How do we deal with this?


Ok, so now it’s my turn I guess.  What can I say?  Obviously the one section of the passage of 1 Corinthians 14:26-40 that everyone has talked about this week is this one:

matt34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.  35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church (NIV).

I can’t pass up that chance.  First of all, let me say that my brother in Christ, Ben, and sister in Christ, Brenda, did an excellent job.  I appreciate and respect both of them in their thoughts and opinions and I agree with them both.

I think that just as Rich pointed out in his message this is a particular contextual situation that applies here.  If some of you have headings in your bibles it may say something like “orderly worship” (NIV), “Order in Church Meetings” (NKJV) or “A call to orderly worship” (NLT) above verse 26 to begin this section.  While those are not in the original manuscripts obviously, I do think they are helpful to point out what we are looking at here.  And I really like the NLT heading personally that uses the word “call.”  I see this as request from Paul, given authority by God, on how to behave in worship.

This was a church meeting or worship service that had gotten a bit crazy.  Paul has pointed this out already in the fact that he has been talking about how the Corinthians’ are to behave in worship since at least Chapter 11 if not the whole book thus far.

So that is why I also tend to agree that this is a particular situation where these women were a maybe a bit too talkative, gossiping, loud, or chatty.

Whatever the situation may be we may never know.  Yet Paul points out two key things in the passage found in verse 33 and verse 40 that we must notice:

1)      God is a God of peace

2)      Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way

If these women were just gossiping, talking, spreading rumors (it could be anything) it was not good.  It was not fitting for a member of the body of Christ to do.  Man or woman.  Paul didn’t like it for sure and he seems to suggest that God doesn’t like it either since it is causing disorder within the congregation.

Just because we have been given freedom in Christ does not give us freedom to do whatever we want in the worship service.  What things in the bible should we see as contextual?  Or what things are hard-line rules?  Frankly we would do well if we do two things:

1)  Love God

2)  Love one another

So on Valentines Day I’d like to end with that.  Love God today.  Give thanks and praise to him for what He has done for you and those around you.  Love one another today.  It is the most common command in the bible.  Period.  And that is something we can all agree is a good thing.


Does this sound like your church?


Ever begin a project just to decide that after a while it wasn’t going to be completed? This is my second swipe at writing this week. The first attempt was a five-hundred word essay that resolved the controversy about speaking out in tongues and speaking forth prophecy during worship. I didn’t have a good concluding statement, so it was scrapped and you’re reading a whole different thought stream. Perhaps I really did not resolve the decades-long controversy. What I did was write my position on the topic but it was sweet; too bad I chose not to post it.

Now for the real reason for writing.

JeffWhitesideEvery good student knows that when constructing an essay, there should be an orderly and purposeful sequence leading to a conclusion. Paul’s conclusion on the topic is found in First Corinthians 14:26, “Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.” So… just how do tongues and prophecy promote building up the church? Honest Christians are divided on the topic. Those opinions range from making public supernatural occurrences normative to declaring them to be satanically inspired. I can’t imagine the responses that would come from making a declaration on the topic. I’ll let those wanting to do so, do so. I want to one stream of thought I jotted down as the sermon was presented.

Who can be found in a worship service and are non-Christians moved closer to God through their experience with churches? It caught my attention that the Corinth church included different types of people: believers, nonbelievers and inquirers. Does this sound like your church? The services there included some Godly, supernatural manifestations. Those manifesting them appeared to be the source of divide in the group. Those with one gift believed themselves to be superior to others. Does this happen in your church?

It seems to be a human characteristic to see how we compare with others. But what does this competition do to all the types of people found in a church? The divide does not seem to advance any of the three types of people found in a church. Believers don’t move closer to God if they spend time looking at each other. Believers through the centuries have spent time dividing instead of uniting. We want to be confident of where we stand with God and where he stands with us. Apparently the Corinth believers thought that the more demonstrative the gift, the more they pleased God.

Yes, there are people associated with churches who are not Christians. The reason that unbelievers choose to be associated with a church are varied. A hope is that each will be converted through their exposure to a church that works and the God who makes it happen. But what happens if the models are a distraction? What happens when competitive believers stand in the way of people moving to a saving relationship with Christ? I think that those believers will be accountable to God for being such obstacles.

One point of Christianity is that people are attracted to faith. We believe that God draws people to himself. In our Brethren tradition, we believe that more souls are propelled to faith over a kitchen table than over an altar table. Watching a Christian go through life’s ups and downs is a technique God uses to move people to faith. But… watching Christians compete does nothing beneficial for inquirers. I wonder how this grieves God as this happens. Any spiritual seeker, or inquirer, is going to have problems in a competitive church.

I’ve totally avoided the supernatural gift topic and instead looked at distractions to faith. I think the topic is more universal. But moving to faith in Christ is important. What believers do to promote that or discourage that is worth consideration.

~Post written by Jeff Whiteside