732.      Penance has no purpose excepting to expiate guilt. When women are taught that they must take a specially lowly position; that they must meet their husbands’ sensual demands with unquestioning obedience (see Lesson 14); that they must be silent in Church; that they must go veiled; must not teach or preach; that they must have no part in Church government,¾and all because Eve sinned, they are taught to do penance, and they are taught thereby that in some sense guilt adheres to them. The teaching of all these things (whether acknowledged or not), is precisely what Tertullian dared to say, namely,¾“God’s verdict on the sex still holds good, and the sex’s guilt must still hold also.”

733.     Now the question is, Will enlightened women accept this as “the gospel” men should preach to them? They will not, of course, if they honor their Savior as One who made a full and sufficient atonement for the sins of the whole world.[3] Nor will they pass under the control of the incompetent or unworthy simply because such may be males. And so long as the Church endorses such teachings, by practicing the custom of the male management of all its affairs, just so long will it see its more enlightened female membership diminishing.

734.     There was a time when in civil government and every department of life men governed, but that day is passing everywhere, excepting where its existence is most incongruous,¾in the Church; for long ago it was written, “If ye have respect of persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced [i.e. convicted] of the law as transgressors” (James 2:9). When the rule of the male was universal, woman could accept membership in a Church without a change of status. She cannot, today. An invitation to identify herself with any religious society which carries with it the inference that she will turn backward into servitude will be declined with increasing frequency, in days to come. And this attitude on the part of Christian women may not be justly ascribed to pride and want of sanctity. No mature human being has a right to yield unquestioning obedience to other than God Himself. The competent have no right to accept the leadership of the relatively incompetent,¾and women have fully demonstrated the fact that they cannot all be reckoned as less competent than men. Nor must the more righteous accept control by the less righteous.

735.     But far and above all this, NO CHRISTIAN SHOULD EVER DISHONOR THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST, nor can a Christian do this without sin. There is no place in this whole world for a Christian to seek to please God by doing penance. The acceptance of penance is a denial of the sufficiency of the atonement for our sins. We women refuse that attitude towards Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ’s atonement did not fall short of reaching Eve, by any means.

736.     But again the question, “Why should Eve’s female offspring suffer for the sin of Eve more than her male offspring? every human being is the child of Eve.” No possible answer is forthcoming excepting that in some obscure sense the female is Eve’s special offspring, or seed, or at least so reckoned by God and man.

Ah, now we are getting to the point. Who else is the special Seed of the woman? Jesus Christ. We women are put in a class by ourselves because we are specially related to the first woman; and we find Jesus Christ in that same class with us. But if the class to which Jesus Christ belongs¾the special Seed of woman¾is to be in perpetual dishonor, there can be no doubt as to what spirit teaches this,¾not the Holy Spirit, the real teacher of the Word and Expounder of it, but the spirit of Anti-christ,¾for “even now are there many anti-christs” (1 John 2:18). And is it not worthwhile, sisters, for us to rise up and challenge this lying spirit which has gone forth into the world,¾this denial to woman of the full benefits of the Atonement?

Nay more: It is not enough to say this is worthwhile,¾“Woe be it unto [us women] if we preach not the gospel, for just to the extent that these other matters are taught Christ, more than woman, is dishonored; and the world may perish for want of a knowledge of the fullness and sufficiency of the atonement of Jesus Christ unless we women challenge this false doctrine, by exhibiting in our lives the results of an atonement with no sex limits on it.

737.     Again we ask, If one only expression, “Let the women keep silence” (1 Corinthians 14:34), which readily admits of a qualifying interpretation, is allowed to pass as forbidding one half of the human family forever from proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, why may not other like expressions silence the other half forever? As samples we cite Habakkuk 2:20, Let all the earth keep silence before Him;” Jeremiah 8:14, “Let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be silent there: for the Lord our God hath put us to silence . . . because we have sinned against God.” Zechariah 2:13, “Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord,”¾ etc.

738.     There is such an offense as handling the Word of God deceitfully,¾as distorting it out of semblance to common sense. This is precisely what is being done by those who, in the face of a world perishing for the lack of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and in an age when it is clearly to be seen that the present state of Christendom is a disgrace, because of its utter failure to meet the requirements of Christian life; when the world is mangled and bleeding to death, starving and rotting in its social corruption, while male ministers of the gospel are as frequently discrediting Christ, in their pulpits, as honoring Him, as frequently attacking the Bible as explaining it,¾in such an age as this it is pertinent to ask the question whether women have any right to keep silent?

“But Eve was deceived when she dealt with the Serpent, in Eden, and can women ever be safe religious teachers?” Review the past: The Sanhedrin that compassed the death of Christ, over the protest of the “daughters of Jerusalem” and Pilate’s wife; the sects of Nicolaitanes, Ebionites, Gnostics, Ophites, Manichaeans, Predestinarians, extreme Antinomians, Irvingites, Agapoemonians, Mormons, and scores more, led by men; the ignorant and stupid ecclesiastics who resorted to imprisonments, torture, massacres, inquisitions, and burnings at the stake, to compel men and women to renounce the truth and accept spiritual darkness instead,¾then tell us on what historical authority it can be assumed that men are safe religious leaders. And why the mere fact that Eve was “deceived” and women have led in Christian Science, Theosophy, and modern (not ancient) Spiritism, proves that all women are unsafe as religious leaders? This claim lacks candor, in view of the fact that few women have ever been allowed to try if they could lead; it is born of ignorance and prejudice. On the other hand, think of the millions of women who have trusted the “authority” of male leadership in religious matters, to be hurried forward into the ditch of spiritual darkness or unrestrained license, to their eternal loss.

739.     The statement has been made on very high authority, in a recent pamphlet published in England,[4] that of 4,000 missionaries in India, Burma and Ceylon today, not more than 2,000 believe in the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God. Are we women going to keep quiet in the face of such facts,¾2,000 foreign missionaries weakening the faith of the natives of India in the Word of God, rather than strengthening it? “God has never given to any body of men whatsoever a chartered right to lock up heaven, and let the people perish for lack of knowledge,” says Dean Payne-Smith. Those who oppose the preaching of women, and the teaching of women, are committing precisely this offense. It is wicked for any human being to shut the mouth of anyone, male or female, who will sound forth a testimony to the truth in these days of apostasy.

740.     I recall an incident which my mother used to relate, of early days in New York City,¾quite close to Colonial times. She was, as usual on the Sabbath, sitting in the old Dutch Church, in a pew with her parents. The cry “Fire, Fire!” broke into the calm discourse of the minister, and a large number of men quietly withdrew, knowing that help was needed, otherwise sacred services would not have been interrupted. Later, a second cry of “Fire!” was sounded, and more men withdrew. A third cry came, and all the men withdrew. At last an urgent cry came, “Fire, Fire!¾and if there are no more men the women must come!” Then the meeting broke up, and all rushed forth to save the whole city, for it seemed doomed.

741.     A very fire of hell is raging all about us, even though largely unrecognized, in modern rationalism. Its crudest features have, perhaps, found expression in Russia; its most pervasive sulphurous fumes are stifling the youths of our schools; its most consummately treacherous havoc prevails in the pulpit. We women have no alternative but to help extinguish the fire or be scorched by it, and see our children perish in its flames. Shall we women, at such a time as this, sit still, and remember our sex? Never! We will brush aside the opposition of those who can think only in terms of sex, and go up “to the help of the Lord against the mighty.”

And what must women preach? Review the history of the past few years, and the answer must be plain to every Christian. Women must preach that “religion of blood” which the fastidious have affected to find so offensive to their aesthetic taste,¾the “blood of the Cross” of the Only One, whose blood would have sufficed to spare that of millions of their sons who have been offered up as human sacrifices to Mars, had its flow of “sorrow and love” been accepted on earth as an atonement and remedy for sin before sin begot its bloodthirsty brood. There is no alternative. It must be the “blood of the Cross” and self-immolation, or else bloody wars for self-deification. Antichrist is at hand. Which shall it be?  


[3] 1 John 2:2.

[4] “The Ravages of Higher Criticism in the Indian Mission Field,” by W. R. Roberts: Foreword by Prebendary H. E. Fox. Published by the Protestant Truth Society, London, price four pence.

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