On Sunday, a pastor in Phoenix, Arizona implored his female congregants not to say “amen” in church.
Pastor Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church garnered national attention in 2009 when he told his followers that he prays for the death of President Barack Obama every night. After being contacted by the Secret Service, he insisted that he “didn’t say he wanted his parishioners to attack the president, he did say the country would benefit from Mr. Obama dying.”
Pastor Anderson first attempted to justify the silencing of women by quoting 1 Timothy 2:11, “[l]et the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
He then asked the congregation to flip to 1 Corinthians 14, which says “[l]et your women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak, as it is commanded to be under obedience as also sayeth the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is shameful for women to speak in the church.”
“Now obviously,” he continued, “before the service begins, there’s chatting and talking going on, that’s perfectly legitimate. When we all sing praises to God, of course the ladies should also lift up their voices.”
“But when it’s learning time,” Pastor Anderson said, hammering his lecturn, “it’s silence time.”
“So what it’s saying is that they,” the women, “are to learn in silence.” He then quoted 1 Corinthians 14 again, saying that “when the learning is going on, they are not permitted to speak. When the preaching of God’s word is taking place — and 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 the Bible’s really clear on this,” he said. “Even if they were to have a question, they’re not to ask that question in the church, number one. Number two, even if they want to ask that question to their husband, they should wait until they get home.”
“This is why I don’t believe women should say ‘amen’ during the preaching either. Because ‘amen’ means ‘truly’ or ‘verily’ … it basically means ‘that’s true.’ So when I’m preaching and I say something that you agree with and that you believe in, and you say ‘amen,’ you’re saying ‘that’s true.’”
“So here’s the thing,” Pastor Anderson concluded, “when I’m preaching, women should not express their opinion, even if it’s a positive opinion, even if she agrees with me.”
However, he added, “I was preaching one-time, and a woman actually disagreed with me in the middle of preaching. She said I was wrong, and you know, I kind of blew up at her.”
Watch Pastor Steven Anderson’s entire sermon below.
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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