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Preaching Articles

H. Beecher Hicks, in the second chapter of his book Preaching Through a Storm, has a sermon titled "How to Silence a Preacher; or, Shut Your Mouth!" Rev. Hicks preached this sermon at the ordination of a new ministry. The sermon gives a few ways that a preacher’s mouth can be closed.

We Need the Voice of the Preacher

It is certainly a terrible thing for a preacher’s mouth to be shut. We are called to speak. If the preacher does not speak, who will? In the history of African Americans, it has been the preacher who has often been the voice of liberation and salvation. It has been the preacher who has given us a word of hope to make it through the dark days. It has been a preacher who has been the catalyst for movements for change. Certainly, if it had not been for the preacher, we may not have heard the word of our salvation; neither would we have heard the word for our survival or liberation. The preacher must speak, but Hicks provides a few ways that that great voice can be silenced.

1. Fear of Others Can Shut You Up.

The first way that the preacher’s voice can be silenced, according to Hicks, is to allow the socio-political economic climate to blunt the preacher’s voice. Certainly today, if one stands up for righteousness, one can be seen as attacking the prevailing order. Dr. King was condemned for standing up against the Vietnam war when many questioned, why do it? Those few prophetic voices that stood up against the Iraq war when everyone was waving their flags testify that today you will be condemned. Today, if you question America on its racism or even state that it exists presently, you can be condemned. Today, if you see structural systems of oppression against the poor and seek to remedy them, you will be condemned. It is easy for a preacher to just shut up and preach smooth things. It is easy to simply say as the old saying goes, “God Bless America…and pass the ammunition” but if the preacher doesn’t stand up, who will?

2. Lack of Morality in Personal Life Can Shut You Up.

The second way that the preacher’s voice can be muted is what we call a "moral fall" in the life of the preacher. When the preacher is stealing money or running women, it can have the effect of muting the prophetic voice. Certainly there are some who still give the call even though their life betrays the message, but oftentimes the voice of the preacher whose life is filled with immorality will be muted. People sometimes expect too much of the preacher, but it is right that they expect something from the preacher. We cannnot simply apply our messages to someone else and not to ourselves. If the message is to transform systems, why can’t it transform us? If the message is to transform other folks out of their vices and problems, then why not us? If I might misquote the song made famous by Mahalia Jackson…It’s time for preachers to live the life they preach about in their sermons.

3. Liberation for All?

Another way that the voice of the preacher is muted, according to Hicks, is on the issue of women in ministry. Preachers who preach liberation often forget to include women in that preaching. Preachers cannot simply preach the message of equality and justice in America while we allow it ourselves. Some women have to leave their churches to find someone to acknowledge their ministerial gifts. Certainly it is changing, and there are many black churches that celebrate the gifts of women in ministry, but too many still hold America to a higher standard than they hold themselves. The preacher can’t be silent on allowing women to minister if the preacher is to sound the clarion call of justice.

4. Will Money Shut You Up?

Hicks also reminds us of the congregation using money to shut their preacher's mouth. Too many churches want a preacher who is just going to preach sermons about the money that they are going to get or the job that they will obtain because of God’s goodness. Too often the preacher who preaches against individual and corporate sin will be taking their job in their hands. Some congregations will be ready and willing to vote a preacher out if she or he “steps on toes.” But a preacher can’t allow the desires of the congregation to mute the gospel message. When we all get to heaven, the sinner will be happy that you reminded the sinner of sin. That may mean that some preachers will get fired, but the preacher has gotta preach. My homiletics professor said that the preacher should always have a “just in case” fund: just in case you get fired, you have something to fall back on. The reason is because preaching the message of God will sometimes get the preacher into trouble. We cannot simply be quiet to keep our jobs.

Conclusion

Often the people try to shut us up. But we preachers must preach the message that God has called us to preach. In the last days, this message will go forth and will transform those who are true of heart. Praise God that there are some preachers who will not allow the things delineated by Hicks to shut them up. Let us pray that we will be those preachers.

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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Talk about it...

Keith B

commented on Jun 19, 2012

The Bible does not mention the creature known as a "Pastrix" or female pastor. Instead of worrying about liberating the woman that wants to preach, we ought to be preaching Christ crucified for our salvation.

C C

commented on Jun 19, 2012

5. Failing to preach the Gospel can shut you up. Your article seems more about the issues you consider important for the day rather than the preaching of the Gospel ("We preach Christ crucified" I Cor. 1:23). Not once did you reference scripture nor Jesus. Also, there are others of us who hold firmly to God's calling in I Tim 2:12 that a woman preaching is not liberation but rather out of God's beautiful plan.

Ely Of Cinci

commented on Jun 19, 2012

All I can say is AMEN. To preach theology and not today's issues is to water down the Gospel. Jesus certainly preached issues of His day that are all too familiar today (the poor, greed, the idol money, politics, etc.). Great article.

Keith B

commented on Jun 19, 2012

@Ely....what are we called for? Did Jesus tell us in the Great Commission to go out and right the wrongs of the world? Or did he say that we need to go and make disciples? It comes down to the question of what the church is for. It's not about making the world a better place, changing lives, or just loving on people. All of those will happen, of course, if we preach the Gospel--but they are consequences of the Gospel being preached--not the main point.

Ely Of Cinci

commented on Jun 19, 2012

I disagree KB; I don't see how one negates the other. We are called to preach the Good News but according to Matthew 25, we also need to make the world a better place. Blessings...

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 19, 2012

If there are women who have been called by God to preach and to minister as pastors and teachers, and yet they are not allowed to because the church does not recognize that call, that is a legitimate concern. Such a concern does not coflict with preaching Christ crucified for our salvation. Rather, it recognizes that the Christ's crucifixion has implications concerning the way we relate to each other that we need to learn to work out. Obviously, we work this out on the basis of Scripture. But it is important to keep in mind that we are not infallible, and our interpretation of Scripture is not infallible. In Acts 11, there were some among the Christian church that were upset with Peter for having fellowshipped with Cornelius, a Roman centurion. Based on their interpretation of the Old Testament, they had reason to be upset. Peter had to explain to the them the vision he had received, and how when he preached to these Gentiles the Spirit fell on them, just as he had fallen on the Jewish disciples at Pentecost. In the light of what they discerned the Holy Spirit doing, they had to go back and re-evaluate their interpretation of Scripture to discover that they had been mistaken. Their conclusion: "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life" (v. 18). Which, of course, was not a NEW interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures, but rather a more accurate interpretation than they were open to until they had to deal with what the Holy Spirit was doing. Now, we've had this discussion on other occasions, and I highly doubt anyone's mind is going to be changed. So, I'm not going to spend a lot of time arguing the point about whether or not women should be allowed to serve as pastors and teachers, if that is what God has called them to. My point in all this is simply that it is not enough to say, "My interpretation of the Bible does not allow for X, therefore X is not important and we don't need to worry about it." If our interpretation of Scriptures does not allow for X, and yet we see the Holy Spirit doing X, then we need to re-evaluate and make sure that it is not our interpretation that is wrong.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Cox always includes "she" when he talks about preaching or pastoring. I've said this before in one of his articles, how can you listen to someone's advice about preaching the Word of God when he doesn't even believe it? 1 Timothy 2:12-3:7. Some have tried to say that this isn't for our day, it was only for Paul's day. They believe you can pick and choose what you want to believe by saying that. The Bible is very clear on the things we are no longer supposed to practice such as the sacrificial system, dietary laws, etc. Nowhere does God change His mind about male leadership. I have already heard EVERY supposed reason why some think this isn't true and I have answered them ALL very thoroughly before so I won't take time to do so again. The real issue today is, do you believe the Bible is the Word of God for every age or not. You cannot interpret 1 Tim. 2:12-3:7 ANY OTHER WAY THAN WHAT IT SAYS! Go ahead and try, I challenge you. Go ahead and try to argue with God because that is who you are arguing with, not me.

Keith B

commented on Jun 19, 2012

@Ely....you're mixing up Grace and works there. We are saved...then we do good works. Likewise, by preaching the Gospel, good works will happen. Yes--we are called to do that. But let's not skip over the Gospel in our haste to change the world.

Anthony R. Watson

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Outstanding article! I've had the Hicks book for many years, and the message contained in it is still pertinent for today. I would highly suggest that the commentors read the book before spewing negative comments. Be blessed.

Ely Of Cinci

commented on Jun 19, 2012

kb, I am not mixing up anything. Of course grace comes first; all I am saying is they are not mutually exclusive.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Dennis Cocks, why would someone take you up on your challenge if you're not going to listen to what they say? Also, you are not the Holy Spirit, and therefore not an infallible interpreter of Scripture. I take you at your word that you have wrestled with this issue, and I respect your convictions. But still, you are not an infallible interpreter of Scripture, and I would be VERY, VERY CAREFUL about saying that someone arguing a different interpretation was arguing with God himself. The other interpretation may very well be wrong. Then again, so might you! Either way, though, such an attitude carries a very dangerous risk of trying to form God in OUR image! It is possible to hold convictions without dancing around the edges of blasphemy.

Paul Zeron

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Three of the four points are interesting because they are actually identified in the Scriptures as being a problem for our spirituality. However, the inclusion of a liberation theology advocacy for women in ministry is derived only from one's dogmatic interpretation of Scripture. The Bible does not treat women in ministry as something to be promoted or defended. If Paul's exhortations to Timothy about the standards for ministry are not standards for today, then we are free to apply this rule to anything else we don't like. Just call it antiquated and you can dismiss anything you like. For Peter and his vision, his concerns were appropriate for the Jewish community, but the church was not supposed to be comprised of just the Jewish community any longer. It was supposed to then include the Gentiles in one body. There is no indication in the Scriptures that the pastorate was to be expanded to include women. I think the case can be made that men and women are to all minister for God because of the priesthood of the believer, but that does not apply to ecclesiology in the administration of the church.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Fernado, go ahead and give YOUR interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:12-3:7. You seem to believe everyone's interpretation of Scripture is valid. Scripture interprets Scripture. I didn't write those verses, God did! God CANNOT contradict Himself. You are the one who needs to be very carfeful. Two different meanings of Scripture CANNOT both be right.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Paul, I appreciate your point of view and respect your convictions. As for the apostle Paul's instructions to Timothy, I don't believe they are antiquated, nor do I dismiss them. But I do believe that they must be interpreted on the basis of the WHOLE of Scripture, which includes various examples of women serving in positions of leadership. Like I said, I'm not going to argue the point, it's been done often in the past. But 1 Timothy 2:12-3:7 is not the only thing God has spoken regarding this issue, and we need to take that seriously.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Fernando wrote: "But I do believe that they must be interpreted on the basis of the WHOLE of Scripture," Couldn't agree more! You mean like Genesis 3:16, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, Eph. 5:22-33. The fact that Jesus chose 12 MEN as His disciples? Are those the "WHOLE of Scripture" you were talking about?

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Dennis Cocks, you are not understanding what I am saying. I wrote the following: "[O]ur interpretation of Scripture is not infallible," and "[T]hey had to go back and re-evaluate their interpretation of Scripture to discover that they had been mistaken," and "The other interpretation may very well be wrong." I have absolutely no idea how you possibly inferred from those statements that I "seem to believe everyone's interpretation of Scripture is valid." So, let me clarify for you: Not every interpretation of Scripture is valid. Some are wrong! We need to make sure WE are not the ones who are wrong! You wrote: "Scripture interprets Scripture." Exactly! Amen! That is exactly what I am arguing for. 1 Timothy 2:12ff must be interpreted in the light of Deborah and Huldah and Priscilla. You wrote: "God CANNOT contradict Himself" and "Two different meanings of Scripture CANNOT both be right." I agree with you 100 per cent! And nothing that I have written so far has argued against these latter two claims.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Dennis Cocks, I wrote #16 before I read #15, so this is my response to #15. Yes, those texts you mentioned are part of the WHOLE of Scripture. And so are Miriam and Deborah and Hulda. So is Joel 2:28-29. So is Priscilla and Philip's daughters who prophesied. So is the fact that Jesus chose a woman to be the first to preach the resurrection of Christ. When we look at the WHOLE of Scripture, not just the texts that agree with our point of view, we realize that the issue is not as simple as we think it is.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Fernando wrote: "1 Timothy 2:12ff must be interpreted in the light of Deborah and Huldah and Priscilla." If you remember I gave you a VERY detailed exposition on those examples before to show that they did not advocate female leadership over men or in the church. Also, if Deborah, Huldah, and Priscilla supposedly prove that women can be pastors and preach and teach men, then you must believe that 1 Tim. 2:12-3:7 is a contradiction! I do not believe the Bible contradicts itself in any way shape or form. Again, give me YOUR interpretation of those verses in Timothy!

Ely Of Cinci

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Thoughts on 1 Timothy 2:12-3:7: Ever wonder why Paul says "I do not permit" rather than "God does not permit"? And why do so many hold to the gender bias rather than the other requirements? How many "overseers" are divorced and remarried? Greedy? Control their families?...just food for thought.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Ely, 2 Timothy 3:16 "ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 2 Peter 1:21 "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of GOD SPAKE as they were MOVED by the Holy Ghost." (Emphasis mine). I do not believe a divorced man can pastor. He can teach and be used in mighty ways, but not pastor. ALL SCRIPTURE is inspired. Paul spake as he was MOVED by the Holy Ghost.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Dennis Cocks, do you believe a single man can be a pastor?

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 19, 2012

I believe if a Pastor doesn't follow all requirements of 1 Timothy 2:12-3:7 to the best of his ability he is not qualified to lead the church of God.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Dennis, it's a simple question, and I'm curious as to your response. The reason I ask is because I know a lot of pastors who oppose women being pastors; and yet they have no problem with single men who have never been married serving as pastors, even though they are not the "husband of one wife." So, if you could please humor me, do you believe a single man can serve as a pastor?

Ely Of Cinci

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Dennis, I know the Scriptures, you really do not need to quote them. I really am not impressed by such things. It was simply food for thought. Paul said I do not...just strange that he waould say it in such a way here. I also believe Scripture is inspired, however, I do not believe it was dictated. I also do not believe any one knows everything about Scripture; no one is 100 right and we don't need to be because of grace. Now, keep it civil...blessings.

Ely Of Cinci

commented on Jun 19, 2012

So Fernando, you are saying Paul disqualifies himself from being a pastor...interesting.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Fernando, according to verse 2 "the husband of one wife" I believe he must be married. Verse 5 says if he doesn't know how to rule his own house, how can he take care of the church of God? How can these words be applied to a single man, or to a young man still living in his father's house? And then if the Lord blesses them with children, if he proves to be lax in discipline, if his children are little hellions (sp?) that he cannot or will not control, he needs to be removed from the office of pastor just as he should be removed for violating the other requirements. If a pastor's wife dies I believe God will bring him another help mate so he can continue in his calling.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Ely, Paul was a church planter. He started churches, put a man in place as pastor, and moved to the next city.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Still waiting for an interpretation of 1 Tim. 2:12-14 at least.

Ely Of Cinci

commented on Jun 19, 2012

So woman must give birth to be saved?

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Dennis, I appreciate your response. Thank you...Ely, I'm assuming you said that tongue-in-cheek! :D But, yes, it is interesting that under that interpretation, Paul would have disqualified himself from being a pastor! To Dennis Cock's credit, he has thus far remained consistent with his interpretation, which is sadly not always the case with those who oppose women serving as pastors. It's also interesting to me that according to this interpretation, Paul allows only for married men to serve as pastors; and yet in 1 Cor 7:7, Paul says, "I wish that all were as I myself am," namely, single. Would that not, then, disqualify ALL from being pastors? He goes on to counsel those who are unmarried or widows to remain single. That would mean that those who were not currently already married at the time or those who were currently married but whose spouse would die in the future would be disqualified from being pastors! So, the interpretation of 1 Tim 2:12ff that would disqualify single men from being pastors is not without its weak spots.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Dennis, you wrote: "I have already heard EVERY supposed reason why some think this isn't true and I have answered them ALL very thoroughly before so I won't take time to do so again." I'm not going to waste my time arguing an interpretation of 1 Tim 2:12ff if you're not going to take it seriously.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Dennis, actually, a slight correction to what you wrote: "[Paul] started churches, put a man in place as pastor, and moved to the next city." According to Acts 14:23, Paul "appointed elders for them in every church." It seems to me from my study of the NT that a local congregation was never meant to be lead by one person, a pastor; but, rather, by a team of elders. Also, in Titus 1:5, Paul tells Titus, "This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you." The conclusion that I have come to after studying this issue is that the pastor was called to oversee a certain region, and part of the responsibilities of the pastor was to appoint elders in the local churches, who would have primary leadership over that specific congregation. At least, that's how I understand it.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Ely, wrote: "So woman must give birth to be saved?" The woman was in the transgression; she was deceived, and it was through her that Adam was tempted, and sin came upon the whole human race. Woman was in THE transgression therefore, she shall be saved through THE childbearing - "the seed of the woman" spoken of by Almighty God in Genesis 3:15. Let me make someting perfectly clear that I have made clear many times before, I am not saying that women cannot be used in ministries, nor are single men excluded from being used. But God has given leadership to men and women are not to usurp that authority at home or in the church. Single men need to wait till their married to become a pastor, but that doesn't mean they cannot be greatly used by God until then.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Fernando, I don't fully agree but that's fine. My point was that Paul did not pastor a church, he planted them.

C C

commented on Jun 19, 2012

This just proves the point. The preaching got silenced over a non-essential issue - women in the pulpit and the rest of liberation theology.

Sonny Thomas, Sr.

commented on Jun 19, 2012

I agree with kb and CC. Sounds more of a social gospel and a defense of women in pastoral ministry than a message of the gospel.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 19, 2012

C C wrote "This just proves the point. The preaching got silenced over a non-essential issue - women in the pulpit and the rest of liberation theology." Excuse me C C, I don't believe anything God says is a "non-essential issue."

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Dennis, my point about my conclusions concerning polity was minor, so I agree with you that it's fine if we disagree on that point. However, for the record, Paul did establish "elders" (plural) over every church, not a "pastor" (singular). Even if one were to equate the two, which I think one would have valid arguments for doing so, the plurality of leadership in a local congregation seems to have more biblical support in my opinion than leadership concentrated in one person. Having said that, your original point is valid. Paul's ministry was as an apostle, not as a pastor. On that, we, also agree. Still, we have not yet dealt with the issues brought up by 1 Cor 7.

Pastor Herbert W. Roshell

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Paul was NOT married and whole ALL five positions and Pastors/disciple even the disciples. Only responding because what I see that has become a debate on what two or three believe to be (Don't get me wrong I know the scripture is always true). So when I listen to each or all of these posts I trust where scripture is being interpreted, base on the word of God "only". I must say that there are scriptures that need interpretation and there are those that need NO interpretation. Just so there is NO debate on if or not I LICENSE women in my ministry as Pastors... no I don't but OVER 90 of my church is women and they ALL minister either from the pulpit or from the floor. We also fellowship with other women Pastors. Paul said "pray for the women that help me in the ministry"! I got some awesome women who I know that can out preach me on a drop of a dime and you know what... probably would even grow the church faster. But; every time I have went to God, the only words I ever hear is "If Eve had died, would Adam ate too"? Just because it is the in thing to do, don't mean we should do it too. I have been asking God this question concerning this debate for to long now... because I don't want people to be mad at me, but most of all... I don't want God mad with me! I just hope and pray that we all are doing the will of God and NOT becoming "men pleasers"! God bless my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus!

Zachary Bartels

commented on Jun 19, 2012

I like how he assumes that the only reason someone would not condemn the Iraq War from the pulpit is because he's afraid... What a mess! How about we preach REPENTANCE AND THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS IN JESUS NAME?? How about if we preach Christ in all Scripture and only get into these secondary issues from the pulpit when the text calls brings them up.... Never mind, I'm just being hopelessly old fashioned.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 19, 2012

My goodness, I wonder what some preachers say as they are "preaching." "God might mean this," or "This is how I interpret these verses but some interpret them differently," or "I really can't be dogmatic about this because someone might not agree with me," or "No one really can know the truth of what God is saying here because no one really knows what the truth is." 1 Cor. 14:8 "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?"

Charles Wallis

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Perhaps this article was written to make a point - how easy we get off track from the primary Gospel message over controversial issues. I doubt if a sinner will care who gave him the message of salvation. Made me think of a great sermon by Marvin Winans "Jesus Christ - That's It, That' s All" preached at the Azusa Centennial 2006 at West Angeles Church of God in Christ.

C C

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Dennis, Call off the dogs! I mostly agree with you. I'm just not thinking that the issue of women in the pulpit, as well as the social gospel he is espousing, ranks among the top 20 (or even 50) essentials a pastor would teach the congregation. My point is that the author is contradicting himself by silencing his own preaching by pushing his agenda - let alone leaving out Christ. I would also add one more silencing ingredient - prayerlessness. People don't need to hear from a prayerless man but rather a surrendered, God-seeking man who is willing to hear from God first before he speaks to his fellow brothers and sisters. Peace!

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Dennis, no one is saying that you claim women and single men cannot be used by God. But let me return to my original point. What if a woman claims to be called by God to be a pastor, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, you are able to discern that the call is valid? Do you go back and search the Scriptures again, re-evaluating your interpretation of Scripture to determine whether perhaps you were wrong. Or do you cling to your interpretation and miss what the Holy Spirit is doing? You see, the Pharisees were sure of their interpretation of what the Messiah was supposed to be like. And they ended up crucifying the Messiah! Many Jewish Christians were sure of their interpretation of what it meant to be the people of God, and they violently opposed the Gentiles becoming part of God's church. But there were some Pharisees, and some Jewish Christians, who recognized that the Holy Spirit was doing something they didn't expect, and who were open enough to go back to the Scriptures to see whether or not they might be wrong. It is not wrong to have convictions. But are we so sure of ourselves and our interpretations, that we end up missing what the Holy Spirit is trying to do in our world?

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Pastor Roshell, I appreciate your comments, as well as the fact that it is clear that this is an issue which you are wrestling with God about. That's all I'm asking us to do. As I said, there is nothing wrong with having convictions. And I expect no one to act against their convictions. I do want to respond to one point, though. You wrote: "I must say that there are scriptures that need interpretation and there are those that need NO interpretation." On the contrary, ALL Scripture MUST be interpreted; if for no other reason that all Scripture was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and the act of translating them to English or any other modern language is itself an act of interpretation.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Dennis, I suspect you are beginning to misunderstand me on purpose. Rather than quoting myself again, let me make this as clear as I possibly can--I HAVE NO PROBLEMS WITH HOLDING CONVICTIONS!!!!!! I HAVE NO PROBLEMS WITH PREACHING OUR CONVICTIONS!!!! As long as we provide solid Biblical evidence to support our claims. What I have a problem with is equating every single one of our convictions with the infallible will of God, so that we make him into our image. What I have a problem with is the pride that keeps me chained to my own interpretations, even when those interpretations are in contradiction with the Holy Spirit is clearly doing, as Peter argued in Acts 11. It is this pride that I am arguing against. It is this pride that is hidden in the deepest parts of my heart that I fight against every day. I believe in the perspicuity of the Scriptures. I believe that those things that are essential for our salvation are so clear that anyone filled with the Holy Spirit can understand them and believe in them. But surely, you must agree that there are parts of Scripture that are not essential to salvation and that are difficult to understand and interpret. Peter said as much (2 Peter 3:16); are you wiser than Peter? And when we preach those parts, as we should, should we not recognize in humility that we do not have perfect understanding of some of these issues, but then exalt and rejoice in the fact that we are saved by faith through Christ, and NOT by having a perfect understanding of everything in the Bible?

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Sorry C C, I misunderstood you.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 19, 2012

I'm sorry but I believe this is a VERY important issue in the church today. What our families need today is godly men who will step up to the plate and be the leaders God has called them to be! The family is being attacked on every side! Feminism has had a huge part in destroying the family! God created men and women different! Different makeup, different emotionally, different in their roles in the family. Men don't know how to be men anymore! They don't have a clue what their roles are in the home and in the church! And if they don't learn about their roles in church, where will they learn it! If you can't see how this is destroying the family today and also the church, then so be it! I for one will stand against female leadership in the home and in the church because that is what GOD says! And Fernando, the Holy Spirit will never go against God's Word! Maybe they better "test the spirits to see if they be of God!"

Pastor Sandy .

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Sherman, you certainly opened up a whole can of worms. Am enjoying the discussion, and since I am one of those "incompetent women", hesitate to join in. Blessings to all!

Pastor Herbert W. Roshell

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Fernando Villegas:Hello my bro. in Christ! There's a difference in interpertation and translation. Ok; "interpetation" is to discern from God what He is saying the body (I became all things to all men that I may win them), in which He is addressing/specking to. "Translation" is to bring one unknown language (tongue) into understanding. The NIV is a difference "translation" than the KJV, because some may have a hard time understand the words used in one, vereses another. Interpertation as it refers to bible trems is "inspired by God" and one MUST have the ears to here the inspired word of God. To translate is to understand ones own spoken tongue and to put into anothers language... so they can comperhen it. Conclusion: Help me if I'm wrong with this statement "On the contrary, ALL Scripture MUST be interpreted; if for no other reason that all Scripture was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and the act of translating them to English or any other modern language is itself an act of interpretation". If you see a red light, do you need to ask what it means? STOP! If you keep going it could cause you and others there life. OK; if you see a fire, would you know if it hot or not? For the words says "even a fool would not tarry" or "I once was young, but now I'm old" or "when I know to doth right and doth it not is sin"! When a english speaking person can't undrerstand a foreign language they need a translator and not a interpertor. Lets just love the Lord and others and see how He (God) will be bless. Don't let the devil think that he has tricked us and we think that it NOT important with God, because these issues are important with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. EITHER THE WORD IS OF GOD OR NOT! Now; we all were call to preach His word and to share the Gospel, wither male or female. To wear those titles is another thing! I really love how each of us can share what God has placed on our hearts and NOT become "like those of the world". (-: lol! Sometime they carry themselves better than us Christians. Pastor Roshell

Gene Cobb

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Praise the Lord! I am so thankful for this article! I have been in the ministry since I was in my teens. I am now 59 years old and still in the ministry. My husband and I are both Pastors. We have been pastoring at the same church for 19 years. So thankful for the great pastors who have encouraged me! Great women and men of God who have prayed for me and even listen to me preach! It's time to get the sin out of the pulpit and get men and women who are truly called of God in the pulpit! Sherman Cox, you have called it like it is! Thank You! Being a Pastor is about serving, not power, being a ruler, or money. People need the Lord. Let's stop fighting one another and let's start praying for one another. God bless us all! Pastor LaFern Cobb

Pastor Sandy .

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Pastor LaFern, this is Pastor Sandy speaking. I am so proud of all the women who have had the courage to speak out, and to answer God's call, in the face of all these adverse comments. The kids have it right: What Would Jesus Do? And I challenge anyone to say that I am not God's child, and I have not been called to minister from the pulpit. Peace.

Gene Cobb

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Pastor Sandy, Good to meet you! Glad you answered God's call! I truly believe it is time for the ministry to come together and support one another. God bless you, Pastor LaFern

Pastor Sandy .

commented on Jun 19, 2012

Glad to meet you as well, Pastor LaFern. I went online to Sherman's web page and signed up for his newsletter. I want to hear more from him! Something I have noticed: since it's obvious there are at least a couple women in the discussion, is the discussion over?

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 20, 2012

I wrote several comments last night, and I saw them posted. Now they're gone. What happened to them?

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 20, 2012

If my comments were removed for some reason, I would appreciate it if the moderators or whoever may have reported them would grant me the courtesy of an explanation. I know they were posted. I saw them last night. I know there was some maintenance of the site being done last night, because I had to wait to post a couple of my comments last night for that reason. So perhaps it was just a technical glitch. If so, I understand; but, still, I'd appreciate an explanation...As for Pastor Sandy and Pastor LaFern, I'm really glad that you two joined in on the conversation. It always bugs me when conversations on this issue are monopolized by men. Please do not hesitate to continue sharing your perspectives with us. They are desperately needed. This was one of the comments that I posted last night that was removed for some reason. I didn't want the two of you to think that all of us men just dropped the conversation when you joined in. For my part, I didn't.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 20, 2012

Dennis Cocks, you are not listening to a word I'm saying. You respond to me by my name, but your comments are directed at some generic straw man with whom you are having an imaginary conversation in your head who says things that I neither say nor imply. Therefore, this will be my final reply to you, so I will make it as clear as I possibly can: (1) The Holy Spirit never goes against God's Word. You and I agree on this point. (2) You are not the Holy Spirit. I assume you and I agree on this point as well. (3) THEREFORE, it is entirely possible for you--as it is possible for every other sinful human being on this planet--to go against God's word in some way, and to be mistaken in your interpretation of God's word in some way. I'm sure you don't do it on purpose; most of us don't. But we are all still wrong in some ways. And when we are wrong, we can miss out on what the Holy Spirit is doing. (4) We must test the spirits to see if they come from God. Again, you and I agree on this point. (5) If it is possible for us to be mistaken in our interpretation of Scripture on certain points, then we must always be re-evaluating our understanding of Scripture to make sure that we are testing the spirits by what the Bible actually says, not by what we think it should say. Otherwise, we are forming God in our image, rather than allowing him to form us in his image. (6) This does not mean we cannot have convictions about what the word of God means, or that we must not preach our convictions about what the word of God means. (7) HOWEVER, zeal and conviction without humility, without an awareness of how easily we deceive ourselves, is extremely dangerous. That's about it. I hope I'm wrong about you, and I hope you did listen to me this time. Regardless, I wish you the best in your ministry, and I look forward to getting to know you better in God's kingdom.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 20, 2012

Pastor Roshell, you wrote that if an English speaker does not understand a foreign language, they need a translator, not an interpreter. However, in the technical sense, both a translator and an interpreter are in essence the same thing. The only difference between them is that a translator works with written language, while an interpreter works with spoken or sign language. Translation and interpretation, the way I use these terms, are in essence the same thing because they both deal with discerning and conveying "meaning." I posted a comment under Eugene Peterson's post on May 26 of this year that deals with this issue in more detail. I won't repeat myself here, but you are welcome to go there if you'd like a fuller explanation. Now, sometimes this act of interpreting--of discerning the meaning of something--is so subtle that we're not even aware that it is happening. But it is happening. When I see a red light, I DO have to interpret it as meaning "stop." There is nothing universally inherent in the color red that would make me instinctively associate it with "stopping", without me at some point in my life having discovered that interpretation. The thing is that I learned that interpretation at a young age; and it is such a common part of my everyday life, that I don't think about. But it is still an act of interpretation. Same thing with fire. That is why we adults have to protect infant children from fire; they have not yet learned to interpret fire as being hot. So, when we think about it in this way, we see that common, every day things that seem to need no interpretation, actually DO need it! I hope this clarifies the point I'm trying to make. May God continue to bless you and your ministry!

Pastor Herbert W. Roshell

commented on Jun 20, 2012

This was my respond from yesterday, but removed: God bless! Fernando Villegas and Sandra Cencebaugh Thanks for your hearts and doing what you know God called you to do and don't let me or anyone stop that and I truly teach that (not double minded... but I NEVER go against (God) anytime a person say "God called me or God said somethng"! I'm not touching them as David did with Saul. Do what's in your heart, because none of us have a Heaven or hell to put anyone in. When we ALL get before the "seat of judgement" it will all be answered there... no more debating over what's right and who's wrong. The first thing that God said to me as I started this walk with Him was "all men shall see themselves righteous, but God shall be the judge in the end". I whole to that today! I know that we hurt and misread people and things all the time and even when the truth in in front of our faces... we still whole ourselves "righteous". See when I exit high school I couldn't read or write... but one day I picked up the bible and began to read with understanding. No one to read with me, just God. So my bro. and sis., do what in your hearts and as long as it's for the Kingdom... and lines up with His word, NO men can judge you. Be bless and keep His love before you all. P.S My brother you have spoken your true heart, I do think it is time to move on! Pastor Roshell; hopefully your bro. in Christ.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jun 20, 2012

Pastor Roshell, it's good to know I'm not being paranoid, as apparently you had a comment removed, as well! :) I appreciate you taking the time to repost your response. And I want to affirm something that you said: we must never go against our convictions, and at no time have I ever suggested anyone do so. I encourage us all to remain open and willing to adjust and even change our convictions if our study of Scripture presents us with evidence for doing so. But ultimately, considering our limitation on this side of God's kingdom, the best we can do is to be obedient to God's will as best as we can discern it from Scripture. In the end, God alone will be our judge. Again, blessings to you and your ministry!

Pastor Sandy .

commented on Jun 20, 2012

Fernando and Herbert: Just a note to let you know I have not allowed adversity to silence me. And to thank you both for your warm comments. Have just had a tremendously busy day. God bless you all! - Sandy

Gene Cobb

commented on Jun 20, 2012

Guess the discussion did continue. I, like Sandy appreciate the comments. I too haven't had time to be on my computer today, but glad I took the time to read the updates. God bless, LaFern

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 20, 2012

Fernando wrote "What if a woman claims to be called by God to be a pastor, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, you are able to discern that the call is valid? Do you go back and search the Scriptures again, re-evaluating your interpretation of Scripture to determine whether perhaps you were wrong. Or do you cling to your interpretation and miss what the Holy Spirit is doing?" Then I responded "And Fernando, the Holy Spirit will never go against God's Word! Maybe they better "test the spirits to see if they be of God!" The Bible says that leadership is male, Genesis 3:16, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, Eph. 5:22-33, 1 Timothy 2:12-3:7. The fact that Jesus chose 12 MEN as His disciples, to give a few examples. So as I said, the Holy Spirit will NOT go against the Word of God so HE DOES NOT CALL WOMEN TO BE PASTORS OR BE THE HEAD OF THE HOME! So what didn't you understand about what I said? Then you wrote, "You see, the Pharisees were sure of their interpretation of what the Messiah was supposed to be like. And they ended up crucifying the Messiah!" Yes they did and MOST of them were NOT children of God but children of the devil. John 8:44. Matt. 23:14. So how could they interpret the Scripture correctly, they didn't have the Holy Spirit to guide them.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 20, 2012

Sandra says, "And I challenge anyone to say that I am not God's child, and I have not been called to minister from the pulpit." I would NEVER say that you are not a child of God because I certainly am not qualified to do so. But I will take you up on your challenge that you have NOT been called by God to have authority over your husband or men in the church. I do this by the authority of God's Word. Genesis 3:16, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, Eph. 5:22-33, 1 Timothy 2:12-3:7. The fact that Jesus chose 12 MEN as His disciples, to give a few examples. Peace.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 21, 2012

Let me go ahead and answer the question of Priscilla, Deborah, and Hulda. First Priscilla. She and her husband PRIVATELY taught Apollos "the way of God more perfectly" (Acts 18:24-28). The Bible does not prohibit women from teaching other women (Titus 2:3-4) or from teaching children (1 Timothy 2:15, 5:10) But Paul ABSOLUTELY reserved the teaching role in the church for men ( i Timothy 2:12-3:7). Deborah's role was not that of head but of messenger. Did she exercise a headship role? Since the prophetic role did not involve headship, prophecying by a woman, such as Deborah, did not violate the principle of male headship, as long as she did it in a proper manner and demeanor that did not negate male headship. The prophetic ministries of Deborah and Huldah (2 Kings 22:14-20) differ greatly from those of male prophets, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Male prophets exercised their prophetic ministry in a public manner, being commisioned to proclaim the Word of the Lord before people and the king himself (Is 6:9, 7:3, 58:1; Jer. 1:10, 2:2, 7:2; Ezek. 2:3, 6:2). The prophetic ministry of Deborah and Huldah was significantly different from this. Deborah did not go out and publicly proclaim the Word of the Lord. Instead, individuals came to consult her privately under the palm tree where she sat (Jud. 4:5). She did not exercise her prophetic ministry in a public forum like the Old Testamant male prophets. Let me add Miriam. She ministerd only to women (Ex. 15:20-21. So in conclusion: It is in perfect harmony with Scripture for women to instruct in the privacy of their home or in Sunday school to other women or children. She has the perfect right to win souls. But when it comes to matters of business in the church, God appointed men to take care of the affairs of the church, to pastor, to serve as deacons, and stewards of the church, and elders and teachers insofar as men are concerned. This doesn't make women second class citizens. It doesn't mean we're better or smarter for that matter. It is simply the way in which God ordered things.

Pastor Sandy .

commented on Jun 21, 2012

H-m-m-m-m - I am wondering under the legalistic utterings of Dennis what God would wish done with all the children of the mothers who have assumed head of household due to absent fathers, absent for whatever reason. I propose to you that God still speaks.

Gene Cobb

commented on Jun 21, 2012

Good evening Pastor Sandra, it is nice to hear from you again. You bring up a very good question. Since my husband and I co-pastor we discuss many issues of the church. Between the two of us we can minister to just about every situation that comes up in our congregation. We teach our church family that we are servants of God. We don't rule over God's people, we try to help them achieve all they can be in God. Our Youth Pastors also are a young couple that co-pastor together. Christ is the Head, we are the followers. To Dennis I would ask, why does this issue about women consume you so much? In the Bible women and men preached/taught in public and private. There were no church buildings. Most services were held in private homes. There were no pulpits! Why are so many caught up in ruling, power and control? Isn't it time to give our time to reaching out and helping all the hurting folks around us? God created all women and men equal! And one note on Deborah. She led the children of Israel into battle! She was the judge over the nation of Israel! You can't very well do that from your living room! Again I say, I love Pastoring, preaching, teaching and just helping people. God called me, gave me a voice, a mind, and a love for Him that grows everyday. I give credit to my earthly Dad who taught me I could be anything God called me to be and I thank my Heavenly Father for giving me a chance to serve Him as His Pastor. God bless, Pastor LaFern

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 21, 2012

Gene, God did not call Deborah to lead an army into battle, He told her to remind Barak that He had called him to do so. Judges 4:6-7. It is significant that she did not assume the headship role of an army general; she conveyed God's call to Barak to serve in that capacity. She then rebuked Barak for his unwillingness to go to battle without her. Verse 8-9. Notice it was Barak not God that wanted her to go with him. Because of his reluctance, Deborah warned Barak that "the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman" But the woman who earned the glory by killing Sisera while he slept in her tent was not Deborah but Jael. Judges 4:17-22. Sandra says, "I am wondering under the legalistic utterings of Dennis what God would wish done with all the children of the mothers who have assumed head of household due to absent fathers, absent for whatever reason." First of all, why is it legalistic to want to follow what God commands? Did not Jesus say, "If ye love Me, keep my COMMANDS."? Second, if a man will not assume the headship of a home for whatever reason that doesn't mean that God's commands are wrong. I feel burdened for the woman who has to raise their children because a man won't do the job he was called to do. But that doesn't mean God is wrong in giving the leadership to the man. Why is this such an issue for me? Well, there is a LITTLE thing called the Word of God that I believe we must follow and obey. And again, when God says something, I believe Him. And I believe since He said it, it is important. God doesn't speak just to hear Himself talk. So let me ask what you think of all those verses that command male leadership? What is your interpretation of 1 Tim 2:12-3-7? Do you believe there are contradictions in the Word of God? Because if you don't believe what these verses clearly say, then I assume you do.

Gene Cobb

commented on Jun 22, 2012

Sherman Cox, thank you for this great message. It is sad that the church Jesus died for can't have more unity. But that is no excuse for me to not answer God's call. I also find it interesting that we women who pastor were singled out. Not much mention of the other issues you wrote about. Sandy, it was wonderful to meet you. God bless you and your ministry. Dennis, I will share one thought with you, 2Timothy 2:2 Paul wants "faithful men." I am one of those. You see, Dennis, the Greek word for men is "human faced" or all of mankind. Same with most verses in the New Testament. Deborah was a Judge in Israel, a mighty leader of her nation, ALL her nation, even the men! And she was also one of the best Judges! Now I have a busy day ahead of me. I have a church to pastor. One more note. My husband Gene and I share this account. We also co-pastor together and have for 30 years (19 years at our current church). We consider ourselves servants of God. God is our Head. So Dennis you were addressing me, not Gene. He wanted to make some comments on my behalf, because he gets weary with all the fighting over race, gender, etc. but this discussion is closed. I will not respond again to this page. I am most humbly, God's servant, Pastor LaFern

Dennis Cocks

commented on Jun 22, 2012

LaFern says, "Dennis, I will share one thought with you, 2Timothy 2:2 Paul wants "faithful men." I am one of those. You see, Dennis, the Greek word for men is "human faced" or all of mankind. Same with most verses in the New Testament." Ok, lets see, Eph. 5:22 "Husbands submit yourselves unto your own husbands...23 For the husband is the head of the husband even as Christ is the head of the church..." 25 "Husbands love your husbands even as Christ loved the church..." 1 Timothy 2:12 "But I suffer not a man to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but be in silence. 14 "And Adam was not deceived, but the man being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding he shall be saved in childbearing..." 1 Tim. 3:2 "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one husband..." Yep, I see your point! If that is the best you can do I understand why you don't want to continue this discussion. AGAIN NO ONE has given me an interpretaion of 1 Timothy 2:12-3:7 to prove I am interpreting this wrong. Strangely silent!

Pastor Sandy .

commented on Jun 22, 2012

Pastor LaFern - thank you for your comments, and I, too, have a marathon weekend coming up, including a wonderful performance of "Elijah - the Oratorio" on Sunday afternoon. I too am sorry we are not unified on a lot of issues, but God willing, in the end, we will be one. God Bless the ministries of you and your husband. - Sandy

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