Let Your Women Keep Silent: Prophecy Fulfilled

Acts 2:14, 15, and 16 in this Scripture we see that the women as well as the men received the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost, and the Apostle Peter points back to the prophecy of Joel as being fulfilled on that very day. The prophecy could not have been fulfilled if the "daughters" and "handmaids," did not receive the Holy Ghost and prophesy. For Joel said, "Yea, and on my servants and on my handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit and they shall prophesy."

Acts 2:17, 18 "And it shall come to pass in the last days saith God I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy."

These are the exact words of the prophet Joel, and the Apostle in the full blaze of the day of their fulfillment, exclaims, "This is that which was spoken by the prophet."

The Battleground

The opponents of woman's rights in the ministry have only two passages of Scripture, which they imagine arrays Paul against the ministry of women. I must say that with the unwitting help of the King James translators they have had some degree of success.

The records of the Old Testament concerning women, and “the predictions of prophets” and the recorded practice of Jesus, count almost nothing with them: so long as they have these two Scriptures before them. Instead of trying to make Paul harmonize the facts in Scripture, "the prophets," and "the teachings of Christ," they try to bend the recorded facts of "Scripture," "The predictions of prophets," and "the teachings of Christ" to harmonize with Paul. These two passages of Scripture have served faithfully, as canons in the warfare against the ecclesiastical equality of women quite long enough.

Notwithstanding the proclamation of the Apostle "'That all are one in Christ Jesus," and therefore "there can be no male and female," for centuries past painstaking effort has been put forth to array all the world against the ministry of women, and unalterably bar her from the pulpit.

Something is certainly wrong. The Old Testament, "the predictions of prophets" and "the practice of Christ" is wrong, or else the commonly accepted exegesis of them is wrong.

Now we come to it. I Cor. 14:34, 35. "Let your women keep silence in the churches." I Timothy 2:12. "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor usurp authority over the man." Here our opponents camp with their artillery and batteries, and vomit forth shot and shell. Like the ancient Babylonians, they sarcastically smile down on us from walls of adamant, while they foolishly congratulate themselves with the idea that they are impregnable. Nevertheless, we will see by the search light of the Word just how impregnable they are, and somebody had better be careful or they will get a tremendous fall when the walls come down because I am going to put a stick or two of dynamite under the old grim wall and blow her sky high.

Take 1Cor 14:34, 35 and 1Tim 2:12 out of their scriptural vocabulary and their opposition would be forced to fall like the walls of Jericho. These two passages, if we accept our opponents' exegesis of them, do not harmonize with Paul's other teachings nor his practice. Hence, we must not be guilty of the crime of making Paul contradict himself, but we must seek to know the meaning of the Word and harmonize it with the recorded facts found elsewhere.

"Let your women keep silence" is thundered at me from almost every quarter. Now if you were going to abide by Paul's words "Let your women keep silence" strictly, then a woman would be breaking the rule to sing in church or teach in Sunday school. Silence is silence.

Stick to it now, if you believe in it so ardently. Please tell me where the preacher is, who objects to the women members of his church singing in the choir and teaching in Sunday school? O, you would have a fabulous time if the women should go on a silence strike. You would have lovely singing, for more than half of the voices in our choirs belong to women. The Sunday school would be sadly in want of teachers, and the Ladies' Aid and the Missionary Societies would go down the drain. Ask all the women missionaries in foreign fields to keep silence and a universal cry will burst from unsaved lips to curse you, and a universal protest will come from every true evangelical church in the universe. Ask all the women in America who are church and Sunday school workers to keep silence and every Holy Ghost preacher in this country will hold up his hands in horror.

We have been reasoning and reasoning for a long time, and I fear many of us have come to the wrong conclusion. Shakespeare said, "Good reason must perforce give way to better." Your reasoning may have been good in your own estimation, but I trust that mine may prove better in this case, and that I may be able to prove to you that these two passages of Scripture have no reference to women preaching the gospel whatever. As far as I am personally concerned, I do not hesitate for a moment to reject the commonly accepted exegesis of I Cor. 14: 34, 35, and I Tim. 2:12 from the simple fact that it makes Paul self-contradictory. For he in many other instances encouraged and permitted the public ministry of women.

Now to prove my statement we will take up the teachings and practice of this Apostle elsewhere, and then we will come back and see how I Cor. 14:34, 35, and I Tim. 2:12 look. We will commence with Acts 18:24, 26. Here we read how a certain Jew named Apollos an Alexandrian by race and a most eloquent and learned man came to Ephesus, of whom it is recorded "Was mighty in the Scriptures.”

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