Too Complementarian?

In the most recent edition of “Ask Pastor John,” Pastor John Piper answers this question:

“Do you think complementarianism is so important to some people that they deny women more opportunities than the Bible denies them?”

Listen below or visit the Desiring God website.

[audio:http://media.desiringgod.org/audio/q_and_a/4141_do_you_think_complementarianism_is_so_important_to_some_people_that_they_deny_women_more_opportunities_than_the_bible_denies_them.mp3]

51 Responses to Too Complementarian?

  1. Dave Miller August 13, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    I appreciate this – having had to counsel a woman/friend recently who was badly mistreated by a church she joined which over-interpreted this.

    I think our viewpoint is badly damaged by those who take it to the extreme, because people tend to view the extreme as the norm.

  2. Don Johnson August 13, 2009 at 2:34 pm #

    The answer to the question is yes, since the Bible does not deny any ministry gifting to women.

  3. Ryan K. August 13, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    Hey Don did you even listen to the answer by Piper? Might be helpful before just giving your canned comment.

  4. Don Johnson August 13, 2009 at 4:36 pm #

    Yes, I heard it.

    I am glad he admits the verses are not clear, I just wish he would investigate that point further than he has and repent from his arrogant certainty about what those few verses mean.

  5. Chris Wilson August 13, 2009 at 4:59 pm #

    Don,

    “arrogant certainty”???

    Hmmm…. you would rather him be uncertain? The very definition of pomo!

    Or certain but not so arrogant about it? What would that look like?

    “I am certain about this, but I can’t say that because that would sound arrogant, so… nevermind.”

  6. Don Johnson August 13, 2009 at 6:06 pm #

    The point is that no one can today be SURE what Paul meant in 1 Tim 2, as we are not Timothy living in 1st century Ephesus, we get to read over his shoulder, as it were, from almost 2000 years and many differences in culture.

    What we have is possibilities of meaning, one of which restricts women’s ministry and sadly that is the choice some choose to make.

  7. Sue August 14, 2009 at 2:05 am #

    The fact is that there are far too many women who are like this woman. Not only can they not move from one room to another, but more importanty, they cannot go to the pastor or a counsellor without permission. They live out their lives in slavery.

    What did Piper do to give back to that woman her lost years? Think of the liberty Piper has in his life. Has he ever lived like that woman? Is he capable of imagining that his own words lead to that behaviour?

    Add to that the fact that authentein cannot possibly be proved to mean “to have authority” and it is insult to injury.

    The very reason why we need women leaders is so that the FULL counsel of God can be preached, something that would benefit men and women, so that no woman would have to live out her life in this kind of situation.

    Why is it so much more important to prevent women leaders, than to prevent women from being treated like this?

  8. Sue August 14, 2009 at 2:11 am #

    I guess what I can’t help wondering is what about this article by John Piper gives anyone the impression that God gave men the wisdom to be leaders of women? Mention anything.

  9. D.J. Williams August 14, 2009 at 8:34 am #

    Don,

    You do realize that if we apply the same rationale of your comment in #6 to the rest of Scripture, then we can’t be sure about the virgin birth, miracles of Christ, or his resurrection. I don’t think that being removed culturally necessarily removes the possibility of certainty.

  10. Cheryl Schatz August 14, 2009 at 10:32 am #

    God’s law is very clear what sin is. God always repeats himself in the area of universal sin because He is very interested in our welfare and He wants us to stay away from sin. Yet is women teaching the bible to men a universal sin? How can it be? There is no second witness in the scriptures and there is no defining parameters on when it becomes sin (what age a “man” has to be before it is a sin for a woman to teach him).

    Those who want to see a “law” against women teaching the bible without restriction must be able to point to a clear “law” that has been properly documented as all of God’s laws are established by a second witness.

    My argument is part of a debate that I am having with Mike Seaver a complementarian pastor.

  11. Cheryl Schatz August 14, 2009 at 10:33 am #

    The link to part two of the debate is here http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2009/07/29/mike-seaver-and-cheryl-schatz-2/

  12. Don Johnson August 14, 2009 at 10:53 am #

    D.J.,

    Some parts of Scripture are clear, but some are not as clear. Some parts of Paul were hard to understand even in the 1st century, as Peter points out; how much more so today.

    I would only accept the non-egal interpretation of some Scripture texts on gender if they could be shown to be the only possible faithful way to understand these verses, but this is far from the case. I do this because of many other Scripture texts that proclaim equality in Christ in various ways.

  13. Brian Krieger August 14, 2009 at 3:20 pm #

    Sue:

    In this dialog, Pastor John was answering a specific question. “Do you think complementarianism is so important to some people that they deny women more opportunities than the Bible denies them?” It wasn’t a defense of biblical complementarianism.

    Your emotional response is well noted, I hope, with all complementarians. We should uphold the truth as Piper indicated. However, to shy away from the truth because some may pervert it is foolish. Saying What did Piper do to give back to that woman her lost years is akin to saying what have I given back to [insert people] who were harmed or put into hiding during the Inquisition. Piper stands for the truth, not what that husband did. I would stand for the truth, not justifying violence because someone is not Christian. Taking biblical complementarianism and adding falsehoods to it as the man to whom Piper was referring simply means that we can take any of God’s truth and turn it on its head.

    Why is it so important to choose the one thing that is spoken against? Why not champion the areas where Paul speaks clearly about what women can do? It’s our nature to focus on what we don’t get. Why focus on the one tree in the garden from which we cannot eat rather than the entirety of the rest of the garden?

    Cheryl:

    I would say the command is repeated and reflected. 1 Corinthians 11, 1 Tim 2, 1 Tim 3 (and 5 indicating teaching) and Titus 1. All of which is also reflective of Ephesians 5, Colossians 3 and 1 Peter 3.

  14. Cheryl Schatz August 14, 2009 at 3:26 pm #

    Brian,

    Please quote the “command” for women not to teach the bible to men that is repeated. I see no such thing and every other complementarian that I have engaged on this issue has admitted that this “law” is not repeated. Please prove to me where the repetition is so that I can see the sin listed. Thanks!

  15. Brian Krieger August 14, 2009 at 3:39 pm #

    Ah, I see. You mean the words “permit” and “teach”. Sort of like saying it doesn’t repeat the command to divorce for anything other than unfaithfulness. And you’re right, it doesn’t repeat the command do not teach. Teach in 1 Tim 2 and silent in 1 Corinthians 14, elders in the rest.

  16. Cheryl Schatz August 14, 2009 at 3:56 pm #

    Brian,

    So you do agree that there is no second witness to the prohibition that says that women are not allowed to teach the bible to men?

    Good. That was my point.

    By the way “silent” has nothing to do with teaching the bible otherwise you would have to say that this also proves that women are not allowed to teach the bible to women – they are to be “silent”.

    I do hope that you will consider reading the debate between Mike Seaver and myself. He has allowed me to ask him five sets of questions and he then provides the answer. I give a response to his answer and he responds to my rejoinder. After that he asks me five questions and I answer and that follows with a response from each of us. I believe that this kind of respectful debate is very helpful for both sides. We can debate these secondary issues of faith without denying that each other is a valued member of the body of Christ. I really respect Mike for agreeing to this kind of debate. We have just finished question & answer #2 and on August 17th my question #3 goes on line. I welcome you to respond to the dialog on either one of our blogs. Mike’s blog is at http://rolecalling.blogspot.com/ and mine is at http://strivetoenter.com/wim

    Thanks again for the clarification. Also you must have missed the second witness about divorce and unfaithfulness. Matt 19:8, 9 and Matt. 5:32 There is no universal command that is not without a second witness. I am SO glad that God has taken the time to confirm his commands to us so that we have the safety of the repetition for our understanding. (Philippians 3:1)

  17. Don Johnson August 14, 2009 at 3:57 pm #

    Brian,

    If you take verses out of context, you and other non-egals can make them mean almost anything you want.

    If the 2 verbs not permitted a woman in 1 Tim 2:12 are describing 2 different things, then “not teach” is unrestricted in scope, as it has no direct object according to Greek grammar.

  18. Brian Krieger August 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm #

    No, you leave it in the context of church (which Paul is describing and continues to describe after) rather than having to read in external fabricated context or ignoring the flow of the letter. It’s not ripped out of context.

  19. Cheryl Schatz August 14, 2009 at 5:34 pm #

    Brian,
    So you do agree that there is no second witness to the prohibition that says that women are not allowed to teach the bible to men?
    Good. That was my point.
    By the way “silent” has nothing to do with teaching the bible otherwise you would have to say that this also proves that women are not allowed to teach the bible to women – they are to be “silent”.
    I do hope that you will consider reading the debate between Mike Seaver and myself. He has allowed me to ask him five sets of questions and he then provides the answer. I give a response to his answer and he responds to my rejoinder. After that he asks me five questions and I answer and that follows with a response from each of us. I believe that this kind of respectful debate is very helpful for both sides. We can debate these secondary issues of faith without denying that each other is a valued member of the body of Christ. I really respect Mike for agreeing to this kind of debate. We have just finished question & answer #2 and on August 17th my question #3 goes on line.

    Thanks again for the clarification. Also you must have missed the second witness about divorce and unfaithfulness. Matt 19:8, 9 and Matt. 5:32 There is no universal command that is not without a second witness. I am SO glad that God has taken the time to confirm his commands to us so that we have the safety of the repetition for our understanding. (Philippians 3:1)

  20. Cheryl Schatz August 14, 2009 at 5:35 pm #

    Also, I welcome you to respond to the dialog on either one of our blogs. Mike’s blog is at http://rolecalling.blogspot.com/ or you can interact on my own blog.

  21. Don Johnson August 14, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    Brian,

    Of course I put 1 Tim in the context of church, this is the correct context of the whole letter.

    The problem is that teach (assuming it is a separate thing) means “woman” (leaving alone whom that might refer to) cannot teach in church, with no other restriction on the limitation, in other words, cannot even teach other women or children in church. This is regularly fudged by non-egals when trying to explain the “clear” meaning.

    The truth is it is not clear to us today and trying to build doctrine on such text is faulty. What we have are possibilities, only some of which restrict all women, yet that is what the non-egals choose.

  22. Don Johnson August 14, 2009 at 5:43 pm #

    Brian,

    On divorce, unfaithfulness is one possible Biblical reason, but it is not commanded to divorce for that reason. And there are other Biblical reasons, such as abuse/neglect.

    If you want to learn how to not take the divorce verses out of context, I suggest studying the works of David Instone-Brewer.

  23. Sue August 14, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    Brian,

    What the woman did not get was being able to go to the bathroom when she felt the urge. This level of life is hardly worth living. Some women exist in this kind of hell for a lifetime.

    And this woman said that it was because of Piper’s teaching. Perhaps his teaching on “final say.” Who teaches the restrictions on final say? A man can use it as he wishes to ruin his wife’s life if he so desires.

    Why shouldn’t women get emotional about this kind of thing? Did Jesus teach that emotional reactions to other people’s pain, is sinful? If this kind of teaching ends up with results like the inquisition, it is time to reevaluate.

    IMO, if someone wants to teach the authority of the male, it must be accompanies by a law book 10 feet thick of all the things that a wife is allowed to do without restrictions, things like going to the bathroom, reading books to her children, feeding them, breastfeeding them, every detail of childcare. The way it stands now, a husband is given the impression that he has the right to overrule his wife.

    If that lawbook were produced and approved, then give the husband authority, authority bounded by one thousand laws which preserve the sanity of the wife.

    Otherwise, I think there needs to be a benevolent society that rescues wives, in the same way that the SPCA rescues cats and dogs. Why should a wife not receive the same level of mercy from society as a dog? This is what I want to know.

    Why wasn’t that woman rescued from a husband who “misunderstood” Piper’s sermons?

  24. Sue August 14, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    If preachers can’t articulate their thoughts on male authority in such a way that wives do not risk being seriously deprived, then they ought not to mention the topic. I would hold Piper responsible for the poor articulation of his beliefs on what the scripture says.

    I think it should be against the law

    a) to suggest that a wife cannot have recourse to her own judgement in all moral issues,

    b)and that she does not have equal right to her own decisions on non-moral issues,

    c) and that she be deprived in any way at all of basic needs. It is a crime.

  25. Eileen August 15, 2009 at 12:05 am #

    Full disclosure: I was an inerrantist, calvinistic, complementarian woman in the SBC in the early 70’s when none of those view was cool. So I rejoice to see them recovered in the SBC today.

    That said, I think that we can become too “complementarianistic” while at the same time not being sufficiently and biblically “complementarian.” In support, I quote Dr. Bruce Ware on page 99 of GGG,

    “We can violate the authority of Scripture as much by going beyond what it says in to areas wherein Scripture is silent as we can by distorting and reshaping what it actually does say to fit the mindset of our culture.”

    As an example of this, on the CBMW website, which has many helpful resources, the first descriptor of every female board or council member is “homemaker” or “wife” which stands in contrast to the descriptors of the men. Perhaps by this standard, we should edit Luke (and the Holy Spirit) so that he would more correctly describe Lydia as [a homemaker/wife] from Thyatira, a seller of purple, and a worshiper of God. This strikes me as just political correctness that, imo, trivializes the very real and biblical concerns that CBMW strives to put forth.

    Another example of being “complementarianistic” is the quiverfull movement which, imo, is a legalistic and unbiblical distortion of a very biblical pro-natal/adoption view.

    On the other hand, as another commenter has noted, we place the emphasis on what women cannot do rather than on what they can do and can do very well. We are not being sufficiently complementarian when we do not access fully the gifts the Holy Spirit gives women to edify the church. To borrow Dr. Carson’s model, why not be center-bounded rather than perimeter-bounded when thinking through these issues? Why doesn’t every SBC church have a robust Titus 2 model of women’s ministry, for examply? Let the center bound be that the elders of each local church decide the exact perimeter of the ministry of women in their church.

    Another pitfall I see some complementarians, especially some young men in the SBC, falling prey to is selectively ignoring or rationalizing Scripture regarding elder qualifications when those qualifications impinge on someone they admire (you guys know who I’m talking about.) Just because someone lines up with you (and me, too) doctrinally and is really cool and masculine does not give them a pass when it comes to the very clear and explicit qualifications for leadership given to Timothy and Titus. If you reduce the qualifications for leadership to “monogamous male” only, then you have done exactly what you/we think egals do–compromise Scripture and capitulate to culture, only the culture you are capitulating to is your own, so you don’t realize or acknowledge it. Or, alternatively, you excuse disqualifying behavior by saying how “effective” that person is being, which is just pragmatism of a different sort.

    For Brian K: you win the prize for being the first to play the “emotion” card seemingly to minimize the sin of an abusive man and the concern expressed about that by a woman. I pray that you have a mature and godly male mentor who will help you see that this is not a wise approach, and that you are not in a position to pastor women until you get that counsel.

  26. Brian Krieger August 16, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    Cheryl:

    Don finished what I started to point out. I said the only reason for divorce is unchastity (i.e. going with your arbitrary 2 mention rule, I was affirming both Matthew’s citations). According to Don, you and he should disagree(given your 2 citation rule).

  27. andy August 16, 2009 at 2:54 pm #

    Sue or Doug,

    Would you provide a brief, biblical case for egalitarianism (not one attacking complimentarianism) so that I may be better informed of this position? Thanks.

  28. andy August 16, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    Sorry, I meant to ask Sue or Don this question, though if there is a Doug somewhere out there who could be of help I would be appreciative.

  29. Brian Krieger August 16, 2009 at 5:01 pm #

    Sue/Eileen:

    Though I’m sure you find it hard to believe, I was being quite serious with my admonition. We, as complementarians must take note of the emotional nature of the atrocity that Piper mentioned. I mean specifically about the emotional scarring that can occur when men take the biblical truth of complementarity and twist it to tyranny. I re-read my post and I see that I definitely was unclear on that. I apologize for sounding like I was minimizing this woman’s (or anyone else’s for all that matters) pain. My thought was that we take the pain that can be wrought from an untruth being introduced into a truth (as Piper mentioned) as an admonition that we are clear and deliberate. Which means we first teach husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. We internalize that to warn us, but still keep the idea that we never back down from the truth. I totally failed at that, so, I apologize for that.

    And, to make you happy, no, I have no thoughts of pastorship. Mostly because I see myself disqualified from it (many others don’t, but hey, that’s the way it goes) by 1 Tim.

  30. Brian Krieger August 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm #

    Eileen:

    The couple of SBC churches with which I am familiar here do have a very robust Titus 2 ministry. My church does as well, but we’re not SBC. You are right, as promoted on the SBC site, women should definitely hold the SBC statement that their (women’s) “role is crucial, their wisdom, grace and commitment exemplary.” I do pray that SBC churches that don’t embrace such a view take a greater concern to do just that.

  31. Cheryl Schatz August 16, 2009 at 8:29 pm #

    Brian,
    You said:

    “Don finished what I started to point out. I said the only reason for divorce is unchastity (i.e. going with your arbitrary 2 mention rule, I was affirming both Matthew’s citations). According to Don, you and he should disagree(given your 2 citation rule).”

    You misunderstand what I said. I did not say there was a two witness rule on everything. I said that any judicial law that is a universal law is always repeated. My statement still stands. Don was not talking about a universal prohibition but an exception. I was talking about a universal prohibition.

    I hope that helps. 🙂

  32. Don Johnson August 16, 2009 at 8:32 pm #

    Andy,

    Egalism is the Biblical idea that marriage is to be a partnership, not a hierarchy; and that church leadership is based on gifting by the Holy Spirit and not gender. It does not deny that physical diffs exist between the genders, viva la difference’.

    Biblical egalism is strongly based on the need to understand verses in context, in particular some puzzling NT verses on gender need to be understood in their 1st century context; not teleported and read as if written in the 21st century (which is sometimes called the “plain reading” but can disregard the changes in culture, idioms, etc. from almost 2000 years ago.)

    The primary egal teaching group is Christians for Biblical Equality, which in some sense is the opposite of CBMW. I believe one should study BOTH sides of this issue and do it using text written by each side.

    If you wish to investigate some papers or books, I can make recommendations.

    A primary text is Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

    For me, as an egal, this verse does not say that Jews, Greeks, slave, free, and males and females do not cease to be those things once becoming believers in Jesus; but that those things do not matter, these differences in the physical world should not make a difference in anything to do with the spiritual reality we enter as believers.

    For Jews and Greeks, Pauls speaks of the “wall of separation” being removed, this was manifested by an actual wall in the temple beyond which only Jews could go; but now all have access to God thru Christ.

    In 1 Cor 7 Paul goes out of his way to deliberately make many symmetric actions for a wife with her husband and vice versa, in this case the structure shows a symmetry that we are not to miss.

    The primary meaning of the Greek in Rom 16:7 is that Junia was an apostle, it is only by selecting non-primary meanings of Junian, apostle, or ‘en’/within that this can be opposed by non-egals. Given Junia was an apostle means a women can hold any leadership ministry as apostle is first in a list by Paul.

    I agree that there are a few other puzzling verses to investigate, but they can be faithfully understood in an egal way.

  33. andy August 16, 2009 at 9:38 pm #

    Don,

    Thanks for your response. It seems as though those on each side of this (ambiguous?) issue have a habit of talking past each other, sometimes misunderstanding or making charicatures of the view with which they disagree. Even the terms “complimentarian” and “egalitarian” or “equality” carry different ideas with different people; clear explanations of there meaning are helpful. Honestly, I think that both sides have more in common than they may be willing to admit. Thanks for the reference, I’ll take a look at Christians for Biblical Equality in order to address more of my questions about egalitarianism.

  34. Eileen August 16, 2009 at 9:53 pm #

    Brian:

    I see that I misinterpreted what you wrote, so please accept my apology for assuming the worst. What you meant should have been apparent to me by the context of the rest of your comment. Speaking for myself, and not for Sue, it was a conditioned response, unfortunately, due to others using “emotion” as an all-purpose dismissal for any concerns of women which they deem unimportant.

    Your admonition to be govern ourselves by the truth (and the whole truth), including our emotions and beliefs and practices, is so critical. It seems to me that too often we have an unbalanced focus on the privileges that the other sex has and the responsibilities that our sex has. As a result, we may feel disadvantaged or somehow disenfranchised. If there is balanced teaching regarding our respective privileges *and* responsibilities, then perhaps it might help all of us appreciate the Lord’s design for us. I, for one, do not want the huge responsibilities that my husband has been given. Thankfully, he makes it easy to be a female complementarian.

    It is important to realize, however, in the context of the local church, that there are women and children who have been and are being victimized by men who read and apply scripture selectively (which is why I pointed out the inconsistency of ignoring a popular pastor’s violation of elder qualifications.) It is critical for the male leadership of the church to step up and protect those women in appropriate ways. In my experience, that has not always been the case, and men have turned a blind eye to abuses. My husband and I have been involved in ministering to these women and confronting some of those men, so it’s kind of a trigger for me, at least.

    In the churches which we have belonged to which had a wholistically biblical ecclesiology, the women’s ministry was also strong, since the women experienced the freedom to exercise their gifts under the oversight and protection of male elders (who were emotionally and spiritually mature, by the way.) So I pray that the SBC recovers that vision of the local church and that our enthusiastic young guys, including my son, do not get de-railed by either legalism, selective application of elder qualifications, or complementarianistic political correctness. And I pray that our gifted young women will have the freedom to fully exercise those gifts as they raise up the next godly generation under the guidance of spiritually mature older women.

  35. Eileen August 16, 2009 at 10:10 pm #

    To everyone,

    There are good resources available from both CBMW and CBE, and surely they address almost every issue, so I encourage you to access that material and submit what you read to the Holy Spirit and Scripture. For me, in the spirit of log and speck, I’m not interested in debating egalitarians but in exhorting complementarians to be rigorously biblical.

  36. Larry S August 16, 2009 at 11:35 pm #

    For any comps out there who may believe all persons who hold to the egalitarian view re the gender debate also hold to the 2x repetition universal law thing.
    I’ve been an egal for many many years. The point Cheryl is making about the 2 x repetion with regards to ‘universal law’ is not something I’ve ever read by any recognized scholar when dealing with the gender texts (the texts are certainly convoluted). Cheryl has every right to make her argument 🙂 and I could be mistaken about this coming out of recognized scholarship. But its something i’ve never come across.

  37. Cheryl Schatz August 17, 2009 at 12:02 am #

    Larry S,

    The argument comes out of the character of God revealed in the scriptures. God Himself wants to be reconciled to us and with His great love for us he has repeated and repeated his charges of sin against us so that we may turn from our sin and turn towards Him for forgiveness. If we do not know what constitutes as sin, how can we turn from it? There are many churches today that do not believe that women teaching the bible to men is listed as a sin. Did God make a mistake by not clarifying this “sin” or have we misunderstood?

    God in His gracious love has pleaded with us over and over again throughout the scriptures by both identifying the sin and telling us to turn from it.

    If we take this known character of God and compare it to the “sin” of the supposed universal “law” of 1 Timothy 2:12 we see something completely different. We never see God admonishing and pleading with women to turn from their sin of teaching the Bible to men. We never see God pleading with men to turn the women of God from their “sin” of teaching the bible to men so that they can be reconciled with God. The fact is that this “sin” and this “law” is never found in any list of sins and it is inconsistent with every single “established” law of God that has been faithfully repeated over and over and over again. God has been faithful so that we are both acquainted with what He has revealed as sin and we have the repetition that has urged us towards repentance. This is completely missing in regards to the issue of women teaching correct biblical doctrine to men.

    The issue whether it is part of “recognized” scholarship or not holds no weight. The issue is whether or not it is true. If it is not true, then there will be other similar laws where God does not repeat the law for safety reasons or where He never encourages the people to turn from that particular sin just as He apparently has done with the “sin” of women teaching the bible. I have searched the bible diligently and have never found any universal laws that have not been established with a second witness. If there exists such a law, I am sure that someone can point me to that law.

    Since no law has been documented that has no second witness, one wonders why women have not had the love of God in the scripture to reach out to them in mercy to stop their sin? Why was no church given a similar law that established a boundary in the use of the gifts of the Spirit in the assembly? If Paul encouraged all to use their gifts for the common good, how was the gift of teaching and the gift of prophecy (which provides teaching) to be singled out when Paul directly commented in 1 Cor. 14 that all may provide their gifts so that all may learn? The inconsistencies of this position are there for all to see.

    The fact that no “recognized scholar” has used this argument before is minor. There are many arguments in apologetics that are new today. It doesn’t mean the argument is invalid. It just means that someone has pointed out a fact that others hadn’t considered before. It is time that we consider this argument. I believe that it is a valid argument, a solid one and it centers around the character of God and His habit of constant repetition of identifying sin for our good.

  38. Sue August 17, 2009 at 12:43 am #

    I come at this from a different perspective again. I am more of a detail person.

    I recreated the authentein study and found out that there wasn’t even one occurrence of authentein being use of holding authority with a positive connotation within several centuries of the NT. We simply do not have the evidence for ascertaining a positive meaning for authentein of “to exercise power” as in “be a leader in church.” This evidence is not known.

    I then recreated Grudem’s kephale study and found out that there was only one man who was ever called a kephale of his own people in Greek before the NT – Jephthah. There didn’t seem to be much support for the meaning of leader. I couldn’t find any other examples.

    I then recreated the Junia study and found out that there was no evidence for Junia being “known to the apostles” rather than “among the apostles.”

    Then I noticed that even the NET Bible notes indicate that 1 Cor. 14:33-36 were most likely orignally in the margin of the text.

    I am not at all sure that there were male elders in the NT. However, I am absolutely certain that some people are writing articles and creating scholarship to make it appear that the NT is in a definitive sense against female leadership, when the meaning of certain words and passages is sometimes unknown.

    I also recognize that women in the Bible were initiators, providers, protectors and leaders, deacons, apostles, prophets, and coworkers.

    Thanks for asking.

  39. Sue August 17, 2009 at 12:47 am #

    PS

    I studied Greek under Pietersma who edited the New English Translation of the Septuagint, as well as classical and NT Greek earlier.

  40. Brian Krieger August 19, 2009 at 11:31 am #

    Sue:

    From a previous discussion:

    “Since the publication of the first edition [of Women in the Church], there has been significant discussion of what constitutes a ‘negative use,’ a ‘negative connotation,’ ‘positive meaning,’ and so on, for a particular use of authenteō. It is well to note that there are two definitions of authenteō offered here that are ‘morally negative,’ the intransitive meaning 2c ‘play the tyrant,’ which is attested by only a single datum [4th cent.], and the transitive meaning 3c, ‘flout the authority of,’ attested by three data [7th cent. and 10th cent.]. There are some six to ten instances, depending on how one interprets the larger discourse, where a positive meaning of authenteō is used in an overall negative context. These, however, do not thereby create a transferable meaning that is ‘morally negative.’ Consider, for example, the English word ‘heal.’ In Luke 6:7 when the Pharisees wonder ‘if on the Sabbath Jesus heals,’ there is no question that, in the context, the enemies of Jesus would view it as a grievous moral error to heal on the Sabbath day. But that context would provide no justification to define ‘to heal’ and use it in other contexts with a meaning such as ‘to commit grievous moral error.’ Much of the discussion of authenteō has been bedeviled by exegetes failing to recognize the difference between a transferable lexical meaning and the meaning that the total passage bears when a legitimate, transferable meaning is inserted in the context under investigation.”
    –Henry Scott Baldwin

    I know that I am not an expert in Greek as you, but to say that there is no proof of a positive usage, ergo it must be negative. Given the either/or combination (in contrast to a neither/nor combination as I understand it) along with “teach” only used negatively with a negative subject (i.e. teach false doctrine), a neutral translation is logical.

    Not looking to rehash the entire thing, just pointing out the argument stands without an absolute positive-only connotation.

  41. Sue August 19, 2009 at 11:56 am #

    There are some six to ten instances, depending on how one interprets the larger discourse, where a positive meaning of authenteō is used in an overall negative context.

    This sentence does not represent the data. There is no indication that the word has a positive meaning in these examples. Rather, a positive meaning cannot be proven. However, a negative connotation is evident.

    Notice that there is not even one case near the NT where a positive connotation can be demonstrated or a positive meaning can be proven. Not even one.

    I claim that there is both a negative meaning and connotation at the time of the NT. Here is the closest occurrence that is accepted by complementarian scholars as evidence.

    “Therefore, everyone will walk according to his own desire, and the children will lay hands upon their parents, a wife will hand over her own husband to death and a man his own wife to judgment as deserving to render account. Inhuman masters will authentein their servants and servants shall put on an unruly disposition toward their masters.”

    (3 cent. AD) Hippolytus (d. AD 235) On the End of the World.

    So, according the evidence I have seen, authentein always occurs within a negative connotation, but the meaning itself is not proven to be positive or negative. If we go with what we do have, it is unarguably a negative connotation.

    Likewise, in Titus 1:11 “teach” has a negative connotation.

    who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.

  42. Brian Krieger August 19, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

    I believe that the modifiers are what make your example negative (inhuman masters), as I think you are indicating. In the same way, servants will put on unruly disposition. Put on is not a negative verb. Also, I thought the contemporary partner was the boatman example, which doesn’t convey a negative usage (similar to a judge presiding a judgement over someone who doesn’t agree, it is not dominate but is positive). Additionally the Ptolemy example indicates a positive usage.

    Titus 1:11 was exactly the example I had in mind (however, I substituted false doctrine for “things they ought not teach”). This singularity is only by object made negative. Teach is always neutral to positive in the absence of the negative object is it not?

    The either/or combination along with teach being negative until explicitly being made negative as in Titus 1:11.

  43. Brian Krieger August 19, 2009 at 12:46 pm #

    Now I think I’ll stick to my last comment. Have a superb week (I’m going to do so by finishing my vacation with my family).

  44. Sue August 19, 2009 at 2:04 pm #

    The boatman was coerced by a private landowner, as can be seen by anyone reading this letter in Greek. It was a contentious issue and Grudem acknowldges that it was a case where “compel” seems to be the accurate meaning.

    Ptolemy is a case of a planet or astronomical body having dominance.

    In Hippolytus, you are welcome to understand this as having a positive meaning, but only of you think that a spouse offering their mate up for killing is positive.

    You can, also if you like call this neutral. I prefer to think of human relations in terms other than coercion, dominance and betrayal to the death.

    If there were even one positive use of the word authentein then I think you should offer it. Perhaps Denny would offer it. It remains to be found.

  45. Sue August 19, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

    I am not surpised that anyone trying to argue that authentein is positive would rather go on vacation. This is the level of concern for the honest treatment of women in the church. Let’s rather go on vacation. What kind of justice is that? Perhaps God will go on vacation when men need him.

  46. Sue August 19, 2009 at 2:15 pm #

    What needs to be accepted here is that this statement,

    There are some six to ten instances, depending on how one interprets the larger discourse, where a positive meaning of authenteō is used in an overall negative context.

    is entirely unsupported by evidence. There is no evidence that authentein has a positive meaning in these instances, and it is not an honest thing to put out in print something that is this inaccurate. Male authority is the Titanic. It will sink itself by its own mishandling ogf the truth.

  47. David Rogers August 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm #

    Sue,

    I’ve supported your research conclusions in the past but your “vacation” comment (#45) about Brian Krieger is unwarranted. He is not going “on vacation” in order to avoid the issue. He is “finishing” a vacation with his family that he is apparently already on. He is interacting with you. Why respond that way?

    Too many people here are looking to dismiss your substantive argumentation in any way they can. (Brian, I’m not saying you’re doing that.) And since they can’t respond fact by fact with your research, some, unfortunately, may take your snide comment in # 45 as a means to dismiss the real points you are trying to make which can only be dismissed by substantive interaction with the lexical, syntactic and semantic arguments.

    I hope in the future that you will spend more time responding with firm and passionate reasoning on the issues rather than with the tone exhibited in comment # 45.

    Sincerely,

    David Rogers

  48. Sue August 19, 2009 at 7:04 pm #

    Thank you, David. Well spoken. I regret that my comment was said that way, when it was internally directed at the way that Denny Burk dismissed my original arguments in the post that Brian has linked back to.

    This is such a painful issue for women. It is an entire life, and for some a complete loss of self.

    I sometimes wonder if it is possible to rehabilitate a woman who has been subordinated.

  49. Sue August 19, 2009 at 7:05 pm #

    I know you have been consistently supportive, David.

  50. Brian Krieger August 23, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    Thanks, David, I appreciate the (correct) defense (even though this is an issue by which we are divided).

  51. David Rogers August 24, 2009 at 12:49 am #

    Brian,

    You are welcome. Even though we are divided in our conclusions, our interactions can have the benefit of either moving us toward a more biblical position, [mine of course 😉 ] Actually the interaction can help us hone our own position by honestly dealing with objections and constructing responses or corrections. This is why I think reasoned debate is crucial. There can be some level of witty repartee but a civil discussion must be our goal.

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