23 August, 2006

Presbuteras: Subjecting the Daughters of the Lord - 1 Tim 2:11-15

Finally, it's time to throw caution to the wind, and jump into the core passage of this discussion. I had considered knocking down a few more of the supports under it, but I have probably tried everyone's patience enough as is.

1 Tim 2:11 & 12 is the rock against which everyone shipwrecks in this discussion. We egalitarians cannot tiptoe around it, and complementarians won't step off it. If it is taken at face value, then everything else I have said in this series is whistling through the graveyard. This passage means something, and whatever that is should decide how women serve God through the church.

For this interpretation of 1 Tim 2 I am entirely in the debt of:
Richard Clark Kroeger and Catherine Clark Kroeger, "Rethinking 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient Evidence: I Suffer Not a Woman."
and
Dr. Ann Nyland, "The Source" New Testament, especially "1 Timothy with Notes."

Any time you spend reading these two sources will be highly valuable. Dr. Nyland's gritty interpretation of Paul is truly eye-opening.

1 Timothy 2 (KJV)
2:11
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
2:12
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

Paul never meant that women can only serve the church by learning in silence, and we have gravely erred in subjecting our sisters to this misapprehension for millenia. It is time to break the chains of this fiction.

In this letter Paul is coaching Timothy through solving several particularly knotty problems in Ephesus. One of them has to do with a contingent of lazy philosophers and a few rich women recently converted from the synagogue. These philosophers have discovered that there is a good living to be sucked up in mooching off these powerful, rich, recently converted women. These men earned their bread by preaching downtown for alms, but they found out after they converted to Christianity that these women would support them totally. They don't need to go out and beat the bushes looking for new prospects for their ideas. To fill their bellies, they need only set up shop in these ladies' homes and blend all the wisdom of the age for them.

These philosophers joined the church, but failed to meet the Lord. They succeeded in learning the doctrine and lingo of the Christians around them, but not in meeting the Master. These women are used to having the lead in religious life, and have naturally begun to take charge of things in Ephesus. Unfortunately, they have succumbed to these philosophical flatterers (2 Tim 3:6), and are mingling gnosticism into their Christianity.

Let's start with the "verse by verse" this time.
1 Timothy
2:9
In like
manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
In the churches, there was a tradition of addressing each other only by first name. Family names said too much about station in life, so they simply quit using them. Even so, to flaunt your position over everyone else in the church by apparel was wrong.

I drift from the standard interpretation in that most people consider this to be a verse about sexual display, where I consider it to be about the display of power and wealth. The words "modest," "shamefacedness," and "sobriety" all admit of my meaning, but the translators seem to have been focused on women as sexual objects. The preceeding and following verses address politics far more directly than carnality.

2:10
But * (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
Again, good works of love excel over displays of power and position. Dr. Nyland, however, adds a deeply significant interpretation of the parenthetical phrase. By it, she turns this verse on its ear.

The word for "godliness" is actually directly translated, "God-fearer." This was a bit of jargon for a person who was a practicing Jew, but not circumcised. That understood, the word, "professing," easily takes the meaning of "instructing." Paul says here that it becomes a woman who is teaching the God-fearers to adorn herself with good works. Dr. Nyland at this point documents several women who are historically identified as elders and teachers in the synagogue, thereby establishing that women could indeed have been teachers of the God-fearers.

These are our rich Jewish women, who were used to taking the lead in religious matters. As Jews, they had been teachers. Now they were Christians, and trying to get back into the driver's seat as quickly as possible.

2:11
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
These women should not be teaching. They should be learning. They were teachers of the law (as Paul references in 1 Tim 1), but all their old knowledge is just vain jangling in the church. By their ignorance, they were causing a fuss, and that needed to end.

The word, "silence," here is not a verbal silence, but a practical one. It is used in Acts and Thessalonians, and in both cases it means to quit making a fuss. So these women were to quit being a disturbing issue in Ephesus. They were to learn without disturbing the lessons with their ignorance, and as we quickly learn, with their errors.

2:12
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
Richard and Catherine Clark Kroeger have reworked this passage based upon their understanding of the word, "authentein," which is translated here, "authority." The core of their findings from ancient texts is that authentein (which appears only once in the bible) was a word co-opted by a local fertility cult. Dr. Nyland pursues the same conclusion, finding something even more amazing.

Dr. Nyland has Paul suffering not a woman to say she is before the man. She quotes one of several gnostic creation myths that has Eve breathing the breath of life into Adam, and therefore becoming the mother of all the living. Eve, they see as the source of all secret knowledge. She was the one who broke open the veil of mystery by taking of the fruit of knowledge. She was Vulcan who brought fire to God's creatures. Eve was their source of gnosis.

Paul says that he suffers not these Jewish women, mislead as they have been by their philosopher buddies, to teach that they are superior to men.

2:13
For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
Paul corrects the first error of this gnostic myth by a simple reminder from Genesis.

2:14
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
Paul goes further in correcting this error. Far from doing the wisest, bravest thing ever for mankind, Eve blundered when she took in that fruit. The word translated here as transgression is actually a weaker Greek word for sinful blunder. The word for direct, rebellious sin is much stronger, and is used much more often.

Eve did not bravely risk death by choosing knowledge over subservience, as the gnostics taught. Eve made a childish mistake. She sinned stupidly.

2:15
Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
Some believe that the childbearing referenced here is that of a Christian woman giving birth to hers and her husband's children. That is a very unlikely and weak understanding of this verse. Paul is still refering to the promise of Genesis, that the Seed of the woman would crush the serpent. This is in keeping with the entire argument. Eve was no hero for taking the fruit of knowledge, but Eve's gender can rejoice in being the bearer of the Redeemer. Contrary to gnostic fantasies, women and men are together in everything, including their dependence upon Christ for every blessing.

The entire argument goes like this.

Timothy, those rich women are causing a ridiculous fuss and stir because of their pride. They should quit with the ostentatious display of wealth, and begin acting the part of teachers, if that's what they think they are. But before they teach, they must first learn. They are asserting foolish things, and I cannot allow you to allow them to do this. Woman is not the source of all wisdom, and woman did not precede man in creation. Go back and read Genesis to them, and teach them that the birth of the Messiah is the only thing that matters. Let them rejoice in Him.

The follow-on to the argument is that women and men should both desire the office of elder.

1 Tim 3:1
This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

The word translated "man" here is not gender specific. To a Greek, it would have read, "If anyone desires..."

Let the sisters be trained, and let them learn the truth, then let them desire the office of elder.

Again, I wish to point out that I am taking Paul quite literally. Paul says that he suffers not a woman to teach, and I believe him. I just believe that Paul knew exactly which women it was that he was not allowing to teach and why. I even believe that he tells us.

Now, about those millions of other women who are alive today, and have a storehouse of treasure to offer the body....

---

It is late now, and I will be gone Thursday through most of Saturday, so I am going to leave off addressing counter-arguments to this scenario. I'm sure they will arise, and I'm sure they will be worthy, so I will try to comment as much as possible until I leave, then address the biggest one(s) when I return.

Thank you to all for your patience with my plodding pace on this. You have certainly made it a joy for me to keep after it.

39 comments:

Milly said...

I was thinking about Adam and Eve last night on the way home from work and it seems to me our very existence as men and women are based on one mistake. I realize it was big and the God was there but had Adam bit first would we be having the same discussion reversed?
(Making a point so early in the morning is difficult) Would we have picked only the verses we chose to keep men down? (Milly ducks a rock or two) I do believe it was Gods plan on some level to allow men to lead. I don’t believe he wanted the horrible things that came from misuse of His word.

Now for learning in silence. I have no problem with shutting up to learn as long as I get to speak after the lesson.

Danny Kaye said...

First, let me say: Man, CP!!! You travel a lot!!!

Second, let me say: Good work on this.

And third, let me say:

I am having a hard time reconciling a few things.

First, to conclude that these prominent women were leaders of the Law prior to conversion to Christianity seems a bit of a stretch. It is a supposition that fits your argument. Nothing in the text can lead me in that direction. For all we know, they might have achieved their prominence in a plethora of other ways.

And it seems that you are using a loose Greek translation for some words in such a way that they mean what you are saying. But other times, you are "tightening" it up in order to for them to mean what you are saying.

For example: in verse 10 you suggest that the Greek for godliness is actually "God-fearing." Ok...I will sort of agree, if you are saying that "devout" and "God-fearing" are the same thing. (I am not convinced of that, but I cannot back up an argument against it, so I will let it drop as a minor point.) So you use a strict Greek translation of "godliness", but then you want us to understand that "profess" is "easily" being used to describe an "instructing" of some sort? Let's tighten that one up a bit like you did for the word "godliness" and we find that the Greek is "epaggello", which has nothing to do with instructing, but everything to do with proclamation of one's faith. And that literal interpretation works very well in context.

Ok, now...you say that verse 11 means that the women, because they have not yet learned the gospel well enough to teach it, should be silent and take on a learner's attitude. I agree. But to whom should they listen? The inexperienced, freshly converted, male converts who were just as "green" as them? I don't see Paul giving the same directives to the dudes.

The whole "authentien" paragraph is a really cool bit a history. And I agree that Paul "could be" saying that the women should not teach that they are superior to men. But Paul could just as easily turn that one on the guys! I don't think the paragraph makes a case one way or another. Again, it is a supposition.

I really love your efforts. And I am glad you are digging deep. I may not be sold on your arguments. But boy have I learned a whole lot more than I ever could have learned on my own. Thanks to you and the brainy-folk you got coming here.

codepoke said...

Tough question, Milly.

I believe that Adam and Eve were perfect, but weak. I see them rather like a beautiful spider web pearled with the morning dew and asked to stop a charging rhino. They were beautiful, and perfect, but they were no match for satan, and more importantly, no match for the true law of God. Neither of them loved God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, or they would not have disobeyed Him.

Adam and Eve both sinned equally. It's that simple. Paul was bringing everyone back to that place of equality. Unfortunately, we took his equalizing words, and slammed half the race with them. That's just in our nature.

Would we have picked only the verses we chose to keep men down?

Surely the answer is yes, but it would have looked different. Instead of women subjecting men, they would have excluded them in some way. But the simple truth is that God proclaimed that men would rule over women as a part of the curse of the fall.

We are simply living out a part of the curse.

The thing to note is that men invented herbicides, fertilizers and air conditioning to control the other parts of the curse. We invented headcoverings and dowries for this part. Men fought against the curse of the soil, but bedded down with the curse of male dominion.

It's time to rise up like men, and restore our sisters.

codepoke said...

Thank you, DK. I could ask nothing more.

You may be right in your assessment of my arguments here. I am no Greek scholar, and I may have chosen poor guides through the glyphic wilderness on this passage. Clark-Kroeger and Nyland disagree in some particulars on it, so I can hardly be 100% right no matter what.

It is a small matter to me.

There are two questions.

1) What would Timothy, who spoke Greek, have understood when he read this letter?

2) What would Timothy emphatically not have understood?

In this matter, I am most concerned with question #2.

Nowhere else in Paul, and nowhere else in scripture do we see that women must learn in silence and subjection. 1 Corinthians is the only place that even remotely substantiates this misinterpretation, and a careful look at chapters 11 and 14 overturns that argument. Instead we see several places where Paul infers that women should be a part of the activity of the church. (A later post.)

If this verse is alone in subjecting women, and if there are other verses that imply or state that women should be free, and if the weight of scripture leans toward their freedom to minister, then I will not panic if I am a little off on exactly what kinds of women were causing the trouble in Ephesus. The exact solution to that question is not critical.

When I first approached this problem 20 years ago, the information I have now was not available to me. I had not heard the hypothesis that women were teaching God-fearers until this very week. I will keep adding to my understanding of this passage, until I am confident that I have all the details right.

Even 20 years ago, though, I could see that the Corinthian women were told to take off their veils and prophecy and pray in the meetings as fully committed disciples. 20 years ago, I could see that the passages defining elders allowed exactly the kind and amount of wiggle room for women to be leaders that I might allow, if I were writing to trusted brothers whom I had trained to raise churches. Paul wrote those letters to Timothy and Titus - he knew them, and he knew that they had seen women lead before. Paul didn't need to delineate a bunch of exceptions. He knew they would "get it."

I can still see two or three other ways that Paul might be talking about specific women in a specific place here in 1 Tim 2. I don't know which is the right understanding, but I know that this verse makes perfect sense the way Dr. Nyland has exegeted it. When the traditional interpretation is sterile, and does not match up with the rest of scripture, I'm actively looking for something better. Right now, she's #1. I'll keep my eyes open, though. New scholarship and new sweat off the ol' brow can still change it all.

I am fully persuaded that every new archaelogical find, and every new linguistic find, and every new logical connection is going to substantiate the basic point that Paul was addressing a gnostic heresy with these words. Paul was not addressing a problem of women usurping authority in the worldwide church, but of women dragging heresy into the church in Ephesus.

codepoke said...

DK,

And I am glad you are digging deep.

There are those who say I "dig deep" or just lay "it" on deep enough to require waders. ;-D

Danny Kaye said...

"I will keep adding to my understanding of this passage, until I am confident that I have all the details right."

Then I shall eagerly await the first post to this blog right after Judgement Day. (heh-heh)

And by the way, I am no Greek scholar either. I'm glad you make me look stuff up.

Milly said...

To be off yet some what on the subject of Adam and Eve.
I believe that the innocence they had ld to the sin. We teach our children that if the disobey us and eat all the candy that they will get sick, yet they must eat it to be convinced. Jump up and down on the couch and you could fall, they do and you find yourself in the ER. As we grow we learn hot equals a blister. Adam and Eve were never actually children and never faced what we did until that day, consequences to their actions. We learn as we grow up. Perhaps that’s why we are on this earth so that we can learn things of sin and know how to turn away from them.

It's time to rise up like men, and restore our sisters.

Amen, it's time to restore each other, men and women.

DugALug said...

Milly,

our very existence as men and women are based on one mistake.

Do you mean our specific roles as men and women are based on one mistake?

For starters Whether Adam bit first or not, he did partake. So I think that is a bit of a moot point.

Between the time that Eve ate and when God asked 'did you eat?' there were at least 2 mistakes.

Within the 5 minutes or so of dialog with God there were many more.

Technically, you can say that Eve started the fire, but I am of the mind that they both started it. In addition to being one in the mistake they were one flesh through marriage.

Would we have picked only the verses we chose to keep men down?

Probably so, but that begs the question, do we filter the Bible based on a gender perspective? Again the answer is probably yes. Then comes the other shoe: is this wrong? If it is oppressive, hurtful, and obtuse with other biblical teachings, then yeah verily it is.

I don’t believe he wanted the horrible things that came from misuse of His word

Amen, we none have the capicity to understand all of the nuances found in these pages, but we have an obligation to seek truth concerning it. Abuses, and misuses of the scripture are nothing new, and women aren't the only victims in that.

God Bless
Doug

DugALug said...

CP,

I am really trying to read this with as open a heart as I can. I am trying to put fight my own partisanship here. {Grimmacing under the pressure}

Let me add a few things here: I Tim 2:9 => I think this was really directed at gentile converts: namely from Greek and Roman households, who worship their pagan gods with full 'adornment'.

He obviously wasn't talking about jewish women, who's modest apparel in the synagogues was mandated through the jewish interpretation of the law.

All of this to say that this probably wasn't about position, it was more about distraction and avoiding embracing pagan traditions in the young church.

I am pretty sure that 1 Timothy is written before the fall Jerusalem (~70AD). Why is this significant? Well, until about 67 AD christians (Literally those who were part of a movement called 'The Way'), still worshipped in the synogogue.

If this is true, then Timothy's church was still divided with a large part of them trying to keep a foot in Judiasm, and still embracing Christianity.

One of the biggest reasons I believe Paul writes 1 Timothy 2 and 3 is about nothing that you even touched upon: the rise of the female in a worship/preaching/teaching settings.

Women discovered that the hard-lines rules that forbade them from uttering words in the synogogue were not applied in these newfound churches. Women who quietly had power in Jewish circles could now openly manifest that power, with fear of being suppressed. This power was abused and had to be addressed.

Paul walked a tight rope: on one hand he wanted to curb the wreckless error going on in the church, but on the other, he wanted to maintain the zealous spirit that this your congregation was exhibiting.

Timothy also was in question because he was percieved as 'young' another throwback to Jewish law and tradition.

Your take on gnosticism is interesting, but it too has some issue. Gnosticism didn't elevate women above men, it equalized them. The reason Gnosticism swept so rapidly into the early church was because, Gnostics were looking for a bridge between the flesh and the spiritual realm, and Jesus filled that role to a tee.

In a nutshell, they believed that Jesus (loving, kind, merciful), replaced the existing God (Angry, wrathful, spiteful, bitter old man). With the new sherif cam new liberties.

Paul, John, and Luke all wrote to address the heretical view, but that didn't curb its popularity. Paul needed to call into check this virus that was uprooting the core of believers.

Even Marcion was dirrivative of a Gnostic: they lasted from many centuries, in spite of doctrines that mandated celebacy.

All of this to say, that these versus in Timothy, are still addressing clear problems in the church that include a woman's propper place in the body, the errors of pseudo-gospel. And the infusion of pagan traditions.

It sounds to me that you are talking more about followers of Lillith, than of gnostics, but I could be wrong here.

Anyway, after reading DK's comments, I tend to agree, with the point that Paul goes out of his way to point out women in these examples. It seems to me that there must have been a lot of wealthy men exercising their leverage too, yet he chastised the women.

DK wrote: First, to conclude that these prominent women were leaders of the Law prior to conversion to Christianity seems a bit of a stretch.

Ditto, in fact, I believe what you are saying is not possible. It wouldn't have been permitted in the temple or Synogogues, women were forbidden to interperate the law.

Something else that is lost in the context of these scriptures is the coloquialisms. I am wondering if some of these problems would go away if we understood the grouping of words and phrases had meaning beyond what was merely written.

I really love the thought here CP, keep up the digging.

God Bless
Doug

codepoke said...

DugALug,

I am really trying to read this with as open a heart as I can. I am trying to put fight my own partisanship here. {Grimmacing under the pressure}

Haha! You done good, sir.

Let me add a few things here: I Tim 2:9 => I think this was really directed at gentile converts: namely from Greek and Roman households, who worship their pagan gods with full 'adornment'.

I will not fisk your whole comment (unless you would like to read all that), but this is as good a place as any to say a couple of things.

We are both shooting at imaginary targets here. Your complaint here is as tenuous as mine. If we are not careful, we could become like little kids who yelling, "Bang, I got you!" "No you didn't!" "Yes I did!"

There is not enough internal textual evidence here to prove either of us right or wrong. Because I come to the text with a profound hope to find an explanation for the verse, I find it. Because you come to it with an equally strong hope to confirm tradition, you find it.

1 Tim 2 was the passage that kept me from embracing egalitarianism. I agree that it is a tough nut for egalitarians. Dr. Nyland has put a huge and effective lever under this chapter, and she convinces me. I am not surprised or dismayed that she does not convince you. That's cool. I embrace your open consideration.

Now, in the absence of clear textual evidence, I suggest that we must go back to the rest of scripture. How many verses say that women must keep silent, and how many assume that women should speak freely in the meetings? How many verses say women should not take authority in the church, and how many assume that they do?

If the rest of scripture does not sing the song of women being silent and in subjection, then we need to accept some interpretation that localizes the meaning of the verse.

Milly said...

dugalug,

Sounds like we are on the same page with Adam and Eve.

For some reason the whole Adam and Eve subject gets me going. I think it’s because I’ve actually been told that women shouldn’t use drugs in child birth. It’s God’s curse to women. Yep I looked at him and said go toil in the soil. We seem to hold a bigger burden for the sin. Why? Were you told that he was standing next to her in Bible class? Most of us weren’t. That teaching omission has been one of the details that has hurt women. I was once told by a male employee that men were over women (Yes I was his boss) because they were made first and can pee standing up. Nope didn’t fire him for that, laughed real loud. I’d like to think this is a rare way of thinking, sadly it isn’t. Thankfully you men aren’t like that. The thing is that it’s important that our daughters know better. You as fathers can teach them to be strong women in the Lord., no matter the church traditions.

Karen said...

Wow, I really appreciate the thought and work put into this discussion. You all make my eyes jiggle.
The woman was deceived, the man was disobedient.He was there when Eve bit into the apple. They both messed up. Together.
God never cursed anything but the snake and the soil; He does, however, say how it's going to be because of the blunder. He doesn't "make it so," rather, humankind has made it so...the Fall. Jesus came to restore us to pre-fall conditions, and yet we still insist upon living in post-fall conditions. Why? With Jesus came freedom. For EVERYONE.
Jesus never orders women to take subservient roles; rather He walked with women and respected women. He thought that learning the scriptures was a better choice than worrying about kitchen work.

And women never failed Him. They believed in Him, broke societal rules to touch Him, and it was women who stayed faithfully by Him to the end..and after. Would He consider such people second-class citizens?
Women were co-workers with Paul. The words used to describe these women are exactly the same as for men...however, somehow in the translation, deacon gets changed to "servant" one time...in describing a female. Junia gets a sex-change because she is called an apostle...Paul's writing changed! Talk about heresy!
The verses that seem to limit women have been taken way out of context. We see the answers in Paul's letters, without benefit of the questions. If he had known the impact of his words, what would he think now? We translate these ancient words into such flowery writings...but why? Why don't we actually see the word in Phil 3:8 as it really is? The Greek word is skubalon...and it doesn't mean "rubbish" or "trash." It is closer to the word "dung" but there isn't a polite English word to translate skubalon. How much more has been changed in the name of propriety and, worse, chauvinism?...what else do we miss in the total comprehension of Paul's words?
Because some of these "women" verses are "iffy" or difficult to understand, shall we rule in favor of keeping half the army in submission? How can anyone walk in the belief of the freedom that Jesus brings, and yet be haughty enough to believe that they are above another human being?

Women were to learn in "quietness" not silence. They were to be ALLOWED to learn, something they weren't allowed to do before. Paul was dealing with the mix of paganism and gnosticism into Christianity; the teachings that women were the source of men...and lots of sexual connotations and control over men by women; and goddess worship. Authentein has a very violent meaning. That verse is the only time it is used, and it has a cultural context.

Paul says: "If ANYONE (tis) desires..."
ANYONE..not just men.

If Jesus and Paul had no problem with women in ministry, what's the problem? What would Jesus' answer be to the question:
"Father, can women preach the Gospel? Can they go forth and teach ALL of humanity--men and women? Can they battle the enemy side by side with their brothers?"

What would Jesus say? Would He say no? Is one person to "lord" it over another? If we relegate women to subservience, we are against Him. God created adam (mankind) in His image; male AND female. Until we get it right...nothing will be right.

codepoke said...

Amen, Milly.

And, well said Karen! Spot on. Thank you.

DugALug said...

CP,

If we are not careful, we could become like little kids who yelling, "Bang, I got you!" "No you didn't!" "Yes I did!"

Good point, but just so you know: my daddy can beat up yours!

You are right, in a way that we are both extrapolating and there is a lack of language and understanding of the situation that is causing this chink. All was trying to do was point out an equally historically supported answer that was based on the text and the history we know from that area of the world.

In my opinion, we are debating over three minor positions in the body. 99.9 percent of the work is open to all.

Shoot, I can't bear children (lol thankfully), but I must be a part of the process for it to happen.

No matter how we talk, even if we translate 'musts', as 'oughts', you can not explain away that Paul recogized that men were the better candidate for the roles of Bishop/overseer, deacons, and elders. And he backed this with the multiple scriptures like 'the Man is the head of the household (in marriage), just as Christ is the head of the church'. In other words, this model is consistant and supported with multiple places in the scriptures.

Appart from that, there is no other issue here. This doesn't put man over women in any other instance... including preaching, teaching, and the use of the gift of the Spirit.

God Bless
Doug

Karen said...

"In my opinion, we are debating over three minor positions in the body. 99.9 percent of the work is open to all."

No, 99.9 percent of the work is not open to all. The work available to each member of the body is the work that the Lord has gifted to each individual. This is not a gender issue. Not all men are gifted to teach, to pastor, nor are all women. We all bring something to the table-that which HE chooses and calls us to do.

"No matter how we talk, even if we translate 'musts', as 'oughts', you can not explain away that Paul recogized that men were the better candidate for the roles of Bishop/overseer, deacons, and elders."

No matter how you slice it, Paul commends his co-workers (never "underlings") in Christ. He calls them deacons, apostles...probably even sent a letter with one of them... Priscilla, Phoebe, Nympha, Junia, Timothy's maternal teachers. He recognized that all should be doing the work. Even John Chrysostom, one of history's biggest woman-haters had to admit that Junia was an apostle; "how great this woman was to have been counted among the apostles!" (paraphrased) Paul used 'tis' and other words that indicated that all are invited to teach and preach. The "man" words have been added or mistranslated.

"And he backed this with the multiple scriptures like 'the Man is the head of the household (in marriage), just as Christ is the head of the church'. In other words, this model is consistant and supported with multiple places in the scriptures."

Even if this is mistranslated as you have put here, the "head" or kephale which doesn't mean "the boss of" (that is an English interpretation which doesn't correspond in the Greek) a marriage; that kind of "authority" would be that which is decided upon by each couple. Anything other than that volunteerism has no place in the freedom of Christ. The Koran has similar verses, so let's not go there. This kind of hierarchy puts a man between God and woman. These translations would also indicate that Christ is beneath God in "the circle." "Submission," which I believe the word hupotasso has been sorely mistranslated in the Greek (it has many nuances other than submit; it also means support, and attach to, which can speak to the bad state of marriage in the society Paul is trying to deal with) is something we all must do for one another as Christians. Ephesians charges everyone with supporting each other. Paul also charges men with much more responsibility to the marriage than woman. In fact, I don't believe that he ever says that the woman must LOVE her husband. Only respect him. Shall we apply that to modern day marriage as well?

"Appart from that, there is no other issue here."

Of course there is. These verses have caused an incredible loss in the Kingdom...not to mention loss of life of women. The abuses that have ensued because of this are multiple and horrible. Words matter.

"This doesn't put man over women in any other instance... including preaching, teaching, and the use of the gift of the Spirit." Not everyone would agree with you on that! :-) Jesus doesn't put man over woman in any instance at all.

CP...sorry I'm blogging on your blog. I'll think about taking this over to my place! I usually don't get into this discussion, but you've created a safe place here. I think I'll be in "quietness" now! ;-) Thank you for your thoughtful writings!. You have Jesus all over you! God bless!

Andreia said...

No, 99.9 percent of the work is not open to all. The work available to each member of the body is the work that the Lord has gifted to each individual. This is not a gender issue. Not all men are gifted to teach, to pastor, nor are all women. We all bring something to the table-that which HE chooses and calls us to do.

AH KAREN! I WANT TO WRITE IN ALL CAPS TO THANK YOU FOR THIS!

I have been asking this question for at least a decade. What happens when a woman has been given the gift of leadership! No one has EVER wanted to touch the question...

I suppose that many might think tha a woman is wrong when about her gift. They also will hide that woman by giving her other work that is not her gift thereby denying the very thing that makes her tick, and ultimately denying her PURPOSE in life.

Andreia said...

sorry for the typos. Im supposed to be studying so I am hurrying.

Karen said...

Thanks, Andreia!
"I suppose that many might think tha a woman is wrong when about her gift. They also will hide that woman by giving her other work that is not her gift thereby denying the very thing that makes her tick, and ultimately denying her PURPOSE in life."

Yup...they inflict the injury against not only the woman in denying her the sharing of her gift...more importantly, they also commit an offense against the One who called her.

DugALug said...

Karen,

Even Codepoke acknowledges, that he is speculating here. As far as my reference to man as the head of the household, you are the mistaken one: recall the phrase 'as Christ is the head of the church'. No where did I use the phrase 'boss'. This is a complete over reaction on your part. Unless you think you are on par with Christ (which introduces a whole wealth of other issues), you are warping scripture (and my quotes) to meet your own needs... which is ironicly what you are implying that I am doing.

Do you think Paul was a heretic? Paul was instructed by God to give these requirements for deacons, bishops, and elders. There is something gender related in this and their is nothing here (in these posts and comments) that can refute that

You historical view of women is so limiting: especially... what was your comment? "These verses have caused an incredible loss in the Kingdom." Let me get this straight: so let's change scripture to meet your view of what you think it should be.

So my 99.9 percent comment ruffled your feathers? Do you think it should be more like 90 percent? lol

No one is denying you any gifts. No one is minimizing your importance or your responsibility to be an active member in the body of Christ. Most importantly the only victim here is the scripture. I certainly have said nothing derogotory toward woman, if anything I've said the the church has abused these verses, yet you continue to debate.

Before you lash out at my comments, I would suggest and appeciate it if you really read what I said, not what you think I said. I will be the first to admit that I am notorious for dropping words as I type. But the bitterness in your tone and demeanor is unwarranted, and, in this case, in error.

God Bless
Doug

Karen said...

I apologize for coming off demeaning and bitter. I didn't think that I was...and I never made any comments about you personally. I'm not talking about my gifts in particular, either. I'm talking about the body of Christ. For each verse that we debate we can come up with refutation to one another. I apologize completely for the offense.

Andreia said...

Karen,
What should be an argument about the issue at hand often becomes a personal attack.Keep the ideas coming! It is refreshing to hear a new voice.

codepoke said...

Karen,

That was one of the best single-page summaries of the issue I have EVER read. Thank you so very much.

If you post on it over at Sword Still Out, I will be sure to link it up somewhere.

The abuses that have ensued because of this are multiple and horrible. Words matter.

That is where I started this series, and I could not agree more. Thank you for weighing in.

codepoke said...

They also will hide that woman by giving her other work that is not her gift

Hummph.

That is the story of my life as a member of corporate America. For 3 years I was right in the sweet spot of my talents, and now I am working against the people with whom I most identify.

It's an awful thing to do to a person, making them work at something for which they have no calling.

codepoke said...

DugALug,

Maybe I am wrong about this, but I think Karen was addressing the issue as a whole, where you and I were discussing 1 Tim 2:11 in isolation. I think that's why she seemed to you to come on overly strong.

Even Codepoke acknowledges, that he is speculating here.

Yes - on 1 Tim 2. I also specify why I am speculating. It is because 1 Tim 2 does not jive with the rest of scripture when taken to mean that there was a problem in Ephesus with women being uppity. On 1 Tim 3, Titus 1, 1 Cor 11 & 14, etc, I see clear textual evidence that I find compelling. On 1 Tim 2, I see only a likely speculation, but one that fits better with the tone of scripture than anything else I have ever read.

I have mentioned before that I don't believe that it is necessary, profitable or wise to bring the marriage relationship into this discussion. We are talking about leadership in the church, and that is sensitive enough. There are some pretty fine points in the husband/wife relationship, and they are peripheral to this discussion at best.

Let me get this straight: so let's change scripture to meet your view of what you think it should be.

Of course, you were addressing a comment by Karen here, but I have been concerned about the same thing. Am I just redefining scripture to suit my own ends? I mean, certainly I am not changing any scripture, but I am radically reinterpretting it.

Why?

It's a fair question, DugALug, and thank you for it.

That's why I started this series by looking at 1 Cor 11:7 as an island in scripture. This is where my journey to this place began. I could not accept that all the other verses that stated openly that women bore the image of God were all wrong when only this lonely, single verse said otherwise. From there, it was an irresistible domino path for me. All of the verses that supported 1 Tim 2:11 collapsed under scrutiny. 1 Tim 2:11 stood the longer than the rest, but in time it fell too.

No, I don't change scripture. I compare it to scripture and accept what the whole says.

The one thing you won't hear me say is, "The clear teaching of scripture is ..." As soon as I hear those words, I know that I am talking with someone who has not looked hard enough at the subject. I am settled in my position, but I know that there is nothing clear about it.

No matter how we talk, even if we translate 'musts', as 'oughts', you can not explain away that Paul recogized that men were the better candidate for the roles of Bishop/overseer, deacons, and elders.

Explain away? ;-)

Working to understand how Timothy would have understood the things Paul said is hardly so dishonest an activity as, "explaining away." We finished this discussion in the last post, and the two of us disagreed. That's cool, but if you left that discussion believing that I had conceded you that point, I must amend my answers.

Paul makes plenty of room in Tim. and Titus for women to take positions of leadership, and does so in a culture in which that was quite a bold step. Karen has already listed most of the large number of leaders in the church who were women, so I won't echo her here. But, I will in an upcoming post. :-)

(BTW: For those keeping score, I am not leaving this morning after all, but this weekend. Plans change...)

codepoke said...

What should be an argument about the issue at hand often becomes a personal attack.Keep the ideas coming! It is refreshing to hear a new voice.

At least it can seem like an attack. And both sides always feel like the one ambushed. Theology often feels like a full-contact sport, because our beliefs are held at the deepest parts of our souls. We often have our very identities committed to these discussions.

The new voices are refreshing, and the old are trusted. Thanks, DugALug, for being the last of the opposition still hanging in with this VERY, VERY long series of VERY, VERY long posts and comments. :-) And thanks, Karen for a lively stir of the pot. :-)

DugALug said...

CP,

Wow!

It is because 1 Tim 2 does not jive with the rest of scripture when taken to mean that there was a problem in Ephesus with women being uppity.

And like I pointed out, it doesn't jive with your view of the rest of the sctipture. I gave a plausible, 'jiving' explaination, and you belittled it as a childish response. I can live with that.

That's cool, but if you left that discussion believing that I had conceded you that point, I must amend my answers.

Concession is not my goal, truth is. The fact that you see me as an adversary for taking a contrary view disapoints me. Feel free to ammend your answers. I hardly think that the points that I am bringing up are any less valid and/or 'all-encompassing' than yours.

Paul makes plenty of room in Tim. and Titus for women to take positions of leadership, and does so in a culture in which that was quite a bold step.

Again, who is debating this? Certaintly not me! It has also been repeatedly implied that I want to remove women from leadership, this is obviously erroneous. If you are in the mood to 'ammend' your answers, take a good look at what I have said. I believe that the scripture limits women from 3 specific functions in the body: the main point of these posts. My view is far to the left of your local baptist church.

I say to you, you need to ask yourself: "What's more likely?". That Paul's wrote two chapters of our bible to address a specific issue at a small little church with some 'upity women' or Paul wrote with the intent of growing a healthy thriving church. Are you arguing the latter or the former? If your answer is the latter, then why would you take his literal (and gender-specific, I might add) words and seek to erode their detail (or should I say Explain away). It is you that has made the case of these few scriptures, are at odds with the gospel, I have been here to say... 'not so fast partner'.

I stand firmly by my view on this, though possibly more conservative than yours, it is scriptually sound and consistent with the gospel that I read. A healthy body of leadership NEEDS women in positions to lead.

Well, if we are through here, then I think I will go grab a bite. I hope your trip goes well.

God Bless
Doug

DugALug said...

Karen,

For each verse that we debate we can come up with refutation to one another. I apologize completely for the offense.

Thank you, and I appreciate the fresh perspective. Posts don't work well with conveying emotion or intention. Forgive me if I over-reacted.

I know it can seem as if we are refuting each other's scripture, but I wouldn't bother posting if I didn't believe that we were pursuing truth. Whether I agree, or concur, or bitterly object, I pursue these issues to see them through with a true heart.

And it is nice to see a new input added to the mix.

God Bless
Doug

codepoke said...

DugALug,

As you say, posting does not carry tone well. I would have thought that the fact that I was trying to be even and not insulting would have come through. I apologize that it did not.

belittled it as a childish response
I did not find your response childish, and did not intend by any word or tone to make it sound as if I did.

I assume it was the word, "uppity," that you found insulting since you reference it a couple times. The fact that I used it was not intended as a slander, but as a shortcut. I'm pretty sure I used it in the last post too without offense. If you found it offensive, please strike it from the record, because that was not my intent. The accusation is that these women were usurping authority over men. The adjective, "rebellious," serves the same purpose, so substitute it for, "uppity," if that helps.

I can live with that.
Please don't. It was never in my heart or intent to belittle.

Concession is not my goal, truth is.
I believe this to be true of you, and everyone else out here. I have been really delighted with the level of conversation all along, and hope that this series of miscommunications can be laid aside.

I hardly think that the points that I am bringing up are any less valid and/or 'all-encompassing' than yours.
I never thought or said that they were. I merely disagreed, and I used the word, "uppity."

The fact that you see me as an adversary for taking a contrary view disapoints me.
Again, I just don't get it.

I have reread my post. In it I thank you for good questions, and throw in a couple happy emoticons. The ;-) was genuine. I was trying to get a chuckle, so I used the winky chuckle emoticon. All my emotions as I wrote this were positive.

I was smiling the whole time I typed that paragraph, and ended the second of the paragraphs with another smile - because I was happy that the discussion was going on the way it was. Then just a comment later, I thanked you for hanging with us.

I don't know if I said anything else that seemed adversarial, but it was not anything that I was trying to say.

I hope that's enough on the topic of adversarial relationship. I don't feel it, and don't want to engender it. Please forgive me for each misstep of mine that caused it.

(me)Paul makes plenty of room in Tim. and Titus for women to take positions of leadership, and does so in a culture in which that was quite a bold step.

(you)Again, who is debating this?


Yet another communication fault.

When I say leadership, I mean eldership and deaconhood. When you say leadership, you mean exercising any of the gifts of the Spirit. You have made it very clear that you don't want to remove women from the exercise of any gift, except that of senior pastor, elder and deacon. I appreciate that. I believe I have said before that yours is a more generous stance than usual.

Still, I am contending for women as senior pastors, elders and deacons. When I say leadership, it is primarily eldership that I mean.

I have been here to say... 'not so fast partner'.
And I hear you loud and clear. Keep on keeping on. I respect your disagreement.

A healthy body of leadership NEEDS women in positions to lead.
Well, we heartily agree here, except that we define leading differently.

Well, if we are through here, then I think I will go grab a bite. I hope your trip goes well.
I hope you enjoy dinner! Mine is on the way.

I will be leaving on Saturday immediately following my tennis match. So, I will be here all day tomorrow.

DugALug said...

CP,

My pizza was good, and my thoughts came back to this. I am glad I sat down and looked again at your blog.

At the end of the day, you are a good person to put up with my ramblings.

I took the word 'uppity' to be your dismisal of Paul's instruction as writings directed at a specific incedent. I believed you were attempting to minimize a section of scripture that would be troublesome or contrary to your argument. It wasn't personally offensive, but I also wasn't going to let its importance be minimized.

In my close-mindedness, I took you smiley faces to be further insult. As in laugh at versus laughing with. I'm a moron. Looking back a certainly see your humor.

I am glad you quantified what you call 'leadership'. To me, my mom is a leader and so is my wife. I noticed that the examples given on the posts by the women are of them being looked over, or shunned in these roles: nary a mention of eldership or being a head pastor. So my response was to affirm that their offenses were valid and repulsive.

And to all, please forgive me for wasting yours and everyone elses time taking up personal offsenses. I apologize to you CP, Karen, and whoever else who was put off by my banter, especially if I have been insulting.

Its bed time here, so good night until the morning.

God Bless
Doug

codepoke said...

Phew,

Thanks, brother. I know I will sleep better now.

The Lord bless and keep us all,

Kevin

(And as for my dinner - it was tragic! I cooked up the artichokes, then noticed that I had allowed myself to run out of mayonaise. :-( I will have to buy three jars now to keep my compulsions from breaking my brain.)

Andreia said...

I dont want to throw a monkey wrench in the peace here. This is a sincere question stemming from my background where there is no distinction in "pastors." What is the difference in a senior pastor or head pastor and just a pastor-pastor? Doug are you saying that women can be pastors but not elders? Im sorry but in the COC there is no official role of pastor so I am not sure what that would entail that would make it permissable but not eldership.

Andreia said...

I just reread that and I am not sure if it made any sense.

Milly said...

Wow you burly boys need to settle down. The things that happen while I’m at work.

At the CoC we have a minister and associate minister, youth minister, and a children’s minister
(At my CoC women held two of those minister roles {{{{SHOCKING! }}}}})

Three jars for real! You will, at least for me, place them labels facing out and stack them together right? Butter with the artichokes, garlic and butter Mmmmm.

Dugalug might feel that he is standing alone on his side of the corral. You aren’t alone Milly will dangle her boots on your side and cheer you on Bro.

DugALug said...

Andreia

Doug are you saying that women can be pastors but not elders?

Not exactly:

I go to an Assembly of God church, we have about 20 pastors on staff and 16 elders (a mix of pastors and lay-people), and 1 head pastor.

Of the 20 pastors, 4 are women. I know this is not exactly a shining moment of equality. In our church structure, I believe the scriptures limit the women from filling the roles of Elders, and head pastor. Paul uses the word 'overseer' or 'bishop'. An overseer did as his name implied: he oversaw the local body. I take, and many other believes this to mean head pastor.

We have no deacons, in our structure, but we do have elders and they are limited to males.

But even in saying this, as a former elder, I would reject ANY pastor who is not married and whose spouse wasn't willing to commit to the ministry as well. In fact, after being an elder, I think I would reject any Elder who isn't the same (this would include myself, at the time when I accepted the position)

I don't know how COC is set up, but I must assume that you have an equivalent to youth pastors, children's pastors, young couples, etc. There is, and should be no restriction on these because there is not Biblical basis for it.

I hope this makes sense.

God Bless
Doug

Milly said...

Doug,
Most CoC don’t allow women to be ministers (we don’t call them pastors) I agree the the shepherds wives must also comment to the ministry given the time it takes and the personal lives watched and so on. I, in fact would be more apt to talk to a couple of the wives if in need. They are wonderful ladies and their husbands being leaders have given to the talents they have. Need to end because Littles has school.

Andreia said...

I don't know if you all get a chance to see movies like Barnyard, but it is well worth the cost of a ticket. There is a really neat little message about leadership in it albeit it is the guy cow who is leading. Check it out if you can!

Karen said...

Gee, guess I'll throw in another monkey wrench.
And, it seems really strange that this would even be an issue, but,
I'm an ordained elder in the Reformed Church of America.
What this means to me is that I was..and am... a servant to the body. I'm not in the RCA anymore...but once an elder there, always an elder.
I really need to read back on all the posts before I can continue so I'm not repeating things--and I'm getting ready (time and work willing)to post on this subject on my own blog as well...thank you so much for welcoming me! It's appreciated!

codepoke said...

Thanks for the pointer, Andreia.

And, Karen, are you really willing to give up a month of your life by trying to read all that? ;-)

Karen said...

yup, Kevin....it's well worth it...I'm a fast reader ;-)