Thursday, September 22, 2005

Post 4: An End Time Teaching for Women: Be All that Christ Called You to Be


I Corinthians 14
(Bible Refs. KJV-ASV)



Should Women Be Silent?


     Many Christians believe that we are living in the end times and that they, or at least their children, may very well witness the 2nd Coming of Christ. In times such as these, there are Christian women struggling to find their role in the body of Christ because in some churches women are not taught to first identify themselves as, yes, "sons of God," but rather are taught to seek their roles by first identifying with their gender, and then conforming to the appropriate body part or role in the “women's only” section in the body of Christ.  Now is the time for women to step up to the plate of God's truth and to be all that God has called them to be, and to teach other women to do the same. Nothing short of the truth will prepare us and our children in the times that we live, and especially in light of the encroaching darkness that is coming upon our world.

     If you as a woman feel a special call on your life and question your right to follow that call because of your gender, take note, because there is another side to the story that you might want to hear. Whatever situation we occupy in life, we are not bound to believe anything that exalts itself above the truth of God. It is God's truth that sets us free no matter what others may say or think, and when we know the truth, the half-truths no longer hold power over us. The first place to find freedom is the door to your own heart, as Proverbs 23:7 teaches us that we are what we think.  I wonder how many women have had their relationship with God at least diminished on some level, by believing that God, as taught by those who claim to be God's authorities and representatives of Scripture, does not consider them spiritually equal to men, as if the Spirit of Christ is hindered by one’s physical or emotional design.

     Are we empowered by God or is God empowered by us? Some may belittle you, but God is not belittling you. Some may treat and speak to you in a condescending manner as if you were a child, but God is not speaking to you that way. How important do you think it is to know that God does not share in these attitudes towards you? The most important and powerful relationship you have is your relationship with God and He alone will suffice, because there is nothing more significant to your victory in life then to know the true God and His true love for you. How can you fully know His love if you truly believe that He judges you differently because you are a woman. You are spiritual because you have the image of Christ within you. You are powerful because you have the power of Christ within you. You are full of wisdom and capable of leading others because you have the wisdom of Christ within you. You are a priest of God as Scripture states,

1Pe 2:5 ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1Pe 2:9 But ye are a elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

     In Paul's day there were those who argued for the "silence" of women; they (women) were to be seen and not heard in the church of God. Some condemned the idea to the point that they declared it a "shame" for a women to speak in the church. The Apostle Paul dealt with this issue in 1 Corinthians 14, in verses 34 -39. This section of Scripture is clear in Paul's address of this issue and yet, the clear truth is fought and the arguments used to promote a gender "agenda" are to say, at the very least, "longwinded." There are many men of God who on the contrary seek to liberate women from spiritual falsehood, but also, there are many who seek to accomplish quite the opposite. As you will see below, Paul does not support the statement that women are to be silent in the congregation.

     The background or context for 1 Corinthians 14 concerns the proper use of prophesying, speaking in tongues, and the proper protocol of prophets as seen in verses 1 to 33. Apparently, women were performing these spiritual manifestations under the protest of at least some of the men congregants.  We start by reading verse 34,

1Co 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. (Paul here is stating the complaint made by some of the male congregants).

First, the phrase, “they are commanded” are words added by the translator and is not in the original text.

Second, author Charles Trombley in his book, “Who Said Women Can’t Teach?,” explains that the word “law” is a reference to the Torah and is the Jewish interpretation of oral law, with no such biblical law concerning the silence of women. This understanding of the meaning of law in this context is backed up by several academic sources, and it is well known that the women were not afforded the same rights as men and were treated as 2nd class citizens in Judaism. Trombley and others also logically point out that Paul accepted the women prophesying in the church as seen in 1 Corinthians 11 (this topic is treated in post 3). Therefore, this one example and the many examples provided in Scripture illustrate for us that Paul did not forbid women to speak in the church.

Verses 34-36 Seem to be abruptly interjected into the structure of Paul’s letter and has baffled some regarding the logical flow of the previous verses. Trombley’s thorough research from several scholarly resources conclude that Paul was quoting a complaint made by some of the men concerning the silence of women according to Jewish law. As we will see shortly, this view is verified by the very words of Paul.  Paul contradicts and does not back up the statement that women are to be silent!

     Paul will now state and address the complaint made against women:

1Co 14:35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. According to Bullinger’s Critical Greek Lexicon, shame used here means dishonor, disgrace, and vile.

1Co 14:36 What? Came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
Now note Paul’s response to the aforementioned in verses 34-35 and in verse 36, Paul immediately corrects their attitude toward the silence of women; he confronts them by saying, in a sense, “what are you talking about,” and is understood by his rebuke with the following 2 questions:
1. Did we get the Word of God from you?
2. Is God’s Word for you alone?

1Co 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
To those who reject Paul’s instruction Paul says,

1Co 14:38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
Finally in verse 39 he instructs them against stopping anyone from speaking in tongues in the congregation and this includes the female members.

In Conclusion,
     Paul states the issue at hand and then follows through with a response. The whole letter concerns the manifestations and gifts of the Holy Spirit in which Paul concludes by forbidding anyone to stop another from speaking in tongues. Clearly, if he wanted to stop the women from speaking, he would have clarified his closing statement. When some of his letters are understood in the context shown above, the confusion, contradictions to other Scriptures, false accusations about Paul, and speculations should cease.

     If the men and women of the church are equal spiritually, does this mean that a man is not a man and a woman is not a woman? Does this mean the woman cannot respect, love and look up to the man in the way that comes natural for her to do? Does this mean the man cannot respect, love, and protect the woman in the way that is natural for him to do? Does this mean that the man has become a woman and the woman has become a man?

Have you ever heard the saying,


A bird takes flight not because God gave the bird wings to fly, but God gave the bird wings because the bird was meant to fly!

14 comments:

Paul M. Kingery said...

Women often come to the truth before men, and are less likely to be involved in violence. For these reasons the Bible says women will outnumber men 7 to 1 when Christ established His kingdom in Israel just a few more years from now. Read more about this at http://landofcanaan.info/

Anonymous said...

Isn't it said in the bible that woman must serve man, a woman should serve her husband but does it say a husband should serve his wife? It seems that woman was made to serve man thus not really making us equal to man but less.

Magdalene said...

Dear Anonymous,

It does not say in the Bible that "women must serve men." Remember that Paul said there is neither male nor female but all are one in Christ. As Christians we are to serve one another. What do you think Paul meant when he said: a husband should lay down his life for his wife. It would seem that in an abstract sense, some think its the woman who lays down everything for the husband. However, if the husband and the wife sought to serve one another in Christ, rather than lord it over each other, we would not be having this discussion.

Ideally, love is unselfish in all aspects, how much more the love of God in Christ!

God Bless!

Paul Walker said...

What about 1 Timothy 2:11-15? How does this tie in with your comments on 1 Corinthians 14:34,35?

God bless,
Paul

Magdalene said...

Hi Paul,

Thank you for your comments! I believe the key to understanding the text in 1 Tim. 2: 11-15 is found in the false premises of Gnosticism during the first century church. In light of history, we learn that Gnosticism was a problem in the early church (strange doctrines and claims to special knowledge). The church fathers explained these errors and named some of their leaders, including certain women. The women exalted Eve to a god-like state, as the mother of all the living, and used this idea to justify exercising dominion over men via their sexual power as women. This is why Paul specifies that the woman was not made first and is not greater than "man," also noting that Eve was deceived in the Garden of Eden, as a reminder of Eve's fallibility. There was no justification in the premise that women had authority over men because of their claim that Eve was the mother of all the living. It does not mean that women cannot have a place of authority because all women are deceived, for Paul is specifically addressing his message to the "unlearned woman."

Likewise, you will note that in the Corinthian church the men also tried to claim special authority over women because man was created first, in which Paul states,

1Co 11:11 Nevertheless, neither is the woman without the man, nor the man without the woman, in the Lord.

1Co 11:12 For as the woman is of the man, so is the man also by the woman; but all things are of God.

1Co 11:16 But if any man seemeth to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

God Bless You!

Anonymous said...

in genesis the first chapter, it says that God made man in his own image, male and female he created them. so the word man here has no gender; it refers to both male and female. so both male and female being refered to as man, man was created in gods image, neither more so than the other. also, god made eve to be adams "companion", not servant, equal to him. only after sin entered was eve made less than him in the flesh, not spirit. woman's consequence was that males would be her masters. but we have to remember that this was not the original plan of god. sin messes everything up. and when christ returns everything will be renewed

TRUTH459 said...

Hello and thank you for your Opinion! But I think I will stick with God's Word..!
http://truth459.blogspot.com/2009/08/female-pastors-101-blog.html
Please give this a read and let me know what you Think?
Thanks, In Christ Jesus, Roger.

Magdalene said...

Truth 459,

I will also stick with God's Word, but certainly with an understanding of the context it was written in.

In Christ,
Magdalene

TB said...

what a refreshing site,I esp like the scriputal accuracy,I could add quite a bit here but will try and keep it short and to the point as I is a rich issue and hard to debate without much dialouge,My Name is TB I was a deliverance min ister for years I have been through the fire and survived,and am on a lutheran pastors prayer team,with regards to woman paticipating in Church roles let me cite a example,at st peters in Coolum I recieved Holy communion from a WOMAN and the way she held the cup to my lips and her soft smile said she believed in what she was doing and was so very tender,I have never had such a experience anywhere,and during my deliverance ministry and journey I have known priests pastors pentecostals and so very many and the person who lifted me up and backed me and encouraged me where others couldnt was a WOMAN yes and believe me I have studied Bible collage and read luther and spurgeon and so many others and I can find no man on a spiritual journey serving effectively who does not admire spiritual WOMAN very fondly I rest me case AMEN TB

TB said...

what a refreshing site,I esp like the scriputal accuracy,I could add quite a bit here but will try and keep it short and to the point as I is a rich issue and hard to debate without much dialouge,My Name is TB I was a deliverance min ister for years I have been through the fire and survived,and am on a lutheran pastors prayer team,with regards to woman paticipating in Church roles let me cite a example,at st peters in Coolum I recieved Holy communion from a WOMAN and the way she held the cup to my lips and her soft smile said she believed in what she was doing and was so very tender,I have never had such a experience anywhere,and during my deliverance ministry and journey I have known priests pastors pentecostals and so very many and the person who lifted me up and backed me and encouraged me where others couldnt was a WOMAN yes and believe me I have studied Bible collage and read luther and spurgeon and so many others and I can find no man on a spiritual journey serving effectively who does not admire spiritual WOMAN very fondly I rest me case AMEN TB

Anonymous said...

OK. This is what i believe, that all who received Him he gave them power to become Sons of God. I don't believe there will be two body structures in the coming age for we shall be like angles. spirits have no gender. that is me.

nneamaka enomah said...

in christ jesus,there is neither male nor female,we are all one in christ. if there is no place for the woman in the church, then we would not be included in the body of christ.if the woman is inferior,the holy spirit would not have filled them on the pentecost day.if the woman is inferior,then the preachers that were led to christ through the ministry of women,will need another salvation.brethren let us not be decieved,the word of God is God's standard for whatever we are doing in christianity.God made them male and female to fulfil His purpose on the earth and that means they are meant to compliment one another,not competing with one another.there should be a unity and everything everybody(male or female) is doing is to promote the unity of the Spirit.The male has his role to play in the home and so also the female,and all these is to further improve and further the work of God on the earth.jesus did not die for adam,he died for mankind and that includes adam and eve.

Magdalene - NY - USA said...

Nneamaka,

Very well said!

God Bless :)

Suze said...

In God are we not all equal?
It is only in the way we live our lives as humans making societies rules that we take account of differences, male/female, skin colour, abilities, looks and behavior.
We are all worthy of Christ's redemption and it is our pleasure to share the gift of the Spirit in any way we can.