16 August, 2006

Presbuteras: Phebe - "Deacon?" - Demoting the Daughters of God - Rom 16:1&2

DugALug comments on my suggestion that Phebe was a deacon, in the truest spiritual sense of the word:

Nice try, but we use the work Deacon in english to mean that you are a person of leadership in the church... or you could be someone who attends wake forrest.

With that logic I could also conclude that Jesus was a physical door. It is all about context, and you haven't established that the context is the same.

I like that you keep me honest, sir. :-) As I started answering this, the comment block on the previous post began begging for mercy. So, I gave up trying to fit it all in a little comment. Establishing a context seems to take a little verbiage. ;-)

Here goes.

16:1
I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:
16:2
That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever * * business she hath need of you: for she * hath been a succourer of many, and of myself * * also.


Let's start with the word, "commend". With this word, Paul defines himself as an apostle (by affirming that he need not defend his commendation from the Lord.)

2Co 3:1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?
2Co 5:12 For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.


Paul is giving Phebe some exceptionally high praise, if she is just a servant to some member of the church in Cenchrea.

2Co 10:18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.

Phebe does not commend herself here, but rather Paul does. And I might say that whom Paul commends is probably worthy of some attention.

---

Now on to the word, "receive".

[Prosdechomai]
Phil 2:29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:
(Of Epaphroditus, whom Paul is sending back to Philippi as a faithful servant.)

[dechomai]
Col 4:10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)
Php 4:18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
Ga 4:14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
2Co 7:15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.

[Of Titus]

Paul uses this word, "receive," often to talk about accepting profitable workers into the church's heart. There is no textual reason to assume that he means any less here. Add to that simple command to receive Phebe, the fact that Paul tells this church to receive her "in the Lord," and it becomes an almost irresistible weight pulling us in the direction of seeing Phebe as a worker in the Lord on a similar plane with Epaphroditus, Marcus or Titus.

---

As to the business she had in Rome. Pragma can mean any number of things. The assumption of many is that she was on a business trip or some such. She was certainly a woman of some means, so there is just cause to lean in that direction. Still,

2Co 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

The word, "pragma," appears 3 times in this passage, talking about the business of repentance.

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Again, pragma is the substance and evidence in Heb 11:1. Her business could as easily be spiritual as not.

---

Succourer is never again used in the New Testament, so it is hard to know what Paul might have meant by his use of that word in that place. A student of Greek could go to extra-biblical references, but I am certainly not one of those. Instead, I turn to a lexicon.

Thayer's and Smith's lexicon has this to say:
1. a woman set over others
2. a female guardian, protectress, patroness, caring for the affairs of others and aiding them with her resources


Hmmm. Leadership and/or guardianship. Paul uses a strong word to describe her position in the church.

---

Lastly, she was entrusted by Paul to deliver the word of God to the church in Rome! That needs more exclamation points!!! And Paul himself testifies that he knows that what he is writing is the very word of God.

Find me another of Paul's letters that was delivered by a Christian businessman, just because he happened to be heading in that direction. It doesn't exist. And this is not just some simple letter. This is Paul's magnum opus, and he knows it. Paul always, always sent his letters by the hands of church leaders whom he trusted. (Well, there's Onesimus carrying the letter to Philemon, but that was kind of special.) Why would he send this treasure by the first businesswoman who happened to be headed West on Tuesday?

Paul had all of the brothers in Corinth and Cenchrea (they're what, 6 miles apart?) to choose from when he was deciding by whom to send this letter to Rome. Paul chose Phebe. She was not a scullery maid who cooked great biscuits for Paul! She was not even merely a woman of human wealth who opened her home to Paul. She was the single person, of all the members of two commendable churches, whom Paul believed should deliver this letter to a fledgling church with awesome potential.

Phebe was the deacon sent by Paul and the Spirit to minister to a young church made up of elder Christians, and Paul commended her, commanding that she be received as such.

If Phebe had been "Jason" or "John" or "Gaius," we would not be having this discussion. All the textual evidence points to "deacon" meaning "deacon", and emphatically so.

40 comments:

Milly said...

Milly sits on the fence eating a Moonpie. :-}

DugALug said...

CP,

Doug flings some more poo at Milly! ;)

This is cool stuff. Thanks for expanding.

Where to start? Okay let's start with what I know for sure:

Succourer is also where we get the word in english Succour, which literally means helper or assistant: a person not in authority, but one who helps those in authority. I can take from this that this word was specifically chosen by paul to describe Phebe's position concerning the church.

I would also point out that this word is specific to females, as Thayer pointed out. In other words, there is a distinction between male and female. So Paul chooses to use a word that distinctly separates by gender... hmmm interesting.

Well, there's Onesimus carrying the letter to Philemon, but that was kind of special

You know?! People say that exact thing about the book of Job too.

As far as Onesimus, he, at the very least, delivered more than one letter. And he probably penned most of Pauls letters (as in a secretary). Recall, I believe it is Romans where Paul pointed out that he wrote the salutation with 'his own hand', we can imply from this that the rest of the letter was dictated to Onesimus.

A faithful brother in the Lord? Most assuredly! A coworker to build the kingdom? Absolutely! Still, not a church deacon, but most certainly a 'servant' and a trusted assistant. Again, he is neither a deacon or a leader yet Paul continues to send him, praise him, and use him as his spokesman. Hmmm... sound to me like Paul did entrust non-deacons to do the Lord's work. Here is an example in Collosians 4.

Collosians 4:
7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. 9 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.


So Onesimus (a former/current slave) went with Tychicus as the establisher of Tychicus' credentials... interesting.

So let's put this together: from Paul's texts we can conclude that Phebe was a faithful servent of the things of God and loyal to Paul, and his teachings. She was a great contributer to he body of believers and she had credibility. She was possibly a business person, and was literate.

Still there is not a case here for her being a deacon. A person with authority concerning church matters? Certainly so! A leader? Most assuredly. Deacon... ummm no.

I go back to the reference of being of 'one wife'. This word, as you pointed out, is not 'spouse', it is 'wife'. Unless homosexuality is acceptable in the church, this one statement limits the position that a female can hold.

Still all of this to say, that those positions are very few. Elder and Deacon happen to be two of them. Many churches have thrown the baby out with the bath water. This does NOT exlcude women from most positions in a church.

It is similar in nature to the abuse of the scripture stating men are the 'head of the household'. This has never meant women should cowher in the face of their husband.

CP, I love your thoughts. These posts really rock! Thanks for letting me really think about this.

God Bless
Doug

codepoke said...

DugALug,

Thanks for letting me really think about this.
Ditto!

Succourer is also where we get the word in english Succour, which literally means helper or assistant: a person not in authority,
Well, it's hardly kosher to define the Greek that Paul uses by the English that we derived from it. The Greek word is Prostatis, so there's no direct path from there to our word succour.

So Onesimus (a former/current slave) went with Tychicus as the establisher of Tychicus' credentials... interesting.
I will admit that I did not check who went with Onesimus when I was typing last night. It was kind of late. But, now that you mention Tychicus....

According to Acts 20:4, Tychicus was one of the 7 brothers that Paul took to Ephesus to train them in how to plant a church from the ground up. He was as much a leader in the church as Timothy or Titus. So, Tychicus was being introduced by Onesimus, but in a lot of ways he needed no introduction. He was one of the second generation of church planting workers.

Onesimus was special because he was Philemon's runaway slave. Paul calls him faithful (his name means, "profitable") because of the circumstances under which he ran away. He left his master to serve the Lord by serving Paul. So, Onesimus was a worker-wannabe but he was being sent back to Philemon because Paul was meticulously honest.

So, Onesimus was definitely not an elder or deacon, but you have corrected me that Tychicus was the worker whom Paul sent. Onesimus was only along to introduce Tychicus and to return to whatever life Philemon decided he deserved. Paul always sends a worker with his letters - including his letter to the Romans.

... this one statement limits the position that a female can hold.

Maybe, unless Paul was describing what a leader should be like, and not writing a formal rule of law for lawyerly type analysis. Phebe single-handedly provides a counter example to this interpretation.

Still all of this to say, that those positions are very few. Elder and Deacon happen to be two of them.

What other biblical roles are there? I don't know of any other biblical role in the church. There are other gifts, but there are only two roles.

If we go with the Ephesians gifts, and call them roles, which ones would you say are available to women?
Apostles
Prophets
Evangelists
Pastors
Teachers.

Yep, I say all 5.

Milly said...

Doug flings some more poo at Milly! ;)

I'm telling Dad on you! you're gonna get it!

Wash you hands. . . ick.

DugALug said...

CP,

Doug, washing his hands of poo!

Well, it's hardly kosher to define the Greek that Paul uses by the English that we derived from it.

Touche' (I love that commercial... though I am no lover of Mac's).

However, it is germain to the discussion at hand. The word succourer is not a word used to describe males. This translation litterally is reserved for woman. Again the point is that Paul has made a distinction in Phebe's service and position. There is no way to tap-dance around this. The word used 'Prostatis' clearly is in reference to a woman's service.

Go back to I Timothy 3:

1 Timothy 3 (NKJV)

2 A bishop then MUST be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;


How else might you translate the word 'must'? Must to me means... the law or a prerequisite. Thus Paul has limited women from holding the position of bishop/overseer.

Since churches were more cell-based in the early church, a bishop is basically equivalent to a head pastor. I see nothing that rules out being a pastor on any other level.

Then let's down to verse 11:

11 Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

To drive his point home in verse 11, concerning deacons, he references their wives. Then in verse 12, he refers to them being husbands of one wife. I'd say that is crystal. If you don't like it, take it up with Paul or God, they made it and it is cannonized.

Let's see now... that rules out overseers (bishop), and deacons. What else does it rule out? Nada! The problem is that we, in our western wisdom have taken these scriptures to remove women from all elements of leadership, this is wrong and clearly not in line with the scriptures.

Does that leave room for women to be:

Apostles
Prophets
Evangelists
Pastors
Teachers.

Obviously yes.

God Bless
Doug

Andreia said...

SIDENOTE to the boys hashing it out:

It's interesting to me that when we step out of our culture these "very important" discussions become mute. In the mission field, if you will permit the use of the word to mean other countries, many of these rules disappear. The sharing the story of Christ doesnt allow room for these silly divisions.

DugALug said...

Andreia,

Lots of fence-sitters here I see! Here's some poo for you too!

While you are sitting up there taking pot-shots at the participants in the discussion, here is something for you to consider.

You are right! But only because most of the world treat woman as nothing more than chattle.

When I go to Central America on missions trips, the women mostly never speek directly to a male, they must wear dresses, walk behind the men in our group and tend to children. The cultures that we enter into mandate this.

This is amazingly similar around most of the world: South American, Polynesian, Asian, and African cultures alike.

Providing help is one thing, preaching the gospel one-on-one (usually to woman and children), feeding children, medical efforts, even teaching farming are perfectly fine (within reason), but running the church... not too likely.

Whether it is wrong or right, it is the reality.

God Bless
Doug

codepoke said...

For those of you not, "in the know," the fence sitting, moonpie eating, and poo throwing were all started over on the Thinklings.org site. It's all friendly.

Does that leave room for women to be:

Apostles
Prophets
Evangelists
Pastors
Teachers.

Obviously yes.


You honestly would allow a woman to evangelize the lost, plant a church based upon people she converted, prophecy to them regularly, pastor them, and teach them, but not to be an elder or a deacon in it? OK.

Anyway.

How else might you translate the word 'must'? Must to me means... the law or a prerequisite.

I'm glad you asked.

The word translated here as "must" is translated elsewhere in these ways:
Ro 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Ro 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
1Co 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
2Co 2:3 And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.
2Co 11:30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
Eph 6:20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Col 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

And later in the same chapter of the same book,
1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Do you see a pattern here? I sure do. It rather sounds as if the translators have a predisposition toward choosing misleading english words when women are involved. Instead of, "deacon," in describing Phebe, they choose, "servant." Instead of, "ought," when describing marriage for elders, they choose, "must."

That aside, it is clear that, "must," can and certainly does mean, "ought," in many, many cases.

And this is probably a relief to single men everywhere, because they clearly could not be elders or deacons otherwise. Paul did not include "zero" as a possible number of wives for men who would lead in the church.

These descriptions of elders and bishops are just that, descriptions. To attempt to make this an absolute list of legal qualifications is a solution that neither egalitarians nor complementarians nor the text will support.

codepoke said...

Andreia,

these "very important" discussions become mute.

I don't know how to respond to this.

I agree with you that necessity often causes us to find truer truths. In the mission field, we find that women have everything to add, and we welcome their contribution in ways that we never would in America.

But, you seem to rebuke the discussion itself. In America, I have nothing else. I have no other way to effect change than to convince Americans that they ought to change (must change ;-), and discussion is all I have. You use what seem to be mocking quotes around the importance of this discussion, but I have to stand here and say that this is important. There are things that are more important, and some day I hope to talk about them instead, but this is a worthwhile use of time.

I think you actually agree, and that I might just be misunderstanding you, but I wanted to say this stuff anyway.

Correct me how I'm wrong, friend. :-)

DugALug said...

CP,

You honestly would allow a woman to evangelize the lost, plant a church based upon people she converted, prophecy to them regularly, pastor them, and teach them, but not to be an elder or a deacon in it?

As long as the pastor mentioned above is not the head pastor. That falls under the position of 'overseer' which I still see as a female-exclusive position. And for the record, I believe that God converts, plants, and speeks to believers, not the person.

I see your point concerning the word 'must'. If translated as ought, that certainly would provide some wiggle room. I must admit my own hypocrisy concerning this. As you pointed out it also says that elders should be of 'one wife'. I was an elder as a single man and someone held this scripture against me. I brushed it off as meaning no more than one wife. Sometimes it stinks to be honest.

In saying that, it is clear by context that Paul specifically directed men for these positions.

If I am going to err I am going to err on the side of conservative thought. Unless you have some wonderful penumbra here, what I am seeing is speculation on what Paul could have or might have meant.

Do you see women leaders in the 2nd or 3rd century churches? How about 4th, 10th, or 18th. It wasn't until the 20th century that this even became an issue. Would you say that a 2nd century church was more in touch with Paul's intentions than say... you or me? I am going to go out on a limb here and say 'yeah verily!'

I can't get around the feeling that I think what you are proposing is an hyperbolic extrapolation. I am sorry brother, but I am stuck reflectively discenting here.

God Bless
Doug

DugALug said...

Andreia,

Oh and another thing: you are the self-proclaimed feminsist here (I read your post on milly's blog), I would expect more than some flippant dismisal of these 'discussions'. Whether codepoke and I agree, I know that he is searching for the truth in earnest, as I am. You, on the other hand, have chosen to be the the voice of non-constuction. Congratulations!

You're welcome to sit and not be heard, but I would think that you would have plenty to say concerning this issue and against neanderthals such as myself.

God Bless
-doug

Milly said...

For me sitting on the fence is this, I want to hear more from you guys. Not being raised with the Bible in hand and not being raised in a CoC or actually any other church I want to hear so climbing on the fence mean I want to learn more from watching you cowboys. I might from time to time climb down and lasso a word or two when I feel sure of what I want to say.

Doug and I have been teasing each other lately and our wrestling made it’s way here. (I got the last word with a typo btw ;-} So before we break a lamp or something we’ll stop. (I will if he will)

DugALug said...

Milly,

I don't think posting conveys emotion, and sometimes intent well, but I see no issue with 'sitting on the fence'. I see issue with sitting on the fence while hurling insults and self-righteous banter to those who are hashing things out.

As far as teasing, I assure you if I took your comments seriously, my tone would be a whole lot more... ummm.... rigid.

Years of a living in semi-disfunctional (Cleavers to the world, and fire when the doors were shut) family have prepared me for times like that. I am good at digging my heals in and prepping for a battle.

Much love sis, and I apologize if my comments offended you.

God Bless
Doug

Milly said...

dugalug,
I was afraid that you and I offended others by our fun. In no way was I offended.

To be honest I do try to be careful at what I type. Face to face you can clarify what you mean rather quickly. (Or wrestle until something gets broken.) Growing up with my background means at times you back up and climb the fence to listen to what others are saying. I’m getting better at that.

You’re right, jumping in and out picking and choosing isn’t the ideal situation, it will be one that I might take in this. I myself will try to respect others. This shouldn’t ever be ugly we are after all in it together.

Love ya Bro. (I’ll bet we’re grounded now)

codepoke said...

DugALug,

I see your point concerning the word 'must'. If translated as ought, that certainly would provide some wiggle room.

Thanks.

what I am seeing is speculation on what Paul could have or might have meant.

Yep. I did not change my mind the first time I heard these textual expansions. It was only after months of letting these things juggle around in the back of my mind that I began to believe what I was reading. The translators honestly chose unintentionally misleading terms over and over. The commentators echoed each other without addressing important questions. These errors are textbook examples of cultural bias subconsciously affecting honest translation.

You see me grasping at straws in an attempt to satisfy some need to be accepted by the fallen world around me. I see John Gill doing the same thing on the other side. The difference is that complementarianism has been established for 1800 years give or take a century or two. The fact that the church has held to complementarianism for nearly 2 millenia gives it the benefit of the doubt. I agree. Nonetheless, the longevity of an error does not make it true.

When Christian clergy argued in favor of monarchy as the one true, God-ordained form of government, they were wrong. Democracy was a brand new idea, but its newness did not make it wrong.

Do you see women leaders in the 2nd or 3rd century churches? How about 4th, 10th, or 18th.

Well, yes, actually. You will find a few of them listed here.

That said, how balanced is your question? How many male leaders of 2nd or 3rd century churches do you see? You are asking me to produce information that history simply did not record. Neither you nor I can look at the rolls of thousands of churches over the centuries and see how many female/male leaders there were. I am confident that if we could play this game, we would see enough female leaders to keep the discussion active.

Remember, a lot of good things have happened in the last couple of centuries. Slavery of all types is under attack. Poverty is being addressed for the first time ever as a problem rather than a deserved curse. And, yes, women have received numerous benefits. Is this bad? Women were not as free in society then as they are now. Is that better? Should the limitations of society then dictate how far we can go forward in understanding God's word now?

The Catholics used eerily similar arguments about 4 centuries ago to try to keep the scriptures out of the hands of the laity. Baaaad things would happen if God's word were wrested from the hand of those whom God had called to deal with it. Priests were not in any way superior to laity, you see, but they were gifted by God to lead. Why did the laity covet leadership, anyway? The bible clearly taught that they were to submit to those whom God had placed above them. ;-P

In the end, it was not the Catholics who stood up and put the bible into your hands or mine. It was those rebellious reformers who upped and made the word of God their own, and ours too. Even so, I expect that in due time women will simply begin exercising the gifts God has been giving them for the last 2000 years. I also expect that 200 years from now, our great-grands will be as much the richer for their daring as we are for the daring of Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and company.

codepoke said...

DugALug,

I see your point concerning the word 'must'. If translated as ought, that certainly would provide some wiggle room.

Thanks.

what I am seeing is speculation on what Paul could have or might have meant.

Yep. I did not change my mind the first time I heard these textual expansions. It was only after months of letting these things juggle around in the back of my mind that I began to believe what I was reading. The translators honestly chose unintentionally misleading terms over and over. The commentators echoed each other without addressing important questions. These errors are textbook examples of cultural bias subconsciously affecting honest translation.

You see me grasping at straws in an attempt to satisfy some need to be accepted by the fallen world around me. I see John Gill doing the same thing on the other side. The difference is that complementarianism has been established for 1800 years give or take a century or two. The fact that the church has held to complementarianism for nearly 2 millenia gives it the benefit of the doubt. I agree. Nonetheless, the longevity of an error does not make it true.

When Christian clergy argued in favor of monarchy as the one true, God-ordained form of government, they were wrong. Democracy was a brand new idea, but its newness did not make it wrong.

Do you see women leaders in the 2nd or 3rd century churches? How about 4th, 10th, or 18th.

Well, yes, actually. You will find a few of them listed here.

That said, how balanced is your question? How many male leaders of 2nd or 3rd century churches do you see? You are asking me to produce information that history simply did not record. Neither you nor I can look at the rolls of thousands of churches over the centuries and see how many female/male leaders there were. I am confident that if we could play this game, we would see enough female leaders to keep the discussion active.

Remember, a lot of good things have happened in the last couple of centuries. Slavery of all types is under attack. Poverty is being addressed for the first time ever as a problem rather than a deserved curse. And, yes, women have received numerous benefits. Is this bad? Women were not as free to step into leadership then as they are now. Was this better? Should we limit ourselves to never advancing our understanding of God's word beyond that to which their culture limited them?

The Catholics used eerily similar arguments about 4 centuries ago to try to keep the scriptures out of the hands of the laity. Baaaad things would happen if God's word were wrested from the hand of those whom God had called to deal with it. Priests were not in any way superior to laity, you see, but they were gifted by God to lead. Why did the laity covet leadership, anyway? The bible clearly taught that they were to submit to those whom God had placed above them. ;-P

In the end, it was not the Catholics who stood up and put the bible into your hands or mine. It was those rebellious reformers who upped and made the word of God their own, and ours too. Even so, I expect that in due time, women will simply begin exercising the gifts God has been giving them for the last 2000 years. I also expect that 200 years from now, our great-grands will be as much the richer for their daring as we are for the daring of Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and company.

codepoke said...

I get a kick out of Milly's fence.

When most people say "fence," they mean the dividing line between two positions. When Milly says fence, she means the wall of rough hewn lumber that encloses a rodeo arena (and I think she's amazed that we can stay on topic for 8 seconds. ;-)

It's a cool difference.

Thanks, Milly.

Milly said...

You're welcome.

Looking at things differently is my specialty. Some also see a fence as a way to not take a stance. Not me, I’m cheering for the cowboys to ride and not get thrown, yet learn no matter what. I think we all learn something in this arena.

(So we aren't grounded?)

Milly said...

dugalug,

The men in these parts don't say poo unless they are talking to a two year old. They use words like cow chips and sh**

(now I'm grounded :-(
(He started it!)

DugALug said...

Milly,

'Poo' is so much more polite and couth. ;)

I'm neither a potty mouth nor a cowboy. I'm afraid I'm quite city-fied.

-Doug

Milly said...

dugalug,
Bro just because you didn't use the word doesn't mean it was taken the same. My son points that out to me when I use other words, the intent is the same.

DugALug said...

CP,

Cool link, thanks. Some people are just incredible, the story about Guenivive us amazing. I had no idea that the Huns made it all the way to France... really cool.

I looked down the list of folks there and virtually none of them were the head of a church, or described as an elder or deacon.

By contrast, The Apostle John, was the bishop of a church for many years ~110AD.

Then there was:

Clement Of Rome (~100AD)
Irenaeus (~200 A.D.),
Clement of Alexandria (~215 A.D.), Tertullian (~220 A.D.),
Origen (~250 A.D.)
Lactantius (~3?? A.D.)
Cyril of Jerusalem (~3?? A.D.)

There were many more, these are what I know off the top of my head, but here's a link with many many more.

Church Fathers

There were many more men, but this list will suffice.

There is little doubt that people have corrupted the gospel over the years. Baptism is a great example, and playing down the anti-monarchy sentiment in the KJV is another. I certainly not saying the translations are perfect, but 10 out of 10 major English translations use the same gist on these scriptures.

I am no theologian, but many of the men and women who worked on these knew far more than me concerning these issues. What you are suggesting is not only contrary to what numerous people have accepted.

I'm not trying to be a mob-rule guy, but democracy tends to be on my stance on the subject.

God Bless
-Doug

codepoke said...

DugALug,

I'm not trying to be a mob-rule guy, but democracy tends to be on my stance on the subject.

I would say you are defending "tradition," as opposed to democracy.

In the army we learned that it is much better to wrong "with" everyone else, than to be right all alone. Being the only soldier who didn't retreat is not a healthy thing for you or your unit. It is a fearful thing to go it alone before so esteemed a cloud of witnesses.

I completely concede that tradition weighs in heavily against me. I completely concede that most of modern Christian thought weighs in heavily against me. Then again, I look at the scripture from a culture that they did not have.

The accepted Christianity of 1700 was happy as a little lark stealing the Americas from the Indians. They read the old testament, and saw divine right for their crimes. They accepted slavery as a God-ordained way to run a successful economy (except from the slaves' point of view.) And they saw women as private property.

When you go back there for your proofs, you throw away too much that the church should support.

Still, the witness of history is not entirely against me.

There are some amazing women and there are some solid theologians who stood where I stand, and their stories are worthy. I will come to the biblical record soon enough, but just looking at Corinthians, Timothy and Titus I see the scripture saying things that I cannot deny.

My conscience will not allow tradition to define my practice.

DugALug said...

CP,

I would say you are defending "tradition," as opposed to democracy.

Ummm no, I would say tradion and democracy are stacked against you, but heh! Pretty much all Bibles, scholars, saints, and pagans have interperated what we are talking about to limit women's position in the church. The only issue is much far should they be limited to.

The accepted Christianity of 1700 was happy as a little lark stealing the Americas from the Indians.

As oposed to conquering them? The indians could have been wiped out and assimilated, like the Romans did to Carthage, The Greeks did to the Turks (and vice-versa), the Japanese did to the Koreans, and the Jews did to Jericho.

You say this as if this were a Christian thing! This was the way of governemnts and world powers act. They are soul-less entities much like the coorporations of today. Is the issue with the Indians any different than OPEC arbitrarily raising prices on crude? Hardly. Lives and livelyhoods changed hands, and many people are being abused in the process.

There were Christians, even in the 1700's, that opposed the big three's (England, Spain, and France) treatment of the indians, but there were also those who saw expansion in the Darwinian fashion of survival of the fittest.

There are some amazing women and there are some solid theologians who stood where I stand, and their stories are worthy.

Who's arguing that? No one! You say this as if it is an amazing statement. It is just a fact. I oppose the oppression of women and openly acknowledge history's need for them. What I don't support is women as Bishops/Overseers, Deacons, and Elders.

Sorry CP, I guess am just warry of moments of clarity like this one that seem to go against 2000 years of foundational teaching. I know there is certainly some valid truth in much of what you say, but I still am going to need a lot more for me to abandon this interpretation that has withstood two millenia.

God bless
-doug

Kansas Bob said...

If you have a few minutes to read, there is an interesting article on Women in Leadership on or church website. Here is an excerpt from it:

"God created both men and women in His image. He gave both Adam and Eve a mandate to subdue the earth and take dominion over it (Genesis 1:28). If women are not involved in leadership, half of God’s nature and character is not represented in the functions and ministries of leadership."

Andreia said...

Codepoke

I wish you all had the benefit of a few days of R&R like I just had at the beach! Very refreshing!

I am sorry that I seemed to devalue the debate. I do find it important that women take their rightful place in leadership in the church. I have to admit to getting so very frustrated by this debate.

I have sat in churches where women who are CPAs are unable to assist the leadership in church finances. I have been in a church where a woman that was a Professional Engineer had no voice in the construction process. I have watched Godly, spiritually mature women unable to pray in a room with a prepubscent boy because of the legalistic reading of some of these scriptures. I have seen older women and single women with NO voice, no way to be heard on important spiritual matters because they did not have a husband. I have watched woman after woman be marginalized in their contributions to a church body.

When I am frustrated, I often try step back and see the bigger picture. The other day, I considered that ultimately, our job is to help the hurting in order to deliver the message of Christ's love. When I think in terms of that simple mission, then I am able to release the frustration associated with this topic and go about my work praying for the day when the church will wake up.

I applaud your efforts here Codepoke.

Milly said...

dugalug,
I think you are great for doing the cooking and I'm sorry that you were treated like that in the church. I value our male volunteers especially when they are doing things like working with the children and feeding me. In the church that I attend you would very much be appreciated, I gave a speed to our elders asking them to help MOPS with the children. Move here we can fit your hands with hammers, spoons, and bottles. We’ll let you sing also.

Now as for what Andreia said it is hard to see women who make huge decisions in the work place being told that they can’t have a voice. I chose the church that I attend because they are more open to it. My thinking is change must happen or change must happen.

DugALug said...

CP, Kindly delete my last post, since my typing was even more dreadful than normal.

Andreia,

I have been a teacher in Sunday School and had women tell me that I don't know what I'm doing, or know how to handle children because I am not a mother.

Many times when I was single, I offered to cook for dinners and socials at church only to be relegated to bringing drinks.

I've attended music seminars at churches and was told flat out that I wouldn't understand this rythm or be able to play it because of the color of my skin.

I have been a volunteer server at Christian women's banquets where the speakers villified, marriage, and men, and lots of ladies literally sneered at me as I was serving them food.

Again, the things you are talking about are hardly limited to women and it is certainly not a one-way street.

These partisan views aren't biblical whoever they are 'inflicted upon'.

Women aren't the only victims. And CP, whether I agree with you or not, I do laud your efforts and unflapability.

God Bless
Doug

DugALug said...

Milly,

My thinking is change must happen or change must happen.

Or maybe change ought to happen. ROFL. (Sorry CP, I couldn't resist).

God Bless
Doug

P.S. I'm really a decent cook. Most of what I make is, in fact, edible.

codepoke said...

KB,

Brilliant, balanced statement. Thank you for the link!

You said many moons ago that I would be happy with ya'll, and I believe more and more that you are right. I'll keep right on waving every time I fly by. :-)

The odds that I will ever drive through approach zero :-( But, we can keep hope alive.

Love you brother.

codepoke said...

Thank you, Andreia,

I already had my R & R for the year. Any more, and I think my head would pop.

I don't blame you for being irritated with the debate. Debates like these are not good spectator events. That's the real reason I tried to invent a way of turning a debate into a game. I wanted it to be a scored thing, so that the audience could weigh in without getting into the line of fire. Not the first of my ideas to fall flat. :-)

... our job is to help the hurting in order to deliver the message of Christ's love.

Amen, Andreia. May the Lord bless your faithfulness. We know that no matter what happens, the Lord means it for good to you.

codepoke said...

Or maybe change ought to happen. ROFL. (Sorry CP, I couldn't resist).

Nice, DugALug. :-)

Andreia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Danny Kaye said...

Sorry all. I have been "wicked busy" trying to organize a bunch of "stuff" in almost every arena of my life. So I haven't been over here too much except to see if the conversations are taking place. (I cannot even get to my own blog!)

But regardless, I made a promise to myself that I would get over here and read through at least one of these posts and threads. And I must say, I have thoroughly enjoyed it! I can also say that you guys have taken it to a level to which I would not have been able to contribute. But boy am I walking around with a lot more knowledge than I ever had about this stuff.
Thanks for the education!

DugALug said...

CP,

Okay, this certainly doesn't help my point, but you must read this. It is completely what I have been talking about and why I really appreciate bringing this subject up.

Virtual Brilliance At Work.

God Bless
Doug

Milly said...

Milly slides off the fence and starts swinging her lasso you can hear her spurs jingling. “Oh no” someone whispers “They brought up Adam and Eve.”


"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. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became sinner."

Adam was with her and he took a bite and he lied first and he didn’t support her by admitting to the big lie. Duh!

Next throw of the rope I’d walk from a church body that would send me a letter instead of personally sitting with me and talking. Where in cotton pick’n was the respect? This woman gave of her time and knowledge she was at least owed respect. Now granted we aren’t reading the whole truth and without a doubt there might be a lot more to it.

I’ve been to classes where women lead that I wished that you men could have heard. (And no it wasn’t man slam ) The class I took on Revelation was so good. Too bad no men were allowed. The women is a wonderful teacher your loss guys. ;-}

Milly puts her rope away and strolls back to the fence to wait for more words.

codepoke said...

DugALug,

I'm not sure I get the point of your comment.

It is completely what I have been talking about and why I really appreciate bringing this subject up.

It sounds like there's a new sheriff in town in that church, and he's getting rid of all the old hands. The female in leadership thing was just an excuse for petty politics, or the pastor's wife would not have written the tacky termination notice. When Kendra (at least it almost sounds like a man's name) writes a note spelling out the church's position on female authority, something is a little rotted.

The fired woman's defence (as quoted by the reporter) was pretty lame. She evidently did not know how Paul had set her free to minister. :-)

codepoke said...

Ride 'em Millgirl!

Andreia said...

The beautiful thing of that whole story (I read another link sent to me so Im not sure if Doug's says this) is that this wonderful woman said she was not "giving up on her church"

I gotta admit that I think I would be riding into sunset yelling a big SEE-YA...but that my friends is why she is deserving of the role. She is spiritually mature and tested! What a testimony to the way we are supposed to act!

DugALug said...

CP,

hmmm, let's see.... Doug attempts to type sentences that are actually grammatically corrrect:

It is completely what you and I have been talking about and why I really appreciate you bringing this subject up.

Hopefully that reads a little better. This is a true abuse of the word and at the expense of a devoted teacher.

All I have to say is hat's off to the lady who is sticking it out... That pastor should be dragged out on his ear for allowing that to even happen in his church.

God Bless
Doug