The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women

Just prior to John Knox returning from exile and becoming the leader of the Scottish Reformation and one of the greatest heroes in the history of the Christian faith, he wrote a polemical treatise against women in authority who lord over men. It was called The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.

And yes, Knox’ treatise is as harsh as you would imagine. It was written regarding his religious arguments with Mary of Guise, Mary Tudor, Mary Stuart, and Elizabeth Tudor. By employing the term “monstrous,” Knox meant “unnatural” and used the Bible to assert that women having authority over men was against nature. It did not help that the worst persecutions Knox faced – as well as all the Reformers – was often at the hands of women.

Knox believed (because the Bible teaches) that the primary place of women is within the home, serving in domestic capacity to strengthen, nurture, and minister to the husband and children in their lives so that they can actualize their potential.

Knox’s treatise led to Mary of Guise, Queen Regent of Scotland, to open a heresy trial against Knox and subsequently burn his effigy in Scotland. Awkward.

All of the above women, eventually, tried to imprison, enslave, or kill Knox. In the end, Knox’s God won, and Scotland became a Protestant nation. Knox prevailed, and the women lost.

Today’s Neo-Calvinist (also known as fake Calvinist) faux-Reformers who are swooning on their fainting couches over MacArthur’s assertion that Beth Moore should “go home” would be aghast at Knox’s assertions in The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.

You can find some of his words below.

I am not ignorant, that the most part of men do understand this malediction of the subjection of the wife to her husband, and of the dominion which he bears above her. But the Holy Ghost gives to us another interpretation of this place, taking from all women all kinds of superiority, authority, and power over man, speaking as follows, by the mouth of St. Paul: “I suffer not a woman to teach, neither yet to usurp authority above man” (1 Tim. 2:12).

Here he names women in general, excepting none; affirming that she may usurp authority above no man. And that he speaks more plainly in another place in these words: “Let women keep silence in the congregation, for it is not permitted to them to speak, but to be subject, as the law sayeth” (1 Cor. 14:34). These two testimonies of the Holy Ghost are sufficient to prove whatsoever we have affirmed before, and to repress the inordinate pride of women, as also to correct the foolishness of those that have studied to exalt women in authority above men, against God and against his sentence pronounced.

But that the same two places of the apostle may the better be understood: it is to be noted, that in the latter, which is written in the first epistle to the Corinthians, the 14th chapter (vvs. 7-32), before the apostle had permitted that all persons should prophesy one after another, adding this reason, “that all may learn and all may receive consolation;” and lest that any might have judged, that amongst a rude multitude, and the plurality of speakers, many things little to purpose might have been affirmed, or else that some confusion might have arisen, he adds, “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets;” as [if] he should say, “God shall always raise up some to whom the verity shall be revealed, and unto such you shall give place, albeit they sit in the lowest seats.”

And thus the apostle would have prophesying an exercise to be free to the whole church, that everyone should communicate with the congregation what God had revealed to them, providing that it were orderly done.  But from this general privilege he excluded all women, saying, “Let women keep silence in the congregation.” And why, I pray you? Was it because that the apostle thought no woman to have any knowledge? No, he gives another reason, saying, “Let her be subject, as the law saith” (1 Cor. 14:34).

In which words is first to be noted, that the apostle calls this former sentence pronounced against woman a law: that is, the immutable decree of God, who by his own voice has subjected her to one member of the congregation, that is to her husband. Whereupon the Holy Ghost concludes, that she may never rule nor bear empire above man; for she that is made subject to one, may never be preferred to many. And that the Holy Ghost does manifestly express, saying: “I suffer not that woman usurp authority above man” (1 Tim. 2:12). He says not, “I will not that woman usurp authority above her husband;” but he names man in general, taking from her all power and authority to speak, to reason, to interpret, or to teach; but principally to rule or to judge in the assembly of men. So that woman by the law of God, and by the interpretation of the Holy Ghost, is utterly forbidden to occupy the place of God in the offices aforesaid, which he has assigned to man, whom he has appointed and ordained his lieutenant in earth, excluding from that honour and dignity all women, as this short argument shall evidently declare.

The apostle takes power from all women to speak in the assembly. Ergo, he permits no woman to rule above man. The former part is evident, whereupon the conclusion of necessity does follow; for he that takes from woman the least part of authority, dominion, or rule, will not permit unto her that which is [the] greatest. 

You can find the word-for-word document in Modern English here (it is hard to find).

But, I’m sure it’s not what Knox said, right? It’s just how he said it. Today’s snowflakes would melt in his presence.

Today, Dr. MacArthur is being attacked for holding to the Biblical and historic position on women in ministry. He’s been shamed and attacked for what he said in his own church. That is because women want to rule over men, even going so far as to tell a pastor what he can and cannot say within the confines of the Lord’s own church house.

Do you have a problem with our position on women in pastoral or preaching ministry? Take it up with the word of God, and let God’s word be true though every man a liar (Romans 3:4).



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