Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Jeremiah 12 - Jeremiah puts on the hat of an attorney here and argues his case at the dock, even knowing that he cannot win: “Yet I must question you about matters of justice. Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why do dishonest people succeed? You plant them, and they take root; they grow and bear fruit. They always speak well of you, yet they do not really care about you. But, Lord, you know me; you see what I do and how I love you” (12:1-3). Jeremiah doesn’t berate God for the suffering he has endured for His sake, but it is implied. He does pray that God will punish the hypocritical ones at some point. They are out to destroy him (Jeremiah).
God also seems to complain of the injustice done to Him and to His heritage: aments the loss of his heritage: “Many shepherds have ravaged my vineyard, have trodden my heritage underfoot; the portion that delighted me they have turned into a desert waste” (12:10). God insists He will make their harvest, “the flaming anger of the Lord” (12:13). But even in the midst of this tirade, the Lord reveals His willingness to pity them and “bring them back” (12:15).
1 Corinthians 14:26-40 - Paul’s concern is that those who come into the Church will encounter there a testimony that can bring them to God.
The kind of service Paul describes in this chapter is interesting to think about. He imagines that a person coming in would see one person reading a psalm, another giving an instruction, revelation or speaking and interpreting of tongues, prophets speaking—two or three at a meeting. The way he describes it, it sounds more or less like a Quaker Meeting. Would that Friends really saw themselves as exercising this gift of prophesy. The admonition about women not being free to speak in the church is very hard to deal with. I think, in light of what we read earlier in chapter 11, that women speaking and prophesying in worship, should be wearing something to cover their heads, puts doubt on the idea that both passages were written by the same person. Some attribute this strict silencing of women to be an addition by someone else. I think this sounds very possible.
George Fox clearly saw that the Church in Christ should be a place where the “redeemed” should gather without the burdens of “the fall.” I love Paul. He is amazing in this letter.