cartoon: 2 problems with women clergy

Although these aren’t the only two problems, they are at least two! Someone will no doubt bring up The Vagina Monologues. And perhaps someone else will bring up Boob Quake. There are other references. It is interesting to me how heated some discussions get, such as discussions surrounding this issue. I sometimes wonder if that one verse, 1 Timothy 2: 12, wasn’t written: “I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent,” how differently things would play out. Even though the bible was clearly written from a patriarchal point of view, and even though much of the pastoral epistles were written ad hoc, that one proof-text wouldn’t be at the disposal of those who also don’t allow women to teach or even speak in church, never mind have any kind of authority or leadership. And even though it is probable that Paul didn’t even write the pastoral epistles, this verse still carries so much canonical weight that has enormous consequences in the church.

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  1. Tiggy says:

    I don’t get how some churches are very adamant about the relevance today of certain Bible verses, but say of the above that it was only appropriate to that time. Women teach in my church, they preach, they are on the leadership team, but some people there will be very rigid about sticking to certain other Bible verses.

  2. Cindy says:

    True Tiggy. And what’s most alarming is that people can’t even see the hypocrisy in that.

    My church did a theology pub on women in the church a little while back and I was a little taken aback by some of the stories. I come from a background where women weren’t really restricted in the church but there are still many places, even here in Canada where they are. I had thought this was pretty much a dead issue but it certainly isn’t in some denominations.

  3. Tiggy says:

    David, have you ever seen the series ‘The Vicar of Dibley’? It was very popular in America – well with those who saw it. It’s available on dvd. I think you’d really like it. Stars Dawn French as the vicar, one of our best comedians and very lovable.

  4. Brad says:

    http://www.gotquestions.org

    There is perhaps no more hotly debated issue in the church today than the issue of women serving as pastors/preachers. As a result, it is very important to not see this issue as men versus women. There are women who believe women should not serve as pastors and that the Bible places restrictions on the ministry of women, and there are men who believe women can serve as preachers and that there are no restrictions on women in ministry. This is not an issue of chauvinism or discrimination. It is an issue of biblical interpretation.

    The Word of God proclaims, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent” (1 Timothy 2:11-12). In the church, God assigns different roles to men and women. This is a result of the way mankind was created and the way in which sin entered the world (1 Timothy 2:13-14). God, through the apostle Paul, restricts women from serving in roles of teaching and/or having spiritual authority over men. This precludes women from serving as pastors, which definitely includes preaching to, teaching, and having spiritual authority over men.

    There are many “objections” to this view of women in ministry. A common one is that Paul restricts women from teaching because in the first century, women were typically uneducated. However, 1 Timothy 2:11-14 nowhere mentions educational status. If education were a qualification for ministry, the majority of Jesus’ disciples would not have been qualified. A second common objection is that Paul only restricted the women of Ephesus from teaching (1 Timothy was written to Timothy, who was the pastor of the church in Ephesus). The city of Ephesus was known for its temple to Artemis, a false Greek/Roman goddess. Women were the authority in the worship of Artemis. However, the book of 1 Timothy nowhere mentions Artemis, nor does Paul mention Artemis worship as a reason for the restrictions in 1 Timothy 2:11-12.

    A third common objection is that Paul is only referring to husbands and wives, not men and women in general. The Greek words in the passage could refer to husbands and wives; however, the basic meaning of the words refers to men and women. Further, the same Greek words are used in verses 8-10. Are only husbands to lift up holy hands in prayer without anger and disputing (verse 8)? Are only wives to dress modestly, have good deeds, and worship God (verses 9-10)? Of course not. Verses 8-10 clearly refer to all men and women, not only husbands and wives. There is nothing in the context that would indicate a switch to husbands and wives in verses 11-14.

    Yet another frequent objection to this interpretation of women in ministry is in relation to women who held positions of leadership in the Bible, specifically Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah in the Old Testament. This objection fails to note some significant factors. First, Deborah was the only female judge among 13 male judges. Huldah was the only female prophet among dozens of male prophets mentioned in the Bible. Miriam’s only connection to leadership was being the sister of Moses and Aaron. The two most prominent women in the times of the Kings were Athaliah and Jezebel—hardly examples of godly female leadership. Most significantly, though, the authority of women in the Old Testament is not relevant to the issue. The book of 1 Timothy and the other Pastoral Epistles present a new paradigm for the church—the body of Christ—and that paradigm involves the authority structure for the church, not for the nation of Israel or any other Old Testament entity.

    Similar arguments are made using Priscilla and Phoebe in the New Testament. In Acts 18, Priscilla and Aquila are presented as faithful ministers for Christ. Priscilla’s name is mentioned first, perhaps indicating that she was more “prominent” in ministry than her husband. However, Priscilla is nowhere described as participating in a ministry activity that is in contradiction to 1 Timothy 2:11-14. Priscilla and Aquila brought Apollos into their home and they both discipled him, explaining the Word of God to him more accurately (Acts 18:26).

    In Romans 16:1, even if Phoebe is considered a “deaconess” instead of a “servant,” that does not indicate that Phoebe was a teacher in the church. “Able to teach” is given as a qualification for elders, but not deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:6-9). Elders/bishops/deacons are described as the “husband of one wife,” “a man whose children believe,” and “men worthy of respect.” Clearly the indication is that these qualifications refer to men. In addition, in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-9, masculine pronouns are used exclusively to refer to elders/bishops/deacons.

    The structure of 1 Timothy 2:11-14 makes the “reason” perfectly clear. Verse 13 begins with “for” and gives the “cause” of Paul’s statement in verses 11-12. Why should women not teach or have authority over men? Because “Adam was created first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived.” God created Adam first and then created Eve to be a “helper” for Adam. This order of creation has universal application in the family (Ephesians 5:22-33) and the church. The fact that Eve was deceived is also given as a reason for women not serving as pastors or having spiritual authority over men. This leads some to believe that women should not teach because they are more easily deceived. That concept is debatable, but if women are more easily deceived, why should they be allowed to teach children (who are easily deceived) and other women (who are supposedly more easily deceived)? That is not what the text says. Women are not to teach men or have spiritual authority over men because Eve was deceived. As a result, God has given men the primary teaching authority in the church.

    Many women excel in gifts of hospitality, mercy, teaching, and helps. Much of the ministry of the local church depends on women. Women in the church are not restricted from public praying or prophesying (1 Corinthians 11:5), only from having spiritual teaching authority over men. The Bible nowhere restricts women from exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). Women, just as much as men, are called to minister to others, to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and to proclaim the gospel to the lost (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15).

    God has ordained that only men are to serve in positions of spiritual teaching authority in the church. This is not because men are necessarily better teachers, or because women are inferior or less intelligent (which is not the case). It is simply the way God designed the church to function. Men are to set the example in spiritual leadership—in their lives and through their words. Women are to take a less authoritative role. Women are encouraged to teach other women (Titus 2:3-5). The Bible also does not restrict women from teaching children. The only activity women are restricted from is teaching men or having spiritual authority over them. This logically would preclude women from serving as pastors/preachers. This does not make women less important, by any means, but rather gives them a ministry focus more in agreement with God’s plan and His gifting of them.

  5. nakedpastor says:

    Brad: You reveal the crux of the issue at hand. At the beginning of your comment, you say that “The Word of God proclaims…”. Then, at the end of your comment, you say, “God has ordained that…” Many people are not willing to make that leap. Especially some women I know.

  6. Kathi says:

    Well, I could say a lot to Brad. But, I don’t think I will because I don’t think I’ll change his mind. All I can say is that his thinking frustrates me very much. It is this attitude that I have encountered for many years since I was a ministry major in college and that I still see in the churches today. And really, it just makes me very sad.

    I would assume that Brad and many churches today would not deny that the Spirit gives gifts to everyone and that everyone is important in the body of Christ. These gifts are used to edify and encourage the body and to give glory to God. By not allowing women to teach or pastor the body of Christ is denying the gifts that women are given. I, for one, do not think it is wise to limit the Spirit.

  7. dcsloan says:

    Three problems with Brad’s response:

    1) I Timothy was not written by Paul.

    2) “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.” NRSV Romans 16:7

    Brad does not mention Junia – a woman and an apostle.

    3) The scripture never rejects slavery. Does Brad endorse slavery?

  8. Eddie says:

    Look on the bright side, guys – by rejecting the Old Testament, Brad has shown us that while he might believe women to be spiritually inferior to men, he should have no problem with homosexuality, since the Bible’s proscriptions against it are OT.

    Right, Brad? You’re cool with the gays, aren’t you?

  9. dcsloan says:

    Give Brad credit for transparency. Check out the link that Brad supplied.

    http://www.gotquestions.org

    Fortunately, the younger generations are moving away with this kind of singular and dogmatic intrepretation. They are embracing grace over conditions.

    The scripture is important, even central to the faith, but neither constraining nor controlling because God is constantly calling us forward.

  10. dc3 says:

    in regards to the cute straw-man argument that Brad must be okay with homosexuality, the NT has plenty to say about that… cf. Rom.1:26-27, 1 Cor 6:9, 1 Tim 1:10. Honestly, any intelligent debate should stick to the issue at hand.

  11. dcsloan says:

    Brad sets up the Bible as the controlling authority that has a singular interpretation. The source of that singular interpretation is never identified.

    It is not a straw man to ask Brad about Biblical inconsistencies and the validity of other interpretations. The questions might have been better worded, even more politely, but that is the risk taken when participating in a virtual commons.

  12. preacherlady says:

    This isn’t a subject I take lightly. I’m a woman, ordained, and have been through the mill because of it. I’ve been removed from a pulpit position because I was female…I’ve been refused admittance to a class in homeletics…I’ve been told that as a woman in ministry I was practicing witchcraft…if there’s a form of disrespect the Pentacostal/Charismatic church can show, I’ve been the brunt of it. In Christ there is no male nor female. A note of irony…one of the meanings of el Shaddai is: the God who has breasts.

  13. Ann Yoder says:

    Death by the law!! The oldest trick in the book!

  14. Tiggy says:

    Some men just feel too threatened by women preaching or even teaching. I would say taking on the social norms of 2000 years ago is rather extreme, especially as Jesus constantly and radically cut across those social norms in the way he related to women. That has struck home to me all the more since reading the book ‘Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes’ by Kenneth Bailey, a specialist in Middle Eastern culture.

    The women who preach at my church are amazingly inspiring. Even in Anglo-Saxon times the Abbesses of the big monastic centres were looked up to as inspired teachers by both men and women. This is evidenced in letters from monks that we still have.

  15. ak says:

    Hey bro, with that logic, many men clergy would be disqualified because of a noticeable lack of two balls…women clergy with two breasts have this guy’s vote.

  16. Stephen says:

    @brad – Thanks for that great exegesis of Scripture. At least someone in this discussion has a deep respect for the Word of God.

    @kathi – If you have so much to say on the topic, please say it. Refusing to answer isn’t helpful to a conversation.

    @dc3 – If “any intelligent debate should stick to the issue at hand”, why are you bringing up homosexuality and not sticking to the issue?

    @preacherlady – Have you noticed how most if not all of the denominations that ordain women clergy are in decline?

    @tiggy – how many of Jesus’ disciples were women?

  17. eyesWIDEopen says:

    Being told something is wrong because “the Bible says so” has always been a huge struggle for me, especially since I spent 10 years of my life as an atheist who read the Bible looking for its inconsistencies. In order for me to believe that the Bible is the written word of God, I must also believe that He gave us the freedom to make necessary changes and adaptations as we grow. How else can we explain that the church of the Bible looks nothing like the church of 200 years ago, and I can’t even imagine a modern church making it in Ephesus? I have always found selectively using Bible verses to support keeping women out of the pulpit as outlined in the link referenced in a previous comment insulting. If churches are going to continue quoting 1 Timothy 2:11-12 to support excluding women from being pastors, then they need to re-examine the many other commands and rules in the Bible that we are no longer upholding. I have never covered my head when I went church, not every man raises his hand when he prays, and I surely do not greet fellow Christians with a holy kiss, I don’t even know what a holy kiss is! But these things are all right there in the Bible and barely begin to address the hundreds of things we no longer do (1 Thessalonians 5:26, 1 Corinthians 11:4-7, 1 Timothy 2:8). So there has to be a better reason than because it’s in the Bible.

  18. Fred says:

    @Brad:

    It’s so simple. Do we only allow men Sunday School teachers? Or women as well? And then where do we draw the line between a “child” and an “adult”–and justify that with scripture at least as clearly as you’ve justified disallowing women preachers?

  19. Fred says:

    @Stephen:

    You said:

    :@preacherlady – Have you noticed how most if not all of the denominations that ordain women clergy are in decline?:

    Well, it’s certainly not true the all denominations that ordain women clergy are in decline. Are you also asserting that most or all denominations that don’t ordain women are not in decline?

  20. Stephen says:

    @fred: I did not necessarily say “all” denominations. You conveniently left out the words “most, if not” in your quotation. I also do not see the logical consistency between denominations with women in leadership roles being in decline and whether denominations with only men in leadership roles are in decline or not, unless they are in equal decline, which they are not. Denominations that hold to men-only leadership are in fact increasing in many parts of the world, whereas it is declining in the “developed” world where churches in which women have taken up leadership roles or in which they soon will be able to do so have become more popular.

    Also: I assume you are referring specifically to children’s Sunday school and not adult Sunday school. If the former, you ask a very relevant question; when does a child become an adult. More specifically, when does a boy become a man? (I don’t think there is an issue with an older woman teaching a younger woman.) I would posit that happens around puberty. When boys hit that age, teaching should shift to the father or men in their lives.

    @eyesWIDEopen – I don’t think it is simply selecting convenient Bible verses. I see the whole of God’s Word as pointing towards men as having a leadership role over woman. You can call it patriarchical, because that’s what having men in the leadership role means.

    Further to your argument, the fact that we no longer do some of things in the Bible does not give us license to stop doing them all. Just because you break the law by speeding, it doesn’t mean you are then free to murder.

    I believe we are in the situation we are now not because women are standing up to take leadership roles, but because men aren’t. In general, women are filling the void that men are leaving because of the apathy, focus on money, laziness and overall lack of godliness of the men in the church. Does this make it biblically mandated?; “no”, but does it justify it?; I would also say “no”.

    I think women as pastors (leaders) helps contribute to a break down of the family. Men are given the role as head of the family. As such, I believe that a man submitting to a female teacher or pastor (ie leader) opens up the door for his wife to ask why he submits to a female pastor, but not a female wife. I think this is the crux of the issue.

  21. Stewp says:

    Why would dcsloan assume Junia was an apostle? “prominent among the apostles” is about their reputation and integrity in the faith, not who is an apostle. In regard to the question of ‘women in ministry’, I would refer to better research than this discussion page. John Stott gives an excellent discussion on this in his book ‘Issues Facing Christians Today’

  22. Stephen says:

    “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths” [2 Tim 4:3-4].

  23. Jeff says:

    First of all, sisters and brothers, I love you all–whether I wholeheartedly agree or disagree with you. I want to thank all of you for your contributions, and giving me the opportunity to meditate on this.

    I think that faulty logic aside, NakedP is right. The crux of the argument is whether or not one believes it is “The Word of God” (however that may be defined–if indeed that is possible–or understood…).

    I myself don’t believe the Bible IS the Word of God but that it in a way contains (in a non-restrictive way) the Word. If I believed the former, that would make me a Pharisee and an idolator. Doesn’t “the Word” say that it is Jesus–the Word made Flesh–who is the Word? Can one truly believe that it encompasses God’s complete, unadulterated and final word on all things when the Gospel of John says it doesn’t even contain Christ’s full teaching and deeds? Since Christ’s wisdom and love transcend the partially re-collected words we call the Bible (which incidentally Christians did without for centuries), should we not grow in the Spirit and transcend it as well? And for those of you who might balk at this idea, I’m not calling for a rejection of the Bible. When I find two possibly opposing or mutually excluding arguments or ideas, or Bible verses, I choose the path of agape. The Bible itself does the same. The scribes who compiled Genesis wisely decided to include 2 creation narratives, one where woman is made from man’s side, the other where both are made simultaneously from the claw of the Earth. Read it closely you’ll see it too! Is that other account less inspired or valid in some way?
    Isn’t love the new commandment anyway? The Bible isn’t a means or an end, or a means to an end. It is a starting point. It’s the mustard seed. If somehow all Bibles were destroyed tomorrow, the Word lives on in us. Thank Jesus he never wrote anything himself, we’d have made an even more oppressive and fundamentalist religion based verbatim on his words.

    I believe the use of Bible verses as peremptory arguments is parochial–pun intended–and a betrayal which stifles the Spirit who moves in us. If we substitute the Word for the word, then we’ve no need for the Spirit nor love, because we’ve got all the answers on how to live, we have rules and protocol and taboos which dispense us from having to truly love our neighbor. When we “follow the rules”, traditions, etc. (be they patriarchal or not) we “desubjectivize” ourselves, we do not truly engage with our conscience and we do not consider our neighbor as full human beings but only as an abstractions. We do not act out of love nor with love. Convention makes our interaction smooth, judgment easy (because after all, YOU’RE not judging the Bible is right?) but we are not BEING, and we’re not letting our neighbor BE. We replace the often uncomfortable and sometimes painful act of loving and accepting the other (Other?) with the comfort of well-defined answers and keeping our egos intact. Indeed, I believe this is dehumanizing; and that the way of agape is really what sets us free, from all oppression, from without and within. That is the path I choose.

    What I think I mean to say is that since the Bible is at best unclear and contradictory about the alleged inferior status of women that our only recourse, logically and spiritually is to take the path of love. To break barriers where they exists, to tear down the edifices of oppression in our lives. All we need IS love.
    Sorry for stream of consciousness, shalom.

  24. Jeff says:

    Clarification: When I wrote “I think that faulty logic aside, NakedP is right.” I was unclear. I am not saying that NP logic is faulty, on the contrary. What I meant to refer to is the faulty logic of many of the arguments advanced in the above debate.

  25. Brad says:

    To all – good comments on my post, but I can’t take credit for writing it as it came from http://www.gotquestions.org, but that view is similar to what I believe. It is a hot topic for various reasons. At my church we strongly agree with this but women are at times allowed to teach from the pulpit – mother’s day is one example & there are others. On this matter, our pastor has said something along the lines of he is the pastor & women are allowed to teach under his God-given authority as pastor. Sounds like a technicality, but I can live with it. We have male & female Bible study teachers & I know a few people who are not comfortable with this and the funny thing is they are women and not men. To me this is more towards a woman pastoring a church than teaching or having a woman’s ministry. I also believe it pertains to obediance to God’s word & for men not to slack off in their responsibilities, because we will. There are several women’s ministries that I really been blessed by – Nancy Leigh DeMoss is one. I am glad this is an area we don’t all have to agree on 100%. There are even be minor differences within the same church.

  26. Rosa says:

    Your cartoon is brilliant. As an ordained female minister it really struck a chord. Scriptural authority apart: I think it raises a huge question about female identity and sexuality. How should female ministers dress? Should it be as similar to men as possible, i.e. trouser suits? Is “pretty” out, even though “pretty” might be the equivalent of male “smart”, which is definitely OK for male pastors?
    And: can I dress in a feminine way (whatever that is) and still expect men to relate to me as an individual, respecting my thoughts: or do I have to “dress up as a man” in order to do that?
    And: are we all sure that being a minister is all about having the God-given right to exercise authority? I thought it might also have been something to do with encouraging others to join us in following Jesus.

  27. nakedpastor says:

    Rosa: Nice to hear from you. Great observations.

  28. Christine says:

    Ah. Well, I’m glad the topic came up. (Not sure yet whether I even really want to wade into it.)

    I think what we’re not seeing is someone presenting a consistent intepretation of all of scripture on the subject of women in the church.

    Brad – Always curious to know people’s contexts when they take an extreme or controversial position. (Not meaning to insult, but I do find the quote you provide both extreme and controversial.) Do you mind letting us know where you live and what kind of church you go to?

    On the one hand, I agree with you that it isn’t an issue of women versus men, in that men often believe in the equality of women and some women believe in the submission of women. (I can already hear some of you protest that submission doesn’t preclude equality. In some ways, I agree, and in others ways I do not.) I read a boook once, by a woman, which included a large section on the Christian woman’s proper role in the home. Leaving aside the irony that the book was a teaching to both men and women, I found it somewhat disturbing but can acknowledge that this is not an entirely uncommon position, and least among some groups. And I know many, many men who are fully in favour of complete gender equality.

    But just because it isn’t an issue fought by men against women and vice versa, doesn’t mean there aren’t deep-seeded issues of gender involved, it doesn’t mean there isn’t discrimination involved. It certainly doesn’t mean the disagreement is one simply of unbiased, academic interpretation.

    These beliefs, like the one Brad quoted, are the product of long-term systematic descrimination, even if many who believe them believe them sincerely and without intent to prejudice.

    The problem is, once something is engrained as “normal” or “the way things are supposed to be”, in a social sense, it’s hard to read the Bible (an anything for that matter) in a way that escapes are natural prejudice to find our own meaning and understanding in the text. We unconsciously read our culture and ourself into what we see. Stepping outside of that can, to a certain extent, be done, but it takes effort, and so any selective quoting of “simple” reading should not be treated as difinitive, not even informative until fully examined.

  29. dcsloan says:

    What Brad and Stephen and others are not accepting is that grace and conditions are mutually exclusive, even oppositional.

    “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” (NRSV Romans 11:6)

    “Yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law,
    because no one will be justified by the works of the law.” (NRSV Galatians 2:16)

    “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” (NRSV Ephesians 2:8-9)

    Grace is not awarded for the satisfactory completion of a spiritual check list – and grace is not earned for works or acts – and grace is not part of a quid pro quo arrangement or relationship – and grace is not a stipulation of a contract or covenant – and grace is not right thinking or having the right beliefs – and grace is not about rewards and punishments – and grace is not later or guaranteeing a future occurrence, grace is not about having an after-life insurance policy or a spiritual hedge fund. Yet, we live, we exist and have always existed, in (not “by”, not “because”, not “alongside”) the grace of God. Grace is now, constantly present and immediate. Grace is always freely available and freely supplied and supplied freely unconditionally and abundantly without exceptions and without restrictions and without qualifications. Grace and conditions are mutually exclusive, even oppositional. A faith full of grace has no conditions. A faith with any condition or any qualification or any requirement or any exclusion has no grace. Because of the way God is defined and bound, God has never required and never recognized and never accepted any sacrifice by anyone for anything. God requires nothing of us – this is grace.

  30. dcsloan says:

    “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him.” (NRSV Romans 10:12)

    “for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (NRSV Galatians 3:26-28)

    “But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!” (NRSV Colossians 3:8-11)

  31. Stephen says:

    @rosa – “Scriptural authority apart” – what exactly are you preaching on then if not scriptural authority? Also: encouraging others to follow Jesus is evangelism; pastoring and preaching is leading, counseling and teaching. They are overlapping, but different offices.

    @christine – I don’t think Brad’s position has anything to do with his context and it is not some new idea he (or the website he got it from) just came up with. It has pretty much been accepted orthodox until the last 20 or so years (vs. the more than 2,000 years prior). Please tell me a time in church history when women were leaders of the church. I would argue that gender prejudice is a result of fallen man and not because God got it wrong in the Bible.

    @dcsloan – I am not really sure what Grace has to do with God given roles within the family and church. God was graceful and Jesus willingly and humbly submitted himself to God the Father. He asked that the Father’s will and not his be done. He also submitted to worldly authority while here. He was not less God or human because of either of these. He has shown us an example in not only what he did, but what he continues to do. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all equally God, but they do not sit on 3 equally positioned thrones. Jesus, even as God, sits at the right hand side of the Father; a position which indicates a lower role. Where is our humility?

    We submit in all sorts of situations without being unequal; a sports team, our company, the military etc. President Obama may be president, but he still only gets one vote . As much as I may disagree on having him in that role, it is also God ordained and as such, I have to respect that and know that he is God (I don’t mean Obama). If Jesus had chosen 1 woman as a disciple, we would not be having this conversation, but he didn’t and I assume he had a reason not to do so.

    If Jesus can submit himself willingly and humbly, why do some insist on twisting his word so that we shouldn’t have to? God has clearly ordained through the revelation of himself (ie the Bible) what roles men and woman are to take in the family and church. He has done this for a reason beyond our comprehension, but it is at his prerogative as creator of the universe and ourselves to do so. Jesus also preached obedience and we would all do well to heed those words.

  32. dcsloan says:

    A faith full of grace has no conditions and, consequently, no exclusions and no differentiation.

    Grace has everything to do with how we are in relationship with each other.

    “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him.” (NRSV Romans 10:12)

    “for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (NRSV Galatians 3:26-28)

    “But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!” (NRSV Colossians 3:8-11)

    We are called forward and beyond what the early disciples could do in their time and place and culture. The life examples of Jesus, the disciples, and Paul are to be seen as lives of freedom, not more legal restrictions; as loving equality, not domination and submission. The treatment of women by Jesus and Paul was radical for their time and place and culture. Their examples of inclusion call us forward (as does the entire scripture), to live a fellowship of no exclusion and no differention.

  33. fishon says:

    dcsloan
    July 6, 2010 | 9:20 pm

    A faith full of grace has no conditions and, consequently, no exclusions and no differentiation.
    ——–And what, pray tell, book do you get that from?

  34. nakedpastor says:

    Hey everyone! Check out Kathy Escobar’s post on this issue:
    http://kathyescobar.com/2010/07/06/drinking-the-company-kool-aid/

  35. dcsloan says:

    Fishon,

    ummm, Romans, Galatians, Colossians.

  36. Rosa says:

    Love the kool-aid idea! A good theological college helps you recognise the signs of addiction to company kool-aid and start the long process of being set free – and of setting others free.
    And about submitting – I don’t really get it. My husband and I love each other sacrificially. I’d die for him and our kids and I know he’d do the same for me and the kids. We don’t use language of submission or authority in our marriage, and we’ve been married 19 happy years. I take his advice on stuff he knows best and he does the same to me – in our case I’m the one with the theological and the “church leadership” training but it doesn’t mean I have the monopoly of wisdom on things Christian.
    So can’t we move away from this language of authority and submission towards one of mutual service and sacrificial love? Yes of course our churches need trained leaders, but we don’t need to be submitted to, and we don’t have to be men.

  37. Christine says:

    Stephen said: “@christine – I don’t think Brad’s position has anything to do with his context and it is not some new idea he (or the website he got it from) just came up with. It has pretty much been accepted orthodox until the last 20 or so years (vs. the more than 2,000 years prior). Please tell me a time in church history when women were leaders of the church.”

    I didn’t say Brad’s position was a product of his context (although i didn’t rule it out as a influencing factor, I didn’t jump to that assumption either). What I said was that his position made me curious as to his context, as does yours.

    I never once implied the position was new. I said that I considered it radical and controversial, and from my context, it certainly is.

    Whether you believe in complementarity or not, it would be hard to deny that prejudice against women, geniune misogyny (wrong by either of our standards), has been prevelant in almost all social contexts for well over 2000 years. Besides which, I think we have ample evidence that women played prominent, even leadership, roles in the early church. Whether that involved teaching of or authority over men would be a harder question to answer and would depend largely on definitions. But I think we’re just getting into semantics at that point.

    “I would argue that gender prejudice is a result of fallen man and not because God got it wrong in the Bible.”

    I would argue that gender roles are assigned as a result of the fall. Look at how distinct roles for men a women are given just after being expelled from Eden in Genesis. It is the curse that distinguishes men and women, and Christ removes us from the curse, meaning we are all one and alike, without distinction, in Him.

    Now that’s an ideal, one that exists and yet is not completely manifest. It is the now and not yet. Just as we were/are healed in Christ, and sickness exists. But acknowledging the difficulties of living in gender unqual contexts we should strive for equality. We must include and accept all, but must always make serivce and love of Christ the focus. The message of the NT is, if it would be of great harm to the message, tolerate the inequalities. Yes, tolerate. And it is in that vein that slaves are required to remain in slavery, even to harsh masters, and just as women were required to remain submitted to their husbands, even in a social context where being a wife and submitting was equivalent to slavery (indeed, Paul’s call for submission there is far from any concept of submission that anyone would justify today).

    It is these practices that were temporary, that were meant to address and given in the context of practical isntruction. The deep theological discourse (of the type dcsloan) quotes above is the discussion of the eternal, of what it means to be in Christ, it is the interpretation of who God is and what God did for us – the eternal. And in those sections, all are equal and divisions and distinctions are meaningless. We are in the world and not of it. In the practical, there is male and female. In Christ, there is no “male and female”.

    What shall we do then? Will we be so afraid of the ideal becoming manifest that we will scurry back to the safety of Paul’s instruction for a context not our own? Will we try to mould our society back to a first century world, just so we do not have to interpret what right and wrong looks like in a context other than that directly addressed by the NT? What madness! That would be foolish. Christ came to set us free, and to eliminate distinction between people (something entirely separate from selective submission to deserved authority in specific contexts). We should not resist that progression out of fear of uncertainty. Instead, we should be at the forefront of our culture, as were Jesus and Paul, pushing oh so subtly oh so gently at the edges to bring about a more inclusive world.

  38. fishon says:

    dcsloan
    July 7, 2010 | 9:20 am

    Fishon,

    ummm, Romans, Galatians, Colossians.

    —-“…let him be eternally condemned.” ummm!

    —-“…hand this man over to Satan….”

    —-“…having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”

    —-“Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.”

    —-“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I WARN YOU [caps mine], as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

    —-“Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels DISQUALIFY YOU [caps mine] for the prize.”

    —-“Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.”

    —-And Jesus said, “…and if he refuses to listen to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

    —-Ah, the sheep and goats!

    Danged if there doesn’t seem to be some:conditions and, consequently, exclusions and no differentiation.

  39. Christine says:

    fishon, I can’t help but feel you missed the point. All these conditions are about behaviour and apply equally to all. The exclusions and differentiations, therefore, are not based on any inherent characteristic (like gender). dcsloan was (at least in part) saying there were no conditions, exclusions, or distinctions based on inherent characteristics – including race, ethnicity, gender, and class. Not that a discussion of exclusion based on choices and behaviour isn’t important, it just doesn’t have anything to do with the issue at hand.

  40. dcsloan says:

    Evidently Fishon and others (admittedly, many others) want to practice a religion of conditions, exclusion, and authoritarianism.

    Others, myself included, want to live a faith of grace, inclusion, and liberty.

  41. Cindy says:

    Brad: Your second post is exremely revealing. After having posted a lengthy explaination denouncing our ability to apply context to the instructions given in the epistles and proclaiming them to be universal instructions, you come back and tell us that your pastor allows women to teach (presumably with men present to learn from them) on occassion and basically excuses the inconsistency with his general belief by saying that he has the authority as the pastor to hand his authority over to women as he sees fit. You view this as a technicallity, but are perfectly ok with that. This tells me that you don’t feel that you are capable of descerning the appropriateness of when and how to apply the context of a situation to the black and white reading of scripture that you feel is necessary, but you have no problem deferring to your pastor to do this for you and accepting his application even if you view it as a technicality to get around something. You really should read the post that NP linked to on drinking the company kool-aid. Perhaps you will be challenged by it to sober up from the tainted kool-aid you are being given. It may be a scary concept, but in the end you will see much more clearly and it will be worth it. You need to stop letting people think for you. It is an affront to God who gave you not only the brain to think for yourself but also the Holy Spirit to teach you so that you do not need to rely on the fallablity of man. We all have many things we can learn from one another but when you surrender to a pastor (or anybody else) your need to think, wrestle with scripture and rightly divide the word given it is an affront to your creator and the Holy Spirit he has empowered you with.

  42. Christine says:

    Interesting that the pastor claims he has the authority to override God…

  43. fishon says:

    Christine
    July 7, 2010 | 12:50 pm

    fishon, I can’t help but feel you missed the point.
    —–Naaa, he is a total inclusionist. I know exactly what he means.

    He is not limiting exclusions, conditions, and differentiations to race, ethnicity, gender, and class.

    Read what he said:::::”A faith full of grace has no conditions and, consequently, no exclusions and no differentiation.” —-“A faith….”

    And here is what he said after you tried to play teacher/mother to me::::::dcsloan
    July 7, 2010 | 1:09 pm

    Evidently Fishon and others (admittedly, many others) want to practice a religion of conditions, exclusion, and authoritarianism.

    Others, myself included, want to live a faith of grace, inclusion, and liberty.
    —-His words and I understand them perfectly. No correction needed from you.

  44. dcsloan says:

    “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” (NRSV Romans 11:6)

    “Yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law.” (NRSV Galatians 2:16)

    “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” (NRSV Ephesians 2:8-9)

    “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him.” (NRSV Romans 10:12)

    “for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (NRSV Galatians 3:26-28)

    “But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!” (NRSV Colossians 3:8-11)

    Grace is not awarded for the satisfactory completion of a spiritual check list – and grace is not earned for works or acts – and grace is not part of a quid pro quo arrangement or relationship – and grace is not a stipulation of a contract or covenant – and grace is not right thinking or having the right beliefs – and grace is not about rewards and punishments – and grace is not later or guaranteeing a future occurrence, grace is not about having an after-life insurance policy or hedging our spiritual bets. Yet, we live, we exist and have always existed, in (not “by”, not “because”, not “alongside”) the grace of God. Grace is now, constantly present and immediate. Grace is always freely available and freely supplied and supplied freely unconditionally and abundantly without exceptions and without restrictions and without qualifications. Grace and conditions are mutually exclusive, even oppositional. A faith full of grace has no conditions and, consequently, no exclusions and no differentiation. A faith with any condition or any qualification or any requirement or any exclusion or any differentiation has no grace. God requires nothing of us – this is grace.

  45. Christine says:

    fishon – I didn’t mean to say that you completely misinterpreted dcsloan. I’m sure he does believe in complete inclusion.

    You did totally miss the relevance to this conversation, however.

  46. Christine says:

    “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him.” (NRSV Romans 10:12)

    “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (NRSV Galatians 3:26-28)

    “In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!” (NRSV Colossians 3:8-11)

    These quotes stand whether you believe in exclusion, conditions, and distinctions on behaviour/choices/merit or not.

    How does one reconcile these ideas with a philosophy that says men and women are and should be meant for different things, inherently, intentionally, and eternally (not simply as a biproduct of context or society)?

  47. dcsloan says:

    JUNIA, A FEMALE APOSTLE:
    Resolving the Interpretive Issues of Romans 16:7
    http://godswordtowomen.org/juniapreato.htm

    “Junia was a female apostle. This is the preferred view. The evidence is authoritative, compelling, diverse, and objective. Junia has been demonstrated to be a woman based on the testimony of early manuscripts, recorded statements of various church leaders through the 12th century, and research performed by many other scholars attesting to the name Junia or Julia existing in ancient times.”

  48. preacherlady says:

    fishon…you talk like being an inclusionist is a bad thing.

  49. fishon says:

    preacherlady
    July 7, 2010 | 6:51 pm

    fishon…you talk like being an inclusionist is a bad thing.
    ——-Well of course it is sometimes. And it is Biblical in some cases too.

  50. nakedpastor says:

    fishon: what the heck are you talking about?

  51. fishon says:

    David,
    Be a little more specific in that question.

    Apparently preacherlady understands what I am talking about–cause she made a statement about my positon.

    dc, apparently understands cause he cited several scriptures at me.

  52. Cindy says:

    NP: We seem to have lost the ability to go back and see earlier comments on a post…

  53. Cindy says:

    Correction, on some posts. It works on this one, but not over on the “Different Outcomes” post where I’ve been having a conversation with Xander.

  54. Christine says:

    I think in dcsloan’s broad theological statements, fishon is zeroing in on the implication that no one goes to hell (or is excluded say, from the church, based on sin). Their discussion, I think, is really about universalism (perhaps fishon is confusing inclusionist with universalist).

    In any case, it has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

  55. dcsloan says:

    Christine,

    I am trying to establish a foundation. All that matters is how we live the Good News here and now. So the issue of inclusion in the community of faith is critically important. Everyone is welcome in the door. Everyone is welcome to perform any job as qualified by their talents and gifts without regard to their gender, sexual orientation, race, etc.

    ———-

    Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. (NRSV 1 Corinthians 12:4-11)

    There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. … The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers (NRSV Ephesians 4:4-7,11)

  56. Christine says:

    [Actually posted this on the wrong thread. lol. Lost my segway, but thought I’d put it here where it at least makes some sense.]

    To try and get back to the topic at hand (women in church leadership), this attitude reminds me of the position that women are “equal but different” that underlies ideas of complementarity.

    Only in the context of this debate “different” here carries a connotation of being suited for different tasks. What is really being said it that women are equal but can only do some of the things men can do. “Different” is expressed as certain restrictions on what women can do (without any restrictions on what men can do).

    Hmmm… sounds like a very superficial kind of equal to me, like a suffercial kind of love.

    Any thoughts?

  57. Christine says:

    dcsloan: I get it. Really, I do see where yuou are coming from. I just think fishon picking little bits of what you are saying, taking them to mean that we don’t have to “qualify” in any way for membership in either the church or eternal life and refuting it by saying that sin disqualifies us. Whatever we think of that argument, it isn’t relevant to the issue of women and the church.

    I didn’t mean to imply that you were off topic. The reasoning seems sound to me. If we can establish that all that matters is how we live the Good News here and now, then all the rest is pretty much a moot point.

    What I’m annoyed by is you making that statement, and then fishon arguing that it doesn’t apply because it doesn’t apply to the commission of sins, which certainly doesn’t mena that it doesn’t apply to gender. If fishon is right (and I don’t mean to say I agree of disagree), it actually doesn’t negate the point you are making as it relates to gender or other inherent distinction betweem people. Your view of what we should be doing (living the Good News) would just as effectively negate gender distinction whether or not “not sinning” is a condition place on us. Just seems like a complete waste to point out scriptures that might require a qualification to your point, when your point would regardless still apply to the subject at hand.

    Sorry if that was conviluted. I’d just like to see fishon rebut your position is a way that had anything at all to do with gender.

  58. fishon says:

    Christine
    July 8, 2010 | 2:40 pm

    I’d just like to see fishon rebut your position is a way that had anything at all to do with gender.
    ——Why?

  59. If this was on a tee shirt, I would be sorely tempted to buy it. I love this. (Not the attitude represented, but the satire behind it.)

  60. Christine says:

    fishon, are you asking why I’d like to see you stay on topic? Gender is the topic of the thread, hence if you are going to refute a relevant argument, it would benefit the conversation if it was done in a way that was relevant to the topic at hand. I understand other aspects are also important, but they’ve been discussed at length elsewhere and this is actually the first time this topic has come up (at least in a long while). I’m kinda surprised to hear you ask that, since your tend to harp on people who get off topic.

  61. fishon says:

    Christine,
    It suffices to say that you would not agree with my arguement——-and definitly not my understanding of the topic. You want my take: Brad said it well. So if I was to repeat, you would give your same answers.

  62. Stephen says:

    @christine – I think God’s will and word is the real topic of this thread.

  63. Christine says:

    Sorry, Stephen, I guess I got distracted by the big, shiny cartoon at the top of the page.

    fishon, I know your position, as you’ve told me on another thread. Brad was quoting a website. The website assumed a theological position, which went well beyond the text, and instead of supporting that position, it simply (and poorly) rebutted only a few of the (completely misrepresented and oversimplified) critiques of that position. Hardly a coherent theological position. The biggest problem, however, is that that view only holds if you only take into account parts of scripture – it ignores many passages that would contradict that position.

    dcsloan gave us some excellent examples of some of those passages and I made an attempt to understand those seemingly contradictory passages in light of each other. In any way that was relevant to the subject of women in the church, there was no response. No attempt to say why that position still holds in light of the other scriptures, and no critique of my theory. Is there no response simply because you haven’t got one?

    I probably would not agree with your argument, but saying so is hardly sufficient, and my likely disagreement has never stopped you in the past. But if you aren’t interested in discussing it, it’s fine by me, I’ll retract my request.

  64. fishon says:

    Christine
    July 9, 2010 | 11:03 pm

    Sorry, Stephen, I guess I got distracted by the big, shiny cartoon at the top of the page.

    fishon, I know your position, as you’ve told me on another thread. Brad was quoting a website. The website assumed a theological position, which went well beyond the text, and instead of supporting that position, it simply (and poorly) rebutted only a few of the (completely misrepresented and oversimplified) critiques of that position. Hardly a coherent theological position. The biggest problem, however, is that that view only holds if you only take into account parts of scripture – it ignores many passages that would contradict that position.
    ——–See, so why would I even try and say more? You slam anything and everything anyone says about gay sin. Talk about taking into account only parts of scripture. You are classic at it. You can rant and carry on that I don’t engage—-but when we first started some time back in talking about this issue [gays], you belittled anything and everything I would say [and those who agree with me], and then you would go on and give your opinion about why…. They you come back and say that I wasn’t giving any reasons for my position. Like I have said, I have, in the past, given my position and why—you don’t like it–but it is right there in scripture and you can argue till you are out of breath, but it doesn’t change truth.

    And my question to you of “why,” why do you want me to tell you my position on gender? It will just make you mad.

  65. Cindy says:

    I have to ask fishon, why is that you must bring every discussion back to homosexuality? For you to have that on the brain so much, it must be a personal issue for you in some way? Brad was talking about women’s roles in the church, Christine was talking about Brad’s cut and pasted comment on women’s roles within the church. The big shiny cartoon at the top is about women clergy. What does any of that have to do with homosexuality or “gays” as you like to call it (gay isn’t actually a noun, putting an s on it doesn’t make it one)?

  66. fishon says:

    Cindy
    July 10, 2010 | 3:57 pm

    I have to ask fishon, why is that you must bring every discussion back to homosexuality? For you to have that on the brain so much, it must be a personal issue for you in some way?
    ——Oh, I don’t know; probably the same reason the NP was bringing it up so much until someone challenged him about it.

    Why does it bother you that I bring it up? You must have a particular problem and conscience about it, huh?

  67. Stephen says:

    I would suggest another article:

    http://www.9marks.org/ejournal/may-women-serve-pastors

    This is yet another comprehensive and Scriptural based discourse on the topic. I have yet to see a rebuttal that matches it in the exegesis it provides of God’s word.

    What I normally see in response is also evident here: “I don’t like it so the Bible didn’t say it”. Please do not be deceived (1 Timothy 2:14)

  68. Cindy says:

    fishon,

    “——Oh, I don’t know; probably the same reason the NP was bringing it up so much until someone challenged him about it.”

    I doubt that very much. NP’s reason for bringing it up was always clear. He sees it as a matter of injustice within the church, so he brings it up (from time to time, with many other topics in between) as he does all other things he sees as unjust within the church. Apparently he doesn’t bring it up anywhere near often enough for you though since you feel the need to try to turn completely unrelated topics to it all the time.

    “Why does it bother you that I bring it up? You must have a particular problem and conscience about it, huh?”

    That’s funny. Always good to get in a laugh on a Monday morning. Of course, we both know it’s personal for me and I make no attempt to hide that. As to why it’s so personal to you, now that’s something only you know and clearly aren’t comfortable sharing.

  69. preacherlady says:

    Cindy…haven’t you noticed that fishon seems compelled to turn any discussion into a putdown of someone? He just uses biblical references so he can hide behind God. Its one of the main reasons I don’t comment that often anymore. Any conversation has to go to his level. I guess what did me in was when someone I know who was in the middle of a total breakdown began to comment. The person commenting said nothing offensive but fishon decided to jump on them and was absolutely cruel. We never know who is on the other end of a comment and just because this is a blog doesn’t mean we can be unloving and caustic. A discussion doesn’t have to be nasty

  70. Cindy says:

    Stephen,

    The article you linked to is well written, but it is still a prime example of the type of picking and choosing that ignores rather than responds to scriptures that seem to contradict its argument.

    Allow me to offer a couple of example of where it is ignoring scriptures that contradict its argument:

    #1) In his claim that the New Testament contains many appeals to the created order he lists Rom 1:26 and says that Paul’s choice of terms indicates that homosexuality violates God’s intent in creation. What he fails to mention here is that Paul uses the exact same terminology in 1 Cor 11:14 in reference to men having long hair. Would he also be willing to argue that it is against the created order for a man to have long hair? I suspect not, yet if one is not willing to argue such, then one must concede that the terminology Paul uses in both places can mean something other than what he claims it does. If it can only have one meaning, then that meaning must be applied equally in all instances where it is used, not only the ones that he feels support his argument. In this case that isn’t possible. Paul also uses the same terminology in Romans 11 when talking about how God grafted in the Gentiles to the good olive tree, doing something against nature. Absolutely nobody will argue that the gentiles being brought into relationship with God was against God’s created order (which of course would not have included a distinction of Jew and Gentile which came much later).

    #2) The crux of his argument about the significance of the order of creation says that man (being created first) was intended to rule over woman (being created second) prior to the fall. He completely ignores Gen 3:16 which clearly lists the husband ruling the wife as part of the punishment placed on Eve as a result of the fall. The main point of his argument says that God intended Adam to rule over Eve before the fall, indicated by the fact that he was created first. This is not only not supported by scripture, but it is in fact clearly contradicted by scripture, but he simply chooses not to address that scripture.

    #3) He claims the fact that Adam named Eve as well as the animals indicates his authority over Eve prior to the fall. This ignores the fact that the authority over the animals was given equally to Adam and Eve according to Gen 1:28. Since Adam naming the animals (because he was created first and this was done before Eve was created according to Gen 2:19) does not nullify the fact that Adam and Eve had equal authority over the animals, then Adam naming Eve is no indication that he had authority over her prior to the fall. Again, scripture contradicts that idea anyway. Adam naming Eve is nothing more that what would obviously follow from him having been created first.

    #4) He uses the fact that there were female prophets in the Old Testament but no female priests to indicate that women were never permitted to have authority over men in the OT, presupposing that a prophet never exercised authority over men, whereas a priest would. This paints a very inaccurate picture of OT prophets, who most certainly did at times exercise authority over the people. Read Judges 2 for a good example of a female prophet by the name of Deborah who also served as a judge exercising her God-given authority over men. Naturally, he ignores that scripture.

    #5) He makes a claim I’ve never heard before about the significance of Eve being deceived by the serpent rather than Adam. He claims that the serpent was subverting male headship by deceiving the woman rather than the man. It is likely that I’ve never heard this before because it is so easily debunked by scripture. As I’ve already pointed out, Eve’s submission to Adam was a part of the punishment given because she allowed herself to be deceived by the serpent. I only mention it again here because he makes such a big deal of the significance he sees in this.

    It is easy enough to make a good sounding argument for anything through selective use of scripture that ignores other scripture that contradicts your argument. It is much more challenging to find a way that scripture fits together, even when at face-value it doesn’t seem to. Clearly if we are going to take important doctrinal stances on issues that have a substantial effect on how the church operates and particularly how large segments of the church are treated, the latter is an absolute requirement. That requirement has not been fulfilled in this article.

    As for your last statement that dismisses all that disagree with you as though we were saying, “I don’t like it so the Bible didn’t say it”, taking that stance towards anybody that disagrees with your interpretation and application of certain passages may provide an easy way to dismiss people you don’t agree with, but think about this; if in doing so, you dismiss any scriptures presented that seem to contradict your interpretation/application, doesn’t that mean that you are then saying, “I don’t like it so the Bible didn’t say it”. That sort of attitude can work both ways and in the end gets nobody anywhere.

  71. Cindy says:

    Well said preacherlady. I hope you will not allow such things to drive you away from commenting altogether though, as I often find your comments insightful and helpful. Perhaps the real answer is to stop engaging those sorts of comments and stick to those that have something to offer beyond put-downs.

  72. Christine says:

    Stephen – I appreciate you providing sources. I’ll try a get a chance to look it over. However, accusing people of dismissing things simply because they do not like them is a fairly serious one. I would ask you not to make those assumptions.

    I would guess we simply have different ideas of what good exegesis looks like, which will cause us to see different things in the same passages.

    fishon – Ignoring the fact that you are trying to change the topic, you made some serious accusations about me.

    When did critiqing/evaluating an argument equate to “belittling”? You have certainly had your strong opinions about others’ arguments. Why is this any different?

    Just because you’ve given your opinion, doesn’t mean you’ve really explained why you hold it. Your “reasons” (for holding just about any position) have been nothing more than “read it, it’s clear it says what I claim it does”. Since the meaning you claim is not clear to many, then perhaps you are mistaken in saying it is clear.

    You also accuse me of only taking into account parts of scripture. As I try my best to understand scripture as a whole, I take this very seriously. Although we clearly disagree on the meaning of (pehaps many) parts of scriptures, please tell me which parts I’m ignoring altogether.

  73. preacherlady says:

    Cindy…as you know, I love a good discussion, but to get into one and have it deteriorate because someone has an agenda makes it not worth the while. If you look back, there were many times when a group of us were discussing and then came the remarks until people start replying to them and the rational( as rational as any of us on here get)discussion goes down the tubes, replaced by the my God is better than your God stuff. I’ll comment from time to time, but I won’t get into anything deeply. It isn’t worth putting the effort into it when it gets diverted to relatively unintelligent jousting for superiority. Besides, I need to be writing my book and my blog. I’ve been neglecting my blog.

  74. nakedpastor says:

    preacherlady and cindy:

    It could partly be my fault. I am, after all, the moderator of this blog. I am often accused of being too lenient when it comes to dialog. I am, at times, afraid of excluding someone from the conversation. Even if that person is rude and domineering, I have a difficult time internally restricting that one. However, I will endeavor to be a better moderator.
    yours,
    david

  75. preacherlady says:

    David…better undermoderated than overmoderated. Its a catch 22…a lot of people come here to see the fur fly. And everyone should have a voice…if they can keep it civil. Thats the hard one. When does it become not civil? Name calling, of course. Wild accusations…accusations period? When is sarcasm abusive? Its all a judgment call and you don’t want to lose the flavor of the comments. Perhaps, someone becoming combative without being in an actual debate is where the line might get drawn. Maybe you need to throw it out to the group and see what they think. Also, see who is not commenting and why. I know Steve has a new job and isn’t even doing his blog, but what about some of the others? Anyway, its a hard call to make.

  76. nakedpastor says:

    I wondered what happened to Steve.
    I’ve put it out to my readers once or twice. I’m still left to decide. I think I just need to moderate each case. No blanket exclusions.

  77. nakedpastor says:

    fishon: Am I hearing you right? You believe that a privately owned restaurant has the right to ban a Jew based on race? And this isn’t a racist position but a political one?

  78. Cindy says:

    I think you intended that last post for the evangelism thread David, but yes that is in fact fishon’s stance, bizarre though it may be. Although, when questioned on whether or not a privately operated ambulance should be able to refuse someone based on race, or a privately owned hospital, he said no. As best I can figure, if it’s a matter of life and death one shouldn’t be able to be discriminated against by the racist bigots of the world, but otherwise it’s fair game.

  79. Christine says:

    On the moderating, I could do without the constant assumptions and accusations. The ones that are clearly personal attacks. That’d be nice. (fishon’s comment to me above is aggravating, but not as bad as it gets, despite the rather angry tone.) The evangelism thread was going particularly badly before the change of topic.

    I think it’s not really any one post, but sometimes the constant barrage. If one person is occasionally dismissive or presumptious, no biggie, but when every point or comment is met with these sorts of accusations, no fruitful discussion can ever be had. What’s the point of coming if for every substantive post, you have to endure three or four character attacks? Maybe it’s a question of limiting frequent offenders only, or only the thirs or fourth such post by the same person on the same thread, or the third or fourth identical angry response. It is a really fine line and I don’t have the answers. A few warning shots accross people’s bows from time to time probably wouldn’t hurt, though.

  80. Christine says:

    Further to the moderating, perhaps here is an appropriate place to repost this:

    “Did we really need to close the conversation on “cartoon: glad we’ve moved on”? I know it gets frustrating when people debate the parametres for the discussion, but I didn’t see any actual name-calling (I might have missed it). The conversation appeared to pick up again at the end and I was all eager to add my two cents after waiting so long to get to a useful point in the conversation. I was sure it was a glitch that I couldn’t comment on the thread until I saw the note after refreshing it several times. Never occrred to me it was closed considering the nastiness was nowhere near the level it gets on other thread (even currently opened ones).”

    Of the threads that are currently being commented on, this was not at all the nastiest. (The other one you closed before desperately needed it, but was much much worse.) At what point do you decide to close a thread?

  81. fishon says:

    preacherlady
    July 12, 2010 | 11:36 am
    but fishon decided to jump on them and was absolutely cruel.
    ——Now that would be an untruth.

  82. fishon says:

    nakedpastor
    July 12, 2010 | 1:07 pm

    preacherlady and cindy:

    It could partly be my fault. I am, after all, the moderator of this blog. I am often accused of being too lenient when it comes to dialog. I am, at times, afraid of excluding someone from the conversation. Even if that person is rude and domineering, I have a difficult time internally restricting that one. However, I will endeavor to be a better moderator.
    yours,
    david
    ——-DAVID, ARE YOU SAYING THAT I AM RUDE AND DOMINEERING? IF SO, I WILL BOW OUT. NO HARD FEELING. YES SAY THE WORD. THAT WAY YOU CAN PROTECT YOUR TOLERANT, LIBERATED FOLKS FROM THE LIKES OF ME. I AWAIT YOUR RESPONCE.

    PS. I AM NOT MAKING THIS LIKE A DARE. I AM SERIOUS–IF I AM TOO MUCH FOR THE OTHERS AND IT IS HURTING YOUR BLOG–JUST DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO.

  83. preacherlady says:

    fishon…unfortunately, it isn’t an untruth. You have no idea how you come across at times. you may think you’re being cute, when in truth you’re being nasty and totally unloving. In this particular case, it was someone who was new to the blog, you jumped all over them and even when the called you on being disrespectful you persisted. This was made worse because I knew this person had just been diagnosed as bi-polar. As it turned out, they spent a month in the hospital. I believe I e-mailed you at the time and told you to soften it up…that you had no idea who was on the other end of a comment. You usually say oh, come on…its a blog. There are still real people attatched to the comments and as long as you identify yourself as a pastor you need to act like one. And in fact, as a pastor, I’d think you’d act in a loving manner ALL the time rather than calling people names, sarcastically putting people down. Do you really want people to read what you say and say “Thank God he’s not MY pastor, I pity the poor people in his church.”?

  84. fishon says:

    preacherlady
    July 12, 2010 | 11:40 pm

    fishon…unfortunately, it isn’t an untruth. You have no idea how you come across at times.
    —–Oh, I know how I come across to some, but not to all. You do not like my positions, therefore you wouldn’t like any way I put them. When the rubber meets the road, that is, calling sin sin, your hackels raise, and then you start your accusations of unloving and mean.

    You see, it is ok for you to call me “nasty and totally unloving,” ah yes, the truth Jerry, you need to hear the truth from me {Alice}, though it may hurt your feeling. But me dare tell someone they are in sin, well, heck no, I am nasty and unloving. Sorry Alice, goes both ways.

    you may think you’re being cute, when in truth you’re being nasty and totally unloving.
    —-Oh, I can asure you that I haven’t once tried to be cute. Yep, another of “I’m free to tell Jerry whatever I want, but he can’t, cause he is nasty….

    There are still real people attatched to the comments and as long as you identify yourself as a pastor you need to act like one.
    —Oops, there you go again, hurting my feelings. I am a real person too, Alice. Well, not really. But then to say I am not acting like a pastor, well, might that be about the same as me telling someone they are…? Oh, I am sure you won’t agree with that. I can take someone on for there stance on sin, and I am …, but you take me on, but then you are doing God’s work taking me on, right!

    And in fact, as a pastor, I’d think you’d act in a loving manner ALL the time rather than calling people names, sarcastically putting people down. Do you really want people to read what you say and say “Thank God he’s not MY pastor, I pity the poor people in his church.”?
    —–Hum, I have only had one family leave in 13yrs. Percentage wise, I’ll stack that up with anyone.

    One other thing on that “Thank God…thing. Just about everyone that has said that to me was someone living in the sin that I was speaking against. We would start out doing good, but when they moved the conversation to the main thing, oops, I called the sin as the Bible did, and then, “Boy am I glad I am not….”

    No, Alice, in the end, it is all about my positions. You live in a world that doesn’t call sin sin—-I live in the world that says, “Go and sin no more.” Deny all you want, but you and I have butted heads too long. I do know where you come from. Soft pedal.

  85. preacherlady says:

    Fishon…what I’m talking about has nothing to do with calling people out on sin. Its you getting flippy because you just plain don’t know the meaning of a word, don’t know the facts, or havn’t experienced something. One of the things you hopped on this person about was the fact that he was sympathetic to someone who said they were gay and had been mistreated. You challenged him and said that perhaps somewhere someone mistreated gays but how dare he say that gay people were mistreated. As a matter of fact he was a member of a church that was burnt to the ground when we decided to minister to the gay population that surrounded it. Concerning the issue of GLBT people, you need to read Andrew Marin’s book “Love Is An Orientation”. Andrew is straight. His entire premise is that no matter what we believe about homosexualiry, our job is to love. Period. Intense sarcasm is no way to minister to anyone. Combativeness is no way to minister to anyone. Calling people hypocrites…telling them they are flat out wrong and that YOU have the truth because the bible says so…it doesn’t matter if there are a dozen interpretations of a particular scripture…you have the right one . You don’t say “this is what I believe” but rather any fool can see that this is what it says so that settles it. It is possible to disagree about most anything if its done lovingly. There is nothing loving about putting people down. There is nothing loving about telling people they are going to hell. There is nothing loving in degrading sarcastic remarks. Everyone on here has tried to have a discussion with you…a rational discussion…yet you persist in taking potshots at everyone, including David. That isn’t discussion. I went back and read the evangelization thread. You were hostile, used circular reasoning, and threw in as many red herrings as possible. Again, there was a problem because you didn’t know the full meaning of a simple word. But, don’t think the problem is with your theology…its the manner in which you present it.

  86. preacherlady says:

    I think one of the problems,fishon, is what works in a small church, in a very small town in rural Oregon, wouldn’t stand up for two minutes in a big city. different parts of the country have different challenges.A pastor from Indiana who had built a church of 500 came to the city to plant a church. He lasted six months. If you call not telling people they’re going to hell soft pedal, then you’re right. But we aren’t in charge of what happens to people when they die. Thats God’s job. Our job is to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom. Period. What someone does with our teaching is their business not ours. We have an obligation to proclaim the truth(whatever we believe the truth to be)…no more, no less. Its up to the Holy Spirit to convict people of their sin, not for us to condemn them. Teach the truth in love…don’t be tied to the outcome.