Question #41

A Question About Computers and Women

I would like to know where in the Bible do you find that it is OK to use the computer and the internet. I would also like to know if women are not to be given authority in the church why did Paul speak of Lydia as the leader of a church and why did Jesus hold women in high regard?

The Answer:

Your real question seems to be the second question. I am assuming that the first question is meant to apply to the use of the computer and the internet in the church, though it does not say so. The two questions. Taken together, imply that (1) since the computer and the internet are used in the church, and (2) since Jesus held women in high regard, and (3) since Paul spoke of Lydia as the leader of a church, that it is inconsistent not to permit women to have positions of authority in the church.

You need to recognize that difference between specific and generic commands. When God gives a specific command man must not deviate from it. For example, when God told Noah to build the ark using a specific type of wood, all other types were eliminated. God did not have to list every other type of wood and tell Noah not to use each one of them. When Christ told his disciples to go into all of the world and preach the gospel, He did not tell them how to go or how to preach. Man may go on his feet, on a mule, in a car, or in an airplane. Using any of these means he has still done nothing but go. Having gone, he may preach in person, by letter, by radio and television, or by the internet. Using any of those methods he has still done nothing but preach.

As for Lydia, the record in Acts 16 does not reveal that Paul ever called her the leader of a church. There is not even a hint of a suggestion that Lydia was the leader of the women who on the Sabbath had gather by the river to pray. In fact, she seemed to be from Thyatira, not Philippi where Paul was preaching. She was the first convert to Paul’s preaching. She did own or rent a house in Philippi which she used in plying her trade. Finally, if others of the women were converted and a congregation was established with only female members, Lydia could, in the absence of Paul, assume a leadership role without usurping authority over the male. (1 Tim. 2:12.) As long as Paul was present he would undoubtedly be the leader of the congregation until elders were appointed. (Titus 1:5.)

You are, of course, correct that Jesus held women in high regard. However, that fact does not change at all any of the commands of scripture related to the role of women in the church. The husband is to be the head of the wife (Eph. 5:23). At the same time the husband is to hold the wife in such high regard that he loves her as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it (Eph. 5:25).

There is no inconsistency. It is difficult in today’s world to maintain the teaching of Scripture in regard to woman’s role in the church, especially since much of the denominational world has turned from it and gives women roles in violation of the teachings of Scripture. God has given men specific roles; He has given women specific roles. When those roles are changed there is an inconsistency between the practice of man and the will of God. For a further discussion of this subject see the lessons on 1 and 2 Timothy on this web site.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)