Debating women in ministry – round 2

Debating women in ministry – round 2

On Wednesday September 26, 2007 I will be having round number 2 with Matt Slick on the issue of women in ministry. We will be dealing with 1 Timothy 2 and the issues of whether “a woman” is a specific woman in Ephesus or whether Paul is prohibiting all Christian women from teaching men (or some variation of this). We will be also dealing with Paul’s reference to creation in this passage and what creation has to do with the prohibition. It should be another hot debate and if you can catch it live, it will be on 790 KSPD in Boise, Idaho or catch the debate streamed live on

To listen to the program live on go to and pick the link at the very bottom for “790 KSPD play outside of browser” The time is 5 – 6 pm Pacific time, 6 – 7 pm Mountain time, 7 – 8 pm Central time, and 8 – 9 pm Eastern time.

The day after the debate the audio should be up at Matt’s podcast site here and I will also be linking to the audio file on this blog.

Dusman has a good advertisement up at

You might want to let him know that you appreciate the coverage if you are interested in this debate.

And if anyone is interested in calling in to give Matt feedback on his radio show, his radio call-in number is 208-377-3790. The show is on Monday to Friday from 5 – 6 pm Pacific time, 6 – 7 pm Mountain time, 7 – 8 pm Central time, and 8 – 9 pm Eastern time.

Matt also takes emails during the show times that he often reads on air if there are no callers.  The day after the debate is a good time to let Matt know your thoughts on the debate.  His email address is

This is an important debate and if you know of someone who might be interested in listening to two Christian apologists who both love Jesus but have differing views on women teaching the bible in an authoritative way, please send them a link to this blog post so they can tune in and be challenged to test everything by God’s word.

Also Matt wants to pick up the pace a little on the debate so could you please pray that as I go through my points a little faster, that Matt will actually let me finish my sentences this time?

Boxing Oh, my, we may need to tie his boxing gloves together a bit to give me a fair shake. At any rate, I trust it will be a respectful continuation of the debate as we seek to challenge each other’s presuppositions. May the Lord Jesus be glorified as we go into round #2!

62 thoughts on “Debating women in ministry – round 2

  1. I’m glad the focus will be on 1 Tim. 2, because Dr. Nyland’s notes for this book are available for free at This Link as a PDF.

    One point about this passage is that there were in fact female synagogue leaders in the first century. It is these who thought they could then automatically be teachers of the assembly. But Paul counters this notion by saying they have to first sit down and learn quietly with the other new believers before they can teach, regardless of their position in the synagogues.

    Then of course Paul focuses on one particular woman who was teaching the Gnostic heresy that Eve was created first. Paul points out in vs. 13 that Adam was created first according to Genesis. This flow of thought makes perfect sense with the Gnostic heresy in view, but the referral to Genesis is illogical if the topic is instead some heirarchy based upon “outward appearances”. Dr. Rebecca Groothuis in her book “Good News for Women” (which I commented on Here) My comments on that part:

    To say that woman must be inferior to man because she was created from him would be to also say that man must be inferior to dust! To say that man is superior to woman because he was created first is to also say that all the animals are superior to man! As Paul points out, other than Eve, all men have come from women, so by traditionalist logic this should mean that all mankind except Adam is inferior to Eve. And we see in the Bible that God frequently chose the younger to rule over the older (Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, etc.). So neither derivation nor prior existence can be used to argue in favor of male domination or superiority.

    Traditionalist logic here is circular. They assume that Genesis supports female subordination, then when reading 1 Tim. 2:11-15 they appeal back to it as their justification for their view. In other words, they presume authority being established in Genesis, then use it to support their interpretation of Paul’s words to Timothy as being universally applicable since it refers to creation order.

    And then there’s the whole “authority” issue, as we’ve discussed before. There is no such concept as “authoritative teaching” defined in the epistles. The apostles had authority as having seen the risen Lord, but even then they did not use this authority as hierarchical but laid down their rights and called themselves servants of the assembly. Yet The Institutional Church insists that there is a clergy and laity distinction in the Body of Christ, as if it is divided or has two Heads.

    This authority view not only puts men over women but men over men as well. But the epistles know nothing of such division, and Paul spoke out against it. There is to be no “covering”, no “lording it over”, no “Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female” in the Body. The Holy Spirit is our “covering”, the NT is our authority, and no part of the Body can say to another, “I have no need of you!”

    I have yet to hear any male supremacist be able to explain how it is not prideful to put onesself over another in the assembly. No matter how kindly, benevolently, or minimally they rule, they still RULE. They want final say in all spiritual matters, not based upon gifting or experience, but upon genetics– the flesh! They invent a “boys’ club” and thereby disqualify the people they’ve excluded from having the right to question them. Very convenient– and very cult-like.

    Elders in the assembly were to be respected as teachers, as examples of spiritual maturity and good citizens. They were not to think of this as a position of power, but a service to their students. And the students are supposed to graduate someday, not remain in school forever. So knowing the qualifications of eldership are all about spiritual and behavioral issues, how can anyone be excluded from eldership on the basis of their physical appearance?

    And where is the modern-day “Pastor” (spoken reverently) in the NT? Where is this spiritual CEO or sublevel management team called either “associate pastors” or “deacons”? (The word “deacon” is not a translation but a transliteration, and means “minister”, of which Phoebe was clearly called one!) Where is The Pulpit (spoken loftily)? Where is any kind of chain of command?

    Typically they hold up 1 Cor. 11:3 for this. But, as is his habit, Paul is making a play on words with “kephale” or “head”. He’s about to discuss the Corinthians’ question concerning the social custom of head coverings, but he prefaces it with the statement here. Hierarchy is not the subject at all, but head coverings, and Paul only uses a common word for “authority” (exousia) when telling them that the woman has authority over her own head. So the use of “kephale” does not indicate “headship” in the modern sense at all. Rather, as Dr. Nyland shows from her notes concerning the semantic range of this word, God is the source of Christ who is the source of man who is the source of women.

    Notice that God (theos) is the source of Christ, not the Father (patris). How could Christ have God, not just the Father, as his source unless he were also God, as Christians have always believed? Conversely, how could Theos be the “boss” of Christ when Christ contains all the fullness of Theos?

    So Paul is giving a chronological order, not an order of hierarchy. First came Adam, then Eve, then Christ. It’s very simple and straightforward. We could even say it’s “the plain meaning of scripture”. But the supremacist view must impose a modern meaning for “head” onto the text and change the whole topic at hand in order to claim this verse as supporting hierarchy.

    Sorry for the long ramble but it just had to be said. Hope it helps!

  2. Great rant teknomom. Excellent points.

    Regarding the traditional inventing of an hierarchy in 1 Cor. 11:3, the first clue that one should have that the listing is NOT an hierarchy is the thought of Christ being under God. That leads into arianian heresy which is huge.

    The problem is a slippery slope one that digs one deeper. Bruce Ware (isn’t he the current pres. of CBMW) has now proclaimed his view of hierarchy in the Trinity in which God the Father is the One who holds all power and authority, to which The Anointed Son Christ and the Holy Spirit must both submit. This effectively places three wills in the Trinity instead of one. It also places one preeminent and two below. All things that Athenasius fought to correct in his era. One need only read the full Athenasian Creed to see the glaring error. In the Trinity there is never disagreement because there is only ONE WILL, not one will which is submitted to by the others who give up their will for that one.

    But they proclaim this error in order to hold tightly to the privileged position of only male patristic will being allowed in marriage and in church. True unity in marriage is to have both “wills” somehow enmeshed, intertwined, interdependently working harmoniously as one.

    p.s….. do we have html capabilities yet?

  3. Thanks JB! And good point also about the “eternal sonship” heresy. Somehow this is now considered orthodoxy!

    As with many other heresies, it was born out of the realization that they painted themselves into a corner with their “head = boss” teaching. But instead of giving up the first error they adopted a second one to cover it.

    And, just like what they do with egalitarians, they claim that to disagree with them is to deny the eternal divinity of Jesus. (It’s also a Calvinist tactic: Anyone who isn’t a Calvinist MUST be an Arminian, and all Arminians are heretics.)

    (tried a little html, we’ll see how it goes)

  4. Looks like we have html 🙂

    Teknomom, do you have references for information on female synogogue leaders.

    The thing about what some consider orthodoxy … by teaching the congregations that only leaders can interpret Scripture (I thought the Pope was in Rome? 🙂 ) is that once the people no longer search the Scriptures for themselves, they can be instructed to believe anything the leaders wish. And then such leaders can claim anything is orthodox as long as it comes from them, much like the Catholic Pope. Once people understand how to search the Scriptures for themselves, “popish” leaders will lose their hold over them.

    This is more important than we realize because a new trend is starting among patriarchalists. So much authority privileges are being piled onto church leaders and elders that now they are teaching that not to heed the counsel of an elder, whatever that may include, is grounds for public excommuncation from the church. This excommunication would come down from the elders without any legal requirements of proof or witnesses of sin or wrong doing other than the elders acknowledgement that the person did not do as they recommended, required, advised, etc as proof in itself of the larger sin of not bending to the authority of the elders. And the actual issue need never be made public. Further, the excommunicated could never disclose the particulars and the congregation was prohibited from speaking or discussing it.

    See what can be built upon wrong doctrines! 🙁

  5. I don’t have references, but Dr. Nyland does. 😉

    Copyright laws forbid me to copy/paste them here, but you can see them in the PDF at This Link and click on the link for 1 Timothy With Notes.

    Now I have to try a blockquote!

    The thing about what some consider orthodoxy … by teaching the congregations that only leaders can interpret Scripture (I thought the Pope was in Rome? 🙂 ) is that once the people no longer search the Scriptures for themselves, they can be instructed to believe anything the leaders wish. And then such leaders can claim anything is orthodox as long as it comes from them, much like the Catholic Pope. Once people understand how to search the Scriptures for themselves, “popish” leaders will lose their hold over them.

    Ironically, Calvin earned the epithet “Pope of Geneva” due to his extreme intolerance for dissent.

    Yes, we live in a time when good is called evil and evil good, when patriotism is turned into blind subservience to the state, and where there is a great push to return to the Dark Side Ages both politically and spiritually. It’s also been noted that with the rise in body piercing and cutting, global society is returning to the spirit of Baal worship.

    This issue of male supremacism may seem trivial to some, but people never do see an individual step as part of a journey. This is just one of many indicators of the abandonment of plain Biblical truth and the simple faith in Jesus for experiences, rituals, and oppression. It is not egalitarianism that is the “slippery slope”!

  6. Blind subservience is the footstool of strict patriarchy. It is what abusers and controllers live for. Those who realize this are the ones who see the link to abuse formed by patriarchy. It can be an enabler for abusers.

    now I need to find a link to remind me of the html tricks…… like the strikethru and blockquote. do you have one….. 🙂

  7. Here’s One. Any search engine will typically provide a large number of tutorials if you just type “html codes” in the search box.

    Sorry for the rabbit trail, Cheryl! Maybe I should start a “WIM Only” section on my message board so we don’t clutter up the place.

  8. If I were doing this debate, here is how I would attempt to do it, take my ideas as suggestions.

    1. Establish that in Greek grammatical gender does not imply physical gender. If he does not accept this, then 1 Tim 3:1 proves your case (at least to him) as overseer is feminine grammatical gender.

    2. Establish that in Greek is is often possible for a term that refers to males or a male to also refer to a female, this is especially true for plural male forms.

    More later.

  9. teknomom,

    Thanks for your html help! I don’t mind a certain level of rabbit trails including this one. I have a real love for all of you folks who have been faithful and been a support to me. As long as we keep the tone respectful and somewhat in order 🙂 I don’t really mind.

    There has been a lot written that I haven’t had a chance to read through because my folks are here and aren’t leaving until the day of the next debate. That leaves me scrambling a little for time. I will read through all the comments in time and I am sure they are helpful to others who are here and interested in what y’all have to say!

  10. Don,

    Your points were good! The first point is especially helpful to me and along the same line as one given to me by Dusman. This is the way that I see it – we need to have a level of consistency or scripture can be made to say anything we want it to say. If grammatical gender is important to force one to say that only men are in mind, then we need to follow through with the logical outcome of that view. That is where the inconsistencies come out of the rabbit hole. My problem is that it is easier for me to think these things through on line or on paper then on live radio! I must trust that the Holy Spirit will enlighten my mind to remember what is important and leave aside what is dross.

    Keep the comments coming! They are excellent thoughts and worthy of paying attention to.

  11. Acts 17:34 on Damaris shows the NT itself uses andres to include a woman. This is because it was normal for this in Greek.

    The point is that Greek was like 1950’s English, a group of “men” (andres) might include women (and often did), but a group of “women” would not include any men, it would be all female.

    By extension, an aner (an example from a set of andres) might be a womnn. In 1950’s English, if you were asked to select a man from a group of men (that included women) you might select a woman as well as a man, no one would think you only meant to select a male. This was just the way 1950’s English worked and is also the way Greek worked.

  12. One needs to see a puzzle as Phoebe is called a diakonos in Rom 16:1 yet 1 Tim 3:12 says a diakonos should be a one of the “mias guniakos andres”.

    Once it is agreed that aner can refer to a woman in some cases, it is NOT that large a jump to find out that “mias gunaikos andra’ (literally one-woman man) in 1 Tim 3:2 and “mias gunaikos andres” (literally one-woman men) in 1 Tim 3:12 has been found on tombstones in Ephesus referring to both men and women, as in faithful spouse, as Nyland translates it in The Source NT.

  13. Just heard M.S. say something to the effect that the Greek “tis” can be masculine and feminine. IOW I believe he is implying that anyone (tis) is not really “anyone”, but any man or any woman accordingly.

    “Tis” in 1 Tim. 3:1 is indef., pron., nom., sing. I’m not a Greek expert at all, but that looks like just “anyone” to me.

  14. justa berean,

    Yes, I heard the same thing. The problem with taking this stance is that it is going to be difficult for him then to prove that the salvation passages are not meant just for men. Take Matthew 16:24, 25.

    Mat 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
    Mat 16:25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

    In verse 24 “anyone” is nominative singular masculine. The pronouns that follow are also singular masculine. Deny “himself” is accusative singular masculine. Take up “his” cross is accusative singular masculine. Whoever will save “his” life is genitive singular masculine. “Whosoever” will lose his life is nominative singular masculine.

    The entire passage is singular masculine and every pronoun is singular masculine. If we take Matt’s word that “anyone” as a singular masculine with masculine pronouns that follow to only mean males, then we must also insist that only males can be saved and only males can take up their cross and follow Christ.

    The one thing that I praise God for is a complementarian by the name of Dr. Scott Heine who agreed to be the first one to review the exegesis in my DVD series. His email and words of wisdom to me were invaluable. It was Scott who pointed out to me that 1 Timothy 3:1 was singular masculine. I asked him if this grammar eliminated women in this verse and he was gracious enough to admit that the grammar could not be used to eliminate women since all of the salvation passages had the exact same grammar – singular masculine.

    We need to genuinely care about truth and exegete scripture without prejudice. 1 Timothy 3:1 does not eliminate women and Matt himself has admitted that the remaining qualifications are “normative” not a hard and fast “rule”. So we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this passage does not prohibit women from being a servant who protects the flock.

  15. Think I read some posts on the Better Bibles Blog where masc. and fem. usage in Greek was being discussed. Greek does not handle these things the same that English does.

    Me, I’m more basic. Cannot get past the “anyone”. 🙂 I figure if a man were meant than different words would be used in Greek, then one whose basic primary meaning is “anyone”. It’s the “any” that changes it all.

  16. justa berean,

    I agree with you too! Basically our two ways of looking at the “problem” end up with the same solution. Women are not excluded and if God wanted to exclude them, he would have used language in such a way that it was clear and consistent. After all if it isn’t clear than we are not kept from sinning against him. God’s prohibitions are clear, they are understandable and they are enforceable.

    Those who do not accept this are forced into a position of preferential treatment of one person over another. God hates that and we should too.

  17. In 1 Tim it is important to see that the false teachers did NOT have a specified gender. However, we KNOW that Hy and Al were disfellowshiped and they were both male.
    In other words, there is a possibility that there were also one or more female false teachers.

    In other words, if it was just Hy and Al that was the concern, the letter could have been structured much simpler. So one needs to discern what makes Hy and Al special to be named? As I understand it, it is because they deliberately taught false things.

    So the contrast is that the other false teachers, perhaps including a woman or women, were not doing it deliberately, but rather were deceived. These are unnamed, as Cheryl has pointed out, as there is a good chance of redemption and restoration to ministry, but being named explicitly in a letter by Paul as a bad example would be “ministry limiting” in a big way.

  18. yes, I take it the same way Don. Paul did not often name names. When he did we can well assume the persons were deliberately set in doing what they did.

    If we read the epistle as a whole with one thought leading into another, it is not unreasonable that 1 Tim. 3 is effectively telling those who were in error but not named (both men and women) that if they had a desire to lead in the church, it was a noble desire. However, they needed to learn, mature, be tried and proven in character.

  19. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, the Holy Spirit lays no other “requirements” on us other than those enumerated in Acts 15:28&29. Anne Hutchinson was brought to trial in 1637 (Puritan New England)for heresy. She dared to teach (as a woman to boot!) that inner grace was sufficient for salvation and that church rules and ministers were unnecessary for that goal. If memory serves me correctly, didn’t Matt Slick declare himself a Calvinist? These are the same guys who forced Hutchinson to flee to Rhode Island and ultimately hanged her pupil Mary Dyer for her views. Let’s all of us here in this blog community be in prayer for our precious sister and teacher Cheryl.

  20. Yes, exactly.

    One minor puzzle is why the “qualification” lists in 1 Tim and Titus are not exactly the same. In my understanding, part of the reason is that Titus is for the situation of a new church while 1 and 2 Tim is for the situation of an established church with challenges. In other words, in some sense it makes sense to read Titus first among the pastorals, as that will follow the timeline of a congregation.

    Carving up 1 Tim into teaching units is part of the challenge of understanding it. I do believe 1 from at least Tim 2:8 the teaching unit continues thru 1 Tim 3 and to break it apart misses some aspects of what is being taught by Paul.

    Paul is not teaching qualifications for overseers in a vaccum (AKA a theory course), he is giving practical guidelines to an existing congregation with challenges. Part of those guidelines include what an overseer “looks like” for those that wish to be one, or even better, those who wish to be restored to one.

  21. Greg Anderson,

    Yes, Slick is a Calvinist. But I should also point out that not all (certainly most however) Calvinists are opposed to women in ministry.

    I used to own Fox’s Book of Martyrs and had read it through. It then sat on my shelf for years, until I picked it up again and read at random. I came across the section on Michael Servetus. This book, which had repeatedly and rightly decried the murders of the Roman Catholic Church, suddenly pleaded “product of the time” and “well, the guy was a heretic after all” when it came to Calvin’s death threats against Servetus and the subsequent execution. They excuse Calvin by pointing out he wanted a more humane death, but miss the point: Calvin wanted Servetus dead! They also try to claim it was a civic execution and not a religious one, yet Calvin ruled Geneva with an iron fist and there was no “separation of church and state”. I threw the book away in disgust.

    The Puritans were not known for their Christian love but for their ironclad rules and repressions. I’m not sure if I’m remembering the same account you related or a different one, but I recall one woman was exiled for having a WOMAN’S Bible study in her home. She was forced to live off the land in a remote area and was eventually discovered dead– murdered by the native Indians. The reaction of the Puritans was “She deserved it!”

    I’ve observed elsewhere that this view of women is indistinguishable from that of other religions such as Islam. How low do people have to sink before they realize that it is Satan, not God, who would enslave half the human race?

  22. “Yes, Slick is a Calvinist. But I should also point out that not all (certainly most however) Calvinists are opposed to women in ministry.”

    This fair and kind comment is a nice segue way into a brief and encouraging comment I’d like to offer. My dear brothers and sisters, I hold firmly to the doctrines of grace, am an elder in our church, and I’m also a biblical egalitarian. Dr. Douglas Groothuis (Christian apologist and philosopher), his wife Rebecca Merrill Groothuis (you know her through reading some of the best evangelical egalitarian literature), Dr. R.K. MacGregor Wright (apologist and theologian who wrote a book refuting the heresy of open theism titled “No Place for Sovereignty”), and Dr. Jon Zens (theologian and elder) are all Calvinists, egalitarians, and hold to the full inspiration, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture.

    As you express your own personal distate for Calvinism I totally and completely respect that. But please remember that *this* Calvinistic brother in Christ loves his non-Calvinistic Christian brethren and cherishes them. I greatly appreciate much of what I’ve learned from those here who are openly non-Calvinistic and I thank God for you. I do not consider non-Calvinists heretics and never would (lest they begin deny essentials of the faith, such as the Trinity, the deity of Jesus, justification by faith apart from works, etc.).

    The church I am an elder at is an openly Calvinistic church but we allow and encourage people who are non-Calvinistic to join as long as they assent to the essential truths of the Christian faith. We encourage our non-Calvinistic church members to respectfully and lovingly discuss their differences with us in this area so that we can sharpen one another in our study of Scripture and as a result, I’ve had to change my mind on several things in the past This is what I want, what I encourage, and why I cherish all my Christian brethren. Please do not throw out the baby with the bathwater by rejecting outright what Calvin taught in the area of soteriology because you reject the horrible atrocity that he committed against Servetus in another (and yes, I agree that they were absolutely horrendous). This is an informal logical fallacy known as the genetic fallacy (attacking the origin of a belief rather than the truthfulness of the belief itself). You wouldn’t reject the validity of alegebra because you found out later that your 8th grade algebra teacher was an axe murderer would you? You don’t reject biblical egalitarianism because the God-denying liberal theologian John Shelby Spong is also an egalitarian do you? Of course not. We all know better than that. I’m not asking that you agree with the doctrines of grace, but I am asking that you remember that this ole’ preacher loves, cares for, cherishes, and has learned so much from his precious non-Calvinistic brethren in the Lord. Thanks and much love to all of you in Jesus’ name!

  23. BTW, I’ve heard some excellent commentary in here re: exegetical issues. I’m learning some good info here and greatly appreciate it.

  24. Hearty noisy hefty hugs and Christian charity back at ya Dusman. I think I’m somewhat in the middle on Calvinistic stuff. And I’m not really concerned about it. After all he was just a brother with some good ideas and a few bad ideas. 🙂

    Keep the healthy balance!

  25. Dusman,

    As always, I appreciate your words of love and grace. That is really where it is all at. When it comes down to the bottom line – we are all missing out on God’s truth in some area. So how do we treat each other when we may be right and the other person wrong? After all, there may be another area where the other person is right and we are dead wrong. The truth is that as you so clearly said, we are to treat each other with love and respect because it is for the sake of our Lord Jesus who has made us all one in the body of Christ.

    To everyone else: I believe that the reason that God has made us all into one body is that no one is to become prideful. None of us is the “head” of the church and we are all “brothers” in Christ. We are all “sons” of God and the gifts that he has given us are for the benefit of each other. My gifts are not for my benefit. They are for you! And your gifts, beloved, are for me! When we truly love one another we will desire earnestly spiritual gifts so that we can be a help and a benefit to others in the body of Christ. True submission then allows another to teach you and give you their gift. It doesn’t mean that we don’t test the gifts by God’s word, but it does mean that unless we are submissive to each other, we won’t be able to benefit from our “brother’s” gifts.

    Dear friends, please pray with me that brother Matt will come to a place of humility where he will allow others to correct him in love. He has gifts that the body of Christ needs. But the body of Christ does not need another accuser of the brethren saying that women are in sin if they teach the word of God with authority (Matt believes this is a “position” only allowed for male Pastors).

  26. Dusman,

    Yes of course, the important thing is the spirit in which we disagree, and Calvinism is one of those things people can rarely disagree amicably about. But that was the point of relating the “dark side”, that the spirit of a teaching can speak louder than its words.

    However, I’d have to take issue with the genetic fallacy charge, as I have in fact studied Calvinism thoroughly. A few years ago I had never heard of it, but an online friend steered me to all the most respectable Calvinist literature for study. I spent a solid six months at places like, CARM, and other “reformed” sites, and read a ton of their documents. And it all seemed so sensible.

    But in accordance with my favorite verse Prov. 18:17 and wanting to be a good Berean, I knew I had to also read the other side. So more months were spent studying the opposition. Then I complied the information and compared the arguments. No one can say I was prejudiced against Calvinism because I knew nothing about it before I started my quest. But in the end, I was appalled at what the TULIP does to the character of God and the nature of salvation itself. Of course, the universal rebuttal is “misrepresentation” but I can assure you I got my information straight from respected Calvinist sources.

    So I can say in all sincerity that I am a non-Calvinist by informed decision and not secondhand information or failing to have studied carefully. For what it’s worth, I’ve had more trouble with KJVOs than Calvinists, and some of the most vocal opponents of Calvinism are KJVOs! (Laurance Vance for instance, and yes I own “The Other Side of Calvinism”).

    But I should point out that while Calvinism, KJVO, etc. are divisive issues, none is so pervasive as male supremacism. It alone is intrinsically opposed to the most basic Christian principles of freedom and equality of all believers, and it alone seeks to suppress half the Body of Christ on no other criterion but the flesh. So I’d put the issue of male supremacism in a league of its own when it comes to things that divide.

    Hope that helps!

  27. Hey y’all, Oops! sorry if I started down a rabbit trail here with the Calvinism thing. It was meant solely as an historical reference to what happens when Christendom strays from what’s essential and what’s not. Sorry if it sounded like a personal attack on Matt Slick, it was never intended to be so. I could just as well have cited Luther’s known advocacy of brutality toward the peasantry when they rebelled against their feudal lords. The point is that I have sworn hostility toward any form of tyranny over the mind of man (anthropos), it makes my hackles bristle!

  28. Yes, well said Greg. I get animated when there is injustice, or when we, unlike the Bible, whitewash leaders and actually hold them to a lower standard. I’ve seen both Calvinism and male supremacism chase people away from the gospel; there is plenty of evidence in the writings of atheists for this. Along with the general hypocrisy of many who claim the Name (sex scandals, flaunting wealth, etc.), these things have eternal consequences and I cannot remain silent while many are lost as a result of such things.

  29. As I see it, all the different possible beliefs another believer can have is a test. It is a test if you can still love them EVEN WHEN they do not agree with you on everything. I see Jesus as the model for this, he loved me when I agreed with him on very little. He also put people together who could not stand each other, what sense does it make to put a tax collector (read collaborator with the oppessors of Judea) in the same group with a zealot? It makes God’s sense.

    It is so very easy to “put the hammer down” on someone who does not see it our way and we need to resist this temptation of the flesh. I know, I have done it too many times and repented.

  30. Exactly, Don. And that’s where Calvin and Luther failed miserably, and where the likes of CBMW also fail. All sides of various issues believe they have correct doctrine, but each individual will be held accountable by God for their attitude toward others who disagree with them. Some of the most vile talk has come from the mouths of “Christian” leaders, past and present, when they have been confronted over their teachings. I would not follow such a leader, even though I may glean some geunine crumbs of insight from them. (As Jesus said about the Pharisees, “Do what they say but don’t do what they do!”)

    For example, I once found an excellent egalitarian article that showed from the Greek that Paul was refuting male supremacism in the assemblies. Yet other articles from the same author were blatantly heretical. I kept the “wheat” but tossed away the “chaff”. In contrast, there are many who seem to “roam abut like a roaring lion” and send hate mail to people who disagree with their doctrine. One such person, the infamous Dan Corner, hates the notion of Eternal Security and rants continually and aggressively against it (I personally believe in ES). And he is also anti-Calvinist. So I look for good arguments and ignore the bad, but the man will be humbled on judgment day over his hatred of fellow believers.

    Or even look at Dr. Nyland, who translated The Source NT. Some of her views on things like homosexuality and possibly even a form of universalism are way out of line, but who can fault her expertise in Greek? I quote from her translation because of its accuracy and willingness to part from church tradition and prejudice. Yet I would consider it unthinkable to send her hate mail because of her views on those other things.

    There is a fine line between righteous indignation and just indignation. The former remembers the Golden Rule in everything, but the latter is proud. The Truth has no fear of examination, no ego to protect. But we must always speak out forcefully in defense of the honor of God and his Word. It’s a narrow path indeed.

  31. Wow! This post has taken a turn that I didn’t expect, but I am truly grateful for all the words of kindness that are being advocated to other believers.

    Don said about Jesus:

    He also put people together who could not stand each other, what sense does it make to put a tax collector (read collaborator with the oppressors of Judea) in the same group with a zealot? It makes God’s sense.

    I learned something from that! Thank you Don. I had not considered how hard it would have been for a former zealot (but one who obviously still had much “zeal” for the truth) to love a former tax collector. There would have been the danger of an “uppity” attitude, but Jesus promoted peace and love among his disciples. They were not to lord it over others but to treat others as better than themselves Can you imagine a zealot treating a tax collector as better than himself? But then this is to be the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

    Even regarding the women’s issue in the church, Jesus commanded us to love one another. Those who look down their noses at a woman Pastor and who judge her as a sinner are not only going beyond what the Word says, but they are not loving her as they have been commanded to do.

    And there was much more good stuff said by teknomom:

    There is a fine line between righteous indignation and just indignation. The former remembers the Golden Rule in everything, but the latter is proud. The Truth has no fear of examination, no ego to protect. But we must always speak out forcefully in defense of the honor of God and his Word. It’s a narrow path indeed.

    What you have said is so true. There are many Christians who think they are fighting God’s battle when all they are doing is ripping at the sheep. To be perfectly honest, this is where God had to do a work in my heart. When I was first given John MacArthur’s tapes on women by friends of mine who thought these tapes would teach me the truth about what I could or couldn’t do in ministry, I was appalled at the incredibly restrictive stand that John MacArthur on women. My first thought was to blast him and expose his error. It was many months later as I felt strongly pulled toward producing a DVD on women in ministry, that the Lord spoke gently but firming to my heart. He said that he did not want me to rip at the sheep. That was a powerful word to me. Just as teknomom said, there can be a thin line between righteous indignation and just plain old indignation expressed in the flesh. I was guilty of wanting to express fleshly indignation and the Lord Jesus stopped me in my tracks.

    The Lord Jesus’ first command is that we love one another. Once we get that down pat, then we can come to a place of maturity where we can correct false doctrine in love. One of the signs of getting to level of maturity is the ability to listen to those who we know are wrong on one debatable issue and separate the wheat from the chaff. In the beginning I had loved John MacArthur’s strong stand against the liberal view of scripture where many see scripture as subject to their own interpretation and subject to being ignored if it says something they don’t like. Then I got my back against the wall when I heard what John MacArthur said about women’s ability to minister in the body of Christ. I was especially offended that he won’t even allow women to learn in his seminary and the leaders of the women’s ministry in his church are men.

    But as God worked on my heart and caused me to love John MacArthur in spite of his stand on women I can admit that John is still wrong in what he teaches but now I can listen to him and agree with him on other issues. I can throw out the stubble and hay and keep the gems. He has things I can learn from because he is a brother in Christ. I no longer have to be in a position to throw the baby out with the bathwater. That was a hard lesson for me but as I have grown in maturity I can understand that true love is solid and will not be affected by a disagreement on a non-essential doctrinal issue.

  32. Just an “on the other hand”…

    There is also a problem on the “receiving end”: people who are so hypersensitive that even the slightest disagreement is seen as a hostile attack. I’ve been in message boards that were so restrictive that people lost their individuality and personal expression. That kind of environment can be as stifling to the Spirit as the “Hatfields and McCoys” kind.

    Paul was known for his wit and sarcasm (which rarely comes out in translations), and could be very crude and angry at times. He was a passionate man. And I consider Jesus’ repulsion of “blandness” to the assembly at Laodicea as applicable in this regard. So I think there is to be room for personality and colorful expression, and even forceful defense. The problem is that one person’s colorful personal expressions may be another person’s anger and meanness.

    The Word is “alive and active”, not a laboratory specimen, and we should be alive and active too. Ideally, we can cut each other slack and not take offense so easily, while being careful as we can about how we come across. I use the phrase, “If it’s about someone else, err on the side of tolerance; if it’s about me, err on the side of abstinance”.

  33. That was a great word, teknomom! You are so right in that we need to be considerate of others and rebuke in a loving way, but that is not to take away our personality. I see each one that God used to write the Bible as a separate personality that God was able to use. Matthew is a bit of a space cadet in that you couldn’t get any hope of a real time line by his writing, yet he was used of God in a mighty way and some of the details of the death of Jesus are captured by Matthew in a unique way that is not repeated by any of the other gospels.

    Paul is a person who was so deep that many didn’t understand him, yet he was used so greatly by the Holy Spirit. We cannot understand the hard passages of scripture without digging deeply into Paul’s inspired words and his inspired grammar. Yet although Paul was fully inspired in his writing scripture, his personality comes out in a big way.

    “If it’s about someone else, err on the side of tolerance; if it’s about me, err on the side of abstinance”.


  34. “People who are hypersensitive that even the slightest disagreement is seen as a hostile attack”.

    I believe that quote is pretty accurate. There are several members in the body of my church that behave just that way and I am so wearied with trying to communicate effectively with them. It seems that every communication becomes a miscommunication of sorts, because one party refuses to genuinely listen to the other party and consider their proposal. I have come to believe that most leaders/ Pastors want conformity instead of unity, and when conformity is the goal it eventually and effectively stifles the working of the Spirit through the people in the congregation.

    I am so encouraged by the posts on this site, they are intelligent and thought provoking. To walk in unity we must willing to engage and encourage one another in the faith not discourage and disengage, keeping people at a distance.

    Bless you all!

  35. “I have come to believe that most leaders/ Pastors want conformity instead of unity, and when conformity is the goal it eventually and effectively stifles the working of the Spirit through the people in the congregation. “

    How true! But they always call it unity.

    I also believe in election but refuse to refer to myself as a Calvinist. I believe the “C” word divides and makes it harder for people to listen. Besides, we do not follow a man’s doctrine…we follow the teachings of Christ. Ever notice that the Free Will-er’s never call themselves, ‘Arminian’ but that is how the ‘C’s refer to them. :o)

  36. That’s because we’re not Arminians 😉 … at least not me.

    But “free-willer” is becoming a popular derogatory term too, albeit one of the less vitriolic I”ve been called. And of course everyone, C or !C, comp. or egal., pre- mid- or post-mil, claims to be following scripture. The question is whether any of them are calling other people lost or deceived or poor exegetes.

  37. teknomom,

    Let me add one thing….the question is also whether someone who doesn’t agree with us is sinning against God. This is my main point of contention with Matt. He says that women Pastors are sinning against God. It is a serious thing to charge someone with sin. I myself can say that someone is deceived if I truly believe that they have been influenced to believe tradition on a debatable issue. I still believe this to be kind because it is not saying that a person is a deliberate deceiver. Someone who is deceived will only know that they have been deceived by false tradition when someone else is able to refute their argument and give them evidence that they have not considered before that removes their “solid” evidence.

    I may not be able to do that with Matt tonight because he appears to me to be quite closed-minded, but I will be challenging those women who have been listening to him and his tradition and thus staying away from their call from God. If I can touch just one amazing woman who is gifted and called by God to be a Pastor, this woman (me!) will be jumping for joy!

    For other women, I hope to help to remove some of their burden. It must be very difficult to do their job in the body of Christ while faced with “friendly” fire that accuses them of sinning against God. I am not ashamed to stand up for them. God is helping me to get some tough skin so that I can take more and more abuse and not respond back. If I can take some of that “heat” away from another woman of God, I will gladly submit. The body of our precious Lord Jesus is what is important and when we love each other, we are in essence loving Jesus himself!

  38. Yes, I should have defined “deceived” more precisely. I agree that being deceived is not a sin (unless one has been careless or deliberately ignorant), but knowing what scripture says yet teaching otherwise is deliberate deception, which must be opposed. And seeing that something we’ve long believed is false is a matter of vision as well as exegesis. But spiritual insight can only come from God, which is why it is definitely a sin to muzzle half the Body through whom some of that vision will be revealed.

  39. Yes, that is true. When we go beyond scripture and say that someone is sinning when scripture doesn’t say such a thing, then we are not being biblical or righteous. When someone wants to muzzle God’s people this is simply wrong and we could call it sinful. Paul says that such a one is “ignorant” or it could be translated as that person is to be “ignored” (1 Cor. 14:38)

  40. “The question is whether any of them are calling other people lost or deceived or poor exegetes.”

    I agree. I do not believe these particular secondary issues have any bearing on salvation and it grieves me when I see many in the reformed movement say that it does.

  41. Cheryl,

    Good news. I am taking a Greek class from the Greek scholar Dr. Bill Wagner. I asked him if in 1 Tim 2:15 whether the “she” (implied in the verb sothesetai) was theoretical or actual and he said he believed it was an actual person. He said Paul is very direct in his letters and Paul would not have written it this way to Timothy if Paul had wanted it to be theoretical. Bill is the author of “First Reader in New Testament Greek” which is the textbook for the class I am takingm he personally knows all the famous names associated with the Greek NT.

  42. I have never been so apalled at a so-called man of God. This man should not be on radio. He was rude, arrogant, very disrespectful. He has twisted your words. And no, Matt, there was one elder in the Old Testament who was female, Deborah. Matt should have known better that the early church was modeled after the Old Testament governance (elders). And the elders (presbuteroi) is masculine-gendered plural word but that does not necessarily refer to just men.

    Did the men of Israel have a problem with Deborah? From history and the biblical witness, I think not! Jewish historians have so much respect for this woman of God. Western Christian men have problems with her. Matthew Henry had a problem with her, too. I was completely offended at Matt’s behavior and the way he spoke to you. God forgive me for the names I called him!!! The more I hear this complementarian doctrine the more it makes my blood boil.

    This gender debate in the evangelical movement is literally making me sick! The devil is truly busy to divide the Church, keeping women oppressed and men ignorant! Sometimes wonder why I identify myself as an evangelical. If it wasn’t for the Gospel of Christ and the power of Holy Spirit to keep me, I don’t know what I would do. Because of this issue which is so dear to me, my flesh just screams to renounce Christ, not purse ministry and go down the to perdition. Hell seems to be easy way out because this debate in the so-called household of God is ripping my heart! God have mercy on us. Have mercy on me!

    Cheryl, God bless you. You are a strong woman. I take my hat off to you and the man who married you. I want to be married to woman just like you. Please keep me in your prayers and I will surely pray for your strength in the Lord.

  43. After listening to this, there are a few preliminary points that I think would be helpful to make in regards to this discussion. Matt kept asking Cheryl why this woman was not told to sigao (to be completely verbally silent – same word used in 1 Cor. 14:34) in 1 Tim. 2:12 if she was teaching false teaching to her husband.

    The reason is because vv. 11 & 12 both go together (as Don J. has already emphasized over and over) and in verse 11, Paul *first* commands that this woman is to learn with a teachable, orderly disposition. He then goes on to say that in verse 12 she is to remain this way while she is being prevented from dominating her husband with false teaching (see use of hesuchia at end of v. 12). In other words, it is as if Paul is saying:

    “11 This woman is to learn in a quiet and orderly way with all submissiveness. 12 For I am not now permitting [this] woman to teach or dominate her husband, but to be quiet/orderly.”

    The “quiet and orderly” of verse 11 and the quiet/orderly” of verse 12 are the same Greek word hesuchia. If Paul would’ve used sigao, (1) the chiasmic structure (the literary parallel) would’ve been lost , (2) Paul would’ve actually been teaching that this woman had to sit and shut her mouth without uttering a peep, which further contradicts what he just commanded in verse 11, and (3) when people learn, they necessarily need to be able to ask clarifying questions, and the use of hesuchia prevents her from further dominating her husband with this teaching, but also allows her to ask clarifying questions while maintaining a teachable disposition as Paul commanded in verse 11.

  44. Hey there J.O.E. (nice initials!),

    Take heart; Paul himself had to spend half his time battling heretics and was frequently at the end of his rope. This is the age-old conflict, and the age of faith, not sight. We walk in the trust that our Savior will see us through, no matter how the battle rages around us. Stay true to the gospel and the scriptures, give defenses without expecting kind responses, and you will be greatly rewarded.

    I’ve been in the “trenches”, on many topics, and it can jade you. I have to say that almost all the “scars” I carry have been from the hands of fellow believers as far as I can tell. I’ve been stabbed in the back so many times I whistle when the wind blows. I keep wanting to withdraw from the battlefield, but God always brings in someone to drag me back. We must “not become weary in doing good”, but “put on the full armor of God” so we can stand firm to the end.

    The more Satan attacks, the more I grit my teeth and vow to never give up. You are not alone “joe”!

  45. “And no, Matt, there was one elder in the Old Testament who was female, Deborah. Matt should have known better that the early church was modeled after the Old Testament governance (elders). And the elders (presbuteroi) is masculine-gendered plural word but that does not necessarily refer to just men.”

    If this type of logic is used, then it is worth noting that the NT *never* mentions that a woman partook of the Lord’s Supper. Given brother Matt’s logic, we shouldn’t give the Supper to women, for that might be a sin. 🙂

  46. Cheryl,

    You did a great job by (1) sticking to your game-plan and more importantly, you (2) demonstrated some real HS produced patience. I’ve done PalTalk type of debates and after all the preparation, I think that for the most part, they were a real waste of time. I say this because the proposed winner was not necessarily the one who had the truth, but the one who could speak the fastest and hurl out a litany of arguments in a short amount of time that could never be responded to by the opponent. In light of this, I’d personally encourage you to continue using your writing and teaching gifts to encourage those who *will* listen.

  47. The (mostly) redundant 2nd hesuchia would tie these ideas together into one thought. The basic thought is “The woman/wife must be allowed to learn, while doing this she is not to teach.”
    Hy and Al are not allowed to teach either, but they will also not be allowed to learn in a church setting, they will be taught by satan. Which method of learning would YOU choose?

    Of course repentance and redemption is always the goal, but one needs to see the contrast in treatment. It is really very strange, in the garder the man sins deliberately, while the woman does not and somehow this means he is her leader? It is similar in Ephesus, Hy and Al sin deliberately and get disfellowshipped, while the non-deliberate sinner (the woman) gets a counter-cultural chance to learn the truth, yet somehow this means women cannot teach?

    If you substitute rich person for the male and poor person for the female, you can see that the hierarchical arguments just do not stand up. Yet somehow they are thought to stand up when man and woman are the subhects. And what do we get, massive rejection of Christianity because people can see that becoming that type of Christian would be a step backward in justice.

  48. Just wanted to say I posted my notes and some comments in the wrong debate thread. I’m sure Cheryl will move them when she feels up to it, but for now please visit the first one if you’re really bored and want to read more about this second debate. C you all tomorrow.

  49. A thought or two about the debate. Matt seemed to get stuck on hesuchios which means quiet or peaceable. It has been my understanding that the phrase “to LEARN in quietness with all submission” was a common phrase applied to those who were students. Don’t know where he got the idea that it said she should be quiet. It says that the woman is to LEARN! in quietness. It’s a demeanor that a student needs to have while being instructed.

  50. Hi all,

    I just got finished putting the audio debate tape together. According to Matt’s blog, his assistant decided to edit out a couple of my comments regarding my DVD, my web site and my blog. Ah, the marvel of technology – I put them back in! I am just too tired tonight to figure out if I got all of the removed parts but rendered it and put it up

    I will move or copy several of the comments that are posted on other posts, but I will have to do it later on Thursday. I am really tired tonight after spending the week with my folks, late nights, and running off to bible study tonight after the debate.

  51. Jason,

    This gender debate in the evangelical movement is literally making me sick! The devil is truly busy to divide the Church, keeping women oppressed and men ignorant! Sometimes wonder why I identify myself as an evangelical. If it wasn’t for the Gospel of Christ and the power of Holy Spirit to keep me, I don’t know what I would do. Because of this issue which is so dear to me, my flesh just screams to renounce Christ, not purse ministry and go down the to perdition. Hell seems to be easy way out because this debate in the so-called household of God is ripping my heart! God have mercy on us. Have mercy on me!

    My friend, please do not be discouraged!! Keep your eyes on Jesus and on no one else. Everyone is human and can fail you but our precious Lord Jesus never will. Please email me at mmoutreach (a t) gmail (d o t) com (replace the “a t” with the @ symbol and the (d o t) with the period. I hate when spam bots pick up the email address and send spam my way.

    I would like to have the opportunity to encourage you personally!

    For now let me tell you that Matt is following the way that he has been taught. Although he has been educated in common fallacies, he don’t think that he even realizes that he has fallen prey to the snare of the enemy. He has judged women as heretics for believing in God’s word and teaching it with passion (and authority!) yet scripture tells us all in 1 Peter 4:10, 11 that those who have a gift for speaking are to speak as one who is speaking the utterances of God. That is speaking the word of God with authority.

    1Pe 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.
    1Pe 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.

    I will comment more on the new blog post after I have had time to sleep and be refreshed.

  52. Matt makes a fair mistake when he tries to say that didasco in 2:12 has to be in reference to sound teaching because it was used that way in 3 other verses. Whatever the context in other verses, it cannot change the meaning of the word. The word itself does not define the kind of teaching. That must be gleaned from the context. In the case of 2:12, the context is one of false teaching. The reason the woman needs to learn is because she was ignorantly teaching false doctrine. The purpose of learning is so that one would not teach wrong doctrine, but would learn right doctrine and then be able to teach right doctrine.

    He also has not researched the word he translated “exercise authority”. It is authentein, used only once in the whole of the NT and was always translated “usurp authority” until recently. Actually, research has shown that the word is even more negative then that.

    Remembering that the primary point was “let a woman LEARN” in the quiet and submissive demeanor of a student, then not teaching or usurping authority are subject to the main point of Let Learn. Students need not to try to teach, but must stay attentive to learn. Students must not try to usurp the authority of their teacher, but must tend to learning. No one stays a student forever. When one has learned, then they can proceed to teach what they have learned.

    Over all he was a bit loftily rude. He says on the one hand that the two of you were “just talking”. And then he lectures you on how you need to be succinct. Thus he can just sit back and critique, nit pick, and analyze the manner in which you present yourself instead of actually considering your words.

    Interestingly, he was afraid to ask you why you believe what you do. Thus, he revealed an intent to pretend a willingness to talk, but really just wanted to put forth his own opinions about you. Now he talks time and time again with atheist Bob, but a Christian woman he is afraid to have a real conversation with. 🙂

    I had to laugh out loud when he said you are not polite. You were extremely polite. 🙂 It is disappointing that he could not have been more respecful.

  53. Wow, what a pompous _____ that guy is. (Edited by Cheryl – I agree that Matt is pompous and he freely admits that too – the other name is probably best left out 🙂 )

  54. Matt does has his problems with pride and arrogance and for some reason it comes out more when he deals with Christians than it does with cultists. It’s odd. He is supposed to LOVE his brothers and sisters in Christ. He also LOVES to call other Christians heretics and false teachers even when his disagreement with them is not on essential issues but on secondary issues where we have been given freedom to agree to disagree.

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