two-balls-massager 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.

11 thoughts on “Do Oracles Need Testicles?

  1. Good question- simple answer- yes if they are men… and obviously no if they are women- and I wonder how often in our politically correct world we experience gender translation..?

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  2. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    I must say, you’ve got a great site here, and I’ve bookmarked you. Will enjoy further reading.
    On Paul’s comments on women in the Church, I often wonder what he was referring to. Was it a specific incident that, if he were here, would tell us that we got it all out of context? Was he just responding to one incident and the perhaps minor letter, became ‘Gospel’ through no intent of his own.
    It is amazing how difficult human communication is.
    Blessings,
    Sun Warrior

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  3. Sun Warrior, I suspect so. I suspect Paul was speaking into a situation where women were being unnecessarily disruptive and that we should be wary of using the Corinthians passage as a universal rule.
    Elsewhere in Paul’s letters we find him referring to women leaders in a positive light. In Romans 16:1-3 for example he asks his readers to welcome a woman, Phoebe, who ministers in a church in Cenchrea – specifically using the word ‘diakonos’ which is usually translated as deconess to discribe her.
    And it was after all Paul who wrote: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
    Doesn’t square with the view that he hated women teaching men under any circumstances.

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  4. I have been discussing today how often Pauline theology badly interpreted has been used as a smoke screen…oddly especially by elderly ladies- one told me today that she would never acceptthe Lords Supper from my hands but, had she been a man she would have been a priest! hmmm

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  5. Perhaps if you had considered the following against Danielle Mc Creeden’s (not her’s originally, of course) on Paul’s prohibition in 1 Cor. 14:34-35 you would not have been pulled up so short?
    1. There is absolutely no evidence inside or outside the Bible to support this view.
    2. This theory supposes that special circumstances in Corinth called for this correction from Paul in their case, and in their case only. The fact is that Paul imposes this apostolic prohibition on “all the churches” noisy women or no noisy women (vv. 33b – 34).
    3. The “noisy women” theory makes Paul’s solution seem like an overkill, and an irresponsible one that has caused great and unnecessary confusion in the church throughout the life of the church. After all, if the “noisy women” theory is correct, Paul could surely have merely told them to do things more orderly (as he tells the church elsewhere) rather than tell them outrightly to keep completely quiet.
    4. Following from the above, Paul’s remedy is not only irrsponsible, but also unfair.
    5.We do not need to think up reasons for Paul’s prohibition. He gives us his reason himself and it is not a situation of “noisy women” but the prescriptions of the Law itself: “For they are not permitted to speak but should be in submission (oops! the “s” word!) as (note now) the Law also says” (v.34).
    Regards
    Willem Bronkhorst

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  6. Willem
    1/ That’s an assertion, not an exposition. If you want me to take this assertion seriously then you better back it up. Verse 35 explicitly states, “If they want to inquire about something…” A disruptive ‘inquiry’ sounds like a pretty ‘special case’ to me. If Paul wanted the prohibition against speaking to cover praying, prophesying, preaching, reading the day’s Bible passage, leading the singing, or other forms of speaking in church then why didn’t he say so. Do you consider the prohibition against speaking to include asking people if they would like some tea? No? Well then on what basis do you exclude that if this is so general as you say? Most Christians making the comments you are still draw lines, they just do so in different places, and more arbitarily.
    2/ The explaination does not preclude the possibility that the same problems could have been happening elsewhere. You are creating a straw man here.
    3/ What sounds like overkill to me is prohibiting women from ministry and meaningful participation in Christian rites on the basis of one disputed passage.
    4/ What sounds unfair to me is sexual discrimination perpetrated under the guise of theological correctness.
    5/ Submission…well if you want to know the truth I feel a lot of Christian men leap onto this word a little too gleefully, and I sense more than a whif of S&M in it all…and insecurity. Submission is one thing, suppression is another. I think we should all be in submission to the good order of the church, and greater onus should be on those being overly disruptive, but aren’t you just a wee bit concerned when this is used as an excuse for suppression?
    Oh, and another thing, why is it that some denominations have so much difficulty with white female evangelists teaching men in traditionally white countries like America, Australia and the United Kingdom, yet quite freely send white women as missionaries to teach men in traditionally coloured countries like Africa and Asia? Where is the justification for that in Paul’s writings, eh?

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  7. Hi Matt,
    1. An assertion, you say? Well you could easily refute me then by supplying the evidence, couldn’t you? And a non-sequitur leap from the statement in v. 35 to “a disruptive inquiry” is hardly evidence. Paul’s instruction does in no way prove that women were already asking disruptive questions. That is an assumption and nothing more. As Wayne Grudem says, “It could just as well be Paul’s way of heading off any possible attempts to evade his command that women not speak out and judge prophecies in the church service”. But that too is just a possibility. As for your question about the tea, if you serve tea in the worship service, then yes, that would preclude women from asking folk if they would like some tea.
    2. I do not quite see the straw man that you say I am creating. You start with the assumption (not necessarily a correct one) of noisy women, and then move from there to “the same problems could have been happening elsewhere”. That is to move from one assumption to another. One could land up anywhere one wishes to in such a process.
    3. The pasage is disputed mostly (but admittedly not exclusively) by those who, generally, have an up-front unwillingness to yield to it should it prove, in the end, to say what it says at first glance. And then it is not just the one passage as we see, for instance, when we consider exactly what the Law prescribes that Paul points to.
    4. Now Matt, that is what we call an “ad hominem” argument.
    5. Some more “ad hominem stuff”? Who ever said anything about suppression? Who in his right mind would want to create or perpetuate a culture of the supression of women? And so I am more than a wee bit concerned when Scriptural injunctions of submission are abused to practice suppression. I am equally concerned when Scripture is manipulated by means of crafty hermeneutics to get around its clear meaning in order to serve political correctness.
    Your last question I cannot answer. I suggest you ask the folk who indulge in such stuff.
    Thank you for your time, and for the opportunity to exchange thoughts. I truly am willing and ready to go wherever the evidence takes me. I do pay respectful attention to what you say, and I do feel challenged thereby.
    Sincere regards
    Willem

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  8. Hi Matt,
    1. An assertion, you say? Well you could easily refute me then by supplying the evidence, couldn’t you? And a non-sequitur leap from the statement in v. 35 to “a disruptive inquiry” is hardly evidence. Paul’s instruction does in no way prove that women were already asking disruptive questions. That is an assumption and nothing more. As Wayne Grudem says, “It could just as well be Paul’s way of heading off any possible attempts to evade his command that women not speak out and judge prophecies in the church service”. But that too is just a possibility. As for your question about the tea, if you serve tea in the worship service, then yes, that would preclude women from asking folk if they would like some tea.
    2. I do not quite see the straw man that you say I am creating. You start with the assumption (not necessarily a correct one) of noisy women, and then move from there to “the same problems could have been happening elsewhere”. That is to move from one assumption to another. One could land up anywhere one wishes to in such a process.
    3. The pasage is disputed mostly (but admittedly not exclusively) by those who, generally, have an up-front unwillingness to yield to it should it prove, in the end, to say what it says at first glance. And then it is not just the one passage as we see, for instance, when we consider exactly what the Law prescribes that Paul points to.
    4. Now Matt, that is what we call an “ad hominem” argument.
    5. Some more “ad hominem stuff”? Who ever said anything about suppression? Who in his right mind would want to create or perpetuate a culture of the supression of women? And so I am more than a wee bit concerned when Scriptural injunctions of submission are abused to practice suppression. I am equally concerned when Scripture is manipulated by means of crafty hermeneutics to get around its clear meaning in order to serve political correctness.
    Your last question I cannot answer. I suggest you ask the folk who indulge in such stuff.
    Thank you for your time, and for the opportunity to exchange thoughts. I truly am willing and ready to go wherever the evidence takes me. I do pay respectful attention to what you say, and I do feel challenged thereby.
    Sincere regards
    Willem

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  9. I would say that we have all inherited a “profoundly” negative cultural script re the body and sexuality from the “church”.
    And because the pattern that IS Woman (or Shakti) is associated with the body and sexuality, a “profound” hostility to everything that is related to the Pattern that IS Woman–and by extension the entire world because the world IS our body.
    WE are quite literally at war against the body!
    This negative cultural script is the root cause of ALL of our seemingly intractable social problems from the current obesity epidemic, drug addiction and right through to world wide terrorism brought to one and all by the fundamentalist sex-paranoid psychotics.
    These related references provide some insight into this issus.
    1. http://www.dabase.net/twoarmc.htm
    2. http://www.dabase.net/meaning.htm
    3. http://www.dabase.net/oltawwfm.htm
    4. http://www.beezone.com/AdiDa/jesusandme.html

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