Youth Ministry: Question Regarding the Training of Young Men I was young (and woolly mammoths ruled the earth), it was customary for churches to have “young men’s leadership classes,” in which the “young men” — being the teenage boys — were trained in how to be leaders in church. The classes typically covered: how to lead singing, how to lead a prayer, how to give a public talk, and how to lead and pass trays during the communion.

These have now largely gone out of fashion, and the older members have been known to complain about this. The younger members, of course, have no idea what they’re missing (or avoiding!) But I went through a couple of these classes, and I can now very effectively pass trays in the church.

Obviously, contemporary youth ministers and other leaders see little value in these classes. Then again, I’ll bet that smaller churches still do these, because they have a smaller pool of volunteers. They can’t count on finding a capable communion meditation leader unless they train one up. But that’s just my guess.

And so, dear readers — what do you think? Should we have training classes of this nature? Should we have them but improve them somehow? If so, how? Or should we figure than any community of 75 or more adults (the average church size) ought to have someone in it who can do these things without training?

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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58 Responses to Youth Ministry: Question Regarding the Training of Young Men

  1. Rich W says:

    Lads to Leaders is the way to go.

  2. Royce Ogle says:

    It doesn't take a rocket scientist to pass the trays. They go down one pew and back the other way. Even I got the hang of it after only a few rows.


  3. Tony Coccia says:

    We are experiencing the effect of mature men who are unwilling to take the time to work with the younger men, and this stems from fathers who misprioritize 'their' time! These classes are just as important as any bible class would be, maybe more so in terms of training young men to take some initiative. I just began to teach one young teenager how to lead singing. He's 13 and is excited about it. He was very enthusiastic in our first 20 minute session. My plan is to spend two 20 minutes sessions per week with him. I provided a music theory book that we work through in one session, and we do vocal training once per week. I decided that after our song leader spent 4 sessions with a small group of young teens over 4 weeks (without using a pitch pipe), and after seeing the results of that effort, I am going to work with one person at a time for about 8 weeks. I will also bring together more than one as I build a group of these protegees for further training.

  4. J.D. says:

    How about instead of teaching these young men the minutae of our little club meetings, we start encouraging and training them up to be SOUL-WINNERS?

    Any idiot who has been attending church services for more than 3 or 4 times can see exactly how to perform the charades we go through every Sunday. If you need someone to teach you how to hand off a tray up and down the rows, then perhaps you're too mentally incapable to do the job. And you're either a song leader or you're not.

    To me, this is just another symptom of the COC's focus inward, with little emphasis on outreach. Instead of droning on and on about how to correctly pass a cup of juice, how about we round up the guys and take them out and teach them how to mow lawns for the elderly and disabled? How about we take them around and show them how to hand out blankets to the homeless? How about we take them along on bible studies? Why not teach them to rightly divide the word? We need to be teaching them how to be good people and faithful Christians, not how to do things that they've witnessed time and time again.

  5. Terry says:

    From the time my son could walk, he has followed me around. He has followed me as I have passed the communion trays (and now he does it). He has been with my wife and me as we have led Bible studies in homes. He has been with us as we have visited people in the hospital. He has heard us make phone calls to people who were having problems. He has been at the kitchen table during our devotionals (and now he leads the prayers).

    The best option has been for me to train my son. However, some boys do not have believing fathers. They need men who will come alongside them and help them to develop too.

  6. I think people need the opportunity to practice in a non-threatening setting. Praying, reading scripture, presenting brief meditations in public settings can be nerve racking for some.

  7. laymond says:

    " Or should we figure than any community of 75 or more adults (the average church size) ought to have someone in it who can do these things without training?"

    If they can't, they may be taking "become as little children" to seriously. 🙂

  8. Alan says:

    When I think of training young leaders, I'm not thinking about public roles in a worship service. Instead I'm thinking about spiritual leadership among their peers. That includes personal evangelism, leading and inspiring others to serve, calling others to a godly life, setting an example and calling others to follow. It includes growing in the depth of Bible knowledge, learning discernment in how the Bible applies to their own lives and to the lives of others they influence.

  9. Price says:

    Children will immitate what they see their parents doing….no matter how embarrassing it is for the partents. Teenagers will avoid doing what their parents are doing at all costs. College kids think they can do what their parents do much better than their parents do it.

    It is challenging in every age to determine what best to teach these young people. I see it as a two pronged approach: One for service to others and then taking care of one's own backyard.

    Having the opportunity to minister and serve the poor and visit the sick and all that is awesome…it should be done. Mission trips should be encouraged, etc., etc…But we can't forget about the House that we worship in and the Responsibility that we each have toward it.

    Many a young man has had a calling put on his life in these young men's training classes that perhaps we all over 50 have been a part of…I remember the first time that me and all my buddies had our chance to close down the service, or prepare and give a mini sermon, lead singing, pass the plate…It was a more a manhood step than a spiritual step. It was about being a Part of the congregation. For me and my buddies, it was cool.

    Not every young man will want to nor should they ever consider leading singing. Some will like preaching, others won't. Some will find a heart for missions and community service..others something else but we all should have a heart for our church family and pitch in and contribute to it. Anything that helps make us more of a family in relationship should be attempted.

    Now, what about the girls ??

    Who teaches them to lead singing like Miriam?
    Who teaches them to pray like Huldah ?
    Who teaches them to serve like Phoebe ?
    Who teaches them to teach the scripture like Sapphira?

  10. Tony Coccia says:

    Passing trays doesn't have to be learned, but the others are worthy of our time & attention. To suggest that helping the younger ones learn to do a devo or lead a song is not worthy compared to service oriented tasks needs to broaden their perspective.

    Soul winning is much different in the US compared to other countries for cultural reasons. Our electronic gadgets are impdeding our ability from a very young age to understand how to interact with each other, and when you give a cup of cold water, or pat someone on the back, you don't fear rejection as when trying to set up bible studies because they need a relationship base to get started.

    Let's remember that God gives the increase, and everyone has special abilities. Not everyone can sit down and teach one on one. What I teach in church is that God has created all of us with the inate ability to speak to others about anything we are excited about/interested in. When people become familiar with you as a person and think they can trust you to be honest, you can get bible studies and win souls, either directly or in concert with someone else (someone plants, someone waters, etc.).

    Several of you who have responded to Jay's post underestimate the "value" in taking the time to build the relationship in order to take someone under your wing and teach a skill that serves the church. You can't teach someone how to care for someone else, they learn it from their relationships (hopefully at home from the time they're born). So if you want to teach devo training, singing, service oriented projects, ets., you better begin by taking a PERSONAL interest in that person first, or you're just marking time.

  11. Tony Coccia says:

    Hopefully the older womwn are teaching the younger.

  12. abasnar says:

    The classes typically covered: how to lead singing, how to lead a prayer, how to give a public talk, and how to lead and pass trays during the communion.

    I came to Christ at the age of 18 out of a non-Christian background. Within the first year after my conversion, I was in a group where I learned how to cultivate a living relationship with Christ: Which means: How to pray (not how to lead a prayer), how to study the Bible, how to enjoy our "blessed assurance".

    These studies lasted for about a year on a weekly basis, and they have been foundational for the rest of my life. The focus was not to develop leadership qualifications.

    From my personal experience I can say, it is good to be challenged, but I also think some aspects were overlooked. I was soon invited to lead a Bible Study in our youth group, or in Home-Bible Groups. But I also noticed, that my brain and knowledge were growing faster than my heart, which caused me to stumble into major crisis.

    I feel a bit uneasy when I read so much about leading in the quote above. How about learning how to read and write first, and – most of all – to serve well? One of the best experiences in our youth group to this respect was:

    Cleaning the appartment of an elderly sister of our church (we only did this one, though).
    Helping to clean the church building.

    We never did much as helping the needy as being a focus of our growth in Christ. I haven't seen many youth groups who train the young Christians to develop an awarness for this.

    So, I'd like to question the focus on leading at that young an age. But I'd encourage everyone to pray out loud, or to sing aloud – not only when standing in front of the church; and, yes, we should develop the skills of speaking, if that's our gift and calling from the Lord.

    I noticed a temptation to become proud when being in public too soon. And I had to survive a major spiritual crisis before I really started growing in Christ and then also grew into the ministry. My first sermon I shared 8 or 9 years after my baptism … (age 26 or 27). Not that I am the bench mark, but just as a question concerning the focus …

    Maybe, if we sow on service, we will reap leaders; but of we sow on leadership, we will reap managers, clergy or even tyrants …


  13. I think Tony is right about personal mentoring. I also think J.D. is right about leadership growing out of service more than out of classes.

    A class can help give experience in a non-threatening environment. For that reason, it is useful. Yet, if we think leadership classes in the traditional sense will solve the leadership crisis in the churches, we are barking up the wrong tree.

    I see Paul taking young men under his wing to raise up the next generation of leaders. Among our black brethren, many are still preaching who were protégés of Marshal Keeble or of those whom he taught. In Ukraine, I saw men stepping up to lead new churches because they are first committed to the Lord and to service.

    When we instill a love for the Lord, the ability to pray will follow because we want to talk with those whom we love. When we communicate a passion for the lost, people will find a way to communicate the good news to them. When we give a person a heart for service, the way that servant-heart is expressed will not matter greatly, but it will come out.

    In short, we need to focus on the hearts of people rather than on trying to merely give them techniques.

    However, it is not an either-or choice. There are certainly some things where technique is important – such as song-leading. Yet, even here having the love for singing praises to God is more important than musical talent and knowledge.


  14. abasnar says:

    Hopefully the older womwn are teaching the younger.

    There even is a "curriculum":

    Tit 2:3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,
    Tit 2:4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,
    Tit 2:5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

    Not very popular in our days, huh? But also something to teach:
    the negect of this does result in an increased need for marriage-counselling, mediation and lawyers …

    But then we should also teach young men, to become responsible men and husbands, learning how to preside or lead a family. And – as Price said:

    Children will immitate what they see their parents doing….no matter how embarrassing it is for the partents. Teenagers will avoid doing what their parents are doing at all costs. College kids think they can do what their parents do much better than their parents do it.

    A healthy church with healthy families and transparent lives will be a seedbed for fathers and mothers in Christ. (That's what I like about the pastoral letters)


  15. As has been previously stated, it didn't take much time to figure out how to pass communion trays.

    I grew up in a very small congregation (about 20 people on Sunday morning). The way our congregation did things was that the fathers would teach their sons all of these things. It was his responsibility (of course the rest of the family helped out, I remember leading songs in front of the family when I was 8 for practice). Unfortunately my father passed away when I was 13… so the rest of the men in the congregation worked with me and helped me develop… not just in leading songs, and teaching, but in all aspects of my walk.

  16. Snap Knight says:

    Why all the focus in "passing out the communion trays."? I was in a group when I was a kid and we did the same things. We also went to other churches to teach Wed night classes (Or sometimes Sun PM service). We led the singing, said the prayers, and taught the lesson.

    This was invaluable in forming who I am today. Many of the kids that were in that group went on to Christian colleges, became preachers and missionaries. Many became elders and deacons.

    There was something similar called Tabitha class for the young girls.

    We were members of a rather large congregation. I made friends in that class (we met on Sat mornings from 9-11) that are still valuable to me today. Don't discount such an effort.

    It's not all about "passing the trays". As a matter of fact, I don't think we even learned how to pass trays.

  17. Grizz says:


    Who are these young people we are talking about?

    If they are disciples of Christ, then let them receive training and be raised up to exercise the gift(s) they have to the glory of our Father. If they are anything else, let them be taught and exhorted and loved and mentored until they make their choice to become disciples of Christ.

    Becoming a disciple is accepting responsibility to the body, the family of God. If one is mature enough to understand a commitment to Christ, then that one is also old enough to follow through on that commitment in whatever way God gifts them to serve and according to the measure of their faith.

    Expecting anything less than full service reaps a harvest of less than full service disciples. The thing is, though, that I do not find any of those less-than-full-service-disciples described in the scriptures. So where do they come from? Where do we see less-than-full-service disciples except where men and women have modelled such 'service'?

    The point is that no matter what age we are talking about, the responsibility to use the gifts we have been given is the same. So the training, modelling, mentoring, disciple-building process needs to be present for ALL ages…set up for maturity levels, not ages. A 40-yr old man or woman who has just come to Christ will need as much training as the 16-yr old member of the youth group.

    Honestly, the question should not be do we need the classes, but rather when (if ever) do we NOT need these classes/relationships?

    Until we get serious about being and making disciples, we should at least stop pretending we are.



  18. Doug says:

    The most important thing that a young person needs to learn is to love their Lord God with all their hearts and their neighbors as themselves. If they realy get that down, the communion and plate passing will take care of itself. Not everyone is meant to be a song leader or an evangelist or an Elder or Deacon. But, we are all meant to love God with every bit of us and to love each other.

    The WORST thing we can do is to make young people believe that showing up 3 times a week at the building and doing those jobs that need to be done there is the end all of Christian life. If you want to get excited about Jesus you need to actually tell someone else about Him. It seems to me that we teach folks about how to do that every Sunday but never help them find the venue to actually do it. We need to get the young & not-so-young people out of the Church building and into contact with people who need salvation.

  19. Brad Adcock says:

    Jay can correct me if I'm wrong, but I was pretty sure that Jay's statement about being able to pass the communion trays was a joke. Don't know why it seems to have completely flown over a lot of heads and has strangely become the central topic in the comments.

    That said, all have made some needed, valid points – though I personally don't know why there's all this opposition to such classes. Everyone seems to be approaching this as if it's an either-or situation. I personally wish I'd had access to such classes growing up. There's a huge difference in being able to pray oneself and in being able to stand in front of a congregation and leading them in prayer, or any function of worship for that matter. I could easily pray for a long time before I was prepared for praying in worship on behalf of the congregation; it simply took experience to get used to – same with leading singing or preaching, too. Being nervous in front of groups doesn't disappear suddenly because you're in church; some places might even make it worse.

  20. Michael says:

    I am a product of such classes and believe we are missing good opportunities by not training young men the way we should. In the small congregation where I grew up, I was leading singing and delivering lessons before I got to high school. It hit me hard a few years ago when some of our congregation's high school boys where I currently attend were asked to speak in front of the church and most had a hard time putting three coherent sentences together.

    Some of you commentors bash the practice of passing communion way too much. No one said it was a difficult task, but it can be intimidating for a young boy. You would not take a young boy that was planning to be a scientist and drop him off in a calculus class. You would teach him 2+2 first, not a difficult task, but a first step.

    Certainly none of the lessons Jay referred to should be thought of as the end product. Ultimately, God wants his children to imitate the Son and bear fruit for the kingdom.

  21. Jay Guin says:

    From an email:

    Jay, this seems to be a question from another time! Our young people (not just our young men) need to be trained for service in the assemblies and more importantly, outside the assemblies. I hope you were able to take in some of the classes on gender offered at the ACU Summit. For a 75 year old woman raised in Churches of Christ, they were a breath of hope for the future. I would particularly recommend Mark Hamilton's "Ancient Words", Ken Cukrowski's "A Fly on the Wall', Stephen Johnson's "Half the Church", and Randy Harris's third session of "Too Many Books, Too Little Time." People like you, with voices, could help so much to breathe life into "half (or more) of the church." Young men's training classes, along with the "Men's Business Meeting", should pass off the scene!

  22. Jay Guin says:

    Also from an email:

    In One Cup churches young and old men are trained to serve at the Lord's table, lead singing, public prayers and public teaching. We use a public teaching rotation, we have 7 teachers in our congregation. Male members are encouraged to develop their skills for participation in the assembly. We ask parents to let their young boys, even before they obey the Gospel, to take up the contribution and help pass the Lord's Supper. We want the children involved, OJT is a great way to get them used to public service.
    God Bless!!

  23. Royce Ogle says:

    "'And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,and your sons and your DAUGHTERS shall prophesy,,,,,even on my male servants and FEMALE servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy." Acts 2:17-18

    Where are those women? Obviously not in churches of Christ. I assure you that statement from Peter, quoting Joel, was not just words to fill out a sermon. They were at work in the first century and they are laboring in the gospel now.

  24. abasnar says:

    Where are those women?

    And one ist tempted to add the question: And where are their head-coverings? You can't speak of the prophesying daughters without the second issue, can you (1Co 11:5)?

    Anyway, I understood the topic to be about training for leadership in church from a young age. Women won't lead and teach the church, so I was surprized about some remarks that suggested otherwise (If I understood them right). That's why I quoted the "Curriculum" for the sisters …

    While I encourage to be trained in the relationship to God, to be traines to learn how to pray, how wto read and understand the Scriptures, how to encourage (which is part of prophesy) one another, how to serve … which applies to both brothers and sisters alike; I hesitate to offer "leadership-focussed" classes for young belivers. Once the spiritual gifts necessary for leadership and a good reputation become visible, these brothers shall be taken aside by the elders and – step by step – be trained for the calling. Within the church … we don't need seminaris for that …


  25. Price says:

    Royce, I'm definitely in your camp on the women's roles. Perhaps Jay would open up the discussion in another thread to that since this one is perhaps more focused on the training of young men…Or perhaps he already did once before and I missed it…

  26. Rich W says:

    If Jay were to have a teacher's appreciation dinner at his congregation (and the rest of ours as well) where spouses were not invited, the majority in attendance would be women.

    Likewise, about 60% of members who attend worship each week are women.

    I'm a Christian today because I enjoyed my third grade bible class teacher (a woman) so much.

    God bless our women who have such a great influence!

  27. Doug says:

    Alexander likes to write about "head coverings" but I prefer Galations 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek , there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus". Of course, we are both gulty of proof-texting.

    I don't favor female Elders or Deacons but teachers? If the choice is between an ungifted male teacher and a gifted female teacher… I'll go with the gifted one everytime. Some biblical instructions were obviously for the times and specific needs of the instruction recipient. We need to be careful about this but God did give us brains to consider things such as this.

  28. abasnar says:

    I don't really want to turn this thread into a discussion of male leadership. I just wanted to point out that the topic started with training young men for ministry … In the end (and that's my final word on this issue) I am convinced that this is not only about gifts but also about God's order – and I am very unwilling to discuss God's order; it has to be followed.


  29. Terry says:

    As I have thought a little more about this topic for the last day or so, I think it may be a good idea for some kind of training program to be developed so that the mature men in the congregation can help the boys to develop into the men that they are meant to be. It would include training in how to lead in a worship service or Bible class, but it should be extended far beyond those areas of life.

    We live in a society in which some boys are growing up without responsible men in their immediate lives who are taking the time to help them to mature. Many boys are growing up without fathers because of divorce, abandonment, imprisonment, and/or mothers who will not allow the fathers near their children. Other boys are growing up with irresponsible or passive fathers.

    The men of the church could help these boys to learn to be responsible, to take initiative, and to be courageous. It could make a world of difference to these kids.

    Boys need to learn to take responsibility. After all, as a boy grows older, he will find that more responsibilities of leadership will fall to him. He will not only be expected to fulfill responsibilities in the church; he will be expected to meet obligations in his family, his place of employment, his community, and other places. He will need to learn what his responsibilities are and how to fulfill them. He will need the encouragement to step up and be a man (rather than remain a boy) in those areas. Churches should be full of responsible men…and it begins with helping the boys to understand what is expected of them, and then helping them to develop the skills they need.

    Boys also need to learn to take initiative. When they see problems and obstacles, they need to be able to step up and try to solve the problems or overcome the obstacles. In order to be good men, they cannot be passive. They cannot be whiners. They need to be problem-solvers.

    Finally, boys need to be encouraged to be courageous. They need to be challenged to protect those for whom they are responsible. As a husband and father, the developing man will need to be able to protect his wife. As a future elder, he will need to be able to protect his congregation. As a member of a community, he will need to be able see threats to his community and take action. He will need to be able to deal with criticism–learning from it when appropriate and discarding it when necessary. He will need to be able to take risks for the sake of the people for whom he cares.

    If we can do this for our boys, we will be doing them a huge favor. It will also bring great benefits to our families, churches, and communities.

  30. Wendy says:

    Our congregation trains women and men to serve by mentoring and discipling them. Believers are urged to use their gifts to serve. Once a person's gift or potential has been recognised or a person has offered to serve, then that person recieves guidance and help in one-on-one training. I am on the visuals roster for morning service. I saw with a new volunteer this morning and showed her how Easy Worship works and was her back up during the service.

    Things like "leading" prayer and reading from the Bible and easily taught in small/connect/life groups for adults and in whatever groups the teens are in.

  31. Alan says:

    Alexander likes to write about “head coverings” but I prefer Galations 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek , there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus”. Of course, we are both gulty of proof-texting.

    In current times that may be the most abused scripture in the whole Bible. Of course there is still male and female (we obviously can see both males and females). So what is the passage saying?

    Whatever it is saying cannot contradict what other passages say. So, men are permitted marry women, but women are not permitted marry women. (Rom 1 etc). And vice-versa. That's one difference. And therefore Gal 3:28 cannot mean that there are no distinctions in God's instructions for men and women. I wish people would quit using Gal 3:28 to say what the passage cannot mean. But I guess they'll continue to do so anyway.

  32. John says:

    Wendy, great point about recognizing a person's gift or potential first. I do believe that too many churches have followed the unwise idea that they have to train everyone to do everything right now.

    If an individual, whether youth or adult, only feels comfortable handing out bulletins, and always so, then he or she is using God's gift. After all, the smile and hello from this person may say more to a visitor or hurting heart than any performance from the pulpit. There does not always have to be a next step toward song directing and teaching. If the person ever becomes curious about these other acts of leadership it wll not be difficult to recognize. That is what listening does.

    To others, in regard to Galations 3:28; when reading the Bible eternal truths have authority over cultural passages. Paul's statement to the Galations "..there is neither male nor female..but all are one in christ.." takes precedent over a statement to a troubled church in Corinth where the cultural norm was being unnecessarily disrupted by church chaos. There is also, "neither bond nor free", which takes precedent over "Slaves, be obedient to your masters". In no way could we ever interpret this verse to mean that if a Christian found one's self to be enslaved then the only choice he or she would have is to live an obedient life of slavery, finding happiness only in spiritual freedom, accepting the physical limitions set by scripture. This interpretaion was tried once in our nation and came close to destroying it.

    Statements were made, and seriously so, in a violent time to protect an infant church from being destroyed for being too revolutionary. The real revolution is being so overcome by our own freedom that the unbinding of others, which, yes, is often over periods of time and growth, ceases to be a threat and becomes the actual unity, where training for the young mind actually starts.

  33. Price says:

    John, you bring up some very cojent points…I was thinking about this discussion in church this morning and just wrote down a couple of things to consider.

    God used….

    Miriam as a prophetess and song leader (with IM) :
    Deborah as a prophetess, song leader and Judge (over men)
    Judges 4-5
    Huldah as a prophetess. The Priests (of whom I know of no women) and Kings (again no women) went to her to hear from the Lord.
    Phoebe as a patron and deaconess for the work of the church. Acts 17. Paul sent her to the church and instructed the Elders to do anything she requested, not for him but for her own personal matters.
    Corinthian Women as speakers of prophetic encouragement. Was there a prohibition of speaking in tongues or prophesy by women? Can't find it. a teacher, included her participation in teaching men (Apollos)..She was a part of Paul's inner circle ministry team. II Tim 4

    If God, in His infinite wisdom, would use women to the degree that He did, throughout the cultures and times, why is it that some religious bodies put sooooo much restraint on them?

    Women didn't hold the office of King or Priest, yet God used them to direct both of those offices…He didn't include them as an Elder or Bishop…But He used them to communicate His very words to those that needed to hear them…Perhaps there is some instruction here but I don't believe it is anywhere near the restriction that is placed on women in the CoC…God used women to Prophesy but we won't let them pray. He used women to instruct Kings and Priests but we won't let them pass a communion plate..

    However, I understand that it matters whether one sees it through the lens of Law or the lense of Grace..

  34. Doug says:

    The contect of Galations 3:28 is to contrast living under the Law versus living by Faith. The text tells us that there definitely was a need for a tutor (the Law) but now that faith has come we are no longer under this tutor. This distinction is denied by many who for some reason, usually early teaching about the Do's and Don't of Christianlty, say they live by faith but really prefer the Law. Jesus came to shake things up but some people like them just the way they were… this was true in Jesus' day and it's true today.

  35. Alan says:

    Price wrote:

    To others, in regard to Galations 3:28; when reading the Bible eternal truths have authority over cultural passages.

    Be very careful about using one passage to refute another. When you have to do that to support a position, your position is very likely wrong. And remember, Paul said "As in all the congregations of the saints…" The instruction wasn't limited to Corinth and it wasn't specific to one culture.
    Doug wrote:

    The contect of Galations 3:28 is to contrast living under the Law versus living by Faith. The text tells us that there definitely was a need for a tutor (the Law) but now that faith has come we are no longer under this tutor

    The immediate context governs interpretation. Quoting the NIV:

    6You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    The context is crystal clear. He is saying that you are ALL sons of God through faith. Men and women alike. Jew and Greek alike. Slave and free alike. And because we are all alike sons of God, we are all Abraham's seed and we all are heirs according to the promise. This is not a passage about the end of slavery. It is not about the end of gender distinctions. People just bring their agendas to this verse and try to make it say something that Paul did not have in mind, and that his readers would not possibly have concluded from reading it.

  36. abasnar says:

    Women didn’t hold the office of King or Priest, yet God used them to direct both of those offices…

    That's correct, I agree.

    He didn’t include them as an Elder or Bishop…But He used them to communicate His very words to those that needed to hear them…

    Well said, Price.

    Perhaps there is some instruction here but I don’t believe it is anywhere near the restriction that is placed on women in the CoC…

    There are some restrictions concerning public teaching and assuming authority over men (1Ti 2:15) – but that does not come near the complete silence in most CoC, with which I disagree.

    God used women to Prophesy but we won’t let them pray. He used women to instruct Kings and Priests but we won’t let them pass a communion plate..

    Yes, that's really strange. No, that's to weak: It is sinful as it denies a part of God's appointed royal priesthood its part in the service – which means: We diminish God's glory.

    But now for a balanced approach to this matter:

    Women are allowed to pray and to prophesy. This is clear from examples in the Gospels (Luke 2:36-38) and the book of Acts (Acts 21:8-9). But it is also made clear in a letter that has been sent to alle Christians everywhere (1Co 1:2) – just to stress, thet this is a cross-cultural statement that follows:

    1Co 11:3 But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
    1Co 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered dishonors his Head.
    1Co 11:5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head; for that is even the same as if she were shaved.


    Is there any difference in what the men and women are doing here? Not at all: They are both praying and prophesying, aren't they?

    Does that mean that all could be teachers and elders in the assembly? Answer this one first: Are all men teachers and elders in a congregation? No, of course not – so praying and prophesying has nothing to do with church leadership, but with worship and mutual edification.

    There is one difference between men and women – only one: They have to accept the order of creation or headship shown in verse 3 by showing it symbolically by uncovering (men) or covering (women) their heads. This is therefore a command for men and women (not women only).

    This practiced has been followed in all churches of Paul's time (1Co 11:13 / question and 1Co 11:16 / answer) and it was therefore understood by all Christians in all places (1Co 1:2). And it has been practiced well into the 20th century when some scholares and editors decided it was permissable to break with an apostolic tradition (1Co 11:2).

    The reason why I did go into these details (in all brevity) was to say:
    Yes, I am with you when allowing sisters to pray and to prophesy – but if we take the scriptures as a reason for this, we have to take everything they said on this subject. This includes a text ncgelcted by progressives and conservatives alike, but I am convinced, that this symbl of headship allows for a balanced approach and practice.

    All right, and then I would insist on teaching also the sisters, how to prophesy (words of ecouragement, comfort, exhortation, edification) effectively and how to pray and worship God in the fellowship of His saints.


  37. Jay Guin says:

    For the sake of newer readers, I need to say that I took up the male/female roles controversy a while back in a series called Buried Talents and I've posted an ebook by the same name. I'm a more-or-less egalitarian. (But some of my best friends are complementarians. Really.)

    Therefore, one concern I have with such training classes is the exclusion of girls. Men and women will be called on to speak before an audience. Even the quite conservative Faulkner University had no scruples against Sarah Palin — very much a female — addressing an audience on matters of faith.

    The fact is we live in a world where articulate Christian women will have opportunities to speak and pray that their mothers never had. And I doubt we are doing much to prepare them.

    I'm not very familiar with Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes. I'm bothered by the word "Leaderette." It sounds a lot like "little leader" or even "fake leader" to my ear. Think "leatherette." But it's good the girls are included, when many programs exclude them altogether.

    I know many who are great fans of the program. It would be a mistake, of course, to imagine that LL/L is sufficient by itself. As many have noted, leadership involves much, much more than public speaking.

    Indeed, for every gifted, trained public speaker, we need dozens who lead in other ways.

  38. Price says:

    Alexander….. I Cor 11:4-6….Is this regarding public leading of a prayer (as in standing up at the lectern) or private prayer during a congregational setting…or…private prayer in one's closet ??

    If it is publice leading of a prayer then I wonder why we wouldn't feel compelled to encourage rather than forbid women leading prayer in church.
    If in private prayer sitting in the pew then we need to hand out bonnetts unless we are certain it was a limitation based on culture alone.
    If in private prayer at home ..we need to start selling bonnetts. 🙂

    Seriously through…which is it ? Is this in the context of worship? It seems to me to be so since somebody would perhaps see you praying rather than in one's closet in total privacy where it would likely offend no one.

    So, then the question becomes…where does church leadership derive their restrictive position on women leading prayer in worship ?? That always has been a strange position to take and one that prohibits the ability of women to serve as role models for their daughters, at least in this sense….Really, how many of us have ever seen a woman get up and preside over the Lord's supper ? Which is really just causing one to focus on Christ's salvific acts and lead a couple of prayers…

    It can't be an argument from silence, the Bible speaks about it…Have I missed a BCV on it ?? Really, not being sarcastic, just wondering how our restrictive positions came to be so restrictive…

    Actually, Alexander, I am still recovering from the fact that we so closely agree on this issue…LOL

  39. Doug says:

    Price said: Really, how many of us have ever seen a woman get" up and preside over the Lord’s supper ? ". I have (not in a CofC, of course) and I survived.

    I have also worked with a Ministry of women to other women (you know, toting stuff around and cooking food) and observed closely their leadership. I know…I know, I'm going to generalize here but honestly, they'll take 2 hours to decide something that a group of men would decide in 10 minutes. I think that may be one reason for men in Leadership in the Church. I really hope my wife doesn't read this!!

  40. Wendy says:

    Doug, I am sorry you haven't experienced women being effective decision makers. I do hope your wife does not read this either!

    Women regularly give the communion meditation at my (Australian) Church of Christ. The ministry of women blesses and enhances the life of my congregation and that of most Churches of Christ in Australia.

  41. Price says:

    Wendy, the only reason I'm glad that God gave men certain distinguishable roles is that if He'd of given them to women, the world wouldn't need us men at all…..Just in case my wife is reading this…:)

  42. abasnar says:

    Alexander….. I Cor 11:4-6….Is this regarding public leading of a prayer (as in standing up at the lectern) or private prayer during a congregational setting…or…private prayer in one’s closet ?

    In the assembly. All the attempts trying to shove 1Co 11:2-16 into the private sphere irgnore important statements in the text that actually prove otherwise:

    a) 1Co 11:2 praises the Corinthians for keeping the traditions (plural!) And the last verse of the chapter says: THe rest I will set in order, when I come". So these are the "boundary markers" of the text. The plural of traditions which to keep is praiseworthy refers to the headcovering and the Lord's Supper.

    b) 1Co 11:17 marks the point where Paul moves from the first to the second tradition. I have to go into a little more detail here:

    1Co 11:17 But in enjoining this, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better, but for the worse.

    This translation (MKJV) is a lot more accurate than ESV. The phrase "in enjoining this" points to what is and has been enjoining in this chapter. "This" (Greek: ??????) is a word normally pointing backwrds – there is a different word for "the following". By (mis)translating ?????? with "following" the whole chapter is being torn apart in a very unnatural way. And Paul takles back his praise from 1Co 11:2 when coming to the second tradition. This is another sign, that this verse is meant to link the two traditions.
    Oh, I almost forgot: The term "Enjoin" is synonymous to command (???????????) which actually gives a stronger importance to the headcovering than we usually think.

    So by this it is clear, that 1Co 11:2-16 applies at least to the assembly (but IMO to private prayer also).

    If it is publice leading of a prayer then I wonder why we wouldn’t feel compelled to encourage rather than forbid women leading prayer in church.

    I would avoud two things: We should not get the impression that Early Christian worship lookes the same as ours – pews and lectern. The lectern gives us the mistaken impression that prayer has something to do with leading. This is silly. Neither prayer nor prophecy have anything to do with leading others, but with worship and mutual edification.

    We are to submit to the teachers and elders, or the prophets and apostels in the church – but not all who may prophesy are therfore prophets or teachers. These are two very different things. So you cannot say: As soon as you open your mouth you are assuming authority over others …. But ypu shoulöd think: When you open your mouth let it be out of love and for edification.

    Our problems arise from human traditions. We think we are NT churches and worship according to the NT (all 5 acts?), while in reality our worship assemblies have very little in common with the NT.-practice (Meeting in houses around a table full of food, mutual edification, a spech or two or three from the church ladership, the Lord's Supper as being part of the real Supper, free choosing of hymns and spiritual songs, … open end Acts 20:7)

    If we want to change on thing, we have to do away with others as well. Since the lectern gives the impression to pray is to lead the assembly, then out with the lectern, or – at least – don't pray from up front. If the tiny voice in the bis worship hall would not be heard, then downsize your church – make 10 churches wioth 100 worhippers instead of 1 church with 1000. …. I am sure, you get the point


  43. Alan says:

    Alexander wrote:

    All the attempts trying to shove 1Co 11:2-16 into the private sphere irgnore important statements in the text that actually prove otherwise:

    I draw the opposite conclusion about 1 Cor 11:2-16, and I do it because of important statements in the text. In verse 2 Paul wrote:

    1Co 11:2 Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.

    But in verse 17 he wrote:

    1Co 11:17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.

    Verse 17 is the first time he mentions the assembly. In that verse he transitions from commending them to not commending them. He couldn't commend them for things pertaining to the assembly because their assemblies did more harm than good. So in the prior verses where he had commended them, he couldn't have been talking about the assembly.

    When Paul commended them for keeping the "traditions" (Gk paradosis, the teachings) he proceeded to explain the reason for one of those teachings. Apparently they had asked why women should wear head coverings. It seems they were practicing it but some were questioning whether it was necessary. Paul commended them for continuing to obey the teaching but then explained more fully why it was taught.

    The ESV, the NET, the NIV, the TNIV, and the HCSB all translate verse 17 as "In the following…" I don't have the credentials in Greek translation to contradict all those teams of translators. So I conclude that verses 2-16 were not addressing the assembly.

  44. Price says:

    Alexander. I would agree that the passage, including Chapters 11-14. is regarding our gathering together as a church. So, it seems to me that the example given of women praying was in a public setting. Regardless of the particular setting it is a gathering of men and women, Elders would have been present, and it was for the purpose of worship…Therefore, there can be no biblically based restrictions placed on women to lead prayer in the assembly because it is specifically mentioned HOW they should do it in the cultural setting of the day…There is no restriction placed on the one that "brings a song to the service" as being only men so by specific example a woman could sing a solo or perhaps lead everyone in a new song. Again, there is no restriction against females in the exhortation of another. Therefore, it would seem improbably that anyone could find a way to restrict women from making announcements and encouraging those that are within the assembly…The book of Acts mentions Priscilla (Prisca) as being one that Taught more accurately along side Aquilla to one of the preachers that would be in Paul's inner circle (II Tim 4)….

    Without being argumentative with anyone here, I just don't see why there has been sooooo much restriction placed upon women when the entire focus on the CoC has been to restore 1st century patterns into modern day worship and general life. There is no question from the text that women were regarded as full participants in the worship services. The Elders of the young church were not at all alarmed by the freedom women had to participate, as long as they were not disruptive (that applied to men as well)…

    So….I find it odd that the same organization that wants to eliminate or not even allow IM into the worship services due to God's silence on the matter would continue a pattern of restriction regarding women's roles in the worship service that flies in the face of specific example and instruction that allowed and encouraged it.

    To those that would say that things are different because we gather together in a building with a pulpit and pews, I say that if our new worship design prohibits something which God allowed and encouraged then we need to go back to doing it God's way or adjust our thinking.

    Just saying.

  45. Price says:

    But, the I Cor 1

  46. Alan says:

    Price wrote:

    There is no question from the text that women were regarded as full participants in the worship services. The Elders of the young church were not at all alarmed by the freedom women had to participate, as long as they were not disruptive (that applied to men as well)…

    We all read the passage with preconceived notions and that affects our understanding. That is as true of you as of me. For example, the issue of women being disruptive is a preconceived notion that is not found anywhere in the scripture itself. If certain women were being disruptive, why would Paul issue a command restricting all women? Why not specifically address just those who were being disruptive? But the whole idea of disruptive women originates outside the scriptures.

    Women were indeed full participants of worship — just not leaders of worship.

    Paul's instructions about women in worship were for all women, not just a hypothetical group who may have been disruptive. The command in chapter 14 was not just for Corinth. Paul said "As in all the congregations…" There is no evidence in the text that it was cultural (neither in chapter 11 nor in chapter 14). Paul's reasons were not cultural, and they continue to be as true today as they were when he wrote them.

  47. Price says:

    Oops.sorry for the partial post…

    ..I Cor 14 tells women to remain silent in church…How can one sing, prophesy, exhort, pray or learn if one must be silent ?? Strange…I heard a commentary once that suggested "being silent" was conducting oneself in a proper and non-disruptive manner… Can you imagine asking your wife to hush while she's singing because she should remain silent…you might expect to remain hungry..:)

  48. Alan says:

    ..I Cor 14 tells women to remain silent in church…How can one sing, prophesy, exhort, pray or learn if one must be silent ??

    In verse 34, addressing the silence of women, he used the same word as in verse 28, addressing the silence of tongue-speakers when there was no interpreter present. Nobody thinks that the tongue-speakers were forbidden to sing. Instead, they were to "hold their peace" (Thayer's lexicon). They had something to say, but they were commanded to keep it to themselves. Of course that didn't apply to singing. They were just forbidden from addressing the congregation.

  49. abasnar says:

    Honestly, I thik this goes far beyond the oint of this thread … I just brought the headcovering to use it in an opposite way than it is being understood: Not as a symbol of "oppression" but more of a sign of authority for the women to serve in prayer and prophesy.

    That's the main thing for me here. I would enage in an in-depth debate on what silence does and does not mean, but this should be done somwhere else.

    As for some background reading on the origins on the restrictions on women typical for CoC I can recommend a very good seris: This sis the link to Part 5, but the whole series is a must read:

    And – coming back to the issue of training – in the light of this, it is necessary to teach alo the sisters how to pray and prophesy effectively.


  50. Alan says:

    And – coming back to the issue of training – in the light of this, it is necessary to teach alo the sisters how to pray and prophesy effectively.

    It sounds like you are saying that the opposing view is not welcome.

  51. abasnar says:

    Off topic, but anyway:

    One question, Alan, is how to translate 1Co 11:17. When I first (after long tome) read in my my unrevised Elberfelder Bible, I stumbled over the word "this". So I chose the MKJV to make my point:

    1Co 11:17 But in enjoining this, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better, but for the worse.

    Two things I pointed out already: For the Greek for "This" "Following" is a questionable translation. I checked it out in German-Greek Dictionaries, but Strong is equally clear:

    Neuter, singular, nomitive or accusative of G3778; that thing: – here [-unto], it, partly, self [-same], so, that (intent), the same, there [-fore, -unto], this, thus, where [-fore].

    ???????, ???????, ??????, ???????
    houtos houtoi haute? hautai
    hoo'-tos, hoo'-toy, how'-tay, how'-tahee
    Including the nominative masculine plural (second form), nominative feminine signular (third form), and the nominate feminine plural, (fourth form). From the article G3588 and G846; the he (she or it), that is, this or that (often with the article repeated): – he (it was that), hereof, it, she, such as, the same, these, they, this (man, same, woman), which, who.

    "Following" is not included in this list. Actually the tense of the verb to "enjoin" (present tense active, particip) requires a backward oriented translation rather than a (mere) forward oriented.

    See, Paul is speaking about what he is and has been enjoining the whole time. This means "This" is indeed referring to the headcovering and in includes the following topic, Schisms and the Lord's Supper, as well, since he is still "enjoining" the apostolic traditions.

    Now, Paul is taking back the praise he had for the Corinthians in 1Co 11:2 – "I do not praise you." stands in contrast to "I praise you." Why is that so?

    Paul praised them for holding fast / obeying the traditions he handed down to them. Both tradions, that are mentioned in this chapter are in his view: Headcovering and the Lord's Supper. Both traditiones were kept at least externally, but in 1Co 11:3 he wants them to understand what they are doing.

    (A little side remark: This means it is not something taken over from a local culture, because then they would have understood it anyway. In fact, most of the time, Paul argues from creation (even prior to Adam's sin!) and the heavenly sphere (angels) – so this whole topic has nothing at all to do with a local ancient culture, but is binding today as well, as is the Lord's Supper.)

    Now when coming to the second issue that is on his heart, Paul says – paraphrased:

    You are keeping, what I commanded, which is good, but actually your assemblies do more harm than good. I cannot praise that.

    And this puts the headcovering-issue and the Lord's Supper together as one discourse about behaviour and misbehaviour in a Christian worship-assembly.

    There is one little thing, that seems to confirm this: In one of the oldest manuscripts, the Codex Sinaiticus – centuries before chapters and verses were introduced – the Bible was written almost without spaces between the words. But they had paragraphs when the text required one. Now, the paragraph in chapter 11 is not where our modern translations insert a title and make a new paragaph (That's in verse 17) but after verse 19!

    So the first half of the chapter was 1Co 11:2-19 – which really makes clear that the headcovering has to be practiced in the assembly. You may have a look at this page in the Sinaitucuis here:

    So the reason modern translations choose "following" instead of "this" is that they make the paragraph between verses 16 and 17 and not between verses 19 and 20. And thus Pauls one discussion on two traditions is being divided into two separate discussions on one tradition each. And only thus it is possible to claim the headcovering is not for the assembly.

    But the details I presented convinced me otherwise.

    Now, if this understanding is correct, it defines the meaning of silence in 1Co 14:34, which then cannot include prayer and prophesy since this is clearly encoureaged in chapter 11. We will have to undertand 1Co 14:34 it in the light of 2Ti 2:15 as a restriction to teach and to take authority over men. Nothing more than that.

    And here I really want to stress that praying has nothing to do with leading a congregation. Because we speak to God in the name of Christ and not to men. Just to show you where this leads: I know of a couple in our church where the woman would not even at home pray when her husband is present, because of this really weird idea that then she would take the lead and exercise authority over him.

    If I am correct, then women may freely pray and prophesy in the assembly – but notice also: I speak of an assembly where everyone can share a song, a word of encouragement, a tongue (with interpretation) … and where two or three prophets (prophets togerther with teachers were the church leadership prior to the appointing of elders) may give a speech.

    In a Traditional service not only the women are called to silence but also the vast majority of the men share in the same restrictions, because only a handful of brethren open their mouths during worship … and a few choesen ones receive extensive training to pass on the communiun plate …

    So maybe one of the beneficial side-aspects of this excourse may be that we rethink our 5 acts of worship and take a new and fresh look an the NT patterns of a Christan assembly.

    I think, this should be more than enough for this thread. If I am correct, then the whole congregation should be taught how to participate and share in worship other than just sing along with the songs the worship leader chose.


    There were a lot of "Ifs" in this text – If I am wrong, that's fine too: The will of the Lord be done!

  52. Alan says:

    Because I'm not an expert in Greek translation, I have to rely on those who are. You seen intelligent enough but I can't take the word of one blog commenter as authoritative over multiple separate teams of translators on major well-known translation projects. Your entire argument hangs on all those translators being wrong. I can't follow you there.

    I know we both want to follow the scriptures. To me it just seems wiser to take the passages at face value rather than to follow what (to me) are convoluted rationales for making the passages mean something else… especially when that "something else" is more acceptable to the modern non-Christian culture.

  53. Very interesting thoughts, Alexander. I'll have to dig into Chapter 11 a bit further.

  54. abasnar says:

    Alan, "This" is a "neutral" translation of the word, while "the following" hinges on where to set the paragraph, which is a decision not based on Greek but on evaluating the context. I prefer the older translators who just translated the word by its literal meaning.

    But I thoroughly understand your scepticism. If I hadn't asked two other friends of mine who really know Greek, I would not have dared to make such a statement either …

    God bless you

  55. Alan says:


    I wonder whether there is more behind the "following" translation than that. As I'm sure you know, there's more to translation than just doing a dictionary lookup and plugging in the nearest English synonym. How was the word / phrase used in other places in scripture? How about other contemporary Greek writings? How was the phrase understood in the early church by native Greek speakers? There are just too many questions requiring too much scholarship for someone like me to line up against acknowledged experts.

  56. abasnar says:

    That's what I was asking my friends: The word for "This" in most cases (with a few exceptions) is backward oriented i was told.

    But actually, it is the whole flow of thoughts
    a) Traditions – plural
    b) Men and women in fellowship, praying and prophesying
    c) followed by the Lord's Supper
    which alone in chapter 11 argues for 1Co 11:2-16 of speaking of the assembly as well.

    And even more:
    Starting from Chapter 10 he is speaking about the Lord's Supper – then about separation from idolatry as a requirement to partake of it (with a few sentences about meat sacrificed to idols) – then about praying and prophesying (headcovering) – then about the Lord's Supper (and against schisms) – then, to underline the thought of unity spoken of in chapter 10 (one bread are we) an in chapter 11 (verses 18-19), he speaks about the body of Christ and the different gifts in chapter 12 – followed by the attitude of love in which all things shall be done in chapter 13 – to return to the assembly in chapter 14 again, when coming back espaecially to the value of prophesying and (from vers 26 on) about order and peace in the assembly.

    So chapter 11 is in fact embedded in a larger context where Paul deals with the assembly all the time, making a few side remarks here and there, but always coming back to his main theme.

    If we see this big picture, then the older translations (KJV, MKJV, ASV, Webster) are right by translating with "this" – these were also done by scholars BTW. But when I turn to modern translations, I do have the impression, that there is more explaining involved that in earlier ones. I am not too happy with added titles for different paragraphs for instance, because quite often by this the flow of thought is being interrupted at a wrong or at least doubtful place.

    I also made a comparison between the Old version of the Zurich translation and the New Version. The old one spoke of "covering the heads", the new of "binding up the hair" – which made me think: Who gives these translators the right to change the wording of God's Word to fit their own practice or understanding? (I know of some Swiss churches who undetstand it this way, that the long hair should be bound up – so dies that mean our human traditions define how God's word should be rendered?) … Especially in an age of apostasy I'd rather double check with older translations and the historic understanding of matters of faith that relying on translations which more or less come from a liberal background (I mean Bible criticism).

    But anyway, I don't want to force all of this down your throat. I have been studying this chapter for over 17 years now, and even in the last year I understood a few things better than before – and I still have a few unsolved questions in this whole topic as well; but nevertheless, I think I understood the big picture and the basic application and (as a man) do my part by uncovering my head in worship, knowing why (1Co 11:3-4 and 1Co 11:7). Knowing it has to do with Christ's Authority and God's Glory I am aware that this subject – small as it may seem – is very dear to our Lord.

    Considering this text starts with praise for holding fast to it and with an explicit desire of the Word that we should know what it is about, I think we (in general as churches of Christ) do a poor job fulfilling the will of God expressed in this desire …


  57. Alan says:

    Alexander, I appreciate your sincerity and your tone, and I respect your effort to understand scripture.

    I'm probably one of the few elders you'll find in a church of Christ who believes the teaching on head coverings applies in any way to women today. So I'm used to being the odd one on this subject. Even more odd, I don't object to instrumental music in Christian worship! Where else can you find both of those positions in the same person? I hold both beliefs based on many years of studying and discussing with people from all points of view. That doesn't make me right. But I can honestly say it's what I believe the scriptures mean, after considerable study and input.

    I'm much less concerned about the fact that Christians disagree than I am about the apparent inability to overcome that disagreement and embrace one another despite the disagreements. When we all see Jesus face to face, if we have any regrets about this life, I think they're more likely to be regrets about not loving one another than about not understanding this passage correctly. Christian unity and love are by far the higher principles.

  58. abasnar says:

    I think these are very fitting words to close thie Off-Topic conversation. I completely agree with you (esp. last paragraph). Thank you.


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