Authority - RR274H16a

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Authority
Course: Course - Godly Social Order - 1 Corinthians
Subject: Subject:Sociology
Lesson#: 28
Length: 0:27:51
TapeCode: rr274h16a
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Godly Social Order - Corinthians.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.

Let us worship God. Prepare me the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest. Let us pray.

Almighty God our heavenly Father we come again into Thy presence mindful of our need. We need Thee Lord every hour. We pray that Thou wouldst be with those of our number who are ill. Heal them we beseech Thee and restore them to their place of service. We pray for those who are troubled in heart that Thy hand may be upon them to strengthen, bless and to guide them. We pray Lord for our children and our children’s children that to the end of time we may be Thine that they may serve Thee with all their heart, mind and being. Oh Lord our God we thank Thee that by Thy grace we can come to Thee. Seek Thy blessings, rejoice in Thy mercies and commit ourselves afresh into Thine omnipotent hands. Our God how great Thou art and we praise Thee. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Our scripture is First Corinthians 11:1-16. Our subject: Authority.

“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

 2Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

 3But 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.

 4Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.

 5But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

 6For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

 7For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

 8For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.

 9Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

 10For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

 11Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

 12For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

 13Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?

 14Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

 15But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

 16But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.”


In these verses Paul turns to the matter of the necessary...[edit]

In these verses Paul turns to the matter of the necessary and rightful subordination of things one to another. There is an order to life which is God given. The whims of a child cannot be given priority over the father and the mother. It is significant that the 1950’s were known as the child centered years. And they led to the student rebellion and riots of the 1960’s, the sexual revolution and all the disorders of our time. We cannot alter God’s order without consequences. So the child cannot have priority over the parents. Priority does not mean a moral or intellectual superiority. In our time feminists are resentful of male authority and they often talk of men as irresponsible because of their masculine position. But men are not independent, in fact, the greater the authority, the greater is the responsibility and accountability. As our Lord tells us: for unto whom so ever much is given; of him will much be required, and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. This is what we are told plainly in Luke 12:48. Our understanding of life is childish until we understand this fact. That authority and accountability go hand in hand. Both men and women who fail to recognize this are foolish. Moreover subordination is basic to life. All men are subordinate to God and also to one another in terms of their daily lives. No man is free to do as he chooses. He is under the authority of other men or under the authority of his calling. Whether in one’s vocation in the church, in state and in society life means a continual change from one status of subordination to another for men. For as a woman’s sphere of subordination is not as extensive. Much more limited. Paul says be ye followers of me even as I also am of Christ. In conscience and in practice they must seek like Paul to be under authority. The goal of the Christian life is not a libertine freedom from responsibility but a recognition of authority and of Godly subordination. [00:08:42]

Paul then praises the Corinthians because despite their...[edit]

Paul then praises the Corinthians because despite their rebelliousness they do seek his council and are mindful of his authority. They do respect the ordinances he delivers unto them, having said this he immediately moves to corrupt their lawless attitude towards the status of men and women. At that time in the Greco-Roman world ideas of sexual equality and freedom were very prevalent. There was a breakdown in family life and authority, in chastity and morality generally. Homosexuality and abortion were rife. Men often wore their hair long and so on and on. We see a like trend today of course. Paul’s response to this to set forth the Biblical line of authority. Man’s head or ruling authority must be Christ. And woman’s must be man, over all is God, the triune head. Paul’s answer is thus theological. Things ultimately must govern all of life and thought and in no way can the creature question the Creators order. As a result no man can whether in a church service or in an informal Christian meeting either pray or prophecy, that is declare the meaning of God’s word, with his head covered. He thereby dishonors his head, that is he dishonors himself and God. It is not modesty for a man to fail to honor God and the authority God has given him. If a man fails to be what God intends him to be he does dishonor to the status and authority given him. [00:11:30]

Likewise, if he abuses that authority given to him...[edit]

Likewise, if he abuses that authority given to him by God he brings dishonor on himself. Again, any woman who prays or speaks about God in a woman’s meeting for example, with her head uncovered dishonors herself; it is the same if she were shaven. This last sentence is important. Over the centuries a woman was punished for adultery by having her head shaven. And Paul’s use of this image means that he saw such behavior as lawless. A man keeps his head uncovered in worship because he is the glory and image of God whereas woman is the glory of man. The woman who has her head uncovered is comparable to one whose head is shaven, Paul says. There is a creation order, men having been created first and then women. The man was not created for the woman but for God’s sovereign purpose and the woman created as man’s helpmeet in that purpose. Verse ten is very important. For this cause are the women to have power on her head because of the angels. Now the word translated as power is the Greek word’ Exusia’, authority, not ‘Dunamas’, power. So that it should read better ‘has authority on her head because of the angels’. This means that a woman’s longer hair and veil is at one at the same time is at the same time a sign of subordination but also of authority. To illustrate: we can have a commission from a great power but if we fail to carry it we have no such power nor authority. Similarly, if a woman fails to rely on her sign of subordination she also fails to claim the authority which is rightfully hers. But in modern times if you are given an important charge by say, the head of state, you have more authority than you would as an individual as long as you carry that commission. If you don’t, you have no authority. So Paul is saying a woman has such a sign. The angels have great authority under God. The authority of women is comparable in that God has ordained for them their own sphere of authority, like the angels. [00:15:29]

In Proverbs 31:10-31 we see how extensive is the authority and power of a godly woman. Her subordination to man in the family and in the church do not mean impotence nor irrelevance. In verses eleven and twelve Paul reminds us of God’s priority. On all levels it is God’s authority and word that must prevail, not mans. This applies to Christians and non-Christians alike because God is the creator of all. Paul in verses thirteen to fifteen appeals to common knowledge of human societies, other than those in decay, that these however fallen still observe an order whereby men are the heads of families and women are associated with them but in the secondary role. Moreover except in decadent societies men’s hair is short and women’s long. Woman’s long hair is like a permanent veil. Paul in verse sixteen says that we, that is the apostles, know of no other acceptable practice. And the same is true of all other churches of God. At that time the gentile churches were still few. The Jewish congregations had a better sense of order. This fact is an important one. The breakdown of the Greco-Roman culture was leading to a decay of standards in all areas of life and thought. The old order was not unlike what twentieth century leaders envision as a new world order. [00:18:04]

Thus the entrance of Christianity into such a world...[edit]

Thus the entrance of Christianity into such a world scene was must significant. The valley between the city of God and the city of man, the dream of Babal and Babylon was joined over the centuries again and again, the two cities have been in total war one against the other. This is certainly true in our day. The relevance of Paul’s letter thus is very, very great. Let us pray.

Our Father we give thanks for this Thy word. We thank Thee that Thou hast set forth in the necessity for subordination and hath declared that to be the way of authority, the way of service. Bless us as we subordinate ourselves to Thee and to one another in Thee. Take away from our hearts willfulness and pride and self-service that we may serve Thee with all our heart, mind and being. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Are there any questions now about our lesson?

One of the things we see is that again and again in history the two cities, the city of God and the city of man are brought together by men who try and merge them into one. This was the dream at the time of the apostles as it was at the tower of Babal and later when the great churchmen of the medieval era wrote a book about the two cities in which he said it seemed to him that the two had merged and he very sorrowfully spoke about the fact that the church and the world had interpenetrated. Well, this is what had happened by the end of the last century as hundred years ago. But beginning with World War One we’ve seen a shattering of this attempt to bring these two cities together and make them one. So we are in the process of that conflict and of course vast areas of the church are determined to unite the two cities, which means to destroy the city of God and make it identical to the city of man. [00:21:50]

So what Paul is doing here is to deal with this conflict...[edit]

So what Paul is doing here is to deal with this conflict in a particular sphere, that of the relationship of men and women. And it is important to recognize that when he speaks of the subordination he’s not speaking of it only on the human level. He sees the whole of God’s creation and this world and the world to come as made up of such a subordination and of course he speaks of the angels, of their position as similar to that of women. Now, given this fact, we have to recognize therefore that the bible does not assert what modern equalitarians assert. That there’s a world of difference between the two positions. So in the world that is under way we have a very, very great problem because everything that the Bible declares, that Saint Paul declares, is regarded as particularly evil by this generation. And when you read the writings of moderns as well as people in other centuries very interesting that whenever they strike out against the kingdom of God they very often do so dishonestly by attacking Paul. As though Paul somehow perverted the Biblical faith. So Corinthians is very important because Paul so clearly and sharply sets the record straight. Yes?

[Woman speaking] About the head covering for women, in verse five does this mean not only in worship, in formal worship, but in a bible study setting? Any kind of public, I guess would be a better…

[Rushdoony] Any kind of worship situation or bible study so that a woman’s group she should have her head covered, that’s the meaning, because she thereby is making a witness to the other women. Yes?

[Man speaking] It cannot mean that the church itself indiscriminately because Paul elsewhere has said that women can’t teach men so that’s the place of women.

[Rushdoony] That’s right, but in the family and in the church there is clearly a position of subordination. Those are the two spheres. This does not mean for example as Proverbs 31 indicates that when she goes out into the business world because her husband sits at the gates which meant he was either a judge or a city elder. So she was handling everything and there it was different but in the family and in the church her position is a subordinate one. [00:26:01]

Well if there are no further questions or comments...[edit]

Well if there are no further questions or comments let us conclude with prayer.

Our Father we give thanks unto Thee for this Thy word. We thank Thee our Father that we can come to Thee and cast our every care upon Thee who careth for us. We commit unto Thee those of our number who need Thy healing blessing prospering hand. We commit ourselves and our hopes into Thy omnipotent hands. We commit our country with all its waywardness into Thy hands praying for both Thy judgment and Thy blessing upon us. Bless us our Father in terms of Thy holy purposes. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen.