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CONTEXT is key

CONTEXT is key

Context is key on WIM by Cheryl Schatz

Below is a snippet of my new blog post on my new Women in Ministry blog address. For direct access to the new blog site and the entire article, go to http://www.mmoutreach.org/wim/2016/09/17/context-is-key/ Make sure that you subscribe to the new blog address to receive any new posts.

CONTEXT is Key

Recently, I listened to a pastor describe the context of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. I was very interested to hear what he had to say since I had never heard anyone explain the context of 1 Corinthians to show how there is support for the silencing of women. I was quite surprised when he claimed the context of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 was 1 Timothy 2.  I had heard him emphasize the importance of context, context, context many times. However, his explanation of what qualifies as context was always the same as mine. The context of a disputed verse are the verses and chapters that surround it. It is never a passage in another book. While another passage in another book can be related, it isn’t the context. So I asked him again. Could he please give the direct context from the book of 1 Corinthians that supports the silencing of women. I have not yet heard back from him, but I thought it would be a good idea to go back through the entire book of 1 Corinthians to gather all of the evidence that Paul documents for why the two verses of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 were added to his letter. I found so much more than I expected from looking at a wider context! There is way more material than I could put into one article, so I am going to try to distil the evidence into categories and then I will give a conclusion of Paul’s reasoning. I will challenge anyone who thinks I have not considered the entire context. I welcome you to bring me correction and show me the supporting context from the book of First Corinthians that defines and upholds the silencing of women in the church.

CONTEXT: The Corinthian’s Letter to Paul – Questions and Claims

  • 1 Cor. 1:11 Paul reveals there are quarrels among the Corinthians – information passed on to him from Cloe’s people. The key purpose of the book is to deal with these conflicts and quarrels. Watch carefully throughout the book of 1 Corinthians how Paul ties in his correction with the source of the conflicts.
  • 1 Cor. 7:1 Paul mentions a letter that the Corinthians had written to Paul. The letter from the Corinthians to Paul plus the report from Cloe’s people bring to Paul information about the quarrels.
  • 1 Cor. 7:25 Paul moves on to another area of concern; “Now concerning” virgins.
  • 1 Cor. 8:1 “Now concerning” things sacrificed to idols.
  • 1 Cor 16:1 “Now concerning” the collection for the saints. All of the “now concerning” references are Paul answering what had been sent to him in writing.

Other comments that Paul makes do not directly reference the letter from the Corinthians, but they appear to answer challenges, claims or arguments. For example, 1 Cor. 6:12 says:

1 Corinthians 6:12 (NASB) All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

Are “all things” lawful for Paul? The negation that follows appears to be Paul’s answer to the writer of the letter who claims not to be under any law. “All things are lawful for me,” the letter says, but Paul answers “BUT NOT all things are profitable.” Again, “All things are lawful for me,” the writer concludes, but Paul answers, “BUT I will NOT be mastered by anything.” Paul’s testimony in all the churches is that we are under the “law of Christ.” We can fulfill the duty to Christ through love and service to our brother (Gal. 6:2.) Anytime a statement is made in 1 Corinthians that appears contradictory to Paul’s known position we can suspect that Paul is dealing with issues that were presented to him, for Paul does not contradict himself. The fact that Paul consistently speaks about setting aside what is good for oneself and aiming for what is helpful for others as the “common good” should tip us off that the arrogant claim that “all things are lawful” is part of the quarrel among the Corinthians.

Click here to read the full article.

Ephesians 5 infected with the mindset of the world

Ephesians 5 infected with the mindset of the world

Worldly infection on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

In my last post I presented one of the best sermons that I have ever heard on Ephesians 5, regarding the evidence of Spirit-filled lives for both men and women.  This post is on the opposite of the Spirit-filled life which is an influx of worldly infection through male-centered pride. The outgrowth of this infection is the teaching that encourages men to focus their efforts on taking the “lead” over women, putting them under their authority and control. They are taught that women were made to be led and when men don’t take leadership over women’s lives, women will not be able to fulfill their “role” in Christ.  Recently I heard a teaching where young Christian men were rebuked for taking the authority over their girlfriend’s by deciding for them what university courses they would register for. The speaker chastised the young men and told them that they were “not yet” responsible for making their girlfriend’s decisions. They needed to wait until they actually became their husbands and then they had this authority. It is no wonder that many women are surprised with an entirely different man on their wedding day than who they thought they were marrying. The teaching that men are responsible for the entire home including their wife and her spirituality has caused many young men to subjugate their women in order to fulfill their calling and for the wife’s “own good”. The spiritual harm that has resulted from the teaching that the man has the mandate to rule his wife for God, has caused untold pain and suffering and a stifling of the woman’s ability to seek after God for her own life. She is no longer in control of the exercise of her own gifts and calling – he is. 

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Phil Johnson and the Monstrous Regiment of the Discernment Divas

Phil Johnson and the Monstrous Regiment of the Discernment Divas

discernment-divas on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

Phil Johnson over at Pyromaniacshas struck up some heat on a post that he titles “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of the Discernment Divas”.  In this post and in his subsequent comments he makes his position plain that women are not allowed to publicly point out error of a “duly ordained pastor”.  Phil classifies many “housewives and homeschool moms” as bad discerners who are discernment divas.   These “divas” believe that God has called them into a ministry of discernment but their abilities are not in rational understanding of doctrinal truth but an ability “to use a really sharp tongue” which Phil says is counter productive and embarrassing.  Phil doesn’t seem to mind that this may offend a lot of women as he tells Friel that he is a descendent of the John Knox clan. It was John Knox who offended more than a few when he wrote the book The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women in 1558.  In this book, Knox wrote that women compared to men were blind, weak, sick, impotent, mad, frenetic and their counsel is foolish. 

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Why the eye cannot say to the hand "I don't need you"

Why the eye cannot say to the hand "I don't need you"

Why the eye cannot say to the hand/ Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

The body of Christ is a body ministry where each of us are needed and each gift that God has distributed among us is needed.  So why is it that many men say that they do not need for a woman teacher when this personal rejection of their own need is contradicted by 1 Corinthians 12:21?

1 Corinthians 12:21 (NASB95)

21And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

Why does the Bible say that the eye cannot say to the hand that others may need you, but I have no need of you?  In other words, why is it that some say what the Bible says they cannot say

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Calling God to account for His gifts

Calling God to account for His gifts

God's gifts on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

While God is Sovereign, some men believe that they can set a limit on God’s gifts.  In the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s doctrinal stand, they believe that God is allowed to distribute gifts to men and women alike with the gifts listed in 1 Cor. 12:4-26 but that He does not gift women with the gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 or 1 Peter 4:10, 11 for those gifts are for men alone.  Randy Stinson and Christopher Cowan writing an article for the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood a work of CBMW write that: 

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Common objections: women's speaking and leading dishonors men

Common objections: women's speaking and leading dishonors men

shame on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Another common objection to women in ministry is the claim that when women speak and lead publicly it dishonors men.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) speaks of this as dishonoring the “calling” of men:

We would say that the teaching inappropriate for a woman is the teaching of men in settings or ways that dishonor the calling of men to bear the primary responsibility for teaching and leadership. This primary responsibility is to be carried by the pastors or elders. Therefore we think it is God’s will that only men bear the responsibility for this office. (pg 64 online version)

One thing that we can notice from the quote above is that CBMW says “we think it is God’s will…”.  The fact that they don’t know for sure is telling.

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Common objections to women in ministry

Common objections to women in ministry

Witness on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

 

One of the first objections to women in ministry is the fact that Jesus chose only males as his twelve apostles. If Jesus only chose men for this special “class” of people who were to be His witnesses of the resurrection, then didn’t Jesus show by this act that He does not allow women to minister in the church as men alone are to have a special position of authority?

I would like to suggest that Jesus deliberately chose men as part of the group of 12 who were to be witnesses to the resurrection since these men were to be witnesses to the world while Jesus assigned women to be the first witnesses to the church

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Two gifts or one? Pastors and Teachers

Two gifts or one? Pastors and Teachers

Two gifts pastor and teach on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

The bride of Christ has been given gifts but are teacher and pastor two gifts or one?

God has given many gifts to the church and the main purpose of the gifts is to edify the body of Christ so that God will ultimately be glorified.  Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 14:12 that we are to strive to excel in the gifts that will build up the church.

1 Cor 14:12  So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. ESV

While Paul encourages Christians to excel in building up the church, most complementarians do not believe that women are allowed to build up the church by being gifted as teachers.  How can they disallow the Holy Spirit’s ability to Sovereignly decide who receives the gifts?

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Does a woman need a spiritual covering?

Does a woman need a spiritual covering?

umbrella2 on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Does a woman need a human spiritual “covering”?

Submission and authority are a big issue in the church today.  Closely tied into the issue of authority is the teaching that women need a spiritual “covering.”  Men, we are told, are to be the spiritual “covering” to provide protection and to allow the man to have the accountability. But is a human “covering” a Biblical teaching?  There is no New Testament concept of a human “covering” and only one clear human “covering” in the Old Testament

There was a tradition in the Old Testament of the kinsman redeemer who would “redeem” a widow by marrying the widow of a deceased relative.

Ruth 3:9  He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative.”

Ruth 3:10  Then he said, “May you be blessed of the LORD, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich.

Ruth 3:11  “Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.

Ruth 3:12  “Now it is true I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I.

Ruth 3:13  “Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the LORD lives. Lie down until morning.”

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Do the genders have different functions?

Do the genders have different functions?

I am creating a new post to continue the great discussion that we have been having on a previous post while I am out of the country.  The original discussion is on this post http://mmoutreach.org/wim/2009/07/05/wayne-grudem-part-2/ and since we have grown to over 240 comments, I would ask that we continue our discussions with Mark the complementarian here.

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 8

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 8

Freedom or Restriction? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

Responses to question #4

In the last blog post Cheryl Schatz posed her 4th set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #4 and Mike’s rejoinder.

Cheryl Schatz responds:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 7

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 7

What authority do men have to restrict women's gifts? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

This is question #4 of a 10 question discussion/debate between Mike Seaverand Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry.  The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz.  Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl.  Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.  Mike’s corresponding post on his blog is here.

#4 Question by Cheryl Schatz:

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Interview with the Apostle Paul

Interview with the Apostle Paul

paul on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

This post will be a simulated interview with the Apostle Paul taken from the position of what he might say if we could transport Paul from the New Testament account through a time tunnel into our present day.  We are interested in asking Paul his reasons for what he wrote about women and what he thinks about the present day church regarding women’s ministries.  However the interviewer that gets first “crack” at Paul will be a complementarian Christian who strongly believes that women are restricted from teaching men in the church.  The interviewer’s name will be “Doug”.

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A Christmas post – does the star of Bethlehem belong to satan or God?

A Christmas post – does the star of Bethlehem belong to satan or God?

While this post isn’t exactly a “Women in Ministry” post, I think it does highlight the importance of men and women working together in complementary ways for the benefit of the body of Christ and for ministry to the lost. God often uses women in ways that are different than he uses men simply because he has made us to provide what is missing.  This is the definition of a helper – one who provides what the other is lacking.  Together men and women can make a great team each uniquely providing their gifts with teaching provided by not just one but both as a full rounded view that is beneficial for the common good.

My gift is seeing outside the box on disputed issues.  I have the gift of seeing in scripture what others miss. The article below was written by myself at least ten years ago as an apologetic response to those who see the star of Bethlehem as a satanic tool that was used to guide ungodly men who brought about the deaths of many baby boys in Israel and whose actions also threatened to destroy the Son of God as a child.  I think that at this time of year it is a good article to post because there are many naysayers who dispute Christmas as a freedom for Christians to celebrate the birth of the Messiah.  I think you will find the following dialog to be an interesting read and could be helpful the next time a Jehovah’s Witness comes to your door and tells you that Christmas is pagan and the star of Bethlehem was satan’s star sent by the enemy to bring death and destruction.

The following article is in dialog form for ease of reading.  It is a simulated dialog between a  Christian named Chris and a Jehovah’s Witness named Joe.  This article has been used by God in a mighty way for many years to free those who used to be bound by the Jehovah’s Witness religion regarding their fear of Christmas.  Those who come out of this false religion remain bound by their traditions until the word of God is used as pure water to wash away the false doctrine. (Note the New World Translation is the Jehovah’s Witnesses own in-house translation).

cheryl_schatz_star3

Was the Star of Bethlehem satan’s star?

By Cheryl Schatz / MM Outreach

(original article on line found here)

Chris: Joe, can you tell me why the Watchtower believes that the star of Bethlehem was Satan’s star and that the wise men were led by Satan?

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Spiritually different by design?

Spiritually different by design?

ducks2-Women-In-Ministry-by-Cheryl-Schatz

CBMW (Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) puts on conferences called “Different by Design” and in these conferences  they teach that God created men and women different for different purposes.

While we can agree with CBMW that men and women are created physically different, does this mean that God created them also spiritually different?  How will we know?  Let’s ask ourselves some questions to see if the bible gives any indication that men and women are spiritually different.

1.  Do men and women have different ways for being saved?

2.  Are men and women designed to come before God in prayer in a different way?

3.  Are there lists of spiritual gifts that are listed for only men or only women?

4.  Do men and women inherit spiritual “sonship” in a different way?

5.  Is the command to make disciples given only to one gender?

It appears to me that what CBMW does is a bait and switch, confusing physical and biological differences with spiritual differences.

In our next post we will look at Galatians 3:28 to see how the complementarian and egalitarian camps look at this verse very differently and how we can determine which of these views is correct or if both of these views is flawed in some way.

What do you think?  Does scripture list our spiritual make up as differently designed by God?

1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 concludes with Paul's commands

1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 concludes with Paul's commands

We have been going through 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, the passage that appears to silence women in the church to see how carefully Paul has constructed his words in 1 Corinthians 14:36 to contradict the silencing in verses 34 & 35.  (For past articles on this topic, please see the 1 Corinthians 14 section).

Now we come to Paul’s conclusions and in keeping with the force of the commands that Paul has given throughout chapter 14, Paul ends with two commands that completely blow away any misunderstanding that verses 34 & 35 are Paul’s words to the church instead of a quote from the Corinthian’s letter to Paul.

What is “therefore” there for?

Paul says in 1 Cor. 14:39 “therefore” my brethren…  The word “therefore” is a conjuction that joins together Paul’s words in verses 36-38 with the commands in verses 39 and 40.  All of this directly contradicts the injunction found in verses 34 and 35.  Let’s see how Paul concludes his contradiction of the silencing of women.

1 Corinthians 14:39  Therefore my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy…

The first command of Paul’s in his summary is a repeat of what Paul had already commanded in verse 1.  Paul writes in Philippians 3:1 that repetition is for our safety.  The body of Christ is to desire earnestly to prophesy and this repetition at the end of the chapter is to make sure that we “get it”.  Remember that Paul gave the reason why they were to desire earnestly to prophesy and the reason is for the edification of the church (1 Cor. 14:3, 4)

Speaking forth and keeping silent

Now let’s have another look at the entire chapter of 1 Cor. 14 to see what pattern is set forth regarding speaking and not speaking so that we can completely understand Paul’s summary.

“Speaking forth” allowed:

  • All commanded to seek spiritual gifts especially prophesying in the assembly  (verse 1)
  • Prophesying in the assembly edifies, exhorts and consoles  (verse 3)
  • Prophesying in the assembly edifies all  (verse 4)
  • Gifts for use for the common good are greater than a gift that only edifies one’s self (verse 5)

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Women preaching equated with adultery and homosexuality

Women preaching equated with adultery and homosexuality

Wade Burleson has commented on Irving Bible Church’s decision to allow women to preach the gospel to the congregation on a Sunday morning and the attacks that this church has experienced because of this decision.  Wade writes:

I shiver when I hear my fellow evangelicals call a church that asks a woman to preach the gospel on Sunday morning a church of “grave moral concern.” WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT FEMALE PASTORS!

The idea that a woman teaching or preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ is a “grave moral concern” shows us how far the church has fallen from the place of accepting one another as brothers and sisters in Christ who have gifts given for the benefit of “one another”.  Is not the “grave moral concern” rather an issue of saying that “I” (a man speaking) do not need “a woman” teacher?

1 Corinthians 12:21  And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

Why is it that scripture says we “cannot say” something that we do say?  The scripture says that we do not have permission to say that women preachers and women teachers are not needed by some in the body of Christ.  When we reject God’s gifts merely because of the package that they are housed in, we are rejecting the Lord Jesus in this area.  Jesus is responsible for assigning the gifts.  If he did not want a female to teach a male the gospel, then Jesus should have created a list of female gifts which list would not include teaching.  Then it would be easy for men to disregard something that doesn’t exist.  When are we going to stop saying what scripture has forbidden us to say?  Saying “I” do not need you and your God-given gift should be treated as a serious moral concern.

Women in ministry – asking the right questions

Women in ministry – asking the right questions

Have you ever found that your discussions with hierarchists goes nowhere fast because they say they have heard the egalitarian arguments before and they are not willing to listen to what you have to say? Perhaps we are missing an opportunity to engage them because we are wanting to teach them first instead of letting them teach us. What would happen if we let them teach us by asking them the “right” questions?

Those who believe in the hierarchical view which has restrictions on women that forbid women from teaching the bible to men, base their belief primarily on one verse – 1 Timothy 2:12. Instead of debating with them what this verse means, why not take one step back and ask them two important questions? First of all ask them if 1 Timothy 2:12 is a law of God that forbids godly women from teaching biblical doctrine to men? When you have established that 1 Timothy 2:12 is a law of God forbidding this activity, ask them when this “law” came into existence? Did it come into existence before Paul wrote it to Timothy or did it come into existence at the time that Paul wrote 1 Timothy 2?

Let’s consider the ways that this question could be answered.

1. If they say that this “law” came into existence at the time that Paul wrote 1 Timothy 2, then it means that there was no “law” prior to the its creation with Paul. This means that women prior to New Testament times had no restrictions on teaching the bible to men. Does this make sense? Is it possible for Old Testament women to have more freedom than those women who became believers in Christ through Paul’s ministry? This doesn’t seem logical. Why would God allow women for thousands of years the freedom to teach the bible to anyone without regard to gender and then suddenly this bible teaching becomes a sin? If it was a sin, how would the women believers who were there before Paul wrote the “law” in 1 Timothy know that it was a sin? Priscilla apparently had no idea that her teaching the bible to Apollos and her correcting his doctrine was a wrong thing to do. Priscilla taught the bible with authority by correcting error.

2. If they say that the “law” that stopped women from teaching the bible to men was created before Paul wrote it down in 1 Timothy 2, and Paul was merely referring back to a “law” that already existed, where is this “law” written down? There is no such “law” in the Old Testament that could possibly be linked back to. If they try to say that the “law” was recorded in Genesis 3:16 with the phrase “he will rule over you”, remind them that this could not possibly be a “law” that forbids women from teaching the bible to men. After all if Genesis 3:16 was really God’s will that wives were to be ruled by their husbands, then women would have to obey their husband’s command to teach the bible to men.  My husband, for example, has been very strong in encouraging me to teach men and women alike with the gifts that God has given me. If I am to obey my husband I will teach men the bible instead of turning them away.

So instead of quibbling about whether there is a “law” that forbids women from teaching the bible with authority, why not ask them when this “law” started? See if they can figure it out.

Today I had the opportunity to read a blog where Bob Cleveland posted a comment that I really appreciated. It is located here.

Bob commented:

If a woman has the gift of teaching she oughtta teach; to anybody who wants and needs to benefit from her God-given gift.

This really touched me. It puts the onus on the one who wants and needs to benefit from her God-given ability. I believe that this is why scripture tells us to submit to one another. We cannot take authority over someone else and force them to listen to us. The power is in the hands of the one who submits. The submission is not so that we can be under someone’s thumb. The submission is so we can benefit from what God has given as a gift to them for our benefit. When God has given his precious gifts of teaching and insight on the scriptures to a woman, we should honor God by submitting to learn. Do you want to benefit? Don’t accuse a godly Christian woman of being in sin because she has been given insight into the bible. This gift from God through her is given freely to anyone who is willing to receive it. If you want it, you should be able to freely receive.

Scripture also tells us that all of us are “needed”. God has placed his children into the body with a special gift given to each one for the benefit of the body. We are not allowed to say that some members are not needed for our benefit. Each one has been placed in the body and each one is to function for the common good.

1 Corinthians 12:21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you“; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

When a man turns away from learning the bible because it is being taught by a woman, he is not really rejecting her but God who gave her what is needed for the health of the body. He is saying that others may need her, “but I don’t need her”. By refusing the good gift, he is refusing to submit to receive from God and he is judging God because of the vessel that God has himself chosen to use. Such a one has broken a direct prohibition of God given in 1 Corinthians 12:21.

If there are any complementarians or hierarchists reading this who would like to answer these questions, please feel free to interact on this post. I believe in treating brothers in Christ with respect even if they disagree with me on these secondary issues. Each of us is a member of the same body, bought by the shed blood of our precious Lord and Savior and I desire to honor other members of the body of Christ who are not the same as myself.

Spiritual gifts a means for obedience

Spiritual gifts a means for obedience

This is the last in our series about spiritual gifts and here we discover that spiritual gifts are a means for our obedience.

Scripture is clear that we need to desire spiritual gifts but we are also to use our gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ. Paul commands us to desire spiritual gifts because the church needs this edification.

1 Corinthians 14:1 Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

This verse is in the imperative and it is a command. The use of these spiritual gifts is not just an option but it is a matter of obedience. Jesus gave a parable that illustrates the fact that the use of God’s gifts is imperative and we will be called to account for not using our gifts.

Matthew 25:14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.
Matthew 25:15 “To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.
Matthew 25:16 “Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents.
Matthew 25:17 “In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more.
Matthew 25:18 “But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
Matthew 25:19 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them.
Matthew 25:20 “The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’
Matthew 25:21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
Matthew 25:22 “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’
Mat 25:23 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
Matthew 25:24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.
Matthew 25:25 ‘And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’
Matthew 25:26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.
Matthew 25:27 ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.
Matthew 25:28 ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’
Matthew 25:29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.
Matthew25:30 “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

As women we desire to use the gifts that God has given us for the benefit and edification of the body of Christ just as we are instructed to do in 1 Corinthians 14. There are those who stand at the door of the assembly and refuse to let women’s gifts in. They see themselves as doorkeepers and as official spiritual gift police whose position it is to stop women’s gifts from being used for the edification of men. But we desire to be faithful to God and when man comes against what God has ordained, we must obey God rather than man.

It was on this day 490 years ago that a Catholic priest named Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses Against the Sale of Indulgences” on the Door of Wittenberg Castle. October 31 became known as Reformation Day because Martin Luther refused to accept man’s tradition over the bible. Martin Luther’s own words ring loud and clear against man’s imposition of laws and tradition that are not found in scripture. He stood strong as he said:

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason and not by Popes and councils who have so often contradicted themselves, my conscience is captive to the word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.

Pastor Wade Burleson has written a wonderful word of encouragement on this Reformation Day that I would like to quote:

Have a great Reformation Day, and may you and I work toward reform in our churches and our convention that leads to our collective conscience held captive to the word of God – and nothing else. Man’s rules, religious regulations or denominational traditions that pretend to be on par with Scripture and lead anyone away from faith in Christ alone, trust in Scripture alone, and rest in God’s grace alone are to be resisted with as much energy as Luther resisted indulgences. Here we stand, we can do no other.

Martin Luther faced death as he stood against the religious rulers of that day. Today women do not face death but many of them face name-calling, prejudice and character assassination merely because they chose to be obedient to Christ with their God-given gifts. But no name-calling or character assassination will ever come close to stopping us from ministering in Jesus name when it is the Master who has commanded us to be obedient.

As Luther stood strong against the tradition of men, I too want to stand strong in encouraging the use of women’s gifts that God has commanded all of us Christian woman to use for the benefit of the entire body of Christ. Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason that women are not allowed to use their God-given gifts for the benefit of men, and not by Popes, church councils or men who have set themselves against women’s gifts used for the edification of men, but who have also so often contradicted themselves in their man-made rules about what women can and cannot do, my conscience is captive to the word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.

Spiritual gifts and authority

Spiritual gifts and authority

What has the spiritual gifts got to do with authority? It has plenty to do with God’s granting us all authority to use our gifts as representatives of God himself. In 1 Peter 4:10, 11 God tell us:

1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
1 Peter 4:11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Our gifts come with the ability to use these gifts with the authority from God himself. The one who speaks is to speak as speaking the “oracles of God” or the “utterances of God”.

While authority to operate in our gifts has been given to us, nowhere in scripture is authority given as a power to use over someone else. Jesus gave authority over the demons to his disciples, but the leaders of the church have not been given authority over people.

Matthew 10:1 Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

It was the worldly people who took authority over others as their right.

Matthew 20:25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.

But in the church, authority is only given as an authority to serve and authority to use our gifts. It is never given to be used to take control over another person in the church. The Christian way is service.

Matthew 20:26 “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,
Matthew 20:27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;
Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Since authority is to be used in the church for service and not for domination of one person over another, authority to use one’s gifts belongs equally to men and women in the body of Christ.

Gift vs Office and women in ministry

Gift vs Office and women in ministry

Continuing in our series on the gifts and their use by men and women in the body of Christ, we come to an unusual passage where the gift seems not to be a thing but a person.

In Ephesians 4:7, 8 we see that grace is given to each one of us apportioned out by Christ himself:

Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Ephesians 4:8 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”

The Greek word for “men” is a generic term meaning mankind and applies to both men and women. Both men and women (each one of us) is given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Continuing on with verse 11 we find that the gifts that Christ gives in this passage are gifts of people for the equipping of the church.

Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
Ephesians 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

Now take a look at the first gift which is that of apostle. Some consider this not to be a gift but an office. In fact this is the way that the first apostles may have looked at it because they set out to appoint a replacement for Judas.

Acts 1:20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE, AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT’; and, ‘LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.’
Acts 1:21 “Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us–
Acts 1:22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us–one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
Acts 1:23 So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias.
Acts 1:24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen
Acts 1:25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”
Acts 1:26 And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

The apostles appointed two men as candidates for a replacement of Judas, then after praying to God to show his choice, they cast a dice and chose Matthias. But can men actually appoint an apostle this way if an apostle is a gift? No ordination by men can make a man an apostle if it is a gift given by Jesus to the church. And similarly no failure of men to ordain a person will take away God’s choice of the gift of apostle to the church.

Paul was given as an apostle to the church but he struggled with being accepted because the other apostles did not ordain him as the twelfth apostle. Paul continually had to defend his being an apostle because many had made their minds up already that the position was already filled. In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul responds that the Corinthians have pushed him to defend his apostleship and he is not happy to have to do this. Paul says:

2 Corinthians 12:11 I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody.
2 Corinthians 12:12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles.

Paul tells the Galatians that he is not an apostle because of any man’s choice:

Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead)

Paul boldly states that he is an apostle of Jesus by the will of God:

2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God…

So could Paul then be the 13th apostle after the 12th apostle was appointed by the disciples? Scripture gives an interesting answer:

Revelation 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

There are only twelve apostles of the Lamb, not thirteen! So what do we make of Matthias? He is never spoken of again in scripture after Acts chapter 1. Paul himself claims over and over again to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, chosen by the will of God.

What does this mean? It means that an apostle is a true gift of God and an apostle cannot be appointed by man. Some wonder why Matthias was chosen by the casting of lots. Nowhere in scripture is this way of assessing God’s will ever practiced again. Was it necessary to cast lots because God never answered the eleven apostles regarding their own choice for the replacement of Judas? Is it because a gift cannot be appointed by man since it is God’s prerogative alone? Paul claimed to be an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God yet he was never appointed by man to this “position”. Rather he was gifted by Jesus and given to the church for the building up of the body of Christ. Paul was such an awesome choice that the church would not be the same without his writings. And Matthias? We never hear of him again.

What about another “gift” in the list at Ephesians 4:11 – the gift of pastor? Can a pastor be appointed by man? If a pastor is truly a gift as Ephesians 4:11 states, then a pastor is not a pastor because they are appointed by man. Similarly a pastor is not any less of a pastor because they are not appointed by man. This gift is given for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, for the building up of the body of Christ and it is not an appointment but a gift.

What does this all mean? I believe that it means that if you are called and gifted to be a pastor you do not need to have man’s ordination to flow in your gifts as a pastor. You are a pastor by God’s calling and gifting and not by the will of man. And if a person is a pastor that isn’t called or gifted to be a pastor they are not a true pastor just because man has ordained them. Paul said that there were false apostles who disguised themselves as true apostles:

2 Corinthians 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

Would it be any wonder if we would also have false pastors too? Jesus calls these people hirelings or hired hands:

John 10:12 “He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
John 10:13 “He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.”

So if you are a woman and God has called you and gifted you as a pastor, do you really need any man to make you a pastor? Should you not just pastor the sheep? Be it a small group setting or a big group or a congregation, shouldn’t you just do what God has called you to do? If you are in a church that refuses to allow a woman to take the name of pastor and you want to stay in that church, do you think that God will allow you to do the work of a pastor without the name? A pastor is a gift to the body of Christ by the will of Jesus. Just be that gift and use your gift to nurture and tend the flock.

Spiritual gifts a means of unity

Spiritual gifts a means of unity

In Ephesians chapter four Paul gives us a glimpse of what the gifts of the Holy Spirit are meant for.  Paul starts out with humility, tolerance and love:

Eph 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,
Eph 4:3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Paul then goes on to emphasize oneness:

Eph 4:4 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Eph 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Eph 4:6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

And from oneness to the spiritual gifts:

Eph 4:7  But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Eph 4:8 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”

The reason for the spiritual gifts, Paul says, are for building each other up until we all attain to unity:

Eph 4:12  for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
Eph 4:13  until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

So if the equipping of all of the saints is the result of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the goal then is unity, let’s think about how this impacts us and what value there is in the gifts of women:

1.  If the gifts of the spirit bring unity, then why are women’s gifts not being used for the benefit of the entire body of Christ?

2.  How do we attain to the unity of the faith without all of us working together for the benefit of the entire body?

3.  Do we have one side of the body of Christ being built up and edified and the other side missing some of the nourishment that is provided for the body?  When we hold back women’s gifts from the benefit of men, are we not guilty of keeping the men malnourished by holding back some of their nourishment?

If we say that women have nothing that a man needs, then are we not guilty of saying that women’s gifts are not necessary for anyone?  If men can get all they need from men alone, then women too can get all they need from men alone.  Women’s gifts then with this reasoning, are not really needed because women’s gifts provide nothing that is not already provided by men.  But that is simply not the case.  The Holy Spirit has given each one gifts that are unique and are necessary for the nourishment of the body. When all of us are set free to operate in the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given us, then we will all attain to the unity of the faith.  The mature body of Christ needs complete nourishment and women’s gifts are required for the edification and the building up of the entire body of Christ.

Is Pastor one of the spiritual gifts?

Is Pastor one of the spiritual gifts?

While some people consider a “Pastor” to be an office, scripture lists “Pastor” as a spiritual gift in Ephesians 4:8-11.

Ephesians 4:8 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

The Greek word for Pastor is poimen and it means Shepherd.

In November 2006 at the Evangelical Theological Society meetings, Dr. Harold Hoehner presented a paper that asked the question, “Can a Woman Be a Pastor-Teacher?” Dr. Hoehner argued that Ephesians 4:11 indicates that “pastor-teacher” is a spiritual gift and not an office in the church. This position is consistent with his commentary on the book of Ephesians where he writes:

Some may question the validity of women pastors or pastor-teachers, but it must be remembered that these are gifts and not offices. Surely, women who pastor-shepherd among women should cause no problem at all (Titus 2:3–4). But in fact, Priscilla, along with Aquila, taught Apollos the way of God more accurately (Acts 18:25–26) which would indicate that a woman may not be limited to teaching only women” (Ephesians, 546).

Dr. Hoehner is one of the ESV translation review scholars and is not considered to be an egalitarian so his admission that God can gift women as Pastors for the benefit of the entire body of Christ caused quite a stir in the complementarian camp. Here is a summary of Dr. Hoehner’s position (http://assembling.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_archive.html)

1. Many misunderstandings about women in ministry are caused by a blurring of the distinctions between spiritual gifts and offices.
2. Scripture gives qualifications for offices. Qualifications are given for apostles, elder/ bishops, and deacons/deaconesses.
3. Scripture does not give qualifications for gifts. Gifts are given according to the will of God through the Holy Spirit.
4. Since there are no qualifications given for the list in Ephesians 4:11 (apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers), pastor-teachers are individuals endowed with spiritual gifts, not offices.
5. Therefore, even if women cannot hold a certain office, they can be pastor-teachers if they are so gifted.

It is to be noted that spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit, through believers, for the benefit of others, therefore a Pastor is given as a spiritual gift by the working of the Holy Spirit and it is a gift for the benefit of all:

1 Cor. 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

In Gifting vs Office (http://assembling.blogspot.com/2006/11/gifting-vs-office-4.html ) Alan Knox summarizes the view this way:

If this view is correct, then we should not emphasize that a person is “exercising” a certain spiritual gift. The person does not control whether or not, or how, the Spirit decides to work through them. Instead, as Peter says, the person should speak and/or act according to the will of God, and allow the Spirit to use those words/actions as He chooses.

I do recognize that there are people within Scripture that are called “teachers,” “prophets,” “servants,” etc. However, in my view, this is the recognition of others that these are the primary ways that the Spirit works through those individuals. Thus, for one known as a “teacher,” the Spirit normally uses that person’s words to teach others; therefore, other people recognize this and refer to him/her as a “teacher.”

If we do a word search on the Greek word for Pastor, we find the term used 17 times in the NASB, with 16 of these times translated as Shepherd and once translated as Pastor.

In closing, I quote again from Alan Knox who says:

I should speak as the Spirit leads me, even if no one “learns” from my words. I am not responsible for how others receive my words or actions; however, I am responsible for obeying God in everything that I do and say.

Amen! We are responsible for obeying God in everything that we do and say and if God gifts us as a Pastor, we are responsible for using that gift for the glory of God.

Are God's gifts segregated?

Are God's gifts segregated?

Segregation is the policy or practice of separating people of different races, classes, or ethnic groups. The question for this post – are God’s gifts meant to be segregated into races, classes or ethnic groups?

Let’s look at some biblical examples to help us answer this question. Concerning Paul, Acts 9:15 says:

Acts 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;

So was Paul’s ministry and gifts only meant for the Gentiles, kings and Jewish men? We see that in the world, Paul started with the Jews, but because of a command given to him by God, he turned to the Gentiles after the Jews rejected his message. Acts 13 says:

Acts 13:45-47 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming. Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.'”

Here we can clearly see that someone may be given a gift to evangelize a particular group of people for Christ. In fact my own ministry started with a ministry to Jehovah’s Witnesses. For sixteen years I ministered to Jehovah’s Witnesses and ex-JW’s by operating a support group for those who had left the Watchtower. This is a very specialized area of ministry and God gave me compassion for reaching this largely unreached group of people who after leaving the cult group found themselves too fearful to enter a Christian church. Unless a Christian helps them with sorting out their doctrine, they can be very difficult to reach even after leaving the Watchtower.

So we can understand that people are gifted for ministry to certain ethnic or cultural groups to reach the lost, however in the church with the members of Christ’s body are people given spiritual gifts exclusively for the benefit of a race, class or ethnic group? Let’s look further into scripture to see if God’s gifts are given for the exclusive use of one type of people.  Let’s pay attention especially to see if God’s gifts are to be given for the exclusive use of either men or women.

The church started with all the Christians at one place at one time.

Acts 1:13 When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.
Acts 1:14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

When God gave gifts to the body of Christ, did he separate the men and women? No he didn’t. We find the believers, men and women all together.

Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
Acts 2:3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

Here are the disciples male and female in one place at one time. The Holy Spirit came upon them all and all began to speak with other languages. No sign that there is to be a segregation of the gifts of the Spirit.

Then Paul’s teaching on the gifts of the Spirits starts with this astounding word:

1 Corinthians 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Each one has the individual gift or gifts that the Holy Spirit gives them for the purpose of the common good. Paul sums up the teaching of the commonality of the gifts by saying:

1 Corinthians 12:25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

There is to be no division in the body or segregation in the body. The word “division” means to split or tear. A schism, division, tear, as in mind or sentiment, and so into factions.

The early church did not have women’s ministries where women were segregated away from the men in order to have a place for women to teach. Instead, Paul teaches that when the entire church gathers together, this is the proper place for God’s gifts to be used. The gifts are for the common good. Paul teaches further about body ministry starting with 1 Corinthians 14:23 regarding the whole church assembling together. He then goes on to say:

1 Cor. 14:24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all;
1 Cor. 14:26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
1 Cor. 14:31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted;

The emphasis is on full body ministry. The gifts of the Spirit are given for the common good. They are not given to be segregated and kept away from anyone.

What does this all mean? It means that men have been kept away from women’s gifts in opposition to what the bible teaches. The bible never once says that a woman who is gifted in teaching the bible should keep her spiritual gift for the use of women alone. You can look high and low in scripture but you won’t find women teaching the bible to other women. You will find women teaching other women to love their husbands and women teaching women to keep the house but you will never find an example of a woman teaching the bible to another women.

Do I think that this means that women shouldn’t teach the bible to other women? No. I think though that scripture has not given us one example of a woman teaching the bible to another woman because then this could be used as a restricting factor regarding what God wants for the use of his entire body. God wants full body ministry. The entire church worshiped together and the entire church ministered together. When we keep men away from women when God has gifted godly Christian women with his Holy Spirit’s gifts, we are acting like we don’t need one another and that segregation of the sexes is a better idea than oneness. But how do we reconcile this with what God said through Paul:

1 Corinthians 12:21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

After reading all the “you all” verses from 1 Corinthians 14, I wonder if Paul would have looked at the way we have kept women teachers away from the benefit of the men and I can imagine him just shaking his head in disbelief. Would he have said to us:

The hand cannot say to the eye, “You have no need of my teaching” or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of your teaching.”

The key to Christian unity is an attitude of “you can all…” kind of full body ministry. Allowing full body ministry to only one sex is not God’s best. For sixteen years I discipled men and women alike in the Christian faith. I never once turned away one man that wanted to learn. Is God saying that I sinned because I refused to turn men away? Or is God saying to us through Paul that full body ministry is God’s gift and desire for all of us?

Are women's gifts to be used outside the church?

Are women's gifts to be used outside the church?

In my blog entry called “Are women’s gifts secondary?” I documented the complementarian teaching that women’s gifts are secondary to men’s gifts and that women to use their gifts outside the church.

The question for this post is, are women’s gifts really meant to be used outside the church or are they to be used for the purpose of growth for the body of Christ?

To answer this question our most important resource will be the bible. Although there are several women mentioned who are co-workers with Paul, complementarians who refuse to allow women to minister in the church will tend to disregard these women co-workers because they say there is no documented evidence of their public ministry. So let’s look outside the box for a minute and look at the documented public ministry of a woman few people have reason to consider. The reason we will study this woman is not just for what is said about her, but also what is not said. In Revelation 2:20 we read:

But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.

Revelation 2:20 was written to the church in Thyatira. In this church is a particular woman named Jezebel is leading and teaching those whom Jesus calls “My bond-servants”. These men are committing adultery with her in seem by verse 22.

Now let us pay close attention to what Jesus says about Jezebel.

Revelation 2:21 ‘I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.

Jesus gives Jezebel time to repent of her immorality.

20 ‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.

Jezebel calls herself a prophetess or an inspired woman prophet and she was teaching and leading men to sacrifice to idols and to commit adultery with her. Now there is something missing here that is very important. Did you notice that Jesus did not reprove Jezebel for the act of teaching but rather for the content of her teaching? It was her teaching and leading into adultery and leading people to eat things sacrificed to idols (teaching about the “depths of Satan”) that Jesus reproved her for. But wouldn’t this have been the perfect opportunity for Jesus to have given a second witness to the “law” that stops women from teaching men? This would have been the very best place to repeat the “law” if one existed since here we have a case of a woman publicly teaching men. But Jesus says nothing against a woman teaching men but he only stands against the substance of her teaching. Jesus also doesn’t rebuke Thyatira for letting her teach men publicly. He rebukes Thyatira for tolerating immorality.

In verse 22 Jesus gives Jezebel’s punishment along with the punishment of those who practiced immorality.

Revelation 2:22 Behold, I am throwing her into a bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great affliction, unless they repent of their deeds.

The extent of this woman’s ministry is shown by God’s judgment against her:

Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.

All the churches will know that God is the one who searches the minds and hearts because of what he will bring upon this woman. Again notice that it doesn’t say that God will kill her children with pestilence because she is teaching men. Her punishment is because of her immorality.

Now that we have seen an example of a woman teacher inside the church who was a bad leader, where are women’s gifts shown to be good gifts inside the church? 1 Corinthians 14 talks about the gifts and the assembling of the church.

1 Corinthians 14:23 Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?

1 Corinthians 14:26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

1 Corinthians 14:31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted;

When the whole church assembles together, Paul says that they all are allowed to prophesy. This is body ministry and this includes the women in the church.

Where does it say that women’s gifts are not allowed in the church and not allowed for men’s profit? And where does it say that women are not allowed to pray with the men in the church as some prominent complementarians teach? The practice of the early church was that they were all together devoting themselves to prayer.

Acts 1:13 When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.
Acts 1:14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

When we are challenged that God has forbidden women from having any kind of public ministry, it is time that we answer back from scripture. God does not forbid his women “sons” from having a public ministry or from preaching the gospel of Christ to every creature!

Are women's gifts secondary?

Are women's gifts secondary?

Last post we referenced 1 Corinthians 12:7 teaching us that the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good of the body of Christ. But are women’s gifts somehow secondary? According to leading complementarians women’s gifts of teaching are not equal to men’s teaching gifts at all.

John MacArthur tells us that the woman gets her knowledge from the man. Listen to clip #1 here.

So according to John MacArthur the man gets his spiritual gifts directly from God.

Man’s spiritual gifts come from God

However the woman is different in that she gets her direction and her significance through the direction of the man. Listen to clip #2 here.

The woman learns from the man John MacArthur says that the woman is not the glory of God. Instead she is only the glory of the man and she then is under the man’s direction. In this way she manifests the man’s authority not God’s authority. Listen to clip #3.

This view makes it clear that men are needed in the church and they are the ones gifted by God to use their gifts for the common good of the body of Christ.

Men’s gifts in the church

However this same view shows that women’s gifts are not given for the church. They are not for the common good. They are to be used outside the church.

Women’s gifts for outside the church

Listen here to clip #4 as Pastor John MacArthur limits women’s prayers and women’s gifts to outside the church building.

So then are women allowed to use their spiritual gifts on the mission field? Well, no, they cannot use their gifts of teaching on the mission field either if there are unsaved men present according to leading complementarians. Listen to clip #5.

Last year CBMW was asked a question about women’s teaching of the bible. Can a woman give her insight on scriptures to a man? According to the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood she can teach a man privately but her teaching is subject to man’s original authorship. This means that if man has originated the teaching, then she can learn from the man and teach women and children and she can also teach a single man in private. However if her insight has not first originated from a man, then her insight is invalid. God apparently does not speak through a woman directly, but only through a man. John MacArthur concurs with this view and he shares that the greatest spiritual source for a woman will always be a man. Listen to clip #6 here.

So although one might think that complementarians give full freedom for women to minister to other women, it appears that even teaching other women, women teachers are second class citizens because a woman is only a secondary spiritual source for other women. A man is always the greatest spiritual source for a woman according to leading complementarians.

So what does this really mean?

Women not needed

It means that women really are not needed and their spiritual gifts are so secondary that they are not even the best spiritual mentors for women. This also explains why CBMW has completely ignored and has refused to refute the teaching in “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” The teaching in the DVD set has been considered by many to be a fresh understanding of the hard passages of scripture in their proper context. But since I have taken this understanding from scripture alone and not from another man’s writings, my exegesis is considered invalid by these men. My explanation of the phrase “because of the angels” in 1 Corinthians 11:10 as a reference back to 1 Corinthians 6:3 is considered by some as the most straightforward understanding of the passage, yet the fact that commentaries written by men take a more complex view of the phrase in their guessing what Paul could have meant and none before me have apparently seen such a simple explanation from the context already established by Paul, then my view is considered invalid. Huh?

Let’s think this through. If this is God’s view of women’s secondary gifts, then why did God place both men and women together in one place at Pentecost? Why were women not segregated away from the men when they were filled with the Holy Spirit? Why were both men and women speaking in tongues and both were inspired to speak forth the praises of God to all gathered around them? What do you think? I would love to hear your views and more of my thoughts in the next post.

Documentation:

Clip #1

The woman is the vice regent who rules in the stead or who carries out man’s wish, as man is the vice regent who carries out God’s wish. That’s why, you see, I Corinthians 14 says, “If a woman needs to know something, tell her to go–” Where? Ask whom? Her husband, because man is the sun, and woman is the moon. “She shines not so much with the direct light of God but that derived from man.”

From “The Role of the godly woman” by John MacArthur, transcript and audio found here http://www.gty.org/resources/Sermons/1845

Clip #2

She demonstrates her significance in the world in response to the direction of men who are given divine dominion. That’s a general truth. That’s a truth that goes beyond the walls of Christianity and the church. It’s just in general.

From “The Role of the godly woman” by John MacArthur, transcript and audio found here http://www.gty.org/resources/Sermons/1845

Clip #3

Man, then, according to verse 7, “is the image and glory of God,” but look at verse 7 again. Here comes the other part. “But the woman is–” not the glory of God but what? “The glory of man.” Not even a definite article there. “Woman is glory of man.” In other words–listen to this–in other words, the woman was made to manifest man’s authority and man’s will as man was made to manifest God’s authority.

From “The Role of the godly woman” by John MacArthur, transcript and audio found here http://www.gty.org/resources/Sermons/1845

Clip #4

If it says here a woman praying or prophesying, there’s one place where she won’t do it. Where’s that? In the church. There are other places where she will do it. She will pray in many different places, with other people, with other women, with her family, with close friends.

There are places where she will speak and proclaim the Gospel to unsaved friends and neighbors and to other women and whatever, but the one place where she will not preach, where she will not lead, is in the church.

From “The subordination and equality of women” by John MacArthur, transcript and audio found here http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/1844

Clip #5

And somebody else says, “Well, what about missions? What about missions? We need missionaries, what would we do without women missionaries?” God bless women missionaries, but I don’t think women being on the mission field necessarily have the right to violate the Word of God.

From “God’s high calling for women part 4″ by John MacArthur, transcript and audio found here http://www.gtycanada.org/resources/sermons/54-17/gods-high-calling-for-women-part-4

Clip #6

Listen, men, that is a grave responsibility. A woman’s deepest and greatest spiritual resource is a man. A man. Vital.

From “The role of the godly woman” by John MacArthur, transcript and audio found here http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/1845/the-role-of-the-godly-woman

Are women's gifts for the common good?

Are women's gifts for the common good?

Today I am starting a new set of posts on the spiritual gifts which are given to each person in the body of Christ. I would like to start with 1 Corinthians 12:7. Here Paul gives us the reason for the gifts that have been given to the body of Christ. Why did God give us spiritual gifts anyways? Paul said:

1 Corinthians 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

The gifts, Paul says, are for the “common good”. The New King James says it this way:

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.

So our gifts in the body of Christ are given for the benefit of the entire body because they are “for the profit of all”. When the Holy Spirit was first poured out on the believers they were united together as a group.

Acts 2:1 … they were all together in one place.

In unity they received gifts from God.

Acts 2:3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

Notice that the emphasis is on unity and each one’s participation. All received and all spoke forth God’s praise. These disciples were men and women receiving and participating together. Acts 1:13 names the men who were gathered together and with them were the women :

Acts 1:14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

It wasn’t just the men who spoke God’s words and were given God’s gift for the profit of all. It was the women too who were filled and who spoke. If we are to believe God’s word then we must also accept that women’s gifts are for the common good. We must also believe that women’s gifts are for the profit of all.

But those who promote the hierarchical understanding of scripture would have us believe that women are not allowed to teach the men in the body of Christ. With this understanding then we would have to see that women’s gifts are not at all for the common good. Instead of promoting unity and the profit of all, these men end up promoting segregation and the separation of God’s gifts in the body. Is this really scriptural? Should we be creating women’s services or a women’s church so that women can use their gifts? If we segregate our women away from the men because we believe men are not allowed to receive the benefit of women’s teaching, then are we not guilty of saying to one part of the body that we have no need of them? Are we not guilty of making some members of the body of Christ second class citizens because their gifts are not for the common good?

In the next post I will reveal some interaction with CBMW (the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) that shows their mindset regarding the secondary nature of women’s teaching.

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