Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. ~2 Timothy 2:15

About Me

I am a young man who is following God's call into pastoral ministry. I have been so blessed with the privileges which the Lord has granted me. I am blessed to serve the Mt. Joy congregation in Mt. Pleasant, PA. I am constantly humbled and amazed at what the Lord is doing in my life.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Sanctity of Human Life

 The focus for our Vacation Bible School ministry this summer is the sanctity of human life. And in light of all that is going on in our culture today, I cannot think of a more relevant and needed topic to be teaching our children. When it comes down to it, at the heart of several things we are witnessing today occurring in our nation is a blatant disregard and devaluing of human life. The very reason the Supreme Court wrongly decided the Roe v. Wade decision nearly 50 years ago granting a legal “right” to an abortion and why so many vehemently oppose the potential of it being overturned right now is simply because life is not valued at its earliest stages of development. The life of the tiniest most dependent child is not seen as greater than a mother’s choice of what to do with him or her. This also accounts for the 421,483.4 abortions which have already occurred this year as of this writing and the many more tragically which will be added to that number. The rise of so many mass shootings that we hear about almost daily stem from, among other things, a basic failure to value human life. No one is going to go into a grocery store or a school to gun down people who don’t look the same as them or young children if they are convinced that every life has value and worth. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, on average there is 130 suicides per day. People not only don’t value the life of others but their own life as well. And more and more states are seeking to legalize euthanasia or assisted suicide. In a growing “culture of death,” even more so now we need to be teaching our children and the kids in the community why every life matters regardless of the location (whether inside or outside the womb) or its age, size, shape, or shade of skin.

 

The sanctity and value of human life can be seen in the very creation of man itself. When God went about to make man, He created him in His own image (Genesis 1:27). This sets us apart from any other of God’s creation. While we may share some characteristics with those in the animal kingdom, only is man ever described as being created in God’s image. In fact, this is something that has not been said about the angels whom we were made just a little lower than (Psalm 8:5). We are never told anywhere in Scripture that they in any sense bear God’s image nor were designed to do so. Alone, out of all of God’s splendid creatures, we have this privilege and that gives each of us inherent value and worth. Even though that image has now been marred and distorted, it still clearly remains (Genesis 9:6; James 3:9). It is a distorted reflection but a reflection none the less. Think of how you look when standing in front of a busted mirror. You can still see your reflection in it but it’s not perfect. You may look kind of fuzzy. Maybe your eye looks out of place or your cheek is hanging down. You can only see part of your ear or a piece of it. But it is still you being reflected. As fallen creatures, we still reflect God’s image though it’s a broken reflection. Also, there is something to be said about the fact that God decided to create man last of all His creation, indicating that we serve as the crown or capstone of all that He has made so to speak. He decided that His creation was not complete until He had made man to bear and reflect His image.

 

God values human life so much that He forbids us from the unauthorized intentional taking of a human life. That’s found in the statement of the sixth commandment, You shall not murder (Exodus 20:13). And if we are not to take a human life, then that means that we are to do everything possible within our power to preserve and protect human life as every negative command has a positive side to it. We must value every life because God values every life. As R. C. Sproul has pointed out, there is a real sense that when someone strikes another human, that they are not only making an assault against that person, but against God Himself, the One whose image the person bears. Just as desecrating the American flag is seen as being an insult to the nation, harming or hurting any human can be viewed as being insult to his or her Creator.

 

In fact, God sees each human life as being so valuable and as having such worth that He instituted the death penalty for the murder of it. In Genesis 9:5-6, He says, Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every living thing I will require it. And from every man, from each man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man. If someone takes another man or woman’s life, they in essence forfeit their own. Even an animal who takes a humans life is to be put to death (v. 5). That’s how important life is to God!

 

And perhaps the greatest worth and value we can see that God places on human life is found in Him preserving it to redeem His chosen people out of it through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That even when God brought about the flood of His judgment over all of mankind on account of their wickedness, in grace He spared Noah and his family and brought about the Messiah through his lineage. He has chosen to glorify Himself through the salvation of men and women from every tribe, tongue, and nation. To make them His own and recreate them into the image of His beloved Son.

 

If we want to see an end to this “culture of death” all around us, then we need to seek to cultivate a culture of life instead. One way that we can do this is to begin teaching our children from the youngest of ages as to why every life matters to God and is important to Him. In a couple short weeks, we have the privilege to do just that with our Vacation Bible School outreach. And, of course, ultimately we want the kids to find their full value and worth in the Lord Jesus Christ and becoming an adopted child of God’s through faith in Him. Please join us in praying for this ministry and seeking to help out in any way that you are able.

 

Love in Christ,

Pastor Lee

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Persistent Prayer

            How often should we pray? How many times should we be in prayer for a specific need or request? Is there a possibility of praying about something too much? Is that a sign of us having a lack of faith that God hears our request and that He will answer it or is it a demonstration of our faith that we are confident that He will come through following all our petitions? These are all common questions which typically come up about one of the most important aspects of our relationship with the Lord; our talking to Him in prayer. And, of course, they are not trivial matters at all but ones we certainly are concerned about as we want to properly pray and honor the Lord with our praying to Him. So, let’s look then at what the Bible says both of the timing of our prayers and the frequency of them.

            First, how often should we pray? The Scriptures give us no set number of times to come before the Lord throughout our day to speak with Him. Instead, Paul instructs us to “pray without ceasing” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. The idea is to be continually coming before our Father to express our thanksgiving, praise, and requests to Him. We are to, in essence, have an attitude of prayer, taking many moments to speak with Him as reasons and needs arise. With this said, it is also good to have a specific concentrated time set aside each day for prayer as well as we witness with Daniel and his going to his window three particular times every day (Daniel 6:10). A time when you intentionally say no to everything else to spend quality time talking with your Lord. A time that often is best coupled with the reading of God’s Word as it is in prayer we speak to God and through His Word that He speaks to us.

One thing that we notice with Jesus in His earthly ministry is His continual practice of prayer. He often would be found stepping away from the crowds to talk with His heavenly Father (Luke 5:15-16). He arose early in the morning to go out where He could be alone for the express purpose of praying (Mark 1:35). Every major event of His life while on earth was marked by prayer beforehand. The Lord was praying as He began His ministry after His baptism (Luke 3:21-22). He spent all night in prayer before choosing the 12 disciples (6:12). It was after praying that Jesus asked the critical question as to “Who do people say that He is” where Peter receives the revelation that He is the Christ, the Son of God (9:18). He was praying on the Mount of Transfiguration (9:28-29) and of course in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion (22:39-46). I’m struck by the fact that if the very sinless Son of God, who has the closest possible connection to the Father, spent so much time communing with Him in prayer, how much more do we need to? Certainly, we (remember that includes me too!) each could be praying much more than we do and should work with the aid of His grace to discipline ourselves to improve in our praying without ceasing.

Now, as to the amount of times we should bring up a specific request to the Lord, you may be surprised to discover that God basically tells us to pester Him with our needs. Not to pray for them each one time but to keep coming before Him with them. There is a sense where we are to not just come to the Lord in prayer without ceasing but also to pray about specific issues without ceasing as well. Jesus commands us to “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). The “ask,” “seek,” and “knock” commands given here are in the present tense of the Greek, indicating that we are to continually “ask,” “seek,” and “knock” regarding our needs before the Lord. It could be translated as “Keep asking,” “keep seeking,” and “keep knocking.” Don’t stop after one time but keep making the request of the Lord.

In order to teach His disciples “that they ought always to pray and not lose heart,” Jesus tells the parable of a judge who does not fear God or respect man and a widow who would not stop bothering him with her requests for justice. This parable is found in Luke 18:1-8. This widow just would not let up but kept coming to the judge. He finally gives in to her and grants her request basically to get her off his back and so that she would leave him alone. Jesus then makes the point that if that is the case with a judge who could care less about anyone, certainly the God who chose to make us His own will come to our aid and give us what we need. As Jesus put it, “will not God give justice to his elect, who cry out to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily” (vv. 7-8). This should encourage us to continually persist in our praying with the confidence that God is going to come through for us in His perfect timing as He sees fit. As I have heard it said, God will always answer our prayers and when the answer does not match up to our specific request, we can be sure that God answered the prayer the way we should have asked it had we known all that He does. But He will answer none the less and do what is best for us. We just need to keep coming to Him with the request and waiting with anticipation for the answer.

And don’t think that you will be annoying the Lord with this continual coming to Him with whatever needs you may have. A father doesn’t tire hearing from his children. And although we may find ourselves frustrated and annoyed by the constant repetitive requests made from our kids sometimes, especially when they are really little, keep in mind that God is perfectly patient with us. And He delights to take care of His children and meet their needs. It is another way that He is able to glorify Himself in showing His power in granting our requests and how He alone is able to meet our deepest and daily needs.

So, if you have found yourself praying for the umpteenth time for that wayward son or daughter, a strained relationship, that difficult marriage, or whatever else it may be, don’t give up coming to the Lord yet again for it. He wants you to continue bring the matter up to Him and trust Him to handle it. He will answer in His perfect timing and in accordance with His wonderful will. It very well could be that God intends to bring about the result after some more time spent on your knees before Him. Don’t lose heart but continue to persistent in prayer!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Lee   

Ordinary Significant Everyday Ministry

             I write this following a week of significant ministry. Now, you may be expecting me to go on to talk about the number of visits that I have made both in homes and in hospitals, the amount of people that I counseled, the Bible studies I taught, and the sermons I preached. While all of those certainly are significant ministry tasks, last week I actually did none of them. Instead, my week consisted of helping my wife with things around the house as she recovered from delivery such as doing the dishes and the laundry, spending time with our toddler and helping him to adjust to the changes in the family a new baby brings about, and feeding my newborn son, changing his diapers, and seeking to calm him when fussy.

            We often think significant ministry is only that which is done in an official capacity for the church. That if we are not serving on a specific board or committee, being a deacon, teaching a Sunday School class, or delivering a sermon, then we are not actually doing significant ministry in the kingdom. But that is far from the truth. For the Christian, everything that he or she does ought to be viewed as significant ministry for the kingdom of God (including but not limited to the things that I listed above). Even ordinary mundane tasks such as changing diapers or washing the dishes. This is because everything that the Christian does should no longer be for himself and his own gain but for the glory of God and our neighbor’s good. As Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God,” and in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Such an attitude transforms the ordinary tasks of everyday life into extraordinary ministry opportunities by which to bring glory to God as we seek to do them in excellence to please and honor Him. It changes our very perspective. These are not simply things that have to be done and so I need to hurry up and do them but ways that I can serve the One who loves me so much that He gave His very life for me. He is pleased when I do every ordinary thing in gratitude to Him and in accordance with His Word. And that makes the smallest deed done on this earth significant.

Nothing really should be seen as “secular” for the Christian in his or her life but “sacred” since all of the Christian’s life is viewed as being set apart for and devoted to God. (That’s the meaning of “sacred” by the way. Something being set apart for and devoted to God.) You may think that you work at a “secular” job but in essence it is a “sacred” job for you because you realize that your ultimate boss is not the one you report to on Monday morning but the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who will reward us with a far greater treasure than any financial reimbursement; the inheritance of heaven itself (Colossians 3:23-24). You will want to do a good job in light of such a truth. Ordinary tasks in marriage such as washing the dishes and doing the laundry become sacred tasks when we keep in mind that they are ways of serving our spouse and in so doing painting the picture of the greater gospel relationship that the marriage union points to, that of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33). With such small tasks, we also can demonstrate the great love which Christ has shown us in giving fully of Himself for our benefit. These little everyday things can be big ways to love our husbands and wives like Jesus as we give of ourselves for their benefit. As we take up our cross and deny ourselves for their sake. Parenting transforms into a sacred task with the mindset that our goal as parents is so much more than preparing our children to be a polite respectful outstanding citizen or to find a good mate but ultimately to know the Lord Jesus Christ and to live for Him. Each day provides so many opportunities to both teach and present the gospel to them (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). What a holy privilege to prepare these little ones for eternity! Brother Lawrence was right in a sense that in many cases, “Sanctification does not involve changing what we do, but in doing our normal activities for God’s sake.” It may not change what we do but it certainly changes how and why we do it. Now, the things are done with an aim to please Christ and bring glory to God in the way that He has set forth for us in His Word. There is a joy found in doing what we do, not because of the pleasure of the task itself but due to Who it is we are doing it for.

 Martin Luther and the reformers really emphasized that even the seemingly most mundane task, done in faith for Christ and the glory of God is significant in God's eyes. In addressing how often the world looks down upon some of the everyday routine tasks involved with a family, he said the following about the perspective a believer has with them: "What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. It says, O God, because I am certain that thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with thy perfect pleasure. I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? O how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight. God, with all his angels and creatures is smiling—not because the father is washing diapers, but because he is doing so in Christian faith.”

So as you go about your day today facing some of those ordinary mundane tasks, be sure to give it your best effort because you are not doing them for yourself but for your Lord. Don’t stick up your nose at them thinking that your time could better be spent doing something greater. Seek to do such ordinary chores in gratitude to God for all that He has done for you in Christ and to bring Him glory and praise. Well, I have a little baby who needs to be fed and a toddler wanting my attention right now. More significant ministry tasks for God’s glory!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Lee

Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Sufficency of Scripture

           Many within the church today will wholeheartedly affirm the Bible’s inspiration (it being God’s very words), inerrancy (it containing no errors), and authority. However, there does seem to be a doubt as to its sufficiency in several cases. That it is all we need when it comes to the profession and practice of our faith. While some would not claim to deny the sufficiency of Scripture, they in essence do just that in their practice. This can be seen today by those who continue to look for God to speak to them through some means other than Scripture, indicating that they must believe that His Word is not enough to guide and direct us. Something more or in addition to it must be needed. How many today desire some sort of supernatural explosive encounter with God rather than being content with His Word? A growing number of churches are adopting the dangerous and divisive teachings of Critical Race Theory to address racism as if the gospel cannot fully and completely be used to deal with the matter itself. Again, the idea is that something else must be needed. Not too terribly long ago, books purporting to be first or second hand accounts of people who have been to heaven and back were jumping off the shelves, being promoted as a way to conclusively prove that “heaven is for real.” Thus implying of course that the witness of Scripture itself can’t ultimately do so. That such a supposed experience is necessary to truly convince someone. And for years several churches have sought various pragmatic ways to grow the church because they obviously didn’t believe that a ministry centered on the Word of God alone could do it. From car raffles to hosting a rock concert at an Easter service (yes, sadly these are real examples!), some of these churches seem to almost be willing to stop at nothing to try to get people into the doors, all the while casting the one means that God has ordained to serve as the instrument to grow His church to the side or at the least minimalizing it. Why would they ever do these types of things? Simply because they are not convinced that the Bible being taught, preached, and used in evangelism is sufficient to do it itself.

 

            But to deny the sufficiency of Scripture is to deny the testimony of Scripture itself since it claims to be enough for us. Paul reminds young Timothy that it is the “sacred writings” of Scripture “which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). He didn’t say that it was these “sacred writings” AND something else that are able to make you wise unto salvation but these “sacred writings” PERIOD. These “sacred writings” ALONE. Furthermore, he goes on to write that “All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be equipped, having been thoroughly equipped for every good work” (vv. 16-17). The fact that the man of God can be described as “having been thoroughly equipped for EVERY good work” indicates that he is not lacking for anything that God has called him to do. The very God-breathed words of Scripture provides him with everything needed for the task. Not one good work is out there for him to do that Scripture has not equipped him for. Likewise, Peter points out that the Lord’s “divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the full knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3). The full knowledge of Him revealed in His Word has not granted us SOMETHINGS pertaining to our life and godliness or even MOST THINGS but EVERYTHING. With God’s Word, we have all that we need to place our trust in Christ for our salvation and to live for His glory. As Charles Spurgeon so well put it, “This weapon [the Bible] is good at all points, good for defense and for attack, to guard our whole person or to strike through the joints and marrow of the foe. Like the seraph’s sword at Eden’s gate, it turns every way. You cannot be in a condition that the Word of God has not provided. The Word has as many faces and eyes as providence itself. You will find it unfailing in all periods of your life, in all circumstances, in all companies, in all trials, and under all difficulties. Were it fallible, it would be useless in emergencies, but its unerring truth renders it precious beyond all price to the soldiers of the cross.”

 

            When you think about it, the apostles didn’t have nowhere near the technological advancements which we have today and didn’t rely on any gimmicks. Yet, they were described as having “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). The Lord continued to add to His church through their preaching of the Word by the power of the Spirit. The Word of God proved sufficient for the growth of Christ’s church just as it will continually do today. The instrument that sparked the Protestant Reformation was not the hammer Luther used to nail his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church but the Bible he relentlessly preached and taught from. Towards the end of his life when he was reflecting on the work of reformation he had been a part of, he stated, "Take me, for example. I opposed indulgences and all papists, but never by force. I simply taught, preached, wrote God's Word: otherwise I did nothing. And then . . . the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor did such damage to it. I did nothing: the Word did it all.” God’s Word is always sufficient for every believer and minister of the gospel.

 

            The sufficiency of Scripture even more so can be seen in the parable that Jesus told of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. At the end of their lives, the rich man finds himself in agony in Hades with Lazarus at Abraham’s bosom. What is really interesting in this story is the interaction that the rich man has with Abraham. He asks him to send Lazarus back to warn his five brothers of this place of torment so that they would repent and not have to experience it (v. 28). But Abraham tells him that “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them” (v. 29). Even when the rich man objects that surely if someone would go to them from the dead, they would repent (v. 30), Abraham reiterates, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead” (v. 31). “Moses and the Prophets” was a shorthand way of referring to the entire Old Testament as Moses served as the human author of the first five books and the prophets much of the other. The point here clearly is that God’s Word is enough to convince someone of the reality of hell and heaven and the need of repentance and faith in Christ to escape the former and to dwell in the latter. Not even someone having been to heaven and back can convince anyone about the need for repentance. God’s Word alone can do that and should they neglect that, nothing else will work. Such supposed claims of those who have been to heaven and back are not needed to prove to anyone that “heaven is for real” because we have God’s Word on the matter and that is enough. If that is not believed, neither will any other testimony about heaven be believed.

 

            The good news for us as believers is that we have been given everything needed for our faith and life in the Lord. We are not lacking in any way nor do we need to look elsewhere for God’s assistance. We have God’s Word and that is enough for us. God has not sent us out with only a handful of equipment and we need to shop elsewhere for the rest. It is all there for us in His all-sufficient Word. Let’s be sure not only to profess that but also to live like it!

 

Love in Christ,

Pastor Lee

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

On Women Keeping Silent in the Churches and Not Being Permitted to Speak: An Exegetical Look at 1 Corinthians 14:34-35

 

What are we to do about 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 regarding women needing to keep silent in the churches? The passage certainly has caused quite a stir and no little debate. Well, what we cannot do is simply dismiss it because we do not like what it has to say or try to explain it away since we are uncomfortable with it. It is the Word of God for us as a church. Therefore, we must accept it and obey it. But of course we need to be sure that we understand it. And that is my goal here in this blogpost. To help us make sense of this teaching so that we are able to properly put it into practice. I recently preached on this passage so it allowed me to dive in to restudy the topic yet again. The following is an edited version of my sermon manuscript.


One thing we need to recognize with this command for the women to keep silent in the churches because they are not permitted to speak is that this is not an absolute commandment. It cannot mean that a woman is not allowed to say a word at all in the entire worship service. We would all be in trouble if that was the case. Ladies would not be able to share any prayer requests with us and they could not join in the singing. Things which occur regularly each Lord's Day. But thankfully, that is not what Paul has in mind here. We know that cannot be the case because just a few short chapters ago, back in chapter 11, he taught that a woman was to have her head covered according to the cultural custom whenever she would pray or prophesy. And you cannot publicly pray or prophesy without speaking. To do those things in the context of the Sunday morning gathering requires someone not to be silent. So, this cannot be saying that a woman should never open her mouth to speak anything in worship. It must then be limited to a certain form of speaking which occurs in the church.

 

For the type of speaking that a woman is not permitted to do, please look at 1 Timothy 2:11-15. My mentor would often say that the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. If you ever find yourself struggling to understand a specific passage of Scripture, just keep reading and you may discover more clarity given about it somewhere else later in the Bible. The Holy Spirit had Paul bring more clarity to this issue in his first letter to young Timothy much later.  1 Timothy 2:11-12 says, A woman must learn in quietness, in all submission. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.

 

We see here that the kind of speaking that Paul says a woman is not to do is to teach or exercise authority over a man. Teaching in a way that would have her perceived as having authority over a man or that would place her in authority over a man. Interestingly enough, in the very next chapter, we find Paul laying out the qualifications of an elder or pastor; a position of authority in the church. And the one skill required of such is that he must be able to teach (3:2). This would prohibit then a woman from serving as a pastor or performing the function of a pastor. And the fact that the pastor must have the ability to teach indicates that his authority is exercised through teaching. Through the teaching of the Word.

 

Does this mean that a woman cannot teach anyone in the church at all? Absolutely not. The issue is teaching that would place them in authority over any MEN in the congregation. Titus 2 instructs us that older women are to teach the younger women in the church to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be slandered. We need more women in congregations to do this important work. The work of teaching other women. In fact, there are things that a woman can teach other women much more effectively than I could simply because, as a man, I have not had the same experiences, and frankly, never will. And we know that women can teach children because every mother is called to do that. Women can teach other women and children. In fact, they should teach other women and children. But from my understanding of this passage, they are not to teach adult men.

 

In the earlier days of her ministry, Beth Moore got this. Unfortunately, she has now repudiated such a teaching as well as apparently what she once taught on homosexuality and modesty which are just a few reasons I cannot recommend any of her Bible studies and books. Throw in her bizarre accounts of God supposedly telling her to go on a “play date” with Him and wash a random woman’s hair at the airport, and her teachings can be downright dangerous. But, anyway, she used to begin her women’s conferences with an address to the husbands who had come along with their wives. She would tell them that it was alright for them to stay but she did not desire to have any kind of authority over them. Her message was directed towards the women. At the time, she recognized this teaching of Scripture. Not any more though. And there are those like Elisabeth Elliott in a previous generation and Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth now who only direct their ministry to women. They are cautious not to step into a role of teaching or preaching to men that God has not called them to.

 

In the context of what was going on in Corinth, this meant that a woman could not evaluate or explain a prophecy that had been given because that would place them in judgment over the men in the congregation, and possibly even their own husbands. That would make them to be in essence in authority over them when they are to submit to their leadership. And if they had any questions about the prophecy, rather than join those in the congregation who had been tasked to sift or judge that prophecy, they are to ask their husbands at home. It very well could be that some of the women in the congregation were stepping up to give an explanation of the prophecy and Paul had heard about it. So, he needs to remind them of what they have been called to do in the church. 

 

And we cannot limit this to the situation there at Corinth. The way that this is worded does not allow us to do so. It says that The women are to keep silent in the churches plural. This is not just for the church in Corinth. And the last statement of v. 33, As in all the churches of the saints, actually could go with v. 34 indicating that this should be the practice in every church. (My copy of the Greek text of the letter actually has the sentence of v. 33 ending with peace and this phrase beginning the sentence of v. 34. It actually makes more sense for it to be attached to what follows instead of that which proceeds.)

 

It is important that we realize that this is not Paul’s opinion that he is giving here with this. He does not write this because he is some kind of misogynist chauvinist who devalues women. Some have accused him of such. No, in fact, this teaching actually predates Paul. You will notice that this is just as the Law also says. The Law is Paul’s shorthand for the entire OT. We know this to be the case because when he quoted Isaiah 28:11 earlier in v. 21, he stated that In the Law it is written. The OT Scripture teaches this and Paul is just calling on the church in Corinth to follow such teaching in their worship services.

 

As to where in the OT this is found, don’t go looking in Exodus or Leviticus. That’s not where Paul is thinking. He is actually going farther back than that. To the testimony of God’s very creation of man and woman in Genesis 2. This is where the parallel of 1 Timothy 2 helps us yet again. When you jump back there, we find the reason Paul gave the instruction about women not being permitted to teach or exercise authority over a man in v. 13. For it was Adam who was first formed, and then Eve. It is based on the order of creation and God’s good design in that. Why is God’s making of Adam and Eve significant? Because God made man first to serve as the head of the family and the woman afterwards to be the man’s helper. To serve alongside of him under his leadership. Contrary to our culture today, there is a distinction between the two genders by design and some things that God has called men to do that He hasn’t called women as well as certain things He has called women to do that He hasn’t men. One of these things that men have been specifically called to do is to lead in their homes and in the church. As I pointed out earlier, a leading that is done through teaching. I would argue that a major problem in both the home and the church today is that there is an absence of men leading so the women are feeling the need to step in to fill in the gap left by the men. But such should not be the case. It is not the very way God has intended.

 

There are a number of responses that these verses elicit in people. Some think it appears unfair for women not to be allowed to teach and lead in the church, at least over men. I answer that it is no more unfair than God designing for women to bear and birth children and not men. That is the specific role God has crafted most women for. Billy Graham's wife, Ruth, once said that she thought that men excell women in various areas from music, politics, writing, and athletics [we currently are witnessing that with the young man who is masquerading as a girl breaking all of these swimming records in the girls category] but women make the best wives and the best mothers. Much better than any man ever could! I’ll acknowledge that most men don’t take issue with this as women often do to what God has not given them to do. But then again, Genesis 3:16 indicates that this would be the case. That women will have the desire to overtake the authority of their husbands though God has designed for him to be the head over them. 

 

This teaching may seem old-fashioned and out of place in today’s world. But I think that that just goes to show us how much we have allowed the culture to mold and shape us and not the Scriptures. Whenever we may find the church to be in agreement with the culture, we need to pause and evaluate it. Because the two are seldom in agreement. The way of Christ is different from the way of the world. I am convinced that the feminist movement with its emphasis that women should be able to do whatever men can is responsible for us being so open to women fulfilling roles that God has intended specifically for men. Hence, why virtually no church or denomination had a woman pastor over 50 years ago but now few denominations can be found who haven’t compromised to the spirit of the age we could say.

 

And let me be clear that this teaching in NO WAY limits women to use the gifts that God has graciously given them in the ministry of the church. One of my pet peeves is when someone claims that this position is against women serving in ministry in the church. The only way that would be true is if you limit ministry only to what goes on behind the pulpit which 1 Corinthians 12 will not allow us to do. Every member in the congregation is involved in ministry. We are to minister to one another with the specific gifts that the Spirit has given us. No one is less important or less needed in a fellowship because he or she is not the pastor or preaching behind the pulpit. The only difference between me and the other members of the congregation is that God has called me to serve as their pastor and has called them in a different capacity.

 

And if all of us were pastors, preachers, or teachers, all the work of ministry which God has for us to do would never get done. We would surely be hurting at Mt. Joy without all of the faithful ladies serving in so many various ways and areas. And there is a plethora of ways to serve that do not involve teaching or having authority over men. So, don’t let it ever be said that a woman does not have a place to serve in ministry simply because God has not designed for her to serve in leadership as a pastor, preacher, or teacher over men.

 

I see no way of getting around the clear teaching of Scripture on this topic. Paul didn't stutter in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 or in 1 Timothy 2:12-15. And what he teaches in these passages is consistent with the prescriptions and patterns throughout Scripture regarding gender roles. In the end, it comes down to whether we desire to follow Scripture or the spirit of the age. Whether we accept what God has said and called both men and women respectively to do in the home and in the church or reject it due to us being uncomfortable with it. 

 

 Love in Christ,

Lee