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In my view this church’s leaders have gone too far. I consider myself to be “progressive” (whatever that means) when it comes to how and why things are done in local congregations of Christians on Sunday mornings. While this is true, I am convinced of the biblical model of male headship, in the home and in the assembly with the brothers and sisters.
I’ll say it clearly, these brothers and sisters are wrong, they have gone too far in my view. However, most of the churches of Christ of Christ don’t go far enough when it comes to Christian women and their ministry to the body of believers. In the vast majority of coc congregations women may only teach a ladies class, can’t speak in the main assembly, are frowned upon when verbal in a mixed sex class, and are treated as second class citizens in many ways.
coc elders justify these narrow views and practices saying broadly that women cannot have authority over men. And, I agree with that statement and idea. It is almost comical if not so sad that “authority” is so misunderstood and misapplied.
How are these things related in any way to “authority”?
- Serving communion? How can “authority” be related to handing a person a tray with bread on it? It can’t be, plain and simple. And what if a sister read a passage of the Word of God? Is she trampling on male leadership? Hardly so.
- Praying? How does a female praying threaten the “authority” of the males in attendance, or the male leadership of the congregation? It doesn’t, period. Forbidding the prayer of any believer is not only unwise it is sinful in my view.
- Teaching a Bible lesson to a mixed sex audience? This is one of the biggies, but I don’t think a woman is trying to “rule over” or “usurp authority” from males, or male leadership. In most churches, the preacher is not an elder. (in my view most should be..). When the preacher delivers his Sunday morning lesson to the congregation is he exercising “authority” over the elders? Of course he isn’t! If he was his term as preaching minister would be a short term. There are many wonderfully gifted, spirit filled women, who could make wonderful contributions to the body if allowed. I am reminded of Peter’s words to the listening crowd in Acts 2:17,18 when he referenced the prophet Joel saying:
“‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.“
So I ask my friends in our coc churches simply, “Where are our daughters, where are our women”?
When women labored in the gospel with Paul was that only making snacks for the journey?
4. Singing a solo? I will not even dignify this absurdity with a comment.
5. Baptizing a believer? What sort of warped thinking concludes that only men, and in some churches, only select men can baptize someone in water? Again, this has absolutely no connection to “authority” over men.
In conclusion. It’s high time that we relegate rigid traditionalism to the junk heap of long ago and live up to our only spoken creeds. “No book but the Bible, No creed but Christ, and Christians only”. I believe that some of our traditionalism is what really has “authority” in many congregations, rather than the words of Holy Scripture.
Many of us are off the rail, imposing on others unscriptural rules about things we do on Sunday. I suppose that is for another time.
Amen to you Royce!! So much confusion in a wonderful church! I am a former church of christ member.