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Month: August 2008

Women preaching equated with adultery and homosexuality

Women preaching equated with adultery and homosexuality

Wade Burleson has commented on Irving Bible Church’s decision to allow women to preach the gospel to the congregation on a Sunday morning and the attacks that this church has experienced because of this decision.  Wade writes:

I shiver when I hear my fellow evangelicals call a church that asks a woman to preach the gospel on Sunday morning a church of “grave moral concern.” WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT FEMALE PASTORS!

The idea that a woman teaching or preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ is a “grave moral concern” shows us how far the church has fallen from the place of accepting one another as brothers and sisters in Christ who have gifts given for the benefit of “one another”.  Is not the “grave moral concern” rather an issue of saying that “I” (a man speaking) do not need “a woman” teacher?

1 Corinthians 12:21  And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

Why is it that scripture says we “cannot say” something that we do say?  The scripture says that we do not have permission to say that women preachers and women teachers are not needed by some in the body of Christ.  When we reject God’s gifts merely because of the package that they are housed in, we are rejecting the Lord Jesus in this area.  Jesus is responsible for assigning the gifts.  If he did not want a female to teach a male the gospel, then Jesus should have created a list of female gifts which list would not include teaching.  Then it would be easy for men to disregard something that doesn’t exist.  When are we going to stop saying what scripture has forbidden us to say?  Saying “I” do not need you and your God-given gift should be treated as a serious moral concern.

The sin of the man

The sin of the man

We have been looking at Genesis 3 and the fall of man.  In this post I want to concentrate on Genesis 3:22-24 to see what we can understand from God’s words that result in God’s actions and why God judges differently between the man and the woman by bringing sin into the world only through the man.

In a previous post we saw that the original Hebrew reveals that God said “Behold, the man was like one of Us….” There is no justification in the original Hebrew for the translation that man became like God when he ate the fruit.  This is a very significant point.  God said that man was created like God and now he has added to that creation the experience of evil.  In his fallen state his inclination would be to partake of what now is forbidden to him which previously was given freely.  The tree of life was given to Adam to enjoy the fruit but must now be taken away to fulfill God’s word that “in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die”.

Would Adam reach out to take of the fruit of the tree of life in his sinful state?  The actions of God prove that this would be the case.

Genesis 3:23  therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.
Genesis 3:24  So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

The “sending” of God was for the man to work the ground from which he had been taken.  Adam was sent to work the ground that had become cursed because of Adam’s two failures.  But did Adam go when he was sent?  Verse 24 shows that Adam was not inclined to obey at all.  In fact God’s actions show that Adam was defiant.  God had to literally drive the man out of the garden.  The Hebrew shows an action of force.  It was not Adam’s will to leave the garden.  Adam was forced out because Adam was living in open defiance of God.  Adam was the one who sinned with his eyes wide open and now Adam was the one who was trying to defy God’s judgment by refusing to leave the garden.

After God forced Adam out, God set up a second watchman.  According to Genesis 2:15, Adam was God’s original watchman for the garden of Eden. The Hebrew word translated as “keep” means to guard and keep watch.  This is a designated watchman.  Now God sets up a second watchman after the first watchman morally failed at his watch.  In Genesis 3:24, God sets up the cherubim to guard the way to the tree of life.  Because of the moral failure of the first watchman, God must install a second watchman whose purpose it now was to protect the tree of life from the unfaithful first watchman.

Where does God show a difference between the way that he treated Adam and the way that he treated the woman?  We see that God did not provide a curse because of the woman’s fall into sin.  God said to the serpent “because you have done this” and animals received a curse through the actions of the serpent and to Adam “Because you have listened…and ate….” and the earth was cursed because of the actions of Adam.  Yet the woman did not receive a curse from God nor was anything cursed because of her actions.  We also see that God did not drive out the woman from the garden.  Only the man was driven out.  Only the man was the defiant one who willfully chose to sin and willfully chose to continue to disobey by refusing to leave.  The treachery of Adam is described by God in Hosea 6:7 –

Hosea 6:7  But like Adam they have transgressed the covenant; There they have dealt treacherously against Me.

If Adam was defiant and dealt treacherously against God by morally failing because he was silent at his watchman’s post, why has it been a tradition in the church that Adam brought sin into the world because he was an appointed unique ruler of the human race?  Did God set Adam up as sole king of the world?  Or did God show that Adam was tainted with treason because he was the watchman who listened to the deception, he wasn’t deceived but he failed to shout the warning to stop the deception and the one deceived from falling prey to the deceiver?

The silent watchman ate the fruit without being deceived.

The silent watchman blamed his failures on God and his wife.

The silent watchman defiantly refused to leave the garden.

The silent watchman was replaced with God’s faithful watchman.

The silent watchman was unfaithful to God by allowing the innocent to become ensnared on his appointed watch.

The silent watchman then willingly and against his position as a watchman, took the fruit from the hand of his deceived wife and he defied God by eating.

Now some questions for discussion:

1. Why do you think that Eve was not kicked out of the garden?

2.  Why did Eve leave the garden if she wasn’t kicked out?

3.  Why has the church been so focused on trying to prove that Adam alone was a unique ruler over mankind?

4. Was it Adam’s position as ruler that brought sin into the world or was it his treason and open defiance that brought sin into the world?

Irving Bible Church releases women to serve

Irving Bible Church releases women to serve

In the news is Irving Bible Church who recently took 18 months to study the issue of women in ministry from the scriptures, and now they have implemented a clarification of their position on women regarding the use of their God-given gifts for the common good.  They have produced a 24 page paper on Women in Ministry that documents the findings from their study.  It is at this link on the right hand side, the PDF document.  Although at this point they are still holding to the teaching that only men should become elders, their renewed view coming from the scriptures allows them to release women to teach and preach and use all of their gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ.  It is very encouraging to see another church freeing women to serve with their gifts for the benefit of both men and women.

Below is the brief description of their journey from the front page of the above web site:

Women’s Role in the Church

The May 2008 issue of Chatter, a publication of Irving Bible Church, contained several stories, interviews, and research resources based on Women’s Role in the Church. This web section contains those stories as well as additional resources for your reading and exploration.

Unleashing God’s People

When the issue of women’s role in the Church specific to practicing the spiritual gifts of teaching, leading and preaching was raised, the IBC Elder Board embarked on a journey to discover what God had for all of his people and how he might unleash them to glorify his kingdom. Chatter listened to the Elder Board to learn about that journey, what it involved and where we’ve landed today.

When did the Elder Board begin to look at the role of women?
In 2006, people began asking questions about the role of women in the Church specific to teaching and preaching. For example, could they teach adult Bible Communities? Why didn’t we have a woman on our teaching team? There was also a healthy discussion taking place on Table and Fire. We realized as a board how important it was for us to clarify IBC’s position on this, and thus began an 18-month journey of prayer, study and discussion.

Was there any trepidation on the part of the board?
We knew that once we began, we would need to devote a considerable amount of time and prayer toward it. Each of us had wrestled with this issue on some level, and we came at it from different experiences and with varying perspectives. As a group, we were committed to moving forward with spiritual, biblical and intellectual integrity.

Specifically, what steps did the board take?
We held more than 12 meetings in which the ministry role of women was the primary topic for discussion, study and prayer. We looked at likeminded churches that walked this journey before us and read several books and commentaries that held varying viewpoints. In addition, we dialogued with women both in ministry here at IBC and from other churches. We sought godly counsel, and invited three professors from Dallas Theological Seminary—Dr. Jeffrey Bingham, Dr. Scott Horrell, and Dr. Bob Pyne—representing different positions on the issue to present their studies and insights to us.

What were the most enlightening things you learned?
Jesus was completely radical in how he elevated women in his day. He ignored cultural barriers and invited women to be part of his ministry. Throughout the Bible we found God using women as leaders, prophets and teachers to further his kingdom. We also looked at how God effectively uses women in ministry today. The fact is, he’s used women throughout history and today in powerful ways—in teaching, leading and preaching roles—and there’s fruit. We’ve seen it, and we can’t deny it.

Did this lead the board to feel as though the issue is truly black and white?
Not at all. We quickly learned that there are many God-honoring, spiritually mature, biblically astute Christians who have different views on this topic. We realized that, instead of presuming to determine what is “right” for all times and places, we were called to define “what seems to be good to us and the Holy Spirit” for IBC in the spirit of Acts 15:28.

With that in mind, how does IBC plan to move forward?
We are going forward with the strong belief that God wants to unleash all of His children using all of their spiritual gifts to further His kingdom. Women represent 50% or more of the body of Christ, and having them fully unleashed to use all of their giftedness makes us 50% more effective and powerful for Christ. We need the whole body of Christ fully engaged for the kingdom. So we’re not just saying, “It’s OK.” We’re saying, “Come on!”

How do you expect the IBC community to respond?
We hope that people will be excited about women being unleashed for Christ’s kingdom. For those who are surprised by or unfamiliar with this approach, we hope they will interact with the scriptures and prayerfully consider the validity of our position. After 18 months of committed prayer, godly counsel, reading God’s word, and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak, we believe this is the right and best course for IBC.

How will this change what IBC is currently doing?
Truly, it doesn’t change very much. We’re really looking to provide clarity as to what, in many ways, we’ve already been practicing. A noticeable change may include an occasional woman preacher at IBC as God raises up gifted and qualified individuals for that task.


Satan the liar or truth teller part 2

Satan the liar or truth teller part 2

We have been looking at Jesus’ words in John 8:44 which says that there is no truth in satan.  We are comparing this to satan’s words through the serpent in Genesis 3:5 and God’s words in Genesis 3:22

Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that in the day that you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and  you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:22  Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; …”

Let’s compare the words in these two verses.

Genesis 3:5 the serpent said that God knows.  God knows what?  The serpent gives a time frame “in the day that you eat from it”.  What will happen on that day?  Their eyes will be opened (this is presented as a good thing) and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Here we have the serpent saying that Adam and his wife will become something that they are not now and it will be a good thing.  It will make them “like” God.  The implication then is also that God experiences both good and evil.  But does he?  The word for “knows” and “knowing” is the Hebrew “yada” and its primary meaning means to know relationally and experientially.  What the serpent is saying is that God experientially “knows” evil as well as good.

Now let’s see what God says that is different from what the serpent has said:

In Genesis 3:22 the English is opposed to the original Hebrew and the most authentic versions.  The Hebrew “hayah” (English translated as “has” become) is the third person preterite tense, and signifies was, not is.  The same tense is translated in the Samaritan text, the Samaritan version, the Syriac, and the Septuagint.  Adam Clarke says that “These lead us to a very different sense…”  God is saying “Behold the man was like one of us…”  God is not agreeing with satan that the likeness with God came on the day of their eating the fruit but the likeness started on their day of creation.  They were like God in the beginning.

The distortion here is in the time frame and the grammar.  The serpent said that they will become like God on the day they eat the fruit.  That is a lie. God said they already were like him…until they ate the fruit.

Adam Clarke says that there is “an ellipsis of some words which must be supplied in order to make the sense complete.”  This apparently is not uncommon with Hebrew where the basic information is given and you complete the sense.  Adam Clarke goes on to quote a very learned man who fills in the blanks this way:

“And the Lord God said, The man who was like one of us in purity and wisdom, is now fallen and robbed of his excellence; he has added “ladaath” to the knowledge of the evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live for ever in this miserable state, I will remove him, and guard the place lest he should reenter.”

The deception was that there was something more in store for them to be like God.  But God does not experience evil.  Instead of finding themselves like God, they became very much unlike him because they added evil to their experience of good.

So it is true what Jesus said that there is no truth at all in satan.  Even though he comes as close as he can to the truth, he twists it and distorts it so that it says something completely different.  Adam and his wife did not become like God on the day that they ate the fruit.  Their sinless existence was shattered and they became very much unlike God in their experience.  Their eyes were opened as the serpent said they would be, but the opening of their eyes was to evil and not to a new dimension of Godhood.

Satan the liar or truth teller?

Satan the liar or truth teller?

In this post I would like to talk about one verse and its application to the book of Genesis.

John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

What does it mean when it says that there is “no truth in him”?  Does this mean that Satan is incapable of telling the truth?  If Satan is incapable of telling the truth is Genesis 3:5 a lie?

Genesis 3:5  “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

We have God telling us in Genesis 3:22

Genesis 3:22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; …”

Is there any difference between what Satan said and what God said?

Before I tell you what I think, I would like to know what you think.  How do you reconcile Jesus’ words that say that there is no truth in Satan and the words in Genesis 3:5 compared to Genesis 3:22?

Next post we will discuss more answers.

Women in Ministry list of sins?

Women in Ministry list of sins?

*This original post created on August 21, 2008 has been changed/updated on September 11, 2008.  I have given the individual listed below time to show integrity by stopping the stalking and the vitriol, but this individual is not repentant nor will she remove the offenses on line.  It is time to warn the church about the public sin.

As one goes public concerning the biblical teaching that the bible in context does not support a restriction on women teaching the bible to men, it is not uncommon to have one or more people who are so upset by this teaching that they are willing to call a sister in Christ a heretic and resort to tactics that are designed to smear their good name.  This is what has happened to me.  I now have a stalker who is producing vitriol against me personally having purchased my own name three different ways on line and who is directing these named sites to a blog that is set up to mock and defame me. The person’s name is Diane Sellner.  Diane is employed by a ministry that makes a very public issue of calling people heretics and dangerous to the church, whose only crime it is, is to teach that women can be pastors and elders.   I have been receiving the brunt of her anger.

I personally feel very sad for Diane Sellner who has produced such a mocking blog.  Her lies and half truths do not speak well of the ministry that she works for since she has been allowed free reign to post her vitriol and she has received support from them instead of discipline.  No attempt has been made by Diane to contact me privately.  Her “fruit” should be easily seen for what it really is.  Those who mock and attack without care for their brother or sister in Christ are not showing that they operate with the Spirit of Christ.

**Another update on September 12, 2008 Because of this expose, Diane Sellner has now redirected my name, the name sites that she purchased, to her bosses critical work against me, and at times back to her own mocking blog.  This kind of vitriol should never be called “ministry”.  Apparently there are many others that Diane has done this to while calling it her ministry.  Moderators and CARM workers are not exempt from the abusive treatment.    http://forums.hannity.com/showthread.php?t=245083

Working alongside Diane is the pages that she now links to on and off, a mixture of half truths and false accusations that are easily refuted to anyone interested in the full truth.  The promise that Diane Sellner’s boss made on August 22, 2008 to stop the attacks against me coming from his ministry has been shown to be about as good as his accusations are.  It is worth nothing.  Anyone wishing to see the truth that has been distorted and how I have been libeled please email me.  A ministry like Sellner’s that focuses on half truths, distortions, libel and mockery brings shame on all of us.  Christians need to stand up for truth and deal with those who are divisive.**

2 Corinthians 12:10  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

**Note: A public statement regarding Diane Sellner’s role in the public attacks against me is at http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2008/09/06/public-statement-regarding-matt-slick**

Is Complementarianism merely personal conviction?

Is Complementarianism merely personal conviction?

This post is a response to Randy Stinson’s article titled Is Complementarianism a Merely Personal Conviction?

In Randy Stinson’s article it appears that there is a lot of fear that comes through even to the point of suggesting that if one is an egalitarian they will be affected negatively for their entire life, even to the extent that they may not remain in the Christian faith.  I would like to unpack some of the key points of Randy Stinson’s article to look at the underlying message to see how it brings a divisiveness into the body of Christ.  Mr. Stinson gives a very telling statement at the beginning of this article:

I believe it is possible for someone to be wrong on the gender issue, but still be a believer.  So being an egalitarian does not mean you are not a Christian, but it does cripple the discipleship process for that person for the rest of their life. [emphasis is mine]

I personally do not ever recall reading egalitarian Christians questioning the salvation of their complementarian brothers.  Rather than dividing from their brothers, egalitarians generally start with the thought that these are our brothers in Christ and the debate is only on the secondary issues of faith.  However complementarians are more and more being pushed towards questioning the salvation of egalitarians.  Note Mr. Stinson doesn’t say that egalitarians who are evangelicals are our brothers and sisters in Christ but rather he says that it is “possible” for egalitarians to be believers.  He then makes a very bold statement that egalitarians are crippled in their walk with the Lord.  His use of this word picture is designed to draw the conclusion that the egalitarian viewpoint is a disease that one can survive but with great damage to our faith.  Mr. Stinson then goes on to draw a line in the sand with assumptions that are not only unproven but which are extremely divisive.  He lists six points that he says are key areas of Christian theology and practice that are apparently crippled by the egalitarian belief:

1.  The authority of scripture is at stake.

Mr. Stinson greatly overstates his case in this point and draws the reader to the conclusion that egalitarians do not hold to the authority of God’s word.  While he says that the Bible “clearly” teaches that men and women have distinct and complementary roles in the home and the church he does not mention the fact that a growing number of evangelical Christians who strongly hold to the authority of scripture read the hard passages of scripture in their context and see something that is not so “clear” at all that there are differing spiritual roles for men and women.  These same Christians hold tightly to the authority of the scripture and they do not teach people to disregard God’s word but rather they teach that we should all read the hard passages in their complete context because God’s word must not be interpreted in a way that causes one scripture to contradict another.

2.  The health of the home is at stake.

Here Mr. Stinson equates the foundation of the home as one person – the husband, whereas scripture reveals that the one-flesh union of husband and wife brings a unity of authority to both mother and father. (Deut. 21:18-20; Leviticus 19:3 where Mother is even placed before Father; and Ephesians 6:1, 2)

Mr. Stinson also says the egalitarian view is disobedience and “they will not have the proper foundation upon which to withstand the temptations of the devil”.  Where is such a thing listed in scripture?  There is no scriptural reference for Mr. Stinson’s claim.  However there is an example of a wife going against her husband and taking her individual authority to pursue peace with King David whose servants had been insulted by her husband.  The story is found in 1 Samuel chapter 25 and Abigail is said to be intelligent (1 Samuel 25:3) and one who had discernment (1 Samuel 25:33).  She took authority over a matter and did not tell her husband who is described as a fool, a character trait that matches his name.  Her wise action which was done in direct conflict with her husband’s foolish decision actually saved her family.

This hinders the sanctification of married couple…

Where is this found in scripture?  The only “sanctification” that is found in scripture regarding married couples is in 1 Corinthians 7:14 regarding an unbelieving mate.

1 Corinthians 7:14  For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.

Notice here that scripture lists first of all that an “unbelieving husband” is sanctified through his wife.  Paul also says that an “unbelieving wife” is sanctified through her believing husband and the purpose is for the benefit of the children.  Sanctification in the marriage is not listed in scripture as coming through a husband as if he was a leader of a subordinate person (the wife) but rather sanctification in marriage comes through a believing spouse whether a wife or a husband.  Every other reference to sanctification is personal and has nothing to do with marriage.  Mr. Stinson is very wrong in equating the sanctification of the marriage as having anything to do with complementarian belief and practice.

and also introduces confusion about basic parenting issues such as raising masculine sons and feminine daughters.

Mr. Stinson as well as his organization called CBMW (The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) makes much of teaching about spiritual masculinity and spiritual femininity yet the bible teaches nothing about the spiritual way to raise masculine sons or feminine daughters.  Christianity is not about following Jesus in a feminine way or a masculine way.  All of us are to follow Jesus in the same spiritual way.  We are all to be humble and to practice submission as Jesus did.  The teaching that there is a feminine way regarding spirituality and a masculine way to spirituality is foreign to the scriptures.

3.  The health of the church is at stake.

Just like the home, if the church disobeys the teaching of 1Timothy 2, 1 Corinthians 11 and disregards the structure that God put into place for the community of faith from the beginning, then the church will be weakened.  If the church is weakened in its convictions, it will be less effective in accomplishing its mission.

Here Mr. Stinson implies that 1 Corinthians 11 and 1 Timothy 2 are a “structure” that God put into place for the community of faith.  Where is this “structure”?  1 Timothy 2 has no hierarchical structure listed.  In 1 Corinthians 11 the inspired “order” of 1 Cor. 11:3 is not an ordered list of hierarchy nor does the rest of the passage list any authority of the man over the woman.  Rather 1 Cor. 11:11 shows that the male does not operate independently of the female nor the female independent of the male (no hierarchy here at all).  In fact verse 12 shows that first in creation did not bring preeminence just as the fact that the man now comes through the woman show that she is now preeminate.  The preeminence is solely in God himself.

Mr. Stinson also does not show how the egalitarian view of scripture weakens the church of its convictions in the essentials areas of faith or how the church is less effective in its mission of evangelization and discipleship.

4.  Our worship is at stake.

Here Mr. Stinson makes a point that God “named Himself” father.  God did not “name” Himself Father.  His name is “I AM”

Exodus 3:13  Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?”
Exodus 3:14  God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”
Exodus 3:15  God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.

“Father” is not God’s name, it is his relationship with us.  While I do not advocate calling God “mother”, God has revealed in scripture his character that has motherly qualities.  Yet to us, he has decided to be known in relationship to us as a Father.  God is not “Father” because he is male.  God is neither male nor female.  God is Spirit and there are no “body parts” in God that could make Him male.  Rather, God is “Father” because this is the way that he choses to express his relationship to us.

The very nature of our triune God is revealed in a biblically ordered marriage.

Where does scripture say this?  If the “triune God” is revealed in a biblically ordered marriage, who in the marriage relationship is the one corresponding to the Holy Spirit?  Marriage is a one-flesh union of  two equals.  It is two people becoming united into one flesh.  Marriage is not three persons united into one flesh.

5.  Bible translations are at stake.

…my concern is that in the name of gender equality, the Bible is undermined and the very words of God end up being revised.

The English language has evolved so that words previously used in earlier generations do not have the same meaning today as they did in an earlier time.  The Greek word for generic humans was translated into English as “man”.  In the past it was understood that “man” meant human (meaning men or women), but today the word of God can be held back from being being crystal clear when the term “man” is seen in our day as meaning male only.  If we use what is today a male term when a generic term is meant in the original Greek, would that be a good thing for the next generation?  Is it wrong to “sharpen up” the English if the original intent of the Greek word is kept intact and made clearer?  We should be far more concerned about keeping the clarity and faithfulness of the original languages than we should be concerned that the English word is changed.

6.  The advance of the Gospel is at stake.

Ephesians 5 calls husbands and wives to relate to one another as a picture of Christ and the church.  The picture involves the humble, sacrificial leadership of the husband…

Jesus is both God and man.  As God he is Lord and Master and King.  As the human Son, he is the husband of the church.  This picture of Christ and the church is shown to be one of a unified body with Christ as the one who serves the church by giving her food.  Jesus service is manifested through humble sacrifice to give himself for the church.  The husband is to serve his wife in the same way, but scripture never once calls the husband the leader of the wife.  Neither does the scriptures say that the husband is to have a sacrificial “leadership”.  What complementarians have done is added a word to the inspired scriptures.  Without the addition to the text, the husband is pictured as serving his wife and giving himself up for her.  The husband is never pictured as being a leader but is pictured as being a servant.

and the joyful, intelligent submission to that leadership by the wife.

When our tradition adds “leadership” to sacrifice, we have in effect watered down and devalued God’s word in accordance with our tradition.  We have also watered down the scriptures which say that Christians are to submit to one another.  Submission is a “Christian” characteristic, not a feminine characteristic.  The tradition that only the woman is to submit to the man takes away a key part of Christian maturity.  We submit to one another, not only for the other person’s edification, but so that we may receive from that one the benefit of the other person’s gifts.

Romans 15:2  Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.

Should a husband submit to his wife’s gifts?  Should a husband please his wife for her good and for her edification?  Common sense says that we are heirs together in Christ (1 Peter 3:7) and as heirs together we can benefit from each other’s gifts.  We cannot benefit from these gifts unless we submit to receive the gifts.  Submission then is a Christian virtue, not a female virtue alone.

Deviation from biblical teaching on manhood and womanhood distorts the picture of Christ and the Church, and hinders the advance of the gospel.

Not only is there no biblical teaching on “manhood” and “womanhood”, but there is nothing in scripture that says that the gospel is hindered by the church who has women taking their place alongside the men or by the home that has a united authority of Father and Mother.  What this teaching does is attach the gender issue to the essential issue of the Gospel and this is wrong.

Why is this issue so important? Because the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be severed from the methods he has authorized to spread it. Homes and churches in which manhood and womanhood are prized advance the Gospel and the glory of God more accurately than any other kind of home or church.

Here is where the complementarian message has added itself into the gospel.  Randy Stinson is essentially saying that the gospel preached by complementarians is “more accurate” than the gospel preached by egalitarians.  In essence the complementarian view of “men only” leading in public teaching is part and parcel of the gospel message.  One then cannot preach the full gospel that is necessary to save us unless one is also preaching concerning male-only leadership.  No wonder so many complementarians are seeing egalitarians as heretics and as unsaved religious people who they must fight against.  This is divisive and harmful to the body of Christ.  In the last several years, the position of CBMW, of which Randy Stinson is president, has been increasingly antangonistic towards their egalitarian brothers and sisters in Christ.  The position has been preached that egalitarians can be saved, but they must repent of being egalitarians.

In the past there have been groups who have attached their own personal preferences to the gospel.  Some claimed that one could not be saved unless one spoke in tongues.  Now we have a group who are claiming that belief in male leadership is necessary as part of the gospel.  This is an ungodly addition to the gospel. CBMW is guilty of dividing sheep against sheep by adding conditions to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  May there be repentance from this divisive work before it further harms the body of Christ.

Was Eve mistaken?

Was Eve mistaken?

In our continuing discussions on the fall of man we have dealt with the issue of Adam as guardian of the garden and the charge against Eve that she added to God’s word.  In this post I will deal with the position that Eve did not sin by adding to God’s word but she was merely mistaken regarding what God said.

Let’s start with a question.  If Eve was mistaken, what caused her to be mistaken?  Let’s consider the options.

1.  Adam heard the command from God but he added to God’s word when he told the woman that God said “You (plural) shall not eat from it or touch it…”  Eve was mistaken because Adam lied to her.

Is this a viable option?

If it was Adam who added to God’s word, then it was Adam who sinned in this way in addition to eating the fruit.  If this is true, we can ask the very same questions as we did when we considered if the woman added to God’s word.  How can we charge Adam with this sin if there is no charge of adding to God’s words in the text?  Who is a witness against Adam?  Did God say anything about this sin to Adam?  No he didn’t but he should have reproved him if Adam was guilty.

Deuteronomy 12:32  “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.

Deuteronomy 4:2  “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Proverbs 30:6  Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.

Since there are no witnesses at all to convict Adam, without any evidence to indict Adam of adding to God’s words, and God himself said nothing about this “sin”, we must see Adam as innocent of this charge.

Let us look at the next option.

2.  Adam added his own command to his wife after God’s command.  Adam heard the command from God and gave the command to his wife exactly as it was given to him in Genesis 2.  However after giving her God’s command, he added his own command to his wife that she was not to touch the fruit and it was this command from Adam that the woman mistook as God’s command.

Is this a viable option?

If we are to believe God’s word exactly as it is written, this option is also not viable.  Why not?  It is because the inspired words are a double plural “you”.  The inspired text from the Hebrew says “not you (plural) shall eat from it and not you (plural) shall touch it…”  See the literal Hebrew words and grammar here.   If the inspired words are both the plural “you”, then they cannot be a mix of what God said (“you” plural) and what Adam would have said to his wife (singular “you”).  If Adam had added his own command it would either be you (singular) or we (plural).  It would not be the plural word “you”.  For those of us who believe that God’s word is inspired without error with inspired words and inspired grammar, this option does not appear at all to be a viable option.

Let’s look at the next options.

3.  The woman was mistaken because she was hard of hearing.

This option is nothing more than speculation since the woman was created as a completely whole person with all of her faculties in place.

4.  The woman was mistaken because she had a memory problem.

Again this option is speculative and since the woman’s brain did not have mental deterioration and she was created as a completely whole person with all of her faculties in place, we can reject this one as well.

5.  The woman was mistaken because she was childlike and couldn’t get a simple command correct.

This option would refute the fact that God created the woman as a “helper” for the man.  God himself is often called a “helper” in scripture and it is a word of strength describing a person who brings aid to one who is in need of the aid.  If she was the one who provided aid to meet Adam’s need, she couldn’t have been a drainer – one who by her very nature needed to be constantly supervised so she wouldn’t mess things up.

None of these options fits the biblical text.  What can we conclude?  We must conclude that to say that Eve was mistaken about what God said is a view that is without any solid biblical support.

Is there a much better option?  Why don’t we just believe the woman’s testimony?  Let’s think this one through a little more.

In Genesis 1:29 we know that God spoke to both Adam and Eve about what they had permission to eat.  The Hebrew has God speaking to “them” in verse 28 and God used the plural word “you” in verse 29.  See the Hebrew grammar here.  If God did not give Adam the charge or obligation to instruct Eve on what she had permission to eat, why would we think that God would withhold his own personal witness to Eve about what she was forbidden to eat?  We already know from Genesis 1:29 that the prohibition is incorporated into the permission to eat.  See more about this topic here.

We have no direct witness in scripture saying “And God said to Eve…” but we know for sure that the woman knew about the prohibition because she defended God when the serpent charged God with withholding his best from them. At that time the woman said they were forbidden to eat from one particular tree in the middle of the garden.  There were two trees in the middle of the garden but only one tree had fruit that was forbidden for them to touch.

If God cared enough about the woman to give her personal instructions about testing the fruit to know what she could and couldn’t eat, then why would we assume that it was Adam who told the woman about the prohibition?  Where do we have any words of instruction quoted in scripture that Adam gave to his wife?  We have not one word of instruction from Adam to his wife.  However we do have personal instruction from God to the woman.

Here we are once again at the bottom line.  It always boils down to what we are going to do with the woman’s testimony.  She said “God said…”  Who caused us to mistrust her testimony?  Is there anything in scripture that would tell us that she lied or that she was mistaken?  Or have we fallen prey to our world’s tradition that automatically distrusts a woman’s testimony and calls it into question?

For those of you who are yet unconvinced, let me ask you to explain to me how the woman came to be mistaken?  There must be a logical and scriptural option for the mistake of the woman or else we have nothing else but mere speculation and innuendo against the woman.

If we are going to be  God’s people of faith, we must walk in the direction of allowing women to testify about God.  God has already said that in the last days he will fill both male and female with his Spirit.

Joel 2:28  “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.
Joel 2:29  “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

If God has filled his female “sons” with his Holy Spirit just as he has filled his male “sons”, then let us also release women with our blessing to testify about what “God said…” and let us as the body of Christ believe their testimony.

The silence of Adam was it a sin?

The silence of Adam was it a sin?

In our continuing discussion about the fall of man, we have seen that there are no witnesses and no charge of sin against Eve for adding to God’s word.  Therefore we must conclude without any charge of sin, that the woman did not add to God’s word.  Can the same be said about Adam regarding his charge to guard the garden?  Is there also no witness to Adam’s “sin”? Let’s have a look at the scriptural account.

In Genesis 2:15 we find out why God put Adam in the garden in the first place.  Remember that man was made outside the garden and then brought into the newly planted Garden of Eden to cultivate it and guard it.  The Hebrew word “shamar” means to guard or to protect.  Obviously if a garden needs to be guarded and God set forth a watchman over the garden, there was a need for protection.  Let’s move on to God’s interaction with Adam to see what we can learn from God’s words.

Genesis 3:9  Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

In the Hebrew it clearly shows that the LORD God is calling out to the singular man not to both Adam and Eve.  Here we can see God calling out to the watchman.  What is God’s appointed watchman doing?  The watchman is hiding.  Will this watchman be called to account?

Genesis 3:17  Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.

God says two things to Adam.  He says “Because you have listened….”  “and have eaten”.  There are two things that Adam is being called to account for.  The first thing is that Adam listened to his wife’s voice.  When did Adam listen to his wife’s voice?  The only recorded mention of Eve’s speaking is when she was speaking to the serpent.

The watchman is required to guard from the enemy and to protect the innocent.  God also made Ezekiel a watchman to Israel.

Ezekiel 3:17  “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me.

A watchman is required to warn.  When one warns about sin, this provides protection to both the innocent and the sinner.  In my first article about the unfaithful watchman I showed how a watchman was to warn the wicked about their sin.  Yet there is another job of the watchman and that is to protect the innocent from falling into sin.

Ezekiel 3:20  “Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand.
Ezekiel 3:21  “However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself.”

The righteous person is to be warned so that they do not fall into sin.  However we find that Adam did not confront the serpent about his sin and he did not warn the woman about the trap that was being set before her.  He was silent.  Now think about this.  If a city is vulnerable to attack and they set a watchman to sound the warning so that they can defend themselves when the enemy arrives, what is a watchman to be charged with who is silent when he sees the enemy approach?  That watchman is to be charged with treason.

Treason is the betrayal of a trust or confidence, a breach of faith; treachery.  This is exactly what God said about Adam’s actions.  In Hosea 6:7 God says that Adam acted treacherously.

It is an act of treason to say nothing and let the plunderer in to plunder and take captive.  Adam listened to the voice of his wife as she was taken captive.  He committed treason as he did not give out God’s words and he did not warn of danger.

God said “Because you listened….”  There is no other sin that comes from listening alone other than treason.  Treason is the sin of saying nothing when you have been appointed as a watchman who is required to sound the warning.

Ezekiel 33:1  And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Ezekiel 33:2  “Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman,
Ezekiel 33:3  and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people,
Ezekiel 33:4  then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head.
Ezekiel 33:5  ‘He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life.
Ezekiel33:6  ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’
Ezekiel 33:7  “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me.

God, the righteous judge, has charged Adam with treason.  A watchman who is silent when the enemy comes in like a lion has committed treason and he has allowed the innocent to be taken captive.  God said “because you listened…”  The charge is clear that listening without action is an act of treason. Treason is one of the reasons why sin entered the world through Adam and why the earth was cursed on his behalf and not on behalf of the woman.

God judges all of his watchmen the same.  There is one standard because God is a God who is not a respecter of persons.  Was God required to judge Adam as a God-appointed watchman?  Absolutely!

The silence of Adam, was it a sin? Absolutely and God justly judged Adam’s silent treason.

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