Should Women Preach?

Christian counsellors holding biblesThe question has come up on many if not most of our web seminars. The question is interesting in my own Soul Preaching ministry in that we are an eclectic mix of various denominations. While that is true, 50% of our membership are Baptists and approximately 25% are nondenominational evangelicals. Thus, a good 75% of our readers are conservative evangelicals. Certainly in the Black Church we seek to raise a “prophetic voice” against racism, but the reality of sexism does not bring the same call.

Often when the question comes up, I have ignored the question in seminars in that the question was not exactly what the seminars were about, but then in our last seminar, I referred to preachers in the generic as “he.” This is something that I attempt to never do. I quickly corrected the pronoun usage to “she or he.” To that simple correction one preaching sista thanked me for recognizing the fact that not only can women preach, but they were online right now listening to the seminar. I stated that I know that our sisters are listening. In fact a good 60% of all of our visitors to Soul Preaching and our seminars are our Sister Preachers. I then stated how I am humbled by the fact that our sisters can find a little something to help them from this poor brother who still on occasion makes the mistake of leaving gender inclusive language for our preachers.

Then, a question came in about how can I defend women preaching? To this I spoke of the reality that the Bible says that in the last days God will pour out God’s spirit on all flesh. (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17) All flesh means all male and female, if one is wondering about who this is, then the text tells us that sons and daughters will prophesy and then in case some are wondering, the text re-emphasizes it again by saying that God will pour God’s spirit on both male and female in the next verse (Acts 2:18). This spirit that is poured out is to prophesy. To prophesy is to speak truth. It is to utter forth and declare. How can one prophesy if one is not preaching? It is an accepted part of our tradition in the Black Preaching Tradition that we are in the lines of the prophets speaking truth to power and uttering truth by divine inspiration. The text is telling us that that work will be done by both male and female in the last days. And why should it not be? There have always been female prophets such as Miriam Exodus 15:20, Deborah Judges 4:4, Huldah 2Kings 22:14, Noahdia, Nehimiah 6:15, Anna Luke 2:36, Phillip the Evangelists daughters Acts 21:7-9, And Paul even acknowledges that women prophesy in 1 Corinthians 11:5. Show me a prophet who doesn’t preach. You Can’t be a prophet and not preach! In the last days we are going to see more of this. Women will proclaim the word of God…yes they will preach!

But some wish to argue that modern day preachers are in the line of the priests and not the prophets. They wish to argue that because all the priests were . But I would argue that that was not God’s original intention. Look at God’s original intention was that Israel would be a Kingdom of Priests in Exodus 19:6. But something sidetracked the agenda and God settled on the Levities. But in Revelation we have a picture of the end where this will come to past. God will have a kingdom of priest (Revelation 1:6). Is this going to be only a kingdom of men? I think not. No in the last days, God will have male and female prophets and yes priests.

In my interdenominational ministry here, I have heard the stories. I have heard the stories of women leaving denominations to find one that supports women in ministry only to be sent to the hardest back woods towns and after turning it around being moved to another back woods town while a young male is placed in the place to get the benefits. I have heard the stories of working for years and barely getting a 3 member church 2 hours out of town. Yes, I have heard the stories from our sisters who have had their womanhood questioned just for wanting to obey the call of God on their lives. I have heard you, and I pray that God will continue to make a way out of your tears. Your road that you have taken, dear sister, has opened avenues to ministry that many of us may not have seen or appreciated.

Yes, when they wouldn’t ordain you as a pastor, you went on and became an evangelist and preached on anyway. Maybe you were like Shirley Ceaser and had to preach in between songs that you sang, but you preached on anyhow. Maybe you preached with your actions like Harriett Tubman. Yes, you trailblazed the way to ministry even when you didn’t have a church. While I am not a woman, I do believe that the ministry of Soul Preaching would not have been even thought of if it hadn’t been for our sisters who have had to think out of the box and their legacy pointed me towards going online without a church and without the credentials that some think you should have. Yes, I thank you sistas for your work and witness.

Finally, I also wish to say that perhaps my proudest moment in this ministry was when a Baptist sister wrote me and said that she followed the materials that were freely given on Soul Preaching Ministries. She put together a Bible Study with the materials. The church recognized the call of God on her life and she then put together a sermon. Finally, that church ordained her to the ministry. I am glad that God is using me to help fulfill that call to prophesy in the last days.

My original question was “Should Women Preach?” The short answer is they already are, and if the Bible is true, they will keep on preaching into the kingdom of God.

Comments

comments

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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12 comments on “Should Women Preach?
  1. Vernetia Miller says:

    One recent day, after serving at a funeral, I went into a local discount store on the way home having not changed out of my ministerial collar. A man approached me and boldly proclaimed that he was National Baptist and he hadn’t found any where in the Bible that said a woman was supposed to preach. I asked him to explain Deborah to me then I bidded him a good day as he stood baffled. I choose not to argue with those who question God. I say that they question God because God called me, chose me and found me faithful; God predestined me, called me, justified me, and glorified me to preach His Holy Word. Who should be so bold as to question God?

  2. John says:

    If scripture permits women to enter the preaching ministry how do we reconcile-Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

  3. Sherman Haywood Cox II says:

    We reconcile it by noting that God has always used women as prophets…Your argument would seem to make it impossible for women to be prophets. Please tell me how the prophetic role can be given to women as the Bible does and yet one of the primary roles (speaking the word of God) is not allowed to them?

  4. John says:

    Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

    God does use women to prophesy: today and in the days of old and I beleive in the days to come….in the above mentioned passage the word prophesy refers to being under the influence of the Holy Spirit of God, in this particular case the infulence is to dream dreams and see visions.

    a Prophet is a seer- one who sees events before they have yet to pass

  5. Sherman Haywood Cox II says:

    How are they to “prophesy” if they are to be quiet and not speak what God has given them to speak? And what is the difference between this “speaking” (stating what God has given them to say) and “preaching” that some would say that female prophets do not have the right to do?

    Finally, the prophetic office includes more than seeing events that have not come to pass…At the very least it includes communicating such messages. Are they to be quiet to the message given to them?

    The Bible prophets sometimes spoke about repentence as Nathan did to David. The prophet was one who was inspired by God to give a message to the people of God. If you don’t want to call that preaching…then we are talking about semantics…

  6. John says:

    The issue is not if the prophet can speak on what they have seen.

    scripture reveals to us two different kinds of prophets:

    The “seer”, and the “Preacher”

    Jacob, Daniel and Deborah are examples of seeing prophets
    the afore mentioned passage in Joel is an example of God’s Gift of prophsey on his people. And not an express calling to stand before his people to speak his word.

    Isaiah, Ezekiel and Soloman are examples of preaching prophets
    The Prophet that receives God’s expressed call to carry his word and stand before his people to proclaim his word, this “Prophetic” office is not one of voluntary choice but is involentarily pressed into service by God’s Holy Spirit therfore no one has the right to preach, neither man or woman.

  7. Sherman Haywood Cox II says:

    The issue is speaking what they have seen…God tells prohets to speak what they have been shown.

    Furthermore, your two kinds of prohpets thing seems artificial. Isaiah and Ezekiel saw visions and yet they in your “preaching prophets” section.

    If preaching prophets can be seers according to your nomenclature can seer prophets be preachers? And speaking preaching is nothing more than speaking the word that was given to them. Are you saying that the women seers (according to your nomenclature) never spoke that which they saw to the people. The difference between that speaking and preaching as I noted before is semantics…

    And And where do you say that women can be in one and not the other? And are you arguing that women have never spoikenI don’t understand where you are coming from. I’m lost…please tell me why you think that women should not preach…you have just argued that neither men nor women should preach unless chosen by the Holy Spirit…

  8. John says:

    God visits his people in many different ways, his spirit is always with us, he exposes his spirit to us, possibly, in more ways then we are able to numerate; First and foremost through his Word-Christ encourages us to search the scripture for they testify of him, through Visions-God allows us to see things we would not normally see with our natural eyes, through Each other-our lives can be instrumental and a valuable resource for Christian examples in this present age, through Nature itself-we see the mighty works of God, and yes we should share one with another (as you have mentioned speaking, talking and telling) sharing of God should be enjoyed by all members of the congregation should we as light candles (both men and women) be placed under a bush? God forbid! But rather where all can see and be enriched.

    The idea of more than one kind of prophet is neither artificial nor subtle but when looked at critically becomes dramatic. In the case of Miriam and Aaron-they thinking that they are the same as Moses (…hath he not spoken also by us?) It was not man but God that comes in to make a sudden distinction between them and Moses. The difference is not one of semantics but actually one of Leadership, which is why I first asked how do we reconcile women in the Preaching ministry and Gen. 3:16 which clearly places the man in that leadership position. I know that we stand on different sides of this issue but it is really more that me saying tomato and you saying toma’to. There are many things we do not know about God, but what we do know is that God is able to create from nothing, has Angles ready at his beckoning call, can cause rocks to cry out, and has caused a mule to talk, we know that nothing is impossible for God, we also know of all the times in scripture that God has told his servant to go and tell my people… he has never used a woman to stand in that leadership position. And because of the headship role of the man he never will.

    It is the spirit of God that “Anoints” the preacher and gives him the “Commission” to go and preach, that is to stand before the congregation and proclaim the unaltered Word of God. The work belongs to God, the power to Preach belongs to God, the people belong to God and the preacher belongs to God.

  9. Sherman Haywood Cox II says:

    ok…how is this “sharing” different from “preaching?” The difference in my estimation is semantics…

    The issue of God choosing or anointing a preacher is a red herring..Yes God only annoints those who God wants to annoint…that ain’t the issue…the question is does God only anoint men to speak what God has shown them…

    Finally, at best your argument says that women should not be leaders…Let us for the sake of discussion say I accept that…I would still argue that the prophetic office demonstrates that women do speak what God has given to them.

    I am also confused about the relevance of a man and a woman (Miriam and Aaron) overstepping the bounds that God had for them into leadership has on this discussion. It would be relevant if we all accept the position that women are never called to speak the message that God has given to them. I agree if that has been demonstrated, then the Miriam and Aaron story would be relevant challenge to those who do what God ain’t called them to do…But don’t you see that is the very question we are discussion?

    On a side note…doesn’t mirim and Aaron’s statement that “hasn’t god spoken by us” demonstrate that there both miriam and aaron both had a valid “speaking” ministry and their problem was overstepping their bounds into attempting the leadership that God had already placed Moses into? I need to go back and read that though…

    Again, I wonder why you keep emphasizing that it is “God’s annointing” that makes the preacher…I agree…that ain’t the quesiton…the question is does God only annoint men to give the message to the people of God.

    I really do thank you for the conversation and for the cordial nature in which you have participated in the discussion.

    God bless

  10. mamalujo2003 says:

    What about women pastors? Doesn’t Paul make it clear that women are not to have spiritual authority over men?

  11. mamalujo2003 says:

    I’m curious, why questions posted here, regarding this article, have been removed? Are questions not to be asked in order to learn? I posted a question 6 months ago only for it to be removed. Why?

  12. when we moved to a new comment platform we lost a lot of comments…

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