Christian Harfouche Ministries

Can a Woman Preach?

By Apostle Doctor Robin Harfouche | 6 min read

Can a Woman Preach?

This text is an excerpt from This Is That: Personal Experiences, Sermons and Writings of Aimee Semple McPherson.

“Yes Lord, I’ll go.”

Over and over I kept repeating the words of the promise I had made to God, and under the terms of which life had been spared that I might serve Him. “Yes, Lord I’ll go.”

I did not know how or where I was to go, but I intended to start anyhow. Like Jonah heading back to Nineveh, like Moses stepping forth to cross the Red Sea, I went with all haste. So it happened that, lean in my soul but determined to obey God, I sat in my seat under the big canvas-top tent waiting for the minister to finish his sermon and give the altar call. I was the first one down at the mourners bench. Brokenly, I began to sob, “Oh Jesus, forgive me for—”

Before I could finish the words, it seemed that the Lord had placed His hands over my trembling lips and said, “There, there, my child, say no more about it.”

Again, I tried to apologize to God and again I was stopped. The suddenness and the magnitude of this hearty reception broke my heart. I fell under the power at His gracious feet wailing, “Dear Lamb of God, let me be as one of thy hired servants. I feel unworthy to testify or preach, but just let me love thee and dwell in thy house, oh Savior!”

But almost before I knew it I was up and praying for others who knelt beside me. The old time anointing of the spirit was burning in my soul. Upon whom I laid my hands received the baptism of the Holy Ghost right and left.

Service over, I stood before the raised platform and beckoned to the preacher to whom I was a stranger. “Is there anything I can do for Jesus?” I asked.

He looked at me rather unseeingly and murmured abstractly, “Well, I’m sure, I don’t know.”

“Well, if there is, be sure and let me know.”

Making my way out of the tent I saw a woman that appeared to be one of the workers. “Is there anything I can do to help?” I said.

“Nothing that I know of now dear,” she replied, uncompromisingly.

“Is there anything that I can do to help you?” I halted others as I made my way through a long line of sleeping tents that bordered either side of the street. “Is there anything that I can do for Jesus?”

I finally quizzed an aproned man, who sat before the kitchen at the end of the street, peeling potatoes. He smiled down on me from beneath his tall white cook’s cap, “Well, sure there is” he answered.

“Then tell me quickly! I am desperately anxious to get into the work of the Lord. What can I do?”

“Can you wash dishes?”

“Why, certainly I can. I can wash dishes. Every woman can do that!”

“Then here you are,” he said enthusiastically, and suiting his actions to his words, lifted a flap of the tent and revealed two wash tubs filled with dirty cups, saucers, plates, and cutlery. “The hot water is over on the stove, the towels are in that trunk.”

Now if there’s any task I dislike over any other, it is washing other people's dirty chinaware, but I found myself completely happy. As setting about my task, I took the plates out of the cold, greasy water, emptied out the tubs, and set to work with scalding water and soap. In fact, I found myself actually whistling as my fingers flew!

Glory to God! I was in the work of the Lord! What mattered that mine was the simple task of a kitchen maid? Was I not part of the glorious whole that goes to make up a soul-winning contingency? I was particularly careful to wipe the handles of the cups and thirstines carefully and polish all the dishes without leaving finger marks. Somehow I felt that if I was faithful in that which was least, the Lord would make me ruler over that which was exalted.

Dishes done, I continued my round of pestering questions. “Is there anything more I can do? What's next on the program?”

“Can you wait on tables I was asked?”

“Yes sir!”

“Then hurry up and get your trays going. We are serving chicken dinners to scores of ministers in the dining tent.”

I fairly flew between the kitchen range and the ministerial tables. It was a tedious task! If you have ever tried to fill up even one preacher on chicken, you can imagine the job of trying to fill up a whole tent full of preachers! But I was in a good place to ply my constant plaintive, eager questions at every opportunity. “Do you know of anything that I can do for Jesus?”

“Can you play the piano?” asked one man through a mouthful of chicken.

“Yes Sir!”

“Then take the piano for the evening service.”

Happy, It seemed as though I hit every key from top to bottom that night. What I may have lost in technique, I made up for in enthusiasm.

“Can you lead a choir? Our choir director is ill.” asked an evangelist the next day.

“Oh yes sir!” I asserted eagerly.

“Well, where did you lead your last one?” he smiled.

“Well, I’ve never directed one yet sir; but if you ask me if I could, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” My eagerness won the day and the task was mine!

Joyously, I ran between my duties: washing dishes, setting tables, making beds, beating time for the singers, playing at the altars till after midnight. It was heaven–absolute heaven!

At last, the major campmeeting was over. The groups of ministries had returned to their own pastorates, leaving the one local preacher to carry on over the closing weekend. It developed that he had lost his voice. Well, next I asked him, “Isn’t there anything I can do for Jesus?”

“Can you preach?” He managed in a cracked whisper.

“Yes sir, I’ll try.” I stuttered.

“Well upon my word! It seems that this is the only thing left that around here for you to try.”

And thus it was that I preached my first sermon as an independent evangelist. I do not remember the text of the message, but I do recall that some 11 souls made their way to the altar to accept the Lord. As I saw them coming down the aisles, such a wave of exaltation swept over me that I was weak and dizzy from the sheer joy and glory of it all.

Many thrilling things have happened in my life: I have been way up in a balloon. I’ve been flown in a Zeppelin. I’ve skimmed over the alps in an airplane. I’ve been submerged in a submarine. I’ve looked down into the actual boiling crater of Mount Vesuvius. I have preached to thousands of men and women. I’ve had the privilege of standing on the keel of the titanic before it left port, and I prayed for their voyage. I received keys from mayors of every city. The senate and the congress were opened by my prayers. I have spoken over national radio hookups, climbed the pyramids, and walked the streets of the holy land. I’ve ridden on camels in the heart of Algiers. I’ve sailed the blue Galilee. I’ve packed the royal Albert Hall in London. I’ve filled the Boston Gardens.

But for sheer breathtaking thrills, there is still none to me like that known by the soul-winner when sinners burst into tears of penitence and run down to fall at the altar of the Almighty.

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