Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Women and Children's Sermons

1 Cor. 14:33-35 (ESV) For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, [34] the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. [35] If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

Paul rounds out his talk on the use of tongues in worship saying God is not a God of confusion but of peace. But he continues referring to all churches, trying to promote unity among them in what they do. One thing that was causing division was the practice of women teaching in the service. Paul here forbids this practice. Today women's ordination is common in many so called churches. It is contrary to scripture and should be avoided. It erodes our testimony concerning the word of God.But recently I have noticed a more insidious practise in many LCMS congregations, that is also a violation of this passage. That is the practice of women giving children's sermons. The Bible does not say that women can't be pastors. It excludes them from that office because they are forbidded to speak during the divine service. Speaking is the job of the pastor. He should be doing the children's sermon. The Bible says they are to be silent in the churches, that it is shameful for them to speak in church. He isn't talking about women singing hymns, or joining with the congregation in the liturgy. He is speaking about teaching, giving sermons. Every pastor knows that the children's sermon is for the edification of all present. We should not be putting women in this shameful position.


apollo819 said...

Thanks for the book suggestion Pastor.
I could tell by your writing's that if you haven't published something yourself, that you were an editor or more...

will get it as soon as I can..
Thank you..
ps..any other suggestions, feel free...


deni said...

I have heard women preach inspiring sermons that were instrumental in bringing people to change their lives & follow Christ. And our scriptures present women such as Mary Magdalen who Jesus sent with the Good News of his resurrection to the apostles (John 20:11-18). Jesus manifested Himself to the Samaritan woman at the well and "many believed on the strength of her testimony"(John 4:39) St Paul introduced Deaconess Phoebe in Romans 16 and encouraged Romans to welcome her as he also praised other women in ministry with him, i.e. "outstanding among the apostles, Junea." Prisca and her husband, Aquilla were very influential in their housechurches in Rome and Corinth and Ephesus and were able to instruct Apollo more fully in his understanding Jesus, the Christ.
And then there were daughters who were prophets. Women are as likely to be filled with the gifts of the Spirit as are men. Check out Galatians 3:38 and Galatians 5:22. Jesus simply does not shut out women from the preaching ministry. And in Mt 25 we see the Christ in those who are hungry and naked, thirsty or strange or in prison or ill. Some of men and women's finest preaching is in more in action than in words, i.e. giving food, drink and life giving visits among refugees and prisoners. And if we are not engaged in feeding as described in Matthew 25 than our every work be it in pulpit, classroom or wherever will ring hollow whether we are man or woman. Blessings, Deni

Bror Erickson said...

There is quite a difference between the Biblical stories you cite, and the public preaching that happens within the divine service. Notice none of those cases happen publicly. Priscilla even waits to talk to Appollo in private.
I do agree that women can do many things for the church, but the office of pastor, and the public preaching, especially that within the divine service is for men only. It is an extension of the Apostolic office, an office that Jesus never bestowed on a woman. In effect, though Jesus did a lot with women, and praised them much for their service, even used them to alert the disciples to the resurrection, he did shut them out of the public ministry. To say other wise would be to say that Paul was contradicting Christ, and was not an apostle. But where Paul spoke, there Christ spoke through Paul.
As for your contention that you have heard women preach inspiring sermons that were inspirationals in bringing peopre to change their lives and follow Christ. They themselves were not following Christ, and were far from inspiring people to follow Christ. Which by the way is not what the gospel is about. The Gospel which should be part of every proper sermon preaches the forgiveness of sins. It may inspire people to give up drugs and drunkenness, but it also saves many who never did such things. I know of many people who have been saved by the gospel with absolutely no observable difference in their lives.

Anonymous said...

Great answer Bror!!

Bror Erickson said...

Just wish I knew who Anon. is. Swear I am changing servers in order to facilitate that better, but if people could sign the end of their anonymouse comments, I would appreciate it. You can use a pseudonym if you like. I just want to be able to distinguish to some degree who is talking.

Nemo said...

Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything, they say, and so everything can remain as it was before. "All for sin could not atone." The world goes on in the same old way, and we are still sinners "even in the best life" as Luther said. Well, then, let the Christian live like the rest of the world, let him model himself on the world's standards in every sphere of life, and not presumptuously aspire to live a different life under grace from his old life under sin. That was the heresy of the enthusiasts, the Anabaptists and their kind. Let the Christian beware of rebelling against the free and boundless grace of God and desecrating it. Let him not attempt to erect a new religion of the letter by endeavouring to live a life of obedience to the commandments of Jesus Christ! The world has been justified by grace. The Christian knows that, and takes it seriously. He knows he must not strive against this indispensable grace. Therefore — let him live like the rest of the world! Of course he would like to go and do something extraordinary, and it does demand a good deal of self-restraint to refrain from the attempt and content himself with living as the world lives. Yet it is imperative for the Christian to achieve renunciation, to practise self-effacement, to distinguish his life from the life of the world. He must let grace be grace indeed, otherwise he will destroy the world's faith in the free gift of grace. Let the Christian rest content with his worldliness and with this renunciation of any higher standard than the world. He is doing it for the sake of the world rather than for the sake of grace. Let him be comforted and rest assured in his possession of this grace — for grace alone does everything. Instead of following Christ, let the Christian enjoy the consolations of his grace! That is what we mean by cheap grace, the grace which amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sin departs. Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Cost of Discipleship”

Bror Erickson said...

thank you Nemo,
There is a reason I have never really been able to come to terms with Bonhoefer. I find it hard to forgive him for calling the grace of God, the Grace that was bought not with Silver or God, but the Holy, preciouse blood,and innocent suffering and death of Jesus Christ, cheap. Ask me it cost a pretty penny. But it costs me nothing. Nor does it demand anything of me. Rather it allows me to live in the newness of life. That is something the law was completely unable to do. But if you want to live under the law, go a head.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the anonymous above but am having trouble logging on my Blog name.
Es Ist das Heil!!

Nemo said...

“We say, besides, that if good works do not follow, faith is false and not true.”

Martin Luther, Smalcald Articles XIII 4

Bror Erickson said...

You see Nemo,
Now we are on another thing totally. Of course, barring untimely death, a drowning in the course of baptism perhaps, good works will follow faith. But our good works contribute nothing to the price of grace. Neither will they necessarily make any behavior changes in the believer. Many muslims do what would be great works were they Christian, when they become Christian you may not observe any change in behavior aside from where they worship. They are now doing good works, whereas before they were doing evil with the same outwardly observable act.

steve martin said...

We can't know who the believers are or are not on the basis of their good works...for we cannot know the heart.

Jesus said, "dont judge..."

The wheat and the tares grow together.

If someone (that thought Christians were about good works) were to follow me around for a week they'd be hard pressed to see much evidence that I am a Christian, and plent of evidence to refute that fact.

Nemo said...

Granted Steve, but He also said “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 12:24-25)

Are you denying the truth of the above quotation from the Lutheran confession?

Bror, on a second reading, I think you completely missed the point of the Bonhoeffer quote. He is not calling the actual grace of God cheap; rather, he is warning against cheapening it. In context (which I thought you would be familiar with), he is mocking the idea that those who are saved will not demonstrate some change—the same thing Luther said in my second post. What he is actually advocating is an embrace of costly grace—a total surrender to the call of Christ.

steve martin said...


"Love one another..."

OK, Nemo, I'll will give you that one. Jesus did say it, and He did mean it. We are to do it.

How are you doing? Are you loving your neighbor as yourself?

I hope you are doing a better job than I am, and I hope you are doing it all times...for that is also what Jesus said, "Be perfect as your father in Heaven is perfect." (or something close to that)

Jesus also said in Luke 14:33 "Whoever does not divest themselves of everything they own cannot be my disciple." He meant that one as well. I hope you are doing better than I am on that score also, Nemo.

If you'll excuse me I have to go to ebay and sell everything I've got and give it to the poor.

Thanks Nemo!

- Steve (the slacker...but a forgiven slacker!)

Bror Erickson said...

My take is that most people try to put the best construction on Bonhoefer and are actually guilty of misreading themselves,when they do so. The fact of the matter is I can do nothing to add or subtract from the cost of Grace. Christ purchased it for me.
Actually, in the same book Bonhoefer attacks Luther for his doctrine of sanctification. Bonhoefer himself, though, all but recanted for writing that book later in life.

Nemo said...

If that is the case, than I am disappointed that your synod not only appears to endorse his distinction ( but also sells the book (

Bror Erickson said...

I'm dissapointed in many things my synod does. But I'm not going to jump ship because they sell one book. They actually sell quite a few I think are schlock. And many pastors in this synod have the same views toward Bonhoefer I have. Some however like to misread him.