Doug Phillips – New Paganism?
A number of years ago Dr. Albert Mohler spoke at an EMNR conference and in his talk shared a story about Bishop John Shelby Spong. According to Mohler, at the Lambeth Conference, Spong had committed a cultural and political boo-boo. He had been pressing for the ordination of homosexuals but was unable to get the majority to agree at the time because the bishops from Africa held firmly against it. In a moment of frustration Spong lashed out with, “The reason the African bishops believe the Bible to literally is because they have been so recently converted from paganism.” To which the Bishop from Uganda responded, “The reason Spong doesn’t believe the Bible is because he has so recently been converted to paganism.”
I have thought a lot about this exchange lately. It is easy for many of us to write off liberalism, the Emerging Church and Postmodernism as an embracing of paganism by church leaders and their followers. And, to be sure, it is. But, do some segments of conservative believers embrace other forms of paganism that may be promoted by some of their leaders? I would suggest this is the case with Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard.
Bill Gothard embraces and promotes the pagan view of authority as being the Christian view of a top down authority based on a misuse of the story of the centurion in Matthew 8:5-10. The story was about who Jesus was and His ability to heal long distance but Gothard makes it a story about authority and wrote in his Basic Seminar Textbook:
After the centurion asked Jesus to come and heal his servant, it occurred to him that just as life was structured around a “chain of responsibility,” so the kingdom in which God operates must have a similar structure of authority.
Jesus directly inverted this idea in Luke 22:25-26:
And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
Rather than the leader being less or not accountable and each one below them in “authority” being progressively more accountable to a larger number of people above them Jesus turned it around and made the leader the most accountable. God’s leaders live in glass houses and everyone else has Windex!
But how does this reflect upon or answer the question about Doug Phillips and Vision Forum? There are a number of areas that could be looked at, including his view of authority which, like Gothard’s derives from First Century paganism. We have looked at his promotion of his concept of patriarchy in our current Journal article, “Who Will Be First in the Kingdom?” (Vol. 13, No 2). Another area is Vision Forum’s view of women. How does it compare with First Century paganism?
Moya K. Mason points out in her “Ancient Roman Women: A Look at their Lives.”:
Although the role of women in ancient Rome was primarily child-bearing, women also played an important role in raising the children
In that culture aristocratic woman may have received some education but that was primarily for use in educating their children. Most women received little or no education. Men were the ones to receive higher education. It was considered a waste of time and financial resources to educate a woman in the same way. After all, her use was to have children and stay at home to care for them. The husband owned the wife and children. If she had a baby girl he had the choice as to whether the female child would live or die. He was more interested in having a son to carry on his name but the son too was property until he attained adulthood. The daughter could be sold or bartered with. She lived with the father until he decided to marry her off, or perhaps not marry her off and she was under his authority until he died.
Alvin J. Schmidt in his book Under the Influence: How Christianity Transformed Civilization points out how the church elevated the status of women by addressing many of these issues. He also comments on the church having to go back and address this issue as various church leaders have reintroduced this pagan view of women back in to the church. As we look at Vision Forum are we seeing yet another attempt at bringing the pagan view of women back in to the church? In their statement The Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy we read:
Until she is given in marriage, a daughter continues under her father’s authority and protection
But what of education? Like the First Century Romans, Vision Forum in their article ”Biblical Patriarchy and the Doctrine of Federal Representation” considers educating females a waste of time and money:
And does it really make economic sense to invest tens of thousands of dollars for a woman to get an advanced education (often having to go into debt to finance that education) that she will NOT use if she accepts that her highest calling is to be a wife and mother?
In his excellent book Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus” Timothy Paul Jones addresses Bart Ehrman’s claim that some passages were modified to oppose women and Jews:
A handful of changes could potentially relate to the role of women in churches today. It appears that women played more prominent roles in the early church than they did in the later eras. As a result some scribes in late ancient and medieval times seem to have altered texts that seemed to place women in prominent positions.
For example, in the most ancient manuscripts of Acts 18:26, a woman named Priscilla seems to be the primary teachers of Apollos. Centuries later, a copyist switched the order of names, placing the name of Pricilla’s husband, Aquila, first. In Romans 16:7, someone named Junia – a woman’s name – is said to be “significant among the apostles,” but a later scribe turned “Junia” into “Junias,” a man’s name. In Acts 17:4, another scribe changed “prominent women” into “wives of prominent men.” In each of these cases, however, it’s possible to look at the manuscripts and recover the original wording.
Similarly, Doug Phillips’ Vision Forum is clear in their article ”Biblical Patriarchy and the Doctrine of Federal Representation” of the wrongness of a woman having an individual personal view and taking any sort of participation or prominent role which may be viewed as competing with her owner, er, I mean husband:
In regards to a woman’s right to vote; if husband and wife are truly “one flesh” and the husband is doing his duty to represent the family to the wider community, then what PRACTICAL benefit does allowing women to vote provide? If husband and wife agree on an issue, then one has simply doubled the number of votes; but the result is the same. Women’s voting only makes a difference when the husband and wife disagree; a wife, who does not trust the judgment of her husband, can nullify his vote. Thus, the immediate consequence is to enshrine the will of the individual OVER the good of the family thus creating divisions WITHIN the family.
Is Doug Phillips just the latest incarnation of this infiltration? I am not sure but it seems worth thinking about.Ω
© 2007, Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc
Thanks for the positive mention of my book, Misquoting Truth!
As for your primary point in this entry, it seems to me that Doug Phillips’ rather extreme hierarchicalist views are derived from a false vision of the past century American social history, which is then utilized as a lens through which to view the biblical text. Specifically, he is living within the myth that, once upon a time, there was a Christian America in which the prevailing family pattern was one of patriarchs guiding their families, training girls for motherhood and boys to be providers. In fact, this is a fiction (see, from an evangelical perspective, This Rebellious House by Steve Keillor or, from a more secular perspective, The Way We Never Were by Stephanie Coontz).
I am unabashedly complementarian; that is, I believe that there are specific and distinct roles for husbands and wives. At the same time, what I find most troubling about Phillips—besides his embarrassingly-underinformed exegeses of biblical texts—is (1) he applies to females in general that which the Bible applies to wives in particular, and, (2) he seems to assume that all women are called to an identical role, which Scripture does not explicitly affirm.
Timothy Paul Jones, yes. What does Doug t make of the verses in 1 CORINTHIANS 7 that say God can use single women, too. Also, if it was so wrong for a single woman to work for anybody besides her father like somebody in the video, The Return of Daughters, said, maidservants wouldn’t have been allowed under the law of Moses.
Quote from above: Is Doug Phillips just the latest incarnation of this infiltration?”
!!!He’s definitely an incarnation of someone/something that preceded him!!!
Phillips is certainly a kitsch-loving, postmodern version at that, given what one forum/blog called his happy world of “Photoshop faces.” It seems that he’s the Internet’s version of the new millennium Bill Gothard. Per the Veinots and Henzel in their book on Gothard, he’s definitely “Roman.”
I appreciate the references in this entry from both Phillips’ “tenets” and the related, cited references that call attention to the pagan concepts of the “top-down” authority structure. This blog topic expands upon the same ideas posed in the most recent MCOI newsletter article, “Who Will Be First in the Kingdom?”
“Is Doug Phillips just the latest incarnation of this infiltration?”
It certainly sounds like it to me …
Let me first deconstruct Mr. Phillips’ seeming fallacies from a personal point of view. I am a Biblical complementarian — and at present am still reading through the fantastic early-90s work on the subject, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem. Scripture is clear that men and women are equal in importance, yet different in roles — just as are the Father and Son in the Trinity. And a marriage relationship works best when a husband and wife, because of their mutual love for God and desire to glorify Him, naturally assume these roles. …
Meanwhile, Mr. Phillips is going far overboard and, frankly, making Christians look like jerks.
To be equally frank, I cannot, and will never, identify with his seeming preference for women to be uneducated and non-voters. Instead, I eagerly desire to find someday a beloved wife who is informed, bright, intelligent, wise and knows things that I don’t. I want to learn from her. I want her to have talents I do not have. I desire her help and input as we strive through life, the universe and everything.
As husband, to be sure, I want to be the leader — Biblically, I should be the leader. But absolutely, just as leaders are accountable to those whom they lead — nor merely vice-versa! — so the husband should be accountable to his wife and not Supreme Exalted Potentate of the Household.
Again, I cannot personally fathom wanting it the other way … strange though my preference may sound …
I shall likely have more to say on this topic in later days; in the meantime, I would love to hear more written about Mr. Phillips’ seemingly demeaning views toward women.
Their legalistic views on dress styles and quasi-arranged-marriage “courtships” could also be fascinatingly deconstructed, though perhaps merely by copying-and-pasting material from “A Matter of Basic Principles” with the source quotes and attributions changed from Mr. Gothard to Mr. Phillips. …
I respect your view very much, namely your appreciation of a good education for women the same as men. I also appreciate your understanding that the husband can be the leader and still consider his wife’s insights. I believe in most cases the husband will have more knowledge in some areas and the wife more knowledge in other areas. Hardly ever will one of them be superior to the other in all areas of knowledge. As for Doug Phillips, Voddie Baucham, and Michael Pearl, they don’t want husbands to simply be leaders but to be at liberty to be tyrants with unlimited authority and wives to be willing to be stepped on.
Don, I agree there are troublesome similarities between pagan authoritarian ideas, which Jesus explicitly said was NOT to be emulated by the church, and Gothard and Phillips both.
Thanks for this article.
I agree that Doug Phillips has gone far beyond most complementarians with his very strict view of women. However I would like to expand on the defintion of complementarism that was provided by Mr. Burnett.
He said, “Scripture is clear that men and women are equal in importance, yet different in roles — just as are the Father and Son in the Trinity.”
From my years of research in the issue of women teaching in the body of Christ, what I have found is that what complementarians really mean by the above statement is that men and women are equal *to God* and *to God* they are equal in importance. However *to man* they are not equally important. A man can say therefore that when a woman teaches *women* need her as a teacher and *children* need her as a teacher but *he* does not need her as a teacher. To a complementarian man, it is acceptable for a woman to give him her private thoughts and in that way teach him, but he surely doesn’t need her as a teacher and men as a group do not need her as a teacher. The complementarian bottom line is that in the *church* the men are free to say in their hearts “I do not need you” to a woman teacher.
This is the exact opposite of what scripture allows in 1 Cor. 12:21 –
And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
Men are not given permission to say that *they* do not need women teachers in the body of Christ.
The body of Christ will be whole when it’s male members are able to say *I* need you. Then women will be equal in worth.
Quoting the VF article on women and higher education: “And does it really make economic sense to invest tens of thousands of dollars for a woman to get an advanced education (often having to go into debt to finance that education) that she will NOT use if she accepts that her highest calling is to be a wife and mother?”
The idea of a woman’s “highest calling” as a wife and mother is often tossed around by female subordinationists, but there is zero scriptural support for this premise. Rather, Luke 11 tells us that a woman’s highest calling is to obey God.
27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
Cheryl, I have seen your blog and your comments around the blogosphere, and wanted to say how much I appreciate your perspective. Your insights are always a blessing to me.
Don, even after all I’ve been through with Doug, this article is still shocking to me! Do you mean to tell me that Doug’s views on women are not biblical views after all? I thought he was just taking things to an extreme, but here you are asserting that he takes a pagan/Roman view. Doug himself calls it a Hebrew view.
I was absolutely fascinated with the three changes to the NT of Priscilla, Junia, and prominent women. Does that mean I don’t have to be just a doormat after all?
I constantly asked a question while I was at BCA that no one seemed able to answer: Why did God bother to give me a brain if He didn’t expect me to use it?
After seeing Doug’s views on women voting (or rather, Doug’s misogynist views against women voting), that seems to explain why he would “make me pay” for writing him a response to his voting article and subsequently excommunicate this educated woman for such rebellion against her elder! I violated all his sacred views on keeping women in their place.
On the issue of women as spiritual teachers of men in the church setting, I remain unconvinced as to its Biblical validity.
“Men are not given permission to say that *they* do not need women teachers in the body of Christ.”
One could argue easily that any adherence to Biblical “regs” on any issue could be thus excused as members of the Church saying “I don’t need you” — when Paul is clear that in many instances there are things and practices the Church doesn’t need: disorganization, for example, or false teachers, Judaizers and Gnostics, or members who are in sin (1 Corinthians 5). Ergo, the passage Cheryl cited above is very general and does not at all refute the complementarian position on women as official, spiritual teachers of men (secular education, job training, etc., do not count).
“The idea of a woman’s “highest calling” as a wife and mother is often tossed around by female subordinationists […]”
Egads! I do hope I have not been labeled so hastily. 🙂
What is so “subordinate” about women who sincerely desire this form of vital ministry? And have I yet said that all women somehow should do this?
As I wrote above, please do not allow Phillips’ cliched brand of dangerous, chest-thumping faux-Biblical male chauvinism to the opposite-extreme position of automatically dismissing the indeed “high calling” of wifehood and motherhood as “female subordinationism” and thus writing off any honest, Grace-imbued adherence to Biblical roles for women in the Church, wives and husbands, as nothing more than men putting down women and so on and so forth. …
Meanwhile, Jen, I have just been reading your blog and am especially “geeking out,” so to speak, at your expose of Phillips’ marketing of pure, abject Legalism under the guise of Reformed theology.
Goth-ism and this perversion of “patriarchy” are in no way compatible with the liberating doctrines of Grace! To claim otherwise is indeed to live in a parallel abstract universe with absolutely illogical theology. With this absurd claim — which shocked me when I heard it; Phillips as “Reformed” — Phillips is either highly naive or else sinisterly deceptive.
“Light” thank you for sharing that blessing with me!
E. Stephen Burnett wrote:
“One could argue easily that any adherence to Biblical “regs” on any issue could be thus excused as members of the Church saying “I don’t need you” — when Paul is clear that in many instances there are things and practices the Church doesn’t need: disorganization, for example, or false teachers, Judaizers and Gnostics, or members who are in sin (1 Corinthians 5). Ergo, the passage Cheryl cited above is very general and does not at all refute the complementarian position on women as official, spiritual teachers of men (secular education, job training, etc., do not count).”
Please notice that my comment said that God doesn’t give us permission to say that we don’t need *a person or their gifts*. What you did was change it around to say that we don’t need certain *things* or *practices*. I fully agree with you that we don’t need false teaching (not from a man or a woman!) and we don’t need a false system of beliefs (Judaizers) but we do need every member in the body of Christ to use the gifts that God has given them for the edification of the body. I repeat, Paul does not give permission for men to say that they do not *need* women teachers. 1 Cor. 12:21 says
And the eye cannot say to the hand, “*I* have no need of *you*”; or again the head to the feet, “*I* have no need of *you*.”
Men are not allowed to say to women who have been gifted by the Holy Spirit with a gift of teaching for the edification of the body, “*I* have no need of *you* women teachers.” When we disregard the Holy Spirit’s gifting when he gives his word through a woman, and we say it is not necessary for us to receive this word because the gift has been given to a woman, may I respectfully say that we may find ourselves fighting God himself? God has said through Paul that we are not allowed to do that. When we open ourselves up to the gifts that the very lowliest of the members of the body has to give, I believe that God will bless us and give a unity in the body of Christ that will be seen by the world. We need each other. I don’t just need women teachers, I need you! Your perspective as a male is helpful and necessary for me. In the same way you don’t just need male teachers, you need me.
The perspective that God has given women is different than the perspective of male teachers and it rounds out the entire wisdom of God. We are all needed. I humbly encourage you to learn from women teachers. We (me too) need them.
E. Stephen, I’m not at all dismissing the relationships of wife and mother. I’m a wife and mother of four myself, and am greatly privileged, honored, and blessed in both capacities. However, it is simply not scriptural to say it is a woman’s HIGHEST calling, and it is used again and again as a way to keep women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. To flip this argument around, how many times do you hear that a man’s highest calling is as a husband and father? I sure never have.
I use the term female subordinationist because it is accurate. If someone believes in hierarchy in marriage and male-only leadership in the church, they do in fact believe in gender-based subordination.
“Please notice that my comment said that God doesn’t give us permission to say that we don’t need *a person or their gifts*. What you did was change it around to say that we don’t need certain *things* or *practices*.”
But my point remains — is it not a “practice” to have a woman officially teaching men in the Church, with regard to spiritual matters? I have read many rationales submitted by those of more-“egalitarian” leanings and found them lacking. 1 Corinthians 12:21 must be taken in the context of other Scriptures, particularly the — I’m sure you have foreseen this coming 😉 — words of Paul at the end of 1 Corinthians 14.
Moreover, it is not stifling someone’s spiritual gift to set “limits” on its practice. Paul had many admonitions against getting all carried away with the gift of tongues, for example (and perhaps we might avoid the whole debate here about whether it remains applicable today).
If a woman has a gift of teaching, God bless her! A church should fall all over itself to give her opportunities to use it. But does this automatically mean women should exercise positions of spiritual authority over men, as pastors or Sunday school leaders? I still do not see the natural and logical equivocation of “limiting the Church’s official authority roles over adult mixed genders” with “you are therefore stifling the Spirit’s gifts,” though the connection may seem very clear to you.
Meanwhile, Light, I have not yet said — nor will I maintain here — that being a wife and mother is the highest calling for “every” woman. Indeed, Scripture says no such thing, any more than it says every man must be a husband and father (cf. the gift of celibacy for some, etc. …).
My only request is that if a woman were to feel that this is God’s highest calling for her, that Christian egalitarians would ensure they respect that.
I expect most secular feminists to sneer at the “inferior” position of working at home, of course, but I will do my best in Grace to oppose such similar messages being transmitted within the church. Very often it has reached the point where a “secular” film such as The Incredibles can better advocate the freedom of choice for smart, fun, industrious women to work at home and raise children better than can some sectors of the Church.
E. Stephen Burnett said:
“If a woman has a gift of teaching, God bless her! A church should fall all over itself to give her opportunities to use it. But does this automatically mean women should exercise positions of spiritual authority over men, as pastors or Sunday school leaders? I still do not see the natural and logical equivocation of “limiting the Church’s official authority roles over adult mixed genders” with “you are therefore stifling the Spirit’s gifts,” though the connection may seem very clear to you.”
Ah, yes, the 1 Corinthians 14 passage. You really MUST get my DVD and see for yourself if my exegesis makes sense. The 4 DVD set is called “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” and is available on http://www.amazon.com or from http://mmoutreach.org Once you have viewed it, I would very much love to dialog with you. You can also see preview clips of the 4 DVD series on You Tube. God to youtube.com and type in “Cheryl Schatz” in the search box and my video clips will come up. That will give you a flavor of my work.
Stephen, the only limits that Paul gave was on gifts that were not able to be understood by the congregation. Without getting into the argument whether tongues are for today or not, you will notice that Paul did not forbid the speaking of tongues, or the speaking of tongues by women. He did not want the speaking of tongues without interpretation so that the whole body is edified. Also he set a limit on the number of tongue speakers in one meeting but he never limited what gender could speak in tongues (or what gender had to be silent!) and any member could use the gift in another meeting so there was no real limit on the gift itself. With prophesy, there was no limit and every member of the body was able to exercise their gift.
However the issue of women teaching is not even similar to your examples. Paul did not say that women cannot speak in the church since he said that they can pray and prophesy. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is a passage that must be understood in its context because ripping it from its context makes Paul contradict himself in the very same chapter.
Anyway if you are not adverse to listening to a woman teacher (even if it is for the purpose of refuting me so as not to offend your conscience!), please do see my work and correspond with me. “Iron sharpens iron” and you and I can sharpen each other.
Arrrgh! This computer keeps giving me error messages – sorry if this is a duplicate message.
E. Stephen, we agree! If a woman believes God is calling her to be a stay at home wife/mother, who are we to question or disparage that?
Unfortunately, people like Doug Phillips and other hyper patriarchalists don’t believe women have individual callings – they put women into a one-size-fits-all mold and insist God’s best and highest for them all is wife/stay at home mom, and any deviation from that is sin, or at best, non-normative.
Most Legalists tend to do that — that is, the once-size-fits-all approach, based mostly on their own views about what God may have called them to do. Good night — how un-Biblical, and furthermore, uncreative and unwilling to acknowledge the fact that God works in multifarious and diverse ways with different peoples, cultures and callings.
This goes for all manner of lifestyle issues and matters of media, education, and life’s work — all that relates to one’s spiritual Life, the Universe and Everything.
It was Screwtape who helpfully reminded us that it’s the Devil’s desire to take all humans and “assimilate” them, like the Borg of Star Trek, into his cosmic collective; it is the Creator (Whom Screwtape despises as hideously paradoxical) Who instead wishes to make people like Himself, and yet simultaneously let them maintain their human individuality and diversity.
Anytime any leader attempts to compress living, thinking, individual human beings into un-Biblical molds such as that, they approach the Devil’s methodology, not the Creator’s.
Fortunately, with such legalistic cookie-cutter approaches, as with the Borg, resistance is sometimes not futile!
Light: “how many times do you hear that a man’s highest calling is as a husband and father?”
I believe that is exactly what Doug is teaching, that to be the “patriarch” of the family is the pinnacle for a man. And even the arrogance of using such a word points to that very meaning. But, Light, as I’m sure you will agree, this “patriarchy” is elevated to the same degree than women are denigrated. You cannot elevate both of them equally the way Doug Phillips would have us believe.
These have all been wonderful and edifying comments concerning these things partriarchal.
I am grateful to all who posted here and have enjoyed looking at your respective websites.
Cheryl, I certainly concur with you on the point that women may speak in church. 🙂 And, as I did above, I will heartily join with you in opposing the insidiously un-Biblical and disrespectful and plainly dangerous teachings of men such as Mr. Phillips in this regard.
However, are women permitted, Biblically, to be official pastors or ministers, or teachers of men regarding spiritual things? That question remains, and seems the issue at heart here — and I do not believe proving women can speak in church is equivocal to proving they can teach as pastors in a church.
I am sure, though, that you outline your reasons further in other venues … Suffice it to say, though, I wish to be clear: is that your contention? that women are, Biblically, allowed to be pastors of churches?
Meanwhile, I will certainly check out your work — however, while taking somewhat of the easy route (as I am so often pressed for time 😉 ) and suggest that my views are effectively echoed by Misters Piper and Grudem in their works on the topic of Biblical, Grace-inspired, balanced and loving “complementarianism” for husbands, wives and churches.
And of course, this doesn’t qualify as you “teaching” me, ma’am! Methinks I detect a tread-carefully-’round-the-possible-chauvinist tone in your above requests to me; I assure you it is not necessary. 😉 Rather, I have always learned so much from women — my mother, my sister, internet friends; instinctively, I never take into account a spiritually wise person’s gender whenever she has something to say.
Again, my objection here is primarily to what I perceive as advocacy of women pastors and official spiritual authorities. That is all. Does this help clarify my position?
I don’t think women are called to be pastors, but they can write tracts and edifying books and witness in the community.
It is an odd thing – I started my research on the women’s issue just focused on the teaching thing and then found myself pushed by everyone into the Pastor issue. Arghhhhh! I really didn’t want to go there, you know, because I am not a Pastor but just a mere teacher. The reason that I even researched the subject was because a male “friend” told me that women weren’t allowed to teach the bible publicly to men and he was offended by women teaching the bible verse by verse (and this after months of requesting help from me on all kinds of biblical subjects!)
I decided I wasn’t going to leave the hard passages of scripture until I knew what God was saying to women. It mattered not that women were used by God in all kinds of places and all kinds of ways. If the “hard passages” were restricting me from teaching men, then I would comply and stop my ministry. You see I could not bear to discriminate against men and send them away when they were coming to me to learn. (God gave me a love for Jehovah’s Witnesses and in 1988 I started a support group for those who had left the Watchtower. These dear souls were still indoctrinated by their false beliefs and they needed someone who understood how to teach them correct biblical doctrine in a way that they could understand. Men and women came to me and I taught them all.)
As I researched and looked at the hard passages on women – as I looked at the inspired words and the inspired grammar and the inspired context, I was amazed! The context showed something completely different than the tradition I had been taught. God gifts women equally with men and there are no “pink” passages for women’s gifts and “blue” passages for men’s gifts. I found that the difficult passages are not difficult when one considers the entire word usage, the grammar and the entire context. I was free to serve both the lost and Christians too without guilt and knowing that I was in the center of God’s will!
But as hard as I tried to stay away from dealing with women Pastors (I was stubborn and a bit selfish because I only really wanted to know about God’s will for me!), I softened because everywhere I looked I saw the connection between the freedom to teach and the freedom to shepherd.
So I researched God’s will for a female shepherd too and I did so with fear and trembling. Trembling because my real issue was really about God’s gifts through women. It was not an issue about authority. Fear too because if I bring up the issue of women Pastors, then I might offend people and they won’t listen when I speak on the subject of women teachers in the body of Christ. Do you know what I mean?
So how about we stick with teachers first? It is like this – if a woman cannot be a teacher for the common good in the body of Christ, then of course she can’t be a Pastor. Right?
But we must also decide what kind of teacher can she be? Can she teach men to knit? Is she supposed to teach men how to darn their own socks? (or am I dating myself since most wouldn’t even know what darning socks means!) The bottom line is that we need to know if a woman is allowed to teach God’s word from the Bible? Is she allowed to teach doctrine? Is she allowed to work in an apologetics ministry where she corrects biblical error (that’s the ministry I am in!) This is our start and from there we branch out.
If our start falls to the ground in that we find that women cannot teach the bible to men (not one on one teaching but teaching in the full body of Christ), then the issue of Pastor is already solved. My approach is always respectful because I love my brothers in Christ.
Lastly I have already read the opposition and most everything from CBMW (Grudem et al) including hours and hours and hours of their cassette tapes. Their point of view is documented in my DVD from their own audio tapes. CBMW and John MacArthur’s organization both asked for a copy of “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” as soon as it was finished editing and I sent them a review copy. They have not answered my exegesis and prefer to just agree to disagree.
CBMW’s material seeks to refute the egalitarian position, but my arguments are not found there and they are not willing to dialog either. I am always willing to hear the other side and if they (or anyone else) could refute me, I would listen with interest.
Today a Baptist Pastor forwarded an email to me from a brother who had watched my DVD. This brother said:
“I have just finished watching the 4-Part DVD series on women in ministry. All I can really say at this point is “WOW!” I am terribly convicted at how women have been treated down through the centuries by sinful and domineering males. In retrospect, I believe that I have played a part in that as well.
Cheryl Schatz’s arguments for 1 Tim. 2:11-12 and 1 Cor. 14:34ff were brilliant. I also found her presentation on 1 Tim. 3 regarding a pastor/elder/overseer being either male or female intriguing as well.”
It is only the Holy Spirit that can convict a person of their failure to allow women to teach. We can do nothing but rightly divide the word of truth and then let the Holy Spirit confirm his word through his convicting power. If men won’t even give us a chance to speak God’s word boldly and with passion to our dear brothers in Christ, then the whole body will be hurt. When one part of the body hurts (women are hurt because they are not allowed to use their gifts for the edification of the entire body. They are stifled and held back); then the whole body hurts.
Blessings to you for being caring at least to the point that you are offended by those who have shut the door in a woman’s face stopping her from getting an education and stopping her from voting. You are needed and appreciated for taking that step!
“And does it really make economic sense to invest tens of thousands of dollars for a woman to get an advanced education (often having to go into debt to finance that education) that she will NOT use if she accepts that her highest calling is to be a wife and mother?”
This strikes me as being rather ridiculous, especially coming from someone who advocates homeschooling. I don’t care how “in charge” the “patriarch” is, the mother is almost always the one who ends up with the majority of the teaching load. Seems to me that from his point of view, wives and mothers would be the ones most in need of a good education that they could pass on to their own children.
Very interesting discussion on the place of women and the church, something that has long frustrated me.
I’m glad that someone is bringing Phillips’ extreme theology to light!
Quoting Cheryl’s preceding post:
“So I researched God’s will for a female shepherd too and I did so with fear and trembling. Trembling because my real issue was really about God’s gifts through women. It was not an issue about authority…. But we must also decide what kind of teacher can she be? Can she teach men to knit? Is she supposed to teach men how to darn their own socks? (or am I dating myself since most wouldn’t even know what darning socks means!) The bottom line is that we need to know if a woman is allowed to teach God’s word from the Bible? Is she allowed to teach doctrine? Is she allowed to work in an apologetics ministry where she corrects biblical error (that’s the ministry I am in!) This is our start and from there we branch out.”
Legalism often classifies these separate issues (teaching vs. pastoring) as one and the same. This is so common of the Black/White thought and the ego defense of “splitting” in psychology, such a potent, thought-stopping technique used within cults and high demand groups! One cannot hold egalitarian ideals (eg. American ideals) and simultaneously submit to Christian standards in many of these groups. A croanie of Phillips, Justice Roy Moore spins his concept of patriarchy to misprepresent any egalitarian ideal of any type straight to outright rejection of God’s Lordship over all creation. (Do not pass go. Do not collect any grace on the way to total, unabashed feminism.)
And believe it or not, there are hoards of people who subscribe to this concept of women never teaching men anything including knitting (unless they bait an unbeliever to sin/teach at the local craft shop). I’m still incredulous that the VF Jamestown event drew over 3500 people from as far away as Washington state, per the Newsweek/MSNBC online article. The number of followers that hold Phillips and his ideals above reproach continue to grow. It’s hard to believe that these ideas could be remotely palatable, but many earnest people fear that patriarchy provides the only viable option to counter the decline in our society.
Thank you to all who have contributed to this much needed dialogue.
Dear Mr. Veinot,
Thank you so much for this article and for your recent journal article addressing the same subject.
As a long time homeschooler, I have witnessed the destruction that has come to so many homes and churches through the patriocentric teachings of which you write. I have especially been concerned about the moms who eventually face such terrific discouragement once they realize that the paradigms promoted by Phillips, Gothard, Lancaster, Swanson, the Bayly brothers, and their followers, are not a substitute for the relationshp-building environment that homeshcooling ought to provide.
The most recent emphasis on young women not being formally educated and the pronouncement by these men that a woman’s world ought to revolve around the men in the household, is abusing these precious sisters who have been given their own callings by the Lord.
We need more voices like yours who are willing to point out these pagan ideals that are growing in some segments of the body of Christ. We need more pastors and leaders confirming all that Jesus said regarding women. And, we also need more women themselves who will reject these teachings and use their tremendous influence to point their families back to the Word of God.
The one thing that has saddened me the most is that the patriarchal camp has gone so overboard in attacking egalitarians that they have gone far past the “women teaching men is in the same category as the sin of homosexuality” mindset and have made a concerted effort to question whether egalitarians can even be saved. The view now is that if one does not turn from having an egalitarian view and repent and believe the hierarchal point of view, one is denying the gospel of Christ. When one attaches their particular belief regarding the non-essentials to the basics of the gospel itself, they are guilty of causing division in the body of Christ.
I have included 6 short audio clips on my blog
from the February 2007 “Different by Design” Conference held in Minneapolis Minnesota and sponsored by CBMW (the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood). The audio from the conference is very shocking to me as it was so clear that dear brothers in Christ have gone on the attack against their own sisters in Christ. Brothers and sisters, this is nothing less than a shame!
The intro video was so well done, well-researched and balanced that I didn’t watch them all and just went ahead and ordered them. I can’t wait to receive them.
“Under Much Grace”,
I am confident you will like them and they will cause you to see the hard passages of scripture in a new light. I have been blessed to have men write me and tell me that these DVDs have set them free and changed their views about women’s ministering in the body of Christ. God gets the glory for his convicting power!
Whether you are a complimentarian or egaltarian, you will want to see these DVD’s of Cheryl’s.
We have been conditioned to think of women Bible teachers as feminists!
Cheryl’s DVD’s are FAR from a feminist rant! They are well researched, expository teaching on scriptures we have been taught that relate to women’s roles. They won’t change your ‘mind’, they will drive you to study scripture in depth and let scripture teach you.
Since viewing her DVD’s I have read the creation account at least 4 times and each time as I study it in depth, I come away with deeper understanding. I could say more on this but I just want to encourage you all to get them.
Cheryl, I looked at your DVD previews on You-Tube and I left you a question there, but it might be better answered here. I saw lots of interesting things to consider, but there was one passage that I really had some questions about. When we are told that the wall of separation in Ephesians has been broken down, I see that passage as speaking exclusively to the Jew/Gentile wall of separation. How do you get male/female out of that passage?
Don, I heard you on the radio talking about this subject yesterday. Great job!
I just keep thinking about this top-down authority style of patriarchy versus the servant leadership Jesus modeled for us. I love the way you brought this out.
(Slightly edited from a column-length installment to FaithFusion.net, posted July 6, 2007)
Throughout the past several days, I have been reading much about this homeschool-intensive “church leader” named Doug Phillips, and his extreme views of “patriarchy,” and frankly, hardline chauvinism. My view of him has sharply declined from perceiving him as perhaps a mere nuisance to indeed a great threat to the health of Christendom — especially those sectors that advocate home education for children.
At the same time, though, it would certainly behoove us to consider: what is the opposite error to Phillipsian “Patriarchy”?
Does such an error exist? And if so, what can balanced, Bible-advocated Christ-followers do about it?
Equal and opposite reactions
It would seem odd, when faced with the disgusting reality of abused wives and abusive male-dominated churches, to broach that point. Yet as the incomparable Lewis wrote, the temptation constantly exists for Christians to overcorrect, swinging like pendulums between extreme views, in our extra dislike of one perspective, only to flail headlong into an equal and opposite re-reaction.
This is what Mr. Phillips seems to have done — in his rejection of Christianized mutations of secular feminism, he has thereby found an equally or perhaps even more dangerous view. He has not kept “his eyes on the goal.”
And what is that goal? The Gospel!
The Gospel is Christianity, pure and simple, Biblical — open to varying interpretations and schools of thought on various points — mere Christianity, simple Christianity, as affirmed in the famous creeds and confessions, supported by Scripture, adhered to by orthodox scholars over the centuries.
And that’s exactly the sort of thing the Devil and his minions are so infamously desperate to avoid. Intercepted correspondence from His Utter Subliminity Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood puts it plainly:
So what do we get from more-liberal incarnations of Christianity? Christianity and Environmentalism. Christianity and Faith Tolerance. Christianity and Stop Global Warming. Christianity and Extreme Egalitarianism/Feminism. And on and on it goes, leaving the Gospel far behind or else mixing it with all these other equally-important Social Issues.
And what about Phillipsian ultraconservative Christianity And? It brings about Christianity and the Law. Christianity and Extreme Complementarianism/Patriarchy. Christianity and Homeschooling Only. Christianity and Approved Denim-Skirt Intensive Dress Codes. Perhaps Christianity and Head Coverings. Christianity and Extreme Interpretations of Paul’s Advice to Women in Churches Which May or May Not Have been All or Partly Culturally Derived (Especially the Parts about Braided Hair and Jewelry). Christianity and the Law. Christianity and Approved Curriculum. Christianity and Voting For Only My Preferred Political Party. Christianity and Quasi-Whitewashed American History. And on and on it goes … but mostly back to Christianity and the Law — which is not the Gospel of Grace.
Either way, it’s all about un-Biblical, or extra-Biblical, codes of conduct, issues and “basic principles” that aren’t based in Scripture. They’re not absolutely essential to the Gospel. And surely true Christ-followers may disagree on them on occasion — even regarding the egalitarian/complementarian debate.
Here I must plead for balance. Not all egalitarians are ultra-left-wing feminists — though it may be true that many of them are. And, not all complementarians are raving, chest-thumping thugs — though many of them can be, particularly the complementarian mutation under discussion here.
Either side will invariably attract participants who are overreacted to the other’s side extreme results. Either side will contain tendencies to forsake the Gospel in favor of manmade Issues.
That is why Cheryl‘s previous assertion that at least one Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood speaker had recently gone too far, falling into an extreme position of questioning opponents’ salvation, does not surprise me. Nor does it much damage my position if indeed the whole organization would have somehow turned aside from Grace-based doctrines, even the least little bit, in favor of yet another Christianity And viewpoint.
After all, my familiarity with the organization is limited to its landmark book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which I have found very Grace-based, and devoid of legalism and “Christianity And” perceptions. And that book was published in the early ‘90s. Much can change in 1.5 decades, to be sure. Extremes can, and sometimes will, develop, especially when one does not remain Gospel- and Grace-centered.
My perception, though, of egalitarianism/feminism/advocacy of women pastors, is unavoidably influenced by what I have seen, read about, heard about, in more-liberal denominations. Their extreme view often holds toward pushing women and their gifts away from the home as quickly and as rapidly as possible. Young women enter such seminaries and churches, for example, unsure of their life’s calling but certain of their desires to serve God in some way, and are strongly encouraged to forget any “domestic” inclinations they may possess and instead strive in leadership roles for the Church, Church the great and powerful, the Church solo. It’s as if a dichotomy existed between helping the Church and the family, both of which are institutions the Creator has established.
What Cheryl, though, seems to be submitting, is that some women, Biblically conservative and not at all liberal-leaning, are naturally gifted to teach and become official church pastors and naturally want to do this instead of fulfilling other needs in the Church. Furthermore, she seems to contend that Biblical complementarianism results in an automatic rejection of their gifts and relegation of such women to second-class status in local congregations.
I have not thus far encountered such a situation, anyway.
Instead, this is what I have seen in my “circles.” I know young women who are delving into higher education even while planning, hoping for, True Love and Marriage. I know guys who are studying Biblical principles of leadership, and moreover, studying Christ and the Gospel — the Person they are to emulate, who loved the Church and gave Himself up for it, just as husbands are to love their wives. Neither gender, here, resents their “role.” Both have learning preferences, dreams, aspirations, plans, goals, intelligences, talents of their own. Both have spiritual gifts and capacities for fulfillment in their churches.
This is what I perceive when I hear and study “complementarianism” — not extreme views, but Grace-based, Biblical definitions for husbands and wives, and particularly official spiritual leaders in the Church.
Yet what about the suggestion as follows: that a belief saying women can’t be pastors or spiritual teachers of men is tantamount to saying “I don’t need you” to an essential part of the Body, as described in 1 Corinthians 12?
I have already maintained before that certain practices, exercises of spiritual gifts and so on are not scripturally limitless; Paul places very clear limits on many church members’ actions. Does Paul place such limits only because he doesn’t want people to be confused by abuses of tongues-speaking and the like, as Cheryl also suggested? Not necessarily — Paul gives other reasons for his guidelines, for example, in his qualifications for Overseers as described in passages such as 1 Timothy 3. That passage makes prospective pastors’ résumé requirements very clear: male, and if married, only one wife per customer; not a jerk, not a drunkard, a good household manager, an experienced believer and so on. And Paul’s reasons for these are varied.
Ergo, while the suggestion exists that if I believe women shouldn’t be official pastors, then I am rejecting their spiritual gifts — and perhaps them as people too — I’m still way back in Presupposition-Land saying: Now wait a moment, I’m still maintaining that yes, the Church has eyes, ears, feet, hands, brains, hearts and et cetera; but aren’t these texts over here also clear that some body functions, i.e. that of overseer (“head,” perhaps), can be filled only by men? Furthermore, wouldn’t the concept of women-wanting-to-be-pastors be similar to an eye, or ear, or heart or whatever, being discontent with her role in the Body and wanting to be something else instead?
I’m not rejecting anyone’s spiritual gifts. I am merely suggesting that they can be fulfilled in different ways in order to fit more aptly into the clear Biblical qualifications for Overseers described in other passages.
Is this insulting to women? Would even a Grace-based approach to this viewpoint be automatically perceived as merely more chest-thumping chauvinism, fear of women’s intelligence and some-such?
Well, probably. Surely with all the Phillipsian forms of fallacies going on, this perception is possible. Yet at this point I also add again that I believe focus on the Cross and the Gospel, and Grace-based extrapolation of this view of male/female roles, will prove most helpful in letting men and women want to assume these roles, both in the Church and in the home.
And what if some women would rather strive for leadership roles, pastoral roles? They certainly can be true Christians. And thus, we can be good neighbors — though we wouldn’t see eye-to-eye in the same church congregation. But be assured, I would be just as annoyed at the charge that just because they may hold the wrong beliefs regarding overseers’ qualifications, then that means they’re automatically unsaved. Room for doctrinal disagreement exists in Christendom, for all issues not directly related to the “mere” Gospel. And when we all get to Heaven, and then the New Heavens and New Earth, we’ll have it all straightened out, to be sure. I’m looking forward to being proven right about many issues and proven wrong on a lot of others. …
Yet for now on the fallen Earth, both extremes exist. Both can be fully opposed by balanced, Biblical Christ-followers. Let us consciously “keep our eyes on the goal [of the Gospel] and go straight through between both errors,” as Lewis wrote. And let us never succumb to the fallacy of adding any “And” qualifier to the Gospel and to the glorious truths of the Creator/Savior’s undeserved, liberating Grace!
“When we are told that the wall of separation in Ephesians has been broken down, I see that passage as speaking exclusively to the Jew/Gentile wall of separation. How do you get male/female out of that passage?”
While Paul focuses mainly on the Jew/Gentile wall of separation, he also lists the other walls of separation in Galatians 3:28.
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
The Greek (gentile) the slave and the female were all separated from their respective pairs (Jew, free man and male) and they were the disadvantaged. Yet in Christ the wall of separation, the wall of advantaged versus disadvantaged is taken down. Slaves are now full sons of God and women are now complete heirs of God according to promise.
In the culture of that day the walls had not yet come down. There were still separation of Jews/Gentiles where the Jews refused to eat with the Gentiles. The slave was treated as an animal and not a human and did not even have the right to marry. The woman was not free and the barrier between her and the male was great. She was owned by her father until her marriage when she was owned by her husband. If she did not please her husband he could divorce her at will for burning his food. She was physically separated from her husband publicly and the women and the children did not eat with the men. The barriers between these groups brought a view of superiority of one over the other. But in Christ these barriers have all been taken away. No longer is one part of the two left out and no longer is one superior while the other disadvantaged and inferior.
I do go into the barriers in a fuller sense in the DVD series. I hope you enjoy them!
E. Stephen Burnett:
“Yet what about the suggestion as follows: that a belief saying women can’t be pastors or spiritual teachers of men is tantamount to saying “I don’t need you” to an essential part of the Body . . .”
I agree with you, and the content of your most recent comment here. I think it is a false dilemma to say because Jesus was male, only ordained male apostles, that when qualifications for elders are spoken of they are referred to as males, and that if based on this, one’s views of the pastoral epistles are traditional/complementarian, that it is tantamount to saying one half of the body of Christ is not needed.
Here is the quote I think you were responding to:
“The complementarian bottom line is that in the *church* the men are free to say in their hearts “I do not need you” to a woman teacher.
This is the exact opposite of what scripture allows in 1 Cor. 12:21 -”
And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.””
The bottom line for most complementarians *I* know is that the husband is the authoritative head of the marriage, not merely the “source,” and that women are not to be ruling elders, or teach in the gathered worship.
It is not denying that Priscilla, outside of the gathered meeting was part of instructing Apollos, or of recognizing that the Word of God came to women, and that in fact, Scripture records some didactic passages uttered by women.
It is not denying that many men all over the world are led to Christ by women evangelizing them, either. I know of one native Kenyan, who ministers in a horrible slum in his country, who told me personally (we were at a dinner party together so he could talk about his work) that a young girl led him to Christ. Our host (a former missionary to another country in Africa) told me this was significant, because in that part of the world, women are truly regarded much less than men in the eyes of that culture.
Yet the Christian women there do the work of evangelism, they speak at open air meetings, but in the churches they are not ordained as elders. They still get to speak and use their gifts, in spite of what they believe the Bible teaches about women’s roles in the home and church, and in spite of the culture, which does regard them poorly and less than how Christ would value them, and the Christian men there (in spite of this culture being much more demeaning of women) allow them to use their gifts.
So I think it is a false dilemma to say that this is what complementarianism leads to.
Besides, there are plenty of complementarian places (I think of Ministry Watchman, who posted this very article of Don’s on their blog — a Reformed site) that allow women to have their say, and interact with them, and value them. I know from MW’s off-line dealings with me that they have never treated me like some kind of unnecessary second class citizen. If we had any disagreements, I was never made to feel put down by them at all, and any disagreements aside (I actually can’t remember any), the other e-mails I received were very cordial, appreciative, and encouraging.
Yes, there is Doug Phillips and his extreme views. Yes, there is abuse. Yes, there are complementarian men who are jerks. But none of this translates into the bottom line for *most* complementarian men to be able to say something in their heart about women being useless as teachers or sharing the Good News or using their gifts, even to bless other men. Not with the missionaries I’ve known (including my own aging mother-in-law), and not at my church (complementarian).
I just wrote:
“Yet the Christian women there do the work of evangelism, they speak at open air meetings, but in the churches they are not ordained as elders. They still get to speak and use their gifts, in spite of what they believe the Bible teaches about women’s roles in the home and church, and in spite of the culture, which does regard them poorly and less than how Christ would value them, and the Christian men there (in spite of this culture being much more demeaning of women) allow them to use their gifts.”
When I wrote this:
“They still get to speak and use their gifts, in spite of what they believe the Bible teaches about women’s roles in the home and church, . . .”
It would be better rendered as this:
“They still get to speak and use their gifts as complementarian women, . . .”
E. Stephen Burnett said: “Either side will contain tendencies to forsake the Gospel in favor of manmade Issues.”
I fully agree that the gospel is what is important. That is why I so passionately advocate the freedom for every born again believer to preach and teach the gospel. When I am passionate about the gospel, I don’t want to have to discriminate against those who have come to listen to me speak forth God’s word. Why should I be forced to tell men that they must leave receive my teaching just because they are males? Scripture does not tell me to discriminate.
Stephen said: “Ergo, while the suggestion exists that if I believe women shouldn’t be official pastors, then I am rejecting their spiritual gifts — and perhaps them as people too — I’m still way back in Presupposition-Land saying: Now wait a moment, I’m still maintaining that yes, the Church has eyes, ears, feet, hands, brains, hearts and et cetera; but aren’t these texts over here also clear that some body functions, i.e. that of overseer (”head,” perhaps), can be filled only by men? Furthermore, wouldn’t the concept of women-wanting-to-be-pastors be similar to an eye, or ear, or heart or whatever, being discontent with her role in the Body and wanting to be something else instead?
I’m not rejecting anyone’s spiritual gifts. I am merely suggesting that they can be fulfilled in different ways in order to fit more aptly into the clear Biblical qualifications for Overseers described in other passages.”
Stephen, first of all I want to commend you on your irenic tone. That is a blessing to me since I have experienced much attack from other Christian brothers and sisters in Christ and I am awed at how one can justify that kind of treatment for a fellow believer. You tone is greatly appreciated.
My point in the “I don’t need you” had nothing to do with women Pastors. I was speaking on women teachers. I have come to realize that it is common for people to misunderstand me since we all have our own presuppositions. However I was not talking about any office in the church – one where one is gains acceptance from the church. I am talking about God’s gifts alone. As a woman teacher, I have seen the barriers go up and men say that they have no need of women teachers. That has been told to me time and time again. I also am in communication with many women teachers and they have told me that they too have experienced prejudice. That was my point.
God has said that we need each other. God has specifically appointed the body to be in need of each other. I could never say that it is enough for me to have women teachers and I do not need men teachers. No, not at all! I need you men teachers! The truth is that you need us too. Women possess a different way of looking at things and when we come together and all use our gifts we are all edified. Again….this isn’t about Pastors, I said that a man cannot say to a woman teacher “I don’t need you”.
I have been blessed in the last year to have many Pastors who have found my material and who have told me how much they have learned from me. Their humility touches me. I too have so much to learn from them.
Stephen, that was a tremendous article! Don is very kind to let you post it here as well. Your insights regarding Doug and patriarchy have given me some new things to think about as well. I really like how you interspersed the CS Lewis quotes.
“Christianity and …” Anything to take our eyes off Jesus.
Cheryl, I saw your comments to me regarding this wall of separation on your YouTube video as well. I really think that you cannot possibly mix Eph. 2:14 and Gal. 3:28 just because they both are talking about Jews and Gentiles. It does not follow that the wall of separation then includes males and females, slaves and free. Yes, God changed all those relationships, in Christ, but He never tells us that there was a wall of separation between them. That is a term that is used to describe the enmity between the Jews and the Gentiles brought about by the Mosaic Law, which was then abolished when Jesus was crucified.
Nowhere does Scripture tell us that there was a wall of separation, a wall of enmity, between males and females, or between slaves and free, that was brought about by the Mosaic Law, and that was then abolished by Christ’s death on the cross. There are plenty of verses regarding women in the Bible, but this passage in Ephesians is NOT one of them. This is twisting Scripture to make it so.
We need to deal with the Gal. 3:28 passage in Galatians, where it belongs. If we go back to verse 22, we see that it says, “But the Scripture has confined all under sin…” This was before Christ. Now after we believe, in verse 26, it says, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” And then verse 28 goes on to explain the “all:” “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
In other words, Cheryl, this passage is telling us that Scripture confines Gentiles under sin just as much as it does the Jews, that the female comes to faith in Christ just the same way a male does, that a slave is a son of God in the same way a free man is and all the possible combinations therein. We are all heirs, we are all Christ’s, we are all Abraham’s seed. There is no difference in us being sinners and there is no difference in us being saved.
When we focus too much on one subject, we tend to see it in everything we read in Scripture. I wonder if this is what is going on here, Cheryl. Please be careful not to read something into a passage that simply isn’t there.
Stephen, I just wanted to make one clarification in your article. You attributed the position of “complementarian” to Doug Phillips, albeit “extreme” complementarian. Even Doug himself does not claim that term. He claims only Patriarchy, while I would say his position is hyper-patriarchy. It’s really not fair to biblically grounded complementarians to throw Doug Phillips in with them. He would make the whole group look extra-biblical!
Thank you for your comments. You said: “Nowhere does Scripture tell us that there was a wall of separation, a wall of enmity, between males and females, or between slaves and free, that was brought about by the Mosaic Law, and that was then abolished by Christ’s death on the cross. There are plenty of verses regarding women in the Bible, but this passage in Ephesians is NOT one of them. This is twisting Scripture to make it so.”
What I was speaking from was Galatians 3:28 – 4:7 Here Paul says that there is neither slave nor free, neither male nor female. What is Paul saying? We need to research to find out because if we only take this as salvation then we have a problem. There was no difference between male and female in salvation. Female’s received salvation in the Old Covenant just as in the New Covenant and no scripture ever questions the salvation of females so there is no point to say that females receive salvation the same way as males. So what kind of situation is Paul referring to that necessitates him saying that there is no male or female?
Paul goes on in chapter 4 to give us the answer. Paul says in Galatians 4:6, 7 “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His son into our hearts, crying “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are *no longer a slave*, but *a son*; and if a son, then an *heir* through God.”
Paul is talking about all of us being joint heirs together – something that was *not possible* in the Old Covenant. Salvation was available in the Old Testament to all who joined themselves with Israel but the foreigner and the women were not allowed to be heirs. There was a tremendous separation between each group where one group had all the privileges and the other group had none.
In the Jewish faith the men were able to go into the temple while the women were given only a court on three sides. There was a separation because the women were not treated as “sons” of God. They were not given the same closeness to God as the men nor were they included in the services. They were separated from men, were not allowed to participate and were held back from reading the scriptures. But with the death of Christ, the barrier was been broken.
It began with the gentiles who were despised by the Jews. Now the gentiles have been made joint heirs with the Jews. The women were also brought near in an equal close relationship and they are now called “Sons” of God.
Slaves too were brought near to God. While slaves were allowed to experience salvation within the congregation of Israel, they were never allowed to participate in the worship services and they were never allowed to be inheritors in the nation of Israel. So Paul said in Galatians 3:28, 29:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ then you are Abraham’s descendants, *heirs* according to promise.
Do you see that the “if” and “then” relationship? “If” they all belong to Christ “then” they are all heirs according to the promise. Scripture never once rejected anyone of these groups regarding salvation if they came into the nation of Israel, but the right of “heir” never belonged to the slaves, the women or the Gentiles.
In Ephesians Paul talks about what the wall of separation is between the Jew and the Gentile.
Ephesians 2:14-19 “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the *barrier of the dividing wall*, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into *one new man*, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. And he came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are **fellow citizens** with the saints, and are of *God’s household.*
The key is verse 19 where Paul says that the Gentiles are no longer strangers and aliens but fellow citizens with the saints. You see salvation was always offered to the Gentiles in Israel’s midst but they were never given sonship. They were never joint heirs. This was a HUGE barrier between the Gentiles and the Jews. But Jesus broke down that barrier and made them joint heirs with the Jews. He made them into ONE new man.
Paul states this in Ephesians 3:4-6. “By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are *fellow heirs* and *fellow members of the body*, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel”. What has been revealed? It is that the Gentiles are “fellow heirs”. This has always been the barrier that has made one group the advantaged and the other group the disadvantaged. Has this same barrier been broken down for women too? Peter agrees with Paul that it has:
1 Peter 3:7 “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a *fellow heir* of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”
The inheritance that had been denied women, slaves, and Gentiles has now been given to all. All are equal in that all are “sons” of God.
So while Ephesians doesn’t specifically mention women and slaves, we see that the barrier that has been done away with between the Jews and Gentiles is the inheritance “heirs of God”. Paul then tells us that women, slaves and Gentiles are all *sons* of God too (Gal. 4) so we know that the barrier has been broken down for women and slaves too. This isn’t just salvation, because they already had that if they were within Israel and followed God. This is the inheritance.
I appreciated that you checked up on me. That is a good and noble thing! When someone says something about scripture they should be willing and able to prove their point from the scripture *in context*. I believe that I have proved that the barrier is inheritance “heirs of God” and if you want to see the scriptures that prove that Gentiles and slaves received salvation in the Old Testament, I can show them to you if you want. Salvation was never an issue with those in the nation of Israel. However there was an insurmountable barrier as far as the inheritance in God. Praise the Lord that women too are heirs of God and “sons” of God!
“1 Peter 3:7 ‘You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a *fellow heir* of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.’
The inheritance that had been denied women, slaves, and Gentiles has now been given to all. All are equal in that all are “sons” of God.”
This passage is referring to an heir of the grace of life, which is equal to the free gift eternal life, which is a result of salvation, which is what you said OT women (of faith) had.
Therefore, to say that this is something new for women, referencing this passage, when you said women already had salvation but were not heirs, is self-refuting.
Because the inheritance mentioned here is the gift of eternal life — which comes with salvation, which you claimed women already had.
Yes women had salvation, however women were never heirs of God. It is not self-refuting at all. Women did not have the privileges of men in the Old Testament but they absolutely had salvation. Why did Paul say that there is neither male nor female? What point is he making that he also makes regarding Gentiles and Jews? Paul makes it so clear that it is the inheritance. While the inheritance goes far past salvation. It is the only thing that was not given these groups and the only thing that could be said that now there was equality. Check out the scriptures. Also my DVD has all of the documentation from historical sources to prove the disadvantaged state of slaves, Gentiles and women. Galatians chapter 4 is so key in that Paul states without reservation that we are now all heirs. It was not possible to be an heir in the Old Covenant and it is now not only possible but it is ours as a gift through the blood of Jesus Christ!
Still following along the discussion, finding it very interesting, and glad the commenting capabilities seem to have been restored to the site.
Cheryl, I appreciate the fact that you seem not to advocate Official Women Pastors; instead, you have stated that you only wish the Church was more open to women’s gifts specifically in teaching? If so, we are closer in agreement than I initially surmised. We may still disagree, though, as to whether women are Biblically “meant” to teach men per se. But I will certainly consider the matter further.
Jen, I appreciate your clarification about Phillips’ position very much! Clearly, as one who has been in the trenches with this man, you would know and I would not, what he calls his position. God bless you for your faith and courage to speak out.
With you, it seems, I have no inclination to throw any Biblical “complementarian” teaching about husband’s and wive’s roles out just because of Phillips’ extreme “patriarchy” position. As I wrote above, I have seen both the extremes of such a wife-submits-in-everything policy, along with the Grace-intensive, naturally embraced adopting of roles by people I know.
E. Stephen Burnett,
It has been a pleasure reading your posts here and at your blog. I would say that I very much agree with much of what you say. (I haven’t read all of it, yet, but hope to do so today.)
There is a debate between patriarchalists and complementarians right now. In fact, the two brothers (Bayly) who started CBMW resigned because it was too wimpy, didn’t go far enough and was too generous in its view of women. The patriarchalists feel that using the term “complementarian” is a cop-out in order to pacify feminists.
The Bayly Bros. wrote a public condemnation of CBMW almost 2 years ago.
Also, there is an article by Russel D. Moore that pretty much shows the patriarchal (hyper) mindset. They call even comps “feminists” but never tell us exactly what a patriarchal relationship should look like. Moore says this:
“”Evangelicals maintain headship in the sphere of ideas, but practical decisions are made in most evangelical homes through a process of negotiation, mutual submission, and consensus,” Moore said. “That’s what our forefathers would have called feminism — and our foremothers, too.””
He also spoke to CBMW (it is on their website) about this issue. He spoke about patriarchy as being “servant leadership”. We would all agree, right? But, then you compare it to his above statement and you really wonder what they mean by “servant leadership”. If decisions in a home are not to be hammered out through negotiation, mutual submission and consensus, then how are they to be done? Dictatorship style? No input (consensus) from the wife? No compromise? Just make the decision without consulting the one who it will most affect?
He also said that most people nodding in agreement to complemtarian teachings are “feminists”.
After reading the article and listening to his talk, I am left very confused as to what he means by biblical patriarchy?
Also, on the CCC-forum at yahoo you can go there to read conversations about this issue. These are the hyper of the hypers. But, try and ask them a practical application and they go postal and start hurling out accusations and then kick you off the list. One such example is about discipline. The men on that list (most of them) believe a husband should be able to discipline his wife (not spanking, that I know of) if she disobeys him. They believe this because he has authority over her. But, ask them to give you an example and watch their heads explode.
I highly doubt most patriarchal homes have men who just make the decisions without discussing it first with their wives. If they do, then they should call themselves “dictators” and not patriarchs.
I just wanted you to know that there is a BIG controversy between comps and patriarchs. It seems that no one is up to snuff in the patriarch’s book.
(Comment no. 42, now — which as everyone knows is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. …)
The lack of examples would seem amusing at first if it weren’t so dangerous in application, probably for many homeschool families nationwide.
Jen writes of this often at her blog, talking about how Phillips in his church would frequently discuss “visionary” concepts, such as “family worship,” and then never provide so much as a Top Ten List of Great Family Worship Tips for Sure Success. Evidently this was quite personally frustrating in her family, and I can’t imagine!
Moreover, it seems logically inconsistent: if you’re to be all Legalist and start dishing out rules and Codes of Conduct, why not carry this to its logical conclusion and start assembling notebooks with lists of the Most Godly Ways to Do Things?
A certain Mr. Gothard, after all, is not shy of this technique.
I am glad to hear that at least some of the uber-patriarchists, then, see the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood as foes, not friends to their cause. Perhaps this Russel Moore is more stringent than some of them, but as long as advocates of Biblical male/female roles keep the Cross and Grace as the focus, it is less likely they will swing into the extremes of Christianity And.
My points above remain: if you’re a Godly husband, seeking to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it, I do not see how you could not naturally want to love and cherish and protect your wife, lead her spiritually, listen and apply her honest feedback, make cooperative family decisions, and in all other ways quite naturally treat her like the intelligent, God-glorifying, beautiful adult that she is.
And now I think I will just close this comment with an overly emotional interjection, as follows — Good grief! to me this all seems so clear and obvious! is this so hard a Truth and lifestyle to grasp?
“Paul is talking about all of us being joint heirs together – something that was *not possible* in the Old Covenant. Salvation was available in the Old Testament to all who joined themselves with Israel but the foreigner and the women were not allowed to be heirs. There was a tremendous separation between each group where one group had all the privileges and the other group had none.”
I think a word of caution may be beneficial here. At times we can become so convinced of a postion on something, which may even be an accurate position, and then allow it to intrude into areas of Scripture where it may not belong. When that happens we can tend to begin drifting in to false teaching. The direct context of a passage informs us of how it may fit together with other areas. Simply becuase a certain word is used, such as “inheritance” that doesn’t mean that it is bringing with it all the implications that it may somewhere else. Galatians is talking about a seperation but that seperation is between God and all of humanity, not a middle wall of subcatagories. Paul begins this dicussion in chapter 3 as he tries to explain to the Galatians the utter uselessness of trying to be justified by the Law (3:1-9). Justification is by faith alone and the Law can only condemn. The Law was added after Abraham’s justificaiton in order to demonsrate how completely sinful umans are and that Christ is the mediator between those who are seperated, man (humans) and God (3:10-22). The Law kept us “in custody” until faith was revealed and was therefore our teacher or tutor. As he points out that we are all “sons of God” he makes sure the Galatiains understand that this is all of humanity who come to faith in Him, Jews, Greeks, slaves, free, etc. He uses the example of a child who will one day inherit but was held fenced in on all sides by”guardians and managers” until the right time. Humanity too was held under the bondage of the Law until Christ came. He goes on to say “You were no longer a slave but a son.” It is clear through the whole passage that the seperation is between God and man not various segments of the human race and Christ is the mediator that moves us by faith from being under the Law to being a “son” of God. The sonship includes any and every human regardless of earthly position who comes to faith in Him.
There may be other passages that support the position on this but respectfully I don’t think Galatians is one of them.
You said: “He goes on to say “You were no longer a slave but a son.” It is clear through the whole passage that the seperation is between God and man not various segments of the human race and Christ is the mediator that moves us by faith from being under the Law to being a “son” of God. The sonship includes any and every human regardless of earthly position who comes to faith in Him.”
I absolutely agree with you. Perhaps I was not clear in spelling out my understanding of the passage and thereby gave a wrong impression. What I am saying is that was a wall of separation between males and females, Jews and Gentiles, slave and free regarding how they are accepted by God. Both Jews and Gentiles could come to God and receive salvation yet only the Jews had an inheritance through God. Both male and female could receive salvation but only the males had the inheritance. Both slave and free could receive salvation but only the free Jew had the inheritance with God. But when Christ died he reconciled all of us to God in such a way that all of us have become heirs and we all receive the inheritance so that no more are we slaves, Gentiles, or women outside the inheritance, we are now all equal, all “sons” of God.
The separation that I am talking about primarily is the separation from being in the family of God as “heirs”. As the Jews worked out their “privileged” state, they separated themselves from the Gentiles, from women and from the slaves. They were the heirs and they were the “son’s” of God while everyone else was not on the same standing as they were. There was a separation between the groups because there was a separation regarding their *position* with God.
Jesus’ death brought us all into the holy of holies. This had previously been reserved for just a few. It is now no longer an advantage for someone to be born a Jew, born a male or born a free man. This is all about the “sonship” – our position as heirs. We are talking about the same thing, I think in just a different way. I would summarize my position to say that all parties of all groups had salvation in the same way as the Jews did (through faith in the Messiah), but not all had the rights as heirs. When Jesus died he reconciled us all together into *one* body, all of us now as “sons” and all of us as “heirs” of God with the full inheritance rights.
I hope that helps to dispel any thought that I am only talking about a separation between different kinds of humanity.
Does this make sense?
“What I am saying is that was a wall of separation between males and females, Jews and Gentiles, slave and free regarding how they are accepted by God. Both Jews and Gentiles could come to God and receive salvation yet only the Jews had an inheritance through God.”
Cheryl, you said you agree with Don, and here you just state the opposite of what he was trying to get across. Don, please correct me if I’m wrong.
Salvation (forgiveness and justification) is the ONLY way one can be accepted by God. Getting a land inheritance, or being a priest, or thinking you are better because you get an inheritance or are a priest, has NOTHING to do with how one is accepted by God. In fact, Eli, and Eli’s sons, as far as we can see, were not accepted by God and were judged with death. So much for being a Jewish male high priest, or son of!
Also, NOT being allowed to be a priest, or enter the holy of holies (which would include most men) should not be equated with NOT being accepted by God. God Himself talks about foreigners and eunuchs who serve Him being included, and that the eunuchs would receive a name from God which was better than sons and daughters.
Jesus said the Queen of Sheba would condemn the generation that saw Him — those that had the inheritance. A Gentile woman condemning those who had the inheritance. This clearly shows that being accepted by God does not hinge on the Jewish inheritance. Jesus also said things about Naaman, the Syrian, and the widow from Zerephath.
There never was a wall of separation between different groups as to how God decreed them to be made acceptable to Him. It has always been by grace, through faith.
It is true that believers are now a kindgom of priests, and all have been made partakers of the divine nature. It is true that the blood of Jesus Christ has brought in the New Covenant. But before that, when the Old Covenant was in effect, there was only a remnant of Israel that was accepted by God, and that left out a lot of males who supposedly had an inheritance.
And why were they not accepted? Why were they broken off as branches from a natural tree so the Gentiles could be grafted in? It was because they pursued a righteousness by works, not by faith.
Being accepted by God is the same in both testaments. Paul clearly explains this in Romans. And it is the same for all humanity, which Paul explains in Galatians.
“What I am saying is that was a wall of separation between males and females, Jews and Gentiles, slave and free regarding how they are accepted by God. Both Jews and Gentiles could come to God and receive salvation yet only the Jews had an inheritance through God.”
That is how I understood your comments. However, as I pointed out Galatians does not support this view. The analogy Paul uses here about inheritance is a Roman and not a Jewish analogy and was written primarily to a Roman audience. His whole point was that the entire human race was held in bondage until the “appointed time” and the division was bewtween mankind and God. Christ became the mediator between the two. You may try to build the argument from another place in Scripture but this one doesn’t suport it without reading something in to it that isn’t there.
What do you mean by “inheritance”? How did only the Jews have an inheritance even though everyone came to salvation through faith?
I am trying to understand what you are talking about. Are you talking about man’s misunderstanding of salvation or that there really was a difference how God accepted women and men, slaves and free, Jew and Greek?
“Salvation (forgiveness and justification) is the ONLY way one can be accepted by God. Getting a land inheritance, or being a priest, or thinking you are better because you get an inheritance or are a priest, has NOTHING to do with how one is accepted by God. In fact, Eli, and Eli’s sons, as far as we can see, were not accepted by God and were judged with death. So much for being a Jewish male high priest, or son of!”
This is a good point. Nothing a person did or was in the OT would make them acceptable unto salvation.
What does that verse in Galatians mean? What is it talking about when it says there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free? What is it referring to?
“Salvation (forgiveness and justification) is the ONLY way one can be accepted by God. Getting a land inheritance, or being a priest, or thinking you are better because you get an inheritance or are a priest, has NOTHING to do with how one is accepted by God.”
Yes, I agree. No one came to God in the OT through their works. It was only through faith in the coming Messiah and faith in God’s provision. I am trying to reason this through and I think I have chosen some words that don’t quite express what I mean. Maybe y’all could help me express it properly.
Lynn said: “Salvation (forgiveness and justification) is the ONLY way one can be accepted by God. Getting a land inheritance, or being a priest, or thinking you are better because you get an inheritance or are a priest, has NOTHING to do with how one is accepted by God.”
Yes, that is exactly right! Salvation which is acceptance by God is only through faith. I also fully agree that the land inheritance has nothing to do with how one is accepted by God. I absolutely agree!
Lynn said: “There never was a wall of separation between different groups as to how God decreed them to be made acceptable to Him. It has always been by grace, through faith.”
Yes!! There was no separation on God’s end at all in how one group could be acceptable to him over another.
Lynn said: “But before that, when the Old Covenant was in effect, there was only a remnant of Israel that was accepted by God, and that left out a lot of males who supposedly had an inheritance.”
Yes, this too is true. Not all Israel is of Israel. It is only the believing ones that are truly accepted by God. That is absolute truth!
However outside the acceptance of God, there was a division in how slaves, women and gentiles were viewed in the covenant. All of them were accepted regarding salvation and all could bring their sacrifices into the temple. In this way all were equal. However not all were considered “sons” of God through Abraham and as outside the inheritance (the promise of God through Abraham) they were not equal. Ephesians says:
Eph 3:5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;
Eph 3:6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,
While salvation was not questioned, the inheritance through Abraham was reserved for free male Jews. Only the males inherited land. Yet God accepted and valued women and gentiles too!
Even though God valued the gentiles and accepted them, there was until Christ a separation between Jews and gentiles. Ephesians says:
Eph 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
Eph 2:15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,
Eph 2:16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
Here the scripture says that there is a barrier a dividing wall between the two groups – the Jews and the gentiles.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary says about these verses:
“The structure of the Greek words suggests that the dividing wall describes not a physical barrier, but the spiritual enmity between Jews and Gentiles, which separated them. Since Christ destroyed this enmity (cf. Eph_2:16), Jewish and Gentile believers should have no hostility.”
Clarke says: “The middle wall of partition – By abolishing the law of Jewish ordinances, he has removed that which kept the two parties, not only in a state of separation, but also at variance.”
Gill says: ‘ there was a great enmity of the Jew against the Gentile, and of the Gentile against the Jew; and chiefly on account of circumcision, the one being without it, and the other insisting on it, and branding one another with nicknames on account of it;”
Matthew Henry says: “We have now come to the last part of the chapter, which contains an account of the great and mighty privileges that converted Jews and Gentiles both receive from Christ. The apostle here shows that those who were in a state of enmity are reconciled. Between the Jews and the Gentiles there had been a great enmity; so there is between God and every unregenerate man. Now Jesus Christ is our peace, Eph_2:14. He made peace by the sacrifice of himself; and came to reconcile, 1. Jews and Gentiles to each other. He made both one, by reconciling these two divisions of men, who were wont to malign, to hate, and to reproach each other before.”
As you can see there was a wall of division between Jew and Gentile. Although the Jews accepted Gentiles into their midst and they could have salvation, there was no privileges of the inheritance through Abraham given them.
But Paul says that what has now been revealed is that the Gentiles too have become joint heirs with Christ.
What I was doing was taking the scripture about the separation of Jew and Gentile and the enmity between the two and applying it to Galatians. Paul lists three groups of people and historically there was a division between all three.
Even though the Jewish Christians accepted the Gentiles as having salvation, they had separated themselves refusing to eat with them and Peter too had gone along with this hypocrisy. Why the separation? It came because although the Jews accepted that the Gentiles could be saved, they were not in the same class as the Jews who were the “sons” of God and had the inheritance through Abraham. Paul says that it wasn’t understood in previous times that they too are heirs of God through Christ.
Then I looked at each group that Paul mentions in Galatians 3:28. What do the Gentiles, the women and the slaves have in common? The Jews would eat with none of them. They all were considered second class citizens and none of them could inherit land or were considered “sons” of God. Paul then goes on to say that Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free are all “sons” of God. The Jews already knew that these others had salvation, but they didn’t accept their equality as true “sons” of God.
Galatians 3:28-4:7 is very much a part of what Paul had already told us in Ephesians 2. A slave is not a son just as a Gentile was not a son. But God reveals that all are “son” all are in the position of inheritor.
So taking that understanding, how would you word it? I want to emphasize the “position” of “sonship” that the Jews believed belonged only to them. I want to emphasize that Christ’s death reconciled us all to God and it also reconciled us to each other because now they are none who are “sons” while others are “daughters” or “slaves”. We are all “sons” of God.
Corrie said: “I am trying to understand what you are talking about. Are you talking about man’s misunderstanding of salvation or that there really was a difference how God accepted women and men, slaves and free, Jew and Greek?”
Thank you for asking. I am talking about man’s understanding of the privileges that follow salvation. Although a Gentile convert and a woman could bring sacrifices for sin and they could experience salvation because they put their faith in God’s provision not their own works, man’s understanding was that God did not give the inheritance of the covenant to anyone but free Jewish males. Their status as sons of Abraham gave them a privileged relationship with God.
Paul corrects this by showing that every group of people that were treated as inferior to the Jewish males was also given full rights as joint heirs of Christ. No longer were they to separate themselves from the Gentiles, the women and the slaves as if there was a status difference. All are “sons” of God and all are “heirs” with complete equality as joint heirs.
“However outside the acceptance of God, there was a division in how slaves, women and gentiles were viewed in the covenant. All of them were accepted regarding salvation and all could bring their sacrifices into the temple. In this way all were equal. However not all were considered “sons” of God through Abraham and as outside the inheritance (the promise of God through Abraham) they were not equal. Ephesians says:
Eph 3:5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;
Eph 3:6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,
While salvation was not questioned, the inheritance through Abraham was reserved for free male Jews. Only the males inherited land. Yet God accepted and valued women and gentiles too!”
I agree with what you are stating, but I think the disagreement comes in with how you tie together OT inheritance and how the NT uses the term. It is an equivocation I am seeing. It is over the term “heir,” and “inheritance.”
1) The inheritance through Abraham only being to free male Jews — a) this does not translate into the inheritance Ephesians or I Peter speaks about, because we are not under a land covenant; b) sometimes women were granted inheritance when they had no brothers, so it is not always true that only free male Jews inherited land; c) see the following:
But my concern is that even though the land was mostly passed down throught the male line, with some female exceptions, this still does not equate to the inheritance of eternal life in Christ, or of spiritual sonship. That is why I think we have an equivocation going on here.
What is equivalent to THAT (NT inheritance of Christ, eternal life, sonship) in the Old Testament is Hebrews hall of faith, which includes at least two women — Sarah and Rahab. Remember also that Rahab was a Gentile. The way I see it, the NT inheritance is NOT to be compared how God determined how land should be inherited, but rather the examples of faith and obedience we see in the OT.
2) What Ephesians 2 is speaking of is the Mosaic covenant being abolished by the death of Christ (“abolishing in his flesh, the enmity, the law of commandments contained in ordinances”) and that this brings Jews and Gentiles together into one body.
See also Hebrews 7:
“For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.”
“For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.”
This change of law changed a dividing line, not between Jewish males and Jewish women/all Gentiles, but between all Israel (men and women) and all Gentiles (men and women).
Galatians teaches that we all put on Christ the same way, and there is no distinction.
Ephesians teaches that a barrier between humanity was removed by the cross, but it was not a barrier between Jewish men and Jewish women/all Gentiles.
It was between all national Israel from the Mosaic covenant onward, and all Gentiles.
That has nothing to do with gender issues.
It is true that women, slaves, and Gentiles can inherit Christ, but there were women, slaves, and Gentile converts in the OT.
Furthermore, nothing in the NT commanded that all Christian masters must now free all slaves, but masters are reminded they are slaves of the Lord, and that slaves are free in Christ.
Then there are the Pauline passages about women’s roles in the church, where Paul makes distinctions. We can argue forever and a day about exactly what these mean, but the plain fact is there are distinctions made, and there are some restrictions placed on women that are not spoken of for men.
Then, it is interesting to note that Jesus only appointed male apostles, only two males were put forward to replace Judas, and Jesus commissioned Paul, obviously a male, and seven men were selected to serve the Gentile widows, and on and on. We can’t ignore these things.
I note Don spoke of changing the Bible on Junia’s name. Even retaining her name, one still can’t make a slam-dunk case that she was an apostle. There is much evidence against calling any more than 14 men apostles (the original 12, plus Judas’ replacemsnt, plus Paul), and then, too, “eminent among the apostles” could very well mean she was highly regarded by them, NOT that she was numbered with them.
I think also of Priscilla, who along with her husband, was instrumental in instructing Apollos. This, too, is nothing new, for we have examples of OT prophetesses and the Word of God coming to women.
I give the above just to give my perspective on OT women leading out on occasion, and NT women leading out on occasion.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my comment!
Lynn said: “But my concern is that even though the land was mostly passed down throught the male line, with some female exceptions, this still does not equate to the inheritance of eternal life in Christ, or of spiritual sonship. That is why I think we have an equivocation going on here.”
I hear what you are saying. Yes, and I understand that even regarding the land, the inheritance was (by request) given to females when there were no males to inherit. However I was trying to point out that there was spiritual privileges that were not readily available to women. I am not saying at all that God did not give them eternal life in the same way that he gave it to the believing Jews. What I am talking about is something beyond salvation. If we look at Galatians 3:28 and see the lists of “groups” that Paul gives, we can see something in their similarities that shows a list of “advantaged” and “disadvantaged”.
Lynn said: “What is equivalent to THAT (NT inheritance of Christ, eternal life, sonship) in the Old Testament is Hebrews hall of faith, which includes at least two women — Sarah and Rahab. Remember also that Rahab was a Gentile. The way I see it, the NT inheritance is NOT to be compared how God determined how land should be inherited, but rather the examples of faith and obedience we see in the OT.”
Yes, God saw women differently than man did by granting them a place alongside men in the hall of faith. And your point about Rahab being a Gentile is an excellent point! It is not one that I had thought about myself. However in practicality these women were exceptions to a male-dominated system that treated women as second class citizens. The similarities of the inheritance of both the OT and the NT is that both came through Abraham. The land inheritance was a blessing that came through Abraham and our inheritance and privileges in Christ also find their roots in Abraham. We are grafted onto the same tree.
While the spiritual inheritance through Abraham was the same, it did not find equality in the OT. No Gentile was ever allowed in practice to be a bible teacher in the synagogue, although God did not forbid that in scripture, right? The spiritual privileges of faith were limited to the Jewish males. I am not saying that this is what God wanted, however it wasn’t until the death of Jesus and the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that the distinctions were done away with that made one side spiritually advantage and other side spiritually disadvantaged.
Lynn said: What Ephesians 2 is speaking of is the Mosaic covenant being abolished by the death of Christ (”abolishing in his flesh, the enmity, the law of commandments contained in ordinances”) and that this brings Jews and Gentiles together into one body.
Yes, I can agree with you there too. However we must also consider Ephesians 3:5, 6
“which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are *fellows heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise of Christ Jesus through the gospel*”
If we say that Galatians 3:28 is only talking about salvation and nothing else – in other words it isn’t about the Holy Spirit and the gifts he brings then it doesn’t make sense since the salvation of women is never questioned in the bible and the salvation of the Gentiles is also shown in scripture.
Lynn said: This change of law changed a dividing line, not between Jewish males and Jewish women/all Gentiles, but between all Israel (men and women) and all Gentiles (men and women).
Yes, I agree. There was a division between all the Jews and all of the Gentiles and that has been taken away in Christ.
Lynn said: Galatians teaches that we all put on Christ the same way, and there is no distinction.
Yet we have to look at the distinctions that caused Paul to include men/women and slave/free into the list of Jews/Gentiles. Is Paul only talking about salvation and only freedom from sin? If so why does he mention women? In what way were women different than men that would cause Paul to include them in the discussion of salvation? It is obvious why Gentiles are included since the Jewish believers didn’t bring the gospel to the Gentiles. But why women?
If Paul is talking about only salvation, then why does Paul say in Galatians 4:5-7 we have all received adoption as sons and that as a “son” we are an heir of God?
Why if Paul was only talking about salvation does Paul talk about unity in the body and then tie it in with the gifts?
Ephesians 4:4-5 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
The “gift” here is not salvation but the gifts that come with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Is this not our inheritance?
Ephesians 4:11-13 “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
Are we to separate the gifts and give them only to free male Jews, or is Paul relating that all are united into one body and these gifts are given to whomever the Holy Spirit desires to give them?
Galatians also talks about the inheritance in 4:1 by saying that the heir is owner of everything. If this is only salvation, then why does Paul differentiate a son who is a child and a mature son? Don’t both represent a saved person but only the mature son who has come of age has received the inheritance? Is not the giving of the Holy Spirit our inheritance and wasn’t the Holy Spirit given to male and female alike? How then can we see the addition of women in Galatians 3:28 and say that this verse is only talking about salvation?
Lynn said: That has nothing to do with gender issues.
If it has nothing to do with gender issues and nothing to do with our inheritance of the Holy Spirit that gives all of us gifts then why on earth would Paul even put women in the equation and list them along with slaves and Gentiles? The Jews thanked God everyday that they were not created as women, slaves or Gentiles. Does that mean that the Jews believed that women, slaves and Gentiles were not saved? No, the salvation of women was not questioned, but their spiritual ability to serve God was questioned.
Is not Galatians 3:28 about spiritual equality and the verses afterwards talking about a child as an heir and owner of everything obviously talking about the gift of the Holy Spirit?
Lynn said: It is true that women, slaves, and Gentiles can inherit Christ, but there were women, slaves, and Gentile converts in the OT.
Yes, that is true, but were there women, slaves and Gentile converts teaching in the synagogues?
Lynn said: Furthermore, nothing in the NT commanded that all Christian masters must now free all slaves, but masters are reminded they are slaves of the Lord, and that slaves are free in Christ.
That is true, but Paul recommended that if it was possible to have your freedom you should seek it. The truth of the gospel eventually convinced everyone no one was to be a slave of men.
Lynn said: there are some restrictions placed on women that are not spoken of for men.
There was a restriction placed on “a woman” and Paul said “I am not now allowing…” The language is such that the restriction is for a time and the reason is stated in chapter 1 when Paul leaves Timothy behind to stop the deceived teachers teaching error. Then in chapter 2 Paul gives the reason for the stopping of “a woman” and links it to the deception of Eve. Nowhere in the context of the passage is Paul stopping godly Christian women from teaching correct biblical doctrine to men. We must look to the context for the reason for the prohibition.
Lynn said: “Then, it is interesting to note that Jesus only appointed male apostles, only two males were put forward to replace Judas, and Jesus commissioned Paul, obviously a male, and seven men were selected to serve the Gentile widows, and on and on. We can’t ignore these things.”
You are mostly right. The widows were Hellenistic Jews, that is they were Greek-speaking Jews not Gentiles. However in this example, Jesus also only appointed Jewish apostles, only Jews were put forward to replace Judas and Jesus commissioned Paul a Jew, as well as seven Jews were selected to serve the Greek-speaking Jewish widows. We do not create a doctrine from these examples otherwise we could say that only Jews are allowed to serve since Jesus never picked Gentiles.
Regarding Junia to say that she was “eminent among the apostles” could mean she was highly regarded by them – Paul never appealed to the views of the other apostles and it would seem out of character to do so. At least one of the early church Fathers regarded Junia to be an apostle and that is recorded for us in history.
Lynn said: I think also of Priscilla, who along with her husband, was instrumental in instructing Apollos. This, too, is nothing new, for we have examples of OT prophetesses and the Word of God coming to women.
I appreciated your use of scripture, your kind tone and your clear respect for the women of scripture. I would like to add that Priscilla was a clear example of a godly woman who did not stop from teaching Apollos because there was a prohibition against women teaching men. If she had believed that women were not allowed to teach men because there was a prohibition from creation of mankind (and such a universal prohibition would include her teaching inside and outside the church), then she would not have taught him. She taught him because she was gifted to do so and she got the job done.
I appreciate your dialog. You are obviously one of God’s gifted women who should use their gift for teaching!
I hate to have to say this, but the experts are blatantly wrong about Junias. A later scribe did nothing to CHANGE the gender of Junia; only to SPECIFY what had been ambiguous. And WHAT was specified will surprise you!
Whether Junias was originally masculine or feminine is open to debate, since the earliest form of the name is ambiguous as to gender. And, as it turns out, this debate dates back to the earliest recorded writings of the church.
Junia was probably feminine:
“One of the earliest commentators on the passage, John Chrysostom, took the name as feminine: ‘how great the wisdom of this woman must have been that she was even deemed worthy of the title of apostle’.”
Junia was probably masculine:
“In the first place, in the Greek text the name is Junian (in the accusative case—the gender of the name is not evident); it either could be Junia (feminine), or more likely, Junias (masculine). Origin, a writer of the third century A.D., considered it a reference to a man (Lightfoot, p. 96).”
That Junias was only in later times written in an unambiguously masculine form is a given. But how much later? After all the scribes had long since hung up their pens, apparently.
“The first credible reference to Junia as male comes from Aegidius of Rome (ca. 1243-1316) in the late Middle Ages, though without explanation. Two centuries later, in 1512, Jacques LeFevre also considered her a man, even though in the Latin translation available to him the name was clearly feminine (37). Ten years later Martin Luther’s influential German New Testament appeared. Following LeFevre, he designated Junia a male. In Luther’s Works, we find the following: “Greet Andronicus, the manly one, and Junias, of the Junian family, who are men of note among the apostles” (38). Yet this sex-change operation occurred without a shred of evidence or even an attempt at persuasion. Junia became Junias simply because a woman could not possibly be an apostle!
Nevertheless, beginning with Erasmus in 1516, all [printed copies of the] Greek New Testament . . . except one consider Junia female. This continues until 1927 when the thirteenth Nestle edition (the first had come out in 1898) inexplicably changed the accent from acute (feminine) to circumflex (masculine). (The two major Greek versions of the New Testament are the Nestle, which in 1956 became Nestle-Aland; and the standard text of the United Bible Society [UBS]). It is true, however, that the 14th through the 25th editions of the Nestle or Nestle-Aland editions included a footnote with the alternate feminine reading. The UBS, first published in 1966, omitted even the alternate reading until 1975. The 27th Nestle-Aland edition and the fourth UBS edition both came out in 1993, years after inclusive language had become a public issue, and inexplicably still retained the masculine Junias. Then, without explanation, in 1998 the fifth revised printing of the 27th Nestle-Aland edition, and the third printing of the fourth UBS edition both changed Junia’s sex back to female!”
What the medieval scribes had done was make Junia explicitly FEMALE; only in printed editions of the Greek was Junias first made explicity MALE. And it was the EXPERTS who first made Junias explicity male in the Greek text–the very sort of experts who now want to pin the deed on an unscrupulous scribe!
Don Buck said: ““In the first place, in the Greek text the name is Junian (in the accusative case—the gender of the name is not evident); it either could be Junia (feminine), or more likely, Junias (masculine). Origin, a writer of the third century A.D., considered it a reference to a man (Lightfoot, p. 96).””
I have Lightfoot’s 4 volume set and I checked on each of the books on page 96 and there was nothing there about Junia/Junias. Where exactly are you getting this from and what is the proper page number?
Cheryl: “What I was doing was taking the scripture about the separation of Jew and Gentile and the enmity between the two and applying it to Galatians. Paul lists three groups of people and historically there was a division between all three.”
Yes, Cheryl, and this is exactly what I keep speaking against. You simply cannot take the context of one BOOK of the Bible and apply it to another BOOK. That is why what you are saying simply is not proper hermeneutics.
If you want to link what you think are like passages, then you need to include Col. 3:9-11 “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”
Why aren’t males and females included in this passage then? Isn’t this passage basically saying the same thing as Gal. 3:28? It is certainly far closer than Eph. 2!
Cheryl: “Galatians 3:28-4:7 is very much a part of what Paul had already told us in Ephesians 2. A slave is not a son just as a Gentile was not a son. But God reveals that all are “son” all are in the position of inheritor.”
No, you are mixing apples and oranges again. Ephesians is about Jews and Gentiles. Period. We are all fine with you discussing Gal. 3:28, Cheryl, but you simply cannot support it with Eph. 2.
Cheryl: “If we say that Galatians 3:28 is only talking about salvation and nothing else – in other words it isn’t about the Holy Spirit and the gifts he brings then it doesn’t make sense since the salvation of women is never questioned in the bible and the salvation of the Gentiles is also shown in scripture.”
You seem to be fixated upon this inheritance. What does Galatians say is inherited? We must start with the actual words of the passage. Let’s look at Gal. 4 in context. What is it talking about? It is talking about the Law, as we can see by going back to chapter 3. But there is a history lesson here, which you should enjoy! In Jewish history, the inheritance was given generally to the oldest son, although sometimes another son was chosen. This son, however, was no different from any of the other children while he was growing up. In fact, all of the children were treated the same as the slaves were treated, as we can clearly see from verse 1. Even though this one son would someday inherit ALL, he was brought up the same way as all the children and treated the same as a slave. He was under guardians and stewards, though; he had tutors. And what was that tutor? Gal. 3:24 tells us that the Law was that tutor. Now watch this. The heir was under a tutor (the Law) until the time appointed by the father (faith – Gal. 3:25). After faith came, there was no need for the Law. So the children, who were treated like slaves, were in bondage (vs. 3) to the Law (the elements of the world included the days and months and seasons and years – vs. 10). But then the father appointed the time for the heir to receive “adoption.” This is not adoption as we know it at all. This adoption means that the son, the rightful heir, comes into his inheritance. Now, for the first time, this son is treated like a SON, not like a slave, and is allowed to speak freely to his father as “Abba.” You can clearly see the spiritual analogy here, I think.
So, when we were under the Law, we were like children who needed a tutor and we were treated like slaves. When the time was right, God the Father made us full heirs by adoption, a place that had always been rightfully ours but we could not step into it until the time appointed by the Father. Now we are no longer in bondage to the Law and we have the freedom to call God, “Abba, Father.”
Cheryl, what verse gives you the indication that the inheritance is anything else? That the inheritance is the Holy Spirit, or the gifts of the Spirit? Those things may be true, but not in this passage. Our inheritance in this passage is that of being called sons of God, and we should not take that lightly.
Cheryl: “Yet we have to look at the distinctions that caused Paul to include men/women and slave/free into the list of Jews/Gentiles. Is Paul only talking about salvation and only freedom from sin? If so why does he mention women? In what way were women different than men that would cause Paul to include them in the discussion of salvation? It is obvious why Gentiles are included since the Jewish believers didn’t bring the gospel to the Gentiles. But why women?”
Let me refer you to this passage again: Col. 3:9-11 “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”
Why circumcised? Why uncircumcised? Those are easy. Why barbarian? Why Scythian? Why slave or free again, but NOT male and female? If this was so crucial, why are genders not listed in this passage as well?
Cheryl: Speaking of Ephesians 4:11-13, “Are we to separate the gifts and give them only to free male Jews, or is Paul relating that all are united into one body and these gifts are given to whomever the Holy Spirit desires to give them?”
This passage is not speaking about gender roles either way. It definitely means that these gifts are given to whomever the Holy Spirit desires to give them, but that does not tell us anything about how they are to be used. Other passages tell us that.
Cheryl: “The Jews thanked God everyday that they were not created as women, slaves or Gentiles. Does that mean that the Jews believed that women, slaves and Gentiles were not saved? No, the salvation of women was not questioned, but their spiritual ability to serve God was questioned.”
Can you give a verse to show us that they were questioning their spiritual ability?
Cheryl: “Is not Galatians 3:28 about spiritual equality and the verses afterwards talking about a child as an heir and owner of everything obviously talking about the gift of the Holy Spirit?”
No, I don’t see that at all. Show us which verse says this.
Cheryl: “There was a restriction placed on “a woman” and Paul said “I am not now allowing…” The language is such that the restriction is for a time and the reason is stated in chapter 1 when Paul leaves Timothy behind to stop the deceived teachers teaching error. Then in chapter 2 Paul gives the reason for the stopping of “a woman” and links it to the deception of Eve. Nowhere in the context of the passage is Paul stopping godly Christian women from teaching correct biblical doctrine to men. We must look to the context for the reason for the prohibition.”
“A woman.” Which woman? Was it just one specific woman? It also says “a man.” Was it just one specific man?
“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.”
Are you saying that this passage is only directed to one woman and one man? That they were the only two people Paul was talking about here? Paul did often address specific people, but he always made it very clear exactly who he was speaking about. In context, this is not about one woman and one man.
Are you also saying that Paul is linking the false teachers of chapter one with “a woman” in chapter two? If so, let’s look at verse 20 of chapter 1, where Paul identifies the false teachers he is talking about. Then chapter two goes on to contrast what true teaching should entail. The context of chapter two and following is much about how to “do” church, in general. It is not identifying a specific female false teacher.
Jen said: “You simply cannot take the context of one BOOK of the Bible and apply it to another BOOK. That is why what you are saying simply is not proper hermeneutics.”
I beg to differ. If the subject is the same, one can certainly tie the two together. Galatians 3:28 is talking about fellows heirs and members of the body and Ephesians is also talking about the same thing. Ephesians 3:6 says “to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
To relate the reason that the Jews and Gentiles had experienced separation (from Ephesians) to Galatians where the two are knit together into fellow members with no division is not unreasonable. It is also reasonable to see the same unity among the other two separated groups male/female and slave/free. You may not agree with it, but that is not the same thing as improper hermeneutics.
Jen said: “If you want to link what you think are like passages, then you need to include Col. 3:9-11 “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. Why aren’t males and females included in this passage then? Isn’t this passage basically saying the same thing as Gal. 3:28? It is certainly far closer than Eph. 2!
No, there is a distinct difference here. Col. 3:9-11 is about salvation in that in the new birth there is no difference in nationality, cultural or economic/caste where the grace of God is bestowed on one above another or withheld from one because of these differences. Greek or Jew would encompass all of humanity including male and female. Paul is not talking about male and female differences in Col. 3 but he is in Galatians 3. Galatians 3:28 is set differently in that it includes male and female and it isn’t just talking about salvation but the working of the Holy Spirit. In Galatians 3:3 says: “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Verse 5 continues with the outworking of the Spirit: “So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Verse 9 talks about the blessings (inheritance) that comes from faith: “So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.” Verse 14 speaks about the promise of the Spirit and verse 16 speaks about promises (plural) “in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” The outworking of the Holy Spirit in our lives is our inheritance which is based on a promise, verse 18: “For if the inheritance is based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.” Verse 21 talks about the promises of God (again plural). Verse 25 says: “But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” Why? Verse 26 answers: “For (or because) you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28 then is all about being a son of God and chapter 4 says that a son of God is an heir to everything that God owns. There is no division in sonship. Jews are sons of God and heirs in the same way the Gentiles are sons of God and heirs. They both have the same spirit and have the gifts of the Spirit. Males are sons of God and females are sons of God. They both have the same Spirit and they both have the gifts of the Spirit. Slaves are sons of God and free people are sons of God. They both have the same Spirit and they both have the gifts of the Spirit. They all have the inheritance of God and access to the Holy Spirit’s working in their lives and the gifts of God.
So while Colossians is talking about only salvation, (the new man vs the old man) Galatians is talking about the Holy Spirit’s working both with salvation and the perfecting work through his power and his gifts. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance.
So in Galatians you have three groups of people all of whom had a division in that one of the members of the groups had been disadvantaged and had not experienced full equality as “sons” of God.
Jen said: “Let’s look at Gal. 4 in context. What is it talking about? It is talking about the Law, as we can see by going back to chapter 3. But there is a history lesson here, which you should enjoy! In Jewish history, the inheritance was given generally to the oldest son, although sometimes another son was chosen.” The point of the lesson here is sonship. If you look at the list of Jew/Greek, slave/free, male/female you will see that one in each group was never considered a “son”. The fact that we are made sons and as sons we are heirs of all things. Paul goes on to speak about this process. Gal. 4:19 says “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you”.
Jen said: Can you give a verse to show us that they were questioning their spiritual ability?
Certainly. In Galatians 2:12 Paul says “For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision.” These were the Judaizers and their rules separated both the Jews from the Gentiles and the men from the women. In 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 Paul quotes from the letter from the Corinthians which the rules of the Judaizers were stated regarding women. Paul then promptly refutes their “law” which cannot be found in scripture but is found in the oral law of the Jews now called the Talmud. Women, according to the Judaizers, could not speak in the assembly and they were not allowed to learn in the assembly either. This is not only a questioning of women’s spiritual ability but a total denial of their spiritual equality. The understanding that verses 34, 35 were from the Corinthian letter to Paul and verse 36 as Paul’s rejection of the position has become a very powerful understanding that fully dispels any apparent contradictions in the chapter. One complementarian Pastor said about this section of my DVD “I learned some interesting things from your teaching [for example](your handling of 1 Corinthians 14) – This was well done and your reference to Jewish tradition was powerful in making your points. Could Paul’s reference to “the law” in verses 34-35 be referring to a quotation from Jewish tradition? You make a pretty persuasive case that it is” Another Pastor said he could find no holes in the argument and still another Pastor wrote a summary of my position and said: “I’ve been wrestling with the issues raised regarding women in 1 Cor.11-14 for twenty-six years…For the first time I feel like significant light has broken through the lingering problems and questions. Without doubt every conceivable explanation of what is entailed in 1 Cor.14:34-35 can be challenged from some angle. It is admittedly a difficult passage. However, the position convincingly set forth by Cheryl does the best job I’ve ever seen of doing justice to what the verses actually say and the immediate context, beginning in 1 Cor.11.”
Regarding my saying that Gal. 3:28 is talking about the gift of the Holy Spirit (and His bringing equality of sonship to the groups) Jen said: No, I don’t see that at all. Show us which verse says this.”
Certainly. Gal. 3:16 says promises (plural), 3:21 promises (again plural)
Jen said: ““A woman.” Which woman? Was it just one specific woman? It also says “a man.” Was it just one specific man?”
Yes it was a specific woman and a specific man (husband) just as they are compared to another couple Adam and Eve who were in a similar position.
Jen said: “Are you saying that this passage is only directed to one woman and one man? That they were the only two people Paul was talking about here? Paul did often address specific people, but he always made it very clear exactly who he was speaking about. In context, this is not about one woman and one man. “
Paul was stopping a specific woman regarding her teaching error. Timothy would have known who Paul was talking about. Those who were deceived were never named in scripture although the ones who were deliberate deceivers were named. Although “a woman” and “a man” can mean “all women” and “all men” in a generic way, we can know for sure that it is a specific woman because of several factors. First of all Paul links his stopping of her teaching to Eve whom he says was deceived. Since not all women are deceived, this cannot be generic. Secondly Paul left Timothy behind to stop the deceived teachers who were teaching error. He never said that Timothy was to stop the false teaching (teachers) AND women. If that was the case, it would have been mentioned in the purpose in chapter one. Thirdly verse 15 has very specific grammar. It says “she” and “they”. “She” and “they” have to do something because her salvation is in question. The only “she” that can be linked back to verse 15 is “a woman” from verse 12 whom Paul is stopping from teaching. The grammar insists that “she” is a single woman or verse 15 is impossible to exegete with “she” and “they” which are the inspired words that go with the inspired grammar.
Jen said: “The context of chapter two and following is much about how to “do” church, in general. It is not identifying a specific female false teacher.”
The context of chapter two is how the leadership handles the problem of those who have been deceived in the church. Paul reminds them that God desires all men to be saved and that of course would include those who have been teaching error about the law about which they are completely ignorant (1 Timothy 1:7) Paul tells the men that they are not to be argumentative even in their prayers (using their prayers as a way to try to correct the deception). The women who are making a claim to godliness (1 Tim. 2:10) are to show that godly attitude through good works not through how they dress. The woman in their midst who is teaching her husband her deception certainly needs their help too. The clincher that Paul is talking about error is the link to the deception of Eve. There is nothing in the passage that even gives a hint that Paul is stopping godly Christian women from teaching correct biblical doctrine to men. Instead it is all about deception and error which those who are godly should be helping to overcome with their godly prayers and their godly works.
Concerning the application of one book to another….
Russell Moore, in his speach to the CBMW stated that we must apply the principles of one book to another, and that comes from the patriarchy camp. If it’s good enough for him, why is it not a good enough principle for everyone else? (This is a major support for his argument that complementarianism is really feminism…)
In his “speech”…
Why don’t these blogs have spellcheck? Thank you, all, for your spirit of forgiveness!
We can say the principle that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace in Christ Jesus” may be applied to all books of the Bible, but that was not my disagreement with Cheryl.
Cheryl cited I Peter, that wives are joint heirs with their husbands of the grace of life. She said being an heir was a new thing for a woman.
She said women always had salvation, but were not heirs, and now they are, and cited I Peter as a text in this argument.
The problem is, I Peter, in saying a wife is a joint heir of the grace of life, is telling husbands that his wife is the recipient of eternal life the same as he is.
Yet this is no different from OT women of faith — that was true for them, too. They inherited eternal life, too. Hebrews hall of faith mentions Rahab and Sarah. There is a book devoted to Ruth.
Cheryl: “What I was doing was taking the scripture about the separation of Jew and Gentile and the enmity between the two and applying it to Galatians. Paul lists three groups of people and historically there was a division between all three.”
Jen replied: “Yes, Cheryl, and this is exactly what I keep speaking against. You simply cannot take the context of one BOOK of the Bible and apply it to another BOOK. That is why what you are saying simply is not proper hermeneutics.”
Under Much Grace, taking principles that one finds in one book of the Bible and applying them to other books, may or may not be valid. It depends on the universality of the principle. It might be good for you to supply some examples of what Moore did in his speech so we could evaluated them. But I still agree with Jen and don’t agree with a couple of Cheryl’s points, although I do agree there is a lot of division making that human beings have done that isn’t right. I just don’t see that *Scripture* has done this with respect to spiritual inheritance, and spiritual divisions between slave and free, male and female.
Galatians, when it mentions the classes and gender, does so to explain we all receive Christ in the same way.
Ephesians said there used to be a dividing wall between who could be considered the people of God and not the people of God, and that dividing wall was the Mosaic Law. That separated Jew and Gentile, NOT male and female, or slave and free.
There never was, nor ever will be, a division between men and women and how to be acceptable to God — it has always been through faith. Galatians does NOT speak of a dividing wall being *taken away* between classes of people. It speaks of the fact that there is only one way, Jesus, and that way is the same for all people. Logically, you can’t make the inference that there used to be a separate way for women and men to be acceptable to God, unless the Bible had said that elsewhere. Then you can say the divisions have been taken away. But one shouldn’t read the principle from Ephesians that the Mosaic Law has been taken away, and therefore Galatians teaches that a dividing line between men and women has been taken away, too. Because the Mosaic Law divided Jewish men and women from Gentile men and women, not Jewish men from everybody else.
When Paul wrote that in Galatians, unless some other place in the Bible said there was a difference between males, females, slaves, freemen, Jew and Gentile as to how to be accepted by God (and there is not — believing OT Gentiles attached themselves to God’s people, or else declared that they would worship and serve only the God of Israel), you can’t use Ephesians 2 to say there had to have been a dividing line between these groups that the cross of Christ now takes away.
As far as I can see, Paul was stating a fact about being in Christ that had always been true. There is only one way to be in Christ no matter who you are.
For OT saints, there was only one way to be acceptable to God, too, and that was through faith in the God of Israel.
Today, the dividing line between the people of God and not the people of God is faith in Christ, or no faith in Christ.
The only way I can see that you can apply what is said in Ephesians 2 to Galatians is to say that now that the Mosaic Law has been abolished, Jews and Gentiles have been placed into one body. In Christ, the people of God can now be either Jews or Gentiles; it is no longer just the Jews. And everybody who is a believer puts on Christ the same way — there is no difference between male and female, Jew and Gentile, slave or free.
Historically, there has been and always will be racism and divsions people make, and it is good for Paul, through the Holy Spirit, to remind us that in Christ we are all the same as to how we receive Him. And women are not saved through their husbands or fathers — they are joint heirs with the men of the grace of life. This has always been true, and my take is that it is just a reminder from God about what always has been true.
Oh, I forgot something. There was a division between who could be a priest, and who could not. Only Levites of a certain clan could be priests. When even a male king tried to assume the priestly duty, God dealt with him. And of course no women could be priests. And this division has been taken away by the cross.
This is an example of a division which the Bible spells out, being taken away, in that all believers are referred to as “a kingdom of priests.”
But this does not have much to do with Galatians, because whether OT priest or not, the way to be acceptable and made righteous by God was to have faith.
This example has more to do with Ephesians and the fact that Jesus abolished in his flesh the enmity, which is the law of commandments contained in ordinances, and that included the laws about the Levitical priesthood.
I’m just giving an example of a division that has been taken away. The old priesthood becoming the priesthood of all believers is one such example.
Hi guys, did you know that almost every single question you have thrown at Cheryl is on her DVD series?
Lin, a lot of what Cheryl says I agree with, to wit, that Christian women can be given the gifts of teaching, as well as other gifts. I agree with Don and Cheryl that there are a lot of males and females around who want to place more restrictions on women than what the Bible allows for, and Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard are examples of this. As an example of some writing I have done, I spent some time on my blog dissecting a piece by Jennie Chancey on working women — a piece which Doug Phillips has on his Vision Forum website. I went into great detail as to why I thought Jennie’s and Doug’s views on this are legalistic and unscriptural.
Cheryl and I and all the commenters thus far on this thread agree with Don that some Christian teachers promote what Christ expressly said should not characterize His followers, which is a Gentile conception of authority and domination, instead of sacrificial servanthood. That is what this thread is about.
I am also open to the question about pastoring being a gift that could be given to women. When Stephen and Cheryl were discussing this issue, I thought at the time the better term would be in the question, “Does the Bible permit women to be ‘overseers’ and ‘elders.'” Because the term “pastor” is not used in the context of gender discussions in the Bible, and it isn’t used in Paul’s instructions for church leaders, unless I’m mistaken. So I’m open to the gift of pastoring being one that women could have.
My short answer to that is “no,” the Bible doesn’t permit women to be elders and overseers. But my answer does NOT mean that pastoring has to *necessarily* be connected with having the elder/overseer role in the church body, and neither does teaching have to necessarily be only something an elder does. And it doesn’t mean that in all instances women may not utter a single word in church. The silence of women is indeed a difficult issue, but nobody here has said that women have to refrain from all speaking in church.
So you can see that there is a lot of common ground. However, I agree with Don’s idea about Galatians — it talks about God and how people come to him, not about the removal of previously held barriers between the subcategories it mentions there. Now, I’m sure God had Paul write that for a reason — perhaps one reason being humans need to understand that in Christ, no one is better than another, in a spiritual sense. Paul said some things to human masters of slaves in this regard, too — that they needed to be mindful that slaves were free in Christ, and that they as masters were slaves of the Lord. I also do not think viewing the DVDs is going to help me with the term “heir” and “inheritance” and how Cheryl is discussing it, and neither is it going to help me understand how “acceptance with God” was different in the OT compared to after the cross.
I just don’t see these things being different.
I do see the Mosaic Law being removed, and the barrier between Jew and Gentile being forever removed in Christ. This removal of the barrier also made access to the most holy place open to all peoples of faith. It has also made all believers part of a spiritual priesthood. It has also, since the cross of Christ, made the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in each believer a reality, whereas in OT times, it seems the Holy Spirit came on people for a time for special purposes.
But NONE of the differences that the cross made that I listed above — which are significant differences — not a one of them were strictly differences between all Jewish males and Jewish females/all Gentiles.
Before Christ, the Holy Spirit came on Elizabeth and she prophesied to Mary, so the Holy Spirit filled women, too. Most Jewish males were never allowed access to the Holy of Holies, the same as all Jewish women/Gentiles. Neither could all Jewish males be priests.
So for Cheryl to say that barriers between Jewish males and Jewish women/all Gentiles were removed in Christ, citing Galatians, after I consider the other Scriptures, I just do not see the distinctions, Scripturally, that she was making.
I also don’t see that now women inherit things that used to be reserved for Jewish males only:
“1 Peter 3:7 “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a *fellow heir* of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”
The inheritance that had been denied women, slaves, and Gentiles has now been given to all. All are equal in that all are “sons” of God.”
This is what I had a problem with. Cheryl said the Word of God had previously denied these things to women, when in reality, it is my considered opinion that sinful man has been the one to declare such things.
Cheryl is very right to talk about historical abuses of women, and legalistic repression of their giftings, and I think it is good of Don to discuss false teaching such as what is in this blog entry. But my main point is the Bible never made those kinds of distinctions between men and women — this is all a product of misinterpreting and misapplying the Scriptures, as well as the inborn sinful tendency we all have to compete to be the greatest in the kingdom — and I don’t mean great in a way that pleases Jesus. Galatians and I Peter and the admonitions to masters in the NT are good reminders to men and masters that spiritually, we are on a level playing field with regard to Christ, but those passages are not removing barriers that God had made and now giving women access to something they didn’t have before.
Here is a Bayly blog entry that reminds me of this blog entry and thread:
“(T)he Session adopted (Tim and Kathy Keller’s) paper as its position on the role of women in ministry, with the following exception: ‘The paper says that women may not be elders but that women may serve in any capacity within the local church that any non-elder male might serve. The Session of UPC would add to this that we believe this same limitation would also forbid women from shepherding men.’
Pastor Bates goes on to give a straightforward statement that it is the command of Scripture that women not serve as elders, and that the prohibition is rooted in God’s created order. This is good. But as we’ve often observed, the Holy Spirit declares in the pages of Scripture a heap of applications of this aspect of God’s created order that extend far beyond the simple matter of women elders and shepherding within the Church. This is what Keller and his disciples consistently fail to get. Or, what they get but refuse to teach or practice.
For instance, Keller and Keller summarize the teaching of Scripture and the leadership of women over men at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in this way:
‘Thus, women at Redeemer will be free to use all the gifts, privately and publicly. There are no restrictions on ministry at all. There is a restriction on the office of elder. Why? Because the Bible precludes it, and therein it points us back to the Trinitarian pattern which is strong in marriage and muted in society, but which is practiced in the church.’
Beyond their being precluded from the office of elder, ‘No restrictions on the ministry of women at all?’ Really? And the meaning and purpose of sexuality is ‘muted in society?’ Really? (The section justifying this ‘muting’ is certainly the most innovative exegesis I’ve come across on this subject, obviously twisted.)
The Kellers summarize their own church’s use of deaconesses—an office barred by our denomination’s Book of Church Order, by the way—in this way:
‘The Deaconesses will be women elected by the congregation who will do discipling, counseling, and shepherding in the church, particularly among the women. Spiritual maturity is the qualification. They will probably also exercise a teaching ministry in the church, depending on their gifts.’
Note carefully the two statements, ‘particularly among women’ and the prediction that these deaconesses will ‘exercise a teaching ministry in the church.’ Here the Kellers explicitly state that their women officers will exercise authority over men in Redeemer. Try as I might, I can’t find any other way of interpreting what they’ve written. ‘Particularly’ necessarily implies ‘not exclusively,’ and we’re not talking about age groups, races, or other forms of diversity, but ‘women’ and men.”
I find the following statements (among others) to be problematic:
“Pastor Bates goes on to give a straightforward statement that it is the command of Scripture that women not serve as elders, and that the prohibition is rooted in God’s created order. This is good. But as we’ve often observed, the Holy Spirit declares in the pages of Scripture a heap of applications of this aspect of God’s created order that extend far beyond the simple matter of women elders and shepherding within the Church.”
It is Bayly’s “heap of applications” that is legalistic. They are NOT declared in Scripture; they are ideas Bayly foists back onto Scripture. If anybody wants examples of this, just ask, and I’ll be happy to supply them.
He goes on:
“Beyond their being precluded from the office of elder, ‘No restrictions on the ministry of women at all?’ Really? And the meaning and purpose of sexuality is ‘muted in society?’ Really? (The section justifying this ‘muting’ is certainly the most innovative exegesis I’ve come across on this subject, obviously twisted.)”
I don’t know what it said about “muted in society,” but we do see those thorny exceptions such as Deborah, Huldah, Anna, Priscilla, the Queen of Sheba, which cause me to think it is very reasonable to limit the authority restrictions on women to marriage and the church, but not society at large, and not for all women to be under the authority of all mankind in general.
“Note carefully the two statements, ‘particularly among women’ and the prediction that these deaconesses will ‘exercise a teaching ministry in the church.’ Here the Kellers explicitly state that their women officers will exercise authority over men in Redeemer. Try as I might, I can’t find any other way of interpreting what they’ve written.”
I can. I can see Priscilla, along with her husband, taking Apollos aside, and teaching him privately. She was not usurping authority in the church by doing this. But she was still teaching.
Neither was Anna campaigning to take over the temple service and sacrificial system when she proclaimed Christ to all of Jerusalem in her day.
The phrase “particularly among women” is biblical, but allows for what God also allows for — that women, in society at large, can minister to all, including men, with their gifts.
Lynn, The Greek on ‘heirs’ in 1 Peter 3:7:
a co-heir, that is, (by analogy) participant in common: – fellow (joint) -heir, heir together, heir with.
Yet the Greek on ‘heirs’ in Galations 3:29 Titus 3: 7, James 2: 5 and Hebrews 6:17 is:
From G2819 and the base of G3551 (in its original sense of partitioning, that is, [reflexively] getting by apportionment); a sharer by lot, that is, an inheritor (literally or figuratively); by implication a possessor: – heir.
Then notice Romans 8
16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,
17and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
The first 2 heirs are kleronomos. the last ‘heir’ is sugklēronomos. Joint Heir.
My question is this: If salvation was never in question for any of the groups you all have been discussing (which I agree with) they why the use of the word, ‘heir’?
I agree that they are NOT removing barriers that God had made before. They were all man-made barriers.
Lin, I can’t answer about the different grammatical forms, and I want to check the passages, and perhaps after I look at them I might have something to say, but what I can say now is a spiritual inheritance is not a concept that is new in the New Testament. It is also spoken of many times in the OT, and the verses from Psalms and Lamentations are not restricted to men. Furthermore, women were considered to have a posterity as well in the earth — remember what was said to Rebekah:
The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
Thou dost support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
Whom have I in heaven but Thee?
And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”
Even in that Patriarchal culture, Rebekah was asked if she would marry Isaac. She had the final say, said yes, and they blessed her in this manner:
“Thus they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse with Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,
‘May you, our sister,
Become thousands of ten thousands,
And may your descendants possess
The gate of those who hate them.'”
Lynn said: “But I still agree with Jen and don’t agree with a couple of Cheryl’s points, although I do agree there is a lot of division making that human beings have done that isn’t right. I just don’t see that *Scripture* has done this with respect to spiritual inheritance, and spiritual divisions between slave and free, male and female. Galatians, when it mentions the classes and gender, does so to explain we all receive Christ in the same way.”
There are two problems with saying that Galatians is only about salvation. First of all the three groups all received salvation in the same way in the OT. There was never any division there to begin with, with God. If there was, then show me the division that made them unequal in salvation. There was no special way for the Jews to be saved, another way for the slaves to be saved and a third way for the women to be saved. All have come to God through faith the same way. The problem was not that the Jews didn’t believe the Gentiles and women could be saved. The problem was always that the Gentiles and the women were treated by the men as second class citizens. How was this second class spiritual citizenship dealt with by Paul?
Lynn said: “In Christ, the people of God can now be either Jews or Gentiles; it is no longer just the Jews.”
But Lynn, it was never just the Jews. If you read the OT, you will see that the Gentiles and foreigners were included with the nation of Israel regarding salvation. Salvation in the OT was NEVER just for the Jews. But the division that did exist and continued to exist was that the Gentiles were not allowed to be priests and they were not not allowed to be teachers in the nation. They were saved but had no spiritual equality, not at least until Christ died.
In the same way, women were saved, but they did not have the same spiritual equality with the Jewish men. That is why the Jewish men thanked God every day that they were not born Gentiles, slaves or women. Why? Was it because they didn’t believe that these groups could be saved? No, not at all. It was that these groups had no privileges. Only the Jewish men had the inheritance in the nation and only the Jewish men believed they had spiritual privileges.
If Galatians is only about salvation, then it doesn’t make sense for Paul to say that we are all “sons” of God. If it was only salvation, then we should be sons and daughters because both sons and daughters could be saved. But this scripture is talking about our inheritance and as heirs of God we are all “sons”. There are no daughters of God because we are in a position of equality as heirs of God.
If Galatians 3:28 isn’t talking about the spiritual equality as sons, then which scripture tears down the barrier of prejudice that men had towards women regarding their spiritual worth? Please show it to me.
In the NT, the promise of our inheritance is sealed with the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives his gifts to men and women alike. He does not give primary gifts to men and secondary gifts to women. All are recipients of the Holy Spirit in the same way. If all are recipients of the Holy Spirit in the same way, then all can be used of God equally. Salvation is equality before God. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the gifts he brings are our equality before man.
Lynn said: But one shouldn’t read the principle from Ephesians that the Mosaic Law has been taken away, and therefore Galatians teaches that a dividing line between men and women has been taken away, too. Because the Mosaic Law divided Jewish men and women from Gentile men and women, not Jewish men from everybody else.
But there was a barrier between the Jewish men and everyone else. We can say that this barrier was man-made. The court of the women was just as real as the court of the Gentiles. The women were separated from the men and the Gentiles. This was looked on as a spiritual barrier because although women certainly could be saved, they were not considered spiritually useful. The barrier between men and women was not how God saw them but how men see them. All one has to do to see this barrier is to read the Talmud. The barrier was real, it was full of prejudice and it was ungodly.
While women were treated as second class citizens, Paul rejects this saying they are full “sons” of God. While women were restricted to the women’s court in the temple, Paul says that all of us (including women) will be doing God’s work in the next life because all of us will be judging angels (1 Cor. 6:2, 3) so there are no divisions in our spiritual work or spiritual worth.
The divisions that made one group superior and (free Jewish men) and the other groups inferior (Gentiles, slaves and women) has been taken down in Christ. I know that you pulled a scripture about Rebekah’s brothers blessing her, but this is a very unusual occurrence in scripture. The blessing was always given by the Father to his sons and this one occasion of the brother’s giving their blessing to their sister is certainly godly, but it was not the norm.
But in Christ, there are no division, there are no barriers, we are all in one body, all equal and all needed by each other.
Cheryl, you said in a previous comment:
“What I am saying is that was a wall of separation between males and females, Jews and Gentiles, slave and free regarding how they are accepted by God.”
You said “accepted by God,” NOT “accepted by hoity-toity Jewish males.” This states that it is God who is doing the accepting here.
You also said:
“Both Jews and Gentiles could come to God and receive salvation yet only the Jews had an inheritance through God. . . . Both slave and free could receive salvation but only the free Jew had the inheritance with God.”
You said women and slaves and Gentiles had no “inheritance with God.” This is not the same thing as saying “human beings said they had no inheritance with God;” it is implying, as strongly as can be implied, that God gave them no inheritance.
“But when Christ died he reconciled all of us to God in such a way that all of us have become heirs and we all receive the inheritance so that no more are we slaves, Gentiles, or women outside the inheritance, we are now all equal, all ‘sons’ of God.”
Yet again, I beg to differ with your understanding of spiritual “inheritance,” which the NT speaks of, and applying it to land inheritance of the OT. Note verses from psalms I quoted in a comment above, plus Deborah, plus other instances of God speaking through and to women in the OT, plus some women being granted land in the OT.
And if we are considering these things, we have to consider there are still distinctions the NT makes. If there weren’t, it would be reasonable to conclude that of the 15 actual and possible candidates put forth to be apostles, and the 7 chosen to serve the widows, that at least one would have been a woman, but that didn’t happen. When the qualifications are listed for overseers, they are spoken of as exclusively masculine. When the qualifications are given to deacons, it is clear they are men, and it is not as clear, but is possible, that there were female deacons. Paul also gives instructions about women in the gathered worship where he says they are to subject themselves, “even as the Law also says.” Yes, the Mosaic Law was taken away in Christ, but Paul, under the inspiriation of the Holy Spirit, still made distinctions and God-inspired divisions, if you will.
When I say the above, I am saying we need to look at the whole picture here. The whole counsel of Scripture on the subject of distinctions God makes. Women are still excluded from being elders, and there are some things that Paul, when writing to the churches, does not grant to them as privileges in the gathered worship.
Please remember that I said I am still open as to whether pastoring is a gift given to women.
“The separation that I am talking about primarily is the separation from being in the family of God as ‘heirs’.”
This sounds again, like an ontological separation you are making, one that God Himself decreed, not false teaching.
“As the Jews worked out their “privileged” state, they separated themselves from the Gentiles, from women and from the slaves. They were the heirs and they were the “son’s” of God while everyone else was not on the same standing as they were. There was a separation between the groups because there was a separation regarding their *position* with God.”
There was a separation between the groups, in part because God Himself made distinctions and regulations and judgments, and in part because of man-made, legalistic, abusive divisions. The key thing is to divide Scripture properly in order to properly be obedient to it, and to remove the legalism and excess baggage.
The term “position” which you used is often used in theological discussions, and this, like the term “heir” and “inheritance,” is germane to this discussion. The term “position with God” is so often spoken theologically to mean “one’s standing before God,” regardless of what anyone else thinks or says — it is a proposition rooted in absolute truth —
that when you say there was a distinction made in their “position (or standing) with God,” it comes across as though God has made this. I just can’t read it any other way.
“In Christ, the people of God can now be either Jews or Gentiles; it is no longer just the Jews.”
“But Lynn, it was never just the Jews. If you read the OT, you will see that the Gentiles and foreigners were included with the nation of Israel regarding salvation. Salvation in the OT was NEVER just for the Jews.”
Please note that I referred to the term “people of God,” and when I used this I was not speaking of salvation. God, through the OT prophets declared that those who were “not my people” would someday be called God’s people. That is a theological division that is categorically made in the Bible. It was between who was called the people of God and who was not. So I was not referring to salvation — I know that in the Old Testament, if people wanted to attach themselves to God, they had to join with the nation of Israel, and now that isn’t necessary. That is all I was saying. I was also implying that this distinction does not separate male and female, slave or free, for there were Israelites who had to sell themselves on account of poverty.
“Paul also gives instructions about women in the gathered worship where he says they are to subject themselves, “even as the Law also says.” Yes, the Mosaic Law was taken away in Christ, but Paul, under the inspiriation of the Holy Spirit, still made distinctions and God-inspired divisions, if you will.”
What law is he referring to?
“even as the Law also says.” What law is he referring to?
I think that this refers to the oral law and the accepted law of the Pharisees of the day (not necessarily and an addition to the Mosaic law contained in Scripture.
Also, concerning Lynn’s questioning of inheritence above:
Cheryl, please help me out if I need some correction here. My reasoning is still “gummed up” from the residue of these distorted teachings…
The texts in Ephesians and in Galatians do addresss the spiriual inheritence extended to all believers, and the whole of those letters do not confuse the earthy and the spiritual blessings. Read in context and in light of the oral traditions, the teachings of the Pharisees prevalent at the time of Paul’s writing of these epistles and the traditions of the Gentiles as cited by Veinot in the original post, both these Books use these differences from the rights permitted under the prevailing law as an object to contrast the spiritual benefits IN CHRIST (which are expanded to include women).
Considering that the practice of speaking publicly to a woman by a man was viewed as scandalous under the Jewish system, Jesus already established that women held a much different distinction with Him, setting a drastically different standard. Paul reiterates this several times in Galatians by alluding to the OT concept that God is no respector of persons, then specifically applies this to women, slaves and Greeks. In Ephesians, he addresses this when he discusses enmity, then specifically applies/expands this to the husband, wife, slave and all believers through the course of the Book.
Lynn states: “The key thing is to divide Scripture properly in order to properly be obedient to it, and to remove the legalism and excess baggage.”
Where specifically and exactly does Cheryl depart from proper use of “heir” and “inheritence” and how do you support that this argument departs from a proper and reasonable ontogeny? If Paul uses these terms to denote something other than spiritual inheritence, how can you support that— why would the context of both Galatians and Ephesians lead us to interpret otherwise, based on what he wrote?
Yet again, I beg to differ with your understanding of spiritual “inheritance,” which the NT speaks of, and applying it to land inheritance of the OT.
I don’t think that Cheryl is doing this at all. I know of others elsewhere use this argument in discussion of this subject, but I don’t see where Cheryl has implied a mixing of the two in this discussion. Can you show (again? more specifically)where she has done this so I can understand your point? The earthly systems still apply, but Paul makes the distinction that it is not so IN CHRIST. I don’t discern that Cheryl has misrepresented what Paul has written, using the earthly system to contrast against freedom in Christ.
If other religious or political systems interpolate this spiritual concept into a doctrine that uses this to justify earthly standards, that is a different matter. That wasn’t suggested here by Cheryl or anyone else from my understanding. This isn’t an egalitarian political or civil argument. It concerns woman (and subsequently the slave and Greek), and the standards of Christian conduct within Christian circles which flow from the New Covenant spiritual status individuals in Christ.
Whoah. Missed some pronouns and prepositions in that post. Hollar at me if I failed to communicate my premise clearly. Typing faster than thinking today.
Under Much Grace:
“Where specifically and exactly does Cheryl depart from proper use of “heir” and “inheritence” and how do you support that this argument departs from a proper and reasonable ontogeny? If Paul uses these terms to denote something other than spiritual inheritence, how can you support that— why would the context of both Galatians and Ephesians lead us to interpret otherwise, based on what he wrote?”
Under Much Grace, I don’t know where to begin with the above, but I will try.
1) It was my point, in the first place, that Paul was using the terms relating to heir and inheritance *only* to denote spiritual inheritance. Why you ask me that question, as if I am the one that is claiming that Paul is meaning anything other than a spiritual inheritance, is beyond me.
2) Cheryl’s claim is that Paul’s writing about this spiritual inheritance in Galatians removes a dividing wall between men and women. Because prior to this only Jewish males had the inheritance.
3) Logic, both informal fallacies, and more formal logic, has been one of my interests and pursuits over the past few years, and Cheryl is making an equivocation with the term “heir” and “inheritance” in her arguments. One of Cheryl’s claims is that only Jewish males could inherit land. That is not what Paul is referring to in Galatians by inheritance.
Don Veinot has explained this in comments #43 and #46.
Cheryl has claimed, prior to the cross, that there was a difference as to how God accepted different groups of people. This is her claim. My comment just prior to this one quotes her as saying that. I don’t agree with it. I think one of the key problems, in claiming that God accepted different people differently is over an equivocation with the word “heir.”
There isn’t any more I can say.
“Paul also gives instructions about women in the gathered worship where he says they are to subject themselves, “even as the Law also says.” Yes, the Mosaic Law was taken away in Christ, but Paul, under the inspiriation of the Holy Spirit, still made distinctions and God-inspired divisions, if you will.”
Hi Lynn, I too, like logic :o) But what ‘law’ in the OT gave us ‘God inspired divisions’? What law is Paul referring to?
Are you saying that my description of Paul’s use of the earthly inheritence to describe the difference between spiritual inheritence is a wrong interpretation?
Do you see what I described as different from what Cheryl is saying?
Lynn wrote: Cheryl has claimed, prior to the cross, that there was a difference as to how God accepted different groups of people. This is her claim. My comment just prior to this one quotes her as saying that. I don’t agree with it. I think one of the key problems, in claiming that God accepted different people differently is over an equivocation with the word “heir.”
I think you’ve discerned this correctly. Here is a crux of the problem perhaps. How can you justify that God didn’t treat groups of people differently, including women?
Scripture does make distinctions between the Jews and Gentiles, even in the NT. The Jewish traditions made even more. The Apocrapha made many also. They were binding and at work within the community in Jesus’ day and when Paul spoke to the NT church. Is it your argument then that we can only consider the cannonized Scriptures to interpret what Paul meant?
The question is not about salvation at all and no one received salvation by their works. Did God treat some people differently? Abraham had two sons one of promise and the other one not of promise. One was an heir and the other one was not. Does that mean that the one who was not an heir could not have salvation? I don’t think so. There were inequalities before Christ came and when Jesus died he brought us all to into the body of Christ in an equal way. There aren’t any who are not heirs in the body of Christ and there are no class distinctions.
What I see is that some want to continue the class distinctions in the body of Christ. The question would be, are we allowed to do that by scripture? Can we have a class distinction for one that we don’t have for another just because of race, gender or social status?
“There are two problems with saying that Galatians is only about salvation.”
The dilemma is one of context. For the most part you have attempted to draw other letters from the New Testament and insert the subject matter from those contexts in to Galatians. The underlying assumptions and assertions being that Paul always used the same definition for each word and all reader in each of the churches knew what those meanings were. I don’t find any evidence for this.
First, Galatians was most likely written between 49 & 55 A.D. I tend to think around 49 in conjunction with the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). Nearly all of the book is about salvation/sanctification. The Apostle calls them to task for deserting the gospel (1:6-10). He gives his testimony by way of reminder (Gal. 1:11 – 2:10) which includes his stand against legalism for salvation. The Galatians had originally believed they were saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone but false teachers (Judaizers) crept in and even Peter joined ranks with them (2:11-21). Chapters 3-5 develop the idea that not only is salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone but that sanctification is as well. So, in a sense you are correct. It is about more than salvation it is also about sanctification. However, there is not even a hint of the roles of men women, Jews, Gentiles, etc. in relation to one another but rather the emphasis in on the relation of God to humans based solely on what He does and continues to do. At this point in history the book of 1 Corinthians had not been written and to our knowledge this question had not arisen with the Galatian church nor did they have the benefit of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians to spark that discussion since it wasn’t in existence yet.
Secondly, words often have a range of meaning and the context helps us to get at the meaning in any particular sentence or paragraph. For example the word “baptism.” Often Christians read “water” into the word baptism. However, there is nothing in the word itself which explicitly nor implicitly includes water. It means “to place in to” or some variation thereof. The context surrounding the word gives us the details of agent being used in the baptism. In some cases it is water. In some cases it is fire. In some cases it is the Holy Spirit. In some cases it is the Body of Christ. For example the Holy Spirit baptizes us (or places us in to ) the Body of Christ. In this instance the Holy Spirit is the baptizer and the Body of Christ is the agent. The reason I bring this up is that much meaning seems to be read in to the words heir, heirs and inheritance. There is nothing explicit or implicit in the word which means removal of partitions. The simplest understanding of “inheritance” would be something that is passed on from one to another. It could be land, an estate, money, physical traits, personality traits (my son has my laugh and sense of humor) and any number of other things. The heir or heirs are the ones to whom something is passed on. The historical and grammatical context tells the reader what the heir is to receive. In the context of Galatians 3 & 4 we find the Jews were under bondage to the Law and Gentiles were under bondage to false gods. In both cases those who come to salvation are heirs to salvation and sanctification that was promised to Abraham prior to their being a nation of Israel. As Paul often does in his writings, he lays out his case like an attorney and leaves little room for doubt as to who can appropriate this promise and he does this in 3:28. Salvation and sanctification come the same way regardless of race (Jews or Greeks), class (slave or free), and gender (male or female). All of those divisions melt away before Him Who secured our salvation and holds us secure while sanctifying us.
Please understand that I am not addressing whether or not your arguments regarding the role of women in the church have merit or not. As you are aware, I and MCOI regard these as important but secondary doctrines or what we call mechanics of the faith. My only point here is that Galatians does not support the argument in the way that has been attempted and credibility is lost when a particular view is read in to a passage where it does not exist in a normal reading.
Thank you for your comments, Don, I appreciate that you took time to show the opposing view. I am sure you know that there is a large segment of the church including many biblical scholars who understand Galatians 3:28 much differently than you do. They believe this passage is not just talking about salvation but about the working of the Holy Spirit in our life. For them the mention of our being “heir of everything” and sanctification through the work of the Holy Spirit means that there are no class distinctions in the body of Christ.
If Paul had wanted this to be just about salvation, then he would have kept the discussion to just the Jews and Gentiles since that was always the issue. In other scriptures women are not mentioned and that is important. Who was questioning the salvation of women that women had to be accounted for in this passage? Women would be included in the “Jew/Gentile” and the “slave/free” category anyway so Paul didn’t need to mention gender. I agree with you that Paul uses arguments very carefully. But to include women in an argument strictly about salvation when women’s salvation was never questioned as was the salvation of the Gentiles, seems to be unnecessary for a stickler like Paul. So who in the church was questioning the salvation of women? Why was it necessary for Paul to mention women in this context?
If, on the other hand Paul is talking about the full benefits of salvation including the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives through the gifts, then there is ample justification for including women in the list of “Jew/Gentile” and “slave/free”.
Also the saying that a Jewish man prayed that he was glad that God didn’t created him as a Gentile, slave or woman would also be applicable. When a Jewish man prayed this prayer, were they glad that they weren’t created a Gentile, slave or woman because then they then couldn’t be saved? Or where they praying this because they saw these people as inferior to them? It was obviously that the others were inferior. If Paul then took a common prayer and applied it to the body of Christ, then would not those who read this be able to apply it to the fact that there are no inferiors in the body of Christ? Inferior as to what? It would have to be in position in the body, because all are in the body to begin with.
I think this is an area that we will just have to agree to disagree. I am very pleased that you are open to women in ministry and you do not hold women back as others do, but there is a huge segment of the church who do not agree with you on this verse. Until it can be shown to me that women’s salvation was questioned in the OT and Paul needed to correct a false view by adding women into the mix, then I must see this passage as a freedom for the Holy Spirit to gift the heirs of life with whatever we need to function in the body in the way He has desired for us. I don’t see that contradicted in any place in the bible.
If I am wrong about this passage not being just on salvation, then the est of the bible doesn’t contradict my view anyway so I am okay. If I am right, then we need to keep race/gender/distinctions from stopping us from serving Christ. I am all for that.
The big thing that I think you and I would fully agree on is that Christ is to be glorified. This is not an issue of women in ministry so much as an issue where Jesus needs to be lifted up and it is to be acknowledged that he can do whatever he wants with his body. He can empower anyone for service without us telling him what he can and can’t do.
This is also not a matter of sin, it is a secondary matter so it should not separate brothers and sisters in Christ.
I’ve loved reading through the conversation here. My only “beef” (harhar) is with the comment that the emergent church is embracing paganism. The emerging movement is incredibly diverse, represented by all faces of Christianity. Just because there are some there that you might consider “liberal,” doesn’t mean that all are, nor does it mean that all are throwing sound doctrine to the wind. The emerging movement is seeking to see Jesus made manifest to the post-modern age we are now in, and looking to throw off what is of the former age (“modernity,”) because it is a stumbling block to the post-moderns. It is NOT seeking to throw off the truth of Christ. It is simply seeking to “clean house,” as it were, and seperate the true gospel from a lot of the stuff that’s become enmeshed with it.
Now, back to the woman discussion… I’ve tossed many of these same thoughts around on my old blog, and want to thank you for this wonderful post (er, except for the emergent comment-lol).
I’m SO glad that more and more people are beginning to expose this insidious (well-marketed) hyper-patriarchy that my husband and I once believed, practiced, were almost crushed by, and that God in His goodness set us free from!). 🙂
“Nearly all of the book [of Galatians] is about salvation/sanctification.
Chapters 3-5 develop the idea that not only is salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone but that sanctification is as well. So, in a sense you are correct. It is about more than salvation it is also about sanctification. However, there is not even a hint of the roles of men women, Jews, Gentiles, etc. in relation to one another but rather the emphasis in on the relation of God to humans based solely on what He does and continues to do.”
“I am sure you know that there is a large segment of the church including many biblical scholars who understand Galatians 3:28 much differently than you do. They believe this passage is not just talking about salvation but about the working of the Holy Spirit in our life.”
The working of the Holy Spirit in our life is part and parcel of salvation and sanctification, so Don should be included in the group who “believe[s] this passage is not just talking about salvation but about the working of the Holy Spirit in our life.” You said many biblical scholars understand Galatians 3:28 differently from Don, and then qualified what you meant by claiming they believe something I’m 100% sure Don would AGREE with.
This is a classic straw man.
“For them the mention of our being ‘heir of everything’ and sanctification through the work of the Holy Spirit means that there are no class distinctions in the body of Christ.”
And I would agree with this, as I believe would Don, with respect to what the context of Galatians 3 is talking about. Then, in order to properly understand everything that the NT says about different groups of people, such as husbands/wives, women and men in church, children/parents, slaves/masters, etc.., we need to consider the whole counsel of Scripture and all the other passages where different groups are mentioned.
Lynn wrote: You said many biblical scholars understand Galatians 3:28 differently from Don, and then qualified what you meant by claiming they believe something I’m 100% sure Don would AGREE with. This is a classic straw man.
Cheryl: This is not a straw man at all. Don said that the passage is not about roles and I said that there are many biblical scholars who understand Galatians 3:28 differently than Don. Don went on to say that we need to consider all of scripture regarding the groups and I heartily agree with him. It isn’t that Don is denying that scripture gives women freedom to operate in their gifts, he just doesn’t see that Galatians 3:28 is one of those scripture. Don doesn’t see anything in Galatians 3:28 about roles and I said that others including many scholars disagree with him on Galatians 3:28.
The way the Holy Spirit works in our lives is about our role in the body of Christ. The gifts that the Holy Spirit gives us are our role in the body of Christ. Each gift is to be used to benefit the body and each gift then can define our part in the body which is our role.
There are many who say that Galatians 3:28 is only about salvation and they wouldn’t even go as far as Don by saying that it also is about sanctification. They believe that women are restricted in role concerning who they can use their gifts for so Galatians 3:28 then means that women have complete equality with men only in salvation and in God’s eyes. In the eyes of men, a man has a greater status in the body since he is able to use his gifts for the benefit of all while women are not allowed to use their gifts for the benefit of the entire body.
I have a question that I would really like to ask you, Lynn. Since the Jewish tradition made women unequal as a person compared to a man, is there a scripture that shows that women are equal in worth in the eyes of man or was this tradition never refuted by scripture?
I understand about the Jewish male prayer. I understand that the males went to Hebrew school. I also know that little girls were instructed as well, but not as much. This is one area I do know some things about.
I know from my life experiences as well. I come from New York state and went to college with many people from the City and other places, where the Jewish population is much higher than elsewhere. I am more intimately acquainted with Jewish heritage and customs, too, because my brother married a Jewish woman and I know some of their traditions and myths and extra-biblical teachings. I’ve spent Sabbaths with them, and Jewish holidays. I’ve been to services in synagogues.
Funny thing is, if you’ve ever lived among lots of Jewish people, you absolutely don’t get this attitude about women from the Jewish males I know of, whether they pray that prayer or not, and the Jewish females are extremely proud of their heritage as Jewish women. I’m talking about what I’ve know from the mid 1970s onward. I’ve talked to Jewish women in college, asking them questions about their heritage. I’m nosy. Many of them value education and family and hard work highly. I used to run around with a man who was and is an actor, and we were just friends, but he never EVER treated his shiksa friend as less than a human being, and he never treated me shabbily in any respect whatsoever.
Of course, I’m talking mostly those from Conservative and Reformed (more liberal), but I have known Orthodox Jews as well.
But it goes back farther than that in my family. My maternal grandmother, because her mother was not well, lived with a Jewish family for a time who cared for her, and treated her very kindly. She told me about helping the mother in the kitchen, including exclamations of, “Oh, Edna, every time you help me I have to break a dish!” (she got the meat and milk dishes mixed up). This was a very spirited, kind, woman, who helped my grandmother. And if you Google women, such as Emma Lazarus, who wrote the poem for the Statue of Liberty, you will find examples of brilliant, accomplished Jewish women from times past as well. If you read a biography, such as Esther Hautzig’s The Endless Steppe, from WWII, you will also see this sense of dignity and worth and aristocracy, almost, even when fighting for their lives in Siberia. A grandmother, a mother, and a daughter. The grandfather died, and the father was separated from them for quite some time until the war was over.
Since you are talking about Jewish tradition, I am answering you, from what I have seen and LIVED with (college dorms and homes and family), and read about, that in spite of these prayers, and all the pride that goes with it, it hasn’t seemed to have damaged the psyche of Jewish women very much. And that is an understatement. And don’t get me started on the Jewish mamas I have known! Oy-vey! Yeah . . . they look real down trodden and oppressed and uneducated —- NOT!!!
That prayer and that attitude being tradition or not, there is a whole OTHER side to Jewish culture, both in the United States, and in Israel, and all over the world, where Jewish women don’t appear to believe they are oppressed by their Jewish husbands and fathers. Persecuted by Hitler and the latest re-incarnations of the Nazis, yes, but not by the males in their ranks. I think there is a lot of national pride and pride in their heritage, as well as, by and large (there are exceptions of course), the strong sense of family that they have, which gives them this sense of dignity and worth.
Scripture, you ask? If they haven’t heard about the noble women of Scripture, such as Rahab, who saved the spies, and Caleb’s daughter securing more land for herself (springs), or the 4 daughters who went to Moses and demanded an inheritance in Israel for their family line, or Deborah, or Ruth, or Esther, if they ignored that Abraham listened to and followed what Sarah said, once when it grieved him to do so, if they ignored that the Queen of the South went to visit Solomon to see for her own eyes that the reports wer true, if they failed to realize that on occasion God visited women and spoke to them and through them, then there isn’t much more Scripture from the New Testament that could help them.
“You said many biblical scholars understand Galatians 3:28 differently from Don, and then qualified what you meant by claiming they believe something I’m 100% sure Don would AGREE with. This is a classic straw man.”
Cheryl: “This is not a straw man at all. Don said that the passage is not about roles and I said that there are many biblical scholars who understand Galatians 3:28 differently than Don.”
That isn’t what you said at that point, though. You said that Don had a different view in that many scholars thought the book was about not just salvation, but about the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. You made it out that Don wouldn’t agree with that, when he does.
To E. Stephen Burnette:
This is not an accusation, but a question for you to ponder. If you are not a female subordinationist, then why do you compare women teachers to false teachers, Gnostics and Judaizers? I’m sure you didn’t mean to, and it will be shocking of you to think of it that way. But your illustration does exactly that. There is nothing sinful about being born female.
Please reconsider your conclusion (women teaching spiritual matters in a church setting isn’t valid) since the logic leading up to it is clearly amiss.
If you can point out to me anything I said above in which I compared women teachers to false teachers, Gnostics and Judaizers, I’ll take a look at it — but you’ll find such a quote lacking. Please read the selection more carefully.
My only contention in citing the above groups was that Paul has indeed made certain guidelines for how Church ought to be done, and it just so happens that he sees little place for these sorts of things in the Church. Does that mean that a church with a woman pastor/overseer would be comparable to a church teaching outright Gnostic heresy or Judaizer-style legalism? Not at all. In my view, something a female pastor can be a minor error compared to those major ones. I can live with minor errors, to be sure.
And no, I said nothing about “being born female” being “sinful.”
As for my conclusion, it’s based on a variety of Scripture reasonings and logical workings which I haven’t at all fully outlined in this venue. I’ve been keeping track of, and thoroughly enjoying, the blog-feedback here for days, and thus far have found little reason yet to reevaluate my view of Grace-imbued, natural, God-given roles for husbands and wives, and men and women in the Church.
Here is an interesting commentary by a Jewish woman on Jewish women. I think it highlights both sides of the coin being discussed in this thread.
She points out that both Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem were both Jewish women. 🙂 She says that the position of women under Jewish law is much better in many ways than what women had under American civil law until recently.
The following I found interesting.
“In traditional Judaism, women are for the most part seen as separate but equal. Women’s obligations and responsibilities are different from men’s, but no less important (in fact, in some ways, women’s responsibilities are considered more important, as we shall see).
The equality of men and women begins at the highest possible level: G-d. In Judaism, unlike Christianity, G-d has never been viewed as exclusively male or masculine. Judaism has always maintained that G-d has both masculine and feminine qualities. As one rabbi explained it to me, G-d has no body, no genitalia, therefore the very idea that G-d is male or female is patently absurd. We refer to G-d using masculine terms simply for convenience’s sake, because Hebrew has no neutral gender; G-d is no more male than a table is.
Both man and woman were created in the image of G-d. According to most Jewish scholars, “man” was created in Gen. 1:27 with dual gender, and was later separated into male and female.
According to traditional Judaism, women are endowed with a greater degree of “binah” (intuition, understanding, intelligence) than men. The rabbis inferred this from the fact that woman was “built” (Gen. 2:22) rather than “formed” (Gen. 2:7), and the Hebrew root of “build” has the same consonants as the word “binah.” It has been said that the matriarchs (Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah) were superior to the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) in prophecy. Women did not participate in the idolatry regarding the Golden Calf. See Rosh Chodesh below. Some traditional sources suggest that women are closer to G-d’s ideal than men.
Women have held positions of respect in Judaism since biblical times. Miriam is considered one of the liberators of the Children of Israel, along with her brothers Moses and Aaron. One of the Judges (Deborah) was a woman. Seven of the 55 prophets of the Bible were women (they are included in the list of biblical prophets).
The Ten Commandments require respect for both mother and father. Note that the father comes first in Ex. 20:12, but the mother comes first in Lev. 19:3, and many traditional sources point out that this reversal is intended to show that both parents are equally entitled to honor and reverence.”
I am quite familiar with Judaism since I worked for a Jewish non-profit fundraising firm and I am married to a man whose father is a concentration camp survivor and was raised Jewish until his conversion to Christianity in his mid-teens. I can tell you that modern Jewish men, like my husband, have been raised to highly respect women and treat them like queens. You will not find much of the talking down about women in these groups. Where I worked, I was treated like an intelligent human being by my fellow male Jewish colleagues. I never heard one derogatory female joke like I have heard in other work environments. Also, my husband is much more of the feeling that marriage is about mutual submission and he has not compromised his manhood, either, nor has he compromised his headship.
Tracey Rich goes on to say:
There can be no doubt, however, that the Talmud also has many negative things to say about women. Various rabbis at various times describe women as lazy, jealous, vain and gluttonous, prone to gossip and particularly prone to the occult and witchcraft. Men are repeatedly advised against associating with women, although this is usually because of man’s lust rather than because of any shortcoming in women. It is worth noting that the Talmud also has negative things to say about men, frequently describing men as particularly prone to lust and forbidden sexual desires.
Women are discouraged from pursuing higher education or religious pursuits, but this seems to be primarily because women who engage in such pursuits might neglect their primary duties as wives and mothers. The rabbis are not concerned that women are not spiritual enough; rather, they are concerned that women might become too spiritually devoted.
The rights of women in traditional Judaism are much greater than they were in the rest of Western civilization until this century. Women had the right to buy, sell, and own property, and make their own contracts, rights which women in Western countries (including America) did not have until about 100 years ago. In fact, Proverbs 31:10-31, which is traditionally read at Jewish weddings, speaks repeatedly of business acumen as a trait to be prized in women (v. 11, 13, 16, and 18 especially).
Women have the right to be consulted with regard to their marriage. Marital sex is regarded as the woman’s right, and not the man’s. Men do not have the right to beat or mistreat their wives, a right that was recognized by law in many Western countries until a few hundred years ago. In cases of rape, a woman is generally presumed not to have consented to the intercourse, even if she enjoyed it, even if she consented after the sexual act began and declined a rescue! This is in sharp contrast to American society, where even today rape victims often have to overcome public suspicion that they “asked for it” or “wanted it.” Traditional Judaism recognizes that forced sexual relations within the context of marriage are rape and are not permitted; in many states in America, rape within marriage is still not a criminal act.
There is no question that in traditional Judaism, the primary role of a woman is as wife and mother, keeper of the household. However, Judaism has great respect for the importance of that role and the spiritual influence that the woman has over her family. The Talmud says that when a pious man marries a wicked woman, the man becomes wicked, but when a wicked man marries a pious woman, the man becomes pious. Women are exempted from all positive commandments (“thou shalts” as opposed to “thou shalt nots”) that are time-related (that is, commandments that must be performed at a specific time of the day or year), because the woman’s duties as wife and mother are so important that they cannot be postponed to fulfill a commandment. After all, a woman cannot be expected to just drop a crying baby when the time comes to perform a commandment.
It is this exemption from certain commandments that has led to the greatest misunderstanding of the role of women in Judaism. First, many people make the mistake of thinking that this exemption is a prohibition. On the contrary, although women are not obligated to perform time-based positive commandments, they are generally permitted to observe such commandments if they choose. Second, because this exemption diminishes the role of women in the synagogue, many people perceive that women have no role in Jewish religious life. This misconception derives from the mistaken assumption that Jewish religious life revolves around the synagogue. It does not; it revolves around the home, where the woman’s role is every bit as important as the man’s.
More fascinating stuff on the Jewish religion and women. This is from the same website above. As you can see, it is FAR more progressive than our Christian hyper-patriarchal movement. Sex is a woman’s right? Her position in the home is JUST as important? Jewish men think women have a higher degree of “binah” or intelligence, intuition and understanding? Is it any wonder that Lady Wisdom in Proverbs is a female personification? Both are fully made in the image of God? God is not considered to be male?
“Judaism recognizes that it is mankind’s nature to rebel against authority; thus, one who does something because he is commanded to is regarded with greater merit than one who does something because he chooses to. The person who refrains from pork because it is a commandment has more merit than the person who refrains from pork because he doesn’t like the taste. In addition, the commandments, burdens, obligations, that were given to the Jewish people are regarded as a privilege, and the more commandments one is obliged to observe, the more privileged one is.
Because women are not obligated to perform certain commandments, their observance of those commandments does not “count” for group purposes. Thus, a woman’s voluntary attendance at daily worship services does not count toward a minyan (the 10 people necessary to recite certain prayers), a woman’s voluntary recitation of certain prayers does not count on behalf of the group (thus women cannot lead services), and a woman’s voluntary reading from the Torah does not count towards the community’s obligation to read from the Torah.
In addition, because women are not obligated to perform as many commandments as men are, women are regarded as less privileged. It is in this light that one must understand the man’s prayer thanking G-d for “not making me a woman.” The prayer does not indicate that it is bad to be a woman, but only that men are fortunate to be privileged to have more obligations. The corresponding women’s prayer, thanking G-d for making me “according to his will,” is not a statement of resignation to a lower status (hardly an appropriate sentiment for prayer!) On the contrary, this prayer should be understood as thanking G-d for giving women greater binah, for making women closer to G-d’s idea of spiritual perfection, and for all the joys of being a woman generally.
The second thing that must be understood is the separation of men and women during prayer. According to Jewish Law, men and women must be separated during prayer, usually by a wall or curtain called a mechitzah or by placing women in a second floor balcony. There are two reasons for this: first, your mind is supposed to be on prayer, not on the pretty girl praying near you. Second, many pagan religious ceremonies at the time Judaism was founded involved sexual activity and orgies, and the separation prevents or at least discourages this.
The combination of this exemption from certain commandments and this separation often has the result that women have an inferior place in the synagogue. Woman’s obligations in the home (which are the reason why women are exempt from time-based commandments like formal prayer services) often keep them away from synagogue. In several synagogues that I have attended, the women’s section is poorly climate controlled, and women cannot see (sometimes can’t even hear!) what’s going on in the men’s section, where the services are being led. Women are not obligated by Jewish law to attend formal religious services, and cannot participate in many aspects of the services (traditional Jewish services have a very high degree of “audience participation” — and I’m not just talking about community readings, I’m talking about actively taking part in running the service).
But as I said before, this restriction on participation in synagogue life does not mean that women are excluded the Jewish religion, because the Jewish religion is not just something that happens in synagogue. Judaism is something that permeates every aspect of your life, every thing that you do, from the time you wake up in the morning to the time you go to bed, from what you eat and how you dress to how you conduct business. Prayer services are only a small, though important, part of the Jewish religion.”
Another thing about Judaism is that they don’t try and explain away Deborah. They highly exalt and honor her. My husband’s sister is named after her. She was a woman of honor and not considered a freak of nature.
“You said many biblical scholars understand Galatians 3:28 differently from Don, and then qualified what you meant by claiming they believe something I’m 100% sure Don would AGREE with. This is a classic straw man.”
Cheryl: “This is not a straw man at all. Don said that the passage is not about roles and I said that there are many biblical scholars who understand Galatians 3:28 differently than Don.”
Lynn said: That isn’t what you said at that point, though. You said that Don had a different view in that many scholars thought the book was about not just salvation, but about the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. You made it out that Don wouldn’t agree with that, when he does.
Cheryl: I just explained in my original post why some believe that the passage is about roles not just salvation. While Don did say that he believes that the passage is sanctification too, he did say that it isn’t about roles, and I just explained that others see that it is about roles. The Holy Spirit’s working within us regarding his gifts and work within the body of Christ is about our “roles” although I don’t like the term roles since scripture doesn’t use this word.
I hope that we can at least see eye to eye on this. I know that Don has a good heart and he is one of my most favorite people. There probably isn’t a whole lot that we disagree on. Gal. 3:28 is one of the few things. It’s okay. I still love him and I support the valuable work that he is doing.
Corrie said: “In addition, because women are not obligated to perform as many commandments as men are, women are regarded as less privileged. It is in this light that one must understand the man’s prayer thanking G-d for “not making me a woman.” The prayer does not indicate that it is bad to be a woman, but only that men are fortunate to be privileged to have more obligations.”
That was my point too that the Jewish men’s prayer was about privilege not about salvation. It would seem out-of-line to include women with the Gentiles regarding salvation unless this passage is about the privileged and the non-privileged. If the three non-privileged classes are listed alongside the privileged ones, we can conclude that all are privileged in the body of Christ and there are to be no divisions in the body.
Cheryl: “The Holy Spirit’s working within us regarding his gifts and work within the body of Christ is about our “roles”
Hi, Cheryl, I’ve been out of the loop for a while, but can you please explain what you mean by this statement? I want to make sure I understand your intent before I respond.
Corrie, I loved those comments about the Jewish women. The part that especially fascinated me is why some commandments only apply to men, especially those regarding the worship service. I wonder if we should be considering this aspect as we discuss gender roles in the church. Would there be a problem if a woman neglected her familial responsibilities in order to fulfill a ministerial role in the church? Of course. I shall have to consider the implications of the commandments for the men versus the voluntary aspects for women. Very interesting. Thanks!
Jen said: Hi, Cheryl, I’ve been out of the loop for a while, but can you please explain what you mean by this statement? “The Holy Spirit’s working within us regarding his gifts and work within the body of Christ is about our “roles”.” I want to make sure I understand your intent before I respond.
Thanks for asking! Our roles in the body of Christ are all about our universal priesthood and the privileges that come with that priesthood. All of this comes not because of who we are (male, female, Jew, Gentile, slave or free) but because of the Holy Spirit’s working through us. His gifts are what qualify us for our “roles” and it is not our status in life or our nationality or our gender. The fact that the Jewish men prayed and thanked God daily that he did not make them a woman, showed that they considered themselves in a privileged role. Yet the really odd thing is that women in the New Testament’s universal priesthood are somehow in a less privileged position than even the Jewish women in the OT if we believe those who say that Paul relegates women to a role of silence in the church and no teaching men at all. In the OT women were not silenced by the law at all and there was no prohibition on their teaching men so the obvious conclusion is that we women are now in a much lower role than they were. Or are we?
It makes me wonder if our precious Christian brothers would also consider joining the Jewish men in praising God that he did not make them women since the NT women are apparently even less privileged than OT women were. However if we consider that our roles are given only because of giftedness by the Holy Spirit, and by his choice and now ours, we can give up restricting women and just allow those whom God has clearly gifted to teach and speak without our silencing them. I believe this will bring God the greatest glory since it is God’s gifts that we would be lifting up and everything else wouldn’t matter.
I hope that helps.
I am sorry but what about that God given desire to be a mother and teacher to her children. Being at home and her husbands helper. I work some right now but would love to be home at all times raising however many children God gives me and having a husband who is the leader of the home. Instead of reading all these comments look to the bible and see what God says.
Kay, with further perusal, you will find that many of the above comments (to this older blog item) do easily reflect the Bible’s teaching.
Rejection of Phillips’ mutant strain of neo-chauvinism is not the same as acceptance of feminism/egalitarianism and the rejection of Biblical complementarianism — that is, doing away with male/female or husband/wife different roles and responsibilities.
Rather, it is a shunning of the husband-as-near-spiritual-priest-between-God- and-his-family view, in which he word is law and the wife obeys him without even much input, in favor of the Biblical balance: that of husband and wife, working together, fulfilling their God-given roles in mutual respect and love for reach other, and in His Grace.
The hypocritical reconstructionists such as Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips are skilled at manipulating their followers. Both these men and the reconstructionists make extremely ad hominem arguments. Paul warned about apostates in 1 Timothy 4. Bill Gothard, Doug Phillips, and other reconstructionists generally practice a form of asceticism.
Have you all seen Doug Phillips’ latest debacle? He’s taken the position that women with ectopic pregnancies can’t “biblically” seek medical attention. They’re just supposed to allow the baby to continue growing in their fellopian tube and, in all likelihood, rupture the tube and possibly bleed to death before they can make it to the hospital. It’s happened. EP’s are nothing to take lightly, but that’s what Phillips is doing. Taking a literal life and death situation to an absurd conslusion. That’s what legalism does.
Doug Phillips is a pasty, painfully effeminate little man with a “Napolean Complex.” He lives in extreme denial about his true nature. In an attempt to forestall the dissemination of this information (as if it wasn’t patently obvious to all observers) he attempts to exert hypermasculine power in an extrabiblical manner against not just those he is in actual authority over, but all women. His attempts to banish “nags” and “churlish women” are obvious attacks against some female figure from his past. It’s been long past due, but the truth about all this is finally coming out. Judgment begins in the house of God. Selah. In His love He will do anything and go to any length to straighten us out. Should be interesting.
Bill Gothard embraces and promotes the pagan view of authority as being the Christian view of a top down authority based on a misuse of the story of the centurion in Matthew 8:5-10. >>>>
I agree that Mr. Gothard has a flawed view of authority.
However, are you saying that all hierarchies are pagan by nature? You can’t be saying that. Are you?
Please see the following:
“Cheryl Schatz and Women in Ministry” http://www.carm.org/apologetics/responding-critics/cheryl-schatz-and-women-ministry over at Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM).
Though her words are many and cleverly crafted, Cheryl’s teaching is a blatant rejection of the clear commands of our holy God. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” I do not see trembling but arrogant self-exaltation in her verbal gymnastics and twisted “interpretations”. Where is the fear of God?
The logic of this article was a bit mangled. Charging someone with paganism should be built off of better premises and more tightly constructed logic.
Nancy Demoss’s statement that a wife who doesn’t submit bears MORE guilt than a husband who doesn’t love (in Lies Women Believe) I think is an example of top down authority.
Unfortunately, many from that era mistakenly held to the pagan top-down authority view when Jesus and Paul taught servant leadership in practice and teaching.
That was an example of following the pattern of the world.