Dear All,

 

'Tis a beauteous spring day here in Colorado. "The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land…."   So 2:12 

 

It was personally a very great joy to hear that male voting is not the sine qua non of the RCUS.  It is then agreed that those classes that have voted not to allow churches that have women voting to enter the RCUS should reverse their standing rules in order to admit such, if they subscribe to the TFU and our constitution.  The home mission manual should be brought into line with the constitution of the RCUS and not forbid RCUS membership to churches that have women voting.

 

It has never been sine qua non with me.   I have always believed this is a matter of liberty for the churches, and I have said so over and over again.  I don’t want anyone to sit at the back of the bus.  This is not an issue like abortion, six day creation, etc., which are expositions and clarifications of our creeds and constitutions and morals.  The position papers on women voting are against the constitution and the book of Acts, I think. 

 

It is also true that there are differences in the local constitutions of our churches.  Some of our churches have a good bit of congregationalism in their local government, and those churches may not want to allow women voting, but there should be more flexibility with those churches that have a minimum of congregationalism.  But let us not use congregationalism [a defense against denominational tyranny] as a reason to tyrannize our women.

 

I now fully understand 1 Corinthians 11.  If a hat can make it ok for a woman to prophesy in church, then it should be ok for her to vote if she has the proper head covering. If we can trust her not to cancel out the prophesying of her husband and minister, then she could probably be trusted with voting. It is the hair after all. If she votes without a head covering, let her be shorn.  But her vote should still count, for Paul said it was a shame if she prophesied without a covering; he didn’t say she was a liar.  He doesn’t question the validity of her prayers and prophesying, only the propriety of doing it without being covered.  I do not know of any women who pray or prophesy in our churches—they certainly do not in Colorado Springs—but if they did we would make sure they were covered up.

 

Glad that’s cleared up.

 

"Fulminating"  Webster:  "hurling denunciations or menaces; explosive; coming on suddenly with great severity."  I don’t think we should fulminate and I vow not do it. 

 

My papers exemplify great restraint, clarity of reason, kindness, and gentleness.    Maybe some mild denotations were heard, but only those who were hiding in the bunkers should be irritated.

 

"Barack" quoth Hilary, "Womyn are more oppressed than Blacks.  But you can be my Vice-President, if you don’t get uppity."

 

God bless us everyone.   But leaving behind the voice of the turtle, let us move on.  All levity aside, there is some serious stuff below the line.

--------------------------------

 

Below is the Third Part of People of the Promise.

 

This is Part 3 of the examination of the Position Papers.  For those who missed Parts 1 and 2 you may find them at

 

http://basketoffigs.org/totalindex.htm

 

In this paper we conclude our examination of the first chapters of the Acts of the Holy Spirit in the founding and structure of the church.

 

Acts 8.   The next major event which may be relevant to our purpose of showing the nature of the church is the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch.  We don’t even know his name.  I used to wonder why God had included this story in Luke’s account.  I didn’t wonder after I begin to see the scope of Luke’s book.  The Ethiopian church was founded by a eunuch, who was baptized by Philip.  Why on earth would God send His Spirit to cause a eunuch to read the Bible, and then sent a deacon to tell him what it meant?  He then allowed that deacon to baptize that eunuch, and then send him on his way to start a church.  How could he start a church? 

 

Obviously, he was the male head of nothing.  He would never have a family.  Was God stating something emphatic, something that the prophet had already said?  Absolutely!  Isaiah 56:1-7:  when the Lord Jesus establishes the true temple, eunuchs and strangers will know the peace of God and have their offerings accepted just like everyone else.  God cares nothing for the seed of the sinful flesh, so there was no second-class status for a eunuch—not in the church of Jesus Christ.

 

"Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people." (Isa 56:1-7)  

 

Jesus referred to this passage when He cleansed the temple.  Paul himself repudiated the seed of the flesh [patriarchy] in the most emphatic terms:

 

"Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.   But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." (Php 3:4-11)

 

All that mattered to Paul was Christ--not the whole system of Moses with its patriarchy, its righteousness, his trust in the flesh [natural seed]--in order that he might know the power of Christ’s resurrection, the work of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus said also: 

 

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." (Lu 14:26)

 

The visible church is like a net cast into the sea, that catches all kinds of stuff.  In this visible body are believers and their children, professors after the flesh and their children, widows, orphans, eunuchs, and sinners of all types.  Faithful church discipline will weed out some of the obvious criminals against the faith, but the angels will sort it out at the last day, Jesus said, but only those who are elect of God will be saved.  The Lord knows those who are his, but those who profess the name of the Lord are called to depart from iniquity.  The election is unto "sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth," as Paul put it [2Tim. 2:13], and not because of their genetic material.  Even a Eunuch or a stranger from Israel who hears the gospel and believes can be immensely fruitful in the building of the church. 

 

How could a eunuch go start a church when he couldn’t do Reformed evangelism?  [For some of you lurkers, this is an inside joke.  Having large families is "Reformed evangelism" to some.] But this eunuch did [start a church].  The seed of the kingdom is the word of God, so the eunuch does not need to worry about his physical sterility.  Better to be sterile in the flesh than to be sterile in the Spirit. 

 

The Ethiopian church was founded by this Eunuch, according to tradition.  If this event were not highly significant it would not be included in the inspired account.  God doesn’t use empty words.  This Eunuch could never have been a priest in Israel, but he could be a prophet, priest, and king in the church of Jesus Christ, just like the women who partake of the anointing of Christ [HC 32].

 

The calling and conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch was an emphatic reminder in those early days of the church of the nature of the eternal election of God.  It had nothing to do with man’s seed.  Abraham was not called of God because he had superior genes.  The unspoken [usually unspoken: The Romans, the Nazis, Japanese, modern Islamo-fascism, Mussolini, affirmed their racial superiority openly] presupposition of all tribal domination theories is that our genes are better than your genes.  The calling of the Eunuch and the Council of Jerusalem settled this issue forever, although the flesh doesn’t agree and will never agree.  [Forgive the blunt language, but I wish to be clearly understood]

 

It is true athat men must be men and women must be women.  It is biblical to teach our children to act according to their nature.  A healthy male is glad in his maleness, and a healthy woman is glad in her womanliness.  [If we understand anything about 1Cor. 11, it teaches us that it is shameful to blur the distinction of the sexes, but we must not so distinguish them that one sex is placed at a distant more remote from God than the other.  This passage is talking about a different definition of headship than representation or even authority.  It is speaking of honor and shame; not authority and disobedience.  A woman’s true authority and glory is in her husband, just as the church’s true honor and authority is in Christ.  This passage is not saying that her husband is her representative and mediator between her and Christ.]   But the things of male and female are of nature, of the flesh, which cannot commend us to God.

 

[Even Calvin, who was wrong on this passage--dare I even write such?--was embarrassed at the implication that, if headship in the passage included representation and authority, then the woman was put at a distance from Christ.  See commentaries, in loc.]

 

Paul said that this was the issue of circumcision in the early church: "For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh." (Ga 6:13)  The real issue at Jerusalem was tribalism, a desire to maintain the superiority of Abraham’s genes.  Jesus had said it:  "The flesh profits nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life."

 

The Kingdom would come, not from man’s genes, but from the preaching of the Gospel.  God would maintain the creation order, and His appointed officers for prophecy, after the original gifts ceased, would be men; but their power would be of the spirit and not of the flesh.

 

The entire story of Jacob and Esau also clearly sets forth this picture, as we read in Romans 9.

 

"And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac: 

 

"(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)  It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.   For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.  For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth."

 

Again in Peter:  "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." (1Pe 1:22-25)

 

The life which comes from man’s genes is corrupt and passes away; that which comes from the word of God abides forever.  Underneath all of the assumptions of those who despise “easy believism” is the assumption that faith is feminized if it is not fortified by masculine strength, and the faith of women is at best minimized, or at most despised.

 

The church at Philippi was originated in a prayer meeting of women by the riverside.  Didn’t they know it was shameful for women to speak in public?    What possible good could come from a bunch of women praying outside?  There were not even enough Jewish men in Philippi to have a synagogue.  What future for the church and the patriarchy could there be at Philippi?  What folly on the part of the apostle to consort with women having an independent prayer meeting!  [If you allow that, someday they will vote to build a new building to the financial ruin of the men of the church.] Lydia and her household [was she a covenant head?] were baptized.  [If you are a Baptist, you will insist that only those who made personal decisions could be baptized, but by what authority would all of us Reformed types allow that infants and servants in the Lydia’s household be baptized?  There is no man in sight in the whole history of these events. Except Paul and his companions.  But I don’t expect they fathered any physical children at Philippi.] 

 

Lydia was a wealthy seller of purple.    Must we assume that only small children were involved in this baptism, or might we also assume that a wealthy woman might have both female and male servants?   This event in Philippi serves as a counter point to the conversion of Cornelius.  God cleanses the woman so that she may participate fully in the life of the church without the curse of Eve’s sin hanging over her.  Christ is sufficient for her sins too.  Lydia’s baptism indicated that she, too, was a partaker of the Holy Spirit.  [It is at least as sensible to think there were men and small children in Lydia’s household as it is to think that only married men gathered at Sinai.]

 

The Holy Spirit did pretty much as He pleased. [Acts 2:39]  The work of the Spirit is as the wind, according to Jesus in John 3, and does according to His own will.  This is a new administration or covenant.  Because there is a new mediator all of the old order is passing away, to make way for the Head who is in heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the whole church, to each individual without anyone in between.  [Heb. 7:12]

 

It also shows that those under authority do not lose their authority by being under authority.  I did not cease to be a Christian directly responsible to Christ when I joined the church. The idea that a woman has no responsibility [authority] that is not granted by her father, her brother, her husband, her uncle, her grandfather, her second-cousin once or twice removed, or any other male in sight comes from somewhere other than the Bible.  Brothers and Sisters, it just isn’t so.  If she is a believer she has the same anointing as anyone else, as the HC clearly states.  Does she have public office and authority? No, for the offices of elder, deacon, minister are clearly restricted to men, but the special authority that is given to men is not even given to all men, and certainly does not strip woman of the authority that is clearly hers in Jesus Christ by His anointing.  [HC 32]

 

[Aside]  The sacred account [Acts 16:15] also states that Lydia "constrained" the apostle and his companions to stay in her house.  Wasn’t this unseemly for a woman, who should be meek and shamefaced and defer to the man, especially to the apostle Paul?  Why didn’t the wise apostle immediately put her in her place?  She should have had a meek and quiet spirit; only men are allowed to be proud and boisterous.  Shouldn’t Paul have rebuked her? Maybe in this she was a true sister of Sarah, who not only called Abraham "Lord" but "thundered" at him on a famous occasion.  See Part One.  [Forgive my irony; I do not wish to offend; just make the point. It is true that no Christian virtue is enjoined upon the woman that is not also enjoined upon the man.  There are no Ten Commandments for Women and no sins of the flesh or fruit of the Spirit that are for women.   Come to think of it, that might make a best seller on Oprah.  "Women’s Fleshy Sins!"  It should have a black and red cover and be packaged with a new touchy-feely eclectic version of the New Testament.]

 

This is not to say that there are no differences between men and women, for there are differences in nature and these differences are seen very, very early in life.  But the true strength of every Christian man and every Christian woman is the life of the Spirit and both are to be "strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend…." [Eph 3:16ff] Or does Paul mean that only men have an inner man, and the woman doesn’t need to bother?  I don’t think so, and neither does Peter, who says that a woman’s true adornment is in the hidden man. 1Peter 3:3,4]

 

The true strength of any Christian resides in the soul by the Word and Spirit of Christ.  This is true of both men and women.

 

The fact that Christ ascended to the right hand of God and sent forth the Holy Spirit and gave gifts to his holy Bride, the church, does not mean that the Church does not have real authority under Christ. She will judge angels.  She is expected even to judge the words of the apostles [Galatians 1: "I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say." (1Co 10:15 ), "I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:" (Re 2:2)]  No man, or woman, is expected to be a blind leader of the blind, or a blind follower of anyone.  Even Jesus addressed His words to those who had eyes to see.

 

As I said in my post concerning 1Cor. 11:  "The woman of Proverbs 31 is a marvelous glory to her husband and she exercises a great deal of power and authority over her household, her business, her family and is a key part of her husband’s success, for she provides for the household so that he can judge in the city gates. His heart safely trusts in her.  He doesn’t have to watch her every move and surround her with restrictions.  She moves freely and powerfully in the world and he safely trusts in her, for she will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."  [It takes a certain moxie to quote yourself.] 

 

This woman has real authority because she under authority, the authority of her husband. It does not mean she is impotent. She is not a slave or a child. This woman’s horizons are "afar" [Prov. 31:14] and she moves with assurance, power, and authority—not because she is free from authority, but because of the security of her authority.  Her husband safely trusts in her.

 

Whatever Paul is saying to women in I Cor. 11, it is to women when they are prophesying or praying in the church.  That was a temporary activity and is not permitted today.  Why should we care how a woman was to do something that is now forbidden to her to do?  It certainly doesn’t give instructions on how she is to vote or not vote, but simply how she is to pray and prophesy in the church.  But she can’t do that now that the special gifts have ceased.  Hence, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to find out what she is to do and how she is to do it, when it is forbidden for her to do it.    Turretin had it right:  "Certain ordinances of the apostles (which referred to the rites and circumstances of divine worship) were variable and instituted only for a time (as the sanction concerning the not eating of blood and of things strangled [Acts 15:20]; concerning the woman’s head being covered and the man’s being uncovered when they prophesy [1Cor. 11:4,5]) because there was a special cause and reason for them and (this ceasing) the institution itself ought to cease also…." Turretin, II, p. 95

 

It is certainly very shaky exegesis to base stripping women of the franchise over an obsolete custom that relates to what a women is not permitted to do in the church after the first century.  At least it seems so to me.

 

Therefore, the history of Acts does not seem to indicate that the Holy Spirit was operating on male-covenant headship idea, but upon a broader set of pre-suppositions, and that in the church [general office] no distinction is made between male and female, bond or free, neither Jew nor Greek [Bud Powell didn’t say that: Gal. 3:28 and Col 3:11], but that in special offices the prophetic functions are restricted to the males, and only to some of them.  Not just women must keep quiet in church; most of the men must keep quiet also.

 

In fact, when the Lord is in His holy Temple [Hab. 2:20], all the world is to keep silent before Him—only the content of His word is to be found in the preaching, the singing, the prayers.  He alone speaks in His church and then only by those appointed after the divine order.  The preaching and the pastoral prayers are by ordained men set apart to that function [Acts 6:4] We do permit women to teach and admonish in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in their hearts to the Lord right along with the men.  [Dangerous, of course.  A woman might sing too loud and cancel the song of her husband!  Heaven forbid, she might sing off key. Forgive me this, also.  But then, maybe singing itself should be canceled. Some think it kind of sissy—unmanly to show emotion.].

 

As I said, the history of Acts does seem to indicate that the Holy Spirit worked upon a much broader set of pre-suppositions than those of the days of Moses.  It will be the work of the Holy Spirit, the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, doing His own will in the life and work of the Church, gathering to Himself His glorious body by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The new wine of the Gospel would not be poured into the old bottles of Moses and Aaron but there would be a making way for a glorious expansion of the Gospel to the whole world.

 

This is the very meaning of baptism as over against circumcision, and baptism is much broader. By her baptism a woman enters into the life of the New Covenant in her own right, not because of her connection to a male relative. Baptism is a fulfilling of the promise of circumcision, that the Lord Jesus would come.  The Messiah would not be born of the seed of the flesh, but of the Holy Ghost, so that man might not glory: he would be born of the woman: the Last Adam, the true male Head of the church, who would send His Holy Spirit so that there would gathered to Him out of every tribe and nation a people who are born of that Spirit, as Peter tells us:  Peter 1:

 

"And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." (1Pe 1:17-25)

 

Faith, hope, charity:  the work of the incorruptible seed!

 

In the light of the present, continuing power of God acting in the soul and life of every believer ["For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Php 2:13)], all the evils offered for reasons to have male-only voting pass away.  In every communion service we are reminded of the truth of Question 76 of the catechism: the meaning of the Lord’s Supper is in part "to be so united more and more to His sacred body by the Holy Spirit, who dwells both in Christ and in us, that, although He is in heaven and we are on earth, we are nevertheless flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone, and live and are governed forever by one Spirit, as members of the same body are by one soul."  Are women believers not also in that sacred fellowship and governed by Him?  Are they fools and poltroons who will snap at every opportunity, when male guard is let down, to usurp authority, take over the church, and vote the minister’s wife a new parsonage?  Are they going to conspire to elect rapists and thugs to the eldership?

 

Of course man was created first and then the woman.  The woman was created as the glory of the man, and man was created the glory of God.  Does this mean that the woman is not also the glory of God.   Is the church feminized by being called the bride of Christ? Or is this not a most glorious and magnificent honor?  The Bride of Christ has real, although derived, authority.  So does the wife of every Christian man.

 

More important, perhaps, is not the order in which man and woman were created, but the reason the woman was created.  She was created because it was not good for man to be alone.  Just as Christ is not complete until His church is complete [See Calvin on Ephesians 1:20-23], so man is not complete without the woman.  He should not be alone in his calling, in his pleasures, in his church, including the congregational meeting.  He should not be alone in his eldership, for the ordinary thing is for elders and deacons to be married, for all kinds of important reasons.  For the same reason, ordinarily ministers should be married, for it is not good for man to be alone in his ministry.

 

There is no question that the idea of representation is a biblical pattern.  The parents and their children are gathered into the church, with fatherly authority and responsibility intact, but as a ministry of the Spirit, not of the flesh.  But again, his headship should not be made absolute.  Only the First Adam and the Last Adam were absolute representatives, including all their seed in themselves:  Adam a fleshly seed, Christ a spiritual one.  Even Abraham was not an absolute representative, for many of his children were unbelievers and apostate and are in hell today.  The only covenant head whose virtues descend upon all his seed is Jesus Christ, and his seed is totally spiritual, not of the flesh.

 

My father was an unbeliever, as far as can be known, so his seed should be condemned to the third or fourth generation [some would say].  Did I escape that condemnation when I came to Christ?  If I am a believer, then I escape the curse of my father’s unbelief.  But I am only the second generation. What about my sons and grandsons?  Do they escape because of my faith?  I baptized them in the understanding that the children of the Promise are those who are born of the Spirit, and this is the only way to escape the curse of Adam’s sin, let alone the sins of their fathers.  Does my righteousness extend to a thousand generations?  Are my children, grandchildren, etc., now the elect of God because I am a believer?  Or did my great grandfather’s robust faith represent me and cause me to be elect, skipping my grandfather and father?  On the other hand, he was a Methodist, so that probably doesn’t count, but might bring a curse upon me his great-grandson.  The principle of representation can be a very tricky thing, especially if it is absolutized.

 

Will I blow the blessing to my sons by messing up and advocating women voting or something else that is currently the bugboo of a Reformed denomination?  What if I sing a Fanny Crosby hymn in church or speak graciously to some poor common sinner?  Or maybe I will not speak forcefully enough against snappy music in church?  Will my representative office curse all my seed if I fail in some duty of faith?  Does this not out-Israel Israel?

 

Not even all the children of Isaac who was the poster child of the Promise were blessed for his faith, for Esau was hated and Jacob was loved.  Nothing Isaac could have done would have made Esau elect and Jacob reprobate.  How does Isaac’s representation affect Esau? 

 

Not all the natural seed of the ungodly are reprobate, for the election is not determined by the flesh, but by the Spirit.  The election fell upon Ruth, Tamar, and Rahab, who demonstrate the nature of the eternal election.  They are also in the line of Christ, showing that there is more to Christ than patriarchy. 

 

It is silly and sophistry to raise questions about the number and weight of the vote, which indicates the weakness of the argument.  “If the women vote, married couples will have two votes—more than a single person. So what?  If they don’t vote, single women and widows have no vote at all, so men have one more vote than women.  How do elders represent the widows and single ladies?  How are their votes cast?  If there are ten widows and three elders, does each elder get 3 1/3 votes or does one get 4?  How do they represent widows?  By seeing them once or twice a year?  How do the elders keep their own marriages intact if they are spending all that time with the widows and the single ladies?  If I had a single daughter I would not want the elders hanging around her all the time, pretending to represent her in the church.  "Trouble, Trouble, Toil and Trouble" as MacBeth’s witches put it.

 

Why aren’t marriage vows a violation of the authority of the father?  What if she says, "I don’t" after he has given her away?  Why are not membership vows, spoken by the woman, a violation of the authority of her husband?  Why are not baptismal vows a violation of the same thing?  Dare we give the woman the right to cancel out the vote of her husband in the baptism of her baby?  What on earth are we thinking?

 

Did Christ mean that the church should become the exercise of power politics, vote counting, and the franchise become the means of silencing an evil seed [Women] in our congregation lest they take over and run the church?  Godly women don’t want women elders any more than godly men do.  Men voted these things into the church, not the women.  Even the husband/wife relationship is not to be made absolute, for the wives are also sisters of their husbands. [1Cor. 9:5]

 

But this is just human reason, you say.  But don’t we use human reason when we exclude the 17 year old male, or the 19 year old male?  Where is the biblical authority for that? But he should be married, you say? Then he receives his authority from the woman?  Why does the 55 year old bachelor vote?  Is it testicles, after all?  Then the man with one, should only get one-half vote; the eunuch none at all.  Anything with so much absurdity involved cannot possibly right.

 

It is the Christian mind that should vote.  The sex organs ought not to vote.  But the government should be Presbyterian and not congregational, for there is a great difference.  No principle should be made absolute, even the one about testicles not voting.  The formal worship service is not a place of voting but a place of prayer and prophecy.  In the church at worship, the women must be silent because of the creation order.  [Except for singing which is clearly permitted and confession and scriptural responses]. 

 

The authority in the congregation, to the extent it exists, does not extend to formal prayers and worship; but it must be exercised by every member—with the restrictions of reason that would forbid the 10 year old.   Upon what grounds? both nature and the Spirit.  Nature keeps out the 10 year old through reason; the Spirit includes the women through grace, regeneration, and revelation.

 

But this must be determined by every congregation.  The principle that no woman must ever exercise authority over any man is unbiblical.  It makes absolute a good principle that applies to prayer and prophesying in the church.  Can she teach a class where men are present?  Of course, unless it is authoritative teaching and men are forced to come.  A woman could teach a class on the history of art, or military science or effective communication, if she knows her subject grounded upon Christian principles.  Truth is truth and cannot be defiled by the instrument.  Very often women give presentations in Christian schools to Christian teachers of both sexes.  It is not authoritative teaching, but very often quite good unless the woman is a dumb cluck; but there are dumb cluck men, also.  Giving them authority doesn’t make them wise. 

 

A wise woman of Tekoah even instructed King David on one occasion. [2Sam. 14] The college I attended had a couple of great literature teachers who were women, and they were of immense profit to me, both personally and professionally.  I had a male teacher in educational psychology who was a complete dolt and wasted my money.

 

We should not allow the godless world to dictate our polity, ether by feminism on the one hand or tribalism on the other.

 

Every argument raised against women voting can be made against universal male voting.  The Congregationalist of New England recognized this and tried to restrict voting to the regenerate.  Otherwise the carnal, or "hypocrites" as they said, would cancel out the vote of the godly.  Rebellious men might cancel out the votes of the elders and ministers.  Therefore we must determine what true Christians are.  Much was written trying to determine those “religious affections” which mark the regenerate, the only ones who should vote.  The remnant got smaller and smaller.

 

How will we know what women think if we inure them to silence and not even attendance at the congregational meetings?   The men are alone and the women are alone, contrary to the creation mandate.   "Of course, it doesn’t matter what I think," they say.  They have gotten the message.  If the Holy Spirit does not dwell within us, nothing that any of us thinks will matter.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh.

 

"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Eph 3:14-21 av)

 

"Comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height…."

 

If you are not weary yet, I will perhaps attempt exegesis of some of the “keep silence” passages in the Scripture, for their misapplication is the major fortress of the male-only voting sentiment.   But it may be some time, or maybe not at all.  I have done some of this in the article on "Intemperate Applications."  I have other things to do, and Wayne will be asking for my article on Paul Rabaut.   

 

Barrak:  "But I didn’t know what that crazy preacher was saying for those twenty years."

 

All of my articles may be found at

http://basketoffigs.org/totalindex.htm

 

You may find some rants that I decided not to put on the forum.  Read with care.

 

C. W. Powell, Colorado Springs

http://basketoffigs.org

http://www.basketoffigs.blogspot.com

http://www.trinityrcus.com