There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
What a powerful testimony. She was only married for seven years before her husband died. She had been a widower for 84 years. What pain and loneliness she must have felt. And yet, how did she spend it? Serving God’s people as a prophet, being especially in tune with those “looking for Israel’s redemption” and then proclaiming Jesus to them. Even before the Cross and Resurrection, Jesus was the answer for the longing of God’s people for redemption.
Also, Luke said he went through all of the accounts and picked and chose what would get “in” and what wouldn’t. Of all the little anecdotes he chooses to keep in and keep out, he chooses this. What a powerful woman she must have been for her to have been seered into the collective consciousness of God’s people retelling this story.
See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.
This is a post in an on-going series on Women in the Church.
Yesterday, I began talking about the history of Women in the early Church. Up front, I gave my primary source for information, this issue of Christian History Institute Magazine on “Women in the Early Church”, which I will quote from in this post. If you need more information, you can go there.
I also gave a brief sketch of my view: women were quite active in leadership in the first two-centuries of the Church, but come the 200s, some radical things began to change in the Church–things that still effect us today, especially as it pertains to women in ministry.
(Most of this material is comes from the excellent article “The Early Controversies Over Female Leadership” by Dr. Karen J. Torjesen.)
Alas, due to my obsessive commitment to not let blogging get in the way of the relationships in my life, my promised post on the historical context of 1 Timothy will not be coming today (and may have to wait until next week). Instead, as part of this ongoing series, today I’d like to offer to all of you an excellent Op-ed that biblical scholar N.T. Wright posted in The Times of London (copublished here).
Last week, the Church of England voted not to allow any female bishops (though they have, for some time, allowed female priests). Prime Minister David Cameron bemoaned this, telling the Church they needed to “get with the programme” and ordain women bishops because that’s just where the world is right now, apparently. (This issue is also causing other political problems for the Church.)
Wright, who supports female bishops wrote the Op-Ed blasting Cameron for encouraging the Church to “get with the times”, saying that that is never a reason why the Church should do anything. He continues, blasting the idea of naive “progressivism” that has dominated monder thought.
Instead, he says, the Church should ordain female bishops because it’s biblical, not because it’s “cool” or “progressive”. He goes on to say that appealing to the culture does damage to the truth that it is biblical, and reinforces the patently false idea that those that oppose female ordination are the ones reading Scripture “literally” and “faithfully” while egalitarians are only listening to “culture”.
The Op-ed is brief, snarky, and powerful. Needless to say, it garned some thoughts from conservatives on this side of the pond. Doug Wilson did not just one, but two posts on it, and Denny Burke also wrote against it. The Internet Monk then brilliantly deconstructed their responses.
And so, I give you these men (why is it always men!) to read and discuss in the space below. Have fun.