Suffering is the price of reconciliation

Been super busy this Thanksgiving season and will likely also be in the Christmas, so probably won’t be able to post much still.

2 Corinthians discusses about how Christ commits us to the ministry of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one [f]according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ [g]according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, [h]he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and [i]He has [j]committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

What 2 Cor 5 doesn’t tell us, but what we know from the gospels is that the cost of such reconciliation was Christ sacrificing Himself for us on the cross. Hence, suffering (and death) is the cost of reconciliation. The ministry of reconciliation that we have is to spread the gospel so that others may come to know the Father.

I think that we, as humans, are too apt to give up on relationships with friends, family, and other loved ones when the going gets rough or there is conflict. In our passive or passive-aggressive minds, we like to avoid all this so-called unnecessary down-and-dirty conflict with others and push it off to the side, allowing the feelings and relations to peter out. However, reconciliation requires two to come together through differences and the suffering that is present to ensure that there is unity in the end.

This is something to keep in mind as our country fractures, divorce is still prevalent, and often people decide that relationships aren’t worth it. People are worth it: who is our neighbor? Fighting and suffering for the relationship is what Christ has done for us.

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Nationalists with a global agenda

Christians are nationalists, with a global agenda.

Nationalists:

John 15:31 Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus *said, “Now [d]is the Son of Man glorified, and God [e]is glorified in Him; 32 [f]if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately. 33 Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Global agenda:

Matthew 28:16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 [e]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [f]always, even to the end of the age.”

It’s easy to forget that what drives the global agenda is our nationalistic fervor for Christ and one another. This is the importance of understanding the commands of Jesus.

It is the Truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ that provides Unity which ultimate results in a diverse background of believers. Without the Unity of Jesus, there can be no diversity without conflict.

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Kindness versus niceness

One of the things that I have struggled with and many men I know struggle with is the difference between kindness and niceness. These two things are not the same thing, and getting them confused often leads men down an unrighteous and undesirable path. Kindness, of course, is a fruit of the Spirit, whereas niceness is concerned meeting a need while placating feelings.

The reason why niceness eventually leads to evil is that it utilizes both truth and lies. For example,  it is certainly nice to help out a homeless victim with food. On the other hand, it is also nice to say that “you’re not fat” when a woman asks you “do I look fat?” Helping the homeless person meets a need and also placates both of your feelings in a good way, but meeting the need with a lie also placates feelings but is inherently evil.

On the other hand, kindness is a fruit of the Spirit. In the Spirit there is only Truth. In reality, kindness is advocating the Truth with a touch of grace. Let’s look at a few examples.

Romans 2:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.

  • What is the Truth? — That we all sin and fall short of the glory of God.
  • What is the grace? — That God sent His son, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Therefore, we can say that kindness is advocating the Truth with a touch of grace.

1 Peter 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with [c]someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

  • What is the Truth? — women/wives are the weaker vessel.
  • What is the grace? — living with her in an understanding way, and showing her honor as a fellow heir in Christ (with a penalty for disobedience: so that prayers may not be hindered).

If a woman/wife asks if something makes her look fat and she is then…

  • the Nice answer is no, but that is a lie.
  • the Truthful answer is yes, but it is generally not graceful.
  • a Kind answer may be to decline to answer or a sarcastic answer, as a Truthful answer may not be palatable to the ears.
  • edit: a Kind answer may be something like: “Honey, you know I love you, but you have gained some weight. How can we work together one that?”

edit: Donal has some valid critique here. In general, what I was trying to get is that women are fairly good at reading between the lines, and do not necessarily have to be told overtly about something to understand. However, that can be confusing, so I added in a better example with my edit to be ‘more Truthful’ so to speak.

Men who are fathered and/or mentored to be men act and speak with a strong intent. This is normal. What is for men is often not what is for women.

Women, however, tend to need more flavoring with their food. Food is Truth. Is the essence and meat of the subject. However, Truth (or meat) by itself tends to be very unpalatable to women. Thus, they need flavoring with food to make it more palatable. This is where grace comes in.

Kindness is Truth with the flavor of grace. It is in this way that God treats us to bring us to repentance, and it is also in this way husbands are to treat their wives.

Learning how to be kind — how to speak the Truth with grace — is difficult and requires much practice and knowledge of Truth and how to speak and act gracefully, especially in conflict.

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The cult of diversity

Going back to the earlier post on miscegenation and sanctification and Nova’s excellent post here, it bears repeating that diversity is one of the moral tenets of liberalism and progressivism. This is why you see much backlash in the election, calling those who voted for Trump “racists,” “sexists,” “homophobes,” “xenophobes,” and so on.

Indeed, most Christians seem to believe that “diversity” is an inherently good. However, after critical analysis this can be proved false.

The spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ results in a group of believers, called Christians, who are diverse. In other words, it is the gospel that is Truth. Diversity is simply an effect of the acceptance of a Truth.

When diversity is installed as a moral truth instead of the gospel, you create and prop up an idol on a pedestal. This is the deception of the progressives and liberals. They attempt to co-opt the result (e.g. diversity) of a moral Truth (e.g. the gospel of Jesus Christ) and install it as a their own truth, without the backing of any sort of absolute morality.

Hence, what you see today is the cult of diversity crying and whining because people rightly reject their idols.

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Non-standard political analysis

This will probably be my last politically oriented post.

In a couple of interesting election stats, I posted that 94% of evangelicals, 88% of mainline Protestants, and 81% of Catholics would vote for Trump over Clinton.

In general, the “most” divisive issues on why Christians voted for Trump over Clinton are probably these three that I mentioned previously: Abortion, Marriage, and Religious liberty. These are from the Manhattan Declaration:

Manhattan Declaration is a movement of Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians for life, marriage, and religious liberty.

These are the issues that most likely pushed most Evangelicals, mainline Protestants, and Catholics to vote Trump over Clinton.

Firstly, I believe marriage to be a red herring (and the real issue to the Church is divorce). However, I also think marriage has a non-standard solution that would improve current divisiveness: the government should get out of the marriage business.

It’s pretty clear that most Christians think that marriage is a moral/religious decision, and most people think that marriage should be for anyone think it’s a human right. This is a hotbed topic that will come to the forefront of almost every election now that SCOTUS has legalized gay marriage.

Although the government getting out of the marriage business won’t solve any issues between Christians (and/or other religions that support marriage between a man-woman) and non-Christians, it would quell one of the main hotbed topics. People are then free to do what they choose, which is the whole point of free will. We know what Christians will choose, and we know what non-Christians will choose.

It’s foolish to expect non-Christians to adhere to Christian values, but this would push the issue further out of the limelight and make it easier to preach the gospel (in my opinion).

Secondly, although abortion has been legalized for a long time, it’s still a hotbed topic. Half of the issue is that abortion is allowed at all (for very conservative Christians), and the other half of the issue is that every democratic candidate keeps pushing government sponsored contraception and abortion (for most other Christians).

I think that most Christians know that Roe vs Wade is not actually going away, despite the crying of Hillary supporters to the contrary. Therefore, pragmatically and realistically the actual “battle” is about using taxpayer money for abortifacient contraception and abortions.

The democrats are greedy for taxpayer money to support their issues, which is why is why this is a thoroughly divisive topic in the first place. If the democrats cared about garnering a greater percentage of the from the Christian community, removing taxpayer money from paying for abortifacient contraception and abortions would be a good step.

This is much in the same way as marriage. People are then free to do what they choose, which is the whole point of free will. We know what Christians will choose, and we know what non-Christians will choose. It is just that Christians wouldn’t have to pay for “morally reprehensible” actions.

It’s foolish to expect non-Christians to adhere to Christian values, but this would push the issue further out of the limelight and make it easier to preach the gospel (in my opinion).

Thirdly, religious liberty. This issue will never go away, and has no simple answer unlike the other topic topics. What is currently happening is that “religious liberty” is butting against what many people feel is “basic human rights.”

A large part of this issue is tied to the topic of marriage. Christian bakers, florists, photographers, and so on being forced to pay fines and suffer sanctions or participate in gay weddings. If the government got out of the marriage business, it would potentially necessarily stop legislation of private and/or religious practices. If marriage was a private and/or religious practice, this issue would be significantly less divisive than it already is because it would be more out of the political limelight.

As it is right now, there are tons of bakers, florists, photographers, and so on who support gay marriage. People who want a gay marriage need only to go to them to have these services rendered. However, as we have seen, it’s not about getting services provided but rather enforcing all others to believe the same things you do.

This is the reason why I think that this topic will never really go away. Marriage exemplifies this, but marriage is only one part of it. If you remove marriage from the equation, something else will pop up instead of marriage as the dividing topic. The reason for this is the continual equivocation of gay marriage to things like segregation.

Finally, even though I think two of the three hotbed topics can be resolved somewhat, the real ultimate reason for the divide between Christians and non-Christians is the difference in moral values. To quote from a previous post:

I think that the fact people get upset at political stances is very interesting. If they didn’t care they would be apathetic, but they do care which means they get upset when others disagree with them. I think that this is a good thing because people do want to be engaged when it comes to how they are being governed and the values instituted in the various systems and powers that be.

Unfortunately, people’s value systems are all out of whack. It’s obvious that non-Christians will vote according to their “own” system of morality given they don’t have an anchored reality point. However, even many Christians are ignorant, deceived, or foolish when it comes to basing their “truth” on what they feel rather than God’s Truth.

The mess you get yourself into is of your own doing, whether in ignorance, deception, or foolishness. It’s up to you to take steps to excavate yourself from the ditch — in conjunction with God’s grace and mercy — and it always involves humility and repentance. Such things are in short supply.

When you have a series of absolute moral values set by God butting up against moral relativism. There is always going to be hatred.

John 15:18 “If the world hates you, [e]you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have [f]sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have [g]sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25 But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’

26 “When the [h]Helper [or Comforter] comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, 27 [i]and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

The Holy Spirit was sent specifically for the purpose of helping and comforting, when the world hates Christians and persecutes them.

This is why I don’t support political parties or candidates, even though I may vote. The only hope is Jesus.

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A couple of interesting election stats

TRUMP CLINTON
Non-college white men 72% 23% T+49
Non-college white women 62 34 T+28
College white men 54 39 T+15
College white women 45 51 C+6

From ABC news or something.

Democrats usually overwhelmingly win minorities, and no surprise they still did. The interesting thing is looks like a lot of white people were fed up, especially the working class.

While Hillary and the rest of the country and media continues to take a big fat dump on men, I don’t think it’s a surprise that men overwhelmingly rallied around Trump. Is Hillary going to look out for any man’s interest? No.

Also, 94% of evangelicals, 88% of mainline Protestants, and 81% of Catholics would vote for Trump over Clinton.

As of the time of this post, it appears Trump is most likely going to win having claimed PA.

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Politics

As the election draws near, some thoughts have popped up in my head.

First, what I’ve been seeing out of a lot of the Christian community is to vote for platform and not candidates.

If you read them and look for key Christian issues such as abortion, marriage, religious liberty, and so on it should be “clear” who you should be voting for. One is distinctly more oriented toward Christian values and one is not.

The other one I’m seeing is the issue of Supreme Court Justices, and how the next POTUS will be able to appoint about 1-4.

Obviously, the “platform” is much like campaign promises which means candidates could just throw it out the window (and I find that likely given the character of both candidates). Not to mention many third party candidates that won’t win. However, that is not a reason to not vote. We have a “right” to vote, which does not mean we need to exercise it. But I don’t think disengaging is necessarily the right answer either.

Second, as I’ve stated before on this blog, I think marriage is a red herring. I’m not sure why the Church is so fixated on gay marriage when gay marriage doesn’t exist to God. The Church should be more concerned about divorce, especially since divorce is rampant in almost every denomination of Christianity in the West.

Gay marriage, at best, affects maybe 1-2% of the population. Divorce wreaks havoc on 40-50% of the population, and it most affects the children who are wrapped up in its destructive wake. You want to change a generation? You gotta start with divorce. Churches need to crack by exerting community-wide pressure and Church excommunications such as what happened to Jenny Erikson. Props to her Church for excommunicating her after she frivorced her husband.

The main things to do to prevent divorce are: repealing no fault divorce, default father custody of children, reforming welfare, and things like that. Unfortunately, these things won’t happen, but communities can still exert influence. Until the Church takes a hard stance against divorce, there is no disincentive for frivorce while there is certainly cash and prizes for doing it.

Third, I think that the fact people get upset at political stances is very interesting. If they didn’t care they would be apathetic, but they do care which means they get upset when others disagree with them. I think that this is a good thing because people do want to be engaged when it comes to how they are being governed and the values instituted in the various systems and powers that be.

Unfortunately, people’s value systems are all out of whack. It’s obvious that non-Christians will vote according to their “own” system of morality given they don’t have an anchored reality point. However, even many Christians are ignorant, deceived, or foolish when it comes to basing their “truth” on what they feel rather than God’s Truth.

The mess you get yourself into is of your own doing, whether in ignorance, deception, or foolishness. It’s up to you to take steps to excavate yourself from the ditch — in conjunction with God’s grace and mercy — and it always involves humility and repentance. Such things are in short supply.

Finally, whatever happens we still should be praying for our leaders and our soon-to-be leaders. It’s easy to feel or think that someone who is opposed to God is going to face the wrath and judgment of God, but God still has a heart of compassion for them and desires that they be saved. We should be praying that God will plant the seeds and make it into a plentiful harvest in their lives, their families, and their advisors.

Yes, it may be a miracle, but our God is the God of impossibilities.

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The lie of parenting

There is no such thing as parenting. Only fathering and mothering. I think Wintery Knight had a recent post on this as well.

The statistical studies on this are interesting. I’ve commented on this before, but I don’t think I’ve made a post on it and posted the actual study.

The interesting thing about this study is that it came under fire by politically correct groups who wanted it retracted. However, it was not retracted and the people who did the study stood by their work. Pubmed here.

As we already knew, fathers make a difference. Though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see similar results from families with two fathers as opposed to a father and a mother.

What I would really like to see is all of these things compared:

  • Father and mother
  • Father only
  • Mother only
  • Two mothers
  • Two fathers

We will probably never get something like that unfortunately, because it would only support God’s design for children: a father and mother.

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What does it mean to teach?

I’ve gone over women not teaching in Church before among several posts touching on the topic, but some recent posts like Snapper‘s and Dalrock‘s would be good to go over as well.

Generally speaking, to understand what it means to teach and the role of women in the Church it requires a broad look at the Scriptures as a whole. The main verse(s) in contention are:

1 Timothy 2:9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, [g]modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. 11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first [h]created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, [i]fell into transgression. 15 But women will be [j]preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with [k]self-restraint.

Women not having authority over men in the Church body is fairly obvious. I don’t think we need to go there. The dispute is almost always over what “teaching” means.

The case of Timothy

As you know from reading my previous post on Lessons from Ephesus, Timothy presents an excellent example of what we are talking about. Both of these letters are written to Timothy from Paul. As a refresher, the timeline is thus:

  1. 54-57 AD — Paul’s stay in Ephesus
  2. 60-62 AD — Epistle to the Ephesians
  3. 64 AD — Timothy becomes leader of the Church of Ephesus
  4. 62-64 AD — 1 Timothy
  5. 64-67 AD — 2 Timothy
  6. 95 AD — Revelation, specifically Revelation 2.
  7. 97 AD — Timothy tries to stop a celebration in honor of Diana by preaching the gospel. He was beaten, dragged through the streets, and stoned to death.

Paul is essentially Timothy’s father figure and as he traveled with him on at least one missionary journey before being commissioned to be the leader at the Church in Ephesus. This is the back drop for the passage from 2 Timothy.

2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience [c]the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my [d]prayers night and day, 4 longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 [e]For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of [f]timidity, but of power and love and [g]discipline.

And likewise, from Titus 2:

Titus 2:3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may [b]encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

From this we can gather a few things:

  1. Mothers/grandmothers are not prohibited from raising their children up in the faith. This is also why I think women Sunday school teachers are fine, even though I believe Sunday school is superfluous or only a supplement.
  2. Women are not prohibited from evangelism. Women in the Scripture in Church settings are only prohibited from leadership positions and teaching. They can receive all of the other spiritual gifts. Thus, women are permitted to preach the gospel.
  3. As Dalrock mentions, older women are to model behavior and encourage good behavior along sound doctrine. (Note: the passage does not say teach).

Number 2 may be a bit confusing. Preaching is sometimes synonymous with teaching, which is why I think it confusing. Not all preaching is teaching. Specifically, preaching the gospel is evangelism, which women are permitted to do.

Therefore, the question is: what exactly does the Scripture mean when it says “teach.”

What does it mean to teach

G1321 — διδάσκω — didaskō  did-as’-ko

A prolonged (causative) form of a primary verb δάω daō (to learn); to teach (in the same broad application): – teach. Total KJV occurrences: 97

From my study of the word “teach” in the Scriptures — as best I can define it — it means:

Biblical teaching is “authoritative interpretation of the Scriptures on how to live.”

In other words, authoritative teaching on how to live is essentially issuing principles, commands, and doctrine to apply in the lives of those who hear it. Jesus distinguishes this with the Pharisees:

Matthew 15:7 You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: 8 ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. 9 ‘But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”

Jesus taught in the synagogues and when people came to hear him preach/teach (in crowds, feeding the 5000, etc.). For instance, the Sermon on the Mount, exemplifies this: “You have heard it said… But I say to you…

Matthew 5:33 “Again, you have heard that [ag]the ancients were told, ‘[ah]You shall not [ai]make false vows, but shall fulfill your [aj]vows to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or [ak]by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is [al]of evil.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take your [am]shirt, let him have your [an]coat also. 41 Whoever [ao]forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

This agrees specifically with Paul’s statement in 1 Timothy 2: women are not allowed to have authority over men or to teach men. It is this “authoritative interpretation on how to live” that is specifically prohibited. Authority and teaching go together.

Generally speaking, as we’ve gone over before, women cannot teach men about how to live. Paul commended Timothy’s mother for bringing him up in the faith, but he also wrote the two pastoral letters to help him grow a backbone and learn how to be a man in the faith, including said teaching in 1 Timothy 2. Single motherhood is the obvious example of this. Women cannot teach men how to be men. Mothers can raise their children in the faith, but they often fail to become men without a father figure or mentor like Paul to Timothy. Mothers generally coddle their sons, while the father figure prepares the son for life. Timothy being an example of this.

1 Corinthians 14:34 The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. 35 If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is [n]improper for a woman to speak in church.

36 [o]Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only? 37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment. 38 But if anyone does not recognize this, he [p]is not recognized.

Indeed, this agrees with 1 Corinthians 14. Authority and teaching go together.

Teaching, preaching, sharing, and so on

Sharing is an interesting case because it’s not teaching.

Sharing testimonies of how God is working in your life or how a passage of Scripture helped you through a season is faith building. This is why I have no problem with women sharing a testimony or how a passage of Scripture affected them, given it’s not disorderly as the rest of 1 Corinthians 14 states.

The problem is mainly when “sharing” becomes “teaching.” I think it should be clear that women don’t know what it’s like to be a man, and therefore cannot teach a man how to live. “Teaching” from a woman on how to be a man is expressly forbidden not just in the NT but in the OT. One of the reasons for this is that it almost always inevitably comes off as nagging or contentiousness. Proverbs expressly warns against dysfunctional relationships like this. God, in His wisdom, organized both the Church and family to be led by men to prevent such things from occurring.

By this measure, preaching differs from teaching in that preaching is mainly stating what the Scripture says without authoritatively interpreting it. For example,

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His [e]only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Romans 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; [d]though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified [e]by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved [f]by His life. 11 And not only this, [g]but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

As you can see presenting the gospel message does not require any authoritative interpretation. It’s so simple that children can understand it. We do bad. Bad separates us from God. Jesus Christ came to die so that we can reconnect with God. We can now reconnect with God by repenting of our sins, and following Jesus.

Preaching a sermon from the pulpit usually includes teaching because there is exposition on how to interpret the passage and by extension how to live because of it. This is where many Protestant Churches go off the rails. For one, women are not to have authority over men. Strike one. For two, women are not to be teaching men, and sermons usually include some type of preaching plus teaching associated with passages. Strike two. Churches are expressly rebelling against Scripture by even allowing such situations in the first place. Strike three.

Titus 2 goes off the rails when we get into wives teaching — authoritative interpretation on how to live. The problems with intelligent submission is but one example. If you recall, the problem with intelligent submission is that Christians wives are “authoritatively interpreting” what “submission” means to other wives and thus “telling them how to live” instead of encouraging submission like Titus 2 says.

In the case of the above link, a Christian wife lists out a number of things that her and her husband agreed upon that would be questionable to submit to. This is, of course, fine because she is under her husband’s authority and they can agree to whatever they want in terms of what constitutes not obeying him if there is a potentially sinful situation.

However, this list was used by other wives to cultivate rebellion in their hearts. Their husbands did not agree to such a list, and hence they are rebelling against their husbands based on what another wife was “teaching” if their husband is “sinning.” This is problematic because the Scriptures, such as in 1 Peter 3, state that godly wives should obey even unbelieving husbands (which means they sin!) to win them to Christ.

This “intelligent submission” business is basically teaching against what the Scriptures are teaching. It should be clear that such practices are wrong.

The “right” way for wives to use their own experiences as an example is to say: “this is how we do things under the authority of my husband, you should ask your husband how he wants to do things. If he doesn’t want to do things like us that’s fine. Your marriage may be different from ours. Comparisons only breed jealousy.”

Outside of the body of Christ

Now, the Scripture only forbids teaching within the context of the Church body. I may differ from some on this, but I don’t think this precludes women from teaching outside of the Church.

The vast majority of “teaching” of Christianity outside of the Church body is not actually teaching how to live but rather looking at the Scriptures and Christianity from an academic perspective: how did Christianity arise, how were the Scriptures compiled, what and/or why did Jesus teach and how is it different from other religions, and so on. This is not authoritative interpretation of Scripture on how to live.

Likewise, I don’t see a problem with women attending seminaries, as long as they are not doing it to lead or teach in a Church. If the seminary is teaching sound doctrine such as 1 Timothy 2 (which is questionable given the state of seminaries and pastors in the western hemisphere now), more learned Christian women are only a good thing under authority.

For example, a wife who is learned and better understands what the Scriptures state on headship-submission and love-respect should be able to be a more effective helpmeet and wife to her husband. Yet, unfortunately, this is not the case in most instances. The evil heart purposes all things, even education, for evil. The good heart purposes all things, even education, to glorify God in obedience to His commands.

If more godly women went to seminary that were obedient to the Scriptures it could only be a good thing. They would admonish women from desiring to have authority over men and teach men in Church. It’s one thing to hear it from men in the Church, but it’s another thing to hear it from other women. This is perhaps a stark truth in the manosphere that is oft recognized. Perhaps there will never be a day like this though.

Conclusions

I think it should be clear now that women should not have authority or teaching over men, and that it is an eternal Truth. Psalms and Proverbs really lay it out.

Psalms 111:10 The [n]fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who [o]do His commandments; His praise endures forever.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

If Christians actually feared the Lord and understood what He said in the Scriptures, this wouldn’t be a question.

Women aren’t prohibited from evangelism, preaching the gospel, sharing their testimonies, sharing how passages of Scripture spoke to them, all of the many spiritual gifts within the Church aside from leadership and teaching, and many other fruitful things. However, human nature is human nature. The 10th commandment in the Law of Moses is there for a reason: Do not Covet. Humans have a coveting issue.

Women covet positions of leadership and teaching in the Church, despite the Scriptures clearly teaching the contrary.

In the end, it really goes back to the garden of Eden. This is why Paul makes the argument in 1 Timothy 2 to prohibit women from leadership positions and teaching positions in the Church.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from [a]any tree of the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. […]

12 The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”

  1. Eve was taught — by Adam and/or God — the contrary, but was deceived by the devil’s teaching to eat of the tree.
  2. God commanded — taught — Adam by “authoritatively instructing him on how to live” to not eat from the tree. Adam didn’t listen to God but instead listened to his wife.

Human nature straying from God’s commands at work in the Church today.

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Lessons from Ephesus

Generally speaking, the Church at Ephesus presents an interesting timeline of the early Church given that a decent sized chunk of NT Scriptures are directed toward it. The reason for this is two of the pastoral letters were written to Timothy, who was the pastor at the Church of Ephesus. This includes:

  1. 54-57 AD — Paul’s stay in Ephesus
  2. 60-62 AD — Epistle to the Ephesians
  3. 64 AD — Timothy becomes leader of the Church of Ephesus
  4. 62-64 AD — 1 Timothy
  5. 64-67 AD — 2 Timothy
  6. 95 AD — Revelation, specifically Revelation 2.
  7. 97 AD — Timothy tries to stop a celebration in honor of Diana by preaching the gospel. He was beaten, dragged through the streets, and stoned to death.

This timeline gives us a great look into how the Church at Ephesus progressed in a few decades.

Lessons from Ephesians, Timothy, and 1 and 2 Timothy

Ephesians 1-4 focuses on the rich inheritance we have in Christ. This culminates in the end of chapter 4 and the beginning of chapter 5 on how we are to be imitators of Christ, essentially taking off the old and putting on the new. Near the end is general church instruction, family order instruction, and exhortation on spiritual warfare.

A few years later, Timothy, who had been traveling with Paul (like Silas and Barnabas) was commissioned to be the leader of the Church of Ephesus. I’m not sure on who exactly was the leader of the Church before this, but presumably it wasn’t that organized. This is where 1 and 2 Timothy come in. Essentially, these letters were written for purposeful organization of the Church.

1 Timothy 1 discusses generally how Christians are to act and to avoid heresy. 1 Timothy 2 discusses how men and women are to act, especially in Church settings. 1 Timothy 3 discusses qualifications of bishops and deacons. 1 Timothy 4 discusses apostasy, godliness, and individual exhortation. 1 Timothy 5 discusses widows, elders, and how to provide for the needs of others. Finally, 1 Timothy 6 follows up on lessons to all who minister.

2 Timothy follows in similar veins. Chapter 1-4 is another exhortation of Paul to Timothy as a spiritual son in Christ to be strong as he was having difficulties in the first few years of his ministry at the Church of Ephesus.

Therefore, from what we understand of the Church in Ephesus is that general commands of the Church and family were not enough. The letter to the Church in Ephesus provided solid instructions to the Church on these matters, but it seems that much of the Ephesians had trouble discerning the “sacred from the secular” so to speak. Instead of defaulting to godliness and freedom in Christ, they needed more teaching in order to stay away from cultural influences. Enter Timothy.

If you remember back to some of my prior posts and background on Timothy, he was the son of a Greek father and Jewish mother. Per 2 Timothy 1, Timothy was raised by his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice in the faith, which Paul commended. However, since Timothy had no real father figure, Paul literally became his father figure and mentor.

When we read Paul’s commands in 1 Timothy 2 about women not having authority over or teaching, this is part of the backdrop. We understand that Christian wives and mothers can bring up children in the faith, but they can’t teach men how to be men. That requires fathers and father figures, of which Paul exemplifies in 2 Timothy to exhort Timothy to be strong, carry on firmly in his callings, be diligent, understand that difficult times and persecution will come, and to make every effort to continue preaching the Word. It is with this background that Timothy carries on the torch from Paul until his death by preaching the word among the celebration of Diana and being beaten, dragged through the streets, and martyred by stoning.

Lessons building on Ephesians, Timothy, 1 and 2 Timothy into Revelation

The same is indeed still true to day. Human nature has not changed. Biblical Truths of the first century are as “relevant” today as they were then. This brings us to Revelation.

Revelation 2:“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks [a]among the seven golden lampstands, says this:

2 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and [b]perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have [c]perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the [d]deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. 6 Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

Now that we understand the Church of Ephesus through the lens of Ephesians and the lens of 1 and 2 Timothy, we more readily understand the passage to the Church of the Ephesians in Revelation.

  1. The letter to the Church at Ephesus provided general instructions on the body and family. However, these didn’t work as effectively as they should have. Hence, Timothy was commissioned to be leader of the Church at Ephesus.
  2. Paul sends the pastoral letters of  1 and 2 Timothy on how to organized the Church there to adhere to sound doctrine. This includes positions of men and women in the Church, qualifications of bishops and deacons, avoiding apostasy and adhering to godliness, and so on. 2 Timothy focuses mainly on the father-figure mentor relationship between Paul and Timothy.
  3. We know from history that from 60 AD to his death in 97 AD, Timothy was a living example of the gospel to martyrdom.

In Revelation, Jesus commends the Church at Ephesus for:

  • Not tolerating evil men and rooting out apostasy.
  • Their perseverance without growing weary for Jesus.
  • Hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which were a gnostic cult, like Balaam putting a stumbling block before Israel.
  • Jesus also chastises the Church at Ephesus for leaving their first love.

The theorized “deeds” that the Nicolaitans held to, supported by commentary from early Church fathers, is that Nicolas (from Acts 6:5) was one of the 7 deacons appointed at the Church of Antioch. However, he fell into some sort of heresy involving overindulgence of fleshly desires involving food sacrificed to idols and fornication with temple prostitutes.

This is where some of the passages from Romans (‘not sinning so that grace may abound’) and Acts and Corinthians (‘avoiding food sacrificed to idols, especially for those who have weak consciences’ and ‘fornication, especially with temple prostitutes’) comes into focus. Apostasy started to become more prevalent in the early Church, as even deacons and leaders in the Church devolved into gnostic heresy. Therefore, it should not be surprise to see many pastors caught up within the same heresies today. Paul, James, and Peter consistently warn believers in the Scriptures to be wary of being deceived: thinking that they’re right when they’re wrong.

Indeed, the practices of the Church at Ephesus, from the letter to the Ephesians, leadership of Timothy, and commands of the pastoral letters, are affirmed from the prophesy of Revelation (which is a prophesy of Jesus) and Peter’s affirmation of Paul’s teachings in 2 Peter 3. This leads us to understand that difficult passages, such as prohibited authority of women over men and teaching men, are in fact correct.

Additionally, given the admonishment to the Church at Ephesus in Revelation, it’s also easy to make an idol of doing what is right and forgetting that it’s all for Jesus in the end. We ultimately desire to do what is right because of Jesus, and our eyes should be focused on Him.

To put this into marriage context, this is similar to a wife being overly focused and diligent on her responsibilities within marriage and subsequently ignoring her husband. A wife must realize that her responsibilities are her responsibilities because they are to and for her husband: to be his helpmeet. Her husband is more important than what she is doing. I’ve known quite a few women who have spoken that this is a huge trap for them, both in real life and around these parts.

Conclusions

There are lots conclusions we can draw from the overview of the Church at Ephesus and Timothy’s journey of being mentored into the leadership position at the Church of Ephesus.

Most of these deal with the practical application Ephesians and 1 and 2 Timothy to the Christian Church and family. These include, but are not exclusive to (as I’m not going to list out everything):

  • Headship-submission, love-respect relationship of the husband and wife
  • Women are not permitted to have authority or to teach men
  • Qualifications for leaders in the Church and generosity in the Church
  • Avoiding the traps of various apostasy and sticking to sound doctrine
  • Paul being a father figure and mentor to Timothy in 2 Timothy
  • Revelation’s affirmation of sticking to Ephesians and 1 and 2 Timothy as a model for the family, Church organization, deterring evil men, apostasy, and perseverance in the faith, but don’t forgot our first love: Jesus.

God’s Word is eternal Truth. They are applicable today, despite much of the gnostic and progressivism heresies that have infected the Church. Blending the the secular and sacred is bad, mmmkay?

We are called to holiness and perfection like God, through sanctification, which means being set apart from the culture and world. The progression of the Church in Ephesus provides us an outstanding example from the early Church to use today.

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