Thursday, April 27, 2017

Gifts Of The Spirit VIII

Paul has given some specific guidelines about how the gifts of Prophecy and speaking in tongues are to be used.  He made the point that these gifts needed to be used in a spiritually mature manner so that they drew people to Christ rather than driving them away.   This next guideline is a point of contention with many today.  

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.  And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (I Corinthians 14:34-35)

Many feel this is an extremely chauvinistic statement and should not be taught or followed in the modern church.  I we look at what Paul said in I Timothy 2:11-15, we find the reasoning behind it is not chauvinistic.  “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.   But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.  For Adam was first formed, then Eve.  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.  Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” 

While Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, she did so because she had been deceived.   Adam was not deceived and deliberately took of the forbidden fruit in rebellion against God.   It was his rebellious attitude that was passed down to all humanity resulting in their becoming sinners deserving judgment and death.   Because the man caused the problem, it is the man’s responsibility to teach people how to make it right.  Women should not enable men to avoid taking their responsibility.  She does not have to take his responsibility to receive the blessings.  God has promised that if she learns to walk in the Spirit she will have his blessings.  The problem is not that the woman is inferior or less able, but that God has designated the man to take the responsibility.

The real issue is whether we believe the Bible is truly the word of God or not.   II Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”  In other words, if we will follow all the scriptures we will be able to do everything in a way that is pleasing to God.    

Unfortunately, some believe that they have gotten some special revelation form god authorizing them to ignore certain teachings.   Paul addresses that teaching in I Corinthians 14:36-38.  “What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?  If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 1co 14:38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.”

We don’t get to decide what God’s word should say, nor does he give special rules for different groups.  Anyone who is genuinely spiritual or has the gift of teaching and understanding what God says will recognize that these rules are in fact what God commands.  Anyone who refuses demonstrates their ignorance of spiritual matters.  I John 4:6 tells us, “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”

With these things in mind, I Corinthians 14”39-40 instructs, “Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.   Let all things be done decently and in order.”  We ought to be more concerned with teaching other what god wants rather than on speaking in tongues.  That does not mean God will never use someone that speaks another language to deliver a message.  We just need to follow his guidelines  so things are done in a proper manner, as God intended.

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