August 1, 1997 Issue
by Don L. King

Over the last number of years a situation has developed which is likely as dangerous as any device Satan has invented. He has been pretty much unsuccessful in drawing away followers of Christ by denominationalism or even digression in its raw and obvious forms. Brethren are simply afraid to accept that which is easily seen to be wrong. Many have conscientiously avoided the obvious forms of worldliness and open sin being unwilling to place their souls in danger of Hell. Satan has however, been pretty successful in enticing us to fill our lives with so many things (many of them harmless in and of themselves) that many have lost the desire for a thorough Biblical knowledge. Some are content to go through life with very little actual Bible knowledge choosing rather to learn other things. Even our preaching too often fails to deal with the materials we once thought we simply couldn’t do without: that fundamental and Bible doctrine of the Church of Christ. As a result, we are faced with a real problem in some places. Many church members are woefully lacking in Bible knowledge.

Some sisters in a few places have difficulty realizing the danger of the teaching the Bible or Bible related topics, in public places that are still not the usual public assembly of the Church. They reason that if it is not the Church assembly on Lord’s Day, etc. they are free to do as they please. Is this the case? No, indeed.

"Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach nor usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." (I Timothy 2:11,12). Most of us would understand this to refer to the public assemblies of the church and it certainly does, but does it stop there? The general context of the chapter indicates the retiring and submissive role of Christian women. The word teach in Timothy 1:11,12 is translated from the Greek didasko which, according to Thayer, means: "absol. a. to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them, deliver didactic discourses: I Tim 2:12." Others define it "to teach or speak in a public assembly," etc. This would forbid a woman from teaching in any public situation be it radio, television, newspaper, church bulletin or paper, crowd on the street corner, the church or any circumstances where the public is either involved or gathered together. Acts 18:26 harmonizes with that. When Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos it was in a private and informal capacity. The record plainly says "...they took him unto them..." She didn’t organize a study and gather a lot of people together or write an article about it for some journal to be published throughout the land. No, she and her husband simply took this man "unto them" and taught him the way of the Lord more perfectly.

It has not been God’s design for Christian women to take the leading role in anything outside of the home. It would have been unthinkable in New Testament times for such to occur. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians he said, "Let your woman keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, (notice Paul is not concerned with their teaching, but with their learning, and that in silence) let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." (I Corinthians 1:34, 35). When any event is in progress where the public comes together as a result of a planned, announced and executed invitation and the Bible is taught, (or Bible related subjects) I am opposed to women being involved in speaking and/or asking questions.

I suppose in most cases the problem is simply the result of folks wanting to accomplish good. They seek opportunity to teach the Bible. That’s all fine but we need to realize that the teaching of the Word of God is one of the express purposes of the public assembly which is regulated by I Corinthians 14. It is my understanding the assembly is for the following reasons at least: 1. To teach the word of God, Acts 22:26. 2. To consider spiritual things, Acts 15:6 (the context indicates the brethren were also present). 3. To convince unbelievers, I Corinthians 14:24, 25. 4. To feed milk to babes in Christ (I Corinthians 14:24,25) and edify all so that the strong may get the meat they need, (I Corinthians 14:3 1). 5. To build up the church and teach so that edification or a learning process may occur, (I Corinthians 14:69-26). All this transpires as we worship God in accordance with the regulations set forth by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians chapter 14, in the public assembly.

Many years ago, someone decided that because the home was not doing the job God intended it to do in the teaching of His word they would devise another institution (unauthorized) to teach the children. The Sunday School was born and it was scripturally opposed by godly brethren who insisted it only supplanted the church and the home in its role. It is always a mistake, and sin, to devise a place and way to do God’s work which He has not authorized in His Word.

We are not opposed to women teaching where God allows. In a private and informal setting women may be (and need to be) scripturally involved in teaching according to Titus 2:3,4. However, the practice of arranging some kind of place and time in order for women to teach, whether by a private individual or the church, is a practice foreign to the Scriptures.

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