Women Have a Place in the Church
By Hannah Harrison
What is a woman or little girl worth? Some say the world, others say justice, but I say: a voice. In a world where darkness is encroaching on everything holy, we’re seeing more and more women afraid to speak out about their unique struggles in the church. If we’re not careful, we’ll have ourselves to blame.
As women sit on church pews worshipping, often we have a sense of longing and a desire to share what the Lord is doing in our lives or how we are hurting. But in some churches, we are disregarded as unimportant and unworthy of being heard, as if we are somehow second-class citizens of heaven.
When Christian sisters are ignored and overlooked, the church suffers. The God who works through its male members is the same God who works in its female members, and it’s time we as the body of Christ began listening.
Women in 1 Corinthians
Paul was a man who bore many hardships for the cause of Christ. But one thing many people note about Paul is his treatment of women and how they should act in a church setting. In his letters (1 Corinthians especially) we can better identify how the role of women affects the church and why they are important.
In 1 Corinthians 1:11, Paul says, “My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.”
We see Paul is reading a letter from a woman’s household and cares about what she has to say. When Paul begins looking into the quarrels and how the people of Corinth are mistreating Scripture, he is quick to address the bigger issue.
He continues by saying, “What I mean is this: one of you says, ‘I follow Paul’; another, ‘I follow Apollos’; another, ‘I follow Cephas’; still another, ‘I follow Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (12-13).
Posing the question at the beginning of the book, the most important person to follow is Christ, not Paul himself.
We continue seeing the impact of Chloe’s letter, as it is displayed 1 Corinthians 14:34. “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.”
This verse is a treasure trove for those wanting to put women “in their place.”
When looking into Paul’s position, we can see he was addressing specific churches in Corinth. The women in the church were eager to learn and were questioning the leaders to the point of disruption. By “silencing” them in this setting, Paul was opening up the floor for the speaker to proceed without interruption.
This verse was not stating that women were to remain silent throughout their entire involvement with the church. Throughout Paul’s journeys, he encountered many women who prayed for, encouraged and helped him in his ministry (Philippians 4:1-2). If he truly believed women were to be silent in the doings of the church, do you believe he would have allowed females to participate in his ministry?
The Real Issue
Unfortunately, hundreds of years after Paul’s visit to Corinth, some pastors still believe women can’t be used in the ministry of the church. They believe women’s gifts and callings are irrelevant to the spread of the gospel.
Churches need to understand what they are doing when they tell a woman to remain silent.
They’re ruining her safety.
The church has to realize that we are living in an age where we need to raise warriors who know their faith and belief in the Lord.
We are losing the battle when it comes to understanding and defending the true worth of women and young girls. As we sit in our comfortable pews, the weakest and neediest are sitting close by crying inwardly for justice.
Out of every 1,000 rapes, 995 will go unreported. Why? These women are ashamed. As the world points fingers at the victim, shaming them and declaring they are the reason it happened, the church should be a place to come and openly discuss what’s happening in their life.
When churches deny the ministry of women ministering to other women, they are depriving women of the proper teaching needed to help them define themselves in the world.
Titus 2 declares that older women should teach the younger generations and lead as an example. How can they do that if not given the opportunity in the church? Simply put, the Lord grants women unique abilities and passions and allows them to attribute to certain testimonies a man may not be able.
Currently, there is a war over whether women should be able to teach, be missionaries, or even be able to pray in front of men. Certainly, there are bigger battles to fight. However, disregarding women’s callings and not giving them the security to speak is negatively affecting the health of the church.
We, women, lack training; we lack safety; we lack hope we’re going to come to a point where we have the freedom to share our experience. Instead of fighting a battle against each other, we need to regain the focus of giving the hurting hope.
If we as a church don’t teach women that they are safe and can speak out against abuse, who will?
If we don’t teach them they have freedom in the Lord, who will?
If we don’t show them that it isn’t their fault, who will?
If we don’t train them to be bold women of God, who will?
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
We are one in Christ, and it’s time we start heeding the call of the Great Commission instead of regarding women who want to serve the Lord as unimportant. Our war isn’t against earthly powers. It is against the realm of darkness. Isn’t it time we stop letting them infiltrate the church?
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1:26-27).