Round 8 Interview with the Apostle Paul on women pastors

Round 8 Interview with the Apostle Paul on women pastors

Julie Pennington-Russell is pastor of First Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia
Julie Pennington-Russell is pastor of First Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia

This is the eighth in a series of simulated interviews with the Apostle Paul taken from the position of what he might say if we could transport Paul from the New Testament account through a time tunnel into our present day.

Doug, a strong complementarian will be questioning Paul on his own strong hold today.  The issue will be women pastors.   Let’s listen in.  (Links to the previous interviews are at the bottom of this post.)

Paul: Good day brother Doug.  Are you inviting me back for another conversation or are you too offended to talk?

Doug: I am still highly offended, but I have cooled down enough that I want to talk.  You said that I had pride because of my privileged position as a man.  I am going to make you eat those words because of what you wrote in 1 Timothy 3.

Paul: Eat my words?  Well, we will see.  1 Timothy 3 is exactly where I was going to take you today to prove that you are prejudiced by your male pride.

Doug: That is impossible because of your clearly worded statement.   In 1 Timothy 3:2 it says that women are forbidden from being elders or pastors.

1 Timothy 3:2  An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
1 Timothy 3:3  not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.
1 Timothy 3:4  He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity

Paul: Where is the word “forbidden”?

Doug: You are just being picky.  It doesn’t exactly say that women are forbidden, but your words are very, very clear that women are not qualified to be pastors or elders.

Paul: IF I was writing about the people who are disqualified for overseers, then there would have to be only one box.

Doug: Huh?  I don’t understand.  What do you mean one box?

Paul: Let me draw it out for you.

woman-man-box1

Paul: How many classes of people are in this box?

Doug: I don’t know if you can call these “classes” of people.  But I will play along with you here.  There are women, unmarried men and married men without children.

Paul: Good.  Now notice this is one box.  All are together in this one boxIF I was giving out the classes of people who do not qualify to be overseers, then this would be the entire box of disqualified people.

Doug: Well, you can’t disqualify unmarried men or married men without children!

Paul: Why?

Doug: Because everyone knows that men are not disqualified just because of their marital situation unless they are a polygamist.  You cannot be prejudiced against an unmarried man because he could become married someday.  And you cannot disqualify a married man without children because he could be a father some day and besides some men cannot have children.  Why would you disqualify them because their reproductive organs aren’t working properly?

Paul: There you go….you are prejudiced.  It is just as I said.

Doug: What? I just told you that I am not prejudiced.  I don’t disqualify an unmarried man or a married man without children.

Paul: But you do take them out of the box.

Doug: But the men shouldn’t be in the box.

Paul: Why?

Doug: Because…because…because no one has rules against unmarried men or childless men.

Paul: Then why do you have rules about women?

Doug: Because it is clear that you are prohibiting women from being in leadership.

Paul: If it is clear, then it must also be clear that there are some men in the same box.  If you remove the men from the box, then it proves that you have a male bias.  It is a measuring stick that shows your prejudice against women.  So tell me why do you remove the men, but leave the women in the box?

Doug: Because no church has those rules.  They only have rules for women.

Paul: So you are going to test your beliefs by the practice of other prejudiced men in other churches?

Doug: You are really ticking me off!  You are trying to force me to be prejudiced and I don’t want to be prejudiced.

Paul: But you are already prejudiced.  You are being faced with that prejudice and it is uncomfortable.

Doug: I feel that I know what is right on the inside.  I know that it is wrong for a woman to be a pastor.  It just feels wrong.

Paul: We do not test things by how we feel.  We do not test what is right and wrong by our testosterone either.  We go to God’s word and test everything by the only straight edge that we have.  Since I am the one who wrote 1 Timothy 3 under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, maybe it is time for you to ask me what I meant.

Doug: Okay.  I will.  What did you mean by writing 1 Timothy 3:1-7?

Paul: I’m glad that you asked.  Open your bible with me and let’s read.  The Darby Bible shows verse one in an understandable fashion:

1 Timothy 3:1 (Darby) The word is faithful: if any one aspires to exercise oversight, he desires a good work.

This is a “faithful” or trustworthy saying.  What is the trustworthy saying?  That is anyone can long for, stretch out for, or desire to have the responsibility of overseeing the church.  Those that desire this work  desire a very good and useful work.  Notice that the very first qualifier is “anyone”.  If I was going to disqualify any class of people, it would have been right here.

Doug: But doesn’t it say “he” desires a good work?

Paul: There is no “he” in the Greek.  The grammar is generic in the very same way that the salvation passages say that “he” will be saved.  It doesn’t mean males.  It is the default grammar for all people.

Doug: Okay.

Paul: Then in verse two many translations miss out on a very important conjunction.  I wrote:

1 Timothy 3:2 (ALT)  Therefore, it is necessary [for] the overseer to be blameless [or, above reproach], …

I said therefore

Doug: What is “therefore” there for?

Paul: It ties in verse one with verse two.  Since anyone may aspire to give oversight to the church therefore it is necessary that whoever longs to gives oversight must be blameless.  Do you see that the standard to attain is to be blameless?  In what way is anyone who desires to give oversight to be blameless?

Doug: They must be the husband of one wife.

Paul: How is that blameless?

Doug: They are faithful to one woman.

Paul: Okay.  That’s good.  But can a single man be blameless?

Doug: Well, sure.

Paul: Then what did I mean when I stated that the standard is blameless and then listed husband of one wife?

Doug: Well, an adulterer wouldn’t be blameless.

Paul: You got it.  But could a woman be blameless?

Doug: Not if she was an adulteress.

Paul: That’s right.  But what if she was happily married or happily single?  Can she be blameless just like a single man can be?

Doug: Well, I suppose.

Paul: Then you can see, that the condition of “blameless” is not about gender.  It is about morality.

Doug: So what did you mean?

Paul: I meant just what I said.  There is only one real condition.  The condition that allows anyone to make their desire to be an overseer happen is for them to strive to be blameless.  IF the person is married, then that person is to be faithful.   While polygamy was not banned at that time, the blameless standard for marriage was one man and one woman.  A polygamist was not considered faithful to one woman.

Doug: So blameless is the marital standard IF one is married and gender is not the standard?

Paul: That’s right.  Let’s carry on with the standards for a blameless overseer.  In verse two I give more examples:

temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

Can a married woman be temperate?  Prudent?  Respectable?

Doug: Of course.

Paul: Then these are not standards for gender.  They are standards for blameless as one who oversees God’s people.  A blameless person will be self-controlled, honorable in all they do, kind and loving to strangers, and skilled at teaching so that they can discharge their duties to care for the flock.  More examples of blameless follow in verse three.

1 Timothy 3:3  not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.

The one who desires to oversee the church will not be blameless if they are addicted to wine, they must not be a bully, or lack a gentle manner, they must be peace loving people and they must be free from the love of money.  These are more things that make them blameless as an overseer.

Doug: But verse four must be about men only since they are the managers of the house.

Paul: Let’s have a look.

1 Timothy 3:4  He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity

The grammar here again is the generic kind that is used in all of the salvation passages.  Are only men able to be saved?

Doug: Of course not!

Paul: Then can women be managers of the household too?

Doug: I think that belongs only to men.

Paul: Your prejudice is showing again.  Let’s look at 1 Timothy 5:14 to see that women are also managers or rulers of the home.

1 Timothy 5:14 (Darby)  I will therefore that the younger marry, bear children, rule the house, give no occasion to the adversary in respect of reproach.

Doug: My version says that women are to “keep house”.

Paul: (Laughing)  You need to check the Greek on that one.   I said that women are to be managers or rulers of their own homes.  I didn’t say that their only aspiration in the home is to be cleaning women.

Doug: Alright, I’ll accept that one by your word.

Paul: Good.  I am pleased.  Now look at how I sum it all up in verse seven.

1 Timothy 3:7  And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Again the “he” is not actually a male term but the standard way of expression for any person without regard to gender.  The “blameless” is to be both inside and outside the church so that the one who desires to be an overseer will not fall into immorality or into public disgrace so that the person falls into the trap of the devil and the work of God is maligned.

Doug: So you are saying that there is nothing in this passage that makes a woman forbidden from being an overseer?

Paul: There is lots that would forbid her if she is not blameless.  But is being a woman mean that one is not blameless?

Doug: Hmmmm….I guess not.

Paul: Everything I said is in the category of morality, blameless lifestyle and it has nothing to do with gender.

Doug: But what about the children thing?  You have me curious.  Does a person have to have children to be an overseer?

Paul: No.  IF the person has children, then the children have to be managed well.  If a person cannot manage their own household, then how can they manage the house of God.  There are other ways for a single man or woman to show that they are blameless in managing the household of God.  After all I do not have children, yet I have God’s approval to manage the house of God.  Am I disqualified?

Doug: Of course not.  You are the Apostle Paul.

Paul: Then stop being prejudiced.  Get rid of your boxes and understand that this passage is about blameless living.  It isn’t about gender.  I would like to come back again to talk about 1 Corinthians 14.  Are you willing to hear me out or are you still mad at me?

Doug: I am not sure if I am still ticked or not.  I have so many questions.  Please do come back.  I want to hear more.

 

(The first interview with the Apostle Paul and Doug is located here.  The  second interview is here.  The third interview is here.  The fourth interview is here.  The fifth interview is here.  The sixth interview is here.  The seventh interview is here. The ninth interview is here.)

41 thoughts on “Round 8 Interview with the Apostle Paul on women pastors

  1. That same main point about included vs. excluded can apply on many other topics as well. We read too much into things, partly because of tradition, and partly because we presume English upon Greek. A good example on this topic is when in Eph. Paul told husbands to love and wives to respect. He wasn’t saying wives do not need to love and husbands do not need to respect.

    This is also the issue with the common claim that leaders must be men solely because Jesus only chose males in the inner group of twelve. Yet, inconsistently, nobody ever claims that there must always be twelve, or that they must all be Jews, or that they must speak Aramaic.

    Would male supremacists actually presume that since, in the Great Commission, Jesus said to preach, teach, and baptize, that He must only have meant that Commission for men? Why not? Are women sinning if they “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every nation” as so many missionaries have done?

    I often recall the illustration of children in a playground, and a couple of kids are misbehaving. If the teacher reprimands the misbehaving ones, does that mean all the other kids are free to misbehave? Then why, in 1 Tim. 2, do people presume that men are allowed to authenteo? Were only the women, and all of them, misbehaving in Ephesus? So many presumptions!

  2. As an egal, I agree with the conclusions but get there a different way.

    1. I read 1 Tim 3:1 as referring to Jesus the Word as being faithful, per Bruce Fleming; it is not referring to a faithful saying at this point in the text. It did earlier, as a wordplay, in 1 Tim 1:15, where it is BOTH a saying and a ref. to Jesus. 1 Tim 4:9 is also not a saying, again just referring to Jesus. The thing about wordplays is that either one sees the play on words or one does not. The Bible is full of wordplays, as these help memory.

    2. As they can be churches who exclude all you put in the box, I prefer to use the meaning of the Greek term “mias gunaikos andres” as an idiom meaning “faithful spouse” per Lucien Deiss, as quoted by Bruce Fleming.

    3. On the 12, I do believe and teach that they needed to be EXACTLY 12, as they map to the 12 tribes of Israel. I see this as why Judas was replaced but James was not. So there are the 12 apostles of Jesus and the many apostles of the church after that, including the ones mentioned in the NT. The 12 also needed to be Jews, but the church apostles do not need to be and in fact should not all be.

  3. Don,
    In your #1, the “word” is indeed referring to a saying and not Jesus. The reasons are clear from the text itself. While Jesus is called the “Word”, in Timothy 3:1 there is no sense that Jesus is being referred to.

    (Darby) The word is faithful: if any one aspires to exercise oversight, he desires a good work.

    What has the faithfulness of Jesus got to do with anyone aspiring to exercise oversight? It would be a disjunction to attach the two statements. However there is no disjunction at all to have a faithful saying attached to the saying that anyone can desire to be an overseer. Any play on words must match the context and the context does not match in this case.

    #2 IF there are churches who exclude all I put in the box then at least they are being consistent. The fact is that the modern church of today is not consistent and this is what I was addressing.

    #3 Your point doesn’t make sense to me. If there had to be twelve, then when James died he should also have been replaced. I think it would be better to say that the twelve were sovereignly picked to be the foundation of the church and the only reason that Judas was replaced was because he was the only one who was predicted would be replaced as he was the unfaithful one who betrayed Jesus.

  4. #2 “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Just because someone is consistent does not mean they are correct. In this case, the church that restricts all 3 is even more hobbled to advance the Kingdom. Not a good result. Hence my pref. for the idiomatic translation, as this frees everyone to serve.

    #3 Just as there were 12 patriarchs in 12 tribes, there were 12 apostles of Jesus. When Judas disqualified himself, he was replaced, as there needed to be 12 for the mapping to succeed. As the 12 patriarchs died without being replaced, so did the 12 apostles of Jesus then die without being replaced.

    On #1, the phrase is used to show the turning point. In 1 Tim 1, it is Jesus saving Paul and Paul makes a wordplay where the term has BOTH meanings. In 1 Tim 3, it is Jesus able to restore the deceived woman/women who aspire to teach, but no saying. In 1 Tim 4, it is Jesus in Timothy’s life who will support him in doing what he needs to do, but no saying. This is how I read it. I agree that one may not see the wordplay and if they do not see it, they do not get it.

  5. Don,
    You said:

    #2 “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

    Ralph Waldo Emerson does not explain the difference between foolish and wise consistency. Who are we to say that it is foolish? Since Emerson encouraged people to rely on their own judgment instead of the opinion of God’s word, I don’t think that his transcendentalism would be appropriate as a discussion on this blog.

    In this case, the church that restricts all 3 is even more hobbled to advance the Kingdom.

    Perhaps a church that restricts all 3 would have more of an opportunity to see that there is faulty reasoning when one sees the passage as a restriction of classes of people instead of the restriction of ungodly characters. Those who only remove women from the list seem to remain blinded.

    When Judas disqualified himself, he was replaced, as there needed to be 12 for the mapping to succeed.

    More important than mapping, I would think would be the specific prophesy in the OT that states that this one would be replaced with another. I think that God’s sovereignty outweighs anything else.

    in 1 Tim 1:15, where it is BOTH a saying and a ref. to Jesus.

    This verse does not work with making “word” to be a reference to Jesus because of the inspired words.

    1 Timothy 1:15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.

    Here the “word” being trustworthy is connected to “deserving full acceptance” and “that”… The conjunction word “that” is:

    used after verbs of thinking, judging, believing to introduce the content of the thought processes
    Friberg, Timothy ; Friberg, Barbara ; Miller, Neva F.: Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, 2000 (Baker’s Greek New Testament Library 4), S. 287

    Therefore the word that is trustworthy and deserving full acceptance is the “saying”. It isn’t “who” is worthy all of acceptance which would have identifyied a person.

    In 1 Timothy 3:1 it is once again a saying that is trustworthy and to be accepted and this is followed by the particle “if”. Paul is saying that no one should contradict the trustworthy saying that anyone (male, female, Jew, Gentile) who desires to have the responsibility of overseer would each one be desiring a good thing. This is the key verse that is attached to the fact that it is a trustworthy saying that cannot be contradicted which forces us to see the following verses as a reference to character and not about a restriction on classes of people.

    1 Tim 4:9 is also not a saying, again just referring to Jesus.

    This is also incorrect. 1 Timothy 4:9 is one case where Paul places the fact that it is a trustworthy saying, AFTER the trustworthy saying. Here is the context.:

    1 Timothy 4:7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;
    1 Timothy 4:8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
    1 Timothy 4:9 It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance.
    1 Timothy 4:10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

    Here we can see that the trustworthy statement is that “godliness is profitable for all things since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

    We can understand that Paul has just referenced this trustworthy statement because in verse 10 he says “For it is for this we labor and strive”. What is “this”? It is for godliness that we labor and strive. Why? Paul tells us “because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.” Once again we see that this verse doesn’t say “for him we labor and strive”. The verse specifically says it is for godliness that we strive because we fix our hope on God.

    So all of the examples without exception in 1 Timothy are for the “word” to be about a particular statement that is without contradiction as the statement is “trustworthy”. Again this places 1 Timothy 3:1 into the category of unqualified acceptance that “all” may aspire to the responsibility of lovingly overseeing the needs of the flock. There is nothing in the inspired words, the inspired grammar or the complete context that would make these passages not to be about a very important and trustworthy statement. Once again the consistency is amazing. Paul started a concept and carried it through the book of 1 Timothy in a consistent way.

  6. I see it differently. My recommendation is that you check out Bruce Fleming’s book. The wordplay does not come across in English, but does in Greek; but I can only point it out, you can decline to see it.

  7. What has happened is that there is a TRADITION of translating these verses as “trustworthy is the saying” rather than “faithful the Word”. In the first base, both are possible meanings and if you do not see that, you miss the wordplay.

  8. When I was working on my NT Letters, I had the impression that the phrase (not just the “word”) is an idiom meaning “This is something you can count on”, and it goes with the preceding sentence, not the following. From Robertson’s Word Pictures:

    {Faithful is the saying} (pistos ho logos). Here the phrase points to the preceding words (not like #1:15) and should close the preceding paragraph.

    As for wordplays, while Paul does make extensive use of them, I’m not convinced he ever used “word” that way. It is John who calls Jesus “the Word” and thus personifies it. Paul, on the other hand, always uses it as either that which is written or to refer to “the message” or saying.

    But I do believe that the Twelve map to the 12 tribes of Israel, since neither group was replaced and also since both those groups are listed in the foundation and walls of the New Jerusalem. Everything concerning the Twelve precedes the coming of the Holy Spirit, as far as symbolism goes, or as I’ve argued many times, there would have to be twelve church leaders at all times.

  9. Don,
    I have read Bruce Fleming’s book. The inspired word usage and the inspired grammar do not support the theory that Paul is speaking about Jesus here. I heartily agree with Paula that the meaning is “this is something you can count on”. That is a great paraphrase.

  10. Don #7,
    It is a “tradition” because it is proper word usage within the text. If this “tradition” is not correct, then it must be shown why it is not correct. Just saying that it is incorrect and that it is a wordplay without showing how the wordplay works within the inspired context just doesn’t cut it.

    Some might think that I am an egalitarian because it suits the way I feel. This is incorrect. I have freedom to test everything by God’s Word and not by my emotion or any agenda that I may or may not have. I can reject things that other egalitarians say because I trust that the scriptures are clear when one looks deeply at the inspired words, inspired grammar and the inspired context. Any explanation that does not fit within these parameters can be rejected if it is not supported. I am one egalitarian who is very sure that I have the freedom to reject even egalitarian arguments if they do not fit. I also have freedom to show why the explanation doesn’t fit hower I do not reject the people who hold to the view. But for me I would rather have truth than anything. I am sorry if that makes anyone feel like I am not towing the party line. As far as I am concerned there is no such thing as a party line. We do not stick together because we have a common agenda. We should be sticking together because we have a common desire for truth and a common love for Jesus. What isn’t valid as truth should be able to be freely rejected no matter who says it. If a complementarian is faithful to the scriptures and shows how the teaching is valid in the context with the words, grammar, context and the historical meaning, I am okay with that. Unfortunately the complementarian argument falls flat because there are so many contradictions between their argument and the text itself. My bottom line is now and will always be to seek out the truth and to hold tightly to the Word of God while loving the people who do not see it the same way as I do and treating them as valued brothers and sisters in Christ.

  11. “Are women sinning if they “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every nation” as so many missionaries have done?”

    A very hard comp is Elisabeth Elliott. This has always confused me as she stayed in the jungle and taught men. Yes, illiterate men, but men all the same. She also kept her first husband’s name when she remarried.

    It is strange to me how so many folks do not see the contradictions in the comp camp.

  12. While I did not get to read all of this give and take between Paul and Doug, I surely enjoyed what I read. Most people are careless readers (and I include myself among them at time for there is not one that does not slip now and then), and they are even more careless about trying to learn what really takes place in Church History. I was struck by the fact that the man who investigated Sandy Creek Church in 1771 just before Stearns died, Morgan Edwards pastor of FBC Philadelphia was on of the most educated of the Baptist ministers in the colonies (if not the most educated. He had attended Bristol College in England and was recommended to the FBC of Phila. by Dr. John Gill, the first Baptist theologian of note). Three yrs after he visited Sandy Creek and had written his history of NC Baptists, Edwards wrote a work which indicates that he had changed his mind on Women in ministry. When I delivered my address on the subject, “The Genius of Orthodoxy: Eldresses,” I had forgotten that I had taken notes on his second work. Even so I was able to work out a possible scenario for Stearns’ justification of women in ministry. It is found in Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, III, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, which argues against women in ministry except she be specially called, gifted, and endowed. Years later I came across another Puritan who made essentially the same argument. The Puritans were the leading intellectuals of their day, and they were no slouches in the use of logic. What every one seems to forget about Stearns and Sandy Creek is that they were the offspring of the Puritans and Pilgrims, Calvinist to the core and more liberal than a hound’s tooth. And quite a joy to study. What is more they had the Power of God’s blessing on their efforts. We call thir origins, The First Great Awakening, and their effect, The Second Great Awakening, and they helped launch the Great Century of Missions with the help of another Puritan Baptist, Luther Rice, who said, “Predestination is in the Bible and you had better preach it.” NEITHER THE MODERATES NOR THE CONSERVATIVES SEEM TO CARE TWO HOOTS ABOUT WHAT I HAD WORKED OUT IN MY ADDRESS. BUT THE CHICKENS WILL COME HOME TO ROOST ONE OF THESE DAYS.

  13. Dear Cheryl: I have sat all evening reading through every one of the interviews and found them for the most part very informative, based on careful exposition, and, for the most part, satisfying. I am still looking, however, for your comment on the husband of one wife. Did I miss it somewhere. My wife wanted to see that in particular, so I looked diligently, but I could have overlooked it as I read in a hurry. There is also one area which I wish to have you address to me – which you might do in an email for he sake of discussion without distraction, and that is on Roms.5:12. I would want to know your sources, approach, type of hermeneutics, etc. One of he questions during my ordination put to me by Dr. Ernest R. Campbell who was a genius wit a Ph.D. from Bob Jones was :”What do you believe about the fall of man?” I answered: “Which answer d you ant. There are six.” (I was thinking of A. H. Strong’s Systematic Theology among others whch I had outlined along with 4other books of systematic theology. Dr. C’s reply was: “Jim, don’t be a smart-alec.” He knew Iwas trying to evade the issue of the fall of man and the two Adam questions. So I eventually came to the conclusion about man’s fallen nature from Adam and his subsequent spiritual inability from such little words as “can” and “may”, one referring of crse to ability and the other to permission. If man is unable to respond, then it requires God’s choice and irresistible grace to bring him out of his spiritual disability, deadness, darkness, depravity, and dabolic nature (child of satan). I am very interested to see how your careful expositions have influence you in this most important area. Also I should point out that there are some who want these positions to be misrepresented, and what better way to get them misrepresented than by some one who has a strong ego and does believe them but has misunderstandings…which ruin perceptions and performances. Driscoll means well I think, butmostof the believers today in sovereign grace have had few and mostly poor representatives of the position as models and mentors. As a result thy don’t quite no how to go abou presenting their case. The result can be somewhat sad. Good mentors are wanting in this work…of how to model the theology that God saw fit to bless as the truth for a Great Awakening… Even two of them. And the hymn of the ages catches the essence of it, even AMAZIN GRACE…WHICH YOU KNOW. That is a hymn t Sovereign Grace bya wretched reprobate who had been converted by such grace and then became a preacher of it and a worker for the abolition of slavery, John Newton.

  14. Lin,
    Dr. Willingham sent me this email and I think he meant to post it online for you to see:

    “The Genius of Orthodoxy: Eldresses” is not online anywhere. It is however an address that was recorded on VCR by the Baptist State Convention of NC in 1985, when I was chairman of the historical committee of the State Convention. You might try contacting the Communications Dept. of the State Convention to see, if they have any policy for securing copies of the 2 VCRs on which the Jersey Church Celebration was recorded. In addition to my address, there is a play which I wrote for the church, “The Mirror of Our Past,” and other addresses by leadng individuals in the State Convention at that time.

  15. #16 Dr. Willingham,

    I am still looking, however, for your comment on the husband of one wife. Did I miss it somewhere.

    Regarding “husband of one wife” and “keeping his children under control”, these are conditions that are principle based. They are “IF” statements. So it would be interpreted as IF one is married, that one is to be faithful to their one-flesh spouse (so that the person is not to be a polygamist) and IF the person has children, that one is to keep his children under control.

    The principle that underlies the qualifications for an overseer is faithfulness in sexual matters so that the church is overseen by those who will live by a high standard. The principle is also faithfulness and ability in managing those under our care. IF one has children, we would look to how their children are cared for and managed.

    If we can see that the clauses are principle based, then we can understand that the principle does not keep out unmarried men nor does it keep out married men without children and lastly it does not keep out women. All of these groups are able to be faithful managers of their territory of influence. The principle however does rule out polygamists since the ideal of one man and one woman is broken with polygamy and the principle also rules out those who are unfaithful in the area of sexual purity no matter what the marital status is. The fact that this passage is looked on as a principle whenever single men are concerned and whenever married men who do not have children are concerned proves that we must also keep it at the level of principle when women are concerned. If the women are faithful spouses IF they are married and if they are faithful managers in their sphere of influence, and they are faithful in the other issues mentioned, then they also are qualify to be what they are allowed to desire in 1 Timothy 3:1.

    As far as what I believe about the fall of man, I have listed the view along with diagrams on this post http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2006/11/20/adam-as-head-of-the-family/

    It is because there was one man who violated God’s law in a rebellious and treacherous way that we needed another sinless man to provide for the payment for our sin and to provide the way to live our lives through his holiness. There is the first Adam and the last Adam (the Lord from Heaven).

    As far as the “can” issue, I believe that God is necessary for our salvation and he warns us that now is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2) and that we must not harden our hearts against his voice. Isaiah 55:6 says that we are to “Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” Those who believe that they can reject God all their lives and then choose Him at the moment before their death have forgotten that there is no salvation without God’s call because it is His work. We cannot save ourselves.

    I am at the stage of research for my next DVD project which will be a balanced view of the Sovereignty of God. I would be honored to have you test my work as I prepare it because I do believe that the God’s Word does not contradict itself and a correct view of the Sovereignty of God will not ignore any of the hard passages of scripture. It just seems like God has called me and placed me in the very midst of the hard passages of scripture – the very ones that others choose to ignore. So while I won’t answer more here, I certainly will be working on what God has given me in this next difficult area of theology. Thanks for your encouragement!

  16. Hi everybody!

    I was wondering why women are only mentioned in verse 11, in the context of deacons and not mentioned in the verses before, where the context is about overseer?

    We know that without doubt there was women deacons in the Scripture Rom 16:1, and that goes well in hand with 1 Tim 3:11. But the Scripture lacks a direct mention of a women overseer and that goes hand in hand with the non mention of women in the context of overseer in 1 Tim 3:1-7.

    Have anyone thought about this?

    In His amazing grace,
    Martin

  17. My 2¢–

    A guardian/overseer was to protect the less spiritually mature from false teachings. But we really don’t know the function of servants (diakonos, a term Paul used for himself and his co-workers, including women). Note a parallel in the letter to Titus where Paul uses the term “elders”; it is another instance where both males and females are specified. Yet even there, there is also an over-arching set of qualities for both groups.

    From the little we have to go on we can only speculate as to why male and female servants/elders are addressed separately. It may be in the nature of the service, and in social constraints.

    Another consideration is the principle that these are not lists of exclusions but character traits required of these people. Perhaps in mentioning both male and female Paul is making it clear that women are not to be less qualified, or given any kind of lesser rank due to less demanding qualities.

    And of course, in all of this, not even males are ever given rule over anyone. That anyone should seek to prevent women from a low position of servitude speaks volumes about the real agenda of male supremacism, and of their failure to grasp the nature of the Body.

  18. Martin,
    In 1 Timothy 3:1 “anyone” can aspire to the work of an overseer. Anyone means anyone.

    Why is there no mention of a Gentile overseer? Why is there no mention of a slave having the work of an overseer? Does the fact that the scriptures have no mention of these kinds of overseers mean that they are not part of the “anyone” from verse 1?

    The fact is that unless God specifically forbids a person or a group from having a certain place in the body of Christ, then we should understand that God gifts and all are allowed to excel at their gift even Gentiles, slaves and women!

    An overseer is to protect the body of Christ from error and will identify and expose the wolves. Apologetics is a ministry that does this kind of work and apologists can be looked on as a global overseer protecting the entire church, not just one small local body. There are not very many women apologists. I am not sure why. Perhaps because women are not often encouraged to protect the flock this way. I am an apologist and I have met very few women doing this kind of work but the work we do is certainly blessed by God just as the work of the defense of the faith by men is also blessed.

  19. FWIIW, I see Titus as a gentile overseer, as I see him as a (church) apostle in 2 Cor 8:23 and I understand a (church) apostle as one of the possible 5-fold leadership ministries of an elder/overseer.

  20. My point is that anyone is allowed to aspire to the work of overseer. We see nothing in scripture that tells us who has the “title” of overseer and scripture is silent on naming any particular “pastor”. We recognize these leaders by the work we see them do as they exercise their gifts. Leadership is recognized in the congregation by the work that the person already is doing. Once who aspires to the work of overseer will already be doing the work even before the congregation recognizes him/her.

  21. I have read through Interview Rounds 8 and 9, and found them very good. But I wonder if our rigid distincitions between elders, overseers and ministers (which in Greek are prebuteroi, episcapoi, and diakinoi respectively) is really correct. So let me share some observations based on some previous study of New Testament leaders, and let me know what you think, eh?

    Years ago, when I studied both prophecy and prophetic ministry in the NT, it became apparent to me, as I made a comparative study of their functions and gifts, that while “elders” was a designation of the leaders’ maturity and seniority, “overseer” and “minister” described their primary functions as those who discipled and trained the rest of the congregation. And the various spiritual gifts, as they pertained to those who were leaders, indicated how they fulfilled their leadership functions as “overseer” and “ministers”.

    Now, if you compare the requirements and responsibilities of the elders and deacons in 1 Timothy with those of the elders, who alone are mentioned in Titus, they are essentially the same, which indicates to me a distinction of an office (“elders”)and its functions (“overseer” and “minister”). Furthermore, in Philippians 1:1, where the NIV and other English translations have “together with the overseers and deacons [ministers],” according to Greek grammar and syntax, this phrase would better be translated something like “together with the elders who minister [there among you].” It was because of clues like these in the NT that I came to see that leadership in the Earliest Church was less hierarchical and rigid as it was by the third and fourth centuries, when the Church was no longer a body of believers but a highly organized institution. And Gordon Fee’s books, Paul, The Spirit and the People of God and The Spirit and the Text, have further confirmed this view for me.

    And along the same lines, Kenneth E. Bailey’s article in Theology Matters, “Women in the New Testament: A Middle Eastern Cultural View,” by the consistent use of what is called rhetorical criticism, demonstrates that 1 Timothy 4:6-5:22 and Titus 1:5-2:5 apply to the requirements and responsibilities of both men and women who served as elders and ministers. I strongly recommend you read Bailey’s article, if you have not done so.

  22. Cheryl,

    I agree with your post 23.

    I see Titus being a gentile leader as another step in the gospel to all the world, one we might take for granted today, but radical in its time. And if God did not restrict church leadership to only Jews, why think he restricted it to only men?

    Frank,

    I like Bailey and Fee a lot. I do not see overseer as an office, rather a ministry. All believers are to have a ministry, some are called to a leadership ministry. The main diff in 1 Tim 3 between overseers and deacons is the ability to teach, all the rest of the lists are character qualities. So I see it as all believers have a ministry, some of these are recognized as church deacons/ministers, and some of these in turn are recognized as church elders.

  23. Cheryl, you said in post 21:
    “Why is there no mention of a Gentile overseer? Why is there no mention of a slave having the work of an overseer? Does the fact that the scriptures have no mention of these kinds of overseers mean that they are not part of the “anyone” from verse 1?”

    No, at thats not the point I’m trying to make, slaves or gentiles in particular is not mentioned in verses 8-13, but women is. I’m just wondering why Paul didn’t mention women in particular in verses 1-7.

    Paula, you mentioned Titus 2 in post 20, as an example of women elders ‘presbytis’. Men elders are also mentioned ‘presbyt?s’ and elders in general ‘presbyteros’ are mentioned in Titus 1:5. I’m no Greek scholar, but if there is women elders, how would one refer to them in Greek? Would it not be by the word ‘presbytis’? Also the context seems to indicate that Titus should point out able Elders and what character traits he should be looking for, both in 1:1-9 and what he should avoid 1:10-16, and then what he should teach these elders 2:1-5.

    How do complementarians argue that ‘presbyteros’ does not include ‘presbytis’?

    In His amazing grace,
    Martin

  24. Martin,

    As a general rule, if one male is or can be in a group, the male form of a word is used. So if the female form is used, then no males are in the group. Only if both males and females are specified can we know whether females are excluded.

    So it is context that determines who is being addressed, and in the context of Titus, we see Paul using terms both ways: generically and specifically. But there are additional indicators in Titus that Paul refers to female elders and not merely elderly women.

    1– There is a phrase in ch. 2 that means “in keeping with their appointment” regarding female elders. What appointment? In this very short letter we only know of the one mentioned in ch. 1, the elders Titus was to appoint. Since age cannot be appointed, this must refer to spiritual elders. We should also note that the word translated “young” can also mean “new”, that is, new believers.

    2– If Paul is saying that female elders can only teach women, then he must also be saying that male elders can only teach men. Yet who would believe that? The male supremacists would have a dilemma on their hands since they presume men can teach anyone but women can only teach women and children– ironically, the most easily deceived according to them. So if it cannot be denied that men can teach women, then it also cannot be denied that women can teach men. If Titus is cited as proof that women can only teach women then the corresponding restriction on men only teaching men must go with it.

    So there is no consistent and uncontradictory way for male supremacists to argue that the male form must exclude females.

  25. Paula, you make excellent points. I had not thought of the fact that if Titus is used to say women can only teach women, then correspondingly, men can only teach men. The comps I know would say that this verse has to subordinate itself to the passage elsewhere which says a woman is not permitted to teach a man or be in authority over him. Of course, we know there is more to that verse than they allow, but that is how they would justify the Titus dilemma.

    You know, of course, that I disagree. I just point it out because it is a line of response they take. I wonder, was the Titus passage written before or after the other passage? Even so, they would still find a way to say the earlier passage is subordinate to the later passage. Where’s a hammer? I feel a real urge to try to nail some jello to a wall somewhere….!

  26. Glad to help, TS. 🙂

    And if they did say this passage has to be subordinated to another in a separate letter, I’d ask them what happened to “plain reading” and then accuse them of theological “gymnastics” since that’s what they say to us when we bring other scriptures to bear.

    They can only keep their preeminence by making mincemeat of scripture, taking this part but not that part, plain reading here but “exposition” there. Yet they never deal with the real question: why would any real Christian even want to have first place?

  27. Yes, Paula. Plain reading. Only when it suits the agenda. To the last question, “why would anyone want to be a permanent head over someone else,” the reply I have heard is, “If God commands it, who am I to question?” Circular thinking is rampant in compism ‘logic’ to give it even a weak semblance of staying afloat.

    Back to nailing jello….

  28. Ah yes… “I accept with great humility this heavy burden God has placed upon me, but WOE to any fool who tries to lift it!”

    It’s their reaction to losing it that tells all.

    And ya know, if you nail long enough, the jello will eventually run out.

  29. Isn’t that the truth-‘woe to anyone who tries to lift it!’ Shows that there must be more to it than it just being a ‘command from God.’

    So you mean the light at the end of the comp/egal debate tunnel isn’t a train carrying more…..jello? 🙂

  30. #24 Frank,
    Sorry that I am so slow at getting to some of these comments.

    Years ago, when I studied both prophecy and prophetic ministry in the NT, it became apparent to me, as I made a comparative study of their functions and gifts, that while “elders” was a designation of the leaders’ maturity and seniority, “overseer” and “minister” described their primary functions as those who discipled and trained the rest of the congregation. And the various spiritual gifts, as they pertained to those who were leaders, indicated how they fulfilled their leadership functions as “overseer” and “ministers”.

    This seems to be a very good way to put it although the term overseer must have enough maturity to protect the flock since there is an additional focus on protecting. According to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, “Overseer” in non-biblical Greek means “onlooker”, “watcher”, “protector”, “patron”.

    Furthermore, in Philippians 1:1, where the NIV and other English translations have “together with the overseers and deacons [ministers],” according to Greek grammar and syntax, this phrase would better be translated something like “together with the elders who minister [there among you].”

    I am not sure where you are getting this from. Perhaps you are seeing something that I am not. “Minister” used in this way would have to be a verb would it not? Yet all the terms for deacon that I could find in the New Testament are nouns. I checked the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th Edition and found deacon listed 29 times and each of these occurrences as a noun. Phil. 1:1 is listed as a noun, dative. The dative refers to the person or thing to which something is given or for whom something is done, thus Paul opening remarks that he is writing to the saints at Philippi including the overseers and deacons.

    It was because of clues like these in the NT that I came to see that leadership in the Earliest Church was less hierarchical and rigid as it was by the third and fourth centuries, when the Church was no longer a body of believers but a highly organized institution.

    Amen! I completely agree with you here!

    And along the same lines, Kenneth E. Bailey’s article in Theology Matters, “Women in the New Testament: A Middle Eastern Cultural View,” by the consistent use of what is called rhetorical criticism, demonstrates that 1 Timothy 4:6-5:22 and Titus 1:5-2:5 apply to the requirements and responsibilities of both men and women who served as elders and ministers. I strongly recommend you read Bailey’s article, if you have not done so.

    I do not think I have read that article. Thanks for the suggestion. I do have a DVD by Kenneth Bailey that I haven’t watched in a long time. I thought it very good in giving historical background to this issue. I will have to pull it out again when I have more time.

  31. Paula you wrote in post 27 ‘There is a phrase in ch. 2 that means “in keeping with their appointment”’, where do you see that phrase and do you have more information about it, references etc.?

    In Him,
    Martin

  32. Martin #26,

    I’m just wondering why Paul didn’t mention women in particular in verses 1-7.

    The question then is why would Paul mention women in verse 11 but not in verses 1 – 7? I don’t know why Paul waited to put women into verse 11, but I do know that women were to be “likewise” which means that the qualities of these women were to be the same as what was listed previously under overseer. Paul could have left the mention of women out altogether and it would not have changed the fact that “anyone” may desire the work of overseer. Apparently Paul made some distinction between the men (who were the only ones who were forbidden to be polygamists since a woman could not be married to more than one man) and the women (who were told not to be malicious gossips – apparently a special problem for the women). The placement of women in verse 11 does not exempt women from being an overseer or a deacon. It truly is amazing that Paul even mentioned women here in the context of leadership since the Jewish standard held by much of the nation in their oral tradition did not offer women places of leadership nor have I ever seen in any of their oral traditions a list for characteristics of godly women leaders.

    Another thing to note is that there is nothing in the Greek that would render verse 11 as “the wives of the deacons” as the possessive form of women is not there. Also these women are not told to be “respectful” as if they are to be under another, but the term is dignified which means worthy of respect.

    of persons, that which in a human being calls forth veneration and respect from others honorable, of good character, worthy of respect (1T 3.8); (Vol. 4: Analytical lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Baker’s Greek New Testament library (347). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.)

    transcendent beings worthy of reverence, august, sublime, holy
    Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000).

    In the Shepherd of Hermas, the same term is translated “reverend” and is used for divine beings.

    The very use of this term (one that is only used four times in the NT) shows that these women are to be respected and worthy of being looked up to just as the men. The placement of women in verse 11 does not stop women from being overseers. Does this make sense?

  33. Martin,

    The Greek word for appoint or ordain is kathistemi. It is used in ch. 1 vs. 5. In ch. 2 vs. 3 is the phrase katastemati hieroprepeis which means to be have in a manner in keeping with a sacred appointment. It is typically translated as something like “to be reverent in the way they live” (TNIV).

    This is per footnote 1 for Titus 2 on Nyland’s Source NT. The Amplified Bible reads, “Bid the older women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment as becomes those engaged in sacred service”.

  34. Martin,
    Here are a couple:

    Inscriptional Evidence for Women as Leaders in the Ancient Synagogue: SBLSP 20, ’81, 4; B’s rendering: ‘Here lies Sara Ura, elder [or aged woman]’;
    Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed.) (pg 863).

    Below is the meaning of the word with #2 as just the female version, but would have the same meaning just feminine:

    A. Nouns.
    1. presbutes “an elderly man,” is a longer form of presbus, the comparative degree of which is presbuteros, “a senior, elder,” both of which, as also the verb presbeuo, “to be elder, to be an ambassador,” are derived from proeisbaino, “to be far advanced.” The noun is found in Luke 1:18, “an old man”; Titus 2:2, “aged men,” and Philem. 9, where the RV marg., “Paul an ambassador,” is to be accepted, the original almost certainly being presbeutes (not presbutes), “an ambassador.” So he describes himself in Eph. 6:20. As Lightfoot points out, he is hardly likely to have made his age a ground of appeal to Philemon, who, if he was the father of Archippus, cannot have been much younger than Paul himself See OLD.
    2. presbutis the feminine of No. 1, “an aged woman,” is found in Titus 2:3.
    Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W. (1996). Vol. 2: Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words (20).

  35. Some one mentioned the idea of presbtis for women ministers. Actually the feminine form for Presbuteros is used for women in I Tim.5:2 where KJV renders it aged women. Why not eldresses (it is plural) as the term elder is used in I Tim.5:1. O yes, Paul in Phils.4 mentions Euodias and Syntyche as fellow laborers in the ministry.

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