While on vacation, I attended "church" with my wife's grandmother. I will avoide naming the denomination for the hope that this one is not representative of the whole (although I fear that it is.)
The first thing that put my teeth on edge was that 9 of the 12 elder/leaders of the church were women. Now, I know this may offend, but Ii believe in 1 Timothy 2:12 as being a command for the church:
I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.
The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001). 1 Timothy 2:12.
My beliefs in this area do not imply women to be inferior. Rather, women are made in the image of God and have true value. Women are not possessed of a lesser intellect; they are capable of deep thought and ability - as much as any man.
The issue is one of God-given gender roles. God made Christ the head of the church and Man the hhead of his family. The fact is that every organization/grouping needs a chain of command. God has given it.
This is not meant to give men the right to Lord over women their role. Rather, the Bible says that a man must love his wife as Christ loves the church and gave his life for it. If a man loves his wife in such a glorious manner, then she would have little reason to question his leadership.
Additionally, the roles of elder and deacon and pastor are reserved for men. These men should love their charge as Christ loves it as well. God has decreed such an institution and man should obey.
So, I had real issue with the leadership of this group.
Next, a single verse was read in the entirety of the service. It was read in a hurried fashion and never referred to again. A sermon was not given. People left the service without hearing what God had to say from his word and how it should be applied to their lives.
Now, to be honest - this was a graduation recognition service. The congregation was recognizing their graduates. Still, did such a recognition negate a need for Scripture. I believe God would have been honored by preaching a message on new stages in our lives (for graduates and all people) and how God is the God of each change, of each moment in our lives.
The message proclaimed (without words) was that we should feel good about ourselves and the graduates. Self-esteem and comfort had replaced Scriptural truth and the need for sinful man to come into relationship with a Holy God.
Unfotunately, this attitude is not rare. The world in general expects Christians to remain silent on issues that do not exude a warm fuzzy for man as he wallows in his sin. We are to allow sin to go unchecked, unannounced, undenounced? No! As Paul said "me genoito!" translated by some as "God forbid!" or "Let it never be!" Literally, it means - may it never be allowed to exist or come to pass.
Am I living up to such an ideal? Do I allow sin to run rampant becuse my culture does not allow me to voice Scripture's truth? Me genoito! I pray that God will give me boldness to proclaim his truth and never allow men to quiet my voice.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001). Psalm 118:6.
Soli Deo Gloria