The Forum

The Forum

Dear Brother in Christ:

I question statements made by brother D. McC. relative to the implications of 1 Corinthians chapter 11. He stated, and I quote, “The subject matter of the letter deals with the Christian’s relationship to the local church and how he or she is to act therein. It therefore follows that what Paul says about women in chapter 11 does not apply to them in their homes or outside the local church activities” (End of quotation).

In view of the Apostle’s instruction in chapter 14 regulating women speaking in the gathered assembly, it must of necessity follow that his instruction in chapter 11 did not have in view particularly the gathered assembly, for there he does not enjoin silence in his instruction. W. E. Vine, in his exposition of chapter 11:5, says that the idea that the gathering of the assembly is here in view is ruled out by the command of chapter 14:34.

It is quite possible that if there was faith to receive what is presented in chapter 11 covering either sex, it would materially alter our decorum in closet, public prophesying, the family altar, or in the assembly.

Our brother made some statement relative to a Christian woman’s hair and its length. What he said was true in part, but honestly, if I purposed to teach on this chapter, I would be constrained to lay the whole matter out fully lest I be found guilty before my God of neglect of a charge.

Yours in Christ,
S. B.

Dear Brother B.:

The editor of Food for the Flock has forwarded to me excerpts from your letter pertaining to my article in the Youth Section entitled “Then God Made Woman.”

I was indeed surprised that any portion of 1 Corinthians II could be construed as having a direct application outside the local church; however, I did welcome fresh ideas and have given the chapter a study in depth since receiving your thoughts. After such additional review I must reaffirm my original stand. My reasons for doing so are outlined below. In chapter 10:21, Paul speaks of our partaking at the Lord’s table, obviously referring to the local church. In chapter 11:22, he speaks of our eating the Lord’s supper and specifically mentions the “church of God.” Under what circumstances then could we ever consider the verses between these two passages as referring to situations outside the church of God? It is inconsistent with the rules of proper interpretation of the Word of God.

Chapter 14 is dealing with the subject of public speaking in the local church. It clearly defines the function of men and women, hence, suggesting that a mixed gathering is in view. Clearly the men are to do the ministering and the women are to be silent.

How then can we reconcile chapter 14:34 with chapter 11:5? If chapter 14 refers to a mixed gathering, as when the whole church is gathered, then chapter 11:5 must refer to a gathering of women only. These chapters are referring to the gathering of the local assembly, either in part or the whole.

I do not wish to suggest that the home is not in view for nothing should be done by any Christian as an individual that is inconsistent with the principles by which he gathers collectively. However, in my opinion the home is not directly in view in the context of these chapters.

With respect to the paragraph of your letter concerning the length of women’s hair, I am extremely disappointed that you did not elaborate. You have inferred that I am guilty of not (quote), “Laying the whole matter out fully,” and hence neglectful of a charge. Since you did not elaborate, I am not aware of your thought processes that resulted in your conclusion. I would have thought that since you felt so strongly about the matter, you would have set forth some alternatives. I must assume that you have none. I would refer you to the third paragraph of the article where I said, “In order to obtain a comprehensive picture of the entire teaching, all four Scriptures must be considered.” I personally felt (else I would not have released it) that the article covered the subject matter in sufficient depth to give young people a precise, scriptural definition of the truth. I am indeed sorry that you did not feel that this was done.

I did not want to suggest that my coverage of the subject was exhaustive for no writer or speaker, no matter how learned or eloquent, could exhaust the thoughts of any subject or passage of the Word of God.

I trust that our variances of opinion are not merely a matter of semantics but an effort to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

Your brother by grace,
D. McC.