Sunday, May 4, 2008

Are Women Allowed To Teach Men?

"Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths." ~Lois Wyse

Alright. I'm back and ready to delve into the women series yet again!


We left off at the three interpretations of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 which if taken literally at face value, would silence women altogether in public gatherings of the body. For those just tuning in, you can read three alternate interpretations here: Silent Women Part 1, Silent Women Part 2, Silent Women Part 3.

When we consider the larger context of the Bible and internal problems of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, we can conclude a woman's utter silence in church gatherings is not what the scriptures are mandating. Now, we move onto the amount of authority a woman can exercise within the body. We know she can speak, but can she teach? Can she preach? Can she pastor? Can she lead prayer, songs, and ministries?

The "big guns" for the complementarian position on this matter is 1 Timothy 2:9-15, which taken at face value would bar women from not only teaching, but holding any position of "authority" over men. Division exists within complementarian-camps about just how far to apply this verse. Does this verse bar women from not only teaching the scripture to men, but from holding ANY teaching position in which they would instruct men? Should christian women be forbidden from becoming college professors at co-ed universities? Or public speakers? Should they be judges, senators, governors, or hold other political offices?Should christian women hire male employees if they run their own businesses? Extreme complementarians would assert that christian men should NEVER put themselves under a woman's authority in any setting: church, home, business, school, and so forth and that christian women should never aspire to obtain any position in the church, home, and business, political, and educational realms that would make them the "boss," "expert," "teacher," "instructor," or "leader" over men.


On the other hand, more moderate-complementarians claim this verse only applies to church and home. So, a woman may teach a man math or history in a college class, but cannot teach on scripture in a co-ed adult bible class. She may "share" a testimony or encouraging word, but cannot teach, pontificate, or expound upon the Bible. A woman may have authority over her male students or employees, but never in the church. In the church, she may never hold any position other than backup singer, nursery worker, or in solely women and children ministries.

As much as I appreciate moderate-complementarians' attempts to make 1 Timothy 2:9-15 a little less restrictive, there are no such convenient qualifiers found in the text itself. So to arrive at the moderate-complementarian conclusion, other interpretative tools must be explored, such as cultural and historical factors, who Paul is writing these words to and why (context), the original language, and so forth. When they do this, they arrive at their moderate-understanding and when egalitarians do this, we arrive at our equality-understanding. We can debate which interpretation is the stronger, more logical, and more probable, but neither side adheres to a completely face-value-type interpretation. So, I make this friendly reminder to discourage the inevitable comments from the "just take the bible for what is plainly says" crowd.

The next couple of posts will examine this perplexing verse by consulting the original language and the enlightening historical and cultural factors at play which are congruent with the larger context of 1 Timothy.

Is this verse a command/corrective measure to a specific church body encountering a specific problem or a universal command to keep women in an eternally subordinate position in all aspects of life?

43 comments:

Jeff Gill said...

Maybe I'm just too simple, but this passage has never seemed problematic to me.

First, the clothing and makeup part is in the context of Paul's instruction about prayer -- men, do it this way; women, do it this way.

Second, Paul says he doesn't allow a woman to teach or assume authority. Fair enough, but at our church we do.

If the rest of the testimony of scripture, or even the rest of Paul's writings, supported a universal application Paul's position here, that might cause me to think twice, but I don't see that at all.

Tia, I shall look forward to the way you tackle this in depth. It's bound to be excellent!

PS Has anyone in the modern world been taught by nature that it is a disgrace for men to have long hair? (1 Corinthians 11:14)

Terry said...

It's early. I don't have my thinking cap on yet. But I'm looking forward to delving back into this subject with you.

Hope the finals went well.

Tara said...

Glad you've returned to this! I have gotten my daughter hooked up to your posts! I guess I did a really good job raising her as a single mom to 'think for herself'. She is a christian feminist. Thanks for all the digging into this subject. It further establishes what I have believed in my heart to be right for years. Although I don't always agree with all of what you put forth...it is perhaps more insightful than any other posting on this subject that I have found. Thanks for being a good example of a strong woman of faith!!

Tia Lynn said...

Jeff Gill, yes it is VERY probable that Paul is saying HE does not permit a woman to teach. Elsewhere in his letter he says this is I talking a not the Lord, or that he hasn’t received a commandment from the Lord and it is him speaking. The problem is the follow-up statement of this verse, using creation to justify his instruction. But we’ll get to that in the study. :)

Terry, yay, glad to have you aboard!

Tara. Why thank you! That means a lot to me. And feel free to voice the parts you disagree with, constructive criticism is always valued here. It keeps me digging. :)

Laurette said...

Hi Tia! I've been following your blog on and off for a while (as time permitted), but it's been invaluable to me during an important stage in my life, so thanks for that!

Can't wait to see the rest of this! A quick search around for other discussions of this passage inevitably led to some "Women shall not be suffered to preach!" arguments. Sigh. Not that I looked very hard in the early hours of this morning, but I'm excited to hear your take on it!

Jeff Gill said...

Two quick things.

1. "Jeff Gill" is only slightly less formal than Mr Gill. Just "Jeff" will do the trick nicely.

2. Don't take too long to develop your thoughts on this passage. I'm itching to converse on this one!

Free Spirit said...

Hi Tia. I'm back again. I'm just throwing this out there to chew on. As I was reading this post, and admittedly I haven't read the others on the subject, here are the thoughts that came to my mind.

Isn't it really just us who care about all the "rules" of appeasing Father in just the right way? I can't really think that He's up there wasting His energy being concerned about who we let preach,etc.. Can he possibly care? I mean we're down here racking our brains trying to figure it out, and to me it seems like such a moot point. If you feel led to preach, go preach. Why sit around and wait for someone else to interpret "the rules" for you. As I see it, the only reason not to would have to be governed by fear. Are we afraid He's gonna zap us for trying to spread his message, just because we were the wrong sex? That's just not the Father I know. I personally think He has far more pressing issues of concern than sitting around thinking, "Oh golly, will they ever get this women-in-ministry thing straight? How many sleepless nights do I have to spend before they finally get it all figured out?"

I don't in any way mean to imply that we should not be curious and just want to know for the knowing, but I personally don't have the patience to wait out arriving at the right answer. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe such things are of imminent importance to Him? You decide.

Peace and no condemnation meant. I think it's great that inquiring minds want to know.

Terry said...

Okay, I've had a moment to think about this and here's my take:

The NT epistles are written instructions to the people of God about how they are to conduct themselves primarily in gatherings of believers but also in dealings with other believers outside of church. Just as the Jebusites and Amalekites, Phillistines, etc. were not expected to obey Hebrew dietary and festival laws, the same applies to those outside the body of Christ. I would go a bit further and say that for Christian women who hold secular jobs, they are subject to the authorities on that job (Romans 13). It's one of the reason I am a big proponent of women being entrepeneurs if they have a family and need an income. It eliminates a lot of these conflicts. I personally haven't held an outside job in 14 years, though I have ran a business from home for a period of time.

I will say that in light of this scripture those who do believe that women should NEVER work in the secular world have a strong argument (I am NOT one of those women, btw).

catrina said...

Okay, I am ready to jump in on this one. It is funny how I came into this with a much more moderate approach but as I study this I find the window moderacy closing. It is interesting to me how the OT backs up the new testament,imo. This is the problem that I am facing now with this conversation with you. Do I argue each scripture tit for tat or do I address the issue at hand as a whole. I choose the latter for now.

Tia, for me it comes down to parameters that God has established. When I first read this the thing that came to my mind was sex. Yes, sex! In scripture we see parameters for how we are to engage in sexual activity. Not only are the how's and why's laid out for also we find the whom as well. Married men and women only. No women with women, no men with men, no one with animals and so on. I didn't make the parameters, I can't change them just because they don't seem to fit with society, or with what the Godly men of the OT were allowed to participate in. It took a long time for polygamy to be eradicated from the church. When I have conversations with those outside of the church, they find the sexual restrictions on us unfair, unrealistic, and frankly backwards. They think (understandably so) that if you have sex before marriage you can know if you are compatiable sexually, you can figure out what you like, you can "learn" to be a better lover and have experience. They don't even come close to understanding the freedom that you or I have in our marriage and how the parameters that God set up are actually freeing and life for us. I will insert this tidbit of trivia, that in the 50's 85% of high school senior girls were virgins and now the average is down to something like 35%. (these aren't exact, I'm just using it to make a point)For some time the "world" adhered to some Godly parameters as well, but as time wore on and the devil worked his magic they were abandoned.

Now to what the OT testament did to set up the ground work for "strange parameters or restrictions" Genesis 2:16-17 "And the Lord God commanded the man saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat it you shall surely die." Now how weird would that concept have been to Adam who had never even seen death, let alone be able to comprehend what that meant. Nevertheless, God set up a parameter, and now we see how the devil disqualified it. Genesis3:1 "Has God indeed said, "You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" verse 4 "and the serpent replied to the woman, "You shall not surely die." and the rest is history. I could go on and on about the parameters that God established all throughout his word that made little sense to the people of that time. But now I go back to sex and the topic at hand. There are people that step outside of the parameters that God has set up and never experience negativity that we can see this side of eternity. That doesn't however negate the parameter. So can women teach?, here is a parameter for women teaching, Titus 2:3 "teachers of good things-That they admonish the younger women to love their husbands, love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God not be blasphemed." There also may be a case for some other parameters for women teaching.

Personally, it seems that Paul is speaking to the body of believers about public worship, not the daily life outside of that. As you know the early church did "church" all the time, there may be room for stating that things like homegroup is different about women being silent because it is not in public. I don't know. There is no scriptural basis to support not ever teaching a man anything ever under any circumstances. There are no verses that state I should stop instructing my sons at the onset of puberty, or that I can't teach Nathan how the convection oven works.

I am leary of qualifiers, leary of attempts to change the parameters that God has established, I am leary of attempts to negate the word based on culture only. There is room for culture and historical content and instructions given to a specific body, but as far as the topic as a whole it starts to have the familiar sound of "surely you shall not die." I feel the need to be very, very cautious about questioning the structures and parameters that God set up. The church is becoming more and more comfortable redifining God's intent. (homosexual clergy, sex outside of marriage, women's roles, all roads lead to God, which is universalism, etc...) We can't always make God make sense to everyone, I am still puzzled by some of the "strange parameters" that God had set up in the OT and NT, but that is the place where faith and trust have to come in, I can't demand rights from God that he hasn't given me. Which takes me back to I Timothy 2:11 "Let a women learn in silence with all submission." Why would he remind us to have submission? Is it because he knew that we would say "surely not"?

Tia Lynn said...

Laurette, welcome! Glad to be of service. :)

Jeff it is! And I’ll try to get it together as fast as I can, but as you can see, I have some opponents, so I must be thorough and precise. :)

Free Spirit, I tend to agree with you. I think God thinks we can be such petty morons sometimes. When half the world are not Christians and so many have never even heard of christ, the church spends it time silencing half its members from public preaching, teaching, and evangelizing. But many sincere believers are convinced that this is what the bible teaches. So these discussions are important if things are ever going to change.

Terry,

Catrina, I agree with you about parameters, but the topic of women in ministry is not at all consistent throughout the bible or at least in modern interpretations of the bible. Who said I would be refuting this verse with culture alone? I have yet to do that once through this whole series. Culture and history have been used to put a verse in context, but I usually rely heavily on the original language and context of scripture as a whole. This particular verse is set within an overwhelmingly relevant culture and telling historical events. But the verse in the original language IS also problematic for modern translations.

You said you are wary of qualifiers, but you yourself just made a bunch, which do not exist in the text. You said you believe this verse is pertaining to public worship, it does not say this in the text. You said you think you are still allowed to teach Nathan how to use an convection oven, but the text itself (taken at face value) does not say the teaching Paul is forbidding is only spiritual, biblical, or in public. Those are all qualifiers YOU imposed on the text, because it makes sense to your interpretive abilities and preconceived notions of proper gender relationships. It seems to YOU that Paul is making a universal parameter for public worship and it seems to OTHERS like he is giving a specific instruction to correct a specific problem within the church at Ephesus. No one is trying to deny biblical parameters. We are trying to get to the heart of scripture, wading through the 2,000 year gap of culture, history, and linguistic developments that separates us from the original intent and context of the scriptures.

catrina said...

Yes, I am acknowledging my own qualifiers and I can't say that I am correct. We find some instances of men gleaning from women, however the bringing out of the word for teaching is entirely different in public, then talking about it afterwards. From everything that I could read and find on the topic, most people assume that it is public or a specific church. Since there is nothing to state otherwise and 2 and 3 are dealing with matters of the church.

I wasn't saying that you were only going to put it into cultural and historic content. I was saying that those things alone are not enough to make me see it differently. I am essentially saying that the moderate C's don't have as much of a leg to stand on in light of I cor 14 and this passage.

Terry said...

Tia Lynn, your comment went like this:

Terry,

Catrina... then you proceeded to answer Carina's commnent. If you were intending to post a response to my earlier comment, I think it was deleted somewhere along the way. Or am I mistaken?

Carlos said...

Hey Free Spirit,

I knew I liked you, you ask the same questions I did way in the begining of this discussion - why the fear? God will zapp us?... don't think so... I think it has more to do with egos (from the male perspective); however I'm still stumped on the vociferousness from the women that are pro-male leadership/teaching/preaching (quod libbet) - that one puzzles me - I'd like some insights (Tonnya, Catrina?)

Shalom,

Terry said...

Carlos, I am not Tonya or Catrina but I am a woman who is "pro male leadership", so I will attempt to answer your question. In short, I believe that the Bible is the written and infallible word of God to His people.

As I read the Bible, I see a clear order for leadership, particularly in the family: Christ, Husband, Wife, Children. While my human logic may not appreciate the reasons why this is the way it is, my faith is in Him. I trust in His infinite love for me. He loved me when I didn't even have the sense to love and respect myself. Because of this, it is easy for me to submit to the authority of the Bible, which means I submit to the authority of my husband.

As for the issues of male/female leadership as it relates to church life, I admit that I am very much a student in this discussion (I see much more fluidity in the Scriptures), though I will say that as I read scripture, the complementarian view definitely is definitely the stronger position. And again, I accept that truth based on my faith in Him and my trust that He knows what's best. We will never know exactly why God commands us to do things the way he commands us to do them in this life. We will never fully understand His mind. It is too infinite for us. That's why we are to trust and obey. Faith is only faith in the presence of unanswered questions. Every thing isn't supposed to make sense to our limited human minds.

Carlos said...

Hey Terry,

Thanks for your response. My apologies if I came across as unbelieving the infalliblity of Scriptures - that's a non-negotiable given; the issue is with each of our interpretations - somewhere before in this blog I stated that no matter how well developed an interpretation one has, it is never perfect and always in need of fine adjustments as the Triune God shows us Her heart.

Your post sort of gives me an answer to my question, however I'd like to challenge (as Tia continues to do so) your paradigms and preconditions in getting to know the heart of God; may I suggest you pick up a copy of "The Shack" as I think it'll blow you out of the water. If you really want to go deep, I'd recommend Miroslav Volfe's "Exclusion & Embrace" as there are several pertinent chapters, and I was particularcly thinking his chapter on Decption and Truth

Peace sister and thanks.

Melody Joy said...

At this point, all I'm going to say is this. I can't wait for "authentein" :)

I'm ready to dig into this, too!

Tonya said...

Carlos, The reason I am so vociferous is becasue I am not here to defend my rights as a woman:):):). The older I get, the less I care about having my ego stroked, or gaining my personal rights. I have learned that God's ways are absolutely, in every way, best and I want to walk in them.


Tia, I think what you have here is MC's who look at these verses, realize that there is definitely a line, and use other scripture to determine where they feel it falls. According to the Bible, there is a place where women should be silent in the church (unless these passages are entirely cultural). It's our goal to study scripture in humility in an attempt to determine where this line falls.

We know from the Bible that women are to prophesy, but when and where? We know that women are to teach, but to whom? We know that women are going to hold positions of authority, but what are the parameters? The silence verses need to be interpreted as they are written within the context of the NT scriptures. There is no contradiction if you do this.

There WILL, however, be differences of opinion on where the silence line is drawn and I think that is okay... as long as the line isn't eradicated OR made unbiblical in its application.

For instance, my congregation meets from brunch through singing, testimony and prayer request time, preaching and teaching from the Bible (with random interruptions and input from members of the congregation), lunch, board games and conversation. I don't think the Bible commands me to "zip-it" from the second I walk in the door until the second I walk out of the door. Nor do I think the Bible commands me not to speak to my men friends in the grocery store (since we are the walking Church). But it does tell me that I am to remain silent - SOME time. After much prayer and study, it appears to me that this time for quietness would be during the teaching of the Word in the formal public assembly of the Church. I am not to join with the men in discussing what is being taught from the Scriptures (and they do discuss) but save my questions and thoughts for later. I am not to teach men during this time and I am not to hold a congregational position as pastor or elder over men.

Do I have biblical proof that this line is drawn in the exact right place? No. But I am open to the Holy Spirit to convict me about it if I am out of line. As far as I can tell, this position is neither eradicating the line nor making it extra biblical.

Carlos said...

Tonya,

You still didn't answer why you're so vociferous...:-)

Somehow when I read your words, they sound similar to the words of the rich young ruler when he went to see Jesus and walked away sad... why?

I'd suggest that what you called God's ways is what the focus has been on as opposed on getting to know Papa (from "The Shack") and his heart, as that was the purpose of the law - to bring people to the to the Father.

I think the line is man's creation(you can define it anyway you want, even give verses if you'd like] but the Triune God has not drawn any lines and She wants people to be in relationship with the Triune Circle.

My father in law spent his whole life time teaching/debatig/speaking on the similar lines of your position and thinking and now in his late 80's, he's wishing he had known God... I share this because that is what God wants you to do and I don't want you, at the end of the day, experience the same thing...do something totaly out of your ordinary and read The Shack...you might give you some insights and transform yo or it may not...

Love,

Carlos

Free Spirit said...

Got some questions: 1) Just because this letter was written to a specific group of people in the bible addressing their specific situation, must we undoubtedly assume that the message is equally for us today? I mean they had no way of knowing our current "church" models or issues. Isn't it possible that we just look at it as a very individualized admonition to them? I am not trying to say that the bible, or this particular section, is not relevant today, but are we expected to presuppose it's content over onto what we know as church today? - which may not look ANYTHING like what they knew.

2) I think it's been brought up, but I haven't heard a satisfactory answer. This WAS just Paul writing (yes, I know, inspired by the Holy Spirit). Why must we equate Paul's words to that church, with God's own words to us? Maybe it was just Paul's feeble attempt to "straighten out" their problems. He was just a man; sometimes I think we make an idol of him, like he was some guru. Yes, I have the utmost respect for the man, and know that I would do well to learn from him. In fact, after studying the book of Acts, I even have a newfound, and more highly intense regard and admiration for him, but He is not God or Jesus. What if God is just allowing us to peek into the life of this church to learn from it's issues and be able to relate to its commonality to our own tendency toward needing structure? Maybe Paul knew no other way to deal with it.

Just like allowing divorce because of the "hardness of their hearts" maybe Paul's just trying to find a solution that they would be willing to accept because of the hardness of THEIR hearts. Maybe he knew they would NEVER go for allowing women compete freedom, so this was all he could get them to accept.

Hey, BTW, I didn't used to question any of this stuff. It was just fed to me on a silver platter, so I bought it. Now I'm finding that lots I was fed was rotten food.

Tonya said...

Wow and wow. Rich young ruler? I am a bit baffled by that comparison but thanks for the concern, Carlos. You're kind to care:). I can only assume that you are confused because you don't really know me.

I voice my opinion here because I don't agree with everything Tia is putting out there. AND I know her personally. I couldn't and wouldn't do this with someone I didn't know IRL. It's too easy to jump to conclusions about people you don't know (wink wink):):):).

I'll try to answer your question again.

I am obviously not a man so this has nothing to do with male pride and not wanting to have a woman in authority over me. I am a woman. I do not care to put my ego or "rights" above what the Bible asks of me as a woman. I don't feel that the silence verses are derogatory or de-humanizing, and even if they were, I would be happy to accept those things as a sacrifice of obedience for the one who loved me more than His own life. I feel that teaching otherwise is doing a disservice to the body of Christ so I speak out. How's that? Do you understand me better now?

The rich young ruler went away sad because although he considered himself righteous, he couldn't make the real sacrifice Christ was requiring of him. He wasn't prepared to give up everything to follow Christ. Our righteousness does not come from our works, as he was hoping. It comes through Christ. Our obedience to the teachings of the Father should come directly out of a heart in love with our Savior and a good healthy fear of God for the times when the weak (or strong, however you look at it) flesh would choose sin over obedience.

Tonya said...

And BTW, Carlos, in case you are worried about me... I truly, truly, truly love my Lord with all my heart and I am grateful beyond words that He chose me, a former slimeball, and made me His child. I realize the desperate place I was in without Him and I want to honor and serve Him with my whole, whole, whole being.

Don't worry that I am headed for my 80's with little hope for knowing God. I feel so alive and thankful sometimes that I can hardly catch my breath. By God's grace, He'll hold me and keep me all the way through. And if I've got bad doctrine, He'll make that clear to me:).

Jeff Gill said...

Carlos, a small suggestion. If you want to be heard by any but the very most generous and open-hearted complementarians (and probably most egalitarians), you would do well to avoid referring to God as She. It just drowns out everything else you have to say.

If this is a very big deal to you, why not speak about God in non-gender-specific ways. It takes a bit of thought, but it is probably worth it for the sake of not offending your family in Christ.

catrina said...

Free Spirit, just shooting from the cuff quickly in response to one of your questions about these things coming from Paul who is just a man.

I understand what you are saying and I hear it a lot, but this is not about worshipping Paul or putting him above Christ. Most of the bible was wrtitten by man so where do you draw the line about what is relevant for today if you think that the word was mostly good ideas or suggestions and Paul was shooting from the hip, trying to straighten them out. Psalmns and Proverbs would just be books with pleasant poetry and nice sayings.

I look on the scriptures as direct letters from God to all his people, becasue sin never changes, it just looks a little different through the generations. "there is nothing new under the sun." Even the OT has direct meaning for us today, not that I am still under the law but tying the whole message of the savior together.

It comes down to a matter of trust and faith for me. I believe 2 Tim 3:16 "ALL scripture is given by inspirationof God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." That is why the things that were happening back then in a particular church are relevant for today. Even though back then it looked like all sorts of paganism was transpiring, and they were in total dissaray because of their previous false religions and doctrines, it is really no different than what happens today. All the same old sins are still happening today, the devil isn't creative enough to come up with entirely new ways to sin, it just changes form. So even though we look at the early church and think that they were full of false teaching, paganism, sexual deviances, religiosity, idol worship, we are no different today, ours is just a more universal humanism. That is why I am not a big fan of the argument of "that was a letter to a specific church or person, because they were so screwed up."

catrina said...

Carlos, hello again!
I am not being vociferous, it just may look like it coming across blog land. However I do think that male headship is an incredibly important topic because for me it originates in the Genesis account, and if you start having problems way back there your going to have problems all the way through the scriptures. It is a foundation for me that defines my view of God. There are just certain parameters that for God only knows were set up for our benefit, and I need to be subject to those. It is not my place in creation to argue with the creator. It would be insolence on my part to question God on why God made only females to give birth, just like it is insolence for me to argue why is man under Christ and woman under man. This is the government of God and I want to obey it.

Free Spirit said...

Hey Catrina,
Oh dang. I, in a sense, was shooting from the cuff too. This is one of those times I wish I hadn't exposed my questioning mind. I appreciate your thoughts, and understand where you are coming from. I feel severely misunderstood, but I know it's my fault.

Part of me wants to play devil's advocate just to get us thinking, and part of me really is going thru a time of questioning what I was taught just because I did swallow it the first time, absolutely without question. I admit, I'm kinda hoping that someone else's response will help spur me on to solidify my conclusions one way or the other. Not that I will again accept something just because I heard it, but that somewhere along the way I will sense God's Spirit confirming or not.

To be clear, I am a solid lover of Jesus, and believer in the Bible. I am somewhat well-versed in scripture and have walked many years with Father, and look forward to one day standing in His presence. Meanwhile, while we hash all this out down here on earth, I'm just trying to sort through
the things from my past that need to go, and yet hang on to what's worth hanging on to.

I know sin doesn't change (a given), and I know the scriptures are all inspired from the Holy Spirit, but I'm also recognizing that when Paul uses the pronoun "I" it is not equated to God's "I". I believe if it was something so pertinent for us to know and apply, God would have made sure to either include it in the 10 commands, or would have attached His own "I" to it. Surely He knew we would be down here disputing this, and I tend to think it can become one of the devil's tricks to get us all confused and arguing against one another. It's the old divide and conquer routine. I think the things that God wanted to make abundantly clear, He did.
Maybe everything else is for the benefit of learning lessons from others' wise choices or mistakes. I think that clearly qualifies as being profitable for reproof, correction, or instruction.

Anyways, peace to you sister. Didn't mean to ruffle your feathers - at least not too much. :)

catrina said...

No worries, you didn't ruffle me up, I love the discussion with people that are open to listening and questioning, and by no means do I think I have it all figured out.

Carlos said...

Tonya, let me clarify the comparison; most sermons we’ve all heard throughout the years reflects what you said that the young ruler wouldn’t give up his riches to follow Jesus; however I think it has more to do with the fact that there weren’t additional “to do” lists for him to check off - I think Free Spirit gal from Texas in her latest blog “If you don’t want to, don’t” deals a bit along these same lines (Free Spirit, I’ll get my commission check later). As I mentioned before, George MacDonald in his “Unspoken Sermons” (The Hardness of The Way) expresses somewhat the same idea; ergo my words about knowing the Trinitarian God vs. making sure I’m keeping all my requirements up (whatever one’s interpretation might be of his words/lines/ in Scriptures).

Re: voicing (my apologies for using vociferous – it was not a good word to use – I’d blame it on my Latin passion) your opinion is not the issue and it is a given a “the view from here vs. the view from there” is always distinct from each and the views from both enables a “double vision” that is somewhat more accurate of “what the case is” (From Miroslav Volfe’s Exclusion & Embrace – you should pick up a copy). I was referring to Free Spirit’s question (and my much earlier same question) of what is the fear of allowing women to teach/be elders/etc? And my previous comment was since it is such an ambiguous writing, why not err on the positive side and permit women to exercise their leadership/teaching gifts (if they were so given to them by God)? I never saw an answer and I don’t think Free Spirit’s question was answered either (You should also pick the tape from Jill Briscoe when she spoke a few years back at the Moody Bible Institute founders week; it would be really tough for me to keep her silent).

Catrina, see my apologies above for using “vociferous”. I’m sorry and I sincerely grieve that you see male headship as such an important issue; I would say knowing the heart of the Triune God is of the utmost importance. The first century church had to deal with circumcision as one of the lines (to borrow somebody else’s expression in this blog) drawn in the sand dividing the non-Jewish believers to their Jewish brethren and the present church is dealing with the women’s issue; given the record, I’m betting on the redemptive movement of the Wind(Holy Spirit) that eventually will see women exercising their gifts, if they were so given, along side their male counterparts.

Now, Mr. Jeff Gill, my apologies if I offended you, however (and I think this is why I like these blogs as we do not feel free, in our churches, to really express our hearts for fear of loosing friends and being excommunicated) I was very intentional in my use of She; the big deal is not using the She to describe God but to push through the pre-conditioning that we all have been brought up and taught from early Sunday School days to the present. As I quoted elsewhere, there is nothing we can learn about gender from the Trinity, other than what we have inputted to God (Miroslav Volfe). God is genderless and we have the freedom to refer to either She or He; it is that the church has been for so long male dominated, that to break from that paradigm, it takes significant amount of intentionality and will. Tia’s blog is essentially about encouraging fellow brethren past preconditioned teachings that are not as accurate and hamper the Spirit of God as She/He works in both females and males. By the way, if someone recommends the book “The Shack” don’t read as I think it’ll really offend you (I’m using reverse psychology here)

Peace brothers and sisters.

Tia Lynn said...

Lot of interesting thoughts getting discussed. I just wanted to throw in a little something. I am trying to conserve some of my thoughts for latter posts and to avoid repetition.
Tonya, you said:

“I am not here to defend my rights as a woman:):):). The older I get, the less I care about having my ego stroked, or gaining my personal rights. I have learned that God's ways are absolutely, in every way, best and I want to walk in them.”

I applaud you for submitting yourself to the ways of God. But I wonder if you are overlooking the fact that people of egalitarian persuasions ALSO believe they are trying to live out God’s ways as they understand them.

By saying you are unconcerned with having your ego stroked or asserting YOUR rights, I feel like you are implying the egalitarian movement is about those things. Agree or not, the egalitarian movement advocates rights/priviledges for half of the church population and goes far beyond ego-stroking and individual self-gain. I personally am convinced that women should be allowed to participate in all aspects of ministry, but have no personal benefit from this belief. I do not wish to become a pastor, teacher, elder, deacon, public speaker or any other “official” position in the church world. I’ve always wanted to work “out in the world.” I don’t want to see women in ministry, so I can have MY say. I want to see women in ministry because I truly believe the church is not completely whole or functioning properly without BOTH male and female representation. I truly believe it would be best for the church, MEN and women alike, to experience male and female leadership, to work with one another, defer to each other, and allow God’s spirit to work through men and women as He determines. Of course, others may disagree with this belief, but it distorts the entire foundation of the egalitarian position by implying it’s about getting egos stroked or selfish demands for individual rights, as oppose to advocating the rights of others and having the best interest of the church at heart.

Carlos said...

Tia, this is your blog and you can throw anything you want in :-) I just have been ignoring those jabs but your point is excellent, however quite a few people out there will consider our ideas heretical (I'm just thankful they can't burn us at the stake anymore)

catrina said...

Carlos, in case you misunderstand my importance to this issue it pales in comparison to "love the lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind", and "love your neighbor as yourself." I just find these issues important, just like I care about marriage, abortion, the poor, etc... I am not afraid of female leadership, I have heard some wonderful sermons or sermonettes from women in leadership. I love a ministry in Africa, Iris Ministries that the wife teaches and preaches all the time in remote villages of Africa and sees incredible fruit. I just happen to be one of those people who thinks that there is "a right way" of doing things, and that God has a perfect plan with parameters.

Greg Anderson said...

Dang! We got a lively kettle-o'-crawdads in here!

Jeff Gill said...

Carlos,
I wasn't offended. If I was, I would have said so. What I wrote is very clear and should merely be taken at face value.

Christy Fritz said...

catrina thank you for saying that, i understand your perspective much better now. the whole perfect plan with perameters, and trying to understand the "right way" is what i've always thought drove your interest in this, but wasn't completely sure.
do you think we are to fully realize the "right way" on this topic and then all come to the same conclusion and act accordingly (is that God's plan)...or do think we can come to different conclusions that are right for different people and embrace all of those? ( as individual children )
if the latter is true, are your arguements just to balance out maybe the egalitarian extremist? basically are the women you mentioned in your above comment, in your opinion doing the wrong thing, but being blessed just because God works all things for good?
lastly if you fear isn't of female leadership...what is your concern? that female leaders dissapoint or stray from god's plan and, then do you fear the consequences of that, which are ...? is that where your concern lies? i think it would be helpful to list some of the tangible concerns you have with women being in leadership, in the home or the church.
i can agree i don't think you seem afraid, but then again, i think we all can be motivated to be perfect before God with an element of fear being pretty important to keep us from straying, (at least if that's how we're used to relating to him) so i can't fully rule out fear of God in this.
how much does fearing God work into this in your opinion?
is that what keeps you seeking where the perfect parameters are? or is it just your desire to please him? or to be right?
i am seriously curious, not trying to be confrontational.
i have just experienced nothing but striving in my own strength, when trying to get things like this "right". wondering how you seem to do that, and genuinely accept others choices or interpretations in the body without judgement, if you think your's is "right". or do you not think your's is right?

okay now i am getting confusing...
thanks again for your clarification of your interest in this.

Tonya said...

Tia, I was only responding to the little jab Carlos threw out there at me and Cat:). The E's beliefs never crossed my mind when I wrote that so I wasn't making a veiled point. I really try to say what I mean and mean what I say (that is the honest truth) so try not to read prideful snarkies into my comments, OKAY!??!:):):). I would appreciate the benefit of the doubt. Carlos said that he could understand the complementarian man's problem with the E position since men were the ones loosing "power" to women, but that he couldn't understand why some of us women would defend the complementarian position. I was simply saying that my being a woman had nothing to do with it:).

Carlos, If you go back and read the RYR passage in context, you will find that Jesus elaborates, to the 12, on what the RYR's problem was. As for some of the other things you mentioned, we either believe the Bible was God breathed and important for all generations, or we don't. If someone can show that the male headship passages are null and void for our time, then great! But until then, I am prepared to defend them because they are a part of the inspired Word of God.

Free Spirit, you said "I'm just trying to sort through
the things from my past that need to go, and yet hang on to what's worth hanging on to.". I say "Amen, sister":). Love you!

Greg, you're fun. I always grin or even laugh out loud when I read your quick little comments:):):)

Jeff, I'm glad you joined the conversation. I am looking forward to your input.

catrina said...

Christy, because I know you and your struggles I knew that you might not completely "get" where I am coming from. I'm in a hurry but maybe I can sum it up quickly now and answer some of the specifics later. The "right way" is important for me but I do not go after that in a striving way, its just not my nature. Let's take marriage because that is an easier place to draw the line in the sand. Marriage the way God set it up was between one man and one woman for life and children are to be raised in this enviroment. That is God's perfect parameter for marriage and children, now that the world is sinful and in a fallen state we have divorce, single parents, homosexual marriage and so on. Do I look at any people in either of these situations as fallen from grace, not part of the body?, No I do not, but at the same time I recognize that these situations are not God's perfect will. So I want to be in a completely "right" relationship with God as much as possible, I "strive" to find his perfect will for my life.

Yes, I think I'm right or else I wouldn't think it. Now I could be wrong, I admit that I don't have all the answers to everything, and that there are tons of issues that are fuzzy for me, and the line on this issue of women in leadership in the church is slightly unclear, but not in the marriage issue, that line is crystal clear to me.

How do I not judge people? Once again my God given nature is helpful because I can honestly have compassion and grace for people that walk on the other side of the fence because I have been there myself. I don't say that in a condescending way either, I only mean that even if I am CONVINCED that someone else is "wrong" or in "sin", I know that I myself have walked in darkness and not seen the light, so I have mercy and grace for them, the only times that I really struggle with this is if a "christian" is teaching doctrine that could literally send people into eternal separation from God.

I absolutely believe that on certain "gray" issues that God requires different things from different people. I am convinced that God has called some people to turn over their wombs to him. I am convinced that God has called some to live a simple life, like the menonites. He has called some to not have TV's etc.... However, I do think that you need to be sure of what you know so that every new thought or idea doesn't send you into a tailspin of uncertainty, you want to be teachable but not gullable. Some of these issues that people call "gray" are not so "gray" too me. This is one of them, the creation account is another, and the issue of whether or not monogamist gay relationships are acceptable to God.

I hope I covered your ?'s and didn't come across arogant or self righteous, because I don't feel that way at all.

Tia Lynn said...

Gotcha Tonya. I was confused about your response, but now I see what you meant. My apologies. :) I think I was flashing back to other conversations we had on here about egalitarians being motivated by pride.

Catrina, just for the record, egalitarians do no discard male headship, they absolutely believe in male headship, discuss it quite frequently, and teach on those verses. Obviously their interpretation is different from what male headship actually IS, but they don’t nullify it or ignore it or say it doesn’t apply for today....but that’s later on in the series. :)

Tonya said...

I completely understand:). Cat told me that when she read it (my comment) that she knew people were going to think I was making a jab. It honestly didn't cross my mind though. While I am pretty sure that there are both E's and C's who are motivated by pride, I don't think that is the universal case. I am of the opinion that we here are all seeking to know God's heart so I guess if we ask God to reveal it to us He will:).

Tia Lynn said...

Amen to that. There a plenty on each side that struggle with pride. Ask Catrina, last night I was full of pride! ;)

Carlos said...

Tonya, no argument from me on Scritures being valid for all generations, however I would apply it to the underlying truths of the Spirit; as you stated previously (if I remember correctly - I'm over 50 & CRS is really hitting me hard)there are several examples in Scriputures that are culturally time locked and we don't literally apply them.

I do wish you'd pick Webb's book; he is from a very conservative evangelical seminary :-)

Tonya said...

Carlos, I will when I have some extra time. I have already committed to reading "misquoting Jesus" and I am waiting for it to be returned to the library. I'll add Webb to my list just for you:).

And BTW, I'm still in my 30's and I forget things all the time so don't feel too bad. I've either got early onset of alzheimers or a lot of kids.

Tia Lynn said...

I am glad you brought that up. I just finished reading a counter book to it. So when the women series is done I am going to do a comparison on it. Good stuff to chew on.

Christy Fritz said...

catrina, i had a big 'ol long comment back, but i went down to get dinner out of the oven, and the comment was gone when i came up... thanks jaynie girl :):)
anyway, i am going out tonight, so cannot retype, but thanks for your reply. i understand what your saying, and you didn't come across as arrogant or condescending to me. hope i didn't either. i still am curious about how we process things differently. these conversations fascinate me, and sometimes yes,frustrate me, if i am honest. i am "getting" that being sure about something (or belief) for yourself, about what you personally think is important to know as a non- "grey" issue, doesn't not translate as judgement, and i believe that about you and admire your heart of love above all for others, who may or may not agree with you.
that was quick hope it wasn't confusing.
thanks again catrina

Christy Fritz said...

ok that was too quick, i reread and i meant to type "does not translate as judgement."