Reply to Amos (2012-07-22)
I regret the delay in responding to you but we have been away for over a month.
Earlier, in 1 Corinthians 14:33-38, St. Paul begins his teachings on the management of order in the Congregations of the Saints. St. Paul follows this up by more specific instructions in the Pastoral letters, which have taken much of our time and focus.
I have used 1 Timothy 2&3 in most of my replies as they go a little further in detail. Taking all the Divinely inspired Selection Criteria, we find that God is very selective in who may serve HIM as HIS Minister in the Office of administering the Word and the Sacraments; according to HIS will, not according to any secular or personal agenda. St. Paul is clearly inspired to stepwise define those who may speak and those who may NOT speak during worship – that is speak/preach, not pray or sing – c.f. 1 Corinthians 14:34. “the things I write unto you are the commandments from the Lord” v 37, the ‘things’ St. Paul refers to here are vv 34-38; and 1 Timothy 2:11 “how one ought to behave him/herself in the household of God.” v 3:15; referring here to Ch 2 & 3. First, St. Paul defines which gender may speak/preach, then he proceeds to lay down rules of conduct for those who may speak/preach; the women are not disenfrachised by this, their great Vocation can not be copied by males: from conception to childhood, the Mother is still the best person to care for the child – by Divine Design!
I cannot agree with you that I give the males a ‘free ride’; I did not write St. Paul’s Epistles, the Divine Criteria are strict enough in the texts focused on, and elsewhere in the Holy Bible to weed out undesireable males, c.f. also 1 Corinthians 5:11 and Ephesians 5:2-6, I merely try to comply with them. Rather, women – unless they choose to ‘outsource’ the care of the child(ren) – get a free period of influence on the impressionable children in the first dozen years of their life; where the father/husband/male consort is busy ensuring a lasting source of income for his family.
Please note that I have never stated that women cannot teach other women and children (I fully support the concept that they should indeed teach where capable males are not available/willing), for a child is best taught at her mother’s lap. The Epistle to Titus (2: 3-5) clearly teaches us first what the elder women ought to do, and then teaches us the tasks applicable to the younger women; this does not resonate with the critical tasks laid upon men who are called into the Ministry.
After your quote of 1 Thessalonians 5:12, I would have expected the completion of the sentence which runs over into verse 13 “and to esteem them very highly in love for their works sake.” I do not see that vv 12-13 are an authorisation to investigate a Pastor with many years service unless he misrepresents the teachings of the Holy Bible or commits actions unbecoming of his Office. Compare the Bereans on this in Acts 17:11. I believe that Parishes/Congregations have the option to assess the suitability of a candidate for a Call to serve in their Parish; for a ‘young people Parish’ has different requirements than a Parish with mainly people who are in the second half of their life.
Many Parishes set aside a group of trusted Parishioners – as a Call Committee – during the Call process just to do that. I have – in younger years – been a consultant to such a Committee and later a member of such a Committee. I can assure you that God’s Word and the adherence to it were the main criteria for the selection of the ordained candidate.
In the history of the Christian Church many have been appointed to the office of Bishop/Pastor, Deacon/Elder or any other leading role without complying with ALL the criteria in e.g. 1 Timothy 2 and 3; however, history has shown that, where the Word of God is not adhered to, HIS blessings are slow to follow.
I hazard a guess that you would be likely to agree with me that many false teachers have inserted themselves in the Christian Church, I pray to God that neither of us will be found among these heretics. I am reminded here of Matthew 7:21-23. There is no future for those who choose to go their way instead of HIS Way!
With reference to your last part of the email: I have had and still have the courage to tell my Pastor where and when I did/do not agree with his interpretation of the Word of GOD. The earliest instance caused me to be outed from the leadership of a Congregation due to my opposition to foreign doctrine; the latest case has not gone that far yet but is in danger of the same thing. So, please do not say that I do not have the courage to point out errors to the ordained leaders of my denomination; where rightly or wrongly their interpretation of the Word varies from mine, even the National President of my Denomination receives my comments where I do not agree with him: he knows this and can also expect this in the future. I believe that all Christian religious matters need to be resolved by Scriptural guidelines only and not by secular conveniences to satisfy someone’s agenda; the SOLA SCRIPTURA principle. Some of today’s ordained clergy can (sadly) only be seen as paid employees of the Church rather than as servants of the Most High; as a result of that, they bow to their employer’s rules even when these rules do not resonate with the Word of God, they follow policy rather than the Word of God.
In the end I must mention Matthew 7:21-27: 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
Finally when we pray the Lord’s Prayer we ask clearly for God’s will to be done on earth and in heaven, IMHO it is NOT God’s will to go against HIS commandments! Liked or not, 1 Corinthians 14:33-38 is a commandment of God which we ignore to our own destruction.