March is Women’s History Month. I would like to recognize the first woman ordained Minister; she protested for women’s rights and stood firm on her beliefs.
I remember a few years back there was the Women’s March in Washington D.C.
Women from all over the world united for women’s rights. It was exciting to see women from all over the world united to stand up for what they believe in. I am all for protesting.
I believe in our fundamental right to express our displeasure with injustice.
Even the Bible says we should “open our mouths, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the poor.” (Proverbs 31:9).
I know as a woman there are a number of issues that we have that need to be addressed.
Women’s Rights movements are nothing new
The Bible says “there is nothing new under the sun”. Women fighting for their rights go as far back as biblical times.
In Numbers 27, there is an account of 5 sisters coming together to fight for their father’s property after he died. During that time daughters could not inherit property only sons.
Well this man had no son’s so there would be no inheritance. Read Numbers 27:1-7.
I would imagine these women standing shoulder to shoulder as they addressed this whole counsel with nothing to lose and with a determined look on their face.
These women were able to change the law and were able to make a difference for other women.
There was another Women’s Rights Movement in the United States in 1848, called the Women’s Suffrage Movement. These women stood up for equal rights.
Women like Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Antoinette Brown Blackwell.
Antoinette Brown Blackwell was the first woman to be ordained as a minister in the U.S.
She was influenced by her family’s religious beliefs. By the age of 9 she was preaching in public.
She went on to study at Oberlin College, that’s where she became more involved in women’s rights, prohibition, and anti-slavery movements.
When she graduated she decided to pursue a theological degree. This is where her fight began. The school was against it but she didn’t give up.
The school could not deny her anointing because they allowed her to attend lectures and accept invitations to preach.
She was giving a speech in NYC for the Word Temperance Convention and all the men booed her off the podium just because she was a woman.
She was quoted as saying “ There were angry men confronting me and I caught the flashing of defiant eyes but above me and within me there was a spirit stronger than them all.”
That didn’t stop her; she still went on to preach all over.
On September 15, 1853 she became the first woman ordained as a minister of any denomination in the United States.
Unfortunately, just short of one year she left the church because she had theological disagreements. She continued her work with the women’s rights movement.
After doing many speeches alongside the other women she had to breakaway because as a minister she did not believe in everything they were fighting for.
For example, she was against divorce. The movement wanted divorce as a right for women but Antoinette understood that man could not separate what God joined together.
Antoinette gave a very powerful speech against this and separated herself because she did not look to men for approval. Her relationship with God was much more important.
She continued her lecture tours and spoke on women’s rights, anti-slavery and anti-poverty. She served in the slums in NYC and raised money for the people.
She encouraged women to learn about themselves through the Bible so they could be empowered. She believed that the sexes were equal but different.
In 1920 she was the only woman from the first women’s right convention that was still alive at 95 years old to cast a vote. This is never mentioned in the history books.
I’m sure there are some of us that may feel conflicted because of either our past or people we know. I always try to be understanding and compassionate towards everyone regardless if I agree with them or not.
However, I am reminded that being a minister and teacher of the word I have the same duty as a lawyer that looks at the law and must follow it. We have been called to spread the word.
During this time in our history many of us are facing the same issue that Antoinette faced.
The world around us is fighting for things that are contrary to our beliefs. We have to stand firm and understand that we truly are the light in darkness.
We have to serve shoulder to shoulder because we are the remnant.
Inequality in the workplace, domestic violence, sex trafficking etc. There are “issues” that overshadow true injustice towards women, mainly Abortion.
This is not injustice; this is going against God’s will. Do we believe in what the Word says or not? Notice the difference from the beginning of the women’s movement until now.
In the 1800s women wanted to own property, have a say in their government, equality in a career. In this present day we are blatantly going against God’s will with our bodies.
We need to ask ourselves…. is this what our Heavenly Father wants from us.
Would he want us screaming that we could do whatever we want with our bodies when the word is clear that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit.. that we are not our own and we are to honor God with our bodies. (1 Corinth 6:19-20)
That’s why it’s so important to remember a woman like Antoinette Brown Blackwell. A woman that stood her ground, rooted in the Word of God and not the opinions of man.