Women Evangelists: Unauthorized Worship, Part 5

Should women be forbidden to speak about the Christ?

Apparently Jesus Himself didn’t think so.

He stopped at a well near Sychar of Samaria and spoke to a women whose reputation was known in town, but most visiting Jews would not have known (John 4). After they had spoken, He did not forbid her from going “back to the town and [saying] to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Nor was He so offended at the turnout she prodded that He immediately left town on the run; in fact, He stayed two days there.

In Samaria. Thanks to a woman.

Nor did He choose to appear first to the remaining eleven on the morning of the third day after His crucifixion. No, instead, “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.” (Mark 16:9).

A cured demoniac. A woman.

In fact, the eleven didn’t believe her nor her feminine friends at first (Luke 24:10-11). But they were ones He sent – and Peter and John had enough curiosity stirred to go and see for themselves (John 20:3-9).

Granted, these women were not evangelists in the sense that they wrote any of the four gospels, nor were they Protestant (or Mormon!) missionaries or ministers. But in the word’s original use in scripture, they were bringing good news.

Good news about Jesus.

In one case, news of a prophet who might be the Christ who shared news about His kingdom.

In the other, news of the Son of God miraculously raised from the dead.

Really, really good news.

They were not telling old wives’ tales (1 Timothy 4:7), nor were they disgracing an assembly by inquiring about things during worship (1 Corinthians 14:34-35). They had good news to share, and they were sharing it.

They were people who sinned who had also encountered the embodied Grace and Word of God, and there was an urgency about this good news that could not be delayed nor kept silent – and Jesus encouraged it, giving them this good news to share.

Against all of the prejudices of culture – but against no prohibitions of the Law – Jesus gave that news of Himself to women to share with men and it was enough that people came looking for the Christ.

He told one woman “… the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” and “… true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

He told the others that He was “…returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”

Really, really, really good news.

To women who would serve as His messengers in a world that only listened to men, He gave this gospel.

He innovated.

And people responded.

“And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” ~ John 4:41-42

“Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)” ~ John 20:8-9

They believed.

Now, you may object that neither of these situations involved gathered worship, but let’s remember that Jesus’ message to the woman at the well was that true worship was no longer a matter of time and place, but of spirit and truth. His words were “a time is coming and has now come.”

People were gathered. They heard gospel. They believed.

Just what Jesus wants – and what glorifies His Father’s name through Him (Romans 15).

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21 thoughts on “Women Evangelists: Unauthorized Worship, Part 5

  1. I doubt that those women who “labored” with Paul “in the gospel” were carrying luggage.

    Very good post bro’

    Royce

  2. What Scripture is used to forbid a woman to speak about Christ? A couple of lines in 1 Cor 14 which some experts conclude were not in the original letter at all (because they appear in different places in some manuscripts)? Weird how the church has allowed these 2 verses to trump the teachings and actions of Jesus…

  3. Jesus’ ministry was also financially supported by women who travelled with Him.

    Luke 8:1-3
    1 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him,
    2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;
    3 Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
    (NIV)

    I have a feeling they weren’t shy about telling people about Him. 🙂

  4. Wow. Thank you.

    Royce, I also doubt the women were baking casseroles.

    Where could I find parts 1-4? Could you create a list link in your sidebar? (I’m being lazy, I know. Just had to ask.)

    You know one odd thing — it seems to be the oral sharing of God’s Word that people have trouble with. When is the last time you heard an argument that women could not write about scripture? Who hasn’t read Corrie Ten Boom or Catherine Marshall or, more recently, Kay Arthur or Beth Moore? Or if they haven’t read them, have they argued that women shouldn’t even be sharing through the written word?

    No. The problem comes about when women dare to speak. Books are easily put onto shelves. Living, breathing, thinking, speaking women are not.

  5. lisa b, thanks for visiting and leaving a thought – look under “Labels to Look At” at the right and click on “unauthorized worship” for the first four parts (they go back a ways!).

    Wes, I appreciate your observation too – I’ve wondered how Cuza, Herod’s steward, felt about his wife supporting Jesus’ ministry … if he ever made the connection between his boss’s predecessor and Jesus … if Herod had known, whether it would have put Cuza’s job (or even life!) at risk ….

  6. Unless a woman is “ruling” over me how is it that she has any authority over me? I must be missing something. I can listen to a woman teach the scriptures with great blessing.

    We are missing the blessing of the insights of women in our churches. The are not to “rule” but should be used in many other ways that are now forbidden in most churches.

    My mother was a woman by the way.

    Royce

  7. Because of my stand on male leadership in the church and home I have often been accused of not respecting women.

    Of all the Christians I have ever known my mother earned my respect more than any other. She was influetial in many coming to Christ but was very secure in her role of submission to my dad who in his 50’s became a beleiver and a great soul winner.

    Royce

  8. Thanks, David.

    Was your mom a woman, too?

    I keep finding out these things about my blogging friends, and I never knew we all had so much in common ….

  9. my mother was a woman too…for the record. And thanks for the comment. You are the one person who hasn’t deleted me from their blog reader…apparently 🙂

  10. I’ve been wrestling with this for a while. Thank you for rekindling the fire in my head about it.

    in HIS love,
    nick

  11. Thank you Keith for a great post. I am so glad to rid myself of so much negative thinking in the past few years. I enjoy a perspective that tells me I am not just being a heretic.

    Tommy…you are still in my reader….you show up once every 6 months or so…

  12. Donna, if I’m going to be called a hairy tick, I want it to be about something important, and this is!

    It’s a matter of whether a little more than 50% of all believers have a voice in gathered worship as well as in everyday ministry (which most of Christianity does not feel compelled to legislate against). It’s a matter of whether we will continue to draw a line that scripture doesn’t – that Jesus doesn’t; that Paul doesn’t – and exclude rather than include; whether we’ll continue to classify an entire gender as somehow daughters of a lesser god.

  13. Thanks for the post. As a woman, I certainly don’t feel like I have been forbidden to speak about Christ. Instead, it does seem that often God does honor my request to let His love flow through me and splash onto others. I don’t need to be anyone special within any church or political system, but I do value being special to God, and if He allows me to be a conduit for His love, then how much better can life be?

    I think some scripture at least reflects the reality of the times in which it was written. We no longer live in those times, at least not in the West.

  14. It’s a good thing that Jesus did not exclude women because I have a BIG MOUTH, and I would not know what to do with all my words if I could not use them for Him.

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