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Month: October 2008

1 Timothy 2, authority and the magical pulpit

1 Timothy 2, authority and the magical pulpit

Many people feel that the pulpit is a place for authoritative proclamation.  However many people also believe that the pulpit gives a man that authority and allowing someone into the “pulpit” who isn’t allowed to exercise authority over the sheep, an authority that the pulpit gives them, is seen as a great sin.

There are several problems with this view.  The first problem is an obvious one, in that there is no such thing as a pulpit in the Scriptures.  Christianity Today says this about the pulpit:

Pulpits, which are associated with traditional churches today, haven’t always been included in churches. In the earliest days of the church, Christians met in homes. In the Middle Ages, pulpits were installed in churches, but sermons rarely were preached out of them…The pulpit became more prominent during the Protestant Reformation, when the preaching of God’s Word became the primary ingredient of worship. The pulpit became more than a place to stand or a structure on which to place notes and a Bible. It became a symbol of the authority of the Bible, the church, and the preacher.

So the pulpit as a symbol of authority is a modern invention not found in the Bible at all.  Many years into the church age what originally was just a piece of furniture convenient to hold one’s notes, has become the symbol of the authority of the speaker.  Somewhere along the way, it appears that the authority of the Word of God which held preeminence during the Protestant Reformation, has been transferred to the messenger.  In our day the word “pulpit” is synonymous for church authority:

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Anne Graham Lotz and 800 pastors' shame

Anne Graham Lotz and 800 pastors' shame

CBMW relates a story told by Anne Graham Lotz in the Washington Post where Mrs Lotz writes:

What legitimate, Biblical role do women have within the church? That question demanded an answer early in my ministry when I accepted an invitation to address a large convention of pastors.

When I stood in the lectern at the convention center, many of the 800 church leaders present turned their chairs around and put their backs to me. When I concluded my message, I was shaking. I was hurt and surprised that godly men would find what I was doing so offensive that they would stage such a demonstration, especially when I was an invited guest. And I was confused. Had I stepped out of the Biblical role for a woman? While all agree that women are free to help in the kitchen, or in the nursery, or in a secretary’s chair, is it unacceptable for a woman to take a leadership or teaching position?

While CBMW writer Brent Nelson writes about the en masse action of many of the 800 pastors in a negative fashion…

Such a shameful event should have never happened.

…what action does he say should have happened?

I grieve that someone in a decision-making role, did not wisely preclude a woman from speaking to a large group of pastors who chose to express their biblically sound concerns in such a shameful fashion.  The commands to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), are equally as important to obey as the command for a woman not take spiritual authority over men. (emphasis added by WIM)

While CBMW’s article says that women are not to be elders or pastors and this is apparently the “clear” prohibition that CBMW espouses, Anne Graham Lotz doesn’t appear to be either an elder or a pastor.  What Mrs. Lotz does in her ministry is preach the good news to whoever the Lord Jesus brings in her pathway.  She writes:

Mary Magdalene was actually the very first evangelist! Since Jesus had obviously been present when Peter and John were there, why did He withhold Himself from them, but reveal Himself to Mary? He could so easily have given the task of announcing His resurrection to Peter and John, but instead He had given it to Mary. I believe He was making an undeniable, obvious statement that reverberates through the centuries, right up until our own day. Women are commanded and commissioned to serve Jesus Christ in whatever capacity He calls them, within or without the organized church, in word or in deed.

CBMW writer Brent Nelson agrees that Mary was commissioned to preach the gospel of the resurrection to the Lord’s disciples, but this doesn’t support Anne Graham Lotz.

Mary seeing Jesus and being commissioned to tell the disciples of his rising is indeed an honor, but certainly does not qualify her to take the role of an Elder or Pastor to men.

While I will not be discussing women elders or pastors in this article, CBMW’s article appears to be a sleight of hand bringing confusion regarding official positions of ordination with the call to preach and teach outside of ordination.  This confusion is precisely what CBMW itself seeks to avoid when they state that women can minister but not have a “pastorate”.

Imprecision is the handmaid of confusion, and confusion the prelude to bondage (John 8:32). We would do well to make a distinction between women in ministry (which the Bible affirms) and women in the pastorate (which the Bible forbids – 1 Timothy 2:12).

Is Anne Graham Lotz called by God to ordination?  She says no:

This space is not long enough to address the issue of ordination which carries with it the right to marry, bury, baptize, and have authority over church members. I do not believe God has called me to be ordained, but I know many women who believe He has called them. Some of these women pastor in countries where the male leadership has been decimated by persecution and imprisonment, and out of necessity they have stepped up to fill the void. (emphasis added by WIM)

What is Anne Graham Lotz called to do?  She writes about what the Lord’s commission means to her:

For me, it means going wherever God sends and giving out His Word to whomever He puts in front of me.

So if Anne Graham Lotz is not called to be ordained as a pastor and she is not ordained as an elder, then why would 800 pastors have “biblical sound concerns” to have her speak to them as an invited guest speaker?  Again CBMW’s Brent Nelson writes:

I grieve that someone in a decision-making role, did not wisely preclude a woman from speaking to a large group of pastors who chose to express their biblically sound concerns in such a shameful fashion.  The commands to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), are equally as important to obey as the command for a woman not take spiritual authority over men. (emphasis added by WIM)

The mindset of CBMW is that women are not allowed to preach the gospel to Christian men because this constitutes taking “spiritual authority” over men.  It is only a smokescreen in this case when they say that the Bible forbids women to be pastors and elders, because this has nothing to do with Mrs. Lotz.  Anne Graham Lotz is an evangelist not a pastor or an elder, yet she is forbidden according to CBMW, to preach the good news to pastors while they can at the very same time agree that Mary was commissioned by Jesus to preach the good news to the disciples.  CBMW affirms that Jesus’ commission for Mary was a godly thing for a woman to obey.  This sleight of hand and confusing talk brings great harm to the body of Christ when women are hindered from speaking the truth of God’s word to the body of Christ.

CBMW’s answer to a woman’s preaching the gospel to Christian men is that she should be hindered, stopped and forbidden from speaking in the first place.  According to this CBMW article it would be a wise male leader who should have stood in the way of Anne Graham Lotz and prevented her from speaking the gospel to these Christian men.  CBMW lifts up the pastors who turned their backs on Mrs. Lotz as godly men who showed their biblical concern in the wrong way.  By turning their backs on Mrs. Lotz, these pastors were not preventing her from speaking to them, they were only showing a shameful action of contempt.  Would CBMW’s counsel to these pastors have them walk out en masse instead of merely turning their backs?

Apparently CBMW believes that there were two shameful actions that happened the day Anne Graham Lotz spoke to those 800 pastors.  The first shameful action was the men who turned their backs toward a godly sister in Christ.  The other “shameful” action was apparently the mere fact that Mrs. Lotz would dare to speak the gospel in the presence of Christian men and that a Christian leader would dare to allow her to speak.  CMBW’s Brent Nelson writes:

At the end of the day, it is the role of pastors and men to lead their congregations and families in understanding God’s design for the home and the church. When this kind of biblical leadership is lacking, sadly shameful things can happen. (emphasis is added by WIM)

CBMW through sleight of hand has now added to the scriptures that only men may lead Christians in the church and in the family towards understanding God’s design.  Shame on CBMW for spiritually turning their back on God’s gifted women, and thus God himself by adding to God’s word things that God never said.

Listen to what CBMW believes Christian men shouldn’t be able to hear Anne Graham Lotz preach and apparently use their CBMW-based conscience to walk out:

Anne Graham Lotz Just Give me Jesus

Pursuing More of Jesus with Anne Graham Lotz

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The Trinity DVD is officially released!

The Trinity DVD is officially released!

The Trinity DVD is now in stock and available!  Orders can be placed on our web page for MM Outreach here for US orders or here for Canadian and overseas orders or the set is available through here.  Video review is available at the end of this post.

The Trinity: Eternity Past to Eternity Future
The Trinity Eternity Past to Eternity Future Explaining Truth Exposing Error

The debut of the 2 DVD set went over extremely well as two of the three sections in the DVD set were shown at a conference in Pennsylvania this past weekend.  Several of the apologists who attended the conference were surprised at the audio clips that are included in the DVDs of a popular Christian theologian who is teaching that Jesus is not to be prayed to because he not does have ultimate authority to hear and answer prayer.  His teaching that is being received into our seminaries and our churches makes Jesus unavailable for us to have a personal relationship with him since it is stated that Jesus is eternally subordinate in authority to the Father, making prayer useless unless it goes out only to the Father.  Many people commented that this information needs to be heard by pastors, theologians and lay people alike to call attention to the unbiblical teaching that has been coming into the church.

It is time that we stand up for the entire Trinity and give a sound biblical defense that deals with the attempts at downgrading Jesus Christ by appealing to his being sent by the Father, his submission as the human Son, and 1 Corinthians 15:28 the verse that many have appealed to, to claim that Jesus is lesser in authority than the Father for all of eternity.  These positions are soundly refuted in this DVD set and the eternity past to eternity future of the Trinity is biblically set forth as an eternal equality in authority seen in both the Old Testament revelation of the pre-incarnate Christ, as well as his eternal future in the eternality of the Godhead.

See an 8 minute compliation of several clips from this 2 DVD/3 section video at Youtube here.

1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 concludes with Paul's commands

1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 concludes with Paul's commands

We have been going through 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, the passage that appears to silence women in the church to see how carefully Paul has constructed his words in 1 Corinthians 14:36 to contradict the silencing in verses 34 & 35.  (For past articles on this topic, please see the 1 Corinthians 14 section).

Now we come to Paul’s conclusions and in keeping with the force of the commands that Paul has given throughout chapter 14, Paul ends with two commands that completely blow away any misunderstanding that verses 34 & 35 are Paul’s words to the church instead of a quote from the Corinthian’s letter to Paul.

What is “therefore” there for?

Paul says in 1 Cor. 14:39 “therefore” my brethren…  The word “therefore” is a conjuction that joins together Paul’s words in verses 36-38 with the commands in verses 39 and 40.  All of this directly contradicts the injunction found in verses 34 and 35.  Let’s see how Paul concludes his contradiction of the silencing of women.

1 Corinthians 14:39  Therefore my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy…

The first command of Paul’s in his summary is a repeat of what Paul had already commanded in verse 1.  Paul writes in Philippians 3:1 that repetition is for our safety.  The body of Christ is to desire earnestly to prophesy and this repetition at the end of the chapter is to make sure that we “get it”.  Remember that Paul gave the reason why they were to desire earnestly to prophesy and the reason is for the edification of the church (1 Cor. 14:3, 4)

Speaking forth and keeping silent

Now let’s have another look at the entire chapter of 1 Cor. 14 to see what pattern is set forth regarding speaking and not speaking so that we can completely understand Paul’s summary.

“Speaking forth” allowed:

  • All commanded to seek spiritual gifts especially prophesying in the assembly  (verse 1)
  • Prophesying in the assembly edifies, exhorts and consoles  (verse 3)
  • Prophesying in the assembly edifies all  (verse 4)
  • Gifts for use for the common good are greater than a gift that only edifies one’s self (verse 5)

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Are women leaders used to judge sinful men?

Are women leaders used to judge sinful men?

It is very common for hierarchists to explain away Deborah’s position as Judge in the nation of Israel as merely a judgment by God.

The men in Deborah’s day were very weak and cowardly. This is seen in the fact that Barak, the captain of the armies of Israel, refused to go into battle unless Deborah went with him. The woman had to remind him that God had said it is time to fight; the woman had to encourage and challenge him to go; yea, the woman had to go with him!

Obviously it was a period in Israel’s history during which God could find no man to do His will, so He used a brave, willing woman. We can praise God for women like Deborah who are willing to be strong when the men are weak.

In general the leaders are weak and seem entirely lacking even in common sense. They cannot control their little children and women rule over them (compare Is. 3:12). This is God’s judgment because of the apostate condition of professing Christians.

Is it really true that women ruling the nation represent God’s judgment?  The only way that we can know for sure is to see what God had to say.   Several nations were used by God as a judgment against Israel and their sin.  The thing that we can notice in all of the cases of judgment is that the nation who was used as a judgment by God against Israel always hurt and destroyed Israel.  Israel was taken captive many times and this was God’s judgment.  But what about Deborah?  Was she used by God to punish Israel and hurt Israel or was she one of the many godly Judges that God raised up and sent to deliver Israel?

Judges 2:16  Then the LORD raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them.

Judges 2:18  When the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them.

The Judges were all sent to deliver Israel from their enemies.  This means that it was impossible for Deborah to be a judgment against Israel when she was sent to deliver Israel.

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Let her learn….or not?

Let her learn….or not?

In our continuing discussion of 1 Corinthians 14:34-36, we come to the problematic area of learning.

1 Corinthians 14:35 And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home…

What can we pull out regarding “learning” in this verse?  We can see that if a woman has a desire to learn, she isn’t encouraged to do it in church.  Where is she supposed to learn?  Her learning is to be done under her husband’s permission and it is to be done at home.

The requirement that a woman is not to learn in public is not a Christian regulation but a part of the “law” of the Jews.  Women were not to be taught the scriptures according to the oral tradition of the Jews.  Why?  Because she was not allowed to touch the scriptures and so she didn’t need to be a rabbinical student and publicly learn.  She also would have no one to teach the scriptures to since the men were considered to be the ones who had the responsibility to handle and teach the Torah.  Women need not learn.  They were not qualified to learn.

In previous posts we have been listing the markers in 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 that prove that Paul was quoting from the Corinthians and then refuting their claims in verse 36.  The wording about women learning at home (v. 35) instead of in the assembly once again ties these verses into man-made tradition.

But this isn’t Paul’s way nor is it God’s way.  Paul had just told us in verse 31:

1 Corinthians 14:31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted

Not only were all allowed to prophesy in the assembly, but the public prophesying was so that all may learn in that public assembly.  The learning was done by all just as the prophesying was done by all.  All may learn publicly.  Paul does not relegate women to learning at home.  He allows them to learn in the assembly since it is the body of Christ (not just a woman’s husband) who are responsible for helping her to learn.

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Recovering from "feminism recovery"

Recovering from "feminism recovery"

Wade Burleson has written an exceptionally thought-provoking post on the difference between one young woman’s journey through her pain (it appears to be a rejection of herself by a boyfriend) into the pathway of accepting a tradition that gives authoritarian license to males vs one young slave woman’s courage in standing up against authoritarian license.  I highly recommend you read Wade’s post found here especially for the account of the courageous stand of a slave girl that Wade copies at the end of his post.

Certainly one can have a “recovery” if that person is actually recovering from a bitterness towards men.  But depicting egalitarianism in the church as being based on hatred of male authority or a bitterness towards men is a false recovery.  Bitterness towards men is no different than bitterness towards women or bitterness towards another race.  When someone has hurt you and your self worth has been damaged, one will be tender and sensitive and often people go through many steps of recovery before they can get past the bitterness and intense hurt.  However identifying egalitarians (or as Courtney calls them feminists) as ones fighting against authority is a very serious mistake and one might question what she was really recovering from.  Bitterness is bitterness.  It is a sinful state of the heart that comes from our sin as a reaction to our hurt, not from our belief about the ability for men and women to serve God in the way that he has called them.

False recovery taints the recovery process.  It fails to identify where the problem lies.  Identifying a false source of the problem can replace one bondage for another.  It also can alienate another group of believers seeing them as the problem instead of identifying the heart attitude as the problem.

Meet us in Pennsylvania

Meet us in Pennsylvania

For anyone in the Pennsylvania area who would like to meet us in person and see the premiere of “The Trinity Eternity Past to Eternity Future Explaining Truth Exposing Error”, we will be in the New Ringgold, PA area at the Witnesses Now For Jesus Convention at the Blue Mountain Christian Retreat  October 10-12th, 2008.  DVD #1 of the 2 DVD set will be shown at 3 pm on Saturday, October 11th.  Information on the conference can be found at The sessions are free.  If you would like to stay for the entire conference, call the retreat centre at the link above for accommodations or see the list of motels in the area at the above link.  The convention has great testimonies and teaching sessions and lots of time for fellowship with a really wonderful group of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christian ministries.

The issue of the Trinity and how the eternal subordination of the Son has crept into the church since the 1970’s will be a hot topic at the convention and if you are also interested in this issue, please feel free to come by and introduce yourself to us.  We will be hosting a book table at the conference and will make ourselves available for discussion and questions before and after the sessions.