Any excuse to ignore scripture on women

I just came across this discussion on Facebook. It is incredible the weak arguments people come up with to ignore the words of Paul on women preaching or teaching in the assembly.

First the main post, which quoted John Wesley:


” John Wesley on women preaching:

You ask me, “Is there any difference between Quakerism and Christianity?” I think there is. What that difference is, I will tell you as plainly as I can. I will first set down the account of Quakerism (so called) which is given by Robert Barclay: and then add, wherein it agrees with, and wherein it differs from, Christianity.


“We judge it no ways unlawful, for a woman to preach in the assemblies of God’s people.”

In this there is a manifest difference. For the Apostle Paul saith expressly, ‘Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.’ 1 Cor. xiv. 34, 35.

Robert Barclay indeed says, ‘Paul here only reproves the inconsiderate and talkative women.’ But the text says no such thing. It evidently speaks of women in general.

Again, the Apostle Paul saith to Timothy, ‘Let your women learn in silence with all subjection. For I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, (which public teaching necessarily implies,) but to be in silence.’ (1 Tim. ii. 11, 12.)

To this Robert Barclay makes only that harmless reply; ‘We think this is not any ways repugnant to this doctrine.’ Not repugnant to this, ‘I do not suffer a woman to teach?’ Then I know not what is.

“But a woman laboured with Paul in the work of the gospel.” Yea! But not in the way he had himself expressly forbidden.

But Joel foretold, ‘Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.’ And ‘Philip had four daughters which prophesied.’ And the Apostle himself directs women to prophesy; only with their ‘heads covered.’ Very good. But how do you prove that prophesying in any of these places means preaching?” “


And now, somebody wrote this response to the above:

Wasnt paul reffering to the temple prostitutes that was attending the church in corinth and he was addressing the manner in which all women should consider behaving so that no one on the outside could judge? So paul was trying to apply grace to the situation of that church not all churches? “


To which I responded:

If they were prostitutes, why did they have husbands?

“And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” “


[The pre-eminent Catholic theologian, St Thomas Aquinas wrote:

“Speech may be employed in two ways: in one way privately, to one or a few, in familiar conversation, and in this respect the grace of the word may be becoming to women; in another way, publicly, addressing oneself to the whole church, and this is not permitted to women. – Thomas Aquinas (ST II-II, Q 177, A 2, co.)”]




11 responses to this post.

  1. Allow me to ask – are you against the idea of women being permitted a voice outside of the home?


    • Posted by Julian O'Dea on August 24, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      I have no problem with women having “a voice” outside the home. Entering politics or business for example. But not in the church.

      This is a traditional Catholic position.

      That said, there is an hysterical overemphasis on getting women into the workplace these days. Most women are better off concentrating on family. There are some exceptions. But in my observation most female politicians, for example, are actually mediocre. Here in Australia at least.

      I have seen women perform perfectly well in areas like applied science (toxicology) and biology in general. But I don’t expect women will ever excel in theoretical physics or in software development. Men and women have different characteristic mental strengths.


  2. You haven’t quoted Dr Johnson:

    I told him I had been that morning at a meeting of the people called Quakers, where I had heard a woman preach. Johnson: “Sir, a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.” – Boswell, the Life of Dr Johnson

    Boswell also records at least one conversations with Quaker women – whom Johnson nevertheless seemed to be on good terms with – where they actually win an argument over him. Perhaps he did it out of gallantry but at the same time it seems Johnson wasn’t so opposed to women having their place in the intellectual debate as all that.


    • Posted by Julian O'Dea on August 25, 2016 at 5:12 am

      Johnson probably held the orthodox Christian view that women belong in intellectual debate but not in the pulpit.


      • Probably, yes. I’ll look it up as it’s an interesting passage, anyway.

      • It was about friendship:

        BOSWELL. ‘YOU should like his book, Mrs. Knowles, as it maintains, as you FRIENDS do, that courage is not a Christian virtue.’ MRS. KNOWLES. ‘Yes, indeed, I like him there; but I cannot agree with him, that friendship is not a Christian virtue.’ JOHNSON. ‘Why, Madam, strictly speaking, he is right. All friendship is preferring the interest of a friend, to the neglect, or, perhaps, against the interest of others; so that an old Greek said, “He that has FRIENDS has NO FRIEND.” Now Christianity recommends universal benevolence, to consider all men as our brethren, which is contrary to the virtue of friendship, as described by the ancient philosophers. Surely, Madam, your sect must approve of this; for, you call all men FRIENDS.’ MRS. KNOWLES. ‘We are commanded to do good to all men, “but especially to them who are of the household of Faith.”‘ JOHNSON. ‘Well, Madam. The household of Faith is wide enough.’ MRS. KNOWLES. ‘But, Doctor, our Saviour had twelve Apostles, yet there was ONE whom he LOVED. John was called “the disciple whom JESUS loved.”‘ JOHNSON. (with eyes sparkling benignantly,) ‘Very well, indeed, Madam. You have said very well.’ BOSWELL. ‘A fine application. Pray, Sir, had you ever thought of it?’ JOHNSON. ‘I had not, Sir.'</i

        And there he sharply changes the subject presumably not to appear too easily won over about everything:

        From this pleasing subject, he, I know not how or why, made a sudden transition to one upon which he was a violent aggressor; for he said, ‘I am willing to love all mankind, EXCEPT AN AMERICAN:’ and his inflammable corruption bursting into horrid fire, he ‘breathed out threatenings and slaughter;’ calling them, Rascals—Robbers—Pirates;’ and exclaiming, he’d ‘burn and destroy them.’ Miss Seward, looking to him with mild but steady astonishment, said, ‘Sir, this is an instance that we are always most violent against those whom we have injured.’ He was irritated still more by this delicate and keen reproach; and roared out another tremendous volley, which one might fancy could be heard across the Atlantick. During this tempest I sat in great uneasiness, lamenting his heat of temper; till, by degrees, I diverted his attention to other topicks.

      • Oh bollocks, sorry about messing up the italic tags.

      • Posted by Julian O'Dea on August 25, 2016 at 8:07 am

        It’s a nice passage. I have the Boswell biog. Always good to dip into. I think he mostly talked good sense except on a few topics, like Swift. He said something like once you had thought of the big men and the little men, it was not that clever …

      • One of the great maimed writers – like Homer or Milton, perhaps. Look at his pic and you realise what an odd face he had – at birth he was so deformed his parents thought he would not survive and baptised him instantly. He writes very interestingly about both Pope (who was severely stunted, with a bad leg, not to mention a questionable character) and Swift (who went mad, effectively losing his sense, in his later years) and their conditions in his ‘Lives of the poets’.

      • Posted by Julian O'Dea on August 25, 2016 at 9:34 am

        I meant to add that I also like him because he was on the conservative side by nature. And he said quite nice things about Catholics: “Sir, there is no idolatry in the Mass …”

      • Posted by Julian O'Dea on August 25, 2016 at 9:36 am

        I understand that Pope had Pott’s disease. Tuberculosis of the spine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: