I live in an area that is predominately liberal, both politically and theologically. When we first moved here I suspected that finding an ideal church to join would be difficult. There was a SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) church nearby so we tried that. It was a nice church with good programs and very nice people, eager to befriend and plug us in to ministry. All seemed in order, with one exception—they had a woman serving as a deacon. Even so, in lieu of taking the time to find another church, I was willing to overlook this detail as long as their view of the office of Deacon didn’t violate 1 Timothy 2:12. With that said, I must admit it was a mistake. It wasn’t until one Wednesday evening service, when the pastor preached on 1 Cor. 11:1-16, that it became very clear what path this church was on. The pastor made an announcement the Sunday prior as to what he would be preaching that upcoming Wednesday night and the attendance doubled the average for a mid-week service. Up until that point I had never seen so many attentive, note-taking, women in the pews of that church as I did that night.
To be sure, being created in the image of God is the great equalizer of mankind. While men and women have separate roles in the family and in the church, they are equally responsible before God for their own relationship with the Father. We all have an equal call to surrender to Him and live by His Word. Part of this includes an appropriate response to the submissive order of things as God has declared them to be. God Himself isn’t even excluded from this abidance of order. We see submission to rank and order within the Trinity, do we not?
As it turned out this church was in transition from a conservative view to a liberal view in terms of how they interpret and apply the teachings of the Bible. Many churches are in that predicament today. This is largely because “the Church is not touching the culture as it used to”…instead…”the culture has by and large invaded the Church.” – Ken Ham. They took all of the precepts of 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 as strictly subjective and cultural in context declaring them to be not applicable for today’s church. God has a purpose and plan for everyone of us, and part of that plan requires adherence to certain roles for men and women in the church. Israel was commanded time and time again to adhere to God’s commands, and their disobedience meant significant judgment and pain for them. As the church we are certainly NOT Israel, but God’s mandates for us are just as important.
In light of what the Bible teaches about the individual roles for men and women in glorifying God in the church, what are some of the practical negative results of taking a less-than-high view of this passage (ie. allowing for women pastors/elders etc.)? What are some positive results of obeying God’s desire for maintaining order in the church, as addressed in this passage?