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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?

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