David Gushee Takes on Complementarians

David Gushee tries to undermine Complementarianism by suggesting that Complementarians do not live up to their own principles. He asks four questions that are supposed to reveal flaws in the Complementarian view. He writes: “I believe these types of questions expose weaknesses in complementarianism that cannot be mended from within that paradigm. These weaknesses contribute to my embrace of the egalitarian view.”

I’m not going to rehearse Gushee’s column point by point. I leave it to the reader to read it for himself. I will say, however, that its main flaw is not in the details but in the assumption underlying the whole argument. Gushee assumes that the abuse of one’s principles (in this case Complementarianism) invalidates the principles themselves. But this premise is totally unwarranted and if applied to other principles would lead to totally absurd conclusions. Can you imagine if someone said the following: “Civil laws are constantly broken by those who otherwise say those laws are just. Therefore, the hypocrisy of the lawbreakers invalidates the laws.”

The argument just doesn’t work, and neither does Gushee’s.

100 Responses to David Gushee Takes on Complementarians

  1. Paul September 27, 2007 at 5:21 am #

    I think questions like his can be useful (I am not sure if I fit the bill of a ‘soft’ complimentarian). But I can think of at least one issue in history when it was valid to reassess the law due to the hypocrisy of those espousing the law: Luther and the celibacy of clergy.

  2. mlm September 27, 2007 at 6:52 am #

    Denny:

    You wrote: “Therefore, the hypocrisy of the lawbreakers invalidates the laws.”

    I think Gushee’s assertion, however, is this: *Therefore, the hypocrisy of the LAWGIVERS invalidates the laws.*

    He’s not talking about the men and women to whom you preach this doctrine; he’s talking about people like you, the ones who pen it, teach it, enforce it.

  3. Dustin September 27, 2007 at 10:26 am #

    Aside from what Denny has said, reading Gushee’s article, I think that the majority if not all of the Complementarians that I know (including myself) could answer in the positive for all of those questions. Now there are always some that ruin it for others so to speak by using something that, in my humble opinion, is God given and profitable to the church and believers in
    The wrong way, even a sinful way.

    However, I do not think the Complementarians that I know would have any issue by agreeing and demonstrating their consistency by pointing out real life examples of these questions.

    Gushee’s assertions may or may not be from flawed argumentation but I will say that even if it is, I think most true Complementarians could stand up to this test.

  4. Benjamin A. September 27, 2007 at 10:32 am #

    Gushee does ask some good questions that need to be answered by the leadership of every church that holds to a complementarian view. Now we shouldn’t be so naive and think, and or expect, that all complementarians everywhere are going to agree on every point with one another either. Also, these very questions could be asked of the egalitarian camp as well, for Gushee states “that egalitarian communities are also flawed and do not always live out the full meaning of their commitments.” I would propose that the problem for both camps in living out their views perfectly is our sin nature. Rather than saying the problem is an errant system, I would say the problem is errant people who sin and are selfish.
    Though I like Gushee’s questions, his validating statements that follow are very shallow and weak. Anyone can say, as he does on more than one occasion in his article, “It has been my experience that . . .”. Rather, it would be most appropriate to do research, say like a George Barna, to give a fair representation of what most “young Christian women, and even some sensitive young men” think about the complementarian view. I for one was disappointed that an egalitarian with the credentials of Gushee would single out “young Christian women” and “sensitive young men” as targets to bolster support for his position. Why wouldn’t he simply say ‘women’ and ‘men’ in the spirit of true egalitarianism? Why make them “young” and “sensitive”? Should I infer that older women and non-sensitive men like the complementarian view? I don’t think so.
    Good questions- Weak article. My opinion.

  5. jeremy z September 27, 2007 at 5:24 pm #

    Denny,

    Two things:
    1) Quote on quote, “I’m not going to rehearse Gushee’s column point by point. I leave it to the reader to read it for himself.” What about herself? Females not allowed to read?
    2) You referred to these “absurd conclusions”. Can you spell out these absurd conclusions so one can get a handle how radical these conclusions can be?

  6. Kevin Jones September 27, 2007 at 5:55 pm #

    Gushee seems to be saying that he likes taking the “easy” road of egaltarianism (sp?). Since, from his view, Complementarians do not have the answers to his questions then we should just make it easy – everyone is allowed to serve in the capacity of their “calling” whether she is the husband of 1 wife or not.

  7. Bryan L September 27, 2007 at 6:23 pm #

    Kevin you seem to be reading too much into the very little that Gushee actually says. His last sentence says “These weaknesses contribute to my embrace of the egalitarian view.” The key word there is “contribute”. The weaknesses are one of the reasons he is an egalitarian not the only one.

    BTW can you help me out with what you mean by “whether she is the husband of 1 wife or not.”
    I’m not getting it.

    Has anyone wondered what the opposite of this article would look like, written from a comp perspective? I’d welcome one, after all Gushee is just challenging comps to live out their views in a way that upholds the dignity of women.

    Also I think his 2nd point is very helpful. I have a hard time seeing consistency in the comp position and how it works out and just saying it work out differently with different people doesn’t help much. If one leading comp says a woman shouldn’t do this and another one says she should then what is someone supposed to do believe when 2 leading comps believe contradictory things on how it should work out? Are they just supposed to pick the one they like most?

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  8. Kevin Jones September 27, 2007 at 7:12 pm #

    Bryan L,

    I was being sarcastic about “she” being the husband of 1 wife. According to 1 Tim 3:2 and overseer (bishop in KJV) is to be the husband of 1 wife. I do not see how a woman can be the husband of 1 wife thus she would be excluded from the calling of bishop.

    I think we should just read Romans 14 and apply it here as well. If you can be an egalitarian or a complentarian in good faith then it is not sin. However, blatant disobedience to the scriptures can not be “in good faith”.

    When it comes fown to the details that are not explicit in scripture then we must let the peace of God rule our hearts. If you have peace about your position and do not disobey scripture then what you are doing is not sin.

    Does the whole idea of women being leaders (over men) in the church put a stumblingblock in front of other christians? I am not sure that it does.

    It is quite funny that I have grown up as an independent baptist and women have never had a leadership role over men in any of the churches I have been a member. I recently met a sweet family in a town that I travel to for work. They let me stay in their front bedroom while I am in their town. Guess what! She (the wife of course) is most likely about to get ordained. You know what…she has NO clue about the way I have been taught about that. And I really have no right to object…would it do ANY good?

    I do know this…there are NOT ENOUGH godly men in church willing to take up the leadership roles that are needed. If MEN do not rise up and be MEN then the WOMEN must do it and that is a shame. Not because women can’t do the job but the proper roles according to scripture are all out of whack.

  9. Bryan L September 27, 2007 at 7:29 pm #

    Sorry I missed you sarcasm Kevin. It makes sense now that you pointed it out.

    I don’t see women rising up to be leaders a shame at all. What is a shame to me is when people don’t follow their calling and gifting, whether they be men or women.

    You said, “Does the whole idea of women being leaders (over men) in the church put a stumblingblock in front of other christians? I am not sure that it does.”

    You know it’s funny that you mention this because I actually believe if there are places where it is an offense for women to be leaders over men in the church and society then they shouldn’t be leaders because it end up being a hindrance to the Gospel. I don’t believe in pushing that society forward before it’s reached that point of granting women equality with men at the expense of the gospel. Now I also don’t believe in pushing a society backwards when it has already passed that point which is what I believe some want to do.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  10. Kevin Jones September 27, 2007 at 7:44 pm #

    Bryan L,

    From my perspective a woman is not ever called to be a pastor of a church. True, I was being sarcastic. But, I was being “seriously” sarcastic. How can a woman be a pastor (bishop) if she must “be the husband of 1 wife”?

    Is a woman being a pastor making her equal with men? I do not believe that roles/callings in the church make men and women unequal. The man is not “better” than the woman but God has different roles designed for our different genders. In God’s sight men and women are equal but God has given more responsibility to men and thus we will held accountable for more. This should not make men proud but should make us fear and tremble before the great task he has called us to.

    Leaders in the church are suppose to be the servants TO the church NOT lords OVER the church. Now, who is the greater according to Jesus…the servant or the one being served? If a woman wants to serve the men then let her take on the leadership role. Leaders are to be servants bosses.

  11. Kevin Jones September 27, 2007 at 7:44 pm #

    That is “servants NOT bosses”

  12. Kevin Jones September 27, 2007 at 7:57 pm #

    I really think the root of the problem lies at the feet of all the men pastors out there that act like they are better than everyone else and women perceive this as being a male/female issue when they say that women can’t be pastors.

    If all pastors would be servants then women would not feel the need to “be equal” because they would feel like they are being treated properly and God would bless the pastor’s ministry with enough other godly men (and women) to serve in the proper roles with him.

  13. Bryan L September 27, 2007 at 8:04 pm #

    Kevin what can a woman do under your system that a man can’t do? What is he limited in? You say God has roles assigned for genders but what is a role that a woman has that a man doesn’t?

    Sorry but I’m having a hard time understanding your last paragraph.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  14. Bryan L September 27, 2007 at 8:12 pm #

    I think you assume women want to be pastors because they desire power. Is that why all men want to be pastors? I think women want to be pastors because they desire to shepherd and care for a flock and teach the word faithfully to all people who need it to be taught to them.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  15. Kevin Jones September 27, 2007 at 8:15 pm #

    I do not have an answer for you yet because I am not sure of my answer. All I know is what I have been taught. I am in the process of gaining my own convictions in this regard.

    My point in my last paragraph is that leaders in the church are to be servants to the people they lead…not lords over them. Why do some women see that being a pastor makes them “equal” with men? I think it is pride because there are too many preide-filled male pastors.

  16. Kevin Jones September 27, 2007 at 8:16 pm #

    If the bible teaches that men are to be pastors then why would a woman feel called to be a pastor?

  17. Bryan L September 27, 2007 at 8:32 pm #

    “Why do some women see that being a pastor makes them “equal” with men? I think it is pride because there are too many preide-filled male pastors.”

    I disagree. If we said a certain race weren’t allowed to be pastors would it sound like we believed they were equal? No. It’s the same for saying a particular gender can’t be pastors. It’s not equality because a particular group of people are being excluded from a particular role regardless of their gifting and ability, whereas the other gender is not being excluded from anything. That is unequality no matter how you slice it. I thought I’d draw you a bar graph to illustrate this. The bar represent the amount of roles that each gender can do. The way one goes up higher than the other represents how they are not equal.

    ——————-
    __
    -40 ||
    ||
    -30 ||
    || __
    -20 || ||
    || ||
    -10 || ||
    _____||______||____
    Men Women

    Now I’m being a little sarcastic but I think you get my point. To say that men can do whatever women can but women can’t do whatever men can means they are unequal.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  18. Bryan L September 27, 2007 at 8:33 pm #

    stupid blog thing messed up my pretty picture.

    that’s what I get.

  19. Bryan L September 27, 2007 at 8:46 pm #

    Why would a man ever feel called to be a pastor?

    Kevin I don’t think the Bible teaches that a men are to be the pastors over churches I think it reflects the reality of what actually was taking place most of the time because of the patriarchal society of that time and gives guideline around that to make sure the right men were being chosen.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  20. Matthew September 27, 2007 at 9:06 pm #

    It may be true that he is presenting a faulty argument in the form of questions. However, the questions have merit. Questions 2 and 3 in particular caught my eye. I have been involved in complementarian (grew up in Plymouth Brethren) churches all my life. It is true that all of the churches had the unbreakable rule that men are the leaders, but many roles were not clearly defined. This means that the roles open to women were not clearly defined, but were up the general opinion of the men in charge at the time. Therefore, it was easy for enterprising women to accidentally step over the line. On the one hand, if the women did not decorate the “cry room,” they had failed to do their job. On the other hand, if they showed too much initiative and painted the cry room a bright color, there might be some very stern looks and some comments made to them about taking charge. True story, BTW.

    Many of the women I know have expressed some fear from time to time of accidentally stepping over that line. This represents a double failure – not clearly marking the jobs that are off-limits and not clearly encouraging women in the areas that are OK.

    Question 4 makes a good point as well. I wonder somtimes if the payscales in church aren’t overly influenced by business anyway. I know there are reasons, but it seems a little wrong to me that a senior pastor whose children are raised will make significantly more than a youth pastor who has several young children. AWANA, scouts, sports, pizza events – these things all cost money. The disparity can be even worse for women. The Youth pastor makes a salary while the female “youth worker” is closer to volunteer.

  21. Matthew September 27, 2007 at 9:10 pm #

    Well, I feel like I have done a bit of griping today. In the interest of balance, I am also thankful for many things. Among them: thought-provoking theology blogs and those who expend the energy keeping them up. My family. My job. My church, pastor, and family. Heaven (whether or not we will be … you know … up there 🙂

  22. Kevin Jones September 27, 2007 at 10:00 pm #

    Bryan,

    Then, how are we to biblically discern how to choose a female pastor?

  23. Kevin Jones September 27, 2007 at 10:36 pm #

    Bryan L,

    1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, SHE desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 SHE must manage HER own household well, with all dignity keeping HER children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage HER own household, how will SHE care for God’s church? 6 SHE must not be a recent convert, or SHE may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, SHE must be well thought of by outsiders, so that SHE may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

    I changed the masculine pronouns to feminine to see how it looks.

    Is a woman responsible for managing her household? Managing includes leadership. Who is the head of the household and responsible for it?

    Can she be the husband of one wife?

    Don’t you think that God would give us directions of how to choose a female pastor if it was intended to be that way? Don’t limit God’s Word to the context of the new testament society.

    Also, does the pastor have God-given authority in the church? (i.e. church discipline)

    If a male church member was caught in non-repentant adultery with a non-member and the female pastor had to deal with the situation via church discipline would this be considered as authority over a man?

  24. Bryan L September 27, 2007 at 11:52 pm #

    Again Kevin, my belief is that Paul wrote to the reality of his day. It’s the reason we have commands to slaves and slave owners in the NT who were both part of the churches. Because that was just the reality of that world, that slave owners and their slaves worshipped together in church without giving any thought to its appropriateness that there even be slavery in the church.

    But even though Paul wrote to a world that would in most cases see men as overseers, the principals of what Paul wrote on giving guidance to select an overseer can still easily be transferred over to a woman.

    “Don’t you think that God would give us directions of how to choose a female pastor if it was intended to be that way? Don’t limit God’s Word to the context of the new testament society.”

    Did God give us guidelines on how to have church service and Sunday school? Did God give us guidelines on how to choose a spouse? Did God give us guidelines on how to choose a career? Did God give us guidelines on how to choose a college? I bring these all up because they are anachronisms. The Bible doesn’t speak to them because they weren’t legitimate choices back then (even though they’re major decisions to us). Your asking the Bible to speak to a different world than the one it was actually in. On top of that you have to take into consideration the adhoc nature of most of Pauls letters.

    Kevin is 1 Tim 3 the only thing that pastor search committees use today when they look for a pastor? If the pastor fulfills all the roles in 1 Tim 3 he’s hired? Let’s get real. 1 Tim 3 is a minimum and some of things in it might be overlooked altogether (the Pastor may be single, or have no kids) And besides that, yes a woman can manage a house. My wife and I manage our house, I manage my part and she manages her part, why must someone be designated to lead the other? This isn’t a business. And the whole point in 1 Tim 3 about being married to one wife is to stress the importance of fidelity and monogamy, which a woman can fulfill.

    “Also, does the pastor have God-given authority in the church?”
    Yes.

    “If a male church member was caught in non-repentant adultery with a non-member and the female pastor had to deal with the situation via church discipline would this be considered as authority over a man?”

    Well according to Paul it would be a church issue and the church would have authority from God to expel the immoral, unrepentant believer. But I have no problem with a woman making the final decision and carrying it out. I have no problem with a woman being in authority over anyone. Sorry I don’t think it is in violation of scripture. If you want to argue about 1 Tim 2:12 go talk to Sue. She would love to discuss the meaning of authentein since none else here seemed to be up to it.

    Kevin as I read all of what you write I keep wondering what your vision is of how the early church looked in the 1st century? What do you picture it as? How large were they? Where did they take place? Who was involved? Who were the leaders? How did the leadership work? Was there one leader (like a lead pastor) or multiple elders? Did the overseers oversee one “church” or many? What did a church meeting consist of? What did a leader do in the meetings? How structured were the meetings? What was the lay peoples part in the church? Were they passive or did they take more of an active role? Was their even a clearly defined hierarchal structure…

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  25. Suzanne September 27, 2007 at 11:52 pm #

    Is a woman responsible for managing her household? Managing includes leadership. Who is the head of the household and responsible for it?

    The wife is certainly given primary responsibility for managing her household.

    1. 1 Tim. 5:14 “So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.”

    The Greek word here is “oikodespotein” to be the despot/master or mistress of the house – the leader.

    2. Acts 16:14 “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

    15And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.”

    Lydia is the mistress of her household, she decides who she will entertain, and when she becomes a Christian, all her household is baptized.

    3. Women refer to their “mother’s house” in Gen. 24:28, Ruth 1:8, Song of Sol. 3:4.

    4. Col. 4:15 “Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.”

    Nympha hosted a house church.

    Women are the managers of their own house.

    Women are prophets.

    Junia was an apostle, whatever that means, but likely a leader of some kind.

    This is why Paul recruited leading women, Acts 17:4 – so they could be leaders, no doubt. Phoebe was a patron who helped those in need out of her own resources. Evidently she had her own resources.

    In Greek the men were to “proistemi” their house. Phoebe was a “prostatis”. This comes from the same Greek word. Whatever the men did, that is what Phoebe did.

    We do not know the details but Phoebe was listed as a deacon. You may make of this what you like.

    Women also announce the good news and divide the spoil in Psalms 68.

    The most obvious interpretation of “of one woman” is that a man was not to have more than one wife. Paul had no wife at this time and no woman would have more than one husband. It is very clear why a woman is not given the same injunction, polyandry was not practiced.

    I would also urge you to consider that the meaning of “authentein” has not proven as far as I have seen. Please let me know it evidence has been provided.

  26. Suzanne September 28, 2007 at 12:19 am #

    Since throughout church history, 1 Tim. 2:12 did not have the word “authority” in it, this verse did not contribute to the theology of authority in the church. In fact, in his Appeal to the Ruling Classes, Luther made it clear that authority rested on baptism.

    1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

    Curiously the only authorities mentioned in 1 Peter are non-Christian. There is submission of citizen to emperor, slave to master, and wife to husband, enjoined although it may mean suffering.

    This epistle well represents submission as suffering, when it is not mutual or governed by the command to treat others as you would be treated.

    Unilateral submission may be gracious, but it is not a beautiful representation of Christian mutuality.

    This is a well developed representation of human authority in the Bible. We have now abolished slavery and absolute monarchies. Marriage could also be made non hierarchic.

    For submission to reflect God’s intention for brothers and sisters in the church, it is to be mutual. Eph. 5:21.

    There is almost no use of the word authority in relation to how one Christian treats another, except in 1 Cor. 7 where the husband has authority/power over his wife, and the wife over the husband, in mutual intimate relations.

    Intimacy in the Bible is firmly grounded in mutuality.

  27. mlm September 28, 2007 at 6:29 am #

    Kevin:

    I can’t remember the blog trail that led me to this specific blog, but I believe Suzanne might know how to get there, but the general thought was that the phrase “husband of one wife” was a colloquial expression meaning “a one-woman man” which is how we’d say it today. In other words, in Paul’s letter he was addressing a specific group of believers who were in the process of setting up shop, so to speak, and he gave them guidelines to help them decide who to pick: someone who wasn’t given to multiple relationships (either as polygamy or as adultery and possibly even as a non-divorced person??). Wish I could remember the blog. Sorry!

  28. mlm September 28, 2007 at 6:32 am #

    Suzanne:

    I tried to ask you this question yesterday, but my comment got lost somehow. I realize from reading the comment threads that you and Denny disagree on translation and intrepretation. But I don’t understand what YOU think 1 Timothy 2:9-15 REALLY means. Can you explain in laymen’s terms, so I can understand what you’re saying :), what you think this passage really means? Thank you.

  29. Kevin Jones September 28, 2007 at 7:56 am #

    I appreciate ALL of your comments and I will take them all into consideration. Unlike Calvinism, I have not reached a conviction between egal. or comp. I guess the Lord is leading me to this now as He has done to the doctrines of grace and tongues. Thanks to you all and I will keep an eye on these blogs!

    God bless…

  30. Bryan L September 28, 2007 at 8:11 am #

    Thanks for the discussion Kevin and for the good challenging questions. Good luck in your studies.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  31. Benjamin A. September 28, 2007 at 10:01 am #

    Brian from #24:
    “Again Kevin, my belief is that Paul wrote to the reality of his day. It’s the reason we have commands to slaves and slave owners in the NT who were both part of the churches.”
    and-
    “But even though Paul wrote to a world that would in most cases see men as overseers, the principals of what Paul wrote on giving guidance to select an overseer can still easily be transferred over to a woman.”

    Brian, your statements here and others like these, make me question your understanding of Inspiration. Are you saying only the concepts of what is written is inspired or do you believe the very words to have been inspired?

    If you are of the conceptual inspiration camp, what guide lines do you employ to determine when and where you are allowed to “transfer” a certain theological concept or principle, as in the example above from ‘men’ to ‘women’? Is that purely subjective? Intuitive?

    Thanks,
    Benjamin

  32. Suzanne September 28, 2007 at 10:10 am #

    mlm,

    I will have to confess that I am not entirely sure what 1 Tim. 2:12 means. I am involved in a translation blog, and I tend to think first of translation, not interpretation.

    I depart from the norm a little more than most, in simply saying that some expressions in Greek are obscure of ambiguous. However, there is typically a range of possible meanings.

    However, as a translator, and having a fairly good background in both classical and Hellenistic Greek, I have a good sense of these possibilities.

    In my opinion, “authentein” cannot have a meaning that is related to proper authority at all. It has nothing like that sense.
    Both men and women are to live in “quietness”. There is no command for women to be quiet and men to be heard. It is a joint command earlier in 1 Tim.

    Men – no disputing, women – no pearls and braids, and don’t teach, usurping the man, but learn in submission and quietness.

    Submission and quietness is something which at different times is asked of both men and women.

    Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and learned from him in submission and quietness, she listened.

    Why this command? There are many theories, but more puzzling, why should a woman bear children?

    In 1 Cor. 7, Paul recommends that men and women stay single to better keep their minds on the the things of God.

    In the gospels, Christ says not to say that the womb that bore him was blessed but that those who obey God are blessed. In the gospels, this obedience to Christ is being just, it is not about women fulfilling their role as childbearers.

    In the gospels, men, that is the disciples, forsook their families, they did not support them, and women, Joanna and others served and supported the disciples from their own financial resources. In some way, men and women switched roles, or maybe roles as men and women, when in the presence of Jesus, is irrelevant. Think of Mary and Martha.

    However, Paul wrote in 1 Tim. that women were to not wear certain clothes, not take over from the men, have children, manage their house.

    Possibly women had decided that they should run things, or not have children, actually refuse sexual relations with their husbands, which in the days of no birth control, would be very tempting.

    I really don’t know. But the instructions of Paul from one letter to the next varies to a certain extent.

    Paul urges them all to submit to the authorities, to stay in the social order. What is the proper social order?

    Interesting, that for the reformers, they felt that the church and secular offices, were not differences of Christian authority, but were simply different occupations, some of secular government and some of Christian teaching.

    Are women able to be the presidents of universities in our social order? Yes. Can they teach Greek and Hebrew in the secular university? Yes. Then why not in seminary? What is the difference?

    Since there is still the issue of women possibly “taking over” from men, women in the church should work along with men, in the proper way.

    However, I most earnestly believe that everything in the scriptures instructs men to elevate women to equal roles in the church. I do not believe that women are designed as followers and men as leaders. I see no indication in the scriptures that there is this distinct design or intent by God.

    Every scripture points to the gifts of the spirit, and women were given the gifts as men were. This is contrary to what some complementarians believe, that women are given “their” gifts. The scriptures does not teach this, and most complementarians fall short of truly believing that women do not have the gifts of teaching and leading.

    As an older women and seminary president, Roberta Hestenes would be a good example, an earnest Christian woman using her gifts in a godly manner. I believe she is now retired. Younger women are given a more difficult time if they naturally fall into positions of Christian leadership because of their gifts.

    I could find more info on the “one woman man” later, maybe tonight.

    mil,

    I know this doesn’t completely answer your question, there are many books which interpret 1 Tim 2 for women, but I don’t have time to quote them this minute. My natural gift is really just examining the linguistic data and seeing if certain teachings do reflect the Greek scriptures honestly.

    I don’t believe that “woman should not have any authority over a man” is a scriptural teaching.

  33. Kyle Barrett September 28, 2007 at 11:51 am #

    Suzanne…

    Can translation and interpretation be divorced so cleanly? Many times translation is both art and science – not strictly science. The first part of your comment doesn’t seem to account for this. Could you explain that a little for me. Thanks.

    Blessings,
    Kyle Barrett

  34. Curt September 28, 2007 at 1:01 pm #

    While this discussion is interesting, since neither author chose to debate the biblical evidence, I’d like to comment on their original points.

    David Gushee claimed: “I believe these types of questions expose weaknesses in complementarianism that cannot be mended from within that paradigm.” To establish this, Gushee must show not only that there are problems, but that these problems are not being resolved. He doesn’t even begin to do this. The fact that complementarians find the questions compelling, but answerable, shows that Gushee probably needs to extend his research.

    Denny Burk responded by showing problems with Gushee’s logic—very accurately, I would say. Since when does poor or inconsistent application of a principle invalidate that principle? Because we don’t consistently love each other in a Christ-like way, does that mean the principle is somehow flawed? Or, closer to the topic, because some church leaders abuse their authority, does that mean that the concept of church leadership is not valid?

    Again, Gushee needs to show that his concerns cannot be addressed by consistent complementarians. But he only claims this conclusion, he doesn’t establish it.

    Gushee’s 2nd point is problematic. Does Gushee really want Christian leaders to be as uncompromising on applications of biblical principles as they are of the biblical principles themselves? Does he consistently apply this to other areas of church life? Does the fact that churches have varying practices regarding the Lord’s Supper indicate that the biblical principle of observing the Lord’s Supper is therefore invalid? Because Christian teachers have different opinions on what the text means by a “one-woman man” does that mean we simply throw out the criterion altogether?

    I have much I would like to say concerning the biblical arguments. Contrary to mim’s point above, complementarians are teaching what they believe to be taught by God in Scripture, not their own original principles. Regardless, Gushee fails to even attempt to support his conclusion, and uses dangerous reasoning in the process. If poor following of principles or inconsistent application negates a principle . . . then there are no valid principles. Where does this leave Christianity?

    No matter what view we hold, we need to recognize poor argumentation.

  35. scott September 28, 2007 at 1:31 pm #

    Thanks Curt. Good points.

  36. Suzanne September 28, 2007 at 2:07 pm #

    Curt,

    Thanks for your comment. It is to the point.

    On biblical principles, we would be lightyears ahead if we both respected others as “teaching what they believe to be taught by God in Scripture, not their own original principles.”

    I do accept that complementarians teach what they believe to be in scripture. I present, as well as I can, what I believe to be in scripture. I can only hope that others respect this as scripture-based teaching.

  37. Bryan L September 28, 2007 at 2:38 pm #

    Hey Benjamin,

    You said,
    “Are you saying only the concepts of what is written is inspired or do you believe the very words to have been inspired?”

    I don’t think it is either or for me because some theological issues do fall down to particular words. But I don’t follow a view that sees every little word as literally chosen by God. Looking at textual criticism and how scribes in the early church handled the documents causes me to think that the early church didn’t view them that way and so I don’t see any reason to either. If those that were first in charge of handling them and handing them down felt that it was ok to change certain words or their order, or delete certain things, or make the grammar more understandable, or just make adjustments because of theological controversies then it tells me they probably didn’t have a view of inspiration that thought every word was literally chosen of God. In the end if a theological issue rises or falls based on one word in one passage somewhere then I think we should reconsider that theological belief or how tightly we hold to it.

    “If you are of the conceptual inspiration camp, what guide lines do you employ to determine when and where you are allowed to “transfer” a certain theological concept or principle, as in the example above from ‘men’ to ‘women’? Is that purely subjective? Intuitive?”

    Well Ben part of the thing is doing your best to really understand the culture and world of that day. We have to first understand what Paul and the writers of the NT were saying in their day and what it meant in that world, before we can really understand how to transfer it to our day. Is it subjective? Yeah, but I think all theology is somewhat, or else we wouldn’t have so many different views on every little thing. I’m not saying that because it is subjective anything goes, far from it.
    There are some who’ve tried to come up with a more objective, scientific approach to knowing how to see what the movement was within scripture and how certain concepts or principals transfer forward. William Webb wrote a book about that called “Slaves, Women and Homosexuals – Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis” that is really good at this, and was very influential in my own thinking. Of course there will be those who cry that it’s too complex, that the average person reading the Bible would not be able to do it or any other number of reasons why that particular hermeneutic should not be applied on the Bible. I Howard Marshall also has a short book on the topic called “Beyond the Bible – Moving From Scripture to Theology” which has responses by Kevin Vanhoozer and Stanley Porter, but he doesn’t give an actual full blown methodology like Webb does.

    Hope that helps to see where I’m coming from.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  38. Kevin Jones September 28, 2007 at 4:28 pm #

    Bryan,

    That does help. It helps me see that there is little hope in having an “open bible” theology discussion with you.

    If you do not believe that every word is inspired then which words are inspired? Sounds like an opening for relative “truth”. You may believe one word is inspired but I may not.

    What about “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the father but by me.” In your view, some scribe could have changed it from “Good works is the way, the truth and the life. No person comes to the father but by good works.”

    Where does your view stop? Which words are from God and which words are not from God?

  39. Bryan L September 28, 2007 at 5:10 pm #

    “It helps me see that there is little hope in having an “open bible” theology discussion with you.”

    Then why are you still trying to have an “open bible” theology discussion with me Kevin?

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  40. Kevin Jones September 28, 2007 at 5:46 pm #

    I am not. I just was making a point that if you do not believe in the inerrant, inspired word of God then, in your view, you can pick and choose what you believe. That is all.

    The questions were rhetorical because there is no plausible answer.

  41. Suzanne September 28, 2007 at 6:19 pm #

    Kevin,

    Would we, as Bible believers, have turned a runaway slave in to the authorities?

  42. Kevin Jones September 28, 2007 at 6:44 pm #

    Yes, if the slave was running away illegaly. If slavery were illegal then NO.

  43. mlm September 28, 2007 at 6:49 pm #

    Kevin,

    Are you sure of what you’re saying?

    By your logic, you would have turned in Jewish refugees hiding from the Nazis.

    By your logic, Israel would have been defeated because Rahab would have turned in the spies. And Jesus wouldn’t have been born…since He came through Rahab’s line.

    Are you SURE you’re saying what you want to say?

  44. mlm September 28, 2007 at 6:53 pm #

    Curt,

    Did you read my response to Denny in comment #2? You are making the same mistake in reading comprehension that Denny is.

    You commented: “Denny Burk responded by showing problems with Gushee’s logic—very accurately, I would say. Since when does poor or inconsistent application of a principle invalidate that principle? Because we don’t consistently love each other in a Christ-like way, does that mean the principle is somehow flawed?”

    Gushee isn’t citing poor or inconsistent application the same way you are…by the people in the pews. He’s chastising the one’s who’ve penned the law and are indoctrinating others in and enforcing it upon laypeople. To carry out your illustration (more in line with Gushee’s article), you’d have to say, “What if CHRIST didn’t love others?? How then could He ask us to love others in a Christ-like way?”

  45. Kevin Jones September 28, 2007 at 7:01 pm #

    I am not talking about in Paul’s days. I am talking about NOW. I didn’t live back then. The proper thing to do is turn in the illegal party. Otherwise, you are a partner in their crime.

    Does God use sin in His plan? Of course! See Judas. Do I want to be party to a sin in His plan…not if I can help it. Were the Nazis doing something that was considered ethical in their day? Was slavery the “norm” in Paul’s day…yes.

    If we had legal slavery in the U.S. today then I would have to abide by my faith. If I could not, in good faith toward God, help the slave escape then I would turn them in. This is not an easy issue but we must all go by our own convictions. My conviction is God’s Word is inspired in its’ entirety.

  46. Bryan L September 28, 2007 at 7:01 pm #

    Kevin,

    I understand where you are coming from and how you would like to caricature my view but it’s not that simple. Have you ever considered how Paul changed OT verses to suit his context? Have you considered how the Septuagint was the dominant Bible of the NT authors and the early church and how much it differs from the Hebrew Bible? Have you considered how the scribes in the early church handled the manuscripts themselves? I’m just saying it doesn’t appear that anyone was believing in some sort of inspiration that saw every single word as fixed.

    Sue brought up slavery. What do you do with that? Where would people harboring runaway slaves in the civil war have turned in the Bible for guidance especially when Paul sent a runaway slave back to his master. I mean you can quiz me for as long as you want on my views and how I would handle this or that and then criticize them but what are your alternatives? What are your answers to the questions I’ve asked? If you are just going to say I don’t know or I haven’t figured it out yet then it may not be a good idea to just write off what I’m saying.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  47. mlm September 28, 2007 at 7:03 pm #

    Denny:

    Since you have hung your hat so to speak on this passage in First Timothy 2, does this mean you and your pastors do not allow women to braid their hair or wear gold or pearls (verse 9)?

    I highly doubt it. Which goes to show that you, too, have intrepeted passages according to cultural context, picking and choosing which verses/Pauline commands still apply to us today.

    The gasping sound you hear might be Benjamin A and Kevin Jones fainting at the thought that anyone, much less DENNY, might consider ignoring a verse on the grounds of cultural context. 🙂

  48. mlm September 28, 2007 at 7:07 pm #

    Kevin,

    Again, are you SURE? (See my comment #42?) I’m really trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here, and believe that I’m just misunderstanding your position.

    Thank God Rahab had the guts to not only break the law but to do so at the risk of facing immediate death for “aiding the enemy.”

  49. Kevin Jones September 28, 2007 at 7:11 pm #

    mlm & Bryan L,

    It all boils down to the heart of the matter. Are there some women with good intentions getting into ministry positions of leadership over men? I think so. Are there some women that are going into ministry with less than good intentions? I think so.

    Is it the same with men? I think so.

    So, what am I saying? I don’t know…but I think so. 🙂

  50. mlm September 28, 2007 at 7:13 pm #

    Kevin,

    Well, at least you’re thinking! 🙂

  51. Kevin Jones September 28, 2007 at 7:16 pm #

    mlm,

    Rahab did what she did by faith. If you can do whatever you do according to faith, then let it be so.

    Did God put it in Rahab’s heart to break the law? I think so. Did Rahab get saved in the process…yes! Again, it boils down to the faith that God gives you.

    When you are a foreign missionary and it is illegal for you to be there, then do you stay or go back home? According to your faith is what you do.

  52. Kevin Jones September 28, 2007 at 7:20 pm #

    If women are dressing up to make a show…then it is sin. Same with men. God is interested in your heart…not the outward appearance.

  53. Suzanne September 28, 2007 at 7:26 pm #

    Kevin,

    My conviction is God’s Word is inspired in its’ entirety.

    So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matt. 7:12

    Ca you reconcile turning in a runaway slave with this verse? If the slave were a girl, for example, would she want to be raped.

  54. Kevin Jones September 28, 2007 at 7:31 pm #

    Suzanne & mlm,

    What story in the bible (about a runaway slave) are you referring to?

  55. Kevin Jones September 28, 2007 at 7:39 pm #

    I am drugged up right now due to being sick and may say some strange things. But, if you are referring to Onesimus in Philemon then consider the following:

    1. Onesimus just got saved in prison under Paul’s witnessing.
    2. Philemon (his master) was also a christian.
    3. Paul technically redeemed Onesimus from whatever he owed to Philemon.
    4. This story is a picture of our own redemption paid by Jesus Christ.

    I do not believe Paul would have done it had he not personally known Philemon. But, again, Paul had the faith that what he was doing was the right thing to do.

  56. scott September 28, 2007 at 7:49 pm #

    mlm,
    regarding the comments about braided hair and jewelry in 1 Tim 2, it does seem quite contradictory that complementarians hold so firmly to 1 Tim 2:11-13 regarding women’s submission, while they seem to disregard verses 9-10 about braided hair.

    until you read them. honestly, read them.

    there is clearly a culturally specific application, and a general timeless principle here behind each of these verses. we are not allowed to disregard ANY verse in the Bible. rather, we should look for the timeless principles, and be mindful how to apply them today. in the case of braided hair, this is clearly a culturally specific example of the timeless principle: that women should dress modestly, focusing on inner, rather than outer beauty. the applications may look a bit different today, since braided hair and jewelry are not associated with prostitution. but there is a principle behind it we cannot dismiss.

    now with verses 11-13, there is an application and a timeless principle. the applications include a woman not teaching or having authority over a man. but there is a timeless principle behind this, and paul mentions it in verse 13, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” the principle is male headship, as created by God, before the fall. it is spoken of in many other passages, and ultimately is modeled after the relationships within the Trinity.

    that a man has authority over his wife is part of the principle, not the application. applications still need to be determined, as culturally appropriate, but within the bounds of the guiding principles.

    also, please no more comparing slavery with complementarianism. there are big differences between the way the Bible talks about slavery and male headship. while speaking to those found in such a situation, the Bible does NOT promote the establishment and principles of slavery. in contrast, the Bible DOES specifically promote the establishment and principles of male headship, in many places in both the old and new testament, and founds the concepts of headship, authority and submission in the image of God Himself, the relationships of the Trinity, and God’s order of creation.

  57. mlm September 28, 2007 at 7:49 pm #

    Kevin,

    I’m not talking about a runaway slave…I only mentioned Jews and Rahab.

    But as far as the “dress code” found in First Timothy, how can you write that off to “God looks at our heart” and not take it literally word for word the way you do the rest of the passage as it relates to complentarianism? Also, when do you decide to use your own discretion in reading the Bible (God looks at the heart) and when to take the verse literally?

  58. scott September 28, 2007 at 7:58 pm #

    Kevin,
    you seem to be saying some strange things about turning in runaway slaves. Paul’s example of Onesimus and Philemon is great, but certainly does not apply to all situations. i am sure you understand this, but it is very easy to misunderstand some of your previous comments, which look like you are willing to support the establishment of slavery in modern times?? i’m sure its not true, but some things you have said are confusing.

  59. Kevin Jones September 28, 2007 at 8:03 pm #

    mlm,

    I am not a comp. or and egal. as of right now. I have not reached a conviction in that area. That is why I have not been discussing those views.

    I Tim. 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: 6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling

    Obviously there was a problem with the women wearing things to “show off”. Do you think that could be a problem today?

    Is it up to the pastor how he handles the matter? Yep.

  60. mlm September 28, 2007 at 8:04 pm #

    Scott:

    How convenient for you that some verses are culturally relevant and some are not. No mind that they are side by side in the same letter to the same group of people. But I suppose we wouldn’t want our ladies looking homely, now would we? So we justify our own conclusions by shrouding them in very theological language ([These instructions on a woman’s appearance] “is clearly a culturally specific example of the timeless principle”). Of course, the instructions on a woman’s behavior aren’t to be reexamined according to culture…only the instructions pertaining to her looks. Hmmm….

    Your defense for sticking to your complementarian guns is that Paul cited Genesis. You quote: verse 13, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.”

    Does this Genesis verse describe headship/submission & authority? What it descibes is BIRTH ORDER. (Just because I was born first doesn’t make me the ruler of my siblings!) Why wouldn’t it make more sense to intrepret this reference as meaning that women ARE allowed to speak but should wait their turn?

    [Or was Eve mute? I thought she was given the same role and charge as Adam: be fruitful and multiply, subdue and rule the earth.]

    Notably, women are to allow the men to speak first, since the men came first. Then if women would like to say something, have at it…in a reverential manner of course.
    Which, incidentally, is the way we’re ALL commanded to speak…if we ever do talk. Aren’t we supposed to be quick to listen and slow to speak? Or is that admonition just for women too?

    From what I’ve learned, Paul was addressing a particular situation. Timothy needed help maintaining order among the believers and Paul gave some advice. Among his advice, he told this particular group of women who were making a fuss and causing a disturbance by always talking and asking questions to just sit and listen. If they still had questions after the teaching, they could ask their husbands about it later.

  61. Kevin Jones September 28, 2007 at 8:09 pm #

    Scott,

    I do not see how using a hypothetical situation says that I approve of slavery. The point I was trying to make was that we should obey all laws unless we can, by faith, break the law…such as being a christian missionary in a country where it is illegal.

    I agree that Paul’s situation will not apply to all situations. That was my point. mlm & Suzanne were trying to say that my view of the bible being inerrant and inspired would mean that I literaly follow what Paul did. The Bible does not say “Thou shalt turn in all runaway slaves to the proper authorities.”

  62. Kevin Jones September 28, 2007 at 8:16 pm #

    mlm,

    you said:

    “Does this Genesis verse describe headship/submission & authority? What it descibes is BIRTH ORDER. (Just because I was born first doesn’t make me the ruler of my siblings!) Why wouldn’t it make more sense to intrepret this reference as meaning that women ARE allowed to speak but should wait their turn?”

    So, if a woman is the Pastor of a church, does she need to have a man get up and speak first then she can preach?

  63. Paul September 28, 2007 at 8:33 pm #

    “I am not. I just was making a point that if you do not believe in the inerrant, inspired word of God then, in your view, you can pick and choose what you believe. That is all.”

    Keven, isn’t this a non sequitur? Even if one doesn’t believe in inerrancy or verbal plenary inspiration, one can still have a conversation over the bible (after all it is always a book), and can even find it authoritative. But what you posit about Brian ending up with “picking and choosing” seems to be a weird form of nihilism some inerrancy and papalist folks share. There must be an inerrant authority or all is lost!

  64. Paul September 28, 2007 at 8:45 pm #

    I’m sorry I spelt your name wrong Kevin!

    Can I try and answer your question for mlm? I don’t know what mlm would say, but I believe any pastor is following Jesus in speaking as a pastor. Thats why they can absolve sins etc.

  65. scott September 28, 2007 at 8:48 pm #

    How convenient for you that some verses are culturally relevant and some are not. No mind that they are side by side in the same letter to the same group of people.

    did you read the verses? it is very clear, in both cases there are specific applications, as well as the principle behind them. the applications may be re-assessed, but must be done so within the bounds of the guiding principle which does NOT change.

    for example, the timeless principle is stated in verse 9 “women dress modestly” and is contrasted with a specific example in verse 10, “not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.”

    Does this Genesis verse describe headship/submission & authority? What it describes is BIRTH ORDER.
    well, neither adam nor eve were “born”, but that is neither here nor there 🙂 does the genesis account describe headship, submission, and authority? you have to think a bit like a first century Jew to get it, but yes it does. at least Paul obviously thought there was meaning there that spoke to authority and submission. if you read the stuff from CBMW about the genesis account there is really a lot there, for those who are willing to see it.

    the principles for male headship show up in many places, too many to list here. but here is one interesting one:
    1 Cor 11:3 “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”

    The head of Christ is God. Did you know that Christ submits eternally to God the Father? This could be plain enough just from the fact that one is Father and the other is Son (as opposed to Brother), but here is 1 Corinthians 15:26-28 to make it more plain:
    The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

    Just as there is equality in essence and Deity between the Father and Son, there is also loving headship, authority and submission. Eternally. This is our model for manhood and womanhood. This is the principle that does not change. As I said, applications may look different over time, but the principle itself is non-negotiable.

  66. d. h. rogers September 28, 2007 at 10:23 pm #

    Precisely because I am an inerrantist, I have come to the conclusion that a woman may preach and teach in a church setting as long as it is not in arrogant defiance of her responsibilities to respect her husband. Her preaching and teaching must be done in coordination with her role of responsibility as a wife. The Gospel must not be seen by outsiders as giving a spiritual excuse to disrupt marriage roles and expressions.

    The Bible has examples of women teaching men (Huldah; Priscilla; possibly even Phoebe, if she delivered the letter of the Romans to the Roman Christians; Junia likely ministered as an apostle alongside Andronicus – her husband?)

    The Timothy passage could be seen as being about a wife (“gyne”, note the singular noun) not teaching or ruling over a husband (“andros” also note the singular noun, not the plural noun – men). The mention of Adam and Eve may suggest a marriage context, as well as, the reference about the “childbearing” in 2:15.

    Why would the men (the husbands?) be told not to pray without wrath and dissension (vs. 8)? Could it come from their response of anger at their wives acting disrespectfully during the worship by claiming a spirituality independent of their marriages? Paul then addresses the women (the wives) to display themselves outwardly in a godly way and to receive instruction with quietness (cf. 1 Cor. 14:35). Then in vs. 11 note the shift to the singular noun “gyne” and its continued use through the rest of the verses 11-15.

    Paul was addressing in a personal letter to Timothy a particular situation where the Gospel’s reputation was being threatened by a disruptive situation possibly fostered by the false teachers.

    The socio-cultural historical context issue addressed in the passage is regarding disruptions in the congregation in Ephesus. Therefore to deal with that, those wives were to not publicly act as spiritual leaders in defiance of the cultural assumptions about the role of husbands. If they did the Gospel would have been seen as only a women’s lib movement rather than a call to discipleship in Christ.

    The timeless principle is that a wife must respect her husband in her conduct. Any ministry of preaching/teaching/speaking (as evidenced by Huldah and Priscilla and prophetesses in the church) must not demonstrate independence from the marriage.

    Before 1 Timothy was adopted as Scripture for all churches it was written as a response to a particular person at a particular church in a particular situation. All interpretation and applicational extrapolation for today must begin first at that point.

    If other scriptures show a woman teaching a man or men, and this one seems to teach a blanket condemnation of any woman teaching any man, then we have a contradictory teaching in the Scripture and inerrancy is threatened. However, does this passage actually teach a blanket condemnation or does it instead show a time and society contexualized and specific role (wife to husband) situation?

    Inerrancy requires an interpretation which would coordinate with the other passages.

  67. Suzanne September 28, 2007 at 10:41 pm #

    The Philodemus quote is a bit difficult, since it is, as I said, a fragment, and the phrase is a quote from an unknown source, so undated, I would presume.

    But the phrase is “fighting with powerful(?) lords(?)”

    διαμαχοντοι και συν αυθεντ[ου]σιν αν[αξιν]

    Since anax is not in BDAG, I am guessing that it is not a Hellenistic term at all.

    My guess is that it is a Homeric term, but that is just a guess. But maybe the word isn’t anax, it is reconstructed also.

    The entire fragment is not translated but Hubbell gives a precis of sorts. It is all available on the internet, so you can translate this yourself and see if authentein has a positive or negative meaning. But it most certainly is not translated as those in authority, as Kostenberger claims. “Those in authority occurs further down in the piece.

    I think that if this quote is being used to shore up the translation “exercise authority” then it should be properly translated, possibly by a secular and non partisan scholar. But I don’t really think that anything new will be revealed from a fragment.

    Philodemi Volumina Rhetorica

    and

    The Rhetorica Philodemus.

    Do you have the reference?

    My guess is that it is a more or less neutral term referring to the exercise of sheer might in this case, a secular power with no moral right attached to it. That is a concession BTW, it could mean usurpers – who knows?

  68. Suzanne September 28, 2007 at 10:42 pm #

    I put this quote here because comments are being moderated on the previous post on this topic. I haven’t had time to follow the conversation here, but I have found the quote on which all this hangs and it is, as I said a fragment.

  69. Suzanne September 28, 2007 at 10:55 pm #

    I have lost the thread but I thought that Kevin was talking about turning in a runaway slave. Sorry if you didn’t mean that Kevin, – you wrote,

    If we had legal slavery in the U.S. today then I would have to abide by my faith. If I could not, in good faith toward God, help the slave escape then I would turn them in. This is not an easy issue but we must all go by our own convictions. My conviction is God’s Word is inspired in its’ entirety.

    Denny,

    Here are the links, but they are also in the moderated comment.

    Rhetorica of Philodemus

    and

    Philodemi Volumina Rhetorica

    So, this is it. This is the one piece of evidence that authentein means “exercising authority” and not even one complementarian author has yet figured out that the quote has been improperly attributed this meaning, since the first study was completed.

  70. Suzanne September 29, 2007 at 2:28 am #

    By way of explanation, Denny commented to me,

    “Once again, I would direct readers to Kostenberger’s study. It’s very convincing.”

    I don’t know if I have read the right article by Kostenberger. However, I read this one.

    http://biblicalfoundations.org/pdf/Studies12.pdf

    In the footnotes, Köstenberger provides the only two pieces of lexical evidence which he thins are relevant. He says,

    41These two references are: Philodemus (1st cent. BCE): “Ought we not to consider that men who incur the enmity of those in authority (συν αυθεντουσιν) are villains, and hated by both gods and men”; and BGU 1208 (27 BCE): “I exercised authority (Καμου αυθεντηκοτος) over him, and he consented to
    provide for Catalytis the Boatman on terms of full fare, within the hour.” For full
    Greek texts and translations, see Baldwin, “Appendix 2” in Women in the Church, 275–76. (in the PDF page 13)

    The first citation is a reference to Philodemus. However, authentein is definitely not translated as “those in authority” but as “powerful lords” or something of the kind. Several lines later, there is a reference to “those in authority” but not in connection to authentein. It seems there has been a mix up.

    The second citation it the one that Grudem suggests should be translated as “compel”. Therefore, in spite of Köstenberger’s footnote, neither of these two citations gives the obvious meaning “exercise authority”. Whatever the meaning is, I would like to see it properly cited.

  71. Kevin Jones September 29, 2007 at 6:34 am #

    Suzanne,

    In #40 why did you ask me:

    “Would we, as Bible believers, have turned a runaway slave in to the authorities?”

  72. Denny Burk September 29, 2007 at 8:47 am #

    Suzanne (in #69),

    Kostenberger’s essay is titled “A Complex Sentence: The Syntax of 1 Timothy 2:12,” and it’s in a book titled Women in the Church: An Analysis and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9-15.

    It’s a must-read.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  73. Kyle Barrett September 29, 2007 at 9:25 am #

    Suzanne…

    I commented in #33 originally but it went to Denny’s spam folder so it wasn’t approved. I was wondering if you might have a chance to take a look at that.

    Blessings…
    Kyle Barrett

  74. Bryan L September 29, 2007 at 10:33 am #

    Scott, aren’t you advocating subordinationism and hasn’t the church through history considered that unorthodox?

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  75. Suzanne September 29, 2007 at 12:25 pm #

    Denny,

    Unless you can assure me that Andreas has corrected his citation of these two references, it is not worth my time and money to acquire the book. Basic accuracy must be attended to.

    If you have the book, then it would be helpful at this point to cite how Andreas deals with Baldwin’s study.

    I have to assume at this point, given your reluctance to respond, that there is no evidence to support the meaning “exercise authority” for authentein.

    To whom will Jesus say,

    “Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.” Luke 19:17

    I claim that God gives authority to the one who is faithful in a very little.

    You claim that God gives authority to the male.

  76. Suzanne September 29, 2007 at 12:33 pm #

    Kevin,

    I don’t really know what you intended by your remarks so I apologize for speaking out of turn on this issue.

    Some Christians taught that those who wanted to abolish slavery did not hold to the inerrancy of scripture. I was reminded of that yesterday, as a passing thought.

  77. Denny Burk September 29, 2007 at 12:33 pm #

    Suzanne,

    If that is your assumption, then your assumption would incorrect. The simple truth is that I have spent a lot of time going back and forth on this thread, and I simply don’t have time to keep it up. Yes, there are alternate translations of the passages you cite. I could get them for you and type them out, but I’m not going to. You can read them in the appendix 7 of Wayne Grudem’s book, Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth: An Analysis of More Than 100 Disputed Questions. What you’ll find if you survey the over 300 uses of this term (all of them are listed in Grudem) is that “exercise authority” is a possible rendering for some texts within the timeframe you’ve cited. Let me encourage you to investigate some of that evidence.

    For those who have been watching this thread, I am going to have to exit at this point. It’s becoming too time consuming. There are plenty of answers to the questions that Suzanne is asking, most of which are provided in the Grudem book I cited above. I hope that interested readers will take time to investigate this matter fully.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  78. Curt September 29, 2007 at 1:11 pm #

    mim,

    In response to your comment #2, yes, I specifically responded (briefly) to your point in my comment #34. Did you read the whole comment? 🙂

    Your point only makes sense if the view of complementarians is something that they concocted on their own. However, most complementarians teach what they do because they’re convinced that it is the teaching of Scripture. Just as most egalitarians teach what they do because they feel it accurately reflects Scripture.

    Obviously, this means that the primary debate is an exegetical one. (One which some in this thread are pursuing. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time right now to give that kind of debate the attention it deserves.) But to simply claim that one of these viewpoints is entirely the creation of those that hold it (i.e. not scriptural) is very demeaning to the character of complementarians and is circular reasoning. You are assuming your conclusion in making your argument.

    Let me make it clear what I mean:

    1. If complementarians are drawing their teaching from the Word of God, then your point is not valid.

    2. If it can be shown that complementarians are not accurately drawing their teaching from Scripture, then you have removed the entire basis for their viewpoint.

    3. And why is the above point true? Because complemetarians consistently appeal to Scripture and claim that their view is the most scriptural one. This, again, makes your point invalid because complementarians are not the authors of their viewpoint.

    Building on Suzanne’s comment #36, if we don’t all come to the point where we stop creating motives for each other and instead simply lovingly and frankly seek the best biblical interpretation, we will never come to any consensus on this issue. We need to hold our views firmly while still being willing to be convinced otherwise by solid scriptural exegesis. If we all are unwilling to be proven wrong, then this controversy (and many others) will never end. As a wise person once said, “If you never have to change your mind, you’re probably not using it.”

    Blessings,
    Curt

  79. Kevin Jones September 29, 2007 at 2:05 pm #

    Curt,

    Amen! 🙂

  80. Suzanne September 29, 2007 at 4:05 pm #

    Curt,

    I want to thank you for perceiving in me the desire to find the best biblical interpretation. I do accept that complementarians are teaching what they believe to be God’s word. I perceive the debate to be exegetical and would welcome a response to this approach.

    I am asking Denny to graciously post this comment of mine. He has made the decision to close any further discussion on the meaning of authentein here and I respect his decision.

    Thanks Denny for your thorough patience and honesty throughout this debate. I hope the attention to exegesis can continue elsewhere. I blog at

    Suzanne’s Bookshelf as well as the Better Bibles Blog.

  81. Kevin Jones September 29, 2007 at 4:37 pm #

    Suzanne,

    As far as slavery goes…just because there was slavery back in those days does not mean that the Bible condones slavery. It was practiced and it was a fact.

    The people that accused the people that opposed slavery of saying the Bible is not inspired were wrong. I have not seen a Biblical passage that approves of slavery. I have seen where God’s will was that a person end up in slavery and come out of it only to glorify God (Joseph).

    Gen 50:19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

  82. Suzanne September 29, 2007 at 4:47 pm #

    Thanks Kevin,

    I don’t see hierarchy in the creation account preceding the curse, so I regard hierarchy between men and women on the basis of gender alone to be somewhat along similar lines as slavery.

  83. scott September 29, 2007 at 10:06 pm #

    Aren’t you advocating subordinationism and hasn’t the church through history considered that unorthodox?
    No, I am not advocating subordinationism. That is the teaching that Christ is less than God, or not fully God.

    What I am saying is that there is ontological equality within the Trinity, but economic differences. There is equality is essence, but there is also authority and submission within the Trinity. We need to renew our minds regarding what authority and submission are, because we have a tendency to think of one as greater and the other as inferior. But this is not the case, as demonstrated in the Trinity. If you search the scriptures for the evidence, it is clear that Christ submits to the Father, from all eternity, for all eternity. Not once is it the other way around.

    It is probably the more common Trinitarian understanding since Nicea, but has come under attack in recent times. More could be said in defense of this position, but others have done a pretty good job elsewhere, I won’t attempt to repeat here.

  84. Bryan L September 29, 2007 at 11:09 pm #

    Scott,

    You said,
    “What I am saying is that there is ontological equality within the Trinity, but economic differences.”

    And earlier you said, “Did you know that Christ submits eternally to God the Father?”

    If I’m not mistaken though the economic trinity is not eternal. It has to do with the roles of the Godhead revealed in history. So this would mean that his subordination is not eternal. Please correct me if I’m wrong but that is my understanding of how the immanent and economic trinity work. And to claim that there is eternal submission to the father is to claim there is submission in the immanent trinity (which is eternal) which would mean subordinationism. Again please correct me if I’m wrong. Thanks.

    Blessing,
    Bryan L

  85. Bryan L September 29, 2007 at 11:40 pm #

    Good word Curt.

    Kevin you said,
    “As far as slavery goes…just because there was slavery back in those days does not mean that the Bible condones slavery…I have not seen a Biblical passage that approves of slavery.”

    I don’t think people believe the Bible condones slavery because there was slavery back in those days. There is still slavery in parts of the world today and people don’t believe the Bible supports it just because it exists.

    What makes people think the Bible condones slavery is because it gives guidelines for how masters should treat their slaves and slaves should treat their masters. And it’s from the beginning, in the Torah, all the way down into Paul’s letters.

    Not only that but the Law puts a lesser value on the life of a slave. If a slave is beaten and dies the master is to be punished (but not capital punishment). If the master beats a slave and he dies after a few days then the master is not to be punished because the slave is the owners property. Lex Talionis did not apply to the slaves like it did to other people. If a slave is beaten and looses a tooth or an eyes he actually goes free, the master doesn’t have to loose a tooth or an eye too. This is in the Bible. This is God’s law.

    Move over into the NT and we find Paul saying “Slaves obey your masters, masters treat you slaves justly and fairly.” He doesn’t say masters let your slaves go or slaves run away if you can. This is why people believe the Bible condones slavery.

    And just as we see the Bible saying “slaves obey your masters, master treat your slaves fair”, in the same area we have Paul saying “Wives submit to your husbands, husbands love your wives.” Sounds similar to me. What’s the difference?

    This is why people believe the Bible condones slavery, because it gives specific guidelines for operating within the system and doesn’t seem to try to abolish it, even in the churches (btw do you think there were any “pastors” that were also slaves?)

    Yet Christians were still able to find within the Bible the principal that all people were equal before God and that this principal overrode the commands to slaves and masters and that slavery should be abolished. They fought against Christians that used the Bible to argue that slavery was part of God’s plan. And the ones arguing against slavery were the ones going beyond scripture, they were considered the liberals!

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  86. Costas E. Ioannou September 30, 2007 at 3:07 am #

    The socio-cultural historical context does not invalidate the need for leadership and order in the family, the church, the state and other societal institutions and movements THEN AS WELL AS TODAY. One should also underline that the socio-cultural factor is often the “broad” rather than the “narrow” way and that God’s ways often stand in stark contrast to such norms, THEN as well as NOW. We should therefore be careful in our hermeneutic approach as we input this context because—it should be very clear—today’s socio-cultural norms seek to superimpose themselves on the church, otherwise we risk socio-cultural contagion and spiritual decline or worse (e.g. the appointment of a homosexual “bishop” by the Episcopalian “House of Bishops” a few years ago).

    The Old Testament does have clear examples (Deborrah, etc.) as well as whole books (Esther, etc.) of God using godly women to accomplish His purposes. I’m sure most Christians agree that God our loving Father wants to be glorified in our lives, loves us to be with Him in a heart-to-heart relationship and wants us to do HIS WILL. It should be clear that the godly submission principle–be it in the family, the church, in society, etc.–does not stand in opposition to doing the will of God otherwise God would be ordering us to violate His own will which is of course nonsense. God is not immoral and does not instruct us to become immoral either!

    We, the men in our families and in the church , often fail to provide godly leadership and God uses women (remember Paul’s saying “… that I may BY ALL MEANS save ….”) to accomplish His purposes in our lives and the lives of others: the needs are there and they are very real and often very tragic. For example, as I’m sure all Christians who now their Bible will remember, Prisca and her husband led an eminent scholar–Apollo–to Christ by showing the way and explaining to Apollo things that he did not know. We also remember Paul urging Christian women to lead godly lives (what an eminent and wonderful way to preach CHRIST and teach Christian truth!) in order to help bring their husbands to Christ! Well, this is God using women in the family or in a friendly relationship (remember “where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my Name ..”) to do His will. God wants the parents to act as a leadership team (remember “honor your father and mother”) but a family’s core leadership team has only two persons on board. If the husband and wife are firm in their differing opinions and if the husband’s position is not immoral then the wife should submit to her husband rather than go Frank Sinatra’s “I did it my way”. That would be the highway. Why risk damaging the relationship with her husband? Why, worse still, split up the family? And fundamentally why disobey God? This position DOES NOT emphasize order over and above the need to do something (e.g. Abigail, etc.) about the painful needs of those around us and it DOES NOT emphasize order over the need to do the will of God. It does involve the exercise of judgment and initiative (i.e. core leadership skills) in the context of the family.

    Before the Egalitarian replies to this I would like him or her to answer the following 4+ questions(!):

    1. Does God want Christians–according to the Bible–to obey anyone? Who is this anyone and what is the basis and source of their authority? CEOs? Chiefs of the Joint Staff? Tax authorities? Traffic regulators? Fashion designers (Yes! Really (!) why not–depending on the leadership paradigm employed–? Parents? But not husbands?

    2. Has the change in the socio-cultural context rendered God’s admonitions obsolete or have today’s socio-cultural values (Hollywood, “liberal” academic and media elite, etc. WHAT ELSE OOZES FROM FROM THEM?) superimposed themselves on sections of the church?

    One should not think that these questions are unfair because we are trying to probe or poke contradictions to discover what is biblical.

    God is not limited by the failure of men to lead or to do His will. In response to David Gushee, there is no internal contradiction in encouraging all (men as well as women) to come to our Father (remember the tearing down of walls …) to seek God’s will and calling in their lives.

  87. Suzanne September 30, 2007 at 11:56 am #

    Kyle #33

    Can translation and interpretation be divorced so cleanly? Many times translation is both art and science – not strictly science. The first part of your comment doesn’t seem to account for this. Could you explain that a little for me. Thanks.

    There are different translation philosophies, and I am not sure that there is greater spiritual value in one over the other. Sometimes it really is a matter of personal choice. However, my taste runs to formal equivalence. Here is my translation of 1 Cor. 13.

    So artistically, I prefer the more formal style of translation. I also respect the policy behind the King James version, to not provide interpretation that goes beyond dealing with the meaning of the Greek and Hebrew words which are in the manuscripts.

    In the KJV this meant that certain verses remain obscure. For example, 1 Cor. 11:10 was,

    “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.”

    Is it an art to take this expression “power” and make it into a “symbol of authortiy”? Yes, that might be an allowable translation. The word “exousia” was used a couple of times in Greek to refer to the crowns of a king and his wife, the queen.

    But, has this expression “exousia” ever been used in Greek to refer to wearing a token of being under someone else’s authority. No, not even once. To do so, would mean that you have to take the word “power” and make it mean “under authority” or “submission” – the opposite of power. There is no possible way the Greek can mean that.

    So, somewhere along the line, those who are familiar with Greek as a language have to speak up and say that a certain interpretation is not allowable, it runs contrary to every known use of the language. This is where science must step in and point out that certain interpretations go beyond what is permitted in the language as a whole.

    One also has to remember that exousia has a range of meanings – power, authority, permission, right. It refers to “rights”. How many times have I heard that as Christians, we are not to talk about our rights. But Paul often does so, and here is an example, might not a woman have “right” or “permission” on her head. She has the privilege of praying and prophesying. This is the way Paul usually uses the word.

    I have digressed but Denny has indicated that he does not want the discussion on authentein to continue.

    Please accept that I prefer a formal equivalence and I appreciate a certain amount of concordance in translation to make it more transparent. This would mean that one word in Greek would be translated by one word in English where possible. But also, two separate words in Greek would have different translations into English to avoid confusion.

    I prefer Jerome’s translation of authentein as dominare.

    d. h. rogers #66,

    That was a good comment. I too feel that women are well served by a belief in inerrancy, and as well as a literal translation philosophy. The difficulty is that I don’t see any Bibles today based on this philosophy.

    I don’t mean to say that I disapprove of other Bible versions. My favourite of all is still the Good News Bible. But, I mourn the lack of any Bible today which faithfully represents the KJ and Luther tradition.

  88. Denny Burk September 30, 2007 at 12:43 pm #

    Suzanne,

    I don’t care if you all want to continue the discussion on authentein. I was just saying that I have to bow out at this point.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  89. Suzanne September 30, 2007 at 2:21 pm #

    Denny,

    Thanks. I did misunderstand. I thought that one of my comments on authentein was moderated out, but I have forgotten now if that was the case.

    I simply don’t think that any author, on either side, has correctly cited the only two examples of authentein contemporary to the epistle, so it is impossible to say that it has the meaning “exercise authority”.

    I have had a good look at it, but I would only discuss the Philodemus evidence if it was going to generate dialogue. I am surprised that this dialogue has never taken place and I wonder what the reason is.

    That is, the citation by Grudem is mistaken, that is certain. But there has been a complete absence of scholarly dialogue about the real translation of Philodemus. I think this may be due to the previous inaccessibility of the evidence. However, now it is all online, so the dialogue could be opened.

    I find you very open in your assessment of 1 Tim 2:12 when you say,

    No hierarchy in principle/no hierarchy in practice. Those who take the view that gender is not relevant to the question of who can do what in ministry argue for it in a number of ways. One common way is to dissent from a complementarian reading of 1 Timothy 2:12.

    That is, here you recognize that there are Christians who dissent from a complementarian reading of 1 Tim. 2:12. And why shouldn’t they? If they are not complementarians, why should they have a complementarian reading of this verse. It is relatively recent after all.

    That reminds me, is your article written with Jim Hamilton available online yet?

    I would feel quite comfortable with a discussion where it was recognized that there are two or more interpretations of 1 Tim. 2:12.

    But I find it is not quite on to say that being in contradiction to the complementarian interpretation is “sin”.

    It is a bit like the “heavy burdens” of Matt. 24:3 or Matt. 18:6.

    I regard those who do not read Greek as being in one limited sense the “little ones” who must not be offended. So, if any phrase in the Greek is ambiguous or unknown, it is incumbent on those who read Greek to admit that it is ambiguous. In this way, one does not give offense, but respects the right of the individual Christian to respond to what we know is in God’s word, rather than to what we don’t know.

    It is a kindness or fidelity to others to let them know of the ambiguities. It is a form of gentleness towards others not to impose one’s own interpretation.

    I struggle with this myself, but I am trying very hard to be open to understanding other people’s points of view.

  90. Suzanne September 30, 2007 at 8:43 pm #

    Denny,

    I finally did what I should have done from the beginning. I have made the Philodemus Fragment available here.

    It is far more fragmentary than I realized at a first glance and I don’t think it can be reconstructed. It would be better all around to fall back on the astronomical meaning of the term authentein which is to “dominate”. That would accord with Jerome’s translation dominare.

    Peace,

    Suzanne

  91. Suzanne September 30, 2007 at 10:00 pm #

    But, I mourn the lack of any Bible today which faithfully represents the KJ and Luther tradition.

    I wrote this rather unthinkingly. I would highly recommend the NRSV in general, although not in every detail. But it is by far the best Bible overall, and the TNIV is a close second, more tailored to evangelical tradition.

  92. Benjamin A. October 1, 2007 at 1:41 pm #

    Suzanne-

    You said #47-
    “The gasping sound you hear might be Benjamin A and Kevin Jones fainting at the thought that anyone, much less DENNY, might consider ignoring a verse on the grounds of cultural context.”

    I survived the thought and live to see yet another day- Praise the LORD!

    You said #32-
    “However, I most earnestly believe that everything in the scriptures instructs men to elevate women to equal roles in the church. I do not believe that women are designed as followers and men as leaders. I see no indication in the scriptures that there is this distinct design or intent by God.

    Every scripture points to the gifts of the spirit, and women were given the gifts as men were. This is contrary to what some complementarians believe, that women are given “their” gifts. The scriptures does not teach this, and most complementarians fall short of truly believing that women do not have the gifts of teaching and leading.”

    and post #25-
    “Nympha hosted a house church.

    Women are the managers of their own house.

    Women are prophets.

    Junia was an apostle, whatever that means, but likely a leader of some kind.

    This is why Paul recruited leading women, Acts 17:4 – so they could be leaders, no doubt. Phoebe was a patron who helped those in need out of her own resources. Evidently she had her own resources.

    In Greek the men were to “proistemi” their house. Phoebe was a “prostatis”. This comes from the same Greek word. Whatever the men did, that is what Phoebe did.

    We do not know the details but Phoebe was listed as a deacon. You may make of this what you like.

    Women also announce the good news and divide the spoil in Psalms 68.”

    OK- all of that is correct. But have you considered-

    No women served as priests-
    None of the O.T. authors were women-
    No woman had an ongoing prophetic (speaking before people) ministry like that of Elijah, Elisha, or the other prophets-
    While Miriam (Ex. 15:20), Deborah (Judg. 4:4), Huldah (2 Kings 22:14), and Isaiah’s wife (Isa. 8:3) are called prophetesses, NONE had a permanent calling to that office-
    Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah gave only one recorded prophecy, and Isaiah’s wife none, she’s called a prophetesses because she gave birth to a child whose name had prophetic meaning-
    Another woman mentioned as a prophetess, Noadiah, was a false prophettess (Neh. 6:14)-
    While God spoke through women on a few limited occasions, no woman had an on-going role of preaching and teaching-

    Yet the O.T. did affirm that women had an equal spiritual status with men.
    Mosaic law was given to all Israel, men and women (Deut 1:1)-
    Both were to teach it to their children (Deut. 6:4-7; Prov. 6:20)-
    The protection of law applied equally to women (Ex. 21:28-32)-
    Women had inheritance rights (Num. 36:1-12)-
    Women and men alike participated in the Jewish religious feasts (Ex. 12:3; Deut. 16:9-15)-
    The Nazarite vow was open to both men and women (Num. 6:2)-
    Women were involved in spiritual services (Ex. 38:8; Neh. 7:67)-
    God didn’t hesitate to deal directly with women (Gen. 3:13; 16:7-13; Judg. 13:3)-

    Spiritual equality between the sexes did not however do away with the differences in their roles which is abundantly put on display throughout the O.T.

    The same is true in the N.T. Women are spiritually equal to men. Yet-

    There are no women pastor/teachers in the churches-
    No woman elders in the churches-
    No woman authors of N.T. books-
    There are no sermons or teachings of women recorded in the N.T.-
    While the daughters of Philip are said to have prophesied (Acts 21:9), neither the occasion nor the message is defined; thus there’s no reason to assume they had an on-going preaching ministry, or that they taught during the public worship-

    But then again-
    The first person Jesus revealed His messiahship to was a women (John 4:25-26)-
    Jesus healed women (Mark 5:25-34; Luke 13:11-13)-
    Jesus taught women in contrast to the prevailing practice of the rabbis (Luke 10:38-42)-
    Women ministered to Jesus and the disciples (Luke 8:2-3)-
    Jesus’ first post-resurrection appearance was to a woman (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-18)-
    Women were involved in prayer services with men (Acts 1:13-14)-
    The fruit of the Spirit are for both women and men (Gal. 5:21-22)-
    So again, spiritual equality does not preclude differing roles.
    And that is the testimony from cover to cover.

    The O.T. and N.T. together span some 4000 years of human history; and in the cultural context of those 4000 years God has men leading spiritually. So 1 Timothy 2:12 is just a small slice of that history.

    By the way, while in seminary I had a woman prof. in my Hebrew language classes. And she was a good teacher, no a great teacher. Yet she stated she wouldn’t teach men in the context of the church gathered for worship. So outside the church gathered for worship she was able to exercise her spiritual gift of teaching. Like Priscilla and Aquila who, outside the church gathered for worship, both instructed Apollos (Acts 18:26) in “the way of God more accurately.”
    You seem to be gifted with the languages and I would encourage you to consider a field like linguistics. Wycliffe is always looking for good linguists to accomplish the work of ministry through translation. I can highly recommend a book written by a single woman who spend 20+ years doing translation work for Wycliffe: And the Word came with power by Joanne Shetler. It is a must read for anyone interested in great commission ministry.
    Grace and peace,
    Benjamin A.

  93. Bryan L October 1, 2007 at 2:17 pm #

    Benjamin,

    Good points.

    One of the things you said stuck out to me. You said,
    “No women served as priests-
    None of the O.T. authors were women-
    No woman had an ongoing prophetic (speaking before people) ministry like that of Elijah, Elisha, or the other prophets-
    etc…” and you also used similar arguments in the NT.

    I think it’s interesting because we could probably replace women in there with something else like disabled person, or eunuch, or gentile, or slave, or pick whatever you like. If we can use those things you pointed out as a consideration against women in leadership roles, couldn’t the same arguments possibly be used against those other classes? I just bring them up because it sticks out to me when ever someone notes how women weren’t priests in the OT. Because not only were women not priests but disabled or disfigured people weren’t, non Aaronites weren’t, obviously gentiles, slaves and eunuchs weren’t so what would that kind of argument say against those groups and their status in the church today?

    Anyway that’s just a consideration to take into account, and to make us think about what type of evidence we use in these debates.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  94. Suzanne October 1, 2007 at 2:57 pm #

    Benjamin,

    #47 was not me.

    No women served as priests-

    We now have the priesthood of all believers. Christ is our high priest.

    None of the O.T. authors were women-

    Proverbs 31, Psalm 68 and Judges 5.

    No woman had an ongoing prophetic (speaking before people) ministry like that of Elijah, Elisha, or the other prophets-
    While Miriam (Ex. 15:20), Deborah (Judg. 4:4), Huldah (2 Kings 22:14), and Isaiah’s wife (Isa. 8:3) are called prophetesses, NONE had a permanent calling to that office-

    I think Deborah did have an permanent calling as a prophet.

    Exactly what does your list mean? Think of how few women in the NT are listed as part of a couple. Very few. Does that mean most women weren’t married? I just don’t see what the relavance of any of your list is about.

    Children are mentioned once or twice in the NT. Does that mean children are not important? I miss your point.

    If one woman can be a judge, or prophet, or apostle, or teacher, or host a house church, then it is not against the moral law of Christ.

    You seem to be gifted with the languages and I would encourage you to consider a field like linguistics. Wycliffe is always looking for good linguists to accomplish the work of ministry through translation.

    I did train in linguistics and translation but my career is not on the table here. Thanks.

    But that is why I cringe when I read some of the most frequently cited authors.

    The problem is this – very simply. No author has correctly cited the Philodemus fragment. They are all in error.

    You tell me. Who has authority? The one who knows how to read this fragment and actually does it, or the one who knows how to read this fragment and refuses to do so, even though he cites it as evidence?

    Do you know that “brother and sisters” is the first meaning in the lexicon for the plural of the Greek word adelphos? Yet the men who drafted the Colorado Springs Guidelines did not know this when they drafted the guidelines. Did you know that every line of that document has a lingjistic error in it?

    This simple fact makes any Bible with “brothers” in it, instead of “brothers and sisters”, less than literal. It is North America that needs trained linguists in the ministry.

    Why do men have authority for these things and not those who are trained in linguistics, biblical languages and translation? I am so embarassed to know that Christians produced that docusment without doing any research.

  95. Steve Engstrom October 2, 2007 at 9:10 am #

    You say “Gushee assumes that the abuse of one’s principles (in this case Complementarianism) invalidates the principles themselves.” I think you misunderstand. Gushee is suggesting that inconsistent application of one’s principles may expose fatal flaws in them. Sometimes our wrong behavior is attributable to inconsistent application of our values. Sometimes our wrong behavior is attributable to wrong values. In the first case, we need to obey our principles. In the second case, we need to change them. I think Gushee raises very important questions, and I think complementarians need to work harder at answering them.

  96. Benjamin A. October 2, 2007 at 9:55 am #

    Suzanne,

    I said-No women served as priests-

    You said-We now have the priesthood of all believers. Christ is our high priest.

    Yes, all believers have direct access to God the Father with Jesus as our high priest. My point was there were no woman priests in the O.T. by God’s divine design. God appointed male spiritual leadership over His divinely chosen people. That is a significant role distinction between men and women in the O.T. Yet again, men and women were spiritually equal before God. It’s a role issue not an equality issue.

    I said- None of the O.T. authors were women-

    You said- Proverbs 31, Psalm 68 and Judges 5.

    Again, none of the O.T. authors were women. God used men to write down what He wanted communicated. And in some cases they added, as these three chapters you mentioned indicate, material composed by others. And no one is trying to deny that fact. AGAIN-Women were not inferior in any way.
    I also said none of the N.T. authors were women. That is a significant point. Had God wanted a woman to author a N.T. book He could have done so- He can do anything He wants. But God by divine design, again His choice, not mine or any other male on planet earth; by God’s divine design He had men write His words down and author the books of both the O.T. and N.T.

    I said- No woman had an ongoing prophetic (speaking before people) ministry like that of Elijah, Elisha, or the other prophets-
    While Miriam (Ex. 15:20), Deborah (Judg. 4:4), Huldah (2 Kings 22:14), and Isaiah’s wife (Isa. 8:3) are called prophetesses, NONE had a permanent calling to that office-

    You said- I think Deborah did have an permanent calling as a prophet.

    OK, so you THINK it was permanent. Scripture doesn’t indicate that one way or the other, so it becomes an argument from silence. Tough to win those arguments. AGAIN- No woman had an ongoing prophetic (speaking before people) ministry like that of Elijah, Elisha, or the other prophets- that is an indisputable fact.

    You said- Exactly what does your list mean? Think of how few women in the NT are listed as part of a couple. Very few. Does that mean most women weren’t married? I just don’t see what the relevance of any of your list is about.

    4,000 years of male spiritual leadership (again by God’s design if you believe in inspiration) and yet you fail to see any relevance. God called men to spiritually lead His chosen nation; and God has called men to spiritually lead in the church of Jesus Christ.

    You said- Children are mentioned once or twice in the NT. Does that mean children are not important? I miss your point.

    I just did a simple search of the word ‘children’ on my palm concordance and it found 116 matches. Mark 10:14, Jesus said “Permit the children to come to Me; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Children are very important to God, as are all people. “For God so loved the world . . .” (Jn. 3:16). So please don’t miss my point, just because God chose to have men write the books of the Bible doesn’t make them more important to God. The point was to indicate God’s design in role distinctions between men and women. The issue here is on ROLES not WORTH.

    Grace and peace,
    Benjamin A.

  97. Suzanne October 2, 2007 at 10:29 am #

    Benjamin,

    You admit that women composed, prophesied, judged and taught. But they aren’t listed as authors of major books.

    So that necessarily means that women can now be authors but they cannot prophesy, judge and teach in the church,

    This is crystal clear to me. 3800 years of slavery, nondemocratic government and male dominance means that this is God’s will.

    I would suppose that you also do not believe that those of other races have much to offer either. Historic dominance of the white race, justifies dominance of the white race.

    You don’t think that God wishes people to have a role according to their design, teh way he actually made them?

    And you particularly don’t think that the Bible should address “brothers and sisters” because why? It hasn’t done so in English for a few hundred years.

    You don’t think we should care about the fact that the Greek word addressed both. You think that a history of male dominance justifies male dominance.

    And overall, 1 Tim. 2:12 is a throwaway to you – that is something we agree on. But it doesn’t bother you that all the major authors, excepting Wolters – have no idea what authentein means, but they pretend they do. You don’t feel that accuracy is something that deserves respect.

    That is what astonishes me. No one cares about scholarship at all.

  98. Bryan L October 2, 2007 at 11:38 am #

    Benjamin,

    I think you are making too much of an argument from silence based on what God didn’t do. According to the same type of reasoning people could exclude far more than just women from leadership in the church (see some of the groups I mentioned above). Not only that but any glimmer of light that shines forth that shows a woman doing something within the Bible traditionally associated with men you want to snuff out and say it’s not enough when you compare it to all the other things that men did.

    BTW 4000 years is a bit generous. It’s more like 1000-1400. Anything before Moses is traditional patriarchy within the family.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  99. Benjamin A. October 2, 2007 at 1:40 pm #

    Suzanne,

    You say-
    “This is crystal clear to me. 3800 years of slavery, nondemocratic government and male dominance means that this is God’s will.”

    The only things I pointed out as being God’s will was male leadership in Israel (priests) and the church (pastors). I said nothing about slavery, nondemocratic government or male dominance. You mentioning them here tells me your argument against the comp. view is deeper than an understanding of 1 Tim. 2:12.

    You say-
    “I would suppose that you also do not believe that those of other races have much to offer either. Historic dominance of the white race, justifies dominance of the white race.”

    Again, I mentioned NOTHING about ‘historic dominance of the white race’. The O.T. priesthood was limited to Jewish men who were Levites. That would have excluded me and I don’t feel threatened by that knowledge, nor do I feel less valued or appreciated by God.

    You say-
    “And overall, 1 Tim. 2:12 is a throwaway to you – that is something we agree on. But it doesn’t bother you that all the major authors, excepting Wolters – have no idea what authentein means, but they pretend they do. You don’t feel that accuracy is something that deserves respect.”

    In post #32 you said, “I will have to confess that I am not entirely sure what 1 Tim. 2:12 means.”

    So you have your ideas. Great. Others who have studied just as long and as hard as you also have their ideas. And still you are allowed to disagree with them. Can’t you see that they are claiming accuracy just as you also are?

    You say-
    “That is what astonishes me. No one cares about scholarship at all.”

    I’m sorry you feel this way. I must respectfully disagree.

    Grace and peace,
    Benjamin A.

  100. Suzanne October 2, 2007 at 3:02 pm #

    Benjamin,

    The way you extend ideas is speculative. Eglitarians believe in the extending of equal participation to all believers. Others don’t. This is a difference in model, not a difference in how we understand the actual text. If authorship of Christian books can be extended to women, then teaching biblical concepts should be extended to women. IMO. What you say is in your opinion. That’s okay.

    There certainly were Christian women “leaders”, Acts says these women became Chrisians.

    Just think of all the missionary and social enterprise carried out by women. Does God diffrentiate spheres as some churches teach. I disagree. If it is in your nature to be a leader, God accepts a woman leader in the social and secular world AND in the church. He sanctifies the natural gifts of a woman, as he does those of a man. Shall women be allowed only profane gifts? Or is the Spirit powerful enough to sanctify the gifts of a woman. Maybe the Spirit does not touch a man as he does a woman. But the scriptures do not indicate that. Shall a woman teach classical Greek in the university but not in the seminary?

    You write,

    Others who have studied just as long and as hard as you also have their ideas. And still you are allowed to disagree with them. Can’t you see that they are claiming accuracy just as you also are?

    The only answer to this is to actually look at the fragment itself. That is why I posted it. In a private conversation with a very respected complementarian scholar, he indicated to me only this. A word, which can be construed as either authentew or authentes, appears to exist in this fragment, there is no mention of “those in authority”. There are mentions of public figures and great people, but the connection of one to the other is obscure. Not only is this a fragment, with about one third of the text missing, but, in fact, it no longer exists. There is only a pencil sketch that someone made of the fragment.

    The fact is that this is known to at least one complementarian author, and yet the others quote this fragment as if it was evidence for “exercise authority”. Please ask anyone to read this fragment for you. Don’t take it as a matter of opinion. This is not about my reputation over against someone else’s. This is about the fact that people like Kostenberger and Grudem quote something that doesn’t even exisit and people accept it because they want support for this idea. If male authority over the female were true, it would have to be true without this curcial fragment.

    What am I to think, knowing that there are many quotes like this in biblical scholarship. Don’t we need to take a step back and ask if we are being like the Pharisees.

    Benjamin,

    I know I can’t persuade anyone, but it meant something to me to know that all the kerfuffle about 1 Tim. 2:12 is based on human opinion and nothing more.

    The word authentein was translated in the early centuries as “progenitor” “dominate” “suicide” etc. That is the evidence – this is not someone’s “ideas”.

    The truth is that this is not about these kinds of details, this is about what we believe is God’s overall intention for humankind – one person to another – either hierarchy is the base model – or reciprocity.

Comment here. Please use FIRST and LAST name.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes