If God Calls A Woman To Preach, She Should -- By: Patrick R. Anderson

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 15:4 (Fall 2001)
Article: If God Calls A Woman To Preach, She Should
Author: Patrick R. Anderson

If God Calls A Woman To Preach, She Should

Patrick R. Anderson

By Patrick R. Anderson, professor of criminology at Florida Southern College in Lakeland,, Florida, and active in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. This article is reprinted from The Ledger, Lakeland (May 28, 2000), with the author’s permission.

Once again we shake our heads, laugh, and roll our eyes at the Southern Baptist Convention. The boys who run that outfit never seem to tire of doing silly things. This time, when a few thousand of them [met] in Orlando in June [2000], they [made] all 15.9 million Southern Baptists reject female preachers.

My grandmother was a preacher. After she got religion, that is, at the age of 39. Prior to that, she ran roadhouses, brothels, and smuggled rum from Cuba. She had never married, never worked for any man, and was a strong, independent woman. She was a single mother, my father being her only child, and he, too, got religion shortly after she, when he was 20. Both Grandmother and Daddy were preaching within months of their conversions, finding audiences on street corners, WPA work camps, jails, brush arbors, and Hemming Park in downtown Jacksonville.

After he was “better trained” by local preachers in Jacksonville, Daddy objected to his mother’s preaching, saying the Bible forbids such. I can remember their arguments about that. Grandmother said she could not refuse to preach when God had called her to do so. Daddy’s friends would ridicule her by joking, “God called him to preach, but she answered!”

When the Baptists in Jacksonville refused to give her pulpits to preach from, she went to Harlan County in Kentucky and preached to coal miners and mountaineers too far from towns and too hostile to outsiders for the numerous, timid male preachers. She heard about the people in the bayous of Plaque-mine Parish in Louisiana who had not been reached by the gospel, so she took her message and some medicines in a small pirogue into the tributaries of Cajun country. Then, upon her return to Jacksonville when I was a small boy, she found a hospitable congregation in the Church of the Nazarene, and it was there she preached until she was overcome with cancer and died in 1959, at the age of 60.

I wish I could talk with her today about the new addition to the Southern Baptist creed, the Baptist Faith and Message Statement, the part that states “the office of :pastor is limited to men.” I could not participate in the discussions between my grandmother and my dad when they were both alive, but I am sure she pointed out the examples in the Bible where women preached and were called to do so. My dad and grandmother have settled the issue now in heaven I am sure, but I would love to hear them.

Jerry Vines, one of the power brokers told ...

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