Question:

I am visiting a new church of Christ. Today was my second Sunday to attend, both Sunday morning, and evening services. Tonight, during the Sunday evening service, a group had just returned from a mission trip to Guatemala. The service was to include a report on what had gone on there and fill everyone in on the trip.

Like normal, we sang some songs, had a couple of prayers, and then started the speech or report by one of the men on the trip. After that, one of the male doctors from the trip got up to speak. Everything was going fine, and then two teenage girls got up to speak in front of the congregation. They were introduced, and clearly a part of the planned service. It was not a random thing. I was so uncomfortable, I think I started sweating! On top of that, I had brought someone with me who isn't very familiar at all with the church yet. I felt like getting up and leaving, but I didn't. I am trying not to jump to conclusions on my condemnation of the way that service was conducted. The girls were not necessarily "teaching" anything to us, but were definitely "leading" the service. I don't know any other term to use, when someone is standing at the pulpit in a church service with the microphone except for "leading". They were up there just telling about some things they had participated in on the trip, and gave no instruction at all. My feeling was it still didn't seem right based in Scripture, and at the very least was a very bad judgement by whoever planned that. I've been mulling this over in my head since I got home tonight. I know so many older people at that church that I respect, and thought I could and would trust their judgement. I know some of the elders at this Church, and cannot imagine what I just saw.

Am I missing something? Or was this definitely what Paul was talking about? I mean, those girls, as far as I know, shouldn't have been up there in the first place, but even if I'm wrong about that, because they weren't "teaching", what if they had started "teaching?" I mean, someone had planned to give these 15 year old girls the microphone in front of 300 people gathered for Sunday evening service. This is making me really question the leadership, and respect for the Scripture taking place at this congregation.

Was this a definite disregard for scripture, or a grey area because they weren't teaching?


Answer:

This isn't a grey area. The young ladies had the platform and could say whatever they wished. This can't be compared to singing where everyone is following what the song leader has selected.

This took placed during a worship service, so it violates what Paul stated: "Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says" (I Corinthians 14:34).

In a class setting, a student might respond to a teacher's question or ask a question of the teacher. Even though it isn't a worship assembly, the teacher is still in control of the discussion (or at least is supposed to be in control). The young ladies were given the platform. For that period of time they were in control of the discussion because the authority was turned over to them. Thus another command was violated: "And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence" (I Timothy 2:12).

Given such a disregard of God's authority, I would suggest that you find a congregation more interested in following what God has commanded. Most likely what you saw was just the tip on a large iceberg of problems.