I’m sure, in these troubling end-times we find ourselves in , that the Lord is graciously working in those who have a love for His truth, to bring us into true scriptural unity . I believe this because we are living in a time like no other, with the world, not to mention the ‘church’ at large, in the grip of widespread lies, confusion and deceit via the Media. The Lord knows we have great need of Him.
Therefore, as true Christians, I think we are duty-bound to find out the truth of any matter when we read or hear preaching on something that seems not quite right or is a new ‘interpretation’ of scripture. They may be right – BUT – they may be wrong! Our love for truth must be strong so that we can obey God’s word and be set free from our doubts, uncertainty and downright deception.
Many give up on it because they think it’s an impossible task to all agree on Bible doctrine or may even, like Pilate, say ‘what is truth?’ But, if, as I believe, it is God working in us to open our eyes, then we simply have to desire and love the truth for Him to answer our prayers on this. In fact – this is precisely what has happened to me recently.
The Apostles were the custodians of the truth of the Gospel and Church life and we must follow their teachings 1 Thess 2:13. And I am becoming more and more aware that for any scripture verses we may find difficult, it is even more important to read the context they are set in and to also understand why the writers wrote what they did. Much was written to correct errors and as follow-up to other epistles, so we do need to let scripture interpret scripture. And also – is this teaching bringing us into bondage or setting us free?
Two passages I had long puzzled over are Hebrews 10:24,25 and 1Cor 14:26-36 verses that I’d always thought weren’t being interpreted correctly because the spirit of those interpretations seemed t0 me to contradict the Gospel of grace. So I recently supplicated the Lord to lead me into the truth on these matters, and left it at that.
Then, purely by chance I came across an insightful comment left on Facebook by a Christian believer, Alan Heron, on the Hebrew verses in question. It was by far the most logical scriptural reasoning I’ve heard and makes a lot of sense to me.
To very loosely quote him : ” many Jewish believers were avoiding contact and keeping their distance from other believers to try to avoid persecution from the Jewish Sanhedrin”. See Galations 2:11-13 ” Paul was speaking against such a practise NOT commanding them to to meet every Sabbath or every sunday at a certain location. To use this scripture [Heb] for the idea that you cannot be a follower of Christ without having other believers with you is not backed up by Paul’s experience”
I would also say that it was assumed – in the churches that I was ever involved with at least – that if you didn’t go to church you were in danger of ‘back-sliding’ big time ! This is like saying the ‘church’ keeps you , not Christ. Indeed , at the last AoG church I went to [ which I wrote a Post on here at the time], to my dismay, suddenly the heavy hand of Church Membership came down, bringing condemnation to those, like myself, who through life’s circumstances [and creeping old age!] didn’t attend regularly. Your spirituality and walk with the Lord was a matter of outward appearance …. Of course they used the Hebrew verses as the final word – which I had no answer to – it was there in scripture; I knew it was being misapplied but had no insights into ‘how?’
The extremes of this is demonstrated in the kingdom – type churches, community churches and purpose-driven etc, where you are required to sign Covenants and the like ! See Galations 2:4
Regarding the role of women in the church , this has been a subject that I’ve found particularly taxing over the years. Let me say, here and now, I do not have nor have I ever had a desire to teach, preach or otherwise be up-front in Church or any other situations. I say this because some may think I write what I do because I have a secret or ulterior motive to be a somebody …. the Lord knows my heart is for His truth alone.
No – because the Lord so graciously answered my prayer about Heb.10 , I felt encouraged to ask Him for the truth of this matter also [ 1 Cor 14:26-36] and again I left it at that.
So – the first thing that crossed my path was a video by Jacob Prasch on this very subject. Much as I like his preaching in general, whenever I’ve heard him preach on women he [like many others ] seems to have to juggle the scriptures somewhat to arrive at conclusions that match reality. The reality is that women are used in the mission fields to ‘teach’ men , and also in various ‘ministries’ within their churches. But that’s ok if they have what Jacob Prasch calls male covering – that is male ‘permission’ to do it.
I know that these male Leaders want to obey what they believe the Bible teaches, but to put these strict restrictions on women seems more akin to the Jewish faith they have left behind and its huge reliance on oral tradition. There is an awful contradiction here and conflicting levels of what one church leader will allow compared to another. But Christianity has always treated its women with more dignity and very differently to all other religions.
There are fall-outs too for some of the men who strictly adhere to their interpretation of these verses, and they are not good ones! For instance, there have been times when I’ve been in on-line or face to face discussions with male leaders who clearly resent the fact I have vocalised [ in a humble spirit I hope] some disagreement I had with their teaching. They do not take it well and the mere fact that I’m female negates anything I may say because of their belief that I’m trying to ‘teach’ a man!!
Sometimes I think the extreme teachings about women end up placing an unecessary burden on some men in their practical every day lives and situations. eg – I was in a fellowship once that had a lovely young married couple attending. The husband was really upset because he obviously loved his wife but had tried to make her ‘submit’ to him in some matter and she wouldn’t ! He’d had teaching on the subject in some exclusive ‘mens’ group no doubt, which turned out to be a disaster for him. Surely this wasn’t what the Lord required of him?
Well – the great thing about the Internet is that one link can, and often does, lead to another that we otherwise would not know about – and so it was I came across http://realchurchlife.wordpress.com Specifically a Post titled “Let Your women keep silence in the Churches” Really? filed under Women in Ministry. As it’s a far better coverage of this than I could give, I hope you will be inclined to read it. The Post also gives links to Oxford Bible Church and Christian Egalitarian Marriage , which are equally enlightening. So again, my thanks to the Lord for His gracious answers to my prayers.
Please remember these are my musings and opinions – but I hope and pray scripturally aware ones.
I hope to post here again sooner than later …. I’ve been very lax I know! blessings, Eileen