Monday, April 30, 2007

The Case for Continuationism: Dr. Sam Storms

With permission I publish the outline of Sam Storm's Saturday morning presentation at "The Conference of the Holy Spirit" in Arlington, Texas. It is only the bare outline -- Dr. Storms fleshed it out verbally at the conference. However, the outline is good in and of itself and helpful to pastors considering the subject.

The Case for Continuationism

12 Bad Reasons for Being a Cessationist

(1) The first bad reason for being a Cessationist is an appeal to 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 on the assumption that the “perfect” is something other or less than the fullness of the eternal state ushered in at the second coming of Jesus Christ.

(2) Another bad or illegitimate reason for being a Cessationist is the belief that signs and wonders as well as certain spiritual gifts served only to confirm or authenticate the original company of apostles and that when the apostles passed away so also did the gifts.

(a) No biblical text ever says that signs and wonders or spiritual gifts of a particular sort authenticated the apostles. Signs and wonders authenticated Jesus and the apostolic message about him. If signs and wonders were designed exclusively to authenticate apostles, why were non-apostolic believers (such as Philip and Stephen) empowered to perform them?

(b) This is a good reason for being a Cessationist only if you can demonstrate that authentication or attestation of the apostolic message was the sole and exclusive purpose of such displays of divine power. However, nowhere in the NT is the purpose/function of the miraculous or the charismata reduced to that of attestation.

(3) A third bad reason for being a Cessationist is the belief that since we now have the completed canon of Scripture we no longer need the operation of so-called miraculous gifts.

(4) A fourth bad reason for being a Cessationist is the belief that to embrace the validity of all spiritual gifts today requires that one embrace classical Pentecostalism and its belief in Spirit-baptism as separate from and subsequent to conversion, as well as their doctrine that speaking in tongues is the initial physical evidence of having experienced this Spirit-baptism.

(5) Another bad reason for being a Cessationist is the idea that if one spiritual gift, such as apostleship, has ceased to be operative in the church that other, and perhaps all, miraculous gifts have ceased to be operative in the church.

(6) A sixth bad reason for being a Cessationist is the fear that to acknowledge the validity today of revelatory gifts such as prophecy and word of knowledge would necessarily undermine the finality and sufficiency of Holy Scripture.

(7) A seventh bad reason for being a Cessationist is the appeal to Ephesians 2:20 on the assumption that revelatory gifts such as prophecy were uniquely linked to the apostles and therefore designed to function only during the so-called foundational period in the early church.

(8) An eighth bad reason for being a Cessationist is the argument that since we typically don’t see today miracles or gifts equal in quality/intensity to those in the ministries of Jesus and the Apostles, God doesn’t intend for any miraculous gifts of a lesser quality/intensity to operate in the church among ordinary Christians (but cf. 1 Cor. 12-14; Rom. 12; 1 Thess. 5:19-22; James 5).

(9) A ninth bad reason for being a Cessationist is the so-called “cluster” argument.

(10) A tenth bad reason for being a Cessationist is the appeal to the alleged absence of miraculous gifts in church history subsequent to the first century.

(11) Eleventh, it is a bad reason to be a Cessationist because of the absence of good experiences with spiritual gifts and the often fanatical excess of certain TV evangelists and some of those involved in the Word of Faith or Prosperity Gospel movements (as well as the anti-intellectualism often found in those movements).

(12) Finally, a twelfth bad reason for being a Cessationist is fear of what embracing Continuationism might entail for your life personally and the well-being of your church corporately.

12 Good Reasons for Being a Continuationist

(1) The first good reason for being a Continuationist is the 12 bad reasons for being a Cessationist.

(2) A second good reason for being a Continuationist is the consistent, indeed pervasive, and altogether positive presence throughout the NT of all spiritual gifts.

(3) A third good reason for being a Continuationist is the extensive NT evidence of the operation of so-called miraculous gifts among Christians who are not apostles. In other words, numerous non-apostolic men and women, young and old, across the breadth of the Roman Empire consistently exercised these gifts of the Spirit (and Stephen and Philip ministered in the power of signs and wonders).

(4) A fourth good reason for being a Continuationist is the explicit and oft-repeated purpose of the charismata: namely, the edification of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:7; 14:3,26).

(5) The fifth good reason for being a Continuationist is the fundamental continuity or spiritually organic relationship between the church in Acts and the church in subsequent centuries.

(6) Very much related to the fifth point, a sixth good reason for being a Continuationist is because of what Peter (Luke) says in Acts 2 concerning the operation of so-called miraculous gifts as characteristic of the New Covenant age of the Church.

(7) The seventh good reason for being a Continuationist is 1 Corinthians 13:8-12.

(8) The eighth good reason for being a Continuationist is Ephesians 4:11-13.

(9) A ninth good reason for being a Continuationist is the description in Revelation 11 of the ministry of the Two Witnesses.

(10) A tenth good reason for being a Continuationist is because the Holy Spirit in Christ is the Holy Spirit in Christians. We are indwelt, anointed, filled, and empowered by the same Spirit as was Jesus. His ministry is (with certain obvious limitations) the model for our ministry (cf. Acts 10:38).

(11) An eleventh reason to be a Continuationist is the absence of any explicit or implicit notion that we should view spiritual gifts any differently than we do other NT practices and ministries that are portrayed as essential for the life and well-being of the Church.

(12) The twelfth and final good reason for being a Continuationist is the testimony throughout most of church history concerning the operation of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit.

[Although it is technically not a reason or argument for being a Continuationist like the previous twelve, I cannot ignore personal experience. The fact is that I’ve seen all spiritual gifts in operation, tested and confirmed them, and experienced them first-hand on countless occasions. As stated, this is less a reason to become a Continuationist and more a confirmation (although not an infallible one) of the validity of that decision. Experience, in isolation from the biblical text, proves little. But experience must be noted, especially if it illustrates or embodies what we see in the biblical text.]

For more information on this and various other theological and biblical studies see

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday at Cornerstone Baptist Church, Arlington

Rachelle and I left the hotel at 7:15 a.m. for the 7:30 worship service at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. Frankly, when I first heard I would be preaching at this service, I thought it was a typo. Whoever heard of Baptists have a 7:30 a.m. worship service other than Easter?

I guess Cornerstone Baptist is a unique church. We pulled into the parking lot and literally dozens of volunteers made the entrance into the church from our car a welcoming experience. I don't believe I have ever seen a church stationed throughout with more men and women serving the Lord and each other by being official 'greeters,' hosts and hostesses, servants in the audio/visual ministry and various other volunteer capacities throughout Cornerstone. There is truly a sense of hospitality, warmth and genuine service that is very noticeable.

Rachelle and I were escorted to the second floor where Dwight McKissic greeted us in his office. We had a time of prayer with Pastor Dwight and Pastor Jason Epps of a church start in Salt Lake City, Utah. Jason had been denied funding by the Southern Baptist Convention for his church start because he had been honest and answered 'yes' to the question "Do you have a private prayer language?" Though Jason has never made 'tongues' a central part of either his life or teaching, he could not deny the gift God had given him. Dwight heard of his story and encouraged his church today to take an offering to help Jason's church buy land and construct a building for a church that now has over 150 attending in an area where 90% of the people are non-Christian.

The 7:30 service had a very large crowd and though it is designed to be an hour long service, there was no time pressure and we did not end the service until 9:00 a.m. I preached a message on Jesus healing the blind beggar named Bartimeus, and I showed how the anointing of the Holy Spirit is given to those who pray like Bartimeus and persevere in their prayers like this blind man who felt the touch of Christ. The worship was wonderful, the crowd responsive, and it was one of the better services I've ever been a part of -- regardless of early starting time.

At 9:00 a.m. Rachelle and I ate breakfast with Pastor Dwight and his wife Vera in their office suite on the second floor. Joining us were my mom and dad, Paul and Mary Burleson, their friends from Wichita Falls, Bobby and Margie Brown, and Pastor Jason Epps. The conversation was very stimulating, the fellowship great, and I long for the day when, in the Southern Baptist Convention, we all can fellowship like we did over the breakfast table, regardless of race, views on the gifts, and cultural differences. We are truly one family in Christ.

Rachelle and I went back to the hotel to check out, but made it back to Cornerstone for the 10:00 a.m. worship service. We were a little late in arriving. The auditorium was packed, but we were escorted to the front and seated on the second row. The church was filled with volunteers standing to direct people to seats, and no guest went unescorted into the auditorium. I imagine there were at least 1,500 in this service.

What happened next was incredible.

We worshipped for an hour and a half. And when I say worship, I mean worship. The choir, ensemble, Daniel Brymer and Cornerstone's worship pastor led us before the throne. We sang a mixture of hymns and choruses -- there was not stopping and starting, it flowed from special worship songs sung by soloists and the choir, to congregational singing, to a combination of both -- no performance here, true and utter worship from all involved. The spirit was exuberant, the air electric. Some sat, most stood. Some lifted their hands, others bowed their heads and closed their eyes. Honestly, it was absolutely amazing -- the Spirit of God came down in a special and unique manner. My wife said she had never sung, or felt, the hymn "O How I Love Jesus" like she did this morning as we sang it. It was an absolutely moving worship time with many touched by God before the preaching of the message.

Jason again shared his testimony and then our church member, Dr. Sam Storms preached an astounding message entitled "Quench Not the Holy Spirit." I have learned more on the ministry and person of the Holy Spirit under the teaching of Dr. Sam Storms than any other theologian or pastor. I will be taking and applying what I learned from this message into my own life and ministry. Dr. Storms finished his 35 minute message at 12:05 and we worshipped again with the pastors of Cornerstone extending a public time of response and ministry for an additional 25 minutes.

The service ended at 12:30 -- two and a half hours after it began.

We could not stay for the luncheon afterwards because we wanted to be back in Enid for the 25th Anniversary Celebration of our headmaster and current Association of Christian Schools International Board Chairman, Paul McDonald. Rachelle and I discussed what we experienced on the way home to Enid, Oklahoma, and I say without hesitation we both profited from "The Conference on the Holy Spirit."

Two observations in closing:

(1). I am utterly astounded that anyone within the SBC would desire to exclude from denominational leadership or missionary cooperation Pastor Dwight McKissic or any member from Cornerstone Baptist Church because of their views or practices of the Spirit's gifts. I can assure you that at not one time was anything done or practiced in the services Sunday that is prohibited in the Bible -- more importantly, Cornerstone's worship services seem to follow what Scripture prescribes worship ought to be. There was both exuberance and reverance, emotion and doctrine, love and grace, Spirit and truth, etc . . . Many of us could learn from Cornerstone and I am happy they are part of our convention.

(2). It's time the Southern Baptist Convention reflected the diversity of our people within our leadership. I will be proposing at some time in the near future that the Southern Baptist Convention be held at regional locations throughout the United States. The technology exists today for messengers to vote via computer, and I really think that the worship, teaching and testimonials at the different regional sites could reflect the diversity of our convention. In larger cities there could even be two sites for messengers to gather. This kind of networking will solve several problems:

(a). There will be greater participation in the direction of our convention by the members of the churches of our conventions instead of a select few who can travel across country to the site of the SBC host city.

(b). Since our convention was built on 'cooperation' and not 'conformity,' various regional sites for the convention will allow true cooperation of a multitude of churches and church cultures.

(c). The policies and practices of our convention will truly reflect the diversity of our people.

This recommendation will need to come from the proper committees and, of course, a great deal of work will need to be put into the proposal, but I look forward to the day when (not if) it is done.

All in all, the weekend was great. If there is a "Holy Spirit Conference Part II" I would encourage you to attend.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

P.S. I have heard from a friend who was present Sunday night for the worship and praise time at Cornerstone with Joel McCray and J.E. McKissic (both worship pastors at Cornerstone) and Daniel Brymer. I hope my friend will bog about it, but he told me the three hour service included prophetic singing and an incredible movement of the Spirit of God -- the service moved him like nothing he had ever experienced.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Baptist Conference on the Holy Spirit

I had intended to blog about The Conference on the Holy Spirit earlier this weekend, but my schedule has been full and this is the first time I had the opportunity to sit down at the computer in the hotel room and write down some thoughts about my impressions of the conference.

First, the host church and pastor Dwight McKissic have done a wonderful job of preparations and hosting. There are a large number of volunteers who have made everything very smooth for all the participants and speakers, including all the meals.

Friday morning and afternoon we had the "Pastor's Roundtable" which was a carry over from our first meeting at Cornerstone last year. Dwight McKissic and Ben Cole spoke and both did an outstanding job. Both men are always very well prepared and accomplished speakers. Dwight's sermon was entitled "The Road from Babel to Pentecost" and he showed how God reversed all the negative things that happened at Babel by pouring out his Spirit at Pentecost. Ben spoke of walls being broken down at Pentecost, including the walls of national identity, racial segregation, and testamental divisions. There was a robust discussion on both messages as we enjoyed lunch around the tables. The afternoon offered us an opportunity to hear a testimony and challenge from Art Rogers and messages from Ralph W. Emerson and another guest pastor friend of Dwight's. I enjoyed all the speakers and the discussion that followed.

Friday night's service was three and a half hours long, but the time passed quickly. I always enjoy the worship when led by Daniel Brymer and both Gary Smith and Denny Davis, pastors from two of the largest Baptist churches in the metroplex did a great job on the role of the Holy Spirit in Church Growth and Kingdom Growth. I enjoyed preaching to a very responsive crowd on the role of the Holy Spirit in the Great Commission.

Saturday was a very long day, beginning at 9:00 a.m. and going until 9:30 p.m. that night. However, I learned a great deal from every one of the speakers. I enjoyed meeting and visiting with Bart Barber and appreciated his lecture on the cessationist viewpoint from a historical perspective, and Robin Foster presented his subject matter in a very humble attitude. Both men were in the minority in their positions, but I really appreciate the spirit they displayed today of accepting those brothers who disagreed. I also enjoyed the presentations of Alan Cross on continuationsim, particularly the way in which Alan is matter of fact about the Sciptures approach to the gifts, but it is evident Alan's emphasis in life and ministry is on Christ. I met for the first time Dr. Boyd Luter, former dean of Criswell College and now a pastor in Texas. His presentation on cooperation within the SBC between people with differing views on the gifts is absolutely must hearing for leadership within the SBC. I have received permission to post his lecture and plan on doing so sometime next week.

Saturday night Sam Storms and Daniel Brymer did a great job leading us in teaching and worship respectively. I don't think I have ever heard a clearer presentation on the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer than that presented by Sam. He is a theologian par excellence and I learned a great deal Saturday night. He was the only preacher and as far as I was concerned he could have continued for hours.

This morning, Sunday morning, I will be preaching at Cornerstone at 7:30 a.m. and Sam will be preaching at 10:00 a.m. I will be heading back to Enid after the morning service to be present for our evening service in Enid.

All in all I really enjoyed the weekend. I met a lot of new friends and enjoyed the fellowship with people from all over the SBC. I was also greatly encouraged by what I heard from people on both sides of the issue. Everyone displayed a Christian spirit. Everyone mentioned the necessity to continue in cooperation for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Our convention could learn a great deal from studying the model at this conference at Cornerstone.

There's room in ministry and leadership of the SBC for people with differing views on the gifts, and NOBODY should desire to exclude people from EITHER side.

In His Grace,


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dwight McKissic Is My Kind of Southern Baptist

Tonight my wife and I had the pleasure of eating dinner at the Salt Grass Steakhouse in Arlington, Texas with Dwight McKissic and his lovely wife Vera. Eating with us were Gary and Sandy Smith, Sam and Ann Storms, Ben Cole, Jason Epps, Denny Davis, Art Rogers, Robin Foster, and Alan Cross. You might recognize many of these names through their individual blogs or ministries, and I enjoyed the fellowship with one and all. However, this short post is dedicated to Pastor Dwight McKissic and his wife Vera.

I don't know when I have been around a more hospitable, gracious and generous couple as the McKissics. Though I have known Dwight and shared supper before with Vera and him, this was the first opportunity that my wife Rachelle had to meet them both. Rachelle told me that she felt instant warmth in the presence of Dwight. You can't help but be drawn to him because he exudes the grace and love of Christ. Likewise, Vera is genuinely kind and warm, and she displayed a very hospitable spirit to all of us out of towners.

Pastor Dwight is hosting The Conference on the Holy Spirit, beginning today, at his church, the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington. I am very interested in hearing all the speakers at the conference, and though it had not yet officially begun last night, the fellowship, dialogue and discussion around the table has already been profitable and edifying to me personally.

I am grateful that Dwight McKissic is a Southern Baptist. I am thankful that I can count him a friend. He and his wife Vera represent all that is good about our convention, and we are better off as a denomination because of their leadership among us.

I will post later tonight about the opening sessions of The Conference on the Holy Spirit.

In His Grace,


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Conference On The Holy Spirit: Arlington, TX

I will be traveling today to Arlington, Texas for The Conference On the Holy Spirit at Cornerstone Baptist Church. Let me encourage you if you are within driving distance to come and participate with the six hundred day registrants and the hundreds more who will attend the open plenary sessions Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday morning. I will post my reflections on the conference each night. The schedule for the conference is as follows:

Host Pastors’ Roundtable
Friday, April 27
10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
JE & Joel Worship Leaders
Ralph Emerson Roundtable Speaker
The Role of the Holy Spirit in Church Revitalization
Robert Fowler Roundtable Speaker
The Role of the Holy Spirit in Preaching


Friday, April 27, 2007
Evening Sessions

7:00 p.m.
Gary Smith The Person & Ministry of the Holy Spirit
Wade Burleson The Role of the Holy Spirit in the
Great Commission

Denny Davis The Role of the Holy Spirit in Church Growth
Vicki Yohe Special Music
St. John Baptist Church Choir
Fielder Road Baptist Church Choir
Daniel Brymer Worship


Saturday, April 28, 2007
Morning Sessions
9:00 am.

Daniel Brymer Worship Leader
Robert Fowler The Holy Spirit – Topic of Choice
Bart Barber Plenary Session:
The Cessasionist/Semi-cessasionist Viewpoint
Sam Storms Plenary Session:
The Continualist Viewpoint

Conference Panel
11:00 a.m.
Ben Cole - Panel Host
Wade Burleson ,Robert Fowler, Sam Storms, Dwight McKissic, Robert Foster, Alan Cross, Bart Barber,Boyd Luter


Dwight McKissic Saturday Luncheon: 12:30 p.m.
The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Sandy Creek-Charlestonian Tradition


Afternoon Session
Times to be Announced

Boyd Luter Can Continualists & Cessasionists Co-exist
In The Same Church?

Robin Foster
The Cessasionist/Semi-Cessasionist Viewpoint
of Spiritual Gifts

Alan Cross
Defining and Defending the Continualist Position

Daniel Brymer & Joel McCray
Worshiping In The Spirit 2

Dwight McKissic
Praying in the Spirit


Saturday, April 28, 2007
Evening Sessions

7:00 p.m.
Sam Storms The Role of Holy Spirit in Worship
Vicki Yohe Special Music
Daniel Brymer Worship Leader
Choir Cornerstone Baptist Church Mass Choir
Choir Cornerstone Baptist Church Children’s Choir


Sunday, April 29, 2007
Early Morning Service

7:30 a.m.
Wade Burleson Walking Worthy of Your Calling

Morning Service
10:00 a.m.
Sam Storms The Role of the Holy Spirit in Prayer
Daniel Brymer Worship Leader

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My Top Ten Regrets About Blogging: A Reflection

Joel Gregory writes in his book Too Great a Temptation that W.A. Criswell used to say, "Don't ever look back son. No regrets. Ever." I personally think that Criswell's advice is pretty good stuff, but setting it aside for a day or so I thought I might reflect on a few regrets I have about blogging on this the 500th post of Grace and Truth To You.

(1). I regret . . . that my opinion of some people whom I've never met-- and those same peoples' opinion of me -- is entirely based upon what is written. As a result, the truest understanding of a person that comes through eye contact, sensing one's spirit and enjoying one's unique personality is missed. This causes me to wonder if friendships will never be developed with certain persons once we meet because of preconceived biases, on both sides, that may not be accurate.

(2). I regret . . . I did not learn sooner that there is no need to answer every silly slander or accusatory attack by people who don't like what I'm saying. Some seem to feel it necessary to attack me because they view me as 'a threat.' But if Jesus was silent before His accusers, maybe we His disciples ought to be silent as well when falsely accused.

(3). I regret . . . that my writing is not always as clear as I would like it to be. Sometimes my grammar, spelling, and thought processes suffer due to a my desires to meet a self-imposed deadline, a lack of proper proofreading, or simple stupidity on my part.

(4). I regret . . . any post that questioned anyone's motive. Only God knows the heart. I believe it is absolutely essential for me to post what I believe to be the facts but stay clear from assigning motives like the Old Testament saints stayed clear of leprosy.

(5). I regret . . . blogging if just one person ever despaired of participating in SBC ministry or missions because of reading my post. I truly wish to be positive about everything SBC -- even when I write of things that concern me.

(6). I regret . . . that I don't have a better sense of style and understanding of blogging technology to make my blog look better or function better.

(7). I regret . . . that I can't spend more time answering questions in the comment string, or responding to unique comments on my posts. There is a limit to my resource of time and I have chosen to spend most of my blogging time on the post and simply read the comments from some excellent commentors - and learn from them - but not necessarily dialogue with them.

(8). I regret . . . that sometimes when I am writing a post I represent an opposing viewpoint in absolute terms, or characterize people who believe certain things using statements that labels them or polarizes them. Though those who know me understand I accept everyone who disagrees with me, respect every viewpoint that is opposite of mine and cherish the freedom that Baptists have historically valued -- I sometimes write in such a way that I unintentionally cast a negative light on those who believe differently than I. I truly regret this fault of mine.

(9). I regret . . . that blogging was not available 30 years ago at the beginning of the conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention. I truly believe that had blogging been available then, some of those who were hurt, disenfranchised and falsely accused of major doctrinal or theological error could have shown through their writing that they were in reality theologically conservative.

(10). I regret . . . blogging when I should have been playing golf. :)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Liberal Fundamentalism Is No Different Than Conservative Fundamentalism: Both Are Intolerant

For those who think my angst is only against the intolerance of conservative fundamentalism in the SBC, I thought I might show how liberal fundamentalism is just as bad in Baptist circles. Whereas conservative fundamentalists will often discriminate against and demean women, liberal fundamentalists will often discriminate against and demean evangelicals.

My daughter is a student Baylor University in Waco, Texas. There is an English professor named Joseph Jeyaraj (pronounced "jayrash") who joined the faculty of Baylor University's English Department during 2001 in a tenure track position. Dr. Jeyaraj's Christian testimony is very moving. He is not only a solid, evangelical Christian, he is an outstanding scholar. For some unknown reason, Dr. Jayaraj was given no document at the time of his hiring which would have informed him of the standards by which he would be judged when it came time for tenure review.

In 2003 a new tenure track policy document was approved by Baylor University's Provost's Office outlining the standards to be followed in the English Department for adjudicating faculty members' candidacy for tenure. This document and information was also withheld from Dr. Jeyaraj. The document states:

Each year, the chair will appoint three members of the tenured faculty to a Teaching Review Committee. Members will serve for three years, starting in fall 2003. One member will be replaced in 2004, another in 2005, and the third in 2006. After 2004, all newly-appointed members of the committee will serve for three years, but will be replaced at the staggered intervals suggested by the above. Barring extraordinary circumstances, the membership of the Teaching Review Committee will rotate through all members of the tenured faculty before any member is asked to repeat this service. Criteria for Tenure: English Department, Baylor University, 1 March 2003", p. 5

This Teaching Review Committee was designed, according to the manual, to provide mentors for tenure track faculty in the English Department and to assist in the growth of the faculty member's classroom skills and scholarship. Joseph never experienced this mentoring due to the information being withheld from him by his department chair. The reason for not informing Joseph of the Teaching Review Committee and the official tenure review process is seen by what happened next.

The English Department discontinued Joseph in 2004. However, due to the protests of those in the know, the university acknowledged shortly thereafter that a mistake had been made and it reversed the decision. Soon after this reversal, at the urging of the Provost, Dean Daniel appointed a committee to independently investigate Joseph's performance. The committee fully exonerated Dr. Jeyaraj, and in a report delivered in 2005, the Daniel committee said that Joseph's teaching, research, service and collegiality were all good.

Here's Where Things Get Worse

However, despite the exoneration by the Daniel Committee, in the spring of last year, 2006, the English Department of Baylor University discontinued Joseph's employment again. It was said he was denied tenure because he did not follow the approved 2003 guidelines for tenure track positions. This was when Joseph discovered for the first time that there was such a document -- it was never offered to him or explained to him -- but then used against him for termination.

In a letter dated March 20, 2006, Dean Nordt summarized the reasons for discontinuing Dr. Jeyaraj:

"According to several tenured faculty members, [Dr. Jeyaraj] has not made satisfactory progress [in the area of collegiality]. Others believe Dr. Jeyaraj's difficulties in getting along with his colleagues stem from cultural differences".

It was less than a year earlier that the Daniel committee, appointed to investigate the unjust discontinuation, reported:

In sum, reliable first-hand accounts of Dr. Jeyaraj's collegiality suggest that, while there have been misunderstandings with some faculty members, no problems in this area would indicate serious deficiencies. This committee was formed, in part, to respond to concerns that Dr. Jeyaraj was denied tenure based on allegations received at second and third hand; therefore, this committee must avoid repeating that error by not relying on information that may be in a personnel file to which we have been denied access (emphasis mine). According to all first hand accounts, this committee has heard, no serious problems with collegiality exist.

For several years Joseph's chair, Dr. Maurice Hunt, maintained files, which he refused to disclose, but based his public recommendations upon. The usual tactic of those who wish to get rid of someone without having to prove cause is to simply say, "Trust (us), there's a problem. We won't tell you what the problem is, nor give you evidence that exists, but it is there."

One might ask, 'Why is Dr. Joseph Jeyaraj treated in such an unjust manner, as compared to other tenure track faculty?' I would propose that just as conservative fundamentalists are intolerant of those who are different than them, liberal fundamentalists are also intolerant of anyone who is unlike them. I imagine that most Baylor parents, like me and Rachelle, who are paying $30,000 a year in tuition for their child's college education would much rather see evangelicals in tenure track positions rather than known Marxists or classic liberals as Baylor University has hired in the past. Dr. Jeyaraj is the kind of professor I desire my daughter to have, and the obvious desire by those in control of the tenure review process to remove Joseph is troubling.

If someone responds, 'But surely there are just reasons academic reasons for discontinuing Joseph Jeyaraj?' the answer would be 'No, there is not." I have been informed that academic departments at Baylor grant tenure on the strength of five or six scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals, requiring that three or more of the articles appear in top-tier journals for the particular area of discipline. Joseph has two articles in print in tier-one journals, one article in print in an Indian journal, two articles in print in conference proceedings (these had been submitted to the conferences, and were thus, we assume, peer-reviewed), and four articles forthcoming, two of which are in tier-one journals. One of the articles in print is going to be reprinted in a book to be published by a reputable publisher in Joseph's field. He has acceptance letters for all the forthcoming articles.

In addition, the Daniel Committee, just one year earlier summarized the excellent work of Dr. Jeyaraj as follows:

The evaluators were unanimously positive about his teaching; his rapport with students; his ability to mix quizzes, lecture, discussion, and analysis of texts; his effective use of examples to illustrate rhetorical strategies in technical writing; and his linking assignments and discussion to a specifically Baylor culture. Evaluators noticed that Dr. Jeyaraj chats amiably with students as they enter the classroom. During the class, he moves around the room, encouraging students in their in-class assignments and gently prodding their participation in discussion. Dr. Jeyaraj was also able to weave into the conversation instructive comments about the complexities of globalized communication. No one noticed any evidence of tensions in the classroom or deficiencies in the manner of presentation; on the contrary, all concur that Dr. Jeyaraj is doing an admirable job of engaging students and making them active learners. He brings to his students both an expertise in the art of technical writing and a global perspective that they rarely encounter at Baylor.

Again, why the harsh treatment of Joseph by his own department? One can't help but assume that since Joseph is an evangelical Christian and a supporter of Baylor's 2012 Vision that the politics of the fundamentalist liberals have gotten in the way of fair treatment of Dr. Jeyaraj. It's the Klouda and Clippard issue in reverse. One wonders if a prejudice against Joseph's brand of Christianity is the cause of the unusually harsh judgment of his collegiality and teaching. I am beginning to discover that some junior faculty in reactionary departments at Baylor often suffer for their Christian and academically progressive views.

Our children at Baylor deserve better than this kind of treatment of the very professors we desire to teach them. I am putting the regents and administration on notice that liberal fundamentalism causes me just as much consternation as conservative fundamentalism.

And I will do something to stop both from destroying our Southern Baptist agencies, schools and ministry. But I'm not sure it's me Baylor should worry about. Inconsistency in the review process of tenure track professors, or violating the institution's guidelines for tenure track review, or intentionally withholding tenure track guidelines from faculty -- and then using those same guidelines for discontinuation of a professor -- will draw the attention of accrediting agencies.

Let's hope Baylor University wakes up before it's too late.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Are the Sisters Free to Function? by Jon Zens

The copyrighted article below is written by reformed Baptist pastor and author Jon Zens and copied here, with permission, for your edification and comment. Read it carefully. Notice the author's love for Scripture's authority, sufficiency and veracity. Pay close attention to the author's refusal to place tradition or the opinions of fourth century church fathers above sola Scriptura. I believe we Southern Baptists need to be very, very careful before labeling anyone with differing views of women as 'liberal,' 'heretics,' or even 'moderates.' It is possible for conservative evangelicals to disagree on this subject, as it is other subjects, but we should be careful that it does not divide our evangelical missions and ministry cooperation. Jon closes his article with this sentiment: "May we have grace and humility to search the Scriptures together in order to see what is indeed really so." Amen. I predict this little article will become a classic on the subject.

Are the Sisters Free to Function?
An Exploration of Paul’s Concerns in 1 Timothy 2:11-15
Jon Zens

In the history of the church 1 Timothy 2:12 has been used unrelentingly as a proof-text to swiftly and decisively squelch the ministry of women in fellowships. In 1987, the assembly Nancy Sehested pastored was put out of the Memphis Association of Southern Baptist Churches, and 1 Tim.2:12 was used as a key part of the basis for this decision. In 2006 Sheri Klouda was let go from Southwestern Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. She taught Hebrew at the seminary, but – based on 1 Tim.2:12 – it was concluded that women should not be “teaching men.”

An honest examination of the evidence will reveal that the traditional use of 1 Tim.2:12 to silence female believers is without warrant; as a result untold harm has been done to the health of Christ’s body on earth. Everyone admits that 1 Tim.2:11-15 is attended with difficulties at every level – contextual, cultural, linguistical, grammatical and conceptual. Nevertheless, for those who truly desire light from God’s Word, enough clarity can be uncovered to show the key fallacious assumptions and to expose the prejudices that lie behind the traditional understanding of 1 Tim.2:12. It truly has been used to abuse half the priesthood of believers. There is no excuse for Bible teachers and church leaders to continue their misguided application of this passage.

How Does the New Testament As A Whole View Women?

Before coming to 1 Tim.2:12, which is often seen as a restrictive text regarding females, it is imperative for us to review the overwhelmingly positive picture of Abraham’s daughters painted in the New Testament (Luke 13:16). This information cannot be dismissed or forgotten when reflecting on two passages, 1 Cor.14:34-35 and 1 Tim.2:12, that mention concerns about some sisters.

**Neither the Gospel narratives nor the recorded words of Jesus ever put restrictions on the ministry of women.

**Jesus fully accepted women as his disciples and they accompanied him in his travels with the male disciples (Luke 8:1-3). These women also supported the mission of Jesus with their own resources. These facts may be much more significant that it initially appears. In the first century it was unheard of for a Jewish rabbi to have female followers. Luke reports this rather matter-of-factly, yet this band of women, men and Jesus was hardly kosher to the curious onlookers as they went from city to village.

**After Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and saw God’s salvation, Anna the prophetess “gave thanks to God and spoke of him [Jesus] to all the ones expecting redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2:25-38). Anna did not just proclaim Christ to women, but to “all.”

**Jesus applauded the evangelistic efforts of the Samaritan woman (John 4:35-38). After experiencing a revelation of Jesus, she left her jar at the well and went to her city telling men, women and children about the Messiah (John 4:28-29). Everyone in Sychar knew about her history of broken relationships, yet she boldly proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah – a Redeemer even for those outside of Judaism!

**In the context of Jesus’ crucifixion the male disciples fled, yet the women were present and they helped in his burial (Matt.27:55-56,61; Mark 15:40-41; Luke 23:55-56; John 19:25-27).

**A woman’s testimony was disallowed as evidence in first century courts. Yet the Lord chose females to be the first witnesses and proclaimers of his resurrection (John 20:1-2, 11-18; Luke 24:1-11, 22-24; Mark 16:1-8; Matt.28:1-11).

**After Christ’s ascension, 120 men and women prayed together and chose a replacement for Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:14-15).

**The Spirit came upon the 120 disciples and they spoke the wonderful works of God in many foreign languages (Acts 2:1-4).

**Some thought that what was occurring on the Day of Pentecost was evidence of too much wine, but Peter insisted that it was a fulfillment of what Joel prophesied would come to pass – “your sons and daughters will prophesy….I will pour out my Spirit on my male and female slaves and they will prophesy” (Acts 2:17-18). There is no suggestion that males may prophesy freely, but that females are restricted in some ways.

**Philip the evangelist had four virgin daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:9). We would not be wrong in assuming that there were many other sisters who had this gift, not just Philip’s offspring.

**Paul entrusted his letter to the Romans to Phoebe, and she delivered it. She was a deacon in the assembly at Cenchrea and Paul had the highest regard for her (Rom.16:1-2). Paul recognized her as a prostatis, which carried with it the idea of leadership (cf. 1 Thess.5:12).

**Paul designated Priscilla and Aquila as his “co-workers” (Rom.16:3). The same word is used with reference to people like Timothy and Titus.

**Junia and Andronicus (wife/husband or sister/brother) were greeted by Paul as “outstanding among the apostles” (Rom.16:7). They were his relatives and had been in prison with him. There were people called “apostles” who were not among the Twelve, like Barnabas. Junia was also among such apostolic workers. There is no reason to think that she was the only such female apostle.

**Among all the people Paul greeted in Romans 16, ten were sisters among whom were “Tryphena and Tryphosa [who may have been twins], women who work hard for the Lord” (Rom.16:12).

**In line with Acts 2:17-18, Paul encouraged brothers and sisters to prophesy in the gatherings (1 Cor.11:4-5; 14:23-24).

**The open meeting Paul described in 1 Cor.14 envisioned all the men and women – “the whole assembly” – “each one of you” – “you may all prophesy one by one” – functioning together in an encouraging manner.

**Gal.3:28 indicated that “in Christ” human distinctions, like male and female, are no longer norms of judgment in the congregation. In the first century, prejudices abounded in folks’ minds when certain people like “Gentile,” “Jew,” “slave,” and “woman” were mentioned. Paul stated that in the body of Christ this should not be the case.

**Women were prominent in the assembly at Philippi, beginning with Lydia’s home. In Phil.4:3 Paul asked for two sisters – who must have had no small spiritual influence in the body – to be at peace with one another. He called Euodia and Syntyche “co-workers” and “co-strugglers” in the gospel.

**2 John is addressed to “the elect lady and her children.” This probably referred to a respected sister in whose home the saints gathered. She had apparently exerted significant spiritual influence upon a number of people. Women’s homes were mentioned as meeting places for the brethren in Rom.16:5, 1 Cor.1:11, 16:9 and Col.4:15.

**In Rev.2:20-24 Christ rebuked the Thyatiran congregation for allowing a false prophetess, nicknamed “Jezebel,” to “teach” some of the Lord’s servants to sin grievously. If it was such a crime for a woman to teach the brethren, why didn’t the Lord just condemn the assembly for even allowing a woman to instruct others? This incident in Thyatira implies that the assembly permitted other male and female prophets to teach the truth. Christ’s bone to pick with them wasn’t that a woman taught, but that what she taught was false teaching. We will come back to this passage in the course of our investigation of 1 Tim.2:12.

This survey of New Testament highlights concerning women is important because it reveals the freedom of the sisters to function in the kingdom. In the general flow of the New Testament there are no jitters about “restrictions” upon Christ’s daughters. Such a survey should also serve as a corrective to those who squelch and intimidate the sisters by using their interpretation of two passages – 1 Cor.14:34-35 and 1 Tim.2:12 – to cancel out the ministry of sisters unfolded in other Scriptures.


Before coming to our passage in 1 Timothy, it is vital to note that the tradition of designating 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus as “Pastoral Epistles” is very misleading. One writer calls Timothy a “young pastor” (Kuske). Timothy and Titus were not resident pastors/elders. They were itinerant apostolic assistants. Paul at one point tells Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim.4:5). In these three letters Paul gave his co-workers instructions regarding issues and problems faced by the assemblies they moved among and assisted.

Why Was 1 Timothy Written?

The purpose of 1 Timothy is stated by Paul in 1:3-4 – “As I urged you upon my departure to Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus, in order that you may instruct certain persons to neither teach differently, nor to pay attention to myths and unending genealogies, which stir up questions rather than furthering the stewardship of God in faith.” “The key to understanding the letter,” Gordon Fee notes, “lies in taking seriously that Paul’s stated reason in 1:3 for leaving Timothy in Ephesus is the real one; namely, that he has been left there to combat some false teachers, whose asceticism and speculative nonsense based on the law are engendering strife, causing many to capitulate to the false teaching” (Gospel & Spirit, p.54).

1 Timothy is not a church manual for a pastor. It is a mandate for an apostolic assistant to deal with serious issues involving false teaching in Ephesus. Unfortunately, some women had become involved in this problem.

The Immediate Context of 1 Timothy 2:11-15

In terms of the basic structure Paul used in this section (2:1-15), we can note the following (I have tried to follow the Greek closely in translating the verses in 1 Tim.2:1-15):

-- “I exhort [the whole assembly to pray]…to the end that we might live a peaceful and quiet life” (vv.1-2).

-- “I will that the males [plural] pray…” (v.8).

-- “Similarly [I will that] the women [plural] (pray) in proper clothing…” (v.9).

-- “Let the woman [singular] learn in quietness…” (v.11).

-- “But I am not now permitting a woman [singular] to teach with the goal of dominating a man [singular], but to be in quietness” (v.12).

-- “For Adam [singular] was first formed, then Eve [singular]” (v.13).

-- “But she [singular] will be delivered through childbearing if they [plural] remain in faith” (v.15).

The same Greek word, hesuchia (quietness), is used in verse 2 with reference to all believers leading a quiet life, in verse 11 with reference to a woman learning in quietness, and in verse 12 with reference to a woman being in quietness. The word simply does not mean “silent.” Verse 2 obviously does not envision us leading a “silent” life, but rather a life in which we are not known as rabble-rousers. Thus, any Bible version that has the woman in “silence” (2:11-12) reveals some level of bias, is a very inaccurate translation and leaves an impression upon the mind that is not from the Lord.

Apparently this congregation in Ephesus was riddled with false teaching and there was some level of disorder going on. One can appreciate, then, why Paul would emphasize prayer among the brethren and then elaborate on the world-wide salvation purpose of God in Christ (vv.3-7).

The implicit contrast between prayers in Christian assemblies and those in Jewish synagogues must be underscored. Jews in the first century were under Roman rule. Their synagogue prayers focused on the destruction of their Gentile enemies, not their salvation. Paul, on the other hand, exhorts the assembly to intercede on behalf of those in civil power and for the salvation of people all over the world.

Key Observations On 1 Timothy 2:11-15

Truly, I am a debtor to all the hard work others (listed in the “Suggested Sources”) have done in trying to understand these verses. Along with some possible insights that I have come to see, in most cases I am just calling attention to some foundational points that they have unearthed through diligent research. I’m going to structure my comments by contrasting the traditional view with some correctives that seem warranted.

I appeal to you to follow my presentation with an open heart and a willingness to consider the evidence unfolded. There are many assumptions and layers of tradition that must be carefully evaluated. As John R.W. Stott has said, “To me the essence of being a radical is being willing to subject one’s inherited traditions and conventions to biblical scrutiny” (Evangelical Newsletter, April 30, 1982, p.3). “It may be that much of what we call Christian, “ notes Bill White, “would have to be thrown out in the light of Biblical re-education . . . . Let’s approach Scripture with an open mind and heart and discover what God has called us to in the way of re-education and renewal” (Searching Together, Spring, 1983, p.32), Let’s face it – we all struggle to let go of old things learned in order to give way to new things unveiled..

1 Tim.2:11 – “Let a woman learn in quietness in all submission”

Traditional View: The word hesuchia has been taken to mean “silence,” meaning that women are not to speak in assembly meetings. “All submission” is taken to mean that females are to be passive receivers, not active participants.


**Hesuchia means “quietness,” not “silence.” Further, in 1 Tim.2:2 the stated goal is for all believers to live a “quiet” life. In 1 Thess.4:11 Paul instructs all the brethren, “strive eagerly to be quiet, to do your own business and work with your own hands.” The apostle tells those believers who are not working “to work with quietness and to eat their own bread” (2 Thess.3:12).

**Since “quietness” is to be a quality of all the saints, if Paul mentions that a woman needs to learn in quietness, wouldn’t that imply some special circumstance that required this instruction? Is it not clear from the context that the males needed a dose of quietness too, as they were manifesting “wrath” among themselves (v.8)?

**The fact that hesuchia does not mean “silence” illustrates the careless use of Scripture by those who with full confidence and dogmatism cite 1 Tim.2:12 as an end to further discussion. Let’s look at two examples of such misuse, one by a “clergy” person and another by a “lay” person.

#1 In 1970 British Reformed theologian Donald MacLeod pontificated, “[In 1 Tim.2:11-14] the woman is explicitly forbidden to aspire to the offices of teaching and ruling. She is to be submissive; she is to be a learner; she is to be silent. Paul does not qualify this last injunction in any way . . . . The injunction to silence, then, is comprehensive. Women are not to teach nor to rule nor to lead the public prayers of the congregation” (“The Place of Women in the Church,” Banner of Truth, #81, June, 1970, p.3). His intimidating remarks are premised on the mistaken assumption that hesuchia means “silence.” Everything he says is built on a false foundation. Being knowledgeable of Greek he should have known better, but he gives no evidence of caring what hesuchia really meant in verses 2, 11 and 12. The incorrect translation of the verses suited his agenda, so he squeezed it for all it is worth.

#2 In a letter to an editor, “Brother Richard” was upset at “Liberals” for pointing out the mention of a female apostle in Romans 16:7 and lashed out with what he felt were the final words on the matter: “These liberals obviously do not accept the Reformation proclamation ‘Scripture alone,’ long a basic tenet of the Lutheran faith. You do not have to strain your brain to understand 1 Timothy 2:12 which states unequivocally, ‘I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man; she must be silent.’ Delete this or any other sentence out of the Bible and you are now free to say or do anything you wish. ‘Sola Scriptura!’” (Christian News, March 26, 2007, p.19). You can see how such dogmatism is based on (a) a faulty translation of verses 11 and 12 and (b) hearing Bible teachers like MacLeod perpetuate a false understanding of these verses to those in church audiences.

Isn’t quoting a Scripture like this similar to how the cults take a verse out of context and build false teaching on it? Some cults will assert that Christ is only human with a verse like “the Father is greater than I [Jesus]” and totally disregard many other contexts that confirm his deity. Those who focus on 1 Tim.2:12 as a proof-text to shut down female ministry are guilty of using one Scripture to cancel out the clear revelation of their ministry in many other settings. In this case, the misuse of 1 Tim.2:11-12 is aggravated by the fact that they impose “silence” on women when the Greek word, hesuchia, has no such meaning in the first place. Using one Scripture to cancel out the combined impact of many other Scriptures is not a safe way to handle God’s Word.

** “In all submission.” Again, the New Testament clearly teaches that “submission” is to be an attribute of all believers, not just the sisters.

--Rom.13:1,5 -- every person is to be subject to the civil authorities.
--1 Cor.14:32 -- the spirits of the prophets are subject to [under the self-control of] the prophets.
--1 Cor.16:15-16 -- the brethren are to submit to those who lay down their lives for others.
--Eph.5:21 -- all Christians are to mutually submit to one another in the fear of Christ.
--James 4:7 -- we are all to submit to the Lord.
--1 Pet.5:5 -- “all of you, be subject one to another.”

**We must ask, do only women learn in all submission? Do men somehow learn in a different way, without submission? Aren’t “quietness” and “submission” necessary qualities in order for anyone to learn? If this is indeed the case, then are we not warranted to suggest that there must have been a problem with some women, or a woman, which accounts for why Paul would issue this special directive?

** “Let a woman learn [Greek, manthano]…” We must not forget that learning in the early church was not male-driven and pulpit-centered. It was a body experience in which all participated. We have already seen that both men and women are free to prophesy (Acts 2:17-18; 1 Cor.11:3-5). Paul made it crystal clear in 1 Cor.14 that he wanted prophecy from both sexes to be central in the gathering. In 1 Cor.14:31 he directs the saints in this manner: “you may all [males and females] prophesy one by one, so that all [men and women] may learn [manthano] and all may be encouraged.” In the New Testament even singing results in teaching and admonishing (Eph.5:19; Col.3:16).

**Nowhere in the New Testament are sisters forbidden to contribute to the learning process according to their gifts and graces. Thus, the concern Paul expressed in 1 Tim.2:11-12 must have been rooted in problems faced in the Ephesian congregation. Some women, or a woman, were involved in false teaching and needed to be in a learning posture at that time.

**It is noteworthy that from a practical standpoint the traditional “male headship/female submission” notion has been one of the most abused concepts in the flow of church history. In the past and in the present it is very easy for males with controlling spirits to use “male headship” as a “Biblical” justification to keep women under their thumbs.

It cannot be denied that the NT connects certain words with the marriage relationship. But did the NT mean by those words what post-apostolic theologians attached to them? For example, many assume that "male headship" means that the husband has "authority over" the wife, and not a few assume it means that all women are to be subject to all men. In my personal journey I have seen repeatedly the importance of sorting out what the New Testament actually teaches, versus the traditions that have been added on, or the negative influence of baggage that we read into texts.

We apparently assume that "male headship" means "authority over" and connect it with decision-making. But in the first century it was the "heart," not the "head" that was connected with decision-making, and there is much evidence to suggest that "authority over" was generally not connected to the concept of "head" (cf. Laurie Fasullo, “What About the Word Kephale (‘Head’) in the N.T.?”).

Again, many assume that male headship results in the virtual non-expression of the wife's gifts. However, Scripture does not confirm such a lop-sided opinion. Both Huldah and Deborah were functioning prophetesses, but that did not keep them from being godly wives, as their husbands' names are mentioned.

Most people are in ignorance of a vastly significant historical reality. Paul indeed used the words "head" and "submission" with reference to husbands and wives. There is, however, a huge chasm between what Paul had in mind with those words and how they were misappropriated and merged into the "mind-body dualism of classical Greek philosophy" by the early church fathers in order to utterly suppress women in home and church (Joy Bussert, Battered Women, LCA, 1986, p.6). Males were connected with the "mind" (spirituality) and females were connected to the "body" (carnal lust). Thus Origen “taught that women are more closely connected to the flesh than men and thus not as spiritual,” and Augustine “associates women with the evil flesh that must be controlled by the spirit, which he believed was superior in men” (Jann A. Clanton, In Whose Image? God & Gender, Crossroad, 1991, p.41). Thus the "goal of salvation was to free the pure soul from the evil material body" (Bussert, p.7). The state of celibacy became exalted upon the basis of this “Platonic spirituality” which denigrated the body. The most spiritual posture, it was presumed increasingly by the church, was to separate oneself from sexual expression. Translated into daily life this meant, “keep away from women, for they are the gateway into lust and profligacy” (cf. Jereome, Chrysostom & Friends, Elizabeth A. Clark, Edwin Mellen Press, 1982, 254pp.).

Following from this, female sexuality was viewed as "responsible for the Fall of creation and the descent of man's soul into perdition" (Bussert, p.7). Viewing women with disdain as the conduits for sin led of necessity to their subordination to males. "Since femaleness was equated with the inferior body, it followed that woman must naturally live in submission to man in hierarchical fashion, even as the body must be subject to the spirit” (Bussert, p.9).

This degradation of females led not a few theologians to question whether women as entities separate from men were in God's image. Further, since women were seen as "lower beings," husbands were granted the right to correct or chastise their wives. This "gave religious and legal sanction for the absolute control of the 'male mind' over the 'female body,' in the form of physical violence" (Bussert, p.12). Thus a perverted theology led to the church's sanctioning of wife-beating.

The Council of Toledo in 400AD “decreed that [clergy] had the right to beat their wives more severely than ordinary fellows: ‘A husband is bound to chastise his wife moderately, unless he be a [clergy], in which case he may chastise her harder.’ A later passage states that ‘if wives of clergy transgress their [husband’s] commands, they may beat them, keep them bound in their house and force them to fast but not unto death” (Bussert, p.12).

This helps us understand why church leaders were so uncaring when it came to the harsh treatment of women. John Calvin’s letter to the wife of an abusive husband reflects the hardness of heart and utter insensitivity to the plight of women when he replied in part:

We have a special sympathy for women who are evilly and roughly treated by their husbands . . . . We do not find ourselves permitted by the Word of God, however, to advise a woman to leave her husband, except by force of necessity; and we do not find this force to be operative when a husband behaves roughly and uses threats to his wife, not even when he beats her, but only when there is imminent peril to her life . . . . We exhort her to bear with patience the cross which God has seen fit to place upon her; and meanwhile not to deviate from the duty which she has before God to please her husband, but to be faithful whatever happens (cited by Bussert, pp.11-12).

This vile outlook on women was engrained in the theology of the Roman Catholic Church, and is amply documented in Uta Ranke-Heinemann's Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Women, Sexuality, & the Catholic Church (Doubleday, 1990,360pp.). It is imperative to keep in mind that the very essence of the assumptions about women in traditional theology are suspect, to say the least. To link Paul's conceptions of "head" and "submission" with what is articulated in Turtullian, Augustine, Jerome and many others about females is a total disconnect. There is no continuity of Paul's teaching with the later Platonic anti-body theology that came to dominate the visible church’s practice.

Such a disconnect is strikingly illustrated when Donald MacLeod simplistically linked the past views of women with New Testament statements. “Until comparatively recently there was virtually unanimous agreement among Christians that women should be excluded from the ordained ministries of the church . . . .The traditional practice of the Church can claim the explicit support of several New Testament passages” (Banner of Truth, 1970, p.1). As we have seen, “the traditional practice of the Church” viewed women as inferior beings – conduits of the devil -- who must be kept in line by a male hierarchy. Physical violence toward women was thus sanctioned by the church. This awful oppression of females was based on Platonic philosophy. Such diminution of women cannot claim the explicit support of any New Testament writings. What the New Testament said about sisters and what post-apostolic theologians said about women are two entirely different worlds. Further, church tradition held that all women must be subject to all men. The New Testament has only the marriage relationship in view which it speaks of “head” and “submission.”

Can we begin to comprehend why most wives (women) in the world cringe when they hear about wifely (female) “submission” from church leadership? Ana Audilia Moreira de Campos in 1979 describes the daily life of rural women in El Salvador. This same basic picture would be duplicated in most places around the world.

Men who earn little or no income have almost nothing to be proud of except their virility. They have few ways to relieve their frustrations, so women often bear the brunt of their discontents. There is absolutely no respect for the human dignity of women. It is common for their husbands and fathers to beat, kick and humiliate them in the most vulgar ways . . . . The majority of men in our rural communities refer to women as “idiots,” “pigs,” “worthless,” “disobedient,” “deceitful,” “disloyal,” “lazy,” “stupid,” and “daughters of whores” . . . . If it suits his mood, any of the above perceived qualities serve as sufficient reason for him to mistreat his wife . . . . From the day she is born, a female is regarded as inferior. The birth of a girl child is a great disappointment . . . . No one celebrates the birth of a girl . . . . The woman’s job never ends. She has to work at least sixteen hours a day to complete her chores . . . . Men, however, think women’s work has little value . . . . Women have become the nation’s beasts of burden, shouldering the basic responsibilities of the family and society in order that men may be free to pursue whatever work and pleasures they desire . . . . The myth of women’s inferiority continues to flourish because of traditional customs and educational biases that have conditioned both sexes to believe the male is superior . . . . This national inferiority has been created and forced by men. Institutionally, it is maintained and reinforced by the school system, the government, the Church, the community and the family (“Challenge of Women’s Liberation,” Cross & Sword: An Eyewitness History of Christianity in Latin America, H. McKennie Goodpasture, Orbis, 1989, pp.264-267).

Notice that last sentence. National female inferiority “is maintained and reinforced by . . .the Church.” How can we be surprised at this in light of the way women were treated in the history of the church? The church has led the way in the putting down of women. What Paul meant by “submission” has nothing to do with the meaning it took on as the Platonic body/soul notions infiltrated Christian theology.

In his The Subversion of Christianity, Jaques Ellul notes that when the church became powerful all that represented weakness or inferiority (physical, social, etc.) was put in second place. Women are the most spectacular instance of this. After a period of independence that came with the spread of Christianity, they were relegated to a lower order . . . .[T]he more feminine liberty was suppressed, the more women were accused (of being the temptress of Genesis, etc.), [and] the more they were reduced to silence (Eerdmans, 1986, pp.33-34; cf. pp.73ff., 90ff.).

This bottom-rung status of women in the post-apostolic age did not emerge because of careful study of Scripture. It came about as a result of the conflation of alien political and philosophical forces. The second-century world of Turtullian was not really any different from most cultures in the 20th-century world – “In our society, men control almost every facet of life. From the government to the Church, from political parties and cooperatives to sports, men run things” (Ana de Campos, p. 266).

Further reflection upon marriage, headship and submission can be found in Patricia Gundry, Heirs Together: Mutual Submission in Marriage (Zondervan, 1980, 192pp.); John C. Howell, Equality & Submission in Marriage (Broadman, 1979, 140pp.); and I. Howard Marshall, “Mutual Love & Submission in Marriage, Col.3:18-19 & Eph.5:21-33,” Discovering Biblical Equality, Pierce & Groothuis, eds. (IVP, 2005), pp.186-204.

1 Tim.2:12 – “But I am not now permitting a woman to teach with the goal of dominating a man, but to be in quietness.”

Traditional View: This verse is taken as an always-binding command by Paul that women are not to teach men, which if done would be a wrongful usurping of male authority. Instead of teaching, women are to be in silence.


**First, it must be pointed out that there is no command (imperative) from Paul in this text. The wording in the King James Version, “I suffer not a woman,” can certainly sound like a command, but it isn’t. Instead, it is a simple present tense, “I am not now permitting a woman….” This could imply a shift in Paul’s strategy because of the problems that existed in Ephesus. Timothy had worked with Paul for years and was not used to hearing restrictions on the sisters from Paul. But now Paul announces, “I am not now permitting a woman….”

**Considering the background of the assembly in Ephesus will be helpful in this regard. Read Acts 18:34-20:1 and you’ll see that Paul spent three years there. This was his longest tenure in any city during his journeys. With this background in mind, we can surmise that during his years in Ephesus – approximately 54-57AD – the sisters were functioning along with the brothers in a fashion similar to the meeting described in 1 Cor.14. It was not Paul’s habit to put restrictions on the sisters. However, things changed when false teaching crept in and some women were involved in the aberrations. As a result, at this time some six years after he left Ephesus (approximately 63AD), Paul must announce to Timothy, “I am not now permitting a woman to teach….”

**After leaving Ephesus, around 58AD Paul came to the island of Miletus (30 miles south of Ephesus) and called for the elders of the Ephesian assembly. In his farewell address to these servants, Paul mentions no concerns about the sisters, but does warn them, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from among yourselves people will arise and distort the truth to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30). By 63AD this had come to pass, and Timothy was left in Ephesus to combat the confusion created by false teachers and false teaching (1 Tim.1:3-4).

**Paul wrote a letter to the Ephesian assembly around 61AD. This epistle is the pinnacle of Paul’s sublime expression of God’s purpose in Christ and his Body, but there are no concerns expressed about the sisters or any restrictions on them mentioned in his apostolic communication.

**Two infinitives. When Paul says, “I am not now permitting a woman,” he follows with a neither…nor construction involving two infinitives, didaskein (to teach) and authentein (to have one’s way with, to dominate). It must be asked, how are the two infinitives to be correlated? Philip Payne and others suggest that the best fit is that of goal or purpose. In other words, Paul in this Ephesian situation where some women were propagating error does not want them to teach with the purpose or goal of having their way with (or dominating) a man. Payne sees the closest English parallel to how these two infinitives are employed to be our idioms: hit ‘n’ run, eat ‘n’ run, hence, teach ‘n’ dominate – to teach with the goal of dominating (with false teaching). It is this specific type of teaching that Paul is not permitting.

**There is only one use of the verb authenteo in the New Testament and it is the infinitive authentein in 1 Tim.2:12. Traditionally it has been translated as, “nor to usurp authority over the man.” This view assumes that the very act of a woman teaching a man is inherently a wrongful deed that violates male headship. But the Bible nowhere substantiates such a notion.

--Deborah, a Prophetess, Judge and Wife, sat by her palm tree and made judgments as men and women came to her for counsel in applying the Mosaic law to their lives (Judges 2:16-19; 4:1-5:31).

--King Josiah sent a male envoy to the Prophetess and Wife Huldah after the Book of the Law was discovered. She gave them (and ultimately, Israel) the word of the Lord (2 Kings 22:14-20; 2 Chron.34:22-28).

--Further, we know that Priscilla and Aquila explained the way of God more perfectly to Apollos in their home in Ephesus (Acts 18:19-26). The assembly in Ephesus also met in the home of Priscilla and Aquila where we can safely assume she had some edifying things to say.

--When males and females prophesy in a gathering, Paul says that “learning” is one of the outcomes. Thus, brothers and sisters are constantly learning from one another. In this sense, it is clearly not wrong for women to contribute to the “learning” (manthano) of males.

If there is a divine law that women-teaching-men is sinful, then there can be no exceptions. But there is no concern in this regard expressed in Scripture, and there are clearly cases where women taught men. In Romans 12:6-7 where Paul is listing some gifts, he mentions “prophesying” and “teaching.” There are no sexual restrictions here – both men and women can be involved in such activities. There is nothing inherently evil in women-teaching-men, but it is a problem when women teach error, or teach with a view to dominate men. Of course, the same concerns hold true if males teach error or teach with the goal of dominating others!

**But the vital matter that must be reckoned with is that authentein simply does not have the meaning “exercise authority over.” In classical Greek literature before Christ, the word was used to refer to a murderer or to one who contracted for a murder to take place. Linda Belleville observes:

If Paul had wanted to speak of an ordinary exercise of authority, he could have picked any number of words. Within the semantic domain of “exercise authority,” biblical lexicographers J.P. Louw and Eugene Nida have twelve entries, and of “rule” [and] “govern” forty-seven entries. Yet Paul picked none of these. Why not? The obvious reason is that authentein carried a nuance (other than “rule” or “have authority”) that was particularly suited to the Ephesian situation . . . . [Louw and Nida] put authenteo into the semantic domain “to control, restrain, domineer” and define the verb as “to control in a domineering manner”: “I do not allow a woman…to dominate a man” (1 Tim.2:12) . . . . [They] also note that [authentein] is expressed idiomatically as “to shout orders at” . . or “to bark at”. . . . So there is no first century warrant for translating authentein as “to exercise authority” and for understanding Paul in 1 Timothy 2:12 to be speaking of the carrying out of one’s official [teaching] duties. Rather the sense is the Koine [common Greek] “to dominate; to get one’s way.” (“Usurping,” pp.211,216).

**We must remember that our Lord taught us that in his kingdom “authority” – who’s in charge – is to be a non-issue (Matt.20:24-28; 23:11; Mark 9:34; Luke 9:46; 22:24). The idea of one person having dominion over another or others is the essence of all that is antichrist. No one is to be the top-dog, and there are no positions of authority. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard, “women shouldn’t be in positions of authority.” The truth is, neither males nor females are to be in positions of authority! There is no chain-of-command in Christ’s domain. The greatest position is at the bottom of the ladder. Those with the most spiritual influence will live as those with no authority. They will live as slaves and children – who had no status in first century culture. The greatest in Christ’s kingdom lays down his life for others – which is precisely what Jesus did as the servant par excellence.

**In this vein we must rid ourselves of the traditional idea that some kind of inherent authority resides in the position of “teacher” (or, in our day, “preacher”). Christ is the one with all authority in his kingdom, and he oversees his assemblies with his word. Everything that is brought before the brethren is weighed and evaluated in light of the truth as it is in Jesus. Hebrews 5:12 says, “by this time you ought to be teachers, [but] you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again.” Obviously, not every person has the gift of teaching (cf. James 3:1), but all the brothers and sisters can be teachers in some way and contribute to the learning process in the assembly. Again, the New Testament is not against women teaching, but Paul does put the kibosh on a woman teaching with the goal of dominating a man.

**As an aside, it is crucial to note that the only place in the New Testament where the word “authority” is connected to gender is in 1 Cor.7:1-7. Interestingly, in this passage the “authority” (exousia) mentioned has nothing to do with the husband being the boss of the wife. Instead, it is a mutual authority – neither the man nor the woman has “authority” over their own body. The wife has authority over her husband’s body, and the husband has authority over his wife’s body. An implication of this truth is that the two cannot separate from one another physically unless they mutually agree [symphonou, be in symphony] that this should be done. Many take “male headship” to mean that the husband has “the final say.” But how could that be in light of 1 Cor.7:1-7? The husband, Paul teaches here, cannot unilaterally announce, “We are going to be physically separated for awhile.” Such action can only take place if they mutually agree on it. If this is the case in an important issue like physical separation, one would assume that the goal in marital decision-making is for the couple to be one-minded. In light of this passage what “male headship” actually entails needs to be revisited.

1 Timothy 2:13 – “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.”

Traditional view: The creation of Adam before Eve shows that women are subordinate to male headship. Paul refers to the creation order to reinforce why it is wrong for women to teach men.


**There is no evidence in the pre-fall account of Adam and Eve’s creation, or in 1 Tim.2:12, that a wife’s subordination to her husband is in view. The Scripture nowhere teaches that all women must submit to all men. The concepts of “head” and “submit” coupled together apply specifically to the marital relationship (Eph.5:22-24).

**Keep in mind that Eve was already in Adam’s side before her appearance on earth. The name “Adam,” in fact, includes Eve – “When God created Adam, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them ‘Adam’” (Gen.5:1-2). This was a type of Christ and his bride. Just as Adam fell into a deep sleep when his wife came forth from his side, so Christ descended into the sleep of death and when his side was pierced the bride was birthed.

**We tend to think of that which is “first” as being the most important, as being superior, or as having priority. But Paul’s use of “first…then” “does nothing more than define a sequence of events or ideas . . . . This, in fact, is the case throughout Paul’s letters (and the New Testament, for that matter). ‘First-then’ defines a temporal sequence, without implying either ontological or functional priority” (Belleville, “Usurping,” p.222). The animals were created before Adam, but that did not give them “authority over” him! Thirteen verses later Paul says, “let the deacons first be proven, then let them serve…” (1 Tim.3:10). Why Paul would mention Adam being made first is highlighted by noting the female-centered religion in Ephesus.

**Reflecting on the background of the Ephesian assembly will be helpful at this point. The Temple of Artemis was a massive structure and was the focus of religious attention in Ephesus. Her Latin name was Diana. Her temple was then one of the seven wonders of the world. The effects of this woman-centered religion were pervasive. A significant share of the cash flow in this city was connected to the sale of idols and religious objects. Paul and his associates were in Ephesus for three years. It is likely that some of the converts to Christ were women who had been in the cult of Artemis, which included the practice of temple prostitution. Many ladies in Ephesus would be female-centered in their outlook on life. The influence of the gospel reached the point where many believers were confessing their past evil activities and burning their occult books publicly (Acts 19:18-19). A riot almost erupted, but at stake was the honor of the female god – “Artemis is the goddess that everyone in Asia and the whole world worships”….They all shouted the same thing for two hours: “Great is Artemis of Ephesus” (Acts 19:27,34). How does such background material help in our understanding of 1 Tim.2:9-15? At least in the following ways:

--We can see why Paul was concerned about female modesty in v.9. The Artemis influence which included the superiority of women ideology out of which some of the sisters came would contribute to dressing habits that were far from modest.

--This helps us understand why a woman influenced by the feminist Artemis cult could “teach with the goal of dominating a man.”

--We can then appreciate why women under the spell of false teaching would need to learn in quietness.

--“Adam was formed first” has a real punch with Artemis in the background. The Diana-cult taught that Zeus and the Titaness Leto had twins and the female came first – Artemis originated before Apollo.

--We can then understand why Paul would stress that Eve was “deceived.” The Artemis religion glorified women as superior to males. Paul punctured the Artemis balloon in two ways – Adam was made first, not woman; Eve was not superior to man for she was deceived into sinning against God.

--Verse 15 is mysterious indeed, but the Artemis backdrop may provide some light. This helps us understand why Paul would mention help in childbirth through faith in Christ. The women in Ephesus looked to Artemis for help during the childbirth process. “As the mother goddess, Artemis was the source of life, the one who nourished all creatures and the power of fertility in nature. Maidens turned to her as the protector of their virginity, barren women sought her aid, and women in labor turned to her for help” (Belleville, “Usurping,” p.220). “She [singular] will be saved through the childbirth” could also suggest the thought that even though Eve was deceived, God still promised in Gen.3:15 a seed (child) who would crush Satan’s head and bring salvation (cf., Rev.12:4-5).

1 Timothy 2:14 – “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”

Traditional view: Verse 14 shows that serious problems arise when women take the lead. Paul does not want women to teach because they are more easily deceived than men. Women are more prone to wander into error. Therefore, the teaching role has been left in the hands of males.


**The idea that women are more prone to error is based on a key faulty assumption – that females are inferior to males when it comes to spiritual discernment. The history of the church – in which women were basically suppressed – illustrates to the hilt that males are very susceptible to conjure up, propagate and fall into error. Most false teaching has originated with and been spread abroad by males.

** “Isn’t Paul using Eve as an example of what can go wrong when women usurp the male’s leadership role? . . . . This view is without scriptural support. Eve was not deceived by the serpent into taking the lead in the male-female relationship. She was deceived into disobeying a command of God, namely, not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She listened to the voice of false teaching and was deceived by it” (Belleville, “Usurping,” p.223).

** The notion that females are more capable of being deceived than males is shown to be false by observing that Paul applies the Eve-deceived model to an entire Christian congregation (2 Cor.11:3). The possibility of being deceived is not a problem peculiar to females.

** “The language of deception calls to mind the activities of the false teachers at Ephesus. If the Ephesian women were being encouraged as the superior sex to assume the role of teacher over men, this would go a long way toward explaining 1 Timothy 2:13-14. The relationship between the sexes was not intended to involve female domination and male subordination. But neither was it intended to involve male domination and female subordination. Such thinking is native to a fallen creation order (Gen.3:16)” (Belleville, “Usurping,” p.223). Why would we want to take our cue from the curse-ridden words, “your desire will be your husband, and he will rule over you” (Gen.3:16)? That is a simple description of sin’s implications for the husband/wife relationship. Wouldn’t we want to be informed by the redemptive implications of Christ’s cross and resurrection?

**It is fascinating to take note of the parallels between 1 Tim.2:11-15 and Rev.2:20-24:

Paul – “I am not now permitting a woman….”
Jesus to Thyatira – “You permit the woman….”

Paul – “to teach with the goal of dominating a man….”
Jesus to Thyatira – “she teaches…my servants to commit fornication….”

Paul – “the woman [Eve] being deceived….”
Jesus to Thyatira – “she deceives my servants….”

Paul – “she will be delivered through childbearing if they remain in faith….”
Jesus to Thyatira – “I will cast her [‘Jezebel’] into a bed….and I will kill her children with death.”

As I pointed out earlier regarding Rev.2:20-24, Jesus’ problem is not that a female was teaching, but that she was a false prophetess whose teaching was causing the Lord’s servants to sin. The implication would be that Jesus had no issue with male and female prophets exalting Christ in the assembly. If it was the apostolic custom for sisters to be silent, then one would expect the Head of the assemblies to sternly rebuke such a fundamental violation of d├ęcorum by this woman “Jezebel.” Apparently Jesus did not see this as a gender issue, but as a concern for what was taught and the effects the teaching had on the hearers.

The Gospel Applied to Cultural Situations

A major concern uttered by some is that if you don’t see a passage like 1 Tim.2:11-15 as an expression of “eternal truth,” are you not on a slippery slope that leads to truth being relativized? The answer to this concern is a resounding, “No!”

The New Testament letters were written in response to specific problems in various cultures. Steve Atkerson observes, “Everything in the New Testament is called an ‘occasional document.’ There was some occasion, usually a problem, that motivated the author to write the book” (In Search of the Biblical Church, DVD, Timothy Germain, ed., 2007). What is wrong, then in noting that in 1 Tim.2:11-15 Paul brought gospel truth to meet the needs of a concrete situation in Ephesus? Here is a summary of how that truth was applied:

--Usually the sisters and brothers functioned together in the participatory meetings of the assembly. Because of false teaching that had infected some women, Paul announced that some should be learning in quietness, not teaching with the goal of dominating men.

--It is not right for a woman or a man to teach with the goal of dominating others. In Christ’s kingdom no one is to dominate anyone else. “You are all brethren.” No clergy. No laity. No honorific titles. No elevation of some above others. If anything, give honor to the parts least esteemed.

--The mandate to have dominion over the earth was given to both Adam and Eve. They were not to seek dominion over each other, but to carry out their stewardship of the earth as a team. Females are not superior to males as was taught in the Artemis religion of Ephesus.

--Just as Eve had been deceived by Satan’s false teaching in the Garden, so some women in Ephesus had been deceived by the false teaching that was making the rounds.

--Many women in Ephesus looked to the goddess for help and guidance regarding the issues of virginity, fertility and childbirth. Paul directs godly women to look to the Lord Jesus.

The truth is, in most cases we have just bits and pieces of information about what was behind many apostolic statements in the epistles. Often it is hard to know exactly what question was being answered or what problem was being addressed. We are, as it were, hearing one side of a conversation. But such issues do not keep us from either profiting from the New Testament, or discerning the Lord’s mind. The Holy Spirit teaches us the mind of Christ. However, we do have to confess in humility that there is a great deal we will always struggle to properly understand.

There are cultural matters in the New Testament which we have to face. In 1 Cor.11:1-16, for example, you have some gospel perspectives brought to bear upon some cultural issues like headcoverings. Some people conclude that headcoverings are still binding; others see them as a cultural item that we are not required to emulate in our day. 1 Tim.2:8 mentions men praying with uplifted hands. Do we teach that male prayer is invalid unless the hands are lifted up? Would 1 Tim.2:9 lead us to confront a sister who donned some jewelry that contained some pearls or gold? Based on 1 Tim.5:9, would we tell a 57-year old widow in need that we couldn’t help her for three years until her 60th birthday? Why don’t we “greet one another with a holy kiss” (1 Thess.5:26)?

The New Testament was written in the first century and many culturally-rooted issues appear on its pages. Because of this are we to conclude that it is all “cultural” and contains no relevant “truth” for us today? No, rather we affirm that the gospel is brought to bear on many Jewish and Gentile cultural matters that impacted the early Christian assemblies.

As we, being New Covenant believers, approach any topic or concern, the key perspective for us must be, “you have heard him and have been taught in him, just as truth is in Jesus” (Eph.4:21). The fundamental truth about sisters in Christ is that they are free to function. There is no revealed emphasis on universally applicable restrictions to their service in the kingdom.


Evidence has been presented to suggest that the traditional understanding of 1 Tim.2:11-15 rests on some very shaky assumptions, and some fundamental misunderstandings about what Paul actually said. Difficulties found in these texts are often glossed over by those who use them to muzzle female ministry. It is time for honest Bible students to revisit 1 Tim.2:11-15 and to separate reality from fiction. Those who simplistically wave 1 Tim.2:12 as a proof-text to silence women had better be careful that they do not incur the dreaded millstone by hurting Christ’s little ones (Matt.18:6; Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2).

In closing, I believe Cheryl Schatz challenges us with a very astute observation about the need for plural witnesses in order to establish something as sin or as sound teaching. She writes:

The dilemma is that every single sin that is enunciated in scripture is always confirmed by two witnesses. The reason is that there must be at least two or three witnesses for a matter to be established (Deut.17:6, 19:15). Is there any confirmation in scripture that lists women teaching the Bible to men as a sin? No. There is not even one place in scripture that says it is a sin for a woman to teach the Bible to men. The fact that there is no second scripture that charges women with sin by teaching the Bible to men proves that this interpretation cannot be right . . . . Jesus confirmed this rule in Matt.18:16 by expanding its use to the need to have two or three witnesses when one is establishing a fact that would bring a charge against a person . . . . One witness alone is invalid according to the OT law. In John 8:16-18 Jesus himself says that he has the required two or three witnesses to establish the validity of his testimony, thus even Jesus himself submits to the law of two or three witnesses. Paul also places himself under this requirement as he establishes in 2 Cor.13:1, that his third visit to the Corinthians meets the requirement in order to establish a fact. Then in Phil.3:1 Paul tells us why it is so important to have the second and third witness. He says it is a safeguard for the church . . . . So here we are at 1 Tim.2:11-15. Those who say that this prohibits women from teaching the Bible to men are left without a second witness . . . . For those of our brothers in Christ who believe that Paul is commanding something for all women to abstain from or be charged with sin, we simply ask them to prove from scripture the second witness, or withdraw the accusation of sin to women who are part of the body of Christ, but whom God has called to teach the entire body of Christ (Strive to Enter). [1]


1) 1 Timothy 2:11-15 says nothing about women being “silent.”
2) There is no command (imperative) in 1 Tim.2:12 connected to women not teaching. Paul uses a simple present tense, “I am not now permitting….”
3) The infinitive, authentein, does not mean “to exercise authority over.” The two infinitives, didaskein and authentein, are best correlated together as purpose or goal, thus translated as “I am not now permitting a woman to teach for the purpose of dominating a man.”
4) Some key elements in 1 Tim.2:11-15 are clarified and elucidated by considering the pervasive influence of the Artemis cult in Ephesus: (a) women coming out of a goddess-based religion would need to be reminded concerning modesty in dress; (b) the need for a posture of learning on the part of some women because of the influence of false teaching; (c) because of the female-centeredness of the Artemis religion, it can be appreciated why a woman would teach with the goal of dominating a man; (d) because the Artemis cult believed that males originated from the goddess, it can be understood why Paul would point out that Adam was formed first; (e) because women were viewed as superior in Ephesus, it can be appreciated why Paul would mention that Eve was deceived into sin; (f) while many women looked to Artemis in connection with fertility and childbirth, Paul directs godly women to Christ as the promised Seed who was promised to Eve in Genesis 3:15.
5) When the ekklesia began on the Day of Pentecost the first thing that was mentioned concerned males and females prophesying together. Women and men prophesying are mentioned by Paul in 1 Cor.11:4-5. In 1 Cor.14 Paul wished for prophecy – from the whole assembly – to be central. Thus, to use 1 Tim.2:11-15 as a basis to completely silence the sisters in Christian assemblies is hardly an accurate way to handle Scripture. It uses one context to cancel out the revelation of many others.

May we have grace and humility to search the Scriptures together in order to see what is indeed really so!

[1] Some suggest that 1 Cor.14:34-35 might be such a second witness. However, the apostle’s flow in 1 Cor.11:1 – 14:33 only supposes the full participation of the sisters. They prophesy along with the men in 1 Cor.11:4-5 (cf., Acts 2:17-18). In 1 Cor.12:7,14 Paul teaches that every part of the body has a manifestation of the Spirit for the good of the whole. In 1 Cor.14 Paul mentions “all of you,” “the whole church,” “each one of you,” and “you may all prophesy one by one.” Thus to use 1 Cor.14:34-35 as a magic wand to cancel out the immediate context is indeed a cavalier way to handle Scripture. If Scripture does not contradict itself, then we cannot use a few verses to negate many others that reveal and assume the full functioning the Lord’s daughters.

Suggested sources for further study:

Linda Belleville, “What the English Translators Aren’t Telling You About 1 Tim.2:11-15,” Christians for Biblical Equality Conference, Orlando, FL, 2003 (cassette).
Linda Belleville, “Teaching & Usurping Authority: 1 Tim.2:11-15,” Discovering Biblical Equality, Ronald Pierce & Rebecca Groothuis, eds., IVP, 2005, pp.205-223.
Biblical Illustrator, “Hairstyles of First-Century Asia Minor,” 6:4, 1980, pp.71-74.
Del Birkey, The Fall of Patriarchy: Its Broken Legacy Judged by Jesus & the Apostolic House Church Communities, Fenestra Books, 2005, 376pp.
Kathleen E. Corley, Private Women, Public Meals: Social Conflict in the Synoptic Tradition, Hendrickson, 1993, 217pp.
Eldon Jay Epp, Junia: The First Woman Apostle, Fortress, 2005, 138pp.
Lauren Fasullo, “What About the Word Kephale (‘Head’) in the New Testament?” and “A Critique of Wayne Grudem’s Understanding of ‘Head’ in the N.T.,” 1995. Studies presented to Grace Bible Fellowship, Baton Rouge, LA.
Joy E. Fleming, Man & Woman in Biblical Unity: Theology from Genesis 2-3, CBE, 1993, 44pp.
Gordon Fee, “1 Corinthians 7:1-7 Revisited,” Paul & the Corinthians: Studies on a Community in Conflict, Essays in Honor of Margaret Thrall, Brill, 2003, pp.197-231.
Gordon Fee, “The Great Watershed – Intentionality & Particularity/Eternality: 1 Tim.2:8-15 As A Test Case,” Gospel & Spirit: Issues in NT Hermeneutics, Hendrickson, 2006, pp.52-65.
Matilda J. Gage, Woman, Church & State, Persephone Press, 1980, 294pp.
Joseph F. Green, “Diana of the Ephesians,” Sunday School Lesson Illustrator, 4:4, 1978, pp.34-39.
Rebecca Groothuis, “Leading Him Up the Garden Path: Further Thoughts on 1 Timothy 2:11-15,” at CBE Interntaional
Mary Hayter, The New Eve in Christ: The Use & Abuse of the Bible in the Debate About Women in the Church, Eerdmans, 1987, pp.131-133, 148, 155, 161.
Joanne Krupp, Woman: God’s Plan Not Man’s Tradition, Preparing the Way Publishers, 1999, pp.97-107.
Catherine & Richard Kroeger, “I Suffer Not A Woman”: Rethinking 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient Evidence, Baker, 1992, 253pp.
David P. Kuske, “Exegesis of 1 Timothy 2:11-15,” at
Dennie R. MacDonald, There Is No Male or Female: The Fate of a Dominical Saying in Paul & Gnosticism, Fortress, 1987, 132pp.
Berkeley Mickelsen, “Who Are the Women in 1 Tim.2:1-15? Parts 1 & 2,” Priscilla Papers, 2:1, 1988, pp.1-6.
Margaret R. Miles, Carnal Knowing: Female Nakedness & Religious Meaning in the Christian West, Vintage, 1991, 254pp.
Craig Morphew, “Thrown to Lions, Woman Pastor Emerges Moral Victor,” St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch, January 30, 1988, p.3B.
Carolyn Osiek, Margaret MacDonald, Janet Tulloch, A Woman’s Place: House Churches in Earliest Christianity, Fortress, 2005, 354pp.
Alan G. Padgett, “Beginning With the End in 1 Cor.11:2-16,” Priscilla Papers, 17:3, 2003, pp.17-23.
Philip Payne, “Authentein in 1 Timothy 2:12,” Evangelical Theological Society Seminar Paper, Atlanta, Ga., November 21, 1986.
Philip Payne, “Women in Church Leadership: 1 Tim.2:11-3:13 Reconsidered,” Japan Harvest, #4, 1981-82, pp.19-21.
Rena Pederson, The Lost Apostle: Searching for the Truth About Junia, Jossey-Boss, 2006, 278pp.
“Professor Made to Leave Seminary ‘Because Women Can’t Teach Men,’” Tyler [TX] Morning Telegraph, January 27, 2007, p.3A.
Cheryl Schatz, “Is There A Law That Forbids Women from Teaching Men?” Women In Ministry Blog, July, 2006, at Strive to Enter or
“Seven Wonders of the World, Version 2.0,” Duluth News Tribune, March 19, 2007, pp.A1,A5.
Henry E. Turlington, “Ephesus,” Sunday School Lesson Illustrator, 4:4, 1978, pp.40-49.
Willard Swartley, “The Bible & Women,” Slavery, Sabbath, War & Women: Case Issues in Biblical Interpretation, Herald Press, 1983, pp.178-183,324.
Frank Viola, “God’s View of a Woman,”
Frank Viola, “Now Concerning A Woman’s Role in the Church,”
Jon Zens, “Romans 16:1-16 – Brothers & Sisters Doing Kingdom Work,” 7th Searching Together Conference, Osceola, WI, 2006 (cassette).
Jon Zens, “Those With the Most Spiritual Influence Live As Those With No Authority,” 6th Searching Together Conference, Osceola WI, 2005 (cassette).
Jon Zens with Cliff Bjork, “Women in the Body of Christ: Functioning Priests or ‘Silent’ Partners?” Searching Together, 31:1-3, 2003, 47pp.

(If you are interested in obtaining any of the above materials, please contact us at; 651-465-6516)

© March 2007 Jon Zens