Tuesday, May 8, 2012

One Good Reason for Women to Remain Silent

In my previous post I offered one good reason for women to speak during church gatherings. In this post I’m offering one good reason for the ladies to keep silent.

The reason: If a woman speaks incorrectly or inappropriately, there is no good method for correcting her.

Let me explain by backing up a bit.

During a gathering of the body, a brother may offer an incorrect teaching, inappropriate rebuke, faulty application, etc. When he does this the other brothers there have the responsibility to lovingly correct him. This should be done in whatever manner is best for the health of the body. It may be publically or privately. Whatever the case, the brothers have the responsibility to take action.

Let’s now turn to the ladies. What happens if a Christian sister offers an incorrect teaching, an inappropriate rebuke, or a faulty application? She must be corrected, but who is going to do it? The other ladies present may very well feel that it is beyond their role to correct their sister in a mixed-gender assembly. The men may not feel comfortable correcting someone else’s wife (if she's married). Ideally, the husband would correct his wife, but what if he does not have the nerve to do it or simply thinks she is correct?

At that point it falls to one of the other brothers to correct his sister. The problem is that this immediately brings up complications. When the brother begins the correction, the husband may very well sense an attack on his wife and rush to her defense. Since one role of the husband is to defend his wife, he may react sharply against his brother even if the brother is attempting to speak lovingly and gently. It is a sort of no-win situation.

If women do not speak in the gathering, then this is never a problem. The men can confront the other men when needed, but the wife-defender issue never comes up. Maybe this is one of the reasons Paul wrote I Corinthians 14:33-35, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.”

The application of the above passage is the tricky part. Does this apply to any gathering, an entire body gathering, a time of bible study, or only specifically to the judging of prophets? The debate, as we know, rages on.

To sum up, one good reason for women’s silence in gatherings is that it cuts out the possibility of an ugly scene with brother defending his wife against another brother.

What say you? Again, ladies please join in.


Bethany in mid-MO said...


Thanks for another good post. I know that you are assuming that your readers already know the Scriptural support for women being silent - so I won't touch that.

I think your "one good reason" is a good thought. Here is another good reason that I have recently been quoted (by a woman, nonetheless!). She said, "Give a woman an inch and she will take a mile." I can see that. But, I would like to think that healthy gatherings would have some checks and balances for that. But, that comes back to the original point you made - how would that actually work? A tricky situation to be sure.

Thanks again for your thoughts! And, thanks for sharing "one good reason" from each perspective!


Eric said...


Thanks for your thoughts. This is certainly a difficult situation. We've seen it happen. Not pretty.

It seems that on this issue in general there should be a balance. It is the specifics that are the difficulty.

Marshall said...

If the man/husband/father... of the woman is consenting to her actions/words, we take hers as being his own: the man is corrected much as if he had actually spoken or acted in error. There should be no shyness to do what is needful.
If a woman has no man (not ideal), she is confronted directly by more than one brother present, and the sisters there are requested to follow-up with her (regardless of her response to correction).