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" Women in the Church "

Quite some time ago an e-mail subscriber sent a question about young girls serving communion in church. I saved the correspondence for a "future day." Well, with this November's article on "wives" it seems appropriate to use the question-and-answer as the basis for this commentary, since it is a somewhat "related" topic.

Question:

In regards to the administration of the Lord's Supper, scripture is silent on this issue. Would you provide clarification and supporting evidence on who (ie male vs female) should "serve" the Lord's Supper.

Answer:

The Lord's Supper comes out of the Passover.(Mt26:17,1Cor5:7)

Traditionally, the Passover Seder involves the "mother" of the family lighting candles and reciting a prayer. However, in that upper room it makes no mention of any women. Nor, does this tradition have any origin from Moses in the Pentateuch. (Gen-Deut)

The Supper the Lord instituted, He led and instituted. And Paul reiterates in 1Cor11 how the "Lord had..." broken the bread, etc. But, other than a Passover (seder) tradition, there is no specific instruction on the Lord's Supper, as to how anything might have been different from the traditional Passover. He did institute something new. But that's all we know.

So, to get to the matter of "male vs female" I think we need to take our cue elsewhere.

1Cor14:34 Paul instructs that women should keep silent in the churches. they are "not to speak...but be submissive." This, of course, is in the context of him correcting the carnal (charismatic) carry-overs from their former lives in paganism, as he teaches about spiritual gifts and tongues. (1Cor12-14) Even as happens today, these emotionally catalyzed manifestations were often instigated by demonically excited women. Thus, if the women were adhering to their "proper" female roles, there would not tend to be such problems as tongues and other demonic manifestations; since the whole charismatic "experience" tends to start out with the "tongues" and builds from there. So, in instructing the women to keep "silent" he was nipping the whole demonic scene in the (proverbial) "bud" so it would be a lot tougher to get off the ground.

1Tim2:9-12 The woman is to learn in silence. She is not to have authority over the man. etc.

Tit2:4 The older women are to teach the younger women to "love their husbands, to love their children."

It would seem to me from all this that there is no place that would allow for women having any king of leadership roll like what you are speaking of. The only case would be if there were no men in the group.

Yes...I know this is not very "enlightened" according to modern feminist trends. But it is God's Word.

Question clarified:

The situation: Congregation is sitting down, female youth 13-18 stand up and pass the plate and juice (without saying a word), and then they sit down. One of our men administers the Lord's Supper. The argument I perceive I will meet is "the girls are not speaking, and there is nothing in scripture directly instructing one way or the other. Therefore the girls are not in a leadership position."

Answer:

Well, any response I would have would be "contextual." Since I don't know of any passage that says "boys should...girls shouldn't."

Our present century is about the only one in the whole of human history that has women "running things" like they do...as prophesied.(Jer31:22, Isa4:1)

Back during O.T. times it wasn't even required to indicate that service was by "men." People understood it. It was just the way things were. Everything to do with the temple service was done by "men." In addition Numbers 30 is pretty clear that the "man" is in charge...even about something like vows that a woman might pledge herself to.

When Miriam led out in song, it was the women she led.(Ex15:20) Which agrees with Tit2:4 that I already shared with you. And this is the way things were done in "eastern" cultures. In a gathering the men were together, and the women together in their own group. Thus, it "makes sense" that Miriam would lead the women in this manner.

Probably not much help. If people are doing something because they think it is a "nice idea" they usually aren't convinced, even if they were to be shown from Scripture. (I don't know your church...I know MANY others) And if it is the "spirit of the law" that's involved, well the expression "that's your interpretation" usually comes out of somebody's mouth. ...and they will continue what they're doing...and will likely label you as "judgmental" for even questioning the practise.

Further Comments:

Responses given here are different from what I would have given years ago, or as I would have practised things. But in recent years I have become bolder in God's Word. Since my own life has undergone a purging from "situational ethics," in other words, manipulating God's Word to say what is convenient to support what one wants to be doing; I am now more willing to agree with God's Word, and what God has clearly proclaimed.

What is stated above still does not answer those cases where women were used by God in service. In Judges 4-5 is a record of the Prophetess Deborah. While she judged Israel, you will also notice she called upon Barak, a man, to take leadership. She did not play a "Joan of Ark" role. But he was such a wimp, he hung on to her coat strings. She was used, because there were no capable men.

Then, there's Abigail (1Sam25) who, upon cursory examination might seem to be "taking charge" when, in fact, she was "covering for" her worthless husband to protect him from David who was spittin' mad (Scripture uses other terminology) and would have come and annihilated him.

And finally, what of the scores of single ladies who have given their lives to the Lord's work as missionaries. One of my aunts is among them, who, even in retirement after a full life of service, goes back to the field periodically to help out. However, even though these women are often called upon to teach men on the mission field, when they are around other Christian leadership, submit to the male authority.

Paul speaks of it this way, "The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit."(1Cor7:34)

Amen!

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