issues of our time -
»The Prophet« No. 3
The Position of the Woman in the Community
A Christ-friend asks:
On May 28, 1996, I read in
the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" that a 33 year-old theologian from Bonn and
her 48 year-old colleague had been ordained as priests in the Old
Catholic* Church. On thinking it over, I remembered that in the
"Passauer Neue Presse" on Feb. 25, 1995 it was reported that the first
female bishop now existed in the Lutheran Church in Germany. It is
possible that more female bishops have since been appointed to the
Lutheran regional churches. But whether there are one or more female
bishops in the Protestant Church or one or more female priests among the
Old Catholics - the question arises: Has Paul and his epistles in the
Bible outlived their usefulness? If the answer is affirmative, then they
were merely words written by a person, and not God-given. Or did Paul
allow his prejudice against women to flow into the divinely-inspired
epistles when he wrote the following in I Corinthians 14:34-35: "Let
your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto
them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also
saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their
husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."
It is all the same: If Pauls statement is correct and comes from God, then both these churches have betrayed God and Paul. Both churches are then acting against Pauls instructions which clearly read: "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."
What does the voice of the heart, the eternal truth, have to say to this?
The prophet answers:
The institutions of the churches and many of their splinter-groups comply with the words of the Bible which, as is known, is a selection of innumerable apocryphal writings. In these, as is also known, many revisers have interpreted their consciousness into countless passages. After having put together this combination of words which in its entirety is called the Bible, Hieronymus, the appointed reviser of the final draft, wrote to the pope: "You compel me to create a new work from an old one. Will there be even one person who does not curse me at the top of his voice for being a forger and religious blasphemer because I had the audacity to add to, to change or to correct several things?"
In theology it is usual to study the Bible of Hieronymus. What the theological students expect to gain by this I do not know, for one cannot study God. Jesus did not create theology but, on the contrary, gave us an understanding of what it meant to follow Him. At the time of Jesus, His followers were not so much intellectuals but people from all walks of life - they were His apostles and disciples, both male and female. Jesus never spoke a word against women. The female disciples were the equals of the male disciples.
Jesus never made differences between them. Whether man or woman - both were free to speak to Him, and He taught everyone the gospel of love. He called upon His disciples, whether man or woman, to keep the commandments - that is, to do the right deed from His teaching in order to then take it out into the world to all those of open heart.
In "This Is My Word" * on pages 688-690 we read the following:
1. Jesus came to a fountain near Bethany, around which grew twelve palm trees, and where He often went with His disciples to teach them the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. There He sat beneath the shade of the trees, and His disciples with Him.
2. And one of them said, Master, it is written of old, Elohim made man in His own image, and created man and woman. Why do you then say that God is one? And Jesus said to them, Verily I say to you, in God there is neither man nor woman and yet both are one, and God is both in one. He is She and She is He. Elohim - our God - is perfect, infinite and one.
3. Thus, in the man, the father is personified, and the mother hidden; and in the woman, the mother personified and the father hidden. Therefore, the name of the father and the mother shall be equally hallowed; for they are the great powers of God, and the one is not without the other in the one God. (Chap. 64:1-3)
... The one who, in the world, considers the woman inferior and places the man above the woman violates the law of life, the Father-Mother-Principle, which is the all-law."
Whoever is opposed to women who speak out in the community and, in this discriminatory judgment, refers to Eve - who supposedly led Adam astray - should bear in mind that Eve merely offered Adam the apple but did not, however, force him to eat of it. After all, both of them knew that it was strictly forbidden to eat of the fruit of this particular tree. Therefore, if Adam happily took a bite from the apple, he must have had similar leanings as Eve, the alleged temptress, because he was not uninformed. And so, if one takes a closer look at the allegedly-tempted Adam and the alleged temptress Eve, the question of who may, or may not, speak in the community just about answers itself. Both man and woman should remain silent when in their everyday lives they do not fulfill what Jesus commanded of those who want to follow Him.
At some time or other, the intellectual Roman, Saul, became the disciple Paul, also called the apostle. Yet who speaks through his epistles? Saul, or Paul, or God through Paul? This may be sensed only by the person who has set out to become neither male nor female bishop, nor priest, whether man or woman, but solely the unworthy servant of God who has found his way to the voice of the heart. In him speaks the voice of the heart, God, the all-wise and eternal Spirit which is immutable, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
The voice of the heart, God, has never once said to me that His female children, His daughters, should remain silent in the community in order to give precedence to His male children, His sons. Both are sinners; Eve handed over the apple, and the desire of Adam, who knew it was forbidden, took a bite. Thus, both are equal in degree of sin.
The inner voice says: I Am the Father-Mother-God of all My children. It does not speak about differences.
The love of God does not differentiate between the tempter and the tempted, between a sinner and a saint. God loves everyone equally. The saint has turned towards God and has resolved to work for the order of the temple, that is, the cleansing or purification of his soul. In this way, he has drawn closer to God and is able to hear the voice of the heart. The sinner has turned away from God, continues to burden his soul and pays heed to the voice of men which is mostly all-too-human. We have the free will to pay heed to Paul who makes differences between man and woman, or to Jesus and the voice of God which loves all people equally, whether man or woman, sinner or saint. However, the Lutheran institution and the Old Catholics should be clear about one thing: In their Bibles they have Pauls instructions which they are no longer following. Both churches have thereby turned a part of their Bible into nonsense, which they will have to eliminate one day in order to replace it with their instructions. Perhaps there will then be epistles from bishops, as with Paul, namely those bishops who have appointed female bishops or ordained female priests.
The Christ-friend asks:
You said that the Lutheran Church and the Old Catholics have turned a part of their Bible into rubbish. In my opinion, not only are the above-mentioned instructions of Paul now rubbish, but, according to the teachings of these official churches, also a part of Jesus teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. Because at the end of it, Jesus spoke of the right deed: "Therefore, I compare the one who hears these words of mine and follows them with a wise man who built his house solidly upon a rock. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew about this house: and it did not fall in; for it was founded upon a rock. And the one who hears these words of mine and does not follow them should be compared with a foolish man who built his house upon sand. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell in, and great was its collapse."
In some of the Protestant Churches, including the evangelical ones, it is taught that faith alone is sufficient; and from the Catholic side one hears time and again that the Sermon on the Mount is utopian and not practicable in daily life. In this I see a fundamental curtailment of the teachings of Jesus.
The prophet answers:
It is primarily, but not exclusively, the Roman Catholic Church which insists that one must take the words of the Bible literally. But it is also the one which interprets the words of Jesus as it sees fit, or does not take certain parts into account, like, for instance, Jesus statement towards the end of the Sermon on the Mount about the right deed. And in many Protestant Churches one skillfully weaves into the tangle of teachings that faith alone is enough. Is it not a cunning move to tie the mere believer to the institution in order to then justify raising priests and pastors into positions that grant absolution from sin to their fellow men - who can now count on the absolution of their transgressions even when they commit the same sin over and over again?
How would it be if a businessman put his hands in his pockets and
said, "I believe that my business is flourishing. I believe that the
work will get done on its own." He will soon be forced to see that his
business is not flourishing and that his work does not get done on its
own, but rather accumulates day after day. An analogy to this is the
statement attributed to Luther that belief alone is enough. The person
who merely believes, sins, as Luther instructed: "Sin steadfastly, but
believe even more steadfastly"- in this way creating mountains of sins.
Who shall expiate these sins? Perhaps Christ who - as it sounds from the
institutions - has done everything for us? What would happen if the
Christ of God were to take away our mountains of sin? Next to the
decreasing mountain of sins, we would build up another similar one at
the same time. In this way, we could never find salvation but would
remain sinners. Yet Jesus commanded us: "Be therefore perfect, as your
Father in heaven is perfect."
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