From Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives and Women Preachers to Woman Be Free

From Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives and Women Preachers to Woman Be Free

I am very pleased that Stan Gundry has given me permission to post his story about how he changed his view from a staunch complementarian to an egalitarian. I would also request that if you have a story about your own journey from prejudice to freedom in Christ regarding women in ministry that you email me at mmoutreach [AT] gmail [DOT] com or use the contact tab at the top to reach me. I also have Stan Gundry’s personal email address. If anyone is interested in contacting him, you can leave a comment asking for information or you can email me directly or use the contact form and I will contact you back.

And now…sit back and enjoy this very compelling testimony by Stan Gundry.

From Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers

to

Woman Be Free


My Story*

by Stan Gundry

*Copyright © 2004 by Stanley N. Gundry. All rights reserved.

I have agreed to tell my story for two fundamental reasons. 1) I want to give tribute to the person who opened my eyes to a new paradigm through which to view scripture and who did not allow me to be satisfied with the easy answers. These were answers that had been drilled into my head as a youth and were assumed throughout my college and seminary training. 2) Arguments alone often do not convince. This is especially so with theological and exegetical arguments on this subject that for many has so much emotional baggage associated with it. So, when people come to me asking questions and searching for answers on the “women’s issue,” I often just tell them my story–where I have come from, where I have landed, and how and why I got there.

Arguments in which both sides launch aggressive offenses and structure fortress-like defenses can be unnecessarily adversarial. I am not suggesting that such arguments have no place, but let’s acknowledge that their value is vastly over-rated.

Stories cover the same territory, but they are testimonials–and it is hard to argue with someone’s testimony. Some who hear my story may think I became a biblical egalitarian for inadequate reasons; but more often than not, the response has been, “That makes sense. You’ve given me something to think about.” (1.) And a new story begins, or at least takes a new turn in the road.

Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers

My story begins with a book prominently displayed on my father’s bookshelf. Norman C Gundry was a Fundamentalist Baptist pastor who represented some of the best and worst of that tradition. He graduated from the two-year course of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (then known as BI, but now BIOLA University). He and my Mom, Lolita Hinshaw, married in 1932. Within two years they were on their way to Nigeria as missionaries. After three years in Nigeria they returned to the States on regular furlough so my mother could deliver her second child (me) and so my father could receive a much-needed medical check up. Because my father’s hearing was being destroyed by quinine, the drug of choice to treat malaria, they were unable to return to Nigeria. Throughout the years leading up to World War II and during the War, my father was a “tentmaker,” eking out a barely adequate living, first as a warehouseman and then as a farm hand. On Sundays he would preach in small rural churches and Sunday Schools.

During this time, he gradually came to the conclusion that he was a Baptist, a Fundamentalist, and a Separatist. As is so often true of those in that tradition, he was legalistic and rigid to the nth degree. But he also loved God, loved people, knew his Bible exceptionally well, and had a fervent desire to be “true to the Bible.” He was remarkably free of narrow, idiosyncratic views of biblical teaching, with only a few exceptions. One of those exceptions was “the place of women” as he would have put it. His views on this subject were so extreme that they would almost make Wayne Grudem seem like an egalitarian by contrast. He made sure that the women in his congregation, and especially his wife, knew and kept their “place.”

A fitting metaphor for my father’s view of the place of women was the title of a little paperback book prominently displayed on his bookshelf. Just to the right of his study desk was Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers, authored by the well-known Fundamentalist evangelist of the second third of the twentieth century, John R. Rice. (2.) The title said it all. Bobbed Hair–women as a sign of their submission and obedience to men were not to cut their hair. Bobbed hair was a sign of rebellion against husband, father, and God. Bossy Wives–the man was the head of the wife and the home, and the wife was to keep her place and obey her husband in all things, even if the husband was unsaved. Women Preachers–heaven forbid the thought! Eve had led Adam astray in the Garden and ever since women had been the source of false teaching and the temptresses of men! Obviously they should not be pastors or teachers of men.

My father kept extra copies of Rice’s book on hand to give to those he thought needed its instruction. The summer I left for college, I received my copy, along with a subscription to the paper Rice published, The Sword of the Lord. I confess that I read neither of them. I did not need to; I had been thoroughly indoctrinated by my father’s teaching and modeling. My mother never cut her hair (at least not that anyone could tell), and though the women in my father’s congregation were less compliant, my father regularly alluded to their rebellious actions from the pulpit. Women could hold no offices in churches my father pastored, could not preach, teach, or otherwise lead men. Women could “testify” on Sunday evening; pray publicly at the mid-week service, but not on Sundays; could participate in special music, but could not lead congregational singing or a mixed musical group; could teach Sunday School classes containing boys, but only until they became teenagers. Yes indeed, I had been thoroughly indoctrinated by word and example and really did not need that copy of Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers he gave me as I packed my bags for college.

Asking Questions

I suspect my father was fairly confident that the apple would not fall too far from the tree. But if that was the case, there were three things that he did not count on. He did not reckon with the possibility that I would meet and marry a wise and strong woman who thought for herself, asked hard questions, and would not be satisfied with canned answers. In fact, he probably did not consider that I might actually think for myself on this matter, or assumed that if I did, I would come to the same conclusions he had. But my father also failed to realize the consequences of another rather radical idea he had instilled in both of his sons. He taught us to test everything by scripture–to be “true to the Word” to use his phrase, to follow that out no matter where it might lead.

I don’t remember precisely when I began to realize that the woman I would marry might challenge everything I had been taught about the place and role of women. Perhaps it was when we discussed deep philosophical and theological questions in the college library, and she just assumed that she was my intellectual and spiritual equal. Perhaps it was when she questioned why the president of the small college we attended would call on two or three of the young women to lead in prayer in chapel, when it was apparently sufficient to call on only one of the young men to pray. Over time it became clear that Patricia Lee Smith was a seeker after truth and she would pursue that path no matter whom it made uncomfortable, whether that was the college president, me, my father, my mother, or anyone in the male church hierarchy.

One event stands out as a defining moment and a turning point for Pat. It would also have profound implications for me, though I did not realize it at the time. It was November 1964, one year after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It was my second year as pastor of a small, rural Baptist church. Our church had invited a pastor from Everett, Washington to lead a weeklong Bible Conference. He had the reputation of being an able Bible teacher. One evening we entertained this well-known pastor for dinner. The conversation over Pat’s spaghetti and meat sauce started out on a congenial note. Chuck was an out-going conversationalist who laughed and joked easily–that is, until Pat asked her question. She started out by saying that she’d been curious about the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and she wondered how he interpreted it.

Instead of treating the question seriously and deserving of a reasonable answer, he rudely and abruptly demanded, “Why do you want to know?” Though I had no good answers to Pat’s question about the passage either, even I was shocked by the dismissive nature of Pastor Chuck’s response.

At that moment Pat realized Chuck did not know how to interpret that portion of scripture, and he did not want to talk about it. Yet he was willing to restrict the role of women in the church based to a large degree on one of the most difficult passages to understand in the New Testament. Pat resolved to search for the answers to a matrix of questions surrounding this issue and to share the information with other women, questions like:

  • If women are not to be the leaders and teachers of men, how does one account for Deborah, Huldah, Phillip’s daughters, and Priscilla’s role in the instruction of Apollos? (3.)
  • Why is it that Paul instructs women to be silent in one place and acknowledges with apparent approval that women publicly pray and prophesy in another? (4.)
  • Doesn’t the prominence of women among the followers of Jesus and in the Pauline Epistles suggest something significantly more than women leading and teaching children and other women? (5.)
  • How is it that in the church the benefits of Galatians 3:26-28 apply equally and in very tangible ways to men, Jews, Gentiles, slaves, and those who are free, but not to women?
  • If a woman is to obey her husband, is she not responsible directly to God for her actions? Is he in effect a priest, an intermediary between her and God? Is she to submit and obey even when his instructions are morally wrong or contrary to her understanding of God’s desire for her? (6.)
  • Aren’t husbands and wives to mutually submit to one another as all believers are to submit to one another, and how does this qualify the presumptive one-sided submission and obedience of wives to husbands? (7.)
  • Are all women to submit to all men?
  • Is the husband to be the leader of the home even if the wife has better leadership skills, or the husband is disabled, or the wife has greater spiritual insight and sensitivity?
  • Just when does a boy become too old for a woman to legitimately continue to teach him, and if women really are not to teach men, isn’t it odd that women are allowed to teach them in their most formative years?
  • Does it make sense that God would endow women with gifts but disallow women the privilege and responsibility of using those gifts to their fullest, or for that matter disallow men from the benefits of those gifts? (8.)
  • In fact, doesn’t the Protestant doctrine of the priesthood of all believers give the lie to the view that women are to submit to and obey men? And of all Christians, shouldn’t Baptists and others in the believer’s church and congregational traditions who claim to most consistently live out that doctrine, as well as the doctrine of soul liberty, extend those doctrines to women, acknowledging women as equals in all respects?
  • And isn’t it more than a bit inconsistent for women to have an equal vote in congregational decisions, especially in the selection and/or discipline of male church leaders, if in fact they are to submit to men?

Looking for Answers

I am quite sure Pat already had most of these questions in her mind as she looked across the bowl of spaghetti at Chuck. But he cut her off before she got a chance to ask them. My suspicion is that this man who later went on to become first a seminary and then a college president cut her off because he did not know what to do with 1 Timothy 2. Not only that, he also knew he did not have good answers to the questions he feared would follow. This not-so-pleasant encounter with Pastor Chuck in 1964 was the catalyst that prompted Pat to get really serious in her search for answers. (9.)

I was not much help to Pat, especially in the early years of her research. While I (eventually) acknowledged the legitimacy of her questions, I had few answers, except of course to say that if the Bible says a woman is to submit to her husband, then of course she is to submit. And if the inspired words of Paul are that women are not to teach or exercise authority over men, then of course that settled the matter. And whatever prominence women had in the New Testament, it was nevertheless clear that they were not to be pastors or elders.

Pat was no more satisfied by my rote responses than she was with Chuck’s brush off. But through her own reading, research, and study of Scripture she gradually began to make her own discoveries and form her own conclusions. In 1968 we moved to Wheaton, Illinois, and I accepted a faculty position at Moody Bible Institute. Frequently in the evenings after I returned home from the long commute to Chicago, she would share with me what she had discovered others had written and bounce her own ideas off me. Sometimes we’d debate the issues late into the night. Pat’s a night person, and the later it got, the more cogent her arguments seemed to me, and eventually I would reluctantly agree, or give an inch or two, only to have second thoughts the next morning and recant a good deal of whatever I had conceded the night before. My reservations about where she was headed and wanted to lead me would resurface when I awakened. Why? I wish I could say that my only motive was to be faithful to the Bible. That certainly was a key element in my thinking. But in retrospect, I have had to acknowledge less honorable motives that can be summed up in one word–fear.

Fear. Fear of where it would all lead–could Pat be right and what seemed like the rest of the church wrong? Fear of losing my job at MBI, though there was no credible basis that I was aware of for that possibility. Fear of being taught by a woman, or worse yet, fear of admitting I had been taught by a woman, my wife.

This last fear was the most pernicious and enduring of all. I remember with great shame an episode in the early 1980s, well after I had become an egalitarian, indeed after I had been forced to resign from the Moody faculty for supporting my wife’s egalitarian views as expressed in Woman Be Free. I had been invited to Houghton College to debate the women’s issue with a gentleman who held the traditional hierarchical view. Even back then I normally refused to engage in point by point argumentation of the issues. I simply told the story of how I had become an egalitarian and what I had found compelling that changed my mind–but with one huge omission and distortion. I failed to acknowledge Pat’s key, indeed pivotal part in my journey to biblical egalitarianism. Why? Fear. So I want to say with unambiguous clarity now, Pat started me on this journey and was my teacher along the way.

But I have run ahead of my story. Throughout the rest of my time as a pastor and in my early years on the faculty of MBI, I continued to be troubled by the questions Pat was raising. Over time I came to accept the urgency of the questions and eventually her questions truly also became my questions, and more than a bit more slowly, some of her answers began to become my answers. But I remained troubled by many of the “problem passages,” those passages that had seemed to clearly reflect a predominant pattern of male leadership of the people of God in both testaments and those that seemed to explicitly teach the submission of women to male leadership in the home, church, and perhaps even in society.

In this early phase of my journey it was really Pat who was the researcher. She discovered God’s Word to Women (Katherine Bushnell) (10.) and The Bible Status of Woman (Lee Anna Starr) (11.) She would bounce her ideas off me, occasionally asking me to check out something in the Greek or Hebrew for her. Gradually she began to find answers; a bit more gradually–no, a lot more gradually–I began to accept some of those answers as possible answers to some of the questions that prevented me from embracing the full equality of women, an equality that did not recognize gender as a disqualification from spiritual privilege or any aspect of Christian ministry.

Understanding the Big Picture

In the early 1970s I began to view and understand the Bible less atomistically and more wholistically, and this was a shift that would profoundly affect how I understood the texts related to the women’s issue. And for this too I am indebted to Pat. One of her great strengths is that she has the ability to think synthetically–the ability to have a grasp of the details and then stand back and look at these details, many of which may appear to be disparate, and bring them together in a congruent whole. That is what I observed her doing with the body of evidence related to the women’s issue in scripture. And as we discussed these matters together, I began to see that the passages that were barriers to my moving to a fully egalitarian position needed to be understood in terms of the big picture. It is the big picture that establishes the context for understanding the difficult passages. If one has the big picture right, it is acceptable to admit that for some passages there are several possible interpretations. It is alright to say, “I don’t know, but here are some possibilities.” This insight from Pat was the piece that began to put the rest of the puzzle together for me.

By 1974 in my lectures and discussions with students at Moody Bible Institute, I was affirming a view that was essentially egalitarian. I had come to believe that though it was important to understand isolated texts on their own terms, it was nevertheless futile to believe that the debate between egalitarians and traditional hierarchicalists could ever be settled by debating the exegesis and interpretation of individual texts in isolation. For me, the more significant question had become, how is the grand sweep of biblical or redemptive history to be understood? What is redemptive history all about, and how do the relevant texts fit into that?

When examined with that question in mind, it seemed to me that hierarchicalism, if consistently held and applied, was its own undoing. This view holds that women are by God’s design inherently disqualified from leading and teaching men. It goes against the creation order itself. (12.) But if that is indeed the case, scripture contradicts itself, because women throughout the biblical narrative did lead and teach men, with God’s apparent approval and blessing. Further, if the hierarchical view is correct (submission to male leadership/authority and silence), certain things should follow. Women should be allowed absolutely no public roles within the church, whether that be in worship, prayer, or any other form of public speaking such as teaching, preaching, or prophecy. They should not be allowed to participate in congregational decisions. Nor should they ever be allowed to teach a male, even in settings that are not public. Why? Because it is essential to the very nature of being female. If it is not essential to the nature of being female, the whole hierarchical edifice begins to fall apart because that is the foundation on which it is built.

Relatively few hierarchicalists follow the implications of their foundation to its consistent and logical conclusion. To do so would be the demonstration of the absurdity of the premise. It would be clearly inconsistent with the many indications of scripture that women did in fact do the very things that the foundational premise of hierarchicalism implies they should not do. How then do they deal with the biblical indications of women in these unlikely roles, and how do they justify even the limited participation of women in similar roles in their own churches? The devices are ingenious but hardly convincing even if one accepts the premise. Some instances are viewed as exceptions to the rule, allowed by God because men did not step up to the challenge. Or, women can prophesy, but not have the office of prophet. Or, women can teach, but not authoritatively. Or, women can teach and preach, but only with the permission of or under the authority of her husband, or of men in general. These explanations strike me as contrived and desperate attempts to save the system and to preserve the benefits of male privilege that are built upon it. It’s no wonder that hierarchicalists cannot agree among themselves on just what a woman may do and under what circumstances. As Pat pointed out recently, the only thing that hierarchicalists agree on is that it is the men who get to tell women what they can do.

If the foundation of hierarchicalism is that the creation order itself establishes that for time and eternity women are subject to men, they also see this order reinforced in God’s word to Eve immediately after she and Adam disobeyed God’s command in Eden, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Gen. 3:16). Instead of understanding this and the other aspects of the so-called curse on both men and women as the natural consequences of human sin, hierarchicalists understand this particular result of the Fall as reinforcement of the divine ideal for humankind–male rule and female submission, in other words, patriarchy. This is the filter through which hierarchicalists view the rest of the Bible, including those passages that would otherwise seem to imply or explicitly support full equality, and, contrary to the patriarchal conventions of the biblical world, are examples of women leading, teaching, prophesying, or ruling.

Yet this is the polar opposite of what was already hinted at in Genesis 3:15 when God said to the serpent that Eve’s seed would crush his head. As the NIV Study Bible so aptly puts it, “The offspring of the woman would eventually crush the serpent’s head, a promise fulfilled in Christ’s victory over Satan, a victory in which all believers will share.” From Genesis 3:15 onward, the overarching theme of all scripture is the defeat of Satan, the redemption of humankind, and the reversal of the effects of the Fall. This includes not only the restoration of the divine/human relationship, but also the restoration of broken human relationships in general and male/female and husband/wife relationships in particular.

When I began to view the Bible and redemptive history in this manner, the big picture began to emerge that helped me put the pieces of the biblical puzzle together as it related to men and women. Starting at the beginning in Genesis 1-3 we are clearly and unambiguously told that both were created in the image of God. They were created for fellowship with God and with one another. Though Adam was created first, Eve was created of the very stuff Adam was made of, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, a “suitable helper,” one that corresponded to him. And lest we think Eve the helper was a flunky assistant, the text uses a Hebrew noun (‘ezer) that is elsewhere used to refer to Yahweh; in fact, four times the Psalmist refers to the LORD as “our help and our shield.” (13.) As full and equal partners Adam and Eve were responsible to tend the garden, to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, to subdue the earth and to rule over the creatures. In other words, together they were given stewardship of the earth because they were equals. And because they were equals, they were each fully responsible directly to God to obey his commands. Thus, when they each sinned against the command of God, each was accountable directly to God for their transgression.

The Fall turned everything topsy-turvy. After the Fall, the relationship between man and woman is quite different than it was before the Fall. It morphed from one of equality and complementarity to one of male domination and patriarchy, and that is the backdrop to all that follows in the Bible. But as alluded to earlier, immediately after the Fall the story of redemption begins, and part of that story is the restoration through time of what had been, and what still was God’s desire for the world and for humanity. God, though, does not in one instantaneous snap of the fingers restore what the Fall had destroyed and distorted. Instead, in his dealings with humankind God accommodates himself to the realities of the fallen world. Patriarchalism, the result of the Fall, remains, and it is accommodated in God’s relationship with and rule of his people Israel–the patriarchs, the judges, the prophets, the priesthood, the monarchy. But it is mere accommodation to the reality of the times and culture; it is not a reflection of the divine ideal for humanity. When the Old Testament and Old Testament history are viewed from the perspective of this big picture, the Old Testament women who break the patriarchal paradigm–Deborah, Jael, Abigail, Huldah, Esther, and the wise and virtuous business woman of Proverbs 31–are not embarrassing exceptions to some divinely instituted patriarchal creation order, as hierarchicalists are compelled to say. Instead, each of these women is an affirmation that the Fall is not the end of the story, that patriarchy is not the divine ideal, and that restoration of what originally was is coming once again.

The Incarnation is the central and decisive event of redemptive history. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Of course Jesus was a male. But more significantly he was human (flesh) so he could be the savior of all of humanity. He who crushed the serpent’s head and took the curse upon himself, repeatedly broke the patriarchal conventions of his time by honoring women and welcoming them into this band of disciples. By his life, death, and resurrection he got the victory over Satan and all the forces of evil, he died in our place and bore the punishment for sin, he conquered death and gives us resurrection life, and he provided for us the supreme example of love and obedience. So, in Christ right relationships are restored and in him “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female.” “All are one in Christ,” and, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3: 28-29). It could hardly be more clear that patriarchal order is not the ideal.

Nevertheless, the full realization of the divine ideal awaits the end of history when redemptive history is consummated. In the church of the New Testament era, there were still plenty of accommodations to the realities of the fallen patriarchal order–the Twelve were all men; and however one understands the polity of the New Testament church, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the elders, pastors, or bishops were likely all men. But if we keep our eye on the goal toward which redemptive history is moving, the apparent limitations on women evidenced in the New Testament are best understood as temporary and ad hoc.

In other words, when the big picture of redemptive history is kept in mind, the New Testament is seen as a huge leap forward toward full restoration of what was lost or distorted in the Fall. When I came to understand Scripture in this manner, the problem passages that had troubled me, and that are so often used by hierarchicalists to justify the submission of women, are understood as ad hoc accommodations to the fallen patriarchal culture. And the many scriptural examples of women doing what allegedly they are not supposed to do can be given their full evidential weight of how God, as an “equal opportunity employer,” really values women.

Resolution and Confirmation

My journey to biblical egalitarianism was essentially complete. While I did not, and do not now, claim to have the final answer to every question or difficult passage, I was convinced the framework sketched above was clearly a superior way to account for the varieties of biblical evidence. It has an elegant simplicity that is consistent with the authority of biblical texts. I find it far easier to live with the unresolved problems of egalitarianism than the problems of hierarchicalism, problems that seem to me to be far more serious, calling in question the very unity of the Bible.

But there was one more piece to my journey that is important, though seemingly small and unrelated to anything that had happened up to this point. It was the final piece that confirmed for me that I was on the right path.

In early 1974 I was preparing for a doctoral field exam in American church history by reading selections from some of the more important primary source documents representative of that history. When I came to the early and mid-nineteenth century, I was immersed in the literature surrounding the questions of slavery and abolition. The defenses of slavery by leading theologians and churchmen from the southern states were especially fascinating. Whether the men were from the Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Congregational, or Roman Catholic traditions, the biblical and theological arguments in defense of slavery were essentially the same.

Abolitionism was said to be anti-Christian. Defenders of slavery claimed that abolitionists got their ideas from other sources and then went to the “Bible to confirm the crotchets of their vain philosophy.” Scripture, it was repeatedly argued, does not condemn slavery. In fact, scripture sanctions slavery. In his parables, Jesus refers to masters and slaves without condemning slavery as such. In the New Testament, pious and good men had slaves, and were not told to release them. The church was first organized in the home of a slaveholder. That slavery was divinely regulated throughout biblical history was evidence that the institution was divinely approved. When scripture, as in Galatians 4, uses illustrations from slavery to teach great truths, without censuring slavery, it was considered more evidence that the institution had divine approval. The Baptist Declaration of 1822 did accept that slaves had purely spiritual privileges [as Christians], but they remained slaves.

The defenders of slavery within the churches all claimed the Bible as their starting point and all developed their defense by appealing to scripture in much the fashion I have summarized above. With one voice southern churchmen defending slavery charged that to reject slavery as sinful was to reject the Word of God. (14.)

I had heard about this line of reasoning before, but to actually read it for myself was an eye-opening experience. I was appalled and embarrassed that such an evil practice had been defended in the name of God and under the guise of biblical authority. How could churchmen and leading theologians have been so foolish and blind? I had been reflecting on these readings several days, then on one, cold, Chicago-gray wintry day as I crept home on that parking lot known as the Eisenhower Expressway, it slowly began to dawn on me that I had heard every one of those arguments before. In fact, at one time I had used them–to defend hierarchicalism and argue against egalitarianism. By this time I was close to home and I still remember the exact spot on Manchester Road just west of downtown Wheaton, Illinois where it hit me like a flash. Someday Christians will be as embarrassed by the church’s biblical defense of patriarchal hierarchicalism as it is now of the nineteenth century biblical defenses of slavery.

For me, that was the piece that once and for all put Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers in the waste basket. And it confirmed my determination to stand with Pat as she completed the book that would eventually be published by Zondervan as Woman Be Free. (15.)

_____________________________

  1. I prefer to the use the phrase “biblical egalitarian” to designate the position I hold, though at times I simply use the term “egalitarian.” I believe it is the most accurate and descriptive because I believe this view is biblically based and because the essence of the position is that all individuals are equally created in God’s image. Consequently, they have equal worth, privilege, and opportunity in God’s Kingdom without reference to gender, ethnicity, or social status. I use “hierarchicalism” or “patriarchal hierarchicalism” to designate the opposite view. I am aware that those who hold this view prefer to be called “complementarians.” That term was invented in the mid-1980s allegedly to portray the position as holding that men and women are complementary to one another. The problem is, though, that egalitarians also believe that in the body of Christ all believers, including men and women, are complementary to one another. So the term does not apply uniquely to those who would now claim exclusive ownership of it. It is difficult not to think that the term was invented as a euphemism to avoid calling attention to the real essence of the position–that men are in hierarchical order over women who are to submit to men. In any case, I use the term hierarchical because I believe it is the most descriptive and accurate term to designate this view.
  2. Originally published in 1941, this book is still available from Sword of the Lord Publishers.
  3. Judges 4-5; 2 Kings 22:14 and 2 Chronicles 34:22; Acts 21:9; Acts 18:26.
  4. 1 Corinthians 11:5 and 14:34; 1 Timothy 2:12.
  5. Romans 16:1-16; Philippians 4:2-3.
  6. Ephesians 5:21, 24; 1 Peter 3:1, 5-6.
  7. 1 Corinthians 7:4; Ephesians 5:21.
  8. Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.
  9. I know the reader is tempted to think that “Pastor Chuck” was Chuck Swindoll. I assure you it was not.
  10. First published privately by the author in 1921.
  11. First published in 1926 by Fleming H. Revell.
  12. For instance, see Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), p. 461.
  13. Psalm 33:20; 115: 9, 10, 11.
  14. Documents representative of the pro-slavery arguments as summarized here are contained in H. Shelton Smith, Robert T. Handy, and Lefferts A. Loetscher, American Christianity, Volume II, 1820-1960 (New York: Scribner’s, 1963), pp. 177-210.
  15. Patricia Gundry, Woman Be Free (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977; still in print from http://www.suitcasebooks.net and may also be ordered from http://www.amazon.com and http://www.equalitydepot.com, the online Book Store of CBE).

104 thoughts on “From Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives and Women Preachers to Woman Be Free

  1. Cheryl,
    I found this a very helpful testimony as it is so honest and humble and shows someone’s ‘journey’ from patriarchalism to ‘biblical egalitarianism’. I know different people will find answers in different ways, but i still feel like hearing these stories are very encouraging and helpful for us all.
    I am keen to hear more testimonies of other people’s journeys if others are willing to share…
    (-:
    kerryn

  2. Kerryn, me too! I have a great deal of respect for these men who have been willing to travel down the road towards equality for women. Many men who have traveled this road find themselves treated in the same way that many women are treated — they are discounted and marginalized. Would it be to God that we were already at the end of the journey for all used-to-be-complementarian Christian men so that all of us could get on with our ministry to the body of Christ and to the world. The world needs to know that we are Christ’s followers by our love and how we respect one another.

    If there are any used-to-be complementarian women out there who would like to share their journey with me, please do contact me. I would find it very encouraging.

  3. I can totally relate to what he said about the big picture. That is exactly what did it for me. There were too many contradictions to accept the hierarchical position.

    This is an awesome testimoney. Thanks so much for posting it.

  4. I was taught patriarchy since I became a Christian, so that is how I interpreted all the verses, it seemed so obvious to me, especially as all those I respected taught it. Especially because it seems so obvious (once your mind has been taught to interpret some things in a patriarchical way) it just seems like others are playing games when they do not read some verses like the patriarchs do. And of course, evengelicals are warned about those who claim to be Christians in some sense, but really do not hold the Bible in high esteem and so do almost anything they want.

    Because of this pervasive mindset, it took someone who I really respected for other reasons to even be able to suggest I should study the other side. I simply did not believe at first that there WAS a viable other side for Bible believers. So when I see my old attitude in others, it is easy to remind myself that I was once there myself and be gentle. Blasting me would never have worked, it took a work of the Spirit along with an understanding that the other side were not bogus from the get go.

    When I finally did flip to egalitarianism, I was amazed at the courage of the ones that had gone before, lighting the way so I could follow. They were willing to suffer being falsely accused, in order to bring God’s light to others. They are role models for me and I admire them greatly.

  5. Don,
    What a wonderful testimony! Thank you for reminding us that blasting someone who does not believe as we do will never help them to see the other side. I know for myself that if I am wrong on something, I would not help to demean me and ridicule me. I have been corrected by those who love me and shown the way. Where I have changed it has been because I love truth more than I love my own ego and admitting that I have been wrong is far better for me than holding on to error. It is wonderful to hear from men like you who have traveled down this road and have come to the place of accepting that God uses both men and women in his body. It helps us to put a human face and a human heart to those who are not yet where we are at. There is no guarantee that if we show complementarians respect and love that they will respect us enough to understand the scriptures from our eyes, but it will give them the opportunity to not shut the door to their heart from the Holy Spirit. In contrast an angry defensive attitude will most definitely help to harden their hearts. Let’s love our brothers and sisters enough in Christ to treat them with the love and respect that they deserve so that we may help and not hinder the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives.

    Bravo, Don and thanks again for sharing a part of your story.

  6. I’m a Vietnam era vet who became involved with the Calvary Chapel movement back in the early 70’s. Back then as now, they taught and continue to teach, that certain offices in corporate church settings are exclusively for men, and that women are forbidden to execute them.
    For a long while, I too believed that this is just the way it is; no arguments, no exceptions, no wiggle room, Paul the apostle said it, it’s God’s inerrant word, and that settles it. My own journey from cookie-cutter fundamentalism is too long to relate here, but there came a point at which I could no longer reconcile the over-arching message of scripture with the doctrine of only partial enfranchisement for women.
    If there are any of you who have chanced upon this blog-site out of curiosity, divine intervention, or what have you, give Cheryl’s WIM dvd’s a fair hearing, think critically and decide for yourselves whether or not God has a unique law prohibiting Godly women from preaching and teaching sound doctrine. Above all, search the scriptures yourselves and decide for yourselves what God’s word says and does not say.

  7. Great testimony. Thanks for sharing this with us Cheryl. Stan and Pat are great warriors for the Kingdom of God.

  8. Greg,
    Our desire is to get the DVDs into many more hands so that there will be more women set free to serve Jesus in the way that he has called them. Thank you for your help and for recommending the set to others. That is a great help!

  9. Don and Greg

    thanks so much for sharing your stories.
    One thing i am learning as i grow older in this life is just how hard we all find it to ‘see’ our own traditions and culture. Both in the church and in our world around us. It takes ‘deliberate’ courage to search our hearts on these things and to be prepared to change. Thanks to you both for having that kind of inspiring courage.

    Any more testimonies? I love to hear them.
    In Christ
    Kerryn

  10. Great testimony. My father raised me to believe in women’s role in the church as equal — and he often asked me to teach his adult Sunday School class when I would be home from college. He protected me when some men in the church questioned my right to teach explaining to them and to me that those Scriptures were situational and not applicable to women in the church today…I had my own questions wondering if I should be teaching and he would point out that there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female but all are one in Christ Jesus. Daddy is 74 and I am 50 and we were raised in the Southern Baptist churches but moreover my father and mother determined to raise my brother and me in a Christ-centered home…which took precedence over Baptist (church) doctrine. I continue to thank God for my wonderful father (and mother) and in this situation, it was my father who so blessed me and helped keep me free – Patricia

  11. Patricia,
    Praise God that your Father looked past tradition and culture and raised you to be free in Christ. What a wonderful testimony! Thank you for sharing it.

  12. thanks Patricia!
    i have three beautiful daughters and pray that they might grow up with that freedom to be all that God has called and gifted them to be too!
    in Christ
    Kerryn

  13. “biblical egalitarianism” is an effective word for minimalizing those that would ask for a Biblical basis, rather than be content having a number of “how comes?” dictate discernment of the Word

    Why would there be a need to characterize and pigeon hole those that would discern something different?

    The sad part is any dissenting opinion is characterized as lacking grace or being obstinate baptists with a KJV issue

    not what Id expect from people professing Gods call

  14. Seasonedgrace,

    Yes, there is certainly a lot that people use to minimalize others. The issue for me has always been “What does the scripture say”. When I am charged with being a “feminist” (a word that is used to identify one with the world) and when I am charged with getting my ideas from worldly feminists (even though I have never read any books from these worldly feminists), when my ideas have come from what is written in scripture, all I can say is that there is a lot of presupposition out there in people and it appears to be easier to attack than to actually listen to a person’s well thought out scriptural reasoning.

  15. I wouldnt call you a feminist – but to repeat myself – Im concerned whenever we begin using terms which create a negative word picture as it immediately weakens the main point, valid as it may or may not be

    thanks for your humble response

  16. Cheryl,

    Could you forward Dr. Gundry’s contact info/email to me? I quoted him in a lecture I gave that is soon to go online, and someone interrupted me mid-lecture to ask who he was. I wasn’t anticipating the interruption and it threw me. After the lecture, I wanted to kick myself for not citing him as a professor at Moody Bible Institute (though I had him well referenced in my bibliography and mentioned so). Before this all goes public, I wanted to grovel and apologize!

    Thanks,
    Cindy Kunsman

  17. I would agree with you folks. if you are able to answer a few questions for me
    1) How many women disciples Jesus has?
    2) How many women Apostles are mentioned in the Bible
    3) How many high priests are mentioned in the old testament.
    4) Is Modesty a cultural things,
    5) Is a cultural thing for Men to be leaders in their home, to love, protect their family.
    6)Jesus submit to God the father, was He inferior than the father?
    7) Are Paul words inspired or not?
    8) Did Paul use culture to justify why women should not teach men?

  18. 1) How many women disciples Jesus has?
    Luk 8 says there were some, some are named, so we can figure out a minimum, but are not sure if this is all there was.

    2) How many women Apostles are mentioned in the Bible
    Junia is one mentioned.

    3) How many high priests are mentioned in the old testament.
    Not sure, but they were all men in the Mosaic covenant.

    4) Is Modesty a cultural things,
    In many ways, yes.  In some cultures a woman showing arms or having your hair down is a sexual turn on, in others not.  A believer is to dress modestly.

    5) Is a cultural thing for Men to be leaders in their home, to love, protect their family.
    Much of society was patriarchal.  I believe the Bible teaches both husband and wife are to be leaders in the family.

    6)Jesus submit to God the father, was He inferior than the father?
    Jesus submitted to God, while human, he had a human nature.

    7) Are Paul words inspired or not?
    Of course, Paul’s words in the Bible are inspired.  His words outside of the Bible were not.

    8 ) Did Paul use culture to justify why women should not teach men?
    Paul did not write that  women should not teach men, he wrote that a woman at Ephesus should stop teaching, period, while she was learning.

  19. 1) There were different groups of disciples.  One group was called “the twelve”.  Another group called “the seventy”.  Yet another group called “the women”.  The number of disciples in the group of women was not given.
    2) There is one woman named as an apostle.  Her name is Junia.
    3) There were a lot of high priests. The duty of high priest was rotated.
    4) Modesty can be a cultural thing.  In Islam it is immodest for a woman to uncover her hair.  It is not an immodest thing in the west.
    5) It is a command for men to love their wives but it is a cultural thing for men to take authority over their wives.  In some cultures the authority is absolute so that she lives or dies by her husband’s authority.  In other cultures women are free to vote, hold a job and own property.
    6) Jesus voluntarily submitted to the Father as he became incarnate.  His subordination is not eternal in the Trinity.
    7) Paul’s words are inspired.  All of God’s words are inspired although not all are true.  For example the bible says that the fool says in his heart that there is no God.  “There is no God” is not true, but the quote is inspired by God.
    8) Paul did not say that “women” (plural) cannot teach men.  Paul wrote in a personal letter to Timothy about a situation in Ephesus that needed Timothy’s attention.  It is not an eternal “law” given for all time and for all people.

    Glad to know that you will now be agreeing with us 🙂

  20. Cheryl, Stan, Don, etc., you are amazing. For some unknown reasons, I forced myself out of fear to read some of Andreas Kostenberger’s book, “Women in the Church”. It is a mountain of patriarchy, and when I saw what appeared to be clear evidence that my precious egalitarian understanding of the verse in Timothy was not accurate, I felt a piece of my heart start to struggle in a death throw. That struggle continued when I did the unthinkable and began looking into Wayne Grudem’s most detailed work; more evidence to the contrary of my beliefs surfaced. I began to search different complimentarian books, compelled by fear and perhaps a Satan-driven force. Part of me was suddenly in doubt; ever since I watched Cheryl’s amazing DVDs and finished Joanne Krupp’s book “Woman”, I was certain that complimentarianism would never threaten me truly again, and now it was. My own evidence didn’t seem to be enough; I felt as though any evidence offered by egalitarians would be disproven and flung aside by Grudem or some other person of the same mindset, and I feared I could never have a rock-solid faith again. 

    I pleaded to God to help me, because the most persistent thorn in my side was the voice saying that my common sense, my instinct that patriarchy is wrong and logically flawed, was overruled by Scripture. This same instinct, this root deep in my heart that always looked at patriarchy and cried “this isn’t right, this just doesn’t make sense” was now being overshadowed by a taunt of “The Bible says it is! The Bible says it is!” It was hard, very hard. Then, somewhere along the line, I began to gain faith again. Suddenly, Grudem’s arguments seemed humorous. When he claimed that Paul said women should be silent because of the law (in Corinthians) I remembered Joanne Krupp and my own female pastor friend, Dawn Wilson, saying that Paul was quoting these words back to Pharisee-like men, and rejecting them by saying “Has the Word of God come forth from you”?, thus challenging them NOT to follow the old Laws, influenced by the Talmud. I remembered Cheryl’s painstaking teaching about the culture and the times, and when I came upon Grudem’s claim that men should rule because Adam was created first, I laughed out loud at it, just as I had the first time. Suddenly I was a free spirit again, just as I’d been when I first confidently approached this issue, with the ready assurance that God must not have forbad His daughters the teaching of His Word. Kostenberger and his complimentarian text lost credibility too, when I began to see the same sort of logic within his writing. I remembered all the valuable lessons Cheryl and other great men and women had taught me; I would not be uneducated now. The puzzle of confidence and conviction was almost wholly repaired when I returned here and read, once again, Stan’s amazing story. First, his criticisms of complementarianism would just not allow the movement to stand any longer. Secondly, the egalitarian position, so beautifully described by him, did indeed fit Scripture far better (and I was enlightened of this fact partly by Frank Viola’s work, “Who is your Covering?”, which proved a good while ago to me that human fellowship, and not hierarchy, is the undisputed Holy design for God’s church). And lastly, Stan’s blessed words, “I don’t claim to have all the answers”, put my heart at rest. Oh daughter of God, all answers are never needed in faith. This debate will be going on for years on end, and there will always be another answer from each side; BOTH sides have incomplete issues. But, as Stan so wonderfully said, the problems with egalitarianism are far, far easier to live with than those of the other side. Egalitarianism fits more perfectly with the Bible, with Christ’s teachings of humility, with fellowship love. Who could dare claim that human hierarchy is God’s plan rather fellowship and humility?? Those are not God’s ways.

    Thank you God, for once again teaching me of the truth and even forcing me to declare my loyalty to you even if all my hopes were wrong. Thank you Cheryl, Don, and Stan. You’ve reminded me of the treasures of God’s ways and truth, and how it’s all right to not have all the answers all the time. I will trust God, and His plan so beautifully outlined for me.

  21. I find myself guffawing sometimes when I read some things in non-egal writings, they are just so preposterous in some cases.  But for some people they are not preposterous, they are serious and scholarly.  Yes, in some cases, but the laugh/cry effect is quite profound in reading their works, I need to limit myself or I go into a funk.

  22. Exactly. Right now, I’m aiming to avoid them altogether, except on the rare occasion, so that I can continue to lose the scars and focus entirely on God’s true plan of fellowship and, shall I say, the priesthood of ALL believers. I forced myself so much to consider the idea of the preposterous complimentarian prejudice as being true, that I’m still getting used to the fact that I can laugh at it and I am not, in fact, going against Scripture by openly calling it ludicrous. So many of the things Stan said up there, especially about how the one common thing being that men tell women what to do, is true. I used to say that in anger, but it’s true.

  23. Yes, in some cases, but the laugh/cry effect is quite profound in reading their works, I need to limit myself or I go into a funk.

    LOL! LOL! The way you said this, Don, hilarious!

  24. I have to share this.

    I was listening to a christian radio station “Calvary”. I live in Chicago, IL. Anyway for the most part there right on but I heard some things from certian pastors that are way off. It was on Eph. 5:21,22. He wa talking out off both sides of his mouth. First he says ALL believers submit one to the other (so far so good). Then he reads verse 22 and said that if the Husband and wife can’t agree on something the Husbands has the final say, thats how God set it up! He just contradicted himself!

    The Bible says…Marry only in the Lord and “All believers” would include the Home and Church…Everywhere! Submit one to the other as Eph 5:21 states.

    Children are to obey ther parents yet wifes are NEVER told to obey there husbands…Why?….because it’s not that kind of relationship!

    He said that men will be judged how they lead and women will be judge how they submitted on judgement day?! I was like what! Then I thought of Adam and Eve and the Serpent. Adam & Eve each had to give there OWN account, noone spoke for the other, no submition/leadership roles.

    No mention of submition and leadship roles in the begining! God treated them both as equals who both had equal rule even those now things are unequal because of the Fall. Even after they fell, God still treated them as equals letting each person speak for ones self!

    I just wanted to share what I heard and what was going through my mind during this radio program. He was right on as far as the simple gospel, jesus is the only way, and he talked about Jesus growing up and at age 12 he was missing for 3 days and there was mourning etc etc and how Jesus was buried for 3 days in the tomb and there was mourning But he rose again on the 3rd day. Right on about alot of points but when he got to women he was way off.

    He was talking about how Jesus obeyed his parents. An streched scripture a bit by saying Mary never told Jesus who his Father was but said Joseph was his Father?! Thats putting words in Marys mouth, Jesus already knew at that point that Joesph was his step father. I find it hard to believe that Mary and Joseph wouldn’t just say, you were concieved by the Holy Spirit or something to that effect, to Jesus as he was growing up. They were both faithful followers, why hide that from God in the flesh!

    Once again it brings up this scripture: don’t pay attention to endless myths etc etc. Why do some people try and build teachings on things not found in scripture. An adding words to text, just reading things into the account making it say something it doesn’t? The more I read my Bible and all these articles on this site, I’m learning so much about scripture in Context with the Help of the Spirit. I catch things i hear on the radio now and call it out, to expose it. Thanks Cheryl and everyone for your great input/info/insight.

  25. Jennifer #22, what a wonderful testimony! Thanks so much for encouraging us all. I also received a lot of very helpful thoughts from “Who is your covering?” Very good book.

    Don,

    I didn’t quite realize you were such a “funk”y guy! That was worth a laugh!

    Michael,

    You are picking up on a lot of things that aren’t right and are more akin to myths than the truth. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing your experience with us.

    Sometimes we just need to keep reminding ourselves to ask those who have embellished on the scriptures, where they got it from. Where in the scriptures does it say….? I think that so many listen to these well-known teachers and pick up what sounds like a good story and they think it is scriptural. I mean, it has to be scriptural, doesn’t it, if a famous teacher is teaching it? Not!

  26. To be fair, I think it is valid to present a possible scenario, but it should be explained as that and critiqued.

  27. Hi, Cheryl. I would love to ask Stan this question. I was reading 1 Timothy, and chapter 1 verses 9- 10 says that the law is made for “slavetraders” and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching. I wonder if when he was studying the slavery arguments he found the slavery proponents arguing their way around this verse. And I wonder if there’s any similarity in the way the proponents of hierarchicalism get around verses that contradict their position.
    Maybe you could ask him?

  28. I thought this was an interesting essay, but with generally weak or unconvincing arguments throughout.

    Much of the text is confounded by the writer’s inability to recognise and address key paradigms or precepts of a gender liberalist nature which he has internalised through societal influences. This in turn has undermined an absolutist view of the relevant scripture and his creedal base.

    The “businesswoman” example of Proverbs 31 is a good demonstration of how these paradigms function. From a gender liberalist mindset, this passage may read as if the woman is a shrewd businesswoman confidently and authoritatively running the household, in charge of the property as if it were her own. Once the relevant paradigms are addressed, an altogether different picture arises: she appears servile, obedient, dutiful and hardworking, tending to local properties in servitude to husband and family. So, which picture is the truth? Which view is harmonious and consistent with the rest of scripture, and not subject to contempory idiosyncracies of english comprehension?

    The examples of Deborah, Jael and one or two of the other prophetesses are also worthy of mention out of interest. These examples are prevalent in biblical prose representative of an era where there was an established distortion of gender roles within a society captivated by generalised disobedience and evil. The scripture here reads clearly as history, not as commentary. Therefore, it not only establishes positive character examples for us to follow, but it also sets negative examples for us to avoid, and in many situations, characters with a mix of both. The passage “praising” Jael is written by Deborah, interestingly enough.

    The status of “prophet” is unrepresentative of intrinsic authority above the role of pure vessel carrying the word and instruction of God. God even speaks through a donkey in Numbers 22. This is, again, misunderstanding arising through unaddressed paradigms where we operate on societal presumptions defining the archetype of “prophet”.

    Where scripture is imperative, or functions as commentary, it consistently demonstrates a discrete gender hierarchy and delegation principle of man above woman. It states clearly that this is the natural order of creation and our intrinsic design. Female beauty is directly equated to essential gender obedience and submission.

    *****

    “For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him “master”.” 1 Peter 3:5-6

    “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3

    “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” 1 Timothy 2:12-14

    “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.” 1 Timothy 2:11

    “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” 1 Corinthians 11:9

    “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:22-24

    “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” Colossians 3:18

    “Likewise, wives, submit to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” 1 Peter 3:1-2

    “For a man is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.” 1 Corinthians 11:7

    “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2 4-5

    “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” 1 Corinthians 14:34-35

    “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh him ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4

    “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” Isaiah 3:12

    *****

    We’ve gone over all the permutations of the Greek and Hebrew and looked at the text from numerous contexts over a series of a hundred discussions or more. The invariable conclusion is that, to maintain any opposing view requires considerable contortion of linguistics and reason, and raises gross and incorrigible discrepancies within the rest of the text.

    There is no doubt that God values all that is created, analogous to unconditional parental love for ones children. Both male and female are equally valued and loved in that both play vital, distinct and complementary roles. However, gender liberalism, in a modern context, is a mockery of the very state of being male or female, and thus of being human by first principles.

    Gender equality is a destructive pseudophilosophy which is a perversion of the humanist philosophy of the Enlightenment era; that in itself being a perversion and rejection of scriptural truth. Those who have understanding of spiritual discernment also identify something refered to as the spirit of Jezebel (female disobedience and witchcraft) deeply innate to the occult philosophy of feminism. There are well-documented ties between feminism and dianic witchcraft.

    A series of essays by Toynbee illustrate a biphasic pattern to the major civilizations in history: An ascendant phase where patriarchal, heterosexual and family values predominate; followed by a decline phase where there is a breakdown of family values and gender roles, as well as widespread moral disobedience and sexual degeneracy. During this latter phase, he describes variable uptake of matriarchal values which are a good analogy of modern gender liberalist ideas. Feminism, abrogation of family values and denial of gender roles are merely indicators that a society or culture has passed its zenith and has progressed far into its decline phase.

    Gender psychometric studies also illustrate how women who behave “biologically normally” live much healthier, happier and fulfilled lives. There appears to be something physiologically reassuring about women who adhere to traditional roles, devote their lives to children and husband, and importantly, demonstrate appropriate feminine patterns of sexuality (ie. a fully internalised locus of sexuality/sensuality). They also tend to score statistically higher on “objective” indices of female physical attractiveness.

    Women may very well appear to perform well in traditionally masculine roles or positions of authority if one challenges the very precepts which define “performing well” and “authority and leadership” to accommodate for the women who are indoctrinated to pursue these roles. As one among a myriad of examples, many highly specialist fields have moved away from principle/rationale-based thinking to protocol/guideline-oriented practice where time-investment and diligence contribute inordinately to superior performance. In many instances, there is overt sophistry regarding the performance of women in masculine professions to artificially equalise the perceived capabilities of the genders. This is, of course, creedal derangement which is deleterious to society as a whole. The most tragic thing is, few have the grace, insight or courage and honesty to recognise that this is happening.

    Current methods of intelligence and performance testing do not account for “principle-level engagement” which is the key gender difference in intelligence. One may argue that principle-based thinking is the realm of genius, creativity, complex situational awareness and abstract thinking, or even the capacity for the mind to peer into overlying absolute spiritual processes. No amount of sophistry can hide the vast gender differences in performance in the traditionally masculine professions which still *require* this fundamental characteristic to be effective, though, with time, these standards of assessment may also be corroded by feminist indoctrination and sophistry.

    A patriarchal hierarchy is something intrinsic to our fundamental design. This was present before the fall of man, was modified following the fall and will be retained following resurrection. The intriguing property of this spiritual principle is that, the more one rejects or undermines it, the more mentally, physically and spiritually defiled one becomes. The more one affirms and amplifies this model, the more glorious the soul becomes; the more influential, wise and authoritative the man, the more beautiful, graceful and elegant the woman.

  29. K Liebens,
    Welcome to my blog. I welcome you to contribute at the current location of this discussion http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2009/11/12/mark-head-as-authority/

    You said:

    A patriarchal hierarchy is something intrinsic to our fundamental design. This was present before the fall of man, was modified following the fall and will be retained following resurrection. The intriguing property of this spiritual principle is that, the more one rejects or undermines it, the more mentally, physically and spiritually defiled one becomes. The more one affirms and amplifies this model, the more glorious the soul becomes; the more influential, wise and authoritative the man, the more beautiful, graceful and elegant the woman.

    The current discussion that I linked for you shows that there is no such “patriarchal hierarchy” in the fall of man. One cannot state that it is there without a shred of proof. There is also no evidence that if one rejects the patriarchal model that one becomes spiritually defiled. This is a very unwise thing to claim. In fact the following claim of yours is a great cause for concern that your own position leads to a dismissal of the inspired text.

    You said:
    The examples of Deborah, Jael and one or two of the other prophetesses are also worthy of mention out of interest. These examples are prevalent in biblical prose representative of an era where there was an established distortion of gender roles within a society captivated by generalised disobedience and evil. The scripture here reads clearly as history, not as commentary. Therefore, it not only establishes positive character examples for us to follow, but it also sets negative examples for us to avoid, and in many situations, characters with a mix of both. The passage “praising” Jael is written by Deborah, interestingly enough.

    It was God Himself who raised up the Judges including Deborah.

    Judges 2:16 Then the LORD raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them.

    God never gave Deborah as a negative example for Israel. In fact He blessed her and used her mightily. The words “praising” Jael were inspired by God and thus written by Him.

  30. The more one affirms and amplifies this model, the more glorious the soul becomes; the more influential, wise and authoritative the man, the more beautiful, graceful and elegant the woman.

    A patriarchal hierarchy is something intrinsic to our fundamental design. This was present before the fall of man, was modified following the fall ,

    K Liebens,

    You might want to have a close look at Genesis 3 where we read that Adam Alone became Unlike God since he ate without being deceived, through whom sin entered the world and then reconsider “patriarchal hierarchy”. I don’t think it wise to follow Adam anywhere or depend on the flesh (gender).

    Gen 3
    22And Jehovah God saith, `Lo, the man was as one of Us,

    RO 5
    12because of this, even as through one man the sin did enter into the world,

  31. The more one affirms and amplifies this model, the more glorious the soul becomes; the more influential, wise and authoritative the man, the more beautiful, graceful and elegant the woman.

    K Liebens,

    Humm…Are you saying that the soul is glorified by the (fallen) flesh/gender?

    I think your comment in full was interesting. Hope you find the discussions around here to be interesting!

  32. K. Liebens : “These examples are prevalent in biblical prose representative of an era where there was an established distortion of gender roles within a society captivated by generalised disobedience and evil.”

    Cheryl has answered you well and I’ll not belabor the point except to give you my initial reaction to the statement you wrote above.

    What magician’s hat did you pull this completely unsupportable concept?

    Because you didn’t get it from the Bible. The Bible does not say anything about there being any distortion of gender roles in that era. Not one word. That concept came from the fertile imagination of a man (or men) who can’t deal with the idea of a strong woman in a leadership position.
    Men have been attacking the concept and character of Deborah for hundreds of years. But their attacks are based on jealousy, not on rightly dividing the Word of truth.

  33. Liebens quotes from the Bible: “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh him ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4

    I find it quite humorous that you quote this as some sort of proof of gender roles.

    Did you know the Hebrew word translated virtuous is chayil (#2428 in a Strong’s Concordance) and it means…
    a force, whether of men, means or other resources; and army, wealth, virtue, valor, stength- able active , band of men (soldiers), company (great) forces, goods, host, might, power, riches, strength, strong, substance, train, valiant, valour, virtuous, war, worthy…

    It is the same word translated as valor and valiant concerning men in
    Joshua 1:14; 2:6; 8:3; 10:7
    2 Sam 11:16 1 Kings 11:28; 1 Chron 5:24
    And so many more I’m getting exhausted at the thought of trying to type them all out for you. Look it up in your concordance.
    Please look it up for yourself. Don’t take my word for it.

    You use a verse that says a valiant women, an mighty woman of substance is a crown to her husband in the same post you declare Deborah, a mighty woman of valor, a product of her era that had confusion over gender roles.
    There was no confusion.
    The confusion comes when men try to discredit Deborah and her era concerning gender role because they are threatened by strong women.

    Me thinks that if God has in His word, “a virtuous (valiant, valor, strong, able, force) woman, who can find. Her worth is far above jewels” (Pr31:10) that He must not be threatened by powerful women. Actually, He seems to be indicating that there aren’t enough powerful women because they seem hard to find.

    Nor is He obssessing over gender roles. This obssessing is the product of the traditions of men.

  34. “Much of the text is confounded by the writer’s inability to recognise and address key paradigms or precepts of a gender liberalist nature which he has internalised through societal influences. This in turn has undermined an absolutist view of the relevant scripture and his creedal base.”

    Are you sure?

    I thought that perhaps you had failed to recognise your own confounding through your own inability to address and recognise key paradigms and precepts regarding gender equality that are both implicit and explicit within scripture which you have apparently not internalised, but rather attempted to undermine through an absolutely literal and non-contextual (to the point of being irrelevant and nonfactual) view of scripture.

    I do not know enough about you to make comments on your credal base!

  35. Sorry if my comment appeared negative and sarcastic. My point is that we can all acuse each other of being influenced or biased, but this does not get us anywhere. I believe that K Liebens has shown their own bias through their comment. No one is completely immune from this….

  36. Dave,
    I for one didn’t see that your answer was negative or sarcastic. In fact I just saw you holding up a mirror for good reflection purposes. I thought that it was quite brilliant actually.

  37. Dave, If you comment is negative as sarcastic, I’d hate to think what my post is. I know I have attitude. I know I get tired of certain men who think it is their job and divine right to put women in their places. It gets old. Sometimes I ignore it and go on and obey God to the best of my ability. Sometimes I have to stop and say something.

    But often when I stop and say something, it is more for the benefit of the “mighty women of valor” in training than the men who want to oppose them. It’s for the timid ones who feel God tugging on their hearts and whispering in their ears, “Is it better to obey God or men?”

    For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. This is for men AND women.
    But they that know their God shall be strong and do exploits. Again, this is for men AND women.
    And no Christian man need fear a Christian woman who is stong and does exploits for her God.
    If a Christian man does fear such a woman, well, he needs to take it up with his God, not try to stop women from following the Bible.

    My anti-spam word is pain. I hope I’m not being one to Cheryl, Dave, pinklight, or any of the other regulars.
    I don’t really care if I am one to Liebens. If I need to care, then may God deal with my heart.

  38. Mara,

    I’m not sure you’re being a pain. I’m with you. I get tired of certain men insisting on keeping women from fully expressing their Spirit-given gifts of leadership and wisdom in the name of “keeping them in their place”. I would say that’s quenching the Spirit, something that both men and women are explicitly told NOT to do (and props to whoever can find that Scripture, since my brain can’t think of where it is).

    If it’s any encouragement, keep encouraging the women you are working with and ministering beside (and to). As they claim their God-given gifts, they will have a huge impact, especially on the fear-and ego-driven men who insist on keeping them down. This (hopefully) works something like a root driving itself into a wall: it keeps working its way down, expanding as it goes, and eventually it will bring the wall down, since it has weakened it all the way to its foundation. Once the wall (in this case being gender separation theologies) comes down, we’ll find that there was really nothing to be afraid of after all, whether we were on the side of the hierarchicalists afraid of women claiming their God-given gifts, or women too afraid to use them. We’ll find that the freedom we have is a beautiful thing, and one we’ll use to build up to the Body, not tear it down.

  39. It’s 1 Thess 5:19 that you’re looking for: Do not quench the Spirit. NIV says Do not put out the Spirit’s fire, which makes me think of Acts 2 where the Holy Spirit looks like fire on the heads of the men and women gathered together. Peter goes on to quote Joel:

    17“ ‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
    Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
    18Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.

  40. All this debate comes down to one thing, either Jesus Christ is the Lord of our life, or we are. If we are not surrendered to His word and His will, we can always find a loophole to justify our rebellion.
    1 Corinthians 11:2-16 gives a beautiful picture of the headship order God desires for men and women. Only a person who is truly delivered from self and sin through the blood of Jesus Christ can embrace the teachings of the bible, since they are foolishness to them who do not believe. I pray God’s word will have the final authority in your life.
    Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
    Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
    Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Mathew 7:13-15)

  41. Hi Heidi and welcome to my blog!

    I agree the the Word of God needs to be our final authority. God alone is the One who gives the gifts and He commands that we use our gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ. If we refuse to obey His Word and refuse to use our gifts as He has commanded, then we are letting the foolishness of the tradition of men rule our lives and we set the Lord Jesus beneath the authority of men.

    I pray that all of us will be brave enough to step out into whatever area that Jesus has called us and obey Him instead of men. What seems wise in the eyes of men is often in opposition to the wisdom of God from His Word.

  42. Heidi,
    The wolves have already come in.
    They have stolen callings, killed dreams, and destroyed true understanding of God’s Word. The wolves have already made portions of scripture null and void by taking verses out of context and spinning them into something they were never intended to be and calling it sound doctrine and biblical manhood and womanhood.
    The traditions of men have cemented women into a lesser place of freedom and called it gospel, making a woman’s very salvation dependant on whether or not she properly submits to a man (not to God, but to a man who is just as sinful in nature as she is herself).
    It is no gospel. It has no power to save but is driving away the very ones God wants to reach, heal, and deliver.
    The true Gospel is not dependent on anything relating to gender. Gender is not a primary issue. It may very well not be an issue at all. But the wolves make it primary and use it to hurt and control already wounded women who need to know God’s love, healing, forgiveness and, yes, freedom. Not rebellion… freedom. It is ours in Christ. Not to sin against another, but to be free to love and serve one another and to serve God in whatever capacity God calls us. This is true submission.

    You said:
    “All this debate comes down to one thing, either Jesus Christ is the Lord of our life, or we are. If we are not surrendered to His word and His will, we can always find a loophole to justify our rebellion.”

    And I agree. Women have been rebelling against the call of God on their lives for hundreds of years because they prefer to serve men rather than God and avoid the persecution that comes with making the choice to serve God rather than men.
    When God comes and asks these women why they have buried their talents, what are they going to say?
    What judgement will be on them?
    And what worse judgement will be on the teachers who taught women to bury their talents and said that God would be pleased with them if they buried what He gave them?

  43. Indeed Heidi, look at the loopholes you’ve embraced in order to put fleshly hierarchy over fellowship and accuse dissenters of not loving God. Ironically, we believe what we do because we love God and His Word MORE than man.

  44. K Liebens wrote: “Both male and female are equally valued and loved in that both play vital, distinct and complementary roles. However, gender liberalism, in a modern context, is a mockery of the very state of being male or female, and thus of being human by first principles.”

    K Liebens,
    Really??? So, then why are the Chinese aborting female fetuses in record numbers in order to have a male child instead????
    Really??? So, then why are millions of little girls sold into sex slavery in places like Thailand??

    That is the reality.

    “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh him ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4
    Curious that you quoted this verse. Isn’t a crown worn on top/over the “head”?

  45. I have so many questions. I’m glad to see so much discussion going on here, people who are not afraid to point out how the realities of…well…reality run completely contrary to traditional interpretations of those verses of the Bible. But I wish we could talk outside of the comp/egal framework. It feels like just another polarized set of positions that one is forced to pick from.

  46. katz,

    Welcome to my blog and this forum!

    As far as talking outside of the comp/egal framework, I would hope that I am able to do that as an apologist and “normal” Christian. You will find me arguing against a particular egal position if I can see that it doesn’t fit. The reality is that the text should be what is key, not a parochial mindset that limits ones view to the establishment’s “truth”.

    Thanks for your comments.

  47. Hi katz – It often can seem that there are only two opposing poles at work here, especially when it comes to difficult sections of scripture where the comp/egal divide is well established. But there is also great unity here under the bluster and passion. Cheryl encourages us all to recognize that we all are really on the same side in the big picture. We try to view those with opposing positions as still being brothers and sisters in Christ who are good-willed people. The vigorous debate you may see here on the site is a RESULT of that underlying camaraderie – only when we can love each other at the end of the day can we effectively engage each other in serious debate.

    I think you will also find, when you dig deeper into some of the posts and discussions, that there is quite a kaleidoscope of opinion being expressed. In particular there are not only typical comp/egal differences expressed but there can also be some gender divides and within the egal majority here, there is a wide variety of opinion on how different or similar men and women really are. There are also different egal “takes” on everything from Genesis 2 to 1 Timothy 2. All of that, of course, leads to a lively and colorful discussion.

    So, be of good cheer. Not only will your insights from outside the “comp/egal framework” be welcomed and eagerly explored, but you may also find that that framework in and of itself is not so rigid and easily defined.

  48. I have a questioon this morning regarding women pastors. The first question is where are the qualification for a Woman pastor specified in the bible? And then is church without leadership once she”s home because the bible tells us that she has to submit to her husband, therefore meaning that she is not a pastoe and this leaves the churhc without leadership. Next question is how can she manager her own household as the scripture specifies as one of the qualifications as an overseer,and pastor of a church, when she is not the head of the household, the bible tells us that the man is. I need scriptual answers and please provide scripture upon scripture to answer these questions. And really explain the role reversal in the home when woman says she is called to preached. God specifically says the man is the head of the woman.

    Sincerely yours in Christ,
    TaWanda

  49. Actually no, the Bible does not say man is head of the house, and we don’t believe being head of his wife means being “boss”.

  50. Jennifer, since you said that the bible does not say that man is the head of his wife(woman/household), then please explain what does 1 Corinthians 11:3 means when it tells us that the head of man is Christ, the head of woman is man and the head of Christ is God. Now Christ is the boss of man and God the boss of Christ, so where does that leave man with woman and his household?? I am really not undrstanding how the scriptures that are plain or being pulled from its context. I take that back I do understand because I understand when the scripture tells us in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when men will not put with sound doctrine. instead, to suit their own desires they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

  51. Indeed, men’s itching ears make them want to be masters of women. And you stated a deadly lie, God is NOT boss of Christ; another twist made of doctrine to support the idea of human spiritual hierarchy. Paul stated the fact that women have two heads, Christ and their husbands. I believe the term “head” refers to a source of life and protection for a woman from her husband, but others here will givr you more details.

  52. Jennifer , even Christ stated that He subjected to His Father, whom is God so where is the lie, and what bible are you getting your information from. Now allow me to assure you that my intend is not to offend, but the WORD OF GOD is as a two-edge sword and it will cut ydeep, so I would appreciate it if we could keep this spiritual based on scripture and remove our thoughts, feelings and or opinions.

  53. He was subject to God as a MAN, NOT in heaven. This belief didn’t even come about until recently.

  54. TaWanda,

    Jesus in His Deity is completely equal with the Father and there is no authority of one person over another in the Trinity. As man He submitted to the Father as an example of the submission that we are to give the Father. But the Bible never once says that the Father took authority of Christ nor that the husband is to take authority over the wife.

    Submission is a Christ-like attitude that we are all to have one to another. It is a loving attitude that we willing give, not of compulsion that is required when a person take authority over another, but a submission out of love, just as Jesus submitted to the Father out of love.

    The error comes when one adds the teaching about authority as some have stated that the Son does not have equal authority in the Trinity to the extent that these teachers teaching eternal subordination of the Son teach that Jesus does not have equal worship with the Father and Jesus is not to be prayed to as they teach only the Father receives prayer. This degrades Jesus and makes Him as less than equal in the Trinity.

    I hope this helps.

  55. The Jesus is not equal to the Father arguments, in all the various forms, are what the Arian heretics taught. We see some of their same arguments being used today, which I find troubling.

    The Bible actually does say wives are to obey their husbands, the problem is this is in a proclamation from a pagan king in Esther 1, hardly an example for a believer to follow. Est 1:22 He sent letters to all the royal provinces, to every province in its own script and to every people in its own language, that every man be master in his own household and speak according to the language of his people.

    So, to be picky, there is no “God-endorsed” statement that a wife is to obey her husband.

  56. TaWanda said:
    I am really not undrstanding how the scriptures that are plain or being pulled from its context. I take that back I do understand because I understand when the scripture tells us in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when men will not put with sound doctrine. instead, to suit their own desires they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

    TaWanda, would you agree that the Scriptures should be read according to authorial intent? That is, what matters is what the original writers (such as Paul) intended their words to mean, and not what it might look like they mean through the layers of translators and cultural changes, right?
    Rest assured that the egalitarians who post here love God and follow the Bible. But we do think it’s important to look at the original meanings of the ancient Greek words and at the historical/cultural understandings that would have been shared by Paul and his original audience, which we in the 21st-century US might be misunderstanding. We have come to believe, in all honesty, that the word “head” as Paul meant it is being misunderstood today.
    If you want to go ahead and pre-judge us as being unwilling to listen to sound doctrine and with itching ears that want to hear what we want to hear, then you yourself will be unable to listen to or hear us. You will have already decided you know what we are saying. But if you want to give us the benefit of the doubt and listen to where we’re coming from, you might find out that we’re really not as off-the-wall as you think we sound.
    I invite you to give us a chance, and find out why we believe what we believe about women in the church and home. I assure you, we are not trying to pull you away from your sincere devotion to Christ. We share that devotion.

  57. “Jennifer, since you said that the bible does not say that man is the head of his wife(woman/household), then please explain what does 1 Corinthians 11:3 means when it tells us that the head of man is Christ, the head of woman is man and the head of Christ is God.”

    The key is understanding what was meant by Kephale in the 1st Century. It did not mean authority. Believe it or not you can find references to “Kephale” meaning that the “head” was the “source for life for the “Body”” God was the “source” for Christ and the man was the original source for woman. But read on as Paul goes on to say that then man was born of women. He is making a point of interdependance.

    The same “source” for life is communicatd in 1 Tim. Christ is the source for life of the Body of Christ. Husbands were the source of life for the wife in the 1st Century since women were generally considered chattel.

    They also believed that the “heart” was the center of thinking and decision making. You can see this in many of Paul’s writings when he refers to the heart.

    You see this belief in the head being the source as in food, smell, breathing, etc in writings from ARistotle and Hippocrates. The “head/kephale” nourished the “body”.

    About a hundred years after Paul, Galen, a physician proved that the “head” was the center of thinking and movement for the Body. Before that, it was thought it was the heart. He did this by opening up the heads of animals and proving the brain is what caused the body to move certain parts.

    Head/Body is a unity metaphor in scripture. And it has been completely changed in it’s original meaning for 2000 years. Had the Holy Spirit wanted to communicate “authority over” then He would have inspired clear Greek words such as exousia or arche.

  58. “even Christ stated that He subjected to His Father, whom is God so where is the lie, and what bible are you getting your information from. Now allow me to assure you that my intend is not to offend, but the WORD OF GOD is as a two-edge sword and it will cut ydeep, so ”

    Yes, in the Incarnation. But study Phil 2. He “emptied Himself”, gave up His glory to become human.

    If there is a pecking order in the Trinity then who does the Holy Spirit report to?

    I highly recommend Cheryl’s DVD on the Trinity. It is so deeply researched from scripture, it will astound you. You will never see our Glorious Savior the same way again.

    God is God
    Jesus is God (or you make a mockery of the Cross)
    The Holy Spirit is God

  59. I just want to warn everyone who is believing that a woman is not to be subject to her husband. My testimony is too long, but I can assure you obeying God’s word will always lead to blessing in your life. If we as Christians do not see the distinct role models for men and women, I am afraid we are soon going to see the “Christian”church accepting homosexuality.
    He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 10:39)

  60. Heidi,

    My own marriage has been greatly improved since I became co-leader with my husband, side by side in our marriage. And I believe I am obeying God’s word. As for “distinct role models,” I looked and looked, and they aren’t there. Every complementarian church has it own list of what women can and can’t do– and no one can agree because it isn’t plain in the Bible. All they can agree on is that men get to tell women what they can and can’t do. And that’s not “role models.” That’s “created to be subordinate.” And this issue has nothing to do with homosexuality. The issue is much closer to the issue of slavery, which is addressed in many of the same passages that address women. The verses that address homosexuality are completely different verses.
    People used to believe black people were created to be subordinate to whites. That was their interpretation. The interpretation that women are created to be subordinate is also an interpretation.

  61. Heidi,
    Welcome to my blog.

    It seems to me that you think that we believe that women are not to give their husband’s respect. I for one believe that it is healthy to honor my husband and do good for him just as he honors me and does good for me. However I also believe that it is clear in the Scriptures that there is only one master and that is the Lord Jesus. It is obedience to the one master, the Lord Jesus, that brings me blessings in my life. I believe that living a life of having two masters will take away the priority of Jesus since the Bible says that no one can have two masters.

    There is no connection whatsoever between joint leadership of the husband and wife (and joint honoring and serving one another) with homosexuality. One is sin and the other is a part of our service to the Lord Jesus and is not sinful. If you can find one list of sins that list a woman’s godly leadership in the home as sin, then we can have a look at it. I have never seen it.

  62. Cheryl,
    the word of God tells us that all unrighteousness is sin, anything that’s not right is sin. God created Eve for Adam as a helpmate. God created Eve to subservant to Adam, meaning she was to submit herself to him, which means that whatever he requested not demanded of her she was to obey.

    the reason I am saying that all unrighteousness is sin is because the Holy Bible is the infallible word of GOD. when God gave instructions for us to follow it was given to us so that we may know the righteousness of God.

    I am sharing all this to let you know that the wife is subservant to her husband because he is the head od the wife and Christ is the head of the church.
    What do we do with the scripture where Paul tells the church to submit to them that has the rule over you. If it’s right for the church , shouldn’t we as wives submit ourselves to him that have rule over the home.

  63. TaWanda,

    If the term ezer (English helper) means “subservant” than God is our “subservant” since He is called an ezer to mankind. We must not use the inspired words of Scripture and reinterpret them as God said what He meant. He never used a word that meant subservant. Instead of being a servant to Adam (or subservant as you indicated) Eve was created to be an equal ruler with Adam and these inspired words are from God Himself.

    Genesis 1:27–28 (NASB95)
    27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
    28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

    If you can show me the Hebrew word that means “subservant” then we can have a look at it, but “helper” (ezer) is not such a word. I recommend that you have a look at the inspired Hebrew words from a good lexicon to help wash away the tradition of man that makes God’s creation of woman to be a subservant of man.

    Paul never once said that the husband has rule over the wife neither does he ever tell the husband to take rule over her. These are foreign ideas to the inspired Scriptures. If God had meant to say that, He would have because He is a God who says what He means.

    The inspired Scriptures make it clear that women too are to rule over their homes and as equal rulers they have leadership.

    1 Timothy 5:14 (NKJV)
    14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

    The term “manage the house” is the Greek word oikodespoteo and it means “to be master of a house or head of a family,” Liddell, Scott, Jones Lexicon.

    Just as Adam and Eve were to rule over the earth, so the husband the wife rule over the home and there is equal responsibility and equal accountability.

    I hope this helps!

  64. “I just want to warn everyone who is believing that a woman is not to be subject to her husband. My testimony is too long, but I can assure you obeying God’s word will always lead to blessing in your life. If we as Christians do not see the distinct role models for men and women, I am afraid we are soon going to see the “Christian”church accepting homosexuality.
    He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it. ”

    Heidi, You will find homosexuality rampant, historically, in Patriarchal cultures. You can go back to Genesis and read secular history to know that. It is still rampent in Patriarchal cultures today. That was a big shock to people who went into Afghanistan after the Taliban fell to find so it so accepted.

    You have believed a lie about “roles” and homosexuality. Beyond obvious biological differences, what differences do you see in Gen 1 and 2 spelled out for the sexes? Do you see God giving them BOTH dominion in Gen?

    This is a fearmongering tactic put out by both the comps and patriarchal camps. They use “fear” instead of education of the Word. Being an accomplished educated woman is not a sin. Being homosexual is. To equate the two is complet and total denigration by virtue of birth. Male:good. Female: Bad if not in the roles we decide.

    Can you point me to specific roles in the New Covenant for all women for all time that are NOT biological in nature?

    Why would Paul say being single is best if what you say is true?

  65. “God created Eve to subservant to Adam, meaning she was to submit herself to him, which means that whatever he requested not demanded of her she was to obey”

    Um, wrong. Where’s the Scripture that says that?

  66. I am sorry ladies, but there is nothing anyone can ever say to me to believe other than what God’s word says and what I have experienced.
    Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, and he is the saviour of the body.
    Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:22-24.
    Again, can it be any more clear.
    To respond to a comment made about about Adam and Eve. “And the Lord took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it.” Genesis 2:1
    I’m not sure where the term co-leader came from, but I can not find it in my bible. “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. What? Came the word of God out from you. If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. (I corinthians 14:34-37)
    Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands,(1Peter 3:1)
    “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”1 timothy 3:3
    I am praying for each one to find God’s word, and not what I think, to be the final authority in your lives. You will not only keep your own souls, but perhaps help your daughters and others keep theirs. God bless you all.

  67. Heidi, I suppose you must believe, then, that slavery is of God and that the Emancipation Proclamation was an ungodly intrusion of the government into private affairs. Doesn’t the Bible say, “Slaves obey your masters”? It couldn’t be more clear.
    Oh, but wait a minute! The entire government of the US is wrong anyway– we shouldn’t have a President, but a king! Doesn’t the Bible say, “honor the king”? Doesn’t it say, “I want prayers to be made for kings and all who are in authority”? It couldn’t be more clear.

  68. TaWanda, if God created Eve to be a “help” to Adam, and that meant she was subservient to him, then what do we do with a passage like this?
    But here’s another passage: “I commend to you Phoebe our sister. . . that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and help her. . .” Romans 16:1-2.
    If to “help” someone means to be subordinate to them, then Paul is telling the church at Rome to subordinate itself to Phoebe, isn’t he? But if to “help” does not imply becoming subordinate, then the fact that Eve was Adam’s “help” doesn’t imply subordination. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  69. Heidi,
    I would refer you to Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon which is listed as the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative dictionary of ancient Greek. Here they give two meanings of the term hypotasso (subject) which fit very well with the head/body term of Christ and the Church.

    II. post in the shelter of, draw up behind…underlie, to be implied in or associated with, …of the content or meaning which underlies a writer’s words

    Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon (Rev. and augm. throughout) (1897). Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press.

    In Ephesians 5:21 the grammar is reciprocal as submission is a Christian attitude. Paul then goes on to show that husband and wife like the church and Christ are one with the head joined to the body. How is the church to be with Christ? They are to be joined to Him, sheltered by Him, associated with Him in everything because the purpose of the body is to be in unity. Christ takes the shelter and protection so far as to be the Savior of the body. The emphasis on head/body is one of unity, protection and oneness. It is not an emphasis of government, authority and putting on in their place. The place of the Christian is to conform them self to Christ so that there is unity in the body and the head gives up everything for the body so that the body is placed in oneness and in unity with our head. In the end we know that we will rule and reign with Christ as we are united to Him in His rule.

    It cannot be any clearer that we are to be united to Christ not placed under His feet. We ARE His body and His flesh, and we will rule with Him.

    I’m not sure where the term co-leader came from, but I can not find it in my bible.

    The term is co-ruler:

    Genesis 1:26 (NKJV)
    26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

    If God said that both male and female were to rule, then we should have no problem in accepting God’s will.

    As I have said many times, wives are to willingly submit to their husbands in love and in respect. But it is not one way nor is it for women alone. It is a Christian practice to be submissive, gentle and loving. This is how Jesus lived His life and all of us are to follow Him.

    I wish you would get a copy of my DVD because you should be able to clearly see that Paul’s quoting from the oral law of the Jews is completely opposite to the command of Paul that all should prophesy in the church and not be silent. There were men who were silencing the women in the church and Paul said that it was his command that should be followed, not the commandments of men.

    It is because we care so much about God’s Word that we want to be careful in how we handle it, not to rip it from its context, but to carefully and diligently present ourselves approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Tim. 2:15)

    Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 14 show that all are allowed to speak out with God’s gifts especially to prophesy and that command is indeed a commandment of the Lord. Those who would silence women and stop them from using their God-given gifts are not approved of the Lord and their commands contradict the clear commandment of Paul at the beginning of chapter 14.

    Read, research and pray. God’s Word is worth delving into in depth, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

  70. The NASB where the term “rule” is show for both:

    Genesis 1:26 (NASB95)
    26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

  71. Here is the introduction to my DVD set on youtube:

    It shows how the underlying values in researching this topic must be fully Biblical and done in a methodical and respectful way.

  72. “I am sorry ladies, but there is nothing anyone can ever say to me to believe other than what God’s word says and what I have experienced”

    We are going by what the Bible says, and what we’ve experienced.

    “I’m not sure where the term co-leader came from, but I can not find it in my bible”

    I can’t find the word subordinate or follower, interestingly.

    I’m getting very tired of childish implications that we’ll lose our souls if we don’t buy a certain way.

  73. Heidi,

    What would you think if you had discovered that women are actually free to do as God calls them to do, whether that’s leading a home along with her husband, pastoring a church, or both and teaching the Bible and so forth. Should you discover that tradition is passing down false teaching, what would you think of that? Should you wish to respond, I’m just wondering.

  74. My freedom in Christ does allow me to be who God has called me to be. The Holy Spirit will never lead contradictory to God’s word. I have listed, as well as others on this blog, plenty of scripture that clearly and directly instruct women what their roles are to be in the home and in the church. Submit means to submit, to be quiet in the church and not to usurp authority over a man means exactly what it says. Why are you denying God’s word? What are you going to gain in the end?
    If we don’t lay aside our pride and rebellion and follow God’s plan , we are going to lose in the end. If you think being submissive to your husband makes you equal with a slave, then you know nothing of the cross. Allowing your husband to be the head of his home will lift both of you up. It will also help your children to learn to humble themselves when they need to (and keep the doors closed to homosexual deception. Being a Christian is all about dying to self and learning to trust God in every area of our lives. If your husband has come to trust you and asks for your opinions, wonderful. If there are decisions he makes you don’t agree with, we are to be like Sarah and not be afraid with any amazement, but to trust God is even in control of these times. Pray the Lord gives your husband and church leaders wisdom, and find rest in the Lord that He sees everything. Are you filled with the Holy Spirit so your lives are effecting others and God is hearing your prayers? There is nothing more powerful or of greater influence in our lives than prayer. ,Women do have more discernment than men at times, but that is not a green light to show our spirituality and make them feel inadequate. We are to build them up, and learn to take the back seat humbly. Your husband will begin to adore and honor you as you lift him up ,and you reverence him as you would Christ. “At the cross at the cross where I first saw the light and the burdens of my heart rolled away.
    It was there by faith I received my sight and now I am happy all the day.”

  75. Heidi, what are your thoughts on the opening post? What about this part?
    “I had come to believe that though it was important to understand isolated texts on their own terms, it was nevertheless futile to believe that the debate between egalitarians and traditional hierarchicalists could ever be settled by debating the exegesis and interpretation of individual texts in isolation. For me, the more significant question had become, how is the grand sweep of biblical or redemptive history to be understood? What is redemptive history all about, and how do the relevant texts fit into that?
    When examined with that question in mind, it seemed to me that hierarchicalism, if consistently held and applied, was its own undoing. This view holds that women are by God’s design inherently disqualified from leading and teaching men. It goes against the creation order itself. (12.) But if that is indeed the case, scripture contradicts itself, because women throughout the biblical narrative did lead and teach men, with God’s apparent approval and blessing.”‘

    Do you read your whole Bible together as one thing? Do you see its movement from Creation to Fall to New Creation? Do you take account of the cultural context? Do you understand the difference between teachings about the nature of the New Covenant Kingdom and the way believers in that Kingdom are to try to get along with the surrounding culture?
    Or do you read isolated texts out of context and call them “clear,” and preach to us that we need to swallow your “clear” reading, as if that was all there was to it?
    I’d rather do the former. If you want to do the latter, feel free– but I will continue to resist being pulled back under a yoke of bondage.

    I submit to my husband– and he submits to me, per Eph. 5:21. I don’t see why that clear scripture is one you don’t want to accept.

    If you want to submit unilaterally to your husband and make him your ruler instead of your partner, that’s fine. I’m not telling you how to live your life. But my husband and I have found what we believe is a better and more biblical way. Please let us follow our own consciences. The Holy Spirit never appointed you keeper of mine.

  76. Heidi: “Your husband will begin to adore and honor you as you lift him up ,and you reverence him as you would Christ. ‘At the cross at the cross where I first saw the light and the burdens of my heart rolled away.
    It was there by faith I received my sight and now I am happy all the day.”’

    The Cross of Christ has nothing to do with making the husband boss. Why do you wrap your salvation up in hierarchy when Jesus specifically stated, “NOT SO AMONG YOU”

    Jesus said that we are not to rule over one another as the gentiles do, that whoever wanted to be the greatest needed to make themselves the least. Jesus came to destroy hierarchy yet people use the words of Paul to build back up the wall that Jesus came to tear down.

    Paul wrote in his letters to follow him AS HE FOLLOWED CHRIST. Where the words of Paul and the words of Christ contradict due to translation misunderstanding or cultural misunderstanding, you go with the words of Jesus as your foundation and starting point, not to Paul’s words. You DON’T ignore the words of Jesus in order to follow the words of Paul. You look at the words of Jesus and try to figure out what Paul is saying with the words of Jesus as his foundation or starting point.

    Concerning hierarchy Jesus specifically said, “Not so among you.”
    So what was Paul saying?
    He said, as one mentioned above, “Submit to one another” (Ephe 5:21) Then he goes on the help the people in that highly hierarchal culture know what that would look like. Men, who were in the higher position in that culture, needed to lay their lives down, like Christ did. Women, who already were in the subordinate position simply need to to submit as all were instructed.

    The man would be the harder one to teach on submission since his culture taught him the opposite, so Paul used the picture of Christ, you know, washing the disciples feet (something only slaves and women did) and dying on a cross (a punishment usually reserved for slaves, male and female). He used that picture to help husbands understand that submitting and laying down of their lives in the kingdom of God is noble, right, and good, not, according to fleshly standards, demeaning, low, and dirty (like the cultural view of women and slaves).

    As someone mentioned above…

    You MUST take into considereations the WHOLE counsel of scripture and not focus on a puny smattering of hand-picked scriptures that male preachers have historically given too much importance to.

  77. Heidi,

    Why are you denying God’s word?

    The issue isn’t that we are denying God’s word, the issue is interpretation of God’s word. What we do deny is tradition’s interpretation of scripture regarding women in God’s word. (Your) Interpretation doesn’t = God’s word, but IT IS indeed tradition. The question is then, is traditional teaching on women biblical or tradition of men?

  78. The question is then, is traditional teaching on women biblical or tradition of men?

    I should have said, had I kept with my train of thought…the question is then, why do we deny traditional interpretation regarding women in God’s word.

    Okay, Heidi. Same to you.

  79. You DON’T ignore the words of Jesus in order to follow the words of Paul.

    Mara, great point. If the comp position wasn’t guilty of this very thing, it wouldn’t even exist.

  80. I am sorry ladies

    Goodbye ladies.

    I wonder if Heidi realizes this is a public forum and there are men listening in? Does this involve her in teaching men? Or is she purposely just addressing the women so that I won’t read it and be taught anything? I wonder………..

  81. Looks like we scared another one away, ladies and gentlemen. 😉

    Why is the truth of equality so frightening.

    Okay, I admit, my approach is not always the most gracious. I really do let my frustration with blatant and off-balanced cherry-picking get to me.

    But even so, I don’t call name or question motives or even question salvations (as many comps often do). If Heidi’s argument is so strong, why can’t she stay and prove and defend it?

  82. Mara, Heidi’s entire tone throughout the conversation made it clear that she was not here to prove or defend her position, but to call us to order for not agreeing with it. The reason I responded strongly was not because it was, as you say, “blatant and off-balanced cherry-picking” — though it was. I responded strongly because she was lecturing us like recalcitrant children, as in this example of her words:

    Why are you denying God’s word? What are you going to gain in the end? If we don’t lay aside our pride and rebellion and follow God’s plan , we are going to lose in the end. If you think being submissive to your husband makes you equal with a slave, then you know nothing of the cross.

    You said that comps often call names, question motives and even question salvation. The above words do all three– except that she chooses “we” and “our” in order to soften it, but under the circumstances this comes across as mere condescension.

    I for one am glad not to continue the conversation.

  83. It is my opinion that truth is worth defending. It is also my opinion that those who would like to educate us because they think we are wrong and heading down the wrong direction, should be willing to gently correct and show from the complete context why our points are not the meaning of the author.

    Those who have no intention of defending their “truth” may very well come across as being so entrenched in their own view that they cannot hear and respond to questions or challenges to their view. I find this very sad, because as a truth lover I am dedicated to studying the Bible, uncovering Biblical truth and defending that truth with gentleness and respect. I would hope that those who love truth as I do and who do not believe as I believe on the women’s issue, would be willing to interact in the same gentleness and respect because truth is always worth contending for.

  84. Wow,

    I stumbled across this thread while doing some research. I can only say woooow. This is a wonderful site. In Africa where I live, women engaging in ministry is not such a controversial issue. In fact most churches are made up of majority women.

    However, Christian women suffer a lot of abuse which is carried over from traditions that are somehow incorporated in Christianity.

  85. Joyce,

    Hi Joyce. Glad you stumbled across this thread. This is an awesome place. And I’ve learned alot here.
    That’s good that it’s not such a controversial issue where you’re from and traditions that hurt or result in similar things should readily be tossed.

  86. Cheryl, would you please help me contact Sam Gundry? I am very grateful to you for publishing his wonderful article. My grandfather was John R. Rice, and this spring I published a book in which I tell the story of “Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives and Women Preachers.” When that book was published, a photograph of my mother (then 14 years old) was used to illustrate the proper length of hair for a Christian woman! The title of my book is “The Sword of the Lord: The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family.”

  87. Wow, that’s incredible! Andrew, it’s an honor to meet you here. I can’t wait to read your book!

    Friends, I need prayers please; I’ve become snagged on blog posts elsewhere, where secular men are sharing advice on how to be dominant in relationships. One man, who agrees with this and has been mistreated by many women, posted a comment saying, Women, we love you and cherish you. You need to return this to us.” Know what happened? About four or five men answered him, saying, “Are you kidding? Those words are REPULSIVE to women! We can never say we need them, they hate weakness and vulnerability.” It was heart-wrenching to see this, to put it lightly; these men, and many women, are so terrified of commitment in our lost, tragic times. We’re scared of submission, scared of vulnerability. These men swarmed up, referincing a horrible guy who gives men advice to keep women in doubt, even jealous, of their feelings so they’ll never be bored and stray. God help us, please heal these men.

  88. “Are you kidding? Those words are REPULSIVE to women! We can never say we need them, they hate weakness and vulnerability.”

    This amazes me. Can’t believe these men have experienced women like that. Everyone has different experiences…

    these men, and many women, are so terrified of commitment in our lost, tragic times.

    I’m just going to give my two cents, based on my experience of people in general, christian or not. I know it’ll sound negative, but what I’m going to say is filtered through my experiences with people as people.
    People should be terrified of commitment, because they should be terrified of people!! People can be terrifying!!!
    lol
    K, thanks for the vent.

    These men swarmed up, referincing a horrible guy who gives men advice to keep women in doubt, even jealous, of their feelings so they’ll never be bored and stray. God help us, please heal these men.

    Crazy advice.

    Since there has been comments here recently, I decided to go through and read the post and comments. This gave me a chuckle.

    I think that so many listen to these well-known teachers and pick up what sounds like a good story and they think it is scriptural. I mean, it has to be scriptural, doesn’t it, if a famous teacher is teaching it? Not!

    Re-read what I posted @ 34. I had completely forgotten about Adam becoming unlike God (but not Eve because he sinned with eyes wide open, while she sinned out of being deceived by the crafty serpent).
    Comp theology uses such interesting building blocks (a rebel – unlike God – authority/leader). lol For shame!

  89. Wow – this discussion has been going on a long time – and I am sure there is more to come! I haven’t had time to read ALL the comments – but I have made my way through quite a few of them. This is a great post – with a great thread of comments that back up the egalitarian view very well. I will bookmark and read through when I have a bit more time.
    I am currently blogging about my experience – from being a feisty 10 year old who fought for gender equality in school, to becoming a Christian at 16 and accepting female subordination as being God ordained, to slowly re-learning and understanding the Scriptures and seeing them as it being God’s design for equality. If you are interested – the first of the series is http://www.joroyal.com/2011/11/one-where-i-come-out-part-1.html?showComment=1321535841571#c1627976036748691289, and the second follows.
    Jo

  90. As a mom wife and Christian I have never felt unequal.

    I do accept the idea that authorities are different and I think the expression is unequally yoked.

    I believe in an order. I accept the biblical authority the husband and father has as ordained and my authority and place as a mom and a wife; im comfortable with it and do not feel less as a result.
    I feel more threatened with abortion permissiveness and disobeience to the Word and the decadance and vandalism disrepect and chaos.

    I also think we lives in endtimes and we are not in concert with the word.

    My I speak up for and endorse John R Rice part 4 UTube as a wonderful vision; may i do that in a way that I do not endorse everything the man ever said cause I dont know. To listen to his daughters love for her parents though 85 was thrilling to me. She was above all things well rasied and a product not an accident. You hear it in her voice. I have a love for the kind oof passion and absolute faith of those times even if they were hard.

    Loveand God Bless
    Patricia

  91. I am concerned with eco Christians, those preaching God wants you to be filthy rich, send all your money to me, Benny Himm’s travesty of false faith healing; open and defiant fraud.

    I want to respond to one thing though there are many issues.

    I fully support the mother being a full and true authority to the son especially since it came up and the daughter.

    As we come to apprdciate the leadership of women and mothers, and i accept that patriarchy is not a biblically sound idea in every respect what arrurances do we have that reforms will not become a downward slide..will the mom be firm with discipline will she employ the rod of correction will she stand for truth and tradition or do we revist everything of the fashion of the times Patricia in Christ

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