Wednesday, August 27, 2014

May a Woman lead a prayer in a public assembly of the church?

Women often have a very dedicated and active prayer life. Throughout Scripture you have numerous examples of women praying. God expects women to pray all the time (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The church would be in a dire situation if women stopped praying. 

What about in a mixed assembly of the church? Although, men and women often have roles that overlap, in the assembly, God wants men to step up and take the lead. Notice what the Apostle Paul writes the young preacher Timothy in (1 Timothy 2:8-12),
Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. (NASB).
Also, in the letter to the Corinthians, the Scriptures state
The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. (1 Corinthians 14:34)
This is not to say that a woman may not talk in the church. Women are to sing, say “amen” and actively participate, but they are not to be the ones who we would commonly refer to as “the speaker” in the assembly of the church.

Answer
In the church God has outlined distinctive gender roles for men and women. One role is not superior to another. When it comes to leading in the assembly and addressing the audience through teaching and prayer, God’s plan is for men to take the lead.

By Cliff Sabroe
Scripture Quotes from NASB95

Do I have to say “In Jesus’ Name” at the end of my prayers?

I was always taught that at the end of my prayers I need to say “in the name of Jesus” or some other equivalent statement. If you do a quick internet search, you will find that others were taught the same. The question needs to be asked, “Does the Bible teach it is a requirement to say ‘in Christ’s name’ at the end of our prayers?

What does “in the name of Jesus” mean?
This phrase is not a magic formula, instead it is a statement of authority. When we engage in Christian behavior, it is not by our own authority but Christ’s. A police officer may say “Stop in the name of the law!”. The officer is saying that by the authority of the law, an individual needs to obey him. Does an officer always need to say “in the name of the law”? No, it is understood that the authority of a Policeman comes from the law, whether they say it or not.

Stanley Hauerwas of Duke Divinity School articulates it in this way,
"Christians always pray in Jesus' name, because that's the only way we pray. That is to say, from a biblical perspective, to pray in Jesus' name is to pray in his authority seeking his agenda and purpose. That doesn't have anything to do with whether we say the words 'in Jesus' name' at the end of our prayer or not. In fact, when Jesus taught his disciples to pray, in what we call the Lord's prayer, he didn't teach us to pray saying 'in Jesus' name' or 'in my name' at the end of the prayer. That's a fine tradition for us, because it reminds us that we are in fact praying in Jesus name, but whether or not we say those words has nothing to do with whether we're actually praying in Jesus' name or not." (1)
Many things we do are said to be in Jesus’ name.
  • In (Matthew 18:2) Jesus speaks of being gathered “in My name”. 
  • In (Mark 9:37) He said to receive a child “in My name”. 
  • In (Mark 9:41) He speaks of giving a cup of cold water “in My name”. 
  • (John 1:12) says that we have the right to become children of God when we believe “in His name”. 
  • (John 20:31) says that by believing we “have life in His name”.
In fact, Colossians 3:17 states that “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus...”. No one would assume that you have state “In Jesus name” before you give someone a cup of cold water or that every time you receive a child you must do it “in His name”. 

Answer
It is a biblical practice to say “In Jesus name” while praying, however, it is not a requirement. At times our prayers may be a simple “thank you” or “help me”. Just because one does not actually state “in Jesus name I pray”, does not mean that their prayers are without the authority or support of Jesus.

By Cliff Sabroe
(1) http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/september/8.18.html?start=2 
Image from http://upliftingchrist.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/in-jesus-name-960x540.jpg

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Did Jesus have a wife? Was He ever married? What about the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife”?

In 2012, Harvard Divinity School historian Karen L. King unveiled a fragment of papyrus she called the Gospel of Jesus' Wife. The fragment says, "Jesus said to them, 'My wife...,'" and the rest of the sentence is cut off. Another segment says, "As for me, I dwell with her in order to…" but the speaker is not named. (Christianity Today - Emmert).
It seems that every few years a theory about the life of Jesus rises in popularity. Some of these ideas are new and others are rooted in antiquity. Recently an idea has resurfaced that Jesus (The Son of God) was married.

Was Jesus married?

All trustworthy documents from the time of Jesus do not ever show Him as being married. There have always been those who speculated that He was married to Mary, Martha or Mary Magdalene, but what do the Scriptures state?

Ultimately, Scriptures never give even a hint to the idea that our Lord, while on Earth, was married. Just because a papyrus fragment from centuries later says that a person named Jesus mentions a wife, does not give any evidence to the theory that He was married. 

If Jesus was married, the Bible would have eluded to it. The Bible mentions, friends, Father, Mother, and siblings of Jesus, but never a wife. Jesus was never in one place for a long period of time and was dedicated to His ministry. It would not have been practical for him to be married. Even when on the cross, He asked John to take care of His mother....but never mentions a wife.


It may make for entertaining movies and interesting story-lines, but there is nothing historically and Biblically that give any credence to the thought that Jesus was married.