Coat & Tie RequiredWhile on vacation, I watched a recording (NACC08-W429) of Bob Russell (retired pastor of Southeast Christian Church of Louisville, which runs about 18,000 on Sunday morning) speaking on worship styles at the North American Christian Convention a few weeks ago. In it, he had a lot of good things to say to folks on all sides of “worship debates” – style, dress, etc.

One quote I absolutely loved.

Russell was orienting a new pastor to the SCC staff -

New pastor: I don’t think I can wear a suit and tie – it’s not authentic, and it feels somewhat hypocritical

BR: If you were going to meet President Bush, wouldn’t you wear a suit and tie?

NP: (pause for thought) Not if he was my father…

Russell commented that he’s still not come up with a good response to this. Needless to say, the point was made.

He did go on to say that, while you aren’t likely to find suits & ties on stage at SCC on Sunday morning, you also won’t find folks looking like they just rolled out of bed or in anything risque or suggestive. He had a number of excellent points and suggestions for leading churches through the waters of “worship wars” within minimal disruption to the body – finding a way to be respectful of the old and young, alike.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, July 26th, 2008 at 5:56 pm and is filed under Commentary, Hypocrisy, Worship. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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354 Comments(+Add)

1   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
July 26th, 2008 at 6:07 pm

As a pastor and worship leader, I have always felt the need to wear a breatsplate with twelve different stones. That, my friends, is Biblically authentic.

Suit and tie? Too post modern for my taste! :roll:

2   David C    http://davidcho.blogspot.com
July 26th, 2008 at 11:29 pm

Apprising.org has been taken down.

3   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
July 26th, 2008 at 11:47 pm

Yes, David, I noticed – and I just finished an article on the subject.

4   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
July 27th, 2008 at 8:50 am

This is an area I (and my congregation) struggle with. Thanks for providing the link. I’ll have to give it a listen. (Even though I’m no longer affiliated with the Restoration Movement, I still respect people like Bob Russell.)

5   John Hughes    
July 28th, 2008 at 3:59 pm

Biblical mandate: “Modest dress”. Obviously culturally based. For example, ladies from our sizeable Hispanic population here in Houston, wear tight, low cut dresses per their culture. Modest or immodest apparel for church?

A muscular man wears one of these dress T shirts you see with suits without the coat. Modest or immodest apparel for church?

6   John Hughes    
July 28th, 2008 at 8:43 pm

A tree falls in the woods without any one there to hear it . . . .

Hey I know this is old hat but I didn’t post the article :-)

7   Sandman    
July 28th, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Culturally based, yes.

Dressing up was a Victorian Age convention.

Those who could afford to dress up did, as a display of their wealth and societal position.

Once the industrial revolution hit the textile industry and the sewing machine was invented, nice dress-up clothes became cheaper and within reach of the riff raff, who bought them to be impress the haves in an attempt to become one of them.

It got ingrained into the Western culture. Missionaries would go to some place in equatorial Africa where clothing wasn’t as much of a necessity, and they present photos of their converts smiling, holding a Bible, and sweating up a storm in a suit and tie or dress.

They may have been converted to Christianity, but they also became very Westernized in the process.

John, what did I say about humor?

8   Lydia    
August 4th, 2008 at 1:23 am

Bob Russell is great on cultural issues but you certainly will not hear the full gospel from him with words like sin, wrath, sanctification,etc.

He built this mega church on ‘felt needs’ as his son Rusty wrote in the church newspaper, Outlook.

I sat under his teaching for 16 years and never once heard the full saving gospel. You will hear lots about how to have a happy marriage or raising kids, or how to get out of debt and lots of pointing fingers at the culture…out there.

I finally got saved after I left there and figured out why the true gospel is not preached. He wants to be liked too much to tell the truth. And preaching the full gospel would empty the place.

Russell is the nicest guy in the world. But he was so isolated in his ivory tower and taken care of for 40 years by some very rich men that he does not have a clue of the real world.

9   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 4th, 2008 at 8:12 am

I finally got saved after I left there and figured out why the true gospel is not preached.

you certainly will not hear the full gospel from him with words like sin, wrath, sanctification,etc.

As a pastor, I shudder at the thought that a person’s salvation is dependent upon my “full gospel” preaching ability and the inclusion of certain key words. Thankfully, God saves despite our best, or worst, efforts.

10   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 8:32 am

I got saved in March of 1975 after having heard Billy Graham speak on TV about the Second Coming. I never once thought of wrath or sin or judgment, I remember being moved dramatically to think that Jesus was God in the flesh and the only way to heaven.

There are people who attended a reformed church and did not get saved until they left. One of my best friends who is a Calvinist now was saved in lakeland under the ministry of the father whose son invited Todd Bentley. So personal experiences do not a systematic theology make, and they surely do not restrict the ministry of God’s Spirit.

The danger is that when you are happy and content with the genre you attend now, there is a tendency to believe yours is the Almighty’s favorite and even count others as nothing. God does thing through vehicles and conduits that I do not approve of. I need to speak to Him about that! :lol:

11   Lydia    
August 4th, 2008 at 12:28 pm

“As a pastor, I shudder at the thought that a person’s salvation is dependent upon my “full gospel” preaching ability and the inclusion of certain key words. Thankfully, God saves despite our best, or worst, efforts.”

Are you saying you dumb it down to make it more palitable to your listener? That is a shame and if you are, you need to get out of the ministry. It is not for you.

Pastor, If you build a huge church on only speaking the positives of felt needs, you are not preaching the gospel. You, like Russell, are building an empire on the dead bones of unbelievers who think they are saved and are not. Of course, the empire pays well.

Mr Frueh: If you would have stayed with Billy Graham’s teaching only you would now be hearing that one can be saved and not know Jesus. Are you saying that is ok?

Are you saying it is ok for pastors to dumb down the gospel and only preach milk for 40 years?

Are you both defending the seeker methods? That is exactly what SECC is: Seeker. They are affliated with WCA and have been for years.

12   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 4th, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Are you saying you dumb it down to make it more palitable to your listener?

Not at all. Feel free to visit my blog and read my sermons.

Rick said it well with this:

The danger is that when you are happy and content with the genre you attend now, there is a tendency to believe yours is the Almighty’s favorite and even count others as nothing. God does thing through vehicles and conduits that I do not approve of. I need to speak to Him about that!

I thank God there are ministries out there that are seeker sensitive. As I recall Jesus was quite sensitive of seekers.

peace,
Chad

13   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 1:01 pm

” If you would have stayed with Billy Graham’s teaching only you would now be hearing that one can be saved and not know Jesus. Are you saying that is ok?”

No, I am saying that God can and does CHOOSE to work through conduits that are off on some things. One of my best friends is a staunch Calvinist. He was saved at a prosperity church. I ask you, why would God work through a heretic to get someone saved? Isn’t that giving credibility to a heretic?

The bottom line is we severely underestimate God’s grace and we severely OVER estimate our own doctrinal faithfulness. It is not OK to dumb down the gospel, but I have never met anyone who hasn’t dumbed down the gospel in their lives. We all, regardless of how orthodox we are, fall very short in our lives. Very short indeed.

14   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 4th, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Oh, and Lydia, I preface all of the above with this: Salvation has far more is far more robust than simply getting your beliefs straight so you can get out of hell and into heaven. If all you think of Jesus is a ticket to heaven than I guess I can see why less talk of how wretched we are would be problematic.
Also, if our status as Christians is only accentuated by how we compare ourselves to those we have damned to hell than I guess I can see why not enough talk of judgment and hell would be a let down.

15   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 4th, 2008 at 1:04 pm

oops..the first line above should read: Salvation is far more robust than simply getting your beliefs straight…

and, Amen, Rick.

16   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 4th, 2008 at 1:07 pm

If you would have stayed with Billy Graham’s teaching only you would now be hearing that one can be saved and not know Jesus.

I am trying to find that passage of scripture that says you are saved if you profess Christ as Lord but will lose that salvation if you think God’s mercy just might extend to those “sheep who are not of this fold.”

Jesus said, “Those who believe in me and insist that everyone else must believe in me also will be saved.” Right?

17   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 1:10 pm

The other sheepfold refers to those who we do not know and generations to come. The New Testament makes it clear that faith in Christ is not negotiable for salvation.

18   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 1:12 pm

“He that believes in me shall be saved; he that does not believe in me shall be damned.”

Jesus – circa B.C. 29

19   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 1:14 pm

I think I see what you said, Chad. Sorry – I misinterpreted. I agree by the way.

20   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 4th, 2008 at 1:14 pm

The other sheepfold refers to those who we do not know and generations to come.

Precisely, “those we do not know” and perhaps cannot even concieve of God’s grace extending too. To the Jews, God’s “chosen” it was unthinkable that salvation might extend to sheep “outside the fold.”

The New Testament makes it clear that faith in Christ is not negotiable for salvation.

….unless of course you are an infant, mentally handicapped, or who knows? “Not negotiable” may be true in this present life time, for this present salvation, but not necessarily true of God’s future kingdom. We might be surprised. Billy Graham might be right. I hope so, at least.

21   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 4th, 2008 at 1:16 pm

I agree by the way.

Shoot. Our posts criss-crossed. Disregard post #20 then (I don’t want to rock our present agreement party) :)

22   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 1:17 pm

“unless of course you are an infant, mentally handicapped, or who knows?”

That does not change the words of Jesus. As far as the ones you mentioned, there is no clear teaching.

23   Lydia    
August 4th, 2008 at 2:10 pm

“Oh, and Lydia, I preface all of the above with this: Salvation has far more is far more robust than simply getting your beliefs straight so you can get out of hell and into heaven. If all you think of Jesus is a ticket to heaven than I guess I can see why less talk of how wretched we are would be problematic.”

No sweetie, this is exactly what Russell preaches..getting your heaven ticket punched. You have us confused. It is not only correct doctrine it is bearing the fruit of spiritual transformation in regeneration. The only seeker is Jesus Christ and we best be friendly toward HIM. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our need for a Savior and this is done by hearing the Word. The REAL Word. Jesus is NOT an assessory we add to our lives to deal with our felt needs as SECC teaches. I am reminded of what Paul said in Acts 20… not to mention those that gave their lives for the Name of Christ who did not have their ‘felt needs’ fulfilled.

So, let me get this straight because you both have twisted my words. I can only hear topical fluffy sermons all my life with teaching that says if I ’say’ I believe then I am saved. Does not matter how I live my life, if I am growing in Holiness or if there is any fruit. I can just say the sinners prayer, get baptized and I get my ticket to heaven punched. That is exactly what Russell teaches. No negatives like Hebrews 10: 26-31 are ever preached. That would empty the place. We cannot have people examining themselves to see if they are in the faith. they would realize they are only being fed milk.

BTW: he believes in baptismal regeneration.

And here I thought that being born again was a spiritual transformation. If we are not to be fruit inspectors with each other or to call out false or incomplete teaching then why the Epistles and gospels warning us of wolves, hirlings, false teachers, not graduating from milk, living in habitual sin, etc?

I guess it is bad form to say anything about the special ‘clergy’ class of professional Christians who make their living off the gospel. How dare me? My NT makes no distinction between clergy and laity. That is a myth. We are all in the Holy Priesthood. We all have anointing if we are true believers.

But there is no ‘gospel-lite’ as Russell preached for 40 years. He was more concerned with ‘felt needs’ to build a mega than real spiritual transformation. After all, felt needs with upper middle class ’spectators’ brings in lots of money.

You guys sound like his kind of pastor. Too bad there are so many of you out there because when persecution comes, those under your teaching won’t last 5 minutes because they have been taught that their ‘felt needs’ are of the utmost importance.

So, you all believe that people can be saved and not know Jesus Christ? Incredible. Then what was the point of the Cross?

24   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 2:23 pm

So, you all believe that people can be saved and not know Jesus Christ? Incredible.

How long have you been reading posts and comments at this site, Lydia?

25   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 2:26 pm

I do not know anything about this pastor Russell, nor do I wish to. The point I was making wasn’t that it is acceptable to preach a watered down gospel, but that God can still work through an imperfect teaching. You seem to have a particular adversion to this man.

You desire negatives? How about only men are called to be elders and if women feel the necessity to rebuke an elder she should speak through her husband. I am not sure that is the negative you were looking for. Remember – the WHOLE counsel of God, not just the parts we like.

26   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 2:28 pm

Sorry Lydia, but I seriously doubt you attended SECC (or that, if you did, you listened all that closely). Having listened to enough sermons from there, and having been part of the same non-denominational denomination, I can say unequivocally that you’re completely full of it. Besides which, Russell retired two years ago…

BTW: he believes in baptismal regeneration.

Then apparently you weren’t listening (or you were just there to fault-find).

From their statement of belief:

Those accepting Christ should repent of sin, confess their faith, and be baptized into Him.
(Romans 10:9; Acts 2:38)

So, not listed as the way one receives salvation, but as a step that we, as Christians, are told we should take as a public expression of faith. SECC requires it for membership in the church, but not as a salvatory requirement of Christianity.

From their FAQ on Baptism:

The act of baptism cannot save an individual. We are saved only through accepting Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

I guess it is bad form to say anything about the special ‘clergy’ class of professional Christians who make their living off the gospel. How dare me? My NT makes no distinction between clergy and laity. That is a myth. We are all in the Holy Priesthood. We all have anointing if we are true believers.

I don’t think anyone at this site will disagree with this statement, though your previous one is rather erroneous, seeming to call us all to become ADM’s (Armchair Discernment ‘Ministeries’), tearing down anyone that doesn’t agree with us on each iota of doctrine we’ve deemed to be ‘correct’…

As for “felt needs”, Russell has been pretty consistent in saying that it is the ‘felt needs’ of those outside the church that should be targeted for compassion and grace, whereas those within the church should endure sacrifice of their own ‘felt needs’ for those of others…

Sorry, “sweetie”, but you’re just pretty much completely wrong on everything you’ve said about SECC…

27   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 4th, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Lydia,

Nathanael’s question I think sums it up. Because you do not know me from Adam I will ignore how your post and characterizations of myself and others here are completely inaccurate. I suggest, at the very least, you get to know who you are talking to and about before you judge them (and even then, tread lightly).

grace and peace,
Chad

28   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 2:31 pm

So, you all believe that people can be saved and not know Jesus Christ? Incredible.

What do you believe about infants? The mentally incapacitated?

I don’t know of any writers at this site who believe in salvation via any other name but Jesus, though there are some commenters (who may have valid points) that if God wishes to save someone after death who was not explicitly Christian (see again, at least the unborn/infants), He may do so through Jesus, and who would we be to complain about it?

29   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 4th, 2008 at 2:34 pm

Well put, ChrisL. :)

30   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 2:42 pm

I happen to plead ignorance on the subject of infants and mentally challenged since the NT does no address those issues. I hold out the possibility of after death grace for them although Corinthians seems to suggest a sanctified covering for infants with believing parents.

It seems to me Lydia was just picking a fight due to her obvious problem with Pastor Russell.

The only Russell I follow has Charles as his first name! :)

31   Jose    
August 4th, 2008 at 3:30 pm

YOu guys sure told her.
i am sure she ain’t coming back here for more. ( sarcasm )

32   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 3:59 pm

Jose,

When you just show up and start blasting away at folks w/ no context of who/what you’re saying, it shouldn’t be all that surprising when you get called on it.

I didn’t think anyone was nasty to her in the exchange while still calling out some of the obvious fallacies in her post (like the bit on baptismal regeneration, which, were she a member paying attention to the church and not just a critic, she’d have known better)…

33   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 4:50 pm

Why can we see the sometimes shallow way in which some churches draw large crowds, but we cannot see the powerlessness of our own church in drawing sinners by holding up Christ? And we are so adept at reasoning with things like:

* Sinners don’t want to hear the truth.
* We take a stand against the culture.
* We don’t please people.
* We are the remnant.
* The elect are very few.
* Wide is the gate…

Where is the power that lit the known world with the gospel in the book of Acts? Are we saying that 120 Spirit filled disciples turned the world upside down, but millions of us are content with just treading water? And compulsively critiquing everyone else lends no more spiritual power to us, in fact sometimes it leads to petrified hubris.

Let us do the math:

The shallow seeker preacher draws a crowd that contains many unbelievers, and he presents a flawed message to which 100 sinners make a profession of faith.

The orthodox reformed preacher draws a small group that contains 3 unbelievers, and he preaches a solid gospel message to which 1 sinner makes a profession of faith.

Out of the 100 professions, only 25% were authentic. The one profession was genuine. The math is still indicting as it pertains to those who criticize the seeker group.

And some of the reformed group actually are proud of the small amount of conversions since they suggest that proves their Biblically solid message. Or it may just prove their powerlessness. We cannot afford to criticize others without seeing our own desperate need of God’s power.

Doctrinal purity is a poor and pitiful excuse for the demonstration of the Spirit and power.

34   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
August 4th, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Faaaaantasic analysis Rick. Good thoughts. That was cool. :)

35   Scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 5:14 pm

What do you believe about infants? The mentally incapacitated?

With wife often telling to grow up and having fully participated in the 60’s and 70’, that being proof I have limited brain cells. This tells me I still have hope!! :roll:

36   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 5:34 pm

I thought of you right away, Scotty!! :lol:

37   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 4th, 2008 at 5:40 pm

Rick,

I’m clapping.

38   Lydia    
August 4th, 2008 at 5:45 pm

“You desire negatives?” Nope. Only truths that are many times negative. Ask the martyrs.

” How about only men are called to be elders and if women feel the necessity to rebuke an elder she should speak through her husband. I am not sure that is the negative you were looking for. Remember – the WHOLE counsel of God, not just the parts we like.”

Of course, a whole doctrine built on a few proof texts and a couple of Greek words that are not clear at all. Shall we discuss Authenteo in depth?

Of course, it elevates you, doesn’t it.

39   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 5:54 pm

I love proof texts! :)

Ask the martyrs? I love it when someone uses the martyrs as a suggestion the martyrs would agree with them. Could there be any deeper disconnect?

Just to bring you up to speed, I do not care what anyone thinks or how they interpret the Scriptures. Ask around. :cool:

BTW – Spurgeon agrees with me! :roll:

40   Lydia    
August 4th, 2008 at 6:04 pm

“Sorry Lydia, but I seriously doubt you attended SECC (or that, if you did, you listened all that closely). Having listened to enough sermons from there, and having been part of the same non-denominational denomination, I can say unequivocally that you’re completely full of it. Besides which, Russell retired two years ago…”

I know, I was at ONE of his many going away banquets. Dave Stone took his place and Kyle Idleman, the emergent youngster, was brought in a few years ago as part of the succession plan. Wouldn’t you love to make 6 figures as a pastor at 30! What makes you think Bob is still not teaching? Have you checked out his partnership with the London Institute?

“From their statement of belief:

Those accepting Christ should repent of sin, confess their faith, and be baptized into Him.
(Romans 10:9; Acts 2:38)”

Of course, Saddleback has a correct statement of belief on their website, too. Most seeker churches do. You should have seen the statement on BR up 4 years ago!! It was nothing but confusion! The one you see above is a compromise from many sessions on this issue. But then, you do not know the behind the scenes wranglings over this issue of Baptismal regeneration at SECC. The statement on the website has been updated and changed about 10x in the last 5 years. Bob, Dave and Kyle were all raised believing in BR in the Campbellite Christian church.

But, a big problem…SECC promotes itself as very non- denominational and the joke in these parts is that it is the biggest ‘Baptist’ church in town. So teaching BR outright is a problem. But they believe it in their hearts and ANYONE who has been Baptized in their view, has recieved the Holy Spirit. No matter how they live, their fruit or their teaching.

There was a big bruhaha a few years back when Russell was invited to preach at SBTS. Some of the students knew of his beliefs in BR and made a protest.

“As for “felt needs”, Russell has been pretty consistent in saying that it is the ‘felt needs’ of those outside the church that should be targeted for compassion and grace, …”

Yes, that is how you get them in and keep them. But they are only fed milk so there is no need for sacrfice within the Body. Nice words, though.

Rick, I know you don’t respect women but I actually agree with you on the seeker/reformed analysis. What I don’t agree with is keeping people on IV’s… feeding them milk.

There comes a time when the seekers exist soley as well paying jobs programs and halls of fame for celebrity pastors. There comes a time when it is all about image and appearances hiding all the sin of staff such as porn viewing, adultery, etc because it hurts tithing. Can God work through this? yes, of course. He worked His Sovereign will through Israel. Does that excuse it? Nope.

41   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 4th, 2008 at 6:05 pm

Just to bring you up to speed, I do not care what anyone thinks or how they interpret the Scriptures. Ask around.

I can vouch for this, Lydia. He doesn’t even care that I am at this moment vouching for him.

Lydia,
Why no comment to Chris L’s rebuttal of nearly everything you were so critical about in your introduction?

I know nothing of this Pastor Russel guy. Never heard of him before. Yet I trust Chris L’s take on him.

42   Lydia    
August 4th, 2008 at 6:07 pm

“BTW – Spurgeon agrees with me”

So did the slave owners on slavery. What happened there? Did scripture change or did our understanding of it change?

43   Lydia    
August 4th, 2008 at 6:09 pm

“Lydia,
Why no comment to Chris L’s rebuttal of nearly everything you were so critical about in your introduction? ”

I thought I did. What am I missing? Would you be so kind to point it out to me?

44   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 6:12 pm

“Rick, I know you don’t respect women”

I know you didn’t mean that so let me correct that sentence.

“Rick, I know you hold a Biblical view of ecclesiastical offices”.

See, fixed. :)

“Can God work through this? yes, of course. He worked His Sovereign will through Israel. Does that excuse it? Nope.”

Agreed.

45   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
August 4th, 2008 at 6:22 pm

Lydia,
A rebuttal isn’t saying, “No, you’re wrong and I’m right because I say I’m right.” A rebuttal is actually offering some proof. Original sources etc. The no research position is already taken by a pastor on the East Coast.

46   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Lydia,

SECC is still a member of the restoration movement Christian Churches (which do not use the “Cambellite” designation, which even Alexander Campbell would eschew).

Having grown up in this church, I am familiar with the debates on baptism and its importance, and I would say that you have over-simplified the debate on the subject, and done it a disservice by suggesting that the belief (current and historic) would deny that salvation is by faith alone. The debate has always been on where baptism then fits, in light of Scripture.

As far as “milk” goes, I know that BR focused on concrete application of Scripture rather than abstract principals and abstract doctrine – which is what I see you (and a number of critics of larger non-denominational churches) focusing on when you complain of “milk”. Seriously, though, a mature Christian is one who knows how to apply scripture to his or her life.

In the early church and in Judaism, the belief that right belief follows right application/action was prevalent (i.e. if you’re taught how to act correctly and what Scriptural principals guide that action, you are more likely to grow in wisdom and maturity). Since the 1800’s though, a trend has emerged in which “knowing all the right things should lead to the right actions” is the key to wisdom and maturity. Russell and others tend to follow the ancient/historic convention rather than the newer one.

Each has its positives and negatives.

As for “signing a prayer card”, the process (as I understand it) at SECC is for folks who “sign a prayer card” meet with one of the pastoral staff or the elders and then attend one of the membership classes, which delve into basic doctrine and what it means to be a Christian – after which they are invited to become a member of the church through expressed belief in Christ and baptism (as an outward sign of submission to him).

Regardless, it seems to me that the OP was not so much about BR as it was about the unwritten “dress code” in many churches. (Having heard both Stone and Idleman, I’ve been impressed – particular with the outreach ministry Kyle’s been leading.)

47   Lydia    
August 4th, 2008 at 6:30 pm

“No, you’re wrong and I’m right because I say I’m right.” A rebuttal is actually offering some proof. Original sources etc.”

A rebuttal to what? Is this only a rule for me or does it also apply to others? Let us take Saddleback as an example. How can you rebut their doctrinal statement when it is their ‘behavior’ that rebuts it? One would have to SEE the behavior, correct?

That is why it is so easy to deceive folks in mega churches. Just keep giving money and we will keep entertaining you.

What East Coast pastor? I have no idea what you are referring to.

48   Lydia    
August 4th, 2008 at 6:38 pm

“As for “signing a prayer card”, the process (as I understand it) at SECC is for folks who “sign a prayer card” meet with one of the pastoral staff or the elders and then attend one of the membership classes, which delve into basic doctrine and what it means to be a Christian – after which they are invited to become a member of the church through expressed belief in Christ and baptism (as an outward sign of submission to him).”

They have NO idea exactly who is a member or who isn’t. There are people who have gone there for years who have never joined. There are people who are official members who have not been there in a decade. NEVER believe the numbers they publish. They have no idea. Even after spending a ton of money on FRED.

Ask them about the “I’m In” campaign of a few years ago (right before Bob left) trying to figure out true membership and numbers. they have tried everything…. making it as easy as possible to be an ‘official’ member of SECC.

49   Lydia    
August 4th, 2008 at 6:39 pm

(Having heard both Stone and Idleman, I’ve been impressed – particular with the outreach ministry Kyle’s been leading.)

They are VERY entertaining. The worship team, the joke writers and researchers for their sermons go for at least 2 laughs per sermon. That is considered a success.

50   Lydia    
August 4th, 2008 at 6:42 pm

“Rick, I know you hold a Biblical view of ecclesiastical offices”.”

There are NO offices. Only “functions” of service within the Body. There is no clergy /laity distinction in the New Covenant. The translators added ‘office’. The same translators working under a state church mentality.

51   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 4th, 2008 at 6:57 pm

I thought I did. What am I missing? Would you be so kind to point it out to me?

It appears we posted at about the same time. As I said, I don’t know Russell and can’t speak to specifics of his church but will take Chris L at his word and trust his discernment.

However, even if I did not trust Chris I would still argue to keep the weeds (not to say I see “them” as weeds but you obviously do). Jesus didn’t seem to care too much that there were others not of his inner circle who were proclaiming his name. Nor did Paul, who cared little of the motives behind one’s proclamation just so long as Christ is proclaimed (Phil. 1). I will always take the side of pastors who are earnestly seeking the heart of God and fulfilling their own God given role in the great big, multi-segmented Body of Christ. Not all of us can be a heel…

the joke writers and researchers for their sermons go for at least 2 laughs per sermon.

…and not all of us can live without a funny bone.

I thank God there are seeker sensitive churches out there. Though they are not the kind of church I would attend, nor does my ministry resemble one, I recognize the need and am thrilled that we serve a great BIG God who’s reach is more diverse and more suprisign than our own limited perspectives.

peace,
Chad

52   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Who are the “overseers” that the writer of Hebrews insructs us to obey?

Answer – male elders.

5 points for a correct answer.

53   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 4th, 2008 at 7:16 pm

Can’t vouch for ya on this part, Rick.
I am of a tradition that blessedly has been ordaining women for over 50 years now. Wish the rest of the church-world would catch up.

54   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
August 4th, 2008 at 7:16 pm

Lydia,

I have to agree with you on this statement:

There are NO offices. Only “functions” of service within the Body. There is no clergy /laity distinction in the New Covenant. The translators added ‘office’. The same translators working under a state church mentality.

But for the rest of your argument, you should probably back up what you’re saying. Just some helpful advice.

55   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 7:32 pm

There are NO offices. Only “functions” of service within the Body. There is no clergy /laity distinction in the New Covenant. The translators added ‘office’. The same translators working under a state church mentality.

I agree, Lydia.

Rick – I also agree that there is an overseer function/role (or “office”, though not in a hierarchical sense), responsible for the spiritual well-being and direction of the local body. And, I would also agree that the Scriptures seem to indicate that this is a male role within the church, a doctrinal point on which I disagree with many Methodists, Rob Bell and others.

Lydia – we will just have to agree to disagree on SECC, as it appears you’ve got a personal bone to pick with them, seeing how you’re not really able to factually back up your claims, many of which can pretty much be chalked up to “the eye of the beholder” – In anything, if you seek to find offense, you are not likely to be disappointed.

56   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 7:37 pm

I happen to be the Grand High, Exalted, Mystic Ruler! :cool:

57   Scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 8:35 pm

Scratches his head as he wonders if Lydia is really who she says she is…..

58   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
August 4th, 2008 at 8:51 pm

Chris L:

Any chance you and Chad could “debate” the “ordaining women” topic some time?

Maybe it’s a regional thing or something, but the Restoration Movement church our family used to attend made no bones about their belief that baptism was an inseperable part of salvation–baptism was THE point and time salvation takes place and one recieves the Holy Spirit. I can’t speak for Russell’s church.

59   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
August 4th, 2008 at 8:52 pm

Rick: That ain’t nothin’! I am the Grand Exhausted Lizard.

60   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
August 4th, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Well, I’m pretty cool. :)

61   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 4th, 2008 at 9:10 pm

Any chance you and Chad could “debate” the “ordaining women” topic some time?

lol. I’m game if Chris can promise he won’t get advice from his very astute wife! :)

62   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 4th, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Maybe it’s a regional thing or something, but the Restoration Movement church our family used to attend made no bones about their belief that baptism was an inseperable part of salvation–baptism was THE point and time salvation takes place and one recieves the Holy Spirit. I can’t speak for Russell’s church.

I recall some debates w/in the restoration movement churches back in the 80’s on the topic, but IIRC the position settled on (in general, since there is no national organization which ‘decides’ doctrine – but the colleges do have more influence than most denominations) was that while the case could be made (via Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38 and Acts 22:16)) that baptism has some sort of special place in the process, it is faith in Jesus which is the common factor in the holistic view of the relevant Scriptures.

Noting that the colleges have quite a bit of effect, the primary schools with influence in the Midwest are Cincinnati Christian University, Kentucky Christian College and Lincoln Christian College – and all of these takes the latter position. Still, though, churches in the region require baptism for membership in the local church (differentiating that from salvation).

Of the other RM schools I am familiar with, Ozark and Johnson tend to lean more to the former position (that baptism is required for salvation), though I’m hearing that this is shifting, as well…

Any chance you and Chad could “debate” the “ordaining women” topic some time?

I’m game if Chris can promise he won’t get advice from his very astute wife!

No can do (on the promise) – I couldn’t not get advice from her – she’s the level-headed one of us…

I’m not sure I’d be the best to debate the subject, though, as I’ve got some sympathy for William Webb’s trajectory hermeneutic, though I land where I do out of deference to the Text, and the “slippery slope” that this creates with people (particularly on homosexual and purity issues) who do not have a deep enough background in the Text to understand and apply the hermeneutic in a way that would not lead to endorsement of actual sin.

While I think that the case can pretty easily be made for females in the position of Deacon, the position of an overseer is pretty consistently male and falls in line with both the OT, the NT and the traditions put in place by Jesus and his disciples. While I believe there are women that would have the basic qualifications of being an elder, I also believe that they are likely the ones who wouldn’t seek the position in the first place…

63   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 7:19 am

The references to Mark and Acts have no Pauline teaching that would either substantiate or expound. The reference in Mark isn’t uniform in other places with the same wording, and Acts was a narrative about the embryonic church.

At the time Peter said those words he did not believe Gentiles could be saved. I believe his doctrine was to be refined later. One would assume that if baptism or Communion had any redemptive aspect to them that not only would Paul have mentioned it, it would have been as much a theme as it is in many Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ churches.

The inflated inportance of baptism in many churches does not reflect the importance given to it in the New Testament.

64   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
August 5th, 2008 at 8:06 am

Chris: The church we attended was staffed by men predominantly from Ozark. Could explain things. Also, the congregation was “older,” their were quite a few second, third and even fourth generation families that were entrenched in the baptismal regeneration school of thought. Presently, from what I understand, there is only one or two of those staffers remaining. Interesting, one of them is an Ozark grad, mid-30s. He still holds to the “baptism for salvation” thing.

I agree with your position(s) on the woman as Deacon/Elder.

65   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 8:18 am

Chris and Tim seemed to hold a diluted version of baptismal regeneration. But when one holds to a salvation by baptism view it is very dangerous. That is works and presents a major doctrinal problem.

66   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 8:38 am

I grew up in a church that relegated women to essentially children-bearers.
Their expected silence in the meetings was taken quite literally from I Corin. 14.34.
Now the Lord has been breaking down that attitude of heart in me, but I still have a hesitation on fully embracing women overseers.
I met the lead elder of Mars Hill Bible Church who is a woman. (I forget her name) Her heart and spirit were so gracious. She was clearly a servant leader who counted it a humbling privilege to serve in this capacity.
I have another friend who is a missionary with her husband. They are both very gifted teachers, and I cannot argue with the gift the Lord has granted her.

What is the most scripturally-balanced book or article out there dealing with this matter?
I’ve heard mixed reviews of “Colossians Remixed.”

Thanks.
Shalom

67   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 5th, 2008 at 8:49 am

The women leaders I know are far more balanced and easier to work with than a lot of men I know. I’ve found that the number of men in leadership who don’t let their egos get the best of them is relatively rare.

Also, years of serving in a ministry where my wife and I were essentially co-pastors has showed me that there are a lot of men who just have a fear of a strong woman. It’s kind of funny, my wife is 5′-4″ and 100 lbs., but she manages to intimidate a lot of insecure guys.

68   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 8:59 am

there are a lot of men who just have a fear of a strong woman.

Tony Campolo says that men who are still concerned about women preachers “need to be healed.”

That may be a little steep but I find it incredible that so many men (and many women) can’t see beyond the cultural relevance of Paul’s leadership advice. Especially when the same men see cultural relevance in almost every other area when it comes to interpretatoin.
(i.e. Paul’s advice to slaves and slave owners).

Like Phil said, when or if you ever sit down with a woman pastor and discuss their call and hear testimonies not just from them but the many they minister to you cannot help but know that this is God’s work.

Here is an honest question: Have any of you who think women pastors are unbiblical ever had a heart to heart with one? If so, what were your impressions?

peace,
Chad

69   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 9:07 am

What is the most scripturally-balanced book or article out there dealing with this matter?
I’ve heard mixed reviews of “Colossians Remixed.”

Nathanael,

There are no shortage of books out there on the subject. As far as which one is the most “scripturally-balanced” I don’t know that anyone could say. That is where, I think, we bring our own bias to the table. Naturally, an author that argues against female ordination yet uses much scripture I will find unbalanced. On the other hand, authors who use much scripture to “prove” the veracity of female ordination I find very balanced.

I wrote a position paper on this topic for my feminist theology course. I am trying to track it down now. Should I find it I will post it on my blog.

peace,
Chad

70   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
August 5th, 2008 at 10:39 am

With the exception of my mother, many of the female pastors I have ever encountered are lesbians.

That automatically disqualifies them as Pastors according to the Bible.

The others who were married or not in a relationship were generally from a more charismatic brand of the faith and I simply could not line up with their word-faith teachings and other doctrinal stuff.

This being said, Chad, I have struggled to find a female pastor ever that after having a heart to heart with her led me to believe she was called to be a Minister or even really qualified in the Biblical sense.

I have too had questions in my own heart whether the teaching of Paul was cultural, whether the spiritual gifts were gender based (I do not see that position in scripture) and why our denomination would not allow women pastors, but do allow women missionaries.

71   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 10:47 am

With the exception of my mother, many of the female pastors I have ever encountered are lesbians.

lol. PB, you need to get out more :D

The others who were married or not in a relationship were generally from a more charismatic brand of the faith and I simply could not line up with their word-faith teachings and other doctrinal stuff.

My experience is exactly the opposite. Being Methodist and going to Duke Divinity I get the privledge or working and studying alongside some of the brightest, most gifted female pastors and pastors-in-training. It is thrilling to see how God is raising up all peoples, making true of his word that “your sons and daughters will prophesy” and affirming that the gospel is very much about the proclamation that in Christ Jesus there is no longer male or female, Jew or Gentile, slave or free…

but do allow women missionaries.

Oh yes…the “functionality clause.” How utilitarian. I don’t understand that reasoning either, PB.

peace,
Chad

72   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 5th, 2008 at 10:52 am

With the exception of my mother, many of the female pastors I have ever encountered are lesbians.

Wait a minute, are you saying your mom was a pastor? Interesting…

As far as the lesbian thing, are you saying they were out as lesbians, or you just thought they were. I have two close female friends who are single and pastors, and they are definitely not lesbians. But I know a lot of people probably would secretly accuse them as such.

That’s another thing that bugs me with the evangelical church culture. We have so set up the epitome of womanhood as a woman getting married and having kids, that if a woman doesn’t do that, well, then there must be something wrong with her.

Basically, there is a lot about church culture I hate. We do these things and we wonder why people in the 18-35 y.o. demographic can’t run away quick enough. Here’s a clue for church leaders. Women who graduate from college aren’t looking to give up everything to become baby machines, and if that’s what your church holds up as the ideal, they’re not going to come.

73   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 10:54 am

Women who graduate from college aren’t looking to give up everything to become baby machines, and if that’s what your church holds up as the ideal, they’re not going to come.

Amen, Phil.

Funny how if a man chooses to remain single and devote his life to the ministry we call him saintly or commend him for his sacrifice. When a woman does it we call her a lesbian. (not saying you were, PB)

74   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
August 5th, 2008 at 11:01 am

No, Phil, They are in a ‘loving affirming open lesbian relationship.

There were others that I though might be, but would not accuse people of such if I didn’t know the facts.

My mother is a ordained minister in the Episcopal church. The Rev. Anne B. Chisham. And no, she and I do not see eye to eye theologically. (I bet you could NEVER have guessed).

75   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 5th, 2008 at 11:02 am

Funny how if a man chooses to remain single and devote his life to the ministry we call him saintly or commend him for his sacrifice.

Actually, in my experience, at least in the culture I grew up in, people start thinking there’s something wrong with him, too. People would assume he’s gay as well.

Really, we think that Paul was probably mistaken when he said that it’s better for some people to remain single.

It’s funny. In some ways, I fit into the evangelical stereotype. I got married when I was rather young (23 at the time), and I remained part of the denomination of my youth. But, we don’t have kids yet, and I’ve really felt a lot of separation from the church culture over the last 3 or 4 years. It’s been rather eye-opening.

76   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 11:12 am

Actually, in my experience, at least in the culture I grew up in, people start thinking there’s something wrong with him, too. People would assume he’s gay as well.

Sadly, this does occur. Yet men seem to be given the benefit of the doubt…at least for a period of time. Female pastors often get the “well how will you raise a family?” sort of question.

77   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
August 5th, 2008 at 11:18 am

Chad,
This isn’t a problem that just goes that way. It also cuts the other way. My wife was a very successful business woman who decided to stay home with our children. She can get looked down on because “you gave all that up.”

78   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 5th, 2008 at 11:28 am

I know, Joe, and I know I have to be careful to not look down on people who are different from me. I have to remind myself that all Christians are my brothers and sisters.

I guess I just wish we could be better all around at accepting people the way they are.

79   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Joe -
Yeah, very true. Perhaps Tony Campolo isn’t so far off the mark afterall. We (men) need to heal.

80   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 12:31 pm

It doesn’t matter if the women pastors were nice, easier to work with, more copmmitted, have a heart for people, all those things are subjective to the issue. It boild down to this:

Do you believe the Scriptures in that issue are transgenerational and transcultural, or do you believe when the culture changes the Scriptues change as well.

81   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 5th, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Do you believe the Scriptures in that issue are transgenerational and transcultural, or do you believe when the culture changes the Scriptues change as well.

Well, I believe that’s a false dichotomy. Scripture is both.

82   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Do you believe the Scriptures in that issue are transgenerational and transcultural, or do you believe when the culture changes the Scriptues change as well.

The gospel propels us forward, Rick, not backwards. This question you ask doesn’t really do the issue justice. If scripture TRULY is transgenerational and transcultural in all respects, than why when Paul tells slaves to obey their masters does he not put a parenthetical (but in 2008 people will come to know by the grace of God that owning human beings is immoral and contrary to the will of God)?

The question is not whether or not scripture is transcultural or not but whether or not you believe the Holy Spirit is STILL leading us into the glorious truth of the freedom the gospel (not scripture) came to bring? Was Paul laying a claim for all times and all places about the church or was he working with a culturally specific issue and trying to give a budding church its best shot at succeeding in a man-centered, patriarhcal society?

83   Neil    
August 5th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Was Paul laying a claim for all times and all places about the church or was he working with a culturally specific issue and trying to give a budding church its best shot at succeeding in a man-centered, patriarhcal society? -Chad

Yes

84   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Neil-

So today, when someone is owned by another human, my obligation as a pastor and one who teaches scripture is to tell them to obey their master rather than declare their freedom?

Do you side with Martin Luther and what he did to the German peasants who wanted freedom? The Jews? Was it right for Christians to tell Jews who were the “property” of Hitler to just accept their fate and “obey”? (they did – and still do , ya know).

85   Neil    
August 5th, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Lydia,

I think you got off on the wrong foot when you responded to Chad with

Are you saying you dumb it down to make it more palitable to your listener? That is a shame and if you are, you need to get out of the ministry. It is not for you.

which is obviously not what he meant.

It would help if you employed the “charitable reading” approach and not assume the worst case scenario –

Neil

86   Neil    
August 5th, 2008 at 1:03 pm

Chad,

Sorry, I don’t follow how those questions relate to my response.

Neil

87   Neil    
August 5th, 2008 at 1:04 pm

So today, when someone is owned by another human, my obligation as a pastor and one who teaches scripture is to tell them to obey their master rather than declare their freedom?

Why not do both…

88   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Neil-
By your “yes” to both of my questions I figured you were saying you think Paul is laying claims for all times and places and peoples with his brief depiction of church leadership in the 1st century. If I misunderstood, I am sorry.

If you do, however, think that gender issues are universal in the 1st century and apply to us today than my questions I think are very relevant- how do you deal with slavery?

89   Neil    
August 5th, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Let’s say, for the time being, that I think Paul’s gender comments when he spoke of church leadership are still applicable. How does that relate to the issue of slavery?

Neil

90   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 1:32 pm

Even though slavery is wrong, a Christian slave must act in the Spirit of Christ. Even though being in jail for your beliefs is wrong…Even though being martyred for your faith is wrong…Even though being persecuted for your faith is wrong (China, etc), we must still act in the Spirit of Christ.

I cannot see how you can reconcile a man being the head of his home, and his wife being his spiritual overseer. Unless you believe that the Scriptures proples us forward to eliminate the male head household. Many believe that all gender references in the Bible are outdated. That would be at least consistent.

91   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 2:26 pm

The story of Genesis and the Pauline teaching concerning the weaker vessel, as well as the family structure of authority, seem to make it impossible for a woman to rule over men in the economy of the church. You must deconstruct the gender teachings before you can allow a woman to have spiritually authority in the church.

I can see the agrument for women deacons since the office is one of servanthood and the word is used for a women in one of John’s epistles, but the elders are overseers. There seems to be a genuine disconnect to a woman being submissive to her husband at home and have the rule over him at church.

92   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

BTW Chris L – Jon, my oldest, would summarily beat the fire out of any boy who laid a hand on his sister – because he reserved that right for himself. He has many fatherly scars because of that behavior.

I praise God that all three of my children love Jesus and love each other unconditionally. They all live in different houses and yet speak daily to each other in love and encouragement.

93   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 2:36 pm

Even though slavery is wrong…

Bingo, Rick. And yet we might not know this just by going on Paul’s words alone. It is the heart of the gospel (the heart of God) that gets us to that point. It is a crying shame we did not come to that conclusion sooner than we did – we might have been able to bypass a lot of hurt and pain and suffering.

In the same way that lording over someone because of their race or social status is wrong, so is because of one’s gender.

I might change your statement to: Sexism is wrong….but where domination by patriarchal societies (or denominations) still exists, women ought to act in the Spirit of Christ. I think this is what Paul was saying to the women of his day, just like he was saying the same thing to the slaves of his day – while not exactly endorsing either establishment, but longing for that day when because of the power of the gospel to tear down walls there truly would be “neither slave or free, male or female, jew or gentile.”

peace,
Chad

94   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 2:43 pm

Chad – do you deny Biblical authority in the family?

We even see Paul sending Onesismus back to his “owner” instead of hiding him in freedom. I believe Paul’s tone was to see Philemon release Onesimus.

95   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 2:53 pm

Many believe that all gender references in the Bible are outdated. That would be at least consistent.

What would be consistent is if those who deny women the right to lead would also deny women the right to wear jewelry, wear their hair a certain way and horror of horrors, never let them utter a word in church. Just a prime example of how we pick and choose what we will allow to be culturally relevant.

Baptists send “missionary” women overseas who carry on with the same functions as a pastor or elder would here in the States but this is OK because they have changed their title. How is that consistent?

96   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 2:58 pm

I would agree that the gender issue has many times been used to demean women, however God’s word makes it clear that the role of men is not simply cultural.

Chad – do you believe in Biblical roles of leadership in the home?

97   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Chad – do you deny Biblical authority in the family?

Rick, honestly, why must advocating for women pastors put me at odds with spiritual authority in the household? While Mike Ratliff might think there are no gray areas in scripture these are some of the very areas that are very gray.
Does the family where the man is not a Christian but an outright athiest still carry the mantle of male headship even when the wife and mother is a Christian? Should she bow to the “spiritual leanings” of the husband because MEN are the ONLY spiritual leaders?

My only reason for bringing this very common scenario (at least for today – this was NOT the case in the 1st century, however) is to show how we should not take a cookie-cutter approach to scripture.

Rick or others – do you know what sort of sects or groups of people in Paul’s day had women as their leaders?

Also – are you aware that in Paul’s day the religion of the family fell right in line with the man of the house? What the man was, you as the woman and children were by default. Thus, when Cornelius is “saved” it is “he and his household” which also included all of his slaves. Again, Paul is walking right in step with the culture of his day and being extremely relevant – a lesson for all of us.

peace,
Chad

98   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 3:08 pm

however God’s word makes it clear that the role of men is not simply cultural.

How so? Why can you say this so unequivocally about men and gender roles and yet you readily admit that slavery is wrong, even though the Bible is full of instructions about how slaves and owners ought to treat each other? You seem to be saying that it is OK to treat slavery as culturally specific but you draw the line on gender roles – those MUST be universal. Why?

99   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 3:09 pm

I do not take a cookie cutter approach to all Scripture, some as you have noted are cultural. However some are truth forever with no cultural dilution.

Truth cannot be constructed on the exceptions you note, but as a general rule, the man is the head of the woman just as Christ is the head off the man. That has nothing to do with the culture of that day, that is inspired revelation which will continue to become more and more uncomfortable as the culture evolves away from that truth.

Even in households that believe in male leadership, most have a common and somewhat mutual style of leadership between the father and mother. I reject the male totalitarian model, but I cannot reject the male leadership model either.

100   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 3:14 pm

I believe Paul’s teaching on equality among believers serves to dismantle slavery. However, there is less teaching on the evils of slavery than there is about gender roles. If we cuturalize everything, then we become our own Scripture and Scripture changes with culture.

Paul states in I Corinthians that the churches have no such traditions that he just prescribed to them.

101   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 3:18 pm

BTW Chad – I am the emperor in my house. I rule with august authority and without any imput from my wife. I refuse and in fact punish any attempts to make any suggestions to me, and I have constructed a throne in my livingroom upon which all may approach and make their petitions known.

Uh-oh – I gotta go, I told my wife I would vaccuum!!

102   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 3:26 pm

I do not take a cookie cutter approach to all Scripture, some as you have noted are cultural. However some are truth forever with no cultural dilution.

And who determines which is which? I think you are on shaky ground to be saying slavery is cultural and gender roles are not. On what basis? The slave owners argued to protect their “rights” just like most men argue this topic. Who is really being inconsistent?

As for 1 Cor. 11, the best rendering of what “head” means is “source,” rather than “authority over.” But in either case, this does not preclude women from being a pastor. A family at home are certainly free to work out their system of authority. Like you, I do not buy into the totalitarian sort of structure.

103   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 3:28 pm

BTW Chad – I am the emperor in my house. I rule with august authority and without any imput from my wife. I refuse and in fact punish any attempts to make any suggestions to me, and I have constructed a throne in my livingroom upon which all may approach and make their petitions known.

Rick, this is a given. I would expect no less from any of us :P

Uh-oh – I gotta go, I told my wife I would vaccuum!!

…and i really should be getting the dishes put away so we can get dinner prepared.

104   nc    
August 5th, 2008 at 3:34 pm

hmmmm….

I wonder if too much extrapolation is occuring without taking into account the “imminent” eschatology of Pauline writings…?

If the eschaton was presumed to be around the corner by Paul–as I think you can strongly argue from his letters–then the calls to abide in unequal relationships, submission to the government, etc. would be seen as all that would be swept away in the fullness of the Kingdom of Christ.

This is one of those places where the eschatological character and assumptions of Christianity can shed light on other parts of the writings.

I would argue that Paul didn’t give us a full-fledged theology of gender roles.

His household codes are deeply enculturated and provisional given the incidental nature of the epistles.

It’s something to think about…

105   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 3:39 pm

How do you reconcile any of the texts used to support the universality of gender roles (such as 1 Cor. 11:3ff) with Paul also declaring that in Christ there is no male or female or that God is no respector of persons?

What rights did women have in Jesus and Paul’s day? None! Their testimony in a court of law was not even considered valid! Would it make any sense at all to have a woman pastor in that climate? If I sound somewhat incredulous it may be because I am – I find it impossible to allow for cultural distinctions in certain teachings (like what women wear or whether they can even talk in church) and then slam the door on the most obvious like this one. Women were treated almost as bad if not worse than slaves in Paul’s day. Can you really expect him to say anything less than what he did?

BUT – here is the good news: The Gospel is always pushing forward into newness of life. Jesus befriended women. Jesus sent a WOMAN to proclaim the first Easter sermon to a group of men. Jesus allowed a woman to be a witness in a world where women were not allowed to be such. Paul declared quite radically that there is no male or female, slave or free. This sounds like “duh” in our 21st century ears but in Paul’s day that would be like Rosa Parks refusing to move on a bus.
Yes, although Paul is being relevant to his culture and ensuring that the infant church gets off the ground he, like Jesus before him, seems to hold out hope for the breaking down of the barriers that kepts slaves and slaves and women as second-class citizens.

106   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 3:40 pm

Excellent and intriguing point, nc.

107   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 3:44 pm

The word is ?????? and means head or authority and is used as Christ is head of the church.

All the arguments you use are reason and culture, but they go against the clear teaching of Scripture. You must then consider all the gender teachings in the Scriptures as only relevant to the day in which they were penned.

That is a massive deconstruction that has implictions much greater than just gender issues.

108   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 3:45 pm

It would not print my Greek – sorry.

109   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 3:56 pm

All the arguments you use are reason and culture, but they go against the clear teaching of Scripture.

Rick,
Do women speak in your church? Pray? Offer testimonies? Do they wear jewelry? How do they wear their hair?

they go against the clear teaching of Scripture

We all do. The question is, how true to the GOSPEL are we really being. What course of action is more in keeping with the heart of Christ? Do we think the message of Jesus is one that allows us to continue to lord over women and for that matter, slaves? Or is the heart of God one that expreseses that BOTH are made in the image of God and that in Christ there is neither male or female?

I notice you have shrugged off each of my questions and all of my points as mere “reason and culture.” Will you not address any of them?

110   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 4:02 pm

BTW, culture and reason are not our enemies, or God’s. We should use both to His glory.

111   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 4:03 pm

“Do women speak in your church? Pray? Offer testimonies? Do they wear jewelry? How do they wear their hair?”

yes, all under the leadership of male elders. That is the issue. It is not enough to say women can oversee men in the church, but “work it out” at home. If a woman can be an overseer of a church, she can be the overseer of her house including her husband who is a member of then church she oversees.

To be consistent, you must admit that possibility.

112   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 5th, 2008 at 4:05 pm

I guess the I would add is this. It seems to me that the way Jesus defines leadership is leading by serving – washing the disciples’ feet. So, it’s not like a guy should think of himself as some sort of ruler at home. He leads by serving, not by barking orders.

As far as church leadership goes, I’ve not heard any argument persuasive enough to me to make me believe women shouldn’t be pastors.

113   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 4:07 pm

yes, all under the leadership of male elders. That is the issue.

Paul finds it offensive that women would speak in church at all – with our without male leadership (which was a given in his day anyways). Same is true of their jewelry and hair styles.

114   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Phil – it’s not any argument, it is what do the Scriptures teach. The Scriptures teach that overseers are male, unless you contend that changes with the culture.

If so, then I contend you must view the family structure as changing with the culture.

115   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 4:10 pm

And as for women being man’s “helper” in Genesis (since Rick brought up Genesis) the word used is “ezer” which is the same word used to desribe God towards humanity in the Psalms. If women can be desribed in the same way as God is desribed towards humans, as their “help-mate” than certainly they are qualified to pastor a church :)

116   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 4:11 pm

If so, then I contend you must view the family structure as changing with the culture.

Rick,
Are you suggesting that family structure in the 21st century, even in the best Baptist home, is the SAME as a family structure in the 1st century?

117   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 4:14 pm

I am suggesting in general the man is the head of the family and accountable to God because the Scriptures say so. What the family looks like today does not change what Ephesians etc teach it should be.

118   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 5th, 2008 at 4:15 pm

If so, then I contend you must view the family structure as changing with the culture.

Well, I guess, in some ways. I think Christians in general have sort of idolized the family structure to some extent. Jesus said that our relationships with fellow believers should supercede our relationship with our natural families.

It also seems to me that these discussions are getting to who holds the power in relationships. Jesus turns power relationships one their head, though. You lead through serving, and live by dying. If both a husband and wife are Christians, than it seems to me that they should be more worried about serving one another than who has the final say.

119   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 5th, 2008 at 4:21 pm

By the way, I’ve heard several pastors say things like, “well with two people, someone has to make a final decision when there’s a stalemate”. As if someone has to be the final arbiter for big financial decisions or such.

The thing is, in my 9+ years of marriage, I’ve never encountered something where it came down to a point where one of us had to be the final arbiter. We’ve always worked through things, even if it’s been a struggle.

Now I’ve met some guys who think that they deserve veto power, and I also know some women who are happy not taking responsibility for decisions. But I think that God wants both members in a marriage to be carrying the load.

120   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 4:23 pm

Phil – it isn’t who gets to make a decision, it’s who is accountable for the spiritual leadership in the family as well as the church.

121   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 4:56 pm

I think this is what Paul was saying to the women of his day, just like he was saying the same thing to the slaves of his day – while not exactly endorsing either establishment, but longing for that day when because of the power of the gospel to tear down walls there truly would be “neither slave or free, male or female, jew or gentile.”

The problem is, Chad, that the image of Ephesus (specifically) as patriarchal is incorrect. The city was run by the Temple of Artemis (Diana), which was a female-run fertility cult. The traditional history of Ephesus was that it was founded by the Amazons, and a good deal of evidence indicates that women were quite liberated there, and that egalitarianism was the norm.

So, while I understand William Webb’s ‘trajectory hermeneutic’, and the difference between slaves (cultural) and homosexuality (cross-cultural prohibition), I disagree with Webb’s trajectory with women because of the likely false assumption of patriarchal culture in one of the key churches (Ephesians, both Timothies) where Paul gives the gender-based instruction.

What would be consistent is if those who deny women the right to lead would also deny women the right to wear jewelry, wear their hair a certain way and horror of horrors, never let them utter a word in church. Just a prime example of how we pick and choose what we will allow to be culturally relevant.

We can point again to Ephesus (where the hair/jewelry instructions were written). We have specific evidence that braided hair and jewelry were calling cards of temple prostitutes (I’ve got pictures of one of their ‘advertisements’ from the marble road outside of the largest brothel in the Roman world, in the center of Ephesus), and that Paul’s instruction was dealing with not dressing in a way to suggest that you are sexually available (which is something cultural).

I would agree with Rick that Paul’s instruction regarding women is pretty clear. The question is, is it simply cultural? Is there a trajectory at work? My answers would be “maybe” and “maybe”, which would then suggest prudence in deferring to the clear meaning of the written text, rather than exercising our own wishes upon the text.

Rick – you wrote:

The references to Mark and Acts have no Pauline teaching that would either substantiate or expound. The reference in Mark isn’t uniform in other places with the same wording, and Acts was a narrative about the embryonic church.

So I’m not sure how you’re then asking to be credible when criticizing others for ignoring certain scriptures because they don’t like the implications. I completely disagree with your general position of (and yes this is generalized) “Well, Paul doesn’t say anything about X so it doesn’t really matter to us,” as it flies in the face of so many hermeneutics, and would have been rejected by Paul, himself, a serious student of Torah, and a Pharisee of Pharisees. I would also note that Paul’s letters to the churches were in response to questions/issues they had – so you must assume that churches asked Paul every question necessary for us to know, and that he answered those questions. Perhaps, because some questions are more completely answered elsewhere, there is no need to have Pauline commentary on them.

As for baptism, we have evidence from Paul that he practiced it, and that it was one of the first steps on a convert’s journey, if we are to believe the accounts in Acts. This is not to argue that it is regenerative, but that it had some elevated level of importance in his teaching.

122   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 5:13 pm

The Scriptures I am “criticizing” others for ignoring are the teaching epistles as it pertains to doctrine. I also suggest that if they go the culture changes truth route then they must be consistent.

I appreciate your balanced view about women elders, however I would conisdier it much more courageous if you were not doing it secretly to avoid the oversight of Zan. But even though I have seen (seriously) leadership qualities in your wife, I still go by Scripture. :)

123   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 5:16 pm

Baptism does not saved. I was saved for two years before I baptized myself in the gulf of Mexico. I searched the Scriptures rather than hear what everyone thought, but my life was revolutionized by the power of God before baptism. Had I died during those two years I would have gone to heaven!

124   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 5:38 pm

ChrisL

Thank you. Your last post answered the question I asked in post 97:

Rick or others – do you know what sort of sects or groups of people in Paul’s day had women as their leaders?

Paul had very good reasons for making the decisions he made for the early church. They were very culturally adequate. The Bible is not some book divorced from culture and reason – it is very much PART of it, as you well know.

Rick,
I am having trouble following your logic. You are comfortable to say that there are some things that are culturally specific in the Bible and others that are not. You claim that slavery is culturally specific but then claim emphatically that gender roles are not (I still don’t see how you can make that claim). But in any event, assuming gender roles ARE universal as you claim, than how do you allow women to wear jewelry or certain hair styles or clothing or even speak in church withouth a severe attack of conscience? You say they do them under male leadership. Fine. They had male leadership in Paul’s day and yet he still didn’t allow it. So why in this case do you allow gender roles to be culturally based (we’ll forget for the moment that this contradicts your stance that gender roles are universal) but not in cases where women might pastor?

I would have far more respect (mixed with repulsion) for your position if you would not allow women to preach while at the same time treating them as the second-rate citizens they were in the transgenerational, transcultural Bible you read. If you refuse to do the latter (thank God) why not the former?

125   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 5:44 pm

Chad – if the qualifications for being an elder were the only mentions about gender then the culture argument would have some credibility. But there is also teaching about marraige and the home, and the deception of Eve, and the weaker vessel, and the usurping of authority, and othet teachings that expound on that gender specific qualification.

There is no other teaching about slavery, so the culture argument has some credibility. Now if the Scriptures had outlined how a believer should treat his slaves, that would present a problem.

126   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 5:47 pm

ChrisL-
My first remarks in my last comment were not meant to be brusque. Your point I believe only further proves mine. Today we do not have a Temple of Artemis hovering over us as we congegate. We do not have temple prostitutes luring in weary sailors to pay homage to Diana or other gods/esses. In the time Paul is writing there was a great need to be prudent about the face you are putting on your newfound faith, especially in a world and climate where there were so many mystery religions. The best way to disassociate yourself with them is to be counter-cultural in many ways (thus the prohibitions on jewelry and dress and hairstyle).

The prohibition against leading comes from a mix of the above and the deeply engrained patriarchal structures the early church was birthed in. Paul wins on all fronts: If you let women preach in a culturally liberal place like Ephesus than your new faith is branded as another temple orgy. If you let women lead in a conservative, patriarchal town than you get nowhere because men, the heads of households, won’t listen to a woman. Paul heads both these problems off at the pass by his very wise and pastoral response to his churches.

peace,
Chad

127   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 5:47 pm

“I would have far more respect (mixed with repulsion) for your position if you would not allow women to preach while at the same time treating them as the second-rate citizens they were in the transgenerational, transcultural Bible you read. If you refuse to do the latter (thank God) why not the former?”

The two things are not tethered. Just as Christ respects and loves His bride without acquescing to her authority, so can someone believe in gender specific church roles without treating women as you suggest. Different roles but equal in Christ.

128   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 5:49 pm

Rick,
Is being born a woman a sin? Anytime I hear someone bring up Eve or utter the word “usurp” I have to ask that question. Sorry…it just begs it.

129   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 5:50 pm

To add to #128: In Christ the curse was broken. Bringing up Eve and all of that “man-centered” theology is moot.

130   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 5:53 pm

The two things are not tethered. Just as Christ respects and loves His bride without acquescing to her authority

Says who?? Rick, that is not fair. Just because you say they are not tethered does not make it so. Why can you allow women to speak in church or wear jewelry without any qualms and restrict them from being a pastor at the same time? Am I the only one who sees this glaring contradiction?

At least admit that you see some gender roles as culturally specific and others as not. IOW, retract what you said about gender roles being universal. Then you would sound more consistent.

131   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 5:53 pm

I was just quoting Scripture.

132   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 6:00 pm

What I meant and what you missed was I said just because I do not believe in women pastors doesn’t mean I have to treat them as second class citizens. There are cultural aspects in the Scripture, but not all Scripture is just a culturally captured truth.

“But I suffer a not a woman to teach nor usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed then Eve. And Adam was not deceived but the woman being decieved was in the transgression.”

That must mean something.

133   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
August 5th, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Yes, it could mean that was Paul’s own thing. He says, he doesn’t allow them to teach. He also said things about marriage that were his opinion.

134   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 7:07 pm

Then what wasn’t just Paul’s opinion? It makes us the arbiter of truth and makes the teachings of Scripture bend to the subjective assessments of man. It is difficult enough to interpret Scripture, but when we assign some to nothing more than the opinions of man it becomes very ambiguous and in fact meaningless as it pertains to absolute truth.

135   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
August 5th, 2008 at 7:21 pm

Because it makes it difficult does not mean we should take the easier road. Do you greet others with a holy kiss, Rick? Do you counsel young men that it is better to not get married? Do you baptize for the dead? What about where he says, “in Christ there is neither male nor female”. (Galatians 3:28) We must wrestle with all of the verses not simply the ones that seem to support our view.
It seems to me that most who hold your view Rick hold to the verses you quote as rock solid literal but the verses I quote as “well, what they actually mean is….”

136   nathan    http://www.nathanneighbour.com
August 5th, 2008 at 7:24 pm

Is this still about dressing up for church?

137   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 7:25 pm

Joe – I do not reject the fact that there are cultural verses as well as personalities involved with Scripture. I guess we must draw the line somewhere, and in that it is subjective.

And no, I will not kiss you. :cool:

138   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 5th, 2008 at 7:35 pm

I have a question. Why? Rick or ChrisL or anyone – why? And before you answer with “because scripture says so” that doesn’t count. Not because scripture isn’t authoritative but precisely because it is that I want to know why would God decree universally (if we concede that that is the case) that men are pastors and women cannot be pastors. Why? We ask why about all our dogmas or doctrines (like, why did Christ have to die on a cross?) so let me ask why this is in the Bible and why or how it fits with the gospel.

With that, I am gonna go watch a romantic comedy with my wife.

peace,
Chad

Joe: Kiss.

139   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Why? Because men are smarter! :lol:

140   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
August 5th, 2008 at 9:00 pm

Nathan asked: “Is this still about dressing up for church?” The answer is “No.” (Not if you’re a woman)
;)

Wow. I asked about a debate between Chris L and Chad and we get RICK and CHAD going “two out of three falls with TV time remaining!” You two–go to your corners and cool off a while.

“Why?” Because I’m the Daddy!!!!!

141   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 7:59 am

Why? Because men are smarter!

Rick,
I know you say this jokingly but this isn’t all that funny. Because people do not ask “why” enough this is often the default position, or the assumption made. It is why women were deprived of so many rights (and still are) for so long. The reason women were not allowed to hold jobs or vote is because they were seen as less capable and less intelligent (one science team actually put forth a theory that women’s brains are smaller thus proving that they are not as smart). This sort of sexism is only heightened when it is given God’s backing – see? even God doesn’t want women as pastors!

So let me ask again: Why doesn’t God want women pastors? This dovetails with an earlier question I asked: Is being born a woman a sin (or, do the possess less of God’s image than a man?)

peace,
Chad

142   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
August 6th, 2008 at 8:41 am

Chad,
I’m impressed with the way you have tenaciously argued your position without getting personal.
Good Job.

143   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 9:17 am

Chad: Being born a woman is not a sin.

You asked: “Why doesn’t God want women pastors?” Because. God never explained things to Job and He is not required to explain everything to us. He told Abram to get up and go without an explanation. Abram obeyed. I bet there’s a lesson there.

144   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 9:40 am

Keith-
This is not a matter of God being required to explain everything to us. I of all people will be the first to rejoice in the mystery of the unexplicable and the grayness that permeates much of faith.

That is not to say, however, that we are not to seek the will and heart of God in all matters, even in scripture. Please don’t equate Job’s musings over the problem of evil (an age old philosophical and theological debate) with asking why God does not want women pastors. To leave it unasked simply allows men to assume what Rick jockingly alluded to before – well, men are smarter.

Keith, do women speak at all in your church? Do any Christian women you know wear a wedding ring? The reason they do is because someone was willing to ask “why does Paul tell women not to speak or wear jewelry?” and they deduced an answer. Why will people allow for a “why” when it comes to that and not this? Both are plainly stated in scripture.

So, once more: Why doesn’t God want women pastors?

peace,
Chad

145   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 9:41 am

Joe M – thank you. I confess I hit the delete button often :)

peace.

146   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 10:02 am

Chad: I have a question. Why? Rick or ChrisL or anyone – why? And before you answer with “because scripture says so” that doesn’t count. Not because scripture isn’t authoritative but precisely because it is that I want to know why would God decree universally (if we concede that that is the case) that men are pastors and women cannot be pastors. Why?

Before I go any further, usually when I ask God “Why?” about something, I first remind myself of God’s words in Job 38-41, just to make sure I’m well-grounded on whatever-it-is I’m wondering.

Now – to this specific question, I would first point to the parallel we’re given between bride and bridegroom and the church and Jesus.

All of us are part of the bride of Christ, which puts us at a position of submission, and where our bridegroom, Christ, has demonstrated for us the love of a husband. There are clearly two different roles within the relationship – it is Complementarian, not Egalitarian.

Next, I would point to the Torah, as it was given and communicated – there are specific instructions given for only the priests, only for the High Priest, only for Jews, and for all men. Each had a separate role that God had defined for His own purposes.

Were the Jews deprived because only certain ones in a certain family could be in the priesthood? Were the Gentiles deprived because God made the Jews His “Chosen Ones” – that they were chosen to be blessed and to pass those blessings along? Is God unfair because He called some to be teachers, some to prophesy and some simply to serve? Is Paul unfair because he calls for a few men with specific qualifications to hold a position of guidance and shepherding? Was God unfair because He created a garden in which there were thousands of trees bearing fruit and asked Adam and Eve to eat of all but one of the trees? In reality, how limiting is it to a wise, humble, loving women to hold most any role within the church other than that of overseer?

In all seriousness, while I can understand and sympathize with the trajectory hermeneutic, I find that it is too ripe for abuse and eisegesis to be used very effectively. The other things you cite (hair, jewelry, silence) can all be seen as cultural rather than trans-cultural via a historical-contextual hermeneutic, as can long hair (men), greeting with a holy kiss, etc.

The repudiation of slavery does not require a trajectory hermeneutic. Again, using the historical-contextual hermeneutic, it is pretty simple to see that the instructions on the behavior of slaves and masters is within a cultural construct, and not an endorsement of a cultural construct.

However, with the instruction on women and eldership, you cannot make a similar comparison.

Now, you also wrote:

Paul wins on all fronts: If you let women preach in a culturally liberal place like Ephesus than your new faith is branded as another temple orgy. If you let women lead in a conservative, patriarchal town than you get nowhere because men, the heads of households, won’t listen to a woman. Paul heads both these problems off at the pass by his very wise and pastoral response to his churches.

I would argue that Paul wins in the current culture, as well, where sometimes we elevate ‘equality’ and ‘tolerance’ and ‘fairness’ as the ultimate virtues, which has led to universalism and secular humanism as societal norms. So, as a countercultural entity, by obeying Scripture rather than the winds of culture, you again stand apart.

This in no way needs to be an “oppression” or “suppression” of women. I know far too many churches in which ministries aimed specifically at women and their specific needs are needed but absent. Pastors and women who meet all but the gender requirement of overseer are needed desperately as mentors, teachers and counselors, and would be able to use all of their gifts within the body.

I often fear that the church has accepted too much of the feminist agenda, which posits that not only should men and women be treated equally under the law (which they should) but that there is no real difference between the two except for environmental, “psychological conditioning” between the two (which is not true, and we keep throwing good money away on studies to prove/disprove the differences).

147   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 10:03 am

Being born a woman is not a sin.

Who said it was?

148   Sandman    
August 6th, 2008 at 10:19 am

How did this turn from dressing up to the role of women in the church?

In The Case for Christ, Strobel interviews someone who pulls out a secular source (Josephus or one of the Plinys, iirc) and read about the jailing, torture and deaths of two women who were called deaconesses.

149   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 10:27 am

Sandman, see #62 – I think we’ve agreed that the role of Deacon can be supported as without gender. What we’re specifically talking about is the role of ‘overseer’…

150   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 10:27 am

How did this turn from dressing up to the role of women in the church?

No idea – it was somewhere after it went from being about “dressing up” to attacking the church of the pastor quoted in the OP.

151   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 10:38 am

ChrisL-

Thanks for the thoughtful response. I too find myself reverting back to the last chapters of Job on many occassions to be sure I haven’t forgotten who the creature is in all of this. Like I said to Keith, though, I feel asking “why” on this question is very different from asking about the problem of evil.

Now, to your point about Torah and regulations concerning the priesthood….

I would say two things:
1. First, the patriarchal leanings of the Torah are even more pronounced than the NT. The NT is quite liberal when you compare the two. So, it should be of no surprise that only men were priests.

2. While it is true that God had “chosen” a group to express His Image to the world, this expression found its culmination in Christ. What is interesting about the Torah is that though it was limited to Israel in that day (and the Levites and the priests and the men and so on) we get hints even in the OT that God is about to do a new thing – that ALL the nations will be part of God’s redemptive plan (not just Israel) and that even our daughters (i.e. not just men) will prophesy. We now let even vile Gentiles to the table (and they can become priests!) but we cannot extend the same grace to women?

3. I don’t see this as an issue of deprivation. You ask:

Is God unfair because He called some to be teachers, some to prophesy and some simply to serve?

Not at all. The better question might be: Are WE unfair for determining who God can and will call based on their gender? The Spirt calls whom the Spirit will. I fear that we place ourselves as the gift-giver when we deny women the ability to pursue what they sense as a strong call of God to pastoral ministry. I can’t tell you how many women I have talked to (many who have come out of the Baptist tradition) who testify to much pyschological torment because they sensed a strong call from God only to be told by their male elders that they were dillusional. This sort of “abuse” and blocking of God’s grace and desire to “do a new thing” is outrageous to me, especially when it is so very obvious that the limitations placed on women in the Bible are cultural, not endemic to their being a woman (which is why I asked if being born a woman is a sin).

4. Just because we allow women to pastor does not mean all women are going to flock to become pastors. No more than all men flock to become pastors. Any denomination that has a good system in place that helps individuals discern their call and looks for the local body and others to help confirm their calling and discuss their gifts and graces and so forth is quite capable of preventing some cultural free-for-all taking place. In my own tradition, for example, it takes YEARS to become an ordained elder. And this only after numerous exams, tests, intervies, training, probationary periods, prayer, discernment and community consent.

Ok, I know I said 2 things and I went to 4. There might be more :)

peace,
Chad

152   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 11:13 am

There is something funny about a post entitled “Dressing Up” becoming a debate about women in ministry…

I also think it’s sort of funny for a bunch of guys to be talking about it.

I guess this is one thing where I tend to take more pragmatic view. In the end, it seems on some level, pastors are to be judged by the fruit of their ministries. I have personally seen the fruit of women pastors, and I can say it’s good. I don’t think we can compare women in the Roman Empire in the 1st century to women today very easily. Even when you look at the educational opportunities available to women, it seems like God has certainly given opportunities they didn’t have before.

153   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 11:24 am

ChrisL-
You said:

The other things you cite (hair, jewelry, silence) can all be seen as cultural rather than trans-cultural via a historical-contextual hermeneutic, as can long hair (men), greeting with a holy kiss, etc.

I still don’t understand why. I dont think Rick has addressed this either (if he has, please point me to it). Why do you (I use “you” generally here) get a free pass in declaring hair, jewelry and even silence (Paul said he forbids a woman to speak in church – pretty strong language) as culturally specific and not the prohibitions to leadership? What is the raionale for drawing this line?

thanks,
Chad

154   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 11:46 am

The issue of hair and jewelry: Paul addresses this once, in a letter to Timothy (and Peter references hair and jewelry, but not as a command, but as a comparator). We have a plethora of records from Ephesus (where Timothy was located) and Asia Minor, where it is clear that prostitutes were legal and widely available (both in violation of scriptural purity and idolatry codes) and that two ‘advertisements’ used by them were long, braided hair and lavish jewelry (which both honored Artemis/Diana, the goddess of fertility, as well).

Paul even seems to indicate this at the beginning of 1 Tim 2:9 – “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety,“. Modestly? Decency? Propriety? How? – he goes on to tell us “not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes”. So, Paul clearly ties (in scripture) that culturally in Ephesus, braided hair, gold and pearls were NOT modest, decent or proper.

Similarly, the “silent” reference in the next verses is a further definition of teaching/authority, not a total absence of sound. Culturally, again, in Ephesus (a matriarchal culture), we have a number of records of women castigating their husbands in public. So, ’silence’ here would be culturally confirmed as it relates to teaching/correcting/authority over men.

Just as with jewelry/hair (where Paul brings in purity & propriety), Paul applies the OT teaching to leadership/authority by bringing in Adam and Eve as the archetype, rooting his ruling in the text.

His cited reason has nothing to do with physical silence, but with teaching/leadership/authority.

155   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 11:55 am

Are WE unfair for determining who God can and will call based on their gender?

Are we denying their call by following Scriptural limitations on a specific role? If they do not have a role as ‘overseer’, are they incapable of making sound judgment in disputes?

The Spirt calls whom the Spirit will. I fear that we place ourselves as the gift-giver when we deny women the ability to pursue what they sense as a strong call of God to pastoral ministry.

Must a pastoral ministry require that it be over men?

156   Neil    
August 6th, 2008 at 11:59 am

Must a pastoral ministry require that it be over men?

So a woman could be a pastor if she pastors only woman?

Neil

157   Neil    
August 6th, 2008 at 12:01 pm

Are WE unfair for determining who God can and will call based on their gender?

Assuming the prohibition is biblical, it would be GOD determining the issue based on gender – not WE.

Neil

158   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 12:44 pm

We have a plethora of records

ChrisL-
We also have a plethora of records indicating that in Paul’s day and age, women did not teach men (unless it was one of the cults you have already mentioned). So in the same breath that Paul tells Timothy about modest dress and silece he launches into the proper “roles” of church leadership and who should hold them, juxtapossing his call to church order with the secular culture of his day.

Just as with jewelry/hair (where Paul brings in purity & propriety), Paul applies the OT teaching to leadership/authority by bringing in Adam and Eve as the archetype, rooting his ruling in the text.

2 things I would say or ask about this (honestly, only 2 this time)…

1. Who is are archtype – Adam and Eve or Christ? Was the curse laid on Adam and Eve abolished in the death and resurrection or not? The rules applying to Adam and Eve are rules pertaining to their falleness. I would argue that it is not a decent thing to aspire to our fallen nature where one rules over another for any reason, gender included.

2. If we are to take Paul literally on this passage in 1 Tim. 2:12 and following and not consider this segment (at least) as culturally loaded, then are women saved through childbearing?

peace,
Chad

159   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Are we denying their call by following Scriptural limitations on a specific role? If they do not have a role as ‘overseer’, are they incapable of making sound judgment in disputes?

Yes, we are denying their call when we declare them unfit to pastor a church based on gender alone. There were very good reasons for women NOT to pastor a church in Paul’s day. Those reasons do not exist today (unless you live in coutries ruled by the Taliban). Sorry, that is just plain ol’ discrimination.

So with this and Neil’s question about God, not us, asserting gender primacy, we are back to the same question without any real answers: Why? We can all posit great reasons why in Paul’s day women should not have been pastors. Do those reasons translate to the 21st century? Why does God not want women as pastors?

160   nc    
August 6th, 2008 at 12:56 pm

Actually…

“cults” with female “leadership” were not marked by didactic teaching.

This is a projection of contemporary understandings of “religion”.

Religion in the pagan greco-roman context was public “performances” of rituals that provided social cohesion. That’s why people could burn incense to Caesar, make offerings to Juno, Apollo, or whomever and consult the oracles of the mystery cults without “betraying” fidelity to any particular “religion”.

It wasn’t primarily about what you ” believed” in your mind/heart.

This is part of why Christianity caught flack from time to time. Their rituals and meetings were not in the public forum of altar on the steps of temples (that functioned as banks, by the way–it’s where people kept money). The Xian meetings secrecy was predicated on the exclusivity of the baptismal community’s access to Eucharist. That secret “performative” character undermined the social cohesion of religious practices.

161   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Thanks for that helpful insight, nc. As I recall it is because of their secret gatherings that all the rumors started about Xian’s being cannibals and having orgies (love feasts) etc. It was this that, according to Rome, upset the Mos Maiorum (the conservative, Roman tradition of following one’s ancestors and family traditions) and the Pax Romana, keeping everyone in line and therefore at “peace.”

In any event, however, I wonder if you agree that Paul was quite brilliant in proposing his church order “roles.”? He cuts off at the pass any objections by those who think women are only leaders when it comes to fertility cults as well as silences any objections from men who are grounded in the way of their ancestors/families where patriarchy rules.

162   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 1:27 pm

” Why does God not want women as pastors?”

Because she cannot be the husband of one wife, and she cannot be the ruler of her household. Those are two distinct qualifications for being an overseer of the church.

163   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Because she cannot be the husband of one wife, and she cannot be the ruler of her household. Those are two distinct qualifications for being an overseer of the church.

Ok. Thank you, Rick, for offering an answer.

But this does not really answer why women cannot be pastors but only suggests guidelines for those who are pastors with the conventional wisdom being that they are, of course, men.

Surely we can imagine God has a far better reason for women not to be pastors than “because a woman can’t be a husband.”

164   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 1:41 pm

and she cannot be the ruler of her household

Also, Rick – who should be the spiritual “ruler” of a house: The pagan husband who scoffs God or the Christian wife and mother?

165   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 1:48 pm

We could go into a gender makeup discussion, but there are exceptions to that as well. Why did God not create a woman first and then a man? Paul even suggests the order of creation is of some importance.

“For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman, but the women for the man.”

For Adam was first formed, then Eve”

Those are in an authority context.

166   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 1:48 pm

Does that mean that male pastors or elders have to be married, too? I have seen people take that position as well.

I’ve always taken that requirement that Paul was just naturally assuming he was talking about men who are married, and saying that they must not be polygamists. I don’t think it’s a prerequisite as much a restriction that was given specifically for married men.

167   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 1:50 pm

“The pagan husband who scoffs God or the Christian wife and mother?”

The exception cannot define the standard. The outline for household authority obviously deals with both being believers.

168   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 1:54 pm

We could go into a gender makeup discussion, but there are exceptions to that as well. Why did God not create a woman first and then a man? Paul even suggests the order of creation is of some importance.

Well, depends on which story of creation you give precedence :P

“For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman, but the women for the man.”

For Adam was first formed, then Eve”

So let me just kick the elephant in the room and see if it runs, Ok?

Is your answer to why God does not want women to preach because women are inferior to men and second-class citizens because they were created last?

What happened to the last shall be first? :)

169   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 1:59 pm

Chad – it is not MY answer. Paul teaches that in God’s plan Adam is equal in essence but different in purpose. Paul even suggests that Eve’s deception is an insight as to who God calls to lead the family and the church.

Unless you believe Paul was giving the wrong creation story precedence, the same account in the book of Genesis that Jesus quoted as authoritative.

170   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 2:00 pm

Phil, that is exactly right. To use the marriage clause as the reason women can’t be pastors is to insist that all pastors must be married. You can’t have it both ways.

The exception cannot define the standard. The outline for household authority obviously deals with both being believers.

Exactly! Rick, perhaps you missed it in a comment I made yesterday but I asked about how families lined up in Paul’s day with regards to religion. In Paul’s day if the man became a Christian than more than likely the entire house did. Such as Cornelius becoming a believer and the “entire household” (this includes slaves) were baptized.

It was the man in Paul’s day who got to sit in the Temple courts and sit around listening to Rabbi’s expound on the OT day in and day out. It was the man who knew the law because they were privy to it far more than women, who were uneducated and not even allowed in the presence of men unless they were married to them. It is astonishing that Paul even allows women to be part of the church services! And yet, it would be foolish to say women are the spiritual rulers of the home when they knew next to nothing about what was going on. Paul is very practical in his counsel. What about this is so hard to see or stomach?

peace,
Chad

171   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 2:05 pm

That is fine, Chad, you have every right to view that part of Scripture as culturally flexible. I do not, is that too hard to stomach?

172   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Chad – it is not MY answer.

I assume by this you want to say it is God’s answer? So, in other words, the same God who declares that in Christ there is no male or female, who is no respector of persons, created women just as he did man – in His Image and called both good, is the same God that thinks women are inferior and incapbably of being spiritual leaders?

What more accurately depicts the gospel, the heart of God: Dividing up people based on their gender, class, social status, race, education, country of origin,etc. OR, does the gospel consistently speak to a breaking down of these barriers (granting that some, like slavery, may take some time) that serve to do nothing but perpetuate the same curse in the Garden?

peace,
Chad

173   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Functionally different does not mean inferior. That is your straw man. Am I inferior to the president? Again, you can view that part of Scripture as flexible within different times and cultures, but you have no right to suggest I view women as inferior because I believe God has appointed different roles for the genders.

174   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 2:22 pm

but you have no right to suggest I view women as inferior because I believe God has appointed different roles for the genders

.

Rick, when I asked this:

Is your answer to why God does not want women to preach because women are inferior to men and second-class citizens because they were created last?

You said:

Chad – it is not MY answer.

Forgive me if I misread your intent. It sounded like you were saying, yeah, Chad, they are inferior but that isn’t MY answer, it’s God’s.

I believe God has appointed different roles for the genders.

Again – Why? Is the only reason you can offer because women cant be husbands and can’t rule their homes?

Why has God made a division for gender while breaking down all other barriers that divide us? How consistent does this make the Gospel message?

seriously, I would like to know how you reconcile this obvious tension.

175   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 2:24 pm

Another way of asking this, Rick, is when you say:

I believe God has appointed different roles for the genders.

how does that line up with the declaration that in Christ there is no male or female? Should we still have distinctions of “function” or “roles” between slave and owner?

176   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 2:26 pm

I have already presented the creation chronology as evidence and you said if I believe “that story of Creation”. So if we cannot understand Paul’s reasoning concerning leadership and authority, then we have no agreed upon standard.

I believe the New Testament teaches that men are to be the head of the wife and family (not dictator) and the overseers (not dictator) of the church. If you believ Paul was speaking and teaching within his culture and his teachings on that subject are not absolute, then that is your right.

I qoute from the Princess Bride – “We are at an impass”.

177   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 2:30 pm

My statement that it was not MY answer was in response to this from you:

Is your answer to why God does not want women to preach because women are inferior to men and second-class citizens because they were created last?

That is YOUR answer because it twisted what I said orbelieve. You said inferior and second class citizen and assigned it to me. It isn’t.

178   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 2:42 pm

“We are at an impass”.

Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father prepare to die.

179   Joe C    
August 6th, 2008 at 3:03 pm

I was having a discussion with my wife the other day, about men and women and their differences, and how it reconciles with the idea of humans being in God’s image. We figured that Men and Women inherently/generally speaking have some different qualities about them (physically (for sure) and emotionally (perhaps)). Perhaps when united as ‘one flesh’, it’s used by God to show us a great example of the totality of the Character of God. Not to say that individually we’re not fully in God’s image, I believe we are, but I’m saying that when you take all aspects of the human race and combine them (male and female), you get not only a picture of our relationship with God, but the character of God as well.

Plus, God, being Spirit, isn’t necessarily male or female, right? I mean, Jesus (who is the exact representation of God, and is God), was male, and God chose the male form to represent Himself on earth, true, but is God really “male”? Or does He posess all qualities of male and female, and obviously, so so much more than just us created beings?

For example, you need a male and female together to ‘create life’. God only needs Himself to create life. He’s the totality of what He created His creation to do. The perfect example/image, if you will. Thus, together man and woman display a greater truth about God than they could apart. So maybe that’s why? Which then begs the question, why bother making 2 sexes in the first place? Couldn’t He have just displayed all of this in one sex? So there’s something to this whole ‘male and female’ thing, and I think I’m only scratching the surface with my questions.

Man this all sounds kind of weird, but I’m just sharing thoughts you don’t normally throw out there to other people only because of the conversation going on right here.

Anyways, peace!

Joe

180   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Joe C-
Great questions and thoughts. Thanks for sharing those.

There is no doubt that there are some differences between genders. Because of these differences I think we are doing a grave disservice to the church and the world by not allowing women to excercise their gifts and their calling to full fruition. Women pastors can in many ways pastor far better than I as a man can. By their very God-given make-up they possess some qualities and virtues that I do not have. A church with only male pastors gets only one side of God’s grand vision for humanity (male AND female).

Your insight about Jesus assuming a male body reminds me of something my church history prof here at Duke spoke of. Gregory of Nazianzus said, “That which Christ did not assume he did not redeem.” Meaning, the Incarnated Christ assumed in his body all that required to be redeemed. Since Christ came as a man, and we all agree that women are also redeemed, we might say that since the Word assumed all that was essential to our nature in order to redeem us that gender is not essential to our nature. Thus, those who would act as priests can do so in either a feminine or masculine body.

peace,
Chad

181   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 3:44 pm

Who is are archtype – Adam and Eve or Christ? Was the curse laid on Adam and Eve abolished in the death and resurrection or not? The rules applying to Adam and Eve are rules pertaining to their falleness. I would argue that it is not a decent thing to aspire to our fallen nature where one rules over another for any reason, gender included.

Eve came from Adam (Paul’s initial point in 1 Timothy 2:13) prior to the fall. So, she is under his headship. The church (the bride) came from Christ (the bridegroom), and so she, too, is under the headship of her bridegroom. This imagery (male and female, bridegroom and bride) is consistently used – not as patriarchal ‘control’, but by the ultimate author of Scripture.

Now – I would also note that Paul gives similar instructions to the church in Corinth – a culture quite different from Ephesus, and quite egalitarian. It was probably the most culturally similar to modern, western culture of the cities Paul wrote to. As a city, it was quite young and without many lasting traditions.

So, from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (quoting more to keep the context of the passage):

Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. [...] For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

So here, Paul makes it pretty clear that his instruction on women speaking out during worship is not permitted in any of the churches he counsels (which, I would note, spans a whole lot of cultures).

Taken in context, this is primarily concerning maintaining order during worship, but Paul specifically calls out women. He also makes a reference “They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.” – making it clear that he is referring to Torah. But where is this in Torah? It is in the Genesis account of creation. (Gen 2:18-23, which Paul references in the similar section of 1 Timothy, and is “pre-fall”).

So, based on the Scripture Paul is applying (from Genesis), he is making a ruling based upon the Creation order and pre-fall relationship established by God. Thus, it is fairly easy to assert that this is not a cultural ruling, but a trans-cultural one.

are women saved through childbearing?

The Greek goddess Artemis/Diana was the goddess of fertility, and one of her important functions was in protecting women during childbirth. Thus, Ephesus had (according to some scholars) a few hundred thousand pregnant visitors each year, who would come to Artemis’ temple (one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world) to be protected in childbirth. So, in cultural context, women would be protected in childbirth by God (not Artemis).

Yes, we are denying their call when we declare them unfit to pastor a church based on gender alone. [...] Sorry, that is just plain ol’ discrimination.

Then take your argument up with God and call Him the bigot in this particular case. The key flaw in your argument is that you are assuming a “call” from God to do something that He has communicated as contradictory to such a “call”.

A call to lead does not require leadership over people whom God has forbidden you to lead.

Now – to the difference between ‘teach’, ‘preach’ and ‘authority’ – Women are forbidden to ‘teach’ men or hold authority over them, but I know of no such prohibitions over preaching.

We tend to conflate teaching and preaching as synonymous, but they are not. From Paul’s same letter to Timothy:

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.

Preaching is public proclamation of Scripture along with general application of the Scripture. There is no assumption of authority and there is no basis for gender bias in such proclamation.

Teaching, though, is personally tailored and is conveyed from one in authority to one in submission to that authority. Pastoring also assumes authority over the individuals being pastored. Paul’s point is that authority, based on Genesis, is to be male. The example he uses from the OT tells whether it is his opinion or an actual ruling, and in this case, it would be the latter.

182   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 3:46 pm

For example – I have no problem with endorsing Beth Moore studies. She is exercising no authority over those she is preaching to.

A female pastor of a local church, though, is more tricky – particularly if her role is “pastor”, which implies authority, which is what Paul seems to be getting at.

183   nc    
August 6th, 2008 at 3:50 pm

hmmm…

aren’t the descriptions of church leadership indicative of character?

Husband of one wife implies a track record of faithfulness and constancy in primary relationships.

The injunction for elders to have an orderly house, etc. is directly applied to being able to “rule” the “house” that is the Church.

To me the qualifications are a matter of demonstrated character, not the accidents of biological plumbing.

184   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 3:55 pm

Does that mean that male pastors or elders have to be married, too?

Elders, I would say yes, as Paul is pretty specific. Without the context of family, how can you expect to have empathetic wisdom and credibility in counseling the families in your care?

185   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 3:57 pm

I have no problem with any women teaching the entire congregation under the auspices of the eldership. She just cannot be an overseer. This is why I have no problem with Mrs. Schlueter having her ministry, where I differ is when she attacks elders personally. That to me cannot be reconciled by the Scriptures because it makes the overseers accountable to her.

BTW – It feels real good to have Chris L. on my side once in a while. I’m not sure his endorphins feel the same way! :)

186   nc    
August 6th, 2008 at 4:01 pm

The other issue too is this:

The allowance of women as “missionaries” and “sunday school teachers”.

Those “missionaries” really function as pastors to their flocks of converts. Formal distinctions of “title” aside, we all know that the texts indicate roles are defined by their deeds.

(it’s the irony of calling a woman who does the same job as a man a “director” while calling the man a “pastor”.)

It raises the following questions…
When does a male become a “man” and can no longer sit under a woman’s instruction?

Why do males that are foreign nationals get to sit under women’s bible teaching?

I thought this was an absolute?

I would be more sympathetic to the hierarchal view… (that’s what it is, folks. The “complementarian” nonsense really doesn’t make sense. If there’s a place of position “over” another–regardless of reasoning–it’s a hierarchy. Just own it and be proud of it, for goodness sake.)

Phew! got that off my chest…

Anyway..

I’d be sympathetic to this view if I heard its proponents–for all their confidence–acknowledge that the foundation upon which all their ability to understand the sacred texts was built largely by the efforts of committed, devout <i<women who gave them the gift of their time and talent to teach them as children.

187   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 4:01 pm

So here, Paul makes it pretty clear that his instruction on women speaking out during worship is not permitted in any of the churches he counsels (which, I would note, spans a whole lot of cultures).

Well, certainly we don’t follow that today. It seems to me that if we say a prohibition such as this is trans-cultural, than we should follow it completely. Besides, it seems pretty clear the Paul is speaking specifically about women asking questions and interrupting the gathering – an act in and of itself that suggests women were experiencing some newfound freedom.

I think Paul is trying to maintain some sense of societal decorum in churches. Suddenly giving someone who had known no freedom the independence they now know in Christ could be quite disorienting. It’s sort of like how Paul approached slavery – he doesn’t condone it, but he understands there are still some societal norms which must be observed so Christians aren’t viewed as complete nutjobs.

188   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Is your answer to why God does not want women to preach because women are inferior to men and second-class citizens because they were created last?

Preach – not a problem. Teach (which assumes authority) – a problem.

None of this implies that women are inferior or second-class citizens. Having a specific role or function does not imply higher worth.

What happened to the last shall be first?

Wives: Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Wives: Respect and honor your husband…

Husband: Love your wife and die for her, if need be…

And who drew the short straw?

189   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 4:05 pm

Besides, it seems pretty clear the Paul is speaking specifically about women asking questions and interrupting the gathering – an act in and of itself that suggests women were experiencing some newfound freedom.

I would agree – that’s what I meant by “speaking out” – which is different than ‘teaching’ or ‘having authority’

190   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 4:08 pm

In Paul’s day if the man became a Christian than more than likely the entire house did.

Pretty much the same thing today, if you believe statistics… That’s why there is such a push to get fathers, specifically, into the church and to make churches more masculine.

(Which would also answer your initial question of “WHY?” just as well…)

191   nc    
August 6th, 2008 at 4:20 pm

Interesting…

What are the distinguishing marks of preaching vs. teaching?

How do we make sure these two things don’t blur together?

192   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 4:22 pm

“What are the distinguishing marks of preaching vs. teaching? ”

Volume!

193   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 4:22 pm
I believe God has appointed different roles for the genders.

how does that line up with the declaration that in Christ there is no male or female? Should we still have distinctions of “function” or “roles” between slave and owner?

Rick is right here, Chad, you’re building some straw men on this one. Differences in roles does not imply differences in worth.

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, 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. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

Is it discriminatory that some members are eyes and others are kidneys?

194   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 4:27 pm

I was having a discussion with my wife the other day, about men and women and their differences, and how it reconciles with the idea of humans being in God’s image.

From Genesis:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

and

He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “man. “

Some view this as an example of the Trinitarian nature of God – how He can be Three and One. Man is made in God’s image – male and female = “man”.

So, within the Trinity, we have Jesus submitting to God, the Father, yet being echad – One – with Him.

195   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 4:46 pm

I just got back and only had a moment to read through the last posts. Chris, thanks for your responses.

I will respond to the others in a moment but this last one caught my attention.

How am I building a strawman? Rick said he believes God has appointed different roles for the genders. Fair enough. I am asking how that is reconciled with the declaration that in Christ there is no male or female.

So how is this consistent? Why does God assign roles based on what gender you are and at the same time says that he sees no gender? Even God in God’s-self is genderless.
If we are all convinced that slavery is wrong and it is immoral to hold differences of “role” or “function” based on one’s social status as either “slave or free” (and in Christ, that distinction no longer exist) than is it fair to continue to hold differences in “role” or “function” based on gender?
I think it is a fair question.

Is it discriminatory that some members are eyes and others are kidneys?

It is when God is calling the kidney to be an eye and you say “sit down.” I am not advoacating that everyone and anyone can be a pastor. I am simply saying that the disqualification should not be gender alone. There are far more reasons to disqualify someone from being a pastor.

Then take your argument up with God and call Him the bigot in this particular case. The key flaw in your argument is that you are assuming a “call” from God to do something that He has communicated as contradictory to such a “call”.

A call to lead does not require leadership over people whom God has forbidden you to lead.

Chris, all of this assumes that you are first right about your interpretation of the text and that it is not cultural. If I am right than churches most certainly are suprressing the Spirit.

I did an extensive exegesis project on Acts 15 and the decision for the Gentiles to be included into the fold without having to be circumcised. One thing I learned in that research, which I would be happy to forward to anyone who wants to read it, is that the experiences of those walking close with God had a huge impact on how they saw God working in their midst. If they went by scripture alone and their traditions as Jews, they would have made the Gentiles circumcise – in fact, they probably would not have even considered them saved. There are a few reasons why they didn’t go this route- the biggest being experience, but we can also say it is because they knew Jesus. They knew that Jesus was someone who tore down barriers, not perpeated them. It made good sense to them and the Holy Spirit that God was doing something new here.

I wonder how you guys line up your gender beliefs with the Christ we serve? How does any of this make sense in the grand scheme of things, in a world where because of Jesus there is now no male or female, slave or free, Jew or Gentile?

peace,
Chad

196   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 5:22 pm

How am I building a strawman? Rick said he believes God has appointed different roles for the genders. Fair enough. I am asking how that is reconciled with the declaration that in Christ there is no male or female.

Because you are conflating the issue of “role” with the issue of being “in Christ” – Here is what Paul says, in context:

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

CLEARLY, Paul is discussing the issue of being “in Christ” and that there is no distinction based upon gender, birth or social status which add to or detract from this. Paul makes this clear both in the preface and the follow-up that this is what he is dealing with: you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

There is no suggestion before or after this passage in Galatians that Paul is considering the question of roles in the body.

Why does God assign roles based on what gender you are and at the same time says that he sees no gender?

Because you are extending a metaphor beyond where it has been applied in Scripture.

It is when God is calling the kidney to be an eye and you say “sit down.”

Staying within Paul’s metaphor, God calls eyes to be eyes, ears to be ears and kidneys to be kidneys, so you’re asking a question akin to “what if black was green?” You’ll notice that Paul mentions that the body has private parts, as well.

I am simply saying that the disqualification should not be gender alone.

It depends on whether you take God’s/Paul’s words seriously or not. The method you’re using not only says “let’s understand it in it’s culture and apply it to today” – it says “let’s understand it in a way that makes it completely meaningless today…” Paul specifically makes a gender distinction in both passages, and in both cases applies Torah to its justification. Your argument is that Paul is using Torah to make a ruling which has no application to us when applied to our culture. That’s not how Paul (or other rabbinical teachers work) – when they make rulings based on their own opinion and not upon Scripture, they say so. With rabbinical sources (of which Paul and Jesus both qualify, though Jesus’ disciples (with the possible exception of John) would not), it is assumed that everything they teach is based upon application of Torah, unless they specifically separate it as opinion.

Chris, all of this assumes that you are first right about your interpretation of the text and that it is not cultural. If I am right than churches most certainly are suprressing the Spirit.

In application of Scripture, the burden of proof is not on the one supporting the plain meaning, but on the one contradicting it. Otherwise, you place human reason above God’s word.

Thus, with hair, jewels and silence, the burden of proof is on us to say that they are almost certainly cultural admonitions. In each case, taking the context in mind – for example, that Paul ties hair and jewelry to modesty and propriety – it is pretty simple to identify these as cultural rulings.

With the admonitions on women, such contextual clues are not available. All you’ve given to this point is a whole lot of ‘logical’ reasoning, based upon modern definitions of ‘fair’ and ‘discrimination’, rather than contextual clues (with or without supporting extra-biblical cultural knowledge), and a single (out-of-context) scripture on “neither male nor female” – a clear reference to salvation, not earthly function.

197   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 5:56 pm

When God created Adam He saw that Adam was alone, so He made Adam a help meet. God did not make another human, seperate and unrealated to Adam, no, and in fact He made Eve to serve as a help to Adam and with that expanded Adam’s role to care for his wife.

After the fall death came upon all humanity, but to Eve God said that Eve would be submissive to Adam as well as Adam would be accountable to God as the domestic ruler. (Gen.3:16) Now it is clear the account of Genesis does not have many specifics, but God included enough general facts that would be reiterated in the New Testament.

I again reject the suggestion that simply believing that God has different roles for the genders means we consider women inferior and second class citizens. In many ways women are superior to men, and they have been used greatly by God throught church history. I do not consider it apostate for women to be pastors, but I still believe Scripture teaches otherwise.

198   Zan    
August 6th, 2008 at 9:24 pm

I find it so interesting that we are at #197 and there are only a few comments early on from a woman…and not even on this subject!

Would you like a woman’s perspective? Tough, I will give it to you anyway (in my most submissive manner, of course!)

1. Chad, all believers are priests, so please do not confuse that term with with “overseer”.

2. Overseer generally means “elder”, and the elders were to have the ability to teach, per I Tim 3:2. In our churches, that is not the same as the Preacher who gets up in front of the congregation and does the sermon.

3. Women are cursed in Gen 3, and put under the authority of the husband, and in so doing, we are also put under the authority of man in the church. That, in essence, is why we are not put in authority as teachers over men. Like it or not, that is the command from God. Some may not like it, but the more I see of women in this position and the more I get to know myself and other women, the more I understand parts of why God did this.

We definitely are wired differently than men, more emotionally motivated. There are many evidences of this, too numerous to lay out here. Overall, though, we tend to make decisions based on our emotions. I tend to believe (and this is my own opinions…take it only as such) that when Jesus let Lazarus die by not going to his house in a timely fashion, he was not prepared for the women’s emotional responses. I think maybe this was a “humanness” exhibited so strongly in women that it took him a little aback. He then realized how powerful our emotions were, was touched by that, and rectified the situation, teaching a strong lesson in faith along the way. All this to say: Decision-making and leading by emotions is not the best way to do it. Duh!

The feminization of our churches, due in no small part to the women’s lib movement of the later 20th century, is eroding the strength of our families and the foundation of our churches. I, as a woman, do not want weak, overly-sensitive, emotion-driven men leading our churches, but that is what is happening. Women have emasculated our men…”Don’t get hurt”, “Don’t hunt”, “Don’t play violent sports”, “Don’t do anything remotely life-threatening”, “Talk to me about your feelings”, “Be a stay-at-home daddy while I bring home the bacon”, “Don’t eat meat (bacon)”, etc, etc, etc. Men don’t have a role anymore in the “organization” of our church, because the women are usurping their roles because “they can do it better/just as well”. Herein lies a big reason…you all know those women who say, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” This is the mentality of women. Trust me! Pride. We think we know the best way. This is not to say that there aren’t a ton of women out there who will say, “I go to God for all my decisions, and follow His guidance.” There are. But in their kitchens earlier that day, they are telling their 15-year-old son that he can’t wear flip-flops out in the winter, or they are insisting their husband wear the other *insert clothing item here* because he doesn’t match clothes well, or she is taking the stick away from her 5-year-old boy because he was using it as a gun. All these, and oh..so many more, are examples of how we have taken the Masculinity out of our God. By taking our Men’s authority away from them in the leadership roles in the church and the home (that God gave them, by the way), we are taking away those characteristics from our God also. Mark Driscoll has some great sermons on the “manliness” of God.

Don’t get me wrong…I want my man to be kind, sensitive to my hurts or desires, and things like that. That is all part of loving me like Christ loved the church. But there can not be 2 captains of a ship. Even Partnerships in business don’t have the partners doing the same jobs. One must make final decisions, taking into account the ideas and information from the other. And sometimes a compromise is in order. But ultimately, when butting heads, one has to make a final decision. God has chosen that person to be the man.

As to the woman who is married to an unbeliever: that is addressed in scripture, too. They are to still submit to the husband, even though he isn’t a Christian. And through her quietness and kindness, pray he may one day come to know Christ through her example. (see I Peter 3)

So, I am already thinking of more to write, but the fun must end sometime! Take, devour, rip apart my sexist position. (and then explain how I can be a male chauvinist pig, when I am a female).

Z

199   nathan    http://www.nathanneighbour.com
August 6th, 2008 at 9:33 pm

macho macho man! I want the church to be led by a macho man!

sorry — couldn’t resist.

200   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Thank you, Zan. :)

201   nc    
August 6th, 2008 at 10:41 pm

Wow…who knew that being a responsible mom and teaching your idiot teenager to not where flip flops in the snow was such an emasculating act?

My mom sure was a man-hater.

I don’t even know where to begin, Zan. I gotta tell you, as a man, I think you’ve taken the Christian radio orthodoxy Kool-aid with that diatribe about feminism.

People disagree here…vigorously…but to cast it as you have throws unnecessary inflammatory nonsense on this discussion. (i.e. throwing down the gauntlet about your “sexist position”, etc. etc.) Seriously….sheeesh.

For the record, while I am an egalitarian, I don’t believe that people who disagree are automatically “sexist”.

I just wish I could hear some acknowledgement of the reality of patriarchy as a broken sinful situation in human relating.

Owning that is not feminism or whatever. It’s called reality.

Again, there’s so much I don’t even know where to start, but I will say that as far as “the curse” is concerned, I feel really bad for the apparently incomplete work of the cross and the big liar that Paul must have been. Nevermind people still aren’t taking into account the imminent eschatological character of the letters where these smattering of verses are concerned. If Jesus is coming back to sweep away the old order completely, there’s no need to agitate for the upending of unjust cultural forms–He’s going to do it himself and soon.

But in case some haven’t noticed, “soon” has turned into 2000 years.

You see, this is precisely part of the reason I am confirmed more and more in my position and understanding of the Scriptures on this issue…those of you who hold to a hierarchalist view really, if you’re honest, have a hard time living with egalitarians like me. But I have no problem respecting your position so long as you can hold it without the unreflective caterwauling about “that’s it cuz God said he agrees with me”.

Can’t godly people disagree?

Again…good grief….

I’m going to bed…
it’s before 10 o’clock and I have to get up early for work.
I hope my common sense isn’t too feminine now for anyone.

If it is, let me know so I can borrow my wife’s freakin’ skirt.

sheeeeeeeeeeeesh.

202   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 11:12 pm

Nc,

You’ve not yet offered a single reason based in scripture for an egalitarian position. It is all “logic” and assumptions about eschatology and context. On issues that deal with how the church should work, Scripture’s gotta be the bottom line, and I don’t see any way to supplant our “wisdom” for God’s…

Like Rick, I don’t see this as an issue of apostasy, but one of pride and hubris in our ‘enlightened’ view of the world. God established headship prior to the fall (in Gen 2) and escalated it after the fall (in Gen 3) as noted by Paul in the justification for his ruling on the matter.

If you’re going to take the eschatalogical position you have, we might as well toss out everything Paul (and Jesus’ disciples, for that matter) wrote and just make it up ourselves.

As someone with (hopefully) more than a little credibility for accepting cultural evidence and context in assisting scriptural interpretation, what you’ve done is far beyond that. It says, “I believe our culture is more enlightened, so the Bible doesn’t apply if I don’t understand/like what it says…” – that is no longer Biblical hermeneutics, it’s making up the rules as you go along…

I happen to agree with every one of Zan’s points, and see no “Christian radio orthodoxy Kool-aid”. None.

If you examine church trends, the percentage of adult males in the church has consistently declined since the mid-70’s. All sorts of ministries exist, and continue to pop up, to try and bring men back into the church. It’s not just history – statistics show that families of men who attend a church are likely (60-70% to attend). Women and children have nowhere near that pull – less than half.

Why?

A huge causal relationship can be laid to rest on the feminization of God and the church, and moving women into positions Biblically proscribed for men is no small factor in the equation. Chad wanted a cultural reason “why” God might make such an instruction – this, in and of itself, is a pretty good one for me.

But I have no problem respecting your position so long as you can hold it without the unreflective caterwauling about “that’s it cuz God said he agrees with me”.

I’m sorry you hold Scripture in such low regard when compared with your own reason…

203   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 7th, 2008 at 8:30 am

This is a rare case where I find myself disagreeing with you, Chris. I guess I’m with Chad, I don’t see how we can take something that appears to be written to a particular group of Christians in a particular place and time and make it universal for all Christians, especially when Paul seems to contradict in other places. The verses in 1 Timothy we’re looking at are these:

I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.

I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

So the part about Eve is sandwiched right between these two admonitions which everyone (well almost everyone) seems fine seeing as cultural warnings, but yet you are saying the middle part is a univeral rule. To me it makes perfect sense that Paul would try to add an admonition from the Torah to prove his point, especially given the mythical history involving Amazon women. It’s like Paul is saying this culture is so messed up, that it really needs some bearing, some return to balance. But in his other letters, Paul basically declares the Torah non-binding for Christians, even though it can be used for teaching and guidance. We are bound the the Law of Christ now, and according to that law we are all free and seen as sons (and daughters) of God.

As far what Zan said, I certainly would never criticize how you do things in your family. I think it takes specific wisdom from God for everyone in whatever situation they’re in. I would say that the problem being less feminization and more socialism. Before, if a man left his family, it was huge deal and other family members would be required to step in to fill the gap. Now it seems the role of safety net has been taken over by the government. Another thing I would note is that even in churches where male-only leadership is the rule, the trend of declining male attendence has affected them in about the same way.

One last thing I’ll add is this. Even the concepts of masculinity and femininity are very culturally-conditioned things. If you look at a character like King David, he was a man’s man, but he also played the harp and wrote poetry. I certainly hope we aren’t holding up Mark Driscoll’s version of uber-macho masculinity as the standard. He can keep his ultimate fighting, as far as I’m concerned. If that’s what defines masculinity, then I think we have bigger issues.

204   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 9:11 am

Zan,
While I will disagree with just about everything you said on this issue, I would still gladly, and humbly, sit under your teaching were you called to teach/preach.

The curse you mention in Gen. 3 is not something we are to perpetuate as children of God redeemed by Christ.

I am not sure how many feminist theologians or philosophers you have read but by your characterization of them I would guess very few. The aim of a Christian feminist is not to emasculate men or bring men down to their level but to liberate women and anyone else that is still in a state of oppression. The Church, feminists argue, ought to be a liberating community. In Christ, there should not be male or female, slave or free, Jew or Gentile. We are all equal. As such, the Spirit gifts as the Spirit wills. The truth of the matter is, Zan, Chris, Rick and others, that God IS calling women to lead. Both sons AND daughters are now called to prophesy. Whether this was always the case or whether this is a “new thing” God has chosen to do because men have for far too long done a good job at botching up religion is anyones guess.

Zan, I take exception to your broad generalizations about women being far too emotional for the job. That is like saying all women are good cooks or all men are hunters (I hate to hunt and love to cook, what does that make me?) And even if women to possess the innate capablity to be more empathetic, so what? They might actually mirror our Servant Lord far better than macho-man who loves the pulpit because it boosts his ego.

What I hear in some of this posts con-women is fear – fear that if we allow women to be pastors than we will be overrun with women pastors. Female pastors are held to the same stringent guidelines in the Methodist church to become ordained as male pastors. They are tested, trained, study, take aptitude tests, psych evals, the whole deal. A woman can learn, just as a man can, how to make decisions not on emotion alone but through seeking wise counsel, prayer, searching scriptures, and reason.

What is so scary about a woman teaching a man? Why do you allow a woman to preach (and, by the way, very conveniently divorce teaching from preaching – as if there is no teaching involved in preaching (unless you are Rob Bell, of course)) but not teach? And why can a woman teach other women but not men? If the answer to the first question is because women are incapable of teaching men then why do we want them teaching our women? Just to keep them “dumb”? Why do you make concessions for female professors in seminary? Some of the most brilliant professors I have who teach me Bible and “spiritual matters” have been women.

I am not asking these questions out of meanness or sarcasm. They come out of many years of studying this topic and having heard and read all the arguments on both sides. In fact, until I started researching all of this myself and looked into the nuanced textual differences of the proof-texts cited throughout this thread I was on the other side of the fence. Over time I have come to know many female pastors and female teachers who have confirmed over and over that this is where God’s heart is. We could no doubt line up your proof texts and I line up mine, all with our parsings and contextual groundings and we could still remain unmoved on this issue. However, when you begin to ask: how does subordinating women in any capacity (and I don’t care how you want to dress it up – it is subordination to deny women the same rights as men) match the Spirit of Christ? How does this dogma of the church mirror the freedom we have found in Jesus Christ and the grace shown to all nations, all peoples, all races, all social classes, and both genders? When we bar women from being elders or pastors or whatever we are saying with our actions and with our hermeneutic that while we proclaim we are all one and equal in Christ and God is no respector of persons in fact, God is. And since God doesnt think women are equal to men we will continue to perpetuate the sin of patriarchal rule and sexism indeffinately.

I would take a proto-typical female pastor over the proto-typical male pastor any day. And that is me, a man, saying that. What does that mean?

205   nc    
August 7th, 2008 at 9:18 am

It’s not about holding Scripture in low regard…it’s called holding it in such high regard that I want to understand how the clear eschatological framework determines the “context” of these very texts–and thus the meaning.

You have your reasons for believing you can handle the texts responsibly without those considerations, that’s cool. I just don’t agree.

Honestly, It’s fine to have your opinions and interpretations…but excuse me while I bristle at your hubris to assume that I don’t care about Scripture…simply because I’ve come to some different conclusions on how to understand these texts.

Besides…arent’ you pretty liberal in your use of “human reason”, etc. with your interpretation of the stats of the last 30 years.

I’m not saying your unfaithful for your beliefs, but IT IS you and Zan who ramped this thing up and the constant implication is that those of us who disagree aren’t as faithful as you. (And don’t deny it either, because that’s exactly what your claims mean.)

again…sheeeeyeeeeeeesh.

You’re all welcome to my scotch, I don’t hate anyone for this disagreement, but based on Zan’s rant you’d almost convince me to become a strict hierarchalist.

Seriously.

206   nc    
August 7th, 2008 at 9:29 am

Chad,

RE: preferring a woman pastor to a man pastor.

Well according to some here, you’re apparently a feminized man.

Just make sure you wear flip-flops in the winter…that should do the trick.

;)

207   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 9:32 am

Chris,

I am curious why in this case you seem to call me and others as simply following “reason” or “logic” or depending on enlightened ideals? You say that condescendenly, as though that is such an awful thing. Do we really believe that the Holy Spirit is leading us into truth? Do we really believe that God is active in the world today and revealing God’s self to us? Or is the function of the Spirit to keep us shrink-wrapped in the 1st century.

I have to say I am surprised by this. You seem to be very progressive in your thinking and theology on almost all other topics and yet this one you stop short. Your Triumphal Entry post was BRILLIANT! That is a prime example of you engaging the text with the culture of the day, showing how it is a polemnic against Caesar and their mystery relgions – something more conservative, “bible believing” Christians would cry heresy over. These sorts of interpretations have evolved through reason and our “enlightened” ways as we learn more and more about the historical setting Jesus lived, moved, died and was raised. I am having a hard time figuring out why someone as wise as you in so many areas (and of whom I agree with on 99.9% of everything) is stuck in the 1st century on this issue.

But, like Rick said, I don’t think that because you don’t agree with me on this issue that you are apostates either :) And I won’t let this be a divisive issue.

peace,
Chad

208   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 9:34 am

RE: preferring a woman pastor to a man pastor.

Well according to some here, you’re apparently a feminized man.

lol. My wife and I will have a good laugh about that while I help her sort laundry later.

209   nc    
August 7th, 2008 at 9:38 am

Laundry?!?

You’ve gone too far, Chad. Toooo far.

210   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 7th, 2008 at 9:49 am

All this talk of feminized males reminds me of this article from The Wittenburg Door“Mark Driscoll Kicks His Own @ss”.

211   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 9:57 am

Oh brother. Reading that reminded me of this sermon by a young baptist preacher: Him That Pisseth Against the Wall. You have to watch it – I laughed so hard I….

212   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 7th, 2008 at 10:12 am

Chad,
I actually posted that here a few months ago.

213   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 10:20 am

I’m sorry you hold Scripture in such low regard when compared with your own reason…

ChrisL-

I take exception to a comment like this. It is the same sort of thing our Calvinist friends say to you and to I after they have lined up their verses that “prove” their theory and when we disagree they say, “Well, that is because you care more about making God palatable than you do about Scripture.”

That is not true in either case.

peace,
Chad

214   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 10:24 am

Phil – I found it from Witherington’s site as well and put it on my blog. Guess this guy has effectively “marked his territory.”

215   Zan    
August 7th, 2008 at 11:36 am

Wow…

ok, nc, I have a very distinct feeling that you and I will never agree on anything having to do with child-rearing, so…whatever.

Chad, when I speak about the role of men in the church, I am speaking about the role of elder, ie overseer. The elders are the top leaders of the church, to whom everyone else looks, to guide the teaching (whether they do it themselves, or approve someone to do it), but historically, I believe they were the ones who did the teaching also. That is not really the case anymore, except in a Sunday school role in some churches, and sometimes the preacher (think pulpit minister) is also an elder. However your church has decided to arrange it, I don’t think it matters. What matters is if a woman wants to take on the role of “Elder”. What is the job of elder?

1. (I Tim 5:17)The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. [there were, apparently, elders whose jobs were NOT teaching and preaching, so that isn't a sole criteria]
2. (I Tim 3:5) If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?
3. (Acts 20:28) Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
4. (Acts 15) The elders and apostles met to determine certain practices and teachings. In this particular verse it was on Gentiles obeying the Mosaic laws and on their circumcision.
5. (Titus 1:7) Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless [the question begging to be asked: What is "God's Work"? a whole other post, I believe!]
6. (I Peter 5:2) Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers…being examples to the flock.

These are just the ones I could find quickly. This is what I am talking about as being a role filled only by a man. We can quibble on and on about whether a woman should be allowed to speak in church, or to teach men in a Sunday School class, or to read scripture in church. Those, I don’t believe are spelled out so clearly. They MIGHT be able to be interpreted more culturally…I don’t know. But what I do believe is that the position of “elder” or “overseer” is one that must only be filled by a man.

In our culture today, we are so focused on fairness and rights. I am a BIG one for justice! If you only knew…but you all know that life isn’t what we (as temporal beings) would classify as fair. The laundry list of things in this world that aren’t “fair” is neverending. But, correct me if I’m wrong, Jesus never tells us to fight for our rights. There are times in history that I believe that God has ordained certain groups of people to stand up against inhuman treatment or a systematic oppression of a group of people (slavery, Hitler, even the start of the U.S.). But on an individual level, what are we told to do? Love God, submit to one another, love one another, live at peace with one another.

On one last note: the term “patriarchal” seems to be a 4-letter word for some people here. I don’t see it as such. The Hebrews were set up to be a patriarchal system, the Jews continue to be such, and I serve a God who sent His SON (not daughter). Why did he make that choice? and don’t say it was a cultural choice. God, our God, set up the system, catered to the system. Yes, in Christ, we are all equal. But we are not all the same! Is it possible that God built into the male the qualities that He desired for leadership in His church and people? And that possibly He has a reason, amazingly unbeknown to us, for ordering things the way He did? Why do we presume to believe that we know better than God as to what kind of elders our churches should have?

I can tell you that I have been mentored and taught by some amazing, strong, Godly women in my life. As older women, we are given the job of teaching and leading younger women. That is spelled out specifically in the NT. Just because we might be perfectly capable of something doesn’t mean that that is what God calls us to do. Again, go to the scriptures and start there. If what I think God is calling me to do doesn’t match up with what the Bible says, then it is I who must change, not the Bible. I am misinterpreting God’s leading in my life then.

As to the possibly snide comments,(allowing for my misinterpretation of written word) about “Just make sure you wear flip-flops in the winter…that should do the trick.” or “not being as faithful as” me…whatever. I NEVER said that nc or Chad or anyone else wasn’t as faithful. As for the flip-flops…you misunderstand the point of that comment. A 15-year-old is not a boy. He is a man. At some point, he has to take responsibility for stupid decisions, and as a parent, I have to let go and let him. Part of the problem we are having in our culture with millennial kids is that their parents continue to shield them from consequences and don’t make them take responsibility for their stupid decisions. In the end, said-son realized the joy of socks and tennis shoes, asserted his independence in a totally appropriate way, and had a little challenging fun along the way. All things he would have missed if I had made it an issue. What hill am I willing to die on? Not that one! I also don’t see doing household chores as being feminized. Please stop being obtuse.

216   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
August 7th, 2008 at 11:52 am

Zan,
There is a lot of sweeping generalizations in that comment. I’m not sure your problem with the millennial generation is all that new or exclusive to that generation. This seems to be an issue that really trips yours and Chris’s trigger. I’ve never seen him break out the “I’m sorry you have such a low view of Scripture” rhetoric before and I’m not sure your obtuse argument is all that helpful. You were the one who went on the defensive with the last line of your first comment. You said, “tell me how I’m a being a chauvinist pig, when I’m a woman.” That’s looking for a fight. And as of yet, I’ve not seen a compelling argument to answer Phil’s question about the verses he asked for some thought about.
I doubt any of the people who disagree on this issue will be won over to the other side, but from the perspective of someone who doesn’t have a dog in this race, you’re playing dirty.

217   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Chad, when I speak about the role of men in the church, I am speaking about the role of elder, ie overseer.

I know, Zan. And in the first century it is of course going to be a man. Why do you allow for cultural concessions when it comes to women preaching, speaking and so forth and not when it comes to what gender can be the “boss” of a church? Come on, Zan. The 1st century treatment of women is hardly different from how the Taliban treat women today. It rises from the same culture and is not a viture we find in Christ at all.

But what I do believe is that the position of “elder” or “overseer” is one that must only be filled by a man.

Why? Because that is how they did it in the 1st century. That is a weak argument. They also drew lots. They were told to greet each other with a holy kiss. Do you do that? If find it odd how you and Chris seem to want to pick and choose which aspects of 1st century culture you will adhere to and draw the line on this most obvious one.

In our culture today, we are so focused on fairness and rights.

As I recall, so what Jesus – his first sermon announced the liberation of the captives and freedom for the oppressed. Jesus was all about justice. To be sure, this isn’t about avoiding the hurt feelings of some women who want to be like men and have the same power as they. This is about allowing God to call whom God will into ministry and we as humans using our restrictive, biased lenses from which to eliminate any chance of grace to extend to the “least of these.” And yes, in many cultures for far too long women have been deemed as lesser. Your insistence on saying only men can do the job of elder is a perpetuation of an injustice that has been going on since the beginning of time.

Why did God choose a male body? Of COURSE it was culturally motivated! How can you say it is not? God is not so absent minded from our culture that He would be silly enough to come as a woman in the “Fullness of time” to bring the Good News. How many female Rabbi’s were there? However, as I said in an earlier post, Gregory of Nazianzus claimed that God did not redeem that which God did not assume. This would really suck for women, meaning they are not redeemed since Jesus was a man. UNLESS, Jesus assumed all that was essential to our human nature and in God’s eyes, gender is not essential to our redemption.

Yes, in Christ, we are all equal. But we are not all the same! Is it possible that God built into the male the qualities that He desired for leadership in His church and people? And that possibly He has a reason, amazingly unbeknown to us, for ordering things the way He did?

If we are equal than what is stopping us from allowing women the freedom to live into their calling from God? We don’t need or want sameness – that is not the issue. We are all delightfully unique. But why do you shoot for “sameness” (all males) in the position of elder?

Also, this argument surmising God’s intentions about making men better equipped falls way short. If this were the case than we should not find a single capable woman leader – else God messed up his Creative intentions. Furthermore, it begs the question: Maybe God created some people who are just meant to be slaves? Mabye some humans were just wired to be subservient to some masters? Maybe God created some humans to rule over others? Afterall, Paul talks about slaves and masters and never says this is wrong. And since “there is neither slave or free, male or female” only deals with salvation and is merely spiritual fluff, in the same way we continue to discriminate male and female why not continue to have slaves and masters? That must just be how God set everything up – who are we to question it?

Besides all this though I notice no one has offered an explanation of how this practice of saying men are better suited than women to lead fits into the grand scheme of the Gospel – that in Christ Jesus the curse has been broken and we are all free. How do you reconcile this discrimination with the liberating message of Jesus and the hope we have that the Holy Spirit is continually leading us into truth?

peace,
Chad

218   nc    
August 7th, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Zan,

I’m all for teaching kids responsibility and not going to the wall for everything…

But the truth is Zan that YOU made a connection to “manhood” with that very example.

Picking your battles as a parent aren’t necessarily about “gender identity”…You may not have meant to, but you conflated the two.

Another thing:
Don’t mistake God working within the sinful setting of the day as approval.

By that logic, I hope you’ll be ready for plural marriage and getting ready to teach your sons to “lead” their families with levirate marriage in the case of someone’s untimely death with no heirs.

As far as Jesus goes…given the era he lived in…his gender was a lovely accomodation. However, even the early Church Fathers–no egalitarians they–acknowledged that HUMANITY was incarnated in the Christ. They did this for a variety of reasons…not the least of which was so that no one could argue that women couldn’t partake in salvation.

It’s disengenuous for anyone here to go on and on about “people denying differences in the genders” when that’s not the case.

My problem is “gendering” of issues that aren’t necessarily gender related. (i.e. “he’s a man, so he can figure it out”. Wearing seasonally appropriate clothes is an issue of being a mature adult. It has nothing to do with gender. But you, undeniably, made it so and projected it to all of us.)

It’s clear this is deeply personal for you…so to be clear from my end:

I don’t doubt you’re a conscientious, responsible, and great parent.

I just don’t think you can extrapolate undeniably cultural forms as part of the “absolute gender identity” that it seems you are asserting.

I.E. “eating meat”, etc. are not inherently masculine actions. They may be identified as such by certain sub-cultures, but to take that to the wall for everyone makes me ask: Who’s using philosophy, human reasoning, etc. now?

Lastly, you may not believe certain household activities are more male or female, but you certainly set yourself up for the critique since your only examples of “biblical masculinity” are contemporary social stereotypes.

219   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Don’t mistake God working within the sinful setting of the day as approval.

I need to practice the art of saying much with less :)

well put, nc.

220   nc    
August 7th, 2008 at 12:51 pm

AS far as Scripture goes:

I totally see how some people will interpret texts different ways.

What I object to is extrapolating a full-fledged theology of gender from some verses that are ostensibly about household and church “order”.

Those verses…even if I believed the hierarchalist position…don’t tell me what I am as a man. They only tell me there is a particular job I can do as a man in the church. They only tell me the hearts disposition I should have toward my wife.

Which, by the way, I’ve seen many “unsaved” relationally healthy and emotionally mature people exhibit in their own marriages without any biblical teaching.

221   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 1:01 pm

This is a rare case where I find myself disagreeing with you, Chris.

As long as you’re OK with being wrong… (just kidding)

Actually, I appreciate it when one of the writers here feels free to disagree with me – it provides a nice contrast to ‘team politics’ in evidence elsewhere.

I don’t see how we can take something that appears to be written to a particular group of Christians in a particular place and time and make it universal for all Christians, especially when Paul seems to contradict in other places.

I’m a bit fuzzy on where Paul seems to contradict this? Are you referring to Galatians 3:28? While I understand (and greatly appreciate) the use of Scriptural background for disagreement, I think you’re conflating late-20th century ideas of “equality” with Biblical differentiation. Galatians 3:28 is a corollary to Jesus’ parable of the vineyard workers in Matt 20:1-16, where the reward of being ‘in Christ’ has no hierarchy.

So the part about Eve is sandwiched right between these two admonitions which everyone (well almost everyone) seems fine seeing as cultural warnings, but yet you are saying the middle part is a univeral rule.

I would disagree, Phil.

1) The passage you cite in Timothy is not the only relevant one dealing with the issue of women and authority. I would point to 1 Cor 11, 1 Cor 14, and all of the passages dealing with husbands and wives…

2) I think you’re confusing the practice of ignoring the manifestation mentioned by Paul (braided hair, jewelry, etc.) with ignoring the principal (modesty in attire). While I (and most modern churches) ignore the manifestation, the principal is not ignored.

With this in mind, what is the principal of:

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

What is the manifestation you suggest we ignore and the principal you suggest we keep?

But in his other letters, Paul basically declares the Torah non-binding for Christians, even though it can be used for teaching and guidance. We are bound the the Law of Christ now, and according to that law we are all free and seen as sons (and daughters) of God.

Actually, Paul’s declaration of what is ‘non-binding’ is based upon the Jerusalem Council ruling in Acts 15 – which is Mosaic Law dealing with ceremony and with laws aimed specifically at Jews or subdivisions thereof. Genesis is pre-Mosaic law (primarily Noaic) and is for all men, not just Jews.

Jesus: Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

Paul does not instruct Jewish Christians to forsake their Jewish practice – he only instructs that Gentiles need not become Jewish to become Christian. For instance: Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised.

If you look at a character like King David, he was a man’s man, but he also played the harp and wrote poetry.

Music and poetry need not be ‘feminine’ (see Third Day, Todd Agnew, etc…), but a good number of praise choruses – particularly those from the 70’s and 80’s – tend to use feminine imagery and phraseology, which is one reason some of these ‘male-outreach’ churches are more careful about the music they choose, lyrically, than theologically/culturally similar churches.

Another thing I would note is that even in churches where male-only leadership is the rule, the trend of declining male attendence has affected them in about the same way.

Actually, attendance in the mainline churches, where egalitarianism was first entrenched, has been in a steeper decline (both in percentage of males and in overall attendance) for a longer, more pronounced period of time.

I certainly hope we aren’t holding up Mark Driscoll’s version of uber-macho masculinity as the standard. He can keep his ultimate fighting, as far as I’m concerned.

The two podcasts I listen to consistently come from Mars Hill midwest and Mars Hill west. While I don’t agree with Driscoll on a number of issues related to systematic theology, I find myself in agreement with his basic stance on complementarianism, though not necessarily some of the (anecdotal) practices of MH Seattle.

God IS calling women to lead. Both sons AND daughters are now called to prophesy.

1) Leading and prophesying are two different things.
2) Being called to lead does not require being called to lead in a way forbidden by God. God may call you to be a dancer, but this does not mean that he has called you to be a stripper. God may call you to be a tax collector, but He does not call you to cheat people.

Even Paul recognizes that women may be called to lead, and gives a channel to that calling:

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Chad:

What I hear in some of this posts con-women is fear – fear that if we allow women to be pastors than we will be overrun with women pastors.

You asked for extra-biblical reasons “why” God might have put this in place, and you’ve been given some.

The basic Scriptural support, though, is not fear, but love – loving respect that God gave us instructions on how we should live as families and as churches, and that He knows best, even when we do not fully know “why”.

They are tested, trained, study, take aptitude tests, psych evals, the whole deal. A woman can learn, just as a man can, how to make decisions not on emotion alone but through seeking wise counsel, prayer, searching scriptures, and reason.

It’s not a question of aptitude – it’s a question of role given by God. Within the body there are many parts – eyes, noses, ears, and different sexual parts, as well.

Apart from (what I believe is an out-of-context interpretation of) Galatians 3:28, you’ve given no scriptural support for your position, and even there it’s pretty thin.

Why do you allow a woman to preach (and, by the way, very conveniently divorce teaching from preaching)

Talk to Paul (and others) about that one. Teaching implies authority over a person and direct application. Preaching has no implication of authority over the listener, and does not require understanding the specific applications in the lives of the listener.

This is why Paul does not allow women to teach the men or have authority over them. However, we have ample evidence of women prophesying (which is a form of preaching – prophesying does not implicitly indicate foretelling the future, but simply speaking the Word of God).

And why can a woman teach other women but not men?

Because they are not allowed to have spiritual authority over men.
1) For Adam was formed first, then Eve.
2) And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.
3) Eph 5:22-24 and similar passages (noting that I fully agree with Bell’s exposition of this passage in Sex God)

However, when you begin to ask: how does subordinating women in any capacity (and I don’t care how you want to dress it up – it is subordination to deny women the same rights as men) match the Spirit of Christ?

Does the church have the same rights as Jesus?

Should the church teach and have authority over Jesus?

I’m sorry, but having different roles based on sex does not implicitly require “subordination”. Is an eye “subordinated” because it cannot hear? Is a mouth “subordinated” because it’s genetics don’t allow it to see?

While we’re all pretty good at pointing out how right-wing politics has blended too much with the church, we’re demonstrating pretty adept failure at recognizing the left’s influence, as well.

Democracy is not a Christian value.
Feminism is not a Christian value.
Capitalism is not a Christian value.
Tolerance is not a Christian value.
The right to bear arms is not a Christian value.
Unwavering pacifism is not a Christian value.

In similar fashion, while equality of salvation IS a Christian value, equality in roles is not.

Someone’s supposed “calling” is not proof of anything. All gifts may be used for God, but when the receiver of a gift wishes to use that gift in a way forbidden by God, that does not change the nature of God’s “calling”, but is just a reflection on the unbending pride of the receiver.

How does this dogma of the church mirror the freedom we have found in Jesus Christ and the grace shown to all nations, all peoples, all races, all social classes, and both genders?

Because all are saved, whether they’ve been in the vineyard since 6 a.m. or whether they’ve just arrived at 5:59 p.m., no matter their genetics, class, race, etc.

When we bar women from being elders or pastors or whatever we are saying with our actions and with our hermeneutic that while we proclaim we are all one and equal in Christ and God is no respector of persons in fact, God is.

When you bar the tone-deaf octogenarian from leading corporate worship in song are you saying that they are unequal, or that they are genetically not suited for the role? When you bar the blind person from driving the church bus are you denying that we are not ‘equal’ in Christ?

Part of the problem, I see, is that somehow you see that a ‘pastor’ unequal to (or greater than) any member of his congregation. Giving someone a role of authority does not make them better than or unequal to any other member – unless, that is, you deny the ministry of all believers.

The other part of the problem is that your primary argument is rooted in a single verse of scripture, which is most likely being taken out of context.

Does asking women to take a biblical leadership role over other women somehow make her more or less “in Christ” than if she were to be in authority above men? Does appointing the musically-talented young woman to lead worship singing and asking the tone-deaf gentleman (even though he has the desire and knowledge of musical theory of singing) make him more or less “in Christ” than if he were leading the singing?

nc,

but excuse me while I bristle at your hubris to assume that I don’t care about Scripture

This came from your characterization of accepting the plain meaning of Paul’s writing as “caterwauling about “that’s it cuz God said he agrees with me”.”

Chad:

I am curious why in this case you seem to call me and others as simply following “reason” or “logic” or depending on enlightened ideals?

All of these are fine, when first rooted in Scripture. The problem becomes when we depend on human ‘reason’, ‘logic’ and ‘enlightenment’ as determinant of scriptural meaning, rather than the opposite.

In this particular case, the only scriptural argument being made for egalitarianism is a single verse in Galatians along with a whole lot of 20th century definitions of what “equality” has to mean. So, the position becomes – “women and men must be totally equal” (with a rather broad definition of equal). THEN, once the position is established, how do we make the Scriptures fit our cultural, “logical” position.

Which should feed the other – Scripture or logic/reason/”enlightenment”?

So, with the case of braided hair (again) – what is Paul’s Scriptural basis for his instructions about braiding hair? Modesty and Propriety. SO – the cultural manifestation of modesty was unbraided hair and no jewelry. This is not culturally manifested in our society, so instead we would advise women not to come to church dressed in fishnets, stiletto heels, micro-skirts and tube-tops.

With the case of women speaking out (and interrupting) in church, what is Paul’s Scriptural basis for this instruction? That women are not to have authority over men, based on the Genesis account (and not Mosaic Law).

Do we really believe that God is active in the world today and revealing God’s self to us? Or is the function of the Spirit to keep us shrink-wrapped in the 1st century.

Chad – the hermeneutic I consistently try to use is the historical-contextual one:

1) Determine what the first hearers of scripture would have understood it to mean in their own cultural context.

2) Determine what underlying principal(s) is/are

3) Apply those principals to our cultural context.

Most of the time, the plain meaning of the text is trans-cultural.

Sometimes, there is rich meaning behind the cultural context which gives us a better understanding of the text and how to live it.

Sometimes, we may not like the answers we get back. This is one of those times – for me, as well. I really wish I could say it was just a cultural issue. But I honestly can’t do so while remaining faithful to the Text…

I am having a hard time figuring out why someone as wise as you in so many areas (and of whom I agree with on 99.9% of everything) is stuck in the 1st century on this issue.

Maybe I’m not stuck in the first century.

After all, were I in Adam’s place, I’m not sure I could think of a single good reason of why I shouldn’t eat fruit from one tree, when I can eat fruit from any other tree in the garden. God made the tree. He indicated that its fruit wasn’t poisonous. He just said to trust Him not to eat it.

I see this particular issue as much the same thing…

222   Zan    
August 7th, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Wow,

I never in my life thought I would be hammered BY MEN for having the beliefs I do. Twilight Zone moment…

Have any of ya’ll ever read John Eldridge’s book, Wild at Heart? It is a great read. You may not all agree on the ideas in it, but it is though-provoking nonetheless. (My dad didn’t like it at all, and he is the most Christ-like man I have ever known!) Just a question.

Joe, I have heard so many instances where parents are micromanaging their grown children’s lives (over 17, even out of college) recently…so far beyond anything I have ever heard of…It is a trend I have seen, and I can’t help but believe it is getting worse. If I am wrong, then I am sorry, but from my personal experiences (I have been back at college for 4 years now, interacting with young adults there, and have mentored young high school and college girls for a number of years before that, as well as having friends who work in academics) I don’t think I am. Also, I read back through my first comment, and aside from a couple (2?) toungue-in-cheek comments, I didn’t have anything else in it that was meant in a mean way. As to the “sweeping generalizations” in #215, where? Is it possible that I wasn’t exact or precise enought with my words? If so, I will try to correct that…truly.

223   Zan    
August 7th, 2008 at 1:19 pm

joe C,

I am on the exact same page as you and your wife when it comes to the combination of male and female completing the essence of God. I think it is a beautiful visual that a man and a woman together possess different traits but still reflect the same God. Thanks for those thoughts!

Z

224   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Have any of ya’ll ever read John Eldridge’s book, Wild at Heart?

Read it a number of times. I have even taught a 3 year men’s curriculum called Men’s Fraternity drafted and taught by Dr. Robert Lewis, a Baptist pastor.
While he and Eldridge have many good things to say about men, none of that takes away from a woman’s right to lead just as well as a man.

225   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 1:22 pm

RE:“I’m sorry you have such a low view of Scripture”

My apologies for the snideness of this comment – The way I read:

unreflective caterwauling about “that’s it cuz God said he agrees with me”.

Was “don’t bother quoting scripture to me”.

Upon re-reading the entire comment, I realize this may not have been the intent.

My apologies.

226   nc    
August 7th, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Chris,

It’s not your “acceptance” of your interpretation that’s caterwauling.

It’s the same kind of ranting implicitly or otherwise that your position is the only one that is faithful to scripture.

That is what is caterwauling…and I hate to say it, but sounds no different than some people this site criticizes.

Nothing wrong with a strong opinion, but subtly trying to neutralize others with the “faithfulness”/plain meaning card is a really crappy rhetorical move.

You’ve always struck me as reasonable. Anymore this isn’t about having a strong opinion that I honestly do respect you for despite our disagreement.

You and Zan are on your high horses.

227   nc    
August 7th, 2008 at 1:24 pm

ooooopssssss…..
just passed each other in the meta…

apology accepted and I too know that I can be Snark King of The Universe…

Please accept mine too.

ignore that last comment…

;)

damn internets

228   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 1:29 pm

This information can be found by anyone who wants to look for it. I wrote a position paper some time ago that I cannot find, but this is a portion of the argument. ChrisL, this gives a very plausible (and exegetical) explanation as to why Paul grounds his instructions in the Genesis story….. You can find the full article HERE.

“I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men. She is to keep silent.” (verse 12)

There is no doubt about the fact that the author of 1 Timothy had imposed a prohibition on women that forbade them to teach or to have authority in his Christian assembly.
However, the main question is: was this just a local and temporal prohibition, or a universal norm imposed under inspiration for all time to come?
We can deduce that it was only a temporary and local prohibition from the following considerations:

When the verb ‘to permit’ (epitrepsein) is used in the New Testament, it refers to a specific permission in a specific context (Matthew 8,21; Mark 5,13; John 19,38; Acts 21,39-40; 26,1; 27,3; 28,16; 1 Corinthians 16,7; etc.) Moreover, the use of the indicative tense indicates an immediate context. The correct translation, therefore, is: “I am not presently allowing” (Spencer; Hugenberger); “I have decided that for the moment women are not to teach or have authority over men” (Redekop; see also Payne).
We know for a fact that Paul allowed women to speak prophetically in the assembly (1 Corinthians 11,5). Women functioned in the Church as deaconesses. We know, therefore, that women did speak in the assemblies. 1 Timothy 2,12 is an exception, a later ruling to counteract a specific threat.
The immediate context of the prohibition was the danger of Gnostic teaching that at the time affected mainly women. Enlarging its purpose to including a permanent norm for all time goes beyond the “literal sense” of the text and the intended scope of the biblical author.
The overall meaning of this verse is, therefore: “Until women have learned what they need in order to get a full grasp of the true teaching, they are not to teach or have authority over men.” (Redekop)

“For Adam was formed first, then Eve. (verse 13)
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. (verse 14)
Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty” (verse 15).

It is clear that these verses are not carefully considered theological statements. Because, strictly speaking, they do not make sense. If Eve is subject to Adam because she was created later, Adam and Eve are subject to the animals which were created first. Then, according to the first creation story Adam and Eve were created simultaneously: “God created him, male and female he created them” (Genesis 1,27). Also, Adam was equally deceived and equally guilty as the story makes clear (Genesis 3,17-19). Pain in childbirth and being dominated by their husbands were seen as punishments for Eve (Genesis 3,16), but the victory of woman over evil (Genesis 3,15) is ignored by our author. Are these heavy doctrinal pronouncements?

Why then did the biblical author of 1 Timothy quote the second creation story in Genesis so clumsily to back up his opinion? No doubt, “the use of Genesis to teach women a lesson was common among Jewish expositors” (Witherington). But the Gnostics also used the creation story. These verses may well have been “a polemic directed against several misconceptions concerning Adam and Eve” (Hugenberger). “The gospel is struggling in Ephesus with Gnostic-influenced women trumpeting a feminist reinterpretation of Adam and Eve as a precedent for their own spiritual primacy and authority” (Barron).

The polemic against Gnostic teachers may reveal the author’s real point. In Genesis Eve was deceived by the snake and transgressed, in Ephesus some women were deceived by false teachers, and for this reason they transgressed. Since according to 1 Timothy 2,14 the emphasis is on the fact that Adam was not the one who was deceived, it reveals the context in which the letter was written. i.e. women are the ones who were causing the trouble. Therefore the author of l Timothy was addressing a specific situation.

It is possible that it was just the author’s patriarchal prejudice against women, rather than the specific Gnostic context, that caused his rather anti-feminine outburst. If so, there is even more reason not to take this broken and clumsy interpretation of the creation story to be solemnly defined doctrine.

These verses about Adam and Eve are typical rationalizations, that is: ad hoc reasonings to undershore something stated. They could only be understood within the context of the letter’s audience, and therefore had a limited scope.

The tragedy is that these verses were extensively used in later tradition to justify contemporary prejudices against women. They were supposed to prove from the inspired Scriptures that God subjected women to men and that women are more susceptible to temptation and deception.

229   nc    
August 7th, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Zan,

just so you know…
I work at University’s registrar’s office..

I see the hand holding too…

I just don’t see it as a gender issue.

If you and I were in the same room about THAT we’d be commiserating together over the same enabling parents of lazy, immature kids.

230   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 7th, 2008 at 1:33 pm

Chris,
I’m glad we’re free to disagree as well. This is probably an issue we’ll have to agree to disagree on. I guess I still am having a hard time seeing you point of differentiation between a specific admonition and trans-cultural one. I hope I’m not being obtuse.

Anyway, it’s probably not fruitful to keep on going ’round and ’round, but I would like your (and others) opinion on these couple of paragraphs. These are from a position paper on this subject that I’ve found quite convincing:

The New Testament also records ministering women in the Church Age. Tabitha (Dorcas) is called a disciple and had a ministry of helps (Acts 9:36). Philip had four virgin daughters who prophesied (Act s 21:8,9). Euodia and Syntyche were Paul’s coworkers who shared in his struggle to spread the gospel (Philippians 4:2,3). Priscilla was another of Paul’s exemplary “fellow workers in Christ Jesus” (Romans 16:3,4, NIV). In Romans 16, Paul greets a multitude of ministering persons, a large number of them women.

Phoebe, a leader in the church at Cenchrea, was highly commended to the church at Rome by Paul (Romans 16:1,2). Unfortunately, biases of modern English translators have sometimes obscured Phoebe’s position of leadership, calling her a “servant” or “helper”, etc. Yet Phoebe was diakonos of the church at Cenchrea. Paul often used this term for a minister or leader of a congregation and applied it specifically to Jesus Christ, Tychicus, Epaphras, Timothy, and to his own ministry. Depending on the context, diakonos is usually translated “deacon” or “minister.” Though some translators have chose n the word deaconess (because Phoebe was a woman), such a distinction is not in the original Greek. It seems likely that diakonos was the designation for an official leadership position in the Early Church.

Junia was identified by Paul as an apostle (Romans 16:7). But many translators and scholars, unwilling to admit there could have been a female apostle, have since the 13th century masculinized her name to Junias. The biblical record shows that Paul was a strong advocate of women’s ministry.

231   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 1:34 pm

I work at University’s registrar’s office..

I see the hand holding too…

I work for a Fortune 500 company.

On at least one occasion, I’ve heard about us receiving a phone call from an angry parent that we did not grant an on-site interview to their (college graduate) child…

Oh the humanity!

232   Zan    
August 7th, 2008 at 1:38 pm

nc,

I understand that it isn’t a gender issue, in and of itself. That “hand-holding” is across the board, absolutely! What I see is that it is causing problems in both camps (male and female). Girls are getting meaner and meaner, and guys are getting wimpier and wimpier (meaning that they are accepting less and less of their responsibility in their lives). This, as far as the guys go, is what I see as adding to the problem in the church, as well, by not being willing to accept a leadership/responsibility role there either. I would whole-heartedly commiserate with you on the enabling stuff! :)

233   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 7th, 2008 at 1:45 pm

I see the helicopter parents, too. It’s sort of funny and sad to me to see the difference even between now and when I left for college. Parents today want to know everything about their kids’ day. It’s not uncommon for kids to call their mom twice a day. When I was in school I maybe called home once a week. It’s freakin’ annoying… what a bunch of momma’s boys and daddy’s girls.

As far as the wimpy thing, though, I don’t think that should be seen as either a feminime or masculine trait. I know if I had a daughter, I wouldn’t want her to be a doormat any more than I would want a son to be one.

234   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 1:47 pm

Teaching implies authority over a person and direct application. Preaching has no implication of authority over the listener, and does not require understanding the specific applications in the lives of the listener.

Why couldn’t women teach men in Paul’s day? Why can’t they teach men in our day?

As the above article makes clear, there were very serious cultural implications to women having authority over men. As you have already conceeded, the prohibitions on hair, jewelry and dress were due to the Temple cults that existed. And yet, you consistently (or rather, inconsistently) divorce the prohibitions on women to teach from that culture and make it universal, based on nothing more than Paul using Genesis to make his point.
Chris, IF Paul had told slaves to obey their masters because this is how the Old Covenant commanded them to behave, would you be arguing for the mystery of slave-ownership and that somehow this must be a timeless, transcultural practice not to be abandoned?

You continue to shrug off Galatians and the good news that in Christ there is no slave or free, male or female. You argue that this is God’s design, that God has set this up and we should just be obedient and then contradict yourself when you say that the Galatians passage is only concerning how God sees us, not how we are to function. If God does not see male or female, why are you? Why are you insisting that it is the base-line for deciding who can lead and who can not? Being a man does not make you any more qualified to lead than being a woman. If women are never to have authority over men what do you make of Deborah?

You say again and again that I base all this on one passage that might be misinterpreted. Not at all. I base it on the whole story of God we find ourselves in from Genesis forward that tells a story of a God who despises hierarchial tendencies, hates injustice, is constantly striving to break down the walls that divide us and in Jesus Christ showed some of the most radical treatement towards women that his culture could tolerate AND to top it off – in Christ there is no male or female. Mix all of this with the women leaders of Jesus and Paul’s day and the fact that they were obviously allowed to preach and exhort and even lead men into battle (Deborah) than you have all the reason in the world to reject the use of the Bible as a tool to perpetuate the sin of sexism.

peace,
Chad

235   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Phil – if no one else will say it, I liked your article quote :)
(are you surprised?)

I doubt it, nor what I cited above, will do much good. Like I said before, we can line up our scholars and verses and they can line up their scholars and verses and we can tell lob tomatoes at each other over the wall until we are all just sticky and red and perhaps contracting diverticulitis (I have no idea what this means).

For me it boils down to this: How is our view consitent with the heart of God as revealed to us in Jesus Christ? The Calvinist can show me all the scriptures they wish that “prove” God loves only some and hates others. I will disbelieve it till the cows come home because of Jesus. To say one gender is more capable to lead over another is nothing but cultural sin, IMO. It is a vestige fro the Fall and needs to be eradicated from the Church if we are to ever be consistent in proclaiming the freedom and equality all have in Christ.

Even Jesus recognized the need to accomodate culture when he speaks of Moses and divorce decrees. It was allowed then because God knew the hardness of their hearts. If Jesus were here today and we asked him the same question, “why did you not allow women to lead in the 1st century?” he would probably respond with a similar answer – because of the hardness of our hearts.

Perhaps Campolo is right – men need to heal of this issue. We are humble up until we are asked to learn from a woman. God forbid.

236   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 2:34 pm

The New Testament also records ministering women in the Church Age. Tabitha (Dorcas) is called a disciple and had a ministry of helps (Acts 9:36). Philip had four virgin daughters who prophesied (Act s 21:8,9). Euodia and Syntyche were Paul’s coworkers who shared in his struggle to spread the gospel (Philippians 4:2,3). Priscilla was another of Paul’s exemplary “fellow workers in Christ Jesus” (Romans 16:3,4, NIV). In Romans 16, Paul greets a multitude of ministering persons, a large number of them women.

Fully in agreement – none of these is a position of authority.

Phoebe, a leader in the church at Cenchrea, was highly commended to the church at Rome by Paul (Romans 16:1,2). Unfortunately, biases of modern English translators have sometimes obscured Phoebe’s position of leadership, calling her a “servant” or “helper”, etc. Yet Phoebe was diakonos of the church at Cenchrea. Paul often used this term for a minister or leader of a congregation and applied it specifically to Jesus Christ, Tychicus, Epaphras, Timothy, and to his own ministry. Depending on the context, diakonos is usually translated “deacon” or “minister.” Though some translators have chose n the word deaconess (because Phoebe was a woman), such a distinction is not in the original Greek. It seems likely that diakonos was the designation for an official leadership position in the Early Church.

I would generally agree, though I would not agree that diakonos would be a ‘leader’ in the church.

The position of diakonos was derived from the role of chazan in the first century synagogue – which was that of an organizer, coordinator, administrator – a custodian and servant of the synagogue.

We have, in scripture, the roles of the deacons – which were primarily (in that culture) making sure that the women and orphans within the church were cared for.

Narratively, the first “overseers” and “deacons” were likely the ones set forth in Acts 6:2-6, where the Twelve were considered overseers and the seven as deacons. Basically, deacons are responsible to see that the physical needs of the body are served, whereas the overseers are responsible to determine questions of doctrine and practice (binding and loosing) and to see that the spiritual needs of the body are served.

So, as I stated WAAAAAY above (back in the 60’s I think), I think that women can be deacons.

Junia was identified by Paul as an apostle (Romans 16:7).

The difference between a disciple and an apostle is not authority. An apostle would be a disciple who had direct, first-hand witness to the risen Christ.

Even within the apostles, the Twelve were recognized as having authority, later adding Paul to their number.

So, I’m not surprised that there were women who were apostles.

Why couldn’t women teach men in Paul’s day? Why can’t they teach men in our day?

I’m going to go back to where I was separating preaching from teaching (based upon Paul’s admonition and Jewish tradition).

A preacher is one who proclaims the truth in “public teaching”.

A teacher is one who makes disciples. In our own culture, “teacher” is probably most closely labeled “mentor”, though it falls a bit short (on the authority end).

Jesus was a teacher to his disciples, but a preacher to the masses.

The disciples lived with Jesus and submitted to his authority that they wanted to live the way he did and believe the way he did – to be what he was.

So – the prohibition, as I read it, against women teaching men, would be a prohibition – not against public proclamation of the word – but one of private mentoring with a degree of authority granted by the student.

As you have already conceeded, the prohibitions on hair, jewelry and dress were due to the Temple cults that existed.

But the requirement of modest dress is not exempted – it is a trans-cultural principal. This is a key difference between just saying “braided hair, jewelry, etc. was just cultural” and saying “Paul says that women, in particular, are to dress modestly, with propriety”.

And yet, you consistently (or rather, inconsistently) divorce the prohibitions on women to teach from that culture and make it universal, based on nothing more than Paul using Genesis to make his point.

If you simply write-off Paul’s comments as cultural anachronisms, then there is no principle to be had within the scripture.

So – if Paul ISN’T saying that women shouldn’t have authority over men – what IS the trans-cultural point he is trying to make?

IF Paul had told slaves to obey their masters because this is how the Old Covenant commanded them to behave, would you be arguing for the mystery of slave-ownership and that somehow this must be a timeless, transcultural practice not to be abandoned?

But he didn’t – he told them to do it out of rule of law, but he also noted:

Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him. Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.

Here, and elsewhere, Paul is making a cultural ruling which indicates that slavery is a cultural artifact. His underlying principal is to not overthrow authority placed over you, but that in the situation of slavery, freedom is the most desired state.

You continue to shrug off Galatians and the good news that in Christ there is no slave or free, male or female. You argue that this is God’s design, that God has set this up and we should just be obedient and then contradict yourself when you say that the Galatians passage is only concerning how God sees us, not how we are to function.

There is no indication in the passages surrounding this portion of Galatians that he is referencing function. In fact, to make the argument you are making, you have to ignore I Cor 12:12-29. However, he makes an analogous statement in that passage:

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Here he makes it clear that while functions may differ, were are all equal within the Spirit. How does he show this differentiation in function? He goes on:

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

So – right in the same passage, Paul first sets up that in the Spirit – which is also to say “in Christ” – there is no social, genetic, etc. hierarchy of who is ‘better’ in God’s eyes than someone else. He then couples this with the metaphor of the body to DEMONSTRATE that different functions within the body do not demonstrate something that one is “deprived of” if he/she is “an ear” but wants to be “an eye”.

Paul is rather clearly saying that 1) the kingdom is not hierarchical, where there are “haves” and “have-nots”; 2) having different functions, roles, abilities within the body is not a hierarchical distinction, and we should not be troubled by it.

The problem with this particular debate is that, contrary to #2, we have become troubled by it.

you have all the reason in the world to reject the use of the Bible as a tool to perpetuate the sin of sexism.

Huh? This is pretty loaded statement to say that agreeing with Paul that women should not have authority over men is “the sin of sexism”…

There are a whole lot of sexist things that are outright wrong, but, at the same time, recognizing sexual differences along with biblical teaching which specifies certain roles is not “the sin of sexism”… If so, then it is how modern society has defined “sin” and not God…

237   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 2:53 pm

So – if Paul ISN’T saying that women shouldn’t have authority over men – what IS the trans-cultural point he is trying to make?

It’s simple: Order.

Paul is laying out ways in which proper order can be established. It is the whole thrust of his letter to Corinth, especially chapters 11-14. Order was high on Paul’s list as a testament to the heart of Christ working in them.

So the transcultural point we can gleen from this is that where people (men or women) in leadership or in the congregation are doing things that disrupt order (and as already noted, a woman teaching a man in the 1st century would cause confusion and disorder) they should cease.

Paul’s admonishment to women to be silent in the church and ask their husbands at home is NOT because they are a woman but because as women they were barred from learning with the men and now, with the advent of the Church, they found themselves sitting alongside them listening to preaching for the first time! They were bound to ask questions. Telling them to be quiet and wait till they get home is one more way Paul establishes order in an infant church.

If you see that the transcultural teaching point here is that order preceeds our own whimiscal ideas and desires and that when we come together to worship we should take these moments seriously than all of this falls perfectly into place. The question you need to ask then is this: Would a woman pastor upset the order of the worshipping community? I would go so far as to say that in some areas of the world (sadly, even in the US), yes, it would. If that be the case, it is better to maintain order so people can learn in an orderly environment – at least for the time being.

peace,
Chad

238   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 2:55 pm

To say one gender is more capable to lead over another is nothing but cultural sin, IMO.

I’ve said nothing about ‘capability’ – I’ve said that it is a Scriptural prohibition that is pretty clear, and, according to Paul, is based pre-fall conditions (Gen 2:18-25) and post-fall punishment (Gen 3:16). The curse in Gen 3:16 is that man will “rule over” (which is different than a “helper” from Gen 2) – which goes beyond why God created woman and would be indicative of the true sexism and oppression against women throughout history.

However, as Paul notes, woman is given a submissive position, and man is given a responsibility of care – prior to the fall.

It is a vestige fro the Fall and needs to be eradicated from the Church if we are to ever be consistent in proclaiming the freedom and equality all have in Christ.

I would disagree that it is completely a vestige of the fall.

I would also disagree, stating that it is a Scriptural direction given, even if we don’t like it, that we – as Christ’s bride – are willing to submit to in deference to the love he has shown to us.

Even Jesus recognized the need to accomodate culture when he speaks of Moses and divorce decrees. It was allowed then because God knew the hardness of their hearts.

Actually, on divorce, Jesus was siding with the most conservative school of Pharisees (the House of Shammai) which said that divorce could only be granted in the case of infidelity, whereas the House of Hillel (at the other end of the scale) said divorce could be over anything as simple as burning her husband’s food.

On all of the other major points of debate, Jesus sided with Hillel – or took it farther (see here and here).

If Jesus were here today…

I suspect he’d take positions on things none of us would like.

Perhaps Campolo is right – men need to heal of this issue. We are humble up until we are asked to learn from a woman. God forbid.

While I can agree with Campolo on a number of issues, there’s still quite a few I disagree with.

This would be one of them.

239   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 7th, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Well, if we’re talking about a close mentoring type of relationship, I would tend to agree that it probably would not be the best thing for women to have male disciples. The thing is, true discipleship is so rare in the church, that it almost becomes a moot point. It doesn’t seem to happen much at all.

I guess the only thing I could think of would be in the context of a seminary or Bible college. What do you think of female teachers or professors in that instance? That’s a type of authority over men, isn’t it?

Getting back to the passage in 1 Timothy, it seems to me that if women were somewhat worshipped or idolized in Ephesus, it makes perfect sense that Paul would in essence say to the church, “don’t buy into this crap. Here’s how you respond – be totally counter-cultural”. To me, it’s an instance of Paul affirming the anti-empire stance of the Gospel. The Gospel will never completely accomadate itself to culture. To follow Jesus will always cost something. That’s the trans-cultural message.

240   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 3:11 pm

I’ve said nothing about ‘capability’ – I’ve said that it is a Scriptural prohibition that is pretty clear, and, according to Paul, is based pre-fall conditions (Gen 2:18-25) and post-fall punishment (Gen 3:16).

Did you read the article I quoted in post 228? There is a plausible explanation why Paul grounded his teaching in the creation account.

You have pointed out again and again that I am basing all of this on one passage in Galatians (which I disagree with) while at the same time you keep citing your one passage in Genesis. For didactic purposes which should be given more weight: the mythic story of creation or Paul’s letter to Galatia?
I am not suggesting the two need to be pitted against each other. However, the cultural explanation given in 228 and elsewhere here by others is abundant proof that they can work well side by side.

However, as Paul notes, woman is given a submissive position, and man is given a responsibility of care – prior to the fall.

On what grounds? I disagree. The word used for helpmeet is “ezer” – the exact same word used to desribe God in relation to humanity. Would you say God is “submissive” to his creation? Of course not.

Just the opposite is true, Chris. Pre fall this is what is said:

“So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed THEM, and God said to THEM, be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish and the sea….” Gen. 1:27ff.

God does not give this authority to just the man but to THEM. They are both created together and in the image of God.

Second story…

“It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his PARTNER.” (and as already noted, the word “helper” is the same used for God elsewhere in the OT).

…and they become ONE flesh. (vs. 25).

There is nothing about woman being the “submissive” one in the prefall narrative. That is a result of the fall and part of the curse, the one that is supposedly lifted with Christ.

Actually, on divorce, Jesus was siding with the most conservative school of Pharisees

Sure. But that isn’t the point. The point is that Jesus recognized a need to accomodate the culture of the day (as God did for Moses in his day). Same could be said of Paul in his culture.

peace,
Chad

241   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 3:14 pm

A teacher is one who makes disciples.

Chris-

So since women are not to teach because that would be “making disciples” are they exempt from the Great Commission?

242   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 3:16 pm

I had to be gone on this day where everyone was engaging in a wmoen in overseer dialogue?

Women are in leadership positions. She is a leader over her children and she is in a subordinate leadership role with her husband.

If you believe that the Scriptures are cultural in the issue of women as elders, you have a right to believe that. I do not espouse that view because I see many teachings that expound the issue and give some reasons as to why God desires the difference in gender roles.

Different does not mean inferior, and overseer does not mean dictator. I have no problem with women teaching in any aspect, especially when she is a committed and submitted member of that local assembly. I do not even object to a woman preaching. But the Scriptures seem to make it clear men are to be accountable to God as overseeing elders in the church.

243   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 3:19 pm

and give some reasons as to why God desires the difference in gender roles.

Rick – sorry you missed out :)

What are those reasons?

244   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 3:25 pm

* Eve was made as a help meet to Adam, not the reverse.
* Adam named Eve
* One of God’s punishments for the fall was Eve would be submitted to her husband
* Eve was decieved
* The husband is the head of his wife, just as Christ is the head of the church
* The elder must rule his household well, which is a commandment to the man.

And others.

245   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 3:33 pm

Seesh, you guys have been busy these few I days I have been gone…

My wife was an associate pastor at our church until a few years ago and did a great job of it. We currently have one female elder on our elder forum and I must say she is bringing a wonderful perspective to the forum. As for the doctrinal ground for women in leadership roles I agree with Chad, like on most other things.

Great to be back and read all your comments.

246   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Eve was made as a help meet to Adam, not the reverse.

I have already pointed out that “help meet” is the same word used to desribe God towards us. Does that make God submissive to us? Why has no one addressed this one point?

Adam named Eve

This is a mythic story, Rick. Adam means “dirt” and Eve means “life.” Adam also named the animals but God gave dominion over them to BOTH sexes. What does that mean?

One of God’s punishments for the fall was Eve would be submitted to her husband

So we should continue to perpetuate a curse that according to the NT has been lifted and abolished? Who do we model ourselves after- Christ or Adam?

The husband is the head of his wife, just as Christ is the head of the church

Rick, this isn’t a reason why God desires differences in gender roles. It is merely a definitional statement. And as I said in an earlier post, many scholars have noted that this is not “head” in an authoritative sense but in a sense of “source.”

The elder must rule his household well, which is a commandment to the man.

Again, this is not a reason why God desires differences in gender roles, which is what you claim exist . In a man-centered culture we should expect this command to be towards men and elders to come from men – just as we would expect in a culture where Israel was the only chosen of God that priests would come from that community of the chosen.

Any other reasons why God desires gender role differences?

peace,
Chad

247   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Eugene! Been wondering where you were, mate.

My wife was an associate pastor at our church

And this in South Africa, where apartheid ruled for so long. Sheesh. American churches need to get their heads out of the sand.

248   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 4:08 pm

So since women are not to teach because that would be “making disciples” are they exempt from the Great Commission?

I would challenge the notion that we make all that many (if any) disciples in most churches today. We certainly make converts.

Disciples? Not so much. (See here for a much better description of what I’m talking about)

They are both created together and in the image of God.

Which – to go back to Joe C’s observation earlier, along with Bell’s and Driscoll’s conversations on creation – “male and female they were made in the image of God” – which has Trinitarian aspects, where God is both Three and One. Within the Trinity, we see that the Son submits to the Father, even though they – like husband and wife – are echad, one.

The image we are given for the relationship between male and female is paralleled to Christ and the church – where Christ is the bridegroom and the church is his bride. In that relationship, the church submits to the headship of Christ, and Christ loves the church so much he was willing to die for it.

Similarly, the church holds no authority over Christ, even though as bride and bridegroom they are echad

249   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Additionally, I would not that they would not be prohibited from making female disciples (keeping in mind what a disciple is and why it would be pretty inappropriate for a woman to be discipling a man…)

250   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Chris-
I would agree that we do a poor job in making disciples. That does not relinquish us from the task, however, nor does it answer the question – are women exempt since they are not to teach?

As for the creation narrative, you made the claim that the submissive role of women was established PRE-fall. Where do you find that?

As for the comparisons to a Triune God I am all for such metaphors. However, let us not forget that in Christ, we are ALL, male AND female, echad.

peace,
Chad

251   Neil    
August 7th, 2008 at 4:13 pm

My wife was an associate pastor at our church until a few years ago and did a great job of it.

So would it be biblical to allow a female pastor who functions under the authority of a male senior pastor?

Neil

252   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 4:14 pm

I would agree that we do a poor job in making disciples.

I would also note that perhaps it is time we give the women a shot.

253   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 4:14 pm

(keeping in mind what a disciple is and why it would be pretty inappropriate for a woman to be discipling a man…)

So if my wife models some aspect of Christ better than me I should not follow her example?

254   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 4:21 pm

So we should continue to perpetuate a curse that according to the NT has been lifted and abolished?

Has it?

Do we still experience death (Gen 2:17)?
Do women still experience pain in childbirth (Gen 3:16)?
Do men still toil (Gen 3:17-19)?

Has the millennia ended and has hell and death been cast into the lake of fire?

OR – have we reached the climax, in which the outcome was determined, but we’ve still not made it to the end?

255   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 4:27 pm

So if my wife models some aspect of Christ better than me I should not follow her example?

Eugene-
Only after first exhausting every opportunity to find that same quality in a man and learn from him.:)

Chris-

When you commission a female missionary are they told they can only make converts and not disciples else they will be usurping their gender roles?

There is so much in this “system” that I find totally inconsistent and illogical.

256   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 4:37 pm

are women exempt since they are not to teach?

This is why I tried to bring back in the cultural distinction Paul makes between preaching and teaching.

The outcome of teaching is making disciples. The outcome of preaching is making converts.

99.999% of what happens on Sunday mornings in the US (both sermons and Sunday School classes) would be preaching – which the history of the early church (as summarized by Phil) would permit.

Discipling (did you read the article I linked?) is so much more that simply ‘preaching’ – it is a mentor/mentee relationship, in which the mentor is in authority over the mentee. Jesus’ relationship to his Twelve and Paul’s relationship with Timothy (prior to Timothy’s going into ministry in Ephesus) would both be excellent examples of teaching/discipling.

So would it be biblical to allow a female pastor who functions under the authority of a male senior pastor?

It depends on what you mean by “pastor”. From the context, I assume you mean to preach, and if that is so, then yes, I don’t see why not.

As for the creation narrative, you made the claim that the submissive role of women was established PRE-fall. Where do you find that?

Here:

I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

Paul’s first argument is based upon Creation order (which is pre-fall). Paul’s second argument is based on the curse:

And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

I would also note that perhaps it is time we give the women a shot.

They’ve had the “shot” just as long as men – discipling other women. There’s nothing in scripture to prevent this. If we’re going to follow this logic, how about we give them the “shot” at discipling men as soon as they have completely perfected the discipling of women?

So if my wife models some aspect of Christ better than me I should not follow her example?

Are you being discipled by her and submitting to her authority – is this something holistic, where she is the model for how you live, eat and breathe?

257   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 4:44 pm

When you commission a female missionary are they told they can only make converts and not disciples else they will be usurping their gender roles?

I would be pretty willing to say that most of what they are doing is preaching, not teaching…

As for inconsistency, I’m leaning on the same “system” that Jesus used with his disciples and the one Paul used with his. Many of the terms they use are culturally loaded.

There is so much in this “system” that I find totally inconsistent and illogical.

Then I would suggest going back to the metaphor of the relationship between Jesus and his disciples (when thinking about “teaching” vs. “preaching”) and between Jesus and the church (when thinking about gender roles and authority).

1) Jesus is the bridegroom (male)
2) The church is the bride (female)
3) The bride and bridegroom are echad (one)
4) The church is in submission to the authority of Jesus (or at least it should be)
5) Jesus’ love for the church is such that he was willing to die for her
6) Even though they are echad, each has a different role and function in the relationship

258   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Re: Discipling

I would be willing to bet that if a woman was discipling a married man (who was not her husband), the man’s wife would be pretty darn jealous and ticked (well within her rights) because of the time and depth of relationship required for discipling.

259   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 4:51 pm

“The outcome of teaching is making disciples. The outcome of preaching is making converts.”

That is an excellent point. Of course elements of both show up together but in general that staement sums up the function of both. I wish I had said that. How long before the newness wears off and I can repeat it as mine.

Oh yea, immediately. Seriously that sums it up.

260   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 4:53 pm

OR – have we reached the climax, in which the outcome was determined, but we’ve still not made it to the end?

thus we pray…thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Gender roles are post-fall, not pre. Just as slavery was eventually abolished and polygamy in most cultures, so too should this as we move deeper into the truth the Spirit is leading us into.

261   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 4:54 pm

Are you being discipled by her and submitting to her authority – is this something holistic, where she is the model for how you live, eat and breathe?

In our relationship we agreed to submit to one another (Eph 5:21). In the event of disagreeing we keep on communicating until we reach agreement. In 15 years of marriage by the grace of God we never reached a point of where one of us had to make the final decision with the other still not agreeing. As for leadership we often practice situational leadership – whoever is best talented in that specific area. The Holy Spirit can speak to and through my wife just as well as in and through me so I must be humble enough to listen. I am often wrong and she right. The same idea spills over do discipleship between us. In some areas she is just a better follower of Christ than me. In other areas she follows my example.

(I am so proud of my humbleness :D )

262   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 4:54 pm

I would be willing to bet that if a woman was discipling a married man (who was not her husband), the man’s wife would be pretty darn jealous and ticked (well within her rights) because of the time and depth of relationship required for discipling.

And I would be willing to bet, from personal experience, that the same is true of a married or single man discipling a single woman.

These are just stereotypes, Chris, and are not addressing the heart of the issue.

263   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 4:57 pm

Paul’s first argument is based upon Creation order (which is pre-fall). Paul’s second argument is based on the curse:

Chris-
Did you read the article I linked to about why Paul links his command to Creation?

264   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 4:59 pm

The husband does not lead in every area. The wife may be an accountant and more suited to address the family’s finances. Etc, etc, etc.

But the husband is accountable under Christ for his family. If he is a good and compassionate leader, he will make use of his wife’s skills and talents in many areas. But he will answer to God as the head.

265   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 4:59 pm

And I would be willing to bet, from personal experience, that the same is true of a married or single man discipling a single woman.

Which is why Paul gives that task to the more mature women in the church.

These are just stereotypes, Chris, and are not addressing the heart of the issue.

They are only addressing the “teaching” aspect of the two prohibitions – not the “overseer” aspect, but it seemed to be the easier of the two to tackle first.

However, BOTH are rooted in the issue of authority and ‘headship’.

Are Paul’s instructions about husbands and wives, then, just as irrelevant? That wives should submit to their husbands and that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church?

266   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 5:03 pm

I would be willing to bet that if a woman was discipling a married man (who was not her husband), the man’s wife would be pretty darn jealous and ticked (well within her rights) because of the time and depth of relationship required for discipling.

And if it where the other way round? I think making broad statements are problematic. Each situation should be considered on its own merit. I can see that in a mentoring relationship that an emotional bond between two people will form which can be very delicate/sensitive/problematic when opposite sexes are involved.

267   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 5:08 pm

Are Paul’s instructions about husbands and wives, then, just as irrelevant?

Good question. My immediate answer would be “no” but from there I will have to think and I am way beyond tired now (Brain shutting down).

Good night.

268   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Did you read the article I linked to about why Paul links his command to Creation?

Yes.

They posit:

It is clear that these verses are not carefully considered theological statements. Because, strictly speaking, they do not make sense. If Eve is subject to Adam because she was created later, Adam and Eve are subject to the animals which were created first.

To suggest that Paul, a student of Gamaliel, would not carefully consider theological statements, actually made me laugh out loud. Then, realizing what a geek I must be to laugh at something like that, I laughed at myself even more. (You need to read Paul, The Jewish Theologian by Brad Young, and maybe you’ll laugh, too…)

Seriously, though – their argument is flawed because animals were not made Imago Dei – only man. Thus, suggesting an inconstancy because man isn’t subject to animals doesn’t wash – man is the first creature in the creation made Imago Dei.

Then, according to the first creation story Adam and Eve were created simultaneously: “God created him, male and female he created them” (Genesis 1,27)

Again, I really wonder at the author. I’m not sure how they get ’simultaneous’ creation from the first Creation story. If so, you’d have to suggest that the second story contradicts the first, instead of the Jewish practice of building upon stories in each retelling.

Now, I will say that of all of their arguments, the one that holds the most water with me is Paul’s use of the word “permit”, which may imply that binding and loosing was in effect. While I don’t think this is supported in his other commentary on gender issues, it is one that I would probably want to delve into further.

269   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 5:21 pm

And if it where the other way round? I think making broad statements are problematic. Each situation should be considered on its own merit. I can see that in a mentoring relationship that an emotional bond between two people will form which can be very delicate/sensitive/problematic when opposite sexes are involved.

I agree, and considered this after my initial posted thought – but then just posted #265, where Paul gives the task of discipling women to women.

270   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 5:26 pm

“If Eve is subject to Adam because she was created later, Adam and Eve are subject to the animals which were created first.”

You could proffer such a suggestion if the New Testament hadn’t explanined and interpreted it further. And Genesis specificallt states God gave Adam dominion over everything.

271   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 6:13 pm

Chris,

The creation order aside, the real thrust of that argument is Paul’s polemnic against the Gnosticism of the day and the widely held belief that women are superior to men because of their created order. Paul is turning such a notion on its head while he tries to maintain order in the church.

272   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 6:18 pm

And still, you cannot read Gen. 1 and 2 and walk away with gender roles. If anything, on the text alone you learn that both are equal and given the exact same tasks – care of the world.

273   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 6:28 pm

I believe the creation of Adam without a simultaneous creation of Eve is meaningful. And it isn’t just the chronology, it is also the symbolism contained in the creation of Eve out of Adam. Several New Testament verses make reference to those particulars and reveal they are not just coincidence.

274   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 7:05 pm

Rick,
I would say it is meaningful in a way that suggests that women must go through man to be with God. It suggests that in the hierarchy of creation it goes God – Man- woman.

Augustine found this meaningful as well. In his treatise On the Trinity he said that man makes up the fullness of the Imago Dei on his own accord. A woman, however, needs to be joined with a man in order to experience this fullness.

One need not wonder for long why these “meaningful” sensibilities are stilll with us today.

275   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 7:15 pm

You build your own doctrinal structures which are not only irrelevant but baseless. I do not suggest a female believer has to “go through” a man to “get to” God. And the narrative of creation, along with Paul’s interpretation, never suggests a spiritual heirarchy. In fact you have quoted the “no male or female in Christ” verse yourself.

You keep bringing in elements that I or Christ do not support. Augustine’s beliefs are flawed and hold no weight to me. And a woman does not NEED to be joined to a man to experience the fulness of Christ. Who even suggested that?

You are intellegent, and you can see that I seperate roles from value in God’s eyes. But you continue to misrepresent my position so as to make it seem archaic and demeaning. You are entitled to your opinion, but, again, you are not entitled to misrepresent my views to your own advantage.

276   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 7:16 pm

The word Christ should be Chris.

277   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 7th, 2008 at 7:39 pm

You keep bringing in elements that I or Christ do not support.

Wow, Rick brings out the big guns! ;-)

278   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 7:43 pm

It should read I or Chris. Sorry.

279   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 7th, 2008 at 7:45 pm

it is also the symbolism contained in the creation of Eve out of Adam

wow, Rick. Could you please elaborate on what you could possibly mean by the above quote? What, exactly, is the meaningful symbolism we should draw from woman coming “out of” man? I was merely informing you of the meaning Augustine drew from it, followed by Aquinas, and Luther and Calvin followed suit as well. Rather than getting upset at me for showing the hand of most male-centered theology of the past 2000 years why not tell us where you and Augustine differ when you find the same things “meaningful”?

peace,
Chad

280   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 8:16 pm

And still, you cannot read Gen. 1 and 2 and walk away with gender roles.

You read Gen 2 and come away with source & headship – which is the basic issue. If you deny this, then you also deny the instructions given by Peter and Paul relating to the relationship between husbands and wives, and Jesus and the church, because this is the same relationship model being tapped. “Headship” or “Source” is the basis of authority – God is the source of mankind, which is made in His image. Woman came out of man, and thus man is the source of woman.

This stays consistent from the TaNaKh through the NT scripture, with no indication of disapproval of the relationship (unlike slaves – 1 Cor 7:21-23, Jer 34). Paul and Peter’s examples are positive ones, both rooted in the same Genesis story.

Part of what has me perplexed is how God giving people different roles based upon their genetics is seen as “subjugation” or “discrimination”. Paul’s point in 1 Cor 12 is that there is no favoritism as it pertains to being in the Spirit, but he then turns around and demonstrates that there are a multiplicity of roles within the body. Seems pretty clear that differentiation and giving of roles has nothing to do with ‘inequality’. He created eyes to be eyes, noses to be noses, male sexual organs to be male sexual organs, and female sexual organs to be female sexual organs. Each has a different role to play, some with Scriptural requirements and others without. Just because an eye can’t be an ear doesn’t mean that it is being discriminated against. The ear isn’t being “earist” – it is just being what God made it to be and the eye is being what it was made to be…

281   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Augustine found this meaningful as well. In his treatise On the Trinity he said that man makes up the fullness of the Imago Dei on his own accord. A woman, however, needs to be joined with a man in order to experience this fullness.

Augustine was wrong, as well, because his assumption was based on his specific belief in God’s omnipotence and omniscience which said “Genesis 2 seems to indicate that God made a mistake in only creating man – that he was surprised that man was lonely and needed a helper. Therefor, I will give him something he really doesn’t need so that he will feel complete.”

Instead, if he just let God be God and have a personality which allows emotion (which then must allow for some level of change), Genesis 2 would not have been a problem for him…

282   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Could you please elaborate on what you could possibly mean by the above quote? What, exactly, is the meaningful symbolism we should draw from woman coming “out of” man?

Because it is a Hebraism which indicates source – which indicates authority or headship.

This is also why genealogies were often used to describe someone, as it indicated their source in some important way. In the case of Matthew 1, for instance, the genealogies are constructed from Abraham to David to Josiah.

283   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 7th, 2008 at 8:27 pm

You are intellegent, and you can see that I seperate roles from value in God’s eyes. But you continue to misrepresent my position so as to make it seem archaic and demeaning. You are entitled to your opinion, but, again, you are not entitled to misrepresent my views to your own advantage.

I would echo this, as well… Part of which is my source of confusion…

284   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 8:15 am

God is the source of mankind, which is made in His image. Woman came out of man, and thus man is the source of woman.

Chris-
So then women are subject to man when it comes to issues of authority, right? In the same way I as a man am subject to Jesus as Lord of my life in all things, a woman is subject to me, since I am her source, correct?

Part of what has me perplexed is how God giving people different roles based upon their genetics is seen as “subjugation” or “discrimination”.

What has me perplexed is that if I said this exact same thing but chaged “based upon their genetics” with “based upon their race” you would be calling me a racist and bet tellling me, rightly, that God has no part in that. The Bible has been used to perpetuate all sorts of nonsense in the past.

I and others have given numerous alternative readings and cultural implications that quite easily make what Paul is saying apply to us today (he is talking about maintaining proper order, for example) – that is the transcultural message – while also allowing Paul’s message to not conflict with the heart of God and the person of Jesus Christ who sees no male or female, no slave or free, no Jew or Gentile.

peace,
Chad

285   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 8:22 am

Paul’s point in 1 Cor 12 is that there is no favoritism as it pertains to being in the Spirit, but he then turns around and demonstrates that there are a multiplicity of roles within the body. Seems pretty clear that differentiation and giving of roles has nothing to do with ‘inequality’.

Chris-
Are you reading what you write? I bolded it above. That is the whole point, Chris. YES, there are different roles in the body of Christ. Some are called to various vocations and ministries – but they are not determined based on their genetics. That would be favoritism, or sexism, whichever you prefer. The Spirit gifts whom the Spirit wills. If God is calling women to be pastors who are you or I to tell God no? You are basing your “no” on an extremely low amount of discussion by Paul alone that as I and others have shown can be taken a number of ways, none of which must impinge on the character of God and the freedom found in Christ or the full humanity and image of God found in both sexes, male and female.

peace,
Chad

286   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 8:29 am

You are intellegent,

I echo this back to both of you as well, which is the reason for my being perplexed. Most people who disagree with me on this issue I have found to be untrained, unread and pretty much backwards theologically on most other things.
I have had pastors tell me that all women pastor’s are going to hell because they willfully transgress God’s Word but not only that, all the people under her “ministry” are bound for hell and I am as well for supporting her and defending her. Now I know neither of you are suggesting that but that is the sort of nonsense that is out there, and such people I would probably be at odds with on 99% of other issues as well. It is rare that I meet people as intelligent as you both (Chris and Rick) who refuse to see the cultural context Paul’s advice is situated within.

grace and peace,
Chad

287   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 8:31 am

So then women are subject to man when it comes to issues of authority, right? In the same way I as a man am subject to Jesus as Lord of my life in all things, a woman is subject to me, since I am her source, correct?

Actually, you follow the source back to its beginning (like with the Matt 1 genealogy) – So, woman us ultimately under the authority of God just as well as man, because He is the first source. However, because man falls between the two, she is also under the authority of man.

In a genealogy, Jesus would be under the authority of Abraham, claiming his Jewish heritage, just as well as being under the authority of his earthly father, Joseph and (were he alive) his grandfather, Jacob.

What has me perplexed is that if I said this exact same thing but chaged “based upon their genetics” with “based upon their race” you would be calling me a racist and bet tellling me, rightly, that God has no part in that.

Perhaps you’ve not read the Old Testament – God did give different roles to people based upon their genetics. Only people from the tribe of Levi could be priests. Only people descendant from Abraham through Isaac were “chosen” to demonstrate God’s blessing – being blessed so that they could pass those blessings on to demonstrate that God was the one true God.

In the NT, Paul affirms that Jews should remain Jews and Gentiles should remain Gentiles when becoming Christian. He does not tell the Jews to cease following Mosaic Law – he just says that Gentiles need not become Jews to be Christian. He makes the distinction, though, that this does not change or alter the state of salvation or some sort of spiritual caste system.

The problem you’re having, though, is that you keep equating roles with value. In Christ, all have equal value – slave, free, Jew, Greek, male, female. They do not have have to have “equal” roles. Roles do not confer value.

The lie at the heart of racism, sexism, etc. is that different races, sexes, etc. have different value based upon their race. neither Rick nor I is making that argument. The lie at the heart of what you’re arguing (and at the heart of some of the traditional clergy/laity distinctions, and at the heart of extreme versions of feminism), though, is that roles confer value, which is antithetical to the point of Paul’s commentary that “in Christ, all are equal, but different roles exist in the body.”

The Spirit gifts whom the Spirit wills.

Certainly, but the recipient of the gift must apply it in a way that is congruent with God’s Word. Back to my early example, you may be gifted by the Spirit with the ability to express deep beauty in dance, but that does not mean that if you can’t be a stripper you are squandering the gift.

I have had pastors tell me that all women pastor’s are going to hell because they willfully transgress God’s Word

Yeah, I hate it when idiots agree with me on other things, too, but just because Fred Phelps does idiotic things in the name of Christ against homosexuals, that doesn’t negate the basic stance that the Bible condemns the practice of homosexual sex.

These people you have mentioned though make the same error as you – they have conferred value based on role, and they’ve shown themselves to be graceless fools.

It is rare that I meet people as intelligent as you both (Chris and Rick) who refuse to see the cultural context Paul’s advice is situated within.

Perhaps we’re not “refusing” to see anything and there’s something to be learned by this observation…

288   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 9:51 am

In a genealogy, Jesus would be under the authority of Abraham, claiming his Jewish heritage, just as well as being under the authority of his earthly father, Joseph and (were he alive) his grandfather, Jacob.

Chris,
In order to make your point are you really willing to cede the authority of Jesus over to earthly men? Only in the patriarchal culture of Jesus’ day could your explanation above make some sense while still allowing Jesus to be Lord of both heaven and earth and subject to no one on earth. Yet even the young boy Jesus when confronted by his mother and father in the Temple knew who was his authority – not Joseph, as you claim, but his Father in Heaven.

However, because man falls between the two, she is also under the authority of man.

Or, following Jesus’ example who seemed to bypass the authority of his earthly father in favor of his heavenly one, a woman can go boldly before her high priest on her own accord, with or without a man.

Chris, why must a woman “be under the authority of a man”? What does that look like?

Perhaps you’ve not read the Old Testament

I am trying hard to ignore these sort of comments, Chris. This is hardly any different than saying someone has a low view of scripture.

God did give different roles to people based upon their genetics. Only people from the tribe of Levi could be priests. Only people descendant from Abraham through Isaac were “chosen” to demonstrate God’s blessing – being blessed so that they could pass those blessings on to demonstrate that God was the one true God.

Naturally. God begins small (in a garden with 2 people) and expands his redemptive purposes to all nations and all peoples. Again, if you are going to lean on the OT than you cannot deny it was a patriarchal system. That does not make it right. Shall we also endorse polygamy?

Within the chosen people of Israel there are those chosen to be priests. The qualifications then were far more rigid than just being a man. If you want to return to the qualifications in the OT for a man to be a priest than none of us would be pastors today. But even as early as Exodus 19:6 we hear hints of the entire people being unto God a “kingdom of priests.” Likewise, we hear hints that God’s chosen are not to be kept to Israel alone but “to all the nations of the world.” And there will come a day when your sons AND daughters will prophesy and horror of all horros even Gentiles will get to become “priests.”

The problem you’re having, though, is that you keep equating roles with value.

No, Chris, the problem you are having is you keep equating roles with genetics. All or our roles as children of God are going to be different, thanks be to God. The difference in our roles (pastor, layperson, janitor, homemaker, whatever) does not make us any more or less valuable in God’s eyes and should not in our eyes. But the moment you insist that it is universally so that women cannot excercise a role of teacher over a man than you are violating one of the key principles of the gospel that has been heralding us forward in the Spirit of Christ that there IS NO MALE OR FEMALE in Christ. I am sorry, Chris, but when you divvy up roles based on gender you are by definition practicing sexism. If youdon’t like hearing that and if hearing that seems to cause tension with what I know you know about the Gospel than perhaps there is a better way of reading the few smattering of verses you are using to set up the systematic theology you can’t stand in other areas of theology but seem to embrace here.

Perhaps we’re not “refusing” to see anything and there’s something to be learned by this observation…

Chris, please correct me if I am wrong. But in this statement are you trying to say that because I grant you are intellegent and you refuse to back down from your position that I should take that as proof-positive that you are right and I am wrong?

I am trying very hard not to make any of this personal and you keep making these off-hand comments that make that task more difficult than it needs to be.

peace,
Chad

289   nc    
August 8th, 2008 at 9:51 am

Not to be nitpicky, but the passage in Galatians doesn’t assert equal value…it asserts a much more radical message.

i.e. there is NO slave nor free, etc. etc.

I would argue that this is not the equalizing of the value of roles…this is the obliterating of the roles themselves…

290   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 10:03 am

Please do not use the word “intelligent” as it pertains to me. I deserve a much deeper word to completely reveal the essence of my prowess! :roll:

The issue is this, Chad. I understand and allow for your point of view although I disagree. However you seem to suggest that my and Chris’s view is so wrong, that most people should immediately see the fallacy of such a position. There are teachings within Scripture that remain constant within any culture and I happen to believe that this is one.

To Chris L’s credit, his position, if I understand it correctly, differs from Rob Bell’s, so in the future any suggestion of him being in blind lockstep with anyone has openly been dispelled.

291   nc    
August 8th, 2008 at 10:04 am

It sounds like Chris, Rick ,etc. that ya’ll are cool with the ladies pretty much doing anything, but sitting on the “ruling elder board” of a church…ostensibly a woman could have the role of “pastor”–even be called one so long as the polity of the church demonstrated she was under the spiritual care of others…

Is that a fair characterization?

292   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 10:11 am

so long as the polity of the church demonstrated she was under the spiritual care of others…

…and those “others” must be men, right?

Practically speaking, ALL pastors, male and female, should be under the spiritual care of othes. There should not be any lone rangers. If you guys are worried that a female pastor is going to “usurp” (I hate that word) authority and start her own religion, well, a man can do the same thing.

293   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 10:11 am

nc – that verse does obliterate all inequalities in the body of Christ. We all stand equal before him, but God has called certain ones to certain functions. I believe the teachings about the seperate roles of men and women are constant. Paul makes it clear.

Chad – almost everything Scripturally that can be shared pertinent to this issue has been shared by you and by me and Chris. I do believe we all will reamin convinced of our own position. I do not discount God using a woman pastor by His grace even if His perfect will is for a male. I still believe in grace even when situations are not quite lined up with Scripture.

294   nc    
August 8th, 2008 at 10:11 am

If that is a fair understanding of your position…
then what if the polity of the church allows for ordained female leadership on the congregational level, but that leadership is exercised under the care of a bishop or a presbytery?

Some ecclesial theologies do not see the local parish as the be all and end all expression of the church…

take for instance my tradition–Anglican/Episcopal.
Historically our theology is that “the Church” is expressed in the diocese whose chief pastor is the bishop…

Even though we ordain women to the episcopate there are other national provinces that ordain women to the priesthood but NOT the episcopate…

Phew…sorry this is taking so long…

Do you think…given the ecclesiology i described you could live with that? Women priests but not women bishops?

Thoughts?

295   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 10:17 am

I understand and allow for your point of view although I disagree. However you seem to suggest that my and Chris’s view is so wrong, that most people should immediately see the fallacy of such a position.

Rick,
You are probably right about this. From your POV, you can disagree with me quite comfortably and not see it as a knock on God’s character – in fact, you probably see it as your utmost faithfulness to scripture as oppossed to my neglect of said scripture. From my POV, I see this dogma of the church as doing violence to who God is a s revealed in Jesus Christ and who we are as human beings created in the Image of God. So in many ways I react as passionately on this subject as I would towards any other “system” designed to limit the reach and grace of God or any “system” that pits one against another whether it be due to race (jew or gentile, black and white), social status (slave or free, pastor or layperson) or sex (male or female).

grace and peace,
Chad

296   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 10:18 am

I believe the Scriptures clearly teach that a pastor is an elder/overseer as well. So I do not see how a woman could be a pastor and not an elder. The multi-level structure you suggest does not obstensibly change the principle. If a woman is a pastor/priest, she is Biblicall an elder as well.

As I said, though, I do not take a carnivore spirit with those who disagree. But I especially reject a woman rebuking and correcting and even demeaning an ordained elder. That is why I believe part of what Mrs. Schlueter does is Biblically wrong and not in her calling.

297   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 10:23 am

But I especially reject a woman rebuking and correcting and even demeaning an ordained elder.

Rick,
What if I replaced “an ordained elder” with “any man“?
Would that still be a true statement?

298   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 10:30 am

The New Testament lays out specific approaches for correcting an elder, or else it becomes a free for all. An elder has certain qualifications that also require certain responsibilities. That is why I am a proponent of multiple elders including preaching elders.

I agree that the elder body should be approached by two men at least with any accusation, and if a woman is involved she should participate under the auspices of her husband or other men. There is a leadership structure in the local church, but all things done with love and grace.

299   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 10:36 am

Rebuking and correcting are Biblical teachings, but some have parameters. Children should not rebuke parents and elders should not be rebuked by those not in leadership positions. Etc.

300   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 8th, 2008 at 10:42 am

The thing that is bugging me in these discussions is kind of the randomness of these authority relationships. OK, so know women elders or pastors, but there are certainly a lot of other relationships where a woman could have authority over a man today. What I have seen is that there are just a lot of insecure men who think they shouldn’t ever be told what to by any woman. That just won’t fly today.

There’s one family I know that has taken the patriarchal thinking to such an extreme that the wife refuses to discipline her son because that’s exercising authority over a male.

Another thing I would say is a point I mentioned earlier, I think we approach this argument from the wrong side a lot of time. The primary relationship of leadership that Christ modeled in Scripture wasn’t authority over, but rather service under. It seems like we should primarily be concerned about how we serve others, not whom we have authority over. I understand there are times when decisions need to be made, but I often wonder if that isn’t because of a hierarchal structure we have instituted ourselves more than something God has set in place.

301   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 10:44 am

Yes, rebuking and teaching are biblical teachings. I agree children should not rebuke parents. My question is: can women rebuke and teach men assuming that man is not an elder? The reason I ask is because you said you are against Ingrid rebuking an ordained elder. I am interested to know if you don’t mind her, a woman, rebuking plain ol’ men.

302   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 10:46 am

The primary relationship of leadership that Christ modeled in Scripture wasn’t authority over, but rather service under. It seems like we should primarily be concerned about how we serve others, not whom we have authority over.

Amen, Phil.

303   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 11:07 am

“The primary relationship of leadership that Christ modeled in Scripture wasn’t authority over, but rather service under. It seems like we should primarily be concerned about how we serve others, not whom we have authority over. “

You keep changing the issue. I do not believe anyone would disagree with that statement, but you present it as though we who believe in male leadership do not believe or practice that.

What I have seen is that there are just a lot of insecure men who think they shouldn’t ever be told what to by any woman.

I hope that isn’t all you’ve seen, Phil.

I am interested to know if you don’t mind her, a woman, rebuking plain ol’ men.

I would feel much more comfortable with her dealing with issues which she is well capable of. I would not feel comfortable with my wife rebuking men in general, or even going around rebuking women as a practice. I still see a woman rebuking other men as taking authority over another woman’s husband.

I am sure our wives would not appreciate wome rebuking their husbands. It is unbiblical and presents a wrong model for our children.

304   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 11:09 am

In order to make your point are you really willing to cede the authority of Jesus over to earthly men?

We have no evidence that Jesus was not in submission to Joseph, while he was still alive, as his adoptive father. In fact, since Jesus was without sin, we can be assured that he followed the admonition to “honor your father and mother”.

However, the key importance of the virgin birth was not to fulfill prophecy, but rather to establish Jesus’ headship. You can see the this demonstrated (the actual order of headship) this when Jesus claims his heavenly Father at the age of 12 in the Temple courts.

To go back to the genealogical/source order thing – God always was. Man came from God and is in submission to God. Woman came from man. Since her ultimate source is God, she is in full submission to God. Since she also was ’sourced’ by man, she is also in submission to him – though if there is a conflict between God and man, she is in submission first to God.

So, Jesus’ genealogy establishes that he is “in submission to” Abraham (he is Jewish), David (he is a king of Israel), and Joseph (he is a son). But what comes immediately next in Matthew? The virgin birth. The virgin birth throws God into the equation – which means that Jesus’ first source (in Genesis) and last source (his true father) is God.

Chris, why must a woman “be under the authority of a man”? What does that look like?

To be under one’s authority means to submit to their guidance. This is why it is paramount that man also fulfill his role in ‘loving his wife’ by putting her needs above his. If the man is fulfilling his role, then the woman should have no problem fulfilling hers (going back to Rob Bell’s explanation in Sex God).

[As a slight sidetrack, if you're 'in submission' to someone, that means that you accept their guidance and authority - even when you disagree with them or if you don't like their decisions. So, in this particular case, I don't particularly like Paul's reasoning (though I understand it contextually), and it certainly would be easier in my culture to ignore him. However, if I only submit to those God has placed in authority over me - in this case, Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles - when I agree with them, then am I really in submission at all?]

I am trying hard to ignore these sort of comments, Chris. This is hardly any different than saying someone has a low view of scripture.

Sorry, it wasn’t intended that way… I see what we are having as similar to rabbinic dialog (see Matt 21:42 – where Jesus’ audience had scripture memorized), which includes such things (not as insults, but as a ‘did you miss this overarching theme?’)…

Again, if you are going to lean on the OT than you cannot deny it was a patriarchal system.

Jesus and Paul both leaned on the OT, as well, for the basis of their teaching. “Patriarchal” must not always equate to “devaluation of women”. Additionally, both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Scriptures go back to the Genesis story as the basis of their stance on monogamy.

Within the chosen people of Israel there are those chosen to be priests. The qualifications then were far more rigid than just being a man.

That was not my point – my point was that race (Jew) and genetics (the tribe of Levi) were selection criteria.

If you want to return to the qualifications in the OT for a man to be a priest than none of us would be pastors today.

Those qualifications were in the Mosaic Law, specifically the ceremonial law, which governed Jews and the Temple, not all men. Acts 15 confirms this, and that we aren’t subject to it, as Gentiles.

No, Chris, the problem you are having is you keep equating roles with genetics.

Which God does, as well – throughout Scripture!

The feminist movement of the 60’s & 70’s brought about many good things, where women were being devalued not just differentiated by role.

But the moment you insist that it is universally so that women cannot excercise a role of teacher over a man than you are violating one of the key principles of the gospel that has been heralding us forward in the Spirit of Christ that there IS NO MALE OR FEMALE in Christ.

But there you completely misapplied Paul’s teaching that there “is no male of female” in Christ – that is a values statement, not a roles statement. You can pretend it is and stand on a soapbox and shout it and the modern culture will applaud you, but that doesn’t make it true – because it is not.

I am sorry, Chris, but when you divvy up roles based on gender you are by definition practicing sexism.

Incorrect. The sin of ‘isms’ is that they assign value – not roles. Sexism’s sin says that men are worth more than women. Racism’s sin says that one race is worth more than another. Nationalism’s sin says that one nation is worth more than another. The sin is one of worth, not of role.

Even in Paul’s metaphor of the body – all of the differences he gives (eye, ear, nose, etc.) are ones of genetics. He even includes sexual organs in his example. Let’s examine what he says:

If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.

You’re not making any different argument than the one Paul does hypothetically. All we need to do is alter it slightly:

If the vagina should say, “Because I am not a penis, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.

And he concludes: But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.

All of the roles Paul used in his example were genetic.

If youdon’t like hearing that and if hearing that seems to cause tension with what I know you know about the Gospel than perhaps there is a better way of reading the few smattering of verses you are using to set up the systematic theology you can’t stand in other areas of theology but seem to embrace here.

If I don’t submit to the Word, even when I don’t like it, then I’m not in submission to the Word. What you’re asking for is eisegesis, not exegesis.

Also, I’m not falling back on systematic theology – I’m going with exactly what Paul wrote, and the exact passage he referred to in Genesis – not looking for proof-texts elsewhere to build a “system”. (And, to be honest, I’ve never heard the Galatians passage used in this particular manner by someone with more than a passing knowledge of the text, so I did a bit of study to see if it helped my unease, and it didn’t – it just confirmed the appearance of eisegesis.)

But in this statement are you trying to say that because I grant you are intellegent and you refuse to back down from your position that I should take that as proof-positive that you are right and I am wrong?

No, but when someone I respect disagrees with me, I take it as a cue to reassess why I believe what I believe.

In this particular case, I’ve gone back and reassessed, because I do respect you (and Phil), and I’ve actually altered my stance, somewhat, as a result – because I was conflating “pastor” with “overseer” (which is biblically sound, but not culturally so).

I would argue that this is not the equalizing of the value of roles…this is the obliterating of the roles themselves…

Which would contradict Paul’s usage of this message of equality in value immediately preceding a message on differentiation in roles in 1 Cor 12.

However you seem to suggest that my and Chris’s view is so wrong, that most people should immediately see the fallacy of such a position. There are teachings within Scripture that remain constant within any culture and I happen to believe that this is one.

I would concur, Rick.

Over time, the pendulum swings in different directions, going to far at its zenith before returning in the corrective direction. I believe that this is one of those particular issues where we’ve swung the pendulum in the correct direction – correcting a great number of wrongs done to women in the history of the church – but we’ve now passed the optimal point and gone too far in our “enlightenment”…

305   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 11:18 am

OK, so know women elders or pastors, but there are certainly a lot of other relationships where a woman could have authority over a man today. What I have seen is that there are just a lot of insecure men who think they shouldn’t ever be told what to by any woman.

I would note that the authority in discussion is spiritual authority. Our work, our government, etc. is not at issue, because we do not look to our government to be our spiritual overseer. We do not look for our employers to be our spiritual overseers.

There’s one family I know that has taken the patriarchal thinking to such an extreme that the wife refuses to discipline her son because that’s exercising authority over a male.

Which would be in conflict with ‘children honor your father and mother’, and a number of commands around bringing up children.

What I have seen is that there are just a lot of insecure men who think they shouldn’t ever be told what to by any woman.

Which may be true, but does poor application of truth negate truth, itself?

306   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 11:19 am

To Chris L’s credit, his position, if I understand it correctly, differs from Rob Bell’s, so in the future any suggestion of him being in blind lockstep with anyone has openly been dispelled.

I don’t think it’s the first time I’ve differed with Rob (whose church’s podcast I listen to every week, even when I disagree), but thank you for noticing ;)

307   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 8th, 2008 at 11:20 am

You keep changing the issue. I do not believe anyone would disagree with that statement, but you present it as though we who believe in male leadership do not believe or practice that.

Well, I’m not trying to change the issue, I’m just trying to see the issue from different angles. I feel at the root of this is the assumption that we are placing spiritual authority on a different level as other types of authority. It’s in essence saying that there our spiritual lives are separate from other aspects of our lives.

Let me give you an example here. Most elders in a church have a “secular” job. It could very well be the case that a male elder could work at a job where a woman in his congregation was his direct superviser. Now we tell that man that he has authority over this woman while in church, but meanwhile this man is expected to submit to this woman’s authority at the workplace. How is that not creating some sort of odd dynamic for these people in the workplace or sending them the message that their spiritual lives are separate from their everyday lives?

308   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 11:27 am

Phil – the exception or the odd must not dictate the standard for the norm or the Scriptural. In the same scenario a man might be under another in the workplace and yet he might be an elder in the church.

Paul seems to suggest that when a dispute arises the least in the church should help decide. It is true that many churches choose their elders on the basis of their financial standing or the secular job they hold. We need mor humble and spiritual janitors to be elders (you get my meaning)

309   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 11:28 am

Phil,

I do see this tension, and it brings up interesting dynamics. In this particular case, I would note that, as a supervisor, she would be required (by her employer) to compartmentalize her authority only over work activity.

As a supervisor, I cannot exercise authority over someone for being drunk, unless they are drunk at work. I cannot tell someone what to believe or how to believe. I cannot rebuke you for believing something that does not detract from the services you are contracted to provide.

310   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
August 8th, 2008 at 11:37 am

Phil, what is the kingdom of God?

Does scripture require us to have and live in a government that obeys God and follows his commands?

Does scripture require us to have jobs of the same sort?

You are correct in that our spiritual lives are not separate from our everyday lives, but you make a false assumption that that truth for individuals and communities of believers translates to somehow to other kinds of groups (businesses and governments).

Examples of “odd dynamics” are no support for arguing a position. Think of those Christian slaves in the Roman empire who had Christian masters. Awkward! Their legal position/standing within the Roman government did not negate how they were to treat eachother, but neither did scripture interfere with their legal standing.

311   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 11:41 am

I would feel much more comfortable with her dealing with issues which she is well capable of. I would not feel comfortable with my wife rebuking men in general, or even going around rebuking women as a practice. I still see a woman rebuking other men as taking authority over another woman’s husband.

Rick,
Well let’s be clear on something – the primary role of a pastor is not to run around rebuking everyone. Certainly there are time and places for rebuke but let’s not assume that is all that is, or all that should be, going on.

As for “feel[ing] much more comfortable with her dealing with issues which she is well capable of” what do you mean by this? Are you saying that this is an issue of capability? If a woman is far more along in her spiritual life than I am and far more educated than I (and there are no shortage of these) is she still to bite her tongue because I am a man?

312   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 11:50 am

I just meant that Mrs. Schlueter is intelligent enough and well versed in the issues. I did not mean she isn’t capable in other areas, just that she is well capable of addressing issues without directing them at certain preaches.

As a matter of fact, she could and sometimes does address issues while naming a preacher without actually rebuking him publicly. When she attacks a preacher personally she crosses the line in my opinion.

“If a woman is far more along in her spiritual life than I am and far more educated than I (and there are no shortage of these) is she still to bite her tongue because I am a man?”

I am not sure what you mean.

313   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 8th, 2008 at 11:55 am

Christian,
Yes, I see your point. We are in the world, but not of it. I guess what I’m getting at is in the verses in question, Paul says, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” So it’s pretty clear he’s referring to the context of church, but I still find it hard to make this a universal rule for all time.

It seems given the fact that women can easily be just as or more educated as men today, it makes no sense to me that a more educated woman would be required to learn in quietness from a less educated man.

I don’t know, you guys have made a valiant effort, but I remain unconvinced. I’m alright to leave it at that for now.

314   nc    
August 8th, 2008 at 11:59 am

Chris L,

But it is undeniable that certain “roles” have been assigned in our culture as the way to “perform” and indicate the “value”.

I don’t think you can so easily draw a distinction between the two…

315   nc    
August 8th, 2008 at 12:04 pm

Rick,

I don’t know how much of an exception it is or how “odd” it is for a woman to be a man’s workplace supervisor…

I appreciate your commitment to your position, but I think Phil’s question demonstrates what a sticky wicket this issue is…

Where do we draw the line and on what basis?
How can something be universal…but we allow for pragmatic exceptions in the workplace, but not theologically shaped ones for the life of the church?

316   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 12:08 pm

Chris,
To go back to the article I linked wayyyy up there by now, you got caught up in the created order of things when that was not the argument of the article. Rather, it was centered around the Gnostic teachings Paul found his young church countering.

All things being equal, will you consider this:

A reader here reminded me by email of this:

Then, considering the temple of Artemis was in Ephesus, the only relationship people would make to a woman in a position of authority was temple prostitution, it doesn’t help the spread of the church in that situtation.

now, assuming this is true, what options were available to Paul? Do you really think Paul had a choice?
How would the Christian church been perceived in a place like Ephesus or Corinth if women were in places of authority?

Furthermore, not enough has been said about from where the pool of teachers were coming from in the early church. They were predominately, in the beginning, Messianic Jews. As Jews, what rights did women have to an education? What rights did they have in the Temple? How much could they possibly have known about the story from which Jesus sprung? Very little, we can safely assume. Would it make any sense to allow uneducated women have authority over the men who, in that day and age, knew more about the OT than any woman?

317   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 12:09 pm

But it is undeniable that certain “roles” have been assigned in our culture as the way to “perform” and indicate the “value”.

Is culture the arbiter of truth?

Seriously, though, we’re talking about two specific roles – “overseer” and “mentor/teacher” (being clear to differentiate the cultural meanings of “teaching” and “preaching”) – and neither of these holds more worth to God.

318   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 12:12 pm

nc – the odd dynamic was Phil’s description, not mine. The entire issue has only become controversial in these days due to the cultural change in society and the expanding roles of women, some good – some not so good.

Let it also be noted a massive abrogation by men of their God given roles both in the church and in the family. And the dictator model has also been unproductive in discussing Biblical roles.

Grace over all.

319   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 12:17 pm

I did not mean she isn’t capable in other areas, just that she is well capable of addressing issues without directing them at certain preaches.

I agree. She need not direct them at certain preachers. I would add that she should not not because she is a woman but because it often lacks grace.

But this isn’t what I am getting at. You say “preachers” and I am asking if it is OK she do so towards men who are not preachers. If it is universal, as you claim, that women are not to teach or rebuke men than why do you take exception to her talking only to other preachers and yet to not rebuke her when, for instance, she attempts to teach or rebuke any man?

I think if you all are going to be consistent in the universality of your position than you ought to silence all women from voicing their opinion about spiritual matters when it involves men on this blog. They can go ask their husbands at home. Chris, wouldn’t that make Zan, who attempted to teach me and nc about spiritual things, overstepping her bounds as a woman?

320   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 12:21 pm

overseer” and “mentor/teacher” (being clear to differentiate the cultural meanings of “teaching” and “preaching”)

Chris, you can’t have it both ways. Elders, by definition, are involved in the teaching ministry of the church. You are making a distinction that I do not see in scripture.

Are you now saying that a woman can be a mentor/teacher to another man but can’t, say, make decisions about what curriculum to teach from or decisions about a church building project?

321   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Then, considering the temple of Artemis was in Ephesus, the only relationship people would make to a woman in a position of authority was temple prostitution, it doesn’t help the spread of the church in that situtation.

As a more matriarchal culture, in Ephesus, you would have women in the Counsel House (basically, the town council) and other public positions outside the Temple of Artemis (realizing that there were temples to dozens of other gods, as well). To suggest women in authority were only associated with prostitution was not what I was suggesting – it is one of the associations, but not the only one.

As Jews, what rights did women have to an education?

They were taught Torah, but then instead of delving into the Prophets and the Talmud, they were taught from the Psalms. Thus, when Jesus makes specific references to the Torah – or especially the Psalms – you can assume the likelihood of a mixed-gender audience, and when he’s specifically going to the prophets that he’s talking with predominantly males.

Outside of Israel, it was probably more broad within Judiasm. Lois and Eunice appear to have been Timothy’s teachers – since he was a mumzer, he wouldn’t have been allowed in Synagogue school.

What rights did they have in the Temple?

The could bring sacrifices, as well as anyone else. In terms of locale, the court of the women was outside the court of the men, but inside the court of the Gentiles.

How much could they possibly have known about the story from which Jesus sprung?

Some of the disciples following him, outside of the Twelve he called, were women.

Would it make any sense to allow uneducated women have authority over the men who, in that day and age, knew more about the OT than any woman?

Would it make any sense to allow a mumzer with no formal education in Synagogue have authority over a church?

No, but Timothy was, and he did.

322   nc    
August 8th, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Chris L,

My point isn’t so much culture is the arbiter of truth…
my point is that performance enacts and evinces truth to people.

We don’t enjoy an easy distinction between “value” and “roles”…They’re deeply intertwined.

While a nurse may enact a different role in the surgery bay, the surgeon’s different role actually does have a higher value based on what the surgeon “performs”…

My wife worked as a surgical tech and beyond the role of the surgeon, the other jobs in the bay are things that could be pretty interchangeable…

in fact, with a bachelor’s degree she had more education than anyone in the bay except the PA and the Doctor.

Do you see my point? We have to acknowledge that in many cases difference of role does connote difference of value.

We can’t escape that just by asserting it…

323   nc    
August 8th, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Chris L,

Are you saying that somehow women in non-religious public roles at Ephesus was biblically problematic?

324   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 12:29 pm

“wouldn’t that make Zan, who attempted to teach me and nc about spiritual things, overstepping her bounds as a woman?”

Apples and oranges. Any woman is welcome to dialogue and give her opinion and insight as it pertains to spiritual issues. She doesn’t have to be a “second class” citizen when it comes to iron sharpening iron discussions. Many women have incredible insights to Scripture, Joni Erickson Tada is one of my heroes and I consider her incredibly insightful.

What a woman is not called to do is be the overseer of a local body. Women are called to teach and some even preach, but God is clear about local church authority which has nothing to do with having no opinion or insight. Women many times are used of God to supply what was lacking in men’s insights to many topics and they should have much needed input to the spiritual health of a church and family.

Again, apples and oranges.

325   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Are you saying that somehow women in non-religious public roles at Ephesus was biblically problematic?

No – I was making sure that folks didn’t think that the only connotation of ‘women in authority’ in Ephesus was that of “temple prostitute” – because that wasn’t the case.

We don’t enjoy an easy distinction between “value” and “roles”…They’re deeply intertwined.

Which is probably why Paul reasserts an equality in value before discussing differentiation in roles in 1 Cor 12.

Is a hand more valuable than an eye?

Is your heart more valuable than your lungs?

Is your ear more valuable than your foot?

Each has a different role – some of which you may be more aware of, or enjoy more, than others.

But is any one of them hold more intrinsic value?

326   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 12:34 pm

I have been in a number of cross-denominational, ecumenical theological forums where in our break out sessions we discusses these things. I have spoken to women whose faith and spiritual maturity dwarfs my own who know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has called them into full-time pastoral ministry. They are gifted and both their in-ward and out-ward calls have been confirmed by local congregations. Many of them testify to the servere psychological abuse and trauma they went through in particular denominations by men who repeatedly denied them their calling and telling them that they are delusional for thinking God would contradict God’s word. Dont be silly, they were told, God doesn’t call women to pastor.

Knowing these women I know differently. I know it in perhaps the same way Peter testified to the Jerusalem Council saying more or less – look guys, I couldn’t believe it either – but when I saw the way the Spirit worked on the lives of these Gentiles who was I to withhold them the water of baptism??

I really don’t see any need to say anything more. I pray that as a Church where we have rightly discerned the leading of the Spirit in things of the past (i.e. God’s grace to all nations, slavery, racism, women’s rights in the secular world, etc.) we will hear and listen in this issue as well. Much of the Church has listened and I think are better mirroring the heart of God who does not distinguish between male or female but has created BOTH in God’s Image and can call either as God so chooses.

grace and peace,
Chad

327   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Chris, you can’t have it both ways. Elders, by definition, are involved in the teaching ministry of the church. You are making a distinction that I do not see in scripture.

Paul to Timothy:
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.

You will notice that both Paul and Jesus separate ‘preaching’ and ‘teaching’ as two separate things. We tend not to – conflating the two as meaning the same thing. However, the role of “teacher”, in their culture, is one of mentorship with the implication of authority.

Are you now saying that a woman can be a mentor/teacher to another man

No – I’m not sure how you got that.

but can’t, say, make decisions about what curriculum to teach from

I’m not sure of your context here… curriculum for what audience?

or decisions about a church building project?

The overseers of a church may delegate design and development of building project options to anyone – I don’t see how this would be a gender role…

328   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 12:48 pm

One more thing: Had Paul been writing in the 1800’s as a white man, no doubt he would say that a leader of a church must be a white, not a black man.

329   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 12:54 pm

One more thing: Had Paul been writing in the 1800’s as a white man, no doubt he would say that a leader of a church must be a white, not a black man.

I’m not sure how conjectured adventures in alternate histories really help drive the conversation, since we can’t really know.

I would suggest that Paul wouldn’t have said this, because there is no basis in Torah for such a ruling…

330   nc    
August 8th, 2008 at 1:04 pm

actually…what Paul is posing there is that no particular part can “say” to another that they have no need of them…that the body is a “whole”.

BUT…I think we can safely argue that there are certain parts of our body that actually have a higher value.

When trauma occurs, what do doctors ensure is working first…even if there is great risk in some other part of the body…?

The heart.

If you let that die…than nothing else matters.
The whole body is a whole, but the heart has a pretty high value compared to the fleshy parts of the outer ear…or the fleshy parts on my belly… ;)
you get my drift…

331   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 1:16 pm

I would suggest that Paul wouldn’t have said this, because there is no basis in Torah for such a ruling

already asked and answered, Chris. There is a very good explanation for Paul to cite the creation myth in the city he was working.

If I cite the Torah to further the conventional, cultrual wisdom of my day to pepeptuate slavery or holy war does that make it universally legit?

332   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 1:33 pm

“One more thing: Had Paul been writing in the 1800’s as a white man, no doubt he would say that a leader of a church must be a white, not a black man.”

Of course, if you discount the inspiration of Scripture. And you also must assume that if the Spirit inspired such a Scripture that the Third Person of the Godhead already knew His words would be taken as an absolute and did not adjust His words to be understood as cultural.

In the gender issue it would have been easy for the Spirit to say that the role of overseer was not gender specific. And when you give all the weight to Paul’s understandings then you severely constrain the inspiration of the Spirit.

333   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
August 8th, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Phil, I just joined the conversation, don’t quit now. :)

To be honest with you, I’ve had trouble with that verse in the past specifically because there are people in my brotherhood of churches that use that verse to keep women silent in the church. The ironic thing is that the women in those churches were often the ones who were really in charge at home (despite what the husbands thought) and at church.

Let’s go back to your comment:

The primary relationship of leadership that Christ modeled in Scripture wasn’t authority over, but rather service under. It seems like we should primarily be concerned about how we serve others, not whom we have authority over.

I agree, but what I see missing in this is the issue of responsibility. Overseers aren’t just volunteers who serve, they have a responsibility to God for those that they are serving. They are called to a higher standard. In a sense, men are held to a higher acountability in their relationships. Chris L. and anybody with a degree of maturity that holds our view doesn’t look at it as an issue of control, but of caregiving – feeding, protecting, correcting, serving, and even dying for their community of believers.

I have to go, i’ll come back to this later (sorry, busy week).

334   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 1:45 pm

“Chris L. and anybody with a degree of maturity that holds our view doesn’t look at it as an issue of control, but of caregiving – feeding, protecting, correcting, serving, and even dying for their community of believers.”

An excellent and salient point. An often overlooked perspective and at the core of leadersip and authority. The One to whom all authority in heaven and on earth was given, went to the cross. So in essence, the cross is the epitome of spiritual authority.

Thanks Christian.

335   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 1:46 pm

Rick,
Apply what you just said to Paul’s instructions to women about modesty, dress, jewelry and keeping silence in church. Does the Holy Spirit weave into Paul’s writings things that are culturally specific and things that are universal willy-nilly? Using your logic, it would have been easy for the Spirit to say through Paul, “Hey, this thing about jewelry and hair styles and dress only applies until about A.D. 1952. After that, have at it! Oh, and by the way, in about 1000 years some people are going to go to war using Jesus as the tip of their spear – that isn’t really what I am about. Also, about 500 years after that, people are going to say it is biblical to own slaves- that ain’t right either. Oh, and even after that, people are going to say that women can’t lead my Church. Why not? They are just as gifted as men are – so please tell them so.”

Yeah, the Spirit could have said a lot of things, thus alliviating us of this burdensome task of praying as a community of saints and binding and loosing certain things that we find in step or out of step with the heart of God.

336   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 1:52 pm

“Chris L. and anybody with a degree of maturity that holds our view doesn’t look at it as an issue of control, but of caregiving – feeding, protecting, correcting, serving, and even dying for their community of believers.”

An excellent and salient point. An often overlooked perspective and at the core of leadersip and authority. The One to whom all authority in heaven and on earth was given, went to the cross. So in essence, the cross is the epitome of spiritual authority.

So women, because of their gender, are denied this responsibility or this honor of giving selflessly to another?

Is the command to pick up thy cross a command to all people or just men?

Why can’t women be called to the task of “feeding, protecting, correcting, serving, and even dying for their community of believers”? Some might say they can do an even better job at this than men.

I have asked this 3 times now and forgive me if I missed the response, but, what do you guys do with Deborah? If women leaders is taboo to God, what’s up with her?

337   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 2:04 pm

Chris-
I mentioned binding and loosing above and I wonder if you are in agreement with Bell when he writes in VE about the awesome and humbling responsibility we have as believers indwelt with the Spirit of God to “bind” and “loose” certain things on earth? I agree with him. I also feel that this is one of those issues. As I have said repeatedly, I find it impossible to reconcile your position with the heart of God.

I appreciate this dialog with you all. It has been good for me to revisit some of these issues and reaffirm why I jumped ship several years ago. I hope it has also served as a model for how Christian brothers and sisters can disagree about an issue passionately without throwing out adjectives like “heretic, false-brother, apostate, anti-Christ, hellion” or the smattering of other words used to divide. Thank you, Chris and Rick, for exhibiting such graciousness. All of us know what it is like to be on the other side of that stick – it’s no fun.

grace and peace to you, friends

338   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 2:13 pm

Chad – I do not believe Christian meant that those spiritual attributes were exclusive to leaders and overseers, I believe he was pointing out they were at the core of shepherding a flock as opposed to just giving orders.

339   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Chad – I do not believe Christian meant that those spiritual attributes were exclusive to leaders and overseers, I believe he was pointing out they were at the core of shepherding a flock as opposed to just giving orders

A good point. However, if at the heart of authority is this virtue (which I agree with) than why deny women the right to be in authority? Authority in God’s kingdom should not be based on how authority is often won and kept in Rome (or culture) but should be based on the Servant-Master who went to the cross and whom we call Lord. In Rome (or Empire) I can see why men love authority and think women are unable to shoulder it. In the Church, I can’t understand why men seem to follow suit.

340   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
August 8th, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Chad, I can’t speak for the other guys, but when men refuse to take the responsibility given to them, then a woman should lead. Single mothers are the head of the household (not only for tax and census purposes, but in the christian home as well). None of us are saying that women are less able to lead. Deborah tried to get Barak to lead, but he wouldn’t do it without her. Clearly she was already being used by God to do whatever work He called her to.

341   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
August 8th, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Chad, I’m going to bring something up that I think is importatn, but I’m not using it to prove my point. Consider it anecdotal evidence. It is also a form of pragmatism, but I do not hold my view because of this, this just seems to fit in light of the view I hold.

When spiritually strong men lead, women, and children follow. This is generally true cross-culturally. When spiritual strong women lead, children follow. (Check out these statistics from Europe, I’ll have to look for the statistics for the U.S. that say the same thing with different percentages.)

342   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 2:52 pm

So women, because of their gender, are denied this responsibility or this honor of giving selflessly to another?

No – just not to men. They are instructed to do this with other women and in the raising of children.

Why did God forbid anyone but a certain, small group of folks to touch the Ark of the Covenant? Seems silly to “discriminate” against everyone else. Why should he deny the responsibility or the honor to anyone but just a few people?

Same question.

Christian does bring up an excellent aspect I had completely neglected regarding ‘authority’ – and that is accountability. Part of holding a position of authority is accountability for your use of authority.

Is the command to pick up thy cross a command to all people or just men?

Now you’re just conflating the issue far beyond what we’re discussing – overseer and mentor/teaching roles. All are commanded to pick up their crosses and follow, not just the overseers & teachers.

Why can’t women be called to the task of “feeding, protecting, correcting, serving, and even dying for their community of believers”? Some might say they can do an even better job at this than men.

They can, within the bounds of Scripture. Nobody is preventing this.

I have asked this 3 times now and forgive me if I missed the response, but, what do you guys do with Deborah? If women leaders is taboo to God, what’s up with her?

Let’s go to the opening of her story in Judges 4:
After Ehud died, the Israelites once again did evil in the eyes of the LORD.
And then the story is set up where the judge in Israel is Deborah and the key political figure is Barak. Now, let’s look in the context of the story to see what happens:

Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”

“Very well,” Deborah said, “I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will hand Sisera over to a woman.”

So, because Barak would not take the lead, but insisted on Deborah’s accompaniment, the consequences would be that Sisera would fall to a woman (which was dishonorable).

And sure enough:

But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.

So here, the use of a woman to lead – and to secure victory – is not a positive example, but a corrective one (which each of the judges represents – a corrective example).

Binding and Loosing – do I agree with Bell? I agree with his assessment of responsibility in this matter, and I’ve written about it on several occasions (and studied it long prior to Bell teaching anything on the subject). The issue with B&L, though, is that when you bind something, you cannot bound something explicitly loosed by God, and you cannot loose something explicitly bound by God – you are applying principals to culture.

In this particular case, the binding principal is that women are not to have authority over men and they are not to dress like prostitutes. So, what does that mean in our culture? Binding and loosing is determining for the local bodies what “to have authority over” means, in light of their culture, and to see to it that their ‘loosing’ honors this. Binding and loosing is determining what “dress modestly, with propriety” means in the culture and holding the local body to that standard.

However, if at the heart of authority is this virtue (which I agree with) than why deny women the right to be in authority?

Not to be flip, but because God told us to do it that way, and even in light of cultural differences, this appears to be a trans-cultural principal. Eve came from Adam…

343   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 3:01 pm

Christian-

I’ll save you the trouble of looking up the US stats. If I remember correctly from a talk I recently gave to a group of men as we launched a new United Methodist Men’s group, I believe it is something like 88% of families come to Christ when the man is saved, 52% when the woman is saved and under 20% when the child is saved.

In a culture where the male is deemed to be the “head” these statistics should not be surprising. I do not, however, think that there is some spiritual voodoo that happens when a Christian man leads a home as oppossed to a Christian woman.

peace,
Chad

344   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 3:10 pm

Women can lead, even within a church setting. They can even fulfill the role of pastor in the absence of a man to the best of their ability and the grace of God. God’s grace can overcome imperfect situations and His grace is not thwarted even in unbiblical situations.

God gives His Word as the standard, then His grace covers it all. We cannot change or dismiss the standard set forth by God, though.

345   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Why did God forbid anyone but a certain, small group of folks to touch the Ark of the Covenant? Seems silly to “discriminate” against everyone else. Why should he deny the responsibility or the honor to anyone but just a few people?

Chris,
This is not a fair comparison. That was a priestly class, under the old covenant, obviously made up of men. This was a distinction in vocation, not discrimination based on gender. Does God still only allow certain people groups into the holy of holies? No. We are all priests. Your question is akin to asking if it is unfair of us to allow only licensed surgeons to operate on someone’s heart.

So here, the use of a woman to lead – and to secure victory – is not a positive example, but a corrective one (which each of the judges represents – a corrective example).

consequences would be that Sisera would fall to a woman (which was dishonorable).

This only serves to show just how steeped in patriarchy the culture was. It is true that it would dishonor a man (in man’s sight, not God’s) if he were trumped by a woman. It is part of a man’s fallen nature to feel threatened in this way.

Judges is a prime example of how God accomodates and works within a culture. Just as Paul was when he was writing.

The issue with B&L, though, is that when you bind something, you cannot bound something explicitly loosed by God, and you cannot loose something explicitly bound by God – you are applying principals to culture.

assuming you are first right in your interpretation of Paul. You haven’t convinced me that God has “bound” gender roles for all time.

Not to be flip, but because God told us to do it that way

so you say.
Chris, not to be coy, but your flipping is flopping. It disappoints me to see you using the same verbage the people you most often rail against use.

346   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 4:39 pm

“It disappoints me to see you using the same verbage the people you most often rail against use.”

What in the world are you talking about? Have you ever read any of the ODM blogs? If you are suggesting Chris Lyons is human, I would agree. If you are suggesting he uses the same verbiage that the ODMs use, you are out of line – seriously.

347   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 4:41 pm

And the phrase “you most often rail about” is again a very curious phraseology.

348   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 4:50 pm

Rick,

saying,

but because God told us to do it that way

Is the same as the ODMer’s saying “Well, God said, and I believe it, end of story!” or, “don’t be made at me, take it up with God.”

It implies that if you don’t agree with me, than you don’t agree with God. If it were as simple as “well because God told us to do it that way” than we wouldn’t be at odds here, assuming we all wish to follow God with all our hearts, souls, bodies and minds.

349   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 4:54 pm

“Not to be flip, but because God told us to do it that way, and even in light of cultural differences, this appears to be a trans-cultural principal.”

That was the entire sentence, and Chris gave the “not to be flip” disclaimer so he would not be accused of what you accused him of.

350   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
August 8th, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Ok, seriously don’t you think this has gone on long enough. I mean seriously, what else can be said that hasn’t already been said by both sides.
Chad, I was so impressed by you early in this thread. Don’t ruin that.

351   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 5:13 pm

That was the entire sentence

And the first part wasn’t necessary.

and Chris gave the “not to be flip” disclaimer

So if I say, not to be flip, but you all sound like male chauvinists using the Bible to further your agenda, we are cool?

Disclaimer or not, it is a rude and unfair thing to say (on both counts).

352   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 8th, 2008 at 5:15 pm

Ok, seriously don’t you think this has gone on long enough. I mean seriously, what else can be said that hasn’t already been said by both sides.
Chad, I was so impressed by you early in this thread. Don’t ruin that.

You are right, Joe.

Grace and peace, guys. I’m out.

353   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 5:22 pm

Rick: Women can lead, even within a church setting. They can even fulfill the role of pastor in the absence of a man to the best of their ability and the grace of God. God’s grace can overcome imperfect situations and His grace is not thwarted even in unbiblical situations.

Yes, exactly.

That was a priestly class, under the old covenant, obviously made up of men.

I’m not making the point because they were men – I’m making the point because they were genetically selected, based upon a specific family.

This was a distinction in vocation, not discrimination based on gender.

What?!? How is vocation and role any different in this particular discussion? If you were born into the wrong family, you couldn’t touch the Ark – even if you met every other qualification.

Does God still only allow certain people groups into the holy of holies?

*sigh* You’re taking my example far beyond where it was meant.

Another example – everything to do with race, nothing to do with sex – Paul does not counsel Jews to stop being Jews when they become Christians. This means that Jews should remain observant if they were observant when they became Christian, which means keeping the dietary, ceremonial and festival laws (which Christians do not need to do) as part of the promise of aliyah. Is this discriminatory? No – it is part of the covenant with Abraham, into which they were genetically selected.

Your question is akin to asking if it is unfair of us to allow only licensed surgeons to operate on someone’s heart.

Actually, yes, in a way, it is – and your questions are akin to asking if it is unfair that we not allow people who may have all of the knowledge and talent to be a surgeon, but not a license, to be allowed to operate on someone’s heart, with the reason for their not having a license being that they were exposed to Hepatitis A in the womb.

consequences would be that Sisera would fall to a woman (which was dishonorable).

This only serves to show just how steeped in patriarchy the culture was.

Rofl. You asked why Deborah was allowed to lead, and Christian and I both answered the question. You didn’t ask to like the answer… In all seriousness, though, Deborah’s leading was a slap in the face, which was why God chose her to do so. Paul does not cite Deborah, though, as his basis for not allowing women to have authority over men – he cites Adam and Eve (and later cites Jesus and his bride, the church, when speaking on the same subject, in the context of marriage).

If we examine this particular debate at the narrative level – the same narrative level used by Paul – our three examples are Adam and eve, Christ and the Church, and husband and wife. Paul cites the first as the archetype, and then substitutes Christ and the Church as the perfected archetype, and then uses these with husbands and wives.

By saying that women should have authority over men within the church, you narratively must imply the same in the others – wives should not be under the authority of their husbands, the church should not be under the authority of Christ, and Eve wasn’t really under the authority of Adam. And – at the macro level THAT is what this is about. As I see it, eisegeting this command is the bride refusing to submit to the bridegroom because she doesn’t like the reason for his decision.

And we’re back to Job 38-41…

Is it submission if you ONLY submit when you agree and like the reasons for the commands, but ignore (or attempt to weasel your way out of) the commands you disagree with or don’t like?

Tell me – what in scripture do you disagree with or dislike, but submit to, because it is commanded there?

The knock on the fundamentalist church (and a fair one) is that it sometimes creates extra rules, blindly and legalistically (and heartlessly), and refuses to be relevant to the culture in which it has been placed.

The knock on the emerging church (and a fair one) is that it sometimes ignores rules that actually exist, and oft-times abuses its freedom in Christ in ways that bring dishonor to Him.

They’re both sides of the same coin. Fundamentalism has been around a whole lot longer, and is much, much more entrenched, so I’m usually calling out the abuse from their side of the coin. The emerging church is still… emerging… and I have liked a lot of what I’ve seen, but I also dislike it when they swing the pendulum past what is actually contained in scripture.

I see this as one of those times. Sorry.

You haven’t convinced me that God has “bound” gender roles for all time.

The onus is not on me to do so.

When the plain meaning of the text is questioned, the onus is on the one trying to modify the plain meaning to alter it. That is a basic hermeneutical tenant, which prevents a great deal of eisegesis.

So, you have not come close to convincing me that God has not bound gender roles – in two out of thousands of roles – for all time. It’s not to me to convince you of anything – the plain meaning is what I’m supporting, because the author-cited principals affirm the plain meaning rather than detract from it.

Chris, not to be coy, but your flipping is flopping. It disappoints me to see you using the same verbage the people you most often rail against use.

Chad, my greatest respect in matters of theology is with the commonly shared gift given to us to describe it to us – the Text. Cultural context may give us greater appreciation of the Text and reveal new facets of the Text and underlying themes and principals in the Text – but it does not negate the Text. While I understand the trajectory hermeneutic, I find that much of its application has great potential to destroy the Text, which Jesus came to fulfill, not destroy, and so I do not use it.

All too many fundies are blind when it comes to the text – assuming that the plain meaning in all (or almost all) matters is trans-cultural – and they apply a scalpel like a baseball-bat, hurting scores of people in the process. This does not imply that the plain meaning is always wrong if we don’t like its implications. It means that we should always strive to understand the same meaning the Text had to those who first heard it, and then apply that meaning to our own lives.

In this particular matter, you’ve not come close to convincing me that Paul – one of the most brilliant recorded rabbis apart from Jesus – was ‘mistaken’ in using the creation order as the basis of his ruling. The onus is not on me to convince someone of the plain meaning of Scripture.

That is why I’m not being flip when my answer comes down to “because God told us to do it that way”. I never give such an answer, unless I have been thoroughly convinced of the plain meaning. It’s not a stereotypical, unthinking “well the Bible says it, so I believe it…” – it is an answer based upon prayer and study.

Sorry if you don’t like that.

354   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 5:24 pm

Whoops – cross-posted with Joe…

Sorrys… I’m out too…