black and white, undistracted by feelings allows for a determined, undistracted effort to finish a task.
Women are said to think affectively, allowing their reasoning to be filtered through an emotional test, such as, “How will Sue feel if we do this.” God knew what He was doing. Just imagine if men raised the babies: “All right now! You are dry! You have your bottle! There is no logical reason for you to cry,” and then they would walk off. A mother would care for all the physical needs and then rock the baby to sleep. Most of us would be a mess if raised by our fathers. Perhaps that imbalance has been perpetrated onto the church because we have deprived our people of the special graces women bring into ministry.
Christianity found woman degraded and exalted her. In the surrounds of Bible days, women were chattel. If they were not slaves, they were servants of their husbands. Even in the Old Testament, the kings we revere had many wives. We can only believe that God allowed, but did not approve of that behavior. In Jewish custom, women were far more equal than other cultures of the day. But in Christ, there is neither male nor female and an expansion of that liberation places the role of women in a whole new light.
Until the women’s liberation movement, 66% of all women preachers were Pentecostal. Early Pentecostal churches were greatly augmented by the ministry of many great women preachers. Early Pentecostals believed the prophecy given by the prophet Joel, “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.”
Many preachers believe they are adhering to Paul’s supposed injunction against women preachers in I Corinthians 14. In its fuller context, Paul was discussing order in the early Pentecostal church. Many of the preachers who forbid women to speak turn right around and conduct some of the most disorganized worship services, betraying their own prejudices.
In an attempt to understand Paul, we find there are three views of Paul’s instruction to the Corinthian Church: The first view states that Paul had no right to state such a law or that he was not in the Spirit. We, who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, would not accept off-the-cuff remarks as part of Scripture.
The second view believes the utterance was conclusive and final in an absolute sense and in all times and in all cultures. This injunction would have been contrary to the very nature of Judaism. Note the cases of Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Huldah, Anna, the prediction of Joel and the four daughters of Philip. An absolute interpretation would be a denouncement of all ministry activity by women.
The final view feels that while there are unchanging matters of faith and morals, there are matters of manners and customs, which are local, national and timely. The text given was addressed to a Greek culture, not a Jewish culture. The Greeks disallowed an unveiled woman to be seen on the street.