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

An Exhaustive Study on the Meaning of "Head:" Are Women Really Free To Function Freely?

My friend, Dr. Sam Storms, sent me a couple of articles last week in response to my statement that the Greek word translated head, as in the verse "The husband shall be the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church" ((Eph. 5:23), means "source" and not "authority or authority over." He suggested if I read the articles, written by Dr. Wayne Grudem, I would change my mind. I was familiar with Dr. Grudem's research, having read it before, but read the articles again - without changing my mind.

The following post is rather lengthy, but I have reprinted Dr. Grudem's short article where he proposes that "head" means authority (and that no biblical scholar can refute this position), and then immediately following, I am posting one of the finest articles I've come across that takes the position that "head" means "source." The second article is written by Laurie Fasullo. In the closing two paragraphs there are a couple of mentions of Grudem's respect, showing respect for, but disagreement with, the conclusions of Dr. Grudem.

Someone might ask, "What's the big deal?" Well, in practical terms, if one holds to Grudem's view, women can not have any type of "authority" over men. Whereas, if one holds that "head" means source, then there is no problem with a woman "teaching" a man, holding a position of "authority" over men, and women being considered equal to men. In my opinion, this is a subject over which evangelical conservative Christians should simply agree to disagree and not divide in fellowship over.

Regardless of your position, after reading both articles below, it should be very apparant that both views take a very high view of the sacred text. This issue is not "liberal" vs. "conservative" but "conservative interpretation" vs. "conservative interpretation."

________________________________________


The Meaning Of “Head” In The Bible
by Wayne Grudem



If you ever meet an egalitarian (an evangelical feminist) claiming that the word "head" in the Bible doesn't mean "authority" but means "source," you may wonder how to answer. Their purpose, of course, is to get rid of the idea of authority in the family in verses like, "The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church" (Eph. 5:23). So they claim that the word "head" (the Greek word kephalē) meant "source" rather than "authority" in the ancient world. Sometimes they quote some ancient Greek texts which, they say, show Zeus to be the "source" of all things, or Esau to be the "source" of his clan, or which mention the "head" of a river. For a verse about husbands and wives, even this idea makes no sense (I am not the source of my wife!), but they will usually then suggest a more specific meaning like "source of encouragement."

At this point in the discussion there is something that can be done. There is a simple question which they have never been able to answer. It is this:

You claim that the Greek word for "head" means "source without the idea of authority." Will you please show me one example in all of ancient Greek where this word (kephal¯e) is used to refer to a person and means what you claim, namely, "non-authoritative source"?

I asked this of both Catherine Kroeger and Gilbert Bilezikian in public debate in Atlanta in 1986 and they gave me no example. I asked this question in an academic article published in Trinity Journal in 1990 and received no example. I asked this question in the book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in 1991 and received no example. That is because no example has ever been found.

The reason is simple: In the Greek speaking world, to be the head of a group of people always meant to have authority over those people. Notice the egalitarian examples: Zeus is the chief of the Greek gods! Esau was the leader of the clan descended from him. These examples don't disprove the idea of authority; they confirm it.

The example of "head of a river "doesn't prove "source without authority," because (1) this usage is not referring to a person at all, and (2) the example is misquoted for Eph. 5:23, because there "head" is singular, and "head" in the singular is in fact used to refer to the other end of the river, the "mouth" while only in the plural is it used of the "source" of the river (see the Liddell-Scott-Jones Lexicon, p. 945), and (3) in both cases it just means "end point," in the same way that it can refer to the "head of a column" or "head of a pole," and these examples have nothing to do with the ideas of "source" or "authority."

I once looked up over 2,300 examples of the word "head" (kephal¯e) in ancient Greek. In these texts the word kephal¯e is applied to many people in authority, but to none without governing authority:
• the king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation
• the general of an army is called the "head" of the army
• the Roman emperor is called the "head" of the people
• the god Zeus is called the "head" of all things
• David as king of Israel is called the "head" of the people
• the leaders of the tribes of Israel are called "heads" of the tribes
• the husband is the "head" of the wife
• Christ is the "head" of the church
• God the Father is the "head" of Christ
(For details, see my 35-page article available under reprints on page 15, or see pages 425-468 in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood).

No one in a non-leadership position is called "head"-ever. The egalitarian assertion that a person who is called the kephal¯e can be the "source without governing authority" is simply false.

Therefore I would encourage you, in discussing these matters with egalitarian friends, to ask this simple question: May I see an example to support your claim that there is no authority implied in the word "head" in the statement, "the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church"?

Can egalitarians find even one example out of millions of words of ancient Greek literature where a person is called "head" and it means "non-authoritative source"? If even one example could be found, then of course we could go on to discuss whether that meaning might be the one that best fits the context of Ephesians 5.

But if they cannot find one example of this meaning, then their proposed sense of the word in Ephesians 5:23 is a theory without one hard fact to support it. Of course, people can still believe in theories that have no facts to support them if they wish, but such belief can no longer be thought to be reasonable or academically responsible. And such unsupported theories should certainly not be used in debates, or written in commentaries and reference books, or thought to be true.

_______________________________________



The Word Kephale ("Head") in the New Testament
Revisiting The Tradition That “Head” Means “Authority Over”
by Laurie Fasullo





The purpose of this paper is to show that neither Paul nor his first century readers would have understood the Greek word for “head,” kephale, to have the meaning given it by many church leaders, e.g., “authority” or “ruler.” I intend to show why that it is certain, and for sure highly improbable, for Paul to have used this word with the traditional notion of “authority over.”

There are two reasons for this paper. The first is that we are to be diligent so that we won’t be ashamed, handling God’s Word accurately (2 Timothy 2:15). The second reason is to show that there can be another valid and more likely meaning for this word other than the one read into it in the past.

Concerning the first reason, if our goal is to glorify God, no matter what, we will not be afraid to discuss different views to see what He is communicating to us. We have all too often seen people (or even ourselves) mishandle the Bible to make a point rather than to find the point the Word is making. We should all strive to be careful to learn what is being taught. It’s easy to read our preconceived ideas into a passage. Because this is a view which is different from the traditional view which most people are accustomed to hearing, I would encourage each reader to have the same teachableness that they would hope to see in someone when they are sharing something which is nontraditional to that person. It can be as heartbreaking, as it was for Luther and the early martyrs, to try to reason from God ‘s Word to share a truth which won’t be heard because it doesn’t fit with what is already traditionally believed. Most of us have experienced this at sometime or another in sharing what we have learned about these things with someone who seems more intent on keeping his original position than on hearing what the Bible actually says about the subject. So please evaluate the following material with this in mind.



The second part of the reason is linked to the first part. In the traditional view, I have consistently seen the English (and Hebrew) meanings of the word “head” brought into passages which were written in Greek. This can cause a wrong emphasis, if not a wrong meaning, to be taken from passages containing this word. The danger of this is that the right emphasis can be missed altogether. Because I believe this is widely practiced in the case of this word (often having far-reaching effects) I feel the need to present another viewpoint. It is vital to understand how this word was used, and what it meant in the first century.

I will give reasons why I do not think Paul meant for the word kephale to convey the meaning “authority.”

I. It does not seem to be a normal meaning of the word in his day:

A. as shown by the definitions we find of this word during that time,

B. as shown by the Septuagint,

C. as shown by the other words Paul used to convey the concept of “authority,”

D. due to a different understanding of the function of the head/brain than we have, and Paul‘s other references regarding them.

II. The contexts of the Bible passages using this word sometimes show a different meaning, and all allow for an alternative rendering.

I. A. In showing that “authority” or “superior rank” was not a normal meaning of the Greek word kephale in Paul’s day, I will rely on the work of others more knowledgeable in this area than I. To begin with I have not found any lexicon which gives that meaning (unless they use the very passages we are trying to understand with the meaning of “authority” already read into them). The following are excellent sources listed by Berkley and Alvera MIickelsen which show no such meaning for the readers of Paul’s day:

The most complete Greek-English lexicon (covering Homeric, classical and koine Greek) in current existence is a two-volume work of more than 2,000 pages compiled by .Liddell, Scott, Jones and McKenzie, published first in 1843. It is based on examination of thousands of Greek writings from the period of Homer (about 1000 B.C.) to about A.D. 600 -- a period of nearly 1600 years, including the Septuagint and New Testament times. This lexicon lists, with examples, the common meanings of kephale. The list includes more than 25 possible figurative meanings in addition to the literal meaning of physical head of man or beast. The list does not include “authority,” “superior rank,” “leader,” “director,” or anything similar as a meaning. There is an older Greek-Latin thesaurus published in 1851, but written primarily in the sixteenth century. It also gives no meanings such as “authority” or “supreme over.” Apparently, ordinary readers of Greek literature during New Testament times would not think of “final authority,” “superior rank” or “director” as common meanings for the word translated “head.”

The entry looks somewhat like this in the 1940 edition of Liddell, Scott, Jones and McKenzie lexicon:

I. a. Physical head of man or beast. Frequently used with preposition such as “down over the head,” or “above the head” or “from head to foot” or “head foremost” or “thrust headlong.” [In our day we would say “head first.”]

b. As the noblest part, periphrasis for the whole person.

c. Life, as in “staking their heads on...”

d.. In imprecation, as in “on my head be it!” [Or Paul’s response in Acts 18:6 to the Jews who opposed him in Macedonia, “Your blood be upon your own heads!”]

II. Of things, extremity.

a. In botany, head of garlic, tubers.

b. In anatomy, base of heart, but also apex; of muscles, origin.

c. Generally, top, brim of vessel; coping of a wall; capital of a column.

d. In plural, source, origin of a river, but singular, mouth; generally, source, origin, starting point.

e. Extremity of a plot of land.

III. A bust of Homer.

IV. Wig, head-dress.

V. Metaphorical

a. Piece de resistance [i.e. main dish of a meal]

b. Crown, completion, consummation.

c. Sum, total.

d. Hand of men; right hand of phalanx

e. Astronomy, Aries [as the gable of the world]

The lexicon gives references to Greek literature for each of these meanings. The lexicographers (with various editions spanning more than 100 years, from 1836 to 1940) apparently found no examples in their study of Greek literature where kephale could have the meaning “one having authority,” “supreme over” or anything similar. (Where other recognized meanings are possible, one cannot assume that the word kephale means chief, authority or superior rank.) These scholars living in 1800s and early 1900s surely could not be accused of being blinded by the “feminist movement,” and thus ignoring references in Greek that supported kephale as meaning “authority.” [1]


What follows is more research concerning the usual meanings for the Greek word kephale:

Including its 1968 supplement, the Liddell and Scott lexicon lists forty-eight separate English equivalents of figurative meanings of kephale. None of them implies leader, authority, first or supreme. To confirm that “authority” was not in the usual connotative range of kephale, I consulted three prominent specialists in ancient Greek literature. They all agreed that the idea of “authority” was not a recognized meaning of kephale in Greek.

An examination of other Greek lexicons further supports the Mickelsen’s thesis. None of the following lexicons lists any examples related to “leader” or “authority”: Moulton and Milligan, Friedrich Preisigke, Pierre Chantraine, and E. A. Sophocles gives only one such example from A.D. 952. S.C. Woodhouse lists twenty Greek equivalents for “chief” (p. 129) and twenty-six Greek equivalents for “authority” (p. 54), but kephale is not listed as an equivalent for either of these or for “leader.” [2]

One can certainly find an abundance of sources that impute the meaning of “authority over” to the Greek word kephale. However, it would appear that they do this in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary. All the sources I could find used the passages containing the word kephale with their own definition of “authority” assumed and thus read into it to prove their definition. Some even went against the meaning of the word in context to give it the definition they desired. The following is an example:

The most common lexicon used by pastors and teachers of the Bible in our day is the koine Greek lexicon by Arndt and Gingrich, commonly known as Bauer’s. This lexicon is less than half the size of Liddell, Scott, Jones and McKenzie. The following is a basic condensation of the entry for kephale in Bauer:


[kephale, es, he,] (Homer,+ inscriptions, papyri, Septuagint, Enoch, Epistle of Aristotle, Philo, Josephus)

1 . lit.- a. actually of the head of man or beast [followed by thirty-six lines of entry giving examples of this obvious meaning, ranging from the New Testament to Aesop’s fables]….h. metaph... Christ the [kephale] of the [church] thought of as a [soma (“body”)] Col. 1:18;cf. Col. 2:19.

2. fig- a. In the case of living beings, to denote superior rank. (cf. Artem. 4:24. p.218 where [kephale] is the symbol of the father; Judg 11:11; 2 [Sam] 22:44) head (Zosimus of Ashkelon[500 A.D.] hails Demosth. as his master: [“0h, divine head”] [Biogr. p. 297]; of the husband in relation to his wife I Cor 11:3b; Eph 5:23a. Of Christ in relation to the church Eph 4:15; 5:23b. But Christ is he head not only of the church but of the universe as a whole, [“head over all things”] Eph 1:22, and of every cosmic power... the head of all might and power or all rule & authority]. Col. 2:10. The divine influence on the world results in the series (for the growing distance from God with corresponding results);...God the [kephale] of Christ, Christ the [kephale] of the man, the man the [kephale] of the woman, I Cor 11:3c,a,b.

B. of things the uppermost part, extremity, end, point... [kephale gonias] the cornerstone (forming the farthest extension... of the corner, though Joachim Jeremias... thinks of it as the keystone or capstone above the door;... Mt 21:42; Mk 12:10; Lk 20:17,...Ac 4:11; I Pt 2:7 B[arnahas] 6:4 (all [quoting] Psalm 118:22 [LXX Ps 117:22]).” [3]


The following are some criticisms of Bauer’s definition:


Under section two, where Bauer gives “superior rank” as a meaning for kephale, he cites only two references from secular Greek. One comes from Zosimus and is dated A.D. 500 -- at least 400 years after the New Testament was written. (Our question is not what kephale meant in A.D. 500 but rather what Paul meant when he used kephale when writing his letters to the churches in the first century.) Bauer’s only other reference to secular Greek to support the meaning of “superior rank” is to Artemidorus in the second century, where kephale is used as a symbol of the father. What Artemidorus said (Lib K, Capt 2, Para 6,) was “He [the father] was the cause (aitos) of the life and of the light for the dreamer [the son] just as the head (kephale) is the cause of the life and the light of all the body.” He also said: “the head is to be likened to parents because the head is the cause [source] of life.” Bauer’s reference may be an example of a lexicographer reading his own cultural understanding (i.e., fathers have “superior rank”) into the text.”[4]


Phillip Payne rightly comments:


The Mickelsen’s criticism of Bauer’s treatment of kephale is well founded. The inappropriateness of citing the Zosimus statement as an example of kephale denoting “superior rank” is not due only to its late date. It is virtually certain that this passage does not imply a position of authority over anyone. Stanford classicist Mark Edwards stated that ho theia kephale in the Zosirnus document is a salutation implying dignity, not authority. Presumably the Demosthenes referred to is the great Athenian orator (384-22 B.C.), who could not have had a position of authority over Zosimus since Demosthenes had died over 800 years earlier. [5]


The appendix has a list of other lexicons and dictionaries who assume the meaning of “authority over.”. They all, however, use the passages which contain this word with this meaning already assumed to prove this meaning of the word. We will refer to them in Part 2 where we deal with the actual passages and look at the contexts where the word occurs.


B. Many of these sources used Old Testament passages from the Septuagint to support their definition. Let’s examine the evidence from the Septuagint. The Septuagint was a Greek translation of the Old Testament done before Christ’s time. For many people who spoke mainly or only Greek, it was the only Old Testament scriptures they knew. Although the passages containing “head” from the Septuagint are used to prove that kephale meant “authority” in the traditional sense, the opposite is actually true. Let’s look at how kephale is translated in the Septuagint.


From this we see that when rosh (the Hebrew word for “head”) referred to a literal head it was almost always directly translated kephale. However, when rosh had the meaning “ruler, commander, leader or chief” the word kephale is rarely used and so appears to be avoided. If it were a normal meaning, why would it not have been directly translated as it was for literal head? Of the 180 times that rosh was used in this sense, only 10 times it was translated with the Greek word for “head,” kephale. Of these, 6 have variant readings (4 in a single manuscript), 4 others involve head-tail metaphors (where the word could not be avoided). That leaves 8 of the 180 times where kephale was used with an unusual Greek meaning. Let’s look at them individually:


Jeremiah 31:7-- Since Israel did not rule or have authority over the nations, this probably refers to her exalted position in God’s eyes.


Judges 11:11 -- The Hebrew text follows rosh with another word qatzyn, meaning chief or ruler. The Greek text followed suit and used hegeomai or archegos, meaning leader. This would have made it clear to Greek readers the meaning of the passage even with a normal Greek usage of “top” or “crown” for kephale.


Psalm 18:43, Isa.7:8-9 (3 times), Lam.1:5, 2 Sam.22:44 (which is the same as Ps.18:43). All of these passages could be read with the meaning of “top” or “crown” and the meaning of the passage would not be lost.



So we can see that “when the Old Testament meaning of rosh was ‘leader’ the Septuagint translators realized quite clearly that this would not be conveyed by kephale, so they resorted to some other translation in 171 cases out of 180. This occurred in spite of the strong tendency in the Septuagint for ‘Greek words to extend to their range of meaning in an un-Greek way after the Hebrew word which they render.’ Thus we have strong evidence of the high degree to which ‘head’ meaning ‘leader’ was recognized by these translators to be foreign to Greek.”[6]



At this point I will mention that there is list in the Appendix of works that critique Wayne Grudem’s work dealing with kephale.. He has been associated with proving that kephale carried the meaning of “authority over.” This critique is here to deal with his assertions, but also to show that it is easy to ignore facts to make our point. As I have read on this subject, and women’s roles in general, I will freely admit seeing this done on different sides of the issue. I don’t claim to be free from preconceived ideas and perceptions myself. That is why I write this and invite scrutiny of what I propose. If I’m shown to be in error, I want to change what I think. Let us all dialogue to find truth that we may please our Lord.


C. Let’s look at how Paul communicated elsewhere and see if he would have used kephale to express the idea of “authority.”


“The apostle Paul was a Greek-speaking Jew (he grew up in the Greek-speaking city of Tarsus); indeed, Greek was his native language. He knew both Hebrew and Greek, but he wrote his epistles to Greek-speaking churches in areas where most of the converts (including Jews of the dispersion) knew only Greek. A man of his superb intellectual ability and intense passion to spread the gospel would likely use Greek words with Greek meanings that his readers clearly understood.”(7) In Romans 13:12 he used exousia (”authority”) and in Romans 13:3 he used archon (”leader”). When Paul does use exousia (“authority”) in a husband-wife context, it is definitely in a mutual sense (1 Cor. 7:4). “If Paul does use kephale with the meaning ‘leader,’ he is the only New Testament writer to do so, even though most of the New Testament writers use more Hebraic Greek than he does. For example, “head of the house” is a very common expression throughout the Gospels, but kephale is never used to convey this meaning.”[8] (See Matthew 10:25; 13:52; 24:43; Luke 12:39; 13:25; 14:21. The Greek word oikodespotes is used. This word comes from two words meaning “master” and “house.”). In addition, the term for the “head of the synagogue” (which was the leading office) did not employ kephale, but was called the archisynagogus. [9]

D. Let’s look further at what Paul and his readers would have understood about the head so that we won’t also read our understanding into their understanding. This will have an effect on how the word could be used metaphorically. “The ancient Greek world through the time of Paul commonly believed that the heart, not the head, was the center of emotions and spirit, the ‘central governing place of the body.’ Aristotle held that the heart was not only the seat of control but also the seat of intelligence. Classicist Michael Wigodsky of Stanford is probably correct that many, even the doctors with the most advanced anatomical understanding of the brain, did not really believe that the brain exerted more control over the body than the heart. Such a notion seemed to contradict the nearly universal belief that, since the life is in the blood, the heart must be the center of life. Thus, it is hardly surprising that the idea of authority was not normally associated with the word for ‘head’ in Greek thought.”[l0] Although this information may be debatable, we do know that know that neither Paul nor his readers would have known what we know about how the brain controls the body. Regardless of their knowledge, or lack thereof, Paul “seems to associate intelligence and control of the body with the heart in such expressions as ‘their foolish heart was darkened’ (Rom. 1:21), ‘the law written in their hearts’(Rom. 2:15), ‘it is with your heart you believe’(Rom 10:9-10), ‘no heart has conceived God’s plans’(1 Cor. 2:9), ‘he who has decided in his own heart’(1 Cor 7:37), and ‘may the eyes of your heart be enlightened to know’ (Eph 1:18). Nowhere does he associate the mind with the head.”[11] (This last reference is in the immediate context of one of the passages where kephale is used [Eph. 1:18-23] which we will look at in section II.) Gordon Clark’s work on head knowledge/heart knowledge will also bear witness to this.



Let me restate why I believe we can come to these passages without assuming “authority” is a normal meaning of the Greek word kephale for Paul and his readers. It does not seem to be a normal usage for Paul given: 1 ) his choice of other words for authority, 2) his expression of control of the body by the heart verses the brain or head (and his lack of association of the mind with the head), and 3) the context of the passages where kephale is used -- which we’ll look at next. It does not seem to be a normal meaning his readers would have understood given: 1) the avoidance of the word with this meaning in the Septuagint, and 2) the Greek meanings of this word in dictionaries and lexicons. The only reasons I would believe it could be a possible definition are: 1) Grudem’s study and 2) the definitions in some dictionaries and lexicons. Neither of these carry much weight, in light of the other factors, because they come with the meaning of “authority” read into the word to prove it’s meaning. And I will apply Grudem’s own judgment to his study. He said (concerning one of the criticisms of his study), “the major point of his article...is disproved by his use of improper methodology and several inconsistencies in his argument, and it is contradicted by an abundance of evidence. It must therefore be rejected.”[12] (See the Appendix for a critique of Grudem’s study). As we go through the passages it will be evident that the writers of the dictionaries and lexicons with a meaning of “authority” for kephale had to give the meaning to the word in order to find this meaning (e.g., The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible and Theological Dictionary of the New Testament).


II. So now let’s go to the second part and look at the actual passages containing kephale and see what Paul was saying to his readers.

I did Part I first so that we could try to come without the English (or even Hebrew) meaning of “authority” for head or rosh read into the Greek word for head, kephale. If we can come to these passages with the Greek meanings of the word, we can let the context determine the meaning Paul and his readers were most likely to have understood. If in reading the Scripture, we find Paul is giving the word a new meaning (or flavor), such as “authority,” that is fine. But let us look at the passages to determine this instead of us assuming what the passage means today by inserting something into it. Let the context speak.

We’ll first look at 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. This is probably the most commonly cited passage (next to Ephesians 5) to show that kephale means “authority.” Yet given the full context of the passage and comparisons of verses in chapter 15, I see it to be not only an improbable meaning, but maybe even an implausible meaning in this passage. To get the full context of this passage we need to go back further. As Walter Liefield points out, “Paul has just urged limitation of one’s freedom in order not to hinder others from accepting the gospel (chapters 8-10). He is apparently modifying the principle of liberty in Galatians in certain respects: (1) In Galatians he affirmed freedom regarding table fellowship, but in 1 Corinthians he restricts certain associations and foods. Even what is ‘permissible’ may not he ‘beneficial’ (10:23-30). (2) Although in Galatians he insisted on his status as an apostle and on his freedom from the law, in I Corinthians he is willing to ‘become as a Jew’ and as ‘under the law’ to ‘win some’ (9:22). (3) He taught in Galatians that there is ‘neither male nor female, but in 1 Corinthians he introduces certain limitations on women. We may reasonably ask whether this last modification also involves avoiding something that might obstruct the gospel. There are two reasons to suppose this: (1) Immediately before the passage under consideration Paul reaffirms that what he does is for the glory of God and for the good of others (10:31-11:1). (2) 11:2-16 is connected with the preceding discussion and theme by the Greek conjunction de, which is seldom used to introduce a totally new topic.”[13]

As we get into the passage, we see several concepts repeated throughout it: 1. the word head appears nine times -- some referring to a physical head and some in another sense; 2. the idea of a covered or uncovered head appears seven times; 3. the words shame, shameful, glory, dishonor and becoming appear eight times; 4. the idea of source or origination appears nine times.

It would seem, then, that these words/concepts would be an integral part of the message of this passage. Since this passage is used quite often to show the authority of the man (husband?) over the woman (wife?) because of the word head used in verse 3, it is interesting to note that, unless one comes to this passage with this meaning of the word read into it, the idea of authority is only mentioned once and refers to the woman’s authority on her own head. Verse 10 says, “Because of this the woman ought to have authority on her head because of the angels.” ‘A sign (or symbol) ‘ is often inserted in translations before the word ‘authority’ without justification. This would give the word for ‘authority’ a passive sense for the woman. “In 1907 W.M. Ramsey called this passive sense ‘a preposterous idea which a Greek scholar would laugh at anywhere except in the New Testament, where (as they seem to think) Greek words may mean anything that commentators choose.’” [14] Paul uses the same word for ‘authority’ (in the active sense) that he uses a few chapters earlier (chapter 9) in referring to his own rights, or authority, in his ordering of his life as an apostle. So not only does this verse not support that the word kephale in referring to the man means the ‘authority’ of the woman, but instead would be a support for the woman’s right to function as a female priest.

Before we go further into the passage to see what the context may tell us about the meaning of kephale in verse 3, let’s look at what we may need to rule out based on another passage. I have yet to find any among those that contend that the word kephale has the meaning “authority,” who reconcile this with 1 Corinthians 15:28. Verses 20-28 tell of the risen Christ. We read of His being the first-fruit, of everything being put under His rule and of how He will turn all things over to God, the Father. Although the incarnate Christ made it clear that He was doing what His Father wanted Him to do, the aspects of being a first-fruit and ruling over all are recurring when the risen, exalted Christ is spoken of. Verse 23 says, “And when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be made subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” This is in the future tense, and refers to that last day when we are raised, clothed with immortality and death is no more (1 Corinthians 15:51-55; Revelation 20:12-15; 21:1-4). 1 Corinthians 11:3c is in the present tense: God is (estin) the head of Christ. If God is the ‘authority’ of Christ in this time of His glory and reign, then Christ would have be subject to Him. Why will He be made subject in the future, when He turns everything over, if He already is subject now in the present? I believe this question should he addressed before we can even consider reading the meaning of ‘authority’ into kephale in chapter 11, much less using it as proof of this meaning.

As we get into this controversial passage, I will freely admit that I don’t have all the answers. But I will ask questions regarding a traditional view of it, and will present another possible interpretation (and invite questions regarding my view). Although few people who read this passage with a traditional interpretation require head coverings for women in this culture, in this day, most would still maintain that the abiding principle of this passage is male headship (i.e. male’s authority over women and a woman’s display of submission to that authority). Although they will allow for a different display of that submission, they will say that Paul’s call is for a culturally effective display based on headship (using their definition of authority) and on the order of creation. Aside from the questions I already have regarding their definition of headship and their use of this to insert the words “a symbol” to change the reading (and meaning) of verse 10, I have other questions regarding this interpretation.



1. If Paul’s point for all time is this abiding principle of a women’s display of submission to a man’s authority, why does he then in 1 Cor.11:11 use the word plen and give what seems to be contradictory statements and tell the Corinthians to judge for themselves? Liefeld comments: “The introductory word, ‘nevertheless’ (plen), is a strong adversative. It can also have the sense of “only,”“but,”“however.” In our text, it appears without any accompanying word of further modification, which makes it stronger than a mere limitation or exception. It could range from a complete reversal of the previous argument to simply indicating that the freedom of the woman expressed in verse 10 does not mean complete independence from her husband.” [15] Then Paul goes on to make points different from the points made in the first section. In the first part the point is made that the source of the woman is the man (and that the source of the man is not woman) and woman was made for the man. In the second section Paul stresses that neither sex is independent of the other, and each has the other as a source. The first part says that if a woman is uncovered, she should be shaved. Paul then says that her hair is her covering in the second section.

2. If this submission of women to men being displayed is Paul’s point, does this mean that all women are to display submission to all men? Are all women under the authority of all men because Eve came from Adam and was made for him, or is that an application to be made to husbands and wives only?



3. If Paul is agreeing with the first part, instead of questioning it, then I would like to know how does nature teach that long hair is a disgrace for men. If it is a naturally understood disgrace, then how is this disgrace reconciled with men such as Absolom, and Samson and other Nazarites (who had long hair because of God’s instruction and/or to show their commitment to God)?

4. A crucial question could he asked concerning the phrase “in the Lord” in verse 11. Isn’t this how we are to view ourselves -- “in the Lord”? The emphasis in this section seems to be one of mutuality and discernment of what is becoming, rather than of a hierarchy and a fixed display of it (as is the case in the first section).

This leads me to offer another reading and emphasis of this passage than the traditional one. I would agree that we are not bound by a cultural practice stated here, but should look for the abiding principle. I would disagree with the traditional view of what the abiding principle is. I would say that given the context of this passage (as laid out earlier in chapters 8-10 and continuing in the following chapters) Paul is continuing the theme of calling the Corinthians to be aware of what they do always remembering their liberty in their faith in Christ, yet never forgetting the effect their actions have on others and the glory of God. In the immediately preceding verses he states, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may he saved. Be followers of me, just as I also am of Christ.” This along with his statement of mutuality, and yet his admonition to judge the properness of coverings (or the lack thereof) would fit well with an admonition to consider their actions knowing not only the truth (“everything is permissible” -- but not everything is beneficial, 10:23), but also how others will perceive things (nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others [10:24]). The first section, then, could have been a quote or belief of “Jews . . .or Greeks.. .or (some in) the church of God.” So although Paul is not agreeing with it, he does not dismiss it because what the Corinthians do will have an effect on others and their perception of the Gospel. He tells them to judge themselves whether it is becoming of a woman to pray uncovered. The abiding principle for us is the same and is covered in the previous verses, “Do all for God’s glory.. .give no offense.. .not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”

In evaluating the meaning of the word kephale, these things need to be considered:


1) “Authority” does not seem to be a well known metaphorical meaning for this Greek word in this day.


2) The meaning “authority” would be hard to reconcile with 1 Corinthians 15:28 and would raise questions about whether this is to be applied to men-women or husbands-wives.

3) Another metaphorical meaning of the word seems to be “source” (see quote by Artemidorus on page --- of this article, Ephesians 4:15-16, Colossians 1:18). We know that Christ said He “came” from the Father (John 7:29; John 8). We know that every man comes from God. This would help the connection between verse 3 and verses 8-9. I would say, then, that there would be more weight for the word kephale, when used metaphorically in this passage, to have the connotation of “source” than of “authority.” But regardless of the meaning of the word in verse 3, it seems the abiding principle is not a fixed particular, but an emphasis on what we do to further the gospel being aware of our liberty which can be given up if needed.

The next passage we will deal with is Ephesians 5:22-33. Ephesians 5:23 is also frequently used to show that the word kephale has the meaning “authority.” Because this passage is so clear in what it is says to husbands and wives, it is not only surprising but also disheartening to see that what is written there is often de-emphasized (if not ignored) in order to stress a concept which may not even be inherent in the text. This happens when people use this text to show what a husband’s role is using kephale -- meaning “authority” -- instead of using what God directly spells out for the husband. This passage gives instructions to husbands and wives in how they are to act toward one another based on the example of Christ and the church. Although some on opposite ends of the spectrum of ideas may try to deny one or the other, most would have to agree that wives are to submit to and respect their husbands, and husbands are to love and lay down their lives for their wives (this is partially repeated in the twin passage in Colossians 3:18-19). Even though God apparently found this to be enough instruction for husbands and wives in order to live lives glorifying to Him, I have heard and read very few representing the traditional view who not only go further, but will even make their point (of male headship [authority]) the central theme around which they relate all other aspects of the passage. “The wife’s submission is based on his authority; he is to exercise his authority through love and self-sacrifice.” I would not dispute the fact that in many husband-wife relationships the husband is in a position of authority over the wife, and was probably the case in marriages of Paul’s day. But is it an inherent part of marriage and the duty required of the husband in this passage? I would submit that it is not; but rather it is the mutual submission expressed in these ways (wives submitting and respecting, and husbands loving and sacrificing) which are required and will promote and show unity and love. This is the picture of the relationship between Christ and His church which a marriage is to he. I would submit that that this word (kephale) is used to show the unity of Christ and His church because of the sacrifice He made for her, and the unity of the husband and wife (like the unity of a head and a body). That unity will be shown and maintained as the wife submits and respects (like the church) and as the husband loves and sacrifices (like Christ).

We will first look at the passage to see if the emphasis on unity or hierarchy is most fitting; then we will look at other passages using this word to see if the context of those passages shed more light on how Paul would use this word (especially in relation to Christ and His body).

As we look at Ephesians 5, one thing that stands out are the parallels between Christ/husband as head and the church/wife as the body. Since the husband is to mirror Christ as head, let’s see what the passage says that Christ does, or is, as head. Starting in verse 23 we see that when Paul comments on Christ as head of the church, his parallel is (using the same grammatical construction) that He is the Savior of the body. If we don’t come reading the Hebrew or English meaning of the word ‘head’ into the Greek word, but let the text speak, we can see that not only is this metaphor clearly stated, but is carried throughout the passage when dealing with the husband’s role. Verse 25 tells the husband to love his wife the way Christ loved the church -- He gave himself up for her. Verses 28-30 tell the husband to love his wife as he loves and takes care of his own body, just as Christ loves and takes care of the church -- his body. If these verses were not enough to show the relationship of unity and the role of self-sacrifice the husband is to follow in emulating Christ, verses 31-33 emphasize the example of unity that is to he followed in marriage (“be united,” “the two will become one flesh,” and “love his wife as he loves himself”). It is interesting to note that some versions read in verse 30, “For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” This is the same thing Adam said about Eve, and is now said about Christ and the church; and the same pronouncement of unity is made about both: For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is the conclusion God draws from this head-body relationship. Any mention of ‘authority’ is absent. It is not only puzzling, then, but disturbing to see that most people holding the traditional view feel the need to use this passage to give the husband a duty which God is not giving to him as He tells him his duties. Other arguments for requiring husbands to have authority which are mentioned in relation to this passage are covered in the Notes for this passage in the Appendix.

Now that we have looked through this passage and have found that it neither gives this Greek word, kephale, a new meaning for that day, a meaning of “authority,” nor have we found this passage giving the husband a duty or role of taking authority; we are now ready to look at other Scriptures written by Paul using this same language (head-body metaphor) to help us understand what concept he was expressing. Since “authority” was not a usual meaning for kephale in Paul’s day, we will look for the answer to two questions as we look at the other occurrences of kephale in reference to Christ. They are:

1. Does the word kephale have the meaning of “authority” in this passage? (Related to this are: Is it a necessary meaning? Is it even a possible meaning?) and

2. Is this head-body metaphor used to show the authority aspect of the relationship? If the answers are “yes, then there is more justification for making that an inherent part of the relationship between a husband and a wife. If the answers are “no,” then those who would make it a duty for husbands to have authority over their wives will need to either rethink their position or find some other basis for it. Other than the verses we have already looked at in I Corinthians 11, the only times kephale is used metaphorically (rather than literally—-a physical head of a body) are in Ephesians and Colossians. [Note: when ‘head’ is used to refer to “head of the house” a different Greek word is always used, oikodespotes (from “a house” and “master”). Kephale is never used. (see Mt 10:25, Mt 13:52, Mt 24:43, Lk 12:39, Lk 13:25, Lk 14:21). We’ll first look at the other verses in Ephesians since they are the closest to this passage.


The verses in Ephesians using head (kephale) in reference to Christ and body (soma) in reference to the church are:

Chapter 1:22-23 -- and he put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all, and

Chapter 4:15-16 -- but speaking the truth in love we are to grow in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.


As we look more closely at these passages we will be looking for Paul’s use of the word ‘head’ to see if that would show that he and his reader’s would have understood it according to the traditional interpretation.

In the first chapter of Ephesians Paul is encouraging the saints by speaking of the blessings of redemption. In verses 18-23, he is focusing on our hope, riches, and His power toward us; along with Christ’s position. His position in relationship to the Father is that He is at His right hand. His position in relationship to all powers is that, as He is in the heavenly places, He is far above. Also everything is under His feet and He is head over all. His position in relationship to the church is that she is His body. This passage clearly speaks of Christ’s unsurpassed power and authority. And what a comfort it is to us who believe that He is. The same principalities (arche) and authorities (exousia) that we are told we struggle against in chapter 6 of this book, we are told in Chapter 1 are far below Him! His power toward us is measured by the power God used to raise Christ from the dead and make Him “head over all things to the church.”

But enough of this encouragement, we are here to answer questions about the meaning of the word ‘head’ in this passage. Does the word kephale have the meaning “authority” in this passage? It is definitely a possible meaning given the context. If all things are in subjection under His feet and He has been given head over all things, then the word head could mean “authority” and the passage could be understood correctly. But is it a necessary meaning of the word? Could the passage be understood correctly with a more usual Greek meaning of the word such as “top” or “crown” (or “source”, see definitions in Appendix and pages --- and --- of this article)? We see that “authority” is not a necessary meaning of the word since the context tells us that he is in authority because all these things are under Him and are in subjection to Him. If we say that someone is the head of his swimming class we are not saying that he is the authority of the class. We are saying he is the best swimmer. Now the word head is not given a new meaning of “best swimmer.” It still means “top,” but the context shows us what he is the top of -- the swimmers. Similarly, if Christ is the “top” of all authorities and all things are in subjection to Him, then we can fully understand this passage using this meaning.

So “authority” is not a necessary meaning.

To help us understand how Paul uses this word, kephale, we are looking to see if the context shows us that he uses it to express a relationship of authority between the head and the body. Although this is a part of our relationship to Christ, we do not see Paul using the head-body image in this passage to express that aspect of the relationship. It is for us that all things are in subjection to Him, but this passage is not speaking of our subjection to Him. In fact, if we wanted to carry the metaphor through consistently, it says all things are in subjection “under his feet.” If we are His body, then everything would be in subjection to us too, since the feet are at the bottom of the body. I wouldn’t say that this is the intent of the passage, but we can see that our subjection to Christ is not the topic in view.

We will now move to Ephesians 4:11-16. The answer to the first question about the meaning of the word head being “authority” in this passage is “no,” even to most who hold the traditional view. Aside from the obvious references to the physical body (head, joints, growth), this passage shows the head as causing the growth of the body dependent on the union they share. This is paralleled in Colossians 2:19 which says, “and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.” We see that not only is it not necessary, but would not be beneficial to give this word the meaning of “authority” in these passages. Even commentators holding a traditional view tend to speak of Christ as our “source” of life and growth in these verses. The analogy here of head-body is not being use to show a hierarchal relationship, although it exists between Christ and the church.

The next set verses are Colossians 1:16-18. “For by Him all things were created, both in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He himself might come to have first place in everything.”

This, too, has a lot of parallels to the verses in Ephesians. We see again His surpassing supremeness in all things. He is before all things and He is the beginning. “The word is arche, ‘the origin, the beginning,’ this in relation to the Church. The word arche here involves priority in time our Lord was the first-fruits from among the dead; and originating power He was also the source of life.” [16] To give the meaning of “authority” to the word ‘head’ here is not necessary and would not go with the flow of the passage as much as “source” would. There is nothing in the context to show that Paul was using the head-body metaphor to show the hierarchal relationship between Christ and the church.

The last passage containing the word kephale in reference to Christ is Colossians 2:9-10: “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.”

This use of kephale is much like the verses in the first chapter of Ephesians. The necessity of understanding the meaning of the word to be “authority” is not warranted due to the context. Since the church is not referred to as the body in this passage, we would have to say that Paul is not here using the head-body metaphor to show a relationship of authority between Christ and the church.

In summary, we were not able to come up with definite affirmative answers to these two questions for any of the passages where Paul uses kephale in reference to Christ in Ephesians and Colossians. We cannot, then, use these as support for applying this meaning to this word and/or metaphor used in Ephesians 5.

In conclusion of section II, when looking at all the passages containing the word kephale in a metaphorical sense, none of the contexts necessitated giving the word a meaning of “authority.” Some, in fact, would be better understood with a different meaning. And all allowed for a more usual Greek meaning than the one traditionally read into it.

Further, in this paper I have shown why I don’t believe Paul or his readers would have understood the Greek word for ‘head’ (kephale) to have the meaning “authority” because:

1) it does not seem to be a usual meaning for that word for that day, and

2) the context of the passages containing kephale do not necessitate this meaning (in fact, some would be better read with a different meaning). Unanswered questions linger when this word is interpreted in these passages in the traditional way. Maybe others can give me answers for these questions and raise questions concerning my view which I haven’t thought of. I welcome input from anyone who is willing to dialogue on this issue. I am not interested in dogma from anyone who is not interested in an exchange of information and thoughts. I am interested in true dialogue toward truth.



by Lauren Fasullo
Baton Rouge, LA



NOTES ON EPHESIANS 5


Other than inserting our assumed meaning for the word ‘head’ into this passage, the common arguments I have heard for this duty for the husband are:

1) This is the way it should be because God set up this authority structure in the beginning, and so in a Christian marriage we should practice what God has ordained,

2) Because the wife is told to submit to the husband, it shows that he is to have authority over her (and to support this are the statements that the husband is never told to submit to his wife and the wife is never told to take authority over her husband), and

3) Since Christ is the head of the church and is in authority over her, then this same aspect carries over into the husband-wife relationship since he is her ‘head.’


There may be other arguments I haven’t heard, but these are the ones I have consistently heard from many sources. We will deal with each argument to see if it is valid enough to ascribe something to this passage which isn’t clearly given.

I see the first argument to be similar to building on a foundation made of sand. If we look back to the beginning, we find the case of people so often saying something is there, that we assume that it is. Let’s look back to see if an authority relationship is established, or if once again it is a relationship of unity (not necessarily including, or excluding, an authority structure). What we find in creation is that God made all the animals, and then made man in his image.


Some pertinent facts relating to this discussion are:


—The order of creation (man and then woman) is not enough to suggest, much less deduce, that since the man was made first he is placed in authority over the woman. We cannot assume this since it is not stated. In fact, if we want to read something into the passage which God didn’t make plain, there would be more weight for the opposite conclusion (that the woman is to have authority over the man) using traditional reasoning. The clear pattern in the creation of living things thus far has been an ascending, not descending, order. First plants are made, then animals, then humans. Since we don’t have any stated change of direction it would seem logical to see the upward progression continue. See article on I Tim. 2 in the Appendix for discussion on how this passage relates to this argument.

—The fact that Eve was created as Adam’s helpmeet (suitable helper) also does not warrant establishing an “inequality” of the sexes since God fails to do so. If one were intent on inserting a hierarchy into the picture, once again, the facts would not show a traditional one. The Scriptures do not show the creation of a being (the man) followed by the creation of another being (the woman) who was made in order to follow him and help him whenever he told her to. Rather we see, in the creation of man, a being standing in need. God says, for the first time during creation, that something is not good. The Hebrew word used for helper in this passage [ezer] is used most often in to describe the helping activity of God. God is above those He helps, as a parent is over the child he or she helps. So if an inequality is assumed in this relationship based on this word, it would be more likely (although less traditional) to put the woman above the man.

We also are not told of a leading role for the man being established by God at creation. If we wanted to force a leading-following from the passage, the only movement we see ordained is that the man is to leave his home and cleave to his wife. If it were stated the other way (that the woman was to leave her parents and cleave to her husband) it would have been used as a proof text by traditionalists that the man is to lead and the woman is to follow. However, since the Word makes no mention of inequality or leadership, I think it best to stay with what it does say.

—The need the man had was for a companion, not a servant, aide or follower. God provided such a perfect companion that they could be like one. The relationship established was one of unity, with no mention of hierarchy or inequality. This is not to say that there were no differences. A male and a female are like a nut and a bolt, each different, but not one above the other. In fact, this unity can only be achieved because of the differences between the two. This is also why any divergence from the marriage that God ordained will be a perversion.

— So where does this idea of rule come in? The two places where rule is mentioned are listed as support for the man’s authority:

1) God makes man in His image to rule over the animals and tells him to fill the earth, subdue it and rule over the living creatures (Genesis 1:26-28), and

2) God announces to Eve after the fall that her desire will be for her husband and he will rule over her (Genesis 3:16).

The problem with the first “proof” is that it is misquoted. It actually says: “Let us make man [Adam] in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over (all the creatures). So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over (all the creatures).’” The command to rule was given to “them” (plural) not “him” (singular).

The second proof raises some questions if it is to be considered as valid. Is this something God instituted in the pre-fall creation which was all declared as being good; or is this a result of the fall and so is declared as predictable in light of sin’s effects? I think the answer is obvious to all. Some would still contend that it is still a part of God’s design that the husband should rule over his wife, that this is a good thing. Since there is no mention of a hierarchy before this, it would have to be asked of these proponents if they would also say that other parts of the curse are also good and should be maintained. Would they advocate, as some religious men in the past (and even some today) have advocated, that pain medication be withheld from women in labor? Would they forbid men to use air conditioning when they are earning money so they will be sure to sweat? Although men have ruled over women through the ages, does this fit anywhere with the New Testament teachings on the relationship between a husband and a wife? There has also been slavery through the ages and was not forbidden. Instructions were given on how to function in that position in order to glorify God and live peacefully. Does that mean we should also advocate slavery in the Western world in our day? Would this be a good way to live out the command: Love your neighbor as yourself? Beside the overall message of servanthood, the specific teachings of mutuality (1 Cor. 7) and submission and self-sacrifice (Eph. 5) between a husband and wife don’t support one person ruling over another. So we don’t find support in Genesis for the first point that the hierarchy was set up there. [Note: for objections using I Cor. 11, please see discussion above. For objections using I Tim. 2, please see Notes On I Tim.2 in the Appendix.].

We will now deal with the second argument for the necessity of giving husbands the duty of being in authority. Although it is traditionally assumed that because a wife is told to submit to her husband, therefore he is to have authority over her; a closer look at what this would also assume, shows that this is not valid. If it is insisted that because a wife is told to submit, then the husband should have authority over her; wouldn’t it also be consistent to say that because a husband is told to lay down his life for his wife, then she should demand that he do so and tell him what she needs him to do for her and he must do it? Is it necessary for a husband to have authority, for a wife to submit? What will lead to better submission -- one based on the authority of the other person, or one based on the resolve of the person doing the submitting because of Christ? Wouldn’t the latter better encourage the wife to not only do what the husband requires, but to go beyond, to seek to please him as much as she can in whatever he merely desires? In Eph.6, this is the basis for Paul’s call to slaves to he obedient to masters. This relationship would inherently involve an aspect of authority. Although many marriages of that day would also involve the husband having authority over his wife (and would also today in other cultures that are based on something other than the Bible) it does not have to be required in our marriages today in our Western culture. Paul does not require it. I’m not saying Christ doesn’t have authority over the church. He does! He has all authority. But is that the aspect of Christ that the husband is told to emulate? Even though this passage clearly shows that the self-sacrificing aspect of Christ is what the husband is to follow, some will dismiss this in favor of the authority aspect which isn’t even mentioned for the husband (see The International Critical Commentary and the Translators Handbook in the list of reference materials). Ephesians 5:15-21 tells us how to live as children of the light. Verse 21 says, “and be subject to one another in the fear of the Lord.” If we are going to assume that because the wife is told o submit to her husband that it is because he does have and/or should have authority over her, would we then also say that we have authority over each other because we are told to submit to one another? When we admonish one another, does the authority lie in us or in the Scripture we use? The word ‘submit’ (or be subject) is the same in both places. In fact, it doesn’t actually appear in verse 22, but is brought down from verse 21. So most would agree that one person submitting to another doesn’t necessitate the other person having authority over them.

The support beyond this, then, for the husband-wife hierarchy is that the husband is never told to submit to his wife and the wife is never told to take authority over her husband. (Even if these statements were accurate, would that be a basis for the husband to have an authority over a wife that a wife is forbidden to have? If so, then following the same reasoning, wives should be forbidden to lay down their lives for their husbands! Neither of these statements are valid support for several reasons. Given the concept of mutual submission in verse 21, if a husband and wife are believers, then a husband is told here to submit to his wife. Once again, the verb in verse 21 is assumed (but not actually stated), so it would be presumptuous to say it is a different kind of submission. Even so some would say that submission “is the essence of femininity.” But as we look at the whole New Testament, from the Sermon on the Mount to the epistles, we see that submission is more the essence of Christianity. Verse 22 tells a wife to submit herself to her own husband. We see the unity of the relationship being stressed and preserved again. Just as the church is not to put any other before pleasing Christ, so a wife is to submit to her husband, not to what another man may want instead. This is the way to keep unity and peace in the relationship. This fits well with other passages dealing with the head-body metaphor in relation to Christ and his church:

The church is Christ’s body and he is her head (Eph 4:l6ff.), the two cannot be severed. In this unity of head and body, Christ directs the growth of the body to himself; he is not merely the source of being of the body (1 Cor 10:16ff.) but also the consummation of its life (Eph 4:l6ff.). Hence to give allegiance to any other spiritual mediator, as was being done at Colossae, cuts the vital link between the limbs and Christ the head, who is the source of all their being (Col 2:18ff.) [see the comments from The Illustrated Bible Dictionary in the reference materials]. The alternative will bring division and strife. Verse 24 points out that this must be in everything to be complete, just as it must be to the Lord.

The last support for this hierarchy is that the wife is never told to take authority over her husband. This, too, is not valid because 1) the husband is also never told to take authority over his wife, and 2) the only place where a husband is specifically given authority over (exousia) his wife, is the same place where the wife is given authority over her husband (I Cor. 7:4)! We see once again, things which lead to a unity between two individuals: two people created for a side-by-side companionship, which has been marred by sin and the curse resulting from it.

The last argument, that because Christ has authority over the church so the husband has authority over the wife, was dealt with above. Beside the fact that we would not ascribe all aspects of Christ’s relationship to the church also to the husband in relationship to his wife (e.g. perfect love, knowledge, strength, etc.) we have seen that the parallel given relates to love and self-sacrifice without mention, much less requirement of, authority.

Note: None of this lessens the wife’s submission (in fact, it only broadens it, if anything). If a husband and wife, or even just the husband, want a marriage with the husband in authority over the wife, the wife is called to submit. This is what she will be held accountable for. In a Christian marriage, the husband will be held accountable for sacrificing for and loving his wife. If his conscience is clearest by having authority over his wife in order to do this and to be one with her, then it is not explicitly forbidden here. It is a liberty issue, not a mandate and is subject to all the other qualifications a liberty is subject to: is it wise, is it expedient, will it minister/edify, is it done to serve or as an occasion for the flesh, etc.


NOTES

1. Berkeley & Alvera Mickelsen, “What Does Kephale Mean in he New Testament?,” in Women, Authority and the Bible, ed. Alvera Micklesen (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986), pp. 97-99.

2. Phillip Payne, “Response,” in Women, Authority and the Bible, ed. Alvera Mickelsen, pp. 118-119.

3. Mickelsen & Mickelsen, “What Does Kephale Mean in the New Testament?,” in Women, Authority and the Bible, ed. Alvera Micklesen, pp. 99-100.

4. Ibid., p. 100.

5. Phillip Payne, “Response,” in Women, Authority and the Bible, ed. Alvera Mickelsen, p. 120.

6. Ibid., p.123.

7. Mickelsen & Micicelsen, “What Does Kephale Mean in the New Testament?,” in Women, Authority and the Bible, ed. Alvera Micklesen, p. 104.

8. Phillip Payne, “Response,” in Women, Authority and the Bible, ed. Alvera Mickelsen, pp. 123-124.

9. Ross Kraemer, Her Share of the Blessings (New York, N.Y.:Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 118.

10. Philip Payne, “Response,” in Women, Authority and the Bible, ed. AIvera Mickeisen, pp. 119-120.

11. Ibid., p. 121.

12.. Wayne Grudem, “Appendix I: The Meaning of Kephale,” in Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, ed. John Piper and Wayne Grudem (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1091), p. 449.

13. Walter L. Liefeid, “Women, Submission and Ministry in I Corinthians,” in Women, Authority and the Bible, ed. Alvera Mickelsen, p. 136.

14. Ibid., p.145.

.15. Ibid., p.146.

16. Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament Vol. I (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdnans Publishing Co, 1983), p. 185.



APPENDIX

List of Reference Materials


Encyclopedia of the Bible, Walter Elwell (1980) Greek philosophers used the image of the body to represent

the universe. The head of this body -- called Zeus or Reason -- was considered responsible for the creation and sustenance of the remaining members (celestial beings, humans, animals, plants and inanimate objects). The universe or ”body” owed its existence to the “head.”

The apostle Paul drew from the Old Testament metaphorical understanding of the term to express the authority of God over Christ, Christ over man, and man over woman (I Cor. 11:3-16, Eph. 5:23).


The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (1962)

A characteristic biblical usage, apparently unknown to secular Greek, is that of the term “head” for the leading member of a family (Ex 6:14) or community (Deut 33:5). Consequently it can be used to mean simply “source of authority” as in depicting the superiority of man to woman in marriage (Eph 5:23).


Greek & English Lexicon Edward Robinson pp. 397-398

THE HEAD. 1. Pr. of man - as the principal part, put emphatically for the whole person Acts 18:6

Trop. of persons the head, the foremost, chief, e.g. the head of the corner the chief cornerstone, the main foundation. 2. Trop. of persons i.e. the head, the chief one to whom others are subordinate

e.g.-- a husband in relation to a wife I Cor 11:3 Eph 5:23 -- of Christ in relation to the church, which is his body 1 Cor 11:3 -- of God in relation to Christ I Cor 11:3.

An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Vine

HEAD: 1. natural significance 2. figuratively — your blood be on your own heads

3. metaphorically, of the authority or direction of God in relation to Christ, of Christ in relation to believing men, of the husband in relation to his wife (I Cor 11:3) -- of Christ in relation to the church Eph 1:22, 4:15; Col. 1:18, 2:19 -- of Christ in relation to principalities and powers Col 2:10. As to 1 Cor 11:10, taken in connection with the context, the word “authority” probably stands, by metonymy, for a sign of authority

-- is used of Christ as foundation of the spiritual building with its cornerstone Matt 21:42.


The International Critical Commentary, Driver, Plummer and Briggs

Special injunctions to husbands and wives. Wives to be subject to their husbands, husbands to love their wives. This relationship is illustrated by that of Christ and the Church. As Christ is the Head of the Church, which is subject to Christ, so the husband is head of the wife, who is to be subject to the husband; and Christ’s love for the Church is to be the pattern of the man’s love for his wife. The analogy, indeed, is not perfect, for Christ is not only the Head of the Church which is His body, but is also the Savior of it; but this does not affect the purpose of the comparison here.



Translator’s Handbook, Bratcher and Nida 1982

For a husband “has authority” -- Christ’s authority derives from His love for the church and his self-sacrifice in its behalf. This aspect of the relationship of the Christ to the church has no counterpart in the relationship of the husband to the wife; the analogy between the two relationships is not exact.

Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, G. Kittel 1965 p. 673

A. outside the N T first, supreme or extreme “head” of a man, point, top, end or point of departure the mouth of a river also its source -- 2nd aspect prominent, outstanding or determinative head is first and chief member of body -- 3rd whole man. “It will be see in secular usage kephale is not employed for the head of society. This is 1st found in the sphere of the Greek OT. 2. The LXX adopts the Greek use. The implied element of what is superior or determinative is expressed in the LXX along with the sense of “man” or “person.” To be sure, there is no express reference to Israel as the kephale over others….



The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, p. 615

The head is not regarded as the seat of intellect, but as the source of life (Matt 14:8, 18; Jn 19:30) -- lift up head, grant life in the sense of success (Judges 8:28 Ps 27:6 Gen 40:13) -- to cover head -- mourn loss of life (2 Sam 13:19, La 2:10). Figuratively, headship denotes superiority of rank and authority over another (Judges 11:11; 2 Sam 22:44) though when Christ is spoken of as head of this body the church (Eph 5:23;Col 2:19), of every man ( I Cor 11:3) of the entire universe (Eph 1:22) and of every cosmic power (Col 2:10) and when man is spoken of as the head of the woman (1 Cor 11:3; Eph 5:23; cf Gen 2:21f) the basic meaning of head as the source of life and energy is predominate. The church is Christ’s body and he is her head (Eph 4:15f), the two cannot be severed. In this unity of head and body, Christ the head directs the growth of the body to himself; he is not merely the source of being of the body (1 Cor 10:16f) but also the consummation of its life (Eph 4:15f). Hence to give allegiance to any other spiritual mediator, as was being done at Colossae, cuts the vital link between the limbs and Christ the head, who is the source of all their being (Col 2:18f).

CRITICISM OF WAYNE GRUDEM’S WORK

The following is a list of critiques of Grudem’s article, “Does Kephale (‘Head’) Mean ‘Source’ or ‘Authority Over’ in Greek Literature? A Survey of 2,336 Examples” published in the Trinity Journal. 6 NS (1985): 38-59:

Gordon Fee, New International Commentary on the New Testament, I Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987) pp. 502-503, footnotes 42-46.

Richard S. Cervin, “Does Kephale Mean ‘Source’ or ‘Authority’ in Greek Literature? A Rebuttal,” Trinity Journal 10 NS (1989), pp. 85-112.

Berkeley and Alvera Micklesen, “What Does Kephale Mean in the New Testament?” and Philip Payne, “Response,” Women, Authority and the Bible (Downer’s Grove,IL: Intervarsity Press, 1985), pp. 97-110 and pp.118-132.

Gilbert Bilezikian, Beyond Sex Roles, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1990), pp.215-252.

206 comments:

1 – 200 of 206   Newer›   Newest»
Chris Ryan said...

I think that Grudem has had his question answered.

And what Grudem does not consider is that simply because the references he uses were also people with authority, it is not necessary to equate that authority with the use of "head" to describe them. Therefore, Grudem's conclusions may be cum hoc ergo propter hoc, subject to a fallacy of causation.

D.R. said...

Wade,

Seriously? You think that was fair in any way to Grudem's position? You posted a popular-level article of his position on kephale and a virtual dissertation on Fasullo. Why not give equal time to both? Or at least link the extensive articles Dr. Grudem has written on the subject.

Here are those:

"Does kephale ("Head") Mean 'Source' Or 'Authority Over' in Greek Literature? A Survey of 2,336 Examples."

"The Meaning Of kephale ('Head': 'An Evaluation Of New Evidence, Real And Alleged."


Something else you failed to mention was the fact that Fasullo's article is dated. Much of it revolves around the claim that the 1940 edition of the Liddell Scott Lexicon contains a meaning for kephale of "source", but after Dr. Grudem's research the Editor of Liddell Scott sided with Grudem and agreed that the any meaning of kephale should not include that of "source."

Here is the article below noting that:

The Meaning Source "Does Not Exist": Liddell-Scott Editor Rejects Egalitarian Interpretation of "Head" (Kephale)


Grudem sums this up by saying:

But now the editor of the only lexicon that mentioned the meaning "source" in any connection says that the supposed sense "source" for kephalē "of course, does not exist," and says that it was "at least unwise" for Liddell and Scott to mention the word source. (If it was "at least unwise," we may conclude that it was perhaps more than unwise.) Moreover, he agrees that the meaning "leader or chief " is clearly attested for kephalē.


So you have the editor of Liddell Scott, Fasullo's main source of information, disagreeing with her entire article.


As for you comment that:

Regardless of your position, after reading both articles below, it should be very apparant that both views take a very high view of the sacred text. This issue is not "liberal" vs. "conservative" but "conservative interpretation" vs. "conservative interpretation."

I would say that one can be an egalitarian and not be a liberal, but one cannot hold to the view that kephale means "source" with any legitimacy. And I would hope you would think that the clear truth, regardless of what it is, matters.

D.R. said...

Chris,

Have you read those two articles I just posted by Grudem, or just the popular one Wade posted?

D.R. said...

Oh, and did you know about the Editor of Liddell Scott rejecting "source" as a meaning for kephale, thus refuting much of Fasullo's article?

Wade Burleson said...

D.R.

Thanks for the links. I hope people read the articles attached to them.

The choice to run Grudem's shorter article was simple a space consideration. I have read the lengthier articles as well and respect Grudem's scholarship, just simply disagree.

In His Grace,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

D.R.

To answer your second question about the editor, it is not typical for an editor to make such statements like those which were made - unless the content of other books that have been edited and sold or by the same editor have taken an opposite view of this issue. Just sayin: :)

D.R. said...

Wade,

If space was a concern, why didn't you cut out some of Fasullo's article, or merely link to it (it is available on the internet elsewhere)? Additionally, I still assert you should have at least posted the links to Grudem's articles. Will you now put them on the main page under his article? You may say you respect him, but I still maintain that your blog post was incomplete and lopsided. You certainly should try to remedy this.

Also, you should possibly confirm if there is any conflict of interest (as you seem to have asserted) with the Editor of the Liddell Scott Lexicon prior to speculating about it. It comes across looking like a character attack.

Dr. Glare tells in his letter why he believed the change should be made - which was that he essentially believed the LSL erred in its assertions on kephale. Here's some of what he said, combined with Grudem's comments:

Regarding kephalē, Glare says, "The entry under this word in LSJ is not very satisfactory." But he adds, "I was unable to revise the longer articles in LSJ when I was preparing the latest Supplement, since I did not have the financial resources to carry out a full-scale revision."

With regard to my study of kephalē, he writes, "I am in broad agreement with your conclusions." He adds, speaking of the usage in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament), "kephalē is the word normally used to translate the Hebrew r'osh, and this does seem frequently to denote leader or chief without much reference to its original anatomical sense, and here it seems perverse to deny authority" (italics added).

Then Glare adds the following comment: "The supposed sense 'source' of course does not exist and it was at least unwise of Liddell and Scott to mention the word. At the most they should have said 'applied to the source of a river in respect of its position in its (the river's) course'" (bold added). Coming from someone who, because of his position, can rightfully be called the preeminent Greek lexicographer in the world, this is a significant statement. Glare adds that "in most cases the sense of the head as being the controlling agent is the one required" when dealing with similes or comparisons.



Thus, Glare refutes much of what Fasullo writes, especially her assertion that kephale isn't normally translated for the Hebrew "rosh" and that kephale never means "leader" or "chief".

I hope you will take this new information into consideration and encourage others to do the same, especially given that much of this debate hinges on the meaning of kephale in Scripture.

Kristen said...

There is a third option to "kephale" having to mean "ruler" or having to mean "source." There is the fact that it often meant "the one in the prominent place." Suzanne McCarthy's blog "Suzanne's Bookshelf" includes excellent research which indicates that "kephale," while still not meaning "ruler" or "authority," can refer to being in a place or position of prominence or "being on top." "Prominent," however, though it can imply leadership, does not assume it. In fact, the way the metaphor "head" is used to relate to the metaphor "body" in the New Testament, the "head," though it is the thing that sticks up on top of the body, relates to the body in terms of nourishment and growth, not in terms of rulership or authority.

It is quite likely that what the passages on "kephale" mean for husbands and wives is that the husband was not to use his place of prominence in ancient culture, to rule his wife, but rather to serve her. Christianity is full of admonitions to the ones "on top" to take a lower place.

Hoping I'm allowed to reference another blog here, I'll post the link to some of Suzanne's research on "kephale":

http://powerscourt.blogspot.com/search?q=kephale

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Kristin,

Thank you. I regret that I have never assembled all by material on kephale into one article. However, I can certainly discuss the points raised so far.

First, here is an image of the relevant page from Woodhouse. I think it is useful.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Next, Cervin is the one who argues most persuasively for "prominent" as the meaning of kephale.

Here is what I find interesting about this.

Grudem has written,

"But we have never been able to find any text in ancient Greek literature that gives support to your interpretation. Wherever one person is said to be the "head'' of another person (or persons), the person who is called the "head'' is always the one in authority (such as the general of an army, the Roman emperor, Christ, the heads of the tribes of Israel, David as head of the nations, etc.) Specifically, we cannot find any text where person A is called the "head'' of person or persons B, and is not in a position of authority over that person or persons."

I think it is important to make it clear that of these examples, none use the word kephale to say that any person was the "head" of anything except a body.

There is only one case in all of Greek literature where kephale is used to say that a person was a leader, and this is in reference to Jephthah. He was called the head of the tribe.

In another case, in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Grudem cites Philo. Here is the Greek and the English, from Fitzmeyer, page 86,

Philo speaks of Ptolemy II Philadelphus as one who was outstanding among the Ptolemies and expresses it thus,

genoumenos kathaper en zōō to hēgemoneuon kephalē tropon tina tōn basileōn

being, as the head is the leading part in a living body, in some sense the head of kings [of the Ptolemaic dynasty]. (De Vita Mosis 2.5.30)

Grudem perhaps is depending on the same interpretation as Fiztmeyer. Here are my concerns with this text.

First, in Philo, we do see the head - kephale - used as the leading part of the body. The question is whether a person who is referred to as like a kephale, is a ruler, or just a very prominent person.

1) Philadelphus II, is, as his name suggests, NOT the head of the Ptolemaic dynasty at all - his father was. So, Ptolemy is referred to as kephale, but he is not in authority over his father.

2) Philadelphus is being described in this passage as more illustrious than the other kings for doing a good deed, for having the Hebrew scriptures translated into Greek. There is no reference in this passage to Philadelphus being the ruler over other kings.

3) Philadelphus is not actually called "head" - this has been inserted in translation. Its a comparison or analogy. There is no phrase here which can be translated as "head of kings" or "head of the nation."

4) The Greek phrase en zōō to hēgemoneuon is extremely obscure and has been translated elsewhere as "leader of the herd." It says, "just as the head is the leading place of the living creature, so [Philadelphus] of kings," referring to the kings of his own family, before him and after him, his own family line.

There is no example in Greek that I am aware of where kephale refers to a person in authority over his own people. (which occurs before the NT.)

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I noticed Grudem's list here,

• the king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation
• the general of an army is called the "head" of the army
• the Roman emperor is called the "head" of the people
• the god Zeus is called the "head" of all things
• David as king of Israel is called the "head" of the people
• the leaders of the tribes of Israel are called "heads" of the tribes

Let me bring to bear some facts.

1) Philadelphus is called the most illustrious king in his family of kings and queens, he never was the authority over other members of his family line. There was never a passage that said that Philadelphus was the head of the nation. That does not exist.

2) The general of an army is never called the kephale of an army for the very good reason that the right hand phalanx or forward raiding party is called the kephale. This can be found in Job 1 for example, and elsewhere.

There is a passage where someone writes that if the army were a body, then the general would be like the head. This occurs once in Greek.

3) The Roman emperor was only called kephale in a comparison, not as kephale of the people.

However, in Latin, the Roman governor was called the caput (head) of the people.

4) Zeus is called lots of things.

5) David was never called the head of the people. He was called the head of the gentiles, in a passage of obscure translation Greek. I am happy to discuss this in full.

6) The leaders of the tribes of Israel were never called the kephale's of the tribe. Once the leaders were called the kephale of the rods or branches - metaphorical reference to tribes, but not a literal use of the words.

None of Grudem's examples are as advertised. I discussed this post with CBMW at length because of these problems.

D.R. said...

Suzanne,

I do hope you will address the issues raised, specifically those related to the conclusions of Dr. Glare. However, I am unaware as to how an English to Greek Lexicon that is now out of date and not nearly as comprehensive as other Greek to English Lexicons (specifically the BAGD and LSL) is helpful here.

Woodhouse in his "Preface" even admits that, "It has not been my intention to supply any but the bare outlines of grammatical information. My chief aim has been to suggest ideas and to help in their analysis."

However, both the LSL and BAGD are meant to be comprehensive. Thus Woodhouse cannot to be placed on the same plane as these two resources.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Chrysostom was adamant that kephale meant that there was an organic unity between the head and the body.

If this is the case, why can we not find one case, not even one, where the word kephale is used to describe someone in a role of authority over his own people - not even one.

Here is Chrysostom on kephale,

"Now that what I say may become clearer, I will endeavor to make it manifest in an example. Christ is called "the Head of the Church." If I am to take nothing from what is human in the idea, why, I would know, is the expression used at all?

On the other hand, if I understand all in that way, extreme absurdity will result.

For the head is of like passions with the body and liable to the same things. What then ought we to let go, and what to accept? We should let go these particulars which I have mentioned, but accept the notion of a perfect union, and the first principle; and not even these ideas absolutely, but here also we must form a notion, as we may by ourselves, of that which is too high for us and suitable to the Godhead: for both the union is surer and the beginning more honorable."

Notice that he only refers to two ideas, that of union, and that of beginning or first principle.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

The LSJ never refers to kephale as authority. I don't think I need to reproduce that here.

The BDAG refers to high status, and as was discussed in the article, the only evidence is from after the NT.

There is no support for authority in either LSJ or BDAG, so I am not sure what we should discuss.

There is only Glare's letter.

Two issues -

First, Glare thinks that rosh is translated into Greek as kephale when it refers to a leader. This is simply not so. I have to conclude that Glare has assumed this from something Grudem said. I have to ask if Glare, a classicist, is trained in Hebrew. I do not see the value of his response with reference to rosh.

Second, with reference to source. If we look at Chrysostom, I believe, but I don't have the Greek available, that Chrysostom uses the words arche(beginning) and aitia (first principle) for kephale. Either of these could be translated into English as source.

D.R. said...

Suzanne,

You said, "There is only one case in all of Greek literature where kephale is used to say that a person was a leader, and this is in reference to Jephthah. He was called the head of the tribe."

First, you overstate your case. This is the only case you have seen or Grudem has brought up. Again there are another 10000 uses of kephale that Grudem does not survey, nor has anyone else surveyed. Those could indeed produce the proof you say is lacking.

Second, this is at least one definitive usage, which is more than what we have for kephale meaning "source" as Dr. Glare points out in his letter.


In several of your other examples you are simply dismissing the idea that kephale means "authority over", but you are not necessarily giving us solid reasons to reject these. In a few of those cases there is at least enough evidence to suggest that "authority over" is a legitimate reading for kephale and in none of those examples have you shown that "authority over" absolutely cannot be the meaning.

Thus, while you have provided the POSSIBILITY for an alternate reading, that still doesn't prove your case (or Fastullo's) that the reading of "authority over" is impossible or even strained. Thus you have simply deconstructed kephale, but haven't offered any legitimate alternative readings, definitively shown that "authority over" cannot be the meaning, or produced any positive renderings for kephale meaning "source."

And of course, there's still 2000 years of Church History that reads kephale as meaning "authority over."

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I think there has been some misunderstanding regarding the entry in the LSJ. Here is what it says for source -

d. in pl., source of a river, Hdt.4.91 (butsg., mouth, οἶδα Γέλα ποταμοῦ κεφαλῇ ἐπικείμενον ἄστυ Call.Aet.Oxy.2080.48 ): generally, source, origin, Ζεὺς κ. (v.l. ἀρχή), Ζεὺς μέσσα, Διὸς δ' ἒκ πάντα τελεῖται ̔τέτυκται codd.) Orph.Fr.21a; starting-point, κ. χρόνου Placit. 2.32.2 (κρόνου codd.), Lyd.Mens.3.4; κ. μηνός ib.12.

There is no reason at all for Glare to say that "source" or "origin" are not valid meanings of kephale.

Quite simply, Glare is one person writing a private letter, and there has been no scholarly interaction with Glare on this. I do not regard this as useful at all, given the fact that Grudem clearly has not represented the facts regarding rosh translated as kephale in the LXX.

D.R. said...

Suzanne,

You said, "The LSJ never refers to kephale as authority. I don't think I need to reproduce that here."

As pointed out in the letter, Glare intends on changing this, so regardless if we only have a letter now, it will be changed to reflect that meaning when the new supplement is released. Thus, one cannot argue that such a rendering is impossible.


Secondly, you say, "First, Glare thinks that rosh is translated into Greek as kephale when it refers to a leader. This is simply not so. I have to conclude that Glare has assumed this from something Grudem said. I have to ask if Glare, a classicist, is trained in Hebrew. I do not see the value of his response with reference to rosh."

You haven't stated a case that refutes Dr. Glare, you have simply called his qualifications into question, but are we to believe that you are MORE qualified than Dr. Glare to make these assumptions? As to the value of his response, he is the preeminent Classical Greek lexicographer in the world today. He didn't get there by not knowing what he is talking about. He has to be refuted decisively within his expertise - he cannot be refuted based on a perceived lack of knowledge. And thus his views must be at least taken into account.


Finally on Chrysostem, some of what you said appears to be a red herring. He clearly stated the following in Homily 13 on Ephesians:

But now it is the very contrary; women outstrip and eclipse us [that is, in virtue]. How contemptible! What a shame is this! We hold the place of the head, and are surpassed by
the body. We are ordained to rule over them; not merely that we may rule, but that we may rule in goodness also; for he that ruleth, ought especially to rule in this respect, by excelling in virtue; whereas if he is surpassed, he is no longer ruler.


Here it is clear he viewed the head (kephale) as the ruler. As far as how he understood the head to rule, that is inconsequential to our discussion. The fact that he believed that the head was to rule is what is important to us.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

DR,

We are writing at the same time, so my answers are delayed. I have to say that I do not understand your question exactly. Could you cite something directly?

First, you overstate your case. This is the only case you have seen or Grudem has brought up. Again there are another 10000 uses of kephale that Grudem does not survey, nor has anyone else surveyed. Those could indeed produce the proof you say is lacking.

What are these 10000 examples? I am not sure what you are referring to. Do you have research to add to what Grudem has done?

Second, this is at least one definitive usage, which is more than what we have for kephale meaning "source" as Dr. Glare points out in his letter.

Fasullo has discussed the example of Jephthah, noting that it was supported by another term meaning leader, and means "top."

In my view, Jephthah cannot be considered a normative example, because of the way the Jews regarded this passage. It is the only passage in the OT which cannot be read aloud in a synagogue.

In several of your other examples you are simply dismissing the idea that kephale means "authority over", but you are not necessarily giving us solid reasons to reject these. In a few of those cases there is at least enough evidence to suggest that "authority over" is a legitimate reading for kephale and in none of those examples have you shown that "authority over" absolutely cannot be the meaning.

If you can produce these citations and discuss them I would be happy to do so. I believe that the king of Egypt can be proven to NOT be an authority over his own father. Do you suggest otherwise?

Thus, while you have provided the POSSIBILITY for an alternate reading, that still doesn't prove your case (or Fastullo's) that the reading of "authority over" is impossible or even strained.

It is strained.

Thus you have simply deconstructed kephale, but haven't offered any legitimate alternative readings, definitively shown that "authority over" cannot be the meaning,

I regard Philadelphus II as that example.

or produced any positive renderings for kephale meaning "source."

I need to sleep. We can continue tomorrow.

Does anyone have access to Chrysostom's commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:3 in Greek?

D.R. said...

Suzanne,

There is other evidence, pointed out in the article on Glare's letter that shows that the translation of "source" in the Zeus quote (and elsewhere Grudem has dealt with this), does not naturally flow in that context. Subtract that one reference, as well as the idea of a "source of a river" which doesn't fit as well, since there are not two sources of a river(kephale is only used in the plural when referring to a river - thus not meaning "source" but rather "ends"), and there comes about no necessity for "source" to be a legitimate meaning for kephale in any Greek context.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

As pointed out in the letter, Glare intends on changing this, so regardless if we only have a letter now, it will be changed to reflect that meaning when the new supplement is released. Thus, one cannot argue that such a rendering is impossible.

He said that he was going to change it on the basis that rosh, when it meant leader, was always translated as kephale. This is not the case.

Secondly, you say, "First, Glare thinks that rosh is translated into Greek as kephale when it refers to a leader. This is simply not so. I have to conclude that Glare has assumed this from something Grudem said. I have to ask if Glare, a classicist, is trained in Hebrew. I do not see the value of his response with reference to rosh."

You haven't stated a case that refutes Dr. Glare, you have simply called his qualifications into question, but are we to believe that you are MORE qualified than Dr. Glare to make these assumptions?


If Glare does not read Hebrew, then yes, I am.

Rosh, when it means "leader" is translated into Greek by about 18 others words, rather than kephale.

As to the value of his response, he is the preeminent Classical Greek lexicographer in the world today. He didn't get there by not knowing what he is talking about. He has to be refuted decisively within his expertise - he cannot be refuted based on a perceived lack of knowledge. And thus his views must be at least taken into account.

If the basis for his views can be proven to not exist, then I think we can question him.

Finally on Chrysostem, some of what you said appears to be a red herring. He clearly stated the following in Homily 13 on Ephesians:

But now it is the very contrary; women outstrip and eclipse us [that is, in virtue]. How contemptible! What a shame is this! We hold the place of the head, and are surpassed by
the body. We are ordained to rule over them; not merely that we may rule, but that we may rule in goodness also; for he that ruleth, ought especially to rule in this respect, by excelling in virtue; whereas if he is surpassed, he is no longer ruler.

Here it is clear he viewed the head (kephale) as the ruler. As far as how he understood the head to rule, that is inconsequential to our discussion. The fact that he believed that the head was to rule is what is important to us.


Yes, and here he writes,

"For had Paul meant to speak of rule and subjection, as you say, he would not have brought forward the instance of a wife, but rather of a slave and a master."

"For with us indeed the woman is reasonably subjected to the man: since equality of honor causes contention. And not for this cause only, but by reason also of the deceit 1 Timothy 2:14 which happened in the beginning.

Wherefore you see, she was not subjected as soon as she was made; nor, when He brought her to the man, did either she hear any such thing from God, nor did the man say any such word to her: he said indeed that she was "bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh:" Genesis 2:23 but of rule or subjection he no where made mention unto her.

But when she made an ill use of her privilege and she who had been made a helper was found to be an ensnarer and ruined all, then she is justly told for the future, "your turning shall be to your husband." Genesis 3:16"

For Chrysostom, the wife is ruled because of the fall. The woman is rightly ruled, but not because the husband is head, but because the woman was make subject by sin.

Chrysostom assumes patriarchy but he does not believe that God rules Christ. He believes that a husband rules his wife because of his understanding of Gen.3:16, which cannot be compared to God and Christ.

D.R. said...

Suzanne,

You said, "What are these 10000 examples? I am not sure what you are referring to. Do you have research to add to what Grudem has done?"

Are you saying you have not read Grudem's research on this? He clearly states this in his paper,

"Someone might suggest at this point that our study of κεφαλή has not been exhaustive. Although we checked 2,336 instances, that leaves almost 10,000 more instances in the data banks of the TLG project in California."


If you've read his research, he shows examples in 2300+ cases, but points out that there are another 10000 uses of kephale in Greek literature during the time when closest to the Apostle Paul. Thus, one cannot say that "no Greek uses occur", but rather than none have been discovered.


You say, "In my view, Jephthah cannot be considered a normative example, because of the way the Jews regarded this passage. It is the only passage in the OT which cannot be read aloud in a synagogue."

This is not a legitimate reason for rejecting a clear case of the use of kephale for meaning leader. It amounts to you saying, "I reject it because it doesn't serve my position." Unless you can reject it on much clearer grounds, your dismissal is a serious flaw in your position.


Finally, you say, "Does anyone have access to Chrysostom's commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:3 in Greek?"

Surely you are not going to bring up Catherine Kroeger's argument regarding Chrysostom's attack against those who used headship as a means of suggesting that the Father and Son were not of the same substance?

Grudem has answered this argument and Kroeger has yet to reply. Have you read his answer to this in the second article I posted, "The Meaning Of kephale (“Head”):
An Evaluation Of New Evidence, Real And Alleged"? Are you familiar with the problems with Kroeger's argument?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I believe that the meaning of source has come about because of Chrysostom's use of arche and aitia.

Also Cyril of Alexandria,

"Therefore of our race he become first head, which is ἀρχή, and was of the earth and earthy. Since Christ was named the second Adam, he has been placed as head, which is ἀρχή, of those who through him have been formed anew unto him unto immortality through sanctification in the spirit. Therefore he himself our ἀρχή, which is head, has appeared as a human being: indeed, he, being by nature God, has a head, the Father in heaven. For, being by nature God the Word, he has been begotten from Him. Because head means ἀρχή, He established the truth for those who are wavering in their mind that man is the head of woman, for she was taken out of him. Therefore one Christ and Son and Lord, the one having as head the Father in heaven, being God by nature, became for us a “head” accordingly because of his kinship according to the flesh."

ἀρχή does have the meaning of "source."

αἰτία is "cause"

It seems possible to me that Chrysostom and Cyril thought of Adam as the source or cause of woman. He was the origin of woman.

In my view, 1 Cor. 11:3 is best understood in this way,

Christ shares a common nature with man, the man shares his nature with his wife, and God shares his nature with Christ.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

i can discuss the Zeus quote if you like. I have read it.

D.R. said...

Suzanne,

You said, "If Glare does not read Hebrew, then yes, I am.

Rosh, when it means "leader" is translated into Greek by about 18 others words, rather than kephale."


First, you can't make evaluations based on assumptions. You don't know that Glare can't read Hebrew. How do we know you can read Hebrew? Where did you do your Hebrew studies at? That's just grasping at straws. Clearly, he didn't get where he is today by being ignorant of languages important to his work.

Secondly, you left out the fact that rosh is translated as kephale 18 times and there are only 14 other words used to translate rosh, not 18.


Later you quote Chrysostem and say, "For Chrysostom, the wife is ruled because of the fall. The woman is rightly ruled, but not because the husband is head, but because the woman was make subject by sin."


Regardless, he still translates kephale to mean "ruler." That's plain as day. The question we are discussing is whether in the Greek kephale means "head". In the quote of Chrysostem, he clearly uses the two interchangably. As to his theology of male headship, he grounds it in the fall, the same place Paul does in 1 Timothy 3. There is no contradiction here and you basically just made my case for me. Chrysostem believes in male headship! Thank you!

Suzanne McCarthy said...

First, you can't make evaluations based on assumptions. You don't know that Glare can't read Hebrew. How do we know you can read Hebrew? Where did you do your Hebrew studies at? That's just grasping at straws. Clearly, he didn't get where he is today by being ignorant of languages important to his work.

When I studied in the classics dept, no one suggested that Hebrew was important. I had to study Hebrew in the Near Eastern dept. later.

Secondly, you left out the fact that rosh is translated as kephale 18 times and there are only 14 other words used to translate rosh, not 18.

I think that you mean to say that rosh is translated as kephale 180 times, and I mean to say that there are 14 other words that are used to translate rosh.

We can certainly examine this. Can you name any individual in the Hebrew Bible who was called the kephale of his own family, tribe or nation? Is there anyone besides Jephthah?

If you want to reproduce all 180 examples I would be willing to discuss them, but I think we should start with the ones where a person is the head of his family, tribe or nation.

Yes, Chrysostom believes in male headship, in the rule of the husband. I am aware of that. He believes that the husband rules the wife because of the fall. How is this parallel to God and Christ? Is the eternal subordination of Christ grounded in sin?

D.R. said...

Suzanne,

You said, "It seems possible to me that Chrysostom and Cyril thought of Adam as the source or cause of woman. He was the origin of woman."

But it is equally possible, and I say more probable, that arche here means "authority." So in essence Cyril of Alexander's quote proves nothing definitive.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

"Therefore of our race he become first head, which is ἀρχή, and was of the earth and earthy. Since Christ was named the second Adam, he has been placed as head, which is ἀρχή, of those who through him have been formed anew unto him unto immortality through sanctification in the spirit. Therefore he himself our ἀρχή, which is head, has appeared as a human being: indeed, he, being by nature God, has a head, the Father in heaven. For, being by nature God the Word, he has been begotten from Him. Because head means ἀρχή, He established the truth for those who are wavering in their mind that man is the head of woman, for she was taken out of him. Therefore one Christ and Son and Lord, the one having as head the Father in heaven, being God by nature, became for us a “head” accordingly because of his kinship according to the flesh."

Are you saying that it would make more sense to put ruler in here for arche, than to put source in her for arche?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

DR,

I can prove nothing definitive. But Grudem proves far less than I prove.

D.R. said...

Suzanne,

When you ask, "We can certainly examine this. Can you name any individual in the Hebrew Bible who was called the kephale of his own family, tribe or nation? Is there anyone besides Jephthah?"

You are in essence requiring the word to conform to a preconceived set of standards before you will accept its legitimacy. That's not how translation and linguistics works and you know that. The Jephthah reference is enough to establish legitimacy, especially given that no Hebrew references to kephale can be rendered "source". And other references such as 1 Kings 8:1, and these three Grudem quotes:

1) Philo On Dreams 2.207: ‘“Head’ we interpret allegorically to mean the ruling part of the
soul.”
(2) Philo Moses 2.30: “As the head is the ruling place in the living body, so Ptolemy became
among kings.”
(3) Philo Moses 2:82: “The mind is head and ruler of the sense-faculty in US.

are enough to establish that the legitimacy of head as meaning "ruler" regardless of reference to a person or bodypart, though the second reference above comes pretty close to what you are asking for.

D.R. said...

Suzanne,

You asked, "Are you saying that it would make more sense to put ruler in here for arche, than to put source in her for arche?"

Yes, I think that is a legitimate translation for it.


You also said, "I can prove nothing definitive. But Grudem proves far less than I prove."

Seriously? Suzanne, that is simply an opinion and has no place in an academic discussion. That's like saying, "My dad can beat up your dad." Let's debate fairly here, please.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

You are in essence requiring the word to conform to a preconceived set of standards before you will accept its legitimacy

I am asking if there are any examples that fit Grudem's standards, not mine. Please refer back to his claims that kephale means that one person is the authority over another person(s).

Are there any? I think Fasullo handles Jephthah. If you wish to talk about Jephthah, then I think we need to cite each case in Greek and talk about it. What other examples would you like to discuss?

1) Philo On Dreams 2.207: ‘“Head’ we interpret allegorically to mean the ruling part of the
soul.”
(2) Philo Moses 2.30: “As the head is the ruling place in the living body, so Ptolemy became
among kings.”
(3) Philo Moses 2:82: “The mind is head and ruler of the sense-faculty in US.

I have shown you how Ptolemy, that is Philadelphus II is simply not an authority over his father. This is impossible.

It is true that the head of the body is sometimes considered the leader of the body. Where is this used to refer to a person who is an authority over another person? I am unaware of any examples. There ought to be at least on in all of Greek literature, don't you think?

And I would not expect to go to the Hebrew for "source."

Suzanne McCarthy said...

DR,

Grudem says that kephale means that one person is in authority over another person. We have seen that perhaps, for some, Jephthah could possibly be an example of this.

I know of no other case, not one other example. I really don't know what there is to discuss, other than Jephthah.

Grudem's claims here do not stand up to examination.

• the king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation
• the general of an army is called the "head" of the army
• the Roman emperor is called the "head" of the people
• the god Zeus is called the "head" of all things
• David as king of Israel is called the "head" of the people
• the leaders of the tribes of Israel are called "heads" of the tribes

Can you demonstrate from the Greek that even one of these cases is valid? Do these examples have any place in an academic discussion?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

You asked, "Are you saying that it would make more sense to put ruler in here for arche, than to put source in her for arche?"

Yes, I think that is a legitimate translation for it.


I disagree. Cyril writes,

"he, being by nature God, has a head, the Father in heaven. For, being by nature God the Word, he has been begotten from Him"

Clearly he is using kephale to mean origin.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I am convinced that there is not one example of a person who is an authority over his own family, tribe, or people being called kephale. Except possible Jephthah, but it wasn't his own people. He was not the rosh of his own tribe. He was called in to lead in a particular battle because of his expertise in guerilla warfare.

Jephthah is also in translation Greek. It is not the normal usage of Greek. There can be no assumption that kephale normally means authority over.

Rex Ray said...

It’s almost funny how inerrantists try to believe as non-inerrantist or as ‘non-bible believers’ (such as WE) are called, and stay in their comfort zone as inerrantist.

If someone said ‘so and so is true because the cow jumped over the moon’ would you believe them?

Then why should we believe Paul (1 Timothy 2:12-15 Holman):

“I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent. For [cow jumped over moon] Adam was created first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed [more cow jumping]. But she will be saved through childbearing, if she continues in faith, love, and holiness, with good sense.”

[Huh? What happened to John 3:16?]

Maybe the Living paraphrased makes it clearer:

“I never let women teach men or lord it over them. Let them be silent in your church meetings. Why? Because God made Adam first, and afterwards he made Eve. And it was not Adam who was fooled by Satan, but Eve, and sin was the result. So God sent pain and suffering to women when their children are born, but he will save their souls if they trust in him, living quiet good, and loving lives.”

I believe Paul used the same ‘human reasoning’ as Adam did with God when he pointed the finger at Eve. Since God didn’t accept this reasoning from Adam, why would he (or we) accept it from Paul?

Also, did God always use seniority when choosing leaders?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I am sorry that I did not identify Philadelphus II as Ptolemy earlier. This perhaps caused some confusion.

I honestly believe that complementarians should feel free to state that kephale means "authority over" as long as they are honest in presenting the facts, that this is based on a single case, that of Jephthah. For some reason, Grudem never even mentions Jephthah, and it is his best evidence. I do not know why this happened.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

1 Kings 8:1

Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads (rosh) of the tribes (mattah), the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. (NRSV)

This passage has a Hebrew metaphor hidden within it. The Hebrew matteh is the typically translated literally as a “rod” or “staff,” and figuratively as “tribe.” When the word matteh is used literally to mean “rod” or “staff” it is always translated as rhabdos in the Septuagint. Rhabdos is never used for matteh when it figuratively signifies a tribe except here. The choice of the literal equivalent in translation for matteh (staff) would necessitate the literal translation of rosh (head) as well. Literally we are talking about the “head of a staff,” as in that part of the staff which occupies the highest point. Since a “head of a staff” does not rule the rest of the staff but it is the most prominent feature at the end of the staff we are talking about prominence, not authority or rule.

Stickler said...

Rex Ray,

How is your comment relevant to a discussion on kephale?

If someone said "the cow jumped over the moon because the chicken crossed the road" I'd wonder where they come from.

Jon L. Estes said...

What is the possibility that the two prominent thoughts being discussed here (source / authority) as either-or, could really be both-and?

The only downside would be those who oppose authority could be forced to place themselves under someone else (other than Christ) to remain biblical in their lives.

I see clearly that the subject of authority and submission is throughout the bible.

God / Jesus
Master / Slave
Parent / Child
Paul / Timothy, Titus
Church Leaders / Church Members
Church Leaders / False Teachers

The list goes on.

I am preaching through Titus now and covered 1:10-16 yesterday. Paul was clear to Titus to take the authority and silence those who do not teach, speak truth.

Thy Peace said...

God bless you, Suzanne.

All the below links are from Suzanne's BookShelf:

Response to the Open Letter.
In 1998 Dr. Grudem wrote an Open Letter to Egalitarians. Mike Seaver of Role Calling has copied it onto his blog. I have asked if Mike would consider my response to this letter. Here is a copy of the original letter with responses by Linda Belleville and Dr. Grudem's rebuttal.

I would also like to make an attempt to put the answer to three of the points in this letter in a fairly simple form, and have people respond to this
.

kephale: head of the Roman army?.
A commenter recently posted this comment,

If “kephale” is in fact used to refer to generals of armies, the Roman Emperor, and the leaders of tribes (which Sue confirmed for us), then is this even really remotely debatable anymore?
I confirmed that kephale was used as tribal leader, uniquely for Jephthah. This passage is so problematic that this use of kephale is sometimes not cited as proof that God is (supposedly) the authority over Christ, or the husband is (supposedly) an authority over the wife
.

Index: CBMW, Grudem, kephale.
Everything I have written on kephale has been in spontaneous posts in response to posts elsewhere in the blogosphere. I have never had any intention of examining this issue in depth and I deeply regret that I have not so far organized my material on this topic.

I have also written on several other aspects of the CBMW platform and Grudem's books. Let me summarize
.

Grudem and Ptolemy.
This deserves a separate post. On Gender blog, Grudem says that when kephale is used it means "ruler of", and here is an example,
the king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation
But this is what he is quoting, presumably,
and, in a word, the whole family of the Ptolemies was exceedingly eminent and conspicuous above all other royal families, and among the Ptolemies, Philadelphus was the most illustrious; for all the rest put together scarcely did as many glorious and praiseworthy actions as this one king did by himself, being, as it were, the leader of the herd, and in a manner the head of all the kings. Philo Moses 2:30
In fact, Philadelphus is described as being the most illustrious, the leader of the herd, and not the ruler of the nation, at least, that is not what "head" means. "Head" clearly means that he is preeminent above other kings, he was quite simply better known, or more famous, not "ruler of the nation."
.

Thy Peace said...

Continued from above ...

Grudem and kephale.
These are just a few stray thoughts in response to Gender blog's response to CBE.

Grudem wrote,

In these texts the word kephalē is applied to many people in authority, but to none without governing authority:
1.the king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation
2. the general of an army is called the "head" of the army
3. the Roman emperor is called the "head" of the people
4. the god Zeus is called the "head" of all things
5. David as king of Israel is called the "head" of the people
6. the leaders of the tribes of Israel are called "heads" of the tribes
7. the husband is the "head" of the wife
8. Christ is the "head" of the church
9. God the Father is the "head" of Christ
So, let's take this apart. First, we want to know what "head" means in the NT, so we need to remove several points. This leaves ,
1.the king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation
2. the general of an army is called the "head" of the army
3. the Roman emperor is called the "head" of the people
4. the god Zeus is called the "head" of all things
5. David as king of Israel is called the "head" of the people
6. the leaders of the tribes of Israel are called "heads" of the tribes
Now, let's cancel out one or two
.

Kephale in the literature.
In these texts the word kephalē is applied to many people in authority, but to none without governing authority:

the king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation
the general of an army is called the "head" of the army
the Roman emperor is called the "head" of the people
the god Zeus is called the "head" of all things
David as king of Israel is called the "head" of the people
the leaders of the tribes of Israel are called "heads" of the tribes
This is the evidence of some complementarians. Would it surprise you to know that not even once is kephalē used in connection to any of the authority relationships which we believe God has ordained in the Hebrew scriptures?

Not once is the word kephalē used in the Septuagint or in ancient Greek literature preceding the Bible in the following expressions,
head of the nation
head of the people
head of the tribe
head of the family
head of the army
.

Kephale in Philo.
I still seem to fall on more evidence for the strange hermeneutic presented in Grudem's Kephale studies.

Rob has posted one of the original articles on Kephale by Grudem, 1985. I took another look at the references from Philo. Grudem argues that Philo uses the term kephale "head" with the meaning "authority over"
.

The omitted citations.
Grudem wrote on gender blog,
In these texts the word kephalē is applied to many people in authority, but to none without governing authority:

he king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation
the general of an army is called the "head" of the army
the Roman emperor is called the "head" of the people
the god Zeus is called the "head" of all things
David as king of Israel is called the "head" of the people
the leaders of the tribes of Israel are called "heads" of the tribes
the husband is the "head" of the wife
Christ is the "head" of the church
God the Father is the "head" of Christ
Grudem makes this look very authoritative. However, he does not give references nor does he supply citations. I have simply looked up the original citations for these quotes, to the extent that I could. Then I have made some comments in green
.

Lydia said...

Grudem writes:

"I asked this of both Catherine Kroeger and Gilbert Bilezikian in public debate in Atlanta in 1986 and they gave me no example"

Grudem claims this on other things, too. Such as his 6 questions to Egals. They have been answered by several but he will not acknowledge them.

These guys insulate themselves and refuse to interact. CBMW refuses comments. It is not unlike the stacked debate at SBTS on Wright's unpublished book. This is simply how they operate.

Thy Peace said...

Continued from above ...

Grudem and Glare.

Head of the house.
I have had a question in the comments regarding another citation of kephale in Greek literature. It is found in Shepherd of Hermas, SIMILITUDE 7 as η κεφαλη του οικου - "the head of the house," referring to the father of a family.

This citation seems to demonstrate that kephale can refer to the organizational leader in an unequivocal way. However, it is worth pointing out that Grudem did not choose to make a reference to this citation when he presented his evidence that kephale meant authority
.

Bruce Ware and the Westminister Confession.

Open Letter to David Kotter.

Andreas Kostenberger, did you really mean to say that?.

Who can you disagree with?.

Response to John Mark Reynolds.

Thy Peace said...

All the below links from from Cheryl Schatz's blog Women In Ministry:

Wayne Grudem’s “An Open Letter to Egalitarians” and “Six Questions”.

Wayne Grudem - answering part 2 of his “Open letter to Egalitarians”.

Wayne Grudem - answering part 3 of his “Open letter to Egalitarians”.

Lydia said...

God / Jesus

Where is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit and Jesus are lesser 'gods' in your view? Or, are you speaking of the Incarnate Son only?

Master / Slave

Paul told the slaves to get their freedom if they could. He also told Philemon to treat Oni as a brother in Christ. Pretty radical stuff for that time.


Parent / Child

And one day the child is making all the decisions for the elder parent.

Paul / Timothy, Titus

Paul did not want them to grow and become spiritually mature? Because someday, Paul would be gone.

Church Leaders / Church Members

Where is the priesthood? Your church members must not be growing in Holiness if you have nothing to learn from them. If they are to submit to you, what if you are evil and a fake Christian? Like Jim Jones? Are they allowed to confront you since you are the authority?


Church Leaders / False Teachers

WE are all to confront false teachers. As a matter of fact, having a few folks in authority over all others is main cause of false teachers. Otherwise, they could not operate so freely. But first, they must make sure that everyone thinks they must obey them.

The authority in the Body of Christ is Jesus Christ. Not you. You are just one of the members of the Body with a spiritual gift like everyone else if they are truly saved.

Thy Peace said...

Amen, Lydia.

Stop Baptist Predators > "Don't be a troublemaker," says keep-it-quiet pastor Steve Gaines.
You can enjoy this hilarious video of an authoritarian Baptist pastor all on its own, and I hope you will. But for those who might want some context, where it is.

Origin of the above hilarious video: New BBC Open Forum > Troublemakers in the Church... or How to Throw a Tantrum!.

Joe Blackmon said...

Why not give equal time to both?

Come now. Wade is a complementarian. You know he would never misrepresent someone's position who is complementarian or play favorites. Why, he's only trying to e fair and give both sides to the arguement.

Joe Blackmon said...

If someone said ‘so and so is true because the cow jumped over the moon’ would you believe them?

Rex Ray,
It's people like you that are proof that the Conservative Resurrgence was a good thing and that it was necessary. It's just too bad that it didn't go far enough.

Jon L. Estes said...

Lydia,

One at a time...

Are you saying...

Where is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit and Jesus are lesser 'gods' in your view? Or, are you speaking of the Incarnate Son only?

...
1 - That Jesus did not place Himself under God's authority?

2 - That Jesus and the Holy Spirit are "gods", not God?

I don't understand your comment on this example. Scripture is clear that Jesus (God) lived under the authority of His Father (God). One (of many in scripture) example of this is found in His garden prayer where He says... not My will but Thine...

If you believe Jesus, God's Son, was not living under the authority of God the Father, would you simply state it in a way that does not confuse your position?

Christiane said...

The Septuagint was written in Greek before the time of Christ. It was used by Jews who spoke Greek as their everyday language. This we know.

So that word 'kephale': how is it used in the Septuagint, to speak of a ruler or a leader? Are there other Greek words used in the Septuagint for 'first' ? What are they? Frequencies would be useful to know, as well as contextual meanings. Hmmmmm . . . .

I found this.

"Septuagint translators used fourteen different Greek words to translate ro’sh:
1. Archon (meaning ruler, commander, leader________________109 times
2. Archegos (captain, leader, chief, prince) ____________________10 times
3. Arche (authority, magistrate, officer) ________________________9 times
4. Hegeomai (to be a leader, to rule, have dominion) _____________9 times
5. Protos (first, foremost) ___________________________________6 times
6. Patriarches_____________________________________________3 times
7. Chiliarches (commander)__________________________________3 times
8. Archipules (chief of a tribe) ________________________________2 times
9. Archipatriotes (head of a family)____________________________1 time
10. Archo (verb; ruler, be ruler of)______________________________1 time
11. Megas, emgale, mega (great, mighty, important)_______________1 time
12. Proegeomai (take the lead, go first, lead the way)______________1 time
13. Prototokos (firstborn or first in rank)_________________________1 time
14. Kephale (where head can mean top or crown)__________________8 times
Kephale (in head-tail metaphor)______________________________4 times
Kephale (where manuscripts have variant readings) ______________6 times
The ONLY time that kephale is used for a person in authority is for Jephthah. Apart from Jephthah, when rosh means rule, it is translated by some Greek word other than kephale."

Now, to consider St. Paul's use of Greek: how closely does it align with the more ancient Greek of the Septuagint? I have more to learn.

Mysteries. Love 'em.
They awaken our human seeking to 'know', not just 'assume'.
They keep us asking questions.
They keep us communicating and exploring all the possibilites.

Thanks to Wade for this wonderful post, and to all of you who have come to share, especially Suzanne, whose writings are so literate and yet easy to understand for me.
The scholarship of all IS respected, but the ability of some to share in a way that imparts understanding: that is a GIFT.
Thanks, so much. Love, L's

Paula said...

"Their purpose, of course, is to get rid of the idea of authority in the family"

Grudem assigns motive by claiming that egals start with the goal of "removing authority" and then look for ways to interpret verses to that end. This is not only a straw man but the very charge that can be easily made against Grudem and his position.

"The only downside would be those who oppose authority ..."

Same assumption, difference "source". ;-) And if God is to be equated with only one Person of the Trinity (Father), then what do such people do with many scriptures calling Jesus God? And do they deny that Jesus, in His incarnation, was modeling submission FOR ALL BELIEVERS and not just women?

Also, I'd add to Lydia's thoughts that Paul did tell believers not to enslave themselves voluntarily (Gal. 5:1), which is exactly what some people think children are to parents and wives are to husbands. (No? Then why are they always lumped together with slaves and masters?)

Lydia said...

Jon, You are the one that is treating the Lord of Hosts as a lesser 'god' for all eternity. Your example proves it because you list Jesus Christ as being subordinate NOW. This would mean the Trinity is not united in will. If not, that would mean Jesus was following instructions and did not go to the Cross freely. Surely that is not what you believe. The Incarnate Son HUMBLED Himself to come to earth and live as a Man.

Even the Pharisees understood that Jesus was claiming to be equal with God. See John 5:18.

I fear you desire authority and preeminance so badly you are willing to twist truths about our Savior making Him less than He is. He is God.

We simply must make distinctions about Jesus Christ as Incarnate Son while on earth or we lose the truth of our Triune God and make a mockery of the Cross.

Paula said...

I've said it a thousand times and will keep saying it till "the cows come home":

Anyone who fights for their position isn't fighting either for God or for servitude. People don't fight for those things. They fight for preeminence. (3 John 1:9)

Jon L. Estes said...

Lydia,

I never said Jesus was not equal the Father. I did say He placed Himself under the Father.

This goes back to my original question on this blog entry. Could the discussion be a both and not only an either or?

Both my wife and I understand our equality before God and in God but we also understand His design and order for things. (Both - And).

I am not greater than my wife, except in size, but in God's design, not mine and one I did not ask for, the buck stops with me before God when it comes to our marriage. Same with the church, the buck stops with me before God when it comes to me as Pastor.

I have no problem with the defining point for "source" but I do not limit God to that dynamic alone.

I would ask that you please don't accuse me of something...

You are the one that is treating the Lord of Hosts as a lesser 'god' for all eternity.

...simply because we differ or you don't understand me.

If you must continue, then there is no need or desire to discuss this any further.

I will apologize for in an earlier thread I stated some want to have authority over the discussion (or something to that). I admit this was unwarranted.

Lydia said...

"Why not give equal time to both? Or at least link the extensive articles Dr. Grudem has written on the subject."

DR,

Grudem is widely read in Christendom. His books are used as texts in our seminaries. CBMW promotes everything he writes. Do you think it is fair that CBMW refuses to publish the full works of egal scholars?

All of Grudem's work is highly promoted by many SBC leaders as the arbiter on this topic. He sells lots of books because of this.

You cannot swing a dead cat in our circle without it hitting a Grudem work whether it be on this subject or ST.

It is high time to look at other scholarship in full context. Why? Because the need to prove earthly carnal authority for men has morphed into reviving the false doctrine of ESS. That is how desperate they are for preeminance. It is sad. but becoming more and more obvious to many.

Alan Paul said...

I agree with D.R., this really cannot be considered exhaustive until you exhaust us with Grudem's side. I instantly noticed the lack of space Grudem was given compared with Ms. Fasullo. Wade, you seem biased against Grude. This is understandable - we are all biased, but to be intellectually honest, both sides must be given equal time and consideration in one forum. Unless, of course, you have an agenda, then it makes sense. I hope this is not the case here Wade.

I suggest re-doing these posts and run Fasullo's in one post and then a more exhaustive version of Grudem's argument in the next post. This will ensure fairness and we should allow the chips to fall where they may after that.

As this post stands now, justice has not been served for either of these writers or the reader because of the insufficient evidence on Grudem's part by which Fasullo's argument can be measured.

Alan Paul said...

Lydia-

I must respectfully disagree with you. THough I understand what you are saying about the multiple sources available to us (really on any subject), the point of fair consideration of both sides relates only to this forum. If one side of the argument is to be presented such as Wade has done here, then equal time must be given to Grudem if we are to be honest and if we are to allow each reader to come to his/her own conclusions. If we don't have to go searching for more of Ms. Fasullo's argument, why should we have to go searching for more of Mr. Grudem's argument?? Again, the honest path to take is to provide complete arguments from both sides on this blog and let the chips fall...

Stan said...

I find it ironic that as we discuss this topic here, the Congress of the United States of America is holding hearings on the appointment of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the next Supreme Court Judge of the United States of America. Always reading and praying.

Paula said...

I am not greater than my wife, except in size, but in God's design, not mine and one I did not ask for, the buck stops with me before God when it comes to our marriage. Same with the church, the buck stops with me before God when it comes to me as Pastor.

Then would you, like Jesus, give it up?

Jesus had the right to stay in heaven and not become one of us. Yet he voluntarily laid it down for a while to die for sinners, then returned to his former position.

If you truly believe that you are humbly accepting a cross to bear, then give up the title and salary, the authority and power. Serve without compensation (that isn't service but employment), without praise, without "the final say".

You presume that God placed a burden on you solely on the basis of the flesh. It is that presumption that you really need to examine, fairly and with honest openness to the views of others.

Lydia said...

"I never said Jesus was not equal the Father. I did say He placed Himself under the Father."


Jon, You used God/Jesus Christ as an example of authority/submission. You used other examples that are not really scriptural at all of authority/submission. You even listed church leaders as having authority over church members completely obliterating the Holy Priesthood and all the one anothers and many other scriptural examples of not lording it over, etc.

I am pointing out that your example of God/Jesus Christ as submission is not for all time.

You cannot say that Jesus Christ is equal to God yet under authority for all time. Yes, I know that is what CBMW teaches as those who are into having authority over others teach.

"I am not greater than my wife, except in size, but in God's design, not mine and one I did not ask for, the buck stops with me before God when it comes to our marriage. Same with the church, the buck stops with me before God when it comes to me as Pastor."

You can READ INTO scripture this view. But do not twist what you mean, either. The buck does NOT stop with you as the authority over your members which is what your original comment was communicating.
Pastors are listed in scripture as ONE of many spiritual gifts. And it is listed ONCE.

Scripture does not put you in authority over your wife as if she is a child and not an adult. Why would you want a child/wife forever?

Remember, your comment was based on authority/submission relationships as YOU see them. Now, you are trying to play that down.

Lydia said...

"I agree with D.R., this really cannot be considered exhaustive until you exhaust us with Grudem's side. I instantly noticed the lack of space Grudem was given compared with Ms. Fasullo. Wade, you seem biased against Grude."

Alan, perhaps you do not live in seminary land as I do. Grudem is everywhere. Seminary students bring his book to church instead of the bible.

Joe Blackmon said...

I find it ironic that as we discuss this topic here, the Congress of the United States of America is holding hearings on the appointment of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the next Supreme Court Judge of the United States of America. Always reading and praying.

Yes, and we can thank the mainstream christians that was so weary of the evil culture wars that they voted the most pro-abortion candidate to ever run into the White House.

Jon L. Estes said...

"Remember, your comment was based on authority/submission relationships as YOU see them. Now, you are trying to play that down."

Not at all. My comment was based upon what scripture says. Also, I am not playing down anything.

So do you think, maybe, the subject (HEAD) can be both - and (authoratative and source) and not only either - or (source not authoritative or vice versa)?

Jon L. Estes said...

"Seminary students bring his book to church instead of the bible."

Really????

Alan Paul said...

You are right, I do not Lydia. But that's not really my point. My point is that to be intellectually honest, both sides of the argument should be given equal billing in this post.

As it stands, this post cannot be take seriously as a fair article presenting both sides of the argument... because it doesn't do that.

Lydia said...

"Not at all. My comment was based upon what scripture says. Also, I am not playing down anything."

Acutally, it does not. Scripture does not say the pastor is in authority over the church members.


"So do you think, maybe, the subject (HEAD) can be both - and (authoratative and source) and not only either - or (source not authoritative or vice versa)?"

No. For one reason and that is there are clear Greek words the Holy Spirit would have Inspired if He wanted to clearly communicate 'authority over'.

One can be preeminant and not be in authority over others.

Lydia said...

You are right, I do not Lydia. But that's not really my point. My point is that to be intellectually honest, both sides of the argument should be given equal billing in this post.

As it stands, this post cannot be take seriously as a fair article presenting both sides of the argument... because it doesn't do that.

Mon Jul 13, 11:24:00 AM 2009

Perhaps you are right, but my guess would be most readers of this blog are very familiar with Grudem and know exactly where to find his articles. Most are quite familiar with CBMW.

I doubt many have heard of Ms. Fasullo.

Jon L. Estes said...

"No. For one reason and that is there are clear Greek words the Holy Spirit would have Inspired if He wanted to clearly communicate 'authority over'."

But the word chosen is not to be disputed as to whether another word should have been given under inspiration to make it clearer. The word chosen was the right word, according to God. A word which could include both "source" and "authority" in its meaning. This seems very clear.

I have no problem with both being used to explain God's design. It is simple to understand.

John said...

Wade,
I asked my wife and she said I could agree with Grudem!

Paula said...

I have no problem with both being used to explain God's design. It is simple to understand.

Circular reasoning. The question is, what is "God's design"? If you presume chains of command then that's what you'll "plainly" see.

Once we know the semantic range of a Koine Greek word, we then proceed to the context, which includes all the writings of Paul so we know his habits. If every instance of kephale can be taken either way according to you, then you cannot know what Paul teaches in any of those instances. On the other hand, if context and Paul's habits talk of unity and mutual dependence, then on what basis do you use the extremely rare (if ever)"authority" meaning?

Christiane said...

I LOVE the meaning of 'the source' for 'kephale',
OUR SALVATION, COMING FROM CHRIST, AS FROM A STREAM OF LIVING WATER :)

from the litanies for Advent, come these prayers of my faith:

Well of living water flowing fresh from Lebanon,
R. have mercy on us.

Spring bubbling forth in Paradise,
R. have mercy on us. (Gen 2:6)

Water of life in the sealed fountain,
R. have mercy on us. (Rev 7:17)


Christ IS the 'Mercy of God'. And, in Him, comes that 'confluence' or 'flowing source of unity' that helps us to return to our Creator:

Christ, The Living Word, existing 'before' the Creation of Adam and Eve . . . , before The Fall.

In the Mystery of the Incarnation, Christ brings together Adam, and Eve, and the Creator, like streams of water, flowing from the Hand of God, once separated at the 'time' of The Fall, now rejoined in Him.
How? Alpha. and Omega.

* Christ, through Mary, descends from Adam.
* Christ, through Mary, descends from Eve.
* Christ incarnated, wears the shell of our fallen humanity, but without its sin. In Him, we are rejoined to Our God.

And, in Him, may we find Our Father once more, and go Home
with Him, and in Him, and through Him, the incarnated Mercy of God.

The Incarnation, The Redemption, the Resurrection: God's Mercy

Like Paula said,
"Jesus had the right to stay in heaven and not become one of us. Yet he voluntarily laid it down for a while to die for sinners, then returned to his former position."

God's Merciful Gift of Himself, so that we could come back to Our Source.

"Kephale" the Source,
I like this definition.
It speaks to me of 'going home' to the Source of our being, as St. Augustine has said:
"We were made for Thee, Oh God, and our hearts are restless, till they rest in Thee'.

Love, L's

Sam Storms said...

Wade,

I must agree with D. R. You did not post either of the articles I sent to you. I urge your readers to follow the links he provides and invest their time in carefully following Wayne's research and reasoning. I must still maintain that I do not see how anyone can find fault with his conclusions, but that is not mine to determine. Blessings,

Sam Storms

Lin said...

If Kephale means authority over then does that mean a wife has two authorities?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Here are the appendices from Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood,

Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Here is Grudem's conclusion,

"The meaning ruler, authority over is still found quite clearly in forty-one ancient texts from both Biblical and extra-Biblical literature, and is possible in two or more other texts. In addition, there are six texts where kephale refers to the literal head of a peron's body and is said to be the part that rules or governs the rest of the body, and there are two texts which are similes where a ruler or leader is said to be like a head. But four of the examples I previously adduced were shown to be illegitimate by subsequent studies, and those should no longer be counted as valid examples. In addition, all the lexicons that specialize in the New Testament period, including two very recent ones, list the meaning ruler, authority over for kephale -it appears to be a well-established and valid meaning during the New Testament period.

On the other hand, the evidence for the meaning source is far weaker, and it is fair to say that the meaning has not yet been established. There are some texts which indicate that the physical head was thought of as the source of energy or life for the body, and therefore the possibility exists that the word kephale might have come to be used as a metaphor for source or source of life. There are two texts in Philo and one in the Orphic Fragments where such a meaning is possible, but it is not certain, and the meaning leader, ruler would fit these texts as well. There are still no unambiguous examples before or during the time of the New Testament in which kephale has the metaphorical sense source, and no lexicon specializing in the New Testament period lists such a meaning, nor does the Liddell and Scott lexicon list such a meaning as applied to persons or as applied to things that are not also the end point of something else. In fact, we may well ask those who advocate the meaning source an important question: Where is even one clear example of kephale used of a person to mean source in all of Greek literature before or during the time of the New Testament? Is there even one example that is unambiguous?

Moreover, even if the meaning source or (as Cervin and Liefeld propose) prominent part were adopted for some examples of the word kephale , we would still have no examples of source or prominent part without the additional nuance of authority or rule. Even in the texts where source or prominent part is alleged as the correct meaning, the person who is called head is always a person in leadership or authority. Therefore there is no linguistic basis for proposing that the New Testament texts which speak of Christ as the head of the church or the husband as the head of the wife can rightly be read apart from the attribution of authority to the one designated as head."

I want to respond to this in particular.

"Where is even one clear example of kephale used of a person to mean source in all of Greek literature before or during the time of the New Testament?"

I want to ask likewise,

"Where is even one clear example of kephale used of a person to mean authority in all of Greek literature before or during the time of the New Testament?"

I do not believe that these occurrences exist. Certainly, there are none except Jephthah in the list provided by Grudem. Jephthah is not by any means unambiguous.

So, if source is to be counted out, then authority.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

But some argue for both source and authority. There does not seem to be solid evidence for either in an unambiguous way.

That is why Chrysostom and Cyril had to start from scratch in a sense. From Eph. 5 we can read that the kehpale was the saviour of the body. In Greek, this would imply "protector." In some way, Paul is using this element of Greek culture to appeal to a greater understanding of Christ as our protector and saviour. Technically, the husband was responsible to provide for the security of the family. This would be the soteria, from soter, saviour.

So, technically, the husband has the role of security for the household, in Greek and Roman society, and this is used to describe Christ and the church.

But the reality of Paul's life is that he was not a husband - marriage is not a normative relationship for Paul, for a cariety of reasons, that need not apply to us.

What were Paul's gendered relationships?

Lydia, who seems to have been the head of her house, offered protection for Paul.

Nympha had a church in her house. No husband is mentioned.

Chloe had a group of people under her name.

Phoebe was Paul's prostatis, a word which means "presiding officer" or "protector" of "defender" in Greek outside of the NT.

There were many single women, widows perhaps, which offered protection and support for the early Christians. They are never mentioned as being under the authority of any male.

In real life, many women were not under the protection of husbands, but offered protection and support.

I feel that the husband was the legal representative in the family at that time, but this does not seem to affect the way Paul interacted with women. He intereacted directly with women as leaders and coworkers.

I can only surmise that Paul was using language which meant something in a metaphorical sense, and had to do with getting men to treat their wives as members of their own body, and therefore with tenderness and care rather than violence.

I think this is his main point. Men, don't do to your wives, what you would not do to your own body, for the husband is the head of the wife, and she is as his body, needing nourishment and care without punishment.

I do not think that there is any evidence in the NT that wives were treated by Christ, or by Paul, as those who were under the authority of their husbands, and having less authority than their husbands.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

If men were designed to be decision-makers in ways that women are not, then we sould expect that men would be better decision-makers than women.

Actually studies show now that men are not better decision-makers. A quick read of gender studies reveal that men are greater risk-takers than women by a long shot. This seems to be a real difference between men and women.

This may make men perform better at war, but it is a liabiiity where the well-being of the household is an issue. If investment funds, businesses, and families are studied, they perform better where women have at least and equal contribution to decision-making.

This, I believe, is due to the innate differences between men and women. I do not feel that giving men final authority is beneficial to the family or to the wife, in any way.

Thy Peace said...

Actually studies show now that men are not better decision-makers. A quick read of gender studies reveal that men are greater risk-takers than women by a long shot. This seems to be a real difference between men and women.

This may make men perform better at war, but it is a liabiiity where the well-being of the household is an issue. If investment funds, businesses, and families are studied, they perform better where women have at least and equal contribution to decision-making
.

Amen.

The Baseline Scenario > Bankers Will Be Boys.
Apparently, Anne Sibert has written an article at VoxEU describing three types of bad behavior committed by bankers that helped produce the crisis:

They committed cognitive errors involving biases towards their own prior beliefs; too many male bankers high on testosterone took too much risk, and a flawed compensation structure rewarded perceived short-term competency rather than long-run results.

I say “apparently” because I can’t get through to VoxEU despite trying three different browsers and two different computers (can’t ping it, either). But there’s a long summary over at naked capitalism.

Everything she says sounds right, although the classification of three behaviors is a little frustrating, because they fall into three different categories. Confirmation bias is just part of the human condition; I’m not sure what we can do about that, short of inventing Cylons (and we know where that leads). Testosterone is part of the male branch of the human condition; so the potential solution is to have more female bankers. And flawed compensation structures are completely human creations, so we can definitely do something about them

Thy Peace said...

Vox > Why did the bankers behave so badly?.

Humans are prone to cognitive errors

The first explanation is that humans are prone to cognitive errors involving biases towards their own prior beliefs. A vast empirical psychology literature documents that people fail to put sufficient weight on evidence that contradicts their initial hypotheses, that they are overconfident in their own ideas and have a tendency to avoid searching for evidence that would their disprove their own theories. Psychologists attribute these cognitive errors, collectively known as confirmation bias, to several factors. These include emotional reasons, such as embarrassment, stubbornness and hope, and cultural reasons, such as superstition and tradition. There may also be physiological explanations; the evolutionary development of the human brain may have facilitated the ability to use heuristics which provide good judgements rapidly, but which can also lead to systematic biases. In addition, recent research supports the theory that the human brain arrives at outcomes – such as confirming one’s own beliefs – that promote positive and minimise negative emotional responses.

Chris Ryan said...

D.R.,

I have read some of Ware's work. Not extensively, and not like I read the Bible, but I have read some of it. Not simply what Wade has posted here. But even if I had not, that does not mean that the logical fallacy may not still be in play as he describes his position here (and I think elsewhere, also).

Jon L. Estes said...

"If men were designed to be decision-makers in ways that women are not, then we sould expect that men would be better decision-makers than women."

I disagree. What better way for God to demonstrate that He can use a lesser skilled person to do a greater skilled task than to do so using the two genders He created for specific purposes. Men who agree their spouses are better decision makers by being women will come to realize that it is only by God's grace they can do a great job, as Christ lives through them, at that which they are less likely to do on their own.

This way, God gets the glory, not the better skilled.

Of course, it is possible that many people could only see a shepherd boy when God say a king.

Lydia said...

"They committed cognitive errors involving biases towards their own prior beliefs; too many male bankers high on testosterone took too much risk, and a flawed compensation structure rewarded perceived short-term competency rather than long-run results."

This is more about greed and both sexes are guilty of having that trait. This could also be a result of looking at quarterly reports as opposed to long term sustained profits when it comes to compensation.

Christiane said...

About Ephesians 5:

It is possible to consider this reference by St. Paul to be a metaphor of the 'head' as 'the source of UNITY'.

From Carrie Miles, there is this reference:

" The husband does this not by leading his wife and certainly not by ruling her but rather by nurturing and serving her in such a way that they grow together head and body into one flesh.

This definition is interpretively solid in context and relates accurately to the meaning of the text.

It makes sense out of Paul’s comment when he switches to the oneness of Christ and the church in Ephesians 5:31:

‘As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.’"


So, 'kephale' fits in nicely with the teaching of St. Paul if it is interpreted to mean:

'THE SOURCE: OF UNITY'

Paula said...

Men who agree their spouses are better decision makers by being women will come to realize that it is only by God's grace they can do a great job, as Christ lives through them, at that which they are less likely to do on their own.

This way, God gets the glory, not the better skilled.


So let me get this straight...

God puts the least qualified person in a given position. So it follows that since the wife is inherently deceivable, then she should be the one to teach men, and thereby bring all the more glory to God.

Right Jon?

Jon L. Estes said...

Paula,

I would say men are equally deceivable. So the line of thinking would be moot. If you want to make a case where women are more apt, prone, to be deceived then maybe we can further discuss this but I am not making such an accusation.

Paula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paula said...

I would say men are equally deceivable. So the line of thinking would be moot. If you want to make a case where women are more apt, prone, to be deceived then maybe we can further discuss this but I am not making such an accusation.

Really? Then why does every anti-egalitarian teacher tell us that Adam was given rule over Eve as proof of her (and all her daughters') greater weakness for deception? Are you saying that Grudem et al are wrong?

No, you haven't rendered my point moot at all. You still have to justify the principle you established.

But since you insist that you don't agree with the big guns of patriarchy, then let's hear your personal views on women and abilities. List them and then tell us how your principle applies in each case.

Are women prone to lust for control over men? Then they should be given power over them so that God can be glorified in restraining them.

Are women poor leaders? Put them in leadership and glorify God.

Are women not able to handle the pressures of responsibility? Yes, let's make them responsible so we can glorify God.

So give us your list of things women can do to glorify God.

Debbie Kaufman said...

There is a reason I am neither Complimentarian nor Egalitarian. Men and women are individuals first. Like snowflakes. Women are risk takers too. There is no men are like this and women are like this. At least in my experience in the real world.

I am not like the women that either describes. I am a little of both. However, my husband is more the risk taker and I am grateful as my life would not have been so filled with adventures that have shaped me further. I would have been content to stay in the town we lived in, nearer to family and friends that I have had since kindergarten. Yet, now my life is filled with a place that has provided me with even more friends, freed me from many things in my past, and drawn me closer to the Savior.

My husband and I take each other as we are, no gender roles, but partners where sometimes he makes the decisions and sometimes I do. I was put in the decision making process by his being on the road as a truck driver when our children were young and his encouragement that he believed in me and trusted me to do the right things. I am a stronger, healthier woman due to my husband forcing me in this position.

When he is here, if either of us has doubt, we wait. There is never a decision so important that we cannot bend to God's timing. Therefore gender roles in either position do not have a place in my life and for that I am grateful.

Women are human beings who franky have been pushed around by Evangelicals who in my opinion use gender roles as a way to control. No thank you. And for the Biblical reasons given.

You men try putting yourselves in our place. If I wanted to be pushed around and told what to do I would have remained a child. Even as a mother my children were given room to grow.

Kristen said...

Let me get this straight. So God assigned men and women to certain roles, but failed to design them for the purposes to which He intended them?

Seems to me you can't have it both ways. Either God's intention was certain roles, men leading and women following, and therefore God would design men to lead women and women to follow men (meaning men would have to be better decision makers than women!) -- OR God did not intend leader/follower roles, and we are imposing the attitudes of the culture of the Bible as if they were God's will, when God was merely accommodating that culture, and His commands were meant to move that that culture towards full freedom for all His children, male and female alike, in Christ Jesus.

If God intended leader/follower roles, but men are not by nature suited to their role nor women to theirs-- then God is an arbitary and capricious Ruler without concern for the creatures. I don't think that's a conclusion any of us want to come to.

Jon L. Estes said...

"Really? Then why does every anti-egalitarian teacher tell us that Adam was given rule over Eve as proof of her (and all her daughters') greater weakness for deception? Are you saying that Grudem et al are wrong? "

If scripture said Eve was able to be deceived easier than I would say so. I still stand with Grudem in the order of authority in the home, church...

DO yo believe women are easier deceived? You made the assertion. Do you want to stand by it or admit your question which brings this idea up as moot?

Jon L. Estes said...

"God assigned men and women to certain roles, but failed to design them for the purposes to which He intended them?"

I am not sure of all the specifics of what the design was pre-fall. I do know what it is post-fall. I live it every day.

My inherent design (introvert) did not cause me to think I should ever be a preacher but God's purpose was different. In my sinful, introverted, could live by myself, don't like crowds - state I would not have chosen me... but God had different plans.

"Seems to me you can't have it both ways."

Seems to me, we can.

Jon L. Estes said...

"If God intended leader/follower roles, but men are not by nature suited to their role nor women to theirs-- then God is an arbitary and capricious Ruler without concern for the creatures. I don't think that's a conclusion any of us want to come to."

That's not the conclusion I come to with God's intended roles.

Lin said...

http://bilezikian.com/gbilezikian/publications/maleheadship.html

"Why I believe in Male Headship"

Paula said...

I asked you for your own personal list of attributes about women, so we can know what their weaknesses are and put them in those positions so God will be glorified.

You made that assertion about putting the least qualified where God could be glorified, now tell us specifically what women can do to glorify God. Or drop your ridiculous assertion.

Lin said...

"Men and women are individuals first. Like snowflakes. Women are risk takers too. There is no men are like this and women are like this. At least in my experience in the real world. "

Debbie, I totally agree with this.

Jon, It might help if you listed the NON BIOLOGICAL roles and differences between men and women that are by God's Design.

I also asked earlier if married women had 2 authorities. Can anyone speak to that?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I do not mean to devalue men in any way. However, when it comes to raising children,

- putting on the seatbelt, the lifejacket, going to the doctor, education, houses, faulty wiring, so many areas, women can tend to be more cautious, and this is beneficial to children. Men also have characterictics that are beneficial to children.

But Debbie is closer to the truth, there is far more individual variety than there is gender stereotypical behaviour.

When it comes to the safety of others, however, we can never say that God wants the less able to be in the decision-making position.

In reality, I think both parents must be intensely involved and committed and listening to each other all the time, and respecting the equal authority of both parents for the children.

To say that the father has more authority because of his gender, opens the door for the less informed to make the decision in certain cases. In a marriage where the husband is committed to being the decision-maker, this can open the door to sin.

The husband and wife should flourish best in a situation of equal authority, where each knows how to honour God by submitting to the other when it is the right thing to do.

I feel that this kind of situation brings more honour to men than the male headship paradigm, which brings honour on a carnal basis.

Jon L. Estes said...

Paula,

I am not going to play your games. It is biblically sound that God takes men and women and uses them in ways they would not be prone to do on their own. His strength shown through our weaknesses.

Is such an action by God the way He does things in all cases? I don't think so.

You made the assertion that women are more deceivable, do you stand by that? I don't.

If you need a list, make your own.

"Are women prone to lust for control over men? Then they should be given power over them so that God can be glorified in restraining them."

Is this not what the feminist movement is about?

"Are women poor leaders? Put them in leadership and glorify God."

I think I said differently the other day. Women can be great leaders but is it God's design? I say no, for the home and church.

"Are women not able to handle the pressures of responsibility? Yes, let's make them responsible so we can glorify God."

I think women can handle responsiblity and nowhere have I said they should not be responsible but it must be first to His word, not cultural leanings.

So do you really believe women are more easily deceived? Or would you care to remove your assertion.

Jon L. Estes said...

"When it comes to the safety of others, however, we can never say that God wants the less able to be in the decision-making position. "

So, for a woman to be in a decision making position, she needs to marry a man who is less capable in this area, than her? Interesting.

Paula said...

I am not going to play your games.

MY games??

You made the assertion that women are more deceivable, do you stand by that? I don't.

Do you stand by your assertion that God is only glorified if people are put into positions they are incompetent to fill?

If you need a list, make your own.

No, YOU need to tell us exactly what it is that women can do to glorify God, since it's your assertion. But you can't, so you won't.

Is this not what the feminist movement is about?

I wouldn't know, I'm not in any such movement. Do you believe women lust for control over men, such that God will be glorified by making them in power over men?

is it God's design? I say no, for the home and church.

That's the whole problem, Jon. You simply assert what you think is "God's design" and then read it into everything. But you won't face the fact that your sisters and brothers in Christ think you have wrong. Assertions are not proofs.

it must be first to His word, not cultural leanings.

I totally agree. Society has been largely patriarchal and in favor of slavery, and we must not bow to those cultural traditions.

And I'll remove my assertion when you remove yours.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Jon,

So, for a woman to be in a decision making position, she needs to marry a man who is less capable in this area, than her? Interesting.

I am not promoting the notion that women should be in the decision-making position. I do not believe that there is a decision-making position.

I believe that men and women should work together. I know many egalitarian couples who are successful, raise children, have a close relationship, and honour God.

There is nothing at all to demonstrate that complementarians function better than egalitarians. Therefore, there is no basis in saying that one person has to have the authority. It simply has not been demonstrated to be true.

Jon L. Estes said...

"Do you stand by your assertion that God is only glorified if people are put into positions they are incompetent to fill?"

"If men were designed to be decision-makers in ways that women are not, then we sould expect that men would be better decision-makers than women."

I disagree. What better way for God to demonstrate that He can use a lesser skilled person to do a greater skilled task than to do so using the two genders He created for specific purposes. Men who agree their spouses are better decision makers by being women will come to realize that it is only by God's grace they can do a great job, as Christ lives through them, at that which they are less likely to do on their own.

This way, God gets the glory, not the better skilled.

Of course, it is possible that many people could only see a shepherd boy when God say a king.


Did I say "only"? No. Sorry but your accusation is wrong. The only time I used the term only was to express this happens "only" by His grace.

I am not here to argue with you.

"That's the whole problem, Jon. You simply assert what you think is "God's design" and then read it into everything. But you won't face the fact that your sisters and brothers in Christ think you have wrong. Assertions are not proofs."

Let's see. I have supported you to hold such a position, though I disagree with it. I have given several examples from scripture and you can accept them or ignore them. Your choice.

Some of your brothers and sisters here think you are wrong does that change your mind? I see your positions as assertions not biblically based and do not think the study and position taken against Grudem holds up.


"And I'll remove my assertion when you remove yours."

So you agree that you have an assertion to be removed. Something I have not come to the conclusion on in my understanding of scripture in this discussion. But since yours is capable of being removed, I would think the lack of personal support to leave it would move you to remove it. But that's me.

Jon L. Estes said...

"When it comes to the safety of others, however, we can never say that God wants the less able to be in the decision-making position. "

I must have misread your statement above. I thought you were showing there is a decision making position to be filled. I guess I misunderstood you. My bad.

Paula said...

Did I say "only"? No. Sorry but your accusation is wrong. The only time I used the term only was to express this happens "only" by His grace.

Whatever, Jon. You're sticking by your assertions, got it.

I am not here to argue with you.

Then what are you here for? To make assertions about God putting you in some authoritative position based on nothing but the flesh or a "calling" that isn't true of any other spiritual gift, and saying it brings God glory? And if anyone challenges those assertions, we're "arguing" but when you respond you're not?

And around and around it goes, where it stops nobody knows...

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Jon,

I think you are quite right in pointing out that it certainly sounds as if I meant that there is a decision-making position.

It seems however, in real life, that in some things the mother knows best and in other things the father knows best. There must in reality be an ability to balance this. For every couple it is different also.

So, the reality is that we each of us have a lifetime to work through this. I do not want to give the impression that I have the answers to all these things, or even that there is one right answer.

Jon L. Estes said...

"Then what are you here for? "

To share where I am at with what I believe to be true.

Are you here to argue or have all agree with you? I hope not.

You can have the last word, I'll dialogue with others so I won't seem so argumentative.

Enjoy your day.

Jon L. Estes said...

Suzanne,

Thanks for your words.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Jon,

The most worrisome about all this is that we fear it invalidates how we have lived. We all want to justify our lives. I have attended a complemnetarian church until recently, two years.

The last thing my pastor said to me was that Grudem had proven that kephale means authority. So, it has only been since then that I have investigated this.

But, really, can such a study be of so much importance. If we have lived according to Jesus saying to love our neighbour as ourselves, if we have held kindness as the highest value, then do we as either egalitarians or complementarians, need to feel that the outcome of a study like this can validate or invaldate our life.

Can't we all look at the kindnesses or unkindnesses that we have committed, as either egal or comp, and realize that this is what others have received from us. Does a paradigm of male authority undo kindess? No. Does a paradigm of egalitarinism undo an unkindness? No.

I do think the paradigm is important, but I don't think it is everything.

D.R. said...

Suzanne,

I enjoyed our discussion when it was just you and I posting back and forth, but unfortunately, I really can't catch up at this point. I am going out of town next week and I have a huge amount of work to do until then to get my Church ready for me to be gone (and this week I have my secretary, music minister, and Celebrate Recovery leader all out of town at the same time!).

So we will have to continue this another time. I do hope that someone will step in to deal with these issues you have brought up, because I think they can be dealt with. Unfortunately, it can't be me anymore (at least right now).

Let me offer one more word and I shall be off - one can criticize arguments and positions, but folks, let's end the character attacks. I've seen too many comments on here attacking people and their integrity (and even institutions and ministries). That certainly doesn't edify the Christ or His Church.

Paula said...

Sue,

I totally agree and have asked many times why people think that "not so among you" does not apply to them, or that even if we are convinced God granted us privilege based on the flesh alone, why they can't lay it down as Jesus did.

But I do believe that the paradigm itself can be the source of much division. It is impossible for those who believe in flesh-based hierarchy to fellowship with those who do not, because that group will not allow the other to fully exercise its spiritual gifts. These two paradigms are impossible to reconcile.

Alan Paul said...

The minute we begin to ascribe stereotypes is the same minute I can show you your stereotype is wrong with many examples. I have learned through experience (some of it hard-learned) that sterotypes and blanket statements are rarely as true as we think they are.

believer333 said...

D.R., if you will note what Christian egals are saying, you will find that most of us who dialogue online about these issues have read most if not all of Grudems arguments. You will also note that the author of this article also read all of Grudem's works on this subject. And that is what is being discussed.

So, the question to you is, have you actually read the article in full? From what you say, it doesn't sound like it. Why not discuss some of the things she says that you don't agree with. Then we can actually dialogue.

Kristen said...

Jon said:

My inherent design (introvert) did not cause me to think I should ever be a preacher but God's purpose was different. In my sinful, introverted, could live by myself, don't like crowds - state I would not have chosen me... but God had different plans.

Does God call all introverts to leadership in the church and home, and forbid such leadership to all extroverts, regardless of anyone's individual gifts and talents, purely on the basis of whether you're an introvert or extrovert?

If not, then the situation you're describing is hardly parallel to male-female roles.

Why would God give half of all Christians privilege over the other half, in such a blanket manner? Did not "he shall rule over you" come about because of sin?

Lydia said...

I've seen too many comments on here attacking people and their integrity (and even institutions and ministries). That certainly doesn't edify the Christ or His Church.

Mon Jul 13, 04:22:00 PM 2009

DR, You are priceless. This is pot>kettle>black.

DR Wrote:

Have you read those two articles I just posted by Grudem, or just the popular one Wade posted?

Mon Jul 13, 12:52:00 AM 2009

I would say that one can be an egalitarian and not be a liberal, but one cannot hold to the view that kephale means "source" with any legitimacy. And I would hope you would think that the clear truth, regardless of what it is, matters.

Mon Jul 13, 12:51:00 AM 2009

You haven't stated a case that refutes Dr. Glare, you have simply called his qualifications into question, but are we to believe that you are MORE qualified than Dr. Glare to make these assumptions?

First, you can't make evaluations based on assumptions. You don't know that Glare can't read Hebrew. How do we know you can read Hebrew? Where did you do your Hebrew studies at? That's just grasping at straws. Clearly, he didn't get where he is today by being ignorant of languages important to his work.

Seriously? Suzanne, that is simply an opinion and has no place in an academic discussion. That's like saying, "My dad can beat up your dad." Let's debate fairly here, please.

Mon Jul 13, 06:17:00 AM 2009

Benji Ramsaur said...

Wade,

"wouldn’t it also be consistent to say that because a husband is told to lay down his life for his wife, then she should demand that he do so and tell him what she needs him to do for her and he must do it?"

I don't think so brother. Christ laid down his life apart from any demand that He do so from His bride.

If the "big picture" of the image of Christ and His bride is kept in view, then it seems to me that the egalitarian argument would have to have Christ and His bride submitting to one another.

But that is not the image that is given.

When Christ elsewhere says that he did not come to be served, I think what he was getting at was that He did not come to be "benefitted" by people.

He came to serve others which benefited them.

But surely we do not want to say that Christ did not lead in any sense.

If Paul had merely spoken of a man being the "head" of his wife without any reference to sacrifice, then I could see men definitely going haywire with that in being selfish lords.

I think what Paul is getting at is that their leadership is to be for the benefit of their wives, not for the benefit of themselves.

Lydia said...

Why would God give half of all Christians privilege over the other half, in such a blanket manner? Did not "he shall rule over you" come about because of sin?

Mon Jul 13, 05:19:00 PM 2009

Kristen, they claim the ruling part came before sin and is part of God's design for marriage even though we cannot find it in Gen 1 and 2...

So after the fall and sin, I guess it means to them MORE rulership or worse rulership?

But we know they are teaching the consequences of sin as God's command for believers. That is insidious.

believer333 said...

"Christ laid down his life apart from any demand that He do so from His bride."

Yes, and no. God saw that sending a part of themselves to clothe into human flesh and suffer unjustly, sacrificing his life for us, in our place, was what humanity needed. It was the only way to bring those who wanted, who would believe, back into true intimate fellowship. God saw that because of His great Love and His great Wisdom, and understanding of the essence of Life in ways we cannot comprehend.

We do similar things for our children when they cannot understand what they need. They didn't verbally ask. But their very livelihood asked us who understood and were willing .... to give of ourselves so that they could benefit.

In the same way, we who have insight, knowledge, abilities, etc. should give of ourselves to one another without them having to instigate the request. That IMO is the essence of mutual submission and sacrificial love.

RKSOKC66 said...

I don't know if I'm the "head of the family" or not. If I am, I have not asserted this position.

My wife, Donna, and I have made decisions jointly during the entire 46 years of our marriage to date. I'm not saying we agree on all stuff. But by any objective criterion I don't anyone would say that either of us is the boss.

For example:

1. My wife was the librarian at a Christian School in San Jose Calif for 16 years. Her library was just about the first one in any Northern California Christian school to have an "automated" card catalog. We bought all the computers (terminals + server) out of our own pocket and I did all the networking myself. Donna, and several other ladies, did all the manual data entry to initially build the electronic version of the author, subject, index, . . . cards. Also she set up the circulation system, etc with bar code readers -- fairly "leading edge" considering this was in the early 1990s. We didn't argue about who was in charge -- we just each did our own thing.

2. My wife had a knee operation and it became evident that she could no longer drive a stick shift car. We had a 280ZX with a 5 speed xmisson. I suggested we get a Corvette with auto trans to replace the "Z". She agreed so that is what we did.

We are now on our third Vette. The one we have now she configured: she chose the color - Atomic orange, she chose all the options -- including the "soft/hard" shock selection (option F55 for you Vette afficianados). Go to our website simpsonfamilyokc.com. There you will see a picture of Donna being driven off the floor of the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green KY in "her" new car. {And due to MS she doesn't even drive any more}.

3. About 15 years ago Donna was diagnosed with MS. She tripped at the top of the stairs --because of bad balance. She fell down the entire flight of stairs and crash- landed at the bottom. I thought she had perminent spinal or neck injury. However, after the paramedics strapped her to a board and took her to the hospital it turned out she was shook up but not seriously injured -- just a couple of bruses and cuts. We had been in that house in Silicon Valley for 38 years. We had to move as there was no way she could any longer navigate in a two-story house. We together worked on a plan on where to move and I told her we could go wherever she wanted as long as I had enough land to put up my ham radio tower. We ended up here in Oklahoma.

4. When we moved here to Okla we bought new furniture etc. The decision regarding the furniture was about 90/10 with Donna calling the shots.

5. I bought a bunch of ham radio gear. Donna never objected. She didn't say I was doing it due to "male dominance". She did say that we needed to refinish the kitchen table because it was in bad shape. It was SOLID OAK (I know they don't make them that way anymore) and 40 years old. So we "negotiated" and worked out a time table and did both.

6. When we decided to attend First Southern here in Del City we did it by mutual consent since we were married in a SBC church many moons ago. We didn't have to fight.

Implicit in the "head" argument is that between husband and wife there is a "zero sum game". I don't buy that false dichotomy. I don't know if I'm the head or not. I don't care. I don't think it would have any practical effect one way or another in our 46 year marriage. I don't predict it will in the future.

If and when I get up to the pearly gates and St. Peter asks me why I didn't assert Biblical Headship I just tell him to cut me some slack. I don't think forfeiting any potential "headship" on my part has had/will have any deliterious effect on me/my wife either here and now or in the by and by.

This "my way or the highway stuff" just doesn't work. Why do you think that even among evangelicals the divorce rate is so high?

Since I don't know much about Greek I can't weigh in on that argument. My Greek is limited to just looking stuff up in the BAGD.

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City

believer333 said...

Roger,

It looks to me from your comments that you have clearly gotten the gist of "head of and body of". You work as one unit, each supporting the other.

Good job. :)

John Fariss said...

Roger,

I don't always agree with you, and sometimes I agree with your heart, but not necessarily with your application--and sometimes I think we are just giving the same answer from two rather different perspectives, so they "sound" quite different. But if I understand your 6:23 PM comment (and I think I do), I think you are on target.

When my wife and I got married 31 years ago, she had been a Christian since she was 12, and had been in church all her life. I had made a profession of faith at a Billy Graham crusade when I was 19, but my experience in church was limited to weddings and funerals. It didn't take her long to hit me with that "You're the man, you're the head of the household, I expect you to make the decisions for us." Ok, so I did--and it didn't take me long to realize that what she really wanted was for me to make decisions the way she wanted them made, and no other (she has a classic passive-agressive personality). Well, several years of therapy, two hospitalizations for depression and OCD, and Prozac, helped her to understand herself, and now "WE" make the decisions for our family, and are much better off for it.

I noticed a few years ago that the people who get most upset about "women preachers" and the "role" of the pastor in church polity are those most concerned with the issue of authority in the church, as opposed to being a servant, as Jesus spoke about. I cannot help but wonder if the same thing applies with the folks most concerned with "authority" in the family. If it is, it is no doubt an unspoken presupposition or criteria by which they opereate, without realizing it.

John

Kristen said...

Roger and John, kudos to both of you! My marriage works by consensus too-- we have never once in 21 years found that we could not come to consensus or that there was any need for my husband to override my will in the name of "headship".

Benji Ramsaur said this:

If the "big picture" of the image of Christ and His bride is kept in view, then it seems to me that the egalitarian argument would have to have Christ and His bride submitting to one another.

But that is not the image that is given.

When Christ elsewhere says that he did not come to be served, I think what he was getting at was that He did not come to be "benefitted" by people.

He came to serve others which benefited them.

But surely we do not want to say that Christ did not lead in any sense.


The Ephesians passage is using the Christ-church metaphor in a limited sense-- it would have to be, because I don't think anyone would agree that the husband is the savior or sanctifier of the wife or that the husband should receive the wife's worship. The
"big picture" would mean that the wife is to treat the husband in every way as if she were the church and he were Christ-- which would be idolatry.

So the question is, how should be limit the metaphor? The clear answer would be, to the same extent the passage itself limits it. Christ's relation to the church in Ephesians 5 is limited to a head-body metaphor in which Christ's sacrificial service is the focus. In that sacrifice, Christ did indeed submit to the Church-- for I think it's fairly safe to believe that some of those who cried "Crucify! Crucify! were later among those added to the believers. Christ submitted to the point of death, so that He could even have a bride.

I believe that unless we add in the English meaning of "leader/ruler" to the Greek word translated "head," (btw, "head" can't mean "ruler" in French-- they don't have to deal with this issue at all in their Bibles!) there is simply no mention in the Ephesians 5 passage of Christ's leadership/authority over the church as part of the limited metaphor-- but only Christ's sacrificial service.

That would mean that the Christ-church metaphor means that the husband is to serve, nourish, and cherish his wife-- but not do the other things Christ does for the church-- he is not to save, sanctify, receive her worship, or lead/rule over her.

Let's give Christ back the leadership of our marriages and prayerfully seek His will, rather than having one adult human in the relationship call the shots for the one who should be his best friend, partner and closest companion.

Paula said...

That's what it's all about, Kristen. We need to get away from all this focus on people and put it back on Jesus where it belongs. He did not come to obliterate our personalities, conscript us into flesh-based roles, or make the sheep serve the shepherd. He came to free us.

believer333 said...

"I think I said differently the other day. Women can be great leaders but is it God's design? I say no, for the home and church."

Jon,

Then how do you explain Deborah, Huldah, Miriam, Phoebe, Abigail, Prisca.

Since God knows us from our wombs, and knits us into who we are, if a woman is a great leader, it is because God made her to be so.

Christiane said...

"So God created humankind* in his image,
in the image of God he created them;*
male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27


This verse from Genesis 1
says something about God.
If you keep the original 'antecedent' and avoid the 'pronouns', this is what you will read:

" 27 So God created humankind* in God's image,
in the image of God, God created them;
male and female, God created them. "


So, what does THIS tell us about God? And about Creation?

Did God form a creature from the elements of the Earth, and did God breathe 'Life' into the creature?
And from that primordial creature, did God, in His Time, create two sexes: a male, a female, both 'in God's Image', which then could participate in Creation by becoming 'one' and producing LIFE ?

'Life from Life'. No scientist will question that statement that 'life comes from life'.

Point being: the Source of all life created them: male and female in that Source's Image. Time to 'rethink' our pronouns? For the Creator who 'is'?

"I Am Who Am', we are told.

There is not a 'male' pronoun used in isolation in this revelation, No.


And among 'human-kind':

"He" by himself, has no power to produce new life.

"She" by herself, has no power to produce new life.

Only in unity, as 'one' can those of 'human-kind' participate in Creation, as 'they' were made, both of them together, in the image of the Creator,
the Source of all life.

BTW, of course did you know this:
that, by far, the strongest muscle found in God-created human-kind is, not surpisingly,
the womb. There is no 'weaker' sex. There never was. Love, L's

Christiane said...

THE 'HEAD' WATERS' OF LIFE:
'Kephale: the Source of the River of Life'

"the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb" (Rev 22:1).

That heavenly water of life is already available through Jesus. His invitation at the Feast of Tabernacles is repeated in the invitation at the end of the book of Revelation: "Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life" (Rev 22:17).

D.R. said...

Lydia,

I feel I should defend myself briefly regarding your statement, "DR, You are priceless. This is pot>kettle>black."

It seems in past conversations, and now here, that you tend to skew the lines between personal attack and attacking one's position. The former is out of bounds, but the latter is exactly what debate it all about.

My comment, directed toward all who comment here, was a plea to focus on the debate and not on attacking others characters.

You posted a few of my quotes out of context in an attempt to show I have attacked others' characters, but I want to show I have not done this.

First - the difference between attacking a person and attacking a position (debate)"

Attacking someone's character would be if an egalitarian said this:

"Wayne Grudem is a jerk and a poor scholar and all he wants to do is enslave women."

Or if a complementarian said this:

"Katherine Kroeger is a liar and a terrible exegete and all she wants to do is hate on men."

Both are examples of character attacks and should be avoided if we are to glorify Christ and His Church. But both are extreme examples. I feel that much less extreme, but still problematic examples of character attacks often go on here and elsewhere (from BOTH sides) when this is discussed. I would like to see us stick to the debate, which is what I believe Suzanne and I did.

Now, let me show how none my quotes you posted are character attacks.

First, it's not a character attack to ask if one has read material related to the debate. If one has read it, then it can be discussed, if not, then it should be read if it is relevant. Thus, not a character attack.

For example believer333 asks me at 5:31 P.M., "So, the question to you is, have you actually read the article in full? From what you say, it doesn't sound like it."

This is not a character attack, though I will state for the record that I had already read this article in full over 6 months ago and discussed it with Wade's dad. So I was already familiar with it. And I would be willing to discuss it further at a later time.

Secondly, stating a view that egalitarianism is not a legitimate Biblical position is certainly not a character attack. It is an attack on the position. These are VASTLY different. When Suzanne says that she doesn't think there is evidence for my position, she is not attacking my character. If we didn't attack each other's positions there would be no debate. If one cannot debate their position without feeling attacked because someone thinks it is flawed, then they shouldn't be debating.

Thirdly, arguments based on one's qualifications are limited and I was attempting to show that when I turned Suzanne's argument about Dr. Glare back on her. I was showing that if she and I were willing to discuss this without having to prove each one's qualifications before hand, then we must at least be willing to accept Dr. Glare's arguments, given his status as Editor of the premier Greek Lexicon.

Turning one's argument back on themselves is not a character attack. It is a debating device that reveals the problematic nature of the argument.

Finally, it is not a character attack to point out unfair or unhelpful comments and ask those with whom you debate to remain in bounds with their comments. A debate can spiral downward because of unhelpful comments. I did not want to go that route and felt it should be addressed. I would expect the same from Suzanne if I made a comment she felt out of bounds.

So my proposal is that we leave name-calling, speculations about motives, and generalizations about how one group or the other acts on their beliefs outside of this discussion and simply debate the Biblical validity of each other's positions.

Lydia said...

DR, Thanks for the lecture. Do you get to decide for your own comments where they fall?

Now, in your humble opinion in category does this one belong:


"You don't know that Glare can't read Hebrew. How do we know you can read Hebrew? Where did you do your Hebrew studies at? That's just grasping at straws. Clearly, he didn't get where he is today by being ignorant of languages important to his work."

By the way, since you like to point out my typos or misspellings, may I suggest ending a sentence with a preposition is bad grammar...even thought I do it all the time, too? (wink)

Paula said...

I'm just watching this exchange between Lydia and DR, and I have to agree that DR is attempting to lecture Lydia, which in itself is a personal attack.

The reason I comment on this at all is because I have run into it time and again in this and other venues. Someone doesn't like how another person expresses themselves, or how often, and tries to play forum cop by lecturing them on proper etiquette. But that can only be done by the owner of the venue.

Lectures on debate, forum or blog behavior, etc. are not to be given by the participants. Let the onlookers decide who is out of bounds.

Better yet, and I need to work on this too, why don't we all try ignoring the style or manner of others and pick out their actual points? To react with passion is human after all, but to control it is almost divine.

believer333 said...

"then we must at least be willing to accept Dr. Glare's arguments, given his status as Editor of the premier Greek Lexicon."

Question. Is Glare the editor only or did he also contribute to the authorship of Liddel and Scott. Did he also do the research in with which the Lexicon was written?

Debbie Kaufman said...

Lectures on debate, forum or blog behavior, etc. are not to be given by the participants. Let the onlookers decide who is out of bounds.

Although I disagree with what DR has said to Lydia(because of personal opinion) I would disagree with you Paula as you well know. Sometimes you seem to make up rules as you go along. If someone does something out of line it isn't wrong for another to say something. It's an area you and I disagree on. This is blogging Paula, freely being able to speak on both ends of the spectrum.

Benji Ramsaur said...

believer333,

Wade spoke of demanding, not merely seeing the need of another so that a demand is not needed.

Kristen,

I agree it is limited. I disagree that the limitation expresses mutual submission between Jesus and His bride.

Grace to you,

Benji

Benji Ramsaur said...

Kristen,

Should be "I disagree that the limited metaphor expresses mutual submission between Jesus and His bride" above.

Paula said...


Although I disagree with what DR has said to Lydia(because of personal opinion) I would disagree with you Paula as you well know. Sometimes you seem to make up rules as you go along. If someone does something out of line it isn't wrong for another to say something. It's an area you and I disagree on. This is blogging Paula, freely being able to speak on both ends of the spectrum.


I recall others trying to make rules for me, but I never tried to tell anyone what they could or could not post. I keep appealing to blog owners as having the "final say" in such matters. So why you think only I cannot voice an opinion, especially one that advocates less control by fellow posters, I cannot fathom.

So as I would say to DR, so also to you: let's all stop lecturing each other on how, what, or how often we post. No, that's not "giving orders", unless what you just told me is also "giving orders".

believer333 said...

" I disagree that the limitation expresses mutual submission between Jesus and His bride."

I've heard others say something to this effect, but I cannot follow the sense of it. Paul tells husbands to imitate Christ's sacrificial love. Paul tells wives to submit similar to how the church does to Christ. This begs an understanding of hupotassomai though, otherwise we have some people thinking that wives are to treat their husbands as gods while wives are finite mortals. :)

Straight forward mutual submission is done between mortals as equals. And I believe it is also done in the Trinity as between equals. But between God and humans the submission is one of an eternal sacrificing himself for the mortal, not equal but yet real. It would be similar to a parent who sacrifices himself daily and yields to the needs of the child for their benefit.

Some have difficulty relating to that as submission. But remember that the Greek meaning is to arrange oneself under another for their benefit .... for various reasons. Christ arranged Himself under us in suffering death, in order to lift us up to Himself.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Let's say, for argument's sake that the metaphor for Christ and the church does express mutual submission.

Even then, there would be one HUGE different between them.

The submission of Christ would be for the benefit of the bride.

However, the submission of the bride would NOT be for the benefit of Christ.

Therefore, if it is not "I'm benefitting you by submitting to you" kind of submission that the wife is to give [based on the metaphor], then what other kind of submission is there?

Lydia said...

To react with passion is human after all, but to control it is almost divine.

Mon Jul 13, 11:44:00 PM 2009

Ouch. Guilty!

Deb, DR does a lot of lecturing. Usually it goes something along the lines of: What makes YOU credible on this topic. So, he wants to pit bonafides against bonafides but then we come to the question of what bonafides are respected. In the past, I would have been impressed with a M.Div from one of our seminaries but not anymore. The Ivory Tower impresses me less and less these days.

Now, I am impressed with calloused knees. :o)

believer333 said...

"Therefore, if it is not "I'm benefitting you by submitting to you" kind of submission that the wife is to give [based on the metaphor], then what other kind of submission is there?"

Really good question. The submission we as the Bride give to Christ is to yield to His sacrifice, receive his mercy and kindness. In a way, it does benefit Him. His desire is that we become His people, His Bride. By yielding to that desire, which is also for our benefit, we also benefit Him. ??

Paula said...

Ouch. Guilty!

Sorry. :-)

But to quote Han Solo, "I prefer a straight fight to all this sneakin' around." I'd rather see a brawl than a Quaker meeting. But I do strive for something between those two extremes. The important thing for me is that this is a matter of self-discipline, not other-discipline.

In the past, I would have been impressed with a M.Div from one of our seminaries but not anymore. The Ivory Tower impresses me less and less these days.

Ditto.

Lydia said...

"Therefore, if it is not "I'm benefitting you by submitting to you" kind of submission that the wife is to give [based on the metaphor], then what other kind of submission is there?"

Benji, The problem I have with your take on this metaphor is that in your interpretation of submission means:

Husband as a Christ
Wife as the Church

In your interpretation the submission would go as follows:

wife to husband and husband to Christ.

A layer in between the wife and Christ. That cannot be right.

It was asked earlier if the wife has two authorities? Does she?

I agree with Kristen that this metaphor is taken way too far. It is about love. Not a chain of command structure.

Your interpretation also negates Eph 5:21 which does NOT exclude believing husbands. Grudem teaches that 5:21 is limited in scope and does not include husbands. I cannot for the life of me figure out that one.

Lydia said...

"Benji, The problem I have with your take on this metaphor is that in your interpretation of submission means:"

Sheesh! That sentence sounds like I am drinking! It should be:

The problem I have with your take on this metaphor is that your interpretation of submission would mean:

Benji Ramsaur said...

believer333,

I appreciate your tone and desire to be thoughtful about this.

"The submission we as the Bride give to Christ is to yield to His sacrifice, receive his mercy and kindness. In a way, it does benefit Him. His desire is that we become His people, His Bride. By yielding to that desire, which is also for our benefit, we also benefit Him. ??"

No, no, no...my fellow Christian.

That is exactly what Christ was getting at in saying He did not come to be served--He did not come to be benefitted by us.

There is no need in Christ of which He needs our good submission towards Him to meet.

The true God has no needs--Acts 17:25.

God Bless,

Benji

Christiane said...

Dear BENJI,

Regarding 'no needs', there is this to think about. These scriptures cannot be 'explained away', and contain a great mystery that lies at the 'heart' of our faith:

" 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”

37 Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?

38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?

39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?”

40 And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,* you did it to me.”

41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;

42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,

43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.”

44 Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?”

45 Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”

from the 25th Chapter of Matthew

Benji Ramsaur said...

Lydia,

I understand what you are saying and how one could take it that way but I do not.

Part of what can create confusion in this matter is how the idea of authority or leadership is "nuanced" in the discussion.

I do think there is something to be said that children are told to "obey" and wives are told to "submit".

Different words in the Greek with more edge in the Greek word that is translated "obey".

However, let's speak about leadership or authority "roughly" so that we don't get unnecessarily hung up.

I'm told to submit to the government, but I do not take that to mean that I must go through the government to get to Christ.

A 10 year old Christian girl is to obey her parents, but I don't take that to mean that she must go through them to get to Christ.

The connection to Christ is direct, not indirect for all Christians--including wives.

Let me end by saying this:

If leadership is in view in Ephesians 5, then the ONLY leadership spoken of is leadership that benefits the wife.

That's it.

believer333 said...

Don’t run away so fast Benji lest you miss something really important. There are no points being scored here. :)

You are correct that Christ did not come to be served by us. Christ came to die for us, and only that. However, it is interesting indeed in that by dying for us, He get’s a people, a Bride. We were created for His pleasure. If Christ had not done this He would not have had a Bride for we are born from His side – His death on the cross. The broken heart, blood and water, spilling out from His side upon His death, is that sacrificial love spilling out for us. And those who receive this great sacrifice become His Bride, His people, His warriors on the earth….

It seems to me that there is a parallel there between husband and wife. The husband is only admonished to emulate Christ’s sacrificial love and all that contains: nurturing, caring, suffering for the benefit of the bride. Nothing else! Now If Christ had not done this – no bride. If a husband does not do this, I suspect there is little to no life in the marriage. And if the wife does not yield to the husbands efforts in trust and support
(remembering he is not Christ, he is only human like her), there is also a lack of life in the marriage. In the end all it takes the efforts of two. The husband as sacrificer, nurturer, one who cares; the wife as supporter, nurturer , one who trusts. This is two becoming as ONE, ‘head of and body of’ each other.

Of course, this does not negate the fact that Paul already told them both to love sacrificially, and told them both to submit one to another. I suspect that what Paul was getting at, was where the problems were. While God has no needs, we mortals do have needs. We need each other – as equals.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Christiane,

The meaning of those verses should not be explained away, but they should not contradict the other Scriptures I've mentioned either.

Thanks for giving me something to think about.

Grace to you,

Benji

believer333 said...

"If leadership is in view in Ephesians 5, then the ONLY leadership spoken of is leadership that benefits the wife."

Leadership is not in view. Sacrificial love is. The husband is not told to lead the wife. The husband is told to emulate Christ's sacrificial love, not Christ's power or authority or anything else. The husband is only told to emulate Christ's sacrificial love toward his wife.

Benji Ramsaur said...

believer333,

"The husband is only admonished to emulate Christ’s sacrificial love and all that contains: nurturing, caring, suffering for the benefit of the bride. Nothing else! Now If Christ had not done this – no bride. If a husband does not do this, I suspect there is little to no life in the marriage. And if the wife does not yield to the husbands efforts in trust and support
(remembering he is not Christ, he is only human like her), there is also a lack of life in the marriage. In the end all it takes the efforts of two. The husband as sacrificer, nurturer, one who cares; the wife as supporter, nurturer , one who trusts. This is two becoming as ONE, ‘head of and body of’ each other."

I think you expressed that very well. It might even end up in a sermon of mine some day:)

The tension seems to be how to reconcile the "one anothering" verse 21 with the "image" given in the following verses.

Here is a proposal. I might wake up tomorrow morning and disagree with my proposal, but oh well.

Verse 21 is a wide angle camera lens view of the church.

The verses that follow zoom in a bit.

Verse 21 sets a tone. The verses that follow it show what Christian relationships look like in more detail.

God Bless,

Benji

P.s. If you comment again, don't think I'm giving you the cold shoulder. I need to go to bed soon:)

believer333 said...

"Verse 21 is a wide angle camera lens view of the church.

The verses that follow zoom in a bit.

Verse 21 sets a tone. The verses that follow it show what Christian relationships look like in more detail."


You only have half the picture in your wide angle lens. :)

5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

5:20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

Sandwiched between vs. 1 and 21 is an attitude that Paul is admonishing all Christians to have. Isn't it interesting that he then takes those very two points and admonishes the husband to love sacrificially and the wife to be submissive (carrying the tone of a mutual submission). It isn't that when one is married, the husband no longer submits and the wife no longer loves sacrificially. Rather it is that they must continue to do so to one another. And it is likely that husbands were lacking in that sacrificial love, while wives were lacking in that trusting honoring submission.


I like the wide angle lens :). Just make sure it's wide enough to get the whole picture in.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

DR,

I appreciate very much the tone of our debate last night. (I feel we lost a lot of time because I did not identify the Ptol/Phil in Philo properly right away.)

I do want to say that I disgree strongly with several statements in the Glare/Grudem dialogue. I do not feel perhaps the same way that you do about credentials. The argument itself is more important.

With regards to the lecture you gave Paula, I would like to put this in context.

I have been maligned on occasion myself, and people have attacked my character. I have also had been in dire straits in my life and strong, opinionated women helped me out.

Paula reminds me of the women who, in some way, saved my life. When she comments it makes me feel safe, that some women, women like Paula, are prepared to stand up to men come what may. So thank you, Paula, God bless.

Tim Marsh said...

Just a thought:

I wonder why, in the 2000 year history of the church, we did not have more 'egalitarian' readings of the text?

Has anyone ever thought that the deck was stacked?

Thy Peace said...

Paula reminds me of the women who, in some way, saved my life. When she comments it makes me feel safe, that some women, women like Paula, are prepared to stand up to men come what may. So thank you, Paula, God bless.

Paula, Lydia and Debbie too ... God bless. They stand up to both men and women.

Paula said...

Thank you, Suzanne and ThyPeace. :-)

It was actually Lydia that DR lectured, then I called him out, then I was lectured by another party for lecturing... a kind of "I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine" lecture fest. :-0

But rescuing both men and women from the tyranny of worldly rule is my mission, and most of the time it is a thankless job. So I thank you in return.

Kendall said...

Wade,

Do you still stand by your sermon you preached from Ephesians 5:22-24 (A Word to Wives "Biblical Submission")?

http://www.emmanuelenid.org/sermons/Ephesians/Ephesians28.htm

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wade Burleson said...

Kendall,

I would have to go back and listen to the message, but if it is before 1998 I probably was not as aware of the intentional attempt to remove "mutual submission" from Christian understanding in SBC circles.

In other words, sometimes you have to push hard in the other direction to turn the ship around to a proper balance and understanding of husbands and wives mutually submitting.

Benji Ramsaur said...

believer333,

"You only have half the picture in your wide angle lens. :)...Isn't it interesting that he then takes those very two points and admonishes the husband to love sacrificially and the wife to be submissive..."

I think you're right. And yes, I do find it interesting.

Allow me to take the full picture into my wide angle camera lens and build upon my proposal a bit.

Perhaps what Paul is getting at can be likened to Galatians 6:10.

There we see Paul speaking of doing good to all, but ESPECIALLY to those who are a part of our spiritual family.

So, doing good to our lost neighbors does not cancel out doing good to our spiritual family and doing good to our spiritual family does not cancel out doing good to our lost neighbors.

The only difference between these two groups being an object of our goodness is one of emphasis.

Perhaps Paul is saying the same kind of thing in Ephesians 5 in a different kind of way.

Perhaps Paul is communicating "I want all of you loving one another and I want all of you submitting to one another, but in a marriage relationship, love should be ESPECIALLY prominent from a husband towards his wife and submission should be ESPECIALLY prominent from a wife towards her husband."

Benji Ramsaur said...

believer333,

"Leadership is not in view. Sacrificial love is."

But "if" headship means leadership [in some sense], then sacrificial love is what flows from leadership.

And it does seem to me that leadership [in some sense] fits in with the logic of what Paul is saying.

ezekiel said...

Wow, my head is hurting. All this talk of submission to each other, to husbands, wives, pastors on and on. It is all flesh. Nothing more, nothing less.

At the end of the day, the work of Christ on the Cross is all that matters. When He finished that work, we all (male and female)found ourselves reconciled to the Almighty God, blameless and confident to stand boldy before him.

2Co 5:16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.
2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2Co 5:18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
2Co 5:19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
2Co 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
2Co 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

I don't see any rank, any authority or any ruling over anybody here. Maybe I am missing something. All I see here is one. One united body.

We may do well to study what Spurgeon has to say this morning.

Morning
“If thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.”
- Exo_20:25
God’s altar was to be built of unhewn stones, that no trace of human skill or labour might be seen upon it. Human wisdom delights to trim and arrange the doctrines of the cross into a system more artificial and more congenial with the depraved tastes of fallen nature; instead, however, of improving the gospel carnal wisdom pollutes it, until it becomes another gospel, and not the truth of God at all. All alterations and amendments of the Lord’s own Word are defilements and pollutions. The proud heart of man is very anxious to have a hand in the justification of the soul before God; preparations for Christ are dreamed of, humblings and repentings are trusted in, good works are cried up, natural ability is much vaunted, and by all means the attempt is made to lift up human tools upon the divine altar. It were well if sinners would remember that so far from perfecting the Saviour’s work, their carnal confidences only pollute and dishonour it. The Lord alone must be exalted in the work of atonement, and not a single mark of man’s chisel or hammer will be endured. There is an inherent blasphemy in seeking to add to what Christ Jesus in His dying moments declared to be finished, or to improve that in which the Lord Jehovah finds perfect satisfaction. Trembling sinner, away with thy tools, and fall upon thy knees in humble supplication; and accept the Lord Jesus to be the altar of thine atonement, and rest in him alone.
Many professors may take warning from this morning’s text as to the doctrines which they believe. There is among Christians far too much inclination to square and reconcile the truths of revelation; this is a form of irreverence and unbelief, let us strive against it, and receive truth as we find it; rejoicing that the doctrines of the Word are unhewn stones, and so are all the more fit to build an altar for the Lord.

Benji Ramsaur said...

believer333,

I thought about this idea this morning:

The "only" person who is explicitly said to benefit in Ephesians 5 from the marriage relationship is the wife.

Former FBC Insider said...

Paula said...
I've said it a thousand times and will keep saying it till "the cows come home":

Anyone who fights for their position isn't fighting either for God or for servitude. People don't fight for those things. They fight for preeminence. (3 John 1:9)

Mon Jul 13, 10:42:00 AM 2009

Very astute. I can't agree with you more. Very well said.

(And put me in the "I Love Paula" fan club too.)

Paula said...

Former FBC Insider said...

Very astute. I can't agree with you more. Very well said.

(And put me in the "I Love Paula" fan club too.)


"Help me, I'm melting!"

Tanx FFBCI! :-)

Lydia said...

Perhaps Paul is communicating "I want all of you loving one another and I want all of you submitting to one another, but in a marriage relationship, love should be ESPECIALLY prominent from a husband towards his wife and submission should be ESPECIALLY prominent from a wife towards her husband."

Tue Jul 14, 10:45:00 AM 2009

The really cool thing about this Eph passage is that it must mean that wives do not have to love their husbands, right? Or perhaps they do not need to. After all, in that context most marriages were probably arranged and she was about 14 when she married and he might have been 30.

The word for respect in vs. 33 is phobeos which is most usually translated as FEAR not respect. So wives must FEAR their husbands. That would make sense in the 1st Century context. :o)

It would also mean that husband need not worry about respecting or reverencing their wives. After all, that is not mentioned.

Is this really where we are going with this passage?

believer333 said...

"But "if" headship means leadership [in some sense], then sacrificial love is what flows from leadership."

It doesn't. Look at the context. Is Jesus dying in order to bring us salvation an act of leadership or an act of sacrificial love. According to Paul it is equated as an act of sacrificial love. What flows from leadership is not discussed in Ephesians 5 anywhere. Different subject.

There is no room for a man to try to take up leadership and influence wife to be his follower. That is really anathema to the context. Rather, in Ephe. 5 we have the metaphorical relationship of 'head of' (not over) and body of (not under)'. The 'head of' does not stand alone, but is in direct relationship to 'body of'. Also, the wife is told to treat/view husband as 'head of'. The husband is NOT told to view himself as such. Then it is the husband who is told to view his wife as his own body, part of himself (body of), indespensible, NOT the wife.

believer333 said...

"The "only" person who is explicitly said to benefit in Ephesians 5 from the marriage relationship is the wife."

It is the express command to the man to benefit the wife, in that we agree.

However, is there no benefit from being respected? vs. 33

And do you not see that if we live out verse 1-2 and vs. 21 that we will all be benefitted? How can we be submitted one to another and not benefit. Mutual submissive attitudes benefit both. Respect and honor benefit both.

I wouldn't get too hung up on the 'benefit' thing, though. :) I do think it is an ultimate goal for all Christians to love one another to their benefit. :) :)

Phil. 2: 1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

believer333 said...

"Perhaps Paul is saying the same kind of thing in Ephesians 5 in a different kind of way.

Perhaps Paul is communicating "I want all of you loving one another and I want all of you submitting to one another, but in a marriage relationship, love should be ESPECIALLY prominent from a husband towards his wife and submission should be ESPECIALLY prominent from a wife towards her husband.""


I like it.

One principle of life I have noticed in Scripture is that the strong are SUPPOSED to protect and support the weaker. God first created everything (the really big stuff) in the universe to support life on earth. Then He created the things of life. Interestingly, that which is supported by the stronger elements of the universe, then are to turn around and give support and protection, nurturing care in return. Do you suppose there is a lesson there for us. :)

Kristen said...

Tim Marsh said:

I wonder why, in the 2000 year history of the church, we did not have more 'egalitarian' readings of the text?

Has anyone ever thought that the deck was stacked?


There have been more egalitarian readings of the text. There have been Christian leaders who supported women in ministry. There have been prominent women like Phoebe Palmer and Antoinette Brown, who preached to both men and women with great anointing by the Holy Spirit. For the most part, the ministries of these women have been ignored by historians, both secular and religious, and allowed to fade away from the memory of the Church as a whole. Christian movements where the leaders allowed more freedom to women, almost always reverted in the next generation to suppressing women's freedom once again.

All the Bible translations we have are translated by men. All the power in the Church as a whole is in the hands of men-- and they have held views of Biblical interpretation which have kept them from having to share that power.

Even Christian history textbooks are almost exclusively the story of men in the church. "Her Story: Women in Christian Tradition" is an exception. Excerpts from this book can be viewed on Google Books.

http://books.google.com/books?id=Daxr-7t3Wf0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Her+Story

Women have to a large extent been encouraged to stay in their "place" -- and to please the Lord have mostly done so, and encouraged their sisters and daughters to do so; because those who do not, face accusations and persecution for rebellion.

Yes, the deck has been stacked. I really appreciate the opportunity for dialogue here, and am very appreciative for the listening ear demonstrated by those of both complementarian and egalitarian persuasion. Once we open our minds and hearts to truly hear one another, who knows what God may do?

Lydia said...

http://strivetoenter.com/wim/

This is just one example, out of many, of the reason many of us do not trust Grudem.

Either he is not a scholar or he ignores evidence that does not fit his presuppositions.

Thy Peace said...

Women In Ministry > Wayne Grudem - answering part 4 of his “Open letter to Egalitarians”.
This is the part 4 of answering Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” and his “Six Questions That Have Never Been Satisfactorily Answered”. Today I am posting his fourth question, Suzanne McCarthy’s answer from the Greek and my own questions below that. My blog does not yet have the ability for me to use the Greek fonts so I have included a link to Suzanne’s article that has the Greek.

Kendall said...

For Grudem's articles and more you should check out:
http://www.cbmw.org/

E.K. said...

Wade,
Thanks for posting this article - Christians need to know that not everyone buys the "Grudem gospel".
I was happy to note that you are from OK. Just moved to Chickasha recently and would love to find a church that does not share Grudem's view. Do you know of one?

Lydia said...

For Grudem's articles and more you should check out:
http://www.cbmw.org/

Wed Jul 15, 05:01:00 PM 2009

Many of us were weaned on CBMW type interpretations since the 80's. By the Grace of God we have left the Talmudic teaching of CBMW and found that we are free to proclaim the Gospel and teach the Word to anyone requardless of gender.

Stickler said...

http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/losing-my-religion-for-equality-20090714-dk0v.html

"I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service."

Benji Ramsaur said...

Lydia,

:)

generic...generic...generic marriage--that is the main thrust I get from your arguments.

The text itself does not say "submit to one another; wives, submit to your husbands; husbands, submit to your wives--PERIOD...wives, reverence your husbands; husbands, reverence your wives--PERIOD...wives, love your husbands; husbands, love your wives--PERIOD"

But that is exactly how you come across as wanting it to say in my opinion.

Based on that kind of argumentation, it would be consistent to argue in favor of "Children, obey your parents; parents, obey your children--PERIOD"?

If marriage is supposed to be what you are arguing for, then [I don't know how to italicize] WHY DID PAUL BOTHER WITH NUANCE AT ALL?

I have already made a "proposal" in which a wife sacrificially loving her paralyzed husband, for example, would not necessarily be canceled out.

Cultural Context? Don't see it.

Creation? See it.

:)

God Bless,

Benji

Benji Ramsaur said...

believer333,

"Is Jesus dying in order to bring us salvation an act of leadership or an act of sacrificial love."

I don't think it's either/or. I think it's both/and.

I don't think sacrificial leadership is an oxymoron. In fact, I think it sets an example.

"Rather, in Ephe. 5 we have the metaphorical relationship of 'head of' (not over) and body of (not under)'."

I agree the relationship is organic. I disagree that an organic relationship cancels out leadership [in some sense].

"Also, the wife is told to treat/view husband as 'head of'. The husband is NOT told to view himself as such."

Neither is a mother told to view herself as an authority in relation to her children, but that is implied in Eph 6.

Benji Ramsaur said...

believer333,

"However, is there no benefit from being respected? vs. 33"

ehhhhh, interesting question.

Let's take a step back and remember that we agree that this metaphor is limited. In relation to Jesus, I do not believe He is "benefitted" from being respected.

In relation to a husband, the text does not "explicitly" say the husband receives some benefit from being respected.

Could "respect" be a benefit in and of itself in relation to the husband? ehhhhhh, I don't think the text wants to go that route in light of the metaphor.

I think it is speaking of the attitude of the submitting wife instead of a benefit from submission.

Benji Ramsaur said...

believer333,

"And do you not see that if we live out verse 1-2 and vs. 21 that we will all be benefitted?"

Yes. But my proposal did not cancel that out.

"I do think it is an ultimate goal for all Christians to love one another to their benefit. :) :)"

Yes. But my proposal did not cancel that out.

He, he, he, he, he...:):)

Benji Ramsaur said...

believer333,

"Interestingly, that which is supported by the stronger elements of the universe, then are to turn around and give support and protection, nurturing care in return. Do you suppose there is a lesson there for us. :)"

Yes, I love my Mom.

:)

believer333 said...

”"Rather, in Ephe. 5 we have the metaphorical relationship of 'head of' (not over) and body of (not under)'."



”I agree the relationship is organic. I disagree that an organic relationship cancels out leadership [in some sense].”

In what sense do you think it was understood when Paul wrote it? That is the question. I believe Paul’s point to be similar to 1 Cor. 11 where he noted that ” 11In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.”

”"Also, the wife is told to treat/view husband as 'head of'. The husband is NOT told to view himself as such."


”
Neither is a mother told to view herself as an authority in relation to her children, but that is implied in Eph 6.”

Disagree. Both parents are told to train up their children in the way that they should go. They are admonished to discipline their children. There are many places in Scripture where these principles are clearly outlined for parents. Do you have any Scriptures in mind where a husband is told that he is responsible to train his wife in how she is to live, or where he is told how to discipline his wife when she is disobedient?

BTW Welcome back and thank you for the humor and lightheartedness in response. :)

believer333 said...

”"Is Jesus dying in order to bring us salvation an act of leadership or an act of sacrificial love."


”
I don't think it's either/or. I think it's both/and.

I don't think sacrificial leadership is an oxymoron. In fact, I think it sets an example.”

There is some merit in that , but that is because He is God, our Creator. Everything He does can be said to be both authoritative and Holy Love. Not so, with humans. We are not to attempt to be gods, but we are to emulate His character and good acts. There is no indication that men are to emulate some character of God’s that women are not to, and vice versa.

believer333 said...

"The text itself does not say "submit to one another; wives, submit to your husbands; husbands, submit to your wives--PERIOD"

Verse 21 does indeed say that by saying that all of us are to submit to one another. All of us would include men to women, women to men, husbands to wives, and wives to husbands, leaders to those they lead, all believers to all believers.....

Benji Ramsaur said...

believer333,

Let me say what I meant earlier more clearly.

”
Neither is a mother told to view herself as an authority in relation to her children [in Eph. 6], but that is implied in Eph 6.”

* I think it is true that "some" may believe the Greek supports "fathers and mothers" being in view in verse 4. However, I just checked a bunch of different translations and none of them had that. For arguments sake, my argument would be operating on the basis of only Fathers being in view in verse 4.

"In what sense do you think it was understood when Paul wrote it?"

Even if it means that the husband and wife are not independent of one another, that does not necessarily cancel out leadership in the relationship.

We are organically connected to Jesus but that does not mean that He doesn't lead.

"We are not to attempt to be gods, but we are to emulate His character and good acts."

I don't think trying to emulate sacrificial leadership necessarily means we are attempting to be gods.

"Verse 21 does indeed say that by saying that all of us are to submit to one another."

I agree, but what I was getting at was my quote as a whole. The text does eventually go in a nuanced direction.

God Bless,

Benji

Lydia said...

"generic...generic...generic marriage--that is the main thrust I get from your arguments."

I do not understand generic at all. You would have to elaborate.

"The text itself does not say "submit to one another; wives, submit to your husbands; husbands, submit to your wives--PERIOD..."

Sure it does. Eph 5:21. All believers to submit to one another. I do not see that believing husbands would be exempted. There was not too much a believing wife could do for her husband since the civil law said she must obey him and she was his property. And there is no way he could love her the way described without submitting to her. (to make her more important than himself)


"wives, reverence your husbands; husbands, reverence your wives--PERIOD...wives, love your husbands; husbands, love your wives--PERIOD""

The word for 'reverence' is actually phobeo and is usually translated as 'fear'. Reverence is one of the meanings in the range of fear and trembling. Ironically, some translate it as respect which is a stretch.

"But that is exactly how you come across as wanting it to say in my opinion."

That is because ALL the "one anothers" throughout the NT are not cancelled out by this one proof text. Just one example: Is 1 Corin 13 cancelled out for husbands because of Eph 5? There are a ton of others such as thinking of others before yourself. I have not seen any exemptions for believing husbands in these verses.

"Based on that kind of argumentation, it would be consistent to argue in favor of "Children, obey your parents; parents, obey your children--PERIOD"?"

How is a grown women like a child? But since you use that example, I am afraid you do see women as something less than mature adults. Not to mention there is a huge difference between obey and submit. Submit is voluntary. Obey is not.

"If marriage is supposed to be what you are arguing for, then [I don't know how to italicize] WHY DID PAUL BOTHER WITH NUANCE AT ALL?"

It could be that within the body and the words the Holy Spirit inspired for submit were a STEP UP the food chain for women. The civil law said obey and you are a piece of property. The Word says, voluntarily put someone else before yourself.

"I have already made a "proposal" in which a wife sacrificially loving her paralyzed husband, for example, would not necessarily be canceled out."

I am not sure I understand what you mean here?

"Cultural Context? Don't see it.

Creation? See it. "

That is the whole problem. They way you interpret the pre-fall creation account to see preeminance and authority for men. That is READ INTO the account. It has nothing to do with Ezer which also is used to describe God.

So, in effect, your interpretation is teaching men and women to LIVE OUT the consequences of sin as being Holy. It is teaching what I think of as 'sanctified sin'.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Lydia,

generic--meaning nuance is cut out, behavior is absolutely uniform; husbands love/submit/fear wives and vice versa.

Since the relationship between parents and children follows next in the context, it would be consistent to make that relationship "generic" as well if genericism [I just made up a word] continues to have its way through the text. Therefore, no put down of "women" on my part.

"There was not too much a believing wife could do for her husband since the civil law said she must obey him and she was his property."

Culture

"It could be that within the body and the words the Holy Spirit inspired for submit were a STEP UP the food chain for women. The civil law said obey and you are a piece of property."

Culture

Culture/culture--The explicit basis for the nuance is the picture of Christ and the church, not something going on in the culture.

"The word for 'reverence' is actually phobeo and is usually translated as 'fear'. Reverence is one of the meanings in the range of fear and trembling. Ironically, some translate it as respect which is a stretch."

So what are you doing? "Chiding" the text? If not, then what?

"That is the whole problem. They way you interpret the pre-fall creation account to see preeminance and authority for men. That is READ INTO the account. It has nothing to do with Ezer which also is used to describe God."

Nope. I have already stated that I do not believe "ezer" proves egalitarianism or complimentarianism by itself. I advocate the N.T. "controlling" O.T. interpretations.

When one is sensitive to allow the picture of Christ and the church in Eph 5 to control how one interprets Genesis, then one can rightly interpret Genesis.

God Bless,

Benji

believer333 said...

"Nope. I have already stated that I do not believe "ezer" proves egalitarianism or complimentarianism by itself. I advocate the N.T. "controlling" O.T. interpretations. "

How do you propose anything in the NT controlls or changes the meaning of the word 'ezer' as it relates to God calling the woman the man's ezer kenegdo to allay his aloneness?

believer333 said...

"When one is sensitive to allow the picture of Christ and the church in Eph 5 to control how one interprets Genesis, then one can rightly interpret Genesis."

I'm not so sure that is the correct way to use the NT regarding the OT.

Genesis should be fully understood in its foundational role in order to fully understand Gen. 5 in light of the fact that the mystery is that two should become as one. Understanding how they were as one and meant to be as one in Genesis gives us better understanding of Eph.

Benji Ramsaur said...

believer333,

"Understanding how they were as one and meant to be as one in Genesis gives us better understanding of Eph."

I completely disagree. It's the other way around. It's approaches to the Bible like this that lead to things such as believing literal Israel is still going to inherit the literal land of Canaan because the "heavenly country" that Hebrews talks about is not allowed to "rule the roost" in how the Bible is interpreted.

This is a prime example for why I advocate that it would be better to focus on finding agreement on the proper hermeneutic for interpreting Scripture since that is the root cause for why folds can disagree about things like gender.

The New Testament should be allowed to take us wherever the New Testament takes us in interpreting the Old Testament. There should be no "well, I don't see the Old Testament saying that so the New Testament 'can't' be saying that since I don't see that in the Old Testament in its own context".

That's the problem. We need to be depending on the N.T. for our O.T. interpretations like some guy who overly depends on the notes of His study Bible in helping him understand the Bible.

It's interpreting the O.T. apart from the light of the N.T. that leads to bullying the New Testament around.

The N.T. will interpret the O.T. in some very interesting directions. Let it have its say. God has now spoken to us in His Son in the N.T.

God Bless,

Benji

P.S. In the previous "gender" post I think I explained more why I advocate what I am advocating here if you are interested.

believer333 said...

There is no one way to do it Benji. Different sections require different approaches. You have the historical, the law, the poetic, the proverbs, the gospels and the epistiles all of which require different approaches. While it is quite true that many things in the OT are explained in the NT, not all is.

And I can show you where your idea that always the NT explains the OT is used to cancel out and change the truths of the OT which should be understood on their own.

Hierarchalists use 1 Tim. 2:13-14 to try to say that because Adam was created first he had primacy over Eve. Yet, in Genesis no such primacy over Eve is put forth. Thus, they attempt to use the NT to insert a concept into Genesis that does not exist. This would be avoided if first they sought to understand both by the context and theme of the place they reside.... Genesis in Genesis and 1 Tim. in 1 Tim.

Paula said...

And even if we try to impose the NT onto the OT, 1 Tim. 2 isn't adding anything to Genesis anyway. Both passages speak clearly of deception, and neither speak of some flesh-based hierarchy. Paul expressly states that deception is the issue. And Eve's deception is not exclusively a woman's legacy either. (see 2 Cor. 11:3)

Benji Ramsaur said...

believer333 and Paula,

When I speak of the N.T. interpreting the O.T., I am not "merely" talking about when a New Testament writer *explicitly* appeals/interprets the Old Testament.

I am also referring to typology. The very "figure" of King David is a picture [i.e, a type] of King Jesus for example.

Jesus is very clear that the ***entire*** Old Testament points to Him [John 5:39; Luke 24:27].

In other words, the Old Testament is "anticipating" the Messiah who is "revealed" in the New Testament.

What is revealed in the N.T. is "clearer" than what is anticipated in the O.T.

The New Testament will do something with an Old Testament text that we would not normally do--Matthew 2:15 for example.

Let it speak. Don't go back into the O.T. and say "well, I certainly do not see that text in its original context saying that so therefore..."

The more foundational issue is not how we interpret this or that specific passage. The more foundational issue is the underlying hermeneutic we are using that causes us to interpret this or that specific passage the way that we do.

What we are talking about is HUGE when it comes to Christian unity. If Christians agree that the Bible is the objective true word of God "and" if Christians agree on an *objective* hermeneutic, then Christians can hold each other accountable for being consistent with those two objective things.

However, if Christians only agree on the first but "disagree" on the second, then that is what leads to different interpretations which divide the body of Christ.

We cannot approach the Scripture with different hermeneutics and expect to have the same interpretations.

THIS is a bigger issue that what you or I think of gender.

God Bless,

Benji

Paula said...

Benji,

We have not communicated well and so I have not been responding to you directly. But I will try again.

First of all, nobody is saying that the NT is not the fulfillment of the OT, or that the OT does not look forward to the NT. Be careful not to jump to wild conclusions by taking our comments out of their context. You have widened the sphere of discussion beyond that in which the comments were originally made.

Second, I have already stated that the NT does INTERPRET the OT, but note that such interpretations for NT times do not limit the OT references. That is, the OT can have multiple fulfillments and meanings.

Third, I have tried several times to get an answer as to how anyone could have understood or gotten any value out of the OT until Jesus came, if the OT cannot stand alone. It was not without meaning or use during all that time.

Fourth, Mt. 2:15 is not "something different" but another fulfillment. That is, the NT usage does not negate the meaning of the OT reference until that time. Both are true. Many other such dual or multiple fulfillments could be cited, such as Ps. 22:14.

Fifth, do not presume to lecture us on hermeneutics. Consider that you may be wrong as well. The question is not which of us has an "objective" hermeneutic, since both sides claim to have it, but how consistent each side is with its own hermeneutic. Unity in this would be ideal, but we are all human.

Sixth, nobody has restricted any of this to gender but merely focused on how our hermeneutic affects whatever topic is at hand. As I mentioned already, you have taken the liberty of extrapolating an entire hermeneutic out of one application, which has led you to burn some straw men.

This all began with the ref. to 1 Tim. 2 and why Paul reference Genesis. In BOTH references we see the DECEPTION connection, and in neither do we see any connection to rank or authority. Paul has NOT "added something" to Genesis, which would mean that nobody before Paul wrote to Timothy could know that God had established authority based on the flesh before sin. This is NOT a case of a prophecy with many possible fulfillments at all, but a citation of history.

I have tried my very best to get these points across and will not spend additional time banging my head against the wall over it. Personally, I feel that your approach to hermeneutics will lead you astray, to eisegesis, to an unnatural and arbitrary interpretation which has grave consequences for many believers. But all I can do is put my views out and let others take them or leave them.

believer333 said...

"I am also referring to typology. The very "figure" of King David is a picture [i.e, a type] of King Jesus for example.
Jesus is very clear that the ***entire*** Old Testament points to Him [John 5:39; Luke 24:27].
In other words, the Old Testament is "anticipating" the Messiah who is "revealed" in the New Testament.
What is revealed in the N.T. is "clearer" than what is anticipated in the O.T."


I am very aware of that, and I'm sure Paula is also. I studied that about 38 years ago. :)

If I were you I would not waste our time by trying to insinuate that we don't know how to study Scripture.

In the interpretation of a text, hermeneutics considers what language says, supposes, doesn't say, and implies. The process consists of several theories for best attaining the Scriptural author's intended meanings. One such process is taught by Henry A Virkler, in Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation (1981),

Many good theology teachers have based their hermeneutics on the principles Howard Hendricks teaches. Chuck Swindoll, Kay Arthur and David Jeremiah have based their hermeneutics on the principles Howard teaches.

One needs to take the stance of seeking to hear what the authors thoughts were as well as hear it as the original readers would have understood it. We have to take into consideration cultural influences, Historical influences, the contextual considerations, language considerations. As well the whole of Scriptures has relationships: not only the old covenant versus the new covenant, but the fulfilling of the OC and the illumination of the old with the new because of Jesus. As well, as I pointed out there are different genres that need to be treated differently: narratives, history, prophetic, poetry, songs, epistles and so forth.

And now back to the ‘movie’.

Kristen said...

There is no such thing as an "objective" hermeneutic, because every human being, and thus every system of human thought, is affected by subjectivity. We are all biased; there is no escape. Only God is the arbiter of truth. However, it is true that certain hermeneutic techniques are more likely to yield results that are closer to the original, intended meaning of a text than others. Taking the culture in which a text was written, into account, is certainly one of these. If we do not study the original culture, if we do not ask what the original audience might have understood the text to mean, we are certainly going to apply our own cultural biases, and see the text through our own particular set of blinders.

Adding a New Testament understanding to the Old Testament is helpful, but we must understand that the writers of the New Testament were also ancient Jews, and that we are modern Gentiles. The New Testament writers found new meaning in the Old Testament after the coming of Christ-- but that does not negate the original meaning, or the need to try to our best ability to understand that original meaning. This is especially important when we are dealing not with eternal matters like salvation and eternal life, but with temporal matters like human relations and person-to-person relationships, which themselves change throughout the Bible as the cultures in which the respective texts are written, change.

Benji, I think that your use of the word "culture" in the dismissive sense you do, is a reason for me to mistrust your hermeneutic as not being objective, but as being especially subject to cultural and temporal biases. We can only determine what a text should mean to us, if we first ascertain what the message was to those who first received it. If we don't understand the changes God was bringing about to the cultures He spoke to, and how God was moving them progressively towards a dynamic of love, towards value for the individual, and towards personal relationship with Him-- then we might think God would want us to go back to a warrior culture, to the keeping of slaves, and to monarchy.

Imposing ancient family structures of husband-rule on today's culture is no different than justifying slavery on the grounds it was expected in the Bible that people were keeping slaves.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Paula/believer333/Kristen,

If one believes that the Old Testament should be interpreted in its own context--without the aid of the N.T.--and should bring their concrete O.T. interpretations to the N.T. in order to interpret the N.T. in the light of the O.T., then I believe one has a flawed hermeneutic.

While I'm sure Howard Hendricks and the others are fine Christian people, I can almost assure you that I would disagree with the hermeneutic of Howard Hendricks.

Hendricks, unless I am mistaken, is a dispensationalist and I think a dispensationalist interprets the N.T. in the light of the O.T. instead of the other way around.

I believe a proper hermeneutic can be objective. However, I am aware that many people may not want to come to an agreement on an objective hermeneutic because of what they could lose.

They might have to end up disagreeing with a confession of faith or with the denomination they belong to and hence could lose pastoring in a church for example.

Of course, this format of blogging is not intended to have as much substance as a book.

Therefore, if you would like to learn more about where I am coming from concerning a hermeneutic, then I would encourage you to read the book "New Covenant Theology" by Tom Wells and Fred Zaspel.

God Bless you all,

Benji

believer333 said...

”If one believes that the Old Testament should (only) be interpreted in its own context--without the aid of the N.T.”

I inserted the ‘only’ since it was implied. Didn’t say that. You would know that if you read everything that was said.
It is not proper to always do interpretation in one way. Kristen explained it well.

If this is your attempt to sidetrack the conversation away from the subject, then I will assume that you have nothing further to put forth and cannot deal with what was presented. :)

Kristen said...

Benji,

When we can't even agree on what is the best hermeneutic to use, I don't see how any of us can say we are free of bias. You, too, have things to lose if your favorite hermeneutic is not used.

I never said we should interpret the New Testament in light of the Old Testament. However, we need to take into account that the writers of the New Testament were steeped in the Old Testament. Current Jewish interpretations of the Old Testament, however, don't take into account the view of the Essenes, who were actually looking for a Messiah like Jesus. The Essene sect of Judaism passed away with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. I believe that if we fail to understand the mindset of the peoples of the time, we will certainly have a flawed hermeneutic. But Old and New Testaments should be read each in their own context before any comparison is made one with the other. The text, its original language, and its cultural background must be studied first to help us determine what they were meant to say -- doing our best not to read into them from our own presuppositions about what they should say. Only then can we compare New and Old Testaments, when we are more fully informed about what each says in its own right.

I am not a dispensationalist. One thing I am sure of, however, is that the Kingdom of God is about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, not about who is in authority over who. Man and woman were created to be partners, not leader and follower. But once society was firmly entrenched in the leader-follower mentality that came about because of the Curse, God worked on that paradigm from within, in order to bring about a gradual shift.

It is both the Church's strength and its weakness that it doesn't change easily. But in the case of the equal treatment of half the human race, it is to the Church's detriment that it has resisted, so strongly and for so long, God's equal gifting of females made in His image. He poured out His Spirit on "sons and daughters" alike.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Paula/believer333,

Personally, I don't think questioning my motive by saying things like "If this is your attempt to sidetrack the conversation away from the subject..." or casting what I say in a negative light by saying "do not presume to lecture us on hermeneutics..." is helpful towards having a beneficial conversation.

I think I can sum up what I am saying with this phrase I heard from a former professor.

"Tell me where you stand and I'll tell you where you'll land."

The hermeneutic we stand on will determine where we land.

In other words, there is an underlying hermeneutic that one uses that results in coming to this or that conclusion concerning gender [or any other topic].

Therefore, this reality is extremely important to the topic of gender.

It's not about the Old Testament "standing on its own". It's about fallen men and women not using the clearer light of the New Testament as the interpretive lens by which one looks at the Old Testament.

It is not putting on one's New Testament glasses that leads astray in my opinion.

What I am sensing [and I could be wrong] is that some want to take "ezer" from Genesis and come to a very strong interpretation of what they think that means concerning gender and then bring that interpretation into how they read Ephesians chapter 5 for example.

I think to do this is to already get off on the wrong foot.

I think Eph. 5 glasses need to be put on in looking at "ezer" instead of "ezer" glasses being put on in looking at Eph. 5.

God Bless,

Benji

P.S. I'm sensing that this conversation might be going down a road that is not edifying. I have liked the interaction I have had with believer333 for some time now and wish that the conversation would have remained on that level. I do not have to "win" in our disagreements. If we need to all pull out and maybe interact with each other on another topic in order to not go down a bad road, then that is fine with me. Again, I do not have to "win".

Paula said...

Benji,

Likewise, I believe that your hermeneutic is circular.

1- You presume the topic in 1 Tim. 2 is not deception but a chain of command (which I strongly disagree on).

2- You impose that meaning onto a text that says no such thing, Genesis

3- You bring that imposed meaning back to 1 Tim. 2 as your ONLY proof that Paul had a chain of command in mind instead of deception, even though it is deception that Paul EXPRESSLY STATED.

Classic tautology, not a valid hermeneutic.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Paula,

Unless I am mistaken, I don't think I have even mentioned 1 Tim 2in this comment stream.

I also don't think I have mentioned circular reasoning.

But to use your example, I do advocate this approach:

"Genesis should be looked at through the lens of 1 Tim 2 and not vice versa."

God Bless,

Benji

Paula said...

No, not in this comment stream, but in the "headwaters" of this stream. That's where this all began, as I said. It's part of the context.

And I still think your view is circular.

Kristen said...

To look at Genesis 3 through the lens of 1 Tim 2 is to take a text that's comparatively clear and straightforward (Genesis 3) and read it through the lens of a text that is unclear and difficult to interpret (if you don't believe me, look at the place where it says "she shall be saved through childbearing." That cannot mean women are saved by having children rather than through Christ, which is the "plain sense" -- but what it does mean, and the rest of this passage, have been subject to dispute for years.)

Read Genesis as Genesis; read "ezer kenego" for what it meant in ancient Hebrew! And read 1 Tim 2 as 1 Tim 2-- without presuming that the passage is straightforward or that there is only one possible reading that is correct. Objective hermeneutics reads each text on its own merits.

But taking one possible reading of 1 Tim 2 and reading that back onto Genesis 3 is going to result in error. It's not an objective hermeneutic; it's an ideological one.

believer333 said...

"But to use your example, I do advocate this approach:
"Genesis should be looked at through the lens of 1 Tim 2 and not vice versa."


And this reasoning is where you have a problem. Being quite familiar with hierarchalist/comp thinking.... I know that generally they do not read 1 Tim. 2 in context with chapt. one. Further, they do not research historical and cultural influences. What they do is take a few words out of their contextual home (8 words exactly), decide in their estimation (inserting predetermined bias) what those 8 words likely mean. Then they attach this new meaning back into the rest of 2:13-15 making it about male authority and female submission. Then they further take this 'new' interpretation (new to Paul) and go back to Genesis (without so much as any consideration for actual word meanings) and attach it to Gen. 2, making 'ezer' about female submission (male above female).

This is classic circular reasoning. It is not hermeneutics.

Genesis needs to be read first in its full contextual home, including word meanings, history and culture. After one knows how it was understood in those times, then IF there are things in the NT that enlarge, expand, or clarify, they can be applied. When the illumination we receive from the NT and Jesus is applied to the OT it does not erase or change the meanings , it enlarges the picture.

What hierarchalists do with Gen. and 1 Tim. is completely change 1 Tim. and Genesis to fit their bias's. This is not proper exegesis of Scripture.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Paula/believer333/kristen,

Paula, you said this about me:

"1- You presume the topic in 1 Tim. 2 is not deception but a chain of command (which I strongly disagree on)."

Where did I communicate that? Maybe I believe that. Maybe I don't. But it seems to me that you are pulling this out of thin air.

Everyone,

The Old Testament is the word of God. The New Testament is the word of God in Christ [Hebrews 1:1-2].

Earlier God had spoken. Now God has spoken in the highest qualitative way--in His Son.

The revelation of a literal sacrificial lamb in the O.T. is high. The revelation of the Lamb of God in the N.T. is high[er].

Since Christ has spoken, we are to view all things [including the Old Testament] through His lens in my opinion.

If we do that, then we see things rightly.

Of course, we might "misinterpret" the N.T. I understand that. That is a different thing than what I am talking about.

The Title of this post has to do with headship. Headship is explicitly a part of Eph 5. 1 Tim 2 is another story.

In relation to the topic of this post, I am not interested in interpreting 1 Tim 2. I think I have commented much on Eph 5. I'm not sure if there is much more to say about that.

It seems our different hermeneutics results in our different interpretations concerning gender.

If we can both recognize this, then I think that is a step in the right direction.

It's much better than two sides calling each other names and questioning motives I think.

My belief:

The Old Testament anticipated the Christ. Now, that the prophet like unto Moses has come, we are to "hear ye Him" in the New Testament Scriptures.

His teaching ministry continued through the Apostles [John 16:12-15]. When the Apostle Paul speaks, Christ speaks. Hence, my justification for the New Testament guiding us.

Do you think there is much more that can be added to this conversation? Part of me thinks--maybe--that what I have said in this comment might be taken negatively as a "lecture" from me. If so, then how is this comment stream going in a good direction? I am not interested in continuing this in order to try and deliver some "knock out" punch to your arguments. I'm a pastor with a wife and three young children and have 2 sermons to prepare for this week.

I was interacting with one person [with another joining in every now and then I think]. The comments from that one person [believer333] tended to be short and to the point I think. Now, two more have joined in. With that comes more "content" coming my way to interact with.

This might be my last comment on this stream.

Love in Christ,

Benji

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 206   Newer› Newest»