The Issue

As I visited with people immediately after the sermon today there were a couple of common themes. Some wanted to talk about their relatives that have left the Church of Christ because of the church’s inflexibility. Some of these reflections went back many decades. Others wanted to talk about how the culture has dramatically and rapidly changed in regards to the role of women. However, the church does not reflect that change. A few days ago I turned 48. When I was younger the culture was in transition but there were still cultural norms restricting women from fully participating in a number of areas. Remember on Petticoat Junction when a woman doctor came to town? The men were aghast! No way in this world would they let a woman treat them. (If you’re younger than me I don’t want any comments like, “What’s a Petticoat Junction?”.) Women could be nurses, secretaries, or teachers. Other than that, they should be homemakers. How quickly our culture changed. My children (all in their 20’s now) see the world I grew up in as a strange place in regards to restrictions women faced. Today the only place in the U.S. that still restricts women is the church. How weird is that to our contemporary culture?

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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.


5 Responses to “The Issue”

  1. avatar Amanda says:

    I was scribbling notes like crazy this morning. You handled a tough topic very well. Hope you feel better!

  2. avatar Jeremy says:

    I didn’t know it was your birthday last week! Happy belated B-Day!
    I had a professor at OC who thought that more than likely it was not veils but hair, he cites verse 4, in the Greek (couldn’t get the font to show correctly here) as literally meaning “having something down from his head”. He then proposes that Paul’s reason seem to speak of something more significant than just a mere custom. He does, however, just about come out where you did, the men or women should not adopt any style (clothing or hair) that is widely accepted as a sign of disrespect to the divine order of society, of immorality or of anti-establishmentism.
    While I agree with you that the church needs to be culturally relevant, it does not need to mirror the culture. We have been called out, sanctified, set apart, we are a new creation, following a wisdom that the world considers foolishness. There she be some very major, stark differences between us and the world. Adapting to be relevant is one thing, changing to be more “politically correct” might just be another. It’s a fine line that is hard to balance on (as evidenced by Paul’s letter). We have to remain true to the cross yet somehow translate that into 21st century culture without losing its power.

  3. avatar Julie says:

    I am completely in favor of conveying the Gospel message in terms that our modern culture will understand. We sometimes hold on to an outdated structure or method of teaching or “doing church” that ends up being more important to us than the message itself. At the same time, I think we have to be careful where we adapt and where we maintain our course. For instance, our culture accepts relativism, premarital sex, and homosexuality as norms, and we seem strange to them on those issues. (Praise God!) When I look at Jesus’ life, I see that He was completely opposed to His culture in what He taught and completely relevant to culture in the way He taught. I pray for us to have an eternal perspective like our Savior.

  4. avatar Anonymous says:

    Your message provided more good than you know.

  5. avatar Ben says:


    Sorry it took me a while, but I finally got a chance to listen to this sermon today. I thought it was a very respectful and tasteful read of a very weird text. I appreciated your willingness to avoid one specific agenda and instead ask the question: “Is the church still relevant?”

    Because, I can, however… The “women’s issue” for me never bothered be growing up because it didn’t have to. The problems arose for me when I took classes with, read books by, watched videos of, and took classes from women preachers. Suddenly, the question of “can women preach?” Was irrelevant. Saying that women cannot preach (or pray, or speak before the Lord’s Supper) was in my mind, saying that these women whom I know have gifts that do not exist. Suddenly, it was not an “issue”, it was real life.

    Kind of reminds me of when the Sprint came to the gentiles and Peter said, “How could I not baptize them? The Holy Spirit was already there!” Will the church be relevant? Absolutely, because Christ is always relevant. Will the church be Christ to the world it finds itself in?