Has Church Doctrine Become Culturally Conditioned? (PART TWO)

PAUL’S STATEMENT STANDS!  (1 Corinthians 14) –

women-preaching

In fact, in many translations, including the Greek rendition available in the Parallel New Testament, part b of verse 33 is connected to verse 34, making the statement even stronger:

[33 b.] As [is the practice] in all the churches of the saints (God’s people),  [34] the women should keep quiet in the churches, for they are not authorized to speak, but should take a secondary and subordinate place, just as the Law also says.  [Gen. 3:16].

“Women” is translated “wives” by some modern translations, though the same word is rendered “women” in other passages.

1 Timothy 5:2 commands  younger “women” (same word) to marry.  Try “wives” there!

But even if it were “wives”, the command is generally disobeyed.

And why the word “your” in verse one?

“Do not rebuke an older man harshly. but exhort him as if he were your father…”

The letter is addressed to the church.  So then, the “your” refers to that church, not to the men of that church only!

Women in Church Should Be “QUIET”.

They are not permitted to speak and permission is denied because… God’s original standard was set down in Genesis, not because of some local restraint placed on them by woman-hater Paul.

In Paul’s mind, the opposite of female authority is female submission; not submission to male dominance but submission (subject to) God’s authority in the relationship (Ephesians 5:21, 27).

1 Corinthians 14:35 mentions a possible incident that may have given rise to Paul’s instruction, but this doesn’t in any way affect the strong language in verse 34.

I think that it is possible, women were shaming their husbands by raising their voice in the assembly; boldly questioning the speakers and ignoring the fact that their own husbands could supply them the knowledge needed.  At least this is the gist of the “myth” that has been created to make this verse understandable to us. Although, I’m not aware of any historical proof-text from which this story is raised.

Paul tells them that such action is not called for, that women are to be SILENT.

He settles the Corinthian issue, but in so doing, it should settle our issue too, if we will hear him.

SILENCE means no more questions!  It follows that this also means…no more TEACHING!

If the simple asking of a question is met with such shock from the man of God, with what spiritual rage would a full-blown lesson be met?

KEEP SILENT.  It’s shameful!  Is this not clear?

Much of the New Testament was written to correct a local issue.  But for the most part, we don’t shrug off the teachings because they were first written to the “early” Christians.  We should assume the eternality of the Word from God.  Why not here?

Paul goes on to ask, (1 Corinthians 14, verse 36, paraphrased)..

‘Are you the originators of Scripture?  Are you in charge here?  Is it to be your feelings and experiences that will determine the practices and doctrine of the church of God?’

More than that!  (verse 37)…‘even if there be among you a “godly” person who basks in his great revelations from Heaven, let him come down out of the clouds long enough to realize that we’re dealing with the Prophet Moses and the Apostle Paul.’

(Verse 38),  ‘Of course, if you’d rather be ignorant, go ahead, but to your own peril.’

But doesn’t Paul contradict himself here?

1 Corinthians 11:5, Paul earlier pointed out the phenomenon of the praying and prophesying woman.

“See, women DID speak out in the assembly!”

It’s good for us that Paul himself wrote both of the passages chapters apart, or men would be pitting Paul against other church leaders.  As it is, we need only to harmonize the thoughts of one man, convinced he didn’t contradict himself.

In the first place, it’s hard to prove that the woman mentioned here is praying or prophesying in a public assembly.  The context is again the man and woman relationship (verse 3), and could be easily seen as the area of the home.

Just a note in passing here, that people coming to this passage may be looking for relief for the poor restricted women, and only find more restriction (vss. 5-6); her liberty in the form of the head covering, another taboo topic to Western preaching.

In Paul’s letter to his traveling companion and young minister in training, Timothy, Paul gives instructions as to the setup of churches governmental structure.

Before stating the qualifications for a man who would be the church official servant, Paul specifically spells out the role of women, or “wives” if you prefer:

1 Timothy 2:9 (AMP):

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[9]  Also [I desire] that women should adorn themselves modestly and appropriately and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with [elaborate] hair arrangement or gold or pearls or expensive clothing.

Then being consistent with his word in Corinth and God’s Word to Adam and Eve, he demands silence and submission.

He goes a step further here with the step that’s implied to the Corinthian Church:

A WOMAN IS NEVER TO…

1.  teach a man, or…

2.  have authority over a man.

His reasons are not cultural, historical, or temporary.  It is not “wicked Corinth,” as some love to explain.  No, every age is wicked, including our own, as we almost certainly have entered the great apostasy.  

That said,  Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus (1:3), and it is here addressed.  And, his reasons are theological, Scriptural, and based in the origins of ALL things:

#1.  ADAM was formed first.

#2.  WOMAN sinned first, bringing the natural order under the Law.

I realize that these words are painful to the modern ear.  This is a “hard saying” to them.  But those who get their arms around hard sayings should allow it to make hardened soldiers of Christ, and not allow REBELLION to spoil the perfect work of God.

Would this APOSTLE approve of the present set-up of our churches?  Would he favor women on the ruling board of a congregation?  How about women teaching in our adult Bible class?  I think not!

“How about all these women the Bible talks about who were great “religious” leaders?

Probably the most prominent of Old Covenant women that comes to mind is DEBORAH.

If there’s a woman in the Bible that gives any support to “female leadership” advocates, it’s this incredible prophetess.  And yet, with close examination of what the Bible actually records, reveals that theimages entire extent of her work was the receiving of God’s WISDOM miraculously for the people who came to her as she “would sit under the palm tree.” This is how she “JUDGED” the nation through the WISDOM OF GOD, not the arm of fleshly power. Here is not an exalted elder.  Here was a simple handmaiden of the Lord who received His messages and passed them on.  She is never seen TEACHING in an assembly and taking AUTHORITY over men.  At the most, she claims for herself in the battles won, that she was “a mother in Israel”  (Judges 5:7).

There’s a PRINCIPLE established in DEBORAH, not broken:

In all visible ways, MEN must lead the people of God.  But this special woman of God teaches us that women will be used to receive revelation from God through PROPHECY, since gender is not a factor when the fullness of God is present.

This PRINCIPLE helps us understand more fully Paul’s seeming “contradiction” in 1 Corinthians 14.  

There, women are commanded to BE SILENT for all normal functions of the Church.  BUT, when God raises up a woman to speak (chapter 11), when He fulfils the prophecy of Joel to pour out His Spirit on His “handmaidens,” and the prophecy of the Word of the Lord, or pray empowered by that same Spirit, let not any take issue with them!

After Deborah judges, the kings rule Israel.  No women are seen RULING the kingdom except in gross disobedience (Jezebel).

IN THE LIFE OF JESUS…

In the life of Jesus Himself, it’s only with the most difficult “stretches” we see any women, even His mother, raised to “AUTHORITY” by His command.

  • Women give money to His ministry.
  • Women support their apostle husbands.
  • Women tell the story of Jesus to their neighbors.
  • Women praise Him and weep for Him and women see His resurrected Body and announce such…

BUT no woman rules or teaches any man in all the Gospels.

In the history of our Church, the Book of Acts, one must prove or lose their case dealing with church “issues.”

If you can’t DISCERN even a single female teacher or leader there, it becomes apparent that current female leadership is being driven, promoted by, another spirit.

We have run out of history!

The godly women of the Bible… ALL submitted to their husbands (Ephesians 5:24). And men, who are reading this…stop grinning at the words “submitted to” [Read Ephesians 5:25].  

The ungodly rebelled and were judged.  Women prophesied, but none ruled in Israel or the Church.  None were called upon to TEACH except by Paul, who asks older women to teach younger women (Titus 2:4).

Women are called to SILENCE in public assemblies except in the area of PROPHECY.

“Are there no other female voices to be raised?  

How about the woman Phoebe in the Bible?”  (Romans 16:1-2)

[1]  NOW I introduce and commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae.  [2] That you may receive her in the Lord [with a Christian welcome], as saints (God’s people) ought to receive one another.  And help her in whatever matter she may require assistance from you, for she has been a helper of many including myself [shielding us from suffering]  (Amplified Bible).

A total of TWO VERSES describe all we know of her.  We learn that she served the church, she needs assistance in that service, she helped many people, and she helped the apostle Paul.

To raise this SERVANT of the Lord to church office and leadership is to once more, ask Paul to contradict Paul!  All we know is that she SERVED!

The Greek “diakonos,” a term here applied to Phoebe, is translated SERVANT, deacon, minister at various times in Paul’s writings.  Paul and Phoebe were both called “diakonos” – SERVANT.  Paul wasn’t an “official” DEACON, nor was Phoebe.

Oh, how we all love to make a big deal out of titles!

Distinct from this general servant-hood, is the call for men to be “official” servants, deacons, chosen by the church as were the original 7 of Acts 6.

For these men, SERVICE was not given as they desired, but as the ELDERS needed. Yes, “deacons” could preach and minister in the miraculous, but their calling was to be “on call.”

There are MANY WOMEN who serve and served Jesus in the Bible, but none in AUTHORITY–NONE!

Paul didn’t allow it.

But wait, the apostle John has a word for us.  Actually, it’s Jesus speaking in him, and He IS mentioning a woman in a leading position in the local church of her day in Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-20).

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VERSE 20:  “But I have this against you:  that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and who is teaching and leading astray my servants…”

She is teaching, and obviously has quite a following.  She even calls herself a “prophetess”.  Yes, her name is JEZEBEL…the New Testament Jezebel.  And no, I’m not labeling ALL modern day female leaders “Jezebel.”  I refer that only a woman teacher of God’s people in all of Scripture is a “wicked” woman.

Here then is what I believe, the whole counsel on my thesis.  And, of course there will be many who disagree.  

WOMEN DO HAVE SPECIFIC TASKS TO PERFORM IN THE CHURCH!  AMEN!!

  • They are to stand behind their husbands, serving him as the Lord.
  • They are to pass the faith on to their daughters and grandchildren and other women who need teaching because of a lack of it at home.

But they must keep SILENT when the church assemblies gather for worship, prayer and the Word of God.

Is there a woman in this wicked age who can hear the VOICE of God and keep this hard word?

I truly believe that a special reward will be hers when the Lord, Who sees all, returns to claim His own!

bride4christ 

 


CREDITS & FOOTNOTES

The Interlinear Bible, Hebrew, Greek, English.

** For footnotes, photos, Bible translations used, see PART ONE.

The “Honey Bee” Prophetess (Part One)

“If the ironworker won’t, the carpenters will”

There is an old saying in the construction workforce, if the ironworker won’t do the job. the carpenters will.  I was in the plumbing contractors business where I retired, and the men in the field changed the saying to “If the pipe fitter won’t do the job, the plumbers will.”  In any case, you get the point.

It suggests that if ironworker won’t do the job, then the carpenters will.  However, that also suggests the structure might not be exactly what we want or what we were looking for to begin with.  It takes SKILL to do the task.

Lets see how this plays out in Scripture in The Book of Judges:

DEBORAH: Her Name Means “Honey Bee”–

The HONEY BEE
The HONEY BEE

I’ve always been fascinated with the meanings of names and how in some instances, how we can grow into their meanings.

For an example, my full name is MELVIN DALE THOMPSON.  “Mel” or “Melvin” means “chief”,  “Dale” means “valley”.  So put them together…Chief of the Valley.  Looking back at the age of 71 years, the name meaning has some significance.  How?  That’s another story.

DEBORAH comes from the Hebrew root, meaning to speak or promise.  It’s also where the phrase “Word of God” comes from and is identical to the word, meaning “BEE”.  Did she live up to her given name?  Let’s dive into the Word and do our own investigation.

DEBORAH’S VISION:

Her vision of the world during her day wasn’t shaped by the political climate, but by her relationship with God.

Though women of the ancient world didn’t usually become political leaders, DEBORAH was what Israel needed, a woman, a prophetess who heard God and believed Him.

She is a woman who had the needed courage and with her courage, aroused the people, enabling them to throw off foreign oppression.

DEBORAH IS A WOMAN AMONG MEN!

Some consider it unexpected for God to raise up a woman as a prophetess.  But the New Testament makes it clear:  God grants the gift of prophecy to women, and they are to practice it appropriately.

Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head… (1 Corinthians 11:5 NIV).

From that verse, we find that the essential element of a woman’s ministry as a prophetess in the early church was her clear submission to the male leadership in the church (evidenced by her wearing of a veil).  If I raise the “dander” in some ladies reading this Bible study, I’m just stating what Scripture says.  If you don’t like the connotation behind “submission”, try another word: “selfless love”.

In the New Testament Church–

A woman was to use her spiritual gifting in context of order established by the church leaders–just like anyone’s Spiritual Gifts.  This is always made possible because the gift of PROPHECY never “overwhelms” the one who receives it, and the spirits of the people are subject to the prophets–                   (1 Corinthians 14:32).

Why God Uses Deborah–

Might it have been she was the only one listening to God at the time?

Deborah serves us up notice in the church today a godly example of her servant like heart, her ability to delegate, her authoritative leadership, her willingness to serve God at any cost.

Deborah’s Character Development–

She was BRAVE…,

She was INTELLIGENT…

She was TRUSTWORTHY…

She was CONFIDENT–not just confident in her title of “JUDGE”, but CONFIDENT OF GOD’S WORD AND PRESENCE.

The Court of Judgement–

No large enclosed structure with columns and staircases on the outside.  Deborah ruled Israel under a PALM TREE that bears her name:

She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites came to her to have their disputes decided  (Judges 4:5 NIV).

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Joan of Arc

Now Deborah was more than an ARBITRATOR, she’s a prophetess, one who acts between God and man who lets the people know God’s will.  If I were to make a comparison of great women in history, my choice would be Joan of Arc.

Deborah is out in the “hill country” judging while her peers are at home weaving.  She goes into battle while other women are staying at home with their children.  Now before you jump to conclusions–I’m not knocking “stay at home Mom’s,” I exalt them.  It is not about what Deborah does, it’s why she does it.

God has asked her to do this task, no matter what the cost and Deborah acts in FAITH.  She probably would have been just as willing to stay at home and let the men lead.  But God calls her!  Why?  Were there no men to answer the call?

“Use them or Love them”–

Some have said that in times when men seem spiritually weak, God uses women instead.  I say it’s more accurate to say that the deeds and the faith of the women were more evident in these historical times.  Would I dare to say that history repeats itself?

The Lord gives GIFTS by His Spirit to ALL people.  If we don’t use them, they will be given to someone else.  I believe this was the case and setting, although, Scripture doesn’t actually state this as fact.

Is this a WARNING to the church?

Is it possible that God will raise up women to lead the church if the men don’t?  I don’t want to find out.

So as a man, I challenge the men to remain steadfast in their FAITH, be the spiritual leader of your family and in your church as God ordained it to be.

Judges 4:1-5:

Deborah under the Palm Tree
Deborah under the Palm Tree by Adriene Cruz

[1]  AND THE children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when Ehud was dead.  [2] And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.  [3] And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord; for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.  [4] And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lepidoth, she judged Israel at that time.  [5] And she dwelt under a palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Beth-el in mount Ephraim; and the children of Israel came up to her for judgement (King James Bible).

This day was a normal day in the life of Israel.  Deborah set up court and the people came and went with their disputes settled under a Palm Tree.

Deborah then calls for Barak–

BARAK is considered by many Bible commentators as a “noble warrior.”  DEBORAH speaking for God, gives him a noble task, a “knightly” charge:

[6] And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kadesh-naphtali, and said unto him,  Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying,  Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?  [7] And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him unto thine hand.

WHERE IS FAITH?

God says GO, we say “Maybe”–Give us a sign?–Prove to me you are God?

Today we have the written Word if we want to know what God says, we can read it!

READ verses 8 thru 10:

[8] And Barak said to her, If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.  [9] And she said, I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the trip you take will not be for your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.  And Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh,  [10] And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and he went up with 10,000 men at his heels, and Deborah went up with him  (Amplified Bible).

In a way, this is what Barak is doing:  “If you go with me, THEN…I will go.” 

At first glance, Barak’s words to Deborah didn’t seem unwise for him to ask Deborah to come with him.  Yet the fact remains that he demanded which demonstrates Barak trusted more in Deborah’s relationship with God than his own relationship with God.

Don’t we do the same at times in our faith walk.  We are asked by someone to pray, to share our testimony with strangers, to do something our pastor asks us to accomplish in the service of the Lord…and yet, deep inside our souls, the CONFIDENCE is absent.  We even ask the pastor,  “Who else is going to help?”  Why?  The answer is OUR RELATIONSHIP with our Father in heaven.

There will be no glory for you”

Because of this, Barak would not be the one who personally defeats Israel’s enemy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army.  It would be a woman who God Almighty would reward with His glory.

Now we would probably expect this to be fulfilled by Deborah, but this PROPHECY will be fulfilled unexpectedly.

Will pick up the story in The “Honey Bee” Prophetess (Part Two).