The Don Martin - Jeff Smelser - Mark J. Ward Discussion on

I Corinthians 14:34,35

Martin's 11th

The following is brother Don Martin's next in the exchange on the proper understanding and application today of I Corinthians 14:34,35.

Subject: Re: I Corinthians 14: 34, 35
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 21:34:08 -0700
From: "Don Martin" <>
To: <>

Don Martin to Mark Ward, Jeff Smelser, and the list:

Mark, you evidently did not like the way I answered your question one. Here
is the problem: You have presented me with a tangled, arbitrarily
interspersed, and ill-matched assortment of matters. I know you do not
see this in this manner, but I do. Therefore, I cannot simply answer
"yes" or "no" to a lot of your ideas.

I have said over and over that I do not believe "keep silence in the
churches" in I Corinthians 14: 34, 35 is a simple and general matter of
prohibiting women, including the prophetess of chapter eleven, from
making a sound. Hence, it is difficult for me to answer questions
emanating from your concept of what is happening in the study passage.
Take the following examples:

Regarding C of your question:

TO AN ALIEN, innocent in heart, raising her hand, waiting to be called
upon (thus non-disruptive like the simultaneous Bible class arrangement),
and asking a question in the assembly of the local church?

To this I answered thus:

Answer: Such a question reflects Mark's continued misunderstanding of the
Bible prophetess. No, I do not believe such is in Paul's mind or included
in I Corinthians 14: 34, 35.

Mark, I think strictly in terms of placement and contextual meaning. Hence,
I cannot imagine a prophetess having to ask a religious question of her
"uninspired husband" who is not even a Christian. You do not have this
problem in view of your understanding of a prophetess. Moreover, I really
cannot imagine a woman asking a question in the religious assembly without
it being disruptive. I have had several people try to ask me a question
while I was preaching and it was disruptive. In one case, the woman was
also insubordinate. The Bible classes and "formal worship" services with
which I am familiar have a different structure and format. The Bible
classes that I teach lend themselves to questions without confusion; the
service in which the Lord's Supper is observed does not. Therefore, my mind
will not work as does your mind in these matters.

Part J of your question was:

MAN asking ANOTHER MAN (other than her husband, like a man more
knowledgeable in the scriptures whether inspired or not) a question away
from the assembly of the local church?

To this I answered:

Answer: Mark, I do not understand any relevance between this question and I
Corinthians 14: 34, 35. No scripture condemns such.

You wrote regarding my answers:

"Don, I don't ask you questions over and over to try to get you to answer
them like I want you to, per se, but to get you to answer them (in full)!!!
On Jeff's Question One, and on my Question One, you either have not fully
read the question, don't understand the question, or (un)intentionally did
not answer it in full. Why not, good brother?"

Mark continued:

Also, please clear up the spaghetti, brother Don, between your contention
that I Tim. 2:11,12 is assembly only...I have taken you to mean "assembly
of the local church only" up to your last posts (4-1-03). Now, it seems
that you call any gathering to study the Bible (2 or more people) an
"assembly". I believe such is equivocation (if you are using the same word
and switching deinitions back and forth), so please explain how it is not
equivocaqion...since we have been discussing I Cor. 14:34,35 IS assembly
only (of the local church) instruction (which also contains some
non-assembly authorization <g>). Did I miss something? <g> ThaNKS.

Don comments:

Mark, it was you who introduced the Bible class and the dinner at home
setting into our discussion. You have also asked about a woman teaching
men in a secular circumstance, teaching a secular subject. I have tried to
address each of these. You accuse me above of being guilty of
equivocation. Here is what I said and I cannot say it any plainer:

"Mark, I have dealt with the immediately above many times. I do not believe
it is necessarily wrong for a woman to teach a college class secular
subjects. It would be wrong, however, for a woman to assume the position of
teacher in a home Bible class involving men, as explained above. While such
is not the assembly of I Timothy 2, it is a religious assembly. I trust
this will not be confusing."

As I have said, I Timothy 2: 8-12 is an assembly passage just as I
Corinthians 14. I have agreed that there are some general principles.
Mark, I believe what is happening is you are judging what I say by your own
concepts and understanding. Yes, in this event there is the element of

Mark wrote:

UNinspired women are not "inferior", and they have to be silent in
the church...why would prophetesses be "inferior" if God instructs
them to be silent in the church? (NOTE: Some UNinspired women
know LOTS MORE than some men about scripture, yet God prohibits
women from speaking in the assembly of the local church, but such
does NOT make them inferior, Don argues it does, tho he
hasn't written that about uninspired women! Please deal with this argument).

Don comments:

Mark, I am afraid we have gone separate ways in our thinking to the point
that we have lost all communication. The point that I have made is to
understand Paul telling the prophetess to be without sound in the assembly
and ask their "uninspired" husbands questions at home does deprecate the
work and role of the prophetess.

Mark, I am afraid we have totally lost ability to reason together. I am
sorry this has happened.

You wrote:

Don did not direcly answer my question one. Did you notice that dear
readers? Don told us many times that he didn't think such a scenario
as I asked was in the mind of Paul or the teaching of I Cor. 14: 34,35...but
did Don tell us (in each matter asked) whether he believes the situation
was RIGHT or WRONG??? No!

Don concludes:

Mark, at this stage, I frankly do not know what else to say. Again, we are
not communicating. I still think that the primary disparity that we have
goes back you believing and teaching that all women today must have on a
head covering. The wires started to become crossed in our first exchange as
you had to do a number of things to move from the "inspired" prophetess of I
Corinthians 11: 4-16 being told to be covered in her circumstances to all
women having to be covered.

I am truly sorry we are reaching this impasse, but I still think this
discussion has been good. We both have made our primary points as to our
view of I Corinthians 14: 34, 35. It could be, Mark, that in view of lack
of communication we are winding down this exchange, at least my part.

Don Martin

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(from Mars-List Digest 4055, April 1, 2003)



[Editor’s Note: This is one of the most in-depth, comprehensive studies between brethren on the issue of whether the women in the "b" part of verse 35 of I Corinthians 14:34,35 is "all women", including women today, or whether those women were only the "prophets' wives". We hope all readers will continue to study all Bible topics with open minds, willing to conform to God's Truth. Thanks for reading! - Mark J. Ward]

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