the weblog of Alan Knox

Order or Disorder?

Posted by on May 27, 2008 in gathering | 27 comments

Imagine for a moment that you are scheduled to preach next Sunday. You study and prepare. When the day arrives, you stand up and begin speaking. While you are speaking, someone stands up and walks to where you are standing. This person asks to speak. What do you do?

In general, would the action of this person be considered orderly or disorderly? Why?

Imagine for a moment that you are not scheduled to preach next Sunday. You come to the meeting location and find a place to sit. At the appropriate time, someone stands to speak. But, instead of preaching, the individual says that God does not want him to speak. Instead, he says, he believes that God has told others to preach or teach. Then, he sits down. What do you do?

In general, would this be considered orderly or disorderly? Why? Would you have something to say if you thought God wanted you to teach that morning? Why? Why not?


27 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 5-27-2008

    Alan,

    I think there are certain expectations and unwritten rules that go along with any social setting. Thus, the two scenarios you present here would probably not be well received at churches who have grown accustomed to operating under circumstances in which this is not the norm.

    Also, as I understand Scripture, the part where one person “interrupts” the other one speaking has to do more with words of prophecy or something that is revealed spontaneously by the Holy Spirit, and not so much with a prepared time of teaching.

    Perhaps this is an uncalled for intrusion of pragmatics, but it seems to me that the ideal solution to this dilemma is to provide a place in church meetings for both types of participation (e.g. planned, uninterrupted teaching, and spontaneous, “interruptable” sharing or prophecy).

  2. 5-27-2008

    David,

    Thanks for the comment. First, I agree that there are some contexts in which it would be inappropriate for someone to “interrupt” the speaker. I’m not saying that it should be this way, but it is. In those context, I would not interrupt the speaker.

    You’re correct that 1 Corinthians 14 specifically gives instructions for speaking in tongues and prophecy. However, it seems that the difference in the two gifts is whether or not the gift is directly edifying to the church or not. 1 Cor 14:6 could indicate that teaching is in the same category as prophecy, that is, teaching is directly edifying to the church. So, its possible that the same rules given by Paul for prophecy also apply to teaching. Again, Paul doesn’t tell us directly. So, either the rules for prophecy apply to teaching, or we are not given rules for teaching in Scripture.

    -Alan

  3. 5-27-2008

    The passage from 1 Cor. also says that when someone gives a prophecy that those who are prophets should discern (judge) the message. I think the same principle would apply to your scenario and has in my own ministry. Any speech/teaching/prophecy must still be discerned by those who are recognized to hold the corresponding gifting.
    1. Who is asking to speak?
    2. Are they willing to submit to the recognized order and authority?
    3. Is it someone who has demonstrated a commitment to Christ and the Church?
    4. Have they demonstrated the giftings correspondent to the role they are seeking to take in the Body?

    Not so much that there is a “yes” or “no” answer to each questions, but more that questions like these are evaluated on the spot. I have been in these situations, by design, many times and usually is is great fun to see the Spirit move. Sometimes, the toughest part though is putting out fires from an word that is out of order.

    So the question is not just about order but about decency. The question also not just, “do we allow for a free-for-all, but can we have the maturity and structure that allows the Spirit to move?”

  4. 5-27-2008

    I think there are some good points being made here.

    I’d like to throw one question into the mix, though, in relation to what David Rogers pointed out. I, too, have often wondered if the instructions in 1 Cor 14 regarding interruptions related only to prophecy.

    However, my question is this — is there a place in scripture that addresses “planned teaching”?

    Obviously, you guys know I’m not asking to be difficult. On some blogs, I would be crucified for even asking ;)

    But seriously, is there supposed to be “planned teaching” in the church gathering, or is it supposed to be completely guided by the Spirit in that moment? That’s not to say that one cannot be moved ahead of time by the Spirit to prepare, but like in Alan’s first scenario here, the Spirit needs to be free to interrupt that.

    I’m just not thinking of any passages that talk about preparing teaching ahead of time. Am I forgetting something obvious that you guys can remind me of?

    With regard to J. R. Miller’s comment that one must have demonstrated this gift ahead of time — that leaves an interesting difficulty. How would one ever exercise that gift the first time?

  5. 5-27-2008

    J.R.,

    I struggle with understanding “judging”. What is to be judged? a) the person about to speak or b) what the person says. I think there may be a combination, especially if someone is known as a “false prophet” or “false teacher”. It may be common in your context to have a known “false prophet” or “false teacher” speak, but I haven’t run across it too many times.

    Even someone who has not “demonstrated” a certain gift could “receive a revelation” on the spot, since “all can prophesy”.

    That being said, you bring up some excellent points. Prophecy, and I would think teaching as well, should be judged by the people who hear the prophet or the teacher speak.

    Also, I completely agree that 1 Cor 14 does not allow for a free-for-all. Neither a free-for-all nor a well orchestrated production are in view in 1 Cor 14. This discussion is helping me learn to walk between these two extremes.

    Steve,

    I think there is the assumption of “planned teaching” – as well as “planned prophecy” and “planned tongues”, etc – in 1 Cor 14:26. “Whenever you come together, each one has…” does not necessarily point to something planned, but it could. Like you said, the question of “planned” or not does not seem to the point of 1 Cor 14:26-40. Instead, the point seems to be to allow the Spirit freedom to move as he desires.

    -Alan

  6. 5-27-2008

    Apologies ahead of time, this is more of a brain evacuation then coherent response.

    Steve, as a corollary to your question, “is there a place in the Scripture that addresses completely unplanned teaching as you envision it?” Or is there some place that suggests planned speaking by a gifted teacher is forbidden or un-Spiritual? Maybe you can define for me what this “unplanned” Spirit-speaking looks like? The NT believer of course had no NT Scripture, so would you suggest the true church turn in their Bibles, no preparation ahead of time, and then we all come together and wait? I know that in a blog that sounds sarcastic, but I am trying to understand what is being suggested by your questions about “planned” teaching. Or are you just saying what Frank Viola says that preaching is pagan? (PS my interview with Frank and George about Pagan Christianity should be on my blog in the next week or two).

    Personally, when I prepare a message I find it amazing how the Spirit works and then when I go to speak, I often find the Spirit adapting and changing what I planned based on who is there. Maybe you can clarify your questions.

    Also, Steve, I did not mean to imply the person MUST have demonstrated some previous use of a particular gifting. I am simply saying that these might be questions one would ask to evaluate (judge) the veracity of a prophetic word or teaching. If that is all you got from my statement, then maybe it was worded poorly.

    To that point, Alan, where does the Scripture say that “all” can prophecy. Does not Paul say that “some” prophecy, some heal, etc…? Also, 1 Cor 14:32 says that the prophets judge the other prophets, not everyone judges, so can I ask how you take that to mean everyone “who hears” makes a judgement.

    Alan, the passage in 1 cor 14:29 just says, “judge” διακρινέτωσαν

    It does not specify in this instance the message or the messenger so I would guess it is a combination of both. My guess is rooted the other letters of Paul where he judged both the message and the messenger. Galatians is a fairly clear example.

    The other problem is that none of these passages demand that every gifting be expressed at every meeting. It is as the Spirit leads… so if there is a weekly time when the Word os central, I don’t see a problem with that in Scripture, BUT, if that is all we make of the church experience we are missing the point of what you are trying to get across on this site.

    Finally, I think the problem I am seeing is that we are trying to take one or two passages that address one very specific problem in the Corinthian Church and then make those passages a guide for how the entire service worked. Paul is not giving a comprehensive picture of what the church did or that all this took place at every single gathering of the church in every forum. The danger, in my humble opinion, is when we try to make this corrective of one or two elements prescriptive for everything that the church did when that was not the content or intent of the passage. Does that make sense?

    Let me say in general, that I think you are doing a good thing to try and generate this discussion. My only hope is that my own posts don’t come across as dismissive as I try to push back a little here and there. I probably agree with you more often than not, but pushing back helps me figure things out and I fear that does not come across very well in a purely written format.

  7. 5-28-2008

    J.R.,

    Great comment! I appreciate the discussion, especially between people who are listening to one another and attempting to understanding one another. I did not take your comment to be dismissive. Thank you for indicating your intentions, though.

    Concerning “judging” – yes, I agree. This passage does not indicate whether it is the person or the content being judged. I was also thinking about other letters where Paul points out that neither “false prophets” nor “false teachers” should be allowed to speak. At some point, they must have spoken. But once it was determined that their message was “false”, they were not allowed to speak any longer. Of course, we’d need another discussion to determine what Paul meant by “false”.

    Also, 1 Cor 14:29 says that “others” should judge what the prophets say. This “others” could refer to other prophets, or others besides the ones speaking. So, its unclear here who is judging… other prophets or other people.

    Scripture says that “all” can prophesy in 1 Cor. 14:31.

    I completely agree that 1 Cor 14 is not a comprehensive picture of what a church meeting should look like. It is the most comprehensive picture of a church meeting in Scripture though. There seem to be some patterns in 1 Cor 14 that should be followed “whenever you come together”. Patterns like doing everything for the purpose of edification, allowing multiple people to use their gifts in an orderly manner, etc.

    Like I said, I don’t think 1 Cor 14 gives an “order of service” for a meeting. However, I am concerned when I see groups of believers who ignore the patterns. In fact, I know many who have dismissed 1 Cor 14 as being culturally irrelevant today. From your comments, I can tell that you’ve thought through this passage and recognize its relevance.

    One of the reasons that I write posts like this, asking questions that may be considered provocative, is to try to get people to think about different Scriptures that are sometimes ignored. And, like you said, hearing from different people – different perspectives and different priorities – it helps me to think through Scripture as well.

    -Alan

  8. 5-28-2008

    Alan, I had thought about 14:26 as a possible evidence of pre-planned. I’m not sure that’s the best interpretation, though, given the emphasis in chapters 12-14 on the Spirit moving. Like I said, however, the Spirit could certainly move someone ahead of time to prepare, so maybe it’s not a stretch.

    J.R., I appreciate the request for clarity. I’m not sure exactly what to say in response, however. My attempt was simply to look at what the text of scripture says before attempting to justify something that’s not in there.

    If pre-planned speaking is not in there, does that make it wrong? No, not necessarily. But it would be worth asking why and seeing if there is any good explanation as to why it’s not in there, right?

    Your questions seem to indicate that you don’t see the value in re-examining the traditional practice that is on the other end of the spectrum.

    Re: Paul addressing problems in Corinth, and therefore it not being wise for us to take his advice — I find this argument lacking on several levels.

    1. There doesn’t seem to be any indication in chapter 14 that Paul was addressing a problem, per se. He is pretty clear about there being divisions among them in earlier chapters, etc. But when we get to chapters 11-14, he doesn’t necessarily indicate that he’s addressing a problem (as far as I can see [other than elevating certain gifts above others]), but rather just clarifying some things for them.

    2. If Paul was simply “moderating chaos”, as you seem to imply, what could be applied from this passage, then? If there really is a “danger” (your word) in applying this passage, then why do you think God chose to include it in the canon?

    3. If the modern practice of a one-man lecture is really the way to go, then why didn’t Paul just tell the Corinthians to do that?

    4. If we don’t apply it, and stick with the traditional method of one person planning a monologue ahead of time, on what basis do we do this?

    The NT believer of course had no NT Scripture, so would you suggest the true church turn in their Bibles…

    This is called reduction to absurdity and is a logical fallacy. Nothing that I said could possibly be construed as being this absurd.

    As for the rest of your questions to me (i.e., “What does ‘unplanned’ speaking look like”) I would say that it would be best to deal with the text first. My point was that there appear to be many instances of “unplanned” speaking in the NT. I was curious if there were any instances of planned speaking. Do you know of any?

  9. 5-28-2008

    Good question and good discussion. I think prophecy in 1 Kor 14 is not easily distinguished from teaching, as someone pointed out. I think what was happening in Korinth and other early churches was free sharing, and I think this is still the norm for us, since this i grounded in the theological vision of the church as the Messiah´s body (1 Kor 12, Eph 4). I agree with Viola that preaching, stages, church buildings, pews etc are bad and pagan.

    As prophets should only a limited number speak, says Paul, and the others should judge. The easiest interpretation seems to be that the others should discuss what the “prophets” (the ones with longer contributions?) has said.

    In my view, I think there might even be instances where it´s good to interrupt preachers within established churches. To sit quietly and listen to rubbish, for example, is to support something negative. The anabaptists (and even Luther I think) referred to this as the “sitzenrecht” (the right of the one who sits there to interrupt, according to the german translation).
    /Jonas Lundström
    http://blog.bahnhof.se/wb938188

  10. 5-28-2008

    I don’t have time to post anything more substantive about this right now. But I just wanted to point out that the distinction I make between “planned teaching” and “spontaneous prophecy” is based, on a large part, on what Wayne Grudem says about this subject in “The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today.”

    That is probably a whole other discussion. But, in case any of you have read Grudem on this, I just wanted to “show my cards” and let you see where I am coming from.

    If any of you have not read Grudem, I think that he makes a very interesting argument that hinges largely on the “spontaneity” of prophecy vs. the “preparedness” of teaching. I also think that whether you follow Grudem on this point or not will influence significantly the way you will choose to answer Alan’s original questions.

  11. 5-28-2008

    Wow

    Great Discussion in the comments.

  12. 5-28-2008

    Everyone,

    First, great discussion! Thank you for all of the comments and the interaction concerning this topic.

    To me, being “scheduled” to teach or preach means that your preaching/teaching is planned for the meeting beforehand. For example, when we meet with the church, someone is always “scheduled” to teach, although that person may change from week to week.

    To me, being “prepared” to teach is a little different. Most weeks, I am “prepared” to teach even if I am not “scheduled” to teach. Thus, almost anytime that I meet with other Christians – on Sundays or other days of the week – I have been studying and can teach if God desires for me to do so. This “preparation” includes studying Scripture and reading other books, but it also includes meditation and discussion. My method of “preparation” has changed over the last few years, but I still think it is good to be “prepared” to teach. “Preparation” does not necessarily mean writing down notes and an outline, but instead it is being cognizant that God could use me to teach others what he’s already teaching me.

    Steve,

    Perhaps my explanation of “scheduled” and “prepared” above helps clarify what I was talking about in regards to 1 Cor 14. I agree that the emphasis in 1 Cor 12-14 is on allowing the Spirit freedom to work as he sees fit. In our context, we still have people “scheduled” to teach each week. There are times when I have taught because I was “scheduled”, but I didn’t think that I was the one who was supposed to speak at that time. Unfortunately, in our current context, few people – besides the one “scheduled” – actual meet with the church “prepared” to teach. And, in our context, few would be willing to speak unless they are “scheduled”. I’m not saying this is right, or that this is what we see in Scripture. But, it is what I see in our current situation.

    Jonas,

    I agree that prophecy and teaching are not easy to distinguish, but Paul does make that distinction in 1 Cor 14:6 and 14:26 (i.e. revelation and instruction). Unfortunately, he doesn’t tell us exactly what that distinction is. Perhaps, we can take that to mean that we do not need to know the distinction.

    Thank you for pointing out the Anabaptist’s practice of “sitzenrecht”. I had not heard of this before, but I’ll look for more information.

    David,

    I have read Grudem’s books on prophecy, but its been a couple of years. I don’t remember his exact positions, but I’m sure that my own position has been affected by what I read in his books. Do you remember if Grudem has categories for “unplanned teaching” or “planned prophecy”?

    Jeff,

    I agree!

    -Alan

  13. 5-28-2008

    Alan, that explains a lot better. I completely agree with you that we should always be “prepared” to teach. One dear friend of mine once talked about it using the phrase “speaking out of your overflow”. It was basically the idea that we have so much in our hearts with relationship to our Father that we can speak/teach without any prior warning.

    With regard to the expectations, I think sometimes we have to remove the structures we have built in order to get people to understand the need for something different/better. For example, if one is always “scheduled” (even if it’s a different one each week), most will not see the need to be “prepared”. But if we stopped “scheduling” speakers, than eventually people would realize the need to be “prepared”.

    When we first started meeting in homes, we pushed this envelope a bit. People would be looking at me (since it was our home) expecting me to have a teaching for the week. But I would throw it open to them. Before too long, people caught on.

    I always feel like it’s too easy to 1) not depend on the Holy Spirit, and 2) not give people credit for being able to grow and mature. I’m not saying you’re doing either of those things. I’m just speaking in very general terms.

  14. 5-28-2008

    Hi Alan, good points. You bring up some good questions that I wish I had more time to write on. for now, I would only pick at one minor word choice “pattern.” I am not sure that is the right descriptor, but I will think more on it and wrestle with it for a while.

    Steve, thanks. You may not have understood my questions, but you do make clear that when you say “planned” speaking you are referring to the modern “sermon.” So to be more precise, you are asking the same question raised in Pagan Christianity. The only “monologue” we read in Scripture is Scripture itself. The letters were obviously a one way speech. Not exactly a sermon though. That being said, we read in early Acts that the Church dedicated itself to the teaching of the Apostles.. not the teaching of everyone, but the teaching of the Apostles. What did that look like? I don’t know of any place in Scripture that gives us an account of how the Apostles taught the early church. Do you? So although we do not have one single example, we know they taught the church. We also know that Elders had a responsibility to teach; yet we have no record of what that teaching looked like. do you know?

    So I guess my concern is that the question, as you phrased it, is setting up a bit of a straw man. As Alan points out, we do know some of what took place in the church meeting, but my point is that we don’t know EVERYTHING.

    I do not mean to imply that 1 Cor does not have application for us today all I am saying is that we also have other passages that tell us about the teaching in the church but we do not seem to have specific examples in Scripture of how that looked. Right?

  15. 5-28-2008

    David, the only problem with Grudem’s assertion that prophecy = teaching is that the Apostle Paul does not agree. In Eph 4:11 he lists Prophets and teachers separately. Eph 4:11 is a list of unique things not synonymous things.

  16. 5-28-2008

    Alan, I do like your explanation of “planned” vs. “scheduled” Within your terminology set, I am probably very close to what you do.

    Let me push back a little on one thing. Leaving room for everyone to comment and share is good (we do that at our tables each week), but still the Scripture describes a church where all are uniquely gifted for the common edification. (1 cor 12).

    Do you, David, Steve, Alan, or anyone, think there are people who are uniquely gifted to teach? If not, why? If yes, how does the gift of teaching look different in a church setting when everyone shares their own experience?

    Which brings up another question. It seems we have models where we value everyone sharing their experience and opinion, but is that really the same as what happened in the NT church? Steve, in your home church, are there a lot of headings taking place? Tongues? Words of knowledge? Or is it just unplanned speakers? How do you build in these other giftings?

  17. 5-28-2008

    J.R., I’m not trying to argue Viola’s point here. Viola’s point is about the origin of the monologue sermon. I’m not particularly concerned with the origin of it, pagan or otherwise, but rather the biblical basis (or lack thereof) for it. Nothing I have offered here has to do with Viola’s writings.

    Again, I’m trying to look at what the text actually says and start there instead of trying to defend a particular practice. I don’t understand the problem with that approach.

    My question wasn’t even implying that prepared, scheduled teaching was bad or wrong. I feel like you’re trying to argue against a thesis that I haven’t even proposed. And you’re calling my position a “straw man” — except that I haven’t presented a position. Only questions to think through the topic! And you haven’t really dealt with the questions I asked you in response to your other comment to me. I would love to see you actually consider my questions instead of saying I’m constructing a straw man when I haven’t done anything but raise questions.

    Is it possible that “the Apostles’ teaching” refers to the content of what the Apostles had passed on and not formal teaching sessions taking place?

  18. 5-28-2008

    Alan,

    I don’t have Grudem’s book with me right now, and it’s been several years since I read it as well. So, I’ll just have to go by my somewhat vague recollection. But, if I remember correctly, he defines prophecy as communicating verbally something that God spontaneously brings to mind. Teaching is more based on study and careful previous reflection.

    However, what I don’t remember is to what point he makes these to be hard and fast distinctions.

    Just me thinking out loud now… It seems to me there is, by default, a lot of interplay between the two. Surely, the amount of time and effort one has spent studying the Word of God and reflecting on its content will influence what he/she perceives to be the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking spontaneously into a given situation. Also, when one is studying the Word of God, and preparing to “teach,” there is no doubt but that he/she should be open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and illumination, and that this will be reflected in what eventually ends up being taught publicly.

    Also, I think I am in agreement with J.R. here in the questions he raises as to what degree 1 Cor. 14:26-40 is prescriptive or merely descriptive, and if descriptive, does it describe everything that took place, or only certain parts of what took place. Alan, I know you have written more in depth about this on previous posts.

    In any case, I would argue that there is a place in church meetings for “teaching” as over against words of “prophecy” or “sharing,” etc. However, the way this “teaching” is communicated may be varied. There seems to be room for monologue, dialogue, and even drama, and teaching through song.

    Also, there are certain types of presentation for which it might be more appropriate to “interrupt” the speaker, and others for which it would not.

    In general, though, I would think that someone sharing a word of “prophecy,” being, by definition (if you follow Grudem), the communication of something the Holy Spirit spontaneously brings to mind, ought to be more open or vulnerable to something the Holy Spirit spontaneously brings to mind to someone else.

    In a real sense, following this scenario, church meetings ought to be a time of collective listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, and sharing with each other what we sense him to be saying.

    At the same time, a solid grounding in and emphasis on the teaching of the Word of God can help balance out the inherent danger of excessive subjectivity that may well come along with this. Thus, there should be adequate time and space given in church meetings for both types of communication.

    That is not to say, however, that every single meeting must make time and space for both types of communication. But, in church life in general, there should be an appropriate balance.

  19. 5-28-2008

    Fair enough steve. Our difference may be in how we use Scripture. I assume we both use it as our guide for living our faith. Part of the application though I see is our Liberty in Christ. To your question, the modern sermon is not pictured in Scripture. It is an adaptation of the art of rhetoric from Greek / Roman culture. The reason I say your question is a bit of a “straw man” is not to impugn your motives brother, but I think it begs the wrong question about how to use the Scripture.

    My guidelines for the acceptability of preaching (or any cultural adaptation) would be these:

    1. Is the action prohibited by the express teaching of the Apostles?
    2. Is the action help fulfill the mission of the church to spread the Gospel?

    In my opinion, the traditional Sunday sermon violates neither of these principles, so I see no problem with it. BUT, for anyone who says that the Sunday Service encapsulates ALL of the Christian life, that would be an error. We need the dynamic Body-church, as we are discussing here and as I discuss on my blog and as I teach in my church. But I don’t think it is necessary to tear down what others are doing to build up something else (not saying you or anyone here is doing that, just expressing my general view).

    My question would be how does a planned sermon violate the Grace and liberty of our faith?

  20. 5-28-2008

    David, well said!

  21. 5-28-2008

    J.R. Miller,

    It looks like you may have misunderstood what I was saying at first. I do not believe, (and neither does Grudem, from what I can tell) that prophecy and teaching are the same thing.

    That being said, I think a big part of this discussion hinges on where one comes down on his/her position in regard to the regulative principle of worship and the normative principle of worship.

    J.R., if I understand you correctly, you are arguing for more of a “normative” approach. And, I tend to agree with you on this. I would say that where Scripture speaks clearly, we are bound to follow what it says. But, where it does not speak clearly, there is much more liberty, and room for pragmatic application of general principles. And, more specifically regarding church meetings, I feel there is a lot that God has chosen not to spell out specifically through Scripture.

  22. 5-28-2008

    David, thanks for clearing that up. I have not read Grudem since seminary, so I am fuzzy on that point as well. I think you previous post also helped make more clear what you were saying about prophecy/teaching.

  23. 5-28-2008

    Alan. I don´t remember the best sources right now for sitzenrecht, but George Williams talks about it in his masterpiece The Radical Reformation, and JH Yoder also discusses this.
    /Jonas

  24. 5-28-2008

    Everyone,

    There is another “principle” besides the “normative” and “regulative” principles. It is called the “informed principle”. Those who hold to the informed priciple believe that what is commanded in Scripture regarding worship is required, what is prohibited in Scripture regarding worship is forbidden, what is not prohibited in Scripture regarding worship is permissible, but only if properly deduced from proper application of Scripture using good and necessary consequence. I think most people actually fit into this category, but disagree with others as to what is “properly deduced from proper application of Scripture”.

    For example, I think that Scripture commands that everything done during the meeting of the church be done for the purpose of edification – building up the church. Because of that belief, there are some activities that I think should not be done during the meeting of the church because they hinder edification, even if they activity itself is not forbidden.

    Using these principles, we can say that “teaching” is commanded and thus required. A specific method of teaching is not commanded and thus not required, so there is freedom, given that other commands are not broken (i.e. edification). Again, interrupting a teaching is neither commanded nor prohibited. If “teaching” is in the same class as “prophecy” (which I suggested from 1 Cor 14:6), the interrupting a “teaching” is allowed and is orderly. However, this would depend upon your “proper application of Scripture”.

    Steve,

    I recognize that in my context, many would not accept an “interruption” to teaching. Even if I think it is permissible, I do not think it would be eidfying in my context. In humility, and in concern for others, I attempt to live within my context, trusting God to change myself and/or others to more align with his will and his desire for our “teaching”. I have found that there are other ways to teach and disciple without interrupting a “scheduled teaching”. For now, this is how God is using me.

    J.R.,

    Yes, I think that there are “teachers” – those people through whom the Spirit normally delivers a teaching. I think that there are “prophets” – those people through whom the Spirit normally delivers a prophecy. However, I also believe that the Spirit can and does work through people in ways that he normally does not work. So, even someone who is not a “teacher” can teach, as the Spirit wills.

    As far as the model of “everyone sharing”… I think this depends upon the number of people meeting together. I do believe that it is more edifying for multiple people to speak than for only one to speak.

    David,

    Yes, sometimes there is extra time and effort put into preparing for teaching, and yes, the Spirit often works through that time of “study”. I’m beginning to see in my own life, though, that sometimes this “study” is artificial. I should study for God to change me, not in order to have a prepared sermon. Thus, whether I am “scheduled” to teach or not, I desire to study and grow and learn, and in that, I find that I am prepared, whether or not I am “scheduled”. On the other hand, if I only “study” when I am “scheduled” to teach, I think there is something missing and probably something wrong. This is probably not what you are talking about, but like you, I’m simply thinking out loud.

    Jonas,

    Thank you for the book reference.

    -Alan

  25. 5-28-2008

    Alan, I am at peace with the “informed principle” as you describe it. Would you agree, based on that definition, that the application may look different in different cultures, amongst different people groups, and also depending on what giftings the HS chooses to give for the edification of the Body? In other words, is there not a lot of diversity in this approach?

  26. 5-28-2008

    J.R.,

    I think that meetings will look different in different cultures, although that’s not exactly what I was talking aboug. Instead, I was talking about different contexts within the same culture. I think there are patterns that I mentioned before that should be found in all cultures and contexts, especially as people mature in Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to work through them.

    -Alan

  27. 5-28-2008

    ah, okay, thanks.