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Category: Prejudice in the church

CONTEXT is key

CONTEXT is key

Context is key on WIM by Cheryl Schatz

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.

Stubble, straw and scarecrows

Stubble, straw and scarecrows

Diane Sellner and CARM

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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Ephesians 5 infected with the mindset of the world

Ephesians 5 infected with the mindset of the world

Worldly infection on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

In my last post I presented one of the best sermons that I have ever heard on Ephesians 5, regarding the evidence of Spirit-filled lives for both men and women.  This post is on the opposite of the Spirit-filled life which is an influx of worldly infection through male-centered pride. The outgrowth of this infection is the teaching that encourages men to focus their efforts on taking the “lead” over women, putting them under their authority and control. They are taught that women were made to be led and when men don’t take leadership over women’s lives, women will not be able to fulfill their “role” in Christ.  Recently I heard a teaching where young Christian men were rebuked for taking the authority over their girlfriend’s by deciding for them what university courses they would register for. The speaker chastised the young men and told them that they were “not yet” responsible for making their girlfriend’s decisions. They needed to wait until they actually became their husbands and then they had this authority. It is no wonder that many women are surprised with an entirely different man on their wedding day than who they thought they were marrying. The teaching that men are responsible for the entire home including their wife and her spirituality has caused many young men to subjugate their women in order to fulfill their calling and for the wife’s “own good”. The spiritual harm that has resulted from the teaching that the man has the mandate to rule his wife for God, has caused untold pain and suffering and a stifling of the woman’s ability to seek after God for her own life. She is no longer in control of the exercise of her own gifts and calling – he is. 

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Phil Johnson and the Monstrous Regiment of the Discernment Divas

Phil Johnson and the Monstrous Regiment of the Discernment Divas

discernment-divas on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

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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Why the eye cannot say to the hand "I don't need you"

Why the eye cannot say to the hand "I don't need you"

Why the eye cannot say to the hand/ Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

The body of Christ is a body ministry where each of us are needed and each gift that God has distributed among us is needed.  So why is it that many men say that they do not need for a woman teacher when this personal rejection of their own need is contradicted by 1 Corinthians 12:21?

1 Corinthians 12:21 (NASB95)

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

Why does the Bible say that the eye cannot say to the hand that others may need you, but I have no need of you?  In other words, why is it that some say what the Bible says they cannot say

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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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Why "Together for the Gospel" Embraces a Complementarian Gospel

Why "Together for the Gospel" Embraces a Complementarian Gospel

t4g2010 on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

The 2010 Together for the Gospel conference is on right now as I write this article. The conference this year is called The Unadjusted Gospel and according to J. Ligon Duncan III’s blog post on CBMW’s blog, complementarianism is a necessary testimony of the Gospel that cannot be denied or the witness of the Gospel is damaged.  While the T4G conference is affirming The Unadjusted Gospel, at the same time they are continuing in their pattern to adjust the Gospel to add in complementarianism.

Instead of seeing Christians united on the Gospel while having charity and grace on the non-essentials, the T4G conference has once again chosen to separate from other Christians over non-essentials and made complementarianism such a necessity that it is introduced as the fulfillment of Biblical teachings that make this doctrine essential as a witness to the Gospel. 

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Women in Christian school stifled while men fire school principal

Women in Christian school stifled while men fire school principal

St. John's Lutheran school on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

On Sunday March 21, 2010 a meeting was held to determine the fate of principal John Hartwig who had been suspended  earlier for engaging in conduct “unbecoming a called worker”.  The Baraboo News Republic in Baraboo, Wisconsin documents the letter that was sent to school parents that announced Hartwig’s suspension: 

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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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Have men taken away women's "good portion"?

Have men taken away women's "good portion"?

taken-away on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

“…Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:41-42

In the complementarian Christian community there is a lot of pressure to keep women away from a place that doesn’t belong to them.  Because of the teaching that there is a “biblical manhood” and “biblical womanhood”, and the way we follow Jesus depends on our gender, many have been focused on dividing and protecting the man’s portion as if something has been given to men alone.  Is this really biblical?  Is there really something that belongs to men alone that needs to be held back from women? 

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Puzzling question: Why was Eve "punished" when she was deceived?

Puzzling question: Why was Eve "punished" when she was deceived?

punish2 on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

In our discussions on Genesis there has been one puzzling question.  If Adam alone sinned willfully and the woman fell into sin through deception, then why did God punish Eve so severely for her sin?

I would like to propose that we have misunderstood what happened when God dealt with Adam, the woman and the serpent.  There are only two acts by God that deal with guilt and curses and not three as tradition has taught us.  Let’s look carefully at the passage.  First of all let’s look at how God dealt with the serpent: 

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Common objections: women are more easily deceived

Common objections: women are more easily deceived

Easily deceived graphic on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Another reason some complementarians claim for denying women opportunities to minister in the church is that it is said that women are more easily deceived than men so men alone are permitted to minister in the church.  A good example of this kind of rationale is found here with this excerpt: 

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Common objections: women's speaking and leading dishonors men

Common objections: women's speaking and leading dishonors men

shame on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Another common objection to women in ministry is the claim that when women speak and lead publicly it dishonors men.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) speaks of this as dishonoring the “calling” of men:

We would say that the teaching inappropriate for a woman is the teaching of men in settings or ways that dishonor the calling of men to bear the primary responsibility for teaching and leadership. This primary responsibility is to be carried by the pastors or elders. Therefore we think it is God’s will that only men bear the responsibility for this office. (pg 64 online version)

One thing that we can notice from the quote above is that CBMW says “we think it is God’s will…”.  The fact that they don’t know for sure is telling.

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 10

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 10

Whose commands are women to obey? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

Responses to question #5

In the last blog post Cheryl Schatz posed her fifth set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #5 and Mike’s rejoinder.  Mike’s matching blog post is here

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 8

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 8

Freedom or Restriction? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

Responses to question #4

In the last blog post Cheryl Schatz posed her 4th set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #4 and Mike’s rejoinder.

Cheryl Schatz responds:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 7

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 7

What authority do men have to restrict women's gifts? Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

This is question #4 of a 10 question discussion/debate between Mike Seaverand Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry.  The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz.  Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl.  Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.  Mike’s corresponding post on his blog is here.

#4 Question by Cheryl Schatz:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 5

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 5

 

Are men restricted?  Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discussion/debate on women in ministry

This is question #3 of a 10 question debate between Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry.  The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz.  Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl.  Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.

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#3 Question by Cheryl Schatz:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 4

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 4

Witnesses and repetition needed?  Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz debate women in ministry

In the last blog post Cheryl Schatz posed her second set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post.  This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #2 and Mike’s rejoinder.

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Regarding Mike’s denial that there is a need for a law to have a second witness:

Cheryl Schatz responds:

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 3

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 3

Second Witness? Women in Ministry debate by Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz: Question #2

This is question #2 of a 10 question discussion/debate between Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry.  The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz.  Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl.  Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.  Mike’s corresponding post on his blog is here.

Question #2 by Cheryl Schatz

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Jimmy Carter leaves the Southern Baptist Convention after 60 years

Jimmy Carter leaves the Southern Baptist Convention after 60 years

Jimmy Carter leaves SBC church

Jimmy Carter writes “Losing my religion for equality

I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

With these words, Jimmy Carter sent shockwaves through the SBC.  While one may wonder what took him so long (60 years is a very long time), it appears that his steadfast trust that the leadership leadership would finally do what is right towards their sisters in Christ came to an end.  Carter continues:

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Women in ministry issue causes distrust

Women in ministry issue causes distrust

Distrust

This post is from an inspiration I got from Katie Cole’s blog and a two-part segment on YouTube on the issue of women in ministry from the series “Designing Women”.  Katie writes:

One Bible verse, quoted to me out of context on its own, is no longer sufficient for me.

I think you will find the two YouTube clips inspiring.  They show that women can speak up and women can make a difference.

Clip 1:  Charlene loses faith in her minister

Clip 2:  Charlene speaks to minister and Julia sings

Semigalitariansim, undercover enemy and "feminist air"

Semigalitariansim, undercover enemy and "feminist air"

fight-7-cheryl-schatz

 

Semigalitarianism, Undercover Enemy and “feminist air”

When does explaining God’s Word make one an enemy of the church?  According to Mike Seaver, a woman who is allowed to teach the Word of God to men, even if she is under the authority of her husband and even if she has received authority from her pastor to teach the Bible (and assuming her pastor is monitoring her teaching), is like a drunken adulterer ministering to God’s people.  [Mike Seaver has written a blog post at CBMW identifying the issue of women teaching the bible to men as the undercover enemy of the church.  Mike is a pastor at CrossWay Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and regularly posts at Role Calling see his original article here.]

According to Seaver the church has been breathing “feminist air” and this has caused many churches to become “semigalitarian”.  [According to Seaver, semigalitarianism is defined as those people (both men and women) who say that a woman should not be allowed to preach in a church on her own authority, but if she claims to be under the authority of her senior pastor (who is a man) and under the authority of her husband (who is obviously a man) then it is okay for her to teach men in the church.]  But while Seaver is complaining of “feminist air”, he has unwittingly become infected with a “disease” that allows Christians to see passages of scripture as “clear” (1 Timothy 2:12-13) instead of as a complex passage in its complete context (1 Timothy 2:11-15).

The attitude of identifying godly women as enemies of the church is clearly an aggressive stand equating a woman explaining the meaning of the scriptures with a drunken adulterer.  It reminds me of the prejudiced view of the Orthodox Jews who believe that only men are allowed to touch the Torah.

torah7-Cheryl-Schatz on Women in Ministry

 

Apparently touching the Bible by giving an explanation of the meaning of a passage now makes one an “undercover enemy.”  How far has the church fallen that some feel free to attack our sisters in Christ identifying them as enemies?  Notice that Seaver says nothing about whether the woman’s teaching is correct or not.  He is lumping true Bible teaching in with error because it is the vessel which is the enemy, not the words that she speaks.  It is the mere fact that she would touch the Word of God in public that makes her an enemy.  This is the same tradition of the Pharisees who added a restriction on the teaching of God’s Word.

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Dealing with Abuse by Dr. Barb Orlowski

Dealing with Abuse by Dr. Barb Orlowski

Dealing with Abuse

For those of you who are experiencing church abuse or know of someone who has experienced abuse from a church leader, Dr. Barb Orlowski has her book online at churchexiters.com for only a little while longer.  Barb is now working on the final stages of publishing her dissertation and so anyone interested in her research and work on ministering restoration to those who have been hurt by churches, or abusive and authoritarian leaders may want to view her material now before her book is removed from the internet.

Chapter 1 is called “What’s going on?

Chapter 2 is called “What do others say?

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Round 8 Interview with the Apostle Paul on women pastors

Round 8 Interview with the Apostle Paul on women pastors

Julie Pennington-Russell is pastor of First Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia
Julie Pennington-Russell is pastor of First Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia

This is the eighth in a series of simulated interviews with the Apostle Paul taken from the position of what he might say if we could transport Paul from the New Testament account through a time tunnel into our present day.

Doug, a strong complementarian will be questioning Paul on his own strong hold today.  The issue will be women pastors.   Let’s listen in.  (Links to the previous interviews are at the bottom of this post.)

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Interview with the Apostle Paul

Interview with the Apostle Paul

paul on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

This post will be a simulated interview with the Apostle Paul taken from the position of what he might say if we could transport Paul from the New Testament account through a time tunnel into our present day.  We are interested in asking Paul his reasons for what he wrote about women and what he thinks about the present day church regarding women’s ministries.  However the interviewer that gets first “crack” at Paul will be a complementarian Christian who strongly believes that women are restricted from teaching men in the church.  The interviewer’s name will be “Doug”.

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Reaching unity in the faith without authoritarian control

Reaching unity in the faith without authoritarian control

Misty Bedwell bride restricted

The picture above represents not only the “bride” of Christ held back and controlled, but women in the “bride” of Christ held back and controlled.  It is a great concern to me that there are many in the body who think that authoritarian control is needed to keep people in line and to keep the unity of the faith.  But is the removal of the ability to question those in leadership or to question secondary doctrine a necessary thing to keep the unity of the faith?  Some apparently believe that questionable tactics are allowed if the end result is unity but I would like to propose that unity based on an abuse of authority produces artificial unity.


Wade Burleson
has been doing a series of posts on authoritarian control in the church and within non-profit groups and I believe that this issue is a major problem in the church today.  Those who use intimidation tactics to prevent people from asking legitimate questions have risen up in our churches at an alarming rate.  Where is this all coming from?  There appears to be an emphases in many seminaries that sways impressionable young graduates to the belief that pastoral authority must be defended at all costs.  Wade Burleson comments on the results of such teaching that creates an elite group of “the Lord’s anointed”.  While Wade’s comments are specifically about the Southern Baptist Convention, the application can be made throughout all denominations.

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Did God give up on the woman?

Did God give up on the woman?

pregnant on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Many people think that God was especially hard on Eve after she was deceived by the serpent in the garden.  In fact hierarchists have determined that God was so hard on Eve by punishing her with a multitude of lashes for her sin, that some might get the idea that God punished the one who was deceived in a more severe way than the one who sinned willfully and without remorse.  Others are so confused about what God said to Eve many think that sexuality is a necessary evil that came after Adam and Eve left the garden, since Eve experienced no pregnancy before they left the garden.  Understanding exactly what God did say to Eve can help to remove the misconceptions.

God’s words to Eve gives us the reason why Eve did not get pregnant in the garden after her marriage to Adam.  It would not have been because Adam and Eve did not have normal marital relations.  After all God blessed them and told them to be fruitful and multiply and marital relations is the normal way of making that happen.  However Adam and Eve were created to live without dying and in that original creation, Eve’s rate of conception was not the same as it was after she ate the fruit and became subject to death.  Let’s look at the first part of God’s words to Eve  in Genesis 3:16.

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"They are sinning through questioning"

"They are sinning through questioning"

mark_driscoll on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

The issue of women in ministry allows us to the opportunity to ask questions about the hard passages of scripture and to work through these passages to discover God’s intended meaning through the inspired context.  But in many quarters, questioning is a “sin” that will get a reprimand from a strong authoritarian leader.  Is it really a sin to ask questions?  The New York Times has produced an article by Molly Worthen called Who Would Jesus Smack Down? In a surprising view of “the cussing pastor”, Mark Driscoll is not only against women pastors and what is called the feminization of the church, but he also refuses to tolerate any opposition to his views.  In The New York Times article Molly Worthen writes:

Nowhere is the connection between Driscoll’s hypermasculinity and his Calvinist theology clearer than in his refusal to tolerate opposition at Mars Hill. The Reformed tradition’s resistance to compromise and emphasis on the purity of the worshipping community has always contained the seeds of authoritarianism: John Calvin had heretics burned at the stake and made a man who casually criticized him at a dinner party march through the streets of Geneva, kneeling at every intersection to beg forgiveness. Mars Hill is not 16th-century Geneva, but Driscoll has little patience for dissent. In 2007, two elders protested a plan to reorganize the church that, according to critics, consolidated power in the hands of Driscoll and his closest aides. Driscoll told the congregation that he asked advice on how to handle stubborn subordinates from a “mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighter, good guy” who attends Mars Hill. “His answer was brilliant,” Driscoll reported. “He said, ‘I break their nose.’ ” When one of the renegade elders refused to repent, the church leadership ordered members to shun him. One member complained on an online message board and instantly found his membership privileges suspended. “They are sinning through questioning,” Driscoll preached. John Calvin couldn’t have said it better himself.

Sinning through questioning – this attitude of leadership has become an epidemic in the hypermasculinity movement.  See Cynthia Kunsman’s articles on surviving the Sheperding Movement and All about Authority: the Popularity of Submission Doctrine

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Reading the scriptures without a male bias

Reading the scriptures without a male bias

In the beginning God made male and female.  Together they were to do God’s work on earth but unfortunately the fall happened and their work done together as equals was challenged by the man who took the sole rule for himself.  Society became strongly patriarchal, and men were seen as the only ones who were capable of speaking for God and interpreting his word.  But without the female complement working together with the male, some scriptures took on a decidedly male bias that is foreign to the context.  For example, look at 1 Timothy 2:9 to see Paul’s instruction given to godly women.

1 Timothy 2:9  Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,

1 Timothy 2:10  but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.

We can note from 1 Timothy 1:2 that Paul is writing to Timothy.  In chapter 2 Paul gives a standard for godly women to show their Christian maturity from the inside out.   Women are to adorn themselves modestly and discreetly as is proper for women who make a claim to godliness.  This is where some veer off into male bias.

The male bias reads a sexual temptress instead of godly women into this passage.

John MacArthur gives the interpretation that Paul is referring to women who are acting indecently.

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How many wise men?

How many wise men?

Tradition has flavored a lot of things for us that causes us to see everything in terms of tradition instead of thinking outside the box.

cheryl_schatz_glasses

Today I am offering a guest post to Don Johnson who will challenge us to see things without our traditional “glasses”.

How Many Wise Men? by Don Johnson (guest post)

The Question

Here is a fun question you can pose to your friends. Please be as specific or as general as warranted by the biblical text. The answer may surprise you if you have not heard this before. 

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The feminization of the church – a modern day fix

The feminization of the church – a modern day fix

Bride-Women-In-Ministry-blog-by-Cheryl-Schatz

There has been much talk in the last few years about the “feminization” of the church.  Books have been written about this “serious” problem and many men are thoroughly disgusted with seeing men outnumbered by women in the church.  These men feel that something drastic must be done to bring men back into the church.  I think that it is time we give this issue a “serious” look in order to help those men who have stopped going to church because of the “feminization of the church”.

Before we look at a solution, let’s have a look at the problem as identified by men:

1.  Men don’t like singing love songs to Jesus.  Jesus is my savior, they say, not the “lover of my soul”.

2.  Men do not like to see flowers and tissue boxes at the front of the church nor do they enjoy sitting on pink cushioned pews.

3.  Men need to separate from women to assert their masculinity.  Men don’t want to be around a place where there are a lot of women.  In the book “The Church Impotent the Feminization of Christianity“, Leon Podles writes about men’s need to separate from women.  David Wayne reviews the book by writing:

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Anne Graham Lotz and 800 pastors' shame

Anne Graham Lotz and 800 pastors' shame

CBMW relates a story told by Anne Graham Lotz in the Washington Post where Mrs Lotz writes:

What legitimate, Biblical role do women have within the church? That question demanded an answer early in my ministry when I accepted an invitation to address a large convention of pastors.

When I stood in the lectern at the convention center, many of the 800 church leaders present turned their chairs around and put their backs to me. When I concluded my message, I was shaking. I was hurt and surprised that godly men would find what I was doing so offensive that they would stage such a demonstration, especially when I was an invited guest. And I was confused. Had I stepped out of the Biblical role for a woman? While all agree that women are free to help in the kitchen, or in the nursery, or in a secretary’s chair, is it unacceptable for a woman to take a leadership or teaching position?

While CBMW writer Brent Nelson writes about the en masse action of many of the 800 pastors in a negative fashion…

Such a shameful event should have never happened.

…what action does he say should have happened?

I grieve that someone in a decision-making role, did not wisely preclude a woman from speaking to a large group of pastors who chose to express their biblically sound concerns in such a shameful fashion.  The commands to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), are equally as important to obey as the command for a woman not take spiritual authority over men. (emphasis added by WIM)

While CBMW’s article says that women are not to be elders or pastors and this is apparently the “clear” prohibition that CBMW espouses, Anne Graham Lotz doesn’t appear to be either an elder or a pastor.  What Mrs. Lotz does in her ministry is preach the good news to whoever the Lord Jesus brings in her pathway.  She writes:

Mary Magdalene was actually the very first evangelist! Since Jesus had obviously been present when Peter and John were there, why did He withhold Himself from them, but reveal Himself to Mary? He could so easily have given the task of announcing His resurrection to Peter and John, but instead He had given it to Mary. I believe He was making an undeniable, obvious statement that reverberates through the centuries, right up until our own day. Women are commanded and commissioned to serve Jesus Christ in whatever capacity He calls them, within or without the organized church, in word or in deed.

CBMW writer Brent Nelson agrees that Mary was commissioned to preach the gospel of the resurrection to the Lord’s disciples, but this doesn’t support Anne Graham Lotz.

Mary seeing Jesus and being commissioned to tell the disciples of his rising is indeed an honor, but certainly does not qualify her to take the role of an Elder or Pastor to men.

While I will not be discussing women elders or pastors in this article, CBMW’s article appears to be a sleight of hand bringing confusion regarding official positions of ordination with the call to preach and teach outside of ordination.  This confusion is precisely what CBMW itself seeks to avoid when they state that women can minister but not have a “pastorate”.

Imprecision is the handmaid of confusion, and confusion the prelude to bondage (John 8:32). We would do well to make a distinction between women in ministry (which the Bible affirms) and women in the pastorate (which the Bible forbids – 1 Timothy 2:12).

Is Anne Graham Lotz called by God to ordination?  She says no:

This space is not long enough to address the issue of ordination which carries with it the right to marry, bury, baptize, and have authority over church members. I do not believe God has called me to be ordained, but I know many women who believe He has called them. Some of these women pastor in countries where the male leadership has been decimated by persecution and imprisonment, and out of necessity they have stepped up to fill the void. (emphasis added by WIM)

What is Anne Graham Lotz called to do?  She writes about what the Lord’s commission means to her:

For me, it means going wherever God sends and giving out His Word to whomever He puts in front of me.

So if Anne Graham Lotz is not called to be ordained as a pastor and she is not ordained as an elder, then why would 800 pastors have “biblical sound concerns” to have her speak to them as an invited guest speaker?  Again CBMW’s Brent Nelson writes:

I grieve that someone in a decision-making role, did not wisely preclude a woman from speaking to a large group of pastors who chose to express their biblically sound concerns in such a shameful fashion.  The commands to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), are equally as important to obey as the command for a woman not take spiritual authority over men. (emphasis added by WIM)

The mindset of CBMW is that women are not allowed to preach the gospel to Christian men because this constitutes taking “spiritual authority” over men.  It is only a smokescreen in this case when they say that the Bible forbids women to be pastors and elders, because this has nothing to do with Mrs. Lotz.  Anne Graham Lotz is an evangelist not a pastor or an elder, yet she is forbidden according to CBMW, to preach the good news to pastors while they can at the very same time agree that Mary was commissioned by Jesus to preach the good news to the disciples.  CBMW affirms that Jesus’ commission for Mary was a godly thing for a woman to obey.  This sleight of hand and confusing talk brings great harm to the body of Christ when women are hindered from speaking the truth of God’s word to the body of Christ.

CBMW’s answer to a woman’s preaching the gospel to Christian men is that she should be hindered, stopped and forbidden from speaking in the first place.  According to this CBMW article it would be a wise male leader who should have stood in the way of Anne Graham Lotz and prevented her from speaking the gospel to these Christian men.  CBMW lifts up the pastors who turned their backs on Mrs. Lotz as godly men who showed their biblical concern in the wrong way.  By turning their backs on Mrs. Lotz, these pastors were not preventing her from speaking to them, they were only showing a shameful action of contempt.  Would CBMW’s counsel to these pastors have them walk out en masse instead of merely turning their backs?

Apparently CBMW believes that there were two shameful actions that happened the day Anne Graham Lotz spoke to those 800 pastors.  The first shameful action was the men who turned their backs toward a godly sister in Christ.  The other “shameful” action was apparently the mere fact that Mrs. Lotz would dare to speak the gospel in the presence of Christian men and that a Christian leader would dare to allow her to speak.  CMBW’s Brent Nelson writes:

At the end of the day, it is the role of pastors and men to lead their congregations and families in understanding God’s design for the home and the church. When this kind of biblical leadership is lacking, sadly shameful things can happen. (emphasis is added by WIM)

CBMW through sleight of hand has now added to the scriptures that only men may lead Christians in the church and in the family towards understanding God’s design.  Shame on CBMW for spiritually turning their back on God’s gifted women, and thus God himself by adding to God’s word things that God never said.

Listen to what CBMW believes Christian men shouldn’t be able to hear Anne Graham Lotz preach and apparently use their CBMW-based conscience to walk out:

Anne Graham Lotz Just Give me Jesus

Pursuing More of Jesus with Anne Graham Lotz

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1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 concludes with Paul's commands

1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 concludes with Paul's commands

We have been going through 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, the passage that appears to silence women in the church to see how carefully Paul has constructed his words in 1 Corinthians 14:36 to contradict the silencing in verses 34 & 35.  (For past articles on this topic, please see the 1 Corinthians 14 section).

Now we come to Paul’s conclusions and in keeping with the force of the commands that Paul has given throughout chapter 14, Paul ends with two commands that completely blow away any misunderstanding that verses 34 & 35 are Paul’s words to the church instead of a quote from the Corinthian’s letter to Paul.

What is “therefore” there for?

Paul says in 1 Cor. 14:39 “therefore” my brethren…  The word “therefore” is a conjuction that joins together Paul’s words in verses 36-38 with the commands in verses 39 and 40.  All of this directly contradicts the injunction found in verses 34 and 35.  Let’s see how Paul concludes his contradiction of the silencing of women.

1 Corinthians 14:39  Therefore my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy…

The first command of Paul’s in his summary is a repeat of what Paul had already commanded in verse 1.  Paul writes in Philippians 3:1 that repetition is for our safety.  The body of Christ is to desire earnestly to prophesy and this repetition at the end of the chapter is to make sure that we “get it”.  Remember that Paul gave the reason why they were to desire earnestly to prophesy and the reason is for the edification of the church (1 Cor. 14:3, 4)

Speaking forth and keeping silent

Now let’s have another look at the entire chapter of 1 Cor. 14 to see what pattern is set forth regarding speaking and not speaking so that we can completely understand Paul’s summary.

“Speaking forth” allowed:

  • All commanded to seek spiritual gifts especially prophesying in the assembly  (verse 1)
  • Prophesying in the assembly edifies, exhorts and consoles  (verse 3)
  • Prophesying in the assembly edifies all  (verse 4)
  • Gifts for use for the common good are greater than a gift that only edifies one’s self (verse 5)

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