15 February 2012

People

by Frank Turk


Some of you may know that a couple of weeks ago, John Piper had the DG Pastor's Conference, and had a lot of men there.  Well, this offended a lot of women, and Scot McKnight, and they had a lot to say about it as you might expect.  Most of it didn't really make any sense, but it's Wednesday, and we can't just leave this space blank.

The message that seems to have really bent them all out of shape and put them off their yogurt and vitamin water is the biographical sketch Dr. Piper did of J.C. Ryle.  In particular, they took offense to Dr. Piper saying this by way of introduction:
For the sake of the glory of women, and for the sake of the security and joy of children, God has made Christianity to have a masculine feel. He has ordained for the church a masculine ministry.

And, of course, this is liable to serious misunderstanding and serious abuse, because there are views of masculinity that would make such a vision repulsive. So here is more precisely what I mean. And words are always inadequate when describing beauty. Beauty always thrives best when she is perceived by God-given instincts rather than by rational definitions. But we must try. What I mean by “masculine Christianity,” or “masculine ministry,” or “Christianity with a masculine feel,” is this:

Theology and church and mission are marked by overarching godly male leadership in the spirit of Christ, with an ethos of tender-hearted strength, and contrite courage, and risk-taking decisiveness, and readiness to sacrifice for the sake of leading, protecting, and providing for the community—all of which is possible only through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s the feel of a great, majestic God, who by his redeeming work in Jesus Christ, inclines men to take humble, Christ-exalting initiative, and inclines women to come alongside the men with joyful support, intelligent helpfulness, and fruitful partnership in the work.
Now, what exactly about that is offensive?  As I said, I couldn't make heads or tails out of what was being said by the egalitarian offended class, but I did garner a few things from them which are at least enjoyable to hear them say out loud:


1. There's no difference between being a decent "husband" and being a decent "spouse".  That is: in marriage, the roles of husband and wife are interchangeable.  Whatever it is you do to be a good spouse is the same for both men and women, so let's not try to get too worked up about the relationship between the sexes in marriage.  In the end, it's no wonder people who think like this might think that marriage could therefore be two men or two women -- it's just jobbing, just role playing, and you just have to make sure that all the job description items are filled.

2. There is in fact no difference between the sexes when it comes to having friends.  For example, one woman explained to me that she did nothing wrong being a confidant to a man whose marriage was in trouble.  She was quite shocked and outraged that his wife thought otherwise -- can't a man and a woman just be friends?

3. Of course the pastoral office is not explicitly for men -- and certainly not for men who are inordinately manly.  I didn't realize we're all Anglicans now, but I realize I can't keep up with all the newest news.

It's sort of like hearing lap dogs describe what it must be like to drive a car.  It's as if they don't even understand that even Science has said there are significant differences between men and women that maybe we can't even entirely explain.  What will happen when they discover that a men's public restroom is different than the women's?

That's really enough for today.  That's probably all the tender-hearted among you can take anyway.  I have a full plate at work and I leave it to you to talk amongst yourselves -- in an ambiguous and androgynous manner, of course, so that nobody's feelings get jostled.








216 comments:

1 – 200 of 216   Newer›   Newest»
Ben said...

Men, women: what's the difference anyway?

http://news.stv.tv/scotland/297295-childrens-rights-chief-school-uniform-policies-should-not-discriminate-based-on-gender/

Tom Chantry said...

OK Frank, just to clarify, I think I appreciate your analogy, but tell me if I have this right:

You're definitely not saying that men are like drivers who know what they're doing, while women are like lapdogs who couldn't possibly drive.

You're maybe not saying that masculine men who run churches are like competent drivers, whereas all Anglicans are lapdogs. (I mean, that one's worth a chuckle, but not your point.)

As I understand it, you're saying that God, who made men and women, ought to tell us how the family and the church ought to be run. Meanwhile, given that none of us really understand men and women any better than a lapdog understands a car, for us to recommend other ways for family and church to operate is like that lapdog describing how he would drive given the chance.

Am I right? You may be upset with me for trying to rob your analogy of all ambiguity, but I'm just not up for a day of idiots saying, "Frank Turk said that women are all lapdogs."

Tom Chantry said...

re. John Piper,

I normally abhor the "You took me out of context" dodge, but honestly, this seems like an actual incident of hiding the true context.

When first I heard what Piper said, I read what looked like extended quotes that made me scratch my head. As in, I know I agree with Piper about complementarianism, and I think he's written thoughtfully about it in the past, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why he said what he said the way he said it. But the more quotes from that message that I read, the more sense that it makes.

Debbie Kaufman said...

First, as a woman there is no overlooking the analogies in this post which are degrading to women and in the exact way that Tom Chantry tried to point out that you were not using them. So if the analogy was not to make women look this way, why not use a different anaology?

It is not the same as condoning same sex marriage, which is obvious. Just because I and others believe women should be in ministry(as the Bible speaks of women in ministry in both the OT and NT which is overlooked by complementarians, does not mean same sex marriage, which the Bible condemns, is OK. I think a reasonable person will see right through this point.



Maybe if men could deal with strong women who love theology and scripture as much as men do, are able to decipher scripture as well as men, this wouldn't even be a subject that gets under some men's skin as it seems it does here.

In other words, I disagree and could easily show in scripture many ways why I disagree.

Tom Chantry said...

Debbie,

You and I have interacted before in another setting, and while I disagree with you on this issue, I respect your commitment to Christ and your passion for truth and holiness.

Two thoughts:

First, please don't accuse Frank of "degrading women." I know Frank better than you do, I imagine, and I don't find the accusation either true or helpful.

Second, about this comment: Maybe if men could deal with strong women who love theology and scripture as much as men do, are able to decipher scripture as well as men, this wouldn't even be a subject that gets under some men's skin as it seems it does here.

That's an accurate description of some Christians who oppose women in ministry, but hardly of all. I know a man who once told the pastor of a church he was leaving that in the church where he was going, not only did the men know the scriptures better, but the women knew more as well. He wanted a church in which "strong women who love theology and scripture as much as men do" would be respected; he knew it would be better for his wife and daughter.

Yet both churches believed in male headship in the church. The pastor of the church he was leaving was deeply offended that anyone would imagine there were women in the world who knew more of the Scripture than he or the men in his church did. His mindset degraded women - sure.

On the other hand, there are those who take seriously the words of the apostles on women in leadership and, while they have the highest respect for women and believe that all Christians should grow in the knowledge of Scripture, they are convinced that God has only called men - some men - into leadership in the church.

Your comment impugns the character of many men - and women! - who do not agree with you on this subject. Please don't make accusations which don't fit the facts.

Debbie Kaufman said...

One point I forgot to mention is point number 2. Women are not out to have an affair. If women were thought of as God thinks of us, as Christ thought and treated women, an affair would not enter a man's mind. Neither a man or a woman should confide private things in a marriage. That should not be part of a friendship, even among women. By talking with men on theology, teaching men, being filled with the Holy Spirit and a great love for the Bible, for the Trinity, women are not going to have an affair with any man, let alone another married man. That is not why affairs begin.

We are the church, both men and women working together. Women can be and are strong orthodox leaders. The church is only 50% of what it could be in the United States because we have taken the parts of the Bible that are liked and leave out the rest. Look at the Christian churches in other countries who 'know no better"\' than to read scripture and follow it, thereby having women a part of the ministry and see how much more effective they are than we in the States.

Now, look at other religions view on women such as Mormons and Jehovah Witness and see how close what you write here compares to their view. It might just surprise you how close.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Tom: I return that same respect to you and still cherish the time we worked together, but I am simply going by the words of the post.

Being a woman, yes, the analogy is degrading. The points lack both the history at the time of scripture and leaves out passages, full chapters concerning women who were in ministry in both the OT and the NT, which the Bible is full of. I am so grateful to Christ who I truly believe through scripture allows me to be all that I can be both in ministry with the church and outside the church.

Thank you for showing kindness to me as a woman.

Al said...

nDebbie,

To a carpenter every problem is a nail and every solution a hammer.

I would come up with an analogy for post reading feminists, but I have dishes to do.

al sends...

Robert said...

Wow, Debbie. I'm going to assume that you are a lot more graceful to those you disagree with than your words make you out to be. You are comparing complementarians to JW's and Mormons, as well as saying that men can't deal with strong women if we don't allow them to have positions of authority within the church. My wife is such a woman and we don't struggle with this issue at all. That isn't to say that most churches get it perfectly right, but what church is perfect?

Let me ask you...do you believe that Scripture is authoritative? And do you believe that there are different genres in Scripture? If so, which books of the Bible give definite guidelines as to how churches should be established and run? These books would be different than something giving a historical account or books that might mention something without affirming or rejecting it.

As far as Frank's post goes, his first point is spot on when you work out the implications of what is said there. And Scripture is clear on the roles of husband and wife within the marriage.

And then the second point is one of a practical matter and you seem to take the view that we can trust our hearts to be pure in such relationships. I'm not saying it is impossible, but it certainly is not wise.

Also, I don't quite get how you think churches in other countries are stronger because of female leadership. This just sounds like a false proclamation made on some grand assumption that you have made.

And I don't think you would have been satisfied with any analogy and would have found any of them degrading because the point would have been the same as how Tom explained it. God laid out the rules and people are trying to challenge them. God >>>>>>> people...and that is an understatement.

CCinTn said...

"I have a full plate at work and I leave it to you to talk amongst yourselves".....hmmm, I wonder about that.
Me thinks Frank threw a pork chop in the temple and is sitting back giggling...
Great post and again goes to the heart of whether we believe in the authority and sufficancy of scripture.

Frank Turk said...

Just some notes before I go away for the day really:

1. There's no question this post is intended to be inflammatory. Guilty.

2. The real inflammation comes from the idea that the three points I listed (they are numbered) are actually egalitarian positions, juxtaposed to Dr. Piper's words on having a masculine faith. In that comparison, there's no question who comes out looking better, and there's no question Egalitarians can't abide being outed for the day-dreaming lap-dogs that they are.

3. I'll unpack the lap dog analogy just because this is the internet, and our choices are to either unpack it (and therefore ruin the joke) or have people simply be angry who can't be bothered to unpack it.

Here's what I said:

[QUOTE]
It's sort of like hearing lap dogs describe what it must be like to drive a car. It's as if they don't even understand that even Science has said there are significant differences between men and women that maybe we can't even entirely explain. What will happen when they discover that a men's public restroom is different than the women's?
[/QUOTE]

"It's" refers to the three daffy egalitarian points listed above it. So you could read that as "listening to these people speak on this subject."

"lap dogs" would be the people speaking, and what they say is as intelligible and meaningful as listening to an imaginary lap dog (who could talk) describe what it must be like to drive a car. Now, think on it: a lap dog has little stubby legs and a tiny body. A lap dog could never drive a car, and therefore his view of it is from the perspective of a beast which cannot touch the peddles and the steering wheel at the same time, let alone look out the window while doing the other two. So this lap dog approaches the problem from a place of utter inability -- so his description is probably more attuned to how he would do it from his ineptitude than how the thing was made to be driven.

The science bit you can get immediately if you follow the link.

The last bit is tricky, because it imagines that all adults know that the women's room in anyplace that isn't a dive is generally opulent compared to the men's room, and men have never complained about such things. We in fact invented it -- we like it that the women folk are different and ought to be treated better than us. But the idea that there is a difference will, of course, offend the true egalitarian -- but when they start campaigning for urinals in the lady's loo (or parring down the size of the lady's loo to the size of the men's) for the sake of true equality, pigs will fly. So my point there is that these egalitarians will find out something radical is afoot in the way men and women and made, and it will shock them -- but probably not in a good way.

Thanks! Good luck with the rest of the day here.

Kathy said...

Debbie,

I don't know either you or Frank, so I am not assuming any motives, but as a woman I just didn't take the lapdog analogy in the way you did. However, I was left wondering if you were implying that women who accept the complementation view are, unlike egalitarian women, weak women who don't love theology. Although I'm sure that was not your intention, my point is that your comment is just as easily misinterpreted as Frank's.

Second, as a complementarian I think there is a false dichotomy set up for women. Unless what we do is up front, visible, and ordained by the church, it doesn't qualify as "real" ministry. There are many ways that women can minister that require great strength, perseverance, and a love for God and His Word, without placing ourselves in a position of authority.

Kerry James Allen said...

I think I'll inject Spurgeon and then I'll stay the "good cop."
"You women, who would not be in your right place if you began to preach in the streets, you can make your husbands happy and comfortable when they come home, and that will make them preach all the better!"
CHS

Kerry James Allen said...

And on a very positive note: "Taking them for all in all, they are most angelical creatures, and a great deal too good for half the husbands." CHS

Mandi said...

I do wonder why complementarians seem to believe that egalitarians (male or female) think that (to line up with the post's examples):
1. Gender roles in marriage aren't important
2. Egalitarian women aren't capable of seeing a need for men to counsel men and women to counsel women
3. Being an egalitarian means that you have soft (unmanly) theology

Why can't someone hold that marriage roles are important and same gender friendships are important and strong theology is important, and yet read the Bible and come to the honest conclusion that it does not exclude women from roles of leadership in the church?

It's like hearing Mark Driscoll saying that God is like a father who protects His kids, not like a mother who embraces everyone (from his interview with Justin Brierly). I have three kids, and if someone was trying to hurt them I'd do everything I could to protect them. Does that mean I'm a man? Or just not a good mother? I can't tell.

Lynda O said...

Great Spurgeon quotes! I also greatly appreciate J.C. Ryle, and thanks for the link to the biographical sketch of Ryle. I wonder if the women so upset at their exclusion from leadership ministry have even read J.C. Ryle, who had such wonderful, helpful things to say that have helped me in my own personal life and how I interact with others, including men I know who ridicule a high view of scripture. J.C. Ryle always upheld the importance of studying the word of God, something to be done by all including women. Consider a few excerpts from his commentary regarding Luke 1, Mary's Magnificat:

She speaks of God as One whose "mercy is on those who fear Him"--as One who "scatters the proud, and puts down the mighty, and sends the rich empty away"--as One who "exalts them of low degree, and fills the hungry with good things." She spoke, no doubt, in recollection of Old Testament history. She remembered how Israel's God had put down Pharaoh, and the Canaanites, and the Philistines, and Sennacherib, and Haman, and Belshazzar. She remembered how He had exalted Joseph and Moses, and Samuel, and David, and Esther, and Daniel, and never allowed His chosen people to be completely destroyed. And in all God's dealings with herself, in placing honor upon a poor woman of Nazareth--in raising up Messiah in such a dry ground as the Jewish nation seemed to have become--she traced the handiwork of Israel's covenant God.
The true Christian should always give close attention to Bible history, and the lives of individual saints. ... Let us mark, lastly, the firm grasp which the Virgin Mary had of Bible promises. She ends her hymn of praise by declaring that God has "blessed Israel in remembrance of His mercy," and that He has done "as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his seed forever." These words show clearly that she remembered the old promise made to Abraham, "In you shall all nations of the earth be blessed." And it is evident that in the approaching birth of her Son she regarded this promise as about to be fulfilled."

Mr. Fosi said...

I'd like to put in a request: Could those talking about "leadership roles in the church" please define exactly what they mean?

It seems to me that, scripturally speaking, the roll of deacon can be filled by either man or woman but that elder/pastor cannot.

Whether you agree with me or not, it really isn't helpful to obscure the issue with vague terms.

Mr. Fosi said...

That is, "role", sorry. :^)

Matt Kennedy said...

Forget the "degrading analogies about women". What about Frank's swipe at Anglicans. We poor Anglicans, always the butt of the joke, always consigned the back of the evangelical bus. sigh.

CCinTn said...

Mandi,
You make valid points in opposition to those posed in the post, however you did state: "Why can't someone hold that marriage roles are important and same gender friendships are important and strong theology is important, and yet read the Bible and come to the honest conclusion that it does not exclude women from roles of leadership in the church?"

Could you please share a little light on where scripture teaches that women may teach/instruct or lead in a public or corporate way? The only one I can come up with off the top of my head is Deborah in Judges, but as she said "since none of you men will take the God-given responsibility to lead, He'll give the glory to a woman" (my translation).
I don't want to bog the comment section down, but Paul did not base his instruction regarding the roles of men/women and the authority structure of the family/church on cultural context but went all the way back to creation (just as Jesus did when discussing divorce). In other words, God, in His sovereignty established the family and His church as He saw fit. If I want to disagree with that, then I would be much like the lap dog yipping about the way it should be.
As mentioned above, yes there seems to be deaconesses mentioned in scripture, but any leadership roles, especially those involved in the public teaching arena, are defined in masculine terms.

Kerry James Allen said...

Turk's last words: "Thanks! Good luck with the rest of the day here."
Methinks he tipped the hornet's nest and booked!

Ian said...

"Why can't someone hold that marriage roles are important and same gender friendships are important and strong theology is important, and yet read the Bible and come to the honest conclusion that it does not exclude women from roles of leadership in the church?"

Ben Witherington, he's the theologian your looking for.

Scooter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Turk said...

Mandi -

I'm glad I had a second between meetings.

Let me say this plainly: the 3 items I listed in my post are not things I invented or imagined. They are things said to me explicitly by the egalitarians who are in a frenzy over Dr. Piper's talk.

Why do I believe they believe that? because that's what they said, and are saying, explicitly.

donsands said...

"...inclines women to come alongside the men with joyful support, intelligent helpfulness, and fruitful partnership in the work."

This would be my wife. She is actually a stronger Christian in mnay ways, and she is my all. I would be nothing without her.

Yet, I am the man, as weak as I am, and so Christ gives His strength to fulfill His call in me, through His Holy Spirit, who fills me, and baptizes me in His sovereign love and inner strength.

Thanks for the good quote. Good stuff.

JC Ryle is an incredble teacher of God's Word. He is up there with the best we have had throughout the history of Christ's Church.

Here's a short, or medium, quote, that I hope fits with our discussion:

"It is a touching fact, and one to be carefully noted, that Mary Magdalene would not leave the Sepulchre, when Peter and John went away to their own home. Love to her gracious Master would not let her leave the place where He had been laid. Where He was now she could not tell. What had become of Him she did not know. But love made her linger about the empty tomb, where Joseph and Nicodemus had lately laid Him. Love made her honor the last place where His precious body had been seen with mortal eyes. And her love reaped a rich reward. She saw the angels whom Peter and John had observed. She actually heard them speak, and had soothing words addressed to her. She was the first to see our Lord after He rose from the dead, the first to hear His voice, the first to hold conversation with Him. Can any one doubt that this was written for our learning? Wherever the Gospel is preached throughout the world, this little incident testifies that those who honor Christ will be honored by Christ.... It is precisely those who wait on the Lord, in the temper of Mary Magdalene, to whom the Lord will reveal Himself most fully, and make them know and feel more than others. To know Christ is good; but to "know that we know Him" is far better."-JC Ryle , Expository Thoughts of the Gospels

Frank Turk said...

Also, quoth Mandi:

[QUOTH]
Why can't someone hold that marriage roles are important and same gender friendships are important and strong theology is important, and yet read the Bible and come to the honest conclusion that it does not exclude women from roles of leadership in the church?
[/QUOTH]

I have no idea - why does anyone read Dr. Piper's talk here and draw the conclusion that women must only knit in the corner?

Rachael Starke said...

((Seeing your inflammatory post and raising it with an inflammatory comment))

Piper seems to be making an argument for patriarchalism, rather than genuine complementarianism, by talking about "overarching" leadership, and by not calling out the aspects of Christianity that are uniquely, and equally valuably, feminine. He conflated gender identity with gender roles, and created the impression that one is weighted over the other in terms of its contribution to the church.

And I say "seems to be making an argument" in a spirit of charity. He's making it, because I get the impression that's what he believes.

((Insert Frank dodge about needing to get to work. ;) ))

Frank Turk said...

The answer to my question, btw, is an interesting word:

Histrionics

Which ought not to be confused with

Hysterics

Tommy said...

I’ve got to say, the lapdog analogy is quite possibly the best analogy I’ve heard in years. The more it settles in my fat cells upstairs, the greater it is, not just in this area, but any time man wants to dictate what God is saying. Fantastic.

I dunno, I’m a young married guy(not seasoned enough to have Turk-quality quips), and to think like an egalitarian robs God of all the glory to be found in his creating two very different creatures, working together in unique ways to honor Him. Also, I find that they use the same methods that homosexual marriage advocates use to defend.

“Well, no, there’s no gay marriage in the Bible, but David loved Jonathan in a way that he didn’t love women!”

Merrilee Stevenson said...

(Heavy Sigh.) I'm reluctant to comment because, like Frank, I've got a full plate of work to do today, like ministry: dishes, laundry, preschoolers, diapers, cooking...and so on. And one of my biggest pet-peeves is that "some people" don't consider that endless list as ministry.

And I'll share a secret ambition of mine: to mature in my walk with the Lord to the point that I would fit this description: reverent in my behavior, not a malicious gossip nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that I may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

I'm not there...yet. I'm still in my thirties, but I'm getting there. And while that above list would certainly describe an honorable man, it was intended to be instructions for "older women."

I was thinking there might not be an analogy that an egalitarian wouldn't take offense to. But how about the one the aposlte Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 12--the human body being like the church body? A foot might think itself able to do whatever a hand can do, but who are we kidding? They look a lot alike, but are not interchangeable. Both important, useful, and able to bring honor to the Lord, but different.

I can't possibly address all the things I take issue with Debbie about, but a brief reading of the first 5 or so chapters of Proverbs would be sufficient to disprove that "women are not out to have an affair." If you can believe that, you can also believe that all men are pigs.

Sir Brass said...

"Forget the "degrading analogies about women". What about Frank's swipe at Anglicans. We poor Anglicans, always the butt of the joke, always consigned the back of the evangelical bus. sigh."

Y'all put yourselves there ;).

Who else do we have to blame for Rowan Williams (besides Her Majesty, who is not to be blamed because she is Her Majesty), John Shelby Spong, Jefforts-Schori, and the whole host of others who would have Cranmer and Ryle rolling in their graves?

;)

Just sayin' :)

Tom Chantry said...

Who else do we have to blame for Rowan Williams...

No offense to the Archbishop, because it's purely a misfortune of Christian names, but I cannot for the life of me remember that Rowan Williams is an Anglican churchman. Every time I hear or read that name, my mind goes to Rowan Atkinson.

And with that, we can leave Matt Kennedy in peace. There have bean enough Anglican jokes. Matt, rest assured, we have the greatest possible sympathy for such men as Latimer, Newton, Ryle, and Packer. We only wish the Church of England shared our affection for them.

Frank Turk said...

Chantry: +1

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Mandi wrote:

Why can't someone hold that marriage roles are important and same gender friendships are important and strong theology is important, and yet read the Bible and come to the honest conclusion that it does not exclude women from roles of leadership in the church?

Please forgive me if I'm not understanding you clearly. Are you saying that marriage roles, gender-appropriately-matched friendships, and strong theology are of less importance than women being in Roles of Leadership in the church?

How is it that strong theology gets put into the same category as those others? Shouldn't it necessarily trump them all?

And why is it that women want so badly to be in Leadership Roles in the church? Or I should rather say certain Leadership Roles. There is plenty of leading for the women to do, but they are so busy trying to vie for the Title to Lead that they can't see the need for their God-given role to lead.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Completely off topic:

I miss the old word verification system. Now I have to prove that I'm not a robot. And it seems rather difficult for me to do!

CCinTn said...

I think that keeping genderless robots from posting is the height of patriarchism.

stratagem said...

I am a man, but clearly not qualified or called to be a pastor.

Therefore, I have been degraded!

Allison Gray said...

Debbie,
I am in my mid-thirties, a housewife, a complementarian, and I LOVE theology (far more than my husband)! However, since Scripture clearly states that only men are to lead God's church, I have no desire to pastor a church, or be an elder. Why is that? Am I some lapdog that has been brainwashed by an overbearing husband? Am I forever to be constricted to cooking, cleaning and wiping runny noses, never to be able to use my weak female brain for anything of REAL worth? May it never be!

I used to believe what you believe. I used to think it was so unfair for God not to allow women to be pastors. But then I learned that they really is no Scriptural basis for women pastor/elders. You cannot base doctrine on obscure passages, you have to base them on clearly written ones, in this case found in 1 Corinthians, 1 Timothy, and Titus. I came to the realization (by God's grace alone) that God, who is infinitely wiser than I am, has given me His written Word for my good and His glory. I am in incredible folly when I think I know better than the God of the Universe. Can you not see that this height of arrogance when we think this way?

If my husband tells me to do something, and I go and do the opposite because I think I know better than he does, I am showing that I really don't love him and care about him more than I care about myself. I show myself instead to be a rebel and a hater of my own husband, who I claim to love and hold dearer than anyone save God. I am a hypocrite of the worst kind! So having said all that, how can you claim to live a life in pursuit of God and holiness, and claim to truly love God, if you will not submit yourself to Scripture?

Robert Warren said...

"...Who else do we have to blame for Rowan Williams (besides Her Majesty, who is not to be blamed because she is Her Majesty), John Shelby Spong, Jefforts-Schori,,,

Sir Brass: you left out Vicki.

Sir Brass said...

"Matt, rest assured, we have the greatest possible sympathy for such men as Latimer, Newton, Ryle, and Packer. We only wish the Church of England shared our affection for them."

When Reformed Baptists hold certain CoE churchmen higher than most priests in the western branches of the Anglican Communion... you know there's a problem ;)

Sir Aaron said...

Women are not out to have an affair.

Nobody said this or implied this. But if you take just this comment at face value, it is incredibly naive.

If women were thought of as God thinks of us, as Christ thought and treated women, an affair would not enter a man's mind.

Again, naive. God made men attracted to women and women attracted to men. Putting them together under stressful situations and in close proximity for lengthy periods of time is asking for trouble.

Neither a man or a woman should confide private things in a marriage. That should not be part of a friendship, even among women.

I can't say I agree. Actually, I lean towards the polar opposite. I think men and women both need others of the same gender to whom they can share and discuss intimate details of their lives. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.... The problem as I see it, is that we are too private.

Tom Chantry said...

Oh my. The knights are posting next to each other. A veritable Round Table. I'll never tell them apart properly again.

dac said...

what Ian said

In fact, BW3 has a decent takedown of Piper's speach on his blog, if anyone would care to interact with an actual critic rather than a straw man.

Frank should especially appreciate his quote "Because, unless you are a Mormon and think God literally, sexually begat the Son, then you realize that this language has nothing to do with gender or sex. Nothing. It is simply making clear the intimacy of the relationship between two members of the Trinity. Were there something inherently gendered to the relationship we would expect the same to be true of the relationship of God the Father with the Holy Spirit, and yes, it’s heresy to genderize the Spirit and talk about the Spirit as a woman. No member the Trinity, in the divine essence, has a masculine or feminine DNA"

word verification "suble" hmmmmmm

Tom Chantry said...

Straw Man: a weak or imaginary opposition (as an argument or adversary) set up only to be easily confuted (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/straw%20man)

Frank: Let me say this plainly: the 3 items I listed in my post are not things I invented or imagined. They are things said to me explicitly by the egalitarians who are in a frenzy over Dr. Piper's talk.

hmmm....

Frank Turk said...

You know: except for the man Christ Jesus.

Frank Turk said...

Egalitarians are like atheists in this respect: not that they don't believe in God (they say they do, and I believe them) but that they don't believe in any authority. That is: you can't cite any egalitarian as speaking for anyone but himself. If you do? Straw man.

Which is why this thread will be so much fun to follow.

Larry Geiger said...

I am a man, but clearly not qualified or called to be a pastor.

Therefore, I have been degraded!

stratagem said...

"It's as if they don't even understand that even Science has said there are significant differences between men and women that maybe we can't even entirely explain."

And Frank is clearly not qualified to be the President of Harvard!

donsands said...

"If my husband tells me to do something..."

You know, I had to sit and ponder that a bit.

I don't think I tell my wife "to do something".

She sure does a lot for me though. She is incredible.
We do talk about things though. I may ask her to help me here, or could you stop and do this or that on your way home.
Actually she loves it when I do ask her, which I try not to do.
I guess there's a lot of relationship stuff mixed in with the truth of how God wants to work His Church.
Seems faily clear as to leadership though, doesn't it.
Scot McKnight is a man of the Word, and so I can't understand where he is coming from here. Go back to the Word Scot. It's there bro.

Cathy M. said...

I heard an interview with Oz Guinness several years ago in which he said (as I recall) that feminism is like a door through which all other types of liberalism may proceed into the church. He used the American Episcopal church as an example. I guess it's hard to press the authority of scripture over any matter when you've already discarded its relevance on a topic about which it so clearly speaks.

Ellen said...

In the same vein as Mrs. Stevenson: a pastor's wife once asked me how I feel God is leading me to get involved in ministry in our church (local). I think my jaw dropped before I could stop it. I was expecting our 8th child, we home-school, and we're involved in a Christian martial arts outreach, ON TOP of the responsibilities I have to be the support and companion of my husband and mother to our children. I mumbled something like, "Well, (hubby) and I have a burden for the family." I mentioned that we've taught classes on family worship, Godly parenting, etc. in the past. I didn't mention that we used to be actively involved in our previous church's orchestra, band and choir, children's ministry, men's ministry, special needs ministry, led 2 small groups, etc. etc. -- UNTIL we decided with much prayer that our first priority is to the family God has given us and that we were overlooking that in favor of the more noticeable ministries. It was a big step, but I don't want to go back. To my shame, I feel resentful that some Christian women perhaps see me as uninvolved, or even weak or patronized, since I'm not going to women's conferences, leading a women's Bible study, starting up a women's ministry, teaching Sunday school, working in the church nursery and so on. I see no biblical requirement for that kind of activity, but I do see other requirements (previously mentioned) for Christian women. I've struggled with this for a long time (ok, I'm still struggling -- and maybe I consider myself a strong, theologically sound woman), but I don't want to be a lap dog yipping directions to the Driver. He knows more than I do, and if this is how He wants things done, I'll be much better off if I do my best to accomplish it -- even if it means trusting who's behind the wheel and enjoying the ride!

Debbie Kaufman said...

Again, naive. God made men attracted to women and women attracted to men. Putting them together under stressful situations and in close proximity for lengthy periods of time is asking for trouble.

Oh brother. That is bunk.

candy said...

Merrilee said: "And why is it that women want so badly to be in Leadership Roles in the church? Or I should rather say certain Leadership Roles. There is plenty of leading for the women to do, but they are so busy trying to vie for the Title to Lead that they can't see the need for their God-given role to lead."

That is such a TRUE statement and very well articulated. I think one of the problem of the Church in general is the feminization of the Church. Since, unfortunately, much of contemporary evangelicism follows trends of the world, we also experienced the fallout from the feminist movement.

Pastel colors for the sanctuary. Feel good sensitive worship songs. Sensitivity training for all counseling. Etc.

I am so blessed when Christian women choose to have Bible studies based on theology rather than contemporary Christian books based on fluff. I am a fairly strong woman of opinions, and I love to read and study, but have to say that I love, love, love to see my husband take any and all leadership roles as a husband. I am more than happy to relinquish leadership to him, even when it hurts.

A woman should totally respect another woman who is not comfortable having her husband counsel with a woman. That doesn't even need an explanation.

Debbie Kaufman said...

For those women who do not feel called to the ministry, fine. I have no problem with that. I am specifically addressing the words that John Piper used concerning God has made Christianity have a masculine feel. I disagree and on the grounds of the Bible.

I believe in authority and most women do, the problem lies when you read the scriptures as just males having authority and women following. Thus lies the Biblical problem and you are going to have to skip 25% of scripture that show women in leadership in ministry OT and NT, as well as males. I won't go into the scripture as you have read them on other blogs and the scripture I would give would be no different.

I also disagree that Scott McKnight and others have not dealt with what Piper said. That may work for those who have not read the articles, but I think they dealt wonderfully with Piper's words and I see no interaction with what these blogs who responded to Piper actually said.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Some women, such as myself feel called to more than following, teaching children or being at home, all worthy callings for those who are called to it. I feel God calling me for more. I see nothing in scripture that stops that calling but the church(less today than in years past)are misreading scripture, skipping scripture, and stopping women from fulfilling that call. BTW I have my bullet proof vest on and am grateful to Frank for allowing me to join in the discussion.

Debbie Kaufman said...

general is the feminization of the Church

I disagree. That is a term that has been coined(made up for effect) and thrown around the blogosphere, but it is a false term in my opinion. Have we gotten more sensitive to scripture, actually reading all the Bible and not bits and pieces? Yes. Have we as the church gotten more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit? Yes. But explain to me in Christ's ministry his conversation with the woman at the well? Mary Magdalene? Mary and Martha?The other women Christ and the 12 disciples associated with? Were they being feminized? What about Paul and his thankfulness to those women in his ministry? Was Paul being feminized too? Christ was gentle in spirit. Was he being feminized? I don't think so. He was being radical due to the thought concerning women and their "place".

To say the church is being feminized is a rejection of the New Covenant that Christ ushered in.

Frank Turk said...

Now Debbie:

Apart from your assessment of socio-sexual dynamics between men and women under stress, I have a question for you based on your participation thus far.

How does your complaint connect to Dr. Piper's talk, specifically to the part I excepted in the post?

I look forward to your response.

CCinTn said...

Hello Debbie,
Dan had a couple of excellent posts on 'calling' or 'word from God' that I think is relevant here.

I just don't see God 'calling' someone to do something that goes against scripture.

You mentioned "25% of scripture that show women in leadership in ministry OT and NT, as well as males. I won't go into the scripture as you have read them on other blogs and the scripture I would give would be no different."

I don't know if there is 25% of scripture that deals with anything explicitly let alone demonstrating what you mentioned.

I don't believe I'm familiar with what goes on the blogs you referred to but I would just ask you to provide a couple of biblical references where women are instructed or even seen in a public/corporate teaching or leadership position in either the OT or the NT.
If we had that as a reference it would be a great starting point for dialogue.

Kerry James Allen said...

Once the ladies begin weighing in on the veracity of this statement,
"God made men attracted to women and women attracted to men. Putting them together under stressful situations and in close proximity for lengthy periods of time is asking for trouble," and calling that "bunk," two things are demonstrated: You do not understand a man's mind (how could you, other than what we tell you or what Scripture says about it?) and you do not understand 1 Timothy 2:14 which tells us that the woman was not only deceived, she was if I might use a popular word to substitute for the Greek word, "uber" deceived. I might also add that any woman who says God has called her to a position of spiritual authority over men is thoroughly deceived. (Paula White and Joyce Meyer come to mind, disqualified twice, being divorced women.) Pummel away!

Mr. Fosi said...

Debbie said: "I won't go into the scripture as you have read them on other blogs and the scripture I would give would be no different."

I wish you would because I haven't read them and am interested in the basis for your claims.

I'm of the mind that women should not be elders/pastors and I think I have a fairly firm scriptural basis for that. The church I attend teaches the same thing. So according to what you've said here, my church is ignoring or skipping scriptural precendent for women in "positions of leadership", which is a pretty serious accusation. You're also making the claim against me, since I think my position is pretty well informed.

So, as a service to me, my wife, and my local church, could you please lay out your scriptural case?

Also, could you please be specific about what positions "in leadership" that you are talking about? You are using a lot of hand-waving generalities regarding scriptural content and terms like "leadership roles" that are ambiguous.

Thanks! :^)

Verification: boater

Frank Turk said...

Also Debbie:

I think I can concede every single example of God interacting with women in the Bible and not surrender an inch of complementarianism. I think you can't concede even one example of God's express direction on how to run the church or family without completely foundering egalitarianism.

Would you like to try that theory out, or would you rather just continuing posting comments like the one you just posted at 10:40 AM, February 15, 2012?

Frank Turk said...

Last bit as my lunch hour vanishes:

Egalitarianism defined

My favorite part is the list if notable Christian egalitarians.

donsands said...

"I feel God calling me for more."-Debbie

What does that feeling feel like? If you don't mind me asking. And what "more" is that feeling for? Define "more" if you don't mind?

stratagem said...

Frank - I'm sure Kenneth Hagin must be a credible "pastor." After all, God told him so!

CCinTn said...

Frank said: "My favorite part is the list if notable Christian egalitarians."

Ouch! I don't know how many Anglicans are represented there but N.T. Wright sure stands out....bad day for his Team today...

R.C. said...

And why, I wonder, is it "more?" Would not "different" be the better way to describe this purported calling? More seems to imply a hierarchical clericalism. Am I, because I am called to teach at a Bible college, to preach in the church, called to something "more" than my friends who are husbands, fathers and plumbers?

Kerry James Allen said...

I'm sure this will bite me worse than eating a bowl full of habaneros, but I can't help but wonder if the male egalitarians are not of that persuasion because after all, "the Bible does say we are to submit ourselves one to another." Or to phrase it another way, "When momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

donsands said...

"habaneros"

Que pasa? What's this?

Tom Chantry said...

"habaneros"

Que pasa? What's this?


Jalapeños x 100

Mr. Fosi said...

Like Chantry said: hot peppers. They make me nauseous and I think they taste like wax. I'll take a pablano any day of the week.

donsands said...

"Jalapeños x 100"?

Man!!

That cracked me up as well. And thanks for the warning.
I shall stay clear. I like my tatse-buds not burned away to nothing.

Tom Chantry said...

Now a good poblano is another thing altogether. I use them in my venison chili...

...you know, if we start posting chili recipes on here I bet Frank blows a heart valve when he gets to his afternoon coffee break.

Sir Aaron said...

The problem with Wikipedia, Frank is that it doesn't define egalitarianism very well. I think most complementarians would agree with 90% of that definition. Wikipedia definately adds a leftist slant on the term.

I prefer the following source:

http://www.theopedia.com/Egalitarianism

CCinTn said...

T C.... and venison chili....just when I had you up on that pedestal, I now need to find something a bit higher! You are a man after my own heart...I think I know what I want to cook for dinner tonight....

Sir Aaron said...

@Debbie:

That's right, complete and utter bunk. Somebody better tell this guy to get another job.

http://www.cheatingspousepi.com/affair_at_work/

Kerry James Allen said...

Apologies to Frank for taking the posts toward Mexican food. And if you are hungry, all you mean complementarians need to go to the kitchen where your barefoot, pregnant wives are shackled and tell her to make you something. ;-)

Sir Aaron said...

Oh wait, Focus on the Family is wrong! I guess that isn't big news.

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

I think Don hinted on the Egalitarian/Leaky Canoneer connection I tried to comment on earlier and failed. I wonder what the stat is on egalitarians who are also leaky canoneers. Even more, how many are continuationists. It wouldn't surprise me if those things went hand-in-hand.

Also, Mrs. Merrilee, you posted what I was unable to put into words; thank you. My wife is a Christlike woman who takes very seriously her Biblical role, and has expressed so much freedom that she's found in following what the Scripture clearly teaches. I think that Mrs Debbie is putting all the weight on her "feeling God is calling her" with a little scripture (or lack of clear negative commands) to validate it, and unintentionally smears the good honor that is being a submissive wife and Godly mother and makes it a lesser "calling" (although it is a clearly defined calling for women Biblically) than doing something "like ministry", and simultaneously slams the church for getting it wrong.

Mrs Debbie, reading the headings under the tag "leaky canoneer" here at pyro might be beneficial if you're wondering what I was talking about to Mrs. Merrilee. I don't know if you realize it or not, but by appealing to "feeling called" over and above the clear teaching and implications of Scripture, you actually wind up arguing against the whole of Scripture that you're appealing to.

DJP said...

Sir Aaron, I don't know why you're going on and on about this. Debbie already gave you a thoughtful, well-documented, detailed refutation of... I forget, was it whether water is wet, or whether fire is hot?

Solameanie said...

Why would Frank be upset with someone franking the meta? ;)

Robert said...

How many female apostles did Jesus choose? Just curious because those were the church leaders He left when He ascended into heaven.

Solameanie said...

Debbie,

I find your term "bunk" about the mixing of males and females in tight quarters disturbing. It was common practice at one time for pastors and ministry leaders not to counsel women at their offices without the door being open or there being a window in the door so there would be no opportunity for hanky panky. Billy Graham was pretty well known for not allowing himself to be alone with women when his wife or others were not around. I think you are entirely too dismissive of reality here just to try and make a case for egalitarianism in the church. And on that note, I'll throw my hat in on the complimentarian side. Egalitarianism in the church and home is flatly unbiblical, no matter how one stretches it.

Robert said...

Bunk is definitely a sound and thorough refutation of any stated position on anything. Just like arbitrarily stating that 25% of the Bible agrees with your position without any proof is a sound argument. Haters!

Sir Aaron said...

@DJP:

Because I'm like a mosquito drawn to the blue light.

APM said...

Hi Debbie-

Ironically, I find this comment of yours to be degrading to women:

"Maybe if men could deal with strong women who love theology and scripture as much as men do, are able to decipher scripture as well as men...."

Are women who disagree with you on this issue therefore not "strong women"?

I am a Bible teacher and married to a strong woman who, without any formal theological training, often has a better grasp of original context than I do- even after doing my exegetical homework.

Since she has such a great theological grasp, she is a complimentarian. Simply becasue Scripture teaches it.

My wife is a strong woman because she sumbits to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and obeys what is written in Scripture.

Any woman (or man for that matter) who does not submit to Christ in obedience is strong in only one area: rebellion.

In Christ,

Andrew

DJP said...

Good catch. The equation of "strength" with rebellion is telltale.

Aaron Snell said...

Solameanie:

I've always thought "turking" was the better term.

brdavision said...

would anyone here in this forum agree with this breakdown of scripture supporting the complementarian view:

I never said that a woman couldn’t evangelize the lost (we all have a command to do so), but I did say that Paul established church ministry and church structure. If you actually open up your bible and take a look at what was written instead of regurgitating lies that have been passed down generation by generation you might actually learn something:

“Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” 1 Timothy 2:11-15

Paul begins his teaching for church structure by first addressing the women. They are not to teach or lead but to remain quiet. Why? Because God has set it up that way. Adam was made first then Eve. In other words God has a purpose and design for both men and women. This is nothing new, God has established Male leadership (see Genesis). Paul is not saying that women cannot talk in the church, but when it comes to teaching and church leadership they are to remain quiet. Paul tells us why: Eve was deceived by satan and Adam was not. When Eve was deceived she broke God’s command and became the transgressor.

Paul then moves from the women, to the leadership of the church. Notice who he refers to:

“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.” 1 Timothy 3:1-7

First we need to understand who Paul is talking to. “If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” Did Paul say “She” desires a noble task? NO. Next, Paul breaks down the attributes or characteristics that a man must have if he desires to be in the church ministry. Can you (a woman) be the husband of one wife? Can you (a women) manage your own hosehold well? Notice Paul uses the pronoun “He” throughout the Scripture. Paul also let’s us know his reason for writing:

“I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” 1 Timothy 3:14-15

Paul writes these things so that we will know how to behave in church. Not to oppress women and silence them forever. Since Paul was divinely inspired I believe God’s will was expressed.

This is what those who walk in biblical Christianity do to determine what should or should not go on inside of the Church which Christ purchased with His blood. We go to the word of God. We are not persuaded by man-centered arguments and human philosophy. So for this conversation to continue please use the word of God to prove you point, otherwise please refrain from commenting any further. God Bless!

Eric said...

brdavision,

Putting aside for a moment the body of your comment, I'd like to make a quick comment on part of your introduction:

"If you actually open up your bible and take a look at what was written instead of regurgitating lies that have been passed down generation by generation you might actually learn something"

When you start your point with insults, you will find that the material that follows is often irrelevant.

Rubin O. Wits said...

Debbie,

A lot of us are patiently waiting for some answers, please.

Rubin O. Wits said...

To Eric
brdavision's post was flawless.

brdavision said...

Eric,

This comment was the last one of many written using the Scripture as the authority, directed towards those who would not support their stance with the word of God.

I don't think I insulted them but rather made a fact known to those who were reading. But I do tend over react sometimes when I'm disagreed with. So I will do better in the future...

Eric said...

Rubin,

Apparently you subscribe to the school of thought that holds that the best way to win someone over to your way of thinking is to start out by insulting them. Flawless indeed.

Eric said...

brdavision,

I suspected that the comment was cut/paste from another context. I think you would do well to consider how you would receive an argument from someone if they conceded that you "might actually learn something". I would contend that that phrase in particular is rarely helpful in any conversation and is much more apt to damage any chance for "actual learning", if in fact that is the goal.

brdavision said...

Eric,

When you put it that way I definitely agree with what you are saying. My goal is to instruct and enlighten not insult. And I wouldn't want anyone not to receive solid instruction because of one offensive remark. Point well received.

Tom Chantry said...

I've been watching this develop all day without participating much (well, apart from cooking tips). I'm glad to see that the Commentariat has acquitted itself well; no one has flamed our visitors too badly.

I will confess that it is too easy to get into one of these discussions and to associate those on the other side with all that is evil in the church. Someone is an egalitarian - I find that to be rather obviously a biblical error. Consequently I am tempted to think that he/she must be a full-bore leftist/feminist/abortionist. Yet clearly this is most often not so. Christians are simply wrong, sometimes even dreadfully wrong. Someone is wrong in this debate; it's an unavoidable conclusion. But I have the advantage of knowing that some, at least, on each side have an interest in being biblical.

To that end, I want to highlight the comment that gets my vote for comment of the day: Robert's comment from 4:40 AM, February 15, 2012. He wrote:

Let me ask you...do you believe that Scripture is authoritative? And do you believe that there are different genres in Scripture? If so, which books of the Bible give definite guidelines as to how churches should be established and run? These books would be different than something giving a historical account or books that might mention something without affirming or rejecting it.

That is really the critical question, isn't it. If you want to know how the Temple was built, you don't start with Philemon. And if you want to know how the church should be organized...well, you see the point. Robert made it well, I don't need to make it again.

Tom Chantry said...

And by the way, Robert sweeps the awards today, taking the honorable metion (in my opinion) with this comment from 12:17 PM, February 15, 2012:

How many female apostles did Jesus choose? Just curious because those were the church leaders He left when He ascended into heaven.

I don't think I'd thought of that before. Now that you mention it, I'll go you one further. After a while, the Apostles faced a problem. The Helenists (Greek-i-fied Jews, if you will) claimed they were being slighted in the distribution to widows. So, technically it was Helenist women (widows) who had the complaint.

Their answer was to establish the office of Deacon, which they did with these words: "Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty." (Acts 6:3) And here were the seven men who were chosen: "Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus." (Acts 6:5)

Now, what's fun about those names is that they're all Greek. That's right, the Apostles went out of their way to diversify the leadership of the Jerusalem church so that there would be no legitimate complaint of misrepresentation. (It is exactly equivelent to a mixed race church in America with white elders going out of its way to elect black deacons in response to concerns about racism in the church. [/can-o-worms])

Only one other fact - they were all men. The apostles asked for men! (The gender-specific word, not the general human-kind term.) So not only did Jesus leave the church under the leadership of men, but the apostles maintained that leadership at a time when they were concerned about the appearance of under-representation!

(By the way, all of you insisting that the office of Deacon was "obviously" open to women - tread lightly.)

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Frank Turk is a menace and must be stopped. Someone on the internet is wrong, and now my day is shot because I'm trying to keep up with this hot topic (complete with venison chili), while I should be doing something like what Paul instructs Timothy about young widows: to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach. That is a hard enough list right there, I dare say. (And just for clarification, I am married, have borne children, and do my best to do the other two.)

By the time I am able to return to catch up on the conversation, Frank will have returned, Phil will have weighed in, an apology will be issued to someone for something, and then the comment thread will be closed because it will get silly again.

I really should go back and read the post. I'm not certain we are even on-topic. Maybe by tomorrow I'll get it figured out, or at least by then we will get some answers from Debbie.

Frank Turk said...

Eric:

man up.

Rubin O. Wits said...

Eric,

In this context, YES.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Tom Chantry @ 2:21,

Excellent argument from Scripture!!! I've have been around this issue for years, as we all have, and that one I have never encountered before! Excellent! Those you have ears...:)

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Should be "those WHO have ears."

Darlene said...

"You women, who would not be in your right place if you began to preach in the streets, you can make your husbands happy and comfortable when they come home, and that will make them preach all the better."

Ah...Spurgeon would have loved June Cleaver. Now I'd better go get my ruffled apron and get that casserole out of the oven.

Darlene said...

Lynda O.:

While J.C. Ryle was gracious in his discourse on the Virgin Mary, I must say that Evangelicals dismiss her more often than not. So, it's good to see a favorable piece written about her.

As my church teaches, the uncircumscribable God became circumscribable in the womb of the blessed Theotokos. Christ humbled Himself in such a way that he submitted to being nurtured by the very flesh of the Virgin, dependent upon her for His nourishment and growth. The humility of God is beyond my comprehension.

It is truly meet to bless you, O Theotokos, ever-blessed and most pure and the mother of our God.

St. Lee said...

I thought that I read the entire post as well as the entirety of the comments, so ...did I miss the recipe for the venison chili? or was that just an empty promise?

Back on topic (sort of) though, a quick and much less than exhaustive word study turns up the tidbit that the Greek word translated "deacon" in a few places, is most often translated "minister" or "serve". My guess would be that is where the idea that "the office of Deacon was obviously open to women" comes from. Often the women following Jesus were said to "minister" to him or "serve" him. Does that make them deacons? It looks to me as though anytime it is used in the context of an office, it is translated "deacon." Once again proving context is important.

Tom Chantry said...

...or was that just an empty promise?

Recipe for Venison Chili


Step One: Shoot deer.

Alternate Step One: Run over deer with pickup...

Robert Warren said...

Alternative 2 step one:
Bored deer to death with repetitive Marian dogma.

donsands said...

"Step One: Shoot deer."

Done.

My brother-in-law's friend shot a deer on my mother-in-law's spread: 8 point buck, with a bow.

In fact my wife just made some deer-stew. Excellente mucho!

Would love to have the deer chilli with you Tom, if we ever could some day. (Light, very light on the peppers though:- Well, just light.)

Tom Chantry said...

Word Verification:
"9.5028502: yphline"

You're kidding me, right?

WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?!?!?!

Solameanie said...

Aaron,

Didn't Rod Stewart have a song called "Young Turks?"

Tom Chantry: I am waiting for someone to throw in "Junias" toward the end of Romans as evidence of a female apostle. Of course, I don't think so, but that's one they often try to throw out there.

F Whittenburg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sir Aaron said...

Since Robert got the awards for today, shouldn't he get the venison chili and a lecture on Marian dogma? Oh, Robert was a RC so he probably knows enough about Marian Dogma. So just the venison, I guess.

Debbie Kaufman said...

I am currently working, catching up on the thread on my supper break and getting ready to go back to work. I will answer, but it seems there are more accusations and pitch forks coming out than listening, so I have to wonder if it is worth answering.

Never the less, I knew what I would encounter since this isn't my first rodeo and will answer although it will be late tonight when I get off work or tomorrow. If I decide to answer. Depends on the rest of the comment section.

Robert said...

Wow, Tom...never thought about that with the deacons. Good food for thought there.

As for Mary, I remember that at one time during Jesus' ministry she thought that He had lost His mind. That doesn't take away from the Magnificat and her humility, but it does show that she was a mere human just like the rest of us.

Back to Frank's post, though...I know others have said this, but the people up in arms over this post need to remember that Frank is laying out what egalitarians said in response to Piper's message. He didn't make these things up and this isn't a straw man.

Frank Turk said...

F Whit:

That is the dumbest comment of the day in a thread and on a topic which is prone to dumb comments.

What about all the athletic metaphors Paul uses? What about Christ's analogy of the shepherd? What about the martial language in Paul's letters? What about the qualifications for elders? What about 1 Cor 16?

If you read Dr. Piper's statement with even a minimum of disinterest, you would see he doesn't even mean all of Christian activity, the a limited bandwidth about which the NT is, frankly, verbose.

It's a shame you're just a glib heckler. One misses much in that mode of engagement.

Darlene said...

Robert Warren & Sir Aaron:

What with all the talk about women, femininity etc, I thought it apropos to bring up the Virgin Mary. Her calling was unlike any other woman - to bear in her womb the incarnate Son of God and to nurture and raise Him after His birth. Generations will call her blessed - well...some choose to and others dismiss her, except to point out her weaknesses. Your reactions regarding Marian Dogma are revealing. Uncomfortable with the term Theotokos?

Cut to the chase: I'm not Roman Catholic like Robert once was, thus the Marian Dogma I hold to is quite different.

Ken Archbold said...

What's with all the women commentators? Shouldn't yall be doin the dishes or feedin the baby or somethin. Leave the thinkin to the men.
Don't get so bent out of shape. Women are just as important in God's eyes, just different an we couldn't live without yall. My life would be empty without my beautiful wife.
saywhatiought.com

F Whittenburg said...

Paul uses female qualities when describing the church sometimes which is what I was addressing, not church ministry.

"God has made Christianity to have a masculine feel. He has ordained for the church a masculine ministry."

Paul's analogy in Galatians of a child growing in the womb to describe the spiritual growth of the Christian in femine.

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you (Galatians 4:19KJV).

The church leadership is masculine which I have abundantly proclaimed in my writings on the web since 2006 and I can prove it. But, the church that Paul spoke of does have female attributes of which I gave one example and because no one on this post had addressed the female aspects.

I am not a "glib heckler", but I do sometimes post in ways to try to make my point. And I think I have add much to the discussions and topics on TeamPyro in the past several years. All you can do is responed with name calling if I disagree with your conclusions?

F Whittenburg

Ian said...

Tom Chantry said,

"(By the way, all of you insisting that the office of Deacon was "obviously" open to women - tread lightly.)"

Romans 16:1 says, I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconof the church in Cenchreae.

WHy do we need to tread lightly?

Solameanie said...

Debbie,

I don't know that anyone has been aiming pitchforks and making accusations. They've asked you to deal with questions and Scripture. Unless I missed something somewhere.

Solameanie said...

Ian, the word "servant" (diakonos) is not solely used for "deacon." Original language experts on here can correct me if I'm wrong. It's like egalitarians who try to insist the reference to Junias at the end of Romans MUST mean that Junias was a female apostle. Wrongo.

Tom Chantry said...

@ Ian,

Because your proof-text may not prove what you want it to prove.

The Greek word which is transliterated "deacon" in our text is actually used in a number of ways in Scripture, and clearly not all of them relate to the office of deacon. All Christians are meant to minister ("deacon" as a verb) to one another. In fact, the "ministry of the word" to which the apostles were to commit themselves was literally the "diaconate of the word."

So in Romans, deacon is applied to Phoebe. Does that mean she held the office of deacon? Possibly, but not certainly. It is vexing (to your position) that when the office was established in Acts 6 - at a time when the Apostles were worried about under-represented segments of the church and when the specific issue was ministry to a group of women - in that very circumstance the Apostles asked for and received seven men.

Tread lightly, because there's nothing obvious about women holding the office of deacon in the New Testament.

Rachael Starke said...

((Blowing a pink whistle))

Penalty flag to Frank. I'm with F Whittenburg on this one, at least on his point about the key opening paragraph. Piper did not limit his description of of the masculine feel of Christianity to a particular sphere like preaching, or church leadership. He did not say that God has ordained for the church a masculine and a feminine ministry.

Again, attempting to be charitable, it's possible that he was choosing to focus only on the masculine aspects of Christianity and church leadership because his audience was pastors.

But it could equally be argued that he was in fact saying that Christianity is a faith that is predominately masculine. Using the word overarching also suggests this same argument.

It's not a big leap of logic to read that and deduce that womens' work in the church and home and world - Bible teaching to women and children, mercy ministry to the sick, widows and orphans, helping ministries to new mothers, etc. - is seen as secondary, not, ahem, complementary.

Deb W. said...

Hi Frank,
I know I've pretty much missed the bus on this discussion already by having to work today and then attending church and Bible study this evening... so apologies in advance for the late comment.


I would like to start off by stating that I am in full agreement with all of the complimentarian defenses given here for the Biblical basis for male leadership in the churches.


HOWEVER, I also think that it is really important to mention that there were at least a few complimentarians who had a particular issue with Piper's wording in the beginning, when he characterized Christianity as a whole as has having a Masculine Feel.

Frank, seriously, does that even sound like a masculine thing to say? ie, Does masculine "feel"?? What I mean is that "masculine feeling" sounds a bit like an oxymoron. I actually appreciated that Piper qualified his view of masculinity with phrases like "tender-hearted", because that is what I see modeled in my male eldership. But you've got to admit the statement comes across as a bit of an equivocation.

In addition, I don't think I've not read any complimentarians who have ever come straight out of the gate trying to characterize ALL of Christianity as masculine. The Church is the Bride of Christ. The Church is the Daughter of Zion. The Church is the Mother of us all (Gal. 4:26). John Calvin gave harsh words to those who would call God their father and not recognize the Church as their mother. So, Piper clearly mis-spoke when he started out with this assertion.

The fact, that he clarifies what he means by "masculine" and goes on to say that "a great, majestic God...inclines women to come alongside the men with joyful support, intelligent helpfulness, and fruitful partnership in the work" seems to paint a picture of Christianity that it is necessarily both masculine and feminine.

In Romans 12, we see that though God specifically calls men to lead the Church, the ministry of the Church has both masculine attributes (prophecy, disernment, proclamation, etc) and feminine attributes (hospitality, mercy, giving, encouragement, etc..).

And I think this is actually what Piper ends up saying when the talk is taken in totality.

Frank Turk said...

I love it when people tell me how much they have added to stuff - almost as much as I love it when they tell me they are humble and fruitful.

Deb W. said...

also, what Rachel said. :)

we must have been typing at the same time...

Darlene said...

Ken A: Most of the women commentators haven't been bent out of shape. As far as observing the increase in female participation on this post, I think Mr. Turk expected it. Dare I say, he provoked it! :-) It is duly noted that male participation far exceeds female participation regularly on this blog. Don't take offense, Ken, that some of the womenfolk have left their domestic responsibilities for a brief time to comment here. Before you know it, things will be back to business as usual, and you guys can chat in the locker room and show off your muscles.

Mr. Fosi said...

I think Debbie won't be back. If she does come back she won't answer in a substantive way.

I hope to be wrong.

F Whittenburg said...

"I love it when people tell me how much they have added to stuff - almost as much as I love it when they tell me they are humble and fruitful."

Sorry, can't help it. I speak boldly in Christ and am not humble when it comes to addressing doctrinal issues.

I would be curious to see a vote by people who have read my posts thru the years and see if they think that I have added to the discussion in a positive way. If I haven't then I don't need to be here. I am wasting your time and mine. You can consider me unteachable and I can consider Teampyro stoney ground.

F Whittenburg

Frank Turk said...

Exactly.

F Whittenburg said...

"Exactly."

See, even you agree with me :)

F Whittenburg

Darlene said...

Deb W.: "John Calvin gave harsh words to those who would call God their father and not recognize the Church as their mother."

Actually that quote originated from St. Cyprian of Carthage:

The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is uncorrupted and pure. She knows one home; she guards with chaste modesty the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God. She appoints the sons whom she has borne for the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger, he is profane, he is an enemy. He can no longer have God as his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.

I would say that John Piper's comment about Christianity having a "masculine feel" is poorly worded, and furthermore, misleading. If one just reads the quote from St. Cyprian above, the references to the Church, which is regarded as feminine - i.e. she, bride, lady, cannot be pushed aside. One cannot have Christianity without the Church. Christ must have a spotless bride.

In saying all this, I am not making a case for women pastors/priests. My church is very strict on this matter and does not believe women should be ordained as clergy.

F Whittenburg said...

"The fact, that he clarifies what he means by "masculine" and goes on to say that "a great, majestic God...inclines women to come alongside the men with joyful support, intelligent helpfulness, and fruitful partnership in the work" seems to paint a picture of Christianity that it is necessarily both masculine and feminine.

And I think this is actually what Piper ends up saying when the talk is taken in totality."

Then he did a poor job of getting the masculine AND feminine aspects of the church message across to people posting on this blog. Go back and read the posts. Many didn't arive at that conclusion that you think he was trying to convey. That is why I posted to show some of the feminine aspects of the church. I saw this missing in the discussion and added it.

F Whittenburg

Tom Chantry said...

"juridical esrchvt"

I have nothing more to say, except that I really, really, really, really, really don't like the new word verification. (/whine)

Darlene said...

Mr. Whittenburg: Then he did a poor job of getting the masculine AND feminine aspects of the church message across to people posting on this blog. Go back and read the posts. Many didn't arive at that conclusion that you think he was trying to convey.

You are very observant. I appreciate your input, but then again, I'm not the choir here. :-)

~Mark said...

"Maybe if men could deal with strong women..."

Nothing good ever comes after this beginning.

Ian said...

Tom,

Using your logic, in Acts 6,the situation called for the appointment of Greek Widows to serve Greek Widows? Perhaps that would be a short term fix but in the long run it probably would exasperate the problem and cause more division amongst an already divided group of new believers. Both groups are watching by the way and are the interested parties. I'm not buying that the only complaints were coming from the Greek widows. The text actually says otherwise.

If the apostles appointed women for official positions, especially in the Jerusalem Church, at this time, in that cultural climate, it surely would have caused a stir. We see later Paul beggining to break down these barriers, ever so gently. Wisdom prevailed in appointing these 7 men. A male deacon doctrine wasn't being established here.

Susan said...

Frank's point #2 in his post: "There is in fact no difference between the sexes when it comes to having friends. For example, one woman explained to me that she did nothing wrong being a confidant to a man whose marriage was in trouble. She was quite shocked and outraged that his wife thought otherwise -- can't a man and a woman just be friends?"

There is everything wrong with that. A while back a male friend at work shared minimally with me his marital frustrations (he just wanted to blow off some steam at that moment and I happened to be in his presence). Even though he was careful to share little of it, I knew I would not want to ask or encourage him to share further. One really never knows what a man is thinking, married or not married.

Ian said...

Tom,

Also, if anything, the congregation, not the apostles, were concerned about representation. They selected all Greek, not the apostles.

Internet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

Mrs Rachel, why shouldn't Christianity be seen as predominantly masculine - and masculine in the terms defined by Mr. Piper concerning leadership? Complementary doesn't mean 50/50. And to say that a thing is predominantly something doesn't devalue what is lacking as its other portion, because without it there is incompleteness - it's not whole without the complimentary piece. Wouldn't you say your head is the predominant part of your body? But a bodiless head is incomplete. I liked Mrs. Merrilee's comment about the analogy of the body in Scripture earlier today - it made this point so much better than I did.

Internet said...

Contraception split the atom: Now Sexual Intercourse and Babies are severed. Since even Christian marriage's chief end has all but devolved into the "Big-O" and "Red-Hot-Sex," this can be achieved by a Man and a Woman, two Men, two Women or any other deviant combination. Men and women are now empirically and completely equal in marriage. With this fungible predicament, a pastor's wife can mount the pulpit as well as (and many times better than) him.

To think that contraception entering the collective Evangelical bloodstream wouldn't eventually even topple the conservative male pastorate was myopic at best. Was someone asleep at the switch?

Morris Brooks said...

I have not read all the comments, but you have to realize where Debbie and the other egalitarians are coming from when they say that complementarians don't want women in ministry...they mean "ordained ministry" just like the men. Most of the complementarians don't have an issue with women ministering in the church. Their churches have women ministering, but not in an ordained role.

Morris Brooks said...

Habeneros....the main ingredient in Chiles Toreados. Saute the habeneros in butter, worcestershire sauce, with purple onions and a touch of salt until tender. Spread liberally over steak or salmon. Mmmmmm good.

Rachael Starke said...

Webster,

Repectfully, complementary does indeed mean 50/50 - (http://mw3.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/complementary)

Believing that the church/Christianity is predominately masculine is what leads to women being insufficiently shepherded, built up and affirmed in their ministries. E.g. women being discouraged from pursuing graduate degrees in theology or ministry, women being given a pass on being expected to know, and study, and teach from the whole Bible, churches paying for pastors/elders to attend retreats and conferences, but not their wives, women being taught that the very quality of "leadership" is reserved only for men, as if teaching women how to love their husband and children isn't itself a kind of leading through instruction and example.

Thanks for asking. :)

Debbie Kaufman said...

"You are comparing complementarians to JW's and Mormons, as well as saying that men can't deal with strong women if we don't allow them to have positions of authority within the church."
Not only JW's and Mormons, but pretty much any religion in the world. Radical Muslims would be another to compare it too, but thankfully not to the extreme that extreme Mulslims do, but the idea is still there. You read this correctly.
Yes, I am saying that men are threatened and don't know how to deal with women who are smart theologically and want to use their gifts for more than they are currently allowed to do which restricts them. For those who are called to teach children etc. Fine. But I do believe God calls others for more. Lottie Moon was a good example. Feeling the same type of frustration and let's face it, men are blowing it in the church. Example: Mark Driscoll, CJ Mahaney and his cult like church, Darrel Gilyard and the list goes on. I wrote the first post in the Baptist Community( I am Southern Baptist) inquiring about Ergun Caner. He blew it. Men right now are hurting the church and there are many disenfranchised people because they have been hurt by the leadership of Baptist churches.

Debbie Kaufman said...

I do believe in the inerrancy and the authority of the Bible. I hold the Bible in very high esteem. Not above the author of the Bible however who is God in three persons. I don't worship the Bible. I worship the Trinity. Father Son and Holy Spirit.

As for books that show how the church should be, the whole NT. Scripture interprets scripture and along with the passages that are obvious concerning pastors, deacons, leaders etc. take into consideration these passages as well. Women did prophesy. 1 Corinthians 11:5, "But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven."

"Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation: To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:16-20).

This was written to the church. Men and women. God wants to use anyone in any way possible who yields to the Holy Spirit. He gives women and men gifts to be used for the good of the people and the church. Frank said something about egalitarians being self centered. I disagree. It's longing to be used by God mightily to bring the Gospel of Christ to the people who need it. It's a deep longing out of love for Christ, God the Father, to be used to build the church. Not to be held back, but to be able to go out and minister, preach, teach both men and women. Lottie Moon longed for this. It's not God holding women back, but the church. Human beings who are not taking all of scripture and interpreting it, but parts, bits and pieces. They are holding women back. And while I believe complimentarians are sincere, they are sincerely wrong.

The Lord gave the church gifts of His choosing in the form of men and women who would lead the church into perfection (Ephesians 4:8-12).

"His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ's body (the church), [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the full and accurate knowledge of the Son of God; that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood....the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ's own perfection -- the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ, and the completeness found in Him'' (Ephesians 4:12-13)

You ask if I believe strong women are egalitarians. No, I believe child bearing requires courage and strength, raising children requires courage and strength, which shows John Pipers statement on masculine Christianity very wrong. It is not limited to men but to both men and women.

Debbie Kaufman said...

I would add Junia as being a woman. There are scholars on both sides of this thought. I happen to believe evidence points to Junia being a woman and I would disagree with Tom on his interpretation of the word deaconess. She was a authority in the church and Paul commended her for it. I would also add to the list:

Pheobe (Romans 16:1-2)
Priscilla (Acts 18:26)
Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2-3)two women who aided Paul in the advancement of the Gospel.

Now don't you wish I hadn't come back? I hope there was no betting on this cause I claim half the winnings. :)

Debbie Kaufman said...

In answer to the 12 disciples being men. We read this:


Luke 8:1-3, "And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance."

J♥Yce Burrows said...

Junia an authority...as in apostle or deacon/ness in the church? Contextually, how does one take that leap when the Word does not? What details are given? in the following concerning Junia(KJV)?

http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2458&t=KJV

http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Rom&c=16&t=ESV

As for the others named and even the references of 1 Corinthians 11:5 and other verses ~ context, context, context. What does God say/mean? When that is cut straight, proper application follows. Truth?

http://preceptaustin.org/romans_16_notes_(pt2).htm

Can't stay as the day is well upon me elsewhere and do hope the comment proves profitable.

Tom Chantry said...

@ Debbie,

Your argument reminds me of what Spurgeon said about the Presbyterians arguing for infant baptism: "They have passages with water and passages with infants, but no passages with both."

You have passages with women and passages with church office, but no passages with both. Honestly, you're citing Ephesians 4:8-12 and simply asserting that it implies that God gave women? I'm sorry, but at that point you lose the argument. No one disagrees - wait, I take that back - intelligent complementarians do not disagree that women were important in the life of the church, and are important today, nor even that they have many diverse "ministries." The argument is about church office, which your comments, I'm sorry, failed entirely to address.

Deb W. said...

Darlene,
No, I referring to John Calvin, and even though I'm not sure why you felt the desire to address that particular point, I will provide the reference. In his commentary on the Galatians, he writes:

"The heavenly Jerusalem, which derives its origin from heaven, and dwells above by faith, is the mother of believers. To the Church, under God, we owe it that we are “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,”(1 Peter 1:23,)and from her we obtain the milk and the food by which we are afterwards nourished. Such are the reasons why the Church is called the mother of believers. And certainly he refuses to call the Church his mother, only desires in vain to have God as his Father; for it is only through the instrumentality of the Church that we are “born of God,”

Perhaps a trivial clarification, but it is important that the historic reformed view of the Church not be obscured.

Tom Chantry said...

@ Ian,

Now in these days kwhen the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists1 arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in lthe daily distribution (Acts 6:1)

So the problem was? Not sure what you're trying to say about both sides complaining; that's really not in the text.

The selection of offices was like this: the Apostles specifically asked for men - using the word designating adult males. That's the first step, and it is fairly specific. Then the congregation, by some means we do not know, came up with seven. The focus was on their godly character, but the Greek names are unavoidable. Seven Helenistic men were brought (by the people) which offset the very culturally Jewish nature of church leadership at that point. Finally, the Apostles approved this decision and laid hands on the seven, without which they would not have been approved.

Now, my observations were this:

1. The entire leadership at the time consisted of the twelve Apostles - all men.

2. Faced with a crisis which involved two factors - physical ministry to women and a complaint of cultural under-representation - the Apostles, led by the Spirit, expanded the offices of the church by appointing deacons.

3. In that circumstance, in which every indication would be that there would be strong reason for a mixed (male and female) diaconate, they specifically asked for men, the church selected men, and they appointed men. The first deacons were all men.

4. This is the last passage in the Bible that speaks of specific persons being appointed to this church office by the laying on of hands.

5. The Bible uses the word "deacon" in many circumstances, but we know all circumstances are not referring to the office. In fact, in this very passage the Apostles themselves are deacons - of the "diaconate of the word."

And my conclusion was: "Tread lightly, because there's nothing obvious about women holding the office of deacon in the New Testament."

To which your response consisted of "Perhaps...If...I'm not buying..." but no interaction with what the text actually says. You closed with "A male deacon doctrine wasn't being established here."

In other words, I explored the passage and said, "women deacons are not obviously established in the NT." You stamped your foot and shouted, "Are too! Are Too!" I'm unsure what I'm supposed to do, shout "Are not!"? Or is this when I go tell the teacher?

Kathy said...

As a complementarian, I get really worn down at times from hearing statements suggesting that what I do as a wife and mother is "worthy", but the egalitarian woman wants something "more". The culture tells me quite often enough that what I do is "less". I wish I didn't get the same message from other Christians.

Robert said...

Debbie,

There is one thing that I don't have a prblem being angry about and that is people playing with the Word of God to make it say things that God doesn't say. You're taking everything so far out of context and instead of seeing exegesis, all I see is eisegesis. What you are doing to the text is no better or different than what Joel Osteen does with verses when he gives his motivational talks to his followers. If you don't like what Scripture says about male and female roles, then just say it...but don't try to change the Word of God. There is a word for that...blasphemy. I've done that before and had to repent of it...I certainly hope that you will do the same.

Ian said...

Tom,

"1. The entire leadership at the time consisted of the twelve Apostles - all men."

But the again there is a patriachal culture and there were 12 tribes of Israel, and there seems to be something connected there with the selection of 12 male apostles. But while were at it let's focus on the number 12, instead of men. Let's have 12 deacons and 12 elders, under the authority of 12 bishops. But when James dies there is no mention of the continuation of 12 , so why even bring it up since it was only a temporary situation?

"Faced with a crisis which involved two factors - physical ministry to women and a complaint of cultural under-representation - the Apostles, led by the Spirit, expanded the offices of the church by appointing deacons"

It's reading too much into the text to highlight the fact that the widows were women and fair representation logically would be women. Can you point to one instance in Scripture when a woman pushed for equal representation, Old or New Testament? Of course not, the culture wouldn't allow it so no widow would demand it, they just wanted food. The apostles make no qualification on culture here. Your making that point and I wonder who is really dealing with the text.

"3. In that circumstance, in which every indication would be that there would be strong reason for a mixed (male and female) diaconate, they specifically asked for men, the church selected men, and they appointed men. The first deacons were all men."

If representation is the big issue in this office why doesn't the Scripture say so? There are all types of possibilites. Choose a single man between the ages of 20-30. A married man between 30-40. A widowed man, a proselyte, a man with roman citizenship, overweight, tall, etc. Instead the scripture focuses on the spiritual qualifications not representation.

"This is the last passage in the Bible that speaks of specific persons being appointed to this church office by the laying on of hands. "

So why do I need to tread lightly? Maybe we both do. Same answer for point 5.

Robert said...

Ian,

Are you suggesting that Jesus was concerned with the culture when He chose twelve male apostles? Because He surely didn't worry much about the culture in addressing the religious leaders or speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well. I'm not getting into any of the rest of your argument beacuse nothing else popped out so much as this. I wouldn't try to take the position that Jesus exhibited the fear of man in His selecting the leaders of the church. God does not fear man.

Bill R. said...

I guess I am having difficulty seeing how metaphorically "throwing a pork chop into the temple" glorifies God or edifies anyone. Isn't this supposed to be a place to ask questions, hopefully get answers and to gently encourage, discourse and support one another according to what we have learned from Scripture?

Ian said...

Robert,

I don't see where fear comes into the equation here. Jesus' reasons aren't clear, but it seems to have something to do with OT Israel and the mission the 12 faced. Interesting how when the bulk of Jewish converts come into the church soon there after the "12" disappear

Tom Chantry said...

Ian,

Last point first: I do tread lightly. My assertion throughout has been that women deacons are not obvious. I do not consider the question nearly so obvious as the prohibition against women elders. I do believe the New Testament teaches an all-male diaconate, but not as forcefully as it teaches an all-male eldership. So I am treading lightly, attempting to examine what the scriptures say closely and not tossing out proof texts that don't actually apply and then basking in an imagined victory.

Let me see if I understand your argument right now: you are saying that in the patriarchal society of Israel women deacons would be unacceptable to the Spirit, but in another culture they would be necessary in His eyes? Really?

It seems to me rather evident that the New Testament church buldozed right through whatever cultural barriers would have altered the composition of the church which the Spirit was building. I mean, Helenistic church officers - that wasn't something that existed in the synagogs. The very election of seven Helenists was a way of shaking a fist at cultural prejudices. The inclusion of Gentiles - and eventually Gentile pastors, was even more radical. The Spirit really didn't care a fig about the cultural prejudices of the Jews; He didn't go in for contextualization.

Yet every time women are mentioned in the epistles, the argument is - I'm sorry - quite traditional. Why?

donsands said...

"I would say that John Piper's comment about Christianity having a "masculine feel" is poorly worded"-Darlene

I agree. Even our best Pastors are but men.

But as a whole John Piper's teaching is a good one. He is quite biblical.

"Isn't this supposed to be a place to ask questions, hopefully get answers and to gently encourage, discourse and support one another according to what we have learned from Scripture?"-Bill

Absolutely. And it is true. But, there will also be the wrestlings with truth.
Hopefully we will all grow when we discuss, or even argue at times. Grow in the truth and love of Christ our perfect example.

Jesus said: "Take My yoke upon you, and Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye will find REST unto your souls."

How I long for that Rest our Savior promises us. I have tasted it, but long to tatse it even more. So that I might be a blessing in this dark age for our Lor's honor.

candy said...

Debbie: It is because men are blowing it in the church that the issue of a masculine Christianity must be addressed. I always think of Steve Lawson at the Shepherd's Conference pounding his hands on the pulpit and loudly exclaiming, "Where are the MEN!!!"

We need men to stand strongly for the Gospel against a tide of false teaching, trends, and how the Church followed the road right behind the world when feminism became such a huge deal. Just look back and see what happened to Evangelical Christianity during those years. There certainly was a trend towards a more feminine environment...more about feelings,less concrete.

It is amazing to see women embracing a more intellectual approach these days than what was expected of women for years. I love the emphasis on good theology and good reading material.

I have no problem with what John Piper said because frankly, it isn't about me, it is about Christ and whatever He gives me to do. I am been very thankful that I was given the gift of teaching elementary students. I very boldly taught them the Doctrines of Grace, and since many of them attended docrinally weak churches, understood that I was teaching the next generation Biblical truth. Is that not enough? That is huge!!

Teachers, missionaries, professors, civil servants...those kinds of opportunities are open to women, as well as mothers to children, partner with a husband in his ministry, or other possibilities. Complementarionism does not negate many possibilities for ministry. It is a safeguard to prevent women from usurping power over men in areas that men are called specifically to serve Christ. It only takes a little research to see the damage that has been caused by allowing the lines to blur.

donsands said...

Oh yeah, one more thought:

"I really, really, really, really, really don't like the new word verification. (/whine)"-Tom C.

Ditto from me!

Pam said...

What Kathy said: dittos
And thanks, Kathy, bless you. (add "grandma" too, Deut.4:9)

Ian said...

Tom,

I appreciate that you tread lightly, we're on the same page.

Interesting hypothetical question about how possibly God would establish government in another culture. I'm usually game for these types of questions. We see through Scripture how God works within the culture of the day, but other times he demands Holiness. For example in Gen 15 He uses the official contractual method of confirming His covenant with Abraham. He eventually allows Israel to have a king, just like the other nations. Those are some off the top of my head. So could God ordain woman leadership to represent Himself in a matriachal culture? Purely hypothetical but my answer would be, yes.

CCinTn said...

Ian, I agree with Robert, Tom and others on this.
When Christ, as the Sovereign God, was establishing His Church, do you honestly think that He was sticking a finger into the wind to see how the church was going to be viewed by the surrounding culture? In both the OT and NT, God separated for Himself a holy people who were viewed in a condescending manner by the rest of the world. Did God not want to upset the apple cart by keeping it patriarchal because He didn’t want the church to fail? If God wanted His church to be led by Golden Retrievers, it would have succeeded because who can thwart His will?

Since Christ came and proclaimed the Truth, why did He not also set right the wrong-minded, patriarchal viewpoint of the religious leaders? He sure didn’t have a problem letting them know all the areas in which they misunderstood or twisted scripture for their own purposes. Why not also address the wrong-headed patriarchal view of men/women/authority?
Why didn’t the King of the Universe, when He established His church do it ‘right’ and be inclusive of both men and women in leadership roles? Because He was afraid the it might not be received by the culture? Really?

Christ broke down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile. Between rich and poor. Between slave and free. Between the ‘first’ in life and those who were the ‘least’ in life. And yes, between male and female. So why did not Christ turn the world upside down in this last arena by including women as a disciples/apostles? He certainly had many faithful women who followed Him in His ministry. He went counter-culture and spoke with a women at the well. He allowed a woman to worship him and wash His feet and anoint Him. He showed Himself first to women when He first arose. He was ‘all about women’ and elevating them. Just not to the level of authority over men. Why? Why did not Paul, who was inspired by Holy Spirit and was not timid in the least about standing for what was right in God’s eyes, include terminology such as “a man or woman” or “they” (instead of ‘he’) when giving the qualifications of deacon and elder?

I asked Debbie earlier, perhaps you could provide a couple of biblical references where women are instructed or even seen in a public/corporate teaching or leadership position in either the OT or the NT. Why did God hide the real ‘truth’ of the inclusion of women in leadership roles in His Word? Why is He so obscure in this manner that we have to manipulate scripture into pretzel shapes to get it to ‘say’ what the egalitarians say is the truth.

Again, when Paul discussed the hierarchy in marriage did not appeal to cultural norms but he went back to creation itself as Jesus did when discussing divorce. If you’ll go back to the beginning, there you will find the answer.

Isn’t amazing that the church had it wrong for the first 1900 years. The church has been a fail up to 1900. Thank God that we finally got it right. Do we really want to say this? God allowed His church to so miss the boat that it took the women’s revolution in the early 1900’s and the feminism revolution of the 1960s/70s to finally set Christ’s church straight. I sure won’t say that.

Ian said...

CC,

Did God approve of slavery as a cultural norm?

Tom Chantry said...

Ian,

Extra-biblical hypotheticals do not apply. We are talking about how the Holy Spirit established the church - as it is seen in the pages of the New Testament.

Fact: He blew the doors off cultural convention when it came to the cultural and ethnic makeup of the church.

Fact: He did no such thing when it came to the gender of church officers, but in every recorded case He called a man.

Conclusion: Cultural conventions had nothing to do with it.

By the way, your interpretation of the covenant with Abraham is disputed, and your understanding of the lessons of kingship is just awful, but both take us off topic. Let's stick to the question of office in the church.

Mr. Fosi said...

Debbie! Thanks for coming back and laying out your scriptural case. :^)

Even though you still haven't defined what "positions of authority" you are talking about or what your "calling" is like or what you "feel called to", let's dive into the scriptures you cited.

2 Corinthians 5:16-20 "Ministry of reconciliation", Paul speaking of new creation extended to all but doesn't connect that up with choosing leadership positions or the reversal of gender roles. "Not regarding people according to the flesh" does not apparantly obviate all sexual/gender differences but rather emphasize that Christ extends his grace to all.

1 Corinthians 11:5, an interesting nugget plucked from the greater context of 1 Cor 11:1-16. What is Paul saying with is argument here? Is he saying that women are interchangeable with men and vice versa? Is he saying that women should be chosen for specific positions within the church? No, rather, he seems to be laying out the order of "headship" with God as the head of Christ, Christ as the head of man, and man as the head of his wife. This refutes your egalitarian position rather than supporting it.

Ephesians 4:8-12, taken from the greater context of 1-16 where Paul is speaking about the unity of believers as the body of Christ. Does he speak of women here or of who should be chosen for any church positions? What is the point of Paul's argument here? No, the thrust of Paul's argument here is that Christ is wholly sufficient to tie the church together. Then he goes on to exhort the church in Ehphesus that they should be spurred on toward maturity, becoming mature men, no longer buffeted by false doctrines. He doesn't encourage them to become mature women or to be more nurturing, or sensitive, or any of then other adjectives that people tend to ascribe to women.

In Romans 16:1-2 and Philippians 4:2-3, Paul entreats his readers to welcome certain people including women and to help them. What positions does Paul ascribe to them? Acts 18:26, describes a couple, one clearly a women, taking Apollos aside and catechising him. Is is clear that the two were women who held some "office of authority" and is that praised? No. It isn't clear that they are both women, nor what position they held in the church. Clearly these two loved Apollos enough to take him aside and fully inform him regarding the gospel, but that's about the most you can get from the text alone.

Luke 8:1-3, here Luke describes the people that Jesus had with him has he travelled during some poriton of his public ministry. Some of the people were women. What "positions of authority" are they said to have here? There aren't any listed. It says that they provided patronage, which seems like financial and perhaps logistical support. Important? Yes. Can't say much more.

Mr. Fosi said...

None of these passages deal with how the church is to be administered or staffed. None of them explicitly say that women can and should be chosen for "positions of authority". As Chantry said, you've got passages that name women, but none that ascribe to them "higher positions of authority". They are all somewhat unclear.

Contrast the unclear passages (cited by you, apart from their context) with a clear passage from a letter written to, among other things, lay out the policy for church positions. 1 Timothy 2:8-15 deals with specific commands to both men and women regarding how they should act and what positions they are fit for. Likewise, in 2 Corinthians 14 Paul is again speaking about precisely the issues we are discussing. What do these explicit, clear passages say about gender roles? They don't advocate egalitarianism.

A cardinal rule of hermenutics (Biblical or not!) is that clear passages should govern the unclear ones. So what do these clear passages say about the role(s) of women in the church? Once we can agree on what these clear passages mean, we can take that understanding and apply it to the unclear ones that you cited.

Could you start your next post with a clear definition of what "positions of authority" you are concerned about and what "more" the Holy Spirit is calling you to?

Thanks!

Merrilee Stevenson said...

I have a few more thoughts to add, and then I think I should be leaving the conversation for today. (My pastor's wife will be coming over to help me fold laundry and keep training me to be a better housewife and mother.)

1. This may be another can of worms, I don't know. The description of the throne room in Revelation 4 and 5 repeatedly talk about the 24 elders. While my NASB doesn't specifically use male/masculine pronouns, I've always understood them to represent the 12 tribes of Israel (all male) and the 12 apostles (also all male). This would certainly reinforce the idea of the church universal having a masculine feel.

2. I wish I had the degree in theology, & the knowledge of Greek and Hebrew to accurately handle and understand the Scriptures. I would first find that helpful in my own edification, and the training of my own children, but also teaching others the Lord would give to me to teach--such as my neighbors or friends with whom I have opportunity to share the gospel. In order for me to attain such extensive training, I would necessarily need to leave my existing ministry to my husband and children, and neglect my household responsibilities. Not permanently, but they all would make sacrifices. But what for? So I can make myself an important person in the eyes of my peers? So I wouldn't have to rely on the teaching of others who are trained (usually males)? So I would be qualified to have a paid position of high office in the church? I don't think it's necessary to re-invent the wheel. And my role as wife and mother would necessarily limit my effectiveness, because my family's needs should come first.

3. There are so many people saying that the MEN are failing to lead the church, which is why the women need to lead or why the church has become so feminized. In my experience, the women are equally shirking their responsibilities to their husbands and children, as well as to their fellow younger women and even those in need (such as the elderly--orphans and widows in their distress). There are far too few older women who are even available to teach the younger women because the older ones have gone into the "work force" rather than into the ministry to their fellow sisters in Christ. Many of the younger sisters follow suit, and those of us who have chosen "homemaker" as our career path are a lonely minority anymore. (Hard to even find a babysitter that I wouldn't have to pay.) And I'm sorry to say it, but too few (male) preachers take a stand to address that issue. (The blame always goes back to Adam/the man.)

I know that last sentence could potentially produce applause from the egalitarian crowd, but I suppose the complimentarian crowd would reluctantly have to agree.

Now I gotta keep moving. My kids have watched enough Veggie Tales recently and I've spent enough time in front of my computer/phone/iPad; we need to do some real fun things.

Tom Chantry said...

Interesting, I knew slavery would come up sooner or later. What's fascinating is that Paul (and Scripture in general) doesn't seem all that concerned to fix slavery. I mean, Paul wrote his letter to Philemon essentially to say, "Listen, brother, this whole owning another person thing really doesn't work - at least not among Christians - so how about if you stop acting like a Patrician and start acting like a Christian!" Paul wrote that. But elsewhere, he is concerned with telling masters how to be godly masters and slaves how to be godly slaves.

What gives?

Simply this: the New Testament was establishing a church, and in so doing it was not trying to reform the Roman Empire. There were many evils in the Roman system; the New Testament ignores many of them. That's not to say we can't apply biblical principle and reform society appropriately. But there was a difference in how Scripture approached society and how it approached church. (WARNING: TWO KINGDOM THEOLOGY ALERT!)

The New Testament is very specific about matters which we assume don't matter - such as how the church is to be governed. Could it be that in God's eyes the right government of the church is ultimately a more important question then whether or not a society practices slavery?

(Word Verification: "preach ngsrao" - I'd rather preach Christ and him crucified, thanks very much.)

Ian said...

Tom,

"Extra-biblical hypotheticals do not apply"

Then why did you raise the point by saying "but in another culture".

"By the way, your interpretation of the covenant with Abraham is disputed"

Teaching on Galatians tomorrow so fill me in please.

"and your understanding of the lessons of kingship is just awful,"

Thanks. I would have asked some more questions before I came to that conclusion.

Hey did we ever agree that it wasn't the Apostles that selected the 7 deacons?

Tom Chantry said...

One more thought, and then I'll be off to do stuff like ministry.

The cultural argument is impossible to make, as is demonstrated by the fact that some make it in both ways.

Case in point: some, like Ian, want to tell us to ignore the practice of the early church with regard to gender differences (at least to a point - I'm not sure how far Ian pushes this), because the culture was so conservative. They say that God wouldn't appoint women officers in a conservative, patriarchal culture.

But egalitarians have long argued that the reason for Paul's prohibitions in I Timothy are a response to the radical, non-traditional culture in Ephasus. In other words, God wouldn't appoint women officers in a radical culture which had worshiped a goddess.

So which is it? Is God trying not to offend the conservatism of the Jews, or trying not to encourage the radicalism of the Ephesians?

You know what's easier? Assuming that God didn't bother with cultural norms so much and that He just established His church the way He wanted it - even if it upset people. And hey, guess what - it did upset people! (See the book of Galatians.) But what he never appears to have done was either upset or confirm the culture by appointing women officers.

Tom Chantry said...

Ian,

It's popular to argue that the covenant with Abraham was based on Ancient Near-Eastern suizerenty treaties, but some (O.Palmer Robertson comes to mind) have disputed this.

As for the kingship, I haven't the time, but to suggest that God was giving in to the cultural desires of Israel and suggesting that the nature of Israel's government didn't matter, missing the fact that God said all along He would give them a king of His own choice - that's just to miss the whole point of the narrative.

On the selection of the first deacons I wrote this: "The selection of offices was like this: the Apostles specifically asked for men - using the word designating adult males. That's the first step, and it is fairly specific. Then the congregation, by some means we do not know, came up with seven. The focus was on their godly character, but the Greek names are unavoidable. Seven Helenistic men were brought (by the people) which offset the very culturally Jewish nature of church leadership at that point. Finally, the Apostles approved this decision and laid hands on the seven, without which they would not have been approved."

You brought up the cultural argument. My question: "Let me see if I understand your argument right now: you are saying that in the patriarchal society of Israel women deacons would be unacceptable to the Spirit, but in another culture they would be necessary in His eyes? Really?" was in response to you. My point throughout has been that when it came to the government of His people, God established the structure He wanted with no regard whatsoever for the culture in which His people lived.

Ian said...

Tom,

You said,

"That's right, the Apostles went out of their way to diversify the leadership of the Jerusalem church so that there would be no legitimate complaint of misrepresentation."

If I'm the only one that needs to be accountable for what we say, this really isn't a discussion but just your show.

Tom Chantry said...

Ian,

I'm sorry, but I am not seeing the accusation. I wrote about what the Spirit actually did in the New Testament. You speculated about a less patriarchal society. What exactluly do you want to hold me accountable for?

Tommy said...

I love this blog. Everywhere else my fellow hot-headed young Reformed guys come crashing in like SWAT(although I imagine it says SOLA on their Kevlar), destroying man and argument alike mercilessly "for the faith".

We have much to learn from you fine, wizened folk. You earned your raised hairlines well ;)

LanternBright said...

Ian, if I can chime in for a moment, you seem to be missing something pretty big here. Yes, Tom DID say that the apostles went out of their way to diversify early church leadership in order to avoid the appearance of misrepresentation...

...but Tom's point is that even when they were being very deliberate to do these things, they *STILL* only appointed *MEN* to fill the leadership positions in question.

In other words, the concern for diversity in early church leadership ends up being an argument for complementarianism, not egalitarianism.

LanternBright said...

hear that, Tom? you're "wizened."

Ian said...

Tom,

I'll have some other people read the quote I posted in my last comment and if I'm misunderstading you I will apologize. God Bless,

Morris Brooks said...

In agreeing with Tom, I would add, the church is its own culture. Therefore, it is not trans-cultural, but supra-cultural.

This is the reason the Scriptures tell us we are aliens in this world, and we are because we live in another culture (another kingdom) that God has created and rules over through His Son.

Therefore the Scriptures are binding no matter what time or culture. And they may be offensive the sensibilities/sense of fairness to some; but God's monologue to Job proves that God is not concerned with our sense or cry of what is fair. Where were we when He set the course of this world, and when has He ever sought our counsel? Something we all need to keep in mind.

Ian said...

Lantern,


I didn't miss Tom's point. I just don't see how, from the text, you can show how that Apostles were concerned about diversity. Where do you see it?

Morris Brooks said...

And one more thing on the man/woman complementarian/egaliitarian thing. One of the foundational issues that we are dealing with in these two issues goes all the way back to the fall and subsequent curses to both man and woman (which we are still under).

Genesis 3:16....Yet your desire (desire to rule over, to master;same as Genesis 4:7...sin's desire for us) will be for your husband, and he will rule (have dominion over, to govern) over you.
This male dominion and female subjegation, if you will, has been present since before the first progeny, and will be with us until we are in our heavenly abode where we are neither married nor given in marriage. So one of the issues in this fight of complementarian/egalitarian and man/woman goes all the way back to Genesis. The fall affected not just the husband wife relationship, but also male and female relationship. How could we expect God to go against his Word to Eve concerning the consequences of her sin in allowing women to have an equal leadership position in His kingdom...it would be inconsistent, and God is anything but inconsistent. We see the frustration, tension, and struggle in that verse and they continue today in the complementarian/egalitarian issue.

CCinTn said...

Ian, my understanding of Tom’s point is that the Apostles did not say “choose seven from among yourselves”, opening it up for the local believers to choose seven ‘people’, perhaps 5 men and 2 women. They also did not say “choose seven men and women” which would have removed any ambiguity but would have made the point that women were to be included. It’s also important that the Apostles did not say “choose seven Jewish men”.
By saying “choose seven men”, they did mean MEN and they did not restrict the men along racial lines (Jew/Gentile) which was a huge dividing wall that continued to be addressed in the early church. The local congregation understood what the Apostles were asking for and they chose seven men.

Frank Turk said...

Well, just for good form and fair warning, I'll be closing this thread tonight sometime. Get your last licks in.

Frank Turk said...

Morris: you have to believe in the sin nature to believe that, and I'll warrant that most egalitarians don't believe in sin nature. Scot McKnight certainly doesn't.

Tom Chantry said...

Ian,

Acts 6:1 says, "Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution."

So, there was a cultural clash. A complaint of a lack of sensitivity to other cultures. Did the Aposltes ignore this? Not at all; they appointed men to fix the problem. Was their first concern diversity? No, I never said so. They wanted "men of good repute, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom." Those are qualifications just like in the Pastoral Epistles.

But when those men were chosen, a curious fact arrises: While the Apostles were mainly what was called "Hebrews," the seven men have entirely Greek names, suggesting that they were in fact what was called "Helenists." Nicolaus was in fact a Gentile who had converted to Judaism - the meaning of "prosylite."

The simple fact was that this clash came from a lack of leadership diversity in a culturally diverse church. The Apostles were not insensitive to that fact. They addressed it, contrary to the cultural standards of their day.

But they didn't demonstrate the same cultural bravado by asking for or approving women.

It's all there in the text.

donsands said...

"..believe in sin nature. Scot McKnight certainly doesn't."

What? I guess I need to check that out for sure.
That's very sad, and bad.

Ian said...

Frank,

Save me the trouble of sorting through the pages of my "Scot Mcknight sin nature" google search, a quote or two would be helpful.

trogdor said...

Morris,

I think it would be wise to go back even another chapter, and point out that male/female differences predate the Fall. Male headship is not a result of the curse, but a part of the created order.

The reason to bring this up is, a not-uncommon egalitarian claim is that male/female roles are solely part of the curse. Jesus came to undo the curse. Therefore in the church, there should be no male/female roles.

That claim is completely undone if you acknowledge, as Paul did, that the roles are part of God's design.

Egalitarians claim that these roles were invented in the curse, and are removed in the church. We claim that these roles were distorted in the curse, and restored to proper glory in the church. Genesis 1-3 should reveal who's right.

trogdor said...

A long time ago, Mandi axed this:

"Why can't someone hold that marriage roles are important and same gender friendships are important and strong theology is important, and yet read the Bible and come to the honest conclusion that it does not exclude women from roles of leadership in the church?"

Technically, I don't see that the first and last clauses are necessarily mutually exclusive. That is, someone could theoretically hold gender-based roles are valid in mawwiage, but invalid for church leadership. I guess.

The problem is that practically this seldom if ever happens, for reasons exhibited quite clearly in this very thread. The egalitarian argument I encounter the most - by far - is that a difference in role necessarily means a difference in value. That is, if men are in a position of authority over women, then men are necessarily superior to women, and there is necessarily inequality.

So it would put the egalitarian in a difficult position to try to simultaneously maintain that (1) it is possible for husband and wife to be equal while having different, hierarchical roles, and (2) it is impossible for men and women in the church to be equal while having different, hierarchical roles.

Faced with that dilemma, they rightly feel the need to abandon one of them. Unfortunately, they often abandon the truth of 1 for the unbiblical mess that is 2, most often through abuse of Ephesians 5:21 (without regard to Paul's explanation in 5:22ff).

Incidentally, this is also why complementarian arguments often appeal to the interpersonal relationships of the Trinity. But that's a whole other bag o' worms.

Tom Chantry said...

We're keeping our worms in bags now?

Forgive my snark, Trog - you actually make a number of very sound points.

trogdor said...

I caught that right after I hit to post it, and decided it wasn't worth editing. Maybe I would've caught it if I wasn't struggling to pass the word verification quiz.

So I'll just say the bag is more eco-friendly and biodegradable, so maybe I can get a nice tax break for it. Maybe even a $500 million guaranteed loan for producing worm bags. Hmmm...

Neal Doster said...

Debbie Kaufman said...
I do believe in the inerrancy and the authority of the Bible. I hold the Bible in very high esteem. Not above the author of the Bible however who is God in three persons.

This is the heart of the issue. We appeal to God as our highest authority because nothing trumps God right? The problem is, who gets to define God, interpret His will? One’s beliefs about God or His will can be quite subjective in nature. Conversely the Bible is objective in nature and has revealed God’s will of which we may not like. You have those blogging as God as their authority and those who blog having His Word as their authority. We would do well to remember that God said “ I have exalted my Word above my name” (identity). From a practical perspective nothing carries more authority for the Christian than the 66 books of the Bible, not even (one’s) God.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Many have suggested that the desire woman have for their husbands, is that women desire men to fill their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs, and be their rock and provider. THAT is the playground for idolatry!!! These things are ONLY to be found in Christ.

Men do have authority over women in the church and in the home, but not in the ultimate sense. Only Christ can fulfill these deep needs for women.

When I read my Bible it is not through a man’s eyes that I come to know, recognize and love Jesus. No man is my mediator between Christ and myself. I am ultimately responsible for my devotion to, or my rejection of Christ. No man has that power over my soul. Christ is mine personally, apart from any action taken by men. My soul belongs to Christ alone, not to man.

I am just so thankful that God did not exclude women from His mercy and grace, as He did with the fallen angels. Women are not less than men…as Christ is not less than God. Christ submitted to the Father’s will, gladly, and so should all of us.

Women are to submit to God and His Word in a reverent way, first and foremost. If He says that men are the authority figures in the home and in the church, which He does, then I bow to Him in humble adoration and obedience.

I keep reiterating to myself, “I’m not God, I’m not God, I’m not God; the world is “HIS” footstool “and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, WHAT DOEST THOU (Daniel 4:35)?”

Tom Chantry said...

Women are not less than men…as Christ is not less than God.

What an extraordinary application of the ontological/economical distinction in the Trinity! Tremendous!

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

No, Tom, your real objection to the tenor of my post is that women ultimately belong to Christ and not to men. Which means that men cannot in any way Lord anything over women!

Enough said! I'm not into arguing the finer points of your objections, which was only a ruse on your part anyway.

Again: enough said!

Robert said...

So, Tom...how would T.D. Jakes handle that analogy?

Tom Chantry said...

ME,

I was not being argumentative at all. Perhaps I missed the point of your initial post. Let me try:

You said that Christ is not less than God, yet He submitted to the Father. He is a spiritual equal, yet His position was one of submission. That is what is called the distinction between the Ontological relations of the Trinity (the Son and the Father are equally God), and the Economical relations of the Trinity (the Son submits to the Father).

I thought you were saying that similarly, male and female are one in Christ (spiritual equals) and thus none ought to Lord it over others, even as we all submit to the various roles to which Christ has called us. Christ's equality with the Father did not prevent His submission to the Father; our equality with one another should not prevent our submission to God and His revealed will either.

Did I miss something? I really wasn't trying to be sarcastic; I thought it was an excellent summation of how our understanding of Christ informs our conduct within the Body of Christ.

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