1 Corinthians 11:2-16 is one of the most controversial passages in the Bible. Feminists detest this passage and try to make it mean something that it doesn’t mean. Chauvinists have wrongly understood this passage to mean male superiority and supremacy. We know of course that the Bible teaches that men and women are both created equally in the Image of God and worthy of respect and dignity. Boko Haram’s insistence that girls should not be educated and are in some sense lesser than boys is totally unacceptable and demonic. This passage teaches us a few things:
Leaders are very important; they can make or break any organisation, government or church. Just as good leadership is vital to a country; so godly leadership is vital to the life, health and growth of the church. The leaders in a church are called “elders”. In our church it is the Elders that make up our Church Council. Every two years, we as members nominate men who we believe will be godly elders; these men are screened by the existing church council; if accepted they must receive a majority vote at our Annual General Meeting to be on the Church Council. We have adopted this model because we believe it’s wise and in accordance with the biblical model of church governance.
We, reformed Christians, often pride ourselves in our ecclesiology – our theology of church. We believe we have sound teaching, sound practise, sound (biblical) songs, sound church order, sound church discipline, a sound record of caring for those in our church and we may even be officially using the ESV (the Extremely Sound Version!). Many times we have good reason to be thankful for our churches and we should be grateful to God that we are not caught up in the latest Christian trends or spiritual sensation.
The Christian Post reported on a “church” in South Africa named the Rabboni Centre Ministries where congregants eat grass as evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Throughout history and in the world today people have sought to meet with God in many and various, and sometimes strange, ways.
Thailand for example is 95% Buddhist and has multiple gods. The average Thai meets with his chosen god through offerings, chanting and meditation. If you are going on a long journey, you make an offering to the god of travel; and if you’re planning on gambling, you make an offering to the god of good fortune, and so one.
Muslims meet with God through the five pillars of Islam: the creed, daily prayers, almsgiving, fasting during Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Mecca. The inner enlightenment proponents meet with the god they find in themselves because, according to them, we are all gods. The followers of African Traditional Religion communicate with the ancestors, who have access to God, via the sangoma. Tree huggers say we meet with god in nature. Most of the people in my suburb say that although they might not read the bible or attend church, they meet with and worship God in their own way.
Once a year, every year, we have a “Planned Giving Sunday” at our church and we teach about giving and challenge our church to make a monthly financial pledge so that we can budget for the next year. The giving is not policed or tracked; we leave it to the individual’s conscience before the Lord.
Our church, as I’m sure yours, is a non-profit organisation and our aim is not to make money but disciples of Jesus. Our aim is to see people transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light and transformed to be more and more like Jesus. As a church we will work hard to that end by praying and by teaching the gospel. Yet we need money to do this. We need to pay the rent, pay salaries, pay insurance, pay the bills, support missionaries, sponsor mission trips and help those who struggle financially.