Sunday, February 10, 2019

Leadership: Chaotic Worship 7

1. Leadership Before Christ
2. An Apostle in Town
3. House Church Leadership
4. Prophecy in the Church
1. It was apparently a mess when the varied house cells came together for worship on the Lord's Day and to eat the Lord's Supper. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 11-14 to address the chaotic nature of worship. 1 Corinthians 14 seems to point to the use of tongues in worship as the focus of the issue, but 1 Corinthians 11 also shows that the participation of women in prophecy caused some awkwardness.

As Acts 2:27 indicates, a clear consequence of the coming of the Spirit was the exercise of prophetic gifts among women: "your sons and daughters will prophesy." Women of course prophesied in the Old Testament as well. When the male high priest in the days of Josiah wanted to verify that the Book of the Law was authentic, he took it to the prophetess Huldah, who apparently was his spiritual superior (2 Kings 22:14). Philip the "evangelist" also had four daughters who were prophetesses (Acts 21:9).

1 Corinthians 11 clearly indicates that the wives of the Corinthian church were full participants in the spiritual worship of the community. [1] The problem that Paul is addressing in this chapter resulted from the strange situation where 1) husbands and wives were in close association with other husbands and wives in close quarters, 2) indeed in a house, where women would not normally wear a veil, 3) and where women were speaking and prophesying to men who weren't their husbands.

Paul's solution is for the wife to make sure she is wearing her veil (1 Cor. 11:5). The passage likely refers to a hair veil, leaving the face uncovered. This veil indicated modesty/honor and, like a wedding ring today, made it clear that the wife was in proper relation to her own husband while prophesying to men who were not her husband. This chapter thus assumes that women will prophesy in corporate worship. Paul's goal is to create an environment where women can prophesy without shame or unnecessary turmoil.

Interestingly, Paul mentions prophecy in this passage as the second most important role in the church after apostle (1 Cor. 12:28). Accordingly, when he and Silas were with the Corinthians, he and Silas held the most important role. Then those women and men who had the gift of prophecy played the second most authoritative role in the church, even above teaching. As we have already said, he never mentions any elders at Corinth.

[1] Making it clear that, if 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 are original, they had to do with disruptive speech, not with spiritual or prophetic speech.

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