Ladies in the Church

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Subsections

Head-Coverings in Public Worship

Whether Ladies have the Right to Vote for Church Officers

That the Office of Deacon is Restricted to Males Only

On the Order of Widows & the Church’s Ministry to the Needy

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Order of Contents

How Women may be Involved in Church Ministry
Historical Theology
Historical

May Women Speak in the Church?
Lady Preachers?
On Women Prayer Meetings
On Women Rebuking, Teaching & Exhorting Men

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How Women may be Involved in Church Ministry

Quote

Wes Bredenhof

‘Herman Bavinck on Women in the Church’  (2021)

“Bavinck…  says, the church ‘cannot do without women in this work.’  This includes things like Sunday school, care for the poor and the sick, care for the elderly, the support of pregnant women, and more.  He doesn’t think these activities need to be directly under the oversight of the church as an institution, but the church does have the calling to promote this kind of work where women use their gifts.”

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Historical Theology

Article

Bredenhof, Wes – ‘Herman Bavinck on Women in the Church’  (2021)  17 paragraphs

Bavinck (1854-1921) was a Dutch, reformed theologian.

“In 1918, Bavinck published his book…  (Women in Contemporary Society).  It’s a comprehensive look at questions Dutch society was wrestling with in the early 20th century, particularly under the influence of first-wave feminism…

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Historical

Breed, W.P. – ‘Jenny Geddes’  in Jenny Geddes: or Presbyterianism & its great Conflict with Despotism  (1869)

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May Women Speak in the Church?

Articles

Warfield, B.B. – ‘Paul on Women Speaking in Church’   The Presbyterian, Oct. 30, 1919

Scott, James W. – ‘May Women Speak in Church?’  in New Horizons (OPC), Jan. 1996  26 paragraphs

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Quotes

Samuel Rutherford

A Survey of the Survey of that Sum of Church Discipline Penned by Mr. Thomas Hooker  (1658), p. 257

“Nor are women, sons, servants, debarred from voicing in election because it is a Church-power, for it is no power of jurisdiction.  For:

1.  Their tacit [understood or implied without being stated] voices and consents are not excluded, because they must try the spirits, and not upon trust and fide implicita [implicit faith] believe every teacher more than men, or believe as the Church believes, more than their husbands, nor must they take doctrines as truth upon their husband’s word; nor are women so excluded from speaking in the Church as [that] they may upon no occasion: confess their faith,

2.  profess vocally repentance,

3.  depose as witnesses, [or]

4.  accuse the guilty before the binding Church.”

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On Herman Bavinck

Wes Bredenhof, ‘Herman Bavinck on Women in the Church’  (2021)

“Bavinck evaluates all these developments as being unbiblical…  The apostle Paul said that women are to be silent in the congregation because to do otherwise would violate the natural order grounded in creation.”

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Lady Preachers?

Article

Dabney, Robert – ‘The Public Preaching of Women’  in The Southern Presbyterian Review (Oct, 1879)

The Biblical argument against women preaching in ordinary circumstances.

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Quote

Wes Bredenhof, ‘Herman Bavinck on Women in the Church’  (2021)

“Bavinck…  notes that the Salvation Army was among the first to give a prominent role to women as church leaders.  This was owing especially to Catherine Booth, who co-founded the Salvation Army with her husband William.  Catherine Booth argued for the right for women to be preachers alongside men.  Others who pioneered women’s ordination were the Quakers, Congregationalists, Universalists, Unitarians, Methodists and, in the Netherlands the Mennonites and the Remonstrants.

Bavinck evaluates all these developments as being unbiblical.  He notes that Christ entrusted the ministry of the word to men, first to the apostles, and then to pastors and teachers.  The apostolic church never had any official ministry of the word and sacrament by women, nor any government of the church by women.  The apostle Paul said that women are to be silent in the congregation because to do otherwise would violate the natural order grounded in creation.”

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In Extraordinary Circumstances

Female Pastors?  on our page, Pastors

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On Women Prayer Meetings

Article

Bunyan, John – A Case of Conscience Resolved, viz. Whether, where a Church of Christ is Situate, it is the Duty of the Women of that Congregation, Ordinarily & by Appointment, to Separate Themselves from their Brethren, & so to Assemble Together to Perform Some Parts of Divine Worship, as Prayer, etc. without their Men?  And the Arguments made Use of for that Practice Examined  (London, 1683)  39 pp.

Bunyan argues ‘No’ at length, and gives helpful insight into the Scriptures that are sometimes brought forward for this practice.  Take the time to read this treatise and assure your conscience from God’s Word.

Bunyan speaks of the view he is arguing against (that of the duty of holding women’s prayer meetings in a regular church area) as being an obscure and novel practice in his day, giving a glimpse into the majority position and practice of the puritans that he sought to defend.

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On Women Rebuking, Teaching & Exhorting Men according to their Station

Samuel Rutherford

A Survey of the Survey of that Sum of Church-Discipline Penned by Mr. Thomas Hooker…  (London, 1658)

p. 260

“And though women be forbidden authoritatively to teach in the Church, 1 Tim. 2:7; 1 Cor. 14, and publicly, yet they may teach the younger women, Tit. 2:2-3, give a seasonable rebuke and counsel to men, 2 Sam. 20:16-17; 1 Sam 25:23-24, 32-33, and a woman, a sister is to labor to gain a sister, by Mt. 18, and that in a Church-way; and women, as other Church-members, are to teach, exhort, warn, according to their place, as well as men, Col. 3:16; Rom. 15:14; 1 Thess. 5:14; Heb. 3:13 & 20, 25.”

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p. 321

“2. Do not women covenant to gain the younger women in their way, by rebuking, by Mt. 18:15; Lev. 19:17; 1 Sam. 25:25-27; Tit. 2:3-4, both men and women? and do they for that rule [by the power of the Keys], as the male-Church? [No they don’t, contra congregationalists] and by what oracle? am I not to rebuke a trespassing offender of another congregation dwelling within twenty cubits to my door, and being my beloved brother in Christ?”

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pp. 465-6

“…and sure Paul’s rebuke of these at Athens, Acts 17, though it made not up the rebuke of a Church, yet Paul rebuked them not as a private man, or as a godly woman may rebuke idolaters, but formally as a pastor.”

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Related Pages

The Church

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