I just watched a video clip of Anne Graham Lotz speaking on “women in ministry.” I don’t have permission to show you the clip, so I’ll transcribe bits of it for you. As I watched my thoughts went from “Go Anne!” to “Uh oh” to “You have got to be kidding me.” The clip is rather long so I will break it into two – maybe three – parts. Today I’ll share the first part, “Go Anne!”
Here’s Anne [anything in the block quote that is in brackets is my commentary]:
I was invited by a group of men to come and address a pastors’ convention. And these men were wonderful. They had sensed something of God’s gift in me and they felt like I had a message to give and so when I prayed about it I felt like God put a message on my heart. I remember it was from Jeremiah and so I went to the convention and went to give the message and when I got up on the platform there were about 800 guys there and they were seated around round tables and it was a convention setting so it looked like there were thousands of people and it went out to infinity and I was scared to death. Very few times had I spoken to a group like that outside of my Bible study. So I stood up at the lectern and I went to give the message and maybe it was just one or two – it looked like everybody – of these men picked up their chairs and turned them around and put their backs to me. They were saying through their body language, “Anne, God has told me to tell you you don’t belong on the platform when there are men in the audience.” So I finished the message but I want to tell you I crawled home in my Spirit. And this is how naive I was at that point, I didn’t know that was an issue. I had never bumped into that before. [She must not be Baptist.] So I got down on my knees – that’s the only thing I knew to do – because I wanted to know if that was my Shepherd’s voice. Were they speaking into my life with an authentic voice?
I love Anne, and I am not criticizing her in any way, but she did not have to get on her knees for this one. Was that her Shepherd’s voice? No, it was not. Because her Shepherd is not rude. If those men were speaking with an authentic voice, they would have done so with kindness and respect. Their rudeness indicates that they were speaking for the un-Shepherd. For the anti-Shepherd.
So I asked God please to speak to me and I had been in Jeremiah. And He spoke to me from Jeremiah chapter 1. God told Jeremiah – when He called him to be a prophet – to give out His word and Jeremiah said, “I can’t do that, I’m just a child”. And God said, “Jeremiah, don’t be afraid of their faces.” That verse just leaped up off the page and I felt like God said, “Anne, don’t be afraid of their backs. I’m going to put my words in your mouth.” And then at the end of that chapter He said, “I want you to speak to whoever I put in front of you.” He said, “You give out the words that I give you to say or I’m going to terrify you in front of them.” And I felt like He was saying, “Anne, your responsibility is not to determine who sits in your audience, that’s my responsibility. Your responsibility is to be faithful to the message I put on your heart. You give it out to the best of your ability and I’ll determine who is in the audience.” And then in that same verse He said, “I’m going to fortify you, make you like a bronze wall, a strong pillar” and I felt like He was going to make me strong on the platform. And that I would be accountable to Him and not to my audience.
Go Anne! This January I am going to be faithful to the message God put on my heart and it is going to turn all this “man up”-ing upside down.
And then He brought to my mind – I stayed on my knees – and then He brought to my mind the encounters He had after the resurrection and in particular John chapter 20 when he encountered Mary Magdalene, do you remember?….. “Mary, I want you to tell eleven men…” She was the first [post-resurrection] evangelist.
And I said, “Father, I hear you. I know what you are saying but I just have to ask you one more question and then we’ll just lay this issue to bed. But, what did Paul mean when he told Timothy, ‘I permit not a woman to teach or have authority over men’?”
We’ll talk about that tomorrow.