So New York Times Article today and was immediately caught between feelings of great sorrow and frustration. Great sorrow because Teresa MacBain seemed at one time to be so committed as you can see by her statement “For me, life was about being the person who loved God and wanted to be everything God wanted me to be.” And know she seems so confused and lost in who she is supposed to be.
But I am also so Frustrated because her view of God and the Bible could not be more misconstrued. I am not sure how she would be someone that took such pride in her teaching yet had such a lack of understanding. Let me show you what I mean here.
She says that “For me, the lesson was that doubting is sinful and wrong,” she said. “If you have these things come up, you suppress them, you ignore them, you pray them away. This natural inquisitiveness and questioning is just wrong. And if I did them, I was displeasing God.” So if you read the Bible God doesn’t Punish or condemn those that question. Look at Genesis 18:22-33, God doesn’t punish Abraham for questioning Him. He reasons with him. God doesn’t ask for a blind faith but a understanding and orderly one. God is not only the Author but perfecter of our faith. He wants us to have a Faith that has a solid foundation. God doesn’t want that we would run from him in our doubts but to him. He want to be known.
in the Article where it states “Ms. MacBain ran aground on what seemed like irreconcilable messages in Scripture. In First Corinthians alone, for example, Verse 14:34 instructed women to be silent in church, while Verse 11:5 referred to women praying and prophesying. If text is divinely inerrant, as Ms. MacBain had been taught, how could both statements be true?” This is just a case of not understanding biblical context not a contradiction.
One of the First things that you have to understand in reading the second half of Corinthians is that we are receiving a response or answers to questions or issues in a previous letter. See (1Corinthians 7:1 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote) You have to read the rest of the letter understanding that we don’t have all the information so we have to look at everything through this lens as well as understanding the cultural context of that time. Also we need to understand that the writing of biblical time were written to be read aloud. Most of the citizens of that time couldn’t read and there weren’t multiple copies available as there are today. That being said the beginning of the letter sets the context for the rest of the letter. Therefore knowing 1 Corinthians 11 says woman were allowed to pray and prophesy in the Church. There were however conditions, these women were supposed to do so with an inward attitude and a outward expression of humility. And although there was a new freedom and authority for women in the Church, There were also boundaries that should be recognized.
So lets look at some of these boundaries, in 1Corinthians 14 We see in the beginning of the chapter that there were issues in the church of people getting carried away with expressing their sign gifts seeming to be more interested in their own edification or expression of spirituality than the edification of the Body, Paul is fairly firm that the congregation focus should not be on themselves but others and that their needed to be order and decency in these times of gathering . Then Paul seems to narrow in in talking about the structure and orderliness of a gathering. Now watch what happens, this is where people get confused. Paul is writing this letter to the Churches in Corinth, at that time there were many teachers that would travel around and teach there would be individuals that came and said I have a word from the Lord that I would like to share with your gathering. The Church didn’t look like it did today, more often than not it met in homes. And it was in this context that we have to look at 1Corinthians 14: 29-30 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged. In this context we see that the there needed to be some authority given to the Elders that they may weigh what was said a to protect their flocks from false prophets. Part of the weighing was the the Jewish idea of midrash which means (investigation) and can consist of studying challenging and arguing, As the Elders/ husbands might challenge or argue the ideas of the prophets the Women/Wives were to remain silent. The should refrain from challenging the others and they should wait to discuss and share with their husbands at home. It wasn’t that they had no value, it doesn’t seem like they weren’t allowed input. But there was a place and time for this to occur, in private. As I said this didn’t take away from a woman’s ability to speak, pray or prophesy. It demonstrates that Paul is saying there are Male Elders appointed to maintain order, allow them to do their job.
It seems odd to me that even after Teresa MacBain Spoke at an American Atheist Convention that she was planning on keeping her Job as a minister. And that the NPR Article makes is sound as though she was turned against. Why would anyone keep an interview with a minister that said she is an Atheist? And Teresa I am sure that people felt betrayed and confused that you violated their trust and didn’t talk to anyone, or simply step down while you figured out what it was that you did or didn’t believe. But to book a speaking engagement and say I’m going to hell with you and then to expect to come back and take the pulpit… Although you are loved by God and His Children should love and embrace you. I can see how some may have been shook up