One of the most serious problems of Christians (and we are all guilty of this) is selective literalism. We choose which passages we want to apply literally; we shout those and we ignore all the others that we don’t like.

In Acts 16, we have the story of the beginning of the church in Philippi. Paul had been directed there by a vision of God. He usually began his evangelizing in the synagogue where he could reach the Jews. But there was no synagogue in Philippi. (To have a synagogue you had to have 10 Jewish men--women and children did not count.)

He found a group of women praying—apparently no men. So he began telling them about Jesus, and one woman, Lydia, opened her heart to God and so did other members of her household. She was a wealthy woman with a large house, and she invited Paul and his companions to stay at her home. He accepted, and her home apparently became the first "house church" in Europe. She was no doubt the "leader" of this young church. So far as the account goes, there were no men in the beginning

Now the irony of this is of course is our "enlightened Bros. here and a some sisters, probably would not dream of starting a church with a bunch of women! They would say, "You have to have some men to start a church." Apparently Paul did not think so.

In the 4th chapter of Philippians, he names two women of the church as his co-workers who "struggled beside me in the work of the gospel." Does this sound as though he told them always to be silent in church? Or that they must not proclaim or teach the gospel to men as well as women? If Paul really believed that as a universal principle, he surely would have included it in his letter to this church—that had been begun with women!

So if Paul was not sexist in his activities, and I think it is obvious from all accounts that he was not, why did he write those few references that make him sound like a male chauvinist?


I Corinthians was clearly a letter written by Paul to a church that had a lot of troubles: a) divided loyalties—some said they followed Paul, some Peter, some Apollos, some Christ; b) sexual immorality among members; c) people taking each other to court d) eating meat offered to idols; e) order in worship services, and others. We have a lot of the same problems.

It is in this same letter that the phrase "women should be silent in the church" appears. There are many possible explanations of that. But it is sufficient for me to know that Paul could not possible have meant that literally since he had just explained how women could and should pray and prophesy in public gatherings.

In the same 14th chapter Paul explains how important the gift of prophecy is in evangelism and in teaching. We need to read all of this recognizing that Paul is speaking to a first century situation in a particular town.

Someone question me, when I stated that the issue was authority, God does have a divine order, man is the head, and if in this time man sees fit to put a woman over a congregation as Paul saw fit to use women, there is no usurping of authority.

Titles mean nothing, in reference to ones salvation, however God said that these offices are given of him. Ones should be very careful of how they speak in reference to others calling, YOU ARE NOT GOD, and in your finite wisdom, you may may speak against what GOD is working in another.

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