Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Mother Lotta on Testimonies and Women Preaching

"And now that I have come here to contend in all friendliness with you, Pastor, I must say that I could never understand that you, who make so much of obedience, can permit women to speak God's Word at meetings. That is clearly forbidden in the Bible."

"But Mother Lotta, you are now talking like a real minister yourself."

"Yes, the Lord be merciful to my sinful soul! I know full well that I shall have to give an account on the last day for every idle word I talk as I sit here. And if there were no atoning blood, I should not have dared to come. But, Pastor, no woman has ever been permitted to speak among us at our meetings. Then the old preachers read God's Word. God help me! Rather than let them see Mother Lotta standing in the pulpit, I would lay my old head on the railroad track. It has been more than enough that God has given me five children whom I have tried to nurture by the Word of God. And if a troubled soul has come, I have of course tried to comfort and help with the truths of Scripture. But to be a teacher in God's church and shepherd for the flock that is another matter. Only an ungodly self-security would make one believe oneself capable of that, when one was not called and ordained."

The pastor did not lift his forehead from his hand. A year ago he would have contradicted at every point. The revival was then at its peak. Since he had won Schenstedt and his sister as friends and allies, and the sister had been reunited with her husband, they had all been animated by an active and contagious Christianity. And when some friends from Stockholm had come to help, and when Mrs. Jonsson at Glanstrop and the Arvidssons at the freehold had been won, it almost looked as if an avalanche of revival had come over the congregation. He remembered the great crowds on the church hill the Sunday Schenstedt had preached, and he sould still see the throngs at the schoolhouse during the week of the parish mission when all those who had been won stood up and bore witness.

The woman must have been thinking of the same events, for she touched upon them as she continued to speak.

"You should not let so many of the newly awakened preach the Word to us, Pastor. It is certainly good to hear that they have come part of the way, but beyond that they have little to tell. No one is ever saved by his conversion, but only by the death and resurrection of Christ. But of that they never speak. Do not the Scriptures say that he who would lead a congregation ought not to be a novice, a beginner in the faith, 'lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil?"

From Bo Giertz, The Hammer of God, pp. 241-43.