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Women: To Preach or Not to Preach : 21 Outstanding Black Preachers Say Yes [Paperback]

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Item Number 138996  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   145
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.48" Width: 5.49" Height: 0.49"
Weight:   0.46 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 1991
Publisher   Judson Press
ISBN  0817011692  
EAN  9780817011697  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Should women be equally free to use their God-given gifts in fulfilling their calling to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ? Confronting this question head-on brings a distinctively new approach to this volume of sermons Mitchell has compiled. For the first time, outstanding men of the pulpit have been invited to join "those preaching women" to share their views on this important issue. An excellent review of women's changing roles in the context of cultural and religious history sets the scene for 21 Spirit-filled sermons. Focusing on women in the Bible and in today's world who followed their faith commitments despite harsh discrimination, preachers of both sexes offer encouragement to their sisters in the pulpit. They call the church to a new vision-one that rejects traditional male-only theology. Perceptive interpretations of Jesus' ministry stress mutual respect, mutual partnership, and equal opportunity. Eloquently expressing the spirit of these sermons, one author writes, ". . .the gifts needed to restore the Bible to its rightful place are abundantly available both among women and among men bestirred to preach with power by a new and fruitful mix of culture and gender." For women who feel called to Christian ministry and congregations hesitating to accept them, this new collection offers many thoughtful insights into Christ's teachings for all people.

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More About Ella Pearson Mitchell

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Mitchell holds a M.D., D.Min., and L.H.D. degrees from various universities. She is the editor of three volumes of Those Preaching Women.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Amen!  Mar 29, 2003
'My beloved, the establishment may not be ready, but God is!' (Mitchell, p. 39)

Reading 'Women: To Preach or Not to Preach - 21 Outstanding Black Preachers Say Yes!' was a very rewarding experience. Within this book, there are names familiar to me, and names new to me. The opening essay sets a framework for theological and historical reflection. The Mitchells have a regard for the authority of the biblical text similar to my own. 'Given this final biblical revelation, it is to be understood that God still speaks to individuals, an our prayerful interpretation of the changeless Word can still improve.' (p. 3) God has not spoken the final word on creation. The Mitchells also illustrate historical/textual points often forgotten or neglected by patriarchal authorities, such as the example of Huldah. 'When a woman is rated over the high priest in judging crucial spiritual matters, it has to be obvious that God places no limitations on what a woman can do.' (p. 8) My only concern with the essay would be a brief flirtation with supersessionism in the discussion on the theology of gifts.

Getting into the sermons by the women in this volume, there is a power and vitality that leaps off the page. They address in a number of ways the concerns women have toward their own role, and how society sees them. What they seem to have in great uniformity, however, is the certainty of a call from God for the role they occupy. Mitchell asks a basic question: 'Whom does God choose for the preaching of the gospel? Just how does God go about selecting those who are to bring the precedent-shattering Good News?' (Mitchell, p. 37) She concludes that the temporary societal structures of the church are not divine by any means. 'God does not pay any attention to the way we determine who should be called to preach or serve, and God never has.' (Mitchell, p. 38) God will call whomever God chooses. McKenzie seconds this with her example from the Hebrew Scriptures: '[Deborah] being a prophetess and a judge was not dependent upon the whims and fancies of her society, but upon the call of God. There is strength in knowing your job and doing it.' (McKenzie, p. 73)

Many speak of great power in the example of Jesus and the way he acted with regard to all people. 'Jesus, then, was about the task of infusing women with the spiritual strength and confidence of believing in themselves as equal children under God.' (Hale, p. 91) Jesus was not one to 'go along to get along', but rather one who risked everything for the greater good of all. This is what women are called to do, also. 'Risking it all will mean that women will have the audacity to preach when some who presume to know the mind of God declare that they can't.' (Grant, p. 108)

The structures of society work to keep women from pursuing their callings. Some are direct obstructions, but some are more subtle, and lead to women not making the effort required (which is usually an extra effort). Bishop Barbara Harris spoke of this in relation to the Samarian woman at the well. 'Too many people are absent from the well. Because the woman came, she received a blessing. Simply because she came, she received a blessing. So many stay away and do not avail themselves of the blessings that can be theirs.' (Harris, 58) Sometimes, women have to make the decision to do what they are called to do in any way possible, regardless of the support of their community. 'I had to move forward regardless of whether they followed me or not.' (Gerald, p. 53)

In all, this is a remarkable collection, very readable, very inspiring, and a welcome addition to my library. Admittedly looking in from the outside, it seems that the Black community as a whole has a tradition both of strong women's influences in the church, yet also having resistance to women's presence in official leadership roles. (I am reminded of some of the things Melva Wilson Costen wrote in African American Christian Worship here.) However, there is undeniable power in the preaching in Mitchell's book, and that power comes through even just from the reading. I can only imagine the force of grace that would come through the hearing of these sermons!


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