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

I Corinthians 14:34,35

Ward's 9th

The following is brother Mark J. Ward's next in the exchange on the proper meaning and application of I Corinthians 14:34,35 for folks today.

Subject: Re: I Corinthians 14:34,35
Date: Wed, 09 Apr 2003 01:05:08 -0400
From: "Mark J. Ward" <>

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

Brother Don Martin is ending his part of this good Bible study. I want to thank him and brother Jeff Smelser for their part in testing and questioning various matters concerning I Cor. 14:34,35 and women speaking in the assembly today. Men are to be commended who are willing to have their beliefs tested and who will engage in honorable discussion of God's Word. There are too many who will not do such today. Such is a shame, especially among our brethren. We don't have to be mean, ugly, or wrangle…we can discuss our differences and try to reach agreement, yet press our points with vigor. Thanks again, to these two brethren, whom I personally appreciate very much!

Brother Don made a few more mistakes in his last post, to which I will refer and wrap up (unless more is needed). I do not mean to be harsh, but concise. Please consider the following:

Don wrote:
First, I appreciate the participation of Mark Ward and Jeff Smelser in the I Corinthians 14: 34, 35 exchange. I personally think we pretty well exhausted the passage without engaging in endless repetition.

Mark here:
My Question One, which Don refused to answer as to whether the scenarios given were WRONG (except for parts J & K), was designed to take almost, if not, every "kind of woman" IN THE ASSEMBLY and OUT OF THE ASSEMBLY and see wherein Don believes the New Testament allowed them to "ask a question" of either their husband, or another man, or another woman (if they were NOT being disruptive and insubordinate). Such a question was going to dismantle brother Don's erroneous position, bit by bit, and for various reasons, brother Don refused NOT TO ANSWER whether he believed such was "right" or "wrong". This is Don's right, but Don utterly failed to prove his theories on both I Cor. 11 and 14.

One truth that is evident and would be even more evident with a further detailed dismantling of brother Don's position (bit by bit over a continuation of this study) is that ONE SCENARIO GIVEN among many that are AUTHORIZED is not exclusive. Thus, all the noise brother Don makes about "prophetesses asking uninspired (even alien) husbands at home" (which is NOT wrong, by the way <G>) ignores the TRUTH (also advanced before) that the prophetesses could ask men OTHER THAN their husbands, as well: such as elders, deacons, prophets, evangelists, women, and even other men who were very knowledgeable, yet uninspired, who had a terrific knowledge of God's Word after studying at the feet of folks who had gifts of the Spirit, for example! More questions, which were to follow, would benefit our study even more, in my estimation. Since I Corinthians 14:33b-35b gives inspired instruction to be followed IN and OUT of the assembly, various scenarios were offered to see wherein Don makes application of I Cor. 14:34, 35 and I Tim. 2:11,12 and wherein Don does not (but maybe uses another New Testament passage or two)<g>. Don utterly failed in his "proof" of his assertions which we list again now:

- That the instruction was/is for "wives ONLY"??? and not only that, but…
- That the instruction does/did NOT APPLY to prophetesses, even tho' they are "women"??? and not only that, but…
- That the instruction was/is for "prophets' wives ONLY"??? and not only that, but…
- That the instruction was/is ONLY dealing with the matter of disruptive, disorderly and/or insubordinate asking of question by these ~specific women~??? and not only that, but…
- That the instruction ~was/is applicable~ to "prophetesses", ~in a general way~, IF and only IF??? they would be disorderly, disruptive, and/or ~insubordinate~ <g> in their asking/speaking/preaching??? in the assembly of the local church??? <G>

Don has not proven his main premise…that the instruction is LIMITED to a "special class of women". Don's argumentation thus utterly fails, in my estimation, and does not warrant us holding hands with him in agreement on his particular teaching in the matter.

There were counter arguments to brother Don's theory that remain unanswered. I will remind the reader and Don of them now:

- UNinspired WOMEN are not "inferior" to Uninspired MEN, and yet they have to be silent in the, why would prophetesses be "inferior" to prophets if God instructs them to be silent in the church? (NOTE: Some UNinspired women know LOTS MORE than some UNinspired men do 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 (in the case of the prophetess, but doesn't answer us on the case of the uninspired women <g>), since he hasn't written that about uninspired women! Please deal with this argument).
- INSPIRED MEN, like prophets and tongue speakers, had to hold their peace and be silent (at times God designated) and such did NOT make them "inferior", so what's the point that Don is trying to make (such is not valid reasoning) with  the "inferior" line of argumentation Don advances?
- Don has ~assumed~ much in this discussion, namely: that the women of I Cor. 14:34,35 (to whom Paul is referring) are: (1st assumption) wives only, (2nd assumption) wives of PROPHETS ONLY, (3rd assumption) who were asking questions  IN AN INSUBORDINATE AND DISORDERLY FASHION. Where is the proof of these assumptions?
- JUST LIKE "Eat at home" does NOT exclude the restaurant eating away from the local church assembly...."ask husbands at home" does not preclude women who are not married from asking men questions away from the assembly. Don doesn't deal with this part of the argumentation, unless I missed it. Please deal with this Don. Thanks.
- Prophets were to be silent when something would be "revealed" to another prophet in the same assembly, yet Don argues as if the prophets knew everything! IF so, WHY would they have to hold ~their peace~ (if they knew it already???) I think the BIBLE answers this matter for when ~something~ was revealed to another prophet would have a great bearing on this <G>! Don argues as tho such is absurd. But I read of it happening, in the NT.

Don has read the above argumentation (worded slightly differently in my posts for clarity improvements) and yet Don still wrote: "I have tried to kindly show that I believe the views of both Mark and Jeff undervalue and deprecate the Bible prophetess."

Mark here:
Can you believe it? With all kindness and yet firmness and love, I say, brother Don needs to take a break and review the argumentation counter to his assertion above that has already been given! If UNinspired women are not "inferior" to UNinspired men, Don has no point at all! If inspired prophets and tongue speakers had to be quiet and they were not "inferior" to other male tongue speakers and prophets to whom they had to yield in the assembly of the local church, then Don has no point! I apologize for the repetition to the readers who "already understand it", but Don continues to argue??? as tho' there has been no answer given counter to his assertions! Don utterly fails in this regard and we pray he will see the light, in time.

Don also wrote:
Both Mark and Jeff took the position that the prophetesses were included in the prohibition to speak in the assembly and were told to ask questions of their husbands at home (cp. I Cor. 14: 34, 35). They both maintained that prophetesses were to ask their "uninspired husbands" religious questions at home (I maintained that their husbands were probably the prophets, those who would more likely know the answers, just mentioned in the context). I used their teaching to show that the prophetess was not included in the prohibition. The very thought of a Spirit led prophetess being told to ask her "uninspired" and even "non-Christian" husband (according to Mark's expanded application) religious questions at home is, to me, untenable!

Mark here:
Don's assertions continue above. He can't prove such, he just "thinks" such. Don also fails to write and include the FACT that teaching was given before (in my writings) that proved that a prophetess could ask questions of folks OTHER THAN "only" her uninspired husband and other than "only" at home, so long as she was not asking in the assembly of the church wherein all women were prohibited from asking a question! Don fails to add that part to his writing above and could be leaving the wrong impression to those following this thread. Such has been typical throughout this discussion in Don's writing.

Don incorrectly writes:
…In the case of 14: 34, 35, Mark reduces the prophetess to one looking to an unbeliever husband for answers to religious questions.

Mark here:
Honestly, brother Don! Please be more careful with your writing in the future! I have taught that it was not "wrong" for a prophetess to ask her uninspired, alien husband a question at home. I also taught that she could ask questions of ANY man and ANY woman in settings other than the local church assembled!!! Why did you leave that out? Why do you leave the wrong impression above??? as tho there were not ALSO other folks whom she could ask questions of??? I certainly don't know. But, for a moment, let's pursue a first century "alien" husband of a prophetess. Just how much knowledge, for example, do you think an uninspired, unconverted Jew who expertly knew the Scriptures from a child would know? Quite a lot! Further, I did not contend, as Don intimates, that the prophetess would be getting ~all her info from her uninspired alien husband only at home~, for example, but rather that she: (1) simply could not speak in the assembly of the church and, (2) could ask ANYONE (husband or not, saint or alien, inspired or not, man or woman) as long as she was away from the assembly of the local church! Don writes a prejudicial slant toward Jeff's view and my view, in my estimation that is not representative of the totality of what was taught. Don, surely you don't think it would be a SIN for a prophetess to ask an alien husband a question at home, even if he couldn't answer it, do you? By not answering all the scenarios to my question one we can see that we won't know (for sure <g>). Please read on….

Several times, brother Don, I wrote that ONE SCENARIO did not preclude OTHER SCENARIOS. You never answered that either. The point is that Don has no New Testament passage to prove his assertion that prophetesses ever taught in the assembly of the local church over the men of the congregation! The focus being changed by Don (above) does NOT negate that fact. Don wants and needs his prophetesses to preach in the church assembly over men, but cannot prove such. But Anna, is an Old Testament prophetess, who is the basis for Don's "proof" that prophetesses preached in church assemblies, like at Corinth! Who believes it?. The Sabbatarians love that type of inconsistent, unsound argumentation. But, Don never even proved that Anna taught authoritatively over men in the ~Old Testament~ either! More assumptions leading to other assumptions. This, in my estimation, sums up brother Don's problems on these texts.

Don wrote, in part:
In answer to a repeated question posed by Mark, I have said that I really do not see how a woman, my wife, to have what I view as a parallel, could interrupt my sermon and ask me a question in the assembly without it causing confusion (cp. I Cor. 14:33-35).

Mark here:
I have pointed out to Don before that in I Cor. 14 a prophet or a tongue speaker might need to YEILD to another. Such would happen with God's blessings and NOT be considered to be out of order or cause confusion WHEN THE TRADE IN SPEAKERS TOOK PLACE (See I Cor. 14:27-30). In like manner (a parallel), IF it were allowed, women could ask a question of a speaker in the assembly and it not necessarily cause "confusion". Don can't even imagine such, yet I know he has read of the prophet who must be quiet when something is revealed to another in vss 29-30)! Don doesn't like it, believes there is a better way of handling questions, etc etc….but when Don understands the parallel I have made, he will then understand the truth of the argument. PLEASE NOTE: I am only negating Don's portion of HIS ARGUMENTATION that contends that ~questions raised in the assembly have to be disorderly or cause confusion~. I am NOT, repeat am NOT, arguing that women may ask questions in the assembly so long as they are not insubordinate and don't cause confusion. I DO argue that women may ask questions in the simultaneous Bible class arrangement, and in other non-assembly settings, so long as they have a meek and quiet spirit and don't cause confusion. Don is confused, and admits such in his writing.

Don wrote:
Regarding Mark's multiple part (about 11 parts) first question, he accused me of not answering, but evading his question(s). I did answer…

Mark here:
Don gave us some ~writing~ that he considers an "answer"<G>, but the readership will note that Don did NOT tell us if he believed parts A-L (with the exception of J & K) were WRONG. That's what the question asked! Don has many years of studying the Bible and some of these issues are even addressed by him at his website, but Don decided NOT to answer my Question One concerning whether all the scenarios presented were WRONG. That's what the question asked for, good brother Don. Jeff didn't seem to have a problem at all answering the scenarios, did he? I didn't either. In fact, on the multi-part question Don gave me that had numerous scenarios on the I Cor. 11 study, I had no problem addressing them all. It is Don's right, however, to decide to not answer whether all the scenarios I asked about were WRONG in my Question One. I grant him that right. It is also Don's right to close the discussion when he wants to without completing it as originally agreed upon. I certainly grant him that right. Don's thots concerning my posting late is a mischaracterization, in my estimation, and does nothing to further his cause. Also, I had indicated that I had never agreed to a posting of one to two days in the first place, but wished to study God's Word together, no matter how much time it took. We began the I Corinthians 14 study with that in mind. Truth is the real issue here. But, I defer to Don's wishes. Let's give it a rest <g>??? I pray that folks will re-read the discussions and carefully examine the arguments in case they did not "get it" the first time around. I know I will refer back to the material and study it again as time permits.

The text teaches in 14:35b, "…for it is a shame for a woman to speak in church." If we understand that portion of the text, we should have less trouble understanding the previous teaching in 33-35a.

Don also wrote about I Corinthians 11 in his next to last post. I will write at least one more post under that subject line as this discussion, at least for now, seems to be at its end. I thank (again) brothers Don and Jeff for their time and interest in spiritual matters to contend and discuss, in part, what they believe about matters over which brethren disagree. Thanks for reading.

God bless us all,
Mark J. Ward
The Religious Instructor
The Golden Isles church of Christ

(from MARS-List Digest 4074, April 9, 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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