Few things strike a bigger blow to the idea that women should be preachers than a woman who has been exposed as a false preacher. When a man is exposed as a false preacher, he’s just a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Jesus and Paul both told us that they would arise from among us and wreak havoc. He is considered as an individual who is not fit for the position, his gender is not counted against him and he is not counted against his gender.
But when a woman is exposed as a false preacher, it’s a mark against all woman-kind. “See? That’s proof then and there that all women are easily deceived and have no business of being preachers. That’s why God ordained men are preachers.” Never mind that if you were to create a list of false preachers the gender would be overwhelmingly male given that men are given legitimacy just because they’re men. Women haven’t had nearly the time or opportunity to be false teachers to the degree that men have. Even starting from the oldest of heresies – men were mostly the ones who thought them up.
It’s not that I want both men and women to be false preachers – I want both men and women to be true preachers and teachers. The argument “women can’t be a preacher because she’s easily deceived and she would deceive everyone who hears her teach incorrectly.” Seems rather weak given that the history of the vast majority of false preachers are men who deceive and are deceived even though they aren’t women.
It’s creating this environment where women are given less access to sound materials that causes some of the problems in the first place. Women’s bible studies have a tendency to be considered ‘fluffy’ – light on theology and overly focused on arts and crafts and recipes as well as appeals to emotion and fixations on relationships. Men’s bible studies are usually considered ‘meatier’. If men and women were both educated to the same level and permitted to act as checks and balances then our faith wouldn’t be so askew. Somehow, it’s okay for a man to correct a woman, but it’s not okay for a woman to correct a man. Rather, a wife has to support her husband even if she knows what he believes is wrong.
Really, what would be so wrong if the religious marketplace was a forum where men and women were on the same level ground and respectfully listened to each other as they made their arguments for what they believed? What if gender really had nothing to do with one’s spirituality? What if a little girl could grow up to be a preacher and nobody had a problem with that?