The topic of female-pastors has been flowing through my local church recently. I covered it in a Wednesday night class not too long ago, and since we recently started a sermon series on 1 Timothy, the topic was addressed from the pulpit as well. I decided then to respond to some common Egalitarian arguments through this new blog series.
To define the term above, the debate over women being pastors boils down to two opposing positions: Complementarianism and Egalitarianism.
Complementarians affirm that women and men are equal in terms of intrinsic value and dignity, but they are made distinctly different to compliment one another. This means that their roles in life are different, even though they are both equally created in God’s image.
Complementarians believe the Bible to be very clear that within the family and the church, men and women serve different functions. One of those differences, the one most pertinent to this discussion is the role of the pastor (otherwise known as Elder).
Egalitarians would disagree. They see that because men and women are equal, they must therefore be equal in role opportunities as well. Thus, any thing God calls men to do and be, He also calls women to do and be.
I, along with the Church historic, am a Complementarian. These next three blogs will be dedicated to making a cursory defense of the position.
While many hundreds of pages are written on this subject, it would not be prudent to proceed with refuting the counter-claims without the positive presentation which they are seeking to undermine.
Here is a very brief presentation of the Complementarian reading of Scripture:
God intended, from creation, to make men and women unique in their roles. They are both equal in dignity and value, as both are made in God’s very image (Genesis 1:27). Although men and women are equal, they are very different in many ways, and this is seen in the created order, and in the post-fall world prescribed and described by the Apostles.
In creation, Adam, before the fall of man, is given an authority over Eve. Adam was created first (something Paul tells us is a sign of authority), and Adam names Eve. To name someone is a sign of authority; God named Adam (Genesis 2: 7), and Adam named the animals (Genesis 2:19-20). Even in our culture, as well as throughout the biblical cultures, parents name their children. It has always been the case that to name someone is to signify a sign of authority.
This is why God often renamed people throughout Scripture; He has authority to do so. And, in the creation account, Adam named Eve rather than God (Genesis 2:23). This is a God-given sign of authority.
With that, not only was Adam created first, but God is differentiated in why and how each was created. Eve was created in a unique way:
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”… So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” – Genesis 2: 18, 21-23
Adam and Eve are very different. Eve was created after Adam, Eve w
as created from Adam, and Eve was created for Adam. All of these suggest, not only complementary differences, but difference in authority as well.
Even after the Fall, the curses given to men and women were unique to their genders!
New Testament Testimony
For those who would like to attempt to disagree with my interpretation, make it known that Paul is actually the one who interprets these things for us. And he believes these creation details directly affect the role of men in women in the family and in the church.
Paul certainly believed that husbands have an authoritative role within the family government:
1 Corinthians 11:3,
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
Ephesians 5: 22-24,
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
And the Apostle Peter is lock-step with his fellow Apostle on this issue as well:
1 Peter 3: 1-5,
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands,
However, this authoritative role does not end with the family, it extends into the Church of God as well. There are leadership positions in both the home and in the church that are not available to women, and Paul grounds it in the creation order:
1 Timothy 1: 11-14,
Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
It is made clear then by Paul that God’s created order, prior to the fall, was that men would hold a unique position of authority among the family and the church. God was certainly capable of creatingAdam and Eve the same way, at the same time, and naming them both. But Paul teaches us that God purposefully created them in such unique ways for a reason.
Two additional points need to be made on this:
1. Role divisions are not insulting or offensive.
In what is known as the “economy of salvation”, the members of the Trinity occupy different roles in accomplishing salvation. Ephesians 1: 3-14 demonstrates that the Father predestined His people and adopted them (3-6), the Son died on a cross to purchase and redeem them (7), and the Spirit applies and seals that redemption (13-14). The Trinity has differentiated roles among the divine Members.
Along with these roles come different levels of authority. Jesus states that He came not to do His will, but the Father’s (John 6: 38), and that the Father is greater than Him (John 14:28). Along those lines, the Spirit is under also under submission to the Father’s authority as well (John 14:26). He is even given a similar name as Eve was given for Adam!
The point here is that one cannot claim that distinguishing roles between the sexes is somehow degrading or offensive. If that were the case, the Trinity would come undone. To be angered by a “both are equal, yet they are distinct in roles and authority” is to be angered about the very Triune God Himself.
If anything, to deny these things is what is truly offensive. And we are seeing that in its extreme form in 21st century America. When men can become women, and win “women of the year” awards, we see the offense of pretending like men and women are not distinct and complementary.
It means something to be a man, and it means something to be a woman, and to blend the two is offensive to both.
“To me, a lady is not frilly, flouncy, flippant, frivolous and fluff-brained, but she is gentle, she is gracious, she is godly and she is giving. You and I have the gift of femininity… the more womanly we are, the more manly men will be and the more God is glorified. Be women, be only women, be real women in obedience to God.” -Elisabeth Elliot
2. Women are only excluded from the very specific office of Elder in a local christian church, not from ministry roles altogether within or outside of the local church.
This is very important to the blogs which follow from here in this series. The most common refutation of the Complementarian position is bringing up all of the texts in Scripture where women are doing wonderful things and holding high positions. Women throughout Scripture are prophets, judges, and with some debate, deacons.
Women preach the Gospel, women help communicate the truth to men, women aid the church greatly, and women teach their children. None of these things are denied by our position. We maintain that, given what Paul says in 1 Timothy 2: 11-14 and 1 Corinthians 11: 33-25, the office of the Elder within a gathered local church, and the teaching responsibilities given to him, are exclusively given to qualified men. Any other service or office still abiding today can be held by women. Women were never apostles, and never will be elders. However, all the other offices and roles they have in the Old and New Testaments are gladly affirmed and celebrated by all Complementarians.
I will be responding to two of the more influential personas from the Egalitarian side. Greg Boyd is an open-theist, which sadly means he is a heretic. However, his resource ministry ReKnew has influenced many people. And one of the articles he wrote there which I will be responding to is titled The Case for Women in Ministry.
The article is a very clear presentation of the common rebuttals against the historical position. The article is old, published in 2007. However, it has not been retracted from the website, so it is clearly Boyd’s maintained position. On top of that, he has recently taught the same message from his pulpit in years as recently as 2011 and in 2014. I will be responding to his article.
Along with that, I will also be responding to Rachel Held-Evans (RHE). RHE is likely far more influential on this topic. RHE is a progressive, feminist Christian who promotes egalitarianism often. She not only defended the position on Unbelievable, she also wrote a blog post which can be found on her website in regards to 1 Timothy 2 that I will incorporate in my rebuttal of Boyd’s egalitarianism.
I hope you look forward to my thoughts on whether or not women are allowed by God to serve as Elders in God’s church.
May the Word of God sanctify us all.
11 thoughts on “Women in the Pulpit I: Setting the Stage”
El Roi is one of the names of God in the Bible. Hagar named God El Roi. Therefore, a slave woman has authority over God because in her culture, that which she names she has authority over.
You’ll likely have to admit that that there are exceptions to this idea and therefore just because Adam gave Eve a name, it doesn’t confer upon him authority over her any more than me calling you “Mac” gives me authority over you.
In 1 Cor. 11:3, it’s part of a larger conversation on head coverings – Paul’s point was that the woman has her own authority.
In Ephesians and 1 Peter, they are responding to the Roman household codes, you know the ones – with the instruction about slaves and masters, too. Coincidentally, they’re told the same advice, to submit themselves to their masters in pretty much the same ways wives are supposed to with their husbands, harsh masters/husbands alike with gentle masters/husbands. Just because Peter and Paul are telling Christians how to live as Romans, it doesn’t follow that Americans are to live as Romans did centuries after the Empire has fallen.
Every rule has it’s exceptions, Junia, Phoebe, Priscilla – these women served as and among the apostles, deacons, and teachers of the early church. When the Bible came to a close, the role of women didn’t. Grapte became a teacher in the church, Marcella taught the elders of the church some theology even they couldn’t understand under the recommendation of Jerome. Pliny the elder had two deaconesses brought before him to answer for their faith. The Romans were awed by the charity of the early Christians who would feed even the widows that weren’t part of their faith and not their own only. A historian wrote that the church was full of “these old hags called widows” and it was a religions of “slaves, women, and children”. Soon, there were more women than could be married off to the men in their social classes, so they had to try to change the rules to allow women to marry beneath their class. As a result, a complementary board of women-only leadership arose, called the Order of the Widows, these matrons of the church were tasked with having an intercession ministry – various families would adopt them, provide for them and in a similar fashion to the patron/client relationship, these women would pray for them. They sat among the leadership of the early church as leaders in their own right.
Jamie, I am sorry this took so long for me to respond. I went out of town for Father’s day, and did not bring my computer with me. In case the ship has not sailed so-to-speak, I will respond to your thoughtful comments.
You conveniently categorized your arguments by paragraph, so the numbering system I use below does correspond to those.
1) You’ll have to forgive me, but I cannot possibly see how your example of Hagar is at all equal in category to the argument I laid out from Genesis and culture.
For one, God already self-identified himself long before Hagar (Exodus 3). Adding an additional name on the basis of revelation is hardly comparable to an unnamed creature being given a final title they cannot get rid of. That was not at all what happened to God from Hagar, and was exactly the case for Adam, Eve, and O.T. children.
Many different names and titles arose to refer to God yes. But one, they were a response to something He revealed. So He did in fact give them those names in a revelatory way, so even those names are really His own. Secondly, the were additional names, not name changes like we so often see in the Bible.
An important point to make though is that, although I see this argument as standing still, it is hardly the crux. Even if I am wrong, the Apostles get to interpret these events for us, and Paul could not be more clear that man has authority over women within the marital and ecclesiastical unions.
2) a. 1 Cor. 11–
I do not know where your argument came from which said Paul is saying women have their own authority. He says they have their own glory (verse 7), but never once states she has her own authority. To be honest, I do not even know what that statement means.
On top of that, Paul says quite the opposite of your suggestion. He explicitly states “but I want you to know the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (v. 3). Likewise, Paul also says, “Nor was man created for woman, but woman for man” (7). How you get “woman has her own authority” from “man is the head of woman”. and “woman was made for man”, is beyond me. And the fact that the larger context is head-coverings does not seem to help your argument given that Paul said, “For this reason, a woman ought to have a symbol of authority over her head, because of the angels” (10). The head-coverings were the cultural way of symbolizing the very thing you’re attempting to deny.
b. Ephesians/1 Peter
Your claim here seems to be that these passages are all relative to Rome. There are so many problems with this, but I will pick two major ones.
The slavery ones went away with slavery, not with Rome. Paul is making clear guidelines for marriage. That institution is still around, therefore Paul’s instructions about it is still around. If slavery existed in our country, God’s Law would still apply.
2) In Ephesians, Paul makes the argument that the submission of husband and wife in marriage is parallel to Christ’s relationship to the church. That is what makes this a universal principle. As long as Jesus exists and has a church, marriage and what it represents does to. Your attempt to dislocate marriage from Christ, and attach it to a Roman code is contrary to the very clear grammar and argument of Romans 5. Marriage was created in Genesis 1, and it continues its role today. It predates and supersedes Rome. You are reading household codes into Ephesians 5 when Paul says absolutely nothing about them.
3) I do not believe every rule has it’s exceptions (although that seems to be a blatant admission that my position is at least the general rule?) I won’t waste your time, but I am sure you can image plenty of theological principles which cannot have exceptions (i.e. exclusivity of Christ, saved by faith alone, etc.)
Junia, Phoebe and Priscilla are not examples of exceptions to the rule Paul presents in 1 Tim. 2. Paul says women cannot teach or excersise authority over men (2:12) while gathered as a local church (3: 14-15). Junia, Phoebe, and Priscilla were not teaching elders in a local church. You have committed a category error.
This cetegory error spread throughout your final argument. I have not made the claim that women cannot be deacons, and that we should not feed widows, nor that the early church disliked women. I fully grant that Christianity has always been a champion of women, of women’s rights, and of caring for widows. I believe the Bible transformed the role of women in every generation it has broken through, and I know through the book of Acts the very genesis of the Christian church owes much to gentile women.
I do not see how any of that is relevant to whether or not Paul would be pleased with a woman pastor. And we are capable of consulting Paul on that issue, and he has already told us he is not.
God bless and thank you for reading/conversing on my blog!
I don’t see how it’s not. You said that anything that’s been named is under the authority of the namer. You said that was true of Eve and Adam then as well as children and their parents today. Unless this tradition was temporarily revoked when Hagar named God ‘El Roi’, it must remain consistently true or it’s not true at all. If there is one example where a namer has no authority over that which he/she named, then it’s precedent that there are namers out there with no authority over the named. If such a thing is true, then it’s possible that in naming Eve alone, it doesn’t grant Adam authority over her. (What was she called before she was called Eve? Who gave her that name? Did Adam have the authority to change Eve’s God-given name?)
On headcovering; you’d have to know your ancient Koine Greek and how they used the concept of authority. Like in the story of the centurion, he was ‘under authority’ and that meant that he could say to a soldier ‘come here’ and he comes, a servant ‘do this’ and he does it. His authority never meant that he was to obey the orders of his superiors. Being under authority meant having authority; the authority to act in authoritative ways. The authority is that of the woman in her own right, not in being the subordinate of a superior to whom she must obey. I understand this chapter to mean that a woman has the authority to decide what she will or will not wear on her own head, and that’s the practice of the church. It does not mean that she was obligated to wear a sign that she was subordinate to a superior.
When Aristotle wrote of the ancient household codes, he referred to three pairs of relationships, that between Master and Servant, Husband and Wife, and Father and Children. These same three pairs are discussed in the various household codes. When you’re familiar with the popular teachers and thinkers of their day, you can recognize what sort of in-group topics they are discussing. It’s like the same short-hand an in-group might use – speaking of “The One Ring” brings up a connotation of the Lord of the Rings even if you didn’t identify it as such. Same concept goes here. If you ever have the time, Read Aristotles’ Politics: “Seeing then that the state is made up of households, before speaking of the state we must speak of the management of the household. The parts of household management correspond to the persons who compose the household, and a complete household consists of slaves and freemen. Now we should begin by examining everything in its fewest possible elements; and the first and fewest possible parts of a family are master and slave, husband and wife, father and children. We have therefore to consider what each of these three relations is and ought to be: I mean the relation of master and servant, the marriage relation (the conjunction of man and wife has no name of its own), and thirdly, the procreative relation (this also has no proper name).”
You do realize that you’ve made marriage an idol and married yourselves to it? Paul never married and he’d be cashiered out of his own church. In Paul’s church, he uplifted singleness and brought it honor in a world where it was unthinkable. Too bad his church hasn’t followed his example.
Given the gender segregation of Paul’s day, how he couldn’t go places to preach the word without causing a scandal; he had women work alongside him doing what he was doing. Euodia and Syntche were two such women. But that doesn’t mean that the gender segregation of the day was God’s ideal. Many things, like the prohibition of women from going beyond the Court of the Women in the rebuilt temple was a man-made rule. The same God who made Jesus our high priest didn’t need to make men the sub-priests through which women had to go through to get to God. Otherwise, why bother?
Your error is one of assuming that the slave-holding patriarchy in which the Bible was written in the ideal in which all people ought to live forever because it was the time that Jesus spoke against injustice and interacted in the world. This egalitarian country, denying the power of manhood itself, must be killing your pride and power. Unlike Jesus, you haven’t learned to lay down your authority and live without it.
1) The naming tradition was not temporarily revoked, you have mixed categories. Describing the revelation of God through an additional title to His self-named Being is not the same thing as a permanent, exclusive name being given to a nameless being. I still do not see how the situations are in the same category. Another example would be this: I do not believe that calling someone by a nickname expresses authority over them. My sisters call me “Bubba”. But that is not “naming me.” If I were a nameless creature, and they called me Bubba, and it was my exclusive legal name, then the situations would be comparable.
2) a. What sufficiency do you have in ancient Koine Greek? I can cite many scholars who know the language and teach it at the seminary level who would not agree with your conclusions.
b. With all due respect, your comment “I understand this chapter to mean that a woman has the authority to decide what she will or will not wear on her own head, and that’s the practice of the church.” quite literally is exactly opposite of the clear context and grammar of the text.
If being under authority means to have authority, how does that work with the chain Paul gives? Women are under men, men are under Christ, and Christ is under God. You have subverted that logical chain, and flattened it, and argued that all Paul is saying is that “we all have our own authority.” It’s completely backwards. The linear chain is clearly made to be levels of authority, not a statement that we all have our own.
Secondly, any hermenuetic that could read words like “That is why a woman must cover her head” as saying “that is why a woman can chose whether she covers her head or not” needs to be abandoned immediately. I guarantee you do not practice that methodology to other important biblical doctrines, because then the Bible could literally teach absolutely anything.
3. Your assertion that I have made marriage an idol is complete slander; it is baseless. Your only evidence of this is that Paul was single, which is something I never denied, and is in no way relevant to what Paul himself said about marriage in Ephesians 5. I have not made marriage an idol. I simply have not adopted a postmodern, deconstructionist, ahistorical hermenuetic which dismisses the chapter altogether.
Again, Paul gives clear commands to married couples. And Paul says that these commands model the relationship of Christ and His church. That is not idolizing marriage, that is letting Paul speak. And since the institutions of marriage still exists, and since children are still being born to parents, it does not matter whether the Romans wrote about these categories or not. What matters is what Paul wrote in Ephesians 5. And you have offered no biblical evidence for dismissing the chapter.
4. You have not proved that, because in the 1st century there were man-made restrictions on women, that Paul made the mistake of supporting and promoting them in Ephesians 5. And quite contrary to your claim, some gender distinctions are part of God’s plan. And we know this because Paul explicitly says so.
Paul says in 1 Tim. 2: 13 that men have authority “because Adam was formed first.” You have essentially deleted that from your bible, and inserted a new “because.” Your translation reads like this: “I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority… because the Romans have man-made household codes which God does not want us to follow, but for the time being I choose to enforce them.”
But that is not what Paul says. Paul interprets Genesis for you, and says the role distinctions in the church are based on God’s creation purposes, which are certainly universal, and plainly communicate God’s desire that men have an exclusive authority in the church and in marriage.
5. Your snarky comment about my “unchristlike” behavior is ironic, seeing how I am the one holding the same view of Scripture that Jesus held (Mark 7, Matt. 22, 2 Tim. 3).
I am the one supporting and promoting what Jesus Himself created. The Spirit of God “carried Paul along” to communicate to us that women cannot be elders “because Adam was created first.” To provide any other reason than that for what Paul said, is to deny the Spirit’s inspiration, and the apostolic authority to interpret the OT for us. Which is hardly Christlike behavior.
So you can pretend that my position comes from my “inability to lay down authority”. But as it remains, I believe Ephesians 5 and first Timothy 2 stand today: you have dismissed them.
Between the two of us, one of us is deriving theology form the text, while one is imposing traditions onto it.
Ephesians 5: 22-33
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit fin everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by with washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.1 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and pthe two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
1) Is the command for husbands to love their wives relative too? Has that gone away with the Roman household codes found nowhere in this text?
2) If the wives submitting to husbands is relative and now revoked, does this mean Christ is no longer the head of the church? Is that too revoked? If not, what exegetical means do you have for dislocating what Paul joined together?
3) When Paul says “I speak concerning Christ and the church” was Paul making marriage an idol and saying an untrue statement?
4) Are women still bound to respect their husbands, or did that pass away with the Roman household codes?
Ephesians 6: 1-4,
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.’ 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
1) If the roles of women submitting to men are abolished, are children still obligated to obey their parents, or did those pass away with the Roman household codes found nowhere in the text?
2) If this passage is Paul buying into to sinful Roman household codes, why does Paul ground his argument here in the OT Law? Why did he note quote one of the Romans you did, since they were the true source of his understanding?
3) Are parents allowed to provoke their children to wrath, or did that pass away with the rest of the chapter when the Roman household codes and slavery were abolished? If not, then why do you arbitrarily maintain this verse, but dismiss the ones above and below as relative?
What makes you so certain that Eve was nameless? Just because Bible doesn’t mention that she had a name? There have been many men in the Bible whose names were unimportant, they were just “a man of God” or “some lepers” or “the woman from so-and-so.” The Bible records that both men and women were namers, both men and women were named. Some already had names and were re-named. Either it does or it doesn’t give authority, if it does, then Hagar has authority over God. If it doesn’t, then Adam doesn’t have authority over Eve.
I agree with all the Koine Greek Scholars who disagree with what your Koine Greek Scholars say; most of mine aren’t chained to solely seminary as the source of their understanding, but have opened up their base to ancient secular sources to understand more fully the range of meaning in any given construction.
How can we not have authority? Are we or are we not all adopted to sonship in God?
Marriage isn’t everything, an unmarried man or woman can fully devote himself or herself to the things of God. But not in this church where marriage is prerequisite to ministry. It’s strange, to be required to marry and have a family to be required to leave them behind and abandon them to follow God. I remember how it was in Pilgrim’s Progress, the husband covered up his hears as he walked on by his wife so that he could follow God. It was left for her to follow – with the kids in tow – by herself. I don’t think Paul ever truly wanted that. He lifted up singleness as to be neither better nor worse than marriage, just different. Something complementarian churches ignore because it doesn’t suit their message that people are halves unless they’re married and that makes them whole.
I remember when Harry Potter became popular, half the sermons out there were on whether or not it was okay to read the books and how evil they were. Likewise, I can see how Paul is answering their questions in their cultural context – he’s not looking one hundred or one thousand years into the future to set a rule in stone, he’s just giving them triage medicine for their issues, not a cure-all for all issues. Were Paul around in this day and age, you can bet he’d be fielding questions about racism, sexism, and homosexuality rather than idol feasts and baptism of the dead. So he’s talking about their context of marriage, how it was different from the Old Testament with the patriarchs and their concubines – not about our nuclear families.
Ephesians 5:21 begins by instructing all parties to undergo a mutual submission, which includes that of the husband to his wife – conveniently erasing this from the passage is just wrong – when it was written, it was all part of the same message, the original listeners (as the odds were they weren’t reading this individually as we do today, but it was being read aloud to them) would never have gotten the message that “wives must submit to her husband” without having been taught that “everyone must submit to everyone else” first.
It’s a strange religion in which God would make men and women completely equal, completely dependent upon each other, and yet cut the legs from underneath them by building them up in this bizarre way. God says that men “can’t go it alone” but he says that men alone are leaders. No wonder that leadership is failing – it lacks the female leadership that was built into the world and says this is how it’s supposed to be. The first woman was a co-ruler … Adam was not the lone rule with the lone help. They both ruled together, and they both helped each other. In as much as Eve was Adam’s help, Adam too, was built to be Eve’s Help. But these days, Adam thinks he just doesn’t need her, he goes it alone and he wonders why his strength is failing.
“What makes you so certain that Eve was nameless? Just because Bible doesn’t mention that she had a name?”
1) The Bible does not only just not say she had a name, but it records the event where she is given a name, which is moments after her creation. Thus, the established precedence given by the text is that she was named. To assume she had a name is to argue from silence.
2) Even if she did have a name, I mentioned that to give someone an official rename is a sign of authority, which Jesus excersized regularly (Paul, Peter, OT Saints).
3) Hagar did not rename God. God self-identified and he continued to keep all those names. Hagar supplied an additional title to the many different names God has in the OT. YWHY is His self-identified title, and Hagar did not give that to God.
“Either it does or it doesn’t give authority”
1) Your false-dichotomy is ignoring my refutation. I already explained two times now how what Hagar did is not equivalent to Adam.
“ If it doesn’t, then Adam doesn’t have authority over Eve.”
1) Not close to true. I already granted that, even if I were wrong about the naming thing, the Apostle Paul EXPLICITLY tells us Adam had authority over Eve by virtue of being the man and created first, and by being the husband. So even if I am wrong about the names, I am still right about the issue, because the Apostle Paul’s apostolic authority trumps your novel understanding of gender roles completely influenced by cultural feminism, rather than by exegesis.
“I agree with all the Koine Greek Scholars who disagree with what your Koine Greek Scholars say; ”
1) I am shocked you do not see how this comment of yours refutes your own position. You made my point. You tried to trump my exegesis by appealing to an understanding of Koine Greek that not even you have. However, as you just admitted, even if I did know Koine Greek, you would just disagree with me anyway. Therefore your assertion has been falsified by your own admission.
“most of mine aren’t chained to solely seminary as the source of their understanding, but have opened up their base to ancient secular sources to understand more fully the range of meaning in any given construction.”
1) You obviously misread what I wrote. I did not say scholars who know Greek only studied in seminary and never read a secular source. All of them have (I do not even know if the alternative is possible). What I said was, the men and women I am referencing TAUGHT at seminaries, proving they are competent and skilled in the language. This is a straw-man.
“How can we not have authority? Are we or are we not all adopted to sonship in God”
1) This is a strawman. I have never claimed “women have no authority.” Lots of women have tons of authority in both secular and ecclesiastical environments. Women have authority in religions, politics, families, etc etc. What the Bible clearly teaches is that Father’s are the heads of the household and that women cannot be local church elders. That is nothing close to saying women cant have authority.
2) The only reason you know we have been adopted is because the Bible clearly teaches that. And the Bible also teaches that women cannot be elders and must submit to their husbands. You need to reject or accept the Bible wholesale, you cannot pick and choose.
“Marriage isn’t everything, an unmarried man or woman can fully devote himself or herself to the things of God. But not in this church where marriage is prerequisite to ministry. It’s strange, to be required to marry and have a family to be required to leave them behind and abandon them to follow God. I remember how it was in Pilgrim’s Progress, the husband covered up his hears as he walked on by his wife so that he could follow God. It was left for her to follow – with the kids in tow – by herself. I don’t think Paul ever truly wanted that. He lifted up singleness as to be neither better nor worse than marriage, just different. Something complementarian churches ignore because it doesn’t suit their message that people are halves unless they’re married and that makes them whole.”
1) Not only is this completely irrelevant, it is a total strawman. Show me one place in my blog where I said anything about marriage being everything. All I said was what Paul says: within a marriage, the husband is the head, just as Christ is the head of the church. Where you get off on all of this stuff about marriage and singleness is bizarre to me.
“I remember when Harry Potter became popular, half the sermons out there were on whether or not it was okay to read the books and how evil they were. Likewise, I can see how Paul is answering their questions in their cultural context – he’s not looking one hundred or one thousand years into the future to set a rule in stone, he’s just giving them triage medicine for their issues, not a cure-all for all issues…. So he’s talking about their context of marriage, how it was different from the Old Testament with the patriarchs and their concubines – not about our nuclear families.”
1) This cannot be true because he tells us explicitly that he is deriving this from Christ’s relationship to the church. The marriage principle cannot be relative since Christ loving His Bride is unchanging and universal. Also, the portion on children he grounds in the Law itself.
2) You then are forced into the position that I already asked and you failed to answer: your exegesis means that husbands loving their wives and children obeying their parents is no longer applicable, but was just a cultural custom.
3) This also cannot be true because marriage and children are part of the genesis creation order. Marriage is not a Roman practice, it’s an institution God gave thousands of years before hand. Our nuclear families today are supposed to model what Paul mentioned: wives, husbands, children. Just as God set it up to do in Genesis. So Paul was absolutely dealing with our nuclear families.
“Were Paul around in this day and age, you can bet he’d be fielding questions about racism, sexism, and homosexuality rather than idol feasts and baptism of the dead. ”
1) Paul condemned homosexuality on many occasions so that should be off the list.
2) The fact that Paul would deal with different concerns today is irrelevant to the fact that he grounds his opinion about women in the created order. That’s universal, not relative. Thus, Paul may be answering different questions, but his opinion on this issue would not be different.
“Ephesians 5:21 begins by instructing all parties to undergo a mutual submission, which includes that of the husband to his wife – conveniently erasing this from the passage is just wrong”
1) It does not include husband to wife, the context is there is speaking to the church. He then shifts his focus in 22 and singles out wives. He moves from local church, to spouses, to children, to slaves. That is why it was not wrong to leave it out. 21 does not modify 22.
2) By your own standard of exegesis, I could simply say verse 21, the idea of mutual submission, was just a relative, cultural practice that no longer applies, and you have no answer to that. Why do you arbitrarily demand verse 21 be universal, yet dismiss 22-33?
3) The difference between you and me as I seek to harmonize 21 with 22-33, you seek to delete one or the other arbitrarily. Paul clearly establishes roles within marriages and churches. The student of Scripture than seeks to harmonize these roles with other passages rather than find a reason to ease our passions by erasing ones we do not like.
“when it was written, it was all part of the same message, the original listeners (as the odds were they weren’t reading this individually as we do today, but it was being read aloud to them) would never have gotten the message that “wives must submit to her husband” without having been taught that “everyone must submit to everyone else” first.”
1) But Paul regularly identifies specific audiences in this book. For example, in 3:1 he singles the Gentiles out specifically. Just because it was the same message, does not mean Paul cannot address specific factions of the congregation (widows, wives, gentiles, etc.) And in verse 22, he singles out wives and demands they submit. It’s crystal clear.
2) As was stated, 21 is before the instructions to wives, which means it was written to the local church. Wives submitting to their husbands and the congregation of the church submitting to one another are different categories.
3) Why do you seek to erase part of the text rather than harmonize it?
“It’s a strange religion in which God would make men and women completely equal, completely dependent upon each other, and yet cut the legs from underneath them by building them up in this bizarre way.”
1) What is so sad about this is that you just insulted the Trinity. The Trinity, which is 3 equal Members, with varying roles and authorities is strange and bizarre to you. Why is the Trinity aloud to be equal yet submissive, but men and women cannot be?
“God says that men “can’t go it alone” but he says that men alone are leaders.”
1) This is again another straw-man. No one has said men alone are leaders. There are two areas in all of life that men are “alone leaders.” And even then that’s not completely true. Paul tells children to submit to their “parents” not their “fathers.” Thus, just because men are the head of the wife, it does not mean the wife is not a leader of the family.
2) When you say God says “men cant go it alone” I do not know what you’re referencing. But it again is a strawman and not relevant to the limited offices we are speaking of.
“No wonder that leadership is failing – it lacks the female leadership that was built into the world and says this is how it’s supposed to be. “
1) The irony here is I have an explicit verse which justifies that my view is actually the way the world was intended to be. Paul says explicitly that Adam was created first in order to create an authority. Paul also explicitly says husbands are the head of the wife and Adam was the husband. I have two texts to show you “how the world should be” and you are completely textless. You have no biblical text to prove that claim.
“The first woman was a co-ruler … Adam was not the lone rule with the lone help. They both ruled together, and they both helped each other.”
1) I agree with this.
2) Eve was a co-ruler, but that does not mean Adam was not her head. This is implicitly proven by Paul in Romans 5. Paul blames the fall on Adam, yet Paul also knows Eve sinned. Why did Paul blame the fall on Adam when Eve sinned first? How would you answer that? Why after Eve sinned did God want to speak with Adam? Why did He confront Adam and not Eve?
“In as much as Eve was Adam’s help, Adam too, was built to be Eve’s Help. But these days, Adam thinks he just doesn’t need her, he goes it alone and he wonders why his strength is failing.”
1) This is beyond misrepresentation, it’s actually insulting. This is slander. I, my blog, and no one who holds my position has ever once said “men don’t need women.” You show me one place where I have EVER said that.
You allow your emotions and hatred for God’s Law to cloud your reasoning. Saying “God does not prescribe women to be pastors in the local church” is not even close to a synonymous phrase with “Men do not need women and can do anything all on their own.”
You need to repent and represent your opponents in a way fitting of priesthood holding believer of the Gospel.
One final and important question: Do you believe the Bible to be the preserved, inerrant, infallible, Word of God which maintains the highest authority over any and all current authorities on earth?
Well, I really like that passage where Paul says: “The Lord says, not I …” and then “I say, not the Lord …” It’s quite a conundrum how the Lord can not say something that’s the Word of God. It’s also in 1 Corinthians 7.
What is the gender role of a single man?
What is the gender role of a single woman?
To whom does an unmarried man owe his headship?
To whom does an unmarried women owe her headship?
If her father – does it apply if her father is an unbeliever? or dead?
Which Bible verses discuss the transfer of authority or headship in cases where the father is out of the picture?
“Well, I really like that passage where Paul says: “The Lord says, not I …” and then “I say, not the Lord …” It’s quite a conundrum how the Lord can not say something that’s the Word of God. It’s also in 1 Corinthians 7.”
—The conundrum is solved by understanding the reference. The Persons of the Trinity have commonly used names throughout the NT. The Spirit is the Spirit, the Father is God, and Jesus is Lord (Kurios). Thus, you seem to be reading Paul there as saying “the Triune God has not given this to me, it is a fallible personal thought.” But that’s not how this needs to be nor ought to be read. Paul is saying Jesus did not give this to him. He is not denying that his words are from the Spirit. Paul’s messages were given to him from the Lord (likely during his time in Arabia and Damascus for 3 years [Galatians 1: 15-20]).
Remember, the reason the apostolic authority was accepted was because of their relationship to Jesus. The people wanted to know what Jesus gave them. So what Paul says is still divinely inspired. But it is inspired the way the O.T. is, directly through the Holy Spirit, rather than the Holy Spirit preserving the words of Christ.
However, what is most telling is that you seem to be admitting that the easiest way to reject my position is to doubt the authenticity or authority of the letter. Most egalitarians I know do this eventually. Not all, but most.
“What is the gender role of a single man?
What is the gender role of a single woman?”
—1) How is this relevant? I do believe biblical manhood and biblical womanhood can be defined, but I won’t go down the rabbit trail. This is a red-herring. Paul said something which applies to marriage. You are not refuting Paul by talking about singleness.”
—-This is really easy to answer: Jesus (1 Cor. 11:3) the apostles (1 Cor. 14: 36-38) and the ruling elders of his local church (Hebrews 13:17). The answer happens to be the exact same thing for unmarried women: Jesus, the Scriptures, the elders.
“If her father – does it apply if her father is an unbeliever? or dead?”
—A single woman does owe respect and honor to her father, but I think there is debate as to whether she always remains in submission to him. However, even if we grant that and say she does: it would not change on whether or not he is a believer, because Paul does not give married women the permission to not submit to unbelieving husbands.
Remember, all of our earthly allegiances are not infallible. We all submit to something: husbands, governments, parents, churches. But none of those ever require a submission to a point where God’s Law is broken. Thus, if a single woman submits to her unbelieving father, she does well, provided she never allows his authority to usurp Christ’s and the apostles.
If her father is dead, then no. She must submit to Christ, the Apostles, and the Church elders.
“Which Bible verses discuss the transfer of authority or headship in cases where the father is out of the picture?”
—The Bible does not address the “transfer” of authority because there is no need to “transfer”. Certainly, Jesus is clear a father’s authority is transferred to a husband once a woman is married. However, the other authorities over a woman are their own authorities never to be transferred. Christ never transfers, the Bible never transfers, and the Church never transfers. Those authorities, men and women both, single and married, orphaned or not, must submit to.
I would like to conclude by reminding the both of us that Peter certainly believed like Paul, that women should submit to their husbands. Not only this, but Peter does not believe it is a simple Roman household code, because he mentions the women in the OT (before Rome existed) did it. And, he even takes it one step further and calls them “holy” for submitting.
If a married woman wants to be holy, according to Peter, she can submit to her husband, just like the women of the Bible.
1 Peter 3: 1-6,
3 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.