A couple millennia after Jesus Christ himself directed Mary Magdalene to go and tell the good news of his resurrection to others, whether women should “preach” remains controversial in this world. In the twenty-first century, many of us are blessed to live in a so-called advanced society. Yet recently I was reminded that most of the world, including the majority of adherents to the Christian faith, piously judge that women should not preach!
This is exactly why women who are called by God to do so must preach. Those of us who are called to preach certainly must obey God, each providing a witness to the authority and extraordinary power of God amidst the discouragements, defiance, temptations, sinfulness, and frailties of human life.
This is reason enough for women to preach. No other defense is needed.
However, for those who are inclined to think further about this important subject, there are many reasons to complement the simple fact of God’s calling on certain women to prophesy, preach, and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here are just a few.
- If women called to preach do not do so, we demonstrate a belief that disobedience toward God is acceptable, which is an unacceptable prospect for true followers of Jesus.
- If women categorically don’t preach, we (not God) have eliminated half of the world’s population, and more than half of the church’s population, from the possibility of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ that every nation needs to hear.
- For those who claim that God’s condemnation of Eve’s sin is somehow a reason why no women since Eve should preach, we are reminded that God’s grace and forgiveness are sufficient for the sins of all humanity, including Eve’s, and Adam’s, and everyone else’s.
- Jesus, born of God and a woman, most clearly teaches and demonstrates the truth of God’s amazing grace toward women: beginning his earthly presence in the womb of a humble, obedient woman and marking his resurrection by sending a humble, obedient woman to be the first to tell the good news to her frightened, discouraged brothers.
- If God can speak through an ass, rocks, and even sinful men, God can certainly speak through women.
- To say that women shouldn’t preach is a blatant transgression of the Golden Rule. Should not everyone do unto others what we would like others to do for us? What kind of bad theology would deny anyone the opportunity to give what is best to others by proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ?
- For those who are caught up in the idea that women cannot “have authority” over men, we are reminded that God is the only authority for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is God alone who calls both women and men to the work of God’s kingdom.
- Women, called by God, have already been preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ for centuries with innumerable results in converting and sanctifying sinners by the power of the Holy Spirit. Who besides the devil himself at any point in time would dare to suggest all this holy work of God should not have happened, or now should be undone or abandoned, simply because God has chosen and sent women as vessels of holy proclamation?
- Most attacks on the subject of women’s preaching stem from the use of half-baked prooftexts from the Bible. These are readily obliterated by the solid examples of God’s call on women in both the Bible and the history of Jesus’s followers through the centuries not only to preach, but also to do whatsoever God directs, despite the presumptuous objection of naysayers.
- However pious, the blatant opposition that exists in this sinful world toward God’s call on women to preach only adds weight to the necessity of correcting this blasphemous error of arrogance against the authority of God, not to mention the persecution of those anointed by God.
After all these years, it may seem as though we shouldn’t need a reminder to honor God’s call on women as well as men to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. However, human nature and disobedience toward God remain problematic in this world. It is still mostly a hostile place toward the gospel of Jesus Christ, let alone those who preach it, both women and men. Thus, it remains that all Christians, especially those called to the ministry of preaching, should go out of our way to support one another with prayer, mutual encouragement, and respect.
Finally, we should remember that proclaiming the Gospel is not about the messenger. It is about the salvation offered by God in Jesus Christ to all who will accept it, regardless of the imperfection of the vessels assigned by God to this work of holy proclamation.