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Received from Chuck Missler, K.House. Date: Thu, 23 Jul 2009 “Women in the Bible” (Below; my reply)

With the deepest of respect may I comment? Chuck writes -

>>And about women keeping silent in churches? In the context of 1 Corinthians 14, Paul is talking about maintaining order during church gatherings.<<

The word '
order' can apply to anything and mean anything. Paul is far more specific. Its “obvious from the context” -

As in all the churches of the saints, Let the women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law. And if they would learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home: for it is shameful for a woman to speak in the church.” (1 Cor.14:33-35)

Now that ‘
context’ is abundantly clearer, don’t you think?

>>It's notable that just 3 chapters prior, in 1 Cor 11:5, Paul made it clear that women do prophesy. When were they supposed to prophesy then, if not in church gatherings?<<

Yes “1 Cor.11:5” is a mention, but its not a ruling. Not uncommon for Paul to mention and rule elsewhere (a). Or does Chuck have Paul contradict himself?

Strange logic indeed if Paul mentioned an issue without rebuke, that means he accepted it. He did not give approved but does say, "Your meetings for worship actually do more harm than good..." (1 Cor.11:17). When he does come to the place in Corinthians where he clearly speaks his mind on the subject he lays down a strict prohibition against women speaking. With clear directives women are not to lead or speak in the services of the church (cf. 14:34; 1 Tim.2:12). But note the “
context” of “1 Cor.11:5” does not specifically refer to a public “church gathering”. Not until 11:18 Paul says "when you come together".

Even if women were in the church "prophesying" the Corinth church was one of disorder (14:40). Confusion and disarray (14:33). They were called 'carnal' (3:1) making-up what they believed (14:37-38) with wrong practices compared to other churches (14:34). Abused what God gave (12:1-31) so hardly a prime example.

>>There have been several female prophets in the Bible, and they spoke to groups that also included men. Anna the prophetess is a notable example (Luke 2:37-38).<<

That occurrence is taken out of ‘
context’ it was not a “church gathering”. Churches follow the apostle’s doctrine, (Acts 2:42 5:28 Rom.16:17-18 Eph.4:14 1 Tim.1:3, 10-11. 1 Cor.4:16-17) not allowing Jewish tradition to govern “church gatherings”.

>>It's obvious from the context that Paul's purpose was not to subjugate women, but to keep order when the people came together. Some have suggested that women, who were not necessarily literate, had been making a lot of noise during gatherings by asking their husbands questions. It was causing disruption, just as people prophesying all at once caused disruption. Paul finishes the whole section by saying, "Let all things be done decently and in order."<<

Formulating doctrine by what ‘
some suggest’ is problematic and confusing. The imagination can imagine anything. Paul is much clearer,

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection… I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression..." (see also 2 Tim.3:16 1 Pe.3:4-6).

(There were other reasons the early church women did not encouraged women to ‘teach’.)

>>Ultimately, Paul says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." -Galatians 3:28<<

Careful in the application. It must not be pressed into meaning something it does not say. There is no hidden idea in “Gal.3:28” that removes or contradicts what are clear elsewhere. As far as everyday life is concerned (not to mention public ministry in the church), God does recognize distinctions between ‘male and female’. The NT contains many instructions addressed to each. So God’s Word determines which distinctions are removed or disannulled. Otherwise unisex and homosexuality are acceptable.

Similar comment to “
Gal.3:28” is made in Col.3:11 - "Christ is all and in all" but Paul says wives are still subject to husbands "in the Lord" (v.18). And again, the Corinthian's were 'all one in Christ', neither "Jew or Gentile, slave or free" (1 Cor.12:13). Yet Paul regulated gender distinctions (1 Cor.11:1-16)

Kind regards

Eg Paul's mention of gifts (1:7) but ruled on elsewhere (12:1-31). 'Drunkenness' without rebuke (11:21) but ruled on elsewhere (5:11 6:9). The resurrection (6:14) but explained elsewhere (15:12-19). Division without rebuke (1:10 & 11:18) but ruled on elsewhere (1:11-19 & 12:25). Love (2:9) but defined elsewhere (13:1-8) Communion feast (11:16) but ruled on elsewhere (12:23-34) Slavery without rebuke (12:13) but ruled on elsewhere (7:21-24) etc.

The only reply was a blank email with a small attachment that could not be opened.