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

Trifling with Subtleties while Ignoring Certainties: Turning the Gospel into a Gender Gospel

Charles Spurgeon began his message on the text "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins" (Hebrews 9:22) with an illustration of three fools. The first fool, Spurgeon said, is the ship's captain who goes below deck during a ferocious storm to read an encyopledia on the nature of Atlantic winds rather than fighting to keep his ship afloat.  The second fool is the wounded soldier on the battlefield who asks the arriving medic all kinds of questions about the size, shape and model of the gun that fired the bullet which wounded the soldier rather than asking the physican if his is able to heal him. The third fool is the religious person who is constantly arguing the subtle philosophical questions about the origin and nature of evil while ignoring the clear and certain truth that Christ's blood is able to cleanse his sins (Hebrews 9:14). Spurgeon said all three fools have one thing in common: They trifle with subtleties while they ignore certainties.

I would add a fourth person to Spurgeon's list. It is that Christian leader who turns the gospel of Jesus Christ into a gender gospel. Last week Tim Challies, pastor of Grace Fellowship Church,  wrote a blog entitled Men, Women and the Public Reading of Scripture where he defended his view that only men, and never women, can read Scripture in front of men. Challies' view on this matter is based on what he calls the simple reading of I Timothy 2:11-12. Challies writes:
"It is my conviction that these words (i.e. "I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man" I Tim. 2:11) are meant to be read and understood in the simplest sense. Speaking with God’s authority, Paul is saying that women are not to exercise teaching authority over men. In other words, it is men who are charged with authority in the church and the most important component of this authority is to declare the words of God. Men have been called to exercise headship in the home and in the church while women are called to different and complementary functions."
I am accustomed to reading such nonsensical and isolated interpretations of I Timothy 2:11-12 from fellow Bible-believing pastors and theologians and I disagree sharply with them. However, I have not written much on the gender issue in recent months, believing as I do that the ungodly emphasis on gender distinctions within the church is destined to fail by virtue of the fact it is so anti-biblical and ultimately anti-Christian. But there was a comment in Challies' blog that caused me to flinch and placed in me a desire to write this post. A man in Challies' comment section wrote: God's design is for men to serve and women to receive. The commentor has summed up quite nicely the teaching of the false gospel that has infected some Bible-believing churches and seminaries. A reader of Dee Parson's and Wanda Martin's Wartburg Watch blog has begun calling it "the gender gospel." 

Even though I may be dangerously close to violating the biblical precept 'answer not a fool in his folly," I feel a rebuttal to Challies' position is needed because there may be few naive and biblically unknowledgeable Christians who believe the teaching that "men are to serve, teach, lead, and women are to receive, listen and follow" is really from God. Nothing could be further from God's eternal truth.  

The Absurdity of Promoting a Gender Gospel

Those who follow Challies' interpretation of I Timothy 2:11-12 are, in Spurgeon's term, "trifling with subtleties while ignoring certainties."  The overwhelming New Testament teaching of the Bible regarding men and women in the church is clear and certain--"gender differences are irrelevant in the church of Jesus Christ." Class 101 in proper hermanuetics teaches that you always intepret difficult or isolated texts based on the certain and plain teachings of the rest of the Bible.  God's people in the New Covenant are called to serve based upon the giftings given them by the Holy Spirit. "I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" (Acts 2:17). The Apostle Paul says in Galatians 3:27-28 that "All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Paul is emphatic that there is no room in the body of Jesus Christ for racial distinctions, no room for class distinctions, no room for gender distinctions. To forbid a woman to serve, read, lead, or teach (when men are present) is twisting the gospel of freedom in Christ into a gospel of bondage by gender. To restrict a Holy Spirit gifted and empowered woman from edifying other believers through the free exercise of her Spirit given gifts is to resist the Holy Spirit Himself--and qualifies as a very foolish act indeed. What is even more foolish and absurd, at least for Southern Baptists, is the fact that Condoleezza Rice, our 66th United States Secretary of State, spoke to the annual Southern Baptist Convention in 2006. The audience, predominately Southern Baptist men, stood and applauded when Condoleezza explained how we had bombed the Taliban terrorists in Bora Bora to hell. Thank the Lord she didn't actually read a Scripture text about hell. No telling what the SBC pastors might have done had such a blasphemy occurred in their presence.

An ancient Jewish prayer from the Hebrew Siddur (prayer book) went like this: "Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a Gentile. Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a slave. Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a woman." "Hashem" was a Jewish name for the one true God, a name used by Jews in the days of Christ. The same spirit ancient Jews possessed that caused them to believe that only men were created to lead, rule and serve and that women were born to receive, follow and and be there for men, is the same spirit now at work in more than a few evangelical leaders. Interestingly, the rise of the Siddur coincides with the glory of God departing the Temple of Jerusalem in the days of Ezekiel (see Ezekiel 10). Jewish Temple worship continued, but it was during this Spirit-less intertestamentable time period that you have the rise of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and other male only Jewish orders that were constantly focusing on male "authority," male "leadership," and male "power." A preoccupation and fixation on authority (whether it be conservative patriarchalism or liberal feminism), is a sign that the Spirit of God has departed. Jesus Christ explicitly forbids any one individual assuming authority over other adults in the Christian community (Matthew 20:20-28).  In fact, after describing the imperialism of political rulers and the authority fixation of religious rulers, Jesus said to his disciples ... "It shall not be so among you" (Matthew 20:28). I would propose that any portion of the body of Christ that is placing emphasis on male leadership to the exclusion of female leadership (or vice-versa) is void of the Spirit of God.

The New Testament covenant of God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ totally turns the world's concept of authority on its ear. The world is concerned about position, power, authority, prestige, control, and ruling over others. Jesus Christ teaches His followers to serve, to love, to express their spiritual gifts to their fullest for the good of others, and to never fear what any person in so-called "authority" can do to them because "All authority ... has been given to Me" (Matthew 28:20). There is to be a mutual equality, respect, and submission within the home between husband and wife (Ephesians 5:21-33). There is to be a mutual equality, respect and submission of men and women toward one another in the body of Christ based upon the gifts that the Spirit gives to each male and female believer who has been baptized into Christ (Acts 2:15-21; Galatians 3:28). References to the churches' teaching ministry and other gifts are found in Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 and not one of those passages excludes females from being recepients of any one of those gifts. Let me say that again in a different way. The gifts of the Spirit are never differentiated on the basis of gender in the New Testament -- ever.

But What About Paul's Teaching in I Timothy 2:11-12?

Any student of the Word who reads Paul's Timothy text and draws a conclusion that is contrary to the clear and certain teaching of the rest of the Bible, including Paul's other writings, is playing the fool by trifling with subtleties while ignoring certainties. "But," you shout, "These two verses tell all women everywhere to be SILENT in the presence of men, and to LEARN in SUBMISSION under them." No, kind sir, they don't. Not even close. Were that the case, these two verses would contradict everything the Apostle Paul has written in Galatians, Romans, I Corinthians, Ephesians and every other book he contributed to the New Testament, not to mention all the other books written by Peter, John, Luke, Matthew, and other early disciples of Christ. I have written a foreword to a book entitled What's With Paul and Women and would encourage you to take an afternoon to read Jon Zen's book, a detailed exposition and exegesis of these two Timothy verses. You will never again resist speaking out when you hear gender gospel preachers resist the Holy Spirit and restrict women in the home or the church by claiming for themselves ungodly positions of power and authority.

One of the advantages of being the pastor of a New Testament church where the Word of God is respected, believed, and practiced is that both men and women lead, serve, teach, and shepherd based upon their gifts. The concept of some raw position of power in "elders" is foreign to the New Testament. The word elder means "older." Look to your elders for wisdom. The notion of some raw authority in any office of pastor or elder is foreign to the New Testament. Every believer in Christ is a priest. There is no need for any other mediator other than Christ. Our church has a Leadership Team composed of both men and women. I am called the Lead Pastor. There is, however, no inherent authority in me. I serve people. I love people. I lead people only if they are willing to follow--and frankly, if I do a poor job of serving and loving, they ought not follow. One of these days the church of Jesus Christ is going to wake up to the fact that we have so twisted and corrupted the concept of authority and leadership that what we have abandoned the clear and certain teachings of the New Testament.

The ancient Jews kept women in the courtyard and placed a fence around the Temple grounds lest a woman feel compelled to enter the Holy Place. The sacred rituals were performed by male priests. The sacred services were led by male priests. Modern day conservative evangelicals and liberal feminists have absolutely violated the clear and certain teachings of Jesus Christ and seem to wish to resurrect the Old economy of Temple buildings, gender priesthoods, and religious rituals. Jesus abolished all that Old economy stuff in the New agreement. The Temple of God is no longer a building, it is the soul of a believer (see I Corinthians 6:19). The priests of God are no longer just male, they are both male and female (see Galatians 3:28). The rituals of God are no longer holy days, sacrifices, and feasts, but faith in Christ and love for God and our fellow man (see Colossians 2:16; John 13:3). The body of Jesus Christ is to make no distinctions in race, class and gender. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel that sets the captives free to serve as the Holy Spirit gifts. To revoke the privilege of a gifted, believing woman from reading Scripture to men is to violate the clear and certain teaching of the New Testament and risk having the legalism and religious ritualism of Spirit-less religion that marked Temple worship after the days of Ezekiel and before the launch of the New Covenant. If conservative, Bible-believing, Christ-loving, Spirit-filled, graced people do not speak out when our conservative brothers move into error on this issue, then we become enablers of God's people as they turn the powerful gospel of grace into an impotent gospel of gender. God forbid that we continue to trifle with subtleties while we ignore certainties.

Grace and Truth,

Wade Burleson

P.S. It was my wife's and my privilege to meet these past few days with a couple of remarkable Christian women. Dee and Wanda of Wartburg Watch are from North Carolina. Wanda is graduated from Duke University with an English degree and Dee is a registered nurse. Both women also have an M.B.A. They are both married and have delightful adult children. Rachelle and I were thrilled to be able to spend some time with them. More than a few pastors and Christian leaders ought to listen to what they are saying.

97 comments:

Bryan Riley said...

So true, Wade. And it is so disheartening that there are so many sincere believers who see this issue so differently. May God continue to reveal more of Himself to us all as we seek more of Him!

Bob Cleveland said...

Challies: ""It is my conviction that these words (i.e. "I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man" I Tim. 2:11) are meant to be read and understood in the simplest sense."

He then goes on to violate that principle. The simple explanation: Paul didn't let "a woman" teach, where he was. Which women was he talking about?

That seems the simple explanation, to me, as opposed to the eisegetical display that followed.

John Wylie said...

Bob,

I hate to disagree with you, but that idea that Paul was just talking about particular women is really not tenable. Now I disagree with the guy who won't even let a woman read the scriptures publicly in his church, that's definitely a stretch.

D. Bryan Rhodes said...

Hi there! I'm really not interested in stirring up a bunch of fuss--this is a sore issue for many men and women, and you've done a good job of approaching it in peace.

Having said that, I do disagree with you, and just want to put forward some things to think about.

1. If you're going to engage with Challies, please do try to stick to that. What I mean is, don't call him out, but then respond to the low-hanging fruit that some unnamed person posted onto his blog. For what it's worth, there are some of us who agree with Challies, but find the language of "You're called to serve, you're called to receive" to be unhelpful, unbiblical and disturbing. While you may disagree with me, at least let me just say--for my part--that there is a world of difference between this person's "called to lead/called to receive" nonsense, and Challies's language of "different and complementary functions."

2. I do take offense to the idea that those of us who agree with Challies must naturally respond to your post with a "shout" and that we must SPEAK IN ALL CAPS and that it's incumbent upon you to respond by addressing us as "dear sir." I think you'll find that some (not all, but some) of the most passionate and thoughtful contributors to **both sides** of this discussion are women. Just so I'm not misunderstood--I often find that women on either side of this issue have the most to say about it, and it's sometimes my sisters around me who would agree with this serve/receive stuff and think Challies hasn't gone far enough. I'm not trying to stereotype or say that just because some women are on the more traditional side, that makes it right--that would be silly. I'm saying that to make this an entirely male issue is to evince the reality that you've already condemned this whole situation through a feminist narrative that's convenient at best and presumptuous at worst.

3. This issue is anything but "clear" and "evident" as you say. I'm happy for you that you can so easily dismiss the opposing points of view as ignorant and bigoted. But I'd invite you to do the same thing you've invited your opponents in this matter to do: Read carefully, and read contextually. Read to the end of that passage and press the questions that come up about the things Paul says after that verse. The charge that those who disagree with you are simply ignoring inconvenient scripture passages is a heavy one indeed. Be sure you can interact with the very best representatives of this position, rather than summing up the entire position from a blog comment primarily and the blog owner's original few sentences secondarily.

wadeburleson.org said...

Bryan,

Points well taken. You are bright, articulate and insightful.

I have a purpose in the manner in which I have written this post.

It's not so much for guys like you (who disagree with me), but it is for women who hear Challies (or the commentor) and think "Well, surely what they are saying is of God."

It's like when you have to use a fulcrum to lift a massive rock you have to come down hard on the other end to get the other side to budge just a little.

But, again, you make very, very valid points and I will reflect on them all.

Anonymous said...

John, The grammar says it was "A" woman..not all women for all time. And authenteo if studied.... its use at the time was not about simple "authority over". It was something very sinister as in teaching lies. There are very clear Greek words for authority or rule over another. The Holy Spirit did not choose them.

Chrysostom said that a man should not "authenteo" his wife. So we know it is something bad men can do to women, too. And he was no mutualist. :o)

Perhaps you think I am "saved" by bearing children, too? :o)

Lydia

Bob Cleveland said...

John: Since Paul is the same guy who told the Corinthians to throw out the guy who was sleeping with his stepmother, and not even to eat with a guy like that ... I have to wonder where his clear, indisputable instruction is, to Timothy, not to let women teach. Or be in positions of authority.

Or even an instruction as clear as his statement that women should remain silent in their gatherings.

wadeburleson.org said...

One additional point, Bryan. The dialogue you invite is welcome by me and I believe beneficial for the church. I am utterly, unwaveringly convinced that the Scripture teaches the very opposite of yours and Challies position. The classic "Here I stand" statement comes to mind.

Thanks, though, again for writing your comment. I am quite confident the Holy Spirit is able to lead His people into all truth.

Anonymous said...

John, The grammar says it was "A" woman..not all women for all time. And authenteo if studied.... its use at the time was not about simple "authority over". It was something very sinister as in teaching lies. There are very clear Greek words for authority or rule over another. The Holy Spirit did not choose them.

Chrysostom said that a man should not "authenteo" his wife. So we know it is something bad men can do to women, too. And he was no mutualist. :o)

We have a clue it was most likely concerning the teachings of the Temple of Artemis since Paul brings up creation order. The was one of the false teachings coming from the Fertility cult...that Eve was created first.

Perhaps you think I am "saved" by bearing children.:o)

Lydia

Anonymous said...

John, The grammar says it was "A" woman..not all women for all time. And authenteo if studied.... its use at the time was not about simple "authority over". It was something very sinister as in teaching lies. There are very clear Greek words for authority or rule over another. The Holy Spirit did not choose them.

Chrysostom said that a man should not "authenteo" his wife. So we know it is something bad men can do to women, too. And he was no mutualist. :o)

We have a clue it was most likely concerning the teachings of the Temple of Artemis since Paul brings up creation order. The was one of the false teachings coming from the Fertility cult...that Eve was created first.

Perhaps you think I am "saved" by bearing children.:o)

Lydia

Anonymous said...

John, The grammar says it was "A" woman..not all women for all time. And authenteo, if studied.... its use at the time was not about simple "authority over". It was something very sinister as in teaching lies. There are very clear Greek words for authority or rule over another. The Holy Spirit did not choose them.

Chrysostom said that a man should not "authenteo" his wife. So we know it is something bad that men can do to wives, too. And he was no mutualist. :o)

We have a clue it was most likely concerning the teachings of the Temple of Artemis since Paul brings up creation order. The was one of the false teachings coming from the Fertility cult...that Eve was created first.

Perhaps you think I am "saved" by bearing children.:o)

Lydia

Anonymous said...

John, The grammar says it was "A" woman..not all women for all time. And authenteo, if studied.... its use at the time was not about simple "authority over". It was something very sinister as in teaching lies. There are very clear Greek words for authority or rule over another. The Holy Spirit did not choose them.

Chrysostom said that a man should not "authenteo" his wife. So we know it is something bad that men can do to wives, too. And he was no mutualist. :o)

We have a clue it was most likely concerning the teachings of the Temple of Artemis since Paul brings up creation order. The was one of the false teachings coming from the Fertility cult...that Eve was created first.

Perhaps you think I am "saved" by bearing children.:o)

Lydia

wadeburleson.org said...

I am about to walk into our Christmas Pageant to narrate the program. In fact, I am watching it on television in my office and I have 45 seconds to get to the stage, so ...

Enjoy the discussion without me!!

Wade

John Wylie said...

Lydia,

We all use grammer like that. I would say that I would not have "a" woman teach men in our sunday school. By that I mean any woman. That's obviously what Paul was telling Timothy. Timothy was being taught by Paul how to conduct himself in the house of God, and one thing Paul was telling him is don't let women teach men or have authority over men in the church. Then he uses the order of creation to back up what he said. It's really very clear.

Wanda (Deb) Martin said...

Wade,

What a privilege it was to spend time with you and your lovely wife Rachelle. Your hospitality was incredible!

Thank you for sharing with your readers what we discussed at length yesterday.

You are such a blessing!

Thy Peace said...

God bless you, Wade. Continue to keep on keeping on speaking The TRUTH.

Debbie Kaufman said...

In a nutshell we are Christians. God uses men and women with no restrictions. He did it at the time of the early church, and it is only here in America where the church has not fully utilized women, to the church's detriment and to the detriment of us as women who bought we could not be used by God fully in the church.

wadeburleson.org said...

Amen, Debbie. Couldn't say it better.

Thy Peace! I REALLY appreciate you and all you mean to the kingdom through your Internet presence.

Wanda, you and Dee are now in our group of dear friends (and that list includes Debbie and Thy Peace) that Rachelle and I have the utmost respect for in terms of your walk with Christ and influence on the body of Christ. We had a blast with you two this past weekend!

Wade

D. Bryan Rhodes said...

Wade,

OK--so you mean to say that you're just trying to communicate to women who might read Challies's post that there is another perspective, and not to assume that this is the only one? Fair enough. I feel like in the process, you took some heavy swipes at the offending party, but I do understand the motivations you've clarified.

I'm mindful that these verses have been used to substantiate and institutionalize some repulsive things. I'm sure we would both agree that truth is truth, even if it's been abused, but I understand where you're coming from here.

And also--again, I'm truly not interested with getting into this debate with people, only becuase such precious and easily misunderstood things are not for the internet, or at least not for me to give clearly enough over the internet.

Having said that, I'd just like to respond to Lydia's bit and say that no serious scholar who takes the conservative position believes that Paul means women will be "saved" in the salvific sense. The more intelligent and careful commentators among us have offered that Paul means to say that women will be "saved" from a feeling of uselessness in the Church, and is thereby, in one verse, equating all the honor of the task of the preaching elder with the honor of motherhood. Perhaps here is where we can agree and call it a day: that motherhood (sickeningly undervalued in our day) is worthy of the highest honor the Church can offer.

D. Bryan Rhodes said...

And just as a follow-up, Wade:

Glad to hear you invite a continuing discussion on these very important things. One day, if the Lord wills, I hope to write a book about this. Not defending one position or the other, but pleading that both sides of this debate can find ways to be at peace with one another.

As someone from the traditional side of this debate, it is heartbreaking when I hear my teaching elders called bigots and treated like conspirators in an abusive scandal that's all about their male egos. It also hurts me when I hear of people refusing to take communion from the hand of a woman, or silencing women in church so their private brand of piety can triumph, or treating women as though they suffer from some sort of divinely designed intellectual handicap.

For those on the "Egalitarian" side, I'd ask that you to remember that our primary concern is the encouragement of created order and godliness in all people. I'd also ask that you interact with our champions of compassion like John Piper, Noel Piper, Tim Keller, and Elizabeth Elliot. For those on the "Complimentarian" side, I'd hope that we would remind ourselves that even though we believe our position to be biblical, we should be able to say with Paul, "whether in truth or pretense, the gospel is preached and in that I rejoice!"

Peace to all of you, and thanks so much for challenging me, Wade.

Gene S said...

Part of the problem with understanding the position of women in Jewish society is that it does not tell us of other cultures where women had a place in that same era.

Emory University has an excellent antiquities department and the Carlos Museum there has one of the finest displays of artifacts from Greek / Roman / and Egyptian civilization. I am fortunate to have access to it as an alumnus.

A few yeas ago our alumni magazine had an article about women in Egyptian culture. Heretofore, most Egyptian study was done by men and since women are now entering the ranks, there are a multitude of new discoveries about women in that culture.

It seems that in Egypt women had the legal right to property ownership, unlike the Hebrews. They were involved as Pharoes and in the places of worship. There were temples run exclusively by women and open to both men and women. They did not have the hang-ups of the Hebrews on women! Women could legally inherit and own property in Egypt.

When one becomes aware of a wider place of women in the Greek and Roman cultures as well, we see that the Hebrews were one of the few cultures with such biases!

Ancient Hebrew culture had its famous women of the past. It was women who saved them from destruction at times past. It was also women who had the courage to go to the tomb and find it empty. The men were in hiding and fear, but the faith of women stood out.

I think Paul's gender bias was simply a by-product of his culture and should be taken in the context of it rather than as a "revelation" from God. As we no longer worry with the dietary and other laws of the Hebrews, we need to recognize we live under a "NEW" Testament picture where Jesus gave women a full place in his ministry.

wadeburleson.org said...

Bryan,

"I feel like in the process, you took some heavy swipes at the offending party, but I do understand the motivations you've clarified."

Guilty as charged with just one caveat. Doctrinally, there is not a hair's breadth difference between men you look up to as your theological heroes and me. In soteriology I believe in sovereign grace and substitutionary atonement. In eschatalogy I am a partial preterist who believes in the return of Jesus Christ to redeem the earth and give it as an inheritance to His people. In pneumatology, I believe in the continuation of the Spirit's gifts. I could go on, but you get the picture.

I am more than happy to dialogue with people who disagree on this issue. The only problem about "dialogue" on this issue is a simple one: Women in my church can lead men, teach men, read Scripture before me, serve men, etc... We make no distinctions on gender and allow people to serve based upon their giftings. Those who cut off fellowship are the ones who declare our position is "unbiblical," "ungodly," etc... So ...

Sometimes you have to be a tad strong to get folks who are smug and happy in what they consider their inerrant interpretations a little slap across the face to make them realize God is inerrant, not men.

wadeburleson.org said...

Gene,

I understand what you are saying, but I disagree.

I do not believe Paul had a gender bias. On the contrary, I believe Paul had a very good understanding of the equality of men and women in the church of Jesus Christ, and the bias is in those who interpret Paul's words in I Timothy in a manner inconsistent with the rest of what Paul, Jesus and all the other taught about women throughout the New Testament.

Anonymous said...

BTW, Challies is listed as an associate pastor of the church and not the pastor.

And I totally agree with what he said and I'm still saved and believe the Bible. You are more than welcome to be wrong.

wadeburleson.org said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for comment. I enjoy the dialogue and the freedom to disagree. I believe you are not even within the ballpark of New Testament Christianity in terms of your view of women, but I gladly call you a brother in Christ and would enjoy fellowship with you anywhere, anytime and at anyplace. You just must know that you will always hear from me if you speak your non-biblical views of women. :)

That's the way it should be.

wadeburleson.org said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for comment. I enjoy the dialogue and the freedom to disagree. I believe you are not even within the ballpark of New Testament Christianity in terms of your view of women, but I gladly call you a brother in Christ and would enjoy fellowship with you anywhere, anytime and at anyplace. You just must know that you will always hear from me if you speak your non-biblical views of women. :)

That's the way it should be.

trumpetman said...

Appreciate your thoughts, as always.
Gordon Fee's commentary on 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus argues against these books being pastoral epistles. Instead, he believes the letters to Timothy are a response to false teachers and the letters try to give Timothy tools to deal with that issue. Paul lays aside his usual intro remarks and launched into his concern in 1:3.
He believes, and I agree, if a proper hermeneutic is used, the Timothy books would not be prescriptive for church structure, organization, and operation. Instead, his concern was a cancer of false teachers.
Therefore, to take passages about the role of women in that setting as prescriptive would not be Paul's intent, any more than Paul wants us to obey 2 Timothy 4:13 - When you come, bring the cloak I left."
Do the study, and see when these books were first called "pastoral epistles". I think Paul would be surprised by that nomenclature.

wadeburleson.org said...

Trumpetman,

Insightful comment and, in my opinion, an absolutely correct understanding of the reason for Paul's letter to Timothy.

John Wylie said...

I agree that Paul's intention was to oppose false doctrine. But the reason it's called a pastoral epistle is that it was written to a young pastor instead of a church. But comparing Paul's teaching about the roles of women with the "bring my cloak" passage is really just silly. Really? Come on.

wadeburleson.org said...

John,

Good point about the "bring my cloak" statement. If that were ALL the New Testament said, it would be a valid argument, but there is a ton statements in the NT that show the equality of women to men in the covenant of grace.

Blessings to you (and you are one of my favorite traditional fundamentalists!) Seriously, I admire you and your ministry.

Wade

John Wylie said...

Wade,

I'm humbled by your kind words. I admire you and your ministry as well. I appreciate your friendship and your kindness to me. God bless you and your family.

John Wylie
Springer, OK

Don Johnson said...

Very nice summary of the mutualist position.

A fundamental problem with the gender restrictionist position is that as Challies' example shows, there is no restraint on the restrictions. If he wants to read that restriction into the Bible, he gets to do so in his church.

Thanks for challenging those that deny the true faith in sometimes subtle ways.

Anonymous said...

Yikes, why did my comment post so many times?

Oh well,

In 1 Tim, the saved in "Childbearing" is an "event". A play on words so to speak because of the fertility cult in Ephesus. Look at the grammar. Paul is referring to the birth of Messiah.

If it is about motherhood, then we have a cruel God who allows those who follow Him devoutly to be barren. Some promise. What a sad interpretation for so many women who love God with all their hearts yet remain barren. That is not such a horrible thing in these days of international adoption but historically, it was considered for women to be useless if barren.

Again, some promise. It breaks my heart for barren women to hear that interpretation. However, the irony is that sort of teaching has led a few women I know to dig deeper in the Word and realize how horribly translated it is. And how cruel it is to present that as the translation as they know they will never be "saved" to motherhood or they are not in their proper role if not mothers. I think of single women on the mission fields.

John Wylie, You are wrong. :o). You were not able to refute one thing I said. In fact if it is ALL women, Paul used grammar that was very odd for him and makes no sense. "She and They"?

I totally agree with the commenter who said that it is about false teachers. 1 Tim proves this. And we see something else. For those who are "deceived" Paul has much mercy and does not name names. For those who deceive on purpose like Hy and Al, he names names. Paul uses himself as an example of being deceived and God's mercy toward him.

The bottom line is that if this was about women not teaching or having authority (whatever that is in the Body), then the Holy Spirit would not have inspired "authenteo". I really recommend people do a deep study on that word and how it was used in ancient Greek.

BTW: What does Challies do with Huldah?

Lydia

John Wylie said...

Lydia,

With all due respect, in my opinion, you are wrong. To say that I was not able to refute one thing you said is really not true, I gave a pretty basic answer for your grammar argument. And Paul's reference to the order of creation pretty much seals the correct interpretation. If he was only referring to one particular woman it would make no sense for him to refer back to the order of creation as it relates to all of us. But regardless it's doubtful that we will change each other's minds on this. But if it's any consolation your side is probably going to win this fight eventually.

Anonymous said...

Lydia--thank you!

I am female and was long a complementarian until a study in cultures made me aware Paul was speaking in a time AND a place where the issue was settled--in the cult of the area ONLY women could be spiritual leaders. So in essence his arguments are intended to be inclusive all right--inclusive of the men!

That may have been refuted by "a" women who was to be silenced.

Gulp--grin-sweat a little--time to accept the bulk of scripture and toss complementarianism on its ear.

But that doesn't mean I have to accept radical feminism either, which squares nicely in many way with that old cult.

Nope, plain old Christianity is good enough.

Linda

wadeburleson.org said...

John,

You wrote to Lydia: "But if it's any consolation your side is probably going to win this fight eventually."

I understand your sentiments. However, I would much rather be in the camp that states an argument based upon the clear teaching of Scripture than that camp that finally capitulates to the acceptable norm of society (i.e. "slavery"). Excluding you in this discussion, I think most who hold to their views on women will ONE DAY CHANGE because of society rather than an open, honest evaluation of Scripture.

I happen to agree with you.

The church will eventually adopt a position that there is an equality of men and women in the kingdom of grace.

believer333 said...

Bryan Rhodes writes:
”Having said that, I'd just like to respond to Lydia's bit and say that no serious scholar who takes the conservative position believes that Paul means women will be "saved" in the salvific sense. The more intelligent and careful commentators among us have offered that Paul means to say that women will be "saved" from a feeling of uselessness in the Church, and is thereby, in one verse, equating all the honor of the task of the preaching elder with the honor of motherhood.”

I suppose if one takes only the words you reference one could make them say that or any number of other things. The point is to seek to see the intent of the author, Paul, and what his point was. There does not appear to be anything in chapter one or two in reference to women feeling useless in childbearing. Doubt they had enough time in the day to worry about that in those days. Also, comparing preaching with motherhood is comparing extremely unlike and unrelated things. It is more likely that the section 1 Tim. 2:11-16 was in reference to the false teachings of “some” in chapter one, who were trying to be teachers without a proper understanding of the Scripture.

believer333 said...

John Wylie writes:
”If he was only referring to one particular woman it would make no sense for him to refer back to the order of creation as it relates to all of us.”

Paul stating that Adam was formed first than Eve, is not really about a supposed “order” of Creation. After all a whole lot of other things and other creatures were created before the first human. This does not mean that humanity is at the bottom rung of honor after all the other fish, birds and land animals. Furthermore, the subject isn’t about who gets honor or anything similar. The subject is still about false teaching.

John Wylie said...

Believer333,

Then would you please explain how Paul's mention of Adam and Eve relates to verses 11 and 12? Do you agree that what he said in verses 13 and 14 is meant to shed light on the meaning in verses 11 and 12? Since you don't agree with what I believe the interpretation is, could you please give your view in the context of those scriptures?

Anonymous said...

Actually I've heard people use the Adam and Eve thing time and time again. But there is one way I heard it put that makes Adam and Eve on equal footing, if you want to drag the whole creation thing into this.

If God had intended for everything to be run by Adam and Eve to be under him in everything, He would have taken a bone from the ankle or foot when He created Eve. If God had intended Eve to be running everything (as some women think) and men to be under her in everything, God would have taken a piece of bone from Adam's skull when He created Eve. But God chose to take a rib from Adam's side when He created Eve.

In Genesis God said in Vs. 18 "The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." God did not say I will make him a servant under him, nor did he say will I make a ruler over him. God made a Helper, Help meet, or a companion.

Creation thing aside though...I am just a limited human and can't even fathom God's thinking or reasoning, but can only guess. I have heard many times before that only men are allowed to preach and teach and that women like Joyce Meyer is completely wrong and should not teach or preach.

I can only guess that God may be now using women teachers to reach some women who can't be reached by "men" with his word. A lot of women can be reached by "men". I mean I loved listening to Pastor Wades teachings when I attended EBC and what he says reaches me (can accept and listen to), but then again, I've had not to face what some women in our country have been forced to face at the hands of a man. And sadly enough, that may have been by someone in a "religious position"(it’s been known to happen). If God sends a man to a woman who has been raped, with the Word…good luck getting her to listen to him; there’s a good chance she’s already shut down in her mind, tuning him out just because he’s a man. Now if God sends a woman with the same Word, to reach that woman who’s been raped, it’s a better chance she’ll be open to receive what the woman has to say which God has sent.

Continued from T.

Anonymous said...

Continued from T.

I can hear you already saying, “but that’s just one woman, on a private basis.” But according to the RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) website, 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. 17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape. That’s a lot of women which could be a lot of women who may or may not accept the Word from a man. God is the only one who knows the heart of those each individual 17.7 million women and if they’ll be able to accept His Word from a man or not. Maybe God has decided to start reaching women on a larger scale with women teachers. I mean doesn’t a lot of people say that if you were the only one on the earth God would still send Jesus Christ to save you. That He would do everything in his power to reach you. I mean I have heard that a lot growing up. If three women who have been raped can’t be reached or gotten through by a male teacher/preacher, who says that God won’t then raise up a woman teacher/preacher to reach those three women so they won’t be lost??
I can think of at least one woman who I clearly see that God has raised up to reach young women where men have a very slim chance of reaching them with the Word. Nancy Alcorn is definitely a woman I can see that God has raised up to reach young girls and young women with His message where men could not. And I think He is using Nancy, so that every girl who walks through the doors of Mercy Ministries, has the opportunity of hearing His Word, hopefully so “none will perish”.

And who says God can’t use a woman as a teacher if He so chooses? He used a donkey speak to a man. (Numbers 22:22-33). And I mean come on guys…tying in Child bearing or that “Time of the month” into a good message that really connects with women (its been known to happen)…can best be done by another woman. I mean I know Pastor Wade is a great teacher….but even he can’t really tie in Child bearing as well as I’m sure his wife could. If God stood Pastor Wade and his wife side by side and was going to have a one of the two give a message and tie in Child birth and make it really connect…I’m guessing he’s gonna be looking at Pastor Wade’s wife. Sure Pastor Wade has the pastoral experience and credentials, but his wife who may or may not have those same credentials has the intimate experience of Child birth which Pastor Wade surely has not had. (-;

T.

Don Johnson said...

On the ref to Gen in 1 Tim 2, one alternate possibility is that Paul is directly refuting the proto-Gnostic teaching that Eve came first before Adam and had special knowledge. I consider this more likely than a supposed Creation principle that comps find there.

In any case, it is difficult to be certain as we are NOT Timothy, we are not in the 1st Century and most of us are not in Ephesus. Timothy was Paul's spiritual son, as such it is just expected that they would have a very close relationship; in such cases it is normal to make a short reference and the other will know what is being discussed, when other like us may not be sure at all.

So the basic principle of not using unclear texts for doctrine applies here in spades.

John Wylie said...

Don,

If what you are saying is correct, and I believe that the whole refusion of Gnostic teaching is plausible, how do verses 13 and 14 relate to verses 11 and 12?

wadeburleson.org said...

Anonymous at 7:23 p.m.

Profound comment.

wadeburleson.org said...

John Wylie,

Once again, you demonstrate why I admire your ministry. You may never believe what I do regarding women and their equality in the church of Jesus Christ, but you ask questions, and are very respectful, while at the same time make clear to others what you believe.

Well done.

wadeburleson.org said...

Don Johnson,

Amen.

believer333 said...

John Wylie writes:
” Then would you please explain how Paul's mention of Adam and Eve relates to verses 11 and 12? Do you agree that what he said in verses 13 and 14 is meant to shed light on the meaning in verses 11 and 12? Since you don't agree with what I believe the interpretation is, could you please give your view in the context of those scriptures?”

Granted these are not easily discernible words to interpret. Thus, whatever one must think, he must consider the whole section and then relate it to what has been said before. The whole section is 1 Tim. 2:11-15. We cannot exclude verses 11-12 or verse 15. We cannot separate them into three different subjects. They are one subject. And that one subject must relate to and flow from the subject in chapter one.

Verses 11-12 are Paul’s words advising Timothy how to handle a problem with false teaching. The woman or women must be allowed to learn. Hymenaeus and Alexander, Paul handed over to Satan for their false teaching. But regarding this woman Paul is advising mercy. Could it be related to the statement that Paul himself received mercy because he sinned ignorantly in unbelief (1:16)? The fact that Paul goes on to describe another woman, Eve, who sinned ignorantly in deception, gives some basis to that possibility. In addition, theere could be a double meaning there if this woman who was ignorantly teaching gnostic heresies, was teaching the common gnostic doctrines about Adam and Eve. Then, Paul closes this with a reference to the woman, that if she/they continue (on and learn) in faith, and holiness, they will be saved in ‘the’ childbearing.

I haven’t heard anything that makes any more practical, spiritual or eternal sense than pointing the deceived to learn the truths of the Scriptures and away from false teachings, admonishing them to grow in faith for their eternal welfare.

Anonymous said...

Okay I didnt want to bring this up before cause it wasnt relevant, but now after believers post just now I gotta bring it up.

How come everyone always blame Eve for the apple thing saying "Its all Eve's fault!!" Yes Eve heard the Devil speak. But it says in the Bible "She took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, WHO WAS WITH HER, and he ate it." Gen. 3:6
I do not see in the Bible where Eve held a gun,knife to Adams head, or threatened Adam with drowning. He heard God say "Do not eat of this Tree" and yet he did not say "Hey wait a minute! God said do not eat that!!" Or "Don't Eat That!!" Or not eaten it himself and let Eve be banished from Eden alone. why is it that Adam was "spineless" in this instance that it is forever Eve/womans fault that Adam/man did not have a backbone to stand up for himself??
Just Had To Ask.

T.

Anonymous said...

I mean it says right there in the Bible that he was with her when she received the apple "he was with her"

T.

Rex Ray said...

Gene,
See, it’s hard to present truth when people have the idea that everything Paul said came from the mouth of God. (Is that why you were fired as a pastor?)

When Martha petitioned Jesus for Mary to help in the kitchen, Martha was turned down because Jesus said listening to him was more important than cooking for him. Jesus gave Mary the same status as any man in the group.

For Paul to say, “I do not allow women to teach men…” reminds me of what my dad told me many times:

“Rex, you’re always right, but when you’re wrong, you’re dead wrong.”

Sure Paul was talking about ALL women as he continued:

“Let them listen quietly. For God made Adam first, [when did God choose seniority when he wanted a job done?] …and it was not Adam that was deceived…The woman was deceived and sin was the result.” (NLT)

HUH? That’s the same argument Adam gave God: “It was the woman you gave me…” (Genesis 3:12)

Since God did not buy that garbage from Adam, why would he accept the same garbage from Paul?

The only words in the Bible that come from the mouth of God is TRUTH.

Rex Ray said...

T.
Have you ever wondered why Satan chose Eve to deceive and not Adam?

If you had one bomb to drop, would you choose a foot soldier or a tank?

Once the ‘tank’ was deceived, Satan knew Adam would follow like a little puppy dog.

Just my opinion of course.

Gene S said...

Folks---much time is being wasted trying to put a magnifying glass to individual words without recognizing the social context of what Paul said.

He said it because he thought the Jews were right about women being kept in their submissive position. That was not what Jesus said or did, so I go with Christ.

My view of scripture is of a mountain being climbed throught the OT / the top reached in the Gospels / the looking back and trying to stay with what was shown on the mountaintop by Jesus. Only the blinding light could get the attention of a zealot, but Zealots always wnat to hold onto parts of their past lest they show themselves to be so badly wrong as was Paul with respect to women.

Gene S said...

Rex---you asked about my 2 firings. They had nothing to do with the way I viewed scripture. They both had to do with control of the church.

In all my churches from the first Associate's position of Education/Youth, I have tried to tell people what I am telling here. My views helped them resolve many strained things between what the Bible says and what we encounter now.

My biggest problems in churches were 2: I was trying to lead a social club to Christ / I was preaching most clearly from the pulpit concerning how important it is to walk straight over just jumping high.

I did my best to maintain my integrity and avoid the curse of cowing to certain supposed "leaders." The majority of my Deacons always came from the choir since they were seen behind me as I preached. Something about the ego and talent of choir participation is not always compatable with the servant role Deacons should be assuming.

Another thing I noted was that my biggest enemies never talked with me face-to-face about any differences. It was always behind my back and growing to a confrontation with their decisions already made up before the Deacons met.

The final thing was that many of them were dedicated church members with indications they had, themselves, been called to preach, but would not answer. Therefore, they took their angst out by always being critical of one who answered that call and was doing his best to grow a church.

Anonymous said...

If creation order gives men authority over women, would it not also give animals authority over men?

Pam Western said...

Thank you thank you thank you. A thousand times, thank you! I'm pioneering a women's conference ministry and very passionate about this issue. I agree that the "gender gospel" is not going to last forever...for the reasons you stated. In the meantime...I'm so greatful for voices like yours.

John Wylie said...

Anon 9:16 am,

The answer is no the animals would not be in authority over humanity, because in Genesis God clearly gave mankind dominion over the animals. My point in mentioning the order of creation thing earlier is that there is obviously a reason why Paul mentions it in verse 13.

Rex and Gene,

It's really kind of funny, we've experienced a first. We agree on the interpretation of the text we're discussing, but we do not agree on the inspiration of the text.

Gene S said...

Call it AUTONOMY, my brother, and we can always be friends!

Call it "making me say it EXACTLY as your said it"---and I will gladly feed you to my chipping machine! IN the spirit of Christian love, of course!!!!

Rex Ray said...

Gene,
I like what you said about “…trying to put a magnifying glass to individual words without recognizing the social context.”

Besides Paul, look at James, the brother of Jesus. He could not give up his ‘social life’ of praying in the Holy of Holies for the sins of the people even though his Brother did away with his job.

He could not give up his ‘raising’ of obeying Jewish laws. In his book to Christians, he mentions God 77 times and Jesus 9.

Preachers that want to step on the toes of the congregation will use James to pop the whip.

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. “ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

John Wylie,
You’re right…it’s funny.

Muff Potter said...

Pastor Burleson,

Even though we are probably miles apart on some issues both theological and secular, I applaud your stance here on the issue of women in ministry.

Over the last decade I have come to realize that separate but equal spheres based on plumbing received at birth can no longer be sustained either scripturally or culturally.

Debbie Kaufman said...

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. “ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What passage can this be found in the Bible? I know Goethe to be a German writer, artist among other things, but I did not know he was a Christian or that he even studied or wrote about the Bible or Christ.

Debbie Kaufman said...

In fact did not von Goethe have a story where there was a funeral that no clergy attended and the piece was considered quite controversial at the time?

believer333 said...

"Over the last decade I have come to realize that separate but equal spheres based on plumbing received at birth can no longer be sustained either scripturally or culturally."

That line, "separate but equal", was used extensively in the slave era. Just watched the movie "The Help", and it was used by the white masters who wanted the black slaves to have separate bathrooms so as not to mix the germs of the blacks with clean white folks.

believer333 said...

John Wylie,

”The answer is no the animals would not be in authority over humanity, because in Genesis God clearly gave mankind dominion over the animals. My point in mentioning the order of creation thing earlier is that there is obviously a reason why Paul mentions it in verse 13.”

Your concept that Paul mentioning that Adam came first and was not deceived, was “the order of creation” is an interpretation that must be arrived at by ignoring the context of that section of Scripture as well as ignoring everything that was written in Genesis 1-2. There is no “order of creation”. Creation involved everything created. IF there were an “order of creation” it would involve everything created. What there is, is merely a pointing out that the man who BTW came first (not something the Jews needed instruction on) was not deceived but the woman was the one deceived.

However, you are quite correct in pointing out that dominion was given to humanity, not male humans. And note that what is missing is God giving the human male dominion over the female human. God did not do that, so why do Christians try to do that.

Wanda (Deb) Martin said...

believer333 said,
"And note that what is missing is God giving the human male dominion over the female human. God did not do that, so why do Christians try to do that?"

Male domination is part of the curse because Genesis 3:16 states:

"To the woman He said,
'I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.'"

I believe Jesus Christ frees us from this fallen state; therefore, in the New Covenant, husbands do not dominate their wives. Husbands and wives are to mutually submit to each other.

Darcy said...

Mr. Burleson,
I can't thank you enough for this article. You couldn't possibly have known how timely it would be for me and several friends and what we are going through right now. It's difficult to preach equality in the Kingdom when you are a woman and still be taken seriously. Mostly we just get dismissed or labeled as feminist or rebellious. It's hard to constantly be told that our gender disqualifies our giftings and callings. I posted this article on Facebook and many people who needed to read it did. Thank you so much for being a man who is willing to stand up for the truth, even when it is extremely unpopular.

Darcy said...

Oh, and for those of you discussing the creation order and how it may pertain to male dominance, this link may prove helpful:

http://web.archive.org/web/20050221185710/http://equalitycentral.com/eca/humor/Recovering.html

Enjoy. ;)

Wanda (Deb) Martin said...

Darcy,

If you are a female pastor, you might be interested in reading tomorrow's post on our blog The Wartburg Watch.

Here's what I will be discussing.

Last summer a small Southern Baptist church in Mount Airy, NC called a woman pastor. Two weeks after her arrival, the church was dismissed from the local SBC association.

Other churches in the association took notice and so far two of them voted to leave the association. It will be interesting to see whether other Southern Baptist churches follow their lead.

Gene S said...

I happen to have the long time pastor of Mt. Airey First as a good friend. He also served as President of the NCBSC in the good autonomous days.

For some time he has spoken of how foolish those folks up there in little bitty churches are being in their take on things. It's not the first time the monkey has climbed high on his mountain tree and shown his tail to the wiser folks of that area.

Many of those pastors are poorly educated, but can yell and scream from their KJV things that weren't even there in some corrupted translations of certain passages!

believer333 said...

Hello Wanda,

“ Male domination is part of the curse because Genesis 3:16 states: “

I agree with your conclusion that in Christ we have been set free from the curses of sin. I also agree that the attitude of husbands desiring to dominate is a result of sin.

Nevertheless, God was not going to cause the man to dominate. Sin, the separation from the presence of God, would give the man the likelihood of choosing the attitude of domination. Neither did God curse the woman, rather, God warned her of what was to now be because of their sin. Reading in context, we see that the serpent was specifically cursed (the word curse was used) to travel on his belly in the dirt (which would also be cursed) because of his deception of the woman. Then the earth was specifically cursed (the word curse was used) because of the man’s deliberate (not deceived) rebellion. The woman, soon to be named Eve (mother of the living or similar), was not cursed. She also would suffer the result of her sin along with the man – death.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

The debate saddens my heart so much...I suspect this (to me, foolish) debate on gender roles in the church will continue till Jesus comes. Meanwhile, may I just thanki you, Wade, for being a voice that gives me hope?

THANK YOU.

wadeburleson.org said...

Darcy, Dorcas and Deb (those three names ring like Christmas bells!),

Thanks for your thanks and for your comments! Deb, I look forward to reading your post! Hope I have sent a little traffic your way, though at the rate you gals are going, I may need traffic sent my way! Laughing!

greg.w.h said...

I've always wondered if we aren't essentially accusing the Holy Spirit of inadequately revealing Truth (note the capital T) when we bring a disagreement against a brother or sister regarding how the faith has been handed down to them?

I wonder because if we are not adequately crediting the Holy Spirit for the work of the Holy Spirit, we're caught between between heaven and hell and getting ready to plunge into the latter. Some of that work might be for us to practice patience in permitting God to finish the work that is started in them.

Or perhaps what is really needed is patience regarding God's willingness to finish the work started in us.

That isn't an open call to allow everyone that stands up to challenge every word of the Bible. But one of the principles of hermeneutics that I was taught is don't build doctrine off of ambiguous or singular passages of Scripture. Though if I were to choose one to build a gender-differentiation doctrine off of, I'd go for this one:

"25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise."
Galatians 3:25-29 (NIV)

Greg Harvey

John Wylie said...

Greg Harvey,

You actually posted one of my favorite passages, and it's true, in Christ there is an equality we share. But I want to ask you a question, and anyone else is welcome to answer as well, in practical terms did Onesimus cease being a slave when he became a believer in Christ? I believe that there is a difference between practical reality and positional reality. Anyhow I would appreciate any thoughts.

BTW, I would also like to say that complimentarians are not ogres who are seeking to oppress women. Comps are that because they sincerely believe that is the biblical position.

believer333 said...

John Wylie,
Excellent question you ask. First a slave is not born a slave, but becomes one by whatever circumstances life brings him or her. As for Onesimus, while Paul did not directly ask Philemon to release Onesimus, there is that undercurrent of suggestion. But he did ask Philemon to receive Onesimus as more than a slave, as a fellow believer who shared devotion to the same master, Christ Jesus. So whether he ceased being a slave or not, his status was to be as a brother, treated and honored as a brother.

It is the opinion of many who believe in the Biblical truths of equality and mutuality that women are not to be considered positionally beneath men, whether married or not. Rather, in Christ we all share the same inheritance, having available the full measure of the anointing and giftings of the Holy Spirit, encouraged to all become mature to the full stature of Christ Jesus.

I believe you that you do not intend to oppress women. You sound like a decent brother. However, the teachings that women cannot do the works of Christ, cannot attain to the full measure of maturity of Christ, and cannot be gifted in the anointings of the Holy Spirit in the same measure as men can, those teachings oppress Christian women, even those who don’t know it.

Wanda (Deb) Martin said...

Wade,

Hopefully, we are sending our readers in your direction by having your website on our blogroll. :-) We are grateful that we are picking up some of your readers.

In all seriousness, it was your blog that inspired us. Had you not been so courageous in speaking out about issues that disturbed you, I doubt Dee and I would be blogging. We are the most surprised about TWW's success. Although we're not exactly sure what we're counting at the bottom of our website, we hit the 2 million mark today.

I never dreamed that you would seek us out and that we would become friends. To God be the glory!

Thank you, Wade, for restoring my faith in the pastorate. If we could clone you, I believe Christendom would explode with new believers!

wadeburleson.org said...

John,

You ask a great question about Onesimus. Culture made him a slave. Christianity set him free. Was he a slave in the assembly? NO! Was he a slave at his home? Yes.

It reminds me of the story of Robert E. Lee who set the example of sitting with slaves in church and taking communion with slaves in church, even though other whites around him refused. When queried about his practice, Lee said that in Christ and in His church there were no slaves, but that culture was not yet redeemed.

I think that the New Covenant sets women free, but culture does not yet reflect the New Testament. So...

Churches who oppress women are being cultural, not biblical.

Smiling.

John Wylie said...

Thanks for everyone's responses. This has been one of the friendliest discussions on this subject I've yet to see in the blogosphere.

Wade,

Now you're touching my heart with your Robert E. Lee story. I'm a major civil war buff. I have really enjoyed your historical articles.

Rex Ray said...

Debbie,
I thought someone might agree with, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

Can we not quote something outside the Bible that’s on the subject of Wade’s post? Does a person have to be a Christian to reveal truth?

“…one man should die for the people rather than the whole nation perish” (John 11:50) were God’s words, but they were said by the high priest that plotted to kill Jesus.

My main point was telling the truth about James. It seems rather than discussing James, you pick on van Goethe. Why?

Rex Ray said...

Greg Harvey,
You hit the nail on the head with, “…don’t build doctrine off of ambiguous or singular passages of Scripture.”

But then you quote a verse that many use to argue you must be baptized to be saved. I think that’s funny.

The verse was: “for all of you who were BAPTIZED into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:27)

Without discussing all the Scriptures that teaches otherwise; if being baptized was necessary, why would Paul write:

“I thank God I did NOT baptized any of you except Crispus and Gaius.” (1 Corinthians 1:14)

I mean, why would Paul thank God if the ‘job’ was only half done?

BTW, two verses later, Paul proves he sometimes wrote with a forgetful memory.


John Wylie, is Paul’s ‘oops’ messing with the inspiration of the text?

When Paul writes, “Here I want to add some suggestions of my own. THESE ARE NOT DIRECT COMMANDS FROM THE LORD, but they seem right to me” (1 Corinthians 7:12 Living), what do you say John? Do you call Paul a liar?

I’m glad we’re all having fun.

John Wylie said...

Rex Ray,

I'm glad we're having fun too. In so far as our disagreement on the writings of the apostle Paul is concerned, I believe that everything that he wrote that is recorded in scripture is both inspired and inerrant. I'm not aware of a single "oops" in the writings of Paul. I'm not aware of a single place where Paul contradicts Christ, or James for that matter.

My statement about inspiration is concerning the text at hand. (1 Tim. 2:11-15) You and Gene seem to be putting forth the idea that this text is not from God but just the opinion of Paul. If that is the case, I agree with your interpretation of the text as stated earlier, but I disagree on your view of its non inspiration. If it's just Paul's opinion than it's not inspired. Inspiration reflects the opinion of God. That's all I was talking about.

Gene S said...

Much of this discussion so far has been about the slave not being able to help his position, but it should not make him a slave in every way. Others are glad to see women distrespected.

Can we think of any other example of people being placed by society in inferior social things beyond their control. They were created by by God, yet man has put the stigma on them.

wadeburleson.org said...

Rex,

I always agree with Debbie K. :)

Great quote Debbie!

Wade

Gene S said...

Now---here is an interesting activity in counter-complimentarianism out of Durham, NC:

http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/7011/53/

believer333 said...

Wow! Gene. How sad. So a church with a woman deacon is viewed as a sickly church. What a horrible message that sends to the world. And what a bad light is Christ portrayed.

But you know the birds of a feather song. My guess is that the Christians who supported equality and mutuality just got tired of his attitude and left. I would have.

Gene S said...

I am hurt to my core when I read of such reckless arrogance. He obviously has learned nothing from reading the Gospels about the respect Jesus had for women.

Moreover, he did not have a mother like mine who took the RA group because no men had enough time to take care of the boys in our small church!

As for myself, I never pastored a church where selfless women were a problem to me----instead, they were a blessing and could always be counted on to make that chuch minister in the best ways!!!

This sad, arrogant male is missing one of the greatest blessing of ministry to have women Deacons.

Anonymous said...

John Wylie,
Please don’t go politician on us. I mean by that when a politician is asked a question, he may talk around the world but never give an answer.

You said, “I believe that everything that he wrote that is recorded in scripture is both inspired and inerrant. I'm not aware of a single "oops" in the writings of Paul.”

And: “Inspiration reflects the opinion of God.”

Question 1: Are you “aware” of Paul saying “I don’t remember baptizing anyone else” AFTER he corrected himself in (1 Corinthians 1:16)?

Question 2: If “Inspiration reflects the opinion of God”, then do you believe God forgot also?

Question 3: Did Paul write from memory or was he in a trance being controlled by God?

Question 4: If Paul wrote from memory, would you agree his writings would be as perfect as his memory?

Question 5: When did Paul appeal to Cesar?

“I appeal to Cesar. Festus …replied, “Very well! You have appealed to Caesar and to Caesar you will go!” (Acts 25:11-12)
“And Agrippa said to Festus, “He could have been set free if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar.” (Acts 26:32) [Romans wanted to release Paul.]

About a year later, Paul doesn’t remember very well.

“The Romans tried me and wanted to release me…But when the Jewish leaders protested the decision, I felt it necessary to appeal to Caesar.” (Acts 28:18-19)

What?? There were no Jews present when Agrippa said Paul could have been free if he had not appealed to Caesar. Paul was not even present. He must have heard what Agrippa said through the grapevine.


John you said: I'm not aware of a single place where Paul contradicts Christ, or James for that matter.”

I believe Paul NEVER contradicted Jesus, but with James…boy-o-boy!

It’s been said that Paul and James were back to back—Paul fighting an enemy in one direction and James in another. I believe if they’d turned around they’d shot each other.

Paul preached salvation was faith plus nothing, while James preached faith plus works.

I believe Scripture quotes Paul saying over forty times that man is saved by believing, faith, or trust in Jesus.

But James!

“There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.” (James 2:13 NLT)

Both men refer to Abraham to back up their belief.

Paul:
“…What were his [Abraham] experiences concerning this question of being saved by faith? Was it because of his good deeds that God accepted him? If so, then he would have something to boast about. But from God’s point of view Abraham had no basis at all for pride. For the Scriptures tell us Abraham believed God, and that is why God canceled his sins and declared him “not guilty.” But didn’t he earn his right to heaven by all the good things he did? No, for being saved is a gift.” (Romans 4:1-5 Living)

James:
“Don’t you remember that even our father Abraham was declared good because of what he did, when he was willing to obey God.” (James 2:21 Living)

“So you see, a man is saved by what he does, as well as by what he believes. (James 2:24 Living)
“You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (Holman)

Question 6: John can you see any contradiction in theses Scriptures?

If not maybe it’s true “There’s no one as blind as those who refuse to
see.”

Rex Ray said...

Rex Ray said...
Hey! My comment didn't print my name.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
Probably an operator error above. :)

If I were you, I’d always agree with Debbie too.

I thought she might correct the mistake of “Great quote Debbie!”

But then again, maybe I couldn’t find her quote.

Gene S said...

Worthy questions no Inerrantist can answer!!!!

It's a letter folks---dealing with practical matters---not a dictated book of theology---Paul was a zealot--Paul hated Christians and had problems with women---Paul got saved on the Damascas Road---Paul was so hard-headed it took a light to get his attention and blindness to humble him for a time---Paul could be a classic example of backsliding!!!!!

Get over it and lisen to the Holy Spirit communicating love and acceptance of women in our day.

OR, does the Holy Spirit have to bow to Paul as well??????

believer333 said...

Well, I think Paul got over it! Read how many women leaders he praised in Rom. 16.

Rex Ray said...

Gene,
Good question: “Does the Holy Spirit have to bow to Paul as well.”

Did Jesus say Paul would teach us, or did he say the Holy Spirit would teach us?

Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13)

Paul said, “All Scripture is inspired by God…”, but the hard part for Inerrantist in my opinion is they accept untruth in the Bible as Scripture such as women are saved by child bearing, daughter dead vs. very sick, and the lost are saved by marrying Christians:
“For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the Christian husband.” (1Corinthians 7:14 Holman)

Just as this:
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. “ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Thu Dec 15, 11:01:00 AM 2011);

I believe ‘None are more hopelessly entangled than those who believe untruth.’

In the Bible, we must depend upon the Holy Spirit to teach us what is true and untrue. Those that accept every word as true. in essence. ‘don’t need the Holy Spirit.

Gene S said...

GREAT----at least 2 people here get it.

Many times it has been shown that "early" Paul was less mature and mellow then "late" Paul. I think he learned a few things about humility along the way of his faith walk.

I so love those young theologues who know all the answers and only half the real questions!!!!!

Rex Ray said...

Gene,
I think we have a great conversation going here; wonder why no one else is joining us?

You said: “Paul was less mature and mellow then "late" Paul. I think he learned a few things…”

That reminds me of “early” Peter also ‘growing’ in knowledge from what he said in (Acts 2:38):

“Repent” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Peter said very clear: ‘be baptized and you will receive the Holy Spirit’, BUT what did “late” Peter learn when he saw Gentiles receive the Holy Spirit BEFORE they were baptized? (Acts 10:44)

Since the Bible is like a camcorder in many ways, Luke couldn’t go back and erase Acts 2:38 could he? So many today, argue you must be baptized for the forgiveness of sin.

Likewise, the Inerrantist will try to twist Peter’s words around or they’ll retreat to their last defense saying the ‘originals’ were perfect.

Gene S said...

"Originals were 'perfect'" can't really be rebutted since we don't have any of them and it's doubtful we ever will!!!

That brings it all back to a matter of FAITH for me. I just prefer a faith that doesn't require me to take my brains out before swollowing it all hook, line, and sinker!!!

I always ask how much JOY of salvation our fundy friends have. They are still fighting like cats and dogs in the SBC---now over a possible name change. I'm much happier standing on the side with my new friends at CBF!

Lamar Wadsworth said...

Superb article, Wade! When my mother died, we were not allowed to have her funeral at the Southern Baptist church where she was an active member 52 years because I asked two women to read Scripture at the service. Our church, Heritage Baptist in Cartersville GA, honored Mother like one of its own and gave her the homegoing celebration she deserved. The following November, on All Saints Day--without explanation or comment, Mother's name was included on the list of members of Heritage who had died in the past year. Bill Leonard said we pulled off the first posthumous transfer of church membership in Baptist history. PM me on BaptistLife.com and I will send you an article I wrote about that.

believer333 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon Zens said...

I realize this conversation was going on a while back, but I would like to make a few observations -- which are brought out in What's With Paul & Women? I think it is significant that "woman" is singular in the verse under question. Why? Because two plurals precede it -- "I will that men [plural] pray..."; "I will that women [plural] pray, not with..."; "I am not allowing a woman [singular] to teach..." At a minimum this shift from plural to singular might point us to the fact that Paul did not have all believing women in all cultures in all future times in mind when he said that.

It is very possible that Paul pointed out that Adam was created first -- not because he had "authority over" Eve -- but because in the Artemis-saturated Ephesian culture it was taught that women first came into existence, then men.

For the most part, non-Jewish women in Ephesus especially looked to Artemis for help during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Once you realize the cultural backdrop, then Paul's mysterious, enigmatic words about "childbirth" begin to make sense.

Such Ephesian women brought their prayers to Artemis, not with the blood of animals, etc., but by coming before her with locks of flowing hair, decorated with various arrangements of jewelry. This helps immensely in understanding why Paul would call attention to women’s hair as he did in verse 9.

The Temple of Artemis dominated the landscape and ethos of Ephesus. It would be similar to the presence of Mormonism in Salt Lake City. One can easily see how females coming to Christ out of a goddess-based religion might need the kind of life-style adjustments that Paul points to in 1 Tim. 2:9-15.