Why Did the SBC Avoid Addressing Al Mohler’s ‘Third Way’ Concerns?

"But, there is no third way. A church will either believe and teach that same-sex behaviors and relationships are sinful, or it will affirm them."

Al Mohler

Amy Smith's TwitterChild Sex Abuse Awareness Group Outside SBC 2014 Annual Meeting

Five years ago Southern Baptists convened in Louisville for their Annual Meeting.  Something significant happened at that gathering, as explained by Bob Allen of the Associated Baptist Press.  In an article entitled SBC messengers sever ties with Texas church over gay members, Allen explains:

It took messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting June 23 only 30 seconds to sever a 125-year relationship with a prominent Texas congregation because of the church’s perceived toleration of gay members.

Voting in the opening session of their annual meeting in Louisville, the messengers chose overwhelmingly to dismiss Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth. They did so on a recommendation the convention’s Executive Committee approved, without dissent, the day before.

The recommendation did not specifically mention homosexuality. But that issue has been the backdrop of controversy at the church since late 2007, when a dispute arose regarding whether to include pictures of same-sex couples alongside other families in the church’s membership directory.

The decision is the first time the SBC has ejected a church for violating a policy prohibiting affiliation with pro-gay churches despite the congregation's contention that it was not in violation of the rule.

Until this week, Dee and I were unaware that this vote had even taken place.  We launched TWW three months prior to that Louisville meeting; however, we were novices at blogging.  Not only that, I left Dee to fend for herself that week because I was chaperoning my daughter's choir as they toured France.  For a glimpse of what I was experiencing around the time of that SBC vote, here is the Capital City Girls Choir giving an impromptu performance at the American Cemetery Memorial in Normandy.  As the world marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day on June 6th, I reminisced about this unforgettable visit to the shores of Normandy. 

Leading up to this year's annual meeting, Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, published a post on his website entitled There is no 'third way – 'Southern Baptists Face a Moment of Decision (and so will you).  In that June 2 article, Mohler wrote:

Southern Baptists will be heading for Baltimore in just a few days, and the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention is to be held in a city that has not hosted the convention since 1940. This time, Baptists attending the meeting will face an issue that would not have been imaginable just a few years ago, much less in 1940 — a congregation that affirms same-sex relationships.

Just days before the convention, news broke that a congregation in suburban Los Angeles has decided to affirm same-sex sexuality and relationships. In an hour-long video posted on the Internet, Pastor Danny Cortez explains his personal change of mind and position on the issue of homosexuality and same-sex relationships. He also addressed the same issues in a letter posted at Patheos.com.

In the letter, Cortez describes a sunny day at the beach in August of 2013 when “I realized I no longer believed in the traditional teachings regarding homosexuality.”

Shortly thereafter, he told his 15-year-old son that he “no longer believed what he used to believe.” His son responded with an even more direct word to his father: “Dad, I’m gay.” As Cortez writes, “My heart skipped a beat and I turned towards him and we gave one another the biggest and longest hug as we cried. And all I could tell him was that I loved him so much and that I accepted him just as he is.”

Instead of firing their pastor, the members of New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, California voted to take a “third way” on homosexuality, meaning they are neither welcoming and affirming gays nor judging church members who do so.

After explaining that this pastor-father made a radical shift in his position upon learning that his son was gay, Mohler made the following pronouncement:

But, there is no third way. A church will either believe and teach that same-sex behaviors and relationships are sinful, or it will affirm them. Eventually, every congregation in America will make a public declaration of its position on this issue. It is just a matter of time (and for most churches, not much time) before every congregation in the nation faces this test. . .

I am confident that the Southern Baptist Convention will act in accordance with its own convictions, confession of faith, and constitution when messengers to the Convention gather next week in Baltimore. But every single evangelical congregation, denomination, mission agency, school, and institution had better be ready to face the same challenge, for it will come quickly, and often from an unexpected source. Once it comes, there is no middle ground, and no “third way.”

There is little doubt what Mohler's agenda was at the 2014 SBC Annual Meeting.  He wanted the messengers to deal with this matter pronto!  Perhaps by making an example of this California congregation, the SBC could prevent other congregations from following suit. 

It was no great surprise that former SBC vice president Wiley Drake, a messenger from California, was poised to present a motion about this matter as soon as the microphones were turned on.  He requested that convention officers impose discipline on any churches "which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior". 

In response to this request, an order of business committee determined that Wiley Drake’s motion was not in order.  Furthermore, it was never reintroduced during the rest of the SBC meeting.

On the second day of the meeting, Wiley Drake tried to bring up the matter in a question he posed to Danny Akin following his president's report.  Interestingly, Al Mohler appears to have remained silent on this 'moment of decision' for the rest of the meeting.

Why?

Perhaps addressing the transgender issue was the most important matter to be resolved at this year's meeting.  Or perhaps there was something else that prevented the messengers from throwing out New Heart Community Church in the same manner they threw out Broadway Baptist Church in 2009.

What has made the difference five years later?

(1) There has been a HUGE outcry from bloggers calling attention to child sex abuse and those who appear to be covering it up.

(2) The Mohler / Mahaney friendship is troublesome now that Grant Layman (Mahaney's brother-in-law) has testified under oath that he knew about the sexual abuse of minors during the time that Mahaney was Senior Pastor of Covenant Life Church and did not report it to the proper authorities.

(3) There was an "Awareness Event" just outside the doors of the Baltimore Convention Center drawing attention to child sex abuse, particularly in the church.  Thanks to this wonderful group for the courage and compassion you displayed!

In fact, the Associated Baptist Press published a story the next day entitled Protestors say Southern Baptists not taking clergy sex abuse seriously.  We highly encourage you to read this article.

And if those theories aren't enough, Christa Brown at Stop Baptist Predators recently published lists of individuals and institutions that appear to be in collusion to cover up child sex abuse. 

Colllusion:  Examples of Individual Conduct

Collusion:  Examples of Institutional Conuct

Perhaps they have put New Heart Community Church (NHCC) on the back burner until next year's gathering.  There's a new president – Ronnie Floyd – who has definitely not shied away from these kinds of discussions.  It is interesting that the state association says it wants NHCC to remain affiliated with the SBC unless the national leaders do something about it; and, of course, the national leaders did not do anything this year.  We believe Mohler's agenda (which was obviously presented in Wiley Drake's motion) got tabled for one or more of the reasons stated above. 

Had the motion passed in 2014, there likely would have been a tremendous uproar from some of the messengers about the alleged mishandling of pedophile issues in some Southern Baptist churches.  Perhaps SBC leaders quickly realized that if they had made some big statement against NHCC, it would have opened up the door to the inevitable question of why they do not throw out churches that do not properly deal with child sex abuse.

Procedures appear to be changing within the SBC.  We have learned from one of our sources who attended the Baptist 21 luncheon and panel discussion that Al Mohler told those in attendance to call 911 immediately if they receive a report of alleged sex abuse.  He instructed them to get the authorities involved immediately and do not investigate it themselves.  Furthermore, Mohler told attendees that the issues of church discipline, counseling, etc. should wait until the investigation is done.  Finally, Mohler insisted – Calling the police in the case of child molestation is a “Gospel imperative”.

We are left wondering why Mohler suddenly went silent on an issue that just weeks before he had addressed head-on in a public forum.

What will happen at next year's SBC annual meeting regarding this matter? 

It may depend on several things. 

(1) The outcome of the appeal made last Monday by Susan Burke

(2) Whether more alleged child sex abuse in Southern Baptist churches is reported

(3) Whether pastors follow Mohler's edict to call 911 if there is alleged sex abuse

We'll have to wait and see…

Lydia's Corner:   Daniel 2:24-3:30   1 Peter 4:7-5:14    Psalm 119:81-96   Proverbs 28:15-16

Comments

Why Did the SBC Avoid Addressing Al Mohler’s ‘Third Way’ Concerns? — 343 Comments

  1. Veeery interesting…

    It’s getting cold tonight… Is it because Al Mohler and I ostensibly agree on something? 😮

  2. Finally, Mohler insisted – Calling the police in the case of child molestation is a “Gospel imperative”.

    Bullsh*t. I am so sick of this “gospel branding”. This has nothing to do with the gospel, and everything to do with common sense and human decency. Which, you know, is a good thing to strive for; you don’t have to gospelize it.

  3. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    Finally, Mohler insisted – Calling the police in the case of child molestation is a “Gospel imperative”.

    Bullsh*t. I am so sick of this “gospel branding”. This has nothing to do with the gospel, and everything to do with common sense and human decency. Which, you know, is a good thing to strive for; you don’t have to gospelize it.

    Amen to that!

  4. This move by Mr. Mohler to tell people to call 911 on abuse seems understandable, even if unexpected, regardless of true motivations behind it. As I see it, there could turn out to be significant new possibilities eventually stemming from the Sovereign Grace Ministries trial and other current situations, for criminal cases and/or civil lawsuits against religious individuals and entities who fail to obey mandatory clergy reporting requirements on child sexual abuse. Who knows … if online push-back can get *Christianity Today* to pull the plug on that article they published earlier this week, maybe it can get clergy to pick up their phone and d their civic duty to report known/suspected abuse.

    Who knows … things are changing. Will we perhaps begin to see increasing legal consequences and/or negative-publicity that can’t be scrubbed against pastors, elders, leaders, parishioners, churches, mega-churches, parachurch ministries, religious non-profits, denominations, conventions, associations that refuse deal with sexual abuse in a legal and ethical way? Will we potentially see more allegations of *conspiracy* against those who fail to report, tell people not to report, and/or perhaps even discuss a choice to not report?

    At any rate, here is the link for the most recent compilation of state-by-state info on mandatory clergy reporting requirements on child sexual abuse [through November 2013]. It comes from the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

    https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/clergymandated.pdf

    See the categorized chart (page 3) on what states have forms of mandatory reporting for clergy and for any citizen. Remember a couple years ago when some bloggers were referring to this very information and we wondered what it would take to change the direction of the Church? Who knows … perhaps Penn State unlocked the door the Church to do more now of what it always should’ve done then … and the SGM lawsuit maybe what pushes reluctant clergy reporters through that doorway anyway.

  5. About the abuse reporting, Mohler needs to distance himself and his apparent previous attitude (less than charging forward) now that Mahaney and the whole issue has brought the civil authorities to their doorsteps. It is not reasonable to assume that all SBC churches or leaders are “lenient” with abusers. The ground is slipping out from under those who wanted to ignore the issues. Praise God.

    In the homosexual issue, mention has been made that there is an apparent distancing of Russell Moore and Al Mohler in their rhetoric on this issue. Moore is now in a position of seriously big prominence, poised to be the go to man for the media, if the media treat him like they did his predecessor in that job. Moore has published about homosexuality, apparently been willing to say something in an interview, and what Moore is saying is much more reasonable. Matt Barber in his website barbwire, I believe, wrote an article about Moore not being as radically anti-gay, and then an article -has Moore been scared straight-when Moore “explained” his position in somewhat more conservative terms.

    I have not tried to find all these articles, but I have read this within the past couple of weeks or so. IMO, Moore wants to keep his job, build his credibility with the media, and just might be a far more reasonable person than Mohler. Which tells me that Mohler is probably not the one that epitomizes the general attitudes of a lot of people in SBC churches and positions. If so, again I say, praise God.

  6. But, there is no third way. A church will either believe and teach that same-sex behaviors and relationships are sinful, or it will affirm them. Eventually, every congregation in America will make a public declaration of its position on this issue.

    Hmmm… Just to clear up the inevitable questions that may arise after this comment about my heretic status, I'm Side B. But, I'm beginning to wonder if there aren't parallels to divorce here. Let's reword Mohler's statement just a little bit.

    But, there is no third way. A church will either believe and teach that adultery is sinful, or it will affirm it. Eventually, every congregation in America will make a public declaration of its position on this issue.

    Some Christians believe divorce and remarriage is only allowed after adultery, others believe it's allowed after abuse and abandonment. Heck, John Piper believes remarriage is never allowed even after adultery. So what's the consequence of this? That some pastors will remarry divorced persons, and others won't – also, that the pastors who won't, will inevitably see the divorced person's second marriage as adulterous. What makes this analogous is that adultery is portrayed as just as bad as homosexual behavior in the Bible. Most notably, they're both capital offenses in the OT, so I don't think we can sustain an argument that adultery is somehow "better" or "less bad." Thus, using Mohler's logic, this should be an issue in which there cannot be a "third way" because the behavior in question is so divisive and odious. But when was the last time you saw "every congregation in America" posting a "public declaration" of its position on divorce? Some do, but in reality they're pretty few and far between. And I'd be willing to bet that there are people in many conservative churches who would take different positions on this issue. So how do they manage to coexist?

  7. Good one, Hester. Rationalization, of course. We can handle many sins that way; especially those that affect us personally.

  8. This article is a bit of a puzzle to me.

    1. The Wiley Drake motion on the ‘third way’ church was ruled out of order. it was not a valid motion. It is safe to say that he is considered radioactive to SBC leaders and officers because of many embarrassing actions and statements in previous years.
    2. No SBC leader or entity has been saying anything other than to call authorities for years now. Mohler’s recent statement reiterates previous ones. This. however, doesn’t wipe the slate clean from the SGM stuff which will likely bite him as it moves forward.
    3. I’m not seeing any connection between the victim advocates appearance and any of the actions concerning a third way.

  9. @ William:

    So what do you think Mohler meant by this public statement leading up to the meeting in Baltimore?

    I am confident that the Southern Baptist Convention will act in accordance with its own convictions, confession of faith, and constitution when messengers to the Convention gather next week in Baltimore.

  10. Deb wrote:

    Hester wrote:
    Heck, John Piper believes remarriage is never allowed even after adultery.
    The same can be said of Paige Patterson.

    I was thinking the same thing.

  11. The point is frequently made here at TW² (ed.) that the growth of the interweb and social media have brought about a major change in the balance of publishing power. You no longer need to be at the apex of a large pyramidal organisation to have a voice.

    This is both a good and a bad thing, of course. There are trolls, yobs and Fiscals in the blogosphere too. But the issue of sexual abuse within evangelical protestant churches, and its covering up by the paid clergy thereof, has – as far as I'm aware – been brought to widespread attention mainly by "little people". That is, people who are not considered eminent and learned within circles such as the SBC.

    The men on the platform at large denominational gatherings may be accustomed to being the ones issuing calls for others to repent. Lately, however, it has been the institutionalised sins of flawed institutions that have been called out. Not only that, but those calls to repentance have been issued by "enemies", "critics" and "wounded people" and it is obvious to the whole world that they are rightful calls to repentance. Had it not been for the courage of the silenced and oppressed, successful christian brands might still be harbouring conveniently gifted abusers and might still believe it didn't matter.

    There's a strong Old Testament precedent for God using "the world" to call the churches to repentance. But of course, that kind of thing won't happen to us; only sinners and (pace HUG) popish romists need to hear that kind of thing…

  12. As an SBC church pastor, I pray the issue was not avoided due to the child abuse issue. I wanted the abuse issue dealt with, at least for us to begin to deal with it, as we are woefully behind the curve in doing so. The California state convention mentioned some things about the church no longer being a cooperating church and thus not eligible for discipline, but that dog didn’t hunt with me. The connection between SBTS and SGM is becoming to gain some traction in SBC circles and people are asking questions. Problem is in a beauracracy as large as the SBC, voices sometimes take a while to reach the surface. A lot is likely to come out in regards to the SGM scandal over the next year, so I would hope next year the convention begins to deal with this issue. Their are things the convention can lead in regarding resources for the churches and especially ministry to the abused. You can’t stop evil from being evil, absue will happen in churches sadly. But a no tolerance rule should be establsihed somehow. I’d have far more respect for any church that dealt honestly with these situations rather than protecting reputation at the expense of victims, and even more so allowing predators to move on to other places. In our local association several of us will be working on things we can do at the local level, but that is limited in regards to what has happened across the country. It is an issue that should have been addressed and was not, which was sad

  13. @ Hester, this is where the individual autonomy of SBC churches comes in to play. I have pastor freinds who will not remarry a divorced person, I will. I do so based upon my understanding of the word adultery in the original language, not upon some tradition or taking that word out of it’s original context. I believe Paul’s admonition that it is better to be married than to burn in lust has application to the situation. SBC congregations are free to govern themselves as they see fit. Some have divorced deacons(we have had them), others do not. There is no presbetery that governs us. Their will always be a wide range of opinion regarding divorce, but if we are to err, I say err on the side of grace. That does not mean sin is tolerated, but we must be sure when we define sin it is in line with what was originally written as much as possible. No 2 people or churches will agree on everything, which in the SBC leads to multitudes of views under the same roof

  14. Deb wrote:

    @ William:
    So what do you think Mohler meant by this public statement leading up to the meeting in Baltimore?
    I am confident that the Southern Baptist Convention will act in accordance with its own convictions, confession of faith, and constitution when messengers to the Convention gather next week in Baltimore.

    Deb, I think you rightly infer that Mohler would have liked to have seen this topic taken up. The fact that it wasn’t says that he either didn’t have the time to rally support or he didn’t get the traction he had hoped for when he did try. I don’t think there was any connection whatsoever with concerns about backlash from Mahaney and SGM.

    On that topic (Mohler and Mahaney), it’s really not that hard to understand Mohler’s actions. He is a man with very few real friends. There is a host of sycophants who swarm and swoon over him everywhere he goes, each hoping for some kind of blessing or approval from him. His blessing or approval can mean very good things for these people (just as his curse can cause them great harm, and he gives both). Likewise, Mohler typically interacts with others when he needs something from them. I don’t think this is necessarily nefarious – all people who operate at high levels find themselves in a similar position due to the circumstances. But it doesn’t lend itself to real friendships, and he really doesn’t make friends easily anyway. Like many really intelligent people, he just doesn’t relate to others very well. He was the nerd who read Tolstoy while other teenagers were playing football.

    He has a handful of people who he, for whatever reason, consider to be genuine friends. Mahaney has been one of them. What you all miss in your analysis is the humanness of Mohler. I’m not sure he even sees it. Parting company with or hurting one of the few genuine (in his mind) friends he has is a terrible price for him to pay. It’s one that blinds him to the realities around him. Mohler typically gives off the aura of believing he’s the smartest guy in the room anyway (and he often, though not as often as he thinks, he is), so combining his genuine and scarce personal friendships with his belief that he can see where others cannot has gotten him into this mess. He’s a human.

    A year ago when the second amended lawsuit came out, everyone around him started getting that pit in the stomach feeling that there was a real problem here. Mohler doubled down. Not because he thinks child abuse is OK but because he’s subconsciously grasping to hold onto something that matters to him. We’ve all been so invested in something or someone that we couldn’t see reality in front of us. As smart as he is, he would have instantly picked up on the real concerns here in any other scenario. As bold as he is, he would have spoken out against it. I can tell you for certain that everyone around him was scratching their heads at why he did it. They were hoping that being close to Mahaney, Mohler knew something they didn’t.

    Now, with the Morales conviction, Layman testimony, Tchividian statements et al, everyone knows there is a problem – I know this for a fact. Anyone who knows Mohler also knows that you’d better know him very well to be bold enough to ask him about this directly. As I’ve already stated, those with that kind of relationship are very few. Also as I’ve already said, most of the people who interact with him need him for some reason, so they are very careful about what they say. That doesn’t make it right, but that’s the reality.

    How will this all play out? I don’t know. I suspect Mohler will now be silent on the topic until there is irrefutable, damnable evidence that implicates Mahaney. I don’t know how he will address it then. This will be gut-wrenching for him. We can be certain of a few things: 1) No one in the SBC condones child abuse. 2) It will happen again in this fallen world. 3) There will always be some leaders who are too fearful or concerned about themselves to do the right thing. 4) Talking about this the right way only helps strengthen others to do the right thing. In fact, these 4 things are true about the rest of the world too – it’s not an SBC thing.

    Look, it seems clear that Mohler is on the wrong side of this thing and prudence could have prevented it a long time ago, or at least kept him from getting too invested. But the reason is not because Mohler is a demon – it’s because he is a human. This is not a defense for his actions – I think he’s been wrong-headed from the very beginning. It’s an explanation. None of us are immune from being wrong. That should give us all some pause.

  15. JP wrote:

    this is where the individual autonomy of SBC churches comes in to play.

    Really? They kicked a gay affirming church out in 2009. Their autonomy comes and goes, seemingly at will. What is amusing about this situation is that they apparently can’t get the California SBC to do it for them. Fermin essentially said he wasn’t going to do the heavy lifting.

  16. Mr. Mohler may be preaching and proclaiming that there is no “third way.” I wonder if he’s aware that for at least the last 5 years, there has been a deep and ongoing dialog on exactly that topic, and that a third way was introduced in theologically conservative circles over 20 years ago.

    As best I’ve been able to track the more recent discussion and discern trends within it, those most involved in pursuing it are primarily theologically conservatives with a missional perspective and a transformational ethic. They seek to understand the theological, ecclesiastical, and cultural contours of what a third way looks like.

    It isn’t the “welcoming and affirming” approach found mostly among theological liberals and progressives. And it isn’t what I call the “rejecting and condemning” approach found mostly among theological fundamentalists and Neo-Puritan/Neo-Calvinists. What tends to emerge as the third way is “welcoming and mutually transforming.”

    ** This view sees the gospel as offered to all, and so all persons are welcome.

    ** It seeks to maintain what they see as moral imperatives that same-sex sexual behaviors are outside God’s will, but that it is no worse than any other sin.

    ** It is more about working out the details on-site than receiving blueprints dictated by an authoritarian leader.

    ** Adherents tend to see themselves as sojourner-ambassadors in a host culture, and so are not fixated on imposing their views politically or ecclesiastically (which, to be truthful, seems to be on the dominionistic agenda of numerous representatives from BOTH the welcoming and affirming AND rejecting and condemning camps).

    Once you are inside the dialog, you find all kinds of really difficult on-the-ground issues to resolve … but they aren’t necessarily that different from what *should* be considered for anyone in the church with any kind of background.

    ** Who can/can’t be involved in leadership? What about church discipline?

    ** How do you participate in people’s everyday lives when a significant personal, social, or identity issue is at the core of it?

    ** How does this play out in dynamics in the surrounding community, when you don’t nail down every detail to the satisfaction of those in the Church community or the culture — and they often want you to have a fixed answer for all their questions?

    Surely there is an in-between way that is neither “everything must be spelled out” versus “nothing at all is fixed.” There is epistemologically, at least, with a paradoxical approach. But then, living with ambiguity, theological dissonance, and lack of social dominance doesn’t seem to be a particular strength for those with *hardcore* versions of the first two ways.

    So, there’s that, FWIW. If you’re interested in tracking some of the history on the development of this third way over the past 5 years, a good starting place is Dr. David Fitch’s article here:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20100812045411/http://www.reclaimingthemission.com/on-being-missional-and-the-gaylesbian-peoples/

  17. Also in the FWIW department on resources, I did an extended series in 2013, trying to put the framework of a “third way” in the larger context of the breaking up of the “emerging church movement” into various streams since the mid- to late-1990s. I looked at which streams seem to generally be drawn to which way; how this all relates to our modes of processing information; the outworking of legalism-liberty-license; leadership structures; forms of organization and collaboration; etc. Part One is here:

    http://futuristguy.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/missional-movement-part-one/

  18. Dee,

    I don't disagree. I think it's hypocritical. Which takes us back to the original post you made. Why? We established this as unacceptable, and I agree with that. Why was it not addressed this time? As I stated the verbiage from the California state convention didn't fly with me either. Individual autonomy is not license to sin. Pretty much all SBC churches agree on the homosexual issue, all I know of. As another poster said, it's tough for me to agree with Mohler as well, as I'm not a big fan. But he's right here there is no third way, you either affirm what the bible teaches regarding the issue or you don't. His silence here was deafening, as it is on the SGM issue.

  19.   __

    “A Perfect Sky, A Perfect Day, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Over the Southern Baptist Convention in Baltimore, the proverbial skywriter had written the following:

    SURRENDER MAHANEY

  20. JP wrote:

    ut he’s right here there is no thrid way, you either affirm what the bible teaches regarding the issue or you don’t. His silence here was deafening, as it is on the SGM issue

    Something happened. He went to the convention loaded for bear. He backed down. I do not believe it was because he couldn’t gain support. It was a political move, IMO.

    I believe it is related to the child sex abuse issue within the SBC which has accusations a mile long as you can see at Stop Baptist Predators. If they had thrown out the church at this time, the inevitable, justifiable outrage would have occurred. Here is how it would go

    “The SBC kicks out gay affirming church. Gay behavior is between consenting, of age adults. But, the SBC will not deal with the serious problems of child sex abuse which is not only illegal but is perpetrated on the youngest amongst them. See, here is a list of leaders and institutions which have issues.”

    The SBC is losing members and this issue is not helping.

    As for Mohler and CJ, you do know that CJ contributed at least $200,000 to SBTS that is on the record? I wonder how much more he promised, gave, etc. Do you think this is really just about ideology?

  21. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    But then, living with ambiguity, theological dissonance, and lack of social dominance doesn’t seem to be a particular strength for those with *hardcore* versions of the first two ways.

    They deny there is no “third way” but they do it all of the time. The guy who uses child pornography, the woman who is an alcoholic, the guy who is an abuser, the person who abuses prescription narcotics, etc.

  22. dee wrote:

    They deny there is no “third way” but they do it all of the time. The guy who uses child pornography, the woman who is an alcoholic, the guy who is an abuser, the person who abuses prescription narcotics, etc.

    … men in authority who misuse their power and influence …

  23. SBCLayman wrote:

    He has a handful of people who he, for whatever reason, consider to be genuine friends. Mahaney has been one of them

    I am not sure this is a BFF sort of issue. I think it is a BFF with benefits issue. Mahaney gave, at the minimum, @$200,000 to SBTS (the President’s fund). I do not know if there is more but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was. Mahaney also called Mohler the “smartest man in the world.” So, perhaps Mohler like friends who give money and compliments and will defend that to the death? Imagine what this says about character.

  24. @ SBCLayman:
    I appreciate your contribution, but I have to admit, I am a bit confused by your multiple assertions that Mohler is an intelligent person. I’m not saying that to denigrate Mohler, who is my brother in Christ, but just as an objective analysis of the facts at hand. Reading Mohler’s blog is like a game in “spot that fallacy”, he has never published any scholarly works, and his spoken rhetoric that I have heard is very, very sophomoric. Again, nothing against Mohler because a person doesn’t have to be smart to be used by God or to be a good person, which in my opinion is more important than some number on an IQ scale. But the idea that Mohler is any more intelligent than your average college grad is a claim that demands proof – proof that is nonexistent.

    In the interest of fair disclosure, I was a student at SBTS and have met Mohler, so I think I have an informed opinion.

  25. Dee,

    I agree. One of the things that frustrates so many of us in the SBC is the political nature of the convention. It's nothing new, but the predominant voices in the SBC are really the only one's you hear. At a grass roots level many are questioning SBTS's ties to Mahaney and SGM. Many, like me, wanted to see the issue addressed regarding child sex abuse. Most, like me, don't even bother to attend anymore because it's impossible to wade through the red tape to have your voice heard. Motions are declared out of procedural order (technically correct) and resolutions must pass through committee. Limited time for discussion on any topic that reaches the floor presents a stacked deck.

    Unless you are interested in the social aspect, which personally I'm not, the SBC Annual Meeting is a waste of time. If this is to change it's going to begin at the local and state level. Only when groups of churches speak as one will it filter through the bureaucracy. That, and continued pressure from outside groups. We are woefully behind the curve in dealing with the child sex abuse issue, and I agree politics were involved this past week. Sadly, they always are. It's not right but it is the reality of the situation.

  26. I’m wondering if some cooler heads among the SBC were actually looking towards a very real future where gay marriage is legal in all 50 states. As it is, the church Mohler wanted to give the left foot of fellowship to is in California, again, where gay marriage is legal. (Yes, I know, legal is not moral, but legal opens up lots of implications I need not go into here, but are worth thinking about.)

    As it is, I’d note that this “third way” is no panacea. I’m not GLBT, but I’ve read some commentary over the past week or so from people in the GLBT community and they’re pretty disturbed by the “third way” as it appears to be a way to avoid dealing with a very serious issue. A “third way” solution is likely only to work for a relatively short period of time. As we all are aware, the young and the nones are bailing on the churches in part due to the anti-GLBT hostility being expressed by people like Al Mohler. Not dealing with it (as in this “third way”) is only going to temporarily slow the exodus, not stop it.

    I’d also point out that if the GLBT issue wasn’t so paramount, there’d probably be a lot more public friction over complementarianism and young people would be exiting out the back door over the diminished role of women in churches (which does not match the expanding role of women in all other areas of life).

    Overall, the problem is the authoritarianism which has arrogated to the leadership in many conservative denominations and churches, as opposed to the priesthood of all believers. The leadership do not want members making their own decisions about their own lives, and, frankly, the young and the nones are having none of that.

  27. mirele fka Southwestern Discomfort wrote:

    I’m wondering if some cooler heads among the SBC were actually looking towards a very real future where gay marriage is legal in all 50 states.

    Please know I am praying for you during this tough time.

    I believe that the SBC leaders are well aware that gay marriage will be the law of the land. Russell Moore so much as said that. And Russell Moore is an Al Mohler buddy. However, within that statement is a warning that they will look inward at the church.

    I believe that the SBC will make a vehement stand against 3rd way, etc. Look at how hard they defend the submit/complementarian point of view. I continue to think that the reason it stalled is the child sex abuse issue. How in the world can the SBC throw out gay affirming churches and not deal with the child sex abuse issue? They can’t, at this time.

    Prediction: from this point forward, the SBC will make all sorts of initiatives regarding child sex abuse. They will, however, continue to studiously avoid all friends of the leaders of the SBC who have child sex abuse issues. There are some things in SBC leadership land that superseded caring about child sex abuse and these things involve money and more money.

  28. @ JP:
    Worse than politics, it all boils down, IMO, to money. IMO, these supposed friendships are forged on money. That shows an inherent problem. The leadership do not believe that God will take care of their needs. They believe that friends with money will take care of their perceived needs.

    Meantime, fewer and fewer people give a hoot about the SBC and the leadership does not give a hoot about the grass roots. It is evident from the proceedings which we watched via live streaming.

    BTW, Paige Patterson need acting lessons. The whole thing was staged and Deb is going to explain why on Wednesday.

  29. @ Southwestern, whether we admit it or not, I think most Christians are resigned to the fact gay marriage will be legal everywhere very soon. To me it’s illustrative of one of the issues I have with the SBC as I am a member, in that we tend to fight culture wars instead of spritual ones. I personally believe scripture is clear regarding homosexuality being sin. How we have dealt with that as Christians, in a condemning way far too often, only worsens things. Eventually I believe it will come down to a civil rights versus a religious freedom argument in the courts, and I believe the courts will eventually side with civil rights. That will place those who believe the bible teaches this as sin in the crosshairs. Actually, it may be a positive, as it will certainly separate those who are willing to take a stand on what we believe the bible teaches and those who will not. What we seem to have forgotten is that whether it be abortion, or gay marriage, or any other divisive social issue, the church is not to be a political instrument. Jesus never fought political battles. He condemned hypocrisy in those who believe(or claimed belief ie. the Pharisees) and shared the kingdom. That’s what we should focus upon. Christianity is not going to win a culture war. One by one, we can win through His power a spirtual one

  30. William wrote:

    I’m not seeing any connection between the victim advocates appearance and any of the actions concerning a third way

    We did not say it was specifically the appearance. That was just one nail in a coffin. The SBC has a child sex abuse issue problem and it was well spelled out in links in the post.

    The Wiley Drake thing was different that the Mohler thing. He was out of order. He would not have been out of order if Mohler wanted it, which he did as evidenced by our link in the post. It would have happened.

    Something changed. We believe it was the issue of child sex abuse which is continuing to bite the SBC.

    William wrote:

    No SBC leader or entity has been saying anything other than to call authorities for years now.

    Really-so their words match their actions? Did you link to the Stop Baptist Predators? It ain’t just SGM which is an embarrassment to the SBC.

  31. @ Dee, no doubt money plays a huge role. One of the things regarding the SBTS/SGM relationship is that graduates from the SGM Pastor’s College which is not accredited receive full credit for their courses from SBTS, while actual baptists don’t receive full credit from accredited colleges. No other explanation really than the money donated by SGM. Patterson is digging his won grave, though it would not surprise me to see the SWBTS BOT give him a pass in the fall. The SBC has many issues. One that is definitely still bubbling is the divide between Calvinists and non-Calvinists, even though it didn’t rear it’s head publicly at the meetings. The extremes on both sides are still very active. Politics, as evidences by our nation, is about money by and large. The SBC is no different, at least in regards to many in leadership. Many pastors as well, who press giving in an unbiblical way. I personally do believe in the standard of the tithe from the pre law days(Gen 14), but could never present it in the way some pastors do, including the newly elected president Ronnie Floyd. Ultimately, giving is between the individual and God. Just another example of how some make an essential out of a non essential.

  32. JP wrote:

    @ Dee, no doubt money plays a huge role.

    Yes. To certain leaders, it's spelled T$G (or translated T4G). I hope y'all understand what a gold mine these conferences are. It boggles the mind to realize how much money is involved.

  33. and Dee, one thing regarding the thread that looked at abuse and divorce last night. I’ve found myself truly searching the opinions that were offered. When one is a pastor in particular, you want to be sure to the utmost of your ability that you are teaching the truth, knowing full well you aren’t perfect. While I do believe with all of my heart God desires restoration in all cases of sin, the physical well being of someone is non-negotiable. I’ve always tried to show grace to those who have been abused and sought to help them avoid it in the future. Whether the issue merits a divorce that is sin or not sin is one I intend to really delve in to.

  34. JP wrote:

    But he’s right here there is no thrid way, you either affirm what the bible teaches regarding the issue or you don’t.

    For me, the issue is how we preach the good news to the gay community.

    Back in the days when the bible was being written, though before the new testament canon was closed, the practicing gay community was somewhat different to what it is today. It was not, for a start, emerging from centuries of being criminalised and/or driven underground by what has become known as homophobia. I’m thinking in particular of what it must be like to be a teenage boy in secondary (or “high”) school, where peer culture is dominated by jocks… you get the idea. What is the Holy Spirit saying to us, in our various communities, about how to manifest the risen Jesus to that young man, and others like him?

    You either believe your first priority is to tell him that his same-sex attraction makes God hate him, or you don’t. There is no third way.

    To someone who says, Well, if following Jesus means I can’t do x, then I’m not following Jesus – actually Jesus calls us to lay down our very lives for his sake, in order to find them. There is no “x” that can go in that sentence and leave the person ready to follow Jesus. There, and only there, I can accept no third way. Jesus is either King, or he’s nothing.

    But turn that around for a moment. Jesus – if I have to remain celibate for the rest of my life to follow you, I’ll do it. If this Jesus fellow is as great as we pretend he is, that wouldn’t be a sacrifice, would it? Paul had to put up with all kinds of stuff, but he didn’t care tuppence if it meant he could gain Christ. But when a gay man is offered a “Jesus” that turns out to be nothing more than hanging around in church in the company of people who haven’t had to pay the price he has – I don’t blame him for looking elsewhere.

  35. @ Nick Bulbeck, I agree we have mishandled it horribly. I don’t believe God hates gay people, unless we do scriptural gymnastics with verses like John 3:16 there is no way to come to that conclusion. He will judge sin. I have several parents with gay children, and it breaks their hearts. But could I ever recommend as MacArthur recently did that they abandon them? Never! I always reflect on the Prodigal, and him having to come to himself regarding his sin. That’s a principle I believe we need to follow. The father in the parable never stopped loving his son. He never forced him out, he allowed him to choose, and was ready to recieve him back gladly. He was there for him regardless. Ultimately we all must make up our own minds regarding sin. We should always show love and grace toward anyone living a sinful lifestyle, and be ready to receive them back. Share the truth in love when a door opens. The thing that bothered me even moreso about MacArthur’s statement is he said to treat them as Jesus instructs to treat a church member. Personally, I don’t know any openly gay SBC church members. MacArthur isn’t SBC but their is a big difference in how we’re called to judge each other and judge the world. Paul clearly states God will judge the world. We’re to love the world(people, not the ways of) and share the truth in love

  36. @ SBCLayman:

    My parents had quite a few contemporaries who had been long time profs at SBTS when Mohler was hired. Mohler was 33. And the PR spin was that Mohler was brilliant. A genius. We were so blessed to get him at SBTS. This became legend and accepted by the rank and file in the SBC without much thought. These contemporaries saw it as mostly a political hire because of the sort of things Dr. Fundystan mentioned. The PR spin did not match the facts on the ground.

    I am sure you did not mean to do this but your description of Mohler sounds much like that of a narcissist with too much power handed to him quite young. He actually had no opportunity to learn wisdom in the trenches. He has an entitlement mentality when it comes to power. And those who have worked with him who DARE talk will tell you he is a tyrant who often rants and rails at staff.

    If you have been reading Mahaney’s tweets about Mohler over the last 3 years or so, or have watched them interact in T4G venues, you surely cannot believe this is a friendship based on mutual respect? Someone above mentioned the money from not only SGM but from Mahaney. Of course those who paid the tithes to SGM had no idea and were never consulted about the large gift from SGM. But it was their choice to attend a church where they were not given a vote on such things.

    Frankly, I always found it a bit amusing that Mohler, who has been deemed so scholarly and intelligent, publicly hooked the SBC up with the “Apostle” from the “People of Destiny” in such a public and on purpose way. I had hoped that the history of SGM might have informed this brilliant man in some way. It has had “cult” written all over it for many years. A shepherding cult. Is Mohler either not aware or does he simply agree with that structure?

    There was an online Courier Journal article two years ago where Mohler is quoted as blaming the bloggers for Mahaney’s problems: “They (bloggers) just don’t like his strong leadership”. This article was published almost the day after Mahaney stepped down. It is now deleted. Such is the way of power politics.

    And his quote to Peter King of the CJ was after almost 4 years of sgmsurvivors publishing testimony after testimony of those abused as children in that “family of churches”. And look where we are today.

    So, perhaps your choices for Mohler are that he is easily duped or simply power mad?

  37. JP wrote:

    Whether the issue merits a divorce that is sin or not sin is one I intend to really delve in to.

    A study of marriage throughout scripture will show that God’s primary concern is for the individuals involved rather than the institution itself. When the institution becomes more important, it makes a mockery of God’s purpose and design for a mutually beneficial relationship where both parties contribute their talents and abilities whether natural or developed.

    When one oppresses and one is abused, His purpose has failed. But marriage should never be condoned as an arrangement where crime is concealed, permitted or overlooked.

  38. JP wrote:

    Deb, we do. Most of us cannot come close to affording to attend them

    Here's a suggestion:

    Get your congregation to pay for all the conference expenses (travel, hotel, food, and conference fee) out of the church budget. 😉

    Oh, and the BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS from the conference bookstore!!!

  39. @ Victorious, believe me when I say, I am convicted by that view right now. And plan to search the scriptures as insurtcuted to determine as much as I possibly can the truth regarding the bible’s overall teaching, ie. spirit v. letter of law. Does abuse equal spiritual abandonment? I can see the view that it does. With divorce such a major issue across all demographics it’s an emotional issue with multitudes of opinions. But does God intend a woman to place her life in the hands of an abuser? I’ve never thought that. I’ve always advised separate for a lengthy period and wait. True character eventually reveals itself. Every abuser I’ve dealt with has shown remorse but never been able to follow through. Through Christian counselor friends I do know that some do change, and marriages have been restored and are stronger than ever. But someone who remains abusive, that is where I’m leaning more in how we’ve discussed the last 24 hours. I can say without equivication I’ve never recommended an abused wife stay with an abusive husband. How I handle the issue of divorce is where I’ll be searching for the truth

  40.   __

    “Total Church” (c)

    hmmm…

    SBC: “Legal Exit Strategy”?

    hmmm…

    (proverbial) SBC DISCLAIMER: “We can teach them, we can train their pastors, we can exclude errant churches from our association for not following the proper rules, but the individual SBC churches must do the implementation and enforcement of these rules in order for this overall effort to be effective, as we have no jurisdiction in local matters…”

  41. One more thing: Mohler has a huge problem here. There is no way one can ignore all the book blurbs/promotions for Mahaney by Mohler. All the shared videos floating around the internet, the SGM pastors college deal with SBTS, Bob Kauflin and SBTS, Kauflin’s son band and SBTS, Mahaney’s son in law with a paid internship at SBTS, the fact Mahaney is quoted all over the place he was leaving Maryland to “plant a church near the (SBTS) seminary”, etc, etc. There is just too much out there to prove a strong alliance.

    But some of it is being deleted. Including the T4G facebook statement supporting Mahaney. They were shocked at the negative comments that came in so quick? So they delete and act as if it never happened. Has anyone been able to find the online SBTS journal with the SGM/Mahaney donations to SBTS listed?

    So Mohler has a problem in how he goes about distancing himself from CJ. CJ lives and has a church plant in Louisville BECAUSE of his relationship with Mohler. Thanks to this blog and others, we were able to get his “church plant” out of our children’s school which has a ZERO tolerance policy for child molsters.

    So what happens when it comes to Mohler? CJ must be innocent of any knowledge of child molestations at SGM. That has been the de facto defense often presented as “he is not part of the lawsuit”. He has not been charged, etc. That is the defense used by Mohler minions while Mohler now stays silent and pretends nothing has happened. My guess is that Mohler feels his power is so consolidated he has nothing to worry about. But I see cracks in the armor. He is quietly and subtly moving away from his staunch New Calvinist rhetoric while trying to keep his base. Mohler is first and foremost a political strategist. He always lands on his feet.

  42. Deb, I had a small convention budget when I arrived here. Switched it voluntarily to ministry needs as part of a discretionary fund. Besides, if I had access to an extra couple of thousand of dollars, I’d do something nice for my wife and take her somewhere, and it wouldn’t be Louisville 🙂

  43. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    Finally, Mohler insisted – Calling the police in the case of child molestation is a “Gospel imperative”.
    Bullsh*t. I am so sick of this “gospel branding”. This has nothing to do with the gospel, and everything to do with common sense and human decency. Which, you know, is a good thing to strive for; you don’t have to gospelize it.

    Amen!

  44. @ SBCLayman:
    I feel for him, I really do. But protecting close friends at the expense of truth isn’t somehow okay because “Oh, he has so few REAL friends.” Play me a violin. A true friend would have encouraged Mahaney to go to the authorities with whatever he knew.

  45. JP wrote:

    Victorious, believe me when I say, I am convicted by that view right now. And plan to search the scriptures as insurtcuted to determine as much as I possibly can the truth regarding the bible’s overall teaching, ie. spirit v. letter of law. Does abuse equal spiritual abandonment? I can see the view that it does

    David Instone Brewer, a Hebrew Scholar at Tyndale House, has gone into this deeply. He has quite a few videos online that go into the accepted reasons for divorce in the OT and what exactly Jesus was referring to in the NT. He also has a few books. You might want to check him out if your OT ancient Hebrew is rusty.

    Piper cannot stand him which is always a good starting point recommendation for me since Piper teaches that women should take abuse for a season. I often wondered if Piper would take such abuse for a “season” himself?

  46. Not sure if there is any connection between the SBC deciding not to address the issue of New Heart Community Church and their position on homosexuality and child sexual abuse.
    Comparing the situation at New Heart to Broadway Baptist in Ft Worth is comparing two situations that are fundamentally entirely different. Broadway Baptist is Russell Dilday’s church (the man who was fired as president of SWBTS in order to get Patterson in.) I’m also pretty sure it’s the place where the moderate break away group from the SBC, the CBF, was formed. But while it was still dually aligned with both the SBC and the CBF some faculty members of SWBTS were members of Broadway Baptist. In other words, it stuck in Patterson’s craw that Broadway Baptist was still part of the SBC. I thought then, and the way that the situation wasn’t handled with New Heart, that kicking Broadway out because of their position on homosexuality was really only a convient way to get rid of a church that the Patterson et al wanted gone. New Heart, on the other hand, isn’t important. Of course their non-action on it could lead to other churches affirming homosexuality or other wise doing something that the SBC disapproves of.

  47. And now, sport.

    The First Test between England and Sri Lanka at Lords is heading for a draw after both teams post large first-innings totals.

    In theory, the BBC is showing today’s Diamond League athletics from New York, but there’s no sign of it anywhere. Bah. David Rudisha is continuing his comeback from injury too.

    Columbia are heading for an opening win against Greece; they’re 2-0 up with under 20 minutes to go.

    Tennis has been happening at Queen’s Club.

    There’s probably been horse-racing all over the shop but I don’t care about that.

    The third round of the US Open golf is just underway; Sergio Garcia’s just bogeyed the 13th.

    Nothing of either interest or relevance will be happening in today’s final World Cup game.

    I hope this is helpful.

  48. @ Taylor Joy:

    I am not defending him – I think he is completely wrong and way off base on his support for Mahaney. I am just sharing what I believe to be the case. There's no one close to Mohler willing to tell the emperor he has no clothes.

  49. SBCLayman wrote:

    There's no one close to Mohler willing to tell the emperor he has no clothes.

    You won't hear any objections from me on this 'observation'. 

    History will judge Al Mohler, and much has yet to be written.

  50. JP wrote:

    Deb, I had a small convention budget when I arrived here. Switched it voluntarily to ministry needs as part of a discretionary fund. Besides, if I had access to an extra couple of thousand of dollars, I’d do something nice for my wife and take her somewhere, and it wouldn’t be Louisville

    Comment of the week…

    No, make that comment of the year! Bravo!

  51. @ JP:
    @ JP:
    JP- My wife and I have lead divorce recovery groups in our church for eight years, so we deal with scriptural issues regarding divorce on the front lines. Hence, I am familiar with a lot of resources regarding the bible and divorce. If I may make some suggestions for study:
    1. Read the books by David Instone-Brewer on this topic: “Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible: The Social and Literary Context” and “Divorce and Remarriage in the Church: Biblical Solutions for Pastoral Realities”
    2. Craig S. Keener, “And Marries Another: Divorce and Remarriage in the Teaching of the New Testament”
    3. Barbara Roberts, “Not Underbondage..”
    4. The website, http://www.cryingoutforjustice.com/ Hosted by Ps Jeff Crippen and Ms Barbara Roberts. Abuse, divorce and how the church responds.
    Thank you for being open minded and caring.

  52. I’m surprised and encouraged by Moehler’s comments to pastors re: how to handle allegations of sexual abuse.

    Re: the issue of homosexuality – it’s interesting to me that most cases of pastoral reversals on how to approach the GLBT community seem to be motivated by a close relationship (sibling, child, close friend, etc.). This is, of course, not a scientific analysis and simply my own observations. I’m not sure what to make of that, exactly, but I do think that it’s easy to pontificate when you are distanced from an issue; when one is personally affected by it, the waters seem to get a little more murky. (Full disclosure – I have a relative who is openly gay, and my conservative Baptist family has been forced to engage in this issue in a way that we had not before).

  53. burnrnorton wrote:

    JP – I’m happy to hear that you continue to explore this issue with an open mind.

    Amen! I am as well. If more pastors would explore with a prayer and an open heart rather than parroting canned responses, the church would be far more healthy and welcoming than it is currently.

  54. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    Finally, Mohler insisted – Calling the police in the case of child molestation is a “Gospel imperative”.
    Bullsh*t. I am so sick of this “gospel branding”. This has nothing to do with the gospel, and everything to do with common sense and human decency. Which, you know, is a good thing to strive for; you don’t have to gospelize it.

    I don’t know if it’s nefarious, or just obtuse. I do think the use of the word “gospel” as a preface winds up effectively shutting down any dissent….”we handle abuse accusations in a gospel centered way”…which means we handle it however we want, and if you disagree, you’re disagreeing with the gospel. In this case, they’ve probably sown so much distrust among the rank and file with the govt/civil authorities, they have to say that contacting them is the gospel thing to do because the default over the years was to not do that. Sad, that as you say, what is common sense to most requires a “gospel” imperative to the others.

  55. @ JP:

    “In our local association several of us will be working on things we can do at the local level, but that is limited in regards to what has happened across the country.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    hmmm, i’m not so sure about your limitations in how you can impact what happens across the country.

    look at TWW, for example. The “Deebs” have created their own platform from scratch. You already have one.

    Deebs have the ear of men and women in many places in Christian culture. (& they’ve done this as women in a male-centric culture — as devastatingly sad as that is to have to qualify).

    You have quite the advantage. Use it to the full. I imagine playing it safe is what will limit impact.

    My sense is that many in your position share your perspective, but are erring on the side of safety and protecting their standing and reputations. A courageous few can plainly say what others are too afraid to say, thereby emboldening the courage of the others.

    my next thought is how much is reputation even worth amongst people who protect institution, power, career, money at the expense of human beings. Even just one.

  56. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    But turn that around for a moment. Jesus – if I have to remain celibate for the rest of my life to follow you, I’ll do it.

    Hetero-sexual people who are single are expected to that, and we do it. I’m over 40 and have not had sex, and I am hetero. There are other hetero people over 30, 40, 50 who are still virgins as well.

  57. JP wrote:

    While I do believe with all of my heart God desires restoration in all cases of sin, the physical well being of someone is non-negotiable

    Abuse can also be financial, social, emotional, and verbal.

  58. Mr.H wrote:

    Re: the issue of homosexuality – it’s interesting to me that most cases of pastoral reversals on how to approach the GLBT community seem to be motivated by a close relationship (sibling, child, close friend, etc.). This is, of course, not a scientific analysis and simply my own observations.

    A lot of Christians do this with other issues as well, for example-

    I used to have clinical depression, and I have seen preachers on the internet admit they used to demean Christians who have depression.

    They were also opposed to anti-depressant medication, psychiatry, until they personally, or a loved one, became clinically depressed. Then they say in their blogs or videos that they changed their views and advocate for psychology, psychiatry, medication.

  59. Have the IFB (Independent Fundamentalist Baptists) done anything to change how they handle child sexual abuse?

    They were in the media a few years ago, I think ABC News did a two or three part prime time expose on their propensity to attract child sex abusers and to cover up for the abuse.
    (Similar report: Let Us Prey: Big Trouble at First Baptist Church)

    If the IFB put anything in place to curb or weed out the abusers, maybe the SBC can try the same thing?

  60. One thing in regards to the SBC, and I’m sure many other denominations. While guys like Mohler, Patterson, Warren or whoever get the publicity and are the voices heard, they do not truly speak for the whole. Most pastors I know approach preaching and teaching with fear and trembling, with a heartfelt desire to know and communicate the truth, not advance an agenda. Those with agendas are there, but while they may have the bully pulpit, they do not speak for us on many issues. To a man every pastor I know is continuously praying and studying so as to better understand the word and communicate the truth. Most of us serve in anonymity(Their are 46,000 of us in the SBC 😉 The men I know claim no monopoly on the truth, except that which is clearly spoken through the word with no ambiguity. We all have differences of opinion, and some of them are strong differences, but are careful to separate opinion from dogmatic positions. If our views are not continually evolving according to scripture, we have quit learning, and that is where the danger lies. Scripture always has something new to teach. And we must diligently seek to separate what scripture does teach from the opinions of the world, as they will be in conflict. It;s a fine line sometimes, which is why the pastors I know take James 3:1 deadly serious. All of us, all Christians, must be humble. Hubris gets the attention from man, but humility from God. Believe me, and I know I speak for most pastors, we have a lot to learn. That’s part of the joy of following Him!

  61. After years of believing in the brokenness of homosexuality, I now find myself in the affirming category. I am convinced that we individually and institutionally do not have the ability to mediate this issue in the lives of those personally affected.

    When the church attempts to manage the technicalities of relationship issues like homosexual marriage or divorce, there will inevitably be damage inflicted. If church leaders attempted to manage other personal issues such as gluttony or greed with the same zealous interference, it would be spiritually abusive.

    Is homosexuality sin? I now stand with the Pope in saying, “Who am I to judge?” I am comfortable with this position because I believe that the highest priority of the church must be welcoming and embracing others into the loving fellowship of Christ.

    Real transformation only occurs through the inner work of the Spirit of Christ, and He is fully able to accomplish whatever healing and transformation is needed in individual hearts. In the meantime, if that means embracing homosexual partners, divorced people, addicts, mean people, anxious people, selfish people, etc., we can trust transformation to the Spirit. We may find ourselves surprised at the outcome.

    IMO, this is ultimately the only way forward for the church with this issue.

  62. JP wrote:

    While I do believe with all of my heart God desires restoration in all cases of sin,

    Could you define what you mean by restoration? Restoration means to go back to what once was. If what existed before was physical abuse, sexual abuse, etc., there is nothing to “restore” since it was always warped. So, a wife who started getting abused in the beginning of the marriage, then has years of abuse to follow, has nothing to return to.

    It is starting from scratch and that might be a bit difficult since the relationship was built on a lie. Once the abuse is removed as a possibility (and that is usually rare), you have to form a new relationship. Since abusers are charming con artists to begin with, that person should no longer exist.

    So, what is left? The woman would not have married him if he wasn’t doing his con job. You are looking at a relationship that never existed in reality. My guess is that most people will not be able to build a relationship with such a person. And that person should probably remain single for the rest of his life. By his abuse, he threw away his marriage card.

    In fact, if you want to see if an abuser is really sorrowful, it might be interesting to ask him if he is prepared to stay single for the rest of his life. If he is really sorrowful and understand the full effect of his actions, he should say yes.

  63. Linda wrote:

    Is homosexuality sin?

    Homosexual behavior as defined in the Bible, like hetero sexual activity outside of marriage is, yes, considered sin.

    If you affirm homosexual behavior, you’re inadvertently lifting a ban on hetero singles regarding fornication, you’re sending the message (contrary to the Bible’s teachings on the matter) that it’s okay to go out and start having sex outside of marriage.

    (I also don’t see where married people would be expected to stay faithful to their spouse in this type of thinking, if we take the view that the Bible is gosh golly so vague on sexual sin/behavior or God is ever so accepting of all of it.)

  64. Dee, restoration would be a right relationship with God. In the case of abuse, as that’s been the topic, that would entail a marriage is restablished apart from the abuse. By no means is it a woman returning to an abusive relationship simply to restore a marriage. Restoration in a biblical sense is to restore to the way God would have it, such as us forgiven and cleansed of sin and our righteousness in God’s eyes restored through and in Christ. I think one thing everyone on here agrees on is God does not intend one spouse to abuse another

  65. @ elastigirl, by limited I mean in regards to the resources we have available to try to exercise preventive measures regarding allowing a predator in to the church. We are limited to the state databases for the most part, and criminal background checks. Most change begins at the local level, and I do believe if enough of us small frys join together convention wide change can be affected. We all must exercise responsible guidelines to assure to the utmost of our ability the opportunity for prededation is eliminated

  66. @ JP:

    “and Dee, one thing regarding the thread that looked at abuse and divorce last night. I’ve found myself truly searching the opinions that were offered. When one is a pastor in particular, you want to be sure to the utmost of your ability that you are teaching the truth, knowing full well you aren’t perfect.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    that’s really, great, JP. Great to hear. (sincere-faced emoticon goes here)

    it would be ultra-super-new-&-improved GREAT to respond in the same way to the thread that looked at gender roles.

    the way I see it, if you’re going to legislate what half the world cannot do because of chromosomes (& you can’t even base it on chromosomes), you better be gosh-darn sure. Researched and deeply contemplated all arguments for and against and in between, along with the real life experiences of those impacted by the pronouncements against female freedom made by those with power and influence.

    …understanding full well that it is the hard pronouncements which make their way down to softer “suggestions”, rephrasing it all in terms of “beautiful”, “godly”, and “the wife should have no problem following her husband’s lead if he does x, y, z.”

  67. @ Elastigirl, now that is an area I continue to study but my views have not been changed based upon scripture. Understand, I don’t believe the husband has authority over the wife. I don’t believe scripture teaches her she must be barefoot and in the kitchen so to speak, or is disobedient if she does not have children. I do believe, and understand, I take Genesis as not just allegory but revelation, men and women were created differently. That’s pretty obvious. In Genesis Eve was Adam’s helper, one who was to come along side of him and help him in their relationship with God. In Ephesians the word submit is taken wrong I believe by many, as if the wife is to be under the husband’s thumb. This is also wrong. She is still along side him, his helper, but if a husband is loving his wife sacrificially, as Christ loved the church, she should have no problem following that lead, as it is the direction both should be going. They are not unequal, but in my studies I’m convinced they do have differnt roles. It does not mean the wife does not have a spiritual role in the home, she surely does. But the language is pretty clear regarding differing roles. It’s when those roles are exercised not in accordance with God’s whole counsel that problems arise. If a husband leads wrongly or doesn’t lead at all, that role clearly falls to the woman for the children’s sake. The husbands as well as she is a witness. I do not see anywhere in God’s teaching on marriage(not cultural traditions we see in scripture, but God’s teachings on it) where a woman blindly follows all orders of her husband. But if the husband is doing as God would have him do, why would the wife not go along with that?

  68. My two cents re the third way?

    Not gonna fly. Those who are affirming will accept nothing less than we all celebrate the gay lifestyle as not sinful.

    Those of us believing it sin will walk out of any church trying to pander to nickels and noses with the idea we must accept it because otherwise the nones and the young people won’t come to our church.

    My take on NHCC? Give them the left boot of fellowship, and that right quickly.

  69. JP wrote:

    In the case of abuse, as that’s been the topic, that would entail a marriage is restablished apart from the abuse.

    JP, that’s a whole lot easier said than done. Abuse is an issue of power and control and that sense of entitlement doesn’t just start in a person at the point of marriage. Somewhere along life’s way, it has been instilled in that person and any confrontation is seen as a threat to that power.

    I’ve attended anger management groups and batterers’ groups as part of my position in a women’s shelter. Most often, batterers confess that they were taught that the man is “boss.” And often (and this stunned me) they said they didn’t know they couldn’t hit a woman and that no one, father, mother, pastor, peers, etc. every told them they couldn’t!!

    The anger is most often deep and very difficult to change one’s attitudes and temper takes a very, very long time. And even then, any confrontation becomes a trigger that starts the whole cycle of violence over again.

  70. P.S. to my above post. That anger can be controlled becomes obvious when one recognizes that he/she can’t abuse their employer, law enforcement, church members, etc. no matter how angry they might feel towards them. But behind closed doors, the pent up anger is taken out on a partner without witnesses or repercussions unless it’s reported by the woman to law enforcement. And this action if it’s discovered, begins a more dangerous time.

    If I might suggest phoning a local shelter or hotline and engaging the experts whose life’s work is in this area. They can be an enormous, valuable help.

  71. JP

    I am going out for dinner for our anniversery. We have been married for 34 years so you can see that we take marriage seriously. We stayed together through our daughter’s malignant brain tumor (80%divorce rate for families going through this). However, we believe in servanthood that plays to our gifts. So, I am perplexed and hope that you could provide some clarity.

    I asked this question before and I am really interested in your answer. I am currently writing a chapter for a book and it deals with my perception that compelmentarians cannot define the differing roles that belong to a husband and wilfe. In fact, when they do, like Wayne Grudem’s list of about 80 activities which are relegated male or female, it provides a clear look into the problem and looks a bit silly when you actually ask questions.  (For example, women cannot teach middle school boys but can teach adult men on the missionary field.)

    I understand that comps (pls forgive the abbreviation) believe that only men can be elders and pastors and that men have the tie breaking vote in a stalemate in a marraige, I cannot find any other specific role that exhibits itself in any definable gender specific activity. I have asked a number of people this question and all I get is “I can’t define it for you. I know what it looks like in my family.” When I ask “what does it look like” they pull back and say that it can vary.  Can you you tell me what you do and what your wife does not do and the Biblical basis for that answer?

  72. Dee, I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I have women teach men at the church I serve. I have friends who do not. I do believe Paul teaches a woman is not to have authority over a man in the church, ie. pastor. I also recognize this as an area of varying interpretation and not an essential as some do. We’re baptist so we don’t have elders per se, but I also believe in scripture we see men as deacons but also deaconesses. I’ve yet to find agreement on what that tem means, so I don’t consider it essential, but do teach deacons are to be men as when addressed in scripture it deals with men. I think above all in scripture, marriage is portrayed as a partnership. Equal with different roles. Gifting must play a part. If the wife is gifted with teaching and the husband is not, it would be upon the man as the spiritual leader to recognize that. She may be the one who does the instructing. I don’t believe in the tie breaking vote idea. Obviously, there will be disagreements, it’s marriage, lol. The key would be the couple working together to see if they can discern what God says on the issue, He is the final authority. It may come to an agree to disagree. I think trying to define marriage in hard and fast terms is basically impossible, but their are principles. A marriage that lasts displays the love shown to us in 1 Corinthians 13. Has respect as a core conviction. Humility in it’s DNA. People are all different so marriages are all different, but a husband who loves his life in a way he gives all he has for her, and a woman who honors that sort of love is at the heart of what the bible teaches I believe. As a husband speaking, we fail miserably at that type of love many times. We aren’t Jesus 🙂 But the failures should be far outweighed by the sacrficial love, and the wife, who will also not honor it perfectly 😉 should still as the norm show the respect for that effort of sacrificial love. I stated last night on the other thread, I have friends where the wife works and the husband stays at home. The husband would have to work 2-3 jobs completely neglecting his family to provide what the wife is able to in salary and benefits. To me, the husband is showing spiritual leadership there. Both have the time for their kids because of this, even though the traditional roles may be reversed. Obviously, many disagree with me on that point. But those friends I have who are doing this out of necessity have rock solid marriages, and the wives respect the husbands role as the spiritual leader. I just don’t believe marriage can be pigeonholed as what works for one couple won’t for the next. It’s the nature of the comlexity of personal relationships. The governing principle should be love, the greatest commandment, love God first and others as ourselves. A marriage covered in that cannot help but work

  73. linda wrote:

    Those of us believing it sin will walk out of any church trying to pander to nickels and noses with the idea we must accept it because otherwise the nones and the young people won’t come to our church.

    And those of us believing there is nothing unique about that sin will also walk out of a church accepting it merely to pander to nickels and noses. Nor would I have much respect for the preacher who held a hard line on homosexuality just to pander to conservative nickels and noses, whether from Rednecksville, Mississipi, or from DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells in Blighty.

    I’m sure you don’t, but if (say) you wanted me to come to your church, you’d have to do much better than wave a lollipop in my face in the form of some doctrinal compromise you thought might appeal to me!

  74. In other news, England vs Italy kicks off in just over 20 minutes, 11pm Scotland time.

    My son wants to watch it, but as I’ve explained to him, watching England play fitba is a near-death experience.

  75. Yes, happy anniversary Dee! And let me clarify one thing regarding my previous post in response to yours. Specifically, deaconesses. The problem IMO is not that the church I serve could or could not have deaconesses. If the office of deacon/deaconess is actually exercised in a biblical way, they are servants. What church could survive without it’s women servants? The problem in way too many baptist churches is deacons have assumed a role of authority, which isn’t scriptural, or baptist for that matter. And when I address a woman teaching with authority, well, that is the shepherds role. As Paul said to Timothy a pastor, preach the word! The pastor is not an authoritarian figure as a ruler however, not by baptist standards anyway being congregational. The shepherd should be the spritual leader of the flock. It’s difficult sometimes to communicate through the written word all that you mean.

  76. In further sporting news, just watched a fine win for David Rudisha in the New York Diamond League. (When God decided that humans would be bipeds, I often think it’s people like Rudisha he was thinking of – his running style is pure artistry.)

    That, and two men (Bondarenko and Barshin) clear at 2.42 in the high jump – the first time in history that more than one man has cleared 2.40 in the same competition. Rounded off with both of them attempting Javier Sotomayor’s 21-year-old world record, though unsuccessfully.

    I have no idea what the state of play is in Manaus.

  77. I read Mohler’s piece at the time, and I didn’t fully agree.

    Yes, churches will have to make a decision on whether to conduct same-sex weddings. There is no third way there.

    But, on the subject of these relationships in general, I reckon a third way is possible. A church can decide to have no policy on the subject and leave it to individuals. Whilst that could be considered approval by default, it’s not quite the same. It might be difficult to make it work, but I think it could be done.

  78. JP wrote:

    What church could survive without it’s women servants? The problem in way too many baptist churches is deacons have assumed a role of authority, which isn’t scriptural, or baptist for that matter. And when I address a woman teaching with authority, well, that is the shepherds role. As Paul said to Timothy a pastor, preach the wo

    When you start down the authority road things go haywire.

    The way I see it we are all to be servants. And some servants (male or female),are better equipped to oversee a particular area than the pastor.

    If you have no elders, are you a congressional church?

  79. Bridget wrote:

    When you start down the authority road things go haywire.
    The way I see it we are all to be servants

    It’s the same ‘ole “equal but different” or as HUG would quote from Animal Farm, some are more equal than others. All the flowery concessions don’t change the fact that pastors, elders, husbands etc. are more equal than women.

  80. @ Bridget, by confession SBC churches are congregational. In practice we are all over the place. The differences that individul autonomy brings. Each church is free to govern itself as it sees fit

  81. Mr.H wrote:

    I’m surprised and encouraged by Moehler’s comments to pastors re: how to handle allegations of sexual abuse.

    Re: the issue of homosexuality – it’s interesting to me that most cases of pastoral reversals on how to approach the GLBT community seem to be motivated by a close relationship (sibling, child, close friend, etc.). This is, of course, not a scientific analysis and simply my own observations. I’m not sure what to make of that, exactly, but I do think that it’s easy to pontificate when you are distanced from an issue; when one is personally affected by it, the waters seem to get a little more murky. (Full disclosure – I have a relative who is openly gay, and my conservative Baptist family has been forced to engage in this issue in a way that we had not before).

    I have noticed this too and part of this I think has to do with false ideas. My stepdaughter was educated in a conservative Christian school and when the issue came up in conversation, her glib response was, "Oh homosexuality is a choice. They could be straight if they wanted to be." No moral dilemma there; gays and lesbians just choose to be sinful and they should stop that.

    Then she went to college and actually met and became friends with gay people who were out of the closet. She learned that they didn't choose their sexual orientation and that no amount of prayer changed it. Then the issue got tougher.

    It is really hard to tell someone that he can never express his sexuality ( that he didn't choose) without sinning and that he should live without a partner for the rest of his life when you know he could fall in love with another gay man and get married and be happy. And it's even harder to say that when you really care about the person and can't think of a single reason why a gay couple would be hurting anyone.

  82. @ Victorious, I enjoyed reading the link you gave regarding authority. Jesus is the One who should have authority, oh that it were so far more often

  83. @ JP:

    “Jesus is the one who should have authority.”
    +++++++++

    What would that look like? What does that mean?

    Are you equating Jesus himself with all the various letters and writings in the nt?

  84. JP

    You answer things with such grace. Thank you.

    I am still confused.  Comps believe in gender specific roles. In fact, they roundly condemn those who do not recognize the husband as head of the house or leader. Your answer was great but I see no difference between your gender roles and egalitarian gender roles in the home. Considering how adamant complementarians are about  their belief in comp theology, surely there is something specific to which you can point me so that I can say " Look, here is the difference."

  85. JP

    While you are at it, could you tell me specifically what it means to have “authority over someone” in the contect of church? What can a person “in authority” do that a person “not in authority” cannot do?

  86. @ JP

    “A woman teaching with authority,we’ll, that’s the shepherds role”
    ++++++++++

    (Or something like that). What does this mean? What is authority? Is it expertise? A grasp of knowledge that others don’t have? To teach something a person must be an authority on the subject they are teaching, by necessity. How in the world can anyone teach otherwise?

  87. dee wrote:

    JP
    While you are at it, could you tell me specifically what it means to have “authority over someone” in the contect of church? What can a person “in authority” do that a person “not in authority” cannot do?

    Good question, once again, I was thinking the same thing….

  88. dee wrote:

    I am going out for dinner for our anniversery. We have been married for 34 years so you can see that we take marriage seriously.

    Congrats dee! Mrs. Muff and I are celebrating 34 years today also! We’ll be going to our favorite Italian eatery where the Cioppino (and all else) is superb!

  89. @ K.D.:
    Good. I sometimes think I am the only one who does not get this stuff. A well known local leader denounced the Deebs from the pulpit, claiming that we do not believe men should be leaders in the home! Well burn my britches! This is the same guy who said he can’t really define what leadership in the rest of the homes looks like, he only knows what it look like in his. So how in the world do I know if I agree with him or not???

  90. Elastigirl wrote:

    What does this mean? What is authority?

    Double good. I am feeling better. Now two of you, along with me, don’t get it. Someone, anyone tell me what in the world this “authority” is.

    For example, Kevin DeYoung says a woman cannot read the Bible out loud from behind the pulpit because that denotes authority. But, I guess, she could read it out loud in the parking lot where apparently authority is not an issue. Same words in both places.

    Ipso facto, “authority” must be a wooden or acrylic (preferred by the hipsters so we can observe their obviously cool™ jeans) table upon which the pastor puts his water and notes.

  91. @ JP:

    “She is still along side him, his helper, but if a husband is loving his wife sacrificially, as Christ loved the church, she should have no problem following that lead, as it is the direction both should be going. They are not unequal, but in my studies I’m convinced they do have differnt roles”
    +++++++++++++++

    Hi, JP.

    1. “his helper” — this is old news, but of course the very same word “helper” is also ascribed to God in his relationship to us. why the automatic assumption that when it refers to Eve it is in the sense of “assistant” to Adam?

    2. “if a husband is loving his wife sacrificially, as Christ loved the church, she should have no problem following that lead” — What lead is that? So, then, my response of “i love you, too, dear” is “following”? If my husband is loving me, then he’s loving me — not LEADING me. My natural response to love him back is loving him — not following him.

    it is so odd to me how it seems that complementarianism sees every good and kind thing a husband may do as “leading”, and every good and kind thing a wife may do as “following”. It’s gotten so far as to describe the very same task with the respective words: the husband participates in doing dishes = he’s leading; the wife participates in doing dishes at the same time = she’s following.

    this is silly.

    You describe your “friends where the wife works and the husband stays at home. The husband would have to work 2-3 jobs completely neglecting his family to provide what the wife is able to in salary and benefits. To me, the husband is showing spiritual leadership there.”

    How is this arrangement spiritual leadership? They as a couple are merely figuring out the best way to meet their financial obligations.

    Now, on to this “she should have no problem following that lead”. Should she now. And if she does, then she’s the one with the problem, I take it? You have a gracious way about you, and I appreciate that. But i must say the patronizing nature of these kinds of “should” comments of yours with regards to women is hard to take.

  92. @ Nick:

    And those of us believing there is nothing unique about that sin will also walk out of a church accepting it merely to pander to nickels and noses. Nor would I have much respect for the preacher who held a hard line on homosexuality just to pander to conservative nickels and noses, whether from Rednecksville, Mississipi, or from DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells in Blighty.

    Thank you. The liberal church hardly has the corner on pandering as many seem to want to believe.

  93. Dee, I added a few thoughts in a later post regarding authority. The baptist church is where I serve, and it’s supposed to be congregational by confession. A pastor is a shepherd and spiritual leader, but is not an authoritative figure other than in declaration of and as a guardian of the word, and it’s the word that actually has the authority, not the pastor. In too many baptist churches deacons have actual authority to rule, totally unbiblical. More and more pastors are assuming that role as well. Not biblical. We are shepherds, not lords(1 Peter 5). Christ is the head of the church and the only real authority, and His authority is expressed through the word. His will for His church is given to us through the word. As for a woman not having authority over or teaching a man as Paul states, I believe that refers to the lead teaching role which would fall to the pastor or pastors. He, being the shepherd, guards the flock against deception or as is the case now, doctrinal teachings which may contradict what the church has stated it believes. He declares the word. As I stated their is disagreement here and I don’t consider it an essential. I have a woman in our church who is a gifted teacher fill in for me sometimes when I’m on vacation on Wednesday and Sunday nights. I have women who teach mixed Sunday school classes. They share testimonies and pray in our services. It’s the belief of our church, and me personally as well, that the pastor is male however. Also the SBC view as well as I’m sure you are aware. We consider a formal service and decaration of the word the pastor’s or guest preachers responsibility. It basically comes down to guarding against teaching what we don’t espouse. The woman I have fill in for me I am fully confident is not going to teach something contradictory to what we believe as a church. She follows my lead in regards to doctrine(and has corrected me several times, lol). Just like I wouldn’t have a reformed pastor teach on election or a charamatic teach on tongues, as they are areas of disagreement, the pastor as shepherd guards the flock from teachings we don’t agree with. His sole authority I guess would be in guarding doctrinal issues. I tell my congregation often the only difference between them and me is the gifting we have received from Christ. We’re still judged by the same standard, except in regards to teaching(James 3:1) When explaining in 1 Tim 2 the fall, Paul reiterates what we see in Genesis. Eve was deceived but Adam was held accounatble, he knew better. The man/husband here was held responsible for not leading His wife away from temptation and to God. The thought here is the man still has that role in the church, to guard the word and lead others toward God. Shepherds guard bthe flock.

    As for marriage, the best scripture I suppose is Galatians 3:28, which says we are all one in Christ, no matter race, social status or gender. We are clearly equal when it comes to salvation. Aquila and Priscilla are certainly presented as equals in scripture. @ Victorious linked some writings by a guy named Paul Burleson who is certainly far more learned in the languages than I am. Jesus is always the best example. Jesus never lorded His authority over anyone even though He clearly had it as our Lord. He said the greatest among us would be called servant, why would this not apply to marriage as well? A couple living as equals would always put the other before themselves as a willing servant if following the example of Christ. Is that not the definition of sacrificial love? Christ and His relationship to the church are compared to marriage. We don’t follow Christ because He tells us too, because of rules, or blind obedience. We follow Him because of His sacrificial love for us. We follow Him as Lord willingly, not by force. We obey Him because we love Him(Jn 14:15).When this happens in marriage, when the husband strives(imperfectly) to love his wife as Christ loved the church(willing to give all). The woman returns that same type of love, not giving up any rights, but following the husbands Godly example. This is why Adam was held accounatble in Genesis, he was supposed to be the guardian of the couples walk with God. They were joined together as one. Eve was deceived but Adam was accountable. Today in marriage we participate together, as one., just as Adam and Eve. Just as Adam was held accountable for being the spriritual leader, the husband is as well. They each suffered the same judgment, physical death. They were each responsible in their own way, as one. One being a key. That’s not just in a physical sense, but a spiritual one as well. The goal of marriage is the same as the goal of a Christrians life. Love and follow God and love others just as ourselves. We have simply yolked ourselves with a partner in this pursuit. I believe the complimentarian view takes what were cultural norms from the times and tries to make them biblical principle. Women were considered property by many in biblical times, could even be sold in to slavery to cover debt. Paul’s teaching on slaves in Philemon also might have some application. Paul tells Philemon that Onesimus is now “more than a slave,” he is a brother. Back to Galatians 3:28, no longer slave nor free, male or female, but all one in Christ. The husband and wife are one together in service to Christ. They serve Him as equals and together, but the goal is always God’s will not our own. Clearly we’ll be judged as individuals, but in the covenant of marriage, we have joined together as one. As one, to follow the One. It is a joint effort, and should be a source of accountability for husband and wife in accordance to the word. A wife should be able to biblically correct a husband just as a husband should a wife. They are one, not one under the authority of the other. The authority, only authority, over all believers is Jesus.

    Man, I don’t envy you in trying to write about this. It is complicated. The complimentarian view is very black and white and that registers with a lot of people. They see truth in the assumed certainty. But we are speaking of deep things of God. The church, compared to marriage, was a mystery revealed in the New Testament. Marriage, since it is compared to the church and Christ’s relationship to His body, also still holds some mystery. Their is nothing black and white about a marriage, other than as I believe scripture clearly teaches, it’s between a man and a woman. But let’s not go in to that tonight. My brain is whooped 🙂

  94. @ elastigirl:

    Excellent comment, elastigirl! I’ve asked previously where scripture says a husband is expected to lead his wife. No doubt it’s being read into scripture on the basis of one word. But good hermeneutics, I believer, does not allow for interpreting scripture on the basis of one verse let alone one word. Comps conveniently ignore Eph. 5:21 or explain it away in an effort to arrive at the desired leadership position.

    Slicing and dicing the Word of God into male and female has been done so long that some actually believe that’s what God intended. How sad!

  95. @ dee:

    ““authority” must be a wooden or acrylic (preferred by the hipsters so we can observe their obviously cool™ jeans) table upon which the pastor puts his water and notes.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    well, as JP has said, he lets women teach men at his church. But when he observes a woman teaching with authority, well, that’s the shepherd’s role. So, somehow the woman who is an authority on the topic she is teaching must somehow teach without it.

    perhaps the woman is to appear unassertive, have hunched shoulders, a soft voice, be indirect, all her statements must be couched in “perhaps, i’m not really sure, but maybe…”

  96. @ elastigirl. Helper literally means to come along side. It is also used to describe the Holy Spirit’s role with gthe believer. Is the Holy Spirit inferior to the believer. No, He partners with us in our walk with God. So should a wife partner with her husband in their walk toward God. The husband leads by pursuing God. If the husband is pursuing a relationship with Jesus and His will, why would a woman not “come along side” in that pursuit? You ask why I feel my frieds show spiritual leadership? They put the bgood of the family before their ego that they must provide economically. They make sure their children are raised in a Godly environemnt with Godly instruction, by both parents. Something that would be far, far harder if he was working all the time. How is that not spiritual leadership? You lead towards God. It’s not about a wife “following” a husband, it’s about both following God. In the garden, Eve was deceived, but Adam was held accountable. He knew better. He was held responsible for not following God and His one command do not eat of that tree. He did not lead His wife toward God. That’s spiritual leadership. Don’t get hung up on terms and look at the principle. 2 people, yolked together as one, pursuing God. In the original marriage man was the one accountable for making sure this happened. Same principle today.

  97. JP wrote:

    This is why Adam was held accounatble in Genesis, he was supposed to be the guardian of the couples walk with God.

    Where does it say this? And where does it say that he wasn’t deceived?

  98. On a semi-related note regarding sex abuse issues in churches….I was recently talking with another pastor of a much larger church(2kish) which sees a large number of visitors and many people in and out that they obviously don’t always know as well as I know people in my rural community and church of less than 100. I asked about their practices to create a protected environment and part of their answer was really interesting.

    On top of most of the usual ideas(background checks, open doors/windows to all places kids are in, always 2+ adults, etc) they keep a large binder with all the pictures and information on local sex offenders. Each month it is updated and their entire staff is required to be familiar with the faces and names of everyone in it. This has allowed them to on more than one occasion immediately recognize when a sex offender(some violent pedophiles) walk in their doors. In every case they will take the person aside and welcome them to the church and explain that they are aware of their criminal record. They let them know they are welcome to attend the worship service, but they cannot go to the children areas. Some have turned right back around and left, but a number of other ones have stayed and worshipped faithfully at the church.

  99. JP wrote:

    Man, I don’t envy you in trying to write about this. It is complicated. The complimentarian view is very black and white and that registers with a lot of people.

    I have appreciated your insights and your willingness to respond to Dee's questions.

    May I make one gentle correction in your last comment? The concept about which you write is spelled "complementarian". Just thought you would like to know since this is important to you.

    We are glad you are here communicating with us in such a winsome way. I really mean it!

  100. JP wrote:

    I personally believe scripture is clear regarding homosexuality being sin. How we have dealt with that as Christians, in a condemning way far too often, only worsens things. Eventually I believe it will come down to a civil rights versus a religious freedom argument in the courts, and I believe the courts will eventually side with civil rights. That will place those who believe the bible teaches this as sin in the crosshairs. Actually, it may be a positive, as it will certainly separate those who are willing to take a stand on what we believe the bible teaches and those who will not.

    1) No argument there, the Bible is clear that same-sex congress does ‘miss the mark’, but then again so do a great many other things in Scripture, so the question for me personally is, how big of a deal is it? Not really a big deal for me when tempered with reason and common sense, although for you and many others in the Evangelical/Baptist world it is a big deal, and I have respect for your beliefs.
    As Jefferson was wont to say, your beliefs neither pick my pocket nor break my leg.

    2) I have every confidence that the courts will rule in your favor, and that your right to preach from the dictates of your conscience concerning homosexuality is unalienable and not the same thing as ‘shouting fire in a crowded theatre’.

    3) All other governments and compacts on the world stage are about what the King’s men can and will do to you. Ours is unique in all the world because it is about what the King’s men may not do.

  101. dee wrote:

    JP wrote:
    This is why Adam was held accounatble in Genesis, he was supposed to be the guardian of the couples walk with God.
    Where does it say this? And where does it say that he wasn’t deceived?

    He must have been deceived as well since he ate the fruit as well. He could have said no.No?

  102. JP wrote:

    He did not lead His wife toward God. That’s spiritual leadership.

    JP, scripture doesn’t say that Adam was supposed to lead his wife toward God. And nowhere is he called a spiritual leader. We can’t just make these things up to arrive at a desired purpose. I believe you genuinely believe what you’re saying, but without scriptural support, it just isn’t so. We know that Eve was deceived and we know that Adam deliberately, intentionally disobeyed God by listening to Eve rather than God. Beyond that, there’s no mention of leadership on the part of either.

    Don’t get hung up on terms and look at the principle.

    It’s words that define the principles in the Bible. Words and terms have meaning. Apart from them or adding to them, we can make the Bible say anything we want. That’s what comps have done by assigning leadership, spiritual or otherwise, to a husband.

  103.   __

    “Lord, Have Mercy?”

    “…In the meantime, if that means embracing homosexual partners, divorced people, addicts, mean people, anxious people, selfish people, etc., we can trust transformation to the Spirit… ” ~A  Wartburg Commenter 

    hmmm…

    Q. “Does Jesus  ask us to embrace potentially destructive or harmful behavior under the guize of christian community?”

    Q. “If we, as a christian community, embrace potentially destructive or harmful behavior, how can we possibly be surprised at the outcome?”

    Skreeeeeeeeeeeeetch!

    Have stressful times truly come, when christian community in general terms, consists of incredible inhumanity, senseless violence, and crimes of incredible malice and evil? When normal strictures against injury to others are forsake?

    What?

    Wake Up! Wake Up! for salvation is nearer and dearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand, therefore let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of His glorious  light!

    YeHaaaaaaaaa!

    dis lit’t light oh’ mine, I’ze gonna let it shine…

    ♩ ♪ ♫  ♬ hum, hum, hum…

    (hopeful)

    When you question me for a simple answer,
    I don’t know what to say, no
    But it’s plain to see, if we stick with Jesus,
    We’re gonna see the way clear, yeah…   
    So don’t give up on your faith,
    Faith comes to those who believe Him & His word,
    And that’s simply the way it is… [1]

    Auf Wiedersehen!

    (grin)

    [bump…]

    Of what ‘matter’ does christian community consist; and what is the greater good upon it’s behalf?

    hmmm…

    ATB

    Sopy
    __
    Comic relief: The Head and the Heart – “Down in the Valley?”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iSQGWpy0qY

    [1] Bonus: Celine Dion – “Ja! ‘ That’s die Weise es is'”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qdc4xwOFhS8

    Just because: “Céline Dion – That’s The Way It Is” (live)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c60q7JgOiNk

    ;~)

  104. dee wrote:

    For example, Kevin DeYoung says a woman cannot read the Bible out loud from behind the pulpit because that denotes authority.

    So strange…Paul entrusted Phoebe with the task of delivering his Letter to the Romans to the church in Rome, which of course entailed not only reading it out loud but also fielding questions and explaining/clarifying where necessary.

    I guess Paul was in error in this regard?

  105. Daisy wrote:

    A lot of Christians do this with other issues as well,

    Very good point. I suppose that perhaps this points to a general lack of empathy among many Christians? We are selfish – we don’t care about something until is personally affects us. How sad!

  106. JP wrote:

    I also believe in scripture we see men as deacons but also deaconesses

    JP – There are no deaconesses in the Bible. Phoebe was a deacon (Romans 16:1). If your Bible says deaconess, it is wrong. The greek word used in that verse is diakonos, a masculine noun, translated elsewhere for deacon. If your Bible says Phoebe was a servant, it is biased against women in leadership. Once you accept that women can be deacons, it destroys any men-only arguments for deacons and elders based on 1 Tim 3. I can say more if anyone wants.

  107. elastigirl wrote:

    My sense is that many in your position share your perspective, but are erring on the side of safety and protecting their standing and reputations. A courageous few can plainly say what others are too afraid to say, thereby emboldening the courage of the others.

    There are at least two kinds of leadership (eagle-eyed TW{sup}2{/sup} folk may have spotted more):

     A strong personality that gathers people around oneself and enables them to work together (this is the one most often misused for selfish ends by CEO’s who use Jesus as a brand)
     The willingness to stick one’s neck out and do something no-one else is doing

    Apple no. 2 is a more subtle kind of leadership, because it may well be that nobody joins or even emulates you. What you are doing is making it that bit easier for someone slightly less bold than yourself. For many reasons, it’s much easier to do something publicly if at least one other person has already done it.

    FWIW, my definition of a “worship leader” – in the context of a traditional christian gathering – is one who is willing to be the only person conspicuously worshipping. Many christians in my experience think you need the mic to be a worship-leader. But if there’s only one worship-leader in the place, you’ve got a concert.

  108. K.D. wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:
    In other news, fitba is stupid and I don’t like it.
    And every team I rooted for in the World Cup lost yesterday…..

    Well… as a consolation, I was kind of predisposed to like Costa Rica, as they were nominally the underdogs. (Of course, now they look like beating us.)

  109. @ tan, the word deacon, diakanos, means servant. That is their role in the church, male or female. They are called to serve in specific areas idetified by the local church(Acts 6).

  110. To all who ask why I say Adam was held accountable. Sin and death entered the world through Adam(Romans 5). Adam was with Eve when Satan deceived(Genesis 3:6). He heard the whole thing and remained silent. 1 Time 2:14 says Adam was not deceived, meaning, when he ate, he knew better. Eve being deceived does not mean she did not sin, she simply sinned ignorantly. Adam was not ignorant, he was willfully complicit. Thus when Paul addresses this in Roamsn 5, sin and death are placed upon Adam, not Adam and Eve. He’s held accounatble

    Off to church! Everyone have a blessed Lord’s day! I’ll check in later.

    And Deb, please don’t grade my papers on spelling 🙂

  111. @ Dee, one last thought before I leave to build off of my original thoughts, specifically, the church being a mystery revealed in the New Testament. Let us ask ourselves this. Have we as human beings truly figured out church? With all the differing views and disagreements who can say we have it 100% figured out? Marriage is intentionally tied to the church by scripture. Human marriage is a picture of the royal marriage between Christ and believers. This is why I say there is still some mystery to marriage, exactly how it works in God’s eyes. If we can’t figure out church, what makes us think we can fully understand all of the components in God’s eyes regarding marriage. The bible tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Each of us may take a different path but always with the same goal and desire, to follow Jesus. Trying to nail down the intricacies of human relationship in black and white terms is like trying to catch the wind. Their are a few things clear, but much that is not. But the center of church, and marriage, is always Christ. If He is at the center, then we have a Godly marriage.

  112. JP wrote:

    Sin and death entered the world through Adam(Romans 5)

    You need to remember something. Eve did not get a separate name from Adam until after the fall, when the man gave that to the woman.
    Before the during the fall the term “Adam” was used for BOTH the man and the woman. When God called, “Adam, where are you?” He was calling for both of them. When he spoke to them individually the scriptures DO NOT call the man ‘Adam’ and the woman ‘Eve’ or something separate from Adam. When He addressed them individually the scriptures call the man ‘man’ and the woman ‘woman’. They were both still ‘Adam’ at the time.

    Don’t believe me? Go back and read it without the false doctrine of ‘eternal male headship’ coloring your perception. What I’m saying is factual and the truth. The scriptures bear this out.

    So referring to a scripture 1000s of years after the fall in Romans does not prove that man was made the head or leader before the fall. Genesis 3’s Adam meant ‘human’ and contained both the man and the woman. Looking at it any other way is seeing it skewed.

    I don’t blame you for this inaccuracy in viewing the name Adam. A little leaven of the Pharisees has been allowed to leaven the whole lump of dough in large sectors of Christianity. And you have been fed this bread, most likely, from infancy.

  113. JP wrote:

    Thus when Paul addresses this in Roamsn 5, sin and death are placed upon Adam, not Adam and Eve. He’s held accounatble

    Thanks for your understanding, JP. I agree that Romans 5 mentions sin and death and attributes those to Adam. Romans 5 is contrasting Adam with Jesus. Adam brought death; Jesus brings life. The price we pay for Adam’s transgression contrasted to the free gift Jesus gives, etc.

    There is not one positive, good, or admirable thing said about Adam in scripture. So, why in the world we ascribe an undeserved, positive term like “federal headship” or leader I don’t understand other than it’s a perfect example of the lengths some go to prove male headship and leadership as God ordained.

    Eve was responsible for her sin and Adam his just as is true for all sinners. Men are sinners; women are sinners. There is nothing inherent in males that God deemed them more fit for leadership than women. Once we agree on that, we (hopefully) will stop assigning “ness” to words that designate female. How funny would it sound if we spoke of “male pastors” or “male elders” or “male apostles” “male teachers”, etc. 🙂

  114. JP wrote:

    @ Dee, one last thought before I leave to build off of my original thoughts, specifically, the church being a mystery revealed in the New Testament. Let us ask ourselves this. Have we as human beings truly figured out church? With all the differing views and disagreements who can say we have it 100% figured out? Marriage is intentionally tied to the church by scripture. Human marriage is a picture of the royal marriage between Christ and believers. This is why I say there is still some mystery to marriage, exactly how it works in God’s eyes. If we can’t figure out church, what makes us think we can fully understand all of the components in God’s eyes regarding marriage. The bible tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Each of us may take a different path but always with the same goal and desire, to follow Jesus. Trying to nail down the intricacies of human relationship in black and white terms is like trying to catch the wind. Their are a few things clear, but much that is not. But the center of church, and marriage, is always Christ. If He is at the center, then we have a Godly marriage.

    Now marriage and church is mostly mystery? . . so why all the church leaders telling Christians how to live their male and female lives? That’s the real mystery to me.

    If we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, why all the separation among believers into different denominations and tribes? And why all the pointing fingers and accusations about some not doing church right or “our way?”

    Jesus didn’t present a mystery to me. He made it pretty simple when he said to love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

  115. Victorious wrote:

    I agree that Romans 5 mentions sin and death and attributes those to Adam.

    Just to add…the reason Paul attributes sin and death to Adam and contrasts it to Jesus is because Adam’s sin was willful disobedience. Eve’s was being deceived. There’s a difference between willful sin and sinning from ignorance. Normally no one deliberately gets deceived as Paul tells was the reason for his horrific murders. He received grace and forgiveness because they were based on ignorance. Sin? Of course…as sin is missing the mark. But deliberately being deceived? No.

  116. JP wrote:

    Marriage is intentionally tied to the church by scripture. Human marriage is a picture of the royal marriage between Christ and believers.

    The mystery Paul mentions is referencing the previous verse. The mystery is the love Christ had when He left He Father to cleave to those He loves. This is compared to the love a man has when he leaves his father and mother to cleave to his wife. The mystery is the love involved in the sacrifice. There is no mention whatsoever about authority. None. Just a husband giving up his very life for his wife as Christ did for the church.

    A man leaves his father and mother; Jesus leaves His Father. That’s the mystery of love.

  117. JP wrote:

    This is why I say there is still some mystery to marriage, exactly how it works in God’s eyes.

    Your answer now defines the root of the problem. Comps claim that the Gospel is dependent on being complementarian. I say tell me what to do. You says its a mystery but you must do it.

    Here’s the rub. I would put my marriage up against any comp. marriage and ask you to tell me what is different. I bet you would be unable to define any difference. Yet, money is being poured into CBMW and conferences and books, talks, etc. and not one person can define how we are at all different.

    What I am saying is that by defining comp theology as a mystery is a way to dodge the real issue that there is most likely absolutely no difference between Christian comps and egalitarians and whatevers when it comes to issues within marriage.

    Imagine moving into a country which says to obey the authorities and then there are no written definitions of what that means. You could get arrested for not covering you mouth when you sneeze.

  118. JP wrote:

    Adam was not ignorant, he was willfully complicit. Thus when Paul addresses this in Roamsn 5, sin and death are placed upon Adam, not Adam and Eve. He’s held accounatble

    Well darn. Adam was accountable and Eve as not? She was just dumb. Then why did she get punished as well?

  119. Bridget wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:
    In other news, fitba is stupid and I don’t like it.
    Officially pouting then?

    I’d pay money to see this….haaaaaaaa….

  120. K.D. wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    In other news, fitba is stupid and I don’t like it.

    And every team I rooted for in the World Cup lost yesterday….. 🙁

    That’ll teach you true humility. And so it should. Don’t waste your sports!

  121.   __

    Along Da Winding Road: “A Get Outa Jail free Card, Perhps?”

    hmmm…

    …pass heaven’s gatez n’ collect eternal life?

    huh?

    Sin is of no account to those covered by the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ (see: 2 Co 5:19).

    What?

    The Good News of Jesus Christ includes the necessity of turning away from sin,  and relying on the mercy of God to cover the transgressions. 

    krunch!

    The earnest sacrifice that Jesus Christ compassionately provided for on a Roman Cross outside the gates of Jerusalem two thousand yeas ago is the clear demonstration of the mercy of God, and the means He has graciously provided for our salvation. 

    (bump)

    If this provision is rejected however,  then the individual will have no choice but to stand before God to be judged on their own merits…

    Ouch!

    …Since Jesus tells us that every idle word and every detailed thought will be included in the assessment, it is highly doubtful the individual will have any wiggle room for ‘hope’. 

    (sadface)

    Take da road less traveled?

    hmmm…

    God so love’d U, He sent His Son 4U, so that if you ‘believe’ in Him, Jesus, you won’t go to da  judgement plaze wit a queezy feel’in in your tummy, but live wit Him throughout eternity.

    Yehaaaaaa!

    Sounds like a reasonable offer considering the alternative?

    The offer is yours today, if you are interested.

    ♩ ♪ ♫  ♬ hum, hum, hum…

    “Every day is a winding road,
    Every day I get a bit closer to da big Divine…

    and feeeeel’in fine… [1]

    (grin)

    ATB

    Sopy
    __
    [1] Intermission: “Everyday Is A Winding Road?”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eHA_lPMXMk

    ;~)

  122. Gus wrote:

    K.D. wrote:
    Nick Bulbeck wrote:
    In other news, fitba is stupid and I don’t like it.
    And every team I rooted for in the World Cup lost yesterday…..
    That’ll teach you true humility. And so it should. Don’t waste your sports!

    Gus, I live in a state in which American football at the high school level is equal with religion…..when I was in high school, we went 0-40…I understand humility….

  123.   __

    Wartburg…Ans: “SGMgate?”

    hmmm…

    @ Lydia

    [IMHO]

    …all the money and all the endorsements  in the christian world will hide the naked truth that one Charles Joseph Mahaney covered up child sexual abuse within hie Maryland registered non-religious 501(c)3 SGM establishment.

    For Shame!

    *

    Humpty Mahaney sat on a SBC religious wall,
    Humpty Mahaney had a great fall,
    All the Seminary Presidents and all the Seminary President’s men,
    Couldn’t put Humpty Mahaney together again.

    *

    IT IS NOT A GAME.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-yh5c1oHQU

    *

    END OF LINE.

    ;~)

  124. @ Victorious:

    Over the last decade or so I have done a drastic re-think about the concept of ‘sin’ (missing the mark). In my view the Bible defies linear systemization, which is why I no longer come up with the same conclusions as Augustine, the Medieval Scholastics, and the Reformers. But that’s just me, your mileage of course may vary.

  125. Bridget wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:
    In other news, fitba is stupid and I don’t like it.
    Officially pouting then?

    Beakerj wrote:

    Bridget wrote:
    Nick Bulbeck wrote:
    In other news, fitba is stupid and I don’t like it.
    Officially pouting then?
    I’d pay money to see this….haaaaaaaa….

    In all honesty I be beleivin Nick done fibbed about fitba 😉 I’m thinkin we’ll be hearing our brother Nick gushing about fitba agin sure as the crow flies.

  126. Paula wrote:

    @ Ian:
    I want you to say more!

    Paula,

    I’ll use the ESV, the complementarian’s favourite translation, here.

    Complementarian view:

    1 Tim 3:2-3 – Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

    “husband of one wife” – that must imply the overseer (bishop / elder / leader) is a man.

    1 Tim 3:12 – Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well.

    Ditto for deacons.

    Romans 16:1 – I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant [footnote – or deaconess] of the church at Cenchreae…

    Phoebe wasn’t a deacon, she was a servant or deaconess.

    Egalitarian view:

    NO!!

    The exact same greek word, diakonos, is used in all three passages. Check it for yourself using an interlinear Bible (eg online on http://www.biblegateway.com)

    Phoebe was a diakonos / deacon.

    In which case, saying a diakonos / deacon must be the husband of one wife in 1 Tim 3:12 cannot mean deacons must only be men. It is probably a prohibition against polygamy, which is almost always one man with multiple wives. One wife with multiple husbands is very rare.

    And the exact same wording is used in 1 Tim 3:2-3, so the men-only reading of that passage is also thrown out.

    Hope that all makes sense. I think it’s a shocking example of translation bias.

    (For completeness, diakonos literally means servant or minister, and it can be used in a general sense as well as about a specific office in the church. So you could argue that Phoebe was a diakonos / servant and 1 Tim 3 refers to diakonos / office. However, given Phoebe’s lavish commendation by Paul in Rom 16:1-2, most theologians conclude she was a leader in the church and so the translation of diakonos as deacon is totally justified).

  127. Hi all.
    Here’s my “in other news.” Crossway has an update on their women’s devotional Bible.
    http://www.crossway.org/blog/2014/06/why-an-esv-womens-devotional-bible/
    I would make some commentary, but I’m tired.

    Being West African, it’s fun catching up with my West African teams during this World Cup. Dad’s Super Eagles, the Indomitable Lions, the Elephants, the Black Stars, love them. That Dutch-Spanish match last week still makes me grin!

    I know I don’t frequent here much, but this year has been a time of change. Please keep me in prayer. I’m in the process of moving and am anxious as heck. I got accepted to a graduate program out of state, and that adds to the anxiety. Eep!

  128. androidninja wrote:

    Being West African, it’s fun catching up with my West African teams during this World Cup. Dad’s Super Eagles, the Indomitable Lions, the Elephants, the Black Stars, love them. That Dutch-Spanish match last week still makes me grin!

    Hi androidninja!

    Go Black Stars! 🙂

    I am still incredibly grumpy about Cape Verde losing their appeal. I like following the WC if I don’t have to think about FIFA.

    And that Dutch rout of Spain was something else indeed!!!!!

  129. In regards to the Women’s Devotional Bible by Crossway (I don’t like to prejudge), but considering the camp this is coming from, I don’t have much hope the it will be helpful to women. It seems it will only serve to make more and deeper division in the body of Christ concerning men and women.

  130. @ Dee, ignorance is not being dumb, you know that. Paul clearly states she was deceived while Adam was not. Their is a clear distinction made there. Eve’s sin was not willful, while Adam’s was. Adam was the one accountability was assigned to, as Romans 5 says. Sin and death came through the one man, Adam. In regards to some things still being a mystery, I believe that. You’d hear nothing from me regarding your marriage. But just as there are multiple understandings of what is the proper way a church should function, what I am saying, since marriage and the church are so closely tied together, it’s completely understandable why their are differing views on marriage. As I told you when you first asked the question, I don’t pretend to have all the answers. You have not seen me say a husband has authority over his wife, I believe when you become one you become partners. Partners who have differing roles. From the original marriage in Genesis and the accountability Adam was held to, being the one who knew better yet sinned, to me at least it is clear that is a role that falls to the man. The role of protecting His wife and family in regards to steering a course in God’s way. Does that mean the woman has no say or plays no part, of course not. As the helper, she comes along side of him, and they steer that course together. Wade Burleson had an interesting take years ago on why the divorce rate was dropping nationwide yet rising among baptists, and he tied it to the comp teaching which placed the woman under the authority of the man. I’m not sure if he was right or wrong, but it was interesting to note that the rise in divorces began when the comp teaching became more common. Many seem to be offended by that word helper, when it’s a beautiful word. It’s used in reference to the Holy Spirit! We as Christians are at our best when we allow the helper, the Holy Spirit, to help. We can clearly quench and grieve Him and snuff out that helper God provided. Well, God did the same for man through woman. He provided a helper to help him stay the course. She is not under him, no more that the Holy Spirit is under us as believers. I believe the comp view diminishes the role of the helper. As you try to show the comp view is wrong, and I understand why, I’m just not sure you can nail down exactly why it’s wrong. The ones who teach this have diminished the marriage covenant to black and white terms IMO, and some people simply respond to that. It does not mean it’s right. We do that with many issues in the church, make black and white that which is not. Victorious nailed it, when she said whether it be in regards to the church or a marriage, love for God and others(each other) is the center. If that is there, that is what matters. With fear and trembling we love, and to the best of our gifts and abilities serve Him. One with Him in the church, one with each other in marriage. There are so many differing opinions regarding what is the way the church should actually function it is staggering. Why should it surprise us it is the same regarding marriage? There is far more instruction regarding the church than marriage. Where we encounter a scripture like in 1 Peter where it states wives are to be submissive to their husbands, I know the comp view takes that as the woman is under the husband. I do not. I take it as the woman is not to try to rule over the husband, I do not take it as because of that the husband has rule over the wife. They are partners, 2 working as one. Neither has rule. This is where the husband gives honor to the wife, not as a subordinant, but as an equal. We’re heirs, together. My view differs from others. Just as yours will, and others will differ from ours. Just like the church. But the central message whether in regards to the church or marriage, is Christ is the Head. He is the focus. Not power, or control, or authority. He is the authority of the church, and in that all of us as believers, including us who are married. If I, and me and my wife as one, have denied ourselves, carried our crosses and followed Him, that is the only thing that really matters.

    Now as to the church, and the role of a shepherd, and deacons/deaconesses as that question has been raised. A deacon/deaconess is a servant. Not one place in scripture do we see a deacon with any kind of authority. In Paul’s qualifications in 1 Timothy we see no authority given. They are servants called to particular tasks by the loocal church, just as they were called to serve the Greek widows in Acts 6. When they function in this role, we see deaconesses as well, servants, not to man but to God. I have no problem with that. The only so-called authority in the church is the shepherds-pastor/elder/bishop/overseer(the words are interchangeable) to guard the flock in regards to God’s word. Paul distinctly uses the first marriage between Adam and Eve to illustrate this in 1 Tim 2. Here, as we’ve seen with Adam being held accountable in Genesis in that first marriage, the man is also to do this in the church. Once again the tie to the church and marriage.

    In Hebrews we have 2 verses, Hebrews 13:7 and 17, that are usually poorly translated in the manuscript using the word rule, but often corrected as the word lead in the concordance. As I’m sure you know English is a HORRIBLE language to try to translate Greek in to, leading to these words that lend a false perception to what the role really entails. Who are the ones in the church who speak the word and have demonstrated a faith(qualifications 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1), they are the shepherd-pastor/elder/bishop/overseer whatever we want to refer to them as. Who are the ones who watch out for the souls of the flock as one’s who will give account(that the truth has been heard), the shepherd. He does not rule, he leads to be sure the church is following the true leader, Jesus. A church should not be following a pastor because he’s the pastor, but because he is leading toward Christ and as much like Christ as he can. Paul said imitate me, for I imitate Christ. If we imitate, we follow the lead, we do as they do. We do it willfully. A true leader does not make anyone do something, people come along side and follow. In the church we are following Christ, not the pastor. The pastor simply leads towards Christ and guards the flock in the word, and if he is doing that, others should come along side that example, and imitate, as the goal is Christ. In this way he equips others for the work of the ministry, through teaching and example. It’s not about control, or power, or authority. We follow Christ as one, and in marriage, we follow Christ as one. The problems all stem from when we don’t follow Christ, in a church, or in a marriage. When we usurp His authority by taking it for ourselves.

    Im a pastor, and I can assure you I cannot make someone follow me or Christ. Why? I’m not a boss, or person in authority over the church. The only “authority” I have is the same as Adam, to try to steer clear of willfull sin and keep others from sinning themselves. Is there anything I can do to stop, prohibit, someone from sinning? Not a thing. I’m to declare the truth and warn of the consequences. The only authority to actually do something about it lies with the church as a whole in the discipline process. Many pastors do not operate this way these days, they are CEO’s. I think Andy Stanley even said we should do away with the word shepherd as pastors are CEO’s these days. Not according to the bible. Can a shepherd stop a sheep from straying? Nope. But he can work to return them to the flock. That’s the calling, and it is a calling. The last thing on earth I ever thought I’d be is a pastor. I was 39 and a heathen, and finally came broken before God. Saved by Him and called by him at the same time. I most certainly did not choose it, but in my heart, I had no choice. Went from making 86k in 2003 to 6k in 2004 because I gave up everything to follow what I knew I had to do. And you know what, every step He has provided and opened doors. He didn’t call me to rule over people, but to teach and guard His sheep and do the work of an evangelist. I fall woefully short so many times, but He is always there. Personally, I consider myself living proof of what Paul says, that God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. I’m an idiot 🙂 But when I’m one with Him, somehow, I’m a pastor

  131. @ Mara, Eve actually received her first “name” in Genesis 2, it was Woman, isha, because she had her source in Adam. The root of the word is actually soft. Interpret tha one how you like 🙂

  132. androidninja wrote:

    That Dutch-Spanish match last week still makes me grin!

    Tricky one. Most football fans found it very hard to forgive the Dutch team for their disgraceful approach to the last world cup final, in which their only strategy was to try to kick Spain off the park.

    On the other hand, the recent match was much more a return to what Dutch football should be like and has been historically. Let’s hope, then, that 2010 was an anomaly. If so, and they can keep that up (you can’t win the world cup in the first game, after all), they could be a match for anybody.

  133. JP wrote:

    Thus when Paul addresses this in Roamsn 5, sin and death are placed upon Adam, not Adam and Eve. He’s held accounatble

    JP, who do you believe Adam was accountable for? And do you believe his sin entitles him to be a “head”,”federal head”, or leader?

  134. JP wrote:

    It basically comes down to guarding against teaching what we don’t espouse… Just like I wouldn’t have a reformed pastor teach on election or a charismatic teach on tongues, as they are areas of disagreement, the pastor as shepherd guards the flock from teachings we don’t agree with. His sole authority I guess would be in guarding doctrinal issues.

    One of the great advantages in being a none is that I am not separated from another follower of Jesus on doctrinal grounds – even from the ones who think I’m sinning by not being part of “a” church. I’m sorry you feel, JP, that you couldn’t let your congregation be taught by someone who differs from the local line.

    But that said, I can believe that you have your reasons. And I’m sympathetic to your cause there… Thing is, a friend of ours locally became a Christian a few years ago, and has a particular appetite for structure, and structured teaching. So he went looking for it. Long story short: he is now soaking up Park Fiscal’s effluent like there’s no tomorrow. I use that metaphor deliberately because it grieves me to see, and I’d stop him downloading Fiscal if I could.

    And as for letting charismatics teach on tongues… well, I am a charismatic (at least, I assume so in this context) and I believe in tongues today. But I know of charismatics who teach that unless you speak in tongues you’re not saved, to which end, they lay hands on people and browbeat them in prayer until they babble some nonsense, whereupon they declare them “saved and filled with the Holy Spirit”. (Unless they think he’s a Ghost, but I won’t get started on King James english here.)

    Call me a Pharisee, but I like the idea of them not getting to teach your congregation…!

    But I also know some charismatics who could actually give your congregation a really good, thoughtful, nuanced insight into how other christians live. By the same token, you’ve described here your reasons for several doctrinal positions that I don’t hold, but on which I am still the richer for having read your comments.

  135. You can not say that men and women are equal but have different roles. By definition, the Biblical version of “different roles” means that men have the final say in doctrine, church practices, and the home and that women don’t have any authority unless men grant it.

    So all the talk of differences is just talk about the different shades of male dominance in all areas of life. You can not subscribe to male headship without acknowledging that it is not a vision of equality. If it was then a womans vote would be equal to a man’s…but is not. In this system, a woman doesn’t have a vote at all and is told to obey, period.

    It’s discouraging to read this discussion…

  136. JP wrote:

    Paul clearly states she was deceived while Adam was not.

    Clear? If it was clear, there would not be disagreement which there clearly is.

  137. JP wrote:

    Just like I wouldn’t have a reformed pastor teach on election or a charismatic teach on tongues, as they are areas of disagreement, the pastor as shepherd guards the flock from teachings we don’t agree with. His sole authority I guess would be in guarding doctrinal issues.

    Oh, my. Often Nick and I are in agreement, it seems–at least I agree with him a lot. I think he has well expressed his position on this, and I would like to take it a step further. I think it is precisely important to hear a reformed theologian (not just any pastor) teach on election, and a charismatic or pentecostal theologian teach on tongues, and a catholic priest or theologian teach on catholic beliefs about the church, and so on. The idea of listening to only one side of the argument is a really bad idea, and the idea of letting a non-reformed try to explain what the reformed think, or a non-charismatic try to explain why the charismatics believe as they do is an even worse idea. Rather like letting a high school history teacher try to teach advanced functions. And the idea that a pastor should try to prevent people from examining the other side of the story? Nobody ought to sign away their mind just by participating in some church. That is just ferociously awful to try to do that to people.

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    One of the great advantages in being a none is that I am not separated from another follower of Jesus on doctrinal grounds – even from the ones who think I’m sinning by not being part of “a” church.

    If my church/denomination divides over the gay marriage issue (though it is a bit more complicated than that) then I will probably become a “none” rather than let myself be forced to either affirm homosexuality or disdain homosexual persons. I will choose my own “third way” which is basically “you can’t make me.” I hate to see that happen, but there is good evidence to worry that it will.

    Off topic–we got back from camping. It was a really good weekend except that I tripped over part of the tent, pitched forward into the gravel and seem to have sustained a rotator cuff injury of the right shoulder–landed right on it. Everybody thought I had died or had a stroke or something, but no, just did in my shoulder. There was a bit of excitement for a while, but they got over it.

  138. @ dee:

    So Mohler’s loyalty or support has a price. $200K buys you his support even if you cover up child abuse and make 3 year olds meet with and forgive their abuser. And people think he is a great man. What reputation will he have left if Mahaney falls?

  139. An Attorney wrote:

    So Mohler’s loyalty or support has a price. $200K buys you his support even if you cover up child abuse and make 3 year olds meet with and forgive their abuser.

    Same price as it takes to juice your book onto the NYT Best Seller list.

  140. doubtful wrote:

    You can not say that men and women are equal but have different roles. By definition, the Biblical version of “different roles” means that men have the final say in doctrine, church practices, and the home and that women don’t have any authority unless men grant it.

    “Complemetarianism” is just an eight-syllable word for “Male Supremacy”.
    AKA “Me Man! Me Say So! You Woman! You Shut Up!”

  141. @ Nick, @ Nancy, just because I would not have them teach a specific doctrine does not mean I am separated from them. I have a Calvinist friend preach for me often, but he respects our beliefs and would not come in to the church and try to persuade otherwise on something like election. The important thing is we agree upon Christ, and so we are brothers. We work together for the essential thing, the gospel and the kingdom, things we all agree on and partner on. I’ve sought partnership in these efforts in our neighborhood with a Pentacostal church. They refuse to work with us. An IFB church in our neighborhood won’t partner with us in evangelism because I don’t use the KJV. I have nothing against Pentacostals, they are my brothers in Christ. But we disagree on non-essential doctrine. A recipe for confusion is to cloud non-essential issues. We gather together around Christ, but we disagree on non-essentials. Been that way for 2000 years, Corinth anyone? There is tremendous diverity of views on non-essentials in the body of Christ. There is a place for someone if they believe in tongues, or hold to a Calvinistic view of election, or believe a woman can be a pastor/elder, or whatever the issue may be. The only thing that matters is we agree on Christ. If that’s the case we should be able to work together. I desire that. Hard to find as churches are so territorial. I doubt the pastor of a Pentacostal church would want me coming and teaching a series through 1 Corinthians 14 on why I believe 20 people shouldn’t be speaking in tongues at once. Same for a Calvinist pastor on election. Or a Free Will pastor on why I believe you cannot lose your salvation. But all of these are non-essential. The problem lies not in that we disagree, but in that we draw lines on non-essentials and don’t work together toward the furtherence of the gospel. We’re human beings, we’re going to disagree. But you can agree to disagree on things that really don’t effect the gospel, and work toward that. That is what we’re called to proclaim. I had a group of Calvinists tell me, maybe I should call the hyper-hyper Calvinists, that if I deny Calvinism, I deny the gospel. You want to talk about drawing lines on a non-essential. One of the major reasons the church is such a mess is we’ve allowed these things that in the long run don’t mean a thing to separate us. None of us have it 100% right. I taught on election several month’s ago. I presented our view and the Calvinist view, and showed why I believe they are wrong. I did not proclaim I was 100% right, as election is as devisive an issue as there is in the SBC right now, and I don’t claim to have the mind of God on a doctrine as easily read different ways as election. But you always return to the gospel. We must believe. We must repent. Same with prophecy where there is a wide variety of opinion. I’m Pre-mil. When I teach on it I don’t teach it as dogma. I say this is what I believe the bible says and set about to show that through scripture. I also teach the Amill view to show why I disagree with it. If someone disagrees, fine. Just don’t disagree on Jesus. He’s the one we’re called to preach! Look at how much time we spend speaking of non-essentials when we could be speaking of Christ crucified and the gospel.

  142. @ dee:

    In law, a contract (which in some ways marriage is) entered into due to fraud or misrepresentation by a party can be treated at law as null and void ab initio, at the beginning. Hence, it never existed. I think the Catholic church treats marriage the same way and their solution is annulment. Now legally annulment is available, but if there are children of the marriage, that can be legally difficult. But my point on another three applies. Abuse ends the marriage — all that remains is dealing with the division of property and child custody and child support issues. There is NOTHING to restore.

  143. @ Daisy:

    There is a huge amount of ground between rejection and endorsement. It is some times called live and let live.

  144. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    Would you like some pasta sauce with that heaping helping of kick-ass that Italy handed y’all?

    Now ya dunnit Dr. Fundy, I think I’m gonna gather the stuff together an’ make a super excellent Pancetta pasta sauce tomorrow!

  145. @ JP:

    In effect, what you are doing is teaching what you, personally, interpret the scripture to mean. I’m not saying that others don’t agree with your intepretation, but that there is a fear of letting a congregation, that belongs to God, hear more than one interpretation. Why is that I wonder? I believe limiting what is allowed to be heard is a mistake.

    As far as 20 people speaking in tongues at one time in a meeting, who teaches that? Paul didn’t. But he did explain how a gathering can encourage prophecy and tongues in an orderly way. Why would he do that if those gifts were not to be exhibited in the body of Christ?

  146. I’m back. I promise to catch up on posts and comments tomorrow. The chaos of the last two weeks has triggered a major arthritis attack, so bad that walking is pretty painful. I guess bed arrest is in order for the next few days.

  147. @ JP:

    JP, the word translated submit cannot mean what we in 21st century take it to me. Why? Because the prior verse, with the same word, indicates that all are to submit to each other. Mutual submission does not imply that neither party has more power or authority than the other, they are equal or submission would not be mutual. So the concept is more like our modern concept of cooperating with each other. Then, in the next verse, Paul LIMITS the submission of women, as each woman should submit to her own husband, not to anyone else. That is, the focus of the cooperative nature of a woman is to be focused on her husband and not on the other men in the congregation! And, keep in mind that when Eve is declared to be Adam’s helper, the same word is use to describe the relationship of God to David, so “Eve is to Adam as God is to David” is a reasonable exegesis related to that word. I am not advocating that as a conclusion, but it clearly does not indicate per se, that Eve is somehow subservient to Adam, because God is not subservient to David.

    Proof texting is dangerous, especially if you use bad English translation, which is most of them, and especially the KJV which was politically motivated, and those that resolve meaning issues by reverting to the KJV.

  148. Victorious wrote:

    It’s words that define the principles in the Bible. Words and terms have meaning. Apart from them or adding to them, we can make the Bible say anything we want. That’s what comps have done by assigning leadership, spiritual or otherwise, to a husband.

    Agreed. But I don’t think it’s so much adding to the Bible, I think it has more to do with what we infer from Scripture. I would also argue that inference is a genuine function of what we bring to Holy Writ in terms of presupposition, we all do it, it’s humanly unavoidable. And this is where the big rub lies. Dee pointed it out well in a comment up thread where she said that if the Timothy passages were as clear as purported, we’d all sign on to the same idea. But we don’t.

  149. @ JP:

    Jesus said that none of his followers should have authority over other of his followers!!!. And Hebrews teaches that we are all priests, and to be priests to each other, without reference to gender. It is truly that case that a pastor should have no authority in the church, but the congregation should have the authority. Any pastor who takes authority is going against the teaching of Jesus and should get out of the pastorate.

  150. @ Bridget, I actually believe in the gift of tongues, if exercised as Paul intructs in 1 Corinthians 14. The problem lies when it is not, and it is not in many, many churches. It’s not my personal interpretaion, it’s what I’m led to by study and the Spirit for scripture to mean. What preacher does not do that? We’re human, we’ll disagree, and we’re all wrong on something, hence the differing interpretations on many non-eseential matters. I’m not a Calvinist and we’re not a Calvinist church. Why would I teach Calvinist doctrine or want it taught? I’m not a Pentacostal and we’re not a Pentacostal church? Why would I teach what I believe is an incorrect view of tongues(have taught on it and explained why I believe in the gift if exercised biblically)or want it taught. As I stated, they do hear more than one interpretation. We have great bible studies where we discuss the differing views, but we must always return to scripture, and people are always going to interpret different things different ways. I teach what most in the SBC believe, but we still have differences and disagree. In spite of the monolithic nature that is often portrayed by the few SBC leaders we actually hear from, their is great diversity and many views in the SBC. Their are 46,000 individually autonomous churches, it’s unavoidable. The whole point is why focus so much attention on secondary, non-essential issues? We agree on Jesus and He is to be the center of any preaching. People who believe a Calvinist doctrine are going to believe it unless convinced otherwise by study and the Holy Spirit. Same with an Arminian, or someone in the middle like me. A person who believes Pentacostal doctrine is going to seek out that kind of church. The type of study you speak of needs to occur in churches, and we do have it. Preaching expositirially like I do you deal with all issues. But that kind of study in most often going to occur in personal studies, where we may seek out difffering perspectives. If all you are getting is what is preached in a church, you are a babe in the word(not saying you are). If all you did was teach all the differing views of non-essential issues in the church, where would Jesus be? If he is not at the center of everything we preach, we are not preaching the true essential message of scripture. The world needs Jesus, not the knowledge of the disagreements we have on things like election, or tongues, or whatever else. If someone becomes a disciple and truly engages in the word, they will find the place where they fit best. We certainly are not lacking for options regarding churches in this country, and the only church where we’ll all be in agreement is the one in heaven

  151. Thanks for the prayers, y’all. BTW, I’m a girl. 🙂

    Mandy, I hope you feel better soon.

  152. Muff Potter wrote:

    I think it has more to do with what we infer from Scripture. I would also argue that inference is a genuine function of what we bring to Holy Writ in terms of presupposition, we all do it, it’s humanly unavoidable.

    Agreed. Arriving at a doctrinal truth, however, is ascertained by gathering all scripture that supports or negates that presupposition. The rules of interpretation I’ve read allow for inference providing it is supported by satisfactory evidence. So words, usage, context, historical background, logic, etc. all play a part in determining the meaning of a passage in scripture.

    If we add words or inferences without a precedent a faulty conclusion can be expected. When we violate sound rules of interpretation in favor of personal presuppositions, we can almost make scripture say whatever we want.

    Hope that’s clear…(I’m tired…:(

  153. Hey Wartburgers, I’ve really been loving this discussion w/ JP, but would you all mind praying for me & my husband/family over the next couple of days? We’re trying to decide on career paths for my husband & me, as well as short-term jobs. We’ve both got some pretty intense decisions to make in the next few months, & this is after coming out of Christian Patriarchy, aka, “the wife has no voice and no choice” just last year. Plus, we have a new baby and three other kids at home. This means we have to find jobs that would cover our living expenses, plus childcare, plus get us on the road to financial stability…and that’s a lot of criteria. We really need the “wisdom & knowledge of God” right now. Thans so much. <3. Taylor Joy

  154. @ Victorious, I would agree with all of that. But what is the doctrinal truth on election? Or prophecy? Tongues? Woman pastors? Many of the parables? Israel and covenant theology? Marriage? And that list can go on and on. All support their differing positions with scripture. All are not right. In some cases none may be. But we can be sure of the gospel, and Jesus. That we are saved by grace through faith. No matter how thorough we are, we will always disagree on non essential things. That’s why it’s so important to focus upon the things we can be 100% sure of. There are many of those, but in our human imperfection and I believe the influence of Satan himself, we divide over secondary things. Jesus is the firm foundation, but the church universal is becoming more and more a house divided against itself, and that cannot stand. Our first love is Jesus, with all the attention to these secondary issues which people will never agree on, have we left our first love?

  155. @ An Attorney, we pretty much agree. The pastor is the steward of the word, and an encourager, partner, equipper, teacher, one who corrects wrong doctrine. He must be humble and correctable himself. If we read Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus the pastor is called to do many things, but never rule over people

  156. JP wrote:

    Now as to the church, and the role of a shepherd, and deacons/deaconesses as that question has been raised. A deacon/deaconess is a servant. Not one place in scripture do we see a deacon with any kind of authority.

    JP, I would respectfully disagree.

    Rather than type out my reasons, could I just refer you to two articles:

    http://www.sbl-site.org/publications/article.aspx?ArticleId=830

    http://juniaproject.com/phoebe-servant-or-minister/

    Also, there is no scriptural justification for the word deaconess.

  157. @ dee:

    You asked about how the difference between comp and egal marriage works out in practice in the previous giant thread on this. You got me thinking back then, and the difficulty (for me at any rate) is that the ‘husband IS the head of the wife’ is not a verb of action. I see it as the husband has the greater responsibilty for the family, but has authority over or leads is starting to add to what the text itself says. It talks about what he is, not what he does. ‘Wives submit’ is a verb of action, though I’m not altogether sure is it much easier to work out how this works in practice. It’s not impossible though!

    If you enjoy irony, my daughter at school in England has complained a couple of times now at some in the church she attends and family she stays with making her feel second class or inferior as a woman. This raised red flag for me, so I have just sent her a short thesis on the subject, this time emphasing the equality aspects of male/female in the bible. I am strongly against single men making Eph 5:22 their favourite verse.

    As you know, the argument over this is largely confined to part of a verse, a short phrase, either Gal 3 or 1 Tim 2. With this in mind, I have written a hymn that we can all sing together whatever our view, and if anyone can supply a tune for it, Grace our church musician, who is an amazing pianist, has offered to write an arrangement of it:

    When we’ve been there ten thousand years
    Bright shining as the sun;:
    We’ve no less days
    To discuss this phrase
    Than when we first begun.

    I’ll get my coat …

  158. An Attorney wrote:

    There is a huge amount of ground between rejection and endorsement. It is some times called live and let live.

    My point exactly. There is entirely too much win or lose mentality on each issue that comes along. It is not true that unless I get you to see things my way, down to the last detail, then I lose and you win and that must not be. But you are the one with experience in mediation. Can people be moved from that total win or lose position?

  159. @ Ian:
    Thank you Ian. Very interesting and I agree, the New Covenant is inclusive of everyone into ministry. Clearly we are all called into joining together with the responsibility of each one supplying, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit do not operate in and through our lives on the basis of gender for we are one in Christ. The Spirit of God doesn’t make distinctions and cause divisions among us, that is a problem we as human beings have. But Christ alone has broken down not only the wall of division between us and God, but also all the divisions that exist between us, and within the community of the church there should be no hint of discrimination based on gender, race, social standing, things like that. I believe wherever we see groups that call themselves a “church” but who agree with and encourage these kinds of distinctions and discriminations amongst themselves, then they are operating according to the principles of the world and being led by the carnal nature which they embrace rather than resist.

    The directives given to Timothy by Paul applied to that church, and it was wise, godly counsel inspired by the Spirit but is interpreted legalistically by the letter as if it were one of Hitler’s 25 points, as though it should be applied in the spirit of a manifesto with negative repercussions to follow if not strictly abided by. This was never Paul’s intention, and those individuals keen on using 1Tim 3 to exclude women as a general rule should be viewed with suspicion and unqualified to teach and to lead due to their propensity to inaccurately handle the Word of God.

  160. Victorious wrote:

    Abuse is an issue of power and control and that sense of entitlement doesn’t just start in a person at the point of marriage. Somewhere along life’s way, it has been instilled in that person and any confrontation is seen as a threat to that power.

    I believe that abusers are sociopaths.
    (And I realize that I have probably just landed myslef in moderation…..but I did say, “I believe”.I did that on purpose….)

  161. @ Taylor Joy:
    I pray the peace of God rules and reigns in your hearts and that you and your husband are able to come to an agreement in a manner that works together for the good of your family, and proves to be a blessing. And I pray for His provision for you all. “I was young but now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken…” Be strong! Keep the faith! Believe the best! God is for us!

  162. 8@ Nancy:
    Apropos of this, I grew up in a church where the priest was very publicly more socially and politically conservative than my father. Dad would walk out of sermons several times a year for this reason. But he loved the church, the priest, most of their theology, and their dedication to serving the inner city community in which the church was located. He made no secret of his disagreements, but he remained a respected and welcome member of the church. He and my mother served in many leadership positions over the years.

    The priest has long since retired. My father now finds himself more socially conservative than most members of the denomination. Again, this is no secret. And yet, he is still welcome and respected.

    A healthy church isn’t healthy because it has no conflict. It is healthy because conflict is managed well and people are treated well.

  163. JP wrote:

    The pastor is the steward of the word, and an encourager, partner, equipper, teacher, one who corrects wrong doctrine.

    Hmmm. In application what we have is pastors who see their role in that way but who come from seriously different perspectives while each one believes himself to be right and to be a “steward of the word” and this in an information society where dissenting opinions are easily come by. So the individual pew sitter, even if not particularly interested in exploring other theological/doctrinal ideas cannot escape the fact that he will be running into the other ideas in the larger culture. And at that point he will be making up his own mind who to believe. Your say “secondary issues” but pew sitter may be saying “who says they are secondary. ” You say “the gospel” realizing that the phrase means something different to different people based on how it is understood. You say “wrong doctrine” apparently calling it wrong because you disagree with it. Pew sitter may be saying, “wrong smong I’ll decide what is wrong or not.”

    This, I think, is the Achilles heel of protestantism. It is a plowed tilled and fertilized field for endless argumentation and irreconcilable differences. And not all the talk in the world about how civil people who disagree can be if they pass each other in the grocery store changes anything at all about the argumentations and the differences themselves. Nor does it change the fact that pew sitters and former pew sitters wander from church to church and/or from blog to blog and/or from para-church group to para-church group (or none-ness) or god-help-us cults looking for “the fellowship of kindred minds.”

    The expression I have heard time and again from people who continue to be baptist in spite of it all is “Aww, it is just a preacher’s fight.” That said to people who have been listening to preachers focus on doctrinal issues ad nauseum for years and years, each one proclaiming himself to have the best take on things. Those who survive the best in that kind of situation are those who just shrug it all off and participate in church for social or business reasons, or because they sing in the choir, or just to get some cheap entertainment.

    Nothing which I have said here addresses the issue of those who have actually been abused by churches or church people. And there are a lot of these people. I am just talking now about the sick and tired of it people and the who cares any more people.

  164. burnrnorton wrote:

    A healthy church isn’t healthy because it has no conflict. It is healthy because conflict is managed well and people are treated well.

    Indeed. When I was in RCIA, and we were faced with the requirement to publicly affirm that we agreed with everything the catholic church teaches we were made aware that “nobody believes everything” but you just have to say it anyhow. I did not convert, but that is beside the point. The point is that there seems to be a greater tolerance for variation in opinion in catholicism than I had expected.

    I think that in catholicism controversy is not a good thing and there is motivation to manage it, partly by tolerating some diversity just so long as the person is not too much of a trouble maker about it. At one point in RCIA the catechist told me that I knew more about catholicism than most catholics. I took this not to mean that I knew all that much but that some catholics did not. Which tells me that doctrine and its details are not as big a deal in day to day catholicism as in neo-puritan protestantism, for example.

    In protestantism groups spread and grow precisely by stirring up controversy and conflict, splitting churches, starting new and competing churches, stealing sheep and such. By starting more bible colleges to get the doctrine just right. By selling books, seminars, instructional materials, listening to more debates–all of that. They do not undergird themselves much with an agreed upon theological base line nor validate themselves with ministries to inner city (you mentioned) or similar programs nearly as much as the catholic church does.

    Now understand, I was looking at catholicism from the viewpoint of a life long (at the time) baptist. That is only one angle from which to look at something. This is just my view from the pew so to speak.

  165. @ An Attorney:
    You forgot one thing-Mahaney offers unrestrained adulation calling Mohler “the smartest man in the world.” Mohler must like it which is really weird.

  166. An Attorney wrote:

    Abuse ends the marriage — all that remains is dealing with the division of property and child custody and child support issues. There is NOTHING to restore.

    I totally agree. Restore to what? The only what is a marriage to an abuser.

  167. Mandy wrote:

    The chaos of the last two weeks has triggered a major arthritis attack, so bad that walking is pretty painful.

    I am so sorry that you are in pain. I hope the rest restores you!

  168.   __

    “Middle Way, Muddy Faces, And Shifting Ground?”

    hmmm…

    AlBudy spitting proverbial Monday morning coffee beans: “I think someone in L.A. just shot a torpedo at us!!!” Sigh, hey Mark,  “Maybe we should cut Mahaney loose and cut our losses while we still can…”

  169. @ Ken:
    Thank you for the laugh this morning.

    Some of our doctrinal fights are over amorphous concepts that, in the end, do not affect how we live within the faith. If I cannot perfectly conceive of the Trinity, I can go on to believe it by faith, mowing that I might (of might not)fully understand it in heaven.

    Other concepts have serious implications which have been used in the millennia to poorly treat people. Slavery, segregation, women not being allowed to own property or vote, etc. That is why I continue to harp on “what do you mean” and “what do you do.”

  170. JP wrote:

    @ Mara, Eve actually received her first “name” in Genesis 2, it was Woman, isha, because she had her source in Adam. The root of the word is actually soft. Interpret tha one how you like

    The human race received it’s name: Adam, male and female, man and woman. The man had his name as man, the male part of the human race. When the woman was created, she was given her part of the name of the human race.

    Before we ever get to Genesis 3, the Scriptures go into some detail about God creating them, male and female and giving THEM the directives to be fruitful and multiply and to rule the earth. He NEVER gave the man any directive to be the head or rule over his wife. This came about in the fall.

    The traditions of men impose a ‘birth order’ rule to try to give man authority over the woman before the fall so that when ALL things are redeemed through Jesus Christ, a part of the curse will still remain over the woman, than is, “your desire shall be for you husband but he shall rule over you.”

    Jesus fought the traditions of men when He walked the earth.
    So many traditions still impede the progress of the gospel. The tradition of male headship is one such tradition that hinders the freedom of the Spirit within the church.

  171. Mara wrote:

    So many traditions still impede the progress of the gospel. The tradition of male headship is one such tradition that hinders the freedom of the Spirit within the church.

    It does indeed. One wonders if on the level of spiritual battles with what scripture calls principalities and power and rulers of this dark age, this hindering of the Spirit within the church may be the reason behind this.

    In the curse God said this is how things will be now. If this were how things were before the curse then why would God present it as though it were something new? Makes no sense. And how come humans, partakers of a biological species which survives mostly because of its brain, actually read that and not “get it.” Compulsory education and where is the reading comprehension? No, I think there is spiritual evil at some level when this sort of thing happens. Did not the serpent in the garden begin its assault not on Eve but rather by throwing doubt on something God had said. We see something similar here in the way that neo-puritans distort scripture for their own purposes. The serpent said did God really say that or were His actually purposes something else. The neo-puritans say did God really mean that, or did he really mean it this other way. Looks to me like same song, second verse.

  172. __

    @ Ken ,

    hey,

    …don’t be a proverbial pompous donkey, IMHO it is not your daughter’s head that hurts but her heart, send her flowers ASAP…(and your love) tell her, she is the best!

    Thanks for your contributions here @TWW.

    Blessings!

    Sopy

  173. Nancy wrote:

    In protestantism groups spread and grow precisely by stirring up controversy and conflict, splitting churches, starting new and competing churches, stealing sheep and such.

    Taken too literally, that’s slightly unfair – not every group spreads by poaching members – but I know what you mean. It’s certainly all too true that groups typically proliferate by stirring up trouble.

    It’s a challenge for me personally as I attempt to set something up through which the long-term unemployed, working poor, etc, can encounter the risen Jesus. I know that’s a cliché-riddled sentence, but it’ll do. For an unemployed man or woman, the Good News doesn’t just mean abstract “forgiveness”, hand-out sandwiches and emotional breast-milk; it means a decent job. Obviously, in a country where most Christians don’t believe God creates jobs, it’s not easy finding Christians to build this alongside.

    It does mean that I’m not likely to be treading on someone else’s ministry, and I do have all the usual stuff – “a real heart for the lost”, “a genuine desire to express God’s heart for the poor” – you name it. But I also have an ego and a certain amount of vanity and self-importance. And I have internal needs for respect and significance which, without proper self-control and real friends around me, I will undoubtedly meet by trying to build a monument to myself. I’ve often said that if I had the same charismatic personality and leadership gifts as Park Fiscal, I’d have set about building the same business he has, and I’d be the subject of less-than-admiring posts on blogs like this one. It’s not all that long since I’d have envied Fiscal’s fame and influence, and not in a good way.

  174. Ok, so in my sleep-deprived state, I may be missing something, but….

    …JP, did you say
    1) Scripture does not allow a woman to have authority over a man, *therefore* she can’t be a pastor…
    2)yet a pastor is NOT someone who has “authority over” his congregation?

    I’m confused. <3

  175. @ Nancy, I don’t disagree with that. I define the gospel as Paul does in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. The center of the message of the bible, the death, burial and resurrection. More widely encomapssing the life of Jesus. The gospel is not election, or gifts, or prophecy, gender roles, or multitudes of other things. Our division over these sorts of issues is our achilles heel as you say. When I stand before Christ I won’t be answering for what any other preacher or pastor has said, only myself. When I teach on what I call these secondary issues I state this is what I believe scripture says, and try to show this through scripture, not opinion, but I leave open the possibility I am wrong. To not do so would be for me to claim that I have an absolute truth regarding something their is obviously widespread disagreement about among very faithful, sincere believers. In my years in the ministry I have always asked that if you have a question or disagree on something, come to me and let’s talk. I have been proven wrong through scripture and gone on to correct myself with the gratitude toward the one who has shwon me the error. All of us who preach or teach are human and will err, and must be humble enough to acknowledge that and make the corrections. But we always must use scripture as the baseline, not culture or opinion. I can’t name one believer I agree with everything about, and if we’re all honest, we’d all admit that. I understand the passion of many regarding issues not pertaining to the “gospel.” I’m not saying they don’t have their place or are not important, as they are scripture. But what is pretty clear is we have we have drawn lines in the sand about such issues at the expense of the essential message of Jesus. In the SBC, I am so sick of the Calvinist/non Calvinist debate I could scream. No matter where you go, it is there. In other denominations, it’s another issue, and all these things do is distract us from the plain, simple message of Jesus and the gospel. One of the things I think a lot of what we’ve been speaking of shows is the need for personal bible study. The greatest teacher will always be the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit who testifies of Jesus will always lead us back to Jesus. It is in our own, imperfect nature we build walls around issues not central to Jesus that is greatly harming the work of the church. We cannot help but disagree on things, but unity around Christ cannot be sacrificed for these other issues.

  176. In other news, I have in the last couple of weeks managed two passable renderings of Rachmaninov’s B-flat Minor prelude (one with an audience, and after one or two glasses of wine).

    So that’s one of my planned accomplishments for 2014 ticked before half-time.

  177. Ken wrote:

    You got me thinking back then, and the difficulty (for me at any rate) is that the ‘husband IS the head of the wife’ is not a verb of action. I see it as the husband has the greater responsibilty for the family, but has authority over or leads is starting to add to what the text itself says

    Whereas I appreciate your acknowledgement that IS is not an action verb, another thing you should take into consideration is that that speaks very specifically to the Greco-Roman culture and Household codes of the time.
    Just as the man WAS the head of woman because the woman couldn’t even be a Roman citizen, so the head of the household WAS the MASTER over SLAVES. This was just so in that culture. It is the way it already WAS structured. Paul was trying to apply the words of Jesus to a near impossible situation for woman and slaves.

    Just as we don’t have slaves (legally) now, so also do women have the right to be citizens and the heads of their own homes (in the case of divorce, abandonment and widowhood). She is no longer legally bound to depend on a man to take care of her, be her source, be her voice. Life is easier where two walk in agreement. But a woman is not forced to have to agree in order to survive.

  178. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    In other news,

    My “in other news” is:
    The smaller (as, half the size) of my two cats has figured out an ingenious way to get the best of the larger: Instead of meeting her larger “sibling” head-on, Mona has taken to dashing UNDER Tara, and headbutting her in the stomach. I wish I could just once capture the picture of Tara, as she simultaneously shrieks, becomes airborne, & falls to the floor again, as yet still not guessing what has (literally) hit her. (The little one just meanders off, looking smug).

  179. @ Taylor Joy, yes, that is what I said. No place in Paul’s letters to Timothy or Titus which give us the most detailed “job description” for a pastor do we see the pastor being a ruler over anyone. He has biblical responisbilities in regards to the word, which include the responsibilty to “exhort and rebuke with all authority” according to Titus 2:15. But that authority is not over people, but rather as a steward and guardian of the word. It also entails the need for humility as no pastor is always right and no pastor will find 100% agreement with everything he teaches. There needs to be room to agree to disagree regarding issues not essential to the faith. And that attitude needs to prevail in every believer. The fact that so many pastors assume a role of actual authority over believers I believe is wrong. If I am wrong on that, I’ll get my correction, rebukement and forgiveness from Jesus when I stand before Him. Jesus more than anyone knows the heart and how imperfect we all are. But through study, and the Holy Spirit’s revelation to me from the whole counsel of God’s word, that is the conclusion I come to. The only authority in the church is Jesus. It is the pastor’s responsibility through the word and a life of example to point the way to Jesus and for all of us to work side by side in humility toward that end. If their is any authority in the church it lies with the whole church, as in the church discipline process. As for a woman being a pastor, I believe because of Adam’s role as the one held accountable for not correcting Eve when she was deeived, as Paul says in 1 Tim 2:15, “Adam was not deceived,” meaning he knew better when he sinned; And Paul using that illustration in accordance with his qualifications for a pastor/bishop which begin a few verses later in 1 Tim 3, that the responsibility as the “steward” of the word falls to the man. The church I pastor, which is mostly women, also holds to this view. I do leave open, as do we as a congregation, the clear disagreement many have on this point that we could be wrong, but this is what we believe scripture says. That said, outside of the local church, I’d gladly stand beside any woman proclaiming the gospel and proclaim it with her. I know of folks who claim that a woman should not even witness to a man, which I say is ludicrous, for how can anyone explain Mary Magdalene being the first to tell the disciples that Jesus was risen. But as for the function of the church, I, and we as a church, do believe that the pastor should be a man.

  180. Taylor Joy wrote:

    Ok, so in my sleep-deprived state, I may be missing something, but….
    …JP, did you say
    1) Scripture does not allow a woman to have authority over a man, *therefore* she can’t be a pastor…
    2)yet a pastor is NOT someone who has “authority over” his congregation?
    I’m confused. <3

    Very confusing isn’t it?

    Also, the pastor doesn’t have authority, it is the Word that carries the authority (heard this in my church as well). So if the Word (which is interpreted by the one who shares it) carries the authority, what difference does it make who shares it, male or female? But I digress, because I believe all authority in heaven and earth was given to Jesus . . . not to the bible scriptures, many of which were not in existence when Jesus lived.

    And then there is the entire other issue surrounding the Bible being considered equivalent to Jesus. I remember the look I received from two elders when I explained that I didn’t believe the Word/Bible Scriptures should have a more prominent exultation in our church than Jesus. Boy did I get a strange look. They tried to tell me that these two things were equivalent! I wouldn’t concede to their thoughts. They then asked me how I was saved. What that has to do with my concerns I’ll never know, unless they were trying to figure out if I was saved our not 🙄 This entire conversation started after one of the elders started a staff meeting by praying, “As we gather around your scripture God . . . ” It struck me that Jesus was not the center of attention and the reason we gathered, but the book of bible scriptures had replaced him.

  181. I’m a little late but since Dee and Deb asked me:

    I hesitate to try and divine what Mohler meant pre-convention but since the church in question was not an SBC church (it was explained that it was a mission of an SBC church) I’d conclude that Mohler didn’t seek to move forward. It is a bit presumptuous to say that if AM wanted it done it would have been done. Maybe so. Maybe not. My judgment from a distance is that the SBC, Mohler included, recognizes that it would not be profitable to have to expel churches every annual session. Such would dominate the reporting.

    The reading of the matter that Mohler wanted to avoid a reaction to his SGM/CJM stuff, is erroneous I’d say. While the two of you may judge that the SBC folks assembled would rise up with a clamor over mishandling of abuse issues, I think not, I’d join you in wishing it might be so, having dealt with these things for years.

    Still, I think the Mahaney matter will prove to be painful for Mohler as it goes forward.

  182. @ Ian, I also would respectfully disagree. Indeed the word is used to describe Phoebe and Paul’s ministry, but was Paul a ruler? Was he the “pope” of the church? If you look to Paul’s corrective letters to the churches in Corinth and Galatia, Paul offers instruction(as a steward of the word) but the resolution of the issues, the authority to do so lies with those local churches. It does not reside in Paul, or any one person in those churches. I stand by my statement no where in scripture do we see deacons with any authority over any other believer. Paul’s use of the word to refer to Phoebe and his own ministry rests in the fact that we are all called to be servants. A deacon is simply a servant with a particular task assigned by the local church, as in Acts 6 and the feeding of the Greek widows.

  183. JP wrote:

    As for a woman being a pastor, I believe because of Adam’s role as the one held accountable for not correcting Eve when she was deeived, as Paul says in 1 Tim 2:15, “Adam was not deceived,” meaning he knew better when he sinned; And Paul using that illustration in accordance with his qualifications for a pastor/bishop which begin a few verses later in 1 Tim 3, that the responsibility as the “steward” of the word falls to the man.

    Was Adam being held accountable because he didn’t correct Eve, or simply because he ate the fruit when he knew he shouldn’t? God told Adam face to face what not to do. The bigger issue to me was eating the fruit, not that he didn’t correct Eve. The stewardship fell to Adam in Genesis because Adam was the one God spoke to in that instance. You are taking that instance and making it a pattern for all time for men and women.

  184. @ Taylor Joy, it clearly can be confusing and that is why we see so much disagreement on these issues, and many others I might add. As for placing scripture above Jesus, personally I believe they are one and the same. Jesus is the word(John 1:1-3)and He came in the flesh)John 1:14). The revelation of the person of Christ is given to us through the word of Christ. When we believe we place our faith in that revelation of Him through the word. Where we can slide in to so called “bibliolatry,” as in elevating the word above Jesus, I believe occurs in precisely what has been a topic of discussion in many of these posts, regarding non-essential, secondary issues. If someone claims that their view on an issue is the only view when many, many others clearly disagree, then we have made our view of scripture an idol I believe. The biblical record of Jesus is pretty clear, and in most churches(it seems we can never say all) who profess to take the bible as inspired and inerrant(we do) their is no disagreement on Jesus. It’s the other things we disagree on. Scripture doesn’t disagree as somewhere in it is an absolute truth on these things, but being fallen, imperfect beings, we do err, leading to the dysfunction and anymosity we too ofetn see among Christians

  185. @ Mara, I do not disagree regarding a man having authority over a woman. I think I have said that repeatedly. When we look to Genesis 3 and we see the curses pronounced by God on Satan, Eve and Adam, I believe those are prophetic utterances. In Genesis 3:15 the final end of Satan is foretold. In Genesis 3:16 we see God saying that women will find themselves under the rule of men, and history has certainly shown us that. In Genesis 3:17-19 we see Adam cursed to a life of toil and death coming through him, as Paul states in Romans 5. But, “in the beginning,” this was not so. Back to that word helper, as Woman is called. The one who comes along side. If one is along side, she is not behind, nor is she ahead. They walk together as one. This was God’s orginal intent. It is because of sin, clearly because of sin, that all of God’s natural and intended order has been disturbed

  186. Bridget wrote:

    And then there is the entire other issue surrounding the Bible being considered equivalent to Jesus.

    Notice the changes in the baptist faith and message statement over the years specifically related to this question. Notice the statement in the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message Statement with 1998 Amendment “The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.” This statement was omitted/changed in current statement. When this happened, and at one time (I do not remember the exact dates), missionaries were required to sign then new statement of faith. A local couple refused to sign due to omission of the statement about Jesus as the criterion by which the bible is to be interpreted. They were fired. They stated that they were not the only ones. I have no way to know if these people were telling the truth, but this was the story here.

    If this is correct, then the very thing you are talking about, has been an issue and apparently an important one.

    1925 Baptist Faith and Message Statement
    I. The Scriptures

    We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us; and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds and religious opinions should be tried.

    Luke 16:29-31; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; Eph. 2:20; Heb. 1:1; 2 Peter 1:19-21; John 16:13-15; Matt. 22:29-31; Psalm 19:7-10; Psalm 119:1-8.

    1963 Baptist Faith and Message Statement with 1998 Amendment
    I. The Scriptures

    The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. It reveals the principles by which God judges us; and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.

    Ex. 24:4; Deut. 4:1-2; 17:19; Josh. 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isa. 34:16; 40:8; Jer. 15:16; 36; Matt. 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Rom. 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; Heb. 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.

    Current Baptist Faith and Message Statement
    I. The Scriptures

    The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.

    Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.

  187. JP wrote:

    But we always must use scripture as the baseline, not culture or opinion.

    There’s some truth to that, but culture does play an important part in how scripture is applied. Just off the top of my head, though God is obviously opposed to slavery, in a time and culture where they were highly valued and captured as spoils of war, He gave boundaries for their treatment. In a time and culture where polygamy was practiced, though one-on-one was God’s ideal, he again gave laws regarding the treatment of wives who were put away. And Jesus recognized the culture of the Pharisees and the result of their teachings on the Jews and corrected them openly.

    The early Christians were encouraged to “greet one another with a kiss” but our culture frowns upon this practice for the most part for various reasons. We certainly don’t enforce it. Paul encouraged Timothy to drink wine for his stomach problem, but we know our culture of believers in no way sees the benefits of wine for medicinal use.

    Times change; people change. God knows that. It cannot be otherwise.

  188. @ Victorious, again I think we agree. By culture, maybe I should more directly state, us adopting the ways of the world as a basis for truth. As you stated, God provided for slaves and woman put away, but in no way condoned slavery or poligamy. Those practices were not derived from His ways. What I am basically asying is the bible should be used as a way to deal with culture, the world, not culture, the world, as a way to deal with the bible

  189. @ Bridget, I make it a pattern because Paul uses this instance in regards to men and women in the church and pastoral duties in 1 Timothy 2-3. The bible makes that application. As I’ve stated, I recognize it as an area of disagreement. But myself, and the church I pastor, who long before I arrived held to this principle, recognize this as the order which God intended because of Paul’s usage of the example of Adam and Eve in Timothy. We believe the pastor is male and is the steward of the word. If Adam had corrected Eve, as he clearly knew better while she was deceived, well, we wouldn’t be having this conversation 🙂

  190. JP wrote:

    As for a woman being a pastor, I believe because of Adam’s role as the one held accountable for not correcting Eve when she was deeived, as Paul says in 1 Tim 2:15, “Adam was not deceived,” meaning he knew better when he sinned; And Paul using that illustration in accordance with his qualifications for a pastor/bishop which begin a few verses later in 1 Tim 3, that the responsibility as the “steward” of the word falls to the man.

    Seems like you’re saying that Eve’s deception causes women for all time to be denied certain functions within the church, but Adam’s disobedience entitles males for all time to function in any and/or all ministries. Does that make any sense?

    And if we’re going to be so literal in some verses, and culture shouldn’t play a part in our interpretation of scripture, then let’s stop using the word “pastor” since it’s found nowhere in scripture. I believe that’s a cultural adaptation for the word shepherd.

    Seems to me that when culture advances women, it’s encouraged because of their education and ability but when women wish to advance in the church the result of the influence of “feminism” from the ’60’s.

  191. JP wrote:

    If Adam had corrected Eve, as he clearly knew better while she was deceived, well, we wouldn’t be having this conversation

    Again, there is nothing anywhere in scripture that states Adam had the responsibility to correct Eve! And if there were, we are rewarding males with entitlements denied women based on Adam’s disobedience and neglect. How does that make any sense??

  192. Victorious wrote:

    Times change; people change. God knows that. It cannot be otherwise.

    I agree with you. Some folks do not.

    There is the idea apparently that it can be otherwise if God came to a screeching halt with the death of the last apostle. In that case, current culture / the world / knowledge /understanding does not mean anything. The only culture that matters stopped also at the death of the last apostle. So, saying that slavery, for example, is intrinsically wrong would not be the case in that way of thinking. That way of thinking would say that the way of doing slavery in current cultures may be wrong, but not the way of doing slavery which Paul, for example, conspicuously failed to oppose. Same mode of thinking about women, children, gender roles, abuses, gifts of the Spirit, textual analysis, archaeological findings. science and all its religious ramifications, church/state relationships, nothing. Nothing changes about understanding of the faith or the practice of the faith since the death of the last apostle.

    I am not making this up. This death of the last apostle thinking is prevalent and is part and parcel of the rejection of so much that christianity has done and thought and concluded over the last two thousand years (tradition). Too big an issue for here and now. Just pointing out its existence.

  193. Nancy wrote:

    Paul, for example, conspicuously failed to oppose.

    He really did oppose slavery when he urged Philemon to change the status of his slave to one of a brother or family member.

    Phm 1:15 For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever,
    Phm 1:16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother…

  194. @ Victorious, the word pastor is found in both the Old and New Testament. In Jeremiah it is mentioned numerous times and is mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 in the list of gifts through specific callings of men to minister in and to the church. The word pastor is defined as “shepherd.” and is used interchangebly by the same word in the original language. A shepherd is a pastor and a pastor is a shepherd. Since elders are told to shepherd the flock in Acts 20:28, they are literally by the exact same Greek word being told to pastor the flock. In this verse they are also told to oversee(no this doesn’t mean rule, it’s to look out for), the word oversee being the same word as bishop. If we are consistent in applying these things we see the words shepherd, pastor, elder, bishop, overseer as applying to the same function. According to Acts 20:28 an elders responsibility is the shepherd/pastor the flock, of which the Holy Spirit(through calling and gifting to this particular ministry) has made the shepherd/pastor “overseers,” literally bishops, And by oversee we are to watch out for, look over and guard the flock, in accordance to the word. This is why you will see me say that English is a HORRIBLE language to translate Greek into, and leads to much confusion. I’m no Greek or Hebrew scholar but I try to research words to clearly gleen the understanding being communicated by the original language, and then apply that to the texts which we have in English. As wlaways I don’t claim to have infallible knowledge, but simply try to understand and teach the bible the best I can

  195. Victorious wrote:

    Just off the top of my head, though God is obviously opposed to slavery, in a time and culture…

    Really, how do you know? I suggest you read about George Whitefield who was probably the most famous religious figure of the eighteenth century. According to his biography, he preached at least 18,000 times to perhaps 10 million hearers. He also advocated for the legalization of slavery in Georgia; he was successful and owned slaves.

  196. Victorious wrote:

    When we violate sound rules of interpretation in favor of personal presuppositions, we can almost make scripture say whatever we want.

    Agreed again. Precisely. I do it all the time and I have the candor to admit it:

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – – that’s all.”

    From: Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

  197. @ Victorious, Adam had the knowledge that eating of the tree was not what God said, Eve was deceived. Where in God’s word does it say that we are not to gently correct others when we see them decieved or getting ready to sin? It is our responisbility to correct, all of us(Galatians 6:1). And again, I point you to the writings of Paul in his epistles to Timothy and Titus that responsibility to rebuke and correct in the local church. Did Nathan not correct David? Paul not correct Peter? The prophets not try to correct Israel? Jesus not correct everyone :-). It is the inherant responsibility of all who are of God to correct in regards to sin. Adam failed to do this, and sinned, not deceived, but with knowledge and willfully

  198. @ Victorious:

    He certainly urged that this particular slave be treated differently. He made no blanket statement about slavery, however. In that culture already some slaves were set free, and some were treated very well. He did not do anything beyond what was sometimes done in that culture for certain slaves.

  199. @ Nancy:

    I do hope that nobody thinks I am defending slavery. I am pointing out a way that some people view certain things. Nothing more.

  200. Ps: I’m not trying to avoid your response to my earlier comment, I’m doing all the writing I can do w/ just 1 thumb–6 kids total in my care today!! :). Thank you for engaging us here w/ thoughtfullness & joy. –TJY

  201. JP wrote:

    Adam had the knowledge that eating of the tree was not what God said, Eve was deceived. Where in God’s word does it say that we are not to gently correct others when we see them decieved or getting ready to sin?

    You are ascribing something to Adam that scripture does not ascribe to him. This is what I see as an assumption and/or reading something into a passage that simply is not there in order to arrive at a desired end. Adam was the first man; Eve was the first woman; they were the first parents. The known facts are that Eve was deceived by the serpent; Adam disobeyed God and God warned both how their life would be outside of the garden. The prophetic words were of negative, adverse conditions most of which have been overcome over the years.

    It is our responisbility to correct, all of us(Galatians 6:1).

    Agreed. But that (and hundreds of other laws/exhortations) is not mentioned in the formation of the very first two individuals whereas they were of necessity enacted in future eras.

    And again, I point you to the writings of Paul in his epistles to Timothy and Titus that responsibility to rebuke and correct in the local church. Did Nathan not correct David? Paul not correct Peter?

    Of course I’m aware of those admonitions given some 6,000 yrs. later as the early believers began to assemble in fellowship. I do not see it given to Adam. It’s almost the same stretch as saying Adam must have been a shepherd because he took care of the animals.

    Nathan, however, was a prophet sent to David by the Lord no doubt with wisdom and words common to prophets who receive them under direct inspiration.

  202. Joe2 wrote:

    Really, how do you know? I suggest you read about George Whitefield who was probably the most famous religious figure of the eighteenth century. According to his biography, he preached at least 18,000 times to perhaps 10 million hearers. He also advocated for the legalization of slavery in Georgia; he was successful and owned slaves.

    Victorious can speak for herself but the way I know slavery is wrong (and therefore God opposed) is from my own conscience and internal moral compass, Jiminy Cricket so to speak on my shoulder. Whitefield’s preaching exploits in ‘saving’ thousands from the fires of hell have nothing to do with it. If anything it should have given him pause and opened his ears to the cries of human beings sold into abject misery.

  203. @ Joe2:

    That is all well and good, but Whitefield is not God. I am not prepared to say that if Whitefield did it or thought it then it must be right. Nor can I say that God is obviously opposed to slavery. I am opposed to slavery. But Paul did call himself a slave of Jesus Christ. Not just servant (yes, I read MacArthur’s book on this–no I do not read Greek or study ancient cultures.) But if MacArthur was right on that one, then Paul thought that kind of slavery thinking was the thing to do in relation to God. Nothing about that concept would carry over into human slavery as we knew it in the south, God forbid, but certainly it looks like the basic idea of some application of slavery was not totally rejected by Paul. This makes me very uncomfortable. It is totally different from the current cultural thinking in the U.S. We continue to oppose slavery in whatever form and wherever it is found, as we should, but we must not read something into scripture itself which may not be there. Nor should we assume to know what God does or does not think unless He has told us.

    But unless we think that everything stopped with the death of the last apostle, we do not have to think that we need to limit current thinking about slavery, for example, to the exact way it was when the good man (last apostle) died. Or for that matter limit it by what Paul did not go on and say outright. But if we say it is alright to change our ideas about slavery (and i think it is) then that opens the door for further ideas about a lot of things. And we could say that further understanding of these issues is a result of the Spirit dealing with man, unless of course we have rejected the idea that this is possible. And some do reject that idea.

    I agree with Victorious, times do change. An issue is whether we as believers have the authority to change how we think about things or understand things, regardless of whether we can quote chapter and verse on every issue.

  204. JP wrote:

    Adam had the knowledge that eating of the tree was not what God said,

    Do we know Adam was present during the serpents discussion with Eve? No. We are simply told she gave to her husband with her and both ate the fruit. Do you think perhaps Adam was thinking that since they didn’t die (as God said) He was lying to them? And here’s my assumption…:) I think satan was pointing to the tree of life when he asked Eve if they would “surely die.” That’s the whole method of deception, after all. Just enough truth to make it plausible… the false sandwiched in with the truth.

  205. @ Victorious, you say I am ascribing to Adam that which is not ascribed. I say, it is ascribed to us all, fallen and imperfect, how much more so should it apply to Adam, made sinless in God’s image. He, other than Jesus, had more knowledge of who God is than any one ever walked this earth. And if God expects it of us, he surely would have expected it of Adam

  206. @ Victorious, I say this with respect in the spirit of discussion. But you mention the key word, assume. How was Eve deceived? She didn’t know God’s word. How do we know this? Genesis 3:3, Eve says that God has told them do not eat of or touch the tree. God never said do not touch the tree, just don’t eat of it. Why was she ignorant, God gave the command not to eat of the tree to Adam alone(why he is accountable). After this command in Gen 2:16-17, is when Eve is created from Adam. In Genesis 3:6 you assume Eve heard the serpent, went and got Adam, took him to the tree after convincing him of what the serpent said, and they ate. I take Gen 3:6 as they were at the tree, together, as that was not a sin. Perhaps even curious about the command God had given. Satan approaches and deals with Eve, Eve was not there when God gave the command to Adam, she believes the serpent, tempted as it was pleasant to the eyes and she desired to be like God(make one wise, knowledge of good and evil). She then takes of the fruit and eats, and gives to Adam and he eats(with total knowledge of what God has said). Maybe an assumption on my part as well. But we see no separation from the tree in scripture, and that is all we have to go on

  207. @ JP:

    Let me see if I understand this. At some point before there was any sin in the world Adam mislead Eve about what God said? Interesting concept.

  208. JP wrote:

    , she believes the serpent, tempted as it was pleasant to the eyes and she desired to be like God(make one wise, knowledge of good and evil).

    You see, JP, God Himself made the fruit of the trees pleasant to the eyes and good for food. And He named the tree “knowledge.”

    Gen 2:9 Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

    And scripture never says Eve was tempted. Never. It says she was deceived. She saw the tree was good for food (just as God designed it), pleasing to the eyes (just as God ordained it) and a tree of Knowledge. If Eve wanted knowledge, wisdom or prudence, how could that possibly be a bad thing? The virtue of wisdom is mentioned in the Bible over 192 times. It’s a gift of the spirit. Wanting wisdom is an excellent desire!

    Scripture doesn’t say Eve wanted to be like God! Those are the words spoken by Satan. She wanted to be wise:

    śâkal
    BDB Definition:
    1) to be prudent, be circumspect, wisely understand, prosper
    1a) (Qal) to be prudent, be circumspect
    1b) (Hiphil)
    1b1) to look at or upon, have insight
    1b2) to give attention to, consider, ponder, be prudent

    Eve was not there when God gave the command to Adam

    Then where did she get these words containing incorrect information?

    Gen 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;
    Gen 3:3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'”

  209. @ JP:
    I have for a long time wondered if the first sin was not the eating of the fruit, but the lie that Eve told the serpent. I didn’t consider the interesting possibility you raised: maybe it was Adam’s lie to Eve (“God said don’t even touch it”). We don’t know, of course.

    But this definitely speaks to the importance of each individual being accountable for knowing God for themselves, and not relying on someone else’s interpretation of the Bible. This is where the problem lies with husband-headship, pastor-authority, and other hierarchical structures that do not appear to be supported by the New Covenant.

  210. If the way in which Eve was deceived was in not having God’s command regarding the tree letter perfect, then she may have been intellectually challenged. How fair is that to say it was deception?

    If Eve repeated word for word what Adam said, then it was Adam who deceived her, which only goes to show that you can’t trust men.

    If the Eden story did not include every detail and every word, then maybe God did talk to Eve and it just never got written down. If so, then she may have been misquoting God, which would be a huge mistake on her part.

    If the deception of Eve is demonstrated by what she told the serpent, that would mean that there was deception in the world before Eve ever had the conversation with the serpent. Therefore, either deception is not a sin, or the original sin occurred before the confrontation with the serpent. It would have been Adam’s sin, and Eve would have gotten punished for Adam’s sin.

    If Eve knew enough to leave the fruit of the tree alone, but did not do it, then whether she got the words exactly correct or not does not change anything. In that case she would not have been punished for poor memory, or being intellectually challenged, or for taking up with the wrong kind of man, but rather for deliberately doing something she knew she should not do.

    Whatever Eve was deceived means, according to the Genesis stories, God did not use it as an excuse to pardon her behavior.

    And if Adam was supposed to be in charge of everything all along, and failed on the job even before original sin, then there is evidence from the get go that men are not up to the job and, poor things, they are in bad need of help. Wait. I think that is what God said about Adam, the boy needs help.

    If Adam/men are not up to the job, who in their right mind would leave the job up to them. Maybe the whole thing was a set up in the first place, engineered by God for his own purposes from before the foundation of the earth. At least there is talk in scripture about Jesus and the lamb slain before the foundation of the earth. One wonders.

    And why would we say that the new heavens and the new earth return earth to its original perfection when it is obvious from the story, if we are understanding it correctly, that things were not perfect: men were falling down on the job and women were too oblivious or inattentive to stay out of trouble.

    Or maybe we misunderstand the stories at some crucial points?

  211. Didn’t you guys have a post that included information on Ed Setzer’s church plants in the SBC. I believe it mentioned him saying he would not do funerals, etc. And talked about his prior church plant fails which were paid for by SBC. (He is a higly paid church plant expert for Lifeway) I cannot find it anywhere on your site. Can you tell me how to look for it since searching Ed Setzer brings no results nor is it under SBC or church plants.

  212. I was at the SBC this year and was SO glad that the California Church did not come up.

    The SBC already has provisions to deal with this. If a church engages in what this church did, the remedy is not to seat messengers from that church because the church is not in “friendly cooperation” with the convention.

    A church that goes in that direction is not going to feel at home in the SBC. It can continue to send money, but why would it do that? Why not just send the money elsewhere.

    I think it is very good for the Convention meetings to not address things like this when there are policies in place that take care of the issue.

    I have friends who are not in my religion. And I have friends who are in the faith, but we have different beliefs about a lot of things.

    Once we come to our convictions, we take and kind and adult attitude about things. I have had friends at church come to theologic convictions that are not consistent with our churc.

    When they come to that point, they typically find another church. They don’t want to remain in my church to become disruptive etc.

    We all have relationships like this, too. I have friends who have once believed something that they no longer believe. We are still friends, but they have changed and moved on to institutions and affinity groups that they enjoy. We remain friends, go out, etc. But we disagree on somethings. But we are adults, and we treat each other kindly and move on.

    I was so happy that the SBC did not feel that it needed to do anything here.

    And I was happy that the church did not show up to try and register messengers and create a scene for the press, cameras etc.

    I hope that the SBC will continue to state it’s convictions clearly on this, but only when necessary.

    And I hope that any church that decides to go in a different direction will do so with confidence.

  213. @ Victorious, maybe Eve did desire wisdom. But she walked and talked with the author of wisom, God(James 1:5) She was deceived because she believed Satan when he twisted God’s word, saying, “Did God really say..” She may have gotten the command wrong in not touching, and I do believe that came from Adam, but the essential part of the command was do not eat. Both Adam and Eve received that, even if Eve received it from Adam. Eve was clearly deceived(scripture says so 1 Tim 2:14)in that she believed Satan, or at least questioned God(did God really say) instead of believeing God, even if it was through Adam. Was Eve tempted, how are we tempted? The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and pride of life(1 John 2:16, the temptations of Christ in the wilderness). All of those are present in Genesis and in the garden during the fall. He tempts the same way today. Satan says, lies in fact, and says “you shall not surely die.” Eve knew God said they would die even if it was from Adam(Gen 3:3). Satan’s next words in v.5 tell Eve basically God is withholding from them, and that if she eats of the tree they won’t die(v.4) there eyes will be opened and they will be like God. The next thing scripture mentions is Eve eating and Adam following. We can speculate all we want did things happen between v.4-6, but there is absolutely no record of it. All we have to go on is the biblical account. We can tie scriptures together where they relate to each other, as I have tried to do with Genesis 3 and 1 Timothy 2, where they are clearly tied together. But when we try to fill in gaps with assumptions is where we can get in trouble. I actually believe Adam miscommunicated the command to Eve regarding touching as it makes sense, but cannot prove it. And even if he did, the essential part was included. Eat of the tree and you die. Eve clearly fell for the temptation Satan put before her and was deceived according to scripture(1 Time 2:14). Temptation, when it gives birth results in sin(James 1:14-15). Eve was drawn away by her own desires(knowledge, wisdom)even if she was deceived. Adam, receiving directly the command of God, sinned willfully. A great example of the principle of Galatians 6:1-2 where we are called to correct others but be careful, lest we fall in to the same temptations

  214. @ Taylor Joy:

    Quite so!

    I repeat my earlier comment that if we really need a textual technicality from the biblescriptures to give us permission to rescue someone from an abusive marriage, then we have understood neither the biblescriptures nor the Jesus they point to – nor the Father he embodies.

  215. Sopwith wrote:

    IMHO it is not your daughter’s head that hurts but her heart, send her flowers ASAP…(and your love) tell her, she is the best!

    She is soon going to get the biggest hug imaginable when I pick her up to bring her home for a nice long break after exams. Huggy parents have produced huggy children.

    Trip to a nice vegetarian restaurant is also planned.

    And with that, have a nice day! 🙂

  216. JP,

    Thanks for your respectful interaction here. There are many viewpoints represented at TWW (I really disagree wit some here but try to see their point), and your approach is not the one many of us have experienced. Thank you for not leaving the conversation and for not throwing out conversation stoppers like Grudem’s charge of feminism or Ortlund’s “rebellious woman” or the gay slippery slope argument, for example. You seem to realize that many of us have been wounded by people who refuse to engage the actual text with sound logic and who instead resort to ad homs and circular reasoning. So thank you again for representing your view so irenically.

    I would appreciate it if you would engage with a few questions. So far my questions have not been answered by complementarians who are quite certain of their position. Maybe you can help.

    1) In Genesis 1:26-28, the dominion mandate was given to the man and the woman without distinction regarding their respective roles in carrying out their co-mmission of God’s mandate to fill the earth and subdue it. They are *both* given the Father’s blessing without distinction between a daughter’s blessing and a son’s blessing. They were equal in every sense that is revealed to us. I don’t think that anyone questions that there are biological differences and other differences possibly resulting from the biological differences. Here is the question: At what point in the text does the Father revoke or modify his blessing with respect to his daughter, the woman, such that her blessing is less than the blessing given to the son, the man? That seems to be an unavoidable implication of pre-Fall male spiritual leadership.

    2) At what point in the actual text is the equality between the man and the woman which is evident in Genesis 1:26-28 modified such that the man is given “leadership” over the woman? I have never seen anyone demonstrate from the text itself that transformation in the woman’s status.

    3) Why does the woman, who was created in the image of God, need a spiritual leader before the Fall? Was she not walking perfectly in God’s sight before she sinned?

    4) I am assuming that you are relying mainly on 1 Timothy 2:12 for your belief that the man (or men in general) is the leader of the woman (or women in general) and that you are interpreting Genesis 1-2 with that. Given that the actual text links verse 12 and verse 13 and verse 14 and verse 15 with conjunctions, how can you sever verse 12 from the other verses which are integral to Paul’s entire argument? Maybe you are not doing that, but the usual complementarian spokesmen do. Can you tall us what you believe that verse 15 means? What is the meaning of the entire argument that Paul is making? Most punt the question (e.g. Schreiner who asserts that women will be saved from deception if they continue in faithful fulfilling their female role.)

    5) If you are relying on 1 Timothy 2:12 to find the leadership role for the male, then how did males and females know their role before about 50 A.D.(assuming that you agree with me that there is nothing in the actual text of Genesis 1-2 that explicitly describes that leadership role.)

    6) Can the Greek text be legitimately translated “husband” and “wife” instead of “man” and “woman” as in the English translations?

    7) What was the first Sin that caused the Fall? Was it Eve’s rebellion against Adam’s leadership? Was it her rebellion against God by rejecting her “role” as follower to Adam and usurping his authority? Was it when she gave the fruit to Adam? Was it Adam failing to guard and protect the garden from the Serpent? Was it Adam listening to his wife and following her leadership? Was it Adam eating the fruit? The reason for the confusion is that I have read and heard these variant interpretations. I am pretty old, and it used to be taught pretty consistently that Eve sinned by eating the fruit, and Adam sinned by eating the fruit. That seems evident from the text to me, but not evident to complementarians.

    8) Do you believe that Adam is the template for men and Eve the template for women? In other words, are all women more liable to deception than all men? It seems to me that the unavoidable anological conclusion, if that reasoning is adopted, is that all men are inherently more liable to high-handed rebellion than all women. Neither is true, in my experience, and I believe that both deception and rebellion are gender-indifferent, but I am interested in your view.

    Thank you in advance for any meaningful consideration you give to my actual questions and the Greek text. It will be more than I have received or have been able to discover in my reading of complementarian writings.

    Gram3

  217. JP,

    Sorry for typos. Anological=analogical. 🙂

    And in question 6, I am referring to the Greek text of 1 Timothy, not the Septuagint of Genesis 1-2.

    Gram3

  218. This, on primary vs secondary issues.

    I read a book some years ago called “The church in the market place”, which is an account of former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey’s time as the vicar of St Nicholas’ church in Durham, north-east England. There’s a lot of really good stuff in it, and it’s a shame to pick out the two pages of oddness, but they’re pertinent. In those two pages, Carey described why he could not work with a new, but very active and fast-growing house church in Durham. In a nutshell, he was and is a committed paedobaptist whereas the new church was (to his mind) re-baptising people.

    Here’s the oddness. He grieved over their insistence on following their beliefs on baptism, because he could not let go of the sanctity of infant baptism and it was not worth dividing the church over. And because they insisted in disagreeing with him on this secondary issue, that he could not move on but that was not worth dividing the church over, he would not work with them nor – as far as I can tell – endorse their work. In fact he regretted their very existence because Durham did not need yet another church in its already divided church scene.

    At the risk of stating the obvious, I pose the following questions:
     If the issue of baptism is not worth dividing the church over, why couldn’t he let go of it? Why not just let the knew church baptise according to their conscience?
     If the divided (i.e. multi-denominational) nature of the church in Durham was so tragic, why maintain a separate congregation? Why not take the lead in de-commissioning their own and merging with another?

    Here’s the thing, then. Nobody divides over a “secondary” issue. It’s only a secondary issue when the other fellow’s bothered about it. I can have my traditions, which are precious and sacred, but you can’t have yours, which are needless and divisive. We can have our denomination, which was itself new-fangled and schismatic when it started out, but that’s enough division: nobody else can have theirs. We can be divided off, but division is bad, so we are the last group who are allowed to do it. And so on.

  219. We invited my husband’s parents to dinner last night for Father’s Day. My MIL said at dinner, “We had a guest preacher today, a Baptist. He was very good.” (My in-laws attend a Presbyterian church, PCA or ARP, I forget which.) Someone asked his name and she said, “Albert Mohler. He’s the head of one of their seminaries.” I almost fell off my chair. At the risk of spoiling a festive meal, I didn’t share any of the Mohler stories I’ve picked up by lurking around here!

  220. JP wrote:

    Eve clearly fell for the temptation Satan put before her

    Scripture does not say Eve was tempted. She was deceived or tricked by the great deceiver. Words have meaning. There are only 3 verses mentioning Eve in scripture and all three refer to her being deceived.

    Adam’s transgression, on the other hand, is mentioned and presented as disobedience, covering his sin, and transgressing.

    Job_31:33 “Have I covered my transgressions like Adam, By hiding my iniquity in my bosom,

    Hos_6:7 But like Adam they have transgressed the covenant; There they have dealt treacherously against Me.

    Rom_5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

    Rom 5:19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners…

    1Co_15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

    Bottom line of my comments is that there is nothing good, positive, or admirable said of Adam anywhere in scripture that anyone should promote him in any way as deserving of any title or position today.

    Many have erroneously concocted unscriptural assumptions that because

    1) Adam was formed first (even though it was from dirt)
    2) Because God gave him a command (instead of Eve)
    3) Because he named the animals (even though God was watching to see what he named them for some reason)
    4) Because God warned Eve that if she turned toward Adam, he would rule over her (which is a negative prophecy)

    he is somehow entitled to have authority; to have a title of “federal head”; and his disobedience to God’s command was somehow Eve’s fault just as he blamed God for giving her to him.

    Again, we need to stop with words, phrases, and assumptions that are not recorded in this story of creation. Most all of the prophetic words spoken by God in Genesis 3 have been overcome with time and understanding. Men no longer must toil in the field by the sweat of their brow; men no longer have to eat plants alone; women have access to medication to alleviate painful deliveries; men no longer must allow thorns and thistles to grow in their gardens; etc.

    Only the prophetic words regarding the desire to “rule” is yet to be overcome or understood in the context of Christ’s words to the contrary. “It shall not be so with you.”

    I rest my case. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it! 🙂 It’s been a pleasure debating the Genesis story with you, JP!

  221. @ Gram3, wow! I don’t want to give you a disertation, lol. First, let me say this. In regards to marriage I don’t consider myself a comp as I don’t believe the husband has authority over the wife. I believe in original creation man and woman are created equal, the wife as a helper along side, not behind or ahead. I believe when the fall occurred the curses pronounced were prophetic, not a statement of God’s desired will, and that woman due to Eve’s sin would be ruled by man. I don’t believe that’s God’s plan, but rather the result of sin, and history has certainly seen that play out. I do believe a basic principle is established in Genesis, reiterated in 1 Tim 2 and Eph 5, but it does not insinuate one gender being in authority over the other.

    I’m beginning to believe that maybe a term that I have usesd and certainly is prominent, spiritual leadership, is not the way to approach this. Spiritual stewardship may be a far better term for it. Over what do I believe the man is steward, the word. Adam received the word first. There is no doubt of him being the one to receive the command “do not eat” before Eve. That word head in Ephesians is very misunderstood. As you pointed out, it means source. As in the head of a stream. Adam is the source of Eve, as this is what Woman means(also soft). Christ is the Head, source of the church, the husband the head, source of the wife. The male came first and woman was created for him. Does this establish a hierarchy, I don’t believe so.

    You must understand that I do not believe thye pastor is an authoritative figure, as in ruling over people. I find no place where that is communicated in scripture. He is a shepherd. Paul uses the illustration of Adam and Eve in 1 Tim 2. My view is different than comps, as in 2:12 where it speaks of authority, I believe that authority is as a steward of the word(Titus 2:15) from which the pastor is called to exhort and rebuke(correct). His lone authority is as that steward of the word, and the way I read 1 Tim 2, Paul is saying the authority that the man has over a woman in the church is in regards to that stewardship of the word in the local church. Paul uses the example of Adam and Eve in the following verses, clarifying Eve was deceived, but Adam was not. If we go back to Genesis, with Adam being the first to receive the word, it seems to me he had the same responsibility as Paul says a pastor has(Titus 2:15) to exhort and correct. He did not correct Eve, and not being deveived(1 Tim 2:14), he should have, he knew better. Paul’s statement in 1 Tim 2:13 of Adam being formed first, at least to me, establishes this role for the man as that steward. This is also eveidenced in Genesis with the man recieving the word first.

    In marriage, I do not believe God’s intent is for the man to rule a woman, I think that is the result and consequence of sin. But for me at least, the pattern is set for the male to have again the responsibility as that steward of the word. When it speaks of a wife being submitted, subjected to the husband. The thought here is the woman is asked to be subject to the husband just as the church is subject to Christ. Are not both the husband and wife as believers here held to the same standard, subject to Christ? If the husband as part of the church is subject to Christ, and the woman subject to the husband as to Christ, are they not both subject to the same thing? Genesis teaches we are one when married. Side by side(helper). I see no authority here. I do through the pattern I believe is taught in Genesis where Adam received the word first, and by Paul regarding the authority of a pastor regarding the word(1 Tim 2:12/Titus 2:15), that this also applies to marriage. The husband is to have knowledge of the word to guide his family in the faith. Of course, as I believe being equal, the woman has the responsibility to correct the husband as well, as that is delegated to all believers(Gal 6:1-2).

    I find no place in Genesis where it says Adam would rule Eve until after the fall, and as I stated, I believe this is a consequence of sin entering the world, not God’s original plan. What was original sin? Since I believe this I don’t think it is Eve’s rebellion against Adam. Sin occurred because Eve was deceived and Adam did not correct and willfully sinned. He received the command first, do not eat. He received it from God. How did Eve receive it? We don’t know. We know she either received it wrong from Adam(do not touch, Gen 3:3), misunderstood Adam and added don’t touch, or at some point received it from God and mistated it in confusision when Satan challenged her with the provacative question, “did God really say?” We don’t know is the point. We do know sin occurred when Eve, deceived ate and then Adam, with full knowldge, also ate? With all sin coming through Adam(Rom 5), he clearly was the one held accountable, again reinforcing my reading that he was the steward of the word God gave to him.

    Regarding question 6, I don’t have resources here at home to research that, so I’ll get back to you. In regards to question 8, I don’t know. That’s all I can say about it. I’m blessed by many wise women in our church and a wife who edifies me regularly. Personally, I just believe for whatever reason, God chose man as that steward of the word, in creation, and the church, and in marriage. Am I 100% right, who knows? I don’t think anyone else can be sure either. We’re talking about the mind of God here. We need to understand that what pleases God is not that we fully understand Him, but that we believe Him. I know I can believe the gospel and testimony of Jesus. About issues such as these, I think we need to leave room for disagreement as who can really know all the things of God?(Isaiah 55:8-9).

    And one other thing. And I do believe this. We were created sinless in our original state. Adam and Eve lived for an unspecified time as the only one’s other than Christ who never sinned or had a sin nature. When we are saved, a new creation born again in Christ, I believe what we are doing is beginning that journey back to that state. If we were equal in creation, we should also strive for that now. In this life, we’ll never fully make, but as we become more like Him and less like ourselves, finally, when we see him as He is when we finally meet Him, we’ll be back in that original relationship, perfectly made in His image again. Never God, don’t misunderstand me, but with Him again, just like Adam and Eve were in the garden. In the flawless image of God

  222. JP,

    Thanks for your reply. I especially appreciate your humility in recognizing that there is simply a lot about the pre-Fall state that is not revealed to us. And I would add that we should be very careful not to either add to or take away from what is revealed. That, after all, is what got Eve in trouble.

    It seems that you are using 1 Timothy 2 as an interpretive guide to arrive at your belief in a particular stewardship of the word that is deposited with males. I’m not seeing how you avoid the implication that the woman, before the Fall, was given less ability to steward the word of God given to her. Do you believe that it was necessary for the man to mediate God’s word to the woman, or was she endowed at her creation with the ability to related directly with God in the garden(my understanding of your concept of the man’s stewardship of the word.) Is there evidence that you can point to in the text of Scripture that temporal priority of creation determines responsibility for stewardship of the word? It seems to me that Genesis 1:26-28 is evidence that God spoke his word to both the man and the woman, as I said before.

    I realize that human culture post-Fall has such systems, but I don’t find that prescribed by the actual text. In other words, the argument from primogeniture (which is really a bare assertion that comps make for male priority) seems to me to be an inadequately warranted leaping inference from the information that is actually in the text. If primogeniture is the governing principle of responsibility, then later, after the Fall, God broke his own principle, if indeed primogeniture *is* God’s organizing principle for human responsibility (or stewardship of the word.)

    To look at the issue from another perspective, are later-born children equally responsible to obey the word of their parents, or is the first-born the one who is given stewardship of the parents’ words? Are presidents in the 21st century more responsible to follow the Constitution than those in the 18th century? After all, the Constitution was not given to George W. Bush or Barack Obama, but they are just as responsible for obeying it as George Washington.

    Do you think that regenerate females in the New Covenant receive an indwelling of the Holy Spirit that is somehow inadequate and requires a male to steward (dispense??) God’s written word to her? That seems like a dangerous place to go.

    Do you think that the religious context of the Ephesian church might have some bearing on Paul’s argument? Here I am assuming that Paul was well-educated under Gamaliel in both the Greek and Jewish worldview and was capable of making a tightly reasoned argument. Now, to those of us who are not convinced of the “plain” connection between 1 Tim. 2:12 and Genesis 1-2, Paul’s argument in 1 Tim 2, taken alone, is a non-sequitur. Premises which would make it logical are not in the text itself, but I am assuming that Timothy had a pretty good handle on Paul’s thinking, and Paul had a really good idea of the religious atmosphere in Ephesus, based on the pretty detailed account in Acts of his experience there. So, they understood the meaning given their additional information which made Paul’s argument make sense.

    Do you think that we should consider the nature of the Ephesian culture that is revealed in Scripture? We know that Paul’s preaching earned him a two-hour concert, acapella, of how great Ephesian Artemis is. They nearly killed him because he was threatening their economic interests. So, would you be interested when interpreting 1 Tim 2:12 what the Ephesian Artemis cult was all about? The Temple to Ephesian Artemis was one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. Ephesus was economically dependent on the cult bringing worshipers, sort of like other pilgrimage cities. Think Jerusalem. Or Mecca. Or Rome. Or Louisville. 🙂 I’m not talking about the content of the doctrines, but about how religious systems and economics interrelate. I’m too old to be naive about that, unfortunately.

    Would you be interested in the beliefs of the cult of Cybele which pre-dated even the Greeks at Ephesus? How about the Amazonian legends treasured by the people in that part of the world? See, I think we need to know all of that before we can leap directly from the “plain” text of 1 Tim 2 directly to Genesis 1-2 and thence to application today. We have to do some homework first. And we have to show our work.

    Please check out readily-available information on ancient Ephesus, Ephesian Artemis, and the cult of Cybele. I think you may find it interesting and surprisingly relevant to the entire argument that Paul is making.

    Maybe we should consider the possibility that 1 Tim. 2 is not prescriptive of male priority. Maybe it is describing a bad church situation involving false teachers that need to shut up and learn already and not be teaching female supremacy. Maybe the false teacher(s)in this instance were female(s)instead of males.

    I don’t think I said that the meaning of kephale is “source.” I would say it depends on the context. My understanding is that it usually means the thing at the end of the neck. That use is typically obvious, but metaphorical use needs to be examined in the immediate context and also the canonical context. I’m not @FakeWayneGrudem who knows that kephale must certainly mean “source” regardless of textual context or semantic range during a given period of time. We could only hope @WayneGrudem would be intellectually honest enough to not see “authority over” lurking behind every instance of kephale in the text. Hermeneutical migraine, indeed. Likewise, it would be foolish today to say, for example, that “brother” must mean male offspring of one’s own parents. It might mean male fellow-believers or it might mean a member of the Zeta Gamma Zeta fraternity.

    Also, I think that the reference in Titus is sound instruction to an under-shepherd. ASFAICS, it doesn’t really speak to the gender of the under-shepherd either way. In this instance, Titus was male, but I don’t see how you generalize from that. If pastors are necessarily male, then that is not the text to use, it seems to me. But I’m old enough to have been wrong. Lots of times.

    Gram3

  223. @ Nancy:

    If we can educate them regarding the fact that sometimes there positions are the result in long-standing assumptions about what the scripture says, rather than an accurate and in-depth analysis of the passages at issue. And we need to take advantage of the most up-to-date findings regarding literature, culture, language, and the oldest manuscripts of the Bible available to us.

  224. Gram3, you raise plenty of good questions and make plenty of great points. I guess the main gist of much of this is there is so much we do not know, which is why we see so many varying opinions on these type things. This is one of the main reasons I leave room for error when I teach or preach about something like this. We do not have all the facts and we most certainly do not have the mind of God. We probably agree on more than we do not. Your knowledge of the original languages is probably better than mine so I appreciate your use and explantions that go along with your observations. Most pastors have taken Greek and Hebrew but are by no means experts in them unless we’ve pursued them in doctoral courses, and I have not done that for sure. I’m continually using resources to try to understand the root of the words that are actually used in English translations. I in no way believe a female receives less of an indwelling of the Holy Spirit than a man. And I have a woman in my church who is a gifted teacher who I’ve stated earlier in the “volumes,” lol, I’ve written here so far I allow to teach both male and female in the church I serve. But I also trust here that she will not usurp my role and teach something contradictory to what we espouse belief in. I apply that standard to her and any male I have teach for me. That’s not to say I’m the expert and to contradict me is heresy, hardly. But in any church you have a core set of beliefs and that is what you espouse. And believe me, we know we are not right on everything, but none of us can be, so we’re all in the same boat there! I’m not a Covevant Theology person by any means and do not, as many comps do, use the OT principle of the priests “having authority” in the temple as a basis for the pastor to have authority to rule in the church. We are under the New Covenant, PTL! Does the fact that the priests were all male apply? I don’t know. I certainly would not use that as a proof that pastors should be male, as that Old Covenant is ended. But that was the case under the law, and God is a God of order, not disorder. He does not change. You can go so many ways with the thoughts on these sorts of things. What is your opinion on 1 Corinthians 14:34. I know tons have used this verse to try to silence women in the church which is absurd. I’ve always believed that context is king so to speak, we have to take in to account what is around a verse or train of thought in the bible, to try to fully understand what God is trying to tell us. I’ve always taken it as since the entire context of 1 Corinthians 14 is speaking of tongues and the proper exercise of that gift in the church, that a woman should not speak in tongues in the church. Just curious to your view on such an inflamatory verse when it is taken out of context

  225. @ burnrnorton:

    Efforts to avoid differences of opinion and to have total agreement on everything can be disastrous for a church body. Open discussion, fair rules of engagement, and democratic process can work to build cohesion on most issues even where there is not agreement. A recognition of a fair and open process, and encouragement of those who lose on a particular matter, that their contributions are valuable to the body, will usually result in not losing those who were not on the winning side of a particular issue. Commitment to the body is important, and cannot be enforced but must be won.

  226. Also Gram3, I guess we could look at the culture of Ephesus and see it as a reason why Paul would seem to prohibit a female “pastor” in 1 Tim 2. My only issues with that would be why is it not clarified elsewhere as only pertaining to Ephesus? In Acts 20:30 Paul warns the elders of Ephesus that from among them men would rise up as false teachers, but we cannot conclusively determine whether there were any women present there. As I stated before, thoughts can go so many different directions on these matters where we simply do not know everything, which as it turns our is quite a bit 🙂 One thing I will say is I don’t preach that a denomination or church that calls women as pastors is inherently wrong, as I do not know for sure. We do believe what we believe, and some how, I don’t think any concrete evidence is going to emerge that proves either view wrong. As is my way on all non essentials I believe in the old saying, “In essentials, unity, in non essentials, liberty, and in all things charity.” If we could live by that things would surely be far more productive for the kingdom!

  227. @ An Attorney, all churches need some conflict. Some disagreement. When you can learn to work through conflict with respect for others and with humility and be able to disagree without hard feelings, a church will be far better prepared for when a major issue arises. A church that goes along to get along is in big trouble when something major comes up, and IT WILL, as they have no clue how to work through things in respect, order and most importantly, love

  228.   __

    @ Ken ,

    hey,

    Datz bedder. 

    (grin)

    Please don’t 4get da flowers…

    You R her knight, remember.

    …thanx 4 sharing…

    …greater love ‘hath’ no buddy dan dis, dat day lay down their life 4 theyz friends…

    ATB

    Sopy

  229. this is exactly the problem in churches today. it is called hypocrisy. it is when they tell someone who is an adult having sinful sexual relations with another consenting adult that they wont let them be in their churches because they are sinners. Then they cover up and excuse adults having sinful sexual relations with little defenseless children and young people and not only let them stay in their churches as members but as leaders. churches that are the ones with the lists of things all their members have to be doing to be accepted by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Things like when women can talk, what positions they can have in the church, what type of clothes they can wear. things like what are the most inappropriate hair styles that will keep men from entering the kingdom of heaven. I think most of the church has never met Jesus personally.

  230. @ JP:

    “I guess we could look at the culture of Ephesus and see it as a reason why Paul would seem to prohibit a female “pastor” in 1 Tim 2. My only issues with that would be why is it not clarified elsewhere as only pertaining to Ephesus?”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    how about this: “Ephesians” is a letter to the saints who are in Ephesus.

  231. elastigirl wrote:

    @ JP:
    “I guess we could look at the culture of Ephesus and see it as a reason why Paul would seem to prohibit a female “pastor” in 1 Tim 2. My only issues with that would be why is it not clarified elsewhere as only pertaining to Ephesus?”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    how about this: “Ephesians” is a letter to the saints who are in Ephesus.

    And 1 Timothy was written to Timothy only regarding specific issues at Ephesus that Timothy had questioned Paul about. It seems simple to me.

    It was not written to all believes for all times. There’s so much about the letters that we don’t know, yet we assume very much about them.

  232. @ elastigirl, not sure I get your point. Whether a pastor is male or female is not addressed in Ephesians

  233. @ Bridget, if that is the case, that Paul’s letter to Timothy only applies to the church at Ephesus, what are the standards for the others churches? Do they change from church to church, and if so, where is this noted? The claim that 1 Timothy only applies to Ephesus opens all of those questions with no answera

  234. @ JP:

    meant I Timothy. i’m just so weary of all the personal application (being applied to ME, who “should have no problem with it”) of every syllable of every word of scraps of copies of copies of copies of a personal letter to a friend 2 thousand years ago about his contemporaries.

    i’m sick of being “should”ed all over based on these ancient scraps of copies of copies of copies.

    I BETCHA Paul or the whoevers who wrote the original then copied again and again are in the hereafter observing all this silliness saying, “guys, guys…. chill… I had food poisoning i wrote that!”

  235. @ Bridget, agreed, that’s pretty clear. But if it only applies to Timoth and his situation in Ephesus, what are the standards for the other churches? Do they change from church to church? Those questions are left unanswered. There is no doubt Paul is advising Timothy regarding some leadership issues in Ephesus in 1 Timothy 2, but since no other such advice is offered, except to Titus in Crete, and Titus 1 virtually mirrors 1 Tim 3:1-7, at least regarding qualifications. Are those just for those 2 churches or a baseline for all? If they are not, what is the standard for the others churches? If they change from church to church, how is their any order in the church?

  236. JP,

    I wrote in response to your comments because I think I hear your heart. What I hear is that you do not seek power over others, but you desire to serve and protect. Those are admirable. You did not shrink back or lash out when you received pushback, but responded with respect to many who have obviously not received respect from others. You have shown more leadership than the “leaders” whose names we all recognize but who do not allow comments on their pontifications, or worse, curate their comments to shape the impression that all are in agreement with them.

    Until fairly recently, I think your beliefs regarding male leadership and mine were probably similar. Due to some painful circumstances I had to examine those beliefs because they are at times associated with strong forms of patriarchy, though not necessarily so. You obviously don’t fit that mold, but I think that you still have some unexamined positions. We should never fear to examine the Scriptures and compare them to what we believe, changing our beliefs as the Holy Spirit works in us.

    I’m challenging you precisely because I think that you want to be a Berean. But that is hard. Really hard in some cases.

    My opinion regarding 1 Cor 14 is shaped by growing up in a Jewish context and loving my Jewish friends but not understanding their belief system. I found that most of them, like many Christians, know little of their Scriptures but still cherish their traditions. The rabbinic system places a *lot* of emphasis on the rabbis and their authority. That sounds sadly familiar to many of us here. When we think of the Law, we probably think of the Old Testament or the Mosaic Law, but the traditions of the rabbis have been elevated to another Law. And my understanding of the gospels is that this is the “Law” that our Lord ran up against and which he said nullified the real Torah. Let’s face it, he had the Pharisees’ tzittzits really in a knot most of the time, pun totally intended.

    So, I think that Paul is quoting the saying or “Law” of the Pharisees that Jewish converts to Messiah had internalized and were carrying over into the church at Corinth just as some of the Jewish converts in Galatia had internalized circumcision as essential to the faith. Again, oddly familiar to some of our ears. It is helpful to remember, also, that women were confined to the court of the women at the temple. The synagogue was a gathering at which women were certainly not welcome, and it was (and is today in some cultures)shameful for a woman to appear publicly in circumstances considered inappropriate. In the West, we don’t fully appreciate the shame/honor cultural aspects of Bible times. But you can see some analog of this thinking in the Hassidic (sp) community or among conservative Muslims.

    In short, I think it is sanctified sarcasm like Paul’s suggestion that the Gentiles who were going along with the Judaizers get really serious and not stop at a little piece of skin. I believe this is the best explanation for a text that most regard as difficult.

    Because Paul was a rabbi’s rabbi–studied under Gamaliel–he understood the rabbinic worldview and system and recognized its residue in the Jewish converts. When we look at verse 36, we need to ask, “Disjunction junction, what’s your function?” He starts this sentence in 36 with a word which I think the kids might translate, “Srsly?” or a more pithy 3 letter expression which I do not use.

    In English that word is translated “And” which I believe obscures the meaning. The various Bible study sites are very helpful in this regard where you can read the Greek interlinear and follow hyperlinks to lexicons and also to the ways that word is translated in various contexts. I’m not a Greek scholar. At. All.

    I’m not persuaded of the other options because women clearly spoke in the gathered church, so silence cannot be commanded of women nor is it shameful for women to speak in the gathered church. I have no way of evaluating whether that portion was added later or misplaced in the text due to copying errors or some other explanation. Since punctuation is added by the translators, I think we need to keep in mind that, because punctuation is missing in our translation, it does not mean that Paul is not quoting bad theology back at the Corinthians. And they were ate up with bad theology.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that translations are not done from scratch, so errors can be perpetuated in subsequent traslations. And “essentially literal” translations are not necessarily what they are purported to be. Check out Wayne Grudem’s (or the ESV team’s) editorial additions to 1 Cor 11 in the ESV. In the old NASB, “symbol of” was in italics which indicated that it was not in the text but added for “clarity.” Well, I suppose one could argue that italics are hard and confusing and so it makes it more clear to remove the italics and leave the impression that those words are in the inspired text. I suppose it depends on what the meaning of clarity clearly is. In this instance, Grudem’s editorial discretion reverses the meaning of the actual text and so resulted in women wearing doilies for a very long time.

    OK, your turn. Where in the text of Genesis does God direct Adam to exercise leadership/stewardship of God’s word wrt the woman? If the woman had immediate access to God and if she was sinless, what need was there for the man to be a steward of God’s word for her? Was he God’s steward or her guardian or what? I’m totally not seeing that in the text or understanding.

  237. Bridget wrote:

    And 1 Timothy was written to Timothy only regarding specific issues at Ephesus that Timothy had questioned Paul about. It seems simple to me.

    It was not written to all believes for all times. There’s so much about the letters that we don’t know, yet we assume very much about them.

    It sounds to me like you’re arguing for reason and common sense when reading somebody else’s mail.

  238. @ Gram3:

    Gram3, really enjoying your comments. Looks like we have gone on a similar journey. 1 Corin 14? I always ask “what law” is being referred to here since women were assumed to be prophesying in the Body back in 1 Corin 11, not to mention judging the angels, too (chp 6). :o)

    In fact, no where in the OT is there any prohibition to women teaching/leading men. None. Seems strange Paul would make one up for the New Covenant.

  239. JP,

    Forgot about your question about Ephesus. The way you framed the question is very Grudemesque, though probably unintentionally. It is an unfortunate polemical tic that he has that many of us recognize. He might have put it, “I ask anyone anywhere to show me just one place where the Bible says that Paul’s letter to the Ephesians was only for the Ephesian church and not for the church universally.”

    I may be wrong because freshman logic is way in the past for me, but this looks like a straw man. No one says that Ephesians is only for the church at Ephesus. If it is in the canon, in my view, it is for all believers. But that is not the real question. The question is not what does it say but what does it mean to all Christians in all churches at all times and circumstances. This goes to application. But before we get to application, we have to do the spadework of exegesis and interpretation. How do we do interpretation with epistolary material? Well, it seems to me that we need to figure out what and why Paul said what he did *in that historical context* so that hopefully we can discern the principle which we apply in ways that appropriate to a given circumstance. For example, we do not conclude that Paul is commanding that all men in all churches for all times must raise their hands in worship even though that “command” appears right before our infamous woman section.

    I don’t think that the fact that male false teachers would arise necessarily excludes the possibility that female false teachers would also arise. I think that false teaching is a crime of opportunity. At that time, women were not teachers. They were not even learners. But women were the ones spreading false teaching house to house in 1 Tim 5. I don’t think that it logically follows from this that men could not also spread false teaching from house to house as they visited their buddies.

    Way back in the prehistoric Viet Nam era, some feminists in my seminar said that a woman president would bring peace. Well, I said that we couldn’t really know that since that hypothesis had never been tested–no data, zero sample size–pure speculation and posturing on her part. IOW being a warmongering president is a crime of opportunity which only men had the means to commit, not something that only men are prone to. Not commenting one way or the other about the political merits of either side, but merely observing her logical fail.

    Gram3

  240. Gram3 wrote:

    Way back in the prehistoric Viet Nam era, some feminists in my seminar said that a woman president would bring peace.

    That depends which woman president.

    The words “Palin” and “Sarah” come to mind…

  241. Gram3 wrote:

    Due to some painful circumstances I had to examine those beliefs…

    Apologies first, Gram3, for taking the above snippet somewhat out of context to make a broader point than the specific one you were making. Actually, maybe I’m not even making a broader point – maybe I’m just letting off steam!

    Culturally, the church in the UK faces a subtle challenge in the way it handles this. There is a great tendency to infantilise anyone who has faced painful circumstances. This is not done with overt mockery and scorn, as in Morgoth Duncan’s exhortation to “pay no attention to the attacks of wounded people…”. Instead, it’s done with condescending pity, and perhaps good intentions: “Well, you’ve been hurt, so it’s understandable that you’d react that way…”.

    In both cases, I believe it’s a manifestation of complacency and – in biblical parlance – hardness of heart. These people are just driven by their hurt and pain, so we don’t need to respect them or listen to what they have to say. Let’s be loving and gentle and compassionate to these poor, hurt people, so that their pain and hurt can all be soothed away and they can come back to agreeing with us again, and everything can carry on as it always has.

    “Hurt” people are experienced people. They may well know things we don’t know, and would rather not know, about the church structures we love and cherish.

  242. @ Gram3, anyone who claims to be a believer who is not seeking more truth is not living as a disciple. But I do believe that the bible is where we are going to gleen that truth from, like the Bereans you mentioned. No, I do not sek to rule over people. As a Husband, me and my wife are equals. As a pastor, Titus 1:7 says I am a “steward of God.” I manage His affairs, and my sincere desire is to pastor a church that looks as much like Jesus wants it to as possible. I have a long ways to go as a husgand and pastor, but don’t we all in our walk with Christ.

    In regards to Adam receiving instruction from God to his stewardship of the word in regards to Eve, clearly it’s not there. As we discussed we know so little of pre-fall life, in fact, we don’t know most things. My conclusion on this comes from the Adam being held accountable for there actions in that death and sin to all mankind come through him. The key command from God was eat and you will die. That was clearly received by Adam first. And I do believe it is fair exegesis to tie Genesis and 1 Tim 2 together as they both focus on Adam and Eve. Noting that verses and chapters are added by man, the flow of 1 Timothy from chapter 2-3 is consistent, as Paul is addressing leadership, or better for me, stewardship(Titus 1:7) issues in the church.

    In Marriage I’m simply implying what I conclude was the role of Adam in that first marriage. I do believe a husband should guard his wife. Not just physically, being most of the time the physically stronger vessel, but spiritually. This does not mean a woman cannot have more knowledge, or even be the one gifted with teaching, but I think it’s consistent with what I conclude through Adam’s accountability and what we see regarding the church in 1 Tim. And no, IMO, it is in neither case am authoritative position.

    As for Ephesus, I’ve never read one thing Wayne Grudem has written, and don’t use the ESV, never even looked at it. Don’t care to really. While no translation is perfect(the message is, but no translation in regards to being perfect word for word), their are many regarded as reliable and faithful to the texts we have to work off of. I just don’t think we can be consistent and orderly by looking at the culture of Ephesus and applying a cultural aspect to 1 Timothy if we accept it as canon for the whole church, which I do. That would leave open far to much variance in basic structure of the church as culture is different everywhere. It would place even more than their is importance upon interpretation of just not scripture but the surrounding culture in setting up Christ’s church. It’s His church, and He is the One who has given us the structure for it, and I don’t see church to church variation in that ctructure in His mind, even though we as man through our interpretations have made that so in countless ways. Their is a right way for a church to exist, we just do not know it perfectly. Even the original churches all had differing issues, so even then that perfect structure of the mind of Christ was lost even then. That’s why the central message is keep Christ at the center, that really is the important thing. If we reflect His heart, we refect Him, and that heart being love and truth, the gospel.

    I do believe the only option we truthfully have is to go mwith scripture, and while yes, we have many disagreements, we can’t use culture as a baseline anywhere. The bible most definitely accounts for the culture of the times it is written, ie. polygamy, a woman being definitely inferior to man(I believe prophysied in Genesis 3:16), slavery and a multitude of other issues. But God’s desire was not that culture affect His word, but that His word affect culture. Salt and light. We as believers apply the word to the culture, not vice versa.

    When looking at the whole counsel of the word, we do see man in a more prominent role. Adam came before Eve. The priests were all men(they were stewards as well, not rulers), the 12 apostles. Is that because the bible was written from a distinctly male prejudiced view because of the culture? While the culture was certainly male dominant in all those times, that would mean God has been unable to get us His true meaning in regards to Gis word for 3500 years, and I don’t believe that. God’s eternal plan is going forth and no man can halt that, regardless of how we resist the will of God. He is soevereign(no I’m not a Calvinist 🙂 soevereignty is part of his character, and what He was willed done will be done.

    So we’re left with scripture, and what do we see. A consistent pattern? I believe man and woman are equal, at least in God’s original plan, and how we should approach it as one born again beginning that journey back to Him. What is the pattern we see? I believe it’s male stewardship, the one accountable to guard the things of God. We see Adam accountable. In the religious context we see male priests, male apostles and at least in the bible, male shepherds. Do we see an occasional woman like Deborah, yes. But she was a civil judge, not a priest. She had more power than the priests, as the kings did. But she was not part of the religious structure.

    One thing we know for sure is that Jesus honored women, and they played an essential role in His ministry. A woman was the first to witness of His resurrection. That’s important. But from Adam to the church, we do see a consistent pattern of stewardship belonging to man. I am open to change my opinion, and very open to others disagreeing with me(liberty in non essentials). But if I do change my mind, it will be based upon scripture, and as of yet I have not found that.

  243. JP wrote:

    @ Bridget, agreed, that’s pretty clear. But if it only applies to Timoth and his situation in Ephesus, what are the standards for the other churches? Do they change from church to church? Those questions are left unanswered. There is no doubt Paul is advising Timothy regarding some leadership issues in Ephesus in 1 Timothy 2, but since no other such advice is offered, except to Titus in Crete, and Titus 1 virtually mirrors 1 Tim 3:1-7, at least regarding qualifications. Are those just for those 2 churches or a baseline for all? If they are not, what is the standard for the others churches? If they change from church to church, how is their any order in the church?

    It’s quite possible that part of the letter to Timothy was addressing ‘a’ specific situation at Ephesus. The part of the letter we are discussing addressed “a woman’ which seems to be singular. I believe we are assuming too much when we try to use the letters in a way that make them the “new law.” We seem to treat them the same as we treat direct words from God. I’m not saying they have no place or are not useful to us. I’m just not convinced that the letters were written with the writers’ intents being “thus sayeth the Lord.”

  244. @ Bridget:

    Also, it’s interesting that the new covenant process of entering the kingdom of God is believe, repent, and be baptized. The old sign of being a child of God was circumsission and was only available to men. Baptism is available regardless of gender.

    Christianity has accepted a change over the last 2000 years as far as slavery is concerned. Why is it more difficult to view woman as equals? You continue to say that woman are equal “but” they cannot be stewards of God’s word, yet many women are gifted and handle scripture better than many men.

  245. JP wrote:

    So we’re left with scripture, and what do we see. A consistent pattern? I believe man and woman are equal, at least in God’s original plan, and how we should approach it as one born again beginning that journey back to Him. What is the pattern we see? I believe it’s male stewardship, the one accountable to guard the things of God. We see Adam accountable. In the religious context we see male priests, male apostles and at least in the bible, male shepherds. Do we see an occasional woman like Deborah, yes. But she was a civil judge, not a priest. She had more power than the priests, as the kings did. But she was not part of the religious structure.
    One thing we know for sure is that Jesus honored women, and they played an essential role in His ministry. A woman was the first to witness of His resurrection. That’s important. But from Adam to the church, we do see a consistent pattern of stewardship belonging to man. I am open to change my opinion, and very open to others disagreeing with me(liberty in non essentials). But if I do change my mind, it will be based upon scripture, and as of yet I have not found that.

    Since the Fall, all of culture was male dominated. God seemed to always work within cultural norms — until Jesus came. I don’t think you realize how counter cultural and off the grid Jesus was when it came to women and the poor and the sick and the outcast. FWIW, I don’t think I get Jesus regarding a lot of these areas. But, how serious do you think Jesus’ culture would have taken him if he had chosen women, or slaves, or murderers, or lepers to be apostles? Those closest to him did have their thinking turned upside down and from all accounts, they certainly struggled with where Jesus went, what he did, and who he interacted with.

  246. JP,

    It seems that you are still slicing off 1 Tim 2:12 from its context. In 11 Paul commands Timothy to permit a woman to learn, although the English translation muddies the imperative. Females were not permitted to learn and were therefore ignorant. Not stupid but untaught. We simply cannot take our 21st century circumstances and interpret the situation in Ephesus like that. Think about the girl in Afghanistan who was attacked because she just wanted to go to school. That culture is much closer to the culture of Ephesus than ours. Since teacher time and attention was a scarce commodity and female labor was valuable in other enterprises, it was a really radical thing for Paul to command that females be permitted to learn. He said that they should learn in all subjection, but not in subjection to males but in subjection to the word. That verse has been twisted beyond all recognition.

    Later in his letter Paul dealt with untaught women taking their false beliefs house to house. Going house to house is what women did and still do in comparable cultures today. They are not permitted to venture out into the man’s realm of public society. So Paul is instructing Timothy to teach them so that they do not spread their false beliefs.

    If you take a look at Youngs Literal or the Greek Interlinear, you will see that the translation of “man” and “woman” in verse 12 is ambiguous and is translated differently. So, to get to no woman ever should teach a man in any circumstance we have to add a lot of supposition to our conclusion that is simply not there. Do you see the problem of making hard and universal doctrine out of a verse that is ambiguous at the exegetical level?

    Also in Youngs, you will see that the words translated “exercise authority over a man” are translated “rule over a husband.” If you also trace the translation history of this phrase, you will see that the aggressive nature of “dominate” or “rule over” has been softened to “exercise authority over.” Which also has the effect of broadening the prohibited activity of that woman or women from seizing control over men to merely instructing men. If we want to be faithful to what the text says, do you think that it is acceptable to change the translation as has been done here? It seems to me that the translators are not just translating but interpreting in a way that diminishes the force of the text.

    When we move to 13 and 14 Paul provides his rationale. Do you see how you have inserted your idea about temporal priority in creation being significant into your understanding of these verses? What if you knew that male initiates into the Ephesian Artemis cult had to be castrated and that women totally dominated that religion. Would we expect to find that teaching creeping into the Ephesian church as women converted out of that religion brought their wrong beliefs into the church. Especially if they were untaught in the Scriptures and therefore defenseless. What if we considered the content of the Ephesian Artemis myth: Artemis had a twin brother, but she was born first and helped her mother deliver her brother. Do you see how that historical context totally changes the meaning of the words? Those words were written within a particular historical context, and we have to give due consideration to that context lest we interpret the words with our own context.

    Do I think the church could have been wrong all these years about the relationship between males and females? Yes. Absolutely. Why not? Either the church had gotten justification wrong or the Reformers were a bunch of schismatics. The PCUS and the SBC used all kinds of biblical prooftexts to support their promotion of slavery. If you want to be disgusted thoroughly, then check out their arguments supporting slavery. The point is to think about how and why they got that so wrong and how we might be getting things wrong because of our prior understanding of the “way God intended things to be.” Some people then believed that it was a mercy for slaves to have owners because the owners took provided for them and protected them. They appealed to the verses about the curse on Canaan because of Ham, and who were the abolitionists to question God’s good intent? How do you think and enslaved man or woman might feel even if their masters were kind to them? What if their masters quoted Scripture to justify their enslavement? What if their masters set up churches to indoctrinate their slaves with the idea that slavery was part of God’s good design? That’s how a lot of women feel, too, in the church.

    I don’t think you ever stepped us through the logic of Paul’s entire argument in verses 11-15. What do you think his argument means and do you think it is a legitimate interpretive move to sever verse 12 from the rest of Paul’s argument?

    Nick,

    ??? I was just giving an example of how passionately-held beliefs can be based on absolutely nothing. My personal belief is that males and females are equally likely to be sinners. Regardless of whether the first female president is either good or evil, it doesn’t follow that later ones will do likewise. The 70s were weird.

    Gram3

  247. JP wrote:

    But from Adam to the church, we do see a consistent pattern of stewardship belonging to man.

    You and John Piper seem to agree that Christianity has a “masculine feel.” Regardless of the fluffy words used by comps (“servant leadership” “equal in value” “male stewardship” “loving headship” etc., the result is that God’s priority is maleness. All the “equal but different” assurances aimed at appeasing women, will not work as they are keenly aware of the ploy.

    [quote]I am open to change my opinion, and very open to others disagreeing with me(liberty in non essentials).

    From what I’ve read, JP, with all due respect for your continued interaction, you are not open to change your opinion and my guess is that you couldn’t do so here since you evidently cannot receive teaching from women.

    I may have missed it, but have you posted the church you pastor? I’d love to visit your web site if you have one or even your church if you live in my area.

  248. Let’s give JP a little grace. When I held views similar to his, I didn’t think I was anti-woman. I thought I was pro-Bible, and the case was closed. I insulted female pastors because I thought they were dishonoring God’s word.

    But then, I got blindsided by something from “my” side which I knew was biblically wrong. Just plain wrong wrong, and obviously so.

    I had to start examining my beliefs and comparing them to Scripture. Investigating what I had accepted from trusted sources. Tried listening to the arguments of the “other side” with as much intellectual honesty as I could muster without “othering” them and clinging to my superior knowledge and “faithulness.” What was and is non-negotiable for me is the authority of Scripture, not the authority of any particular interpretation of Scripture or any particular tradition.

    Gram3

  249. Gram3 wrote:

    Let’s give JP a little grace.

    I think everyone has extended a lot of grace. Challenging someone does not necessarily reflect a lack of grace; it’s challenging them to see there are some contradictions in what they are presenting. It can be a good thing if the result is a revelation that leads to the same outcome it did for you.

  250. Also, I don’t think it is fair to lump JP with another JP, John Piper. First of all JP hasn’t made us endure schlocky sticky poetry. So, really, thanks for that, JP.

    John Piper propagates misogyny cloaked in flowery sophistry. Yes, I went there because he is damaging so many people and defaming God in the process because he cloaks his teaching in the mantle of God’s word.

    If you want a tutorial on how to prooftext and totally miss the point of Scripture by using every available logical fallacy, then you need to read RBMW. Obviously, I don’t know the man’s heart, so I am not judging that. But, seriously, that teaching is really toxic to the souls of women *and* men.

    Another blog said that Desiring God can be summarized by “Everything John Piper says is true.” That blog is a hilarious rundown of how you can capture all that some bloggers say in one sentence (maybe someone else here has a link.) I like the one about Justin Taylor: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel Coalition.” (Quotes may not be precisely accurate.)

    Gram3

  251. Gram3 wrote:

    John Piper propagates misogyny cloaked in flowery sophistry. Yes, I went there because he is damaging so many people and defaming God in the process because he cloaks his teaching in the mantle of God’s word.

    Agreed. That’s precisely why the flowery, contradictory words send up red flags. They are meant, imo, to appease women without changing their premise that God indeed (despite scripture saying the opposite) does show partiality based on one’s maleness.

    The marginalization of women has it’s roots in a variety of sources, and it’s completely appropriate to challenge them. Bloggers worldwide are challenging error and it’s a good thing that some whose voices have been silenced in church settings, have found the courage to speak out against the error.

  252. Bridget wrote:

    You continue to say that woman are equal “but” they cannot be stewards of God’s word, yet many women are gifted and handle scripture better than many men.

    Agreed Bridget. The story of Huldah in 2nd Kings chap. 22 & 2nd Chronicles chap. 34 is illustrative in this regard. In my opinion it pretty much refutes the cruel fiction that women are forbidden to handle God’s word.

  253. Muff Potter wrote:

    The story of Huldah in 2nd Kings chap. 22 & 2nd Chronicles chap. 34 is illustrative in this regard. In my opinion it pretty much refutes the cruel fiction that women are forbidden to handle God’s word.

    I think one of the problems today is that women (and men) consistently hold up masculine biblical characters as examples for men to emulate and direct women to female biblical characters as their examples.

    Why is that so? Isn’t that creating more of a discrimination between male and female and using scripture to do it? Why can I not see Paul as the example to follow as well as Jesus? Who has ever heard a male use Deborah as his example of faith and courage? No. Every man is seen as a hero and every notable woman is marginalized; i.e. Deborah was not a Judge like the other Judges …merely a “civil leader.”

    I’m astonished when Proverbs 31 is held up as the “perfect woman” and women are encouraged to use her as their example. Until it comes to working outside the home, of course or having servants…. 🙂

    It’s almost (just my opinion) that women feel as need to defend their value by searching for Godly women in scripture. Why do we do this? I’m asking this with all sincerity.

  254. I do appreciate the back and forth with all of you. You have not heard me condemn a woman preacher. The only teachers(male or female) who I would take issue with are ones teaching clear false doctrine. Some have said I am not open minded. Maybe. But what I ask is to be shown from scripture. One thing I will not deviate from is that scripture is the baseline. Culture is not a means to interpret scripture, we apply scripture to culture. I believe that unconditionally.

    Slavery was practiced for ages, even as Gram3 noted, defended horrendously by many in the early SBC. Did God condone forced slavery? I don’t think so. He allowed it. You can find in scripture volutary bondslaves for cases like debt, but God by and large provided provision for slaves when there was none and as we read of Paul in Philemon, appealed they not be veiwed as slaves at all, but brothers.

    We see polygamy all throughout the Old Testament. One note here, regarding the one wife text for pastors and deacons, polygamy was not an issue in Roman culture. Immoraility yes, polygamy no, so I’ve never bought that was a directive against polygamy. But did God approve of polygamy? He designed marriage as one man-one woman who become one. You cannot be one with one and one with another, as you are no longer one. He allowed it, and we see the consequences of this in scripture.

    Regarding Ephesus and the presence of women false teachers. I agree. Ephesus was where the temple of Diana was. But Diana was a Roman god worshipped everywhere in the Roman empire, including the locations the New Testament churches we read of. Their were priestesses of Diana everywhere. This issue would have encountered Paul at every turn. So is this warning only to apply to Ephesus because it was the center of Diana worship when it was everywhere? It was an issue everywhere.

    Let’s look at a word that cuases much consternation, head. Gram3 rightly idetified it as the greek word kephale. It has multiple definitions. One is the head of a body. Another is the top stone in a building. One is someone or something in the primary place, and another is point of origin. Most seem to take the primary place definition, I do not. Let’s dwell on that last one, the place of origin, and look at 1 Corinthians 11 where it clearly speaks of a woman propesying. 1 Corinthians 11:3 says, “But I want you to know, the head of every man is Christ;” Every man, beginning with Adam. Who was the agent of creation(John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:1-2), it was Christ. Who created Adam, Christ. Christ is the the point of origin of man. He goes on to say, “the head of woman is man;” Where did woman come from, originally, Adam. The point of origin of woemn was from man. Paul concludes the “head of Christ is God.” The point of origin of Christ, God, not created, but the eternal Godhead. If we look at it this way, it all points to the same place. God. Just differing points of origin. Scripture calls Christ the head of the church. From where did the church come from? Who is it’s point of origin? It is Christ. And with Christ He also is the One in a the primary place, but scripture clearly teaches this in other ways, so both definitions can clearly apply.

    The only hierarchy throughout all of scripture is God at the top. We all agree there is no favoritism in salvation. All can come. There is neither male nor female, just one with Christ.

    As for the women prophysying. What is the most basic meaning of that word. To declare the word of God, speak inspired utterances. What is inspired, the word. Women clearly spoke the word and I believe still can in church. But does that mean they were/are the pastor? That’s the question. And as much as we may want to apply the culture of the day to scripture, it is scripture that is the authority. Were there women pastors in the churches of the bible? I do not know, and plainly say that. We do know their is no record of one. That is not debatable. If their was even one recorded woman pastor this whole conversation would be moot.

    What we do know is that Jesus chose men for His apostles. Yes, their were plenty of women disciples, but none of the 12? Was this cultural? Maybe, but that’s all we can say, is maybe. Someone said in one of the previous posts Jesus was counter cultural, and He was undoubtedly. He gave women a place no one else did. But he did not choose them, and He is the one that chose the 12, as His apostles. He was definitely counter cultural in His choosing. He did not choose priests, or scribes, or the religious royalty. He did not choose even the most learned teacher Gamaliel. He chose fishermen, a tax collector(an outcast), political zealots, and in due time His churches biggest enemy(Paul). He chose men who would confound the wise. But He did choose men. Is this purely cultural, or is it by design? That is the question we cannot discern from scripture comepletely, but Jesus being God certainly could have chosen a woman and His eternal will still would have been done. Nothing was going to disturb His journey to the cross and the establsihment of His church, not even our sin.

    I believe and do not believe I will change my mind that to interpret scripture through the culture is an unacceptable way of dealing with scripture. If we did that we can say as some have tried that God approved of forced slavery, or polygamy. He did not. These are against His nature. Jesus came for all, men and women, free and slave, in His eyes we are equal. But from creation, through the Old Testament, through the apostles, and the records of the early church, men have been, at least as it is recorded, given stewardship repsonsibilities. What were the apostles if not the original stewards of the church? Is a steward a boss, or over people? No, he is charged with managing the affairs of another, in this case, God. He is to see things are done, to the best of his ability, that God’s ways are taught, modeled and learned and imitated by others. It does not make them better, or give them authority. God is the only authority. Can any pastor make the sheep follow Christ? Or witness? I wish we could, lol. But we are not bosses, we’re stewards. If a person won’t do those things for Christ, they won’t do them for me.

    If we were to apply the culture in the U.S. today to the bible, what would it look like? Would it reflect holiness? Purity? Faithfulness to God? Those are all things we are called to be. Do those of us who are believers approach those things from differing perspectives? Yes. And none of us are going to find total agreement with how another approaches some things. We work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. We’ve all taken different paths to Christ, but once arrived our hearts desire is to be like Christ.

    And believe me when I say this, as it is not spoken in condescension. Those who do believe a woman can pastor, are there churches that embrace that? Is there a home for that interpretation of scripture? There are plenty of them. We have liberty in Christ on things not essential to the faith so long as they do not place a stumbling block before someone. Is a female pastor a stumbling block to me? Not in the least. Are there some who would say it is? Yes, and I would take issue with them. But from my interpretation, and our churches, and that is what we are all doing, interpreting, and for me the whole counsel of God I have concluded, and still conclude, that the man has a role of stewardship in certain areas in the economy of God.

    Does my view prohibit a woman from being a pastor. You may say yes, but I say absolutely not, as their are plenty of places where she would be welcomed and embraced, and for those places that preach the Jesus of the bible and the gospel, we serve the same God. We serve Him, with a different perspective, but we still serve Him.

    When we try to force our views of something upon others concerning something not essential to the faith, we violate each others Christian liberty. Paul deals with this in Romans 14. I am not attempting to force my views, or our churches views, or the SBC’s views on anyone. No more than I would attempts to force my views on eschatology on an Ammilenialist, or our baptist views of church polity on a Presbyterian, or our views regarding the proper useage of gifts on a Pentacostal. Some may, I do not.

    I began engaing here on the subject of abuse and have changed my views. Many of you have been helpful in providing scriptural resources to show me this, and for that I thank you. For scripture is how I’m convinced. It is a view I will definitely be reinforcing from my own studies and application, as I do believe it to be biblical. But here, we disagree. Do that disagreement threaten how you worship? I don’t think so, as I extend the liberty we all have in Christ to you. I ask that you do the same for me.

    For @ elsatigirl who asked, http://www.woodfieldparkbaptistchurch.com

    Grace and peace,

    Jeff

  255. Women in complementarian churches are as valued as a male Ph.D. is in Women’s Studies at a radically feminist institution. Why do I say that? Because it is not a male or female issue. It is a human issue that is universal. Who is more important than ME and the people I like which happen to also be the people who make ME feel good about ME. And that is how self-reinforcing social systems are created and maintained. That is why love-bombing is so effective.

    Follow the power, whether it is economic or martial or star power. Where women have the power, men are the “other.” Or sometimes it is women who are not like those women. Where men have the power, women are the “other” or men who are not like them. Jocks vs. Geeks in the male world, for example. Tenaciously, sometimes viciously, and usually reflexively.

    The narcissist in the mirror loves those who mirror back what the narcissist in the mirror sees when he/she looks in the mirror. Therefore the narcissist in the mirror loves and defends those who are part of his/her group.

    Which is a good idea to think about what the narcissist in my mirror sees and how that might not be a reflection of reality at all. The mirror for believers should be Christ Jesus, not any other human being. Period.

    Circling back to the OP, based on what happens, we will have a better idea if the Gospel movement is really about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which does not change. If it is not about the unchanging Gospel but actually about market share, then we will see some re-positioning and possibly some re-branding happening.

    I predicted Mars Hill before it happened, not because I’m so insightful, but because human behavior is so depressingly predictable and I try to pay attention. Same for Vision Forum, Gothard, Bakker, Swaggert, Haggard, and both Edwards (Edwin and John.) OTOH I have a lot more difficulty predicting my own failures and am ever surprised by them. Because the narcissist in my mirror has some vision problems.

    Gram3

  256. Jeff,

    I don’t want to infringe on your liberty. I believe the Bible is the only authority. I believe Scripture is inerrant. Certainly, our view of Scripture is not determined by any culture. Scripture judges culture, not the other way around.

    But we are not talking about our culture determining the meaning of the text. We are talking about the culture into which Paul was speaking and how that impacts the meaning of his words. To give an example, if I say, “Charles loves licking the windows downtown on Sunday afternoon.” In East Texas the meaning of those precise words would be that Charles likes licking the windows on storefronts downtown, bless his heart, instead of watching football or playing golf or napping. In France those precise words mean that Charles likes to shop downtown on Sunday afternoon. Same exact words but two entirely different meanings with wildly different possible implications and applications. Neither in Texas not in France is anyone discounting the actual text. The difference lies in the meaning of those words depending on which culture the words are addressing.

    Does it make some sense, then, why it is important to know French culture and East Texas culture and what Charles’ cultural assumptions are before someone in Germany decides that Charles needs to be sent a gift card to his favorite French store or someone in China decides that Charles needs to develop another hobby or someone in Kenya decides Charles needs a good therapist and someone in Australia who spent time in France says we should all just chill out–no worries, mate. Does it make sense how the people in China, Kenya, Germany, and Australia could plausibly accuse the others of misunderstanding and even distorting the plain meaning of the words?

    Now, take it a step further. Those words were translated into Latin and then into Spanish and finally into German and Chinese and Swahili and whatever it is that Australians speak. 🙂 Can you see how the meaning of the actual words might get changed at each stage due to cultural assumptions and other factors?

    What I am advocating is that we assume that the statement that Charles likes licking windows on Sunday afternoon is unequivocally true and we should take action accordingly. What should we do? How do we know that is what we should do? Should we go to Bon Temps web store and send him a gift card? Should we summon a doctor? Call the nearest golf pro? Or tell everyone to calm down and get off his case? The only way we would know is to go back to the original English words and try to figure out Charles’ cultural situation so that we can figure out what those exact English words mean so that our actions are appropriate.

    You keep coming back to 1 Timothy 2:12 but I have not seen your explanation of the entire argument that Paul is making. I think that you got the exact point of his argument in 1 Corinthians 11. Most don’t see that but get stuck at the crisis of what a woman should wear on top of her kephale. What I am suggesting is that you take the same process and apply it to 1 Timothy 2.

    The other thing is to think about what it is that you are protecting. We are all protecting something. I think that you are protecting the integrity of God’s word. The thing is, if any of us places a meaning on the words that is contrary to God’s meaning, then we are not protecting his word but nullifying it. That’s why we should help one another to understand.

    Thanks for not leaving the conversation. I mean that with the utmost sincerity.

    Gram3

  257. Jeff,

    I think that there are distinctions between Roman Diana, Greek Artemis, and Ephesian Artemis. The myth of Ephesian Artemis, and before her, Cybele, are most probably representative of the religious background of the converts at Ephesus, if what I have read is accurate. I’m not a scholar of any sort, but do like to check things out. The fact that pagans readily adapted their beliefs to accommodate their changing circumstances under changing rulers would, it seems to me, make it very easy for them to import their prior assumptions and practices into the church.

    Gram3

  258. Gram3, my intent is to the best of my ability to protect the word. Not me, or a man, or anyone else. And I readily know, I won’t do that perfectly, no one among us can. I keep refering to 1 Tim 2 for this reason, from 1 Tim 2:8-1 Tim 3:13 Paul is speaking of the order and structure of the church. In these verse, Paul adresses conduct 2:8-10. In 11-12 when looked at as one, Paul says for a woman to learn in submission and silence and is not to have “authority” over or teach a man. The question here, is authority over what? I don’t think it’s people as Christ is supposed to be the sole authority, so what is it? My conclusion since the later verses(context, context, context) deal with the pastor and also deacon(simply a servant with a specific task, not a position of authority), the authority rests as that steward of the word, of the church, which the pastor is ID’d as in the parallel text of Titus 1:7. In 13-15 Paul is the one who then ties the story of Adam and Eve in to his reasoning for this. Adam was formed first, this is the way God did it. I don’t know why but it is. Eve was deceived, Adam was not. And we know Adam not being deceived was held accountable for sin and death coming to all as he received the command directly from God, do not eat. Did Adam have that responsibility as the steward over the words of God since he heard them first? No one can say for sure, but it is not an unreasonable conclusion considering the level of accountability shown to Adam and Eve. Eve is responsible for pain in child birth and I believe women suffering the dominance of men through history. Adam for man’s hard work, sin and death. Eve’s is bad, not doubt. Adam’s is fatal. Adam was held to a higher level of accountability. He was first and the man. So, since Paul applies this to roles in the church, does the man also hold that stewardship role there? I think it’s reasonable to say yes, since Paul directly ties roles in the church to roles in creation and the fall. And since Adam in the first marriage held that higher level of accountability, I believe it’s reasonable to conclude that still applies today. The context of 2:8-3:13 is conduct, roles and structure all in regards to the church. Clearly needed for Timothy in Ephesus but with application to the church as a whole.

    I agree pagan influences in the church were and still are a problem, always will be. I believe both men and women impart these things. But my entire line of reasoning, at least according to what we have to go on in scripture, is consistent from Genesis to the church. Adam-man-higher accountability-heard God’s word first and directly. Priests-men-accountable for the temple. Apostles-men-accountable to establish Christ’s church and for for the written story of the New Testament, even if just through testimony(ie. James, Jude, Luke). Pastors we see in scripture-men-stewards of the word and church. It is consistent.

    And let me make this point again, as I believe we miss the mark sometimes, though I believe you fully understand this. We tend to look at the church as our church. The church I attend, maybe our denomination. But Christ views all believers as one. He has allowed for those who espouse women pastors a place in His body. They are embraced and welcomed, their are just contrasting views of what the bible does and does not say. Their are extreme views on either side which I believe are both wrong, they try to impose on others what we do not fully know. But in the middle is our liberty in Christ. We disagree on this, as I’m sure we disagree on other things. That’s just the way it is with us humans. So instead of saying I’m right-you’re wrong as some do, let us simply take it as a liberty issue and embrace each other as brothers and sisters and focus on loving each other and the world and pointing people to Christ! So much time in the church these days is focused upon winning people to our POV regarding a non-essential doctrine when we’re called to win the world to Christ. We will group together with likeminded believers for fellowship, but let us join together as one for His mission. If we could do that, their is no telling what we could see God do!

    Our conversation has been respectful and cordial, which is as it should be. We need to discuss such things, even if we agree to disagree. But let us keep our eyes upon Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. And when glory comes, we can all enjoy that first perfect chucrh service in heaven where we’ll all be going DOH! That’s what you meant 🙂

  259. Jeff,

    All of the priests were Jews and only from one tribe at that. So, I’m not sure how that relates to males, females, and pastors. I think that Hebrews tells us that believers are all priests of the Kingdom of our great High Priest regardless of gender.

    I think that elders are a gift to the church for her protection. It might be that I personally prefer male elders because I have great men in my life. I just think it is a bridge too far to say that means that leaders must be primarily male. Generally, I think it is risky to make absolute doctrine out of descriptive things like the male priesthood or the apostles. Likewise, I think is risky to make absolute and universal doctrine out of an interpretation of a text that is universally described as difficult to interpret. So, we don’t know what it means but we absolutely know how to apply it? How does that make any sense? Likewise, in the Genesis narrative it is risky to make absolute doctrine out of our interpretation of what might have happened or why it might have happened. It seems that opens to door to an entirely subjective view of Scripture in which we are merely arguing for our opinion.

    I ask you again, what is the meaning of the entire argument that Paul makes? I totally agree with your last paragraph. I think this is a secondary and possibly a tertiary issue, but some “leaders” are making it primary and saying that women who do not agree are a hindrance to the Gospel. I’m thankful that you are not among them, and it gives me hope!

    Gram3

  260. Jeff,

    Sorry. I meant to add that the Scripture might indeed limit the pastoral “role” to males, but that needs to be demonstrated, and I’m questioning the strength of the argument for that position from 1 Timothy text and Genesis when standard interpretive methods used in doctrinal issues other than this hot button one are used.

    Gram3

  261. Gram3, you get my point, and it has been my point through all of this. It is secondary, so it should not be something that divides, yet we see many draw lines and say you agree with me or you’re wrong. We see that on many issues. Election. Gifts. Polity. As you said some things are tough to interpret leading to a wide variety of views. But so long as they do not intrude upon the gospel, making and being disciples, Jesus, we should all show grace and liberty to those who disagree with us. If someone is uncomfortable with a view, then let them pursue another way so long as Christ is the center of what we do. It seems like such a simple thing, yet somehow it eludes us so many times. Our “need” to be right supercedes our love and respect for each other. It is great evidence of that old man that still is inside of us.

  262. Gram 3, as for Paul’s argument. It falls to interpretation. To me that leaves room for disagreement. Sometimes I wonder whether Jesus left questions like this unresolved intentionally, as a test, as to whether we would love each other as He loved us, and avoid the bickering showing grace and liberty

  263. JP wrote:

    Our “need” to be right supercedes our love and respect for each other. It is great evidence of that old man that still is inside of us.

    I see it a bit different as you might guess. 🙂

    Our “need” to have position for some based solely on their gender is evidence that the old man is still inside us. I do not see half of the body of Christ and their diligent study and understanding of scripture to be a secondary issue. It’s very important to many of us as we believe scripture that tells us God does not show partiality but find our brothers do. Some of us believe that Jesus broke down the barriers between Jew and Greek, female and male, and slave and free, but find our brothers continue to prefer the barriers. Some of us believe Jesus when he said that the desire to rule or have power over others is common among gentiles, but should not be practiced by His followers. Some of us believe that scripture means what it says that believers are to submit to one another, but some brothers imply that female submission is different than that of male submission. There are many others, but these few clearly exhibit instances of the “old man” on the part of many brothers in my opinion.

    I am offended when I hear these issues are considered “secondary” in importance and should not be divisive.

  264. @ Victorious, I appreciate your passion. And I say this not to be snarky or condescening in any way. I have stated over and over I do not believe a man has authority over a woman. Not in marriage, not in the church. That some teach this is beyond anyones control. I believe men are stewards of the word and in context that includes the church. They do not rule, they guard and protect the Master’s possessions. There is a huge difference between being a ruler and a steward.

    I’ve found this to be true regarding many such debated issues, that if there is no clear consensus we can arrive at through scripture, and on this one we cannot. There is no clear evidence of any female pastor in the bible, but neither is there clear evidence there was not one, as it is not mentioned except as I take it in 1 Timothy 2, we need to steer clear from making absolutes out of those type of issues. If it is an absolute for you, and it appears to be, rejoice that there are many who agree with you and many churches which embrace this. This is our liberty in Christ. For those who disagree with us on any disputed position, show them grace. As Paul said in Romans 14:1, “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.” What is a doubtful thing? Somethimg we don’t have sure evidence of in scripture. I strongly disagree with the Calvinist view of election, but no one has fully made a completely acceptable view of election. It is the mind of God, and disputable. I disagree with some Pentacostals on the administration of gifts, not denying them, but how they are administerd in the church, but scripture is not crystal clear on this in some areas, so we receive each other as brothers and sisters.

    Paul sums up how we should view such things in Romans 14:12-13, “So then each of us shall give an account of himself before God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore(he is speaking of disputable matters as establsihed in verse 1), but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall away in our brothers way.”

    This is Christian liberty, the freedom to diagree in areas where there is no clear answer. Many. many things are crystal clear in the bible, and around those we should unite, the primary One being Jesus. But we simply do not have all the asnwers, as we do not have the mind of God. He is God and we are not. We are called not to put a stumbling block before someone that would cause them to flee the faith. As strongly as you feel about this issue, if someone disagrees with you, there is no stumbling block, as there are countless who agree with you and who embrace your view. Those churches would welcome your passion regarding it. We will all stand before Him and give an account for what we have done in the body. And we will all be guilty of being wrong about something. Thankfully, if we are His, we are forgiven. And that is for all who will come to Him. But we must also forgive those who offend us, in doctrine or any matter, especially over a disputable thing. The heart of Christian love lies in forgiving those who offend us. There is no greater evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit than to take the numerous admonitions scripture gives us of the need to forgive. Some of the scariest words in scripture to me are when Jesus says, “If you do not forgive, you will not be forgiven.” For all He has forgiven us, we cannot allow ourselves the sin of unforgiveness.

    Your passion is admirable. I would encourage you to focus that on the very most important thing, a heaven to be gained through Jesus, and a hell to be shunned in Jesus. All of those women out there who do not know Him, desperately need Him. As important as this issue is to you, it will not lead anyone to Christ. Just like me disagreeing with a Calvinist on election, or a Pentagostal on gifts. In our faith there is one paramount focus, the proclamation of the gospel and making of disciples. The rest will work itself out eventually

  265. JP wrote:

    Your passion is admirable. I would encourage you to focus that on the very most important thing, a heaven to be gained through Jesus, and a hell to be shunned in Jesus. All of those women out there who do not know Him, desperately need Him.

    My dear JP… do you have any idea how patronizing this statement is? You might be happy to know that I have a son who’s probably older than you and that I’ve been a Christian longer than you’ve been alive. You might be happy to know that I was employed as a Victim Advocate for 10 yrs. and visited more women in the emergency room in one year than you may have in your church. And it hopefully it will give you pause when I tell you that many, many of those women suffered because they “submitted” to tyrants who thought they were “spiritual leaders” and their wives didn’t respect that. You might be happy to know that I’ve probably brought more men and women to the Lord in my 40 yrs. as a believer, Bible teachers, and passionate biblical feminist than some “pastors.”

    I’m sorry you don’t agree with Pentecostal gifts, so you won’t be happy to know that I received the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues before I even knew what they were. All I asked the Lord for was everything He had for me because I had just found out He was real.

    I hope you continue your studies on divorce as I am divorced and happy about it. In fact, I initiated it and would do it again in a heartbeat. I won’t bore you with the reason, but I do hope you will provide comfort to those who come to you and remind them that God divorced His own people.

    I sincerely hope and pray that you will come to realize that some of the things you consider to be of “secondary” importance are of “primary” importance to many. To that end, I will keep you in my prayers. 🙂

  266. @ Victorious, I in no way intended to patronize you. I am sorry you took it that way. I hope you’ll forgive me as that was not my intent. One of the disadvantages we have when communicating in a forum like this is we do not know the story of the person we are speaking with. Why would I be unhappy you are Pentacostal because I disagree with some things? I’m glad anyone is saved, as few have chosen the narrow road. To disagree does not mean we dislike or disapprove. I’m thrilled to hear of your work with women and your witnes to them!

    Just so you’ll know, the church I do pastor is in an inner city neighborhood where we are often dealing with victims of abuse. In a fallen world, abusive people will always be there, even those who claim to be spiritual. It’s essential we deal with the abuser, and the abused, for the scars are physical, mental and emotional. Several older women in our church lived for years with an abusive husband, they minister to these women in a special way. We deal with kids who live with abusers, substance and physical, the majority from broken homes and no real home life. We are consistently battling the influence of gangs and drugs. We have had 4 murders over drugs in the last year within blocks of our church, and numerous other shootings and violence. It’s been a whole new world for me as the other churches I have served have been your typical SBC church. Eye opening for sure. I stated earlier, I’ve already changed my view on the divorce by abuse issue through the words and links folks have provided on here. In all honesty, when dealing with abused women here, it has not been an issue, as none are married to begin with. Of the 50 or so kids that attend our church, 6 come from a 2 parent home, and more than half live with no parent at all, with a relative or guardian. Most of their parents are in jail or nowhere to be found. Few of the adults are saved. In most instances we are the only influence for Christ they see, and we are a haven for them in many other ways.

    So you see, we do have much in common in the things we are dealing with or have dealt with. You see, even though your tone was a tad sarcastic, I am happy for the way you serve and have served the Lord. I praise God they had someone there to care for them and share Jesus. We don’t have to agree on everything to have joy over the things we do agree upon. That has been the thing I’ve tried to communicate through all of this.

  267. Bridget wrote:

    I believe we are assuming too much when we try to use the letters in a way that make them the “new law.” We seem to treat them the same as we treat direct words from God. I’m not saying they have no place or are not useful to us. I’m just not convinced that the letters were written with the writers’ intents being “thus sayeth the Lord.”

    Yes, exactly.
    A dear friend, since gone to be with the Lord, once remarked in a group of us who were discussing how folks use Scripture, that he never failed to be appalled at how many people quote Paul as their authority, whilst ignoring what the Gospels tell us that Jesus Christ said, speaking on the very same subjects.
    The more I think about his words, the more I realize that many of us are so wedded to saying “thus saith the Lord” even when we know perfectly well, from simply reading the Bible texts, that Jesus went about driving the Pharisees into fits by refusing to go along with (A) their notions of what God meant when He said what He said, & (B) putting the law above the spirit of the law (which is, of course, the Holy Spirit).
    Indeed, that was no small part of what got them conspiring to get the Romans to kill Him.

  268. JP wrote:

    One thing we know for sure is that Jesus honored women, and they played an essential role in His ministry. A woman was the first to witness of His resurrection. That’s important. But from Adam to the church, we do see a consistent pattern of stewardship belonging to man

    Yes, but you see, “from Adam to the church”, humankind has been in a fallen state. The only exception is in the Person of Jesus Christ, & as you acknowledge, “Jesus honored women”.
    We have to be careful not to assume that because sinful men have taken authority unto themselves to exclude women from leadership, that does NOT mean that them doing so is a good idea; it only means that they were (and are) sinful men.

  269. JP wrote:

    But from Adam to the church, we do see a consistent pattern of stewardship belonging to man. I am open to change my opinion, and very open to others disagreeing with me(liberty in non essentials). But if I do change my mind, it will be based upon scripture, and as of yet I have not found that.

    JP, I haven’t time to read all that’s been written, but I think your claim of a “consistent pattern” is incorrect and results from a very selective approach to scripture. How would you explain Deborah (a women in authority if ever there was one), Anna, Priscilla, Junia, and Phoebe, to list the main ones (there are others). If male headship is God’s decree, how come he put all these female leaders in the Bible? And in Revelation, Jezebel is condemned for her actions, not because she’s a woman.

  270. @ zooey, I agree. Reading through all of this would be like reading War and Peace, but I’ve stated I believe the curse pronounced upon Eve in Genesis 3:16 where it states men will rule over women is part of the judgment for her part in the fall and is prophetic. And history certainly shows us this has been the case. My “interpretation,” as that is what we are all trying to do not having all the facts, was that Adam had a higher accountability to God as he heard the word first(do not eat). And while Eve’s curses are horrible, through Adam all die. I do not believe God intended in His creation for man to have rule over a woman, but with the fall and sin, that became the case. This is why I’ve approached it as the man, as Adam came first and heard the word first, directly from God, has a stewardship responsibility regarding the word, not a dictate from God to rule over women. I don’t believe a pastor has rule over people, but is a steward of the word and the church(Titus 1:7)

  271. Just to clarify, when I say that this issue is secondary or even tertiary, I am speaking in terms of how churches are organized. Presbyterians vs. Baptist, charismatic vs. non-charismatic, eschatological views, etc.

    In terms of our humanity and how we bear the image of God, this issue is PRIMARY, with no apologies for shouting. The theological implications are very serious including whether one gender is privileged (or burdened) more than the other, and whether females are created fully in God’s image. The practical implications are huge, and my frustration is that it is so difficult to get people to think about this practically.

    JP,

    I understand that 1 Timothy 2 is subject to many interpretations. I heard yet another one last night. What I am asking you is to tell us your interpretation of that and how that gets you to your position. This is important because without that, it appears that you are prooftexting from 2:12.

    While it may seem reasonable to you to do that, I think you can see some of the implications of that in Victorious’ comment. Women hear this preached, and we feel assaulted in our personhood, and it really doesn’t help to say that women are equally valued, honored, etc. That feels like a verbal cover for the negative implications for our personhood.

    Do you think that regenerate women are priests in the Kingdom as it says in Hebrews? Do you think that the sons who have received the Spirit of adoption are just males, or does that apply to females as well? Do you find any significance at all that Paul entrusted Phoebe with delivery of Romans, a theologically dense exemplar of Paul’s tight theological reasoning? Or that the implications of that would be that she would be explaining (teaching) that word to the Roman church, including presumably the elders at that church?

    I think that the answers to those questions are critical and get lost in the endless appeals to the “plain” reading of 1 Tim 2, which is, again 1 text that is easy to interpret. And I think it is important to answer those questions carefully regardless of which side of the fence we claim.

    Gram3

  272. JP wrote:

    And while Eve’s curses are horrible, through Adam all die.

    Eve was not cursed. Just the serpent and the ground. Just another one of those fables that’s been passed down without scriptural support.

  273. JP wrote:

    I do not believe God intended in His creation for man to have rule over a woman, but with the fall and sin, that became the case. This is why I’ve approached it as the man, as Adam came first and heard the word first, directly from God, has a stewardship responsibility regarding the word, not a dictate from God to rule over women.

    What I’m hearing in these words, JP, is that whatever it takes to assure Adam was given some…any….more priority. As a result of his disobedience and blaming God and the woman, he is rewarded (however) with more power, more responsibility, more “stewardship” than the woman. If we can’t prove it one way, we’ll try another, right? Even if it means we have to overlook the fact that Adam was created from soil, the fact he was created “first” is what matters most. Right?

    Regardless of the fact that scripture says that while in the beginning, God saw that everything was good, something had changed and now it was not good for Adam to be alone. And a woman was taken from his side to provide that Godly help, but because Adam was “first”, he will determine when, where, and how she will help. Right?

    I’ve seen this type of stretch before and they are easily seen as stretches if one carefully reads the Bible. We must be careful not to read more into scripture than what we are told. And what we are told about Adam is that he disobeyed God, tried to hide his sin, blamed God for the woman, and blamed Eve. How some take these sins and use them to somehow give Adam some semblance of dignity, responsibility, stewardship, and/or authority is beyond comprehension…unless, of course, the end justifies the erroneous means used to get there.

    Really, it doesn’t take a scholar to see the error in this teaching.

  274. @ Victorious, what do you call Genesis 3:16, maybe curse is the wrong word, but she was certainly judged for her role, her and all women after her. The serpent, Eve and Adam were all held accountable for their actions and judgment was made. Instead of a curse on Eve, which I didn’t say(curses of Eve), possibly the curses because of Eve on all women to come after her is more appropriate

  275. Gram3 wrote:

    Women hear this preached, and we feel assaulted in our personhood,

    I know this subject, like predestination and freewill, seems to be unending, but I can’t relate to what you are saying here. Having a daughter tired of being made to feel inferior as a female, I very much agree with you about women being priests and have the Spirit etc. etc.

    Teaching is restricted even amongst men (let not many of you become teachers), although they may teach both sexes. Women on JP’s understanding are restricted to teaching other women. How are these restrictions such a put down?

    I wonder, rather than go over the usual arguments about this, whether some of the heat might be taken out of this if we all stopped thinking in terms of rights, something borrowed from the secular culture around us. Any ‘ministry’ regardless who does it is a privilege rather than a right, so it is no put down if one person may exercise it but not another. It’s nothing to do with who is made in the image of God, rather God has absolute discretion in appointing who does what in the church, and we as hopelessly indebted creatures cannot claim anything as a right from him at all.

    Hope you can see what I am getting at!

  276. Victorious wrote:

    Eve was not cursed. Just the serpent and the ground. Just another one of those fables that’s been passed down without scriptural support.

    Right you are Victorious. Holy Writ says no such thing about women being cursed. It is indeed another cruel fiction further exacerbated by the post-Constantine Church Fathers, the Medieval Scholastics, and the Reformers.

  277. @ Vistorious, a steward does not determine when, where and how, the Master does. His sole responsiblity is to do as the Master says. The Master is the authority. You are confusing ruling and stewardship. Adam did not do as God told him directly, do not eat. He was a poor steward. But does this mean that steardship was removed? That is the question we can and cannot answer for sure

  278. @ Victorious, and I do not say the disrespecfully, but you are right, it is important not to read in to scripture more than we are told. For the sake of this discussion, their is no record anywhere in scripture of a female pastor. So, we are both reading in more than their is given, that’s why it’s interpretation, trying to discern what scripture does say. We’re all going to fail at it on something, as we cannot perfectly discern the mind of God

  279. JP wrote:

    For the sake of this discussion, their is no record anywhere in scripture of a female pastor.

    Is there a male “pastor” in scripture?

  280. Jeff,

    Phoebe was a steward of Romans. We would not expect to find women among the teachers of Scripture because they were not taught, and not because they did not want to learn. They were prevented from learning, hence Paul’s command that they be allowed to learn in 1 Cor 14.

    Jesus said that Mary, the one who was sitting at his feet, had chosen the better part. It was scandalous for a woman to “usurp” a male’s position at the Rabbi’s feet, yet he commended her for not pursuing housework. That was cultural sabotage in that context.

    We don’t know why Jesus called males as his disciples. We do know that Jewish women were not taught the Law and Jewish males were. Maybe that is the reason. Maybe it is because they are related to the 12 sons of Jacob. We don’t know why, and that makes it dangerous to make assumptions and dogma based on that.

    Waiting for your explanation of Paul’s entire argument in 1 Tim 2….

    Gram3

  281. JP wrote:

    The serpent, Eve and Adam were all held accountable for their actions and judgment was made. Instead of a curse on Eve, which I didn’t say(curses of Eve), possibly the curses because of Eve on all women to come after her is more appropriate

    To come after her? How does that square with Ezekiel 18:20?–and more importantly, the whole of chapter 18 in context? The Almighty holds us responsible for our own sins, and never the sins of our ancestors. To say that Eve caused a special ‘punishment’ to fall on her female descendents does violence to God’s character. I can understand such a ‘decree’ going out from the the gods of the Greeks and the Canaanites, but not the God of Abraham, He isn’t anything like them.

  282. JP wrote:

    You are confusing ruling and stewardship

    I’m not confused, JP. Your comments are either intentionally or unintentionally duplicitous because here’s what you said just minutes ago:

    I do not believe God intended in His creation for man to have rule over a woman, but with the fall and sin, that became the case. This is why I’ve approached it as the man, as Adam came first and heard the word first, directly from God, has a stewardship responsibility regarding the word, not a dictate from God to rule over women. I don’t believe a pastor has rule over people, but is a steward of the word and the church(Titus 1:7)

    So while you state that you don’t believe man should rule over a woman, you seem to use the “fall” as the seemingly justifiable reason why it’s ongoing today. Without stating that no one should desire to rule over or have authority over another believer, your comment leaves the possibility open and nearly sanctions it. If you don’t sanction such authority, it would become clearer if you refrained from pointing to the “fall” as apparent justification.

    Another reason for some confusion, is the way you have skillfully switched back and forth between Adam, rule, “stewardship”, and pastoral “stewardship” of the Word. Are we equating the “stewardship” of a “pastor” somehow with the “stewardship” of men ruling?

    I am not confused, but I think your comments are. The reasoning behind them seem (to me at least) an obvious attempt to salvage and justify some level of male entitlement that is not due women.

  283. JP wrote:

    He was a poor steward. But does this mean that steardship was removed? That is the question we can and cannot answer for sure

    Does Eve’s sin cause her stewardship to be removed?

    Gen 1:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

    In God’s prophetic words to Adam after his disobedience, there is no hint of stewardship or authority.

  284. @ Victorious, to say that Adam and Eve were not held responsible for things passed on contradicts much, much scripture. How did deatn come to all through the one man Adam if he was not held accountable? How did multiplied pain in child birth come to pass in all women if not through Eve? Adam and Eve alone were created without sin. Through Adam all sin and die. How is that not an ingerited trait? I wasn’t aware this was even debated among people who claim scripture.

    And yes, their are consequences to sin, eternal without Christ, and here on earth. Everyone came from Adam and Eve, and along with us all tied together somehow, we inherited the judgments that were passed down through them. Women have been subjucated by men for all of history. All people, except Enoch and Elijah, have died. Were Adam and Eve created to die? Not unless you take a deterministic view of scripture which I don’t think you do. I don’t justify man’s rule over women throughout history, I say it is a consequence of original sin.

    What you see as male entitlement, I see as a pattern throughout scripture. We disagree, and are probably not ever going to agree.

  285. Muff Potter wrote:

    JP wrote:
    The serpent, Eve and Adam were all held accountable for their actions and judgment was made. Instead of a curse on Eve, which I didn’t say(curses of Eve), possibly the curses because of Eve on all women to come after her is more appropriate
    To come after her? How does that square with Ezekiel 18:20?–and more importantly, the whole of chapter 18 in context? The Almighty holds us responsible for our own sins, and never the sins of our ancestors. To say that Eve caused a special ‘punishment’ to fall on her female descendents does violence to God’s character. I can understand such a ‘decree’ going out from the the gods of the Greeks and the Canaanites, but not the God of Abraham, He isn’t anything like them.

    Hmmm . . . seems all of mankind sins because of Adam as well. Although “sin entered” and claiming that we are genetically born sinful are two different things to me.

  286. JP wrote:

    How did multiplied pain in child birth come to pass in all women if not through Eve? Adam and Eve alone were created without sin.

    Just assuming that pain in childbirth the result of Eve’s sin, it would only apply to a portion of females for a very short duration if at all. Single women and barren women are then exempt from that “punishment” if it was such.

    No, pain is another one of those incorrect teachings that became cruelty toward women when they were denied medication for their discomfort. The correct word is “sorrow” and it’s the same sorrow Adam will experience.

    Gen 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
    Gen 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life

    Both will experience sorrow and their sorrow is directly the result of having to leave the garden where the protection and fellowship with the Lord will be very different.

  287. @ Muff Potter:

    I almost said “preach it, brother”, but I did not know if you would like that or not. There are a lot of ideas which had infiltrated “christianity” that had their origins in pagan mythology and philosophy.

    The way I read it death passed upon all men because all have sinned. That does not say death passed upon all men because they were born human. It says by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin, so death passed (etc). How hard is that to understand? People need to leave St. Augustine out of it and stick with scripture. I get so tired of this, sometimes.

  288. Nancy wrote:

    I almost said “preach it, brother”, but I did not know if you would like that or not.

    Not a problem Nancy. Preaching is just another way of describing what one is passionate about and what one gives voice to in the arena of ideas. Whether it be secular or religious, the only problem I have is with those on both sides of any aisle who substitute dogma for thinking.

  289. JP wrote:

    I don’t justify man’s rule over women throughout history, I say it is a consequence of original sin.

    What you see as male entitlement, I see as a pattern throughout scripture. We disagree, and are probably not ever going to agree.

    Do you not see how these two sentences contradict each other? If man’s rule over women is a consequence of sin, then how on earth would that ‘pattern’ seen in scripture (and out of it) mean it is what God wanted?

    A) Eve sins
    B) There is consequence
    C) Consequence is recorded in history
    D) History show a pattern (of consequence)
    E) Consequence becomes God original order

    ???

  290. @ JP:

    “Sometimes I wonder whether Jesus left questions like this unresolved intentionally, as a test, as to whether we would love each other as He loved us, and avoid the bickering showing grace and liberty”
    ++++++++++++

    Jesus never got involved with these questions/answers (beyond “Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.)

    The last thing he came to do was institute more rules. I really don’t think he’s all that pleased that this book that has been produced is used as a rule book, contorting so much of life in a vice grip of regulations and procedural mandates.

    Jesus and the bible are not one and the same.

  291. @ JP:

    “How did multiplied pain in child birth come to pass in all women if not through Eve?”
    +++++++++++++

    how did it get passed to Bessie the cow, Mollie the mare, and Abbie the springer spaniel??

  292. elastigirl wrote:

    . I really don’t think he’s all that pleased that this book that has been produced is used as a rule book, contorting so much of life in a vice grip of regulations and procedural mandates.

    I say a hearty AMEN to that, elastigirl!

  293. elastigirl wrote:

    @ JP:
    “Sometimes I wonder whether Jesus left questions like this unresolved intentionally, as a test, as to whether we would love each other as He loved us, and avoid the bickering showing grace and liberty”
    ++++++++++++
    … The last thing [Jesus] came to do was institute more rules.

    I would go further: John, who knew Jesus well during his three years of ministry, declares that Jesus came to give us the rights of sonship, to be co-heirs with him. Far from hiding behind fragments of ancient law, unrevised for almost two thousand years, that implies that he intended us to confer with him in real time and take responsibility for judging each case on its merits, as sons and daughters of his Father’s household. As indeed the early church did. Solomon could display unprecedented wisdom (as in the famous incident where the baby’s true mother would rather let him go to another woman than see him harmed). And as Jesus pointed out, one greater than Solomon is here.

    And I heartily concur that Jesus and the biblescriptures are not one and the same. If somebody says: Jesus and the Father are one and the same, that’s one thing. If they say, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one and the same, likewise. But when somebody says, Jesus and scripture are one and the same, then either the Trinity has now become a Quadruinity, or else the Holy Spirit has vanished and Jesus himself has morphed into a kind of surrealistic embalmed corpse.

  294. @ elastigirl, I would agree with that. Scripture is God’s communication with us, but not God. The essential things of God are readily understandable through the account of scripture to nthe spiritual man, but many mysteries of the mind of God still remain. The Jews had over 300 separate prophecies of the first coming of Jesus, Messiah, yet could not discren Him when with them. We have the Holy Spirit in us, so we have a distinct advantage, but still are faced with things we cannot discern clearly. We still look as through a glass darkly on many things