6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Corinth has been long noted as a church with problems… and one of those problems was disruptions, disruptions during worship.

I read Warren Wiersbe exposition of this passage and some of the comments are from him and Richard Pratt, "Holman New Testament Commentary."

I Cor. 11:1-16

"Church Order"

He came shuffling in… the service had already begun… almost no one noticed him yet everyone noticed him. He smelled of B.O., he hadn’t shaved for several days, he looked cold and lonely… as if he had been alienated by the world. An out cast… clearly that’s what I thought… someone passing through, on his way somewhere… hopefully far from here. He was clearly different. Not like the people we were trying to attack to the church. His presence really was a disruption yet we all pretended like we didn’t notice him.

We are a sophisticated church, one who embraced the lonely, the oppressed the disenfranchised. Disruptions, interruptions, I had plans for after church… I was thinking to my self maybe my plans will be disrupted, changed…


It was a sunny Sunday morning in beautiful Pasadena California, the church music was playing, people were smiling, and the praise music was so spirit filled. God was moving in our midst. The preacher began to speak then she shouted out, "The whales are coming; we must be ready for the whales. Can you see the whales…" Disruption… Was God giving her a vision or was this just some nut, a disruption.

I thought, how am I going to get back into the worship…


Corinth has been long noted as a church with problems… and one of those problems was disruptions, disruptions during worship.

The church at Corinth had been faithful to keeping the "traditions" the teachings that were passed on from one disciple to another (2 Timothy 2:2) teaching clearly that the "traditions" of men should be avoided. (Matt. 15:2-3; Col. 2:8) Yet, the Corinthian church still had problems.

We don’t like disruptions in our worship service… in fact if we change things to much we become "uncomfortable". I use the word we but really I should say "me!" You want to see me squirm, just change something in the order of the service… my blood pressure goes up… my ears get warm, my hands get sweaty, my brain goes into over drive… thinking how are we going to deal with this.. it can be something as simple as reading the scripture before we are suppose to sing a song… simple mistakes… I gave the wrong clue. I nodded for the scripture reading… I really need to look at the bulletin more carefully… Disruptions…

The Corinthian church had a big problem… some of the women were assuming more freedom than they should have; there was disorder at the Lord’s Supper…. And beyond this there was confusion in the use of spiritual gifts!

Sometimes I think we have problems, a song is to long, a message is too long, it’s too hot, it’s too cold… disruption in the basics, disruptions from talking out of order? Using spiritual gifts for self promotion? Talk about ego problems, and self promotion. How could they get so far off track? Didn’t Paul just say that the church at Corinth was "holding to the teaching" vs. 2 "…just as I passed them on to you." (NIV)

Vs. 3 "Now I want you to realize that…" Now… Paul has a way of getting directly to the point. As I was researching this message I found that there is a lack of messages on this passage, commentaries kind of speed over these issues. They talk about the disorder but don’t deal with the issue of Christ being the head of every man. And that a man to pray with his head covered dishonors Christ… then likewise a woman who prays without a covering dishonors her head… whoa…

This brings up the whole issue that is bantered back and forth, hierarchical vs. egalitarian view of headship. (This summary of Hierarchical view vs. Egalitarian view is from a portion of a message by Paul Decker)

A. Hierarchical View –

This view emphasizes the role of women as a part of the priority of the creation order establishing a chain of command between men and women being set from creations order.

So in this view in marriage, the husband has been given both authority and responsibility for his wife and then following this order into the church, it is men that have been given both authority and responsibility for the women.

This view emphasizes that God has given specific roles for men and women to fulfill in both marriage and the church.

B. Egalitarian View –

- This view emphasizes the equality of women men and women are essentially equal, both in the marriage and in the church.

- In marriage, the husband and the wife are equal partners.

- In the church, men and women are equally responsible for fulfilling the purpose of the church and have equal access to all positions.

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