Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 16 No. 9 September 2014
Page 14

Questions and Answers

Send your religious questions to editor@gospelgazette.com

Should Women Help
Make Decisions in
Church Business Meetings?

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Louis RushmoreA reader put forth the question, “Should women be part of the church business meeting in a congregation without elders?” Presumably, the inquiry means to ask if Christian women should have an equal part with Christian men in making decisions in congregations that do not have elders.

It seems implicit that the one asking the question would acknowledge that in congregations where elders serve that only men – the elders who are all men, per Scripture (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-11) – ought to make the decisions for those congregations. That is an indirect concession that God has designated male leadership in the church (1 Timothy 2:8-14; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35) – as He has done likewise in the home (Genesis 3:16; Ephesians 5:24). God has decreed male leadership religiously and domestically (1 Corinthians 11:3, 8-9).

Can a local church exist and function without elders? Yes, it can, and even first century congregations did so for a while before biblically qualified men were appointed to the roles of elders (Acts 14:23). Nevertheless, something important is lacking in every congregation wherein elders have not been appointed (Titus 1:5). Until such time as elders are appointed, it still remains the responsibility of male leadership to make congregational decisions.

May women be present when men in a congregation without elders make the actual decisions? In my opinion, it is no more wise to permit such than is it prudent to have men who are not elders or women present in elders’ meetings when they are making decisions. It is too easy for attendees to presume, maybe even unintentionally, that their presence implies that they, too, have a role in the decision making. Especially if emotions run high, attendees may intervene impulsively.

On the other hand, men and women may well attend congregational meetings where decisions are not being made. Elders or men in congregations without elders may choose to have a congregational meeting to gather information or to inform everyone respecting decisions that have already been made. Such gatherings neither conflict with elders nor contradict male leadership responsibilities.

The place for women to have an impact on the decisions made for a congregation are in opportunities to converse with their husbands if married (1 Corinthians 14:35; 1 Peter 3:1) or with the elders who serve all of the congregation. In the absence of elders, women may approach one or more of the men privately respecting their perspectives about upcoming decisions that must be made. Wise elderships or male Christians where there are no elders will avail themselves of congregational input from both men and women.

Sainthood and Canonization

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Clearly, the word “saint” in the New Testament refers to a follower of God, and after the establishment of the Lord’s church, “saint” was a synonym for “Christian” (Acts 9:13). However, the Catholic Church uses the word “saint” in a way different from how it is used in the Bible. In Catholicism, the word “saint” refers to someone who has lived a virtuous and exemplary life, has died and now is in heaven. Furthermore, that person is said to have performed at least two miracles after death from heaven, for which reason the Catholic Church officiates his or her sainthood through its process that it calls canonization. Following canonization, these Catholic saints become the object of veneration or worship to whom prayers are offered. One miracle qualifies a person for the Catholic Church to solemnize one for beatification, and a second miracle leads to canonization.

What the Catholic Church or some other manmade religious organization decrees, though, does not alter biblical truth. Jesus Christ, not a man or a group of men or women, is the Head of the church (Colossians 1:18) for which He died (Acts 20:28; Romans 5:8), about which we can read in Scripture (Acts 2:47) and for which He will return someday to take back with Him to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Only Jesus Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18 NKJV). That authority of Christ is related to mankind through the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Jude 3). There are no more new revelations coming from God through the Holy Spirit or by way of angels to mankind (Galatians 1:6-9). We already have everything that we need (2 Peter 1:3). Mankind is forbidden to change any part of God’s Word (Revelation 22:18-19), and by God’s Word (including the words of our Lord) each person will be judged someday (John 12:48).

Manmade dogmas about sainthood and canonization are without merit. They detract from what God through the Bible has taught. “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11 NKJV emphasis added).

What Are the Steps to Salvation?

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Someone inquires, “What are the steps to salvation?” For we who live in the Christian Age, the New Testament holds the answer to this question. There is no more important question, and consequently there could be no more important answer or answers than to this question. There are a number of elements to which the New Testament attributes saving qualities. For some of these elements there is a discernible sequence of steps leading to the forgiveness of past sins. Following is a list of these saving components.

God’s Redemptive Plan

Love (John 3:16)
Grace (Ephesians 2:8)
Mercy (Titus 3:5)
Gospel (Romans 1:16)

The Blood of Christ (Revelation 1:5)
Our Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5)

Revelation (2 Peter 1:20-21)

Bible Faith (John 8:24)
Repentance (Acts 17:30)
Baptism (1 Peter 3:21)
Obedience (Hebrews 5:8, 9)
Purity (Revelation 22:14)
Faithfulness (Revelation 2:10)
Love (1 John 2:10)
Hope (Romans 8:24)
Works (James 2:24)
Endurance (Matthew 10:22)
Confessing Christ (Romans 10:9-10)
Being Born Again (John 3:3-5)
Laying Aside Evil (James 1:21)
Preaching (1 Corinthians 1:18, 21)
Calling on the Name of the Lord (Romans 10:14)
Knowledge of the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15)

As components, all of the above work together toward the salvation of a soul, rather than being a shopping list from which one might select only some of them that one found desirable to the exclusion of the rest. In addition, there is a point at which one receives the forgiveness of sins. Everything before that juncture leads in the direction of salvation. A person must turn exclusively to the Word of God – for we who live today, the New Testament.

Hear God’s Word to produce biblical faith (Romans 10:17)
Believe or have faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24)
Repent of one’s past sins (Luke 13:3)
Be willing to acknowledge publicly one’s belief that Jesus is the Christ (Matthew 10:32-33)
Be baptized (immersed, Romans 6:3-5) in water for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38)
Live faithfully until death (Revelation 2:10)
Repent and pray when sin enters one’s life as a Christian (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9)

Summarized in the words of Jesus Christ Himself, salvation occurs through belief or faith and baptism. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved…” (Mark 16:16 NKJV).

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