House Church Talk - Look who Jesus Chose
bwood4d at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 26 23:17:31 EDT 2004
In response to my former post relative to who Paul was addressing in I Cor
14, you wrote:"Bruce, Using your logic, then Paul rarely addressed the
females in any church, as he in most every case I have found, the same Greek
word was used "adelphos" for brethren. That would mean, that when Paul
wrote, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his
might," then only the men were to be strong, putting on the whole armor of
God, praying always with all prayer and supplication with all the saints."
You have raised an excellent and thoughtful question which I knew would be
asked after I wrote that last post, and it deserves a thoughtful answer. (I
hope you will be willing to pardon the length of the following!)
Let's deal first with the good example you have quoted from Ephesians 6.
Does the fact that Paul addresses "the brothers" mean that the sisters are
excluded from the application of the instructions given? Not at all!
According to the text, who was to be praying with all prayer and
supplication? Brethren were! But they were to be doing it "with all the
saints"!! All the saints certainly includes the sisters as welll! Then by
extension we may also ask, "Who was to be strong in the Lord and putting on
the whole armor of God?? The brethren were! But they were to be doing it
"with all the saints"! So we see that when males are the particular
addressees of certain instructions, it does NOT mean that sisters are
excluded from the application of those instructions, have nothing to learn
from those instructions or that the instructions do not apply to them at
Rather this mode of address, i.e. "brethren", or "men (literally males) and
brethren" as in Acts 1:16
2:29 ; 13:26,38; and 15:7,13 did not mean that no women were present, that
the speakers were rudely ignoring the women who were there or that what they
said had nothing whatsoever to do with women! Rather, that males had the
PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY to respond to what was being said!
Let us consider some other examples:
In I Timothy 2 there are some clear instructions to men (males) and
women(females). In verse 8, Paul writes:" I will therefore that men (MALES
) pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting." Does
this mean that women are NOT to pray everywhere? Does this mean that it is
alright for women to pray without holy hands, or that it is alright if women
pray WITH wrath and doubting??? Of course not!!! But the PRIMARY
RESPONSIBILITY for this instruction lies upon the males!
Let us go on to verses 9-11 where the women (females) are addressed. Do
these verses mean that men are excluded from obedience to these
instructions? Is it proper for males to be adorned in immodest apparel??
with braided hair?? with gold, pearls or costly array??? Is it proper for
males NOT to be adorned with good works?? Of course not! But the PRIMARY
RESPONSIBILITY for this instruction lies upon the sisters.
When women are instructed to learn in silence (literally quietness) with all
subjection, does this mean that this instruction has nothing to do with men
and that they should be noisy and boisterous and disruptive when another is
teaching?? Of course not!!! Simply that the PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY for
this instruction lies upon the sisters.
Verse 12 is a very poor translation! "Usurp authority over" is translated
from one Greek word "AUTHENTEO" which is the Greek word from which we get
our English "authentic"! It is a compound word comprised of two other
words: AUTOS or "self" and HENTES "a worker". It thus means "to act or to
work of one's self". When Paul wrote, "I suffer not a woman to teach or to
act of herself in relation to a man", does this mean that it is perfectly
normal and commendable for men to teach and work OF THEMSELVES, i.e,. that
their teachings and their works OUGHT TO BE
SELF INITIATED??? Of course not!!! It simply means that the primary
responsibility for obedience to this instruction lies upon sisters relative
to their teaching and actions towards men!
An excellent example of this very point is found in the life and testimony
of the Lord Jesus, the very Son of God, Himself. See His own words in John
5:19,20: "Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto
you, The Son CAN DO NOTHING OF HIMSELF, but what he seeth the Father do: for
what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the
Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and
he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel."
It was brother Henry Blackaby who first brought the truth of this scripture
to my attention. In his very excellent study series, "Experincing God:
Knowing and doing the will of God", Henry pointed out that even the Son of
God, the Lord Jesus, NEVER EVER initiated anything of Himself!!! Rather,
He lived His life in tune and in communion with His Father, and whatever he
saw the Father doing, where ever He saw the Father working, He just got
involved in what the Father was up to!
That truth really rattled my cage and revolutionized my whole view of
"Christian ministry"! For years I had been busy, busy, busy planning this
program, organizing that outreach, trying to get lost people saved and
trying to get Christians to live like Christians etc and at the end of the
day I was always so frustrated, uptight, and saw so little real fruit for
such an expenditure of hard work and planning!!!! My problem was that I
thought that if anything was going to happen, I had to "get the ball
rolling"!!! I really didn't think God had very much on His agenda in my
particular part of the world. So I'd plan and organize and manipulate and
then PRAY THAT GOD WOULD GET INVOLVED IN ALL OF MY WONDERFUL PLANS!!!
But as Henry shared this truth with us on His video series, the thought went
through my head, "WOODFORD!!! Who in the world do you think you are are
anyway???!!! If the very Son of God never initiated His own works, WHO DO
YOU THINK YOU ARE TRYING TO INITIATE YOURS???!!!
Of the seven realities of experiencing God, Henry had already shared the
(1) God is ALWAYS at work around you.
(2) GOD PURSUES a continuing love relationship with you that is real and
But now it was the third one that came crashing through my consciousness and
brought such liberty as it revolutionized how I looked at ministry! That
truth was expressed by Henry in this way:
(3) GOD INVITES YOU to become involved with Him IN HIS WORK!!
What a relief and joy it brought to my wife and I as we began to realize
that we no longer had to invite God to become involved with us in our work,
but rather to get to know Him and respond to His invitations to become
involved in the work that He was already doing in the lives of people right
around us! It was the massive difference between self inititiated work or
teaching and God inititiated work or teaching!
Please forgive me for such a long digression from I Cor.14! But what I am
trying to express is that certainly the instructions in 14:34 and 35 have a
direct bearing on sisters in whole church meetings! However, THE PRIMARY
RESPONSIBILITY for those instructions DOES NOT LIE UPON THE SISTERS! IT
LIES SQUARELY ON THE SHOULDERS OF THE BROTHERS!
The instruction: "LET YOUR WOMEN KEEP SILENCE IN THE CHURCHES", does NOT
mean that the primary responsibility is for sisters to be tight lipped in
these large gatherings! Rather it means that the brothers are TO SHOULDER
THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO COME PREPARED IN HEART AND MIND TO HAVE SOMETHING TO
CONTRIBUTE THAT WILL BE EDIFYING TO ALL IN THE GATHERING, SO THAT IT WILL
NOT BE NECESSARY FOR SISTERS TO HAVE TO SAY ANYTHING!
The instruction, "If they (the sisters) will learn anything, let them ask
their husbands at home..." does not mean that the primary responsibility is
upon the sisters to be seen and not heard in the whole church gathering, but
that they can chatter all they want once they get in their own kitchens!!!
Rather, it means that as they listen attentively to the praise, the worship,
the prophesying etc in the large city gathering, spiritually minded
sisters are going to do a lot of
thinking, meditating and that new thoughts are going to be introduced to
their thought process and that they are going to have many questions to ask
because they will be intent on learning more! So where does the PRIMARY
RESPONSIBILITY LIE?? It lies squarely on the shoulders of those husbands!
They are not to dismiss such earnest questions as unimportant "woman's
talk", but rather they are charged with the responsibility to "let their
women ask those questions"! The natural force of all this is that the
husbands had better be prepared with solid answers or at least be prepared
to find them by dilgent study of the scriptures!!!
So it is my conviction that such "gender specific" terms as "brethren", or
"sisters", "men" Or "women" are NOT used in scripture to set the one in
opposition to the other, but rather to emphasize how each is necessary and
complementary to the other!!
I realize and apologize that this has been a loooong post! I trust you will
forgive, if there has been some little light shed. If that is NOT the case,
please let me know and I will try to do better another time!
Your brother in Christ,
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