And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 19, Number
In this issue:
The role of women in local churches has been revealed in the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit (1 Tim. 2:8-15; 1 Cor. 11:3; 14:34-37; et al.). Yet, there continues to be a push to expand the function of women in churches to include leadership positions. For example, two years ago a Tennessee Church of Christ put a woman in its pulpit. We must be aware that innovators are working to move Christians farther away from the apostles’ doctrine on this subject (among others) (Acts 2:42; 2 Thess. 2:15; 1 Jno. 4:1, 6).
A gospel preacher asked to review an article on this topic by Dr. Ron Clark of the Agape Church of Christ, Portland, Oregon, entitled “Male’s and Female’s Roles in the Agape Church of Christ.” I recommend you read Dr. Clark’s article at http://agapecoc.com/need-more/male-and-female-at-agape/, then my review that follows.
Review of “Male’s and Female’s Roles in the Agape Church of Christ”
I am not familiar with the Agape Church of Christ in Portland, OR, or with Dr. Ron Clark. A brief web search of both informs me that they have abandoned the "pattern of sound words" as the model for Christians and for the local church, preferring instead the incarnational model outlined by Rubel Shelly and Randall J. Harris in their book, "The Second Incarnation" (2 Tim. 1:13; Phil. 3:17; 4:9; 1 Cor. 4:16-17; 11:1; 14:37; etc.). A review of the Agape church of Christ website confirms this assessment.
Clark begins by misusing Romans 8:26 and from there he builds the false premise that the Holy Spirit "empowers" Christians in some (undefined) way apart from the inspired word. This allows him/them to then trust in experiences, feelings and human wisdom to direct a new path for the Agape Church of Christ. He says, “As the Spirit empowers us to be like Jesus (Romans 8:26) so we must empower all people to be what God has called them to be. Males and females must equally be empowered to reflect the honor of Jesus and become what God has called them to be (Galatians 3:26-29).” (He is very fond of the word “empowerment.”) His use of it belies his intent to give positions and power to women in churches that have not been given to them by the Holy Spirit in His word.
Galatians 3:26-29 is equally misapplied. It is a passage upholding the non-prejudicial nature of redemption in Christ. Salvation in Christ is not based on nationality, societal status or gender; there is no respect of persons in redemption (Acts 10:34-35). It is not a passage that addresses the unique roles of men and women, whether in the home, the church or society. His gross misuse of this passage helps lay the groundwork for his false teaching concerning women in the church.
While Clark appeals to 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2 (and there is some Biblical truth stated in his comments), he continues to basically argue for the right to give women leadership roles in the church from the silence of the Scriptures. After he summarizes these passages, he says, "To give women titles, financial compensation, and call them leaders in their ministries does not violate the scriptures, nor does it violate what God has for them to do." No Scriptures are cited to assure his applications are valid; only his proclamation that they are (cf. 1 Pet. 3:15; 4:11).
We ought to be particularly offended that he uses such words as “oppression,” “misogyny” and “discrimination” when describing women not having leadership roles in the church. He offers no Scripture; how women “feel” becomes the reason to move forward and expand their role. He assigns “fear” (not to mention, a lack of agape) as the motive and reason we have not included women into leadership roles. His list of “fears” indicates he is very willing to judge others as sinning who do not accept his conclusions on advancing women into leadership positions. He concluded by saying, “we believe that discrimination, misogyny, and oppression of females due to their gender are a sin and one which we will not practice nor tolerate.” Who disagrees that “discrimination, misogyny, and oppression of females due to their gender” is a sin?! I do not. That is not the issue, but he frames his argument so that if you do not agree with him, then you are against women and a sinner. Straw men, beware!!
I don’t have time to offer a comprehensive critique, but suffice it to say his views are not in harmony with the Scriptures. His view of “empowerment” is based on human feelings and perceptions of oppression, his assignment of “fear” is diversionary, and his proclamation of “love” (agape) is empty because he is willing to go beyond the doctrine of Christ concerning the role of women in the church (1 Jno. 5:3; 2 Jno. 9-11; 1 Cor. 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2:10-11).
I do not hesitate to identify this doctrine as false, and Dr. Clark as a false teacher who should be marked for his error (Rom. 16:17-18). (I have not even commented on the multiple Scriptural violations that are obvious on the Agape Church of Christ website.)
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:41-50
1. 12-year-old Jesus astonished those who heard him, amazing his parents,
I. I – PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.
are Things Only I Can Do: Personal Responsibility, Gal. 6:4-5 (Jno. 8:24;
Mk. 16:16; 1 Pet. 2:2; Jno. 4:24; 1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Pet. 5:8).
II. MUST BE ABOUT – NECESSARY TO BE DOING. (Imperative, urgent)
A. It is Obligatory On Us To Do What We Know Is Right, Jas. 4:17; Eph. 6:6; Col. 4:12; 3:17; Jno. 13:15-17.
III. MY FATHER’S BUSINESS.
Father – My Relationship with God is Crucial, Lk. 12:48-50; 1 Jno.
1:6-7; 2:3-6; 2 Cor. 6:17-18; Eph. 1:3; Heb. 4:16; 13:5-6.
When the Foundations are Destroyed
Scripture Reading: Psalm 11
1. Foundation is the support and stay of a structure. When it erodes, the
structure fails, Psa. 11:3.
I. THE FOUNDATION OF BELIEF IN GOD, Psa. 14:1; Heb. 11:6.
Creator is Ignored and Denied, Psa. 94:8-11; Rom. 1:20-23; Psa. 95:6; Mal.
1:6; Matt. 15:7-9 (Jno. 4:24).
II. THE FOUNDATION OF MARRIAGE.
Millennials do not get married; about 40% 1st marriages
III. THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH, 1 Tim. 3:15.
Church is to Uphold and Secure Itself by the Truth, Eph. 5:31-32, 25-27;
Jno. 8:31-32; Jas. 1:21-22; Col. 3:17.
Happy New Year! It’s time to find out what resolutions people are making for 2017, and what their opinions are about everything from politics to the economy, to the general state of affairs in these United States. And so, as they do every year, news outlets have published their 2017 opinion polls.
Opinion polls are a snapshot in time, a momentary glimpse, at best. It is unfortunate that some seem to approach the Bible the way their do these polls. They rarely turn to its pages, and when they do it is only in passing (no long meditation upon what it says) – usually to justify an opinion they have already formed.
Polls are not always reliable; the Bible is. While opinion polls gauge popular opinion, the Bible reveals the mind of God with words from God (1 Cor. 2:10-13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 14:37; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).
We must be careful how we handle the Bible (2 Tim. 2:15). Let us examine it, not to find what we have already decided we want it to say, but to understand what the truth actually is – even when (especially when) it exposes our error and sin. The Jewish Bereans were noble or “fair-minded” because they listened to the gospel, then searched the Scriptures to verify what they heard was true. This led many of them to become believers (Acts 17:10-12). It was entirely possible for them to know the truth when they eagerly examined the Scriptures to understand and accept the truth they were taught.
We must be like the Bereans. We do not believe and act because some poll tells us what to believe and do, but because the word of God teaches us what to believe and how to live. In 2017, let us examine and follow the Bible.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 01/01/2017
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA