"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Do Conservatives Have To Be Like Oil and Water?

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is composed of conservative evangelicals who are articulate and theologically astute. This Council provides a great deal of scholarly research on the biblical roles of men and women in modern society and the church. Their conclusions are the traditional, complementarian viewpoints on manhood and womanhood and they believe their views to be completely biblical. The Board of Directors of this organization is composed of some highly respected men and women in the theological world, including popular author C.J. Mahaney and Presbyterian pastor J. Ligon Duncan. Several Southern Baptists serve as council members at CBMW, including Al Mohler, Dorothy Patterson and Danny Aiken.

Another Christian organization called Christians for Biblical Equality also retains many conservative, evangelical men and women on their Board. These fellow evangelicals, like those who serve on The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, are articulate, theologically astute, and do much to provide the evangelical world with a great deal of scholarly research on the biblical roles of men and women in modern society and the church. Their conclusions are egalitarian and they believe their views to be completely biblical. Gilbert Biliezikian, resident theologian at Willow Creek, represents the kind of scholarly approach taken by those affiliated with CBE. Dr. Biliezikian's book Beyond Sex Roles will probably be the standard bearer for the Christian who comes to his egalitarianism through a belief in the sacred, sufficient and infallible text. Endorsers of the Council for Biblical Equality are some well known, conservative theologians including Dr. Samuel Tang, Professor at Golden Gate Theological Seminary.

The purpose of this post is not to advocate complementarianism over egalitarianism or vice-versa. I simply would like to ask a question. On the home page of The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood there is a rotating list of quotes by prominent evangelicals who oppose egalitarianism. One particular quote caught my eye. It is written by Mary Kassian, a self professed 'homemaker,' a Southern Baptist professor of 'Women's Studies' at Southern Seminary, and a member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Mary writes:

Biblical feminists seek to retain an evangelical base while at the same time modifying Biblical interpretation to be sympathetic to the concerns of the women's movement. However, in order to embrace both, Biblical feminists need to compromise the Bible. Biblical feminism therefore has become a theological crossing point between conservative evangelical theology and liberalism . . . Feminism and Christianity are like thick oil and water: their very natures dictate they cannot be mixed.

Other than pointing out to Mary that many conservative, evangelical egalitarian authors, including Dr. Biliezikian and Dr. Tate, might take umbrage at the allegation that their egalitarian views 'compromise' the Bible, I would like to sincerely ask Mary - and other complementarian evangelical friends - a very serious question.

Is it not possible to be a conservative, evangelical Christian who believes in the infallible and sufficient Word of God and come to egalitarianism through a study of the sacred text?

The official Statement of Faith for Christians for Biblical Equality emphatically declares:

We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, is reliable, and is the final authority for faith and practice.

Someone told me last week that the violence in some African nations was worse between African tribes with various Christian views than between African Muslims and African Christians. I scratch my head when I hear stories about Christians fighting Christians in Africa thinking that there must be something distorted in the Christianity of those tribes. Likewise, I wonder if there is not something out of kilter with American evangelical Christianity when various views about the role of women in society and the church become "the crossing point conservative evangelical theology and liberalism." Ironically, both groups base their beliefs on 'the sufficient text.'

I never question the sufficiency of the Bible. It is the sufficiency of some evangelicals to reflect the spirit of Christ toward others when disagreement arises over intepretations of the sacred text that cause me to doubt whether or not we have genuinely experienced the Christianity of the Bible. I may be a complementarian, but I sure don't see the fellowship between my Christian egalitarian friends and myself as 'oil and water,' and I also have a hard time viewing this issue as 'the crossing point to liberalism.'

In His Grace,


Wade

134 comments:

jasonk said...

I like women.

Jason Epps said...

There is a "Council" on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood? Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

What makes the gender issue so difficult in the U.S. and why many people see it as such a divding point is the history and influence of feminism in the U.S. and how that may be affecting biblical interpretation.

Up until the last few years, most people who believed that women could serve the role as ordained pastors were theological liberals. They had already rejected the text as normative. So, it's not unusual for people on the other side of the debate (especially if they are older) to associate the view on the ordination of women as pastors with liberal theology. That was true in the SBC, too, before and during the CR, though the CR never made (correctly) the ordination of women an issue.

This can clearly be seen by marking the denomninations that alllow the ordination of women as pastors with their general decline on the view of scripture.

My personal belief on this is that we are heavily influenced by our culture, so it is hard to conceive that God may have some sort of gender role restrictions that would transcend culture.

It is no surprise that there are some conservative theologians who would take the so-called egalitarian side. It is interesting, however, in many of the churches that do, that there is still not a significant presence of women in the role of senior pastor. So one wonders whether for them this is an exercise in theory. For example, I would be very surprised to see a woman become the Senior Pastor at Willow Creek, or the Senior theologian in residence to be a woman. Even at these places, women may be ordained and have some jobs that they would not have at the churches of other denominations, but one rarely sees them as the titular leaders (which is what is truly at issue for conservatives).

It is a difficult thing, I maintain, for the two views to exist in denominations that do all the things the SBC does (mainly, run seminaries). The SBC seminaries are seen generally as places of theological training for people who will serve the denomination. They are not divinity schools where there is simply a smorgasbord of theological options that are explained, with the student choosing what he/she will accept.

The same thing can be said of Baptism. I can find conservative bible believing scholars who believe in infant baptism. I can find many who do not. But I suggest it would be very difficult for these two groups to run a seminary. They could have conferences, evangelize together etc. But when it came to organizing and setting up churches, it would be another matter.

The SBC is not confused at all on this issue. It has spoken clearly on this issue in the BFM 2000. For that to be reversed, in my opinion, the best thing would be for some churches to start that have women senior pastors. If that is done, and enough are started and they develop a following, there would be an existing fellowship of churches that would be a basis of support for ordained women as pastors.

What has traditionally been done in most denominations is a political insurgency that tries to bring changes to the official church teachings. A top down approach. It has historically been very divisive.

Thanks for the thoughts.

Louis

K. Michael Crowder said...

"Is it not possible to be a conservative, evangelical Christian who believes in the infallible and sufficient Word of God and come to egalitarianism through a study of the sacred text? "

If YOUR Christ is the criterion by which you interpret Scripture, then no--it is not "not possible."

But if the Holy Spirit is the criterion by which you interpret Scripture, then you will indeed come to the same conclusion as the Apostle Paul and Moses in light of the writings of Jude who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. (and the answer would still be no, but with the clarifiction that you are wrong and that that church openly and willingfully violates the Word of God--but to each their own)

Wade,

I have been meaning to tell you for some time that I am impressed with your complementarian writing style--that is to say your use of the faulty analogy, complemented by the appeal to ignorance.

Paul called himself a "Hebrew among Hebrews." The real conservatives of the convention might call you the "Duper among the duped."

You might consider doing a preaching series on the mentality of the "crowds" in the Bible. You will find that they were nearly ALWAYS wrong and that they needed strong leadership to guide them to a more Christ-like or Godly path.

I thank God that we have such leadership in the convention.

Do you not know that "Your glorying is not good" (1 Cor 5:6a) I would urge you to read 6b and verse 7. Anything less on the part of a pastor, church, or cooperating group of churches is a slap in the face mostly Holy God we serve.


I think the problem today is pastors read too many books and not enough of THE Book. Of course my complementarian view on this topic does not preclude the reading of books. But your egalitarian view of this just might place God's Word on the same level as ___________________(insert your favorite author).


ihs,


Kevin

greg.w.h said...

Wade:

it's umbrage not umbridge.

Kevin:

You're spectabulous at pushing your agenda as opposed to actually responding to what Wade is posting about.

But I appreciate you illustrating his point: those who use the Bible to bludgeon other Christians probably need to think about why their egoes overwhelm their Christ-likeness.

Greg Harvey

he's only chasing safety said...

To assume that one has the guidance of the Holy Spirit and another does not simply because they differ from you seems a little strange to me. Do people receive letters in the mail informing them of their correctness? If so, I believe that I am in the wrong on more than a couple of issues.

I say, let each man be fully convinced in his own mind - and let us not judge those who differ from us by making brash assumptions about their time in the Word or their relationship with Lord without sufficient evidence. There's just no way that all of us can agree on everything, at least not until Christ returns and we see clearly.

Besides, let God be true and every man a liar . . . right? Or are there some that are no longer in need of grace when it comes to understanding our great God?

Wade Burleson said...

Louis,

Thoughtful comment. Just one little thought. A convention is not a church. A seminary is not a church. We have SIX seminaries. Some hold in their confessions of faith to the five points of Calvinism. Some do not. It is not essential that every seminary teach the same thing, and in a COOPERATING convention it is assumed that not every church will believe or practice the same thing. Why not COOPERATE in spite of individual church and seminary differences on interpretations of the sacred text? The Conservative Resurgence was about the nature of the Bible - not specific interpretations of it.

Kevin, unlike Louis' comment, I have no clue what it is that you are saying in yours.

In His Grace,

Wade

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade,

I'm not young enough or inexperienced enough to know everything.

But one thing I'm pretty sure of is that the most dogmatic among us about such matters believe they have it just right. That they're right and those who disagree with them .. over anything .. must be wrong.

I don't think there's a person drawing breath that understands it all, and unless we do, we'd best be careful about saying folks are wrong in such as this. And, denying fellowship or cooperation is the equivalent of spitting in Jesus' face, in light of His call for unity among believers.

texasinafrica said...

I might disagree with your friend's assessment of African conflicts, but certainly one of the most interesting aspects of some of Africa's most violent conflicts is the incredible homogeneity of the parties who are at odds with one another. In Somalia, for example, everyone is ethnically Somali, and everyone is Muslim - and the same kind of Muslim. Likewise, there's virtually no cultural difference between Rwanda's Tutsis and Hutus. They speak the same language, have the same culture, and share a common faith.

In all of those fights, the issue at hand almost always has do to with something other than correct belief, although the fight may be couched in those terms. More often, it has to do with acess to power or resources. I suspect the same is true in disputes among Christians.

Steve said...

Mankind may go back and forth to the moon and starts casually one day, and every disease understood in terms of genetics and such, and we may EVEN learn how to keep johnsongrass out of food crops, but those that decide that they are more fundamentalist on one issue or the other than some other guys will STILL call those other guys "liberals," presumably with hushed voices and raised eyebrows.

Doug said...

Wade - as usual you got to the heart of the matter. So many "complementarians" simply equate the egalitarian view with "feminism", and therefore write it off as "wordly.". They suggest that "feminism" is some monolithic movement, when nothing could be farther from the truth. I truly think Jesus would have been accused of being a "feminist" in His day (if there had been a Hebrew world for it!).
In regards to the comments by Mary Kassian, it is interesting to note that she implies that her viewpoint is "Christian" while "Feminism" is something else - and, of course, she is on the "right" (i.e. "Christian") side!

Jack said...

The wheels usually come off the SBC and other religious organizations when we stop engaging in evangelism and begin fighting the 'culture wars' -- or when we confuse one for the other.

We are not commanded to "go into all of the world and subjugate uppity women" but to go into all of the world and preach the gospel.

During the time God has placed me on earth I have seen 'Godly' self-assured Christians(?) cite the Bible as authority for:

Forbidding people of different races to date or marry

Forbidding dancing

Forbidding playing cards

Forbidding going to the movies

Forbidding women to wear pants

Forbidding men to have "long" hair

Forbidding women to have "short" hair

Forbidding "mixed swimming"

Forbidding consumption of any amount of alcohol

Forbidding women to have any measure of authority over a man under any circumstances

Forbidding rock and roll music

Forbidding instrumental music in church

etc.

In every case I have watched "Godly" men perform the exegetical equivalent of "twister" to justify their positions.

We need to leave the things of the world to the world (I have read the book; we win in the end) and get on about that which we are commanded:
preaching the Gospel of Christ and the salvation he offers.

-jack-

Bryan Riley said...

Absolutely, Wade, it is possible. I know many who have done just that. But I have also been told, without any factual bases, by several who hold to the complementarian (and for some authoritarian) view when I've asked a similar question is that history has shown 100% that egalitarianism is the first step toward apostasy in every denomination.

Darby Livingston said...

Wade,

You ask, "Is it not possible to be a conservative, evangelical Christian who believes in the infallible and sufficient Word of God and come to egalitarianism through a study of the sacred text?"

I think the answer is yes, provided the argument is internally consistent, articulate, and exegetically responsible. Some people do not fill that bill. Others do. Just like some complementarians come to their views by solid exegesis, and others by fallacious arguments. We're probably more similar than different.

Light said...

Wade, as an egalitarian, despite professing my belief in the inerrancy of scripture, I have been directly accused of being an agent of Satan by one of CBMW's founders, Tim Bayly. I have also been accused of rebelling against God, of heresy, twisting scriptures to support my own agenda, etc. Many, many egalitarians experience the same contempt and disrespect from our complementarian brothers and sisters in Christ. I operate on the assumption that my complementarian brothers and sisters have arrived at their conclusions much the way I have arrived at mine - through years of careful Bible study and prayer. It would be nice if we egals were treated the same way.

I would have expected the climate to have improved after all these years, but I see it worsening all the time. And I have no answers on how to improve it.

greg.w.h said...

Jack's comment raises a thought:

In every case I have watched "Godly" men perform the exegetical equivalent of "twister" to justify their positions.

I'm a big fan of the concept of letting champions battle in order to avoid the devastation of war. We should offer an amendment to the Constitution of the SBC as follows:

"Whereas the appearance of combativeness within the SBC is counter-productive to the cause of the Kingdom,

whereas the quick resolution of situations that cause the appearance of combativeness is strongly desired,

whereas God and Israelite tradition often used the casting of lots to allow God to guide decisionmaking,

whereas the American culture uniquely values the use of athletic competitions as a proxy for "random outcomes",

be it resolved that from now on each camp in a situation where there is a highly controversial decision must provide a champion to represent itself,

be it further resolves that each champion must ready himself or herself with proper spiritual preparation to represent their groups position in honorable and spiritual warfare,

be it further resolved that such honorable and spiritual warfare occur on the plastic mat with colored dots heretofore known as the game Twister and shall follow the rules of that game both literally and in the spirit of those written rules,

be it finally resolved that the winner of said match shall be considered to have won God's affection and strength as well as God's favor for that position and from that point forward the controversy shall be finally determined with no further avenue for comment or dissent."

Greg Harvey

Darby Livingston said...

Greg,

I've read where champions of the past would at times battle with no clothes on, perhaps you should stipulate that in the resolution as well. :)

greg.w.h said...

Darby:

I thought the visual image of Mohler representing Calvinism and Patterson representing Baptist Identity (aka landmarkism) in honorable combat was perhaps all that the eye of the imagination could take in during a single consideration of my proposal.

Perhaps you would want to offer to amend the resolution after it is on the floor?

Greg

Wade Burleson said...

Greg W.H.

It is both umbridge and umbrage.

See here

Granted, umbrage is the more prominent American spelling, but I read the old English classics. :)

plittleton said...

Kevin Michael whatever you'll be going by next:

You're a goober.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

All good observations which I embrace.

However, because the BFM says "While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.", that creates the boundary for denominational cooperation (though not conferences, interdenominational relationships, church to church etc).

Until the convention decides to do something different, we all recognize this as the position of the convention and its agencies. The convention just last year passed that motion saying that the BFM was sufficient and should be followed by the agencies(paraphrase).

I recognize that there are those who wish our convention had not put this in our confession of fatih.

My only suggestion (and it is not made to you or anyone in particular), is that I hope any change to the BFM on this issue (if it were to come) would come from a natural church planting type movement with women being senior pastors, and not through campaigning and political activity.

Baptists are way too political, in my opinion.

Louis

Lin said...

"We are not commanded to "go into all of the world and subjugate uppity women" but to go into all of the world and preach the gospel."

LOL!

What bothers me most about this issue is not that they disagree with me. It is that many comps tell me I am in sin because of my beliefs. When you try to engage in a contextual conversation all you hear is this:

You don't disagree with me. you disagree with God.

You are following a 'feminist' or 'liberal' hermenenutic

It always leads to more apostasy such as homosexual ordination.

It is about female domination.

Not one of these is true. There are fringe groups everywhere...kooks in every position. The comps have their patriarchs that believe women should not go to college or even vote!

The homosexual reference is a strawman. I have one I could use too but I know it is a strawman: Comp beliefs lead to a lower view of women and more domestic violence.

And most egals I know are extremely conservative and believe in mutual submission for all believers. They also believe strongly in the 'one anothers' taught in the NT.

However, I am more than willing to defend my position using scripture in context and be proved wrong. I only want to seek truth.

They are not. They are only prepared to tell me read some book or to utter one of the above phrases that we hear over and over. I am starting to think they are parroting these authors or their professors.

Do they not understand that some of us have spent years studying this? I have because I could not overlook the obvious contradictions in scripture. Why does Paul assume they are prophesying in chapter but then saying they can't in chapter 14? Where is the law he referenced? There is no 'law' in the OT concerning this. Why does he express a negating sarcasm in 1 Corin 14:36 to the previous two verses: "What? was it from you that the word of God went forth? or came it unto you alone?"

Oh, the list goes on. But these are things worth exploring in depth before we try to shut up over half of all Christians from proclaiming the gospel to ANYONE they are led to by the Holy Spirit.

One thing about the comp position that bothered me for so many years is that I felt like there needed to be a 'play book'. Contrary to what many comps teach, there is not a list of specific roles for women in NT scripture. There are the obvious ones like childbirth, wife, etc. But then there is a woman deacon, elder, women prophesying, etc.

The issue is really not about 'women' at all. The deeper issue is the one we discussed yesterday. It is all about earthly 'authority' and WHO has it. And for that, we know that Jesus turned the whole concept of authority in Christendom on its head. (pun intended)

greg.w.h said...

Wade:

Good enough. J.K. Rowling has Harry Pottered us once again.

Greg Harvey

Anonymous said...

Recently I heard a speaker point out that all of us see through a glass darkly and all of us could be wrong on some things. Otherwise, we would be be equal with God.

Florence in KY

Only By His Grace said...

Wade.

Looking in Vol. XVII of my Oxford English Dictionary, it says…"

Sorry, I paid so darn much for this set that I am charging to look up words to defray my expense.

Phil.

Paul Burleson said...

Wade,

I read your post and am blessed as I see the wisdom spoken. I must confess, as you well know, I would be labeled an egalitarian by most people who hear my understanding of the several texts that are usually the basis for a Fundamentalist's view of women. [I hate labels]

My understanding of those texts has been hammered out with a textual, grammatical, and historical method of interpretation all the while guarding against cultural influences. [No more successful or less successful than any other person.]

But when I read some of the people who comment... a few quotes of wisdom from others come to my mind.

"There will come a time when three words, uttered with charity and meekness, shall receive a far more blessed reward than three thousand volumes written with disdainful sharpness of wit."
Richard Hooker

"There is a time for saying nothing; there is occasionally a time for saying something; there is never a time for saying everything." Hugh of St. Victor

"Lord make my words gracious and tender for tomorrow I may have to eat them." Anon

Dad

plittleton said...

Paul,

Are you talking about me? You're talking about me, aren't you?

I know. I know. I should think a little harder before pressing that "submit" button.

But I still think "you know who" is a "you know what." ;) I guess I don't have to say everything I think, though, do I?

Wade, feel free to delete my nonsense.

Paul Burleson said...

plittleton,

I have to confess...you were not in my mind at all. In fact, having gone back to read what you referenced, I would say you fit the three words category. I don't know about the charity and meekness part but they were short and sweet. :)

Wade Burleson said...

Both Pauls,

I find your respective honesty refreshing.

Dave Miller said...

Wade's post asks a question which the comment stream by and large undermines.

The direction of the comments has been self-congratulatory superiority for egalitarians and disdain for complementarians.

It seems as if you are demanding acceptance by refusing to grant it.

Anonymous said...

Do conservatives have to be like oil and water? No, unless they are also fundamentalists.

Wade Burleson said...

Dave,

What in the heck is self-congratulatory superiority?

Tom Parker said...

Dave Miller,

Do you think those that are complementarians view the egalitarians as liberals?

Rev. said...

So, should SBCers toss Article XVIII out of the BFM so we can all get along?

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Can you imagine what someone might be accused of if they were an egalitarian, partial-preterist, non-calvinist, that believes tongues might be a gift for today though it is not a gift for everyone?

You could get really nasty and call them a McLaughlin! Or agent of Satan. Either one.

Justa Believer said...

Louis said...
Up until the last few years, most people who believed that women could serve the role as ordained pastors were theological liberals. They had already rejected the text as normative. So, it's not unusual for people on the other side of the debate (especially if they are older) to associate the view on the ordination of women as pastors with liberal theology. That was true in the SBC, too, before and during the CR, though the CR never made (correctly) the ordination of women an issue.

This can clearly be seen by marking the denomninations that allow the ordination of women as pastors with their general decline on the view of scripture.


I understand your point, and from the SBC perspective I believe it is true that until relatively recently those who accepted women pastors did so based on a low view of Scripture -- but I'm not sure this is true across the board with other denominations.

Various Wesleyan and Pentecostal groups with high views of Scripture accepted and practiced what would be known today as the egalitarian position well before the widesperad influence of theological liberalism. They didn't have the fully articulated viewpoints and hermenuetical arguments put forth by modern day egalitarians, but they were strong Bible believers who simply believed the Bible did not prohibit women pastors.

I think Baptists just often assume that if another denomination has a different position it must be due to theological liberalism. We believe that what we believe is what the Bible teaches, so we think that therefore anyone who believes something else must not really believe the Bible.

Dave Miller said...

Wade, assuming you are asking an honest question, that would be a smug sense, congratulating ourselves on being superior to others.

My comment refers (I think pretty clearly) to the comment-stream, not to your post.

I could itemize...

Dave Miller said...

Tom Parker,

I believe that is probably the case in many people's view. However, the clearly dominant view here (in comment stream) is egalitarianism - and a disdainful view of complementarians.

Bryan Riley said...

Dave Miller, please do help us understand what you've found to be un-Christ like because we all need to grow and constructive criticism, given gently and lovingly, is a powerful thing. I know when I first wrote my comment it was harsh, because I was reacting to some of the harshness I had received in the past. God nudged me to walk in an opposite spirit, and I rewrote it before I published, but I am afraid that my comment still came across harshly. I was attempting to report simply, in answer to Wade's question, that I had experienced similar attitudes to what he was writing about.

What is interesting is that I was greeted by the attitudes I expressed above in the context of simply asking questions about the biblical bases of women in the ministry, not in the context of proclaiming the rightness (or wrongness) on that issue.

I don't believe, however, you can read what I wrote to say that I am an egalitarian; I didn't self-disclose that. I really am unsure of my position (and like Paul B. hate labels) except that I think God released everyone to the use of the gifts He gives them to their fullest capacity to advance his Kingdom. I am constantly humbled by the fact that God doesn't need us, but He chooses to use us and to love us. Amazing. I also believe that we are no longer under condemnation and I am pondering the effect of that on the women in ministry issue.

Bryan Riley said...

Dave Miller, one final thought: Is the disdain for the complementarian position or is it for judgmental attitudes generally? At the same time, I understand what you are saying... are those who are being disdainful simply doing the same thing? That is a common spiritual issue - reacting to evil in evil rather than in love. Ah, spiritual warfare, something we must always be vigilant about.

ml said...

Dave and All, Actually, I think the issue is neither complementarian nor egalitarian but simply a Rodney Kingesque "Can't we all just get along?!" However, the underlying issue has to do with how important the topics are viewed to be. For example, when ole Dilday was fired, one trustee commented, "woman in ministry is the sixth fundamental of the faith." Needless to say, he was not egalitarian. In the same light, there are egalitarians who are as rigid in their interpretation, too. This is not a one sided battle. Try getting a teaching post at a school with egalitarian leanings while personally holding to a more complementarian position. Maybe Ghandi was right? What is his quote? "I'd be a Christian if it weren't for the Christians I know."

Oh and Wade it is Bilezikian--His book Christianity 101 is an excellent theology primer.

K. Michael Crowder said...

"The direction of the comments has been self-congratulatory superiority for egalitarians and disdain for complementarians."

You obviously missed my post.


Let me seek to define "self-congratulatory superiority" for Wade, since he is having a hard time discerning the thoughts of...well....everyone but himself...


"self-congratulatory superiority " is: the gloating of the duped


K

Paul Burleson said...

Wade,

I'm reminded of that joke I told your congregation a while back.

A lady went to see a lawyer. She said "Draw up the divorce papers. I'm leaving that jerk I'm married to."

The lawyer asked "Do you have grounds?" She answered "oh we have two or three acres..why?" The lawyer responded "No, I mean is there a grudge?" She said "sure, a two-car AND a car-port..but what's that got to do with anything?"

The exasperated lawyer said "I mean like does he beat you up?" Her response was "Absolutely not. I'm up an hour before him and make coffee."

Finally the frustrated lawyer calmly said "Why are you divorcing him?" She answered "Because that husband of mine can't carry on an intelligent conversation."

Why am I reminded of that joke? :)

Anonymous said...

Just a Believer:

You are exactly right on the historical reference.

Holiness Methodist groups, which have a high view of scripture, have for years accepted women in the pulpit. I don't know, however, if they really fill the role of senior pastor. Here in Nashville I can't think of a major church in those movements that has a woman senior pastor. You would think that after all these years that would have happened. It makes one wonder if the real position is that women are not restricted formally from any roles, but that practically they are.

The Pentecostals have women for sure in teaching roles. I don't know of any churches where they are the senior pastors, but I do know of many situations where they are billed with their husbands as "co-pastors," which to me seems like a perfectly awful idea. "Don't hire anyone you can't fire" is a great motto for organizational leadership. I can't imagine being in a situation on the board of a church that is overseeing the pastoral staff where the husband is performing well, but the wife is not. How in the world could any discipline or challenge be brought to that situation if the husband and wife are "co-pastors?"

Finally, in the SBC context, historically it has been pretty clear. All of the "women in ministry" types during the CR openly held to a low view of scripture and supported moderate causes. They were the products, primarily, of Southern and Southeastern in the old days. The history on that may change, but I still think that those who want to bring about change should do so by planting churches with women as senior pastor. If those churches thrive and the model is replicated, there would be more of a natural support for revisiting the issue.

Trying to change things politically by a movement to remove language from the BFM is destined, at best, to be a very bloody and protracted campaign. I hope that it is not undertaken.

Louis

greg.w.h said...

Dave:

I think Kassian's expression of exlusivism in her oil and water comment fully explains the phenomenon you're complaining about. Complementarians typically retreat from any responsibility to acknowledge the other side's viewpoint.

As such when someone supports--as Wade does--permitting both viewpoints to co-exist, the complementarians generally flee or make ridiculous comments like Kevin has a penchant for doing (might I guess you forgot to take your lithium, Kev?) Whether the remaining voices or self-congratulatory or not is then a matter of perception.

Lacking a background of honest dialog and further lacking the multi-hue coloration of the competition of real thought, any positive statements in favor of the only expressed viewpoint sometimes come across as stark if not excessive.

That Wade is expressing his frustration with the general penchant of people to prefer divisiveness over unity is also obvious. After all the entirety of the post is about turning Kassian's comment around from a supposedly successful attack on feminism into a criticism on the attitude of complementarians.

In fact, most conservatives are strong on belief and light on thought when it comes to interacting with those they disagree with. Kassian could have made the same comments with less exclusivity. She chose not to do so because she was trying to frame the issue so that it poured liberal labels onto the egalitarians so they would be colored by her false comparisons.

An egalitarian might be a feminist or not. A committed feminist, on the other hand, is indeed oil and water with the complementarian position. The logic fails if you express it the other way around because it's simply wrong.

Is it self-congratulatory for me to point that out? I think not since I am essentially a complementarian. But I eschew bad logic, bad reasoning, and bad exegesis. It is ENOUGH for the complementarians to claim that in the majority of passages in the Bible there is a visible preference for male leadership. The next words should be based on love and a desire for unity, perhaps something like this:

But we should be careful in attempting to exclude those who feel the Bible also permits women in leadership. Not only are there sufficient examples of God directly choosing women for leadership, and not only are their sufficient examples of God crucially inserting women into his plans, but there are also sufficient examples of how Jesus put his arms around women in a society that often marginalized them.

We need to recognize that those who hold the complementarian position have used their beliefs chauvinistically to exclude others. We should as a matter of principle and action instead include all sinners in the church and work with love and diligence to together search Scripture like Bereans in order to prove the truth that we find there and to adapt ourselves to it instead of attempting to adapt Scripture to ours beliefs.

If we will commit to that Berean-like search and discussion, we believe the Holy Spirit will bless it and cause unity to emerge and embrace all of us. We recognize that in the mean time there will be points of ambiguity and even discord that we will be tempted to squash rather than reason through. But we commit ourselves to never taking shortcuts to building love for each other and to waiting patiently for the Holy Spirit to lead us to unity.

We close this thought by offering this passage from Ephesians 4 for meditation:

"11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV)


My point is that if what you believe is truth, Dave, won't it prove itself to be true? Is it necessary that we exclude people in order to defend truth? Can't we accept them as fallible and teach them? Isn't that the exact essence of discipleship?

Greg Harvey

Gary said...

Paul,

You funny!

Gary

Gary said...

Wade and all,

I admit that gauntlet-picking-up is not my strong suit. I will be more than happy to cheerlead anyone willing to get in the ring on many issues. Not all of us have (or had) positions of influence where a real difference can be made at a high level with far-reaching influence. I have truly and bluntly asked Wade in previous threads "if not you then who?" Fair? Probably not. But my keyboard Tourette's got the best of me.

Look around at what the "issues" are: complementarian vs. egalitarian, infallible vs. "we don't have the originals", cooperation vs. conformity, and the most divisive of all, hymns vs. choruses (sorry, had to get that in).

I don't sit on a national, regional, or associational board or committee. In fact, I would question the sanity of anyone who would recommend me for such a position. It would have been obvious that they had not 'vetted' me.

However each and every one of us has a sphere of influence. It is my responsibility for that sphere, not Wade's, not my Pastor's, not Paul's (both of them), not Michael's, or Greg's. In many ways and for many reasons some or all of these folks may disagree with me, but that is OK. I may get upset with their disagreement and wonder why it is that they are "wrong" about that. But again, that is OK.

But the very thing that I'm not OK with is what seems to be dividing us as of late. To me, the issue boils down to 'conformity'. "You must fit into this square, which has been defined by people much more wise than you could ever hope to be, before a) I will fellowship with you and b) you can even be a Christian." Hyperbolic? Perhaps. I would encourage you to read more widely and listen to what is being said before you brand my rhetoric as hyperbole.

I leave you with one of Aesop's fables. If the 'bell' fits...

Believe me, said a youthful mouse,
That cat makes too much fuss,
The silly thing just sits and waits
to capture one of us.

You're right, a peer said, looking grim,
I find the cat disgusting,
You never know just where she is!
No wonder we're mistrusting.

Quickly a committee formed
And came up with an answer!
A bell around the kitty's neck
Would neutralize the cancer!

The crowd rejoiced: OUR PROBLEM'S SOLVED!

But Grandma Mouse looked leery,
She sighed a tired sigh and said:
I've just one simple query.
Who'll be the one to volunteer
To go and bell the kitty?

And all kept perfect silence then,
Especially the committee.


Gary

Lin said...

I believe that is probably the case in many people's view. However, the clearly dominant view here (in comment stream) is egalitarianism - and a disdainful view of complementarians.

27 February, 2008

Dave, If I came off that way, I apologize. Perhaps this is a bit personal for me as I have been called a sinner, a Jezebel, having a feminists hermeneutic, etc. for what I know is an inerrant biblical position. All true believers have the 'anointing' (1 John) and all are part of the Holy Priesthood. How can we ignore such things?

Growing up in many SBC churches, I cannot remember such vitriol about this issue. Women did everything and spoke from the pulpit all the time. They were not pastors but they wern't 'silent', either. And they were not fema-Nazi's.

I never heard about specific roles, either. I really do believe that so much of the legalistic teaching we are seeing out of CBMW is a backlash to the culture. I am hearing very little love coming from their strident views only condemnation. So, it probably works both ways.

I do not know why they are so reluctant to engage other scholars on this issue. They refused to even critique Cheryl Schatz' DVD series for error as she requested. Why? I don't get it.

Wade Burleson said...

Dave Miller,

You may be refering to the comment stream, but on another Baptist blog you wrote about me:

Let me be clear. I am no sycophant of Wade Burleson. I have never met him, and frankly, find his self-congratulation annoying at times.

Don't misunderstand. Your comment on the other blog was excellent - in fact, it was a defense of 'reform' and it ultimately questioned the blog author on why he constantly slanders me. However, I wondered at the time what 'self-congratulation' meant and thought I would take the time to ask you here since others seem to be infected by the same spirit - at least in your opinion.

By the way, I think your comments are always excellent. I don't understand why there are phrases that speak to the internal character or feelings of others. I have a hard time seeing how you would know if somebody is 'congratulating' themselves.

Wade

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

Your surprised because some one finds your writing style "self - congratulation" in it's scope? It could not be how you constantly state how fair, even handed, above the board, always with the right spirit, never-do-wrong, sweet spirited, kind, cooperative, loving and basically freakishly without blame in every situation you blog about could it? Nah.....that could not be it! : )

jrm

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade,

If someone's "target" is much lower than yours, they might well find fault with those who take seriously God's ability to conform the willing heart and mind, to the image of His Son. I'm sure there are plenty of folks around who are willing to settle for less than God promises.

Or not. What do I know?

Benji Ramsaur said...

Wade,

I think I have come to the self-realization that what bothered me so much in the past about some egalitarians was not there egalitarianism per se, but the way they arrived at their position.

The 1963 BF&M stated "The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ."

Of course Jesus exists apart from the Bible, but my knowledge of Him does not.

However, some seemed to claim to arrive at a knowledge of Christ apart from the Bible and then used that supposed knowledge to interpret the Bible.

My personal theology is heavily Christological [NCT], but I only want a Christology that emerges from the text, not a Christology arrived at apart from the text and then used as the interpretive lense by which to view the text.

However, egalitarian thinkers such as Jon Zens and your wonderful Dad strike me as different.

They both come across to me as simply wanting to be faithful to the text of Scripture.

Switching Gears

If Complementarians are charging that egalitarians must have a feminist/culture influenced agenda, then I think that might be somewhat of a half-truth.

"Some" might have a feminist agenda, but it is simply not true that all of them do--One may read, read, read Jon Zens to their heart's content, I don't think they are going to find a hint of feminism.

Although if their reasoning is "egalitarianism is feminist. Therefore, when I find egalitarianism, I find feminism", then I guess egalitarians are stuck, eh.

You should check out Russell Moore's "interesting" answer to Mark Dever's [what is feminism?] question.

http://resources.christianity.com/details/mrki/20070501/d2de20cd-e931-4593-9ba8-71907cc50ce0.aspx

And if hard-core, I do my quiet times in the 1689 confession:) Reformed Baptists are going to call egalitarianism liberal, then what must they do with egalitarian Roger Nicole?].

But I not only think it would be false to say all egalitarians have a feminist agenda, I think it is intellectually escapist as well.

That seems to be "dismissing" egalitarianism, not engaging it.

Grace

Benji

Lindon said...

"Your surprised because some one finds your writing style "self - congratulation" in it's scope? It could not be how you constantly state how fair, even handed, above the board, always with the right spirit, never-do-wrong, sweet spirited, kind, cooperative, loving and basically freakishly without blame in every situation you blog about could it? Nah.....that could not be it! : )"

Are you sure he is 'stating' that he IS those things or is he 'trying' to be those things in his communications here? There is a difference. And why would trying to be those things anger you so much?

I would respectfully suggest we all try a few of them ourselves. :o)

Lindon said...

"That seems to be "dismissing" egalitarianism, not engaging it."

I think you have nailed it.

D.R. said...

Wade, going back to your actual post. You stated, "...I also have a hard time viewing this issue as 'the crossing point to liberalism.'"

That's understandable, but instead of hypothetically asking Mary Kassian, you might consider a complimentarian scholar who has written an entire book on the subject.

Wayne Grudem, an intellectual heavyweight (and author of the most widely used systematic theology textbook in Southern Baptist - and dare I say all Evangelical - seminaries) has written a book entitled, Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism?. In it he gives practical examples of how previously conservative denominations and individuals moved toward Egalitarianism and then slowly descended into theological liberalism.

He also explains how the hermeutical principles used by Egalitarians are similar to those employed by theological liberals and how by adopting those hermeneutical approaches one can eventually accept other liberal positions (and why that has been the case in some instances).

The reason why Kassian, Grudem, and other Complimentarians say that Egalitarianism is a "crossing point to liberalism" is not because they want to scare people or even demonize them (in fact, Grudem speaks rather well of many Egalitarians - some of who are his friends, like Doug Groothius and Gordon Fee), but rather because there are concrete examples of this, as Grudem shows, and because hermeneutical principles are vitally important to how one views Scripture and its interpretation.

Benji Ramsaur said...

D.R.

I understand that in a format like this you probably cannot go into the details of the hermenuetical principles Grudem talks about.

However, could you give us a basic, working knowledge of what he is talking about?

Grace

Benji

greg.w.h said...

(I'm exceeding the comment speed limit again...enjoying the freedom of being at home checking in periodically on sick wife and daughters...Wade just say something if I end up annoying you.)

D.R.:

Hoping I don't distract you TOO much from answering Benji, but something else I hope you'll consider/speak to:

Is there a line you can draw through liberalism that celebrates the most compassionate Christ-likeness of it while standing firm against the heresies (i.e. divisions) that it has caused/espoused?

I have an extremely liberal, feminist friend from A&M. For all of his faults, and in spite of his frequently arrogant attitudes on ideology, he and his wife absolutely have hearts of gold and walk exactly like they talk.

They adopted an abused older child when she was 8 who recently graduated from high school. Both (though primarily the wife) work through Austin's Unversity Methodist Church's women's shelter and have for the past 15 years. Though they never discuss it out loud, I know from occasionally doing their taxes some of their other acts of genuine compassion.

He started out as kind of the polar opposite of an inerrantist and as he taught Sunday School to middle schoolers and high schoolers. As he'll bring up issues with me and discuss them, it is clear that over time the Bible has become ever more influential on his life and it has happened without modifying even one whit his more generous and compassionate actions.

It's worth noting that even though he was my best friend, he was led to Christ by a Catholic priest while he served in the US Army in Germany and has pretty much complete disdain for all things Baptist because he thinks we all got sticks where we shouldn't have sticks. (His words, slightly modified for general consumption.)

My wife has always boggled at how we got to be friends and how we stay friends. I wouldn't give him up for anything. I need Christian friends like him. Not only do I trust that God will finish the work that he started in Paul (this friend), but I remain equally committed to the belief that he will finish the work he started in ME, too, and that he will use Paul to do that in me.

And if in the end I look more like Paul in the interest of looking more like Christ...so be it.

I guess the point I'm making is this: instead of worrying about the pilgrimage that other faiths are going through and exactly how God is moving them towards the "eikon" of Christ Jesus, and instead of us being all Pharisaical about how we manage our beliefs, isn't there room, so to speak, for all the flowers of the field to flourish at once? And shouldn't we seek to interact with them all so that God can use each to nourish and correct the other?

Or said differently: is it our job as Christians to stamp out false doctrine (even in Southern Baptist life)? Or is it our duty to embrace the opportunity to work together like Bereans to understand why each of us is gifted with a different portion of God's heart?

Greg Harvey

Jack Maddox said...

lindon

I really am just giving Wade a hard time. The very fact that Wade did not pay me any attention ought to tell you that you need not bother.

All kidding aside, Wade is very humble...just ask him! (JUST KIDDING!!!)

Now, back to the topic...

jrm

Lin said...

Here is an example of his hermeneutic from Systematic Theology:

"Recently some writers have denied that the creation of Eve as a helper fit for Adam signals any difference in role or authority, because the word helper (Heb. ‘ezer) is often used in the Old Testament of someone who is greater or more powerful than the one who is being helped.

In fact, the word helper is used in the Old Testament of God himself who helps his people. But the point is that whenever someone “helps” someone else, whether in the Hebrew Old Testament or in our modern use of the word help, in the specific task in view the person who is helping is occupying a subordinate or inferior position with regard to the person being helped."

(Page 461-462, Systematic Theology, ch. 22: Man as Male and Female).

So, someone who 'helps' is always in a subordinate position. Does this apply to parents? Teachers? Husbands who 'help' their wives with dinner? Please tell me he is NOT applying it to the Godhead.

Lin said...

"I really am just giving Wade a hard time. The very fact that Wade did not pay me any attention ought to tell you that you need not bother. "

I only have my uninformed opinion of what I read here. You do come across very caustic and insulting toward him. If I were your 'press agent', I would tell you it isn't working for you. :o)

And I hope you would tell me, too!

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

I wasn't ignoring you, I honestly missed your comment.

I'm not sure if you are trying to be funny or serious with your comments. I think lin says some fairly pointed things above that you might want to take to heart.

davidinflorida said...

Wade,

I believe that this argument is similar to Paul vs Peter in Galatians 2:11-21. Peter was trying to please man, with a dose of legalism, while Paul got his direction from the Spirit.

The problem today is that everyone thinks that they are Paul.

Tom Parker said...

Why is there such a constant concern about liberalism? Didn't the CR get rid of all of them? They are not trying to come back or will ever come back, they are gone.

Dave Miller said...

Wade, If any of my comments offended, I apologize.

My intent was just to say that I am supporter of SBC reform, not of a person, whoever that might be.

Because I feel that some of the conservative leaders I supported 25 years ago have grown too much in power, I have decided I will try to support ideas and concept within the SBC. I will no longer carry water for any person.

I am grateful to Paige Patterson for the fact that my nephew is at Southern and I can feel GOOD about that. I can still say that I disagree with his actions.

I am grateful to you for bringing issues to the forefront in the denomination. I can still say that I sometimes disagree with what is said or done here.

I refuse to be either a Paige-head or a Wadenik (just coined both terms.) I also refuse to be a Paige-baiter or a Wade-hater.

And I remain discouraged about the level of discourse in the SBC.

For those times when I contribute to that lowering of the level, I can only say, like the button I used to see, "PBPGINFWMY." (Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet.)

Bryan Riley said...

All I know is that I like it when Greg Harvey has time on his hands to write. And it doesn't go unnoticed that none of the critics of the themes of this blog ever have anything to say in response to his well stated opinions.

Wade Burleson said...

Dave,

No offense taken. Thanks for the good word.

Wade Burleson said...

Bryan Riley,

I agree with your assessment of Greg Harvey.

100%

greg.w.h said...

Well, Bryan, while your comment is indeed pleasant (thank you!), it isn't entirely true. And I'm thankful when people tease me into reconsidering something I've written. It often results in more insight both into their thoughts AND a deeper insight into my own thinking and as often as not it grows the bond of affection that I long for with other Christians. (Yes, KMC, especially for you!)

And thanks, Wade, for your comment as well. To say that I desire anything else than to enjoy the privilege of helping us all consider and discuss things in fullness, in honesty, in truth and, above all, in love would be false. (But both of you guys DID make me blush a little.)

Greg Harvey

Bruce said...

I'm thankful for a blog such as this so that we neophyte theologians can eavesdrop on others much more learned than ourselves. I had always wondered why (and recoiled at the suggestion) women in service can be lead to ordination of homosexuals and this entry has helped my understanding of the mechanics of the above thought process. Plus I learn new words. Is it possible that I could be an egalitarian complementarian?

traveller said...

Greg Harvey, the story of your friend Paul, along with the point/question at the end is the very thing Southern Baptists would benefit from pursuing. It will never be said better.

Like Bryan Riley I would recommend that you take more time to write.

traveller said...

Lin, if my memory serves correctly, 'ezer' is used of only two persons in the Old Testament: God and Eve.

Only By His Grace said...

Now Bryan,

I have told you a thousand times to not speak in hyperbole. I have criticized Greg a million times and will continue until he gets his politics straightened out. I still think there is hope for him becoming a good Democrat.

Seriously, I agree with Greg on most things. Concerning his friend and his wife, I have always been of the opinion that I get along much better with those who practice what they believe in the Bible while having great reservations about Jonah, a six thousand year ago creation and some other things. I have much more problems getting along with those who believe every jot and title of Scripture and practice none of it when it comes to the heart.

All of us would like a correct balance between right head belief and right heart practice, but few of us ever find it or attain it. Too many times we are either hard in the heart or soft in the head.

And again, here is another problem with intelligent discussion or debate, how do we talk about evangelical feminism when we have not defined what we mean by the subject? Definitions are the be all of everything. What do we mean when we use the word feminism? Are we talking about the same thing? I am afraid that when we do not define words which are so connotative, we are slipping into McCarthyism again, and that scares me.

Phil in Norman.

Dave Miller said...

Phil, isn't "good democrat" an oxymoron?

Jack Maddox said...

Wade and Lin

Thank you for your words of admonition. I will prayerfully take them to heart.

Lin, if you knew me you would know that I am neither caustic not have I ever "Insulted' Wade Burleson. I have disagreed with him and there are times I have agreed with him. In FACT Lin, I have many times stated that Wade is articulate, a great preacher, obviously a well loved pastor and and a all around good guy. He is also my brother in Christ and a fellow Pastor.

However, there are many issues I disagree with him on and I thought the purpose of a Blog like this was for people with different perspectives and opinions to share them. Why is it that when someone challenges Wade or disagrees with his position you are "insulting' him?

My above comment was really just poking fun at Wade. If anyone was offended I apologize.

jrm

Jack Maddox said...

Lin

I have however insulted Rex Ray, and that guy deserves it!!!!! He is a scoundrel of the highest caliber!

(Love ya Rex!)

jrm

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

It is one thing to disagree with someone's theology, or his philosophy, or his views on various and sundry matters . . .

But, quite another thing to attack someone's character. I think Lin is saying that sometimes your writing, possibly unintentially, seems to be a slam on character.

Blessings,

Wade

Only By His Grace said...

Even the Apostle Paul said in this much discussed letter of I Corinthians,
"And when I come, whomsoever you shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your Liberality unto Jerusalem."

There was hope even for those arch conservatives in Jerusalem.

You see them Corinthians were all conservatives and you know all the problems they had.

But Greg, you see they repented and were saved so the Apostle Paul praises them for their political change of heart in his second letter to them.

II Corinthians 8:2,
"How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their Liberality."

Remember, old King Solomon known for his wisdom, but temporarily lost it marry eight hundred wives, said in Proverbs,
"The Liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that waters shall be watered also himself."

Looking at some of these bellies, we got a lot of Liberal souls among us.

Remember we Liberals are going to be the last ones standing in the fight (ref. read comments at top of blog), even the Prophet Isaiah said so,
Isaiah 32:8,
"But the Liberal devises Liberal things; and by Liberal things shall he stand."

Gotta go to church so we can Liberally pray tonight.

Phil.

Only By His Grace said...

Sorry, PC froze up when I was cutting and pasting.
disregard the above one. This will probably make less sense.

Greg,

Naw, no oxymoron, but Heavenly Genius testified by the Apostle James and Paul.

You just need to ask. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God making him a Liberal."
Lacerations 1:5. .

Even the Apostle Paul said in this much discussed letter of I Corinthians,
"And when I come, whomsoever you shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your Liberality unto Jerusalem."

There was hope even for those arch conservatives in Jerusalem.

You see them Corinthians were all conservatives and you know all the problems they had.

But Greg, you see they repented and were saved so the Apostle Paul praises them for their political change of heart in his second letter to them.

II Corinthians 8:2,
"How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their Liberality."

Remember, old King Solomon known for his wisdom, but temporarily lost it marry eight hundred wives, said in Proverbs,
"The Liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that waters shall be watered also himself."

Looking at some of these bellies, we got a lot of Liberal souls among us.

Remember we Liberals are going to be the last ones standing in the fight (ref. read comments at top of blog), even the Prophet Isaiah said so,
Isaiah 32:8,
"But the Liberal devises Liberal things; and by Liberal things shall he stand."

Gotta go to church so we can liberally pray tonight.

Phil.

D.R. said...

Benji and Greg,

I am going to take your questions one at a time. First, I would like to respond to Lin's comment.


Lin,

I think you are putting words into Grudem's mouth in appropriating his words too broadly. That is not what he meant to suggest. First, he merely pointed out that in a contemporary setting, being a "helper" is a subordinate relationship since it implies that the one who is helped is the responsibly party for the task at hand. Grudem goes on to say in that section, "That is true even when I 'help' a young boy in my neighborhood to fix his bicycle - it is his responsibility, and his task, and I am only giving some assistance as needed; it is not my responsibility."

But his greater point is that in the Hebrew language, specifically reflected in the OT use of the word "ezer", there is a clear indication that the one who helps is in a subordinate role. He makes this point by quoting David Clines who says,

What I conclude, from viewing all of the occurrences in the Hebrew Bible, is that though superiors may help inferiors, strong may help weak, gods may help humans, in the act of helping they are being "inferior." That is to say, they are subjecting themselves to a secondary, subordinate position. Their help may be necessary or crucial, but they are assisting some task that is someone else's responsibility. They are not actually doing the task themselves, or even in cooperation, for there is different language for that. Being a helper is not a Hebrew way of being equal.


Now, let me comment on that. First, Grudem (or Clines) is not trying to suggest God is subordinate to us when He 'helps' (at least in any real sense). For, as we know, God often inspires the Biblical writers to use anthopomorphic language to communicate the personal nature of God. There are plenty of examples of this - examples would be when the OT writers speak of God's "body parts" or when they speak of God nurturing His people like a mother would her child. This does not mean that God actually performs these acts or has a physical body. Rather this language, and that which would label Him a "helper", is used to communicate His imminence and personable relationship with mankind.

On the other hand, when the term "ezer" is used to refer to woman in Genesis it is not merely suggesting a one time role, but rather a title that indicates her future relationship to the man. And it certainly cannot be anthopomorphicly metaphoric, since it indeed applies to human relationships.

Now, lin you might disagree, but I think that explanation seems quite plausable and indeed logical, unlike the way you seemed to portray what Grudem was suggesting above. In reality, Grudem is a scholar among scholars and his words cannot be so simplistically dismissed. Any man who spends over 100 hours researching one word in every known occurrance - secular and sacred (as he did with kephale in Greek), deserves to have his views taken seriously and be understood clearly when he criticized.

greg.w.h said...

Traveller:

Well...Abraham's servant was named Eliezer. And Ezra is the same verb stem but in the feminine form.

D.R.:

The King James Version of Genesis 2:18 "help meet" is probably the most awful translation possible of the two words ayin zayin resh and the prepositional idiomatic expression caph nun gamel dalet (dages fort) waw. The word is indeed helper but it's inexplicably in the male gender.

The adverb phrase kngdu means literally "to what is in front of." Put the two together and you get not a title but a description of the kind of helper: "helper to what is in front of". Brown Driver Briggs suggests an appropriate idiomatic translation might be "corresponding to" or "equal and adequate to himself".

The NIV uses "suitable to him". HCSB gets a LOT closer with "helper that is like him." We probably would idiomatically translate it into English as "co-worker that was his just as capable as he".

I haven't read a lot of Wayne's work. I am absolutely positive from what I've read that he is a standup guy. I would like to think that he's fluent in several modern human languages for us to depend so heavily on his translation/interpretation. The reason is that idiomatic usages are sufficiently difficult to catch in languages with MODERN usages (where we can go out and speak to a native of the language.) Given that the King James translators botched it with the help of Septuagint, Jerome, and Tyndale, I think we should be extraordinarily careful at building doctrine around a difficult idiom.

Just my two cents, of course.

Greg Harvey

P.S. The only thing that suggests its a title is occurs twice in exactly the same form within two verses. One though is 2:18 where Elohim (note the plural) considers among themselves the need for a "corresponding" helper for man and in 2:20 where after man names all the animals no "corresponding" helper is found.

It is not used again in describing the creation of woman. Intriguingly, the word adm (Adam) is a word for man as well as being treated as a name for the first man all the way from Gen 1:26 to Gen 2:23. In fact, chapter one gives one account of the creation of man and chapter two is subtly different. That's one of the reasons the documentary hypothesis was offered...because there are two versions of the same story.

I said that the word adam is used to refer to man in verse 23, but curiously it's only in the first usage. In the second word that is translated man, the actual Hebrew word is "ish". God created an "ishah" (v22) and presented her to adam (v23). When he named her, he renamed himself as well to "ish". Hence the reason why I really like the BDB translation of the idiom "equal and adequate to himself."

Beth said...

It's funny, isn't it, the way one "conservative" can think another "conservative" is "liberal," or, in other words "bad" or "wrong" just because they disagree, isn't it?

"Conservatives" often equate "feminism" with "liberalism" or "bad", but it wasn't always so! If you read about the first feminists, ie. Susan B. Anthony and all, all were pro-life and most were Christian. Historical feminism was pro-woman, pro-child, and anti-violence. A person can be a bible believing conservative yet still be a feminist.

Lin said...

"Now, lin you might disagree, but I think that explanation seems quite plausable and indeed logical, unlike the way you seemed to portray what Grudem was suggesting above. In reality, Grudem is a scholar among scholars and his words cannot be so simplistically dismissed."

I am afraid titles don't much impress me anymore. Could it be an agenda? I hope not. Greg is right about this, word is in male form and from my study Ezer describes 'help' and has nothing to do with a chain of command. If it did, it sure is strange that God said: ONE FLESH UNION and NOT once told Adam directly in actual words that he was in charge of Eve.

Adam recognized she was a 'suitable' helper because she was not a cow or a giraffe that he had just spent time with after hearing God tell him He was going to find to a helper suitable for him.

What is really cool nowadays is that the same resources available to a great scholar are available to the ignorant lowly like me if we are willing to dig and spend the time on it. Besides, the best teacher is the Holy Spirit who illuminates truth and teaches us.

"What I conclude, from viewing all of the occurrences in the Hebrew Bible, is that though superiors may help inferiors, strong may help weak, gods may help humans, in the act of helping they are being "inferior." That is to say, they are subjecting themselves to a secondary, subordinate position. Their help may be necessary or crucial, but they are assisting some task that is someone else's responsibility. They are not actually doing the task themselves, or even in cooperation, for there is different language for that. Being a helper is not a Hebrew way of being equal."

This is going to be big news to a lot of people. Especially parents. I would buy tickets to see him teach this concept of 'ezer' to a room full of Christian parents. :o)

DR, What exactly is the 'language' for cooperation he mentions? Since in Hebrew, a "helper" cannot be equal.

greg.w.h said...

You know...it probably would "help" to talk about how Hebrew is structured as a language. Essentially all of the words are built from verb stems. Most of those verb stems (I would say all, but you know how languages are) are three consonant combinations. As most of us recall, ancient Hebrew was written with just the consonants and without the "pointings" that indicate vowels and such. As an example of a non-vowel pointing: the dages fort that I mention is a pointing--a dot in the middle of the consonant glyph--that indicates the consonant is doubled in strength and sometimes is written twice.

Fluent readers of biblical and modern Hebrew (of which I am not one) can read the consonant glyphs without the pointings and know how whether the same three-glyph word is a verb, a prepositional phrase, a noun, or an adjective and would know how to add the pointing to each. The more modern publications of the Hebrew Scriptures include those pointings as a matter of convenience for us mere amateurs of the Hebrew language.

So when Lin says the meaning of the word is "help", here's what she means by that:

1. The root verb--what we might represent with "to help"--is the canonical third person singular present tense form of the verb. It means that a subject helps.

2. The simple noun then is what is the result of the action. Some who is performing the action of help (verb) provides help (noun). Hence the KJV "help meet" as opposed to helper. I'm guessing the KJV made the oddball translation of kngdu which more literally means "in front of" of the relationship between the older English word meet and mate (i.e. and equivalent = a mate).

3. We normally would translate that into helper because a helper "helps". But the more accurate transliteration of the word IS "help" not helper. It is part of the translation process to try and fit the word into something understandable in English.

I say all this to indicate that there isn't a knife's edge difference between what I wrote and what Lin wrote. I'd also like to point out that one of the hermeneutic principles that I had hammered into my head is that you don't build doctrine on obscure and ambiguous passages. That obscure, difficult to translate prepositional idiom is precisely the kind of thing you simply do not build doctrine on.

Greg Harvey

Lin said...

Thanks Greg. Great explanation. I feel like I should bake you a cake or wash your car for that free lesson!

Do we ever wonder how the illiterate mountain peasants in Romania get saved without understanding all of this on secondary issues? Could it be the Holy Spirit?

That is what my missionary cousin in Romania told me. Of course, she is just teaching the Gospel and not hermeneutics. (No, she was not SBC so don't worry)

Lin said...

Phil, I thought we were told not to go to the left or the right. :o)

(sorry, could not resist)

D.R. said...

Benji,

Going back to the original question you asked me, "could you give us a basic, working knowledge of what he is talking about?"

It's hard to sum up Grudem's book and I definitely believe it is something you are going to have to pick up to really understand his full argument. But, essentially he points out several things.

1) Egalitarians often reinterpret specific words, citing examples of exceptions rather than focusing on the intent of the word in context. He cites "kephale" which he has shown means "head over" and doesn't mean "source" in either its context or in secular usages of the word in regards to personal relationships. Often these reinterpretations defy the plain meaning of the terms in context and seek to add layers in an effort to deconstruct meaning. In the end, Egalitarians don't really prove that the word means anything different than what is traditionally believed, but rather simply cast doubt on the traditional meaning. I could give examples, but then this post would drag on and on.

2) Egalitarians inject a cultural argument, even when it need not apply. Grudem points out that while the text is colored by the culture, it is not defined by it. Thus, simply because the culture was patriarchal doesn't mean that all of Paul's arguments are cultural conditioned. If we apply this to other Pauline passages, we can easily begin to see homosexuality in Romans 1 as merely a cultural phenomenon and not corresponding to what we see today.

3) Some Egalitarians adopt what is called "trajectory hermeneutics" which is a "method of interpreting the Bible in which our final authority is not found in what is written in the Bible itself, but is found later, at the end of a 'trajectory' along which the NT was progressing at the time it was being written." This suggests that writers such as Paul outlined patriarchal rules because of the culture, not because of the desire of God - and those rules didn't apply once Christianity progressed further down the trajectory toward deeper revelation. Essentially, this teaches, similar to #2, that the patriarchal culture needed Paul to teach patriarchy, but that God's ideal was really Egalitarianism. This too could lead to an acceptance of all sorts of immoral behaviors, as well as a casting aside of the Bible as the final authority.

4) Egalitarians often assert that the difference between them and Complimentarians is the particular verses that are your favorite or that you emphasize. This is an unfortunate argument because it suggests that there is no hermeneutic concerning difficult texts. It also suggests that the Bible can be self-contradicting - that it is in fault and not us. Some even go futher in this regard and say we simply cannot decide what texts should take priority, thus we must employ a utilitarian approach.

5) Egalitarians often appeal to past experience, historical movements, the appeal of feminine leaders, the idea that complimentarianism is a "stumbling block", or one's calling, to argue that they are correct. All of these boil down to putting practicality over values (again utilitarianism). Often this comes out in the question, "How can you tell someone else their calling is wrong?" This sounds good, unless you consider that many people have felt called to perform heinous acts in the name of God. And if people could feel called to do heinous acts, couldn't they also feel they are called to do seeminly good things which are outside of the revealed Will of God?


Those are just some major themes of the book, but I see those types of arguments often. And Grudem only hits on these in drive-by fashion. Whole books could be written on any one of those issues.

Rex Ray said...

Jack Maddox,
You sure know how to punch my buttons. You kick me and say you love me, or is that you love to kick me? smile

I’ll have you know I haven’t taken your picture down from my wall, thrown away your pin filled voodoo doll, told the guy in the red sedan to stop tailing you, or stopped talkie talkie with you.

I think you’ll have to admit when you get caught being naughty, you turn it into a joke. (my turn to kick)

Tom Parker,
You said, “Why is there such a constant concern about liberalism? Didn’t the CR get rid of all of them?...they are gone.”

Ghost are never gone; especially when they were never there.

D.R.,
I believe Lin and Greg Harvey’s thoughts on “helper” are reinforced by the ‘target’ Satan chose in the Garden. If you have a choice of ‘taking out’ a tank or a foot solider, which would you choose?

D.R. said...

Now Greg, you asked, "Is there a line you can draw through liberalism that celebrates the most compassionate Christ-likeness of it while standing firm against the heresies (i.e. divisions) that it has caused/espoused?"

You went on tell a story about a friend who is a sincere liberal who acts Christlike in many ways.


Let me first say that liberalism is not the responsible party for any good that people do, just as conservativism is not responsible for the good that Evangelicals do. God is He who alone is good. As we know, the only Good in us is God. And we shouldn't be surprised when God uses men and women who do not confess Him, or who error severely in their doctrine to accomplish good works.

But simply because one does good works does not mean he or she is of Christ, or is right, or should not be corrected. Perfection in Christ is our goal, not merely happiness in who we are or what we do. Christ called us to daily die to our sin, not to die every once in a while or just to things we believe strongly about.

It's great that your friend does good things, but that does not excuse him from obeying the Will of God, nor does it excuse us from using Scripture to rebuke and correct him. Part of the whole structure of the Church was set up to be accountable to one another both in deed and thought. Unfortunately we don't take church discipline and the role of elders seriously.

Benji Ramsaur said...

D.R.

Thanks for the response. It's helpful in understanding where Grudem is coming from.

Grace

Benji

greg.w.h said...

Lin:

I have offered a similar comment about the expansion in verbiage from the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed to the First & Second London Confessions, the New Hampshire Confession, and all three BF&Ms.

While I think all of that PERHAPS that is helpful in the maturation of beliefs (though you have to read the post-Enlightenment Confessions as a cultural response to the skeptical eye that the philosophers of the Enlightenment turned towards Christianity), when Jesus said we have to be like a child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, I imagine he was warning us to prefer simplicity and to avoid our natural tendency--out of pride--to overcomplicate things.

Greg Harvey

P.S. Phil: I'm not ignoring you, just too amazed by your exegesis to respond!!

Benji Ramsaur said...

D.R.

Thanks for the response. It's helpful in understanding where Grudem is coming from.

Grace

Benji

Benji Ramsaur said...

D.R.

One more time...

[just kidding]

D.R. said...

Rex,

I am not sure how Satan's target in the Garden reinforces an Egalitarian position. And I think you are forcing an analogy on a text that doesn't fit it. Consider the words of Paul:

"12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression."


Eve was deceived. That seems to suggest that she was weak, not the tank you suggest. It seems quite plausible that Adam was not doing his job in teaching Eve not to eat of the tree (after all God gave the command to Adam prior to the creation of Eve). So it seems more likely that Satan targeted Eve because she had not been told directly by God not to eat of the tree, thus Satan's wording, "Indeed, has God said . . . ?"

Though, neither Greg nor Lin is proving that the role of helper and thus the subordination (in ROLE ALONE) of Eve to Adam is to be rejected merely by speculating on the formation of the word "ezer" in Hebrew. In fact, I think Greg is responding to an argument that isn't really important to the Complimentarian argument, namely my statement, "when the term "ezer" is used to refer to woman in Genesis it is not merely suggesting a one time role, but rather a title that indicates her future relationship to the man." Whether or not "helper" is a title doesn't matter to the greater question of "what is the role of the woman in relationship to the man". Instead of "title", I could have said, "rather a descriptive relationship that indicates her future position in relationship to the man."

So whether "helper" is descriptive of the relationship or the title of her role matters not. The plain meaning of the text, along with its narrative structure (emphasized by Paul above in stating that Adam was created first), suggests an equality with the man, but a subordination in relation to roles. This is solidified in Eve's deception and explained to apply post-NT by Paul in the THEOLOGICAL argument (as opposed to a merely cultural statement) made by Paul above.

Only By His Grace said...

Just a few, very few of great women in history without forgetting Deborah the Judge and General of the Israeli Army,

Rahab the whore, yet the savior of the two spies and grandmother to our Lord Jesus,

Esther who was placed as Queen of Persia to save her people Israel, Ruth who was well worth the Redeemer's price to Boaz though a hated Moabite and grandmother to our Lord Jesus.

Cleopatra— Queen and sole ruler of Egypt.
Elizabeth I—Queen of England and ruler of the world.
Catherine the Great—Empress of Russian.
Golda Meir—Third Prime Minister of Israel and victor in the Yom Kippur War (1973).
Indira Ghandi—Premier of India—voted woman of the millennium,

Marie Currie—twice winner of the Nobel Prize in science and mother of a woman Nobel Peace Prize (Irène Joliot-Curie). " Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood."

Grace Hopper—Rear Admiral in US Navy, developer early computer, invented the compiler making possible higher level computer languages, and helped to define the design of the programming language COBOL.

Florence Nightingale-- "Lady with the Lamp." -- founder of modern nursing. Pioneer in sanitary conditions in hospitals.
"No man, not even a doctor, ever gives any other definition of what a nurse should be than this -- 'devoted and obedient.' This definition would do just as well for a porter. It might even do for a horse. It would not do for a policeman,"

Clara Barton—"Angel on the Battlefield." Civil War nurse and founder of the American Red Cross.

Harriet Beecher Stowe—Uncle Tom's Cabin.

My grandmother, Ethel Johnson, the only person who loved me without reservation or demands until I met Janey at twenty-six years old.

As Greg would say, "May their tribe increase."

Phil in Norman

Justa Believer said...

Lin said...
Thanks Greg. Great explanation. I feel like I should bake you a cake or wash your car for that free lesson!


How female (and subordinate) of you! Heh heh.

Only By His Grace said...

Lin,
You misquoted, we on the left are never to let those on the right know what we are doing.

Greg,
I sat at the feet of some of the best J. Frank Norris, Oral and Richard Roberts, Jimmmy Jones, David Karesh, Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart. All top of their field theologues.

I should be A+1+ at exegesis.

One would have to be dunce not to have learned a lot from these quality spirit (notice the "s", they had spirits for sure) filled men.

Phil.

D.R. said...

Lin,

If you are really interested in having your questions answered about what Complimentarians believe regarding "ezer", then I suggest you read more Complimentarians on the subject.

You can begin by reading Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood particularly the chapter by Raymond Ortland, who deals with this topic in more detail. Or you could email Wayne Grudem or David Clines for clarification. I didn't pretend to speak for them in responding to your previous comment, but merely hoped to show that you had unfairly built a strawman of Grudem's views by partially quoting him, misinterpreting his position, and then asking a series of questions that appeared to corner him.


You said,
What is really cool nowadays is that the same resources available to a great scholar are available to the ignorant lowly like me if we are willing to dig and spend the time on it. Besides, the best teacher is the Holy Spirit who illuminates truth and teaches us.

To a certain extent you are right. But Scripture says that teaching is a gift of the Holy Spirit, not merely a matter of having the right resources. The Doctrine of the Priesthood of All Believers and the belief in Soul Compentency have been twisted to mean that everyone's interpretation is valid and that we have the right to believe as we wish. They have also been misused to promote the idea that the Holy Spirit somehow overcomes the presuppositions, sin, and lack of preparation and knowledge of Christians to provide a clear interpretation of difficult texts. History has taught us of the dangers of these assumptions.

For instance, the Oneness Pentacostals came to reject the Trinity after a Bible study of Acts and an all night prayer meeting where it was believed that the Holy Spirit spoke to them and told them to reject this historic Doctrine. That was about a hundred years ago, and they continue to hold to that heresy.


Further, you asked what is the language of cooperation. Again, I point you to David Clines' paper and to the article in the aforementioned book.

Finally, you asked rhetorically, "Do we ever wonder how the illiterate mountain peasants in Romania get saved without understanding all of this on secondary issues? Could it be the Holy Spirit?"

Lin, first salvation doesn't come apart from the preaching of God's Word. Romans 10 teaches us that. Secondly, while their salvation does not hang on secondary issues, Romanian peasants instinctively understand male and female roles. I guess I could ask rhetorically, "Ever wonder why only Westerners reject the idea of a patriarchal society?"

Debbie Kaufman said...

DR: I believe you are wrong in that it has not been twisted into everyone's interpretation is correct nor has it ever been said that anyone can believe what they wish. To be honest I am rather tired of that strawman argument.

It does mean however as Lin has said that the Holy Spirit gives the correct interpretation to those who seek it, that would include those without a seminary education. Anyone who is born again has the supernatural powers of the Holy Spirit. The Bible also says we are to search the scriptures much as the Bereans did when Paul spoke to see it if it true. I am not disagreeing with scripture, I am however disagreeing with your interpretation. Big difference.

Debbie Kaufman said...

"Ever wonder why only Westerners reject the idea of a patriarchal society?"

DR: I might add this as well. Check into other countries and see women abused in a manner that I would hope makes others hair stand on end. I have researched and written about some as has Emily McGowin Hunter. It makes me wonder when those countries where Christ is not known believe in women being submissive and in ways that are not fit for any human being. That should make Christian's wonder as well. It seems to me that the full complementarian view is a natural bent of those saved and lost. I just don't see it as God's original plan in scripture or just by the abuse that is happening.

Wade Burleson said...

100 comments - many outstanding thoughts. Thanks to all.

Rex Ray said...

D.R.
Thanks for the reply. You did not directly answer my question of who would you ‘take out’ the ‘tank’ or the ‘foot soldier’.

By your saying, “Eve was deceived. That seems to suggest that she was weak, not the tank you suggest”, your answer would be the devil drop a bomb on a weak foot soldier rather than the tank.

The devil used all his skills and cunning on Eve because once the tank was deceived, he knew the foot soldier would follow like a puppy dog. Scripture shows he was right.

I’m afraid you let Paul’s reasoning (and I say reasoning because he did not say this is a command of God, but told reasons why he would not allow women teach men) influence you that Eve was not the tank.

If Paul’s reason was because ‘the cow jumped over the moon’ would you agree with “I do not allow…”?

I’m glad you included his reasons verse 13: “For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.”

Where in Scripture does God choose leadership by seniority? In fact, most accounts (starting with Cain) show the eldest was not the one chosen by God.

Verse 14: And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression,”

Hey! That’s the same reason Adam told God: it was the woman. If God didn’t accept that from Adam, why would he accept it from Paul?

Yep! The cow jumped over the moon.

Becca said...

thoughts I had while reading the post and all 101 comments...
What is egalitarian?
What is complementarian?
(thank you wikipedia for the answers)
I think all pastors (at least all the ones I've conversed with... which is a LOT) are to some degree self-congratulatory. I've had this conversation with my husband long before now. I think they have to be b/c they often hear so much negative, they have to look inside to search their own heart and feel convinced they are right on whatever the issue. I think a pastor needs to do that or he will always be self-doubting. I don't think that really makes him "self-congratulatory" but I can see why one (in my experience, all) would come across that way. Take a different pastor and a different issue... and he too will come across that way.
As the wife of someone on a pulpit search comm. any time I read a comment I really enjoy reading, I follow their link to see (and hope) if they are a pastor. I did that with Greg Harvey and was sorely disappointed.
Now I know that I too am an egalitarian complementarian.
Personal attacks are ok as long as they are "kidding" or "in jest" reminds me of gossip as ok as long as it is folowed by "bless his/her heart" or "we need to pray for him/her."
Greg, are you SURE you aren't a pastor? :)

Lin said...

"Eve was deceived. That seems to suggest that she was weak, not the tank you suggest. It seems quite plausible that Adam was not doing his job in teaching Eve not to eat of the tree (after all God gave the command to Adam prior to the creation of Eve)."

DR, Why doesn't God say that Adam fell down on his job then? He never rebukes Adam for what Eve did. He rebukes him for going along.

You don't think the fact that Adam actually saw God creating the Garden gave him more knowledge of God's Glory? We do not see that Eve witnessed anything like what Adam witnessed. Perhaps that is why she was 'deceived'.

" So it seems more likely that Satan targeted Eve because she had not been told directly by God not to eat of the tree, thus Satan's wording, "Indeed, has God said . . . ?""

Here is what Eve said... so we don't know if that is exactly true or not:

2The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;

3but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" NASB

Eve does not say that only Adam told her. She quotes God. I make this point because her being deceived could be based more on her not seeing as much of God's Glory in creating as Adam did.

As to the 1 Timothy 2 reference, you cannot get away from the fact that Paul is dealing with a 'singular' woman. That is clear. He mentions Eve because this woman in that situation was deceived out of ignorance and teaching her husband wrong things. Her fault was that she was deceived. Not that she was a woman. Paul treats her like he does the others deceived out of ignorance: With compassion as he writes in chapter 1, he was also deceieved out of ignorance. (He gets more brutal with those who are deceiving on purpose and names names.)

Paul is drawing parallels to Eve being deceived and this woman. If you look at verse 15 closely about childbirth, I do not know how any sane person could come to any other conclusion. Would anyone woman no matter who, need to do a 'work' of childbirth to be saved? That seems kind of cruel...especially to barren Christian women. We know that cannot be correct....even metaphorically. That goes against the WHOLE Gospel truth.

In that verse he is referring to salvation through the birth of Messiah. And using the parallel of Eve being deceived and the 'seed' would come through woman for Messiah.

"Though, neither Greg nor Lin is proving that the role of helper and thus the subordination (in ROLE ALONE) of Eve to Adam is to be rejected merely by speculating on the formation of the word "ezer" in Hebrew."

DR, My position is not to 'prove' anything to you but to have a discussion. I do not believe the position of either side should be 'dismissed' but discussed.

If we start that 'proving' nonsense, then we cannot have a civilized discussion. We are not enemies. We just disagree on a seondary doctrine.

Lin said...

"To a certain extent you are right. But Scripture says that teaching is a gift of the Holy Spirit, not merely a matter of having the right resources. The Doctrine of the Priesthood of All Believers and the belief in Soul Compentency have been twisted to mean that everyone's interpretation is valid and that we have the right to believe as we wish. They have also been misused to promote the idea that the Holy Spirit somehow overcomes the presuppositions, sin, and lack of preparation and knowledge of Christians to provide a clear interpretation of difficult texts. History has taught us of the dangers of these assumptions."

DR, Do you have a list of those people the Holy Spirit has given a clear interpretation of scripture? :o) Or do you have to study on your own to make sure...like a Berean?

I would think that if the Holy Spirit gives the gift of teaching, He can also give the gift of illuminating the truth of scripture.

I guess I see it differently based on examples in scripture. Jesus did not choose the most educated to be his Apostles. Paul, Jewish educated, was sent to the Gentiles!

I am reminded of this verse which gives the ignorant and unscholarly, like me, hope in the provision of the Holy Spirit to teach me:

25For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,31so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." 1 Corin 1 ESV

Lin said...

"Where in Scripture does God choose leadership by seniority? In fact, most accounts (starting with Cain) show the eldest was not the one chosen by God."

Rex, if all this 'authority over' stuff is because of 'creation order' we are in more trouble than we think. Because God created cows before Eve!

Wayne Smith said...

Greg HARVEY,
God has used the Harvey Family Name in a Mighty Way. I found this statement on your Blog and wanted others to see it. You have a way with words and a great knowledge of God’s Word. Your Statement says it All for All of Us


Greg Said:
"For me, the doctrines of grace are very successful at tempering my personal pride over what I have done to bring about faith or set the conditions for me even to accept salvation. I am not inclined to re-ignite that pride by trying to pour concrete around the conditions by which God accomplishes any portion of salvation for any of us".

Greg Harvey

In His Name
Wayne Smith

Lin said...

Lin said...
Thanks Greg. Great explanation. I feel like I should bake you a cake or wash your car for that free lesson!

How female (and subordinate) of you! Heh heh.

28 February, 2008

Well, I could have offered him 6 sessions of strategic planning facilitation for free but it just did not sound right. :o)

But, I would STILL be subordinate because I would be 'helping' as a faciliator so I would be OK according to Grundem. :o)

greg.w.h said...

Becca:

Regrettably, I would not be able to present my name for consideration as pastor. My main reason for not doing that is God hasn't called me in that way. But I am duly honored that you would even consider offering my name for that position at your church.

Wayne...Wayne...Wayne...Wayne!!

You didn't know that's my middle name, did you?? ;) Thanks for digging out that comment. I meant it when I wrote it and I mean it today: God will reveal to us what he intends for us to understand and keeps mysterious--for his own purposes--everything else. While we are naturally curious folk, it is imprudent of us to attempt to uncover or to state too firmly that which God has not clearly revealed. This is true whether it deals with theology, with doctrine, with soteriology, with ecclesiology, or with eschatology (not to mention any other lesser -ologies!!)

D.R.:

I think it's a stretch to base any portion of complementarianism on the phrase ezer k:negeddu. I particularly think the introduction of any concept of subordination based on ezer is easily destroyed by the great honor the name Eliezer (the God of me is help) implies by being given to the servant of Abraham.

On the other hand, I am drawn to the argument that God indeed subordinates himself to us when he chooses to first help (providing Eve) and save (providing Jesus Christ) us. But it is the kind of subordination of the greater condescending for the sake of the lesser and it is essentially a beautiful thought. But since God neglected to refer to the woman with the feminine gender form of ezer and since he neglected to use it in front of the man (adm), I'll argue the help was provided by HIM and not by HER.

As to your comments regarding my friend's faith:

"14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do."

Greg Harvey

Corrie said...

"In every case I have watched "Godly" men perform the exegetical equivalent of "twister" to justify their positions.

We need to leave the things of the world to the world (I have read the book; we win in the end) and get on about that which we are commanded:
preaching the Gospel of Christ and the salvation he offers."

Woo Hoo! Go Jack! Great post and I couldn't agree more. The wheels are indeed coming off of a few buses because they have forgotten what they are truly HERE for.

When I start reading the word of God for what it has to say to me instead of trying to get it to say something I want it to say, I am quickly reminded that God's ways are not my ways and that we as believers quickly forget what is truly important.

Paul B:

"Finally the frustrated lawyer calmly said "Why are you divorcing him?" She answered "Because that husband of mine can't carry on an intelligent conversation.""

Oh, that is a great illustration of how so many conversations can derail.

Corrie said...

"I didn't pretend to speak for them in responding to your previous comment, but merely hoped to show that you had unfairly built a strawman of Grudem's views by partially quoting him, misinterpreting his position, and then asking a series of questions that appeared to corner him."

Actually, the quotes that were added to Lin's quotation of Grudem seem to say exactly what she was saying.

He did say that the one who helps is subordinate to the one that person is helping.

He did say that one who helps is always in a subordinate position when we all know that is illogical. Much of the time, one who helps is actually helping because they have more expertise than the one they are helping.

And then he goes on to quote Cline who said:

""What I conclude, from viewing all of the occurrences in the Hebrew Bible, is that though superiors may help inferiors, strong may help weak, gods may help humans, in the act of helping they are being "inferior." That is to say, they are subjecting themselves to a secondary, subordinate position. Their help may be necessary or crucial, but they are assisting some task that is someone else's responsibility. They are not actually doing the task themselves, or even in cooperation, for there is different language for that. Being a helper is not a Hebrew way of being equal."

He concluded and Grudem agreed that after viewing ALL of the times that help is administered, the person or being that is helping is subjecting themselves to a secondary, subordinate position.

That means God since "ezer" is used of Him 26 times in the OT.

Lin built no such strawman. She was merely quoting his words and asking for clarification. The quotes you provided answered her question. He is teaching that when God helps, He is subjecting Himself to a subordinate position.

Grudem even gave the example of helping a boy with his bike and how that would make him the boy's subordinate!

Also, God as ezer is NOT a one-time role. He is a CONSTANT help. All we have to do is look at Psalms to see how many times God is described as an ezer. God tells Israel that though they are destroyed, in Him is their help (ezer).

And I agree that the word should be "help" and not "helper".

I do not see at all where the word ezer indicates subordination. Not even the English word "help" connotes subordination. I believe we must read this into the text in order to see this, especially when making the claim that ALL usages of the word ezer have been looked at. It is clear to me, after looking at ALL the times ezer is used that it does NOT denote subordination.

Lin is also right that the same tools available to scholars are available to the lowly people who devote many hours in study of God's word. God takes no stock in the wisdom of man since it is the Holy Spirit who is our Helper and who guides us into all truth. Jesus had to send us the Helper in order that we would understand His Word.

Just for the record, I am not an egalitarian. I believe that the Bible only allows men to occupy the position of elder in the Church. I consider myself very conservative but I am probably too liberal for some.

As for the problems with the egalitarian argument? I see the same problems in the patriarchal/comp argument in many instances. They often confuse culture with God's word and teach the traditions of man as the very precepts of God.

I find myself in weird place of limbo. I can no longer identify with the complementarian position because of the problems with their arguments and this current example is just one of many. I am distrustful at the enormous stretch to make ezer something it clearly is not.

If they want to make an argument that a woman is in a subordinate role to her husband (some comps say all men) then they should do it with another scripture because the two uses of ezer in Genesis do not speak to any sort of heirarchy whatsoever, in my honest and unlearned opinion that has come after many, many hours of study.

Lin, did you write to Grudem and ask him for clarification? If you haven't, I will.

Corrie said...

If scholarship and the gift of teaching trumps the interpretation of a Berean, then which scholarship should we go with? There are many gifted and fine scholars who spend hours and hours in the word of God and who are fluent in the Greek and Hebrew. My problem is that they all say something different and we lay people are left with a dilemma. Which scholar should we follow?

D.R. said...

Rex,

Wow, Rex, do you really mean to argue that Paul's reasoning is flawed? Paul? The same guy who the Holy Spirit personally taught in the desert? The same Paul who Peter speaks of as having written "Scripture" to the Churches? That same Paul is the one you feel you should challenge in how he reasons from the OT?

So, what you are saying is that Paul is wrong on this point? Or that the Holy Spirit didn't inspire him that day, even though He saw fit to make sure it was a part of Scripture? Rex, you can't dismiss Paul's instruction here, especially since he tied it to creation - a theological argument, not merely a cultural one.

This is a perfect example of what Grudem talks about in his book. What you are doing is arguing that Paul is simply wrong on a point. What keeps you from dismissing Paul on other points? Maybe he doesn't understand the type of homosexuality we have in America today? Maybe we shouldn't say homosexuality is wrong, huh?

Or maybe Paul is wrong on atonement, or what the Gospel is, or that the bodily resurrection of Christ is necessary for our salvation? Maybe the Holy Spirit took a day off when Paul wrote 1&2 Corinthians, or Ephesians is just the opinion of Paul, especially that part about the submission of wives.

We simply cannot cast aside his argument here simply because of his construction. He expected Timothy to uphold his teachings, and thus, by extention, the entire church. And further, the Holy Spirit preserved it, and taught the Church for 2000 years that it was indeed Scripture and to be heeded, not merely an opinion of Paul's. Of course, that leads us to ask, where else might the Holy Spirit have preserved what is written in Scripture that is merely opinion?

Now, as for the "cow jumping over the moon" thing, that is simply ridiculous and an attempt to distract from a serious statement by Paul. In debate, this is a logical fallacy known as Argumentum ad Absurdum. Now, if you feel you can simply ignore what the Holy Spirit clearly thought was important to include as a part of Scripture (and that He led the Church to perserve), then I think you have much larger problems with the text of Scripture.

It seems your argument here (and normally I would say this, but here it seems ironically true), is with Paul, not with those who believe they SHOULD stay faithful to the Word God has preserved.

But, let's examine it. You disagree with Paul's rationale on the priority of the Creation. You think that whole firstborn thing is silly. So where did Paul get that idea from? The culture? The pagans? Nope. That was God in Leviticus, giving the Law to the people regarding the priority of the firstborn. Then, there's that whole "Jesus as the firstborn of all Creation" jazz. And of course, the fact that the majority of his lineage does consist of firstborns. But of course, feel free to disagree with God on that one as well.

And finally, Adam's point about deception is not the same as Paul's. God did indeed punish Eve for being deceived and made it clear that it wasn't acceptable. And note in doing so He said, "Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you." So Paul is not merely trying to reason from the deception of Eve, but rather he is stating that the rule of man over his wife remains post-crucifixion. Thus, it continues to apply to the NT Church. Certainly the pain in childbirth remains, so why would the rule be different?


Finally, as for the "tank" v. "foot soldier" analogy, let me say it is a forced reading. There is absolutely nothing in Scripture that suggests this is the case. You are merely applying something to the text that isn't rationally there. And you are claiming to understand the rationale of Satan. Unfortunately, you don't, especially since the apostle Paul disagrees with you. Yeah, that same guy trained personally by the Holy Spirit. His statements suggests weakness, not strength.

So let me ask you, who do con-artists go after? Tanks or foot soldiers? The weak and easily duped or those who are in leadership?

greg.w.h said...

D.R.

I actually think the arguments regarding how we deal with Paul's statements of opinion are well-formed. The point that we should not try to put ourselves in the position of picking and choosing is extraordinarily salient in this kind of discussion.

The fact that the Holy Spirit inspired the capture of a statement that comes across as opinion, though, suggests that we ought to be reasoning through our course of action. That Paul bases his view on theology is certainly true. And that Paul's Jewish view of the Old Testament is closer in time and in culture to the original (especially compared to Timothy's mostly Greek/Hellenic background).

But none of those are actually the central issue in how Wade has framed the problem in the Convention. Your argumentation assumes that the person you're speaking to SHOULD or even MUST agree with you. But nothing in how you discuss Scripture allows that the other person might disagree.

So when they do disagree, you go after the point of disagreement as if through reason they must change their mind and adopt your view. You even use the tone that suggests you're closer to Paul and closer to the Holy Spirit and it comes across as...well...smug.

I think that as Baptists we need to get over that. We're not going to convince Presbyterians, Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Anglicans/Episcopalians, and United Methodists to forego infant baptism. Not only is the tradition ancient especially among the Catholics and Greek Orthodox, but Southern Baptists aren't ancient.

So the question becomes whether it is our purpose to exclude those we disagree with in a systematic way or to work with them. We've practiced the exclusion approach for 27 years. We are NOT more loving and NOT more generous and NOT more effective because of that exclusion. The results are in. It isn't just that the world hates us--which Jesus predicts for any of his followers--but that we seem intent on MAKING the world hate us.

I do not see Jesus, Paul, or any of the other apostles/elders counseling us to behave the way we behave. In fact I think the opposite is true. Paul did counsel being stern, but he also in his (moderately) stern counsel on the subject of tongues he wrote to a an overriding principle that the fruits of the spirit must be present or the gifts of the spirit are invalid.

We can't be critical in a mean way and say "well, that's the word of wisdom and you just have to accept it." That isn't what has been modeled for us. That is not how Paul did things.

Going back specifically to Paul's phrasing. When he says that he does something some way, don't you feel the tug of reason on your mind and on your heart? And isn't it implicit in that tug of reason that the person speaking to us--whether with direct or indirect guidance of the Holy Spirit--is appealing to us through force of reason rather than force of authority?

And don't those that appeal through force of reason necessarily permit disagreement? Before you answer that consider this: God permits sin while reasoning against it. Do you think he would accomplish the results he desires by forcing us not to sin? And if he COULD accomplish those results, they why hasn't he forced us not to sin?

In fact, the whole of the New Testament is a movement away from the strict expectation of the force of authority being the primary substrate of our interaction with God. Paul suggests in Romans that the reason God made that change is because the Law is not sufficient. So why should we attempt to convert back into law that which seems to be reasoned guidance? Do we think the conversion back to Law will make the relationship with God work?

Again I really admire what you are saying and the reasoning you are using. It was the same reasoning my dad used with me when I questioned as a young man how likely it was that the word of God was preserved from error. He pointed out just as you have that when we get into the role of picking and choosing what is "right" and what is "wrong", we insert ourselves in the wrong way as the superior in the relationship.

But it seems that you have wound the spring so tightly that you're erring in the other direction of making it Law rather than gentle reason. I have to believe that our sin nature is still intact in this life in part because God wants us to be accessible and wants us to identify with those around us who need salvation. Those very same people frequently reject spiritual leaders who they believe are more interested in pointing out their failures than in leading them to truth.

I think that thought is at the very bottom of the need for Wade's leadership to be successful in helping us be more loving and less strident. We do not have to give up our on sense of security of full faith in Scripture and in what we have been taught. But we need to permit the Holy Spirit to work through us to disciple others from imperfection into unity through a fullness of knowledge of Christ Jesus.

It just doesn't work the other way around. Look at the Jewish leaders of Jesus's day to see why. If that was the system God was satisfied with, then Jesus need not have died on the cross. Jesus's death is an explicit rejection of any form of forced compliance via authority in favor of gentle reasoning and progressive leadership to complete understanding.

Greg Harvey

Lin said...

"Certainly the pain in childbirth remains, so why would the rule be different?"

I don't get this line of reasoning. We still have droughts, too.

Greg, that was a wonderful comment and I would like to ask a related question from it to DR.

Do you consider egal/comp positions to be something that Christians must divide on if they do not agree?

D.R. said...

Lin,

My reasoning is this: God's punishment to Eve (and to all women) was that she would have birth pains and be ruled by her husband. The punishment to Adam (and all men) was that he would have to work for sustenance and would die. Paul's argument is that the punishment stands and because of that it is God's intention (post-Resurrection) that men be leaders in the Church.

Often Egalitarians argue that the curse to women being "ruled" by their husbands is broken through Christ. Yet, no other curse is broken until the Second Coming of Christ. And here Paul seems to suggest that the Church adhere to God's choice.

Now as for the phrase, "saved though childbearing", it seems most logical that this completes what Paul is trying to say about women, the curse, and their role in regards to the family. I do not have time to explain this here but Andreas J. Köstenberger does a trememdous job of explaining this in his article, "Saved Through Childbearing? A Fresh Look at 1 Timothy 2:15 Points to Protection from Satan's Deception"and I highly recommend it. It is by far the best explanation and harmonization of this text I have ever read and I cannot add anything to the discussion that he has not already stated.


Finally, Lin, you ask, "Do you consider egal/comp positions to be something that Christians must divide on if they do not agree?"

Well, actually it depends of what you mean by divide. The SBC has already put forth a position and I am in agreement with it. I do not want Cooperative Fund dollars going to teach Egalitarianism. However, I love pretty much everything Gordon Fee and Roger Nicole write. I think I. Howard Marshall, Ben Witherington, and Doug Groothius are tremendous scholars. Still, I think they are dead wrong on this issue and I agree with Grudem when he asserts that while he has many friends who are Egalitarians (who are committed to inerrancy), there remains a serious problem with their hermeneutical approach and the real danger comes in those who will come after them applying their principles to other texts and moving down the liberal path, even as others have done.

So, I put this debate in stage two of theological triage. I can fellowship with Egals and I respect them, though I think they are sincerely wrong and this should be debated vigoriously because of future consequences. And I could never be a part of an Egalitarian church (even as I could never be a Presbyterian b/c of Covenant Theology and pedobaptism). And finally, I do not want CP dollars going to anyone or any organization who/which cannot affirm the BF&M 2000 wholeheartedly.

Bryan Riley said...

I think what Greg said so well can be summed up in something written a few years before:

"Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by crime!
Has not the LORD Almighty determined that the people's labor is only fuel for the fire, that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

Habakkuk 2:12-14

Rex Ray said...

D.R.
In replying to your last question first, you ask: “Who do con-artist go after? Tanks or foot soldiers? The weak and easily duped or those who are in leadership?”

If the con-artist goal is to get everyone, (which was the goal of Satan) they would fool leadership and the weak and easily duped would follow just as Adam did. For example: The devil fooled leadership (Hitler) and the people followed. It’s like the rule of street fighting: ‘take out the big guy (tank) first, and you can whip the little guy afterwards.’

You asked: “Do you really mean to argue that Paul’s reasoning is flawed? What keeps you from dismissing Paul on other points?”

“…I didn’t baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius.” (1 Corinthians 1:14)
This was NOT a true statement as shown by verse 16: “Oh yes, I baptized the family of Stephanas. I don’t remember ever baptizing anyone else.”
Now was God’s memory bad, or was Paul’s memory bad?

About a year after the fact, Paul had a ‘bad memory’ when he wrote: “The Romans gave me a trial and wanted to release me…but when the Jews protested the decision, I…appealed to Caesar.” (Acts 28:18-19)

The trial that Paul spoke of was him telling King Agrippa his story. After the story and in private the King said, “He could be set free if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar!” (Acts 26:32) Paul probably learned what the King said by way of the grapevine, but he had already appealed to Caesar BEFORE he talked to the King.
I won’t go on how or why Paul got the cart before the horse because you know all this better than I do.

D.R., you asked: “Where else might the Holy Spirit have preserved what is written in Scripture that is merely opinion?”

It was Christ’s OPINION his Father would be with him on the cross (John 16:32), but “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Peter shocked the multitude to silence: “Are you going to correct God by BURDENING the Gentiles with a yoke…?” (Acts 15:10) James’ OPINION: “For it was the Holy Spirit’s decision—and ours to put no greater BURDEN on you than these NECESSARY things…” (Acts 15:28)
Both of these men quoted God agreeing with their opinions, but which one was right?

D.R., you seem to think if Paul is right most of the time, he has to be right all the time. What about Jesus telling Peter: “My Father in heaven has personally revealed this to you…”?(Matthew 16:18) Would you assume Peter would be right all the time? Six verses later Peter is in the corner with a dunce cap as Jesus called him Satan.

A better interpretation: “And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” (New Living Translation)

In the Garden, the relationship between husband and wife was more of a partnership rather than who was boss. The bone used to make woman was not a toe bone or a head bone, but a rib which signified they were equals. When they died a spiritual death, the above ‘punishment’ was put on husband and wife. When we are born again spiritually and have the Holy Spirit to guide us, there is no longer a ‘pecking order.’

All Scripture is 100% true. Much untruth is recorded correctly in the Bible, but ‘recorded correctly’ does not make the lies of Satan and of men, ignorance, stupidity, and bad memories true.

Rex Ray said...

D.R.
I was corrected of using the word “curse” as applying to Adam and Eve. So I’ll pass it on; Scripture states only the serpent and the ground were cursed.

Adam and Eve were punished. The worse punishment was spiritual death which was separation from God. That happened when their eyes were opened. Their punishment had nothing to do with physical death or the ‘Tree of Life’ had no meaning.

I disagree with you saying, “No other curse is broken until the Second Coming of Christ.” The worse punishment of all (hell) was broken the second we become Christians.

You said, “I do not want CP dollars going to anyone or any organization who/which cannot affirm the BFM 2000 wholeheartedly.”

Does that mean you want all the employees of the SBC to sign the BFM again with the word “wholeheartedly” included?

Wonder how many missionaries will be forced to lie or be fired with your wants? Good Grief!

Bryan Riley said...

It's interesting that people have the attitude that they don't want CP dollars going to people who don't agree with the BFM. I'd challenge that thought process with Luke 8-10. Look at the people Jesus sent out and when he did so. These are the very people who sat around arguing who was the greatest, who complained about others teaching in Jesus' name, who hadn't even been taught how to pray yet. These are young men, from all walks of life, various personalities, not schooled in the scriptures, etc., yet Jesus chose them to go.

I really think it is past time to rethink the attitude of many toward CP dollars... Besides, whoever decided they were CP dollars in the first place. I think God thinks of them as His.

greg.w.h said...

I like Doug a lot. I admit it surprised me when it came into full view that he and Rebecca are full-throated egalitarians. And when I say surprised, you can think of it somewhat like a bear-trap springing on the leg of a bear. I had been reading his Constructive Curmudgeon blog faithfully and he posted either a comment by Rebecca or one of her articles.

When Doug, all of the sudden, had a problem with getting something to work in blogger, I immediately came to his help without further thought as to whether he was an egalitarian or not. My thought, instead, was: "my brother is in need and I have the ability to help him."

I offer that as constructive criticism of what you said, D.R.

Greg Harvey

Lin said...

"Paul's argument is that the punishment stands and because of that it is God's intention (post-Resurrection) that men be leaders in the Church."

Where? What passage are you referring to?

Lin said...

"Still, I think they are dead wrong on this issue and I agree with Grudem when he asserts that while he has many friends who are Egalitarians (who are committed to inerrancy), there remains a serious problem with their hermeneutical approach and the real danger comes in those who will come after them applying their principles to other texts and moving down the liberal path, even as others have done."

DR, Please think on what you said here carefully. The exact same thing is happening on the comp side of the house. They develop a 'new name' for it, start an organization devoted to it, and over time we have seen it evolve into roles for women not only in marriage, but church and society.

We are seeing some within that movement now saying that the comp position is too soft and we need to bring in more Patriarchy.

The comp position is guilty of leaning toward legalism. And guilty of the same things it accuses the egal position of doing.

Going too far.

This is exactly what happens when ANY of us focus too much on a secondary doctrine and not enough on Christ.

Lin said...

"I highly recommend it. It is by far the best explanation and harmonization of this text I have ever read and I cannot add anything to the discussion that he has not already stated."

Sorry, DR. He is just wrong. Childbearing in the NC is NOT a work.

D.R. said...

Rex,

Your "examples" of NT writers being wrong are terribly weak. So Paul's memory isn't perfect, then he corrects himself almost immediately and that is an example of how he can be wrong in his assessment of the OT? Seriously man, very weak.

And you seem to be confusing narrative with theological argumentation. Those are two different genres and they have different rules for interpretation. Clearly when narrative is set forth in the Bible, their personal perspective is employed. However, when the Biblical writers pen theological arguments, even moderate to liberal scholars agree their words are sacred.

In fact, some of the controversy over inerrancy centered around the Bible either being completely true in every statement or whether it was simply true in all matters of faith and practice. Clearly Paul's words are a matter of faith and practice.

Finally, I don't think you really understand the doctrine of inspiration in regards to Scripture and how it functions within the genres of the NT. I suggest reading, "Holy Scripture: Revelation, Inspiration & Interpretation" by Donald Bloesch. I say this because in your example of Peter you seem to confuse his personal flaws with the perfection of Scripture the Holy Spirit wrought through him (which we have recorded as the Word of God).

So nobody is suggesting that Paul or Peter (or any other human) is perfect. But the Doctrine of Inspiration regards what they wrote to have been inspired and preserved by the Holy Spirit Himself, so that we can have, as Peter stated, "all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue."


Greg,
I am not sure how the story about Groothius is meant to be constructive criticism to me. I agree he is a great scholar and I commend you for helping him out. I wouldn't have thought you should have done otherwise. Maybe you misunderstood me and thought that not desiring to attend an Egalitarian meant I would not fellowship with them or even be friends with them. Or maybe I just don't understand your point. Please clarify.


Lin,
Did you actually read Köstenberger's paper? Because that wasn't his point, nore mine. If you want to discuss it in length, let me know. We can go elsewhere to do that.

greg.w.h said...

D.R.:

I just think it's odd that you don't equate withholding funding with--in essence--withholding fellowship and even Christian brotherhood. You compartamentalize funding as if it somehow is something you should be allowed to control and use to control those you associate with.

Admittedly I'm merely a layperson, but I have a very difficult time permitting myself to think that way, especially with people who have made public professions of faith and whose works demonstrate that their faith is being lived out loud.

Greg Harvey

Tom Parker said...

D. R.,

Maybe you can draft or help draft a guide for the SBC as to whose dollars to the CP are acceptable or not. I think you fear liberalism way to much.

Lin said...

Yes, DR, I read that before and went back and read it again..just for you.:o)

Still, you cannot get away from the obvious facts of the matter. The verse is parallel to Eve...The Holy Spirit mentions Eve for crying out loud. The parallel is there...Eve was deceived, the woman in this church was deceived.

There is NO way that we are saved by ANY work. Whether it be in your idea of 'roles' for each gender or not. If that were the case, Mary Magdalene could not be saved. (And it must gall you that she was the first Evangelist)

No matter how you slice it, and that article tries to dance around the 'work' aspect, but it still ends up as a WORK.

She will be saved through the bearing of a child IF they (her and her husband) continue in faith, hope and love. Do you not see it? The Messiah came through a woman. He is making the parallel to Eve and the seed. We cannot be saved by bearing children or being good little gals in our chosen roles. There are many unsaved woman doing that right now.

You cannot see it because of your patriarchy filter.

We are not saved by works of any kind. We are saved by Faith.

DR, I really think we have beat this horse to death.

Rex Ray said...

D.R.,
Thank you again for replying. Jack Maddox would have been doing a no talkie…talkie long ago. smile

I can hardly believe you said, “So Paul’s memory isn’t perfect…” because that’s the whole point.

May I take the liberty to conclude that you agree that Paul was writing from memory, and NOT as some would have us to believe that God put the words into Paul’s mind and the words flowed from his hand onto the paper?

Since Scripture says that God cannot tell a lie, we can conclude what Paul wrote that was true was His Word, and anything that was NOT true was not God’s Word.

You say, “Clearly when narrative is set forth in the Bible, their personal perspective is employed.”
By Webster’s definition, ‘narrative’ may be truth or fiction.

Again it sounds like you are agreeing that Bible writers may use fiction in what they wrote.

Example: Three times God told Moses he could not inter the Promise Land because Moses failed to glorify God by failing to speak to the rock.
Three times Moses told the people God was angry with them which resulted in him not being allowed to inter the Promise Land.

Likewise, Paul wanted to be free from prison and probably wished many times he had not appealed to Caesar. I believe he put the blame on “when the Jews protested the decision, I…appealed to Caesar” just like Moses blamed the Jews.

It seems we agree that Bible writers can make mistakes in the “narrative”.
You say, “When the Biblical writers pen theological arguments, even moderate to liberal scholars agree their words are sacred.”

I guess you’re saying “sacred” means their words are true.
You did not reply to the theological arguments of Peter and James on the most important debate ever—how is man saved? I'll repeat:

Peter's OPINION: “Are you going to correct God by BURDENING the Gentiles with a yoke…?” (Acts 15:10)

James’ OPINION: “For it was the Holy Spirit’s decision—and ours to put no greater BURDEN on you than these NECESSARY things…” (Acts 15:28)

I believe Peter summarized the agreement that was made by the Apostles and Elders in their private meeting, but James held his opinion until he had the backing of the multitude.

I believed his “but” stabbed Peter and Christ’s teachings in the back, and the roar of applause from the multitude drowned out any protest which allowed James to get away with his “necessary” Jewish traditions.

BTW, in Wade’s comments of his February 29 post, Matt referenced:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_infallibility

which gave two definitions of inerrancy as being
1. Biblical Inerrancy
2. Limited Inerrancy

Do you know the names of the other six definitions of ‘inerrancy’ that the Chicago group made in 1978?

D.R. said...

Lin,

Are you sure you are reading the right article?

This is why I don't think you either read the right article or aren't paying attention to it.

You said, "There is NO way that we are saved by ANY work."

And

"No matter how you slice it, and that article tries to dance around the 'work' aspect, but it still ends up as a WORK."

Yet Köstenberger spends the majority of the article showing how "sozo" or "saved" doesn't refer to salvation, but rather "spiritual protection from". After showing how Paul uses "sozo" in a number of contexts not to refer to salvation, but rather protection, he goes on to show how this is the usual way that Paul uses the word.

Then he explains from what do women need spiritual protection, and shows it is Satan. This perfectly flows from the illustration of Eve, who was decieved by Satan, himself. Thus, Paul is saying that women will be spiritually protected from deception by Satan through "tending to their duties in the home" (what Köstenberger claims the term "childbearing" is shorthand for - based on the context of 1 Tim 5:14-15).


So, I am not sure how in the world you got out of that article that Köstenberger is claiming that women will be "saved" by works, since that is the very interpretation he writes the article to reject! (He says close to the end, "women shall be kept safe by childbearing" is the likely rendering of 1 Timothy 2:15 - doesn't sound like he is referring at all to salvation by works).

So, when you suggest to me that I "cannot see it because of your patriarchy filter", I guess I could suggest the same about you regarding your "feminism filter" (whatever that may be). However, I think this is a silly argument and a way to dismiss the need to think critically about this passage.

So, let me ask a few critical questions about the text to you.

1) What does "sozo" mean in this passage?
2) Where is the verse that speaks about a woman in 1 Timothy deceiving the Church? After all, you continue to claim this is the context, yet where is the evidence for this?
4) And if there is one woman who is teaching falsely, why are all women forbid by Paul from teaching?
3) If men and women are saved by the bearing of the Messiah, why the cryptic language and why did Paul only say "women" and not "men and women" (aren't you adding the implication to men in the text)? 4) Also, this would be the only time Paul speaks of the birth of Christ, so why crouch it in such terms?

Lin said...

"Yet Köstenberger spends the majority of the article showing how "sozo" or "saved" doesn't refer to salvation, but rather "spiritual protection from". "

My dear sweet DR, You still end up at the SAME place because SAVED HERE means the SAME saved as here:

Matthew 10:22
22Everyone will hate you because of me. But if you remain faithful until the end, you will be 'saved'.

Saved: Sozo

Her ROLE will not protect or save her. That is a WORK. Only her faith will save her.

It's ok. BANG. I shot the horse.

We can go our separate ways now because we will NEVER agree. :o)

D.R. said...

Lin,

Apparently you either don't understand his argument or are ignoring it. And sorry, Lin, but being patronizing is not helping you make your point.

So let me explain this point by point to you.

You said, "You still end up at the SAME place because SAVED HERE means the SAME saved as here" and then go on to quote Matthew 10:22.

Lin, We are not talking about Matthew's use of "sozo" (Jesus would have spoken Aramaic, thus the need for Matthew to translate it via the inspiration of the Holy Spirit), but rather Paul's use both in context and througout his epistles.

I am not sure you understand this (do you have any knowledge of Greek vocabulary?), but "sozo" has a large range of meanings. It can mean "salvation" or "removal from danger" or a host of other meanings. And this is common in Greek. But don't take my word for it, let's consult one of the leading Egalitarians, Gordon Fee, in his book, How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth. He and Doug Stuart write,

The problem [of translation and interpretation] is further complicated by the fact that . . . Greek words have ranges of meaning different from anything in English . . . some words can have several shades of meanings, as well as two or more considerably different meanings.


Now, what is at stake here is what Paul means by "sozo" in context. Köstenberger notes in his article that ". . . the original secular usage [of sozo] occasionally persists in the New Testament, such as in Acts 27-28 where sōzō is found several times with reference to Paul and his fellow travellers' preservation from death and dangers at sea (sōzō : 27:20, 31; diasōzō: 27:43, 44; 28:1, 4)."

According to your view, those references to Paul being saved from shipwreck must apply only to his salvation (or that of his shipmates), which is clearly a problem semantically.

Additionally, Köstenberger points out that in passages such as 1 Corinthians 7:16 ("For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?") and 1 Timothy 4:16 ("Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you"), importing the idea of "spiritual salvation" in a strict sense places Paul's words in opposition to his theology. For we know that we cannot save anyone on our own, nor can we assure that our husbands, wives, or churchmembers will be saved simply on the basis of our good works or right teaching.

Köstenberger solves this problem by making the following observation:

In what sense can Timothy be said here to be the intermediate agent of his hearers' salvation? A better solution involves the recognition that being "kept safe" from harm or danger is a perfectly legitimate meaning for the Greek term sōzō. In that case, Timothy is merely said to help keep his hearers safe from the dangers of succumbing to false teaching in their beliefs and practical life application.

Once, Köstenberger establishes that Paul's use of "sozo" here is likely not "spiritual salvation", he points out that in 1 Timothy 5:14-15 the younger women are turning away to follow Satan and his prescription for avoiding this is to "get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach." Köstenberger then notes that the parallels are likely linked by Paul's use of the term "childbearing" in 2:15 to reflect all of what he has said in 5:14-15.

Thus he asserts that v.15 means that "women will be kept safe from the deception of Satan (unlike Eve, who fell prey to his lies) by getting married, having children, and keeping their houses in order - if they continue in faith and love and sactity with self-restraint."

Now, if you continue to reject this theory and assert that "sozo" must mean the "SAME" exact thing in all contexts (thus committing the logical error of equivocation), then you are not only ignoring Köstenberger, but also literally thousands of other scholars (both Comps and Egals) regarding the Greek language and the translation and interpretation of the NT.

Now, I hope that after all that you finally are seeing that you are arguing against a point I am NOT making. But feel free to leave the horse dead if you still do not understand my arguments or your problem of equivocation.

D.R. said...

Rex,

I am beginning to understand why Jack quits talking, especially if you equivocate, twist his words like you have mine and turn Scripture on its head, as you have done here.

First, you twist my words. You write, "May I take the liberty to conclude that you agree that Paul was writing from memory, and NOT as some would have us to believe that God put the words into Paul’s mind and the words flowed from his hand onto the paper?"

Answer to your first question: NO, you can have absolutely no liberty with my words. Rex I don't think you clearly understand the Doctrine of Inspiration, nor the accepted theories associated with it. You assume I believe in the mechanical dictation theory, which asserts that the Holy Spirit directly dictated the words of God to the Biblical writers. This is what Muslims believe about the Koran, not what Evanglicals believe about the Bible.

We believe in a verbal plenary inspiration, namely that God inspired the OT/NT writers to write what was true by employing their personalities, writing styles, and perspectives in doing so. Thus, when Paul writes about his memory AND CORRECTS HIMSELF TWO VERSES LATER, God is employing Paul's personality in creating a perfect work.

Now, to suggest that Paul is wrong on a separate theological matter because his memory slipped for exactly 20 seconds regarding a non-theological issue (during which he corrected himself), you would also have to assert that Jesus was wrong when he told his mother that it wasn't His time in Cana and then came back later and performed the miracle. And if Jesus was wrong there, you would have to conclude, then He might have been wrong on that whole Sermon on the Mount thing.

Now let's take your words here and apply them to this situation: You said, "Scripture says that God cannot tell a lie". Uh oh, well then I guess Jesus isn't God and then that would mean there is no perfect sacrifice and thus no salvation and all the Bible falls apart at that point. So why again are you even a Christian Rex? See the problem with this sort of reasoning.

So you are equivocating theological statements with quickly corrected memories of past events. Not at all the same thing.

The reality is that while God uses the personalities and perspectives of sinful and imperfect men, we can be sure that (at the LEAST) all theological statements (if not all statements of reality) are true and inspired by the Holy Spirit.


Now, moving on...you said, "By Webster’s definition, ‘narrative’ may be truth or fiction. Again it sounds like you are agreeing that Bible writers may use fiction in what they wrote."

ARE YOU SERIOUS?? Come on man, let's not trivialize this debate by twisting one another's words beyond the scope of their point. Oh, and by the way, you are wrong about the definition of narrative in Webster's. Actually, here is the link to the most recently updated version of Webster's dictionary. As you can see, it says nothing of fiction.

Now I have no clue what the problem is you have with the story of Moses at Meribah (and I just preached on this two weeks ago!). Maybe you could explain what the heck this has to do with your point. The same is true with Paul and his appeal to Caesar. I have no clue where this is a problem.

You said, "It seems we agree that Bible writers can make mistakes in the “narrative”."

Again, you twist my words irrationally and disrespect my true position. If you can't be serious, then why are you even having this debate with me? A discussion on the Word of God with serious consequences deserves better.

Now, let me repeat your last statements to me:

You did not reply to the theological arguments of Peter and James on the most important debate ever—how is man saved? I'll repeat:

Peter's OPINION: “Are you going to correct God by BURDENING the Gentiles with a yoke…?” (Acts 15:10)

James’ OPINION: “For it was the Holy Spirit’s decision—and ours to put no greater BURDEN on you than these NECESSARY things…” (Acts 15:28)

I believe Peter summarized the agreement that was made by the Apostles and Elders in their private meeting, but James held his opinion until he had the backing of the multitude.

I believed his “but” stabbed Peter and Christ’s teachings in the back, and the roar of applause from the multitude drowned out any protest which allowed James to get away with his “necessary” Jewish traditions.



First, I should have dealt with this earlier because it shows how seriously your logic is flawed.

Second, you assume the words in Acts 15:10 and 15:28 (translated "burden") mean the same thing, when, in fact, THEY ARE TWO DIFFERENT GREEK WORDS! And they are not even derived from the same root word (v.10 - baros, meaning a light work or only what is necessary and v.28 zugos, meaning a heavy yoke - as in slavery).

And then you ignore James' words, which apparently were stated in the presence of Peter with no objection (and of course there is no mention of a private v. public meeting - that is something you have to insert into the text). Then the text clearly states that "it seemed good to the APOSTLES, and the ELDERS, WITH THE WHOLE CHURCH to choose men ... and they sent this letter by them." And from there the "us" refers to the writers of the letter, which are "the apostles and the brethren who are elders".

Now, to make this passage say what you want it to, you must assume a lot, namely,

1) That while Peter had no problem speaking his mind in v.10, he felt too intimidated to do so in front of James and the whole church (if we concede there was a separate public and private meeting, which there is no evidence for). Now this is the same Peter who has had absolutely NO PROBLEM speaking his mind, yet suddenly he gives in and allows the congregation to write a letter with his stamp of approval written upon it which states exactly the OPPOSITE of what he has just passionately declared earlier that day??? Sorry man, but that makes NO SENSE.

2) That the two words (baros and zugos) mean the same thing, which they do not!

3) That James somehow was able to turn the hearts of not only Peter, but Paul and Barnabas who were opposed to circumcision and burdening the Gentiles as well.

4) That either Paul or Barnabas didn't read the Church's letter they carried with them, or that they had been swayed by James' (or rather the entire Church's) arguments that they should "burden" the Gentiles.

5) That Peter's zugos is the same as James' (or rather the entire Church's) baros. However, this doesn't make sense because of v.5 and v.20-21. In v. 5 Peter is opposing having the Gentiles circumcized (the very thing that began this argument), but in v. 20-21, James is speaking of asking the Gentiles not to eat meat sacrificed to idols.

So these are two different issues. But again you are equating the two as the same thing, then making a case (in the midst of a narrative text) that the Bible is wrong. That makes NO SENSE.

Finally, "the roar of applause"? Where is that in the text? Seriously, Rex, where did you get this from? And how many assumptions can you make in one text without it becoming clear to you that you are not understanding the narrative?

Finally, the answer to your last question is yes, I am fully aware of all the versions of inerrancy (though I think the term "Biblical inerrancy" is technically "Balanced inerrancy"). And I fit firmly in the camp of Balanced Inerrancy, where Millard Erickson and Carl F.H. Henry would reside (and I am guessing the majority of Evangelical scholars). The question is, where do you fit in? Limited? Functional? or Errant but Authoritative?

Lin said...

DR, Köstenberger has his 'opinion'.

She will be 'rescued', or 'protected' by Childbirth STILL means a 'work'. If this applies to all women as you and Köstenberger say, then Mary Magdalene was what? Not protected? Or, does it only apply to married women in your legalistic world?

I am going to 'bite' on your questions.

1) What does "sozo" mean in this passage?

saved.

Also, Check out the word for childbearing in this passage. It is a 'noun' not a verb. Big difference.

Teknogoneo- verb for bearing children

Teknogonia -Noun for Childbearing

2) Where is the verse that speaks about a woman in 1 Timothy deceiving the Church? After all, you continue to claim this is the context, yet where is the evidence for this?

It is the whole context for chapter 1. He does not name names for those 'men' who are deceiving out of ignorance but he does name names for those who are deceiving on purpose. Hy and Al. Paul even talks in chap 1 about how he has compassion for those who are deceived out of ignorance like he was.

Timothy knew exactly what 'woman' Paul was referring to because he probably told him about it and was receiving an answer in the letter. And Paul, knowing she was deceived like Eve was very compassionate with his instructions on dealing with her.


4) And if there is one woman who is teaching falsely, why are all women forbid by Paul from teaching?

I have never seen a verse like this? Where is it?

In this passage 'a women' it is clearly a singular woman. A 'gune'/wife

3) If men and women are saved by the bearing of the Messiah, why the cryptic language and why did Paul only say "women" and not "men and women" (aren't you adding the implication to men in the text)?

He is talking about a husband and wife. The grammar shows this.

Whenever gune and aner are mentioned together in scripture in any type of relationship, they are always translated as husband and wife. Verse 12 should be translated as a single wife teaching/influencing her husband with false teaching.

Read the last verse again. She, the woman (wife), is the one deceiving her husband with false doctrine. But Paul does say IF 'they' (husband and wife referred to in verse 12) continue in...."

So there would be no reason to include ALL men because he is talking about ONE woman and ONE man...a husband and wife.

4) Also, this would be the only time Paul speaks of the birth of Christ, so why crouch it in such terms?

You will have to ask the Holy Spirit that question. It also means we have nothing from Paul with which to compare.

Don't forget this verse 11: LET "The Woman' (singular) learn in quietness.

Again, 'gune' is used in verse 11.

Paul is saying LET her learn FIRST in quietness and submission because she is teaching her husband false doctrine. She needs to learn. She is a false teacher out of ignorance and deceived like Eve was deceived.

If all women are "protected" by bearing children and staying in their role then why is childbirth a noun and not a verb? Also, would that mean that barren Christian women are NOT protected? That would seem rather cruel. Are there any such requirements for men...such as if you cannot conceive with your wife, you are not protected in your role as husband?

Sounds crazy, huh? I know. :o)

D.R. said...

Lin,

I had hoped to have time this week to do some research on some of the assertions in your latest post, but unfortunately I have not been able to find the time to do so.

So let me make some closing thoughts and say that I may post an entire exegesis on my blog when I have the time.

First, you noted that Köstenberger had his opinion, yet did not deal with his exegesis of the passage, nor his assertion of 1 Timothy 5 as a parallel passage. So without dealing with the core of his argument, you really haven't dealt with my previous post in any substantial way. But let me deal with what you did say.

You said, "She will be 'rescued', or 'protected' by Childbirth STILL means a 'work'."

It is only a "work" in the sense that any Biblical command or call to action in Scripture is a work, such as "refrain from sexual immorality" or "thou shalt not covet." But to argue that Köstenberger (or myself) are suggesting that this is a "work" necessary for spiritual salvation is again to ignore what Köstenberger clearly states (in fact, his entire argument) and construct a strawman in hopes that no one will notice the clear contradiction with his argument.


You ask, "If this applies to all women as you and Köstenberger say, then Mary Magdalene was what? Not protected? Or, does it only apply to married women in your legalistic world?"

Here you are putting words into our mouths. Paul is making a general statement about how MARRIED women can keep themselves safe from the deception of Satan. He is not commanding all women to have children (nor passing judgement on barren women). Nor is he suggesting that this is the only way to keep women from being deceived from Satan. However, at the same time we cannot minimize the impact of such a statement by Paul, especially given the context. We should look at this as Paul giving instructions on the BEST way for married women to avoid being deceived, but certainly not the only way. This reading thus renders your questions moot.

But as for your suggestion that I am somehow a legalist because I take seriously the Word of God, then I shudder to think what you believe ahout our Baptist forefathers who were regarded as great men of God, such as Spurgeon, Boyce, Fuller, and Gill.


Next you say, "Also, Check out the word for childbearing in this passage. It is a 'noun' not a verb. Big difference." And at the end you comment,

If all women are "protected" by bearing children and staying in their role then why is childbirth a noun and not a verb? Also, would that mean that barren Christian women are NOT protected? That would seem rather cruel. Are there any such requirements for men...such as if you cannot conceive with your wife, you are not protected in your role as husband?

I believe you either don't understand my argument, or you are simply grasping at straws and hoping no one notices. As I noted earlier Köstenberger suggests that the term for "childbearing" (as a noun) is shorthand for "tending to the domestic realm". Thus, he suggests that through tending to the needs of the home, a woman is able to be protected from Satanic deception. The home could include children of her own, adopted children, or even no children, depending on her duties and the needs of the home. The point is not that one MUST have children to be protected from Satan, but rather that Paul is suggesting that the main way a woman can protect herself from being deceived by Satan (and thus leading others astray) is to fulfill her duties to the home. So this attempt to confuse the issue by suggesting that our application applies to barren women falls short when one actually understands what is being taught by Köstenberger.


When asked about evidence for your allegations regarding the context being a woman who was teaching falsely, you simply restate your assertion ("It is the whole context for chapter 1") without supporting your argument. Later you suggest that he is referring to this deception by "a" woman.

Again you show that you clearly don't understand Greek grammer. In Greek, there is no such word as "a". There is only one article in Greek and it is "the". When a word is "anartharous", or without an article, it most often suggest that there is no particular subject in view. The only exception to this is Sharpe's Rule, but it only applies to direct objects (or indirect objects) not to nouns who are the subjects of sentences (as is the case here). Therefore, under no cirucmstance could the woman translated "a woman" be referring to one specific person (or even a group of women) without Paul having described it by using the article meaning "the".

Thus, at that point your interpretation falls apart. What you must show from internal or external evidence not only is that there is clearly a woman or group of women in Ephesus who fit your description, but that also Paul's instructions to them do not apply beyond this specific Church. But even if you could prove this, why would Paul ground his argument in the theology of creation? He argues beyond what is necessary to instruct Timothy about what he should do in a single church (constructing a theological argument to apply to a singul contextual situation is unprecedented in Paul, and in the NT in general). Additionally, at this point (late into Paul's ministry) he was likely aware that his letters were being circulated (and would likely have made concession for this), especially given Peter's description of Paul's writings as Scripture.

When asked about crytic language in reference to v.12 you said, "He is talking about a husband and wife. The grammar shows this."

Actually the grammer shows the singular nominative form of "gune" as the subject of v.15. If Paul meant "husbands and wives will be kept from deception" then he would at the least omitted the noun and have used a plural form of the verb, which he doesn't (it too is singular). Now, he does use a plural form of the verb when he says "if they continue", which might possibly be translated "husbands and wives", but not necessarily.

Now, what I referred to earlier in wanting to research was your shocking statement that "Whenever gune and aner are mentioned together in scripture in any type of relationship, they are always translated as husband and wife." Please show me some examples of this. I have never seen this. Point me to some verses where this is done by any major translation.

You follow up by adding, "So there would be no reason to include ALL men because he is talking about ONE woman and ONE man...a husband and wife."

Unfortunately, again Greek grammer shows this to be false. As I pointed out, with the subjects being anartharous (without the article) the evidence suggests he is speaking in general terms of husbands and wives (it could legitimately be translated "any man" or "any woman"), not about a specific marital relationship within the Church.

And you show this problem of translation when you say, "Don't forget this verse 11: LET "The Woman' (singular) learn in quietness." As I pointed out it is not "the" woman (gune is anartharous as a subject), but rather it is "a woman" suggesting a general application and not referring to a specific woman. And no major translation translates it such (including the TNIV).


Next you say, "Paul is saying LET her learn FIRST in quietness and submission because she is teaching her husband false doctrine. She needs to learn. She is a false teacher out of ignorance and deceived like Eve was deceived."

The word "first" is not found in the text. And there is no suggestion in either the grammer or the construction that any sort of progression is suggested by Paul. And once again, there is no specific woman in Paul's view, otherwise he would have used the article ("the").

I suggest you read Gordon Fee, an egalitarian who despite his lack of evidence regarding the context, is at least consistent in his translation and interpretation. That seems to be your problem in the text. Your reading doesn't conform to the Greek grammer and you end up having to make false assertions to support it. I think it would be better if you at least adopted a view that fit the text and not forced such a reading as you have onto it.

In the end, I respect your efforts to explain the text, unfortunately, I believe that you have fallen short in proving that the Greek follows your reading.