Women and Church Leadership

What is up with 1 Corinthians 14:35 and 1 Timothy 2:12, and Paul’s prohibition of women speakers in these specific churches? Before we go too deep, I want it known that I believe it is a mistake to develop core theology based on only a few Bible verses, especially when it is done at the expense of other passages. The fact remains that in some places the Bible clearly instructs that women should be silent in church, having neither instruction or authority over men, but in other places it features women leading and even appropriately prophesying in mixed-gender local church gatherings. This fact alone rules out a casual and universal interpretation of verses like 1 Tim 2:12. Something deeper must be moving to prompt Paul to speak in such extreme terms in these specific situations.

In the case of the Letter to Timothy, a reading of the entire letter will reveal that there was a battle in this church over distractions, control and who should be allowed to speak from a position of authority. As it turns out, unqualified and unauthorized people were trying to distract and usurp the leadership of the local pastor and negatively impacting the church’s reputation. These specific usurpers in this particular situation just happened to be women, and there is reason to believe that Paul spoke in extreme terms because of the immediacy and urgency of this situation and the sanctity of that church community. We should follow the same principle today: unqualified and unauthorized individuals should not be allowed to influence the church, but there is no reason to assume that gender alone is what makes a person qualified or not.

Paul’s prohibition against women leaders was not intended to be absolutized in all situations or at all times. As such, I find no valid reason to either prevent or promote a person to or from the role of pastor based on gender alone.

Readers interested in this topic will also find the blog entry and subsequent discussion on the TNIV to be helpful: The TNIV is a Great, but often Misunderstood & Unfairly Maligned Translation of the Bible

See Also: Hey, John Piper, Is My Femininity Showing?

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About C_Lambeth

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest. I graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor's of Science and from George Fox Seminary (now Portland Seminary) with a Master's of Divinity. In addition to knowing Christ and helping others know him, I am passionate about peace, the environment, Christian feminism, justice for all (not just the wealthy) and being a lifelong learner. Please feel free to comment on any of the posts here or to suggest new posts altogether. Thank you for reading me! -CL
This entry was posted in Feminism, My Core Beliefs, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Women and Church Leadership

  1. TMC says:

    Take all the churches in the US and get rid of every church that has a gay pastor, a homosexual pastor, an alcholic pastor, a female pastor, or a pastor that was divorced post born again, and what do you have? None of those people are called by God to be leaders as they are actively sinning and living in it. They do not have to be perfect, but they can not be a pastor under specific requirements of the bible.

  2. TMC,
    Easy there. Let’s take this nice and slow. As per your post, I’m not really sure what the difference is between a “gay pastor” and a “homosexual pastor,” but for the sake of continuity with my original post on women and church leadership, let’s focus on that issue.

    You said:
    …a female pastor …and what do you have? None of those people are called by God to be leaders as they are actively sinning and living in it.

    Would you have us believe that merely being a woman is “actively sinning and living in it”? Furthermore, how do you know that women are not “called by God”?

    -CL

  3. TMC says:

    No, I am not saying that “merely being a woman is ‘actively sinning and living in it’” . That is the Word telling us. There are many righteous women in scripture. One led a nation. But she led because the men, in sin, abdicated their responsibility. She did not want it nor was she supposed to have to take it up. But she did until a man would.

    The head of the local church and it’s deacons are to be men. For a woman to hold that position is rebellion to God. Worse, all those under her are living in that rebellion with her.

    1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

    3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

    Tts 1:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

    No one can make you believe the above. But if you don’t, your road block is not with men, it is with God.

    People that can read the Word of God and not believe it and add to it and twist it to make it say what they desire it to say are what make Jesus sad.

    Peace and Blessings

  4. TMC,
    Thank you for your reply. There are a few problems with your conviction that women leadership in the church is indicative of “actively sinning and living in it.” First of all, none of the verses you cited support this or your notion that “The head of the local church and it’s deacons are to be [only] men.” The verses you quoted seem to speak to certain congregations in certain circumstances where men were deacons and elders, or at least the majority thereof. That much is true, but nowhere do these verses indicate that this male dominance was the case in ALL churches EVERYWHERE. To argue otherwise is an argument from silence, especially since there are several cases where women are in fact listed as leaders, one even as an apostle.

    Similarly, you have failed to make a distinction between instructions in the Bible that are culturally dependent and culturally transcendent. What I mean is that I doubt you greet your fellow believers with a kiss, even though 1st century Christians were clearly instructed to do so (Rom. 16:16, 1Cor. 16:19 and 2 Cor. 13:12). There are other examples that contemporary believers treat similarly, so the question is: why do you think that situations in which men were leaders in the early church should be culturally transcendent and universalized as THE rule for all churches everywhere at all times?

    Thirdly, nowhere in the Bible (at least not that I am aware of) does it say that one’s gender alone makes them either worthy or unworthy of a gathering’s leadership, much less “actively sinning and living in it.” In fact, there are many instances in the Bible where human distinctions for preferential treatment are overturned completely. Yet somehow you mean to tell me that weather or not someone has the specific genitalia is what determines God’s call on their life as a leader for his people? I think you’re going to have a difficult time making that case, but I am open to hear your perspective.

    Finally, you have subtly accused me of twisting the Bible to make it say what I desire. I understand this as a legitimate possibility, but do you? I might just as easily say that YOU are the one who is forcing the Bible to support your own a-biblical convictions. People have been discussing women leadership in the church for a long time, so I doubt you will be convinced by me, but are you at least willing to admit that perhaps your understanding of the Bible is not complete or perfected?

    -CL

  5. TMC says:

    It is what God tells me plainly and clearly in Verse and it paints a picture. God covers > Father, Son, HS > Father covers Son > Son/Jesus covers man kind, men, (and women) > Men cover wives, daughters and sons. Men were never supposed to divorce their wives. Men were never supposed to have multiple wives. The husband covers his wife and together they cover their children. Daughters were not supposed to move out and live under their own roofs, and have various sexual partners before they married and neither were sons. If you want to talk culture, it is culture that allowed the men and not the women. God had nothing to do with that. Culture has nothing to do with Salvation, which is spiritual.

    Gen 2:18 And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
    Eve created to Help Adam. Not manage or direct, but help.
    Adam covered Eve >

    Gen 3:16 … and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. Eve is made subject to her husband. Which explains the direction we go with previous verse that some may debate.

    So, something as significant as no women not being allowed to teach men, for what ever reason, is not spiritual in application. It is only cultural, geo specific, or time related? So, you pull out 50+ % of what is said because it was directed towards the Romans, Philidelphi, Shmerna, etc?

    Seems to me you have your personal needs, desires, wants, what is fair, etc. at work here on this topic. As many women caught up in the Feminist movement did/do. My wife, as a social worker was very into that. Over time she learned and came to agree that We are virtual equals in that God tells her to support me, and God tells me to love my wife like Jesus does the Church. That I make the final decision if we can not come to a consensus, but that I am a fool if I do not listen to the wisdom of my wife. And that the final decision may be my way because I find it to be more correct, or her way for the same, or her way simply because I love her.

    You are twisting the bible. You are deciding something scriptural with your feelings and not with what God says. Our feelings do not fall into any governing position with regard to scripture. Period. If you take all scripture in the bible on men and women you can not come out that a women is to lead. A very few have lead and always because in that one case that was how God did it and we know very little more, or because all the men in the land abdicated their responsibilities so she lead until they would. But she led as a Loving Nurturing Mother, not a Leader. And she pushed and yelled at the men to pick themselves up and do Their job.

    Every thing in scripture is Always Spiritual in nature and pointing towards Salvation one way or another. There ‘can’ be historical, political, cultural, etc implications as well. But they Never override the previous.

    I am always ready to be shown that a belief of mine is wrong. I don’t care who is wrong or right. I care about what is wrong or right. But in everything I know about women in scripture, God is showing them in a supportive roll to their husbands. Or if they have none, taking care of their family. But it was designed for children to lean on their parents, wives to lean on their husbands, and husbands to be lead by Jesus. It is not a question of equality, sexism, etc. In fact, if one wanted to complain, women have nothing to complain about. In your position you see a lesser role. But does it kill you? NO. It only says to be submissive to. While the husbands are to love the church as Jesus did. And how did He do that? By being accosted by Satan, denied by his own father, tortured, ridiculed, and finally, by giving his own life and experiencing Hell so that His followers would not have to. Considering that, do you still have a problem with simply being submissive?

  6. TMC,
    You have still failed to respond to my first set of queries regarding what is culturally dependent and that which is culturally transcendent and how you have personally decided which is which. Again I would counter that you are the one who is twisting Scripture here to meet your own prejudices, needs and desires etc.

    As for the early chapters of Genesis that you cited, your sexism is palpable in your interpretation that women are merely to help their men, as if it were a one-way avenue. You simply assume that women cannot “help” men by “directing” or “managing” them. But tell me, is this conclusion based on unequivocal evidence or merely your personal opinion?

    With regard to Gen. 3:16 in particular, you seem to have invested a great deal in the corrupted state of affairs after all that unpleasant snake, garden and fruit business. But surely you can see that you are celebrating and defending the post-sin curse, NOT humanity as it was originally created to be. Disparity, domination and submission between the sexes was the result of sin, so why would honest to goodness Christ followers perpetuate that instead of seeking to restore equality between women and men? To do so on the basis of these passages (and the ones in Corinthians and Timothy) is insufficient and ignores the Bible’s teaching that we align ourselves to God rather than the brokenness of the world.

    It is also somewhat telling that you say that you, “ don’t care WHO is wrong or right. [but that you] care about WHAT is wrong or right” (emphasis mine). The problem is that you have confused doctrine and subscription to a set of propositions (the what) for the living, dynamic person of Christ (the who). There is no justification for your exclusion of women as leaders in Christ’s church solely because of their gender or who might be brought closer to Christ under their direction. Christ not only NEVER taught your brand of sexism, but he also and consistently overturned the cultural status quo wherever he went.

    I’m not saying that your personal preference for patriarchy is unbiblical or evil. It certainly can be both of those things, but not of its own accord. However, what I am saying is that it is only ONE model of valid church and spiritual leadership among several, and that egalitarian or even matriarchal models can also assist Christ’s kingdom in our midsts in certain contexts.

    People have been discussing women leadership in the church for a long time, so I doubt you will be convinced by me, but are you at least willing to admit that perhaps your understanding of the Bible is not complete or perfected? What the Bible says, and our interpretation of those words are not the same thing. I freely admit this. Can you?

    Finally, and to answer your last question, No, I have no problem being submissive to Christ. However, I have a big problem with people who act as if their personal doctrine and interpretation of the Bible is what others should be submissive to rather than Christ himself. There is more tension on the issue of sexism and church leadership than you may be willing to admit, and this is from a biblical perspective, in addition to a cultural one. I also admit that my first comment in this thread was too abrasive, but your case against women is simply insufficient. I just ask that you consider that your perspective is not the only biblical one out there. I leave that up to you.

    -CL

  7. TMC says:

    The only truth is scripture. The bible is not truth, it is a translation of the truth. A Child of Christ rests on Scripture and knows it is true while at the same time knowing that there may be errors in the translation. One also knows that just as a bible may not be 100% accurate and truthful, that man never is. And man writes history, defines current and past cultures, etc. Who will write the truth about Russia when so much was a lie, a cover, deception, fear, etc.? Who will write about the USA? Will it be Liberals; or will it be their Conservative counterparts?

    There is no low hanging historical fruit in the bible in that it coincides with other external historical, cultural, or other texts. It is other texts that ‘may’ coincide with scripture. Never the other way around. Scripture is what we test historical, cultural and other texts against.

  8. TMC,

    I am trying to appreciate your response, but I can’t make heads or tails of your attempt to clarify between culturally specific and culturally transcendent features of the Bible. You said that,”The only truth is scripture. The bible is not truth, it is a translation of the truth.

    But I have to ask once again, how is it that YOU have come to be so committed to your doctrine when biblical challenges to it are afoot? You say that “Man never is [truthful],” but are you not a man? Would you have us believe that you have some special insight to the truth while the rest of us are just mired in… the Bible? This is part of the difference I am talking about: our (your and my) understanding of the Bible is not perfect, and what was culturally specific to the original audiences may or not be applicable to us today in the same way because the same parameters do not exist or apply. This is the difference between specific instructions and the broader principles that govern them. Across times and cultures, one may change without violating or invalidating the other.

    And I disagree with your assessment that “there is no low hanging fruit in the bible [sic]… .” While not all biblical themes are easily discerned, and especially by those who have no historical, biblical or hermeneutical education, it would be a mistake to say that a person must to go to Bible college or seminary to grasp the meaning of the Bible. A 7-year-old can get the most important message from God’s Word. Nevertheless, even sophisticated and mature students of the Bible need help and outside information to come to a deeper understanding of the text, which is precisely why we listen to sermons and send our shepherds to get training and education. Because of our own cultural setting and conditioning, what might seem to us to be “plain” meaning of a passage is not always correct. The fact remains that the Bible is from a different zip code and time zone than we are, and much of what it says is at least a little bit foreign to us. We would do well to remember this.

    But enough. I am willing to let many of my previous questions to you go unanswered for the moment, but you must respond to the following if our conversation is to proceed in any meaningful way: What do you say about discerning between what is culturally dependent and what is culturally transcendent in the biblical text? Do you make any distinctions at all? This topic is the linchpin for my perspective and understanding of the relevant texts.

    -CL

  9. TMC says:

    Lets keep in mind that I am talking about women in leadership roles over men. Specifically spiritual leadership in this case.

    Two of the verses I posted earlier (1 Tim 3:2 and 12, and Titus 1:6) are from different books, yet aligned. They taught the requirements to hold the leadership positions within all churches or those churches. However, the apostles did not teach opposing messages. They taught towards one thing. It is ONE message and ONE truth from All of God’s chosen teachers, writers, etc. to us.

    What does the kiss from early 1st century vs myself today have to do with anything? If scripture tells me I should be doing it, then I should. But I don’t believe that is your point. Your point is circular argument. You set up the parameters from ~1800 years ago, compared them to today, and then give the pre set answer. None of it scriptural or required.

    As for your earlier question to me, the answer is Yes. All churches at all times are to be led only by men. Because it was applicable then and NOTHING I read changed that. God set roles, responsibilities, and such. And if women can be the head of the church, they can be the head of anything. Thus Queen and spiritual teacher. Compare the biblical male kings or leaders to the female Queens and leaders. Tell me what you see to be the recurring theme?

    Only when men fail their responsibilities do women come into leadership roles over men. But inspect what kind of role that is. They are leading, not giving orders. Sin of Men brings about this limited change of roles. And the women are ready, willing, and eager to give up that position so that the man can fulfill it fully.

    I would love to be proven wrong if I am wrong. But I see no evidence to believe otherwise while I see plenty in how God provides leadership to men and sets it upon the women when the men fall, fail, and sin.

    Do women you know really want to marry a guy that is weaker then them? Do you know of any women that want to teach scripture to their husbands? Or do they want a man that loves, respects, and treats them as an equal part of the marriage, shares scripture learning with them but takes the regular role of leadership in the spiritual relationship, and a man that is capable of standing up and making the very difficult final decisions that come along here and there. I am not excluding women. I simply believe, due to scripture, that a husband is the spiritual head of the house and if he is not, he is sinning. Further, that that goes into church leadership.

    Finally, consider how your application of a specific instruction to a named target applies to other verses, requirements, rules, laws, etc. from God. Per your position, I would have to re study the bible to find out all these places where a statement to the Greeks, Romans, Ethiopians, Soldiers, Disciples/Apostles, Mary Magdalene, Lazarus, and a host of others are now not for me. I only see the bible being broken in this manner. The minute you bring in history and culture to help you come to a conclusion that is in no way backed by scripture, to not apply a general teaching for all is the minute scripture just became untrustworthy and worthless.

    You are twisting scripture. In this case. The above is why I believe that. Your position is not the whole counsel of God and in fact uses other authorities then God.

  10. TMC,
    First off, you are correct when you say that the apostles did not teach opposing messages. Nevertheless, their message (Christ) was not always conveyed through the same methodology (specific instructions to specific churches). One can (and did) remain static, while the other was (and is) subject to change pending the context.

    Secondly, your assessment of Romans 16:16, 1Cor. 16:20, 2Cor. 13:12 & 1Thess. 5:26 (“greet each other with a holy kiss”) is inconsistent. Scripture clearly indicates that you “should be doing it” (your quote), yet I get the feeling that you have strayed from this instruction precisely because of the cultural difference between you and 1st century Palestine. Kisses as greetings are a bit odd in our culture and thus may set up more division in our churches than solidarity. You are quick to point out that “none of it [kissing] is… required,” but you fail to explain why you think this is so. I suspect that our reasoning is not altogether dissimilar on this principle but rather it the issue of women leadership that has caused the divide between us. On what grounds do you adapt your behavior on “the kiss” while remaining frozen in time on the issue of women leading?

    You asked many questions in your last post (Israelite kings of old, rules for church leaders etc.), but you are the one who has already (mistakenly) predetermined the answer for all them and centered it around sexism rather than the character traits focused on by the authors. You ignore the principles (desired character traits) and dial in on the peripheral issue of gender all while ignoring the specific contexts that Paul et al. were trying to address in specific churches, in specific locations wrestling with specific issues. You are making an argument from silence when you try to absolutize these promulgations for all churches everywhere. Paul never taught this, but you do. You seem to believe this, not because the Bible teaches it, but because of your own misunderstandings (and possible bigotry?). But you don’t have to stay there. You can come into a fuller understanding of God’s purposes for ALL his people, if only you are able to admit the possibility that you have been wrong. None of us are perfect.

    But to address some of your own questions, of COURSE the Israelite kings were men, and of COURSE most of the early church leaders were men. They lived in patriarchal (male dominated/ inequitable) societies. But do I really need to point out to you the catastrophic failures that many of these men brought upon themselves and their devoted followers just to demonstrate that gender is not what makes or breaks good leaders (spiritual or otherwise)? Was their failure or success contingent upon their gender or was it their character and relationship with God (or lack thereof) that made the difference? You are convinced that it was the former while I maintain it is the latter. Despite what the entirety of Scripture says, somehow you have come to believe that gender alone is THE feature that either permits or prevents God from calling a person to be a leader for his people. It is nothing short of your telling God what he can and cannot do, and this boggles the mind.

    And perhaps I missed it, but could you defend your earlier emphasis and support of the curse mentioned in Genesis 3:15-17? Your comment in question is from your April 30th post (2:25PM).

    -CL

  11. TMC says:

    C.L.:
    – You have now labeled me as sexist and bigot and claim I am merely cherry picking. Perhaps we will find out if you are right or wrong? FYI – I am not committed to My doctrine. I am committed, as best as a sinner can be, to the Word. Then you end by declaring me wrong. This is not appropriate playground behavior.

    ——
    Who has leadership and spiritual authority within the Church? Men and husbands or women and wives?

    There is no 50/50 rule by God. He does not rule by majority, consensus, council, etc. He is first and foremost KING of Kings. So, do men and husbands or women and wives have authority over the other regarding church leadership and teaching to men?

    “Defend my emphasis of Genesis 3:16”?
    It deals with man and woman and their relationship post fall. It places the husband over the wife regarding leadership between the two. This was never done away with. There are two male representations in the Father and the Son. The Son being at the head of the church and we as the bride. Roles, levels of responsibility, and such. This harmonizes with scripture where God is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in line with what Paul or Peter teach, what is stated in Isaiah, etc.

    Now you make up false hoods about me?
    … somehow you have come to believe that gender alone is THE feature that either permits or prevents God from calling a person to be a leader for his people…

    Wow, and you were so concerned about me saying you were twisting scripture? No where have I ever come close to saying this and we both know this. It `appears’ that you are now inventing ideas and attributing them to me, as well as make blanket derogatory statements, and labeling me. What ever works for you.

  12. TMC,
    Thank you for your reply.

    I can’t help but notice that you didn’t address the issues related to 1st century instructions to “greet one another with a holy kiss,” or the questions I raised about interpretation and cultural differences. Will you respond to these?

    Since you have tentatively affirmed that gender is not THE determining factor when selecting church leaders, I feel that our conversation has not been entirely unproductive. However, I still wonder that you might try and make gender THE deciding factor if all other qualifications are met by a woman. That is bound to surface again, but I will stand corrected if it doesn’t. But if nothing else, I understand your position on women better now than I did when I read your initial, somewhat obscure comment.

    As far as the allegation of your bigotry goes, a careful read will reveal that I didn’t label you with the term, but rather asked if this merely could be a possibility. Wether you are one or not remains to be seen. Concerning sexism, however, I stand by the definition of the word and its applicability to your position. Of course I hope that this is only because you believe God is sexist and you want to honor him rather than your being sexist on your own and casting God in your image or using his word to support your position. Both are possibilities, but one is far harder to admit than the other (yes, for both of us). But if we take a closer look at Scripture (and not just your hand-picked selections), I think that we will see that God is not as sexist as some have made him out to be.

    I’ll consider other texts as they arise, but let’s start with Genesis 3:15-17 and its context. You quoted and said:

    Gen 3:16 To the woman he said, `I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’

    ‘Defend my emphasis’? It deals with man and woman and their relationship post fall. It places the husband over the wife regarding leadership between the two. This was never done away with.

    Indeed, my assertion remains that you must defend your emphasis, for you are supporting the fallen state of affairs and championing the curse, rather than what God would have preferred for his human creatures. And you are incorrect when you claim that the curse has NEVER been done away with, for it is overturned at each and every instance when men and women treat each other as equals rather than as subordinates. The post-fall “curse” is merely descriptive of humanity’s new and negative possibilities, but it does not dictate what must be. Christians are called to work and hope for a restored creation/ Kingdom, but not to wallow in the mess we find ourselves in. Disparity, domination and submission between the sexes is the result of sin, so serious Christ followers are called to resist it. Genesis 3:16 counts against your position, not for it.

    -CL

  13. TMC says:

    CL,
    I know that staring out with the answer is not the way to approach this topic of women leading. As God created and revealed in His order, so must we start and learn in the same manner when we have challenges. I see that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one in God. But apart, the Son and the HS are subject to the Father and not the other way around. That trend goes onI see Jesus following the law by being baptized in the river so that He could become the High Priest of His church. Like Jesus, husbands are to love their wives as Jesus loves the church. Jesus is the High Priest or Spiritual Leader of His church.

    I am to love my wife as Jesus loves the church. Where is the negative in treating my wife like this? I am to be like Jesus. You don’t want husbands to love their wives as Jesus does the church??? So, my wife is to be subject to me as the spiritual leader. What does that mean both ways? It means that my wife and I make nearly all big decisions together. If she is alone, she does it. If I am alone I do it. But we do our very best to discuss and consider on all big decisions. And she knows that I am a fool before God if I do not do as I am told.

    Due to the above, I seek out other leaders spiritual help, not their wives. Due to the above, I am to be the high priest over/for my family. Am I then to submit spiritual leadership, oversight, correction, etc. to another man’s wife? That is broken logic even with out being told who is and is not to be the heads of the church. I do not accept women spiritual leaders because women are not part of the spiritual leader equation from God. That’s why I do not put them in there. But you are.

    Do you desire me to use insulting terms to describe your possible views?
    I do not make God out to be a sexist. That is your challenge. Not mine. I do not have a problem with Jesus and the HS being subject to the Father. I do not have a problem with Jesus being the head of the church. I do not have a problem with having the responsibility of being the spiritual leader of my family. That is the way God designed it. Why? I don’t know. But there is no imperfection in that.

    Please, tell me, not with feelings, fairness, history, or culture, without what men have done and still do, without regard to sin, why you feel the opposite. That women must be spiritual leaders? I believe that scriptures teaches that women can’t be the spiritual leaders over men. Please show me, with scripture, why and how women must be spiritual leaders over men.

    The problem is this. You are starting out at the standpoint that women are inferior. I am not. God did not start out at this point so why do you? What others do is irrelevant. It would be correct to start out at the beginning just as God did. He created male first. This is the created order. That was His decision. He is called the Father because that is the way He, not she, set it up. And that is not a negative thing.

    • C_Lambeth says:

      TMC,
      I can’t help but notice that you offered no response to my challenge of your Genesis 3:16 interpretation. Does this mean that you have nothing else to say about it? If so, I will move on to rebutting your interpretations of other Scripture verses.

      I must also voice protest at your effort to turn the tables and project your sexism onto me. Just so we are clear, I am starting out at the standpoint that women are NOT inferior, not the least of which is because the Bible admonishes God’s people to be advocates of equality and fairness, but not perpetrators of prejudice nor faulty human cultural constructs. That you accuse ME of believing that women are inferior is truly baffling.

      And you are mistaken about the order of creation. God did not create man first, for the heavens and seas, land, plants and animals all came first. In fact, if we follow your theme of first-is-best, then we are squarely in the realm of thinking that inanimate stars, elementals and plants etc. are God’s preferred and chosen vessels for leadership. Alternatively, if we turn the hierarchy around, and adopt a last-is-best perspective, then it is women indeed who are the pinnacle of God’s creation and who are worthy enough for God to take his rest after their formation. Based on what you have written, it seems that you are unlikely to follow your own logic to its conclusion, but you simply cannot have it both ways.

      -CL

  14. TMC says:

    I could be twisting things. But I am not. If I was, it would be actual scripture I twist. You have no scripture to even twist. You just cut out scripture and or make it by your judgment irrelevant.

    CL: “…your sexism is palpable in your interpretation that women are…” Again, more name calling and attacking the person and not discussing the topic.

    You have confused your own needs, feelings, historical cultures, etc. with the law of scripture. We all do it. I smoke. And it is a master over me. Do I pretend smoking is OK, good, not in control of me, etc.? No. I acknowledge my sin.

    There is much justification for exclusion. And very little potential for inclusion. You are abrasive. Which is how I know I am not debating scripture with you, but your feelings vs scripture.

    CL: “You seem to be incapable of seeing any perspective but your own on the issue of women leaders…”

    Incapable perspective? Here we go again. I have excellent perspective. I understand how women, due to the actions of men, are afraid to consider submission and husband(s) in position of spiritual authority in the home and church. But being afraid changes nothing. My liberal social worker psychologist spouse over came it because she acknowledges that Jesus is greater then her fears, pride, feelings, etc.

    “…(and possible bigotry?).”
    I could follow this up with much better stuff. But I do my best not to poison the well, but to discuss the real issues. Not attack the opponent as you can not stop doing.

    Oh, so there is no reasoning behind why Jesus chose: Adam, Abraham, Noah, Moses, Saul, David, Solomon, son in the flesh, bishops, deacons, elders? All men? This is invisible to you in what, your desire to be sexist neutral?

    The catastrophic failures of those kings, etc. are irrelevant. This has nothing to do with what God ordains, whom He chooses, roles, etc. You do not provide arguments, but unrelated to the topic background. Job was a horrible sinner. What does that have to do with God saying how righteous he was? That is what you often do.

    To be honest. I don’t see any amazing challenge to Gen 3:16. Where is it?
    In many ways I am not the equal of a male or female pro wrestler, mensa member, engineer, marine, etc. Why are you so concerned about equality between husband and wife? Yes, Gen 3:16 still continues. It says what the wife will do. There is no compliment statement for the husband. There is Nothing Wrong with a wife having desire for her husband and being submissive. I am very sorry you see that as such a horrible thing.

    Sin does not turn 3:16 against ‘my’ position. So, murder is done all over so what is happening overwrites scripture? My gosh? Because a man beast and molests his children, children no longer need love and respect their elders/parents/fathers?

    You are stuck in cause v/s effect to define and bring out the truth in scripture. I don’t know what to say. But your foundation for way too many things we have dicussed here is not on Jesus or scripture but pain, hurt, pride, lack of humility, feelings, the world, culture, history, and perhaps anger and a few other stronger emotions.

    I can not discuss scripture in light of: Feelings or emotions
    With regard to the role (king, leader) someone was in and ignore their role GOD put them in because they ended up as horrible children of Satan
    What you know to be God’s specific roles for husbands and wives pre sin, when you don’t know GOD’s plan. Your secrete knowledge of pre fall husband and wife roles. And your changing or comfortably ignoring extremely relevant scripture on those roles that is sprinkled all through the bible. Then, teach yourself to stop: attacking the attacker, using red harrings, being generally insulting and mean, etc. When you do that, you affect the other party and can actually be responsible for their actions. But you know that right? Because that is in scripture.

  15. C_Lambeth says:

    TMac,

    First of all, can you not see the duplicity in your accusing me of distractions even as you compose a meandering post that deals with almost everything except my previous comment addressed to you? If you really want to avoid such distractions, let’s keep it to one or two issues at a time and have some correlation with the preceding post. Surely we can do this.

    Secondly, you make much of my allegations against your doctrine and repeatedly decry my criticism/ “behavior,” yet you turn right around and engage in the same or even worse types of insults and “playground behavior.” Maybe we can avoid repeating this in the future if we both just acknowledge our belief that the other person doesn’t understand Scripture and is letting their own opinions and prejudices sully their interpretations. I believe this to be applicable to you, and you have said on several occasions that you believe similar things about me. There, our feelings have been revealed for what they are. Let’s move on without verbalizing the sentiments over and over.

    Thirdly, let’s talk about the part of your previous post that actually dealt with my previous writing to you on the early chapters of Genesis. Concerning the order of creation can you see that your position is not supported by the sequence as stated in the Bible, neither working from first-to-last nor last-to-first?

    About 3:16 in particular, you seem to be confusing internal and unique individual capabilities (wrestling moves and Mensa qualifications) with external and universal individual rights access (equal treatment regardless of individual capabilities). Perhaps this is the cause for some of our disagreement. When I say men and women are equals (and that the Bible promotes this), I do not mean that there are no differences between them (either on an individual or general level), but rather that they are to be treated without favoritism or prejudice based solely on their gender. To answer your question, I am concerned about equality because it is consistent with who Jesus followers are called to be. If I might ask a question of my own: Why are you NOT concerned with this?

    In reply to your other statements, yes, the curse in Genesis 3 still continues whenever we abdicate our responsibilities as God’s people and have not the resolve nor the conviction to resist it.

    Yes, you are correct in saying that there is nothing wrong with a wife who desires her husband or being submissive to him (when it is consistent with God’s values). Contra your assertion, I see this as a good thing.

    As for the rest of your typing on this section of Genesis, I am having a hard time following your train of thought. Murder does not “overwrite Scripture”. I don’t know what you mean there. But yes, when men (fathers and husbands) default on their duties to love and protect their children (and wives), those women and children are not required to be punching bags or passive in the least just because they are women and children. This again is the conception of justice, equality and human rights that I see in the biblical text.

    -CL

  16. TMC says:

    It meanders through your posts trying to answer or note on significant points. What do your red hearings have to do with me not answering a question of yours?

    Your supposition is already broken. You have your own starting point that already includes assumptions. When God made Adam, He simply made Adam for his perfect righteous desires. He did the same with Eve. Once they fell, they both became inferior. And it is post fall we are talking about.

    “…the Bible admonishes God’s people to be advocates of equality and fairness, but not perpetrators of prejudice nor faulty human cultural constructs. That you accuse ME of believing that women are inferior is truly baffling.”

    Your understanding, definition, application of equality and fairness is your own and not God’s. Equality is in the bible once regarding sharing between peoples. Fair is apparently 99% of the time referring to how something looks. Jesus talked about what was right. Not about what was fair, equatable, unfair.

    Per your opinion, we all have the same exact gifts. No one if different. Not some to this and some to that. But we all get it all. Period. Sorry. It is not about us and what we get, it is about one spirit in all of us and that we all have same opportunity to salvation as everyone else. After that, no one is the same, not husband and wife, not men and women, not men and men, nor women and women.

    Gen 2:18 And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
    So God made the animals. Gen 2:20 …but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. So God made Eve.

    My ‘theme’ is not first is best and it never was. However, in this specific case, not relevant to other cases, able to stand on its own, God made Adam, then Animals, the Eve. God told Adam not to eat. Adam told Eve not to eat. The Serpent told Eve a lie. Eve introduced Adam to the lie. Why it happened that way? That is God’s business. Then God cursed Adam and the ground. Then He cursed Eve.

    I do not make much of your allegations, behavior, insults, ad hominim attacks, etc. other then to point out that you continue to do them. I have every fairness in doing this. I am not required to sit idle and endure your inappropriate ways. Please, don’t tell me I engage in the same or even worse as a follow up, that I insult and act childish. SHOW me where I do this. I show verse. You say things like this: “Thirdly, let’s talk about my previous writing to you on the early chapters of Genesis. Concerning the order of creation can you see that your position is not supported by the sequence as stated in the Bible, neither working from first-to-last nor last-to-first?”

    Tell me, show me, why it does not. You only gave me silly broken analogies for why not. You provided no scriptural proof of anything. If you can not use my own supplied verses to prove me wrong then find others. I don’t roll over simply because you feel this way. And that is pretty much all you have shared. Your feelings. Not really any scripture, biblical examples, etc. to prove your point. So from now on, why don’t you bring scripture with you to dispute.

    Further, this again is not male v/s female. This is Husband roles and Wife roles. You are Continually and Only equating `submissive’ with negative connotations. And even when I point out that the Son is submissive to the Father, well, that appears to not even make you stop and reconsider. You are all tied up in the negatives and I can not pull you out of that. I am not concerned about it because Jesus told You NOT to be Concerned about it.

    We always abdicate our responsibilities. There are none righteous. None that seek after God. None but God that is good. You are taking Garden of Eden utopia ideas and inserting them in real life over writing what in fact GOD said. The curse will always be here. And some men will abuse their authority. And some women will refuse that authority. And the families and marriages will be worse off for Both of them for it. It is all within the framework of God’s values. But you are telling God that men are not following his values and thus it is not fair, safe, equitable, nice, enjoyable, etc. And God is Still telling you to Obey Him. Be it a horrible spouse, a horrible boss, a horrible police officer, a horrible church, etc. What others do or don’t do does not relieve you or me from our responsibilities to God.
    You do not go fixing what God did not declare to be broken.

    You were equating the end of something simply because people broke the law or did not follow it. Thus it is no longer applicable. I am saying that this is not how we follow the law. Else murder would be OK since it is one of the most broken laws in history. We do not obey the law regaring murder, but that does not mean we end the law.

    • C_Lambeth says:

      TMC,

      I can see that my asking you to be concise and stick to a single topic or two has been futile, at least so far. But anytime you want to aim for that in future posts is welcome.

      I also perceive that you are either not reading my posts or that you have insufficient reading comprehension skills. I hope it is the former, and that is something you can easily fix. For a case in point, in my previous posting I said that men and women should be treated as equals from an external legal or human rights perspective, but NOT that “no one is different,” as you claimed that I said. If we’re going to have an honest discussion, you need to not twist my words around and have them say the exact opposite of what I wrote. Maybe you just blitzed through what I wrote and did not really read it. If that is the case, then ok, but try to do better if you will.

      As far as your insults go, I will only point out one section to you:
      “You only gave me silly broken analogies… You provided no scriptural proof of anything. I don’t roll over simply because you feel this way. And that is pretty much all you have shared. Your feelings.”

      If you honestly cannot see this as condescending and insulting, then it would likely waste my time in pointing more examples out to you. But whether you acknowledge your insulting tone or not, I am willing to tolerate your attitude since we don’t really have to like each other to discuss our beliefs in the first place. Put another way, your insults add nothing to your position and are completely irrelevant to the issue at hand, but if you’re going to live in a glass house, perhaps you shouldn’t throw stones.

      But for the record, my analogy is spot-on and thoroughly grounded in Scripture, not feelings, as you suggest. In fact, my entire aim is to walk through the verses (one at a time) that you have claimed in support of your beliefs so that those beliefs might be challenged in a way that you can understand. I’d like to point out that what we believe the biblical text means does not always turn out to be exactly what it means. This is why dialogue among believers is essential: none of us have it all figured out on our own. I freely admit this; can you?

      Back to your latest assessment of Genesis 3:16. It seems that you have misunderstood me, so let me reiterate what I said in my previous post: “you are correct in saying that there is nothing wrong with a wife who desires her husband or who is submissive to him when [his leading] is consistent with God’s values.” There is nothing “broken” about this when husbands lead as they should. The problem comes when they lead in the wrong direction (leading sinfully & towards sin). You seem to believe that women & children are always supposed to “submit” to their patriarch even when he is an abusive, destructive, sinful rascal. Am I reading you right on that?

      Finally, God’s descriptive curse: I didn’t say it had come to an end at all. That’s your insertion, not mine. What I said is that God’s people are called to work against sin (prejudice based on nothing more than gender in this case), and not to act in league with it. Additionally, as we come to a fuller understanding of who Christ is, what the Bible means, and as we are empowered by the Spirit, we can indeed reverse the curse on a case by case basis. This is because God is good (not us) and with his power we can resist sin in creation here and there. God is not divided against himself. He always resists the effects of sin, and helps his people do the same. Would you have me believe that we can never resist sin and shouldn’t even try? It seems that such is your assessment of Genesis 3:16.

      -CL

  17. C_Lambeth says:

    TMC,

    Am I to assume that you have nothing left to offer on your interpretation of Genesis 3:16? I’d still like to know if you think we cannot resist sin and shouldn’t even try, but I’ll let you answer those questions whenever you get to it. But at best, your (ab)use of Gen. 3:16 to support sexism is ambiguous, so perhaps we can move on.

    But before we get to other verses, I’d like to point out that merely quoting Bible passages does not solve anything on either side of our disagreement. Few if any verses explain themselves to us. We must engage in the art of interpretation. It is unavoidable, and so we must also reason out and explain our interpretations as best we can. This is what I am trying to do in our conversation, so of course a logical progression is necessary. What other option is available? I only mention this because you seem to want to avoid reasoning out our beliefs and appear to think that reciting Scripture to me will prove your point on its own. The Bible doesn’t work like that, nor does any other data. Interpretation of that data is requisite.

    2 Unresolved, Previous Issues You Raised:

    1) One Message, Different Methods: To move on from Genesis 3, I’d like to revisit your earlier assertion regarding the teachings and instructions of the apostles. You are correct when you say that the apostles did not teach opposing messages. Nevertheless, their message (Christ) was not always conveyed through the same methodologies (specific instructions to specific churches). One can (and did) remain static, while the other was (and is) subject to change pending the contexts it is communicated in and through.

    2) What is Culturally Transcendent and What is Culturally Dependent? You have got to follow up on your assessment of Romans 16:16, 1Cor. 16:20, 2Cor. 13:12 & 1Thess. 5:26 (“greet each other with a holy kiss“), for your position seems to be rather inconsistent. In different verses from different Bible books, Scripture clearly indicates that you “should be doing it” (your quote), yet I get the feeling that you have strayed from this instruction precisely because of the cultural difference between your setting and 1st century Palestine. Kisses as greetings are a bit odd in our culture and thus may set up more division in our churches than solidarity. You are quick to point out that “none of [kissing] is… required,” but you fail to explain why you think this is so. I suspect that our reasoning is not altogether dissimilar on this general principle but rather it is the specific issue of women’s leadership that has caused the divide between us. So, on what grounds do you adapt your behavior on “the kiss” while remaining frozen in time on the issue of women leading?

    You simply MUST address these persistent problems in your argument. As it stands, your failure to do so suggests that your position lacks merit. I am guessing that you will ultimately bow out of this conversation since I persist in calling you to account on this. Or you could simply have the guts to admit you were wrong.

    As always, the choice is up to you.
    -CL

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