Below is a snippet of my new blog post on my new Women in Ministry blog address. For direct access to the new blog site and the entire article, go to http://www.mmoutreach.org/wim/2016/09/17/context-is-key/ Make sure that you subscribe to the new blog address to receive any new posts.
CONTEXT is Key
Recently, I listened to a pastor describe the context of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. I was very interested to hear what he had to say since I had never heard anyone explain the context of 1 Corinthians to show how there is support for the silencing of women. I was quite surprised when he claimed the context of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 was 1 Timothy 2. I had heard him emphasize the importance of context, context, context many times. However, his explanation of what qualifies as context was always the same as mine. The context of a disputed verse are the verses and chapters that surround it. It is never a passage in another book. While another passage in another book can be related, it isn’t the context. So I asked him again. Could he please give the direct context from the book of 1 Corinthians that supports the silencing of women. I have not yet heard back from him, but I thought it would be a good idea to go back through the entire book of 1 Corinthians to gather all of the evidence that Paul documents for why the two verses of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 were added to his letter. I found so much more than I expected from looking at a wider context! There is way more material than I could put into one article, so I am going to try to distil the evidence into categories and then I will give a conclusion of Paul’s reasoning. I will challenge anyone who thinks I have not considered the entire context. I welcome you to bring me correction and show me the supporting context from the book of First Corinthians that defines and upholds the silencing of women in the church.
CONTEXT: The Corinthian’s Letter to Paul – Questions and Claims
- 1 Cor. 1:11 Paul reveals there are quarrels among the Corinthians – information passed on to him from Cloe’s people. The key purpose of the book is to deal with these conflicts and quarrels. Watch carefully throughout the book of 1 Corinthians how Paul ties in his correction with the source of the conflicts.
- 1 Cor. 7:1 Paul mentions a letter that the Corinthians had written to Paul. The letter from the Corinthians to Paul plus the report from Cloe’s people bring to Paul information about the quarrels.
- 1 Cor. 7:25 Paul moves on to another area of concern; “Now concerning” virgins.
- 1 Cor. 8:1 “Now concerning” things sacrificed to idols.
- 1 Cor 16:1 “Now concerning” the collection for the saints. All of the “now concerning” references are Paul answering what had been sent to him in writing.
Other comments that Paul makes do not directly reference the letter from the Corinthians, but they appear to answer challenges, claims or arguments. For example, 1 Cor. 6:12 says:
1 Corinthians 6:12 (NASB) All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.
Are “all things” lawful for Paul? The negation that follows appears to be Paul’s answer to the writer of the letter who claims not to be under any law. “All things are lawful for me,” the letter says, but Paul answers “BUT NOT all things are profitable.” Again, “All things are lawful for me,” the writer concludes, but Paul answers, “BUT I will NOT be mastered by anything.” Paul’s testimony in all the churches is that we are under the “law of Christ.” We can fulfill the duty to Christ through love and service to our brother (Gal. 6:2.) Anytime a statement is made in 1 Corinthians that appears contradictory to Paul’s known position we can suspect that Paul is dealing with issues that were presented to him, for Paul does not contradict himself. The fact that Paul consistently speaks about setting aside what is good for oneself and aiming for what is helpful for others as the “common good” should tip us off that the arrogant claim that “all things are lawful” is part of the quarrel among the Corinthians.
Click here to read the full article.
In 2006 my DVD Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free came out and since that time I have seen my share of scarecrows who are intent on destroying the message of women in ministry. One such scarecrow refuses to go away and it is time to create a blog post where others who have been hurt by the issue of women in ministry can share their pain. If you are a woman in ministry or a woman teacher and you have been hurt, abused or silenced and you would like to share a short story, this is the post for you to share with us. I will moderate the comments so that any scarecrow/troll who would like to sound off against women in ministry will either have their comments moderated or removed. This is a safe place where those who are like-minded can encourage you as there are many who come to this community of loving Christians who value the worth and ministry of women.
The reason I named this post Stubble, Straw and Scarecrows is because those who are vehemently opposed to women’s gifts used for the common good are planting chaff and their words are nothing more than stubble and straw. Stubble, straw and scarecrows are not God’s tools nor are they things to be afraid of. We are to fear God and allow Him to decide what gifts we receive for the fact is that the gift we receive from God comes with His permission to use His gift for God’s glory and the common good (1 Peter 4:11). No man can give us spiritual gifts and no man may kill God’s gifts within us. We are accountable to God and we must be faithful with what God has given us rather than holding back because of the fear of man.
I will start with my story. …
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Phil Johnson over at Pyromaniacshas struck up some heat on a post that he titles “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of the Discernment Divas”. In this post and in his subsequent comments he makes his position plain that women are not allowed to publicly point out error of a “duly ordained pastor”. Phil classifies many “housewives and homeschool moms” as bad discerners who are discernment divas. These “divas” believe that God has called them into a ministry of discernment but their abilities are not in rational understanding of doctrinal truth but an ability “to use a really sharp tongue” which Phil says is counter productive and embarrassing. Phil doesn’t seem to mind that this may offend a lot of women as he tells Friel that he is a descendent of the John Knox clan. It was John Knox who offended more than a few when he wrote the book The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women in 1558. In this book, Knox wrote that women compared to men were blind, weak, sick, impotent, mad, frenetic and their counsel is foolish. …
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In a recent blog post there has been some discussion on 1 Timothy 2:11, 12 in the comment section, and the question of whether “a woman” is generic woman or a specific woman. I always appreciate questions and challenges on my position as it continually pushes me to continue to do research in order to answer the questions that are posed to me.
The question that was posed to me was regarding “a woman” and whether there is any proof that she is a particular woman that Timothy was aware of. The reason the question was asked is because in 1 Timothy 2:14 “the woman” is referenced and it is clear from the grammar that this is not Eve because “the woman” is still in the after effects of her transgression and her deception and since Eve is dead, her transgression is not on-going. A similar situation is in 1 Timothy 2:15 where “she” will be saved…if… The grammar is future tense and again it is impossible for this to be Eve as Eve is dead and gone and her salvation cannot be in the future and conditional. …
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In our continuing topic of common objections to women in ministry, the objection is raised that women cannot have authority in the church since wives are under their husband’s authority. The concern is that if women had leadership roles in the church, then their leadership role would be in submission to their own husbands. So instead of women making individual decisions, their husbands would be the ones making the decisions for them and the wives would be obligated to obey.
The objection comes from the theory that the husband is the ruler of the wife so that any decision she would make in a leadership role outside the home would come under his control. In essence it is believed that women’s leadership in the church would result in their own husbands leading through their wives and how would that look if he was an unbeliever? …
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According to those who have been followed a trail left by our old friend Neopatriarch (who many of you may recall was the young complementarian who used to post challenges on this blog until he left in exasperation when his arguments didn’t make the grade), he has apparently been presently himself recently on several discussion boards as the one who has refuted my exegesis of 1 Timothy 2:11-15. How interesting that he has been refuted time and time again and is still claiming victory. Also how interesting that he has picked me as the one who has the exegesis that has to be refuted. Well, I am quite flattered by all of his attention, and even though he is undoubtedly a very intelligent young man, his attempts to refute my sound argument have only called attention to my argument. I guess I should say thanks. …
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How is it that there are millions of Christians who all look to the same Genesis account yet find themselves with different and contradictory truth claims from the same account? While many conclude that man was designed in a special way that sets him above the woman with special God-given privileges, there are still many others who conclude that God created both man and woman as equal rulers over creation. We all need to be careful that we don’t just see what we want to see because there is a tendency for each one of us to read our own position into the account. But as Christians we should desire to value truth above all else for it is God’s design that we want to discover, not mankind’s aberration of God’s design.
As we search diligently in the creation account in Genesis, we look for how God conveyed His design differences to the attention of the first man and woman. Did the man know that he had been designed differently? Did he know that his design gave him special privileges that were withheld from his wife because she did not have the same design? And was it conveyed to Eve that she was not on the same level as Adam? According to Ray Ortlund, God gave the man a special mission and a special “call” to accomplish and the woman had a special mission to please him. …
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