The Friends of the Nazarene On-line Magazine

VOLUME 2 ISSUE 2 FEBRUARY 1998

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: The "Friends of the Nazarene" is a research group for better Bible understanding dedicated to the preservation and publishing of Christian writings which aid the Father’s Children to "follow the Lamb no matter where the Lamb goes." We are Unitarian Apologists dedicated to the defense of the truth that "God is One" and not three. The Bible is our credo and we wish to respect the views of our multitude of Christian brethren.

Inside this Issue:

1. Should Women Teach in the Congregation?

2. Announcements

3. John 10:30 -- How Did Jesus Answer the Question of Equality With God?

4. Perfecting the Christian Character: Hospitality

SHOULD WOMEN BE TEACHERS IN THE CHURCH?

When this question was raised on the Internet recently, one particular answer to this question was presented to us. We provide that statement along with our responses to certain parts.

The question was: "Would you please explain the following text: 'Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak.' (1 Corinthians 14:34, NIV) Why are they not allowed to speak? Does this apply to us today?"

The answer was: "Surface reading of Paul's works in his letter to the Corinthians gives the impression that the apostle did not allow women to speak in the Church. However, the context reveals another thought."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: The phrase "surface reading" immediately throws a poor light on any interpretation other than the one which follows.

"In First Corinthians, chapters 12 through 14, Paul was addressing a specific issue: the proper use of the gifts of the spirit, particularly the gift of speaking in tongues."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: Yes, "proper use" might be one of the themes but this may well include "women not speaking in the church."

"Apparently some members of the Church had been using the gift for unedifying purposes, and Paul wanted it known that no unedifying speech should be allowed."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: The word "apparently" suggests there may be other valid views. The writer wishes to reduce this to "unedifying speech" rather than speaking and not speaking, or silence.

"To correct the problem, the inspired Apostle saw fit to forbid all women in the Church to speak in tongues (it is possible that Paul recognized certain women as major offenders, and saw this as a practical solution; we are not told)."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: The writer makes an assertion he does not go on to prove. He continues to narrow the argument to one which does not exist in the context: that Paul forbid women "to speak in tongues."

"At the same time, he placed restrictions on the use of the gift among men: 1) Only one man should speak at a time."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: Note the other men should remain "silent" during this moment. This is the same word used of women later.

"2) No man should speak in tongues at any public meeting except an interpreter be present. This would put an automatic check on the misuse of the gift. These are Paul's words: "Well, my brothers and sisters, (NOTE: Paul does not use this designation.) let's summarize what I am saying. When you meet, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in an unknown language, while another will interpret what is said."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: In the Greek the masculine "he" is present in each of the designations of worship occurring within the congregation. Men are performing these services.

"But everything that is done must be useful to all and build them up in the Lord. No more than two or three should speak in an unknown language. They must speak one at a time, and someone must be ready to interpret what they are saying. But if no one is present who can interpret, they must be silent in your church meeting…" (1 Corinthians 14:26-28 NLT) Then, addressing the women in the Church on the same subject, he said, "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak [in an unknown tongue]" (v:34).

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: The writer says the "same subject" and though this may be loosely understood there is a break in the discussion and no indication Paul is limiting himself to tongues. That more is involved is Paul’s statement that if the women was to learn something they may ask their husbands at home. They are not even to raise a "question."

"But remember that the expressed purpose of both commands was that all speech be "edifying." Unintelligible language uninterpreted might sound impressive, but it could not be classified as "edifying."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: The writer restates his original assertion regarding Paul’s "expressed purpose." Paul’s direction regarding women -- part of the Lord’s commandment -- is not that they offer edifying speech, but that they do not speak at all.

"Had the Apostle been saying that it was wrong for women to speak in the Church, he would have been contradicting his own statement made in his letter to the Galatians, in which he wrote that in Christ Jesus "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. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Galations 3:28-29).

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: This challenge that Paul would be contradicting himself is misleading. In the Letter to the Galatians Paul is not discussing who speaks within the church but who make up the Seed of Abraham.

"Paul could not have had one standard for the Church in Galatia and another for the Corinthians. God has never discriminated against anyone because of race, nationality, color or sex."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: God does not "discriminate" He merely provides laws and commandments which apply differently to men and women. He allows the newly married man to remain with his new wife for one year before taking on his responsibilities as a soldier and during that military assignment he must forego sex. Who is being discriminated against here? The woman cannot go to war. Certain ethnic groups or races were forbidden to share in priestly duties, along with women. Was this discrimination?

"All exist as He designed and created them."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: Did God design the women to be in subjection to the man? Did God place certain limitations on the female that he did not on the male? (1 Corinthians14:34) Is the above the same argument Paul used or a different one? (1 Corinthians 11:7-9)

"The prophet Malachi recognized this fact when he wrote, "Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us?" (Malachi 2:10). Whether a believer was a Greek or a Jew, a slave or a master, a woman or a man, did not matter."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: Actually, a slave with a Christian owner remained a slave. Also, the Jew was "first" and the Greek second. (1 Corinthians 7:20, 21; Romans 1:16; 2:9, 10; 3:1)

"In the sight of God and among the true believers, all shared an equal opportunity for salvation. All enjoyed the same privileges in Christ."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: Whereas the first is true, the second is not. Even among men "the same privileges" do not exist, for "first are Apostles, second Prophets, third Teachers." (1 Corinthians 12:28-30) And, these are "men." (Ephesians 4:8)

"This is not to say that women were frequently in positions of leadership."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: It would be more accurate to say they were never used in positions of Christian leadership. Is there a case in the Gospels where a woman spoke in a synagogue? Is there a case in the Book of Acts where a woman took the lead or spoke in a Christian meeting?

"The social system being what it was, it is likely that very often women were not as free to serve in the church as men were."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: Some may blame the "social system" but Paul states these are not social norms but the "Lord’s commandment." (1 Corinthians 14:37, 38)

"But the very fact that women were known to have taken teaching and leadership roles shows that they were not excluded from such types of service just because they were women."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: Where does the writer document this assertion? Was there a single woman called a "disciple" during the ministry of the Messiah? Did Jesus select a single women to be among the twelve apostles or seventy disciples? Is there a case anywhere in the Christian Bible of a woman speaking, teaching or in a leadership role within a congregation?

"Many times their helpfulness roles were not clearly defined. The apostle Paul had women helpers in the churches he founded, and he singled out some for special commendation. To the Philippian Church he wrote, "I entreat thee also, true yoke-fellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel,…and with other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life" (Phillipians 4:3). We are not told the nature of their Christian work, but these women were fellow helpers in the work, and worthy of having their names written "in the book of life."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: Nothing in this states women had positions of "teaching and leadership." Does the fact that some of these labors are not clearly defined give us the right to assume they included teaching and leadership responsibilities?

"Another time Paul made special mention of Phoebe, "Our sister, …a servant of the church" at Cenchrea (Romans 16:1), and said that she should be received as a saint."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: The word "servant" is the same elsewhere translated "deacon" or "ministerial servant." These designations did not include teaching or leadership roles but the material and physical care of the congregation.

"The Jerusalem Bible describes her as a deaconess, while the New English says, "She holds office in the congregation at Cenchrea."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: The NEB does this without textual support. The Christian woman was a "servant" -- a diakonos -- one with dusty feet from doing errands in service on behalf of others.

NOTE: another reader submits Romans 16:1, 2 suggesting the Greek word PRO-STASIS may infer a leadership role in the congregation. He references Lidell & Scott: "one who is a leader, or ruler ; a front-rank person ; one who exercises authority. The word PRO-STATIS (before+stand) is unique to this single verse. The masculine version PRO-STATES "took on a technical sense." (BAG, page 726) However, this work defines the word as "protectress, patroness, helper ... she has been of great assistance to many, including myself." Thayer’s adds: "caring for the affairs of others and aiding them with her resources." (page 549) The word is variously translated: NWT: defender; KJV: succourer; ASV: helper; GSPD: protector; TCNT: staunch friend; NRSV: benefactor/helper; NJB: come to the help of; WMS: befriended many; BW: assistant of many; PME: of great assistance to. Thus Phoebe was much like those "many women who ministered to (Jesus and the apostles) from their belongings." (Luke 8:3) Irrespective of the unique meaning of PRO-STATIS Paul could not contradict himself elsewhere.

"In the same list of salutations, Priscilla was recognized as a helper with her husband Aquila, who taught Apollos "the way of God more perfectly" (Acts 18:26).

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: Was Apollos a baptized Christian? The instruction of the couple does not indicate who took the lead in this and it was not within a congregation that it occurred.

"When sending greetings to them at the close of his letter to the church in Rome, Paul even mentioned Priscilla's name ahead of Aquila's, and commended them highly for their self-sacrificing labors in his behalf. "Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom mot only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house" (Rom. 16:3-5).

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: Mentioning a women first does not prove she was permitted to speak or teach in the congregation. According to Paul if she had a question she would not raise it in the meeting but she would ask her husband at home as part of the Lord’s commandment.

"Paul also had honorary mention for "Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord" (Romans 16:12, NIV).

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: This does not prove women were permitted to teach or hold leadership roles.

"We have no evidence that Paul excluded women from the work, either in teaching or other labors. Where he found women able to help, he encouraged them to participate, for with him all converts, men or women, were one in Christ."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: Actually we have direct "evidence" in Paul’s statement at 1 Corinthians 14:33, 34 and 1 Timothy 2:12.

"Even in Old Testament times, women were not excluded from active roles. Miriam, the sister of Moses, was described as "a prophetess" in Exodus 15:20. Apparently she was a leader among the women. Among the Judges who served in Israel before the days of the kings was a woman named Deborah. She went into battle with Barak, to support him (Judges 4 and 5). Huldah

was a prophetess in the time of King Josiah, a woman held in sufficient esteem that the king sought her counsel and judgment (2 Kings 22:13-20). Hannah expressed in prayer God's supremely fair standard of judgment in these words: "The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed" (1 Sam. 2:3).

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: In three thousand years three women were used by God to "prophesy." Had Paul called on these examples to show why a women could teach and hold leadership roles he could have done so. In the list of the faithful in the Letter to the Hebrews only two women are listed by name, Sarah and Rahab, neither known as prophet or teacher or possessing leadership roles.

"And many years later, Peter reinforced the same point, saying, "I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him" (Acts 10:34-35). All, whether male or female, are accepted according as they "fear" God and "work righteousness."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: Without disagreeing with this statement it ought to be noted that the Greek article is in the masculine gender as this writer has indicated.

"This passage is meaningfully translated in the Phillips Modern English Bible: "God does not discriminate between people, but…in every nation the man who reverences him and does what is right is acceptable to him!"

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: The Greek does not permit this paraphrase though we would not object to it. Note it is "the man" PME uses.

"Paul did not turn away sincere, God-fearing women who wished to fill a vital and active role in the Christian Church. Nor do we today have any Scriptural authority for limiting the role of leadership to men."

RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE: The writer concludes by stating we today do not have Scriptural authority to limit leadership roles to men. How could words be more simple and specific that it is "the Lord’s commandment" that women remain silent in the congregation and are not be permitted to teach?

We wish to note that despite a request for a response from women on the question above, not a single woman prepared a statement of belief on these matters. The following article deals with this subject and we pray represents not only the context but the general lead of the Scriptures.

WOMEN IN THE CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION

As we approach the year 2,000 it is clear women have taken on major roles in religion. There are women clergy in Protestant churches, with frequent appearances of evangelical female preachers on the electronic pulpit. Some women have taken up the roles of spiritual advisers and teachers on the Internet. As sensitive as this subject of female teachers in the Christian Church is, there is one man blamed for negative views on this subject of women teachers: the Apostle Paul. What does the widowed missionary teach on the place of women within the Christian congregation? Is it just one man’s opinion or much more?

To answer this question first, we turn to Paul’s conclusion. How are we to view the following? Twice Paul asks, "What should be done then?" (14:15, 26) He concludes his congregational instructions with the words: "If anyone thinks he is a prophet or a spiritual man, let him fully know the things I am writing to you, because they are the Lord's commandment. But if anyone does not recognize this he is not to be recognized." Can we view them simply as the opinion of a man? Those who choose not to recognize or acknowledge this position within the Lord’s commandment, Paul says, "let him refuse it at his peril." (Confraternity version)

By way of introduction to the words of Paul there were four thousand years of God’s dealing with humankind, both men and women. To some of this history Paul alludes as part of his argument. For those who are interested in Bible word studies these may be interesting. The word group "man/men" occurs 5,489 times. The word group "women/woman" occurs 801. This disparity is also reflected in the Gospels though it is interesting to denote that the Good Doctor Luke refers to women more than any other Gospel 43 times, more than the other three gospels combined. If a woman is interested in studying those Bible books which would mention women most often, then read the Gospel of Luke, First Corinthians, and First Timothy.

In the Hebrew Scriptures women do not occupy the offices of priest, under-priests, judges, elders, teachers, or prophets with but very rare exceptions. Eight times "prophetess" is mentioned and include Miriam, Deborah, Hulda, Isaiah’s wife, Anna, and Jezebel. (Ex 15:20; Jg 4:4; 2 Kings   22:14; 2 Chronicles 34:22; Nehemiah 6:14; Isaiah 8:3; Luke 2:26; Revelation 2:20) So in 1,500 years of Biblical history only six women are mentioned as "prophetesses." The word group "prophetess" occurs 8 times whereas the male "prophet" appears 569 times.

[NOTE: RE: BEYTh HaK:nESETh or Synagogue (("The Place of Women in the 1st-Century Synagogues," by S M Safrai in "The Jerusalem Perspective.") --- "According to the Halachah to have a congregation (or, EDAH), ...a minimum of 10 persons... Before 500 CE, women could be counted as part of the 10 ...public or congregational prayer could not be conducted without this number... It is NOT true that there was a set time for Synagogue services ..or that public worship is a religious obligation... One could pray anywhere and at any time of the day.. (Women's Section) ... In the 1st Century there was no special women's section or divider... It should be emphasized that there was also no separation of men and women in the temple.. In the Court of the Women men and women mingled.. Women normally did not go beyond that court... (An Inequality) Women were not allowed to read the Scriptures publicy."]

How do the Scriptures refer to women? When the "capable wife (woman)" is praised in Proverbs chapter 31 she is not described as a teacher or leader in Jewish worship. In Paul’s list of the faithful of old he notes only two women by name, Sarah a Hebrew and Rahab a non-Israelite. Though Jesus the Nazarene is famous for his liberation of women in the matter of divorce, he does not select any females as part of the Apostles or the Seventy. Though he violates some Jewish social rules in talking to women, no woman is called a "disciple" during the ministry of the Messiah. Paul is also well aware of the tradition within the synagogue arrangement: women remained separated from men and only men speaking in the synagogue. With this background in mind we examine those verses in Paul’s letters where he discusses women in the context of congregational (GRK: ecclesia) matters: First Corinthians and First Timothy.

There are fourteen (14) affirmations or assertions Paul makes in the verses dealing with women in the congregation. These are numbered [ ] within the verses and listed following the texts.

FIRST CORINTHIANS: "WHAT IS TO BE DONE?"

1 Corinthians 11:5-16 ---
"Every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered [1] shames her head, (11:3) for it is one and the same as if she were a [woman] with a shaved head."

a) A woman may pray or prophesy.

Paul does not state whether this is outside the congregation or within. We note earlier Paul had said a particular tyPeter of "prophecy" was to be done away with. (1 Corinthians 13:8, 9) Peter quotes from Joel (Ac 2:17) agreeing that men and women may "prophesy," that is speak forth God’s righteousness. It is to be noted only men have visions and dreams according to Peter’s quotation. Acts 21:9 describes four virgin "daughters who prophesied" without indicating the environment of such speaking. Even though the spirit may have fallen on some women to allow them to prophesy, Paul teaches this kind of female "prophet" will be done away with and so this gift is no longer in operation today.

b) Even when she prays the Christian woman must have her head covered.

Paul gives his reasons: "For if a woman does not cover herself, let her also be shorn; but if it is disgraceful (GRK: AISCHRON -- the word used at 14:35) for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. For a man [GRK: aner] ought not to have his head covered, as he is God's image and glory; but the woman [2] is man's [GRK: andros] glory. For man is not out of woman, but woman [3] out of man; and, what is more, man was not created for the sake of the woman, but woman [4] for the sake of the man. That is why the woman [5] ought to have a sign of authority upon her head because of the angels."

Paul’s reasons include, then: a) Man (aner) is God’s image and glory; b) Woman is "out of" man (andros) as Eve is take from Adam; c) Woman (Eve) was created for Man’s (aner) (Adam) sake.

Paul mentions the congregational "custom": "Judge for your own selves: Is it fitting for a woman to pray uncovered to God? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him; but if a woman [6] has long hair, it is a glory to her? Because her hair is given her instead of a headdress.

However, if any man seems to dispute for some other [7] custom, [as many are ought to do in the Nineties] we have no other, neither do the congregations of God." There is no other custom among the "congregations" -- he is not discussing an isolated situation but something common among all the congregations.

1 CORINTHIANS 14:1-40 --- WHO SPEAKS IN THE CONGREGATION? Paul continues in these later verses: "Pursue love, yet keep zealously seeking the spiritual gifts, but preferably that you may prophesy. [a gift to be done away with -- 13:8] 2 For he (males) that speaks in a tongue speaks, not to men, (GRK: anthropois) but to God, for no one listens, but he (the male) speaks sacred secrets by the spirit. 3 However, he (the male) that prophesies upbuilds and encourages and consoles men (GRK: anthropois) by his speech. 4 He (male) that speaks in a tongue upbuilds himself, but he that prophesies upbuilds a congregation. 5 Now I would like for all of you to speak in tongues, but I prefer that you prophesy. Indeed, he that prophesies is greater than he that speaks in tongues, unless, in fact, he translates, that the congregation may receive upbuilding. 6 But at this time, brothers, if I should come speaking to you in tongues, what good would I do you unless I spoke to you either with a revelation or with knowledge or with a prophecy or with a teaching?

12 So also you yourselves, since you are zealously desirous of [gifts of the] spirit, seek to abound in them for the upbuilding of the congregation.

13 Therefore let the one who speaks in a tongue pray that he (male) may translate. 14 For if I am praying in a tongue, it is my [gift of the] spirit that is praying, but my mind is unfruitful.

15 What is to be done, then? I will pray with the [gift of the] spirit, but I will also pray with [my] mind. I will sing praise with the [gift of the] spirit, but I will also sing praise with [my] mind. 16 Otherwise, if you offer praise with a [gift of the] spirit, how will the man (male) occupying the seat of the ordinary person (he) say "Amen" to your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 True, you give thanks in a fine way, but the other man is not being built up. 18 I thank God, I speak in more tongues than all of you do. 19 Nevertheless, in a congregation I would rather speak five words with my mind, that I might also instruct others orally, than ten thousand words in a tongue. 20 Brothers, do not become young children (GRK: LITTLE BOYS) in powers of understanding, but be babes as to badness; yet become full-grown in powers of understanding. 21 In the Law it is written: "'With the tongues of foreigners and with the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and yet not even then will they give heed to me,' says Jehovah." 22 Consequently tongues are for a sign, not to the believers, but to the unbelievers, whereas prophesying is, not for the unbelievers, but for the believers. 23 Therefore, if the whole congregation comes together to one place and they all speak in tongues, but ordinary people or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are mad? 24 But if you are all prophesying and any unbeliever or ordinary person (MAN) comes in, he is reproved by them all, he is closely examined by all; 25 the secrets of his heart become manifest, so that he will fall upon [his] face and worship God, declaring: "God is really among you."

26 What is to be done, then, brothers? When you come together, one (he, a male) has a psalm, another (MALE) has a teaching, another (MALE) has a revelation, another (MALE) has a tongue, another (MALE) has an interpretation. Let all things take place for upbuilding. 27 And if someone speaks in a tongue, let it be limited to two or three at the most, and in turns; and let someone (him) translate. 28 But if there be no translator, let him keep silent (GRK: SIGATO) in the congregation and speak to himself and to God. 29 Further, let two or three prophets speak, and let the others discern the meaning. 30 But if there is a revelation to another one while sitting there, let the first one (HIM) keep silent. (SIGATO) 31 For you can all prophesy (A GIFT TO BE DONE AWAY WITH) one by one, that all may learn and all be encouraged. 32 And [gifts of] the spirit of the prophets are to be controlled by the prophets. 33 For God is [a God], not of disorder, but of peace.

As in all the congregations of the holy ones, 34 let the women [8] keep silent (GRK: SIGATOSAN) in the congregations, for it is [9] not permitted for them to speak, but let them be [10] in subjection, even as the Law says. 35 If, then, they want to learn something, let them [11] question their own husbands at home, for it is [12] disgraceful (GRK: AISCHRON -- as 11:6) for a woman to speak in a congregation." [NOTE: the Greek sigatosan is the same as that of verses 28, 30 and means not to speak or remain quiet.]

Paul may be summarized here: a) if the above is so then the former ones prophesying are men and not women; b) this is a rule in all the congregations; c) women are not to ask a question in the congregation.

Paul continues: "37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or gifted with the spirit, (spiritual man) let him acknowledge the things I am writing to you, because they are the Lord's commandment. 38 But if anyone is ignorant, he continues ignorant." Thus, these are not just opinions but "the Lord’s commandment."

Paul concludes: "39 Consequently, my brothers, keep zealously seeking the prophesying, and yet do not forbid the speaking in tongues. 40 But let all things take place decently and by arrangement." Now, we continue with Paul’s exhortation to Timothy.

First Timothy: How to Conduct Oneself in the "Household of God"

Paul discusses women more often in this letter than any other, save First Corinthians. His reason involves the purpose of his letter to the young elder Timothy: "That you may know how to conduct yourself in God’s Household." (3:15) This conduct will involve women, including widows. Paul is to mention women and widows 21 times. His first two references to women involve dress and congregational conduct. (1 Timothy 2:9-15) A women should dress modestly and with good sense, avoiding elaborate hair styles, gold, pearls and expensive clothing.

Paul states his authority regarding women within "the Household of God" and the limitations to their roles in the congregation (1 Timothy 2:11-15): "Let a woman learn in silence with full submissiveness. I do not [13] permit a woman to teach, or [14] to exercise authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. Also, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was thoroughly deceived and came to be in transgression." The phrase "exercise authority over a man" is variously rendered: ALF: to rule over; ASV: to have dominion; BER: neither to domineer; MOF: dictate to men; LB: lord it over; PME: position of authority. Paul concludes his statements with, "that statement is faithful." (3:1) Is Paul only giving his opinion which has strong limitations to it? (2 Peter 3:16) Why allude to the Book of Genesis for authority regarding, a) the seniority of the male; b) the female’s deception? Are these words in harmony with those in First Corinthians where they were the "commandment of the Lord"?

Paul continues to discuss the office of Overseer. (GRK: episkopes = KJ: bishop; GDSP: superintendent; MON: minister; WMS: pastor; NJB: presiding elder) He does not include women in this leadership role. When he considers "deacons" he may include women in verse 11 though some feel these are the wives of elders and deacons. Paul teaches Timothy how to treat women: the older as mothers and the younger as his own sisters "with all chasteness." (5:2) When Paul discusses widows, older and younger, he no where includes teaching or leadership roles within the congregation. He says to honor those who are characterized by: devotions at home, care of parents and grandparents, prayers, a good testimony, hospitable, washed the feet of saints, and relieved the afflicted. These matters are right at the heart of the Nazarene’s teachings. On the other hand women are to avoid gossip and slander, being unoccupied and busybodies.

What does Paul omit when discussing women in chapter 1 Timothy 5:9-16? He does not mention preaching or teaching or leadership roles. The apostle has full opportunity to add to the list works of preaching or teaching or leadership within the congregation. After considering all the above verses dealing with women in the Christian congregation a list may be compiled of those affirmations by Paul.

A LIST OF AFFIRMATIONS:

01) A woman praying without a head-covering shames her head

02) Woman is to glorify man

03) The source or origin of woman is man

04) Woman is created for the sake of man

05) Woman must have a sign of authority

06) Long hair glorifies a woman

07) There is only one custom

08) Women keep silent in congregation

09) Women not permitted to speak

10) Woman to be in subjection

11) Woman not to ask questions in congregation

12) It is a disgrace for a woman to speak in a congregation

13) Woman are not permitted to teach

14) Woman are not permitted to exercise authority over a man

CONCLUSION. Christian women are to remain silent in congregational meetings. Christian women are not permitted to teach within the congregation. Christian women are not to exercise authority over Christian males. Paul states this is "the Lord’s commandment" and those who do not fully acknowledge this are putting themselves in peril.

There is much for women to do under the blessing of God the Father and in obedience to their Lord, Jesus Christ the Nazarene. The Father considers these important and women who submit to their Creator will be blessed with all that salvation entails along with men. Those men or women who do not understand this Biblical position must either search the Scriptures with an open mind or wait until that future moment when God will reveal the correct attitude. (Phlillipians 3:15)

We expect that some women, and some men, will strongly disagree with the above given the "political correctness" of the Nineties, particularly those "fond of disputing" (philo-neikos). (1 Corinthians 11:16 KIT) We affirm that there are those matters of a doctrinal nature with which Christians disagree as well as matters such as the above. Paul seems to expect this reaction 0r "dispute" (1 Corinthians 11:16) from some for he adds to his remarks: "However, though woman cannot do with man, neither can man do without woman, in the Lord; woman may come from man, but man is born of woman---both come from God." (1 Corinthians 11:11, 12 NJB)

Paul’s own argument rests upon what he calls "custom" (1 Corinthians 11:16) as well as the "Lord’s commandment." (1 Corinthians 14:37) Both men and women accept their God-given places in the Divine arrangement and refrain from reacting as Paul describes: "But what right have you, a human being, to cross-examine God?" (Romans 9:20, 21 NJB) END 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

• Internet interest continues to grow. We continue to work on our web site and hoPeter it will be a happy addition to Bible study and Christian encouragement.

• New Publications: NAZARENE COMMANDMENTS is a 25 page (email) list of the "commandments" of Jesus Christ by which his "friends" are identified. (The hard copy version is 57 pages and available for $7.00.)

• NAZARENE COMMUNITY is manual for Christian association and is 38 pages long in the email version and 70 pages in hard copy, ($7.00) This manual contains a discussion of the structure of the early Church as well as a list of two dozen characteristics which aid the individual saint to perfect unity with Christian associates.

• OLDER PUBLICATIONS: NAZARENE PRINCIPLES (The Seven Principles) is available currently at the web site NETWORK OF BIBLICAL RESEARCH or by emailing . NAZARENE APOCALYPSE (Apocalypse 2,000!) is only available in three-ring binder hard copy edition for the donation of $30 to cover copying and mailing. NAZARENE MOUNTAIN TEACHINGS is also still available.

• RECOMMENDED DISCUSSION FORUM AND MESSAGE BOARD: http://www.cmfellowship.org/forums/doctrinal/default.htm

• COMING ISSUES: MARCH: Who Are the 144,000? Who Are the Great Crowd? Perfecting Christian Character: Love of Enemies. APRIL: Celebrating the Lord’s Supper; Sympathy; Nazarene Commandments; Nazarene Community. MAY: When does the New Jerusalem Descend; a Humble Spirit. What is a Cult? Internet web sites examined. Our First Year. JUNE: Resurrection according to Paul. Perfecting the Christian Character.

• WITNESSING TOOL: Please feel free to make copies of this newsletter as free gifts to relatives and friends as part of your personal witnessing.

• DONATIONS. Any who wish to assist this effort may contribute by cash, money order, or check payable to "Mark Miller."

HOW DID JESUS ANSWER THE QUESTION  REGARDING EQUALITY WITH GOD?

We have this text before us, John 10:33, which a good Christian friend tells us proves that Jesus the Nazarene was equal to God when he walked the roads of Judea during "the days of his flesh." (He 5:7) This text reads: "Because you (Jesus) being a man make yourself God." We note right away that it is the Jews who drew this conclusion and make the charge. It is not a statement which comes from Jesus. Now, this is about as trustworthy as your average Pharisee when it came to their attitudes regarding the Nazarene. However, we are more interested in Jesus’ own response to this accusation from his religious oppossers. There is a fine opportunity for Jesus to clear up matters. If Jesus believed himself to be God, equal to God, or part of a triune Godhead, how are we to suppose he might answer their question. Surely, he must be honest, and say, "Yes," or, "I am he," or, "it is you who same I am," something of the sort? How did Jesus answer the Jews?

John 10:24, 35 has the Nazarene’s answer: "Is it not written in your law (at Psalm 82:6), "I said, ‘you are gods.’ If those to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’ -- and the scripture cannot be annulled -- can you say that the one whom the Father sent in to the world is blaspheming because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?" Is it strange that the Nazarene seeks the authority of Psalm 82:6 where Yahweh refers to the Israelite judges as "gods"? Does not Jesus’ own use of the Bible show there are other "gods" or degrees of being "god"? How can one argue that Jesus thought himself The God when he only claims to the "the Son of God"?

We note there is no article before the theon in 10:33 so this could be translated "a god." The Jews said, "because you being a man make yourself a god." Compare the New English Bible: "You, a mere man, claim to be a god." This translation is more consistent with Jesus’ own response and use of Psalm 82:6.

Jesus has already confronted the Jews on the question of equality with God in chapter five of the Gospel of John. John 5:18 records the charge: "Because (Jesus) was not only breaking the sabbath, but was calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to The God." We note this is again a conclusion the Jews draw which is explained by John, and not the Nazarene himself. But, we are interested in Jesus’ answer to this. Here he has an opportunity to clear up the matter of his identity. If Jesus were indeed God, or even equal to God, how would he answer this charge by the Jews? His answer is recorded beginning with 5:19, "The Son can do nothing of his own." The United Bible Societies Interlinear edition puts this literally: "The Son is unable to do anything from himself." Now, if we replace "the Son" with "God" we would have, "God is unable to do anything from Himself." This is shocking, for the God could not create or do anything on his own initiative. It would be ludicrous to state that God is unable to do anything of his own self!

We note in the words which follow the Nazarene backs up this original proposition with other statements regarding either his limitations or the source of his authority or appointments. 1) The Father shows the Son what He is doing. The Son does not know this naturally, but the father must reveal it to him. (5:20) 2) The Father has granted the Son also to have life in himself. (5:26) The Son does not naturally possess this life within himself, it is "granted" him by the Father. 3)The Father has given the Son authority to execute judgment. (5:27) The Son receives this authority from the Father. What does this mean but the Son does not have this authority on his own. He must receive it from the source of all power and authority. 4) The Son can do nothing on his own. (5:30) Imagine saying, "God can do nothing on His own"? The idea boggles the mind. If that were true nothing would now exist for God would be incapable of making it happen as the First Cause of the Prime Mover. 5)The Son seeks not his own will but that of the Father. (5:30) The Son seeks the will of the Father. In this regard, the Son has no will of his own other than what the Father directs. 6) The Father sent the Son. (5:37) The Son does not come of his own accord, but he is sent forth by the Father. We note in all of this the Nazarene makes no mention of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus concludes his response to the charge of making himself equal to God with, "You have never heard (the Father’s = God’s) voice or seen His form." (5:38) If Jesus were God would they not be hearing His voice and seeing His form right there in the Son?

What else would Jesus have to say that he was not equal with God and made no such claim? Try as we may we cannot see anything here but the Christ’s denial he was equal to God.

Novatian (c. 200-258 C.E.) writes regarding this oneness: "Since He said 'one' thing, let the heretics understand that He did not say 'one' person. For one placed in the neuter, intimates the social concord, not the personal unity. . . . Moreover, that He says one, has reference to the agreement, and to the identity of judgment, and to the loving association itself, as reasonably the Father and Son are one in agreement, in love, and in affection." (Treatise Concerning the Trinity, chapter 27)

Though our dear friend asserts Jesus was God on earth, we do not fault him for his faith in Christ. Like Christ, "(We) judge no man at all." We believe we will rise in the resurrection with our friend and stand before the Judgment-seat of Christ. It is then the Lord will judge us. We believe the Judge will be looking for two primary things: faith and love. (1 John 3:23) These our friend has in abundance. We only ask that our friend reserve judgment on us until "the Lord arrives." (1 Corinthians 4:1-5) END

PERFECTING THE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER: THROUGH HOSPITALITY

This continues our ongoing discussion of Romans chapter 12 and the subject of perfecting the Christian character. [Portions of this article are from the new publication NAZARENE COMMUNITY which is available free by email.] Here we deal with 12:13b: "Follow the course of hospitality." This phrase is variously translated: MOF: make a practice of hospitality; CON: show hospitality to the stranger; LB: get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night.

The word for "hospitality" is literally in Greek (phi·lo·xe·ni'a) "fondness of strangers." It ought to be noted that it is not "fondness of friends" but a love of welcoming those unknown to you. Note how "credit" is gained with God at Luke 6:32, "And if you (only) love those who love you what favor (from God) is there?"

The importance of entertaining guests is stressed in the teachings of the Nazarene as well as his disciples. Compare the following verses. "When you spread a dinner or evening meal, do not call your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors. Perhaps sometime they might also invite you in return and it would become a repayment to you. But when you spread a feast, invite poor people, crippled, lame, blind; and you will be happy, because they have nothing with which to repay you. For you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous ones." (Luke 14:12-14 NWT) "Do not forget hospitality (ftn: "kindness to strangers"), for through it some, unknown to themselves, entertained angels." (He 13:2 NWT) "Be hospitable to one another without grumbling." (1 Peter 4:9 NWT) "We, therefore, are under obligation to receive such persons hospitably, that we may become fellow workers in the truth." (3 John 8 NWT)

Nothing could stress more the need to be hospitable lovers of strangers than the parable of the sheep and goats. What was one of the characteristics that made the sheep, sheep, and the goats, goats? The Nazarene lists hospitality or welcoming strangers. (Matthew 25:31-46) All those claiming to be Christian and make the confession, "Jesus is Lord," will be judged in part by such hospitality or lack of it.

In order to qualify as an "elder" or "overseer" Christian men must be characterized as examples of hospitality. (1 Timothy 3:2) It would be unthinkable -- the patriarchs and disciples would be shocked -- to have a stranger visit a congregation of Christians and not have the elders extend a warm welcome, let alone an invitation to meal or lodging. A hospitable person -- sharing without grumbling and hypocrisy or without a hidden political agenda -- is a great force for joint-harmony, particularly when this is done in the spirit of Luke14:13. Ask yourself when was the last time your pastor, minister or elder invited you to his home for dinner? Note the Nazarene’s rebuke of a religious leader who failed in this. (Luke 7:44-46; 14:7-11)

In Bible times the idea of an "inn" where travelers stayed for the night was extremely rare. The reason for this was the great hospitality of the eastern world. A stranger only needed to arrive in the village’s center and wait for an invitation. Read such accounts in the Bible at Genesis 19:1-3 and Judges 19:11-21. Nothing stresses hospitality more than the parable of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:29-37)

James includes hospitality in those works which prove one has real faith. When he gives his example of dead faith he writes: "If a brother or a sister is in a naked state and lacking the food sufficient for the day, yet a certain one of you says to them: ‘Go in peace, keep warm and well fed,’ but you do not give them the necessities for their body, of what benefit is it? Thus, too, faith, if it does not have works, is dead in itself." (Ja 2:14-17 NWT) The Beloved John goes so far as to say the lack of hospitality means God’s love no longer remains on the professed Christian: "But whoever has this world's means for supporting life and beholds his brother having need and yet shuts the door of his tender compassions upon him, in what way does the love of God remain in him? Little children, let us love, neither in word nor with the tongue, but in deed and truth." (1 John 3:17, 18 NWT)

The Nazarene Saint is characterized by this quality of hospitality and love of strangers. Such a Saint’s home is always open to fellow worshippers as well as strangers. Remember, some entertained angels without knowing it; and you may show kindness to a stranger who turns out to be a humble brother or sister of Christ without knowing it. The God of our Lord bless the spirit you show. END

The Nazarene Saints:

c/o Shawn Mark Miller
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Newport Beach, California 92663 USA
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(or) P. O. Box 1131, Canby, Oregon 97013-1131 -- email: --- web site: www.nazarene-friends.org

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