Neopatriarch fails to refute Cheryl Schatz on 1 Timothy 2:12

Neopatriarch fails to refute Cheryl Schatz on 1 Timothy 2:12

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The prohibition of 1 Timothy 2:12

Some have wondered why “Chris” the complementarian stopped posting here.  Apparently, he could not get his refutation of my work to stand in an interactive forum so he moved it over to a place where he could have the floor to himself.  He has posted a claim that he has refuted me in his post called A Refutation of Cheryl Schatz on 1 Timothy 2:12.

Chris is now posting under the name Neopatriarch, and he describes his post as filling a need for those who are exasperated with me and my “associates.”  (Paula I think he is referring to your excellent refutation of his logical fallacies.) This gives me an opportunity to examine Chris’ (aka Neopatriarch) claims that he has “refuted” me.  Let’s have a look to see if what he has to say is worthy of his lofty claims.

The first thing that Neopatriarch states is that interaction with me is exasperation and he links to my second debate mp3 with Matt Slick.  It is interesting that he fails to link to the first debate where I spent time affirming the ministry of Mr. Slick and telling him how he had helped me in a particular situation with a Universalist who was influencing a friend of mine.   He also fails to state that Matt Slick was less than kind, choosing to treat me with disrespect as a heretic and as a hostile opposer even though I stated that I was not opposed to him personally.  I strongly believe that these secondary issues of faith should not divide us as brothers and sisters in Christ.  The second debate which he does link to has Matt Slick calling me a heretic and refusing to allow me to finish the discussion on 1 Timothy 2:15.   Later Slick said he would allow me to come back on the show if I kept my answers to no longer than 90 seconds.   I agreed, but he promptly removed the offer after I agreed to his conditions.  Those who are unbiased may want to listen to both audio files.  It was my very first time on radio, and I was sure that I would be dealing with a very hostile radio host who would be trying to twist my every word. I appeared quite cautious in my answers because of the antagonism.  Slick had promised he would be kind but early on in the first debate had already lost his cool. However, I chose to respond to him with a respectful attitude rather than in anger or disrespect.  If a respectful attitude is “exasperation,” then I am certainly guilty of that.   Mr. Slick was not able to force me into a compromising position. Since that time and he has refused to engage in a written debate.  I am not surprised. Neopatriarch writes:

Let us consider two views on the meaning of the anarthrous noun yuvaiki, “a woman”: the patriarchalist view that ??????? is an indefinite noun referring to any woman, and Cheryl Schatz’s view that yuvaiki refers to a particular woman in the Ephesian church. In the context of the immediately preceding verses, Paul gives instructions for men and women using the plural forms. Since context determines the meaning of a word, we begin with a plausible reason to favor the view that ‘a woman’ refers to any of the women whom Paul is addressing, rather than, cryptically, to just one particular woman. Rev. Lane Keister explains the reason for the shift to singular:

I believe that Paul has in mind already the reasons in verses 13-14, which require a singular to connect with Eve as a representative. Therefore, Paul is using a generic singular to make his point. Mounce argues that a general principle is being stated here, and that the singular is most apropos.4 I think this is borne out further by Paul’s argument in verses 13-14, which speak of Adam and Eve as representative of male and female.

No biblical proof

The problem that Neopatriarch has with the connection to Eve is that he makes both Adam and Eve as a representative of the male and female with no proof at all that Paul is using Adam and Eve in this way.  If Adam is representative of all males, then are all males “not deceived”?  How can that be possible when many males have been deceived and are deceived right now believing a lie.  Is Eve representative of all females?  Are all females “deceived”?  This is also not true.  The only thing that Paul brings out about Adam and Eve is that the order in which they were created is connected to the fact that one was deceived and the other one was not.  While there has been much confusion regarding why Paul connect the order of creation with deception, we can be certain of one thing – the issue of deception and has nothing to gender.  Instead, Paul links the fact that one was not deceived with what the “first” had that kept the first one created protected from deception. It is impossible for deception to be a generic characteristic of gender.  Paul’s point is about order of creation, not gender. So I ask, what proof does Neopatriarch offer that Paul is making a generic statement about all males and all females?  He makes a claim through Mounce that there is a general principle being stated, but he gives no data to back up such a statement.  This statement is very poorly done and does nothing to refute my exegesis that “a woman” is a particular woman who was involved with false doctrine.

Next Neopatriarch argues that the “for” at the beginning of verse 13 should be taken in the causal sense so that Paul is giving a reason for his prohibition.  Since this is exactly what I argue, it appears that Neopatriarch fails to understand my arguments.  He then goes on to ask:

Also, how does the fact Adam was created first illustrate the claim that only one particular woman is not to teach false doctrine?

Apparently, Neopatriarch has not familiarized himself with my argument, and instead of trying to refute my exegesis, he asks questions as if he has never seen the argument.  For one who is saying that he has “refuted” me, I am quite surprised that has missed my entire section on Genesis and Paul’s reference back to the creation account in Genesis that shows the first one created had experience with the Creator that the second one who was created, lacked.  It was this lack of sound doctrine on the experience of creation that gave strong evidence on how the creation was different than the creator, that caused Eve to be deceived about the character of God.  I would recommend that Neopatriarch first read one of my articles on the connection between Genesis and 1 Timothy 2:13, 14.   My recent article is here.   Neopatriarch goes on to state his presumption:

Therefore, we should understand verses 13-14 as reasons for Paul’s proscription in verse 12. Since presumption favors our initial conclusion that any man and any woman are meant in verse 12 and verses 13-14 function as reasons in Paul’s argument, the most natural reading takes Adam and Eve as representatives of any man and any woman.

The importance of grammar in interpreting Scripture

Neopatriarch’s presumption has not been proven.  It is just that a mere presumption.  In fact, his presumption makes it almost impossible to understand verse 15.  Paul’s text connects verses 11-15 as one connected unit attached together with the conjunctions of: but, for, and, but. Also, the fact that Paul creates a definite shift in grammar from verse 10 to verse 11. Paul abruptly changes from the plural to the singular when the plural form would have continued the flow if Paul had meant all women. This change in grammar must be noted as important.  While trying to make the passage about generic “woman”, his interpretation fails to account for the dramatic shift back to plural in verse 15.  Remember that all of these verses are connected together so one cannot take verse 12 and remove it from its context that ends with verse 15.  Without making sense of the entire passage, making Eve as a representative of all women without a single shred of evidence that she is to be considered representative of all women in the passage, is without merit.  Neopatriarch continues:

In his first reason, I submit that Paul is alluding to the steward-helper relationship between Adam and Eve. In Genesis 2:7, God created Adam and gave him the garden mandate not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (2:16-17). Adam was hereby entrusted with stewardship of God’s word and consequently of moral life in the garden.

Neopatriarch makes a false statement here that Adam’s stewardship was part of his relationship with his wife.  There is not even one reference in Genesis to make this connection.  God made Adam, as the first one created, the guardian of the garden not the keeper of a person.

Genesis 2:15  Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.

The Hebrew word for “keep” means to guard or watch:

guard, watch, i.e., limit access and movement of persons or objects in and out of an area, implying protection to or from the object being guarded (Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew)

Note that God did not tell Adam to “guard” Eve.  He told him to guard the garden.  It was Adam’s responsibility as the first one created to guard what God made.  It was Adam alone who was there during the time that God was still creating. God witnessed Himself as the unique Creator to Adam allowing Adam to see Him in the act of creation.   Because Adam was created first, he was given an edge over his wife who had not had seen the Creator create.  Adam was not deceived by the lie because he knew that God who creates. Adam knew that God alone is God and that he could not become as God. When the serpent told the first lie, Adam should have booted him out while the serpent still had the legs to run.

Adam was not created to be the steward of Eve

God did not make Adam a steward over Eve and the statement that Adam’s stewardship was part of his relationship with Eve is unfounded.  Neopatriarch also fails to note that Eve was given equal stewardship of God’s creation including the plants and animals.  This is a very unfortunate omission.  Neopatriarch failed to state that Eve is an equal ruler of the earth.  He also states that Adam was given stewardship of God’s word, however he gives no Scripture that that shows Adam alone was given the prohibition in the garden. Instead, Genesis 1:28, 29 shows that God spoke to both of them about what they could eat. God’s permission also indirectly reveals the prohibition.  There is not a single verse in the Scriptures that records Adam alone was given the stewardship of God’s word. Neopatriarch writers:

Eve was not around when God gave Adam the garden mandate, but apparently he taught it to her because she repeated it, albeit not exactly, to the serpent (3:2-3).

Notice that Neopatriarch says “apparently”, Adam taught her the garden “mandate” but he has no proof of such a thing.  It is not a fact in scripture.  It is only “apparent” to him.  Eve herself testifies that “God said…”  Neopatriarch makes a huge error when he writes:

Eve, being created after Adam, was supposed to help him in his stewardship responsibilities. Consider an illustration of this idea: A father tells his first son to remove a boulder from the yard, but, seeing that his first son is unable to do it by himself, he sends his second son out to help. It is understood that the first son is still in charge of the boulder removing project and that the second son receives instruction from and is subordinate to the first. The second son does not take over the project. What this means for Paul’s proscription is that women are not to take over the teaching and leadership duties that belong specifically to the office of the steward of God’s word. Only other men are to be in the position of teaching and exercising authority over men.

In contrast, God’s word shows that God did not give the stewardship to Adam alone.  God gave the mandate to “them” – the man and the woman.

Genesis 1:28  God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Sole “steward of God’s word?”

Neopatriarch has also jumped to an unwarranted conclusion by Paul’s reference to the deception in the garden.  He now adds things that the Scripture does not include, by saying that women are not to take over the teaching and leadership duties.  Paul does not say that women cannot teach or that women cannot lead.  If this was the case then women could not teach or lead other women or children either.  They would have no leadership permission at all.  Period.  Once again Neopatriarch goes off track by adding to the word of God and substituting “women” for the singular “woman”.  He also creates nonexistent sole “steward of God’s word” by reading into Genesis, and from there he takes a flying leap by transferring that conclusion into the teaching of God’s word today.  Neither Paul nor any of the other apostles ever said that women were not to handle the word of God or that the handling of God’s word was for men alone.  In fact, this is the exact position of the Jewish oral law which forbade women from even physically touching the word of God.  This is the tradition of man, not the command of God. Jesus berated the Pharisees for their tenacious holding to their own tradition.

Mark 7:9  He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.

Paul himself showed that all of us are free to handle the word of God and teach it for the common good. Paul allowed everyone to prophesy for the common good. However, there are many today who are “experts” at setting this command of God aside in order to keep their tradition. Man’s tradition makes men alone the “stewards of God’s word”.  It also makes no sense at all if women are not to be “stewards of God’s word” that it would only include just one group of people (men). If women are not called to be “stewards of God’s word” then why should they be allowed to be “stewards of God’s word” to women?  No one has been able to explain to me why Paul would forbid women from teaching God’s word to only men when according to this interpretation, men would be the ones who would be capable of correcting women’s errors.  Yet we allow these same women to teach other women and children.  Wouldn’t it be far safer to let women teach in the presence of men instead of just in the presence of the “easily deceived” women and children?

What was Adam steward over?

Neopatriarch goes on:

In his second reason, we see the consequences of reversing the steward-helper relationship. The first part of verse 14 says, “Adam was not deceived.” He was not deceived by the serpent. Instead, he listened to wife, and God faulted him for it (Genesis 3:17). The implication is that Adam should not have listened to his wife. Why? I think the best explanation is because she was not the proper steward of the garden mandate. She did not have the authority to instruct him.

While Neopatriarch has not established that the Scripture teaches that Adam was given stewardship over his wife instead of over the garden, he then tries to reverse this by stating that she took the stewardship of the garden mandate and instructed him.  Huh?  Where does it say that Eve “instructed” Adam?  All that the Scripture says is that she gave the fruit to Adam who was with her.  There is no verse or even a portion of a verse that says Eve “instructed” Adam.  Neopatriarch is reading into the Scriptures something that is not there.  He also adds into the mix an “authority” implying that Adam had an “authority” to instruct Eve.  Where is this “authority” listed?  It isn’t there.  Adam and Eve were given authority over the earth and over the animals but neither one was given authority over the other one.  I challenge Neopatriarch to prove his bold statement.  Give the Scripture reference where Adam is given authority over Eve. Neopatriarch writes:

The second part of verse 14 says, “[T]he woman was deceived and has become a transgressor.” Andreas Köstenberger explains the meaning of this:

Eve, Paul implies, was not kept safe at the Fall; she was deceived. Why? Because she left her proper domain under her husband’s care. What happened as a result? She became an easy prey for Satan. How can women under Timothy’s charge (and in churches everywhere) avoid repeating the same mistake? By “childbearing,” that is, by adhering to their God-ordained calling, including a focus on marriage, family, and the home. 1 Timothy 2:15 thus turns out to be Paul’s prescription for women as a lesson learned from the scenario of the Fall described in the preceding verse.

Where is her domain?

Neopatriarch has a problem when he quotes Andreas Köstenberger who is out on a limb with his interpretation.  I have personally written to Andreas about his errors.  He was not able to answer my questions although I did find him to be a very cordial man.  The first thing that is wrong is the statement that “she left her proper domain under her husband’s care”.  The fact is that God never placed Eve “under the domain” of her husband.  She had equal domain of the earth with her husband.  He was given no domain over her.  However we do see that Adam was given the responsibility to guard the garden.  Eve was left vulnerable to the deception of the serpent not because she left any domain that she was given, but because Adam failed to exercise his command by God to guard the garden.  Adam left the domain given to him by God as guardian.  It was Adam who moved away from God’s command by allowing the serpent to lie to his wife.  God held Adam to blame for his act of  abandoning  his post as a guardian.  Because he failed to protect the garden, Adam is called a traitor in Hosea 6:7 in his act of treason.  Eve did not become easy prey for Satan by abandoning any post under her husband that God gave her.  Instead, she became prey because Adam abandoned his post.

A noun and not a verb

Andreas has also ignored the proper grammar of “childbearing” by treating it as a verb instead of its inspired grammar as a noun and making it a “calling” for all women when God hasn’t called all women to motherhood.  Many godly women are not able to have children, and many of them serve God faithfully without a home or family.  The “lesson” learned from the Fall is not that the woman left her post, but that the one who had full knowledge of the truth and who was responsible to speak forth that knowledge so that another person would not be deceived.  Paul’s reference to Adam and Eve is a warning that the same thing that happened in the garden was also happening in Ephesus.  The one who knew the truth was remaining silent and the one who was deceived was allowed to remain in her deception.  Paul was putting a stop to this situation and encouraging Timothy to make a difference in the life of this woman when even her husband was doing nothing about her deception.

Eve was tricked by the serpent. The consequence was that she became a transgressor. The identity of womankind with Eve is expressed by Paul’s switch to “the woman” and the perfect tense “has come into transgression.” So what is predicated of Eve is predicated of womankind, through the typology. That is, any woman who is typologically represented by Eve has become a transgressor through deception and continues in the state of transgression.

Paul’s switch to the perfect tense proves that Paul is talking about someone who was alive at the time of his writing.  Eve could not still be in the transgression since she was no longer alive at the time of Paul’s writing.  All women are not in the transgression brought about by deception.  It is impossible for this specific grammar to refer either to Eve or to all women.  The only way that this specific grammar makes sense is for it to refer to a specific woman who Paul stopped from teaching because of her deception.  Neopatriarch continues:

In verse 15, Paul shifts to speaking of any Christian woman who is typologically represented by ‘the woman’. John F. MacArthur says (regarding the future tense):

In verse 14 we read of woman being in sin. In contrast verse 15 speaks of woman being saved through childbearing. The salvation spoken of here is not salvation from sin. It cannot refer to Eve since the future tense is used (”she shall be saved”). Furthermore the use of the plural pronoun “they” indicates that more than one woman is in view. Some think this verse refers to Mary’s being saved by bearing Christ, but that is foreign to the context. The use of the plural pronoun clearly indicates that all women are in view here.

Eve is not “the woman”

While John MacArthur is correct when he states that verse 15 cannot be referencing Eve, “the woman” from verse 14 cannot be referencing Eve either.  It also cannot be referencing every woman as I already showed above.  The problem for patriarchists regarding the “she” and “they” from verse 15 is not answered from John MacArthur’s quote since he doesn’t even state who the “she” is.  It is improper grammar for “she” to be called “they” so “she” must not be the same as “they”.  Once again we have Paul’s specific grammar setting the stage and the arguments of the patriarchists falls flat. The problem is that those who hold this view do not have a noun to refer “she” back to especially  since John MacArthur makes it clear that “she” is not Eve.  Since “she” is not Eve and “she” cannot be the same as “they”, who is the “she”?  There is no other single woman that can be referenced back to other than the particular “the woman” from verse 14  and “a woman” from verses 11 & 12.  This shows that Paul is not stopping all women from teaching or that all women are deceived, but one woman is in mind who has fallen into error and her husband’s silence is akin to the silence of Adam. Just as Adam sinned with his silence, so too will sin and devastation occur in the Ephesian woman’s case if a stand for truth is not taken on her behalf.

Now we come to the crux of Schatz’s argument. Essentially, I believe her argument is this: In verse 15, either “she” refers to the particular woman and “they” refers to the woman and her husband, or “she” and “they” have the same antecedent. But “she” and “they” cannot have the same antecedent because the antecedent cannot be both singular and plural. Pronouns must agree with their antecedents in number. Therefore, “she” must refer to the particular woman Paul is correcting, and “they” refers to the woman and her husband.

There are a couple of problems here.

First, Schatz’s dilemma is false. The chiastic structure of verses 8-15 reveals the correct pronoun-antecedent relationships:

A (9-10) Christian “women” (plural)

B (11-12) “a woman” (singular indefinite noun) –it means any Christian woman.

C (13) “Eve” (generic / representative woman)

C’ (14) “the woman” (generic / representative woman)

B’ (15a) “she” has the antecedent “a woman”

A’ (15b) “they” has the antecedent “women,” Christian women in context

Neopatriarch has failed to prove that:

1.  Eve is used as the generic/representative of woman (i.e. are all women deceived?)

2.  That “the woman” is a generic/representative of woman (i.e. are all women in transgression after being deceived?)

3.  That “she” can refer to a generic women or that “they” can be equal to “she”.  This is improper grammar.

4.  That the closest “they” should be “women” spoken of in verse 10.  He has bypassed and ignored the closest logical “they” as being the couple from verses 11 & 12. He wrote:

Women are the topic of both “she” and “they,” but, grammatically, they have different antecedents. The pronoun “she” refers to “a woman”, and the pronoun “they” refers back to “women.” In other words, “she” refers to any woman, and “they” refers to every woman. Hence, “she” is not a particular woman, but any woman who is represented by the woman Eve.

No “she” is ever called “they”

This is not only unprecedented in scripture (no “she” is ever called the plural “they”) but it is illogical.  How can “she” (any woman) be saved…if “they” (all women) remain in faith….???  Not only has Neopatriarch completely failed to prove his case that Eve is to be taken as a generic representative for women but he has failed to show how a woman’s salvation depends on what all women do?  Please explain Mr. Neopatriarch how this is possible?  Also please explain how the salvation of a man (represented by Adam) would be dependent on what all men do?  It just doesn’t work.  This explanation is nonsense in this passage.  It makes perfect sense for Paul to show that the salvation of the particular woman who has been deceived will be dependent on what both of them (husband who has been silent and wife who has been in deception) do.  If the husband will lead her into truth and walk with her instead of being silent, she will find salvation that came through the offspring of the very first deceived woman (Jesus the Messiah promised back in the book of Genesis.) Jesus is the one who rights all the wrongs and brings judgment to the one who deceived the very first woman.  It was to be her seed alone that would defeat the original deceiver.  This is what makes sense.  A generic Eve and all women having to do things that will save those who Eve represents is nothing but gobblygook theology.  It not only doesn’t make sense, but it makes Paul out to be confused and nonsensical.) Neopatriarch continues:

Second, Schatz’s view leads her to the untenable conclusion that a husband and wife are in view. But this conclusion has been answered by Michael R. Riley in his paper “The Proper Translation of Aner and Gune in the New Testament.”

In conclusion, Schatz’s view has several problems. Among them:

  1. 1. Schatz violates a basic principle of hermeneutics by making an interpretive key out of what many interpreters have recognized is an unclear verse (15). The clear verses should interpret the unclear.
  1. 2. Her conclusion that “she” refers to a particular woman and “they” refers to the woman and her husband follows from a false dilemma.
  1. 3. Her argument fails to take proper account of the context. Specifically, the verses that precede verses 11-12 where Paul is giving instructions for men and women (plural).
  1. 4. Her explanation of the summary citation lacks the explanatory power of the patriarchalist interpretation, especially with respect to verse 13.
  1. 5. Her position leads her into an untenable conclusion that a wife and her husband are meant. Riley demonstrates that the grammatical and contextual clues necessary to establish this conclusion are absent.

Every husband and every wife?

I do not say that Paul is talking about every husband and wife.  My conclusion is that Paul is speaking about one particular woman and one particular man.  The fact that the grammar is so specific that there is no other logical conclusion, supports my conclusion and not Neopatriarch’s.

Neopatriarch’s list of the “problems” of my view are no problems at all:

1.  The “interpretative key” is the entire passage without contradiction and using the inspired words and the inspired grammar.  The fact that “many interpreters” have recognized that verse 15 is an unclear verse should be a red flag that they cannot then turn around and say that verse 12 is clear.  1 Timothy 2:11-15 is one package.  It is one sentence and it is a logical and complete thought.  The “key” is to be consistent with the entire passage and the correct understanding will make it work without error.  I have done that and Neopatriarch has failed in his bid to refute my exegesis.

2.  Neopatriarch has failed to disprove that “she” refers to a particular woman (from “the woman” in verse 14 and referring back to “woman” in verses 11 & 12) and “they” includes the “man” from verses 11 & 12. Calling it a “false dilemma is a classic overstating of his case which he has not proven at all.

3.  It is amazing that I am being charged with failing to take proper account of the context, when Neopatriarch wants to dismiss verse 15 as unclear.  He has also failed to account for the determined and deliberate change of grammar that Paul pens in verse 11.  The grammar shift is not a mistake and the grammar shift back to the plural in verse 15 is not a grammatical error either.  Neopatriarch has failed to prove that “she” and “they” can be referring to generic woman. When we take his explanation and use it to read the verse with that explanation, the reading becomes illogical and makes the passage unclear and confusing.

4.  My reference to Paul’s citation back to Genesis is certainly without the patriarchalist interpretation because the patriarchalist interpretation is unproven in Genesis.  I challenge Neopatriarch to prove his points in Genesis without reading into the text what is not there.  He has a faulty exegesis and his view is properly called eisegesis  (a reading into the text that expresses the interpreter’s own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text.)

5.  Riley has not demonstrated that my exegesis is wrong regarding 1 Timothy 2:11-15.  This is once again Neopatriarch’s overstating his case.

In conclusion

In conclusion, Neopatriarch has not only failed to refute my interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11-15, he has created a contradiction by reading into the text and presenting of his patriarchal tradition that contradicts the word of God.  He is welcome to keep trying.  I look forward to a “real” refutation if there is such a thing.  I have been waiting since 2006 since the time my DVD “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” came out.  Neopatriarch’s “refuation” is so full of holes,  one could drive a Mac truck through it.

The moral of the story is that we must not disregard the inspired context, grammar or the word usage when we interpret scripture.  When one reads into the text without regard for what God has written, that person will fall back on human tradition every time.  We need to be faithful watchmen who stand faithful to God’s inspired word and who will not let the enemy steal and distort God’s word.  Let’s also reach out to those who have been deceived by the man-made tradition that God does not give his Word into the hands of a woman.

 

113 thoughts on “Neopatriarch fails to refute Cheryl Schatz on 1 Timothy 2:12

  1. You know, Cheryl, I only did all that to be popular. 😛

    But really, it would be enough to identify “Chris” through the fallacies; he even uses identical phrases to those he used here. And as you observed, he’s still stuck in 1st gear, repeatedly asserting his conclusions as proofs. Starting a blog just because we wouldn’t be fooled by his bluster is like a spoiled brat who destroys someone’s property out of the frustration of being beaten in a fight.

    And we still must ask, as always: what kind of Christian clings jealously to the right to control others? Even if there had been a Biblical mandate for such a thing, and men only accepted it as a burden and not an issue of pride, then they would not react to the threat of losing it with such hatred and bullying. If their alleged preeminent position were a humble and serving one, why would they lash out at those who would refuse to swallow the lie that it belonged exclusively to them?

    The proof is in the “fruit”, and this male supremacist spirit is rotten to the core. It is not of God.

  2. You must be doing something right Cheryl.

    The well known Christian radio ministry here in Southern Cal., the one that I’ve mentioned before, the one with affiliates nationwide?

    They’ve stepped up their frequency of messages relating to gender issues and how 1 Tim. 2:11-15 is binding law on the Church universal for all times and for all places.

    It would appear that more than just a few sheeple in their congregations are beginning to ask questions. One of their big guns has even said that the blogosphere is redolent with false teaching on God’s ordained roles for Godly men and women.

  3. I’ve rarely seen anyone use as many citations as “Neopatriarch” did to say nothing more than “I don’t like Cheryl Schatz’s) interpretation.” He’s proven nothing with his non-refutation, except his own untenable preference for proof-texting…oh, and of course, his exceptional arrogance as well.

    I found it hilarious, Cheryl; really, I did. All that effort and sputtering indignation, all because you’ve done your homework and come to a different conclusion than he has. At least one person takes “Neopatriarch” seriously, I suppose, and that’s “Neopatriarch.” But I simply can’t. His “refutation,” like his other comments and Yahoo entries, are simply absurd. What a waste! He’s obviously educated and has a decent mind, yet his apparent need to be “right” has so poisoned his interactions that he’s neither credible nor the least bit Christlike in them.

    Let him revel in his little CCC-cloister and his “anonymous” blog. He and his religious patriarch cronies are fooling no one, perhaps not even themselves.

  4. Kostenberger wrote:

    “How can women under Timothy’s charge (and in churches everywhere) avoid repeating the same mistake? By “childbearing,” that is, by adhering to their God-ordained calling, including a focus on marriage, family, and the home. 1 Timothy 2:15 thus turns out to be Paul’s prescription for women as a lesson learned from the scenario of the Fall described in the preceding verse.”

    This teaching really scares me for the Body of Christ. Not just because of the limits it puts on women. But because it is NOT biblical at all and contradicts other passages in the NT. That is why I think these folks are false teachers. I think this teaching is much more serious than just limiting women.

    1. How could women be ‘safe’ from Eve’s mistakes by putting themselves in specific roles under men who are more likely to sin on PURPOSE? Wouldn’t that negate their leadership qualities? Just like they teach that women are easily decieved,men then, would be more prone to sin on purpose leading the women,who is easily deceived,into more sin. That could be the only logical outcome of such teaching.

    2. Paul presents a different picture in Corinthians about it being better not to marry so one can serve the Lord better and not be pulled by the needs of family. So, Mr. Kostenberger disagrees with Paul and thinks women are safe’ from Eve’s mistakes when stay in their ‘role’. If this is Pauls prescription for women in Ephesus, why not the women in Corinth, too? Makes no sense.

    3. Gee, nevermind that ‘Childbearing’ is a noun in this passage.

    They are making this a salvic/sanctification issue. In effect, they are teaching works salvation. I wish more folks could see it for what it is. It also makes me really question the value of seminary education and all the fancy letters behind names.

    I have not finished the entire post but this just sticks out at me and I had to add to it. (Banging head against the wall)

  5. “No one yet has been able to explain to me why Paul would forbid women from teaching God’s word to only men when according to this interpretation, men would be the ones who would be capable of correcting women’s errors. Yet we allow these same women to teach other women and children. Wouldn’t it be far safer to let women teach in the presence of men instead of just in the presence of the easily deceived women and children?”

    Excellent, Excellent point! I have always wondered why the Patrirarches left their wives in charge of teaching the kids.

    Actually, this is a ploy of Satans to make sure that many men refuse to listen to anything of the Word from women. It has the potential to effectively shut up over half of all followers of Christ being used of God when it comes to lost males. It hampers the Body of Christ and produces demi-gods in many instances who are elevating themselves instead of Jesus Christ.

  6. “How can “she” (any woman) be saved…if “they” (all women) remain in faith….??? Not only has Neopatriarch completely failed to prove his case that Eve is to be taken as a generic representative for women but he has failed to show how a woman’s salvation depends on what all women do? Please explain Mr. Neopatriarch how this is possible? Also please explain how the salvation of a man (represented by Adam) would be dependent on what all men do? It just doesn’t work. ”

    I had to pull this out because I feared many might miss it in the post. this is exactly what he is proposing..that salvation of this ‘woman’ is dependent on what all women do. That is how preposterous their argument is and when you show the same for Adam, it crumbles. Does God have a different way of salvation for women?

    Once again, works salvation rears its ugly head in their interpretations and I have more problem with that than I do with their need to elevate themselves above women.

  7. Thanks for all your good comments.

    It is an interesting thing that Neopatriarch posts on the CCC forum under the name “statisticallyodd”. That forum has decided that I need the gospel preached to me (since they apparently do not believe that I am saved) yet no one comes over to preach the gospel to me. Why not? Perhaps it is because it would then become apparent that they have added to the gospel. One cannot possibly be saved in their mindset unless one believes and follows the patriarchal system. It is very sad that they cannot see how they have changed the gospel from a simple 1 Cor. 15:1-4 teaching all about Jesus and his death and resurrection to a man-made addition that requires a male hierarchy.

    Anyways “statisticallyodd” has posted some thoughts on the CCC forum that deserve an answer. He said:

    1. Paul says, “If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1 Timothy 6:3).
    So, Hymenaeus and Alexander must have been ignorant too.

    2. Does this mean they lacked the intent to deceive which Cheryl
    ascribes to them? How do we know that the “certain persons”
    weren’t liars as well? A man could, for example, be quite ignorant
    about what goes on around the North Star, but this doesn’t
    necessarily prevent him from lying about it. Indeed, he could dream up amazing stories about the polka dot bunnies which inhabit the star’s fourth planet and start a cult of the North Star which worships polka dot bunnies. Similarly, I don’t see how ignorance of the gospel would necessarily prevent the “certain persons” from lying about it.

    Some people were just “ignorant” and others went beyond that and add lying and deceiving to their ignorance. Hymenaeus and Alexander were more than just ignorant and Paul revealed their names because they were deceivers.

    He continues:

    3. I’m not sure in what sense the particular woman was ignorant, but if this particular woman is analogous to Eve, it doesn’t seem that it would be ignorance of God’s word because we know that Eve knew what God’s word was from her conversation with the serpent. So, do we put the particular woman in the same class as Hymenaeus and Alexander or not?

    The woman is ignorant because she has been pulled away from the truth and into error. This is exactly what happened to Eve. Eve knew the truth about God but she was lied to and she was led away from the truth into deception. The scripture says that Eve was fully deceived and in this deception, she truly believed that the lie was the truth and she was ignorant. I believe that had Eve seen the Creator in action as Adam had, she would have understood that He is unique and that she, a mere creature, could not become God.

    Neopatriarch ends his comments with:

    Suffice it to say Schatz has a very inchoate argument which she will probably never be able to fully explain to anyone (except her back-slapping egalitarian buddies).

    If Neopatriarch would have stayed around this blog and asked questions, I would have been happy to answer his questions for him. His statement that I would not be able to explain to anyone except “back-slapping egalitarian buddies” is incorrect. God has blessed me with many people who were not egalitarians (including pastors) who came to repentance regarding the way that they had treated women because of the way that the verses were carefully explained in my DVDs. In fact the verse first person who wrote me about how much my DVDs had touched him and changed his life was a Southern Baptist Pastor. So Neopatriarch is wrong and I would encourage him if he is reading this to work a bit harder to remove the additions that he had to put into the text in order to come up with a patriarchal explanation. He is also welcome back here to comment as long as he can keep a Christ-like attitude and refrain from attacking his brothers and sisters in Christ.

  8. I knew as soon as he got here that we were dealing with a closed mind and a stony heart. Neo-chris and his own back-slapping buddies have no intention of conversing with any egal in a civilized manner, because they love preeminence, and like the Pharisees they will do anything to keep it. To call someone lost over this shows complete ignorance of the gospel, which is all about Jesus and not them.

    I think the “churches” at large have long forgotten the gospel. They have become clubs centered around personalities and programs, whose leaders drill their own personal convictions into them as if they were divine revelation. It is the pride of man and hatred of dissenters which has eaten away at the fiber of the Body until it is now but a skeleton, dead on its feet.

    I have long said that the best way to discover a person’s character is to see how they react to being disagreed with, and many big names in religion have shown their contempt for all who do so. Their followers have adopted the same character, slandering and gossiping as if Jesus never said “do to others what you want them to do to you” or “you will be judged with the measure you use for others”. I can’t imagine how the love of Christ lives in such hearts. I wonder what “gospel” they believed?

  9. “How can “she” (any woman) be saved…if “they” (all women) remain in faith….??? Not only has Neopatriarch completely failed to prove his case that Eve is to be taken as a generic representative for women but he has failed to show how a woman’s salvation depends on what all women do?”

    Not to mention the fact that “she” is also a member of “they”. “She ” becomes a logical impossibility – how can “she” remain in faith with ALL of her sisters if “she” is the one who has fallen out of faith in the first place, therefore requiring salvation. Can “she” save herself? If so, then Eve has also saved herself through her generic childbearing and therefore has not continued in transgression. Cheryl! “gobblygook” is too gracious a description of this argument.

  10. If Chris/Neopatriarch/statisticallyodd’s internet postings were a t.v. series, he has definately “jumped the shark” with the referenced “refutation”. Lol – I kill myself.

  11. gengwall,
    Excellent thoughts about how can “she” save herself through childbearing or how can she remain in with with ALL her sisters if she has fallen out of faith. This is looking at it from all angles and it really doesn’t make sense with the patriarchal understanding. At least these men can admit is that their understanding has caused them to admit that verse 15 has been an extremely difficult (if not impossible) verse to understand within their mindset.

  12. gengwall,
    Good sense of humor! I also fail to see how Neopatriarch has so boldly proclaimed that he has refuted me. He hasn’t even presented a viable explanation for verse 15 let alone refuted my position on verses 11 to 15. It would have been wiser for him to say that he doesn’t believe my exegesis rather than he has refuted it. That was really stepping out on a limb and me with the saw in my hand to cut off his “refutation”!

    I was actually quite interested in his “refutation” since I have been waiting so long to see anyone bring up any evidence to show me where I went wrong in understanding the passage. My favorite “let-me-try-to-refute-you” explanation is found here http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2008/06/09/noodling-with-the-greek-grammar/ when Matt Slick, in an effort to try to refute me, said that the Holy Spirit made a grammar error in verse 15 but He is allowed to do that because apparently verse 15 is like poetry and the grammar doesn’t have to be correct. Honestly I about swallowed my gum when I heard that one. Make me snorkle right out loud. When one has to go to this extent to try to refute me, then it says to me that my exegesis is solid and bullet proof.

  13. “I also fail to see how Neopatriarch has so boldly proclaimed that he has refuted me.”

    I will refrain from the urge to launch an ad hominem attack by comparing Neo to my 4 year old niece who I mentioned in my comment on your Isaac post. Suffice it to say that some people truly believe simply saying “na-ah!” is a legitimate, lucid, and logical refutation.

  14. I should make one correction. It was actually Michael McMillan who said that the gospel should be preached to me. But Neopatriarch was in agreement that I am in grave error and apparently in need of the gospel. Incidentally nothing was said about what it was about the gospel that I did not believe. It was the “additions” to the gospel that I do not believe and Neo’s Patriarchy is something I do not believe.

  15. gengwall,
    I LOVE that “na-ah!” I can just see that four year old in my mind. It is SO cute coming from a four year old. Not so cute coming from a grown up. 😉

  16. Ya mean like…

    PMS — “I’m a-HEAD of you. The Bible says so.”
    EGAL — “What happened to ‘the first will be last’?”
    PMS — “That doesn’t apply between men and women.”
    EGAL — “Why not? Where’s the fine print?”
    PMS — “Because I’m a-HEAD of you. The Bible says so.”
    EGAL — “You’re changing the meaning of “a head” to “ahead”.
    PMS — “You just have a dastardly plot to bow to culture.”
    EGAL — “Culture has always been male supremacist.”
    PMS — “See? It’s God’s ordained order.”

    ad infinitum, ad nauseum

  17. Back to arguments.

    Neo’s claim that vss. 8-15 is a chaistic, and that the antecedent of his “all Christian women” in vs. 15 is all Christian women in vs. 9, requires that the shift in focus has changed from the congregation at Ephesus to the church as a whole. Yet he provides no indication of when this presumed shift took place. Chapter 1 clearly ends still in Ephesus, and chapter 2 begins with “therefore, I exhort you”. The “therefore” retains the connection to what has just preceeded in Chapter 1 and subsequently keeps the focus in Ephesus. Vss. 2:1-2:9 are an unbroken narrative on proper behavior for those Ephesians (with Paul as an example) in dealing with the circumstances and people in their midst. I see no expansion beyond the Ephesus city limits in Paul’s exhortations, unless the somewhat dubious clause “I will therefore that men pray every where” is somehow seen to instantaneously shift the focus from Ephesus to the entire globe.

    So, if the “women” in vss. 9-10 are Ephesian women only, then the case that “they” in vs. 15 are all Christian women simply blows up. He must first prove that Ephesus is no longer the focus in vss. 8-10 or his “chiastic structure” is but a house of cards.

    (BTW – he also doesn’t explain why Paul’s carefully constructed chiastic coldly abandons the men from vs. 8. In reality, if the chiastic analysis was true, there would be a verse 16 dealing with all Christian men.)

  18. gengwall,

    (BTW – he also doesn’t explain why Paul’s carefully constructed chiastic coldly abandons the men from vs. 8. In reality, if the chiastic analysis was true, there would be a verse 16 dealing with all Christian men.)

    You put your pointy finger on an excellent challenge!

  19. Paula,

    What a revelation your little “conversation” revealed.

    From me,
    One who is “biblically” be-hind (working on being a servant of all)

  20. OK…I know I missed a memo, but I don’t know what “PMS” stands for, although I am sure “patriarchal” or some form thereof is part of it. I shudder to think what the “MS” represents but the sarchastic side of me can think of several options that probably aren’t too complimentary (no pun intended) to my gender.

  21. Oh, sorry… it stands for

    Patriarchy / Male Supremacism

    “Only this, and nothing more.”

    Awww….Shucks I had a different idea of what it meant. I got the Patriarchy/patriarchal right. I just had a different thought for who/what the MS stood for. Glad you straightened that one up for us.

    You know, I like the humor you guys have. Seems to me that in this area we either have to keep our humor to keep things a little light because of all the attacks on egalitarians or we can become discouraged. I sure enjoy a good smile 🙂

  22. Trust me, ladies, I could think of some better and more accurate acronyms. 😉 Just trying to keep it G-rated.

    Now back to Chris’s Chiasmic Chaos:

    A (9-10) Christian “women” (plural)
    B (11-12) “a woman” (singular indefinite noun) –it means any Christian woman.
    C (13) “Eve” (generic / representative woman)
    C’ (14) “the woman” (generic / representative woman)
    B’ (15a) “she” has the antecedent “a woman”
    A’ (15b) “they” has the antecedent “women,” Christian women in context

    But if there is any actual chiasm, it is this:

    A (8) How men must pray and behave
    A’ (9-10) How women must pray and dress

    He is force-fitting his interpretations into the text in order to construct a chiasm where there is none. In other words, his chiasm depends completely on interpretation, whereas a real chiasm is in the very structure of the words. It also would have at its center a point being built up to, the main point being argued. Yet he and many others make the end (his A’) another central point. While it’s true that chiasms can overlap, it’s also true that one can make a tangled mess out of a text in an effort to see chiasms where they aren’t.

  23. Well, Cheryl, I’m sorry to learn that Chris, when he couldn’t defeat you on the “home field,” had to make a playing field of his own, where he plays against “straw women and straw men,” which are nothing but caricatures of his egalitarian opponents. And I am sure my criticism of his misuse of both biblical hermeneutics and logical reasoning didn’t win me a place on his “favorite persons,” either. Unfortunately, he is an example of the proverb, “People convinced against their will, oft remain of the same opinion still.” And that is all that I wish to say regarding him.

    Have your read Jefferson J. Davis’ article, “First Timothy 2:12, the Ordination of Women, and Paul’s Use of Creation Narratives,” in the 2009 Spring Issue of the Priscilla Papers? In several ways, it confirms a number of arguments you have already made. He does two things in this article: 1) Argues the case against the traditional understanding and translation of authentein, and 2) argues the case against the traditional understanding of how Paul uses the creation narratives, especially in 1 Tim. 2:13 and 14. In fact, he clearly states: “The major focus of this article is an examination of Paul’s appeal to the Genesis creation narratives, with a view to showing that, in (1 Tim 2:11-15) and other passages, the apostle refers to these texts with the local circumstances and the problems of specific churches in view. It is here argued that previous discussions of this passage have not given adequate recognition to the CONTEXT-SPECIFIC way in which Paul applies the creation texts” (p.6) First he deals with the different ways Paul applies these texts to various aspects of the Jew and Gentile conflict in Romans 5 and 14, then the problem of heresy and false teachers in 2 Cor 11:3 and 1 Tim 2:12.

    Regarding these last two texts, Davis states, “This comparison of 2 Corinthians 11:3 and 1 Timothy 2:12 shows that Paul does not have a ‘one size fits all’ hermeneutic when reading and applying the Genesis narratives of creation and fall: ‘Eve’ can be seen as a figure of women in Ephesus or as a figure for an entire church in Corinth–because the local circumstances differ, though false teaching is a danger in both settings. Applications are drawn from Genesis in a church-specific and contextually sensitive way.”

    And I believe that what Davis argues about Paul’s “church-specific and contextually sensitive” understanding and application of these creation and fall narratives is the same view that you, Cheryl, have so well presented and demonstrated in these Pauline dialogues of yours. I think Chris and his supporters are upset with you, in part, because you have, by this means, have invalidated their cherished notion that Paul had a “one size fits all” hermenetic that they can use to promote their viewpoint.

  24. Paula, in #16, you have hit the nail on the head in terms of what happens in comp/egal conversations. It is maddening but true. Thanks for giving it a humorous gloss! I had a similar real-life conversation late yesterday and it was painful in its circularity. Frustrating, too. Circular thinking never sees itself for what it is unfortunately.

  25. Good words Frank. I also think that it frustrates people like Neo when reasonable, sensible men who have loving marriages, effective ministries alongside women, and in general, good relationships with women, point out the simple truth that it doesn’t have to be the patriarchal way. Nothing is more unsettling than to have the counter arguement to your own lived out in very positive ways right in front of your face.

  26. Frank,
    I appreciate your kind words. I have not been able to access the CBE publication. It looks like my password is not working right now on the site so I have requested a verification of the password. When I get an answer back I will have a look at the new article. Thanks a lot for pointing me in that direction!

  27. PMS — “I’m a-HEAD of you. The Bible says so.”
    EGAL — “What happened to ‘the first will be last’?”
    PMS — “That doesn’t apply between men and women.”
    EGAL — “Why not? Where’s the fine print?”
    PMS — “Because I’m a-HEAD of you. The Bible says so.”
    EGAL — “You’re changing the meaning of “a head” to “ahead”.
    PMS — “You just have a dastardly plot to bow to culture.”
    EGAL — “Culture has always been male supremacist.”
    PMS — “See? It’s God’s ordained order.”

    Paula, Hysterical. that is the debate in a nutshell. I may have to use it.

  28. Just trying to brighten your day, sis. 😉

    I also keep getting that familiar “nudge” to do some kind of chart or pictogram of the whole mess, but it hasn’t jelled yet.

  29. And for those who may not be comfortable with the PMS double-entendré…

    How about GOOF?

    (God Ordained us Over Females)

  30. Back to the serious again….

    My wife has started collecting the Life Application Bible Commentary and she recently received their volume including 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. Of course, in light of these posts, I was curious to see how they would handle 1 Tim 2. Drum roll please…..

    Well, they did quite a dance around the main flash points and took a politically correct approach. Basically, they followed the main stream translations of the text, but emphasized that the letter deals specifically with Ephesian issues and therefore can not be considered to be applicable to the church as a whole or even to the Ephesians permanently. i.e. they played it safe.

    I was mildly disappointed (although not surprised) because in other volumes they dig deeper into the Greek and do not seem to be afraid to say a translation is “inadequate” or even flawed. For example, their treatment of “submit” in Ephesians 5 is much better IMO, although still not perfect.

  31. So today I am mulling over the inherent problems with comp doctrine. What bugs me most is that NONE of it can be proven. So I’m wondering why people, whether the pew sitters or the leaders who hold to this unproven doctrine, clamp on to it. What is so attractive about it? Or why are people attracted to it when it cannot even be proven? Other things can be proven from the scriptures like the doctrine of the Trinity, but comp doctrine cannot. Are people really that uninterested in what the truth is, what can and cannot be proven, facts?

    Then I’ve another concern today as I’m mulling over comp ideology. I’m concerned with those who do know better, those who know that their doctrine is false having nothing solid to support it. Those are the ones that I am not happy with, at all. These ones are the wolves.

    So today I’m trying to figure out a way that I will be able to be appeased with the garbage of it all.

    Thanks for letting me vent, Cheryl! 🙂

    And Neo claiming that he Refuted you on 1 Tim 2… *rolls eyes & getting a laugh* His claim of having “refuted” you is a perfect example of a main problem with those arguing for and promoting comp doctrine. There is no way around it – THEY do not even understand what they are saying by the very words they use. If he can Believe that he “refuted” you, then he can also believe that the sky pink and not blue. That’s how much sense he makes by such a claim. Where did he leave his head? Where most of the problems lie, is in BELIEF. If someone wants to believe that the sky is pink they will do so even when the facts show that it is otherwise and stare them right in the face.

    Okay, I’m outta here, back to solving my issue with comp doctrine and those who know better…

  32. Isn’t there one person within the church, on the entire planet that can prove, from the 1 Tim 2 passage that Paul stopped more than 1 woman from teaching more than 1 man? Is there a comp out there (who BELIEVES that women should not teach men) who even cares enough about where the bible draws it’s own lines that is, who would respect scriptural boundaries and therefore uphold what is truley biblical and authoritative? If Paul did not stop more than 1 specific woman from teaching 1 specific man, then how can any stop women in general from teaching men or promote what Paul did not teach?

  33. pinklight,

    I can maybe answer to a degree from the male perspective (since the vast majority of male supremecists are male). I think there are several factors that come into play.

    1. Some of the text generally can be seen in a comp light IF it is not reconciled with the rest of scripture. Since Christians often tend to cherry-pick anyway, a tunnel visioned look at the pertinent scriptures can easily lead to comp conclusions.

    2. Pride and control – men struggle with pride, especially when it comes to admitting we are wrong. Heck – look at Adam. Once we come to a conclusion, ESPECIALLY one that gives us power, it is very, very difficult to go back.

    3. Tradition – when men look back at “the good old days”, we have a hard time seeing a problem with “the way it has always been”. Since we have never had to be on the receiving end of authoritarian patriarchy, we are blind to the pain it causes.

    4. Male ego – this is a little different than pride. This is the sense we have that we really are superior to women. The reality is that we are simply different than women, but we see the differences as being “better”.

    None of this should come as a surprise. God said it would happen. Such attitudes are really the “norm” when we are living in our fallen state. Enlightenment to the truth in scripture and a view of male/female relationships that mirrors the unfallen state in the garden requires that we live in the Spirit, but that takes effort for a fallen man. It is much easier to believe that God commanded males to “rule over” females for their own good. As fleshly human males, that perspective “feels” right. Sad, but true.

    There is good news in all of this. I think all men have a yerning deep inside to return to the garden. I believe that much of the equivocation and politically correct gymnastics you see many pastors going through when talking about these issues indidcates that many, many men really struggle with the comp perspective they have grown up with (and even have been taught in their seminaries). I know many other men who, although spouting the comp line “headship”, actually live fairly egal lives with the women in their circle. I believe they struggle every day trying to understand what really is the truth and it is almost as if they are just dying for someone to say the comp view is wrong so that they can stop living that lie.

    The complimentarian perspective is a paradox for many men, I believe. The comp life feels right (in the flesh) and wrong (in the spirit) all at the same time. This is one of the most obvious manifestations (in men) of the battle Paul describes in Romans 7, IMO. The degree to which a man sees the lie of the comp paradigm is, I believe, a great indicator of how successful he is in battling his flesh. I think commentators such as Neo are not having a very good go of it currently.

  34. gengwall, thank you. That was such a nice comment. I liked reading it. Yes, I’ve gathered before alot of what you said…

    I’m tired of all the “feelings” issues, personaly. It’s like, “Hello, get with the program and accept the fatcs, even if they make you want to cry. Grow up, already!” I say that because of how much damage and harm has been done to people because of comp doctrine. The harm that has been done to people, doesn’t make me happy, at all. All because people go with “feelings” over scriptural facts. I’m so tired of it at this moment. ;P I’m having “one of those days”, and I don’t even know what that means.. lol!

  35. I’m with you, pinklight. In my conversations with my spiritual mentor, who is trying to teach me a more “gentle” complementarian philosophy so that I lose my independent spirit before becoming a wife, I’ve wondered, without asking, Where’s the PROOF for complementarian ideas, other than the twisted interpretations of a few texts? It feels like “The Stepford Wives”, something that God, I don’t think, ever intended for us as women. It’s something that I just can’t figure out, no matter how much comp theology I read. I just can’t make it make sense.

    PS to you, pinklight: I completely understand what ‘those days’ are like…I think I’m having one today!

  36. Genwall, you brought up something I think is very important in comment #41: the difference between life in the flesh and life in the Spirit. I concluded a long time ago that embracing patriarchy even in its “mild” complementarian permutations, there is little or no control yielded to the Holy Spirit. I find no place for the Spirit in most of published comp doctrine. God does not force anyone to stop usurping God’s place as Lord of another’s life, or in the case of women in compdom, giving over to a man/men the place of control that God should have. Where the Spirit is not welcome and free to move, the Spirit does not enter.

    It’s not unlike “Choose this day whom you will serve…”.

  37. Sorry, gengwall; I missed a letter in your name.

    Alison, it’s too bad your “mentor” has so little faith in your future husband, as to think he would even want to marry a woman whose independent spirit (probably the mentor distrusts self-sufficient, competent women) had been trained out of her. Who wants to marry someone who’s trying to be something other than her true self?

    And your point about comp theory not making sense is important, I think. There are certain theological truths that are beyond our full comprehension in this life, such as the Trinity, the vastness of God’s holiness, the “why of the Atonement, etc. However, anything purported to be biblically sound practice, such as patriarchy, shouldn’t be nonsensical. It’s not enough to say, “I don’t know why God set up gender roles, I just know that patriarchy is the system God commands.” They often claim that these elusive “gender roles” are pre-Fall mandates, but there’s no biblical support for that claim.

    I think that there are quite a few comps who know perfectly well that they’re deceiving people by teaching patriarchy as biblical. I suspect, however, that the rank and file Christian who accepts such teaching has not considered that it just might not be biblical after all. A very few do try some version of what they think of as egalitarianism and then return to compism, though when they tell the story it becomes clear that it wasn’t actually biblical equality that they’d tried in the first place. I know of one individual who rejected biblical equality out of disappointment that egalitarians are as fallibly human as that individual is, and who blamed being an egalitarian for a failure to attract a spouse. (I’m not exaggerating; I’ve read it in that individual’s own words, which continue in vindictive anti-egalitarian diatribes even today.) But in general, people who go to the Scriptures willing to be challenged in their beliefs, find that biblical equality makes far more sense than religious patriarchy, which is nothing more than the world’s practice of the (physically and socially) more powerful ruling the less powerful, but dressed in Sunday clothes.

  38. Hi Alison,

    You are funny! Yeah, what is up with the lack of proof and people not caring more about it? Tradition and following the crowd is just so much easier for the flesh. There are clear boundaries in the scriptures (1 Tim 2 is in an iron box) but people just run right over them for the sake of themselves… For me, everything ENDS with the facts and proof. They are the scriptural boundaries which is scriptural authority. They are the end of all arguments. They will always be there and cannot be done away with, so they win the day. 🙂

  39. In my experience working with mega churches very few people question comp doctrine at all. they are very busy with lots of seminars, selling books, marriage encounter weekends, etc.

    No one stops to question it. If you think about it, it really is easier to follow than being a Christian who mutually submits. That is harder.

    With comp, Everyone has a prescribed role and knows their place. I saw it all the time with younger couples so gung ho about it all and devouring the books and seminars. The older they got, though, the harder it became. Many of the women became manipulators because they had to stay in their place but actually knew better than the man on something. They were constantly discussing how to make it ‘his idea’.

    People love formulas and ‘how to’ application. That is why you see so many 3-point sermons. Ever notice that? Many of them come with fill in the blank in the bulletin. There is a reason for that. It is all planned out for easy application. And application is the big buzz word.

    Personally, I find ‘application’ of doctrine very scary. I do not want someone to try and be the Holy Spirit for me. Just preach the Word and let the Holy Spirit lead me in application.

    And that is all comp teaching is: Application of an already decided interpretation. There is no room for introspection on the interpretation.

  40. Our church tries constantly to tread that fine line. They exclude women from pastor and elder but have many women in the next tier of leadership (adult ministries, children’s (of course), and worship). On the marriage front they definately encourage a more egalitarian approach, but again, they struggle to come to grips with terms like “submit” and “head”.

    Lin said – “Many of the women became manipulators because they had to stay in their place but actually knew better than the man on something.”

    There is much to be sad about in the truth of this statement. I believe it is a reflection of the fall for both genders. Men fail to embrace (or even recognize) the gifts their wives have because they feel as ruler they should need no help. Wives in turn utilize those gifts in a negative fashion because they have been deprived from using them for a blessing to their marriage in the first place. The same holds true, and to even a greater degree, in many churches, especially, ironically, the evangelical variety. For someone who truly believes that women have a unique design which gives them an entirely different perspective, it pains me to know so many men are depriving themselves of the blessing that perspective can bring to our relationships and minitries.

    Now, I have not always been this way. My wife and I had some of the same youthful enthusiasm for comp-ness that Lin sees in so many young couples. The difference with us is that we BOTH saw the light. My wife doesn’t have to “manipulate” because I have learned to welcome and even cherish her influence and perspective. We make a great team…now (at least I would like to believe we do).

    Here is the real irony. Some of the most egalitarian couples I know are the generations that preceeded us within our own families. Although those families were “traditional” on the outside, my observation was that the women were fully equal partners within the relationship. Both my wife’s and my parents had very egal marriages in terms of family decisions, parenting, and problem solving. Most of our grandparents did as well, although it took her grandfather a little time to fully appreciate the contributions of his wife. But somehow, and I don’t want to blame it on feminism or the 60’s or anything, but somehow in the last 40 years, there has been this crazy shift. It makes no sense to me.

  41. As I keep thinking about why people have such a hard time breaking out of the comp paradigm, Darth Vader’s immortal words ring in my ears: “You don’t know the power of the dark side”. We should keep in mind who our battle really is against and in what realm it really is being fought. Our brothers and sisters are not the real enemy.

  42. gengwall,

    I have so much enjoyed reading your comments. The wisdom that you speak really has touched my heart and giving us a testimony of what you have experienced and see through your own eyes is very precious. I hope that God keeps you hanging around here for a long time. You are such a blessing to me!!!

  43. Lin and Gengwall, thanks for your comments. You are both blessings in a ‘dark land’. The place where compism seems to especially reveal its shortcomings is in the practical application. The simple fact that so many churches ‘do’ compism differently is the first indicator. One church may allow women to lead singing and help with adult classes, another may allow the lead singing but not the adult teaching, etc. Defining the ‘job description’ or ‘roles’ is tough for them, I believe, because the bible gives no clear-cut description because it doesn’t prescribe such roles. One would think that something as important as ‘headship’, as comps mean it, would come with a very clear job description. After all, in the O.T., God was very clear, down to minute details of dress, even, about what the priests could and could not do, and what the people could and could not do. So why would He have not done the same in the NT regarding so-called headship roles if He did indeed establish them?

    It is so true that women have to become manipulators or puppeteers within comp theology. I think that is demeaning of men. As I have said elsewhere, one comp pastor’s wife was heard to say about this matter, “Well, come on, you know it is the neck that turns the head anyway.” To me, that makes the man out to be a dummy, which he is not-any more than is the woman. It seems highly disrespectful to manipulate a man-every bit as disrespectful as it is to diminish women’s capacities.

    Gengwall, your observation that we are really opposing powers of darkness rather than people is true, and very helpful. It can feel like ‘us’ against ‘them’ which is easily divisive, rather than, “Father, help them and forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

  44. #43 Alison,

    In my conversations with my spiritual mentor, who is trying to teach me a more “gentle” complementarian philosophy so that I lose my independent spirit before becoming a wife, I’ve wondered, without asking, Where’s the PROOF for complementarian ideas, other than the twisted interpretations of a few texts?

    The only time we are told to lose ourselves is when we die to self so that Christ can be formed in us. Losing ourselves so that our personhood can be taken over by another person is a very dangerous thing. I would have thought that we had learned that lesson already, but it seems like we keep going around the same bush. The thinking then becomes that losing ourselves to a man must be good for us since he is supposed to be our head/ruler/decision maker. It seems to me that men who are able to think and reason and actually feel for their wives should be able to get that this is not a good thing. And many must be able to get it because a good majority of marriages, even comp ones, are actually lived out as egalitarian. Both husband and wife actually benefit from the wife having her own personality and freedom to chose.

  45. This one is courtesy of Paula (Words of a Fether), from another communication, and it is a hoot!!!! Thank you, Paula! We were discussing the passage about headship-Christ the head of every man, etc. Several lines later it speaks of woman needing to cover her head…as Paula pointed out, perhaps this means women should be putting the little lace doily headcoverings on their husbands to wear if the husbands are their wife’s head!!!! I picture lots of men walking into church properly ‘laced’ next Sunday!

  46. Thanks for the plug TS!

    A little background: A comp asked, “Why, if in the 1 Cor. passage, head means origin or source, we don’t go on then to read in verse 5: “but every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her ‘origin’ uncovered dishonoureth her ‘origin'”? Or “For this reason a woman ought to have power over her own ‘origin’ because of the angels?”

    My rebuttal went something like this: Okay, let’s try it your way. “Why, if in the 1 Cor. passage, head means BOSS, we don’t go on then to read in verse 5: “but every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her ‘BOSS’ uncovered dishonoureth her ‘BOSS'”? Or “For this reason a woman ought to have power over her own ‘BOSS’ because of the angels?”

    In other words, the comp’s charge against egal is one comp is also guilty of. And in either case, the answer is in the fact that Paul is using one of his characteristic plays on words when he introduces the whole question of head coverings with the 1st century Greek metaphor. Then, as in any language, he switches to the literal meaning. He even defines the metaphorical as ‘source’ by talking about who COMES FROM whom. So we have ample contextual warrant right there for the metaphor being ‘source’ and not ‘boss’.

  47. Thanks much, Cheryl. The whole debate is much like a dog chasing is own tail sometimes; funny to watch, but not funny to actually be the dog chasing its tail. I say that because I’ve felt like the dog: I’ve felt like I’ve hit on answers through the Spirit, only to be told by a comp that what I’ve hit on is wrong.

    I’ve come to realize that regardless of what my mentor thinks, my spouse and I (if I ever get married) will have to prayerfully discern what will work for us, which will look different than what works for someone else’s marriage. Hopefully, we’ll both be stumbling forward together, and even when we step on each other’s toes, we can work it out in the way God shows us, independent of what other people think I “should” do.

  48. Alison said: “I’ve come to realize that regardless of what my mentor thinks, my spouse and I (if I ever get married) will have to prayerfully discern what will work for us, which will look different than what works for someone else’s marriage. ”

    And I think this is exactly how God planned it. Despite how biblical history (and world history for the most part) panned out, biblical teaching never, ever defines “the way” for marriages to function day to day. In fact, the Proverbs 31 woman pretty much throws all convention and cultural paradigms out the window. The terms “role” and “job” have no relevant meaning in marriage, at least in terms of being gender defined.

    I truly believe God leaves it up to the partners in each individual marriage to define “what works for them” as far as decisions and activities of daily living. The bible, in it’s teaching, continually reaffirms this. The world, in it’s fallen state, as reflected in biblical history, continually defies the biblical teaching….just as God said it would in Genesis 3.

  49. Cheryl – “It seems to me that men who are able to think and reason and actually feel for their wives should be able to get that this is not a good thing. And many must be able to get it because a good majority of marriages, even comp ones, are actually lived out as egalitarian.”

    And the reason this is what is observed is very simple. A truly complimentarian marriage is a practical impossibility. Most (although not all) men realize very early on that they are neither qualified nor have the time, patience, or even vested interest to make all the decisions in the marriage. They also find out quickly that, at least in the culture as it exists, being a 100% breadwinner is nigh impossible.

    The greatest argument against complimentarianism is that it is woefully impractical. If it is God’s design, then God set us up to fail.

  50. Never thought of it that way, gengwall. I thought through the issue today at work a little more, and realized that part of the hangup for me has been “leading” vs. “submitting”, and the trouble I was having with those terms. I further realized that there are going to be things in my marriage that my spouse is stronger in dealing with, and my “submitting” to him will mean letting him lead in those areas, and vice versa. I can only hope that he will understand that if there’s something I’m stronger in, his “submitting” to me will allow me to thrive by doing what I do best, just as my “submitting” to his strengths does for him.

    This might be starry-eyed naivete, but I believe it can be fleshed out. I know it will probably be incredibly difficult, but I believe both he and I will be the stronger for it. As for my spiritual mentor, I believe that she’s sharing from her heart, and I need to respect that.

  51. Alison – I have had many discussions with complimentarian men (comp women are very scarce in the circles I run in) and I challenge them to define for me what “head” means in a practical sense. They find it very hard to do, if they offer any definition at all. Most say some mumbo jumbo about decision making, but in terms of activities of daily living like handling the money or house keeping or cooking or child rearing, they agree, (sometimes grudgingly and sometimes enthusiastically) that both partners have to play a role. Even regarding “breadwinning” , since most of them have wives that work out of financial necessity, they agree that women really don’t have a specific “place” (as in “a woman’s place is…”), at least not anymore (which begs the question of whether such a “place” ever really existed or was it just a patriarchal myth). Anyway, it can be almost comical to listen to them try to figure out something, anything, that distinguishes “headship”.

    Now, for full disclosure, I don’t necessarily buy the “head”=”source” argument either. That is best left for another time. Suffice it to say that “head” definately does not mean “authority”, “ruler”, or any other hierearchical position and Paul’s writings coupled with Jesus’ example confirm this truth.

    I would challenge your spiritual mentor to clarify what it means in a practical, day to day way, for the husband to be “head”. Of course, she should be challenged to also back up that position with scripture. My firm belief is that she will struggle greatly to put headship into practical terms. The response then, of course, is “if it can’t be defined, if there is no blueprint for what it means in our day to day lives, how can we ever implement it? And why would God require of us an arrangement that can’t possibly be accomplished in any practical sense?”

    Again, my point is not that “headship” can be ignored, it is just that complimentarians are looking in all the wrong places to find examples of it. They never look to Jesus, and that is why they stumble.

  52. gengwall, I agree with everything you have stated about the difficulty comps have in clearly and practically defining headship. I have had that discussion with comps, also, and have never gotten anything but mush in response, especially when they are asked to back it up with scripture. A vague rubber-stamping of final decisions is usually in the mix, as is the concept that women can’t teach men. I think it would be terrific to see all comp women in one church, even, or one marriage, follow comp thinking to a T for a period of time. No thinking for oneself, just constantly asking the husband what to do about EVERYTHING. Very quickly the lunacy of the whole concept would become apparent, though I still think comps would find ways to justify their position. I think it would be thus; they would quickly point out that the bible did NOT say women could not do certain things (ie whatever they do happen to want their women to be able to do) yet they would still cling to whatever it is they think (or wish) women should not be allowed to do.

    gengwall, what conclusion have you come to about what head means in the various contested passages in the bible? I have only heard patriarchy and source given as two possible meanings up to this point.

  53. truthseeker – I think head is a position of responsibility, not right or authority. I think headship is exemplified just as Paul says – by loving your wife just as Christ loved the church. This is what I see when I read the essential “head” passage as it relates specifically to marriage – Ephesians 5. When I look at Jesus’ example when acting as the bridegroom for the church, i.e. as “head” of His “wife” and family, I see Him engaging in three primary activites:

    1. Intercessory prayer
    2. Self Sacrifice (even unto death)
    3. Service

    I also think that men are designed to be guardians and that is why Adam was given that responsibility. I think the activities above are guardian activities. I think godly men should try to succeed where Adam failed, just as our example, Jesus, has succeeded as the second Adam in all areas that the first Adam failed. We can’t be perfect like Jesus, but we absolutely should try to emulate Him.

    NOW – before everyone freeks out, I will highlight the usual objection to such a model and show you why that objection is unnecessary.

    What I usually hear when I lay this out is: “oh, so you mean the woman can’t interceed, she can’t sacrifice, she can’t serve, she can’t provide, she can’t protect, she can’t guard, etc., etc.” What people often don’t understand because of the patriarchal influences we have all grown up with is that I am not defining “roles”. It is not the man’s exclusive job to interceed, etc., but it is his responsibility. What does that mean; and why would Paul outline it only for the men? Because we men, in our fallen state, are simply not good at it. It doesn’t mean that women don’t also have these responsibilities, but they don’t need the reminder (and boot to the head, no pun intended, that men do) because they don’t have the same fallen tendancies that we do.

    In short – Christ-like headship is the exact opposite of the kind of “rule” that Genesis 3 shows we will be inclined toward.

    People often try to look for cultural models to help them visualize such concepts and I believe I have a fairly close one. I have tried to find such a model since the usual ones proposed, like pilot/co-pilot, still reflect an authoritarian hierarchy. The closest model I can think of for “head” in the biblical sense is the captain of a team. The team captain has no authority over the other team members. That is reserved for the Coach (Jesus/God). His position is only one of responsibility and service to the team. He does not have unilateral decision making authority, nor does he uniquely and individually do any team job. In fact, in reality, the captain is often not even the most skilled player on the team. But he does have a “guardian” responsibility and is expected to interceed, sacrifice, and serve on behalf of the others.

    So – what think you of that model?

    Incidentally, I believe the “submit” and ‘respect” directives for wives follow a parallel purpose and reasoning from Paul. But I have written too much already and I don’t want to derail this thread any more.

  54. gengwall, I can understand your caution in putting forth a statement about head not meaning source. I had to laugh when you pleaded with folk to not freak out. 🙂 I had my spear ready so raising your white flag from miles away was a good thing! 🙂

    I can see that you have thought this out, and I am personally grateful you aren’t into hierarchy. What I am puzzled by in the husband is head context is that whatever it is somehow is separate from what women are. Women are never referred to as head so it would seem that somehow, whatever the meaning of head is in the ‘head’ passages referring to men or husbands would have to be their exclusive domain. Just logically speaking. (I had a comp tell me, when backed to a wall that God isn’t logical, so comps sometimes give themselves terrific ‘get out of jams free’ cards.) I am still chewing what you have written.

    Our culture has such a strong concept of leadership attached to certain words that I suspect it might even be hard to separate ‘boss’ from ‘team captain.’ I think most people would instantly think of a team captain as a boss or leader rather than as a guardian though I agree with your definition. Guardian makes the most sense, though. Maybe simply sticking to a term like guardian and even gardener (since gardeners nourish, tend to, lovingly care for, etc., without having to be despots. Of course, gardeners eat what they so tenderly care for in the end, so we might not want to carry the analogy too far!)

    I do think source makes the most sense in the passage speaking of Christ being the head of every man, man being the head of woman, and God being the head of Christ, however. Thoughts?

  55. Cheryl – I hope you will induldge us a little longer in this sidebar.

    truthseeker said – “Our culture has such a strong concept of leadership attached to certain words that I suspect it might even be hard to separate ‘boss’ from ‘team captain.’ ”

    I think you have hit on the major stumbling block. Remember first of all that we are dealing with English translations of Greek words. Sometimes those translations are woefully inadequate. Add to it the cultural context impacting both the original Greek meaning and the current English meaning and you have a recipe for disaster. Finally throw into the mix the tendancy to cherry pick and myopically interpret scripture and it is easy to turn “head” into “boss” and “submit” into “obey”. But a full review of Paul with the broad context of his teaching in view and his example of Christ as the focus and hopefully we can defeat those cultural influences and see the truth of God’s word. “Head” most definately does not mean “boss” and wives are never, ever, EVER told to “obey” their husbands.

    truthseeker – “What I am puzzled by in the husband is head context is that whatever it is somehow is separate from what women are. Women are never referred to as head so it would seem that somehow, whatever the meaning of head is in the ‘head’ passages referring to men or husbands would have to be their exclusive domain.”

    I am not so sure. Women are exclusively called “helper” (and we all know the godly nature of that term; what a high calling that is). Does that mean that men are never to be engaging in “helper” kinds of activities within the marriage? I certainly don’t think so. It also does not mean, IMO, that women are free (or restricted) from the “headship” activities of intercession, sacrifice, and service.

    Also remember that Paul is trying to outline a practical model that both men and women can look to. Christ and the church is the best parallel he can draw, (there certainly was no current cultural model), but even within that, Paul admits that there are parameters to the Christ/church relationship that remain a mystery, or inapplicable. So he ends the Ephesians passage with the very practical instructions for husbands to “love” (not “be the head”) and wives to “respect” (not “submit”).

    And finally, remember that headship has nothing to do with the activities of daily living within marriage. Nowhere does the bible say “the head of the house unilaterally does x”. It isn’t about decisions, tasks, or even primary roles (I know many women who are far better intercessors than their husbands, for example.) It is about responsibilities. The husband MUST interceed on behalf of the family, sacrifice for their betterment, and serve their needs. Guess what – that doesn’t feel natural to him because of his tendancy to act in the opposite manner, i.e. to “rule”. Therefore, he needs to be explicitly told that he must do these things. The wife, in reality, is just as responsible (and free) to do these things, but they are more natural for her so, in essence, at least for Paul’s purpose in fighting the corruptions of the fall, she doesn’t need to be told to do them.

    The bottom line is that Christ never exercises authority over His bride. He never “rules” over her*. His only attitude and action toward her is selfless love. If that is what it means to be the “head” it is something to be embaced and celebrated, not feared.

    *It should be noted that Christ does “rule”, but the social spheres in which He exercises authority and dominion are never the marital one. Whenever the church is being referenced as “bride”, Christ never “rules”. How could he! He is the second Adam. He has conquored the corrupt spousal “rule” brought on by and propogated the first Adam.

  56. Oh yes, and regarding this:

    “I do think source makes the most sense in the passage speaking of Christ being the head of every man, man being the head of woman, and God being the head of Christ, however. ”

    I tentatively agree, but I would argue that the (primary) social sphere being addressed in that passage is the church, not marriage. So, I am not so sure the same analysis can be ported to Ephesians 5. At any rate, Ephesians 5 becomes a bit nonsensical to me if “head” means “source”, although I am certainly open to exploring such an analysis. Cheryl has not dealt much with the Ephesians 5 marriage passage here as the focus is women in minstry. As such, I haven’t had any exposure to an extended argument along those lines. (I confess I have not read every thread here so I maybe am just uninformed). At any rate, when I look at Ephesians 5, as a man, the focus for me is not so much the title of “head” as it is the actions of agapao love. In other words, “Headship” is exemplified by selfless love. From that perspective, “head”=”source” just doesn’t make much sense to me.

  57. gengwall, I really appreciate your taking the time to respond because you are clearing up some things I have continued to wonder about.

    You are absolutely right, the bible doesn’t describe husbands as helpers yet we know that men/husbands do helping actions. Paul does describe and exhort men and ‘brethren’ as helpers and to help (at the beginning and end of various of his letters), so we know they do have helping capabilities, and women are told to rule their households well, so we know women have ruling capabilities, but you are correct in pointing out that these things are never stated with reference to marriage. Thanks for making that point because it is one angle I had not seen before, that men being head doesn’t have to be synonymous with exclusive job description any more than does women as helpers or ezers. That is a huge piece of the puzzle that was missing somehow.

    You are also right that there is NO description of what men or women are to do (‘roles’) unilaterally in marriage. That is where the comp belief always gets hung up though it isn’t ever admitted by them.

    Excellent observations in your last two paragraphs, also. I need to look up all passages pertaining to Christ and His bride in this light. Also very good point about Christ conquering corrupt spousal rule as the Second Adam! (for some comps, that wouldn’t suffice, because they think spousal rule was a prefall attribute due to Adam having been created or formed before Eve. That will have to remain their dilemma.)

  58. gengwall, I just posted then saw your last post. I agree that source has a bit of difficulty being applied to the Ephesians’ passage. The fact that ‘head’ means different things in different places shouldn’t be problematic as Paula so clearly exemplified in her earlier humorous example (#55).

  59. So…truthseeker mentioned elsehwere that she has heard the argument that “head is mentioned hundreds of times in the OT in reference to families and clans, geneologies, etc.” Being the obsessive compulsive researcher that I am, I had to check this out since it sounds quite exaggerated.

    The Hebrew word I researched is ro’sh:
    1) head, top, summit, upper part, chief, total, sum, height, front, beginning
    a) head (of man, animals)
    b) top, tip (of mountain)
    c) height (of stars)
    d) chief, head (of man, city, nation, place, family, priest)
    e) head, front, beginning
    f) chief, choicest, best
    g) head, division, company, band
    h) sum

    There are 598 verses where this word occurs. Of those, I found 158 which refer to some hierarchical arrangement in human relations. Hardly the “hundreds” that are claimed.

    Within that subset, it gets very interesting. I found only 25 that refer directly to the family unit. All of them were recounting some kind of census or other listing of families. I put them under the category of “Factual reality without practical application”. In other words, they simply state a cultural, historical fact without and indication of how that arrangement works (if at all) and without any incling of a Word by God on His view of that arrangement.

    All of the remainder fall under categories relating to leaders of people, not heads of a “household”. Although that includes tribal and clan leaders, which the comps would like to include, I reject their inclusion in the “hundreds” as it relates to the family because in reality they were community leaders. The other references refer to kings, princes, military officers, or “chief”, i.e. prominent, community figures. None of these 133 references are applicable to the family.

    So, in reality, there are only 25 references to the “head” of a family, and all of them are census related, and they all occur in the pure historical books of Exodus, Numbers, and 1 Chronicles. It is true that all of those heads are male. But what is more important, and really the point, is that there is absolutely NO OT teaching (or even law) that says “the ‘head’ of a family unit is always and only the husband (or worse, any male), and he shall have unilateral and complete authority over all other members of the family.” Of course, such an idea would be nonsense because it would not account for the countless widowed mothers that certainly existed, or even the wives, left at home, of the men who were constantly off to war. It also wouldn’t account for the Proverbs 31 woman’s marriage, which by all indications is about as close as it gets to God’s model. Plus it is simply impratical, as we have been discussing here.

    So, truthseeker, I think to call your freinds “misguided” or “mistaken” is putting it too mild. “Liars” comes to mind as a more accurate assessment.

  60. gengwall, that is very telling research, isn’t it? So, 25 usages of head regarding families in the OT and how many examples of women in leading roles might we also find in the OT, as if somehow might makes right?! For many comps, it only has to be by inference, due to the fact that ‘men’ were chosen for the census, that they take license to give men the lead. If only they would consider what truly is and isn’t being said in the bible. I agree, too, that is is nonsense due to the implications for unmarried women, the men away for battle, etc., yet comps then come up with some other mush about ‘well, there are still men remaining in the camp that serve as a covering or head’ when, in fact, no such description or mandate exists. Yes, isn’t the Proverbs 31 woman a remarkably unwimpy example of women?! Again, having now heard much comp thought, I can only guess that somehow they see her as in subordination because her husband sits at the gate with the other men, and all are heads, so she is subordinate. They take a LOT of liberty when it works in their favor but none when it could be used against them, as in Eve being created last therefore she is the best, Jesus being born of a woman, and many other examples that using their type of thinking would make women the ‘logical’ heads.

  61. – “Our culture has such a strong concept of leadership attached to certain words that I suspect it might even be hard to separate ‘boss’ from ‘team captain.’ ”

    Boy can I relate to this. As a corporate trainer we ran into this all the time in team building. Folks cannot get away from hierarchy. There has to be a ‘coach’ or a ‘team captain’. If one is not appointed, the team decides. They cannot conceive of working together without being led.

    Christ wants us working together being led only by Him.

    As to ‘helper’. The word is Ezer and is used of God throughout the OT. It is the same word used to describe Eve as ezer. In many passages it has a ‘war’ connotation as in warrior. If it means subordinate, then that means God is subordinate to us when He helps us. Actually, Grudem teaches this very thing in his book to prop up earthly hierarchy. Sad, huh? And his book is used on many seminary campi as a text book.

  62. Some light reading to pass the time. I dug this up from an old thread I had started on Christianforums. I find it just as curious in the current discussion……..

    I thought it might be fun to give the breakdown of the word that we derive “patriarch” from. It is derived from the Greek word “patriarches”

    Strong’s Number: 3966 Patriarches
    None Masculine
    Definition
    patriarch, founder of a tribe, progenitor
    of the twelve sons of Jacob, founders of the tribes of Israel
    of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

    Although masculine in gender, and a male founder is presumed, this could be applied to any founder including a female if the culture was set up that way.

    “Patriarches” comes from two Greek words

    patria – meaning family (Strong’s 3965)
    archo – meaning “beginning” i.e founder (Strong’s 757)

    Curiously, “patria” is a feminine noun. But it, in turn is derived from:

    pater – meaning father (Strong’s 3962)

    “Pater” can also mean parents in the plural and can have other gender neutral (although male assumed in the culture) meanings such as teacher.

    What I find curious in all of this is the relative gender neutrality and the lack of overt hierarchy or authority. It goes to show even more that our current definitions for patriarchy have more to do with historical context than the original meaning of the word. Another interesting point is that there was no corresponding “matriarch” word in Greek. That word did not surface until the 17th century abstracted from patriarch to recognize and differentiate female heads of state. So, in biblical times, “patriarches” could technically refer to a female, although the male dominated culture makes it unlikely it ever found such a practical use. (It would be interesting research to see if any godesses or other females in Greco/Roman mythology, or other female leaders outside of Greek and Roman governement, were ever referred to as “patriarches”)

  63. I do not know where this comment belongs.

    When are we going to start holding complementarians accountable for making it clear to their listeners, and comp scholars, for making it clear to their followers, that their beliefs and teachings are not facts and their theology is unproven as it is unprovable?

    I think that if women within comp churches who are unaware of the facts knew what they are or if they were educated better as to what is an interpretation, a fact, evidence, proof etc, that they would be FREE to choose what they would like to believe, options being, either biblical facts or comp theory.

  64. I would BET that if the majority of women really knew the difference between comp theory (opinions, supposed implications, presuppositions, assumtions etc) and biblical facts and proofs, that they would fall off the comp wagon like flies because they would KNOW that they are free from comp restraints since God’s teachings are not dependent on man’s theories but rather his written word.

  65. Here’s also what I’m saying:

    The restraints put on women, by comp theology, WHAT ARE THEY? Opinions, presuppositions, assumption, supposed implications, interpretations, etc! Isn’t it kind of strange that those are what the restraints actualy are? Take off the restraints and the women become free.

    If women knew that such is all they were restrained by, how easy it would be for them to become free, if they desired to be.

  66. That’s the goal, to get the “other side” a voice. It’s very much like the evolution issue (sorry Cheryl, but it’s a perfect analogy): one side uses every dirty trick in the book to keep the other silenced, because it fears examination. It knows that if people truly had a choice, and could freely examine both sides, they might “leave the club”.

    There is a terrible plague of pride in the churches today, pride of position. And now they are adding pride in the flesh. They so crave hierarchy as to even extend it to the Trinity, thus carving up the One True God for the sole purpose of justifying their own authority.

    And a lot of us have tried reasoning with them, their leaders and followers, but to no avail. The solution is to just keep shouting out the truth and try to reach as many as possible.

  67. I would BET that if the majority of women really knew the difference between comp theory (opinions, supposed implications, presuppositions, assumtions etc) and biblical facts and proofs, that they would fall off the comp wagon like flies

    I truly believe there are very few women who are actually on the comp wagon, even amongst those living in comp marriages and attending comp churches. I have never actually heard a woman ever argue the comp point of view – it is always men. Well, that isn’t exactly true. I read a book called “Does Christianity Squash Women?” where the author, Rebecca Jones, kind of straddled the fence. She supports literal readings of the biblical texts (including no women in the pulpit and all the head covering nonsense), but she still argues for egalitarian marriages, the reality and application of giftedness by women, and strong female leaders in ministry (as long as they don’t exceed the scriptural boundaries).

    But that is about it. Other than her, I have not read a single female author or heard a single female speaker or interacted with a single online contributor who toed the strict complimentarian line.

  68. My internet was down yesterday at our motel. Arghhh…! We are just packing up to come home so I will have to leave my comments for when we are back home.

  69. “But that is about it. Other than her, I have not read a single female author or heard a single female speaker or interacted with a single online contributor who toed the strict complimentarian line.”

    I know a ton of them. Mainly from my involvement with mega church ministries. Some are speakers or leaders of comp doctrine for women’s ministries, and some are authors. But mainly, the typical woman in the pew buys into it hook, line and sinker. If she doesn’t, her life is miserable at the church. Everyone wants to fit in. And the fact that most people actually like a works type of role thinking it is spiritual. They can check off a list of being a good wife and mother and they think this role is part of their sanctification. They spend a lot of time waiting around on their husbands to be the spiritual leader of the home. It is a big topic of discussion. You even hear bragging and one upmanship on whose husbands lead devotionals in the family and how often. The comparisons go on all the time. It is so very sad.

    I take this thinking a step further because this is NOT going to change unless women are compelled by truth to realize they are in sin for limiting their spiritual growth and not developing gifts from the Holy Spirit. And they aren’t. I was involved in lots of women ministries and they are so shallow it is pathetic. It might as well be a recipe swap or quilting bee (some are) because the study of the Word in context is lacking. About the deepest they go is Beth Moore.

  70. Another thing, women make up more than half of all believers in this country. If they did not want comp doctrine, it would not be so popular. They are the ones buying the books and DVDs. They were out market. Not men.

  71. #83 Lin,

    Everyone wants to fit in. And the fact that most people actually like a works type of role thinking it is spiritual. They can check off a list of being a good wife and mother and they think this role is part of their sanctification.

    This is the danger, for sure. Women in particular accept that it is a “role” that is part of their sanctification and so many leave aside the in-depth study of God’s word for themselves.

    Lin, it is very helpful for your to bring your point of view here because you have been there and can give an accounting that many of us have not been privy to. I really appreciate that!

  72. #80 Paula,

    That’s the goal, to get the “other side” a voice. It’s very much like the evolution issue (sorry Cheryl, but it’s a perfect analogy): one side uses every dirty trick in the book to keep the other silenced, because it fears examination. It knows that if people truly had a choice, and could freely examine both sides, they might “leave the club”.

    I do believe that it is very important to hear both sides. Even for those of us who are convinced on the egalitarian side. The problem I have with having the other side presented here (and in particular the evolution side) is when someone wants to present the other side but won’t answer questions on their view. They won’t answer how they came to their point of view, or what their point of view is exactly and they won’t give the parameters that define their view so that there is a principle regarding how one sees the difference between a scripture that is literal and one that is “figurative”, “poetic”, a “hymn” etc. So I tend to tolerate a respectful opposition position as long as the person will dialog. Otherwise I feel like my own blog is being used to promote a view that conflicts with the scripture. I guess I have been around the cults for too long that it wears on my patience to see someone dodging questions and refusing to give a reason for their belief.

    And a lot of us have tried reasoning with them, their leaders and followers, but to no avail. The solution is to just keep shouting out the truth and try to reach as many as possible.

    I have been learning that some will not dialog because they cannot allow themselves the ability to even hear the opposition. When the walls come down, then we need to move on because we are wasting our time. There are many times that I have tried every angle I can think of to get people to think outside of their prejudice. It doesn’t always work and we need to balance being a faithful witness of the grace of God towards women and knowing when to respectfully walk away and work with others who are more open.

  73. #78 Stickler,
    Welcome to my blog! You said:

    I would BET that if the majority of women really knew the difference between comp theory (opinions, supposed implications, presuppositions, assumtions etc) and biblical facts and proofs, that they would fall off the comp wagon like flies because they would KNOW that they are free from comp restraints since God’s teachings are not dependent on man’s theories but rather his written word.

    I think you are right except for one thing. Some women cannot afford to think outside of the box that they are in because their mates and their friends and the church they belong to will persecute them and call them a heretic. It is a real threat and many cannot follow their own conscience into the context of the scriptures because they are too afraid of the consequences.

  74. So many excellent comments here. Cheryl, how wise and true it is that we must discern when to cut bait and move on in individual conversations. Gengwall, you have unearthed very interesting info and it is a huge blessing to hear these things from a man, too. Paula, you continue to faithfully answer and post on this site and others. Lin, your insights are right on. I wonder, how do we spread the truth among those entrenched within their church bastions? I have made the choice to leave my spouse’s church, and have been invited back most kindly, but cannot. Some choose to remain in their comp churches to avoid division and strife, but I have come to believe there comes a point when leaving may be the best decision, the best stance. Meanwhile, I wish I could mail each household that remains in that comp church information on another view of this whole debate. Yet, I know enough to know that I would be considered a wolf, and would be preached against as such. Somehow, these women will have to learn of these things on their own. I have to trust that God will open the right doors at the right time, and He may or may not use me. I pray, meanwhile, for the blind to see.

  75. #56 Alison,

    Thanks much, Cheryl. The whole debate is much like a dog chasing is own tail sometimes; funny to watch, but not funny to actually be the dog chasing its tail. I say that because I’ve felt like the dog: I’ve felt like I’ve hit on answers through the Spirit, only to be told by a comp that what I’ve hit on is wrong.

    I understand what you are saying. There are going to be many people who want to squash the Holy Spirit’s work because when it comes to the work that He does through women, frankly it scares them. They have followed tradition so long that they think the breath of fresh air that the Holy Spirit brings is the spirit of the age. And their fear keeps them from even hearing the other side. So these people must stop you too so that their position stays strong. Human tradition is a very difficult thing to fight against.

  76. #57 gengwall,

    I truly believe God leaves it up to the partners in each individual marriage to define “what works for them” as far as decisions and activities of daily living. The bible, in it’s teaching, continually reaffirms this. The world, in it’s fallen state, as reflected in biblical history, continually defies the biblical teaching….just as God said it would in Genesis 3.

    Learning how to work out our individual marriages is a great way to mature in the faith. The world’s way is to set strict boundaries that define who we are. Women have especially been bound throughout history and it is an amazing thing that men have convinced women that they were made to have limitations on their service for God.

  77. #58 gengwall,

    The greatest argument against complimentarianism is that it is woefully impractical. If it is God’s design, then God set us up to fail.

    Amen! Well said.

  78. Cheryl, it is sooooo true that many feel they cannot leave. I am blessed (?) to have a spouse who has not been unkind towards me for leaving his comp church though it has certainly caused waves and has not been easy for me at all. I feel for those women who are in danger of losing their families over this. I reached the point where I could no longer go to the comp church. It grieved me too deeply and upset my conscience too strongly. A number of people, including women, urged me to ‘go with my husband to his church’ and I am sick of hearing that.

    There is SO much catering to men that goes on in comp world. Women are left to fend for themselves within the horror of comp theology. They have to submerge so much of what God never intended for them to submerge, and they have to live with it.

    Lately, I have chosen to say little in my defense. First, because I find that often the other party is not interested other than looking for toeholds for their own beliefs on the matter. Second, because sometimes silence is better, coupled with refusal to participate in a corrupt or misguided system. Nonetheless, I would echo Harriet Tubman’s sentiments regarding slavery. She said she would rather try to escape and die trying than remain enslaved. That is the point I reached regarding remaining within a comp church.

  79. One of the most common reasons given by women for holding a comp view is simply because it ‘is the way I was raised.’ That is NOT a biblical reason for anything yet even a pastor’s wife gave me that as a reason.

  80. #60 gengwall,

    Now, for full disclosure, I don’t necessarily buy the “head”=”source” argument either. That is best left for another time. Suffice it to say that “head” definately does not mean “authority”, “ruler”, or any other hierearchical position and Paul’s writings coupled with Jesus’ example confirm this truth…

    Again, my point is not that “headship” can be ignored, it is just that complimentarians are looking in all the wrong places to find examples of it. They never look to Jesus, and that is why they stumble.

    The term “head” is going to be defined by the context. In 1 Cor. 11, for example, the context of “head” is that one person comes from another. The woman is made from the man, and the man is made by God who was the ultimate physical source of life. I agree that “head” cannot mean “ruler of” since that meaning is not in the context and we have been told that one person is not to rule over another in the body of Christ.

  81. #92 truthseeker,

    Lately, I have chosen to say little in my defense. First, because I find that often the other party is not interested other than looking for toeholds for their own beliefs on the matter. Second, because sometimes silence is better, coupled with refusal to participate in a corrupt or misguided system.

    My friend, I think this is wise. Sometimes we just need to be steadfast where we stand without defending ourselves. Silence is the better way in many instances and I commend you for your ability to be silent and not argumentative.

  82. #62 gengwall,

    You said:

    I also think that men are designed to be guardians and that is why Adam was given that responsibility. I think the activities above are guardian activities.

    Was Adam given the responsibility of being a “guardian” because he was a male or because he was the first created and had more experience that made him eligible for the responsibility of “guardian”? Also was Adam’s responsibility to guard the garden or Eve?

    I think godly men should try to succeed where Adam failed, just as our example, Jesus, has succeeded as the second Adam in all areas that the first Adam failed. We can’t be perfect like Jesus, but we absolutely should try to emulate Him…

    The closest model I can think of for “head” in the biblical sense is the captain of a team. The team captain has no authority over the other team members. That is reserved for the Coach (Jesus/God). His position is only one of responsibility and service to the team. He does not have unilateral decision making authority, nor does he uniquely and individually do any team job. In fact, in reality, the captain is often not even the most skilled player on the team. But he does have a “guardian” responsibility and is expected to interceed, sacrifice, and serve on behalf of the others.

    I can agree that a man is expected to sacrifice for his wife and he has a responsibility to her that should flow from his love for her, but I am not so sure that the term “guardian” would be appropriate. Does a woman need a “guardian”? Is she deficient in some area that she has a need that the man was created to fill? If she has a need to have a guardian, then she would not be able to fill the responsibility of a “guardian” (overseer) herself.

    I see the text as God giving one person a responsibility because of the overwhelming revelation that had been given to him. I do not see that all men are made to be “guardians” or that women are not created to be a “guardian”. If I am wrong in seeing this as a responsibility given to one man alone because of his unique experience with God, then is there something that I have missed that makes all men “guardians”? Perhaps my own circumstance has blinded me, but I just don’t see it. God has given me gifts in the “guardian” area. I have been used by my previous church in a place of protection because I could see things that others did not. I have been consulted by pastors and my wisdom has been used as the determining factor for the protection of the church. I have never seen myself as going beyond the gifting and calling of God. I do believe that the wisdom and knowledge that is given to a person is to be used for the benefit of the body. I do not believe that it would have been right for me to remove myself from using my gifts just because I am a woman.

    As far as your “model” goes, I can agree with it in principle without seeing men as a God-provided “guardian” for women. I do believe that women are more naturally gifted in nurture so they typically function with a sacrificial care. Men need to be prodded at times to offer themselves as a sacrifice for their wives because their nature because of the fall tends to be more selfish and “me first”. I believe it is a God-thing to indicate to men that they should be “first” in sacrificial love.

  83. #63 truthseeker,

    You said:

    gengwall, I can understand your caution in putting forth a statement about head not meaning source. I had to laugh when you pleaded with folk to not freak out. I had my spear ready so raising your white flag from miles away was a good thing!

    This made me smile!

  84. #64 gengwall,

    You said:

    And finally, remember that headship has nothing to do with the activities of daily living within marriage. Nowhere does the bible say “the head of the house unilaterally does x”.

    We have to remember that “head” is in reference to “body” not “house”. So that the husband is the “head” of the body” not the “head” of a building or a family.

    The bottom line is that Christ never exercises authority over His bride. He never “rules” over her*. His only attitude and action toward her is selfless love. If that is what it means to be the “head” it is something to be embaced and celebrated, not feared.

    *It should be noted that Christ does “rule”, but the social spheres in which He exercises authority and dominion are never the marital one. Whenever the church is being referenced as “bride”, Christ never “rules”. How could he! He is the second Adam. He has conquored the corrupt spousal “rule” brought on by and propogated the first Adam.

    AMEN!!

  85. #65 gengall,

    Oh yes, and regarding this:

    “I do think source makes the most sense in the passage speaking of Christ being the head of every man, man being the head of woman, and God being the head of Christ, however. ”

    I tentatively agree, but I would argue that the (primary) social sphere being addressed in that passage is the church, not marriage.

    I am not quite understanding where you are getting the church in this context. Paul speaks about the woman as coming from the man and that every man thereafter comes through the woman. This is a context of source as in “origin”. Perhaps you might want to explain how you see the church in this context.

    At any rate, when I look at Ephesians 5, as a man, the focus for me is not so much the title of “head” as it is the actions of agapao love. In other words, “Headship” is exemplified by selfless love. From that perspective, “head”=”source” just doesn’t make much sense to me.

    I haven’t done much on Ephesians 5 here on this blog, but I will likely do more on this area in the future.

    I see a man as a “source” of the woman in that he should be the provider for her. He can be the starting point where the doors are opened for her to minister. If a man fights for a woman to allow her to minister in the church and if all husbands fought to open the door for their wives, there would be no closed doors for at least the married women. Can a husband be the source or provider for a woman to be elevated to an equality with him even while society holds to a lower view of women? This is how I see the man as a provider for his wife. Would this help at all to make “source” in line with “provider” for you?

  86. #68 gengwall,

    I blogged on equality in marriage as outlined in the Genesis 2 model and one of the specific hierarchical arguments I rebutt is “first=authority”. You may find it helpful. If Cheryl will excuse the shameless plug…

    No problem at all with the plug. I am thrilled to be a helper 🙂

  87. Cheryl – Tying up some loose ends.

    My “guarding” stuff was kind of shooting from the hip. Suffice it to say that I do not think of Adam as the guardian of Eve so much as the guardian of an environment. I think we are in synch on that note. Having said that, part of guarding an environment does bleed over into protecting the people in that environment. At any rate, I did say that both husband and wife (and male and female in general), have both the capability and responsibility to engage in “guardian” and/or “headship” activities. My specific focus was Ephesians 5 and the reasons Paul had in having to rather blatantly point it out to men.

    As far as “head”=”source” goes, again, my focus was Ephesians 5, not 1 Corinthians 11. My point on 1 Cor was that it is not a passage specifically addressing marriage, like the second half of Ephesians 5 is. The primary teaching in 1 Cor 11 regards in-church activity, not marital relationship, yes???

    so, regarding this….

    I see a man as a “source” of the woman in that he should be the provider for her. He can be the starting point where the doors are opened for her to minister. If a man fights for a woman to allow her to minister in the church and if all husbands fought to open the door for their wives, there would be no closed doors for at least the married women. Can a husband be the source or provider for a woman to be elevated to an equality with him even while society holds to a lower view of women? This is how I see the man as a provider for his wife. Would this help at all to make “source” in line with “provider” for you?

    I don’t have a problem with the practical application that you outline – indeed I would say part of headship is sacrificing for and serving your spouse so that she can be free to “be all she can be”. (Again, both genders do that, but men seem to need a 2×4 to the head to get it) I simply would never summarize it with the term “source”. It is probably my symantical stumbling block. I do agree that “head” in its current cultural context, while probably being linguistically accurate, causes unfortunate conclusions to be drawn and needs to be reworked in some way.

    We have to remember that “head” is in reference to “body” not “house”. So that the husband is the “head” of the body” not the “head” of a building or a family.

    LOL – I can’t tell if this is a concurance or a rebuttal. I think we are saying the same thing so I will take it as a concurance.

  88. gengwall,

    My “guarding” stuff was kind of shooting from the hip. Suffice it to say that I do not think of Adam as the guardian of Eve so much as the guardian of an environment. I think we are in synch on that note. Having said that, part of guarding an environment does bleed over into protecting the people in that environment.

    Yes, I do believe that “guarding” an environment would cause one to “protect” a person. The issue of course would be the reason why one needs protection and the other one issued a responsibility to protect. I believe very strongly that the issue is not one of gender, but of knowledge and responsibility. The one who has been given much, much is required. The principle still holds for us today. If we have knowledge that is needed by another because the other person is in danger of being misled and deceived, then we are required to use that knowledge to protect.

    My specific focus was Ephesians 5 and the reasons Paul had in having to rather blatantly point it out to men.

    Men do seem to have to be told things directly and more than once! 🙂

    The context of Ephesians 5 is that we are to be “imitators of God” (verse 1) willing to learn “what is pleasing to the Lord” (verse 10) and practicing putting ourselves under each other to lift the other person up with our service by being subject one to another (verse 21). Men are then to initiate and model the servanthood code of conduct. While the first man abandoned his sacrifice for his wife, true men of God should follow God’s example and willingly initiate a sacrificial service for their bride. If we can understand this from the passage then verses 23 could be interpreted this way:

    Eph 5:23 For the husband is to lead in willing sacrificial service for his wife, as Christ also led in giving himself as a willing sacrificial service for the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.
    Eph 5:24 But as the church willingly accepts what Christ freely offers her, so also wives ought to accept and lift up their husband’s sacrifice for them and respect him for his service of love.

    While a wife is also called to be like Christ-like and to sacrifice herself, the one who is called to take first place as a servant is the man.

    We can also note that all of the original apostles who were martyred for their faith were men. While the first man blew it in the garden, allowing his wife to be taken captive by the enemy, God set up a system whereby men now are called to sacrifice (not silence!) in order to pave the way for their women to get past all of the sin-filled traditions that stop a woman from fulfilling her calling as an imitator of God. We see this sacrifice and we praise God for it because it is His will. True godly men of God will initiate our healing, our elevation in society and our ability to serve God and the body of Christ. True godly men will be initiators and examples as they open the doors for us in the church. It is absolutely no problem for me to submit to men in the church as they are opening the spiritual doors for me to minister. I LOVE my brothers in Christ who understand this and who work hard to pass on a godly spiritual heritage that the first man failed in.

    I don’t have a problem with the practical application that you outline – indeed I would say part of headship is sacrificing for and serving your spouse so that she can be free to “be all she can be”. (Again, both genders do that, but men seem to need a 2×4 to the head to get it) I simply would never summarize it with the term “source”. It is probably my symantical stumbling block.

    Maybe you just don’t quite see what I see. Source can mean fountainhead, initiator, forerunner and provenance. The one who starts the process and by his love and care sees through the process to completion, that to me is a depiction of a godly man.

    I concur with all the rest of your sayings. You seem to “get it” about the responsibility of a man. It isn’t about holding back another, but about initiating the giving of oneself.

  89. Yes – to all. And aren’t you saying that men are thus called because the first Adam failed and we have all inherited at least the fleshly inclination of that failure? If so, I whole heartedly agree.

    This is where I have run into problems in the past with women who only have known abusive men. You made the statement:

    God set up a system whereby men now are called to sacrifice (not silence!) in order to pave the way for their women to get past all of the sin-filled traditions that stop a woman from fulfilling her calling as an imitator of God (my emphasis)

    I can tell you from experience, a statement such as that from a man (i.e. me) would have elicited great howls of fowl from many of the women I have dialoged with in the past. One chief complaint would have been “I don’t need any man to pave the way for me.” Another would be, “that is just another ‘system’ where God puts men in charge.” I must confess, there are times where I feel men can’t catch a break. It seems we are always presumed to have alterior superiority motives.

    But enough whining. I think we see things the same even though we use different terminology. Do we agree that Paul’s directions to husbands in Ephesians 5:25-30 are expressly designed to address a fleshly flaw in males brought on by the fall? And the more controversial parallel question: would you agree that Paul has similar motivation and is taking a similar approach in vs. 22-24 in his direction to wives?

  90. lol – that’s “howls of foul”! I am not exactly sure what “howls of fowl” would sound like but I’m hearing geese honking. Definately not what I meant.

  91. #103 gengwall,

    I can tell you from experience, a statement such as that from a man (i.e. me) would have elicited great howls of fowl from many of the women I have dialoged with in the past. One chief complaint would have been “I don’t need any man to pave the way for me.” Another would be, “that is just another ’system’ where God puts men in charge.” I must confess, there are times where I feel men can’t catch a break. It seems we are always presumed to have alterior superiority motives.

    Women who think that the worldly system that we live in (and that has drifted into the church) does not need a man to pave the way for a woman may not be living in reality. A woman who paves her own way may get the work done, but she is looked on as a Jezebel, a “manly” woman and as a intruder. While I “can” pave my own way, it will be a rough road for me. I am happy for and grateful to have a man open the doors for me and give his endorsement to allow others to listen to me without fear. Women who cannot embrace their brothers who are trying their best to lay their lives down to give us a voice may not have thought through this issue well enough. We have been hurt and we are bloody from the battle. I will praise God for every man who is willing to get bloody by walking by my side and opening the door for me in the face of ridicule and sneers. I encourage women to embrace these men as dear brothers in Christ and not to see themselves as self-sufficient. We simply need each other.

    gengwall, your comment about the “fowl” “foul” made me laugh! I enjoy your humor and your visual pictures. I am off to get some other work done with the sound of honking geese in my mind! When I take another break I will get back to you on your questions 🙂

  92. Assuming we are on reasonably common ground….

    I think there is a full circle here, not so much with 1 Tim 2 but with inner-church relations in general which encompasses 1 Tim 2, and it DOES revolve around 1 Cor 11 and Ephesians 5 because of the use of “head” in both. Here is the progression as I see it (and patriarchal men and the women who follow them believe it).

    Ephesians 5 says that the man is boss (i.e. “head”) in the marriage and the woman needs to obey* (i.e. “submit”)…..->
    In a more general sense, 1 Cor 11 says that all men are “head” over women. This is especially true in church where the women need a “head” (i.e. boss) to watch over and “cover” them…..->
    Therefore, any discussion of male/female relations in church (e.g. 1 Tim 2) can only be understood in the context of the general hierarchical arrangement of men as boss and women as obedient follower…..->

    As I and many others have said before, this is extremely myopic and misguided. But it is also pervasive. It is a belief that I truly think is a fundamental component of our (men and women alike) fallen state.

    I really think it begins with the gross misinterpretation of Ephesians 5 and snowballs from there. It is no wonder that these men (and the women who believe them) think that “will rule over” is a command, not a consequence. That is why I am so passionate about getting to the heart of Ephesians 5, because to me, the misinterpretation of it is the root of many of the problems. BUT, the correct interpretation of it is the solution to many of the problems.

    That is also where I run into such resistance from women, because they also are prisoner to this patriarchal paradigm even if they are rebelling against it. Even if I present a very egalitarian view of Ephesians 5, they simply don’t believe me. Actually, they don’t believe I believe what I am saying because they believe all men believe that Paul was outlining male rule. They see conspiracy all over the place because they have believed the lie that the patriarchal paradigm is really what Paul meant. (Of course, they have also suffered the real life pains that that paradigm produces.) Therefore, they distrust me and dismiss Paul. I have literally had women tell me that I don’t really believe what I am saying; that Paul was a misogynist plain and simple and anyone who tries to paint him otherwise is either a fool or a liar. And it all stems from this fundamental, pervasive, invasive misunderstanding of “head” and “submit”.

  93. #103 gengwall,

    Do we agree that Paul’s directions to husbands in Ephesians 5:25-30 are expressly designed to address a fleshly flaw in males brought on by the fall? And the more controversial parallel question: would you agree that Paul has similar motivation and is taking a similar approach in vs. 22-24 in his direction to wives?

    I do agree with you about Paul’s direction to husbands that deals with their fleshly flaws. But with the women I have another view. Women had been under their husband’s authority in that culture. This is the way it had always been, but Christianity changed that and gave them their own responsibility to mature and grow and use their own spiritual gifts. As they experienced Christianity, I believe that there is a strong possibility that their freedom in Christ might cause some of the women to despise their husbands. Surely they could submit to serve everyone in the congregation, but their own husbands? Why should she had to minister to him when she was freed from that? I think that Paul is emphasizing that our freedom in Christ should be a cause for us to honor and serve the body of Christ including even those whom we no longer are compelled to serve. So for slaves, they are to serve their brothers in Christ who are also their masters even if they get their freedom. The injunction to submit one to another isn’t for everyone except for former slaves. And it isn’t for everyone except for husbands. Our love for Christ should make us even more willing to serve with love. But I can understand how women who have become equal in Christ could despise doing things that made them think about their old lives which had no choice for service. Their service was compelled and now it is to be given freely out of love for Christ. I don’t know if that makes sense to you or not.

    Therefore, they distrust me and dismiss Paul. I have literally had women tell me that I don’t really believe what I am saying; that Paul was a misogynist plain and simple and anyone who tries to paint him otherwise is either a fool or a liar. And it all stems from this fundamental, pervasive, invasive misunderstanding of “head” and “submit”.

    This is very sad. It not only paints men who want to help as being a liar, but it paints the Apostle Paul as a misogynist. I believe that Paul has been misunderstood for so long that he has been wrongly accused of holding back women when his real attitude towards women in ministry was outstanding. I really feel compelled to defend Paul, because I have come to love him and his writings because of my intense study of the hard passages of Paul on women.

    I agree with you that Ephesians 5 is key but I also think that there is something else at least in modern times that is key. It is the relationship in the Trinity where hierarchical scholars are saying that in the Trinity the Father has an authority over the Son. They make Jesus out to be eternally in a position of submission and eternally subordinate to the Father. I think that once this error is straightened out it goes a long way to straightening out the false views of women. This is why I spent so long on my portion of our DVD “The Trinity Eternity Past to Eternity Future” on the subordination of the Son. Definitely Ephesians 5 & 1 Cor. 11 “head” in the Trinity are key passages that must be taught properly so that people may become free.

  94. Cheryl, your remarks about the critical value of properly understanding the Trinity are extremely important. It is a or the kingpin upon which the hierarchical theory depends.

    Your dialogue here with Gengwall sure touches on the necessary finer points and implications of the meaning of head. I think you are right when you say that women who have been subdued for so long may be gunshy at even the thought of having to ‘serve’ their husbands or anyone else in the proper sense of that word.
    LOL at the fowl howl foul-up!!!! Bowels of mercy to one and all!

  95. I do agree with you about Paul’s direction to husbands that deals with their fleshly flaws. But with the women I have another view. Women had been under their husband’s authority in that culture. This is the way it had always been, but Christianity changed that and gave them their own responsibility to mature and grow and use their own spiritual gifts. As they experienced Christianity, I believe that there is a strong possibility that their freedom in Christ might cause some of the women to despise their husbands. Surely they could submit to serve everyone in the congregation, but their own husbands? Why should she had to minister to him when she was freed from that?

    I had a big long response written but as often happens, I believe this is not the perfect thread to continue on. Suffice it to say that I disagree slightly with you only in the area of root causes. You take the position (correct me if I’m wrong) that the root cause for any reluctance to submit on the part of wives is primarily (and maybe even exclusively) cultural. I think it goes back to the beginning and the fall, just as does the reluctance in men to love. I am comfortable with that minor difference.

  96. gengwall,

    You take the position (correct me if I’m wrong) that the root cause for any reluctance to submit on the part of wives is primarily (and maybe even exclusively) cultural.

    Perhaps I should start a post on Ephesians 5 sooner than later. We’ll see. However my position isn’t a cultural one. It is a position of reaction to mistreatment. This mistreatment has become cultural in many areas but it isn’t limited to culture. The treatment of women is part of the fall. It is a natural outgrowth of human nature that when one is freed from a bad position, that when one looks back at the bad times, one can feel disdain for that place and to never want to go back there again. So a modern day woman even that has been mistreated as if she was a second-class human, when she understands her place in Christ, she may not want to voluntarily place herself as a willing servant for the good of her husband because she had in the past been treated as if she was nothing more than a servant. I don’t know if you can understand that or not. I can because I have been there. And I have heard from many women who have been so hurt by their husbands that they fight against submission. They see it as a weakness instead of power under control. I have been shunned by some because I believe that submission is to be a characteristic of *all* believers. Submission isn’t being a door mat or allowing someone to control you or take away your person hood. It is a loving act to help another person by treating them as valuable and special in the Lord. So even though I would never go back to being a person with no options except the life of being controlled, I can embrace submission as a Christian because I now control what I give and I have choices.

    However I do understand the feelings of women who have not yet come full circle. They can serve everyone but their husbands because they have been taken advantage of and treated as if their views are not important and as if they were created to be the maid, the doormat and the yes-girl. It is difficult for them to see their husbands as Christ sees them and they have not yet come to understand how empowering submission and love and acceptance can be. My life is very full when I can serve others. And I cannot withhold my service and care from my husband as I give it to others as well. When I see the writings of Paul in Ephesians 5, I look through the lens of what a woman might feel who has been hurt and taken advantage of and who has seen the green grass on the other side because of freedom in Christ. Without the instruction to willingly submit, she might naturally disdain her husband as if he had been her tormentor. When a wife has full healing in her life, she can forgive him for everything that he did that was wrong and she can treat him as a true brother in Christ. And as a true brother in Christ, she will give of her best to him in service.

    I don’t know if this makes any sense to you or not, but it comes from my experience. More later in whatever I post on Ephesians 5.

  97. Flawless work as usual, Cheryl. Lin, you hit the patrio on the head: all it is for them is a matter of control.

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