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Month: September 2007

The rest of the story – 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and Matt Slick

The rest of the story – 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and Matt Slick

Proverbs 18:17 (ESV) The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.

Scripture warns us not to make a hasty judgment on a matter. When two sides have conflicting interpretations, those who wish to be Bereans should be willing to carefully consider all of the facts from both sides of the issue first in order to avoid making a hasty judgment. This week the opportunity of hearing complete evidence, weighing the evidence and then judging between the two interpretations was stopped as I was barred from giving out my full view of 1 Timothy 2 on Matt Slick’s Faith and Reason show. Since brother Matt refused to allow me to give my conclusions as to what my full belief is and why I hold my view from scripture alone, and since Matt has subsequently banned me from coming back on his radio program, in all fairness to his listeners and to others who are interested in what I have to say, this post will present “the rest of the story”.

First if you haven’t heard the audio debate where Matt said that I was not polite and he also accused me of being a heretic, you will probably want to listen first by clicking here.

While Matt claims that 1 Timothy 2:12 is absolutely clear in its meaning, there are several very serious problems if we take the verses in this passage out of their context. Unless one can understand the whole teaching unit, it is dangerous to try to extract some part of it. For example if one takes 1 Timothy 2:15 in isolation, one might reason that a woman is saved by having children and this would question the salvation of unmarried, childless women. Verse 12 could be reasonably interpreted to restrict a woman from teaching any thing to any man. A woman couldn’t even give a man directions on how to find an address for fear that she would be teaching him something.

Taking 1 Timothy 2:12 out of its context would also cause the Bible to contradict itself since Priscilla taught the Bible to Apollos in Acts 18:26. 1 Timothy 2:12 does not say that a woman will be out from the restriction and allowed to teach a man when certain conditions are met. It simply says “I do not allow a woman to teach or authenteo a man”, period. 1 Timothy 2:12 also does not tell us why Priscilla was not disciplined for teaching a man. Was she wrong in teaching Apollos or are there exceptions? It also appears that any woman cannot teach any man anything since Paul used the negation particles ouk and oude translated usually “neither…nor” respectively. If there are exceptions and this is not a hard and fast law of God’s, then where are the exceptions listed? More problems comes with verse 14 which could be interpreted as all women are easily deceived and unreliable in regard to decision-making and women could be considered inferior because they were created second.

Is this passage really as “clear” as Matt would like us to think it is? If so, then why is it that we need another book to identify all the things that women can or can’t do? The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) has created a whole section of white, grey and black applications of 1 Timothy 2:12 and this is to give directions to churches who can’t figure out from 1 Timothy 2:12 whether a woman can be an usher, serve communion, teach math at a high school or at a college or whether she can teach Hebrew in seminary even if she isn’t teaching the word of God per se. Who is authorized to make these rules and why don’t Christians and Churches know the answers to their questions if 1 Timothy 2:12 is so clear? The fact is that it isn’t a clear cut verse that can stand on its own. It must be taken in its context.

One of the most fundamental principles of Christian rationality is that God doesn’t contradict himself (2 Tim 2:13). Therefore, no Christian may offer an interpretation of any verse that contradicts any other verse. In order for 1 Timothy 2:12 to remain consistent with the rest of scripture, we need to work hard to understand Paul’s letter to Timothy as it would have been understood by the recipient. Timothy was a young apostolic representative of Paul’s who was appointed by Paul to deal with a bevy of false teachers and false teaching in Ephesus. Paul’s letter to Timothy was not written in chapter and verse so we need to read the whole letter in context. We also need to understand the reason for the letter. Paul said:

1 Timothy 3:14 (ALT) These [things] I write to you, hoping [or, expecting] to come to you soon.
1 Timothy 3:15 (ALT) But if I delay, [I write] so that you shall know how it is necessary to be conducting yourself in [the] house of God, which is [the] Assembly [or, Church] of the living God, [the] pillar and foundation of the truth.

Paul writes a personal letter to Timothy so that Timothy knows how to conduct himself in the body of Christ. Timothy is told how to handle the problems and the problem people that Paul was concerned about. Timothy must handle the problems with the deceived, the deceivers and one particularly thorny problem that required Paul to single a woman out from all the other false teachers.

This brings us to the most important verse that is necessary to deal with to understand the issue of women in ministry and Paul’s prohibition against teaching in 1 Timothy 2:15. Without a correct understanding of this verse, we risk falling into a pattern of unrighteous judgment against women. Why is this so important? Because there are those who say that women who teach the bible with authority are sinning against God and these women must be stopped. This is a very serious charge. The primary verse they derive this understanding from is 1 Timothy 2:12 and 1 Timothy 2:15 is so interconnected with verse 12 that to focus on a prohibition without highlighting the completion of the prohibition is a recipe for disaster.

The key to understanding the object of the prohibition in 1 Timothy 2:12, is found in the specific grammar of verse 15. Paul says:

she will be saved if they…”

Through this hard passage of scripture, Paul has:

1. Given priority to the solution – Verse 11 is the only verse in the imperative. Timothy is commanded to “let a woman learn” 1 Timothy 2:11

2. Identified the subject of the prohibition – “a woman” 1 Timothy 2:12 is stopped from doing something

3. Identified the reason for the prohibition – the deception of the one who was not the first one formed. 1 Timothy 2:13 says “for” or “because” and 1 Timothy 2:14 says “and” thus connecting these two verses to the prohibition in 1 Timothy 2:12

4. Identified the action needed as a result of the prohibition – “continue in faith, love, holiness and self control”.

5. Identified the subject “she” in verse 15 (a 3rd person singular) and attaches a condition, ” if they continue”. Continue is aorist active subjunctive, third person plural, which is used by Paul to identify not only the woman doing the teaching, but also the man whom she is deceiving as mentioned in verse 12. If an action is required then the people required to do the action must be alive and not dead.

6. Identified the means of the solution – “saved”. This Greek word sozo is only ever used by Paul in his epistles in reference to spiritual salvation.

7. Identified the source of the solution – literally translated “the childbearing”. This word in Greek is teknogonia and is a unique word only used this one time in scripture and it is a noun and not a verb. It is a reference to the promised child, the Messiah who would be born to the woman and in spite of the deception of the first woman, the Messiah would come through her to destroy the deceiver.

8. Identifies the promise – “she” will be saved…if “they”

1 Timothy 2:15 (LITV) but she will be kept safe through the childbearing, if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with sensibleness.

So while Paul prohibits “a woman” from teaching in verse 12, he goes on to promise her salvation in verse 15 “she shall be saved” if she continues in what he has commanded in verse 11 namely “let a woman learn”. This, in her case, was how she was to persevere in holiness etc.

I believe that the only way these verses can be understood at all is to reference verse 15 back to verses 11 and 12. I see no other way to take verse 15 with the precise grammar than to see that verses 11 and 12 are referencing a specific woman that Paul is prohibiting from teaching and influencing “a man” (the Greek word aner can also refer to a husband and with this close relationship with this woman, the Greek word aner I believe should be taken as husband because he is shown to be in direct relationship to “a woman” or “wife”.)

Why do I say that this is the only way to understand verse 15? It is because Paul has been so precise in his grammar that there is no other way we can get past the fact that he is stopping a specific woman in verse 12. The reason is that he says “she” and “they” in verse 15 and the only singular feminine that “she” can be attached to is “a woman” from verse 12. It is future tense so it cannot be Eve since Eve is dead. It cannot be taken to indicate a reference to plural women (as mistranslated in the NASB, NIV) since “she shall be saved” is a correct translation of the future tense, passive voice, 3rd person singular form of the verb sozo (sothesetai). Again, note that Paul also says “they”. “She” and “they” cannot refer to the same thing otherwise the grammar is nonsensical. “She” must be a specific woman and “they” must refer back to “a woman” together with “a man”. (I believe that “they” is unlikely to refer to women in general or that “a man” in verse 12 is men in general. The reason is that if “a woman” is required to complete the grammatical usage of “she” in verse 15, then it would be highly unlikely that Paul would say “a woman” to mean a specific woman and “a man” to be generic men. In that case Paul would be only working to confuse us instead of using specific grammar to identify specific people. If “a man” was meant to be men, then Paul should have grammatically said “I do not permit a woman from teaching or to authenteo men.” It is my view that Paul was consistent where he used the same grammar and so “a man” would be a particular man. Secondly since “she” and “they” were to do something together “continue on in faith, etc”, then a relationship between the “she” and “they” has been established. It is possible that Paul is requiring other women to work with this woman to help her get established in her faith, but the most direct reference back to “they” would be “a woman” and “a man” from verse 12 since no other living people are referenced that would allow the “they” to be a reference back to since “a woman” was introduced in verse 11.)

Why is all of this of such vital importance? It is because Paul is passionate about those who have been deceived. Paul says that the ones who are ignorant and thus act out of their unbelief are just like he was and they have the opportunity to receive mercy just like he did:

1 Timothy 1:13 (LITV) the one who before was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and insolent; but I received mercy, because being ignorant I did it in unbelief.

Paul tells us in his own words that he received mercy because he was ignorant of the truth and because of this, his sinful actions were done in unbelief. Paul is so focused on the salvation of the ignorant that he repeats the reason that he received mercy:

1 Timothy 1:15 (LITV) Faithful is the Word and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
1 Timothy 1:16 (LITV) But for this reason I received mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for an example to those being about to believe on Him to everlasting life.

Again Paul refers to his ignorance and his unbelief and says “but for this reason I received mercy“. Paul’s act of stopping the false teachers in 1 Timothy 1:3 is a heart of compassion for their salvation:

1 Timothy 1:3 (NASB) As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,

1 Timothy 1:4 nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.

1 Timothy 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Paul then picks up on one of these false teachers who is a special problem. It is easier for Timothy to stop the individual false teachers who are men, but one of these teachers is a woman and the man who is likely her husband is letting her influence him with her deception. There are two markers in the text that indicate that the man is likely the woman’s husband. The first marker is in verse 11 “A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.” It was normative for a woman to be married and if she was required to have entire submissiveness then this was a sign that she was married because “entire submissiveness” is only ever spoken of as something that a wife does for her husband. Secondly for a single woman to be teaching a single man on an on-going basis would be highly unlikely in that culture unless he was married to her. The cultural norm was that men kept their distance from women who were not their wives. Even Priscilla was not alone when she taught Apollos. Her husband was with her.

With Timothy’s timidity, being a very young apostolic representative would have caused him problems in dealing with a specific false teacher who was likely married to the man whom she was influencing. For Timothy to stop her meant that he was interfering in her marriage. Her husband (or “a man”) was not stopping her from teaching error. In fact he was being influenced by her in a way that Paul likens the situation to that of Adam and Eve (the first married couple). The husband Adam was not deceived but his wife was the one who fell into sin through deception. The man in verse 12 is like Adam who was not in a place of deception (Paul does not say in verse 15 “they” will be saved if “they”. He only says “she” will be saved if “they”.) The question of salvation is directly tied to the woman alone and her teaching had to be stopped even if it was interfering in a marriage where the husband was taking no responsibility for the problem. Timid Timothy was reminded in 2 Timothy 1:6, 7 that we need to operate in our gifts without timidity (even if he is correcting someone else’s wife!)

2 Timothy 1:6 (NASB) For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NASB) For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

Paul’s reminding Timothy that God wants us to act in power and not with timidity shows us that Timothy’s age may have been an additional component showing us why Paul wrote the way he did to Timothy. The stopping of this one deceived woman would require Paul to push Timothy to act out of compassion for her salvation. Paul then promises that she too can be saved just like he was. This is not a woman who was a deliberate deceiver and the action was not to kick her out of the body of Christ as Paul had done when he turned Hymenaeus and Alexander over to Satan:

1 Timothy 1:19 NASB keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.
1 Timothy 2:20 (NASB) Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.

Paul’s belief was that she was one of the ones who were acting ignorantly and in unbelief so that she too could receive mercy if she was taught the truth. Paul’s words that she *will* be saved if… shows us the confidence that God was going to show this woman mercy just as he showed Paul mercy at the time that Paul was acting in ignorance and unbelief.

Now for those who think that the word for “teach” didasko cannot refer to false teaching because Paul didn’t specifically use the word for “another teaching” heterodidaskaleo in Greek, we only have to turn to the book of Revelation to see that John used didasko twice to reference false teaching.

Rev 2:14 ‘But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.

Rev 2:20 ‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.

Revelation 2:20 is an interesting case because teach and lead are attached together and both are negative things. Didasko is used here without a doubt to reference false teaching. Also the Lord Jesus does not say that he has something against the church in Pergamum because they have a woman leading and teaching as if it was her gender that was the problem but rather that she was teaching error. Scripture says that she calls herself a prophetess but God did not call her this. God does gift women as prophetesses (Acts 21:9). Deborah was not only a prophetess, but she was also a judge over Israel, chosen and gifted by God. But the woman in Revelation 2:20 was not one of the true teachers of God’s word and the evidence was not her gender but her teaching.

Again, it seems that if a traditionalist interpretation is taken, then 1 Timothy 2:12 is a clear blanket statement that prevents a godly Christian woman from teaching true doctrine to adult men. Where does the Bible have a law prohibiting this? I believe this is a large inconsistency in the complementarian understanding of 1 Tim. 2:11-12 and inconsistency is one of the signs of a failed argument.

Instead this passage is best seen as a complete story of ignorance, unbelief, false teaching and ultimate salvation through the correct teaching of biblical doctrine that leads to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (the promised Messiah through the woman see 1 Timothy 2:15 and Genesis 3:15). After many years of study, this is what I conclude about the meaning of this passage. This is what makes sense to me given everything in the context of verses 12 and 15. I recognize that other sincere, godly people have come to different conclusions from mine, but I think that this interpretation deserves to be given a fair hearing. To this date no one has shown me any other valid option for the “she” in 1 Timothy 2:15, nor have they shown me any scripture where God prohibited his words from being spoken through a woman. As lovers of the incarnate Word and the written word we should always try to practice consistent, contextual interpretation. In my opinion, for us to take one verse and rip it from its inspired context is to refuse to rightly divide the word of truth:

2 Timothy 2:15 NASB Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

This is the message that I was prohibited from sharing on Matt Slick’s radio program Faith and Reason. Matt forbid me from sharing why I believed that 1 Timothy 2:12 was referencing one specific deceived woman the first two times that I appeared on his program and he has forbidden me from coming back on his radio program to share the rest of the scripture on this passage. What this does is leave my teaching hanging so that people are not able to understand what I was saying about this difficult passage. Matt says that I was not polite to him and that is why I cannot come back. Listen here to the second session with Matt Slick and you decide for yourself if I was polite or not.

Those who hold back the words of God that are spoken with authority by a woman will have to answer to God. 1 Peter 4:10 and 11 gives women not only the right to speak for God but the obligation to do so:

1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

1 Peter 4:11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God;…

Since Peter is not limiting those who speak the utterances of God to men, Paul too would not have contradicted the word of God spoken through Peter. In 1 Timothy 3 Paul is not digressing into an unconnected subject about how to pick overseers and deacons. Instead Paul is continuing on to give hope that anyone can aspire to a place of responsibility and servanthood even though a person had been previously deceived. Those who had been false teachers and who submitted themselves to correction might be restored to such a ministry. Paul himself had been deceived in ignorance and unbelief and thus he obtained mercy. Paul’s original state of deception did not stop him from moving on to maturity and to greater responsibility as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus.

Women who believe 1 Peter 4:11 and obey the command to teach with authority as one who is “speaking the utterances of God” should not be accused of sinning against God when they employ their gift to “serve one another” in the entire body of Christ. For those who teach that men alone are allowed to give out God’s word with authority, I ask a pointed question about authority. When a godly woman teaches orthodox doctrine from God’s inerrant word, where does the “authority” reside, in the woman or in God’s word? If authority is in God’s word alone, then there is no special authority given to one gender alone to give forth God’s words just as there is no special authority for only one gender to hear from God. We need to test all things and hold fast to what is good.

In closing, we want to be very careful that we do not rip 1 Timothy 2:12 from its context because some who have done this in the past have taken the church into a precarious position where the world sees us as prejudiced and unkind to women. May God help us to stand up for women and release them into his service.

*Copyright 2007 by Cheryl Schatz. Permission is granted to use this article to post on a web site or on a blog site as long as it is kept in its original full form without editing and that credit is given to myself and a link back to this blog site www.strivetoenter.com/wim. For any other use, please contact me at

MM Outreach email

mmoutreach

Matt Slick and Cheryl Schatz debate 2

Matt Slick and Cheryl Schatz debate 2

 Matt Slick and I had an interesting discussion on whether Paul was stopping true biblical teaching in 1 Timothy 2:12 or whether Paul was stopping error.  My answer concerning the imperative command to let a woman learn (1 Timothy 2:11) and the fact that all teaching by “a woman” was to be stopped until she was properly taught was not picked up by Matt as he kept on asking me the same question over and over again.  I am not quite sure why he cannot hear the answer to his questions.  Maybe he was looking for a different answer and I didn’t give the one he wanted?

Listen to the debate here.

Unfortunately Matt did not let me finish discussing the passage with the crucial verse of 1 Timothy 2:15.  I asked to come back on and I am willing to discuss the implication of Adam’s first creation where the Holy Spirit links the prohibition with Adam not being deceived as the first one created and the second one created was deceived, however Matt wouldn’t commit to another “discussion”.  I really looked forward to hearing what Matt had to say about verse 15.  No one yet has been able to answer my exegesis concerning the “she” and “they” from 1 Timothy 2:15 where Paul again moves from singular to plural.  I can only assume that Matt still does not have the answer since he has not answered me for a year and a half since he first got my DVD set “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?”

Debating women in ministry – round 2

Debating women in ministry – round 2

On Wednesday September 26, 2007 I will be having round number 2 with Matt Slick on the issue of women in ministry. We will be dealing with 1 Timothy 2 and the issues of whether “a woman” is a specific woman in Ephesus or whether Paul is prohibiting all Christian women from teaching men (or some variation of this). We will be also dealing with Paul’s reference to creation in this passage and what creation has to do with the prohibition. It should be another hot debate and if you can catch it live, it will be on 790 KSPD in Boise, Idaho or catch the debate streamed live on myfamilyradio.com.

To listen to the program live on myfamilyradio.com go to http://www.myfamilyradio.com/player.html and pick the link at the very bottom for “790 KSPD play outside of browser” The time is 5 – 6 pm Pacific time, 6 – 7 pm Mountain time, 7 – 8 pm Central time, and 8 – 9 pm Eastern time.

The day after the debate the audio should be up at Matt’s podcast site here and I will also be linking to the audio file on this blog.

Dusman has a good advertisement up at http://graceinthetriad.blogspot.com/2007/09/can-women-be-pastors.html

You might want to let him know that you appreciate the coverage if you are interested in this debate.

And if anyone is interested in calling in to give Matt feedback on his radio show, his radio call-in number is 208-377-3790. The show is on Monday to Friday from 5 – 6 pm Pacific time, 6 – 7 pm Mountain time, 7 – 8 pm Central time, and 8 – 9 pm Eastern time.

Matt also takes emails during the show times that he often reads on air if there are no callers.  The day after the debate is a good time to let Matt know your thoughts on the debate.  His email address is carmradio@gmail.com

This is an important debate and if you know of someone who might be interested in listening to two Christian apologists who both love Jesus but have differing views on women teaching the bible in an authoritative way, please send them a link to this blog post so they can tune in and be challenged to test everything by God’s word.

Also Matt wants to pick up the pace a little on the debate so could you please pray that as I go through my points a little faster, that Matt will actually let me finish my sentences this time?

Boxing Oh, my, we may need to tie his boxing gloves together a bit to give me a fair shake. At any rate, I trust it will be a respectful continuation of the debate as we seek to challenge each other’s presuppositions. May the Lord Jesus be glorified as we go into round #2!

Debate audio between Matt Slick and Cheryl Schatz

Debate audio between Matt Slick and Cheryl Schatz

Hey all,

If you didn’t get a chance to hear the debate regarding women Pastors between Matt Slick of CARM and myself, you can hear it at this link.

The next debate is scheduled for Wednesday, September 26th.  The topic on that debate will be how do we know that the woman of 1 Timothy 2:12 is a specific woman in the Ephesus congregation and why is the reason for stopping her tied into the creation of Adam and Eve?  It should be another hot debate.

As far as Matt’s treatment of me tonight – I did not take any offense by his words.   I believe that he is deceived in this issue and so I am willing to cut him a lot of slack because of this.  I consider it a privilege to be able to say even one thing that will help women to be set free in Christ to celebrate their gifts and use them for God’s glory by benefiting both men and women in the body of Christ.

Any thoughts on this debate?  I am going to copy teknomom’s summary of this debate that she posted previous to my putting up this post.

(Additional note May 2009: Even though I tried my hardest to treat him with respect during the two radio appearances I had with him, he has publicly denounced me as the one who was attacking him.  Since that time he started many posts on his discussion board attacking my person and calling me a heretic and he allowed his vice-president Diane Sellner to call me names and to even question my sanity and all this because I accepted an invitation to talk about women in ministry.  I tried my best to get resolution to the misrepresentation and the name calling and my report on the Matthew 18 meeting I had with Matt Slick in August 2008 is found here.)

Introduction to Patriarchy

Introduction to Patriarchy

Thanks to Don Veinot, I was introduced to “Thatmom” and her podcasts.  Thatmom has started a series on examining the teachings of patriarchy and patriocentricity within the homeschooling community.  Her talk is quite interesting especially regarding her points about “name-calling” where the patriarchs label people who do not agree with them.

Thatmom’s Introduction to Patriarchy is a good introduction to the issue of marriage and how it concerns women in ministry which we will be dealing with once I have finished the posts on the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Thatmom’s audio on patriarchy starts with the September 7th, 2007 edition.

Spiritual gifts a means of unity

Spiritual gifts a means of unity

In Ephesians chapter four Paul gives us a glimpse of what the gifts of the Holy Spirit are meant for.  Paul starts out with humility, tolerance and love:

Eph 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,
Eph 4:3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Paul then goes on to emphasize oneness:

Eph 4:4 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Eph 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Eph 4:6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

And from oneness to the spiritual gifts:

Eph 4:7  But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Eph 4:8 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”

The reason for the spiritual gifts, Paul says, are for building each other up until we all attain to unity:

Eph 4:12  for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
Eph 4:13  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.

So if the equipping of all of the saints is the result of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the goal then is unity, let’s think about how this impacts us and what value there is in the gifts of women:

1.  If the gifts of the spirit bring unity, then why are women’s gifts not being used for the benefit of the entire body of Christ?

2.  How do we attain to the unity of the faith without all of us working together for the benefit of the entire body?

3.  Do we have one side of the body of Christ being built up and edified and the other side missing some of the nourishment that is provided for the body?  When we hold back women’s gifts from the benefit of men, are we not guilty of keeping the men malnourished by holding back some of their nourishment?

If we say that women have nothing that a man needs, then are we not guilty of saying that women’s gifts are not necessary for anyone?  If men can get all they need from men alone, then women too can get all they need from men alone.  Women’s gifts then with this reasoning, are not really needed because women’s gifts provide nothing that is not already provided by men.  But that is simply not the case.  The Holy Spirit has given each one gifts that are unique and are necessary for the nourishment of the body. When all of us are set free to operate in the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given us, then we will all attain to the unity of the faith.  The mature body of Christ needs complete nourishment and women’s gifts are required for the edification and the building up of the entire body of Christ.

Debate with Matt Slick scheduled

Debate with Matt Slick scheduled

Hey all,

Regarding my previous post about debating with Matt Slick about women in ministry, I spoke to the producer of his radio program (Faith and Reason) tonight and she has set the date of Wednesday, September 19th for me to call in for the debate.

You can listen to the program live on myfamilyradio.com Go to http://www.myfamilyradio.com/player.html and pick the link at the very bottom for “790 KSPD play outside of browser” The time is 6 – 7 pm Mountain time so that would work out to 7 – 8 pm Central, 8 – 9 pm Eastern and 5 – 6 pm Pacific.

The next day the audio should be up at Matt’s podcast site here

Matt is pretty hard on women and it is time to present the other side in a logical, respectful and winsome way. I trust that the Lord Jesus will help me with all of that. Remember David and Goliath? Guess which one I am?? I will give you a hint…I hope to get out alive!

David and Goliath

Is Pastor one of the spiritual gifts?

Is Pastor one of the spiritual gifts?

While some people consider a “Pastor” to be an office, scripture lists “Pastor” as a spiritual gift in Ephesians 4:8-11.

Ephesians 4:8 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

The Greek word for Pastor is poimen and it means Shepherd.

In November 2006 at the Evangelical Theological Society meetings, Dr. Harold Hoehner presented a paper that asked the question, “Can a Woman Be a Pastor-Teacher?” Dr. Hoehner argued that Ephesians 4:11 indicates that “pastor-teacher” is a spiritual gift and not an office in the church. This position is consistent with his commentary on the book of Ephesians where he writes:

Some may question the validity of women pastors or pastor-teachers, but it must be remembered that these are gifts and not offices. Surely, women who pastor-shepherd among women should cause no problem at all (Titus 2:3–4). But in fact, Priscilla, along with Aquila, taught Apollos the way of God more accurately (Acts 18:25–26) which would indicate that a woman may not be limited to teaching only women” (Ephesians, 546).

Dr. Hoehner is one of the ESV translation review scholars and is not considered to be an egalitarian so his admission that God can gift women as Pastors for the benefit of the entire body of Christ caused quite a stir in the complementarian camp. Here is a summary of Dr. Hoehner’s position (http://assembling.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_archive.html)

1. Many misunderstandings about women in ministry are caused by a blurring of the distinctions between spiritual gifts and offices.
2. Scripture gives qualifications for offices. Qualifications are given for apostles, elder/ bishops, and deacons/deaconesses.
3. Scripture does not give qualifications for gifts. Gifts are given according to the will of God through the Holy Spirit.
4. Since there are no qualifications given for the list in Ephesians 4:11 (apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers), pastor-teachers are individuals endowed with spiritual gifts, not offices.
5. Therefore, even if women cannot hold a certain office, they can be pastor-teachers if they are so gifted.

It is to be noted that spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit, through believers, for the benefit of others, therefore a Pastor is given as a spiritual gift by the working of the Holy Spirit and it is a gift for the benefit of all:

1 Cor. 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

In Gifting vs Office (http://assembling.blogspot.com/2006/11/gifting-vs-office-4.html ) Alan Knox summarizes the view this way:

If this view is correct, then we should not emphasize that a person is “exercising” a certain spiritual gift. The person does not control whether or not, or how, the Spirit decides to work through them. Instead, as Peter says, the person should speak and/or act according to the will of God, and allow the Spirit to use those words/actions as He chooses.

I do recognize that there are people within Scripture that are called “teachers,” “prophets,” “servants,” etc. However, in my view, this is the recognition of others that these are the primary ways that the Spirit works through those individuals. Thus, for one known as a “teacher,” the Spirit normally uses that person’s words to teach others; therefore, other people recognize this and refer to him/her as a “teacher.”

If we do a word search on the Greek word for Pastor, we find the term used 17 times in the NASB, with 16 of these times translated as Shepherd and once translated as Pastor.

In closing, I quote again from Alan Knox who says:

I should speak as the Spirit leads me, even if no one “learns” from my words. I am not responsible for how others receive my words or actions; however, I am responsible for obeying God in everything that I do and say.

Amen! We are responsible for obeying God in everything that we do and say and if God gifts us as a Pastor, we are responsible for using that gift for the glory of God.

Debating on Women Pastors

Debating on Women Pastors

Did you ever feel pulled in a direction you really didn’t want to go in? Well, this has been my life for the last 3 1/2 years. If anyone wanted to talk about the issue of women in ministry, women Pastors or anything similar, I just wouldn’t go there. I just wanted to talk about Jesus and I wanted to stay away from controversial issues. Looking back on my attitude I think I was just being selfish because I didn’t want to touch a subject that didn’t affect me. After all I wasn’t a Pastor and if there were no women Pastors in the entire body of Christ, it really didn’t matter to me. I am an apologist called by God to witness to those caught in the cults and to teach correct biblical doctrine to those who had been deceived into believing that they had the right Jesus, the right gospel and the right spirit when all they had was a spiritual counterfeit. I had my eyes on the right goal, but I closed my eyes to the plight of multiple women in the body of Christ who were being stopped from ministering in their own God-given gifts. It wasn’t until I was treated badly for being a woman in ministry that I embarked on my own study of scripture to find out God’s will in the matter of women’s gifts in the body of Christ. I was open to being corrected and I came to scripture believing that if I was wrong to teach the gospel or correct people’s doctrine, then I would submit to whatever God’s will was for women.

That led me to the most amazing journey through scripture delving into the hard passages of scripture and after scripting my findings into a DVD series called “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” I can honestly say that I have a tremendous respect for the Apostle Paul and the full inspiration of scripture that frees women to serve God in whatever way that He calls them.

I praise God that my journey has brought freedom to many men and women in Christ. The first Pastor that contacted me after viewing the series said that the DVDs were instrumental in correcting his faulty tradition on the subject of women in ministry. All the praise goes to God for his faithfulness! Yet through the wonderful things that I was learning from each inspired word and each inspired piece of grammar in the hard passages of scripture, I lost two people whom I considered to be good friends. Just because I pointed out the scriptural basis for women to have freedom to minister for the common good, I was treated with anger, disrespect and ultimately shunned as a person sinning against God. God allowed this for his glory because what my friends intended as a rejection, and as a punishment for my beliefs, God saw fit to train me through suffering to understand what other women have experienced because they too chose to be obedient to God rather than to man-made tradition.

So here I am once again finding myself compelled to speak out even though my shy nature doesn’t want to experience the anger and rejection again. I have been listening to Matt Slick’s radio program called “Faith and Reason” and although there are many things that I do not agree with Matt on, I applaud his determination to reach out to the cults and to atheists with the good news of Jesus Christ. (Matt Slick’s radio program is at 790 AM,Boise, Idaho streamed at www.myfamilyradio.com 6 – 7 pm Mountain time Monday through Friday, phone number 208-377-3790.) In fact, I used Matt’s web site (www.carm.org) to get information on Universalism several years ago when I was dealing with a former Pastor who had become a Universalist and had infiltrated a Calvary Chapel Church where my former friends attended. The information that I got from Matt’s site was very helpful in dealing with the subject of Universalism and the end result was that my friends did not get pulled into this deception and the Universalist/former Christian Pastor was asked to leave the church so that he could no longer influence the people in the congregation. It was really amazing to me that I could put in a major amount of effort to help keep my friends safe from deception and then years later this same couple would turn on me and reject me merely because of the secondary issue of women in ministry. That is truly sad.

So, back to Matt. I have been listening to Matt’s podcasts and it has grieved me that he is counseling women to stop following after God’s calling on their lives regarding pastoral ministry. I felt that it was time that women and men who listen to his broadcasts realize that there is another side of this issue that they weren’t being told and I wrote to Matt asking for time to speak about the issue of women’s ability to teach the bible for the common good of men and women so that I could share the opposing viewpoint with his audience. Matt has had my DVD set for about a year and although I have asked him several times to point out what he considers to be my “errors” and to explain where my exegesis is wrong, he has chosen not to answer. While it would be more comfortable for me to just leave him alone and just to consider him a rather rude brother in Christ, I have a great concern about those whom he is influencing. So bottom line, I think this is the week when I will call into Matt’s program (probably Sept 10, 11 or 12, 2007) and say some words to defend our sisters in Christ whom God has called into ministry.

My concerns are that Matt is extremely passionate against women in ministry so that he comes across as rude and crude. He called me a feminist, a liberal and someone not interested in the truth of scripture. For those of you who have been reading my posts for some time now, you should have picked up by now that I am a big stickler for biblical inerrancy and for the full inspiration of scripture including inspired words and inspired grammar. Matt apparently cannot fathom anyone with this kind of respect for scripture who would believe differently than he does.

Listen to Matt’s comments here regarding women in ministry and my email to him. It is about 4 minutes long and is the section where he chides me for not believing in scripture. I am awed at how he could say the things he said after having read my emails and after having viewed my DVD set. It totally blows me away.

What Matt didn’t read from my emails was this:

Why do you treat cultists with respect and Christian sisters with such disrespect as if they were terrible sinners against God?

Before one can even discussion the issue of Pastors, one must be able to discuss the gifts of women in the church and whether God has given them freedom to teach and use their gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ.

I am gentle and respectful. Will you try to be respectful too since you are my brother in Christ? If so, then let’s talk. Set a time for after the 8th of September and I will let a bunch of Pastors through the US know about the show and let’s have a go at showing the cultists and atheists how godly Christians can talk about an issue that doesn’t affect one’s salvation.

The only answer I got from Matt was his comments on his radio program. He read this part of my email:

I am not a woman’s libber. I do not burn bras or rake men over the coals for all the atrocities that they have done to women through the years.

Apparently what I said that I do not do was cause for him to continue to say that I sounded like a woman’s libber. This is the kind of misrepresentation that creates an atmosphere of contention. Yet I still believe that what I can say in a loving and kind way will touch someone’s heart.

Please pray for me as I consider how and what I should say so that I can show God’s grace and God’s love to a brother in Christ who has not much respect for women whom God has called to minister without prejudice to the entire body of Christ.

If you have any words of wisdom, I am all ears.

The priority of the message over the messenger

The priority of the message over the messenger

While I am working on my next post about the spiritual gifts and the place of the Pastor, I would like to link to one more blog post this time by Pastor Paul Burleson.  Lin brought attention to this wonderful article about the importance of God’s message over the messenger, called “The foolishness of Preaching“.  I think there is really good wisdom here regarding the hard passages of scripture on the women’s issue.

Honesty and Consistency

Honesty and Consistency

Kerryn sent me a link to Pastor Wade Burleson’s blog regarding being intellectually honest and consistent in our beliefs.

Grace and Truth to You: A Call for Intellectual Honesty and Consistency

Why are so many quick to condemn women Pastors or women bible teachers and not follow through with the same check list that they have created? Do they also see gifted male Pastors as being in sin if these male Pastors are not married? Do you also see godly men as sinning against God if they become Pastors before they have had children? If one is to be consistent in charging sin against a woman Pastor, then one must also charge unmarried or married but with no children, male Pastors. The link above is a good read and sparks some good food for thought especially in reading those who condemn women as sinning against God merely because they are teaching and preaching to the full body of Christ.

Thoughts?

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