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Women In Business Meetings?. The Changing Face of America. Is affecting God’s people: Morality Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse Teens Easy Divorce The role of women in home, society, work place, church. Unwittingly, perhaps, but true nevertheless. Church Tends to Reflect Society.

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women in business meetings
Women In Business Meetings?

June 23, 2010 Truth Magazine Lectures

The Changing Face of America...
  • Is affecting God’s people:
  • Morality
  • Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse
  • Teens
  • Easy Divorce
  • The role of women in home, society, work place, church

Unwittingly, perhaps, but true nevertheless

Church Tends to Reflect Society

it is difficult for some women
It Is Difficult for Some Women…
  • To occupy the role of CEO of a major corporation, or manager of a department or head of a government office during the day and submit to the role of the “weaker vessel” (1 Pet. 3:7) at home and in the congregation.
  • To sit quietly when men display an inability to make sound decisions and ignore wishes of half the congregation.
the changing role of women in america
The Changing Role of Women in America
  • Began in WW II with the need for women in assembly plants and they became accustomed to a paycheck and work outside the home.
  • Inequities between men and women became apparent and spawned Women’s Lib with far-reaching effects that endure today.
  • Insisting on equality at every level, some have demanded “civil rights” which extend to religious duties (priests, ecclesiastical orders, etc) as well as “rights” to abortion, homosexuality…
extremists found among catholics and protestants
Extremists Found Among Catholics and Protestants
  • Radical feminism is found in nearly every denomination today.
  • Demonstrations and court challenges are forcing the elevation of women to positions of authority.
  • The effect of this modern movement is more subtle among churches of Christ, but it does exist and should be noted: prayer teams, women song leaders, public leadership of women, & women serving at the Lord’s table are signs of change.
the 1990 freed hardeman preacher s forum women s role in the church
The 1990 Freed-Hardeman Preacher's Forum: Women's Role in the Church
  • Bob Randolph (Brookline, Mass) affirmed that only “cultural” limitations hindered women from being preachers, elders or even apostles.
  • Bering Drive church in Houston advertised: ("Wanted: Youth Minister. May be male, female or couple. Please send your resume to chairperson, Mrs. ______."(Both quotes: Wayne Goforth, Guardian of Truth XXXV: 1, pp. 10-11, January 3, 1991
  • Institutional churches of Christ have mainly accepted a modernized role for women in the church.
some closer brethren have embraced change
Some Closer Brethren Have Embraced Change
  • Vance E. Trefethen in “Confusion or Consensus” had the concept of women in the business meetings of the church (New Horizon Books, 1993).
  • This booklet envisioned “an increased role for women in the decision-making processes of local churches” and
  • asserted that private decision-making by elders was “without authority,” thus, sinful.
  • Brother Bobby Holmes reviewed the booklet in the Gospel Guardian that year. (truthmagazine.com/archives/volume37/GOT037374.html)
  • A written debate was held between Trefethen and myself during August-November, 1994.
affirmative proposition by trefethen
Affirmative Proposition by Trefethen
  • “Resolved: The scriptures teach that the pattern of decision-making in matters of congregational judgment must always include the whole church (including women) under male leadership in all local churches (both with and without elders).”
  • For the full written debate, see Truth Magazine.com/archives/XXXVIII: 16, p. 14-15 August 18, 1994, and succeeding issues)
affirmative proposition by roberts
Affirmative Proposition by Roberts
  • “Resolved: The scriptures teach that the elders of a local church are authorized to assemble privately to make decisions in matters of judgment for the local church without calling together the whole congregation.”
is there a pattern
Is There A Pattern?
  • Trefethen asserted that Acts 15 contains the pattern that includes women in business meetings. If one difference exists, no pattern.
  • Uniqueness of Acts 15 limits it to NT times
    • Apostles, prophets and Holy Spirit present to develop scripture for all churches; not possible in business meetings today (or elderships).
    • women were present, but not in leadership; how are women leaders while in subjection?
    • members from Antioch in attendance at meeting; can non-local members act in local decisions today?
  • Acts 15 is not a sole pattern for actions of churches today.
the pattern principle is true
The Pattern Principle Is True
  • If all the passages on the subject are accepted
  • 2 Tim 1:13; 1 Cor. 4:16
  • There is a pattern for making decisions in local churches.
  • Goal: look at all the passages
  • Find out what the pattern is
  • Compare what we do to be sure we are following the New Testament pattern
effect of this new approach
Effect of This New Approach
  • Other preachers have taken up the cause.
  • Militant sister in Virginia church who left the congregation when denied the right to attend business meetings (prior to 1994)
  • Unrest in congregation in Texas due to insistent brother advocating new position.
  • Should not underestimate the unsettling effect of this doctrine on congregations.
some disclaimers are necessary
Some Disclaimers Are Necessary
  • When a position is defended, some false assumptions are often assigned to speaker
  • It might be assumed that one holds to female inferiority.
  • It might be assumed that personal experience has clouded a personal view
  • Rather, a view that is Biblically based is carefully considered and defended.
disclaimer role of women
Disclaimer: Role of Women
  • Women are equal to men in quality and value! Let none teach otherwise.
  • Issue relates to a place of service, not value: use of talents peculiar to women.
  • Paul recognized this principle: 2 Cor. 10:12-18
  • Bible recognizes “headship” 1 Cor. 11:3
  • Place of service does not violate headship:
    • Angels are above men – we should not be bitter
    • Men are above women – they should not be bitterHeb. 2:7;1 Tim 2:11-15; 1 Pet 3:1-6; Jude 6
disclaimer submission
Disclaimer: Submission
  • In modern world, women rebel against “submission” as degrading
  • In Biblical terms, submission is a spiritual quality that is to be desired (by men and women)
    • Who is greatest in kingdom? Mk. 9:33-35; Sits in chief seats? Lk. 14:7-11; Washes feet? Jn. 13:3-5
    • Mind of Christ Phil 2:5-8
  • Did Jesus “lose value” when he submitted?
  • Do women “lose value” when submissive to God’s place of service?
disclaimer business meetings and matters of judgment
Disclaimer: Business Meetings and Matters of Judgment
  • Business meetings (or elders) do not change matters of “faith” Jude 3
  • Our discussion centers on decisions about matters of judgment, opinions or liberties.
  • Question: May a business meeting or eldership make a decision on matters of judgment without including the women?
  • Every collectivity must have a method of making decisions. God appointed men, not women, to work in this area of service Acts 6:3
final disclaimer decision making process and making decisions
Final Disclaimer: Decision Making Process and Making Decisions
  • There is a difference.
  • Example: in the home
    • Many important matters need to be decided
    • Free ranging discussion between husband and wife (decision-making process)
    • Husband will not “lord it over wife” but ask for advice
    • After all discussion, one must make decision, and that is the husband’s responsibility Eph 5:22-24; 1 Cor 11:3 He must not abdicate this responsibility.
  • This is God’s arrangement; abuses do not change the principle.
final disclaimer decision making process and making decisions18
Final Disclaimer: Decision Making Process and Making Decisions
  • Same principle applies in the church
  • Many ways for elders (or men) to receive input from members of local congregation
  • Local members (men and women) should not be ignored in considering important judgments.
  • The decision-making process includes this input
  • Then elders (or men in business meeting) make the final decision, considering all aspects.
  • Trefethen (and others) ignore this distinction and bind women in making the decision itself!
biblical elders or consensus
Biblical Elders or “Consensus”?
  • Non-Biblical word introduced: “consensus”
  • Meaning – “general agreement”
  • But this begs the question of “how” agreements are reached: democratic or Biblical?
  • Trefethen’s answer: give every member a vote!
  • This is raw majority rule: one person, one vote
  • Twelve year old girl’s vote, same weight as elder
  • If a majority of women in the church, women have the majority vote over the men – even if there are elders and not a business meeting!
are you ready for the application
Are You Ready For The Application?
  • A congregational meeting must be called every time a matter of judgment is before the church.
  • Elders can never make a decision in such matters without the whole church being present.
  • If no elders, same procedure must follow.
  • A vote must be taken: one person, one vote.
  • Submission does not exist in the ballot box: there can be no humility, headship or place of service.
  • Majority rule replaces eldership/business meetings.
two types of proof to be considered
Two Types of Proof To Be Considered









acts 15 does not authorize the contention
Acts 15 Does Not Authorize The Contention
  • Remember: “It is unscriptural for elders to have a private meeting without the whole church, including the women.”
  • Acts 15:6 “apostles and elders came together to consider this matter…”
  • But note Gal 2:1-2 which refers to same meeting: “I went up by revelation…and communicated to them, but privately to those who were of reputation…” Verses 7-9 inform us that it was James, Peter, John and Barnabas.
other passages acts 4 34 37
Other Passages: Acts 4:34-37
  • Decisions, from the beginning, were made privately (not secretly) as some imply.
  • Apostolic decisions showed male leadership making private decisions about:
    • who were needy
    • how much was given to each person
    • how long the benevolence was given
    • without congregational meetings
  • “Consensus” says they sinned.
acts 6 1 6
Acts 6:1-6
  • Apostles privately decided to change previous practices
  • Privately decided not to wait on tables
  • Privately decided to appoint 7 men (not women) for this service.
  • What they decided privately pleased the whole multitude
  • This is the tradition of apostles 2 Thes 2:15; 3:16 even though men were appointed to serve the needs of women (widows)
acts 9 26 28
Acts 9:26-28
  • A private judgment on part of apostles in Jerusalem concerning Paul’s membership.
  • Whole church (including women) were not present. No sin was involved.
  • Can elders interview prospective members today to determine faithfulness without sinning?
acts 11 27 30
Acts 11:27-30
  • Local elders acted on behalf of needy brethren as they received funds from other churches
  • Doing the work of a bishop: an overseer, a man charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly (Thayer, 243).
  • Elders act as agents for the church (as though the whole church were present) in the distribution of benevolence. Consensus denies agency! The whole church must always act.
  • But the whole church (including women) were not present when the elders acted!
acts 13 1 3
Acts 13:1-3
  • Prophets and teachers were “in” the church but were not the whole church. There were all males.
  • They met privately, before and without calling the entire church together (including women)
  • These private functions as males under oversight of God show that males may act on behalf of a congregation without calling the entire congregation together.
  • Barnabas and Saul (no female evangelists) began their evangelistic work.
acts 15 1 31 gal 2 1 10
Acts 15:1-31; Gal. 2:1-10
  • Paul and other brethren met privately to make decisions about Gentile converts and fellowship
  • At times, the whole church was present and at times, a limited number of men met together.
  • It is poor exegesis that uses Acts 15 to deny elders the right to meet privately to act on behalf of the congregation.
  • The “decrees” were determined by the apostles and elders, not whole church (Acts 16:4).
  • Whole church was pleased and was included in the letter that was sent out (Acts 15:22-23).
acts 20 17 36
Acts 20:17-36
  • Contention: Acts 15 is the only pattern; it is a sin for elders to meet privately and make a decision without the women and whole church.
  • Yet, Paul and elders from Ephesus met privately at Miletus and received instructions from Paul relating to their work as elders over the church and on behalf of the church.
  • The very things that are contended as wrong are clearly seen in this passage – as part of the “pattern” of NT teaching.
acts 21 15 26
Acts 21:15-26
  • Paul’s presence in Jerusalem disturbed the “assembly” – the whole church.
  • But Paul and the eldership met privately and the elders acted on behalf of the church without the church (including women) being present.
  • They “took heed” and “watched” (Acts 20:28) and the whole church benefited but not present.
  • Some are trying to deny elders the very right that God has obligated them to do.
  • Remember Miriam (Num 12:1-8)!
word study
Word Study
  • Importance of such a study: 1 Cor. 2:13
  • When one is a bishop and “exercises oversight” he is and does expressly what the Holy Spirit authorized.
  • Divine concepts (“spiritual things”) are expressed through divine precepts (“spiritual words”) and are wisdom from God.
  • Human concepts (congregational-decision-making) are expressed through human precepts (“consensus,” “voting”)and are human wisdom.
elder presbyter
Elder, Presbyter
  • Gk: presbuteros. Acts 14:23;20:17; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:5. “(3) in the Christian churches, those who, being raised up and qualified by the work of the Holy Spirit, were appointed to have the spiritual care of, and to exercise the oversight, over the churches” (Vine, Vol. II, 21).
  • We do not need to stretch the definition out of shape to see the authority given to elders.
  • Without authority, they are figure-heads.
bishop overseer
Bishop, Overseer
  • Gk: episkopos. 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:7. “An overseer, a man charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly, any curator, guardian or superintendent…spec. the superintendent, head or overseer of any Christian church” (Thayer 243).
  • Verb form, 1 Pet 5:1-2, “tend the flock, exercising the oversight…” (Vine 167).
  • Again, no need to stretch meaning to get the substance of Spirit’s message.
pastors shepherds
Pastors, Shepherds
  • Gk: poimenas. “a shepherd, one who tends herds or flocks (not merely one who feeds them), is used metaphorically of Christian ‘pastors,’ Eph. 4:11. Pastors guide as well as feed the flock; cp. Acts 20:28, which, with v. 17, indicates that this was the service committed to elders (overseers, bishops); so in 1 Pet. 5:1-2, ‘tend the flock, exercising the oversight;’ this involves tender care and vigilant superintendence” (Vine 167).
  • Gk: poimaino. Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2. “To act as a shepherd,” (quoting Trench). “The tending (which includes this) consists of other acts, of discipline, authority, restoration, material assistance of individuals, but they are incidental in comparison with the feeding” (Vine 87, 88).
  • To deny elders the right of exercising their authority unless women (or other men) are equal make a travesty of definitions.
  • The majority right of voting denies the Word.
  • Gk: kathistami. “prop. To set down, put down…(a) to seat one over a thing (the charge of it), Acts 6:3…(b) to appoint one to administer an office, Tit. 1:5” (Thayer 314).
  • To say that one is appointed (as an elder) to be “over a charge” or to “administer an office” and then deny one the right to exercise that office is a denial of definitions.
  • Elders are appointed to function…or they are not. Which is it?
  • Gk: proistemi. 1 Thes. 5:12; 1 Tim. 3:4; 5:17. “To set or place before; to set over. A. To be over, to superintend, preside over, rule” (Thayer 539). Also hegeomai. Heb. 13:7, 17. “To lead, is translated to rule” (Vine 307).
  • Please note the lack of restrictions on these definitions. It is not stated that they may “rule” only if the whole church (including the women) are present and that each member has an equal rule as the elder.
let elders do their work
Let Elders Do Their Work
  • There is no ambiguity to the scriptures or to the definitions.
  • Much harm is done to the peace and calm of congregations when artificial and unauthorized restrictions are placed upon elderships.
  • The Holy Spirit “makes” elders by the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.
  • It is ludicrous to use the terminology of scripture without applying the definitions.
  • This is what elders are and what they do.
congregation s role toward elders
Congregation’s Role Toward Elders
  • Submit (Gk. hupeiko) “To resist no longer, to give way, yield. Metaph. To yield to authority and admonition, to submit, Heb. 13:17” (Thayer 638).
  • Obey (Gk peitho). “1. To persuade, i.e., to induce one by words to believe…2. a. to be persuaded, to suffer one’s self to be persuaded… b. to listen to, obey, yield to, comply with, Acts 5:36-39; Acts 23:21; 27:11; Rom. 2:8; Gal. 3:1; Heb. 13:17; Jas. 3:3” (Thayer 497).
women s subjection
Women’s Subjection
  • Submit (Gk. hupotage), 1 Tim. 2:11. “1. The act of subjecting, 2. obedience, subjection, to arrange under, to subordinate, to subject, put in subjection” (Thayer 645).
  • Brethren must decide whether women are going to follow or lead; to be equal in decision-making or not.
  • In congregations with a majority of women, even if elders are present, the vote denies the authority of elders. If not, why not?
  • Changes to the Bible pattern have always led away from faithfulness and into apostasy.
  • We cannot follow the ways of the world and allow the role of Godly women to change with modern free thought.
  • The church is not a democracy and “civil liberty” of women is not scriptural.
  • With heaven in mind, let us all be in subjection to God and to one another and serve God in the manner in which we are called.