As I've worked my way through Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, I've become convinced that the notion of "heaven" should be rejected as falling short of orthodox Christian confession. What do I mean by such a thing? It strikes me that our world largely embraces the notion of "heaven," but that is not the confession of the historic Church. We do not confess belief in "heaven", but in "the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting". It is not faith in the Christian sense that is necessary to believe in heaven (I don't know that I know almost anyone who doesn't believe in heaven), but it is this kind of faith that is essential for belief in the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting. These two beliefs should not be confused.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not abandoning the truth of God's presence and kingdom as now, but not yet. What I'm abandoning is the contemporary embrace of "heaven" as a place of disembodied existence. This fails to account for the very bodily resurrection from the dead of which Christ is the first-fruit. As the Church, we confess, and long for, a bodily existence that is transformed by the life-giving power of the Spirit which is in Christ Jesus. Our bodies will most assuredly be raised at the last day, even as we already are living resurrected lives of obedience...yielding our very lives to the Spirit.
Talk of "heaven" though is a disembodied talk. It is a talk of immaterial "spiritual" existence. It is not the Biblical doctrine of last things. The end is an end where the dead in Christ are raised because they have died and been buried with Christ. This has everything to do with bodily life now. It is not a sloughing off of this body and an immaterial entrance into a better plane of existence. It is the transformation of this body, because this body belongs to Christ as we yield all that we are to the obedience of Him.
So I reject the notion of "heaven" and embrace the resurrection and life everlasting...where death has been swallowed up in victory! Come, Lord Jesus!
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Thursday, November 03, 2011
34 women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.Interestingly, the NIV84 (CEB, CEV, ESV, HCSB, NAB, NET, NJB and NRSV) makes 34a "women should remain silent in the churches" a part of the preceding statement in verse 33 (which in full reads: "For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints,"). The KJV, NIV2011 (though see the footnote), NKJV, NLT, and TNIV read the last phrase of verse 33 with the first phrase and then end verse 33 with a period...thus separating 33 from 34. I personally prefer the reading of the latter.
35 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. (1 Cor.14:34-35 NIV84)
Also, how does one preach "women should remain silent in the churches"? I know the traditional explanations I've heard about women speaking up asking questions but being too far away from their husbands and thus disturbing the congregational meeting, but I find this utterly unsatisfactory on historical grounds for congregational settings. How does remaining "silent" relate to Paul's earlier instruction that women could publicly pray and prophecy (1 Cor.11:5, 13; 14:31)? I ended up essentially passing over this text with some comments about its questionable content and thus a need to not make doctrine of it in light of Gordon Fee's arguments (NICNT "The First Epistle to the Corinthians" Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987: pp.705-708) for verses 34-35 being an interpolation (since one of the issues is that in a number of manuscripts this text is placed completely after chapter 14 suggesting their was early question of the placement -- or authenticity???).
So how would you preach this text?