Author studies women’s preaching role

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2011

FENTON — Morena Johnson Caleb felt called to preach the gospel, but after five years in the seminary she began to doubt the role of women as preachers.

“I was uncertain about my role as a woman and didn’t understand the calling to preach,” the Fenton resident said. “I didn’t know if God had called me to preach or if it was just something I wanted to do.”

Caleb shares her personal struggles and testimony in her latest book, “Woman, Are You Sure God Called You to Preach?”

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“I thought I was called to preach the gospel, but I found it hard to walk the straight-and-narrow path,” she said.

The book examines the role of women in the Bible and the thoughts of women who have wanted to preach, Caleb said.

“The book expresses my desire to be a preacher and my own personal struggle,” she said. “After five years of seminary training, prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit, I concluded that women were not sent out to preach the gospel.”

She earned a Bachelor of Theology degree from the Union American Methodist Episcopal Church School of Theology’s Boulden Seminary in Delaware in 2009.

Caleb said she continues to read and study religion daily “because I realized when I got my degree I didn’t know as much as I needed or wanted to know.

“I didn’t understand whether or not I should be a preacher, and my goal was to understand God’s will for my life,” she said.

Caleb said that after much meditation, prayer and reading the Scriptures, she realized it was not God’s plan for women to preach the gospel or to usurp authority over men.

In an excerpt from the book, Caleb wrote, “At first I was let down, but as I continued to study, I found that God had been merciful to women after the fall of man. Throughout the Bible, it is written that women are placed under the rule of man just as man is under the rule of Christ and Christ is under the headship of God. … There is none greater than God. It is His plan that a woman be submissive to her husband and obedient to the word of God.”

She now feels God has given her a role in life as a writer.

The book is her fourth in two years. She’s working on a fifth, “The Price King David Paid for His Sins,” which she hopes to have completed by the end of the year.

Caleb said she used prayers and her faith to overcome depression, loneliness and other personal struggles after a bad marriage, living in debt and dealing with bipolar disorder.

The book blends her personal struggle with the Biblical “curse” put on woman in the Garden of Eden by blending the Old and New testaments. She used the King James version of the Bible as her main source of reference.

“I read a lot of information on the Internet and commentaries about women preachers, but the book is basically based on the Bible,” Caleb said. “It gives a lot of details and interesting stories about the women in the Bible … the good, the bad and the wicked.”

Caleb said she researched where women fit and concluded that women aren’t supposed to be preachers.

“I searched the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and I have not found a single woman that was sent out to preach,” she said. “I firmly believe that Jesus didn’t send women out to preach. Apostle Paul didn’t, and there’s no record of the Holy Ghost sending women out, either.”

Caleb said most people will probably not accept her book, but adds that reading it will change their minds.

“Everything I’ve written is backed up with Scriptures,” she said. “None of it is my opinion. I read what the Bible actually says and not what the Internet or books say.”

She said she wrote about the responsibility of women according to the Bible and what it says about women.

“The hardest part when writing something from the Bible is you have to be sure you’re writing the truth and interpreting the Scriptures right,” she said. “I really prayed and depended on the Holy Spirit to guide me while working on the book.”

Caleb teaches Sunday school and is active in St. Joseph Zion Ministries in both Fenton and Kinder.