If you’ve ever read the Old Testament passages about the prophetess Deborah, or the New Testament passages about the prophetess Anna, the answer to that should be a simple: no.
What more needs to be said? The passages recount in clear language that God can speak through women, and that when he does the hearers need to listen up every bit as much as when he speaks through a man.
Yet the boys club in drag keeps insisting that it’s not that simple, that we need to take Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians forbidding women to talk in their church into account before letting women loose in our churches. Well, before we jump to conclusions, why don’t we take a risk and hear what a woman has to say about that passage?
… I don’t think I’ve stated this point simply enough because it hasn’t been commented upon, and it’s really my main point in relation to Corinthians. We do not need to know exactly what prophesy looked like (whether prophesy still exists in the church seems to me a debate best left for another thread.) But we can safely assume it involved talking… speaking forth! Prophesy and silence are incompatible. Because the passage about head coverings while praying and prophesying (11:5) are in the same book as the directive that women be silent… if they have a question they should ask their husbands at home (14:34, 35) I think the two statements need to be kept side by side. This is why I personally think the “silence” in chapter 14 is best understood in its immediate context… it was addressing disruption to worship by women asking their husbands to explain something. There are other references to women and prophesy in the New Testament… how can someone prophesy and be silent at the same time? I think we can at least be confident that prophesy is a spiritual gift, it involved speaking forth, and that women were involved in this ministry in the early church; yes, public ministry.
I was pulled up short when I read these comments by Danielle McCreeden’s because it brings the problem into such sharp focus. Whilst I’ve previously noted that Paul is not nearly so misogynistic as some of both his fans and his detractors would like him to be, and that we need to note that elsewhere he affirms women as disciples. What Danielle has noted is that he affirmed female voices in the very same book which is used to silence so many women.
This is precisely why we need alternate perspectives.