A contemporary version of John 9:13-41, by Patricia Johnston  |  26 October 2018  |  

Following instructions from their leader, who lived far away, certain church members wanting to be compliant to his orders reported to the Compliance Committee that a woman preacher had just baptized eight people. The Compliance Committee said, “This baptism cannot be ‘official’ and she cannot be from God, because she is a woman and women cannot do such things, but only men.”

They called the recently baptized persons to the Compliance Committee and questioned them. “Did this woman baptize you?”

“Yes, she baptized us.”

“Did she teach you to obey the rules of the Compliance Committee?”

“We do not know what the Compliance Committee is.”

“But what rules did she teach you to obey?”

“She told us about Jesus’ love and taught us to live and love as He did. It is the first time in our lives that we have peace in our hearts.”

“Tell the truth. Do you believe she, a woman, should have baptized you and by doing so she is a sinner against the Compliance Committee?”

“Whether or not this woman is a sinner against the Compliance Committee we do not know. But she knows Jesus and, as we said earlier, she taught us about Him. Do you want to know about Him?”

The Compliance Committee said insulting things to the newly baptized persons. “This woman doesn’t follow the Compliance Committee rules. She can’t baptize anyone. She doesn’t know our leader.”

“We don’t know if she follows the Compliance Committee rules, but she follows Jesus. That we know!”

And they removed the newly baptized persons from their church.

John 11:57

But the president and his helpers had given orders that anyone who found out that women were baptizing should report them to the Compliance Committee so they and the ones who employed them might be disciplined.


Patricia Johnston is a retired dean and professor at the School of Public Health, Loma Linda University where she worked for 25 years. She writes from College Place, Washington.

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