Friday, 14 December 2007

Preaching and book writing

A non-blog commenter e-mailed me with this question:

Interesting to read your take on writing as a form of preaching… I’ve often thought so too…

But that leaves with a serious question… why is it OK to read female writers, but not listen to them preach in public?


Thanks for the question! To be precise, I don't see any biblical restriction on the activity of preaching by women, only on the context. No preaching to men or to mixed congregations. (1 Tim 2:12). And of course, prophesying to a mixed congregation is fine too (1 Cor 11:5-6).

Just another observation to chuck in; I don't think there is even a whisper of a hint that the authors or editors of any of the Bible books were women, although in Proverbs their words are recorded as authoritative in some parts, eg King Lemuel's mum.

I don't think the reasons are entirely clear, but I speculate that certain types of communication are more inherently authoritative than others, and that the more authoritative they become, the less fitting it is for a woman to exercise such authority.

Books and writing just aren't that authoritative, I think. With the single exception of the Bible.

Ask me why, though, and things get a bit vague.

3 comments:

simone said...

".. but I speculate that certain types of communication are more inherently authoritative than others, and that the more authoritative they become, the less fitting it is for a woman to exercise such authority."

I think a good lyric is an inherently authoritative thing. If a song has words that work well together (some nice internal rhyme, a sprinkling of alliteration and a few emotive words will usually do it) few people will question if its ideas are actually true.

Men sing songs written by women all the time and think nothing of it (unless they are overly schmucky). Does anyone have a problem with this?

Ben said...

Hi Gords,

I wonder whether the difference between preaching to a mixed congregation and writing a book is about the context of authority.

The mixed congregation is almost certainly a church, over which the pastor has authority. I submit to my minister in a way that I don't submit to the author of a book. I can put the book down anytime I like and call it bunkum, whereas I don't have that same priviledge when it comes to my minister's teaching.

Dave said...

Is it the form of communication that is authoritative? Authority is surely given to the person communicating, no matter what medium (though the internet might be dodgy!).
I have a friend doing a research passage on 1 Tim 2:12. The word translated authority only appears once in the NT, and is a very negative type of authority. Paul might actually be saying he does not permit a woman to be a dragon lady! Any thought Gordon?