The Forum

The Forum

Dear brother G:

I would like to hear what you see from the Word of God on the ministry of women in the light of Acts 1:14; 12:5; and 16:13; Rom. 10:9-16: 1 Cor. 11:5; and Titus 2:4.

I certainly would appreciate help along this line, either in Food for the Flock or a personal letter from you.

I would also like to hear what brother Robert McClurkin has to say on this subject.

Hoping to hear from you, and thanking you for help received through the magazine.

Yours in Christ,
J. W.

Dear brother J. W:

Many thanks for your letter. In any discussion of the subject presented in your letter, only that which is Scriptural and really helpful will be considered. We trust that other brethren will feel free to take part in this matter. Brother McClurkin has already been requested to submit his own convictions upon the subject.

By way of introducing your problem, let me state a few observations relative to the Scriptures to which you make reference.

Acts 1:14. This verse does not mention public ministry particularly, but rather association in prayer. There are certain translators who render this verse, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with their wives, and Mary” etc. Alford, nevertheless, points out that there were actually more than wives present. One ancient manuscript, the Codex Bezae, adds that there were also children. One thing is certain, the association in prayer of wives, other women, and children, does not imply that all prayed audibly. At the general prayer meeting of every assembly all present are associated in the prayers, yet, time does not permit that all pray publicly; there are brethren as well as sisters who maintain silence, praying only in their hearts. This Scripture could never provide a foundation for the practice of public prayers for sisters in mixed congregations.

Acts 12:5. Prayer in this passage is united congregational prayer, but this does not suggest that every member prayed audibly. It merely proves that all hearts should pray when the congregation is led by Spirit-guided persons. At every assembly prayer meeting the church prays; the audible voice is expressing the sentiments of all present. There is nothing in this passage to indicate that the sisters then acted in an unusual and public manner. The thought here is simply that, in the crisis during which James had been slain and Peter was the next intended victim, the entire church at Jerusalem strained and stretched itself, for such is the meaning of the word earnest, in prayer. To them Peter’s case appeared desperate.

Had space permitted in this issue, I would have discussed with you the threefold ministry of the Christian woman in the New Testament as prophetess, deaconess, and instructress, for all these are excellently exemplified in early Church history. In the will of the Lord this we shall do in our next letter, and in so doing we shall examine some details of the other Scriptural references in your letter.

Sincerely in Christ,
J. G.