Wednesday, July 16, 2014

suffer the little ones

 Suffer the Little Ones

Remembering a time when I was visiting some friends…
A brother was wanting me to make him a modest shirt…I was in a nearby city visiting another family. While I was there I was planning to sew the shirt the Brother requested. The family I was visiting had planned to take me to the city where the brother was that wanted the shirt. The night before we were to leave to go to the brother’s house I was pressed for time to finish his shirt. It was getting late. There was a little girl about the age of three who really wanted to spend time with me as I was trying to sew the shirt. It was important to me to finish this shirt. I knew that if I was going to get it done I really needed to focus on it & not stop for anything. But this little girl wanted to touch the buttons on the sewing machine; she wanted to be a part of what I was doing. Oh, how it was slowing me down to have her around! Natural reasoning would have me shoo her away so I could be sure to finish the project. I had to look beyond myself & realize this was a little soul. What a precious thing it was that she desired my company. What was more important her soul, or my project? It’s been so long I can’t remember the reasoning that led me to deny myself & receive this Little One. But I do remember that I’m so glad that I did; even though it slowed me down tremendously. I took her in my lap & taught her how to use the machine so she could help. She was so happy to get to help. I was so happy that I made the choice to deny myself. I was able to truly surrender my will, & just accept the consequence of my choice to not turn her away.
Somehow, I was able to finish all but the hem of his shirt (if my memory is right, it was only the hem). The little that was left to do I was able to show the brother’s wife how to finish it off. It seems the Lord satisfied my desire to help this brother get the shirt he wanted; while also satisfying the little girls desire to sew with me. It was a reminder to not let the cares of this life control us. It is so easy to get caught up in all the things we think we need to accomplish in a day & run over the Little Ones who slow us down & get under our feet. Those days turn into weeks & weeks to months & months to years…suddenly the Little Ones are no longer the Little Ones.
The Little Ones are in our lives for a reason. Although they may seem to slow us down maybe it’s for good reason. A man once told me something along the lines… “the house is meant to serve us not us the house.” Whether you are a single sister, a daughter, or a wife when you go about your feminine duties of keeping a house or daily life know that the Little Ones learn much from our example. What is our example teaching them? Are they learning to be full of cares, & to put their cares above the needs or interests of others? Are they being taught to worry or get frustrated?
The character of Little Ones is formed by observing those around them. What are they learning by watching you? Is your face glued to your computer for hours day after day? Is your attention fully given to your cell phone throughout the day? Are you short on patience when they want your attention? These & other habits we may have can turn the Little Ones into “monsters”/ Self-seeking, irritable human beings. Instead of thinking we need to get the Little Ones “out of our hair” what we may need to do is change our way of thinking. If you are a mother you may want to consider that now is the time that you have to mold your child into a Christ-like being. Their soul should be a top priority. If there are things you’d like to accomplish in life consider fulfilling those desires after your children are grown;—if those accomplishments are not suffering you to give your children the guidance they need (if it’s the Lord’s will it will happen in His time).
This morning as I was approaching the building we gather for fellowship at,  one of the Little Ones called out to me. She ran over so excited to tell me that she recently wore her head covering like I wear mine. At our fellowship we do not have “dress codes,” but we do expect those professing Christ to yield to the convictions of the Holy Spirit. Such convictions teach women to be modest & covered. Thanks be to God we do not contend with each other about the specifics of modesty & coverings so long as they are present (modest clothes & head coverings). Thus, we have some variations.
 All this to say that the Little Ones are watching & forming their character by what they see & hear in the lives of those around them. We must suffer their little hearts to be strengthened & encouraged by our self-less lives; we must deny ourselves to stop our busy lives & include them. Little Ones can be an incentive to our lives to help us press in, watch & pray, consider our ways. Are my daily activities going to form a godly character in this Little Ones life?
 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
  But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
  Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
  And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.  (Mark 10:13-16)

 As servants of Christ we must seize opportunities to minister to the needs of the Little Ones. They are the coming generation...Let us labor to bring forth a godly generation rather than...

Proverbs_30:11  There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.
Proverbs_30:12  There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
Proverbs_30:13  There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.
Proverbs_30:14  There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men. 

Our examples will give shape to their character.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ladies & Girls

  "But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." 1Peter 3:4

How many a time have I seen a lady, a girl
Swept up in a whirl,
Of loving attractive & cute,
Hearts & minds entangled in an outward suit;
Just the right fit from head to toe,
The bow must be just so.
All the while calling Jesus Lord,
When they wish they could afford:
The brand, the style, the jewels that fit the attire.
Dear ladies & girls,
Deceive not yourselves with lace & swirls.
Godly women taught by grace
Do not sit long to perfect & stare at their face;
Their concern is not for themselves,
But that the clothes on their shelves,
Draw not the eye of a man that is married; a man that is single,
With these they ought to fear the Lord before they mingle.
Ladies & girls you do shame
God’s pure name,
When you make vain your time on earth,
Caring about your looks & the size of your girth.
Let grace teach you:
To be discreet, to hide your outward beauty, to be sincere & honest, to let your words be few.
A word thought out is likely to be well spoken;
A girl that rambles on about cute & attractive clothing is but a token,
Of one falling short of the prize, mind filled with lies;
Believing that classy style & fashion,
Are worth our passion.
Take all that burning fire,
that you have to be desired
of men & people you esteem;
use it rather to sew seams,
that conceal the curves & cover the arms & legs.
Stop the plagues,
That corrupt the heart to call God Lord
When you’re not willing to take His sword
& cut yourself free
From an over sexualized, vain society.
The body is not for fornication(1.Corinthians 6:13)
but for the Lord.
Who does not bear in vain the sword.
He will not take part,
With ladies & girls who dress as they please deceiving their own heart.
Go on & look at the magazines full of glamour,
Claiming to be Christian style,
A God fearing woman knows not to travel even a mile
Down a road that claims to be Christian, while clearly denying the power of godliness.
Ladies & girls your adoration of self is fruitless.
Take up your cross,
& count your cute skirts & shirts but dross.
You’re a slave to sin so long as you put such care,
In how people stare.
It is better for them to see,
A lady, a girl, from vanity free;
Than a lady, a girl outwardly desirable & “cute as a button”.
To all who are slaves let my rhyme, 
Speak to your heart this time.
What better hour to embrace Christ’s liberty?
Cast down your fears of what others say & just be,
The woman who’s shape & beauty is a mystery,
Her glory concealed, devoted to her God eternally.  

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. Psa 143:10

 The following is one of my old Face book notes I came across today. Thought maybe I should post it here as well.

 (I did make some small changes to it.)

Pure religion & undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, & to keep himself unspotted from the world. Jms.1:27
Pure religion & undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, & to keep himself unspotted from the world. James.1:27 


Response to a young woman in Christ

July 18, 2011 at 10:35am

(I thought to make this available for others to read, peradventure it would bless any others)
Please really pray to know if it is God's desire for you to go to Bible College. I have not known those places to produce true disciples. (That's not to say that no one who has gone to one is not a true disciple; more so the school was not their salvation.) I think some people have lost their faith in those places.The best place to grow in the grace & knowledge of God; I believe is in sincere heartfelt prayer,  personal private searching of the Scriptures & through the edification of the Body of Christ. Pray for faithful Shepherds who can lead you in truth. Men whose daily conversation (lifestyle, manner of speech,etc) is Holy. I haven't always had a holy man to help me, God alone has had to Shepherd me at times Psalm.23. And I am thankful for that because it has made me strong in Him alone. I sincerely know He is all I need. We should not be dependent on others. That is not to say others are not helpful or a blessing...but we need to trust that God (Yeshua/Jesus) is the best for us. He wants to bring His people together so we can help each other. But know that people will fail us; we need to be devoted in praying, reading, & being faithful to be doers of His word & not hearers only. This will make us wise unto salvation; not some school setting. Some people are always learning & never coming to the knowledge of truth. Women are to be keepers at home, I have learned alot by making myself a servant to all for His name's sake. Not seeking vain glory, but in sincerity of heart. Faith-works--by love. There are many people in this world who could use the example of a God fearing woman.
This fear is the beginning of wisdom. It will make you: modest in appearance, meek & humble in speech,of a good courage, yet reserved & restrained in emotion, sober & reserved with men, willing to work with your hands: cooking cleaning,sewing etc,.These are jut some examples. The Holy Spirit is our teacher & His lessons only cost our life. Please see Mathew 11:28-30 "...learn of me for I am meek & lowly in heart..." obeying His simple commandments in our lives will cause us to learn the most valuable lessons. I don't know if Bible schools help people become meek & lowly? Knowledge puffeth up. I do not believe the learning He wants us to do is on an intellectual level. He that doeth righteousness is righteous. If we continue in His word than are we disciples in--deed. (see -) 1 John 2:27 "But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, & ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, & is no lie, & even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him. And now little children abide in Him...(please read the end of this chapter.) See 1John3:7
And John.4:1-"Beloved believe not every spirit, but try the spirits..(read this too). Yes, there are so many wonderful verses we need to lay to heart. Yeshua wants to see us choose to come to Him & abide in Him. If we walk in the spirit,we will not fullfil the lusts of the flesh. I hope you will appreciate these things I have been so blessed to share. Prove my words whether I speak Truth or not. Shalom, dear sister. :)

...give her the fruit if her of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. Pv.31
...give her the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31

I'd like to add to this post...the light of the glorious Gospel shined in my life in 1996. A joy, peace, & hope entered my life that I never knew possible to life on earth. But as pilgrims set forth to obey, the road gets more & more narrow. Days of difficulty start to stretch far & wide. Christ taught that we must strive to enter in to His kingdom.  "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." - Luke 13:24
 Christ is our life long teacher; as long as we breathe I believe He has a lesson for us. We must pay attention & put to practice His teachings until they are perfected in our lives.

Monday, April 7, 2014

One of the signs of modern, fallen Christianity is the practice of women teaching men and ordaining women to leadership roles. Historically, very few churches practiced this until the last century and a half. The Bible is quite plain in these points, so I usually do not spend a lot of time reading materials that try their best to make the Scriptures say the opposite of their plain meaning. So when someone recently showed me an issue of a magazine that was dedicated to proving that it was scriptural for women to be ordained as ministers (in the official sense of the word) and to teach men, I didn’t pay a lot of attention. I grew up around churches that took that stance and know the arguments.[1]
But one section caught my eye. It was the claim that the early Anabaptists had ordained women preachers. Although the article is careful to not actually call them “ordained ministers,” the inference is clearly there.
During the last several years I have spent a good bit of time reading Anabaptist thought and history ... and knew that even some of the foremost “liberal” Mennonite historians (who seem to have gone looking for some proof of it to support their own current practice) had concluded after long research that there were simply no ordained women ministers in early Anabaptism.
Were there zealous women, women who boldly stood their ground when asked in court trials (sometimes accompanied by torture) about their faith? Absolutely! About 1/3 of all Anabaptist martyrs were women. But the bottom line was simple: no recorded case has been found of an early Anabaptist woman being ordained to the ministry in the official sense of the word. The word “minister” means serve (verb), or servant (noun). In that sense, every Anabaptist was considered a “minister.”
So what do we do with the following, taken from page 1120 of the Herald Press edition of the Martyrs Mirror?
Ruth, a minister in the Martyrs Mirror
The Gospel Trumpet had the following to say about the above section:
Here is an image from Martyrs Mirror (Page 1122, Herald Press, 1950 edition), in which two women are clearly listed with men in the ministry. Ruth Kunstel was “a minister in the word of the Lord” at Muchem, in the Berne jurisdiction, while Ruth Hagen was listed as “an elder” from the Zurich area.
These women followed their New Testament forebears Phebe, the four daughters of Philip, Junia, etc., in ministering the Word of God along with men. This cannot be gainsaid, as it is in plain black-and-white recorded for posterity. Let all who claim the Anabaptist heritage know their history.
At first glance, it does seem to indicate that there were indeed women ordained as a minister and an elder in early Anabaptism. But right away I suspected something: Ruth was probably also a man’s name in that time period. A quick check to the German version would clear up the question, since the German language has a different article (meaning a different form of “the” and “a”) depending on whether the noun is a male noun or a female noun.

The German text of the two Ruths

Ruth, in the German Martyrs Mirror
For those who do not read German (probably the majority of our readers), you will notice the article “einem.” Now take a look at whether that is a male or female article:
Definition of einem
So, “einem diener” translates to English as “a male servant or minister.” In the same way, “einem aeltesten” translates to “a male elder.”[2]
Now let’s take another closer look at the English again. Does the English say “Ruth Hagen, an elder,” or does it say “Ruth Hagen, an eldress”?
Obviously, the situation here is that Ruth was a man. Ruth is certainly not a common male name; in fact it is the first time I have run across it myself. Another possibility in this case is a misspelling, since during that time period spelling consistency was basically an every-man-for-himself sort of thing.
To be sure, at first glance it can easily look like the early Anabaptists may have had “women in the ministry.” A closer look proves that the “proof” was bad proof.
For the other “proof” of “women in the ministry,” a little clip of page 481 of Martyrs Mirror was presented:
Elizabeth in the Martyrs Mirror
Let me ask you: Just how much proof does the above clipping give to prove that the early Anabaptists had women ordained as teachers to men?
To be honest, it provides exactly 0% proof. Elizabeth was accused of being a teacher. But she was also (falsely) accused of being Menno Simons’ wife. Or perhaps the authorities were mocking her. But there is no admission on Elizabeth’s part of being a “teacher.” Or, if she did teach, whom did she teach? Children? Other women? Men?
No proof of being a “teacher” is found. Much less whom she taught if she was indeed an ordained “teacher.”

This thing called integrity

All this moved my mind to think of integrity. Integrity has to do with “wholeness.” When speaking of a person’s or a group’s integrity, it carries the idea of being totally honest. For myself, when dealing with Anabaptist history it means admitting—for as much that I admire the Anabaptist movement—that there were some things I cannot agree with. Some of them held wrong ideas about divorce/remarriage. Some of them had really—I mean really—funny ideas about eschatology.

Back to history

But before we talk more about integrity, let’s look at the same magazine and one of the “proofs” (shown below) that it gives of the early church having “women in the ministry.”[3]
Junia—A Female Apostle

Proof of the early church ordaining women as preachers?
The question here is not so much the interpretation that Chrysostom gave of the passage of Scripture, but the question is about the integrity of using one quote of his to support the idea of women preaching in the church. There are several points that could be argued on his interpretation of Romans 16:7. 1. Whether listing both of them together is meant as a husband/wife team, and only Andronicus was officially the apostle. 2. Whether being called an apostle was an indication that Junia taught men. Many women have been sent as apostles (we call them missionaries in our day ... “one sent out”) and yet never taught men. If we read the rest of the writings of John Chrysostom, it is quite clear that he felt women should not teach men, nor speak in the church. There are a number of things we could quote from him, but this one suffices:
To such a degree should women be silent, that they are not allowed to speak not only about worldly matters, but not even about spiritual things, in the church. This is order, this is modesty, this will adorn her more than any garments. Thus clothed, she will be able to offer her prayers in the manner most becoming. ... [Paul] says, let them not teach, but occupy the station of learners. For thus they will show submission by their silence. (Early Church Fathers, Vol. XXII)

Back to integrity

But let’s look at the integrity of pulling one ambiguous quote out of early church history to prove a point, when there are plenty of other quotes that clearly refute the idea that is trying to be proven. For example:
Antoinette Louisa [Brown] Blackwell
Antoinette Louisa [Brown] Blackwell is generally recognized as the first woman to be ordained in the USA, in 1853. She was a fervent feminist, as well as an evolutionist, writing, “[Women] will become indispensable to the religious evolution of the human race.”
Their [the married Apostles’] spouses went with them [on their mission trips], not as wives, but as sisters, in order to minister to housewives. It was through them that the Lord’s teaching penetrated also the women’s quarters without any scandal being aroused. Clement of Alexandria (ANF 2.391-Translated from the Latin)
If the daughters of Philip prophesied, at least they did not speak in the assemblies; for we do not find this fact in evidence in the Acts of the Apostles. Much less in the Old Testament. It is said that Deborah was a prophetess ... There is no evidence that Deborah delivered speeches to the people, as did Jeremiah and Isaiah. Huldah, who was a prophetess, did not speak to the people, but only to a man, who consulted her at home. The gospel itself mentions a prophetess Anna ... but she did not speak publicly. Even if it is granted to a woman to show the sign of prophecy, she is nevertheless not permitted to speak in an assembly. When Miriam the prophetess spoke, she was leading a choir of women ... For [as Paul declares] “I do not permit a woman to teach,” and even less “to tell a man what to do.” Origen[4]
And these verses (Romans 16:1-2) teach with apostolic authority that females were appointed to aid the church. Phoebe of Cenchrea was placed in this service, and Paul with great praise and recommendation follows by enumerating her beautiful deeds, saying, “She helped everyone so much, by being close at hand when needed, that she even helped me in my needs and apostolic labors, with a total dedication of her mind.” I would compare her work to that of Lot, who while he always took in strangers, one time even merited practicing hospitality on angels. In the same way Abraham also, who was always practicing hospitality, once merited having the Lord with his angels to be entertained in his tent. So this devout Phoebe, continually assisting and obeying everyone, was once merited with assisting and obeying the Apostle as well. This verse teaches us two things at the same time: There are, as was said, female aides in the church, and such should be considered as part of the service of the church. Those who have assisted many, and by good service have attained to apostolic praise, should be counted as part of that ministry. He also exhorts that those who seek to do good works in the churches, whether in spiritual or fleshly aid, should receive in return the reward and honor from the brethren.
This verse (Romans 16:6) teaches that women should labor for the churches of God. For they labor when they teach the young ladies to be modest, to love their husbands, to raise children, to be pure and chaste, to guide their homes, to be hospitable, to wash the saints’ feet, and everything else that is written concerning the service of women. ~Origen
This verse (Romans 16:6) teaches that women should labor for the churches of God. For they labor when they teach the young ladies to be modest, to love their husbands, to raise children, to be pure and chaste, to guide their homes, to be hospitable, to wash the saints’ feet, and everything else that is written concerning the service of women, all of which should be done with chaste conduct. Origen, Commentary on the Book of Romans (translated from the Latin)
For how credible would it seem, that he [the Apostle Paul] who has not permitted a woman even to learn with overboldness, should give a female the power of teaching and of baptizing! “Let them be silent,” he says, “and at home consult their own husbands.” Tertullian (ANF 3.677)
It is not permitted to a woman to speak in the church; but neither (is it permitted her) to teach, nor to baptize, nor to offer, nor to claim to herself a lot in any manly function, nor to stay (in any) sacerdotal office. Tertullian (ANF 4.33)
That a woman ought to be silent in the church: In the first Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians: “Let women be silent in the church. But if any wish to learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home.” Also to Timothy: “Let a woman learn with silence, in all subjection. But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to be set over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve; and Adam was not seduced, but the woman was seduced.” Cyprian (ANF 5:546)
We do not permit our women to teach in the Church, but only to pray and hear those that teach; for our Master and Lord, Jesus Himself, when He sent us the twelve to make disciples of the people and of the nations, did nowhere send out women to preach, although He did not lack [women candidates to do this]. For there were with us the mother of our Lord and His sisters; also Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Martha and Mary the sisters of Lazarus; Salome, and certain others. For, had it been necessary for women to teach, He Himself [would have] first commanded these also to instruct the people with us. For “if the head of the wife be the man,” it is not reasonable that the rest of the body should govern the head. Apostolic Constitutions (ANF 7.427, 428)
But if in the foregoing constitutions we have not permitted [women] to teach, how will any one allow them, contrary to nature, to perform the office of a priest? For this is one of the ignorant practices of the Gentile atheism, to ordain women priests to the female deities, not one of the constitutions of Christ. Apostolic Constitutions (ANF 7.429)
The mass of early church quotes are clearly against the idea of women teaching men and against ordaining women to leadership roles (over men) in the church.
Ok, you probably get the point. The mass of early church quotes are clearly against the idea of women teaching men and against ordaining women to leadership roles in the church (unless, like the early Moravian Brethren, the Eldresses only taught or counseled other women or children).
These quotes from the early church neither prove nor disprove if the Bible itself teaches for or against women teaching men or speaking in public assemblies. They do, however, give us a clear indication of how the Ante-Nicene church interpreted Paul’s teachings. The bottom line is, as far as I know, there is no straightforward evidence in early church writings that women (excepting heretical groups like the Montanists) ever taught in a public assembly. I say that with integrity. I say it after having read thousands of pages of church history.
I could be wrong, of course; I don’t know everything there is to know about church history. But my integrity will not let me say otherwise. Do I say that because I happen to believe that Paul’s writings clearly forbid women to be ordained as elders? And that women are not to teach men, or speak in the public assembly?
No, I am being honest with history. I cannot say the same about the Quakers. As much as I like what the Quakers stood for in some areas, my integrity will not permit me to make the Quakers appear as if they forbade women speaking publically in the assemblies. It simply was not so. But the early church and the Anabaptists forbade women to speak in the public assemblies and to teach men. Integrity demands that I say that.

And if we lack integrity in history ...

So what do you do with a person or a group who does not seem to have integrity with history? Personally, I find it hard to swallow the same person’s (or group’s) handling of the Holy Scriptures. If they pull an ambiguous quote from Martyrs Mirror and make it appear that the early Anabaptists had ordained women eldresses, or if they use one ambiguous early church quote, but ignore a dozen plain ones ... how will they handle the Bible?
Perhaps some of you readers are wondering why I do not take up here an exposition of the Scriptures that touch women preachers. Well, my main point in this short article is not about women preachers, but about integrity. But let us look at one biblical point, again mainly considering integrity.
In the same issue of The Gospel Trumpet, there is a small box concerning Phoebe, the διάκονον [transliterated, “deaconess”] of the church at Cenchrea mentioned in Romans 16:1. The article states:
Many have thought the word servant (diakonos) here means deacon or deaconess, but when the same word is used elsewhere by Paul, it denotes ministers of the gospel:
“Jesus Christ was a minister” (diakonos). Rom. 15:8.
“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers” (diakonos). 1 Cor. 3:5.
“Epaphras our dear fellowservant…a faithful minister” (diakonos). Col. 1:7.
“Thou [Timothy] shalt be a good minister (diakonos) of Jesus Christ.” 1 Tim. 4:6.
“Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister” (diakonos). Eph. 6:21; Col. 4:7.
“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers (diakonos) by whom ye believed.” 1 Cor. 3:5; Eph. 3:7; Col. 1:23, 25.
From the Scriptures selected by The Gospel Trumpet, it could easily be deduced that the Greek word διάκονον always refers to what we think of when we think of an ordained preacher. However ... the word “minister” simply means “to aid” (verb) or “one who aids” (noun). Are the quoted texts saying that all those mentioned were ordained preachers? Or is it simply calling them aides, or more specifically “one who executes the commands of another” (Thayer’s Lexicon)? But let’s get down to the integrity of the matter ... why was not Romans 13:4 added in the list selected by The Gospel Trumpet?
For he is the minister of God to thee for good ...
Who is this “minister”? None other than the civil authority that is over the believer. Yes, the civil authorities are “deacons” of God! In John 2:5, “His mother saith unto the διακόνοις, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” Were those wedding helpers “ordained ministers”?
Obviously my point is that the Greek word διάκονον can refer specifically to an ordained servant of the church (1 Ti. 3:8), or it can simply be the men responsible for filling the waterpots at a marriage, or your town mayor, or the girl who wipes the tables after a meal.
In what sense was Phebe a διάκονον: an aide of the church, or a “minister of the gospel”?[5] From the isolated text of Romans 16:1, nothing can be concluded. We have to take into account the whole NT use of the word, as well as the teachings concerning women and public ministry.
My conclusion—based on the whole of the NT teaching—is that she was simply a woman of the church at Cenchrea who aided the church by carrying Paul’s letter and perhaps taking care of some other unspecified “business” while there. It appears that she had been busy succouring many people in the past, so maybe she was simply on a mission to Rome to bless some needy person or family there. Maybe some expectant mother needed an extra hand for a few months. Maybe a sick sister needed some help. Maybe she taught the younger sisters how to love their husbands. There are myriads of opportunities to aid the church without being an “ordained minister of the gospel.”
But the bottom line is that we really don’t know, from the text of that one verse, in what sense Paul intended the word. But to quote only the verses that tend to use diakonon in a sense of a “minister of the gospel,” and act as if that is the only way to interpret the word diakonon ... is that integrity?
I quote the article again:
... but when the same word is used elsewhere by Paul, it denotes ministers of the gospel.
Does integrity ignore obvious evidence to the contrary? That said, simple, honest ignorance can also be involved. Innocent ignorance does not mean a lack of integrity. The difference is when truth is revealed, innocent ignorance will acknowledge its former error. A lack of integrity will just make excuses or ignore the truth.

Agendas and integrity

One of integrity’s mightiest foes is having an agenda. For example, concerning church history, it is common (and I have found myself doing it as well) to go looking in history to find support for a position, instead of to go looking for what position the historical evidence provides. And the same, of course, applies to looking in the Bible to find evidence to support an agenda. We see it all the time in today’s apostate churches with the “gay” agenda. It “blows me away” that people read the Bible and come away saying that sodomite “marriages” are not sin. My integrity simply will not let me say such a thing (and I am not claiming my integrity is perfect). If I felt sodomy was righteous, then I would have to abandon the Bible. Gay “marriage” is the epitome of self-righteousness. I simply do not have any desire to twist Scripture and history that hard. I have very little respect for the integrity of anyone who claims the Bible supports homosexual “marriages.” Scripture is too plain on that subject.
Yet, I realize that sometimes when I read—be it the Bible or history—I sense that an agenda lurks in the shadows, trying to get me to ignore evidence that may contradict my current understanding of an issue. May God help us all to flee from all agendas except the “agenda” to be honest seekers of truth. If the truth of the matter is that the early church and the Anabaptists did ordain women to be preachers to men, then may we have enough integrity to say so. If not, then may we just have enough integrity to not twist and hide evidence so as to support an agenda.
Pray for me!
~Mike Atnip

[1] I am referring to The Gospel Trumpet, published by the Church of God, Restoration. I grew up in churches very similar to this group and have had close contact in the past with it. I wrote a historical overview of the movement, which can be found at or by writing to the address in the front of this magazine.
[2] Also to be noted is that the German word for minister itself has both a male and a female form. For a lady, it would have to be “einer aeltesterin” and for an eldress, “einer dienerin” (the -in suffix making it feminine).
[3] While the phrase “women in the ministry” is perfectly valid in the sense of women who served and blessed others, the underlying thought is of ordained women as elders, pastors, or teachers of men.
[4] Origen, Fragmenta ex commentariis in epistulam i ad Corinthios (in catenis), Greek text published in Claude Jenkins, “Documents: Origen on I Corinthians. IV,” Journal of Theological Studies 10 (1909), p. 41. English translation from Roger Gryson, The Ministry of Women in the Early Church (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1976), p. 28.
[5] Technically the phrase “minister of the gospel” does not specifically refer to preaching. An “aide of the gospel” is simply someone who helps in the cause of the kingdom of God, be it in preaching/teaching, or in helping in physical needs. For that reason I use quotes, since the phrase has come to mean a “preacher of the gospel.”
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This article is from: The Heartbeat of The Remnant  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

NARROW IS THE WAY: The Wisdom of this World and Anneken Jansz (a mart...

 For from you is the spring of life. In your light we shall see light.-Psalm 36:9

My friend recently shared one of her old blog posts with me. Thought others may appreciate what she had to share: You may click on the link or read below what she wrote:

The Wisdom of this World and Anneken Jansz (a martyr)

As my oldest son approaches adulthood, many have been asking him about his future plans. What does he want to study in college? What college does he want to go to? What job would he like to have? And other such questions ... they are all basically the same, right?

What if our focus is all off?

What if our children never have a 'good education'? What if they always struggle with spelling and writing? What if they never get a 'good job'? What if they never go to college and learn all about ethics, psychology, science, history, math, and so on? What if all they can ever do is work 'odd jobs' here and there? What if they can never afford to buy a 'decent house'? What if all they could ever manage was a little shack? Or even just a sleeping bag? What if they only had one or two changes of clothes? What if all their possessions could fit into a back pack? What if they were hated and despised by nearly everyone that met them?

Maybe that sounds like it would be pretty shameful ... at least shameful to the parents, right? Or would it be?

What if their focus was eternity?

What if all our children knew was Jesus Christ and Him crucified? What if that was all the knowledge they could offer to this world? What if all they knew was the foolishness of preaching the cross? What if their whole upbringing was centered around and totally focused on how to serve the Lord and how to serve others? How to love the Lord, love their neighbors and love their enemies? What if all they ever learned was that HE IS WORTHY of ALL that they have? What if they choose to live a life of poverty in order to better serve the Lord and others?

Luke 6:20And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. 21Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. 22Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. 23Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. 24But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

I'd much rather my son live in a cardboard box on the streets and serve the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, than to have some piece of paper that enables him to get a 'good job' somewhere where he can then have a 'nice house', a 'nice car', 'climb up the corporate ladder', store up treasures on earth, and coast right into hell.

Are we hoping to equip our children for life in this world? or equip them for life in eternity? What are we here for? This is a battleground - and it is not our home, we are just passing through! Will a good college education truly equip them for life in this world? Well, I guess that depends on where your focus is. I believe you do not need a college education to do the Lord's work. If the Lord has called you, He will equip you without having you to go to a worldly institution where you will be taught humanistic ideas and philosophies, and have your head filled with all sorts of worldly knowledge that means absolutely nothing in eternity. Think about it.

Maybe there are cases where a college education would be called for (???) but please do not send your child to such a place. It would take a very special person so strong in their faith and focused on following the Lord to make it through a college education without being spotted by the world. If your child does need some sort of training, there are so many other options. Please do not turn to worldly institutions. Worse yet, do not turn them over to religious institutions.

1 Cor 2:1And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. ... 4And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.On judgment day, the Lord will not care one bit how much we know about various worldly things. He won't even care how well we can read, write and spell. And, believe it or not, He will not be giving us a theology test. All He will care about is what we did with His Word. Yes, He will judge us by His Words according to our works ... did we obey His Words or did we trample them under our feet and make a mockery of them?

Matthew 7:21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

How much education do you need to obey the teachings of Christ?
Matthew 25:31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 8When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

While writing this, the account of the martyr, Anneken Jansz, came to my mind. She was drowned to death in icy water because she decided to follow the Lord during a time when it was not popular to do so. Here is a short explanation of why she was martyred and also the letter she wrote to her then 1 1/4 year old son, Esaias. The letter she wrote to her son is so beautiful ... and fits very well with what I've said above. This account was taken from the book, "The Secret of the Strength".
On the Koppenstraat in the Dutch city of Briel, Anneken Jansz led a sheltered life in the large house of her parents. They had money and she was their only child. Anneken, in the flower of her youth, met a young man called Arent. He was a barber-surgeon and their love led to marriage. They should have been happy. But money, parties, nice dresses, and expensive wines did not meet the longings of their hearts. Then one night another youth came to the Jansz home. His name was Meynaert and he spoke of following Christ.
Before he left, he baptised Arent and Anneken upon the confession of their faith.
Because they got baptised, Arent and Anneken had to flee. They left her parents’ home and escaped across the English Channel to London. There a baby, Esaias, joined their family, but Arent took sick and died. Anneken packed her few belongings and returned to be with believers in the Netherlands.
Back in the Netherlands, on a wagon loaded with people travelling from Ijsselmonde to Rotterdam, Anneken and a companion, Christina Michael Barents, sang Christian songs. It was a cold morning in December. A passenger suspected that they were Anabaptists and reported them as soon as they got to the city. The police arrested them as they boarded a boat to Delft.
For one month the women were in jail. Anneken cared for Esaias, now a year and three months old, and wrote a confession of faith. Then they sentenced the two women to die.
On the morning of the planned execution day, Anneken woke up early and wrote a letter:

Esaias, receive your testament:
Listen, my son to the instructions of your mother. I am now going the way of the prophets, apostles, and martyrs to drink from the cup from which they drank. I am going the way of Christ who had to drink from that cup himself. Since he, the shepherd, has gone this way, he calls his sheep to come after him. It is the way to the waterspring of life.
This is the way the kings from the land of the rising sun came to enter the holy age. It is the way of the dead who cry from beneath the altar: “Lord how long?” It is the way of those who are sealed in their foreheads by God.
See, all these had to drink from the cup of bitterness like the one who rescues us has said: “The servant is not greater than his Lord, rather it is good enough for him to be made equal to him.”
No one comes to life except through this way. So go through this narrow gate and be thankful for the Lord’s chastening.
If you want to enter the holy world and the inheritance of the saints, follow them! The way to eternal life is only one step wide. On one side is the fire and on the other side the sea. How shall you make it through? Look my son, there are no short cuts. There is no easier option. Every alternate route leads to death. The way of life is found by few and walked upon by fewer yet.
My child, don’t follow the crowd. Keep your feet from the way of the majority because it leads to hell. But if you hear of a poor, needy and rejected little group that everyone makes fun of and hates, go there! When you hear of the cross, there is Christ!
Don’t draw back from the cross. Flee the world. Hold to God and fear him alone. Keep his commandments. Remember his words. Write them on your heart and bind them to your forehead. Speak of them day and night, and you will become a fruitful plant. Keep your body holy for the Lord’s service so that his name will be made great in you. Do not be ashamed to confess him before men. Do not be afraid of men. Rather leave your life than depart from the truth.
My son, struggle for what is right, unto death! Put on the armour of God. Be a true Israelite. Kick injustice, the world and all that is in it away with your feet and love what is from above. Remember that you do not belong to the world, just like your father and mother did not belong to it. Be a true disciple of Christ and have no community with the world.
Oh my child, remember my instructions and do not leave them. May God let you grow up to fear him. May the light of the Gospel shine in you. Love your neighbours, feed the hungry, and clothe the naked. Do not keep two of anything because others are sure to need what you do not. Share everything God gives you as a result of the sweat of your brow. Distribute what he gives to you. Give it to those who love God and hoard nothing, not even until the next morning; then God will bless you.
Oh my son! Lead a life that fits the Gospel, and may the God of peace make you holy in body and soul! Amen.
Oh holy Father, sanctify the son of your maidservant! Keep him from evil for your name’s sake.

After writing the letter, Anneken folded it and tied it up in a piece of cloth along with a few coins she had left. She dressed Esaias and at nine o’clock, in the white winter sunlight, they led her and Christina down the street of Delft toward the city gates and the River Schie.
Crowds of people lined the streets. On the way, Anneken called out: “I have a baby five quarters of a year old. Who will take him?” A baker, a poor man and father of six, reached out and took Esaias. Anneken gave him the folded piece of cloth with the coins and the letter. Then they tied the women up, broke the ice, and threw them into the river to drown.
It was January 24, 1539.