31 Mar 2016

Where are ‘Apostate’ Women Preachers Taking Us!?

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Bible, Church, Church History, Clara C. Babcock, Humor, Silena Moore Holman, Women

Church ladyApostates!

Recently across the internet, and Facebook, it was asked “Where are Apostate Women Preachers Taking Us!?” And it was asked of me directly. My reaction was “no where!” No apostate woman preacher will be taking me anywhere was my thinking.

The question is, of course framed in the most poisonous way possible. The proper answer is “the same place apostate MEN take us!” But the questioner would want us to think that all women who think it is ok for a woman to teach or address men are apostates!

Humans are not apostate based on their gender. The vast majority, by far, of heretics in history have been male.  Think of Aaron (Golden Calf), Jeroboam (idol shrines in Dan and Bethel), Judas (hello!), Simon Magus, Cerinthus, Valentinus, Marcion, Joseph Smith, John Thomas … All men.

But from a biblical angle, I suggest that women preachers may take us into revival and reformation like Huldah.

A courageous woman leader may lead us into deliverance and praise of God like Esther.

Some women may be ones who instruct the apostles themselves in the reality of the Gospel, like the Marys, Martha and Salome.

Perhaps some woman may instruct God’s people for many years like Anna (I wonder if Anna preached in the Huldah Gate of the temple) only to have God himself reward her by letting her see Jesus … what an endorsement of her ministry would you not say?

Sound Gospel Preachers … who Happen to be Women

Here are some forgotten non-apostate women on our family tree … Some people claim today that the church is just selling out to culture in letting women teach or preach. But the women listed here were hardly selling out to culture they were intensely counter-cultural and cutting against the grain. There was nothing “cultural” about their ministry at all.

1) When I first took “restoration history” I learned who Elias Smith was. He established the first religious paper in the country. He rejected creeds, etc and “had nothing to do with Campbell” (because he was before Campbell). What I was not told – maybe the teacher did not know – was that women preachers were common in the “Christian movement.” Nancy Cram (1776-1815) discovered her vocation as a proclaimer of God’s Good News in 1812. She led a revival, converted several preachers to the Christian movement and had an active and fruitful ministry with the Oneida Indians living in New York.

2) Abigail Roberts (1791-1841). Roberts was converted to the Lord under the preaching of Nancy Cram. She and her husband, Nathan, actually were searching for answers after the death of two children within months of each other. Cram pointed them to the Lord. She began teaching and preaching in 1816 but encountered bitter opposition from traditional Christian congregations and the wider culture too. But she called all to abandon party names, reject creeds for the Bible, that followers of the Messiah should be called simply Christians. One male preacher threatened to gag her then tar and feather her. Female preaching was wrong but violence against her was sound and true!! I can see Jesus scribbling in the dirt in front of such sound male preachers …

3) Nancy Mulkey. Back when I took that restoration history class we made a trip to Kentucky and visited Cane Ridge and the Old Mulkey Meeting House. Again we were taught how Stone and his friends called people to be basically like “us.” And how John Mulkey was of critical importance because without influence from Campbell he just went by the Bible. I was never told though that in that very meetinghouse how women preached. In fact Mulkey’s own daughter would preach after her father on a regular basis. In that day the female was not called “preacher” in Kentucky but an “exhorter.” Mulkey would preach a long lesson and Nancy would follow the “sermon” with an “exhortation” that would last as long as modern sermon – 20 to 30 minutes. Joseph Thomas, known as the White Pilgrim, relates in his Travel narrative visiting Mulkey’s congregation and described Nancy’s preaching, “She would arise with zeal on her countenance and fire in her eyes, and with a pathos that showed the depth of her soul and would pour forth an exhortation no brother could equal and brought tears from every feeling eye.”

4) Clara Hale Babcock (1850-1924). Babcock was the mother of six children and she and her husband united with the Stone-Campbell Movement in 1880. She was active in her community fighting the evils of whiskey and became president of the local Women’s Christian Temperance Union. She worked with churches in the mid-west in Illinois, North Dakota and even Ontario.

5) Sadie McCoy Crank (1863-1948). The ministry of Crank, long buried in obscurity and forgotten, was truly remarkable. Most of her ministry focused in Missouri. She planted almost 50 churches, led in the fundraising of 18 church buildings, and immersed nearly 7000 people during her preaching. She also performed a thousand funerals and 361 weddings. Born August 15, 1863 to members of the Primitive Baptist Church, she became bitter towards God at an early age. Apparently her supposedly devout father was an abusive alcoholic. She became a teacher and it was during that period that she renewed her faith in God and also began to question tenets of Calvinism. She became a leader in the Sunday School Movement and the Temperance Movement. In 1891, her mastery of the Bible became clear. She was teaching in Sunday School and fielding many questions. Sunday School was closed with a hymn and some one came forward. Confronted with a new situation she did not know what to do. So she took the person’s confession and not wanting to be out of line sent for a male preacher to baptize the individual. Sadie was asked to preach and she did and 96 people were baptized in her first protracted meeting. When she passed in 1948 these are some of the words that were said (and later printed): “Her total strength was devoted unreservedly to the service of Christ and humanity. She was sustained by an intelligent and well founded faith. In early life she passed through a period of serious doubt. A careful and thorough investigation of the basic truths of Christianity brought her assurance and peace. She became an alert and invincible champion of the Faith. When skeptics tried to storm the citadel of her Hope they found a Woman in the way … She built many church structures. But these were only means to a great end. Her constant purpose was the development of Christian character. Along the road she traveled are many living monuments of consecrated personality adoring the way on which she walked with God …”

6) Silena Moore Holman (1850-1915). Silena was the wife of T. P. Holman, an elder in the Church of Christ in Fayetteville, TN. A mere 80 miles or so from where I grew up in Florence. She was active in the Temperance Movement and suffrage Movement – they hung her portrait in the Tennessee State House in 1917 to honor her contributions. Holman published controversial articles in the Gospel Advocate under the editorship of David Lipscomb. First thing to be amazed at here is that Lipscomb actually published them. The Gospel Advocate today will not publish anyone that does not does not adhere to the unspoken creed. This actually has been true for sometime with the GA. But Lipscomb was made of hardier material. He was unafraid of discussion and printing things that he personally disagreed with. We are, after all, SEEKING the truth. There is no way anyone (and Lipscomb certainly never claimed this) could paint Holman as an apostate, unbeliever, liberal – she was a devoted wife and mother and was in the Gospel Advocate orbit of thinking. Given Lipscomb’s feelings about women’s roles in society it is stunning he published her regularly. In August 1888 her article “Let Your Women Keep Silence” graced the pages of the Gospel Advocate. She said that there would be little doubt about Paul’s injunction in 1 Corinthians 14.34-35 if that was all the Bible said on the subject. Indeed in a series of articles she agreed that “man is the head of the woman” but she denied this means women are hidden from view. She rejected the reading of 1 Cor 11 that said women praying and teaching in the assembly was “private.” Indeed such a dichotomy between public and private was a modern contrivance she insisted. She writes “Suppose a dozen men and women were in my parlor and I talked to them of the gospel and exhorted them to obey it? Exactly how many would have to be added to that number to make my talk and exhortation a public instead of a private one?” She addressed the question multiple times, as late as 1913 just two years before her death the Advocate published her “The Woman Question.” Holman was widely respected for her abilities and work. When she died it was the famous T. B. Larimore who preached her funeral. He praised her for her devotion to family, her wonderful intelligence, her honorable life and her public leadership.

apostateWhere Sound Women Preachers May Take Us …

What happens if we examine the Scriptures, like the Bereans did, and find out that we are WRONG and that God has never systematically excluded women – because they are women – from preaching and teaching.  There are a lot of them in the Bible if they are mere exceptions.  But I do suspect that God would exclude apostate women just like he would apostate men.

When people ask me about women teaching, praying and exhorting and where it may lead us. I tell them, “historically it has led to more loving, caring and holistic ministry in the world and it has led thousands of people into eternal life. And it has even caused a great deal of Bible study.”

I would rather listen Nancy Cram proclaim the Gospel than listen to some male spout the heresy salvation by precision obedience. Apostate women preachers are no more dangerous than apostate men preachers. And right now there are probably more apostate men preachers than the reverse.

We selectively read the Bible. We need to stop.

We selectively remember history. We need to stop.

We often find the most extreme example of something we dislike and then portray that as the norm and goal for all. Such is absurd and we need to stop.

I am thankful for Huldah, Miriam, Anna, Esther, Phoebe, Junia, Abigail, Nancy, and Silena.

Be blessed.

46 Responses to “Where are ‘Apostate’ Women Preachers Taking Us!?”

  1. Jessica Knapp Says:

    May God Bless you Bobby Valentine! Thank you for being bold in the face of heresy.

  2. Glenn Browning Says:

    Thanks for a great article. Keep telling the truth that we so desperately need.

  3. Hank Says:

    Bobby, isn’t it true that virtually every religion known to man (Christian or otherwise), unanimously opposed the idea of female preachers? Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness’s, Muslims, and pretty much every other religion ever practiced? For real, why (or how) do you believe that every single one of these churches/religions/denominations opposed the idea, with one accord? Do you really believe that every one of the world’s most popular religions were wrong about the subject? And, for centuries upon centuries? My guess, is that even you, yourself have spent most of your own life in opposition of such. Am I right? If so, why did you do so? Were you just going along with the history of the world on it, lol.

    Kidding aside, I honestly don’t get the growing frustration of those who themselves, opposed female preachers, but now are advocates of them. As if, everyone else is so ignorantly in the dark. Still.

  4. Bonnie Miller Says:

    I love that you have this forum to get the truth out about our history of women preachers. I need to make one minor correction however to one fact – Nancy Mulkey was an exhorter for her father and brothers but it was not her that Joseph Thomas heard when he visited the Mulkey Meeting House in 1810 as Nancy wasn’t born until 1814. Thomas never identified the woman by name and later historians read his journal and assumed it was Nancy. I have found over 60 female preachers, exhorters, lecturers or evangelists in our movement dating prior to 1900. Part of my research was published in Leaven in the fall of 2007.

    • Bobby Valentine Says:

      Bonnie thank you for commenting. And thank you for that correction on Nancy. I have seen your article in Leaven and it was fascinating. Love your book Messengers of the Risen Son on women missionaries in Japan. Great book.

  5. Joe W Says:

    Hank, we could also ask, “Why have so many countries denied women the right to vote?” It is because we guys have always ruled the world and we don’t want to give it up. We were in charge of diplomacy, we were in charge of the armies and we wrote the histories. Once you are in charge you want to stay in charge.

    As to why so many men have changed their minds about women, we started out thinking what we were told to think and then we studied for ourselves using the most recently discovered ancient manuscripts, newest translations and
    developed a better understanding of the 1st century Graeco-Roman world. We have grown.

  6. Hank Says:

    Joe, the argument that women were denied the right to vote in the past, doesn’t mean that every other “right” denied to women, is wrong. It just doesn’t. I mean, in God’s view, do women have the right to be “head” of their husbands? Or, to be elders of the church?

    I don’t buy the argument that the reason the earliest centuries of the church opposed the idea of female preachers, was because “men were in charge” and simply didn’t want to give up their being in chargeness, to any females. I mean, no inspired writers or “church Fathers”, spoke of female preachers in the early church. Actually, they wrote against it. They opposed the idea, for centuries and centuries.

    As far as our recent manuscript discovies and better modern translations, I don’t buy that, either. I mean, what did we recently discover that goes against the 100% agreed upon consensus of the beginning of every church claiming to be Christian? Too, in the earliest centuries of the church, they had the ORIGIINAL autographs! Guys like Tertullian urged his readers to visit churches in Ephesus, Philippi, Corinth, Rome, etc, to view the original documents. And, all of his contemporaries, likewise opposed female preachers. Do we believe, with our new discoveries, that we now know more that the leaders who knew the actual apostles themselves?

    To me, the reason that so many Christians are changing their minds on this, is not because they got smarter. Rather, like many other ideas and movemnets, it’s just more popular today.

  7. Phillip Guin Says:

    As a self proclaimed disciple “with roots in the Stone-Campbell movement” I would hope you would recognize the fact that the restoration movement was about restoring the church of the fist century. It was about returning to the bible and doing bible things in bible ways. You are right, there are many modern examples of powerful female preachers (by modern I include those from the 1700’s and 1800’s mentioned above. The problem that we are not trying not to restore the church of the 19th or even 17th century. We are striving to follow the example of the church of the first century by following the inspired writings of the apostles and teacher who helped to establish the Lord’s church and were guided by him DIRECTLY in their teachings. 2 Tim 2:12 expressly forbids that which you are using modern uninspired examples to justify.
    Something that is very important to mention here however is the fact that women’s roles, while different than that of men in the church, are equally important and messes art. Just because scripture does not permit a women to preach does not mean that she is any less important to the work of the church or somehow a second class citizen. That is the lie propagated by our culture that sits at the heart of why we balk at this quite easily understood scripture. You are right, many people do selectively read scripture… So stop it. “But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”

  8. Andrew Swango Says:

    Thanks for sharing history of our movement. There have been many things hidden under the rug. I hope you will continue to expose historical truth.

    When it comes to women preachers, I have the same concerns/questions as Hank. Bobby, how do you read 1Tim 2:11-12 and 1Cor 11:34-36? I’m not going to deny that there were women preachers in our history. But neither am I going to be selective in Paul’s instructions. How do you understand what he is saying? Or do you have a post where you already addressed this?

    • Bobby Valentine Says:

      Andrew read my comment to Phillip above. I have responded to these objections in previous blogs. I do not think 1 Tim 2.12 can be understood 1) apart from its context and 2) in isolation. You would never, nor would Hank, let some one quote 1 Cor 1.17 “for Christ sent me not to baptize but to proclaim Christ” without some kind of “qualification” or explanation now would you? If they quoted that rather explicit and plain text and said “it says what it means and means what it says” therefore baptism is not that big a deal, you probably would take them to Acts and say “there is more to the story.”

      Now if you can do that with 1 Cor 1.17 – and it is “common sense” – then why is it not the same for a text like 1 Tim 2.12 which is ANYTHING but an easy and straightforward text … how much of the surrounding verses do brethren with the wave of magic want simply dismiss without a thought. But the gals … oh the gals they must be silent!!

      Please take the time to read the links I provided for Phillip. Print them out. Study them. The position that says women did nothing in the NT or cannot teach today is completely and utterly unbiblical and contradicts Paul and the rest of the Bible too. Blessings.

  9. Hank Says:

    Bobby, as you’ve progressed and reformed your understanding and position on this topic of the “roles” and/or alleged “limitations” placed upon women in the church, have you gone all the way? I mean (and correct me if I am wrong), we know you now believe that women can be the preachers of, for and to churches with heaven’s full approval. It seems as though you now also believe that they can serve in the specified office of a deacon, also. Is that correct? Well, my question is whether or not you also now believe that they (women) can also serve in the role of elders? If you do, I honestly wonder if these changes in you beliefs were one at a time, or, together. My guess, would be that you first changed your position on them being “deacons”, and then preachers, and then elders. Is that so?

    If, you don’t (yet) believe they can serve as elders, may I ask why you don’t?

    I respect much about you, brother, and am not just trying to argue for sport, here. I honestly feel that these questions are both fair and germane.


    • Bobby Valentine Says:

      Hank your question reminds me of many discussions I have had over the years on the matter of race. They mirror many discussions that were done in the 40s, 50s, and 60s too. “Have you gone all the way?” If blacks can worship with us, sit at our tables, come in the same door we do and even vote … then you do you think those “black boys” can date our white daughters? You support interracial marriage!

      If you think I am joking then say so so I can produce the quotations for you. I am not worried one bit about a slippery slope argument. If it is correct then it is not slippery but truth.

      As for deacons women can serve as deacons Hank. This is not slippery. The only named deacon in the New Testament is a woman named Phoebe. You see many years ago I did not hold that view. Not because the NT did not teach that but rather because I was wrong and did not know the NT did in fact teach that. So when I learned the truth I embraced it because it is God’s truth Hank. Romans 16.1-2 and 1 Tim 3.11 are about women deacons. The Gospel Advocate and Spiritual Sword can deny this but it is still true brother. Alexander Campbell and Moses Lard were not selling out to culture when they insisted that female deacons were part of the restoration of the ancient order.

      I respect you too brother. That is why I say follow the evidence where ever it goes. I welcome your contribution of showing that I am wrong. But slippery slope arguments simply do not demonstrate that what I have written is incorrect.

      My position is eminently biblical … whatever God allowed women to do in the Bible he allows them to do today. How is that not biblical?

  10. Wiley Clarkson Says:

    I appreciate what Bobby wrote more than most people here will know. He and I have been friends on the internet for quite a few years and have shared many fine discussions. When he taught on Hulda at ACU, I was in his class and I saw where he posted a link to it so I recommend it! When it comes to the gender issue, he knows where I stand on that issue as I have been in the trenches from the early days of this movement. In his article, Bobby has introduced us to our own history and given us an idea that in the search for simple Christianity, the dream of Stone and Campbell, which I believe we have gone off track in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The focus of simple Christianity has changed to “becoming the first century church”, a search that has unfortunately led us into extreme forms of legalism and discrimination. Bobby’s discourse today is a direction of thought that I have not seen explored much before now. Twenty centuries back, women were very much participants in the early church, far more so than today. Not only does the Bible record that fact, but early secular history records that. One has to study the church from the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries to see where women were silenced and pushed out of roles of leadership and teaching men. In the search for simple Christianity in the 18th century and early 19th century, Bobby has showed us that women also took a very active role. Then we became restrictive again. Now it seems that what we really need to do is strive to return to simple Christianity and realize that the RM ideal of being the first century church will never occur unless we take the chains off women in the 21st Century in the light of Gal 3:26-29.

  11. Hank Says:

    Bobby, asking whether you believe that women can serve as deacons, preachers and even elders, is NOT akin to asking whether blacks can worship with you, sit at your table, and/or date your daughter’s. With all due respect, suggesting that the one set, reminds you of the other, seems to me, a sort of smoke screen.

    Why not just answer the questions, rather than unjustly compare them to such predjudice? I am sure, other readers would likewise care to know what you believe on this. And again, the questions are certainly germane, here.

    Do you or do you not believe that women can shepherd churches of God in the role of elders,, with his full approval? Yes or no?

    If not, why not? If not, do you think you eventually mighy change your position on that, when the time is “right”?

    If yes, for how long have you believed as much. Am I right, in guessing that the slope…err…progression of your changes in positions went like this: 1st deacons, 2nd preacherrs, and 3rd elders? I’m just curious where you currently are on this.

    Certainly, other readers here, as just as curious.

    • Hank Says:

      One more thing, Bobby –

      If you had spent most of your life believing that it was not acceptable to God, for blacks to worship together with you, to sit at your table, and/or to date white girls, and then, later, argue in support of some of the things you opposed, wouldn’t it be fair to ask about the rest? To, in fact see, whether or not you have gone “all the way”?

      To use your analogy, suppose you were formerly in record of loosing the idea of blacks being allowed to go go through the same doors as you, to worship with you, to eat with you, to date white girls, and to interracially marry. If, in time, you later started writing scholarly articles about why it actually is good for blacks to go through the same doors and to worship with you, but remained silent about whether you felt the same now in terms of them eating with you and/or to date your daughters, wouldn’t it be reasonable for you to be asked about “the rest”?

      That’s all I’m doing, here. In the case of the sinful prejudices of blacks you mention, we all know that they are wrong. That there should be NO distinctions between what they can/should do, and what other races can/should do. Nor, with whom they should do it. In terms of breaking down such restrictions, we definitely should go “all the way”. And there’s nothing weird or funny about that.

      Accordingly, since you now argue that opposing women from serving as deacons and/or preaching to churches is an ungodly restriction being placed upon them, how is it not fair to ask about the other (remaining) restrictions? Namely, the role of the elder. You are the one who has compared the two lines of questions.

      If you have written about whether or not you now believe that woman can serve as elders, please direct me to the links. I will certainly read them.

      I just find it interesting that, if you now believe that they can and should, that you didn’t just come out and say that. Like, “Of course, women can serve as elders with God’s approval! Why couldn’t they? They can and should be able to do in and serve the church in every way that a man can. There is NO difference in terms of roles, positions, offices, or any other such questions.”

      The fact that you didn’t, though, could imply that you still believe that they shouldn’t (yet) serve as elders. That, they should be kept from that. That that restriction is valid.

      Where do you stand on that? As of today?

    • Bobby Valentine Says:

      Hank the slippery slope argument is the same. The folks in Alabama and Mississippi used it all the time in the 40s, 50s, 60s (and even some today) to oppose integration. The Voice of Freedom would have a headline “The Real Goal is Interracial Marriage!” So of course we have to oppose all levels of integration. You may not like it but it is the same argument. It is not an argument based on the merits of the case but on a result you cannot live with. You have not dealt with the merits of my case at all. Where have you done so Hank?

      I believe women can pray in the assembly. They did so in the NT. Even non-egalitarian scholars agree with this just not the GA and SS.
      I believe women can fully participate in the Lord’s Supper. I actually think this has nothing to do with role of women. It is made up legalism stuff.
      I believe women can teach because they did so in the Bible.
      I believe women can serve as proclaimers of the word because they did so in the Bible.
      I believe that women can be leaders of God’s people because they did so in the Bible.

      As for the progression of my thought it did not actually begin with deacons. It began with prayer. My whole journey began in the late 1980s when I was part of a college Bible study group. We were in a participant’s parents house and we were all sitting in a circle. We had a chain prayer. Now all the girls “knew” they were not allowed to pray. But we had a gal that had only recently been baptized and had not been socialized into thinking praying was wrong for women. When it came to her in the circle she just prayed. I ended the chain. I never knew there was a problem. But all hell broke loose within days with various power authorities with some of the local churches that supported the college ministry. I was totally caught off guard and even stunned. They were willing to get rid of me, cut off the ministry etc simply because a young lady 19 or 20 years old (same age as me at the time) prayed in a chain prayer. So I went to Scripture. And those folks were WRONG! They were WRONG! They were WRONG!

      About the same time I was reading Alexander Campbell’s translation, the Living Oracles, and I did indeed encounter Romans 16.1-2 in it. And Campbell translates it as “Phoebe a deacon of the church in Cenchrea.” I was floored. Why did he do that? Because that is what the Greek says! I was too dumb to know that.

      That is where it began Hank. A pebble hit the lenses in front of my face and I never knew they were there until they were cracked.

      I try to judge this on the merits of the case. I am quite sure that Christian discipleship is prefigured in the Wilderness Wanderings. I know I will end up in the promised land. I do not know what route that will be be but as long as I am following the cloud I am confident I am going the right direction. Maybe you can join us on that adventure. Look at the evidence. Its all that counts.

  12. Bronwen Says:

    Bobby, thanks for an excellent article. It’s amazing how often believers who strove to be faithful to God and His Word were ahead of society on this issue in the past, contrasting with how far behind many churches are today. The restrictions on women in the church are a major stumbling block to Christian witness today, particularly for Gen Xers and onward. The New Testament is rich with details of women in ministry roles of many kinds – even a female apostle. If a woman was an apostle, what roles can we possibly deny to women? Serious study of the Greek text shows that arguments against women in ministry are on shaky ground.

  13. Hank Says:

    Bobby, thanks for your response. You may, or may not be, surprised to know that I actually understand and agree with much if what you wrote. And likewise, much of my reasoning resonated from being involved in “house churches”, unaffiliated with any “real” congregations. There, I realized that many things were ingrained in me via tradition and habit. Another example, might be the habit of not including the children in the “partaking of” the LS. Surley, in the 1st century, children were involved in that. Just as they were, in the Passover. It was a teaching opportunity, especially for them. And as you have pointed out already, no doubt the women were allowed to “serve” and speak during such occasions.

    I never have feigned to have the answer to every question regarding this subject. I’m content to answer “I don’t know” to many of them. Like, women praying, for example. In my house, in the presence of entire churches, whatever. I have my own take and opinions, and am sure others agree and disagree with me. I can’t hell that.

    Having said all of that, I do “still” believe that there are “limits” and or “restrictions”, placed upon women, by inspiration. For example, being appointed by churches to the role of an elder. I believe the Bible teaches that all apponited elders, are to be males.

    How about you? Perhaps you keep forgetting the question, but this is my 3rd time asking it. What do you believe in this? You have written extensively on the subject of not restricting women in the church, and this is a pertinent question.

    That you have continually avided the question (in terms if answering it, at least), leads me to believe that you are agianst the idea. Is that so? Or, that you are in favor of the idea, but ate not comfortable showing those cards, yet. That’s why I ask about the progression (which you refer to as “slope”).

    My opinion is that virtually all who are in favor if female preachers and deacons, will (eventually) be also in favor of female elderships. No doubt, there are many who have (in their own minds) “progressed”, “all the way”, but who just aren’t ready to “come out” yet.

    I just really wonder where you currently are, regarding this question. And how long it has been. Or, how long you think it might take.


    • Bobby Valentine Says:

      Hank I really am not attempting to dodge your question. I have not made up my mind on elders. You said you are comfortable with saying “I don’t know” well so am I. I continue to read and pray and reexamine all the material. I am more convinced than ever that the so called traditional position is pure invention of literally men. Even what women were allowed 200 years ago became non-kosher when men reacted against the Suffrage Movement.

      Contrary to Hugh, the GA, the SS this is not a liberal vs progressive matter. Some of the most conservative “men” in the Stone Campbell Movement have held essentially the same position I do today. Daniel Sommer most folks would consider an extremist legalist believed women could pray and read scripture in the assembly and thought the folks arguing against it were getting (ironically) carried away by the culture (that is reaction against suffrage). L. S. White a man who had 350 debates with all comers (progressives, Baptists, Methodists, etc) believed that women could read, pray, even teach. C. R. Nichol mentor to Foy Wallace, Jr coauthor of Sound Doctrine and many other volumes wrote a whole book on the subject in 1938 AGAINST the cultural trend to restrict women. He simply went to the Bible. His book should be REQUIRED reading and there is not a person on the planet that could call Nichol “progressive” and have any integrity in doing it. There are many more. The current position of the GA and SS is just man made doctrine and as false as any man made doctrine could be.

      Returning to the elders thing. Several years ago I was reading David Lipscomb’s writings and the matter of elders came up frequently. I was challenged on two fronts by Lipscomb because I had never thought of them before. First was that being an elder is not an “official” position. Lipscomb did not believe it was. He argued that it was a TASK and one is a Shepherd by doing the work of a shepherd not by virtue of being appointed. He argues this in numerous places. I have come to believe he is correct (Harding held the same position as did E. G. Sewell. The prevailing view in CofCs was created by J. W. McGarvey though).

      Second, one day Lipscomb received a question in the GA (all this is in the GA not that today’s GA would acknowledge it 😉 ) about a man selected to be a shepherd but had no children. The complainer thought this summarily disqualified the individual from being an elder because it says in black and white he has to have children. I fully expected Lipscomb to endorse that POV. I was wrong! He did not! DL stated that “biology is not a condition for being an elder.” He then explained that the rational for having children was to show competence in dealing with people, problems and issues. That if the person had other ways of showing they were able to do that then the “qualification was met.”

      I have thought of DL’s answer many times in light of the so called “women’s question.” Was Paul making biology a qualification? I have not made up my mind but I think Lipscomb was correct in what he said.

  14. Hank Says:


    You wrote:

    “The New Testament is rich with details of women in ministry roles of many kinds – even a female apostle. If a woman was an apostle, what roles can we possibly deny to women?”

    Who is this female apostle of which the NT is “rich with details”?

    And, has Bobby written that he also believes that there were female apostles? I’m also curious about that..

    • Bobby Valentine Says:

      Hank the woman apostle would be “Junia” that is mentioned in Romans 16.7. I have not written at length about her. But I have mentioned her. Read the links in the comment I made to Phillip above. Check out the link “What the Bible Says Women DID.”

      People assume when they read the word apostle this means the Twelve. Does not mean that at all. Paul was not one of the Twelve but he was an apostle. Paul makes a distinction between the Twelve and “the rest of the apostles” in 1 Cor 15.

      We do not know much about Junia. But Paul says she was “prominent.” Later manuscript tradition changed Junia’s name to Junias which is a man’s name. Medieval manuscripts did this as has been proven in many studies. The male name “Junias” did not exist for 300 years after Paul but “Junia” was a very common name in the first century. At any rate I believe that she was in that group that Paul mentions in 1 Cor 15. The early church (like Chrysostom) recognized her.

      I, of course, knew nothing of this before I “progressed” as you say. But what I really did was check out my assumptions. Blessings brother.

      • Bronwen Says:

        Yes, Junia (Rom 16:7) is exactly who I had in mind. Some translations say she was “well known to the apostles,” which of course is very different to being “notable (or outstanding) among the apostles.” Philip Payne in his book “Man and Woman: One in Christ” gives some excellent grammatical detail on why “well known to” is not a valid translation. Payne’s book is a VERY worthwhile read on this subject.

  15. Hank Says:

    Bobby, since you “have not made up (your) mind on elders”, doesn’t that mean that (in your mind), it is entirely possible that God has “restricted” women from being them? It must.

    I won’t ask you to break down the biggest “hurdle(s)” that you see, preventing you from taking the final step in the progression that goes from opposing female elders, staying neutral, and finally lobbying for them. With all due respect, my prediction is that you will, sooner rather that later, get there.

    I mean, IMO, I don’t see how anybody can endorse and support female preachers, female deacons, and simultaneously NOT endosre and support female elders.

    I could be wrong, but I suspect your getting closer every day. At least one old preacher was know to say, “I’ve never seen a preacher go to ‘restudy’ a subject, and NOT come out with a new position.” Someone else has said, “closets are for clothes”, and so once you get to where you’re headed, come on out, lol.

    I’ve said my piece, and I DO appreciate your service.

    Have a great weekend, bro.

    • Bobby Valentine Says:

      Hank I only teach what I believe. I do not teach what I do not. Whether you recognize it or not you keep resorting to the slippery slope. The whole point of study is to learn. If you learn something you did not know before, is it honesty or rebellion to embrace or reject what you just learned? Again follow the evidence and let the chips fall where they may.

      I can “endorse” female preachers because Scripture does. I can do that whether it does elders or not Hank. Huldah was a preacher. Esther wrote with “full authority” according to the Holy Spirit (not Bobby Valentine). Women “prophesied” in the assembly at Corinth. Since I do not believe ‘prophesy” is predicting the future in the vast majority of biblical contexts I do not think that is what they are doing in Corinth either. Paul states point blank that “those {he does not say those MEN but simply THOSE} that prophesy build up the assembly” (1 Cor 14.4). I have direct biblical authority for women doing this.

      I do not resort to special pleading or tortured logic that the so called traditional position does. A woman cannot take up attendance cards! or wait on the table or even do announcements! I have asked these guys point blank if the exclusion of women from these activities is demanded by their interpretation of 1 Cor 14 or 1 Tim 2 … a number PRIVATELY will say no. But they do not have the courage to say that publicly. The slippery slope goes the other way … they are binding what God has not bound even by their own confession. But they want to brand and exclude brothers on this very issue. I will have nothing to do with such daring things.

      So Hank I really do not know what you are after. If Scripture teaches that a woman can read Scripture then I am going to allow her to do so no matter what the slope.

      If Scripture teaches that women can pray in the assembly then I am going to allow her to do so no matter what the slope looks like.

      If Scripture teaches that women can teach then I am going to allow her to do so no matter the slope.

      If it is God’s truth then I intend to embrace it.

      I recommend that course of action.

  16. Andrew Swango Says:

    I read the posts you linked. I have some things on them and some concluding thoughts on my take on this. At the end, I have a question for you.

    On what the Bible says women did….
    Yes, women have had some really amazing roles in the past. But I ask, was there ever a female priest in the Old Testament? Could a female be a priest?

    On the silencing of women in worship….
    You said that it is less careful and an assumption to think that Paul is talking only about men around 1Tim 2:8. Brother, the opposite is true. As I figured you already knew, 1Tim 2:8 does not say “people” or “mankind” (anthropos) but it says “males” (aner).

    You said that there is no verb for women in 1Tim 2:9. However, the verb is found later in the verse: kosmeo (to decorate). So the text is not implying that both men and women prayed. Therefore, the hosautos (likewise) is to mean Paul has an instruction for the women “like as” he gave an instruction to the men.

    You said, “These women addressed by Paul are clearly from the elite wealthy class.” This assumption is defeated when Paul makes his appeal to creation. If Paul appeals to creation, then he is appealing to all men and all women, not just a subset.

    Then an effort is made to tie the expensive clothing and jewelry to the temple of Artemis. However, Peter makes an almost exact statement, speaking to all Christian women, in 1Pet 3:3-4.

    On 1Tim 2:11, what you said about women learning in silence/quiet is correct. Hesuchia does not demand the absence of words. In this context, Paul is not requiring women to keep all speaking to themselves. Now, 1Cor 14:34-35 addresses that, but I will leave that passage for another conversation.

    On 1Tim 2:12, what you said about women having “unhealthy assertiveness” is also correct. Authority is not a bad translation when it is accompanied with “over” (“have authority over”), but I agree, “dominate” is the best translation there. I love it when you said, “It is clear that Paul does not want women (or men!) to domineer other Christians.”

    Creation or Fall? To believe it is teh Creation is to reject what Paul wrote in verse 14. To believe it is the Fall is to reject what Paul wrote in verse 13. It appears that Paul is appealing to both. This really is the best interpretation because Paul blames BOTH Adam and Eve for the Fall (as you rightly referred to Rom 5:12ff as well).

    On Silena Moore Holman….
    It was very sad to read Brunner’s very sexist comments. And I love, love, love Lipscomb’s heart and his opposition to sectarianism.

    My conclusion….
    I appreciate what you have taught on women’s role for the reason what we should always listen to “the other side of the aisle.” After weighing what you have shared, I am left with the question, “Why did God use so many women in so many roles in the Old Testament but appears to add restrictions in the New Testament?” I don’t have an answer for this. But even though I don’t have an answer, this doesn’t lesson Paul’s words. In the end, I am not convinced in your position. I am even more convinced that the belief that God has allowed women to be preachers and leaders of prayer is making the Scriptures say what someone wants them to say. It’s a selective interpretation of the text that doesn’t account for the historical setting (which is also selectively thrown into their arguments also). Paul’s words are clear and twisting them can possibly lead to one’s destruction (2Pet 3:16). I believe Peter said this because twisting Paul’s letter is easy to do. And it is easy to twist history into something else also such as hiding under the guise of the temple of Artemis. Please do not take anything I am saying as a personal attack or an insult to your intelligence. But after weighing the evidence shared, the belief that women can preach and lead prayers in the assembly is a false doctrine because it contradicts Paul’s instructions. The funny thing is… I found that both sides of the aisle attack the opposite side with the “culture card.” One side is too post-modern. The other side is too traditionalist. And I see both sides accusing the other side of ignoring Scriptures or sweeping them under the rug. I have my doubts that completely unity will be found on this issue. But I do hope to keep the conversation going. In the end, I will remain on the opposite side of the aisle from you until I am presented better evidence. As of now, both Scripture and history more strongly support Paul’s literal words: that God does not allow women to preach or lead prayers in the assembly. I followed the evidence and the chips have fallen. I believe your chips have fallen on the side of false doctrine. But I will continue to fellowship with you, brother.

    I want to briefly share my thoughts on the flip side. I agree with you that women can be deacons. Some say that 1Tim 3:11 is about the wives of deacons. But I ask, then why didn’t Paul also give qualifications for the wives of elders? Verse 11 is sandwiched between the context of deacons. I believe the answer is that women could be deacons. This is because deacons are NOT positions of leadership/authority/what-have-you. It’s the role of a servant. For the same reason, I would have no problem with women serving the Lord’s Supper. That’s also a servant’s role. Am I saying that women can only be servants? Of course not. Women can be given positions of leadership and authority. For example, my congregation has in the past employed a female minister over the children’s ministries. I’m thankful for this that we were paying her to minister to our children in a leadership and authoritative role. Such a role does not contradict Paul’s instructions. Also, I consider my wife to be the deacon over the landscaping of our church building.

    In your posts and comments, I see you say that women can be preachers and leaders of prayer. You’ve shared your arguments that confirm that. Do you have any arguments that deny the opposite? That is, do you have any rebuttals to the believe that women cannot preach or pray in the assembly? When you said that this believe is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, what makes that belief wrong?

    Thanks so much for reading my lengthy thoughts. I’m sure it is grueling when the comment section is so much longer than your article, haha. I am sorry for that. Blessings and so forth.

    • Bobby Valentine Says:

      Andrew I appreciate you reading and commenting. I do not find your critique persuasive though. In fact I think you are simply incorrect brother, both in analyzing what I said (i.e. I did not say that 1 Tim 2.8 was people and not males but just the opposite brother), you missed the point on 1 Tim 2.9.

      The whole Bible is relevant to this discussion not just 1 Cor 14 and 1 Timothy 2. The rest of the Bible makes it clear, as does the context of both passages, that they are dealing with specific issues in those churches. What happened to Huldah? You did not mention her? She is of immense significance brother. Did the same Spirit that inspired her, inspire Paul? 1 Tim 2.11 silence does not mean silence as v.2 makes clear but 1 Cor 14 does not pose a problem brother because it is only conditional and not based on gender in that text. Paul uses the same word in 1 Cor 14.28 and 30 as well and has nothing to do with gender.

      I will pass on “authentien” because the word is clearly a violent word in every context it occurs and means something more than simple authority.

      You may be interested in these links too:

      Female Deacons in the Restoration Movement

      Clara Babcock: First Ordained Gospel Preacher

      Argula von Grumbach: Courageous Debater & Theologian Woman of the Reformation


  17. Lillian Hollaway Says:

    I think this writing is very informative and will spend time rereading it.

  18. Joe W Says:

    The discussion on whether a woman can serve as an elder hinges on Paul’s list of “qualifications” in I Tim and Titus but I don’t think those apply to us today. Taken in context, Titus was to go to a congregation where everyone was a stranger to him. Of course he needed help in picking elders but how many of us would stand for that today? Would we allow a young guy from 5 states away to come in and say “I am going to appoint elders for you”? We know our fellow members so we don’t need a list to determine who could best answer our spiritual needs. In the 1st century, a woman wouldn’t have been given oversight of a congregation due to cultural restraints. She wouldn’t have been allowed to teach at a higher level school or to have authority over a bunch of workers. Now we have no problem with women CEOs, college professors and perhaps, soon a woman president (it has already happened in England and Germany). If we see Paul’s “qualifications” for what they are, the door is open to women elders.

    • Bronwen Says:

      In response to Joe W:
      Actually, 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1 do not restrict women from being elders or deacons. Paul does use the phrase “one woman man,” which was a common idiom meaning “faithful in marriage.” Paul was no 1990s kid, using politically correct language like, “husband of one wife or wife of one husband.” The male context would be seen to apply to both genders in this sort of instance – it is obvious women would no be given the right to be unfaithful to their husbands! All the gendered pronouns (he, him, his) and uses of “man” (except in the phrase discussed above) in 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1 are simply not there in the Greek. There is no good reason to think Paul is speaking only of men. We of course have evidence of women as deacons and house church leaders and even an apostle in the NT itself, so there is no good reason to think the role of elder would be denied to women when higher roles (eg. Apostle) were not.

      In radical opposition to the culture, women very clearly DID lead in the early church. Peter sets up the rationale for this in the fulfilment of OT prophecy in Acts 2. Paul makes it very clear in Gal 3:28, and then gives us plenty of evidence that he encouraged and worked alongside women in a variety of ministry roles. Artisan class women did sometimes run or take an important role in businesses (think, Lydia, Priscilla) and women were the managers of the home, as Paul tells us. This is not to say women of the time were free and empowered – on the whole, far from it! In the church, women found more freedom than elsewhere, which is perhaps part of the reason for the prevalence of women in the early church.

      I do agree with some of your points, but thought you might appreciate a bit of additional information to sharpen your argument.

      • Joe W Says:

        Bronwen, can you give me a reference to back up, “Paul does use the phrase “one woman man,” which was a common idiom meaning “faithful in marriage.”? I believe you but I know other people who wouldn’t believe me if I said this. It would be the same people who don’t believe me when I say “fruit of the vine” is an idiom for wine and that it doesn’t mean Welchs.

        • Bronwen Says:

          Hi Joe, I would be delighted to give you some references, but I’m just letting you know that it will be quite some hours before I get a chance – it’s morning here on this side of the world and I’m rushing off to work, and I won’t be home until late. I don’t want you to think I can’t or won’t answer that one!

          By the way, what is Wechs? I’m assuming it’s an Anerican brand of grape juice?

          As you have best understood it, what particular reasons do you see as disallowing women elders? (I know you’ve said you think you are in the process of possibly shifting on this, so my enquiry is about your former view.) While I can make an educated guess, I don’t want to assume. I may write a Q&A post for my blog about it, because it’s a very important question.

          • Joe W Says:

            Bronwen, first, in what part of the world are you?

            Welch’s grape juice is de rigueur for a proper Lord’s Supper. I have heard stories, which may not be true, of foreign missionaries who wrote home for a case of Welch’s so they could do the LS in the correct manner.

            Until recently I never thought that a woman could be an elder because I was brought up to take Paul’s English language instructions to Titus and Timothy at face value, even though the two lists differ. This meant that an elder had to be a married man (if an elder’s wife dies, he is expected to step down), he had to have believing children (some people think since Paul used the plural “children” an elder has to have more than one child, a few people even think adopted children don’t meet the qualifications), an elder couldn’t drink any alcoholic beverages (“not given to wine” was taken to mean never ever touch the stuff), and the rest about not being a brawler, of good repute and apt to teach. I have thought that women should pass communion, read scripture and do announcements for some time but I was reluctant to think that a women could serve as an elder. I never heard any mention of Junia in a sermon or Bible class and I couldn’t find any precedent for a woman being in charge of a congregation. (There are some anti-institutional CoCers who think women should not hold elected office, work as a factory foreman or teach school above elementary level.)

            I am still working through this and it is unfortunate that we cannot discuss this in my local congregation because the matter is considered settled and any questioning would be seen as being disruptive of good order. I value the discussion I read in blogs such as this.

  19. Hank Says:

    The door may be presumed to now be open, the questions are (in my view):

    1) Who opened it?
    2) How did they open it?
    3) Why did it take so long to open?
    4) Why are so many who actually endorse and encourage female deacons and preachers, reluctant to go through it? I know that there are many who would LIKE to go through it, but, for some reason, are hesitant. I find it intriguing as to WHY some would want to go through it, but at the same time, aren’t sure if they are allowed to. But, they sure want to. And, the waters getting “warmer”, every day now…

  20. Hank Valencia Says:

    Bobby, I’m not necessarily asking you these “questions”, they are for all. And, I have read tons of your articles. However, as you write new ones, you don’t insist that we read everything else you’ve written, before we can expect a current response, do you?

    Again, I’m curious of the responses of your other readers, and not just yours…

    • Bobby Valentine Says:

      Hank I am grateful that you ahve read “tons” of my articles. But I think you (I desire for you) to read the ones linked. The more information the better for our or anyone’s discussion. IMHO


  21. Joe W Says:

    Bobby is right Hank, read the books.

    In the meantime, I will give some answers to your questions (maybe not good answers, but answers).
    1. A changing culture opened the door. The church goes across many cultures (we can see this in the NT) and cultural norms. The church doesn’t operate in a vacuum. The only time we don’t change is when we are dead.

    2. The How is like asking how did women get to wear pants or smoke cigarettes or vote. It just happened as culture changed.

    3. It took so long because us guys are in charge, we are bigger than them and we didn’t want to give up any power.

    4. People are reluctant to push the issue out of fear of getting criticized by those currently in authority. If I suggested that women should be allowed to speak in church and an elder heard me I would be sent to a re-education class, wouldn’t be allowed to teach class, wouldn’t be called on to lead prayer and would be treated as though I was as lost as a Methodist. If a woman in my congregation asked to be allowed to do more she would be sent home to her husband and told to learn her place.

  22. Hank Says:

    Joe, thanks for your reply.

    You referenced changing cultures, women not being allowed to vote, smoke cigarettes, vote, guys being bigger and in charge, and all of that.

    Meanwhile, here we are discussing things on Bobby’s blog. He (Bobby Valentine), does not currently know whether women are allowed to be elders (with God’s approval). I assume, that you believe they can be?

    I’m merely trying to follow along here, and trying to understand why you (presumably) believe women can be elders, but why Bibby “does not know”.

    I wonder what info you could offer to Bobby, that will help him to make his next move?

    • Bobby Valentine Says:

      I’m wondering why you, Hank, do not make the ‘next’ move and read the links. Coming to the table with a common set of information makes a big difference. I find resistance to the acquisition of information by anyone much less those called to be Bereans to be interesting.

      Your hang up on elders is no way negates anything women can, with certainty, do. As old Sirach said “investigate before you criticize.” Almost inspired wisdom there. 🙂

  23. Joe W Says:

    I’m just an average Joe so I don’t have to have complicated reasons for what I believe. I am not convinced that women should be elders but I am leaning that way. If I say something stupid a few people write me off and life goes on. If Bobby says women can be elders then all who follow his blog expect him to give well-reasoned explanations that they can use to persuade the Pharisees in their congregations. Those who don’t agree with him will gang up on him with condemnation. I don’t blame him for holding back.

  24. Hank Says:

    Right on, Joe!

    You are definitely not an “average Joe”, you are a child of God!

    You wrote: “If Bobby says women can be elders then all who follow his blog expect him to give well-reasoned explanations that they can use to persuade the Pharisees in their congregations.”

    However, concerning women being elders, he says “I do not know”.

    I have followed Bobby for a while now, and he will (IMO), definitely end up supporting female elders, he just doesn’t know how to, yet.

    Keep reading here though, he is very likely working on this subject, while we “speak”.

    No doubt, even though Bobby doesn’t right now know if women can be elders, he WILL know that they can be, before long!


    • Bobby Valentine Says:

      Is this supposed to be an argument of some sort Hank? Who cares if a man grows and changes? Surely you do not look at life the way you did when you were 20. If you do then something is seriously wrong with your life brother.

      I am not intimidated by the fact that i may learn something new brother Hank. Some use the fear of change as their prime reason for never studying.

      I am satisfied, like Campbell said, that truth is the goal. If that is the goal Hank then what do YOU fear?

  25. Hank Says:

    Bobby, my last comment was not intended to be an “argument”, it was more of an observation. As you probably know, many preachers and teachers who have made the “progression” from opposing female deacons, preachers and elders, to supporting them, are convinced that they have matured, grown, and have all made their “180” turn, as a result making truth their goal. In fact, many of those same preachers and teachers accuse those who have not made the same 180, of being somehow afraid of change, of not honestly studying, and not making truth their goal! As if, flipping ones positions here, is necessary in order to mature from a pimple faced teenager, to a man!

    But, some times, it takes an outsider to see things clearly. Brother, I know many who have (recently) moved from opposing female deacons and preachers and elders, to lobbying for them. And, they all pretty much say the same things. Namely, that they have finally gotten honest with themselves and the Bible, that they have overcome their fears of change, and that they have finally made truth their goal. What else is interesting, is that pretty much every one of them who “grew” and ended up supporting female deacons and preachers did so, BEFORE they “matured” enough to come out and support female elders. In fact, I am sure that you know of many, who are in that exact situation. Yourself, included.

    There is no question as to whether or not they will “grow” enough to lobby for female elders too, the only question is, how long it will take?

    With all do respect, even though you admit to (currently) NOT knowing if God approves or opposes of female elderships, we both know that in time, with truth as your goal, you will eventually “grow” enough to support them as well. However you were able to alter the text and better understand the contex, to go from opposing female deacons and preachers, to encouraging them, you will be able to do the same, regarding female elders.

    Brother, my biggest reason for sharing my thoughts here, is because so many of your readers, even you bro, make those of us who haven’t changed on all (or any of this), seem to be afraid of the truth and of growing. Which is junk.

    From my POV, you guys are all so predictable. And, after embracing female elders, you will take up for the next formerly “restricted” group. As many, already have. And, accuse guys like me (at least by implication), of being afraid of the truth, change, and growing.

    Hope my comments were/are welcomed …

    • Bobby Valentine Says:

      Hank your comments are always welcome. 🙂

      But again your comment that was not an argument, and this comment that is not an argument, presents an argument anyway. The argument is “you guys are so predictable and you are sliding down the slope to women elders.”

      You still have not offered a single argument as to why

      1) women reading Scripture is a violation of the intent of Scripture
      2) little girls picking up attendance cards is a violation of the intent of Scripture
      3) women sharing announcements is a violation of the intent of Scripture
      4) why women serving on the communion table is a violation of the intent of Scripture
      5) why women saying prayer is a violation of the intent of Scripture
      6) why women using the gifts God gave them in the assembly is a violation of the intent of Scripture

      The position of the traditionalists – your statements can be literally turned back on you – is nothing but the predictable outcome of legalism. Excluding things and participation from over half the church from stuff that God never excluded. In fact many many many many passages of Scripture show the folly of the slippery slope of the GA/SS position on this. If I let women do announcements then next thing you know we will … therefore women can talk in the nursery 🙂

      I again could care less of how predictable things are. Is it true? That is all that matters. Blessings

  26. Hank Says:

    Dude, you obviously are not paying attention to my comments. You say I have not given “a single argument” as to why all those examples you give, are sinful. The reason I haven’t, is because I don’t think those examples ARE sinful. Except for maybe #6, because I have no idea what you mean by “use their talents”? For example, do you mean being elders?

    And quit acting like I work for or with the GA or SS, I don’t even subscribe to either! Not that I’m against those who do.

    You’ve misjudged me on all of that. Looks like you and your slope are more predictable than me and mine.

    And you mean that you ” COULDN’T” care less, right 😉

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