Helen Roseveare and Elizabeth Fry

The debate stirred up by Adrian Warnock’s interview series with Dr Wayne Grudem continues. In a comment on a post which is a spin-off from the debate, Suzanne mentioned several women heroes of the faith, including Helen Roseveare and Elizabeth Fry. In a response, which Adrian may well not approve because it is off topic, I commented:

Suzanne, thank you for your list of women heroes. Helen Roseveare is one of mine. I remember, even though it was nearly 30 years ago, hearing her preach a powerful sermon on how we should let God make us into polished arrows for his service, based on Isaiah 49:2.Elizabeth Fry, by the way, is honoured on UK banknotes. I have her picture on a £5 banknote in my hand. In fact I think she is the only woman to be so honoured, apart from the Queen who is on the other side.

I wonder, how would complementarians reconcile the powerful effect of Helen Roseveare’s sermon on my life for 30 years with their teaching on women preachers? Was I wrong or deceived to listen to her teaching, even though it was good biblical teaching? Should I forget it? Or is this perhaps more like Philippians 1:18, where Paul rejoices that Christ is preached even though some of the preachers had wrong motives? But one thing I am sure of, Roseveare’s motives were not wrong.

3 thoughts on “Helen Roseveare and Elizabeth Fry

  1. I obviously can’t speak for the “complimentarians” on Adrian’s blog would come up with, but the confessional Lutherans I grew up with would have said that you were wrong to listen to her. According to them, the very fact that she dared to preach to men meant that she was rebellious and had not submitted herself to Jesus Christ as Lord. It was only in the late 1990s that this denomination devoted an entire issue of their theological journal to women ministers. The front cover had a painting of Eve being deceived by the snake and worshipping herself in a mirror.

    How they would explain the effect on you. Well, you’re an Anglican minister, so you were obviously led into error because had you not been so led, you’d be a confessional Lutheran. I’m not being facetious.

  2. Thanks, Pam. That’s interesting. I wonder if anyone around here quite believes that.

    I’m not actually an Anglican minister, just an ordinary lay member with some small responsibilities in my church – and an MA in theology and a background in Christian work.

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