Friday, August 10, 2012

Women "Silent" in Church

Again this morning, I was looking for something other than a powder keg scripture that has been used to suppress women in church…but I decided instead to research it a little…since I really didn’t know what to do with it. I’ve always assumed that it was a scripture for THE WOMEN in Corinth to remain silent… was a contextual or cultural problem within that community.  I felt that women like Jen Hatmaker were free to teach at ANC....simply because she was a good teacher...and scripture like 1 Corinthians didn't apply because of the contextual nature of the scripture. I believe now...I was mistaken. 

34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

We actually had someone leave ANC a few weeks ago when we advertised that Jen Hatmaker would be teaching (which she wasn’t able to). They used this scripture to point out that women had no place speaking in church. When in actuality it says just the opposite. Bear with me.

When we read the book of 1 Corinthians….notice in places that Paul is responding via letter….to a corresponding letter that the church wrote to him. 
1 Corinthians 7:1 "Now for the matters you wrote about”
1 Corinthians 8:1 "Now concerning things offered unto idols..."
1 Corinthians 12:1 "Now concerning spiritual gifts..."

Unless we think that Paul is out of his mind…he can’t be saying two opposite things within the same scripture.
26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. (Clearly sisters are not to remain silent)
29 Two or three prophets should speak (did not say male prophets)
39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. (again sisters be eager to prophesy….or speak truth…to edify the body)

In verses 34-35, Paul actually used their words (from their letter to him) in his response letter when he addressed some of their concerns and said they were foolish and they weren't of God. So 1 Corinthians 34-35 aren’t Paul’s words but whoever wrote the letter to Paul.

Okay…but there is one other scripture;
1 Timothy 2:12, Paul says, "I do not allow a woman (wife) to teach...Nor to usurp authority over the man (husband)."

The subject in Timothy is not regarding “men and women”, but the Greek translate these words “husbands and wives”. To “usurp authority” one must go against the will of another. When the husband recognizes the anointing on his wife to teach, all he has to do is allow her to do so. Then, there is no authority usurped, it is granted. So any man (not the husband) of the wife, has no authority over that woman (or the church that encourages or allows it) whether she teaches or not. She is not usurping power over men by teaching them, the only authority that is over the body is that of God. 

I believe Paul clearly was supportive of the anointing of women to teach the word of God or prophesy, in their home or in a church setting as biblical. Thoughts? 

God your Word is so awesome. You know were the author of it. Continue to teach us, correct us and yes...even rebuke us. Continue to reveal yourself and your heart through it. Amen. 

Monday, August 06, 2012

Rights vs right

1 Corinthians 10:23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
We have tremendous freedom as Followers of Christ. Wonder why I was never told this as a teenager?  Maybe because I lacked the discipline, knowledge and discernment to apply my freedom.
Believers must not merely consider what is lawful, but what is expedient, and edifying to others. Paul also writes:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
I think these two verses complement each other nicely.
Going back to a topic you guys wish you would never hear about again….Chick-fil-a. My whole point in my post last week was this, we can stand up for our rights as Americans, we can say went to CFA to defend our constitutional rights of free speech…and these are all fine…good things.  You are well within your rights to do these things….but as Christ followers, we need to temper our American rights for our Kingdom Purposes. This is so counter cultural and “out there” people refuse to grasp it. The bible is full of examples of this….and verse 24 flies in the face of the American Dream as well.
Anyway….we had the right and freedom to protest last Wednesday….but I didn’t find it constructive. Especially in light of the chasm already between the BLGT and the Church.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Chick-fil-a Sacrificed to Idols

1 Corinthians 8: 9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

This passage took on new meaning for me this morning and I wanted to share it with you.

Many well-meaning “Christians” took to the streets yesterday and PACKED Chick-fil-a’s across this country in what most deemed “Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day”. But we should know that is was more of a support of Dan Cathy’s stance on “biblical family values” than it was appreciation for good food and good service. Christians were countering an attempt by the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) Community to show up en mass and merely order a cup of water in order to clog up lines and frustrate the staffs and management at CFA.

I saw pictures on Facebook of Christians standing in line, taking pictures with the CFA mascot, proudly carrying their cups and bags of CFA food around like a badge of honor. People actually ordered bags of CFA sandwiches to pass out to homeless people on street corners….all in support of CFA. While these are not all bad things, it is the tone and manner in which Christians are voicing their support of CFA that disturbs me. Our posture sucks.

The LGBT has, erroneously or not, taken Dan Cathy’s remarks that he supports a “traditional family unit, made up of a man and woman in marriage” as anti-gay. Their thought being, if you are FOR traditional marriage you hate gays. CFA’s known policies of hiring and serving everyone are the same. Patrons are not asked their sexual orientation when stepping to the counter and there is no blank on employment forms asking about sexual orientation. I also know that CFA donates moneys to pro-traditional family causes...(Focus on the Family being one and there are others).

But here is the rub for me in light of today’s reading……we need to be careful that we do not exercise our rights to a great chicken sandwich on a day and in a manner that is deemed to be anti-gay. Christ was not anti-gay. If we believe that he was, we have our theology screwed up. He was anti-sin. He was just as much anti-gossip, anti-adultery, anti-greed, anti-covetous, anti-glutton as he was anti-gay. Can we gossip and still be loved by Jesus? Can we covet and still be loved by Jesus? Then can’t a person be gay and still be loved by Jesus? And if Jesus loves them and the entire LGBT community, shouldn’t we also love them?

I am reminded of the story of the woman caught in adultery. Where he literally advocated for this woman as she was about to be stoned by the religious. The religious! He didn’t condemn her for her sin to the contrary. He knelt beside her and drew in the dirt, as the religious were picking out their stones to throw at her. He questioned their hearts asking the one that was without sin to cast the first stone. Then they dropped their stones and left. After they left he asked, “where are your accusers. Has no one condemned you (to die)?”. And she replied, “they have all left”. And he said to her, “nor do I condemn you…..go and sin no more.” Jesus himself did not condemn…what gives us the right? 

This condemning patriotic idol of traditional family values has become a STUMBLING BLOCK to the LGBT Community. I call it an idol because we have elevated it above our love for them. When Christ said, “love your neighbor as yourself”, he was talking about ALL of our neighbors, including the LGBT Community. When he said, “whatever you have done to the least of these brothers and sisters you have done to me” he was talking about ALL the marginalized, including the LGBT Community. Yet we have grabbed hold of their sin, elevated it above our own, and are willing to cast hate filled stones.

Right or wrong, our action of solidarity for a restaurant and it’s CEO can be construed as anti-gay. I’m not saying it is wrong, but if it is even perceived to be wrong by “the weak”, those “without knowledge” (of God) then it is wrong and we are “defiling” them. If it is perceived as wrong by the LGBT then we should not eat Chick-fil-a sandwiches sacrificed to the condemning patriotic idol of traditional family values.

I myself, am still for traditional family values. I still believe that God created man and woman to be married. And my understanding of scripture is that homosexuality is a sin. But because our country was founded on these values, we have certain rights that non-traditional couples don’t have. But since we know that all men are created equal….to have rights that others don’t have because of race, religious beliefs or sexual orientation is wrong.

So no…I didn’t go to CFA yesterday...much like I won’t drink alcohol if I am around someone who believes drinking to be sinful or if they struggle with alcohol. I am careful and use discernment when I drink alcohol…and the same should be done when eating meat sacrificed to idols,  even an idol of our own making.

Side note: I will still eat at CFA and enjoy their awesome sandwiches. But it was brought to light by someone in the LBGT Community that CFA supported a group in Uganda that promoted a “Kill the Gays Bill” that would not only make it illegal to be gay, but it would be punishable by death. If I find out or a strong connection can be made that that CFA knowingly supported a bill to exterminate gay people in Uganda….I will not eat Chick-fil-a again. Crap…I hope it’s not true.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Making Disciples or Creating Consumers?

Church....what have we done? Christ told us to make disciples who in turn will make disciples. Yet, by and large when pastors are asked their church's biggest area of weakness...(if we are honest) will tell you it's in disciple making. So instead, we settle on creating consumers. Well....that's not all true, those in our churches are already consumers, we have the credit card debt and stacks of stuff we don't need to prove it. We are merely giving the people more of what they have been conditioned to believe they 'need'. A sexy box, a flashy show, a feel good (or even hard hitting) 4 week series, programs for kids every day of the week, youth events, and a relevant message. Good well meaning churches may even have a mission event that we organize, we subsidize or pay for entirely and we beg those in our congregation to basically consume on top of all the other and programs and events we have throughout the week.
Here is a problem, if you ask what 'discipleship' is you will get plenty of differing opinion....but by and large the responses dwindle down to study and attendance. Those who are 'committed' will make every effort to be a part of every study and every program on church campuses in order to be 'fed'. Yet at the end of the week...many will still say, I want to go 'deeper'. Why is that? We are looking for that one piece that will satisfy our longing to be on mission with Christ.
In John 6, Jesus confronts this 'consumer mentality' head on. He had just fed 5000 people who had gathered to see him heal and to hear him preach. Then he raised the expectation. He told them to "come follow me"....or as my friend Hugh Halter would put it, he gave them the 'Death Talk'. Basically dying to self, killing the consumer and be willing to walk with Jesus no matter the cost. For most this cost was/is too high.
When alone with his disciples Jesus gave them something to chew on (figuratively). He said that "I am the bread of the life". "I have come down from heaven (like Manna)" and "you must eat my flesh and drink my blood". His disciples began to grumble....that this was very hard teaching, and they did not understand. He was basically telling them....I am sufficient. There is nothing else. I am your daily provision of bread from God. Follow me. Become my apprentices (disciples).
Christ wants us to go deeper. He wants us to follow him, do what he did and do even greater things. Yet we have settled for being one of 5000 sitting on the grass eating fish and watching the show.
What if churches decided that instead of structuring in a way that we perpetuated the consumer to consume, we instead structured to make apprentice making apprentices. That we empowered and gave permission to live on mission for Jesus. That our actual purpose was to equip the saints for works of service instead of gorging the already fattened consumers with more programs.
There are over 2200 places in scripture that implore us to serve the least, clothe the naked, take up the cause of the widow and orphan (James calls Pure Religion) and watch out for those in the margins of society. 2200. Yet amid our multi-million dollar buildings and budgets we relegate $250 to a homeless shelter every Christmas. Does this make you feel better? Doesn't me.
What if 'serving the least' was that 'magic bullet'? What if dying to yourself and your selfish desires and following Jesus into the margins meant that we could for the first time in our spiritual journeys become satisfied? What if it was because we actually encountered Jesus and saw him at work...and that nourished us? What if as we served and showed others how to serve we realized that we are not only apprenticing but training apprentices?
Brandon Hatmaker has written a book that embodies this notion. Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture. (Released October 24, 2011)

I am fortunate enough to serve with Brandon and have seen this transform new believers and life-long followers into vibrant and on fire apprentices. Please do yourself a favor and read this book.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

I write this only because I looked to find any and everything online about this company...and found nothing. (formerly Christian Book Distributer was fraudulent with me and I just wanted to warn anyone who might be looking to purchase bibles or Christian books online to steer clear of them. If their dealings with me were typical, the best I can say is that they are shady.

I placed an order for a case of bibles in April of 2011. In June, thinking that I must not have placed the order, I went to their website and placed the order again. I subsequently found where I had been charged in April. So I called and left a message on the voicemail to the company.
ALERT RED FLAG!!!!! no one ever answers the phone, when they call is always from a BLOCKED number, and they never respond via email.
A man responded to my call (from the BLOCKED number) and said "not to worry" I wouldn't be billed for that second charge and that my bibles should ship within a week or two. No such luck. My church card was charged twice and I never received any bibles. This led to another call and response from the BLOCKED phone number saying that they would issue credit for the full amount (nearly $1000) in the next 1-2 weeks. That was August 17th. Nothing.
So I've left emails and phone calls again, but now I have contacted my credit card company (FRAUD DIVISION) and received credit from them.
I just wanted anyone and everyone to know that if you are considering purchasing from DONT!!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pure Religion

Sunday, my friend John Bradshaw wrote the following blog;

Click HERE.

Apostasy vs. Arrogance - 2 Peter 2

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 2 Peter 2:20

A state of apostasy (turning away) is worse than a state of ignorance?

I heard this..and I thought no….they are both equally bad. But that is if you look at it from the perspective of dying and facing judgement. Then, yes….both are equally as bad. Standing in front of the judge without the blood of Jesus to cover and pardon your sins.

But then I got these verses in reference.

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left Hebrews 10:26
How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? Hebrews 10:29
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

The one who has rejected Christ and his salvation, who has turned his back on the Grace of Jesus….has no other name, no other way of salvation. The one in ignorance….at least until death….has Jesus.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

That Movement - 2 Peter 1

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 2 Peter 1:16

When I look for reasons to TRUST the Gospel….when I skeptical of any of it….I always turn to those who were eyewitnesses. I trust how they responded with their lives.

A man could have lied about Jesus….to make this whole story of the Gospel and Christianity up…..but would he really be willing to be give up his own family, his job, his security, even his life…. to follow a ruse.

And if that weren’t enough…..Jesus death and burial scared the disciples for 3 days. But on that third day, after Jesus showed himself to them….the disciples solidified a movement. I trust that movement.