Pastor Steven L. Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona has drawn criticism for a sermon uploaded to YouTube on Sunday in which he makes the controversial statement: Women should remain silent in church.
Anderson refers to 1 Timothy 2:11 to establish his claim. "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection," he reads. "But I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man."
Anderson then flips to 1 Corinthians chapter 14, saying, "Let your women keep silence in the churches for it is not permitted unto them to speak."
By these Biblical passages Anderson develops the argument that women may chat before the service and even sing hymns, but "when it's learning time, it's silence time."
Women doing any sort of preaching, Anderson says, is out of the question. But even more, the pastor believes women should not ask questions, indicate their enthusiasm or even say 'Amen.'
"First of all, it's not for a woman to be doing the preaching. And second of all, it's not for women to be speaking. Even if they were to have a question, they're not to ask that question in the church, number one. And number two, even if they wanted to ask questions of their husband, they should wait until they get home."
God-forbid a woman should ever disagree with Anderson (as one did at one point, the pastor mentions, causing him to "blow up.")
Rev. Jim Burklo, Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California, told The Huffington Post that it is important to approach such Biblical passages scrupulously.
"If you believe the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, and final word of God," Rev. Burklo said, "then you're stuck with women being silent in church, stoning homosexuals to death, etc. Nobody, not even Rev. Steven Anderson can possibly follow all these prescriptions. So everybody, from progressive to fundamentalist on the Christian theological spectrum, is cherry-picking on the biblical cafeteria line."
The video has garnered over 14,000 views, with comments ranging from the appalled, to the dismissive, to the disconcertedly justifying.
Support generally followed this commenter's sentiments:
"I can't believe so many people find bible preaching so offensive. God bless you Pastor Anderson."
Another commenter did her homework to contradict Anderson's teaching:
"So what if a woman gets saved and her husband doesn't? Should she not go to church then? Just confused. There seems to be some biblical contradictions to this statement and like you have instructed in the past I checked for other supporting biblical texts and found that there are women prophets in the new testament (Anna-Luke 2:36-38; and the daughters of Phillip-Acts 21:8-9) How can you prophesy and be silent??? What about Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28 in the Bible that says: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon ALL FLESH: and your sons and your DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams."
All in all, this commenter wasn't too concerned:
"There's no need to get upset over this. Just let this man have his own insular little group where he can rail against women....and Jews....and other Christians....and other Bibles....and, well, anyone who thinks differently than him. Must be fun in the kingdom of Me."