Monday, September 19, 2011

Women In Ministry & Sexism Within The Christian Church

There is so much misinformation on the internet and in many Christian circles  that it can choke 10 to 15 Clydesdales in one setting. Some of those teachings are centered around spiritual gifts, tongues and women in the ministry. There are Christians, who say that they believe and study the word of the Lord diligently with an intelligent and open disposition who are convinced that gifts, tongues and women in the ministry do not exist under any context within the modern church. 

Now, for a fact, there are some complex issues at hand, and I certainly don't mean to minimize the arguments or belittle them that have differing opinions and views on certain issues. After all a person is free to believe what they wish at the end of the day. However, the sad part is that some of the least learned on the issues are the primary ones willing to render the most mis-information. Now, it could be that the problem centers around a person's desire to be faithful to scripture and to not make a mistake. But being faithful without any understanding or knowledge or spiritual advice is just plain old scriptural negligence!

Romans 10:1-4 ~ "1-Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2-For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3-For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4-For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

When Paul was speaking of those who thought that the righteousness of God could be found by observance of the law and along side the acceptance of Jesus, he accounted that they, his Jewish brethren, certainly had a zeal for God, and seemingly wanted to do right by God, but really didn't have the knowledge of God that it takes to be successful. Where most miss it is that the "knowledge" to which Paul was referencing did not begin in books or systems of educational acumen. The "knowledge" to which Paul was referencing was about the person of Jesus and involved specifically knowing who God was in Christ Jesus, and further knowing Jesus in the fellowship of his suffering and the power of his resurrection.

Phil 3:10 ~ That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 

"Knowing Christ" is the only thing that causes one to submit to what Christ has established as opposed to what one "thinks" that is acceptable based ones misunderstanding or misinterpretations of scripture or the misinterpretations of others. This is from where the problem seems to stem...those who "think" they have been enlightened by some system of men's enlightenment, who begin to share what what they believe  even promoting misinterpretations devoid of any sense of what Christ actually did. Then, a scripture or two, twisted to ungodly proportions, are often worse than a loaded double barrel sawed off shotgun at close range...just used to create a much larger mess!

I would like to focus on one of those areas where men and the doctrines of men have created such a mess:

Women In The Ministry

One such topic that has been filled with much confusion for ages is the topic of women in the ministry. My church The Church Of God In Christ, has basically refused to undertake the issue and make a formal statement accepting the ordination and public recognition of women as pastors and leaders. Now there are many reasons that a person cannot and will not accept a woman in the ministry. For some it's a matter of personal preference, for others it's a matter of what they have been taught over the years. What I would like to point to in this writing is those who restrict what God is doing in the life of women in the ministry by simply declaring that God hasn't called women to preach, teach or to leadership under any circumstance within the church. For them (and they don't like the comparison) the church is simply a glorified boys or men's only club whereby sexism and "glass ceilings" are scripturally justified based on a selctive and non-contextual use of scripture. In these circles, women are told primarily that they should just be happy that they are saved and sit down and be quiet...,"cause the BIBLE told you so!"...The problem is that the bible has said many things and taking those things out of the context of which they are intended ceates a mess, restrictions and ultimately another gospel that WAS NOT instituted nor ordained by God in any manner.

Here are the two scriptures primarily in question as it pertains to women in ministry:
 1 Tim 2:11-15 ~ . 11-Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12-But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13-For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14-And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 15-Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.  
1 Cor. 14:34 ~ 34-Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35-And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
The part that has been used to make a whole and complete doctrine to the church universal is 1 Tim. 2:12a as highlighted above. Now, the story goes like this: 

Women's Ministry New Covenant Christian Ctr. NC.
Because Eve was deceived and Adam sinned by following the woman he was in the role of relinquishing his power and leadership authority. The woman's subjection to the man was a part of the curse (Gen. 3:16)  Therefore, Christ dies to establish the order of things, displaying himself as the bridegroom (male figure) of the church (female figure) setting it in order establishing it as the MAN being the head of the woman and ultimately as the spiritual head and authority within the church.  Therefore, because Eve was deceived and Adam was out of his place, the proper place for the MAN after restoration is to be the one to instruct the woman and the woman should not try to instruct or lead the man in any way as it pertains to spirituality or instruction of the Lord. And by the way, men and women are only ONE and EQUALS as it pertain to issues of receiving the benefits salvation, but she (a woman) should NEVER attempt to lead a man spiritually in any way because God does not consider the woman qualified or equal in so doing.  

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Certainly there is some truth to the statement in general. Eve was deceived as Paul notes and Adam was out of place found in disobedience to God. Christ has certainly come to restore all things and set things in order and establish the role of men and women in the home and within society. However, this, when used improperly, is about the most SEXIST admonition ever encountered because if it is not applied with the idea that submission within marriage is FIRST to God and secondly to one another, (Ephes. 5:21) then one will miss the whole point of what Christ actually commands. Secondly, it's the creation of a whole and complete doctrine built upon a context which was not intended for a universal doctrine to be created. unfortunately, there is some obscurity and an incomplete understanding of what Paul was saying and referring to. I'll get to that in a minute. 

Selective Literalism


Now most people who recite that "there are no women pastors or spiritual leaders" refer to 1 Tim 2:12a as stated above. The question is, why do they do so while skipping over the rest of the scripture? Why are they so reluctant to literally interpret the rest of the scripture even adjoined to the one they hold? It seems that they drop in on the verse and select what they wish, make a literal application of it, and bind that on the church universal under some brand of theology, belief and interpretive system. However the question is why would someone who is handling scripture with all sincerity and forthrightness as they claim, select a certain part or portion of scripture and overlook other parts right in the same verse or group of verses? 

It could be because of what the other verses contain and what they are unwilling to really let others know that they either believe or have been persuaded into believing. Here's what we find about the rest of what is stated in those two scriptures. According to those same verses, if we take them literally as the portion of verse has been taken literally, in the church women should:
1- learn in silence"(1 Tim. 2:11),
2- "be in silence" (1 Tim. 2:11) (1 Cor. 14:34) 
3- "be under obedience"(1 Cor. 14:34) [no mention of to whom if she is not married]
4- don't even SPEAK in church (1Cor. 14:34)
5- learn from their "husbands at home" (1 Cor. 14:34)
Now, have you heard these things normally associated with preaching against women in the ministry? One normally doesn't hear these parts of the scripture (as if you can't read it right in front of you) when women pastors or leaders are being taught and preached against. Why is it that none of these supposed "teachers" and "biblical believers" render an open and faithful and true interpretation of scripture by including these elements in their missives?  There is a reason: 

Houston We Have A Problem!
Pastor Burnett & Some Of The Women Of
New Bethel COGIC Peoria, IL. 
No wonder they that hold that the scripture does not support women in ministry are selective when it comes to these scriptures. Under their interpretation, when carried out as THEY set the standard for it to be carried out, as I have said these scriptures basically tell women to shut up and sit down (isn't that PIMP language?) Further, these scriptures give no recourse for single women to 'learn" anything except they come under "obedience", and we should all wonder to whom??? To Christ or to men? SAlthough it seems that Paul's admonition does not include single women, we should ask are single women that unruly that they have to be told to come under obedience to Christ? Personally, I don't want the single women of our church coming under obedience to me outside of the context of the church and church order. That means more responsibility and trouble and I have ENOUGH already!!! (I'm being facetious-LOL...but I'm telling the truth!)

Quite interestingly, however, none of this addresses the further problem of v. 15 of 2nd Timothy which says the following: 
6- If she has a baby, she will be "saved" "in childbearing" on the condition that she continue in charity, holiness and sobriety (1 Tim. 2:15)
WHAT?

So does this mean that a women can be saved "without repentance" if they just have a baby and continue in holiness afterward. Since saved married women aren't the only ones having children, does this pertain to spiritual or physical salvation? Last, a lot of unsaved women have babies everyday and make no commitments to Christ and they still live, so certainly, I would reason that this must be talking to married woman. I don't see a single woman or one unmarried that should receive this benefit of being "saved" when they would have fornicated or sinned to become pregnant to begin with, but one never knows....Aie, Yie, Yie!!!

HOLD THE PHONE!!!

What am I saying??? I am saying that people that hold to this literalistic and fundamentalist view of scripture, that there are no women in ministry, do so inspite of the fact that other scripture exists that overturn or at the very least challenge their argument. They are highly selective in what they want to accept and what they want to reject and all of that has NOTHING TO DO with God or an honest and above board exegesis of scripture. 

The Mistakes & Errors:


There are many mistakes that can be pointed out when assessing this flaw and error in scriptural interpretation. I'll name and discuss a few of them:

Section I:
Cultural Traditions, Who Was Speaking?


First, we don't have enough information about 1 Tim. 2:11-15 to make a case that Paul was speaking against women in ministry and leadership within the church universal. What we do know is that the culture of Judaism lent itself to the understanding that women should be subdued, while that of the world, or society in which the church was developing, lent itself to the understanding that women were outspoken, verbal, alluring and sometimes overbearing. The church culture, in which the scripture was written, needed instruction specifically delivered as to how one was supposed to proceed in their salvation after it had been received. However, as we will discover, a whole case can't be made off of "partial" knowledge regarding the culture and further contextualization. 

No different than today, those that had experienced life in the world, apart from Christ, knew only what the world taught and had no point of reference other than what was delivered to them within the context of New Testament holiness and righteousness. This is partly why most commentaries offer very little concrete information to begin to decipher the context in which the scripture was delivered. The key to understanding Paul's admonitions is remembering that these were Jewish communities in which the early church was thriving and growing. 

We DO have a clear context of what was happening in the Corinthian church however, and assume that much of the same was happening in the are which Timothy would be an overseer. In Corinth, both the style of the church and the culture in which the church existed had an implication on this scripture. As stated, the culture was such that women were outspoken, verbal and sometimes aggressive in making their questions known within the congregation. This was partially due to the style and seating arrangements of the church. The men generally sat closer to the front of the congregation and women separately and in the back. In general it was not apropos, for women to pose questions of voice their challenge to spiritual practices openly or in the public arena. In addition single women were generally NOT unaccompanied within in public settings where there were married men. This sheds light on why Paul does not mention single women specifically within his admonitions. Paul's words were a matter of cultural conformity and acceptability specific to that setting.  

When Jewish Tradition Is Made Christian Law

It cannot be questioned that the original setting of the church was deeply rooted within the setting and tradition of the Jewish Synagogue. Paul was certainly a Jew, according to his own testimony one that was highly zealous of Jewish traditions before he met Christ.

Galations 1:13-14~ 13-For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14-And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

Dr. John P Mier in his book, "A Marginal Jew"  points out on more than one occasion that Paul's epistles often have a strong Jewish and Pharisaic overtone. In fact at this juncture, and also 1 Cor. 11, Paul's Pharisaic Judaism seeps out more strongly than at other times. This is the key to understanding what Paul was referencing when he spoke about women learning in subjection and in silence and not usurping authority over men. As it pertains to women learning in silence and subjection, Clarke's Bible Commentary states the following regarding Paul's admonition to women in the verses:
"This was a Jewish ordinance; women were not permitted to teach in the assemblies, or even to ask questions. The rabbins taught that "a woman should know nothing but the use of her distaff." And the sayings of Rabbi Eliezer, as delivered, Bammidbar Rabba, sec. 9, fol. 204, are both worthy of remark and of execration; they are these: ישרפו דברי תורה ואל ימסרו לנשים yisrephu dibrey torah veal yimsaru lenashim, "Let the words of the law be burned, rather than that they should be delivered to women." This was their condition till the time of the Gospel, when, according to the prediction of Joel, the Spirit of God was to be poured out on the women as well as the men, that they might prophesy, i.e. teach."
Now, if this was originally a Jewish ordinance, we should keep in mind that the silence of women had nothing to do with Jesus or the restoration of things as it pertained to the work of Christ on the cross, but rather spoke to a cultural mandate that made perfect sense within the culture in which the word was primarily being delivered. So this instruction has just as much of a cultural mandate and a need to be interpreted within that context as anything else. 

Now some literalists and traditionalists balk at this because they have never considered the culturally commensurable teachings of the Pauline epistles in this regard. Or have they? Strangely enough those teachings are not veiled, and neither does Paul attempt to turn his teachings into teachings, instructions or commands of the Lord. For example in 1 Cor. 11, when Paul was teaching how both women and men should present themselves in the service of Christ. Paul appeals first to personal witness and judgement and then to nature or the natural order of things (ontology). He concludes his teaching with the following verses:

1 Cor. 11:13-16 ~13-Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 14-Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15-But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. 16-But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God
  
In other words, if someone DID NOT wish to follow this teaching either in all or in part, they had liberty because the command was only a culturally commensurate command or instruction. Paul's words were based on a cultural understanding and teaching of what was acceptable, not a rule from heaven whereby all churches and believers were and would be bound. Paul does this elsewhere when speaking of certain things as it pertains to the church and instructions for living. For example, regarding marriage, and marital issues he says the following to the Corinthian church:

1 Cor. 7:7-127-For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 8-I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9-But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.10-And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11-But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.12-But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away."


Please note Paul speaking as "I" and then distinguishing the Lord's teachings as being "of the Lord". Paul often  speaks out of culture and out of experience while yet distinguishing the difference between his command and the command of God. The interesting thing is that when we look at 1 Timothy 2:12a we find the same thing. The verse says:

"12-But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."
  
Building on the understanding that some of Paul's teaching were teachings commensurate with culture and specific to the setting in which they were taught, it becomes more easy to understand the complete admonition. This was not a teaching toward church practice or ethic for the church universal nor was it a command of God toward the Christian church in general. This was a teaching geared toward the practice of the early church within the Judeo/Christian setting from which they were emerging. 

When we study through the issue four things begin to emerge 
  1. The church was receiving individuals who had no prior experience within the context of any church and needed to be taught order that was acceptable to the culture of that day and 
  2. The church mimicked many of the basic structure and order of the Jewish synagogue from which it had come. 
  3. Jewish traditions were still acceptable in Paul's time. These traditions frowned upon women engaging men in public discourse especially over religious issues. 
  4. Paul's teaching regarding the issue was a teaching based on the cultural setting in which the church was growing and was more specific to the problems which were being encountered as the church grew in the Jewish setting in which it was a part. 
The superimposition of a Jewish standard of conduct or the injection of Jewish traditions upon Western cultural values or norms (which are not sin) is certainly more than the writer of the text would impose. The general statement and purpose would ring true in every culture. There should be a submission and a restoration to the order of God as Paul indicates and clarifies and expounds in Ephes. 5:21-33. However, a rigid application causing women to basically take a back seat simply because they are women, is certainly much more than the intent of scripture, is a SEXIST notion, and is not a God ordained process by which men and women practice and exercise their faith  and communion with one another within the Christian church.     

Section II:
What Women Were Called To Do


A second mistake is that there is usually no reference given to how Jesus viewed and commissioned women for service in the early church or within the Jewish society from which the church emerged. 

First, it is interesting is that women followed Jesus in ministry that were unattached to any male counterparts. As Dr. John P Meier suggests in his landmark work,  "A Marginal Jew" these actions were not in accord with Jewish customs of the day. Women in public without a male counterpart were generally thought upon as being shameful. Jesus had both male and female followers which followed him publically and which were not his "disciples", but who were yet with him and tended to his ministry. Based on extant cultural values and norms, this was an embarrassing fact. In fact this is one of the criterion (embarassment) that helps prove that the gospels were true narratives. 

For Jesus to not only allow women followers, but to also treat these women with respect as he did, was instructive of exactly what Jesus thought about gender traditions of the day. Jesus also allowed women to be on the inside or inner working of his ministry as well as commissioning them to relay messages on his behalf. 

Go Tell The Men!


In each gospel narrative, the women are first at the tomb on the morning of Jesus resurrection. In each case, the women are delivered a message to tell to the men who were hiding out.  Here are scriptures for the examination of these facts: 
Matthew 25:5- 75-And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6-He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7-And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
Mark 16:1-81-And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 2-And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3-And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 4-And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5-And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6-And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7-But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. 8-And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.
Luke 24:5-105-And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6-He is not here, is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7-Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8-And they remembered his words, 9-And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. 10-It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles
John 20:1-3 ~1-The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 2-Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. 3-Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
and
John 20:11-1811-But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12-And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13-And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 14-And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 15-Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16-Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17-Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18-Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
In each gospel the undisputed fact is that women were commissioned to tell the "good news" of the resurrection of Jesus and that commission was to and towards men without oversight of another man other than Jesus himself. This message was delivered to a group or body of people who were constituents of what was otherwise called the church, and, in this case, specifically those who would become known as church leaders. The men took the leadership role as specified and demonstrated throughout the narrative of Acts and we would expect as much based on the culture in which the church was developing. However it is clear that women WERE NOT excluded from the matter of spreading or delivering the message of Jesus in any way, shape or form and that they were given charge to lead all people into this reality INCLUDING men.

Why Weren't Women Called To Be Disciples?

First, Christ only called 12 to be his disciples and none of them were women and one of them, he accords,  was a devil. (John 6:70) If one were building a case on this fact, supposing that because Jesus did not call a woman to be a disciple it is proof that there are to be no women leaders, then it could be as well said that Jesus would call a "devil" before he called a woman and a devil can be a disciple or leader. not only would that be rank heresy, it would also be yet another incorrect, error filled, SEXIST notion and something said to oppress women even further. Yet, many proponents of "men only" ministry claim just that. The point I am making is that gender of those who Jesus called has no bearing on the issue. The calling of Jesus to discipleship was according to purpose not gender. 

Why then did not Jesus call women into discipleship? Primarily for the reasons outlined and noted earlier. The calling of women to discipleship would have overshadowed the message and the intent of Jesus in the culture. Jesus called 12 men and look how debated his purpose is. If he had openly called women, could you imagine the confusion???

With that said, we should not presuppose that Jesus did NOT call or use women in the service of the Lord. As referenced above he certainly did use women to do his bidding within the Kingdom. Dr. John Meier in "A Marginal Jew"  successfully argues that  a possible reason we do not see women "referred to as disciples", if even from a distance, was because there was no name for a female disciple or follower within the context of the extant language of the day. Meier argues that women are never referred to as "disciples" because the word "disciple" was a masculine noun--that is, the word implied that the "disciple" was male. A woman could not be termed a "disciple" simply because no word existed in the the Hebrew or Aramaic languages for "female disciple." Nevertheless, Meier concludes,
"Whatever the problems of vocabulary, the most probable conclusion is that Jesus viewed and treated these women as disciples." ~ Dr. John P. Meier "A Marginal Jew" 
Dr. Meier goes on to note that the gospel writers ALL gave women an unheard of platform and recognition in their narratives by pointing out that Jesus did not distance himself from women or the commissioning of women for service. 

Paul also did not distance himself from women that served the Lord in leadership and ministry capacities within the early church.  In fact in his narratives Paul mentions some 23 women that function in ministerial capacities in the First Century church. His admonitions to to the church at Rome to receive Pheobe who served as a Deconess at the church at Cenchrea, and  to "help those women which laboured" with both He and Clement in the gospel, (Phil. 4:3) cannot go without note. In addition the ministry of Aquila along with his wife Priscilla, who had a church in their house( 1 Cor. 16:19) , was widely known and a definite benefit to both Paul and Apollos (Acts 18:26). The question is how can a woman labor in the gospel, in silence as the critic and ultra-fundamentalist requires? The notion is just plainly ridiculous if not simply impossible one and further displays a misinterpretation of Paul's intent.  

Section III
Men and Women Are One In Christ Jesus 


Galations 3:2828-There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29-And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

This particular verse should be a clear injunction on the fact that God does not use individuals according to sexism or sexual class. However what we have in the mind of many that teach and preach against women in the ministry is a qualified statement...a statement that God only considers that men and women are equal in matters of salvation, NOT in matters of God's calling. The implications of this sort of teaching is disturbing.

For the critics, God can call a donkey, a sinner and even a devil, as referenced above, but can NOT call a woman to service without the supervision of a man...This is a PREPOSTEROUS notion and NOT what the bible teaches.

This is a horrible view and is not be supported biblically, even though some use the bible to justify some of the most egregious atrocities this is yet another equally as dangerous that should be relegated to the garbage heap of history.  

We should note, that YES, men and women do have different roles within the context of life and family matters. That is NOT the issue, but many critics lump them together as if they are one in the same. We should note that there must be submission to one another and to the truth of the word of God in order to advance the church and society in general. However to take it further to say that because the roles are different that it automatically creates a hierarchical structure with God and in service to HIM, whereby the man is anointed and appointed and whereby the woman is simply a "tag along" or a "pawn" piece who is only equal in BED and in giving money, is just flat out insulting and has nothing to do with standing for the truth against the culture. It is better called ignorance and darkness and is certainly not rooted within the light of scripture, nor the liberation of men and women.

Final Note:

If the critic is convinced that women should not "teach nor usurp authority" (1 Tim. 2:12a) and that the verse means that their role will NEVER allow them into ministry that teaches or instructs men in righteousness...then the critic should go all the way and adopt each of the other principles mentioned also. Keep women in abject SILENCE within the church. There is no reason to not tell them all to be quiet and sit down in church! There is no reason to allow a woman to say anything in church at all according to the literalistic view used to support this teaching as has been pointed out here. 

Can you imagine a church without a woman's voice? Can you imagine a choir without a height defying soprano or crisp alto? Can you imagine prayer where a woman's voice is not heard publicly or openly? Can you imagine the financial condition of a church where a woman is told that her money means more than her voice and that she has no voice without a man present but that she should GIVE as much money as she would like, man or no man?

In addition, what is one supposed to do with what Peter preached in Acts 2: 17-18 and what was Prophesied by Joel in Joel 2:28:

Acts 2:17-18 ~ "17-And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18-And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:"

Now what does the world "prophesy" in these verses mean to those teachers who discriminate against woman? Does it mean that the women would only be "prophesying" to other women? What would it mean something other than it means in other verses in the NT where we see men prophesying? 

As I have stated previously, the OBVIOUS answer is that men have decontextualized these scriptures and made a whole case off of a partial and culturally relevant instruction given to address a specific situation and custom at that time. This is a misuse and misinterpretation of scripture plain and simple! Some even go so far as to teach that a man is not a "real" man if he is pastored by a woman. Then others note that there seems to be a large amount of lesbian and bi-sexual women who pastor. Well, just in case they didn't know, there appears to be a large amount of homosexual and bisexual men in the pastorate too and if a person does not know who they are, they will not know whether they are led by a man or a woman. 

Men believe that God is sovereign, EXCEPT when it comes to him using Women in ministry...At that time God must be subject to their understandings (or misunderstandings). I was told that what I espouse is a "social gospel"...Not only is that laughable, but if the liberation of ALL men and women is a social gospel...that's news to me...sounds just like what Jesus came to do.

Luke 4:18-1918-The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19-To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

That sounds like TRUTH to me.


Blessed! 

27 comments:

  1. Now, one asks, what about bishops? The bible specifically says that "HE" who desires the office desires a good thing and that "HE" was to be the "husband" of one wife, not that "she" was to be the wife of one husband...

    The verses pointed to are as follows:

    1 Timothy 3:1-5 ~ 1-This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2-A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3-Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4-One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5-(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6-Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7-Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

    Now, I think that is a good observation. However, what we don't see are restrictions saying that a woman CANNOT be a bishop. Once again, reading the passage through it is simply stating the conditions under which a person, in this case a man, should be held to certain standards and qualifications as a bishop.

    OK, look at this...I'm a football player and you're a hockey player...I say something to the effect that "a good football player is a good athlete."

    Now how have I condemned or restricted you being a good athlete and hockey player with that statement?

    I think not. I didn't even mention hockey players.

    If I said, "football players are good athletes and hockey players cannot be as good of an athlete as football players" THEN we have an argument or a restriction or something to work with.

    Unfortunately, the church has learned to read the scripture with restrictions in mind. So when we read about a "HE" that desires the office of bishop, we automatically gravitate toward the conclusion that "SHES" are excluded when the scripture neither says nor suggests any such thing. The scripture simply outlines the standards for a person (a HE in Paul's mind by Jewish tradition) that desires the office...nothing more, and nothing less!

    I wonder do we see that or has our traditions been so ingrained that it escapes us? Believe me, I hear NO ONE in my church saying any of this, so I can't be accused of being a traditionalist by any means.

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  2. Greetings Brother Burnett, real quickly ITim3:15 seems to prescribe ITim2:8-15 to proper church conduct for all times...

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  3. Thanks brother Tarre,

    I think that objection would be handled under my layout however...Once again Paul lays this out as a matter of cultural conformity and tradition. The reason i would say that is that 1- it can be proven that he does this and 2- if one were to follow it literally women could not utter a word in church and their learning would not be an engaged learning such as a question and answer within the church...they would have to basically shut up!

    This, I believe, is something that we cannot grasp due to our western culture, but it was more easy to accept in the culture from which the Christian church sprang.

    So we have ample evidence that these customs arose in the Jewish synagogue, were cultural norms in a 1st Century Jewish society (which was unique historically), was not an essential of the faith and was promoted by a man who had received these customs as a matter of moral standards within his culture.

    As I say in the article, superimposing that standard upon us today is not the intent of the scripture...Are we to look like Jewish communities today? Some think so and to wit there is an entirely different argument, but I would hold no...Are we to adhere to the truth statements and matters of faith that arose from that time? Without a doubt YES!

    So there appears to be two sorts or sets of truth here, one that is a truth which is a matter of faith and Christianity (orthodoxy) and another that is a matter of practice (orthopraxy). The latter is not to be minimized, but should be contextualized to make sure that it is something that should be imposed today.

    Very good observation of scripture though and certainly worth further consideration.

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  4. Some more scholarly studies are being done on this topic. One is coming up dealing with the day to day life women in iron age Israel.

    Archaeology tells us about the setting in which these women lived and that should be enlightening as to why and how certain customs developed.

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  5. One scripture I've added to the commentary was one I overlooked but it's simple and lays the subject to rest:

    Acts 2:17-18~"17-And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18-And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:"

    Now what would there be a special treatment for "prophecy" here than anywhere else?

    This is specifically stating that the daughters along with the sons shall do this by the operation of the LORD.

    I mean most of the folk who preach against women in the ministry also have a stance against spiritual gifts and claim that prophecy is simply "forth telling" or ministering the truth...So here we have PINPOINT truth that WOMEN should also PROPHESY under and because of the Spirit of the Lord...

    So here are multiple reasons and lines of evidence that the silence of women, and restriction against them ministering within the church is both ungodly and unscriptural as taught by many fundamentalists in today's church...

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  6. Hello again Pastor Barnett. I believe ,as you pointed out in Act2:17,18 , that men and women can prophesy in the church or gathering. My disagreement with your conclusion is that scripture seems to only allow women to speak when under order of the manICor15:34,35, but expressly forbids women to usurp authority ie pastor/lead men as detailed inITim2:12.

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  7. Tarre,

    You said:"My disagreement with your conclusion is that scripture seems to only allow women to speak when under order of the manICor15:34,35, but expressly forbids women to usurp authority ie pastor/lead men as detailed inITim2:12."

    I understand your sentiments and address it in the article. If there is a literal restriction upon women to lead, then there is also a literal restriction upon women in the following manner:

    They MUST also:

    1- learn in silence"(1 Tim. 2:11),
    2- "be in silence" (1 Tim. 2:11) (1 Cor. 14:34)
    3- "be under obedience"(1 Cor. 14:34) [no mention of to whom if she is not married]
    4- don't even SPEAK in church (1Cor. 14:34)
    5- learn from their "husbands at home" (1 Cor. 14:34)

    "Usurping authority" is only ONE part of the 1st Timothy scripture. One cannot selectively separate that particular part from the rest of the scripture or from other verses where this restriction is derived and make a case. There is no scriptural warrant or standard for being selective in that manner.

    In addition it doesn't seem practical to me that a woman could only minister or preach under the authority of a man when other men are present. This would make the scripture seem to speak double, by stating that in the last days "daughters will prophesy" with some sort of sub-restriction stating "only when under the authority of a man when other men are present" and frankly, we don't see anything that resembles that within scripture.

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  8. One more thing regarding this. The scripture referenced by Tarre drives home the point of the article. It says:

    1 Cor. 15:34 ~34-Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law."

    There is NO circumstance under which a woman can speak in the church and they have to comply with this restriction (ie: under obedience)

    1 Cor. 13:35~ "35-And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."

    This adds insult to injury IF this wasn't dealing with a specific cultural situation as I explain in the article...Not ALL women would have husband to learn from at home. So are we to assume that all women of the church must be married? Further if is is "a shame for a woman to speak" and we take that literally...the church is a silent place. Women cannot talk PERIOD, if we are taking verses and applying them literally to support that women can't "usurp authority" over a man.

    Thus the whole point of the article. Paul was dealing with a cultural norm and a specific situation in that particular context. Paul was NOT delivering a guide to the church universal in dealing with the issue.

    Secondly, Paul recognized women who were both servants, prophetesses and leaders within the early church by their service.

    Third, and most importantly, Jesus did not personally deal with women under any of those restrictions, prohibitions or guidelines as often outlined.

    So when the complete case is considered, we must concluded that the modern Christian church has adopted a form of sexism, which is NOT the intent of the scripture.

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  9. Pastor Burnett, I still see these verses simply as pertaining to order and church protocol. I also believe that these verses are to be taken literal(for there is no reason not to)and that they are binding on the church today( as are all new testament scripture). And despite my carnal/natural views and reasoning(leaning to our own understanding), I/We must submit to the Word. Respectfully, Tarre

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  10. Tarre,

    If your position is yours only to evade sound reasoning of scripture that is a fault. There is ample evidence and reason to abandon that position.

    Similar to many of Jesus teaching in his day on many topics that were embraced by those in power, my intent is to point out that if you are going to be honest with scripture under your interpretation, and if you sincerely believe that there is no reason to look deeper to see the context of scripture rather than the letter only....then SILENCE all the women of the church from the time that they arrive until the time that they part company and tell all the single women to basically shut up and do the best they can...

    Now IF one isn't willing to do that...I don't see how one can talk about being bound to scripture.

    Are you willing to do what the scripture calls for you to do? Plain and simple?

    Here's a reminder of what you MUST be willing to place upon all the women of the church. Tell them to:

    1- learn in silence"(1 Tim. 2:11),
    2- "be in silence" (1 Tim. 2:11) (1 Cor. 14:34)
    3- "be under obedience"(1 Cor. 14:34) [no mention of to whom if she is not married]
    4- don't even SPEAK in church (1Cor. 14:34)
    5- learn from their "husbands at home" (1 Cor. 14:34)

    AND

    They better NOT ask for an understanding in church on ANYTHING because they are to ask their husbands at home for any details or any questions period 1 Cor. 15:34-35...

    (As stated single persons are totally jacked up in this church)

    If the answer is yes, then do it...and if you think those actions of silencing the praise and proclamation of any of the people of God is pleasing to God, you're certainly in my prayers. The Jesus of scripture is a liberator. He came to set the captive free, not create more of them.

    As always CONTEXT is the light by which the darkness is removed. Not the letter only, because it kills.

    2 Cor.3:6~ "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

    Don't worry, I'll await patiently. It'll click.

    Blessed!

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  11. One thing is for sure, IF a person really wants to know truth, when truth comes it won't leave them alone until they yield to it.

    On the other hand if one wants to affirm a doctrine, theology, or a hermeneutic, then truth is like a nail scratching on a chalk board.

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  12. Pastor Burnett, with all due respect, I am not evading sound reasoning; in all honesty, I am rejecting your reasoning of clear scripture. I also believe it doesn`t matter what I think about said subject(sexism against women, as you put it) but what the Word declares; for His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways. Therefore, I have no problem with doing what the scripture says(even if some think it`s sexist) nor any other scripture. 2ndly, it is my beleif that IICor3:6 is contrasting the OT to the NT, not a matter of disregarding the letter/writings of the NT for the`spirit' of the NT. Lastly, the truth is, only the Holy Spirit can convince, convict, or quicken a person of any truth revealed, meaning that no amount of words,spoken or written, can do these things. In essence, the best that you or I can do is plant, water and patiently wait on the Holy Spirit. Respectfully, Tarre Stanley

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  13. Tarre,

    I understand your commentary and as you reject the argument I pose but I reject your application of the scripture based on the multiple reasons, none of which you care to address. Now I didn't make you comment, but since you did claiming that my position was wrong (without any supporting evidence) I'll defend my position.

    What you espouse is a sort of fundamentalist literalism with exceptions. If you were applying a fundamentalist literalism with no exceptions you would be true to your position. Although it would still be incorrect, at least it would be a consistent position.

    However I venture to think, and correct me if I am wrong, that you DO NOT hold to a rule that silences the voice women in church.

    If you do, although it's not biblical, I understand you and your rejection of the argument. If you don't, and excuse me in advance, because you're a scriptural hypocrite.

    Now, the reason I say that is because the literal interpretation of scripture, to which you hold says that women are to be SILENT in church...This is without exception. That means no choir, announcements, commentary exposition etc. Not even a question regarding scripture or church procedure.

    The ONLY question you can answer to honestly and openly deal with the text, and to address what I am saying is to answer if this is your application of the scriptures in the church among believers?

    IF it is not, you don't have an argument, although I would like to hear how you would explain the scriptures that say that women should be SILENT, while allowing them to speak and picking out a verse that says they should not usurp authority.

    So to be clear, that's the accusation...scriptural hypocrisy.

    Finally, the "letter killeth" was applied to the OT paradigm of dead works for righteousness as you CORRECTLY stated...the key to what I'm saying and how I CORRECTLY apply it in this case (and others) is that the OT spiritual leaders also literally and selectively interpreted scripture to bolster their needs for whatever reason or purpose...Example, the Sabbath was meant to liberate, when they got finished the Sabbath was a day bound with rules and exceptions that would allow them to dig out and ox, while letting a person suffer. This was anything but free...The letter killed...Marriage was to be a blessing and was instituted of God, when they got finished, marriage was a burden women were the object of the burden and men could divorce for any reason lawfully and according to their interpretation of the word of God...the letter killed...there are many other instances such as food, worship even the company of people...scripture was used to KILL because the interpretation of it was devoid of the Spirit and the intent of GOd...

    In this case, the scripture is ERRONEOUSLY interpreted to burden women simply because they were born a woman with no insight or regard to context, more complete application of scripture or the setting of 1st Century Judaism not the Spirit of God which not only set the church in order, but who uses all men and women in the context of his church to make his church effective.

    These are mistakes that bound and mistakes that I believe are devastating to the understanding of Paul's words regarding the scripture.

    So far, your only retort has basically been: 'The bible told me so'...That would be good if it did and I would fight right along with you if it said just that. But, unfortunately, it DOESN'T!

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  14. Pastor Burnett,Excuse me, but I thought I did address your 'multiple reasons'. The NT scripture says xyz, I believe it and will abide by it- not my carnal understanding.Period. I do not subscribe to a' fundamentalist literalism with exceptions'- see previous sentence. As far as women being totally silent, I believe this was relating to order and church protocol- because this seems to be the context of this scripture. Lastly, the 'OT spiritual leaders'applied unscriptural burdens to that which was written. Also, the OT was only a type or shadow. The NT reveals the spirit, or the real intent of the issues mentioned in the OT. It is my belief that scripture interprets scriptures, along with context, and is therefore,not to be interpreted.This effort(interpretation of scripture) has led to much of the error in church practices, doxology, doctrines and the invention of denominationalism. My question to you would be, Who is the clay(you and I, and women , for that matter) to say to the potter- why did you make me like such and such. Yes, God does use men and women in his church, but there is order and protocol. For instance,in Titus, the older women are instructed to teach the younger women and to teach them to love their husbands and children.Also we all are commissioned to preach the gospel and make disciples- man,woman, boy and girl. With love and respect, Tarre

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  15. Tarre,

    Thanks for responding. You said: The NT scripture says xyz, I believe it and will abide by it- not my carnal understanding.Period.

    What we are dealing with is not simply what the NT says, what we are dealing with is the correct interpretation of what the NT says regarding the issue of handling and dealing with women within the context of the NT church. I have addressed the fact that many times Paul dealt with cultural norms that were extant at that time and spoke specifically to those things. In addition GOd allowed Paul at times to speak, not from a basis of a direct command from God, but out of his experience and most of the time, including this one, that was to address a specific instance that was occurring either in a specific church or situation. 1 Cor. 7 Paul does this often as I point out and further does it with the scripture in question saying that "I suffer not a woman to preach teach nor usurp authority over a man" This is in contrast to him saying that "God commands..." An open and honest drawing out from the scripture both the context, what is being addressed, situation and who is speaking is in order to properly understand the scripture.

    I am trying to understand you as you also state:"I do not subscribe to a' fundamentalist literalism with exceptions'- see previous sentence."

    I beg differ to say that you do. You interpret the aforementioned scripture literally without apology even stating that you hold to it, basically no matter what anyone or any other interpretation renders. This is literalism. Only Your literalism is limited to certain points of scripture and does not allow you to go further into the matter and affirming that you also believe that women should be in abject silence within the church.

    To have this approach and render these exceptions is selective literalism, IF you believe that women can do other things in the church with the exception of preaching or teaching a man. There is nothing that can make that more plain and it is something that you should accept IF this is really your position.

    Expound on this and this will either affirm my sentiments as stated or demand an apology from me which I will gladly render. You said:"As far as women being totally silent, I believe this was relating to order and church protocol- because this seems to be the context of this scripture."

    As stated what does that mean? Cut to the point if you would...is there ANY circumstance under your interpretation where a woman can even speak in the church?

    You stated:"Lastly, the 'OT spiritual leaders'applied unscriptural burdens to that which was written."

    Agreed...What they did in conjunction with that was apply certain interpretations to scripture to support their unscriptural burdens. Remember they were quick to tell Jesus about their heritage received through their "father Abraham". Jesus called them children of the devil and not of Abraham due to their resultant actions and deceit of the people in tying on burdens that were not approved of God and flat out apostasy from scripture.

    See 2

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  16. 2

    Tarre,

    You said: "It is my belief that scripture interprets scriptures, along with context, and is therefore,not to be interpreted.

    Herein is the problem my friend. There are many customs outlined within scripture that are not interpreted by other scripture. Recently, certain actions of Abraham and his family were a mystery, until the discovery of certain practices and customs as documented on ancient engraved stones and tablets such as the Mari and Nuzi Tablets.

    Scripture did not seek to give us an understanding of the importance or customs of an oral blessing and certain other practices such as selling a birthright for food...The tablets place context to the biblical narratives and provide a much more full and rich understanding of not only what happened, but why it happened. but also the cultural significance of the event.

    Even the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross which has recently been called a suicide by Fred Price. The bible tells us clearly what happened, but without knowing ANE customs and practices of honor, shame sacrifices and practices of humility, the sacrifice of Jesus looses its significance and can easily be redefined to suit theology, loosing the cultural value and significance that would have impacted the people in the time in which the events occurred.

    The bible does do a wonderful job of interpreting it's own meaning, but nowhere are we told to limit our study and understanding of what is says to its pages. To do so is not a good practice or methodology in seeking to find the meaning of the texts.

    See 3

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  17. 3

    Tarre,

    You said:"This effort(interpretation of scripture) has led to much of the error in church practices, doxology, doctrines and the invention of denominationalism."

    My opinion on this issue is that 1- denominationalism is not necessarily evil or bad and does serve a purpose which is beyond the scope of this article 2- seeking to find context has never hurt biblical understanding. It has only helped to clarify scripture and help us abide in the TRUTH which is a command of scripture.

    You said:"For instance,in Titus, the older women are instructed to teach the younger women and to teach them to love their husbands and children."

    Now, is this an assumption that all women are married? Who is to instruct the younger single women and further, this instruction can only evidently be done in some sort of secret place or time when men aren't present... or not in church. Once again, taking this as a literal interpretive leaves the door open to all kinds of erroneous applications of the text and the intent of scripture.

    You concluded:"Also we all are commissioned to preach the gospel and make disciples- man,woman, boy and girl."

    Now, how is that? Under your interpretation, women can't talk to men or share the gospel with them? How can your statement be true? Within the church, they can't say a word period. How can your statement be true?

    As I asked before, but will restate. Do you believe that women are to be TOTALLY SILENT in church?This is without exception. This would mean no choir, announcements, commentary exposition etc. Not even a question regarding scripture or church procedure. Do you believe that?

    If not why not?

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  18. If God clearly says don`t do this or that, we don`t need to start trying to interpret what He says- we are to simply obey. As far as 'cultural norms' of Paul`s teaching, I Tim 3:15 nullifies the issues as it relates to church protocol, order, and expressed authority. If and when Paul gives his opinion, he prefaces it by saying this is not a commandment, but it is his desire. Again, I say that I do not subscribe to a fundamentalist literalism with exceptions approach, because of your inaccurate accusations of my stance of ICor14:34. Please know that one can not make/build a doctrine based off of one scripture(Think denominationalism). Instead, we must compare scripture, In applying this rule, we can conclude that women can teach, prophesy, pray, speak in tongues,etc, but they are to be in/under subjection, ie ORDER!!!. Having said this, NT scripture clearly forbids women from usurping authority over the man in churchie pastoring.What I meant by sayiny'As far as women being totally silent, I believe this was relating to order and church protocol', is that the lesson of the text was about order. If the women were/are out of order, they should be silent, wait for the appropriate time(not during service) and ask their husbands at home,or elder- if they are single. In plain English, they should not stifle the service by being out of order(we can all sing together, but we can`t all talk together). Pastor Burnett, thisis a simple call for order. Hear Paul`s admonition- if any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual let him acknowledge that the things I write unto are the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord; also, if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorantICor14:37,38. Customs,Customs, Customs... I refuse to let the cries of'this was confined to the customs of that day' deter me from doing what Paul says..these are the commandments of the Lord. Unlike what you espouse"the bible nowhere limits our study and understanding of what it says to it`s pages", the bible does warn us not to lean to our own understanding. The end result of this way- the omission of the Entire counsel of God- leads to denominationalism. Lastly, I never said that women can`t talk to men or share the gospel with them. I stated that they can`t be in a position of authorityover a man, as ITim 2 says. Like I said before, we all are commissioned to share the good news to the lost in the world. Whew, this is quite exhausting...may the Lord increase the fruit of patience within me, LOL

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  19. Tarre,

    The reason that it is exasperating is because in the process of your seeking to understand and apply scripture (which I commend) you create a different set of rules and exceptions. that are nowhere found within any of the texts...

    This is problematic, as one cannot be faithful to scripture and then be selective about which scriptures to which one clings.

    Now, you claim that the woman usurping authority over a man is only a matter of church order. Paul tying on a restriction binding upon all churches. That's a defense, (not a good one) but not one that I have already addressed and just a restatement of your position. This is also kind of a gut punch to women that they were so "disorderly" and disruptive that Paul had to tell them to be silent, as IF there were no problems with order as long as men were in control...

    The further problems are that you do two things. 1 You make a case of special pleading and 2- you create an argument that doesn't exist and claim that it is part of the conversation.

    The latter first...noone is discussing order. We all know that the church should be run in order. What we are looking at is what that order looks like and what restrictions are being placed on individuals. This is where you run amuck of #1 as specified above and use a sort of special pleading to make the case.

    First you reason that Paul's words regarding women being in subjection is a matter of protocol and say that context tells you so. So you are interpreting scripture based on context which you said you would do right?

    You already stated: It is my belief that scripture interprets scriptures, along with context, and is therefore, not to be interpreted.

    Now at the same time you say this:"If God clearly says don`t do this or that, we don`t need to start trying to interpret what He says- we are to simply obey."
    So from what you are saying we can interpret scripture as long as context is involved or sought out and as long as we understand the commands of scripture and are obedient to them.

    However, you create something totally devoid of scripture and that violates your rules of understanding. That's why it is difficult to dialogue, because you are trying to have your cake and eat it too. Here is what you construct:

    1- Silence doesn't really mean silence. It is based on situational setting.
    You said:What I meant by sayiny'As far as women being totally silent, I believe this was relating to order and church protocol', is that the lesson of the text was about order.

    That Paul's restriction in at least 3 scriptures specifically stating that women were to be in silence is only about church protocol or how one should act in church. Now what does that mean? Does that mean that outside of the church and in a situation where individuals within the the church comes together, that this is not applicable?

    Is this in all churches at all times that women were to be totally silent?

    If that is the case, your contextualization does nothing but affirm that Paul's instructions to women to be in abject silence means just that, even though you suggest that it really doesn't mean total silence. This is very confusing.
    Either the women should be in silence or not.

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  20. Tarre,

    This is why...You go on to explain and say this:
    If the women were/are out of order, they should be silent, wait for the appropriate time(not during service) and ask their husbands at home,

    That ALMOST sounds right and if I were asleep I would let it go. But that's NOT what the text, any text, states. Although I KNOW, that OPaul was stating that to that specific church for that specific situation, Paul NOWHERE says that "If the woman is out of order let her learn at home"...he simply commands the woman to be silent and learn from her husband at home. There is no triggering event such as "if she's too loud" or "if there is a problem that we can't address in the service" it's flat out...BE SILENT, learn at home.

    So for you to come to your conclusion, you contextualize the content, only you do so, holding on to a ethic, of male superiority as if there would be no confusion without the voice of a woman.

    What is amazing is that, we both do the same thing...only YOU do it believing that Paul was basically stating that women, potentially every women, is the vehicle of disorder in the church, needing to be reigned in, rather than placing Paul's words within the context and situation in which they are delivered.

    Another point is this. I have repeatedly pointed out that Paul DOES NOT address single women and under-gird the reason being not because God didn't care, but because Paul was dealing with a cultural norm. As I have preciously stated, we know for a FACT, that the cultural norm DID NOT facilitate single women in congregations where men were present without a male counterpart. My application of context, and the cultural norm is TOTALLY consistent with scripture and reveals why Paul did not instruct single women.

    You state that the single women were delivered to the church leaders for scriptural understanding. You deliver the following statement that single women were delivered to:...or elder- if they are single.

    The only problem is WHERE IS THAT FOUND WITHIN SCRIPTURE?(LOL!!!)

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  21. Tarre,

    In reference to the last comment regarding single women, there is NO reference where Paul instructs the elders to do anything with the single women in the church as it pertains to this subject.

    Here is another statement that is sexist at heart:"In plain English, they should not stifle the service by being out of order(we can all sing together, but we can`t all talk together)"

    I agree with the basic premise, but if you think the problem within the church is primarily because women are disorderly, you have a grave, deep and sincere misunderstanding. Men can be and are more often out of order, but applying the your "order" argument as I have already stated above, creates an issue which the scripture does not intend to create.

    So what does this mean? It means this...it is an inconsistent position to apply the scriptures as you do selectively.

    If you feel that the scripture is to be obeyed as you have stated, then there is no "conditional trigger" under which they apply. NOWHERE does the scripture say that women are to be silent when there a dispute and or argument, it simply says, be silent and learn in silence etc...

    The ONLY way around this problem, is to understand Paul's words as addressing specific situations within the church and culture and viewing his opinion (which it is) as a matter of cultural conformity. Mind you Paul specifically states regarding women being in subjection...

    1 Tim 2:11-12 ~11-Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12-But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

    Paul does the same thing in 1 Cor 7 and elsewhere as not to impose a hard and fast rule or command from the Lord binding upon the complete church.

    The ONLY way that a person doesn't see this, is because they DO NOT want to see it. I see no compelling reasons to adopt your position as there are too many inconsistencies with it and far too many stereotypical assertions in order to make a case.

    Thanks for stopping by Tarre and your commentary has been appreciated on the subject.

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  22. Blessed morning,Pastor Burnett. If correcting disorderliness, and providing proper conduct was not the reasoning for Paul writing ICor 14 and ITim2, tell me what was his reason for writing this. And why has it been included in the NT scripture for all to see. Was it to silence all women for all time without exception, was it to only silence the Corinthian women for all times without exception, Was it to silence the corinthian women for that one particular incident, or was it to instill proper order. Is it necessary for me to tell my son to be quiet when i`m talking to him if he is always quiet when i`m talking to him. In the same way, scripture is warranted where it is warranted. Also, As i said before, you cannot ISOLATE one scripture and say, Okay, the scripture says xyz..therefore Mr. Christian you are held to xyz. You must look at the context of the scripture and compare the scripture to the totality of the counsel of God. This assertion reminds me of satan`s temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. Satan pointed out a particular scripture, which was'indeed scripture' but it was scripture out of context. Jesus responded back with clarification of the true meaning of the scripture..which is what i`m attempting to do(no so convincingly, though). As far as the forbiddance of the woman to usurp authority over the man under all circumstances - simply put, this was written to the church, not the world- therefore, it is binding on the church, not the world. As far as ICor solely being an indictment on women alone,I do not subscribe to this thinking, as men are certainly held to the same premise of order- that`s why Paul says let all things be done decently and in order. As far as how we are to conduct ourselves outside of ;the church', We are always to conduct ourselves in line with what the word says. As far as Paul not directly addressing single women and my assertion that the elders would address these situations, I t can be implied and understood by Paul`s writings that the bishop or elder are to be able to teach and instruct and this is inclusive of single women(ITim4:2, IITim2:24,25, IITim4:2). I do not think that the primary problem in church is the disorderliness of women, I believe, as scripture states, That all things must be done decently and in order ie.. let the prophets speak one by one and be subject to the prophets, speak in a language that is understood by all instead of tongues , especially if there is no interpreter, sing a psalm, proclaim a doctrine - nut only do it in order.. I Corand IITim all relates to church order. If the woman is silent and in order, she is doing what Paul and the Lord commands. Of course,while under obedience, she is allowed to pray, prophesy etc. Again, whenever Paul gave his OPINION, he Stated Such DIRECTLY- that it was his opinion and not the Lord`s commandment. Paul states in ICOR 14:5 I would that you all...1Cor14:19..I would rather speak five wordswith my understanding,. Are we then to imply that these are Paul`s opinions just because he Says "I" sometimes. The answer is a resounding no. Because in 1Cor14:37 of the same chapter Paul says that the things that he write are the commandments of the Lord. HAve a blessed day. I`ll let you have the last word and I sincerely pray/know that if you are correct , the Holy Spirit will lead me into all truth

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  23. Tarre:

    You said:If correcting disorderliness, and providing proper conduct was not the reasoning for Paul writing ICor 14 and ITim2, tell me what was his reason for writing this. And why has it been included in the NT scripture for all to see.

    Well I'm so glad you asked, but obviously you didn't read the article that I wrote addressing this issue specifically.

    Here's what we know...We KNOW that he wrote these epistles to the church at Corinth and to Timothy. Both were dealing with a number of converts to Christianity who were not Jewish. In fact they were pagan. We KNOW that pagan worship styles were disorderly and were very dissimilar to Judaism which the NT church adopted the Judaism style of worship in their gatherings.

    What we KNOW is that under this construct MEN sat in the front and WOMEN in the back. there was no family worship as we know of it today. Men and women did not sit together.

    We KNOW that men were still the patriarchal leaders of the family and that women DID NOT appear in public as we see them today without the accompaniment of a man or a male counterpart and they certainly were prohibited BY JEWISH TRADITION from debating scripture with men.

    We also know that Paul was a Jewish Roman citizen and that he was trained steeply in the rules, laws and restrictions of the synagogue. We also KNOW that Paul did not view any of the actions that happened in worship (outside of those not edifying to the church of God) as being something that a person's salvation hinged upon.

    These things WE KNOW... IN CONTEXT...it becomes more clear to understand Paul's admonitions as admonitions to the group of people that he was addressing and NOT establishing universal laws upon the church...WHY???

    Because PAUL acknowledges WOMEN who both led me to God and served the church in leadership capacities such as Pheobe which was a deaconess or a ministry and church administrative HELPER.

    Paul draws from his Pharisaic training to make the case for the silence of women in the context of those settings because THAT'S WHAT HE KNEW and he also knew that many of these new people had no clue as to what a worship service in his culture and in the culture of this new church should look like...

    Paul deals with conflicts head on in various scriptures instructing specific individuals on what to do and how they should be handled. Paul's instruction WERE NOT a matter of universal church ethic, but die hards persist, that's why trying to explain the rest of Paul's instructions become so difficult for a literalist, because it is impossible in our modern context because the modern church DOES NOT consist of small Jewish communities.

    You ask: Is it necessary for me to tell my son to be quiet when i`m talking to him if he is always quiet when i`m talking to him. In the same way, scripture is warranted where it is warranted.

    If you begin with the though that women are to be silent then you would think that there was a problem with both the Corinthian women and the women to who Timothy was ministering. Further you would think that ALL women must remain silent, only that doesn't work practically. Therefore a new and more full and factual approach to scripture is in order. The disorder of women wasn't the problem as much reaffirming the style of worship that the NT church had adopted and was familiar with.

    You said:You must look at the context of the scripture and compare the scripture to the totality of the counsel of God.

    That EXACTLY what I have done and you refuse to do because you automatically assume that women need to shut up and sit down and speak only when they are spoken to within the context of the church.

    As I have pointed out, interpretations as such based on these scriptures is literalism, but are not biblical or applicable to the context of scripture.

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  24. Tarre,

    You said:This assertion reminds me of satan`s temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. Satan pointed out a particular scripture, which was'indeed scripture' but it was scripture out of context. Jesus responded back with clarification of the true meaning of the scripture..which is what i`m attempting to do(no so convincingly, though).

    That's EXACTLY what I am stating...your retort is totally out of context and is not applicable to the argument. The scripture said that the angels would bear him up, but Jesus understood the CONTEXT was not applicable to one literally throwing themselves down from a mountain. There was a greater purpose to what was said. Somehow you refuse to see that purpose and tie binders on folk in the "name of the Lord" assuming the suffering you have for the literal interpretation is a badge of honor or something that God demands, when NOWHERE in scripture did God command the dishonor of any of his children. Jesus TOLD WOMEN, to tell men the good news of his resurrection. Does that give you any insight into his mind and what he thought about the issue? Paul certainly knew it and didn't dishonor Jesus at all.

    You said this:As far as the forbiddance of the woman to usurp authority over the man under all circumstances - simply put, this was written to the church, not the world- therefore, it is binding on the church, not the world."

    As previously stated your argument can't stand the light of day. Paul said, 1 Timothy 2:12 ~ 12-But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

    Not that The Lord Commands or suffers

    So your refusal is tantamount to standing in the street with a thumb in your mount saying. "I ain't movin'"...you don't have to move, but if you are run over by the argument, it's not because God didn't tell you the truth, it's because you refused to hear!

    You said something else interssting:Of course,while under obedience, she is allowed to pray, prophesy etc.

    As I asked earlier, does silence mean silence? If so a women couldn't pray and be heard in church and certainly can't prophesy...who is she to prophesy to?

    As I stated, you have a literalism with excpetions to make it appeal more to your senses because you KNOW your application is jacked up...sorry, but it is what it is and you've outlined it.

    I will commend you though, you aren't as unreasonable as most fundamentalists, when dealing with the issue. At least you seem to be tempering your literalism with some desire for context and moderation. Need a LOT more but your're at least headed in a good direction.-LOL!!!

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  25. Tarre,

    You said:"Paul states in ICOR 14:5 I would that you all...1Cor14:19..I would rather speak five wordswith my understanding,. Are we then to imply that these are Paul`s opinions just because he Says "I" sometimes." The answer is a resounding no.

    Possibly, especially when Paul says that he says that speaks with tongues more than all of them!!!(1 Cor. 14:18) certainly he wasn't prohibiting tongues, he was teaching the church how to be edified when using the gift for ALL Saints not, individual believers...He knew that the church would better follow instructions as a unit when everyone knew what was being instructed for them to do. That makes perfect sense. So that's context and totally off the issue, but it serves to note that there are signs and a difference between a universal command and a practice adopted because of certain things occurring in certain places and among certain believers.

    Now the word said:

    Hosea 6:3 ~Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

    All I can say is that in seeking him with sincerity, you'll find him. Also in living in HIM, you'll find his ways. Regarding this issue it takes some seeking, living and most of all being ready to hear HIM. He is yet speaking today!

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  26. And that leads to another topic that I've been looking at for quite some time...what is the inspiration of scripture? How is scripture infallible?

    Scripture is not dictated by God to man, it is spoken THROUGH man by God. There is always a relic of humanity that comes through...Scripture is infallible in as much as what it states as facts. All biblical facts are not endorsed by God although they are stated infallibly by him through human agency.

    That's a totally DIFFERENT SUBJECT, but that's one reason why we see Paul coming through in scripture and can distinguish the voice of Paul, culture and tradition from the voice of God even within the same chapter on various subjects

    I'll do a work on that one soon.

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  27. Tarre,

    By the way, I wanted to say, THANK YOU, for such a respectful dialogue even in disagreement.

    Your commentary spoke very well of you and you are a very nice addition to those who will comment.

    We've had a few that I've disagreed with strongly that are yet very good additions to commenting and I think that's a healthy thing to do when the focus is on the subject instead of the person...

    THANK YOU again!

    ReplyDelete

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