Against the example of Deborah as an argument for ordaining women

Returning to the topic of women and church offices (about which I wrote an article back in November), I have heard the example of Deborah being used in favour of the ordination of women. But rather, we should see this example in a different light. Yes, it is true Deborah was a great saint and a powerful woman – and therefore worthy of honour – but the very fact that God raised a woman to such a lofty place was a judgement against the men of Israel’s disobedience and weakness. In the same way, we should see the prevalence of female ministers in our age as a judgement against Christian men and a lukewarm Church. If reformation does not come, large parts of the so-called evangelical church will spiral into apostasy (look to the PC(USA) denomination, which today celebrates all manner of sin, for an example of what happens over a few generations when the Word of God is subverted.)

In 1558, John Knox addressed the topic of Deborah and how it relates to the role of women in his book The First Blast of the Trumpet:

And what greater force, I pray you, has the former argument: Deborah did rule Israel, and Huldah spoke prophecy in Judah; ergo, it is lawful for women to reign above realms and nations, or to teach in the presence of men. The consequent is vain, and of none effect. For of examples, as is before declared, we may establish no law; but we are always bound to the written law, and to the commandment expressed in the same. And the law written and pronounced by God forbids no less that any woman reign over man, than it forbids man to take plurality of wives, to marry two sisters living at once, to steal, to rob, to murder, or to lie. If any of these has been transgressed, and yet God has not imputed the same, it makes not the like fact or deed lawful unto us. For God (being free) may, for such causes as are approved by his inscrutable wisdom, dispense with the rigour of his law, and may use his creatures at his pleasure. But the same power is not permitted to man, whom he has made subject to his law, and not to the examples of fathers. And this I think sufficient to the reasonable and moderate spirits…

God by his singular privilege, favour, and grace, exempted Deborah from the common malediction given to women in that behalf; and against nature he made her prudent in counsel, strong in courage, happy in regiment, and a blessed mother and deliverer to his people. The which he did, partly to advance and notify the power of his majesty, as well to his enemies as to his own people, in that he declared himself able to give salvation and deliverance by means of the most weak vessels; and partly he did it to confound and shame all men of that age, because they had for the most part declined from his true obedience. And therefore was the spirit of courage, regiment, and boldness taken from them for a time, to their confusion and further humiliation.

While true, this teaching is indeed not popular in much of the modern “evangelical” church, which has so readily embraced pagan feminism. So let us fervently pray that reformation will come, or there will be grave consequences.


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