Saturday, July 15, 2017

May Women Vote In Church Decisions? IX

In previous postings we have shown how female members of the church may vote when a congregational vote is taken and showed that this was permitted and not what is prohibited in those passages that forbid a woman to speak in the assembly and that command her to be in silence. In this posting we will finish giving scripture that supports a women speaking in the church in ways that do not violate I Cor. 14:33-34 and I Tim. 2:11-12. These scriptures define what a woman may "say" in church without violating the scriptures that command her to be silent. As we have seen, the command for her to be silent is the rule. But, like most rules, certain exceptions are allowed. What we have been giving thus far are what might be called the exceptions to the rule. In this posting we will offer more exceptions.

Women making confession or testifying

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 10:32)

The Greek word for "confess" is homologeō, which literally means to "say the same thing," in other words, to agree. God says I am a sinner, and I agree and confess or say "I am a sinner." Strong says the word means "to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, assent." It is a compound word, with "homo" meaning the same, and "logeo" from "lego" meaning "to speak." Are women forbidden to confess in the assembly? Absolutely not. Further, confessing is not preaching or teaching, and does not involve a woman "usurping authority over the man."

Women saying "hallelujah" 
(blessing and praising)

"Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." (Acts 2:47)

Are women forbidden to say "hallelujah" or "praise the Lord" in the assembly? If the silence commanded in the NT is absolute, without exceptions, then we must say yes. But, surely no one can take such an extreme position, especially considering what the scriptures say about such praising of God when the saints of God are assembled together for praise and worship.

In the Hebrew language there are seven words that are translated by our one English word ‘praise.’ A study of those words will show clearly that it is allowable and even desirable that women audibly praise God in the assembly of saints.

According to James 3:10 praise comes out of the mouth. Jesus said "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise" (Matt. 21:16) Wrote David - "I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth." (Psa. 34:1) The word "bless," like the word "confess," involves speaking. In the NT the word "bless" is from the Greek word "eulogeō" and means "to speak well of, i.e. (religiously) to bless (thank or invoke a benediction upon)" according to Strong. We get our word "eulogy" from this Greek word. Are sisters forbidden to bless God in the congregation? Absolutely not.

As stated, praising God, blessing God, involves speech, the mouth. In the Psalms we read - "my lips shall praise thee" (Psa. 63:3).

Women saying "amen"

Over and over again in Deuteronomy 27, when the whole congregation stood before the Lord and entered into covenant with him, the people said "amen." There it is recorded - "And all the people shall answer and say, Amen." (Deut. 27:15-26) Notice it was "all the people," including the women. We have the same thing in Nehemiah 5:13. "And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise." And again in Neh. 8:6 - "And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground." Notice these words from Psalm 106.48 - "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD." Further, there is no change in the NT. Paul speaks of all, male and female, who "say Amen at thy giving of thanks" (I Cor. 14:16). Thus the command for women to remain "silent" in church is not to be taken as absolutely forbidding any and all vocal speech.

Women singing

"Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;" (Eph. 5: 19 kjv)

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Col. 3:16 kjv)

These words are not addressed to male members of the church alone, but to all the members. Women are commanded to sing and singing is not being silent. In the above passages, such singing and making melody is a form of "speaking" and "teaching," but only the most strict and absolutist interpretation of a woman's "silence" forbids her to sing.

Women prophesying

There is no need to cite scripture now on the prophesying of women in the assembly. We have already given those passages. Women may do this. Of course, we do not, at this time, have anyone, male or female, who have the gift of prophecy. However, that does not mean we should not pray for it and seek it, for the apostle commands us to do so. The Lord very well may once again give such gifts to the church.

In conclusion we say that we have proven that women may speak in the assembly but not so as to preach or teach a mixed assembly when adult men are present.

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