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Category: Headship/submission

Ephesians 5:21, 22 and Christian liberty

Ephesians 5:21, 22 and Christian liberty

Christian Freedom on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

This post is the essence of the sermon Spirit-Filled Living part 1 by Pastor Darrell Johnson of First Baptist Church, Vancouver, BC, Canada.  If you would like to listen to the entire sermon, you can listen to the sermon here.

Spirit-Filled Living Part 1

The revolutionary and alternate understanding of human relationships in Ephesians 5 & 6 is contrary to deeply engrained patterns of behavior. Even after 2,000 years the Church has yet to work out the implications.

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Repost – Authority vs submission – a biblical view of Ephesians 5:22

Repost – Authority vs submission – a biblical view of Ephesians 5:22

Mutual submission on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

My original 2010 post crashed because there were too many comments for my blog to handle, so I am putting up this post again so that people can read the article which is no longer available because of the crash.  Thanks to one of my readers who asked me to repost.

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Yesterday I received two polar opposite views of Ephesians 5:22 by email.  One was from “NN” who has responded here in the past.  He  is a complementarian who has commented on authority in marriage, one of a handful of complementarians who have been willing to give their views on women on this blog in a respectful manner.  In NN’s email he sent me a link to his view on submission in marriage which he says is not to be mutual.  In the other email my son Ryan gave me his conclusions after a time of researching on his own the issue of authority and submission in marriage in order to present a biblical answer to his pastor.  I am going to refer to both views in this article for us to consider. 

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Taking the place of sole Master of the home – by law

Taking the place of sole Master of the home – by law

Taking the place of master by law on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

The Bible records a law that requires men to take the place of sole master in the home. We find this law in the book of Esther chapter 1 verse 22.

Let me first give a little background.  King Ahasuerus was a very wealthy and powerful king who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces.  In the third year of his reign he made a huge banquet for his nobles and officials as well as military leaders.  Then for 180 days he displayed his great riches and all that went with the majesty of his position.  At the end of all this show of the king’s splendor, he threw a seven day banquet for all the people who were present in his capital city, both the greatest of them to the least of them.  It was at that time, after seven days of partying, that the king became joyful from the wine that was served at the banquet, and in a hasty decision to show-case all that he owned that was magnificent beauty, he ordered that queen Vashti be called to appear before the king wearing her crown in order to parade her beauty before the crowd. Vashti refused to have her person put on display and this caused the king to feel great wrath and he called his wise men to find out what could be done by law to punish queen Vashti for refusing to obey his command.  In verses 16 to 19 Memucan one of the wise men said, 

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The humble God and the issue of authority

The humble God and the issue of authority

The humility of God on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

In our past discussions on Ephesians 5:21-22, we have been discussing the issues of mutual submission and whether there is authority in marriage.  In this post, we will discuss the foundation of humility.

One very important part of the nature of God that is rarely talked about is God’s nature of humility.   In fact God as the humble One is revealed in the Old Testament and also through the revelation of Jesus Christ. 

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Submission & Ephesians 5:22 comments post #3

Submission & Ephesians 5:22 comments post #3

Ephesians 5:22 on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Our discussions on Ephesians 5:22 has sparked a flurry of comments with literally hundreds of comments later and seemingly no end to the “iron sharpening iron” discussion between egalitarians as well as complementarians.  This is the place where the discussion will continue as my blog has a habit of blanking out all of the comments if I let too many accumulate under one post.  So continue discussion with this post and thanks all for your lively and irenic comments on a very hotly debated topic of authority and submission in marriage.

For those who haven’t been following all along, here are links to the previous parts of the discussion on Ephesians 5:22.

Part #2 http://mmoutreach.org/wim/2010/06/01/authority-vs-submission-ephesians-522-continuing-comments

Part #1 http://mmoutreach.org/wim/2010/05/23/authority-vs-submission-biblical-view/ Part 1 has problems because of the great amount of comments, but at least the original post can be read if the link doesn’t work.  Just scroll down to the bottom until you read the post of May 23, 2010 called Authority vs Submission a Biblical View.

Submission and the origin of authority

Submission and the origin of authority

Authority given on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

When is authority given and when can it be rightfully assumed?  These are questions that have divided egalitarians and complementarians in the area of marriage.  While egalitarians generally will agree that submission is a characteristic of Spirit-filled Christians who love and respect the body of Christ, and who serve each other with love, complementarians say that husbands are never commanded to submit to their wives because husbands maintain a God-given sphere of authority that requires sacrifice and not submission.  To a complementarian, submission is always something given to an authority.  Since they don’t believe that a wife has authority over a husband they refuse to submit to their wives.  Is this Biblical? 

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Authority vs submission – a biblical view of Ephesians 5:22

Authority vs submission – a biblical view of Ephesians 5:22

Mutual submission on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Yesterday I received two polar opposite views of Ephesians 5:22 by email.  One was from “NN” who has responded here in the past.  He  is a complementarian who has commented on authority in marriage, one of a handful of complementarians who have been willing to give their views on women on this blog in a respectful manner.  

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Common objections to women in ministry: Eve usurped Adam's authority

Common objections to women in ministry: Eve usurped Adam's authority

man's authority on Women in Ministry Blog by Cheryl Schatz

In our continued topic of common objections to women in ministry, we come to the claim that Eve usurped Adam’s authority when she spoke to the serpent. To deal with this claim, we will be looking at both the claim that Eve rebelled against Adam in the garden and the claim that God gave Adam a responsibility to lead that He clearly denied to Eve.

In chapter 3 of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood written by Raymond C. Ortlund Jr headship is defined as a right that the man possesses to lead women in a God-glorifying direction. Ortlund writes

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Putting women in their place

Putting women in their place

The woman's place, from Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

The November 17, 2009 CBMW blog post by John Starke that we started to evaluate last post, is an amazing “piece of work” that exalts the 17th century writings of a Puritan named Richard Baxter who attempts to put women in their place.  Starke continues to summarize Baxter’s writings:

2. Discontentment. There is something about the sinful heart that is always wanting something other than the place in which God has placed him or her. When something other than God is the desire of the heart, it begins to desire more than the portion granted. The sinful cravings of the heart are deceitful and can justify sin or can explain away divine instruction. Baxter’s appeal to wives is to find your contentment and treasure in Christ and you will recognize the joy in resting in his purposes. (emphasis is mine).

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The dark side of submission

The dark side of submission

The Dark Side of Submission

The following is a very eye opening article by Lee Grady.  From Fire in My Bones online, November, 2009. Copyright 2009 Strang Communications; all rights reserved. Used with permission.

Submission and abuse on Women in Ministry blog

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Christian teaching on male headship is often used as a weapon against women. This abuse must be confronted.

Last week during a ministry trip to Hungary I heard a painfully familiar story. Through a translator, a tearful young woman living near Budapest explained that her Christian husband was angrily demanding her absolute submission. This included, among other things, that she clean their house according to his strict standards and that she engage in sexual acts with him that made her feel uncomfortable and dirty.

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Does a woman need a spiritual covering?

Does a woman need a spiritual covering?

umbrella2 on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Does a woman need a human spiritual “covering”?

Submission and authority are a big issue in the church today.  Closely tied into the issue of authority is the teaching that women need a spiritual “covering.”  Men, we are told, are to be the spiritual “covering” to provide protection and to allow the man to have the accountability. But is a human “covering” a Biblical teaching?  There is no New Testament concept of a human “covering” and only one clear human “covering” in the Old Testament

There was a tradition in the Old Testament of the kinsman redeemer who would “redeem” a widow by marrying the widow of a deceased relative.

Ruth 3:9  He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative.”

Ruth 3:10  Then he said, “May you be blessed of the LORD, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich.

Ruth 3:11  “Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.

Ruth 3:12  “Now it is true I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I.

Ruth 3:13  “Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the LORD lives. Lie down until morning.”

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Wayne Grudem – answering part 2 of his "Open letter to Egalitarians"

Wayne Grudem – answering part 2 of his "Open letter to Egalitarians"

grudem11 on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

In my last post I copied Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” and I listed the first question of his “Six Questions That Have Never Been Satisfactorily Answered”.  Today I am posting his second question, Suzanne McCarthy’s expert Greek answer, and my own challenge after that.

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Wayne Grudem's "An Open Letter to Egalitarians" and "Six Questions"

Wayne Grudem's "An Open Letter to Egalitarians" and "Six Questions"

wayne_grudem on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

In 1998 Wayne Grudem wrote “An Open Letter to Egalitarians” and in the letter he gave six questions that he said have never been satisfactorily answered.

This is the first in a six part set of posts addressing Mr. Grudem’s questions.

First of all I will reprint the “Open Letter” that is found on Mike Seaver’s Role Calling blog.  Right after that comes the refutation of Mr. Grudem’s question #1 by Suzanne McCarthy and after that I pose my own question to Complementarians on the error of their teaching that there is an eternal subordination in the nature of the Trinity.

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Pulpit authority scriptural or not?

Pulpit authority scriptural or not?

In my last post called 1 Timothy 2, authority and the magical pulpit, I was waiting for someone to bring up Hebrew 13:17.  Since no one brought up this verse in the comments, but I did receive an email that asked me to respond to how this scripture fits in with my last post, I thought my response should make a separate post of its own.

Let’s first take a look at Hebrews 13:17 in the NIV, the version which was quoted to me:

Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Does this passage teach that the Christian leaders have authority over the sheep?  Let’s have a look at this passage in a more literal translation:

Hebrews 13:17 (LITV)  Yield to those taking the lead of you, and submit, for they watch for your souls, giving an account, that they may do this with joy, and not with grieving; for this would be unprofitable to you.

The first thing that we can notice about a literal reading of the passage is that the word “authority” is missing in the Greek.  Now let’s go through this passage piece by piece to pull out the intended meaning.

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The unorthodox view of the Trinity related to women in ministry

The unorthodox view of the Trinity related to women in ministry

Wade Burleson has blogged on the Trinity and the unorthodox trend that has come into the church that teaches an eternally subordinated Son of God in the Trinity.

Wade writes:

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is composed of many Southern Baptists who are introducing to evangelicalism a novel, if not peculiar, view of Christ which has more in common with Arianism than the historic, orthodox view of Christ’s person. The theologians and teachers who write for the CBMW are teaching what they call “the eternal subordination of the Son to the Father” as a basis for their hierarchal view that the female is to be subordinate to the male. Women’s subordination to man, according to the teachings of CBMW, is not a consequence of sin or a reflection of cultural values, but is built upon the heirachical order God established before the fall as a reflection of the Trinity.

This view of the Trinity has been used by some complementarians who have a lot of sway in Southern Baptist circles to support the functional subordination of women.  I would recommend that you read what Wade has written and then have a read through the comments on his blog as well.  It is a frightening thing to me to see the spread of this unorthodox doctrine and how many have accepted it as gospel truth.

It also comes at a very timely place for us as we are just getting ready to release our new 2 DVD set called “The Trinity: Eternity Past to Eternity Future, Explaining Truth & Exposing Error

The DVD will be availabe by mid October at http://mmoutreach.org/ or from Amazon.com.

(October 2008 update:  The DVD is now available and a preview is available on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLe-qF2nptA.)

Who is in charge? Or who cares?

Who is in charge? Or who cares?

I got a special hug today from Dr. Cynthia Kunsman a very brave lady who has been fighting a battle against authoritarian spiritual abuse.   Cynthia sent me a link to a wonderful post about marriage and the head/body metaphor.  I would like to share this link with you because I believe the article is very well written and balanced.  Here is the link  Who is in charge?  Or who cares?

Mart De Haan writes:

I’m convinced that if we really listen to the text, the right question is not, “who’s in charge?”, but “who cares?” (i.e. who cares for one another as a head and body care for and cooperate with one another?)

I recommend that you browse through the article.  It isn’t too long, but it is powerful.

Feel free to comment here and/or on Mart’s blog.  Enjoy and thank you to Cynthia for sending this hug to me today!  You can visit Cynthia’s blog here or her web site here.  Cynthia’s material on hierarchy, spiritual abuse, the Family Integrated Church movement and more is extensive and thought-provoking.

Two heads one master

Two heads one master

While Paul said that the husband is the head of the wife (1 Cor. 11:3) with this metaphor implying that the wife is the body of the husband, scripture also tells us that Jesus is the head of the body of Christ and the believing wife is part of that body too.  This means that the metaphor of head/body is used both of a physical relationship between husband and wife and a spiritual relationship between believers and Christ.  But does head mean master?

Many believe that head means one who has authority over another.  Some believe that a woman is not allowed to teach the bible if her husband does not give her permission to do so.  In essence he is her master and she must obey what he tells her.  But if head means master, then scripture contradicts itself because the bible says that we have only one master.  In John 13:13 Jesus says that he is that Master.

John 13:13  Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.  KJV

The word translated as “master” is didaskalos and it means teacher, instructor, master.  Jesus then goes on to show that we are all brothers and only one is our master/teacher.

Matthew 23:8  But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
Matthew 23:9  And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
Matthew 23:10  Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
Matthew 23:11  But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.  KJV

Jesus also taught that no one can serve two masters:

Matthew 6:24  “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.

The word for master here is kurios and it means lord, master, owner.

It is impossible for “head” to mean “lord, master, owner”.  Jesus is both head and Master because he alone is God.  No husband is to be in the position of master because we are to have only one master and that is Jesus Christ.

It is a wonderful thing when a husband agrees that his wife should teach the bible.  However his agreement should have no bearing on the obedience of a servant of the one and only Master.  There is only one spiritual head and only one Master.  The husband is in a one-flesh union with his wife and together they should work out their marriage relationship.  But scripture never gives the husband the position of master over his wife and scripture never tells the wife that she must obey her husband as her master, for no one can serve two masters.

Is Complementarianism merely personal conviction?

Is Complementarianism merely personal conviction?

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

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

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

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

1.  The authority of scripture is at stake.

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

2.  The health of the home is at stake.

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

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

This hinders the sanctification of married couple…

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

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

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

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

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

3.  The health of the church is at stake.

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

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

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

4.  Our worship is at stake.

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

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

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

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

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

5.  Bible translations are at stake.

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

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

6.  The advance of the Gospel is at stake.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is ordination a requirement for a female Pastor?

Is ordination a requirement for a female Pastor?

Recently one of my blog posts has garnered some interesting comments regarding the issue of ordination. At the same time I received a request from a lady who believes that she has been called by God into ordained ministry. This post will deal with the issue of whether a female must be ordained to be a Pastor and the other comments regarding Paul and his ordination by Jesus will be moved to this post.

First of all there is the issue of whether a body of believer’s decision to reject the ordination of certain people constitutes a binding limit to a person’s gifting and calling from God. The question that I had posed earlier, is whether the leadership’s ordaining of a person actually makes them a legitimate Pastor? Also I was questioning whether the fact that one is rejected for ordination would take away a person’s calling from God to be a Pastor?

There have been times in the church where men thought that they could judge the gifts of God and that their own pronouncement was official. Because of this some of the books of the bible were not originally accepted as canonical but their rejection by some leaders did not take away the authority of these inspired books of the bible. In time the inherent authority in each inspired book of the bible was accepted. In this we see that the church did not have a right to make a book canonical. At best the church could only recognize a book as authoritative because it (the inspired book) had within it the witness to the inspiration of God. The final list of books was not chosen by a synod or council of the church. These met to ratify the books that the people of God had already chosen because of the witness of the scriptures themselves.

Now how does all of this relate to the ordination of a women Pastors? I personally believe that a true God-ordained choice of Pastor should be only to ratify and recognize what God has already chosen. Man’s ordination cannot make one a Pastor nor can the failure of some to recognize God’s gifting take away one’s gifting and calling from God.

Have you ever met a Pastor that was ordained but who did not have the fruits of the Spirit or the heart of a shepherd? Such a one is not a true Pastor gifted by Jesus himself. Jesus said that there would be hirelings who do not care for the sheep but who are there as shepherds for other reasons. These hirelings run away when the wolves come to make a meal of the sheep. The fact that they have been ordained by a church cannot truly make them a gift to the church. Only Jesus’ choice and gifting can do that.

Eph 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Eph 4:8 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”

Eph 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

So what does a woman do who has been called by God to be a Pastor but the leadership of the church that she attends will not recognize a woman as qualified to be a Pastor? Some women will stay within the denomination and work within the acceptance of the people within that church. While they may not have the official “title” of Pastor, they can operate within their gifting in an unofficial way. They can shepherd the flock in home bible studies and in small group settings or in one-on-one situations.

Yet others will feel the need to be officially recognized by the church in order to do the full work of a Pastor. These may stay in the church and earnestly contend for the truth in order to change the mindset of the leadership and the church itself. Or they may find the fight for their acceptance too draining and they may leave for a church that will accept their shepherding without a fight.

On one of my other posts I received this comment from “Called and wanting healing”:

I am living in the parish in England where this is what’s preached http://www.stalkmunds.stixworx.com/mp3/roleofwomen.mp3. It’s hard because I feel so called into ordained ministry. Could you post this up on your site so that it can be commented upon and critiqued. After all it has to have been interpreted differently for the Church of England to have decided to ordain women in 1994. For example, I do not understand how the vicar can say that biblical submission is to put yourself under someone’s authority – I thought it had more to do with putting their needs ahead of your own. The vicar talks of Christ and beauty of his submission but surely that was in sacrificing himself for us – atoning for us, dying for us – there’s the beauty!

If you want to post it on your site so that people can respond to it that would be great or if you could recommend someone else who would be able to offer an critique of this sermon.

Thanks so much.

I will put my comments later into the comment section of this post. I encourage others to listen to the audio and comment and encourage this dear sister too.

One comment that I will post here is that submission of one to another is commanded in the New Testament. The reason that submission is commanded is not so that one takes authority over another and the one under submission is to be the door mat of those who take the lead. Instead submission is commanded because one cannot use their God-given gift unless the body submits to accepting that gift. I operate in the gift of a teacher yet I cannot force my gift onto anyone. My authority is not to take authority over others but my authority is to give out what I have been gifted with by the authority of the word of God. 1 Peter 4:11 says:

1 Peter 4:11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances [or oracles] of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

My gift will always be there whether I am accepted or not, but it will not be of benefit to another unless that one submits to learn from me. Submission then is needed to receive another one’s gifts. Submission does not create the gift but it allows the gift to flow into one’s own life and for one’s benefit. When a church accepts a woman Pastor, that church is accepting the gift of God and submitting to learn what God has to say through her. When a church is influenced by prejudice and refuses to submit to learn from a woman, that church may not experience God’s best. What God gives is to be received with blessing and not with a heart of rejection.

Thoughts?

The husband as king over the wife

The husband as king over the wife

In part two of this discussion we asked whether God has ordained that a woman must have a priest in the home to represent her to God and God to her. Today we continue our discussion about whether a husband is to have the position of king over his wife in their marriage. The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) supports the claim that the husband is to be king over his wife and this view is taught in an on-line book on their web site. The book is called “Building Strong Families” by Dennis Rainey (Dennis is on CBMW’s board of reference) and we are focusing on chapter 4 of this book called “The Husband as Prophet, Priest and King” this chapter authored by Bob Lepine.

Mr. Lepine admits that the teaching about the husband as King has been abused by many well-meaning Bible teachers. Because of this he says that we need to “proceed with caution”. Although a king is thought to be someone who wields power and enjoys privilege and position, Lepine says that the husband needs to go beyond that to be the kind of kingly husband his wife ultimately wants and needs him to be. Lepine then focuses on the king as a warrior and a representative of “his wife and his family in the culture”.

I personally found this part of the chapter to be the most alarming. This patriarchal teaching about the husband as “representative” of his wife and family is lived out by a group called Vision Forum and their leader Doug Phillips. Taking the husband as “representative” teaching to a position of “law”, Doug Phillips teaches that “God does not allow women to vote”. Quoting from Mr. Phillips:

“In regards to a woman’s right to vote; if husband and wife are truly “one flesh” and the husband is doing his duty to represent the family to the wider community, then what PRACTICAL benefit does allowing women to vote provide? If husband and wife agree on an issue, then one has simply doubled the number of votes; but the result is the same. Women’s voting only makes a difference when the husband and wife disagree; a wife, who does not trust the judgment of her husband, can nullify his vote. Thus, the immediate consequence is to enshrine the will of the individual OVER the good of the family thus creating divisions WITHIN the family.”

So if the husband is “federal head” then he makes all the decisions and she is forbidden by God to vote. Do you see the problem here? This type of “federal head” concept of the husband as King and representative of the family taken to its logical conclusion makes the husband’s rule in his family virtually unchallenged by anyone. Who then can decide if the husband is being unkind to his wife?

Going back to chapter 4 of “Building Strong Families” Lepine suggests that there will be attacks on the husband’s way of leadership from all kinds of directions. He says that “(attacks) will come from friends and coworkers who, thinking themselves to be wise, have become as fools (Rom. 1:22)” Under the heading Know your enemy Lepine also identifies the wife as someone who will attack the man’s leadership. He says:

There will also be attacks from your closest ally, your wife. While her spirit will welcome the leadership, protection, and provision of a wise king, her flesh will war against her spirit and will seek to thwart your authority. Over time, there will be showdowns as you wrestle with whether to compromise and gain her approval or to stand fast and face her wrath. There will be times when you’ll have to decide whether to serve her or to serve God.”

The advice then is for the husband to stand against his wife. When a wife doesn’t want her husband to vote for her as her “representative” and she doesn’t want his leadership, the husband is to take control of his kingdom and stand up to her anger. He is to lead whether she wants him to take control or not.

Is this really what scripture says? Does the Bible ever tell a husband to take control of his wife or to have a showdown with her wrestling her to force her to a place of submission?

The Bible never once instructs the husband to “lead” his wife. The Bible also never once tells him that he is to be her king or her priest or her prophet. The position of her King is already taken. Jesus is her King and her High Priest and her Prophet. The husband is never granted a place to usurp Jesus’ role. The husband’s role in the marriage is to take the initiative to bond with his wife so that they can have a one-flesh union. In Genesis we find Adam identifying his wife as flesh of his flesh.

Gen 2:23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”

In Genesis 2:24, the Bible says “for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” For what reason? The reason is because she was taken out of him and he is to initiate a joining of himself with her to be that one flesh union again.

When a husband loves his wife and treats her tenderly and with affection and he sacrifices himself for her, a woman will respond willingly to that kind of love. That is why a husband is not to take authority over her but he is instead to love her and this will bring her willingness to submit to his love.

Right now I am hard at work on our new DVD on the Trinity but when I get a chance to do another post, I would like to respond to some of the questions that were posted on my original 2006 blog article about the husband as priest of the home. There were questions about the wife obeying the husband that I didn’t get to at the time so it should be interesting.

God's woman: is she needy of a representative priest? Part 2

God's woman: is she needy of a representative priest? Part 2

In part one, (click here to read) we discussed whether God created the woman as needed or needy. In this continuing discussion we ask whether God has ordained that a woman must have a priest in the home to represent her to God and God to her? The complementarian view is a strong “Yes” when asked this question, but is this a biblical view or a view passed on by tradition?

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) makes their view available through an on-line book called “Building Strong Families” by Dennis Rainey. (Dennis is on CBMW’s board of reference.) Chapter 4 of this book is called “The Husband as Prophet, Priest and King” and this chapter is authored by Bob Lepine.

Mr. Lepine states that it is God’s design that the husband is the priest of the home. To prove his point, he produces the patriarchal rule of the Old Testament as proof that God wants men to act as priests in home today. He says, “The patriarchs, who were the family and tribal leaders in ancient Israel, knew they had a duty to lead their wives and children into God’s presence for worship, to remind them of God’s grace and mercy in forgiving their sins, and to intercede on their behalf. Husbands today have the same priestly assignment.” While Mr. Lepine states this as a fact, he gives no New Testament scriptures that say that the Christian husband is the priest of the home.

While there are no New Testament scriptures on the husband being “the priest of the home”, there are also no Old Testament scriptures that show that God ordained the husband to be the priest of the home either. In fact the only reference there is in scripture to a “priest of the home” is in Judges chapters 17 & 18. Micah, an idol worshipper had stolen eleven hundred pieces of silver from his mother and after he returned the silver to her, she made a graven and a molten image with part of the silver and gave them to her son for his use as an idol. Micah made a shrine where he placed his household idols and he consecrated his son as his own household priest.

In Judges 17:8 the story goes on to say that Micah found a young Levite and he also requested that this young Levite be his household priest.

Judges 17:10 Micah then said to him, “Dwell with me and be a father and a priest to me, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year, a suit of clothes, and your maintenance.” So the Levite went in.
Judges 17:11 The Levite agreed to live with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons.
Judges 17:12 So Micah consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest and lived in the house of Micah.
Judges 17:13 Then Micah said, “Now I know that the LORD will prosper me, seeing I have a Levite as a priest.”

The book of Judges does not say that this was God’s way of ordaining that every home should have a “priest of the home”, but rather noting that there was wickedness and idolatry in the land, Judges 17:6 says “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.”

So contrary to the tradition promoted by CBMW, there is no instance of a “priest in the home” arrangement set up by God and only one example in the entire bible of such an arrangement and it was set up by an idolator named Micah.

According to Lepine, the husband’s priestly duties in the home start when the spiritual responsibility for a young woman is passed from her father to her husband and these priestly duties are a “necessary function” of being called a husband.

Where are the scriptures for this spiritual role passed from father to husband? Where does it say that a husband must take on a priestly duty for his wife? I would respectfully say that this is a tradition that may sound Christian, but it isn’t biblical. I would also respectfully say that this tradition can be harmful in several ways. Let me explain as I go through Bob Lepine’s explanation of what the husband as priest in the home is responsible for.

Lepine says that the man is to “assume responsibility to oversee the spiritual condition of his wife.” The husband is responsible as a priest and prophet of God to hear from God and then as a “bearer of the word of God” pass these words on to his wife. He must be the resident theologian because it is his responsibility to teach the Bible to his wife. The husband, Lepine says, should tremble at this assignment because they should recall that false prophets in the Old Testament were stoned. With all of these responsibilities, a husband must “determine for his wife and his family what is right and true.”

The first harm that comes as a result of the view that makes the husband fully responsible to hear from God on behalf of his wife, is that this is a heavy burden forced on the man which is not found in scripture. Where does scripture say that the man is responsible for hearing what God has to say to the woman? What a heavy burden to think that one may be severely punished by God (think about the picture that Lepine gives of stoning) if they fail to be a correct “bearer of the word of God” to his wife! This burden is not one that God has laid on the shoulders of the husband.

This tradition has also been responsible for many men concluding that God does not speak to women directly but only through the man. No wonder so many men feel a spiritual superiority to women. There may also be a temptation to a spirit of pride with the man thinking that he has been set up as a type of intermediary between God and his wife. While Mr. Lepine states that “there is no intermediary between man and God except for the man Christ Jesus” his continual emphases that the man’s responsibility as “one who speaks for God” to his wife in essence makes the wife a needy spiritual person who must have a prophet/priest speak to her on God’s behalf. How many women have been harmed thinking that they are not capable of hearing from God on their own? The greatest harm that I see from this is that women will not grow up in Christ as fully mature Christians, but will stay under the limits placed on them by the highest level of spirituality that their husband attains to.

A fully mature Christian will not be dependent on another person’s hearing from God, but will hear God’s voice for herself. When we keep a woman dependent on the spirituality of her husband, we are treating her as a dependent child all her life. Her sons may grow up and be spiritually mature, but somehow she is treated as one who cannot be depended on to hear from God on her own. One of the most harmful “fruits” of this faulty tradition follows with Bob Lepine’s advice to the husband regarding his wife’s sins.

Mr. Lepine says the husband has been given God’s call to be the one who confronts his wife’s sin and the one who calls her to repentance even if it rocks “the domestic boat” and even if it incurs his wife’s wrath. Pointing out his wife’s sin may seem harsh and judgmental, but Lepine assures husbands it is not unloving and is a necessary part of the priest/prophet function of the husband. Lepine says that the husband must not “fail to confront his wife’s sin because he has a soft view of what it means to love her.” As a priest/prophet the husband “will not think it loving to ignore or overlook our wives’ ongoing patterns of sinful behavior.” Instead he suggests that one of the keys to a happy marriage is confronting sin in your mate and he quotes Proverbs 27:6 “the wounds of a friend are faithful”. Ultimately he suggests that even if this does not produce happiness in marriage, that happiness in marriage should take a back seat to the “higher calling” of a husband and that is making sure that the wife is conformed to Christ’s likeness. Lepine does concede that many men struggle with their priestly duty of representing God to their wives because they are afraid “we’ll be exposed for what we don’t know, or for the shallowness of our own spirituality, or that we’ll be convicted of hypocrisy by a wife who knows too well that we don’t always practice what we’re preaching.”

Is this what scripture teaches? What Mr. Lepine is suggesting here the husband taking the place of the Holy Spirit and the confrontation that he says is a “higher calling” is nothing less than emotional abuse. Scripture does not tell husbands to “confront his wife’s sin” but to be gentle, loving and patient. Paul tells us in Colossians:

Colossians 3:19 (ISV) Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

Peter tells us that love “covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8) and neither Peter nor Paul tell husbands that it is their duty to be confronting their wives over their sin. Instead Paul tells men to love and cherish their wives as they do their own body.

Ephians 5:28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
Ephians 5:29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,

And James tell us that mercy and gentleness are wisdom from above:

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

Instead of confrontation, Peter tells husbands to live with their wives in an understanding way and nowhere does he say that husbands are to be responsible for confronting their wife’s sin. Instead Peter says that if a husband does not treat his wife in an understanding way that his own spiritual life may be jeopardized.

1 Peter 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

Peter goes on to encourage husbands as well as all others to be harmonious, kindhearted and sympathetic:

1 Peter 3:8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;
1 Peter 3:9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:10 For, “THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT.
1 Peter 3:11 “HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.

Is a husband to be a spiritual overseer for his wife, keeping watch to continually expose her sin? Scripture gives no such instruction and those who follow CBMW’s advice through Bob Lepine may find unnecessary conflict and stress in their home. Instead of the man called to be “the priest of the home”, the scripture is clear that he is called to something far different. The husband is called to give of himself for his wife and be the one who joins himself to her.

Ephesians 5:31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.

It is the husband’s responsibility to give himself up for her and to come to her to join himself with her. The result of a biblical view of scripture will be harmony, gentleness and oneness. The result of the doctrine of the “husband as priest in the home” is a heavy burden on the husband that the scripture never lays on him. It also results in a childlike reliance of the woman on the man for her own spirituality.

For further reading, click here to read an earlier post on the husband as the priest in the home.  Or click here to go to part three of this series.

Is there support for universal male headship?

Is there support for universal male headship?

Before we continue with our verse by verse discussion through 1 Corinthians 11, I wanted to add a note about what some consider to be the universal role of male headship. In universal male headship the male is the head over every woman. Recently I got an email from a male apologist named Sandy Simpson who believes this way. He directed me to his online article that in part reads:

THE HEAD OF EVERY WOMAN IS THE MAN, THE HEAD OF EVERY WIFE IS THE HUSBAND

This verse is talking specifically about the husband and wife. But in a larger sense the head of the man is Christ, the head of the woman is man. The Bible teaches that Christ is the first head over man, the Christian husband the second head under Christ, with the elders of the church the third authority in the life of every Christian woman.

1 Corinthians 11:3 Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

Now I do respect Sandy a lot as he has worked hard to expose the aberrant teaching and false teachers that have crept into the church. Anytime someone has a heart for the body of Christ and wants to protect the sheep from being led astray by the wolves in our midst I can applaud them in their ministry. It is a thankless job and I appreciate Sandy for the hard work that he is doing. I have especially appreciated the DVDs that he has produced through his ministry one in particular called The New Apostolic Reformation which is a multi DVD set documenting the teachings and influence of the International Coalition of Apostles (New Apostolic Reformation) which came out of the Latter Rain movement and has infiltrated into our churches. The clips in the DVDs showing the teaching of the new “Apostles” and “Prophets” of this movement are eye-opening. My only criticism of the series as a DVD editor myself, is that some parts of the commentary are in need of good graphics, a change of scenery would also be helpful to keep it flowing and it needs a more eye-pleasing way to present some of the quotes. The words of the commentary are often scrolled in a single line across the bottom of the picture at a fast pace and it is impossible to read without getting sea-sick.

However, while I appreciate Sandy as a brother in Christ, I strongly disagree with him when he writes on his web site that 1 Corinthians 11:3 teaches that a man is the “head” of every woman. Sandy makes it specific by applying this to the church where the elders of the church are each to be the head of every Christian woman.  Here is how that would come across as a picture:

Womens heads

But scripture doesn’t say that a woman has more than two heads. Jesus is her head as Jesus is the head of every member of the body of Christ and her husband is her head. Does scripture say that an unmarried woman has as her head every male? No it doesn’t. Does scripture say that an elder or leader in the church is the head over every woman? No, not all. To say “yes” would be reading into scripture. The “head” is a very special relationship and to put every male or every Christian male into the special “head” position with a female actually takes away that very special and unique relationship that the husband has with his wife.

One Pastor told me that he is the “covenantal head of the (local) church”. I was floored when I heard that! I asked him to show me from scripture where a Pastor was ever called the “head” of the church let alone the “covenantal head”. The “head” is indeed a covenant relationship but the covenant is with the bridegroom and his bride. Our bridegroom, Jesus Christ is in relationship with his bride as head and no human should ever claim that relationship even in a local church.

I asked this Pastor to show me from scripture where any man other than a husband or Jesus Christ, the husband of the church, is ever called “head”. I am still waiting. I don’t think he will find a scripture because I have never seen it.

Last post we talked about the meaning of “head” from 1 Corinthians 11 and how important it is to understand the meaning from the context. I would like to add that the importance of “head” in association to the “body” is always one of relationship. I sincerely believe that when men try to insert themselves by calling themselves “head” of all women when they are not in relationship as the woman’s husband, they have stepped outside the boundary of scripture.

If scripture wanted to tell us that a man is the head of all women, then Paul certainly would have said that. Instead Paul said “the man” is the head of a singular “woman“. Universal male headship may be a tradition, but we must test all of these traditions by scripture and this tradition is found without scriptural support.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;

Paul and the "head" from 1 Corinthians 11

Paul and the "head" from 1 Corinthians 11

1 Corinthians 11 has been a hotly disputed passage regarding the meaning of “head”.

While some have seen a hierarchy of authority in this passage,

q_head_1.jpg

others say that Paul is explaining the importance of origins.

q_head_1a.jpg

Is it possible that those who see male authority in the metaphor of “head” are bringing their own presupposition of male superiority to the text? There is only one way to find out and that is to examine the text carefully to see what evidence Paul gives for his own definition of “head”. Before we discuss this passage, it would be a good thing to lay out the presuppositions that I bring to this text.

The first presupposition I have is that I come to this passage believing that it is fully God breathed. I believe that God inspired its content, word usage, grammar and word order.

The second presupposition of mine is that I believe Paul is consistent in repeating himself and defining his own terms. Paul let us know that repetition is very important to for our safety. Paul said in Philippians 3:1 –

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.

Repeating the same things over again in a slightly different way is a safeguard for us because it helps us to understand what is being said. Repetition lessens the problems of miscommunication. Paul said that it was no trouble for him to repeat himself because it was for our benefit. So if Paul thought repetition was a good thing, we can expect that Paul will define his terms by repeating himself in a slightly different way to enable us to understand this important teaching.

Let’s look at the original reference to “head”

1 Corinthians 11:3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

Now there are three things that we can note from this verse:

1. Christ is the “head” of every man

2. The man is the “head” of a woman

3. God is the “head” of Christ

Where are these things repeated in the passage? It is in verse 12.

1 Corinthians 11:12 For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.

Here Paul says the same thing in a slightly different way. Man is the beginning point of origin for the woman because the very first woman, Eve, came through the body of Adam. As the man was the originating point for the woman, the man now has his origin through the woman. Christ himself became human through the woman but his ultimate origin is of God.

What is Paul’s application? Paul tells us in verse 11.

1 Corinthians 1:11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.

There is to be no competition between men and women because God has overridden any advantage that one has over the other. Men and women are interdependent (verse 11) because in the beginning God created man to be the source of the woman but since then woman has been the one to produce the man. However God is the ultimate source not any man or woman because all things originate through Him.

Christ received his humanity through the woman, but his origin was from God and as God he is the origin of all things and of all men.

So where is Paul’s reference to a hierarchical order? Where is the man said to be the authority of the woman in this passage? Where does the passage say anything in reference to Christ being an authority of every man or that God is to be an authority over Christ? Unfortunately for those who come to this passage with a bias already in place towards male superiority, Paul defines the meaning of “head” in verse 12 and this meaning has everything to do with “source” or “origin” and nothing whatsoever to do with authority of one person over another.

The original source is God and men and women are interdependent regarding one another.

 

man_woman_christ_god.jpg



Catching up

Catching up

Well part one of the relocation of our ministry and the move of our household has occurred and we have a two week break before we go into phase two of the move.

Our move

This week I am going to try to catch up on the comments and questions that I need to respond to on this blog and I will try to write a few new posts as time allows.

While I was away, I gave a great deal of thought to the importance of how we view the husband as head and wife as body (one flesh union) because I can see that our understanding of the husband and wife relationship greatly influences how we view the issue of women in ministry. I have been seriously considering doing a second DVD series on men and women in marriage and how it relates to women’s ministry in the church. I would like to incorporate both biblical teaching as well as interview clips of those who have struggled through this issue in their own marriage and in their church ministry and have made it work.

If anyone has questions that they would like to see a series like this answer or suggestions for the series, I welcome any feedback that you have.

Adam as head of the family

Adam as head of the family

Adam as Head of the Family

It is common for hierarchists to say that Adam was Eve’s head not because he was her source, but because he had authority over her. While the teaching that Adam was Eve’s ruler before the fall of man is unsubstantiated, the fact that Adam was the source of Eve is foundational to the doctrine of the kinsman redeemer.

Let’s see if we can draw out the important connection regarding Adam’s headship and the new head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ. Adam was the first human creation and from his body, Eve was created.

The fact that Eve was created from Adam’s body and that he was the source of her flesh-and-bone-body is highly important because of what happened next. Although Eve was deceived and she sinned because of her deception, Adam sinned willfully without being deceived. Adam sinned with full knowledge of what he was doing. Adam was charged with bringing sin into the world. The following diagram shows how Adam’s blood line was tainted with sin.

The Redeemer from the woman

God, however, prophesied that the Redeemer, the Messiah, would come from the woman. It is vital that the seed of the woman alone would produce the Messiah because of the inherited sin nature that comes through the man. The diagram below shows that the Messiah is produced from a virgin woman.

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Husband as the Priest of the home?

Husband as the Priest of the home?

With the push towards defining biblical manhood and womanhood, often men are pressured into a leadership role where they feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities. Probably none more stressful than the title given to them as “Priest of the home”. But is this position biblical?

Nowhere in scripture is there to be a designated “priest of the hom”. In Judges chapters 17 & 18 Micah, an idol worshipper, consecrated his son as a priest in his home (Judges 17:5) and he also persuaded a Levite to be his personal priest (Judges 17:7-13). This “priest of the home” was involved with idol worship (Judges 18:4, 14-20) and he was not set up as a “priest in the home” by God.

A priest is one who represents the people to God and offers sacrifices to God. Our High Priest is Jesus himself and he is both a mediator between mankind and God and the one who offered the ultimate blood sacrifice for our sins. Since we have Jesus as our High Priest, is there any need for a single priest in the home representing the family to God? Let’s see what scripture says. 1 Peter 2:5, 9 says that we are all to be priests to God in order to offer up spiritual sacrifices.

1 Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

By removing the wife from a joint priesthood with her husband and making only the husband responsible for seeking God’s will in all family decisions, those who espouse the unbiblical position of the man as the sole priest in the home, relegate the wife’s participation to a secondary and subordinate position in the home. This dismantles the woman’s equality as joint-heir with her husband and threatens to limit her spiritual growth.

The ultimate goal of every believer is to be conformed to the image of Christ and to grow into a mature “son” of God. All believers are called “sons” of God because all believers are fellow heirs with Christ. Because we are fellow heirs with Christ, all believers are expected to grow to maturity by learning how to make spiritual decisions that conform to biblical principles. Paul said that in the next life we (men and women in the body of Christ) will judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3) so it is so important that we all learn how to make mature spiritual decisions in this life.

By believing in the faulty doctrine that men are the sole priest in the home, many women have been taught that their husband is spiritually responsible for them. They think that if they love God and follow their husband’s spiritual lead that they will have no responsibility in the decisions made by their husbands. However in two of the best known examples of a husband not making wise spiritual decisions, Adam and Ananias (Acts 5:1), the wife was judged for her actions equally with the husband. There is no example of a husband called to account for his wife’s actions or a wife freed from spiritual responsibility because her husband made the original decision as in the case of Ananias. God did not ask Adam what Eve had done even though Adam was there with Eve during her temptation (Genesis 3:6) and Sapphira was held equally responsible for her acceptance of her husband’s plan to deceive the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:9).

As joint-heirs of Christ and partners in the holy, royal priesthood, husband and wife have equal responsibility to seek God’s will for the family and equal responsibility to work together to preform God’s will in the home.

What is true headship?

What is true headship?

With all of the talk on submission of a wife, we should at least grant that submission is not related to suppression of God’s gifts. In other words if a woman is gifted to teach, her submission to her husband and her desire to honor him should not be a means to stop her from using her God-given gifts. My husband’s position as my head is “worked-out” by his sacrificing for me. He gives up his life for me in order to provide me every opportunity to use my gifts and in turn I honor him by serving him and stepping outside my comfort zone in service to the body of Christ because of his encouragement. In my shyness in the past I have stepped back from using all of my gifts because of fear of man, but my husband has continually pushed me and prodded me to grow and mature. He has used his headship wisely for my good and my growth just as a physical head feeds the body.

True headship nourishes and encourages and lifts up the woman to be everything that she can be in Christ. True submission allows the head to nourish and sacrifice for her benefit. When my husband “works out” his headship in a godly way, it will always lift me up and will never suppress or hold back my God-given gifts.

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