The Missing Cross to Purity




Women Speaking and Preaching


Text in Light Blue or bold Light Blue can be "clicked" for backup in scripture or writings.

George Fox was an ardent defender of women's co-roles in the Church. The position of woman's equality was the cause of many defections within the Quaker ranks of the 17th Century. But it is only just that a woman, Margaret Fox, should be prominent to defend her gender's rights and record in the Church of God; a position that is still under attack by those who take two verses out of context compared to hundreds from the rest of the Bible.

You who arrive at this page firmly believing that women should not speak in church, don't recoil without reading this entire section. If you read it fairly, you will see where Paul's instructions applied to unruly women, not yet under any control by the Spirit of God; and the many, many scriptural examples, quoted below of spiritually mature women, totally contradict applying Paul's instruction to women in general. You have to resolve the apparent great difference. Thus Paul's instruction can be seen limited to spiritual immature, unruly women,* still under the law, and to be compatible with the rest of the Bible, which testifies and praises many, many spiritually mature women, who prophesied, preached, taught, reproved, exhorted, judged, and instructed - and yes, even men. For no one, neither man or woman was supposed to speak in a true worship service, unless told to do so by the Spirit of God. There was no speaking from the carnal mind; every word was from the Spirit of God; they were all prophesying; men and women, as prompted and with words from the Spirit of God. See Worship Guidelines for scriptures that support this spirit-led-only speaking, preaching, singing, or praying.

*Fox repeatedly stated that Paul was writing about unruly women. Long after writing this web page, in 2008, I received this strong, firm message from the Word of the Lord within: "the rule has gone out, over unruly women; do not think you are better." I emphasize that this was one of the strongest, firmest statements I have ever heard from the Lord; it was a clear command, with no ifs, ands, or buts. I had believed my wife to be my spiritual equal long ago, so it appears to be aimed at those women that I will meet in the future, who have been changed by the Lord from unruly to being ruled by the Spirit of God: for as many as are led [ by obedience to heard commands] by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God, male or female.

In 1 Cor 11:13, Paul says: But every woman who prays or prophesies. To prophesy is not just to predict the future; it is to speak for edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 1 Cor 14:3. Here Paul shows that women who prophesy, that is who speak from the Holy Spirit's promptings and teachings to them, are speaking in the Church. To prophesy is to speak out in the presence of listeners who are interested in what is said - women speaking in the church, but speaking under control of the Spirit. This proves Paul's restriction, (Let your women keep silence in the churches. For it is not permitted for them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as the law also said; 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. 1 Cor 14:34-35), only applied to women who were newly initiated in the Church, still under the law, whose tongues were not yet under control of the Spirit of God. Paul further tells us that until male or female is following the commands of the Spirit, they are both still subject to the law: But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Gal 5:18.

Acts further shows that women were to prophesy, (to speak for edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 1 Cor 14:3): 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, said God, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all men; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

The longest letter in George Fox's entire collection, Epistle No. 320, defends the role of women in the church of God, citing all the women used by God in the Bible. George Fox also has an excellent defense of a woman's equality in Christ on this page at the conclusion of Margaret's letters. And finally, Margaret has an evangelical letter on this site, which should humble anyone who thinks women should not teach and preach. (Click to see.)

From the Word of the Lord within: (the below also appears in the Voice of the Lord box on the home page) :

Women are widely discriminated against. In my Church there is but one, both male and female are one in Christ; Paul spoke of unruly women, newly initiated. You will see them minister in power and in my name. The hand is on the neck to guide them low and keep them low. I agree with you; low should be seen and not heard, neither is this offered to any individual who cannot control her tongue and self has not died.

I find Margaret Fox's letter below to be very beautiful, more than adequate, and entirely appropriate; a proud, but humble declaration of a woman's right to speak and teach, Christ being the same in Jew or Greek, male or female. If you read it fairly with an open mind, it will touch your soul with a love and respect for women in general, and those in Christ particularly.

Women
Justified, Proved, and Allowed of by the
Scriptures,
All Such as Speak by the Spirit and Power of the Lord Jesus.


And how Women Were the First that Preached the Tidings of the Resurrection of Jesus,
and Were Sent by Christ's own Command, before He Ascended to the father.

John 20. 17

At the time of these writings, Margaret retained the name of her deceased first husband, Judge Fell. Three years after writing the below letters, which was eleven years after her first husband had died, Margaret Fell married George Fox to become Margaret Fox; their marriage was by command from the Lord Jesus to George Fox. She had already established herself as the Mother of the Church, as Fox was acknowledged as the Father and founder of the society. She spent a total of ten years in prison from several imprisonments for having worship meetings in her home and for her refusal at trials to swear by taking any oath.

by Margaret Fell -

Whereas it has been an objection in the minds of many, and several times has been objected by the clergy, or ministers and others, against women's speaking in the Church; and so consequently may be taken, that they are condemned for meddling in the things of God. The ground of which objection is taken from the apostle's words, which he wrote in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, 1 Cor 14:34-5. And also what he wrote to Timothy, 1 Tim 2: 11-12. But how far they wrong the apostle's intentions in these scriptures, we shall show clearly when we come to them in their course and order. But first let me lay down how God himself has manifested his will and mind concerning women, and unto women.

And first, when God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he them, male and female; and God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful and multiply: And God said, behold, I have given you of every herb, Gen 1:27-29. Here God joins them together in his own image, and makes no such distinctions and differences as men do; for though they are weak, he is strong; and as he said to the apostle, his grace is sufficient, and his strength is made manifest in weakness, 2 Cor 12:9. Such has the Lord chosen, even the weak things of the world, to confound the things which are mighty; and things which are despised, has God chosen, to bring to naught things that are, 1 Cor:1-27-8. God has put no such difference between the male and female, as men would make.

It is true, the serpent, which was more subtle than any other beast of the field, came to the woman with his temptations, and with a lie; his subtlety discerning her to be the weaker vessel, or more inclinable to listen to him, when he said, ' If you eat, your eyes shall be opened;' and the woman saw, that the fruit was good to make one wise. There the temptation got into her, and she did eat, and gave to her husband, and he did eat also; and so they were both tempted into the transgression and disobedience; and therefore God said unto Adam, (who hid himself when he heard his voice) 'have you eaten of the tree, which I commanded you that you should not eat?' And Adam said, 'the woman which you gave me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.' And the Lord said unto the woman, 'what is this that you have done.' And the woman said, 'the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.' Here the woman spoke the truth to the Lord. See what the Lord said, after he had pronounced sentence on the serpent, I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel, Gen 3:15.

Let this word of the Lord, which was from the beginning, stop the mouths of all that oppose women's speaking in the power of the Lord; for he has put enmity between the woman and the serpent; and if the seed of the woman speaks not, the seed of the serpent speaks; for God has put enmity between the two seeds; and it is manifest, that those who speak against the woman and her seed's speaking, speak out of the envy of the old serpent's seed. And God has fulfilled his word and his promise, when the fullness of time had come, he sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons, Gal 4:4-5.

Moreover, the Lord is pleased, when he mentions his Church, to call her by the name of woman, by his prophets, saying, I have called you as a woman forsaken, and grieved in spirit, and as a wife of youth, Isa 54:6. Again, how long will you go about, you back-sliding daughter? For the Lord has created a new thing in the earth, a woman shall compass a man, Jer 31:22. And David, when he was speaking of Christ and his Church, he said, the King's daughter is all glorious within, her clothing is of wrought gold, she shall be brought unto the King; with gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought; they shall enter into the King's palace, Psa 45.

And also King Solomon in his song, where he speaks of Christ and his Church, where she is complaining and calling for Christ, he said, If you know not, O you fairest among women, go your way by the footsteps of the flock, Song 1:8, and 5:9. And John, when he saw the wonder that was in heaven, he saw a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars; and there appeared another wonder in heaven, a great red dragon stood ready to devour her child. Rev 12:1-3. Here appears the envy of the dragon.

Thus much may prove, that the Church of Christ is represented as a woman; and those that speak against this woman's speaking, speak against the Church of Christ, and the seed of the woman, which seed is Christ; that is to say, those that speak against the power of the Lord, and the spirit of the Lord speaking in a woman, simply by reason of her sex, or because she is a woman, not regarding the seed, and spirit, and power that speaks in her; such speak against Christ and his Church, and are of the seed of the serpent, wherein lodges enmity. As God the father made no such difference in the first creation, nor ever since between the male and the female, but always out of his mercy and loving-kindness, had regard unto the weak. So also his son, Christ Jesus, confirms the same thing; when the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, if it were lawful for a man to put away his wife? He answered and said unto them, 'Have you not read, that he that made them in the beginning, made them male and female; and said, for this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh; wherefore they are no more two, but one flesh? What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.' Mat 19:4-6.

Again, Christ Jesus, when he came to the city of Samaria, where Jacob's well was, where the woman of Samaria was, you may read in John 4. How he was pleased to preach the everlasting gospel to her; and when the woman said unto him, 'I know that when the Messiah comes, (which is called Christ) , when he comes, he will tell us all things.' Jesus said unto her, 'I that speak unto you am He.' Also he said unto Martha, when she said, she knew that her brother should rise again in the last day. Jesus said unto her,' I am the Resurrection and the Life; He that believes on me, though he were dead, yet should he live; and whosoever lives and believes, shall never die. Believe you this'? she answered, 'yes, Lord, I believe you are the Christ, the son of God.' Here she manifested her true and saving faith, which few at that day believed so on him. John 11:24-7.

Also that woman, that came unto Jesus with an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head as he sat at food; it is manifest that this woman knew more of the secret power and wisdom of God, than his disciples did, who were filled with indignation against her; and therefore Jesus said, 'why do you trouble the woman, for she has wrought a good work upon me? Verily, I say unto you, wherever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this that this woman has done, be told for a memorial of her,' Mat 26:6-13 and Mark 14:3-9. Luke said farther, she was a sinner, and that she stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with her tears, and did wipe them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with ointment. And when Jesus saw the heart of the Pharisee that had invited him to his house, he took occasion to speak unto Simon, as you may read in Luke 7; and he turned to the woman, and said, 'Simon, see you this woman? you gave me no water to my feet; but she has washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave me no kiss; but this woman, since I came in, has not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil you did not anoint; but this woman has anointed my feet with ointment: wherefore I say unto you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven her; for she has loved much.' Luke 7:44-47.

Also, there was many women which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him, and stood afar off when he was crucified, Mat 27:55-56, Mark 15:40-41, yes even the women of Jerusalem wept for him, insomuch that he said unto them, 'weep not for me, you daughters of Jerusalem; but weep for yourselves, and for your children.' Luke 23:28.

And certain women which had been healed of Evil spirits and Infirmities, Mary Magdalene, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward's wife; and many others which ministered unto him of their substance. Luke 8:2-3.

Thus we see that Jesus owned the love and grace that appeared in women, and did not despise it; and by what is recorded in the scriptures, he received as much love, kindness, compassion, and tender dealing towards him from women, as he did from any others, both in his lifetime, and also after they had exercised their cruelty upon him; for Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, beheld where he was laid; And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salom, had brought sweet spices, that they might anoint him: And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun; and they said among themselves, 'who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulcher?' And when they looked the stone was rolled away, for it was very great, Mark 16:1-4, Luke 24:1-2, and they went down into the sepulcher, and as Matthew said, the angel rolled away the stone, and he said unto the women, 'fear not, I know whom you seek, Jesus which was crucified: he is not here, he is risen.' Mat 28:1-6. Now Luke said thus, that there stood two men by them in shining apparel, and as they were perplexed and afraid, the men said unto them, 'he is not here, remember how he said unto you when he was in Galilee, that the son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again;' and they remembered his words, and returned from the sepulcher, and told all these things to the Eleven, and to all the rest. Luke 24:1-10

It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and the other women that were with them, which told these things to the apostles, and their words seemed unto them as idle tales, and they believed them not. Mark this, you despisers of the weakness of women, and look upon yourselves to be so wise: but Christ Jesus does not so; for he makes use of the weak: for when he met the women after he was risen, he said unto them, 'All hail!' And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him; then said Jesus unto them, 'be not afraid, go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there they shall see me.' Mat 28:9-10, Mark 16:9. And John said, when Mary was weeping at the sepulcher, that Jesus said unto her: 'Woman, why do you weep? What do you seek?' And when she supposed him to be the gardner, Jesus said unto her, 'Mary;' she turned herself, and said unto him, 'Rabbi,' which is to say, Master; Jesus said unto her, 'touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God.' John 20:16-7.

Mark this, you that despise and oppose the message of the Lord God that he sends by women; what had become of the redemption of the whole body of mankind, if they had not cause to believe the message that the Lord Jesus sent by these women, of and concerning his resurrection? And if these women had not thus, out of their tenderness, and bowels of love, who had received mercy, and grace, and forgiveness of sins, and virtue, and healing from him; which many men also had received the like, if their hearts had not been so united and knit unto him in love, that they could not depart as the men did; but sat watching, and waiting, and weeping about the sepulcher until the time of his resurrection, and so were ready to carry his message, as is manifested, else how should his Disciples have known, who were not there?

Oh! blessed and glorified be the glorious Lord; for this may all the whole body of mankind say, though the wisdom of man that never knew God, is always ready to except against the weak; but the weakness of God is stronger than men, and the foolishness of God is wiser than men. 1 Cor 1:25.

And in Acts 18:24-26, you may read how Aquilla, and Priscilla, took unto them Apollos, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly, who was an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures; yet we do not read that he despised what Priscilla said, because she was a woman, as many now do.

And now to the apostle's words, which is the ground of the great objection against women speaking. And first, 1 Cor 14. Let the reader seriously peruse that chapter, and see the end and drift of the apostle in speaking these words: for the apostle is there exhorting the Corinthians unto love, and to desire spiritual gifts, and not to speak in an unknown tongue; and not to be children in understanding, although be children in malice; but in understanding to be men. And that the spirits of the prophets, should be subject to the prophets; for God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. And then he said,' Let your women keep silence in the Church.'

Where it does plainly appear, that the women, as well as some others that were among them, were in confusion. For he said, 'How is it brethren? When you come together, every one of you has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation? Let all things be done to edifying.' Here is no edifying, but confusion speaking together: therefore he said, ' If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at most by three, and that by course, and let one interpret: but if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the Church.' Here the man is commanded to keep silence, as well as the woman, when in confusion and out of order.

But the apostle said farther, they are commanded to be in obedience, as also said the Law; and if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is a shame for a woman, to speak in the Church.

Here the apostle clearly manifests his intent; for he speaks of women that were under the Law,* and in that transgression as Eve was, and such as were to learn, and not to speak publicly, but they must first ask their husbands at home; and it was a shame for such to speak in the Church. And it appears clearly, that such women were speaking among the Corinthians, by the apostles exhorting them from malice and strife and confusion; and he preaches the Law unto them, and he said, 'in the Law it is written, with men of other tongues, and other lips, will I speak unto this people.' 14:21

*[Here were Greek women believers in the Christian assembly of Corinth still under the law! Yes, the law still applies to all believers until they are led by the Holy Spirit; the law is our schoolmaster leading us to faith, which comes when you hear the word of God within your heart, believe it to be true, believe it to be God speaking to you, and so then obey all that you are commanded to do — that is to follow Christ, hearing his Spirit speak to you and then obeying it. The words Christ speaks to you are spirit and impart life; the life of God, which those who follow (obey his leading) Christ do receive. If you are led by the Spirit, you are no longer under the law, Gal 5:18; those led by the Spirit are sons of God. Rom 8:14.

From the Word of the Lord within: "There are no laws when you are under complete control of the spirit; you walk in love in obedience as prompted — you don't walk in restricted flesh." See Until Your Words and Deeds are Prompted by God, You Must Obey the Moral Core of the Law for more on this subject.]

And what is all this to women speaking? That have the everlasting gospel to preach, and upon whom the promise of the Lord is fulfilled, and his spirit poured upon them according to his word, Acts 2:16-18. And if the apostle would have stopped such as had the Spirit of the Lord poured upon them, why did he say just before, 'If anything be revealed to another that sits by, let the first hold his peace, and you may all one by one?' Here he did not say, that such women should not prophesy as had the Revelation and spirit of God poured upon them; but their women that were under the Law, and in the transgression, and were in strife, confusion and malice; for if he had stopped women praying or prophesying, why does he say,'Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head; but every woman that prays or with her head uncovered dishonors her head? Judge in yourselves; is it comely that a woman pray or prophesy uncovered? For the woman is not without the man, neither is the man without the woman in the Lord,' 1 Cor 11:3-4, 11:11-13

Also that other scripture, in 1 Tim. 2:9-13. Where he is exhorting that prayer and supplication be made every where, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting; he said in the like manner also, that women ' must adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety, not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearl, or costly array.' He said, 'Let women learn in silence with all subjection; but I allow not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence; for Adam was first formed, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived; but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.'

Here the apostle speaks particularly to a woman in relation to her husband, to be in subjection to him, and not to teach, nor usurp authority over him, and therefore he mentions Adam and Eve. But let it be strained to the utmost, as the opposers of women speaking would have it, that is, that they should not preach nor speak in the Church, of which there is nothing here. Yet the apostle is speaking to such as he is teaching to wear their apparel, what to wear, and what not to wear; such as had not come to wear modest apparel, and such as had not come to shamefacedness and sobriety; but he was exhorting them from broidered hair, gold, and pearls, and costly array; and such are not to usurp authority over the man, but to learn in silence with all subjection, as it becomes women professing godliness with good works.

And what is all this to those who have the power and spirit of the Lord Jesus poured upon them, and have the message of the Lord Jesus given unto them? Must not they speak the word of the Lord, because of these indecent and irreverent women, that the apostle speaks of, and to, in these two scriptures? How the men of this generation are blinded, who bring these scriptures, and pervert the apostles words, and corrupt his intent in speaking of them? By these scriptures they endeavor to stop the message and word of the Lord God in women, by condemning and despising of them. If the apostle would have had women speaking stopped, and did not allow of them; why did he entreat his true yokefellow to help those women who labored with him in the gospel? Phil. 4:3. And why did the apostles join together in prayer and supplication with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren, Acts 1:14, if they had not allowed, and had union and fellowship with the spirit of God, wherever it was revealed, in women as well as others? But all this opposing, and arguing of women speaking, has risen out of the bottomless pit, and spirit of darkness, that has spoken for these many hundred years together in this night of apostasy, since the Revelation have ceased and been hidden. So that spirit has limited and bound all up within its bond and compass; and so would allow none to speak; but such as that spirit of darkness approved of, man or woman.

So here has been the misery of these last ages past, in the time of the reign of the beast, that John saw when he stood upon the sand of the sea, rising out of the sea, and out of the earth, having seven heads and ten horns, Rev. 13. In this great city of Babylon, which is the woman that has sat so long upon the scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And this woman has been arrayed and decked with gold, and pearls, and precious stones; and she has had a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations; and has made all nations drunk with the cup of her fornication; and all the world has wondered after the beast, and has worshipped the dragon that gave power to the beast; and this woman has been drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. This has been the woman, that has been speaking, and usurping authority for many hundred years together. Let the times and ages past testify how many have been murdered and slain, in ages and generations past; every religion and profession, (as it has been called), killing and murdering one another, that would not join one with another. Thus the spirit of truth, and the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, has been quite lost among those who have done this. This mother of harlots has sat as a queen, and said, she should see no sorrow. But though her days have been long, even many hundred of years; for there was power given unto the beast to continue forty and two months, and to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. All that have dwelt upon the earth have worshipped him, whose names are not written in the book of the Life of the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world.

But blessed be the Lord, his time is over, which was above twelve hundred years, and the darkness is past, and the night of apostasy draws to an end, and the true light now shines, the morning light, the bright morning star, the Root and Offspring of David, he is risen, he is risen, glory to the highest for evermore; and the joy of the morning is come, and the bride, the Lamb's wife, is making herself ready, as a bride that is adorning for her husband; and to her is granted, that she shall be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; and the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints; the Holy Jerusalem is descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God; and her light is like jasper, clear as crystal.

And this is that free woman, that all the children of the promise are born of; not the children of the bond-woman, which is Hagar, which genders to strife and to bondage, and which answers to Jerusalem, which is in bondage with her children; but this is the Jerusalem which is free, which is the mother of us all. And so this bond-woman and her children, that are born after the flesh, have persecuted those who are born after the spirit, even until now. But now the bond-woman and her seed is to be cast out, who have been kept so long in bondage and in slavery, and under limits; this bond-woman and her brood is to be cast out, and our holy city, the New Jerusalem, is coming down from heaven, and her light will shine throughout the whole earth, even as a jasper, clear as crystal, which brings freedom and liberty, and perfect redemption to her whole seed; and this is that woman and image of the eternal God, that God has owned, and does own, and will own for evermore.

More might be added to this purpose, both out of the Old Testament and New, where it is evident that God made no difference, but gave his good spirit, as it pleased him, both to man and woman, as Deborah, Huldah, Sarah. The Lord calls by his prophet Isaiah, 'hearken unto me, you that follow after righteousness, you that seek the Lord; look unto the rock from whence you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from whence you were dug; look unto Abraham your father, and to Sarah that bore you; for the Lord will comfort Zion.' Isa. 51:1-3. Anna the prophetess, who was a widow of fourscore and four years of age, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day; she coming in at that instant, (when old Simeon took the child Jesus in his arms), and she gave thanks unto the Lord, and spoke of him to all them who looked for Redemption in Jerusalem, Luke 2:36-38. And Phillip the Evangelist, into whose house the apostle Paul entered, who was one of the seven, Acts 6:3-5. He had four daughters which were virgins, who prophesied. Acts 21:8-9.

So let this serve to stop that opposing spirit that would limit the power and spirit of the Lord Jesus, whose spirit is poured upon all flesh, both sons and daughters, now in his resurrection; and since that the Lord God in the creation, when he made man in his own image, he made them male and female; and since that Christ Jesus, as the apostle said, was made of a woman, and the power of the highest overshadowed her, and the holy ghost came upon her, and the holy thing that was born of her, was called the son of God. When he was upon the earth, he manifested his love, and his will, and his mind, both to the woman of Samaria, and Martha, and Mary her sister, and several others, as has been shown; and after his resurrection also, manifested himself unto them first of all, even before he ascended unto his father. Now when Jesus was risen, the first day of the week, he appeared first unto Mary Magdalene, Mark 16:9. Thus the Lord Jesus has manifested himself and his power, without respect of persons; and so let all mouths be stopped that would limit him, whose power and spirit is infinite, who is pouring it upon all flesh.

And thus much in answer to these two scriptures, which have been made such a stumbling-block, that the ministers of darkness have made such a mountain of; but the Lord is removing all this, and taking it out of the way.

Margaret Fell

In the year, 1666


(Updated from her book: A Brief Collection of Remarkable Passages, London, 1710, pp. 331-344.)

We have other selections of Margaret Fell's letters on site. Click here to go to them.

A further Addition, in Answer to the objection concerning women keeping silent in the Church:

by Margaret Fell -

For it is not permitted for them to speak, but to be under obedience; as also said the Law, If they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is a shame for a woman to speak in the Church.
Now this as Paul writing in 1 Cor 14:35, is one with that of 1 Tim 2:11, Let women learn in silence with all subjection.

To which I say, if you tie this to all outward women, then there were many women who were widows, who had no husbands to learn from; and many were virgins, who had no husbands; and Phillip had four daughters that were prophetesses; such would be despised, which the apostle did not forbid. If it [Paul's writings] were to all women, that no women might speak, then Paul would have contradicted himself; but they were such women that the apostle mentions in Timothy, who grew wanton, and were busy bodies, and tattlers, and kicked against Christ. For Christ in the male and in the female is one, and he is the husband, and his wife is the Church; and God has said, that his daughters should prophesy as well as his sons. And where he has poured forth his spirit upon them, they must prophesy, though blind priests say to the contrary, and will not permit holy women to speak.

And whereas it is said, I permit not a woman to speak, as said the Law; but where women are led by the spirit of God, they are not under the Law; for Christ in the male and in the female is one; and where he is made manifest in male and female, he may speak; for he is the end of the Law for righteousness to all those who believe. So here you ought to make a distinction what sort of women are forbidden to speak; such as were under the Law, who had not come to Christ, nor to the spirit of prophecy because Huldah, Miriam, and Hannah were prophetesses, who were not forbidden in the time of the Law because they all prophesied in the time of the Law; as you may read in 2 Kings 22. What Huldah said unto the priest, and to the ambassadors that were sent to her from the King, go, said she, and tell the man that sent you to me, thus said the Lord God of Israel, behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and on the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the King of Judah has read; because they have forsaken me, and have burnt incense to other gods, to anger me with all the works of their hands: therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched. But to the King of Judah, that sent you to me to ask counsel of the Lord, so shall you say to him, thus said the Lord God of Israel, because your heart did melt, and you humble yourself before the Lord, when you heard what I spoke against this place, and against the inhabitants of the same, how they should be destroyed; behold, I will receive you to your father, and you shall be put into your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place.

Now let us see if any of you blind priests,can speak after this manner, and see if it be not a better sermon than any of you can make, who are against women's speaking. And Isaiah, that went to the prophetess, did not forbid her speaking or prophesying, Isa 8:3. Was it not prophesied in Joel 2, that hand-maids should prophesy? Are not hand-maids women? Consider this, you who are against women speaking, how in the Acts the spirit of the Lord was poured forth upon daughters as well as sons. In the time of the gospel, when Mary came to salute Elizabeth in the hill-Country in Judea, and when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb, and she was filled with the holy spirit; and Elizabeth spoke with a loud voice. 'Blessed are you among women, blessed is the fruit of your womb. What is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For lo, as soon as your salutation came to my ear, the babe leaped in my womb for joy; for blessed is she that believes, for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.' And this was Elizabeth's sermon concerning Christ, which at this day stands upon record. And then Mary said, 'my soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaid: for, behold, from now on all generations shall call me blessed; for he that is mighty, has done to me great things, and holy is his name; and his mercy is on those who fear him, from generation to generation; he has showed strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the imaginations of their own hearts; he has put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away: he has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to his father, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.' Are you not here beholden to the woman for her sermon, to use her words, to put into your common prayer? Yet you forbid women's speaking?

Now here you may see how these two women prophesied of Christ, and preached better than all the blind priests did in that age, and better than this age also, who are beholding to women to make use of their words. See in the book of Ruth, how the women blessed her in the gate of the city, of whose stock came Christ. The Lord make the woman that is come into your house like Rachel and Leah, which built the house of Israel; and that you may do worthily in Ephrata, and be famous in Bethlehem, let your house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bore unto Judah, of the seed which the Lord shall give you of this young woman. And blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a kinsman, and his name shall be continued in Israel. And also see in the first chapter of Samuel, how Hannah prayed and spoke in the temple of the Lord, O Lord of hosts, if you will look on the trouble of your hand-maid, and remember me, and not forget your hand-maid. And read in the second chapter of Samuel, how she rejoiced in God, and said, my heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord, and my mouth is enlarged over my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation; there is none holy as the Lord, yes, there is none besides you; and there is no God like our God. Speak no more presumptuously; let not arrogance come out of your mouths, for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him enterprises are established; the bow, and the mighty men are broken, and the weak has girded to themselves strength; those who were full, are hired forth for bread, and the hungry are no more hired; so that the barren has born seven, and she that had many children is feeble. The Lord kills, and makes alive; brings down to the grave, and raises up; the Lord makes poor, and makes rich; brings low, and exalts; he raises up the poor out of the dust, and lifts up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, to make them inherit the seat of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and he has set the world upon them; he will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall keep silence in darkness; for in his own might shall no man be strong: the Lord's adversaries shall be destroyed, and out of heaven shall he thunder upon them; the Lord shall judge the ends of the world, and shall give power to his King, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

Thus you may see what a woman has said, when old Eli the priest thought she had been drunk; and see if any of you, blind priests, who speak against women's speaking, can preach after this manner; who cannot make such a sermon as this woman did, and yet will make a trade of this woman and other women's words.

Did not the Queen of Sheba speak, who came to Solomon, and received the Law of God, and preached it in her own Kingdom, and blessed the Lord God that loved Solomon, and set him on the throne of Israel; because the Lord loved Israel forever, and made the King to do equity and righteousness? And this was the language of the Queen of Sheba.

See what glorious expressions Queen Ester used to comfort the people of God, which was the Church of God, as you may read in the book of Ester, which caused joy and gladness of heart among all the Jews, who prayed and worshipped the Lord in all places; who jeopardized her life contrary to the king's command, went and spoke to the king, in the wisdom and fear of the Lord, by which means she saved the Lives of the people of God; and righteous Mordecai did not forbid her speaking, but said, If she held her peace, her and her father's house should be destroyed. And herein, you blind priests, are contrary to righteous Mordecai.

Likewise you may read how Judith spoke, and what noble acts she did, and how she spoke to the elders of Israel, and said, Dear brethren, seeing you are the honorable and elders of the people of God, call to remembrance how our fathers in time past were tempted, that they might be proved if they would worship God aright: they ought also to remember how our father Abraham, being tried through manifold tribulations, was found a friend of God; so was Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, and all they pleased God, and were steadfast in faith through manifold troubles. And read also her prayer in the book of Judith, and how the elders commended her, and said, All that you speak is true, and no man can reprove your words; pray therefore for us, for you are a holy woman, and fear God. So these elders of Israel did not forbid her speaking, as you blind priests do; yet you will make a trade of women's words to get money by, and take texts, and preach sermons upon women's words; and still cry out, women must not speak, women must be silent. So you are far from the minds of the elders of Israel, who praised God for a woman's speaking. But the Jezebel, and the woman, the false Church, the great whore, and tattling and unlearned women, and busy bodies, which are forbidden to preach, which have a long time spoken and tattled, which are forbidden to speak by the true Church, which Christ is the head of; such women as were in transgression under the Law, which are called a woman in the Revelation.

And see further how the wise woman cried to Joab over the wall, and saved the city of Abel, as you may read, 2 Sam 20. How in her wisdom she spoke to Joab, saying, "I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel, and you go about to destroy a city and mother in Israel. Why will you destroy the inheritance of the Lord?" Then the woman went to the people in her wisdom, and cut off the head of Shebang, that rose up against David, the Lord's anointed: then Joab blew the trumpet, and all the people departed in peace. And this deliverance was by the means of a woman's speaking. But tattlers and busy bodies are forbidden to preach by the true woman, whom Christ is the husband, to the woman as well as the man, all being comprehended to be the Church. So in this true Church, sons and daughters do prophesy, women labor in the gospel; but the apostle does not permit tattlers, busy bodies, and such as usurp authority over the man, who would not have Christ to reign, nor speak neither in the male nor female; such the Law permits not to speak; such must learn of their husbands. But what husbands have widows to learn of, but Christ? Was not Christ the husband of Phillip's four [virgin] daughters? May not those who have learned from their husbands then speak? But Jezebel, and tattlers, and the whore, that deny revelation and prophecy, are not permitted, who will not learn of Christ. Those who are out of the spirit and power of Christ that the prophets were in, who are in the transgression, are ignorant of the scriptures. Such [out of the same spirit as the Apostles] are against women's speaking, and men's speaking too, who preach that what have received of the Lord God; but what they have preached, and do preach, will come over all your heads, yes, over the head of the false Church, the pope; for the pope is the head of the false Church, and the false Church is the pope's wife. So he and those who are of him, and come from him, are against women's speaking in the true Church, when both he and the false Church are called woman, in Rev. 17; and so are in the transgression, who would usurp authority over the man Christ Jesus, and his wife too, and would not have him to reign; but the judgment of the great whore is come. But Christ is the head of the Church, the true woman, which is his wife, in which do his daughters prophesy, who are above the pope and his wife, and a-top of them. Here Christ is the head of the male and female, who may speak; and the Church is called a royal priesthood; so the woman must offer as well as the man. Rev. 22:17. The spirit said, come, and the bride said, come; and so is not the bride the Church? Does the Church only consist of men? You who deny women's speaking, answer: does it not consist of women, as well as men? Is not the bride compared to the whole Church? Does not the bride say, come? Does not the woman speak then, to the husband, Christ Jesus, the Amen? Does not the false Church go about to stop the bride's mouth? But it is not possible; for the bridegroom is with his bride, and he opens her mouth. Christ Jesus, who goes on conquering, and to conquer; who kills and slays with the sword, which is the word of his mouth; the Lamb and the saints shall have the victory, the true speakers of men and women over the false speaker.

Margaret Fell

1666

(Updated from her book: A Brief Collection of Remarkable Passages, London, 1710, pp. 344-365.)

In 1669, eleven years after her husband, Judge Fell, had died, Margaret Fell married George Fox to become Margaret Fox; their marriage was by command from the Lord Jesus. She had already established herself as the Mother of the Church, as Fox was acknowledged as the Father and founder.

We have other selections of Margaret Fell's letters on site. Click here to go to them.


In agreement and Unity of Spirit, included below is a letter from George Fox, written to the Duke of Holstein, who had banished Quakers for allowing women to speak in their assemblies:

For the Duke of Holstein;
Whom I do entreat in the love of God to read this which is sent to him in love.

I understand that formerly, by some evil-minded persons, it was reported to you, when Elizabeth Hendricks came to Frederickstadt to visit the people called Quakers, "that it was a scandal to the Christian religion that a woman should be suffered to preach in a public assembly religiously gathered together." Upon which you gave an order to the rulers of Frederickstadt, "to make those people leave that place immediately or to send them away." But the said rulers being Armenians, and they or their Fathers having come to live there as a people persecuted in Holland not much above threescore years ago, answered the duke that "they were not willing to persecute others for conscience sake, who had looked upon persecution on that account in their own case as anti-Christian." But after that, the people of God in scorn called Quakers, did write to you from Frederickstadt; and since that time they have had their liberty, and their meetings have been peaceful, to serve and worship God almost these twenty years at Frederickstadt and thereabouts, freely without molestation; which liberty they have acknowledged as a great favor and kindness from you.
 
And now, O duke, you professing christianity from the great and mighty name of Christ Jesus, who is King of kings and Lord of lords, and the holy scriptures of truth of the Old and New Testament, do not you use many women's words in your service and worship out of  the Old and New Testament?
The apostle said, "Let your women keep silence in the Churches;" and that he "did not permit a woman to speak, but to be under obedience; and if she wanted to learn anything, to ask her husband at home; for it is a shame for a woman to speak in the Church." And 1 Tim. 2:11-12. "Women are to learn in silence, and not allowed to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." 1 Cor. 14:34. Here the duke may see what sort of women were to be in silence and subjection, whom the law commands to be silent and not to usurp authority over the man, nor to speak in the Church; these were unruly women. In the same chapter he commands "not to plait nor broider their hair, nor to wear gold, pearls, or costly array." These things were forbidden by the apostle, and women that wear such things are to learn in silence and to be subject, and not to usurp authority over the men; for it is a shame for such to speak in the Church. But do not such women as these that wear gold and silver, pearls and gaudy apparel, or costly array, and plait and broider their hair, speak in your Church, when your priests sets them to sing psalms? Do not they speak when they sing psalms? Consider this, O duke! Yet you say, "Your women must keep silence in the Church, and must not speak in the Church;" but when they sing psalms in your Churches are they silent? Though the apostle forbids such women as before mentioned to speak in the Church, yet in another place he encourages the good or holy women to be teachers of good things. Titus 2:3-4. The apostle also said, “And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.” Here he owns these holy women, and encourages them which labored with him in the gospel, and did not forbid them. Phil 4:2-3. He likewise commends Phoebe unto the Church of the Romans, calls her a "servant unto the Church of Cenchrea," sends his epistle by her to the Romans from Corinth, and desires the Church at Rome to "receive her in the Lord, as becomes saints;" and to assist her in whatever business she had need of; for she had been a nurturer of  many and of him also." And he said, "Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the Churches of the Gentiles." Now here the duke may see that these were good holy women, whom the apostle did not forbid speaking, Rom16:1-4, but commended them, and Priscilla and Aquila "instructed and expounded to Apollos the way of God more perfectly." Acts 18:26. So here Priscilla was an instructor as well as Aquila, which holy women the apostle does not forbid. Neither did he forbid Philip's four daughters, who were virgins, to prophesy. Women might pray and prophesy in the Church, 1Cor 11:5. The apostles showed to the Jews the fulfilling of Joel's prophecy: "That in the last days God would pour out of his spirit upon all flesh, and their sons and daughters, servants and handmaids, should "prophesy with the spirit of God." So the apostle encourages daughters and handmaids to prophesy, as well as sons; and if they do prophesy, they must speak to the Church or people, Joel. 2:28. Acts 2:17. Did not Miriam the prophetess sing unto the Lord, and all the women with her, when the Lord had delivered the children of Israel from Pharaoh? Did not she praise the Lord, and prophesy in the congregation of the children of Israel? Was not this in the Church? Ex 15:21. Moses and Aaron did not forbid her prophesying or speaking; but Moses said, " Would God all the Lord's people were prophets!" And the Lord's people are women as well as men. Deborah was a judge and a prophetess; and do you not make use of Deborah's and Miriam's words in your service and worship? See Jud 4:1-31. Deborah's large speech or song. Barak did not forbid her, nor none of the Jewish priests. Did not she make this speech or song in the congregation or Church of Israel? In the book of Ruth there are good speeches of those good women, which were not forbidden. Hannah prayed in the temple before Eli, and the Lord answered her prayer. See what a speech Hannah makes, and a praising of God before Eli the high priest, who did not forbid her. 1 Sam 2:1-10. Josiah the king sent his priest, with several others, to ask counsel of Huldah the prophetess, who dwelt at Jerusalem in the college. 2 Kings 22:14-15 2 Chr 34:22-23. So here the king and his priests did not despise the counsel of this prophetess; and she prophesied to the congregation of Israel, as may be seen in these chapters. In Luke 1:41-45, see what a godly speech Elizabeth made to Mary, and what a large godly speech Mary made also. Mary said, "That the Lord did regard the low estate of his handmaid." And do not you make use in your worship and service of Mary's and Elizabeth's words from Luke 1:41-55, in your Churches, and yet forbid women's speaking in your Churches, and but to be in silence? Yet all sorts of women speak in your Churches when they sing, and say Amen. In Luke 2:36-38, there was Anna the prophetess, a widow, of about fourscore and four years, who departed not from the temple, but served God with fasting and prayer night and day. Did not she confess Christ Jesus in the temple, and give thanks to the Lord, "and speak of Christ to all that looked for redemption in Jerusalem?" Luke 2:36- 38. So such holy women were not forbidden to speak in the Church, neither in the law nor gospel. Was it not Mary Magdalene and other women that first preached Christ's resurrection to the apostles? The women indeed (namely Eve) was first in transgression; so they were women that first preached the resurrection of Christ Jesus; for Christ said to Mary, "Go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and to your Father, and to my God and to your God." John 20:17. And Luke 24:10. It was Mary Magdalene, Johanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women with them, who told the apostles, "Christ was risen from the dead; and their words and these women's words were as idle tales to the apostles, and they believed them not." Luke 24:8-12. "Certain women also of our company made us astonished," they said. So here it may be seen that the women's preaching the resurrection of Christ did astonish the apostles. Christ sent these women to preach his resurrection; so it is no shame for such women to preach Christ Jesus, neither are they to be silent when Christ sends them. The apostle says, "Every tongue shall confess to God," Rom 14:11. and "Every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Phil 2:11. So here it is clear that women must confess Christ as well as men, if every tongue must confess. And the apostle said, "There is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Gal 3:28.
 
And whereas it is said, "women must ask their husbands at home," the duke knows very well that virgins have no husbands, nor widows; for Anna, the prophetess, was a widow; and if Christ be the husband, men must ask counsel of him at home, as well as women, before they teach. And suppose that a Muslim's wife is Christian, or a Papist's wife should be a Lutheran, or a Calvinist, must they ask and learn of their husbands at home before they confess Christ Jesus in the congregation of the Lord? Their counsel would be to them to convert and become a Muslim or Papist.

I entreat the duke to consider these things, I entreat him to mind God's grace and truth in his heart, that comes by Jesus Christ, that by his spirit of grace and truth he may come to serve and worship God in his spirit and truth; so that he may serve the living eternal God that made him, in his generation, and have his peace in Christ that the world cannot take away. And I do desire his good peace and prosperity in this world, and his eternal comfort and happiness in the world that is everlasting, Amen.

George Fox

London, the 26th of the 8th month, 1684

[For further writing on the topic of women's equality, see Letter 320]

Further from George Fox's Journal:

We met with much opposition from some, who had set themselves against women's meetings; which I was moved of the Lord to recommend to Friends, for the benefit of the Church of Christ. ‘So that faithful women, called to the belief of the truth, made partakers of the same precious faith, and heirs of the same everlasting gospel of life and salvation as the men are, might in like manner come into the possession and practice of the gospel order. There they can be help mates to the men in the restoration, in the service of truth, and in the affairs of the Church, as they are outwardly in civil or temporal things. So that all the family of God, women as well as men, might know, possess, perform, and discharge their offices and services in the house of God. In this way the poor might be the better taken care of; the younger sort instructed, informed, and taught in the way of God; the loose and disorderly reproved and admonished in the fear of the Lord; the clearness of persons proposing marriage, more closely and strictly enquired into in the wisdom of God; and all the members of the spiritual body the Church might watch over and be helpful to each other in love.' After these opposers had run into much contention and wrangling, the power of the Lord struck down one of the chief of them, Coleman, so that his spirit sunk, and he came to be sensible of the evil he had done, in opposing God's heavenly power. He confessed his error before Friends and afterwards wrote a paper of condemnation, in which he declared, 'That he willfully opposed (although I often warned him to take heed), until the fire of the Lord did burn within him, and he saw the angel of the Lord with his sword drawn in his hand, ready to cut him off.' 

{I told him if he felt forgiveness from the Lord, whom he had opposed in his power and his people's possession of it, I also freely forgave him. Then he came to me and offered his service to me in assisting with the establishment of the women's meetings, but I told him to wait until he felt a remission by the Lord's power, for the Lord had no need of him in his the condition he was in.

We had a blessed meeting there as the women's meeting was established; in the blessed power of God all the heirs of it did take possession of the gospel and its order.

But Coleman and others, when they were opposing the women's meetings, asked me if it was not the command of God that a man must rule over his wife, and therefore he would rule over her; and did not the Apostle say, "I permit not a woman to teach;" so where did we read of women elders and women disciples? He also said that is was an abuse to the elders to set up a women's meeting.

I told those who he and the others were only elders in the fall, ruling over their wives in the fall; but they must not rule over widows, young unmarried women, and other men's wives. I showed him that Dorcas was a disciple and the Apostle commanded that the elder women should be teachers of good things to the younger women. Though the Apostle had said, "I permit not a woman to teach or usurp authority over the man, as the law also says, for Eve was the first transgressor," and such teachings as Eve teaching her husband usurped authority over the man, which is forbidden; but, the Apostle also said that daughters and handmaidens should prophesy, which they did, both in the times of the law and gospel. Man and woman had been help mates before they fell from the image of God with righteousness and holiness, and so they are to again be help mates through the restoration of man and woman by Christ Jesus. I said that his ruling over his wife and his eldership was still in the fall, for he was still in the transgression; and he was not an elder in the image of God, or its righteousness and holiness, as was before the transgression; but that after a man and woman have been restored to the image of God, they are again help mates in the dominion of all that God had made.}

This web site's purpose is to show how to become
free from sin
by benefiting from the changing power of God through the cross,
which leads to union with God in his Kingdom.

 


Top | About Us | Home | ©2006 Hall Worthington