Another Extreme Rule
G. A. Hudelson
“Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses.”
~ Acts 21:9
As I was reading through Acts this verse caught my eye, and I recognized one argument that I had missed in my previous essay on The Role of Women. I have heard this passage used to show that women can hold authority over men often, though not nearly as often as the Deborah example. So why do I think that this does not legalize egalitarianism?
1. Even were there no other argument against it, the old objection still stands, that we cannot afford to make the exception the rule, or we will be in hermeneutical chaos. We have gone from one exception- Deborah- to two- Deborah and the daughters of Philip the evangelist. A verse from Acts and a few chapters from Judges cannot simply overturn the whole Bible, can they?
2. Note that these young ladies, like Deborah, are prophetesses. God works through women- I think nothing to the contrary! Also, however, note that these young ladies, like Deborah, are not in any position of leadership, or leadership as we are talking about in the context of Mrs. Palin. They, like Deborah, were most likely not sitting in the city gates among the elders of the land- though I have no doubt that their father was. (Judges 4:5, Proverb 31:23) They are not teaching in a church setting. (1 Timothy 2:12) I can see no Biblical problem with men and women sharpening one another in the context of families having dinner together, fellowship, et cetera. And I can see no problem with women prophesying, as long as they are not doing it in a way that holds authority over a man.
The word for “exercise authority” in 1 Timothy 2:12 means, literally- big shock and much gasping here- to exercise authority, govern. Note that the woman also is not to teach. So the prophetesses of Acts, we may assume, went about their prophecy in a Biblical way. There is nothing here to contradict the rest of Scripture- only healthy affirmation.