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Month: December 2006

Slavery still an issue today – so says The Wilderness Crier

Slavery still an issue today – so says The Wilderness Crier

I came across an excellent post written very tongue-in-cheek about the issue of slavery using all of the standard arguments against women teaching the bible to men. It is worth the read and the link is here. My mouth just dropped open as I first read it thinking that he was serious. But as I read I recognized all of the old arguments that I have heard about stopping women from ministering from the bible in the presence of men.

I will be back posting again in a few days after taking a few days off to recover from the very busy Christmas season. I wish everyone a very wonderful new year and God’s richest blessings!

The case of the battling proof texts, Part One

The case of the battling proof texts, Part One

One of the things that bugs me when Christians have discussions about the women’s issue is the point when they are at loggerheads regarding “proof texts”. One person says they have their “proof text” scripture and so they are not willing to listen to what the other person has to say. The other person also has their “proof texts” and also isn’t willing to budge. However proof texting is simply not good enough. While you may have one verse that seems to agree with you, you also need to deal with the texts that don’t agree with you. This is the point where many people give up. They hold onto their proof text and stubbornly refuse to look outside of their already made-up mindset.

So how do we handle the situation when we come up against someone who is holding onto a wrong interpretation because of their “proof text”? What we need to do is to look carefully at their proof text and examine it within its entire context. That entire context may be broader than the chapter it is in and may include the entire book of the Bible that it is included in. Why is this important? It is important because if we do battle with our “proof texts” we are in essence saying that the Bible contradicts itself.  Do you believe that? I don’t. So now here comes the challenge – instead of retreating to your corner with your proof text, how about proving that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself?

There are three things that one must arm oneself with when looking at the opposition’s “proof text”.

1. A good Greek/Hebrew dictionary that can help you look up the words in the “proof text” to see if the words mean what the challenger says they mean.

2. A willingness to dig into the larger context to see if the challenger’s interpretation of their “proof text” is consistent with the meaning of the complete context.

3. Most important of all, pray for wisdom and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the correct understanding so that you will know what God’s will is.

While I was researching the women’s issue, I found that most of the proof for women being allowed to teach the Bible to men was done through looking at Biblical examples of women who were in leadership positions or who were called to give out God’s word through prophecy or through judging the nation. There were also a lot of sound arguments given for why God uses women in ministry and why women shouldn’t be silenced from giving out God’s word to people today. Those were very good reasons, but I found there wasn’t as much work put into some of the hard passages that seem to forbid women from ministering. Some people just said that Paul was a misogynist, or he changed his mind later, or we should just ignore these passages as they have no meaning for today or that these passages were not truly scripture. I found that unsatisfying because I believe that each word, each piece of grammar and each passage is God breathed and is in the Bible for a reason. So I set out to find out what each disputed passage meant in its context that would allow no word or piece of grammar to be disregarded. My research was made into a script and then into a DVD series called “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?”

One standing challenge that I have towards complementarians who believe that women are not allowed to teach the bible to men, is to show me from the complete context of 1 Timothy chapters 1 and 2 how they can fit into that passage the interpretation that God is not allowing godly Christian women from teaching correct biblical doctrine to men. My exegesis of the passage in point form is found here.

So does the Bible contradict itself? Absolutely not! Next time we will discuss some key questions from the scriptures that complementarians need to answer instead of just retreating to their “proof text” corners.

Why was Adam's sin more serious than the sin of Eve? Part Two

Why was Adam's sin more serious than the sin of Eve? Part Two

While we have seen from part one that Adam’s sin was said to have been a deliberate transgression of the covenant and as a result it was a treacherous act against God (Hosea 6:7) where does that leave the seriousness of Eve’s sin?

God has made a dividing line between those sins which come from a deliberate defiance against God and those sins which are done unintentionally. Numbers 15:22, 27, 30, 31 says:

‘But when you unwittingly fail and do not observe all these commandments, which the LORD has spoken to Moses… Also if one person sins unintentionally, then he shall offer a one year old female goat for a sin offering… But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt will be on him.’

If one sins unintentionally, it is still a sin, but there is provision given for grace to cover this sin. 1 Timothy 2:14 says that Eve was deceived and fell into sin unintentionally through that deception.

And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

Did Eve experience God’s grace along with his justice? Paul alludes to this in 1 Timothy 1 & 2 as he talks about those who were fully deceived but who received God’s grace in the midst of their ignorance. In 1 Timothy 1:13, 14 Paul says:

“even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.”

In these verses Paul ties in the mercy he received from Jesus with his ignorance so that the one who acted in ignorance was eligible to receive mercy.

Another example of ignorance where a person finds mercy from God is in 1 Timothy 2:14 Paul says Eve fell into sin but because of her deception she found mercy when God promised that the Messiah would come through the seed of the woman. Genesis 3:15 says:

“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

Satan’s tactic was to deceive the woman, but by that very act, Satan inadvertently opened the door to mankind’s receiving mercy through the seed of the woman. God did not charge the woman with treacherous rebellion as he did Adam, (Hosea 6:7) but because she had been deceived and had sinned ignorantly in her deception, God had the right to bring the Messiah into the world through her lineage.

What was meant by Satan to bring all of mankind into Satan’s own rebellion was turned around by God and was used as the means to destroy Satan. It was through the woman whom Satan deceived, that God was able to bring the sinless Messiah into the world and that perfect, sinless Messiah would in turn crush the head of Satan. The promise was made to the woman and not to the man because she was the one who received mercy.

Adam on the other hand was not deceived and since his sin was a willful sin, his guilt remained on his bloodline. Adam was therefore the only one who brought sin into this world.

To understand more about the necessity of a kinsman redeemer who was born without inherited sin, click here to read the post called Adam as head of the family.

Why was the sin of Adam more serious than the sin of Eve? Part One

Why was the sin of Adam more serious than the sin of Eve? Part One

While some believe that Adam was the representative head of the human race and merely brought sin into the world because he was “head” (i.e. some say he was the covenantal head of humanity) the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin was more serious than Eve’s and it was the seriousness of his sin that brought humanity along with him into inherited sin.

Before we consider the seriousness of Adam’s sin, let’s make sure it was only Adam who brought sin into the world.

Romans 5:18, NASB says:

So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men

Who was the one who committed this one transgression? Romans 5:14, 15 NASB:

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.

So it is clear that Adam alone brought sin into the world. But what is the “likeness of the transgression of Adam”? First of all let’s understand that it is not the “headship” of Adam that brought sin into the world but the “transgression” of Adam. Romans 5:15 does not say “For if by the headship of the one the many died” but “For if by the transgression of the one the many died”

Why was Adam’s transgression so serious? Hosea 6:7 says:

But like Adam they have transgressed the covenant; There they have dealt treacherously against Me.

So Adam willfully transgressed God’s covenant and by sinning in this way he dealt treacherously against God. What does scripture say about those who sin defiantly against God? Numbers 15:30, 31:

‘But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt will be on him.'”

Adam broke God’s commandment in a willful way because the scripture says Adam was not deceived by the serpent’s lies (1 Timothy 2:13). Because Adam sinned and broke God’s covenant by disobeying God’s prohibition, scripture says that his guilt was on him. And since we were “in” Adam when he sinned, his sin was passed on to us by inheritance.

But what about Eve? Why was her sin not judged as strongly as the sin of Adam? Why did Eve not bring sin into the world? This discussion will continue in part two of “Why was Adam’s sin more serious than the sin of Eve?”

Can only men judge right from wrong in the church?

Can only men judge right from wrong in the church?

I read with interest Wayne Grudem’s claim that 1 Cor. 14:34 means that women are to “keep silent”regarding weighing of the oral prophecies in the assembly. While I respect Mr. Grudem as a brother in Christ, I am wondering how he can separate women from the responsibility of judging when scripture says that we all have the responsibility to judge. Judging is not a male activity, but an activity of the mature Christian. Paul had already told the Corinthian church that the saints will judge the world. 1 Corinthians 6:2 says:

1 Cor. 6:2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?

Paul said that the saints will not only judge the world, but we will judge angels! 1 Corinthians 6:3 says:

1 Cor. 6:3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?

This is not a male matter of judging, but an activity of the saints. If women are also going to judge the world and the angels, shouldn’t they be allowed to judge matters in the church relating to truth and error and the bible? Nowhere in scripture does it say that women are not allowed to judge. In fact God himself set Deborah up as a judge in the Old Testament. Where is there any law in scripture that forbids women from judging truth from error in the congregation? There is none!

In 1 Cor. 14:29 it does not say that there is a responsibility for males alone to judge. Instead it is the congregation who must learn to be mature and judge between truth and error. “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment.”

I respectfully say that Mr. Grudem may be fulfilling 1 Cor. 12:21 “And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” Is there really no need of women to be mature and judge between truth and error in the body of Christ? Can men do this *alone* and they don’t need women? I don’t think we have a right to tell women that they cannot participate in the mature responsibility of the entire body to judge prophesy. Women must be allowed to be mature and to judge right from wrong. If Paul really was claiming that women were not allowed to judge prophesy, then he was contradicting himself when he pushed the saints on to maturity by telling them that judgment is a Christian thing that we will all be required to do. Indeed, judging in a mature and honorable way is not as Mr. Grudem claims only a male activity – it is an activity that is to be practiced by all mature members of the body of Christ – even women!

Why was Adam not deceived?

Why was Adam not deceived?

1 Timothy 2:13, 14 show that the first creation of Adam is connected to the fact that Adam was not deceived. Why was Adam not deceived? If the Hebrew text shows that God created the animals in two creative acts – one before Adam was created and one after Adam was created (but before Eve was created) – then we can understand that Adam had knowledge about the huge difference between God and creation that kept him safe from deception. See my summary of the 1 Timothy 2:11-15 passage explained in 20 short points posted here to understand the complete context of what we will be talking about in this post.

The discussion has taken on a question of whether animals could have been created after Adam if the old earth view is considered or if only a young earth model could fit the context. I will be posting several comments that came in under the 1 Timothy 2 passage and placing them under this post so that they can be answered here. I will then take each question and comment on them as time permits in my schedule.

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