"Church is different today because we get to sit on chairs, and they had to sit on the wet, soggy ground," says Bilwood, age 6.

There's nothing worse than a soggy toga.

"Church was different because they had church on the outside, not inside," says Hunter, 7.

While Hunter is referring to Christians meeting out-of-doors, there's another kind of meeting that's not so innocent. Some suppose that the mere act of going to church will make one a Christian. That's like saying that going to a garage will make you a car or drinking coffee in a doughnut shop will make you a police officer.

Without the reality of being born again by placing your trust in the Lord Jesus as your savior, going to church is only a religious activity. Jesus said his Father was looking for those who would worship him in spirit and truth. 

"Long ago, people had church at people's houses," says Joshua, 11. "They ate bread, read the Bible and drank wine. Some people preached in temples. They took their food happily and sang praises to the Lord. They preached the word of the Lord in every city."

Joshua, your description reads like a good summary of Acts 2:42-47. First-century Christians lived the adventure of seeing God work in their midst. Early Christian gatherings were open and spontaneous (1 Corinthians 14:26).

"Church in the first century was different from ours because the women and little girls had to wear a veil to church. And if they didn't, they would get their hair shaved off," says Lauren, 9.

Whoa! Imagine the emBAREassment of forgetting your veil if this really was the practice of the early church. This brings us to the hotly debated biblical text of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. Shall I say that the debate gets a little hairy?

Some say women should wear a veil when assembling with Christians in church. Others say a woman's long hair is her covering and glory. For a fuller development of the hair vs. the veil argument, please visit the website of my friend, scholar Steve Atkerson.

Whether you're hairy or veiled, there's one thing both sides agree upon -- submission is the key to our salvation. The Lord Jesus submitted to his Father in his ministry and in bearing our sins on the cross. Apart from his submission, there would be no salvation.

The woman's covering is a sign of submission and recognizes God's hierarchy (God-Christ-Man-Woman) in the church. Is the Lord Jesus any less equal with God the father because he submitted to him in all things? Absolutely not! Even though he submitted to his Father to accomplish our salvation, he is co-equal with him. Submission is a beautiful thing, not a sign of inferiority.

The most liberating document ever written for women is the New Testament. The same Apostle Paul who wrote that wives should submit to their husbands also wrote that there's neither male nor female in Christ "for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). This was revolutionary in the first century, when women had virtually no rights.

The roles in marriage and the church run parallel to the relationship between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-33). Just as Jesus gave himself for his church, men should follow his example by giving of themselves in the home and at church. Domination by force is the way of leadership in the world. Service in love is the way of Christian leadership.

Do you need to rethink church?

Listen to a talking book, download the "Kids Color Me Bible" for free, watch Kid TV Interviews and the Mission Explorers Documentary at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version. 

COPYRIGHT 2012 CAREY KINSOLVING

Publication date: September 7, 2012