The title has been changed by the editor to 'women.' The original: Shall Woman Preach?
Shall Women Preach?
By Rev. W. P. Harvey, D.D.
When a boy, and a public school teacher in Lewis County, Ky., soon after I was licensed to preach by the Maysville church, Elder Mason Owens, pastor of Salem church, Lewis county, made an appointment for me to preach on Sunday afternoon. "Then I reached the meeting house, one of the deacons told me that Rev. Mrs. ___, a woman preacher of Ohio, of the New Light denomination, was present, and he requested that I "invite her into the pulpit to assist me in the service." No poor fellow ever felt more helpless than did your scribe that summer afternoon, but I refused to invite her. Then said the deacon, "Ask her to lead in prayer." "I cannot do that," was my answer. "You can have her to preach, I do not feel like preaching." He replied, "No, it is your appointment, and the people have come to hear you. But you must request her to close the service with an exhortation." I replied, "I cannot do that." The deacon exclaimed, "'Why are you so contrary?" I replied, "I never heard of a woman preacher, and I do not know that women ought to preach." After preaching and dismissing the congregation, the deacon announced that "Rev. Mrs. ____ would now deliver an exhortation." I left the house. Many accounted for my conduct, saying, that I knew she could beat me preaching. That day I determined to inform myself on the subject, with the result that after forty years of observation and the study of the Bible, I find myself of the same opinion still, and submit the following reasons for the consideration of all impartial readers.
W. P. HARVEY.
The gravity of the question of women's speaking in mixed public assemblies is sufficient apology for the appearance of this pamphlet, by the Rev. W. P. Harvey, D.D. It is justice to say that it has met with the warmest reception wherever it has been delivered. The persistent and aggressive attacks which the advocates of the practice make upon the Bible render every defence of Scriptural authority welcome. Dr. [John A.] Broadus' tract on this subject has a wide and growing circulation and should be read by many thousands more. Dr. [J. B.] Hawthorne's sermon should exert its widespread influence and check the encroachments of this tendency among Baptist churches. The paper of Bro. Harvey has the merit of directness and clearness and handles the subject vigorously. It is none too soon that decided words should be spoken on this line. Baptists are the last people in the world to speak slightingly of the authority of the New Testament on anything or to resort to doubtful and equivocal arguments to defend practices in opposition to the plain meaning of Scripture. This appeal to the Bible has been our boast. With regret be it said that many of the arguments adduced for the defence of "testifying" and public speaking on the part of women in our religious meetings flavor strongly of the dodges and turns made by some good people to evade the plain meaning of the Scriptures as to baptism. One brother recently argued that as "there is no male and female" in Christ, women had as much
right to speak as men. He simply ignored the fact that Paul here (Galatians 3:28) is talking about salvation and not preaching. Salvation is free to all without distinction of race, sex, or condition. See what a jumble he made here. Another brother said that he did not care if Paul did forbid women's speaking, for he was an old bachelor anyhow and not in sympathy with women and that at his Association the best speeches were made by the women. See what flippant irreverence and painful effort to justify a violation of Scripture by the success of the violation! Is success a criterion of right? All kinds of sin are successful, alas! Will the Bible retain its hold upon the hearts and consciences of the churches, if once we begin such light handling of its authority? To say the very least, it is not Baptistic to distort the Bible into justification of any practice. Our glory has been that we twisted our behavior, when it needed it, into conformity with the New Testament. We have always been willing to meet the Bible with open face and heart ready to obey its clear teaching. Let us do so here. The women, as a rule, do not desire this innovation. It is pressed by some free-thinking women and sustained by some preachers who imagine they see here a great lever for usefulness. Be it remembered that the power behind every spiritual lever is the Holy Spirit. He will not bless known disobedience to his will. There may come curiosity and revival of interest by such novel means, but loyalty to Scriptural truth and authority is a higher consideration than momentary and sensational excitement.
A. T. ROBERTSON, D.D
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky.
"To give society its highest taste,
Well ordered home man's best delight to make,
And by submissive, modest skill, with every
Gentle care eluding art,
To raise the virtues, animate the bliss,
And sweeten all the toils of human life;
This be the female dignity and praise." -- Thompson.
Shall Women Preach?
Text: "Let your women keep silence in the churches." -- 1 Corinthians 14:34.
WHAT WOMEN ARE DOING.
Women were never so active as to-day. The question is no longer what will the men do with the women, but is rapidly coming to be what will the women do with the men? Women are entering various occupations hitherto closed to them, and they are now more largely engaging in those long open. Three hundred thousand women in the United States are public school teachers. 0ver forty thousand are attending colleges and universities. Men can not claim a monopoly in literature. Woman writes for the magazines, edits newspapers, and as an author rivals man. In all womanly pursuits let us encourage her. There are more than forty-five thousand convicts in our penitentiaries and over forty-three thousand are men.
She is alike aggressive in church work. Her influence was always felt, but never before in the way it is now manifested. Two-thirds of our church members and congregations are women, and they are represented in the same proportion as teachers of the twelve millions of Sunday-school scholars of our country, while they perform nearly all the work among the sick, destitute and degraded. They have in many churches separate missionary societies, and they raise money for various purposes. Many now seek
representation in Synods, Conferences, Associations and Conventions, are reaching for the highest offices, and in some denominations have been ordained to the ministry. Others are doing efficient service as workers, in home and foreign fields. It would be amusing, were it not pitiable to hear some men, with more sentimentality than wisdom, indulge their imagination and represent woman "as just emerging from a bondage more galling than that of the Children of Israel in Egypt". These men are generally of an effeminate type, and often are dominated by some of the "strongminded." They flatter woman, and throw the burden of responsibility from their own shoulders upon hers; while there are others so timid and conservative~ and such sticklers for propriety, that rather than see church work of any kind done by woman, they would leave it undone.
WOMEN HELPERS, AND NOT RIVALS OF MEN.
The right of woman to compete with man in all vocations for which she is adapted by nature, and by attainments qualified, is cheerfully conceded. The Creator did not intend that the sphere of man and woman should be the same. By nature woman is not adapted to work in the field, in the quarry, mines, furnaces, foundaries, rolling mills, railroad construction and operation, and digging canals, nor to military duties. In all grades of civilization, man takes the hardest and most rugged work, e.g., while the squaw cultivates the corn and cares for the children, the warrior engages in the chase, and fights the enemies.
There are many women intellectually superior to many men, but all the greatest artists, the greatest philosophers, surgeons, jurists, engineers, composers, and performers on musical instruments have been men. The best cooks, the finest dress makers are men. Dr. John Lord, "Beacon Lights of History", Vol 5, tells of a painter of great talent whose wife was "Strong Minded", and demanded that he should spend 5 hours a day in drudgeries of the nursery and kitchen to reIieve her, that she might spend five hours in the studio as an amateur, that thus they might be on an equality. Poor man had to yield or fight day and night. He pined one year with a broken heart and crushed ambition, and died in a lunatic asylum. I only wonder how he lived so long.
Shall we conclude man the superior of woman? By no means. In her sphere, she is as superior to man as man is to her in his sphere. There is no lasting social or moral progress possible if woman does not aid it and benefit by it. The tendency to crime is five times as great in man as in woman. She is the keeper of home, the foundation of social order, the pillar of civilization, the hope of the church and the world. The New Woman who claims a higher mission is deluded. There is no higher honor or prouder title than that of wife and mother. Queen Victoria esteemed the honor of being wife and mother far above her glittering crown, and title as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India.
Well has Miss Frances E. Willard said: "The mission of the ideal woman is to make the whole world homelike." When we think of home, we think of woman, for without woman there is no home, the earthly
paradise. the type of heaven. What shall I say of the "New Man" who flatters and toadies to the New Woman? He is of the namby-pamby brand. To call him a man would he a reproach to true manhood, and to label him as effeminate would be an unpardonable reflection on the feminine gender.
We hail with joy the emancipation of woman from the thraldom of the ages, and may God speed the day when all slavish shackles forged by ignorance and injustice shall be broken.
It is claimed that in mercantile pursuits, because of prejudice, a woman gets less for her labor than a man. It is true that men do command better wages. It is exclaimed that it is not because of prejudice against her sex. but only as a matter of business. The employer wants the most he can get for his money. Instinctively, a gentleman does not feel as free to be exacting with female help as with male. If necessary, the man comes early and stays late. Man is stronger, and can stand more work. The average woman enters business not expecting to devote her life to it. Many things can unsettle a woman in business - sickness in her family and marriage generally mean retirement from business. When a woman does the same work that a man does and can he relied on as being as permanent in holding a situation, compensation ought to be the same. We do not hail the advent of woman into the field of competition with men as a blessing to society, but when circumstances require it, all honor to the noble and brave woman, who in order to provide for herself or those dependent on her, accepts suitable employment.
Supply and demand regulate wages. When a woman
offers to work for less wages than a man, the man must either work for less or lose his position. On account of so many young women entering business, the country towns and cities are crowded with unemployed young men. The result is, they become discouraged. Idleness leads to dissipation, and many drift to ruin. This also accounts for the decrease in the number of marriages. Young men cannot afford on small salaries, with the uncertainty of employment, to assume responsibilities incidental to the sacred relation. We know that divorces are on the increase; the United States leads all of Europe. It is not because men are harder to please, or that women are less patient and longsuffering, but because of lax divorce laws, and a lower standard of morality. Ladies, conscious of their ability to provide for themselves in the event of marriage proving a disappointment, are not so careful in the selection of a husband as women were when they felt more dependent on their husbands for support. Painful is the fact that the sacredness of the holy relation is not held by many to be as binding as the Bible enjoins, and as happiness for life requires.
The New Woman claims to have a mission to "purify politics." In over twenty States they have municipal and limited suffrage, in three States full suffrage, viz.: Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. Surely woman has achieved enough along the line of "equal rights" to demonstrate her power to usher in the millennium dawn, which was confidently predicted would follow her enfranchisement. They say, "Give us the ballot. and we will close the saloons." There are many noble women who could be tempted to enter politics in order to get rid of the saloons. Generally speaking, women
are better than men, but there are women, and legions of them, who are as wicked as men and more depraved than men. This is the class who rival men in stuffing ballot boxes and voting early and often. Good women, like good men, are prone to overestimate their power as reformers. In 1892, out of a Presidential vote of 93,843 in Colorado, the men cast 1,639 votes for the Prohibition candidates. The next year the suffrage was given to women in that State. In 1896, out of 189,141 votes cast for Presidential candidates, only 1,717 were cast for Prohibition candidates. While the Presidential vote was more than double, only 79 more votes were cast for the Prohibition candidates when both men and women voted than were cast by men only in 1892.
In order to be consistent the New Woman as a rival to man must share all duties and responsibilities with men, asking and expecting no favors that competitors among men do not ask or expect from each other. On this principle, the legislature of Colorado passed a law requiring all women voters to serve in the State militia.
ABILITY AND OBLIGATION - THE BIBLE AND FEMALE SUFFRAGE.
There are those who argue from woman's ability to do certain things, that she ought to do them, and ask, "Does not the ability to do anything carry with it the obligation to do it?" By no means. The "Thou Shalt Not" of each of the Ten Commandments pre-supposes the ability for disobedience. Who would affirm that
the ability carried with it the obligation to do what is interdicted? e. g., you have the ability to place an obstruction on the railroad track and cause the wreck of a passenger or freight train. Ought you to do it? The ability to do what God commands carries with it the obligation to do it, but not to do what he forbids. In this connection, let us consider who are the advocates of what is called the "'Woman's Movement."
They are not generally found among the most pious and spiritually minded women, nor among the most cultivated and refined, nor among the best wives and mothers.
They are, however, usually found among those who have either failed to marry, or made marriage a failure.
They abound chiefly among Mormons, Spiritualists, Universalists, Unitarians, Free Lovers, Anarchists and Infidels. Hear some of them as follows:
Arena, August, 1901, Page 382. Subject, "Era of Woman." Editorial. "She must also repudiate the age-hallowed insult dwelt upon in the old Edenic legend of the fall of man, which for centuries has been brandished in her face to teach her humility, and make her feel degraded in the presence of her lords and masters."
Again: "Womanhood must refuse to heed the admonitions of Paul, which have for almost two thousand years been thundered from the pulpit, and persistently preached from the fireside as though they were oracles from Heaven, rather than the natural expressions of a mind imbued with Grecian thought and ideals concerning womanhood. The declarations of Paul, while in harmony with accepted ideas in his day, are inapplicable to our age and generation, and as such are being
discarded by enlightened public sentiment. Another duty of woman is unitedly to contend for the right of suffrage for those who wish to exercise it."
Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in a recent article, attacks the Bible in this fashion. She says: "The woman who crowd our Christian temples are sedulously taught their inferiority in the scale of being and their subjection to man. Paul's Epistles abound with lessons of her obedience to man as sovereign; and the Old Testament represents her as a marplot in creation, an afterthought, the origin of sin in collusion with the devil, cursed of God in her maternity, and marriage for her made a slavery. With such lessons taught in the Bible, and echoed and re-echoed each returning Sabbath day in every pulpit in the land, how can woman escape the feeling that the injustice and oppression she suffers is of divine ordination? She is educated to reverence the priests and the bishops, to believe in the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures, and as both alike teach her subjection and inferiority, it is not easy to teach her terms of self-respect and equality."
The issue is thus made fairly and squarely with the word of God. Indeed the same article says a little further on: "It is woman's position in the church, and the holy books accepted as authority, that make political equality so difficult." The condition of woman before Christ, and her condition now all the world over where Christianity is not established, should bring the blush of shame on the hard cheeks of Mrs. Stanton. And yet we must respect her candor, as we cannot respect that of those who recognize the Bible as God's word, but seek to evade its plain teaching.
Miss Willard says, "Not Paul, but Christ, is my teacher."
The New Woman demands the ballot in order to protect her home. It is a sad reflection on the New Woman that she cannot trust her father, husband, brothers and sons to do her justice and guard her rights. Is not woman, in a certain sense, responsible for all legislation? She furnishes the law-makers of the world. Alas, there are women more concerned about their rights than they are about their duties! If they will discharge their duties in their homes, they will never need ballots to protect them. The New Woman says: "We pay taxes, and taxation without representation is unjust. Either relieve us from paying taxes, or let us vote." This presupposes that suffrage is based upon a property qualification, which is not the fact. If this were the law, only owners of property would have the right to vote, and that would disfranchise more than half the voters. The man who owns no property and pays no taxes votes the same as the man who owns property and pays taxes. Taxes are levied and collected in order to support the government, and the government protects the property-holders in their rights. Minor children, non-residents and foreigners who own property pay taxes, but have no right to vote.
The New Woman clamors for power, and promises to regenerate society if we give it to her. There have been noble women in power, and they have used it for the glory of God and the welfare of mankind. Queen Esther saved Mordecai, Volumina saved Rome from the vengeance of hor angry son. Lucretia perished rather than survive the dishonor of her house. Octavia,
the faithful wife of Mark Anthony, cared tenderly for his three sons by her rival, Cleopatra. But, alas! there are many dark shadows and crimes of women in power. Jezebel brought ruin on Ahab and Israel. Agrippina, whose name is a synonym of infamy, was powerful with courtiers and statesmen. Lucilla ruled the court of Marcus Aurelius and armed her assassins against her own brother. The New Woman responds, these were Pagans who had no knowledge of the refining influences of Christianity. What about Catherine de Medici, who influenced Charles IX. of France to order the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and even had her own son assassinated when she imagined he stood in the way of her intrigues and ambition?
What about Madame de Maintenon, whose influence made Louis XIV. revoke the edict of Nantes, and caused the butchery and exile of 200,000 Huguenots? All the bloody deeds of the period were her work. Louis XV. and his court were absolutely controlled by Madame de Pompadour. She was the precursor of the first French Revolution. What about the Patriot Knitters of the French Revolution? In deep, dark deeds of cruelty and bloodshed, they rivalled Mirabeau, Robespierre and Murat. Carlyle records of them, they exchanged the distaff for the dagger. Froude, in summing up his exhaustive work on the time of Queen Elizabeth, wrote: "The great results of her reign were the fruits of her policy which was not her own, and which she starved and mutilated when energy and completeness were needed. She was remorseless when she ought to have been most forbearing, and lenient when she ought to have been stern. She owed her safety and
success to the incapacity and divisions of her enemies, rather than to wisdom and resolution of her own."
Behold Catherine of Russia. She connived at the assassination of her husband, and raised herself to power, and in morals was as depraved as Cleopatra. Let us not forget the Empress Dowager of China, the Jezebel of this century, and Mrs. Chadwick, one of the greatest frauds of the age. In past history women have not lacked power, and in its abuse men have done no worse.
The New Woman demands and receives ordination to the Gospel ministry, from the Unitarians, Universalists, Wesleyan, and Protestant Methodists, Free Will Baptists and some other minor sects. Many of them are devout women who still hold to the inspiration of the Bible. Vainly they attempt to justify their course by explaining away the Scriptures. The Apostle Paul is a mighty barrier in their way. Drs. John A. Broadus, T. T. Eaton, and J. B. Hawthorne and others have written books against women's preaching, or even speaking in mixed assemblies.
OBLIGATION TO STAND BY THE BIBLE.
Dr. Strong says: "This doctrine of the authority of Scripture means everything to Baptists. It is by this alone that they justify their tenacity as to the mode of baptism. Give up the doctrine of the absolute authority and inerrant character of the Scriptures and Baptists may allow any change in church polity that human wisdom seems to justify."
What is called the "Woman's Movement" is the most insidious and malicious conspiracy ever concocted against the inspiration of the Bible and our Christian homes. Consider carefully the Scriptures relied on by these champions of Woman's Rights, who profess to revere the Bible as the inspired Word of God.
Did not the daughters of Philip prophesy? Did not Joel predict, "Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy"? Unfortunately, many careless readers and superficial thinkers take it for granted that prophesying means preaching, and vice versa.
The gift of prophecy was one of extraordinary and miraculous power. It was the immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and demonstrated itself in healing the sick, and speaking with tongues. It had nothing to do with ordinary preaching.
Dr. John A. Broadus, D.D., LL.D., says, "Shall Women Speak in Mixed Public Assemblies," pages 6 and 7: "Some remind us that in 1 Corinthians 11:5ff, the apostle has spoken of women as 'praying or prophesying' in the public assemblies. That is true, and our first business is to reconcile the apostle with himself. The word 'prophesy' in the New Testament means to speak by divine inspiration. This the apostle repeatedly distinguishes on the one hand from utterances in an unknown tongue. and on the other hand from ordinary uninspired teaching. Some persons in the apostolic age were inspired to speak in unknown tongues, others in the language of those addressed. Among these last were some women, just as there were several cases of prophetesses in the Old Testament. In chapter 11 the apostle speaks of such inspired women, and urges upon them that in their high excitement they must not
disregard propriety of appearance and behavior; in particular, that they must keep the head covered in the customary manner. Now, unless the apostle has contradicted himself, we seem shut up to understand that the passage in chapter 14 is a general direction leaving out the case of women who prophesied, i.e., spoke by special inspiration. There is no such inspired speaking possible for us. True, it has been argued that when the apostle says (1 Corinthians 14:3), 'He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification,' we may infer that anyone who speaks in an edifying way is prophesying, and that if a woman can speak so as to edify, she is exempt from the apostle's prohibition. The author of this argument had forgotten the first elements of his logic, which certainly taught him that he must beware of assuming a proposition to be convertible. All prophesying was edifying speech; but how in the world can it be inferred that all edifying speech is prophecy? Yellow fever is a malarial disease; shall we infer that all malarial diseases are yellow fever?"
This is also the opinion of Dr. Marcus Dods, in the Expositor’s Bible. He says: "Why was Paul so exact in describing how a woman should comport herself while praying or prophesying in public, when he meant very shortly in the same epistle to write - Let your women keep silence in the churches, &c.? It has been suggested that although it was the standing order that women should not speak, there might be occasions when the Spirit urged them to address an assemblage of Christians, and the regulation here given is intended for those exceptional cases. This may be so, but the connection in which the absolute prohibition is given
rather makes against this view, and I think it more likely that in his own mind Paul held the two matters quite distinct, and felt that a mere prohibition, preventing women from addressing public meetings, would not touch the more serious transgression of female modesty involved in the discarding of the veil. He could not pass over this violent assertion of independence without separate treatment; and while he is treating it, it is not the speaking in public which is before his mind, but the unfeminine assertion of independence and the principle underlying this manifestation."
2. Again they ask us, "Did not a woman help to teach the way of the Lord more perfectly to Apollos?" Yes, and she set women of all ages a noble example. It was done, however, in a private conversation, in which her husband took part.
3. They also ask, "May not women teach as they do in our Sunday Schools, and in visiting the sick, and as they do in their own prayer meetings, and in our mission fields, and is not this teaching equivalent to preaching?" All preaching is, or ought to be, teaching, and more too, but it does not, therefore, follow that teaching is preaching; if so, it follows that every teacher is a preacher.
But they say. "Did not Paul send messages of affection to Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord," and to "the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord"? In Philippians 4:3. Paul says, "Help those women who labored with me in the Gospel" The Bible Commentary says of this verse - "In the Gospel -- in spreading the Gospel, not by preaching (this he forbids, 1 Corinthians 14:34), but by doing and suffering with and for its preachers." Was not Phoebe a deaconess?
No, there is no Scriptural authority for such an order. The Bible simply says she was a servant of the church at Cenchrea.
There are many noble women like Phoebe in consecration and devotion in our churches. If the foregoing leaves any doubt in regard to the right of woman's assuming an official position in the churches, let us consider 1. Corinthians 14:34. "Let your women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted to them to speak, but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law. And if any would learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home, for it is a shame for a woman to speak in the church." This refers directly to the exercise of gifts in public worship, and so far as women are concerned, such a privilege is denied them. To seek to avoid the plain teaching of God's Word, by saying, "Paul was an old bachelor," is to put contempt on the inspiration of the Bible. The apostle said this not for himself, but he speaks as he was inspired by the Holy Spirit. He claimed peculiar inspiration at this very place, as we learn from verse 37: "If any man think himself to be a Prophet, or Spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord."
To evade the forte of this passage, we are told that the words "speak" and "teach" do not refer to public preaching. That the word translated to "teach" is not either of the two words usually employed for the public preaching of the Gospel, but the word which means to talk, and the inspired Apostle only prohibited the women of the Corinthian Church from disturbing public worship by frivolous and vain babblings. The point is not well taken, and does not bear investigation.
The word used is lalein, which is frequently used to indicate preaching. It includes more than preaching. This 14th chapter is describing a social prayer meeting in the church in which the members generally took part. And in that meeting, the Apostle directs the brethren how to speak, and forbids the women's even asking a question. It is translated in the following passages preaching, and many others that might be quoted:
Matthew 10:20: "It is not ye that speak, but the spirit of your father that speaketh in you."
Matthew 13:3: "He spake many things to them in parables."
Acts 5:20: "Go speak in the temple all the words of this life."
Acts 10:44: "While Peter yet spake."
1 Corinthians 2:7: "He speak the wisdom of God in a mystery."
If the Apostle referred to vain babbling and indecorous talking or disorderly conduct, or anything that would have been as improper in the conduct of a man as of a woman, would he not have said, "For it is not permitted for anyone to speak"? If we could admit the interpretation of the advocates of women's rights, it would follow that only women are forbidden to talk in church, while men are left to babble and gossip at their pleasure. At least this much is clearly taught in this passage, women because they are women, are forbidden to do what men may do because they are men, and it is clear that it refers to the public proclamation of the word, i. e., official work.
There are others who concede that the passage refers to preaching, and that women were interdicted, because of the peculiar social customs that prevailed among
the Corinthians. This plea is entirely gratuitous. and was invented simply to evade the plainest teaching of revelation. You might as well say that anything else in the Epistle was simply intended for the Corinthians. It were easy to get rid of the Decalogue on such a principle, and claim the Ten Commandments were only for the Israelites while in the wilderness. There are others who claim that the prohibition was only for married women. We answer, could it be proper for a maiden to do in public what is a shame for a married woman?' 'Ye read in 1 Timothy 2:11-13: "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 to be in silence, for Adam," etc. "I suffer not a woman to teach." This is conclusive when we bear in mind that the words "teach" and "preach" are associated throughout the New Testament, representing the two great phases of the public ministry of the word. In every other place in which Paul uses this word "teach," in this letter to Timothy, he refers to the public ministry of the word, e. g., "These things command and teach." "These things teach and exhort." "Faithful men who shall be able to teach others also." Must we not so understand the Apostle Paul, when he says, "I suffer not a woman to teach"? If she is not permitted to teach, she is not allowed to preach certainly. Women are not only forbidden to speak in such mixed assemblies, but also to pray in meetings. This command is, if possible, more explicit than those against speaking. In verse 8th of 1 Timothy 2d chapter, we read: "I will. therefore, that men pray everywhere." etc. Literally translated, this reads: "I direct, therefore, that in every place the males do the praying."
Lange's Commentary on this passage says, "I will, therefore," etc. Boulesthai is stronger than Thelein, it is to ordain by the power of his Apostolic authority and connects the following exhortation with verses 1-3 and is needed on account of the brief digression in verses 1-7.
"As the Apostle thus reverts to the public prayers just commanded, he now states more exactly when, where, and through whom this should be conducted. The men, in express distinction from the women, are alone to direct public prayer; so it appears that in the assembly of believers this duty was not given exclusively to the presiding officer, but was performed also by members of the church."
The Apostle does not object to this, but only orders that women shall abstain entirely from it. The Commentator proceeds, "In every place it is explained by the fact that the church was in the habit of having meetings in private houses, and the Apostle forbids the women's praying in these meetings."
The Popular Commentary says, "That men, better as in the Greek, the men as distinguished from the women. The praying spoken of is not a mental act, but a part of the public worship of the church. 'In every place.' These words emphasize the fact that the rule laid down was binding in the more private meetings of the disciples as well as in the public gatherings of the church.”
The Bible Commentary says, "That men" - "That the men is in antithesis to the women." "Pray everywhere, in every place, when they pray, referring, however, to the public prayer." "Let the women learn in silence." "In the public places the men only are to teach; as well as pray."
Conebeare & Howson say, "The men, not the women, were to officiate."
The Pulpit Commentary says on the passage, "Those are limited to men." "The prayers and the teaching in the congregation are to be conducted by men only." Meyer, the most scholarly of all the commentators, agrees with the above citations. The exegesis in the Expositor's Bible is to the same effect. Bear in mind these are all modern exegetical commentaries, the very latest, and most abreast of the times in learning. These high authorities are in exact accord with the early comentators, e. g., Chrysostom, "Bade all women keep silence in the meetings."
Tertullian said, "It is not permitted for a woman to speak in the church, nor teach, nor baptize, nor arrogate to herself the duties of man."
John A. Broadus, D.D., LL.D., page 4 - "Should women speak in mixed public assemblies?" - comments on 1 Corinthians 14:34, and 1 Timothy 2:11-15: "Now it does not need to be urged that these two passages from the Apostle Paul do definitely and strongly forbid that women shall speak in mixed public assemblies. no one can afford to question that such is the most obvious meaning of the Apostle's commands."
Did Christ choose a woman as one of the Apostles? When he sent out the seventy on the first missionary journey, were there any women in the number? Did Christ or his Apostles ever set a woman apart to the ministry? Or among all the innovations, that men devised and fastened upon Christianity, how long was it after the death of Christ before it was first seriously proposed to ordain women to the ministry? More than eighteen hundred years. The Apostle Paul does not argue that women are
inferior to men, nor that they may not have equal spiritual endowments. In civil and social affairs the husband represents the wife, but he can not do so in her individual relation to Christ, here each must act alone. The woman must not confound these spheres in which she moves, or argue that because she is independent of him in the greater, she must also be in the less. Equality in the one sphere is not inconsistent with the subordination in the other. Says the apostle, "I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God."
Ruskin says, "We are foolish and without excuse foolish in speaking of the 'superiority' of one sex to the other, as if they could be compared in similar things. Each has what the other has not. Each completes the other, and is completed by the other. They are in nothing alike, and the happiness and perfection of both depends on each asking and receiving from the other what the other only can give.
"The woman who is most womanly will most probably recognize that her function is the glory of man, to mould, to elevate, to sustain the individual, to find her joy, and her life in the private life, in which the affections are developed, principles formed and all personal wants provided for, and man on his part must say:
'If aught of goodness or of grace
Be mine, hers the glory.'"
A. French writer says, "Her influence embraces the whole of life - a wife, a mother, two magical words, comprising the sweetest resources of man's felicity. Theirs is the reign of beauty, of love, of reason, always
a reign. A man takes counsel of his wife, he obeys his mother - he obeys her long after she has ceased to live, and the ideas he has received from her become principles even stronger than his passions."
Shall we have women's societies independent of the churches? No, let the church do the work as a church. Divide not the glory that belongs to the Bride of the Lamb. Let the women in their societies work as part of the church and with the church. Verily if God had not intended men and women to work as church members together, he would have organized separate churches for each sex. "What God has joined together, let not man put asunder."
May women vote as members of our churches? Yes, and serve on committees, and teach in Sunday-school, visit and comfort the sick and circulate religious literature. She may use all the graces of heart, character and conversation in the cause of Christ. Her field is just as wide as her nature admits among men and women. Considering the extent that man is susceptible to the influence of woman, her responsibilities are very great. Man is what she makes him. He is the effect of her workmanship. See him helpless in her arms, in the cradle, by her side, at her knee as she teaches him to lisp his evening prayer. What will he be? Are not the possibilities all but infinite? Ask his mother. Do you see that swaggering, aimless, and worthless prodigal, as he heedlessly and recklessly plunges into one vice after another, followed by crime after crime until justice, with a strong arm, drags him to her bar, and avenges herself by meting out the extreme penalties of violated law? Follow him from dungeon to court, manacled and guarded. Hear the verdict. See the mother as she wrings her hands, and
weeps tears of bitterest and most hopeless grief. The culprit is self-possessed, and to that mother he, as a certain criminal did say, says, "Too late now, Mother. Had it not been for you, this would not be my fate.” God has told us, "A son left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." We are told that Madame de Stael asked Napoleon, "What does France most need?" and he replied, "Mothers." Thrice blessed is the child of a pious, God-fearing mother. Some one has said if you want a great man; you ought to begin with his grandmother. The Timothys, the Wesleys; the Judsons, the Spurgeons were blessed with mothers eminent for piety.
What are the crown jewels of all the empires and the ages, when weighed in the balances against Bunyan, Whitfield and Dwight L. Moody?
The artist works upon canvas, the sculptor on marble, the orator moves multitudes, the statesman makes laws, and the soldier commands armies, but the mother moulds character. She gives men to the world, and one man like Augustine, Newton, Carey or Spurgeon, is worth more to this old world than all the strong minded Female Rights shriekers it has ever known. Mothers, do you cherish your Christian principles, do you desire to perpetuate and propagate Bible Christianity? Train your children rightly. How came the babe in the bulrushes who was found by Pharoah's [sic] daughter to become the Moses who led Israel from the bondage of Egypt? His mother nursed and trained him. He turned his back upon earth's proudest throne, "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." Would you reform our State and National governments? Do not
grasp at the ballot, for you need but train that son of yours to use the ballot in the fear of God.
Ruskin says, "No man ever lived a right life, who had not been chastened by a woman's love, strengthened by her courage, and guided by her discretion."
CHRISTIANITY WOMAN'S ONLY HOPE.
I am not unmindful that women even in the most enlightened countries have grievances that cry to heaven for redress. Woman is driven from the home of her parents, or abandoned by her husband, and disowned by her children, and ostracised from society for indiscretions, for which to the shame of her own sex, men are scarcely censured.
In Moslem lands, eighty millions are shut up in harems, and are considered as mere chattels, and treated with no more consideration than beasts of burden.
When we contemplate the benighted and degraded condition of the unnumbered millions of down-trodden women in China, India, Africa and other Pagan, and even in semi-pagan countries. we are appalled and made to exclaim. How long, how long must woman be treated as mere chattel, and less respected, and more cruelly treated than beasts of burden? In vain does woman look for succor, to science, art, culture, philosophy, or human tribunal; her only hope for emancipation from the thraldom of civilized society, or pagan barbarism, is in the ultimate triumph of Christianity.
While the strong-minded Female Suffragists, and the advocates of women in the pulpit and on the platform ignore the Bible as the inspired word of God, let the womanly woman, the product of the word of God,
and the glory of our age, excel in devotion to the source of her blessings and the only source of all her hopes.
Ruskin says, "And then, indeed, shall abide for them and for us an incorruptible felicity and an infallible religion; shall abide for us faith, no more to be assailed by temptation, no more to be defended by wrath and by fear, - shall abide with us hope, no more to be quenched by the years that overwhelm, or made ashamed by the shadows that betray; - shall abide for us and with us the greatest of these - the abiding will, the abiding name of our Father - for the greatest of these is love." When love reigns there is no fear of injustice.
Maintain, I pray you, the high standard, the Bible standard, of womanhood. God who made woman knows best what she is, and what is best for her, and what is best for the world through her. Aspire to be and to influence others to be like the types of noble womanhood set forth in the Bible. What sort of woman does the word of God command? The public speaking, woman's rights, shrieking, Amazonian, man-defying woman? Nay, nay, verily, but the gentle, retiring, and unassuming woman. The woman who is modestly shrinking from public gaze and masculine characteristics. The woman whose heart is charged with divine love and tender sympathy. These are the women whose influence is magnetic and reaches around the world, and through it from pole to pole. In the presence of such women men, in proportion to their gentle breeding, and refined taste, will feel and manifest profound admiration, and even the vilest and most degraded wretch will take off his hat and bow with reverence.
We read in the Bible of the woman, whose heart her
husband doth safely trust, who is a keeper of home, training the hearts and moulding the lives of father, brother, husband, son for truth and for God. The Sarahs, the Rebeccas, the Ruths, the Rachels, the Hannahs, the Elizabeths, the Marys, - these are the ones the Bible holds up for our admiration and imitation. These women never indulged in public speaking. They had no time for making a canvass. They were not platform women. They never clamored for the right to vote, or for seats in the Sanhedrim, or aspired to be pastors, or evangelists, nor were they idle spectators and passive in the discharge of holy and Christian duties. And till the end of time these womanly women according to the Scriptures, recognizing the Christ likeness of the duties to which they are called, will mould character and fashion lives after the pattern in the Mount. In these the Master will be well pleased, and of them at last he will say, "Behold my sister and my mother."
Woman may not command armies or navies, but she may be the mother and wife of the world's conquerors. She may not be president or a cabinet officer, or ambassador to foreign courts, but of such men she may be mother, sister or wife. She may not contend with statesmen in the halls of Congress, but she may mold public sentiment and wield such influence that no man can reach the national councils against her influence. The good women, when aroused and united, can elect or defeat any candidate. When good women, the censors of morals, judge men by the same moral standard that they judge women, then will be a higher moral standard among men. The laws of the country and the laws of God make no distinction between male and female transgressors. The same offence receives the
same penalty. Why should women tolerate in the conduct of men that for which they ostracise and cast out women?
The model women of our times are not the suffrage shriekers, such as the Anthonys and Stantons, but the Missses Barton of the Red Cross, Helen Gould and Florence Nightingale, and myriads of noble women from the humblest walks of life to the most exalted stations in woman’s sphere.
Florence Nightingale was born to a great fortune, a woman of learning and refinement, and of the most exalted social position. She dedicated her life to caring for the sick. She became an angel of mercy. She reformed hospital management all over the civilized world. When she heard that British soldiers were dying in the Crimean War, she volunteered her services, and called for funds, and over five million dollars were placed at her command.
With her army of trained nurses she went to the front, and by her skill reduced the death rate in the hospitals from forty-two per cent. to two per cent. When the war was over, she returned home, and the women of England, as a token of their appreciation and love, gave her $250,000. With this money she founded a training school for nurses, and still in her 83rd year, she lives and is loved by the world.
"To chase the clouds of life's tempestuous hours,
To strew its short, but weary way with flowers,
New hopes to raise, new feelings to impart,
And pour celestial balsam on the heart:
For this to man was lovely woman given,
The last, best work, the noblest gift of heaven."
Thomas Love Peacock.
[From a booklet published by the Baptist Book Concern, Louisville, KY, 1906; via the Blog of Denny Burk; H/T to R. L. Vaughn’s Blog. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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