WOMEN PREACHERS & A description of Susanna Wesley’s innovations

A crowd gathered outside the kitchen window. They had come to hear the pastor’s wife explain Scripture. Tradition forbade women from preaching as a pastor might, but the crowd knew Susanna Wesley as the theological and homiletical equal to her husband, their pastor. On occasions when Samuel traveled to London on religious business, attendance at the Epworth church dropped. But because Susanna believed so strongly people needed a regular feeding of God’s Word, she threw open her kitchen window as an invitation for others to hear the Word. The pretext was that she was teaching her children, gathered around the kitchen table. But the open window allowed her message to touch the hungry hearts of the townspeople. Never before had such delicious provision come out of this kitchen.

Excerpted from Enthusiast! Finding a Faith that Fills (Bob Whitesel, The Wesleyan Publishing House, 2017), p. 135.

WOMEN LEADERS & Women who were the point persons/leaders in many early house churches

“The Elect Lady” by Scot McKnight, Pathos, 9/21/17.

Not often observed in the conversation (ahem, debate) about women in ministry is 2 John, a letter addressed by John (according to traditional scholarship) to a woman who is the leader of a house church.

…Women were the point persons/leaders in many early house churches: Chloe (1 Cor 1:11), Lydia (Acts 16:40), mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12), Nympha (Col 4:15), Prisca and Aquila (Rom 16:3-5; 1 Cor 16:19), Philemon, Apphia, and Archippus (Philemon 1-2), and perhaps Stephana (1 Cor 16:15, 17) [from p. 3, from his wife Aida Besancon Spencer’s study].

Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2014/09/18/that-elect-lady/#OBQt5oIiGz6dbf3Z.99

WOMEN LEADERS & Why the Elect Lady of John 1 is Probably a Church Leader

“The Elect Lady” by Scot McKnight, Pathos, 9/21/17.

Not often observed in the conversation (ahem, debate) about women in ministry is 2 John, a letter addressed by John (according to traditional scholarship) to a woman who is the leader of a house church. The whole text immediately follows so you can read it, with important expressions italicized (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2014/09/18/that-elect-lady/#OBQt5oIiGz6dbf3Z.99)

…Yes, in church history some have argued that the “elect lady” of 2 John is the church itself and not a female leader. But William David Spencer, in his final piece as editor of Priscilla Papers (28.3, 2014, pp. 1-4), has devoted some space to showing that in fact it is far more likely that the “elect lady” is the church leader of a house church.

1. 2 and 3 John are close enough that few question the same authorship, making parallels between the letters especially important.

2. Inasumch as 3 John’s address is Gaius, who is clearly the leader of that church, it follows that the “elect lady” of 2 John is most likely the same at “her” church. Some speculated her name was “Electa” or “Kuria” (from the Greek of 2 John 1).

3. The use of “children” in the Epistles of John refers to church members. The lady must be distinguished from the children and, therefore, the “lady” cannot be the church itself.

4. By calling them “your children” the “lady” functions as the pastor of those children, much as Gaius does in 3 John. To call the “lady” the church as a whole, then, fails at the simplest level of language.

5. Women were the point persons/leaders in many early house churches: Chloe (1 Cor 1:11), Lydia (Acts 16:40), mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12), Nympha (Col 4:15), Prisca and Aquila (Rom 16:3-5; 1 Cor 16:19), Philemon, Apphia, and Archippus (Philemon 1-2), and perhaps Stephana (1 Cor 16:15, 17) [from p. 3, from his wife Aida Besancon Spencer’s study].

Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2014/09/18/that-elect-lady/#OBQt5oIiGz6dbf3Z.99

WOMEN LEADERS & When She Preaches #MissioAlliance #TaraBethLeach

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Tara Beth Leach’s article ( below) is important. Having consulted for many churches with female pastors over the years, I have found one of the strongest bastions of male dominance is often the pulpit.  Once that ceiling is broken with her anointing, other walls may fall.  This is what Susanna counseled John Wesley (1791), and it seemed to work. John had originally asked a female preacher in the Wesleyan Connexion to refrain from calling her sermonizing: preaching.  Instead, he suggested, it could be called a “testimony.”  Susanna, John’s mother and by all accounts a better preacher than John’s father Samuel, told John to go, hear her and see for himself if the anointing rested on her.  Soon thereafter, John agreed that women could preach within the Methodist movement.

When She Preaches

Growing up, I sat at the feet of countless remarkable male preachers. Besides Beth Moore, I don’t recall ever hearing a woman preach until my sophomore or junior year of college. I witnessed countless men stand behind pulpits, open their Bibles, and preach the Word of God in awe-inspiring ways. I am thankful for these men, because at the feet of them, my faith was formed and challenged. But I often wonder what it would have been like for me to listen to a woman preacher before I myself preached for the first time. I imagine I would have been deeply encouraged and wildly inspired.

When women don’t preach, the church suffers. It is as Carolyn Custis James says in her book, Half the Church,

When half the church holds back – whether by choice or because we have no choice – everybody loses and our mission suffers setbacks. Tragically, we are squandering the opportunity to display to an embattled world a gospel that causes both men and women to flourish and unites us in a Blessed Alliance that only the presence of Jesus can explain.[1]

Because, when a woman preaches, something profound begins to happen in the pews, the ground begins to shift, barriers are torn down, and the once silenced mouths are opened.[2]

When She Preaches, Women in the Congregation Begin to Imagine Gifts Outside of the Traditional/Patriarchal Roles

When she preaches, the women in the pews can begin to undo the narrative that tells them they are inferior to men. Many women sitting in the pews on Sunday morning aren’t sure what to do with scriptures that tell them to “keep quiet in the church” and are even told that scriptures like this should be applied to all women in every context. However, when she preaches, other women in the pews are pushed to think critically about those tough passages; they are pushed to consider their own gifts; they are forced to ponder a false narrative that they have embraced for far too long – that they are somehow less capable or less gifted in the Kingdom of God. When she preaches, women see a super-natural talent embodied in another woman, empowered by the Spirit, and propelled to edify all of the people of God. And it is then that women in the congregation begin to ask: can I preach, too? Maybe they will unearth the talents that have been buried for far too long; maybe they will spread their wings and fly; maybe they, too, will use their gifts in new and inspiring ways.

[1] Carolyn Custis James, Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015), 19.

[2] See a powerful post on Sarah Bessey’s blog, Why Not Have a Woman Preach” right here.

Read more here … http://www.missioalliance.org/when-she-preaches/

WOMEN & The Role of Women in the Holiness Movement

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Today our faculty spent the morning with Dr. Jo Anne Lyon and she introduced me to a helpful document about the critical role of women in the Holiness Movement. Below is a link to the downloadable document as well as the first few pages.

Read more or at … https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwiSnons287OAhUIxGMKHQS3CMgQFggeMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.wesleyan.org%2Fd%2FeDkK%2FDayton-Donald-Wilber-Lucille-Sider—Women-in-the-Holiness-Movement.pdf&usg=AFQjCNH9l6BFpWJZjNFFeOrCmdH4xL0S4g&sig2=e1vYD2JIemgJR4BLr7FnCA&cad=rja

QUOTES & John Wesley’s Quote on Women in Ministry

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  This is an ongoing series of quotes from the Wesleyan Movement with citations to the original sources.

“But may not women, as well as men, bear a part in this honourable service?” Undoubtedly they may; nay, they ought; it is meet, right, and their bounded duty. Herein there is no difference; “there is neither male nor female in Christ Jesus. “Indeed, it has long passed for a maxim with many, that “women are only to be seen, not heard.” And accordingly many of them are brought up in such a manner as if they were only designed for agreeable playthings. But is this doing honour to the sex? Or is it a real kindness to them? NO; it is the deepest unkindness; it is horrid cruelty; it is mere Turkish barbarity. And I know not how any woman of sense and spirit can submit to it. Let all you that have it in your power assert their right which the God of nature has given. You. yield not to the vile bondage any longer. You, as well as men, are rational creatures. You, like them, were made in the image of God; you are equally candidates for immortality; you too are called of God, as you have time, to “do good unto all men.” Be “not disobedient to the heavenly calling.” Whenever you have opportunity, do all the good you can, particularly to your poor, sick neighbour. And everyone of you likewise “Shall receive your own reward, according to your own labour.”

Sermon 98, “On Visiting the Sick”, III. 7.

For more such quotes see: The United Methodist Church General Board of Church & Society, http://www.kintera.org/site/c.frLJK2PKLqF/b.4452011/k.7E8E/Quotations_by_John_Wesley.htm

WOMEN & Fifty Shades of Grey: A Trilogy of Deceit, Collusion, and Domination #ChristiansForBiblicalEquality

Commentary from Dr. Whitesel: “Dr. Mimi Haddad, president of Christians for Biblical Equality penned the following notes while attending the Carter Center’s conference on women and violence. Juxtaposition her important insights amid the deplorable media hype which promotes violence towards women.”

263.jpgBy Dr. Mimi Haddad, president of Christians for Biblical Equality. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. She holds a PhD in historical theology from the University of Durham, England. She and her husband, Dale, live in the Twin Cities. Follow her on Twitter @Mimi_CBE.

As the film industry promotes “Fifty Shades of Grey,” launching on Valentine’s Day, I sit beside sixty scholars, activists, and faith leaders from more than twenty countries at a forum convened by the Carter Center: “Beyond Violence: Women Leading for Peaceful Societies.” Working to end the domination of women worldwide, these leaders recognize that “prejudice, discrimination, war, violence, distorted interpretations of religious texts, physical and mental abuse, poverty, and disease fall disproportionately on women and girls, as Jimmy Carter notes in Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power. Together, these human rights defenders are refining bold and creative strategies to overturn systems, structures, and worldviews that abuse, marginalize, dominate, and annihilate girls and women worldwide.

While these activists labor to combat abuse, filmmakers are working to normalize the sexual domination of women as entertainment. With scenes holding women in bondage, men inflict pain re-framed as “discipline” in the form of sadism and masochism, offered as the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Meanwhile, in hidden corners of nearly every city of the world, girls and women are held in secret prisons and brothels where they endure gang-rape. Firearms and other weapons are used as instruments of rape, and rape itself is unleashed as an instrument of war. Targeted by the military, girls and women are murdered by the masses–a horror undocumented by the world’s journalists. Women, whose daughters have been abducted by extremists, wake up every morning wondering, “Is she alive?”

Read more at … http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=b0720554-9920-4fa7-b677-f253ce004538&c=9cb55140-0518-11e4-9c4f-d4ae52754007&ch=9cba3340-0518-11e4-9c4f-d4ae52754007