Friday, October 8, 2010

Could women be christian ministers?

In the book " Bearing Through Witness" About God's Kingdom, published by Watchtower Society  under the heading " could women be christian ministers" , page 177 we read:

"...Jesus instructed his followers to preach the good news of the Kingdom and to make disciples.( Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8 ). This commission to be ministers of the good news applies to all Christians, whether men, women, boys or girls. That this is so can be seen from the prophecy found at Joel 2:28, 29, which the apostle Peter showed had a fulfillment at Pentecost 33 C.E.: " In the last days, God says, 'I shall pour out some of my spirit upon every sort of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy...and even upon my men slaves and upon my women slaves I will pour out some of my spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.' " ( Acts 2:17, 18) As we have noted, the evangelizer Philip had four daughters who prophesied. -Acts 21:8, 9. When it came to teaching within the congregation, however, God's Word limited the appointment of Christian overseers and ministerial servants to men. ( 1 Tim 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9). Paul, in fact, stated: " I do not permit a woman to teach, or to exercise authority over a man, but to be in silence." - 1 Tim. 2:12"
So what is wrong with the above article? After all  Joel did speak this prophecy about women prophesying in the last days , didn't he?
Well, let us look at what was the gift of prophecy in the first century church and how and where was this gift used? Perhaps apostle Paul can answer this question the best.
Watchtower Society quotes Joel's words when approving preaching, or evangelizing of female witnesses in territories, house to house or in informal witnessing. But was the gift of prophecy in the first century  the same as "evangelizing" ?
In his letter to Corinthians apostle Paul told to  his fellow believers:
" On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their up building and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue build up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church." ( 1.Corinthians 14:3-4), ESV version.
According to Paul, prophesying was not evangelizing, it was a speech given by Christians IN THE CONGREGATION to believers, not to outsiders.  Prophesying was to encourage, up build and console fellow brothers and sisters.
This point is made even stronger by a few verses down in 1 Corinthians 14:22:
"Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers."
I can not help but understand from these verses that prophecy was ( and is) a gift used in the congregations - among believers gathered together for worship, not house to house preaching- evangelizing. Women in the first century congregations were using this gift along with the gift of teaching and leading a prayer in the congregations!
Apostle Paul was encouraging all believers ( women and men) to prophecy- that is to console and up build the fellow believers while they were gathered together for worship ( read 1 Cor 14:39).
So why are Jehovah's Witnesses prohibiting sisters from talks on a platform or even leading prayers in the congregations?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Women in Watchtower Society: spiritual abuse of women in watchtower society

Women in Watchtower Society: spiritual abuse of women in watchtower society

spiritual abuse of women in watchtower society

Women in the  Watchtower Society -  an organization of Jehovah's Witnesses are placed under the headship( or authority) of their husbands , or if unmarried, they are under the headship of men in  the organization.
In private life that means that a wife will fully cooperate with all husbands decisions, whether good or bad. Yes, her husband is placed as a final decision maker and leader in the family and she is to support him faithfully. Wife is allowed to speak her opinions and her view on important matters but at the end whatever the husband decides is what actually happens.
Only husbands can pray aloud before eating a meal or studying the bible. Wife can not approach God in prayer when her husband is present. If she does then it is only in the case of her husband being an unbeliever and even in this case she must put a some sort of head covering on her head. The reason for the head covering  is to show that she is in subordinate position and she is performing a duty normally assigned by God only to men.
Although women are allowed and encouraged to preach to outsiders ( especially door to door), inside the congregation they can not pray, or to deliver a speech on the platform. They can not teach a doctrine to men or to women, unless it is in the bible studies outside the Kingdom Halls. If any baptized males are present on the bible studies outside Kingdom Halls, women must wear a head covering as a sign of submission to men if they are teaching a doctrine or praying.
Every week the congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses meet for so called "school" meeting. These meetings are designed by the Society to train witnesses for preaching door to door or informal witnessing at work, school etc..
Women are participating on "school" meetings giving presentations on the platforms, but they must have another sister with them and they can not "face" the audience  so they do not appear  to be teaching men.
Female witnesses are prohibited from baptising anyone, only witness males can perform baptism.

There is much more to say about women in Watchtower Organization, however I would like some opinions of women in other religious organizations on this issue. Many female witnesses feel that they have much more to offer for God , but their gifts are certainly halted by men in organization. Spiritual gifts of female witnesses are reduced to preaching only door to door and bringing a new members into an organization, but inside Kingdom Halls they are not allowed to pray, teach, give speeches, and their only participation in service is singing songs from a songbook and answering the watchtower questions during the watchtower study.
Women can not serve as ministerial servants either, they are never given any responsibilities such as money handling, microphone services etc.. However their cooking skills are always welcome after meetings or during parties as well as a cleaning skills when it comes to a Kingdom Hall clean ups.
It is time for the women in Watchtower Society to do more research on bible texts that touch on female submission . It is time to speak up and use spiritual gifts to the full.