Sister to Sister: It Doesn’t Really Matter What I Think about Fourth Avenue

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In light of a widely read and watched article and video from Franklin, TN in the past few days about a young woman taking a position as a preaching intern, I just want to make a few concise statements this morning… Not that it matters what I say… at all. I guess that’s the point.

1. Having a talent doesn’t give me license to do whatever I feel will glorify God in worship or service with with that talent. Korah, Dathan and Abiram obviously had leadership skills and talents. They rallied Israel behind them. But God was sorely displeased with their attempts at challenging his system. In fact his earth opened up and swallowed them (Numbers 16).
2. It doesn’t matter how many people are accepting of a proposition or position or how revered those people are. Widespread acceptance doesn’t make something pleasing to God. In our present culture, I should not even have to cite an example for this premise, but the book of Malachi as well as numerous others should suffice.
3. We do not “interpret Christ through Paul” or visa versa. Every word in the text is from the same author, The Holy Spirit of God. Jesus, himself, was insistent on that truth (Matthew 4:4). To disparage ANY of His words, whether written through Paul or Christ is to blaspheme Him.
4. Jesus never taught anything that conflicts with any teaching of Paul. There is no need to interpret either through the other to determine the role of women in the church. Their teachings are not contradictory.
5. The teaching of the Holy Spirit through Paul In I Timothy 2 is tied, in the text, to creation (verse 12-14); not to any particular culture.
6. Having a feeling of “peace” is not the way we figure out whether what we are doing is pleasing to God. Saul was very much “at peace” with holding the coats of those who were stoning Stephen and imprisoning Christians in the name of God (Acts 23:1).
7. Sometimes wolves look gentle and docile…like sheep (Matthew 7:15).
8. Just because there is a movement in a body does not mean the Hand of God is orchestrating that movement. It is possible that movement is “REmoval (emphasis mine, CC) to another gospel” (Galatians 1:6,7). Movement can be perversion.
9. Just because this young woman has made this public step does not mean that her heart is vile, hardened, or impure. Perhaps she can reason through this using Scripture and begin again. She has much influence to offer. Imagine what she can do in divinely ordered channels! I am going to try to contact her and make a prayerful attempt.
10. Perhaps the most comforting thing about this whole scenario is the wisdom of the God we serve in making the congregations of the body autonomous. Just because unscriptural decisions and practices are affecting the body in a nearby community does not mean they must affect the congregation in which I worship Him. I praise Him for that divine insulation.
11. Just because a sign in front of the building may say “Church of Christ” does not necessarily mean that the body of people who meet inside really are part of the body for which He died. At some point, when people digress in faithfulness, the “candlestick” is divinely removed. We know this from Revelation 2. Though we know that for many years the denominational world at large has scorned the teaching of I Timothy 2 as it relates to the role of women in worship, our consternation in the past few days has been because this is a congregation called the church of Christ. God knows whether the candlestick is in place. He always gets that right. A sign, a place in a directory, a nomenclature on a website or Facebook page, or a link to a Christian university or publication does not, of course, determine true identity.
12. Respecting diverse choices about worship is not a Biblical concept. In fact, respecting each other is not what worship is about. Worship has never been about what I. or others, might choose. If I may use Lauren’s illustration, Abraham would never have chosen to worship in the way God prescribed in Genesis 22. The worship he offered was a total rejection of what he would have preferred and of the “talents” he would have seen as valuable or instrumental to God’s purposes. It was the WORD of God that directed his offering; not his own talents or abilities. It is the WORD that should direct us to selflessly submit, respecting HIM.

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  1. […] Avenue, and the congregation hailed her bravery and talents. After the sermon, she was interviewed1 and […]

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