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

Better the Balance, Better the World Is God's Way

Yann Forget/Wikimedia Commons
Today is International Women's Day. The theme for this day is "Better the Balance, Better the World." 

Sadly, many of my male evangelical friends who are pastors will either privately or publicly denigrate this day as another cultural sign that society is going "liberal" and the church will soon follow.

That's just not so.

Society is just now beginning to reflect what God's Word has always taught as truth. 

Better the balance, better the world is God's way of doing things. God created males and females with the equality of value, and God created males and females with the equality of vocation based upon His image bearers divine giftedness.

In other words, the world is a better place when we understand intrinsic worth is a settled truth and that integrated work is a superior tactic.

Let me prove this biblically and then anecdotally.

At the time of Creation, the Bible says:
So God created man (Hebrew: Adam) in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.   (Genesis 1:26-27)
Adam is the Hebrew word translated "man" in English.

Notice something very important. Adam is created in God's image. Adam is not just the half-portion of the human race called "male." The Hebrew word Adam encompasses the "female" half of the human race as well.

"Male and Female" compose the biblical definition of "man" and together reflect the "image of our Creator" (Imago Dei). 

Nobody should be offended by using the word "man" to refer to both males and females. The Bible does it. Man is both male and female. The way I put it is simply this:
"You will never see and appreciate the full-orbed image of God until you view both males and females relating and working with one another in equality."
That's God's way.

Anytime society works to have males dominating females (patriarchy) or females dominating males (matriarchy), you have a society that is "curse-filled."

When the world is balanced, the world is better.

Wade Burleson and Vera Porter at Emmanuel Enid
I've written multiple articles on God intending, creating, and sustaining male and female equality (go to the top left of my blog and type the word "women" in the Google search bar). I'm a conservative, Bible-believing Christ-follower who believes that homosexual behavior in the bedroom is sinful but that gender equality in the boardroom is sacred. 

I realize that my friends who identify as homosexual will be offended at the first part of the previous sentence just as many of my conservative evangelical pastor friends will be offended at the last part of the previous sentence.

I don't' consider those who disagree with me an enemy. I'm just telling my homosexual friends and my pastor friends my mind can be changed. It will require your ability to show me in God's Word where I'm wrong. As it stands now, none of you have convinced me.

I believe the Bible makes a massive distinction between sexual identity and sexual behavior. If God intended sexual behavior between males to be the creative norm, then males would be able to give birth to babies. Likewise, if God intended sexual behavior between females to be the creative norm, then God would have created females with the ability to generate babies without males. 

But God did intend males and females to be co-regents, co-workers, and co-heirs of the Universe.

It may be that those who struggle with sexual identity have never come to an understanding of the worth, dignity, and value of both males and females because a cursed world attempts to exalt one gender above the other.

God's way is better the balance, better the world.

An Anecdote

I have been the pastor of the church I lead for over 27 years. When I came to Emmanuel in 1992, it was a traditional, patriarchal church where males only were in roles of leadership and females only were in roles of service. Leadership at the church was based on position and authority rather than service and humility. Only males could be in "a position of authority."

Gifted females were restricted in their roles. They couldn't teach (with other males present), serve in leadership roles (if other males were present), or provide direction to God's people unless "in submission" to the male leaders present in the room.

I've often scratched my head how followers of Jesus speak so boldly against homosexual behavior in the bedroom but then practice homosexual behavior in the boardroom. 

Both, according to God's way, are sinful behaviors.

Today, after years of change, Spirit-gifted females at our church now provide leadership, publicly teach from the Scriptures, and give direction to others without even caring whether or not males are in the room.  The Chairman of our Leadership Team is female. Half of our trustees and standing committee chairmen are females. Women teach men and women, men teach and women. Women lead males and females, and men lead males and females. We appreciate giftings regardless of the gender of the gifted. We've noticed that God gives the same gifts to both males and females. That gifts of the Spirit are given to both males and females is proved by the Bible, our experience, and the logic of a world balanced by the genders. 

Our church is much better off today than it was a quarter-century ago. We are more balanced. We've been prevented from many mistakes because of the full-orbed image of God (males and females) at Emmanuel. It's a settled truth among us that men and women possess equal worth and perform integrated work. 

Why? Are we following the society? No. We follow the Scriptures. Better the balance, better the world is God's Way

A friend of mine in Washington D.C. said he had lunch with a well-known pastor who said to my friend: "Word is Wade Burleson is promoting women pastors. That's the word on the street."

When I was told that, I laughed.

"No. Wade Burleson is tearing down any philosophy or practice in the church or society where males dominate females by position or Divine authority as well as any philosophy or practice in the church or society where females dominate males by a hierarchal position or any alleged spiritual authority."

The problem is a skewed view of authority in the church (and society), which unfortunately is a sign of the original curse brought into this world by Adam's (men and women) rebellion against God. When either gender seeks to rule over the other gender, God's way is not being followed.

Better the balance, better the world.

Happy International Women's Day.

39 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

I'm just a guy in a pew, but I cannot ignore the fact that God installed ladies as Queens, Prophetesses, Deaconesses, and Judges. And since He never makes mistakes, I must assume He approves of such positions for women.

Christiane said...
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Christiane said...
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Victorious said...

Since the obvious meaning (according to Strong's & NESEC) of "man" in verse 26, 27, and 28 is "mankind" or "human", it might clarify the misunderstanding that the male is meant in those verses.

Genesis 26...Then God said, "Let Us make man(kind) in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule...

Genesis 27... God created man(kind) in His own image .... male and female He created them.

Gen 1:28... God blessed them and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it...


That's the context of Genesis 1. When we get to Genesis 2, Adam clearly identifies the male as being created from the ground and the female "built/fashioned" from the male.

The context leaves no doubt as to both reflecting the image of God. And nowhere do we find the male given authority over a woman.

Callie M said...

I really appreciate how you so clearly articulate the difference in your position from both patriarchy and matriarchy, the problems with dominating others, no matter the gender of the authoritarian. Just last week I was reading an article by a complementarian Greek Scholar on 1 Tim 2 and I was so distracted because he kept saying, "The feminist position... " Or "the feminist say..." when referring to egalitarian arguments. I found it to be a subtle ad hominem that someone might only pick up on if they were truly informed on the differences between biblical egalitarian positions and feminist theology and theory. Its only been within the last year that I've really taken the time to understand what egalitarians believe from scripture. Before that, I would have sailed through his article without a second thought, because I feel I had been conditioned to believe that egalitarianism and feminism were one in the same. As a conservative, pro-life woman believer, of course that's not what I wanted to be associated with. I took a course on feminist theology in u.grad at my very secular liberal arts university, and it was horrifically eye opening as to how idolatrous that worldview is. What I'm reading from egalitarians is so far from that position that its mind blowing. I really don't know how to to describe my personal position on all of this today, other than just processing lingering sadness about all that I've learned as of late, and how its made certain aspects of my own SBC background make so much sense. I have no desire to be a pastor, but I do have a heart to teach God's word, and a bent toward apologetics. Thankfully, I have a husband and father who have both always supported me and have never tried to restrain my passion for sharing the Lord, or even my intellect. Even with such positive experiences within my family, I've still wept over the state of the SBC. IDK. Thanks for being an encouragement.

Wade Burleson said...

Callie,

Drop...the...mic.

Well stated. Better than I could state it.

Wade Burleson said...

Victorious,

P.R.E.C.I.S.E.L.Y

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Real parity won't exist as long as we see some roles, like pastor and boardroom, as somehow better or higher than say the janitor or the nursery worker.

If I ever need a neurosurgeon I want a really good one for sure, and would consider him or her very important to society. But the truth is, the average garbage collector or fast food lobby cleaner probably saves more lives in a year than a neurosurgeon does in a lifetime. But we honor the surgeon, not the one's who keep our world clean.

We missed something in the whole women's movement: while women competed, marched, studied, worked, and fought to take on the higher prestige male roles, the roles traditionally held by women lost ground in terms of approval.

Makes no sense to me. Since most people I have ever met in over 50 years as a Christian came to Christ through the patient work of mom or grandma, maybe gifted men and women evangelists should fight for the right to be in home servants waiting for the teachable moment.

It doesn't so much seem to me to be a fight for gender equality as a fight for higher status.

Doesn't make sense at all--my boss carried a towel and a basin and washed feet.

linda

Christiane said...
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Victorious said...

Christiane, at first glance it appears you are associating the "humble mission" to that of the women's announcement and then the "other kind of mission" becomes that of the males to perpetuate.

The problem with this example is that, according to Luke 24, the women were not believed.

Luke 24:10  Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. 

Luke 24:11  But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. 


The reason the women were not believed is likely because of their perceived status as less important than that of men. Until that changes, our voices will probably be dismissed as nonsense in the same manner.

But that should not deter women from making their words heard and we ought not to participate in dismissing them as the apostles did but rather encourage them to continue using both their natural and spiritual gifts.

Hope that makes sense....and that I have not misinterpreted your comment. :)

Wade Burleson said...

Linda - well stated.

Full agreement.

Christiane said...
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Rex Ray said...

Wade,

You said, “homosexual behavior in the bedroom is sinful”.

How about backing that up with Scripture: “…God completely DESTROYED the whole world of UNGODLY MEN with the vast flood. Later, he turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into HEAPS of ASHES and BLOTTED them OFF the face of the EARTH, making them an EXAMPLE for all the UNGODLY in the FUTURE to look back upon and FEAR.” (2 Peter 2: 5-6 Living Bible)

Today, my brother and I are one day older than 87. We’ve been visiting him in Seattle. Yesterday, he told his daughter, “I’m sure going to miss Rex”. Well, he should have thought of that when he left me to go to Alaska 65 years ago because that’s how long I’ve been missing him.

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

"I've often scratched my head how followers of Jesus speak so boldly against homosexual behavior in the bedroom but then practice homosexual behavior in the boardroom."

Because in the boardroom there's no Tab A in Orifice B.
Only "Boyz Rule Gurlz Drool" without any meat in motion.

"I did not know that woman in a Biblical sense."
-- Doug Phillips ESQUIRE (AKA "Little Lord Fauntleroy")

RB Kuter said...

"male and female he created them"

God created human beings, and all species, with gender identity. They are not the "same", but distinctively different. It was an intentional aspect of God's creation and according to the manner in which God positions those gender-players throughout His interaction with humankind, it is apparent that He did not create "gender identity" exclusively for reproductive purposes.

Don't call me "chauvinistic" yet! Throughout Scripture, God distinguishes between the male and female genders and how they function in the process of His playing out His Kingdom plan on earth. It would be dishonest to ourselves to propose this is not the case because it is simply too obvious. God does, of course, value and use the female gender within His plans for humanity's redemption, but men are predominantly used in leadership and high-profile roles in comparison to women.

There are instances where women are used by God in amazing ways as leaders and heroines in events. Esther, Debra, Ruth, Rahab, the Marys, and many other members of the female gender come to mind. God does not disqualify women for significant roles simply due to their gender. But in comparison to the overwhelming precedent of male players throughout His plan, and their position in leadership/prophetic/discipleship positions, it is obvious to me that God distinguishes between male and female and the roles they play. Hence, Abraham, Moses, 98% of the prophets, all books of the Bible being scribed by men, etc.

This is the "rub". Wade insists that male and female are "equal". He uses this rationale as the basis for proposing that women should be equal in their occupying leadership positions in the church. They are indeed of "equal" value in God's assessment as Wade is "equal" in value to Billy Graham. But they are not the "same" in the sense of the roles they are chosen to play, even though God does make exceptions.

To say that men are behaving as "homosexuals" in the Board room if those leadership bodies are dominated by men is not a presupposition that can be applied to justify an increase in women being enlisted. If Boards are to maximize their effectiveness in accomplishing their purpose there are many variables to consider in their choice of members involved.

True, men have been known to undervalue the potential for women to be considered in many positions due to a twisted view of male superiority. As a result, this perversion results in wasted opportunities as the potential for the involvement of more qualified women is not pursued. The same goes for the perversion that frequently occurs when Boards choose members according to their celebrity or personal connections with other power players. The appropriate gender mix depends upon circumstances.

But I do not agree that men and women are "the same". Thank God for that!

Rex Ray said...

Headless Unicorn Guy,

Your quoting Phillips, “I did not know that woman in a Biblical sense” reminds me of the question: “Why did the chicken cross the road”, and Bill Clinton is quoted as saying, “I did not cross the road with that chicken.”

Rex Ray said...

RB,

You quoted, “male and female he created them.” But you didn’t say Adam was made from dirt, and Eve was made from refined dirt.

You hit many nails on the head with your comment. Good job!


Wade,

I believe we’re someway like an old cigarette commercial that pictured a guy with a blackeye saying, “I’d rather fight than switch!” (Referring to staying with the SBC than switching to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative_Baptist_Fellowship

“The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) is a Christian fellowship of Baptist churches formed in 1991. Theologically moderate, the CBF withdrew from the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) over philosophical and theological differences, such as the SBC PROHIBITION OF WOMEN SERVING AS PASTORS. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship claims approximately 1,900 partner churches. The CBF is involved with the Baptist Center for Ethics, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, the Baptist World Alliance and 15 Baptist seminaries and divinity school programs which have emerged in the wake of the conservative direction taken by the six SBC seminaries. The CBF headquarters are located in Decatur, Georgia.”


Rex adds: The CBF believed the glue that held Baptists together was missions, but the SBC argued it was doctrine and they put into effect ‘our way or the highway such as signing their ‘paper god’ the BFM 2000 that made women second class Christians.

Wade Burleson said...

R.B.

"Wade insists that male and female are "equal". He uses this rationale as the basis for proposing that women should be equal in their occupying leadership positions in the church. They are indeed of "equal" value in God's assessment as Wade is "equal" in value to Billy Graham. But they are not the "same" in the sense of the roles they are chosen to play, even though God does make exceptions."

Leadership is based on the "exceptional" gifts God gives according to His pleasure to both males and females. You exclude females because of "gender" not "giftings." I would be interested in your perceptions through illustrations of your statement: 'God does make exceptions" to the "roles females are chosen to play." What are those "exceptions" in your mind? And, if the "exception" is granted by God, are you saying it was only because "male qualified leaders were unavailable"?

I feel regardless of what you write, the basic difference between me and you is that I see "same worth" as meaning men and women can lead based upon "giftings" of the Spirit, while you believe women can only lead when qualifed males are not available, because God has chosen men to lead and women to submit to male leadership. Right?

Victorious said...

RB Kuter,

Throughout Scripture, God distinguishes between the male and female genders and how they function in the process of His playing out His Kingdom plan on earth

God distinguishes persons as individuals. He shows no partiality between genders nor does He stereotype them. If you know of a scripture that is evidence of His preference or command for males to lead or have authority over women/wives, please post it.

Here's a comprehensive list of scriptures that prove the preferred interaction among the members of the Body of Christ is mutual rather than hierarchical.

The 59 “One Anothers” of the New Testament*
1. “…Be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9:50)
2. “…Wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14)
3. “…Love one another…” (John 13:34)
4. “…Love one another…” (John 13:34)
5. “…Love one another…” (John 13:35)
6. “…Love one another…” (John 15:12)
7. “…Love one another” (John 15:17)
8. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” (Romans 12:10)
9. “…Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
10. “Live in harmony with one another…” (Romans 12:16)
11. “…Love one another…” (Romans 13:8)
12. “…Stop passing judgment on one another.” (Romans 14:13)
13. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15:7)
14. “…Instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14)
15. “Greet one another with a holy kiss…” (Romans 16:16)
16. “…When you come together to eat, wait for each other.” (I Cor. 11:33)
17. “…Have equal concern for each other.” (I Corinthians 12:25)
18. “…Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (I Corinthians 16:20)
19. “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (II Corinthians 13:12)
20. “…Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
21. “If you keep on biting and devouring each other…you will be destroyed by each other.” 
(Galatians 5:15)
22. “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:26)
23. “Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2)
24. “…Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)
25. “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32)
26. “…Forgiving each other…” (Ephesians 4:32)
27. “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5:19)
28. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)
29. “…In humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
30. “Do not lie to each other…” (Colossians 3:9)
31. “Bear with each other…” (Colossians 3:13)
32. “…Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” (Colossians 3:13)
33. “Teach…[one another]” (Colossians 3:16)
34. “…Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
35. “…Make your love increase and overflow for each other.” (I Thessalonians 3:12)
36. “…Love each other.” (I Thessalonians 4:9)
37. “…Encourage each other…”(I Thessalonians 4:18)
38. “…Encourage each other…” I Thessalonians 5:11)
39. “…Build each other up…” (I Thessalonians 5:11)
40. “Encourage one another daily…” Hebrews 3:13)
41. “…Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)
42. “…Encourage one another.” (Hebrews 10:25)
43. “…Do not slander one another.” (James 4:11)
44. “Don’t grumble against each other…” (James 5:9)
45. “Confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16)
46. “…Pray for each other.” (James 5:16)
47. “…Love one another deeply, from the heart.” (I Peter 3:8)
48. “…Live in harmony with one another…” (I Peter 3:8)
49. “…Love each other deeply…” (I Peter 4:8)
50. “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (I Peter 4:9)
51. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…” (I Peter 4:10)
52. “…Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…”(I Peter 5:5)
53. “Greet one another with a kiss of love.” (I Peter 5:14)
54. “…Love one another.” (I John 3:11)
55. “…Love one another.” (I John 3:23)
56. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:7)
57. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:11)
58. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:12)
59. “…Love one another.” (II John 5)

http://www.smallgroupchurches.com/the-59-one-anothers-of-the-bible/

Victorious said...

Again, please provide scripture as evidence of one gender being significantly more appropriate or qualified to fill positions either in marriage, the church, or any other gathering of believers.

To imply that God made exceptions to "side-step" His impartiality makes no sense imho.

Christiane said...
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Rex Ray said...

Victorious,

I always enjoy your insight on many things. You asked RB to provide scripture as evidence of one gender more qualified to fill positions…in gathering of believers.

I don’t know if it was God or just the Apostles that selected men to settle the problem in (Acts 6:1 Living Translation) “…there were rumblings of discontent. Those who spoke only Greek complained that their widows were being discriminated against, that they were not being given as much food…as the widows who spoke Hebrew.”

“Select seven men, wise and full of the Holy Spirit…put them in charge of this business.” (Acts 1:3 Living Translation)

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Should you remove the last comment of your post on 2-13-19?

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks, Rex - I will

Victorious said...

Hi Rex Ray,

Have you ever done a study on the topic of "selective literalism?" I ask because it was an eye opener for me as a method of some to isolate a single verse or two in an effort to arrive at their desired conclusion. For example, some will isolate Ephesians 5:22 as evidence for wives to be in a subservient position under their husbands. They also bolster that principle by pointing to verse 23 and interpreting the word "head" as the authority (apparently because Jesus is the "head" of the church.)

But when you take those verses in context, without ignoring verse 21, you will see that the "head/authority" meaning is in direct contrast to that verse. Also in the manner of good exegesis, a single verse taken out of context does not provide evidence for their interpretation. If further context is taken into consideration, it would be noted that Paul never uses the word authority in regard to Jesus in the Ephesian passage, but rather describes Christ as loving the church to the point of giving Himself up for her. This attitude/behavior is substantiated by Phil. 2:8-9 where we find Jesus empties Himself and humbles Himself.

The same believers who use that type of "selective literalism" shy away from that tactic when they find Paul's advice to Timothy to use a little wine for his stomach problems, listing up holy hands during a church service, cutting off your hand if it causes you to sin, and/or washing one another's feet.

In view of the "59 One-Anothers" (and 1 Cor 7) listed in scripture, we ought to be certain that God shows no partiality regarding gender, ethnicity, or assumed status.

Hope I answered your question, and that we can agree that the seven men (must there always be 7 deacons?) and that if we take that verse literally for all time, I have no problem with 7 deacons in every church assigned to serving tables for the widows.

RB Kuter said...
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RB Kuter said...

Wade writes; " I would be interested in your perceptions through illustrations of your statement: 'God does make exceptions" to the "roles females are chosen to play."

Well, let's see, "exceptions"; I participated as a member of a deacon ordination committee where we ordained about 20 women deacons, along with about 30 men. These women were outstanding servants of the churches and I attribute the spiritual impact they had being due to God calling them into those positions. But it was not "balanced" in numbers. We had more a lot more men deacons than women.

I have worked with numerous women pastor colleagues whose church ministries were blessed by God with supernatural growth in spirit and numbers. These female pastors were not in those positions because of a void in potential male ministers or an effort by humans to "balance" the gender mix of leadership. They were there due to God orchestrating their being there. God felt no obligation to "balance" the mix and the number of women filling those positions remained small compared to the men God placed in such positions. Go figure!

I have known many women church planters who serve in places and conditions where few men would venture. Many of these women are single and many are partners with their husbands but serving in positions as critical and significant as their husbands. One of these single women who was a close personal friend of my wife and me was abducted and murdered due to her perseverance and devotion to her calling from God. They never quit.

Thousands are led to Christ, churches are planted and nurtured and the Kingdom grows as a result of God leading these women into those positions. The only explanation for the blessings of God's supernatural power upon their ministries is that God called them, they obediently responded, and they depend solely upon Him for the provision of all their needs. Still, their number in such positions continued to be much less than men. I attribute that to being God's intentions, for whatever reason He may have. Not to men acting like homosexuals.

In such ministry fields, women serving in these leadership-high profile positions are the minority, the exception. Personally, I do not attribute that to being because of people's oppression upon females serving, but due to God's providence, calling and intentions. More women could go and be supported in going if God orchestrated that. But for whatever His reasons, He chooses to use males in what we consider to be leadership/high profile positions more than women. But He obviously does not discount those exceptions when He uses women in such situations for His purposes.

I see a problem here that is sadly typical of what we see in our American culture, in general, these days. There is an air of "fundamentalism" where one ideology, concept or method is owned by someone and any challenges contrary to that is rejected outright. Compromises are not sought and exceptions not considered to be an acceptable proposition. It is an all or nothing mindset. This is why our political situation is so polarized.

To propose that a collective body of leadership dominated by men is equivalent in any way to homosexual behavior is a case in point. In some cases, I believe God is responsible for the gender-exclusive situation. You can reject what seems obvious to me when observing Biblical accounts of male dominance in high profile, leadership positions. I attribute the selection of these Kingdom players who contribute to God's plan as being the hand of God. Nobody tells God He must have a "gender balanced" mix of anything.

Rex Ray said...

Victorious,

“Then they that gladly received his [Peter’s] word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2: 41 KJ) Since 3,000 were added to the church in one day, there’s only speculation how many thousands of Christians there were.

“They sold their property and possessions and shared the money…shared their meals with great joy and generosity.” (Acts 2:45-46 NLT) Again, no one knows how much time passed or how many more became Christians. Maybe there was 10,000 or more.

The Scripture reference that I gave should have been Acts 6:1-3: “…there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that THEIR widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers…We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not RUNNING A FOOD PROGRAM. So BROTHERS, select seven MEN…give them this responsibility.” (NLT)

These seven men were not enough to serve thousands. Their job was to set up a food program. They had to select some to buy, some to cook, some to serve tables, and some to wash dishes. I believe a lot of these jobs were done by women.


RB,

Just read you comment. WOW!

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray: I think that Wade, you and I, pretty much think the same way on these matters. Rex Ray would not deny a woman to serve in positions that were most often filled by men if you sensed God's involvement and you discerned that she would bring glory to God in filling that position.

I worked for a number of female bosses in my job with the Bell system years ago. I really enjoyed working for most of them and felt they were better than a lot of men I had worked for. Others were real stinkers and I wondered how they ever got their position. The women pastors I spoke of are the same. Some I had great respect for and spent time with them to learn how they did things. Others were real stinkers.

Victorious said...

Rex Ray,

Lest we overlook several pertinent points about the scripture references you posted....

These were Jews who followed the Torah or the Talmud passed down orally. Only males were allowed to study as there were very strict separations of male and female roles. It is my understanding that some of these rules are still practiced by Orthodox Jews today even to the point of crossing the street in order to avoid encountering women in their path.

Throughout Acts we find Peter and Paul addressing "Men of Israel" as the gospel is to be preached first to the Jews and then to the gentiles. The Jews apparently had gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. Peter quotes the passage in Joel as evidence of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit so we know the gentiles would have no knowledge of that. Paul and Barnabas announced they were beginning to preach the gospel to the gentiles later in Acts. 13.

So if you want to speculate that the seven men were to set up the food program and it was women who would do the cooking, that's not an unreasonable speculation. But we can't use that as a God-ordained practice or we would have to abide by the number of 7 deacons ONLY, and that so far as we are told, that would be their ONLY job. Do we follow that in our churches today? Furthermore, those who should be doing the preaching today should be called apostles as noted in Acts 6. Should we have apostles in our churches today and continue the practice of strict separation of men and women even as was the practice in Jewish synagogues?

If your answer is no to my questions, then we are guilty of using "selective literalism" in determining only men should have positions of authority according to Acts 6:1-3 but ignoring the culture, the context, and the fact that it is a narrative rather than a rule.

That's how I see it. :) I'm pretty sure some will disagree and I have no problem with that.

Wade Burleson said...

RB,

Excellent summary of exceptions.

And, your last statement about my analogy is well-received.

I agree that I was hyperbolic in my comparison, but sometimes hyerbole helps, not hinders.

You may be right that my writing hinders fellowship in this area. I'll evaluate.

Victorious said...

Just a little nitpicking here...but important imho nonetheless.

....which unfortunately is a sign of the original curse brought into this world by Adam's (men and women) rebellion against God.

I've not found scripture that defines Eve's sin as anything other than being deceived: Gen. 3, 2 Cor. 11:3 and 1 Tim. 2:14 . A failure, yes, but not deliberate as one would not likely choose to be deceived. Adam on the other hand was solely responsible for knowingly disobeying God's command and causing the resulting death from sin in the world according to Romans 5:12, 17, and 19.

So Eve was deceived; Adam disobeyed...and then blamed both "the woman" and God for giving her to him.

And throughout Gen. 3, Adam and Eve are separate entities. Adam is called Adam and Eve is called Eve/woman/wife. The word "Adam" no longer seems to incorporate both men and women as Wade mentioned above. God even gave both Adam and his wife garments of skin to clothe them. And then we learn that (gasp) it was the man who was sent from the garden to continue cultivating the ground.


Rex Ray said...

RB,
You nailed me. :)

When our church decided to select three more deacons, everyone was given a ‘paper’ to choose who they wanted. The deacons looked at the names with the most ‘votes’ to determine if any were ‘disqualified by the Bible (there were none), asked if they’d be willing to serve (there was one), and presented to the church their choice.

If four deacons had been needed, a woman would have been chosen. One deacon grumbled he thought the women had gotten together and picked her to be chosen. He changed his mind when another deacon and I told him she was one of our three choices.


Victorious,

I listed jobs as, buy, cook, serve, and wash. I said, “I believe a lot of these jobs were done by women”, but you quoted me of only saying, “it was women who would do the cooking”.

My wife went with me on ONE of 13 building trips to Japan. The usual crew was 2 women and 6 men, but she was one of 2 women and 13 men for four weeks. The women walked ½ mile down a steep hill to buy food, cooked on a two burner stove, prepared lunches, washed clothes in the basement and hung them to dry on the roof of a two story building with no elevator. Three preachers insisted on clean clothes every day and their towels were beach towels.

Victorious said...

Rex Ray,

I listed jobs as, buy, cook, serve, and wash. I said, “I believe a lot of these jobs were done by women”, but you quoted me of only saying, “it was women who would do the cooking”.

OK, I stand corrected. Not only are the women to only do the cooking, but I should have included the purchasing, serving, and dish washing. But since we are not specifically told, it remains speculative.

But what we ARE told in the context of the Acts 6 passage is the mention of apostles doing the preaching of the Word and the 7 deacons assigned to the oversight of the kitchen program.

Rex Ray said...

Victorious,

I can live with that. :)

Maybe I’m splitting hairs, but the Scripture states: “…select seven men…”

For all I know these seven didn’t help ‘guide the church as deacons’ after that but were more like a committee to accomplished one thing.

RB Kuter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RB Kuter said...

RB Kuter said...
"He changed his mind when another deacon and I told him she was one of our three choices."
Rex Ray, you never cease to make me laugh! As my Aussie friend would say, "Good on ya', mate!"

Wade: Thank you for being so gracious. I really appreciate that and it is a key reason why I, and so many others, feel that we can freely express our thoughts on your blog, even when our thinking may not lay down exactly like yours.

Wade Burleson said...

A great compliment indeed, RB.

Thank you.

Lex Rex said...

Brother Wade,
After reading such a clear and carefully stated gospel my first thought was to pray for you. The reason? You have made enemies of two camps. Satan is the third wanting to stir up trouble. But He that is with/in you is greater than he that is in the world. Be strong in the Lord. May His grace abound for you and for His Name's sake!