Spiritual gifts a means for obedience

Spiritual gifts a means for obedience

This is the last in our series about spiritual gifts and here we discover that spiritual gifts are a means for our obedience.

Scripture is clear that we need to desire spiritual gifts but we are also to use our gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ. Paul commands us to desire spiritual gifts because the church needs this edification.

1 Corinthians 14:1 Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

This verse is in the imperative and it is a command. The use of these spiritual gifts is not just an option but it is a matter of obedience. Jesus gave a parable that illustrates the fact that the use of God’s gifts is imperative and we will be called to account for not using our gifts.

Matthew 25:14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.
Matthew 25:15 “To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.
Matthew 25:16 “Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents.
Matthew 25:17 “In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more.
Matthew 25:18 “But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
Matthew 25:19 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them.
Matthew 25:20 “The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’
Matthew 25:21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
Matthew 25:22 “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’
Mat 25:23 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
Matthew 25:24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.
Matthew 25:25 ‘And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’
Matthew 25:26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.
Matthew 25:27 ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.
Matthew 25:28 ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’
Matthew 25:29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.
Matthew25:30 “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

As women we desire to use the gifts that God has given us for the benefit and edification of the body of Christ just as we are instructed to do in 1 Corinthians 14. There are those who stand at the door of the assembly and refuse to let women’s gifts in. They see themselves as doorkeepers and as official spiritual gift police whose position it is to stop women’s gifts from being used for the edification of men. But we desire to be faithful to God and when man comes against what God has ordained, we must obey God rather than man.

It was on this day 490 years ago that a Catholic priest named Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses Against the Sale of Indulgences” on the Door of Wittenberg Castle. October 31 became known as Reformation Day because Martin Luther refused to accept man’s tradition over the bible. Martin Luther’s own words ring loud and clear against man’s imposition of laws and tradition that are not found in scripture. He stood strong as he said:

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason and not by Popes and councils who have so often contradicted themselves, my conscience is captive to the word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.

Pastor Wade Burleson has written a wonderful word of encouragement on this Reformation Day that I would like to quote:

Have a great Reformation Day, and may you and I work toward reform in our churches and our convention that leads to our collective conscience held captive to the word of God – and nothing else. Man’s rules, religious regulations or denominational traditions that pretend to be on par with Scripture and lead anyone away from faith in Christ alone, trust in Scripture alone, and rest in God’s grace alone are to be resisted with as much energy as Luther resisted indulgences. Here we stand, we can do no other.

Martin Luther faced death as he stood against the religious rulers of that day. Today women do not face death but many of them face name-calling, prejudice and character assassination merely because they chose to be obedient to Christ with their God-given gifts. But no name-calling or character assassination will ever come close to stopping us from ministering in Jesus name when it is the Master who has commanded us to be obedient.

As Luther stood strong against the tradition of men, I too want to stand strong in encouraging the use of women’s gifts that God has commanded all of us Christian woman to use for the benefit of the entire body of Christ. Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason that women are not allowed to use their God-given gifts for the benefit of men, and not by Popes, church councils or men who have set themselves against women’s gifts used for the edification of men, but who have also so often contradicted themselves in their man-made rules about what women can and cannot do, my conscience is captive to the word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.

24 thoughts on “Spiritual gifts a means for obedience

  1. Amen Cheryl !!! As I sat here reading, I could hear Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” playing in my head and in my heart. LET FREEDOM RING !

  2. Cheryl,

    Yet another great insight. Do not bury your gifts or you are being disobedient.

  3. Good stuff Cheryl.

    Now I’ve a research question I hope someone can find some material for. On CARM someone said this:
    “The public witness of Epiphanius is that Junian became bishop of Apameia. There is no known dissent by those of Apameia that Junian did not become bishop nor a proclamation or historical record from those of Apameia or elsewhere that their bishop was a woman.”

    He’s been answered by Eldeon Epp’s quote from his book “Junia, the first Woman Apostle”. However, I didn’t recollect reading the bit about Junia being a bishop. Does anyone have any info on that?

    Some of the things that need clarified about Junia:
    1. There is no name found anywhere of any Junian/Junias. The name Junia however, is well attested.
    2. The 12 apostles were chosen in a particular way because there job was to lay the foundation of the church. Paul is the only exception to that, yet he was still called personally in a miraculous way. All other apostles were still called personally by Christ because that is the way God calls anyone to any ministry. And there were indeed other apostles beside the 12 and Paul.
    3. The Greek word for “among” indicates among the apostles. The attempt to say the apostles thought Andronicus and Junia were swell, is ridiculous and doesn’t fit with the introductions. Paul is introducing people and giving recognition of their ministries.

  4. When reading the comp’s explanations of Rom 16:7 you can just see them squirming to avoid the plain meaning of the Greek, as it simply does not fit their worldview. So it simple CANNOT mean what it says. It may not be Junia, it may be Junias (even if we have to invent the name). It may not be notable within, it may be notable to (even if we need to translate away from the primary meaning). It may not be authoritative apostles, it may be non-auhoritative messengers (even if we need to invent this idea). AFTER ALL FOLKS, it simply cannot mean what it says.

    Do they not realize how destructive such an attitude to the Bible is?

  5. Yes, to them, “the plain meaning of scripture” is whatever English version suits their theology. If you go to the original languages they call it “gymnastics” and trying to change scripture.

    Never mind that the name was clearly and always feminine until 1928 when Nestle changed it to masculine in the Greek text without explanation or attestation (see This Excellent Article, and it remained so for 50 years. Then, again without attestation or any kind of explanation, it was changed back. So through 50 years of Bible translation everyone trusted the official Greek text and did a “gender bender” on poor Junia. Similar alterations of original language texts have plagued the Hebrew as well. The rabbis, who hated Jesus enough to kill him, were the kind of people who would tamper with the very Word of God to hide prophecies about him (ref. this article). These rabbis also put their hateful and misogynistic traditions above God as well.

    None of that seems to phase the comps. Like the Pharisees, they care more about their position and traditions than about the Truth of God’s Word. And if they’d stoop to tampering with that, what won’t they stoop to?

  6. Or even faze them.

    I think the comps worldview is like wearing a blue lens when reading the Bible and seeing all those blue verses. They simply cannot imagine that this is what they are doing.

    THANKS FOR THE POSTS.

  7. Oy, a flashback to my electronics days. I must have been out of phase when I wrote that. 😉

    Actually, a blue lens would make the blue verses invisible. They undoubtedly use something with a little more contrast.

  8. Hey All, I just went over to the CBMW site and I’m wondering if anybody else has noticed how inaccessible they are? I mean here at WIM we have an open forum town square type of environment in which anybody is welcome to post and be heard so long as it’s civil and does not violate the bounds of accepted propriety. I’m noticing quite the opposite at CBMW. It’s almost as if John Winthrop’s ideal is still the norm over there. There is only what the clerical leadership says there will be. No discussion, no dissent, no exceptions unless of course you echo the ideology of the clerical oligarchy. No wonder Roger Williams left Massachusetts and founded Rhode Island! By the way, I love this little Rhode Island we have here!

  9. Hi Greg,

    I did notice that CBMW doesn’t have an open forum where people can dialog. A person can email their comments, but they don’t make the comments for all to see. I am not sure what they are afraid of. Perhaps some egalitarians might as them some hard questions? 🙂

    I found this quote quite interesting:

    “Recovering from feminism must first start with an embracing of the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Only then will we see the roots severed because we will be clothed in the humility of Christ, who willingly submitted himself to the Father on our behalf…

    Rather, feminism rises up in ordinary women in our congregations, homes, and in the least obvious place, the mirror. Feminism is in the core of our hearts apart from the saving work of the shed blood of Christ, and not simply because we are militant against male authority, but primarily because we are opposed to the greatest authority of all—our Creator. The feminist is not some abstract “out there” woman. She is staring right at us every morning when we put on our make-up.”

    While I do not consider myself a feminist because of the very negative connotations with the word, it is continually amazing to me that CBMW considers complementarianism as part of the gospel and must be accepted or one is guilty of opposing God.

    Here we have the addition and subtraction rule:

    The gospel + (plus) complementarianism = salvation

    The gospel – (minus) complementarianism = opposition to God

    How sad that there are those who should be keeping the gospel pure but instead are willing to add in their own view of the secondary issue of women as a mandatory part of the gospel message. It is especially sad because many highly educated women of the world will not darken the door of the church because they cannot embrace a God who would see them as inferior. These women are very well aware that whenever one is stopped from using one’s gift for the benefit of a particular gender, that means that one is considered inferior.

    Greg, I am so glad that you are here and that our little community (a.k.a. little Rhode Island) is active and affirming of women’s gifts.

  10. teknomom,
    I loved this:

    “Actually, a blue lens would make the blue verses invisible. They undoubtedly use something with a little more contrast.”

    You are sharp today! Let me add my two cents worth. I think they view the bible with a pink lens because the godly example of women leaders in the bible (the pink verses) have miraculously disappeared. After all didn’t God only use women because he didn’t have any men whom he could use? Lots of pink was used to bring this view into focus.

  11. Cheryl, I did post one response to John Piper’s condemnation of women serving in combat. It went something like this: “Hmmm… I’m wondering how the Russian women who fought the Wehrmacht and the SS in the Ukraine would receive a cleric who told them that it’s against God’s law for them to do so…” And yes throughout most of their stuff over there I’ve noticed the arithmetic they use to make the secondary issue of gender a mandatory part of the Gospel.

  12. One question…does anyone know how things have fared on Matt’s discussion board? Have I been properly buried and the grave stone marked yet?

    FYI I lodged a formal complaint with the radio station that Matt has his program on and I spoke to them yesterday. There may be some very good things that come out of this mess and if/when these things come to pass, I will keep you all informed.

  13. Cheryl, I wasn’t too sharp when I wrote “phase”, but something good came of it. :-0

    Yeah, that old “God was scraping the bottom of the barrel when he used women” argument is so… what’s the word… sorry, it’s asinine. The most glaring problem with it is that scripture NEVER SAYS ANY SHUCH THING. They PRESUME God’s reasons instead of getting them from God; they put words in his mouth. But that’s what they do across the board, in their whole worldview from top to bottom.

  14. The ONLY way the comps can claim to have any authority to speak to a group that does not recognize their authority is about the gospel, this is why they seek to extend it. By falsely extending the gospel they reduce the number of people that can accept it. There are MANY atheists and agnostics who AGREE with the comps, as they know that many people will then side with them. It is all so sad.

  15. I didn’t get that Don. Could you please rephrase it. Thanks.

    I’ve noticed that they don’t really have many arguments to support the verses they misuse. After they use them up, adamant gender hierarchalists then start resorting to name calling, defamation of character, etc. Or constant repetition. Get’s tiring.

    But I keep seeing more ways that God’s Word weaves together the truth throught the whole of Scripture.

  16. Let me clarify….

    Don wrote: ” There are MANY atheists and agnostics who AGREE with the comps, as they know that many people will then side with them.”

    Do you mean the athiests and agnostics agree with gender hierarchy? or? I don’t talk much with athiests. 🙂

  17. Atheists and agnostics will try to point out that Christianity is offensive to and degrades women, etc. and they will quote the Bible and comp. interpretation. They WANT it to appear to be patriarchical, the better to get people to agree with them and reject Christianity as offensive. It is VERY educational to peek at some of their websites, they make up lists of why the Bible is offensive, etc. and the comps just play into their hands.

    On what I was trying to say before, for example, the SBC which accepts the comp position, the comps can speak at their churches and people listen to them, because they are invited. As they are invited and endorsed by the leaders, they have authority. But lots of churches do not invite them.

  18. So the comps have no authority to speak in many believer’s lives EXCEPT over a matter of sin. This is one reason they reach the conclusions they do and call a woman leading in church a rebellion, if they did not think this was the case, they should just mind their own business.

  19. I think they view the bible with a pink lens because the godly example of women leaders in the bible (the pink verses) have miraculously disappeared. After all didn’t God only use women because he didn’t have any men whom he could use? Lots of pink was used to bring this view into focus.

    Sounds like the root of the “feminization of the church” which seems to be of such concern on the Forum you instigated at CARM, Cheryl. 🙂

    BTW, I still hang around over there… and they are not having a continuous “Cheryl roast” any more. I think you started a very good thing, though. There are quite a few visitors and clearly, some are taking the challenge to really dig deeper into the Bible for answers… which is a very good fruit 🙂 of your ugly experience 🙁

  20. Thanks Charis for keeping me informed. I am glad that there is some good from what I started. That is just one forum I won’t be going back on and I guess it isn’t quite as much fun for them to roast me when I am not there to see it 🙂

  21. I’ve been observing also. It is interesting how much some patriarchalist gender hierarchalists remind me of the Klu Klux Klan. 🙁

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: