Did Apostle Paul Really Oppress Women? Confronting False Ideology.
By: Samaria M Colbert
Doctrine is a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a church, political party, or another group. Theology is the study of the nature of God and religious belief.
Religious beliefs and theory when systematically developed can create confusion and false doctrinal beliefs.
Tiffany was a young impressionable young woman. She wasn’t raised in a Christian home. One day at the age of fifteen, she decided to visit the Hope of Glory non-denominational church. The church was right across the street from her home. She often would wonder about the people walking in and out. Curiosity got the best of her, and she visited. Tiffany loved it. The youth were on fire for God. She got saved and quickly got involved in volunteering in ministry. After completing high school, Tiffany got accepted into a local women’s college in Texas. There were not a lot of churches in the part of Texas where her college was, but Tiffany wanted to continue growing in her relationship with God. Tiffany went to visit a local church around the corner from her school. The first day she walked into the church it felt odd. Everyone looked at her strange. The women had long dresses that hit the floor. Although Tiffany didn’t wear much makeup, she did have on lipstick that was colored. Before she could get a seat, the usher handed her a wipe and told her to wipe her face. Tiffany thought maybe the woman was crazy or that she had something on her face. Out of respect, Tiffany wiped the lipstick off. Then another woman she was sitting next to, didn’t even speak. She just pointed at her finger nails which were neatly polished and shook her head as to say no. As was the praise team sang, it was just mediocre at best. Tiffany understood why everyone who wants to sing, shouldn’t be allowed on the praise team. The singing felt as if they had no life in it, it was like God hadn’t visited this place in a long time. The pastor gets up and preaches an entire message on the sins of women. He talked about how a women’s place was at home raising kids. He talked about how women shouldn’t work. Tiffany understood why none of her classmates wanted to visit the church with her, she initially thought because they were not Christian, but now she saw the truth. Then the pastor talks about how women shouldn’t be allowed to preach behind anyone’s pulpit and how that was a sin before God. The ironic thing that she notices was that none of the other women were offended by what the pastor said. These women would stand up and holler, “Amen pastor, you are preaching the truth.” Tiffany was floored.
Tiffany out of respect stayed the entire service. When it was time to leave, the lady next to her told her to come back next Sunday but cautioned her to leave the makeup, nail polish and pants at home. Tiffany gave the woman a smile and left. She knew that as long as she was alive and breathing, she would never return to that church again.
Tiffany did end up attending a great church that was about thirty miles up the road. They had a transportation ministry and would pick up her and her classmates each Sunday for service and bible study.
Tiffany didn’t allow herself to be beguiled. These church members were beguiled, but how? It is simple, false doctrine, and false theology. They took the scripture out of context.
Scripture clearly tells us that women can do ministry.
Joel 2:28 (KJV)
28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
God doesn’t pour out His spirit on empty vessels that He intends to use for nothing. No offense to any wife and mother. Still, there is more to a woman than being a wife and mother. No, I am not a feminist and will actively denounce feminist ideology until the day I die. I have proved the falsehood of false ideology in a book I wrote called, Worth The Wait.
Although Tiffany was not beguiled, those church members were. How? People are often beguiled by false teachers, who teach false doctrine, and incorrect theology.
I know something about a church like this because I was raised in one. We did have women preachers, however, when I was a kid the church couldn’t wear makeup or jewelry. Skirts had to be a certain length, which meant it had to hit the ankles. A woman couldn’t wear a wedding band from her husband. If we had a visitor who wore makeup, they would get unwelcome stares. If a person decided to join the church, they couldn’t do so without putting their jewelry away for good. I remember hearing the stories. I am reminded when I was a little girl I heard the story from an elderly woman. She said as soon as she got saved she through her jewelry away and threw her wedding band aside.
We equated salvation to not wearing makeup or jewelry. Meaning, you wore makeup or jewelry we considered you not saved.
Ironically the bible doesn’t say that a woman can’t wear jewelry, it says she is to be modest. Meaning don't go out your house looking crazy. I still believe that makeup should enhance your beauty not transform you into a different person. Meaning, if you are African American, your face should not be so beat, that by the time you leave you to house you look like a completely different race. I am not against hair weaves and such, but if everything about you is fake, then something is wrong. Fake hair, fake nails, fake boobs, fake eye color. In my opinion that is not being modest. Though it is not a sin to be fake, it is just a bit inappropriate for me. When I meet my husband, I don’t want him to be afraid when I take myself off at the end of the day.
You have to understand that during the Bible times, what was considered fashionably modest is very different from today.
1 Timothy 2:9-10Living Bible (TLB)
9-10 And the women should be the same way, quiet and sensible in manner and clothing. Christian women should be noticed for being kind and good, not for the way they fix their hair or because of their jewels or fancy clothes.
Sensible means wise, modest, not too much. The scripture doesn’t say no matter the version, which women can’t wear makeup. In fact, let me put the same scripture in the King James Version.
1 Timothy 2:9King James Version (KJV)
9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
Shamefacedness means show restraint, or modest. Meaning, your makeup should not be loud. The scripture doesn’t say you shouldn’t wear gold, pearls but be modest about it. If you have the means, don’t have your entire arm full of expensive gold. Don’t wear your entire treasure. There is a long time trend amongst celebrities where they wear million dollar engagement rings, again to each is his own. But don’t let your adornment be so huge that it becomes obnoxious.
Then there is the infamous scripture where Paul had said he didn’t permit women to speak. The key word is here that Paul said what he didn’t allow, he didn’t say it wasn’t allowable. 2 Corinthians 14: 34-35 He was telling you how he did things.
You have to understand the historical context of which he writes. First, he was speaking to a bunch of new converts. Corinth was a city in Greece. If you know anything about that time idol worship and sin of every kind was prominent. The church was made up of ex-pagans, ex-prostitute, women who had been very sexually lude and idol worshippers. Pagan means they were religious in their worship of idols. In worship ceremonies, the women were prostitutes and connected to the Aphrodite (goddess of love). So immortality was blatant and prominent throughout the entire city. Prostitutes were prominent and fair game. Meaning, they had no shame in their game. The women were very sexually explicit and all out there if you know what I mean.
So with Paul’s ministry, the people are converted, their hearts changed. I had a client years ago, who said, that once you get saved, your heart changes immediately, your actions don’t. Because these women were so openly engaged in such immoral living, it affected every area of their lives, including how they dressed.
Have you ever been around a new convert, even though their hearts change, they have to be taught the way of the kingdom? In fact, I had a client in my office today, who had gotten saved. She was full of excitement and had truly dedicated her life to Christ. Often when people get converted from the street, they have a lot of zeal for God but need wisdom and mentoring. Paul understood the culture by which many of these new converts had been raised in. They only knew one way of life; he had to teach them the way of the kingdom.
I do believe that you should come as you are to church, but with limits. If all you have is jeans, then come. There is a difference between not having any dress clothes versus coming in the same clothes you went to the club in before you got saved.
I know of this young lady who comes to my church, literarily her clothes are so tight it looks like she is preparing to go to the club. While in church; and you could see straight through her tight dress. I could clearly see she had a pink thong on, and believe me, I don’t find women attractive and wasn’t looking. She was showing me too much of herself; she was giving me and a lot of other people more information than we needed or cared to know.
One thing a prostitute tends to do is over do it with tight clothes, jewelry and a face full of makeup. They have to attract their customers. These women in the city of Corinth were use to being loud, raunchy and rude.
These same women, God saved. To God be the glory. Then they joined the church. They had been religious in the past to their false gods. There were temples full of prostitutes, and idol worshippers in the city. Paul had to set very clear rules, regulations, and order in the church of Corinth because of the environment by which the church came to be. If he hadn’t said this; people not knowing any better, would have taken their same ungodly, unholy pagan worship into the church of Jesus Christ. This is why Paul had to teach them the basics, like how to dress, how to wear makeup appropriately, how to wear their hair appropriately. Before their conversion, they were to the extreme on the other side. He was telling them to tone it down, way down when they went into the house of God. They were used to going to temples where sex out in the open was welcome. He had to tell them now that they were in the house of God, to honor God, themselves and their husbands. They had to learn about submission that is proper, where in the past they had subjected and submitted their bodies to unholy perversion.
Do I think Paul was wrong to tell the women not to speak? No! He was telling them based upon their culture. Again, they were use to going into false temples where things were loud and wrong.
He had to tell them to have one husband, and when you come to the house of God, don’t start yelling and acting a fool, be quiet and ask your husband questions when you get home. Again, based upon the historical context, and environment by which this church was established.
If Paul had such issues with women, speaking and leading in the church, why did he openly honor women, husband and wife teams, and then admonished others to show them respect while leading people? Paul was not confused. He knew exactly what he was doing.
1 Corinthians 16:19-21 (KJV)
9 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
20 All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.
21 The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.
Priscilla and Aquilla were a husband and wife team, that had a church in their home. Now if Paul just wanted to address the husband he would have, but no he clearly greets them with respect and acknowledged “they,” not just the husband.
Some believe this is the beginning of the husband and wife team, otherwise known as the Pastor and Co-Pastor, although the Bible is not clear about this.
Romans 16:7 (TLB)
7 Then there are Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who were in prison with me. They are respected by the apostles and became Christians before I did. Please give them my greetings.
Many believed that Andronicus and Junias were another husband and wife team.
I could go on. Let’s look at another example in Paul’s words.
Romans 16:6 (KJV)
6 Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.
Romans 16:6 (NLT)
6 Give my greetings to Mary, who has worked so hard for your benefit.
Romans 16:15 (NLT)
15 Give my greetings to Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and to Olympas and all the believers[a] who meet with them.
I could go on, but clearly, Paul was not only acknowledging the men but the women as well. He was treating them with honor and respect.
Romans 16:1 (NLT)
16 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea.
Romans 16:1 (KJV)
16 I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:
Clearly, if you are serving in the church in any capacity deacon or not, at some point you are going to have to open your mouth.
Clearly, as a minister of Jesus Christ, I don’t believe that women can’t be in ministry. If Paul was implying that women can’t be in active ministry, then why was he actively acknowledging and showing honor to women, who were clearly in ministry, along with men?
So do I think that Paul was wrong? No! If the shoe fits wear it. I was in church a while back. I had gotten there late and had to sit towards the back, which was to my regret. It was a sign to me that from there on out, I needed to get to church on time.
I go to a church where we clap when it is good; we raise our hands in recognition of a good word. We say, “Hallelujah.” We say, “Amen pastor” when it is getting good. Still, because I was in the nosebleed section, I was around some women that were just too much. I mean I heard multiple conversations while the pastor was preaching. Everything the pastor said, there was some story in their lives that they needed to share with one another.
These women are examples of a spirit that ran rapidly in the Corinth church. We still need mothers in the church to teach new converts, how they are to conduct themselves not only in church but in life. Thanks to Apostle Paul for being so bold as to say what we were all thinking. I confess when these women come into church, with the see-through dress, and pink thongs underwear on, no I don’t say anything. I am glad you are in church. Still, that doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t need to teach you something. You shouldn’t wear tight clothes with see-through garments on, with your underwear showing and your breast hanging out anywhere, and not in church.
People need to teach young ladies and women, how to present themselves as women of virtue. Yes, virtue does start in the heart, but it should translate over into how you dress. Change happens from the inside out, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need a wise elder to tell you the truth in love.
Paul was setting standards in the Corinth church. That doesn’t mean it applies to all churches. Though again, if someone looks to be in spirit of the Corinth people, before their conversion to Christ, they just need to be taught. No one prior had taught the people of Corinth any different because no matter how wrong their environment, it was all they knew. Remember I said, your environment will give you identity if you let it. Apostle Paul was simply giving them a different Godly identity.
Again, it may not apply to all, but it to this day, does apply to some.
Nevertheless, you can see how false doctrine, wrong theology, and misinterpretation of scripture, can beguile us. To this day because people simply don’t study for truth, they assume that women, can’t be in ministry. They make things a sin that simply is not. Wearing makeup is not a sin. Wearing pants is not a sin. There is nothing wrong with women in ministry.