Delivered By
C.C. Risenhoover
Delivered On
May 8, 2016
Central Passage
Jude 1:10
Subject
Christianity vs. Islam
Description

May 8, 2016

SLANDERING GOD’S WORD

“…these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do not understand by instinct – as irrational animals do – will destroy them” (Jude 1:10).

There’s nothing in the Bible about Mother’s Day…but a great deal in God’s Word about mothers and women in general.  During His time on earth Jesus defied Jewish tradition and religious practice in the way he included and treated women in His ministry…as did the apostles and other disciples of our Lord.

I’ve always been amused by preachers who contend that a woman shouldn’t teach a man…because for years I’ve been trying to find a man who wasn’t taught by a woman.  I guess that’s possible if a person is raised by wolves…but from the time a person is born…he or she…as a rule…are taught the basics of life by a woman.

From my birth until I was six years of age…my father worked 10 and 12 hour days…six days a week.  He spent as much time with me as he could…but it was limited in comparison to the time my mother spent with me.  From age seven to 10, my dad was away at war and spent no time at all with me.  During this time I learned from my mother and paternal grandmother…and from my grandfather to a lesser degree.  I’m sure many of you had a similar experience.

Obviously, I’m quite familiar with some of the things Paul wrote on this subject…which are often taken out of context…and also without regard to the religious culture of his time.  At that time…men were taught the Scriptures…whereas most women weren’t.  And, because for the most part women of that day knew only what men told them…they were ignorant of Scripture unless a man taught it to them.

So it was only common sense that a woman shouldn’t teach a man something she wasn’t grounded in or knowledgeable about.  But, Paul himself indicated that there were exceptions…that some women were well grounded in Scripture.  For example, he had great praise for Timothy’s mother and grandmother…who had taught the young man Scripture since his childhood.

We must also understand that Paul accepted the Hebrew Bible and Jesus’ teaching as God’s Word.  And, also that the ancient Near Eastern world…of which Israel was a part…was a man’s world.  Although God spoke to Israel within a particular cultural context…that does not suggest that the culture itself was holy.  The culture included polygamy, divorce, slavery, and a variety of other practices that many Christians today recognize as unholy.

Men were prominent in ancient Israelite society…but God still sometimes called a woman to a leadership position.  For example, Deborah was not only a prophetess…but also a judge…and one of the few judges of which the Bible reports no failures.

First century Jewish women rarely, if ever, studied with teachers of the Law the way male disciples did.  But, in Mark 15:40, 41 and Luke 8:1-3 we’re told that Jesus allowed women to join His ranks…something the culture of the times found scandalous.  To make matters worse…Luke 10:39 tells us that He even allowed a woman who wanted to hear His teaching “…sit at His feet.”  This was a posture normally reserved for disciples and, of course, other Jewish teachers did not allow women disciples.

It’s also of great significant that the Gospels unanimously report that God chose women to be the first witnesses of the Resurrection.  And, you’ll recall that Joel 2:28, 29 foretold that when God poured out His Spirit…women as well as men would prophesy.  Acts 2:17, 18 makes is clear that the meaning of Pentecost was that all God’s people qualify for the gifts of His Spirit…just as Galatians 3:28 tells us that salvation means that both male and female have opportunity to have the same relationship with God.

Despite the gender prejudices of his culture…Paul actually affirmed the ministry of women.  The roles of women differed from one region to the next in Mediterranean antiquity…but there’s no doubt that many of Paul’s co-laborers in the Gospel were women.

In Romans 16:1-2, Paul commended Phoebe…a servant of the church at Cenchreae.  In the Early Church that word “servant” may have referred to a deacon…but Paul most often applied it to any minister of God’s Word.  He also called Phoebe “a helper of many”…meaning she was a church’s patron or sponsor and most likely the owner of the house where the church met.

Most people probably don’t pay much attention to the list of names Paul gives in Romans 16…but they should. There are about twice as many men on that list as there are women…but on his list he commended the ministries of about twice as many women as men.  This is remarkable…given the prejudice against women in ministry that existed in Paul’s culture.

In verse 7 Paul mentions Andronicus and Junia.  That’s important because Junia is clearly a feminine Latin name.  And, in Philippians 4:2-3 he referred to the ministry of two women who…like his many male fellow ministers…shared in his work for the Gospel.

In 1 Corinthians 12:28, we find that Paul ranked prophets second only to apostles…and in 1 Corinthians 11:5, he acknowledged the ministry of prophetesses.  And, while Paul did not mention women pastors by name…he rarely mentioned any men pastors by name either.  His most common reference was to “servant” or “fellow worker.”

Although Paul advocated the mutuality of gender roles…where necessary he also worked within the boundaries of his culture for the sake of the Gospel.  For example, he urged women in the Corinthian churches to cover their heads.  In that particular Eastern culture married women…specifically…covered their hair to prevent men other than their husbands from lusting after their hair.  A married woman who went out with her head uncovered was considered promiscuous and was to be divorced as an adulteress.

So Paul’s restrictions on women in ministry are not universal prohibitions…but response to specific cultural situations.  Scripture written by Paul is God-breathed truth for all time…but it requires a knowledge of the circumstances with which he was dealing if we’re to truly understand and apply his principles in different situations.  Paul was a brilliant man…and he gave his listeners and readers credit for some brains, too.  I’m sure he thought most of them would be able to apply his teaching to the specific situations with which they were dealing.

For example, if we ignore the context in which Paul was writing and take everything literally…based on 1 Corinthians 16:1-3…we would today be sending offerings to the church in Jerusalem.  And…based on 1 Timothy 5:10…if our church is not supporting widows we could say it’s because they have not washed the feet of the saints.  Obviously, we have the ability to recognize that Paul was not talking directly to us…but specifically to Timothy…when in 2 Timothy 4:13 he told his young protégé to bring a cloak and scrolls to him.

There are only two passages in the Bible that can remotely be construed as contradicting Paul’s endorsement of women in ministry…the first being 1 Corinthians 14:34-36…which instructs women to be silent and save their questions about a church service for their husbands at home.  Yet Paul could not have meant silence under all circumstances…because in 1 Corinthians 11:5…he acknowledged that women could pray and prophesy in church…and in 1 Corinthians 12:28 he ranked prophecy higher than teaching.

Since Paul affirmed women’s role in prayer and prophecy…he can’t be prohibiting all kinds of speech here.  The only thing he truly addressed was wives asking questions during a service.

As I previously stated…the culture of Paul’s time had deprived most women of education.  Jewish women could listen in synagogues…but unlike boys they were not taught to recite the Law while growing up.  Ancient cultures also considered it rude for uneducated persons to slow down lectures with questions that betrayed their lack of understanding.  So I believe Paul wanted husbands to take a personal interest in their wives’ learning and to catch them up privately.

In 1 Timothy 2:11-15…Paul forbade women to teach or exercise authority over men.  But, in Romans 16 and Philippians 4:2-3 he provides an altogether different picture…so it’s my contention that Paul was addressing a particular situation in this community.

Based on Paul’s letters to Timothy…we know that false teachers in Ephesus were targeting and working through women.  They were misleading women…especially some widows…whose houses they were using for their teaching.  One of the Greek terms in 1 Timothy 5:13 indicates that they were spreading nonsense.  Paul would not have wanted women teaching under those circumstances..

Because of their lack of education women as a whole, obviously, were the most susceptible to false teaching.  And, of course, the church existed in a hostile religious society that believed Christians were subverting the traditional roles of both women and slaves.  So my contention is that Paul did not want women teaching under the circumstances that existed…but that his long-range solution to the problem…based on 1 Timothy 2:11…was to let them learn.

I believe Paul’s long-range plan was to liberate…not subordinate…women’s ministry.  The issue was not about gender…but about learning God’s Word.

A minister’s calling is not in his or her person.  A minister’s authority is inherent in their calling…and in their ministry of the Word.

I believe we should affirm all those whom God calls…whether male or female…and encourage them in faithfully learning God’s Word.  The fields of souls to be harvested are much greater than the numbers of those willing to labor in those fields…so I don’t believe God wants us eliminating true harvesters of souls on the basis of gender, skin color, or nationality.  We’re too shorthanded already of those willing to do God’s work.

In the 19th century two-thirds of all missionaries were women…and the faith they planted…especially in China…is exploding today.  Although China is officially an atheistic country…and persecution against Christians is rampant…the government has been unable to stop church growth.

In 1980 there were an estimated 10 million Christians in China.  By 2007 that number had grown to 60 million…and in 2015 to more than 100 million.  At the current growth rate of 7 percent annually…by 2030 China will have 247 million Christians…making it the largest Christian country in the world.

What we must remember is that this is happening because mustard seeds of faith were planted in China many years ago by missionaries like Lottie Moon.  Scripture tells us that God’s Word will not return to Him void…and it never does…whether delivered by a man, woman, boy or girl.

So I do not fear the destruction of the church…because Jesus told us that the gates of hell could not prevail against His Church.  It will stand against the strongest power that Satan can unleash against it…but I do fear for this country and its people…beguiled by a government intent on destroying every last vestige of Christian decency that hasn’t already been betrayed.

There’s a lot of talk nowadays about a worldwide revival of Islam, but almost no talk about a worldwide revival of Christianity.  Is it because the majority of Americans, including churchgoers, aren’t thinking about, or talking about, a revival of Christianity in this country?

You already know the answer.  A Godless culture is pervasive…apostasy is rampant…church attendance is declining…and the remnant of people remaining that are true to God’s Word are being hammered by constant spiritual warfare.

So while it’s true that no amount of Satan’s evil can destroy the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ…the same is not true of America.  Islam, abortion, homosexuality and permissive congregations that are going under the guise of being churches…all supported by unthinking liberal media, academia and politicians…have this country teetering on the edge of a precipice.

If our nation does not experience a Christian revival, and soon…America will collapse…giving rise to total annihilation of civilized society by the forces of Islam…by the abortion and homosexual movements…and by alleged Christian churches that refuse to open their doors to God’s Truth.  The only thing that can save this country is Fire from Heaven.

That’s why it’s important to know and understand what the forces of evil are attempting to do.  Islam is attempting to invade this country…using not only terrorism but also a subversive ideology that will definitely result in the murder of Christians and Jews…and anyone else who does not bow down to Allah and his prophet Muhammad.

Once Sharia Law is enacted in America…the nation will be in the Dark Ages.  When that happens there will be no talk about what is and isn’t the role of women in churches.  That’s because there will be no churches…at least not openly.  Men will be burned alive and beheaded…women and their daughters will become either sex slaves of Muslims or murdered because they are of no use to them.  And, young boys will be sodomized, enslaved and murdered when a reach a particular age.

How can I say this?  How can I not?  It’s going on all over the world in every country where Muslims have control.  And, anyone who refuses to see it has their head in the sand.

God wants us to bring as many people into the presence of Jesus as we possibly can…including Muslims…but He’s not asking us to be passive and allow His enemies to slaughter us.  Jesus said, “If you don’t have a sword, get one.”

I don’t think there’s a man among us who will voluntarily allow himself to be burned alive or beheaded…leaving the fate of his family in the hands of the most ideological political and Satan-driven movement in the world.  If a man understands what a one world government called Islam will do to his family…and to him if left unchecked…he’s going to fight.

It’s estimated that there are more than 43 million hunters in the United States…a number that does far more for national security than any entity in Washington.  During World War II, a Japanese military leader said the reason his country didn’t invade our country was because there would be an American with a rifle behind every blade of grass.

When government convinces its citizens to give up their weapons…the result has always been a dictatorship and death to those who advocate freedom.  Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The Jewish religion of Jesus’ day did not want the people to know the truth.  Islam does not want you to know the truth about its intentions…nor do the people who are supporting those intentions.

The truth about those intentions is not pleasant to think about…so many people prefer to dismiss them.  But, truth isn’t something you can escape.  It catches up to you…so to the best of your ability prepare for what is to come…and be ready to fight for your freedom.

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