Paul is continuing on the matter of spiritual gifts. In our reading today he is setting out an order or framework for the service. He is putting forth God’s commands for orderly worship.
Ok. Before we get going too far I’m going to come out and say that I believe the bible was for yesterday, today and forever. God’s word doesn’t change. But our customs do. Things that people in Paul’s day thought “shameful” are not considered shameful now. Case in point is women speaking in church.
Another issue I have with the command for women to keep silent in churches is that previously Paul was talking about women prophesying. He didn’t tell them to stop but to cover their heads if they were married. So what circumstances is Paul speaking to when he says for women to keep silent? Is it only married women? The single woman wouldn’t have a husband to ask but would instead ask her father, in Paul’s society. My bible helps suggest that Paul’s command was possibly made concerning judging prophecy. I could see that interpretation, but still we come back to the cultural changes. How does that apply today?
Paul is very careful earlier in his letter to differentiate between his opinions and God’s commands. He classifies this section as God’s command. So where does that leave us? I know churches on “both sides of the isle” on the issue of women “speaking” in church. Some strictly forbid woman from taking any active role while others employ women pastors. I probably fall on the side of allowing women to serve wherever they are gifted to do so. But when I meet God face to face I’m going to have to ask Him where He falls on this issue. Do] His standards change with the changing times on this? Is this a hard fast rule? Or if He gifts someone in a certain area shouldn’t He expect them to use that gifting? If God gave it shouldn’t I use it?
Whatever you choose, choose order and building up of the body first. God knows that we all learn best in an orderly environment. We are creatures of habit. We crave continuity. Change is, more often than not, seen as the enemy. But more than anything else God is not the author of confusion. If your format is so filled with uncertainty that no one knows what to expect, no one can settle in. You don’t have to be so rigid, “three points and a prayer”, that you leave no room for the Holy Spirit to work either.
IF you listen, He will lead. And His leadership will be orderly and enlightening. His words are meant to build us up. Often the building process involves a bit of remodeling too. Willingly submit to His leading and keep your brother and sister’s spiritual growth in mind too. Do all you do in love; love for God and for your fellow believers.
Father God I still have questions on Your standards. I wish You would speak so loudly to my heart that I would KNOW the answer. But I don’t know if the answer for me would be Your answer for everyone else. I know Jesus had women following Him and learning at His feet. He also said that there is no male or female in Your Kingdom. But how does that translate for us?
One reason I really want an answer to this question is because our society is changing its views on a LOT of issues concerning “shameful” things. Where does that leave us with You? Some things I’m certain You don’t change on, but what about other things? I know this world is also VERY adept at not calling sin, sin. Where does the line lie between “cultural norms” and “sin?”
Father God, Holy Spirit and Lord Jesus please forgive me for ever changing Your ideals to fit my comforts. Please show me YOUR lines in the sand and grab me back when I try to cross them or blur them out of “political correctness” or “uber grace.” Don’t let me call sin anything but sin, either in my life or someone else’s. And remind me to always demonstrate YOUR love when confronted with sin.