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Category: Prejudice in the church

Let her learn….or not?

Let her learn….or not?

In our continuing discussion of 1 Corinthians 14:34-36, we come to the problematic area of learning.

1 Corinthians 14:35 And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home…

What can we pull out regarding “learning” in this verse?  We can see that if a woman has a desire to learn, she isn’t encouraged to do it in church.  Where is she supposed to learn?  Her learning is to be done under her husband’s permission and it is to be done at home.

The requirement that a woman is not to learn in public is not a Christian regulation but a part of the “law” of the Jews.  Women were not to be taught the scriptures according to the oral tradition of the Jews.  Why?  Because she was not allowed to touch the scriptures and so she didn’t need to be a rabbinical student and publicly learn.  She also would have no one to teach the scriptures to since the men were considered to be the ones who had the responsibility to handle and teach the Torah.  Women need not learn.  They were not qualified to learn.

In previous posts we have been listing the markers in 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 that prove that Paul was quoting from the Corinthians and then refuting their claims in verse 36.  The wording about women learning at home (v. 35) instead of in the assembly once again ties these verses into man-made tradition.

But this isn’t Paul’s way nor is it God’s way.  Paul had just told us in verse 31:

1 Corinthians 14:31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted

Not only were all allowed to prophesy in the assembly, but the public prophesying was so that all may learn in that public assembly.  The learning was done by all just as the prophesying was done by all.  All may learn publicly.  Paul does not relegate women to learning at home.  He allows them to learn in the assembly since it is the body of Christ (not just a woman’s husband) who are responsible for helping her to learn.

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Recovering from "feminism recovery"

Recovering from "feminism recovery"

Wade Burleson has written an exceptionally thought-provoking post on the difference between one young woman’s journey through her pain (it appears to be a rejection of herself by a boyfriend) into the pathway of accepting a tradition that gives authoritarian license to males vs one young slave woman’s courage in standing up against authoritarian license.  I highly recommend you read Wade’s post found here especially for the account of the courageous stand of a slave girl that Wade copies at the end of his post.

Certainly one can have a “recovery” if that person is actually recovering from a bitterness towards men.  But depicting egalitarianism in the church as being based on hatred of male authority or a bitterness towards men is a false recovery.  Bitterness towards men is no different than bitterness towards women or bitterness towards another race.  When someone has hurt you and your self worth has been damaged, one will be tender and sensitive and often people go through many steps of recovery before they can get past the bitterness and intense hurt.  However identifying egalitarians (or as Courtney calls them feminists) as ones fighting against authority is a very serious mistake and one might question what she was really recovering from.  Bitterness is bitterness.  It is a sinful state of the heart that comes from our sin as a reaction to our hurt, not from our belief about the ability for men and women to serve God in the way that he has called them.

False recovery taints the recovery process.  It fails to identify where the problem lies.  Identifying a false source of the problem can replace one bondage for another.  It also can alienate another group of believers seeing them as the problem instead of identifying the heart attitude as the problem.

Questions of faith for semi-egalitarians

Questions of faith for semi-egalitarians

USA Today has an editorial written by David P Gushee in which Mr. Gushee challenges complementarians that they are actually semi-egalitarians and they should be willing to openly acknowledge this.  Gushee says that he writes about this issue as a moderate evangelical Christian.

Gushee writes that there are many theologically conservative Christians who accept Sarah Palin as the Republical vice presidential nominee.  Yet at the same time:

…at the local church level many congregations would not accept Palin or any other woman even as associate pastor, or deacon, or youth minister or Sunday school teacher in a gender-mixed classroom.  The most conservative would not consider it appropriate for her to stand behind a pulpit and preach a sermon, or teach from the Bible, or lead a praise chorus, or offer a prayer, unless her audience consisted entirely of women or children.

He notes that even CBMW (Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) who Gushee calls “an influential advocacy group” and who are against women teaching men in the church, have no problem in allowing for a woman to serve as vice president of the country.  CBMW has replied to the article welcoming Gushee’s questions:

Dr. Gushee is the Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University and challenges complementarians with many questions in the September 15, 2008 issue of USA Today.

CBMW writes:

While we are honored that Dr. Gushee considers CBMW “an influential advocacy group” on gender issues, we don’t claim to represent the “evangelical voting base,” or even all complementarians.

It certainly is a fact that CBMW does not represent all complementarians.  There is a group called Vision Forum who were formerly associated with CBMW from its beginning, but who have since separated themselves from CBMW now calling CBMW in actuality semi-egalitarians.  Vision Forum has written that Dr. Gushee is “spot on”.  In an article regarding USA Today’s editorial, Doug Phillips writes this about CBMW:

It is our view, however, that they have erred by overtly embracing an egalitarian perspective of the roles of men and women in the public arena.

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Are we too emotional?

Are we too emotional?

Are we really too emotional?

I have had some interaction with a pastor via the internet on and off for the last half year or so and whenever I have passionately stated my case for believing that women are allowed in scripture to teach the bible to men, I have been accused of letting my emotions cloud my judgment and my thinking.  (Sigh)  Why is it that egalitarians are pegged as overly emotional while comps consider themselves both logical and biblical?

Now this particular pastor appears to be a very nice fellow.  I really quite like him.  He isn’t calling me an unbeliever or a heretic as some have.  He is also very supportive of my ministry work regarding my reaching out to Jehovah’s Witnesses to win them for Christ.  He appears to like me as a person, and as I said, I also like him, but there is a roadblock that is hard to cross over.  He thinks that there is no other way to see scripture but that it limits women from teaching the bible to men. Other than apparently my work with non-Christians, he holds the party line that women who teach the bible to men are sinning against God, and that we can see a pattern for human relationships and roles by the “roles” in the Trinity where the Father is the ultimate authority and the Son submits to the Father (double sigh!)

Never mind that he has not been able to answer even one of my challenges to his position.  He can wave my position off because he attributes it to emotionalism.  It is actually a wee bit humorous because I have been charged by others with being too logical and my dogged persistence is not a sign of weak emotions or a faint heart!

So why do you think that we have to defend ourselves against the charge of being too emotional?  Is this a name-it and claim-it-for-the-other-person a way to dismiss everything we say?  Are comps really the logical ones and are egalitarians the ones who have no heart for the inspiration of scripture but want to rest their beliefs on feelings, emotions and hurt?

One thing for sure….hierarchists have caused a great deal of grief for many egalitarians including myself.  For one who loves peace amongst the brothers to have to deal with name-calling, anger, vindictiveness, insults and rejection of even being called a sister in Christ, it probably would be okay to cry a tear or two for the hurt that has happened in the body of Christ.

I trust that a logical, full believer in the inspiration of scripture, persistent, peace-maker like myself is allowed to cry sometimes without being called overly emotional or that my judgment and thinking are clouded by emotions.  A soft caring heart is what I long to see in complementarians because they are my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I trust that God will help to keep my heart soft to them no matter how many attacks I have to deflect that has been unfairly lobbed over the wall and against my name.

Pardon me while I cry.

Forbid not

Forbid not

Forbid not….

Paul said something profound in 1 Corinthians 14:39 that goes against the grain of the hierarchical mindset.  Paul said “forbid not to speak…”

This is not an issue of whether tongues is valid today or not.  What is the issue is the command to “forbid not” to speak in the assembly.  Let’s walk through this passage to see how it is all connected together.

In 1 Cor. 14:34 it says women are “not permitted to speak” in the churches.  The Greek word is “epitrepetai” and it means to give liberty to, allow, give permission, entrust to.  So according to verses 34 & 35, speaking in the assembly is forbidden because there is no permission given to allow women to speak and a “law” is appealed to that takes away the ability for women to speak in the assembly.  Verse 36 is set up as a contradiction of verses 34 & 35.   Paul answers by stating “n” which is a disjunctive conjunction which is used “to distinguish things or thoughts which either mutually exclude each other, or one of which can take the place of the other” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon.  Thayer’s lists 1 Cor. 14:36 as an example of “n” used “before a sentence contrary to the one just preceding, to indicate that if one be denied or refuted the other must stand”

What then is being denied by the “n” in verse 36?  It is the command in verse in verse 34 & 35 that women are to be silent.  How does Paul deny this command and the appeal to the law of men? (see The Elusive Law and Is a Woman’s Voice Filthy? for further information on why these two verses are to be considered a quote from the Corinthian’s letter to Paul and not the actual words of Paul himself.)

Paul demands to know if the word of God comes only through them (the men demanding the silencing of women) and he demands to know if only they are to receive God’s word.  In other words, Paul is demanding to know if God only speaks through men and God only gives his word to men and does not speak through women and to women.  Remember that the command to silence women also denied their learning in the assembly.  If they wanted to learn anything, they were commanded to learn at home.  Paul in essence asks where is this God’s word?  Where are women forbidden to speak God’s words and where are women forbidden to learn God’s words?  It is certainly true that in the oral law of the Jews women were forbidden to speak in the assembly and women were forbidden to be taught God’s word.  For a father to teach his daughter the Torah was considered immoral by the Jews because women were forbidden to handle God’s word and so there was no need to learn it.

Paul then goes on to say:

if anyone is thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write you are the Lord’s commandment.

Obviously those who wrote to Paul about the silencing of women believed that they were spiritual conveyors of God’s “laws”.  Paul says that if they presume to be spiritual guides and prophets giving out God’s words, then they must recognize that the things that Paul has written are the commands of the Lord Jesus.

What are the commands that Paul is referring to?  Let’s look back in the chapter to find Paul’s commands.  “Commands” here is in the plural, so we should expect to find several commands.

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Who dared to contradict Paul?

Who dared to contradict Paul?

Many people have a big problem with Paul because they think that he was sexist.  I would like to change that point of view by looking carefully at the text so that we can fully appreciate Paul for who he was, not the false impression that we have of Paul.  Under God’s inspiration Paul refuted faulty tradition and that faulty tradition included sexism that was prevalent during his day.  Let’s have a look how Paul did that.

In the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul responded to a letter written to him by the Corinthians.  In 1 Corinthians 7:1, Paul says:

1 Corinthians 7:1  Now concerning the things about which you wrote….

Paul then quotes from the letter written to him and every time he quotes the letter, Paul contradicts the Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 7:1….(Corinthians) it is good for a man not to touch a woman

1 Corinthians 7:2 (Paul) But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife and each woman is to have her own husband.

1 Corinthians 10:23 (Corinthians) All things are lawful  (Paul) but not all things are profitable.  (Corinthians) All things are lawful (Paul) but not all things edify.

1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 (Corinthians) The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper (filthy) for a woman to speak in church.

1 Corinthians 14:36 (Paul) (What!?!) was it from you that the word of God went forth? (What!?!) has it come to you only?

In verse 36 Paul starts each statement with the Greek word “n” which isn’t always evident in the translations as some completely ignore this word.  It is a term used to show that the question implies a negative answer – a negation of something that has just proceeded it.  It would be the equivalent of stating a false statement and then saying “Bunk!” or “Horse feathers!” or “You have got to be kidding!”  So what Paul is doing here is negating what was just quoted.  Since Paul cannot negate himself, it is evident that the quote from verses 34 & 35 is a quote from the Corinthian letter to Paul.

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Gospel Today magazine pulled from Christian bookstores’ shelves

Gospel Today magazine pulled from Christian bookstores’ shelves

A Christian magazine is treated as pornography merely for reporting on the trend of women pastors.

The Atlanta Journal reports:

Smiling women on the cover of a slick magazine. Sold from under the counter. Must request it from store clerk.  That’s not something a buyer would typically find in a Christian bookstore. Not unless it’s one of the more than 100 Lifeway Christian Bookstores across the United States, including about six in metro Atlanta.

Gospel Today, the Fayetteville-published magazine, was pulled off the racks by the bookstores’ owner, the Southern Baptist Convention. The problem? The five smiling women on the cover are women of the cloth — church pastors.

So what is the big deal?  The deal is that when a denomination says that a secondary issue of faith is so important it warrants barring people from reading about the other side, Lifeway Christian Bookstores has stepped into the realm of milieu control.  Milieu control is the control of information and communication.  Wikipedia adds that milieu control is about limiting contact in order to restrict the ability to make judgments about information that would present itself against the accepted position:

Additionally, Milieu control “includes other techniques to restrict members’ contact with the outside world and to be able to make critical, rational, judgments about information.”

How did Gospel Today react to their magazine relegated to a place behind the counter?

Teresa Hairston, owner of Gospel Today, whose glossy pages feature upbeat articles about health, living, music and ministry, said she discovered by e-mail that the September/October issue of the magazine had been demoted to the realm of the risque.

While saying that she was “shocked” at the reaction by the books stores, she adds:

“We weren’t trying to pick a fight,” Hairston said. “We just did a story on an emerging trend in a lot of churches.”

Foxnews.com reports about the controversy:

Published for nearly 20 years, Gospel Today is the largest and most widely distributed urban Christian publication in the country, with a circulation of 240,000. The magazine’s publisher, Teresa Hairston, said she was just reporting on a trend, not trying to promote women pastors.

“They basically treated it like pornography and put it behind the counter,” she said. “Unless a person goes into the store and asks for it, they won’t see it displayed.”

Pastor Tamara Bennett of This Is Pentecost Ministries in Sacramento, Calif., one of the pastors featured on the front cover of Gospel Today is encouraging people to ask for the magazine:

“All Dr. Hairston did was tell a story, she didn’t preach a doctrine,” Bennett said of the article. “It’s just sharing news.”

A radio broadcaster from Atlanta has produced his own comments on Youtube regarding this pulling of a Christian magazine and he brings out the Southern Baptist Convention links to Lifeway Christian Bookstores.

1 Corinthians 14, is a woman's voice filthy?

1 Corinthians 14, is a woman's voice filthy?

In the last post we talked about how there is no “law” in the Old Testament scriptures that forced women to be silent in the assembly so the reference in 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 had to be some other “law” that forced silence on women.  The “law” that silences women is found not in God’s law, but in the oral tradition of the Jews, now written down in the Talmud.

The next red flag that points to another source other than God’s law, for the saying in verses 34 & 35 is the charge that a woman’s voice is filthy.  Verse 35 says:

1 Corinthians 14:35  If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home;for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.

The word translated as “improper” is shameful or filthy.  Is a woman’s voice shameful?  Is a woman’s voice filthy?  The oral law of the Jews said her voice was indecent, filthy and shameful.  A woman was not allowed to speak in their congregations for the sake of the men.  Her voice was considered a sexual enticement thus a woman was not to speak publicly.

Did God’s word also say anywhere that a woman’s voice is filthy, shameful or indecent as the Jewish oral tradition taught?  No, it doesn’t.  In fact Paul earlier on in chapter 14 said that everyone was allowed to prophesy in the assembly.  If everyone could prophesy, then certainly Paul would not turn around in just a few verses and say that women’s voices were to be silenced because they were filthy.

Tradition is a very strong force in people’s lives.  Prejudice follows such tradition and causes many of us not to want to hear a woman’s voice speaking the truth of God’s word.  Instead of following tradition, we should see what God’s word says about women publishing the truth.

Psalms 68:11  The Lord gives the command; The women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host.

The word “proclaim” means to publish or make public.  God says that there is a great host of women who will take the gospel to the public.

How about you?  Have you had any prejudice against women’s speaking forth the Bible?  Have you considered their words to be inferior in some way or their preaching to be invalid merely because they are women?

Women in Ministry produces fear

Women in Ministry produces fear

Wade Burleson has produced a thought-provoking article about character assassination that comes as a result of fear.  Wade writes:

It is almost an axiom of human nature that when you disagree with one’s positions, are fearful of the effect your opponent may have on altering the big picture, you attack the character of the person you wish to defeat. Unfortunately, the art of character assassination in Christian circles is alive and well.

…when other people are being influenced to take a different position than your’s, it is tempting to attack the character of your opponent…

May all of us involved with political processess, whether they be national and secular, or denominational and religious, focus on the issues and leave the character attacks at home.

I agree whole-heartedly with what Wade is saying.  There is just too much focus on ad hominem (attacking the man) rather than addressing the argument.  Attacking the person and name calling are a sign of a weak argument.

How is this played out regarding women in ministry?  Those who are fearful of having women teaching doctrine in the church often use loaded language to put down the opposition.  While they refuse to call a brother in Christ who is a Calvinist or an Arminian, a heretic (and good for them for not dividing over this secondary issue), they have no qualms about calling a sister in Christ a heretic for merely believing that women can use their God-given gifts for the benefit of all.  Many others are calling into question the salvation of those who advocate women using their gifts for the common good.  Is this godly?

I look forward to seeing a generation of women who have been freed to go forth preaching the gospel with boldness and without prejudice.  CBMW (the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) has already announced that complementarians are losing this battle.  Churches one by one are freeing women to serve in the gifts that God has given them.  Irving Bible Church in Irving, Texas is just one of the long list of churches who have changed their view of women in ministry.  They are another example of godly men looking into God’s word and seeing it in context as not holding back God’s gifts given through women.   God uses women for his own purposes and he gifts those he wants to use for his glory.  When we fight our sisters in Christ and instead of addressing their concerns and their arguments, we call them heretics and we separate from them, we should stop and think whether we are fighting against God himself.  We are told not to grieve the Holy Spirit.  We grieve Him when we try to control and stop His gifts from being used without prejudice and we grieve Him when we separate over secondary issues of faith.

In my search on the world wide web, I have yet to come across egalitarians calling complementarians heretics merely for believing differently on this secondary issue of faith.  I trust that it is rare for such name calling.  However it is not rare for complementarians to call egalitarians heretics.  This should never be.  When one part of the body of Christ hurts, we all are hurt because we are all baptized into this one body.  Those who mock and attack the character of a fellow Christian because they disagree on a secondary issue of faith need to repent lest they find themselves fighting against God Himself.  This is the time when God’s judgment comes to the church first and then the world.  Will we be found loving our brothers in Christ as we are commanded to by Jesus Himself, or will we be found ripping at the sheep using personal attacks instead of reasoning through why our arguments are so weak that we must resort to attacking the man?  If we are fearful because of someone else’s position on a secondary issue of faith, may we resort to studying the word of God to show ourselves approved unto God a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rather than resorting to personal attacks.  Passion is godly.  Mocking and personal attacks is a tool of the enemy.  Whose side will you be on?

Women preaching equated with adultery and homosexuality

Women preaching equated with adultery and homosexuality

Wade Burleson has commented on Irving Bible Church’s decision to allow women to preach the gospel to the congregation on a Sunday morning and the attacks that this church has experienced because of this decision.  Wade writes:

I shiver when I hear my fellow evangelicals call a church that asks a woman to preach the gospel on Sunday morning a church of “grave moral concern.” WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT FEMALE PASTORS!

The idea that a woman teaching or preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ is a “grave moral concern” shows us how far the church has fallen from the place of accepting one another as brothers and sisters in Christ who have gifts given for the benefit of “one another”.  Is not the “grave moral concern” rather an issue of saying that “I” (a man speaking) do not need “a woman” teacher?

1 Corinthians 12:21  And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

Why is it that scripture says we “cannot say” something that we do say?  The scripture says that we do not have permission to say that women preachers and women teachers are not needed by some in the body of Christ.  When we reject God’s gifts merely because of the package that they are housed in, we are rejecting the Lord Jesus in this area.  Jesus is responsible for assigning the gifts.  If he did not want a female to teach a male the gospel, then Jesus should have created a list of female gifts which list would not include teaching.  Then it would be easy for men to disregard something that doesn’t exist.  When are we going to stop saying what scripture has forbidden us to say?  Saying “I” do not need you and your God-given gift should be treated as a serious moral concern.

The case against Eve

The case against Eve

In this continuing look at the creation and fall of man, today we come to the conversation between the woman and the serpent.

The first thing that we notice about the question that the serpent gives to the woman is that it is an attack on God as the source of supply for both Adam and his wife.  The serpent asks:

“Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

What the serpent is saying to the woman is that God has not given them permission to eat at all.  Is it just one tree that he says they are not to eat from?  No. The serpent says that God hasn’t given them permission to eat from any tree.  At this point the woman doesn’t quote from God, but she gives her conclusion.  Remember in Genesis 1:29 God said:

Genesis 1:29  Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;

Notice that in Genesis 1:29 God didn’t say to Adam and his wife that they could freely eat.  He said they were given permission to eat from every single tree that passes the test.  The test is that it must have fruit that yields seed.  That is pretty understandable isn’t it?  The woman understood it and she applied it.  So when the serpent questioned her saying that God hadn’t given her permission to eat, she states that she does have permission to eat.  She knows she has permission to eat because she has applied the test that God gave her and because she did what God asked of her, she ended up with the conclusion that she has permission to eat from the fruit of the trees in the garden.

At this point the woman now quotes God.  She says:

Genesis 3:3  but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'”

There are several options regarding why the woman said what she did, but I will only be discussing two diametrically opposed options that leave the woman either faultless or guilty of a crime against God.

The first option that I will look at very carefully is the very common argument from hierarchists that the woman added to God’s words.  The claim is that the words “or touch it” was not recorded in scripture anywhere else saying “God said” therefore we must believe that the woman’s testimony is not true.  She is presumed to have added words and illegally attributed them to God.

Now let’s think this one through.  Does God make adding to his words a prohibition? Absolutely, yes he does.  It is given as a prohibition three times from Deuteronomy and Proverbs and then specifically later on it is given about the words in the book of Revelation:

Deuteronomy 12:32  “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.

Deuteronomy 4:2  “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Proverbs 30:6  Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.

In Proverbs we see that the result of breaking God’s prohibition is a reproof from God and God will prove the person is a liar.  Thus those who add to God’s words are liars and will be disciplined by God himself.

This is an extremely serious sin and not one to be taken lightly.  Is the woman guilty of adding to God’s words?  One thing we know for sure.  We cannot find someone guilty of sin without two or three witnesses:

Deuteronomy 19:15  “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.

We can see from God’s standard that the woman cannot be found guilty of any sin unless there is evidence of two or three witnesses.  It is through two or three witnesses that we will find the matter confirmed or without these witnesses the matter is unconfirmed and the accused person goes free.

Is it a serious matter to charge someone to be guilty who is not proven guilty by the required witnesses?

Deuteronomy 19:16  “If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing,
Deuteronomy 19:17  then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days.
Deuteronomy 19:18  “The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely,
Deuteronomy 19:19  then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.

Here we can see it is an evil thing to accuse someone of a sin without the matter being established with two or three witnesses.  We cannot just accuse someone of sin without a solid foundation of evidence.

Since this is a serious matter, let’s take God’s method of judging the matter and apply it to the case against Eve.

Okay, let’s list two witnesses since that would be the minimum witnesses that are required for a finding of guilt against the woman.

Who is the first witness?  Who charge the woman with adding to God’s word?

The first person to interact with the woman was the serpent.  Did the serpent charge the woman with adding to God’s words?  No he didn’t.  Isn’t this odd?  Satan himself speaking through the serpent didn’t even charge the woman.  Let’s move on to the next witness.

Did Adam charge the woman with adding to God’s words?  No he didn’t.  When Adam faced God he did not say “The woman who you gave to be with me is more guilty than I am because she added to your words.”  No Adam was silent about the woman’s guilt.  No witness here either.

Well what about God Himself?  Surely God himself would follow his standard and reprove her of adding to his words and thus prove her to be a liar, right?  (Proverbs 30:6)  Did God reprove Eve?  Did God say that the woman was guilty of adding to his word?  No one, not even God Himself charged the woman with adding to His own words.  Do you know what this means?  It means without a single witness against a person charging them with sin, we are forbidden by God’s word to attribute guilt to them.

The question is, what will you do?  Will you take the position of accuser?  Will you be a malicious witness falsely accusing the woman of sin when there are no witnesses charging her with sin?  I think those of us who love God’s word and hold to the scripture’s authority would not want to be the one to cast the first stone.  There are no witnesses that can be found in scripture that charge the woman with adding to God’s words.

My view is that if there are no witnesses to charge the woman with adding to God’s word (and there are no witnesses) then I accept her word that she told the truth.  Indeed God did speak to both Adam and his wife and even though these words are not recorded elsewhere in scripture, we can accept the record of God’s words by the testimony of the woman.

Now where do you stand?

Women in ministry – asking the right questions

Women in ministry – asking the right questions

Have you ever found that your discussions with hierarchists goes nowhere fast because they say they have heard the egalitarian arguments before and they are not willing to listen to what you have to say? Perhaps we are missing an opportunity to engage them because we are wanting to teach them first instead of letting them teach us. What would happen if we let them teach us by asking them the “right” questions?

Those who believe in the hierarchical view which has restrictions on women that forbid women from teaching the bible to men, base their belief primarily on one verse – 1 Timothy 2:12. Instead of debating with them what this verse means, why not take one step back and ask them two important questions? First of all ask them if 1 Timothy 2:12 is a law of God that forbids godly women from teaching biblical doctrine to men? When you have established that 1 Timothy 2:12 is a law of God forbidding this activity, ask them when this “law” came into existence? Did it come into existence before Paul wrote it to Timothy or did it come into existence at the time that Paul wrote 1 Timothy 2?

Let’s consider the ways that this question could be answered.

1. If they say that this “law” came into existence at the time that Paul wrote 1 Timothy 2, then it means that there was no “law” prior to the its creation with Paul. This means that women prior to New Testament times had no restrictions on teaching the bible to men. Does this make sense? Is it possible for Old Testament women to have more freedom than those women who became believers in Christ through Paul’s ministry? This doesn’t seem logical. Why would God allow women for thousands of years the freedom to teach the bible to anyone without regard to gender and then suddenly this bible teaching becomes a sin? If it was a sin, how would the women believers who were there before Paul wrote the “law” in 1 Timothy know that it was a sin? Priscilla apparently had no idea that her teaching the bible to Apollos and her correcting his doctrine was a wrong thing to do. Priscilla taught the bible with authority by correcting error.

2. If they say that the “law” that stopped women from teaching the bible to men was created before Paul wrote it down in 1 Timothy 2, and Paul was merely referring back to a “law” that already existed, where is this “law” written down? There is no such “law” in the Old Testament that could possibly be linked back to. If they try to say that the “law” was recorded in Genesis 3:16 with the phrase “he will rule over you”, remind them that this could not possibly be a “law” that forbids women from teaching the bible to men. After all if Genesis 3:16 was really God’s will that wives were to be ruled by their husbands, then women would have to obey their husband’s command to teach the bible to men.  My husband, for example, has been very strong in encouraging me to teach men and women alike with the gifts that God has given me. If I am to obey my husband I will teach men the bible instead of turning them away.

So instead of quibbling about whether there is a “law” that forbids women from teaching the bible with authority, why not ask them when this “law” started? See if they can figure it out.

Today I had the opportunity to read a blog where Bob Cleveland posted a comment that I really appreciated. It is located here.

Bob commented:

If a woman has the gift of teaching she oughtta teach; to anybody who wants and needs to benefit from her God-given gift.

This really touched me. It puts the onus on the one who wants and needs to benefit from her God-given ability. I believe that this is why scripture tells us to submit to one another. We cannot take authority over someone else and force them to listen to us. The power is in the hands of the one who submits. The submission is not so that we can be under someone’s thumb. The submission is so we can benefit from what God has given as a gift to them for our benefit. When God has given his precious gifts of teaching and insight on the scriptures to a woman, we should honor God by submitting to learn. Do you want to benefit? Don’t accuse a godly Christian woman of being in sin because she has been given insight into the bible. This gift from God through her is given freely to anyone who is willing to receive it. If you want it, you should be able to freely receive.

Scripture also tells us that all of us are “needed”. God has placed his children into the body with a special gift given to each one for the benefit of the body. We are not allowed to say that some members are not needed for our benefit. Each one has been placed in the body and each one is to function for the common good.

1 Corinthians 12:21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you“; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

When a man turns away from learning the bible because it is being taught by a woman, he is not really rejecting her but God who gave her what is needed for the health of the body. He is saying that others may need her, “but I don’t need her”. By refusing the good gift, he is refusing to submit to receive from God and he is judging God because of the vessel that God has himself chosen to use. Such a one has broken a direct prohibition of God given in 1 Corinthians 12:21.

If there are any complementarians or hierarchists reading this who would like to answer these questions, please feel free to interact on this post. I believe in treating brothers in Christ with respect even if they disagree with me on these secondary issues. Each of us is a member of the same body, bought by the shed blood of our precious Lord and Savior and I desire to honor other members of the body of Christ who are not the same as myself.

Noodling with the Greek grammar in 1 Timothy 2:15

Noodling with the Greek grammar in 1 Timothy 2:15

While I have made a very strong point of the Greek grammar in 1 Timothy 2:15 with the singular “she” and the plural “they” (no specific gender for “they”), some have been trying hard to wiggle out of the implications that Paul is referring to a specific woman because the only living person at that time that “she” can refer back to is the woman Paul is stopping from teaching in verse 12. Verse 15 has a very specific grammar construction with both “she” AND “they” referenced. I have made the argument that “she” cannot be the same thing as “they” otherwise 1 Timothy 2:15 would have improper Greek grammar. The only way to keep the grammar within the rules is for “they” to be people (at least one other person) in addition to the “she”. Paul could have said “She will be saved….if she…” or “They will be saved…if they…” and both of these could be general statements about either women or generic woman, but it would be improper to say “She will be saved…if they….” if “she” and “they” are the exact same thing.

Back in September of 2007 I had an audio debate with Matt Slick of CARM and since that time Matt has been trying to find a way to refute my exegesis and prove and “she” is the exact same thing as “they”. He cannot prove such a thing since it is improper Greek grammar so it is interesting to note that he is now stating that the Holy Spirit can inspire an error in the Greek grammar if he wants to. I can hardly believe that an evangelical apologist would resort to noodling with the Greek grammar in order to keep his biased view that Paul is restricting all women for all of time from teaching true biblical doctrine to men. But at the same time that Matt is setting up such a charge against the Holy Spirit of inspiring an error in the grammar, his own Greek expert is refuting his premise. Let’s see how this is done.

On May 22, 2008 Matt Slick’s Faith and Reason show, Matt had on his radio program some students studying Greek and with them is Barry Wilson, Matt’s Greek expert from the Charnock Institute of the Bible.

Matt asks Barry Wilson if there are any Greek grammar errors in the Greek text. While the young women students answer “yes”, Barry says “No”. He says that there are scribal errors in the copies, but in the original text there are no Greek grammar errors. Hear the audio clip here of Matt’s question and Barry Wilson’s answer.

The next question that Matt Slick asks is if the students think that the Holy Spirit would ever inspire anyone and have them make a grammar error? You can hear the student answer “no”. Listen to the audio clip here.

Next Matt Slick builds his case that the Holy Spirit could inspire grammar errors if he was inspiring poetry. He says that the Holy Spirit could inspire grammar errors on purpose and thus not be breaking any grammar rules if it was on purpose. Matt Slick then says that the Holy Spirit can break a grammar rule, but so what? Listen here to the audio clip about how Matt Slick believes that the Holy Spirit can break grammar rules.

Matt Slick then asks an amazing question. He asks if they think that the Holy Spirit could inspire an apostle to write something but this apostle doesn’t seem to understand the Koine Greek grammar rules so the Holy Spirit inspired grammatical errors through an ignorant apostle. Here Matt is referring to 1 Timothy 2:15 and he is implying that the apostle Paul broke the Greek grammar rules because he didn’t understand the Greek grammar. Thus he says that the Holy Spirit inspired a passage with grammar errors through Paul on purpose(!) Listen to the amazing audio clip where Matt Slick implies that the Apostle Paul was an uneducated man in regards to Greek grammar!

Next one of the female students tells Matt that “they” includes “she” but includes more as in “women” (plural). This Greek student is correct in that a singular cannot be exactly the same thing as a plural. “She” can be included in the “they”, but “she” cannot be the exact same thing as “they”. This is exactly what I have been telling Matt all along. Listen to the audio file here.

Matt then says that he calls his vice-president, Diane Sellner, “women!” sometimes. He says that we can “play” with words and break the rules because it isn’t a sentence. He is noodling with words and trying to make a case that the Holy Spirit also noodled with the Greek words and the Greek grammar in 1 Timothy 2:15. Listen to the audio file here.

While Matt Slick claims that the Holy Spirit has purposely inspired grammar errors into the biblical text, his vice-president, Diane Sellner has previously argued with me that the Greek grammar rules have changed. She says that what looks like a grammar error now wasn’t a grammar error back then and so what is inspired in the text wasn’t actually an error back when it was written although it looks like a grammar error now. So we have the vice president saying that 1 Timothy 2:15 looks like a grammar error but the rules have changed and Matt Slick is arguing that it was actually a grammar error when it was written just like it is a grammar error now and it was put there on purpose! They are contradicting each other and contradicting the inspiration of the inerrant text. Those who hold to the full inspiration of the original texts do not believe that there are errors in the inspired text.

I wrote to Matt Slick’s Greek grammar expert and asked him some pertinent questions. I found him very gracious and kind. I asked him if the Greek grammar has changed since the time that it was written and he said “No.” So there goes Diane Sellner’s argument. How about Matt Slick’s argument? I asked Barry Wilson if there were any grammar errors in the original text and he answered me the same way that he answered Matt. He said that there are no grammar errors in the inspired biblical text. I also asked him if 1 Timothy 2 was poetry. He said “No.” So there goes Matt Slick’s argument. I am continually amazed at how hierarchists will try anything to wiggle out of the implications of the text.

For the record there are no grammar errors in the inspired text. Paul said exactly what the Holy Spirit inspired through him and the Holy Spirit did not make any grammar errors. When Paul (and the Holy Spirit) said “she”, the reference can only grammatically go back to a single “woman” in verses 11 & 12 since Eve is dead and gone and she cannot do things in the future. The grammar in verse 15 is specifically a singular “she” PLUS a plural “they”. There is no precedent at all for saying that “she” is the exact same as “they”. This would make it a grammar error and that is not possible. No, Matt, “she” is a single woman and “they” is the single woman PLUS at least one other person. You have tried and failed to dismantle the inspired grammar in order to keep your prejudice against women who teach doctrine with authority as 1 Peter 4:11 commands for the one gifted is to speak as if speaking the very oracles of God.

I have also requested to meet personally with Matt Slick and his wife to discuss a Matthew 18 issue with him. Matt has consistently called me bad names because I hold strongly to the inspiration of the scriptures with the inspired words and the inspired grammar. He has also allowed his “staff” to call me evil because I disagree with him on this secondary issue. I agree with him on all of the essentials truths of the Christian faith but that is not good enough for Matt. He believes that those who disagree with him regarding whether or not women can teach doctrine to the entire body of Christ with the authority of 1 Peter 4:11 are heretics and are worthy of being called evil, witches, liberals and whiney people who he will personally bury. I think that any God-fearing Christian would find these things offensive. While Matt Slick has refused to debate me in writing, giving all kinds of reasons why he could not possibly do that, and being that I have already had two audio debates with him where he over-talked me, called me names and acted in an arrogant and rude manner, I think that it is time to call him to account for his treatment of the sheep in such a bad way if he will not meet with me to discuss this in person. He has refused to answer my emails requesting a meeting and so far has refused to answer my request on his discussion board.

The problem is this – heriarchists and egalitiarians can get along with each other with love and respect as long as those who hold back women from teaching with the authority of 1 Peter 4:11 do not attack their sisters in Christ. So many have already left the hierarchal movement because they can see the vitrolic nature of those who attack their fellow Christians. It is time that we as Christians stand up and put a stop to this kind of treatment. When we ignore this bad behavior and condone it because it is coming from a brother in Christ, we are allowing one of God’s servants to beat their fellow slaves. This is a very serious matter and must be addressed so that there can be repentance and turning away from this bad behavior so that forgiveness and healing will follow. How many more precious sisters in Christ will be hurt by this kind of behavior? Who will stand up and help to put a stop to it? My question is, what would Jesus do?

Is ordination a requirement for a female Pastor?

Is ordination a requirement for a female Pastor?

Recently one of my blog posts has garnered some interesting comments regarding the issue of ordination. At the same time I received a request from a lady who believes that she has been called by God into ordained ministry. This post will deal with the issue of whether a female must be ordained to be a Pastor and the other comments regarding Paul and his ordination by Jesus will be moved to this post.

First of all there is the issue of whether a body of believer’s decision to reject the ordination of certain people constitutes a binding limit to a person’s gifting and calling from God. The question that I had posed earlier, is whether the leadership’s ordaining of a person actually makes them a legitimate Pastor? Also I was questioning whether the fact that one is rejected for ordination would take away a person’s calling from God to be a Pastor?

There have been times in the church where men thought that they could judge the gifts of God and that their own pronouncement was official. Because of this some of the books of the bible were not originally accepted as canonical but their rejection by some leaders did not take away the authority of these inspired books of the bible. In time the inherent authority in each inspired book of the bible was accepted. In this we see that the church did not have a right to make a book canonical. At best the church could only recognize a book as authoritative because it (the inspired book) had within it the witness to the inspiration of God. The final list of books was not chosen by a synod or council of the church. These met to ratify the books that the people of God had already chosen because of the witness of the scriptures themselves.

Now how does all of this relate to the ordination of a women Pastors? I personally believe that a true God-ordained choice of Pastor should be only to ratify and recognize what God has already chosen. Man’s ordination cannot make one a Pastor nor can the failure of some to recognize God’s gifting take away one’s gifting and calling from God.

Have you ever met a Pastor that was ordained but who did not have the fruits of the Spirit or the heart of a shepherd? Such a one is not a true Pastor gifted by Jesus himself. Jesus said that there would be hirelings who do not care for the sheep but who are there as shepherds for other reasons. These hirelings run away when the wolves come to make a meal of the sheep. The fact that they have been ordained by a church cannot truly make them a gift to the church. Only Jesus’ choice and gifting can do that.

Eph 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Eph 4:8 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”

Eph 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

So what does a woman do who has been called by God to be a Pastor but the leadership of the church that she attends will not recognize a woman as qualified to be a Pastor? Some women will stay within the denomination and work within the acceptance of the people within that church. While they may not have the official “title” of Pastor, they can operate within their gifting in an unofficial way. They can shepherd the flock in home bible studies and in small group settings or in one-on-one situations.

Yet others will feel the need to be officially recognized by the church in order to do the full work of a Pastor. These may stay in the church and earnestly contend for the truth in order to change the mindset of the leadership and the church itself. Or they may find the fight for their acceptance too draining and they may leave for a church that will accept their shepherding without a fight.

On one of my other posts I received this comment from “Called and wanting healing”:

I am living in the parish in England where this is what’s preached http://www.stalkmunds.stixworx.com/mp3/roleofwomen.mp3. It’s hard because I feel so called into ordained ministry. Could you post this up on your site so that it can be commented upon and critiqued. After all it has to have been interpreted differently for the Church of England to have decided to ordain women in 1994. For example, I do not understand how the vicar can say that biblical submission is to put yourself under someone’s authority – I thought it had more to do with putting their needs ahead of your own. The vicar talks of Christ and beauty of his submission but surely that was in sacrificing himself for us – atoning for us, dying for us – there’s the beauty!

If you want to post it on your site so that people can respond to it that would be great or if you could recommend someone else who would be able to offer an critique of this sermon.

Thanks so much.

I will put my comments later into the comment section of this post. I encourage others to listen to the audio and comment and encourage this dear sister too.

One comment that I will post here is that submission of one to another is commanded in the New Testament. The reason that submission is commanded is not so that one takes authority over another and the one under submission is to be the door mat of those who take the lead. Instead submission is commanded because one cannot use their God-given gift unless the body submits to accepting that gift. I operate in the gift of a teacher yet I cannot force my gift onto anyone. My authority is not to take authority over others but my authority is to give out what I have been gifted with by the authority of the word of God. 1 Peter 4:11 says:

1 Peter 4:11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances [or oracles] 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.

My gift will always be there whether I am accepted or not, but it will not be of benefit to another unless that one submits to learn from me. Submission then is needed to receive another one’s gifts. Submission does not create the gift but it allows the gift to flow into one’s own life and for one’s benefit. When a church accepts a woman Pastor, that church is accepting the gift of God and submitting to learn what God has to say through her. When a church is influenced by prejudice and refuses to submit to learn from a woman, that church may not experience God’s best. What God gives is to be received with blessing and not with a heart of rejection.

Thoughts?

Women teaching, men's prejudice and God's glory

Women teaching, men's prejudice and God's glory

Many complementarians have been so used to hearing what women are not allowed to do in the body of Christ rather than what scripture says women should do as followers of Christ, that the focus has become automatically set to see restrictions when the subject of women in ministry is discussed.  With this post I would like to lay out some of the allowances for women in ministry as well as the obligations of mature children of God including God’s female “sons” so that we can contemplate on God’s own instructions.

What should be the attitude of women who are dedicated, mature and reverent followers of Christ?  In 1 Peter chapter 3 Paul has been writing about how women followers of Christ are to show their love for their Lord in the respectful way that they treat their husbands.  Men followers of Christ are also to show their love for their Savior by treating their wives with love and respect as fellow heirs of the grace of God.  Then in verses 8-17 Peter continues on to speak to both men and women about their attitude, their behavior and actions and their obligations.

1 Peter 3:8 (NASB) To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;
1 Peter 3:9  not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:10  For, “THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT.
1 Peter 3:11  “HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.
1 Peter 3:12  “FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.”
1 Peter 3:13  Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?
1 Peter 3:14  But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED,
1 Peter 3:15  but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;
1 Peter 3:16  and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.
1 Peter 3:17  For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.

Since Peter says that this is written for “all of you”, let’s focus on what we can see about God’s will for women from these verses.  Peter writes in verse 8 that women are to be harmonious (of like mind with all believers) humble in spirit, kindhearted, brotherly (fond of the brethren which is the body of believers) and sympathetic.  How does this work out in practice?  Peter writes in verse 9 that women are not to return evil for evil or insult for insult but they are to practice giving a blessing even when they are reviled because women in Christ are called for the purpose of inheriting a blessing.

Peter goes on in verses 10-12 to encourage women to keep from speaking evil words and women followers of Christ are to do what is good and to pursue and seek after peace.  When women followers of Christ live this way they have the eyes and ears of the Lord Jesus toward them because the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears hear their prayers.

In verses 12-14 Peter writes that God is against those who do evil so that if women are zealous for doing what is good that God will be on their side and look out for them regarding those who do evil to them.  Women are told that even though they may suffer for doing what is good, God will bring them a blessing for suffering for the sake of righteousness.  God tells women that when they are reproached for doing what is good, they are not to fear the intimidation of those who are against them.  God tells women they are not to be troubled when they suffer for doing good and they are not to fear those who try to intimidate them, instead these women are to be prepared to defend their faith in God.  Verse 15 says:

1 Peter 3:15  but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

Women are not only allowed to give a defense to everyone who asks them to give an account, but they are commanded to do so.  They are not told to be prejudiced against men but to give a defense to everyone.  Women’s obligation is to be ready with a gentle and reverent spirit to give an account to whoever challenges them on their faith in Christ.  When Jesus gifts and equips a woman she is to use these gifts without fear.  In 1 Peter 4:10,11 Peter records that each one of us has been gifted and we are commanded to use our gifts for the use of the body of Christ.

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.

If God has gifted a woman to speak she is commanded to speak as one who is speaking the very utterances of God.  She is to do this because it pleases God to gift her.  When she uses her gift God will strengthen her in that gift because this brings honor to Jesus.  Whenever she uses her gift she is bringing glory and honor to Jesus Christ her Lord.

What about if someone challenges a woman follower of Christ that women are to be prejudiced against men and must refuse to use their God-given gifts for the benefit of the men in the body of Christ?  What if someone says that teaching the bible for the benefit of men is an evil act and not allowed for godly women?  What if someone says that women followers of Christ are sinning against God if they refuse to turn away men from hearing them teach the bible?  Peter instructs the women to keep a good conscience and in doing the good works of a mature follower of Christ, if she is slandered by those who hate her good works and who say that her good works are evil, these ones who have slandered her will be put to shame by her good behavior in Christ and her gentle and reverent spirit even during her persecution and her suffering.

1 Peter 3:16  and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.
1 Peter 3:17  For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.

God’s word for women followers of Jesus, is do not fear intimidation and do not be troubled.  Be glad that you are counted worthy to suffer for the sake of the Lord.  Do not return evil for evil or return insult for insult but keep on doing what is good.  Teaching God’s word is good.  Using your God-given gifts is a good thing.  Scripture never once tells women to turn their backs on men and to refuse to use God’s gifts for the benefit of men.  That is prejudice and prejudice is not a godly thing.  God’s way is to use your gifts for God’s glory without prejudice.  Do this good work in a gentle and respectful manner without responding back with evil words if you are insulted and slandered by your brothers in Christ.

Let me tell you a story about our ministry partner Lorri MacGregor.  Lorri was a Jehovah’s Witness for 15 years and when she came to Christ and had come to a full understanding of the truth of God’s word, God called her to teach the scriptures especially to Christians who had no idea how to witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Lorri was faithful to go wherever the Lord called her even though she had many barriers put up in her pathway because she was a woman.  God caused her testimony to be heard by men and women, lay people and Pastors alike.  Many Pastors were so impressed by her testimony and her ability to teach Christians how to witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses, that they allowed her to teach on this subject even though they have never allowed a woman to teach the bible to the congregation before.  Lorri’s ability to make the gospel clear and to teach difficult subjects like the Trinity and make these teachings understandable to the average Christian was clearly noted and she was asked into many churches to share her testimony and her special gift of teaching.  Lorri never refused to teach anyone because of their gender nor did she act in a prejudicial way to the men in the audience.  When some objected to her teaching on the platform, she asked if she could teach from the floor using a music stand instead of a pulpit.  Her humility and her respectful manner allowed her to receive a hearing and because of this many men and women were equipped to share their faith in a way that brought much fruit and brought Jesus much honor.  Lorri’s ability and her gifts were strengthened by her experience coming out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Pastors saw the benefit of her teaching as a unique gift.

Because Lorri’s desire was to use her gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ and it was not her desire to elevate herself or stand in open opposition to the tradition held by many Pastors and many churches, the doors opened to her for her to teach what is good.  In fact her teaching was so clear and so easy to understand that Lorri was invited into the pulpit in places that had never before allowed a woman to teach the congregation.  Lorri did not make an issue of being a woman teacher, she just used her gifts in a God-honoring way that benefited both men and women followers of Christ.  She was not deterred by those who tried to stop her and who tried hard to put up a roadblock in her pathway.  Lorri stayed the course and followed Jesus through every open door that he provided.  The Lord provided ways for Lorri to serve in her gifts because she trusted him to make a way for her to serve him.

My path has been somewhat different than Lorri’s.  My focus is not to go around the roadblocks but to respectfully and methodically dismantle the roadblocks with the gifts that God has given me.  I deal with the opposing arguments head on and I use God’s word in context using God’s inspired words and his inspired grammar to understand God’s will for women.

If you are a woman who has been called to serve Christ in teaching the bible, yet you have been told that this work is forbidden to women unless women are willing to turn their back on men and refuse to use their gifts for men’s benefit, you need to see the hard passages in scripture on women in ministry in their context.  I would encourage you to get a copy of my 4 DVD set called “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” so that you may have a tool to help you give a defense to everyone who demands of you an answer and this DVD set can help you give an answer with gentleness and reverence.  Do not let anyone stop you from doing the good works that God has prepared for you.

Matthew 5:16 (NASB)  “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

1 Peter 4:14  (ISV) If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God is resting on you.
1 Peter 4:19  So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should entrust their souls to a faithful Creator and continue to do what is good.

1 Peter 2:15  For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,
Colossians 3:24  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

Don’t stop doing what is good.  Do your godly works in a respectful way and trust that God will open the door for you to serve him in exactly the way that he has called you.  If we can be an encouragement to you on this blog community, we are at your service.

Should CBMW fight egalitarians?

Should CBMW fight egalitarians?

This week CBMW (the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) released two audio tapes from the February 2007 “Different by Design” Conference held in Minneapolis Minnesota. (http://www.cbmw.org/media/differentbydesign.php) I was amazed at the way that the gospel was connected to the gender issue in such a way that those who do not hold to patriarchy and male-only leadership were charged with not holding to the gospel. I would like to present some clips from the first audio tape by Russell Moore in this post and reflect on his comments.

The source of the following audio clips is from CBMW’s audio files (http://www.cbmw.org/media/differentbydesign.php) The first speaker from the February 2007 conference is Dr. Russell Moore who is the dean of theology at the Southern Baptist theological seminary in Louisville Kentucky.

Dr. Moore starts out by stating that evangelical feminism is winning the debate in our churches. The clips below are very short so it won’t take long to get through them. The shortest clip is only 11 seconds long and the last clip which is the most jaw-dropping clip is only 1 minute 18 seconds.

(click here to listen to clip 1)

Dr. Moore then asserts that Christians who hold to the egalitarian viewpoint do not have an exegetical argument and have largely abandoned (trying to use exegesis).

(click here to listen to clip 2)

I would respectfully disagree with Dr. Moore. I have read many excellent biblical exegetical arguments from evangelical egalitarian sources. In 2006 our ministry also produced a careful and respectful verse-by-verse exegesis of the hard passages of scripture in our 4 DVD series called “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” It was extremely important to us to recognize that as Christians we need to work hard to rightfully divide the word of truth. We believe that scripture is God-breathed and we do not advocate disregarding any parts of scripture. All scripture has been given by God for our learning and our correction. Have egalitarian Christians abandoned an exegetical argument on the gender issue? Absolutely not! Those who hold tightly to scripture do not have to abandon scripture at all to reject patriarchy.

Dr. Moore then says that women who teach the bible in the media, like teaching on DVDs, are taking a pastoral role that isn’t allowed to them and men who watch and listen to women teach the bible on DVDs are more willing to let women teach them.

(click here to listen to clip 3)

It is interesting that Dr. Moore appears to be very against women teaching scripture using various media. Should women stop teaching scripture? No. We are in a battle against the enemy and we must not be silent. We cannot stop teaching the bible if we are to be faithful to Christ. Women who teach scripture on DVDs as I have on my WIM series are following Christ using the gifts that he has given us. Should women be forbidden to teach using the media? It appears that Dr. Moore believes so. Why? He says that this debate is not a secondary issue but is an issue of the gospel. He says that it is not an intramural debate where brothers and sisters in Christ can disagree on a secondary issue. Rather according to Dr. Moore and CBMW, the gender debate is not a secondary issue but a core issue of the gospel.

(click here to listen to clip 4)

Dr. Moore goes on to say that we as a church have treated the doctrine of God as a more important issue than the “male headship” or gender issue, however he disagrees. He says that brothers and sisters who are together on the doctrine of God are not really together if they disagree on the gender issue because open theism (a view that denies God’s full knowledge i.e. the teaching that God is not omniscient) is not worse than evangelical feminism.

(click here to listen to clip 5)

How sad that the gender debate can be considered in the same category as open theism. How this must hurt the heart of God when a brother in Christ is willing to separate from other brothers and sisters in Christ over a secondary issue, instead treating the gender issue as a core issue of faith. This is not a core issue of faith but an issue where sincere brothers and sisters in Christ can differ without breaking fellowship. Those who are charging egalitarians with serious doctrinal error and with dismissing the gospel just because they believe that women are allowed to use their spiritual gifts without restriction,have moved over into a divisive and unloving stance. This should not be.

The last clip brings a great sadness to my heart.

(click here to listen to clip 6)

Evangelical feminists are not necessarily lost? Perhaps some of them can be saved? It is just so sad to hear Dr. Moore state that those who hold to the egalitarian argument are holding to a belief that seems right to them because they are shaking their fists in the face of authority. He says that lives are at stake. He says that the gospel is at stake.

Beloved, our brothers in Christ are seeing this issue as in-house spiritual warfare. We are the enemy to them and they are out to win because they believe they are fighting the battle for the gospel.

This is not a battle for the gospel. We believe in the gospel just as strongly as Dr. Moore and CBMW does. In fact the core of our ministry is the defense of the faith and we have been instrumental in leading many Jehovah’s Witnesses to Christ by presenting the gospel to them. But when one adds conditions to the gospel that the bible does not add, then there will be an attack on those who do not hold to those conditions.

I say that it is time that our brothers in Christ stop treating us as the enemy. Where is the love for others in the body of Christ who do not think as they do? Jesus said that they will know us by our love. Our love MUST be for the body of Christ. Complementarians need to learn to love us and do it for Jesus’ sake.

What is your opinion? What do you think of these quotes?

In closing I would like to quote a short piece from a blog article by Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds

The article is regarding controversy and how we as Christians need to treat others who disagree with us. Justin quotes John Newton, writing in a letter on controversy (The Works of John Newton, 1:273-274):

It seems a laudable service to defend the faith once delivered to the saints; we are commanded to contend earnestly for it, and to convince gainsayers. If ever such defences were seasonable and expedient, they appear to be so in our day, when errors abound on all sides, and every truth of the Gospel is either directly denied, or grossly misrepresented.

And yet we find but very few writers of controversy who have not been manifestly hurt by it. Either they grow in a sense of their own importance, or imbibe an angry contentious spirit, or they insensibly withdraw their attention from those things which are the food and immediate support of the life of faith, and spend their time and strength upon matters which at most are but of a secondary value.

This shews, that, if the service is honourable, it is dangerous. What will it profit a man if he gains his cause and silences his adversary, if at the same time he loses that humble, tender frame of spirit in which the Lord delights, and to which the promise of his presence is made!¦

Amen! We all need to work at keeping that humble, tender spirit especially towards fellow Christians who are also members of the body of Christ even as we expose error.

 

We are in our new home

We are in our new home

We are mostly moved into our new home and much of our time has been spent in unpacking boxes. Our living room now feels like home since six book cases of my research and bible study books have been unpacked.

Books in new home

Now that we are starting to find space on the floor to walk, I am trying to find time to work on a new blog article regarding the latest audio files from the complementarian camp. I was saddened to hear how they are continuing to become more militant as the time goes by. It is now claimed that those who do not accept a patriarchal view are guilty of dismissing the gospel. This is one of the main reasons why this blog exists – to show that those who accept an egalitarian view regarding women who use their God-given gifts for the entire body of Christ, can view the Bible as God’s inspired word and God breathed. It is imperative that we give a basis for our belief in a reasonable and respectful way. The body of Christ is hurt when those who hold to a restrictive view of women use this non-essential issue as a way to build barriers and even “rip apart” other sheep, doing much damage to the very ones whom Jesus commanded them to love. Christians on both sides of this debate should remember that we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Yes, it is essential to expose error, but godly Christians should be able to interact and dialog in a loving way without attacking one another by making this non-essential issue into an essential doctrine by accusing the other side of denying the gospel.

Keep watch for my new article. I plan to include audio clips so you can hear the material for yourself.

Discrimination of women in the SBC: can they teach men at all?

Discrimination of women in the SBC: can they teach men at all?

I have been following a blog documenting the injustice done to Dr. Sheri Klouda a professor of Hebrew who was forced out of her teaching position at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Southwestern Theological Seminary because the new President, Paige Patterson, does not believe that women should be teaching men. This comes after Dr. Klouda had been at the Seminary and approved for teaching by the board of trustees since 2002. I think that this is a very important issue to follow as it reveals the cold heart of some men towards other members of the body of Christ. Wade Burleson, a Pastor in Enid, Oklahoma writes:

It is essential for Southern Baptists to speak out when there is an injustice within our convention. This post is written for the purpose of drawing attention to a brilliant theologian who served Southern Baptists as a professor of Hebrew at Southwestern Theological for a total of seven and a half years, three and a half as an adjunct professor and four as full time elected faculty, establishing impeccable credentials and an extraordinary track record, only to be forced out from the job of her dreams for solely one reason — her gender.

To read the rest of the blog post documenting the gender discrimination that has occurred within the Southern Baptist Convention click here. I appreciate Pastor Wade for having the courage to document this injustice and his courage to speak out.

One other note – Paige Patterson is on the board of reference for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) and his wife is a CBMW Council member.

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