1 Timothy 2:12 two prohibitions or one?

December 14, 2010

1 Timothy 2:12 two prohibitions or one? on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

In 1 Timothy 2:12 is there one prohibition or two?  Complementarians typically say that Paul is prohibiting two things (teaching and exercising authority over a man) while many egalitarians are taking the position that there is only one thing that Paul has prohibited.  The prohibition is listed as God is against women assuming authority for themselves to teach men.  This view has been brought out by Philip B. Payne in “Man and Woman One in Christ” pg 338.

I do not agree with complementarians that there are two entirely separate prohibitions that are not connected.  But I do not agree with Philip Payne either that there is only one prohibition and that this prohibition is to be defined as the forbidding of women to assume authority for themselves to teach men without a properly delegated authority from men.

I will be developing this post in the next few days as I have time, and I may add to it as the discussion continues.  The original discussion that promoted this post was from ongoing discussion here http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2010/08/10/1-timothy-215-going-deeper/ I will be shutting down the comments there as the posts tend to have problems when the comments reach a very high number and/or when the comments reach a certain length. At that time the comments  usually just disappear.  So while I get this article together, comments are open here to continue discussion and I will flesh out my own view in the next few days.

Thanks to Kristen for suggesting this topic as one for discussion and I trust that hashing out different views and finding holes and/or support for the different views will be very educational for us all.

Cheryl

Posts

286 responses to 1 Timothy 2:12 two prohibitions or one?

  1. I welcome both comps and egals to comment here on whether Paul is forbidding two things or one in 1 Timothy 2:12. Also it would be appropriate to discuss why Paul saw a need to single women out and if the prohibition is also applicable to men. Thanks! :)

  2. The prohibition is listed as God is against women assuming authority for themselves to teach men. This view has been brought out by Philip B. Payne in “Man and Woman One in Christ” pg 338.

    Since this is the point made by Payne then what’s his reason? I’ve not read the book. I wonder if in Payne’s view it is applicable to men also? If not then there must be a reason why it is not and why only women are singled out?

  3. Here is what I posted in the last thread, including a link to the essay by Payne about the nature of the word “oude,” which is what engendered this discussion:
    ***
    Cheryl, I’m sure you will agree that our English grammar construction and ancient Koine Greek grammar construction may not always be the same. I am relying on the scholarship of Phillip Payne, author of “Man and Woman, One in Christ,” for the statement that the Greek conjunction “oude” ties together the verbs “teach” and “authentein” as one, and that the placement of the object “man” after “authentein” prevents it from being an object of “teach” as well.
    Here is an essay by Payne that explains his position:
    http://www.pbpayne.com/wp-admin/Payne2008NTS-oude1Tim2_12.pdf

    As for the nature of my statements about Eve, they assume that Paul is saying something theologically similar to what he says about Adam in Romans 5:12, that just as all humans sin in Adam, so all women partake of the sin of Eve, and that to say Eve is “saved” is a metaphor saying that womankind is saved through the belief of women in Christ, just as humankind are saved from the sin of Adam through belief in Christ. To refer to Eve in a form of present tense would be metaphorical; Eve as a symbol of all women.

    I’m not saying anything against your reading; in fact, I’m inclined to support it. But you do know that people say something similar to what you just said about the Greek grammar having to mean that “teach” and “authentein” are to be read separately: that to use “a woman” with NO contextual indications that he is talking about one specific woman and not “a woman” as a general singular, is too hard to believe. When Paul said, “I know a man who was caught up to the third heaven,” the word “who,” followed by the specific story of what happened, makes it contextually clear that he’s talking about one man. But the “a woman” in 1 Tim 2 has no such contextual indications. Therefore, it’s hard for people to grasp– and when I present my argument that “she” may mean Eve, a lot of them are more willing to accept that, based on Paul’s similar treatment of Adam in Romans 5.

    To me, the point is not that we have to get comps to accept one particular egal reading, no matter how hard it is for them to do so. I’m happy if comps will seriously consider ANY possible egal reading. If from there, they move to the “one woman” reading you favor, that’s all well and good. Baby steps, baby steps. New wine only pours into old wineskin in drops, but sometimes Christians need a period of time of receiving drops in their old wineskins before they become willing to replace them with new wineskins to hold ALL the new wine.

  4. And here is the follow-up I made to that comment:
    ***
    Here is a quote from Payne’s essay that encapsulates what I’m saying:
    “Unless 1 Tim 2.12 is the one exception, none of Paul’s oujdev constructions selectively transfers only a qualifier from the second element to the first. Whenever Paul does use text following oujdev to qualify the element before oujdev, the entire construction
    expresses this by combining the two elements to express one idea.”

    With regards to the word “usurp” — based on your definition, that does seem to be the wrong word to use. Payne says the most likely sense is “assume a stance of independent authority” or “seize or assume authority for oneself.” This would relate specifically to men because it was towards the male teachers that this was being done.

    Finally, I have looked up 1 Tim 1:6-7 in the interlinear: did you know that the word Paul uses there is not “men,” but the word “tisine” (plural, “tines”) that is most often translated “some”? So we cannot read 1 Tim 1:6-7 as if it were about “men” in contrast to 1 Tim 2:11-15 being about “women” (or “a woman”). Some of these false teachers in 1 Tim 1 could have been the woman or women of 1 Tim 2, in which case, both passages would apply to them (or her). Or it could be that there were no male false teachers at all; that the word “some” in 1 Tim 1:6-7 refers to EXACTLY the same group as in 1 Tim 2. That these are not the same group as in 1 Tim 1:19-20 is clear, in that the “some” there have gone beyond confidently teaching when they don’t know what they’re talking about, but have actually “rejected faith and a good conscience.” In any case, the issue is not that the “some” in 1 Tim 1:6-7 can go ahead and “assume authority for themselves” while the women in 1 Tim 2:11-15 can’t– if they are the same group of people.

  5. BTW, I agree that authority in the Kingdom is based on the authority of Christ and His teachings, and on the inspired teachings of the apostles which later became the New Testament. “Authentein” is a word that is related to the word “authority,” and I think it does have something to do with authority. But I’m NOT saying (and I’m not sure Payne is saying) that “seizing authority” is the same as “assuming authority for themselves without a properly delegated authority from men.” Who properly delegates authority? God. In whose authority do teachers teach? In Christ’s. Men do not “delegate” authority. A congregation and its elders may acknowledge or recognize the giftedness of a person to teach, and that person may then be a “teacher” to teach God’s authoritative teachings. I think “teach-and-authentein” has something to do with overriding the acknowledged, recognized teaching gift of another and teaching as if you yourself had that acknowledged, recognized gift to be a “teacher.”
    I hope that clarifies my position. :)

  6. A possible interpretation of I Tim 2:15 is that in the first half “she” does refer to Eve, and in the second half “they” refers to all women. My understanding is that people of the OT era were saved by looking forward to Christ, and they did this partly by wanting to be the person who bore the Christ-child. Hence, “she shall be saved in childbearing,” which refers to the bearing and birth of Jesus. Eve appears to have been looking for Jesus when she anounced the birth of her sons. Genesis 4:1 she says “I have gotten a man from the Lord.” (This could also reflect that she didn’t know that her husband had anything to do with the procreation of her child, and it could indicate both.)

    If those in the Hebrews 11 faith chapter were saved by trusting in God and looking forward to Jesus, then all women of all time would also be saved the same way–through faith. Those before Christ by looking forward to His coming, and those after his birth, death and resurrection looking back and also looking to God in us via the Holy Spirit as well as looking forward to eternity with Christ. But since faith without works is dead, charity and holiness with sobriety are good descriptions of a genuine faith that brings forth works.

    In the case of Eve, because Jesus had not yet come to earth, died, and rose again, the “shall” is necessary. Hebrews 11:13 “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” In other words, although they had faith, they were not saved until Jesus did His atoning work on the cross and rose from the dead. v 16 testifies of their admittance to Heaven: “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”

    Notice Paul does NOT say that Adam was NOT in the transgression, which some would like to insinuate. Instead, he is saying that being temporarily deceived does not make you permanently damned. If you have genuine, works-producing faith in Jesus.

    In Susanna Krizo’s book “When Dogmas Die” she says a certain passage could have 2 meanings, (I don’t have time to look for page & text right now, but I did read that recently, and found that so fascinating I reread it.) since the Hebrews loved using words with double meanings. Although the NT is in Greek, Paul is a Hebrew, of the tribe of Benjamin if I recall correctly, and could well have used a double meaning. If so, the “she” for the deceived Eve, could also refer to the deceived woman.

    Could the authority word mean something like “deceptive authority?” The source I have does not give the date the letters to Timothy were written, but it does say the letter to the Ephesians was written about AD 63. (I later googled this and my info says I Tim was written AD 62-64. Not much help. I also found that many modern scholars believe Tim & Titus were not written by Paul at all, that they were written by someone much later. Here’s one reason: “For example, Norman Perrin analyzed the Greek used by the author or authors of the Pastoral Epistles, finding that over 1/3 of their vocabulary is not used anywhere else in the Pauline epistles; more than 1/5 is not used anywhere else in the New Testament, while 2/3 of the non-Pauline vocabulary are used by 2nd century Christian writers.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Epistle_to_Timothy. Me, WD, again: If this is so, it would help explain the use of “authentein,” a word that wasn’t used in other writing in Paul’s time.)

    If this is a genuine letter from Paul and the woman had heard or read the letter to the Ephesians and took from Ephesian 5:21-33 that more submission is required of husbands than is required of wives (the reverse of what comps claim today) she could also have been teaching that and insisting that her teaching had more legitimacy than the everyone-submit-to-one-another doctrine.

    If she was using Ephesians 5 as a reason why women have more authority then men do (similar, but opposite to how comps use the passage today) and using Paul’s letter to back up her statements (like many husbands and pastors do today) that would make sense with the reference to deception in I Timothy 2:14.

    Without the use of Paul’s letter (which we today call scripture) as a tool to deceive, because the woman could claim God-given authority from it, verse 14 is illogical. One could miscontrue Paul to be saying it is more important to silence someone because they are prone to be deceived than it is to silence someone who is prone to sinning on purpose. But if the woman is using unsound, twisted reasoning that sounded almost right to her listeners, and especially if she had something of authority like Paul’s own letter to apparently back her up, verse 14 makes perfect sense. Satan, through the serpent, used half truths or even quarter truths to deceive Eve.

    Notice how many centuries the church has believed that Ephesians 5 granted husbands authority over their wives, even though the passage never states that, nor has that in the application. If Paul & Timothy had not silenced the woman, our churches could be dealing with the problem of wives taking authority over their husbands and claiming God ordained it to be so.

    I realize this is speculation or hypothosis. I welcome comments to either support or discredit. For example, if the letter to the Ephesians was written after I Timothy, instead of before, the whole hypothosis falls apart.

  7. All the different interpretations of 1 Tim 2 only prove it is not a clear cut foundational doctrine to be used to shut up over half of all believers.

  8. Hi everyone,
    While we are on other possibilities, I was wondering if anyone has heard any more of Michael Green’s suggestion in “To Corinth With Love” that authentien had a sexual meaning. On p159-161 he says that the main background of the word in Euripides, Philodemus, Phrynicus, and Wisd 12:6 is erotic, and John Chrysostom understood it to mean “sexual licence”. He links this with Jezebel in Rev 2:20, cf.Num 25:1-3. He says that in Ephesus, where many sacred prostitutes were attached to the shrine of Diana, worshippers were taught that fornication brought them into close union with the deity (and both the Gnostics and the Nestorians used the authentien root to justify this). He makes the bold claim that virtually without exception women teachers in Greek society were courtesans, and made it evident that in the course of their lectures that they would be available afterwards.
    I haven’t heard anyone recently suggesting this as a meaning for it. I hear things like dominate, domineer, usurp authority, assume authority, exercise authority etc etc. Has the sexual meaning for it gone out of favor for some reason? Does anyone know anything about it?

  9. Craig,
    I’ve not heard of Michael Green’s suggestion. Though interesting, even if authentien had a sexual meaning there’s no way to get that meaning out of the passage itself. Unless I’m missing mounds of evidence? It’s like with Paul using the singular genericaly. Neither can be taken out of the passge itself. The possibilities outside the passage or text itself can be stacked up miles to the heavens, but they can’t tell us anything at all about what’s held within the passage itself. I’ve heard elsewhere or by someone else the suggestion that authentien had a sexual meaning, and I thought it was an interesting read at the time.

  10. Kristen,
    This catches my eye:

    As for the nature of my statements about Eve, they assume that Paul is saying something theologically similar to what he says about Adam in Romans 5:12, that just as all humans sin in Adam, so all women partake of the sin of Eve, and that to say Eve is “saved” is a metaphor saying that womankind is saved through the belief of women in Christ, just as humankind are saved from the sin of Adam through belief in Christ. To refer to Eve in a form of present tense would be metaphorical; Eve as a symbol of all women.

    I can see what your saying but how could one be absolutely sure that v14 is refering to Eve when Paul switched from proper name to a particular woman, “the woman”? My interests lies in what we can be sure of.

  11. I’ve more…

    As for the nature of my statements about Eve, they assume that Paul is saying something theologically similar to what he says about Adam in Romans 5:12, that just as all humans sin in Adam, so all women partake of the sin of Eve, and that to say Eve is “saved” is a metaphor saying that womankind is saved through the belief of women in Christ, just as humankind are saved from the sin of Adam through belief in Christ. To refer to Eve in a form of present tense would be metaphorical; Eve as a symbol of all women.

    So the first woman failed in that she was deceived by the serpent, yet womankind would be saved through the belief of women in Christ? This is confusing. All women partake in the sin of Eve? She was murdered. Jesus said that the devil was a murderer from the beginning. Adam though sinned willfully. I’m trying to add up what you’ve said here and push it around in my head…

  12. Ahh, what happened to my last comment? It should’ve been #11.

  13. In response to what I quoted of Kristen’s above. On of the things that crossed my mind was that Ecve was murdered whereas Adam sinned willfully. I don’t think Paul would set up Eve as an example who’s sin women partake of since she was a victim of the devil. it doesn’t add up. Jesus said that he was a murderer from the beginning and didn’t hold to the truth.

    Hopefully Cheryl can rescue my other small comment from space.

  14. Was it Eve’s nature as to why she sinned or Adam’s? Adam chose to sin willfully therefore once he did that it was a matter of him having a nature to rebel. Eve didn’t. So here again I cannot see women partaking in Eve’s sin. She didn’t sin out of a rebellios nature. Trying to make sense of this…

  15. Craig,
    Prof Catherine Kroeger has written about the possible sexual meaning of authentein.

    http://www.godswordtowomen.org/kroeger_ancient_heresies.htm

    But what can the term authentein imply in 1 Timothy 2:12? In his Commentary on I Timothy 5.6, St. John? Chrysostom uses autheritia to denote “sexual license.” If the word in this context refers to sexual behavior, it puts a quite different interpretation on the entire passage. For instance, if we were to translate the passage, “I forbid a woman to teach or discuss higher algebra with a man,” we would understand the prohibition to be directed against instruction in mathematics. Suppose it read, “I forbid a woman to teach or talk Japanese with a man.” Then we infer that the injunction applies to the teaching of language. “I forbid a woman to teach or dangle a man from a high wire” would presuppose that the instructor was an aerialist. “I forbid a woman to teach or engage in fertility practices with a man” would imply that the woman should not involve a man in the heretical kind of Christianity which taught licentious behavior as one of its doctrines. Such a female heretic did indeed “teach to fornicate” in the Thyatiran church mentioned in Revelation 2:20 (cf. 2:14f.; Num. 25:3; 31:15f.). Too often we underestimate the seriousness of this problem for the New Testament church. A passage in 2 Peter expresses concern not only for those drawn into this error but also for the illegitimate children which it produced:

  16. I agree with you, Kristen, that Paul is using Eve as a metaphor for “everywoman”. The consequences of the decision of Eve will be reversed. I also think THE CHILDBEARING is a metaphor used for the formation of Christ within- Paul uses the same metaphor in Gal 4:19.

    “and she {Eve/everywoman} shall be saved {from the consequences of her decision} through the child-bearing {formation of Christ ala Gal 4:19}, if THEY remain in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety.” YLT

    I wonder if the “THEY” above could be a married couple? In that case, the passage can be taken as a PROMISE for the marriage of ANY CHRISTIAN WOMAN- that she will be saved/restored/made whole in a reversal of the fall’s consequences (“he shall rule over you”) back to her status as a co-heir with Christ, back to her queenly, ruling position of the Garden-BESIDE Adam- rather than being the mistress/subordinate/underling to Adam’s “master-hood”. But this restoration to a “garden of eden” marriage would need the husband on board: Notice “if THEY continue in faithfulness…” (1 Tim 2:15)

  17. I don’t know if this will work, but hope you don’t mind my trying……

    This free digital slideshow personalized with Smilebox

  18. OK, sorry. it didn’t work. but you can go to

    http://betterexegesis.blogspot.com/

    and see it.. :)

  19. I can’t get it to show the slides for me TL. I tried to look. I think it’s this computer, it always was kinda slow, links don’t exactly work, and it just doesn’t seem to function that great.

    *computers figures*

  20. awww. I’m sorry. it probably is your computer, as it shows them fine on my computer at the website. :(

  21. Hi Charis,
    Thanks very much for finding that information for me and providing the link. Very interesting.

  22. Craig,

    I have some further thoughts about the connection of a sexual authenein with Eve. What if there is truth to the ancient understanding of Church Fathers that the “desire” of Genesis 3:16 has a sexual component ? Personally, this does not bother me a bit! If the beautiful Lucifer seduced Eve and she turned around and seduced Adam, it explains why Adam didn’t put up any resistance! While God commissioned them to “be fruitful and multiply” in the Genesis 1:26-28 dominion commission, there is nothing about the timing or frequency of the act involved, nor is there any mention of sex between them nor pregnancy until post-Fall.

    The following are a couple clips (from pages 24-25) of Priscilla Papers ? Vol. 2 3, No. 2 ? Spring 2009 “The Transformation of Deception: Understanding the Portrait of Eve in the Apocalypse of Abraham, Chapter 23″ by Megan K. DeFranza

    The difficulty, according to Anderson, begins when one moves from the Hebrew to the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint). The Greek word for “deceive” also allows the possible translation “to seduce.”35 Moving from Greek to Latin provided no improvement, for it is from the Latin Bible’s (the Vulgate’s) rendition, seducta, that the English finds its own root. Anderson writes:
    The Greek and Latin Bibles allow us to construe the verse as an act of sexual seduction. This fateful accident of overlapping semantic fields allowed for the creation of a far more pernicious picture of the deed Eve had wrought. Not only did she consume the forbidden fruit but she was seduced by the Evil Serpent and engendered the demonic figure of Cain.36
    Anderson goes on to document the pervasiveness of this version of Eve in the writings of early church fathers, and the religious art and literature of Western Christianity. Still, more was needed than a simple translation problem to allow for the idea of Eve’s seduction to be so easily received by Jews and Christians. Though the Greek word allows one to consider seduction, it is not used by any translation of the Old Testament to indicate sexual seduction.37 It is not until one encounters religious writings of the Hellenistic Era that the word is used within a sexual context.38

    What the article points out is the history of seeing Eve as not merely “deceived” but as “seduced” by Satan. The author claims:

    It is important to recognize that the Christian Scriptures reject the sexualization of Eve’s sin. Not only this, but biblical authors refuse to place more blame on Eve than on Adam. Second Corinthians 11:2–3 could be used to show that Paul may have been aware of the legend of Eve’s sexual sin, but Paul does not use it to disparage women. Instead, Eve’s sin is used as an exhortation for the whole church, women and men, to remain faithful to their spiritual husband, Jesus Christ.58 Paul also rejects the Jewish tradition that exalts Adam. For Paul, Adam is not the ideal human. This position is claimed by Christ alone (Rom. 5:12–21; 1 Cor. 15:45–49).59 Despite Paul’s rejection of the legend of Eve’s sexual sin, and his evenhandedness in blaming both Adam and Eve for original sin,60 the tendency to blame Eve more than Adam continued to be propagated in Christian and Jewish circles.61

    But if one looks at that text in 2 Cor 11:2-3 it looks more like Paul is acknowledging a sexual component of her deception.

    One consequence of the Fall which God prophecied over Eve is “your desire shall be for your husband”. This is in the immediate context of two mentions of pregnancy

    Unto the woman HE [God]said,
    I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception;
    in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children;
    and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. Gen 3:16

    Compare animals’ mating cycle to humans. For many animals, “mating” is seasonal and rare. God told her “I will increase your conception””you desire shall be for your husband”. Doesn’t that imply that she had a higher fertility level? Did her hormones change so that she now had monthly fertility? desire for mating even when she is not fertile? PMS? menopause? (DO animals have PMS?) …and the “he shall rule over you”. Does that sound like the male got a testosterone boost at the Fall?

  23. There are two problems with this view when comparing to the biblical text.

    If the beautiful Lucifer seduced Eve and she turned around and seduced Adam, it explains why Adam didn’t put up any resistance!

    If we take deception meaning the same as seduction as Paul said that Eve was deceived by the serpent, then we can also clearly understand that Adam was not seduced since Paul said that Adam was not deceived. The article quoted above shows that sexual seduction is not in the text, and the meaning of seduction has to be within the boundaries of deception.

    Also in the account of the fall deception came from the serpent alone. It was not Eve’s deception that Paul was afraid of but the serpent’s deception that deceived Eve. I have never seen a biblical proof text that Eve deceived Adam. Adam was not seduced or deceived into sin. He willingly partook of the fruit with his eyes wide open to the truth.

  24. When I first heard that the word “authentein” may have had sexual connotations I thought that egals were going too far. However the more I read early church Greek writings, the more I see that sexual promiscuity was a HUGE problem in the church. Especially in the churches that were surrounded by a culture where cultic prostitution was a normal part of life.

    “Licentious doctrines continued to vex the church for several centuries, to the dismay of the church fathers. Clement of Alexandria wrote a detailed refutation of the various groups who endorsed fornication as accepted Christian behavior. He complained of those who had turned love-feasts into sex orgies, of those who taught women to ‘give to every man that asketh of thee’, and of those who found in physical intercourse a ‘mystical communion’. He branded one such lewd group authentai (the plural of authentes).” (Kroeger 1979)

    Also, the conjunction “oude” invariably links words conveying a similar idea to form a single concept. This is very plain when reading the NT.

  25. Here’s wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a fantabulous New Year! Godspeed and may Providence keep you safe!

  26. Thank you Greg and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you as well. Also to all the blog followers we wish you a very blessed and joyous time with your families.

  27. Prayers for a truly joyful Christmas for everyone from “down under” as well. (Interesting that my anti-spam word was “under”!) :)

  28. Merry Christmas from me too, another Aussie “down under”.
    So just how many Aussies are regular readers and posters here?
    :)

  29. Hi Marg,
    I’m from Hurstville in Sydney. I know Dave is from Ryde in Sydney and Mark the comp is also from Sydney. I didn’t realize you are also from Australia- whereabouts are you?

  30. Hi Craig,
    I’m on the Central Coast (NSW), but born and bred in Sydney suburbs. :)

  31. Hi Marg,
    Great to “meet” another Aussie here. It is indeed a joy to be able to encourage and be encouraged by others from all around the world and also from other parts of Australia. God is very good to us :) .

  32. Cheryl, where is your post where you quote some statements by Ware claiming that believers should not pray to Jesus but to the Father.

  33. Hi TL,
    I know that Cheryl has quotes from tapes of Bruce Ware in the Trinity DVD’s. Bruce says on these that we should pray to the Father and not to Jesus.

  34. Craig & TL,
    Here is an excerpt from Ware’s book “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance ” The link opens to pg18 were he is discussing prayer “to the Father through the Son.”

    http://books.google.com/books?id=rdIRUqeFZ3AC&pg=PA18&lpg=PA18&dq=Bruce+Ware+teaches+pray+to+Father+not+Jesus&source=bl&ots=2hGU29Cu38&sig=hZB5RvoPxuRuFK9bj0yL7YJfFfU&hl=en&ei=96AiTcaHGYqr8Aaa5fn5DQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CBMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

  35. Hi TL,

    Sorry for still being so slow. I am out of the country right now on a late trip with ministry work that we just finished during the Christmas break. Our ministry partner had a brain aneurysm burst recently so things have been topsy turvy here and not relaxing as I had hoped. She survived, thank God.

    There are live quotes here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLe-qF2nptA on the preview for the Trinity DVD. Also on my blog I quote from his book here http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2007/12/21/jesus-unequal-in-prayer/

    I hope this helps!

    I do intend to get back to this post this week if I can carve out some quiet time to get the post written. I did not even get Christmas off as we worked to get our latest magazine out. There were lots of glitches and reformatting needed which caused a whole lot of extra work when I thought I could rest. I am praying that the Lord will give me times of quietness and rest this year so that I don’t have to live with constant stress which is really hard on the body.

    I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and New Year and that you are refreshed and ready for a new year.

  36. thank you all very much. When I get a chance today I’ll need to compose a response for the Sola Panel regarding something I said about Ware. It’s regarding the ninth post on compism and egalism.

    http://solapanel.org/article/complementarianism_and_egalitarianism_part_9/

  37. We’ve missed you Cheryl. But I certainly understand about needing quietness in one’s soul. Praying for God to refresh your spirit. :)

  38. I’m having such a blessed time right now. I just wanted to come in and say *hi* to everyone! Hi ya’ll, miss you guys! It’s been quite here. And hope you’re resting up Cheryl! :)
    Blessings everyone!

  39. Hi everyone,

    I have heard some comps say that Paul in 1 Tim 2:13 is using the understanding of primogeniture to say that Adam had authority over Eve because he was created first. They say that people in the first century would have understood this argument.
    Comps agree that primogeniture is culturally based and not a universal principle. Comps don’t practise primogeniture today. So these comps must believe that Paul is saying that a universal principle (v11,12) is based on a cultural argument (v13).
    Questions
    1.I can think of examples where we should do a cultural thing because of a universal principle. I can think of examples where we should do a cultural thing because of a cultural reason. But I cannot think of any universal thing I should do because of a cultural reason. Can anyone else? Does this sound like a reasonable question to ask a comp, or am I missing something?
    2.Wasn’t primogeniture to do with the first born male in the family, and not really to do with males and females? So would Timothy have really thought of primogeniture relating to Adam and Eve?
    Thanks.

  40. ”2.Wasn’t primogeniture to do with the first born male in the family, and not really to do with males and females? So would Timothy have really thought of primogeniture relating to Adam and Eve?”

    This is true. Also, God did not practice preference of the firstborn.

    1. Cain and Able. God preferred Able because of his good heart.
    2. I don’t think Abraham was a firstborn
    3. Ishmael and Isaac, God choose Isaac before Ishmael was born
    4. Esau and Jacob, God choose Jacob in prophecy at his birth
    5. Of Jacobs children, Reuben was firstborn, but God choose Joseph and Judah.

    And so forth. In God’s economy it’s not about who is born first at all. It’s about who has godly character and is able to formed into the person that God can use.

    The only reason that comps get away with promoting that idea is because so many Christians don’t read the Bible.

  41. Craig,
    I like the way you present your arguments. And I agree with TL – it’s “smoke and mirrors.”

    It reminds me of the discussion we had here with a comp regarding Cheryl’s article “Husband as Priest of the Home.”

    Comp – “Distinguish between principle and practice in your hermeneutics and you will see again that in 1 Cor 11 there is a principle that is rooted in creation (the husband/man is the head of the wife/woman shown through the creational order) and then there is a cultural practice to implement this teaching (head covering).”

    Egal – “Then how can the practice ever be UNimplemented since its very root is Creation? Has Creation changed? No? Then it must be permenantly valid.”

    Comp – “It’s the principle that doesn’t change, not the practice. The practice will change from culture to culture. The priciple in both texts is one of male leadership whether that is in the marriage or in the church. Paul supports both arguments for this from the creation account. The practice at the time in 1 Cor 11 was a head covering for a woman. This practice will change from culture to culture.”

    Egal – “It would be very helpful to me if you could explain, step by step, the process you follow that reveals a distinction between them due to some component of the Creation account?
    Because from where I’m standing, it appears that you are basing this doctrine on some un-named thing in the Creation account that allows you to see a difference between:
    a.) head covering rooted in the Creation
    and
    b.) teaching and authenteining rooted in the Creation
    – whereby one is rendered temporary and one is rendered permanent.
    What is *it* in the Creation account that you are basing this upon?”

    As you can see, many comps don’t even recognize the problem.

  42. Craig,
    You said:

    I have heard some comps say that Paul in 1 Tim 2:13 is using the understanding of primogeniture to say that Adam had authority over Eve because he was created first. They say that people in the first century would have understood this argument.

    This is easy to say but impossible to prove biblically as no husband or wife was given rule over the other because of their age. My goodness what would happen if a wife was older than her husband?

    It is true that in the culture primogeniture was only about first born males, but the basic outworking was about inheritance, not about “rule”. Adam was not Eve’s sibling so where would the connection have come from without any biblical example? It appears to be another case of reading one’s view into the text.

    But I cannot think of any universal thing I should do because of a cultural reason. Can anyone else? Does this sound like a reasonable question to ask a comp, or am I missing something?

    Your question sounds reasonable to me.

  43. TL,

    Good point about God’s choice not always connected to the first born.

    Elaine,
    The “conversation” you quoted makes my head spin as I remember the trips around the bush with comps who were more interested in holding onto a view that was comfortable to them rather than seriously considering the holes in their view.

    pinklight,
    Yes it has been quiet here. My life has been very complicated for some time and it has been hard for me to slow down to write. When our ministry partner had an aneurysm in her brain on December 30th, I didn’t right away see the amount of work that would be added to my plate. She is not capable right now of writing the regular quarterly newsletter so that is now an added pressure. When the stress lessens enough for my mind to get working again, I will be back. I hope it is sooner than later. 😉

  44. Thanks TL, Elaine, and Cheryl for your helpful thoughts.

  45. The irony about the comp claim that Genesis shows firstborn preference, is that in the whole book of Genesis not one first born was preferred by God over the second born.

    So a question one might ask is, where DID the concept of firstborn preference arise from. I suspect they were looking for the Savior. And it arose from there to give special attention to the firstborn male just in case he might be ‘the one’. After all they did not know exactly how God was going to do this.

    Cheryl,
    I hope your partner recooperates completely and is whole again soon. In the meantime perhaps God might find you some help. :)

  46. Good thoughts TL. Thanks.
    Some comps relate 1 Tim 2:13 to primogeniture, but other comps seem to see the problems with this view. These other comps are big on the creation order idea but don’t relate it to primogeniture. They don’t seem to have any reason for thinking that being created first gives one authority, apart from “God says it does, in 1 Tim 2:13″. They see the fall related to the reversal of the creation order. Has anyone got any thoughts on this sort of view or brief summary of its main problems? Thanks.

  47. “They don’t seem to have any reason for thinking that being created first gives one authority, apart from “God says it does, in 1 Tim 2:13?. “

    Well, Paul does not say that God says it does. Paul says the he, Paul, is not now permitting something. This is not how God institutes a divine new (NEW, not used before, never before stated anywhere in the OT) law.

    “They see the fall related to the reversal of the creation order. “

    I don’t understand this. If they believe that God made the male to rule over the female in the ‘creation order’, then a reversal would be God making the female to rule over the male. If they don’t believe that there was any ruling over one another in the creation order, then a reversal would be both trying to rule over the other, which might make more sense. However, that does nothing for their case as it does not institute a male over female order. In reality, there is no rule in the OT for men to rule over women. There is only the law of ungodly desires for the powerful to control the weaker.

  48. “They see the fall related to the reversal of the creation order. “

    oh, they may mean to think that the sin was not eating of the fruit but the woman not deferring to the man. Problem with all that is that God didn’t tell them that she should do that. Thus, not deferring would not be a sin. Only the eating of the fruit was sin.

  49. Thanks TL.
    I remember several of us discussing this issue of creation order and the fall with Jereth on the Sola Panel.
    “Creation order” also seems such a big thing to people in the church I belong to.
    If I ask them why being created first gives someone authority, some will discuss primogeniture. But after discussing primogeniture some will admit it is not a strong argument.
    But they still believe creation order by itself is a strong argument, based on their understanding of 1 Tim 2:13.
    It seems to me that their only case is their assumed understanding of 1 Tim 2:13 and then reading this back into Gen 1-3.
    But I wonder why comps think Paul would have thought that first created = authority over second created, if he wasn’t thinking of primogeniture. I can’t think of any other reason. I haven’t received a reasonable reply yet, apart from “it just seems logical”. Does anyone know of any other comp answers to this?

  50. Just excuse me for a bit while I think aloud and answer my own question. I think I remember Jereth saying at one point that he believed that what went on in the verses between the creation of Adam and Eve showed Adam’s authority, and this is why Paul appeals to Adam being created first in 1 Tim 2:13. Jereth also didn’t put much weight on the primogeniture argument, so this may be how he puts it together in his mind. I may not agree with this, because I don’t see any evidence of authority being given to Adam here over Eve, but at least I can understand this explanation.
    It seems a bit similar but different to the egal approach, of seeing that what went on between Adam and Eve’s creation explaining why Eve was deceived and Adam wasn’t.
    So I guess I just need to discuss more with my comp friends whether the issue in 1 Tim 2 is authority or deception.

  51. I recollect that Jareth thought that Adam’s naming of the animals showed he had authority, and since Eve didn’t name the animals then she didn’t have that authority. And somehow this all translated into Adam having authority over Eve (as if she were one of the animals), which gave him the right to name her. A bit confusing thinking. But these guys want authority so much they will grasp at anything and cling to it with gusto.

  52. The naming=authority argument fails on many fronts.

    Adam (and Eve) already had authority over the animals per Genesis 1, so there was no need for God to invent some act to establish authority. Therefore, the naming must have had some other purpose, which of course, it did as scripture clearly shows – it was designed to illustrate to Adam how none of the other animals could meet his need for human companionship.

    Adam’s “naming” of Eve shows how effective God’s chore for him was, as Adam rejoices in having his need met with one of his kind – “woman”. Adam really did not name Eve per se, but instead showed how Eve contrasted the animals in relation to his aloneness, which was the whole point of the naming exercise in the first place.

    Besides, Adam didn’t “name” the animals (or Eve) at all, he categorized them. So appeals to parental or other authoritarian naming conventions are meaningless.

    Those naming conventions themselves, like primogeniture mentioned above, are cultural in nature and have no basis in scripture.

    And those naming conventions are not limited to males, so the whole argument that it demonstrates male authority over female is lost. Even Eve named some of her children. And no husband in the entirety of scripture ever named his wife (that I am aware of). So even the cultural argument fails when considered either on gender or inter-relational grounds.

  53. Hi Gengwall,
    Great to see you back again! When you were last here, I think your daughter’s wedding was approaching. I hope everything went well.

  54. Hi Gengwall,

    Besides, Adam didn’t “name” the animals (or Eve) at all, he categorized them.

    Just wanted to check what you meant by this. Thanks.

  55. I know what Gengwall meant.

    He didn’t name one of the lions, Rex and one of the cheetahs, Flash. He gave a name or catagory for all of their kind.

  56. Thanks Craig – yes all went well with the wedding.

    To “name” someone or something in the cultural context where authority is somehow attached to the naming act is to give a proper, individual name. Adam did do this when he named Eve “chue” in Genesis 3. (Side note – Cheryl and others will undoubtedly point out that this was after the fall and therefore Adam’s first act of sinful authoritarian “rule”). This, of course, is what we do when we name our children or our pets or our cars. (Am I the only one?)

    That is not the activity that Adam carried out in Geneis 2. In that chapter, Adam catagorized the animals by type. He didn’t call an individual tiger “Bob”, he called all of that species “Tiger”. In other words, he gave a “name” (or really, description) to each type, not each individual.

    That is a different kind of naming than the kind appealed to by naming=authority advocates. Therefore, the cultural naming=authority argument is irrelevant to Genesis 2.

  57. AND BTW the man named pairs as they all came in pairs. This shows that he was giving species names, not individual names. In the same way God named the species of human or mankind or humanity (whichever you like) adham. It shows this in Gen. 5.

    2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind”[adham] when they were created.

  58. It should be pointed out that even the naming=authority argument has many flaws. Naming someone does not establish, express, or validate any authority that doesn’t already exist. Nor is the presence of an authoritarian hierarchy necessary to give a name. While naming as an act and authority as a position may both be present in a relationship, as in parents naming their children, such coexistence does not prove any correlation. Naming our children doesn’t establish our authority over them. In fact, the act of naming is not an authoritative act at all. It is an act of love.

  59. It was also God that named human gender ish and ishah. God did this when He presented the ishah to the human. He did not present an ‘it’ and wait for the human to call her an ishah. God presented her to the man as an ishah

  60. I am not sure that in most comps’ minds that the naming of a species or category rather than an individual would be any less of an indication to them of authority. For example, they would say that Adam could name tigers because he had authority over tigers.
    This argument

    Naming someone does not establish, express, or validate any authority that doesn’t already exist. Nor is the presence of an authoritarian hierarchy necessary to give a name.

    seems a stronger argument to me. Thus Hagar could give God a name later on in Genesis.
    If this is true, then Adam naming Eve after the fall wouldn’t have necessarily shown his post-fall rulership either.

  61. I would agree that those two points are the clinchers. It doesn’t hurt though to have an abundance of reasons why their thesis is in error.

  62. Nebuchadnezzar changed the names of his POWs – Daniel and his companions. Was it “right” for Nebuchadnezzar to do this? Just some food for thought about naming – it has more than one purpose.

  63. “For example, they would say that Adam could name tigers because he had authority over tigers.”

    Two thoughts on that. First, Eve had equal authority over the animals with Adam according to Genesis 1. So if Eve was just as authorized to name them as Adam, what possible correlation to authority could Adam’s naming of her have? It couldn’t possibly be an extension of that naming authority because he and Eve were peers in that regard.

    But was the Genesis 2 naming an act of authority at all? I don’t know how one can come to that conclusion based on the text. God did not bring the animals to Adam because there was some crisis of authority that need to be resolved. He brought the animals to Adam only because Adam was alone and that was not good. Adam needed to find his ‘ezer neged. Genesis 2:18-20 clearly show that Adam’s naming of the animals was an act of DISCOVERY, not authority.

  64. Eve had equal authority over the animals with Adam according to Genesis 1. So if Eve was just as authorized to name them as Adam, what possible correlation to authority could Adam’s naming of her have?

    I am not sure I properly follow you here Gengwall. I think comps would argue (without any reason from Gen 1) that although Eve did have authority over the animals, it was not “equal authority” with Adam. Adam still had authority over Eve. So in their minds, Adam naming the animals and Eve shows his authority over both.

    But was the Genesis 2 naming an act of authority at all? I don’t know how one can come to that conclusion based on the text. God did not bring the animals to Adam because there was some crisis of authority that need to be resolved. He brought the animals to Adam only because Adam was alone and that was not good. Adam needed to find his ‘ezer neged. Genesis 2:18-20 clearly show that Adam’s naming of the animals was an act of DISCOVERY, not authority.

    Thanks for this Gengwall. Very well expressed.

  65. Didn’t Adam name the animals before Eve was taken from his side? So they were already categorized by the time she came on the scene–unless all her mental faculties and senses were already operating before she was taken out of the man, and she had some kind of mental telepathy input in the process of naming them.

  66. Didn’t Adam name the animals before Eve was taken from his side? So they were already categorized by the time she came on the scene

    Ummm……. Yes….. but I’m sorry Waneta, I’m not quite sure of the point you are making. My brain is sometimes a bit slow off the mark :)

  67. “I am not sure I properly follow you here Gengwall. I think comps would argue (without any reason from Gen 1) that although Eve did have authority over the animals, it was not “equal authority” with Adam.”

    They, of course, can argue anything they want. But their argument has no substantiation in Scripture. Genesis 1 clearly states:

    Gen 1:26-28
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
    So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
    And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

    There is no hierarchy of authority in there no matter how you read it. So any argument that Adam had more authority over the animals than Eve is a complete fantasy.

  68. I think I see what you are saying, though, Craig. A comp will ignore Genesis 1 if it is convenient. But even in Genesis 2, God says nothing about authority. It is an argument pulled out of thin air. For that argument to be true, all men for all time would have more authority over the animals, specifically in the act of naming, than any woman. Even in absence of Genesis 1 (which clearly rebuts such an assertion), that simply isn’t reality, either in the bible or in practical living, in any culture at any time any where.

  69. Oh yes – and I forgot the other simple point. Eve was not one of the animals, so even if the comp position were true about naming authority over animals it would be irrelevant in regards to Eve. Which brings us back to the act itself. For the comp position to be true, categorical naming must universally be an authoritarian act. Let the comp spin his wheels on that proof for a while.

  70. I am just reading “Slaves, Women and Homosexuals at the moment. It was recommended in a recent discussion about hermeneutics at Sola Panel. Has anyone read this?
    He seems to make some very good points, but he does have an unusual egal view in some respects. For example, he seems to largely agree with comps on their “exegesis” of Genesis 1-2, 1 Tim 2, Eph 5, 1 Pet 3 etc but then uses hermeneutics to explain patriarchy as cultural and arrives at an egal application for today in our culture. Does anyone have any comments about this sort of approach? It seems quite different to other approaches like Philip Payne’s “Man and Woman, One in Christ.”

  71. Craig,

    “I think comps would argue (without any reason from Gen 1) that although Eve did have authority over the animals, it was not “equal authority” with Adam. Adam still had authority over Eve. So in their minds, Adam naming the animals and Eve shows his authority over both.”

    Sorry for not making my comment clear.
    I was simply adding that comps could claim (and probably do) that since Adam named the animals before Eve came on the scene, that he was the one with authority, that even if she also had authority when she arrived, that she never used it to name the animals because Adam had already completed the job. However, they don’t see Eve’s late arrival as the reason for Eve’s not naming them; they see it as a male-authority principle. I guess they think/assume if she had the same authority that Adam did, that God would have made sure she was there in time to name the animals with him. Therefore, (since Eve didn’t name the animals) it appears they assume that Genesis indicates only Adam had the authority to name animals, and even his wife.

  72. Hi Waneta,
    Thanks for clarifying. Comps I have spoken with seem to think God gave Adam authority over the animals, expressed by his naming them. They also think God gave Adam authority over Eve, expressed by him naming her. They see Eve’s role as a helper in the tasks Adam was given, still with authority over the animals but under Adam’s authority. They think Eve would have had the authority to help Adam with the naming of the animals if she had been around at the time.
    It is all very strained and seems to me to be an attempt to try and read the passage to find hierarchy rather than seeing what the text actually says, particularly in light of Gen 1:26-28.
    As Gengwall says “For the comp position to be true, categorical naming or naming someone must be proven to be an act of authority.” I haven’t seen any proof of this yet. I have only heard it stated.

  73. That’s right Craig. That is the position comps take. The problem with that position is it entirely dismisses the eqaulity in Genesis 1 and it misses (or ignores) the whole reason Adam needed a “helper”. That position proposes that Adam needed someone to help him with “tasks Adam was given”. But that isn’t at all what Genesi 2:26 says. According to God, there was onloy one thing wrong in the garden that Adam needed any “help” with. It wasn’t the housekeeping or mowing the lawn or tending the garden or any other activities of daily living that comps seem to attach to the “helper” role. In fact, the only thing Adam needed help with was his aloneness. Eve wasn’t created to help Adam with chores or even to help him with ruling the animals. She was created to make Adam whole, to complete him, to be his soul mate. Once that is understood, the naming of the animals takes on a whole new light. It wasn’t a task associated with Adam’s rule, it was a task associated with Adam’s need for companionship. In that context, hierarchies and authority relationships are not even on the radar.

  74. I haven’t read the book you reference but I am familiar with the argument, especially regarding 1 Timothy 2. In fact, before reading Cheryl’s blog which motivated me to really look at the passage in the original language, I basically took this position. It is the “it’s only situational” approach. The reply to comps is, “you can’t make any universal proclamations about men and women based on situational or cultural passages”. The problem is two fold. First, we had better be able to make universal proclamations based on situational or cultural biblical passages, or nothing in the bible matters. Second, the situational argument is basically a status quo argument. It give nothing but also takes nothing. I changes no minds and doesn’t move the discussion forward. So it is basically a cop out IMO.

  75. Thanks again for your comments @73 Gengwall. I think what you have said is very true and helpful.
    Regarding #74 the author William Webb seeks to give us various criteria on which to judge whether an issue in the bible is cultural or transcultural. He deals not only with the issues of slavery, patriarchy and homosexuality but also with such things as primogeniture, foot washing, head coverings, monarchy, righthandedness, long hair, meat offered to idols, holy kiss, vegetarianism, sabbath etc.
    He believes slavery and patriarchy are cultural, while the bible’s opposition to the practice of homosexuality is transcultural. (I hope that doesn’t spoil the excitement for those who haven’t yet read the book :) )
    You said “First, we had better be able to make universal proclamations based on situational or cultural biblical passages, or nothing in the bible matters”.
    I think he would say that there are underlying principles to the situational commands and that these universal principles matter and are relevant to us today.
    CBMW have many reviews and comments about the book so they apparently thought it was an important book to refute. I haven’t read these reviews yet.
    So far, I think he is making some interesting points, but his hermeneutical approach for some passages doesn’t seem necessary to me because the bible isn’t really saying what he thinks it is saying. For example, he sees the possibility of patriarchy in Gen 1-2, and he thinks 1 Tim 2 says that women in general are more easily deceived than men. So he then has to explain why these things were thought then but are not universal things for today.

  76. “For example, he…thinks 1 Tim 2 says that women in general are more easily deceived than men.”

    Wow – I had hoped at this stage in our development we had gotten past this notion. I’m curious how he handles 1 Tim 1:13 where Paul basically says that he was deceived prior to his conversion. Does he provide any biblical (or even biological) evidence that women are more easily deceived, or does the entire house of cards stand on the account of Eve?

  77. For an egal, he is actually more comp in his exegesis than the comps are!
    He believes the current brand of comps like CBMW have departed from the true historical understanding of 1 Tim 2:14 without any good reason. He agrees with Kostenberger and Schreiner’s understanding of 1 Tim 2:9-15 except for v14 where he thinks they have watered down the traditional understanding to accommodate our present understanding that women are not more easily deceived than men.
    Webb does not believe that women are more easily deceived today, but that they were in biblical times due to lack of education, social exposure, age when they got married etc. So he maintains a traditional exegesis but ends up with an egal application. He believes a current application of the text would be to choose leaders (whether male or female) who are not easily deceived.

  78. I guess what I am wondering is that when something is wrong, it is often wrong from a number of angles. So if compism is wrong it may be wrong from several angles.
    On Cheryl’s site, we generally seem to be saying that when understood correctly, bible passages are not teaching compism, so we debate with comps about what the bible meant in its original setting.
    William Webb seems to offer a different approach. I am not sure if he is correct or not yet. If he is correct, then even if we agreed with comps about the meaning of passages in their original setting, then comps are still wrong in the way they apply them. He offers what he considers to be valid hermeneutical principles to show that patriarchy (even if it was taught in the bible) is a cultural, rather than a trans- cultural practice on a par with slavery.

  79. Well, I would agree with him about patriarchy. It is a cultural phenomenon that is exposed in biblical history but not supported at all in biblical teaching. But I don’t agree about 1 Tim 2 and I can;t find any support for patriarchy in the garden. That seems like quite a stretch.

    Back to 1 Tim 2. I still view that as a cop out. We need not be afraid of the text, especially if it is trying to teach us something. 1 Timothy 2 is not biblical history, it is biblical teaching. As such, it is trans-cultural. But for that very reason, because there are cultural elements at play in the context, we need to dig deep to understand the trans-cultural lesson. When one studies the lanuage really close, as Cheryl has done here, it becomes clear (at least it did to me) that what Paul is telling Timothy is not what comps say Paul is telling Timothy. Webb seems to accept the comp view but explain it away as irrelevant to the here and now. But the comp view simply does not fit the text. So accepting the comp view is accepting a lie. And explaining away the comp view as cultural is rendering the teaching meaningless. So I find Webb’s approach not only unhelpful to the egal cause, but unhelpful to the growth of the entire church.

  80. I’d like to pursue this line of mushy egal thinking but first I want to make sure I have it right. If I understand correctly, in 1 Tim 2, Webb is arguing that the culture believed women were more easily deceived. Although we no longer support that thinking in a general sense in modern culture, there are some comps who still believe the same thing about women and use 1 Tim 2 as a trans-cultural proof. So in essense, Webb is accepting that comp view of women, but only to the degree that it was a cultural bias. He rejects the trans-cultural application of that view by comps. Do I have it right?

  81. Hi Gengwall,
    I think you have understood Webb’s view fairly well (as far as I can tell).
    I agree with you in that I think he is mistaken in his views on Gen and 1 Tim 2. But I am still wondering if there is some value in his book.
    You know when you are discussing a passage with a comp. He says his view and you say your view. You disagree and reach an impasse. You have to agree to disagree.
    Well, I am wondering if it is possible to use some of the material in Webb’s book to say “I don’t agree with you about the meaning of this passage, but let’s assume for a moment that you are correct. Can you really show me why you think we should still apply it in exactly the same way today.”
    In a recent Sola Panel discussion I tried to use this reasoning and see where it ended up. I asked several times in various ways why slavery is considered cultural and patriarchy is considered transcultural. What are the indications from the scriptures that patriarchy is normative for today, in contrast to slavery (and several other issues that we now consider cultural)?
    Unfortunately, the comp fellow leading the discussion was snowed under with lots of other comments, and he got sick, and was unable to answer before time ran out. He said he would email me privately with an answer but unfortunately I haven’t received it yet. I am sure that he will have an answer (he has thought a lot about his position and seems very intelligent) and I am interested to see it.
    As I say, I am not sure if this approach would be useful or not. There may be big holes in it and comps may be able to answer these things quite satisfactorily. I have just started reading CBMW on it and I think some of there criticisms of the book are valid, but I am still thinking…….
    It is interesting also to me that this comp himself said that he found the “hermeneutical” explanation of the egal position more feasible than the “exegetical” explanation although he didn’t agree with either.

  82. “Unfortunately, the comp fellow leading the discussion was snowed under with lots of other comments, and he got sick, and was unable to answer before time ran out. He said he would email me privately with an answer but unfortunately I haven’t received it yet. I am sure that he will have an answer (he has thought a lot about his position and seems very intelligent) and I am interested to see it.”
    Craig,
    When he does would you please post his response.

  83. “When he does would you please post his response.”

    Certainly Elaine, providing he is happy for me to do this. I know he is busy, and he has had to put off some further posts that he was going to make on the gender debate, but hopefully he will not forget to send me an email when he is able to.

  84. Craig,

    I don’t think your approach is without merit, but at the end of the day, this is still a debate, not a negotiation. Someone has to be right. That is why I wrote my “Show Stoppers” series of blog posts. Not coincidentally, which passage do you think was the crowning show stoppers in the gender debate? That’s right – 1 Tim 2.

    It is interesting also to me that this comp himself said that he found the “hermeneutical” explanation of the egal position more feasible than the “exegetical” explanation although he didn’t agree with either.

    Of course this is the case. The hermeneutical approach is at best a compromise and at worst a down right surrender.

    There are very significant dangers in allowing the discussion to venture down this middle of the road path (pardon the mixed metaphor). But your approach to the discussion is a good way to illustrate those dangers. Let’s assume Webb is right, that female deceptiveness (either active or passive), was a cultural bias and only that is being addressed in 1 Tim 2. If that is so, then wouldn’t that mean that Paul was favorable, or even “all in”, to that cultural bias? And if Paul fell victim to a cultual bias that we, at least we egals, now know to be erronious, doesn’t that mean that Paul was providing false guidance to Timothy? And if Paul could lead Timothy astray, then how can we trust anything instruction he has for any of us? And if Paul is untrustworthy, they how can we trust scripture itself, or at least the inspired nature of scripture?

    That is the slippery slope the egal slides down if they accept Webb’s hermeneutical approach. And many egals have already slid down that slope. Many believe that Paul was a mysogynistic bastard and therefore don’t give value to anything he says. In fact, many have even been brought to the point of doubting that the Scriptures are God inspired.

    And what of the core teaching of 1 Tim 2? Such an approach renders any instruction moot. If it isn’t trans-cultural, then it is worthless to us here and now. Again, the sovereign inspiration of Scripture is called into question, and great confusion reigns. After all, if 1 Tim 2 isn’t trsutworthy, how trustworthy is 1 Tim 3:16: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” Webb’s approach leaves us picking and choosing which passages to pay attention to and which ones to discard. We are now playing god, as it is now us who determine what is God breathed and what is not; what is profitable and what is not.

    This little rant of mine may be a little melodramatic but I am passionate about truth. I have seen far too many Christians who have created their own personal edited bible. Almost always, it begins with
    the simple statement “that doesn’t apply to us today”.

  85. Sorry Craig, I didn’t really answer your main question. I think there is value in taking the “what if you are correct” approach, but only if you really know what your response is going to be and where the other side’s “correctness” leads. But as an avenue of discovery from a position of ignorance on any passage, it can be quite dangerous. So tread carefully. In your own mind, the question really should be: “although I know you aren’t correct and I know exactly why you aren’t correct, let’s explore what a horrible world it would be if you were correct in hopes that you will see the light.” BTW – I welcome that approach from the other side. I am more than happy to defend the egal position from accusations that IT would lead to something bad.

    (To all – sorry for all my typos. I’m typing fast and not really proofing. I will try to be more careful)

  86. Thanks Gengwall for your “little rant” @84. I can understand that there are dangers, but I don’t think this approach needs to go where you are warning against.
    Let me give an example. Say you have a friend who believes we should wash each other’s feet, because Jesus told us to. Each time you go to his place, he insists on washing your feet, out of obedience to Jesus’ command.
    You may actually agree with your friend that Jesus was giving his disciples a command to wash each other’s feet. But you may have reasons for believing that although it was an appropriate command for the culture at the time, it is not applicable in exactly the same way today. You may believe that the universal principle behind this command was to do with servanthood and love, and that there are more appropriate ways of expressing this today. You may believe that your friend washing your feet actually has the reverse effect to what Jesus intended by this command.
    Does this mean Jesus was leading his disciples astray, or that Jesus is untrustworthy? Does it mean the scriptures are not inspired? Does that mean you are on a slippery slope? Does it mean that Jesus’ command is worthless for us today?
    Could it not mean that that Jesus command was a very appropriate command for the cultural situation and a wonderful example of servanthood and love? The principle of servanthood is universal but the specific application of it regarding foot washing would only apply to us today if we all still walked around on dusty roads with bare feet or sandals.
    If you agree with me, then you could use this “hermeneutical” argument in debating with your friend about the need for foot washing today. You would not need to use an “exegetical” argument, trying to convince your friend that Jesus really wasn’t saying that the disciples should wash each other’s feet. And you would not be a “liberal” even though you may not be obeying the “plain reading” of Jesus’ command.
    I think this is the way Webb sees patriarchy. There may well be some problems with his approach, but I don’t think it can simply be dismissed because of the dangers of liberalism.

  87. Hi Gengwall,

    I think there is value in taking the “what if you are correct” approach, but only if you really know what your response is going to be and where the other side’s “correctness” leads. But as an avenue of discovery from a position of ignorance on any passage, it can be quite dangerous. So tread carefully.

    I often ask questions from a position of ignorance. I often learn things this way. Could you please elaborate on the dangers of doing this?

  88. Hi Craig. I think I did elaborate on the dangers and you have given a well thought out response that mitigates those dangers. My concern on asking out of ignorance relates to this being a debate. Like the trial lawyer who asks a question he does not already anticipate the answer to, this is a dangerous practice if your intent is to persuade. (The point being, you can hardly pursuade from a position of ignorance)

    My main concern is that many turn 1 Tim 2 into one of those “we’ll just have to agree to disagree” passages. I strongly disagree on this approach. I think we have to convince comps that the true meaning of 1 Tim 2 has nothing to do with women being a more easily deceived gender. So, if you want to begin by asking the question “what if the ‘easily deceived’ position is correct”, more power to you. But you had better not be ignorant of the very harmful results of such a conclusion, and how to point them out to someone, because the person you are talking to clearly doesn’t see it or they wouldn’t hold that position to begin with.

  89. Hi Gengwall,

    Like the trial lawyer who asks a question he does not already anticipate the answer to, this is a dangerous practice if your intent is to persuade.

    Perhaps I see it more like a tennis match. I might try playing my opponent’s backhand and see what he has got there. If his backhand is weak, I will keep probing there. But if his backhand turns out to be quite solid, I will have to acknowledge that and try another approach. I think it is ok to try an approach even if I am not sure how he will answer, and then figure out my response once I know what he thinks. If the comp uses sound reasoning, I need to acknowledge that I can understand why he thinks the way he does on that issue. I may get some help from others (eg from here on Cheryl’s blog) to help me see any holes in his argument that I don’t see, but it may just be better to leave that approach alone, because it is a dead end. That is why I raised it here, and I appreciate your counsel that the hermeneutical approach is not what you would advise. I need to work out whether to find out through experience in the battle, or take your advice.
    I agree that the more homework we can do to anticipate what response may occur, and have our answers ready before they reply, the better. But I don’t think that if I am not yet in that position, it necessarily means I can’t try some things and see where they lead. Sometimes a child’s question out of ignorance can lead a mature adult to think and change their whole attitude.

  90. Well put Craig. I have total confidence in you taking that approach. But it is not a good idea for everyone, agreed?

  91. BTW – where is everybody. It’s been me and you, Craig, for like four days.

  92. “But it is not a good idea for everyone, agreed?”
    Yes, we are all different.
    Andrew and Cheryl popped in on another thread but I think the others must be silently lurking. Helloooooo out there :)

  93. Cheryl,

    I hope your ministry partner is doing fine with recovery and you take it easy as much as you can.

    Everyone, who has posted, nice comments :)

  94. I’ve been watching. A couple times almost posted something and then one of you said what I was thinking, so I just kept reading as I’ve had time.

    :)

  95. Hi everyone who is there,
    I haven’t actually had any conversations with anyone who actually holds the really genuine traditional “easily deceived” position. Webb does in his exegesis, but as I say, he believes it was only applicable in Ephesus at the time Paul wrote to Timothy due to local reasons, not due to women’s basic nature as is the traditional interpretation.
    I know some who hold the more recently invented, updated version of the “easily deceived” position. This is the “women are more nice and friendly than men and so they won’t be tough enough on false teachers and so shouldn’t be elders” position.
    There are many different comp positions, but if I ask a comp why they would believe that the way they understand v11,12 is normative for today, or why they believe he is giving a universal command, one of their responses will be that Paul basis his appeal on creation.
    They seem to believe that an appeal to Adam and Eve immediately makes something normative, transcultural, universal, applicable for everyone, for all time in just the way it is stated. Webb disagrees with this, as does R.T. France in his book “Women in the Church’s ministry”. I have some thoughts, but I was wondering if anyone else would like to share what they think. Does an appeal to Adam and Eve ensure that something is normative for today?

  96. “I haven’t actually had any conversations with anyone who actually holds the really genuine traditional “easily deceived” position.”

    Funny you should say that. Cheryl just responded on a different post day before last to a guy who holds this position.

  97. “They seem to believe that an appeal to Adam and Eve immediately makes something normative, transcultural, universal, applicable for everyone, for all time in just the way it is stated.”

    So they would say “because Eve was deceived, all women are easily deceived”? How convenient. In the same appeal (and throughout scripture), Adam’s informed transgression is far worse than Eve’s ignorant transgression. Would they also claim then that all males are immune from deception? If so, why worry about female teachers. Even more significant, would the conceed that all males because of Adam are prone to blatant, conscious, deliberate disobedience while females are conversely immune from it? I doubt it.

  98. “So they would say “because Eve was deceived, all women are easily deceived”? How convenient. In the same appeal (and throughout scripture), Adam’s informed transgression is far worse than Eve’s ignorant transgression. Would they also claim then that all males are immune from deception? If so, why worry about female teachers. Even more significant, would the conceed that all males because of Adam are prone to blatant, conscious, deliberate disobedience while females are conversely immune from it? I doubt it.”

    I so love to see good logic. :)

  99. @97
    True – the comps who soft-peddle the “easily deceived” aspect are shown then only extrapolating what they want from verses 13 & 14:

    Adam formed first = male “headship”
    but
    Eve deceived = not all women deceived

    Yeah?….hmmmm….doesn’t add up for me either.

  100. Craig asked,

    “Does an appeal to Adam and Eve ensure that something is normative for today?”

    2 Cor. 11:3 shows Paul appealing to the deceit of Eve in conjunction with a problem specific to the Corinthian church at that time.

    1 Cor 11 invokes the creation (man is the head – source- of woman) in order to support the time-and-culture-specific impact of what a person wore or didn’t wear on his head, on his or her source.

    So no– invoking the creation account (or any other OT text) does not automatically make the NT teaching universal and timeless. In fact, Paul specifically says that the OT stories are for examples to us– not for grounding of truths– but I don’t have that reference at my fingertips.

  101. Hi Kristen,
    “In fact, Paul specifically says that the OT stories are for examples to us– not for grounding of truths– but I don’t have that reference at my fingertips.”
    Do you mean 1 Cor 10:6?

  102. It seems like 1 Cor 11 is a good passage to illustrate how Adam and Eve can be used to discuss a specific situational subject (head covering). So it leaves the door open to believe that Paul could be using Adam and Eve in 1 Tim 2 for a specific situation occurring in Ephesus. Thanks Kristen for mentioning this and also Elaine (back @41).
    2 Cor 11:3 is also a helpful reference. Thanks.
    About a month ago, one of the staff at church, when I asked him what sort of situation did he envisage taking place at Ephesus that might have moved Paul to write 1 Tim 2:11-15, he replied that there needn’t have been any situation at all. He thought Paul could have just been sprouting forth general universal principles for all churches for all time.
    Thanks everyone for all your comments.

  103. Craig, I’ll look up that 1 Cor 10:6 reference tomorrow– it’s pretty late here. But the question I would ask anyone who asserts that 1 Tim 2:11-15 is about universal principals for all churches for all times, is that if that were the case, why did Paul speak of it just once, in a private letter to his “deputy,” rather than in a letter to the whole church? And why didn’t he say anything about it to the church at Rome, where women had a much greater chance of being educated and ready to preach? Why did he spend so much time at the end of Romans praising what women were doing rather than telling them what they weren’t supposed to be doing?

    It doesn’t make sense.

  104. why did Paul speak of it just once, in a private letter to his “deputy,” rather than in a letter to the whole church? And why didn’t he say anything about it to the church at Rome, where women had a much greater chance of being educated and ready to preach? Why did he spend so much time at the end of Romans praising what women were doing rather than telling them what they weren’t supposed to be doing?

    It doesn’t make sense.

    I agree Kristen. It doesn’t make sense.

    I just found this from CBMW

    Merkle, Benjamin L. “Paul’s Arguments from Creation in 1 Corinthians 11:8-9 and 1 Timothy 2:13-14: An Apparent Inconsistency Answered.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 49, no. 3 (2006): 527-48.
    Merkle analyzes 1 Cor 11:8-9 and 1 Tim 2:13-14, in which Paul grounds his arguments in the order of creation, and shows that it is not inconsistent to reject the need for women to wear head coverings while still affirming that women are not to teach or have authority over men. The reason for this, Merkle argues, is that in 1 Corinthians 11 Paul only indirectly uses the argument from creation to affirm head coverings for women in order to demonstrate that creation affirms gender and role distinctions between men and women. The result is that in the Corinthian context this distinction was to be upheld through head coverings. In 1 Timothy 2, however, Paul directly uses the argument from creation to demonstrate that women cannot teach or have authority over men, thus making this command transcultural.

    I have only seen this summary. I haven’t seen the whole article, but I guess Merkle argues that
    1 Cor 11 goes
    Adam first, then Eve b) Men have authority over women c) head covering
    1 Tim 2 goes
    Adam first, then Eve, and Eve deceived b) Men have authority over women, and women shouldn’t teach.
    He may argue that b) results directly from a) and so is transcultural, whereas c) is indirect and only a specific application for the time.

    Any thoughts?

  105. Sorry I forgot the “a)” before the “Adam first” bits.

  106. Craig – I like your outline of what Merkle might argue and you are probably right because the arguments often follow that line of thinking. The only problem is that it is all conjecture. 1 Tim 2 says nothing of the sort. Comps always start with the empty presumption that male authority is a fact and then read that presumption into the text. It is circular reasoning at its worst.

    “So it leaves the door open to believe that Paul could be using Adam and Eve in 1 Tim 2 for a specific situation occurring in Ephesus. Thanks Kristen for mentioning this and also Elaine (back @41).”

    And, of course, that is what Cheryl argues here. 1 Tim 2 speakes to a specific situation in Ephesus but it isn’t the situation of women being deceived. That is where the train goes off the tracks. Everything is singular in this section of the chapter. A group is not in view. Nor is the setting the church (Paul left church gatherings in verse 10). And authority structures are only remotely related to the discussion. Comps get all three of these fundimental elements completely wrong. They think the passage is ALL about women in the church setting as it primarily relates to authority structures. They have this belief not because the text in any way supports it, but because of their presumptions about women, church, and authority.

    BUT, there is universal application – some people who are deceived and therefor sin in ignorance, like Eve (and like Paul in chapter 1), can be saved if they and those close to them take certain action.

    Webb’s error, in my mind, is focusing on the cultural bias that women are easily deceived. He and many comps perceive that that is what Paul is alluding to by invoking Adam and Eve. As usual, the text doesn’t support that focus. But once they are stuck there, well, they are stuck there. Their whole hermenuetic revolves around that erroneous focus.

  107. Thanks for your reply Gengwall @106. Your approach could well be the best way forward and is a very good summary of how we might argue with the method:
    “This is what I believe, that is what you believe. I am right and you are wrong for these reasons.”
    I am just thinking about the other method of argument for a moment (using the sort of arguments Elaine used @41 and Kristen @100):
    “This is what you believe (about 1 Tim 2 and 1 Cor 11). It is not consistent with itself. Therefore you have to consider the possibility that you may be wrong.”
    Comp: 1 Tim 2 is a universal command not a command to a specific cultural situation.
    Egal: Why?
    Comp: Because Paul argues from Adam and Eve.
    Egal: Paul argues from Adam and Eve in 1 Cor 11 and applies it to a specific cultural situation.
    Comp: Ah, but 1 Cor 11 and 1 Tim 2 are different. The principle of male authority flows directly from Adam being first created, and that is a timeless principle in both passages. The application to head coverings is a specific cultural practice that may change. Merkle wrote a good article answering this supposed inconsistency.
    Egal:???
    At this point do I abandon this line of reasoning, saying “ok I can see how in your mind, this could explain the inconsistency and enable you to be settled in your own mind with regards to these two passages”. I would then embark on a different approach – possibly like the one you have put forward.
    Or can someone see a hole in Merkle’s explanation of the apparent inconsistency? Thanks.

  108. Hi Gengwall

    “Everything is singular in this section of the chapter. A group is not in view.”

    I remember your discussion with Cheryl last year on this. I have one comp friend at theological college who is giving some proper thought to this view, but generally I have found it gets dismissed too quickly, despite references to 1 Cor 5, 2 Cor 12, Jn 4 etc. To me, it makes the most sense of the context and the rest of scripture, but I am eagerly awaiting any further support from Greek experts and other prominent egals. One staff member at church read Cheryl’s post on the “anaphoric reference” and said he would give it a very poor mark if it was presented in an exam. Others have asked, “if it is such a good view, why is it that we have never heard it before, and that other prominent egals who know Greek well have not adopted it? At this stage I don’t have really good answers to these questions. Cheryl said that in the future, she might do a post on this issue and try and get some comments from well known egals who support her position. This would be helpful.

  109. Craig,

    I would have to see more evidence of why they claim the head-covering part is indirect and the not-teaching part is direct. What you have quoted has no actual support for such a position. What is so much different between these two passages, that they can say head coverings proceed indirectly from the idea, and not teaching proceeds directly? Other than the fact that they make that assumption to start with?

    Of course, there is also the fact that egalitarians don’t believe authority is in view in 1 Cor 11 at all– and in 1 Tim 2 it is only the misuse of authority that is in view.

    BTW, yes– the verse that supports my position that OT references in the NT are for examples, not for grounding, is 1 Cor 10:6.

  110. And, of course, they have not addressed 2 Cor 11:3 at all. The deception of Eve is not a grounding for anything there– it is simply an example of someone being deceived in a similar manner to the way Paul was afraid the Corinthian converts might be deceived. How they can get any sort of universality from that is beyond me.

  111. Thanks Kristen. I see from the time you commented that you were up late again. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
    Unfortunately, all I have is what I quoted for you.
    I haven’t actually used this line of reasoning yet, so I don’t know if they will argue this way or not. Gengwall encouraged me to be prepared as much as possible for how they might reply, rather than my usual ready, fire, aim approach :)
    You have given some good food for thought.
    I think the comps I fellowship with could see it more as you have indicated (if I understand you correctly). This would be
    1 Cor 11
    a)Adam first, then Eve b) Men have authority over women c) head covering
    1 Tim 2
    a)Adam first, then Eve b) Men have authority over women c)women shouldn’t teach from an authoritative position.
    This would make head covering on a par with women not teaching. Both are indirect and so it must be considered whether both could be cultural.
    This could help with the “women not teaching” part.
    Of course, your other points are also helpful. Thanks

  112. If 1 Tim 2 is indeed accusing women of being more easily deceived than men then it is not only an isolated accusation, but contradicts volumes of biblical history and teaching. The list of wise biblical women is long and illustrious. Sarah, Rehab, Esther, Abigail, Deborah, the Proverbs 31 woman, Priscilla, Phoebe, and Pilate’s wife come to mind right off the top of my head. I’m sure there are more. In several of these cases, the woman is portrayed as more wise than her husband. In Abigail’s case, this gender contrast is striking (Nabal’s name means “fool”). The godly attribute of Wisdom is even personified as a woman. To accept the comp position, you must not only read it into this passage without proper textual foundation, but also must believe that the vast testimony to female wisdom and resistance to deception is somehow some exception to the rule. I would say, to believe that would indicate that you yourself are easily deceived, wether you are male or female. Which is what i believe Paul would say as well.

  113. Just thinking more on my above post. So, if a person views “women are more easily deceived” as a godly position, they are violently out of line with Scripture. God clearly does not hold such an opinion.

    Turning to Paul, who clearly was a godly man who wrote God inspired words. If your position is that Paul is alluding to a fundimental principal of humanity, then Paul has become your God because there is no such principal in Scripture and, in fact, Scripture clearly promotes the opposite. But what if Paul is simply commenting on a cultural bias as Webb suggests. If Paul is commenting on a cultural bias, then is there any other conclusion you can draw about that commentary other than it is somehow refuting that bias? After all, can Paul positively promote what God denies? The notion that Paul somehow might be speaking positively of the idea of female deceptiveness is tantamount to claiming Paul himself is in opposition to God in the debate.

    Which brings us back to 1 Tim 2. How could Paul possibly be promoting female deceptiveness either as a fundimental biblical principal or a cultural bias? He simply can not. At least not if the bible is trustworthy. So Paul is either refuting that women are more easily deceived, an even more confusing and fantastical interpretation than any I have ever heard, or he isn’t talking about female deception at all. The latter is the only logical conclusion I can come to. It is then up to the individual to discover what Paul really IS talking about. A positive step forward in my view.

  114. Hi Gengwall,
    I think the sort of things you are saying @112 and @113 is why I don’t find very many evangelical Christians holding to the truly traditional “more easily deceived” position. As I understand it, the truly traditional interpretation is that women as a gender, beginning with Eve, have always been and will always be more easily deceived by Satan and false teaching than men. This doesn’t make sense biblically or experientially. Do you find many people who really believe this now?
    Most comps I strike don’t believe this, and CBMW as I understand them don’t believe this. They have worked out some more palatable views of 1 Tim 2:13,14.
    I am not sure that I understand your point about Webb’s view. I don’t think Webb sees Paul as refuting or promoting women’s deceptiveness. Webb sees Paul as just giving appropriate instructions for a situation that existed at the time. He believes that at that point in time in that particular place the women were more easily deceived and so shouldn’t be teaching. He is not refuting or promoting their deceptiveness, but saying they shouldn’t teach while they are in that condition. This view certainly has its problems, but I am not sure that I understand the problem you are seeing.
    I think you would agree that Eve was “more easily deceived” than Adam in the Garden. She did not have the same knowledge and experience at that point in time as what Adam had. Webb is just saying the same sort of thing about women in Ephesus at that time. Cheryl is saying the same sort of thing about a particular Ephesian woman. I think Cheryl’s view makes the most sense, and will be widely accepted if it can be positively demonstrated and accepted that Paul could have and would have used these Greek words to discuss the problems concerning a particular woman.
    I certainly didn’t raise the subject of Webb’s book to promote his understanding of 1 Tim 2. I raised it to discuss the method of using hermeneutics to show the deficiencies in the comp view of not just 1 Tim 2, but patriarchy in general.

  115. According to the complementarian view Craig is describing, the comp position is that Eve’s sin was, at it’s heart, NOT about believing the serpent rather than God. It was about acting FIRST, without looking to Adam for guidance or permission. The problem is that nothing in the Genesis text says anything like this.

  116. Craig said,

    “This would make head covering on a par with women not teaching. Both are indirect and so it must be considered whether both could be cultural.”

    I think there’s probably a better way of putting it, though– because there isn’t really any way teaching, or teaching from a position of authority, can be considered a cultural practice in the same way head coverings are. I think it’s not that both women not teaching and women’s head coverings could be cultural– it’s that they are both related to time-and-place specific situations and are thus not universal or unending.

  117. What I mean is that head coverings were time-and-place specific because they were cultural, but the not-teaching prohibition was time-and-place specific because it was related to the education level of a particular woman or women. Both are time-and-place specific, but for different reasons.

  118. Hi Kristen,

    the comp position is that Eve’s sin was, at it’s heart, NOT about believing the serpent rather than God. It was about acting FIRST, without looking to Adam for guidance or permission.

    @115 Yes that’s the one. Quite common amongst Sydney Anglicans whom I mingle with all the time. It saves them from the problems of the traditional “easily deceived” view, but as you say, suffers from the problem of not being in Genesis at all without some very fancy footwork. Some admit that this sin of Eve’s is secondary but can’t see that it is really not there at all.
    The ones I know also say that Adam was deceived, but Eve was deceived FIRST. Trouble is, Paul says Adam was NOT deceived. It would seem a better explanation that Adam sinned rebelliously, with knowledge (Hos 6:7) rather than being deceived like Eve.
    @116,117 Thanks for helping to clarify things.

  119. “According to the complementarian view Craig is describing, the comp position is that Eve’s sin was, at it’s heart, NOT about believing the serpent rather than God. It was about acting FIRST, without looking to Adam for guidance or permission. The problem is that nothing in the Genesis text says anything like this.”

    You are absolutely correct about the lack of textual support for such a notion. But reading into text is habitual for comps so they don’t recognize it. The very notion that Eve would have to look to Adam stems from the presumption that Adam was in authority. And so starts the endless circular argument, because the basis for Adam’s presumed authority stems from pther presumptions about things like creation order and naming of animals. All of this is unsupported in the text of Scripture (not the facts; the conclusions), but that doesn’t persuade them it isn’t true because they have presumed male authority.

    It reminds me of the scene in Princess Bride (this blog’s favorite movie, right???) where Vizzini and Westley (as the Man in Black/Dread Pirate Roberts) are engaged in a battle of wits. Vizzini, a self proclaimed genious, spouts off a string of presumptive reasoning about what kind of person his opponent is. In the midst, Westley says (sarcastically) “Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.”. Undaunted, Vizzini replies “Wait til I get going” and continues on with his wild analysis. Comps are a lot like Vizzini. And I often get dizzy dealign with their argument as it spins in circles.

  120. Gengwall– oh yes, The Princess Bride. Vizzini is an excellent example of comp thinking– especially when he keeps saying “Inconceivable!” about things that are not only very conceivable, but have actually happened. . . I like to quote Inigo Montoya when comps start talking about women’s “equality” in terms of equal dignity but permanently subordinate roles. “Why do you keep using that word? I do not think it means what you think it means.” Or words to that effect.
    Then there’s the classic, “Rodents of unusual size? I don’t believe they exist.” This parallels the comp statement, “Women called to the pastoral ministry? I don’t believe they exist.”

  121. Then there’s the classic, “Rodents of unusual size? I don’t believe they exist.” This parallels the comp statement, “Women called to the pastoral ministry? I don’t believe they exist.”

    But here is the potential dark truth in that comparison. Westly actually saw an ROUS just before he made that statement. He said that not because it was the truth, but to pacify Buttercup and continue her confidence in his “leadership” through the fireswamp. I wonder how many comp leaders actually believe their denial of women called to pastoral ministry, given the abundant examples of such not only in the bible but throughout history all the way up to contemporary times. Yet an ignorant flock is a compliant and complacent flock. Even if comp leaders knew that their blanket denial of leadership to women was on shakey, if not blatantly false grounds, they hardly could admit it without causing either a crisis of confidence or open rebellion amoungst their “Buttercups”.

  122. Hi Kristen,
    While you are there, I don’t mean to interrupt, but while I think of it, I wouldn’t mind discussing with you at some stage (and anyone else who is interested) a bit more about authority and leadership. No hurry.
    In our recent discussion on the Sola Panel Jereth seemed to have a view that authority, responsibility and leadership were similar. This I think is a fairly normal comp view.
    Mark seemed to have a different view that authority and responsibility were quite different to leadership. This I think is a fairly normal egal view, and yet he is a comp. So Mark seemed to be hinting that he was quite happy for women to be doing all sorts of leadership things in church and family, as long as they weren’t the ones in “authority” and “responsible” for the results.
    Mark said he would be posting later on to expand on this issue, but it could be a long time away now.
    Is this the way you understood Mark to be thinking? Do you (or others) have any comments on Mark’s view (if I have it correct)?
    Sorry to interrupt your enjoyment of the Princess Bride, I enjoyed that movie to. It was a big hit out in Australia as well. I had never thought how good it was for illustrations!

  123. If Mark is the Mark who has posted here frequently, then I have always contended that he was comp in name only and that the way he lived out his life and marriage was pretty egalitarian. He, of course, says that isn’t so. Yet many of the examples he gives even from his own marriage tend to stray to the egal side of the road.

    This is common in the conservative evangelical and even “old fashioned” protestant circles that I run in. People talk a good “male authority, head of houselhold, king of the castle” game, but when it comes down to how they actually live their lives and interact in their families, the talk is all bark and no bite. (Reason being, the one with bite in the family is usually the wife and if you bark too loud, she will bite back hard.)

  124. Hi Gengwall,
    Different Mark. Sorry for the confusion.
    Certainly I agree with you that many comps are actually egals in practice when it comes to marriage. The more comp they become in practice, the worse their marriages will be. Many hide the comp part in a very small locked cupboard under the house just in case it is necessary, but in practice, if they have learned to live in marriage the way God has designed, they never have to open the cupboard. If they do have to use it, it is very dusty and smells quite bad.

  125. I think that Mark said on Sola Panel that he didn’t however have the trump card view of authority. I think he sees authority as more like having the overall responsibility.
    Some comps seem very reluctant to say that women are “leading” men, even when this in fact is what they are doing. They emphasize how men are to lead and women are to submit and follow and support etc.
    Mark seemed quite happy to say that women could lead men in lots of ways, but just they are not responsible – my wife said that sounds like a pretty good deal :)

  126. Just a couple of quotes from Mark on the Sola Panel (not Mark from Cheryl’s blog) to fill you in:

    First, I don’t collapse the authority of a public office into the ability to lead all kinds of people to God. People can do that very well without holding those offices.
    Second, and related to that, I don’t go with the idea that maleness involves leading and femaleness submission.

    Do I think women can have leadership in the church and it would benefit?  Yes.  But ‘leadership’ is not the same as ‘authority’ for me.  And you can look at Kristen’s distinction between the Father having primacy and him having authority to see something analogous on that.  Often the influential leaders in a group aren’t the ones with the authority.  The Jensen brothers senior arguably were the two most influential leaders in the Sydney Diocese when they were a rector of a parish church and the principal of Moore – of which neither position had much direct authority over how the Diocese was run. That distinction needs more attention in this debate, in my view as well.

  127. Doesn’t sound reasonable to me.

    In my view of leadership, it involves guardianship, a type of overseeing, and a stepping before in areas the leader is knowledgeable in. This is very much like a guide. You want to go hiking in an area you’ve never been in before. Do we think our gender makes the difference in who should be the guide? Most people recognize that they would be wise to choose a guide (whether male or female) who was most knowledgeable of the area and most experienced and skilled in the terrain, animals, weather, etc.

    In spiritual matters God calls and equips the persons He knows are best suited and then matures them into the knowledge and skills they need. This is just another reason why it is plain nutsy to assign someone just newly a believer to be any kind of leader in the church. It is especially nutsy choosing a man just because he’s male over a mature woman with knowledge and experience.

    In the same way, to say that one can lead without authority is a mistaken view of authority. Worldly authority carries privileges to command and demand with little accountability. This is reasonable on some corporate levels, because the business is owned by the main person in charge. But as Christians we don’t own anything to do with our ministries. Our authority is different. Our authority is power and ability to lead a righteous life, to lead also by example, and to speak knowing what we are talking about because we have experienced it. Any believer who effectively (not by reason of granted privileges) leads people toward a more righteous life indeed does so in the authority of the Holy Spirit. There is no authority higher, more powerful, more responsible and more demanding of the person leading.

  128. Hi TL,
    I like your hiking illustration.

  129. Craig,
    Yes, that is the way Mark on Sola Panel seemed to be viewing authority. What he seemed to be saying is that women could lead, but not have authority– which logically translates to women’s leadership being a sort of beta-wolf leadership, under the alpha male wolf (if you don’t mind the analogy). In other words, the one responsible for the outcome must ultimately be the one in charge. Any leadership women would have would be delegated leadership. That is, they could be gifted to lead and could do any leadership that the one in authority permitted them to do– but ultimately, their leadership would have to be under his control. They could not be allowed to lead outside the scope he had granted– otherwise, how could he be responsible for the results? If an under-leader did step out from under her authority tp do something he wouldn’t want her to do, then she would be at fault– but he is the one ultimately calling the shots.
    The way Mark appears to see it is kind of like the way things work with my boss at work. He gives me a lot of latitude to do my job– but he is the one who sets the perameters, and I must stay within the boundaries of his delegation. Because I’m a paralegal and he’s a lawyer, that means I can, in my own discretion, interview clients and collect data from them, draft legal documents using that data, and research and follow court procedures in the course of my work. Ultimately, though, I can’t do anything he hasn’t given me the power to do, and I can’t practice law– I can’t advise clients, send out a document I have drafted without his approval, and so on. He may consult me on office systems and policies, but he’s the one who has the final say on what systems get used and what policies get set.
    So Mark’s view of women’s leadership, as far as I can see, still does contain that trump-card idea– it’s just that he doesn’t want us to notice.

  130. “it’s just that he doesn’t want us to notice.”

    This is in effect the impression I get when hierarchical minded men try to say how beneficial it is for women to be under men’s “protective” leadership, not having to be so responsible, not having so much stress, etc. It’s rather like the wolf in sheep’s clothing presenting presents so that the poor women will willingly accept the gifts that will bring her soul death.

  131. Yes– in effect, because her leadership is always accountable to his authority, she can get “in trouble” with him if she does something that has less than perfect results. The way this often works out in practice is that he may take responsibility publicly, but he also blames her privately for anything that goes wrong.

  132. “and I can’t practice law” – I reckon you’d make a pretty sharp lawyer Kristen. I wouldn’t want to be on the opposing side :)

  133. *bows* thank you, kind sir. :)
    I never really wanted to be a lawyer, though. I prefer the supporting role– as long as I’m not told it’s God’s will that since I’m a woman, it’s the only role I’m allowed!
    I didn’t go to law school, because what I really wanted was to have kids and work part-time– but that was my choice, not a role imposed on me by anyone else.

  134. So am I correct here do you think:
    Comp position 1 (eg Mark):
    Women leading men is ok, but only under the authority of men.
    Comp position 2 (eg Jereth):
    Women shouldn’t lead or exercise authority over men.
    I’m just thinking aloud (possibly not very clearly!) how they would see different scriptures for their positions and some possible problems for them.
    In comp position 1, do they still see the “role reversal” thing, or “going against the created order” as the “secondary sin”? Or would Eve be off the hook because she led but didn’t go against Adam’s authority- ie he was ok with it. Am I making sense or do I need to put my brain back in properly? :)

  135. Sorry to dump the truck on everyone, but I thought some of you may be interested that I received an email from Mark (from Sola Panel) today. Elaine specifically asked if I could post it here. Sorry for the length of it. Mark is the first to admit that he gets a bit wordy.
    I said to Mark

    Some people have asked me following the closure of the Sola Panel discussion,
    “If Mark does email you about the slavery and patriarchy issue could we please see his response?”
    I said I would check with you first, so is it ok?

    Mark replied

    Yes, I think that’s fine to pass it on – as long as people see it as some initial thoughts.

    So here are Mark’s initial thoughts

    Here’s a few thoughts I had on the spot trying to reflect on why I personally approach the slavery and gender issues somewhat differently.  I haven’t tried to argue for anything here, you’ll note, merely identify and state as efficiently as possible – feel free to come back on any bits that you want to talk over, or give your thoughts on to me.
     
    Why I differentiate between household code on slavery and on wives/husbands (and men and women more generally).
     
    The basic reason is that I see more differentiation between the two themes in Scripture than egals tend to see.
     
     In 1 Cor 11 Paul grounds some of his concrete applications on appeals to the structure of creation, to nature, and to a series of relationships involving ‘kephale’.  In 1 Tim 2 the order of creation, and the fall, is invoked.  In Ephesians 5 marriage is held up as a mystery of Christ and the Church (and again is tracked back to creation in v31). Further, marriage has the situation where it explicitly features in the story in Gen 1-2 (in a very rare editorial commentary), something that Jesus appeals to in Mat 19 and Mark 10 to indicate that Moses’ regulation on divorce is in no way an approval of it.
    Putting it together, marriage is basically seen as something given in creation, that is the pattern for the New Creation relationship with Christ, and that is fundamentally good.
     
    Slavery is a far more mixed theme. I see no such theological heavyweights attached to it in the household codes.  People are to submit to and honour their masters out of reverence to Christ, but nothing substantial theologically is said about the institution of slavery itself in those contexts – nothing in the creation accounts, or the order of creation, or the nature of the new creation, or the fall is ever invoked to ground the institution the way that is done for marriage.  More broadly, slavery is used in both positive and negative senses.  We are slaves of Christ, and slaves of God, and slaves of righteousness.  Christ is spoken of as the doulos of God IIRC.  Those all give it a fundamentally positive orientation.  But on the other hand, salvation is often spoken of as a redemption from slavery, of a setting people free or giving them their freedom. When Samuel warned Israel about taking a king, the appeal focused on how he would make the people into his slaves. Slavery does not seem to appear (even by inference) in the creation accounts, and when it is regulated, there is no appeal to something more primordial than the concession to indicate what the true purpose of the institution is (something quite unlike marriage and divorce). Finally, in 1 Cor 7:21 Paul (and this is controverted) probably encourages slaves to get their freedom if they can, and in v23 (and this is not controverted) calls on people to not become slaves of men as they were bought with a price.  This suggests a stance towards slavery that is fairly clear in the textthat does not see it as an unalloyed good.  Paul does not say for people not to get married because they were bought with a price – he indicates that singleness is better given the current crisis, but his take on marriage seems more inherently positive. Similarly Philemon seems to suggest that Paul sees the freeing of Onesimus as a kind of moral imperative – an unusual one, but something of nature.
     
    Taking that together, I see slavery as like most non-marriage forms of human institutions – it is given by God, it is not built into the fabric of either creation or redemption.  It is given no inherent dignity or theological weight, but both positive and negative connotations attach to it from how it is used in various contexts.  Given that Paul seems to promote freedom from the institution when it is possible, it does suggest a stance that can live with the institution, but that does not see it as an ideal – somewhat like how I think the Bible views divorce.
     
    One of my difficulties with “the” egalitarian approach on this is that the analogy between the two (men-women and slavery) is not taken through properly.  The ‘usual’ argument offered is that the Bible was facing a problematically hierarchical culture that couldn’t be taken head-on.  And this had three big manifestations – women needing to be subject to men, the existence of slavery, and social institutions being run on the basis of power and authority and submission to that authority.  So in the household codes we have a subversion of these institutions – where slavery is being completely reframed (indeed, done away with).  But if that’s the case with slavery, then it must also be the case with marriage as well on this argument, if the two are so closely parallel.  If the household codes are attacking authority and authority bound institutions, and sees treatment of women and slaves as two examples of the same category of sin, then its treatment of marriage must have the same goal as its treatment of slavery – to do away with it.  If that is not the case, then egals, just like comps see a huge difference between the two institutions – they too see one as fundamentally good, and the other as fundamentally problematic.  So their argument that they applying the principles of the slavery debate to gender is simply wrong.  They aren’t.  They’re being fairly highly selective about it – unless they want to start talking about the fundamental goodness of a properly reframed vision of one person owning another.
     
    This is similar to my problem with how the argument cashes out with parents and children.  In Ephesians 5 wives are to submit to their husbands as the Church does to Christ in everything.  But this is seen to not have any authority implications because husbands aren’t called on to command their wives.  This either misses the fact that the same issue is there with slaves and masters in chapter 6 – slaves are to obey masters, but masters aren’t told to command slaves or, if it is argued that here too masters and slaves are being put on the same footing without any authority, it misses the fact that the same thing is true of children and parents.  Children are to obey parents, but fathers are not told to exercise authority or command them. The three relationships are clearly some kind of analogy of each other – three relationships where (at least traditionally in society at large) one party had some kind of authority over another.  Egalitarianism either extracts marriage out as the relationship that doesn’t fit, extracts marriage and slavery out, or is consistent to the end and puts children and parents on an ‘equal’ footing where there is no authority in that relationship either.
     
    There’s some basic thoughts – both about how I read the texts, and about my problems with the plausibility of egalitarian readings of the texts – on the diffrence and similarity between the two issues, hope that helps.

     I replied

    I will think a lot more about the content of your email, but my first reaction is the same as when I recently read one of Wayne Grudem’s answers to this question. My question is not dealing with a comparison between “slavery” and “marriage”. It is dealing with the authority aspect. So the comparison is between “slavery” and “patriarchy”.
    It is the authority or patriarchal aspect of marriage that is in question, not marriage itself.

    Mark replied

    Interesting that Grudem and I thought in parallel lines here. 
     
    I agree with you that the comparison is slavery and patriarchy, not slavery and marriage.  My point is that patriarchy has two main social instititutional structures (at least that we chew around) – marriage, and public roles in church, and then slavery.  Marriage was a patriarchal institution in the ancient world slavery was another patriarchal institution.  We can’t make a direct comparison from slavery to patriarchy because they are eggs and apples – one is a philosophy (for want of a better word) the other is an institution that (according to egals) probably exists as a result of that philosophy.  There is no ‘patriarchy’ as such – there are specific beliefs, and there are specific institutions.
     
    I think my point is trying to be with that – do egalitarians then read the household codes differently when they come to husbands and wives (marriage), masters and slaves (slavery), and fathers and children (children)? “The” argument is that the NT is rescuing marriage from patriarchy in places like Ephesians and trying to deal with a bad situation in places like 1 Peter. Well, if egalitarianism is being consistent, is that how it sees what the NT is doing with slavery – is it trying to rescue that institution? In both cases it is facing a contemporary patriarchal institution on an egalitarian reading – does it respond the same in both cases? Egalitarianism sees marriage of the day, and slavery, as both patriarchal, and seems to just ignore children – doing there what it accuses complementarianism of doing with patriarchy and taking those passages as establishing authority relationships as a good thing. 
     
    So I get the pointy end of your concern, I’m not trying to muddy the waters. My point is germane nonetheless, I think.  Egalitarianism reads Ephesians 5 and 6 as a word to a patriarchal society to reform patriarchal institutions – marriage, slavery (and, I’ll keep putting out there, children).  The argument is that complementarians treat slavery and patriarchical marriage differently, and that their argument that marriage is different from slavery – is built into creation, has big theological themes and the like attached to it – is special pleading, as the same is true of slavery. My point is that if that really is the case, then why don’t egalitarians treat all three relationships in the household codes the same.  Their own practice indicates that there is something different about slavery and marriage and children.
     
    There’s two different arguments on view.  In one I’m rejecting the egalitarian claim that slavery has as much theological support as the Bible seems to give to marriage (and gender roles in church) and its particular structure.  In the other, I’m saying that egals are doing what they accuse comps of doing – they see ancient marriage as patriarchal, and read Ephesians as a godly response to that, yet still see what is happening in those chapters differently somewhere on the marriage-slavery-children spectrum. Their own practice is a sign that comps either aren’t being inconsistent here – to see that the Bible’s response to patriarchal marriage and patriarchal slavery is different, or if it is inconsistent it’s common ground in the debate. Having invoked the idea that Eph 5 needs to be read as response to a prevailing patriarchy, egalitarianism then sees that response as quite different as it moves from marriage, to slavery, to children – and yet all three were patriarchal institutions.  There seems to be a very big inconsistency there, as it is doing what it criticises comp for doing, and yet seems to be unaware of it.
     
    The point is subtle, I’ll admit, and I’m probably not doing a good job of explaining it – it crystalised as I wrote the first thing to you yesterday, and I usually explain things better when they’ve sat with me for a bit.  Come back again if it still seems like I’m culpably reframing the question away from the one you think is the real one.

    Any thoughts before I reply would be appreciated. Thanks.

  136. Ok, I’m going to try to throw out a few thoughts here, off the top of my head. I’m not sure how clear they will be.
    I think Mark’s view, as he’s expressing it above, demonstrates a very simplistic understanding of the historical context. He says patriarchy is a “philosophy” (I assume he means a “system”) and patriarchal marriage, slavery and the parent-child relationship were all patriarchal in nature. Then he says that egalitarians believe Paul’s purpose was to subvert the practices of patriarchal marriage and slavery from within– but that in saying this, we ignore the parent-child relationship, which is also authority-based.
    In order to say this, Mark appears to be defining “patriarchal” as meaning “based on the authority of one person over another.” But that’s not what “patriarchy” means– particularly as it was expressed in the 1st-century Roman Empire. “Patriarchy” in the Roman Empire meant a system of “households” which were different from our modern nuclear families. A “household” was an economic unit ruled by a patriarch– the “pater familias” who was the ruler of his wife, grown children, their children, and his slaves. It is a modern misconception to think that the only “children” who were being addressed in Ephesians 5 were minors.
    (to be continued)

  137. (continuing from above)
    Mark appears, then to be switching the real meaning of patriarchy with “relationships containing authority.” As you already pointed out, Craig, he starts with an apples-and-oranges comparison of “marriage” with “slavery,” where the true comparison would either be “marriage” with “economic relationships where one person works for another” OR “patriarchal rule in marriage” with “master-rule in slavery.” He then wants to say that the Bible’s approach to patriarchal marriage and patriarchal slavery was different– that there is evidence that slavery was not meant to be a permanent thing, while marriage (and therefore patriarchal marriage) was intended to be permanent. And the reason he appears to want to give for this is that parental authority over children is naturally a permanent thing. But he’s slipping in “marriage equals patriarchal marriage” as an unchallenged assumption.
    (to be continued)

  138. But let’s do an apples-to-apples comparison instead of an apples-to-oranges.
    Paul is talking about three basic relationships: the relationship where two humans unite to produce children, the relationship where two or more humans unite to accomplish an economic goal, and the relationship where one or two adults and one or more children unite to accomplish the goal of bringing the child to adulthood. Patriarchy approached each of these relationships with the idea that all the power was to be concentrated in the hands of one central human male, with other human males (his adult sons) given some delegated power, and everyone else (women, slaves and minor children) having no power at all.
    Given that idea, one can say without any inconsistency at all that Paul’s goal was to teach a new way of approaching ALL THREE of these relationships such that power was shared. The human males in whose hands the power was concentrated, were told to act like Christ in laying down their lives for their wives, treating their slaves with humility, and not exasperating their children. The ones without power were told to respond by yielding (for wives) and obeying (for slaves and children). By making this differentiation, Paul is acknowledging the economic nature of the slave relationship (that in an economic production unit, someone has to be in charge), and also the economic nature of the father-child relationship where the children are adult males working for the “company” (which was the household). But the nature of the wife relationship is not economic, but one of intimacy and oneness– and Paul seeks to restore the oneness God intended in marriage, partly through the use of that word “submit” (“yield”) instead of “obey.
    (to be continued)
    (To be continued)

  139. (continued)
    For the relationship of parent to minor child, Paul also exhorts obedience– in this case because the child is not ready for adult responsibilities. But the fathers are to lay down power in that relationship as well.
    What Paul is NOT doing is saying that any and all authority in relationships is bad. But he IS saying that in authority relationships, those in power are to look on those under their power as of full, equal value and dignity. This would tend, over time, to subvert patriarchy– where power was concentrated in the hands of a male– in favor of more balanced-power relationships, such as our current employer-employee relationships, or modern parent-child relationships where the state views the children as having fundamental rights which the parents cannot violate with impunity.
    Given this context, then, the egalitarian can easily agree with Mark that the Bible– including this Eph. 5 passage– treats marriage differently than the other two relationships. But “marriage” does not have to mean “marriage in which patriarchy remains intact” any more than “an economic relationship where one person works for another” has to mean “slavery.” Marriage is an intimate relationship between two people, in which (in Paul’s time) all the power was concentrated in the hands of the male. Take power out of the hands of the male and share half of it with the female– and you have not changed the fundamental nature of marriage itself; you have only changed its patriarchal structure. It is MARRIAGE, not PATRIARCHAL marriage, which the Bible treats as a special, God-given relationship from the beginning of the creation of humanity. It is not inconsistent for Paul to seek to remove the male-power structure from this relationship at the same time he seeks to remove the male-power structure from slavery and parenthood (which I think he does), while at the same time treating marriage as something unique among all other relationships.
    (to be continued)

  140. So, given the above– what is it about the parent-child relationship that makes it still necessary for minor children to obey their parents? The fact is that in this relationship, the necessity for obedience still exists, due to the nature of minor children. It is not inconsistent for egalitarians to acknowledge this as a fact, while also acknowledging that the partriarchal system in which adult children were still supposed to obey the pater familias, was unnecessary, has now passed away and there is no need to go back to it. Similarly, the need still exists in an economic relationship for the worker to obey the business owner– but the old structure that gave the owner absolute power over the life and personhood of the worker, was unnecessary, has now passed away, and there is no need to go back to it. In marriage, the power structure that gave the male the power over the female is unnecessary, has passed away– and yet the church still clings to it and tries in every way to restore it. That is what the egalitarian objects to– not legitimate use of authority in necessary ways acknowledged by society, but illegitimate use of ancient forms of power that are now viewed as unjust by society– the perpetuation of which ends up damaging the gospel of Christ, in Whom we are supposed to be set free.

  141. Thanks so much again Kristen for so many helpful thoughts. #140 seems a great summary. I have been very busy today, but I hope by the weekend to have some time to process properly what Mark is trying to say and the thoughts you have given in response, and then I will write back to him.
    Anyone else who has any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

  142. Awesome analysis Kristen. What I have also heard preached, and what I think your analysis would support, is that the Ephesians 5/6 teaching on these three relationships has at its root Ephesians 5:21 where all Christians are called to submit (“yield” in your words) to each other.

  143. “the perpetuation of which ends up damaging the gospel of Christ, in Whom we are supposed to be set free.”

    Yes, gender hierarchalists not only miss this they never comment on it. In Christ all believers are set free from the power of sin in all its forms of bondage in order to become and mature into the example of Christ Jesus doing the same works that He did. It is not only men that get to mature to be like Jesus and women are to mature to be like Mary. Rather all are to do the same works of the Holy spirit and more as the Holy Spirit guides us.

  144. Hi Kristen,
    Do you mind if I send your response to Mark? I will just add a few of my own thoughts and send it to him on Saturday if that’s ok. I will let you know his response.

  145. Just to clarify. I will let him know its from you. I wouldn’t claim it as my own- I’m sure he would know I was cheating :)

  146. Craig,
    Yes, you can send him my answer– but please soften this:

    “I think Mark’s view, as he’s expressing it above, demonstrates a very simplistic understanding of the historical context”

    To something more like, “I think Mark’s view of the historical context oversimplifies.”

    I want to show that I respect him, and I wouldn’t want to imply any insult.

    Thanks!

  147. I admire your patience in dialogue Kristen. Usually I’ve a lot of patience but every now and then someone really challenges it. Guess it keeps me reminded of my human vulnerabilities. :)

  148. Hah. There have been plenty of people who have pushed my buttons good and proper, and I have responded by getting very upset. Do you remember the Evangelical Village blog we all visited last year? I didn’t make a very good showing there as a rational or patient person! When they treated me as if I didn’t exist, I responded by “screaming” loudly. (grin)
    So don’t sell yourself short, TL. Mark and I came to some sort of understanding, for some reason, that he didn’t come to with you– so he treats me better than he treats you, and he doesn’t push my buttons. I’m not even sure why. But I’m not more patient than you– I just seem to be able to talk to Mark.

  149. Gracious woman, you are …. says Youda! :)

  150. Hi everyone,
    I sent Kristen’s comments @136-140 (amended as requested) to Mark yesterday. I also sent some comments of my own to Mark, which I have posted below. If you see anything where you feel my thinking needs to be a bit refined, or I haven’t understood something as well as I could, please feel free to provide your own thoughts.
    So these thoughts are my reply that I sent yesterday to Mark’s comments @135.

    Just some thoughts and questions as I am thinking about what you have written. Sorry if some of them seem a bit jumbled.

    1.The apples to apples comparison that I would see is
    Patriarchal rule in marriage with Patriarchal rule in slavery or
    Patriarchal rule over wives with Patriarchal rule over slaves.

    Sorry to harp on this one but I am just checking that this is the comparison in your mind, so that when you say things like “Marriage…. explicitly features in the story in Gen 1-2,” and “Putting it together, marriage is basically seen as something given in creation, that is the pattern for the New Creation relationship with Christ, and that is fundamentally good.” I think to myself “Yes, but what has that got to do with the question?” Everyone agrees with these things. The question is not about how foundational marriage is, but rather how foundational is patriarchal authority in marriage. That is quite different in my mind and a much more difficult thing to establish. So I am wondering if your main argument is really things like “Patriarchal authority in marriage…… explicitly features in the story in Gen 1-2,” and “Putting it together, Patriarchal authority in marriage is basically seen as something given in creation, that is the pattern for the New Creation relationship with Christ, and that is fundamentally good.”

    2.Regarding your problems with the egal approach.

    a.I am not sure myself that the household codes are written to rescue or reform institutions (or to endorse them either). They seem to me to be more about encouraging godly living and relationships amongst the members of the household within the culture and situations people find themselves in. If you are a slave this is how you are to live. If you are a master, this is how you are to live. Paul is encouraging mutual submission, mutual yielding to the needs of others, mutual love and servanthood.

    b.You said Mark,

    “ If the household codes are attacking authority and authority bound institutions, and sees treatment of women and slaves as two examples of the same category of sin, then its treatment of marriage must have the same goal as its treatment of slavery – to do away with it. If that is not the case, then egals, just like comps see a huge difference between the two institutions – they too see one as fundamentally good, and the other as fundamentally problematic.”

    I agree that there is a huge difference between marriage and slavery. One is fundamentally good, and the other is fundamentally problematic. But as I said above in 1. , the real comparison is between Patriarchal authority in marriage and Patriarchal authority in slavery. So if the real comparison is valid, marriage itself, doesn’t have to end up the same as slavery. The question is whether the patriarchal authority is a good thing in both, a bad thing in both, or a good thing in one and not the other. If it is decided that patriarchal authority is similar in both, and bad in both, it doesn’t necessarily mean that marriage and slavery need to end up the same way. If you remove patriarchal authority from marriage you end up with marriage. Marriage can exist perfectly well without patriarchal authority (1 Cor 7:1-5, Gen 1 :26-28, Gen 2:23,24.). Can slavery?

    c.With regard to parents and children, you said,

    “In Ephesians 5 wives are to submit to their husbands as the Church does to Christ in everything. But this is seen to not have any authority implications because husbands aren’t called on to command their wives. This either misses the fact that the same issue is there with slaves and masters in chapter 6 – slaves are to obey masters, but masters aren’t told to command slaves or, if it is argued that here too masters and slaves are being put on the same footing without any authority, it misses the fact that the same thing is true of children and parents. Children are to obey parents, but fathers are not told to exercise authority or command them. The three relationships are clearly some kind of analogy of each other – three relationships where (at least traditionally in society at large) one party had some kind of authority over another. Egalitarianism either extracts marriage out as the relationship that doesn’t fit, extracts marriage and slavery out, or is consistent to the end and puts children and parents on an ‘equal’ footing where there is no authority in that relationship either.”

    Are the three relationships really an analogy of each other? Aren’t they just the three relationships that existed in the household with the Patriarch? Do they all have to end up the same after the principles of mutual submission and Christian love are applied? If there are good reasons for some authority to be exercised by parents over children I don’t see why this has to be the same for the other relationships.

    The patriarch is not told to exercise authority in these passages in any of his relationships so I certainly don’t think that it can be drawn from these passages that he must do this, or that we must do this today. We must look at the rest of the scriptures to determine if this is so. I think we find from other scriptures and practical wisdom that there are good reasons for parents to exercise authority over children.

    d.All these things seem very different to the egal arguments I hear with regard to comparing patriarchal authority over women and slaves.
    The argument I hear seems to be more along these lines:
    “Historically, up until a couple of hundred years ago, the church read the passages about masters/slaves as universal and normative. A big change occurred when Christians debated the slavery issue. Some Christians argued that a plain reading of some very clear bible texts showed that slavery is approved by God. Others disagreed by examining some of the big themes in scripture and the culture in which it was written. They argued that these passages didn’t teach what had been thought for hundreds of years.

    As Christians today have looked at the gender debate, many have seen a parallel between the arguments used for maintaining slavery and the arguments used for maintaing the authority of men over women in marriage and in the church.”

    The argument I hear is not “slavery is in the household codes, and everything in the household codes must be the same as each other, so marriage must be the same”.

    It is “slavery is in the household codes. It was always assumed to be normative. Perhaps we can’t just assume Patriarchal authority in marriage (and over children) is normative. We have to study the whole sweep of the scriptures to determine if what is said is normative, not just assume it is. We need to have some good reasons for what we believe.This was the error made by those who opposed the abolition of slavery. Patriarchal authority in marriage has to be studied throughout the bible to determine if it is normative, not just assume it is or isn’t because it is in the household codes”.

    Thanks for considering these things Mark, from your Christian brother,

    Craig.

  151. Craig,

    I think your arguments are terrific, I agree with all of them and I wouldn’t change a thing.

  152. Thanks for your encouragement, Kristen. I’ll let you know when Mark responds.

  153. When is Cheryl returning. I really miss her! :(

  154. Same for me, and I am sure for all of us. I do hope she has been able to get some much needed rest and refreshment from the Lord.

  155. No word from Mark yet.

  156. Craig, since we last wrote to one another, I learned some things that relate directly to our Sola Panel discussions and the issue of slavery.

    I recently found on CBE (Christians for Biblical Equality), a link to this 34-page essay by egalitarian leader Kevin Giles. It was written in response to a complementarian conference he attended in Melbourne, Australia in October 2010. As I read this over, it became increasingly clear to me that the attitudes of the Sola Panel contributors (that egalitarians were all “liberals” who had abandoned a high view of Scripture because we just didn’t want to obey the plain sense of the Bible with regards to women’s roles) were a direct result of that conference.

    Kevin Giles addresses directly the attitude that complementarians have some sort of moral high ground with regards to reading the Bible, which egalitarians have supposedly abandoned. I found his words very heartening.

    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=1NDHIo5sjTpBauEZ2P-J61YcjBjnMYsbbAhWaOtE9_OFiqz3FaCDhYEOWb1Wk&hl=en

    If the above link doesn’t enable you to read the document, please click on this link to the CBE artile and then on the words “response to the conference” on the fourth line down.
    http://blog.cbeinternational.org/2011/01/unity-in-difference/

    Of particular interest are his conclusions on pages 32-34. He says that it is human nature to cling to power and to justify the use of power, and that the Bible is the greatest source of justification there is; therefore, the opposition and vilification we receive as egalitarians is a direct result of our challenge to established male power in the church and home for evangelical Christians. He also noted something that I was unaware of: apparently Australian evangelicals are largely unaware of the track record of evangelicals in other countries using the Bible to cling to racial power. Mark’s apparent simplicity with regards to how slavery and male-female relations tie together, may be directly related to this unawareness that complementarians themselves are continuing in a grand tradition of Christian people in power clinging to power and using the Bible for justification. I’m going to post a couple of links to old pro-slavery writings that use the same arguments complementarians now use, to justify slave-holding as being the white man’s divine right.

  157. Looking at this pro-slavery treatise, especially on and after page 45, you will see the following arguments (these are summaries, not direct quotes):

    That the Church has traditionally, for 1800 years prior to the the current age, supported slavery.

    That the plain sense of the Scriptures is pro-slavery.

    That the problem is not the institution of slavery, but the abuse of it by some men.

    That those who oppose slavery are bowing to the godlessness of their own modern culture.

    That the African race is designed by God to be under the white race, as can be proved in the book of Genesis, and is happiest when it embraces that design.

    Also look at this source. The main argument here is that slavery was normative in the Bible and therefore should be considered divinely sanctioned today.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=4DYKAQAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=A+Scriptural+View+of+the+Moral+Relations+of+African+Slavery&source=bl&ots=Nu8-24kFqn&sig=qRdk6o-faYd9SA29Yn9AwWNrC_A&hl=en&ei=9y86Ta6jMJDEgAeM_aWvCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

  158. Sorry, the first source I meant to link didn’t get linked. Here it is:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=S1ZEtrmbPRwC&ots=lq1ATez_K9&dq=A%20Scriptural%2C%20Ecclesiastical%2C%20and%20Historical%20View%20of%20Slavery&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

    The whole thing is interesting, but the arguments I summarized mostly appear after page 45.

  159. Thanks Kristen for this information.

    egalitarians were all “liberals” who had abandoned a high view of Scripture because we just didn’t want to obey the plain sense of the Bible with regards to women’s roles

    One of speakers at the conference, Martin Pakula, contributed on the Sola Panel just after this conference and seemed to be advocating this view in the discussion.
    Some from my church have spoken highly of the talks from this conference. Thanks for the link to Kevin Giles’ comments.
    Thanks also for the links and your comments about slavery.

  160. Hi Kristen and others who may be interested in a response from Mark B to #150.
    Mark just sent me an email to apologize for not replying earlier. He has been busy with other priorities but he hopes to get on to it this week.

  161. I just got an email from Mark B. I will put material from my email to him in quotation marks, and Mark’s thoughts and reflections in normal font. Sorry again for the length.

    Hi Craig,
     
    Sorry this has taken a bit longer to get around to – we had a bit more illness towards the end of last week.  
    I think the best way for me to interact with what’s here, is to add my own thoughts and reflections after sections I want to comment on.
     

    Hi Mark,
    Thanks for your reply.
    I passed on the meat of your emails (not the personal stuff) to a spot where Kristen hangs out. Kristen gave quite a thoughtful response so I asked her if I could share it with you. She was fine with that.

     
    Heh, if I’d known this was what you meant by sharing it further I probably would have written something quite different. It wasn’t meant to be an argument why anyone else (certainly not an egal) should do this. It was a reflection on why I do. And I’m not an idealist about these things – people hold the views they do for good, bad and indifferent reasons, not simply because they have tight logical arguments. So if you ask me why I think something you’ll often get a different answer than if you ask me why I think something is right – those two aren’t quite the same thing. But that’s fine, spilt milk and all that.

    Following Kristen’s comments to me regarding your emails, I have written some of my own comments. 

    From Kristen
    Ok, I’m going to try to throw out a few thoughts here, off the top of my head. I’m not sure how clear they will be.?I think Mark’s view of the historical context oversimplifies. He says patriarchy is a “philosophy” (I assume he means a “system”) and patriarchal marriage, slavery and the parent-child relationship were all patriarchal in nature. Then he says that egalitarians believe Paul’s purpose was to subvert the practices of patriarchal marriage and slavery from within– but that in saying this, we ignore the parent-child relationship, which is also authority-based.?In order to say this, Mark appears to be defining “patriarchal” as meaning “based on the authority of one person over another.” But that’s not what “patriarchy” means– particularly as it was expressed in the 1st-century Roman Empire. “Patriarchy” in the Roman Empire meant a system of “households” which were different from our modern nuclear families. A “household” was an economic unit ruled by a patriarch– the “pater familias” who was the ruler of his wife, grown children, their children, and his slaves. It is a modern misconception to think that the only “children” who were being addressed in Ephesians 5 were minors.??Mark appears, then to be switching the real meaning of patriarchy with “relationships containing authority.” As you already pointed out, Craig, he starts with an apples-and-oranges comparison of “marriage” with “slavery,” where the true comparison would either be “marriage” with “economic relationships where one person works for another” OR “patriarchal rule in marriage” with “master-rule in slavery.” He then wants to say that the Bible’s approach to patriarchal marriage and patriarchal slavery was different– that there is evidence that slavery was not meant to be a permanent thing, while marriage (and therefore patriarchal marriage) was intended to be permanent. And the reason he appears to want to give for this is that parental authority over children is naturally a permanent thing. But he’s slipping in “marriage equals patriarchal marriage” as an unchallenged assumption.

     
    I think Kristen is right in that I don’t find this clear – not surprising as I doubt I am being clear either. My point is that both the Jewish (missed by Kristen when she classifies my position as a simplification) and the Roman societies had fathers in charge of children (certainly including adult dependents as she says), husbands in charge of wives, and owners (predominantly but not exclusively male) in charge of slaves. And they didn’t see one of those as patriarchy and the other two as not patriarchy.  All three were fairly naturally paired together – Paul’s household codes aren’t all that revolutionary by putting those three relationships side by side.
     
    And I’m not sure I’m slipping in ‘marriage equals patriarchal marriage’ as an unchallenged assumption.  My point was, I thought, that that is what marriage was for both Paul’s Jewish and Gentile readers. They didn’t have an abstract view of marriage and then go, ‘and of the ways marriage could be structured, we opt for patriarchal’ – they had one view of marriage: patriarchal. My statement has to do with what is being understood by the society and so what the words Paul writes are going to mean to that audience.
     

    But let’s do an apples-to-apples comparison instead of an apples-to-oranges.?Paul is talking about three basic relationships: the relationship where two humans unite to produce children, the relationship where two or more humans unite to accomplish an economic goal, and the relationship where one or two adults and one or more children unite to accomplish the goal of bringing the child to adulthood. Patriarchy approached each of these relationships with the idea that all the power was to be concentrated in the hands of one central human male, with other human males (his adult sons) given some delegated power, and everyone else (women, slaves and minor children) having no power at all.?Given that idea, one can say without any inconsistency at all that Paul’s goal was to teach a new way of approaching ALL THREE of these relationships such that power was shared. The human males in whose hands the power was concentrated, were told to act like Christ in laying down their lives for their wives, treating their slaves with humility, and not exasperating their children. The ones without power were told to respond by yielding (for wives) and obeying (for slaves and children). By making this differentiation, Paul is acknowledging the economic nature of the slave relationship (that in an economic production unit, someone has to be in charge), and also the economic nature of the father-child relationship where the children are adult males working for the “company” (which was the household). But the nature of the wife relationship is not economic, but one of intimacy and oneness– and Paul seeks to restore the oneness God intended in marriage, partly through the use of that word “submit” (”yield”) instead of “obey.
    For the relationship of parent to minor child, Paul also exhorts obedience– in this case because the child is not ready for adult responsibilities. But the fathers are to lay down power in that relationship as well.

    I think the ‘lay down power’ here is pretty tendentious. Almost any complementarian would say something like all this, but would say that what is going on is the reshaping of authority to be used as an exercise of service to those under authority rather than as a lording over them. My question here is – does Jesus model the kind of way of using authority that Kristen is speaking about here? Does he use it with humility? does he lay down his life, does he not exasperate us? And would she (and you) be happy with describing that as Jesus ‘laying down power’ in his relationship with us?
     
    I certainly wouldn’t be happy to use such language about the one I call Lord. And yet he is the model, and I don’t see it as a model of laying down power, but of using it in a servant way.
     
    And again, this is the kind of ‘this but that’ reading that is just so hard to pin down. Is Paul writing in such a way that indicates that these relationships have authority or not? Kristen seems to be suggesting ‘yes’ – but in such a way that over time we’d move beyond the letter of what Paul has said to the spirit of it and move to more egalitarian relationships.  You seem to be saying ‘no’ – there’s nothing in these texts, we need to look elsewhere.
     
    ?

    What Paul is NOT doing is saying that any and all authority in relationships is bad. But he IS saying that in authority relationships, those in power are to look on those under their power as of full, equal value and dignity. This would tend, over time, to subvert patriarchy– where power was concentrated in the hands of a male– in favor of more balanced-power relationships, such as our current employer-employee relationships, or modern parent-child relationships where the state views the children as having fundamental rights which the parents cannot violate with impunity.

    Agree with the first two sentences. Partly agree with the rest, but not so sure it is as simple as Kristen thinks. If we lost the wealth that modern society can produce and went back to the kind of society where it is big grind to produce enough food to feed people and there is little discretionary capacity in society for people not to be involved in food production (and so not much of a police force or bureacracy, let alone any social welfare or universal education) then I think we’d return to more authoratarian society strucutres fairly quickly, even with a view of universal human dignity. I think we have little grasp how much what we take for granted is actually the conditions of a society where everyone is rich. Even our poor people have a kind of wealth unimaginable in earlier eras.
     
    ?

    Given this context, then, the egalitarian can easily agree with Mark that the Bible– including this Eph. 5 passage– treats marriage differently than the other two relationships. But “marriage” does not have to mean “marriage in which patriarchy remains intact” any more than “an economic relationship where one person works for another” has to mean “slavery.” Marriage is an intimate relationship between two people, in which (in Paul’s time) all the power was concentrated in the hands of the male. Take power out of the hands of the male and share half of it with the female– and you have not changed the fundamental nature of marriage itself; you have only changed its patriarchal structure. It is MARRIAGE, not PATRIARCHAL marriage, which the Bible treats as a special, God-given relationship from the beginning of the creation of humanity. It is not inconsistent for Paul to seek to remove the male-power structure from this relationship at the same time he seeks to remove the male-power structure from slavery and parenthood (which I think he does), while at the same time treating marriage as something unique among all other relationships.

    I think this might be begging the question – no insult intended there, it’s Kristen’s off the top of the head thoughts to my off the top of the head thoughts.
     
    My argument isn’t that Paul can’t change the relationships. It’s that I find the egaltarian case implausible as a description of how it would be received in the patriarchal society of the day. The NT leaves slavery and children in place (but does that while somehow also saying that slavery is unequivocally wrong), but Ephesians 5 is radically redrawing the readers’ view of the nature of marriage – a shift as big for its day as the idea of Same Sex Marriage is for the modern era, and it does this while putting the three relationships next to each other and heading them up with ‘submit to one another’. All three are patriarchal, two are kept, one is transformed head-on, but all three are ‘submit to one another in Christ’. I can see how a modern can read it that way. But put yourself into the shoes of someone who does not even have the concept of egalitarianism in their head and the only way they think is patriarchal.  Is it plausible that they’d ‘hear’ it this way? They don’t have a view of ‘marriage’, they only have a view of ‘patriarchal marriage’ – will they hear this text this way?
     

    So, given the above– what is it about the parent-child relationship that makes it still necessary for minor children to obey their parents? The fact is that in this relationship, the necessity for obedience still exists, due to the nature of minor children. It is not inconsistent for egalitarians to acknowledge this as a fact, while also acknowledging that the partriarchal system in which adult children were still supposed to obey the pater familias, was unnecessary, has now passed away and there is no need to go back to it. Similarly, the need still exists in an economic relationship for the worker to obey the business owner– but the old structure that gave the owner absolute power over the life and personhood of the worker, was unnecessary, has now passed away, and there is no need to go back to it. In marriage, the power structure that gave the male the power over the female is unnecessary, has passed away– and yet the church still clings to it and tries in every way to restore it. That is what the egalitarian objects to– not legitimate use of authority in necessary ways acknowledged by society, but illegitimate use of ancient forms of power that are now viewed as unjust by society– the perpetuation of which ends up damaging the gospel of Christ, in Whom we are supposed to be set free.

    From Craig
    Thanks for helping me think through the issues. I don’t find it easy but I think it is beneficial. My name may be “Swift” but it does take me a fair while to process the information :)
    Just some thoughts and questions as I am thinking about what you have written. Sorry if some of them seem a bit jumbled.
    1.The apples to apples comparison that I would see is
    Patriarchal rule in marriage with Patriarchal rule in slavery or
    Patriarchal rule over wives with Patriarchal rule over slaves. 
    Sorry to harp on this one but I am just checking that this is the comparison in your mind, so that when you say things like “Marriage….  explicitly features in the story in Gen 1-2,”  and “Putting it together, marriage is basically seen as something given in creation, that is the pattern for the New Creation relationship with Christ, and that is fundamentally good.” I think to myself “Yes, but what has that got to do with the question?” Everyone agrees with these things. The question is not about how foundational marriage is, but rather how foundational is patriarchal authority in marriage. That is quite different in my mind and a much more difficult thing to establish. So I am wondering if your main argument is really things like “Patriarchal authority in marriage…… explicitly features in the story in Gen 1-2,”  and “Putting it together, Patriarchal authority in marriage is basically seen as something given in creation, that is the pattern for the New Creation relationship with Christ, and that is fundamentally good.”

     
    Well, there’s a bunch of things going on:
    1. The Bible indicates that marriage is built into Creation and New Creation, and is good.
    2. The Bible doesn’t do that for slavery.
    3. The society of the day had a unanimous strong view about both marriage and slavery that was patriarchal, and Jewish exegesis of the Bible understood the texts patriarchally.
    4. The Bible does teach a structure of marriage, either patriarchal or egalitarian.
     
    My argument was that the Bible does treat marriage and slavery as different – one is built in and fundamentally good, one is not built in and is not an unequivocal good.  That’s one argument.
     
    The second argument is that the audience doesn’t have a view of marriage (big abstract category) and then has opted for a specific version – patriarchal.  They hold to ‘marriage’ which simply is what we call ‘patriarchal marriage’. Many of them wouldn’t even recognise an egalitarian marriage as marriage at all (in much the same way that many of us wouldn’t recognise same sex marriage as marriage at all), while others might but see it as very wrong (likewise us for same sex marriage).  For Paul to attack patriarchal marriage and reform its structure to bring out the biblical vision of an egalitarian marriage is, for the readers, to attack ‘marriage’ altogether and to put forward something new that is called ‘marriage’.  What is on view is a radical, truly radical, restructuring of the institution from the point of view of the original readers.
     
    That is, on the egalitarian view, Paul is trying to address three problematic relationships his readers are faced with in a patriarchal society – slavery, marriage, children. What he’s doing is addressing those institutions, he’s not offering ethical teaching in a vaccuum. And those institutions, as they actually were in reality, were patriarchal, and the people wouldn’t have had a view like ‘there’s the true essence of marriage and then there’s the way you structure it, and we go for patriarchal’ so that Paul could easily drop the patriarchal structure and bring out the true egalitarian essence of the institution any more than people a generation ago would have found same sex marriage at all plausible – a bringing out of the essential nature of marriage and dropping the heterosexual structure for it. And in doing that addressing the actual patriarchal institutions he’s faced with, Paul’s responses are quite different even though he offers the same basic reasons for all three. That works for a modern reader, but the more I try and put myself back into the original context the less plausible it becomes. The argument only works if you already have a concept of egalitarianism in your head as a live option and then read the texts to work out whether they teach egal or comp. It doesn’t work if Paul is trying to create the concept of egalitarianism in a culture (even Jewish culture that has the Scriptures) that has no concept at all of such things. Hopefully that’ll go some way to your 2a and 2b below.
     

    2.Regarding your problems with the egal approach.
    a.I am not sure myself that the household codes are written to rescue or reform institutions (or to endorse them either). They seem to me to be more about encouraging godly living and relationships amongst the members of the household within the culture and situations people find themselves in. If you are a slave this is how you are to live. If you are a master, this is how you are to live.  Paul is encouraging mutual submission, mutual yielding to the needs of others, mutual love and servanthood. 
    b.You said Mark,
     “ If the household codes are attacking authority and authority bound institutions, and sees treatment of women and slaves as two examples of the same category of sin, then its treatment of marriage must have the same goal as its treatment of slavery – to do away with it.  If that is not the case, then egals, just like comps see a huge difference between the two institutions – they too see one as fundamentally good, and the other as fundamentally problematic.”
     I agree that there is a huge difference between marriage and slavery. One is  fundamentally good, and the other is fundamentally problematic. But as I said above in 1. , the real comparison is between Patriarchal authority in marriage and Patriarchal authority in slavery. So if the real comparison is valid, marriage itself, doesn’t have to end up the same as slavery. The question is whether the patriarchal authority is a good thing in both, a bad thing in both, or a good thing in one and not the other. If it is decided that patriarchal authority is similar in both, and bad in both, it doesn’t necessarily mean that marriage and slavery need to end up the same way. If you remove patriarchal authority from marriage you end up with marriage. Marriage can exist perfectly well without patriarchal authority (1 Cor 7:1-5, Gen 1 :26-28, Gen 2:23,24.). Can slavery? 
    c.With regard to parents and children, you said,
    “In Ephesians 5 wives are to submit to their husbands as the Church does to Christ in everything. But this is seen to not have any authority implications because husbands aren’t called on to command their wives.  This either misses the fact that the same issue is there with slaves and masters in chapter 6 – slaves are to obey masters, but masters aren’t told to command slaves or, if it is argued that here too masters and slaves are being put on the same footing without any authority, it misses the fact that the same thing is true of children and parents.  Children are to obey parents, but fathers are not told to exercise authority or command them. The three relationships are clearly some kind of analogy of each other – three relationships where (at least traditionally in society at large) one party had some kind of authority over another.  Egalitarianism either extracts marriage out as the relationship that doesn’t fit, extracts marriage and slavery out, or is consistent to the end and puts children and parents on an ‘equal’ footing where there is no authority in that relationship either.”
    Are the three relationships really an analogy of each other? Aren’t they just the three relationships that existed in the household with the Patriarch? Do they all have to end up the same after the principles of mutual submission and Christian love are applied? If there are good reasons for some authority to be exercised by parents over children I don’t see why this has to be the same for the other relationships.
    The patriarch is not told to exercise authority in these passages in any of his relationships so I certainly don’t think that it can be drawn from these passages that he must do this, or that we must do this today. We must look at the rest of the scriptures to determine if this is so. I think we find from other scriptures and practical wisdom that there are good reasons for parents to exercise authority over children.

    My point here has to do with the argument that Paul has no authority in view because it is not mentioned explicitly. And I think the argument is sound – if that’s a good principle of Biblical interpretation, then it must apply to all three relationships. It can’t just apply to one. I agree with you that we need to look more widely than just the words to the husband in the passage.
     For me, 5:22 and 5:24 can’t be reconciled to an egalitarian understanding.  Wives are to submit to their husbands as to the Lord, and as the church submits to Christ in everything so wives are to their husbands. Are there two kinds of submission that we offer to the Lord? One where he does not have authority, and one where he does? And if so, how do we distinguish between them? And if not, how can we submit to someone as to the Lord, and yet that not indicate authority? How would such words have been understood by an overwhelming patriarchal society with no pre-existent concept of egalitarianism?
    Similarly the Petrine household code seems incompatible with an egalitarian reading of Eph 5 (as even Suzanne seemed to acknowledge on the threads, which I found interesting). In 1 Peter 2:13 Peter calls on Christians to submit to every human institution (and, interestingly in v16 this is part of what it means to be act as free men – the submission we offer is not slavish, but that of those who are free). He then tells slaves to submit to masters in v18. The same language, with a ‘in the same way’ is given to wives. He doesn’t tell them to only do this to unbelieving husbands (which one might expect if it really was just unbelieving husbands that was in view as many egalitarian readings suggest) and his invoking of Sarah calling Abraham lord and obeying him, as well as the holy women of former times who hoped in God, really cuts against that grain as Abraham and Sarah are OT paradigms of faith. In 1 Peter 2 and 3 husbands aren’t told to exercise authority either, but if Sarah and the holy women submitting to their husbands is the example, and it’s ‘in the same way’ as slaves to their masters, then it’s hard to see how it is not being assumed. 
     

    d.All these things seem very different to the egal arguments I hear with regard to comparing patriarchal authority over women and slaves.
    The argument I hear seems to be more along these lines:
    “Historically, up until a couple of hundred years ago, the church read the passages about masters/slaves as universal and normative. A big change occurred when Christians debated the slavery issue. Some Christians argued that a plain reading of some very clear bible texts showed that slavery is approved by God. Others disagreed by examining some of the big themes in scripture and the culture in which it was written. They argued that these passages didn’t teach what had been thought for hundreds of years.
    As Christians today have looked at the gender debate, many have seen a parallel between the arguments used for maintaining slavery and the arguments used for maintaing the authority of men over women in marriage and in the church.”
    The argument I hear is not “slavery is in the household codes, and everything in the household codes must be the same as each other, so marriage must be the same”.
    It is “slavery is in the household codes. It was always assumed to be normative. Perhaps we can’t just assume Patriarchal authority in marriage (and over children) is normative. We have to study the whole sweep of the scriptures to determine if what is said is normative, not just assume it is. We need to have some good reasons for what we believe.This was the error made by those who opposed the abolition of slavery. Patriarchal authority in marriage has to be studied throughout the bible to determine if it is normative, not just assume it is or isn’t because it is in the household codes”.

     
    Well, the first bit of the argument is wrong, I think. Calvin and Luther don’t try and reintroduce slavery into the 16th Century, for example, which one would expect them to do if Christians have always considered slavery to be normative. The early church did not campaign to keep slavery going, or hold it up as something universally and unqualifiedly good. So it’s a misperception about how the Church understood slavery – similar to the argument that all Christians believed that the Bible taught a flat world before Galileo.  There are a number of early church fathers who believed (like many philosophers at that time) in a round world.
     
    So the issues aren’t parallel. The mainstream tradition did not think that slavery was obligatory (i.e. normative) – that God wanted slaves in all times and places. Usually people argued (at most) that it was possible under certain conditions. And there had been different views on the shape of the world. But no-one believed that the passages in question taught an egalitarian view of marriage. The people arguing for slavery didn’t just peg their case on the household codes either – they drew on a wide range of texts as well for their position, so that part of the argument is wrong as well.
     
    Further, there is a disanalogy in that those contesting slavery and arguing for a round world were going against the grain of the society of the day, while those supporting the received position were reflecting the consensus of their society. In the current debate that shoe is on the other foot – egalitarianism is the view that seems reasonable and obvious to our unbelieving contemporaries.
     
    I agree with the basic point – have to show from the Bible as a whole, and not just assume. But I think the other side has to be in play as well. To say that the whole church got it wrong for two thousand years about something so ethically important is a big claim. To say that at a time when the view in question simply reflects the moral intuition of our own society is an orange light. The teaching of scripture has to be really, really, really clear for that to be the case. And egal reasoning on these things is hardly ‘clear’, even if it is true, it is more like ‘torturous’ or ‘subtle’ as a description. That can’t decide matters, but it needs to be given some significant weight.
     

    Thanks for considering these things Mark, from your Christian brother,
    Craig.

    You’re welcome Craig, glad you’re putting so much thought into things. Sorry I’m a bit distracted at the moment.
     
    in Christ,
    Mark

  162. Craig,

    Mark’s post is interesting but makes me a little sad. Especially the way he appears to view Jesus– his words about Jesus as his Lord seem to coincide with those of Peter when he said, “Lord, you shall never wash my feet!” But Jesus apparently thought it necessary to act as if he were Peter’s lowly slave, in order for Peter to understand what Jesus had come to do. But I’m mostly sad because Mark still seems blind to the fact that women, just like slaves, were meant by God to become fully functioning, full-status individuals in the Kingdom. And his point of view represents something deeply entrenched in the church as a whole. How long, O Lord?

    At any rate, I will come up with a reply, but it will take me some time.

  163. It is always sad for me to see yet another man who views life as given by God to be all about who has authority and who doesn’t. Then, of course, there is the question of how to exercise that authority and how those under it are to respect it, honor it, and yield to it even obey it. But seldom do they question that foundation.

  164. Thanks Kristen and TL for reading and thinking about all of this material. I really appreciate any thoughts you or others have, whether they be on just one small point, or on all that Mark has written.

  165. “To say that the whole church got it wrong for two thousand years about something so ethically important is a big claim.”

    This is not really a valid concern. Humanity has gotten so much so wrong for so long, its really a wonder we get much right. Even with the presence of the Holy Spirit in the sacred temple, God’s people were doing much wrong, much from selfishness. Only the priest had a real inspiration to keep pure, since they’d lose their lives when they went into the Holy place if they weren’t right with God. But its our sinful nature to fool ourselves into accepting as much wrong behavior as we can get away with. That leaves a lot of social behavior as open for gaming. And we do. I always find it amazing how much our leaders can get away with doing while still remaining in positions of leadership.

    Holiness of heart, intent, and thought are really the last battlegrounds. Yet, it is from there that all our actions proceed.

  166. Interesting!

    I think Mark needs to re-read Ephesians 5-6. To claim that Paul is NOT suggesting big challenges to the then understanding of slavery/master and parent/child relationships is plain wrong. To tell slaves to submit to their masters freely as to the Lord and to then tell the masters to treat their slaves in the same way IS A BIG DEAL!! For fathers to be told not to exasperate their children – A BIG DEAL!!

    With respect (well…a little bit, perhaps) I think Mark is once again relying on longwinded but not well thought through arguments. I think what Paul wrote to a society that was patriarchal about marriage makes perfect sense for someone who was trying to introduce egal thinking – not reinforce patriarchal thinking. I have no doubt that the Ephesians understood marriage as patriarchal – which is exactly why Paul said what he did.

    Mark also needs to go back to the beginning of Eph 5 where Paul tells everyone to imitate Christ who gave his life for others. This coupled with his statement that we should submit to one another are very radical statements to make in a patriarchal society. It is no wonder that he felt he needed to emphasise the point to husbands, slave owners and parents. BUT – how does emphasising the point to them somehow negate it?

    How we can turn things on their head!

  167. Hi TL,
    @165

    “To say that the whole church got it wrong for two thousand years about something so ethically important is a big claim.”
    This is not really a valid concern.

    I agree that this argument carries little weight. Many individuals, groups, denominations, if not all Christians for varying amounts of time throughout history have got some pretty important issues wrong.
    Am I correct in thinking that it is only fairly recently (in terms of 2000 years) that Christians have generally been willing to at least say that women are not inferior to men- that they are equal in value? Haven’t they generally been thought of as more easily deceived? Yet I don’t think Mark would say that women are inferior and that they are more easily deceived.
    I think there would be things taught at Moore Theological College (where I think Mark studied) that have only been really accepted within the last few centuries if not less.

  168. Hi Craig,

    It wasn’t always that way with God’s people. But at various times in world history, humans have devalued women. It influenced the people of God in how they read Scriptures. Women were thought to be mentally inferior, to be created as sexual beings for the benefit of men, to produce children, to please men and so forth. There are some devastatingly cruel and arrogant things Christian and Jewish men have written about women in history.

    Yet, rather relevant to how the Holy Spirit has always had a remnant who could be reached, there have always been a remnant of men and women who viewed women with respect and honor. And that goes with anything imbalanced I imagine. There were always people in the world who saw through racism of various kinds, gender prejudices and so forth. Women were preaching in the 1800’s and before, writing books, being evangelists, etc. even while generally they were not allowed to get an education. There are stories of women like Thecla (not many years after Christ ascended) who were amazing ministers of God’s Word in spite of those who thought them indecent to do so.

  169. Thanks TL.
    What I was trying to think of was an example where Mark himself would agree that the church was generally wrong for “x” number of years and so the argument he is using is not valid. Just because something has been generally believed by the church for “x” number of years doesn’t make it right.
    I have heard it said that comps like Mark really aren’t that traditional themselves because even his view of women is different (and better) than the church has traditionally believed. They say how new the egal view is but there are aspects to the traditional view that even they can’t swallow and have therefore changed.
    Of course, throughout history, as you say, I am sure that the Holy Spirit has been doing amazing things through remnants that aren’t bound by the traditions of men.

  170. Craig– one example is the “divine right of kings.”

  171. Mark said,

    “what is going on is the reshaping of authority to be used as an exercise of service to those under authority rather than as a lording over them. My question here is – does Jesus model the kind of way of using authority that Kristen is speaking about here? Does he use it with humility? does he lay down his life, does he not exasperate us? And would she (and you) be happy with describing that as Jesus ‘laying down power’ in his relationship with us? 
    I certainly wouldn’t be happy to use such language about the one I call Lord. And yet he is the model, and I don’t see it as a model of laying down power, but of using it in a servant way.”

    But is Paul really reshaping authority so it is service rather than lording over? I think the same question arises in Matt 20:24-28.
    Mark is rightly concerned with how the readers of the time would have understood what is said in the bible. A servant had no authority over anyone he served. Wouldn’t an exercise of service be viewed as an exercise that wasn’t with authority. When Jesus washed the disciples feet and calls us to serve one another, submit to one another, be as slaves to one another, he is not telling us how to exercise authority. Christians at that time would have understood that serving others had nothing to do with authority.
    I am happy to describe Jesus as “laying down power” Phil 2. Isn’t this central to what Jesus did for us on the cross? He is the King of the universe, but He laid down His power, “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, humbling himself.”
    Do others have the same sort of response to this comment of Mark’s? Is this where you were heading Kristen @162? I look forward to your further comments as you have the time.

  172. Mark said,

    For me, 5:22 and 5:24 can’t be reconciled to an egalitarian understanding. Wives are to submit to their husbands as to the Lord, and as the church submits to Christ in everything so wives are to their husbands. Are there two kinds of submission that we offer to the Lord? One where he does not have authority, and one where he does? And if so, how do we distinguish between them? And if not, how can we submit to someone as to the Lord, and yet that not indicate authority? How would such words have been understood by an overwhelming patriarchal society with no pre-existent concept of egalitarianism?

    Does anyone have any comments on this? Thanks.

  173. Thanks Kristen for #170.

  174. As Christ says in Matt. 20:26-28, the point is to NOT exercise authority over others, RATHER we are to serve and become freely committed slaves in serving the Body of Christ.

  175. @ Craig, #172.

    I would like to comment that Mark has assumed that when the church submits to Christ it does so because of authority – Christ’s authority. As I have argued many times, submission does not dictate authority. Add to this the words of Jesus in John 15:14-15 and we are reminded that Jesus does not see his relationship with us as one of master/servant, but friends. In saying this I am not denying who Jesus is, though scripture does not suggest he has authority but rather that he is above all authority (Eph 1:21) and the origin of all authroity (Col 1:15-19, 2:10). Jesus does not need authority…he invented it!

    Now Paul might have been talking to an overwhelmingly patriarchal society at this point, but they were also a church and I assume they understood to some degree the relationship Jesus has with his brother and sisters (Eph 1:4-5, 5:1&8).

    I don’t think Mark can reconcile these passages to an egal argument because he has not listened to an egal argument!

  176. Hi Dave,
    Thanks for #172. I always appreciate your comments. Thanks for being willing to “argue many times” because I am a bit slow and each time it sinks in a bit better and I appreciate a different angle.
    We are studying Galatians at church at the moment. I wonder if the comp view of our relationship with Christ is a bit like law vs grace. Submitting to the Lord is viewed as the obligation of complete obedience of a slave to the all powerful master rather a loving, voluntary, joyful response to all that Christ has done in His love and grace.

  177. Sorry Dave, I meant thanks for #175.

  178. “I wonder if the comp view of our relationship with Christ is a bit like law vs grace. Submitting to the Lord is viewed as the obligation of complete obedience of a slave to the all powerful master rather a loving, voluntary, joyful response to all that Christ has done in His love and grace.”

    That would help to explain some of their legalistic tendencies.

  179. Just thinking aloud. Why do you think Paul said in 5:21
    Submit to one another “out of reverence (or fear) of Christ” rather than “out of love, thankfulness, joy in our relationship with Christ”?

  180. Craig,

    thinking out loud back. I suspect it has something to do with God’s great gift of salvation. He has graced us so much. It is only reasonable that we seek to be more like Him, extend grace to one another without demanding anything in return, such as obedience or anything really. Christ does not demand obedience to Himself. He encourages strongly for us to obey the truth, become holy, do good toward one another.

  181. Thanks TL, but unless I am not following you I am not sure that this answers my “wonderings”. I am wondering why Paul chose “fear of Christ” rather than as a “loving response to God’s grace”as the motivation for submitting to one another. Maybe I am contrasting these too much?
    Dave commented how “Jesus does not see his relationship with us as one of master/servant, but friends”.
    If Dave is correct and this is the aspect of the relationship with Jesus that Paul is emphasizing when he tells wives to submit to husbands as to the Lord, why would he not say in v21 submit to one another out of “friendship with Christ” rather than out of “fear of Christ”?

  182. I note that in the Greek verse 21 actually says “Be subject to one another in fear of God”, not Jesus. This goes some way to helping us…I guess! Paul is not asking us to submit as a result of our relationship with the Son, but with God (Godhead? The Father?). It follows on from verse 20 that tells us to give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  183. I preached on Matthew 10:26-33 this morning. Jesus tells us not to fear men who can only(!) kill the body, but rather be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Thats God, by the way!

    As Proverbs 9:10 reminds us, the Fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom. 1 JOhn 4:18 reminds us that [perfect love drives out all fear.

    I guess Paul talked in terms of fear, but in the context of a letter that speaks about God’s perfect love in Jesus Christ (Eph 1:4-10, 5:1-2). But it all starts with a fear of the Lord, otherwise Grace is meaningless.

  184. Must be one of those variant reading thingies because one Greek text I looked up says “God” and another says “Christ”. KJV has “God”. NIV, ESV, NASB have “Christ”.

  185. Hmmmm…. perhaps it is. I will check it out and get back to you.

    It is nice to visit this lovely forum again!

  186. Regarding 5:21. The Greek from Textus Receptus has “God”, and the Greek from the Majority Text and Westcott-Hort/Netle-Aland have “Christ”. Bad place to have textual variants if you ask me.

  187. In order for Mark to read authority into 5:22, he also has to establish authority in 5:21. I didn’t read through the whole email so maybe he has attempted that. I know that CBMW tries to make the submission in 5:21 to be to an authority, but it is a complete fantasy. Without authority in 5:21, there is no way to establish it in 5:22. Comps have a very difficult time with this, which is why they try to completely disassociate 5:21 from 5:22.

  188. Westcott-Hort/Netle-Aland actually have Christos instead of Theo. That’s weird. Scripture4all.org has Theo. They are using the Scrivener 1894 Textus Receptus edition. The said:

    “One should also recognize that NO printed Receptus Greek text edition agrees 100% with the aggregate Byzantine manuscript tradition (Majority/Traditional Text), nor with the Greek text presumed to underlie the Authorized Version. However, all printed Receptus texts DO approximate the Byzantine Textform closely enough (around 98% agreement) to claim a near-identity of reading between those Receptus forms and the majority of all manuscripts.”

  189. Just thinking about an inconsistency I see in the comp position and wondering how to express it best. Any thoughts to correct or improve it are welcome.
    In the culture of the day a servant/slave had no authority and was under the authority of his master. If the word “slave” was used, people thought of one under authority.
    Yet Comps can usually accept that one can serve someone else without implying being under the authority of the one being served.
    If someone is said to be a servant of someone else in the bible, or commanded to serve someone else in the bible, or we are commanded to serve one other Gal 5:13 no thought of being under authority comes to mind. We may think of it as voluntarily giving of ourselves to meet the needs of others. We think of this as something all Christians should do- male or female.
    Similarly, comps argue that in the culture of the day if someone submits to someone else, then it means that this person is under the authority of the one being submitted to.
    Why is “submission” treated differently to “service”?
    Why is it that if one submits to someone else, it implies being under the authority of the one being submitted to?
    Why is it that if someone is said to submit to someone else in the bible, or commanded to submit to someone else in the bible, or we are commanded to submit to one another Eph 5:21 the thought of being under authority immediately comes to mind. Why does it seem so unthinkable that it could be voluntarily yielding of our own desires to put others first and meet their needs Phil 2:3,4. Why can’t we think of this as something all Christians should do- male or female?
    Just hypothetically, what would comps think if after Galatians 5:13, Paul had written
    “Wives, “serve” your husbands as you “serve” the Lord. As the church “serves” Christ, so also wives should “serve” their husbands in everything.” Would they limit Gal 5:13 as just those under authority are to serve those in authority over them? Would it mean that husbands did not need to serve their wives? Would it without doubt mean that husbands are in authority over their wives, just as Christ is over the church?

  190. Craig,
    You might find useful/interesting some of Mark’s recent comments on the Sola Panel discussion “Choosing the hill to die on.”

  191. Westcott-Hort/Netle-Aland actually have Christos instead of Theo. That’s weird. Scripture4all.org has Theo. They are using the Scrivener 1894 Textus Receptus edition. The said:

    :)

  192. Why is it that if one submits to someone else, it implies being under the authority of the one being submitted to?
    Why is it that if someone is said to submit to someone else in the bible, or commanded to submit to someone else in the bible, or we are commanded to submit to one another Eph 5:21 the thought of being under authority immediately comes to mind. Why does it seem so unthinkable that it could be voluntarily yielding of our own desires to put others first and meet their needs Phil 2:3,4. Why can’t we think of this as something all Christians should do- male or female?
    Just hypothetically, what would comps think if after Galatians 5:13, Paul had written
    “Wives, “serve” your husbands as you “serve” the Lord. As the church “serves” Christ, so also wives should “serve” their husbands in everything.” Would they limit Gal 5:13 as just those under authority are to serve those in authority over them? Would it mean that husbands did not need to serve their wives? Would it without doubt mean that husbands are in authority over their wives, just as Christ is over the church?

    lol

  193. Hi Pinklight,
    I hope “lol” means that you thought the reasoning of #189 was ok. I just sent something with similar reasoning to Mark B. I thought it may be easier to deal with one thing at a time from the very long email @161. How are you going Kristen? Are you still planning on replying to Mark?

  194. Yeah, Craig I was just observing your reasoning and questioning. It’s good :)

  195. I checked both of my Greek NT editions and they both have Christ, not God for 5:21. In case people are not aware, these NTs both have notes on any textal variant worth mentioning, for which they then list the manuscripts containing the various variants. This allows the reader to determine which might be the original. The reason I keep two editions is the older edition sometimes has variants that are now no longer considered worth mentioning.

    Well, both editions have Christ and neither have any referance to a variant they consider worth mentioning. This very strongly suggests that the original is considered Christ, and has been for the past 40 years.

    By the way, there is a committee who decide what is and is not worth mentioning. They provide notes for their decisions and how they made them. For them to not even mention ‘God’ as an option suggests a very strong case for accepting ‘CHrist’.

  196. So if this is the case…perhaps someone would like to clarify why Paul exhorted the Ephesians to submit to one another out of fear of Christ!

  197. Thanks Pinklight @194.
    Hey Dave. Good question @196 :) I was hoping you would have the answer and I could sit back and enjoy!

  198. Just thinking aloud.
    2 problems in the church (and culture):
    1. Abusive authority. Submission in fear of man. Corrected by “not in the fear of man, but in the fear of Christ”.
    2. Only unidirectional submission. Corrected by “one another”.

  199. Ahhh, if only CHeryl was here!

    I enjoyed your ponderings Craig. Sorry I cannot answer the questions.

    I your ponderings you mentioned that Christ is in authority over the church. I have done a bit of a search and cannot find scripture where it says Jesus in authority over the church. Can comeone help me?

    I did find that Jesus is the origin of all authority.
    I found that Peter describes the supreme authority we should submit to is the emperor!
    I found in Corinthians that one day Jesus will destroy all authority.
    I found that while on earth the Son of Man had authority to forgive sins.

    I wonder how much we miss if we see Jesus as an authority figure as opposed to the source of all authority. I think there is a difference.

    Just another question for you Craig. For too long you have been the asker…! :)

  200. “How are you going Kristen? Are you still planning on replying to Mark?”

    I have not gotten anything ready yet. It took him almost a month to get back to us. I figure it won’t hurt him to wait a bit. (grin)

  201. Hi Dave,
    “In your ponderings you mentioned that Christ is in authority over the church.”
    Where did I actually ponder that Dave? Not saying I didn’t, I just don’t remember it. Maybe I am at that age…….

  202. Hi Dave,

    I have done a bit of a search and cannot find scripture where it says Jesus in authority over the church. Can comeone help me?

    Jesus gives us commands to us (an indication of authority), and after saying that all authority had been given to Him in Matt 28:18 he commands the disciples to go therefore…

  203. Hi Kristen,
    Are there any single issues that Mark raises that you would like to discuss here first, or would you prefer to wait and do one single reply when you are ready?

  204. Craig, it was in your ponderings at the bottom of 189, “Would it without doubt mean that husbands are in authority over their wives, just as Christ is over the church?”.

    Yeah, commands are an indication of authority, and Jesus does command us as his disciples. But where does he command the church? As individuals we are not the church.

    I guess where I am going is, if we believe there are some similarities between husbands and wives and Christ and the Church (which is scriptural), then what do we do with authority if CHrist exercises authority over the church? I guess I want to first ask if Jesus does exercise authority over the church.

    Think of the picture of the church from Rev 22:17…the Church works in unison with the Spirit, if not now, then in the future. Is it really a relationship of authority, or rather one of working together as we conform to the likeness of Christ (Rom 12)?

    PLease don’t hear me wrong. As Jesus is the origin of all authority he has all power and dominion…but it this how he relates to his bride?

    Just thinking out loud…because I have time at the moment!

  205. “I guess where I am going is, if we believe there are some similarities between husbands and wives and Christ and the Church (which is scriptural), then what do we do with authority if CHrist exercises authority over the church?”

    We have to stick with the metaphor that Paul gave: the husband is “head” of the wife as Christ is “head” of the church. That means that the husband as “head” cannot be different towards his wife than what Christ is towards the church as its “head.” It does NOT mean the husband can take on other roles of Christ towards the church than “head.”
    Christ is “Lord” of the church (which definitely entails authority), but “head” as used in Ephesians is not synonymous with “lord.” Christ is the Object of worship of the church– but “head” as used in Ephesians is not synonymous with “object of worship.” Husbands must not appropriate other roles than “head” when it comes to their wives– and Ephesians itself identifies what “head” means. It has to do with being the source of growth and provision (as per Eph. 4). It has to do with going down to the church’s level and raising her up to be “seated” with Him above all other things (per Eph. 1). But “head” as used throughout Ephesians is simply not about an authority-subordinate relationship. “Lord” has that meaning, but husbands are never told they are “lord” of their wives.
    As far as I can see, the issue is not that Christ is not in authority over the church. The issue is that being “head” is not about authority.

  206. When I said,
    “But “head” as used throughout Ephesians is simply not about an authority-subordinate relationship,” I was referring to “head” as related to “body.” As the “body,” the church is raised up to be WITH Christ– it is everything else that is under His feet. The husband is to raise his wife up to be beside him in authority– not to consider her under his feet.

  207. Craig said,

    “Are there any single issues that Mark raises that you would like to discuss here first, or would you prefer to wait and do one single reply when you are ready?”
    Right now I don’t know whether or not I want to discuss anything. As I formulate my reply, I might raise an issue or two here. I certainly will want you all to respond to what I say before anything gets sent to Mark.
    Thanks for asking!

  208. Hi Kristen,

    I was not sticking to the metaphor that Paul makes, because scripture provides more on the metaphor than what Paul does in Ephesians. I agree with what you said in relation to what Paul says in Ephesians.

    I accept that Christ is Lord of each of us in the church, but where are we told that he is Lord over the church, or Lord of the church?

    You said, “It has to do with going down to the church’s level and raising her up to be “seated” with Him above all other things (per Eph. 1). ”
    If this is the case, then how is Jesus Lord over her?

    I see in John 15 Jesus telling his disciples to love each other – a new commandment. Thus he would appear in authority over them, and yet it is the command that he himself has obeyed and involves laying down your life – even to the point of death. He asks us to submit as he has submitted.

    You said, “As the “body,” the church is raised up to be WITH Christ– it is everything else that is under His feet. The husband is to raise his wife up to be beside him in authority– not to consider her under his feet.”
    Once again, I am not sure where this leaves us with Christ being in authority over the church. The church partners with Christ in his work, as indeed Eve was to do with Adam.

    Not meaning to be a pain, but I have never thought this through all the way before. I am getting more questions than answers!

    Dave

  209. Sorry Dave- just to add to your questions. How can Jesus be Lord over each of us individually and not be Lord of us collectively as the church?

  210. Hi Dave,
    You said

    Craig, it was in your ponderings at the bottom of 189, “Would it without doubt mean that husbands are in authority over their wives, just as Christ is over the church?”.

    Just to clarify. That bit was not actually my ponderings. I was rather hoping that if I said this to a comp it would make him ponder. They believe that husbands are in authority over their wives, just as they believe Christ is in authority over the church. I was hoping that when I write this to a comp it would make him question whether this is really what Paul is saying. I don’t think it is what Paul is saying. I don’t think the issue of Christ’s authority over the church is on the agenda in Eph 5. We have to look at the rest of the bible on that one. What about the letters to the churches in Rev 1-3. Do you think they indicate the authority of Christ over the church?
    Sorry if I wasn’t clear with #189.

  211. I’m with Kristen on this one. Jesus relates to the Church in a variety of ways. In Ephesians, and in particular in the head/body metaphors, it is addressing just one of these relational paradigms. In that paradigm, there is no authority element. The mistake that people make is to ignore the metaphor and start to assign English meanings to the translated English word “head”. (I’m not saying anyone here is doing that, just that comps often do). But the actual relationship between Christ/husband/head and Church/wife/body within the context of the metaphor can not take on any elements outside of the anatomical head/body relationship. In that literal, physical relationship, authority is non-existent and symbiosis, unity, and equality are the fundimental characteristics. Yes, Christ has some relational paradigms with the church that involve a level of authority. But not this one.

  212. It is this errant blending of Jesus many relationships with the church that often lead to significant problems in our own inter-relational interactions. I will give one very disturbing example.

    I once had a person advocate for domestic discipline (physically disciplining of the wife by the husband) by quoting Revelations Rev 3:19 (Jesus speaking to the church at Laodicia) “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” He coupled that with the Ephesians 5 command for husbands to “love” their wives and Jesus’ relatively violent cleansing of the temple in John 2:14-16 as example of a valid form of “rebuke and chasten”. In other words, in his thinking, a valid expression of Ephesians 5 “love” toward ones wife is to “rebuke and chasten her” with a switch to her back side when she is in sin to help her “repent”.

    Does anyone here believe for one minute that this is what the Bible teaches? Yet the Revelations passage my friend began with did indeed involve, to a degree, Jesus relationship with the Church. Clearly though, it was a different relationship than Jesus as husband to his bride the Church, is it not?

  213. This is a very clear example of helicopter theology with cut and paste teaching. He pulled things out that contextually had little to do with each other and reformed them into a new doctrine. This is what gender hierarchalists do all the time. They form ‘traditional’ ways of understanding certain verses that believers get accustomed to, so no one really double checks for context.

    BTW the Shepherding Movement taught wifely discipline. They chose spanking. Basically, it is viewing the wife as a child that is not allowed to grow up.

  214. We must continue to point out that comps are “cherry picking” only certain attributes of Christ they wish. Most will not claim that God has “placed all things under the HUSBAND’S feet” or that the strength by which wives stand against the wiles of the devil is her husband’s strength. (“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” 6:10) And while there are some patriarchists who claim this as part of the husband’s head/Christ “role,” generally comps do not. Which once again illustrates their “cherry picking” method for the attributes of Christ they wish to confer on husbands at the same time ignoring the general context.
    The enthronement of Christ dominates the first part of Ephesians. It defines the basis of all that the believers have in their salvation and outlines a powerful ministry in His body. – “The Church, the body of Christ, is already seated in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 2:6) Comps seem to ignore the basis for Paul’s use of the head/body metaphor – unity and growth in the body of Christ. ( Eph.4) “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Eph. 5:1-2

  215. Hey Craig, you said, “Just to clarify. That bit was not actually my ponderings. I was rather hoping that if I said this to a comp it would make him ponder.”

    I knew that, I was simply saying it was your pondering of what a comp would ponder, as you referred to them as your ponderings! It just got me thinking.

    Just to clarify, my ponderings are based on more than simply Ephesians and Paul’s use of head. I am even thinking OT and the likeness of Israel to an adulterous wife and also Song of Songs (I follow Stanley Grenz’s thinking in regards to God also being a God of eros…not sure if I want to go into that right now!).

    I am still without a clear cut scripture relating to Jesus as having authority over the church though I would want to clarify that I think there must be a bit of now-not-yet tension going on. In the future all authority will be done away with, and the church should be being prepared now to be the bride in the future. Perhaps this holds the answer?

    Also there is the possibility that although Jesus might have authority over the church now, though this is not the relationship he chooses to have with his bride, or perhaps will not have in the future?

    Craig, with regards to how Jesus can be our Lord as individuals, but not the church, scripture shows the church as different to individuals. The church has a relationship with Jesus that individuals do not. It is when two or three gather in his name. I am not the bride of Christ. God’s redemption plan was never for just Adam, or just Abraham (or Eve and Sarah even!), but for a people that would number more than the stars in the sky. There is something in the richness of community with Christ as head that is lost as an individual before Christ. I know I am not providing you with an answer as to how exactly, but there is a difference. These are ponderings, remember! Perhaps, indeed it is the same for us now as it is the church, that Jesus has authority over us now, but in the future authority will not be a dynamic in the relationship and we are talking a now-not-yet tension again.

    I am not convinced by Revelations (though it was good thinking to bring it up), but I think I have answered enough of my own ponderings (though input would be appreciated). Sorry to have gone on – I was not trying to stress anyone out!

  216. Dave,
    It could be the problem lies in our human perception of authority – which when applied to humans is basically all about having the power to enforce rules. God is not losing any sleep over whether or not He has it! A veritable non sequitur.

  217. More “pondering” – so, Jesus has authority “over” the Church. How does He exercise that, what does He do with it? Quoting again “gengwall’s 3 things”: Christ is only ever shown sacrificing, interceding, and serving.

  218. Hey Dave. Good question @196 I was hoping you would have the answer and I could sit back and enjoy!

    lol me too! :)

  219. Christ does give the disciples as a group, commands. Also he tells the 12 after the Resurrection: “All authority in heaven and earth is given to me. Go you therefore. . . ”
    In other words, the Father (who is the source of all authority) has given it all to Christ, who then sends his church out in his authority. The church, then, functions as a partner with Christ, acting in Christ’s authority. As his Body, she is “together” with him in authority, and the passages which describe the “head-body” relationship focus on that togetherness. But I think that Christ has the power to command the church, so authority is implied in that.
    But husbands and wives who are Christians are BOTH in the church. I think the complementarians forget that. They act like only husbands are in the church, and the wives are sort of like add-ons. The wife is just as much under the direct authority of Christ as the husband is. It isn’t a heirarchy.
    But I think that in the final consummation, when we become “like Him, for we will see Him as He is,” authority will become moot/obsolete. There will be no more need of commands, for our desires will be united with God’s (and yet somehow still be our own).

  220. Anyway– I’m sick today, so that’s all I’ve got. I’m hoping to get a chance to really focus on Mark’s comments this weekend.

  221. Hi Kristen,
    Sorry to hear you are not well. I hope you are feeling better soon.
    I wasn’t going to post this just yet until we finished more of the subject at hand, but just in case you do get a chance to focus on Mark’s comments this weekend, I thought you (and others) might be interested in his latest email that arrived today. I sent him some thoughts along the lines of #189, comparing serving one another, and submitting to one another, and this is his reply. Sorry again for the length. I have left out my comments and some of Marks for the sake of brevity, but I think you will be able to follow his main arguments.

    Hi Craig,

    A couple of thoughts. My impression is that doulew had a semantic range that included ideas that did not involve being a slave or a servant (in the social status sense). So at that level the NT’s use of the word is not doing something outside the semantic range the word had. Nonchristians could speak this way as well. So I agree that authority did not have to be on the radar in the NT, but that’s because it didn’t have to be on the radar with this word.
     
    However, doulew and its linguistic relations certainly had strong associations with slavery and servility. The choice of this word is saying more than ‘voluntarily giving ourselves to meet the needs of others’ – it is casting the flavour of being a slave towards others in our mutual relations. Being a slave had more connotations than just being in an authority relationship, so such a flavour could apply even to someone who had authority.  I doubt that non-christians would feel comfortable with putting so much weight on this wordgroup. I think that’s important for the debate, for it means that the associations are not lost, but it’s not directly related to your point above (it more affects your approach to ‘submit’). The previous paragraph is though, I think.
     
    I think egals have reconstructed ‘submit’ to mean something like ‘voluntarily yielding our own desires to put others first and meet their needs’. You won’t find that meaning in any greek lexicon I know of (not that I’m a linguistic guru) that covers extra-biblical examples. It is a meaning that simply doesn’t work in many contexts in the NT. Submit to the authorities = voluntarily yield your desires to put them first and meet their needs? Submit to God means I meet his needs?
     
    I don’t think submission is in Phil 2. I think that is a crux passage for this debate, but I think you only see submission there once you’ve decided that submission means putting others before yourself and meeting their needs. The word isn’t there (from what I can see), and in this instance I think the concept isn’t either.
     
    While the word ‘serve’ can (and did) have non-authority usages, it is harder to see how that can be done with the ‘submission’ words without changing their base meaning in a way that then doesn’t make sense in their non-biblical usage. ‘Obeying your instructions’ ‘Bowing the knee’ etc becomes ‘put you first and meet your needs’. That’s what Peter is telling slaves to do in 1 Peter 2:18? There’s no indications of submitting to authority there? It’s putting the master first and meeting his needs? It’s what he is saying in 2:13-15 to Christians generally with regards human rulers of different kinds? It’s what Paul is saying in Roman 13:1ff on the same topic?
     
    Or do we now have two “submits” in the NT? In some places it means what it normally meant and its meaning hasn’t been transformed by Christ—submit to masters, rulers, God means what any contemporary would immediately recognise. But other places, oh let’s see, ah, husbands, there it means something different. There is some connection being made between 1 Peter 2:18 and 3:1, so I think the ‘submit’ needs to be the same in the two instances—either it has no authority connotations for slaves, or it does have authority connotations for wives.
     
    And if we have to accept that ‘serve’ and ‘submit’ must both have been transformed by Christ, because both were part of being a slave, but were put to different usages in the NT, why leave out ‘obey’? Slaves had to obey their masters, but obedience is a general Christian virtue, and slaves need to obey their masters in Eph 6, and Sarah obeyed Abraham in 1 Peter 3 (and surely the case could be made that in the record we have in Genesis it is hard to see Sarah’s relationship with Abraham being her doing what he tells her to do – so the example in Genesis should shape how we understand it in the NT). If it is inconsistent to say ‘serve and not submit’ then surely it is to say ‘serve and submit but not obey’ are transformed.
     
    The irony I find, is that you are asking for the very thing that egalitarianism insists cannot happen with regards to ‘equality’. Complementarians argue that the word ‘equality’ must be compatible with notions of permanent submission (and possibly even subjection on some accounts). They don’t (in my view) argue this because they’ve made a reconstruction that the word has been transformed this way and then look to see if it fits. They look at the texts and go, “Based on normal meanings of the words, the texts seem to be saying that you can be equal to someone you always have to submit to”. And then fumble around trying to give some kind of account of that, with varying degrees of success. That ‘varying degrees of success’ to my mind indicates that what we have, basically, are people getting their views out of the text and finding it hard to work out a framework for it—similar to how the Nicenes struggled to articulate orthodoxy whereas Arianism was able to put forward its view clearly from the beginning, it was a priori. Egalitarians say, “No the word just can’t mean that, it makes it meaningless”. And yet, their argument hinges on a transformation of the meaning of at least two word groups (at least on your take) that isn’t, from what I can see, ever explicitly taught in the NT (so we are taught to have a different view of what submit and serve means) but only ever assumed even if the egalitarian account is right. The transformation of their meaning happened ‘off camera” and in the text we have the signs the change occurred.
     
    Let’s do what you suggest, and put your view of submission into the relevant verses:
     
    Wives put your husbands first and meet their needs as to the Lord.
     
    But as the Church puts Christ first and meets his needs in everything so also the wives ought to their husbands in everything.
     
    My thoughts about that as an exegetical solution:
    1)       It still raises the question I asked you earlier in this context. There is a parallel here between husbands and the Lord. If the submission to Christ that the Church offers is without authority then it is for wives to husbands. And so my question to you is – do we sometimes submit to Christ in an authority-kinda-way but we don’t other times in the NT? And if so, how do we work out which submit is on view in which text? Or do we never submit to Christ in an authority-kinda-way, submission to Christ, God, ruling authorities et al just does not have any authority connotations in the NT? And if that’s the case, how would you go about indicating that we should (pick a word that we used to use ‘submit’ for to do the work) to God’s authority from the NT? The issue for me is not what it could mean, but what it does given the parallels.
    2)       If ‘submit’ here means ‘put others first and meet their needs’ or it means something like ‘serve’ then I cannot see any substantial difference between Paul’s instructions to wives and to husbands. The ‘submission’ wives offer to husbands is basically the same as the ‘love’ husbands offer to them. Different words are used to indicate the same basic reality. If not, what is asymmetrical at this point? What should wives be doing that is not a requirement for husbands in this context and what is a requirement for husbands that is not for wives in this context?
     
    There’s a whole raft of problems I see from that:
    a.        The counsel Paul is giving is as radical a turn for wives as it is for husbands, if not more so—he’s at least used ‘love’ in a way that fitted its normal semantic range. And yet he grounds the teaching to husbands with expansive content with reference to Christ’s example. But offers nothing concrete for the wives as to what this new submission looks like in the church’s relationship with Christ. And surely something like that is called for? The Church submits to Christ in everything in a way that has no authority connotations? This is revolutionary! What does that mean? What does it look like? No idea, we need space to talk about what love looks like—something that is dealt with at length in the NT already and involves no fundamental transformation of its basic meaning.
    b.        What does it add to the exhortation to the wives to say that they are to do it like the Church does it to Christ? If what is on view is mutual submission of the kind that we offer to one another, why bring Christ in at all at this point as the one to whom we submit? Usually it is Christ’s example that is held up, not the Church’s (!!! For how rare this is). What is gained by this unusual step? Why not appeal to Christ’s example of submission to the Church in line with an egalitarian reading of Phil 2, rather than the Church’s imperfect example of submission to Christ just as he does with the husbands? It wouldn’t affect the material to the husbands on this reading (from what I can see)—the husband section can still be a type of Christ and the Church. Or why not just drop Christ out altogether and go with ‘as the Church submits to one another’ or the like?
    c.        Again, does this mean that the Church in its relationship with Christ is in a mutual-submission relationship, with no authority on view in the relationship? Or does it mean that some aspects/dimensions/names for the Church’s relationship don’t have authority and other ones do? Does Christ, inasmuch as he is the Church’s groom, not have authority, but inasmuch as he is something else (Lord maybe, or possibly firstborn) he does? (Or have all these terms been transferred by Christ and how do we know?)
    d.        Does the NT really intend to collapse ‘serve’ and ‘submit’ into each other so that we can swap them in for each other? Is service and submission really the same as love (or almost the same)? When Paul says through love serve one another is he basically saying the same thing twice?
    3)      If we put ‘serve’ in instead, it works for you for verse 22. But “as the Church serves the Lord in everything, so wives should serve their husbands in everything” raises the same questions I’ve raised. Do we offer two types of service to the Lord? In one case it is a joyful submission to his authority and in other places (like here) it is a mutual service? Or when we serve the Lord mutuality is always on view between him and us and this word group also is devoid of authority connotations in the NT when used of Christ and us/God and us?
    4)      I don’t know where this goes, so I’ll throw it in here. If this view is right, then why doesn’t the NT (as far as I know) never say that God submits to us, that Christ submits to us? If the meaning has been transformed, surely the way to drive that home, and possibly cut off 2000 years of complementarian dead end exegesis and ethical thinking would be to clearly and strongly state in several places that God submits to us. If the word has no authority connotations that’s a perfectly fine thing to say. We don’t have to hedge by saying, ‘he submits to our needs/need for salvation’ (that was what my Church used to say to avoid saying outright that God submits to us, but be consistent with the view that its base meaning had been transformed to remove any sense of submitting to an authority).
     

     

  222. Craig,

    My response to Mark would be short and to the point. He continues to purposely ignore the voluntary, mutual submission in vs. 21, which also defies any “normal” sense of the Greek word. Paul is clearly going beyond the norm here. Marks “raft of problems” is made moot by vs. 21.

  223. Craig,

    Ask him where married men are exempted from Eph. 5:21.(?)
    And since Jesus redefined leadership as a form of servanthood, -”You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave” – then how does that servanthood then inexplicably revert back to “having authority over” when applied to the marriage relationship?

  224. Craig,

    cont…Especially in light of the fact that the metaphor in Eph. 5 is “head of,” not “head OVER” as in Eph.1:22 (“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body”)

    He may try to ignore the difference…but I doubt he would claim that everything is put under a husband’s feet…

  225. Dave@215,
    I emailed you.

  226. Thanks Elaine and Gengwall for your help. I will ask him questions along the lines you propose.
    In “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” George Knight (a comp) on p166 describes submission as “voluntary yielding in love”.
    He says this comes from BDAG. He actually seems to believe in mutual submission and relates it to Phil 2, Matt 20:26-28, 1 Peter 5:4,5, Eph6:9.
    Mark doesn’t seem to agree with this at all. I am not sure how he relates Eph 5:21. As you say Gengwall, he seems to ignore it.

  227. I honestly don’t understand where Mark is getting the idea that egals think “submit” means “put the other first and meet their needs.” “Submit” means “voluntarily yield to.” As such, it can happen whether the person you are voluntarily yield to is in authority, or not. Christians are asked to “voluntarily yield” to government authorities, not to “put them first and meet their needs.” They are also asked to “voluntarily yield” to one another. Because voluntary yielding can be given to someone in authority or someone not in authority, it may, but need not, convey the idea of authority. That’s not hard to understand.
    Mark’s making a straw man argument. No egal I ever talked to has given the word “submit” the meaning “put first and meet the needs of.”

  228. As for this sort of question:

    “The Church submits to Christ in everything in a way that has no authority connotations?”

    No– I don’t think that’s what’s in view in Eph. 5. There are certainly authority connotations in the household codes given by Paul. But the point I would make is that the authority of the husband/father/master is a shared assumption of Paul and his readers in that time and culture– not a divine mandate. When this is understood, it is not the instructions to the wife, slave or child that are so radical (except that we tend nowadays to miss the fact that Paul was doing something revolutionary in speaking directly to those to be ruled, as if they had some will of their own in the matter). What is really radical is the instruction given to the one in power. Mark wonders where it is that Christ is spoken of in terms of submission to the church. Surely it is in the moment when He yielded voluntarily to those who cried “Crucify!” as spoken of in Eph 5 (“he gave himself for her”), many of whom, no doubt, became the church when Peter preached to them in Acts 2 (“God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom YOU CRUCIFIED.”)
    Paul says, “submit to one another . . . husbands, lay down your lives as Christ did for the Church.” If that’s not an illustration of submission, I don’t know what is. And I honestly don’t see how Mark doesn’t see it in Christ “emptying himself” and “becoming obedient to death” in Philippians 2 as well.
    Yes, Paul tells those under authority in that culture to submit to those in authority over them. But then he tells those in authority to lay down their power. But what Paul never does say is, “Men, your authority over your wives, children and slaves is by divine right.”

  229. Finally, I would point out that not only does Paul never say the authority of males is a divine right– Peter actually puts husband-authority in a list of “human instititutions” that Christians are being asked to voluntarily yield to. 2 Peter 2:13 is the introduction to the section that begins with kings and ends with husbands. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every institution of men.” Peter’s first letter is largely about how Christians are to get along in a hostile world and its institutions of power. There is no indication that when Peter starts talking about husband-authority, he is suddenly switching to some divine mandate.
    Paul, on the other hand, writes in Ephesians about being “in Christ,” and makes it clear that marriage “in Christ” is more than a human institution– and in Paul’s view, it involves husbands laying down their power and raising their wives up to be beside them– as God first intended in Eden when he gave the woman as the man’s “face-to-face strong aid” (which is what “help meet” really translates as) to have dominion together with the man.

  230. Hi Kristen,
    You said

    I honestly don’t understand where Mark is getting the idea that egals think “submit” means “put the other first and meet their needs.” “Submit” means “voluntarily yield to.”

    I must “fess up here that this is my fault.
    As I wrote in #226 I have heard “voluntary yielding” is the main idea behind submission. When I have thought about how I do this “to one another” in the church and to my wife I have thought of it as “voluntarily yielding of my own desires so that I put others first and meet their needs”. I expressed this to Mark. He has then applied this definition to all types of submission (like to governments and slaves to masters and to Christ) and of course found it wanting. He sometimes left out the voluntary yielding part and just used the last part. I should have just left it as “voluntary yielding to” as you say and then he wouldn’t have taken off with it like he did. I’ll try and learn from that.

  231. Craig,
    Oh, I get it. Well, Mark is focusing on the results of an attitude of submission, and mistaking that for the submission itself. He has turned your definition sideways. I think once you point that out to him, it will clear matters up on that score, anyway.

  232. Just working out some responses to Mark that I can send. Any thoughts are welcome.
    Mark said

    I think egals have reconstructed ‘submit’ to mean something like ‘voluntarily yielding our own desires to put others first and meet their needs’. You won’t find that meaning in any greek lexicon I know of (not that I’m a linguistic guru) that covers extra-biblical examples. It is a meaning that simply doesn’t work in many contexts in the NT. Submit to the authorities = voluntarily yield your desires to put them first and meet their needs? Submit to God means I meet his needs?

     
    My understanding is that a well accepted definition of submit is “voluntarily yield to”. When I first started to question these issues a few months ago with one of the staff at my church, he pointed me in the direction of “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood”. On p166 George Knight (a comp) quotes from BDAG p848 that submission is “voluntary yielding in love”.
    I expanded that a bit as to how I see it operating in practice in the “one anothering“ that goes on in church to give ‘voluntarily yielding our own desires to put others first and meet their needs’. I don’t know if other egals would agree with this definition, but of course, as you rightly point out, this whole definition is a bit silly when applied to other spheres like governments, slaves/masters, and to Christ. But I think you have focussed on the way I apply the yielding to one another rather than on the yielding itself which is the heart of submission. Sorry to cause confusion. If I say what something means I should just stick to what it means rather than how it applies to me in a particular sphere. I hope that helps to clear up many of the comments and questions below where you discussed the weaknesses of the way I understand submission.
    So in order to have one consistent definition that applies in all spheres I would just leave it with the core meaning of “voluntarily yield to” in agreement with George Knight and BDAG. I think this can be applied to submitting to one another, as well as to Christ, the government etc.
    As I see it, if it is just “voluntarily yield to” then this can be done to someone whether they are in authority or not. We can “voluntarily yield to” one another and also “voluntarily yield to” the government. So I think just because the word submit is used in the bible doesn’t necessarily imply that it is to an authority. How do you understand “submitting to one another” if you see submission as always to an authority? Eph 5:21, Eph 6:9, 1 Pet 5:5, 1 Cor 16:15,16. How do you understand what these sort of passages are teaching?

    You were wondering about extra biblical examples. I believe 1 Clement 37:5-38:1 explains the Christian duty of submission to one’s neighbour.

  233. Mark said

    I don’t think submission is in Phil 2. I think that is a crux passage for this debate, but I think you only see submission there once you’ve decided that submission means putting others before yourself and meeting their needs. The word isn’t there (from what I can see), and in this instance I think the concept isn’t either.

    Again George Knight on p166 discusses Phil 2, Matt 20:26-28, 1 Pet5:4,5 Eph 6:9 and Eph 5:21 as all explaining the voluntary yielding that is a characteristic of the Christian community. Just letting you know that these ideas that you are disagreeing with are not just from egals.

  234. Mark said

    While the word ‘serve’ can (and did) have non-authority usages, it is harder to see how that can be done with the ‘submission’ words without changing their base meaning in a way that then doesn’t make sense in their non-biblical usage. ‘Obeying your instructions’ ‘Bowing the knee’ etc becomes ‘put you first and meet your needs’.

    See above

    That’s what Peter is telling slaves to do in 1 Peter 2:18? There’s no indications of submitting to authority there? It’s putting the master first and meeting his needs? It’s what he is saying in 2:13-15 to Christians generally with regards human rulers of different kinds? It’s what Paul is saying in Roman 13:1ff on the same topic?

    In the case of slaves in 1 Peter 2:18, do we know that the slave is under authority because the word submit is used? No, I don’t think so. We know he is under authority because of what we know of the culture at the time. Slaves were under the authority of their masters. Do we know that this authority is divinely established because he is told to submit? No, we have to study the rest of scripture to determine if that is the case.
    For the king and governors in 1 Peter 2:13 do we know that they have authority just because the word submit is used? No, I don’t think so. We know from our knowledge of the culture at the time that the king had authority. Christians were under the authority of the king. Do we know that this authority is divinely established (divine right of kings) because the word submit is used? No, we need to search the scriptures and study to see if this is so.
    Likewise, I think this same reasoning would apply to husbands and wives in 1 Peter 3.
    I think you may be placing more meaning and significance to the word submit than it actually carries in and of itself.

  235. Mark said

    Or do we now have two “submits” in the NT? In some places it means what it normally meant and its meaning hasn’t been transformed by Christ—submit to masters, rulers, God means what any contemporary would immediately recognise. But other places, oh let’s see, ah, husbands, there it means something different. There is some connection being made between 1 Peter 2:18 and 3:1, so I think the ‘submit’ needs to be the same in the two instances—either it has no authority connotations for slaves, or it does have authority connotations for wives.

    See above. I think it always means voluntarily yield to. I think in the culture of the day, the patriarch did have a similar authority over the slave and wife. Slaves and wives are told to voluntarily yield to their master and husband.

  236. Mark said

    And if we have to accept that ‘serve’ and ‘submit’ must both have been transformed by Christ, because both were part of being a slave, but were put to different usages in the NT, why leave out ‘obey’? Slaves had to obey their masters, but obedience is a general Christian virtue, and slaves need to obey their masters in Eph 6, and Sarah obeyed Abraham in 1 Peter 3 (and surely the case could be made that in the record we have in Genesis it is hard to see Sarah’s relationship with Abraham being her doing what he tells her to do – so the example in Genesis should shape how we understand it in the NT). If it is inconsistent to say ‘serve and not submit’ then surely it is to say ‘serve and submit but not obey’ are transformed.

     
    Just thinking aloud. Obedience to God is a general Christian virtue. But we are never told to “obey one another” as a general Christian virtue. We are told to serve one another, and submit to one another.

  237. Mark said

    It still raises the question I asked you earlier in this context. There is a parallel here between husbands and the Lord. If the submission to Christ that the Church offers is without authority then it is for wives to husbands.

    Yes, because submission to one another has to also be in the mix, and it is difficult to see authority there. Perhaps the word authority isn’t there because it is not essential to the meaning of the word submit and Paul is concerned about encouraging submission and not authority.

    Mark said

    And so my question to you is – do we sometimes submit to Christ in an authority-kinda-way but we don’t other times in the NT? And if so, how do we work out which submit is on view in which text? Or do we never submit to Christ in an authority-kinda-way, submission to Christ, God, ruling authorities et al just does not have any authority connotations in the NT?

    I’m not sure that I fully understand your questions but I will have a go.
    I think it is possible to submit to Christ for various reasons- some of them good and others not. I may submit to Christ because He is my King and my Lord and he commands me to submit to Him because of His authority. I think this is appropriate because He is Lord of the universe.
    If the NT says for me to submit to Christ because he is my Saviour who loves me and gave his life for me it results in the same action (submission) but for a different reason, and I don’t think authority is what it is about. I think it is possible to submit in a Galatians error legalistic-kinda-way. It is also possible to submit to Christ in a John 15:9-17 “you are no longer my servants but my friends whom I love” kinda-way.
    We can respond to Christ in submission out of respect for his authority or out of love and thankfulness for all he has done for us. Both are valid. Ephesians 5, and the head-body metaphor seem to me to be emphasising the latter.

  238. Mark said

    And if that’s the case, how would you go about indicating that we should (pick a word that we used to use ‘submit’ for to do the work) to God’s authority from the NT? The issue for me is not what it could mean, but what it does given the parallels.

    If the NT said “submit to God’s authority” that sounds ok to me. That would mean voluntarily yield to God’s authority. No problems in interpretation. Just needing lots of God’s grace for the application :)

  239.   Mark said

      If ‘submit’ here means ‘put others first and meet their needs’ or it means something like ‘serve’ then I cannot see any substantial difference between Paul’s instructions to wives and to husbands. The ‘submission’ wives offer to husbands is basically the same as the ‘love’ husbands offer to them. Different words are used to indicate the same basic reality. If not, what is asymmetrical at this point? What should wives be doing that is not a requirement for husbands in this context and what is a requirement for husbands that is not for wives in this context?

    I think this is an important question. Could it be that there is not a lot of difference and that this is Paul’s point. Submission is to be mutual v21. Yesterday, my wife and I were at a church conference all day. As we looked around, I saw a spot in the auditorium where the type of seats would be more comfortable for my sometimes bad back, but my wife preferred a different seat in a different spot in the auditorium so she could see (she is a little vertically challenged :) ). We decided to try the spot where she could see and I found I could manage with a towel behind my back in that spot. I would see that as a very small example of me submitting to her. Generally she is much better in this than me and putting herself out for me. Is this submission or is it love? I am not sure, but I think it is both. It happens throughout our lives in a mutual kind of way.

  240. There is still more stuff in Mark’s email. I think that may do me for a while. I could send what I have done so far and see what he says. Do you think I am on the right track?
    Let me know (especially Cheryl if you are there?) if all this is a bit much for everyone. Is it interesting or a bit of overload?
    I find it helpful to get feedback from those of you who have thought through all these things a lot more than I have.
    Thanks everyone.

  241. Craig@235,
    Just a thought on the fly here. Maybe you could ask Mark if a slave owner’s “authority” real in God’s eyes? Or is it just something man-made?
    So, even though Paul is instructing believers to act in this way under the circumstances it does not necessarily legitimize the “authority” or show God’s approval of it.

  242. “We can respond to Christ in submission out of respect for his authority or out of love and thankfulness for all he has done for us. Both are valid. Ephesians 5, and the head-body metaphor seem to me to be emphasising the latter.”

    Craig,
    Another quick thought – is it possible for these two to be separated in a believer’s life? Somehow it doesn’t seem possible to me…”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” It doesn’t say “respect the Lord your God”… Love has to be the core of everything.

  243. cont… The motive for the slave:
    “Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.” Eph. 6:6

    In short there’s just no way to make human authority exactly the same as God’s authority. It’s two different things. And if it’s two different things (which clearly it is) then the submission wouldn’t be identical either.
    As I pointed out before, comps don’t try to claim all the things Christ has for the husband (ie. all things under his feet, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”) but only the things they want (ie. the final say-so).

    If everything about Christ doesn’t directly apply to husbands then perhaps (tongue-in-cheek) the “authority” doesn’t either. Perhaps they ignore vs. 21??? Maybe they just like picking and choosing the attributes of Christ they want???

  244. Hi Elaine @241,
    I think this is a good thought. It has been mentioned to Mark in the past but may be worth mentioning again. Thanks.
    @242. Referring to #237. Certainly love has to be the core of everything. Respect without love would seem like lifeless religion.
    If I am understanding our discussion before properly (which may be highly doubtful!) I think I am trying to say here what Gengwall @211,212 and Kristen @219 said. I think there is still a true and valid authority that Jesus has over the church but that is not what is in view with the head/body metaphor. Maybe I could express it a little better, and maybe I am wrong. I think Dave is questioning whether the bible really speaks of Christ’s authority over the church at all. I think you are also questioning this concept, but at this stage I am sorry to say I am still struggling to follow what you and Dave are saying and put it all together.

  245. Craig, I like what you’ve written a lot. I would suggest that you add in there, something along the lines that husbands are not to their wives everything Christ is to the church (such as redeemer or diety– Mark will surely not disagree with this), and that therefore husbands must not try to be more to their wives than “head” to their wives’ “body.” As for what that relationship entails, let Paul himself define it in the Letter to the Ephesians. The head-body relationship of Christ and the church in the Book of Ephesians is simply not pictured in terms of the head’s authority over the body, but in terms of the unity of the head and body, the provision and nurture from the head to the body, and the raising up of the body to be with the head.

  246. Ok — here is my response to the first of Mark’s points that I said I was going to respond to. His words are in bold, followed by mine.
    My point is that both the Jewish (missed by Kristen when she classifies my position as a simplification) and the Roman societies had fathers in charge of children (certainly including adult dependents as she says), husbands in charge of wives, and owners (predominantly but not exclusively male) in charge of slaves. And they didn’t see one of those as patriarchy and the other two as not patriarchy. All three were fairly naturally paired together – Paul’s household codes aren’t all that revolutionary by putting those three relationships side by side.

    And I’m not sure I’m slipping in ‘marriage equals patriarchal marriage’ as an unchallenged assumption. My point was, I thought, that that is what marriage was for both Paul’s Jewish and Gentile readers. They didn’t have an abstract view of marriage and then go, ‘and of the ways marriage could be structured, we opt for patriarchal’ – they had one view of marriage: patriarchal. My statement has to do with what is being understood by the society and so what the words Paul writes are going to mean to that audience.
    This is precisely the point I was making. When we understand what Paul’s original audience would have been expecting to hear, what he was describing were not rules for patriarchal marriage (or slavery, or parent-child relations) as they knew them. The words would have startled them. They would have been surprised, first of all, that in a “household code” such as they were used to hearing, the wives, slaves and children were addressed directly, as if they had some choices of their own to make. The household codes common in that day (and, as I understand it, familiar throughout the Roman Empire, which would have included in Palastine) addressed the patriarch, the pater familias, only, and addressed him in terms of how to properly govern his wife, children and slaves.

    They would have been surprised, secondly, by the words Paul used to the husbands/fathers/slave owners. Nothing is spoken about ruling. Nothing is spoken about authority (look at the head-body relationship as described in Ephesians itself, Chapters 1 and 4, and you will not see the word “head” as it relates to “body” spoken of in terms of authority-over, but in terms of raising up to be together, in terms of provision, and in terms of nurture and growth). The husband/father/slave owner is instead told to “give himself,” with a picture of Christ in the act of ultimate self-giving. He is told about how Christ brought His church to Himself by cleansing and making her holy. He is told not to exasperate his children, but to give them training and instruction in the Lord. And he is told to treat his slaves in the same way (!) as his slaves have just been told to treat him. The passage begins by speaking in terms of mutual submission (Eph 5:21) of all believers to “one another,“ and wraps up by explaining to the patriarch that there is no favoritism with God (Eph. 6:9).

    The “one another” pronoun in the original Greek is a pronoun of “reciprocity,” as stated in both LSJ and BDAG. It is only used in the NT for “situations where there is mutuality or reciprocity,” as explained by Philip Payne in Man and Woman, One in Christ, pages 279-280. Since it is nonsensical for all Christians to have authority over one another, the word translated “submit” in Eph 5:21 (which in the earliest manuscripts is the verb governing v. 22, which itself has no verb) need not always convey the idea, “yield to authority.” “Voluntarily yield to one another” is the clearest understanding of Paul’s meaning.

    Secondly, Philip Payne’s book quotes M. Barth as stating that around the same time that Paul was writing his letter to the Ephesians, a “new type of marriage” (neither “sacral” nor “patriarchal contractual”) was slowly making its way into common practice. Barth characterizes this as “marriage where mutual consensus guaranteed the rights of both parties.” (M. Barth, Ephesians, 2:656, quoted in Philip Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ, p. 274). Non-patriarchal marriage therefore would not necessarily have been completely foreign to some of Paul’s wealthier, more educated readers– though the patriarchal system and its common household codes would still have been the most common form of marriage. Paul’s teachings would have been surprising, as I said– but the idea of mutuality in marriage was not so completely foreign that Paul’s audience could not have grasped the implications of his words.

    It is when we come to the text from our 21st-century Western mentality, expecting that patriarchal marriage is just one (and certainly not the most prevalent) form of marriage, that Paul’s words look to us like they are supporting a patriarchal structure, rather than just accepting its reality in that culture as something that must be worked with. From the perspective of Paul’s original readers, I do not think that would have been the case at all.

  247. Here is my response to Mark’s second point.
    I think the ‘lay down power’ here is pretty tendentious. Almost any complementarian would say something like all this, but would say that what is going on is the reshaping of authority to be used as an exercise of service to those under authority rather than as a lording over them. My question here is – does Jesus model the kind of way of using authority that Kristen is speaking about here? Does he use it with humility? does he lay down his life, does he not exasperate us? And would she (and you) be happy with describing that as Jesus ‘laying down power’ in his relationship with us?

    I certainly wouldn’t be happy to use such language about the one I call Lord. And yet he is the model, and I don’t see it as a model of laying down power, but of using it in a servant way.

    And again, this is the kind of ‘this but that’ reading that is just so hard to pin down. Is Paul writing in such a way that indicates that these relationships have authority or not? Kristen seems to be suggesting ‘yes’ – but in such a way that over time we’d move beyond the letter of what Paul has said to the spirit of it and move to more egalitarian relationships. You seem to be saying ‘no’ – there’s nothing in these texts, we need to look elsewhere.

    These comments open up the whole question of authority. Authority– what it is, what it’s for, and who has it– is often an unquestioned assumption made by believers based on their own church backgrounds, rather than something examined fully in the light of Scripture.

    Jesus said in Matt 28:18-19, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples. . . .” Any authority that anyone in the church has, therefore, is actually Christ’s authority and not his/her own. In Titus 2:15, when Paul tells Titus, “Encourage and rebuke with all authority,” the word is not “exousia,” (“have rights/authority over”) but “epitage,” which means a command from God to be passed on. Delegated authority is the only authority we humans have.

    The first question, then, is “do husbands have delegated authority from Christ over their wives?” As I have written before, I think the authority of husbands was a culturally given thing, an outgrowth of the Fall, and not from Christ at all. The New Covenant is marked by its departure from such external distinctions as “Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female.” Gal. 3:28. If the authority of the husband/father/slave owner was man-made and not from heaven, then what Paul was talking about was not wives being under any divinely delegated authority of their husbands. (I do note that the only place where the word “exousia” — “rights/authority over”– appears in relation to husbands and wives is in giving them reciprocal rights/authority over one another’s bodies in the marriage bed, in 1 Cor. 7).

    Secondly, Mark’s question about how Jesus relates to the church is interesting to me. I myself feel very happy and comfortable saying that Jesus, while He walked on earth, carefully and deliberately modeled humility (“I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls,” Matt. 11:28), laying down his life (“He took our infirmities and bore our diseases” being shown as coming to pass not just in the Crucifixion, but when He worked through the evening and into the night healing people in Matt 8:16-17), not exasperating us (“I no longer call you My servants, but My friends,” John 15:14) and laying down power (“He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, wrapped a towel around His waist [dressing as a slave] and . . . Began to wash His disciples’ feet.” John 13:4-5).

    In light of this, Mark’s words, “I certainly wouldn’t be happy to use such language about the one I call Lord,” sound very much like Peter’s: “No! You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus was dressing like a slave, acting like a slave, and doing a slave’s job. He was not, at that moment, exercising any authority over the disciples. He did not command Peter to let Him wash his feet, but only told him the consequences if he did not allow it. I do not see this as “using power in a servant way.” It is simply taking a servant way– which is what He did as a model for us. His exercise of authority over the church is never shown as a model for us– only His servanthood to the church is shown as a model. Even so is the husband asked to model Christ’s laying down of His life in Eph. 5 — in the way Christ “gave Himself up for her,” “cleansed her,” “presented her to Himself,” and “feeds and cares for” her. Nowhere does Paul tell husbands, “command her, exercise authority over her, lead her,” or any similar language at all.

    Christ does have authority over the church– although the head-body relationship as set forth in Ephesians is never described in terms of authority. My conclusion is that when Paul tells wives to submit “as the church submits to Christ in everything,” I think he was telling wives to voluntarily yield to their husbands in all ways in which the church would yield to Christ. This would have included husbands’ authority, because husbands did have authority in that era. But the husbands are simply not being addressed in terms of the proper way to exercise authority. They are being told to stop acting towards their wives in terms of authority at all– to start acting in terms of mutual submission, laying down their lives, giving themselves, and raising their wives up. In short, it’s not the responsibility of those being ruled– the children, slaves or wives– to change the “ruler-ruled” paradigm. It’s the responsibility of the ones in power– because they’re the ones who can.

    (I must also note here that the church would never need to submit to Christ in terms of being dominated over, abused, neglected, or asked to follow into sin. Therefore, wives today who are submitting to husbands who still insist on always being the one in the lead “but doing it in a servant way,” may feel themselves justified in ceasing to submit if that leadership becomes abusive, neglectful, domineering or otherwise sinful.)

    Finally, I will say that I worship Christ, follow Christ, and obey Christ– but in my prayer times and times in Bible study, I simply do not always relate to Christ from a ruled-to-Ruler stance. Many times I simply rest in His love. Many times I pour out my troubles and fears. Many times I just tell Him how much He means to me. The Spirit of Christ is sometimes overpoweringly strong– but many times He comes to me “gentle, [as if] mounted on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Jesus made that particular gesture, riding in on a donkey, in an era when kings went about with huge pomp and ceremony. The amazing statement He was making is sometimes so familiar now that it is lost on us. But yes, it is just such language that our Lord encouraged to be used about Him.

  248. Ok– that’s as much as I have time for now. I may be able to get to the next points later this evening, or it may have to wait a few days or a week. I will end with this statement of Mark’s, because my answer to it is very short:
    If we lost the wealth that modern society can produce and went back to the kind of society where it is big grind to produce enough food to feed people and there is little discretionary capacity in society for people not to be involved in food production (and so not much of a police force or bureacracy, let alone any social welfare or universal education) then I think we’d return to more authoratarian society strucutres fairly quickly, even with a view of universal human dignity. I think we have little grasp how much what we take for granted is actually the conditions of a society where everyone is rich. Even our poor people have a kind of wealth unimaginable in earlier eras.

    Is Mark a sociologist? Because I simply don’t see what his reasoning is behind this. I’m not a sociologist either– but I don’t see how authoritarian social structures spring of necessity from subsistence farming. I think they do spring of necessity from the tendency of humans to seize power whenever there isn’t anyone to stop them– but simply from needing to work hard just to survive, no.

  249. Thanks so much Kristen for all your work and such excellent comments. I will send them on to Mark. I hope they are helpful for Mark. They certainly have been for me and I am sure everyone else who visits here.

  250. Kristin,
    Yes, it seems that in Mark’s opinion (or he would like us to buy into the notion), everything else in society would automatically revert in exact parallel fashion. Apparently Mark has studied enough sociology to note the link made between the beginnings of horse/plow agriculture and more complex less egalitarian societies. By contrast, in the previous hunter/gatherer foraging societal systems there is so much interdependence, these families/societies have a centralized sharing of resources and consensus is needed for major decisions. As a result, they are highly egalitarian with substantial cross-over among duties (women often hunt small game and men gather foods). Whereas, in agrarian society women’s status dropped because their work became less visible, thus less valued, and foraging is compatible with pregnancy/caring for infants but operating plows and controlling draft animals is not.
    Frankly, I think he shoots himself in the foot with this one. He is trying to use early agrarian societal norms to defend authoritarian structures.
    Sheeesh, isn’t capitulating to culture what comps accuse egalitarians of doing? And I wonder why Mark didn’t go further back in history to base his claim? To whom does he think the hunter/gatherers were capitulating? Or maybe concensus is not a concept he favors?

  251. “Jesus said in Matt 28:18-19, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples. . . .” Any authority that anyone in the church has, therefore, is actually Christ’s authority and not his/her own. In Titus 2:15, when Paul tells Titus, “Encourage and rebuke with all authority,” the word is not “exousia,” (“have rights/authority over”) but “epitage,” which means a command from God to be passed on. Delegated authority is the only authority we humans have.”

    Kristin,
    I’m glad you brought this out so clearly.

  252. Ok, getting back to answering Mark.

    Several of his paragraphs subsequent to the ones I have already addressed are expansions on the same issues. So I’m going to comment only on the ones that are left that my earlier comments did not address.

    First, there’s this:
    1. The Bible indicates that marriage is built into Creation and New Creation, and is good.
    2. The Bible doesn’t do that for slavery.
    3. The society of the day had a unanimous strong view about both marriage and slavery that was patriarchal, and Jewish exegesis of the Bible understood the texts patriarchally.
    4. The Bible does teach a structure of marriage, either patriarchal or egalitarian.

    My argument was that the Bible does treat marriage and slavery as different – one is built in and fundamentally good, one is not built in and is not an unequivocal good.

    I do not deny that marriage is built in from the beginning and shown as good. But I will say that the way I read it, marriage as an institution of patriarchy was not the way God originally conceived it– and the New Testament appears to overturn husband-rule as the norm for New Covenant marriage. I do not think that this would be lost on Paul’s original audience, as I have said. Paul was a Hebrew scholar. I understand that Paul was also Jewish, and it is true that in general, Jewish exegesis of the Bible understood the texts patriarchally. But much of Paul’s writing repudiates common Jewish understandings of many OT texts. Paul was not wed to rabbinic understandings. My question is, do the OT texts really show that God set up marriage from the beginning as a patriarchal institution? Because if they don’t, then given the nature of the New Covenant kingdom of God, it is quite likely that Paul had moved beyond Jewish patriarchalism in this area, and that he was trying to move his readers beyond patriarchalism too.

    “And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and . . . over all the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth on the earth.” Gen. 1:26-28.

    What this shows is identical treatment of the man and the woman, and identical status of the man and the woman before God. He formed them both to be in His image and to have dominion, and then he told them to be fruitful and multiply and rule the other creatures. But to me, the important thing to note here is that for Paul, as for us, Genesis Chapter 2 cannot be read without a view to Genesis Chapter 1. The woman, no less than the man, is given rulership in Genesis 1. There is no hint in Genesis 1 that the man is in authority over the woman.

    It is in the next chapter that we see the words “help meet” (note that these are two words, not one): “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him an help meet for him.” Genesis 2:18.

    It is important here to note that the name “Adam” is simply the Hebrew word for “human.” Genesis 5:2 says, “Male and female He created them, and blessed them, and called their name “adam” (human) in the day when they were created.” Woman is not an afterthought that God happened to have. When God made the “adam,” the male and female human were in God’s mind from the beginning. But he created one “adam” alone at first, for a reason. Genesis 2:19-20 says that God deliberately brought the animals to the adam to name them, “but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”

    God then causes the adam to fall asleep, and he takes “one of his ribs” (the original Hebrew says “from his side”), and makes a woman. She is made of the exact same substance as Adam, so that he cannot claim her nature as different from his in any way. Adam recognizes what God intended him to recognize– that no other creature is of Adam’s own nature, but this woman is. And this is where the word “man” as in “male” is first used by Adam in regard to himself, “This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” v. 23. But is a relationship of authority and submission being set up here? Was Eve created to be Adam’s help, as we understand it in English today– his “assistant”?

    The Hebrew word there for “help” actually refers to someone who renders strong aid that is desperately needed. Most of the other times that this word, “ezer,” is used in the Old Testament, it refers to God. In Psalm 33:20, for instance: “Our soul waiteth for the Lord; He is our help (“ezer”) and our shield.” An “ezer” is not someone who is subordinate to the one helped. God as “ezer” is above the humans who cry for Him to be their “help.”

    But the woman is not a “help” from a superior position, as God is, so the text in Genesis 2 adds a modification. The woman is a “help meet for him.” “Meet” in the KJV is an old word meaning “suitable to” or “corresponding to.” The Hebrew word is “kenedgo,” which literally means “facing him,” or “as in front of him.” The idea is that here is a help (strong aid) that is not above Adam, as God is, but is face-to-face with him. Equal partnership is strongly implied by this phrase.

    God makes the woman because one “adam” alone is not good. The “adam” needs a strong aid that stands face-to face with him. God wants the “adam” to recognize this strong, face-to-face aid for what she is, so God makes sure the “adam” knows that this being is not like one of the animals, but is of his own substance and nature. Genesis 2 then concludes with a parenthetical– that it is because of this manner of creation that man and woman are to join in marriage and be “one flesh.” There is still no hint of subordination of Eve to Adam. In fact, the later subordination of the woman to the man is clearly shown in Genesis 3:16 to be the result of sin.

    Would Paul really have understood that because Adam was made first, and because he named the animals, this put him automatically in a position of authority over Eve? If you take 1 Tim 2:15 and overlay it over the top of Genesis 2, it may seem that way– but can we be sure Paul would actually have read Genesis that way? The Bible clearly shows that the reason God had Adam name the animals was because God wanted to show Adam that there was no “facing-him-strong-aid” to be found among the animals. And even if naming something implied authority over it, Adam did not name Eve till after the Fall– in Genesis 3:20. When Adam said, “She shall be called Woman, for she was taken out of Man,” he was not naming the woman. He was simply distinguishing both himself and her from one another as male and female. The Hebrew word for “called” is a different word from the word used when he “named” the animals and “named” Eve. If the idea of “naming” has any meaning of “authority” at all, then it is interesting to note that Adam did not name Eve until after sin had entered the world and after God told Eve, “he shall rule over you.” (Notice, too, that God did not give a command to the man, “See that you rule over her,“ but merely made a statement to the woman, “He shall rule over you.“ Male rule, like thorns and thistles and pain in childbirth, was a consequence of the Fall, not a command of God.)

    Nor is there any indication in Genesis itself, that being made first put Adam automatically in authority over Eve. If being made first implied authority, then the fish and the birds would rule the land animals, and the land animals would rule the humans. But God made the human alone at first so that God could show the human how much he needed an “ezer kenegdo.”

    Looking at other Old Testament passages about marriage, we definitely see that “ruling over her” quickly became the norm in Israelite thinking. The Law largely assumes that men are going to consider their wives and daughters to be their property, and sets up certain parameters to give women and wives some protections. But even within those parameters, we often see God working with and through women in ways that elevates and ennobles them. Deborah, Miriam, Abigail, Esther — all were used by God in ways that indicated grace and dignity far above man’s usual treatment of woman.

    And then Christ came. And He did things like tell Martha that Mary didn’t have to serve in the kitchen but could come sit and learn as a disciple, right in the same room with the guys. He spoke to the Samarian woman in theological discourse, in a way very similar to that in which He spoke to men like Nicodemus. Unlike the way the Old Testament’s point of view is fairly consistently male, Christ frequently would tell one parable featuring a man’s perspective, and then another parable featuring a woman’s perspective, in a parallel fashion (see for instance Luke 15:1-10). In short, Christ made it plain that while Israel’s law was male-focused, the kingdom of God was focused on men and women together.

    And then we get Galatians 3:26-4:7, which is one of Paul’s great statements about the nature of the New Covenant community brought about by Christ’s death and resurrection.

    “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Now I say: That the heir,, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all. . . Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. . . Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

    Looking closely at this passage, it is not referring only to salvation; this is not just about the fact that people of all races and both sexes can become part of God’s family. See the last part of this section of Scripture: “that ye might receive the adoption of sons. . . and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” That phrase, “adoption of sons,” was a special legal term in the original Greek, referring to the full legal standing of an adopted male heir.. Adopted male heirs had the same status as freeborn male sons, with all the privileges and benefits that sons enjoyed in that culture.

    Paul is saying that “in Christ” Jews and Gentiles, slaves and freemen, males and females, all have full and equal status as adopted freeborn “sons” in the family of God. It was not Paul’s intention that a freeborn Jew, after reading this passage, would feel able to tell a Gentile or a slave, “There, you get to be saved just like us; now be content with that, because positions of authority in the Kingdom belong only to freeborn Jews.” Such flesh-based distinctions are part of the “elements of the world,” (Gal. 4:3), and these “elements” are not part of God’s covenant community in Christ. And according to the same passage, this applies to “male and female” distinctions too.

    In other words, when the New Testament is looked at as a whole, it appears that Christ’s coming was meant to change the damaging effects of male-female relations created by the Fall, so that wives can again become the “face-to-face strong aid” of their husbands. 1 Cor 7 makes this abundantly clear in the careful, line-by-line parallels indicating equal reciprocity that Paul shows throughout the marriage-advice section. “Let each man have his own wife/let each woman have her own husband.” “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her/likewise also the wife to her husband.” And so on and so on, throughout the whole passage.

    Looked at in this light, it becomes hard for me to believe that Paul’s passages about practical Christian living (including marriage practices in Eph 5 and church conduct in 1 Cor. 11 and 1 Tim 2) were meant to override his principle in Gal 3:28 that in Christ, oneness between the male and female is being restored through equality of status and full “sonship.” It seems to me instead that Paul was working out how those principles of equal status could be worked into the culture in which he and his readers found themselves.

    (Note: the more I study 1 Tim 2:14-17, the more it looks to me like Paul was addressing a specific problem distinctive to the church at Ephesus in the early to mid-first century. According to Greek scholar Philip Payne, the word “permit” in the Greek almost always implied a case-specific injunction. And Paul’s general grammatical practice was to use the first person singular, present active indicative tense (translated here as “I do not permit”) to indicate a current desire or conviction, not a universal, timeless command. Philip Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ, p. 320-21. I simply do not think Paul intended this passage as an interpretation of Genesis such that we can read it back over and into the meaning of the original Genesis passage in the way complementarians do. We need to read it instead, in light of what the New Covenant Kingdom is supposed to be.)

    So what it comes down to is that as far as I can see, the whole New Testament, including Paul, gives women a new, equal status with men, restoring them to what was lost in the Garden. Practical issues had to be worked out in light of the situation the young churches found themselves in, but the weight and thrust of the Scriptures as a whole is for male-female functional equality.
    ***

    I will address Mark’s last point as soon as I can. Today’s my 23rd wedding anniversary! And I have to start getting ready for an evening out with my sweet equal partner and best friend. (grin)

  253. Thanks again Kristen for such a wonderfully clear explanation of the overall teaching of scripture on this subject. I’ll pass it on to Mark for you.
    Congratulations on 23 years married to your best friend! I had my 28th just a few days ago – likewise to without doubt my best friend and “strong aid who stands face to face with me”. Praise God for His goodness and grace toward us!

  254. Ok, this last section is pretty volatile. I hope it doesn’t make Mark terribly angry– but he was blunt and direct about what he said about the egalitarian position, and I must in honest rebuttal, do the same.

    Calvin and Luther don’t try and reintroduce slavery into the 16th Century, for example, which one would expect them to do if Christians have always considered slavery to be normative. The early church did not campaign to keep slavery going, or hold it up as something universally and unqualifiedly good. So it’s a misperception about how the Church understood slavery – similar to the argument that all Christians believed that the Bible taught a flat world before Galileo. There are a number of early church fathers who believed (like many philosophers at that time) in a round world.

    So the issues aren’t parallel. The mainstream tradition did not think that slavery was obligatory (i.e. normative) – that God wanted slaves in all times and places. Usually people argued (at most) that it was possible under certain conditions. And there had been different views on the shape of the world. But no-one believed that the passages in question taught an egalitarian view of marriage. The people arguing for slavery didn’t just peg their case on the household codes either – they drew on a wide range of texts as well for their position, so that part of the argument is wrong as well.

    Further, there is a disanalogy in that those contesting slavery and arguing for a round world were going against the grain of the society of the day, while those supporting the received position were reflecting the consensus of their society. In the current debate that shoe is on the other foot – egalitarianism is the view that seems reasonable and obvious to our unbelieving contemporaries.

    I agree with the basic point – have to show from the Bible as a whole, and not just assume. But I think the other side has to be in play as well. To say that the whole church got it wrong for two thousand years about something so ethically important is a big claim. To say that at a time when the view in question simply reflects the moral intuition of our own society is an orange light. The teaching of scripture has to be really, really, really clear for that to be the case. And egal reasoning on these things is hardly ‘clear’, even if it is true, it is more like ‘torturous’ or ’subtle’ as a description. That can’t decide matters, but it needs to be given some significant weight.

    I must begin by saying that though Calvin and Luther don’t try to reintroduce slavery into the 16th century– and though the Roman Church had influenced the decline of slavery in the Middle Ages, serfdom was an institution well into Calvin and Luther’s time, and to the best of my knowledge, neither one spoke against it. Serfdom was, of course, a form of slavery– only it was bondage to the land rather than to the slave owner. Serfs could not be sold away from their families, therefore– but neither did they have the power to leave the land they were bound to. I would tend to say that as a whole, the church has had an ambivalent attitude towards institutions of slavery. The church also had a somewhat ambivalent attitude towards marriage in its early years, believing virginity and celibacy to be spiritually superior; which of course is one attitude that Calvin and Luther both worked to change. And it does seem as if evangelical Protestantism has gone too far the other way, discouraging singlehood as an equally viable choice for Christians, which I firmly believe the New Testament teaches to be the case.

    So I will agree that marriage and slavery are not exactly parallel. But it’s not saying a lot to say that those who used the scriptures to defend slavery drew on a wide range of texts, not just the household codes. It is the usual case that a person holding a certain position as “biblical,” will draw on a wide range of texts that they believe support their position, directly or indirectly. The point is that slavery, parenthood and marriage were all part and parcel of first-century households, and therefore it does make sense to look at the passages that deal with the three of them as a group, as what is said (and not said) about one, may have some bearing on what is said about the other two.

    Nor do I think it’s saying much to say, “no one believed that the passages in question taught an egalitarian view of marriage.” They didn’t teach that– not in the way you mean. The most that I can say as an egalitarian is that Paul believed that Christ had restored the relations between the sexes such that men and women could be “one” in their full, equal status as “sons” in Christ– and that this equality must inform the relations of husbands and wives, in a culture and setting that were patriarchal. To say the passages have “egalitarian marriage” in view is to be anachronistic– just as it would be anachronistic to say Paul was “anti-slavery.“ But this does not mean that the passages can be said to “teach” or uphold slavery or male rule in marriage– rather, the passages address slavery and male rule in marriage facts of that society which the infant religious movement had to accommodate. But accommodation is what I believe Paul was teaching. It is in this way that Paul’s teachings about slavery can inform our view of what he meant by his teachings about husband-rule– for if he was not endorsing slavery as a divinely mandated institution, we cannot say he is clearly endorsing male rule as divinely mandated either– not in light of his statements in Galatians 3 and 4 about “no slave or free, no male or female” and Christians from all these groups being “adopted as sons” and “one in Christ Jesus.”

    Why, then, did “the whole church get it wrong for two thousand years about something so ethically important?” The first reason I would give is that “he shall rule over you” was a consequence of the Fall, just like thorns and thistles in the fields. We still have not managed to eradicate thorns and thistles, though we still fight against them. The male desire to rule over the female is something intrinsic to the fallen human nature, and no easier to eradicate than the thorns and thistles– and in the case of male rule, for most of history the human race has made no attempt to fight against it, but males who wished to rule in Christendom have used it as one of the building blocks of their power.

    Which brings us to my second reason. Why did the church believe holy war in Jerusalem was a way to honor God? Why did the church as a whole uphold the “divine right of kings” as a biblical mandate? Why did popes use the name and authority of the Apostle Peter to build their own personal wealth and influence?

    Because it is a fact of history that through the ages, Christians in places of power or privilege have used the Scriptures as buttresses to their power and privilege. Any statement in the Bible that can possibly be used to do this, has been so used, and many are still being so used today. Spiritually abusive sects like the shepherding movement have used the Bible to uphold the authority of leaders over the rank-and-file members. The domestic discipline movement uses it to uphold a husband’s “right” to spank his wife. Southern United States slaveholders taught that the curse of Noah on the sons of Ham meant that the black race was intended by God to serve the white race. Upholders of Apartheid in South Africa taught similar doctrines. The English aristocracy taught the peasants to pray, “God bless the king and his relations, and keep us all in our proper stations,” and preached that stepping out of the station to which you were born was rebellion against God. Many of these sects have taught that they way they interpret the Bible is the way the church has interpreted it since its inception, that their position is therefore privileged, and that the Bible “clearly” supports their position over and against that of the opposition.

    In fact, if you will click on this link:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=S1ZEtrmbPRwC&ots=lq1ATez_K9&dq=A%20Scriptural%2C%20Ecclesiastical%2C%20and%20Historical%20View%20of%20Slavery&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

    and begin reading at around page 45 at arguments put forward for black slavery against the Abolitionists in the United States, you will find the following ideas (these are summaries of the arguments):

    That the Church has traditionally, for 1800 years prior to the the current age, supported slavery.

    That the plain sense of the Scriptures is pro-slavery.

    That the problem is not the institution of slavery, but the abuse of it by some men.

    That those who oppose slavery are bowing to the godlessness of their own modern culture.

    That the African race is designed by God to be under the white race, as can be proved in the book of Genesis, and is happiest when it embraces that design.

    Whether or not any of these arguments for black slavery had any real basis in history or Scripture is another issue– but the fact is that the arguments, when reduced to their basics, look very much like many of the complementarian arguments. It is the nature of human beings to use whatever arguments are perceived as having the most power, in support of their position– and there are few things in our world even today, that have as much power in the human mind, as Scripture. Therefore, what ought to get the “orange light” are positions on Scripture which tend to uphold the power of groups that have long held power– when Christ’s parable about not seeking the highest places at the banquet, is in direct opposition to such uses. (I am not saying complementarians are deliberately seeking power– and I’m certainly not saying their hearts are wrong or that the oppression of women is their goal. But these human social trends and historical patterns are things that need to be looked at steadily and honestly. As you said, this can’t decide matters, but it needs to be given some significant weight.)

    In light of this, this argument:

    “Those contesting slavery and arguing for a round world were going against the grain of the society of the day, while those supporting the received position were reflecting the consensus of their society. In the current debate that shoe is on the other foot – egalitarianism is the view that seems reasonable and obvious to our unbelieving contemporaries”

    seems lacking in perspective. The movement that eradicated black slavery in England and the US was largely made up of Christians, and weight and thrust of the whole counsel of Scripture was used by these Christian groups to uphold the idea of the full equality of the races, against those who would cite certain texts as means to uphold white power. In the same way, most of the pioneers of the early feminist movement– the women’s suffragettes– were Christian in beliefs, outlook and foundational ideals. These ideas are not so much offspring of the Enlightment as they are offspring of the Second Great Awakening.

    Both movements were very counter-cultural in their inception and in their long, hard-won fight against oppression. The reason they seem “reasonable and obvious” to us now is because they succeeded in persuading society of the injustice of the opposing view. Are our idealistic Christian forerunners now to be rewarded for their blood, sweat and tears by having their position mistrusted for having won?

    Another thing is that the current complementarian position is not actually what the church has believed for 2000 years. Complementarians believe that women are equal, but have different roles such that the roles of authority in the church and home belong to men. The long-held traditional view of the church has been that women are inferior in mind and body and are designed to be under male authority, not just in the church and home, but in the business world as well. Since women have now abundantly proved that they are just as capable as men in the secular sphere, modern complementarians have re-examined their Bibles and found that to uphold the notion that women are inferior to men, or that women should not be allowed any place in society other than as keepers of the home, is not as biblical as the church once thought. Egalitarians simply take this a step further and say that if the weight and thrust of the whole counsel of Scripture is for female equality, why would this not be full, functional equality in all spheres of life? Is the position that women belong under male authority in the church and home, really as biblical as the church once thought– and as many in the church still think?

    That pretty much concludes my arguments. I recognize the volatility of some of what I have shared in this last section, and though I have spoken bluntly, it has not been my intention to judge complementarians or any of my brothers or sisters in Christ. God bless.

  255. Hi Kristen,
    Just checking if this bit

    Ok, this last section is pretty volatile. I hope it doesn’t make Mark terribly angry– but he was blunt and direct about what he said about the egalitarian position, and I must in honest rebuttal, do the same.

    was intended just for our benefit or would you like me to pass this on to Mark also.
    Thanks again for your willingness to pass on all your research, wisdom and knowledge for the benefit of others.

  256. Craig– no, I had not intended to share that first bit with Mark. I was simply sharing with you folks here that have done my best to mitigate any potential offense my arguments might cause him– but if he takes offense, then so be it. I believe I am speaking the truth in love to the best of my ability.

  257. Hi Kristen,
    Mark has just written that he has been busy on Sola Panel but is pulling back from that and hopes to have more time to reply to us shortly.
    I think you make some great points in #254 in a very “speaking the truth in love” kinda-way. I would be surprised if Mark or anyone could take any offense at your tone whatsoever. You come across to me as polite, calm and considerate while still making your points clearly and with conviction.

  258. Thanks, Craig. You’re sweet.
    It’s not my tone I’m worried about, however. I have learned the hard way that any time parallels are drawn between racism and complementarianism, or between black slavery and female subordination, it can be cause for serious offense. That’s why I have tried to explain that I’m not accusing him– or any comp– of anything.
    It may help that he’s Australian and not from the US. We’ll see.

  259. pinklightlight April 2, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Where’s Cheryl?

  260. Hi pinklight (or is that pinklightlight?)
    I am still here but so many things have happened that I feel like I have to do some digging out just to get to street level. I really want to be back writing again and I will be. In a week I finally get a week vacation and it is my intent to spend time catching up and this blog is top of my list.

  261. I’m sure that things will progress better when your remodeling is done.

    But we surely do miss your interaction here.

    Aloha Nui,

    TL

  262. There you are! :) Just saying *hi* and want to make sure you’re doing okay! Miss you Cheryl.

  263. Ditto!

  264. “Why, then, did “the whole church get it wrong for two thousand years about something so ethically important?”

    Kristen does a great job answering this but I think this question is very important because so many turn to church history instead of the scripture to define a pet doctrine.

    Church history is a bloody mess and we should be ashamed to appeal to it. How long did Christians believe in a state church? Divine right of kings? Or how about the Dark Ages when it was a crime to read the Bible unless you were a priest? Church history is full of wrong doctrine such as transubstantiation, sacraments as Grace, God-War shield, etc.

    For goodness sake, just the facts about how the Church of England came about should give us all pause in referring to “church history”!

    While Luther was courageous to stand up to Rome, we all now cringe at what he wrote about Jews. Some of us cringe on what he says about women, too.

    To appeal to church history is to appeal to a lot of ignorance, blood, sin and disgrace. It only makes me see the Glory of God that He preserved a remnant for Himself throughout the ages. And someday, we will know who they were.

    On another note, comp doctrine is illogical in many ways with the entire scope of the Word both Old and New Covenants. Women are never once prohibited from teaching men in the OC but are now prohibited in the New? Does this make sense?

    The Joel Prophecy is ignored and/or taught that is only exists for one day? Salvic Roles for women are taught which make Joanna in Luke 8 a huge sinner. Women are taught a religion of “works” for only them because of a horrible translation of 1 Tim.

    I could go on and on with the cognitive dissonance of how scripture is interpreted by comps. Someday, I am going to make a huge list.

  265. There is no way I would submit to the teaching authority of a woman. Period.

  266. Those who love the truth, don’t care who gives it to them.

  267. Rob, welcome to my blog.

    As far as taking authority over other members of the body of Christ, I don’t believe in that, nor do I believe that this is taught in the Scriptures. As far as teaching the truth of God’s word for a man’s benefit, we are to give our God-given gifts for the common good. I agree with TL that those who love the truth won’t care which vessel the Holy Spirit uses to teach God’s truth to them.

  268. Rob, since there’s no way I would submit to your teaching authority, I guess we’re even.

  269. In the vein of what Cheryl said, there is no such thing as “teaching authority”, as in another has to do what another said because they are a recognized teacher. Rather, it is the other way around. A recognized teacher is such because they have aptly demonstrated the authoritative ability of the Holy Spirit in their teaching. It is not worldly authority that gives special people special privileges that Scriptures speak of. It is rather the observation that the teacher has the ability to be guided by the Holy Spirit that should cause the people of God to be willing to be persuaded by not only the teacher’s words but his/her life as well.

  270. Rob: There is no way I would submit to the teaching authority of a woman. Period:

    Rob, however you want to screw up your own life, insult God, and miss out on some incredible blessing, that’s your own choice.

  271. Keep in mind, Rob, that your understanding is a matter of perception and more than likely man’s tradition that you have accepted. The question is, is yours accurate because it is biblicaly provable without a doubt? And fact is, the answer is, “no.”

  272. This thought is a little unrelated to what we have been discussing so I thought I would put it under a different post on 1 Tim 2:15.
    I remember discussing 1 Tim 2:15 with Mark here a while back, and he was saying how it was bad theology to relate one person’s salvation to the actions of another. He was arguing against Cheryl’s interpretation. I just noticed that Paul says the same sort of thing in 1 Tim 4:16. He tells Timothy to persevere, because if he does, he will save himself and his hearers. This sounds a bit like “they” persevering resulting in the salvation of “she” in 1 Tim 2:15.

  273. Excellent point, Craig and very deep thinking that connects two related points in the same letter!

  274. I was just thinking more about 1 Tim 4:16 when Paul tells Tim to persevere, “because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers”. I was wondering if this has any more implications for 1 Tim 2:11-15.
    In 1 Tim 4:16 Tim’s salvation is spoken of as future, and yet he is obviously a believer at the time of writing. Perhaps this suggests that although it is reasonable to conclude from the rest of v11-15 that “the woman” is not yet a believer, the future tense of v15 does not absolutely prove this in and of itself. The future tense would be consistent with this and goes along well with this view, but does not absolutely prove it, if you can follow my point.
    When I make statements to people, I just like to be accurate, because if I am not, then they have a habit of coming back to bite me!

  275. We still have context to reckon with. In chapt. four, Paul is speaking to someone who is alive. To us who are alive we remember that we are saved at the moment of belief, and we are saved daily from ourselves and sin, and finally if we persevere until death we will be ‘finally’ saved. But all of this is settled at the moment of death. Thus, all discussion of doing anything to be saved in any fashion whether daily or finally at death, has to apply to someone living.

  276. Hi TL,
    I hope you are recovering well from your operation.
    The issue I am thinking about here is not whether the woman is alive or dead, but rather whether the future tense indicates whether she is a believer or not at the time of writing.
    The way I read it, there is a sense in which a believer who is currently alive, like Timothy at the time of writing, or you or I today, “will be saved” in the future (1 Tim 4:16) and also a sense that we “have been saved” (Eph 2:8,9).
    I think you expressed it well by saying “we are saved at the moment of belief, and we are saved daily from ourselves and sin, and finally if we persevere until death we will be ‘finally’ saved.”
    So I am not sure that we can know for sure that “the woman” is not a believer simply from the fact that the future tense is used of her salvation.

    So my question is only a very small one. If this whole passage is dealing with a particular Ephesian woman, can we know for sure whether she is a) an unbeliever or b) a believer, belonging to the church, who has been deceived by Satan (cf Paul’s concern that this not happen to those in the church at Corinth 2 Cor 11:3) and also, what part does the future tense of v15a play in that decision.
    This is only a small point in the overall scheme of things, but I am just thinking that the future tense alone cannot decide this issue. We have to look at other things like the commandment for her to learn, and that she is not permitted to teach, and that she is in transgression through being deceived. Also that Paul says “BUT” she will be saved, if they persevere. The “but” to me would indicate that all these other factors cast doubt upon her salvation. So he is saying “but, in contrast to the way it looks now, she will be saved, if….”
    We need the context to decide these things. The future tense alone (because of the way it is used in 1 Tim 4:16) doesn’t decide it by itself.

  277. Craig,

    If I’m getting your point correctly, we may not be able to tell absolutely if she is a non believer or a new convert needing to learn more. But it may not matter. If she learns, and then seeks to live a holy acceptable life unto God, then she will be saved through The Childbearing.

  278. That’s about it TL. Thanks for taking the time to follow my ramblings. :)
    I’m just pondering away here, thinking about what can be known with reasonable certainty and I can therefore argue/teach with real conviction, and what I think is a reasonable guess but I can’t be sure of, and thinking of any implications there might or might not be from what I’m thinking.

  279. No problem, Craig. Your ramblings as you call them, are quite helpful. It is good to recheck the room a few times while cleaning, to make sure one get’s all the cobwebs out. :)

  280. I just found something that may be significant. Others of you may already know this, but I am a real novice in Greek and it was news to me.
    I was aware that in Greek there is no indefinite article.
    I have been told by several comp friends that “woman” in 1 Tim 2:11 was indefinite. If Paul had meant a definite woman he would have used the definite article and said “the woman” and not just “woman”.
    In “Learn to read the Greek NT” by Ward Powers on p32, it says “the beginning of a sentence is an emphatic position, and the most important word in a sentence may be placed first to give it emphasis. Often a word in this position is considered definite enough not to be given the article in Greek.”
    “Woman” begins the sentence in v11, and “but woman” begins a clause in v12.
    This to me gives more weight to the idea that Paul is speaking of a definite woman, and not speaking generically of “any woman” in v11,12.
    Am I on the right track? Is this common knowledge?

  281. Craig,
    You are correct in that emphasis is through word order. I did not know that the first word in that way could be taken as a definite. Very interesting.

  282. Yes it is very interesting to me. I have been able to grasp how v14b, 15 seem to definitely refer to a particular Ephesian woman, and how “the woman” could refer back anaphorically to v11,12 – but it still didn’t quite sound right. V11,12 still sounded more generic than passages like Jn4. If “woman”, because it is at the beginning of the sentence should be translated “the woman” then it all makes a lot more sense to me.

  283. Craig,
    If you have the ability to scan that page and email it to me, I would be interested in looking at it.

  284. Thanks to Craig, here is a scan of the part of the page that lists point that the first word doesn’t necessarily have to have a definite article to be definite.

    Learn to read the Greek NT by Ward Powers on p32 on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

  285. Okay, I am going to shut down the comments on this post and refer people with comments to the current post here http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2011/06/25/specific-or-general-woman/ as I don’t want the comments to disappear on this post due to being over the limit on length.