Female elders in Churches of Christ?

Click the link above and read the article….

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”?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Dec 29,2020

I Choose Joy, You Can Too

In the midst of this global pandemic not many people are happy, and for good reason. Almost nobody wants to stay at home day after day, no working, no eating at your favorite place, no trips to the gym… Ugh…

I am certainly not happy about this episode but I am learning to be content. Complaining, hand-ringing, blaming, worrying, and other negative responses do nothing to change the situation at hand. There is a far better alternative. Choose JOY!

Happiness is at best fleeting because it depends on “happenings”. The happiest person you know can go from super happy to deep depression in moments. Answering one phone call, seeing one news story on TV, or one bad move in traffic kicks happiness to the street.

Joy, is not dependent on circumstances. Joy is given to combat those less than happy circumstances. In sickness, in poverty, in disappointment, in persecution, in being rejected by someone you love, in business failure…. You fill in the blanks from the story of your life. No circumstance can squash joy.

The ancient words of the apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians at Philippi concerning this topic can inform us about how to live in the face of dire circumstances today and tomorrow.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7 ESV

It is interesting that the great apostle penned these hopeful words from his prison cell in Rome to Christians who lived in a city where he had been beaten and imprisoned on a previous visit. His letter was to encourage and equip people he loved and to help guard them from false teaching, false gods, and discouragement.

Joy is a choice! You can decide right now where you sit or stand to experience joy in the Lord. Paul begins this section of his letter to his friends with a command, “Rejoice in the Lord always“. Joy is not tied to the happenings of every day life, but is only found in our confidence and trust in our Lord. God is saying right now to me, and to you, “Rejoice in me”, the question is will we obey? Will we follow our natural inclination and express our frustrations with loud complaining when things don’t go our way? Or, will we try a new path by becoming known for our “reasonableness“? Perhaps a better translation is “gentleness”. When disappointment rears it’s ugly head will we respond calmly? Or quickly and loudly state our disappointment in no uncertain terms? We do have a choice…

God is with us! Paul said it this way, “The Lord is at hand“. If you are a faith-follower of Jesus God lives in you every moment of every day. The Holy Spirit is God in you all the time. And even if you are not a Christian, the Lord is near you too. There is no place you can go that God is not there, He is as close as He can be waiting for you to embrace Him in simple trust.

God’s constant presence should produce in us boldness in the face of trouble. Whatever circumstances comes at us “the Lord is at hand“. If we train ourselves to live moment by moment in the reality of God’s presence with us life will take on a new luster and fear will flee.

God has given us some homework! In the passage above God tells us exactly what to do and not to do to get in on this Joy thing.
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Have a measured response to trouble. Don’t be anxious! Don’t worry! Don’t overthink your circumstances. Recently my wife informed me that a sizable portion of our retirement income would no longer be coming in the mail due to a technicality and a contract change. When she finished telling me the news in detail I said to her, “I’ll tell you something I’m not going to do”. “What?” she replied. “Worry” was my answer. And she agreed that we live in the presence and power of the almighty and we will simply trust him. A couple of days later Carol called me to give me the exciting news that the investment company had reversed it’s decision and our money will keep coming on time. This time I got it right. (disclaimer: sometimes I fret a while first….)

Tell God about your troubles. Nothing is excluded, if it bothers you God is interested and concerned. In “everything” is pretty inclusive, nothing is left out. This instruction to pray is a great lesson. There are three components to Paul’s command about going to God with our cares.

  1. Pray. Praying is simply asking. All through the Bible prayers are always asking and the answer is always receiving. Just tell God what you want.
  2. Supplication. This is an interesting biblical word that is always tied to asking God, prayer, but it is more about the disposition of the one who is praying. It suggests recognizing the majesty of our sovereign God and coming to ask in humility. God is God I am not. I am coming to God asking for help but not as one who is entitled as a spoiled child would ask.
  3. Thanksgiving. Giving thanks is always good but it is not prayer. Many times in scripture thanksgiving accompanies prayer but it is not prayer. Prayer is asking. Giving God our thanks is not asking but acknowledging His goodness and grace toward us.

It is my habit to begin every prayer, both public and private, by giving God thanks for all that I am and what I have been given by his open grace filled hand. When trouble comes, and it will, simply ask God, be humble as you ask, and be thankful for what you have and what God has already done for you and what He will do in the future.

God is at work….all the time! If or when we follow God’s prescription for anxiety and despair something wonderful happens. The peace of God that we humans are not equipped to even understand will “guard” our hearts and our “minds”. Wow, what a tremendous promise from God. How often will this work? Every time we do what God says to do.

Our hearts and our minds are guarded! Doubt? No, you can’t come in, you are not welcome. Worry? No admittance. You are not welcome either. What a beautiful promise God has given to us.

Rejoice! This is God’s formula for ongoing joy for everyday, in every circumstance living.

For your joy,


Christmas Eve Thoughts

From my comfy chair here in sunny Texas I remember those snowy Christmas days in the mountains of North Carolina when I was a young boy. We didn’t have much in the way of gifts and beautiful decorations but what we did have was appreciated and we loved each other. Popping popcorn to be strung on the tree was a tradition that we (momma, daddy, and me) loved and enjoyed. For some reason I can only remember one Christmas gift I received as a child. It was a hand-me-down bicycle. One of my cousins had it for some time and my father painted it with a brush and gave it to me for Christmas. I remember that vividly and can’t remember any other gift as a child.

With the blessings and bounty of Christmas season, with all of it’s added activities, it is easy to be caught up in the busyness and loose sight of what’s most important. Love. Love is the message of Christmas. Giving and receiving gifts are a reflection of the greatest Giver of the greatest Gift, Jesus the Christ, who came to live and love as a man and reconcile sinners like us to God. Forgiveness of sins, eternal life, joy now, blessed hope, and a future with Him are gifts of grace from the loving hand or our God.

I am blessed to be married to one of the best women I have ever known. Observing the way she loves others now over two decades and I’m still amazed at how deeply she loves. Love is not only an emotion, love must be given to really be love. Carol regularly teaches me this by the way she loves me in tangible ways. A good, God fearing wife is a treasure beyond measure!

Soon, 2019 will be a history lesson and 2020 will be a new decade to make history. In spite of all the political turmoil, the hustle and bustle of daily life, and in our cases, aging and the aches and pains that accompany it, let’s live on purpose. Let us love on purpose. Not only our spouses, our children and grandchildren, but those who need to be loved most. Let us look for opportunities to love others where ever we find them. A sincere smile, a kind word of encouragement, an act of compassion can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

If you are a Christ follower, God wants to love the world though you, and me. May you and I purpose to be ready for duty every day, even the days when we don’t especially feel like it.

Love like Jesus loves you, you don’t deserve it. Accept others as you have been accepted, without merit. Give all the glory to God, only He deserves it.

Dec 24, 2019

The Christmas Story from the Gospel of John

Most of the sermons and Bible lessons you have heard about the birth of Jesus have been from the gospels of Luke and Matthew. We love the telling of the virgin being with child, his humble birth in a cattle stall, the wise men, the gifts, etc. As with many other topics, John, in his gospel gives us another vantage point. As was his custom, John focused on the Jesus he had seen, walked the dusty roads with, shared many meals with, and had witnessed in his resurrected body. The purpose of the gospel of John is clearly stated in John 20.

but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John 20:31 ESV

Just as in 1st John, in the first chapter of the gospel of John, the elder statesman for the good news about Jesus begins wide open! Right away he established the deity of Jesus, discussed his divine prerogatives, and more!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

John 1:1-4 ESV

Then 10 verses later John gives us the incarnation of the eternal Christ.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

John 1:14 ESV

God became flesh! You might wonder, since God is God and can do anything, why did Jesus have to come and live on earth, be rejected by his own and then die like a common criminal? The answer is God could not compromise his justice to execute his grace and mercy. In the economy of God sin cannot just be overlooked. Sin must be punished because it is an affront to the Holy God of the universe.

Christ came as the man Jesus not only to die, but also to live! He lived and worked and ministered for some 33 years and though tempted to sin in every way mortal men are, He never once gave in to the temptation, he never sinned once. The reason this truth is vitally important is that when He went to the cross and died, it was His perfect life that was given on your behalf. He took your sins (all of them, past, present, and future) and mine upon him and died “for” us, in our stead. God’s requirement of perfect living to be approved by him has been met. You have been credited with Christ’s righteousness. God’s justice has been satisfied, Christ died in our place satisfying God’s righteous requirement that sin be punished.

Because God became a man, Jesus the Christ, you and I can have eternal life. Our sins are forgiven not because of our doing but because of the doing and dying of the Lord Jesus. Because of His great love for sinners God treated Jesus they way you and I deserved to be treated so He could treat us the way Jesus deserved to be treated.

The good news is, Jesus did come here and accomplish His work. He now lives in his followers by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and as our man in heaven who intercedes for us before the Father.

I love the way John tells the story of Jesus making sinners His own people. It is so simple yet profound. The way John explains it there is no room for human goodness, good works, merit, or help in any way.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:10-13 ESV

Christ himself is the ultimate gift of Christmas. Have you received Him? “All” who received Him, who “believed” in His name became children of God. The gift is for you, and you, and every you who will take the gracious offer.

Merry CHRISTmas,