House Church Talk - Re: hc, women JL

jesusislord343 at jesusislord343 at
Tue May 4 03:07:29 EDT 2004

Bruce Woodward wrote:
> ...However, in I Cor.14 there are two expressions which have been
and misapplied by many because they failed to observe... 1) the context
of the instructions (whole church gatherings in one place)
2) those to whom those commands are directed (males)!

> Those two expressions are found in verses 26 and 31:  " when ye come
together every one of you hath a psalm..."  and " ye may all prophesy one
by one ..."   Many have assumed that these expressions are addressed to
all in the church, i.e. men and women.  This is just not true!  All of
the commands of I Cor 14 are directed to MALES!

> There are many contextual reasons why I believe this is so:
-From verse 6 onward, it is BRETHREN (males) who are specificly
-It is the "brethren" who are commanded in verse 20.
-It is "brethren" who are addressed in verse 26 to whom the instruction
"when ye come together  every one of you hath a psalm..."   is addressed.
-It is "brethren" who are informed " ye may all prophesy one by one ..."
in verse 31.
-It is "brethren" NOT sisters to whom the instructions relative to the
silence of women are addressed in verses 34 and 35.

> These verses say, "Let YOUR women keep silence in the churches: for it
is not permitted unto THEM to speak;  but THEY are commanded to be under
obedience as also saith the law. And if THEY will learn anything, LET
THEM ask THEIR husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in
the church."


Bruce (and all saints)--
Greetings in Christ's name!  I am a newcomer to this group, but by the
Lord's grace, not new to gathering to Him in simplicity in our home and

Concerning your comments above here, these are important careful
observations, and ones which are supportive of the plain reading of the
word of God in this passage.  Additionally, we may notice that I Cor.
16:13 commands the immediate recipients of the epistle to "Be
men!"--literally, to be *manly*--and thus certainly cannot have the
sisters in view.  

There are several other passages throughout the epistle which also
indicate that the "brothers" are males, and not both males and females. 
For example, in I Cor. 7 the male author speaks of the women distantly
with very same the type of "you" (males) / "they" (females) distinction
as you brought out in your comments above: "Are YOU bound to a *wife*?...
even if YOU do marry, you have not sinned; and if a *virgin* marries, SHE
has not sinned... BROTHERS, the time is short, so that from now on those
who have *wives*..."    

Now you also wrote:
> I would challenge anyone to show from scripture that the silence of
women in house gatherings of believers was ever practiced by the first
century church or is ever commanded in scripture!

A simple scriptural answer to this is that the sisters remaining silent
is a practice which was established universally for observance "in ALL
the assemblies of the saints" (I Cor. 14:33).  

Is a "house gathering of believers," as you say, an "assembly of the
saints," as our Lord says in His word?  Certainly it is.  The command is
not for only combined city-wide gatherings of saints from several
assemblies, but notice rather that it is for "ALL the assemblies."  [It
is especially for the far more common smaller assemblies, which may not
be city-wide--but whatever, the type matters not--it is indeed for

"It is shameful for women to speak *in church*" (I Cor. 14:35).  This
being the case, the only way one can try to get around the plain thrust
of the passage is to say that "house *gatherings of believers*" are
somehow not an "in church" context (!).  

Ultimately, I think to propose what you have is to say (very conveniently
to those who have no desire to obey it) that this portion of "the faith
once for all delivered to the saints" is something which will rarely--if
ever--be observed today.  

Thus I hope you will reconsider your present position and practice...

You further wrote:
> ...the silence of women in the assembly is not inly inconsistent with
what God is doing TODAY in house churches, but it has ALWAYS been
inconsistent with what God has done in house churches from the Day of
Pentecost onward!

Rather than assuming that it is Almighty God doing what we see men do, we
should instead submit fully to the word of God to come to understanding
of what He will work in our midst (I Cor. 5:4).  And let us be certain
that what He works will always be *according to His word.*

What we commonly observe with men is that they will do everything EXCEPT
the specifics of the word of God.  Really, should institutional churches
also make their own boasts, of what all they fancy that God is "doing"
among them apparently as they assemble--a clergyman giving a sermon
uninterruptedly while every other person sits passively?  It is highly
significant that neither the "institutional" model nor the common
contemporary "house-church" model produce the specific combination which
is presented to us in the word of God: of the brothers fervently speaking
as prompted by the Holy Spirit WHILE the sisters gladly defer to them in
quietly learning, remaining silent.

In the IC, the women are silent, but the men are not free to speak.  And
in the contemporary expression of HC, the men are free to speak, but the
women will not remain silent.  The elusive combination of the Holy
Scriptures is not being worked by the Lord in many places--perhaps
because He "marvels at our unbelief" (Mk. 6:6).  

In closing, it is indeed a shameful (I Cor. 14:35) situation presently,
and thus the churches on the eve of Christ's return and the resurrection
of the just are tersely commanded to *repent* from the doctrines of
Balaam and the Nicolaitans (IC), and Jezebel (contemporary HC). 
Remarkably, these three alone comprise the entire list of evil doctrines
to be repented from in the seven letters to the churches.  And those who
will not repent from these will shortly have the Lord come and fight
against them with the sword of His mouth.  "He who has ears to hear, let
him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

"All the words of my mouth are with righteousness;
Nothing crooked or perverse is in them.
They are plain to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge." (Pr. 8:8-9; also, as to the
clarity of God's word in I Corinthians, see II Cor. 1:13)

"I will run the course of Your commandments,
For You shall enlarge my heart." (Ps. 119:32)

"And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, 
To him I will give power over the nations" (Rev. 2:26)

Grace to all who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity,

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