Common objections to women in ministry: Eve usurped Adam’s authority

Common objections to women in ministry: Eve usurped Adam’s authority

man's authority on Women in Ministry Blog by Cheryl Schatz

Did Eve usurp Adam’s Authority?

In our continuing topic of common objections to women in ministry, we come to the claim that Eve usurped Adam’s authority when she spoke to the serpent. To deal with this claim, we will be looking at both the claim that Eve rebelled against Adam in the garden and the claim that God gave Adam a responsibility to lead that He clearly denied to Eve.

In chapter 3 of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood written by Raymond C. Ortlund Jr headship is defined as a right that the man possesses to lead women in a God-glorifying direction. Ortlund writes

First, the issue is framed in terms of “equal rights.” That sounds noble, but does God really grant husbands and wives equal rights in an unqualified sense? Surely God confers upon them equal worth as His image-bearers. But does a wife possess under God all the rights that her husband has in an unqualified sense? As the head, the husband bears the primary responsibility to lead their partnership in a God-glorifying direction. Under God, a wife may not compete for that primary responsibility. It is her husband’s just because he is the husband, by the wise decree of God. The ideal of “equal rights” in an unqualified sense is not Biblical.

According to Ortlund’s definition of head, women are not allowed by God to have any part in “competing” with men for the responsibility of leading. This is where the idea comes from that Eve sinned against Adam by taking a leading position. According to this complementarian thinking Eve usurped Adam’s authority and his responsibility to lead the relationship. But is this Biblical fact or complementarian fiction? The only way that we will know is to test this truth claim by the Scriptures.

Is there any Biblical text that gives rules and regulations for Eve regarding who she can talk to? Are there also any Biblical texts that show that Eve could not make any decisions on her own without consulting with her husband?

There is not a single Scripture that gives a foundation for Eve needing a life coach who must be consulted before a personal decision can be made. In fact the Bible shows that it was Adam who needed the woman and she was created to meet his need. The Bible gives no indication that being created for him means that she needed his control. Instead she was the answer to his need and her ability to rule alongside him was necessary in order to give him the aid that he needed. While the Bible shows that she came to meet his need, one gets the distinct idea from the Ortlund’s chapter in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, that the woman was created with an inability to think for herself and in serious need of constant supervision. This presents a serious problem for her personal worth as a helper. In fact Ortlund admits that her inequality was planned by God because otherwise manhood and womanhood would be obscured.

The paradox of Genesis 2 is also seen in the fact that the woman was made from the man (her equality) and for the man (her inequality). God did not make Adam and Eve from the ground at the same time and for one another without distinction. Neither did God make the woman first, and then the man from the woman for the woman. He could have created them in either of these ways so easily, but He didn’t. Why? Because, presumably, that would have obscured the very nature of manhood and womanhood that He intended to make clear.

So why is it that complementarians like Raymond Ortlund charge Eve with taking a forbidden role in leadership? I submit that it is because their theology is far more focused on man than it is on God.  By creating a male-right that needs defending, Ortlund creates prohibitions that do not exist in the text and violated rights that were never given by God in the first place.

Let’s look at what Eve did during the time of temptation to see what she has been charged with by complementarians and to compare the charges against God’s word.  There are 9 charges against Eve that have been identified by complementarians and we will test these by the Biblical record.

1. Eve is charged with having an illegal conversation with the serpent

The serpent asked the woman a question and by answering his question Eve is said to have usurped Adam’s authority. Ortlund writes:

This may explain why Satan addressed Eve, rather than Adam, to begin with. Her calling was to help Adam as second-in-command in world rulership. If the roles had been reversed, if Eve had been created first and then Adam as her helper, the Serpent would doubtless have approached Adam. So Eve was not morally weaker than Adam. But Satan struck at Adam’s headship. His words had the effect of inviting Eve to assume primary responsibility at the moment of temptation: (pg 108 Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood)

The charge is that the one who is second-in-command is not allowed to answer a challenge about truth.

2. Eve is charged with ignoring her second-in-command position

Notice above the subtle adding to God’s words to set up a charge against Eve? Godnevergives the woman a secondary rule. She is not second-in-command. She has the same rule as Adam does. In fact the only time that rule is mentioned is with the same word that applies to both.

Genesis 1:26 (NASB) Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

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

The Hebrew word for rule means:
dominate, direct, lead, control, subdue, i.e., manage or govern an entity, people or government with considerable or forceful authority (Ge 1:26, 28;
Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament)

The Hebrew word for subdue means:

(2) to subject, to subdue to oneself, e.g. of. beasts, with regard to man, Genesis 1:28;

Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures (383–384).

The fact that Eve is given rule shows that she too had permission to lead as an authority set up by God. So if Eve was given the rule over all the animals, then she had permission to speak to the serpent by the very nature of her rule. It is impossible for her to be usurping Adam’s authority by talking to the serpent since she was given the exact same authority over the animals by God Himself.

3. Eve is charged with illegally speaking for Adam and taking his God-given position thus usurping his authority

Genesis 3:1 (NASB) Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

Notice that the serpent did not question Adam but he spoke directly to Eve. When Eve spoke to the serpent she did not insert herself into the conversation by answering a question given to the man. She answered a question directed to herself. Since she was a ruler over the serpent she had the right to speak to him directly without asking permission from Adam. Remember that it was God who made her the ruler over the animals. Adam did not give her that rule so she was not responsible to ask his permission to work out her rule.  She was under the direct authority of God. God had not given over her a superior ruler to report to. She was not a secondary ruler but she had the exact same rule as was given to Adam. The idea was she was second-in-command is a work of fiction and has no Biblical support at all.

4. Eve is charged with speaking for God which is a responsibility given only to the man

Ortlund says that the serpent struck directly at Adam’s headship by coming to the woman. Where is the Biblical support for this? There is none! While God made Adam a watchman of the garden before Eve was created, a responsibility for protecting the garden from evil, God never assigned Adam as a watchman for God Himself. There is no evidence that God assigned the man the sole responsibility to speak for Him or to defend Him. Surely both the rulers of the earth had the responsibility to defend God in their very own territory. How did Adam do in defending God? Silence is usually not a good defense, is it? How did Eve do? Did Eve represent God fairly when she spoke up to defend Him? The fact that she started out defending Him is commendable.

The serpent asked Eve if God had failed to give them permission to eat from the fruit of the trees in the garden. The Hebrew shows that the serpent used the plural you showing that the question was about God’s permission for both of them. Eve answered that they did have permission to eat from the trees of the garden except for the fruit from one tree. This is what God had said in Genesis 1 where He gave them both permission to eat from all of the trees that had seed bearing fruit. Eve had every right to speak and answer and show that God had given her permission to eat. There was no prohibition ever given to her that would make it a sin for her to defend God.

5. Eve is charged with speaking to the serpent initiating a sex role reversal

Ortlund states that Eve was disobedient in that she took the male role in speaking to the serpent and the human race fell on the sex role  reversal.

Isn’t it striking that we fell upon an occasion of sex role reversal? Are we to repeat this confusion forever? Are we to institutionalize it in evangelicalism in the name of the God who condemned it in the beginning? (pg 107 Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood)

Instead of saying that the human race fell by disobedience to God’s command, the fall is reinterpreted by Ortlund as an occasion of sex role reversal. Not only does he reinterpret the fall but he boldly states that God condemned this sex role reversal. Where is his Biblical proof of this statement? He gives no words from God that would make Eve’s talking to the serpent a sex role reversal but it appears that we are to simply accept his condemnation of Eve without a quote from God. This is another occasion of pure fiction that has been added to God’s word.

The next part of the “role reversal” is charged to Adam for listening to his wife.

The third interesting point is the very fact that God addresses Adam with this introductory statement, “Because you have listened. . . .” God does not address Eve in this way, but God does issue a formal indictment to Adam before his sentencing. Why? Because Adam was the head, the finally responsible member of the partnership. (pg 110 Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood)

According to complementarians this “listening to his wife” is about Adam allowing his wife to persuade and/or deceive him, but the Scripture doesn’t say this. Nowhere is it recorded in the text that Eve had to persuade Adam to take the fruit or is it said that Adam was deceived by either the serpent or his wife. Instead the charge against Adam is about his listening to his wife in the only recorded account of her words during the temptation – while she was being deceived by the serpent. Adam’s duty was to protect the garden from evil and and to speak out the truth when he knew that what was being said to his wife was a lie. When Adam let the serpent deceive his wife when he knew that what the serpent was saying was a lie, and he stayed by his wife silently letting her be drawn into disobedience through deception, Adams action was considered an act of treason just as God said in Hosea 6:7.

6. Eve is charged with sinning against the man by giving the fruit to him and thus initiating his fall

Giving the fruit to Adam is considered as Eve exercising headship thus subordinating him to her authority.

But Satan struck at Adam’s headship. His words had the effect of inviting Eve to assume primary responsibility at the moment of temptation: “You decide, Eve. You lead the way. Wouldn’t you rather be exercising headship?” Just as Satan himself fell through this very kind of reasoning, so he used it to great effect with Eve. Presumably, she really believed she could manage the partnership to both Adam’s and her own advantage, if she would only assert herself. (pg 108 Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood)

When Eve offered the fruit to Adam, she was in a position of one who truly believed that the fruit was good for them. In her mind she was offering him the good portion. But offering him the fruit is not the same thing as making him take it and eat it. Eve took no authority over Adam to make him obey her. She just gave to him.  The Hebrew word translated as gave means to give, offer or present. Eve merely offered him what she considered was her best. It is not a term of force but of a voluntary offering.

But in Ortlund’s reality, offering the fruit to the man was taking leadership over him. But what Ortlund may not realize is that by taking this stand, he is aligning himself with Adam’s excuse of blaming his wife for his own sinful action. This is not an issue of disallowed leadership but of blame.

Genesis 3:12 (NASB) The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”

Notice that even Adam’s lame excuse doesn’t say that the woman God gave him took authority over him or that she took leadership over him. He hides his sin by blaming her for merely giving the fruit to him. It is an invalid excuse and yet complementarians are now using this to say that Eve sinned by usurping Adam’s authority when she gave him the fruit. Offering the fruit has become equal with challenging the man’s rule, but that meaning is foreign to the text.

Let’s think this one through. If giving food to the man is challenging his rule, then no woman would be safe by offering a man anything. If the mere act of offering something is equivalent to lording it over him according to the accusation against Eve, then any woman is subject to this charge. Should women stay away from offering food, directions or advice to a man for fear that they will also be charged with usurping his authority? This argument is so bad that it didn’t fool God. Why do we let it fool us today?

7.  Eve is charged with being a sinner before she ate the fruit

In an attempt to further charge the woman with sin, Ortlund states that she misquotes God and added to His words:

Eve also enlarges God’s prohibition with her own addition, “you may not touch it.” In her mind, the limitation is growing in significance. (pg 106 Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood)

We have dealt this issue before on this blog showing that it isn’t possible for Eve to have added to God’s Word, but I will point out here that God’s speaking to Himself in Genesis 3 shows that the concern over Adam is that Adam would reach out and eat, the very two things that Eve said were forbidden by God. The word for touch that Eve quoted God as forbidding them to do with the fruit, has the meaning of to reach for. And look carefully at what God said after the fall:

Genesis 3:22 (NASB) Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—

Notice that there are two things that God doesn’t want the man to do?  He is not to reach out for and take AND eat. How interesting that God affirms Eve’s words as the word “take” in the Hebrew means:
grasp, take hold of, i.e., grasp an object with the hand
Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament)

So while Ortlund disbelieves Eve’s testimony that God said that they could not reach for and take the fruit and they could not eat the fruit, God Himself affirms that she did not lie about what He said. He says that these two things are what is not allowed. No reaching forth to take and no eating. What a sad thing it is when complementarians charge Eve with sin even though God does not say that she added to His Word and the proof that she did not is right there in God’s own words!

8. Eve is charged with claiming that God said she would die if she ate of the forbidden fruit when God never brought death upon her for eating the fruit

Ortlund asserts is that Eve did not die because she ate the fruit. Rather she had the sentence of death on her only through the man.

The fourth point here is that God told Adam alone that he would die. But Eve died, too. Why then did God pronounce the death sentence on Adam alone? Because, as the head goes, so goes the member. (pg 110 Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood)

This claim actually calls God’s words into question just as the serpent said “Has God said?…you will surely not die”

Did or did not God say that if they would eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would die? This is the testimony of the woman that God said this to them and God affirmed his prohibition to both of them.  He did not ignore the woman so that she died because of Adam.  God came to her individually by asking her what she had done. Yet Ortlund is now claiming that she didn’t have to die from eating of that fruit. He claims that in Genesis 3:19 God pronounced the death sentence on Adam alone.

Genesis 3:19 (NASB) By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”

But what Ortlund is saying is not true. The death sentence was given before they ate to be in effect the very day they ate.

Genesis 2:17 (NASB) …for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

When God spoke to Adam later, He did not pronounce the death sentence. Instead God told Adam what his life would be like until the day he died:

Genesis 3:19 (NASB) By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”

In verse 19, God did not pronounce the death sentence to Adam as it had already been pronounced by God “if” they ate the fruit. It was given before the fall happened. The pronouncement of death was that dying they would die.  and the Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon shows that this is dying to become mortal:

1. die: a) natural death …b) …death penalty…become mortal

A concise Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament. (188).

Adam did not become mortal when God confronted him. He became mortal at the time that he ate the forbidden fruit. This is what God had warned him about beforehand.

So when Ortlund denies God’s word and claims that Eve died because of Adam’s sin, he directly contradicts God.  It is impossible for Eve to have died because of Adam’s sin. She was not like us who were “in Adam” when Adam sinned. His sin could not cause her to die and such teaching is erroneous and dangerous. This teaching that the husband can cause a wife to die by his sin instead of by her own sin is contradicted by the Scripture. When Ananias and Sapphira had conspired together to lie to the Holy Spirit, Sapphira was not put to death because of her husband’s sin. Instead she was given the opportunity to come clean and tell the truth. Her husband was already dead when she was confronted and he died because he continue to lie. But his wife did not automatically die when her husband died. His sin did not kill her. It was her own continued lie that caused her death. (See Acts 5:1-10)

It is a harmful teaching that women have no choice but to be held accountable under their husband’s leadership. The fact is that God looks on us as individuals and each one is responsible for himself or herself. God didn’t call Adam to account for Eve. God called each one of them to account for their own sin.

9.  Eve is charged with giving ungodly pressure to Adam to eat the forbidden fruit and also for having an insubordinate desire for him

The last thing that Ortlund asserts is that the man is the one who acted in a loving way and the woman was the one who was punished by God for what she did to the man.  According to Ortlund the man is the honorable one after God confronted them:

Instead of turning away from the bar of God’s justice in bitterness and despair, Adam turns to his wife and says, “I believe God’s promise. He has not cast us adrift completely…I believe God, and I honor you. (pg 110 RBM&W)

And then according to Ortlund, the woman is the dishonorable one who usurped Adam’s headship and her misery afterward is a result of her sin against the man. Her sin includes an ungodly pressure for him to eat the fruit and her desire for him is said to be an insubordinate desire that would cause him to take out his trump card to “put her in her place”.

God gives the woman up to a desire to have her way with her husband. Because she usurped his headship in the temptation, God hands her over to the misery of competition with her rightful head. This is justice, a measure-for-measure response to her sin.

The ambiguous element in the equation is the interpretation of the words translated in the NIV, “and he will rule over you.” We could draw one of two conclusions. First, God may be saying, “You will have a desire, Eve. You will want to control your husband. But he must not allow you to have your way with him. He must rule over you.”

If this is the sense, then God is requiring the man to act as the head God made him to be, rather than knuckle under to ungodly pressure from his wife. Accordingly, 3:16b should be rendered: “Your desire will be for your husband, but he must rule over you.”{47} In this case, we would take rule as the exercise of godly headship. This interpretation matches the reasoning in 4:7 more nearly, but another view is possible.

Second, God may be saying, “You will have a desire, Eve. You will want to control your husband. But he will not allow you to have your way with him. He will rule over you.” If this is the true sense, then, in giving the woman up to her insubordinate desire, God is penalizing her with domination by her husband. Accordingly, 3:16b should be rendered: “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”{48} The word “rule” would now be construed as the exercise of ungodly domination. As the woman competes with the man, the man, for his part, always holds the trump card of male domination to “put her in her place.” (pg 109 Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood)

Conclusion:

It is so sad to see that the original fall has been rewritten to make the man to be the one who was sinned against by the woman and the woman is the one to blame so that even her desire for him has become a personal attack against the man.

It is time to call us back to the inspired account instead of the fanciful rewritten editions that make the woman the fall guy.  The challenge by complementarians that God did not say what Eve testified He said and the challenge that Eve is guilty of sin against the man who was somehow made her ruler in the original creation (yet without a Scriptural account of this special rule set up by God) have greatly hurt the church of the Lord Jesus. Satan wants us to believe a lie. Will you reject that lie and get back to what God actually did say? May the Lord Jesus help us all to test all things and to hold fast to what is good and truthful.

26 thoughts on “Common objections to women in ministry: Eve usurped Adam’s authority

  1. The paradox of Genesis 2 is also seen in the fact that the woman was made from the man (her equality) and for the man (her inequality).

    So being made “for” the man shows an inequality? That it was not good that Adam was alone and needed her shows that he’s inequal to her?
    How come comp thinking has turned the biblical teaching of who needed help from who completely around saying that rather than the man needing the woman (created for him as a helper) that she needed him?

  2. So why is it that complementarians like Raymond Ortlund charge Eve with taking a forbidden role in leadership? I submit that it is because their theology is far more focused on man than it is on God.

    Yes!!

  3. Instead of turning away from the bar of God’s justice in bitterness and despair, Adam turns to his wife and says, “I believe God’s promise. He has not cast us adrift completely…I believe God, and I honor you. (pg 110 RBM&W)

    Just as the biblical teaching on who’s to help who is reversed in comp thought – it’s the woman who needs Adam’s help (since he’s the leader and she the follower) rather than Adam who needed the woman’s help (made for him as a helper) it’s also reversed who turns to the other partner! It was Eve who turned to Adam as God said would happen and not Adam to Eve! What else has been reversed I wonder?

  4. It is so sad to see that the original fall has been rewritten to make the man to be the one who was sinned against by the woman and the woman is the one to blame so that even her desire for him has become a personal attack against the man.

    Oh ofcourse! Another reversal! Since Adam is the one who sins against Eve by ruling over her, she has to be charged with sinning against him by giving him the fruit and having an “insubordinate desire”.

    Adam unjustifiably blamed God and the woman for his sin right to God’s face. And Ortlund, like Adam, blames Eve? Well, what’s there to say?

  5. Ortlund’s attempt at slight-of-hand theology is unbelievable. How can you get this:

    “Instead of turning away from the bar of God’s justice in bitterness and despair, Adam turns to his wife and says, “I believe God’s promise. He has not cast us adrift completely…I believe God, and I honor you. (pg 110 RBM&W)”

    out of this:
    “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
    The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

    Ortlund says, “God gives the woman up to a desire to have her way with her husband. Because she usurped his headship in the temptation, God hands her over to the misery of competition with her rightful head. This is justice, a measure-for-measure response to her sin.”

    What brand of magical logic is he using here? According to complementarians/hierarchists the woman was already under Adam’s authority, but suddenly “abracadabra” it becomes “justice” meted out to Eve.

  6. “How come comp thinking has turned the biblical teaching of who needed help from who completely around saying that rather than the man needing the woman (created for him as a helper) that she needed him?”

    pinklight,
    Repeat after me, “Abracadabra!”

  7. In a court of law, with the Biblical text as the only admissible evidence, I doubt very seriously that a jury could be convinced that Eve unlawfully usurped Adam’s place as ruling regent.

    Since Ortlund’s arguments cannot be substantiated by the Biblical record itself, the likelyhood is high that the bench would rule them as hearsay and throw them out even before a jury was allowed to deliberate.

  8. “Should women stay away from offering food, directions or advice to a man for fear that they will also be charged with usurping his authority?”

    I like it! All women can stop cooking, navigating, or buying men’s clothes, lest they use authority wrongly. He can just do it all for himself! LOL

  9. This post was a treat, Cheryl. Loved your work, how you debunked the theory of Eve “usurping Adam’s authority”. I’ve always wondered about that when it came up in my small group, and the unanswerable question that trouble-maker me always asked was “How in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks could she usurp something that was never either directly or indirectly given?!”

    I was told to keep reading Genesis 2, that since the man was created first, he was therefore the head (something that you’ve done excellent work debunking). I was told I was prideful, deliberately ignoring the truth, and in thrall to Satan, disguised as an egalitarian. (And this in a church that officially claimed an egalitarian stand on women in ministry issues! Guess some folks just never read that portion of the memo, tho). But the more I search that passage, the less likely I become to see that reading of it–let the accusations fall where they may. I sometimes feel like I have to apologize for my own egalitarianism, and that just doesn’t make sense.

  10. Alison, thanks for your encouraging comments!

    I am quite shocked that you would be challenged the way you were in an egalitarian church. It almost sounds to me like the church is heading the opposite direction or else that there are some people within the church who do not accept women in ministry and who have an agenda to change the direction of the church. That can happen and it is very sad when women have had freedom and then the door closes again in their faces.

  11. This is the first time I’ve read your blog. I appreciate your thoroughness and passion for seeking the truth. That being said, I do disagree with you.

    For me, it isn’t so much that Eve usurped Adam’s authority, but she denied the goodness of God. The serpent taunted her with the fruit and insinuated that God was holding out on her in some way. Eve’s sin was that she believed Satan’s word rather than believing God’s and then she acted on it.

    I am a firm believer that Adam shares full responsibility for “the curse.” The Scriptures are very clear that he was right there with Eve. At any point he could have stood up and said, “No Eve, this isn’t what’s best for us. God said we shouldn’t eat the fruit from this tree. He’s given us so many other trees to eat from. He must have good reason to forbid this one.” But he didn’t. He remained passive and ate with Eve. Together they sinned and denied that God is good and trustworthy. For me, I think that is the greatest sin and issue out of this passage.

    Even though the Bible doesn’t explicitly say this, it’s almost as if Adam was having doubts of God’s goodness and also desired to eat from the tree. I mean, if he had no desire would he have done it in the first place?

    I don’t know, as a complementarian, how this passage shows that Eve usurped Adam’s authority. Because she gave him the fruit? And I’ve never heard the argument (from the comp side) that Eve should not have talked to the serpent…which, I agree, would lead to the practical application of a woman having to defer to her husband on (practically) any conversation. I don’t think that’s correct.

    The whole “speaking for God” confuses me a bit. If you’re saying that comp’s think only men can speak for/defend God I would strongly disagree (maybe some do…all views seem to have some radicalists). If only men can speak for/defend God then a woman would not be able to give her testimony, evangelize, or engage in apologetics–all of which I believe are biblical and commanded for both men and women.

    While this post is under the heading of objections to women in ministry, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on headship (which was alluded to here). As well as, what do you think a woman can do in ministry and why (biblically)?

    To be honest, even though we may not agree on certain issues of gender roles I appreciate honest and respectful discussion that helps me to understand more thoroughly what I believe, why, and its Scriptural base. But even as we disagree, the most important thing is “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).

  12. Jessica,
    Welcome to my blog! I always appreciate when complementarians are willing to dialog.

    For me, it isn’t so much that Eve usurped Adam’s authority, but she denied the goodness of God. The serpent taunted her with the fruit and insinuated that God was holding out on her in some way. Eve’s sin was that she believed Satan’s word rather than believing God’s and then she acted on it.

    I would like to point out something that you said. You said “For me, it (is)…(Eve) denied the goodness of God.” Actually the sin was eating the fruit. The cause of the sin was believing the lie about God which was the deception. The Bible doesn’t say that Eve denied the goodness of God. There is a subtle difference. The serpent is the one who lied about God but Eve did not tell the serpent that God is not good. Nor did she tell this to Adam or to God. She just believed the lie.

    I am a firm believer that Adam shares full responsibility for “the curse.”

    Adam does share full responsibility for the curses, but his sharing is with the serpent not with Eve. God makes it clear in His word that it was one man who brought sin into the world. Eve does not share in any way with the curse brought on the earth. That is what God’s word says and even if we are tempted to rationalize a blame for Eve, God’s word doesn’t let us.

    The Scriptures are very clear that he was right there with Eve. At any point he could have stood up and said, “No Eve, this isn’t what’s best for us.

    I completely agree with you here. Adam indeed was there with Eve and it not only could have spoken up, he was obligated to do so as the one who was not deceived by the lie.

    Together they sinned and denied that God is good and trustworthy. For me, I think that is the greatest sin and issue out of this passage.

    Jessica, I think you have missed something. Remember that Adam was not deceived. He was not deceived into believing that God is not good or not trustworthy. The greatest sin is for Adam to have eaten the fruit when he knew everything that had been said was a lie. He ate in full rebellion knowing that God is good and knowing that only God is the creator and we cannot be any more like Him than what we were created as in His image. He knew that there was no godship waiting for him. He sinned in full rebellion and this is the greatest sin that God calls treachery in Hosea 6:7.

    Even though the Bible doesn’t explicitly say this, it’s almost as if Adam was having doubts of God’s goodness and also desired to eat from the tree. I mean, if he had no desire would he have done it in the first place?

    We can’t let ourselves be deceived about Adam. Adam did not have any doubts of God’s goodness because we know for sure that Adam was not deceived. Paul is a witness to this in 1 Timothy 2.

    I don’t know, as a complementarian, how this passage shows that Eve usurped Adam’s authority. Because she gave him the fruit? And I’ve never heard the argument (from the comp side) that Eve should not have talked to the serpent…which, I agree, would lead to the practical application of a woman having to defer to her husband on (practically) any conversation. I don’t think that’s correct.

    Wonderful! I am glad that the post got you thinking through this one complementarian error.

    If only men can speak for/defend God then a woman would not be able to give her testimony, evangelize, or engage in apologetics–all of which I believe are biblical and commanded for both men and women.

    More kudos for you! There are so many complementarian teachers out there who have so silenced women that God’s female “sons” are held back from fulfilling the calling of the gospel. I find this so incredibly sad.

    While this post is under the heading of objections to women in ministry, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on headship (which was alluded to here). As well as, what do you think a woman can do in ministry and why (biblically)?

    As far as headship goes, type in head or headship in the search on my blog and a bunch of posts should come up on this subject.

    As far as what women can do in ministry, I believe very strongly that whatever God has gifted women to do they have the permission and authority to do. 1 Peter 4:10, 11 is the Biblical mandate for the ability for women to use their gifts in the power and strength that God gives them. The gifts that God gives are for the common good and not to be withheld from part of the body of Christ. This is from 1 Cor. 12:7. These two passages are what I rely on for the freedom for women to ministry in any way that God gifts and empowers them for God’s Holy Spirit is not to be held back just because He chooses to use a female vessel.

    To be honest, even though we may not agree on certain issues of gender roles I appreciate honest and respectful discussion that helps me to understand more thoroughly what I believe, why, and its Scriptural base. But even as we disagree, the most important thing is “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).

    Amen! What a wonderful attitude that you have! I welcome any complementarian to my blog to dialog and the questions that I have been asked by comps has sparked a lot of good discussion and has been especially helpful for me to understand how I need to frame my answers with those who do not think along the same lines as I do. Col. 4:6 is a favorite verse of mine and I think that there is much that we can all learn as we practice love for one another even if we disagree on these secondary issues of faith. Although this verse is in the context of “outsiders”, I believe that it is a pattern of how we should talk with one another over all issues of disagreement so that we do not force another person into our own beliefs but gently dialog with respect.

    Colossians 4:6 (NASB) Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

  13. Another excellent post! I appreciated your point about verse 22. I hadn’t noticed that before. Now I will add it to my collection of important info on this topic. God bless you for this observation.

    BTW would you please add my other blog to your egal list as I’m doing most of my posting relative to gender issues on it.
    http://tiro3.typepad.com/spoudazo_logos_blog/

  14. TL
    I amazed at the little things that I too missed in going through the text. But God is faithful and He continues to open my eyes.

    I have added your blog to my favorites list on the side. Thanks!

  15. after reading your post i thought about how that would affect salvation.

    Perhaps Christ would not need to die on the cross to remedy sin. A woman could simply be save by obeying her husband.

  16. Arlene,

    It appears that many women think that they will not be held accountable as long as they are obedient to their husband. That would make him responsible for her sin and he would have to speak for her to God. It certainly could have an effect on women to believe that salvation comes through their husbands.

  17. Cheryl-

    My church is huge, so we cover a wide variety of people, and this means a wide variety of perspectives. The majority of the challenges I am facing represent some of the older-guard of evangelicalism, and some of the younger folks who have grown up in more conservative or traditional settings, and then come to my church after changes in their lives (career changes, moving into the city I’m from, etc), and those folks carry the teachings of their previous churches with them.

    What I’m learning to recognize is precisely that, and to remember what John Wesley, founder of the Methodism that I came from, once said: “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity”. I am learning to (and I stink big time at this) receive those challenges with charity and gentleness, recognizing that folks from different backgrounds carry those backgrounds with them. That doesn’t make them wrong and me right, or vice-versa. There might be some folks with that agenda of restricting women in ministry, but if they hold participating membership in my church, they can’t really bring it up in other than small-group settings, since there’s an agreement in place in our membership stuff that we can’t promote doctrines not in our official statement of faith in a divisive manner. I’m not saying the folks who have challenged me are necessarily divisive, but I think they’re widely overruled, so they keep their perspectives to themselves, for the most part.

  18. ” “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity”

    I like that quote also. Think Augustine was the originator though.

  19. Regardless of who said it first, it’s a good thing to remember, particularly in the issues related to women in ministry, where emotions can run high on both sides. Tanx, Arlene.

  20. Cheryl
    I have enjoyed this discussion. However, you said in a reply to Jessica:

    “Eve does not share in any way with the curse brought on the earth. That is what God’s word says and even if we are tempted to rationalize a blame for Eve, God’s word doesn’t let us.”

    Are you saying that Eve is innocent?

  21. Brian, welcome to my blog.

    Eve is not innocent of disobeying God’s command, but she is not guilty of deliberate rebellion. There is only one who brought rebellion into the world and only one who brought a curse onto this earth.

    I hope this helps.

  22. One of the lessons we learn from this is that no one is exempt from reaping the results of sin in their lives. Even if we have been deceived, we will reap the consequences of wrong choices. For this very reason we must not allow others to tell us that they will think and decide what is truth for us, and we will not reap the results for believing in something that is not true.

    We will always reap the results of our choices whether good or bad. However, IN Christ believers are helped. We are forgiven, cleansed and healed from our wrong choices when we repent and turn from them. And God helps us to recognize right from wrong when we earnestly seek Him with our whole hearts.

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