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From The Cradle To The Cross

By: G. Raymond Carlson

The worth and position of women are issues of great importance. A scriptural study makes their role clear.

Consider God’s design in creating Adam—evidenced by the phrase "the Lord God formed man" (Genesis 2:7). The word formed illustrated the work of an artist and is used in the Bible to describe a potter’s work. Adam was formed from the dust of the ground. God breathed His eternal breath into Adam, and he became a living soul.

God also designed Eve. He caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, took one of his ribs, and made a companion for him. Thus Adam and eve, being God’s special creation, were to share the same nature. They possessed the same moral and spiritual capacity.

Adam and Eve became "one flesh." They were to form a spiritual and physical union—functioning and serving God together on earth. A review of Scripture reveals that news bulletins of the day were frequently broadcast by women announcers. David, the young hero, won a great victory over the giant Goliath. The victory was set to music and chanted by the women. When the ark was carried from the house of Obed-edom to Zion, the Lord gave the Word: "The women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host" (Psalm 68:11, NASB).

Miriam, sister of Moses and Aaron, is called a prophetess in Exodus 15:20. She led the women in singing praises to God. In Micah 6:4 she is listed with her brothers as one chosen to lead the Children of Israel.

The prophetess Deborah supervised the settling of disputes among her people. The Living Bible states that she "was responsible for bringing the people back to God" (Judges 4:4). Barak would not lead Israel to battle without her. She personally delivered Israel from the cruel oppression of Sisera. Jael, also a woman, slew Sisera as he slept.

Accounts of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection make it clear that the only eyewitnesses of most of the events between the death of Jesus and the arrival of Peter and John at the empty tomb were women (Matthew 28:1-10).

With Christ’s coming to earth came a liberation of womanhood and the restoration of her dignity. The Lord Jesus treated women with respect and as human beings. His behavior in light of the culture of that day indicates His attitude. He came to redeem mankind—all men and women—and was the greatest Friend women have ever had.

One of our Lord’s greatest lessons on worship was given to a most unlikely person—the woman at Jacob’s well. For Jesus to pass through Samaria was to go through an off-limits region for a Jew, but He "must needs go through Samaria" (John 4:4).

When He asked the woman for a drink, she was taken aback and said, "How is that you, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman? For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans" (John 4:9, NKJV).

A discussion followed on the proper place of worship—Mount Gerizim where the Samaritans worshiped or Mount Zion where the Jews worshiped.

Jesus set the record straight. The issue was not the place but to "worship the Father in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23). He went on to explain that "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).

When the disciples returned they were astounded that He was speaking to her. As a result of her testimony "many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman" (John 4:39).

Jesus gave dignity to the woman whose past was far from perfect, and she in turn became an evangelist to turn a city to God. Jesus spoke with women and even touched them publicly—something unheard of in Jewish society where a man would not allow a woman to count change into his hand.

One of the great stories of healing was that of the woman with hemorrhaging. She felt if only she could touch Him, she would be healed. Touching Him brought immediate healing.

When Jesus said, "Who touched my clothes?" (Mark 5:31), she responded with fear and trembling. The Lord neither lectured her nor sermonized. He said, "Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole" (Mark 5:34).

The New Testament is replete with the names of women who were prominent in ministry, such as Dorcas, Lydia, Phoebe, and Priscilla. Paul sent greetings to fellow-laborers, both men and woman (Romans 16).

The outpouring on the Day of Pentecost fulfilled Joel’s prophecy which included daughters and handmaids.Women’s ministry is repeatedly referred to in the Scripture.

Through the years many of the traditional denominations have barred women from pulpit ministry, but that has not been the case in the Pentecostal revival. Women have had an important place in the growth of the Assemblies of God. My wife and I were brought into the Pentecostal experience through the ministry of Blanch Britain, a godly woman preacher.

Not only has the Assemblies of God recognized women preachers, hundreds of whom were and are foreign missionaries, but unnumbered thousands of women are recognized as prayer warriors. Their intercession and faith have resulted in church plantings at home and abroad. Their faithfulness has kept many struggling churches from going under. Their diligent labors have provided covering, clothing, and caring ministries which have blessed thousands across America and in over 125 countries of the world.

An important segment of our Fellowship excels in service to the Lord through women’s ministries. We are deeply indebted to them for their faithfulness. Women were first at the cradle and last at the cross. The Christian world is immeasurably affected for good through the faithful ministry of godly women.

G. Raymond Carlson (deceased) was the former general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.