August 22, 2008

Corinthian Disorder

The message of Christianity creates an upheaval of social order. No flesh can glory in God's presence. No distinction of persons is acknowledged by the Holy Spirit. In fact Paul says that God chooses the weak and foolish things of the world to confound the wise and the mighty.

Christ as a youth confounded the wise men at the temple. His ministry gained wide acceptance among the common masses. He attacked the religious leaders and at times mocked their wisdom with his replies. He chose simple common men to be his close disciples. He courted national disaster by rousing a riot of common men by riding into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. He received the honor due to a great king! He left a template to be followed in the expansion of the Church.

Peter encountered this template in a vision. All that God had made was not to be considered unclean. Paul's proposition for the gospel was the power of God is for everyone that believes. No more were there Jew and Gentile, free or slave, man or woman, rich or poor. The leader was a servant. A poor slave would be served by a leader. He or she would have a voice in ministry.
A slave could prophecy in open assembly! However a woman had to have her head covered in order to pray or prophesy. This concession like the one made by James in Jerusalem to the missionaries going to gentiles was made to accommodate the Jews spread abroad throughout the world.

Paul had to make concessions to women at Corinth. If they needed to know anything they should ask their husbands at home. She should not exercise authority over men in a teaching capacity. (I Cor 14:34; I Tim 2:11) This establishes the ongoing problem of keeping peace in the Church. Biblical teaching mingles with tradition and culture in order to have peace among the brotherhood. The common catch phrase for this endeavor is Paul's admonition. "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."

Ministries today are built upon this, "all things decently and in order". Decorum must prevail. However this has evolved into a non-biblical ecclesiastical structure. The template left by Christ has been abandoned. The gap between pulpit and pew is built upon a terrible restriction to the common man.

Conflict in Corinth is not a problem anymore for our mega-churches. Decorum without peace is not the goal. Bellevue had decorum but providence proved otherwise. How many churches have peace in America? Men create decorum but God brings peace. He is the author of peace.

"But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." -Matthew 20:25-28

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