An Open Letter to the 4th Avenue Church of Christ

[NOTE: Recently, a video has been making the rounds introducing Lauren King as the new Preaching Intern for the 4th Avenue Church of Christ in Franklin, Tennessee. If you have not seen the video, it is embedded below this paragraph. Then, what follows, is an open letter to the congregation, sharing my heart about this matter.]

To the members of the 4th Avenue Church of Christ:

The next step has been taken, and it is safe to say that you made a big step. In fact, it is described as “a movement” that “is coming.” And, while I agree this is a movement that will take hold in many places, today I am sad. I would like to take a few moments to tell you why I am sad.

I have watched the video that shows your new preaching intern. The well-made video shows some snippets of the sermon as well as some behind-the-scenes interviews. None of that is disheartening. The video is well-done and engaging. But, like so many other things in our modern times, the content can be lost in the production value.

Your new preaching intern is female. Would some of you read that again? Would some of you read that and ask yourself, How did we get here? Some of you are proud of this moment, while others are disheartened, but you love that congregation so much that you just go along with it, so as not to disrupt anything.

But today, as I reflect on this “movement,” and that one sentence (“your new preaching intern is female”), I am sad.

First, I am sad that your Senior Minister thinks that Paul’s words carry so little weight. In his portion of the interview, he states,

What the Bible does is tells me about Jesus; and I don’t read Jesus through Paul. I read Paul through Jesus. And I think the churches of Christ are getting this, that we no longer read all of the Bible as equal.

Is Jesus the centerpiece of Scripture? There can be no doubt about that. If I may quote Paul (though he doesn’t carry the same weight as Jesus, apparently), “We preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). The message of Jesus was clearly the focal point of all that Paul, Peter, and others said and wrote.

However, was it not Jesus Himself who stated that the Holy Spirit would guide His apostles into all truth (John 14:25)? When Peter, Jude, James, and–yes–Paul wrote, were they not writing exactly what Jesus wanted them to share? And, should some of those teachings seem strange or even archaic to us today, does that indicate that Jesus did not mean them?

Your preacher has tried to take the easy way out. Sadly, he has taken a clear command and stated that it was nothing more than cultural. The line of thinking goes that Paul only meant this teaching for that ancient time and culture. He even states that there are only two passages that talk about this particular concept, and, should we believe that Paul meant it for anything beyond “Corinth and Ephesus,” we are stating that the apostle was “trying to undue the rest of Scripture.”

So, I guess God has to say it, what, at least three times to make a command binding? Or He had to have Paul’s teaching be corroborated by Jesus to make it binding? Such is the thinking.

But is the idea of male leadership in the church nothing more than a cultural construct? If we are going to affirm that “all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God” (sorry to quote from Paul again, but it is just so hard not to; 2 Timothy 3:16), then we must also take the rest of that passage into consideration. “All Scripture…is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”

Please notice the first thing on that list. Paul did not say, “The ‘red letters’ are for doctrine.” He did not say, “Take the words of Jesus and throw mine out when setting your doctrine.” No, all Scripture is profitable for doctrine. We dare not take our proverbial knife and chop out the parts of Scripture we personally do not like and just chalk it up to a “cultural difference.”

But today I am also sad because an obviously talented young lady thinks that this is not only okay, but sanctioned by the Lord. Let me be clear: her gifts and abilities are evident. But I know a lot of talented ladies who also are willing to submit to the will of God, teaching only those allowed under the dictates of the New Testament. My wife, sister, and mother all have spoken at ladies’ days and taught numerous ladies’ classes. Each has encouraged men in private settings to be more faithful to the Lord’s way. My mother speaks 4 or more times each year to ladies at Polishing the Pulpit. But these talented ladies, and many, many others I could name, realize that God has clearly and timelessly stated that they are not to usurp authority over a man in public leadership within the church. That includes being an elder, and, yes, it includes the public proclamation of the Gospel when adult male Christians are present.

Additionally, today I am sad that this young lady speaks of such an issue as nothing more than a “tradition” among churches of Christ. I am more sad that she is not alone in this concept. Traditions are fine, but they are not worth fighting for. Doctrine is! As an example, Wednesday night Bible study is a tradition. Scripture nowhere states that a congregation must come together in the middle of the week for Bible study (or “prayer meeting,” or anything else). Over the years, though, these midweek services have become a tradition. If a congregation decides to move these services to Tuesday, or discontinue them altogether, I may not like that decision and may even consider it unwise, but since it is a tradition, it is not worth arguing about. That is a decision made by a local eldership for those people. The elders have that right to, in prayerful wisdom, make such a decision.

However, when Scripture has clearly spoken, we are no longer dealing in the realm of “tradition.” We are dealing in the realm of doctrine. Every time Scripture speaks to a matter, we must stand for Scripture and defend boldly what the Lord has stated. If 4th Avenue has some traditions that change over the years, so be it. That is your prerogative and I pray they help you grow closer to Christ and to one another. But if your leaders decide to change, add to, or ignore the clear teachings of Scripture, you must stand with Christ and not simply accept these things as changing some tradition.

Finally, I am sad today for a personal reason. I am sad that this video does not shock me. We all know that this so-called “movement” is coming, and will gain momentum quickly. Too many congregations have so long ago abandoned a willingness for standing for all Scripture, and I believe many more will follow this “movement.” When we think that we can pick and choose what parts of the New Testament to follow and what parts are irrelevant, videos like these will be more and more common.

As a lover of Christ, His Word, and His people, know that I am praying for you and your leaders. I want you to deeply consider all that Scripture has to say on every matter, and not make following Him all about your own personal preferences. If He is truly Lord, then He is to be obeyed.

Sincerely,

Adam

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119 Responses to An Open Letter to the 4th Avenue Church of Christ

  1. Sarah says:

    Thank you!

  2. Tim Mullican says:

    Some congregations of the church of Christ have been slowly getting away from the Bible for several years. They think it’s all about making people happy and membership growth so they start making their own biblical principles. To have grown up with this girls father and mother at Donelson makes it even more disturbing. I would predict in the next 10 years 4th Avenue will have instrumental music, gay ministers, and while they’re at it, why not just observe the Lord’s Supper once a month. They have obviously made a mockery of the Bible and it’s teachings.

  3. Lee Cole says:

    Well said. Thank you for speaking up.

  4. Trae says:

    Excellent thoughts, thank you for sharing!

  5. Joey says:

    Thank you and Amen!!!

  6. Tonia says:

    Thank you for writing this. I am so heartbroken over this and praying that members of this church open their Bibles and study. That they have the courage to stand up for what the good Lord has written. That they have the courage to walk away and find a true church and worship with them. I will be praying for their members today.

  7. Joshua says:

    Thank you for your thoughts on the matter. While this is a topic that has much heat on both sides, we must also understand that even the most conservative (yes I realize it is a relative term) congregations still do not treat each “command” as you say as binding. For example, while I do not know your congregation or personal beliefs, I assume your church does not require women to cover the heads during worship. Yes, I realize this is written off as “cultural” or is “explained away” as allegorical rather than literal and binding, but, the argument above was that even though something is only mentioned twice, it is still binding. If we make this statement without further explanation we must apply it across the board. I don’t know about you, but there are several things that should not be applied across the board. Again, I am not taking a side on the issue, I am simply pointing out that you have made the same “error” in your own argument against the topic at hand. At the end of the day, thank God for autonomy so that you can serve your congregation, Patrick can serve his, and I can serve mine. At the end of the day, we are all brothers in Christ working towards the same goal.

  8. Bill Dayton says:

    Adam you are so spot on. Never apologize for quoting our brother and apostle to Jesus Christ Paul. Who at one time brought so much harm to the Lord’s church. But now enlightens us every day we open God’s Word. It is sad when the culture dictates to the church, instead of the church to culture. I have no idea how this is going to turn out, but I do believe if we as your brothers in Christ would do the same loving thing you did, instead of talking about the situation, talk to those who are involved….a scriptural response, by the way. Perhaps…just perhaps they might get the message. God Bless

  9. Jacob says:

    Joshua above me:

    Headship is never a cultural manner. The passage to which you refer (1 Cor. 11) is indeed binding in regarding to authority. The reason coverings could be seen as a transient and fluid issue is the caveat in verse 13, “judge among yourselves.” Coverings today may not represent the same meaning of headship focused on the male as they did then. In all, let’s look to Scripture first for all answers. Also, saying one thing is wrong and throwing all else out does not seem to be prudent either.

    Let’s work together to unity (1 Cor. 1).

    Thankful for the author. We will need to stand up to shifts away from the Truth as time and culture progress.

  10. Reed says:

    Great letter! Our brother Peter had enough respect for Paul and his epistles to call them Scripture in 2 Peter 3:15-16.

  11. Mike Underwood says:

    I hope and pray that your words will be received by a receptive heart. Unfortunately, however, having followed this man’s facebook appearances for a couple of years, if he lowers himself from his pedestal to read your letter, he will not only mock and belittle you but will also glory in the fact that you have disagreed with him. My heart aches over this issue. He (she) and others like him are responsible for what they do and teach, but the teachers who brought them to this point will receive the greater condemnation. Much prayer, courage and steadfastness is needed.

  12. Joshua says:

    So it goes back to the convenience factor. 1 Tim 2:11 says a woman must learn quietly. I suppose this means no discussion classes or small group discussions if a woman is present. Also, in the next verse it is about authority. Therefore, if she has submitted to her leaderships request for her to preach to the congregation is she preaching by her authority or the leaderships authority? In fact, what preacher actually preaches by their own authority anyway? Again, I’m not saying I am comfortable with women preaching, what I am saying is we often make scripture say what is convenient for us, on either side. If we do not attend the church or personally know Patrick or the young lady, it is not ours to judge. Anyway, thank you for being gracious and allowing my thoughts. I have said my peace and will leave the topic. I appreciate the overall positive nature rather than a tearing down of those being discussed. Thank you (majority of you) for having spirits that “build up” even when you disagree with a decision. I hope Mike Underwood will repent for the unkind, judgmental, and tearing down remark about Patrick and I will pray for you my brother.

  13. Terry says:

    Very interesting posting. I saw it on the Friends of the Restoration FB page. Of course, the posting had a very short life on that page. I find it interesting the number of female ministers on the staff at the 4th Avenue Church whom I am sure were in these capacities long before this young lady began her internship. Perhaps that was also an indication of what was to come.

  14. Richard Barnes says:

    Thank you for your letter. I have preached for forty five years and it is sad to see congregations easing into error from which I was converted. It is time to take a stand for the truth and not be ashamed. Congregations need to follow God’s Word or cease calling themselves a Church of Christ.

  15. Wendi says:

    I have often wondered about the reasons behind God’s design for male spiritual leadership. As a (fairly) young woman and one who has done a lot of public speaking, it kind of chafed me when I was even younger. But some conversations with my wise father have helped me to have a different perspective. My Dad pointed out to me 2 possible reasons for God’s design that I had not considered, but they have helped me understand a little better. (And I’m not saying that we have to understand God’s commands before we obey them, but as humans we do like to try to understand.)

    His first possible was reason was that, if women are allowed to lead in this role, many many men will no longer step up. In a very general sense, with many obvious exceptions, women often seem to be better at communicating verbally, and they seem to be more in tune to spiritual matters. I am not trying to perpetuate a stereotype, but it’s easy to look at all the statistics about how many words a day a typical woman uses vs. a man, and what the percentages of female vs male churchgoers are. So as more and more women begin leading in these roles, it is possible that less and less men will chose to. My Dad’s point was that perhaps God chose men to lead in order to urge them to “step up,” not because women are incapable of it, but rather because we might be naturally better at it!

    And my Dad’s other point was that, since men are so — by God’s design — visually stimulated, it is much more difficult for a man to keep his thoughts pure when an attractive woman is up front in worship, regardless of how modest her attire. Women, not being in general as visual, are less likely to face that temptation. Now that I am married and have had many conversations with my husband on this topic, I am so glad he is protected from this temptation during worship since he is so bombarded with it in our culture.

    Again, I don’t think we have to understand God’s command to follow it. But considering those 2 perspectives from my Dad was a great help to me as a young woman who struggled with those scriptures, and I hope these thoughts will help someone else.

  16. Ralph says:

    As usual, great job, Adam! These “change movements” are most disturbing and are doing great damage to the cause of Christ!

  17. Gregory Allen says:

    The blame and failure, in this scenario, falls squarely in the lap of the Eldership. They are to keep a watchful eye; they are to continuously watch for the wolves among the sheep (they are shepherds, right?), they are responsible for nipping this at the bud. Unfortunately, when men of God are Shepherds in name only, we can expect the flock to be drawn away. I don’t blame this young woman. I blame the the Church, for failing her. She has been failed by her Elders, Teachers, and anyone else who takes the Word of God with such a flippant attitude.

  18. Kelly says:

    In my experience, congregations that have made changes with regard to women’s ministry have not done so flippantly but after serious study of the relevant biblical texts. If the churches of Christ are truly committed to congregational autonomy, as we claim, why can we not accept the communities among us that have made changes based on their serious reading of scripture and on the convictions that come from such study? Assuming that such congregations are ignoring scripture or do not care about God’s word is ungracious and judgmental, in my view.

  19. Marilyn says:

    Thank you for this letter, for taking a stand, for contending for the faith.

  20. Lauren Rutland says:

    Adam,
    You’re absolutely right when you say that All words should be used for doctrine and not just Christ’s alone. That being said, should we allow a couple of verses from Paul’s writing to shape our entire doctrine on the role of Women in the church? No, we allow all words to shape our doctrine. Words that describe Priscilla teaching Apollo (Acts 18:26), words that describe Phoebe as a deaconess (Romans 16:1), words that tell the story of Deborah the Judge of Israel (Judges 4-6), words that speak of Anna as a prophetess (Luke 2:36-38), and words that speak of Junia who is described as being “outstanding among the apostles” (Romans 16:7).

    The Church of Christ has often kept women completely out of public leadership roles. In my interpretation of the scriptures, I am saddened by the male dominated church leadership and public worship. We have taken a few words from Paul and allowed them to shape our entire Doctrine instead of allowing examples of scripture to add to our doctrine. We also forget Paul’s words that say that there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28. If there neither male or female and we are all one then there should be no divisions, and we should allow the words that are all God inspired to transform us and allow us to be open to other understandings of scripture.

  21. Jeremy says:

    One would think that if they were truly praying, as a body, to God over this that they couldn’t have possibly come to this end.

  22. Adam Faughn says:

    Lauren,
    Thank you for your thoughtful words and for taking the time to share them. I greatly appreciate your examples of some wonderful women found in Scripture, and I have certainly gained a great deal from Christian ladies throughout the years.
    That said, we need to look at these women in their context and compare them to what is happening at 4th Avenue.
    Priscilla taught Apollos, but she did so in a private setting, not in public preaching.
    Phoebe is called a “deaconess,” but that does not necessarily imply an official position. The word “deacon” just means servant, and we cannot prove from the context that she was anything more than one who took her role as a Christian servant seriously.
    Deborah is one of my heroes (!), but her life occurs before the time of the New Testament Church and even she does her best to encourage the man–Barak–to step up to leadership.
    Anna is actually one of five women called a “prophetess” in Scripture (Miriam, the wife of Isaiah, Huldah, and the aforementioned Deborah are the others), but it is interesting that this term disappears with the coming of the New Testament Church. Even Anna (Luke 2) does not see the New Covenant established. Though we have references to prophets in the early Church, we have no references to female prophets.
    Junia is an ambiguous name, and can also be translated “Junias,” which is masculine. Even if this is a female, though, it does not mean this person was an apostle, but that he or she was outstanding in his/her work for the apostles.

    As far as the Galatians 3:28 passage goes, the text is not teaching that there are no gender differences in any way. Slaves were still slaves, just as men are still men and women are still women, though they have come to Christ. In context, Paul is stating that all are one in their ability to enjoy the blessings of salvation. Men and women alike can (and must!) be saved through Jesus. Being male does not make me more likely to be saved. However, God still defines certain roles for certain people to play within the community of the Church.

  23. Luke Taylor says:

    Excellent response… Thank you!

  24. Joshua P. says:

    First, excellent thoughts brother Adam.

    Second, I often hear folks criticizing the literal interpretation and application of 1Timothy 2, etc, by saying we don’t interpret 1Corinthians 11 literally. I beg to differ. http://joshualpappas.blogspot.com/2008/02/social-customs-and-sexes.html.

    Note: Since writing this post several years ago, I have become aware that the issue of who did/didn’t wear head coverings between Jewish, Greek, and Roman cultures is not as clear cut as I previously understood. That said, the arguments I made in the post stand and are sound. Bottom line: The context clues in 1Corinthians 11 make it indisputable that it’s an issue of a principle applied in a changeable cultural way. The context clues in 1Timothy 2 do just the opposite. Paul is clear to show the teaching there is universal all around.

    God bless!

  25. Matt says:

    Mike Underwood, you nailed it on that one. Adam, you are onto the underlying death-issue here: a denial of the inspiration of Scripture. It always begins as a functional denial… for instance minimizing “Paul’s words” as if they are not essentially the words of the risen Christ spoken through Paul. Women’s roles aside (not unimportant, just aside for this point!), what follows from a functional denial of Scripture as objective revelation from God is the explicit, conscious, and glad denial of Scripture as objective revelation. The whole book is no longer a divine Word through and in the form of human words, but mere human words only based on divine things and with a divine purpose. This is the serpent creeping in, this is the movement that is coming and has come. The “big-issues” are just distractions serving as a conduit for denying Scripture as God-breathed.

  26. Marilyn says:

    I only read part of this because churches of Christ are not a denomination and each congregation can do what they want.

  27. Leon Cole says:

    I was not at all surprised when I heard of this. When I began preaching more than fifty years ago even then it was known that 4th Avenue was looser than many congregations. I don’t recall that they ever had a preacher who really was known to be on “the cutting edge” it was always a “don’t rock the boat” mentality. Ultimately that attitude and spirit produces a fruit that is not good. The harvest is now being reaped. And is true of so many places colleges and their philosophies have pretty well controlled the direction that many congregations have gone. Elderships have not tended the flock. I can name some where the only qualifications for such is their social standing in the community, how much money they have in the bank and their political clout. It would matter not if they thought Galatians was in the Old Testament or whether they ever taught a class. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

  28. Nathan says:

    Adam, can you please respond to Lauren Rutland? Are all of the women referenced in scripture and by Lauren in the wrong and therefore will burn in hell for preaching and teaching the good news and for pointing people to God? Can you teach me more about other times that it my be a sin to teach people about Jesus and the gospel? And if Men and Women are not one in Chirst as Paul said, should we continue allow Jews and Greeks (Racial Equality) and Slave and Free (Economic Equality) in our churches? If we are not one in Christ, then why do I see black preachers at white churches or poor people leading prayers at rich churches?

  29. Adam Faughn says:

    I did respond to her already.

  30. Jackson says:

    None of these comments have anything to do with the whole purpose of what we are called to do as Christians and that is to “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.” These debates do not help us get to that point. They lead us to pointing fingers and making judgmental comments about one another. It doesn’t create unity. It is all supposed to be about Jesus and what He did for us. And we need to be sharing that with everyone wherever we go and with whoever we meet. Period.

  31. Emily says:

    WOW!!! I am utterly speechless. I was born and raised in the Church of Christ. My father was and still is a full-time minister. I agree with Adam whole-heartedly. Shame on 4th Avenue Church of Christ. That’s the problem with the church today. According to Lauren, “should we allow a couple of verses from Paul’s writing to shape our entire doctrine on the role of Women in the church?” You can not pick and choose which words in the Bible you want to ignore. That being said, what about I Corinthians 14:34? Are you going to ignore that one too. You must follow the instructions in the Bible. It’s not open to interpretation. Just because you don’t like something in the Bible, doesn’t give anyone the right to “change” it to suit them. Sad day in my opinion.

  32. Mike Underwood says:

    Joshua, I appreciate your prayers and your call for my repentance. one time in all the years since Al Gore invented the internet do I put a remark on someone’s blog and I get nailed for it. Just my luck. Seriously, Joshua, you are right, I should not return in kind for the ill treatment of others. Paul’s teaching in Romans, regardless of how uninspired some might deem it to be, should have taught me that. To be fair to myself, I felt that I was only remarking about the fruit that his tree has born. I did not intend to return evil for evil, but since that is how it seemed to you, I beg your forgiveness. The wisdom of the Proverbs should have taught me that if any man is proud and haughty, unkind and belittling, I should let his own words and actions be sufficient testimony to that. The video that spurred all this stir is sufficient evidence that Mr. Mead is a false teacher. As such, he should be marked and avoided. I do not recommend that any one follow him on facebook or by another means. However, if someone wants to see what kind of man he is, I ask that you not take my words for it, take his – they are publically given in his facebook posts and likely other sources of which I am unfamiliar.

  33. Jack says:

    I have been pleasantly surprised by the level of civil conversation on this blog post. It is truly refreshing and encouraging to read. That being said, I must disagree with you Adam. We cannot simply take all scripture at face-value, ripping it from its historical context and applying it to our world today. Otherwise (as I believe was mentioned somewhere above), women would be required to wear head coverings (1 Corinthians 11), they would also not be allowed to braid their hair or wear gold (1 Timothy 2), and rebellious children would be stoned (Deuteronomy 21). I realize this is proof-texting at its finest, but the point is that we cannot simply rip out rules or commands from Scripture apart from their context and make blanket statements for the world we live in today. To do so is unfair not only to our fellow Christians, but also to scripture itself.

    Lauren makes some good points about Scripture being in favor of female leadership. Even if Priscilla taught Apollos in a private setting, would she not be disobeying 1 Timothy 2:11-12? Also, Phoebe is tied to a specific local church, the church at Cenchrea, which makes her appointment a local function. Furthermore, the combination of diakonos with ousa “points more to a recognized ministry” or a “position of responsibility within the congregation.” “Minister” would be an acceptable translation in this regard or perhaps more appropriately, “[kai] also a minister,”whereas “servant” would prove inadequate. If Paul were simply aiming to convey a sense of service to her local church, this “would have probably been expressed by use of ‘diakoneō’ (Rom 15:25) or ‘diakonia’ (1 Cor 16:15). The fourth-century bishop of Constantinople, John Chrysostom, said of Junia, “To be an apostle is something great. But to be outstanding among the apostles—just think what a wonderful song of praise that is! . . . Indeed how great the wisdom of this woman must have been that she was even deemed worthy of the title of apostle.” But as time went on, the mention of a female apostle in Scripture became inconvenient for the increasingly hierarchal Church, so a medieval theologian found a creative solution to the problem: he turned Junia into a man. “Andronicus and Junia” became “Andronicus and Junias.” This was no small error. The masculine name Junias does not occur in a single inscription, letterhead, work of literature, or epitaph in the Greco-Roman world, while the feminine name Junia is everywhere. None of the Greek manuscripts suggests that a masculine form of this name should be used, and for the first thousand years of church history, Christian theologians ranging from Chrysostom to Origen to Jerome all identified the apostle Junia as a woman. But the myth caught on, especially after Martin Luther used Junias, rather than Junia, in his German translation of the Bible and identified the pair of former prisoners as male. To this day, one can find English translations of the Bible that turn the apostle Junia into a man. She’s just a little too inconvenient. All that to say, it is no mistake that she is referred to as an Apostle. I must admit though that the passage from Galatians is not referring to leadership within the church. It is referring to salvation. As some have put it, “we are all equal at the foot of the cross.”

    Interestingly though, I think the biggest example in favor of female leadership in the church has to do with Mary Magdalene. According to the gospels of Mark and Luke, Jesus cleansed Mary Magdalene of seven demons, after which she became a devoted disciple. She is mentioned by Luke in the same context as the Twelve as one who traveled with Jesus and helped finance his ministry. All four gospel accounts identify Mary Magdalene as among the first witnesses of the empty tomb. She is the one to breathlessly describes what she has seen to the male disciples, who initially discount her declaration, “I have seen the Lord!”, as the babblings of a foolish woman. It has been noted that Mary’s announcement, “I have seen the Lord,” is the same credential used by Paul to insist on his own authority as an apostle:” ‘Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lored?” (1 Cor. 9:1). For her valor in twice sharing the good news to the skeptical male disciples, the early church honored Mary Magdalene with the title of Apostle to the Apostles. That Christ ushered in this new era of life and liberation in the presence of women, and that he sent them out as the first witnesses of the complete gospel story, is perhaps the boldest, most overt affirmation of their equality in his kingdom that Jesus ever delivered.

  34. Auto Nomy says:

    Luckily autonomy is a doctrine and not a tradition.

  35. James Eaves says:

    Great response brother. Thank you for your stance and encouragement.

  36. Nathan says:

    “Slaves were still slaves, just as men are still men and women are still women, though they have come to Christ. In context, Paul is stating that all are one in their ability to enjoy the blessings of salvation.” The blessing of salvation is that sin and death have been defeated. The curse has been broken. A part of the curse was that a husband would be over his wive. Has Jesus’ death and resurrection not broken that curse?

  37. Michael Chambliss says:

    Great article, Adam!

    Looking at this through another lens: the marriage relationship.

    Ephesians 5:22-24 ESV

    “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”

    If a wife is a pastor over her husband, how can she then submit herself to her husband at home? Can she be head in one place and her husband be the head in another? This seems like a monster with two heads to me!

    The words “submit in everything” are big words there and I believe that disqualifies a woman from pastoring.

  38. Brandi says:

    Thanks for the scripturally sound response, Adam.

    One of the problems is that we’ve allowed Satan to take a foothold at the very places we entrust our children – the so-called “Christian colleges”. Is it really any surprise that this gal went to Lipscomb? Lipscomb knew exactly the congregation to call for the “female preaching intern”. That’s very telling.

    Joshua you said, “If we do not attend the church or personally know Patrick or the young lady, it is not ours to judge.” Scripture, inspired Word, says exactly the opposite:

    John 7:24 “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

    Ephesians 5:11 states: ” And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

    2 Thessalonians 3:6, “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.”

    We cannot have fellowship with the Lord while simultaneously fellowshipping those who are willfully disobeying His commands. We can only have fellowship with one or the other. And, if we have fellowship with those who are willfully disobeying His commands, by default, that puts us out of fellowship with the Lord and vice-versa.

    Your response will likely fall on deaf ears – this isn’t some sudden change this congregation made. They’ve been moving this way for quite some time, I would suspect.

  39. Paul Nelson says:

    Where in the New Testament are you authorized to publicly call out an individual, minister or entire congregation outside your immediate assembly? Where are we authorized to take to social media sites in order to spread allegations about our brothers and sisters in Christ? I believe you have missed an opportunity to stir up useful and edifying conversations among believers and instead further solidified division. Why can’t you adhere more closely to scripture: I Thess 4:11-12. Does this behavior win the respect of outsiders or simply feed those who already agree with you? It’s amazing to me that this sweet girl is receiving more criticism for becoming a preacher than if she had decided to become a prostitute. The doctrine you teach would allow this girl to preach from a street corner, but not a pulpit within your congregation. I would even venture to guess that women in your congregation can’t even stand up to pass a communion tray on Sunday morning. They can pass it from a seated position…but don’t stand at the table…that would usurp the authority of little 12 year old Billy who just got baptized and is excited for his chance to “serve.” Really? My wife just said I shouldn’t post this because it didn’t come from a place of love. We should both be more like her.

  40. Doug says:

    Brandi, not really sure where all the Lipscomb hate is coming from. It is unfair to categorize an entire student body based on one example. In the same way, one could say Freed-Hardeman produces rock and roll lifestyles based on the fact that a member of the popular band Kings of Leon attended there. But that would be ridiculous. And so are you.

  41. The mrs. says:

    Wow. Just… wow. An open letter from a closed person, who has decided the final truth of this subject. Now that’s a #sadday.

  42. Internet Troll says:

    Hey Paul, didn’t you just call out Adam for calling people out? #irony

  43. Ron Bailey says:

    I agree with Mr. Nelson.

    This is a matter of the congregation. This should not be a public debate on social media. The person that wrote this letter should address his issues directly with that Congregation and not on social media.

    We must not drag the Holy Bride of Christ through the same filthy standards as movie stars, rock stars etc.

    God forgive us.

  44. Kippy Myers says:

    Thanks, Adam. Great job.

    1 Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” Paul spoke God’s word. Why would anyone attempt to minimize that?

  45. Erica says:

    (1Ti 2:13) For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

    (1Ti 2:14) And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

    Where did Adam get the fruit that God told him not to eat?

  46. Scott H. says:

    2 quick points: 1) Where are/were the 4th Ave. Elders in this decision? Is Patrick in charge at 4th Ave? According to Patrick, Lipscomb calls w/ a preaching intern and Patrick says come on, we’d love to have her! It would have been nice to hear from an Elder in the video. 2) Lauren mentioned that “God wants us to be united”. No doubt that He does. But at the end of the day…and as a result of this decision… and whether you support this or not… has the church become unified or less unified? If you are honest, I believe that you can’t deny that this situation has caused additional discord and strive among Christian brothers and sisters. Is that worth proving a point? I’m guessing Satan is having a nice chuckle right about now.

  47. Dustin Hatton says:

    If you and the church you attend disagree with the actions of Fourth Avenue and Lipscomb, that is fine. You certainly don’t have to agree or follow their actions. However, I think we all should take a cue from the Amish and focus our energies on following Jesus and making disciples rather than being so worried about what other churches are doing. Making a disciple is a much harder task than calling churches and people out.

  48. Laura says:

    This was such an interesting post and I appreciate the love, concern, and thoughtfulness that went into it. I attend a conservative Church of Christ and, like Wendi, believe that men should hold the positions of leadership in the church. I believe that if women were to step up to contend for positions in the pulpit or eldership, many (possibly most) men would fade into the background. I also strongly believe that if my husband is expected to be the head of our household, he shouldn’t then be under my leadership when we attend church. His roles of family member and church member should be congruent. That said, I am so happy to hear that at least some people in the churches of Christ are acknowledging that Paul’s words are not the same as Jesus’s. Our Christ, the Son of God, and Redeemer born from immaculate conception is absolutely not Paul. His words do not carry the same weight– not even close. And when it is written in 2 Timothy 3:16 that all scripture is God-breathed, Paul is writing a letter to Timothy (not a submission for a book of holy writings) and the scriptures he refers to are the Old Testament. He wasn’t referring to the letter he was writing at that very moment.

  49. Terry says:

    While there is some bold comment made on one’s steadfast faithfulness to the inspired Word, I would doubt any on either side believe or practice the direct command (4x) of the holy kiss? Why?

  50. Jim Faughn says:

    In 1 Tim 5:18, Paul linked Deut. 25:4 & Luke 10:7 and called both of them “scripture.” Peter labeled Paul’s writing as “scripture” in 2 Peter 3:16. It sounds to me like we might want to give it some thought before we discount or discredit his writings.

  51. s says:

    I agree 100%. However, 60 – 70 years ago the same letters were being written to churches about the way congregations used their money. I was shocked to find out the real meaning of fellowship wasn’t a common meal but instead fellowship with God. It floored me when I finally saw how God’s word emphasizes the individuals responsibility to help, give, and support orphans and missionaries. I was never taught different. 60 years ago was the beginning. This is where you go when you start taking steps away from God’s authority and start doing what sounds good.

  52. […] Faughn, minister of the Lebanon Road congregation in Hermitage, Tenn., wrote an lengthy open letter to the Fourth Ave. congregation. He […]

  53. Jennifer McDougal says:

    Thank you for writing this letter to the erring church at 4th Avenue. I’ve always been taught Satan isn’t after the world, he’s already got them. He is trying to erode Christ’s church by chipping away at the core foundation, the Word of God and it’s authority. And obviously, Satan is making some headway. I do have a theory, though, as to why all this is happening. I have for years listened carefully to what has been preached. I have heard lots and lots of opinions vs. doctrine over the years with subtlety, being preached. I do believe that Christian women have been “short-changed” and their good works condescendingly acknowledged by some preachers. What we do to further the Kingdom of Christ has been viewed as secondary because we do not take a public role in worship. Our position in the church has been compartmentalized over the years and not fully appreciated for the importance we truly have in the church. For example, instead of calling ourselves deaconesses, we don’t do that because non-Christians might think we have an “official title”. If it is a matter of semantics, then we need to not use the Old English translation and mark the word as ‘servant’ and move on. But it does say deaconess and I think we shouldn’t shy away from that, but we do. We always have to tack on the disclaimer that it is not an official role in the church. Women have been told to keep silent in the church, which is scriptural, but I know women that won’t even comment during Bible study or even lead a prayer in a ladies class because they take the keeping silent teaching beyond the assembly. Also, when Bible heroes are preached from the pulpit, rarely are any women mentioned as heroines. My theory is this. I believe our worship and teaching has become stale over the years. So much so, that well-meaning Christians, though in the wrong, are trying to make it meaningful, purposeful, and alive. That is why we have seen instrumental music creep in, contemporary worship, and now woman preachers. I think it would be incumbent for all of us to examine ourselves and see if we are guilty of lukewarmness in our worship and our attitudes of each other and how we serve God. I grant you, all blame cannot be placed on the church, but I do believe if we are guilty of turning others away from the church or turning them towards false doctrines because we do not speak the truth in love and we do not worship in spirit and in truth, we will have something to answer to God about. I don’t know if my perspective gives anyone something to think about. It’s just an observation. My heart fell heavy to watch that video. But the sad part about it to me was the fact it did not shock or surprise me. Anyway, do me a favor. The next time you assemble to worship God with your fellow Christians and you are singing praises to Him, look around and see the expressions on the faces of each other. Especially if you are singing something like “Sing and Be Happy” or any song about heaven. The only smiles you will probably see are on the faces of the ones we are supposed to be like – little children. Doctrinal error is by no means a “mote” but we may be treating it that way to ignore the beam in our own spiritual lives. Again, thanks for writing directly to this congregation. I am going to fervently pray that they will repent and follow the Bible and the examples shown to us by the churches of the first century!

  54. Deb says:

    The Bible was written by inspiration of God and there is to be no adding or taking away from it. We are to follow it and the church is to be set up according to his requirements. So many are teaching and preaching that we are all Christians no matter what our belief. Everything we do is to glorify God and do His will. There are no intrupations as to the role of women in the church. We are not to over ride faithful Christian men in the ministery of the church. It saddens me to see once faithful congregations of God’s people take to the world and become the world by adding to God’s world. We are seeing praise teams, women waiting on the table, and now women preachers. You might as well put someone’s name above the door because you are not honoring God and him alone. I’m disappointed that a once faithful Christian college is supporting this dishonor to God.

  55. Lisa Mayo says:

    As a Woman and a member if the Church of Christ, this really bothered and concerned me!! The Church is Non-Denominational !!! We follow Gods words, we do not conform to popularity. This my friends is not a girl wanting to play on a boys football team, I sincerely hope we all open our Bibles and trust in The Lord that his plan for Salvation stays true in our hearts. God Bless.

  56. Greg Grounds says:

    Adam,
    I appreciate your well-written open letter. I also appreciate all of the responses for and against. I learned a lot through the scriptures offered and am firmer in my knowledge of scripture and my beliefs. Also, I appreciated the civility of the discourse. I was not brought up in a church of Christ but now love the church deeply and realize it was paid for and belongs to my Savior Jesus Christ and its doctrine was given by Him and His apostles for me to follow unconditionally, which I try to do and also I try to teach others to do. I would add autonomy was designed for the church’s protection not for promoting/allowing different doctrines. I Cor. 1:10. I do pray that there will be unity AND correct doctrine within His church.

  57. Lauren says:

    Adam,
    If Priscilla taught Apollos in private, she still taught him and therefore had authority and imparted spiritual wisdom. If we are saying that teaching is authoritative then she was indeed practicing authority. Publicly or not. Did Paul say women may teach men only in private? No, he said:
    “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. Do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” 1 Timothy 2:11-12
    So then Priscilla should not have taught a man at all. Especially one who was not her husband, yet we read in scripture that she did, which is just as meaningful of evidence as words from Paul.
    As for Phoebe, the actual verse states, “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae.” Romans 16:1. So, she was a deacon of the church. Saying that it was not an actual position is an assumption and not factual evidence that she did not serve the church as a deacon. Also, if she was a deacon in the sense that she just did the work but did not carry the title, does that make it better? In fact, I would think that would be another reason for women to stand up for their role in the church. How many wives of deacons do you know who do most of the work but their husbands carry the title? I know quite a few. How many women do the work of a deacon but are never allowed to have the honor of being named a deacon? How is being a deacon or a servant showing authority over a man?
    Deborah’s leadership was not and should not be discounted. Sure she came before Christ and she came before the day of Pentecost, etc. However, God still allowed her to have authority in a time where female leadership was not widely accepted. To say that women cannot be used in leadership now because her leadership happened before the New-Testament Church is like saying that the Old-Testament doesn’t count as much as the New Testament which is what you got on to 4th Avenue’s preacher for doing with Paul’s words vs. Christ’s words. If black letters count just as much as red letters, then the Old-Testament is just as important in doctrinal terms as the New-Testament. You said yourself that Deborah is your hero and her story is accounted in the most public historic document of all time, The Holy Bible. So, why then would a man not be able to learn from a woman in a public manor?
    Anna being a prophetess before the New Covenant was established is not ample evidence that women should not be a mouth piece for God which is essentially what a preacher is and Exodus 7:1-2 tells us that a prophet is. The New Covenant was when the old law was abolished, meaning we no longer have to abide by the Jewish law because we are saved by Christ’s sacrifice. It does not mean that anything that happened before the New Covenant should never happen again.
    Jack’s response about Junia was perfect and I could not have said it better myself. He also brought up Mary Magdalene which I thought was very profound. Thanks Jack!
    Adam, Thanks for allowing me to share my opinion and my interpretation of scripture! My hope for the Churches of Christ is that we be unified not because we interpret scriptures the same but that we are unified because we believe in Christ and are all just trying to do what we believe the bible says. Speaking as a Minister in the Church of Christ, My hope and prayer is that the Elders at 4th Avenue Church of Christ and the Elders at any and all Churches of Christ do what they believe is permitted according to scripture even if I disagree with their conclusions and decisions.

    Blessings,
    Lauren

  58. & this is why I refer to myself as a “recovering baptist.” Luckily I’ve found my way into an inclusive faith community that encourages bible study and inquiry. It’s a mystery to me why some laws in the new testament are overlooked while some are brought up all the time. I guess that’s just our culture. To each his own, I guess.

    When I was taught how to think critically, I remember being told to read with the following questions in mind:
    1. Who is telling me this?
    2. How do they benefit from this version of the story?

  59. Wade says:

    Aah, the beauty of the autonomous church, which I thought the Churches of Christ were, is that each group of Christian can rightly divide the Word of God in a way that seems right and appropriate to them. Autonomy means that good, faithful people, who love God and respect Scripture can come to a different conclusion than another group who equally loves God and respects Scripture. Why the need for an open letter? Do I have to hold to all the tenants of the Church of Christ (again, where is the autonomy) in order to be recognized, not only as a faithful member of the Church but also whether I am faithful to God? I do believe the verses are highly cultural in nature, and that for the sake of the Gospel Paul’s instructions were appropriate for the time. And today, for the sake of the Gospel, a local church may take another position. But more importantly, let us never attribute to Satan the fervent efforts of others to follow the Word and fulfill the mission. May God bless all your churches and may you reach many people for the name of Christ.

  60. Jeremiah Tatum says:

    There is something that Lauren, and Paul and Dustin and some others may be misunderstanding here. I believe this post was an appeal for Biblical Christianity. It was written with love and concern and out of respect for God and the Bible over the direction our culture is taking. Once again, those who are calling out the writer here do not understand his intent. In our society, you cannot tell a person or a church, or anyone for that matter that they are wrong. In the days there was no king, everyone did what was right in their own eyes. Well, some people have not studied the Bible to the point where certain things are made clear. Some people are not doing what God wants. Some people – sadly most people, are going to go to hell. While we will not make the final judgment over these things, it is right and even a Christian duty to lovingly stand for the truth because of a deep and abiding genuine love for God. Most appreciate what he has written. Others immediately cry foul. Instead of actually respecting the authority of the Bible they just start arguing that you are hateful because you are taking a stand against something – never mind that what is being rejected is clearly against Biblical teaching. Let God be true and every man be a liar. I am more than willing to take God at His Word and let the chips fall where they may. I will not give up the church that my Lord died for and the apostles sacrificed everything for just to placate the current social situation. God organized His church and set the members in it just as it pleased Him. If God is to be glorified and if the church is to be His we will recognize Him to be the only Head of the church and everything we do will show love and adoration for His holiness. The church does not need a movement, save a revival of the spirit of the first century. The structure cannot be changed. If it is changed it is no longer the true New Testament church.

  61. Jeremiah Tatum says:

    Also, Wade is mistaking autonomy for the right for every church to do whatever it wants. That is not what autonomy allows nor is that what it is for. Elders of individual churches only make choices over those things which are expedient within the local church. God’s word is already settled in heaven. We must abide in the doctrine of Christ. No church of our Lord can set aside the organization of the church, or the worship of the church, or the plan of salvation, or other Bible truths that will determine where people are going to spend eternity. Who leads is not a preference, it is a command. This command is fro God.

  62. David says:

    I think this is room for a lot more discussion on this issue. The scriptures also say there is no longer male nor female, slave nor free. I think a huge concept is confusing a woman speaking as a leader. Someone giving sermon doesn’t necessarily lead – I have known plenty of good speakers who were not “leaders”. I think if you are going to point to the one scripture then women had better had there head covered, no make-up and no gold jewelry come Sunday. Everything has to be put in a proper context which includes the audience Paul was speaking to, the culture, the disruption that was happening in the church at that time as well. Like I said lots more than just pointing to a single scripture.

  63. Jeremiah Tatum says:

    One last thing I will mention. I find it disturbing that our 21st century culture, so diseased by the philosophical consequences of decades of postmodern thinking, would have the audacity and arrogance to assume that after 2,000 years they have all of the sudden figured out that women can preach in the public assembly on the first day of the week.

  64. Aaron says:

    1 Tim. 2:12-13, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.”
    Titus 1:5-6, “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, 6 namely, if any man be above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.”
    1 Tim. 5:17, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.”
    1 Tim. 2:12-14 is where Paul explicitly states that he does not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man but to remain quiet (“quiet” is hesuchia, not complete silence but respectful quiet)–because Adam was created first. In 1 Tim. 3:15 we are told this is how we are to conduct ourselves in the household of God. When a woman is a pastor and/or elder, she is in a place of authority over men. Paul clearly tells us this authority in the church structure is not the place for a woman because Adam was made first. This is not a cultural issue. Remember, Eve sinned first; but sin entered the world through Adam and not Eve (Rom. 5:12) because Adam was in the position of authority. This is why husbands are the head of the wife even as Christ is head of the church (Eph. 5:23). The place of authority in the church and family is not the place of the woman.

    In Titus 1:5-6 it says that the elder must be “the husband of one wife.” The Greek is literally “man of one woman.” This same phrase is used of the Bishop in 1 Tim. 3:2 and the Deacon in 1 Tim. 3:12. Remember, Paul is speaking of church officers–not servants (diakonos) in homes (Rom. 16:1, 27). So, the pastor/elder is to be a man of one woman.

    1 Tim. 5:17 tells us that the elders are to receive honor–especially those who preach and teach. Therefore, the pastor is an elder by definition, and the elder is to be a “man of one woman.” The word “elders” here is masculine in the Greek. So, Paul is telling us how the church is to operate (1 Tim. 3:15), and that the place of ecclesiastical authority is based on male eldership because Adam was created first (1 Tim. 2:12-13). This is doctrine–not culture.

    Some say that women pastors and elders are not an essential issue, so we should not worry about it. If that is the case, then why did God tell us women are not to teach or exercise authority over men (1 Tim. 2:12-13) in the church (1 Tim. 3:15)? Why did he tell us that an elder is to be a “man of one woman” (Titus 1:5-6) if we are not to worry about it?

    What about equality and verses with women in leadership?

    Gal. 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This verse is not about women pastors and elders. It is about salvation–in Christ, not church eldership, so it doesn’t apply.

    Deborah (Judges 4, 5) was an Old Testament Judge–not a New Testament elder. Prophesying women (Acts 21:8, 9) are not elders/pastors. Priscilla (Rom. 16:3, 4), a fellow worker in Christ, is not said to be an elder/pastor. Phoebe (Rom. 16:1) is a servant (diakonos) of the church–not an elder/pastor. Note that Jesus came not to be served but to serve (diakonos) (Mark 10:45). The government is called a minister (diakonos) of God (Rom. 13:4). Junia (Rom. 16:7 (see http://www.carm.org/junia) may have been a female apostle (not one of the 12) though this is debated. Still, even if she were, apostles are not for today; and an apostle is not a pastor/elder. The Chosen Lady of 2 John 1 is an honored woman–not a pastor/elder. Basically, the standard verses cited by people to support women being pastors and elders do no such thing.

    What about a woman who is called by God to minister as pastors and elders? Essentially, this is making doctrine based on a woman’s experience. Just because a woman “says” she is called by God or feels she is doesn’t mean she is because it isn’t biblical. God’s word is the standard–not our feelings and experiences.

    Why is this important? This is important because compromise in one area often leads to compromise in other areas. Even if the biblical position is not popular or politically correct, it is biblically correct. As Christians, we must never let compromise seep into the Christian church and weaken it. If Christians refuse to submit to the teaching of God’s word in this matter, can they be trusted to rightly deliver God’s word to us in other matters?

    If you are interested in more in-depth material on this topic, please go to http://www.carm.org/women-in-ministry.

    Do you disagree? If so, then please answer two questions. 1) How can an elder/pastor who is a woman be “the husband of one wife,” lit. “a man of one woman,” (Titus 1:6)? 2) How can a woman be in a place of authority as a pastor/elder and not violate 1 Tim. 2:12-13 where Paul clearly says he does “not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man?” This is what it says, and there aren’t any qualifications to it. What do you do with it?

  65. Wade says:

    The verses right in front of one of Paul’s teaching in 1 Timothy 2 is the following: “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”
    From there he goes on to talk about the silence of women. It would be interesting to see how many churches do not enforce the “lifting of Holy hands”, or “elaborate hairstyles” or “gold jewelry”. At the same time insisting that someone’s salvation may depend on the enforcement of the next two verses. Can we not see that at best our interpretation and implementation of Scripture is flawed. I heavily rely on what Paul has to say in Galatians 5:4ff “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

  66. Adam, you said that “Anna being a prophetess before the New Covenant was established is not ample evidence,” as if there were no prophetesses in the early church. The role of prophetess didn’t go away with the Old Testament. There were prophetesses in the New Testament too–within the church.

    Acts 21:9  And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

  67. Marty Pepper says:

    Satan once again trying to win another Battle ! There is only one road to heaven and it is straight, I’m sad this young Lady has taken a wrong detour according to the scriptures. Without mentioning the name of a certain College, these actions against the Lord’s word comes to no surprise!!

  68. Randy says:

    If God has called Lauren King (the preaching intern)to preach then God calls against His very own word (1 Timothy 2:12).

  69. Karen says:

    “Wanting to have their ears tickled”
    Also: that voice that she is hearing might be satan, he would love to take over the church.
    Women are not to usurp authority over the men. Did I hear the older women in the video referred to as pastor?
    If you must choose to be a new movement please remove the name church of Christ from “your” church or ” add to it” as you are doing. Heed the warning in Rev.
    Let us stand firm!

  70. Jon says:

    Although I hate to see division, I believe the arguments set forth to condemn the practice of this church are problematic.

    In the 1800s, American Christians used passages like “Slaves, submit to your masters” (1 Pet 2:18) to keep those liberal Abolitionists in check. The pro-slavery folks argued that they had scriptural authority on their side. I see a parallel here.

    “But New Testament Scripture is plain in its restrictions on the role of women in the assembly!”

    Yes,

    But….

    It’s also abundantly clear, based on a very plain reading, that New Testament Christian should

    – not store of treasures on earth (would a bank account count? What about an IRA)?
    – practice radical nonviolence (turn the other cheek. What about a conceal and carry license?)
    – maintain exclusive allegiance to the Kingdom of Heaven (what are all these Christians doing saying the Pledge???)
    – anoint the sick with oil. (I’ve seen this done exactly twice in my 41 years of sharing life with those in the Churches of Christ (or churches of Christ, if you will).
    – Keep women from fixing their hair nicely, or from wearing jewelry.
    – Send slaves back to their masters, teaching them that they must submit to them.
    – never refuse to loan money to someone who asks
    – Do not plan for the future (churches, you need to cease and desist from all of the strategic planning and capital campaigns, for scriptures is “clear”)

    Some will certainly say that some of those verses above are “cultural” and/or “allegorical,” and thus not binding. But the conceptual gymnastics one must make to justify some teachings as binding while dismissing others is a relic of the era 50-80 years ago when people debated endlessly on what constituted the New Testament Pattern (all the while being racially segregated–talk about missing some essentials…).

    All communities of faith will inevitably pick and choose certain scriptures to focus on as binding, based on preconceived notions about what is true and good that exist largely under the surface. And then they will appeal to “common reason,” when in fact it is contingent on prior commitments. This is problematic, and it has dogged religious communities for eons. I wish we could keep a level of humility when it comes to the interpretation of Scripture. We’ve gotten it wrong before, and we will again.

    I am very thankful for our tradition of congregational autonomy in Churches of Christ. I am also grateful for hermeneutical grace. May the love of Christ be that which unites us.

    I’ve said too much…. Blessings.

  71. Jon says:

    A friend posted this to FB, and I thought I’d comment. Although I hate to see division, I believe the arguments set forth to condemn the practice of this church are problematic.

    In the 1800s, American Christians used passages like “Slaves, submit to your masters” (1 Pet 2:18) to keep those liberal Abolitionists in check. The pro-slavery folks argued that they had scriptural authority on their side. I see a parallel here.

    “But New Testament Scripture is plain in its restrictions on the role of women in the assembly!”

    Yes,

    But….

    It’s also abundantly clear, based on a very plain reading, that New Testament Christian should

    – not store of treasures on earth (would a bank account count? What about an IRA)?
    – practice radical nonviolence (turn the other cheek. What about a conceal and carry license?)
    – maintain exclusive allegiance to the Kingdom of Heaven (what are all these Christians doing saying the Pledge???)
    – anoint the sick with oil. (I’ve seen this done exactly twice in my 41 years of sharing life with those in the Churches of Christ (or churches of Christ, if you will).
    – Keep women from fixing their hair nicely, or from wearing jewelry.
    – Send slaves back to their masters, teaching them that they must submit to them.
    – never refuse to loan money to someone who asks
    – Do not plan for the future (churches, you need to cease and desist from all of the strategic planning and capital campaigns, for scriptures is “clear”)

    Some will certainly say that some of those verses above are “cultural” and/or “allegorical,” and thus not binding. But the conceptual gymnastics one must make to justify some teachings as binding while dismissing others is a relic of the era 50-80 years ago when people debated endlessly on what constituted the New Testament Pattern (all the while being racially segregated–talk about missing some essentials…).

    All communities of faith will inevitably pick and choose certain scriptures to focus on as binding, based on preconceived notions about what is true and good that exist largely under the surface. And then they will appeal to “common reason,” when in fact it is contingent on prior commitments. This is problematic, and it has dogged religious communities for eons. I wish we could keep a level of humility when it comes to the interpretation of Scripture. We’ve gotten it wrong before, and we will again.

    I am very thankful for our tradition of congregational autonomy in Churches of Christ. I am also grateful for hermeneutical grace. May the love of Christ be that which unites us.

    I’ve said too much…. Blessings.

  72. Mike says:

    Sadly, you can’t discuss doctrine with people who either don’t know and understand it or don’t care about it. Today’s religion is all about loving everyone and accepting everyone. There is this big lie perpetuated that God is just going to forgive all and allow everyone in. The number of people in their mid life who get spiritually amnesia and discount everything they have worked their entire life to craft within their core values and belief system is appalling.

  73. Mel says:

    So are you saying that this is a salvation issue? Is the young lady going to hell because she wants to proclaim Jesus publicly? I’m assuming you have already condemned the minister to hell as a false teacher. The Holy Spirit doesn’t fit neatly into the boxes we have made for ourselves. I appreciate your desire to make everything fit perfectly in a nice neat little package, but have you really followed JESUS yet? Because everything I know about Him and experienced in Him is completely out of the box! Jesus came to set the captives free! Women, slaves, outcasts, etc. Im going to stand before Him one day knowing that I haven’t done it all right, but thankfully, Jesus already took care of that. It is the ones who think they have it all together that should be worried.

  74. Ken Y says:

    Thank you for writing this!! It is truly sad.

  75. Adam says:

    “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

    I left the church of Christ (also surprised that some people on here capitalized the “c” in church, since that’s obviously a sin as well) because of the absolute hatred that congregations show to one another. The God I know is a God of love, not hatred. Why do you feel the need to talk poorly about others? Where in divine scripture is the magical age of accountability mentioned? It’s so sad to see how decisive this brotherhood is. You LOSE far more people from your brotherhood than you gain by being close minded and cold hearted. Find a church of Christ that is “conservative” that grows. In my view churches of Christ only grow if they pillage from other bodies, or breed their own. I believe the great commission is to go and tell all about the love of Christ. It’s not to keep in your own little world and be comfortable.

  76. Chris says:

    This whole post is sad. This wasn’t written to the people at 4th Ave. It was written to rally the troops that already agree and crucify anyone who doesn’t. Adam doesn’t have to do the dirty work either. Those who agree will do it for him.Nothing beneficial will come from any of this. I signed up to be notified of follow-up comments so I can see just how long this food fight will go on in front of the good people of Middle Tennessee. Won’t be long before the Tennessean picks this up and runs with it. God, save us from ourselves!
    Now, back to your regularly scheduled debate already in progress. And don’t worry. If you don’t like this one, there’ll be another later.

  77. Randy says:

    Lauren (the preacher intern) has spoken and now written extensively about unity within the churches of Christ (not just at 4th Ave.). I would remind her that she, Patrick Mead and the elders of 4th Ave. Church of Christ have made a decision that smacks of disunity. In their eyes, we who hold a different view are the “weak” of Romans 14. According to that context, the “strong” (Lauren, Patrick Mead and the elders) are to yield to the “weak” within the church. They have a total Scriptural disregard for how this affects the brotherhood. They couldn’t care less. Jesus said that unity would be a testimony that God did indeed send Him and this would lead to belief in Him (John 17:21). The action of this church has given the lost world another reason to laugh at Jesus, all due to the disunity this decision has created. Therefore, they are not serious about promoting unity, only themselves (Romans 16:17-18). There pontifications about unity are not credible. Also, 1 Timothy 2:12 aside, I would like to ask Lauren where is the Bible verse that says, “I do permit a woman to teach…?”

  78. Billy says:

    I love reading sexist loonies like you. Reminds me that there’s still evil in this world.

  79. Matt Dabbs says:

    Aaron,

    Thank you for bringing scripture into the discussion and getting behind the text into the Greek. That is certainly a very profitable way to study this issue and something that has to be done with great care. If I might point out a few things in regard to the Greek in 1 Tim 2:12-14 I would appreciate your patience. I am just going to point this out and let all of you think about it for yourselves. At the end of the day we form our own conclusions. We need to help each other do that well.

    First is 1 Timothy 2:12-14 you wrote,

    “1 Tim. 2:12-14 is where Paul explicitly states that he does not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man but to remain quiet (“quiet” is hesuchia, not complete silence but respectful quiet)–because Adam was created first.”

    There are two very important words there that are important to understand that you didn’t address.

    επιτρεπω which is the verb “to permit”. It is present, active, indicative, 1 person, singular…meaning Paul (1st person singular) is not at the present time permitting (present, active, indicative) it. It is does not automatically imply an eternal condition that Paul never would, in any circumstances allow what he is about to say. He is not currently permitting it.

    It is entirely possible that there is a situation in the Ephesian church (where Timothy is) that Paul is addressing and if you read all of 1 Timothy what you find is that they are having a real problem with the widows, particularly the younger ones, being busy-bodies and catching on to false teaching. Here and in 1 Tim 5:11-16 mentions women and childbearing. It seems odd to tie a woman’s silence and learning to childbearing…but context may help us see what is going on here. It is entirely possible that Paul is admonishing these young widows to marry and have kids so that they don’t have all this time to run around and repeat all these false teachings (again, he connects the false teachings and needing to have kids for the young widows in 5:11-16). Just something to consider. Context does matter. If we are going to take all of this as eternal principles then women must have kids to be saved (1 Tim 2:15) but that doesn’t make any sense.

    αυθεντειν which is the word for “authority”. In the English New Testament Translations “authority” is a pretty common translation of various Greek words, occurring (in English) over 90 times in most English translations. The word here is a hapax logomenon, which is a fancy way of saying this word is only used once in the entire New Testament. So what does it mean? Turns out the KJV got this one right…it is not just exercising authority…in extra-biblical literature (it is used 5-6 times in the church Fathers) it means to dictatorially control someone with your authority (KJV – usurp). In one of the five or six times it is used outside of the Bible, Chrysostom even uses that same word to exhort husbands to not treat their wife with authentein.

    ησυχια, the word you already mentioned for silence, is pretty much what you made it out to be. It certainly can mean complete quiet (Acts 21:40) and it can mean things getting quieter (Acts 22:2) and last it can mean just not being someone who disturbs people with being loud/obnoxious (2 Thess 3:11-12).

    So that puts things in a little more perspective on the Greek and more context in 1 Timothy to consider for whatever that is worth. I hope that helps someone with their studies as we all open the Word of God and try to determine His will on these matters. Love you all…

  80. Jenna says:

    You people are the reason we left the church of Christ. So irrelevant, I couldn’t even read your entire post because it was a total out-of-context snooze fest. There are bigger problems out there, and you’re focusing your energy on this? Indeed, way to speak up… And remind me as to why I don’t associate with any of you anymore. Why I would never subject my children to it. You love to have your “in” crowd. I believe you’ll truly be shocked at who gets there in the end… Who is “worthy” to be in heaven. Keep that club going, with all your wasted energy. That’s a real way to lead a truly wonderful life. Wow. Just wow.

  81. Shelly says:

    Paul also says in Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, THERE IS NEITHER MALE NOR FEMALE: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” I’ve read the entire Bible and I love Jesus and he loves me. I am female and I speak in church. I walk with Jesus on a daily basis. I do not believe we serve a God who made women’s spirit inferior in any way, shape or form to a man’s. We all receive the Holy Spirit. I receive the Spirit of Christ and His Truth and His Words wholeheartedly and I can speak it because HE GIVES ME AUTHORITY TO SPEAK IT, and just like males, I am called to proclaim the Good News. I see the Spirit of God actively working in my life to minister to both males and females, and your opinion that it is against the Bible (which I disagree with) cannot stop what God is already doing through me, a female, to minister to males and females. The Sprit of God has spoken through me to females AND males at church, and I have had males at church come up to me AND THANK ME FOR THE WORD FROM GOD THEY RECEIVED THROUGH ME, A FEMALE.

    Obviously I support this church and what they are doing and am tired of so much close-mindedness. Women can receive and speak the Truth and Words of Christ in church just as much as men. I believe what Paul said in the Bible must be looked at from a cultural context. Spirit of God can speak to us TODAY; it is a LIVING and BREATHING WORD, and God is capable of speaking to us now just as much as he did then, though in many religions their practices don’t change because they follow a religion that is stuck in time, rather than one that follows a God who is still moving and speaking to His people today. I support this church.

    Lauren, YOU GO, GIRL. Forget the haters cause Jesus loves you.

  82. Adam says:

    Randy,

    Where is the bible verse that states “I do allow a youth minister, I do allow communion to be a cracker and not bread…I do allow a woman to teach kids in bible classes…how about where is the verse that states I do allow bible classes. The world is not laughing at Jesus because of this, and people like you are causing the disunity. I don’t hear Patrick saying that you are wrong for your hatred of him. As mentioned in a post before, I left the cofc because of allof this. No other church I visited did I ever hear anyone say that the church of Christ was wrong for what they do even though it’s not what we do. In fact, my guess is many of these people do not laugh at Jesus as you say they do, but laugh at you for being a hypocrite.

  83. Gayla Stacy says:

    Saddens me and breaks my heart, but more than this what is our Lord feeling. I am sure the same as I.

  84. James says:

    This whole article is sad, not the preaching intern girl, but the author. What a sad, sad purpose in life that you are bound up in tearing others down. You sir, are the reason people turn away from Christ. You are acting as an antichrist.

  85. Rick says:

    We in the church of Christ almost certainly hold the corner on taking scripture out of context. I have put my share in my pocket and displayed as I saw fit (I, not the Lord) in my several years here on this earth.

    Most inside and outside the Church have often mistaken the Holy Scriptures as a rules book, because that is what we think we would like. Its also what the Jews thought they wanted as well. In either history, it does not play very well.

    The bible demonstrates, relatively clearly I think, God’s desire for the structure of His Church. Again, this would be God’s desire and alas that wretched thing called free choice enters in and God allows us such and we conduct our affairs in this world most of the time as we see fit.

    In this world.

    We are to be in the world, not of the world. When I observe something I see here regarding faith, that is my first thought; is this something influenced of the world? Is God in this. Let me go back and reread what He determined was the best structure of His church.

    Can you have a female pulpit minister? Female elders? Female Song Leaders? Praise teams? Female deacons? Most certainly YOU can in this world! Who is to stop you or any congregation of people? At least for now in this country NO ONE!!

    Again, does scripture give me any help, any advise, what does such a wise collection of books might say?

    “Everything is permissible, not not everything is beneficial.”

    I think in carrying the name church of Christ, 4th Avenue is being rather deceptive in maintaining this on their building. Nothing is sacred about the building, but for someone accustom to the tradition of the churches of Christ might be a bit disappointed upon attending. I dont think it is to a single congregation of the churches of Christ to foster change upon the remainder of those congregations. 4th Avenue has quite a good opinion of itself as Pastor Mead (oooops! did I do that?) alluded to, “the churches of Christ are getting there.” I found that part of the video extremely offensive. Mr Mead you may lead and go where you wish, I may not wish to go with you, thank you.

    I do think 4th Avenue should form a committee to seek a name change so there might be no confusion, because it is you who have determine to look elsewhere, with in yourselves to become unlike those congregation holding the name church of Christ.

    And actually, I have no problem with this. But please lets not pretend to be something we’re not. Be genuine and be honest. I feel we are still brothers and sisters in Christ.

    But as I have warned many others including myself; take something God has established and deviate from it at your own folly.

    I will pray for you.

    One thing that seems to have gotten past most of the posts I have read. It seems that the young lady wishing to preach was referred to 4th Avenue.

    From Lipscomb University?

    Really?

    It would seem to me the autonomous fellowships of the churches of Christ might need to rethink their educational relationships.

  86. Glenn says:

    From comment above: “Today’s religion is all about loving everyone and accepting everyone.” Thank God! God is love, and I have failed multiple times at mirroring His love, but I want to! (“O wretched man that I am”).

  87. James says:

    Why do we have “open letters” supposedly written TO someone instead of going to that brother…or church and actually talking to them? Or at the least, send them the CLOSED letter. This is not written TO the church but ABOUT them.

  88. Marinda says:

    EVE of modern day!!

  89. AF says:

    I can’t read all the comments, no doubt thought out. It is interesting to me that she and they speak so little of her being in a leadership position, only alluding to it as if it was excitingly taboo. The plethora of ‘cools’ and ‘awesome’s aren’t very convincing either. There’s a lot of talk too about ‘calling’. We are called to obey, please, repent, etc; not follow our human passions. Any further comments I would make would go into a teaching-mode…not suitable here. I can say I am so glad for my husband’s leadership and wisdom and for his strong teaching in the campus ministry he works with, never fearing the topic of men’s and women’s roles. Why should we be afraid if it, like all other scripture, is breathed by God himself and backed by His promises? When a new crowd of freshmen men come in who have not yet learned the joy of leading in love, the ladies miss the strength and confidence of the men terribly. When the guys mature through the semesters and figure it out, they do great and the ladies are content and serve strongly in supportive ways. It’s beautiful. It works. No one’s feelings have been hurt but all have been empowered through the obedience.

  90. Lily H. says:

    So much conjecture and questioning and then acknowledging it is God’s Word.
    God instructed us to study and understand His Word. I have no knowledge of His telling us to interpret or question. I am sorry that this young has fallen into the “Jesus is leading me to..” philosophy so popular now. Too many supernatural/mystical reasons for doing what WE want to do. We can only know God’s viewpoint from what He has written. The rest is up to Him. The consequences to any actions from this we cannot do anything about. We can only guard our own house.

  91. Gordon Lee Day says:

    I could not watch the whole thing . this is really sad . Women are special to God he made them out of man and to be mans help mate . why do people think all change is good . True Christians who go worship at that place need to leave and to go find a faithful church of the Lords . seems like satan has his foot in the door . to many scriptures speak against this. go back to the road map .As I read some of the comments I can only wonder . How many have truly read the Bible . cover to cover and studied it cover to cover. I would be able by the comments to make that judgement fairly well. But again a slippery slope is a slippery slope. get started you can not stop without the help of Jesus. I am thankful that I worship with the saints that are overseen by Godly men . Not worldly. simply written by Godslittledude that’s me. p.s the blind will lead the blind over a cliff .

  92. Gordon Lee Day says:

    Mel you need to read the Bible . not books about the bible. The Bible is the word that convicts . and you need to check to see if the foundation of your faith is it from the word . simply written by Godslittledude . yes that’s me again.

  93. Ash says:

    Regardless of how we feel about this, a girl who obviously loves the Lord a lot and feels very called to spread His word through pulpit ministry is involved here, and she is still a PERSON. She was created in God’s own image, and if there is an issue that needs to be addressed, write a letter to 4th Avenue expressing your concerns rather than plastering your opinion on social media. Where do the intentions of our hearts lay?

  94. Anne Sachs says:

    Adam,

    In your response to Lauren you state
    “Though we have references to prophets in the early Church, we have no references to female prophets.”
    What of the four daughters of Philip mentioned in Acts 21:8-9?

  95. Bill Williams says:

    Embrace what the Bible has to say. We all have feelings, but the Lord only communicates with us thru the Bible. Your feelings can lead lots of people to be lost. Be Very Careful.

  96. Beth says:

    Joshua, I appreciate your thoughts and viewpoints. The entire time I was reading this article, those were my thoughts running through my mind–the fact that for longer than I’ve been on this earth, the church (collectively) has adopted several things from I Corinthians in particular, and called them “doctrine”, but left as many behind and explaining only that “those are cultural, they do not apply”. After many years of questioning the traditions that come along with being raised in the churches of Christ, I’ve come to the realization that I am NOT going to hell if I support a female minister.
    As for Patrick’s statement “…I don’t read Jesus through Paul. I read Paul through Jesus “, I take that at face value. He isn’t looking to Jesus through Paul, he is searching for himself. Jesus is first and foremost; anything or anyone is “filtered” (for lack of a better term) through Jesus.

  97. Lima says:

    Do we believe Apostle Paul is guided by the Spirit?

    Do we believe that the Spirit, God the father, and Jesus are one?

    Do we believe that all scriptures are from God?

    Do we believe that a command from Apostle Paul guided by the Spirit, is a command from God himself?

    Jesus said in John 14:15 “if you love me, you will keep my commands”

    Should Jesus be more specific and say keep some, or keep all, or should he also say listen to me only and not the Apostle who will write what I say with guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    Itchy ears will hear what they want, but Sound Doctrine will last forever.

    What movement are you starting, the denominations have started that movement already.

    Pray that these brothers and sisters will go back to sound doctrine.

  98. Jerome says:

    Adam,
    Your open letter, although with good intentions, will ultimately do little to resolve this with the 4th Avenue church. We’re at an impasse. The underlying issue of this is how we read Scripture.

    Although you’re commended for your effort, I not only caught a whiff of condescension in your letter, but I also observed the flow of your general, vague, blanketed statements to polish an air-tight and sterile viewpoint of Scripture.

    In order to get pass this impasse we must recognize this: a proof-textual reading of the Bible is an abuse and misuse of Scripture. A contextual reading of the Bible attempts to seek out the original context of individual passages of our Holy Scripture.

    When we write blanketed, generic statements on this issue, and do not attempt to go to the Scriptural sources of the issued disagreement (in this case, 1 Corinthians 14, and 1 Timothy 2 concerning women), the result is that we polarize ourselves while we neglect the fundamental matter: you and the 4th Avenue church read the Bible differently. Essentially, both you and the 4th Avenue church strive to love, serve, and advance God’s kingdom as you try to be merciful, gracious, and loving to believers and unbelievers in a broken, sinful world. But until you get “on the same page” with reading Scripture (e.g., proof-textual vs. contextual), we will not resolve this issue.

    Here are some items that we must in order to move forward:
    (1) “Scripture” in 2 Timothy 3:16 is referring to the Old Testament.
    (2) The occasion, problem, and context of 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2 must be constructively discussed.
    (3) Blanketed, generic statements need to be avoided.

    In order to move forward, you must generate light rather than heat. Although you have the sincerest intentions concerning this deep-seeded issue in the churches of Christ, you’re only polarizing the two sides.

    A comment for Jeremiah Tatum: The notion that we read the New Testament exactly as the early Christians did, without any weight of tradition coloring our interpretation, is a dangerous illusion. Although we can strive to do so, let us not be so misguided.

    The best to all of you as we strive to get past this deadlock.

  99. Melissa says:

    Hey Lauren, you forgot to add in Philip’s 4 daughters in the book of Acts who were prophets.

    Interesting read how Christians continue to break each other down. Both throwing scripture proving their point, but nonetheless Christians fighting over it. I’m sure Jesus is pleased that this is how we’ve decided to focus our energy rather than go out to non Christians and bring them in. I know several atheists and they will never come to Christ for this very reason. I think we all should be ashamed. Both sides have valid points and scriptures to back. Both old test and new, red letters and black. Congratulations on dividing fellow Christians even further. And you all wonder why Church of Christ have the reputation they do.

  100. Lisa Mayo says:

    I feel sorry for this young lady, and her father. It’s apparent they are liberal Christians, and are implanting themselves like a worm in the apple. True COC members know and understand Gods word and this will squash its self out

  101. Nancy Hatton says:

    Adam, I am so sad that this is being aired on Facebook. How dare you plaster your disagreement for all to see! Our country is going down in burning flames and the church with it and you think it is because of something like this? Where is your post about the atrocity of abortions that church members are letting their daughters have or the fact that homosexuality is creeping in, or the fact that our president hates the church and wants it gone? Satan is rejoicing when he can get Christians to argue over opinion (and before you say this is not opinion, think long and hard), and be divided instead of united. Are you truly worried about the souls at YOUR congregation going to hell over this? Think about the people searching and what they will think of this post! Truly, can the Kingdom grow from this post? Search your heart and think about why you plastered this congregation in a negative way ALL OVER FACEBOOK! Shame on you!

  102. Adam says:

    Doesn’t the bible also say if you have a problem with your brother first go to him? Unfortunately I truly believe you wanted to cause emotional responses. What good does that do? Maybe you should worry about your own congregation and not others. Notice on this website that you sell things. Trying to make a name for yourself perhaps? Maybe you should just lead with love instead of condemnation. I am so sick of you conservative church of Christ people’s holier than thou attitude. When will you learn you drive more people away from Christ than you bring to him.

  103. Mrs. Joycelyn Harriott says:

    One congregation that I will NOT be visiting. SMH … Wouldn’t want to be these elders on Judgement Day!!!

  104. Adam Faughn says:

    Nancy,

    Thank you for your comment, but if you would use the “search” bar at the top of our site, you would notice that we have addressed these other issues on our site as well. Take a moment and look around the site.

  105. Adam Faughn says:

    Thank you for reading the article, James. The antichrist, however, is one who, according to 1 John, is one who has denied that Jesus is the Son of God. You can disagree with me, and I don’t mind that at all, but I simply ask that you be more careful in throwing around phrases like “antiChrist.”

  106. Adam Faughn says:

    Glad to have you as a reader. Hope you’ll come back…no matter the reason.

  107. Adam Faughn says:

    Adam, thank you for commenting. You are correct that we sell things, but if you’ll look at our store, you’ll notice that it is (1) small, and (2) has as much free stuff and “purchase” stuff. I have written a couple of self-published books, but do not even take them with me to sell when I speak at other places. My goal in life is not to have a “name” or to make a lot of money. It is simply to try to focus people on following the will of God. My goal is also not to try to be holier than thou…it is to be holy, since God is holy.
    I may not have led thousands to Christ, but I have helped a few along the way, and that is all I strive to do each day. The last time I checked, Jesus, Paul, Peter and others were not always filled with joy-filled and sugar-coated messages. Sometimes, we must stand for difficult truths, not for our own glory, but for the purity of the message of the Lord.

  108. Drew says:

    Would just like to point out something to those who believe all you have to do is “read the Bible” to understand it. You literally cannot read something without interpreting it. That is just how reading works. Also, the Bible was not written specifically to you. There are parts of it that obviously apply to your lives, but the vast majority of it was written to a specific audience at a specific time for a specific purpose. At best we’re reading these things second-hand. And don’t even get me started on manuscript issues. I believe the Bible is reliable and true, but we also have to be aware that we can’t take things at face value with no regard to context.

  109. Brett says:

    Romans 16:17…sad, but “marked”.

  110. Rachel says:

    “Your preacher has tried to take the easy way out.”
    I wonder why I can’t get that kind of unmitigated self-satisfaction from writing off everyone who disagrees with me as morally and/or intellectually lax.
    “My mother speaks 4 or more times each year to ladies at Polishing the Pulpit.”
    Really? Is this your way of throwing a bone to the ladies?

  111. Heather says:

    We are witnessing what mankind knows: when you disagree with those on the left they resort to vitriolic attacks. For instance Adam said, “I am so sick of you conservative church of Christ people.” Adam also singled out a person as a “hypocrite.” Adam, how are your comments reflective of the God of love?

  112. Wade says:

    The denial of grace because one has not arrived at the same interpretation is surely not walking in humbleness. Some of my dearest friends are fellow ministers in town who worship with and minister to Baptists churches, Charismatic churches and Methodist churches. Godly men, full of love, deep respect and knowledge of Scripture but more importantly, a deep love for God and people. On the other hand, unfortunately, ministers of my own tribe wont even acknowledge me in a restaurant, turn their back, and start vicious rumors. For a tribe who claims to be the guardians of pure doctrine our actions have often been less than Godly. Which brings me back to grace. Grace to all.

  113. ed frankum says:

    Has anyone bothered to read Romans 14

  114. Heather says:

    P.S. With regard to my previous post, I will also point out that those who preach tolerance are the least tolerant among us. Thy want you to tolerate them but the don’t care to tolerate you.

  115. Herb says:

    Evidently the Taliban don’t just reside in the Middle East…..they are alive and well in Middle Tennessee!!!

  116. lisa says:

    This article is reason #87 I left the Church. Judgmental, condescending, and yes opinionated morons. I agree with Wade (above) that the finest Christians I know have NOTHING to do with the Church of Christ. The Church of Christ is forgiving to child molesters and wife beaters who show no remorse (yet who give a hefty check every Sunday), but have a fit because a female preaches? God is shaking his finger at YOU.

  117. Jeremiah Tatum says:

    The word “tribe” is being abused here and is absolutely not Biblically accurate. In fact it is offensive to me. There are no tribes anymore. There is one church (Eph. 4:4-6). And the people who choose to be in denominations are not a part of the one church. The have left the Christian system for their own devices. Whatever tribe you are speaking of, I am surely not a part of it. So please don’t thrust me into it against my own will. I serve the Lord Christ in the one church that He purchased with His own blood. In that kingdom and that kingdom alone, by His grace I stand.

  118. Isaac M. Manyike says:

    This is heart-crushing. What apostle Paul warmed the elders of church of Christ in Ephesus is being fulfilled today. In reading Acts 20:28-30 you’ll realised that are 3 points to ponder.
    1) Paul encourages the elders to take heed of themselves and the church that the Holy Spirit made them to overseer (v28).

    2) Satan will attach the church of Christ in two ways, namely,
    a. He attacks the church from outside by bringing false doctrine, wars, hunger, rape, murders, disobedience, every kind of disobedience, etc. (v29).
    b. He attacks the church from within by rising men from the leadership, steal the truth from their hearts and let perverse things in order to draw away disciples after themselves (v30).

    Jesus said that they worship God in vain as they reject the commandments of God in order to hold on to the traditions of men and and teach the doctrine of men (Mark 7:7-9).

    Let us pray for this church perhaps God can open their eyes and let them come back to their senses and repent from their sins.

  119. Austin says:

    “…desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully…” (1 Timothy 1:7-8)

    Christians who don’t study their bibles deeply and often to learn God’s will, but instead use cultural attitudes to decide what God’s will must be, inevitably lead to wickedness like this. The sad thing is, these weak christians actually think they are making improvements to God’s church. (For the record, I highly recommend Dave Miller’s book “Piloting the Straight” if one wants to study change agents like this and how to handle them using the bible and reason.)