Restoring order

two paths1) Restoring Order, by Andrew Chapman

We thank God that He made us male and female. Love and marriage and family and every aspect of our lives together has this central fact of human existence at its core. We hardly question for a moment God’s wisdom in making us this way, and we rejoice in it, and in our differing capabilities and responsibilities and preferences.

Christ is the head of every man, man is the head of woman, and God is the head of Christ, as the scriptures say, and so we see order in the creation, and in this there is peace and joy and happiness and contentment. No wonder that the devil is trying to overturn God’s order and throw out the structures of home and family life that give stability and an environment suitable for children to grow up in, with a loving father and mother to protect and nurture, and discipline and teach them. Hallelujah for the grace which is poured out upon us to help us to fulfill our responsibilities as parents and husbands and wives, and to compensate for our failures and shortcomings. Hallelujah too for the new birth and the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who believe and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of our souls and Redeemer of mankind. Without Him in our lives there is no hope and no forgiveness of our sins, and without Him there is little reason to live, and less reason to lay down our lives in sacrifice and service to our Creator.

No wonder then, also, that the God-given order of men and women is under assault even in the church of Jesus Christ. Commensurate with the order of their creation, first Adam and then Eve, and of the circumstances of the Fall, it being not Adam who sinned but Eve, who fell into transgression, the apostle Paul laid down clear instructions regarding the role of women in the church:

A woman should learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but to be in silence. [1 Timothy 2:12]

Until recently, with few exceptions, the church worldwide has heeded the apostolic commandments and reserved the ministries of the teaching of doctrine, and the exercise of governmental authority, to men only. But now, even in churches which claim to be evangelical and to accept the authority of scripture, women are being released to serve as pastors of churches and to preach from the pulpit at the weekly assembly of the saints of God. How can this be, when the scriptures are so clear?

The answer seems to lie in a body of academic scholarship, or so-called scholarship, which purports to prove either that the apostle’s holy commandments regarding the minstry of women in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ are not what they appear to be, or that they were meant only for a particular time and place and can be disregarded today. This teaching has been disseminated through the seminaries and bible colleges, and through books and commentaries, with such success that a whole generation of pastors and church leaders have come to believe it, or at least to pay it partial credence, with the result that they have lost confidence in what they previously believed, and have been unable to withstand other pressure brought to bear upon them to remove constraints on women’s ministry. How hard this is to retain godly order in the churches, when almost all occupations are now open to women in secular society. And yet without repentance and a return to scriptural principles, how can there be revival and a reversal of the current decline and backsliding? For how can the Lord bless a disobedient church?

The purpose of this web-site therefore is to call God’s people back to the divine order. We believe that that arguments that are put forward in defence of women being allowed to teach and govern in the churches have little strength and can easily be demolished. A fair-minded person who looks at the evidence will not find it hard to determine the meaning and force of the texts in question. Therefore we are confident that the tide can be turned and the church restored to its former glory. Indeed, we see it as inevitable that a godly remnant at least will survive to be ready and waiting and prepared to welcome the Lord Jesus at His coming. Hallelujah for He is coming for a glorious church without spot or blemish, and the saints will be in godly order when He comes.

In Him,

Andrew

Signpost cross 32) A testimony, by Alison Chapman

This web-site is one of the hardest challenges I have ever faced. I confess, that out of the many inspiring teachings from the bible, ‘Women in the Church’ is not one I, in my flesh, would have chosen to write about. This is far from easy! It does not appear to be a user- friendly topic. I tremble, given the current trends, to take a stance which I know to be terribly unpopular.

When we asked the Lord to release us into His chosen ministry, I had an attractive picture of what that might look like. Something encouraging to struggling Christians, something embracing to show them the depths of God’s love. But this? Few like to hear the kind of teaching that will be expressed here. Women, and men too, react with strong emotion and I am not made of stern stuff, I do not enjoy being in the minority. Thankfully in recent years God brought me to a man who has a stronger constitution than I, and a great love for the word of God. He has taught me so much on this subject, filled in the gaps and strengthened me in my conviction of the truth. I am thankful to stand with him.

Growing up for a number of years in a brethren church I saw in practice the scripture ‘I do not permit a woman to teach’. But I heard little teaching on it or why it should be this way. I observed this sentiment downplayed or mocked by other Christians, sometimes too by myself. It appeared religious, dull and restricting. It was apparently not a scripture to take too literally. I became influenced by the voice of the world with it’s ever demanding war cry on equal rights for men and women.

Many years later during my late 20s I remember a session at the bible college I attended, discussing the role of women in the church. I recall only one sole view being presented – that women were permitted to lead and teach in the church. Anything contrary to this belief seemed absent. So I wrote a rather biassed paper entitled ‘Women in Leadership’, from my own perspective, with little seeking as to what God was saying through His word. I was pretty sure my view was ‘fair,’ ‘equal,’ and ‘just’. But somehow deep inside I felt there were loose ends.

Not until I got to my early 30′s did I hear for the first time someone teaching a different message to what I had partly come to accept. It shook me up and I protested inwardly. But in that calm, steady and straightforward teaching something stirred afresh and with a deep breath and a fair bit of annoyance I looked again on the subject matter. As I tried to make sense of it, another episode followed, this time through a friend’s husband sharing from Genesis about God’s divine order and the different roles of men and women.. I was agitated by my feminist tinged mindset but something began to connect and I had many questions.

It was not until quite a few years later on that revelation dawned in so many ways. If God had set a perfect order in place for mankind, who was I to argue? Following this, standing now from a different vantage point I began to see more in my observations of men and women in the church. And the teaching in the bible suddenly seems ..well …..uncomplicated and straightforward.

Here in part is why I take this step – the conviction that there is a need for a prophetic voice to cry out a seemingly offensive message in God’s Word. Fleshing out an issue that is often declared a ‘difficult topic’. A unique pattern that has been set by our orderly and loving Creator God. If we claim our order and way of doing things is better than God’s order, we weaken His word and the power of it in our lives.

I am longing to see His power restored in His church to impact men, women and children, and those outside the church who need to understand that the God who rules this universe is not a god who submits to our cultural trends, ideas of fairness or our ministries that we want to walk in, but One who is separate, holy, powerful and sovereign, able to give eternal life, radically change lives, heal, deliver and set free – bringing order out of chaos, so that when our lives in turn are surrendered to Him we are willing to count all things lost, for His glory and Name’s sake.

Alison Joy

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