by Steven Chan
It is not uncommon to hear that it’s okay to do something because “everyone is doing it”. This reflects the mind-set that is guided by the standards set by the world. Unfortunately, this same mind-set oftentimes also permeates into the lives of the Bible-believers.
Most Bible believers would certainly object to the idea of doing things that are forbidden by the Bible although some have even compromised on such matters on the premise that such actions were forbidden in the special circumstances of the days when the Bible was written but those special circumstances no longer exist today and therefore those forbidden actions are acceptable before God today.
Such forms of arguments have been used to justify the leadership of women over men in spite of the explicit statements of the Bible:
“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.”(1 Tim 2:11-12)
They contend that the “special circumstances” in those days when the apostle Paul penned his epistle, were such that the women of those days were illiterate, uneducated and prone to be disruptive of assemblies with their poorly-reasoned contentions. They proffer that those “special circumstances” were the reason for Paul forbidding women to “teach or to have authority over a man” in a public assembly of the congregation.
But women of the present time are well-educated and some far exceed the educational level of the men in the congregation. Why should these women be prevented from using their God-given talents, to serve and lead the congregation? They will be better leaders than the relatively less academically-inclined men. After all, in Gal 3:28, Paul wrote that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” So, in Christ, all gender differences no longer apply. There should be no discrimination between male and female. All can lead the congregation!
Unfortunately, the above contention reflects the mind-set of the world and not of the Bible. Sadly, Scriptures are “twisted or wrestled” to justify what they want to do because “everyone is doing it”.
Firstly, the “special circumstances” given by the apostle Paul in I Tim 2:11-12 were explicitly stated and they have nothing to do with the educational levels of the women of those days nor to their inclinations to disrupt church assemblies with their uneducated contentions; listen to the “special circumstances” given by the apostle Paul:-
“For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”(1 Tim 2:13-14)
“Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”(1 Cor 11:2-3)
Secondly, the passage in Gal 3:28 refers to the gospel truth that all (whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free, male or female) are treated equally in Christ; there’s no discrimination with regards to them being children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, and all are “heirs to the promise made to Abraham”. It does not teach that there is no more separate identity between “Jews or Greeks, slave or free, male or female”. Paul acknowledged the continuing distinction between slaves and free in 1 Cor 7:20-22:-
“Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. 22 For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave.”
In his epistle to the church at Ephesus, Paul acknowledged the distinction between “slaves and free/masters”:
“Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.”(Eph 6:5-9)
Paul did not abolish the distinction between “slaves/bondservants” and “Masters/free” in the church. He taught them to conduct themselves appropriately as they are ALL servants of God, the Master in heaven.
The mind-set that “everyone is doing it” has more recently increasingly used by Bible-believers to justify the practice of homosexuality or “same-sex marriages” by Bible-believers. The “special circumstances” of those days when the writers forbade the practice of “homosexuality or same-sex marriages” no longer exist today. The society during those times was not able to accept “same sex” marriages due to the biases and prejudices and misunderstandings of the society of those times. Today, we know that “homosexuals” and those who practice “same-sex marriages” are actually good and normal people and they are good leaders too. The proponents of the acceptance of “LGBT” (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) into the church, argue that the Bible teaches their acceptance in 1 Cor 6:9-11, whereby “homosexuals and sodomites, were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
The LGBT proponents failed to realize that the same passage actually teaches that “homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, drunkards, etc…” have the same access to the gift of salvation, provided that they believed, repented and obeyed the gospel by being baptized so as to have their sins washed away (Acts 22:16); otherwise, they will not inherit the kingdom of God. In Rom 1:24-27, the Bible clearly and unequivocally disapproves of “homosexuality” and in Matt 19:1-5, approves only of the marriage between male and female as originally intended by God when He created them “male and female”. When God saw that Adam was alone, he did not create another man for him; He created a woman to be his life-long companion and help-meet. What God has put in place, let no man put aside – even if “everyone else is doing it”.