Page 8 - October 2018 - Truth & Tidings
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he pastoral epistles are filled with   We should also notice, instructions are
              the truth of Divine revelation, tell-  given about who should not teach in the as-
        Ting of the God Who is the source of   sembly meetings. “Let the woman learn in
        truth, Who has spoken into human history,   silence with all subjection. But I suffer not
        revealing Himself and His will. We have   a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority
        noticed, too, the clarity with which they   over the man, but to be in silence” (1Tim
        warn about the multi-pronged attack on   2:11–12, KJV). Public teaching is not the
        the Truth that has been revealed. And, we   responsibility of the sisters. However, we
        have seen that there is an entity specially   must balance this by noticing the impor-
        designed by God to be “the pillar and   tance attached to the teaching of sisters in
        ground of the truth,” to display and defend   the domestic sphere. In 2 Timothy Paul
        Divine revelation. Writing to Timothy, Paul   reminds Timothy of his grandmother and
        describes this entity as “the house of God,   mother. Timothy was forever shaped by
        the church of the living God.” The local   that education. The lessons taught and
        assembly is no mere cozy religious club.   the prayers prayed by these godly sisters
        Nor is it only a vehicle for evangelistic   played an incalculable role in fitting Timo-
        outreach. Rather, in the purposes of God,   thy to serve God. The instruction of chil-
        it is to be the pillar and bulwark of truth,   dren in the home is clearly a sphere where
        protecting it, even as it displays it.  a sister’s teaching is not just permitted, but
          Clearly, this is a role of the utmost sig-  where it is vital.
        nificance, and we might justly ask how the   In Titus, Paul identifies another sphere
        assembly can discharge its responsibility.   in which sisters are to teach: “The aged
        After all, it can field no army in defence of   women likewise, that they be … teachers
        the gospel. It has no Scriptural mandate to   of good things” (Titus 2:3-4, KJV). These
        found or fund seminaries or Bible schools.   aged sisters are not just to be “teachers of
        It is not a marketing organization or pres-  good things.” They are to be “good teach-
        sure group. It is not engaged in political   ers,” both in what they teach, and the way
        lobbying or policy formation. In short, it   in which they teach it. That teaching is to
        seems to have at its disposal none of those   be clear and forceful, for the word used in
        facilities that we might think most useful   verse 4 (sōphronizō) has the sense of “calling
        for the preservation and presentation of   to their senses,” and is the only occasion
        truth. But nonetheless, that is its respon-  on which Paul uses this word.  What this
        sibility. Happily, these epistles, as well as   verse envisages is the moral instruction
        emphasizing the assembly’s responsibility   of younger sisters by older sisters. In this
        in relation to truth, also detail how the   context, with urgency, immediacy, and
        assembly might be expected to discharge   relevancy these sisters can give instruction
        that responsibility.                 that could not be given by a brother in a
          The pastoral epistles make it clear that   public way, and though they do not teach
        the assembly is a place where truth is to   in the assembly, they play a vital role in
        be taught. They contain clear directions   making the assembly the pillar and ground
        for those who have special responsibility   of the truth.
        for that teaching – for elders and deacons.   These epistles, then, contain vital infor-
        Notice, for now, that instructions are given   mation about who is to teach publicly, and
        about who should teach.              who must not. They also tell us a good deal

        296 TRUTH kTidings   October  2018
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