Order in the Church - RR274L22b

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Order in the Church
Course: Course - Godly Social Order - 1 Corinthians
Subject: Subject:Sociology
Lesson#: 39
Length: 0:20:04
TapeCode: rr274l22b
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. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye hath not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba, Father. Let us pray.

Almighty God our Heavenly Father we thank Thee that for us there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. We thank Thee that he has made atonement for our sins, has made us a new creation in Him and has given us His promise of eternal life. Oh Lord our God make us always truly grateful, make us joyful in Thee, confident in Thy purpose for us so that in all things we may praise Thee. So that in everything we may give thanks, knowing that this is Thy will for us. Oh Lord our God how great Thou art and we praise Thee. Make us joyful in Thy providential care. In Jesus Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.

Our scripture this morning is First Corinthians 14:34-40. Our subject: Order in the Church. First Corinthians 14: 34-40.

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.

35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

40 Let all things be done decently and in order.”

Paul in these verses concludes the discussion of disorderly worship in turning to the subject of women. In First Corinthians 11:4-5 reference is made to women praying and prophesying with their head uncovered as wrong. Such incidence was not a part of worship apparently but even then women were to keep their head covered. In that same text, verses two to sixteen Paul also deals with the more general head covering by women. Clearly Paul means more than long hair because it would not be possible for women in a culture where long head was commonplace to be uncovered unless they were not wearing a veil. Again in First Corinthians 11:14 Paul makes clear that a man or a woman could cover or uncover their head at will, something only possible with a hat or a veil. [00:04:53]

Paul returns to the question now with the place of...[edit]

Paul returns to the question now with the place of women in worship in mind. He begins by declaring that women must be silent in the church. This means that they are not permitted to speak. The law requires them, verse forty four, to be under obedience. This law is Genesis 3:16, that is the judgment of God on Eve. As against this some quote Galations3:28 but to quote Paul against himself is not admissible. With respect to salvation some are indeed one in Jesus Christ. But this does not eliminate the differences in Saint Paul’s standing and in ours, for example. The fact that we are equally a citizen of our country with others does not make us equal in stature or ability with them, or status or importance. What paul tells us is that we are saved by the grace of God. If women are eager to learn something they can raise their question with their husbands at home for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. This is a very strong statement but a necessary one, given the anarchy within the Corinthian church. And Paul is talking about anarchy created at this point by women. Women questioning the authority of the pastor or of men. Paul asks sharply what came the word of God out from you? Or it come to you only. In other words, was God’s revelation to Corinth only? Were all questions of the faith to be settled by Corinth? Were their opinions to govern the church wherever it was? Over the years I have seen at times groups small or large break away from an apostate church and seek to create a new and faithful one. A common mistake is to assume their situation is unique and their experience can guide them into creating a new and true and forever pure church. [00:07:42]

My council has been to worship and to wait but their...[edit]

My council has been to worship and to wait but their practice is to try to fashion a set of bylaws to guarantee no future problems. This reliance on purely local man made rules quickly destroys them. Apostasy and sin are never unique nor is their salvation in stricter man made rules and methods. Think of all the apostate churches you know. Did they not have even though disregarded sound confessions of faith, sound catechisms, sound rules? It was not that the material on paper was wrong but that they paid no attention to it. With the Corinthians there seems to be a pride in their abundance of spiritual gifts. And the belief also that they and not God and the apostles could best determine the true conditions of church life. Like many new church groups theirs was the arrogance seeing themselves as God’s new beginning rather than as a rescued people. The word of God did not come to them only. God’s revelation of himself has a broader scope. Their spiritual gifts were precisely gifts not assets nor a replacement of their nature. Did they see themselves as prophets or as spiritual filled men? God can use a man to prophesy through him but this does not necessarily make him a prophet. And Elijah is not created wherever a man prophesies. We can all prophesy using the Bible, we can say for example, the wages of sin are death. That is a prophesy, it is a declaration that predicts what happens to sin. And the Bible is full of such verses and we are all to be prophets in the sense that we speak for God by citing His law word. Paul is an apostle, he has many gifts, but he also has a high calling and an office. Had Paul lacked many of the special gifts he would not have any the less an apostle. What Paul has to say are the commandments of the Lord but the sum preferred to remain ignorant. They preferred to disregard Paul’s words in favor of their own whines. [00:11:06]

Godly order is not Paul’s goal...[edit]

Godly order is not Paul’s goal. Godly order is Paul’s goal…always. Godly order is what Paul seeks. This means that prophesy, speaking the word of God is to be coveted and practiced but this does not mean that speaking in tongues is to be forbidden, rather let all things be done decently and in order. That is, each in its own place and without each believing his gift has priority over anything else. You and I may be gifted men in Christ but this does not give us priority over the apostles or over twenty centuries of church history and of godly men. This verse calls for order in worship not disorderly self-expressions. But this verse has often been used to vindicate church tyranny. Let all things be done decently and in order was cited against J. Greshaminchin for seeking a missions policy favorable to the reformed faith rather than modernist. It was cited against me for holding bible study classes for mainly unchurched people outside any church on the Lord’s Day. It was cited against a friend for holding a weekday bible study class among business associates, all unchurched men. Paul’s purpose in these words is not so much the service and worship in the church as faithfulness to God’s requirements. The requirements of God and the church do not necessarily coincide however much they should and Paul’s emphasis is theological not ecclesiastical. The church is not the faith and Paul in chapter fifteen goes immediately to the meaning of the resurrection, his focus is greatest than Corinth, it is the Lord and His kingdom. To do all things decently and in order requires us to have a biblical sense of priorities. Otherwise in time we become no more than devout ecclesiastical grand inquisitors. [00:14:23]

In the name of Christ we persecute Christ and His saints...[edit]

In the name of Christ we persecute Christ and His saints. The love of the lord Jesus Christ must far surpass our obedience to the church and its demands see First Corinthians 16:22. Paul pronounced an anathema on all lacking this love and with good reason. Let all things be done decently and in order. This, cannot be taken to mean church order but in terms of the commandments and the priorities of the word of God. Thus, from start to finish we must see Paul’s letter to the Corinthians as governed not by demand for church order in terms of church rules and regulations but church order in terms of the law word of God. If we miss this point we are converting Paul’s letter to an oppressive means of church tyranny. Paul in no place indicates that the church has any authority apart from the law word of god, apart from Jesus Christ, apart from the fact of His kingship and His atonement. We become idolaters whenever we use anything other than God and His inscriptured word as our standard. Even though they be things that in and of themselves are good. The church is created by Christ to be His instrument, not to supplant Him. The church is the body of Christ, that is His redeemed humanity, it is not His deity. The church thus cannot speak with the infallibility that Christ does nor that His word does. It can speak only in terms of the Lord and His word, in faithfulness to the inscriptured word of God. Let us pray. [00:17:42]

Almighty God our Heavenly Father we thank Thee for...[edit]

Almighty God our Heavenly Father we thank Thee for Thy word. We thank Thee that Thou hast in Thy word given us all things needful, spoken not to satisfy our curiosity but to enable us the better to serve Thee, to obey Thee and to love Thee with all our heart, mind and being. Forgive us for our waywardness, we confess that indeed we have all too often strayed from Thy word, have replaced it with the word in the church or of ourselves but we thank Thee that in Thy grace and mercy Thou hast recalled us again and again to Thyself. Thou hast been merciful unto us in Jesus Christ Thy son, our Redeemer. Thou hast made us day after day a renewed people, renewed by thy spirit and by Thy word and made strong for Thy service. Our God we thank Thee 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.