1 Cor 11 & 14 Women should pray and prophesy in congregation

1 Corinthians 11 and 14 are frequently used as passages to silence women.  However when the passages are examined more closely they point in entirely the opposite direction!  Paul expected women to pray in congregation.  He expected them to speak on God’s behalf as prophets.  The restrictions he placed on the Corinthian women (and men) was to respect cultural boundaries so as not to bring shame on The Way.

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Men and women on church boards

The New Testament discussion of roles and qualifications is not well defined.  Roles in the NT include apostles, prophets, teachers, leaders, preachers, pastors, overseers/elders and deacons.  Some roles, like Timothy’s and Titus’ are uncertain (probably apostles?).  Within the NT timeframe structures evolved with decentralisation away from Jerusalem.  Many of the early NT roles (being specifically spirit chosen & empowered) are not present today – or perhaps relevant.  Some positions which in some respects have endured (overseers and deacons) have changed.  The NT structures included separation of teaching, leadership and administration – while allowing they could be combined.  The Christadelphian arranging structures similarly lack a teaching responsibility and emphasis collective responsibility rather than individual.

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