House Church Talk - A vision of women and silence in the church

Sean Kelly seank at
Wed May 12 16:07:05 EDT 2004

Please forgive me if this was already covered. I think I read all the related threads but I'm not sure and I still have these questions. So I'd like to throw them out here and see if someone can help me understand and put them together.
As I stated previously, I understand Jesus to say in Mat thew 18 that were two or three are gathered we have a church. Titus 2:3-5 and 1 Timothy 2:12 create a tension that encourages older women to instruct younger women in matters of the home (for lack of a better description), clearly this must involve speaking. The instruction in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 seems to plainly mean that women are not to speak. I don't think this can be limited to whole church gatherings as the preceding verse points out that these instructions are for all the churches of the saints.
So when two or three Christian women come together over coffee at Starbucks, what do they do? If that is no a church meeting then what makes it different? Could two single missionary women in Africa not meet without finding a man to do the speaking?
This isn't a snide question, I'm just having trouble making all the plain readings fit together. Honestly, my wife would prefer not having the pressure to contribute beyond materially to our weekly gatherings. However she has expressed confusion at how her silent presence could edify and build up the body. Silence is silence, so if scripture really says that, should the singing be all male? Especially since Colossians 3:16 would imply that one of the primary purposes of singing in the meeting is to teach one another.
So putting this all together, my vision would be that the decision making part of the meeting should be distinguished from the rest. This is drawing on the roots of the word ekklesia and stating that women should be silent in that process as we see in Acts 15:6-23 but that for the rest of the gathering they are encouraged to participate as parts of the body, praying and prophesying and instructing the younger women as mentioned above but leaving the teaching of doctrine and exercising of church authority to the men.
I'm curious how others who take the plain reading of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 might see this walked out? Please let me know.
Go Carefully,
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. - Ephesians 5:15-16


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