Clearnote Church, Bloomington's statement on the meaning and obligations of sexuality in congregational life...

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(Note from TB: Often I've had calls from pastors and elders asking for help working through the issue of what is and isn't appropriate for men and women to do in their congregation. Some years ago Clearnote Church, Bloomington adopted such a statement drafted for us by one of our pastors at the time, Rev. David Wegener.

It's clear from a recent comment that readers of Baylyblog don't know Clearnote Bloomington's practice on these matters, so I'm taking this opportunity to post the statement here for the good of the church at large. It it would be helpful, please do circulate this statement--or even adopt it as your own.

Clearnote Church, Bloomington's Understanding of the Biblical Responsibilities of Men and Woman in Congregational Life

Adopted by Clearnote Church, Bloomington Board of Elders in November, 1999

1. All men and women are equally created in the image of God and therefore are equally worthy of our honor and respect...

(Genesis 1:26-28, Romans 13:7, 1 Peter 2:17)

2. All Christian men and all Christian women enjoy equally the benefits of being redeemed by Jesus Christ. They have eternal life, their sins are forgiven, they have been declared righteous by God, they have been adopted as His sons, they have received the Holy Spirit, who has given gifts to each one just as He wills. (John 3:16, Romans 3:21-31, 8:9, 1 Corinthians 12:11, Galatians 3:26, Colossians 1:13,14)

3. The husband is the head of his own wife. This means he has authority over her and is to exercise this authority by leading her, protecting her, providing for her and loving her as Christ loved the Church. (Genesis 2:15-25, Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:19)

4. That the husband is the head of the wife does not imply his superiority nor her inferiority. God the Father is not superior to God the Son though God is the head of Christ. The Father and the Son are coequal members of the Holy Trinity. They are equal in person, yet different and complementary in role and function. So in marriage, the husband and wife are equal in creation and redemption, yet they are different and complementary in role and function. (1 Corinthians 11:3)

5. The wife is to submit to her own husband as the Church submits to Christ. He is to have the final say in disagreements. (Ephesians 5:22-24, Colossians 3:18)

6. In corporate worship it would be appropriate for women to join in congregational prayers, to read Scripture, to sing and to testify. Men should preside over worship and do the preaching, Scripture lessons and pastoral prayer. If there would be an occasion where a doctrinal, Scriptural matter was under debate in public worship, women should keep silent during such discussion. At such times, the pastor or elder presiding over the discussion will request the men of the church to be the participants in the discussion. (1 Corinthians 11:5, 14:15, 29-35, Colossians 3:16-17, 1 Timothy 2:8, 11-12)

7. Godly, strong, humble men called by the congregation and the elders are to fill the offices of pastor and elder and deacon. Deacons should be assisted in their work by godly, mature widows and older women with spiritual maturity, selected by the elders. The adults in the Church should be taught by the pastors and elders and other mature Christians with the gift of teaching whom the leaders designate. Normally, men will teach classes containing men, starting with high school and continuing through adulthood. Also, small groups containing men will have a male leader who does the teaching. (1 Timothy 2:9-15, 3:1-13, 5:1-16, Titus 1:5-9, 2:3-5)

8. The Holy Spirit has given many women the gift of teaching. This gift is properly exercised when women teach children and other women. Though much teaching goes on in the normal give and take of congregational life, women are not to teach men in the Church in any formal sense. (Colossians 3:16-17, 1 Timothy 2:12-14, 2 Timothy 1:5, 3:15)

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!