Women: To be silent or not?

Veronica Gwaze
Women should be silent in church, or so say some religious persuasions.

Never mind that the likes of Pastor Petunia Chiriseri, Dr Jaunita Bynum and Dr Jasmin Sculark have drawn thousands to Christianity.

Not so for Apostolic sects like Mugodhi, and denominations such as the Church of the Nazarene of the Latter Day Saints, who have no women in their leadership.

The world’s largest Christian demonination, the Roman Catholic Church, does not ordain women priests.

Catholic priest Father Clifford Nhetekwa, however, says: “The church pays attention to government policies and it is in this context that discrimination against women has been dealt with.”

Fr Nhetekwa says principles of equality are clearly enshrined in the Bible, and both men and women have equal opportunities to serve in the church.

“Those who are sidelining women in the church are misinterpreting the Bible,” he insists. “In the New Testament, the Bible tells us that the Spirit of God gives people gifts without gender preference.

“The gifts of evangelism, teaching, preaching and pastoring can be given to anyone.

Therefore, the church should not gender discriminate in the House of the Lord.”

Christ Ministries’ Reverend Leddie Makoni weighs in: “I am grateful that the church knows that before God, we are equal. Miriam and Deborah in the Old Testament are good examples. These are women were models of faith who advised male leaders.

“Remember that Mary Magdalene was first to set her eyes on Jesus Christ after the resurrection; she shared the news with others and it is against this background that we notice that women have had a special role in the body of Christ.”

Highfield Mugodhi Apostolic Church’s Pr Titos Nerwande believes otherwise, premising his position on Paul’s teachings in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, which says, “Women should be silent in the churches.

For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says.

If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home.

For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.”

African Apostolic Church Elder Sign Chirimuta is also of the same view.

“We refer to 1 Corinthians 14 verse 34 to explain why women should not preach in church. We take it further to apply Paul‘s instructions that women should wear head covers and that is why our women always wear white headgear.”

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