Equal in value and worth = in whose eyes?

Equal in value and worth = in whose eyes?

Equal in whose eyes? on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

 

One of the problems with complementarian definitions is that they aren’t complete enough on the surface to reveal the underlying nature of their hierarchical disposition.  However when one pushes to get the answers to some difficult questions, the picture becomes a lot clearer that actually shows the complementarian stand to be male bias in the pretty package of complementarian wording.  However when the veil is pulled back, a contradictory view is shown which reviews an inequality in God’s design of humanity, but also a man-made restriction placed on God Himself in how He is allowed to express Himself through half of humanity.  Let me give a few of examples of the pretty package and then we will dissect the statements.  The examples are all from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).

Package on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

Both Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, equal before God as persons… (from http://www.cbmw.org/Resources/Articles/The-Danvers-Statement )

God never viewed women as second-class citizens. His Word clearly states that we are all equally His children and are of equal value and worth before Him.  (from http://www.cbmw.org/Resources/Articles/What-Should-Be-the-Husband-s-Role-in-Marriage )

And lastly 1 A. under the Summary of the Complementarian Position:

Male and female were created by God as equal in dignity, value, essence and human nature … (from http://www.cbmw.org/Resources/Articles/Summaries-of-the-Egalitarian-and-Complementarian-Positions )

These statements do seem to be a pretty package, affirming women as equal, however I would like to point out something that many people miss when they read these statements.  The complementarian position says that the male and female are equal before God in value and worth but note that they do not say that women are equal before mankind in value or worth.  They are only equal before God. However even in their equality before God there is a serious issue.

In what way are men and women equal in dignity and worth before God?  According to CBMW, it is only in salvation that men and women are equal before God.

…In sum, this verse explains the new status of believers as sons of God and the means by which every believer attains that status, through faith in Christ….Cottrell points out that the question is not whether any of these can be saved, but how they receive salvation… Simply put, the pattern for inheritance under the law was Jewish free males.In the New Covenant, however, something far better than an earthly estate is in view; “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).  Paul’s point in (Gal 3:28) is that everyone who receives the inheritance of salvation receives it the same way and experiences the same justifying results-union with Christ.  (from http://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-8-No-1/Galatians-3-28-Prooftext-or-Context )

According to CBMW, it is our adoption as sons of God with the inheritance = our salvation. Our equality starts and ends with the CBMW understanding of Galatians 3:28.  However CBMW fails to give the full view of inheritance found in Galatians 4:1 where the inheritance of God’s adopted “sons” is defined as “owner of everything”.

Galatians 4:1  Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything,

By equating  salvation as ending with sonship, and thus restricting sonship to our salvation, CBMW fails to recognize that the inheritance includes the rights to all that God has (owner of everything) with the restriction only in the age of the “son”, not the “gender”. Therefore the inheritance goes far past salvation and into the issue of ownership.  Does God’s women “sons” have a right to the ownership of God’s spiritual gifts too?  Of course because the inheritance goes beyond salvation to the ownership of everything!  If CBMW wants to withhold ownership of God’s estate from women, then they are saying that women have to stay as children while only men are allowed to be mature sons.  An interpretation of the separation of God’s “sons” by gender cannot be established from the text.

The next restriction that CBMW establishes is for God’s Holy Spirit as the gifts that God gives are now gender based through the classification of roles. In their understanding, roles are assigned as gifts to one gender alone. Spiritual equality then is limited to access to God and an equal standing before God, not an equal ability to receive God’s gifts or to receive an understanding of God’s word.

Third, even if one grants that equality is in the text implicitly, in the sense that if we are all “in Christ” we are all equal, then it can be understood properly only as a “spiritual equality” that describes equal access to God and an equal standing before God, not an equality of (gifts). (Found at http://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-8-No-1/Galatians-3-28-Prooftext-or-Context )

In this understanding of “equality”, God is restricted in the work that He can do through women.  His Holy Spirit cannot operate through women in the same way that He operates through men.  He cannot gift women equally nor can He give an understanding of God’s Word to a woman without going through a man first. In the complementarian understanding, God has great limitations on what He can and cannot do through women.

I find this limitation of God incredible! In communication with CBMW several years ago, I was told that God does not give break-through understanding of His Word to a woman. If a woman teaches or writes something that has not been first taught by a man, her insight into the Scriptures cannot be correct. Think about that!  God cannot connect with a woman like He connects with a man because God’s understanding in His Word comes only through man.

So while women can reach up to God in an equal way with men, CBMW’s understanding is that God cannot reach down to his female “sons” in an equal way as He does with men.  In essence God is limited in reaching others through men alone.   Men then take the insight in God’s word to women and women may act as an “echo” to repeat the insight from the men to others who also cannot have direct communication from God.

God is no longer Sovereign except through the agency of men. Women then must receive their instruction through men because they have no permission to receive from God directly.  God simply cannot come directly to a woman and provide her with a unique and insightful understanding of the Scriptures that has not been first delivered to a man.  The complementarian view gives an extremely restricted view of God’s ability to communicate with women.

CBMW may say that women have equal value and worth in the eyes of God, however in reality their actions disprove this claim as they believe that God cannot communicate insights from his Word directly to a woman without going through a man.  Women then are not of equal value as men in God’s eyes if we are to believe the complementarian view espoused by CBMW. The understanding hidden behind their words make their claim that women are equal in value and worth to God is a hollow claim.

The next issue is whether women are equal in value and worth in the eyes of men and women (humanity). While claiming that God doesn’t see women as second-class citizens, CBMW’s restrictions on women definitely set women up as second-class citizens regarding their value on this earth in the eyes of both men and other women.

In the complementarian view, women teachers must have less value and worth to other women than the value of men teachers,  since only men receive from God directly:

Complementarian value of women teachers from Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

 

While women teachers have less worth then male teachers to other women, it is a whole different ball game when compared to men teachers in the eyes of men as students:

 

Complementarian value of women teachers on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

Since men believe that women are forbidden to teach them, the value of women teachers  does not just have “less value” to them as men teachers.   In reality women teachers end up with “no value” to the men themselves when men believe the complementarian position that they have no personal need for women teachers at all.

On the CBMW web site where they have answered questions on the Danver’s Statement (the statement which defines complementarianism), Wayne Grudem makes some claims that I believe in time will produce a sense of shame instead of the arrogant claims that he makes:

I think it is an indication of God’s favor that the statement has had no change of wording, nor have we felt the need to change the wording, for the entire twenty years it has been in existence. It has served as a “standard” by which people could evaluate their faithfulness to the biblical teaching on this matter…

If CBMW had not published the Danvers Statement in 1988, there would be not one “complementarian position” in the evangelical world, but hundreds, resulting in much confusion, and enabling evangelical feminists to criticize the most offensive expressions rather than having to deal with a responsible, biblically balanced statement that affirms the equal value of both men and women and their differences in roles ac­cording to Scripture. (Found at http://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-12-No-2/JBMW-Forum-Q-and-A-on-Danvers-Statement )

Apparently the Word of God is not “clear” on the issue of the “roles” of men alone since there is only confusion when the Bible is used alone and only with the help of CBMW and its “Danvers Statement” can the understanding of the role of men and women be clarified in an understandable way.  This height of arrogance rivals that of Jehovah’s Witnesses who have stated in the past that reading the Bible alone will take men into darkness but reading their Watchtower literature will take men into the light of God’s word!

The world has long held that women are valued far less than men. Does complementarianism bring men and women to a place of equal value? Absolutely not! Women cannot be equal in value to God when He cannot equally communicate His truth to them.  Also women cannot be equal in value to men who are taught to see women teachers as unnecessary “echoes” totally unneeded for the edification of men.  Women then are a secondary class of Christians relegated to “helping” men teach other women who also cannot hear from God directly but must follow men into the kingdom.

167 thoughts on “Equal in value and worth = in whose eyes?

  1. “The world has long held that women are valued far less than men. Does complementarianism bring men and women to a place of equal value? ”

    This is why their interpretation is “cultural” based and not biblical. They, of course, cannot see this. They cannot see that the egal position is biblical and theirs is derived from teaching sin as virtue.

  2. “CBMW may say that women have equal value and worth in the eyes of God, however in reality their actions disprove this claim as they believe that God cannot communicate insights from his Word directly to a woman without going through a man.”

    If THAT is not man-centered religion, then what is?

  3. “It has served as a “standard” by which people could evaluate their faithfulness to the biblical teaching on this matter…
    If CBMW had not published the Danvers Statement in 1988, there would be not one “complementarian position” in the evangelical world, but hundreds, resulting in much confusion,”

    Can anyone say, “Placing ourselves up on a pedestal”?

    Can we ask: Why, if not for CBMW, would there be “hundreds” of comp. positions?

  4. Kay,
    This is the most revealing comment of CBMW’s and a proper question to ask:

    Can we ask: Why, if not for CBMW, would there be “hundreds” of comp. positions?

    If the comp position is so “clear” in the scripture then why would there be “hundreds” of comp positions? And if there are hundreds of comp positions are these other positions worldly misogynist positions instead of Biblical views? The answer would have to be “yes” if we are honest. I see the CBMW statement as the clearest admittance of their unbiblical worldly position and a sad fact for them that there could not be one comp position that unites comp without them. The Bible therefore cannot unite the comps because the “rules” that CBMW has made are not in the Bible.

  5. What makes no sense to me is that God chooses who he speaks through and to whom he speaks. God chose to speak to a man (Balam) through a donkey. Not only that, but the donkey appears to be female!

    How then can they say that God cannot speak directly to a woman?

    I thought we had only one mediator.

  6. Dave,
    Thanks for a thoughtful comment once again! A female donkey, eh? Huh, I never gave that a consideration before. Donkey, yes, but a female donkey, wow, God is sure able to give us a message about His capabilities, for sure. If God can speak through a female donkey, then He certainly does not have His hands tied to whom He uses for humans.

    What surprises me the most is that so many women have become convinced that they cannot hear from God directly regarding His Word. The belief that women alone need an mediator in the area of God’s Word and hearing direction from God really is shocking. I think that women have put their trust in men and their respect is an obstacle to just believing God’s Word. I do believe that God is Sovereign enough to open the eyes of the blind and bring the Light of the World shining in to their lives. When we are helpless to help another see God’s truth, we can trust in The Truth Himself.

  7. “What surprises me the most is that so many women have become convinced that they cannot hear from God directly regarding His Word.”

    What surprises me the most is how many men think they are universally better “listeners” when it comes to hearing from God. That certainly has not been my experience (either personally or anecdotally amongst my circle).

  8. I am not sure if there are ‘hundreds’ of different comp positions, but there are certainly more than one! The terms ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ do not get applied to egals, just comps.

  9. Ah, yes, good point – there are no “soft” egals and “hard” egals. And egal is an egal because equal is equal. It is only the comp position that can have many levels of hardness 😉 And to think that the comp position is supposed to be the “clear” one from the Scripture? Well, apparently it wasn’t the clear ONE until CBMW came about to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s that are not explicit in God’s word.

  10. “What surprises me the most is how many men think they are universally better “listeners” when it comes to hearing from God. That certainly has not been my experience (either personally or anecdotally amongst my circle).”

    Interesting comment gengwall! I think God chooses to use people in his work. I have learnt so much from others through this forum, even NN taught me something, which was probably the last thing he wanted to teach me! I guess I just think when God wants to get a message across and he wants us to hear it, he uses whatever way he chooses.

    Of course we have a theme in scripture that it is only those who have ears to hear who will. This has to do with the state of our heart, not our gender! Otherwise it would be “Let him who has a penis hear”! 😉

  11. Such profound thoughts! You are so right, Dave. God never said, let the males hear. There is never an indication that the ones with the male “parts” (blush!) have the only listening ears while the ones with the female “parts” must learn from those who have the listening male-parts-with-ears. Honestly if God wanted true listening ears “down there” I think it would look kinda weird 😉

  12. Sorry for the ‘P’ word…though I am glad you were listening gengwall!

    I struggle with CBMW, not simply because of what they say, but because of the way they are accepted as saying the truth. It is amazing how sheep-like people can be. I went to Bible college as a comp/sheep, but someone told me before I went to make sure Bible college did not ruin me. The first year nearly did! Then I worked out that I had to question everything. I had to work it out for myself. I had to listen to God, through others and through his Spirit. I try to encourage the people in our church to question everything, including me. The best way to have a defence against wolves in sheeps clothing is to help the sheep not to be stupid!

  13. I am not sure how Grudem can be so positive about the Danvers statement when CBMW have had to answer question after question clarifying all the ‘details’. It might be worth asking them when a female donkey can teach a man. I assume the answer would be, “only when there is an angel with a flamming sword that you cannot see in front of you”.

    But I guess they enjoy having the questions asked and being the ‘authority’ on all matters gender related…

    I should go and do some work 🙂

  14. I think it has been good that no one has asked Cheryl for graphics…but she has been quiet for a few minutes and I am concerned…

  15. For 16 years I led a support group for former Jehovah’s Witnesses who were coming out of the mind control of the Watchtower and needed to learn how to think for themselves. I also taught them to test everything including me. I remember one young lady in particular who came to the group but had come out of another cult group experience where she had been raised in the cult and after coming out she struggled to know who she was outside the group. Her personality had been so shaped by the cult personality that she admitted that she had fear in trusting people – even me. I told her that this was a good thing. The group taught her to trust the group leaders and this kept her in error not trusting herself to question the leadership. One of the most important things that a former cultist can do is to learn how to distrust leaders. Everyone without exception must be able to be tested by the only straight edge ruler that we have – God’s word. A person who has an air of respect and who appears educated and has lots of authority can be one of the most dangerous persons if you check your brain at the door, accept everything they say without question and fail to test them against God’s word. Truth should welcome the test. Only those who have something to hide will run from the test or become angry that they are not trusted without being tested.

  16. “I am not sure how Grudem can be so positive about the Danvers statement when CBMW have had to answer question after question clarifying all the ‘details’”

    RK McGregor Wright wrote a response to the Danvers statement item by item that drove mac truck sized holes through it. I wish it were online but it isn’t. It is pretty old…early 90’s, I think.

    The statement is nothing but a bunch of presuppositions that are backed up by proof texting WHEN the statements are backed up by any scripture at all.

    It was more of a political document. And I can remember the pressure many felt to support it in order to be in the right evangelical club. The statement was in response to the culture. Which is interesting if you think that one through.

  17. I think it has been good that no one has asked Cheryl for graphics…but she has been quiet for a few minutes and I am concerned…

    Ha, ha, ha, ha! So funny, Dave!

    I admit, I was looking for graphics….. 8)
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    …but more along the line of a Christmas graphic for a possible post before I leave for Christmas with my family. Sorry to disappoint you…I wouldn’t touch that other graphic for a million Aussie dollars!

  18. Cheryl, thanks for your comment #18. I have noticed recently that some comp pastors are very dishonest when it comes to what they know and what they are happy to let their ‘flock’ think. They hold back the truth on purpose. I do not know why, though I assume the truth takes them somewhere where they do not want to go.

    Having said that, I know there are dishonest pastors in all denominations/areas and I am not saying that all comp pastors are ‘cult’ leaders!

  19. “The statement was in response to the culture. Which is interesting if you think that one through.”

    Lin,
    Yes, when it seems they have bought the old time Hollywood myth of the family at home behind the white picket fence – Man and wife with a son for him and a daughter for her, ahhh…the American Dream.

    But where does that leave our sister locked up alone in foreign prison cell because of her faith? Too bad God can’t speak to her there – sure would be comforting, but, sorry, she lacks the required ‘organs’ for ‘hearing’.

  20. Dave, can you elaborate on this?
    “I have noticed recently that some comp pastors are very dishonest when it comes to what they know and what they are happy to let their ‘flock’ think. They hold back the truth on purpose.”

    Are you saying that you know some comp pastors who know better but let their flock think something else? Wouldn’t that make them false teachers? I’m staggered!

  21. Hi LMB!

    I was discussing some Greek grammar re 1 Tim 2:12-15 on a Pastors blog. People (some of who were a part of the pastors congregation) were saying some very ill informed statements in regard to definite and indefinite articles to try and prove me (or Cheryl!) wrong. The Pastor said nothing to correct them. I was eventually silenced from correcting them, but the pastor made it clear that his level of Greek was similar to mine…probably better.

    Whether or not he agreed with my conclusions was in some ways a seperate issue to the grammar itself. He was very happy to make my claims from the Greek look stupid, yet he knew they contained the truth.

    The irony? He said I did not love the truth, but rather hated it. I don’t go beck there any more! 🙂

  22. Hi, Dave. Thanks! I wouldn’t go back there either. Why cast your pearls before swine? Guys can have pearls, right? 🙂

  23. I might add that one of my comments on the blog was blocked, but the pastor then put it up as a seperate post…to redicule me! What he did was chop bits out of it so that my argument looked silly. I found it interesting what he cut out. It was the bits that provided evidence for the truth. It was the bits that he did not want said because they explained the confusion within the English translations etc.

    He knew that these bits might point people to the truth, so he cut them out.

  24. Dave,
    What I have found is that men (and women) who fear the egal position are the ones who have to stay on their own home territory where they can control the opposition’s argument. Both you and I along with many others have gone onto comp blogs and boards and we have dialogged in a respectful manner while the ones who act out their fear through having to mock the opposition will not come onto our territory. Why? Because they cannot win in a balanced venue where personal attacks against a commenter are not allowed. Rather than winning an argument with the power of their position, they have to “win” on their own territory by mocking, attacking and silencing the opposing view. I don’t have any problems in naming some of the worst behavior and that is the attack mode that is common on the Bayly blog. While they want to come across as godly Christians who follow Scripture, by their actions they really are bullies and they enjoy belittling people and calling in other “attack dogs” who can really rip at a person’s soul. Once we identify this kind of behavior, we can follow the admonition to avoid those who cause strife. Those who enjoy ripping at the sheep as a sport often will have a “form” of godliness with an outward claim of knowing the Lord Jesus but with their actions, they deny the Shepherd of the sheep by attacking His sheep. The power of the gospel is peace and brotherly love and affection which is never evidenced toward an egalitarian who wanders into their blog world. If one disagrees with them on their blog, that one will find out what “lording it over others” really means. It isn’t pretty.

  25. God cannot connect with a woman like He connects with a man because God’s understanding in His Word comes only through man.

    This has got to be one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. To say that there is a “go between” God and woman doesn’t come from anything pure or godly.

  26. “But where does that leave our sister locked up alone in foreign prison cell because of her faith? Too bad God can’t speak to her there – sure would be comforting, but, sorry, she lacks the required ‘organs’ for ‘hearing’.”

    I suppose they would deny the burka clad Afghan woman who got saved and then taught her own husband the Word? I know of such a woman from my friends who were there.

    When you get away from the “institutions” with pulpits and organizational charts, none of these CBMW roles and rules makes any sense at all.

    Does anyone really believe they follow all these Talmudic CBMW rules in the Chinese underground church? It could only work in a properous nation where Christianity is legal or accepted.

    We have lost our first Love.

  27. Sadly this thinking, “God cannot connect with a woman like He connects with a man because God’s understanding in His Word comes only through man” does not display much understanding of God’s Word.

    Although I believe that the Bible is God’s written word, it is not the ultimate revelation of God’s Word. This ultimate revelation we see in Jesus. Jesus points out the importance in not giving to the written word of God more time than it deserves, in relation to the Word made flesh (John 5:39-40).

    So what is being suggested is that only men can have a direct relationship with Jesus. Either that or they are saying that a relationship with the bible trumps a relationship with Jesus.

    Jesus would not agree. He certainly had relationship with women directly. Even Mary & Martha!

  28. “We have lost our first Love.”
    Lin,
    I couldn’t agree more! “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ and ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment more important than these two.”
    And what is more loving than sharing the Good News?
    Jesus didn’t complicate this a bunch of rules and regulations.

  29. “Jesus points out the importance in not giving to the written word of God more time than it deserves, in relation to the Word made flesh (John 5:39-40).”
    Dave,
    Good point. It generally seems that they are more interested in rule/role keeping and have entirely missed a relationship with Christ. Clearly, Hebrews 11 tells us the faith relationship with God is what it has always been about – it never was and still is not about keeping rules or roles. “By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. And what more shall I say?”

  30. Dave,
    What I think these men mean is that although God can have a love relationship with women, he chooses not to have a revelational relationship (opening up the deep meaning of the Scriptures) with women since he trained and used only 12 male apostles. What they fail to realize is God is capable of revealing His word to each of us in a personal way without the need for a human interpretor or mediator.

  31. Exactly, Cheryl.

    What bugs me about the whole idea of a woman being unable to receive divine revelation without a male interpreter is that there’s nothing in the Scripture that indicates it. I would think that the Scripure is clear: “The is one God, and there is ONE Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5a, emphasis mine). What in that verse gives the idea that there needs to be another mediator for a woman to receive anything from God? I haven’t read anything else in the Scripture that indicates that, unless I haven’t been paying attention for the last 27 years! Grrrrr.

  32. #33 – I fully agree Cheryl. I am not sure if I was clear with my point and if you followed it (sorry if you have understood and I am just going on…!), but I believe that; in the Word who becomes flesh we have relational and revelational experience. After all, if you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Jesus is the deep meaning of the scriptures, because the scriptures point to him.

    I realise that these men are referring to scripture and meaning scripture, but I think it important to stress that God chose to reveal His word to each of us in a personal way through a “human interpretor or mediator” – Jesus. In only referring to and meaning scripture, they have sold short what the Word of God is (although the BIble is true and accurate it is not a complete revelation like Christ). If they were to consider WHO the Word of God is, they would realise how wrong their comments are.

    Yes, we know Jesus to some degree through Scripture, but if that is the purpose of scripture – to give testimony to Jesus – and Jesus revealed himself directly to women and men, then to suggest that the lesser revelation is only revealed to men is ridiculous!

    I hope I have not gone on. Perhaps you got my point from the beginning? 😉

  33. Hey Dave,
    Yes I do understand your point. Jesus is the full expression of God, while the written Word cannot be the full expression as it is Jesus alone. Of course the Word and the Spirit agree, and Jesus makes the Word come alive. I was focusing more on what the opposition says.

    I also want to make sure that people don’t think that there is a special Word to each one of us that would contradict the written Word. In a dispute about a year ago where a pastor should have followed the instruction in the written Word to come to me and apologize, he said that the Holy Spirit did not prompt him to do this. My thought is that the indwelling Christ does not required to say something to us personally that is already clearly said in the Word. When a person becomes aware that he/she has offended a brother or sister in Christ, that one should initiate a reconciliation so that the relationship is mended. Those who believe that they must have a special word spoken to them in their Spirit are sorely mistaken. God can give a special prompting inside us if He wants to, but it isn’t necessary if we are already commanded to do something by His Word. So the two go together, but certainly if the Holy Spirit indwells us, He is also able to enlighten our minds about the Word of God.

    Hopefully I have made myself clear that I agree with you and disagree with the opposition.

  34. You have been very clear Cheryl, thanks!

    I agree also on the importance of understanding that the Holy Spirit and the Word work together. After all, even if the written word is not as full a revelation as Christ, it is still a revelation of God. God does not disagree with himself!

    I had to nut this out myself at Bible College where I was told that it was the BIble that sanctifies us (John 17:17), and that Christian Worship was gathering around the Bible, and that all of scripture was required for a believer to be made perfect etc. This was because every NT reference to the Word was considered as a direct reference to scripture alone. Realising that Jesus was the greatest revelation of the Word of God opened up so much more meaning and understanding for me in the written word! I guess you could say it is one of my hobby horses 😉

    I love it when we agree with each other and disagree with the opposition!

  35. With regards to this:

    “His Holy Spirit cannot operate through women in the same way that He operates through men. He cannot gift women equally nor can He give an understanding of God’s Word to a woman without going through a man first. In the complementarian understanding, God has great limitations on what He can and cannot do through women.”

    The problem is that the people who say this are also very big on the absolute sovereignty of God. Therefore, the only logical conclusion is not that God “cannot” use women, gift women, or even speak to women, but that God “will not.” He refuses to. Thus not only do their assertions that men and women have equal value before God fall completely to pieces, but we are left with an idea of the nature of God that is monstrous.

    It’s no wonder many non-Christians will have nothing to do with such a god. They, as humans, can be more just towards women without even trying, than the hierarchalists can even conceive of their version of God being.

  36. KR Wordgazer,

    Therefore, the only logical conclusion is not that God “cannot” use women, gift women, or even speak to women, but that God “will not.” He refuses to.

    Excellent observation. You are right in that their view is more on the “will not” which puts the prejudice back on God Himself. Thanks for this comment!

  37. Hello, everyone. Thought I would stop by and see what’s been going on since I last participated in the discussion here. I have spent some time on Wade Burleson’s website, discussing with some people my understanding of the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture; the Council of Nicea; and my position on what really happened at the Council of Jerusalem, according to Acts 15:1-35. I had gone there to take a break and recharge my batteries, after having had a long, exhausting debate here with Mark about the Trinity and the misuse of 1 Cor. 11:3.

    Anyway, Dave your comments regarding Jesus and the Scripture were similar to someone who thought I was a Bibliolator–i.e., that I worshipped Scripture rather Christ, who was the Word of God. I affirmed that while I did indeed truly believe in the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture, and so it was the final rule of all I believe and do as a Christian, it was never to stand in the place of the Triune God, but the means by which the Spirit enables us to enter into a saving knowledge of that God, through Christ.

    And then I pointed out that Jesus himself had told this to the Pharisees who, if anyone, were bibliolators, when he said, “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life…Yet it isn’t I who will accuse you before the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, in whom you put your hopes. If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” (John 5:39-40, 45-47, NLT) So it is one thing to recognize and honor Scripture as the true and reliable guide as regards Jesus’ teaching and lifestyle, which we are to follow as his disciples, but quite another to make Scripture his replacement. That is biblioatry of the worst kind.

    KR Wordgazer, not everyone who “is big on the absolute sovereignty of God” believes God never will directly reveal himself to a woman, nor ever gift or call her to be minister and teacher of his Word. I am a firm believer in the sovereignty of God in the salvation and preservation of his people in Christ; but I also firmly believe, on the basis of 1 Cor. 12:1-13 and Eph. 4:11-16, that not only does the Holy Spirit equally gift call men and women to ministry and leadership, both he does in full agreement with both the Father and Son.

    Now to anyone who denied this, the only thing I could say to them is what Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures nor do you know the Holy Spirit” (Mark 12:24, my rendering). Moreover, to someone who, like Grudem, demanded “just one example” of such a woman who so spoke God’s word to his people, then I would point to Mary, the Mother of Jesus and her prophetic word, The Magnificant, in Luke 1:46-55. And every time the Christmas story is read, and we recite her song, Mary is again proclaiming God’s Word to us. End of discussion, as far as I am concerned.

  38. Thanks for your comments Frank!

    I want to stress that I agree with everything that you and Cheryl have said regarding this topic of the place of scripture. I confess that I am confused at this point by both your comments as they have included lots of ‘additional’ clarifying type information. I am sensing that warning bells are going off in people’s kephales, so I will try to clarify because I percieve a need to do so! Perhaps I am wrong in this and therefore run the risk of appearing overly defensive! Perhaps we are just not quite on the same page? If you think I am saying something wrong, please tell me – I love the truth!

    I think I have been clear in my interaction on this blog that I hold scriptural truth in the highest regard! It contains all the truth necessary to lead one to salvation. Whenever I have not been joking around(!), I have been presenting arguments from scripture and interacting with them. I love the truth of scripture! 🙂

    There are, however, some things that I believe scripture was not designed to do. One is to be the means for salvation, and the other is to be the deep, personal, loving relationship I should have with Jesus. I have heard it held up as both, on numerous occasions.

    Frank, I do not know exactly what words the person who accused you of being a Bibliolater said, but I believe my stance is in line with what you said in reply to him. My words might remind you of his words, they might even have been the same – perhaps I would also agree with him, I do not know. I do not know what you said that caused him to say what he said to you! I have found that this topic is very hard to get people to hear what exactly is being said, especially when people have bad experiences with liberal theologians. This is NOT where I am going!

    I am not suggesting anyone should throw out their BIbles (not that you have said I am suggesting that). The opposite in fact. The only way that I came to the conclusion that my relationship should be with Jesus and not scripture is because of what scripture told me. I could have been told this by a person, not scripture, but scripture, as has been said before, is the perfect rule of truth by which we can check and confirm what is being said as the truth or not. If somebody told me, I would want to check scripture before I accepted it as truth.

    So, all I was trying to say was that to suggest a woman cannot have full access to the written word is silly when she has complete access to the Word that was there in the beginning through whom all things were created.

    I apologise if I have stressed anybody out. If you are praying for me…please continue, I need it. 😉

  39. I might add that Christmas day has finished here in Sydney town 🙁

    So I am not so obsessed with blogging that I am doing it on Christmas day…just the day after Christmas!

  40. Frank said:

    “KR Wordgazer, not everyone who “is big on the absolute sovereignty of God” believes God never will directly reveal himself to a woman, nor ever gift or call her to be minister and teacher of his Word.”

    No, of course not, and I never meant that. What I did mean was that anyone who believes God will never directly reveal Himself to a woman, or ever gift or call her to be a minister, and ALSO is big on the absolute sovereignty of God, can claim that God “cannot” reveal Himself to a woman– only that He “will not.”

    This says nothing whatsoever about those who believe God is absolutely sovereign and also believe God DOES reveal Himself to women and call them to ministry. Hope that clarifies.

  41. Oh, dear, have I really gotten so tongue-tied I am not clearly stating what I meant to say? I did not mean to criticize either Dave, or KR Wordgazer. So let me clarify.

    Dave, you and I are on the same page. We agree that Scripture is the Written Word of God, the final rule of all Christian belief and practice. And we also agree that the Holy Spirit, who inspired the Scriptures, has been given to all believers. And as our Divine Counselor, one of the primary tasks of the Holy Spirit is to teach us all from these same Scriptures all that we need to know about our Lord Jesus and how to truly live in fellowship with him and do his will. John the Apostle made this clear, when he stated in the letter bearing his name: “I am writing this to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But as for you, Christ has poured out his Spirit on you. As long as his Spirit remains in you, you do not need anyone to teach you. For his Spirit teaches you about everything, and what he teaches is true, not false. Obey the Spirit’s teaching, then, and remain in union with Christ” (1 John 2:26-27, TEV).

    Dave, I erred when I said that the other person’s “words were similar to yours”; I should have said his “concerns were similar to yours.” Unlike you, he felt that my insistence on the inspiration, inerrancy and authority of Scripture somehow indicated I viewed the knowledge of the Written Word as having priority over the knowledge of the Incarnate Word, whereas what I tried to convey to him that the purpose of knowing the Written Word was that we might truly know the Son, who is the Incarnate Word. Scripture is never an end in itself; it is the divinely appointed means which the Spirit uses to bring us into living, vital fellowship with Jesus Christ, the Living Word, of whom it testifies. But if Scripture is not a true and infallible revelation of Christ, the Living Word, then how can we be sure we know him or what his will for us is? And that was the point I was trying to make with this other person. But, again Dave, I think both you and I agree on this.

    KR Wordgazer, I think I may have slightly misunderstood your original comment. I had thought you’d encountered some people who, while affirming a belief in God’s sovereignty, foolishly declared he would never reveal himself to a woman nor call her to be his messenger. I was thinking such people obviously had forgotten about Deborah, who was both judge and prophet. And that is why I responded the way I did. But since I didn’t get your real point, my response was off the mark. I apologize for that blunder on my part.

  42. Hi all,

    Hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year!

    Cheryl i have a response for that ‘question 1’ from way back so im just gunna post it hear…feel free to move it or whatever. Please know that i wrote it really quickly so i am sort of expecting to be picked up on things i may have missed- i just haven’t got the time atm to put as much research into the question as i like. None the less i’m sure it will create some more good discussion.

    Here it is…note that i have gone back and cut and pasted your original question and the follow up answers and questions….then i added my final response.

    Question and Dialogue
    You said
    1. Is it a “sin” for a godly Christian woman to teach correct Biblical doctrine to men in the church? Yes or no? If you would answer my question in a clear manner, then we can understand your stand.
    Then i answered…
    1. No according to your question. I think it is a sin for a woman to hold the office of elder and pastor / teacher which involves the regular spiritual leadership and preaching of the word.
    Then you responded…
    So you admit that it is not a sin for a woman to teach the Bible to men in the church? Okay, then. Let me take this a step further. How many times is a woman allowed to teach the Bible to men in a church before it might become a sin? May she teach every Sunday? If not, where is the Scriptural “law” that defines the number of times a woman may teach before she enters into sin.
    Then i responded…
    1. I have said all along that men and women teach each other in various ways. So for example if a woman prays or prophecies (in the spiritual gift of the NT) sense then of course she will ‘teach’ a man something. However the office of elder should only be held by men. That was my point.

    Then you responded…
    You did not answer my questions. I am not concerned that men and women can teach each other in “various ways”. I am asking about a gift of teaching the Bible for the benefit of the body. Since you say that women may teach men, I am asking how many times is a woman allowed to teach the Bible to men in a church before it might become a sin? May she teach every Sunday? If not, where is the Scriptural “law” that defines the number of times a woman may teach before she enters into sin? Would you please answer the questions that I actually ask instead of answering questions that I am not asking? I think that my questions are appropriate because God does gift His women with the ability to teach His Word. I am asking questions about how that can possibly be a source of sin.
    Okay that was a restatement of question #1. Please, Mark, I would really like an answer to my questions especially on #1.

    My final response…
    In order to answer these questions we need to understand what Cheryl meant by ‘teach’ and who has that resposibilty. I will show how scripture requires that the overseers are resposibile for the teaching or preaching of the word in church, and how that is different to other forms of ‘teaching’ that i believe women will be gifted in and told to use to build up the church.

    I believe that scripture teaches that men are only to hold the office of an elder (presbyter, episkopos). 1 Tim 3 outlines the characteristics and resposibilty of an elder…

    “The saying is vtrustworthy: If anyone aspires to wthe office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore xan overseer2 must be above reproach, ythe husband of one wife,3 zsober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, ahospitable, bable to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but cgentle, not quarrelsome, dnot a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity ekeeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for wGod’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may fbecome puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by goutsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into ha snare of the devil. ”

    Paul also further expands on the resposibilties of the overseers in 5:17

    “Let the elders zwho rule well be considered worthy of adouble honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. ”

    Here we see that elders both oversee and direct the affairs, but also some, not all are responsible for teaching and preaching. This is often where the distinction is made between a ‘ruling’ elder and a ‘teaching’ elder.

    In Titus 1 we again see more about the resposibilites of elders. Note again that only ‘men’ can be in this role.

    “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and pappoint elders in every town as I directed you—6 qif anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife,3 and his children are believers and not open to the charge of rdebauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer,4 sas God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not tbe arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent uor greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, vand disciplined. 9 He must whold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in xsound5 doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. ”

    Here Paul further qualifies that they must be able to rebuke false doctrine by sound knowledge of good doctrine.

    Now it is my opinion that since we are talking about a ‘church’ scenario and this is what the letters of Timothy and Titus are addressing (an already established church), the gifting of apostles, evangelists, prophets (Eph 4:11) are not to be understood as having the same responsibility for the ‘teaching’ and overseeing of the church as the elders do.

    Therefore to come back to the original question, the ‘teaching’ I think Cheryl is implying is the ‘preaching’, therefore NO, a woman should not be fulfilling that position. That responsibility falls onto the elders of the church, who Paul very clearly indicates are to be men of sound doctrine who oversee the affairs of the church.

    Now to further expand on my point, being that men and women ‘teach’ each other in various ways. 1 Corinthians 11 teaches us that women can pray and prophecy in the church. Now to me, that would involve some form of ‘teaching’ to men in the congregation. However it is not the same ‘teaching’ as to those who are called and gifted to be elders of the church.

    Also in relation to the ‘prophecy’ of the New Testament, it has to be understood that we can not relate it exactly to the prophecy of the Old Testament. For example the OT prophets spoke the very words of God, with full authority, and ultimately it was recorded as scripture for us. The prophecy of the NT does not seem to function this way. Note in 1 Cor 12 Paul seperates the gift of ‘prophecy’ to the gift of ‘teaching’

    “Now qyou are the body of Christ and individually rmembers of it. 28 And sGod has appointed in the church first tapostles, second uprophets, third teachers, then vmiracles, then wgifts of healing, xhelping, yadministrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But zearnestly desire the higher gifts. ”

    Not only that, but the prophecy Paul describes in Corinth is one of spirit guided utterance that needs to be tested.
    “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others vweigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, wlet the first be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets (1 Cor 14:29- 32)

    Again also note that the prophecy Paul speaks of in Corinthians is for believers not unbelievers. The OT prophets spoke a message of repentance for idolatry etc (unbelievers). This is not the same as the prophecy of the NT- the NT is for the ‘church’ to encourage and strengthen each other.

    “Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign2 not for unbelievers but for believers. ” ( 1Cor 14:22)

    Therefore it is evident that we should not stress to much on the continuance of prophecy of the OT to that of the NT. There seems to be variable differences. Paul expects woman to be gifted in this way and allows them to use that gift. However the gift of elder is only ever spoken of in relation to men, and men should only be in a position of oversight of the church and the teaching and preaching of the word.

    Cheryl, now in relation to me showing you where a ‘law’ is that tells us how many times a woman can teach, I hope you can see that I have no intention of answering this question because it is not what I have said. What I am saying is this. The ‘teaching’ or ‘preaching’ of the word must only be the responsibility of the elders who the bible says are to only be men. I believe women may ‘teach’ in the sense of prayer and prophecy and singing etc but this teaching and gifting is different from that of the elders.

    Look forward to your comments/questions

  43. Mark,
    You have once again failed to answer my questions. The original question was:

    Is it a “sin” for a godly Christian woman to teach correct Biblical doctrine to men in the church? Yes or no?

    Originally you said “No” but then you tried to qualify “teaching” and to state that only elders can “teach” the church while women can teach in a sense through singing and prayer and prophecy. The problem here is that I directly qualified what I meant by teaching and that is teaching Biblical doctrine. Is it a sin for a woman to teach Biblical doctrine to men? Since you did answer no at one point, let’s take a look at the Biblical “gift” of teaching to see if there are two Biblical gifts or one.

    Eph 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
    Eph 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
    Eph 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

    Ephesians 4:11-13 is not gender based and so “teachers” here is not restricted to men. According to Ephesians 4:11-13 what is the purpose of these gifts including that of teacher? The purpose is for equipping the church (the saints, the body of Christ) for work, for building up the body, for attaining to the unity of the doctrine of faith, for attaining the doctrinal knowledge of the Son of God, to bring the body of Christ to maturity. This is not some secondary “teaching” but a full doctrinal ability to grow the church.

    Are women allowed to grow the church? All women allowed to equip the church doctrinally? Are women allowed to provide doctrinal instruction to build up the body and for bringing the church into unity of the faith? Are women allowed to nurture the church and bring the church to maturity? According to Eph. 4:11-13 God Himself is the one who equips in this area and it is His gifts that He gives to individual members of His choice. These are people who are not “picked” as elders but “gifted” as doctrinal and instructional teachers who bring the church to maturity.

    What other kind of teachers are “gifted” by God?

    1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
    1 Peter 4:11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

    “Each one” Peter says has received a special gift. The purpose is to serve one another as a “good steward” of the grace of God. The one who speaks is to speak as speaking the very utterances of God. The Bible never limits the speaking by dividing the speaking into two classes – one for males and one for females. Neither does the Bible ever divide up the gift of teaching into gender related appropriate teaching.

    Mark, you have stated that there are different kinds of teaching gifts, one that is allowed for women and one that is reserved for men alone, but you have given not even one verse that limits God’s ability to gift women with doctrinal teaching nor have you give any verse that defines the “secondary” gift of teaching that prohibits women from teaching doctrine to the church as one who serves the church, equips the saints and protects the flock. Where are these two gifts of teaching listed? And why does the Bible never state that women who speak with the authority of God are in sin while men who speak with the authority of God have a higher gifting?

    Whether you believe that men alone are to be elders or not, that is not the point. That is a point that can be argued at another time. We are talking about God’s gifting of individuals for service to the body of Christ. There is not a single place that God lists a secondary level of gifts nor is there a single place that “restricts” God’s gifts to a gender or to an ordination by men. While you say that only the elders are to teach, the Bible does not say that. You are going beyond the scriptures in order to restrict God’s own gifts. While an elder must be able to teach, it would be adding to the Word to state a restriction that ONLY elders have the permission to teach.

    The bottom line is that God’s gifts are not to be restricted but they are to be encouraged and empowered. There is no “law” that restricts God’s gifts when they are given to women.

    You say that women are not allowed to “preach” but “preaching” is an announcing and is attached to the proclaiming of the gospel. Are you telling us that women are not allowed to announce the gospel? Has the gospel now become limited to the mouths of the men? The very first “preachers” of the gospel were the women who were instructed to announce the resurrection. If women are not allowed to preach then why would Jesus pick them as the first ones who were commanded to preach the good news?

    While I have continually asked questions about God’s gifting, you have continually gone back to “elders” which is not a gift. Why do you do that? Where does the Bible limit God’s gifts and deny the full use of the power that the Holy Spirit gives when the vessel He uses is a woman?

    Mark, you said:

    Here Paul further qualifies that they must be able to rebuke false doctrine by sound knowledge of good doctrine.

    Are you saying that only men are allowed to “rebuke false doctrine” and that only men are to have “sound knowledge of good doctrine”?

    God has gifted me in that area. I worked directly with former Jehovah’s Witnesses for 16 years while I unravelled their false doctrine and taught them the truth of the gospel. Am I sinning against God by using my gifts in this way? If I am allowed to “rebuke false doctrine” and give out “sound knowledge of good doctrine” to lost men, then what stops me from using my gifts when these men become Christians as many of them did? Where does the Scripture say that I become a sinner for preaching the good news to men and correcting their error?

    You said:

    Now to further expand on my point, being that men and women ‘teach’ each other in various ways. 1 Corinthians 11 teaches us that women can pray and prophecy in the church. Now to me, that would involve some form of ‘teaching’ to men in the congregation. However it is not the same ‘teaching’ as to those who are called and gifted to be elders of the church.

    There is no such “gift” as elder. And the “gift” of teaching is not limited to males. Why do you twist the words of Scripture and remove the gift of teacher and add the gift of elder? Why do you make the gift of teaching to have two levels when there is no such division in the Scripture? Is it possible that you have to change the Scripture in order to fit your own bias? Should we be listening to you as a “teacher” when what you say about the gifts isn’t found in the Scripture? Are you gifted in giving out Scripture doctrine just because you are a male? If you are gifted why does your teaching not match up to the inspired Word?

    You said:

    Now it is my opinion that since we are talking about a ‘church’ scenario and this is what the letters of Timothy and Titus are addressing (an already established church), the gifting of apostles, evangelists, prophets (Eph 4:11) are not to be understood as having the same responsibility for the ‘teaching’ and overseeing of the church as the elders do.

    I noticed right away that you said “it is my opinion”. Mark, this is part of the problem, in that you put your opinion above the clear Word of Scripture. People’s opinion is to be tested by the Scripture. Ephesians 4:11 does not stop with this verse. After giving the amazing job that the gifts of God are responsible for building up the body, Paul goes on to say:

    Eph 4:14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
    Eph 4:15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
    Eph 4:16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

    The gifts of God are also clearly for the protection of the body from false doctrine and trickery of men that results in deception. The fact is that those who are gifted become elders. An elder does not have higher gifts than a teacher or a prophet. An elder is chosen because the person already exhibits the necessary gifts that are needed to care for and protect the body. An elder is one who is approved by the job that they are already doing. The gifts don’t come when one has a “title” of elder. God is the one who gives the gifts and the church is never given the responsibility to decide on which of God’s gifts they want and which they can reject. God’s gifts are there because they are all needed. People become unbalanced when the gifts are neglected and pushed aside as unnecessary.

    More coming in the next comment….

  44. Mark,
    You asked how Christmas was. It was good but also came with its trials. We had to rush my mom into the hospital with high blood pressure. There were a couple of very busy and somewhat stressful weeks and today after posting my first comment I had to rush my own husband into the hospital who was suffering from an extremely painful case of kidney stones. All I can say is praise God that his pain is gone and it looks like the stone has fallen down waiting to be make its entrance into this world. One doesn’t know what a blessing pain-free living is until something like this happens!

  45. …continued…

    Mark,
    you said:

    Also in relation to the ‘prophecy’ of the New Testament, it has to be understood that we can not relate it exactly to the prophecy of the Old Testament. For example the OT prophets spoke the very words of God, with full authority, and ultimately it was recorded as scripture for us. The prophecy of the NT does not seem to function this way. Note in 1 Cor 12 Paul seperates the gift of ‘prophecy’ to the gift of ‘teaching’

    You are implying that a woman may have the gift of prophecy but that the manly gift of teaching is higher as it is separate. But God has not limited the gift of teaching to men and in the NT church Paul says that the one who is gifted with speaking is to speak as the very words of God. Paul here lumps the speaking gifts (prophecy, teaching) to speaking forth the Word. Those who have the gift of prophecy as just as encouraged to speak forth the very oracles of God as the ones gifted as teachers. There is no separation as if one is a higher gift than the other so that one is only an encouragement while one is manly preaching.

    You said:

    Not only that, but the prophecy Paul describes in Corinth is one of spirit guided utterance that needs to be tested.

    Here you are implying that only those with the gift of prophecy need to be tested and those who have the gift of teaching the body are not to be tested in the same way. But that is not true. Paul said that we are to “test all things” and the Bereans are praised for even testing the Apostle Paul, one of the greatest teachers God has ever given.

    You said:

    Therefore it is evident that we should not stress to much on the continuance of prophecy of the OT to that of the NT. There seems to be variable differences. Paul expects woman to be gifted in this way and allows them to use that gift. However the gift of elder is only ever spoken of in relation to men, and men should only be in a position of oversight of the church and the teaching and preaching of the word.

    Again you make a serious mistake by equating elder with one of God’s gifts. The elder is never listed in the lists of gifts and prophets can be elders, teachers can be elders, apostles can be elders, etc. What you don’t deal with is the gift of teacher that is in the very list that you quote. Can women be gifted teachers in the body of Christ teaching correct Biblical doctrine to men and rebuking error? There is no secondary gift of teaching that restricts women from using their full gift as teacher.

    The error that you continually make by saying that only elders should teach and preach the word is that the Bible never says “only” nor does the Bible list a restriction on gender for teaching or preaching or protecting. A “pastor” should be a shepherd protecting the sheep, but pastor is never ever restricted to males. It is one of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit and not put into a list where gender, race, social standing or wealth restricts the operation of the gift.

    You said:

    Cheryl, now in relation to me showing you where a ‘law’ is that tells us how many times a woman can teach, I hope you can see that I have no intention of answering this question because it is not what I have said.

    The problem is that you are redefining “teaching” to something less than the full gift of God. Where is “teaching” listed as a gift but as a lesser gift for women?

    By redefine teaching as a lesser gift for women, you can now state that only men are allowed to teach and preach in the church and this kind of “teaching” is a higher teaching that is only allowed for one who has been ordained an elder, but you have failed to show that there is a secondary gift of teaching and that only those who have been ordained as an elder are allowed to teach.

    Secondly if only men are allowed to teach and preach, then by doing something that is not “allowed” women must by necessity be in “sin” for doing that is not allowed. What I have been asking you all along, are women who are gifted by God as “teachers” (only one level is identified not a primary gifted teacher and a secondary subordinate gift of teacher) and women use these gifts for the edification of the entire body of Christ as Ephesians 4:11-14 show as well as 1 Peter 4:10- 11, are these women who do what you qualify as not allowed actually in sin?

    You have answer “no” in the first place only because you have chosen to redefine the gift of teaching. Instead you state that teaching results from many things including singing. But I am not talking about what may end up as teaching but about the actual God-given gift of teaching.

    What I am saying is this. The ‘teaching’ or ‘preaching’ of the word must only be the responsibility of the elders who the bible says are to only be men. I believe women may ‘teach’ in the sense of prayer and prophecy and singing etc but this teaching and gifting is different from that of the elders.

    This is your opinion but it is not a Bible rule. You will have to show where God has stated that He will not gift women with doctrinal teaching for the entire congregation that will feed them and protect them. If God meant that a woman is not allowed to teach the church and not allowed to protect the church then He should have said it. A prohibition is a serious issue and God is never ambiguous on sin.

    If a woman is Spirit-led and Spirit-gifted, where in the Scripture does God give the right to men to silence the working of the Holy Spirit? Is it possible that men have taken the “right” to protect the congregation and are instead of protecting from the wolves have turned aside to protect the body from the Holy Spirit’s work? Is this not grieving the Holy Spirit?

  46. Hi Cheryl,

    Thankyou for your reply. A few observations.
    I have to disagree that i failed to answer the original question. What i attempted to do was distinguish between the different gifts because i felt your question was a little broad. So i tried to demonstrate that the oversight ruling and teaching is different to other teaching like prophecy. If you continue to feel that i haven’t answered the question i fear it is based purely on our understandings of the various type of ‘teaching’ or gifts given in the NT.

    I agree with you that an elder is not a gift, and like you stated an elder is someone qualified with other gifts.

    Now you seem to think that i believe there are 2 gifts of ‘teaching’, one manly and more important than another. This is not true. I do believe that there is a gift of teaching. I also believe that there is a gift of prophecy. The difference is i don’t believe that the gift of prophecy commended for women by Paul in 1 Cor 11 is the same gift as that of teaching in Eph 4:11. Paul numerously distinguishes between the 2 gifts which is all i am doing. I’d be interested to know if you distinguish aswell since i have heard it several times used on this blog in an attempt to prove that ‘prophecy’ is not different to teaching. Now what is interesting is you think that i am saying that ‘teaching’ is higher than the prophecy. However does Paul not list prophecy before teaching and instruct us to desire the ‘higher’ gift.(1 Cor 12:27-31). It seems that you feel that teaching is the higher gift and it is unfair if a woman is not aloud to be a pastor, when infact a woman with the gift of prophecy has a higher gift than that of a teacher.

    Cheryl i am also intrigued why you feel that the issue of eldership is not important in a discussion about teachers. This is perplexing since several times Paul instructs that elders are to teach and protect the church. Is it that you think elders have nothing to do with teaching?

    It is hardly a comparison to say that the first witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection were ‘preachers’ in the same sense as someone at a pulpit. These have no correlation biblically.

    “Are you saying that only men are allowed to “rebuke false doctrine” and that only men are to have “sound knowledge of good doctrine”?”
    No i am not, i simply quoted the bible which instructs elders to do this- it is part of their responsibility.

    “There is no such “gift” as elder. And the “gift” of teaching is not limited to males. Why do you twist the words of Scripture and remove the gift of teacher and add the gift of elder? Why do you make the gift of teaching to have two levels when there is no such division in the Scripture? Is it possible that you have to change the Scripture in order to fit your own bias? Should we be listening to you as a “teacher” when what you say about the gifts isn’t found in the Scripture? Are you gifted in giving out Scripture doctrine just because you are a male? If you are gifted why does your teaching not match up to the inspired Word?”

    This is an interesting paragraph. I will assume it was because you were stressed with your husband. None the less i have not once twisted scripture. I quoted scripture which clearly shows that one of their responsibilities is teaching and that the bible only ever instructs men to be elders. I then said how i think that the gift of propechy is not the same gift as teaching. Now why is that twisting? If you can show where i was twisting please do. Please show me where elders do not have a teaching responsibility. Please show how women are included in eldership. Please show how prophecy and teaching are the same gift?

    “I noticed right away that you said “it is my opinion”. Mark, this is part of the problem, in that you put your opinion above the clear Word of Scripture.”
    Wow, enlightening! Isn’t any exegesis or interpretation one’s attempt to explain a passage. The last sentence i will just ignore for now, because it is hardly a fair comment considering all the discussion we have had together. Let me be very clear, i hold a very high view of scripture. Just because i don’t agree with you Cheryl does not make me someone who is more interested in myself than the truth of the bible.

    “There is no separation as if one is a higher gift than the other so that one is only an encouragement while one is manly preaching.”

    Not in Ephesians 4 does Paul call one higher, but he does in 1 Cor 12. You must look at all relevant passages not just Eph 4 and 1 Pet 4 because that seem ‘universal’ to you. But in terms of ‘manly’ that is a distinction you are making.

    “Here you are implying that only those with the gift of prophecy need to be tested and those who have the gift of teaching the body are not to be tested in the same way.”
    Not at all. IF you read it again what i am saying is that the prophecy of the NT is not the same as the prophecy of the OT because it is spirit led utterance and is instructed to be tested. I said this to show how it is wrong to make a large correlation between the prophecy of the OT and the NT which some egalitarians do in an attempt to enforce female pastors. Of course all things need to be tested. Please read me more carefully.

    Also i never said that men have a higher gift than women. This is a very wrong assumption you continue to make. Like i said above, prophecy is a higher gift, the very gift Paul expects women to have. If you realised this you would not be saying that i am making men more important than women. This is an issue i think you need to deal with within yourself.
    Anyhow i have tried to give you an answer to your question. We have gone far and wide to try an answer it extensively so i hope you feel i am trying to explain my views to you. I will begin to look at question 2 in more detail and post a response soon.

  47. “It seems that you feel that teaching is the higher gift and it is unfair if a woman is not aloud to be a pastor, when infact a woman with the gift of prophecy has a higher gift than that of a teacher.”

    Hi Mark,

    Where does Paul say anything about women not being allowed to be pastors or are denied the gift of pastor? Being an elder is one thing, something that is not a gift, but pastor is a gift which is not given based on gender. So unless women are denied some of the gifts then women can be pastors as God gifts them to be. And 1 Tim 2 is not about the gift of teaching and 1 Tim 3 is not about the gift of pastor therefore women can be pastor of men and women and teacher of men and women since the gifts are for the body which includes the congregation. Whether or not women can be elder is a different subject since elder is not a gift. And since women can teach as gifted by God (Eph 4) therefore 1 Tim 2 cannot be restricting women from teaching the church (men and women) when they are gifted by God as teachers. And since women can pastor as gifted by God (Eph 4) therefore 1 Tim 3 cannot be restricting women from pastoring the church (men and woman) when they are gifted by God as pastors.

    So what is your reason Mark, for insisting that women are not aloud to be pastors, Mark?

  48. Mark, so women can be teacher, pastor and prophet and everything else that is a gift of God, but not “teaching and ruling” elder? Only gifted men can be teaching and ruiling elder but gifted women cannot, while elder is not even a gift since elders are already qualified by gifts? BUT elders are qualified by their flesh (gender) also, right?

  49. Mark,
    If I man and a woman were to deliever the identical theological material to an assembly of mixed gender believers, how would you classify each delivery? I’m just trying to understand your position and how it plays out practically.

  50. SM,
    I deleted a comment of yours that was a duplicate. Looks like a typo in your name caused your comments to go into moderation. Looks like all is fixed now.

    The idea that “prophecy is a higher gift” comes from 1 Cor. 14 and Ephesians 4. The first is 1 Cor. 14:5 where the one who prophesies is said to be “greater” than the one who speaks in tongues. The reason that Paul says this should be obvious from the entire chapter. Paul’s focus is on edification of the church. The one who speaks in tongues will edify himself, but no one else will be edified unless there is an interpretor. Paul isn’t meaning to pit one gift against another because he uses the qualification of “unless”

    1 Cor 14:5 Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.

    Paul then lists ways that Christians can use their public gifts for the edification of the church.

    1 Cor 14:6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching?

    Since prophecy is listed before teaching in verse 6 and Paul tells the church that they should all desire to prophesy, the church has considered it a higher gift.

    Also Ephesians 4:11 lists prophets before teachers.

    There has always been a temptation to compare one’s gifts to another to see whose gift is more important. Even the apostles had been arguing who would be the greatest in the kingdom. But I believe that Jesus made it clear that if we are looking for importance in the kingdom we are to be a servant to all. Those who desire to give up their own glory by working hard to serve the church and grow the church without prejudice by allowing each part of the body to function freely with the gifts that God has given, will be the greatest.

    Does this help?

  51. Mark,
    You said:

    I have to disagree that i failed to answer the original question. What i attempted to do was distinguish between the different gifts because i felt your question was a little broad. So i tried to demonstrate that the oversight ruling and teaching is different to other teaching like prophecy.

    What you have done is to commit a logical fallacy. While you said my question was too “broad” you actually made it “broader” by exchanging “work” of an overseer and renaming it as a “gift” over “oversight ruling”. Thus while we were only talking about gifts, you exchanged the topic for a discussion on a “work” that can be appointed.

    Red Herring
    Topic A is under discussion.
    Topic B is introduced under the guise of being relevant to topic A (when topic B is actually not relevant to topic A).
    Topic A is abandoned.

    We were talking about spiritual gifts. You introduced the topic of overseer and then claimed that only elders can teach in the church. Your conclusion is faulty and out of order as well as unbiblical and I reminded you that you did not answer my questions. You even admitted at the end that you were not going to answer my question.

    This kind of evasion and an introduction of a logical fallacy can be very frustrating to have to deal with.

    I am going to break my comments up into smaller bites so my responses aren’t as long.

  52. Mark,
    You said:

    If you continue to feel that i haven’t answered the question i fear it is based purely on our understandings of the various type of ‘teaching’ or gifts given in the NT.

    It onus is on you to prove that “elder” is a gift. If you cannot do so, then I would ask you to deal with the topic at hand which is spiritual gifts.

    I agree with you that an elder is not a gift, and like you stated an elder is someone qualified with other gifts…Cheryl i am also intrigued why you feel that the issue of eldership is not important in a discussion about teachers. This is perplexing since several times Paul instructs that elders are to teach and protect the church. Is it that you think elders have nothing to do with teaching?

    We are discussion what women are allowed to do in the body of Christ. We have dealt with the issue of “elders” other places and we likely will talk about this again. All elders are teachers but not all teachers are elders. If we can establish what a woman has full freedom to do in the body of Christ, then that discussion comes first. When you say that a woman can teach doctrine to men in the church, and then you deny that women cannot teach doctrine as this is a task assigned only to elders, you are contradicting yourself. Your contradictions are very frustrating as it has been difficult to get you to answer my questions and when you do answer them, you turn around and contradict your answer. It makes me wonder if you are really interested in being understood or if you are might just want to stir the pot for entertainment value. There may be other reasons why you are evading the questions. I just find it very frustrating because I don’t see you as upfront with your answers.

  53. Mark,
    You said:

    Now you seem to think that i believe there are 2 gifts of ‘teaching’, one manly and more important than another. This is not true. I do believe that there is a gift of teaching. I also believe that there is a gift of prophecy. The difference is i don’t believe that the gift of prophecy commended for women by Paul in 1 Cor 11 is the same gift as that of teaching in Eph 4:11.

    So what you are saying is that the prophecy commended for women by Paul in 1 Cor. 11 is a non-gendered gift but the teaching in Ephesians 4:11 is only for men (gendered gift). Is this correct?

    Paul numerously distinguishes between the 2 gifts which is all i am doing.

    No, you are not distinguishing between the 2 different gifts. You are creating a teaching gift that disallows God the Sovereign choice to gift women. If I have misunderstood you, then you are going to have to explain why you list teaching in Ephesians 4:11 as somehow out of bounds for a woman.

    I’d be interested to know if you distinguish aswell since i have heard it several times used on this blog in an attempt to prove that ‘prophecy’ is not different to teaching.

    Actually this is not quite right. What has been said is that there is a teaching element that happens with prophecy. Paul himself said that all may prophesy so that all may learn. If one is learning then it is obvious that prophesying has a level of teaching that happens as an outworking of the gift. However the gift of teaching is not the same. Prophesying is more rightly aligned with preaching, while teaching is just teaching.

    Now what is interesting is you think that i am saying that ‘teaching’ is higher than the prophecy. However does Paul not list prophecy before teaching and instruct us to desire the ‘higher’ gift.(1 Cor 12:27-31).

    I don’t believe that any of the gifts is “higher” than the other. However since you seem to appeal to teaching as something that only one gender may do, it becomes quite obvious to me that “teaching” is a higher gift in your explanation because it is one of the two gifts you appear to reserve for males alone.

    It seems that you feel that teaching is the higher gift and it is unfair if a woman is not aloud to be a pastor, when infact a woman with the gift of prophecy has a higher gift than that of a teacher.

    Again, I don’t believe in a “higher” gift. I do believe that whatever gift we have, we need to use it for the benefit of all as the gifts that are the best ones are the ones which are given for the benefit of the whole body not just one individual.

    As far as the gift of pastor, only God distributes the gifts and whoever He gifts should be allowed to exercise God’s gift. My point is that restricting people from benefiting the whole body with their whole-body-gifts is not a valid oversight. God has not gifted for the purpose of having us restrict His work. We are not to grieve the Holy Spirit and restricting the bodies access to body gifts hurts God and hurts the body.

    There is nowhere in the Scripture where “pastor” or “teacher” is a gift withheld from women and distributed only to men. Not only is the restriction never listed in the lists of gifts, but the fact that we can identify gifted women as gifted as a pastor and gifted women as gifted as teacher proves that God has done His work and we need to allow Him to decide.

  54. Mark,
    You said:

    This is perplexing since several times Paul instructs that elders are to teach and protect the church.

    They certainly must teach and protect, but this is quite different than saying that ONLY elders can teach and ONLY elders can protect. The gift of pastor also is a gift that protects.

    My entire ministry is based on my gifts that protect the church. When you come against women using the gifts of protection/pastoring/shepherding, you come against my own ministry. Is it your intention to stop my ministry to the church in protecting them from the cults?

    It is hardly a comparison to say that the first witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection were ‘preachers’ in the same sense as someone at a pulpit. These have no correlation biblically.

    Well I have to agree with you here. There is no comparison at all. The witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection who were personally ordained as preachers of the good news by Jesus Himself are not the same as those who think they have special authority because they stand behind a pulpit. When we compare Jesus’ personal ordination of individuals to a non-biblical pulpit, honestly there is no comparison at all.

  55. Mark,
    You said:

    “Are you saying that only men are allowed to “rebuke false doctrine” and that only men are to have “sound knowledge of good doctrine”?”
    No i am not, i simply quoted the bible which instructs elders to do this- it is part of their responsibility.

    So tell me, Mark, are women allowed to rebuke false doctrine in the church? Are they allowed to also preach and teach the good news just as Jesus originally instructed his first resurrection witnesses?

    If you restrict teaching to elders and then say that elders are to rebuke false doctrine, it comes across as only elders can rebuke false doctrine. We are not talking about elders. We are talking about gifts. It is up to you to establish that God has restricted some of His gifts from being given to His female “sons”. That is the issue. I welcome you to argue that point as it will be on topic.

  56. Mark,
    You said:

    This is an interesting paragraph. I will assume it was because you were stressed with your husband. None the less i have not once twisted scripture. I quoted scripture which clearly shows that one of their responsibilities is teaching and that the bible only ever instructs men to be elders.

    Telling someone they have twisted scripture is part of what I do. It is loving to correct error. You have not quoted scripture that equates teaching with elders alone. You have used logical fallacies to attach the two, but you have never established that scripture shows that the gift of teaching is given to men alone.

    If your point is that only elders may teach the congregation, then to be consistent, men who are not yet elders also should never teach. Are you an elder? Do you teach?

    I then said how i think that the gift of propechy is not the same gift as teaching. Now why is that twisting?

    You twisted the scripture talking about the gift of teacher and you did a bait and switch by substituting elder. Elder is not a gift. You have twisted scripture by trying to change and passage on the gifts that is non-gendered and you have replaced one gift with something that is not a gift. You have admitted yourself that an elder is not a gift so why do you do this switch? Do you honestly not see how you have twisted the scripture?

    I would also like to know if you are open to being corrected? Or is correcting a faulty application of the scripture something that only an elder is allowed to do and you will not allow me to point out your error and correct it?

  57. Cheryl wrote:

    “The witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection who were personally ordained as preachers of the good news by Jesus Himself are not the same as those who think they have special authority because they stand behind a pulpit. When we compare Jesus’ personal ordination of individuals to a non-biblical pulpit, honestly there is no comparison at all.”

    That is great.

  58. Mark,
    You said:

    Please show me where elders do not have a teaching responsibility.

    You are twisting this. I never said that elders do not have a responsibility to teach. I am saying that elders are not the ONLY teachers. Paul shows quite clearly that the way the church was set up was for everyone to participate. Our way of doing “church” where one man stands behind a “pulpit” and preaches for an hour while everyone else is silent and not participating except to listen is not the biblical pattern of using the gifts in the church.

    There is also no biblical pattern of setting up elders as gatekeepers of God’s gifts. The biblical pattern is to equip the saints for the work of service:

    Eph 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

    When the church is being taught today that only a specific number of people and only one gender has permission to do the work of service in the body of Christ, the “work” of elder has been completely turned against the original intention. The elders would be responsible for building up the body so that the body can grow up into maturity and minister to itself. When elders are being used to stop ministry instead of encouraging ministry there is something gone wrong in the body.

    Please show how women are included in eldership. Please show how prophecy and teaching are the same gift?

    We are not talking about “eldership” but about God’s gifting. Why are you asking me to show how prophecy and teaching are the same gift when I do not believe this? I am wondering why you seem to have a problem understanding my position? Is it possible that you just skim through my comments and never actual read them? Am I really difficult to understand? I think it might be helpful for you to ask questions rather than ask me to give an argument for something that I don’t believe. Do you understand how that might be very frustrating?

  59. Mark,
    You said:

    “I noticed right away that you said “it is my opinion”. Wow, enlightening! Isn’t any exegesis or interpretation one’s attempt to explain a passage.

    There is a difference, Mark, between someone’s opinion and giving reason for your opinion. You have yet to give a reason for why teaching is restricted to elders. That may be your opinion and your are entitled to it, but that is just your opinion. It is my intention to push people towards giving reasons for the hope within them. When you use logical fallacies rather than biblical reasons, it isn’t good enough. I know that you are really trying, Mark and I respect that. But your personal opinions doesn’t have the weight of Scripture. If you want to persuade and defend, you will need to do it with Scripture taken in context and with well reasoned logic from the Scripture.

    Let me give you an example of what I see you doing:

    The Scripture says that elders are to be husbands of one wife and ones who have their children under submission. Therefore only elders can be husbands of one wife and only elders are allowed to have children under submission.

    Do you see the difference between something that is necessary for elders to do and your position that only elders may do the actions? It does not compute. It does not go together. It is a logical fallacy and inappropriate for Scripture argumentation.

  60. Mark,
    You said:

    Let me be very clear, i hold a very high view of scripture. Just because i don’t agree with you Cheryl does not make me someone who is more interested in myself than the truth of the bible.

    While I cannot say that you don’t hold a high view of Scripture in other areas, how can you hold high the truth by adding to the Scripture a restriction on God’s gifts when no such restriction is ever listed in the lists of gifts? It is your opinion that God’s gifts are restricted in some of the gifts. That will remain your opinion until you can prove that God Himself refuses to gift women with these gifts and has set up “blue” gifts for men only.

    I am really interested in seeing how you work out this belief of yours in reality whether you also restrict men or if the restrictions are on women alone. Do you deny men who are not elders from teaching the entire body? If you do not, why not? Have you ever taught in church? If you are not an elder (yet) but have been using your gift of teaching for the church, why would you do this? Does it not bother your conscience when someone who is not an elder stands up to teach the church? Do you stand up and rebuke them? Do you make it a point of telling men who are not elders that they are committing an act against God’s Scripture by teaching? How do you apply your belief so that you do not come across as chauvinistic? If you apply the belief in biblical restrictions to all and you have tried to correct erring men who would dare to try to teach the church without being an ordained elder, then please do share this with us.

  61. Mark,
    You said:

    But in terms of ‘manly’ that is a distinction you are making.

    Sure that is my own distinction as a way to express what you consider as male only. Do you have a problem with the term “manly”? If the gift of teaching is a male only gift, then surely it can be called a “manly” gift, eh? I would also be interested to know if you believe there are some “womanly” gifts that males are forbidden to use?

    “Here you are implying that only those with the gift of prophecy need to be tested and those who have the gift of teaching the body are not to be tested in the same way.”
    Not at all. IF you read it again what i am saying is that the prophecy of the NT is not the same as the prophecy of the OT because it is spirit led utterance and is instructed to be tested. I said this to show how it is wrong to make a large correlation between the prophecy of the OT and the NT which some egalitarians do in an attempt to enforce female pastors.

    You seem to go off the topic again. The question was about testing those who teach. And no egalitarian needs to enforce female “pastors” for those whom God has not gifted will not be pastors. God gifts. Egalitarians do not create the gift and neither do complementarians. The body recognizes the gifts that God has given.

  62. Mark,

    Mark wrote:
    “I do believe that there is a gift of teaching. I also believe that there is a gift of prophecy. The difference is i don’t believe that the gift of prophecy commended for women by Paul in 1 Cor 11 is the same gift as that of teaching in Eph 4:11. Paul numerously distinguishes between the 2 gifts which is all i am doing.”

    I do not understand anybody to be arguing they are the same. Correct me if I am wrong. I do understand you to be saying prophecy is “higher” than teaching, and I am not sure what you mean by “higher”. It is a gift to be desired. It is preferred over tongues for the obvious reason of understanding and edification.

    I understand you to say women are given the gift of prophesy in 1 Cor 11. Are women given the gift of teaching in Eph 4:11?

  63. Mark,
    You said:

    Also i never said that men have a higher gift than women. This is a very wrong assumption you continue to make.

    I am the one saying that men have a “higher” gift if they are the only ones allowed to teach in the church. If women are restricted and one gift is withheld from them because they do not have male “parts” and if teaching and preaching are the gifts used in the congregation for the learning time, then I rest my case.

    Please tell me how women “prophesy” in your congregation? What is your average service like? How many women are allowed to “prophesy” in church? How do they do this? How is the entire congregation edification by the women of your church prophesying?

    Like i said above, prophecy is a higher gift, the very gift Paul expects women to have.

    It is not a higher gift. It is only higher than speaking in tongues UNLESS the tongues speaker has an interpretation. Then they are equal. Please support your view that prophesying is always higher than teaching.

    If you realised this you would not be saying that i am making men more important than women.

    I can’t realize that prophesying is a higher gift since it is not. What I do see is that you have relegated some gifts to men alone. If men are privileged in having the Holy Spirit see them as special and deserving of some gifts set aside especially for them, then how is it that men are not more special than women? Please do explain.

    This is an issue i think you need to deal with within yourself.

    Why? I don’t need to worry about what gifts I do or don’t have since I am very content to allow the Holy Spirit to decide. When He gives me His gifts I am responsible for using these gifts. Should I be too concerned if men want to restrict my gifts? As long as God opens a door for me to minister, I will go through that door. I desire earnestly to be faithful to God as to obey God is better than to obey men.

    Anyhow i have tried to give you an answer to your question. We have gone far and wide to try an answer it extensively so i hope you feel i am trying to explain my views to you. I will begin to look at question 2 in more detail and post a response soon.

    I do feel that you are trying to explain your views to me. You just have been doing it by not answering the questions I have given you. You have consistently brought in issues that are irrelevant to the issue of gifted women. If we are talking about God’s gifts, then if your view is valid and can be documented by God’s restrictions on gifts, then we can all have a look. I do not see that a valid point of view should ever have to resort to logical fallacies for support. This is an extremely weak way to argue.

    Do you remember that I gave you the very first opportunity ever to present an article on my blog that came solely from the complementarian viewpoint? Why would I do this? It is because I have a high view of Scripture and I believe that a solid Biblical view with a solid defense and a weak unsupported view can both be tested by mature Christians. By testing each view, I believe that we can grow and become more mature. We have nothing to fear in having our Biblical view tested. We should also not fear in testing other people’s views by the Scripture. If we seek first to understand and then use the Bible to measure the view, this correction can be used to teach people.

    I look forward to hearing your answers to question #2. I think we can all learn from it. You can learn and I can learn and all my blog readers can learn.

  64. Mark,
    I must also apologize to you if my correction came across harsh in any way. I didn’t think so, but I do respect your feelings. It is my usual manner to try to balance out “correction” with positive affirmation. I think that is the respectful way and I failed to do that yesterday. Not only was I worried about my husband (who had three days of pain and pain can be very draining even for a care giver) but I was experiencing my own frustration with constantly being misunderstood and seeing the subject (at least the way I see it) as being high-jacked. Honestly, Mark, you are a tad frustrating. Not sure what tad means in Australian, but here it means “a little bit”.

    Frustration on Women in Ministry Blog by Cheryl Schatz

    When the game (the discussion) calls for a high ball, you throw me a low ball. I keep looking and hoping that you will actually, eventually throw a real high ball so we can examine it and commend it and go on even if we have to say that we agree to disagree. But the low balls can be frustrating. The low balls are when you replace one word with another and treat them as if they are the same. It is difficult to get through on a level where we can understand each other when people are playing a different ball game.

    The best thing, though, is that we do not attack the other person personally. Ideas can be challenged and logical fallacies can be identified and tossed out, but people are precious and valuable members of the body of Christ who should be corrected and encouraged and edified with patience. If I have come across in any way impatient, I sincerely apologize. I will try to do better with the next “ball”.

  65. “Cheryl wrote:

    “The witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection who were personally ordained as preachers of the good news by Jesus Himself are not the same as those who think they have special authority because they stand behind a pulpit. When we compare Jesus’ personal ordination of individuals to a non-biblical pulpit, honestly there is no comparison at all.”

    That is great.”

    I’ll second that!

  66. Cheryl,

    Yes i did feel you were harsh or frustrated and i understand that, but i still do not believe that i am throwing a low ball or presenting logical fallicies. Very briefly i will respond in a hope to answer some of your and others questions. Your original question was do i think a woman can teach good doctrine to men. Now i felt this was a loaded question because ‘teach’ is a broad use. IF you meant pastor, then no, if you meant teach in prophecy then yes. It is only in your last post that you made it clear that you meant the spiritual gift of ‘teaching’ from i presume Eph 4. So i will now look at that.

    In terms of the ‘higher’ gifts 1 Cor 12:27-31 further expands on Cheryls point. Paul clearly instructs the Corinthians to ‘eagerly desire the greater gifts”. And more than once is the listing of gifts given as apostles, prophets, teachers…

    Now about Eph 4. Is it a gender restricting gift of ‘pastor-teacher’. Note the greek word ‘poimenas’ (translated pastor in Eph) is the only instance in the NT where it is translated this way. Every other translation is ‘shephard’ or ‘Shephard;. For example Jesus is the ‘good shephard’ (Jn 10:11). Now compare this shepharding with Pauls exhortation of the ELDERS in Acts 20:28 to ‘shephard the church of God’. We begin to see that the gift of a pastor-teacher is officiated in the office of an elder. Now since again Paul only instructs the men to be elders it must necessitate then that a pastor-teacher will be a man and not a woman. It is vital not to read Eph 4 on its own ignoring all the other texts. By doing this i feel Cheryl that you have come to wrong conclusions on giftings.
    Finally to respond to a few of your queries about my personal position. No i am not an elder. In fact the church i have been attending don’t even follow the biblical pattern of leadership in this way. This is something i have been wrestling with myself. However i do believe those who ‘teach’ in the sense of preaching at church should only be men who either are the pastor/elder or younger men training and gaining skills in that area.
    In terms of prophecy, no we don’t have women or men prophecying in the church. I am in no way an expertise on the matter of gifting, and looking into it more closely is something i would love to do in the future in terms of searching out the different views as to whether certain gifts ceased at the completion of the canon. But like i said i need to do more study in this area before commenting extensively on cessationalism.
    It is interesting for me Cheryl that you think by restricting a woman from being a pastor for arguments sake, that makes men higher. Why do you feel this way. After all only women can have children yet society does not make that a prejudice distinction.
    My hope Cheryl is that your frustration may be a conviction about the position you hold regarding the gender debate. You say you are interested in only the truth and you know what i do actually believe you, i pray you come to see it.

  67. Mark,

    I now think that I understand you. You said:

    IF you meant pastor, then no, if you meant teach in prophecy then yes. It is only in your last post that you made it clear that you meant the spiritual gift of ‘teaching’ from i presume Eph 4. So i will now look at that.

    If I am not mistaken, you do not believe that there is a spiritual gift called “teacher”. You believe that a person with the gift of prophesy can have an element of teaching but that there is no gift of teaching per se as teacher is connected to pastor. When the Bible says pastors AND teachers, you dismiss the “and” Greek “de” and take this as a combo – full meal deal. If I understand you correctly a teacher is just another name for pastor? Am I correct?

    Now about Eph 4. Is it a gender restricting gift of ‘pastor-teacher’. Note the greek word ‘poimenas’ (translated pastor in Eph) is the only instance in the NT where it is translated this way. Every other translation is ‘shephard’ or ‘Shephard;

    That is not a problem at all. You can easily say that Ephesians 4:11 shows that God has gifted the church with Shepherds. That is also an acceptable word.

    So what I want to know is why do you take the gifting of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 4:11 and make it to be gender based when the fact is that no one can be spiritually gifted unless the Holy Spirit gifts them and He can do whatever He wants? Also why do you remove the “teacher” and attach it to “shepherd”? Why do you remove one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and make one less gift?

    This kind of reminds me of the ten commandments and the Catholic Church. Years ago they removed the commandment against creating a graven image. But after removing the commandment they were only left with 9 commandments, so they fixed up one of the other commandments, split it in two to get back to ten commandments.

    Mark, are you noodling with the Greek text to create one less spiritual gift? Please give us a reason for the belief that is in you and how you can change the inspired Greek to remove one of the gifts?

    Also note that the “shepherd” in Eph. 4:11 is a noun not a verb. Why are you confusing the noun and the verb? Are you saying that one who is teaching (like what happens in those who prophesy) must also be a teacher? So that the noun = the verb? Please do explain.

    My frustration in your position is that you never made it clear that you do not believe that there is a gift of teacher. Please do correct me if I am wrong, but I can see that you were skirting all the questions because you were not being upfront enough for us to understand that you only believe that there are pastors(/ teachers) a combined gift so that it is impossible in your mind for a women to be a teacher unless she is a pastor? Am I understanding you correctly now?

    I do hope that you are in the same position as I am Mark, and that you too only want the truth. I look forward to your answers.

  68. HI Cheryl,

    I would like to comment to your above response where you say i am ‘noodling’ with the greek in Eph 4:11. What i find interesting is your lack of actual greek exegesis in this verse.

    First you asked if i see it as a combo type deal and thus dont believe in the gift of ‘teacher’. I do believe in the gift of teaching, but however in the Eph 4 verse i do believe it is tied up with the ‘pastor’ gift. Now if you wanna discuss corinthians that would be different, but here in Ephesians Paul definately combines the two.

    Now about the greek! Before the gifts of apostles, evangelists and prophets we get the word ‘some’ but this is not repeated with the pastor/teacher grouping. On top of that both pastor and teacher are governed by the one article (it appears before pastor but not teacher) aswell as the ‘and’ (kai) differing from the rest in the verse (de). Now it is evidently clear that a proper reading of the greek here shows that Paul has the two gifts in mind as a combination or as some commentators put it, one ‘office’. There is plenty in the grammar here to come to the conclusion that this is a combination.

    Again pointing out that a pastor is a shephard, and likewise so is an elder, what do we have here in Ephesians? A complete parallel with Pauls other teaching on elders/teachers aswell as his direction for only male elders. Some shephards are gifted also as teachers.

    You should not claim that i am noodling under an assumption of yours. I am not ‘noodling’ with the text, rather the complete opposite, being faithful to it. Eph 4:11 should not be used by you or others in an attempt to prove your argument about spiritual gifts. THere is simply too much against your argument. You fail to correlate a shephard to an elder, thus removing Pauls teaching on eldership which has a massive bearing on any leadership discussion. You may want to fall back on me restricting the holy spirit, but you are not providing good biblical arguments for your position. I will look forward to your response.

  69. Mark,

    You mention my lack of Greek exegesis on Eph 4:11. Well let me enlighten you so that we can be on the same page. The grammar of Eph 4:11 some claim follows Granville Sharpe’s rule that says when one article is used for two nouns where they are joined by and “kai”, that they refer to the same person when the nouns are persons. For example Jesus is Lord and Savior, where Lord and Savior both refers to one person – Jesus. However this doesn’t apply to Ephesians 4:11 where spiritual gifts are listed with no person listed.

    There is also no “office” listed in the Greek. This is an addition to the text. Rather there are two separate gifts listed together as a close association of functions between two kinds of ministry gifts. Yet they are separate gifts as 1 Cor. 12:28 shows teachers alone without the mention of pastors.

    Although some seem to want to remove the gift of teachers in Ephesians 4:11 and make the term as a adjective instead of a noun (i.e. teaching pastors), The Pillar New Testament commentary says:

    it is more likely that the terms describe overlapping functions (cf. 1 Cor. 12:28–29 and Gal. 6:6, where ‘teachers’ are a distinct group). All pastors teach (since teaching is an essential part of pastoral ministry), but not all teachers are also pastors.

    As far as Paul’s not listing “some” and only one “the”, Paul expressed the gifts in lists in ways that also removed numbering for some gifts and removed the word “then” from before some gifts.

    1 Cor 12:28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.

    Notice that Paul lists “first, second, third” and then drops the numbering system. For miracles he lists “then miracles”, “then gifts of healings” and then Paul removes the “then” and just lists the gifts. Does this mean that all the gifts are now residing in one person because they are without the ordinal?

    So as far as Ephesians 4:11, there is no direct evidence that Paul is referring to one person, but there is evidence that there is a connection between Pastors and Teachers and that they have a similar function. Both teach God’s Word, but a teacher does not necessarily have to have a pastoral ministry to be a teacher.

    You said:

    Again pointing out that a pastor is a shephard, and likewise so is an elder, what do we have here in Ephesians?

    The Bible doesn’t say that an elder is a pastor. Just as someone can teach without being a teacher so an elder can do pastoring without being the gift of pastor. There is a difference between the noun pastor and the verb pastoring. They are not the same. And no where does the Scripture call an elder a pastor. An overseer may be pastor but also may not be. Sometimes God gifts Christians with multiple gifts and sometimes He does not.

    You should not claim that i am noodling under an assumption of yours. I am not ‘noodling’ with the text, rather the complete opposite, being faithful to it.

    It is not faithful in my opinion to disregard the gift of teacher in Ephesians 4:11. The passage does not say pastor/teacher without the conjunction. The conjunction makes the two gifts as separate even though they have a close association of functions. But to deny that a person can be a teacher in Ephesians 4:11 without that person having to be a pastor is defining away women whom you apparently deny that God can choose to gift them as pastors for the edification of the church.

    You fail to correlate a shephard to an elder, thus removing Pauls teaching on eldership which has a massive bearing on any leadership discussion.

    The Bible never correlates a shepherd (noun) to an elder. If doing shepherding (verb) makes one a shepherd, then teaching through prophesying must also make one a teacher. But you deny that prophesying is teaching so you have a big problem because you are inconsistent.

    Also we have been talking about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and not leadership per se. The question is whether the Holy Spirit has the freedom to gift women to be pastors or teachers or any of the other gifts if He so desires. Those who say that He cannot gift them because they are women will have a problem with denying the Sovereignty of God. God is God and we cannot tell Him who He can gift with what gift.

    Now I would be interested to know whether you consider the “teacher” in 1 Cor. 12:28 to be a lesser kind of teacher than in Ephesians 4:11? If so why do you have degrees of the gift of teacher? And why would Paul list teachers as third in the list of gifts while pastor doesn’t even show up in the order of gifts?

    Also why do you think that Paul said “pastors and teachers” instead of “pastor teachers” or “pastoring teachers”? Why make a distinction between the gifts if they are fully connected without distinction?

    I look forward to your responses.

  70. Cheryl,

    Again i have never said i don’t believe in a gift named ‘teaching’ nor have i said there are two types of teaching gifts. Please stop with the assumptions that i am never saying. What i did say, is that the Pastor and teaching gifts are correlated in Eph, so it is wrong to only focus on a ‘teacher’ and not understand it in relation to Paul’s listing, which here in Eph he has incorporated it with a pastor. It now seems to me that you somewhat agree with what i said, where as previously you were trying to use teacher as stand alone by citing Eph 4:11. If you wish to do that then 1 Cor 12 is a far better text to discuss rather than Eph 4. To ignore the way Paul has correlated the two until someone picks you up on it is not very good.

    I understand that there is no word ‘office’ listed in the greek. It is helpful however to use a term such as it to portray accurately the Nt teachings. For example there was an apostolic office, which not all apostles were given. Let me explain, the twelve had an apostolic ‘office’ as did Paul, which had certain authority in establishing the early churches, yet an ‘apostle’ were people who saw the teachings and works of Jesus. For example when the disciples replaced Judas, they chose someone who had been there from the beginning. So there is a distinction between an apostle( someone who was there from the beginning) and the apostolic ‘office’. So i have no problem talking about an office of ‘elder’ as it is helpful in translating the NT teaching accurately.

    Again i never said that an elder is a pastor. What i did say is that they both are told to ‘shephard’ the church. A pastor in my opinion is an elder with the gift of teaching. Do you believe that a pastor is seperate in responsibility than an elder? DO you believe women can be elders?

    you said about me “It is not faithful in my opinion to disregard the gift of teacher in Ephesians 4:11.”

    Where have i ever disregarded the gift of teacher? Or is this another assumption of yours? I simply pointed out how Paul correlates the gift of teacher with gift of pastor in Eph 4, which you are now agreeing with.

    again you said “But you deny that prophesying is teaching”

    I have never said such a thing. Quite the opposite really. Again what i did say is that prophesying is not the same teaching as that of a teacher/pastor/elder or whatever else. Remeber how i said we are taught in various ways but they are not all the same. IT is you who is being unfaithful by saying that pastoring/teaching/prophesying are all the same. I have simply used the bible to show where you were wrong.

    Now about 1 Cor 12! First of all i don’t believe it is a less ‘teacher’ than Eph 4. Second the reason why Paul numbers the gifts and instructs the corinthians to desire the higher gifts is because they are more beneficial to the church, where as the corinthians over-realised eschatology and emphasis on ‘tounges’ was misguided.

    Now many scholars believe that that the apostolic and prophetic gifts ended at the completion of the canon. LIke i said previously this is something i have not done alot of study on. However the thrid gift ‘teaching’ most agree is still given by the Spirit. Some believe that evangelists and pastors fall under the banner of ‘teacher’ because of Eph 4 listing. From what i have read on this i would somewhat agree. What ever the case i do believe in the gifting of ‘teacher’ but do not believe it is the same as a prophet.

    Finally to answer your final question. I dont know why Paul said Pastor and teacher rather than the other alternatives, im not Paul. What is clear though is that they are seperate gifts but should be understood as closely tied together. The two gifts are similar and both vitally important for the ministry of the church. We shouldn’t mash the two nor should we seperate them extensively.

  71. Mark,
    You said:

    Again i have never said i don’t believe in a gift named ‘teaching’ nor have i said there are two types of teaching gifts. Please stop with the assumptions that i am never saying. What i did say, is that the Pastor and teaching gifts are correlated in Eph, so it is wrong to only focus on a ‘teacher’ and not understand it in relation to Paul’s listing, which here in Eph he has incorporated it with a pastor.

    You appear to be speaking in circles. In Eph 4:11 it doesn’t say teaching but teacher. You continually change “teacher” to “teaching” in Ephesians 4:11 and I would like to know why you do that. I have been talking about Ephesians 4:11 and the gift of “teacher”. It is time for you to answer the hard questions so I and others can get a handle on what you believe. Do you or do you not believe that Ephesians 4:11 gives “teacher” as a gift for the body of Christ? Secondly do you believe that “teacher” is not a gift on its own but must be amalgamated with pastor so that only pastors can be “teachers”? Please note that I am not saying “teaching” but “teachers”. Will you please answer my questions in a clear way and stop changing the noun to a verb? I would very much appreciate it.

  72. Mark,
    You said:

    It now seems to me that you somewhat agree with what i said, where as previously you were trying to use teacher as stand alone by citing Eph 4:11.

    It is a stand alone gift, but in Ephesians 4:11 Paul connects the teacher with the related gift of pastor. There is no other use of “pastor” as a gift except for Ephesians 4:11. To list the two separate gifts as having a close association (but not being the same gift nor necessitating that one gift must be accompanied by the other but rather that the two gifts have a common function of teaching). Yet there is only one gift of “teacher”. There are not different levels of “teacher” although there may be different kinds of “teaching”.

    Yet in discussions with you, you seem to continually stress that a woman is not allowed to be a teacher because pastors are the ones who are given the responsibility of being teachers in the church. Have I misunderstood you? If so perhaps you can be clear in your view of “teachers”. Are women allowed to be “teachers” in the church? Does Ephesians 4:11 speak about the gift of “teacher”? Or does Ephesians 4:11 only speak about pastors who teach? Is this limited to pastors as you seem to suggest?

    Related gifts that are related by function does not negate the separation of the gifts. “Pastor” is not “teacher” although a Pastor can also be a teacher. A pastor using teaching in the function of the gift just as one who prophesies uses teaching in the function of their gift. Do you agree or not?

  73. Mark,
    You said:

    If you wish to do that then 1 Cor 12 is a far better text to discuss rather than Eph 4. To ignore the way Paul has correlated the two until someone picks you up on it is not very good.

    I haven’t ignored it at all as the purpose of talking about a “teacher” is not about how there is a common function with “pastor” but how a woman can be a teacher without having to be a pastor.

    I understand that there is no word ‘office’ listed in the greek. It is helpful however to use a term such as it to portray accurately the Nt teachings.

    Actually using such a term distorts the NT teachings which show that there is a common “class” of Christians. All Christians are brothers in Christ and no one can lord it over another and because leaders are to be servants, there is no such thing as “offices” which would divide the body into clergy class and laity. Christians are one class not two.

    You said:

    For example there was an apostolic office, which not all apostles were given. Let me explain, the twelve had an apostolic ‘office’ as did Paul, which had certain authority in establishing the early churches, yet an ‘apostle’ were people who saw the teachings and works of Jesus.

    There is no apostolic “office” that was given to the 12. Rather these ones were chosen to be witnesses to the resurrection and were held accountable for the doctrinal foundation of the church. As foundation stones everyone gave up their life as the servants of the church except for John who was used in a special way by Jesus. No other apostle had to see the works of Jesus except for the 12.

    For example when the disciples replaced Judas, they chose someone who had been there from the beginning. So there is a distinction between an apostle( someone who was there from the beginning) and the apostolic ‘office’.

    You are adding the term “office” when it isn’t there. Apostles are “gifts” not offices. An office is something that can be vacated and filled by someone else. A gift is not vacated and someone else gets your gift when you die. There are no “offices” to be filled in the NT. This is something added by the Nicolaitans and the Hierarchy of Rome who created offices and clergy/laity divisions. But in the Scriptures you do not find such a division.

    So i have no problem talking about an office of ‘elder’ as it is helpful in translating the NT teaching accurately.

    There is where you have a problem seeing outside of your “office” and “hierarchy” box. The NT has no offices and the leaders were the greatest servants completely destroying the concept of “office”.

    You said:

    Again i never said that an elder is a pastor. What i did say is that they both are told to ‘shephard’ the church.

    Really? You pointed to Ephesians 4:11 and tied it to 1 Timothy 3:1. There is no problem with people “shepherding” but there is only one gift of “pastor”.

    A pastor in my opinion is an elder with the gift of teaching.

    But all elders are supposed to be teaching, so what is the difference between an elder and a pastor if you are not saying that an elder is a pastor?

    Do you believe that a pastor is seperate in responsibility than an elder? DO you believe women can be elders?

    Once again the issue is about teachers and about pastors. We can discuss elders at another time. A pastor is listed as a separate gift and an elder is one who takes on a work. An elder is never listed as a “gift” but a responsibility by those who desire the work and who are qualified to do the work.

    Do you believe that God can gift women as pastors? Or do you believe that God is limited in His work of giving out His gifts? Are you willing to answer this question that has been posed to you many times or are you going to bypass it one more time?

  74. Mark,
    You said:

    Where have i ever disregarded the gift of teacher? Or is this another assumption of yours? I simply pointed out how Paul correlates the gift of teacher with gift of pastor in Eph 4, which you are now agreeing with.

    You have said that women cannot be teachers in the church because they cannot be pastors. You appeal to Ephesians 4:11 and disregard the term “teacher” as if it is completely morphed into “pastor” so that one must be a pastor to be a teacher. Of course the question still needs to be answered…can a woman be a pastor? Can she be gifted as a pastor by God?

    You said:

    again you said “But you deny that prophesying is teaching”

    That was a typo on my part. What I meant to say was

    If doing shepherding (verb) makes one a shepherd, then teaching through prophesying must also make one a teacher. But you deny that one who prophesies is a teacher so you have a big problem because you are inconsistent.

    If I am wrong, then do you now admit that one who prophesies is a teacher?

    IT is you who is being unfaithful by saying that pastoring/teaching/prophesying are all the same. I have simply used the bible to show where you were wrong.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. I have never said that teaching is the same as pastoring. Nor have I said that prophesying is the same as teaching. We have both agreed that one who prophesies will teach in the act of using their gift, but prophesying is different than teaching just as the gift of Prophet is different than the gift of Teacher. Are you really sure you understand my position?

  75. Mark,
    You said:

    Now about 1 Cor 12! First of all i don’t believe it is a less ‘teacher’ than Eph 4. Second the reason why Paul numbers the gifts and instructs the corinthians to desire the higher gifts is because they are more beneficial to the church, where as the corinthians over-realised eschatology and emphasis on ‘tounges’ was misguided.

    So the gift of “teacher” in Ephesians 4:11 is equal to the gift of “teacher” in 1 Cor. 12? Then is a woman allowed to be gifted by God to be a “teacher” of the church? If not, why not?

    Also Paul does not talk about “eschatology” as a lesser gift? I am not even sure what you mean by that. Paul makes it abundantly clear in 1 Cor. 14 that any gift that benefits all is the higher gift. Speaking in tongues without an interpreter benefits only the speaker so it must of necessity be considered the least of all gifts unless it is combined with the interpretation. Then it too becomes the higher gift.

    Now many scholars believe that that the apostolic and prophetic gifts ended at the completion of the canon. LIke i said previously this is something i have not done alot of study on.

    Those who have this view must deal with the issue of the doing away of knowledge. Only when knowledge is not needed will the gifts not be needed for the edification of the church. If we can do away with the gifts that God has given to some members and we say that these are not needed for the body, then we fall into the trap of arbitrarily deciding on our own wisdom what is and isn’t needed for the body. But God is the ultimate Sovereign ruler who decides on what we need. When he gifts a person with the gift, then obviously it is still needed.

    Some believe that evangelists and pastors fall under the banner of ‘teacher’ because of Eph 4 listing. From what i have read on this i would somewhat agree.

    This is your problem again. You attach “teacher” to another gift so that there is one less gift that can be given to an individual. If “teacher” must be attached to another gift and we then define that other gift as not being available to one gender, we have in essence removed the gift of “teacher” and replace it with an amalgamated gift belonging to men alone. This is essence is exactly what I have been saying all along. When you amalgamate a gift you remove it as a “gift”. It becomes a hyphenated gift without the power of the gift alone. But this is necessary to do because many men are determined that God gives males alone certain gifts and they alone are privileged with an “office” and “authority” and “kingly rights”.

    What ever the case i do believe in the gifting of ‘teacher’ but do not believe it is the same as a prophet.

    I agree. Teacher is not the same as Prophet, but one can be a Teacher and a Prophet. One can also be a Teacher and an Evangelist. One can have more than one gift. But each gift is unique in its own right and to attach it to another gift without allowing it God’s power on its own, is not correct NT doctrine.

    This statement amazes me:

    Finally to answer your final question. I dont know why Paul said Pastor and teacher rather than the other alternatives, im not Paul. What is clear though is that they are seperate gifts but should be understood as closely tied together. The two gifts are similar and both vitally important for the ministry of the church.

    If you now admit that pastor and teacher are “separate gifts” then why do you say that a woman cannot be a teacher in the church because she cannot be a pastor or elder?

    You said:

    We shouldn’t mash the two nor should we seperate them extensively.

    What do you mean by not separating them “extensively”? This isn’t clear? Do you mean that we cannot separate them at all? Do you mean that one can be a teacher but not a pastor as long as one is male, but the two must not be separated if one is talking about a woman so that a woman cannot be a teacher because she is not to be a pastor?

  76. Actually using such a term distorts the NT teachings which show that there is a common “class” of Christians. All Christians are brothers in Christ and no one can lord it over another and because leaders are to be servants, there is no such thing as “offices” which would divide the body into clergy class and laity. Christians are one class not two.

    I LIKE this!! 🙂 Christians are one class not two!!

    Hi Mark 🙂

  77. If you now admit that pastor and teacher are “separate gifts” then why do you say that a woman cannot be a teacher in the church because she cannot be a pastor or elder?

    I think the answer is something along the lines of – a woman can teach but she cannot be a teacher behind the pulpit (a pastor), or she can teach but she “cannot teach the church” which means “teach as a pastor”.

    Did I get it right, Mark ;P

  78. #82 con’t

    but the two must not be separated if one is talking about a woman so that a woman cannot be a teacher because she is not to be a pastor?

    Bingo.

  79. Hi Cheryl,

    You asked me as one of your hard questions “Do you or do you not believe that Ephesians 4:11 gives “teacher” as a gift for the body of Christ?”

    The short answer is of course. However i do not think it should be separated from the gift of pastor for the reasons i have given already, the greek doesn’t allow for it. The two are so closely correlated so that when you talk about Eph 4 and say pastor, you also think teacher. Likewise you say teacher, you should also think of pastor.

    And again you asked me “Secondly do you believe that “teacher” is not a gift on its own but must be amalgamated with pastor so that only pastors can be “teachers”?

    I do believe that in Ephesians the two are enormously close knitted together, but i would not say only pastors can be teachers. I think a pastor is a teacher, likewise an evangelist is a teacher. This is how i believe we should understand 1 Cor 12 when it lists ‘teacher’, but neither pastor nor evangelist are listed.

    I agree with this “Yet there is only one gift of “teacher”. There are not different levels of “teacher” although there may be different kinds of “teaching”.

    “Yet in discussions with you, you seem to continually stress that a woman is not allowed to be a teacher because pastors are the ones who are given the responsibility of being teachers in the church. Have I misunderstood you?

    Sort of! I do not believe that women are given the responsibility of oversight of the church or shepharding, and therefore they should not have the teaching responsibility of those in that position (pastors and elders).

    You asked “Are women allowed to be “teachers” in the church?”

    Now it is important to remember that we are discussing the bible not what ‘I’ allow or disallow. Perhaps you mean do i believe the bible teaches that women will be ‘teachers’ in the church, then i would say no. The reason being the resposibilty of the gift and its correlation to the gift of pastor which i believe the bible teaches are for the men of the church. Now i have no doubt that you will disagree with me on this but remember that the gift of ‘apostle’ was only ever given to men aswell.

    You said “Related gifts that are related by function does not negate the separation of the gifts. “Pastor” is not “teacher” although a Pastor can also be a teacher. A pastor using teaching in the function of the gift just as one who prophesies uses teaching in the function of their gift. Do you agree or not?”

    I disagree in the fact that i believe a pastor is a teacher aswell. The very gift of a pastor necessitates an ability to teach. The catch phrase “they are a good pastor but a bad teacher” i disagree with. Someone who shephards the flock but doesn’t teach is an elder. Someone who shephards the flock and teaches is a pastor in my opinion. Now about a prophet teaching i cant say because i have never seen this gift before, but i have no doubt it did have elements of ‘teaching’ in it as it was inspired by the spirit for the early church. Have you ever seen a prophet?

    “Actually using such a term distorts the NT teachings which show that there is a common “class” of Christians. All Christians are brothers in Christ and no one can lord it over another and because leaders are to be servants, there is no such thing as “offices” which would divide the body into clergy class and laity. Christians are one class not two.”

    You have a very negative attitude toward leadership it seems. But i disagree that it is unhelpful using certain terminology to explain things. What would you label elders and deacons as if you dislike the word ‘office’. I definitely agree that leaders are to be servants though. The difference i guess is that i don’t think using the word ‘office’ negates that belief. Also the reality is that we are all called to submit to our church leaders as men who will have to give an account.

    “There is no apostolic “office” that was given to the 12. Rather these ones were chosen to be witnesses to the resurrection and were held accountable for the doctrinal foundation of the church”

    Maybe you prefer the term ‘chosen ones’ rather than office :-). I have to say i disagree with you on this one. Yes there were 12 apostles chosen as the founding members of the church (Eph 2:20) but i would call this the ‘apostolic office’. The reason being there are other passages which call James and Barnabas ‘apostles’ but they were not ‘apostles’ in the same sense i mentioned above. For example look at 1 Cor 15:7, Gal 1:19, Acts 14:4, 14. Now all these had the gift of ‘apostle’ which means ‘one who is sent with a commision’ yet not all had the resposibilty as the founders of the church. I’d be interested to know if you believe this gift has ceased to be given?

    “Really? You pointed to Ephesians 4:11 and tied it to 1 Timothy 3:1. There is no problem with people “shepherding” but there is only one gift of “pastor”.”

    You have misunderstood me and i will take the blame because i now see i didn’t explain myself clearly. What i meant was not all elders are pastors. But i do believe they both have the same responsibilty of shepharding the flock.

    You said “But all elders are supposed to be teaching”

    Now do you mean what this seems to mean that all elders teach or are supposed to be teaching? If so i would say this is contrary to scripture. 1 Tim 3 says a qualification for an elder is that they are ‘able to teach’, but yet Paul says 2 chapters later in 5:17 that ‘elders who rule well are worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in preaching and teaching’. So the assumption is not all will teach yet they should be ‘able to teach’. See the difference? IS this why you don’t like discussing elders because of Pauls correlation between them shepharding and preaching and teaching and that he only instructs men to take this resposibilty.

    I have to say that i don’t know why you dodge discussions on eldership. I know you say we are discussing gifts, but it seems silly to discuss gifts that are enormously important for the church without discussing leadership responsibilities. Is it because the two don’t mesh with your view? Are gifts a safer argument for you? Since often gifts and natural abilities are so often confused.

    You said “Do you believe that God can gift women as pastors? Or do you believe that God is limited in His work of giving out His gifts? Are you willing to answer this question that has been posed to you many times or are you going to bypass it one more time?”

    No i will not answer this question because im not going to pretend i am God. I will answer questions in relation to His revealed truth, but i will not sin by making myself an idol before my Lord. Please direct you questions in a way that is not leading or loaded?

    You asked “If I am wrong, then do you now admit that one who prophesies is a teacher?”

    No i do not think a prophet is a ‘teacher’ because Paul seperates the gifts. Like i said earlier im sure the NT prophets ‘taught’ things but it does not make them now have the gift of a ‘teacher’ necessarily. Are you now mashing prophecy and teaching after accusing me of doing it?

    To my above statement you probably answered it by this

    “Wrong, wrong, wrong. I have never said that teaching is the same as pastoring. Nor have I said that prophesying is the same as teaching. We have both agreed that one who prophesies will teach in the act of using their gift, but prophesying is different than teaching just as the gift of Prophet is different than the gift of Teacher. Are you really sure you understand my position?”

    I guess it is easy to get confused when we keep using terms interchangeably.

    You said “If “teacher” must be attached to another gift and we then define that other gift as not being available to one gender, we have in essence removed the gift of “teacher” and replace it with an amalgamated gift belonging to men alone.”

    Are you agreeing with me here that only men should be pastors?

    “But this is necessary to do because many men are determined that God gives males alone certain gifts and they alone are privileged with an “office” and “authority” and “kingly rights”.

    Cheryl your above comment shows your definite bias and deliberate intent not to understand their position. Unless you realise this, you will never be able to dialogue unhindered. I’m sure the majority of comps aswell as egals believe that waht they say is biblical truth not about authority and kingly rights. Of course people will always be deceived by their own sin and self-righteousness but your above comment really speaks of your position. Now i do understand you better. Please try and dialogue with me without having these assumptions about me.

    Finally you asked me “What do you mean by not separating them “extensively”? This isn’t clear? Do you mean that we cannot separate them at all? Do you mean that one can be a teacher but not a pastor as long as one is male, but the two must not be separated if one is talking about a woman so that a woman cannot be a teacher because she is not to be a pastor?”

    What i mean is when we come to 1 Cor 12 for example and see the gift of ‘teacher’ it needs to be understood in relation to the other listings of gifts. So in Eph we both agree Paul correlates it to a pastor. So by separating them extensively i mean emphasising a ‘teacher’ as something without keeping in mind Pauls other use of the term. When we read one verse alone and emphasise something about it without looking at all relevant passages we could get in trouble. That is why so many scholars associate a ‘teacher’ with an evangelist and/or pastor. It is keeping the whole bible in view rather than mis-representing one verse.

    Enough for tonight. Anyway i want to begin to write a response to question 2 for you.
    Speak soon.

  80. Mark,
    You said:

    You asked me as one of your hard questions “Do you or do you not believe that Ephesians 4:11 gives “teacher” as a gift for the body of Christ?”

    The short answer is of course. However i do not think it should be separated from the gift of pastor for the reasons i have given already, the greek doesn’t allow for it.

    If I understand you right, the gift of “teacher” is not a single gift that is stand alone. It has to be connected with another gift.

    The problem with this is that the Greek does disallow “teacher” to be a separate gift as you stated above. That would be taking the Greek further than it allows for. I will be doing a separate post on this issue shortly so I will develop me point further, but the fact that teacher is not permanently connected to another gift should be clearly seen when we compare Scripture with Scripture where “teacher” is listed by itself without any related gift.

    You said:

    And again you asked me “Secondly do you believe that “teacher” is not a gift on its own but must be amalgamated with pastor so that only pastors can be “teachers”?

    I do believe that in Ephesians the two are enormously close knitted together, but i would not say only pastors can be teachers. I think a pastor is a teacher, likewise an evangelist is a teacher. This is how i believe we should understand 1 Cor 12 when it lists ‘teacher’, but neither pastor nor evangelist are listed.

    What you are doing here, Mark, even if you are unaware of it, is reading into the passage something that is not there. The Bible doesn’t say that a pastor is a teacher. A pastor is a pastor. The gift of pastor can be very connected to teacher especially in one on one counselling. A pastor may very well also be a “teacher”. Notice I said “also” because the term pastor is not synonymous with teacher. But a teacher may not be a pastor or an evangelist. There is nothing at all in the Greek that demands that a teacher must have more than one gift. If a teacher must be connected to another gift then in essence the “teacher” disappears and what we have is a pastor who teaches and an evangelist who teaches but a “teacher” alone doesn’t exist. It is impossible to sustain this from the Greek without reading into the text.

    The fact is that we know that you don’t believe that a woman can be a pastor even though a pastor is a gift that is dependent alone on God’s gifting not on any human decision alone. You have defined women teachers out of existence without God making that decision. For if God didn’t want women teachers all He would have to do is fail to gift women as teachers. Then we wouldn’t be having this conversation would we?

    You said in quoting me and then answering:

    “Yet in discussions with you, you seem to continually stress that a woman is not allowed to be a teacher because pastors are the ones who are given the responsibility of being teachers in the church. Have I misunderstood you?”

    Sort of! I do not believe that women are given the responsibility of oversight of the church or shepharding, and therefore they should not have the teaching responsibility of those in that position (pastors and elders).

    We certainly can have a discussion about shepherding and oversight, however since we are talking about a “teacher”, these things are not the same. A teacher may have the responsibility of oversight in the church if that one desires the work of overseer (1 Tim. 3:1) The obvious implication is that although there may be many teachers not all may desire the work of an overseer or not all may have the qualification of an overseer. The fact is that a teacher can be just a teacher. You have given no proof at all that there is no “teacher” that God gifts that will never be an elder.

    Secondly the gift of “evangelist” is not the same as the gift of “pastor” nor is it the same as the gift of “teacher” or God would have removed one or more of the gifts if they were the same. “Teacher” is a stand alone gift in 1 Cor. 12 which you have not adequately answered. I would like to ask you, if God had intended to gift some as “teachers” does He have the right and freedom to gift some with only one gift without an additional gift? If God has no right to do that, then you will need to prove that He has no Sovereign right to do as He pleases.

  81. Mark,
    You said:

    You asked “Are women allowed to be “teachers” in the church?”

    Now it is important to remember that we are discussing the bible not what ‘I’ allow or disallow. Perhaps you mean do i believe the bible teaches that women will be ‘teachers’ in the church, then i would say no. The reason being the resposibilty of the gift and its correlation to the gift of pastor which i believe the bible teaches are for the men of the church. Now i have no doubt that you will disagree with me on this but remember that the gift of ‘apostle’ was only ever given to men aswell.

    Mark, the problem that you have is explaining how it is that God a woman to have a particular gift. It is a no-brainer. If God doesn’t want a woman to be a teacher in the church, all He has to do is not gift her with that gift. That would be the end of the discussion. But since women are obviously gifted as teachers, what do we do with that? Are you willing to argue that God does not gift women with the gift of teacher? That there are no gifted women teachers at all? I hardly think that this position would be one that you would be willing to argue for because even the most staunch complementarian I have met will readily agree that women are very gifted as teachers in fact some even more so than their male counterparts. So if we can grant the view that God indeed is Sovereign and that He does appear to gift women as teachers, what will be the extent of their responsibility as teacher?

    Paul very carefully teaches about the extent of God’s gifts. In Ephesians 4:12 Paul says that all of God’s gifts are for the equipping of the saints and for the work of service and for building up the body of Christ.

    Eph 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

    Paul doesn’t say that the gifts God gives are to be kept back for the benefit of a few but for the whole (not segmented) body of Christ.

    Paul then goes on to state that the gifts are useful and needed until we all attain to the unity of the faith.

    Eph 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

    The gifts are for all for the common good. Paul goes on to say that each individual part is for the growth of the entire body as the gifts are for the building up of itself (singular) not for multiple segment parts.

    Eph 4:16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

    Paul again clearly teaches the “common good” theme in 1 Cor. 12:

    1 Cor 12:6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.
    1 Cor 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

    If Paul had meant the “one” gift of “teacher” was not meant for women to be for the common good, Paul would have needed to restrict by gender the gifts. But Paul specifically and without qualification shows that the gifts are for the common good and not to be kept hidden away from the entire body.

    Paul then states that there is to be no division in the body. The body is not to be divided up into gender parts with gifts given for the partial good instead of the common good.

    1 Cor 12:25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

    If God chooses to gift a woman as a “teacher” where does the Scripture say that He cannot do that? And if God gifts here as a gifted teacher who is allowed to say that they do not need her gift for their benefit?

  82. Mark,
    You said:

    I disagree in the fact that i believe a pastor is a teacher aswell. The very gift of a pastor necessitates an ability to teach.

    Which verse says that a pastor (not an elder since we are talking about gifts here not work that can be applied for) must be a teacher?

    The catch phrase “they are a good pastor but a bad teacher” i disagree with. Someone who shephards the flock but doesn’t teach is an elder.

    The Bible says that an elder is to be “able to teach”. The Greek term for “able to teach” is one word and it is didaktikon. It literally means “skillful in teaching”. That is gifted. An elder must be gifted in teaching. There is no such thing as an elder that is not gifted in teaching.

    Someone who shephards the flock and teaches is a pastor in my opinion.

    I would rather have the Biblical interpretation than your own opinion without citing Scripture. And the Bible never says that God will only gift men with some gifts. The very fact that there are women who have the gift of “teacher” and there are also many gifted as “pastors” (and many complementarians will readily admit that women are gifted with this gift) puts the onus on those who want to reject God’s gifts.

    Now about a prophet teaching i cant say because i have never seen this gift before, but i have no doubt it did have elements of ‘teaching’ in it as it was inspired by the spirit for the early church. Have you ever seen a prophet?

    I have heard sermons by people which were obvious that they were gifted prophets. One of my favorite comp teachers gave a message that even those who deny that this gift operates today, show these gifts operating in themselves even if they deny it. The pastor that I often listen to showed how John MacArthur was operating in the gift of prophet as they went through the Scriptures, yet MacArthur himself denies that this gift exists today. The denial of the gifts doesn’t stop them from operating in us. God’s gifts are without repentance and even if we don’t understand how we are operating in these gifts, they can still flow through us.

    The question, though, is not about “teaching” but about being a gifted teacher. Women are gifted teachers. What do you do about that?

  83. Mark,
    You quoted me below and then commented:

    “Actually using such a term distorts the NT teachings which show that there is a common “class” of Christians. All Christians are brothers in Christ and no one can lord it over another and because leaders are to be servants, there is no such thing as “offices” which would divide the body into clergy class and laity. Christians are one class not two.”

    You have a very negative attitude toward leadership it seems.

    Oh? What evidence do you have from my comment above for such a statement?

    But i disagree that it is unhelpful using certain terminology to explain things. What would you label elders and deacons as if you dislike the word ‘office’.

    I would use the term that Paul uses ergou which means “work, task or undertaking”.

    I definitely agree that leaders are to be servants though. The difference i guess is that i don’t think using the word ‘office’ negates that belief.

    Why use it when we have a Biblical term to use? The term office is not there.

    Also the reality is that we are all called to submit to our church leaders as men who will have to give an account.

    This is Hebrews 13:17. We are to “peithesthe” those who “hegoumenois” (those who lead) which means we are to allow ourselves to be persuaded or convinced by those who lead as they will give an account to God of their leadership. (They will not give an account of us, but of their own work).

    So what is your point about Hebrews 13:17? Are you willing to be persuaded by those who lead with their gifts? Do you allow them to use their gifts for your benefit and to protect you in a way that you need or do you fight their leading in their gifts and cause them grief along with no profit for you?

    Hebrews 13:17…Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

    You said:

    Maybe you prefer the term ‘chosen ones’ rather than office :-). I have to say i disagree with you on this one. Yes there were 12 apostles chosen as the founding members of the church (Eph 2:20) but i would call this the ‘apostolic office’.

    Why should we care what you call them if you are unable to prove that the Bible calls this an “office”?

    The reason being there are other passages which call James and Barnabas ‘apostles’ but they were not ‘apostles’ in the same sense i mentioned above.

    We can all agree that the 12 were special having been handpicked by Jesus as apostles of His resurrection and the foundation stones of the church, but to call this an “office” when the Scripture calls them apostles and witnesses of the resurrection doesn’t make sense. If we stick to what Scripture actually says we shouldn’t go wrong. When we change a work to an “office” we can become mistaken and find ourselves grieving the Holy Spirit by rejecting those whom God has called and gifted.

    I’d be interested to know if you believe this gift has ceased to be given?

    The special apostles who were witnesses to the resurrection will never be ongoing since Jesus is no longer showing up here on the earth in bodily form.

    You quoted me below and then replied:

    “Really? You pointed to Ephesians 4:11 and tied it to 1 Timothy 3:1. There is no problem with people “shepherding” but there is only one gift of “pastor”.”

    You have misunderstood me and i will take the blame because i now see i didn’t explain myself clearly. What i meant was not all elders are pastors. But i do believe they both have the same responsibilty of shepharding the flock.

    While you can claim that there are elders who are not to be gifted as teachers, is it not true that you believe all “teaching elders” are pastors? Therefore “teaching elder” = “pastor/teacher”?

    Mark, it seems like it takes a lot of work to understand you. Do you consider yourself a gifted teacher? Are you training to be a “teaching elder” or “pastor/teacher”?

  84. Mark wrote:
    “Perhaps you mean do i believe the bible teaches that women will be ‘teachers’ in the church, then i would say no. The reason being the resposibilty of the gift and its correlation to the gift of pastor which i believe the bible teaches are for the men of the church.”

    Mark,
    I am trying to follow this discussion. Maybe I missed a qualifier. Can you clarify. Given the above statement, do you believe the bible permits women in the to teach the bible or church doctrine to other women in the church?

  85. Mark,
    Continuing on with the answers to your comment #84, and by the way if I didn’t thank you before, I really do appreciate that you are trying to answer my questions. Many others would have left without even trying to provide an answer so you are to be commended.

    You wrote:

    You said “But all elders are supposed to be teaching”

    Now do you mean what this seems to mean that all elders teach or are supposed to be teaching? 1 Tim 3 says a qualification for an elder is that they are ‘able to teach’,…

    As I answered in a previous comment, the Greek shows that all elders are to be skillful or gifted in teaching. Should a person that has the gifting as a teacher refuse to use his/her gift?

    …but yet Paul says 2 chapters later in 5:17 that ‘elders who rule well are worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in preaching and teaching’. So the assumption is not all will teach yet they should be ‘able to teach’.

    That would be an incorrect assumption from the passage. All are to be skillful in teaching but not all will labour in both preaching and teaching. Those who have a double duty so have a double honor.

    See the difference? IS this why you don’t like discussing elders because of Pauls correlation between them shepharding and preaching and teaching and that he only instructs men to take this resposibilty.

    There is no difference. The Bible doesn’t say that some elders are not to be skillful in teaching or not encouraged to use (not hide) their gift. I don’t like talking about elders when we are talking about gifts. An elder is not a gift. It is a work that one may desire to attain to. It is not helpful to the conversation to mix up the two.

    I have to say that i don’t know why you dodge discussions on eldership. I know you say we are discussing gifts, but it seems silly to discuss gifts that are enormously important for the church without discussing leadership responsibilities. Is it because the two don’t mesh with your view? Are gifts a safer argument for you? Since often gifts and natural abilities are so often confused.

    As I said it is not helpful to confuse a gift and a work that one may attain to. Once we have an understanding of what a gift is and who God may gift, then there will not be confusion and we can talk about leadership of those who are gifted.

    You quoted me below and then responded:

    You said “Do you believe that God can gift women as pastors? Or do you believe that God is limited in His work of giving out His gifts? Are you willing to answer this question that has been posed to you many times or are you going to bypass it one more time?”

    No i will not answer this question because im not going to pretend i am God. I will answer questions in relation to His revealed truth, but i will not sin by making myself an idol before my Lord. Please direct you questions in a way that is not leading or loaded?

    Mark, I see this as skirting the issue. It is not a sin to give glory to God by allowing Him to be Sovereign over His own gifts. How on earth is one “making myself an idol” by answering whether God has made any comment on whether He will or will not withhold His gifts from some due to gender? The fact is that you have already made it clear that women cannot be teachers so you are already setting yourself up as making God unable to use women by gifting them. How you explain the obvious spiritual gifts of women is really beyond me. Do you also doubt that God can give the gift of teaching to an unmarried men since an elder must be “the husband of one wife”? Using the “answer” that one can’t answer a question because it would be “making myself an idol” could be well used by any who would like to avoid the hard questions. I wouldn’t use it myself but I can see how many would find it handy.

    You asked “If I am wrong, then do you now admit that one who prophesies is a teacher?”

    No i do not think a prophet is a ‘teacher’ because Paul seperates the gifts. Like i said earlier im sure the NT prophets ‘taught’ things but it does not make them now have the gift of a ‘teacher’ necessarily. Are you now mashing prophecy and teaching after accusing me of doing it?

    I was just trying to clarify what you were saying. You are not very clear in your view. I do agree with you that Paul “separates the gifts”. I would also add that each gift is different and each gift is not inseparably attached to another gift.

  86. Mark wrote: “I have to say that i don’t know why you dodge discussions on eldership. I know you say we are discussing gifts, but it seems silly to discuss gifts that are enormously important for the church without discussing leadership responsibilities. Is it because the two don’t mesh with your view? Are gifts a safer argument for you? Since often gifts and natural abilities are so often confused.”

    Where do “natural abilities” originate? Isn’t every ability in us from God? Nature has no power to give abilities.
    “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.” Ps.139

  87. Mark,

    To my above statement you probably answered it by this

    “Wrong, wrong, wrong. I have never said that teaching is the same as pastoring. Nor have I said that prophesying is the same as teaching. We have both agreed that one who prophesies will teach in the act of using their gift, but prophesying is different than teaching just as the gift of Prophet is different than the gift of Teacher. Are you really sure you understand my position?”

    I guess it is easy to get confused when we keep using terms interchangeably.

    Well, Mark, it seems like you are the one using the terms interchangeably not me. I am not the one who says that a teacher is a pastor (or evangelist). A teacher is a teacher.

    You said “If “teacher” must be attached to another gift and we then define that other gift as not being available to one gender, we have in essence removed the gift of “teacher” and replace it with an amalgamated gift belonging to men alone.”

    Are you agreeing with me here that only men should be pastors?

    No I am not agreeing with you. Here again you are using a term interchangeably which causes confusion. I said “teacher”. I did not say “pastor”. You are the one who makes “teacher” as part of an amalgamated gift. The gifts may have something in common, but they are not amalgamated.

    Mark, you quoted my comment below and also said:

    “But this is necessary to do because many men are determined that God gives males alone certain gifts and they alone are privileged with an “office” and “authority” and “kingly rights”.

    Cheryl your above comment shows your definite bias and deliberate intent not to understand their position. Unless you realise this, you will never be able to dialogue unhindered. I’m sure the majority of comps aswell as egals believe that waht they say is biblical truth not about authority and kingly rights. Of course people will always be deceived by their own sin and self-righteousness but your above comment really speaks of your position. Now i do understand you better. Please try and dialogue with me without having these assumptions about me.

    Mark, I think you may want to take the time to read the blog post that I gave you the link to on this site. I can tell from your comment that you did not read it. First of all, I said “many men”. I did not say you believed this. You are reading into my comment a personal comment about you, but if you just re-read my comment above you will see that I did not assume things about you.

    Also my comment is not about my bias. My comment was about what many comp men have been taught about their privilege. So that you don’t have to page back to the link here it is again http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2008/01/22/the-husband-as-king-over-the-wife/ Also in this post I link to an online chapter at cbmw called The husband as prophet, priest and king here http://www.cbmw.org/images/onlinebooks/buildingstrongfamilies/husband_as_prophet.pdf If you had read this material, I don’t think that you would have made your comment above.

    You quoted me and then commented:

    Finally you asked me “What do you mean by not separating them “extensively”? This isn’t clear? Do you mean that we cannot separate them at all? Do you mean that one can be a teacher but not a pastor as long as one is male, but the two must not be separated if one is talking about a woman so that a woman cannot be a teacher because she is not to be a pastor?”

    What i mean is when we come to 1 Cor 12 for example and see the gift of ‘teacher’ it needs to be understood in relation to the other listings of gifts. So in Eph we both agree Paul correlates it to a pastor. So by separating them extensively i mean emphasising a ‘teacher’ as something without keeping in mind Pauls other use of the term.

    So even though Paul mentioned “teacher” without amalgamating it with another gift in 1 Cor 12, we are not supposed to see this as a separate gift but it must be amalgamated with pastor? I do not agree with you that Paul “correlates” teacher to pastor.

    Correlate means “mutually or reciprocally related” but that is not true of teacher and pastor. They have overlapping functions but they are not corresponding gifts. They are different gifts that have some areas that overlap in function. It kind of bothers me that you take the words that I use and redefine them by replacing them with different words. This is unfair.

    When we read one verse alone and emphasise something about it without looking at all relevant passages we could get in trouble.

    What kind of trouble? You mean we might think that a woman could actually have the gift of a teacher? That would only be trouble for complementarians who have already limited God in His ability to gift women at His own discretion.

    That is why so many scholars associate a ‘teacher’ with an evangelist and/or pastor. It is keeping the whole bible in view rather than mis-representing one verse.

    Misrepresenting one verse? Saying that a teacher is one gift that is not interchangeable with another gift is misrepresenting one verse? Oh my, you have really gone overboard to try to remove women from receiving and using a gift. Why are you so intent on doing this? Does having a woman being a teacher threaten you in some way? If you were wrong in your view, would you really want to know it or are you content with having all the teachers in the church being gifted by God as only men?

  88. Off topic: We had a cougar attack in our back yard night before last. A cougar stalked and attacked a deer in our yard and then dragged him under our utility trailer where he ate the most tender parts of his innards. Good thing we leave our late night walking to summer evenings. It is frightening to know that we had this kind of predator so close.

  89. Mark wrote: “but yet Paul says 2 chapters later in 5:17 that ‘elders who rule well are worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in preaching and teaching’. So the assumption is not all will teach yet they should be ‘able to teach’.
    See the difference? IS this why you don’t like discussing elders because of Pauls correlation between them shepharding and preaching and teaching and that he only instructs men to take this resposibilty.”

    Cheryl,
    It appears to me that Mark continually overlooks the fact that in 1 Timothy 5:1-2 ‘presbutiro’ is used for both men and women – translated as “older men” and “older women.” In verse 17 the plural form, ‘presbutiboi’, is used of those who preach and teach in the church, and Paul tells Timothy that they are worthy of double honor. There is no reason to believe that this group was comprised of only men, especially since Paul had just used both the masculine and feminine form of the adjective in the first two verses of chapter 5.
    So, ‘teacher’ and ‘elder’, whether apart or together, can be either men or women.

  90. Kay,
    Excellent point!

    I have also been trying to help Mark understand that “teacher” is a gift and “elder” is a work that one can aspire to. A gift is not the same as a work. As a gift, a teacher is gifted and empowered by the Creator who is not held back in His ability to empower one gender. As a good work, all are told that they may aspire to the work of overseer or elder. If God had desired to limit Himself through holding back His gifts and empowerment to women, then these debates would never happen. The void in the gift of teacher in the lives of women would be reason enough to consider this a dead issue. But thankfully the debate is on and heating up because:

    1. The Scripture never lists women as vessels who may not receive certain gifts or may not aspire to the work of an overseer.

    2. There are women in the body of Christ who are so incredibly gifted that their giftedness by the Holy Spirit is not questioned even by most complementarians.

  91. Cheryl,
    This reminds me of Mark’s comments regarding your post “Does God Torment Women?” He shocked me and several other readers by dismissing the fact that Jesus Himself made Mary Magdalene the first to tell the Good News of His resurrection to the apostles. He wishes to dismiss the fact that the same word is used in 1 Tim.5 for women as well as men.
    I realize you’ve been trying to help Mark understand that “teacher” is a gift and “elder” is a work that one can aspire to. But he seems to have the two so intertwined that he cannot consider them separately.

  92. Hi Cheryl,

    Sorry for the delayed response. Had computer difficulties and am now in the process of moving house down to Melbourne. Once we have settled there in a few days i’ll engage in the discussion again.

    Cheers.

    P.s. Are you or anybody else heading ‘down under’ for the CBE conference thing in Melbourne this year?

  93. Hi Mark,
    Thanks for touching base. Computer problems, eh? Boy do I relate to that! One year we had three computer crashes on three different computers. I lost a lot of material and shed a lot of tears.

    I look forward to you joining in our conversation again as you have time.

    I am not going to the CBE conference in Australia. My life is too full right now. I am working on the research end of a new DVD and I have a book in the works that has a due date so it too is a priority.

  94. Kay,

    regarding your comment #95. This is an interesting line of argument you have suggested, that being that 1 Tim 5:17 MUST include women as elders because of the masculine and feminine nouns earlier in the chapter. I have never had anybody attempt to push this line. A few things that must be considered.

    1. Just because there is a feminine and masculine form at the beginning of the chapter to attempt to prove that the ‘plural’ form 15 or so verses later includes both genders, is a stretch. On top of that verses 1-2 have nothing to do with ‘elders’. Although a similar base word is used in the greek, it does not mean that these verses ought to be tied to verse 17. The context clearly shows that it isn’t. Verse 1 and 2 are about the older men and women. Verse 17 is about elders. The two are not connected.

    2. Remember that chapter 3 can only ever be masculine when Paul outlines elder qualifications. For your theory to stand strong you must some how prove that women are included in chapter 3 where Paul explicitly is talking about elders. Unless you can do this, it is inappropriate exegesis to say that just because it is plural, women must be included. THe best way to know whether women are included in 5:17 as ‘elders’ is to see Pauls actual teaching on elders and see if women are included there. If you wish to attempt to prove this from chapter 3 go ahead, i would love to see you try this. But quite frankly what you have proposed is pure speculation rather than strong exegesis, which is actually contradicted by Pauls actual teaching on elders.

  95. Mark, first you said:
    “Just because there is a feminine and masculine form at the beginning of the chapter to attempt to prove that the ‘plural’ form 15 or so verses later includes both genders, is a stretch.”

    Actually it isn’t a stretch at all. In Greek a masculine plural is the grammatical form used for a group of men, or a group of men and women. So the fact that the paragraph starts out specifying the presence of men AND women actually strengthens the idea that the masculine plural in v. 17 is addressed to both.

    Next you said:
    “On top of that verses 1-2 have nothing to do with ‘elders’. Although a similar base word is used in the greek, it does not mean that these verses ought to be tied to verse 17. The context clearly shows that it isn’t. Verse 1 and 2 are about the older men and women. Verse 17 is about elders. The two are not connected.”

    It’s actually the exact same word. V. 1 uses the masculine singular ‘presbuteros’ v2 uses the feminine plural ‘presbuteras’ and v17 the masculine plural ‘presbuyteroi.’ Remember that the masculine plural is the only form that can refer to a group with both men and women in it. The fact that he has already specified both men and women in vv 1-2, and then spent vv3-16 describing the requirements and characteristics for women leaders in the congregation means that when he gets to the summary statements in vv 17-21 he is talking about the men and women who lead the congregation.

    Next you insist that chapter 3 can only ever be about men. You say
    “Remember that chapter 3 can only ever be masculine when Paul outlines elder qualifications. For your theory to stand strong you must some how prove that women are included in chapter 3 where Paul explicitly is talking about elders.”

    Now how do you conclude that chapter 3 can only be about men unless you had already decided before you ever read chapter 3 that only men can be elders? The language of the chapter itself certainly does not support your position.
    “Here is a trustworthy saying; WHOEVER aspires to be an overseer. . . .” 3:1 Note that Paul says “whoever” which is the Greek indefinite pronoun ’tis’ which means, well, anyone. It does not specify males. Next, all the verbs in the passage are the 3rd person singular form with the pronoun understood. So in your English Bible if you have a series of ‘he’ and ‘his,’ those are not present in the Greek. Greek verbs can include the person without using a specific pronoun. A correct English translation would then be ‘the person’ or ‘that person’ to indicate that no gender has been specified.

    So the only possible indicator you have left is the phrase ???? ???????? ????? “mias gunaikos andra” or “husband of one wife.” This was a specific requirement for male elders because only men could have more than one wife. Legally, women could not have multiple husbands, so the only group that needed restrictions were the men.

    Bear with me for a minute while I give an illustration.
    Mark, do you have topless beaches in Austrialia? In Europe we do. So if I want to recruit teenagers for a beach evangelism project I might write up a list of requirements for them thus:
    “Participants must be believers, must be recommended by their church, must be able to share their faith, must wear bathing suit tops at all times, must be fluent in two European languages, must raise their own support.” Anyone reading that list in my environment would know perfectly well that bathing suit tops are required for women team members. No one would insist that it means men, because bathing suit tops are not an issue for men. (Morally, anyway– no comments on sunburn, skin cancer, etc! ) Similarly, Paul’s readers, and Timothy, would know that the issue was polygyny, not polyandry, so the requirement would make perfect sense to them.

    So, Mark, if you want to insist that 1 Tim 3 is only about men, the burden of proof really lies on you. The grammar and the context in no way exclude women from leadership in the church. The fact that Paul spends quite a bit of time describing exactly what the qualifications are for women leaders later in Ch 3 and again in ch 5 makes it pretty clear that women actually ARE included in church leadership.

  96. lmb,
    Thanks for bringing out these points for me – as I am busy battening down the hatches here in prep for bad weather. Mark continues to ignore my first sentence (“It appears to me that Mark continually overlooks the fact that in 1 Timothy 5:1-2 ‘presbutiro’ is used for both men and women – translated as “older men” and “older women.”)

  97. Lmb,

    Good to have you engage in the conversation. Let me respond to your comment.

    You said
    “Actually it isn’t a stretch at all. In Greek a masculine plural is the grammatical form used for a group of men, or a group of men and women. So the fact that the paragraph starts out specifying the presence of men AND women actually strengthens the idea that the masculine plural in v. 17 is addressed to both.”

    What both you and Kay are failing to recognise is the context of the chapter. Although Paul uses the masculine and feminine forms at the beginning of the chapter, this does not necessitate that the plural is even associated 15 verses later. The context must decide this. Are the two addressing the same issue? Of course they are not, clearly the beginning of the chapter is not associated with verse 17. For example we see a similar thing in Titus. Titus 1:5 we again the plural form ‘presbuterous’ because Paul is discussing elders/overseers. In chapter 2 Paul again calls the ‘older men’ presbutas (Tit 2:2) and the older women presbutidas (Tit 2:3). Again the context makes clear that the older men/women section is not in conjunction with the ‘elders’ passage of chapter 1. It is precisely the same as 1 Tim 5. Although the same base word is used the context makes clear that the plural form is not associated with the others. Therefore i maintain to rely purely on the plural form is weak exegesis. IN fact bad exegesis- it ignores the context.

    You further stated

    “The fact that he has already specified both men and women in vv 1-2, and then spent vv3-16 describing the requirements and characteristics for women leaders in the congregation means that when he gets to the summary statements in vv 17-21 he is talking about the men and women who lead the congregation.”

    I disagree. Verse 3-16 have nothing to do with women leaders in the church. Paul is clearly instructing Timothy about widows.I fail to see where the ‘requirements and characteristics’ are for the women leaders. Please point these out! Verses 17-21 are about accusations against elders, not summary statements about the leaders. I cannot see where your line of reasoning nor your interpretation of the passage is coming from. Don’t push for a passage about leaders that is clearly not there.

    Next you discussed chapter 3 and insist that the passage is not addressing males only because of the ‘ei tis’ (whoever, anybody). Important to always keep in close mind is context. Does the passage here address both male and female or just male. Although Paul does use ‘ei tis’ the qualifiers ‘husband of one wife’, ‘managing his family’ (related to Eph 5 as the head) aswell as the correlating passage in Titus 1 show us that Paul is addressing males. I have heard others attempt an argument that legally only men could have multiple partners, but this line of argument is very weak. There is nothing in the passage to think that this is why Paul makes the statement- it is assumption based not on the context of the passage. Not only that, when Paul expands on the qualifications of deacons, it is here that a feminine ’gunaikos’ is introduced. Now if women were meant to be included in everything proceeding verse 11 then there would be no need to separate a teaching into a ‘woman’ orientated section. The evidence is hardly worth comparing and to argue against this chapter shows a deliberate ignorance of the greek.

    Now finally you said that Paul spends alot of time outlining the qualifications for women leaders. Now contextually what you must be saying is his relation to a ‘deacon’. If you wish to persist that it further relates to elder please show contextually or grammatically why verse 11 should be understood with elders. On top of that why should we translate that gunaikos means ‘deaconess’ rather than women or wives?

    Look forward to your response

  98. Mark,

    Let’s talk about context, context, context for 1 Timothy 5. Does your church congregation/denomination “Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. But refuse to enroll younger widows” and instruct them to remarry? If not, why doesn’t your fellowship uphold these?
    And if your congregation does uphold to these instructions, who performs this ministry?

    Please look at the context. At the beginning of 1 Timothy 5:1-2 presbutiro is used as an adjective for both men and women. Followed immediately by instructions for dealing with an established order of ministry within the church of enrolling widows. Who do you think was performing the ministry to these widows? Might it be the elders just mentioned in the previous sentence? Or do you think it is someone Paul never even mentions who is doing this ministering to widows? Paul then after giving all the instructions is still speaking about the presbutiro in verses 17-20. Or do you think Paul just lost his train of thought and wandered off writing about widows and then went back to writing about the presbutiro?

    Please look at the context, the society and people being addressed as well in 1 Timothy and the other epistles. We know false teachers had infiltrated the church. False teachers made their teaching a matter of friction and battling over words (1 Tim.6:3-5) and they are driven by greed (6:5-10). Religions in the Roman Empire included the mystery religions that claimed to give secret knowledge to those who went through their initiations and became members. For instance, in Crete young, married women tended to be left on their own after marriage. A woman would leave her father’s home and move into her husband and his family’s home. There she was never quite trusted because she was brought into the family, and could still have more loyalty to her birth family. These women were separated from the women they grew up with, and thrown into houses with women who never trusted them, let alone helped them learn how to be wives and mothers. Alcoholism was rampant among young women in Crete who could not handle the pressures and stress of married life. These women were also easy victims for religious charlatans. Secret sects along with the priests of Cybele would insinuate themselves into the domestic sphere through these women, and several made a good living ripping these women off. I’m sure you’ve read in history class that Crete was known for its lack of morals in all areas of life.

    In Titus 2:3 Paul instructs Titus, the pastor of Crete: “Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good.” The Greek word used for these older women is ‘presbutidas’.
    These elders are instructed “to teach what is good.”Teach is from ‘didaskolos’ which is the word Paul uses to describe teaching the Gospel. Although the instruction goes on to tell them to train the younger women to love their husbands and children, besides presuposition, there is no reason to believe that the younger women are the only ones in Titus congregation they taught. But the young women who were now part of the church had no teaching in morality or how to be wives and mothers. So Paul encouraged the female elders to focus their teaching on helping these younger women learn how to cope with all the responsibilities of being a wife and mother in Crete. This teaching probably included how to fend off the charalatans that preyed on them and their families. Paul wanted these young women to know the truth of the Gospel.
    The presbutidas would likely have been older since the Jews would not consider someone to be an elder until the age of 60. After menopause a women had more freedom in the religious and public sphere she was no longer unclean, and she was considered wise because of the many years she had lived. We see this in Anna at the temple in Luke 2 she lived at the temple and prayed everyday. She was probably also a teacher there as well. “Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” vs.38. Notice that Anna “spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption” All, includes men. But you insist that after the Resurrection she would be in sin for doing this? But, why? Mary Magdalene was told by Jesus Himself to preach the Good News to males after the Resurrection.

    Mark wrote:”On top of that why should we translate that gunaikos means ‘deaconess’ rather than women or wives?”

    Now please consider Phoebe.
    “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well” (Romans 16:1-2).
    Paul highly commended and respected Phoebe. He called her a “sister,” “deacon,” and “benefactor” to the church at Cenchreae as well as a sister and benefactor to Paul. The notable thing about diakonos or “deacon” being used to describe Phoebe is that it is the masculine form of the word used to describe a woman. It is the SAME word Paul uses when he calls Timothy and Titus “servants” or “deacons” of their respective churches. Another thing that makes this phrase odd is that Phoebe is called the “deacon of the church of Cenchreae.” This is the only place in the New Testament where ‘diakonos’ is followed by the name of a specific congregation. This is the only place linking a specific person’s ministry with a specific church.

  99. I was re-reading some posts over @ http://www.achurchinryde.com/blog/?p=262 and found the following quote by Cheryl that just kinda hit me:

    However if “must be a **husband** of one wife” does not mean literally that one must be a **husband** for a man, then it cannot on the other hand disqualify a woman because she is also not a “husband”. You cannot have it both ways.

    Sharp wit Cheryl! So simple too!

    *gawking*

  100. Now I’m trying to make sense out of “anyone who desires” in comparison to “husband of one wife”.

    A husband is not just “anyone” but particularily 1) a married person and 2) a male. So “husband of one wife” (if a requirement) just doesn’t fit logicaly with “anyone who desires”. Paul going from “anyone” to particularily a male who is married doesn’t make sense. A married man (“husband of one wife”) cannot be previously referred to as “anyone” – not sensibly. This may be reason why the interpretation is reduced to a meaning of males only whether married or not. But then that leads us right back to a problem -“However if “must be a **husband** of one wife” does not mean literally that one must be a **husband** for a man, then it cannot on the other hand disqualify a woman because she is also not a “husband”. You cannot have it both ways.”

  101. And ofcourse if being married is a requirement then so is having children if one is going to be consistent.

  102. And should I add if “managing the family” does not mean literally that one must “have children” for a man, then it cannot on the other hand disqualify a woman because she also doesn’t have children. But that would contradict traditional interpretations of 1 Tim 2 ;P

  103. “And ofcourse if being married is a requirement then so is having children if one is going to be consistent.”

    pinklight,
    Another great point! Some people are only consistent where they choose to be. 😉 For instance – diakonos or “deacon” being used to describe Phoebe is the SAME word Paul uses when he calls Timothy and Titus “servants” or “deacons” of their respective churches. But some insist it really can’t mean the same thing because she’s a woman. And presbituro, they say, can’t mean the same thing when referring to a woman because, well, she’s a woman. Disconnected thinking.

  104. Hi Kay!

    Some people are only consistent where they choose to be.

    Exactly. Kinda funny when ya think about it.

  105. And presbituro, they say, can’t mean the same thing when referring to a woman because, well, she’s a woman.

    It would be like saying when a woman is a doctor, she’s really not a doctor, or when a woman is a lawyer she is really not a lawyer because she is a woman. Absurd. What a person does, their work doesn’t become different work depending on their sex organs. A doctor is a doctor is a doctor lol.

  106. *A female physician is really not a doctor because she is a female*

    I can’t find any sense in that view.

  107. I think an explanation for how such a thing can be so should be given by comps.

    How can a presbituro not really be a presbituro because one is female?

  108. Hi Kay,

    I am so glad you have responded, and equally glad that you agree that context is important. However you are making a serious error by assuming that ‘presbyterio’ always should translate ‘elder’. Although the office of eldership is based on this word, Paul also uses it to describe simply older men and women, as is the case in 1 Tim 5 and Titus. In the Old Covenant the elders were ‘older’ men, so it is not surprising that the same greek word is used when both talking about the official work of an elder/overseer and both older men/women. The context of both Tim and Titus reveal that what is being discussed is older men/women not the elders. To get this wrong makes one misunderstand the passage. Therefore the NIV correctly translates the difference between ‘older men/women’ and ‘elders’. Also consider the base of the word ‘presbus’ means ‘elderly’. Therefore you are not exegetically interpreting the passage correctly. You have not taken into account the semantic range of the word in the greek.

    You again make the fundamental mistake when you say things like this…

    In Titus 2:3 Paul instructs Titus, the pastor of Crete: “Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good.” The Greek word used for these older women is ‘presbutidas’.
    These elders are instructed “to teach what is good.”

    This is most definitely not about the office of eldership. You need to stop looking for egalitarian proof texts that are clearly not there. All you are doing is distorting the meaning of the passage. Paul is expounding good biblical qualities and living for the older men/women of the church. This is not about the office of eldership outlined in 1 Tim 2. It is not about elders in the spiritual governing sense.

    By the way i never said this

    But you insist that after the Resurrection she would be in sin for doing this?

    What i did say is that this should not be compared to preaching in the 21st century. Let me be clear that i see that Jesus cared deeply for women and used them in his ministry. I hold to that, i just don’t agree with the way some egals use this out of context and equate it to the spiritual leadership of the church.

    Now about Pheobe the ‘deaconess’. What must be made clear with this argument or debate is that there is no definitive answer. The only two places to suggest women are included in this office are in 1 Tim 3 and Romans 16. And both these texts are obviously debated since women/wives could contextually fit 1 Tim aswell as ‘servant’ fitting in Romans 16. To say this is definitive proof is very misleading to suggest. Let me explain, contextually in 1 Tim 3 to insert ‘gunaikas’ where Paul does is unusual, since the verse immediately afterward describes once again the idea of ‘husband of one wife’. The more natural reading would seem to suggest his intention is the ‘wives’ of the deacons talked about as the NIV translates. However it could also mean as you suggest, namely that women are included in the office of deacons. In Romans we have the same delimma. It could rightly mean that Pheobe is a deacon. But it could also equally mean that Paul is simply describing her as a servant. Paul uses ‘diakoness’ in a nontechnical sense (i.e not referring to the office of deacon but intends to mean servant) in the end of 1 Cor also (1 Cor 16:15). Also Paul uses it in this nontechnical sense in Eph 3:7 when talking about himself. Again in Col 1:25 and 1 Tim 4:6 aswell as many other NT instances where the intended meaning is servant/minister. So the obvious question is which is Pauls intended meaning in Romans 16. Short answer, we can’t be certain because both meanings could equally fit.

    What i didn’t like Kay, is that you didn’t make this clear. As people who are more interested in the bible and not our own theologies or ideologies, i believe it is inappropriate to mislead in the way you have. You may accept that it means ‘deaconess’ but you should not say it has to mean this when it may not, and there is good biblically evidence contrary. WE must therefore put ALL the evidence forward to be fair to the bible and to have good biblical discussion.

    Now personally i am still undecided and praying that God will help me to know the truth. Evidence to support your view Kay may perhaps be the early church father Pliny, who made mention of them in his letter to Trajan (110AD). But this is something i haven’t looked at in great detail and am undecided on the issue. I just wanted to make clear the actual issue grammatically behing deaconesses and put all the evidence on the table, so to speak.

  109. Cheryl- if you are still floating around out there!!!

    I came across an interesting verse while reading the bible the other day and wondered your opinion (or others)

    In other posts you have said that an elder is a work (ergon) and NOT a gift. Note, in Eph 4:11 which we have discussed one of the gifts is an ‘evangelist’.

    Now this is the verse that struck me

    ” As for you, ?always be sober-minded, ?endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, ?fulfill your ministry.” 2 Tim 4:5

    The key phrase is ‘do the work (ergon) of an evangelist.’ Here Paul instructs Timothy to do a work (note same word as 1 Tim 3:1 used of elders- ergon). So the question has to be raised. Is an ‘evangelist’ a gift or a work? Perhaps both? Or are we all evangelists (in fulfillment of the great commission- Matt 28) which is a ‘work’ but the gifting of an evangelist is different?

    Whatever the outcome how would this effect your understanding of an elder being a ‘work’ and not a gift per-se. Or is the officiating role of an elder (i.e shephard) simply another term for a pastor (literally a shephard) but Paul calls it a ‘work’ in 1 Tim 3. Since Eph 4 does not have the term ‘gift’ in it (i dont think anyway) have we been wrong by distinguishing between a so called gift and a work.

    Interested on peoples thoughts?

  110. Another quick thought to add.

    In 1 Tim 3 Paul exhorts that people ‘desire’ to do the work of an overseer (not a gift).

    But also after talking about ‘gifts’ in 1 Cor 12 again Paul says to ‘desire’ the higher gifts (1 Cor 12:31)

    Is there a connection here? I dunno? But i love the way the bible challenges and teaches new things everyday (even if that teaching is that i am way off 🙂 )

  111. Ok i just had a look at the greek and need to correct something.

    I said this

    “Since Eph 4 does not have the term ‘gift’ in it (i dont think anyway)”

    In Eph 4, Paul uses the aorist of ‘didomi’ meaning literally ‘he gave’, so the term ‘gift is not there but it is very similar to 1 Cor 12.

    For example, in 1 Cor 12 Paul uses the forms of the word ‘karisma’ meaning ‘gift’. The verb form ‘karizomai’ means to grant or to give.

    Therefore although Eph 4 does not use ‘gifts’ per-se the intended meaning is there by the word Paul uses. I correct myself.

  112. Mark wrote: “What i didn’t like Kay, is that you didn’t make this clear. As people who are more interested in the bible and not our own theologies or ideologies, i believe it is inappropriate to mislead in the way you have. You may accept that it means ‘deaconess’ but you should not say it has to mean this when it may not, and there is good biblically evidence contrary. WE must therefore put ALL the evidence forward to be fair to the bible and to have good biblical discussion.”
    Mark,
    Why would you think it necessary to characterize me as misleading? You have not listed ALL the evidence in each of your comments, so why are you now requiring it of me? You have thoroughly put forth the “evidence contrary.” I have put forth my evidence. How does that make me the only one of us misleading?

  113. Mark wrote: “By the way i never said this
    But you insist that after the Resurrection she would be in sin for doing this?

    What i did say is that this should not be compared to preaching in the 21st century. Let me be clear that i see that Jesus cared deeply for women and used them in his ministry. I hold to that, i just don’t agree with the way some egals use this out of context and equate it to the spiritual leadership of the church.”
    Mark,
    What is your reason that it cannot be compared to preaching in the 21st century?

  114. Mark wrote: “In the Old Covenant the elders were ‘older’ men, so it is not surprising that the same greek word is used when both talking about the official work of an elder/overseer and both older men/women. The context of both Tim and Titus reveal that what is being discussed is older men/women not the elders. To get this wrong makes one misunderstand the passage. Therefore the NIV correctly translates the difference between ‘older men/women’ and ‘elders’. Also consider the base of the word ‘presbus’ means ‘elderly’. Therefore you are not exegetically interpreting the passage correctly. You have not taken into account the semantic range of the word in the greek.”
    Mark,
    I have taken into account the semantic range of the word in Greek. I believe that to say definatively that the context warrants ‘presbutiro’ being given two different meanings in this passage requires interpreting it with the presupposition that ‘presbutiro’ cannot mean female Elders.

  115. Mark wrote: “However it could also mean as you suggest, namely that women are included in the office of deacons. In Romans we have the same delimma. It could rightly mean that Pheobe is a deacon. But it could also equally mean that Paul is simply describing her as a servant.”
    Mark,
    Yes, we agree. She can be a deacon if one does not come to the verses about Pheobe with the presupposition that she cannot be a deacon because she is female.

  116. Mark,
    You forgot to answer my question regarding 1 Timothy 5:9-15:
    Does your church congregation/denomination “Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. But refuse to enroll younger widows” and instruct them to remarry? If not, why doesn’t your fellowship uphold these?
    And if your congregation does uphold to these instructions, who performs this ministry?

  117. Mark wrote: “You again make the fundamental mistake when you say things like this…
    In Titus 2:3 Paul instructs Titus, the pastor of Crete: “Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good.” The Greek word used for these older women is ‘presbutidas’.
    These elders are instructed “to teach what is good.”

    This is most definitely not about the office of eldership. You need to stop looking for egalitarian proof texts that are clearly not there. All you are doing is distorting the meaning of the passage. Paul is expounding good biblical qualities and living for the older men/women of the church. This is not about the office of eldership outlined in 1 Tim 2. It is not about elders in the spiritual governing sense.”
    Mark,
    How am I distorting the meaning? By not interpreting it with the comp’s presupposition that since it is about women it must have some other meaning than “Elders” who are “teaching”?

    There is nothing directly in the text to preclude it from being female Elders.

  118. Mark wrote: ” As people who are more interested in the bible and not our own theologies or ideologies, i believe it is inappropriate to mislead in the way you have. You may accept that it means ‘deaconess’ but you should not say it has to mean this when it may not, and there is good biblically evidence contrary.”
    Mark,
    Where did I say “it has to mean this”? Please reread my #104 comments. I think perhaps you are misunderstanding me.

  119. Mark wrote: “Now personally i am still undecided and praying that God will help me to know the truth.”
    Mark,
    I want you to know that I’m praying that as well. Sometimes – as we have discussed in the past – this type of online forum makes discussing things difficult at times because we do not know each other personally. Sometimes we may wrongly interpret one another’s writing – thinking something sounds harsh or critical or misleading – because we don’t really know the other’s personality or character. If only we could sit face to face while discussing much of that would be avoided.

  120. Kay,

    A quick response. First thankyou for your gentle and loving discussion. I do not wish to come across as harsh or painting you in the wrong way. What i feel is important that when we look at an issue (e.g Pheobe), we may put forward our own convictions of the passage but to say that Pheobe is proof of a female deacon could equally be untrue for the meanings discussed above. Therefore in ‘unclear’ or un-defined passages such as these i dont think we should say it HAS to be this or that, when it could equally be not true.

    I have tried to express this in my posts when i say things such as ‘In my opinion’ or ‘my belief’, but seemingly i am criticised for talking in this way. But when it comes to biblical interpretation there are some things that we simply dont know and must decide what is ‘most likely’ such as the deaconess debate. Sorry if you felt i was harsh on you.

    Obviously there are some things that are not negotiable, for example, grace alone through faith alone.

    Hope this helps understand why i said what i did. I will reply more soon once i have a bit more time to answer more on the question that i missed earlier.

  121. Hi Kay,

    Now i will answer your other question about the teaching on widows being enrolled. Long stro short- no it doesn’t. And personally i see this passage more culturally applicable than anything. Sure we should learn to look after those in need, but our Aussie culture has governmental options to support those in need, such as a widow.

    Seemingly the ‘enrollment’ Paul is talking about no one can be certain. Most probably it relates to financially assisting widows since this seems to be the main issue at hand. Paul says ” Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are really widows.” in verse 16, so this seems to suggest the reason for the instruction on widows.

    Now i am no expert on the historical background of the NT but i think the fair presumption would be that widows were not properly cared for in those days. If a husband died, a wife could well loose all her financial support and home etc. So it seems that Paul is making sure that only the widows who were godly and needed the help of the church were cared for. Those younger who had ‘strayed after Satan’ should not be cared for or made as a burden for the church.

    Hope this answers what you were after. No our church doesn’t have an ‘enrolment’ with certain age restictions because our society is very different to Paul’s. Women are cared for now in a way that they were not in the NT era. Although our church does still administer pastoral care to those who need it. Why the question about this passage?

  122. Hi All,

    Sorry that I have been out of touch of late. It has been extremely busy, but some of my intense work may be coming to an end by the end of this week. I will come back into this discussion soon. I took my free time tonight to post a new article and the next chance I have, I will respond to the issues posed on this one.

    Mark, my friend, I think you had better do some more research on the issue of the “enrollment” of widows. It would help you a lot to do some historical research into this issue. Maybe if you did some serious looking into the historical position of the “enrollment”, you may be able to correct some fundamental errors even before I get back into the fray.

    Gosh, I hope you all missed me while I was too busy to post 😉

  123. Mark #116,
    You asked:

    The key phrase is ‘do the work (ergon) of an evangelist.’ Here Paul instructs Timothy to do a work (note same word as 1 Tim 3:1 used of elders- ergon). So the question has to be raised. Is an ‘evangelist’ a gift or a work? Perhaps both? Or are we all evangelists (in fulfillment of the great commission- Matt 28) which is a ‘work’ but the gifting of an evangelist is different?

    Here is my answer: An evangelist is a gift. At the same time one needs to “work out” that gift just as we are to “work out” our salvation. Yet the key point is that it is a gift first because God is the Sovereign one who gives the ability. We can sit on our gift and do nothing or we can “work out” the gift that has been given us. Does this make sense?

  124. Mark,
    You said that Phoebe could be just a “servant”, but I would like to draw your attention to the fact that she is a servant “of the church”. As Christians we have been told that the one who is the greatest serves all. Phoebe was one who served the entire church in her work and when she came to the Roman church she was to be honored by them by providing whatever she needed. She is the position of a true leader who is in a position to serve the entire church with her gifts. This is the truest sense of a Deacon.

  125. Mark,
    You also answered Kay that a widow who was older (1 Timothy 5:9-12) could be nothing more than one who needed financial support. I would like to differ with this and tell you why I believe that this passage is talking about a group of women who were in the group for the purpose of ministry in the body.

    First of all Paul has made it known that marriage is honorable and that the younger widows should marry. But until they do, if they have no family to look after them, is the church to look after the younger widows financially? Of course!

    So why is it a dishonor for older widows who have been supported by the church to marry? It can only be a dishonor if there is a vow that they have taken for ministry and this is the way that the passage has been taken historically.

    1 Tim 5:9 A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been bthe wife of one man,

    The term “put on the list” means “to make a selection for membership in a group” (BDAG)

    It was not a practice of the church to make women celibate just to receive financial help. But this group was special. They were not just ones who received financial help, but they were required to take a vow to serve the church. Paul talks about their condemnation if they do not fulfill their solemn vow.

    1 Timothy 5:12 thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge.

    The Greek word for “pledge” means “a solemn promise to be faithful and loyal, assurance, oath, troth” (BDAG lexicon)

    I like the way that John MacArthur shows that these women were recognized for ministry. It is quite amazing for me to read his words because he is a staunch complementarian.

    This was not a list of those widows eligible for specially recognized church support (all widows in the church who had no other means of support were; v. 3), but rather those eligible for specially recognized church ministry (cf. Titus 2:3–5). the wife of one man. Lit. “one-man woman” (cf. 3:2,12). –The MacArthur Study Bible

    These ones who made a pledge and were brought into a special recognized church ministry were given strict requirements just like overseers. Chrysostom one of the early church fathers says this about the passage:

    Strange! what strictness does he require of widows; almost as much as of the Bishop himself. For he says, “If she have diligently followed every good work.”–The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Vol. XIII (454)

    Walvoord of the Dalls Theological Seminary also notes the connection between the requirements for these “widows” and for “overseers”:

    The Greek here is literally “a one-man woman,” the mirror image of the stipulation for both the overseer-elder (cf. 3:2; Titus 1:6) and the deacon (1 Tim. 3:12),–Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures.

    W. D. Mounce in the Word Biblical Commentary lists off a string of names of theologians who:

    “feel that these verses spell out the duties of widows who have been enrolled in an order of widows, duties that include prayer, hospitality, pastoral house calls, and care for orphans. Most in this group argue for a formal order of widows …Lock paraphrases, “You must have an official list for widows in the service of the Church” (57). Ellicott speaks of the widows undertaking “the duties of the presbyteral office” (73; Bernard calls them “women elders,” –Vol. 46: Word Biblical Commentary : Pastoral Epistles (273).

    The Evangelical commentary on the Bible also lists these as older women who are in service of the church.

    In verses 11–15, Paul indicates that younger widows should not be put on such a list and indicates why (this does not rule out temporary care). Younger widows generally want to remarry and this requires them to break their promise to Christ to serve him and the church as widows.–Vol. 3: Evangelical commentary on the Bible. Baker reference library

    It is also noteworthy that another strong complementarian, D.A. Carson also understands that the place of these widows is that of Christian service, not just that of being cared for financially.

    5:11–16 Younger widows. The younger widows presented a different problem because of the possibility of remarriage. This excluded them from the official list mentioned in v 9. There is no suggestion here that any younger widow who was poverty-stricken would not qualify for some help. Paul seems to be thinking of those who offer for Christian work (as dedication to Christ suggests; v 11) but who would be placed in a difficult position if they wanted to marry. This is the understanding of their first pledge in v 12, that is their commitment to some kind of Christian work. If they forsook this to marry they would incur censure (judgment). –Carson, D. A. (1994). New Bible commentary : 21st century edition

    In fact the inspired words in this passage (1 Timothy 5:9-12) are so strong concerning a specific group of older women who are dedicated to serve Christ and because of their dedication they make a vow of service to the body of Christ and who have very high standards set for them to even belong to this group, has made it quite clear throughout the years that this is a group not of impoverished needy women, but strong women gifted in service who have given themselves to serve the body to such an extent that they have given up the hope of a second marriage, in order to dedicate their lives for service to the Lord and His body.

    Mark, if you do care to dispute those who have gone before me in Biblical studies, you will have to explain why these women were forbidden to marry or face condemnation just for receiving support from the church? Are you really willing to contend that the church was instructed to demand celibacy in exchange for food?

  126. Mark,
    I see that Cheryl has thoroughly addressed your reponse to my question #123. I’ll just reiterate a couple of things.

    You said #103, “I disagree. Verse 3-16 have nothing to do with women leaders in the church. Paul is clearly instructing Timothy about widows.I fail to see where the ‘requirements and characteristics’ are for the women leaders. Please point these out! Verses 17-21 are about accusations against elders, not summary statements about the leaders. I cannot see where your line of reasoning nor your interpretation of the passage is coming from. Don’t push for a passage about leaders that is clearly not there.”

    – regarding this I’ll again quote MacArthur:
    *This was not a list of those widows eligible for specially recognized church support (all widows in the church who had no other means of support were; v. 3), but rather those eligible for specially recognized church ministry (cf. Titus 2:3–5). the wife of one man. Lit. “one-man woman” (cf. 3:2,12). –The MacArthur Study Bible*

    With regard to this I wrote:
    In Titus 2:3 Paul instructs Titus, the pastor of Crete: “Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good.” The Greek word used for these older women is ‘presbutidas’.
    These elders are instructed “to teach what is good.”Teach is from ‘didaskolos’ which is the word Paul uses to describe teaching the Gospel…there is no reason to believe that the younger women are the only ones in Titus congregation they taught.

    You said: “Important to always keep in close mind is context. Does the passage here address both male and female or just male. Although Paul does use ‘ei tis’ the qualifiers ‘husband of one wife’, ‘managing his family’ (related to Eph 5 as the head) aswell as the correlating passage in Titus 1 show us that Paul is addressing males. I have heard others attempt an argument that legally only men could have multiple partners, but this line of argument is very weak. There is nothing in the passage to think that this is why Paul makes the statement- it is assumption based not on the context of the passage.”

    – Now, as you can see from Cheryl’s comments, there can be more than one reason Paul would make stipulations like: “husband of one wife” or “the wife of one man”. (Lit. “one-man woman” (cf. 3:2,12)

    These instances are very much like the one you and I agreed on regarding Phoebe. The possibility/probability of female “widow” elders cannot be ruled out. In fact, as you see there is a lot of evidence for it.

  127. Mark,
    I’d also ask you to please reread 1 Tim. 3:3-17 and Titus ch.1 & 2 keeping in mind what we have put forth here for you to prayerfully consider.

  128. Mark wrote: “The only two places to suggest women are included in this office are in 1 Tim 3 and Romans 16… To say this is definitive proof is very misleading to suggest. Let me explain, contextually in 1 Tim 3 to insert ‘gunaikas’ where Paul does is unusual, since the verse immediately afterward describes once again the idea of ‘husband of one wife’. The more natural reading would seem to suggest his intention is the ‘wives’ of the deacons talked about as the NIV translates. However it could also mean as you suggest, namely that women are included in the office of deacons. In Romans we have the same delimma. It could rightly mean that Pheobe is a deacon. But it could also equally mean that Paul is simply describing her as a servant.”

    Mark,
    One more thing I forgot yesterday…Please consider
    that in 1 Timothy 3 the KJV, along with various other translations, translates this term as “their wives,” implying that the qualifications given in v. 11 refer to deacons’ wives, rather than to female deacons.
    How do we determine which is the best translation? First of all, it is significant that the word “their” is not present in the Greek, although it would have been an expected construction if the intended meaning were “the deacons’ wives.” Most significant of all, however, in my opinion, is the fact that there is no corresponding allusion, in the section on the qualifications of overseers, referencing the overseers’ wives, even though both sections clearly indicate that both an overseer and a deacon should be “the husband of one wife” (or a “one-woman man”). Lest this be regarded as merely an oversight, in the parallel passage in Titus, Paul, while giving the qualifications of overseers, also writes that an overseer should be “the husband of one wife,” yet says nothing regarding the qualifications of the overseers’ wives. It appears highly unlikely, to me, that, in 1 Timothy 3, Paul would single out the deacons’ wives as having special qualifications, while, in the same passage, he completely passes over the qualifications of overseers’ wives. The logical implication, from my perspective, is that Paul, in v. 11, was not referring to “the deacons’ wives,” but rather to “women” in general.

    Other translations (most notably, the NASB, the Contemporary English Version, and Young’s Literal Translation) translate this term as “women.” The NIV and ESV both include a footnote indicating either “deaconesses” or “women” as an alternate translation to “wives.”

  129. Cheryl,

    I understand totally where you are coming from. But unfortunately there are just as many other commentaries to quote in opposition to your view.

    Bible exposition commentary
    “From the beginning of its ministry, the church had a concern for believing widows (Acts 6:1; 9:39). Of course, the nation of Israel had sought to care for widows; and God had given special legislation to protect them (Deut. 10:18; 24:17; Isa. 1:17). God’s special care for the widows is a recurring theme in Scripture (Deut. 14:29; Ps. 94:6; Mal. 3:5). It was only right that the local church show compassion to these women who were in need. “

    “At least sixty years old (v. 9a). A woman of this age was not likely to get remarried in that day, though sixty is not considered that “old” today. Perhaps the verb “taken into the number” gives us a clue. It literally means “to be enrolled and put on the list.” The word was used for the enrollment of soldiers. The early church had an official list of the names of qualified widows, and we get the impression that these “enlisted” women ministered to the congregation in various ways. (Remember Dorcas and her widow friends, Acts 9:36–43?) Paul probably would have told us if they had been officially ordained as deaconesses.

    Bible knowledge commentary
    ” Next Paul offered instruction on how Timothy must deal with the widows in the congregation. Throughout the Old and New Testaments widows, along with aliens and orphans, are viewed as special objects of God’s mercy. As such they are to be taken under the wing of the congregation (cf. Deut. 10:18; 14:29; 24:17-21; Acts 6:1-7; James 1:27). As early as Acts 6 the church had established a charitable outreach to widows. Now about 30 years later the ministry to widows, of whom there were no doubt many, showed signs of being a major burden to the congregation. Paul was therefore eager in this passage to identify those who did not truly need help in order to leave enough for those who did.”

    “5:9-10. The “proper recognition” of verse 3 is here made specific. Widows may be put on the list if they meet three primary qualifications. What exactly this list involved is not known. It may have been an official order for service in the congregation; more likely it was merely a roll of those widows who were to receive assistance from the congregation”
    A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments.

    “1. an elder—in age; probably not an elder in the ministry; these latter are not mentioned till 1Ti 5:17, “the elders that rule.” Compare Ac 2:17, “your old men,” literally, “elders.” Contrasted with “the younger men.” As Timothy was admonished so to conduct himself as to give no man reason to despise his youth (1Ti 4:12); so here he is told to bear in mind his youth, and to behave with the modesty which becomes a young man in relation to his elders.

    The IVP bible background commentary
    “Here Paul may refer to widows in general, but he probably refers to an order of widows who served the church, as in second-century Christianity. (Commentators disagree on this point.)

    Note the commentators disagree at this point.

    Now my opinion again. We cannot be sure what the ‘enrollment’ was. It could be women elders but then we must conclude that then only women (who are widows) over 60 shall ever become women elders otherwise we disobey the bible. If it involves caring for the widows in need, then we have problems with harshness of not allowing a younger widow who was truly in need. Either view has complications. On top of this we have the semantic renge of ‘prebyteros’.

    Kay,

    You say that widow women elders may be a possibility here. Perhaps but unlikely. Even those who see this passage as women serving the church would not relate this to the office of eldership. This is too long of a bow from the text. The fact the passage is dealing with ‘older’ widows and younger ones, gives all the indication that ‘presbyteros’ should be translated older men/women.

    Now relating again to deaconesses. Like i have said before i am unsure whether i believe this is refering to wives or deaconesses. Regardless it does not impact on the office of eldership who are responsible for the overseeing of the church. The deacon does not have this responsibility. You are right to say that there is no ‘gunaikos’ in either mention of ‘elders’ so therefore you rebut your own argument. 1 Tim 3:11 could be either deaconess or wives, but it definitely does not relate to elders? Do you agree?

    Anyhow i see we are going around in circles again. Speak soon

  130. “You are right to say that there is no ‘gunaikos’ in either mention of ‘elders’ so therefore you rebut your own argument. 1 Tim 3:11 could be either deaconess or wives, but it definitely does not relate to elders? Do you agree?”
    Mark,
    How does that rubut my own argument? So, you think that, in 1 Timothy 3, Paul would single out the deacons’ wives as having special qualifications, while, in the same passage, he gives no qualifications for elder’s wives?
    While I suppose that it is possible that elder’s wives were free from qualifications, why do you think these wives get off scott free?
    Isn’t the elder just as important for the church body as the deacon?
    Is that the practice in your church congregation?

  131. “The fact the passage is dealing with ‘older’ widows and younger ones, gives all the indication that ‘presbyteros’ should be translated older men/women.”
    Mark,
    Does this mean you are willing to contend that the church was instructed to demand celibacy in exchange for food?
    It is so ironic to me that Paul, who
    was so concerned to free converts from bondage of law, is treated as a law-giver for later generations.

  132. Kay,

    I’m a bit lost with your points. I have said several times now that my view on 1 Tim 3:11 is undecided. Both meanings have biblical support for them but you seem to think i believe it must be translated ‘deacons wives’, since you asked me why the elders wives have no qualifications. Let me be very clear. I dunno which way to translate ‘gunaikos’ therefore i will not say t has to be one or the other.

    Now the reason you rebut your own argument is because you believe women can be elders right? But yet you hold to verse 11 being about ‘deaconesses’, therefore you agree that verse 11 is NOT about eldership. So although you hold to verse 11 promoting female deacons, there is nothing now in 1 Tim 3 to indicate that women are included in the eldership, unless you wish to hold onto the ‘anybody’ and ignore who Paul then qualfies as the ‘anybody’ in the following verses. I just find it interesting that verse 11 has been used on this blog (not sure if it was you though) as proof that women are included in eldership.

    Again in relation to chapter 5. Kay, i would encourage you to look at the immediate context of ‘prebyteros’. Paul expands in the very same verses his use of the word. It is completed surrounded by younger men/women, older men/women yet you wish to change the meaning to be about eldership. It doesn’t make sense to me. Do you actually believe this is about the office of eldership or just widows ministry. I would like you to be clear in your opinion on that. Also if you do believe it is about the office of eldership how do reconcile that only a widow over 60 can fulfill this role? Do you apply that sort of teaching?

    Can you explain more for me what you mean by this question. Cheryl asked the same thing but i dont understand what you are meaning.
    “Does this mean you are willing to contend that the church was instructed to demand celibacy in exchange for food?”

    Thanks

  133. Mark wrote: Can you explain more for me what you mean by this question. Cheryl asked the same thing but i dont understand what you are meaning.
    “Does this mean you are willing to contend that the church was instructed to demand celibacy in exchange for food?”

    Mark,
    So why is it a dishonor for widows who have been supported by the church to remarry? It can only be a dishonor if there is a vow that they have taken for ministry.
    1 Tim. 5:11-12 “But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married, **thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge**.”

    The Greek word for “pledge” means “a solemn promise to be faithful and loyal, assurance, oath, troth” (BDAG lexicon)

    Younger widows generally want to remarry and this required them to break their promise to Christ to serve him and the church as widows.

    The place of these widows is that of Christian service, not just that of being cared for financially.

    5:11–16 Younger widows presented a different problem because of the possibility of remarriage. This excluded them from the list mentioned in v 9.

    Any younger widow who was poverty-stricken would qualify for help/food. Agreed?

    You asked: Also if you do believe it is about the office of eldership how do reconcile that only a widow over 60 can fulfill this role?

    I’d say each elder serves uniquely as led by the Holy Spirit and these widows were serving in a way that we are unfamiliar with in our congregations today. Timothy, the person Paul wrote the letter to, undoubtedly knew what they did, so Paul would have no need to write down what that service was.

    The daily duties of any elder is not listed in Scripture. We have our modern day notions of what an elder is expected to do, but that is not outlined in Scripture either.

    While we do not know what the widows pledge was precisely, it would not be reasonable to say that these widows made a pledge to Christ in order to be fed and clothed by the Church.

    It’s Sunday here – a busy day, so, I don’t have time for more today.

  134. Mark #137,

    I understand totally where you are coming from. But unfortunately there are just as many other commentaries to quote in opposition to your view.

    First of all if my memory serves me right you didn’t acknowledge that there were recognized scholars who viewed the widows as having a recognized church ministry. Rather it was seen as our own reading into the scriptures that was causing us to see women in ministry rather than supplying for the feeding of these widows. I do not deny at all that the there are some who see the feeding of widows as all that is meant by Paul. However the issue that they all need to deal with, and which you need to deal with, is if feeding of widows is the meaning of Paul’s words, then one must accept that the church had a restriction for those who were cared for to be only those who agreed not to remarry. This is a serious problem to the view and I think that it would be good for you to face this problem head on. Please tell us why widows would have to agree not to remarry in order to receive food? Can you imagine a church feeding program today requiring those who are suffering financial hardships that sends them to foodbanks being made to sign a pledge requiring them to never marry? It just seems ludicrous. Unless one can deal with this illogical requirement for the feeding of widows, you view (and the view of other complementarian scholars) can not be a serious consideration regarding the meaning of the passage. It is not a matter of a stalemate because you have scholars on your side. It is a serious problem that must be dealt with that makes your position untenable. Consider the following:

    Bible exposition commentary:
    …It was only right that the local church show compassion to these women who were in need.

    Notice that they don’t mention why only the local church should only show compassion to those women who agree not to be married again. Why is that? Your quote continued:

    The early church had an official list of the names of qualified widows, and we get the impression that these “enlisted” women ministered to the congregation in various ways. (Remember Dorcas and her widow friends, Acts 9:36–43?) Paul probably would have told us if they had been officially ordained as deaconesses.

    Here your own source admits that these women ministered to the congregation. The statement that Paul “probably” would have told us if they were officially ordained, this is really out of the context of the letter. Paul is writing a personal letter to Timothy and Paul doesn’t need to instruct Timothy about what “is”. He is instructing Timothy on what to do about qualifications for those who minister. Making qualifications of godliness and celibacy to receive food is never a consistent standard with the church. However having qualifications for Christian service is consistent.

    You quote the Bible Knowledge commentary:

    It may have been an official order for service in the congregation; more likely it was merely a roll of those widows who were to receive assistance from the congregation

    Again your own source admits that it “may” have been an official order for service and they give no reason at all why a destitute widow must agree not to marry again to receive assistance. This is not consistent with Christian charity which makes this view a problem.

    You quote from A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments:

    …probably not an elder in the ministry;

    Yet this source gives no reason at all why it is “probably”. i If it was a documented fact they would not say “probably” yet they never address the issue of requiring celibacy as a prerequisite for receiving food.

    You quote:

    The IVP bible background commentary
    “Here Paul may refer to widows in general, but he probably refers to an order of widows who served the church, as in second-century Christianity.

    Here the source again gives the opposite of what you believe by saying that Paul “probably” refers to an order of widows who served the church. Yes it is a fact that scholars differ on this, but the ones who refuse to believe that there was a group of elderly women who served the church in a special way MUST explain why being fed requires on to pledge celibacy. Just ignoring this problem is not good enough. It must be answered.

    Mark, you said:

    Now my opinion again. We cannot be sure what the ‘enrollment’ was. It could be women elders but then we must conclude that then only women (who are widows) over 60 shall ever become women elders otherwise we disobey the bible.

    The fact that you admit that it “could be” women elders is great for if women elders were totally forbidden in serving the church then this special group of widows would not qualify, right? Yet we don’t need to conclude that only 60+ year old widows would qualify as elders. Remember this was a special group that qualified to be fully supported by the church. A younger woman who would qualify as a “normal” elder and who was married would not need to be fed by the church if she had a husband. The fact that there is one group who was to be fully supported financially does not eliminate another group of women who did not need to be supported. Service and support do not necessarily go together. Paul for instance chose to support himself whenever he could so that he would not be a burden to the church even though he had the right to receive that support.

    If it involves caring for the widows in need, then we have problems with harshness of not allowing a younger widow who was truly in need. Either view has complications.

    That would not be the case for our view as John MacArthur already said that younger widows would be cared for without going on the “roll”. It is only on the permanent support list of those who would need support for the rest of their lives as they were pledging to remain as unmarried for the benefit of church service, that there would be qualifications for this list. The rest would not be disqualfied except if they had family who could and should look after them before they leave them at the feet of the church to look after.

    On top of this we have the semantic renge of ‘prebyteros’.

    The context will be the key to what the word means. So now it is time for you to tell us why old ladies who were widows were forced to renounce men as prospective mates in order to receive food?

    Even those who see this passage as women serving the church would not relate this to the office of eldership. This is too long of a bow from the text.

    First of all there is no such “office” of eldership. Secondly it is very clear from the text that these women were on the “roll” for ministry in the church. Where is the restrictions on their church ministry? Can you show even one restriction to me?

    The fact the passage is dealing with ‘older’ widows and younger ones, gives all the indication that ‘presbyteros’ should be translated older men/women.

    Unfortunately Mark, this would make the church out to be prejudiced and like the Catholic church, they would be forcing celibacy on certain groups of people. Is this really what you believe?

    Now relating again to deaconesses. Like i have said before i am unsure whether i believe this is refering to wives or deaconesses. Regardless it does not impact on the office of eldership who are responsible for the overseeing of the church.

    Actually it does impact the issues of elders since deacons were given the same qualifications “husband of one wife” so if this doesn’t disqualify women for deacons, it cannot possibly disqualify women as elders. Remember 1 Timothy 3:1 says that anyone can desire the work of an overseer. If anyone can desire this work, then it is inconsistent to disqualify people either for their gender or their race (which cannot be changed by godly behavior).

    You challenged Kay:

    You are right to say that there is no ‘gunaikos’ in either mention of ‘elders’ so therefore you rebut your own argument.

    The term “likewise” along with the “anyone” proceeding the qualifications for elder leave women squarely within the ability to be in either group.

    Mark, you also responded to Kay by saying:

    So although you hold to verse 11 promoting female deacons, there is nothing now in 1 Tim 3 to indicate that women are included in the eldership, unless you wish to hold onto the ‘anybody’ and ignore who Paul then qualfies as the ‘anybody’ in the following verses.

    Paul doesn’t disqualify the “anybody” from 1 Tim. 3:1 except for moral issues and issues where the person needs to work on to be the godly example that they should be. For example if one is not a good manager of their home, they can learn how to be a good manager and therefore at some place in the future they can realize their goal of being a godly example as an overseer.

    Do you actually believe this is about the office of eldership or just widows ministry.

    I think we have gone over this a few times, but there is no such “office” of “eldership”. There is “work” of an overseer.

    Mark, I do hope that you will be encouraged to think through your position on the group of women that was specifically set up for elderly widows to service the church with their God-given gifts. I would like to encourage you to deal with the issue of celibacy as a requirement for being fed and supported by the church and explain how your position can possibly be considered a church practice in Paul’s day.

    Thanks!

  135. Celibacy for food?! What?!
    What is this??
    James comes to mind:

    James 1:27
    Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

  136. pinklight,

    Are you sure that James 1:27 doesn’t mention that true religion is feeding only widows who agree to never marry??? Well, then I guess Paul must mean something else and those who say it is just about the feeding and support have to explain those pesky rules, eh?

  137. ;P

    I think that in the comp religion only poor widows who vow celibacy can be fed by the church.

    This stuff can’t be for real, can it? *Nah* I deny that any of this gobblygooke is for real ;p

  138. Cheryl,

    First of all, i have no idea if the commentaries i quoted are complementarians. My point was to show that the rendering of this passage is not as clear as you say it is “Secondly it is very clear from the text that these women were on the “roll” for ministry in the church.”. Frankly i think it is absolutely ridiculous to emphasise this passage is about women widow elders and think i am the one who needs to justify my position. Kay says that the over 60 requirement is because it must be some ministry we don’t know about essentially or don’t do now. But how can we justify such an interpretation that is simply based on hypothesis or guess work.

    All the indications point to an enrollment for some sort of support (whether you read that as food or not is up to you). For example…

    “3 Honor widows ?who are truly widows.” So what is a true widow? Paul gives the answer in verse 5.

    ” She ?who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and ?continues in supplications and prayers night and day”. So we know what a ‘true’ widow is but what about an ‘untrue’ widow (verse 6)

    “but ishe who is self-indulgent is ?dead even while she lives.”

    Paul then qualifies the meaning of the passage several times.

    Verse 8- “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for ?members of his household, he has ?denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Note the key word ‘provide’.

    and again in verse 16 more clearly- “If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are really widows”.

    So Paul instructs to care for widows, that the church is not ‘burdened’, so it can ‘care’ for those who are ‘really’ widows. And yet you say that the intended meaning of this passage is about eldership not caring for those ‘true’ widows in need.

    Now to answer your supposed dilemma you say my view has. First your presupposition is that the enrollment is a ‘ministry’ thing. We both know this is not in the text so therefore i will try and understand the enrollment from the context of the text. A woman over 60 was unlikely to re-marry (60 then was alot older than 60 now is), whereas a younger women was more likely to marry, and in fact Paul says they ‘desire to marry’. Also a ‘true’ widow was one who devoted themselves to supplications and prayers (verse 5) ansd so made a committment to both be devoted to Christ and recieve help from the church. A younger woman driven by her ‘desires’ though would be prone to abandon that commitment to Christ and flee after earthly passions bringing condemnation. Therefore i see the ‘pledge’ as abandoning their committment to being on the ‘roll’ of widows needing help. To understand this in a ministerial sense abandons the context of the passage.

    Now CHeryl answer some of my questions.
    1. Do you agree with Kay about this obscure over 60’s club eldership?
    2. If not, how to you reconcile that only widows over 60 can be ‘elders’.
    3. If you believe this is about women elders, therefore can women elders only do this sort of ministry since verse 17 it supposed to switch to ‘male’ elders who therefore are the ones who preach and teach.
    4. Why have you ignored all the obvious grammar about ‘caring’, younger/older correlations, not being burdened and dismissed this passage being about helping widows in need.

    Anyway ive run outta time. Ill post more another time.

  139. “Therefore i see the ‘pledge’ as abandoning their committment to being on the ‘roll’ of widows needing help.”

    Mark,

    Since when does a needy person have to make a “commitment” to receive help from the Church?? That concept is not found in Scripture.

    The Greek word here translated “pledge” means “a solemn promise to be faithful and loyal, assurance, oath, troth” (BDAG lexicon)

    You say,”Therefore i see the ‘pledge’ as abandoning their committment to being on the ‘roll’ of widows needing help.”

    That defies logic. You are saying that they had made a “commitment” to continuously live in a state of needing help.

    You also say, “Also a ‘true’ widow was one who devoted themselves to supplications and prayers (verse 5)”
    But you believe it had nothing to do with their “pledge”?

    So, you don’t think that devoting one’s self to supplication and prayers is ever a type of ministry at all?

  140. “Therefore i see the ‘pledge’ as abandoning their committment to being on the ‘roll’ of widows needing help.”
    “But how can we justify such an interpretation that is simply based on hypothesis or guess work.”

    Mark,

    In context we must take into consideration the very young age a woman could become a widow at that time. Betrothal followed as soon as possible after puberty and consummation of the marriage shortly after that.

    Many, if not all, the younger widows could have been mere teenagers. It appears Paul may have been trying to discourage teenage widows from hastily making “pledges” they would grow up and regret.

    Think back for a moment on your own youthful enthusiasms in the past – would you wish to be bound by them for the rest of your life?

  141. Mark,
    We also have to take into consideration that Paul gives various advice regarding marriage, widows, and singles, according to each congregation’s specific situation .
    He says this to the Corinthian Church:
    “But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.
    But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
    1 Cor. 7:8-9

    “But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;
    but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,
    and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.” 1 Cor. 7:32-35

    By taking these verses into consideration, it appears that something else very specific is going on with the “younger widows” of 1 Timothy 5.

    Otherwise, Paul would have simply instructed them to stay single as he did the Corinthians.

  142. You wrote:”But how can we justify such an interpretation that is simply based on hypothesis or guess

    Mark,

    Well reasoned interpretations about verses are made all the time
    – obviously none of us were there when they were written and the original human writers are no longer available for consultation, so there is no other choice.

    As I pointed out (in #149) Paul has no unchanging iron-clad rules about widows and their remarriage requirements that pertain to all younger widows, in all places, for all time.

  143. Mark,
    Paul wrote in vs5 “Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day.”

    Paul also says “But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.” vs.6

    I ask you, what kind of person is “dead even while she lives?” A person who is dead while physically alive is not a Christian. I see Paul here clearly contrasting the two for Timothy.

    Because of that, it’s reasonable that those “dead” widows are the ones referred to in vs.15:
    “for some have already turned aside to follow Satan.”

  144. Mark,
    To sum up: in 1 Tim.5 we see Paul addressing a particular problem that Church fellowship was having. They had a ministry done by “widows indeed” that were placed on a “roll” for financial support – just like many people today in “full time” ministry.
    However, some other unqualified and perhaps unbelieving (re:vs.6 & 15: “dead while she lives”) young widows had been put on the roll because either they falsely pledged or because the individual members or families in the congregation were not doing their personal duty to care for them. So, Paul must tell the congregation:
    “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” vs.8 & “If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows, she must assist them and the church must not be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed.” vs. 16

    The fact that there is one group of widows who was to be fully supported financially does not mean that other needy widows who lacked families couldn’t be helped.

  145. “Now CHeryl answer some of my questions.
    1. Do you agree with Kay about this obscure over 60’s club eldership?
    2. If not, how to you reconcile that only widows over 60 can be ‘elders’.
    3. If you believe this is about women elders, therefore can women elders only do this sort of ministry since verse 17 it”
    Mark,
    I think Cheryl answered your questions in her #142. Maybe take another look there.

  146. Mark #146,

    You said:

    Now to answer your supposed dilemma you say my view has. First your presupposition is that the enrollment is a ‘ministry’ thing. We both know this is not in the text so therefore i will try and understand the enrollment from the context of the text.

    You have not answered anything that I brought up about the ministry that is shown from the passage. Why is it that you ignore my comments in #142?

    Therefore i see the ‘pledge’ as abandoning their committment to being on the ‘roll’ of widows needing help. To understand this in a ministerial sense abandons the context of the passage.

    A committment to being on the “roll”??? Surely you jest! The passage clearly says that the committment is to Christ.

    1 Timothy 5:11
    11 But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married,

    It is not a disregard of Christ to get married unless one has made a pledge not to be married. Verse 11 cannot be ignored because this verse makes it clear that those who take the pledge disregard Christ if they want to get married.

    Since Paul clearly makes the pledge as one to Christ and the service that goes along with that pledge is listed as the service for the church, to say that there is no ministry here for the church would seem to show that you have formed an opinion despite what the text says.

    Now CHeryl answer some of my questions.
    1. Do you agree with Kay about this obscure over 60’s club eldership?

    The ministry that is shown for the ones who have taken a pledge for providing service to the church is so strong, I cannot reject that there was a special class of women ministers who were financially provided for by the church.

    I would like to ask you to explain why there was a group of widows who could not be fed by the church unless they pledge to remain without a husband and who would be dishonoring Christ if they went against that pledge? Why was the pledge necessary? How did Paul and the church justify the requirement of this pledge? Mark, you have been asked quite a few times to answer this question but you have side stepped it without answering. Why the requirement of celibacy?

    3. If you believe this is about women elders, therefore can women elders only do this sort of ministry since verse 17 it supposed to switch to ‘male’ elders who therefore are the ones who preach and teach.

    Where does it say that verses 17 & 18 are only about males?

    4. Why have you ignored all the obvious grammar about ‘caring’, younger/older correlations, not being burdened and dismissed this passage being about helping widows in need.

    Just as the other commentators suggest, I too agree that this passage is about older female widows who are ministering to the church. This is about their permanent support and other widows who need temporary support are not a part of the ones who take a pledge of ministry. Paul also makes note that those widows who are young should not even be temporarily supported by the church if they have relatives who can help them. And if the younger widows do not have relatives that can look after them, they should not be allowed to join the roll of permanent widows who serve the church as they may change their minds about marriage. Instead they should be encouraged to marry again and raise a family for the glory of God.

    Mark, I really would encourage you to answer the questions that have been posed to you. I get the feeling that you are reading the comments in a rush and that may be why you fail to answer the questions. At least I am giving you the benefit of the doubt. The problem with that, is that it makes you come across as one who is evading the questions perhaps because you have no answers. If you don’t know the answer, you are free to tell us you won’t be answering because you don’t have the answer. We will accept that. Fair enough?

  147. 1. “I would like to ask you to explain why there was a group of widows who could not be fed by the church unless they pledge to remain without a husband and who would be dishonoring Christ if they went against that pledge? Why was the pledge necessary? How did Paul and the church justify the requirement of this pledge? Mark, you have been asked quite a few times to answer this question but you have side stepped it without answering. Why the requirement of celibacy?”

    OK what does the bible say.

    Verse 9. Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband,

    So only ‘widows’ over 60 can be enrolled. Correct? Also these widows to be enrolled could only of had 1 husband. Correct?

    Verse 10. and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.

    Now there are more qualifications for this enrolment. Good works, had children, shown hospitatlity etc etc. So therefore the widow on the role had to have certain ‘moral’ characteristics or a record of good works. Correct?

    Verse 11. But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry

    So younger widows are refused because their ‘passions’ draw them away from Christ. I see this passion obviously as a negative thing, because it draws them away from Christ.

    Verse 12. and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith.

    Now this is the crunch verse. You see this as abandoning their ‘pledge’ or their enrolment as some sort of ministers or elders which is no-where mentioned in the text. I see this as abandoning their commitment to Christ, namely what is said in verse 11. Now what was this commitment? Again you would say that it is some sort of eldership but again this is not in the text. What is in the text is a devotion to supplications and prayers day and night (verse 5) because that is what a true widow is. So there ‘pledge’ is a commitment to Christ, giving supplications and prayers day and night, therefore showing them to be true widows and aloud to be enrolled for help. So you see Cheryl, your view is based on hypothesis, mine on scripture and context.

    Verse 13. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not

    So back to younger widows. Besides abandoning their faith after going after their ‘desires’, they also live ungodly lives. Their passions are for things of the world, not for Christ unlike the older widows who had already shown in their lifetime a commitment to Christ.(verse 10)

    Verse 14. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.

    So why the instruction to re-marry for the younger widows. Well we know that Paul expects their passions to pull them away from Christ. If they remarry though and commit their lives to bearing children, managing their households, it will protect them from namely what Paul addresses in verse 13. This is exactly the same instruction Paul gives in Corinth
    1 Cor 7:8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.

    Again with 1 Cor 7:1-2
    Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

    Verse 15. For some have already strayed after Satan.

    That is some younger widows have fallen pray to their desires and abandoned Christ.

    Verse 16. If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are really widows.

    Finally Paul gives the charge that believing women care for widows in their own family so that the church is not burdened, that it may car for the true widows, namely, those outlined earlier who commit themselves to Christ.

    So now back to your original question
    “I would like to ask you to explain why there was a group of widows who could not be fed by the church unless they pledge to remain without a husband and who would be dishonoring Christ if they went against that pledge?”

    What you have done here is flipped the passage. They are dishonouring Christ because they abandon him, not because they get married. It’s not the marriage which is wrong, it is their sensual desires that they put before Christ. In fact Paul instructs the younger ones to get married to avoid straying after Satan.

    Again you ask “Why was the pledge necessary?”
    Now i assume you ask this because you only see the pledge as a commitment to eldership. Since i have shown this is not the intention of the passage, rather a pledge to service to Christ i would think such a pledge would be necessary in order for the church to see she is a ‘true’ widow.

    Again you ask “How did Paul and the church justify the requirement of this pledge?”
    Again your look for justification because you see the pledge as eldership which is not in the passage and think i am saying a woman MUST remain celibate to receive help. This is not what i have said. Younger women were driven by their desires therefore not a true widow. A true widow had a reputation as a Christ follower and was therefore to be enrolled and continue to serve Christ in prayer and supplication.

    If this passage is dealing with eldership what is their ministry? Are elders instructed elsewhere i the bible to be over 60 and only pray (not to mention be widows)? No i don’t think so. They are to shepherd the church. Now because this passage clearly deals with younger and older issues it is not sensible to translate this passage as some sort of obscure eldership, not backed up by other scripture nor reliant on the context of the passage.

  148. Mark wrote: “Again you ask “Why was the pledge necessary?”
    Now i assume you ask this because you only see the pledge as a commitment to eldership. Since i have shown this is not the intention of the passage, rather a pledge to service to Christ i would think such a pledge would be necessary in order for the church to see she is a ‘true’ widow.”

    Mark,
    They already had the “pledge” in operation.

    If the “pledge” itself made it plain for all the “church to see she is a ‘true’ widow” why did Paul have to give the qualifications ??

    The “pledge” certainly wasn’t making the church see which ones were the true widows.

    This is obvious by the fact that they had a lot of widows on a roll where they didn’t belong. And Paul had to tell them who did not belong.

  149. “What you have done here is flipped the passage. They are dishonouring Christ because they abandon him, not because they get married. It’s not the marriage which is wrong, it is their sensual desires that they put before Christ. In fact Paul instructs the younger ones to get married to avoid straying after Satan.”

    Mark,
    It is not a dishonoring Christ to get married unless one has made a pledge not to be married.

    You even cited these two examples yourself:
    1 Cor 7:8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.
    1 Cor 7:1-2
    Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

    Neither of which states that marrying is abandoning Christ.

  150. Mark wrote: “If this passage is dealing with eldership what is their ministry? Are elders instructed elsewhere i the bible to be over 60 and only pray (not to mention be widows)? No i don’t think so. They are to shepherd the church. Now because this passage clearly deals with younger and older issues it is not sensible to translate this passage as some sort of obscure eldership, not backed up by other scripture nor reliant on the context of the passage.”

    Mark,
    One of the main points of the passage IS sorting out who should and should not be on the “role.”

    In context we must take into consideration the very young age a woman could become a widow at that time. Betrothal followed as soon as possible after puberty and consummation of the marriage shortly after that. Many, if not all, the younger widows could have been mere teenagers. It appears Paul may have been trying to discourage teenage widows from hastily making “pledges” they would grow up and regret. I can tell by your last comment that you do see that somewhat.

    You know that the daily duties of any elder are not listed in Scripture. We have our modern day notions of what an elder is expected to do, but that is not outlined in Scripture either. How is praying not an aspect of shepherding the church?
    Our example, The Great Shepherd “He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Heb.7:25)

  151. Kay you have misunderstood me.

    You said “It is not a dishonoring Christ to get married unless one has made a pledge not to be married.”

    I agree that it is not dishonouring Christ to get married. Bu tif you re-read what i said and why i cited the two verse from 1 Cor you will see my point. Namely, that it was the ‘desires’ of the younger widows that was the problem, not the marriage. It was the desires pulling them away from Christ therefore Paul urges them to re-marry so as to protect themselves. Then i quoted the 2 other examples because Paul says the exact same thing to the Corinthians.

    ” But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.”

    “2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.”

    So the point is not that marriage is wrong which you seem to think i said, but that marriage protects us from ‘passion’ and ‘sexual immorality’, which was precisely Pauls instruction to the younger widows who were abondoning Christ to follow after their ‘desires’.

    Please re-read my comment and you will see what i meant.

    Also please show me exegetically why the emphasis of this passage is on widow elders ministry? I know you believe verse 1 and 2 are addressing elders as opposed to older men/women, and i know you have the presupposition that the enrollment is about a listing of widow elders, but please show me exegetically how the passage at all conveys this as the intended meaning here.

  152. Mark,
    You are saying things that are confusing because you are confusing two different passages talking about two different things. In the one passage Paul encourages people to marry rather than to have passions without a godly fulfillment. But in the passage in 1 Timothy 5 Paul is speaking about a condemnation that comes from marriage if one marries after pledged themselves to the service of Christ and the church which was a pledge of celibacy.

    You said:

    So the point is not that marriage is wrong which you seem to think i said, but that marriage protects us from ‘passion’ and ‘sexual immorality’, which was precisely Pauls instruction to the younger widows who were abondoning Christ to follow after their ‘desires’.

    Mark, you are wrong here. You have missed Paul’s point in that he isn’t saying that marriage is a condemnation for everyone but marriage is a condemnation for those who have pledged themselves to Christ in celibacy and after the pledge want to marry. It is then that Paul says that marriage brings condemnation.

    1 Timothy 5:11–12 (NASB95)
    11 But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married,
    12 thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge.

    The condemnation from verse 12 comes directly after “want to get married” and the reason is given. It is because marriage sets aside a previous pledge. The desire for marriage is not wrong and in fact marriage is the only appropriate solution to sexual desire. But the issue in this passage is focused on one thing – it is the pledge. It is the only time in the Scriptures that a single woman is condemned for marrying a single man.

    In the screen print below the Greek is broken down by clause analysis so that it should be clear to see that the condemnation is directly connected to the marriage.

    1-tim-5-111

    In this case a marriage would bring condemnation, not protect from it. The Net bible says it this way:

    1 Timothy 5:11–12 (NET)
    5:11 But do not accept younger widows on the list, because their passions may lead them away from Christ and they will desire to marry, 5:12 and so incur judgment for breaking their former pledge.

    This is not talking about illicit sex or sex out of marriage. It is talking about marriage that would break a former pledge and bring condemnation.

  153. Mark,
    You asked:

    Also please show me exegetically why the emphasis of this passage is on widow elders ministry?

    The requirements for being on the “list” from 1 Timothy 5 are:
    1. wife of one husband
    2. good works
    3. practiced hospitality (compare all with Titus 1:6)
    4. brought up children (raised them physically and spiritually)
    5. devoted to prayer
    6. beyond reproach
    7. devoted to Christ (pledge)

    The Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament calls this the “office of widow”.

    Now I would like to challenge you to show that these are now widows in service to Jesus and the Church but merely on the “roll” for feeding.

    Also please respond to the issue that Paul raises of wanting to marry after making a pledge to Christ brings condemnation. How is it that a woman must pledge celibacy merely in order to be fed? Can you answer this?

  154. More proof that the “roll” was about ministry:

    The author demands that no widow under 60 should be put on the official list of (widow) or allowed to serve as a deaconess in the narrower sense, since he fears that younger widows will marry again and will thus be untrue to their office and therewith to Christ.
    -Theological dictionary of the New Testament. (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.)

    This list suggests that a widow should be qualified to offer service if and when called on by the church.
    -Vol. 3: Evangelical commentary on the Bible. Baker reference library.

    It is when these younger widows experience this kind of sensuality that they want to marry again, and this desire to remarry results in or is interpreted as a turning away from Christ, since, as verse 12 makes clear, widows who are included in the list are obligated to make a vow to serve Christ on a full-time basis and therefore should not remarry.
    -Arichea, D. C., & Hatton, H. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s letters to Timothy and to Titus. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators (120).

    Apparently there was a list of widows in the early church. This list registered widows who had dedicated themselves to ministry in such a way that they qualified for financial support by the church. As with any person dedicated to service (like pastors and deacons), certain characteristics must be evident in the candidate.
    -Larson, K. (2000). Vol. 9: I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon. Holman New Testament Commentary; Holman Reference (223).

    cast off their first faith—namely, pledged to Christ and the service of the Church. There could be no hardship at the age of sixty or upwards in not marrying again (end of 1Ti 5:9), for the sake of serving better the cause of Christ as presbyteresses; though, to ordinary widows, no barrier existed against remarriage (1Co 7:39).
    -Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments.

    The enrolment must have been for some kind of specific Christian work.
    -Carson, D. A. (1994). New Bible commentary

    But refuse to put younger widows on the list for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married” We must remember the positive theology of marriage which is presented in the Bible (cf. Gen. 1 & 2). This phrase seems to relate to a vow that these widows took when they became house church helpers (cf. v. 12).
    -Vol. Volume 9: Paul’s Fourth Missionary Journey: I Timothy, Titus, II Timothy. Study Guide Commentary Series (69). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

    No moral condemnation of remarriage is involved, nor is asceticism commended. The point is simply that a conflict may arise between ministry for Christ and the desire to remarry.
    Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1995). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (420–421).

  155. Cheryl,

    You said “Also please respond to the issue that Paul raises of wanting to marry after making a pledge to Christ brings condemnation. How is it that a woman must pledge celibacy merely in order to be fed? Can you answer this?”

    Now im not sure if you read my previous post, but i assume you didn’t otherwise you wouldn’t ask me this similar question. Please read what i wrote previously.

    Second of all i think we are actually closer than you realise Cheryl on this passage. I am not denying that they pledged to be dedicated to Christ. In fact i support this because the passage says they are to continue in prayer and supplications. However i am also reading more than just verse 12 which extends Pauls intention to support for help aswell.

    The difference though between us, is that you think this is an obscure type of ‘eldership’ or as one of your own sources made up, deaconesses. My argument is clear, the context reveals that the translation of verse 1 and 2 must be related to older women not elders. I am being consistent with the passage, you are pushing eldership into this passage when it doesn’t belong.

    “Mark, you are wrong here. You have missed Paul’s point in that he isn’t saying that marriage is a condemnation for everyone but marriage is a condemnation for those who have pledged themselves to Christ in celibacy and after the pledge want to marry. It is then that Paul says that marriage brings condemnation.”

    Let me repeat myself again an again. I DO NOT THINK MARRIAGE IS A CONDEMNATION!!! If you read my post and infact re-read verse 11 you will see that it is the ‘desire’ which disregards Christ not the marriage. The marriage is just the by-product of the sinful motive beforehand. I’m surprised you keep overlooking this important point. Like anything it is the motive of the heart that causes problems. Thus once the sinful desire disregards Christ, they get married and then cause condemnation upon themselves. Until you actually look closer at this verse you will keep having the issue of trying to balance ‘condemnation’ and the ‘pledge’. But it doesn’t really surprise me because of course you will look for any passage to seemingly support the egalitarian position.

    So Cheryl before you ask me to again justify my position can you please read what i have already written. Im sure it will help us all.

    Finally you quoted “The Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament calls this the “office of widow”.

    Are you serious? You criticise me all this time for using the term ‘office’ and then use this when it supposedly supports your view. Please be consistent and not critique me if you are going to use the same term ‘office’

    “Now I would like to challenge you to show that these are now widows in service to Jesus and the Church but merely on the “roll” for feeding.”

    As i said above. I answered this in another post. But just so you know i don’t deny they are in service. They are to continue in supplications and prayers day and night, i have said this several times. I just don’t believe there is an office of over 60 women elders who are to shepherd the church. Also considering the rest of the context regarding older/younger women aswell as the numerous verses talking about support and caring and burdened, i also believe the enrolment involves support. Please tell me why you are ignoring these very clear verses talking about caring for people and think it has nothing to do with the list.

  156. Mark,
    You said:

    Now im not sure if you read my previous post, but i assume you didn’t otherwise you wouldn’t ask me this similar question. Please read what i wrote previously.

    I interacted with your comments and showed how you cannot link two passages together – one passage showing that marriage is a good and the other passage where marriage is shown to be a bad desire. I am seriously wondering if you actually read the objections to your view? Why is it that you just disregard the objections and just ask us to read you again? Can you actually not see it that you your view brings contradictions?

    If there is something that I have missed, then please tell me which comment it is that you think I missed and which paragraph in the comment. The comments are numbered for that reason.

    Some people are good listeners. Others are not. I suspect that you have a problem understanding the objections to your view for if you really understood the objections, you would not ask us to reread your comments. Your problem, in my humble opinion, is that you just don’t want to put in the effort to understand the argument before you refute it. Because of this you go around the bush never interacting with our position and never seriously looking at the objections to your view. The position I take is that if one’s view is the truth, then the view is only strengthened by answering the challenges. I see you avoiding so much of the argument.

    For example I copied the Lexham Syntactic New Testament Sentence Analysis that shows that marriage is the direct reference to condemnation yet you completely ignored this. Why is that? Is your argument any better by ignoring the Greek grammar and sentence construction? I would hardly think so.

    Second of all i think we are actually closer than you realise Cheryl on this passage. I am not denying that they pledged to be dedicated to Christ. In fact i support this because the passage says they are to continue in prayer and supplications. However i am also reading more than just verse 12 which extends Pauls intention to support for help aswell.

    Your problem is that you are failing to deal with verse 12 in its context and you right away want to move onto another passage that it in a completely different context.

    Next if you really believe that these widows (the ones on the “roll”) have “pledged” themselves to Christ and the church has accepted that pledge as an entrance onto a special “roll” then how can you not see their work as a ministry?

    The difference though between us, is that you think this is an obscure type of ‘eldership’ or as one of your own sources made up, deaconesses.

    The exclusive class of older widows in ministry is no longer part of our society and the church perhaps no longer has a need to support these women, but their ministry to the entire body of Christ should not be denied. I never used the term “eldership” or any other kind of “ship”. If you think I did, please quote the comment number to prove your claim. Again, I think you have a problem with reading and understanding the opposition’s viewpoint. What I am arguing for is for women in ministry who are supported by the church. The very term “elder” refers to older people and these elders are women who are ministering to the church. Do you have a problem with that?

    Secondly the sources I quoted included complementarian sources who are willing to see the text for what it says. You did point out that one source called them deaconnesses. Another source called them presbyters. Another said this was an “office” implying that there was a specific “work” that they did that was recognized as a ministry.

    I will carry on my respond in the next comment.

  157. Mark,
    You said:

    My argument is clear, the context reveals that the translation of verse 1 and 2 must be related to older women not elders.

    I have not been using 1 Tim. 5:1, 2 in my argument. The issue is whether or not the elderly widows are women in ministry or not. My argument stands whether 1 Tim. 5:1, 2 refers to older men and women or men and women in ministry. The question is does the women who have taken a pledge for Christ show them as people in ministry that serve the church and are supported financially by the church in their ministry? The fact is that the rest of the chapter does refer to women in ministry and does not rule out women as having a work for the church that can be supported financially by the church.

    I am being consistent with the passage, you are pushing eldership into this passage when it doesn’t belong.

    Again you are guilty of failing to read my own words. While I can fight for the fact that Paul makes it clear that anyone can strive to be an overseer, I haven’t said one way or the other about an “eldership” found in this chapter. I have been consistently fighting for women in a position of ministry.

    Let me repeat myself again an again. I DO NOT THINK MARRIAGE IS A CONDEMNATION!!!

    Then this is where you are wrong. Marriage itself cannot be a condemnation unless one has pledged themselves not to be married and then go back on that pledge. In this particular chapter, the desire to be married brings condemnation. I specifically showed you the sentence structure that proves this and you did not interact with it. Instead you just ignore the fact that in one specific instance marriage can be the source of condemnation.

    If you read my post and infact re-read verse 11 you will see that it is the ‘desire’ which disregards Christ not the marriage.

    If you read my comment #160 with the Lexham chart, you should be able to see that it is the desire for marriage that disregards Christ. Why? Because marriage in this instance is turning one’s back on a pledge to not be married for Christ’s sake in order to minister. You will also see that the comments that I copied all say this too. And because these women have a desire to minister to the body, there are restrictions on who is eligible for this work.

    The marriage is just the by-product of the sinful motive beforehand.

    No sir. The marriage is the “desire”. The Bible doesn’t talk about their “sinful motive”, but their natural desire for marriage.

    I’m surprised you keep overlooking this important point. Like anything it is the motive of the heart that causes problems.

    Our motive for anything is important, but the issue here is leaving aside the pledge. The pledge is the key issue. Who cares why they leave aside the pledge when every reason for leaving aside the pledge brings condemnation? This is a consistent issue in Scripture where giving ones oath is a highly important thing. To go against an oath brings condemnation. The Bible does not say that to go against an oath is okay if your motive is good. No. Breaking an oath is always considered to be a serious issue motives aside.

    So is it okay if these women who have taken an oath of celibacy break this oath with a good motive? If you can say “yes”, then please provide a biblical argument that oath breaking with a good motive is okay.

    Thus once the sinful desire disregards Christ, they get married and then cause condemnation upon themselves. Until you actually look closer at this verse you will keep having the issue of trying to balance ‘condemnation’ and the ‘pledge’.

    There is no balance here. The sentence structure is clear. Marrying is breaking the pledge and oath breaking brings a condemnation.

    But it doesn’t really surprise me because of course you will look for any passage to seemingly support the egalitarian position.

    This actually challenges my motive which I will not allow you to do. I do not “look” for any passage that “seemingly” supports the egalitarian position. I am submitted to the Scriptures in context and my focus has not been on egalitarian passages but on the complementarian passages as you would know if you have seen my DVDs. I sincerely believe that any position that sets itself up as the truth on any issue must be verified by the passages that seem to contradict. These are the passages that are of key importance to me because if one can deal honestly with the passages that seem to contradict then the “clear” passages will stand on their own without contradiction.

    If I have come across as attacking any of your motives, I apologize as that is not my intent at all. My focus is always to deal with the issues and why I consistently tell you that you don’t deal with the challenges given you. But it is one thing to say one hasn’t dealt with the arguments and another thing to challenge one’s sincerity or one’s motive. No one can read another person’s heart.

  158. Dear brother Mark,
    You said:

    So Cheryl before you ask me to again justify my position can you please read what i have already written. Im sure it will help us all.

    I have read what you have written. But you seem to be the one who can’t read. Here is my proof of this. In my comment #165 I deal with the issue of marriage being a condemnation and you state that marriage is not a condemnation as if you are being accused of saying such a thing. That’s the problem. You should be saying this because this is what the text says. I am trying to get you to understand that there is one instance where marriage is a condemnation. The question I asked you from my comment #165 should bring this out. If a person’s gives a pledge to Christ to remain single (and a pledge is an oath) and then sees a godly woman who is perfect for them as a mate and marries them, is that marriage a condemnation to them by breaking of their pledge, yes or no?

    Finally you quoted “The Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament calls this the “office of widow”.

    Are you serious? You criticise me all this time for using the term ‘office’ and then use this when it supposedly supports your view. Please be consistent and not critique me if you are going to use the same term ‘office’

    I did “use” the term office, I merely quoted a source that would use your term so that you could “get it”. I do not believe there is an office, but I would say that “office” means “doing the work of”. The “office” of overseer, is one who does the work of an overseer. I used the reference because I wanted you to see that the “work” of the “elderly widows” is a real work or ministry that would be translated into your language as an “office”. It is not merely elderly widows who are good enough to be fed by the church. It is women dedicated to this “work” so that they are permanently put onto a “roll” (think “role”) of one who serves the church.

    More on the next comment.

  159. Mark,
    You said:

    As i said above. I answered this in another post. But just so you know i don’t deny they are in service. They are to continue in supplications and prayers day and night, i have said this several times. I just don’t believe there is an office of over 60 women elders who are to shepherd the church.

    I never said that all of these women are “shepherds”. God gifts whomever He wants to so they could be, but that isn’t stated in the passage.

    Do you accept that these women are a group of elderly widows who serve the church with their gifts? Do you think that a “group” of people who serve the church would be an “office” of the church? Do you think that a “group” of men who serve the church would be an “office” of the church?

    Also considering the rest of the context regarding older/younger women aswell as the numerous verses talking about support and caring and burdened, i also believe the enrolment involves support. Please tell me why you are ignoring these very clear verses talking about caring for people and think it has nothing to do with the list.

    I am not ignoring that the church supported orphans and widows who merely needed food. However to attach them to a special “group” of women who served the church and because of their pledge to continue this as a lifelong service, they received life-long support from the church as a requirement for all women for getting food from the church would be taking the passage out of context. I have clearly said before and am happy to repeat here that not all widows would be listed on the “roll” but they still may be fed by the church. Paul is making sure that their families understand that it is their obligation to take care of those who merely need food and that the church will take care of those who are dedicated life-long to service in the church that they are willing to give an oath of celibacy in order to continue this life-long service. These are two different groups of widows and not all widows who are fed will be on the “roll”. Ministry is the issue here that is ahead of just their being fed by the church.

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