Keith Hunt - Women in the Church? #4   Restitution of All Things
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Women in the Church? #4

Answers to various arguments

 WOMEN'S ROLE IN THE CHURCH SERVICE......CONTINUED, PART FOUR


                  PAUL'S FEMALE ASSISTANTS

The Way:

     One thing we can know for certain, though: Paul did not look
on women as inferior creatures, as did so many men of that day,
and even some today.  Notice his instructions to a fellow
servant: "Yes, and I ask you, loyal yoke-fellow, help these women
who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel along
with Clement and the rest of my fellow-workers, whose names are
in the book of life" (Philippians 4:3).  Paul is asking a male, a
loyal yoke-fellow, to aid and assist the women who fought at his
side. He didn't tell the man to take the women's jobs from them
and make them go sit down. Paul asked the man to help them!

COMMENT:
Certainly! No problem. I have already commented that Paul had
women who worked with him in the gospel. Priscilla was one of
them. But we cannot find anywhere that Priscilla ever taught,
preached, expounded the word of the Lord in official church
services, when the church came together as a whole congregation
into one place. I have commented in depth in part one of this
study, that outside those official church gatherings (which may
only total a few hours a week) women have the God giving right to
spread the gospel in whatever way they are led by the Spirit of
God to so spread and teach the gospel,  as much as it is the
duty of the men to do.


                        DOES "SILENT"
                        MEAN SILENT?

The Way:

     Let's return to I Corinthians 14 for a moment, and consider
another aspect of this passage: 
      
     "Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not
allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says"
(verse 34).  What about remaining silent?  What exactly does
that mean?
     "Remain silent" (NIV), or "keep silence" (KJV) is translated
from the Greek word sigao(Strong's #4601), which means to keep
silent by holding one's peace. It suggests silence as a
result of a sense of fearing God (out of respect, not out of
terror), or of awe.  There is another word, siopao (Strong's
#4623), which has the more traditional meaning of physically
abstaining from speech. That's what we usually tend to think this
passage means -- women should just shut their mouths and be
silent (siopao). But that's not the word Paul used here. It isn't
a matter of saying to the women, "Shuddup!", as much as it means
"Peace, and be still."

COMMENT:
Of course, Paul was using a polite word because he was a polite
man (unless he got angry with false preachers and really
stiff-necked individuals, then he could be not so polite, just
as Jesus was not so polite at times with certain people), and the
topic was one of politeness, instructional, answering problems
and questions. The question being: can women use their spiritual
gifts to teach and preach in congregational services? He was not
answering the problem of women just chit-chat-ing, having
out-bursts of various kinds, or just generally causing confusion.

He was answering a legitimate concern and question and putting a
STOP to something that had been taking place in that Corinth
congregation, and he did it with politeness, as he thought highly
of the women in the body of Christ.
The fact remains that, in the context of this whole chapter, and
from 1 Tim. 2 we can see that Paul was instructing not only that
particular congregation but every congregation in the whole body
of Christ, for all time, including us today, that during the
teaching, edifying, preaching, expounding of the word of the
Lord, part of the official service of the church, the women were
to be still, not participate in a vocal manner in that teaching,
and to be under peace in attitude of mind and disposition. They
were to listen and learn, and if they had any questions about
what was taught they were still to hold their peace and ask their
questions to their husbands at home. He backed all this up with
examples and with the general teaching from the whole law of the
Lord, and then finally told them that what he said was the
commandments of God.


                       TWO MORE THINGS

The Way:

     Wives must also "be in sub-mission" to their husbands.  This
phrase is translated from the Greek hupotasso (Strong's #5293),
which means to arrange under, to submit to someone's control, or
to yield to someone's admonition or advice. Militarily, the word
was used in reference to arranging troop divisions. The
non-military application of this word referred to giving in,
cooperating, and assuming a responsibility.
     Finally, remember that we learned, in our study of I Timothy
2:12, about the infinitive mood of the verb.  When Paul used the
terms "teach" and "have authority," these were written in the
infinitive mood, showing a continuous or repeated action.  We
find the same infinitive mood being used here in the verb "speak"
in verses 34 and 35.

COMMENT:
It is the present tense infinitive, continuous or repeated action
in the present.  Hence it is still a commandment of the Lord (as
Paul said he spoke the commandments of the Lord), and still in
effect to this day.  The women of the body of Christ are to
willingly co-operate, to be willing to give in,  assuming and
taking the responsibility that they will come under and be in
sub-mission to the men in this regard, during the teaching and
preaching service, when the church comes together into one place.

That they will sub-mit to the law of the Lord and be peacefully
silent, as they listen and learn from the men during this
relatively short span of time (when compared to the rest of the
hours in the week when they had the right to do as much or more
than the men in teaching and spreading the word of truth),
taking note of their questions and asking their husbands at home.

The Way:

                    A BETTER TRANSLATION

     Shall we put it all together? Let's see how these verses
might be better translated, knowing what we now know about the
Greek. The following is a suggested translation of 
1 Corinthians 14:34,35:  "Your wives must be at peace in the
assembly. It isn't permitted for them to be continuously talking
or chatting, but rather be responsible and yield themselves to
whatever is taking place, as it shows throughout the scriptures.
And if there is something they want to question their husbands
about, let them ask their husbands later: For it is disgraceful
for wives to be continuously making a disturbance which distracts
the assembly" (1 Corinthians 14:34-35, authors' paraphrase).
     We can see that Paul is not referring to women addressing
the congregation in this passage, but rather to wives asking
their husbands a question -- not at all the same thing!

COMMENT:
A paraphrase it is indeed.  And a paraphrase that is not what we
know from the Greek.  The Greek and its literal rendering is what
we find in the Greek/English Interlinears by Green and Berry. 
And they translate very closely to what the scholars of the KJV
translated.  The context of 1 Cor. 14 gives the answer to this
"women be silent" issue.  And the simple clear instructions to
Timothy in 1 Timothy 2, also gives the truth of the matter.
Putting those two sections of Scripture together (line upon line,
here a little there a little), it is I submit quite simple for
anyone who can read English, without any degree in Hebrew
or Greek, to understand that Paul's instructions (which he called
commandments of the Lord)  were that when a church came together
into one place for edification, teaching, expounding of the word
of the Lord, that section of the service was the duty of the men,
and women were to peacefully and submittingly, not to teach but
to remain silent, even to the point of asking no questions during
that time, but keeping them to ask their husbands at home.


The Way:

                                EDIFICATION
                                    
     Remember that I Corinthians 14 is speaking about doing those
things that edify the assembly. "Let all things be done unto
edifying" (verse 26). Paul's purpose in writing was to see
that the congregation was edified. (See, for example, verses 5,
12, and 26.) The word "edify" comes from the Greek oikodome
(Strong's #3619), and means to build up or improve others, to
aid in their growth as Christians.
     Let's consider verse 26 for a moment.  We might consider
this verse to be a description of how services might be run. Paul
wrote: "How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every
one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a
revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto
edifying" (verse 26, KJV).
     Notice how Paul spoke of "you" and "every one of you." This
verse doesn't separate the congregation into male and female!
Even in the KJV, women or wives are not excluded in this verse!
All of the members had a contribution to make!

COMMENT:
But wait a minute, hold your horses, Paul has not yet finished! 
He is telling them that was the way it was WITH THEM!  They were
full of the gifts of the Spirit, yes, and that included women as
well as men.  They all wanted to "do something" in their service
meeting. They were all participating - both men and women -
participating in a very un-organized manner,  interrupting each
other, speaking in a language none could understand, and just
having a good old time confusing everyone, so that some person
off the street who would walk in to their congregational meeting
would think they were all a bunch of "nuts" from mental
institutions. It was AFTER  verse 26 that Paul THEN started to
lay down the rules of ORDER and HOW MANY of the prophets and
those with the gift of tongues, could  speak.  It was AFTER verse
26  that Paul then instructed whether women (who obviously
had up to the point of him writing and correcting and
instructing) could participate in the teaching, preaching, and
expounding of the word of the Lord,  during that part of the
edifying portion of the service. What was being done in their
services PRIOR to his corrections and instructions is besides the
point. Many things were being done in their services that were
INCORRECT prior to Paul being told about them and then writing to
them to give corrections and instructions as to HOW IT SHOULD BE,
which he then told them were the commandments of the Lord. 

The Way:

     Throughout time, and in many places today, many wives, with
their husbands' permission, have had many edifying things to say
in the assembly based on their own personal Bible studies,
and others have appreciated their contributions. Actual
edification took place, the very thing that Paul was the most
concerned about in this chapter. This is why Paul said at the end
of his discourse on decorum in the assembly, "Let all things be
done decently and in order."

COMMENT:
What has been done to edify under whatever situation is not the
point. That is not the issue, as to whether a woman can edify at
any time.  The issue is purely to ascertain what the WILL of the
Lord is, what the INSTRUCTION of the Lord is, concerning the
teaching, preaching, expounding of the word of God, during that
part of the service, when all the church comes together into one
place.  The issue involves HOW that part of the service
should be conducted (basis outline) and whether women should or
can, as far as GOD is concerned and as far as HE has decreed,
participate in that teaching and expounding of the word of the
Lord to the rest of the congregation gathered into one place.

The Way:

     God intended wives, from the days of creation, to be
partners with their husbands, and to contribute to the
edification process that leads to salvation in the Kingdom of
God.
     If Paul had been "trashing" women in this chapter, as many
have thought he was doing, then the "order" of a male-dominated
society was indeed being reinforced. However, the "decently"
seems to have fallen by the wayside in that scenario.

COMMENT:
Come on now, give me a break, we are only talking about a few
hours A WEEK FOR PITY SAKE.  I have spent much time in part one
to try and show we need to keep all this in proper perspective. 
Men and women, Jew and Gentile, are on equal ground when it comes
to Salvation and Rewards. Outside of official church service all
are equal in having freedom to teach and spread the word of the
Lord. I have spent many pages in my book on "church government"
to prove that from the Scriptures.  But, all that said, God has
never taken away or cast off the ROLES and FUNCTIONS in certain
aspects of this physical life on earth and in the Church, that He
has always intended and even created from the beginning
(women are still the only ones to bear children, even in the
church). A part of this issue is "ROLES" - what role does a woman
or a man have from God, under this or that situation and
circumstance?  The issue is not "trashing" women, or putting them
down. It is: What is their role during the official church
gathering together into one place, and that part of the service
set aside for teaching and preaching to the congregation the word
of the Lord?

The Way:

     But we have come to understand that Paul was concerned with
true edification of all the members of the ekklesia, male and
female. When we stop to realize that even women who have
not had the educational opportunities others have had can still
make valuable contributions to the benefit and edification of the
ekklesia, within the context of the Christian family, then we can
begin to proceed decently, and in order, with each member of the
assembly taking his or her rightful place, in Sabbath services
and at home, as a member of the Family of God.

COMMENT:
I agree, no problem, as long as we remember to seek the WILL of
God, as to what He has instructed and directed in each phase of
Sabbath services, Festival observance, Home life, and every part
of a Christian's life from day to day.  We are not to seek our
will, nor to think our thoughts, but we are seek and desire and
prove what is the WILL of God in all things (Romans 12:2;
Eph.5:17; 6:6; Phil.2:12; Col.4:12; Heb.13:21; 1 Pet.4:2; 2 Pet.
1:21; 1 Jn. 2:17) and then to OBEY it.  Those that so do shall
have Eternal life through Christ Jesus.  So it is written, so
shall it be.



The Way:

Part Four:
Putting It Together

     "Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed on Him, If you
continue in My word, you are My disciples indeed; and you shall
know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John
8:31-32).
     We have learned some "new truth" in this study. Of course,
it isn't the truth that's new, but our under-standing of it that
has been made new. Perhaps we can now realize that we had
been reading something into these scriptures, rather than truly
getting all we could out of them.

COMMENT:
It may not be new truth at all but false deception that was
prophesied to rise at the end time to such heights, that IF it
was possible even the elect would be deceived. So said Jesus,
and so it will be.

The Way:

     It had always seemed a shame that women were prevented from
bringing us the benefits of their Bible study, merely because
they were women. It was also a shame, on many occasions, for some
men to hold forth from the pulpit, not because they had anything
of value to say, but because they were men!  There have been some
men who should never have been in a position to teach others,
while many women, who are natural teachers and self-made
scholars, have had to sit idly by and have their time wasted
because a man had to do the speaking.

COMMENT:
You must have been in the wrong organization that possibly did
put women down and did not give them the chance to use the Spirit
of God in them. But those churches and Elders who know the truth
of what I have written in both parts of this study, will say with
me that women have every right to use the gifts of the Spirit,
including teaching, and expounding the word of the Lord to ANYONE
- Male or Female, young or old, OUTSIDE OF THE OFFICIAL
GATHERINGS OF THE CHURCH COMING TOGETHER INTO ONE PLACE - which
only amounts to about one and a half hours a week at the most,
for the average Church of God Sabbath meeting.  Again, it may
well be true in some organizations, that there was "politics"
before Christianity being displayed and some men given positions
of teaching others that should never have had those positions.
Yet, that fact does not change the word and truth of God on this
issue. Men and organizations may falter and fall and go astray in
certain areas, but God and His word and what He has decreed in
His word on this subject and others, will still remain true. And
He will still want His true children to be obedient to His true
word.
Again, we need to remember to keep this in proper perspective. We
are only talking about a very very small portion of the whole
time of the week, in this study.  Where we really need to put the
emphasis is on all the HUGE AMOUNT OF TIME in the week that women
can, and are allowed by God, to "do their own thing for the Lord"
as the Spirit moves them.  

The Way:

                      A TIME TO CHANGE

     This article may have brought some of our readers to a
crossroads in their lives.  We should all evaluate how we have
fit women in general, and our wives in particular, into the
model we have had for Sabbath services and worshipping our
Creator. Perhaps some of us have needed to view our wives in a
different light. Perhaps now we can.

COMMENT:
I have endeavored in this two part study to help you broaden your
understanding of the woman's role in the Church and Family of
God.  I have tried to show you from the Scriptures that there is
a role for both men and women to fulfil WHEN the church comes
TOGETHER INTO ONE PLACE. I have tried to show you what the simple
plain truth really is on that matter. And at the same time help
you understand that OUTSIDE that relatively short span of time on
the Sabbath, God's word shows that women have as much freedom
within the law and word of God to "send forth the Gospel" in a
personal way, as do the men in the church.  And believe me, when
it comes to personal evangelism,  many women can run circles
around many a man.

The Way:

     If any wives who have been unduly subjugated by overbearing
husbands can come to a fuller under-standing of what God expects
in a marriage relationship, then the truth can indeed set them
free. if there are husbands who have held to a wrong belief, who
can now see a need to treat their wives with greater respect and
admiration for what they can bring to the worship of God, in and
out of services, then the truth can set these men free, as well.

     This was not intended to be an article about marriage.
However, it would be difficult for some couples to change how
they both participate in worship without finding it necessary to
first reevaluate their relationship with each other in light of
new scriptural understanding.
     As it is with any "new wine skins" situation, where
something new doesn't fit easily within something old (Matthew
9:17), there will need to be some adjustments made, some re-
thinking, and perhaps some changes in direction. We need to
examine our old ways, and husbands and wives will need to have
earnest discussions to sort it all out and fit the pieces into
place.

COMMENT:
There will be many who will need to apply what has just been said
above, to what I have written in part one and in this part two,
for I know that many men have been taught and have felt that ALL
the work of teaching and spreading the Gospel, at ALL times, was
just the responsibility of men. Nothing could be further from the
truth! And I hope all men, and all women(who may also have
thought the same) can now see that except for a few hours
or less a week on the Sabbath, women have a very LARGE role in
spreading the word of the Lord.

The Way:

                       HOW TO APPROACH
                      NEW UNDERSTANDING

     For those who have been taught that the Bible forbade women
from making any contributions to worship services or Bible
studies, this new understanding may represent a radical
departure from orthodoxy. Because it is such a great shift away
from what many of us have believed in the past, some of our
readers may feel uncomfortable about changing the way they
do things.  We certainly can't fault someone for not wishing to
make rapid changes in their understanding until they "prove it
for themselves."
     If some readers personally feel that women should not
participate in worship, yet see that the scriptures really don't
support that belief, they may wish to ask themselves why they
believe what they believe. If the subjugating of women was
biblical, then it could be justified. But if we now see that the
concept is not biblical after all, why would there be any
reluctance to make a correction in our lives?


COMMENT:
Once more the authors psychologically instill in the reader that
to believe women should remain silent in the official teaching
part of the divine worship service as the church gathers
together, is "subjugating."  Such language is designed to leave a
"dirty" taste in the mouth, a type of "racist" attitude is then
portrayed on the part of those who so believe.  The subjugating
of women (as the authors use the term) has never been a part of
the will of the Eternal.  But the design and will of the Lord has
been from the beginning, that men and women, should fulfil the
roles they were to practice in the home, in the church, and in
society,  under various times and situations.  One of those times
and situations we have been particularly looking at in this study
- namely those few hours a week when the church gathers together
into one place, and even more specifically - that part of the
service that is devoted to teaching, preaching, and expounding
the word of the Lord, to all the congregation for their
edification.

The Way:

     Many times, we believe what we believe out of habit, because
that's what we learned many years ago. If this is the case, then
breaking the habit will take time, and concerted effort,
to erase the old habit and install a new one.
     If the reader now sees from the Bible that it is permissible
for a woman to participate in worship, but still believes women
are to be subjugated, perhaps the reader should examine his
or her deepest thoughts and motivations to see where those
feelings originate.
     And, of course, if anyone continues to feel that the Bible
does teach that women are to sit silently through services, then
others must respect this sincere belief.

COMMENT:
Again, it is not a case of women being "subjugated" but being
under "subjection" as Paul put it, during this specific time in
worship service, to the men, but more importantly, to the
Almighty God, as He directs.  The church as it comes together is
like one large family, and the Eternal has called for the head of
that family (so to speak) to lead in the teaching and
instructing of that family. And in such a situation, the head of
that family at such times, is the man, under Christ Jesus, who is
also portrayed in the Scriptures as male.
Respecting others beliefs has its place, where freedom is given
within the law of God, such as being a meat eater or not being a
meat eater, but in this case, such is not the case, and must give
way to ascertaining the truth of the matter. For what Paul
instructed the church at Corinth was not his ideas,  or "do as
you please" but it was the commandments of the Lord.

The Way:  

     It seems evident that we have not fully understood these and
other verses regarding a woman's role in the ekklesia. In the
past, if we had any questions about how something ought to be
done, we would simply wait for our pastor to tell us what to do
and what to think. Decision-making was much simpler then.

COMMENT:
It would seem today that just about EVERYTHING that was
understood as "truth" in the past, is now coming under attack and
being questioned, even the weekly Sabbath, the Feasts
of God, and even God Himself.  Yes, errors have always been
within the Church of God, and we must always move on to grow in
grace and knowledge of Christ Jesus. Yet I have found over the
years that the errors were usually only relatively small (I am
not talking about when ministers were led astray and became
corrupted, then many large errors were evident). The Church of
God (the true elect who remained faithful from corruption) has
been pretty solid and accurate on the large important doctrines
and teachings of our Father in heaven. Jesus, as head of His
Church has guided well His people down through the centuries. 
And I believe the core of this issue - the teaching part of
congregational services - the Church of God has observed
correctly from the beginning, from the time of Moses. 

The Way:

     Today, many readers of "The WAY" are people who have broken
away from the old "corporate church" way of doing things, because
they have seen that often the old way simply did not work. There
may have been order and discipline, but it often was not in
accordance with what the Bible teaches.

COMMENT:
Maybe it did not work in the organization "they" were in. Maybe
it did not work because "that" organization was or became
"cultic" in its mind set, and not only put down women, but put
down men also, until they had to be robotic machines in a "big
brother is watching" you system.
Yet, there have been and still are, organizations like the Church
of God 7th Day, the Seventh Day Adventist church, and others,
that have survived very nicely thank you, by following what Paul
instructed as the commandments of the Lord, in their divine
worship service as they gather together into one place.

The Way:

     We have also seen that, as we grow and progress, some people
are not as far along in their understanding as we might be, while
others are ahead of where we are at this time! What should we do?
We shouldn't be impatient for others to catch up to us
immediately, and we hope that those who are ahead of us in
knowledge will wait patiently for us to catch up to them! Each
one of us is at his or her own place along the path that leads to
eternal life.

     Paul taught a great many principles of human relations.  One
time he wrote that, even if doing something was perfectly all
right, not against any law of God, and totally innocent, he
would refrain from doing it if it offended a brother or sister in
the elkiesia. (See I Corinthians chapters 8 and 10.) We should
consider practicing this kind of love toward one another, so as
not to cause offense.

COMMENT:
On an individual basis over certain matters, such as what Paul
gave examples on, where we can apply his teaching on a one to one
situation, that is all true, BUT that is not possible when we are
dealing with the WHOLE congregation coming together.  Under the
issue we are studying, for each to apply what they considered the
truth of the matter on this subject of men and women
participating in the divine teaching section of the church
service, we would again just end up with utter confusion.  The
matter must be studied, the truth ascertained, and the leaders of
the church together with the whole congregation must then
declare and practice the truth.  The freedom the individual has
regarding this issue is that they can disagree and move to
another group of people where they believe the truth on the
matter before us is being practiced.

The Way:

     How can we apply this principle in our own groups?

     If there is a group of people meeting together for Sabbaths,
and no one objects to women taking a leadership role in the
meeting, or giving a message, or leading a Bible study, as long
as she is not exerting dominance or authority over her husband,
there is no scripture which condemns this action, as we have
seen. The woman should be able to make her presentation.

COMMENT:
No we have not seen is my submission!  We have seen (in part one
and in this study) I submit that women are to remain silent in
the teaching, preaching, expounding of the word of the Lord, part
of the divine service, and if any questions arise while they
listen they are to also remain silent and ask their husbands at
home.  We have seen that to interpret and figure out what it
means to "not exert dominance or authority over her husband" if
she should not remain silent but be allowed to teach and preach,
is just about impossible to ascertain, and would lead to constant
disagreements, endless re-adjustments, and many ministerial
conferences, and probably more congregational splits because some
would not agree with others about where to draw the line (some
would be more liberal or conservative than others on the issue). 

The Way:

     If another group meets for the Sabbath, but the people in
that group object to women speaking or leading a discussion, the
women should not try to force themselves on the group.

COMMENT:
Of course that should be true.  And I suppose those husbands and
wives who would strongly object  would move along to another
group where women are allowed to preach and expound the word
during congregational services.

The Way:

     Suppose several people, from several independent groups,
come together at the Feast of Tabernacles. Should a woman be
scheduled to speak? That may very well depend on whether the
people who are there have already studied the issue and come to
an understanding of the subject, as we have in this article,
before they came to the Feast. It would probably be best not to
schedule any women speakers, at least until it has been
determined if anyone there would be offended if a woman spoke. Or
perhaps fair warning could be given so that anyone who would
be offended could simply skip that session.

COMMENT:
Maybe fair warning would be given way before the Feast began
(that women would be preaching during divine services.  I'm not
talking about  "workshops" that have nothing to do with the whole
congregation coming together into one place)  so those who
disagree with such practice could choose to not attend period.
There are now dozens upon dozens of Feast of Tabernacle sites in
North America and around the world.

The Way:

     Once again, we should all remember not to think negatively
about a member of the ekklesia who may have a different outlook
on this issue than we might have. We should not be afraid to
discuss our beliefs with others, but we must not come from the
position that "I'm right and you're wrong, no matter what!"
Rather, our approach should he gentle and loving: "I used
to feel that way, too. But here's what I've found, and here's
what I believe."

COMMENT:
And of course now we have written material such as these two
studies for people to use as they search the Scriptures for the
truth on this matter.  There IS A TRUTH, one way is wrong and the
other way is correct. There can be no middle ground! Either women
ARE allowed to teach, preach, and expound the word of the Lord
during divine church worship services, or they are NOT.  It is
one or the other, as simple as that.  The child of God has
the responsibility to prove from the word of the Lord what God
has decreed and commanded on this issue and on this part of the
church service.

The Way:

     Local culture may play a large part in the decision whether
or not to have women speak at services or share their thoughts in
open forum. In the larger cities of the United States, where
most men find themselves working alongside or under college
educated women in the workplace, the idea of a woman presenting a
message at services might be more acceptable.  In other parts
of the world, having a woman address the assembly might go
against the strong male dominant social mold in that area. Each
area is unique, as is each assembly. Wise guidance is required in
order to steer the assembly toward all truth and away from
potential problems.

COMMENT:
This issue transcends all nationalities, races, color, social
class, education, work situations, and whatever else the mind of
man can conjure up.  The instructions of Paul which were
the commands of the Lord, on this matter, is for ALL the Church
of God, EVERYWHERE, and for ALL generations, in ALL ages.  Paul
gave no instructions that each area of the world or each
individual church congregation could decide for themselves how it
would govern this issue.

The Way:

     This is a very emotional issue for a great many people. If
you read this article and don't agree with everything we have
said on first reading, that's fine. You might try a second
reading later on. As we pointed out, neither of the extreme
viewpoints is totally correct, but rather there is a high road
down the middle.

COMMENT:
This topic does not have to be emotional at all. If the Spirit of
God dwells in the heart and mind, if the individual loves the
truth, hungers and thirsts after it, wants the truth above
anything else, searches the Scriptures daily to find the will of
the Eternal on this matter and others, is willing to put all the
verses on this topic and any topic together from one end of
the Bible to the other, then as Jesus has promised the Spirit
will lead you into all truth. 
The middle road the authors talk about, is simply the road of the
truth, and as Christ said the truth shall indeed set you free
(set you free from error and deception, which in the last
days will be so great only the elect will not be deceived).

The Way:

     If we continue on the high road, with the difficult path
that leads to the narrow gate, and if we manage to stay out of
the ditch, and avoid those who would lead us into either ditch,
our voyage along this Way of life will end where we want it to
end - at the doorstep of eternity!

     It takes all of us -- male and female, young and old -- to
make up the Body of Christ. We each have our part to play in the
function of the Body. What we have explained here may
help the entire Body to function better!
tw

COMMENT:
It is indeed the straight and narrow road that leads to Eternal
life, and only a few (relatively speaking) will find it in this
age, so said Jesus. 
We all do have our part to play in the Church which is the body
of Christ.  We all have a ROLE, designed and given as the Spirit
distributes, and that role must be acted upon and practiced
within the laws and commandments and bounds which our Father has
set.  By finding His WILL on this and other roles of men and
women which God designed from the beginning, we shall find not
only fulfilment in our physical lives, but we shall also find
peace and joy and love, as we endeavor to understand and put into
practice His will for our personal lives within those roles.  And
from it all will come respect and unity for all members of the
Church of God, which is the Family of God.

           ......................................

Written May 1998


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