Saturday, May 16, 2015

Who are you, lady?

God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people. Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command.
1 Corinthians 14:33-37

Taken out of context? Well, yes. The holy apostle Paul is in fact talking about what we would today call ‘charismatic gifts’ in the Church, although for most of us, history has proven that many of the phenomena of the first generation of believers (they had not even been called ‘Christians’ yet) were signs essential to the founding of the Church, but disappeared, not through being suppressed as some moderns believe, but simply because ‘God is not a God of disorder but of peace.’ He founds the Church, then through time He perfects it, abolishing by the Spirit what becomes unnecessary, establishing what is required at every stage of the journey of God’s people. The journey? Yes, we are on our way to glory.

The Church—I am now speaking of those believers who not only accept the claims of Jesus Christ, but who also are faithful to the apostles’ preaching in every age, rejecting the false prophets, those who butcher the Body of Christ, and those modern Nicolaitans who divide and conquer—the Church that has by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God selected from the sacred writings those worthy of being the written ikon of the Word of God, the Holy Bible, and who alone by their humility and brotherly love, are to be trusted in applying its divine instructions, does not treat the divine Scriptures as a book of laws to be punctiliously followed, or an arsenal of weapons with which to scourge nations and destroy souls.

Yet we have seen and heard audacious lies proclaimed by corrupt and spiritually unchaste souls in every age, and having quickly forgotten them to whom we have lent no ear, are not troubled by those blasting us even now with their hollow thunder. Nevertheless, they still blast us with their false prophecies, hoping to catch some off guard. Today, banking on her illustrious name, the daughter of the evangelist Billy Graham, has fallen into the trap of duplicity, and whether by her own will, or by the weakness of her faith fallen under the deceptions of others, she publicly pushes another gospel. Is she a prophet? Has she read of any prophetesses in the holy and divine scriptures who do what she is now doing?

Has she read Christ’s letters to the seven churches of Asia? No, she is nothing so great as the seductress called Jezebel who deceived some of the believers in Thyatira. Compared to that woman she is a nobody. Next year she will already be forgotten, and not because all the Christians will be ‘raptured’ and disappear from the earth. Thyatira’s crone is immortalized in Christ’s letter to that church, a warning to His disciples till the end of time, to avoid ‘the woman of sin’ who tempts to spiritual adultery. Yet even she will disappear into the lake of fire and be remembered no more, once God’s purposes are achieved. No, not Anne Graham Lotz. I am speaking of Jezebel. As for Mrs Lotz, I ask, ‘Who are you, lady?’

Never mind who she is. This is her message.

‘…judgment is coming on America and on our world, and it's going to be ugly. I believe Jesus is soon to return to take all of His followers to Heaven with Him in what is referred to as the Rapture… While this will be deliverance for His people, can you imagine the impact on our nation, let alone the world, when suddenly every single authentic Christian disappears? Institutions will collapse. Banks will close. The Stock Market will plunge. Planes will fall out of the sky. Cars will crash on the road. Government in America at every level will disintegrate. Families will be torn apart. In the unprecedented turmoil, our nation will be vulnerable for our enemies to seize the moment and attack us. There will be mass chaos, confusion, fear, grief, despair, anger, threats, danger … judgment.’

All of this we have heard before. It is a modern fantasy as it is taught today, though it has been circulating in the undisciplined no-man’s-land at the outer edges of the Church since the sixteenth Christian century. The appeal to scripture—1 Thessalonians 4:17—that proponents of this idea make is worthless, because the Church knows no apostolic preaching of it. From the beginning up till today, the Church has made no mention of it in any of its testimonies, not in liturgy, not in iconography. This teaching is known only among those believers who reject the Church founded by Christ and His holy apostles, and instead follow their own version of the Good News, something which Paul prophesied.

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, were to preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be anathema.
Galatians 1:8

Returning to the passage from Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth, regarding women, though the Church has this in writing from the holy apostles, and though it is practiced in some places down to this very day, even among pious Christ-loving believers outside the Holy Church, it is not eternal law or commandment. The Church has relaxed this prohibition, knowing the will of God and His righteous decrees not only by words humanly written, but by the Holy Spirit, who leads and matures us age by age, who is with us on our journey, and who reminds us that, ‘the son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath’ (Matthew 12:7-8), releasing us forever from all bondage, making us again as Adam and Eve, lords of the earth.

Yet here we have people—whether men or women, it doesn’t matter—speaking as though the word of God originated with them, as the apostle Paul chides, preaching as though they were the only people the word of God has reached. This very passage must burn the conscience of all those who take it upon themselves to be ‘prophets’ or ‘otherwise gifted by the Spirit,’ yet they do not repent, but pride themselves on their boldness to proclaim as truth that which the Church has always rejected. The pollsters claim that ‘more than half of Americans think the Rapture is real,’ again a self-evident fable.

May the daughter of an innocent if misguided father repent, lest she be asked by Someone greater than myself, ‘Who are you, lady?’

1 comment:

GretchenJoanna said...

I was just listening to a talk by Fr. Stephen Freeman in which he laments, "Your opinions have no value at all, and neither do mine…I don’t care what you think…I want to know God, you want to know God. Opinions are like bellybuttons…everybody’s got one…and we’re dying….Opinionism should be listed as a heresy; it’s no good."
And your title reminds me of what a deacon in my church used to reply to my late husband, when he would opine: "And who are you?"