Should Women Preach in Churches?

Not to permit a woman to obey the call of God is a violation of women's rights. Countless women throughout history have had a narrative of knowing that God has called them to a pulpit or some other kind of ministry; nevertheless, the voices and experiences of such women all-too-often remain marginalised, even silenced. Mary Magdalene arguably preached the first sermon, "He is risen!" Despite their passion and their experience, however, contemporary Christian women who attempt to enter ministry are challenged at every step with arguments such as that they are too ambitious, they are neglecting their families, or they are unnecessarily disruptive. There is, and has always been, a patriarchal prejudice against women who seek to preach from a pulpit.

The recovery of the voices of women preachers throughout history is desperately needed to complete our knowledge and understanding of the calling and the sacrifices that women make to respond to such a call. An important feature in the history of the Pentecostal movement has been the key roles women have played in foundational organizational positions. Given attitudes regarding women in religious authority in the last half of the nineteenth century, an unusually high proportion of women were leaders in the American Holiness movement. It was out of this movement that Pentecostalism grew. A host of churches and Bible colleges were established, and books and magazines were published by women who had experienced and promoted the new teachings on the Pentecostal experience known as "the baptism in the Holy Ghost."
Maria Beulah Woodworth Etter

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