During the John “Reach Across the Aisle” McCain/Sarah Palin candidacy I heard many reasons why people would not vote for the ticket, but mainly would not vote for her. Some didn’t like the fact that she was so sure of herself (lame excuse). Some didn’t like the fact that she was so Conservative (lame). Some didn’t like the fact that she was “inexperienced” (want “inexperienced” look at who is president now). But of all the lame excuses I heard – on election night, no less – was when my friend told me that he – or some men he knew – could not make themselves vote for McCain/Palin because of the Bible.
The Bible, they said. The Bible!
What was explained to me, utterly to my surprise and disgust, was that men could not vote for Sarah Palin because women should not “have authority over men”. That was their argument. That was their defense. That was the part of the Bible they threw out there for me to pounce upon. I say “pounce upon” advisedly. All they did was to throw me a ball to knock out of the park.
In I Timothy, Chapter 2: “9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
“10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
“11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
“12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
“13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
“14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in transgression.
“15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing. If they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”
In my Bible, “The Holy Bible” KJV, Reference Edition by Thomas Nelson Publishers, © 1989 Thomas Nelson, Inc., the above passage appears on page 993 in the second column and is headed, “Women in Public Worship”. I want you to pay attention to that heading.
The book is written by Paul to Timothy and it covers everything from the conduct of a minister to the correct way to do prayer in a public worship. It talks about how we should not “give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith”. It talks about qualifications for Bishops, Deacons and how to treat your elders, what a false teacher is, how to treat widows and it talks about how to behave yourself in the House of GOD. Oh, yes. It also has the above statements about women.
Now, I ask you to recall the subject header over the section starting with verse nine: “Women in Public Worship”. I ask that you keep that in mind; “public worship”. For it is in Judges 4, we see that GOD ordained a woman to be a Judge over all the people. See Judges 4:3-5:
4:3 “And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.
4:4 “And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.
4:5 “And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Beth-el in mount Ephraim; and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. [my bolding]”
Deborah was a judge! She made decisions for the people based upon the Word of GOD. She had no restrictions on her about whether she was supposed to have “authority” over men. Why? There were no restrictions because she was not making her judgments in the temple, but rather, in the gates. She took GOD’s word outside of the temple where the priests were, and she decided what was what. We are allowed to do that, even in the Old Testament, and yet nowadays some people – men and women – believe that women should not be in any position of authority over any man. I beg to differ.
Deborah’s judgments were apparently fair and even-handed because she was a judge of the people until they were carried away into slavery in Midian.
Let us also not forget that she was a prophetess, and as such, used by GOD to tell Israel what was going to happen. She was consulted by regular people as well as by the king, Barak, and even went into battle with him because he was afraid of his enemy.
Sound to you as if GOD thought women should not have any authority over men? Was she not the one who decided issues that men brought to her as well as women? It does say she judged “Israel” and Israel is made up of more than just women.
Look at Proverbs 31:10-31: “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” That’s how it starts. In this segment, it says that woman “seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands” (13), so we know she is involved in making their clothes and the buying of the supplies for such things. She cooks (15), she buys land with what she makes and plants vineyards (16), she is strong (17), she knows the worth of her merchandise so that she doesn’t get ripped off by unscrupulous people and she works through the night (18). A virtuous woman also gives to the poor and needy (20), has made sure that her household is clothed in warmth during the winter (21), she wears nice clothes (22) and all of this allows her husband to sit among the elders and relax (23). She participates in other business deals (24), is honorable (25), and wise and kind (26), is not idle (27), her children and husband call her blessed (28), she fears the Lord (30), and her works shall “praise her in the gates” (31).
In the Old Testament it’s okay for a woman to be a judge and prophetess, and it’s apparently expected that “virtuous” women be involved in all kinds of business. This sounds to me as if a woman is considered the equal to a man outside of the temple.
Women are a big part of the Bible (Eve, Hannah, Ruth, Esther, Rachel, Mary, Mary Magdalene and others), and are given major parts to play, not just in the roles of mother and wife, but also in the protection of and saving of the people of GOD, the Nation of Israel. If women were considered second rate citizens by GOD, why would He use them for so much of His work? Why even bother allowing them to be mentioned in the Bible? Why would Jesus Christ’s female followers have been mentioned so frequently and used so much in His ministry? Females were the first to see Him after His resurrection and they told the male members of the group of followers: even the eleven main male disciples that were left (remember Judas Iscariot hanged himself).
In the New Testament, women are treated as equals outside of the temple. Women are prophetesses (see note 1) and they are used by GOD to set forth His will. In the case of Anna, in Luke 2:36-38, she is mentioned as being in the temple and “departed not from the temple, but served GOD with fastings and prayers night and day.” She is mentioned as being in the temple serving GOD, but it does not say that she was anyone with authority over anyone else. She is said to have recognized Christ when she saw him and of witnessing of Him thereafter (38). It never states that Anna had any kind of authority over anyone within the temple. She fasted and prayed.
Now back to that heading: “Women in Public Worship”.
When Paul writes in I Timothy of the role of women in the church, he writes (2:12), “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Notice that word, “usurp”. In the Easton Bible Dictionary definition of “usurp” we have the definition: “1. (v. t.) To seize, and hold by force, or without right; as, to usurp a throne; to usurp power; to usurp the right of a patron is to oust or dispossess him.” Paul is writing that women in the church should not be teaching nor usurping – seizing – authority over men. Women should not teach men nor boss them around in the church!
Paul was not saying that women outside the church cannot have authority (witness Deborah, the prophetesses and the “virtuous woman” defined in Proverbs 31). He was saying that inside the church – as GOD set up in the family – the men should be the head and not the tail (31:13-14). Women are allowed to be a big part of the church. Women are allowed to teach inside the church, just not teach men. Women are used by GOD all the time and throughout history. Paul was just saying that inside a church they are to be modestly arrayed (I think it helps prevent others from coveting and being jealous, cutting back on cattiness), they are to do good works (playing the piano, singing in choir, helping clean the church, etc.), should learn from men instead of teaching men (they can teach children and other women, just not men), and that’s all. Women should not be bossy female dogs in church. That’s what Paul was saying.
As to a female president? According to the Bible – witness Deborah and others – women are on equal footing throughout the Bible as political leaders, in business, in ability, strength, wisdom, integrity, courage (Esther), kindness (Ruth), favor (Mary, mother of Christ), and all other ways. For men to not vote for Sarah Palin because of her gender is not just wrong, it’s wrong in GOD’s eyes, too! Sarah Palin was not asking you to allow her to teach you your religion, to be your pastor, she was asking you if you would trust her to govern – as did Deborah – the country fairly, justly and wisely, with strength and courage, with discernment and with guidance from GOD as the prophetesses of the Bible demonstrated women can have. That’s what Sarah Palin was asking. She was not asking to be your intercessor with GOD, she was asking simply if you would trust the next four years of the leadership of this country – not your souls – to her care.
The same is being asked of you by Michele Bachman. Do not allow one very small section in the Bible – seven verses only – that speak of what a woman’s place is (according to the heading and Paul’s own words) in public worship prevent you from voting for someone in whose hands the country would be better off. Sarah Palin and John McCain (although I am no fan of McCain) would have been better than obamination, yes? Those men and women who would not vote for the ticket because of Sarah Palin’s gender distorted the teachings of the Holy Bible in order to justify their vote for someone else – and their helping obamination get into office.
Public worship is not public office. Public office rules the land; public worship has to do with GOD’s house and the two are not to be compared nor are they to be used as excuses for twisting GOD’s word. Do not be deceived this election. If Michele Bachman is the best person, she’s the best person, period. If she won’t be teaching in your church and usurping – seizing power from – men, then don’t worry about her gender! Vote for her – or if Sarah Palin gets back into the race, Sarah – based upon your views of her politics, her steadfastness, her integrity, her plans for the future of the country. This is truly the one place where “separation of Church and State” is correct!
(1.) For “prophetess” see also Miriam in Exodus 15:20-21; Huldah in II Kings 22:14, Isaiah 8:3; Anna in Luke 2:36; Acts 21:8-9.