Updated: Dec 21, 2020
A fresh wind is blowing across this church of ours.
(Barbara Harris, 1st Anglican woman bishop)
Something unique is transpiring now that is unprecedented in human history. The Holy Spirit is using women today much like He empowered the prophetess Debra who became a spiritual leader and judge of ancient Israel. Centuries ago the prophets spoke of this (Acts 2:17 and Joel 2:28), “In the last days, says God, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh, your … daughters shall prophesy and on my … maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” The Holy Spirit is preparing qualified women to serve the modern church in every leadership position existing in it.
Debra’s spiritual leadership foreshadows the possibilities available for women in the church and proves that it is not immoral or wrong for a female to lead. This dear lady was not a renegade who ascended to prominence by usurping or seizing the authority of men (Judges 5:2- 24). She was a faithful servant of the Lord. If Debra was the voice of God and the political leader of her country; if she was commander and chief of the army and led troops into battle; if she was a spiritual advisor and Pastor of the twelve tribes of Israel, if she instructed people in God’s Word from her position of authority—ladies, you can do it too.
Debra led with integrity and purity of heart. She did not presume or pursue leadership; she was selected by the Lord and empowered for the position. She was loved by her followers and the nation prospered under her direction. The role of leadership for women in the Bible was not common, but it is never portrayed as wrong or improper.
Paul did not allow women to teach men. But did he make this decision because it was morally and spiritually wrong? Was there another reason behind Paul’s actions? Paul was not a male chauvinist; he honored and promoted the value of females and defended them on numerous occasions (Ephesians 5:22-32; 1 Corinthians 16:1). His reason for not allowing ladies to teach was cultural not spiritual. He established churches in pagan societies which had a very low estimation of women. Paul did not attempt to force social reforms through the church, his interest was in reaching the people with the Gospel (1 Corinthians 1:18). Paul watched over the infant church as a father watches over his children. He did not permit believers to practice things not in keeping with the norms and dictates of the “social order” of the communities surrounding them. To have done so would have been a disaster. Paul did not permit a woman to teach because he was protecting the people and the church he loved from annihilation.