The continuing controversy regarding the role of women in the life of the Church gives indication as to how far some have drifted from the New Testament pattern. To debate the right of women to serve as pastors, preachers, and evangelists is to ignore God’s revealed truth. A serious study of Scripture vindicates their right to serve wherever God places them in the Body. In such study one discovers that women were not only equal to men, but in some instances superior to them in particular areas of service. While difficult for the male ego to accept, intellectual and theological integrity requires that we openly acknowledge this fact.
In the January 14 issue of Gospel Trumpet in the year 1933, the late Charles E. Brown wrote about Women’s Place in the Church. Just in case some should think the involvement of women in the Church of God is something new, let me share a paragraph of his writing with you.
“It is only when the church is in deep spiritual apostasy that the voice of her female prophets is silenced. Whenever the Spirit of God begins to stir in her midst women preachers come forth as in the apostolic church, as in the great revivals under George Fox and the Wesleys, and in these last days of the church’s ministry in the world.” Dr. Brown was addressing himself to the issue that continues to persist in the church: our inability to allow women to be accepted and function as God has called them to minister in the church. Although we do not say they cannot be preachers or pastors, we simply say, “We have not come to where we can accept a woman as pastor of our congregation.” Or in a more subtle way we will accept a woman, but only as a director of Christian education or as a part of some more specialized field. It would be difficult to accurately determine how many women—divinely called of God—have been forced into other roles of service because some in the church would not accept them where God wanted them. In so doing we not only frustrate the person whom God has called, but we also frustrate the grace of God that makes us all equals.
Apostasy in the church is more than some theological heresy expounded and followed after by the congregation. It is even more than human organization against which some of us have preached vehement sermons. Deep spiritual apostasy exists in the Church of God when the female prophets whom God has called are silenced by a group of saints(?) who are not willing to have the Word of the Lord proclaimed by a woman. Some may have “masculine characteristics” because we have forced them into that role if they are to exist. We should not accept God’s servants because they fit into our preconceived roles or because they dress or speak the way we want them to. Rather, because God has sent his Word, we listen regardless of who the transmitter may be.
While we speak about the apostate church being humanly controlled and caught up in the evils of the world, let us take note of how few women prophets we have allowed to flourish in the church. Is it right that a woman preacher should have to overcompensate (be better than) her male counterpart to survive in the church? It may be that while we have debated doctrinal purity and biblical authority, apostasy has overtaken us through sexual discrimination.
Let us return to the apostolic church pattern and hear the voice of the Lord as we recognize and receive female prophets.
Newell, A. F. (June, 1980). Deep spiritual apostasy? Vital Christianity, 5