May 9th, 2008 by Cheryl Schatz
This is a continuation of my evaluation of Matt Slick’s articles on women in ministry. Matt has been working for weeks to try to refute my interpretations. I welcome a challenge and I believe that truth will stand up to the test while error will not stand up to the challenge. Matt on the other hand apparently is not comfortable with a challenge on the women’s issue and has not allowed me to challenge him publicly even in a respectful way. ***Matt Slick said that I was not welcome to come back on his radio show unless I could limit my comments to 1.5 minutes. How many people would agree to that? I did agree and Matt backed down. I challenge Matt to a written debate since he cannot speak to me without limiting my audio responses, I think the written format would be a great one. I challenge Matt Slick to come on this blog and continue a public dialog with me on the women’s issue. I have created a public debate post here. He can say what he wants without my editing him and I will respond and then we can let the readers challenge either one of us during question period.*** His vice-president has gone so far as to forbid people from mentioning my name or the name of my blog on CARM’s discussion board and she has either blocked my posts or held them in moderation without warning. While I am appalled at the milieu control that goes on in Matt Slick’s discussion board, I do believe that Matt’s articles that he has written in response to my interpretations are worthy of answering and so the next few posts will be dedicated to refuting of Matt’s reasoning on women in ministry.
The article that I will be referencing from CARM and Matt Slick is called “1 Timothy 2:15, she, they, and salvation through child bearing”. Matt says:
“One of the arguments from the egalitarians use to deny Paul’s prohibition against women being in positions of spiritual authority in the church is that “she” in v.15) refers to the same “a woman” (a particular individual) mentioned in verses 11 and 12. This specific women (sic) had been deceived by someone and had been teaching false doctrines to her husband. So, Paul, to be polite, didn’t name her and just said “a woman.
While Matt characterizes my position as just Paul being “polite”, I don’t see it as “polite” but a concern for those whose names could be connected to false teaching for all of church history. When the teachers who have been deceived are taught the truth and they come to know the truth, their names would still be written down in scripture for all church history as an example of their shame. Paul had no problem exposing those who acted as deliberate deceivers (Hymenaeus and Alexander) or who were acting hypocritically (Peter) but those who were deceived because of their ignorance were never named. I believe that the Holy Spirit kept their names out of scripture so that there was not a legacy of their error connected to their name. These people were eligible to receive God’s grace and they may well turn and receive forgiveness. It is God’s grace that kept their names out of the scriptures.
Matt next says that the text of 1 Timothy 2:12 referring to “a woman” who was a particular individual had been already refuted, but that is not the case. My last two posts here and here reveal the holes in Matt’s arguments. So what is Matt’s answer to who is the “she” and who are the “they” in 1 Timothy 2:15? Matt says:
“He first speaks of women as “she” by analogy in reference to Eve (she) and then moves to “they” as he speaks to women in general, applying the principle of Eve’s “womanness” to them…”
This explanation of the “she” and “they” problem in verse 15 is quite telling. By this reasoning, Matt shows that:
She = women (in general with Eve as an analogy)
They = women in general (with Eve presumably part of the general women’s group)
Therefore “she” is the exact same thing as “they”. This is unreasonable in the precise grammar that Paul uses. A singular cannot equal a plural. I would like Matt to give me another example in scripture where it is permissible to use a singular “she or he” to be equal to “they”. It isn’t anywhere in scripture because it is improper and illogical grammar. Where does he get the idea that one can transfer a “womanness” by making “she” to be equal to “they”? What Matt is doing is trying desperately to ignore the clear meaning of the text. When Paul said “she” AND “they”, he meant exactly that. He was referring to a specific single woman and by “they” Paul means more than one person. “She” can be a part of “they” but “she” cannot be the exact same as “they” or there is a violation of grammar. This is a very weak point in Matt’s argument and an obvious attempt at noodling with the grammar and the text.
The other point that causes Matt a problem with his interpretation is that Paul says that “She will be saved…” Eve cannot be an analogy in a future tense. Eve is dead and cannot do anything about her salvation and neither can all women (they) do anything about Eve’s salvation. Once again Matt’s interpretation have more problems then they solve, if they solve anything at all!
Next Matt tries to give his interpretation of “she will be saved through the childbearing”. Matt says that the phrase is probably a play on words occurring in the Greek. He writes:
“…when it says “she will be saved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith…”
The first thing that I note is the quote that Matt gives is not the correct grammar from the passage. “The child bearing” is a noun not a verb and it is singular (the) not plural.
“Paul may very well have been referring to this goddess (Artemis) by saying that the Ephesian women who were converts from the cult of Artemis/Soteira were to trust in Christ to deliver them through childbirth instead of looking to the pagan goddess.”
There is a major problem with this view. The grammar in verse 15 is a promise with conditions. “She will be saved through the child bearing if they….” However if we take this passage to mean that the Ephesian women would be saved from harm during the childbirth process then God lied because many Christian women have died giving birth to children. It also does not make sense for Paul to be making a salvation promise by making a side reference to a Greek goddess when it is “THE child bearing” (a specific noun) that is referenced and there is no such reference to ONE child in this goddess worship. Matt’s arguments are not logical in context. There is no biblical support for taking a single “she” and making it equal to a plural “they” nor is there any reference to Artemis in 1 Timothy for Paul to be referring back to, nor is a single childbearing (specific – THE) something from the Artemis worship. Additionally salvation through the birth process was not an actuality so such an interpretation would fall to the ground making God to be one who doesn’t keep his promises.
The plain reading of 1 Timothy 2:15 is that THE seed of the woman (the Messiah) is the one who will bring salvation (as originally promised in Genesis 3:15) and “she” is a single woman who Paul has been talking about who is not the same as “they”. If “she” indeed is a single woman as the grammar proves, then “a woman” and “the woman” from verses 11, 12, 14 are all references to the single deceived woman in Ephesus who Paul has stopped from teaching the man whom she has been influencing in her deception.