Sunday, September 21, 2008

Official Policy Regarding the Role of Women in Public Worship

The role of women in the public worship of the church has become a contentious issue recently. Despite the clear teaching of scripture and long-held traditions, I was asked several months ago to draft a statement that would be distributed amongst Churches of Christ. I have wrestled with this task. I have anguished over the biblical texts. I have incorporated historical, cultural, and extra-biblical evidence from the Greco-Roman world. But mostly, I have remained unwavering in our historic commitment to the inerrancy of scripture, its clear teaching, and hence the need to take it literally without picking or choosing which commandments we will follow as those in liberal denominations do. The following notice will go out over the wires first thing Monday morning:

To all faithful members of the Church of Christ:
Effective immediately the following rules will be adopted with regards to the role of women in the public worship of the church. We regret that such a notice is necessary, but some among us have not taken seriously the plain commandments of the Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians 14 and 1st Timothy 2. Henceforth all women are to remain silent in the assembly. Thus far we have not permitted women to preach, lead prayers, or make announcements, but now they will not be permitted to ask questions in class, or participate in the singing. Silence means silence! Women will, however, be permitted to serve communion since this involves no speaking or authority. Furthermore, since we are uncertain where to place the comma in 1st Timothy 2:12, women will no longer be permitted to teach in any capacity. This includes ladies classes and children's classes. ALL classes must be taught by a man. It is better to be safe than sorry. Women will be required to dress modestly. This means that no woman will be allowed to enter the assembly wearing braided hair, gold jewelry, pearls, or clothing purchased at major department stores (expensive clothing). As part of our biblical dress code, all women will be required to wear a head covering. Any modest hat or scarf will do. Ladies, if you have any questions, please follow the scripture and ask your husbands at home.
Thank you.