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Archive for March, 2016

Here is a list of some sites that I visit regularly. I will add to this as time goes on.

Life Site News is updated daily with stories about Pro-life issues, Marriage and Family, and Political News.

https://www.lifesitenews.com

For good information on Biblical Equality or Mutuality I visit Christians for Biblical Equality.

http://www.cbeinternational.org

For historic and contemporary Christian history I visit The Christians.com. It respects all Christian traditions – Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox.

http://thechristians.com

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Women, in their devotion to God’s cause over the world, have never been deterred by any form of heathenism. With cultured intellects, womanly tenderness, and spiritual devotion they have gone into unhealthy climates, suffered privations, isolation, and even death at the hands of those for whom they labored. (From “Eminent Missionary Women” by Annie Ryder Gracey, p. 167).

For the last few months we’ve looked at the stories of 19th Century women who took the Gospel to the lost, especially to the poor and marginalized in America and overseas. For the most part these women did not seek to “preach” or be in leadership positions in established churches. They merely sought opportunities to serve Jesus by serving others. These were selfless, courageous women.

By the end of the nineteenth century women were going to Asia, Africa, and other whm.claraswainthird world countries even as single women missionaries. The need was great and many women such as Dr. Clara Swain, Melinda Rankin, Hannah Mullens, and Fanny Jane Butler served overseas as missionaries.

Women also took advantage of the opportunities now open to them to evangelize in the United States and Europe. They opened religious training schools to reach out to the poor and the homeless. They built rescue homes and rescue missions. There were reform movements going on that improved the lives of women who were trapped into poverty, prostitution, or alcoholism. Women built colleges and hospitals. Women entered schools to get the training they needed to join in the great missionary enterprise.

The turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century has been called “The Progressive Era” (roughly 1890-1920). This was a time of transition for the Church. This meant that there would be changes in the way that women could be involved in Kingdom work as well.

Many would still seek to spread the Gospel as Evangelists, not “preachers”. One might wonder what the difference is – it is simply that “preachers” were seen as male leaders of established churches. Women did not seek these positions since the Bible seemed to be clear about the authority of men in churches. Outside of churches, both women and men have served as evangelists and missionaries.

All Christians, male and female, are called to witness for Jesus. Most women will be active in their homes educating their children and working in their neighborhoods. This has been a primary way for women to serve the Lord.

Some women receive a special call to witness outside of the home. It is not the purpose of this blog post to debate whether or not women should be allowed to work outside of the home. Readers who have followed this blog will see that there are over 60 posts on women who are named in the Bible who followed a call from God. There are thousands more women in history who have served outside of the home. I pray that our fellow believers who limit women in ministry will see that they are limiting God’s work in His Kingdom. God chooses to call women into service for Him.

phoebe palmerPhoebe Palmer, Jennie Fowler Willing, Frances Willard, Evangeline Booth and many others accomplished great things with the organizations they founded that would serve to alleviate the suffering of the poor. Their primary motivation was always to take the Gospel into every part of the culture. They were Kingdom workers.

During the Progressive Era women did not seek leadership positions in mainline churches. Most women accepted society’s place for them. In churches, women were happy to fill any positions given to them. Women did the work of nurturers, caring for the poor and giving relief to those in need.

But outside of the mainline churches it was a different story.

What if God chose to work outside of the mainline established churches? What if the established churches had left “their first love” (Revelation 2:4) and were in effect “dead churches”? Liberal theologies had been rampant in the major seminaries for decades. German “higher criticism” and other errant theologies were creeping into the pulpits across the land. The people had grown cold. Men in the seminaries were paying more attention to doctrine than anything else and unfortunately many were imbibing the new liberal theologies.

The Holiness Movement was a reaction against complacency and sterility. The Holiness Movement, initiated by Phoebe Palmer and others during the nineteenth century was not able to make headway in the mainline denominations. This was in part a reaction against the extremes in the feminist movement. It also went against the status quo and the entrenched system in the established churches. The leaders of the mainline denominations did not want to accept anything new especially if it went against their cherished doctrines. In their view a new type of theology based on “emotions” did not fit with their intellectualism.

The Holiness Movement, more like the Charismatic movement that would occur a century later, spread across all denominations.  As churches began to emphasize the work of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts the way for female ministry was opened. If nothing else, women could take the true Gospel to the people, making up for the unbiblical preaching going on in the mainline denominations.

In the next few months we will look at the stories of many women who would answer God’s call on their lives and serve in new ways. Their view of why it is proper for women to serve as evangelists can be summed up by Seth Rees, president of the Pilgrim Holiness Church founded in 1897.

Nothing but jealousy, prejudice, bigotry, and a stingy love for bossing in men have prevented woman’s public recognition by the church. No church that is acquainted with the Holy Ghost will object to the public ministry of women. We know of scores of women who can preach the gospel with a clearness, a power, and an efficiency seldom equaled by men. Sisters, let the Holy Ghost fill, call and anoint you to preach the glorious Gospel of our Lord.

In other words, in I Corinthians 12 and other places where the gifts of the Spirit are listed, there is no gender requirement attached. It took centuries for the time to be right for women to serve along side of men without being seen as revolutionaries. Since the late nineteenth and early twentieth century many women would lose their fear of standing before crowds and begin preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit.

In the second half of the twentieth century women would begin to work in the mainline denominations and other para-church organizations. We will save those stories for later. In the next few months we will cover the Progressive Era – women who ministered in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

 

 

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Still More Books About Extraordinary Women

These reviews include two famous women explorers, a godly pastor’s wife who wrote a very famous hymn, a champion of the poor, and a missionary to western Africa. It is marvelous how many ways God uses women to take the Gospel to the lost. I hope you will get these books. You will be inspired and blessed!

 

—  Soskice, Janet, The Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels, (Vintage Books: A Division of Random House, New York, 2010).

sisters of sinai bookDuring the nineteenth century the Bible came under attack by liberal scholars influenced by the so-called “higher criticism”. Critics not only doubted the dates of the Gospels but they doubted the integrity of the text itself.

Faithful Christians never doubted that the Word of God was given by the Holy Spirit and that the Scriptures had been protected by God down through the centuries. They longed to counter the claims of the liberals but there were very few ancient copies of the Scriptures to authenticate their claim that the Bible indeed was written by Paul and other men of God during the first century.

But God has continually protected His Word and in His providence directed the finding of evidence of its veracity. Twin sisters – Margaret Smith Gibson and Agnes Smith Lewis – came across one of the earliest known copies of the four Gospels in a secluded monastery in the Sinai Peninsula.

Janet Soskice tells the story of these remarkable twin sisters in a very engaging manner. Not only is this a great adventure story, but Janet Soskice gives all of the background to the machinations and intrigues of those scholars who hunted for ancient manuscripts. Cambridge University wanted to downplay any credit to the Smith twins, simply because they were women. God chooses whom He will to serve Him and these sisters gave a great gift to the world. You will have a hard time putting this book down.

 

—  James, Sharon, Elizabeth Prentiss: ‘More Love to Thee’, (The Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA, 2006).

Many people are familiar with the hymn “More Love to Thee”. Not many know that ite prentiss book was written by a very godly Christian woman after the nearly fatal illness of her daughter. Elizabeth had suffered many tragedies in her life but always remained faithful to Christ.

 More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee;
This is my earnest plea,
More love, O Christ, to Thee,
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

In this wonderful biography of Elizabeth Prentiss Sharon James relates the story of this virtuous pastor’s wife in a way that will bless you as you seek to grow in your love for God. For over one hundred and forty years Christians have been given hope by the words of Elizabeth Prentiss through her hymns and her writings. She truly lived for Christ and has inspired many to do the same.

 

—  Prentiss, Elizabeth, Stepping Heavenward,  (The Bible People, USA, 2014).

stepping heavenwardElizabeth Prentiss wrote many books and poetry. Her children’s stories were very popular in the mid nineteenth century. “Stepping Heavenward” is one of the books that remains popular today. Elizabeth’s hymn, “More Love to Thee” expressed all that she wanted for her life. That message is timeless and many Christian women have been drawn closer to God while reading this book.

Published in 1869, within thirty years more than 200,000 copies were sold. “Stepping Heavenward” relates the theme of the centrality of our love for God in the form of a story. It appears as a diary of a woman who gives the day to day events of her life as she prepares for eternal life with God.

There are many editions of “Stepping Heavenward”. The one referenced above also contains study questions that may be used by women’s Bible studies.

 

—  Kent, Deborah, Dorothy Day: Friend to the Forgotten, (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, 1996).

Deborah Kent presents this story beginning with Dorothy’s early memories of her Dorothy Daymother’s aid to the destitute and homeless after the great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, through the devastation of the depression, the aftermath of World War II, and the demonstrations for worker’s rights in the 1970’s, and many other causes.

Dorothy Day’s life was one of service to others for over four decades. She is well known as the leader of the Catholic Worker Movement. She was committed to social justice because of her love for Christ. Her Bible was her main solace.

Dorothy believed that the best way to get people to behave well was to set the example of Christian living. This she did until her death. Many people today are following in her path of caring for the poor with food, shelter, and love.

This edition of the biography of Dorothy Day is part of a series written for young people entitled, “Women of Spirit”. Most of these volumes seem to be out of print but if you can find them it will be rewarding. They tell the stories of women who made great contributions to society while highlighting their faith.

If you cannot find this edition, get any good book on Dorothy Day because her example of how to truly “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk” is what made her so endearing to those around her.

 

—  Lutz, Lorry, When God Says Go: The Amazing Journey of a Slave’s Daughter (Discovery House Publishers, Grand Rapids, 2002).

eliza davis george bookGrowing up a “poor little black girl” in Texas, Eliza Davis George learned about Jesus and then chose to serve Him by taking the Gospel to her ancestors in western Africa. She served in Liberia and lived to the remarkable old age of 100. Many hundreds of Liberians called her “Mother Eliza” as she rescued girls from forced marriages to old men and provided education for tribal peoples.

When the official leaders would not support her mission, she raised the funds herself. Mother-Eliza-Davis-GeorgeShe went to Africa with very little money but she knew God had called her and she went trusting in Him to care for her. When she returned to the States she raised money for Africa.

This feisty little woman will want to make you cheer as you read how she overcame so many obstacles to love people with the love of Jesus.

Lorry Lutz’s book reads like a novel and you will really enjoy it! You will be so blessed by this indomitable woman – one that I truly cannot wait to talk to when I get to Heaven!

 

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it is well with my soulMost Christians are familiar with the inspirational story about Horatio Spafford, composer of the words to the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul” (1873).

God allowed much tragedy in Mr. and Mrs. Spaffords’ lives and they lost their only son. Then they lost all of their possessions in the great Chicago Fire in 1871. In 1873 Horatio Spafford arranged a trip to Europe for his wife and daughters to help them recover from the tragedies. On the way the ship had an accident and all four of the Spafford daughters were drowned; only Mrs. Spafford survived.

On board the ship on the way to England to comfort his wife, Horatio Spafford penned the famous words, “When sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul.”

Later, Philip Bliss would be inspired by Horatio Spafford’s story and write the music to go with the poem. Millions of people have been comforted and inspired by this song.

Many people are also familiar with the hymn “More Love to Thee”. Not many know thatmore love to thee it was written by a very godly Christian woman after the nearly fatal illness of her daughter. Like Horatio Spafford, this woman had suffered many tragedies in her life but always remained faithful to Christ. This woman was Elizabeth Payson Prentiss.

 More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee;
This is my earnest plea,
More love, O Christ, to Thee,
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Elizabeth PrentissElizabeth Payson Prentiss was born in Portland, Maine on October 26, 1818. She came from a long line of ministers including Edward Payson (early seventeenth century) who was married to Mary Eliot, the sister of the famous John Eliot, “Apostle to the Indians”. Elizabeth’s father, also named Edward Payson and mother Ann Louisa Shipman had eight children (only six survived); Elizabeth was the fifth child. She was a beautiful, slender, dark-eyed, and quiet yet observant young lady. It was said that no one could know her without loving her. All of her life she would put others before herself.

Elizabeth’s father died when she was barely nine years old. She grew close to her mother. When the family moved to New York Elizabeth contributed to the care of her mother through teaching. In May of 1831, Elizabeth made a public profession of faith in Christ and joined the church. She never did anything by halves; she dedicated her entire life to serving Christ by serving others.

Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest;
Now Thee alone I seek; give what is best:
This all my prayer shall be,
More love, O Christ, to Thee,
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Elizabeth taught for several years in Richmond, Virginia. While she was away she carried on a correspondence with good friend Anna Prentiss. Anna’s brother George grew interested in Elizabeth. When the school closed in Richmond, Elizabeth moved back home and three weeks later she accepted George Prentiss’s proposal of marriage!

In 1845 George and Elizabeth settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts. George became the pastor of the South Trinitarian Church.

Elizabeth’s first child, Annie, was born in 1846. Twenty-one months later in 1848 Elizabeth had a baby boy, Edward Payson named after her late father. The joy of this baby was overshadowed by the death of Elizabeth’s mother only three weeks after Eddy’s birth.

Baby Eddy had many health issues including colic and sleeplessness. Elizabeth herself was plagued with sleeplessness and had to seek some rest. God blessed her with returning strength and she lovingly resumed her duties.

George was offered an associate pastorship at Mercer Street Presbyterian Church in New York City. The Prentisses moved there in 1851. This church was actively involved in mission work that thrilled the tender and caring heart of Elizabeth.

Early in 1852 Eddy succumbed to a severe illness (possibly meningitis). His suffering while dying was tremendous; the medical treatments at that time were painful and unhelpful. Elizabeth grieved tremendously. She was six months pregnant and had not recovered from her grief when her third child, Bessie (Elizabeth) was born.

Elizabeth was only to get some comfort from this newborn child for about a month. Then she noticed that something was seriously wrong. Elizabeth had a premonition that this child was going to die also. Little Bessie succumbed to a burning fever and died on May 19, 1852. Elizabeth was now left with “One child and two green graves.” Completely exhausted she went away for the summer with her remaining daughter, Annie and got some rest.

Elizabeth turned to writing for relief. She wrote many books, including one that is still popular today, “Stepping Heavenward”. She wrote a number of children’s books and she wrote poetry.

On July 23, 1854 Minnie was born. This child was often sick and fell seriously ill at age 18 months. The doctor told Elizabeth that Minnie was dying. Elizabeth stayed at Minnie’s side praying through the night and nursing her until Minnie finally pulled through.

Later in “Stepping Heavenward” she recalled, “Alas, my faith seemed, for a time, to flee, and I could see just what a poor, weak human being is without it. But before daylight crept into my room light from on high streamed into my heart, and I gave even this, my ewe lamb, away, as my free-will offering to God. Could I refuse Him my child because she was the very apple of my eye? No indeed …Could I not endure heart-sickness for Him who had given His only Son for me!” What joy in the morning when Minnie opened her eyes and gave her sweet smile to Elizabeth!

Her husband George thought that it was probably at this time that Elizabeth wrote the poem that would later became the famous hymn, “More Love to Thee”.

Let sorrow do its work, send grief or pain;
Sweet are Thy messengers, sweet their refrain,
When they can sing with me,
More love, O Christ, to Thee,
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

 Elizabeth had three more healthy children and published more books. Though a busy pastor’s wife who ministered to the needy in the congregation, Elizabeth put her own family’s needs first. Her heart ached for Eddie and Bessie, but she had much joy in her other children.

George suffered from failing health and the family moved to Europe for a time so he could rest. In 1860 they returned to New York where George took up his responsibilities again as pastor of the Mercer Street Church. He also held a chair and Union Theological Seminary.

Elizabeth was plagued off and on with severe health problems of her own. Once in 1873 she fell critically ill. She called her children to her bed thinking that the time had come when God was calling her home. She kissed them all good-bye but then recovered.

George and Elizabeth later settled in Dorset, Vermont. Elizabeth continued writing books until her last illness in 1878. She passed away on August 13, 1878 at fifty-nine years of age. A simple service took place the next day at her home. Family, friends, and neighbors all mourned this selfless woman who believed that this life is just a preparation for Heaven. Her hymn, “More Love to Thee” was sung at her funeral.

Then shall my latest breath whisper Thy praise;
This be the parting cry my heart shall raise,
This still its prayer shall be,
More love, O Christ, to Thee,
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

                                                                                    Elizabeth Prentiss

The music for the words was provided by William Doane (1832-1915), composer of over 2000 hymns including many for Fanny Crosby.

For over one hundred and forty years Christians have been given hope by the words of Elizabeth Prentiss through her hymns and her writings. She truly lived for Christ and has inspired many to do the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In the course of Agnes’s life she had on many occasions blessed a Greater Providence, but never more ardently than when she stumbled across this blackened wodge of text. How fortunate that her brother-in-law had prevented her from visiting St. Catherine’s six years earlier. How glorious now that former disappointment! Had she and Grace not been stopped at Suez by Gibson’s telegrams, they might have made the desert crossing and passed some time pleasantly enough with the monks, but as tourists – nothing more! She would not have read Rendel Harris’s description of the ‘dark closet’ or have studied Syriac. Nor would she have had any connection to the University of Cambridge, or the interest of its scholars in directing her enquiries; and of course no signed and stamped letter of introduction from the vice-chancellor to ease her progress in Cairo. She would not have had the faintest idea about cameras or the general familiarity with antiquities and manuscripts gained simply from having been married to Samuel Lewis, the keep of the Parker Library. *

 

(Continued from Part 1, February 23, 2016)

st catherine's monasteryAgnes Lewis and Margaret Gibson set out on the difficult and dangerous journey to St. Catherine’s monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai in 1892. They had longed for nearly ten years to be able to return to St. Catherine’s Monastery and view the Syriac manuscripts that were supposed to be hidden away in a dark closet. Circumstances, including their brief but happy marriages precluded them from fulfilling their dream.

Agnes and Margaret would later reflect that had they set out any earlier on this adventure they might not have been successful. They believed in a providential God and realized that going on the trip had to wait until His perfect timing.

During their wait, God was preparing them in ways they didn’t understand before they could set out. Agnes was disappointed when her brother-in-law, James Gibson sent her warnings not to go to Sinai because he thought it was too dangerous. She honored him and returned home. Later, she and her husband, Samuel Lewis, would travel to other places. She never lost her desire to see the Holy Land.

It is very exciting to see how the sisters would accomplish the desire of their hearts. They were in mourning as widows but did not sit around for long.  Agnes and Margaret would later understand the reasons why they were chosen to find the Sinai Palimpsest even though many men had failed and even though they had to wait. God granted them the success where others had failed.

In the first place, the monks at St. Catherine’s Monastery did not trust European scholars any more. In 1859 the famous Constantin von Tischendorf visited the monastery in search of the Codex Sinaiticus, one of the oldest known copies of the Bible ever found, predating other copies by almost 600 years. It seems that von Tischendorf told the monks that he wanted to “borrow” the manuscript so he could copy it. The generous monks believed him. Von Tischendorf made off with the manuscript to eventual worldwide fame. After publishing a facsimile of the valuable manuscript, von Tischendorf “loaned” it to the Tsar of Russia who had financed his trip. The Tsar took it as a gift.

The monks were wary of most visitors but they trusted a Quaker scholar named Rendel Harris. Harris had received a warm welcome at St. Catherine’s and he had been allowed to study a valuable work, a full text in Syriac called, “Apology of Aristides”. This find was important because it dated to early fourth century and proved once again that a completely developed Christian theology existed before the liberal scholars were willing to concede any developed Christian thought.

Secondly, while at St. Catherine’s Harris had been told about a dark closet off of a chamber beneath the archbishop’s rooms where more manuscripts were kept. He had not had a chance to look at them but he knew that Agnes and Margaret were planning a trip to Mount Sinai. After returning home from his own find, Rendel Harris rushed to Castlebrae, the twins’ home, and told them about his trip, his warm welcome by the monks, and what he suspected about the existence of other important manuscripts. He admired the twins and knew that they had the abilities necessary to be welcomed by the monks. He encouraged them in their dreams of visiting Sinai.

Thirdly, one of the reasons that Rendel Harris got along with the monks was because he could speak modern Greek. This impressed the monks and Rendel Harris knew that the ability to speak the language fluently would give the twins a warm welcome that could be refused to others. He also advised Agnes to brush up on Syriac so that she could positively identify the manuscripts that he believed were hidden away at St. Catherine’s. Agnes applied herself to learning this ancient language that was a variation of the Aramaic spoken by Jesus in the first century. God was getting this remarkable woman ready to identify one of the oldest copies of the Gospels in existence.

Fourthly, through her happy but brief marriage to the Cambridge scholar Samuel Lewis, Agnes was introduced into Cambridge society. She made many friends there. A traveler can’t just go waltzing into St. Catherine’s Monastery without letters of introduction and credentials. Agnes and Margaret were able to get an introductory letter from Cambridge and permission from the Archbishop in Cairo. This would not have been possible ten years before.

Fifthly, the sisters knew that they would not be able to take manuscripts away from the monastery. So these remarkably gifted women learned photography! They traveled with photographic equipment including 1000 film exposures. Later they would develop most of the pictures themselves. Again, God was preparing them to find and reveal the oldest copy of the Gospels then known to the world in the only way available at the time.

At last the day came for them to travel to Egypt. Ready now with command of Greek and Syriac, letters of introduction and permission, cameras, medicine, courage, and experience Agnes and Margaret set out to fulfill their dream of finding manuscripts that would prove that the Bible was written earlier than skeptics said.

When the sisters reached the monastery they were welcomed by the monks who had heard about them and were expecting them. The monks were delighted with these intelligent women who spoke perfect Greek. It also happened to be the custom of the monastery to welcome women pilgrims for their protection. The twins pitched their tents in the convent gardens and made friends with the monks. They began to work in the library the next day.

Agnes spotted a manuscript of dirty vellum. It seemed to be at first glance a collection of stories of women saints, but looking closer Agnes could see writing in columns underneath. This document was a “palimpsest”, containing pages where the old writing had been scraped down and new writing put on top. Agnes could see words such as “Of Matthew” and “of Luke” and realized that she was looking at possibly the oldest copy of the Gospels ever found. Agnes thanked the Lord for His providence in preparing her in every way to be the one to find this document.

Agnes and Margaret made photographic copies of their find and returned home. The Sinai Palimpsest (also called the Lewis Codex) proved to be from the fourth century. More remarkable still, it was a translation of a copy of the Gospels that dated to around 170 A.D. This was proof that Christianity was much older than the skeptics had said.

The scholars in Cambridge refused to acknowledge the find as significant. The sisters were ignored until scholars Robert Bensly and Francis Burkitt finally got a proper look at the photographs. They were excited and even frantic to get to the monastery to make a copy of the manuscript before anyone else could do it.

Agnes and Margaret put together another trip to Sinai with the three world famous scholars, Robert Bensly, Francis Burkitt, and their friend Rendel Harris and went back to St. Catherine’s to transcribe the manuscript. They were welcomed by the monks who gave them every assistance. When the work was finished the three returned home where most of the publicity centered around the sisters.

Dr. Agnes LewisAgnes and Margaret were finally accepted into scholarlyDr. Margaret Gibson circles. They were denied degrees by Cambridge which did not grant women degrees until 1948, but other institutions were willing to honor the sisters as they should be. They received honorary degrees from St. Andrews and Heidelberg, Trinity College and Halle.

Agnes and Margaret went on traveling and exploring. The sisters were welcomed by professors for their expertise in ancient manuscripts. The twins were instrumental in the founding of Westminster College in 1899. Margaret died in 1920 and Agnes passed away in 1926. Agnes wrote several books describing their travels and especially the journey to Sinai to St. Catherine’s.

Even in our day the Bible is criticized as a work entirely of humans containing errors. Unbelievers are always looking for ways to ignore the fact that the Scriptures are the very Word of God. God has protected His Word over the centuries. How wonderful that he used two women to find a lost manuscript that would help boost the veracity of Christianity.

It is so ironic that the men at Cambridge refused to accept the testimony of Agnes Smith and Margaret Gibson because they were women. And yet, because they were women they were allowed to do what many men before them could not do. Because they were faithful women they were allowed to handle the manuscripts at St. Catherine’s and give a great gift to the world.

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong… (I Corinthians 1:27)

 

*Soskice, Janet, The Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels. (Vintage Books, A Division of Random House, Inc., New York, 2010) page 126.

 

 

 

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