ORDER IN THE CHURCH by Rev. Cephas Webster

anguillian
By anguillian August 21, 2017 11:18

 

 

 

Rev. Cephas     Webster

Rev. Cephas Webster

When Christ was on earth he chose twelve (12) disciples whom after his resurrection he commissioned as his apostles who were his fully authorized representatives. Note that twelve disciples were chosen who were all men, one was a devil (Judas) but none of them were women.
Christ ascended to heaven forty days after his resurrection and, ten days later on Pentecost (May/June 33 A.D.) God sent the Holy Spirit who baptized the disciples (about 120) who were in the upper room, thereby giving birth to the Christian Church. (Acts 2: 1ff)
Christ is the architect, builder and owner of the Church, (Matt: 16:18) which he has purchased with his own blood. (Acts 20: 28)
“The role of women in the church is a topic that is hotly debated today. Unfortunately, the debate has left the pages of Scripture to find its resolution. The traditional documents are being swept away by the flood tides of evangelical feminism. Churches, schools, and seminaries are rapidly abandoning truths they have held since their inceptions. Dozens of books are being written defending the “truth” regarding the role of women. Ironically, some of the authors of those books formerly held to the traditional, biblical view. But under the pressure of feminism they have abandoned biblical accuracy in favor of the culture. The biblical passages on women’s roles are being culturally reinterpreted, ignored because of the alleged anti-female bias of the biblical authors, or dismissed as the additions of later redactors.
The ultimate source of those attacks is the archenemy of God, Satan. His goal, as always, is to overthrow God’s plan and corrupt His design. He is behind the effort to entice women away from their God created roles in society, in the family, and in the church. Such a satanic enterprise is not new- in fact it was an issue in the church at Ephesus, because it was an issue in the Roman world of that time.
In a church plagued with false doctrine and false leaders, it is not surprising to find them struggling over gender roles. Some women were leading impure lives (cf. 5:6, 11-15; 2 Tim. 3:6), and their indecency carried over into worship service. Under the pretense of gathering to worship God, women were flaunting themselves and becoming serious distractions from worship. Their actions revealed that the intent of their heart was evil. Since worship is central to the life of the church, it was high on Paul’s list of issues for Timothy to confront.”
(The Macarthur New Testament on 1 Timothy 1995 p. 77-78)
It’s Leadership
“In the New Testament times, within local congregations, there were men know as elders. They were also shepherds, pastors or bishops (Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Tim, 3:1ff; Tit. 1:5ff).
Textual evidence suggests that all three terms refer to the same office. In the qualifications for a bishop listed in 1 Timothy 3:7, and those for an elder in Titus, Paul used both terms to refer to the same man (1:5,7). First Peter 5:1-2 brings all three terms together.
Elder emphasizes who the man is, bishop speaks of what he does, and pastor deals with his attitude and character. All three terms are used of the same church leaders, and all three identify those who feed and lead the church; yet each term has a unique emphasis.
The scripture advocated a shared leadership. A plurality of godly men is to share in the leadership responsibility, though they may differ in their specific function and giftedness. The Bible knows nothing of one-man rule by pastor-kings. Nor does it envision any authority beyond it to which leadership of a local congregation must submit. God’s plan for choosing leaders in His church is simple. From within each congregation, the Holy Spirit gifts and identifies through their faithfulness a plurality of godly men. After being confirmed by the people, they share the burden of leadership and responsibility together.”
The prohibition
1 Timothy 2: 11-12
“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.”
In emphasizing godly conduct for women, Paul stressed with Peter, “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of Great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:4). The females in the congregation should receive instruction from the male leadership with quietness and full submission. They should not attempt to turn the tables by clamoring for the office of congregational teacher or by grasping for authority over men.”
(The Bible Knowledge Commentary 1983 p. 735)
Paul further explained the call to submission in v. 11 by forbidding a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man (v. 12). Both the syntax and the broader context suggest that Paul was prohibiting women not from all teaching but rather from authoritative teaching of the Scriptures that is associated particularly with the office of overseer or elder (cf. 1 Tim. 3:1-7).
Paul gave two reasons for his prohibition, both indicating that it is not merely a cultural concern. First, he linked this prohibition with the order of creation of man and woman, indicating the male leadership was God’s original creative design for men and women. The second reason for Paul’s prohibition refers to the first woman being deceived (v.14). This is not to suggest that women are inherently more gullible and prone to doctrinal error. Rather it is to show the destructive consequences that the original breakdown in roles caused.
(The Moody Bible Commentary 2014 p. 1898)
No women served as priests. None of the authors of the Old Testament were women. No woman had an ongoing prophetic (speaking before people) ministry like that of Elijah, Elisha or the other prophets. While Miriam (Ex. 15:20), Deborah (Judg. 4:4), Huldah (2 Kings 22:14), and Isaiah’s wife (Isa. 8:3) are called prophetesses, none had a permanent calling to that office. Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah gave only one recorded prophecy and Isaiah’s wife none. She is called a prophetess because she gave birth to a child whose name had prophetic meaning. A fifth woman mentioned as a prophetess, Noadiah, was a false prophetess (Neh. 6:14). While God spoke through women on a few limited occasions, no woman had an ongoing role of preaching and teaching.
The New Testament, like the Old, teaches the spiritual equality and differing roles of the sexes. Galatians 3:28 teaches the absolute spiritual equality of men and women in Christ. While many use that verse to justify women assuming leadership roles in the church, the context shows that Paul is speaking of salvation (cf. Gal. 3:22, 24, 26, 27).
(The Macarthur New Testament Commentary on 1 Timothy 1995 pp. 84-85)
In verse 12 (1 Tim. 2), Paul actually interprets the meaning of verse 11. He defines exactly what he means by women staying quiet in the worship: But I do not (as the apostle of Jesus Christ, who speaks through me) allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man. Women are to be kept quiet in the sense of not teaching. They are to demonstrate subjection by not usurping the authority of the elder or preacher. That is true not because women are in any sense inferior to men, but because God’s law commands it (1 Cor. 14:34), in line with His design for the weaker vessels. Those who insist that subordination and equality are mutually exclusive would do well to consider Christ’s relationship to the Father. While on earth Jesus assumed a subordinate role, yet He was in no way inferior. First Corinthians 11:3 states, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of every woman, and God is the head of Christ.”
Epitrep? (allow) is always used in the New Testament to speak of permitting someone to do what they desire to do. Paul’s choice of words may imply that some women in Ephesus desired to be the public preachers, and thus have authority over the congregation- as in today’s church. Paul, however, speaking as the official apostle of Jesus Christ, does not allow that. The role of the elder and evangelist or pastor- teacher is only for men. (Ibid p. 86)
Paul also adds the prohibition that forbids women to exercise authority over a man. Authentein (exercise authority over), another present infinitive, appears only here in the New Testament. Some have attempted to evade the force of Paul’s prohibition by arbitrarily supposing that authentein should properly be translated “abusive authority.” Women, according to that view, can exercise authority over men so long as it is not abusive authority. A study of the extrabiblical uses of authentein, however, makes clear that the word means simply authority. It carries no negative connotation, such as abusive or domineering authority. Paul, then, in an unqualified directive, forbids women from exercising any type of authority over men in the church. It is the “elders [clearly men, since 1 Tim. 3:2 states they must be ‘the husband of one wife’] who rule” (1 Tim. 5:17). (Ibid p. 87)
1 Corinthians 14: 33-35
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. Let your woman keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted onto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”
Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak. Paul was emphasizing the fact that the principle of women’s not speaking in church services was not local. geographical, or cultural, but universal, in all the churches of the saints. Though it embraces tongues, the context here refers to prophecy. Women are not to exercise any such ministries. The women were joined in the chaotic self- expression which Paul has been condemning not only added to the confusion but should not have been speaking in the first place. In God’s order for the church, women should subject themselves, just as the Law says. The principle was first taught in the Old Testament and is reaffirmed in the New. In reflection of that principle, no women were permitted to speak at the Jewish synagogues.
(The Macarthur New Testament Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1984 p.392)
The charismatic confusion
One of the designs of creation, as well as one of the primary consequences of the Fall, was the submission of women (Gen. 3:16). Paul reflected that principle explicitly when he said, “Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet” (1 Tim. 2:11-12). Paul’s argument was not based on cultural standards but on two historic and foundational facts: (1) “Adam… was first created, and then Eve” and (2) “it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman” (vv. 13-14). Men are to lead in love; women are to submit in love. That is God’s design.
It is not coincidental that, like Corinth, many of the churches today that practice speaking in tongues and claim gifts of healing also permit women to engage in speaking ministry. Many charismatic groups, in fact, were begun by women, just as many of the cults that have sprung from Christianity were founded by women. When women usurp man’s God-ordained role, they inevitably fall into other unbiblical practices and delusions.
Women may be highly gifted teachers and leaders, but those gifts are not to be exercised over men in the services of the church. God has ordained in His creation, an order that reflects His own nature and that therefore should be reflected in His church. When any part of His order is ignored or rejected, His church is weakened and he is dishonored. Just as God’s spirit cannot be in control where there is confusion and chaos in the church, He cannot be in control where women take upon themselves roles that He has restricted to men. It is improper [aischros, “shameful, disgraceful”] for women to speak in church. That statement leaves no question as to its meaning.
If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home. The implication is present in this statement that certain women were out of order in asking questions in the church service. If they desired to learn, the church was no place for them to express their questions in a disruptive way. Paul also implies, of course that Christian husbands should be well taught in the Word. Many women are tempted to go beyond their biblical roles because of frustration with Christian men, often including their own husbands, who do not responsibly fulfill the leadership assignments God has given them. But God has established the proper order and relationship of male-female roles in the church, and they are not to be transgressed for any reason. For a woman to take on a man’s role because he has neglected it merely compounds the problem. It is not possible for a woman to substitute for a man in such things. God often has led women to do work that men have refused to do, but He does not lead them to accomplish that work through roles He has restricted to men.
There are times in informal meetings and Bible studies where it is entirely proper for men and women to share equality in exchanging questions and insights. But when the church comes together as a body to worship God, His standards are clear: the role of leadership is reserved for men. (Macarthur p. 392-393)

Pentecostalism
The first time tongues became part of mainline Christianity since the Apostolic Age was in 1901 at Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas. Agnes Ozman received what she called “the baptism of the Holy Spirit” accompanied by speaking in tongues. The practice became part of the Holiness movement of the church in America. In 1906, speaking in tongues came to Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California. Out of these two events in 1901 and 1906, grew the mainline Pentecostal denominations that many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are a part of today. Unlike many of their predecessors, Pentecostals believe the Word of God and preach the Word of God- and for that we praise Him. But this particular movement within mainline Christianity didn’t begin until the start of the 20th century.

The Charismatic Movement
In 1960, in Van Nuys, California, the modern Charismatic movement (which is tongues outside of the main Pentecostal denominations) began in an Episcopalian church. It soon spread across mainline denominations of all kinds. Now, I pointed all of this out to show you that the true gift of tongues is not something that has gone on throughout history. The Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:8, said that the gift of tongues would cease. Well, it did cease! And there is no reason to believe that it has come back again. (Macaurthur Study Notes The Truth About Tongues 1984 p. 18)

The Contribution
1 Cor. 11: 11-12
“Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.”
Woman was not only created from man but for man. For indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. She is not intellectually, morally, spiritually, or functionally inferior to man. She is unique from him. Her role is to come under leadership, protection, and care of man, and she is to be “a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:20).
In verse 10 Paul returns to the application of the principle. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. The cultural use of a head covering represents the divine and universal principle of a woman’s subordination to a man’s authority. Symbol of authority is one word (exousia) in the Greek and means “rightful power,” or “authority.” The covered head was the woman’s authority or right to pray and worship, since it demonstrated her submissiveness. Symbol is implied because of the obvious reference here to the head covering mentioned in verses 4-7. In that culture, a woman was to wear such a symbol as an indication of her subordinate role to man. (Macarthur P. 259)
Mary, the mother of John Mark, opened her home as a meeting place for the Jerusalem believers (Acts 12: 12) and Lydia opened her home the same way to the believers in Philippi (Acts 16: 40). When Apollos, “an eloquent man… mighty in the Scriptures,” began preaching in Ephesus, both Aquilla and his wife, Priscilla, “took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18: 24-26).
In many times and places, faithful women have kept the church alive with little or no support from men. Many mission fields would not exist if it were not for God’s elect women. A church without Godly women cannot be a strong and effective church. The man’s proper authority does not make him independent of woman, nor does her proper subordination make her alone dependent. Neither is independent of the other; they are mutually dependent.
God created both men and women. The first woman was created from the man, but since that time every man has been created through a woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman. Most importantly, all things originate from God. Men and women have different roles but not different importance. Women are equal to men in the world, in the church, and before God. That is God’s wise and gracious harmony and balance- difference in roles but equality in nature, personhood, work, and spirit. He created both for His glorious purposes.
1 Tim. 2: 11-12
“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.”
That does not entirely rule out women teaching. Priscilla and Aquilla both instructed Apollos (Acts 18:26), but in private and not in the worship of the church. And women can and must teach other women (cf. Titus 2: 3-4). Nor does it mean women cannot pray, merely that they are not to lead prayers during public worship in the church. It does not mean that women do not have spiritual gifts in the area of public speaking and leadership. The issue is where they exercise those gifts. Some question whether women can fill leadership roles in the mission field in the absence of men. It is significant that Paul, who wrote the passage, was himself the greatest missionary the world has ever seen. Yet he made no exceptions for the mission field. God does not violate His principles for the sake of expediency. (Macarthur p. 87).
There are times in informal meetings and Bible studies where it is entirely proper for men and women to share equally in exchanging questions and insights. But when the church comes together as a body to worship God, His standards are clear: the role of leadership is reserved for men. (Macarthur p. 393)

The Digression
1 Cor. 11: 3
“But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”
The principle of subordination and authority pervades the entire universe. Paul shows that woman’s subordination to man is but a reflection of that greater general truth. Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. If Christ had not submitted to the will of God, redemption for mankind would have been impossible, and we would forever be doomed and lost. If individual human beings do not submit to Christ as savior and Lord, they are still doomed and lost, because they reject God’s gracious provision. And if women do not submit to men, then the family and society as a whole are disrupted and destroyed. Whether on a divine or human scale, subordination and authority are indispensable elements in God’s order and plan.

Head refers to the ruling and sovereign part of the body. In stating the general principle, Paul gives three ways in which headship is manifested. First, Christ is the head of every man. He is uniquely the head of the church as its Savior and Lord (Eph. 1:22-23; 4-15; Col. 1:18; etc.). He has redeemed and bought it with His own blood (1 Cor. 6:20, 1 Pet. 1: 18-19; Rev. 5:9). But in His divine authority Christ is head of every human being, believer and nonbeliever. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth,” Jesus declared (Matt. 28: 18). Most of mankind has never acknowledged Christ’s authority, but all things have been put “in subjection under His feet” (Heb. 2:8), and one day “every knee [will] bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under earth, and… every tongue [will] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Farther” (Phil. 2:10-11). Those who willingly submit to his authority constitute the church, and those who rebel against His authority constitute the world. In His patience and forbearance God has allowed rebellious unbelievers to ignore Christ’s lordship, but one day even they will acknowledge their subjection to Him. He is in ultimate control of all men, now and forever.
Second, the man is the head of a woman. The principle of subordination and authority applies to all men and all women, not just to husbands and wives. It extends beyond the family to all aspects of society. That is the basic order of creation, as Paul explains later (vv. 8-9). That is the way God planned and created mankind; it is the way He has made us.
It seems the most of the fads and misconceptions of the world eventually find their way into the church. Worldly Christians continually find ways to justify their worldliness, if possible on the basis of Scripture. Christian feminists appeal to such passages as Galatians 3:28 (“there is neither male nor female”) and 1 Peter 3:7 (“and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life”) to disprove the idea that husbands are to have authority over their wives and that wives should be submissive to their husbands- not to mention the idea that women in general are to be submissive to men in general. But it is impossible honestly to interpret what Paul says as being supportive of contemporary feminism. He is therefore often charged as being a male chauvinist, who frequently taught his own prejudices instead of God’s Word.

But he makes no distinction between men and women as far as personal worth, abilities, intellect, or spirituality are concerned. Both as human beings and as Christians, women in general are completely equal to men spiritually. Some women obviously are even superior to some men in abilities, intellect, maturity, and spirituality. God established the principle of male authority and female subordination for the purpose of order and complementation, not on the basis of any innate superiority of males. An employee may be more intelligent and more skilled than his boss, but a company cannot be run without submission to proper authority, even if some of those in authority are not as capable as they ought to be. Elders and deacons are to be chosen among the most spiritual men of the congregation, but there may be other men in the church who are even more spiritual. Yet, for the very reason that they are spiritual, those who are not in positions of leadership will submit to those who are.

A church may have some women who are better Bible students, better theologians, and better speakers than any of the men, including the pastor. But if those women are obedient to God’s order they will submit to male leadership and will not try to usurp it- simply because that is God’s design. A wife may be better educated, better taught in Scripture, and more spiritually mature than her husband. But because she is spiritual, she will willingly submit to him as head of the family. That proper relationship is specifically described in Ephesians 5: 22-23. Isaiah spoke judgment in his generation because they had allowed women to rule over them (Isa. 3:12). (Macarthur p. 253-254)

1 Cor. 11:4-6
“ Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. 6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.”
It seems, however, that some women in the Corinthian church were not covering their heads while praying or prophesying. We know from secular history that various movements of women’s liberation and feminism appeared in the Roman empire during New Testament times. Women would often take off their veils or other head coverings and cut their hair in order to look like men. Much as in our day, some women were demanding to be treated exactly like men and they attacked marriage and raising of children as unjust restrictions of their rights. They asserted their independence by leaving their husbands and homes, refusing to care for their children, living with other men, demanding jobs traditionally held by men, wearing men’s clothing and hairdos, and by discarding all signs of femininity. It is likely that some of the believers at Corinth were influenced by those movements, and as a sign of protest and independence, refused to cover their heads at appropriate times.
As with meat that had been offered to idols, there was nothing in the wearing or not wearing of the head covering itself that was right or wrong. It is the rebellion against God-ordained roles that is wrong, and in Corinth that rebellion was demonstrated by women praying and prophesying with their heads uncovered.
Dress is largely cultural and, unless what a person wears is immodest or sexually suggestive, it has no moral or spiritual significance. Throughout biblical times, as in many parts of the world today, both men and women wore some type of robe. But there always were some clear distinctions of dress between men and women, most often indicated by hair length and head coverings.
It is the principle of women’s subordination to men, not the particular mark or symbol of that subordination, that Paul is teaching in this passage. The apostle is not laying down a universal principle that Christian women should always worship with their heads covered.
The mention here of women’s praying or prophesying is sometimes used to prove that Paul acknowledged the right of their teaching, preaching, and leading in church worship. But he makes no mention here of the church at worship or in the time of formal teaching. Perhaps he has in view praying or prophesying in public places, rather than in the worship of congregation. This would certainly fit with the very clear directives in 1 Corinthians (14:34) and in his first letter to Timothy (2:12). The New Testament has no restrictions on a woman’s witnessing in public to others, even to a man. Nor does it prohibit women from taking nonleadership roles of praying with believers or for unbelievers; and there is no restriction from teaching children and other women (cf. Titus 2:3-4; 1 Tim 5:16). Women may have the gift of prophecy, as did Phillip’s four daughters (Acts 21:9), but they are normally not to prophesy in the meetings of the church where men are present.
In other words, it is only necessary to combine the relevant passages to get the composite truth. Women may pray and prophesy within boundaries of God’s revelations, and with proper sense of submission. And it is critical that their deportment in doing so reflects God’s order. Certainly they must not appear rebellious against God’s will. (Macarthur p. 256-257)
The Dignity
1 Cor. 11:10-11
“It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.”
Therefore (v.10) points back to the reasons Paul gave in vv. 6-9 for a woman to cover her head. The words “symbol of” are not found in the Greek, and to have authority over (the verb echo “to have” + the noun exousia “authority” + the preposition epi “over”) elsewhere means “to have control over” something (Mk 2:10, Lk 5:24;19:17;Rv 11:6;17;18; 16:9;20:6). The phrase means that the woman is to exercise control over her physical head and keep it covered. Because of the angels is cryptic, but probably refers to angels who might be offended by the symbolically insubordinate act of the Corinthian women. Perhaps because of Satan’s act of rebellion along with other angels. The good angels have become acutely interested in proper submission in the Church. It would be a mistake to think Paul saw women as unimportant in vv. 7-9, and he addressed that in vv. 11-12. Women need the men in the church, and men need the women. This is in keeping with the divine design of the human race by the Lord (Jesus, v.11) and by God (v. 12).

These messengers are God’s protectors of His church, over which they stand perpetual guard. It is proper for a woman to cover her head as a sign of subordination because of angels, in order that these most submissive of all creatures will not be offended by nonsubmissiveness. Furthermore, the angels were present at creation (Job 38:7) to be witnesses of God’s unique design for man and woman, and would be offended at any violation of that order. The idea of caring about the response and attitude of angels is also seen in Ephesians 3:9-10 and Mathew 18:10. The Midrash taught that angels are the guardians of the created order. (Macarthur p. 259)
Far from oppressing women, the church has been their greatest liberator. In Greek and Roman societies most women were little more than slaves, the possessions of their husbands, who often virtually bought and traded their wives at will. It was largely because of this inhumane treatment of women that feminism became so popular in the Roman empire. In many Jewish communities the woman’s situation was not much better. Divorce had become easy and commonplace, but it was almost entirely the prerogative of the man. Some Jewish men held women in such low esteem that they developed a popular prayer in which they thanked God that they were not born a slave, a Gentile, or a woman. (Macarthur p.260)

The Delight
Women are not teachers of men, but they are usually the most influential shapers of men. Bearing and nurturing children give women salvation from any thought of lower status than men (1 Tim. 2:15). As mothers they have a unique and indispensable role in training and developing boys, who are men in the making. From conception to adulthood a man is dependent upon and shaped by his mother in a unique and marvelous way. And throughout adulthood whether married or single, he is dependent on women in more ways than he is often willing to acknowledge. (Macarthur p. 261)
Women must stop believing the devil’s lie that the only role of significance is that of leadership. People usually desire places of prominence not to humbly serve others, but to boost their own egos and gain power and control. Leaders, however, bear a heavy burden and responsibility, and the subordinate role often is one of greater peace and happiness. Subordination is not punishment but privilege. (Macarthur p. 87).
(Published without editing by The Anguillian newspaper.)

anguillian
By anguillian August 21, 2017 11:18

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