Equality in Worship
by Tom McLemore
††††††† Christian women are not authorized to lead Christian men in public worship (1 Corinthians 14:33, 34; 1 Timothy 2:8-15).† A Christian woman should not conclude from this that she is inferior to, and not equal with, Christian men in the presence of God during worship.†† All Christians draw near to the throne of God in spirit and offer spiritual sacrifices together during worship.† Each (whether man or woman) serves as a priest before God (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Hebrews 13:15).
††††††† With God, there is no distinction between the worship of the leader in worship and the worship of those being led in worship.† No one should imagine that the ones who are leading in public worship are the only ones serving as priests.† Those who are leading in worship are not offering spiritual sacrifices on behalf of those being led.† While a Christian man leads in worship in accordance with the Scriptures, the Christian women (and other Christian men) are offering their own spiritual sacrifices before God for themselves, precisely as the leader is to be offering his own spiritual sacrifice for himself.††
††††††† In the presence of God, there is no distinction between the spiritual sacrifice of the Christian man who PREACHES THE WORD and the Christian women (and other Christian men) listening to the word of God preached.† The spiritual sacrifice of all, including the preacher, consists in hearing and responding to the message.† The responsive listeners are offering nothing less than, and nothing inferior to, what is to be offered by the preacher.†
††††††† In the presence of God, there is no distinction between the spiritual sacrifice of the Christian man who LEADS SONGS and that of the Christian women (and other Christian men) who are being led in song.† All are to be singing and making melody with all their heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19).† The Christian women (and other Christian men) being led in song are offering nothing less than, and nothing inferior to, what is offered by the Christian man who is leading in song.
††††††† In the presence of God, there is no distinction between the spiritual sacrifice of the Christian man who LEADS PRAYER and the Christian women (and other Christian men) who are being led in prayer.† All, including the one leading in prayer, are praying to God the prayer that the leader is leading. †The Christian women (and other Christian men) being led in prayer are offering nothing less than, and nothing inferior to, what is to be offered by the Christian man leading in prayer.
††††††† So as far as worship is concerned, there is NO INEQUALITY in the scriptural arrangement whatsoever.† Leadership in worship is a practical necessity if worship is to be corporate.†† Leadership itself, however, is not the spiritual sacrifice the leader offers to God.†† The leaderís own spiritual sacrifice is to be the same as that which he is leading others to offer.†† He himself must be led to do what he is attempting to lead others to do.† (It is possible for a leader to be so focused upon his leadership that he can fail to offer his own spiritual sacrifice.†† Experience shows that it is sometimes very difficult to worship while one is trying to lead others in worship).
††††††† In the world, women are being led to believe they should not be satisfied unless they can occupy all of the same roles as men.†† Some Christian women are being urged to feel inferior because they are not authorized by the Scriptures to lead Christian men in worship.†† (We might add that in the church, some are under the notion that those who lead in worship are more significant that those being led).†
††††††† Let all, both Christian men and Christian women, consider the nature of worship.† Leaders are not performing before human spectators in quest of a boost to their self-esteem.† Worship is priestly service before God rather than a venue for gaining human recognition and self-satisfaction.† Recall Jesusí teaching about the Pharisees (Matthew 6 and Matthew 23).
††††††† †Let Christian women remember that in the presence of God during worship, they occupy precisely the same role as the Christian men who lead them in worship.† They, along with every other Christian, are priests offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ!
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