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Photo: scottsnyde (Scott Snyder) Rgbstock.com

Photo: scottsnyde (Scott Snyder) Rgbstock.com

Biblical texts are often used as proofs for our own particular set of Christian values. Among those are texts which appear to subject women to men and wives to their husbands. But do these texts mean what many have ascribed to them?

Clarity for these texts are found in careful consideration of each passage in its own context and by avoiding transferring our own ideologies into the text. In the next posts I will cover two passages that speak of a husband’s headship in order to give some idea of their original meaning in context.

The first text, 1Corinthians 11:3, reads: But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

Here, the term “head”, from the Gk. kephale, is to be understood as “source” or “origin” without the idea of rank and has as its meaning the idea of chronology and not hierarchy.

To further substantiate this, the sequence in 1Cor 11:3 shows that hierarchy wasn’t the meaning. The sequence in the text is: Man – Christ, Wife – Husband, Christ – God

If hierarchy was the meaning, then it would have had this order: Wife – Husband, Man – Christ, Christ – God

Thirdly, hierarchical interpretation of this passage begs the question, is the ascended Christ, the Son of God, under God? As the Word, having been equal to God, He relinquished His equality for our salvation, but isn’t He restored to equality with God with ALL authority in heaven and earth? And, only at the end will He subject Himself to God again (see 1 Cor 15:28).

Order by chronology according to origin/source:

The source of every man is Christ (ADAM was made by Christ)

The source of the woman is the man (Eve came from Adam; also descriptive of that time when a husband was the main provider of physical resources and spiritual food which he could access more easily and from which she was often deprived access)

The source of Christ is God (Christ from God, Begotten of God, God became flesh to be the Christ)

Consider Cyril of Alexandria (5th century): “Thus we say that the kephale of every man is Christ, because he was made through Him and brought forward to birth…. And the kephale of woman is man, because she was taken from his flesh and has him as her source. Likewise, the kephale of Christ is God, because He is from Him according to nature.”

Someone may ask, “But, isn’t the husband meant to be the leader if he is the head?” and cite Ephesians 5:22-25: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. This is the second text that I want to reflect on.

Firstly, it is key to note that just prior to these verses, verse 21 says “…submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This is important because, in order for all the parts of the body of Christ to function properly, submission needs to be universal in the kingdom of God.

Secondly, consider that coming out of darkness and oppression is both instantaneous and progressive. So, while we are instantly changed spiritually, we often take time to change behaviorally and it usually takes even longer for the effect of the gospel to change society, even Christian society.

So, just as masters and slaves were prescribed certain behavior in the New Testament and yet slavery was not being endorsed as a Christian ideal, so too, husbands and wives were prescribed certain behavior toward one another in their current context, which was not an endorsement of the status quo where husbands were the main providers and sole leaders and where their wives were heavily dependent and often the only “partner” in submission.

Slavery and subservient wives were the context, but not the ideal to which Christianity was pointing. God-breathed prescriptions were given into these circumstances in which those saved found themselves, which, if carried out wholeheartedly, were a means to a greater end – the emancipation of slaves and women.

Essentially, husbands and wives who came to Christ, were on a journey back to mutuality. On this road, wives were not to use their freedom in Christ to become reactionary, domineering or rebellious, but to remain in submission, a Christian trait for all. And, husbands, who according to verse 21 were to submit too, as the main providers at the time, were to use their circumstantial benefits to help lead toward spousal relationships of equality.

As for us today, while we can all draw from the many truths in this passage, only those who are saved within the highly patriarchal societies will experience a direct correlation with this scripture. Husbands in general have always been the head, being the main source of provision and, by default, since the fall, the leaders. However, if they carry out their role in Christ properly, they would be able to help lead their marriages (and eventually society) to experience mutuality with regards access to resources and the opportunity to lead.

In our modern world where women enjoy a lot more liberty in church and society, husbands are still to provide support for their wives to fully flourish. But, with the opportunities that many wives have, it’s now more of a mutual support of one another than ever before. In some societies we can taste the pre-fall dream of mutuality that was lost at the fall. Certainly Christianity in most places should have moved far from the sad years of men having sole access to the many resources that made them the primary providers and also, sadly, often dominate their wives and women in general. Yet, this is not the case because of narrow views of what certain Scriptures really meant. Worse still, is the modern trend to again enslave women in emancipated Christian society through the ideologies of Patriarchy or Complementarianism.

Pre-fall Mutuality:

Gen 1:28: And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Mutuality Lost and Post-fall Dominance:

Gen 3:16: To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Mutuality Restored:

Gal 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

In Christ, husbands and wives should be joint providers, especially of an environment for mutuality. There, Christ is their provider and alone is preeminent in every area.

Rob

Picture by Adrian van Leen http://www.rgbstock.com/user/TACLUDA

Picture by Adrian van Leen
http://www.rgbstock.com/user/TACLUDA

It is often said that one reason we cannot have women as elders in the church is because Jesus did not select any women as one of the twelve apostles. But is this a fair argument?

Jesus, Radical and Wise

While Jesus was radical is His approach, He was wise too. He did not have a lot of time and women were restricted in ways that would take generations to change. In His day, the males were trained in the Scriptures far more than the females and men were culturally accepted to be listened to much more than women were. Also, it would have appeared very inappropriate in His day to have a team that comprised of both genders living together as He and His apostles needed to.

Unfair Argument

As a basis for the selection of church elders, the argument that Jesus never chose a female apostle to be among the twelve is clearly biased too, because He also never chose a Gentile and yet we are happy to have Gentile elders. Just as Gentile elders are not disproved by Jesus choice of 12 Jews as His apostles, neither are women. The basis for Gentile selection as elders is found elsewhere in God’s word and so is the basis for female selection as elders.

Clearly, having Gentiles or women as the main apostolic witnesses to all that He said and did would have been untimely and would have frustrated more than helped the cause. In short, He chose Jewish men simply because they had the cultural access needed to speak in the Temple and synagogues that neither women nor Gentiles had.

Jesus Empowered Women

Jesus’ approach toward women was very radical and would help pave the way for their eventual full emancipation and participation. He began ringing changes by teaching women both publically and privately and commissioning them with messages to share to men and women, none more profound than the announcement of the resurrection which He gave to Mary Magdalene to share with the apostles.

The full outworking of God’s principles toward women has its foundation in Christ. Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Rob Morley

Other related posts:

A Road to Egalitarianism

Let Women Teach with Authority

Naming of Eve and Adam’s Authority

Husbands, Submit to Your Wives

Ready to Rule Together
Photo by Lajla Borg Jensen @ RGBStock.com

MISUSING A CUSTOM

There is no evidence in both the incidents of Adam “naming” Eve that God had given him authority over her. I say this to counter the willy-nilly correlating of these incidents with a Hebrew custom that if you named something it indicated that you had authority over it.

If it was a Biblical custom, then its origins may lie in Adam naming the animals. However, the naming of the animals was only shown to be out of God’s interest to see what Adam WOULD name them. Yet, even if it did imply authority over the animals, this incident was by God’s leading, whereas the “naming” of his counterpart was not.

ADAM CALLED HER “WOMAN” AND NAMED HER “EVE”

Note, that the first time that Adam saw the woman, he exclaimed out of his free will and NOT by God’s command, leading or for His interest (as with the animals), “she shall be called Woman.” By doing this, he did nothing wrong, but neither was he under God’s direction. He was simply responding to having seen His counterpart.

Then, later, when Adam names the woman, “Eve”, in Genesis 3:20, it is after the fall and God did not command this either (though He may have inspired the choice of name). So, once again, this could be simply Adam’s free will (perhaps with God’s inspiration), but because it is after the fall, it could also be argued that this was Adam’s first act of ruling Eve as Genesis 3:16 said would happen.

There is therefore no evidence that by Adam calling the person made from his side “Woman” and later naming her “Eve”, that these acts of naming her had any connection to having authority over her.

EZER KENEGDO

In an effort to prove their point that Adam had authority over Eve, some have argued out that slaves, children, and animals were named by those who were over them. This was true, but slaves, children, and animals don’t equate to the Counter-part Woman given to Adam. She was not a slave, child or animal, but that teaching produces the fruit of people treating women this way.

Rather than be subject to him, the Woman was to be a strength alongside Adam (his Ezer Kenegdo – a help as his counterpart). She would be strong where he was weak and together they would have co-dominion over every living thing, with the mission to subdue the earth.

(Note: Ezer is often used of God helping us. Kenegdo shows the help is of an equal. From word study of “help meet”, EZER KENEGDO, God’s Word to Women).

Rob

Husbands, Submit To Your Wives!

“I LOVE, YOU SUBMIT!!!” Picture: matchstick (Martin Walls)http://www.rgbstock.com/user/matchstick


HIS AND HERS?

We can clearly see in Scripture that wives are expected to submit to their husbands, and that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church and to lay down their lives for them. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Eph 5:22-25). These particular commands to husbands and wives may appear to absolve wives from the life-sacrificing love that is required from husbands and may also appear to absolve husbands from submitting to their wives.

 THERE’S MORE

However, in the broader body we are all expected to lay down our lives for one another and to submit to one another. Consider these scriptures: 1 John 3:16, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” Eph 5:21, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” In Eph 5:22-24, Paul was having husbands and wives focus on particular areas, but was in no way suggesting that wives were absolved from laying down their lives for their husbands nor husbands from submitting to their wives. Marriage does not nullify the general commands to submit to one another (Eph 5:21) and to lay down our lives for one another (1 John 3:16).

PRACTICING THIS LIFESTYLE

Practicing this kingdom lifestyle in the home has its challenges, which can be even more magnified depending on the context. Consider that in the context which Paul wrote, just as slaves needed a special focused word of exhortation to submit to their masters (see Eph 6:5-8), wives, who had all along generally been treated as 2nd class, also needed a special focused word of exhortation to submit. Especially that, in the light of the freedom of the gospel, it may easily have appeared to them that they needn’t submit to their domineering husbands anymore. Similarly, husbands may have needed a special focused word of exhortation at that time and in their culture to love their wives, as many would have been part of a culture where they treated their wives as 2nd class citizens, always at their beck and call.

SO,

In the context of all of scripture, it is clear that the message to husbands and wives universally is to practice a lifestyle of mutual love and submission. In other words, husbands, love means submitting to your wife too (Eph 5:21). Equally, wives, submission means laying down your life for him too (1 John 3:16). See also: Equality in Marriage 1, Equality in Marriage 2 Rob

Photo by Sias van Schalkwyk http://www.rgbstock.com/user/Seepsteen

Photo by Sias van Schalkwyk
http://www.rgbstock.com/user/Seepsteen

Jesus’ Offer of Salvation

John 7:37-39, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, IF ANY MAN THIRST, let him come unto me, and drink. HE THAT BELIEVETH ON ME, as the scripture hath said, OUT OF HIS BELLY SHALL FLOW RIVERS OF LIVING WATER. (But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”

Jesus’ offer of salvation was all about receiving the promise of the Spirit to those who would believe on Him. Salvation was offered as an experience that would satisfy spiritual thirst and flow as living waters out from a believer’s belly. The Spirit would indwell and flow out from a believer’s life.

Together We Drink Into One Spirit

In writing to believers, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; AND HAVE BEEN ALL MADE TO DRINK INTO ONE SPIRIT.”

Two Gifts in One

Essentially two gifts are given when we come to Christ. Our forgiveness (our justification) and the promise of the Spirit. Yet, sadly, just as many believers don’t fully grasp God’s forgiveness and experience little freedom from their guilt, many don’t fully realize and enjoy the power of the Holy Spirit who resides within to enable them to live a godly life, empower them for service and manifest in their lives with gifts, signs and wonders.

Rom 8:9, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” Compare this to John 7:37-39 above.

Manifestation of The Spirit

When we first experience something extraordinary like tongues or a word of knowledge, it is not the baptism in the Spirit that we are experiencing, but a manifestation of the Spirit through a gift to someone already baptized in the Spirit. It is simply our first awareness of a supernatural flow or manifestation of the promised Spirit which we already received at salvation.

Receiving The Spirit

No long drawn out prayerful tarrying (waiting) is necessary to receive the Spirit. You will have received Him when you believed on Jesus. Rather, simply ask be filled by Him. To tarry or to wait was simply a command to the first believers who were to receive the promise of the Spirit at the feast of Pentecost, God’s appointed time to first give the Spirit to all who believe (see Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4). In so doing God fulfilled the feast to which Pentecost had pointed throughout the Old Testament.

Also, no turning over a new leaf is required either. Justification is sufficient. Just look at the Corinthians! They were not exactly an example of holiness and yet were experiencing the dynamic of the Spirit moving in and through the Body. That said, ungodliness can hinder, frustrate and quench the Spirit.

Luke 11:13, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

This is what salvation is all about: from a life in the flesh to Life in the Spirit. The context of this passage implores us to simply ask. And, asking is sufficient because faith is all that is required.

The Outpouring Begins

The outpouring of the Spirit on 120 disciples at Pentecost manifested in them praising God in languages unknown to themselves, yet recognizable as the mother tongues of Jews who had come from all over the world to the feast. This manifestation drew 3000 people to pay attention. (Note that according to 1 Cor 15:6 there were at least another 380 believers elsewhere who would receive the Spirit too.)

Peter told the crowd, drawn by this inexplicable event, that what they were witnessing was promised by the prophet Joel concerning the Spirit. Peter said that the outpouring of the promised Spirit was related to Jesus being exalted to God’s right hand (being glorified, see John 7:37-39) and Him having received the promised Holy Spirit to give.

Repentance and Forgiveness

It was the man, Jesus, whom they had rejected and had killed. As a result, they were cut to the heart and were led to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, which, Peter said, would mean that they would receive the Spirit. The Spirit, who was used as the bait for their salvation, was the goal of their salvation.

Salvation By Receiving The Spirit

We have preached salvation from sin and stopped there as though it was the main goal. But, Jesus’ message in John 7:37-39, and elsewhere, and Peter’s message at Pentecost was about the promise. God’s promise was the Spirit. God’s gift was the Spirit. Repentance and even justification, as costly as it was to purchase for us and as meaningful as it will forever be to us, remains the means and not the end. These are the pathway to the promise.

Similarly, when Peter spoke to Cornelius (a gentile) and his household about Jesus and got to saying, “’To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins’ …the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”

What Are We To Do?

So, what should we who have received the Spirit now do? Having received the Spirit at salvation, a continual life lived from Him is available to us. The fruit of His presence in our lives (Gal 5:22) along with His wisdom, power and gifts for service.

If we lack in love we should ask to be filled with the Spirit, and if we lack in power we should ask to be filled, and if we lack in wisdom we should ask for it, and if we desire a gift we should ask for it too.

Eph 5:18, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be (continually) filled with the Spirit”

Gal 5:25, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Have Faith in God’s Goodness

A continual revelation of God’s goodness, of His deep desire for relationship with us and His unmerited favor toward us will impart faith to continually ask to be filled.

Gal 3:5, “…he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you … by hearing with faith”.

Rob Morley

A Road to Egalitarianism

Michal Zacharzewski / RGBstock

Michal Zacharzewski / RGBstock

Recognizing Equality

“Between the privileges of men and women there was a great disparity among the Jews. A man might shave his head, and rend his clothes in the time of mourning; a woman was not permitted to do so. A man might impose the vow of nasirate upon his son; a woman could not do this on her daughter. A man might be shorn on account of the nasirate of his father; a woman could not. A man might betroth his daughter; a woman had no such power. A man might sell his daughter; a woman could not. In many cases they were treated more like children than adults; and to this day are not permitted to assemble with the men in the synagogues, but are put up in galleries, where they can scarcely see, nor can they be seen. Under the blessed spirit of Christianity, they have equal rights, equal privileges, and equal blessings; and, let me add, they are equally useful.” Taken from Adam Clarke’s commentary on Gal 3:28.

Equality Hindered

Reading Adam Clarkes commentary on Gal 3:28, especially the last sentence, made me wonder about who he was and what his views were toward women in ministry. I discovered that he, along with other Methodists, gave as much room as their understanding of Scripture allowed, but that they, like many Complementarians today, could not see it right from Scripture to ordain women as elders.

Equality Found

However, aware that the Methodist church has since allowed for women ordination, I was interested to read how this came about. I came across The Free Methodist Church website and their Statement on Women in Ministry and it made for a worthwhile read. It explains how they came to their belief that women can be ordained and I recommend it as a useful resource to understanding their egalitarian view in the light of Scripture.

Here’s an extract:

To both man and woman, God gave the order to be fruitful and to take dominion over the world (Genesis 1:28). There is no hint of woman’s subjection before the fall. Roberts notes that when Jesus was asked about divorce in Matthew 19:3, he based his response on Genesis 2:24, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Why did Jesus refer back to the time before the fall? “To re-enact the law enacted then. Thus Christ restored the primitive law. He said nothing about the subjection of women — not one word. … Christ came to repair the ruin wrought by the fall” (Roberts, pp. 35-36). Christ calls redeemed humanity to live out the creation design.

Extract is taken from The Free Methodist Church website and their Statement on Women in Ministry.

Rob Morley

Reflecting on 1 Timothy 2:11-15

The issue of a woman leading or teaching in the church is clearly misunderstood by many and is a contentious subject that divides the body of Christ. The stumbling block is generally over scripture, with 1 Timothy 2:11-15 being perhaps the most prominent of these.

Let’s consider what it says:

“Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.”

To some of us, it’s as plain as day what Paul is saying in these words. Others of us believe he cannot possibly be saying what a simple reading of the text seems to indicate.

In order to understand the issues that Paul addresses here, we need to have context in two areas. Firstly, we need to get textual context by examining these verses in the light of the whole letter. And, secondly, we need to get the historical context.

Scriptural Context

If we look at Paul’s opening address to Timothy at the beginning of the letter, we can see that Timothy, a co-worker in Paul’s church planting team, had been asked to “remain at Ephesus so that [he] may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine…” (1 Timothy 1:3).

Historical Context

Then, in 1 Tim 2:11-15 Paul addresses one of these “different doctrines”, the idea of female religious superiority. It was the prevalent belief in Ephesian religion that man came from a woman deity and then subsequently sinned. Also, men were to be subject to women teaching them and to their authority. This idea had apparently infiltrated into the local church’s thinking.

Let’s examine Paul’s instruction that corrects this:

Quiet & Submissive?

Paul tells Timothy, “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.” This describes the proper demeanor in which both men and women should learn. Except, in this case, it was evidently the women who needed instruction and correction. Let’s consider this:

Firstly, “let a woman learn” was huge progress in that women were often untaught and relegated to the sidelines of life, including among the Jews. Now they were among those being taught.

Then, “quietly” suggests refraining from the bustle and chatter that some may have been previously used to, but that would disrupt a learning environment. This may also be the start of Paul correcting the opposite extreme of female dominance that was prevalent in that society’s religion.

And, “with all submissiveness” is a call to appropriate Christian behavior where men and women are “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).

No Teaching or Authority?

Paul goes on, “I do not permit a woman to teach …a man.” Here Paul is addressing the false idea of women being the source of truth. The Spirit of God is the source of truth and it can be through men and women. Consider this in the light of “the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him” (1 John 2:27).

Paul goes on, “or to exercise authority over a man”. Prohibiting the exercise of authority over one another is not foreign to Christianity. Consider Jesus’ prohibition on disciples having authority over one another in Matthew 20:25-27. Again, here, Paul recognized that certain women, in the church at Ephesus specifically, needed addressing on this issue.

Paul continues with, “rather, she is to remain quiet.” This is again an attitude for learning and not a strict prohibition from any interaction.

Tearing Down the False Teaching

Then he says, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing — if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.”

Here Paul corrects the false teaching that man came from a woman deity by stating that Adam was formed first and then Eve. He doesn’t do this in order to place Adam over Eve, but to simply pull to pieces the false teaching. Then, to further take it apart, Paul states that it was actually the woman who was initially deceived and who became the first transgressor. Not the man as the false teaching taught.

The Mess from Misunderstanding

Some in the church today suggest the prohibition on women teaching is based on Paul’s reference here to a propensity for women to be more easily deceived. However, Paul was not saying anything of the sort. He was merely showing up the false teaching. Frankly, as I look around and at our past, the devil hasn’t needed help from women for this. Men themselves have been deceived and have done a right royal job in promoting false teaching.

Through our misunderstanding of the context and what Paul was addressing, we have swung the pendulum from the false teaching of female dominance in teaching and leadership to an equally false teaching of male dominance in teaching and headship.

Paul was not prohibiting women from teaching men or from speaking God’s word with authority. He was simply bringing wayward thinking in line with the equality that should exist in the body of Christ.

Rob

(Note that Timothy was not the pastor of the church in Ephesus as has been mistakenly attributed to him. For more on this, see my post on Church Leadership).

Image by weirdvis (Lynne Lancaster) http://www.rgbstock.com/user/weirdvis

Image by weirdvis (Lynne Lancaster)
http://www.rgbstock.com/user/weirdvis

God’s Way Sacrificed

To many, the idea of church leadership through consensus sounds like leadership is taken from God and given into the hands of men. Nevertheless, it is precisely God’s way of seeing His will done in and through the Church. Sadly, the church is full of stories of leadership abuse, which could have been prevented if we had implemented God’s way of directing the church.

Authority

Church leadership only has authority to implement God’s leading concerning the whole church when group consensus is reached by the whole church. While one person may have God’s word on a subject, and with that the authority to share it, he or she still needs to obey God’s way and seek consensus before action can be taken.

Consensus Builds True Unity

This may seem like a painful process, but in the end it builds real relationships and true unity around issues. Outside of consensus, leaders easily default to the sin of preeminence where they employ the world’s ways and steam roller their ideas into action. Sadly, many church leaders justify this style by the success of their ministry, but the end never justifies the means! An environment of love is the only way to the outcomes that we seek and may often be more important than our goals.

Consensus Protects the Group and the Individual

Consensus is a way of protection. For example, in the case of church discipline in the New Testament, consensus is sought by involving everyone. This way a fair judgment can be reached through unity and also the fear of the Lord can be on everyone involved.

Consensus is the Fruit of Faith

Seeking consensus puts faith into practice. It is the belief that Jesus really is the head of the Body of Christ and is able to lead each member in unity.

Right and Wrong Examples

Acts chapter 15 is a good example of how the whole church is involved in resolving serious decision making and of how everyone was involved. Conversely, 3 John 1:9-10 shows Diotrephes as a leader who sought preeminence and bullied his way in the church.

For more on this subject you can read these related posts:

Church Leadership

Hierarchical Leadership – The Main Hindrance in the Body of Christ Part 3

Who Calls the Shots (Decision Making) in the Body of Christ?

Rank or Respect

Church Governance 101

Does the Bible Support the Position of a Senior Pastor?

The Super Guru Culture

Rob

Do you know the Truth?

SisCiel (Cécile Graat)www.rgbstock.com/user/SisCiel

Image by SisCiel (Cécile Graat) http://www.rgbstock.com/user/SisCiel

SisCiel (Cécile Graat) www.rgbstock.com/user/SisCiel

Image by SisCiel (Cécile Graat) http://www.rgbstock.com/user/SisCiel

We all grapple at various times in life to know what’s best and what’s true. And, then, often when we’ve found a particular truth, in say science or philosophy, we still find ourselves only in the shallow-end of fully grasping its value and potential.

Have you ever wondered if there is an author to this truth we search for? Someone who’ll help us find what we’re looking for and who can help us properly utilize what we find?

There is a man who makes an astonishing and all-encompassing declaration to be “the truth.” Such a claim implies that all truth starts with him no matter where it may now reside. It also implies that this truth is only really able to be truly held together by him. And, that only he knows the true way things work. This man is Jesus! If not, then where does truth come from?

When we separate truth from Jesus, both are distorted. Our view of Jesus is diminished and the full application of the truth squandered or misused. All truth is from Him and of Him and handled best by Him. An essential part of His truth is captured in God’s word, the Bible. Like a love letter, it serves as a means to knowing Him, and like a plumbline, it’s the guide for all other teaching.

Do you know the truth?!! Because, He knows you and loves you! Have you read His love letter lately?

How about these portions:

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to receive God’s punishment for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

And,

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).

Said another way:

“For our sake God made Jesus to be Everything Wrong who knew Nothing Wrong, so that in Jesus we might become what God calls Right.”

Rob

Interpreting Scripture Correctly

Bible and TextMan’s form of religion is full of rules and rituals in order to reach God or Karma or a state of perfection. At best, it’s merely a hollow shell with empty promises.

The Bible, by contrast, is not a burdensome book of religion; it’s the living Word of God. True Christianity is a dynamic ongoing relationship with the living Jesus Christ. As a result, we cannot treat the Bible as a book of mindless rules and build formulas out of scripture. Man, however, feels safe when the words that he reads are categorized, put into boxes, and formulas are built for instruction on how to live right.

If that is how we want to interpret scripture, then we strip the Bible of life.

Interpreting the Bible should be done in our relationship with its Author, Jesus Christ, who helps us interpret what is printed on its pages. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that the living word of God can transform our corrupt minds and make us think and behave more like Christ.

When we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to be our Counselor, then we are in danger of misusing scripture. When we misuse scripture, we can easily damage people’s lives.

Each individual situation should be treated with individual care and prayer. Don’t rattle off scripture, because you might have grabbed the wrong one for that moment. We must not throw scripture around as we deem fit, because we might cause more harm than good and push people further away from God.

Besides putting verses in boxes, we must also be careful that we don’t place our own agenda onto our interpretation of the scriptures, because we can “see” what we want to see and miss what God is actually saying. That might require us to unlearn what we have been taught in our various churches and cultures and ask God to teach us afresh.

For an example of how we can misuse scripture if we are simplistic in interpreting it, you can go to my post, Misinterpreting Scripture on our blog, Restore the Word.

Tina

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