mwmw_paperpeople.jpg Here’s a bit of E. Stanley Jones from The Christ of Every Road: A study in Pentecost (o/p). Writing almost 80 years ago:

Akin to what we found in the previous chapter and leading us along the same lines, but going deeper, is the fact that tat Pentecost the “one hundred and twenty were there with the women.” Women received the highest Gift of God, himself, on the same basis as men. This sounds so commonplace that we lose its astounding significance. In every land religion has been identified with a specially sacred sex. That sex has always been one sex—the man! “Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord,” was said in Judaism, and in every other religion, except the religion of Jesus. Man came first to power and the physically weaker portions of humanity, the woman and the child, have been kpet out on the edges. Only now are they slowly coming into their own.

But here at Pentecost the highest was thrown open at once to woman and religion was loosed from specially sacred sexes.

This is startling when we view this fact with the background of contemporaneous views concerning women.

Jones gives several examples of the place of women observed from his travels in the East, noting Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Muslim treatment of women. He then continues,

These incidents and statements about women have been out of the East. Take one out fo the background of the West—the cry of a modern university woman written to me recently:

“I was, being human, born alone;
    I am, being woman, hard beset;
I live by squeezing from a stone
    The little nourishment I get.”

Man has usually taken the bread and has given woman the stone from which to squeeze her nourishment. In the West man has fought step by step the upward rise of woman. Nearly everything he has given he has given grudgingly and under compulsion.

When we turn from all this to the gospel of Pentecost, we find woman not squeezing her spiritual nourishment from a stone, but facing God and life on exactly the same terms as man and being offered and given the highest gift that can be given in heaven and earth—the Spirit, God himself.

The amazing thing is that it is all so taken for granted; no questions were raised, no discussions took place, women took their place at Pentecost naturally and unhesitatingly. Why? Here too the Norm had been fixed: they had seen Jesus accept women as disciples and married women accompanied him and the disciples on their tours through Galilee, and the breadth of scandal never touched it! …. Pentecost is all a piece of this, hence woman comes to it as she would come to her very own. There were no patronizing attitudes, no loud talk about giving woman’s rights; it was done simply and naturally.

The implication is that if this highest were open to woman, then everything else down the line is open.

(Abingdon Press, 1930, pp. 115-119) Jones goes on further from there, quoting Paul (naturally). It’s possible that he reads a little something into the silence, but on the whole his observations are appropriate… and considering this was first published in 1930, he’s rather forward-thinking. Much of evangelicalism hasn’t caught up yet, at any rate.

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