On this day, the first, when Jesus rose
Alive, and set aside his burial clothes,
His faithful followers come together and meet,
To sing his praise, around his table they eat,
And in his Name they pray for peace
And courage to speak, that he increase,
His grace be given, his saving truth be spread,
Because they know he lives who once was dead.
Their God is Father, they in Christ immersed,
This day they glory in him whom God raised first.
The first article on women in Corinthians is here.
Later in this epistle, Paul plainly state that in the assembly the women are not to speak, but they are to keep silent (14:34-35). This has caused no small controversy in today’s environment. In fact, there are many men and women who reject outright what the Holy Spirit said through the apostle Paul.
What are we to understand in the context?
First, starting in v. 26, Paul speaks with regard to them “coming together.” This is an occasion for the church in Corinth to assemble. Second, there is something relative to this assembly that allows the exercise of the supernatural gifts of God to be utilized (14:26-31). Third, the gifts of God can be controlled by the one (or the ones) who have them (14:32). Fourth, that which is done is to be done decently and in order (14:32-33). Fifth, in this context, the women are to keep silent, that is, they are not authorized by the Holy Spirit to teach. The next verse (14:35) is difficult, but I think the idea is along this line: since the assembly is gathered together, and there is teaching done, it might be that the wife/woman does not understand what is being said/taught. In this context, rather than disrupting the assembly (how this would be done is unstated), she is to speak with her husband about it at home.
I was recently afforded the opportunity to perform in the Murfreesboro Symphony Chorus at a concert with the Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestra. I had been to orchestral performances many times before, and while they can be very exciting, they can also be a bit tiresome during some passages. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself waking up to the applause of the audience at the end of a piece. This one, however–almost every moment of it–was different.
Perhaps it was the acoustics–the reverberation in the venue; perhaps it was the one or two thousand faces focused in on the stage; perhaps it was being able to see the conductor’s face for once instead of his back; perhaps it was getting to be part of a group of incredible singers to which I felt inferior; perhaps it was the beauty of the music, much of which was written by one of the best-known composers of our time. As I sang with the choir, or simply sat and listened as the orchestra played alone, excitement flowed through me like electricity during almost the entire concert. Every solo, every climax, every quiet passage, every pause created a sensation I could feel, not only in my mind and heart, but in my body. Here was a group of some of the best musicians (and me) performing excellent music by one of the most well-regarded modern composers on some of the finest instruments in a superb venue, led by one of the most talented conductors in our region. Every person there (on stage and in the audience) was focused on one thing–the music. Being in the midst of the ensemble provided for one of the most intense musical experiences I’ve ever had.
Revelation 14, 15, and 19 have descriptions of multitudes of people and angels singing praise to God. I’m afraid sometimes we think of that image and liken it to our local congregational singing, which–like any other thing we do on a regular basis–can often seem less than thrilling. Continue reading
“Church” – because not only is it not translated but an entirely different word is substituted in place of the original that the Holy Spirit inspired. “Church” is the anglicized “kuriokos” (a Greek word meaning “belonging to the Lord”, found twice in scriptural but never referring to the assembly of saints). But that is not the word in the Greek text for what Jesus built! That Greek word is “ekklesia”, which when translated means “assembly” or a synonym of the same. In view of this Romans 16:16 should read “the assemblies of Christ salute you.” Instead we find the anglicized substitute. Then someone contends it is the only true and acceptable name, unaware that it isn’t even scriptural, but a made-up distortion of God’s revelation.
There have been several churches of Christ here in the El Paso area who have discontinued their Sunday evening assembly. I’m wondering if this is a trend among churches of Christ nation-wide, or is this mindset confined to just our area? Will appreciate your input.
“Love for the brethren simply cannot be shown while forsaking the assembly. Christians cannot isolate themselves from one another and at the same time fulfill this sacred obligation”
Tom Wacaster, Studies in Hebrews, page 407.