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trlitteral@usa.net

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Q: Hello again,

A person I have met wants to know the role that women should have in the church, according to the bible of course. If you have any thoughts on that please feel free to let me know. I will look for the answer myself also.

P.S. Today's quote: The story of Noah shows that God and one person are a majority.

A: Before I start I want to say that many start by apologizing at this point, I will not. What I am about to write is not very popular but this is for two basic reasons. The first is that in a male dominated society these Truths are perverted to make them men's "God given right" to abuse and dominate women and that there is a very real spirit of rebellion among the women of this time. A sister in my Church has said that I can't make "general statements" like that but I pointed out that general statements are fine as long as they are applied to groups and not to individuals in the group without establishing a specific link to that individual and of course that they are true.

Before a man or a woman can have a place in the Church they must of course have a place in Christ. (Are you in Christ?) For women this includes some things that do not apply to men. Let's go to the beginning.

In Genesis we find the "curse" or "fallen state" of women: Genesis 3:16, "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." where "rule" means to have dominion. Dominion does not mean domination but the responsibility for the care or nurturing of. Any other "arrangement" is unbiblical. How is this "dominion" to be exercised and does this extend to the Church? (Aside: note that God said that the woman's "desire" would be to her husband and not husband OR wife. If the so called "Gay Christians" can get around this one I would like to see the Bible on it.)

First things first. Before a woman can be in any position in the Church she must be in "subjection" to her "own" husband if she is married and whether married or not must be in "subjection" to a male in the Church structure. Let me finish. This is so misunderstood that it must be fully explained. First, the word "submitted" in each of these cases doesn't mean what nearly everyone I ever talked to think it means. It carries the same connotation or meaning as if someone has you in a "hammer lock." You may be smarter than this person but you will indeed go where they want you to go. I can speak from experience that even in this position they cannot "make" you do anything that you really don't want to do and also can't change your opinion about much more than the one you hold for the person who has you in "submission." The thing I want to focus on is the element of "harmlessness" of the person in the arm lock.

This term for submission is used in any instance in which a human is instructed to submit to another human or human institution. It does not mean to blindly obey. That kind of submission belongs ONLY to God. The only way I can put this into English from what I have seen in the dictionaries and from context of Scriptures is "non-rebellion" or "non- retaliation." So when applied to the statement above a woman must be in a state of "non-rebellion" with her husband and with a man whom God has placed in Spiritual authority in the Church. We refer to these men as bishops today. I will discuss the office of bishop at another time. Suffice it to say it is not what many organizations, including the one I am in, think.

A woman may not hold the "office" of a bishop or of a deacon: 1 Timothy 3:2, "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach;..." with the same said of a deacon. As I said earlier a woman cannot be the "husband" of one "wife." This is not a figure of speech and in my opinion limits these offices to men. Add to this that there is no mention of female "bishops" or "deacons" anywhere in the Bible. (Read Women Deacons Below!) Any mention of a woman is also missing from the names of the Apostles and there were women that were more "faithful" than these 12 men. Also the office of priest in the Old Testament was restricted to the son's of Aaron and the male Levites. These are the only exceptions to the service a woman is ordained to perform for the Lord. They are eligible for every Spiritual gift including those of administration (Pastorates).

Consider: Acts 21:9, "And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy." The word Prophesy means to deliver the word of God as if he had spoken it to you face to face. Also consider: 1 Corinthians 12:28, "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." These two passages establish the four women above as having the second most powerful or influential gift in the Church. This is the perfect example of what is meant by the term "submission" as it refers to human to human relationships.

The four "virgins" told Paul, an Apostle, not to go to Jerusalem. As a prophesy this carried the same weight as if God had uttered these words Himself (He did, by the way). Paul decides to go anyway. Paul is not sanctioned by the Church since he is in "authority." God however shows Paul the price of disobedience. The four women were permitted to speak to Paul, one of the 12 with access to the "face of God" since the Spirit spoke expressly though them. The girls were unmarried and therefore under their fathers authority until they would be married. The father did not "administer" the gifts of his daughters. He did not interpret or add his wisdom to their pronouncement. He merely saw to his daughters which were his responsibilities and therein lay his only area of authority.

Consider: Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." and 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, "4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good." In this last passage "men" means mankind and specifically Christians. The same Holy Ghost lives in female saints that lives in male saints.

I will discuss the role of a "submitted" wife in another paper. To sum up a woman may hold any "office" in the Church except those of bishop or deacon. The Spirit manifests Himself through the Spiritual gifts in women or men without regard to "person." God doesn't discriminate for any reason in regard to gifts with the exception of the measure of faith given to a man or a woman. A woman is not to exercise authority or rebel against her husband or the bishops. Men are not to rebel against the bishops either.


WOMEN DEACONS!


A dear sister in the Lord, oh, let's call her Sister Kathy since that is her name; read the passage above and wrote to inform me that there is indeed a passage that lists a female as a deacon. Upon further research I find that there were indeed female deacons in the 1st century Church. The duties of a deacon in the 1st century church was very different than that which most organizations ascribe to this office today but that is another topic!

The Lord has lain it upon my heart to stress vigorously that married women and women with children have a first duty to their husbands and children. This in no way excludes them but establishes a priority upon their service. What ever gift or "office" a man or woman holds in no way supersedes the natural order which God has placed upon our lives.

I stress from a personal level that God has not ordained "slavery" in any fashion and a husband is to cherish and nurture his wife that she prosper through his care and consideration for and of her. By the same token wives are called to peace which may not entail agreement but is, as I have written in other post, "non-rebellion."

To sum up I was wrong about women being permitted to be deacons. She must first fulfill her roles as wife and mother however and as stated above be, and as Sister Kathy signed her letter "submitted to her husband, her pastor, and most of all, God!" I didn't ask if she was a "deacon", or would that be deaconess? This also dispels the heresy that a woman cannot teach a man. If he will learn she can!

There is however no mention of the word used as "bishop" applied to a female and I therefore conclude that this office in the church was restricted to men. Someone said that the word for "apostle" was applied to a female but I point out that the word in Greek meant simply "messenger" and only took on a Spiritual significance when applied as an "apostle of the Lord." This is used in connection only to the Twelve.

Thanks Sister Kathy! The only thing worse than being wrong and not knowing it is being wrong, knowing it, and then doing nothing about it. Lord, never let this latter be said of me. Amen. Back

Please read the next paper on submission in marriage as it relates to this subject and is indeed much misunderstood.


If you have any questions at all write me!

trlitteral@usa.net

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