Page 8 - May 2023 - Truth & Tidings
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he might be lifted up with pride and fall   reflect the integrity and honesty of charac-
        just as Satan fell. A case can be made that   ter which is characteristic of the assembly.
        pride is the original, ultimate and crown-  He represents the assembly publicly and
        ing sin. If I understand Scripture aright,   must live consistent with its testimony. His
        no one is immune to it at any stage of life.   business life and community life must be
        However, Paul here warns about the pos-  without strain or compromise. The danger
        sibility of someone who lacks experience   is that otherwise he is leaving himself
        and spiritual maturity falling into the sin   open to the snare which the false accuser,
        of pride of position and thus falling as   the devil, can bring against him.
        Satan fell. Again, it must be stressed that   Most of what is expected of those in
        Paul does not place an age restriction on   leadership should also mark each believer
        leadership. His concern is with spiritual   in the assembly. Perhaps only the mat-
        maturity that may come at a relatively   ters of “apt to teach” and “not a novice”
        young age for some believers and be late   set him apart from the remainder of the
        in developing in others.              assembly. Spiritual maturity is the goal
        The Testimony from Without            of each one who comprises a testimony
          He must have a good testimony among   for God. Sitting in judgment on leaders is
        believers. That is obvious or else he will   soul-withering. Pray for them and submit
        not have their confidence in leading them.   for the good of the assembly and its testi-
        Here, however, the requirement is that he   mony (Heb 13:17). Someone has well said
        have a “good report” of those who are not   that if you want better leaders, then pray
        part of the assembly. A man is expected to   for the ones God has given you.

        Male Leadership                                       Continued from p. 133
          But a text ripped from its context is   could never supply the spiritual ballast
        a mere pretext. In Galatians, Paul pro-  that women provide. The service they
        claims justification by faith alone and not   contribute is as valuable as the work of
        by works (2:16). He only addresses the   men, and men could not do what they do
        vertical relationship of people with God,   without female support. Blessing depends
        not the horizontal relationship of men   on women’s prayer. Married women serve
        and women with each other; their heav-  God by bringing up children and support-
        enly position “in Christ,” not their earthly   ing their husbands (1Ti 2:15). All women
        condition in a family or in an assembly.   strengthen the believers by their mercy
        God accepts everyone who places faith   and hospitality, and by their service to
        in Christ on the same ground, no matter   other women (Titus 2:3-5) and children.
        who or what they are. All believers are   Gospel outreach would be impossible
        “one man in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28 ASV,   without women – one-third of the workers
        RV; cf. Eph 2:15), fused not only to Christ   whom Paul compliments in Romans 16 are
        but to each other. Far from neutralizing   female. The good works of women build
        all ethnic, social or gender distinctions   integrity into the assembly and endorse
        among Christians, this verse states that   it to outsiders (1Ti 2:10; 5:10). When men
        these distinctions – which it assumes – do   display the glory of headship and women
        not imply spiritual inequality before God.  the glory of helpership, we have pre-fall
          Assemblies depend on women. Men     Eden all over again.

        136 TRUTH kTidings   May  2023
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