House Church Talk - women relieved from active duty
Jonathan Phillip Lindvall
lindvall at boldchristianliving.com
Tue May 4 00:08:43 EDT 2004
David Anderson <david at housechurch.org> wrote:
> Congratulations, I say, and thanks to those who participated in the
> women's silence debate in a respectful and informative manner. Over the
> years I have seen a number of these conversations turn ugly. Continue to
> be open-minded about the matter regardless of where you stand. If you
> feel you have compelling evidence of any kind, please bring it forward. I
> think that all of us are aware that the arguments on both sides are not
> silly ones.
> The stakes are high, dear friend. If women are to be silenced in terms of
> prophesy, teaching, and evangelism, God's army has been effectively
> reduced by more than half on those fronts. And, if only homeschoolers
> and/or their dads are permitted into leadership roles, then, all but a
> microscopic number of "leaders" are left standing.
> Jonathan Lindvall, feel free to clarify your position in the course of
> time. I can certainly vouch for your excellent character, by the way.
Hi David. I sure appreciate your gracious and wise encouragements in all
this. I have been following this interaction for a while, without jumping
in, for fear of sparking passions. I honor and walk with brothers whose
opinions vary from mine substantially.
I don't want to stir up controversies, yet I am willing to bear witness to
what I think the Lord has allowed me to see. And at your encouragement, I'll
take the risk here. If it is of the Lord, flesh and blood will not need to
This recent controversy seems to have started when someone was concerned
about the announcement of speakers for the Southern House Church Conference.
They found a nine-year-old article of mine, still on my website
<http://boldchristianliving.com/content/view/10/25>, on the qualifications
for leadership in the church, and expressed shock at my perspective.
They gave a synopsis of a couple of the conclusions, without explaining how
I came to those conclusions. Although this is legitimate, when the
conclusions don't flow with the mainstream, they will seem extreme. And in
this case I was portrayed as being extra-biblical, legalistic, and
judgmental. I hope the following explanation clarifies what it is that I am
suggesting, and that saints can see I am not imposing my understanding on
Let me clarify a misconception. I didn't say anything about having to have
been homeschooled to be an elder. (By the way, most of my own education was
in public schools, for whatever that's worth.) What I suggested is that if a
man's children are enrolled in a school where someone else can rule them
contrary to his wishes, he is not "ruling his OWN house well."
Similarly, I suggested that if a man's wife is employed by someone who can
tell her to do something against his wishes, he is not ruling his OWN house
There are countries where tyrannous governments forcibly require children to
be separated from their parents for education. Thankfully, in the United
States, we have options, including homeschooling. So those who are aware of
this option, but choose to send their children to school anyway, are
VOLUNTARILY placing them under someone else's control, rather than ruling
Suggesting such things can sound very judgmental. Please know that's not my
intent. I can't judge anyone else according to my light. In the middle ages
there were no doubt godly monks who didn't have light regarding certain
truths we see clearly today. We can't judge them for what they simply didn't
see. And I honor those who walked with Jesus in the light they had.
Similarly, there are undoubtedly godly elders who send their children to
schools where their children are ruled by others. They are walking in the
light they have. Yet if I sent my children to school, I would be knowingly
failing to rule my own house well.
I come from a Pentecostal background, and although I still speak in tongues,
I believe many of my Pentecostal forefathers have unrightly judged others'
spirituality in light of their own experience. When they say speaking in
tongues is "the" (as in "only") initial evidence of being filled with the
Spirit. Yet they have some weight of scriptural precedent in the book of
Acts to draw this conclusion. But it isn't conclusive enough to be applied
to everyone. My point is they have some authentic light from the Lord, but
go over the edge when they judge others by it.
Similarly I think Protestants are walking in true light when we recognize
the truth that we are justified by faith, by grace. Yet when we reject the
possibility of Catholics who don't understand this truth being alive in
Christ, we are misusing the light the Lord has given us from His word. That
doesn't make the truth any less true. It is just that our flesh has used it
to exalt ourselves and reject others who are walking humbly with the Lord in
the dim light they have (we all see through a glass dimly).
So let me apply it to myself. I think I see something in scripture. For me
it is required that I walk in that light. Yet if I judge (reject) others who
don't have that light, I am sinning against them (as well as against God and
even against myself, cutting myself off from them). If I reject groups of
true saints who, with their elders, don't see the light I think I see about
ruling their own households well, I have fallen into legalism.
On the other hand, if Pentecostals love and accept those who don't speak in
tongues as brothers and sisters, and lovingly share with them what they see
as important without judging them, that is not legalism. Nor is it legalism
for Protestants to lovingly share with Catholics the wonderful truth of
justification by faith. Helping someone see in an area of blindness is not
being judgmental, as long as we don't reject them for not seeing.
Similarly, it is not legalistic or judgmental of me to teach what I believe
I see in scripture and make a logical application to our day. If a man
allows his wife to be employed where she can be told to do something by her
employer, contrary to her husband's wishes (work schedule, what to wear, who
to work with, etc.), it seems to me he is not "ruling his household well"
(or even ruling his household at all). If a man voluntarily enrolls his
children in a school where they can be told to do things against his wishes
(who to sit by, when to use the restroom, etc.), it seems to me he is not
ruling his household well.
But I have met many godly elders who don't see what I think I see. I am not
denying that they should be elders. They and those who have appointed them
are walking in the light they have. And I think we can even say God blesses
On the other hand, when the Lord gives light to someone in an area others
are in darkness, he has been made a watchman for others. He has an
obligation to offer what he thinks he sees to those who don't see it. If a
watchman sees something but neglects to sound the alarm, he will be held
accountable for the harm others he should have warned come to.
If they don't believe him or refuse to see it, at least he has been
faithful. He should certainly check to see if he has sounded the alarm
clearly (lovingly, in a way that it can easily be received), but he doesn't
need to press them. A watchman doesn't have authority over a city. He only
tells them what he sees. If his warning is rejected, he need not take it
personally. It is good for him to even recognize he could have been
incorrect in what he thought he saw.
I hope I welcome loving correction. For now, I think I see something in the
Lord that many other saints are apparently missing. I simply want to love my
brothers enough to faithfully sound an alarm about a danger I think I see.
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God bless you.
Jonathan Lindvall Lindvall at BoldChristianLiving.com
Bold Christian Living http://www.BoldChristianLiving.com
PO Box 820 Voice 559-539-0500
Springville CA 93265 Fax 559-539-0804
...He who has begun a good work in you will complete it... Phil. 1:6
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