FAQ and Scope
We live in a very confusing time. In a world where the body of Christ is torn in many different pieces. Some pieces walking alone, others seeking to find their place, and some standing still confused at where He wants them to be, go, and do. Instead of the church standing firm on what it believes and using only the Word as its guide, it has, unfortunately, allowed pieces of the world to dictate how it goes about its business. We, at Audra Waters Ministries, Inc., refuse to give ground to anything but His Word and guidance from the Holy Spirit. That being said, we’ve been asked questions about the basis for our teachings and faith with regard to certain topics. This page serves as a working document to answer those questions with scripture.
It’s come to our attention that the notion of women leading through pastoring, prophesying, disciplining, teaching, leading, etc. in ministry is wrong or somehow disobedient to God. With much love and compassion, we respectfully disagree – pointing our brothers and sisters to many verses in scriptures. These women and passages in scripture are a testament to what our Lord thinks of women and how He sees them as a vital part of His works and plan. Please take the time to not only read these next few lines – but research and study these stories for yourself.
Ask yourself these questions. If…
Mother Mary could conceive a child miraculously (Matt 1:18-25);
Mary Magdalene could deliver the gospel of the risen lord Jesus Christ to His male disciples (John 20:18);
Deborah was able to lead a successful military campaign that brought 40 years of peace for God’s chosen people, the people of Israel (Judges 4-5);
Micah could testify that Miriam was one of 3 leaders sent by God (Micah 6:4);
Huldah could give prophecies and God later fulfilled them (2 Kings 22);
Peter had the boldness to say God will pour out his spirit on both male and female servants and sons and daughters will prophesy (Acts 2:17-18);
Esther’s obedience to God could bring about deliverance for the Jewish people (Esther 8);
Martha could honor Jesus by opening her home to him after he raised her brother from the dead and gained respect from the earliest Christ followers (John 11:15);
The females in Christ’s life stayed by his side through the most gruesome of terrors surrounding his death (John 16:32);
Junia could be referred to as an outstanding Apostle by Paul as she had walked with Christ even longer than him (Romans 16:7);
Paul could ask the church to receive Phoebe in a way worthy of honor and to give her any help that she may need (Romans 16:1-2) and clearly spells out the role of her ministry (1 Cor. 3:5-9);
Paul could affectionately refer to Priscilla and Aquila, husband and wife home church leaders, as “co-workers in Christ” and express the church’s gratitude to them (Romans 16:3-4);
Isn’t it remarkable how loving our Father is? At certain places in time throughout history when many women were identified as property, required to marry men that raped them, considered the spoils of war, and subjects of other unjust laws, God breaks through paving the way for women. Using them to further build His Kingdom. As the examples listed above (from the Word) show, He sees them as vessels of love, teachers, leaders, prophets, disciples, and pastors as well. In Romans, Paul makes no bones about referring to Priscilla and Aquila as “co-workers in Christ” – often listing Priscilla before her husband in his writings. However, the two most commonly used verses about women being restricted or silenced in the Bible do need to be discussed. For those instances, we must take a closer look at the situation and circumstances.
I Corinthians 14: 34, 35 reads, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”
This passage along with the Corinthian laws and customs greatly misled what was actually being said.
In the Corinthian culture, women were not allowed to confront men in public. However, it seems in the churches this was not being practiced. Instead, speaking and questioning men during the services was causing major divisions within the church. To further explain this, we have to understand what Paul is trying to say.
“Keep silence” comes from the Greek word “sigao” which has the meaning of “kept secret” or “keeping your peace” during public speaking and refers to speaking out of turn. It is meant as an instruction to stay mindful to speak at appropriate times.
The word “speak” in this text stems from the word “laleo” which specifically refers to disorderly conversations. If you continue in the text you find that Paul was addressing those who operate in the prophetic and was not merely singling out the disorderly conduct of women.
If Paul had wanted the women to be completely silent, there is another Greek word, siopao, that he could have easily chosen. It also means “to be silent,” as it seems to be the New Testament word of choice to indicate complete absence of speech, including public speech.
It seems like the major point Paul was trying to make in this passage deals with distraction. When it comes to teaching and spreading the Gospel, adhering to the norm makes more sense (at least at first). As a missionary in a foreign land, there are certain guidelines that missionaries are given with regard to customs. When those customs are broken or ignored, the focus is removed from Christ and placed on the person ignoring those customs. God is the giver of free-will, a community bond by the will of it’s peers most likely isn’t capable of seeing past those customs until God moves throughout the community.
The second commonly misapplied scripture is found in 1 Timothy 2:11-15 which states, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”
Here the word silence stems from the word “Hesuchia” which, again, means peaceful orderliness. The Ephesian church at this point was having issues with Christian women and their newfound freedom. Many were speaking out of turn, teaching on topics they were not properly trained on, and/or disrupting meetings with questions that could be answered in private settings. According to what we’ve learned, Paul was NOT condemning women or keeping them from leadership roles in the church. He was asking them to be patient. At this point, all leadership roles, in both Judaism and Christianity, had be carried out by men. Women were held back by customs and culture. Not allowed to read or learn. Paul, IN NO WAY, kept women from learning or studying the Word. In fact, he encouraged it.
But these verses go much, much deeper. By the end of the passage, we find references to Adam and Eve. This automatically gives many the need or excuse to point the finger at Eve and say, “see Paul was talking about the sins of Eve and how she has been demoted and left with childbirth as punishment.” But what those people fail to see is that God through His Design and grace actually gave humanity the greatest gift through Eve’s ‘punishment’. Childbirth is the vessel by which God decided to send His only son. Eve’s sin was redeemed by the one thing she was forced to burden. God freed the world of all sin by delivering Jesus into this world. Cleansing us and bringing equality to all sins. Forgiving us of all of them no matter what form they took. There’s so much more to say about all of this – but it’s evident throughout God’s word that women are not meant to be oppressed or silenced. He expects them to preach the Word in all places to all people just as frequently and just as loud as He does men.
Audra J. Waters-Leary
Audra J. Waters-Leary
Audra Waters Ministries, Inc., believes that it’s never been about women in ministry. It’s about Jesus who already paid the price on the cross for all of us to discover and operate in our own identities in Him. Christ’s heart for His people is to work together as one body within His ministry. At AWM, Inc., we fully stand by our understanding of this and function as one body governed by many ministers, each assigned according to their individual callings and submitted to the Holy Spirit through each other and those we are called to serve for our accountability and direction. We pray that this explanation of scripture brings further encouragement to males and females alike to study the word of God for themselves so that we are all free to worship Jesus, honor each other, and “just be” what God has created each of us to be.