Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Elders: For Men Only?

posted by Scot McKnight

From CBE’s wonderful Arise NewsletterDo you hear the argument that only males can be elders? On what basis is that argument based? Where does the Bible say an elder must be a male? Margaret Mowczko sketches a response to these questions.

Margaret Mowczko, a singer-songwriter for many years, lives in Australia. She writes about biblical equality in marriage and in ministry for her website, newlife

 

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Some people think that the moral qualifications for church leaders recorded in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9 were written only about men and apply only to men. They believe that the implication in these passages is that only men can be church leaders. Yet in the better, older Greek manuscripts, these passages are completely free from masculine pronouns; and in all Greek manuscripts there is no use of the word “man” or “men” whatsoever.

All of the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9 can be readily applied to both men and women equally. The one seeming exception is where it says that a church leader should be, literally, a one woman man. This is usually translated into English as “the husband of one wife.”

The phrase, a one woman man, is however an idiom, and there are dangers in applying it too literally. Because it is an idiomatic expression, many people have had difficulty explaining and applying its meaning in the context of contemporary Western church culture; a culture that is vastly different from first century church culture.

If taken literally, the one woman man requirement would rule out unmarried, widowed and divorced men and women from being church leaders; yet Paul says that being single and celibate enables people to serve God better (1 Cor. 7:32-35). The real intent of this expression is marital faithfulness in the church leader who is already married. 

All of the qualities listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, including the ability to lead one’s household, are in fact equally applicable to both genders. According to Paul, it is not only men who can lead their households. Paul advised the younger widows in the Ephesian church to remarry, have children and “keep house” (1 Tim. 5:14). Interestingly, the word Paul uses for “keeping house” here is oikodespotein, which literally means “to be the master of a household.” The King James accurately translates 1 Timothy 5:14 as: “I [Paul] desire therefore that the younger widows marry, bear children, rule the household, and give no occasion to the adversary for insulting.”

Undoubtedly most church leaders in early church times were male, and yet it is never stated in the New Testament that a church leader must be a man. The New Living Translation (NLT), (which gives the impression of being gender inclusive because it frequently translates adelphoi into “brothers and sisters”) has taken the bold step of inserting the statement, “so an elder must be a man” into 1 Timothy 3:2. This statement simply does not appear anywhere in any Greek manuscript of the New Testament. The translators of the NLT have inserted this statement to put across their biased opinion that a church leader must be a man. They have tried to pass off their opinion as being “the Word of God.” Had Paul wanted to say “an elder must be a man” he would have done so.

The opening sentence of 1 Timothy chapter 3 literally says, “If someone aspires to overseeship, he/she desires a noble task.” There is absolutely no gender preference suggested here whatsoever.



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Randy Haglund

posted August 23, 2010 at 8:38 am


I would be interested in hearing more about these, “better, older Greek manuscripts”. I have never heard of these before.
As an elder of a church in Rockford years ago, we spent almost 2 years studying this subject. Gilbert Bilezikian came and spent an evening with us discussing all sides of this issue. When asked directly about the masculine pronouns in the above referenced texts, he was very clear to say that they were in fact masculine pronouns that Paul uses.
I have never read a single resource from any perspective, from feminist to traditional that has talked about these better and older texts. Is this something new that has just been discovered in the last few years?
For our study I read individual books from authors and theologians from all three camps and never read a single reference to these other texts. I am curious if we missed out on something. Authors from Dr. B, to Chuck Swindoll have written that these referenced pronouns are masculine.
Curious…



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Stephen Murray

posted August 23, 2010 at 8:39 am


I’ve very rarely (if at all) seen complementarians use 1 Tim 3:1-7 or Titus 1:6-9 as any sort of definitive proof that the office of elder was reserved for males only. Almost all complementarians (myself included) find 1 Timothy 2:12-15 far more convincing in that area. It would seem to me that Mowczko defeats something of a straw man argument.



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Derek Ashton

posted August 23, 2010 at 8:45 am


So, “he/she must be the husband of one wife?” Well, I suppose that could be an argument for gay marriage if one continues to twist the Scriptures like an old dirty rag. Diminishing this by calling it an idiom doesn’t take the meaning out of “one woman man” for anyone who is willing to be honest with the text.
But the arguments for male headship aren’t taken primarily from these passages, so it’s a fairly moot point. Of course we want women to have the listed character qualities and skills, as these will be helpful in fulfilling their God given roles. But Paul makes clear elsewhere that leadership in the Church is primarily to be held by godly males, based on Biblical issues like the order of creation, and the order and cause of sinning in the fall.
This article reflects an oddly artificial way to approach the subject.



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Peter

posted August 23, 2010 at 8:50 am


I presently attend a church that would not consider any woman to be a potential elder. I have been convinced for some time that this is not the biblical stance (but as a non-theologian, my doubts remain as I see the first two responses to this post!). I am not an elder at my church, but have served as one, have been sent out as one of there missionaries for six years, teach in child and adult Sunday School, missions, committee, etc. What are my responsibilities here? If the exclusion were based on race, for example, my responsibilities might be more obvious, but these people (men and women) believe what they believe because of their conviction from Scripture and their determination to live lives in obedience to God’s will as revealed in Scripture. Any thoughts?



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YourName

posted August 23, 2010 at 9:14 am


Who would want to join a church where women are subordinate to men? I have a teenage daughter to raise, and teaching her that she needs to obey men, or that God doesn’t consider her capable of religious leadership, is not part of it. The person who has had the most Christian influence on her is a female senior pastor; I can hardly call that a bad thing. Paul was a man, and a product of his day, while in Christ there is neither man nor woman.



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DRT

posted August 23, 2010 at 9:15 am


I am curious about the way people (specifically men) feel about this regardless of the biblical basis. Do you honestly feel that you are better than women in some way? If not, then why would you hesitate to have women equal?



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ed.gentry@gmail.com

posted August 23, 2010 at 9:35 am


DRT,
I am thoroughly an egalitarian – perhaps even a sort of feminist. I have found that I need to be careful in my rhetoric when interacting with my complementarian sisters and brothers. I too often refer to Piper and Grudem and the like as misogynists. And though I do actually think that their conclusions and actions are in fact misogynistic, I should be very careful in characterizing them as such.
I really do believe that they are trying their best to be be faithful to the Biblical text. They would deny that God made men “better” then women arguing that different roles doesn’t mean a difference in value.
Now I may wonder how the millenniums of patriarchy have affected their subconscious presuppositions, but I should be careful in judging their continuous motivations which I suspect are as noble and perhaps more noble than mine.
Nevertheless I still get angry at their dogmatism. I do not understand how they can justify the oppression of half of the population based only on very controversial readings of one or two texts. If the Holy Spirit was so concerned that women and men have different roles I would have thought it would more clear!



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T

posted August 23, 2010 at 9:59 am


Stephen, Derek (or others),
This is not an area that I have my own thinking all worked out, so maybe you or some complementarians can elaborate on some issues for me. If the primary text(s) for women elders aren’t the ones cited here, but the “teaching” passage in Timothy, how do we figure the role of women prophesying (both the examples and Paul’s encouragement to do so in the NT) into how they can’t teach or speak with authority (to men)? If we define prophecy minimally as something done or said which is led by God’s spirit and generally for others’ benefit, how does that effect our understanding of the Timothy passage, or does it? Perhaps a better way of asking it is, do you think women were prophesying in the NT churches in a way that men heard it, and, if so, would your reading of Timothy seem to forbid that?



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Mitchell

posted August 23, 2010 at 10:04 am


1 Timothy 2:8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness?with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.



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Ed Gentry

posted August 23, 2010 at 10:06 am


T .. exactly so.



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Mike Lamson

posted August 23, 2010 at 10:13 am


I have not done a detailed study on this yet (although I think it is coming soon.), my understanding of the Greek I’ve learned so far is that the masculine/feminine pronoun designation is not related to gender to any way. We may call them masculine/feminine, but that doesn’t equate them to actual gender, it is part of the language (the same applies to neuter).
Am I wrong about this? Otherwise, my Greek teachers are deceiving me.



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faith

posted August 23, 2010 at 10:14 am


This s where I am today… I have seen so many arguments from the Bible that support either side of the question convicingly. I have chosen a position that I think best represents the God I have come to know and understand in my relationship with him and knowledge of God’s heart and character. (and i know that is also up for argument).
I am honestly tired of the battle and the one-upping around biblical authority. What I notice on the street is that Christianity is seen as oppressive and akin to other forms of religious fundamentalism around the world. I think that is a serious charge and a serious barrier to coming to genuine faith in God.
And honestly, I think we have so much work to do that we should be so glad that anyone wants to get involved in becoming agents of God in this world to bring healing and hope. If someone can preach, let em preach.
We have also institutionalized much of Christianity. In the first century I think folks just told the story to their neighbors and community in homes and on the streets.
I also think that while we take into account the Word, we fail to understand the first century culture and the norms of society that already existed. And we forget to understand Paul’s words within that world. I do not believe Paul was commanding the social structures of his day as coming from God. It was the world within which he lived. I think Paul tried to apply the gospel to the world in which he lived so that it might flourish. (and I know the idea of what the gospel is, is also debated).
That is our task… how do we apply the gospel to our 21st century relationships? how do we live like Jesus in our marriages and families and communities?
It’s so not about who’s boss and who get’s to have authority. How do we live so that each person becomes strong in faith and develops the kind of personal maturity that they might become mighty people of God able to withstand all manner of challenge… as they seek to bring the gospel to others.
Bottom line is, we need strong men and strong women and strong people who will have the courage to speak up and be strong as we seek to live the gospel. Cloud and Townsend speak about growing husbands and growing wives to maturity is the key to a successful marriage relationships and I would extand that to successful church community.
Somehow, we need to get past this silliness and get on to the work we are called to do and quit fighting about who gets to do what… and who should have authority.
leaders will emerge according to the Spirit and gift and knowledge and maturity.



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Grant

posted August 23, 2010 at 10:24 am


The fact that the Bible says that men have authority over women simply proves that the Bible was written by men.
It’s a pretty clear example of how a book that is a revelation of God is also a revelation of man’s sin and need for power.
Paul was not Jesus. Paul needs forgiveness for writing words that have resulted in the subjugation of half the population.



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Jeff Stewart

posted August 23, 2010 at 10:32 am


These are the types of questions that can paint those who attempt to answer into contextual corners. Please be advised.



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Barb

posted August 23, 2010 at 10:37 am


to the men above who argue against women as elders: I’m a woman, I’m an Elder. In YOUR doctrine what does that make me: a sinner, a non-believer, ?. if neither than why the fuss?



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faith

posted August 23, 2010 at 10:37 am


I also think that the current anxiety around women in ministry and headship etc is a frantic frenzy around what occured during the women’s movement and civil rights. it is an anxious response to many political issues. Instead of thinking creatively about how we might begin to function differently or more justly, we return to something familiar and known. I think it’s not really about the bible, but about grasping for a former reality that no longer exists and the bible is being used to force that reaity.



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Jim

posted August 23, 2010 at 10:56 am


An in-depth study of Romans 16:1-2 is a great place to begin this conversation.



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T

posted August 23, 2010 at 10:59 am


In the interest of actually hearing something of substance from folks on both sides, let’s try to tone down, if not eliminate, the accusations and demonization of the “other side.” I’d really like to hear folks contribute and interact, which is chilled if personal attacks are waiting.
I just got the square root of kn) as a captcha, but in symbol, not text. How do I do that!?



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DRT

posted August 23, 2010 at 11:39 am


T,
I agree, there should be no personal attacks.
I guess Scot’s question is if there is a biblical basis for the argument in elders only being deacons. But I can’t help there is another question here about even if Paul had clearly said that, then should we listen to it.
But I guess that is a different question.



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RJS

posted August 23, 2010 at 11:42 am


What T,
You don’t have vkn on your keyboard? Doesn’t everyone…?
my capthca is “give hippyrad”
You are right – for this conversation to be useful we need to avoid personal attack.



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faith

posted August 23, 2010 at 11:47 am


please hear me, demonization is not my intent… my intent is to question the frenzy around this issue and consider if there are cultural reasons for that anxiety.
I held the traditional view for many years and know that good, well-intended believers think the traditional view is what the bible teaches. And most people just think that is what God requires.
my question is an invitation to examine not only the former cultural waters within which Paul spoke but to examine our own cultural waters within which we are swimming in… And instead of merely re-asserting our “biblical” views, we might examine those cultural waters to determine if we have anxiety around this or if we have ethical concerns that need addressing or the impact of particular views on men and women and children. I just think we need to ask more questions and hear more voices at the table.
I too do not wish to demonize others. But I do want to speak my mind and not have my opinions judged as invalid… I want to be heard too in the discussion. And I want my experience to be understood too.
We have anxieties and presuppositions and a culture and genuine experiences that impact our interpretations and we frequently discount them or discount the experiences of others. I am calling for new questions and creative discussions and a re-application of the gospel vision for the kingdom of God… and the good news that really is.



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Keith

posted August 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm


Paul and Jesus were feminists. That’s a bold statement, I know, I know. But they both push the limits of female restrictions in their culture in FAVOR of women, not the other way around. They pulled their culture toward, not away from, equality. Conservative Christianity today is pulling our culture in the opposite direction. As a conservative Christian this is greatly concerning to me.
We need to remember that Paul was writing to Timothy (not me) 2000 years ago (not today) in a culture that is worlds apart from American Christianity today. To simply say, “Paul was inspired and he said women should be silent” just isn’t good enough. He also said to “greet one another with a holy kiss” but very few in Conservative Christianity take the “Paul was inspired and Paul said it” approach with the kissing.
To quote Scot, “We all pick and choose…”



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Paula

posted August 23, 2010 at 12:29 pm


One of the most important principles of interpretation is to first establish a “baseline” of clear, undisputed teachings, and only then move on to the less clear and disputed ones.
What are the clear teachings for believers, the over-arching principles that cannot be sidestepped in any situation? I would cite the following:
“not so among you”
“love does not demand its own way”
“call no one ‘father’, for you have one Father and you are all siblings”
the church is like one body with many parts
no part can look down on another
“submit to one another”
“IN CHRIST there is no Jew/Greek, slave/free, male/female”
So whenever we encounter any passage that seems to teach in a contrary way to these indisputable principles, we can rest assured that it is not the scriptures but OUR INTERPRETATION that must be in error.
Now when I see interpretations of passages that put one part of the Body over another, I know that those interpretations must be false. When I see some believers vying for “who is the greatest”, that is the “lording over” of the world. When I see teachings that demand division in the Body, I know that they are to be shunned. When I see any attempt at favoritism, looking on the flesh instead of the heart, desire for preeminence, etc., I am seeing error.
It’s really that simple.



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kevin s.

posted August 23, 2010 at 12:35 pm


“The fact that the Bible says that men have authority over women simply proves that the Bible was written by men. It’s a pretty clear example of how a book that is a revelation of God is also a revelation of man’s sin and need for power.”
On what basis is this “pretty clear”? Because we are in a period now, as a country, where it seems out of context? That makes it clear that God’s revelation is tainted by man’s quest for power?
Do you have any evidence that Paul had any special interest in preserving male authority? What incentive did they have for doing so? Paul thought the world was going to end in his lifetime, or shortly thereafter, and more or less assumed he would be killed for his beliefs. What did he have to gain by tainted God’s revelation with chauvinistic propaganda?
“Paul was not Jesus. Paul needs forgiveness for writing words that have resulted in the subjugation of half the population.”
Jesus didn’t write any books of the bible either. Perhaps the gospel authors were especially sympathetic to the plight of the impoverished, and simply made the stuff up about feeding and clothing the poor. Shall we dispense with the practice on the basis of my conjecture? Shall we demand forgiveness of Luke?



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kevin s.

posted August 23, 2010 at 12:42 pm


On the captcha thing. I forget if I said this here or not, and if it’s common knowledge I apologize.
The ReCAPTCHA project is designed to leverage human intelligence to bring massive amounts of books into a digital format. Computers can do a lot of the work, but have a hard time with blurry letters, funny symbols, old-english “R”s, etc…
As such, only one of the words is used to guard against spam. The second is to help put a book online. As such, a best guess will do, so long as you get to spamguard word correct.



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J. R. Daniel Kirk

posted August 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm


While I ultimately think women should be allowed to be elders, etc., I do think it’s important that we recognize that such a decision must deal with counter-evidence as well.
In my experience, both groups tend to downplay the evidence of the other. Was Paul a feminist? Was Jesus? No, but they did do things that might perhaps have been surprising and that opened a door through which we should walk through.
I blogged about it some earlier this summer:
http://www.jrdkirk.com/2010/07/06/plotting-women-into-the-gospel-story/



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T

posted August 23, 2010 at 12:55 pm


FWIW, I just skipped the square root part and entered kn, and it worked! I guess any non-letter-symbols are optional on captcha.
And RJS, you crack me up and impress me at the same time!
And faith, your comments haven’t been attacking at least from my perspective. Thanks for your input.
And what about the “deaconesses” in scripture and the same “husband of one wife” requirement? Does this affect what we think the “husband of one wife” is talking about?



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Paula

posted August 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm


Off-topic: Is anybody else really annoyed by those in-your-face popup ads?



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EricG

posted August 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm


I found Scot’s book on this topic persuasive, including the fact that there are women leaders identified in the OT and NT. As he points out, Paul even identifies a woman as an apostle.



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DRT

posted August 23, 2010 at 1:38 pm


FWIW ? I was raised in the generation when we were all struggling with feminism and understanding the role of gender in our society (at least up north). So many were bending over backwards to try and build up girls to make them the same as boys. All kinds of studies about how the toys we buy them and way we treat them should be the same.
Fast forward to now, last week, I was talking to my teens about those days and how it is so nice that we now celebrate our uniqueness and not our sameness. They were absolutely dumbfounded with me. The told me that the sexes are not even close to equal, chicks rock compared to the boys. Seriously, my two teen boys and one teen daughter are convinced that girls are way better than boys. I know they are right too.
Going back to the fear meme we are to avoid, I do believe there is a certain amount of self preservation associated with men wanted to keep the women out. The women could take over if they are allowed in. I learned from my kids that they think it is now inevitable that the girls are going to be running the world since they are now 60% of college students.
We will be better as a society to have the most appropriate member of our society doing the right job. The women that I have met in positions of authority in church have been better at what they do than the men.



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Dana Ames

posted August 23, 2010 at 2:24 pm


I don’t believe the issue can be settled by marshaling proof texts. The key was, is, and always will be *interpretation*. If someone is not willing to consider interpreting scripture differently, then no amount of loving, reasoned and consistent “argument” from the bible will change that person’s mind/heart.
To answer the question: women are fully human with all that means. And for Protestants, there are no barriers to any ministry by women.
(Paula, switch to Firefox.)
Dana



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Paula

posted August 23, 2010 at 3:02 pm


I’m using Firefox, with popup blocking enabled and made sure this site is not in the exceptions list. I’ve also tried Chromium, but will try Safari and see what happens.



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kevin s.

posted August 23, 2010 at 5:43 pm


“If someone is not willing to consider interpreting scripture differently, then no amount of loving, reasoned and consistent “argument” from the bible will change that person’s mind/heart.”
That’s not true. I have held different opinions on the issue, and I don’t think it has anything to do with my heart or mind.
In my view, the egalitarian position is forged on shaky theological territory unless we discount the words of Paul. The most common reason I have heard to do so is that we must understand the culture he was in, but I reject that idea on two grounds.
First, and most importantly, I see no evidence that Paul was all that concerned about the culture he was in. He cites culture with respect to head coverings, and urges us not to consume anything that will cause another to sin, but on the larger issues, he is quite uncompromising.
Second, as I allude to above, if we relegate any of Paul’s teachings to mere cultural affectations, there is no reason not to do so with the entire new testament. I am not convinced that our country is so magnificent that our present culture is the lens through which we should view the bible.
Since I am implacable on the issue of taking (so to speak) a low view of Paul, I am often forced to be implacable on female elders.



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Paul Adams

posted August 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm


Amen and A[wo]men!
I could not agree more and I suggest Phil Payne would align as well. Quoting from his magisterial treatment Man and Woman: One in Christ.
“If it were Paul?s intention that women should forever be excluded from teaching and from positions of authority in the church, there is no more natural place in all his letters for him to have said so than in the?passage listing requirements for overseers and deacons, 1 Tim 3:1-12. Unfortunately, practically all English versions of 1 Tim 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9 give the false impression that Paul uses masculine pronouns, implying that these church leaders must be male. In Greek, however, there is not even one masculine pronoun or ?men only? requirement for the offices of overseer and deacon in 1 Tim 3:1-12 or elder in Tit 1:5-9.?
See my extensive summary/review here.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted August 23, 2010 at 6:12 pm


I’ll echo Dana’s comment: Protestants have no grounds for excluding women. The Roman Catholic and Orthodox views are tied up with celebration of the Eucharist, issues which we do not have in common.
Scripture interprets Scripture. We have to look at the whole breadth. Scripture includes the apostle Junia, the deacon Phoebe, Lydia who had a house church, Priscilla who was a teacher, and Mary who likely was the source of some of what we see in the Gospels. Women being given instruction on proper appearance as they prophecy in front of the assembly (and let’s be clear that prophecy, preaching, and teaching were not neatly delineated categories of behavior.) There are hints all through scripture that Jesus and NT writers were pushing the envelope.
Yes there are a number of passages that when read without context can appear to be universal trans-cultural directives. The most prominent being 1 Timothy 2:8-15, which Mitchell quotes in #9 above. The passage is addressing a dysfunctional worshiping community. Verse 8 addresses contentious behavior of the men. Verses 9-11 appear to address ostentatious presumptuous high status women. It seems likely 12-15 are also addressing problems arising from these women.
High status women in the First Century were enamored with the Isis cults (and variants) where women served as priestesses. With this experience in public speaking and leadership, one can see how they might easily have presumed authority over those of lesser social status. Ben Witherington, citing Philip Payne, notes that the verb that begins verse 12 is literally ‘I am not (now) permitting’. Payne says nowhere in Greek literature is this language used to indicate a permanent situation. It implies that when some future development occurs that things might change. (Say, like Obama saying “I am not (now) permitting offshore oil drilling.”)
The analogy to Adam and Eve ties with the Jewish tradition that Eve was ill-informed and because of that she led Adam into sin. The imagery is a perfect metaphor for what happens when poorly-informed cocky women start presuming authority. Verse 11 holds the answer. The women must first learn in full submission to the Word and to the teachers. Now whether this is precisely right or not, the issue is that the context indicates that the directive was not intended as a trans-cultural for-all-time directive.
The handful of passages that seem to restrict the service of women seem to have similar contextual questions while other passages seem to contradict them and Scripture itself gives evidence of women teaching and being apostles. We are all now siblings in Christ, not a two-tiered hierarchy.



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Marg Mowczko

posted August 23, 2010 at 7:47 pm


Randy @1 There are no masculine pronouns in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 in any Greek manuscript, but there is one in 3:8 in the Textus Receptus. Thank you for pointing out the ambiguity of my statement. I will correct it on my website.
Having said that, Mike @11 your Greek teachers are correct. I included this information about grammatical gender because some people, erroneously, make a big deal about the gender of certain words. (I wonder what these people think about the gender of “exousia”, “basileia”, etc.)
Jim @17, Romans 16:1-2 is the closest thing I have to a proof text.
I fully realize that the sort of information stated in the article will not persuade people who do not want to be persuaded. But for people who are genuinely searching for what the Bible says about gender equality in ministry – people like myself, this sort of information may be useful.



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Marg Mowczko

posted August 23, 2010 at 7:58 pm


correction: There is a masculine pronoun “auton” in 1 Timothy 3:7 in the Textus Receptus.



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Soren McMillan

posted August 23, 2010 at 9:26 pm


I have not done a lot of research, but: does the egalitarian view necessarily hold that the church’s original understanding of apostolic teaching would have been that women could serve as elders? Or is that idea irrelevant to the discussion? I know there are scholars who question the authenticity of 1 Cor. 14:33-35 (e.g. Fee), but it does seem to me that it would be unlikely for the NT era church to conceive of the possibility of women elders, if this passage is original in Paul’s letter to Corinth. Then again, if the dictates of 1 Cor 11:2-16 and 1 Tim 2:11-15, and the like are merely appropriate for the immediate, 1st century culture, then any discussion of original understanding of the church seems off the point anyway.



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Ann F-R

posted August 24, 2010 at 12:14 am


@ Faith, I appreciate your comments, and I share your tiredness, when I’m not drawing on the Holy Spirit.
@Soren, if you’ve seen some of the drawings in Cappadocian cave churches on History Channel programming, there are women among the men leaders in a number of them. At a later time, women’s faces were scratched out.
@ Marg, thanks for your thoughtful work.
From my POV, Daniel Kirk (#26) covered a lot of bases on his posts on women in ministry, although I’m not as convinced by excluding Paul’s authorship as he is. :) I happen to think our human tendency is to read Paul incorrectly because so many struggle vs being crucified with Christ regarding our gender stuff.
@ everyone, I am puzzled why complementarians insist on reading the gospel, the dynamic stories and pastoral comments of the NT as apodictic Laws (akin to Moses’ “thou shalt not…”) when it comes to this issue? It seems completely contrary to the flow of the text to put one’s foot on a particular verse, stab a flag into the page and say, “now see here is a new Law just for the women…!” From my POV, the only reasonable explanation for that style of reading stories is a formulaic tendency related to the law embodied within our body – by gender, by upbringing, by culture, and yes, by sin’s predilection, too. This is supposedly written by the same Paul who wrote Romans 7:4-6, for heaven’s sake!
It’s a heck of a lot easier to try to assert oneself on the basis of a purported law than it is to live submitted to and serving one another in Christ, male and female, rich and poor, well-fed and hungry, white and black… We’ve been living in a lower income, black neighborhood for the last few months. I haven’t seen any white, wealthy Christian men around here serving my neighbors. In fact, many of our neighbors lost the homes they’d lived in for years (some more than a couple of decades) because of Wall Street’s economic meltdown or crooked business folk they had no power over and no participation in. (and I used to work among the very Wall Street business folk who contributed to that meltdown…)
So, are we to stifle the new life of the Spirit in anybody which is female gendered, or poor, or out of work, or homeless, or lesser educated, or black, or are we to recognize new life in whomever the Holy Spirit manifests new life? such as when our black neighbors who’ve evidently (!) talked about us among themselves enough that we’re constantly greeted on the street by strangers and warmly invited to talk and be among them? I’d rather be blessed by their love for one another and welcome than the lording it over others financially, via academic argument, via the Genesis order of sin (eyes roll!), or via gender, any day.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I greatly appreciate academic and theological endeavors, but the primary goal of these also needs to be love “in Christ”, serving others and not our ambitions, our gender, our agendas. We so readily stray. Paul’s words to the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 11:17-13:13 come to mind (esp. 12:22-26!). Let’s strive for the more excellent way of love and service, together, “in Christ” where there is neither male or female.



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Paula

posted August 24, 2010 at 6:57 am


Can any comp please explain how the over-arching principles I mentioned earlier can be contradicted by individual verse interpretations in other contexts? Thanks.



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kevin s.

posted August 24, 2010 at 1:22 pm


“Can any comp please explain how the over-arching principles I mentioned earlier can be contradicted by individual verse interpretations in other contexts? Thanks.”
You didn’t really discuss contexts in your original comment, which are important when trying to derive overarching principles. Paul’s comment that there is no Male or Female is in the context of arguing that all have access to Christ, not that there is literally no difference between the two genders.
Paul says that there is no slaves nor free men, but goes on to give instruction about how to treat slaves. Is he contradicting himself?
Mutual submission is a baseline teaching, but really doesn’t address gender roles. Men and women can have different roles in an atmosphere of mutual submission, and so we look to other verses for clarity.
In my view, the analogy to other body parts argues FOR the complimentarian position. Being a pastor does not put one above another. It is simply one vital role in the church.
It is true that love does not demand its own way, but either side could use that verse in defense of their position.
As such, I don’t see a contradiction.



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kevin s.

posted August 24, 2010 at 1:29 pm


@Ann
“I am puzzled why complementarians insist on reading the gospel, the dynamic stories and pastoral comments of the NT as apodictic Laws (akin to Moses’ “thou shalt not…”) when it comes to this issue?
Why does this puzzle you? This is the same new testament that urges us to live by grace, help the poor, and spread the gospel. We accrue apodictic certainty to the notion that gentiles can be saved, do we not?



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Derek Ashton

posted August 24, 2010 at 1:42 pm


@ Kevin S.
You rock. I totally appreciate the way you make your points respectfully, from the Scriptures, with so much respect for the Word of God. Your arguments are solid. Thanks for taking the time, and doing the hard work of studying rather than just firing off opinion. I also liked your comments on the Historical Adam thread.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Blessings,
Derek Ashton



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Paula

posted August 24, 2010 at 1:46 pm


Hi Kevin S., thanks for responding.
The context of Gal. 3:28 is about the situation for those who are ***already*** “in Christ”, not how to be saved. Paul has been talking about Jew and Gentile, the Law and the Promise, and how all such things are irrelevant among the saved, “for you are all one”. Even the verse itself speaks of the present condition of the saved, not who is allowed to be saved. Certainly slaves could be “saved” before Christ just as the Jews, if they all followed the Law, so this argument does not fit.
Slavery was of course a social issue, not a Christian one. Paul’s instructions were for how believers should conduct themselves *** in secular society ***, not in the church. He expressed this directly in his letter to Philemon about Onesiphorus, reminding him that this social slave was his equal and brother in Christ. Paul also said that if any believer has a chance to be free, they should take it. Please explain how Paul ever condones slavery in the church.
When you say “Mutual submission is a baseline teaching, but really doesn’t address gender roles”, you’re engaging in the fallacy of “special pleading”. Hierarchical gender roles do in fact violate mutual submission, and it is doublespeak to make ruling a form of submission. We are to serve each other as “better than ourselves”, and there are no exceptions. Neither is there any exception to the banning of “lording over”, which cannot be made something else by saying it can be done benevolently.
You say “In my view, the analogy to other body parts argues FOR the complimentarian position. Being a pastor does not put one above another. It is simply one vital role in the church”, but which part of the body is a second “head”? Did not Paul say “those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment” (1 Cor. 12:22-24)? The alleged preeminence of the traditional “pastor” is a myth. But what has “the pastor” to do with comp? It is the division of the Body whereby male rules over female (regardless of manner) that violates the Body analogy the most.
You say, “It is true that love does not demand its own way, but either side could use that verse in defense of their position”, but it is ONLY comp that says men “have the final say” over women. That’s a clear teaching of demanding one’s own way.
You say you don’t see a contradiction, but I don’t see how you can miss it. Any teaching of hierarchy, whether clergy/laity or male/female, violates the very foundational principles of unity in the faith on the basis not of the flesh but the spirit. God is still not a respecter of persons and still does not look on the flesh instead of the heart.
I will never fathom how anyone can read Phil. 2:5-11 and refuse to follow Jesus’ example of laying any perceived privilege down. Jesus led by example and showed in His earthly life how ALL believers are to relate to God, to each other, and to the world. All of us are to practice the humble serving of each other and not keep trying to see “who is the greatest in the kingdom”.
Nobody fights for last place; nobody tries to keep others from the last rung on the ladder. So if anyone clings to a certain place and forbids certain others to join them there, that person is fighting for the right to “lord over”, not to serve. It is simply impossible to claim authority over another believer without violating “not so among you”, regardless of how one might claim to exercise that authority.
Why not instead just serve? Why not humble ourselves? Why does any believer care whether they have authority? Is the Holy Spirit incapable of leading us? Is the Bible only for an elite? Do we trust God or not?



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von

posted August 24, 2010 at 2:55 pm


It is the egalitarians, not the complementarians, which strip the NT writings of their context? that or deny the sovereignty of God.
Was Christ not capable of choosing 6 male and six female disciples? (Along with various different races and sexualities). Was God the father not capable of choosing six male and six female ?tribes? of Israel? And calling himself the God of Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah/Rachel? Or having the five books of Miriam? The prophecy of Danielle?
Even if one wished to deny the unanimity of the Biblical law and example one would still be forced to deal with the fact that the overwhelming majority of those God chose to lead his church were male. It was Joshua and not Joshua?s wife whom God called to lead the Children of Israel into the Promised land, and who said, ?as for me and my house we will serve the Lord?. It was Paul and not Paula, Peter and not Petra who Christ chose as apostles to his church? uncircumcised and circumcised.
So egalitarian fails by any research of the context of Scripture? unless one denies the sovereignty of God. Unless they wish to say that God was too weak, Christ was too hemmed in by circumstances, to chose the leaders that He *really* wanted? the Judges He really wanted? the writers of Scripture that He truly desired.
At the very best one cannot find ?egalitarianism? in the Scriptural context. Even ignoring all of the law one would have to promote ?overwhelming majoritarian versus extremely small minoritarian?.
It is written ?all Scripture??. This must include (and Christ Himself shows that it includes) the various Biblical examples, Old and New Testament. Thus God Himself, in giving us examples, gave an example that is almost uniquely male leadership? and not a mere male leadership that happened to arise, but male leadership that He Himself deliberately prophesied and chose; male leadership reinforced by laws that he deliberately designed. At a time when He made laws that deliberately contradicted aspect after aspect of the societies around them, that cut them off from their own history and surrounding culture, that punished with death habits that were exceedingly common? he not only allowed for but actually reinforced male leadership in the home and the church? disallowing even a wife?s vow to the Lord if her husband disapproved.
If God?s desire, throughout the entire context of Scripture, was to promote a view of egalitarian leadership in the church, state, and family? then He is an extremely poor communicator.



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Caleb

posted August 24, 2010 at 3:23 pm


@Ann F-R I understand your frustration. However, I think you mis-personify the hearts of complementarians in their desire for Biblical faithfulness. Sure, anyone can hide behind that pursuit, but some of the main proponents (Kostenberger, Piper, Grudem) are not men who wait to “stake their flag” on a text, that is, flippantly read their opinions into the text. Their claim for faithfulness is holistic, not just on controversial topics. Nevertheless, my question still arises on 1 Tim 2:11-15. I would agree with you that flag-staking would be the issue if Paul merely said verses 11-12. But he doesn’t just stop there. He uses verses 13-15 to expound on his statement. He takes us back to the garden to underpin his exhortation.
I’ve wrestled a lot with this issue and have not landed yet. But I’m certainly okay with that. Maybe it’s as Andy Stanley says, “The tension is good.” The thing that is upsetting about the New Calvinism movement in particular is that complimentarianism has become one of its defining features. Women’s roles in ministry is by no means a prevalent theme of the NT or the Bible. The issue has been blown out of proportion because of its divisiveness and sits esteemed without Biblical warrant.
I’m personally convinced that the church family functions like the home family – in that the dad is the head of the household. However, this doesn’t answer the question about practical ministerial offices or giftings (like what @T says in comment 8). I don’t think 1 Tim 2 serves as a fabric softener to downplay women’s roles; nor does it merely nullify the usurping of abused authority.
Thus, I have not landed yet…and maybe never will :-)



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Paula

posted August 24, 2010 at 3:24 pm


“It is the egalitarians, not the complementarians, which strip the NT writings of their context? that or deny the sovereignty of God.”
Not true at all. This is a baseless accusation, as I will show.
“Was Christ not capable of choosing 6 male and six female disciples?”
The 12 were also all Jewish; couldn’t He have picked some Gentiles, or some people who didn’t speak Aramaic, or some from the slave class? You can’t pick only one attribute from the list, or ignore the fact that these 12 were never replaced after Judas was. The 12 were mapped to the 12 sons of Israel, not the church.
“Was God the father not capable of choosing six male and six female ?tribes? of Israel? And calling himself the God of Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah/Rachel? Or having the five books of Miriam? The prophecy of Danielle?”
Does God instantly overthrow every flawed human institution? No, He does not. He did not ban slavery; He did not band polygamy; He did not do a whole lot of things. But as Jesus told us, God has made concessions (e.g. divorce). Society was patriarchal, not by God’s decree, but by man’s practice, and God only gradually worked with His people to choose His ways instead.
Who wrote Esther? Who wrote Ruth? Who wrote Hebrews (there is good research to suggest Priscilla)? Your inference that descripion equals prescription is fallacious. And why go to “old wineskins” anyway in order to find out what God wants of His Bride? Which raises another question: if the church is characterized by God as a bride, who are we to try to “masculinize” it? Another question: why was only the seed of the WOMAN to bring the Savior? Is not Eve, and Mary, and womanhood, being honored and elevated by God Himself in this?
And while we’re ignoring scripture, let’s also forget Miriam, Esther, Ruth, Huldah, Deborah, Sarah (defied Abraham by God’s order), Mary, the first evangelist (the woman of Samaria), Mary and Martha, Priscilla, Phoebe, Nympha, Chloe, and all the rest. Nobody’s right?
Now I challenge you to show how “not so among you”, “you are all one in Christ Jesus”, “no lording over”, and “submit to each other” are NOT “God’s desire”. If you crave authority or fight for others’ right to have it, I would invite you to study the examples of Jesus and Paul in how they treated and honored women. Service is the mark of the Christian disciple, not “who is the greatest”.
I only want to serve. What do you want?



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Paula

posted August 24, 2010 at 3:26 pm


Sorry about the typos, esp. the last one: “Nobodies, right?”



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von

posted August 24, 2010 at 3:43 pm


>>The 12 were also all Jewish; couldn’t He have picked some Gentiles, or some people who didn’t speak Aramaic, or some from the slave class? You can’t pick only one attribute from the list, or ignore the fact that these 12 were never replaced after Judas was.
I didn’t ignore them. Indeed I specifically mentioned this: “(Along with various different races and sexualities). ”
Does God instantly overthrow every flawed human institution? No, He does not. He did not ban slavery; He did not ban polygamy; He did not do a whole lot of things. But as Jesus told us, God has made concessions (e.g. divorce). Society was patriarchal, not by God’s decree, but by man’s practice, and God only gradually worked with His people to choose His ways instead.
This is, as I said, what you must do. You must, in the end, deny God’s sovereignty in order to promote egalitarianism. You must make of God an weakling who… (altho he seemed perfectly willing to overthrow dozens of ‘flawed human institutions’ such as idolatry, adultery, cult prostitution, human sacrifice… and to go so far as to introduce exceedingly difficult new institutions (such as circumcision, the dietary laws, the clothing laws, etc.))… was somehow unable to have Leah have six male and six female children… of having Christ pick six male and six female disciples (along with the requisite number of bisexual Egyptians etc.)
The question raised was ‘the context of Scripture’. Even accepting every single example raised, and accepting every single doubtful reading, the view still cannot be ‘egalitarian’ but must be ‘majoritiarian/minoritarian”. God, if He is God, and if He is sovereign chose from the beginning to act… over and over and over again, in ways which, far from overthrowing the ‘flawed cultural institutions’… reinforced them in His law. Numbers 30 could easily have merely said, “Each person will be bound by the vow that they vow to the Lord.” There was no need for God to gratuitously bow to the culture of the day and limit the vows of daughters and wives. He could easily have allowed ‘priestesses’… other nations had them!
From the beginning he could have acted… creating Adam and Eve simultaneously and speaking of them ‘helping each other’.
But… He did not.



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von

posted August 24, 2010 at 3:53 pm


And while we’re ignoring scripture, let’s also forget Miriam, Esther, Ruth, Huldah, Deborah, Sarah (defied Abraham by God’s order), Mary, the first evangelist (the woman of Samaria), Mary and Martha, Priscilla, Phoebe, Nympha, Chloe, and all the rest. Nobody’s right?

No one is saying nobody, and no one is saying ignore. Indeed, the very example of Ephesians five elevates the role of the woman to an exceedingly high pitch. But that role is not increased by being confused. As the husband represents Christ in the marriage, so the wife represents the church. As we learn from Godly husbands how it is the Christ leads and thus loves His church, so we learn from Godly wives how the church is to submit to and thus love Christ.
Indeed, this is the height of the difficulty of egalitarianism. In falsely representing the role and authority of the wife, they falsely represent the role and authority of the church. The church is not, nor could it ever be, *equal* in role and authority with Christ. However glorified our bodies, however exalted our eventual role, we will never rise to equality with Him. He is now, and ever will be, our head. We must now, and always, show our love for Him by being obedient to Him.
“If you love me…” Christ said, “obey my commands.” Just as Christ is and always will be joyfully in submission to God His father so must we, His bride, be now and always in eternal and joyful submission to Him.



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Paula

posted August 24, 2010 at 3:57 pm


“I didn’t ignore them. Indeed I specifically mentioned this: “(Along with various different races and sexualities).”
You ignored the point: that if the maleness of the 12 has any significance, then so do all the other attributes of the 12. Yet you only pick maleness; this is the fallacy of “special pleading”.
“This is, as I said, what you must do. You must, in the end, deny God’s sovereignty in order to promote egalitarianism.”
Your charge is completely groundless; I have done no such thing. Do you deny what is plainly shown in the OT historical narrative? Do you deny that Jesus Himself said why God allowed some things that were not His idea? How does God exercising His divine right to allow free will an attack on His sovereignty? In fact, denying God this right is the attack!
And this is why I despair of having any meaningful dialog on either hierarchy or the obvious Calvinism being pushed in such comments. Fallacies, false charges, missed points… it’s a waste of time. I can only hope the lurkers who may be undecided will be motivated to do actual research and find out what scripture says as opposed to believing the teachings of men.



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Paula

posted August 24, 2010 at 4:02 pm


PS: elevating men to the level of Christ over women is idolatry; Paul never taught this, but only that men must LOVE like Christ, in contrast to the societal mandate for men to OWN their wives. What Christian man would accept anyone treating him as Christ in DIVINE AUTHORITY?
But again, this is pointless, and I’ll bow out of this thread. Anyone wanting to learn what egals actually believe instead of all these false charges is welcome to visit my blog or email me from the contact form there.



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kevin s.

posted August 24, 2010 at 4:07 pm


Thank you for your kind words, Derek.
@Paula
“The context of Gal. 3:28 is about the situation for those who are ***already*** “in Christ”, not how to be saved.”
I did not argue otherwise. He was writing in response to those who were deluded by the Judaizers into thinking there were certain conditions for salvation.
“Certainly slaves could be “saved” before Christ just as the Jews, if they all followed the Law, so this argument does not fit.”
Which argument doesn’t fit? I’m not sure I follow.
“Paul also said that if any believer has a chance to be free, they should take it. Please explain how Paul ever condones slavery in the church.”
I did not argue that he did. I was only stating that he saw a literal difference between slave and master, just as he obviously saw a literal difference between man and woman.
“When you say “Mutual submission is a baseline teaching, but really doesn’t address gender roles”, you’re engaging in the fallacy of “special pleading”. Hierarchical gender roles do in fact violate mutual submission, and it is doublespeak to make ruling a form of submission.”
I don’t see a pastor as a ruler. He leads his flock, but is in turn accountable to their needs. Are you really arguing that a pastor does not submit to his church members?
If so, I think your argument is based on a flawed understanding of the role of a pastor. It is not the same as being a CEO or a king.
All of the body parts are of equal importance, but they are distinct body parts. We do not require two heads, but we do require hands.
“but it is ONLY comp that says men “have the final say” over women. That’s a clear teaching of demanding one’s own way.”
Only if it is applied incorrectly. The idea of headship in a relationship is not for the purpose of fulfilling ones own needs. I could just as easily argue that women who ignore scripture to pursue a role as pastor are demanding their own way.
“You say you don’t see a contradiction, but I don’t see how you can miss it. Any teaching of hierarchy, whether clergy/laity or male/female, violates the very foundational principles of unity in the faith on the basis not of the flesh but the spirit.”
On what basis do you assert this? The bible is full of examples of hierarchies that not only have God’s assent of God, but have been mandated.
“I will never fathom how anyone can read Phil. 2:5-11 and refuse to follow Jesus’ example of laying any perceived privilege down.”
I don’t perceive a privilege, but a responsibility. This passage only argues for the egalitarian position once one has already embraced the fundamental argument for that position.
“Jesus led by example and showed in His earthly life how ALL believers are to relate to God, to each other, and to the world.”
And he selected twelve male disciples in so doing.
“Nobody fights for last place; nobody tries to keep others from the last rung on the ladder. So if anyone clings to a certain place and forbids certain others to join them there, that person is fighting for the right to “lord over”, not to serve.”
It’s not rung on a ladder. Anyone who perceives it as such is unfit for ministry leadership of any sort.
Many are forbidden from joining the pastorate. Alcoholics, men who have no control over their families, new Christians. The purpose of excluding them has nothing to do with the assertion of authority.
“Why not instead just serve? Why not humble ourselves? Why does any believer care whether they have authority?”
Again, I could just as easily ask that question of an egalitarian? Why not submit to the biblical teaching? Why is authority over the church so important?
I think you are asserting what you need to prove, here.



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von

posted August 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm


“I didn’t ignore them. Indeed I specifically mentioned this: “(Along with various different races and sexualities).”
You ignored the point: that if the maleness of the 12 has any significance, then so do all the other attributes of the 12. Yet you only pick maleness; this is the fallacy of “special pleading”.

Again, no.
First of all, this discussion is about maleness vs femaleness so it is hardly irrelevant to focus on that aspect. But, if you wish it…
1) Every single tribe of Israel was named after, and every single apostle was… male.
2) To the extent their sexuality is known every single one was heterosexual and most were known to be married. (as our the requirements for elder in the NT.): This represents God’s will and God’s image.
3) They were all (or almost all) Jewish, physical sons of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (altho many had non-Jews in their ancestry, and were married to non-Jews): This represents God’s deliberate will and choice: a deliberate reflection of the status of the chosen people in bringing God’s blessing to the world.
4) They all lived during one of two particular times: The immediate generation of Jacob (his sons and two adopted grandsons) and the time of Christ’s formation of the early church (indeed, Paul states that he is ‘untimely born’ as a result of being even so little after the others): this is deliberately done by God and no accident: a particular time of formation of His people.
If someone will tell me what else I missed, I will gladly add it. In summary, the leaders of Israel and the church were deliberately picked by God (indeed, created for their purpose) and represent what he wanted to represent.
Now, as for the books of the Bible. First of all the facts: every single book of the Bible where the author is known (cited by Christ, for example) was written by a man. Then the speculation: some of the books where the author is not known might have been written by women.
The proposed conclusion by the egalitarians: that God was trying by this method to show *equality* in the way the scripture was written vis a vis men and women (and, one supposes, Jews and Greeks, Heterosexual vs…. and so on)(or, I suppose, that God was incapable of enforcing His ideas on who should write His word… that He would have picked, and cited, an equal number of female writers if He would have had His way.)
My proposed conclusion: That this preponderance of evidence represents, at the very least, a profound *inequality* in the way God chose to choose those people who would write His word.



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von

posted August 24, 2010 at 4:44 pm


elevating men to the level of Christ over women is idolatry
The text concerned (one of them, anyway):

Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, Eph 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Eph 5:28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
Eph 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: Eph 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
Eph 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Eph 5:33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

The statement ‘to the level of Christ’ is a misquote. The actual quote was:

Indeed, the very example of Ephesians five elevates the role of the woman to an exceedingly high pitch. But that role is not increased by being confused. As the husband represents Christ in the marriage, so the wife represents the church. As we learn from Godly husbands how it is the Christ leads and thus loves His church, so we learn from Godly wives how the church is to submit to and thus love Christ.
Indeed, this is the height of the difficulty of egalitarianism. In falsely representing the role and authority of the wife, they falsely represent the role and authority of the church. The church is not, nor could it ever be, *equal* in role and authority with Christ. However glorified our bodies, however exalted our eventual role, we will never rise to equality with Him. He is now, and ever will be, our head. We must now, and always, show our love for Him by being obedient to Him.
“If you love me…” Christ said, “obey my commands.” Just as Christ is and always will be joyfully in submission to God His father so must we, His bride, be now and always in eternal and joyful submission to Him.

So, the word ‘level’ was not mentioned. Instead ‘As the husband represents Christ, so the wife represents the church’. No one elevates the bread and the wine to the ‘level’ of Christ when they say that they ‘represent’ Christ.



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kevin s.

posted August 24, 2010 at 4:49 pm


@Paula
You asked people to respond to your comment above. Why would you get angry at those who do so?



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Lydia

posted August 24, 2010 at 5:22 pm


I just have one question for the masculinists here:
Since there is NO prohibition to women teaching or leading men in the Old Covenant, why would Jesus Christ, after the Cross and Resurrection, bring a NEW law prohibiting them teaching or leading men?
Could it be that you do not understand Authenteo? Are you familiar with Chrystomen who said that husbands should not authenteo their wives? It is a word used ONCE in the NT in 1 Tim 2 and a whole doctrine forged around it’s horrible translation.
The biggest problem you have is you all are STUCK on authority. The only authority in the Body is Jesus Christ. The rest…even elders are lowly servants. Anything else is sin.



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von

posted August 24, 2010 at 5:38 pm


Since there is NO prohibition to women teaching or leading men in the Old Covenant, why would Jesus Christ, after the Cross and Resurrection, bring a NEW law prohibiting them teaching or leading men?

Even given this false presumption this is answerable. But your facts are incorrect: dramatically so.
Paul, for example, references the law:
1Co 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
1Co 14:35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
and, as those who have studied the law know, it was forbidden for women to even enter the court where the authoritative teaching took place. In the synagogues the women were seperated from the men and the teaching.
and, of course, there is the fundamental law found in Genesis 3:
Gen 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Besides the very nature of the creation in Gen 2… the laws concerning the priesthood… the laws of Num 30…
etc.
So, this was no new law but… ‘as also says the law’.



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von

posted August 24, 2010 at 5:40 pm


(If a ‘feminist’ is someone who believe that women are equal to men, is a ‘masculinist’ someone who believes that men are equal to women?)



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Ann F-R

posted August 24, 2010 at 5:43 pm


@ Caleb #46,
the 1 Tim 2 passage has had a lot of traction for complementarians. It seems to be a well-worn trump card. It’s not a new Law; it’s addressing something/someone(s) in particular. I’ve written on it in a comment on Daniel’s blog (#26) where he also addressed it differently, a bit on my own blog, and others have written about it, too (e.g., http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2010/08/03/a-woman-anaphoric/ and by various scholars posting at CBE). There are significant questions about the author and his intent [a disputed “Paul” or an unknown traditionalist, depending with whom you agree]. My understanding, based on my study of Paul in the Greek, is different. His use of a peculiar and unique NT word for “authority”, authentein, rather than his normative, exousia, is striking, especially in the context of Adam and Eve. The root word for authentein is autos (the personal pronoun or “self”). From my extensive study of Paul’s usage of exousia, it seems clear to me that he’s responding to a particular woman or circumstance in Ephesus who is using her femininity as power over men. That’s not “exousia” in Christ, and it’s not ex-ousia [literally, “from substance”] — that which proceeds from the Author of all things, Godself. Paul “goes back to the garden” to point out Eve’s sin as being similarly rooted within herself, not in God.
@ Paula, thank you for your energetic & thoughtful responses!
@ KevinS and Von — I sense that none of us could respond to your remarks in any way that would satisfy you. From the POV of egalitarian understanding, your claims to settle the question from those arguments just don’t fly, at all. Perhaps it might bear fruit to re-read the gospel of John with a heart open to observing the number of faith-filled women disciples and evangelists whom John acclaims. Given the fact that the Roman census seems to have been mainly a tool for tracking male citizens for military purposes (cf., e.g., http://www.unrv.com/empire/roman-population.php or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census ) and that women may or may not have been included in any given census, most contemporary men likely wouldn’t think twice about excluding women in counts.
Von, since the OT uses the same Hebrew word for “helper” to describe Godself, using it to justify priority of men over women doesn’t work. You seem to ignore completely the story of God blessing and using women mightily in both OT and NT, in positions of great spiritual authority and responsibility, often leading men.
This statement of yours is logically flawed, untrue and baseless: “You must, in the end, deny God’s sovereignty in order to promote egalitarianism.”
No, we don’t.



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Terri Tippins

posted August 24, 2010 at 5:52 pm


@ Von
you forgot
verse 36~ What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
Who was Paul correcting? And if Paul is referring to a law in the Old Testament then we should be able to find it. Where is the law in the Old Testament that silences women?



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kevin s.

posted August 24, 2010 at 6:10 pm


@Lydia
“Since there is NO prohibition to women teaching or leading men in the Old Covenant, why would Jesus Christ, after the Cross and Resurrection, bring a NEW law prohibiting them teaching or leading men?”
Because, prior to Christ, there was no Christian church. That said, the new testament teaching reflects the practices of the old testament.
“From the POV of egalitarian understanding, your claims to settle the question from those arguments just don’t fly, at all.”
Well, that stands to reason. If you begin with a point of view, arguments that do not coalesce with that POV are unlikely to fly. However, asserting that citing the gender of the disciples is “special pleading” in the course of a conversation about gender and leader isn’t going to change anyone’s mind.



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Zounds

posted August 24, 2010 at 6:14 pm


My, how hard men will argue to claim that God made them superior.
Trying to piece together a society in which men and women are equal out of a book written by a patriarchal society in which women were property (Jesus being an exception, of course) is hopeless.
If you want to subjugate women, you can always rely upon the bias and the culture of the authors as justification. It’s circular logic, using the text to prove that the human-born discrimination found in the text is correct.
Only the spirit can change minds. Thankfully, that is happening, just as it did with slavery, institutional racism and child abuse. New generations will not have the same biases as the old.



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Ann F-R

posted August 24, 2010 at 6:26 pm


The Greek in 1 Corinthians 14 used words of order in the context of Corinthian church gatherings — there are 3 imperative verbs in short order, “be silent!” statements in a row. Guess which imperative verb the complementarians focus on? (smile) Paul is clearly talking about a specific situations in one group of believers, not making new Law, given the fact that Paul directly relates the women prophesying in the church (ch. 11) to publicly showing that women have that authority to speak in church.
Von, it seems pretty clear that you really have a lot of personal investment in this issue. The heaviness of that investment should raise warning flags, ISTM, in your heart and relationship with Christ and all followers of Christ.



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von

posted August 24, 2010 at 6:50 pm


This statement of yours is logically flawed, untrue and baseless: “You must, in the end, deny God’s sovereignty in order to promote egalitarianism.”
Except, indeed, it was shown to be true above. Given a record of myriads of actions of God over thousands of years, all of which fly in the face of the ‘egalitarian’ thesis (a thesis which, ironically, denies the equality of the God-given male and female roles) any egalitarian must deny that God was ‘sovereign’ over his own actions throughout history. They must make God a prisoner of various ancient cultures… impotent to choose female tribal leaders when he wanted female, forced to choose male disciples when he wanted female disciples.
One could add dozens of more examples to my list of ‘God chose’ above. God (not the Romans) chose to list in the genealogies of his book a predominantly male line of succession to Christ. God, not Jacob, chose to give Jacob 12 male heirs via four wives, instead of six male and six female heir via his first wife. God, and not Moses, wrote the laws of masculine inheritance. God, and not Moses, wrote the laws of Numbers 30, the laws concerning the priesthood, the laws concerning purity which differ for the male and female birth.
Christ, and not Peter, chose 12 male disciples. Christ, and not Moses or Elijah, brought two men up onto the mount for the transfiguration.
No one denies (except egalitarians) the incredibly important role in the female line of Christ… Rahab, Ruth, Tamar. What I have shown here, however, is the utter inequality in the way that God Himself chooses to use and portray the male/female differences throughout his sovereign history.
And for those who believe that God is sovereign, that He and He alone is responsible for His own actions and His own word, it is obvious beyond any question that God has deliberately and repeatedly dealt with the male and the female, the reflections of Christ and the church, the reflections of God and Israel… in different ways throughout history.
(Or, I suppose, they must deny that Scripture is an accurate record of God’s actions, a contradictory record of His will.)



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von

posted August 24, 2010 at 6:56 pm


The Greek in 1 Corinthians 14 used words of order in the context of Corinthian church gatherings — there are 3 imperative verbs in short order, “be silent!” statements in a row. Guess which imperative verb the complementarians focus on?
The text reads:
1Co 14:27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
1Co 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
1Co 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
1Co 14:30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
1Co 14:31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
1Co 14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
1Co 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
1Co 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
1Co 14:35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
1Co 14:36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
1Co 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
1Co 14:38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
Thus:
1) For the man speaking in tounges, if there is no interpreter, he must ?keep silent?.
2) For the prophet, if another prophet rises to speak, then let the first, ?keep silent?.
3) And? Let your women ?Keep silent? in the churches.
Unless a complementarian (which I am not, but passing by that) is faced with a situation where a man is speaking in tounges without an interpreter, why would he focus on the first? And, unless the prophets in his church have a habit of continuing to speak when another one stands up, why would he focus on the second? Indeed, why would he focus on the third, except where people are claiming that women should speak in church?



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von

posted August 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm


Von, it seems pretty clear that you really have a lot of personal investment in this issue. The heaviness of that investment should raise warning flags, ISTM, in your heart and relationship with Christ and all followers of Christ.
Well, I hope I have a lot of investment in this, and any other issue where the Word of God is attacked. And this particular issue reflecting, as I mention above, the very picture of Christ and the church, is an extremely important issue. Can you see Paul as treating this issue ‘lightly’?
Heaviness of heart about a doctrine is not typically seen, in Scripture, as a mark of sin in a general area.



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von

posted August 24, 2010 at 7:03 pm


Trying to piece together a society in which men and women are equal out of a book written by a patriarchal society in which women were property (Jesus being an exception, of course) is hopeless.
Very true. However trying to piece together a false view of egalitarianism out of a book written by God Himself is even more impossible. I guess where we primarily disagree then, is who wrote the book.



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kevin s.

posted August 24, 2010 at 7:07 pm


“The heaviness of that investment should raise warning flags, ISTM, in your heart and relationship with Christ and all followers of Christ.”
This is simply poisoning the well, as is the assertion that nothing will change our minds (which insinuates that we are immune to reason). This is a blog where Christian issues are discussed, so there is no reason why we shouldn’t discuss issues here.
If your argument is sufficiently sound, such that disagreeing with you is a sign of spiritual weakness, there should be no need to resort to this sort of posturing. Address his argument or don’t, but don’t lob an insult and pretend that settles the question.



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Terri Tippins

posted August 24, 2010 at 7:08 pm


@Von
Who was Paul correcting? And if Paul is referring to a law in the Old Testament we should be able to find it. Where is the law in the Old Testament that silences women?



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Ann F-R

posted August 24, 2010 at 8:28 pm


@ Von, you’re ignoring the fact that Paul spoke of women prophesying in 1 Cor. 11. I wasn’t talking about heaviness of heart, I was considering how adamant you are that you’re arguing vs people (mostly women) that don’t care about (or worse, undermine) the integrity of Scripture and the sovereignty of God. Yes, I’m not surprised; the complementarian position seems too liberal for you. Is “subordinationist” a better description? Is the image of God in creation only male in your understanding?
@ KevinS, poisoning the well for suggesting respectfully that the adamance precludes truly hearing others? Really? Isn’t the discussion about men hearing women’s voices in positions of authority, and a few men saying “we don’t have to listen” or “we shouldn’t listen” because the voices come out of female bodies?
Ok, this captch cracks me up: how on earth should I type an upside down word, spelled right to left as “season”? I’m going to go with “season” and see what happens! RJS, can your keyboard do that, too? :)



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Sue

posted August 24, 2010 at 8:44 pm


Von wrote,
“This is, as I said, what you must do. You must, in the end, deny God’s sovereignty in order to promote egalitarianism. You must make of God an weakling who… (altho he seemed perfectly willing to overthrow dozens of ‘flawed human institutions’ such as idolatry, adultery, cult prostitution, human sacrifice… and to go so far as to introduce exceedingly difficult new institutions (such as circumcision, the dietary laws, the clothing laws, etc.))… was somehow unable to have Leah have six male and six female children… of having Christ pick six male and six female disciples (along with the requisite number of bisexual Egyptians etc.)”
Do you mean to imply that God was unable to abolish slavery?
If the Bible does not abolish slavery outright but leaves it as something that is abolished in the working out of reciprocal regard, why should reciprocal regard not be something that men could offer to women also?
One more detailed question I have, however, is why evangelicals do not want a literal Bible. In 1 Tim. 3:1-7, the masculine pronoun is inserted 8 times, where no pronoun exists in Greek. In 1 Tim. 5:8, there are also inserted masculine pronouns which change the meaning of the Greek completely.
About this verse Erasmus wrote,
“If anyone (7) takes refuge in the church under the pretext of widowhood and sheds in this way her responsibility to her children and grandchildren or to any other member of her family, I not only do not consider her worthy of the bishop’s favour but I think that she should be viewed instead as one of those women who have denied the faith of the gospel and consequently are worse than the pagans.”
But about this very same verse, Russell Moore wrote,
“The headship of men in the church and home is rooted everywhere in Scripture in protection and provision. This is why the apostle Paul calls the man who will not provide for his family “worse than an unbeliever”” (1 Tim 5:8 ESV). Russell Moore
Since there is no verse in the Bible which says that the husband is the provider and leader, the head of his household, one often sees a verse, which applies equally to a man or a woman, hijacked for the purposes of supporting the male role.
We need preachers who do not masculinize an otherwise gender inclusive text. We need Bible translations which do not insert a masculine pronoun in every second verse and give the impression that they are written that way in Greek.
We also need to return to the thought that just as slavery was not God’s will on earth, so also the subordination of half the human race is a tragedy not just on this continent but globally.



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Sue

posted August 24, 2010 at 8:52 pm


Perhaps we could suggest that every time a preacher denied some part of the Bible to women, every time a verse was mistranslated to exclude women from instruction in the Bible, that preacher should forfeit his leadership over women.
That would leave intact the leadership of those males who kept their trust as leaders of women, and did not mistranslate the scripture.



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kevin s.

posted August 24, 2010 at 9:57 pm


“KevinS, poisoning the well for suggesting respectfully that the adamance precludes truly hearing others?”
Yes. It’s a way of diminishing the other person’s position, implying that they are immune to reason. We are no more or less adamant than you have demonstrated yourself to be, and our comments have been far less strident to boot.
“Isn’t the discussion about men hearing women’s voices in positions of authority, and a few men saying “we don’t have to listen” or “we shouldn’t listen” because the voices come out of female bodies?”
No. Nobody is suggesting that your opinion is invalid because you are a woman.
@Sue
“One more detailed question I have, however, is why evangelicals do not want a literal Bible. In 1 Tim. 3:1-7, the masculine pronoun is inserted 8 times, where no pronoun exists in Greek. In 1 Tim. 5:8, there are also inserted masculine pronouns which change the meaning of the Greek completely.”
1 Tim 3 refers to the requirement that the man be a husband of but one wife. We use pronouns because that is how our language works, and it is obvious from context to which gender the passage refers.
The second verse pertains to headship, which is a different issue. Based on my limited research, the bible translators have faithfully translated the Greek here.
The blog comment format is not a great place to delve into the original Greek. I have seen very few compelling arguments as to why, for example, the NIV and ESV translators botched the gender issue so badly. The ESV even incorporates computer analysis.
I simply don’t buy the argument that faithful people are getting together to mistranslate the Bible to preserve some power structure. There simply isn’t any good incentive to do so.



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Your Name 2

posted August 24, 2010 at 11:10 pm


There’s no incentive for men to translate/interpret the Bible to preserve a male-dominated power structure? Seriously? Men are born with the will to power, the need to dominate.
Please don’t forget that for over half our nation’s history, women didn’t even have the right to vote. Perhaps the founding fathers and every other legislator for the next century and a half had no good incentive to preserve the power structure, and simply forgot to give women the right, but I doubt it.



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Sue

posted August 24, 2010 at 11:41 pm


“1 Tim 3 refers to the requirement that the man be a husband of but one wife. We use pronouns because that is how our language works, and it is obvious from context to which gender the passage refers.”
The gender of this word is highly problematic. I agree that it means, in this context, the husband of one wife, but I do not agree that the word ‘aner’ necessarily restricts the role of elder to men.
First, aner, strictly speaking refers to citizens in the prime of their life. Plato, in his Laws, talks about the aner, both male and female, caring for children and elders. Aner also excludes slaves.
In this context, I agree that aner means ‘husband’ and refers to a male. However, aner does not designate maleness. For example, 30 – 40 % of the population of Rome were slaves. Some slaves, or freed slave, (also not aner) became bishops. In this case, the bishop was never an aner of any kind.
In my view, although the idiom means “one woman man” or “husband of one wife” and REFERS to a male, it does not DESIGNATE maleness. I believe the text should read “if married, the husband on one wife.” Slaves could not marry, and could not be aner. However, they could be elders, as far as I can see.
But the subject of the passage is the pronoun “tis” which is both masculine and feminine at the same time. There must be some reason why Paul wrote “tis” instead of writing that an elder had to be an aner, who had only one wife.
From the standpoint of Greek, there is nothing in the passage to designate elders as male, unless we exclude the unmarried and male slaves also.



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Sue

posted August 24, 2010 at 11:43 pm


“1 Tim 3 refers to the requirement that the man be a husband of but one wife. We use pronouns because that is how our language works, and it is obvious from context to which gender the passage refers.”
The gender of this word is highly problematic. I agree that it means, in this context, the husband of one wife, but I do not agree that the word ‘aner’ necessarily restricts the role of elder to men.
First, aner, strictly speaking refers to citizens in the prime of their life. Plato, in his Laws, talks about the aner, both male and female, caring for children and elders. Aner also excludes slaves.
In this context, I agree that aner means ‘husband’ and refers to a male. However, aner does not designate maleness. For example, 30 – 40 % of the population of Rome were slaves. Some slaves, or freed slave, (also not aner) became bishops. In this case, the bishop was never an aner of any kind.
In my view, although the idiom means “one woman man” or “husband of one wife” and REFERS to a male, it does not DESIGNATE maleness. I believe the text should read “if married, the husband on one wife.” Slaves could not marry, and could not be aner. However, they could be elders, as far as I can see.
But the subject of the passage is the pronoun “tis” which is both masculine and feminine at the same time. There must be some reason why Paul wrote “tis” instead of writing that an elder had to be an aner, who had only one wife.
From the standpoint of Greek, there is nothing in the passage to designate elders as male, unless we exclude the unmarried and male slaves also.



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Sue

posted August 24, 2010 at 11:55 pm


(Sorry bout that. I am also confused by the popups.)
“The second verse pertains to headship, which is a different issue. Based on my limited research, the bible translators have faithfully translated the Greek here.”
Here is 1 Tim. 5:8,
If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. ESV
e? d? t?? t?? ?d??? ?a? ????sta ???e??? ?? p????e?, t?? p?st?? ????ta? ?a? ?st?? ?p?st?? ?e????.
Once again you can see that the subject is “tis.” If Paul meant that this was to refer to male headship, then he could have used a word to designate that it was the males he was talking about. Oddly, Erasmus thought it meant women and Calvin seemed to agree but thought that this command must refer to both men and women. It is not until very recently that readers have decided that “he” means “men only.” Literacy is dropping fast. Many men recently have preached on this verse as if it refers to men only.
“The blog comment format is not a great place to delve into the original Greek.”
I think the blog format is a great place to discuss Greek. In five years you are the first person to tell me that!
“I have seen very few compelling arguments as to why, for example, the NIV and ESV translators botched the gender issue so badly.”
1 Tim. 5:8 is a good example. But there are many places where the ESV uses the word “men” when the Greek refers to both men and women. This would be quite alright except that the preface says that the word “men” in English reflects a male term in the Greek. That is not quite true. Look at 2 Tim 2:2 in the Greek and the ESV. Somehow anthropoi have become “men” only!
How are the translators disposing of the corpses of half the human race – cut out of the Bible at the will of man???
“The ESV even incorporates computer analysis.”
I, for one, and not impressed by software Greek.
“I simply don’t buy the argument that faithful people are getting together to mistranslate the Bible to preserve some power structure. There simply isn’t any good incentive to do so.”
The Colorado Springs Gender Guidelines did just that exact thing. They got together and decided that adelphoi would be translated as “brothers” and then they found out afterward that the lexicon says that adelphoi means “brothers and sisters.” Why did they not look in the lexicon first? This is my question. We know they did not look in the lexicon because Poythress and Grudem state this as a fact in their book.
I do not see why women should be under the authority of men who cannot open a lexicon when necessary.



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Terri Tippins

posted August 25, 2010 at 12:12 am


Women have always been viewed as having little or no instrinsic God-given authority. Women have internalized a secondary status, while men have internalized a superordinate status, as this is what they have been taught. Why else would a Hindu woman burn herself on the funeral pyre of her husband. What holds Turkish women in a harem? By what powers do mormons perpetuate thier system of polygamy? Man himself could not do this, but, when he declares ‘Thus says the lord,’ of course he can.
John Piper and Wayne Grudem, in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood go as far as saying that, ‘ women are cautioned that even when giving directions to a male stranger lost in thier neighborhood, their demeanor must not compromise the stranger’s masculinity (Recovering pg. 50) Needless to say, for some, even the hint of a woman having authority over a man in any context is an offense to be fastidiously avoided.
@Kevin
The word ‘headship’is not in the Bible.
@Von
Have you found a law in the Old Testament that silences women?



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Sue

posted August 25, 2010 at 12:20 am


Here are the details of Poythress and Grudem not using a lexicon,
On June 2, 1997, when the initial Colorado Springs Guidelines were agreed on, Guideline B 1 originally read,
“Brother” (adelphos) and “brothers” (adelphoi) should not be changed to “brother(s) and sister(s).”
In The TNIV and the GNB, 2004, p. 425 – 426, Poythress and Grudem wrote, “Examination of further lexicological data (as indicated in chapter 12) showed that this guideline was too narrow.”
The following refined guideline was approved on Sept. 9, 1997,
“Brother” adelphos should not be changed to “brother or sister”; however, the plural adelphoi can be translated “brothers and sisters” where the context makes clear that the author is referring to both men and women.
What was the ‘further lexicological data’? In Poythress and Grudem’s own words,
“in fact, the major Greek lexicons for over 100 years have said that adelphoi, which is the plural of the word adelphos, ‘brother” sometimes means “brothers and sisters” (see BAGD, 1957 and 1979, Liddell-Scott-Jones, 1940 and even 1869).
This material was new evidence to those of us who wrote the May 27 guidlines – we weren’t previously aware of this pattern of Greek usage outside the Bible. Once we saw these examples and others like them, we felt we had to make some change in the guidelines.”
Did Grudem and Poythress actually say that those who wrote the gender guidelines had never looked at the ‘gender terms’ in Liddell – Scott or BAGD? Did they really call Liddell – Scott (1869) new evidence? It seems that they did!
I for one will not accept maleness over reading ability as an authority, when it comes to the Bible.



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Ann F-R

posted August 25, 2010 at 1:00 am


@ KevinS – I wonder why you hear my written words as strident? From my POV, that seems to be a tone you’re reading into them. Can you offer specifics so I may sincerely respond? It’s ironic from my viewpoint that you say so. I wonder whose voice you’re hearing as you read.
Regarding that unfortunate “adamancy” and being “immune to reason”, Von’s, yours and a number of other men commenting here have stated that you won’t hear women as having, or being able to apply, any authoritative understanding of scripture or spiritual truth or family in this life. So, I’d surmise, no matter how many learned, wise and mature Christian women write reasonably, we’re still women, right?
Our position is one where we’ve listened, listened, and continue to listen. (sometimes, we’ve been forced to listen, too.) We’ve heard your arguments (and more besides), and we disagree on sound scriptural bases, sound translation of the Greek, and in spiritual wisdom.
But, your stance precludes hearing women’s truth as fact, as evidenced in your telling statement: “Nobody is suggesting that your opinion is invalid because you are a woman.” (my emphasis on “opinion”)
LOL! No, you’re suggesting our educated view of the Greek, of Scripture, of cultural effects, of the facts are invalid because we are women! Because the image of God reflected in women differs, it seems to some that the only order possible must be hierarchical, or chaos results. We sincerely disagree, and we’re not trying merely to reverse a hierarchy.
Your very foundation undermines any (sincere, determined or otherwise) commitment to listen to women, well. You’ve started from the foundation of not listening.
May I point to Proverbs 1, where the father tells his son to listen to wisdom, and wisdom’s voice in Proverbs is personified as female? Given the structure of this book, listening to both men’s and women’s voices seem central to wisdom and to godliness in life.
@ Sue, very cool. I completely agree that being male — I’d give the benefit of the doubt that many translators didn’t even recognize it — affected how they translated Paul. Even turned him on his head at certain points. But, really, would you please send a note to my blog about how you get the Greek text into your comments?! Awesome! Otherwise, I’ll email you at yours.
@ Terri, I haven’t found one, yet! :)



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Paula

posted August 25, 2010 at 7:13 am


@Ann F-R : Thanks!
I try to quickly recognize when my opponent is sidestepping every valid syllogism and substituting fallacies in response, and walk away. I can see from all the conversation following my last response that this was an accurate assessment. :-) Thanks to you as well, and the others who chimed in, for having more patience than I.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 8:30 am


you forgot
verse 36~ What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
Who was Paul correcting? And if Paul is referring to a law in the Old Testament then we should be able to find it. Where is the law in the Old Testament that silences women?

Paul was correcting those believers who, like now, derived from the true Biblical concept (present since the beginning) of the essential equality of male and female the extremely false and unBiblical concept of similarity of role. In Christ there is no Jew or Greek? and yet Paul repeatedly speaks of the advantage of being a Jew; in Christ there is no slave or free? yet God continually speaks of slaves obeying their masters; similarly in Christ there is no male or female? and yet women are constantly told to model the subjection of the church by their subjection to their husbands.
Paul was correcting those who, like now, would strip the NT doctrines of their context and behave as if it was they themselves who had invented their own religion? completely ignoring the context that God Himself put it in.
And it is a bit odd to ask me ?what law? in response to a post where I posted no less than two references to the law.
Pauls argument is thus:
1Co 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
1Co 14:35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
1) Women must keep silence in church because
2) They are not permitted to speak because instead
3) They are commanded to be under obedience:
— as also says the law.
Thus the law, in enjoining obedience upon the wife, by that very act commands her silence in a situation where she might be thought to be speaking in authority over her husband.
So ?the law? (besides the rather dramatic fact that women were not even allowed *in* the part of the temple where the authoritative teaching took place, or allowed in front of the synagogue, nor allowed to be priests, etc.) by enjoining their obedience commands their silence.
The womans obedience can be found, as I pointed out, in Gen 3, Numbers 30, and a host of other places. It can also be found in the testimonies? for example in Joshua?s statement, ?as for me and my house?.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 8:49 am


Von, you’re ignoring the fact that Paul spoke of women prophesying in 1 Cor. 11.
Well, I?m not, actually. Nor do I deny or ignore that Deborah was a prophet, and that Phillip had daughters that prophesied, etc. However just as Deborah was not a priest, and was not allowed in the part of the tabernacle where the official teaching would take place.
I Cor 11 speaks of women praying and prophesying, and other passages make it clear that they were not to speak in church.
I wasn’t talking about heaviness of heart, I was considering how adamant you are that you’re arguing vs people (mostly women) that don’t care about (or worse, undermine) the integrity of Scripture and the sovereignty of God.
I would hope I was adamant at defending what I believe (as I mentioned above) is a reflection of the nature of Christ and the church?. As well as the integrity of Scripture and the sovereignty of God.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 9:33 am


Do you mean to imply that God was unable to abolish slavery?
If the Bible does not abolish slavery outright but leaves it as something that is abolished in the working out of reciprocal regard, why should reciprocal regard not be something that men could offer to women also?

No, God was not unable to abolish slavery. And he didn’t abolish slavery. Either in the Old or New Testament. He could well have said, “thou shalt own no slaves’ and made it stick… even destroying slaveowners with fire from heaven or hailstones.
He did outlaw much of what we call slavery, and its accoutrements. ‘Manstealing’ was illegal, returning a runaway slave was illegal, male slaves needed to be returned after seven years, etc.
Indeed, God, far from outlawing slavery, used it as an illustration of our relationship to Him in the NT; repeatedly.
So, again, God was not, as was suggested, forced to disguise his views (revealing them slowly and gently over time) in deference to the patriarchical society that he came to speak to. When He wished, he was perfectly capable of flat out denial of ingrained cultural habits.
Indeed, in this case, in the case of male/female relationships, we are faced with God not only ignoring or permitting male/female hierarchy, but actively promoting it through His own laws: the distinction He made between male and female slaves, the law of Vows, the law of silence in the churches, the multiple injunctions in the NT for wives to be submissive to their husbands.
Egalitarians (those who do not deny the integrity of the Scriptures) seem forced to not only make God incapable of standing up to the patrtriarchical societies He dealt with (over the many thousands of years since He Himself created the world) but was somehow forced to make laws and regulations, to arrange births and marriages, all in spite of His actual desire for egalitarianism.



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Sue

posted August 25, 2010 at 10:06 am


Von,
You appear to be defending slavery as well as the subservience of women. I am not sure if that is your intent. I do have some other questions.
You write,
“So ?the law? (besides the rather dramatic fact that women were not even allowed *in* the part of the temple where the authoritative teaching took place,”
I was completely unaware that the ‘authoritative teaching’ took place where women could not hear it. In the Old Testament, all the teaching that is recorded in the Bible was made to the congregation of the children of Israel, which included women. Can you mention any teaching in the Bible that took place somewhere that women could not hear it? And if the teaching is not in the Bible, why is it more authoritative that teaching which is recorded in the Bible? This statement of yours really puzzles me.
“The womans obedience can be found, as I pointed out, in Gen 3,”
What are you referring to here?
“Numbers 30, and a host of other places.”
In this case, the widow or divorced woman is on an equal level with men. This is what has puzzled me. If only wives are under obedience, why cannot single women lead in church, especially those that provide for and lead their families?
“It can also be found in the testimonies? for example in Joshua?s statement, ?as for me and my house?.”
But Lydia’s household was baptized, and Rahab’s household was preserved by being under her roof. The households of women were also under the protective leadership of the women who lead them. Chloe’s people also.
I see nothing which excludes women from authoritative teaching. Deborah, and Huldah are examples of this, and nothing which excludes women from being full protectors and leaders of their own household.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 10:08 am


Von’s, yours and a number of other men commenting here have stated that you won’t hear women as having, or being able to apply, any authoritative understanding of scripture or spiritual truth or family in this life.
I would appreciate a direct quote from me where I stated I ‘won’t hear’ something, let alone ‘women… having… or being able to apply… any authoritative understanding of Scripture…’ etc.
… since I would like a chance to edit that post. What Scripture does say is that women are to be subject to their own husbands, that they should remain silent in church, etc.
God, in Scripture, teaches a radical hierarchy… and reinforces that radical hierarchy through a variety of laws, teachings, examples. He represents himself to us as God, Lord, King, Father, Master, Shepherd… all roles of hierarchy. He calls us to represent ourselves to each other in ways that represent Hierarchy… husbands and wives, parents and children, rulers and ruled.
Our participation in these hierachies then allows us to represent, to those around us, the very nature of God. As God said,
“Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Eph 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Eph 5:28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
Eph 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
Eph 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.



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Sue

posted August 25, 2010 at 10:10 am


Von,
I feel comfortable, from what you have written, that it is important that wives and slaves be subserivient, but single women are equal to men.



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Sue

posted August 25, 2010 at 10:13 am


I meant to write,
I feel comfortable assuming, from what you have written, that it is important that wives and slaves be subservient, but single women are equal to men.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 10:22 am


Sue,
this part of the conversation began, as you might rememember, with the claim of ‘egalitarianism’. Some seem to think that the only alternative to ‘egalitarinism’ is woman nothing-ism. This is simply false, and will result in the kinds of confusion that you are experiencing.
Beginning with Numbers 30:

Num 30:2 If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.
Num 30:3 If a woman also vow a vow unto the LORD, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father’s house in her youth;
Num 30:4 And her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand.
Num 30:5 But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the LORD shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her.
Num 30:6 And if she had at all an husband, when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips, wherewith she bound her soul;
Num 30:7 And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand.
Num 30:8 But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and the LORD shall forgive her.
Num 30:9 But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.
Num 30:10 And if she vowed in her husband’s house, or bound her soul by a bond with an oath;
Num 30:11 And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her, and disallowed her not: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she bound her soul shall stand.
Num 30:12 But if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband hath made them void; and the LORD shall forgive her.
Num 30:13 Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void.
Num 30:14 But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establisheth all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmeth them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them.
Num 30:15 But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity.
Num 30:16 These are the statutes, which the LORD commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being yet in her youth in her father’s house.

Here we have what would seem to be a rather dramatic case: someone makes a vow literally to the Lord. Them and God.
Probably the most obvious conclusion that one would reach, without this passage, would be that all vows to the Lord must be kept… regardless of who made the vow. Or, perhaps, one might expect a certain limitation, as our law does, on the ability of the person to understand the vow.
What we read, on the other hand, is a separation in the way this law is to be applied to various classes of people: men, daughters, wives, and widows/divorced.
Now an exact analysis of when/how/who is perhaps beyond the scope of the current discussion. What we do see, however, is *nonequality*. We do not see the straw man of ‘women’s vows are nothing, they are property, their vows are to be ignored’… but neither do we see the supposed ‘equality’ that egalitarianism teaches. A daughter’s vow, but not a son’s, can be overruled by her father. A wife’s vow can be overruled by her husband, but not so the husband’s by the wife.
This is fundamentally un ‘egalitarian’. These several cases are not all treated equally. The fact that widows and divorcees are lumped in with men of all sorts does not negate the fact that daughters are not treated (by God, in His law) the same as sons, nor wives the same as husbands.
How the exact hierarchy is to be worked out may be a legitimate inquiry… but the fact remains that there is a hierarchy shown here… and elsewhere.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 10:32 am


I feel comfortable, from what you have written, that it is important that wives and slaves be subserivient, but single women are equal to men.
Do you, then?
Well, we are all equal in Christ but, if you are suffering to Numbers 30, you have invented a category ‘single women’ that does not exist there, nor, indeed, anywhere in Scripture.
Numbers 30 lists: men, daughters, wives, widows, and divorcees. For the purposes of a vow widows and divorcees are lumped together making four categories:
1) Men: whose vows always stand.
2) Daughters: whose vows are subject to their fathers
3) Wives: whose vows are subject to their husbands and
4) Widows/Divorcees: whose vows always stand
And it is by no means only wives and daughters which are to be subservient, given all of Scripture (Note that slaves are not mentioned in Numbers 30). The list of those who are to be subservient, given all of Scripture, is incredibly huge, and includes Christ Himself.



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DRT

posted August 25, 2010 at 11:23 am


This is amazing.
von, I am curious, why do you suppose god has made it this way? Outside of you trying to mold (?) yourself after an ancient society’s ways, don’t you have to think for yourself a bit here and say whether it is rational for us to treat women differently?
The big question. Why in your view does god feel we should treat women differently? I can’t see a reason.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 11:36 am


You appear to be defending slavery as well as the subservience of women. I am not sure if that is your intent. I do have some other questions.
If I used the word ‘subservience’ somewhere, please point it out to me.
As for slavery, here is what I appear to be saying:
1) Nothing in the Old or New Testament calls for the the abolition of slaver per se.
2) In point of fact slavery is used, both in the Old and New Testament, as a metaphor for our life: slaves to sin before our redemption, and slaves to Christ/Righteousness.
3) Much of what passed for slavery in the minds of much of this audience, the chattel slavery of the Old South, was in violation of the OT law: in many cases deserving of the death penalty.
That is the short version. The topic of slavery is huge in Scripture.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 12:00 pm


The big question. Why in your view does god feel we should treat women differently? I can’t see a reason.
No, that is not really the big question. It is a question, certainly, but not the ‘big’ question. The big question is what did God say, what are his commands, what is His will for our life.
Christ Himself, far from despising the kind of submission that we moderns seemed to be afraid of, rejoiced in his submission to God the Father:
Joh 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

Joh 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

1Co 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

,b>Joh 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
Joh 8:29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
Each of us is called to submission: wives to husbands, slaves to master, children to parents, Christians to elders, us to Christ, Christ to God.



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Sue

posted August 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm


Von,
For most women, the term ‘single woman’ includes widows and divorcees. However, in the Victorian era, approximately 30% of women never married. Are you implying that God has no category for these women? No wonder so many became missionaries.
From what I see, single women, including those who are widows and divorced, are, in terms of vows, on par with men.
But the most important thing is that this was the civil law of the day.
You did not use the word ‘subservience’ but on the Parchment and Pen site, Michael Patton has written,
“Egalitarianism: Theological position held by many Christians (contra complementarianism) believing the Bible does not teach that women are in any sense, functionally or ontologically, subservient to men. Women and men hold positions in society, ministry, and the family according to their gifts, not their gender. The principle of mutual submission teaches that husbands and wives are to submit to each other equally. Prominent egalitarians include Doug Groothuis, Ruth Tucker, William Webb, Gorden Fee, and Linda Belleville.”
Today, women, including wives, are on par with husbands in the civil law. They are equally responsible for their children’s welfare, for debts and property liability. I suggest that anything which reduces the responsibility of women today is against the law.
It sorta seems like complementarians believe in the subservience of women.
Regarding slavery, it was brutal in the Roman Empire. Some slaves worked in households under reasonable conditions and some were chained for life, working in the fields and mines. For some it was s death sentence. They could not marry, could not move about freely, could not own anything, and had no protection against torture and death at the hands of their owner.
I don’t know why the greatest fear in Rome was a slave uprising if slaves were treated so well.



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Sue

posted August 25, 2010 at 12:15 pm


Von,
It is clear that you don’t have any response to the failure of many Bible translators to produce a translation that reflects gender faithfully.
I don’t find many men trustworthy with regard to translating the bible. It has been very disappointing to me to find that many translators do not treat gender properly and thus betray women. Women are better off leaving this kind of Christianity, but they can’t as long as they believe they are bound to obey falsehood. It is a tragedy.



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Sue

posted August 25, 2010 at 12:18 pm


“In point of fact slavery is used, both in the Old and New Testament, as a metaphor for our life: slaves to sin before our redemption, and slaves to Christ/Righteousness.”
This is a very powerful point. Slavery is used as a powerful metaphor in the Bible. It is a travesty that we do not have people living in slavery today in imitation of Christ.
We need both slaves and subservient wives in order to illustrate the truths of the Bible. I would suggest that you model slavery in real life to me, as I have lived in gender slavery myself.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 12:19 pm


Outside of you trying to mold (?) yourself after an ancient society’s ways, don’t you have to think for yourself a bit here and say whether it is rational for us to treat women differently?
You mean, outside of considering myself subject to the commands of God, should I instead try to second guess God Himself… substituting my own ‘reason’ for his Word?
In a word, no.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 12:28 pm


This is a very powerful point. Slavery is used as a powerful metaphor in the Bible. It is a travesty that we do not have people living in slavery today in imitation of Christ.
With a couple of Word changes this will move from being sarcasm to a rather dramatic truth. It is indeed a travesty that we do not have people living today in slavery to Christ, in imitation to Christ.
But are you under the impression that people are *not* living in slavery today? That no one is living in situations where there daily lives are ordered by someone else? Where their ability to marry and live in marriage, raise their children, earn a living for their family?



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 1:16 pm


From what I see, single women, including those who are widows and divorced, are, in terms of vows, on par with men.
“From what you see…” in Numbers 30? An interesting exegesis… one flatly contradicted by the text; which lists the following categories: daughters, wives, and widows/divorcees…. separating what you would call ‘single’ into two categories.
Are you implying that God has no category for these women? I am stating that there is no category, in Scripture, of ‘single’. There are many other categories: unmarried, virgin, widow, divorced woman… but no unifying category called ‘single’. Instead God tends to treat these categories differently.
See, for example, I Cor 7, where, again, widows are mentioned separately from unmarried virgins.
But the most important thing is that this was the civil law of the day.
The ‘most important thing’, indeed the very point of the discussion, was that we are talking about laws and teachings which God Himself instituted: thus it is to God that you must go to complain about your proposed ‘subservience’.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 1:24 pm


It is clear that you don’t have any response to the failure of many Bible translators to produce a translation that reflects gender faithfully.
Despite having worked for a Bible Translation organization, I have not chosen to respond to any of the Bible translation posts: sticking to my original posted theme of the ‘context’ of the various NT texts on the various male/female roles and their denigration by those who call themselves ‘egalitarian’.
Indeed the context, integration, authority, etc. of the various verses must be addressed before we can begin to work on what would be the best translation to reflect the words used.



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Sue

posted August 25, 2010 at 1:47 pm


“But are you under the impression that people are *not* living in slavery today? That no one is living in situations where there daily lives are ordered by someone else? Where their ability to marry and live in marriage, raise their children, earn a living for their family?”
I agree with you. To our shame there are slaves today. A large group of slaves are those women kidnapped and kept in sexual slavery. I do not believe that Christians have any right honouring this kind of thing as something to be preserved. The slavery of the very poor, of women, of child workers is all something that we do not want to perpetuate.
I fail to understand why you wish to honour slavery as a practice to be upheld.
Regardless of Numbers, 30% of women in Victorian England were single, and remained single after their fathers passed away. Just because this category did not exist in the Jewish law, does not mean that these women did not exist. I suppose for many they had to live as underlings in their brothers houses, some became prostitutes or lived in the poorhouse, and some went as missionaries. It was partly in response to the poor opportunities for these women to support themselves that feminism grew.
With a great number of your complementarian sisters being single, I suggest that you consider whether God has a purpose for the single woman.
Regarding bible translation, you may avoid the discussion if you like, but it is relevant to the original post.
All in all, I am disappointed at your responses or lack of response. The church is not going to do well without basic honesty and integrity and admission that women do earn their own living and support their own families.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 1:54 pm


Regarding slavery, it was brutal in the Roman Empire. Some slaves worked in households under reasonable conditions and some were chained for life, working in the fields and mines. For some it was s death sentence. They could not marry, could not move about freely, could not own anything, and had no protection against torture and death at the hands of their owner.
This is all true… and it is all irrelevant. Brutality and the like are not unique to any particular time period, nor are they absent from today’s society. And, in God’s economy, it may well be that brutality is not, in and of itself, the highest sin.
But any institution can be brutal. Father’s can be brutal, and that is no argument that God outlaws fathers. Mother, employers, gov’t officials… all can be, indeed frequently are, brutal or oppressive… but that doesn’t mean that God outlaws those institutions.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 2:05 pm


Just because this category did not exist in the Jewish law, does not mean that these women did not exist.
And just because the women exist, does not mean the category exists in the Law…. or Numbers 30. You may wish to pretend that there exits another category in the law, that of ‘single’ women… but it doesn’t exist.
With a great number of your complementarian sisters being single, I suggest that you consider whether God has a purpose for the single woman. I am no complementarian… and I, personally, do not believe there is a single ‘single’ woman on the face of the planet… being as how the category doesn’t exist in God’s law. There are older, unmarried, virgins… older fornicating unmarried women… widows… divorcees… young virgins and fornicators… all of these ‘single’ women exist… but not one legal category into which they are all lumped.
admission that women do earn their own living and support their own families. Admitted. Now, whether that is a good thing, a Biblical thing, or a desperate failing on the part of our families and churches is a thing yet to be debated… what does Scripture say about this category? How are they to be treated?
Regarding bible translation, you may avoid the discussion if you like, but it is relevant to the original post. very relavent… but very secondary to the ‘context’ discussion as that needs to be (as an earlier poster pointed out) something that needs to be dealt with before we can understand the ‘context’ of the translation needs.
One example would be a case I read about while a missionary translator. There were these people who believed that Jesus’s healing of the paralytic involved two miracles: the healing and the very fact that the men could stand on the roof to lower him down. You see, in their setting their huts had incredibly pitched roofs, roofs where it would have been impossible for four men to stand on the roof and lower someone down. So the context issue is extremely important in any Bible translation, and any understanding of the underlying texts.



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Sue

posted August 25, 2010 at 2:20 pm


“But any institution can be brutal. Father’s can be brutal, and that is no argument that God outlaws fathers. Mother, employers, gov’t officials… all can be, indeed frequently are, brutal or oppressive… but that doesn’t mean that God outlaws those institutions.”
If you are claiming that slavery should not be outlawed just say so clearly and we can progress with our discussion.
“And just because the women exist, does not mean the category exists in the Law…. or Numbers 30. You may wish to pretend that there exits another category in the law, that of ‘single’ women… but it doesn’t exist.”
Under OT law, single women did not exist. Are you saying that we are to live today under OT law?
“There are older, unmarried, virgins… older fornicating unmarried women… widows… divorcees… young virgins and fornicators… all of these ‘single’ women exist… but not one legal category into which they are all lumped.”
You forgot to mention the rapees.
“Admitted. Now, whether that is a good thing, a Biblical thing, or a desperate failing on the part of our families and churches is a thing yet to be debated… what does Scripture say about this category? How are they to be treated?”
Women who supported households include Rahab, Joanna, Lydia, Chloe, Nymphas, and others. We can debate whether these women are biblical or not.
“but very secondary to the ‘context’ discussion as that needs to be (as an earlier poster pointed out) something that needs to be dealt with before we can understand the ‘context’ of the translation needs.”
Yes, I think it was context which convinced Erasmus that 1 Tim 5:8 referred to women as providers and not to men. But historically it is usually considered as referring to both men and women. It is only in our present context, in this present day, where preachers are scrambling for verses to prove “headship” that 1 Tim. 5:8 has been interpreted as a headship verse.
Out of curiosity, as you deny that you are complementarian, how would you describe your beliefs on this topic?



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 2:30 pm


If you are claiming that slavery should not be outlawed just say so clearly and we can progress with our discussion.
The OT laws of slavery should apply to our (and all) societies. Thought I had made that clear. This includes the death penalty for ‘manstealing’ and would be part of an incredibly comprehensive reform of laws which would, among other things, close prisons.
You forgot to mention the rapees.
True, there are a couple of times in Scripture where women who have been raped are mentioned as a category, and I also didn’t add betrothed women. I was not so much trying to list all possible Biblical categories but to list those found in Numbers 30 and to deny that ‘single’ is a Biblical category.
Women who supported households include Rahab, Joanna, Lydia, Chloe, Nymphas, and others. We can debate whether these women are biblical or not. We can indeed. (Did you really mean to include Rahab the prosititute? Are you proposing that prostitution is a valid Biblical legal category? As opposed to a Biblical crime?)
where preachers are scrambling for verses to prove “headship” that 1 Tim. 5:8 has been interpreted as a headship verse. As I presume you know modern preachers are not ‘scrambling’ to prove headship; headship has always been a doctrine of the church… and rests on passages from Genesis to Revelation not merely I Tim 5.
Out of curiosity, as you deny that you are complementarian, how would you describe your beliefs on this topic? Theonomic.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 2:37 pm


Under OT law, single women did not exist. Are you saying that we are to live today under OT law?
No. Under OT law (and NT teachings) ‘single’ as a category does not exist.
Yes.



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Ann F-R

posted August 25, 2010 at 2:55 pm


@ Paula #82, yes X 100!
@ Sue, thank you for your efforts and work. It’s interesting to see your scholarship on this issue, and I will read what you have written more thoroughly. I don’t think there are productive conversational lines here, so this is my last post.
@ Von, you don’t seem to notice how selectively you cherry-pick Scripture. You quote Eph. 5:22-ff, but neglect that those verses draw the verb from v. 21, where Paul’s thought begins. “Be subject to [the verb] one another out of reverence for Christ.”
I find it fascinating and telling that in #101 you write that you once worked for a Bible translation organization (translating from what language to what language, I wonder?) but you consistently use KJV.
Sometimes, I reflect back to writers what I’ve understood from their words, without direct quotes. Having re-read those posts and your other posts, I don’t believe I misrepresented what your assertions about women portend and the paradigm they reflect. From my POV, your continued reverting to “the sovereignty of God” is used to justify the sinful status quo vis a vis women, poor, enslaved, and abused people.
Your god is not the God I worship and in whose incarnate Word I trust. I am very thankful for that!



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Ann F-R

posted August 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm


@ Paula #82, yes X 100!
@ Sue, thank you for your efforts and work. It’s interesting to see your scholarship on this issue, and I will read what you have written more thoroughly. I don’t think there are productive conversational lines here, so this is my last post.
@ Von, you don’t seem to notice how selectively you cherry-pick Scripture. You quote Eph. 5:22-ff, but neglect that those verses draw the verb from v. 21, where Paul’s thought begins. “Be subject to [the verb] one another out of reverence for Christ.”
I find it fascinating and telling that in #101 you write that you once worked for a Bible translation organization (translating from what language to what language, I wonder?) but you consistently use KJV.
Sometimes, I reflect back to writers what I’ve understood from their words, without direct quotes. Having re-read those posts and your other posts, I don’t believe I misrepresented what your assertions about women portend and the paradigm they reflect. From my POV, your continued reverting to “the sovereignty of God” is used to justify the sinful status quo vis a vis women, poor, enslaved, and abused people.
Your god is not the God I worship and in whose incarnate Word I trust. I am very thankful for that!



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Sue

posted August 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm


Theonomic …
So you would like to apply Mosaic law to society today. I think you might experience some push back, when it comes to married women not being fully responsible for contracts without their husbands permission, but not vice versa.
I am not sure that Rahab was a prostitute. Even if she was, she has a good sexual counterpart in Solomon. In any case, she protected her parents and her brothers and sisters by having them come into her house. God honoured that.
While you may support the Mosoaic law, my understanding of scripture is more in tune with the narrative. Women do whatever God gives them to do in the narrative of his people



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Sue

posted August 25, 2010 at 3:04 pm


Theonomic …
So you would like to apply Mosaic law to society today. I think you might experience some push back, when it comes to married women not being fully responsible for contracts without their husbands permission, but not vice versa.
I am not sure that Rahab was a prostitute. Even if she was, she has a good sexual counterpart in Solomon. In any case, she protected her parents and her brothers and sisters by having them come into her house. God honoured that.
While you may support the Mosoaic law, my understanding of scripture is more in tune with the narrative. Women do whatever God gives them to do in the narrative of his people



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Sue

posted August 25, 2010 at 3:38 pm


Theonomic …
So you would like to apply Mosaic law to society today. I think you might experience some push back, when it comes to married women not being fully responsible for contracts without their husbands permission, but not vice versa.
I am not sure that Rahab was a prostitute. Even if she was, she has a good sexual counterpart in Solomon. In any case, she protected her parents and her brothers and sisters by having them come into her house. God honoured that.
While you may support the Mosaic law, my understanding of scripture is more in tune with the narrative. Women do whatever God gives them to do in the narrative of his people



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Ann F-R

posted August 25, 2010 at 3:47 pm


There were problems with transmission, and multiple postings of same post! Sorry, Scot!



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 3:50 pm


Jos 2:1 And JoshuaH3091 the sonH1121 of NunH5126 sentH7971 out ofH4480 ShittimH7851 twoH8147 menH376 to spyH7270 secretly,H2791 saying,H559 GoH1980 viewH7200 (H853) the land,H776 even Jericho.H3405 And they went,H1980 and came intoH935 an harlot’sH802 H2181 house,H1004 namedH8034 Rahab,H7343 and lodgedH7901 there.H8033
H2181
???
za^na^h
zaw-naw’
A primitive root (highly fed and therefore wanton); to commit adultery (usually of the female, and less often of simple forniciation, rarely of involuntary ravishment); figuratively to commit idolatry (the Jewish people being regarded as the spouse of Jehovah): – (cause to) commit fornication, X continually, X great, (be an, play the) harlot, (cause to be, play the) whore, (commit, fall to) whoredom, (cause to) go a-whoring, whorish.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 4:00 pm


@ Von, you don’t seem to notice how selectively you cherry-pick Scripture. You quote Eph. 5:22-ff, but neglect that those verses draw the verb from v. 21, where Paul’s thought begins. “Be subject to [the verb] one another out of reverence for Christ.”
I don’t neglect that at all. In fact, verse 21 (as Vodie Baucham so eloquently points out) makes the case that much stronger. I can’t successfully reproduce his entire sermon here but, basically:
Submit to one another
-wives, to husbands
-children, to parents
-slaves, to masters
This outline demonstrates the exact opposite of what ‘egalitarians’ wish to prove here: it demonstrates that (as elsewhere) submission is always seen as within the context of God created structures.
Christ submits to God the Father, The church submits to Christ, Christians submit to the elders of the church, slaves submit to masters, wives submit to their husbands, citizens submit to the government God has instituted, children submit to their parents, spouses submit their bodies to each other… just an overwhelming flood of mutual submission… that is not bi-directional submission… but true submission, in which one person puts themselves under an authority that God has created for them.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 4:42 pm


@ Von, you don’t seem to notice how selectively you cherry-pick Scripture. You quote Eph. 5:22-ff, but neglect that those verses draw the verb from v. 21, where Paul’s thought begins. “Be subject to [the verb] one another out of reverence for Christ.”
I don’t neglect that at all. In fact, verse 21 (as Vodie Baucham so eloquently points out) makes the case that much stronger. I can’t successfully reproduce his entire sermon here but, basically:
Submit to one another
-wives, to husbands
-children, to parents
-slaves, to masters
This outline demonstrates the exact opposite of what ‘egalitarians’ wish to prove here: it demonstrates that (as elsewhere) submission is always seen as within the context of God created structures.
Christ submits to God the Father, The church submits to Christ, Christians submit to the elders of the church, slaves submit to masters, wives submit to their husbands, citizens submit to the government God has instituted, children submit to their parents, spouses submit their bodies to each other… just an overwhelming flood of mutual submission… that is not bi-directional submission… but true submission, in which one person puts themselves under an authority that God has created for them.



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Sue

posted August 25, 2010 at 5:23 pm


Von,
I tossed my Strong’s concordance in the garbage a few years ago. In my view Rashi is an excellent commentator on the Hebrew Bible and very influential on the KJV although not followed in this verse. But here is Rashi,
Inkeeper: ????. Targum Jon. renders: Innkeeper, one who sells various foodstuffs (??????).
And here is the best article I could find on the topic. In my view, Rahab may, or may not have been a harlot.
Comme pour Tamar, les sources midrashiques sur Rahab sont ?parpill?es sur de nombreux corpus et de plus elles sont ?nigmatiques. On a l’impression qu’elles forment un puzzle dont on aurait perdu tout espoir de reconstitution. Comme les probl?mes de datation des sources midrashiques sont inextricables, nous pouvons commencer par les plus simples. Le Targum pseudo-Jonathan inaugure le jeu de piste (qui est plut?t ici un parcours du combattant) en donnant une singuli?re traduction du mot zona (prostitu?e). Ici, Rahab devient une pundiqta une aubergiste. Rashi dans son commentaire sur le Pentateuque le rappelle et pr?cise qu’aubergiste peut signifier quelqu?un qui vend toutes sortes de nourritures. Il semble accr?diter ainsi l’id?e d’un jeu de mots qui interpr?te zona comme issu du mot mazon, nourriture. On a ici un premier exemple d’une ?laboration qui entend probl?matiser l’id?e de prostitution. Mais tous les midrashim ne sont pas dans ce cas. La peshitta garde l’id?e biblique de prostitution (zniuta). Le Talmud (trait? Megila 15a) rapporte un dit tr?s ancien selon lequel Rahab ?tait l?une des plus belles femmes que le monde ait connu. Ce passage d?bute par la mention: tanu rabanan, cette formule d?signe en g?n?ral une bara?ta qui n?a pas ?t? compil?e dans la mishna et qui remonte donc ? la p?riode des tanna?m.
I notice that you reject reciprocal submission. You are rejecting the interpretation of Clement, Chrysostom and Calvin, and the BDAG, and anyone else who is able to read Greek.
There needs to be a separate religion, with a distinct name, for those who want to have some semblance of Christianity without the original languages.



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Sue

posted August 25, 2010 at 5:29 pm


Hi Ann,
I copy Greek text from greekbible.com online. Sometimes I also keyboard Greek or copy from the Liddell Scott Jones lexicon. Here is Gal. 3:28,
??? ??? ???da??? ??d? ?????, ??? ??? d????? ??d? ??e??e???, ??? ??? ??se? ?a? ????: p??te? ??? ??e?? e?? ?ste ?? ???st? ??s??.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 5:52 pm


I notice that you reject reciprocal submission.
You ‘notice’ that, do you? Funny, since I never said it. Indeed, I posted an example of it.
I actually used the words ‘bidreictional’ to mean the rather bizarre ‘mutual submission’ theory popular amongst ‘egalitarianists'; a theory that the way to submit to each other is to insure that no one submits to anyone.
On Calvin, I have done quite a study on the way that Calvin, for example, teaches about the submission of the son to the father… a far cry from anything that the egalitarians would be comfortable with.
In this particular case, far from speaking of a mutual submission that fades into nothingness as each submits to each meaning no one submits to no one, he says:
By this arrangement there are six different classes, for each of whom Paul lays down peculiar duties. He begins with wives, whom he enjoins to be subject to their husbands, in the same manner as to Christ, ? as to the Lord. Not that the authority is equal, but wives cannot obey Christ without yielding obedience to their husbands.
So, it seems to me that Calvin’s concept of ‘mutual submission’ is rather in accord with mine.
(Oh, and interesting that you would post an article on what the Midrash (hardly a normally authoritative sorce between Christians) in French (which I speak, actually) says on Rahab. And to rest you case on a text that says that the translation as ‘inkeeper’ is a ‘singular’ translation (ie highly unusual) is hardly that helpful.
And, of course, none of this really effects the idea of ‘egalitarian’ at all.)



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Sue

posted August 25, 2010 at 7:31 pm


It doesn’t make any difference to either of us whether Rahab was a prostitute or not. For some reason you challenged me for mentioning Rahab and offered a bunch of Strongs references. It all seemed a bit irrelevant, so I chose to be irrelevant in response. I am just bored with the fact that you are not interested in responding to any substantive points in the discussion. You seem to think that posting Strong’s numbers has some value.
Rashi, as you know, carried enormous influence in reinterpreting the Hebrew text for the Reformers. Where did Pagnini get his insights from if not from Rashi’s commentary. Luther was of two minds about Rashi but still adopted some of his interpretations.
I have no idea what you mean by your use of bi-directional and mutual etc. I do find it interesting that you have only cited a part of Calvin’s commentary on this verse. However, I can’t find anything that Voddie Baucham has written on Eph. 5:21 so it is difficult to compare.
But the gist of it is that you read this passage as talking about the submission of wives, children and slaves.
Calvin said distinctly that this passage is about the duties of 6 different categories of people and all of them had their own way of submitting.
If we are discussing the text we need to know whether only three categories of Christians were to submit, or if all six categories were to submit.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 7:52 pm


If we are discussing the text we need to know whether only three categories of Christians were to submit, or if all six categories were to submit.
I will happily post all of the Calvin that you want :)
Calvin’s point here, and elsewhere, is that wives are to submit to husbands, children to parents, slaves to masters, citizens to their government, etc.
Here is some more Calvin, I will post as much of it as you want, just name the verse:
Eph 5:21
21.Submit yourselves. God has bound us so strongly to each other, that no man ought to endeavor to avoid subjection; and where love reigns, mutual services will be rendered. I do not except even kings and governors, whose very authority is held for the service of the community. It is highly proper that all should be exhorted to be subject to each other in their turn.
But as nothing is more irksome to the mind of man than this mutual subjection, he directs us to the fear of Christ, who alone can subdue our fierceness, that we may not refuse the yoke, and can humble our pride, that we may not be ashamed of serving our neighbors. It does not much affect the sense, whether we interpret the fear of Christ, passively, thus, ? let us submit to our neighbors, because we fear Christ; or actively, ? let us submit to them, because the minds of all godly persons ought to be influenced by such fear under the reign of Christ. Some Greek manuscripts read, ?the fear of God. ? The change may have been introduced by some person, who thought that the other phrase, the fear of Christ, though by far the most appropriate, sounded a little harsh. (164)
22.Wives, submit yourselves. He comes now to the various conditions of life; for, besides the universal bond of subjection, some are more closely bound to each other, according to their respective callings. The community at large is divided, as it were, into so many yokes, out of which arises mutual obligation. There is, first, the yoke of marriage between husband and wife; ? secondly, the yoke which binds parents and children; ? and, thirdly, the yoke which connects masters and servants. By this arrangement there are six different classes, for each of whom Paul lays down peculiar duties. He begins with wives, whom he enjoins to be subject to their husbands, in the same manner as to Christ, ? as to the Lord. Not that the authority is equal, but wives cannot obey Christ without yielding obedience to their husbands.
23.For the husband is the head of the wife. This is the reason assigned why wives should be obedient. Christ has appointed the same relation to exist between a husband and a wife, as between himself and his church. This comparison ought to produce a stronger impression on their minds, than the mere declaration that such is the appointment of God. Two things are here stated. God has given to the husband authority over the wife; and a resemblance of this authority is found in Christ, who is the head of the church, as the husband is of the wife.
And he is the savior of the body. The pronoun HE (a?t??) is supposed by some to refer to Christ; and, by others, to the husband. It applies more naturally, in my opinion, to Christ, but still with a view to the present subject. In this point, as well as in others, the resemblance ought to hold. As Christ rules over his church for her salvation, so nothing yields more advantage or comfort to the wife than to be subject to her husband. To refuse that subjection, by means of which they might be saved, is to choose destruction.
24.But, as the church is subject to Christ. The particle but, may lead some to believe that the words, he is the savior of the body, are intended to anticipate an objection. Christ has, no doubt, this peculiar claim, that he is the Savior of the Church: nevertheless, let wives know, that their husbands, though they cannot produce equal claims, have authority over them, after the example of Christ. I prefer the former interpretation; for the argument derived from the word but, (????,) does not appear to me to have much weight.
33.Nevertheless, let every one. Having digressed a little from this subject, though the very digression aided his design, he adopts the method usually followed in short precepts, by giving a brief summary of duties. Husbands are required to love their wives, and wives to fear (f???ta?) their husbands, understanding by fear that reverence which will lead them to be submissive. Where reverence does not exist, there will be no willing subjection. (166)
(166) ?One peculiarity in this injunction has been usually overlooked. What is instructive on either side is not enforced, but what is necessary to direct and hallow such an instinct is inculcated. The woman loves in deep, undying sympathy; but, to teach her how this fondness should know and fill its appropriate sphere, she is commanded to obey and honor. The man, on the other hand, feels that his position is to govern; but, to shew him what should be the essence and means of his government, he is enjoined to love.? ? Eadie.

1.Children, obey. Why does the apostle use the word obey instead of honor, (167) which has a greater extent of meaning? It is because Obedience is the evidence of that honor which children owe to their parents, and is therefore more earnestly enforced. It is likewise more difficult; for the human mind recoils from the idea of subjection, and with difficulty allows itself to be placed under the control of another. Experience shews how rare this virtue is; for do we find one among a thousand that is obedient to his parents? By a figure of speech, a part is here put for the whole, but it is the most important part, and is necessarily accompanied by all the others.
In the Lord. Besides the law of nature, which is acknowledged by all nations, the obedience of children is enforced by the authority of God. Hence it follows, that parents are to be obeyed, so far only as is consistent with piety to God, which comes first in order. If the command of God is the rule by which the submission of children is to be regulated, it would be foolish to suppose that the performance of this duty could lead away from God himself.
For this is right. This is added in order to restrain the fierceness which, we have already said, appears to be natural to almost all men. He proves it to be right, because God has commanded it; for we are not at liberty to dispute, or call in question, the appointment of him whose will is the unerring rule of goodness and righteousness. That honor should be represented as including obedience is not surprising; for mere ceremony is of no value in the sight of God. The precept, honor thy father and mother, comprehends all the duties by which the sincere affection and respect of children to their parents can be expressed.
(167) ?????? properly signifies, ?to perform one?s duty to any one;? and here reverence must comprehend the cognate offices of affection, care, and support. The same complexity of sense is observable in the classical phrase t???? t?? ?at??? [to reverence the physician.] ? Bloomfield.

Eph 6:5
5.Servants, be obedient. His exhortation to servants is so much the more earnest, on account of the hardship and bitterness of their condition, which renders it more difficult to be endured. And he does not speak merely of outward obedience, but says more about fear willingly rendered; for it is a very rare occurrence to find one who willingly yields himself to the control of another. The servants (d?????) whom he immediately addresses were not hired servants, like those of the present day, but slaves, such as were in ancient times, whose slavery was perpetual, unless, through the favor of their masters, they obtained freedom, ? whom their masters bought with money, that they might impose upon them the most degrading employments, and might, with the full protection of the law, exercise over them the power of life and death. To such he says, obey your masters, lest they should vainly imagine that carnal freedom had been procured for them by the gospel.
But as some of the worst men were compelled by the dread of punishment, he distinguishes between Christian and ungodly servants, by the feelings which they cherished.With fear and trembling; that is, with the careful respect which springs from an honest purpose. It can hardly be expected, however, that so much deference will be paid to a mere man, unless a higher authority shall enforce the obligation; and therefore he adds,as doing the will of God. (Ver. 6.) Hence it follows, that it is not enough if their obedience satisfy the eyes of men; for God requires truth and sincerity of heart. When they serve their masters faithfully, they obey God. As if he had said, ?Do not suppose that by the judgment of men you were thrown into slavery. It is God who has laid upon you this burden, who has placed you in the power of your masters. He who conscientiously endeavors to render what he owes to his master, performs his duty not to man only, but to God.?

Give me some more questions and I’ll post what he says about other authority structures.



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von

posted August 25, 2010 at 8:01 pm


I have no idea what you mean by your use of bi-directional and mutual etc.
Egalitarians tend to promote a form of ‘mutual’ submission that ends up with no one actually ‘submitting’ to anyone. No wife ever ends up submitting to her husband… because the theory is that the husband has to do just as much submitting to her. No one has any sphere of authority where they lead and the other submits… instead each one is ‘equal’.
This is simply not what Scripture says, anywhere.



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Sue

posted August 25, 2010 at 10:34 pm


Von,
I appreciate that this time you have included the introductory paragraph.
“I do not except even kings and governors, whose very authority is held for the service of the community. It is highly proper that all should be exhorted to be subject to each other in their turn.”
Anyone who addresses this passage as a command of submission to only three categories is simply not reading the Greek. I don’t know how many times I have read that this passage means that some Christians submit to other Christians.
But Calvin missed the point that if we repudiate slavery, the king, the pope and the British Emprire, – this if for Americans – then we have ditched most of the commands to submit in the Bible anyway.
So the submission of women is clung to as a flag of fundamentalism, as a token of our connection to Paul’s word. If men really wanted to submit, there would be one institutional church, with obligatory territorial attendance, and a monarch and submission to the empire. There would be know such thing as the USA and there would still be slave owners under a British regime.
However, men want to modify and shape their own submission and tailor it to suit their needs. But women, no, women must be shaped and tailored by men. It gives me the shivers how anyone can be so self-serving and name this teaching after Christ.



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Von

posted August 26, 2010 at 8:42 am


But Calvin missed the point that if we repudiate slavery, the king, the pope and the British Emprire, – this if for Americans – then we have ditched most of the commands to submit in the Bible anyway.
Not even close. The pope and the British Empire are not even mentioned in Scripture, and you have left out the following:
-Christ to God the Father
-The Church to Christ
-Wives to husbands
-Christians to Elders
-Sons to Fathers
-Daughters to Fathers
-Children to parents
-Everyone to ‘every authority’…



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