Women, men, and what the church is supposed to be focused on

02forangeOne thing that worries me about the many church controversies, including the role of women, is the battlefield of choice. We spend an awful lot of time talking about what goes on during the worship assembly. That’s worrisome to me because it’s directly opposite of what we see in the New Testament. The New Testament spends very little time talking about what goes on when Christians get together; why is that our main focus?

I’ve already argued that I think one of the great mistakes of the modern church is its obsession with the weekly assembly. (See the series starting here) It’s definitely the modern church that has made this mistake, for our assembly is a shrine to modernism. From the time consciousness to the focus on study, the assemblies that most of us grew up with (especially those of us from churches of Christ) are steeped in the traditions of modernism, much more than biblical tradition. That’s one reason we’re struggling to get postmoderns interested in being a part!

One reason we don’t find more information in the Bible about what women can and can’t do in assemblies is the fact that the Bible doesn’t talk much about our assemblies! It’s a bit like wondering what the New Testament teaches about food preparation; you’re not going to find much there.

Years ago, my friend Bill Richardson was talking with a group of people who were frustrated at the lack of change in their congregation. He said to them, “Maybe you’ve done all you can right now with improving worship; why don’t you focus on other things in the church that need improvement?” He says they looked at him like he was from Mars. What else is there besides the worship assembly?

As long as we stay focused on what we can sing, how we can sing, who can preach, and how shall we take the Lord’s Supper, we’ll always be off balance. We’ll always be “majoring in minors,” as the old saying goes. Look at the people whose lives are dedicated to service, those who are focused on evangelism, the ones whose ministries do more outside the building than inside the building. Few of them are obsessed with the “big issues” that rock churches.

Just an observation. I want to talk some more about women and the church, but you need to know that I think most of the conversation is focused on all the wrong things.

4 thoughts on “Women, men, and what the church is supposed to be focused on

  1. Brad Landis

    I read part of Mark Love’s post, and have a torn feeling on the topic. I have read all the scriptures dealing with Women’s roles. I’ve also read that women should cover their heads, and people I would consider conservative say, “that’s cultural.” But they say “women should be silent,” but we allow some things, yet not everything. They command the use of non-instrumental music, and that we should abstain from alcohol, which are both man-made laws, and then they say, women don’t have to wear head coverings, which is biblical. Which is it? Do we follow the Bible to the letter, or do we pick and choose?

    But, you are right. Our focus is on loving God and loving our neighbor. We should stand up for the helpless, (widows, abused, neglected, and unborn children, women and men in abusive relationships). We need an attitude shift on personal levels, so that we show Christ in our daily lives. We need to love God, and sacrifice our own rights to serve His Kingdom.

    Do women’s roles matter? Yes. But the more important question is, how do we further the Kingdom of God?

  2. Darin

    Tim I agree but my next question is what do you do about it? Seven plus years of teaching and preaching it and I didn’t see much change other than people leaving to go to a church that is totally focused on such things……. Sorry, really struggling with this topic at the moment.

  3. Rafael G. Sustaita

    For many of us in the churches of Christ, the very suggestion that our assemblies may not be the focus of our “christianity,” borders on heresy. My insistence that church is not what happens on Sunday mornings but rather what happens in between maybe the reason I’ve been left out of many social circles in the church. And we wonder how the denominational world has missed the obvious in the Bible?

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