June 29: Who’s Preaching?
Ever since the Day of Pentecost spoken of in Acts chapter two, God has been dealing with His people through the organism of the Church – the Bride of Christ. On the morning of that day, God endued His followers (the 120 in the upper room) with power from on high “and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” Acts 2:4 (NKJ). Not accidentally, representatives from all over the world—“from every nation under heaven”—were in town at that precise moment, and God used the timing and the tongues so that “everyone heard… in his own language… the wonderful works of God” Acts 2:6 and 11.
Then Peter took center stage and delivered the Church’s first sermon. Interestingly, to introduce his message, he chose to quote a passage from the book of Joel that should have immediately cleared up an issue that has plagued and even divided the Church for centuries: women preachers. The Joel passage Peter quoted says:
And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:17-18, for the cross reference, see Joel 2:27-28.)
Obviously, “daughters” and “maidservants” are women. The word “prophesy” here comes from the Greek word that means not only to predict, but to speak or write by divine inspiration. So in a very real sense, a woman in tune with the Spirit of God today who has been given and is exhibiting the gift of interpretation of Scripture, can technically be known as a “prophetess.”
There is no need to shy away from the titles God has no problem conferring on His gifted children. Throughout the Old Testament, and as we now see here at the beginning of the Church age, prophetesses are mentioned unapologetically. Sadly, churches that refuse to allow women to preach are missing out on hearing the Word of God from these gifted vessels just because the mouthpiece is wearing lipstick.
This is not an argument defending women taking up the role of pastor of a church because that’s a separate issue. A woman need not be the pastor of the local church body to deliver God’s word to God’s people. However, we can look at the above-mentioned passages and others throughout Scripture that affirm the gift of prophecy being bestowed upon women. And since by definition, prophecy is a speaking gift, there should be audiences to hear the messages that are written or spoken. Let’s worship God today for being the equal-opportunity bestower of gifts that He has shown Himself to be.
©2014 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.
Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,
Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children
available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),
at bookstores, and on all major online book buying sites.
Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk
Also still available:
Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame
from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)