This is going to be a series covering the view of how prominent women were in (English and US) baptist history 1609-1950 & the difficulties they had in comparison with men that I wrote for Dr. David Bebbington this semester. It’s a little dryer than earlier Christian Masculinities posts, but it is ridiculously historically focused and I’m quite pleased with it (even though I got a B+, ;) .)
In 1645, a Baptist woman today only known as Mrs. Attaway, the most prominent woman preacher in London at the time, stood up to address an assembly of thousands and claimed her authority to speak came from Scripture; “Now those days were come”, now “God would pour out his Spirit upon the handmaidens, and they should prophecy.” She was not alone in using scripture to affirm that women could teach. Sarah Wight went on a 76 day fast in which many crowded around her to hear her prophesy and visions. She also quoted Acts 2:18 and replied to those who questioned her speaking, “This is but a taste now of what shall be.” Lulie Wharton of the Women’s Missionary Union Personal Service Committee echoed this call in 1925, “in the fullness of time God is sending forth His daughters, as well as His sons, for the uplift of the world which so much needs mothering.”
In 17th century England, women could still be arrested for their street preaching and church prophesying due to laws that quoted 1 Corinthians 14:34, “Let women keep silence.” Thomas Edwards’ Gangraena railed against the sins of women speaking. In 1746 the Philadelphia Baptist Association proclaimed “the silence, with subjection, enjoined on all women in the church of God…excludes all women whomsoever from all degrees of teaching, ruling, governing, dictating, and leading in the church of God.” Anne Wentworth was once charged with the crime of denying her submissive status as a woman because “she said she would seek strength from the Lord rather than going to men for help.” J. B. Hawthorne, in an 1891 sermon titled “Paul and the Women” concludes that women were to remain silent and forbidden to teach, but were allowed to prophecy. Because “Adam was first formed”, a woman “reverses God’s order and violates the laws of her own nature and creation” when she speaks in the church. Thomas Collier proclaimed that women could sometimes “may prophesie by permission” but only “in subjection to the man.” Most bluntly, John R. Rice declared, “There were no woman preachers, no woman pastors nor evangelists nor Bible teachers, in the New Testament churches.”
 Curtis W. Freeman, A Company of Women Preachers: Baptist Prophetesses in Seventeenth-Century England (Baylor University Press, 2011), 4.
 Henry Jessey, The exceeding riches of grace advanced by the spirit of grace in an empty nothing creature: viz. Mrs Sarah Wight (Printed by Matthew Simmons, 1647), 90–91; in Freeman, A Company of Women Preachers, x.
 Julie Wharton, Our Mission Fields/Royal service. (Birmingham, Ala.,: Woman’s Missionary Union, Auxiliary to Southern Baptist Convention], n.d.), 20 (sept 1925): 27; in Carol Crawford Holcomb, “Mothering the South : influence of gender and the social gospel on the social views of the leadership of Woman’s Missionary Union, auxiliary to Southern Baptist Convention, 1888-1930” (Ph.D., Baylor University, 1999), 112.
 A Company of Women Preachers, 10.
 Philadelphia Baptist Association and Abram Dunn Gillette, Minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, from A.D. 1707, to A.D. 1807: being the first one hundred years of its existence (American Baptist Publication Society, 1851), 53; in Charles W. Deweese, Women Deacons and Deaconesses: 400 Years of Baptist Service (Mercer University Press, 2005), 60.
 Anne Wentworth, A True Account of Anne Wentworths Being Cruelly, Unjustly, and Unchristianly Dealt with by Some of those People Called Anabaptists, 1676, 16–17; in Freeman, A Company of Women Preachers, 34.
 Leon McBeth, A Sourcebook for Baptist Heritage (Nashville Tenn.: Broadman Press, 1990), 337–340.
 Thomas Collier, The Pulpit-Guard Routed in Its Twenty Strong-Holds (London: Giles Calvert, 1651), 79; in Freeman, A Company of Women Preachers, 14.
 John R. Rice, Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers (Sword of the Lord Publishers, 2000), 25, 40, 43, 48, 51, 56, 58–59; in David T. Morgan, Southern Baptist Sisters: In Search of Status, 1845-2000 (Mercer University Press, 2003), 171.