Saturday, February 6, 2010

John Macarthur, Beth Moore and Women Preachers



OK.  I am going to give my opinion this time and ask for yours as well. 

I really like John Macarthur.  If you don't know who he is you can go to his website at http://www.gty.org/ and read all about him and listen to all of his wonderful sermons spanning 30-40 years of preaching.  He has written countless books.  I have read countable books (3 or 4), but I really like them.  He is not a man of vanity.  He only refers to himself as John Macarthur.  Not Dr. Macarthur or Reverend or Pastor or President  or Dean.  Just John.  And he teaches about the Bible, just the Bible.  He is polite and peaceful.  He doesn't scream and yell.  He just teaches about the Bible and you can tell he loves every minute of it.

There are a lot of things to consider when looking for a church.  Does the preacher teach from the Bible or from the Inspirational section at Barnes and Noble?  Does the church have any weird ceremonies involving black cats?  Does the church permit children to attend worship service?  Is the church 100 miles from my house?  Do I feel like I am hearing a paid political advertisement when I listen to a sermon?  Does the pastor do things in his personal life that he wouldn't want you to know about in his pastor life? 

One thing to be considered is how strongly does the church feel about a women being a leader in the church or not being a leader. 

And once you discover the answer to these things.  How important are they to you?
Can you live with some things but not others?  You are OK with driving 75 miles, but the black cats just won't work out for you.

I believe that God gave us his Word and intended it to be shared with everyone.  I honestly don't remember Jesus telling the disciples just before he ascended into heaven, "Oh by the way, I want you to make disciples, but a woman cannot preach to a man." 

I recently sent this email to John Macarthur:

John,

Let me preface my comments and questions by saying that I thoroughly enjoy listening to your radio program, reading your books and perusing your website. I am a person that likes to get to the root of things and when I am trying to learn more about the Bible there is no better way. I say this not to flatter you, but to indicate that I respect you and I am seriously trying to understand this topic.

I raise a question regarding your teachings concerning a woman's role in the church. Tonight I read through your series entitled "God's High Calling for Women." It seems as though most of the supporting statements for the reason's that a woman should not be a leader in worship services or teach men are rooted in the culture of the time. I am talking specifically about the statements in which you say there is no record in the old testament or new testament of a woman being an apostle, or a "real" prophet or a church leader. I consider this statement about as valid as saying that a black man could not be President of the United States because there is no record of this occuring in American History books (until recently of course). As a record of history, a woman had not taken on these roles because I am assuming it was forbidden in their culture. Similarly I don't recall seeing anything in the Bible about a disabled person being a church leader (I could be wrong and I am certain you would know for sure). Was there a reference in the Bible of a slave being a church leader or a Roman soldier being a church leader? I feel confident that there are not these references. So the argument that there are no references in the Bible of a woman being a church leader or teaching the Gospel to men, is pretty weak.

So as I was reading I was really not buying in to your article. But then you went back to Adam. If you are going to get to the root of something it nevers hurts to go back to the beginning. Right to the source of all humanity. Adam was first then came Eve. Eve was subordinate to Adam therefore she should submit to him. But just prior to that in your article (God's High Calling for Women, Section IV under usurping authority), you give the example of Elisabeth Elliot. She taught the Auca man the sermons and then he preached it to the church. It seems that if God intended for a woman to not teach a man about the Gospel then this would not have happened. Really what is the bottom line. Which is it, a woman should not teach the Word to a man or a woman should not teach the Word to a church. All of your evidence that is not cultural has been dismissed by your example of Elisabeth Elliot. God used Elisabeth to teach a man. From her teachings, a man went and taught an entire church. If Elisabeth had not taught the man, which based on your argument is what she should have done, the church might not have heard the Word. If God wanted those people to hear his word, but did not want Elisabeth to teach His Word to a man, I believe God would have intervened in some other way. I also wonder if the Auca culture would have accepted a woman teaching men.

Here is where I am going with this. My wife really enjoys Beth Moore. Beth Moore holds fast to the belief that a woman should not be the preacher in her church. I will admit that I have sneaked into a room where a Beth Moore bible study DVD was playing and I learned a lot and I was inspired to dig deeper into my Bible. The woman has a wonderful ability to relate God's message. Isn't it a shame that men are missing out on opportunities to hear God's word because Beth believes it is not right for her to share the Gospel with men in church.

So I ask you what is truly important and God's will: Going out making disicples of all nations and baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit OR keeping a woman in her "place" and potentially hindering her from fulfilling Jesus' commandment?

I am curious about your thoughts; however, I will continue to pray to the Father for discernment in this area.


I hope John responds to my email, but honestly I don't think it is going to change my mind much.  I don't think I will be changing his mind either.  So what does that mean?  I mean honestly.  Do I stop listening to Johnny Mac because I simply can't get past his thinking about women being preachers OR do I have to let that one slide and plug my ears when he is talking about it on the radio.  Truly this is a perplexing issue. 

"We are perplexed but not driven to despair....what we proclaim is not ourselves." 
Tell me how you feel. 


36 comments:

  1. i was writing a paper on women preachers and while researching i came across this..thanks it helps..i agree with it too

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  2. you have completely confused the issue. the issue is the roles of men and women in the "church". Women are not permitted to teach or have authority over men within the setting of the "church".
    While it would be great for you to understand this issue completely, the fact that you struggle with the issue in no way justifies going against the Word of God when the issue is spoken about so very clearly within the Scripture.
    1 Tim. 2 states it very clearly, there is really no debate to be had in light of the scripture.
    How we feel about a certain issue is really irrelevant when the way we feel does not line up with the Word of God.
    Your feelings and my feelings can be wrong.
    1 Tim 2 ---- is not wrong- it is the Word of God

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    1. I agree completely. I used to struggle with this and other Biblical doctrine until I decided one day to believe the entirety of its content and chose not to argue my point of view to the contrary.

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    2. PS: I get annoyed with Christians who "pray for discernment" contrary to God's commands to us. It's foolishness and disobedient. Come on.

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    3. Look up the pesky verb authentikos and where it originated from. Then study the culture of Ephesus and realize that the entire city revolved around the temple of Diana and the prominence of women. You will probably come across the fact that in that pagan culture, it was understood that women were the goddesses of heaven and that they came first. They also prayed to the goddess Diana for safety in child birth. Read the passage in Timothy again. It becomes more evident that these women were unruly ignorant new converts who were teaching things that were unbiblical.

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    4. EVERYONE needs to do a study on the much debated verb authentikos and then research the pagan culture of Ephesus- the city Timothy ministered in. The ENTIRE culture revolved around the temple of the goddess Diana and the prominence of women. Common teachings of the goddess was that she protects women during childbirth and that women were the originator of man. This is consistent with the babylonian teachings handed down to the Romans regarding the queen of heaven. he letter Paul sent to Timothy were not in isolation- Timothy sent letters to Paul regarding issue and disruptions. One of the biggest disruptions is the fact that women (either new converts or pagans) were being disruptive because they had for a long time believed that they were above men and made men subject to them. It was a form of feminist women worship. Paul is correcting these beliefs and telling them to be quiet and learn from their husbands without dominating them. Thus the stress on meekness- something which was NEVER taught in that society. I hope this helps.

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    5. *I meant the temple of Artemis

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    6. I appreciate all comments, but I must say Sarah, I like where you are going with your comments. The first thing people who are anti-women leaders say is that the Bible is not to be tied to a certain time and culture. I agree that God's commands are not to be tied to a particular time in the Bible or culture, but I don't believe Paul's comments in 1 Timothy 2 are commands from God. It seems very clear that he is giving his advice to Timothy.
      I suggest reading this website:
      http://newlife.id.au/tag/1-timothy-212-in-context/

      It might change your mind about this passage.

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    7. In regards to this comment:
      AnonymousJune 25, 2012 7:59 AM
      PS: I get annoyed with Christians who "pray for discernment" contrary to God's commands to us. It's foolishness and disobedient. Come on.

      I don't believe that praying for discernment is ever a bad thing. Perhaps praying for confirmation by God of my personal beliefs would be misguided.

      I am sorry that my comments were a stumbling block to you.

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    8. Sarah C., your suggestion on doing a study on the verb authentikos is a great idea. But please do it properly. You have not. You are arguing that this word can mean to misuse authority or to domineer and imply the verse therefore only means women are not to misuse their authority. The question is, is that the correct use of the word here, or does the word in fact mean simply authority as it has always been translated in this verse? Lets defer to the Greek scholars to see. Quoting from Wayne Grudem, "In 1995, H. Scott Baldwin published the most thorough study of the verb authenteo that had ever been done. Several earlier studies had looked at a number of occurrences of this verb, but no one had ever looked at all the examples that exist from ancient literature and ancient papyrus manuscripts. Baldwin found eighty-two occurrences of authenteo in ancient writings, and he listed them all with the Greek text and English translation in a long appendix... What should be evident from this chart is that there were no negative examples of the word authenteo at or around the time of the NT" If fact, Baldwin found that all other examples - the negative ones comes from confusion over the spelling of the word or very late uses of the word - some 500 years later. In order to understand this, imagine we had today a controversy regarding what was meant in the Christmas Carol, "Deck the Halls with Bows of Holly". What was at stake was the line, "Don we now our gay apparel." Some amoung us say that it means that we should put on festive clothing which reflects joyful attitude. Others say that it means we should come dressed in homosexual attire. We then do a word check and find that the word "gay" can be used in both ways, and hence, we say, we could really understand it both ways, since the term "gay" bears more than one meaning. But someone will say, "Wait a minute". We are well served to ask whether the term "gay" could every be translated as "homosexual" at the time of the writing of the old carol. And there is the answer. The same is true for authenteo. Your argument is built on a false definition of the word.

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  3. My Anonymous friends,
    Thanks for your comments!
    Unfortunately this particular topic is far more dividing than I ever imagined. It by far the most read of my blogs. Just the fact that people read my blog is amazing, but about 80 of the last 100 people to read my blog, read this page.
    It saddens me that this topic has such a strong hold on so many, which leads me to believe that PRIDE plays a devilish role in this situation. The fact that so much time is spent arguing over what a woman can or cannot do (in the opinion of Paul), pulls us all away from the subservient spirit exemplified by Christ.
    Heaven forbid we discuss how or if the woman has been baptized.
    Peace
    Johnny

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    1. Love it!!! Totally in unCalled for!!!!!

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  4. Beth Moore is not a qualified bible teacher. She's a powerful speaker but a mangler of Gods word.

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    1. If Beth Moore is not a qualified teacher then I ask what and whom do you consider to be a qualified teacher of the bible? Exactly how has she mangled God's word? I have learned more about God and His Word from her than any other preacher my entire 42 years. I believe she has studied his word with Rabbis, professors, historians, etc. So again I have to ask whom do you consider a "qualified" teacher of the bible?

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  5. I stand corrected.
    PRIDE has nothing to do with it.

    Luke 9:49-50 (New American Standard Bible)

    49 John answered and said, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us."

    50 But Jesus said to him, "Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you."

    Johnny

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  6. Beth Moore holds to the fact that women should not be preachers, because she believes those scriptures stated about, however, she does hold to the fact that she is a teacher...I reckon she doens't feel the need to be 'titled'...:)Linda

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  7. I'm confused; what exactly is the "church"? Is there a church universal and if so are those men who are taught by women, either through words, actions or examples, disobeying God?

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  8. I really thank God, that it is impossible for us humans, to exchange our sex organs and pregnancy and everything. I mean, seriously, women, and some other fair mens, would have suggested we exchange our sexs each other from year to year, so as to be fair. (Still, some of you are entertaining the idea of what i am saying, and affirming, ofcourse). And still it doesnt appear to you being rebels to God's order for us, and doing what you feel instead of what is given, and not trying to see what the scripture and why God made it that way. But you are changing all the things you can change even if God made it that way, nature should have thought you the order, but your turning the word of God and the order of God, for your own ruine. Study Carefully and let alone to discard, what the bible has clearly help us to disern,but we are even suffering, because of some men, who are not suppose to be preacher or teachers. And go and learn what God's calling to ministry means in your bible.

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  9. First, let me just say that the pastor at my home church just spoke about leaving anonymous comments with no accountability. Thus, I will be signing my name to this comment.

    Secondly, (1 Timothy 2:11-15...see also 1 Timothy 3. All references to overseers and deacons in chapter 3 are references to men.) this issue isn't addressed in scripture due to a misogynistic state of the culture in which it was written. Nor is it addressed due to a misogynistic attitude held by the Apostle, Paul. I noticed above that there is a reference to "(in Pauls opinion)". Let's just start there. 2 Timothy 3:16 states that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness". Therefore, while Paul may have been the one that penned the scripture, God is the actual author of the scripture.

    I've encountered this in my teachings before. It seems that you may have a bit of a stumbling block before you regarding scripture that follows the 4 gospels (The epistles). This isn't uncommon, so don't be alarmed. It's just something that I suggest that you pray about for the Lords guidance on. You had made a reference to the idea that Jesus didn't say before ascending into Heaven, "Oh by the way, I want you to make disciples, but a woman cannot preach to a man." So many people get stuck on this. What they do is say to themselves, "Well, that came from Paul or Peter or John. Jesus didn't say that, because it's not found in the Gospels." Nothing could be further from the truth. If it's found in the canon of scripture between Genesis and Revelation, it was authored by our God and Savoir, Jesus Christ. That's hard to swallow for so many people. I don't know why. So many truths found in scripture challenge us, make us uncomfortable and humble us. However, this shouldn't be one of them (and it wouldn't be, if not for our inherent prideful and sinful nature) . In fact, it's not demeaning toward women at all. It's simply stating that women and men have different rolls in the church. Men don't have babies. They don't nurse babies. Those things, by design, are not the roll of a man. Women have that roll to provide their Godly seed with something that the man can never provide. Should the man feel that God is somehow demeaning him because he doesn't share that roll with a woman?? By no means! We are all to happily accept the rolls that our good and gracious master has called us to, in order to bring the most glory to God possible. Because it's truly not in the LEAST BIT about us. It's ALL about HIM.

    "But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?" Romans 9:20.

    I'm not hear to cause division or quarreling. My design and roll is to help bring Gods people to a deeper understanding of His Word. He is my God. He is the potter. I am the clay. I shall not ask, "Why did you make me this way?" I will simply be His doulos (slave), because He is the good and gracious Master who bought me for a price...a HIGH price. I hope this helped.

    In Christ,
    Jim Freymuth
    Mesa, Az.

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  10. Dear Readers

    I belive Gods wisdom and understanding will reveal truth here.

    When scripture is applied it must be through the eyes of Christ, which basis is the whole counsel of God's Word. We know God gives gifts severally as He wills by His Spirit and I can see no position in the Word which states any specific gifts are withheld from women.

    It stands to reason if God gives a gift for teaching it wouid appear uncharacteristic of His divine nature to divide the men/women of any given population as to whom may receive of that gift, after all a gift by nature is given freely to all.

    Paul said these gifts from God ( teaching being a necessary gifting for the role of Pastor) are given to the edifying of the body (inclusive). Paul didn't say, however that men only need apply for Teacher's post please! So is this contradictory to Paul's statements in Tim. / Cor. ? No, Paul really was just addressing a particular situation at the time. Let's remember the Epistles are studied as personal letters, yes inspired by God, but given to address the issues of that local church. Letters to the churches in Revelation typifies this.

    Earlier in the blog, quite rightly, reference was made to our Great Commission 'making disciples', Christ at that time could have assigned the task to men only if this was so pertinent to the call on the Church. The point I make here, to effectively make disciples the Word must be taught. Women will teach men the Word, directly or indirectly as part of the Commission. It cannot be argued this Commission is for men only or that women are restricted in this passage.

    The Epistles are later writings addressing attitudes and lifestyle habits of members which attacked church foundation and as wonderful and necessary as these letters are to us all, they do not override or distort the original plan of salvation spoken and portrayed by Christ.

    It is our portion to be able to discern all gifts given by God whether bestowed on a man or a women. The decision rests with the Believer through their relationship with God as to whom they may allow to influence the direction of their lives.

    I truly believe when a life is submitted to Christ it is no more I (flesh) who lives but Christ (Spirit of God) who lives in me. A Christian operating by the Spirit of God is not required to be gender specific for any given task, if the assignment is truly from God.

    Therefore this debate is not an issue for us (a child of God), it is sadly just another unfortunate opportunity for the world to see us (the Church) divided about surface issues, which tend to personal preferences.

    I am therefore content to receive teaching, guidance, direction from whomever God directs male or female. My prayer is always God teach us Your way, through the many willing vessels elected by Him

    Grace and peace to you.
    Elaine
    London, England

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  11. It is a hard teaching to swallow, but if you can get past this verse then you might have a shot for woman in Authority. 1 tim 2:14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Read it in context for yourself. If God had it the other way around men would have a problem with it. Either you believe in the inerrancy of Scripture or you don't. That is a choice most teachers, preachers and elders must face.
    Blessings,
    Peter J

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  12. Nowhere is Artemis ever mentioned in 1st Timothy. So to say that's the reason women aren't aloud to teach is a terrible argument. The reason is clearly explained in verses 13-14. God gave men and women different roles, which have nothing to do with spiritual worth.

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  13. I think the fact that the apostle says for Adam was formed first, then Eve pretty much shows that the argument is rooted in God's creation order, not in the culture at Ephesus. The whole problem with the culture at Ephesus is that it was totally contrary to God's creation order and design and therefore in gross rebellion against Him. Which is why Paul did not want women professing godliness to bring that wrong leaven into the church nor in any way confuse the issue by continuing in such practices. Elsewhere in scripture, in the portion discussing women having a sign of authority on their heads while praying or prophesying, it is said to be cause of the angels which are definitely eternal and not cultural or earthly. It has to do again with God's authority, creation design and order and has nothing to do with the culture of man. Personally I find it interesting and a bit of a turn off to see these women teachers who claim to be in line with the word of God acting so mannish and coming across so unfeminine. I don't think femininity means being helpless and exclaiming things like " Oh, Rhett, you do look dashing today". but come on. A mannish woman is something that defies nature. Even men who are not Christians find it offensive when a woman tries to boss them about. I don't believe this is just a cultural thing at all. So when we as Christians are claiming that what we are doing is in line with the word of God but the result is a mannish woman without grace, meekness, humility and holiness, we ought to withdraw our foot from somewhere it clearly doesn't belong. The idea that we have to have authority or position to be used of God is patently absurd, rooted in godless unbelief and feminism. Did Hannah have to be elevated to a priestly office to be used of God? Did the woman who asked David's general why he was destroying a city that was a mother in Israel need to command an army to be used of God? Did Mary need to sit at the city gates? Did the proverbs 31 woman? NOT AT ALL. This is just the same old lie sold by the serpent; you need something you lack so you need to do this to get it or God isn't being fair. When all along you already have it and only need to trust God. We need not take matters into our own hands to fulfill whatever God has for us.

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  14. My question is this: how could any woman meet the qualification of a Minister, which is to be the husband of one wife? Isn't it obvious that God is looking for men, not women?

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    1. Jeff,
      I don't believe that God requires an individual to be married prior to His calling them to ministry. Paul himself was not married and he also indicated marriage is not for everyone. I don't follow your argument.

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    2. Brother Johnny:

      By "Minister," I meant Bishop/Elder. You are correct in saying that no marital requirements exist for preachers, but Overseers of the flock most certainly do have.

      Most of us here would agree that God expects men to be the spiritual leaders of their homes, but somehow we divide over the issue of spiritual leadership within the church. In order to believe that women can pastor, we must also accept that such ladies would constantly switch roles with their husbands, depending upon where they were and what they were doing. To me, such a scenario would be confusing.

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    3. Yes, It is obvious.

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  15. Where is Mrs. Moore's husband? I have been involved in many of her bible studies, I only just realized this question yesterday. God says she is to be under the authority of her husband. She mentions him here and there, lightly. Why is he not the one preaching? I believe women who want to be "out there" do so for prideful reasons. I do not sit in judgement of her or desire to tell her or anyone else what to do. This is a personal observation. Where is her husband? Behind the scenes? Is this a role reversal?
    I am a lady and happy to be a lady. I am as well happy to be behind the scenes, a helper.

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    1. Beth Moore teaches women - why would her husband be there? I never attended my wife's ladies' Sunday School class.

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  16. I totally agree with John M.....Women should not be Pastors or Preachers. And I am wondering how Beth Moore says she is not a preacher when she delivered a sermon at the Passion for Christ this past weekend. It was for young women and young men. It is even posted on U tube as a Sermon. I am having question is my spirit about Beth Moore. Something does not seem right.

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    1. In the New Testament, Paul allowed women to prophesy in front of the entire church as long as their heads were covered. Speaking to a church and sharing what God has revealed to you through His Word is not akin to holding an office. The same Bible that forbids women to hold the office of a Bishop and teach men also allows them to prophesy to the entire assembly. This is how Beth Moore can do what she does without violating God's instructions.

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  17. I agree with the lady above. Beth Moore claim not to be a preacher. However she just preached to 17,000 people at the Passion conference this past weekend in Houston. It was men and women. My spirit tells me something is not right when I hear her speak.

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  18. Beth Moore teaches false doctrine. She says she hears from God, talk about full of pride.

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  19. I find it funny how some commentators up there say, even worldly men find it uncomfortable if a woman bosses them around... Funny. My husband has a female boss. He himself is boss over a larger group of employees but the woman overall. He said that he had many leaders and he for the first time does feel like he is facing a true leader with her.
    Lucky him. Foolish men, who would resign to be taught and lead by a woman. Everyone should do what they are good in.... No matter if male or female.

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  20. People need to rightfully divide the Word of God and read it in its entirety. The same Paul who said if it were up to him people would be single is the same Paul not permitting women to preach. So what do you make of this? Yes all scripture is inspired by God but we have a duty to rightfully divide the word and allow the Spirit to lead us to all truth. Priscila in the book of Acts taught a man and together with her husband had a church in their home. Miriam was a prophetess. Did she prophesy in the privacy of her home only?

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  21. Sister Julie,

    I agree with your statement with one caveat: teaching not leading. Priscilla taught under subjection of her husband. Beth Moore speaks at churches under the headship of a Bishop/Pastor.

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Please TELL ME HOW YOU FEEL.