Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
How often have tried to force the issue? Sometimes it is a piece of freight that doesn’t exactly fit right. Other times it is an issue of not being in agreement/compliance with the company dress code. Sometimes, and hopefully not often, it loading something with something that it doesn’t properly belong with. All things can, will, and do happen from time to time. No surprise.
In the church, there are issues that people like to push and otherwise force their opinions upon others about. Female pastors and gay marriage being the two biggest and most divisive issues. The Bible is expressive clear in regards to the latter, homosexuality and its associate behavior is a sin. There are those who try to re-interpret the Bible to say otherwise, but that is only to soothe their own sinfulness and it does not change the words of scripture. It is the former in which things seem a bit more murky.
In Genesis 3, we read of the serpent who deceived Eve into eating the fruit. She then gave some to Adam and also ate it. Now then, let us be clear, Adam was there. He was not in another part of the garden or otherwise missing. He was there with her. We can not be certain what he was or was not doing, but it is plain that he was not a part of the conversation between Eve and the serpent. However, it was only Eve that was deceived, not Adam.
Some have tried to paint Adam as being heroic for eating the fruit, despite knowing what God had told him. However, it would seem more likely that Adam eating the fruit was more of an act of willful defiance. Adam knew that God could easily create another woman to replace Eve. Indeed, there are those who believe that this had been done once before, with a woman named Lilith who defied God to his face. However, the point is that in eating the fruit, Adam was essentially saying to God “What do you think you are going to do now?”.
However, the moment God was “walking through the garden”, Adam’s defiance turned to fear and he ran for cover. Eve had certainly been tricked, but Adam willfully defied God. When confronted, Adam blamed Eve. Eve, in turn blamed the serpent. The serpent was then curse to crawl upon its belly (evolutionists, please take note, when you point to snakes that have legs as evidence of evolution, there was a snake with legs at the Garden of Eden, your argument fails).
In 1 Timothy 2 the Apostle Paul writes plainly that he would not allow a woman to teach or otherwise have authority over men. Note that this is in regards to the structure of the church. It is doubtless that Paul was aware of Deborah, who was a judge over Israel. Note that Deborah, no matter how you look at it, was not a priest. She was only a prophetess, and she told a man to go to battle, only for his to refuse lest she goes with him, and her warning him that his victory would thus be given to a woman (I have previously written on that). The reason Paul refused to let a woman take the place of authority in the church was because God had first created Adam and then Eve, and it was Eve who was deceived, not Adam. There is no way to wiggle out of this.
There are many well meaning people who do try to use Deborah as an example of a female priest, ignoring two basic facts. Deborah was not priest and many of the judges were not priests or prophets. A scant few were both prophet and priest, most notably Samuel, who would be the last of the judges and the one to anoint the first king of Israel. Another little noted fact is that there is no place in scripture in a which a woman is called to serve as a priest before God. Simply speaking, there is nothing in the Bible regarding female priests, at least not in a positive sense.
Others have tried to use Lydia as an example of a female priest. She was merely a woman who was receptive to the Gospel message. Yes, it is possible and even likely that she hosted a worship gathering within her home, but we do not have any direct evidence that she was the head of the church or even the head of her household. Any attempt to say she was is mere conjecture. The Bible is rather quiet on this.
Lilith. I should explain, in brief what she is and how she fits in, not that she does. Lilith was invented by some rabbinic traditions, though I am not certain of the full story, as a way to harmonize Genesis 1 and 2, not that it was necessary to harmonize them. Regardless, it was an attempt to explain why there is both man and woman at the end of Genesis 1 and yet in Genesis 2, God created the woman from the man’s side or rib. The story then follows, that Lilith refused to submit herself to either Adam or God and was cast out of the garden. It was then that God caused Adam to sleep and then he created Eve. As imaginative as this tale is, there is no real support for it from scripture, it is also conjecture. Worse, this tale may well be the real story behind the appearance of female pastors in many churches, indeed, some churches do preach of her as a hero. Rebellion against God can bring a multitude of sins. Note, I do not believe in Lilith.
Churches often are known to push the issue with doctrines that are popular to the people, even if the Bible either is silent or flat out denies such doctrines. When we deny what the scripture teaches plainly, whether it is about gay marriage, female pastors, or any other sin, we are in willful defiance towards God and his word. Sin is sin. We can not escape it.
Adam defied God and brought death upon all of humanity, as well the rest of creation. Christ Jesus submitted himself to God’s will and died upon the cross for our sins. Because he rose again from the grave, we can be forgiven of our sins, even our direct acts of defiance against God. However, save that we repent, we can not be forgiven of anything.
We must stop trying to twist God’s word to say what we want and start accepting it for what it says. When God has placed a period or an exclamation point, we are not permitted to put a question mark. To do so is sin. It matters little if you agree with God and his word or not. You will still be held accountable for it, as will I.
We can force the issue all we want. Matters little if its an issue of church doctrine or workplace policy. However, if we push too hard, we may find ourselves facing either termination or damnation, possibly both. Most workplace policies are there for the safety of the employees. God’s word is there for our safety and salvation. Workplace policy can be changed if it is found in error. God’s word is not in error and is unchanging.
In matters of workplace policy, we should only abide by those policies that do not cause more harm or damage than good. In matters of the Bible, we should abide by it as it is written and not try to change or rationalize it to suit our own desires. In both cases, we do ourselves no favors by willfully defying that which is meant to protect us or the freight with which we work. Lets stop any unnecessary forcing of the issue and do what we already know is right, even if we don’t necessarily like it. Prolonged willful defiance is merely unrepentant sin and will only serve to cause you an eternity in the Lake of Fire, prepared for Satan and his angels. Don’t go there, repent now, while you still have time. You do not know that you will have another chance. Quit trying to force the issue.