Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book Club Thursday- The Confident Woman Chapter 3

Once again, it is time for Book Club Thursday! Remember to check out Kristi's blog to see her thoughts on this week's chapter.

The verses (1 Corinthians 14:34-36) which are the basis for this week's chapter have been a source for debate throughout the modern church. I really enjoyed reading what Joyce had learned through much research concerning this passage of Scripture. She does not say anything that would contradict God's Word, but she shows many reasons why this verse may have been included in the Paul's letter to the Corinthians. I am not going to be delving into her specific findings on this matter. I am going to focus more on the more general quotes that really stood out to me. As always, her direct quotes are in bold print.

  • It's a time-tested truth: Most people who criticize others for what they are doing, are usually doing nothing themselves. This is so true in every area of life. When I was first married, I had so many people tell me, "You're doing that? Just wait until you've been married this long..." or "You treat your husband like that? Just wait until you've been married a few more years. You'll get over that..." The women telling me these things were the ones that were not putting much effort into developing their relationship with husbands. They were satisfied with the status quo their marriage had reached, they were comfortable doing just enough to keep the relationship faithful and stable, but that was it. I chose to stay away from women with that mindset. Many people (still to this day) could not figure out why my closest friends were family members (Mom, sister, aunts, cousins, etc.) and a few choice friends. I chose to be influenced by women who were still very much in love with their husbands after 30 years of marriage, were not going to fall into the rut, and wanted to work towards building their families into a God-honoring entity.

  • When Paul told the women to be silent, he had already told two other groups to be silent. They were those who spoke in tongues and prophesied. All of these instructions were intended to bring order to the service- not to silence the people forever or prevent them from teaching and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. It appears that those who spoke in tongues, those who prophesied, and some of the women were all disrupting the service for various reasons. It is evident that he was dealing with a specific situation for a specific time frame in history. Before I continue in this area, I want it understood that I am not against the speaking of tongues, nor do I not believe that there is an expiration date given anywhere in the Bible for any of the gifts (although I have heard a couple of pastors trying to explain an expiration date, but their logic was never quite clear). I know this may sound strange to those of you who know that I have grown up in Baptist churches, but I do not believe that the arguement against the gifts of the Spirit is strong enough. I do not want to get to heaven and find out that the gifts of the Spirit were available to me, but because my own lack of faith, I was not given the opportunity. I have not personally experienced the gift of speaking in tongues, but I have been in churches where the gift has been used in such a beautiful and orderly way, and my family has been directly ministered to by it. I have also been to some where there was chaos and confusion because of the lack of order, and instead of being minitered to, I was nervous. So I understand Paul's instructions to the users of those gifts.

  • Paul may have told the women to be silent to keep order in the service. Because of the pagan practices, it is possible that women were being disruptive, not purposely, but out of excitement in what they were learning, and they may have reverted back into their old ways. I do not believe that Paul was saying that women are not to hold positions in the church. Nursery coordinators, minister of children, and Sunday school teachers are just a few of the positions held by women in the church we are members at. These women do not "rule over" men in any way, but they cannot do their jobs without speaking. The spirit of the verse and the context must be taken into account and not just the letter. I remember in my Twenties and Thirties Sunday school class, one woman would not answer questions or make comments (even if she disagreed with something) because she felt that this verse meant she could not speak up in church.

  • Don't ever let anyone tell you that God cannot or will not use you, just because you are a woman. God can use anyone or anything for His service. He used a smooth stone to bring down a giant. He used a shepherd's staff to rain plagues down on Egypt. He used a donkey to speak to Balaam. He used a teenage girl to give birth to the Savior. He used a wooden cross to bring salvation to the world. He can use you. If you think you are small and insignificant, then you are the perfect size for God to do something great with. Do not let your fears hold you back from what God wants to use you for.

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