Prophet Joel tells of a time that should come afterward, in which the Spirit of
the Lord would be poured on all flesh, and in that dispensation their sons and
their daughters should prophesy. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, declared that
day had come, and now the daughters were as free to prophesy as the sons. Since
then, whenever the Holy Ghost comes on a people, God has laid His hands on some
choice women and called them into the work of the ministry.
tells us in the eleventh chapter of 1 Corinthians that women may pray or
prophesy with their heads covered, and in the same chapter he tells us that a
woman’s hair was given to her for a covering. What is it to prophesy? “He
that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and
comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:3).
has always opposed the work of the Lord, and if he can get the men to quit
preaching and return to secular work, and intimidate the women until they will
fear to enter the ministry, he will in a large measure stop the preaching of
holiness and the testimony to the same.
in a great revival in Texas some years ago, in a neighborhood where there was
great opposition to women speaking in church or exercising in any way in public,
many of the women began to get into the experience of entire sanctification, and
then, of course, they would shout the praises of God and testify at every
opportunity. There lived in that neighborhood an old maid, about thirty-five
years of age, who was much opposed to women testifying in church. It made her
very nervous when her women friends of her own church swept into the experience
of holiness and would testify freely to the experience. One night she became
more excited than ever, and sprang to her feet in the midst of the testimony
service, and told the preacher that she did not get up to testify, for she did
not believe it was allowed by the Scriptures. Then she asked, “What did Paul
mean when he said, ‘Let your women keep silent in the church’?” The
preacher replied, “I do not know. But the next verse says, ‘If they will
learn any thing let them ask their husbands at home.’ Suppose you try it.”
She instantly flew into a rage, and immediately left the church never to return.
Whether she found a husband to ask or not was never learned.
you ever notice that immediately following the statement just referred to in 1
Corinthians 14:34, 35, the very next verse contains three question marks?
“What? came the word of God out from you? or came it from you only?” Verse
37, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual let him
acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the
Lord.” He had just written in verse 31, “For ye may all prophesy one by
one.” No man ever heard of a church composed entirely of men, therefore the
women have a right to prophesy, for he gave the whole church the right. Philip
had four daughters who were women preachers “who did prophesy.” it was the
order of the Pentecostal church, and when the church returned to Pentecostal
days in the early days of the holiness movement the same order of things
prevailed, and there were many women preachers, who did much to plant holiness.
the prominent preachers of those days were Mrs. Peppers and Mrs. Mary Hogan, who
conducted many great revivals in Texas. They were Free Methodists. Mrs. E. J.
Rutherford (now Mrs. E. J. Malone), who was in the Methodist Protestant Church,
was almost constantly engaged in revival work and in demand in campmeetings. She
was a preacher of some note. Mrs. Mary Lee Harris (now Mrs. Mary Lee Cagle), has
for twenty-five years done much aggressive preaching and organizing in the
holiness movement. It was through her that the Church of Christ was brought to
Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. She was a real pioneer, and full of fire and
zeal. Mrs. Annie Fisher, the wife of Rev. W. E. Fisher, for years worked with
her husband in revival work. Mrs. Lula B. Rogers, the wife of Tom Rogers, was a
very magnetic and fervent preacher in these pioneer days. Mrs. Mary McGee Snell,
of Mississippi, did much evangelistic work throughout the South. Mrs. Johnny
Jernigan, one of the pioneer rescue workers, for years labored alongside of her
husband until she was called of God to take charge of the Nazarene Rescue Home
at Bethany, Okla., where over seven hundred girls were cared for in nine years;
and in that home at the Sunday afternoon preaching services and the Wednesday
night prayermeetings there were over five hundred conversions.
were also bands of girl preachers who went out two and two as evangelists, one a
preacher and the other a singer. Of these were Miss Essie Osborne and Miss Mae
Sallee. This band has done a mighty work in Oklahoma and throughout the South.
Miss Osborne is a master preacher.
Miss Lula Mae Dillbeck and Miss Verdie Sallee, who labored incessantly together
until the death of Miss Dillbeck in October, 1918.
Dillbeck was converted in Fannin County, Texas, in 1903, and a few months later
was gloriously sanctified in a meeting held by Rev. J. A. Selcer, and
immediately began preaching, but opposition to women preachers was so strong
that she feared to push on, being naturally a timid girl, yet in her teens, but
assisted her brother in revival work for some time before doing much active
preaching. In August, 1905, she went with her brother, W. D. Dillbeck, for a
meeting at Hennepin, Okla. Here Miss Verdie Sallee, who was at that time a
member of the Baptist Church, was sanctified, and called into the Master’s
work, as song evangelist, and like the spirits of Jonathan and David, they were
instantly joined together, and from that day were seldom seen apart. For six
years they were united in evangelistic work, and planted some splendid
Pentecostal Nazarene churches. They built a home at Bethany, living there alone
when not in meetings, except when some of their kindred stayed there with them
for a short time.
Miss Sallee was sanctified her pastor had her arraigned for heresy, and after a
church trial she was expelled from the church, but some months after he came to
her and begged her pardon, telling her at the same time that he had sinned
against God for turning her out of the church, and that in trying her for heresy
he had sinned against light, for he knew better all the time. But now, a
miserable backslider and away from God, he begged her to pray for him and often
he was at their altars seeking restoration, but until this day he remains a
miserable backslider. The church that took action against her was soon
disorganized and its people scattered. Great persecution followed and many
strange stories were told on the “girl preachers,” but God gave them greater
power and the tide swept away the refuge of lies, and they did a great work.
Their first meeting was near Erick, Okla., and since then God has given them
hundreds of souls.
worked with Rev. Mr. Dillbeck, a Methodist preacher, the brother of Miss Lula,
for awhile. While in a meeting at Paul’s Valley, Okla., a Methodist steward
became mightily enraged at his pastor for preaching holiness, and having a woman
preacher with him. He tried all day to telephone his presiding elder to get him
to come over and stop the holiness meeting, that he thought was tearing up the
Methodist church. Somehow he failed to get in connection that day. That night he
got under such awful conviction that he could not sleep, but went out into his
corn field, and prayed all night. Like Jacob, just at the break of day the
heavenly light broke in on him, and he was gloriously sanctified. The next day
the presiding elder, who had heard of the meeting and his effort to “phone”
him, came over with the necessary committee of preachers, and preferred charges
against Rev. Mr. Dillbeck, and attempted to stop the meeting. He was too late.
When the steward could not get through to talk with the elder, he tried another
line and telephoned to heaven, and the answer came, and when the presiding elder
arrived he was shouting the victory, and told the elder that he had arrived too
late. The meeting swept on with greater power, and that night there were twenty
at the altar seeking holiness, and all prayed through.
the pioneer women preachers in Oklahoma and the Indian Territory was Mrs. U. D.
T. Murray, a woman of mighty faith, who, together with her husband, did splendid
work in the early days in schoolhouses and in rural districts, and in some of
the towns of Oklahoma. She held meetings in Clay County, Texas, and was
assisting in the meetings where the Roberts Boys were sanctified at Deer Grove.
Later she held meetings near Marlow, Duncan, Erick, and in other localities in
reports some very remarkable cases of healing in her ministry, a special case of
a child that had been blind for years, near Grapevine, Texas, who was healed of
blindness, and is healed to this day. Persecutions followed, and at one place
where she went to hold meetings she was left alone with her husband to sleep in
the schoolhouse overnight, but God gave the victory, and thirty souls were saved
at that meeting. At Chickasha, Okla., she had a great meeting in 1907 where
there were 130 professions.
is at this writing doing jail work in Oklahoma City, with some other workers,
and there are an average of fifteen saved in the jail each month.
Mattie Mallory was also one of the prominent women preachers in Oklahoma, and
did much to plant a safe work in that state. She also started a school, an
orphanage, and a rescue home at Oklahoma City, which we have told you about in
the chapter on Oklahoma.
Mrs. E. J. Sheeks, of Arkansas, did a splendid work in that state, in the early days of the movement, planting the church work as she went, thus conserving her work, much of which stands today. Also Mrs. Fannie Hunter, who for some time labored with Mrs. Harris; and others whom I can not recall, but their names are in the book of life.