Should egalitarians be fought as enemies of the gospel?
CBMW (the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) posted audio tapes from Different By Design conference held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2007. I was amazed at the way that they connected the gospel to the gender issue in such a way that they charged those who do not hold to patriarchy and male-only leadership with not holding to the gospel. I would like to present some audio clips from the first tape by Russell Moore in this post and reflect on his comments.
Audio files show Christian women treated unfairly
The complete audio file is no longer available on the CBMW site (cbmw.org) how it is available in full at Dr. Russell Moore’s website here. The first speaker from the February 2007 conference is Dr. Russell Moore who was the dean of theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville Kentucky and is now the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention since 2013.
Dr. Moore starts out by stating that evangelical feminism is winning the debate in our churches. The clips below are very short, so it won’t take long to get through them. The shortest clip is only a few seconds long, and the last clip which is the most jaw-dropping clip is just over 1 minute. Below is audio clip #1. …
Recently, I listened to a pastor describe the context of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. I was very interested to hear what he had to say since I had never heard anyone explain the context of 1 Corinthians to show how there is support for the silencing of women. I was quite surprised when he claimed the context of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 was 1 Timothy 2. I had heard him emphasize the importance of context, context, context many times. However, his explanation of what qualifies as context was always the same as mine. The context of a disputed verse are the verses and chapters that surround it. It is never a passage in another book. While another passage in another book can be related, it isn’t the context. So I asked him again. Could he please give the direct context from the book of 1 Corinthians that supports the silencing of women. I have not yet heard back from him, but I thought it would be a good idea to go back through the entire book of 1 Corinthians to gather all of the evidence that Paul documents for why the two verses of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 were added to his letter. I found so much more than I expected from looking at a wider context! There is way more material than I could put into one article, so I am going to try to distil the evidence into categories and then I will give a conclusion of Paul’s reasoning. I will challenge anyone who thinks I have not considered the entire context. I welcome you to bring me correction and show me the supporting context from the book of First Corinthians that defines and upholds the silencing of women in the church.
CONTEXT: The Corinthian’s Letter to Paul – Questions and Claims
1 Cor. 1:11 Paul reveals there are quarrels among the Corinthians – information passed on to him from Cloe’s people. The key purpose of the book is to deal with these conflicts and quarrels. Watch carefully throughout the book of 1 Corinthians how Paul ties in his correction with the source of the conflicts.
1 Cor. 7:1 Paul mentions a letter that the Corinthians had written to Paul. The letter from the Corinthians to Paul plus the report from Cloe’s people bring to Paul information about the quarrels.
1 Cor. 7:25 Paul moves on to another area of concern; “Now concerning” virgins.
1 Cor. 8:1 “Now concerning” things sacrificed to idols.
1 Cor 16:1 “Now concerning” the collection for the saints. All of the “now concerning” references are Paul answering what had been sent to him in writing.
Other comments that Paul makes do not directly reference the letter from the Corinthians, but they appear to answer challenges, claims or arguments. For example, 1 Cor. 6:12 says:
1 Corinthians 6:12 (NASB) All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.
Are “all things” lawful for Paul? The negation that follows appears to be Paul’s answer to the writer of the letter who claims not to be under any law. “All things are lawful for me,” the letter says, but Paul answers “BUT NOT all things are profitable.” Again, “All things are lawful for me,” the writer concludes, but Paul answers, “BUT I will NOT be mastered by anything.” Paul’s testimony in all the churches is that we are under the “law of Christ.” We can fulfill the duty to Christ through love and service to our brother (Gal. 6:2.) Anytime a statement is made in 1 Corinthians that appears contradictory to Paul’s known position we can suspect that Paul is dealing with issues that were presented to him, for Paul does not contradict himself. The fact that Paul consistently speaks about setting aside what is good for oneself and aiming for what is helpful for others as the “common good” should tip us off that the arrogant claim that “all things are lawful” is part of the quarrel among the Corinthians.…
In my last post, I presented one of the best sermons that I have ever heard on Ephesians 5, regarding the evidence of Spirit-filled lives for both men and women. This post is on the opposite of the Spirit-filled life which is an influx of worldly infection through male-centered pride. The outgrowth of this infection is the teaching that encourages men to focus their efforts on taking the “lead” over women, putting them under their authority and control. They are taught that women were made to be led and when men don’t take leadership over women’s lives, women will not be able to fulfill their “role” in Christ. Recently I heard a teaching where young Christian men were rebuked for taking the authority over their girlfriend’s by deciding for them what university courses they would register for. The speaker chastised the young men and told them that they were “not yet” responsible for making their girlfriend’s decisions. They needed to wait until they actually became their husbands and then they had this authority. It is no wonder that many women are surprised with an entirely different man on their wedding day than who they thought they were marrying. The teaching that men are responsible for the entire home including their wife and her spirituality has caused many young men to subjugate their women in order to fulfill their calling and for the wife’s “own good”. The spiritual harm that has resulted from the teaching that the man has the mandate to rule his wife for God, has caused untold pain and suffering and a stifling of the woman’s ability to seek after God for her own life. She is no longer in control of the exercise of her own gifts and calling – he is. …
Phil Johnson over at Pyromaniacs has struck up some heat on a post that he titles “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of the Discernment Divas”. In this post and in his subsequent comments he makes his position plain that women are not allowed to publicly point out an error of a “duly ordained pastor”. Phil classifies many “housewives and homeschool moms” as bad discerners who are discernment divas. These “divas” believe that God has called them into a ministry of discernment but their abilities are not in rational understanding of doctrinal truth but an ability “to use a really sharp tongue” which Phil says is counter productive and embarrassing. Phil doesn’t seem to mind that this may offend a lot of women as he tells Friel that he is a descendent of the John Knox clan. It was John Knox who offended more than a few when he wrote the book The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women in 1558. In this book, Knox wrote that women compared to men were blind, weak, sick, impotent, mad, frenetic and their counsel is foolish. …
This post will be an expansion on the reasons why I believe that 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is about one specific woman and why a general reference to women does not line up with the grammar within the surrounding context. I will also consider the challenge to my view from the new verbal aspect theory. To start I will summarize my reasons from the text for believing that Paul had a specific woman in mind. After that, I will expand on each point trying hard to bring it down to a general level of understanding.
1. There is a grammar change along with a topic change starting with 1 Timothy 2 verses 11 and 12 that points to a single woman rather than a group. …
The body of Christ is a body ministry where each of us are needed and each gift that God has distributed among us is needed. So why is it that many men say that they do not need for a woman teacher when this personal rejection of their own need is contradicted by 1 Corinthians 12:21?
1 Corinthians 12:21 (NASB95)
21And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
Why does the Bible say that the eye cannot say to the hand that others may need you, but I have no need of you? In other words, why is it that some say what the Bible says they cannot say? …
I started a post months ago and then life became so complicated I had to set my blog aside to cope. This post will now be the new “home” on the discussion on whether 1 Timothy 2:12 has two prohibitions or one. As a review here is what I originally wrote:
Complementarians typically say that Paul is prohibiting two things (teaching and exercising authority over a man) while many egalitarians are taking the position that there is only one thing that Paul has prohibited. The prohibition is listed as God is against women assuming authority for themselves to teach men. This view has been brought out by Philip B. Payne in “Man and Woman One in Christ” pg 338.
I do not agree with complementarians that there are two entirely separate prohibitions that are not connected. But I do not agree with Philip Payne either that there is only one prohibition and that this prohibition is to be defined as the forbidding of women to assume authority for themselves to teach men without a properly delegated authority from men.
As I have been reading through Philip B. Payne’s book, I have been paying special attention to his process of reasoning. …
The Bible records a law that requires men to take the place of sole master in the home. We find this law in the book of Esther chapter 1 verse 22.
Let me first give a little background. King Ahasuerus was a very wealthy and powerful king who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces. In the third year of his reign, he made a huge banquet for his nobles and officials as well as military leaders. Then for 180 days he displayed his great riches and all that went with the majesty of his position. At the end of all this exhibition of the king’s splendor, he threw a seven-day banquet for all the people who were present in his capital city, both the greatest of them to the least of them. It was at that time, after seven days of partying, that the king became joyful from the wine that was served at the banquet, and in a hasty decision to showcase all that he owned that was magnificent beauty, he ordered that queen Vashti be called to appear before the king wearing her crown in order to parade her beauty before the crowd. Vashti refused to have her person put on display and this caused the king to feel great wrath and he called his wise men to find out what could be done by law to punish queen Vashti for refusing to obey his command. In verses 16 to 19 Memucan, one of the wise men said, …
While God is Sovereign, some men believe that they can set a limit on God’s gifts. In the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s doctrinal stand, they believe that God is allowed to distribute gifts to men and women alike with the gifts listed in 1 Cor. 12:4-26 but that He does not gift women with the gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 or 1 Peter 4:10, 11 for those gifts are for men alone. Randy Stinson and Christopher Cowan writing an article for the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood a work of CBMW write that: …
CBMW (Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) has set itself up as a go-to organization for those complementarians who have not been able to figure out from the Bible which things are allowable for women and which things are not. But does their counsel exceed the Bible? I would like to present the evidence and then let you decide.
In a sermon preached by J Ligon Duncan III and reproduced on CBMW’s website, Ligon Duncan writes that the “teaching office” of the Church is restricted to men. But what is the “teaching office” of the church? According to Ligon, the “teaching office” is the ministry of preaching and teaching in the church that is undeniably “vested in the men who serve as the elders of the church.” So the on-going preaching and teaching to the body of Christ is to be done by men. The problem really gets sticky for complementarians when it comes to women teaching other women. …
In our continuing topic of common objections to women in ministry, the objection is raised that women cannot have authority in the church since wives are under their husband’s authority. The concern is that if women had leadership roles in the church, then their leadership role would be in submission to their own husbands. So instead of women making individual decisions, their husbands would be the ones making the decisions for them and the wives would be obligated to obey.
The objection comes from the theory that the husband is the ruler of the wife so that any decision she would make in a leadership role outside the home would come under his control. In essence, it is believed that women’s leadership in the church would result in their own husbands leading through their wives and how would that look if he was an unbeliever? …
Do women have the right to keep their “good portion”?
“…Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42
In the complementarian Christian community, there is a lot of pressure to keep women away from a place that doesn’t belong to them. Because of the teaching that there is a “biblical manhood” and “biblical womanhood,” and the way we follow Jesus depends on our gender, many have been focused on dividing and protecting the man’s portion as if something has been given to men alone. Is this really biblical? Is there really something that belongs to men alone that need to be held back from women? …
Another reason some complementarians claim for denying women opportunities to minister in the church is that it is said that women are more easily deceived than men so men alone are permitted to minister in the church. A good example of this kind of rationale is found here with this excerpt:
But why should Eve’s being beguiled in the Garden of Eden cause Paul to say that women should be silent in church? The answer must be that women in general have a tendency to be more easily duped than men. Because of this tendency, they are not to be teachers, or preachers, or hold an office (which implies authority) in church. …
…we must remember that Paul clearly states that women are to remain silent in church because of the creation order and because Eve was deceived.
Is Paul really saying that women are more easily deceived than men? Let’s examine the text:
1 Timothy 2:14 (NASB) And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
Paul clearly says that “Adam was not deceived” but in 2 Corinthians 11:3 Paul specifically lists Eve by name as the one who was deceived:
2 Corinthians 11:3, 4 (NASB)
4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.
3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
So is Paul really saying that Eve was created with a “tendency” to be easily deceived? No, that would be reading into the text something that is not there. Rather than describing a flaw in God’s design of the woman that provided for a deceived Eve, the emphasis is on the cunning, craftiness and trickery of the one who deceived her. She was not created as one who was easily deceived. She was deceived through the cunning, manipulative trickery that was a masterful job in deceiving the very first woman.
Another common objection to women in ministry is the claim that when women speak and lead publicly it dishonors men.
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) speaks of this as dishonoring the “calling” of men:
We would say that the teaching inappropriate for a woman is the teaching of men in settings or ways that dishonor the calling of men to bear the primary responsibility for teaching and leadership. This primary responsibility is to be carried by the pastors or elders. Therefore we think it is God’s will that only men bear the responsibility for this office. (pg 64 online version)
One thing that we can notice from the quote above is that CBMW says “we think it is God’s will…”. The fact that they don’t know for sure is telling. …
One of the first objections to women in ministry is the fact that Jesus chose only males as his twelve apostles. If Jesus only chose men for this special “class” of people who were to be His witnesses of the resurrection, then didn’t Jesus show by this act that He does not allow women to minister in the church as men alone are to have a special position of authority?
I would like to suggest that Jesus deliberately chose men as part of the group of 12 who were to be witnesses to the resurrection since these men were to be witnesses to the world while Jesus assigned women to be the first witnesses to the church. …
The bride of Christ has been given gifts but are teacher and pastor two gifts or one?
God has given many gifts to the church, and the main purpose of the gifts is to edify the body of Christ so that God will ultimately be glorified. Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 14:12 that we are to strive to excel in the gifts that will build up the church.
1 Cor 14:12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. ESV
While Paul encourages Christians to excel in building up the church, most complementarians do not believe that women are allowed to build up the church by being gifted as teachers. How can they disallow the Holy Spirit’s ability to Sovereignly decide who receives the gifts? …
While many say that women cannot receive from God something that will benefit men (as they believe that all wisdom that God has for humanity must come through the agency of a man) may I remind us today that the Wisdom of God brought God Himself into the world through a woman. The vessel that He used that was meant to bring benefit to all of humanity was a lowly servant who was a woman.
Some people today refuse to accept God’s gift that comes through a woman. Their pride will not allow them to benefit from anything that they believe is beneath them. They practice hardening their hearts because they do not want to see and do not want to hear what originates from a woman. God cannot use a woman to preach and teach the gospel to the church, for God has limited Himself to only men who by virtue of their maleness, are fit to receive God’s special gifts. They teach that only males as teachers and gentle shepherds of God’s people. To them, God’s best is always a man. God’s best is the wisdom of a man. God’s best is the strength of a man. To them, God cannot and will not use what is foolish or weak or insignificant, inferior, common or despised. God limits His work through the chosen gender, and God surely sanctions male pride because He created them as first class citizens of the kingdom. Is it not the complementarian message that it is through males alone that God can fully express Himself in wisdom, power and leadership? …
One of the problems with the definitions that complementarians provide is that the definitions aren’t complete enough on the surface to reveal the underlying hierarchical nature. However, when one pushes to get the answers to some difficult questions, the picture becomes a lot clearer. The clearer picture shows the complementarian stand to be a male bias inside the pretty outer package of complementarian wording. However, when the veil is pulled back, a contradictory view is shown which views an inequality in God’s design of humanity. In addition, their man-made restriction is also placed on God Himself in how He is allowed to express Himself through half of humanity. Let me give a few of examples of the pretty package and then we will dissect the statements. The examples are all from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). …
There is a hot debate in the church today regarding whether a woman is in “sin” for teaching the Bible to men. While some say that a godly woman’s teaching of the Bible is okay for use with women and children, but all teaching by women to men is considered sinful. Others state that a woman may teach the Bible to men as long as it is in her home or perhaps outside on the lawn, but if she were to teach men inside a church building, she would immediately be involved in committing a sin.
The issue of a “special sin” that is only applicable for one gender becomes complicated by the understanding that the church originally met only in people’s homes. There were no designated church buildings during the early years of New Testament Christianity, so how could the “place” where she taught rather than what she taught, be a source of sin for the godly Christian woman? However, there is an issue much deeper than just the issue of within what building men allow women to teach. The issue is whether God taunts and torments a woman with gifts that she cannot use. If God gifts a woman with the spiritual gifts of pastor or teacher is He tempting her to sin when she freely uses her God-given gifts for His glory and for the benefit of His body?
Let’s think this one through. First of all, it is God’s Sovereign choice regarding whom He chooses to gift. Many complementarians will freely admit that God has gifted women with the gift of pastor and the gift of teacher. If only a man is allowed to be a pastor, surely God would not gift a woman with a forbidden gift, would He?
Thanks to one of the followers of my blog, I received a link to some excellent clips about Julie Pennington-Russell’s talks about the Georgian State Convention and issue of the church being kicked out of the GBC. The clips were recorded before the official word came announcing the removal of her church from the association. The Pastor of First Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia, talks about the moment she found out that her church was kicked out of the Georgia State Convention, and her face-to-face talk with the executive of the convention. There are several more clips available on the right side bar.
On November 11, 2009, the Georgia Baptist Convention adopted a policy that ended its 148-year relationship with First Baptist Church of Decatur, Georgia. According to the Associated Baptist News,
Pastor Julie Pennington-Russell read a letter at the end of both worship services Nov. 15 from Robert White, executive director of the 1.3 million-member state convention. It informed her that messengers to the group’s recent annual meeting took action to declare them “not a cooperating church,” because “a woman is serving as senior pastor.”
The policy that declared the First Baptist Church in Decatur as officially disfellowshipped, resulted from a strict enforcement of the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message (BFM 2000) which made the issues of women pastors as a cause for dividing the church. No longer is there room for personal conscience as far as women leaders in the church. Wade Burleson writes that it is dangerous thinking to make the Baptist Faith & Message tier 1 primary doctrine so that “if a Southern Baptist expresses any disagreement with any portion of the BFM 2000, he is not a true Southern Baptist and is not worthy of leadership in the SBC. “
Burleson goes on to explain why this thinking is so dangerous. …
I have just uploaded onto youtube 6 approximately 10-minute clips from my 2006 talk in Pennsylvania at the Witnesses Now for Jesus Conference. I have added the videos below.
The first clip includes the testimony of Lorri MacGregor who is a former Jehovah’s Witness who God called into ministry after she left the Watchtower. She had a huge struggle with God because of her belief that women could not be teachers. The talk is called Jehovah’s Women on Trial – are you ready to be challenged? It is a simulated court case against two Biblical women using the charges against them by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. You will likely see a lot of similarities in the charges because they can also be found in complementarian churches. I trust that many people will be challenged to start to think outside of the box because of these clips. This will be the post where we can discuss the clips.
On July 27th, 2009 Mike Seaver and I started a ten session debate on Women in Ministry where I was able to ask Mike questions on his position, he answered my questions and then we each had one response. Mike is still considering whether he will continue with another ten sessions where Mike will ask me questions, and I get the privilege to answer his questions on women in ministry.
Today I would like to summarize the ten sessions that I had with Mike. …
There is a good natured debate going on over at the Women in Ministry blog conference at the Presbyterian church in Ryde blog between myself and Peter Barnes. Those who would like to watch an Aussie and a Canadian duke it out over the issue of whether there is a “law” that forbids women to teach the bible to men can see the “brawl” (tooth and nail fight!) happening on this post linked here.
In the meantime I am visiting with my elderly folks for the next few days and will be in and out of my own blog as I have time as I also try to make time to help an Aussie realize that all of his arguments are invalid 🙂
My article is now up on the Australian conference for the Presbyterian church. Click here to read the article and feel free to comment.
What do you think? Are blog conferences like this a good thing? Will it help to bridge the gap between complementarians and egalitarians?
I will be posting a review of Mike Seaver’s arguments from the first part of our debate. I have just finished a grueling two-month video editing project, and I am just finishing the graphic work on the cover and the DVD menu. In the next day or two, I should be back to normal and not so preoccupied with extremely long work days. It is now time to talk about how the debate went and the way forward.
In the last blog post, Cheryl Schatz posed her fifth set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post. This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #5 and Mike’s rejoinder. Mike’s matching blog post is here. …
Women in Ministry Debate – Does God Contradict Himself?
This is question #5 of a 10 question discussion/debate between Mike Seaverand Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry. The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz. Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl. Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.
Sign up to receive blog conference email updates at www.achurchinryde.com/blog This should be an interesting conference as participants have different views and will be interacting with anyone wanting to dialog and question the presenter on their view. You will see from the conference promotion that I am a participant. I look forward to the opportunity to answer questions and interacting with people from a world away down under in Australia. I do not yet know which day I will be presenting my thesis. I am sure that it will be announced on the web site so if you sign up for email updates you should be able to get that information.
I hope that many of you will interact with this unique venue so that it is a successful venture for Pastor Dave and the Presbyterian church in Australia.
In the last blog post, Cheryl Schatz posed her 4th set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post. This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #4 and Mike’s rejoinder.
Women in Ministry Debate: What authority do men have to restrict women’s gifts?
This is question #4 of a 10 question discussion/debate between Mike Seaverand Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry. The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz. Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl. Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post. Mike’s corresponding post on his blog is here.
First woman elected to Executive Presbytery of AOG
A woman has become the first woman elected to the leadership of the national Assemblies of God USA.
Elizabeth (Beth) Grant, a veteran missionary and coordinator of the Women in Ministry Network, was greeted with a standing ovation from ministers and delegates after her election as the ordained female executive presbyter. The Assemblies’ Executive Presbytery is a 20-member body that serves as the board of directors for the 2.8 million-member fellowship of Pentecostal churches.
She was one of four candidates for the position on the Executive Presbytery that the 2007 General Council set aside for a woman, the first female position on that body. …
In the last blog post Cheryl Schatz posed her third set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post. This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #3 and Mike’s rejoinder.
This is question #3 of a 10 question debate between Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry. The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz. Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl. Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.