Doctrine and Polity Committee Releases Second Paper on Women’s Issue

Members of the Church of God Doctrine and Polity Committee have released a second paper dealing with the issue of women in ministry and leadership.

The latest release is titled as a question: “Are Women to Remain Silent in the Church?” and is based upon the scripture from I Corinthians 14:34-35.

The paper is the eleventh in the Doctrine and Polity series, and is written by Dr. Terry Cross, a professor in the School of Religion at Lee University. Cross also authored the paper released in May based upon Romans 16 which Cross stated, “presents something like a counter-balance to the Pauline passages that seem to restrict a woman’s activity in the body of Christ.”

The two latest releases are in response to a 2016 General Assembly mandate which seeks to address the women in leadership and credentialing questions.

For the last six months, Global Ministry Forums have been held across the nation and around the globe where dialogue on this issue has been at the forefront. The information obtained from hundreds of surveys collected from participants at the forums will be taken into consideration when preparing the agenda for the International General Assembly in July 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Cross opens this latest research with the statement, “In ways similar to 1 Timothy 2:8-15, the passage in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 admonishes women to be silent in the churches…Some scholars have wondered if the 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 passage is not by Paul but perhaps inserted by a later copyist. Others have seriously proposed that Paul is simply quoting statements by a group of Corinthians (vv. 34-35) in order to refute them (v. 36), as he had already done in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; 7:1; and 10:23.

We are attempting to ascertain the meaning of Paul’s strong statements against women speaking aloud in the congregations in both 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians. Since one’s view on these two verses has an impact on how one understands what Paul is saying about women overall, we will consider the various interpretations carefully.”

Cross’s research is extensive and the full paper has numerous scriptural references and footnotes. The paper can be read in its entirety, along with endnotes, at the Church of God website ( under the BELIEFS tab on the home page. They are also available in Spanish.

Past Doctrine and Polity paper topics have included such issues as defense of the denomination’s stance on total abstinence from strong drink, observance of the Sabbath Day, human cremation, Spirit-filled worship, same-sex marriage, and the Hyper-Grace movement. Four papers have been released this year alone.

The Doctrine and Polity Committee exists to routinely examine the belief statements, doctrines, and polity in place within the structure of the denomination. The group considers amendments reflective of modern culture and offers recommendations for modifications employing extensive biblical research.

Serving alongside Cross is a group of ministers, scholars and academicians. They include professors at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary Dr. French Arrington, Dr. David Han, Dr. Lee Roy Martin, and Dr. Miriam Figueroa, and Lee Professor Dr. Jerald Daffe. Second Assistant General Overseer Dr. J. David Stephens serves as executive liaison.

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