Saturday, February 10, 2007

Women in the Church: Part 2

Sorry to be posting this so late, but we have all had the flu, so I am behind in posting, laundry, washing dishes, etc. Hopefully, Frodo or I will be well enough to go to this week’s class (manned with my handy-dandy new MP3 player with voice recorder) which will be an in-depth discussion on I Timothy 2. As before, any text in italics is my thoughts and plain text is taken directly from the class.

Review from the previous class:

  1. Jesus was not constrained to cultural norms.
  2. Jesus chose 12 men as His apostles.

Was this strategic? If so, then why choose fishermen, misfits? Why not choose powerful men?

This class turned out to be another one in which many texts were thrown out with very little discussion. The purpose of this class was to examine how women served God, and in what roles, in the Old and New Testaments.

Should there be any restrictions at all on women in the church? This is the question that will be examined at the next class.

Egalitarianism – no distinction between men and women

There is a concern within the evangelical church that if women are accepted in more authoritative roles within the church that it will open the door to homosexuals being accepted into such roles as well since restrictions are placed on both women and homosexuals in Scripture. This stems from the fact that the language which women have used to try to expand their roles within the church was taken from the civil rights movement and this language is now being used by the homosexual community. This causes a slippery slope argument that focuses more on the language of the argument than an examination of Scripture.

This was the extent of the discussion on Egalitarianism. It was spurred by an article I emailed to the pastor in anticipation of this topic being discussed. The article was a review of John Stackhouse’s "Finally Feminist" by Susan Wise Bauer that appeared in Books and Culture. I recommend you read it for yourself since she gives a much better (and more thorough) overview of the egalitarian position than was given above. I have not yet read Stackhouse’s book, but I hope to in the near future and will share my thoughts on it once I have. Lucky you.

Focus on Scripture:

The Greek word “dialconid” is generally translated as either “service” or “ministry” as in Luke 8:1-3, I Peter 4:10 and I Corinthians 12:5

Here begins the tossing out of examples of the various roles of women in God’s service. There is very little discussion, but I have included it where it occurred. These passages were reviewed to show that women did indeed hold positions all along the scale of authority within Israel and the church and to set the stage for the class to follow which would seek to find whether there are differences between the roles that women held and those that men held.


I Samuel 2:5

Was Abigail going over her husband’s head and disobeying him? Nabal was a fool and what she did was good for him.

Judges/ Prophetesses:

Miriam – Exodus 15:20-22 (Miriam gets leprosy and Aaron doesn’t)

Huldah – II Kings 22:14

Deborah – Judges 4:4

Ezekiel 13:17

What is a prophet? One who represented God’s word to the people; direct connection to God


What did Deborah do in her role as a judge? She judged men and exercised authority over them

What is unique about her time as a judge? She didn’t lead an army; she didn’t get the glory (Jael did – another woman); she didn’t rule in a public square (people came to her)

II Kings 22 and Exodus 15:20 show how women exercised authority while not in the public square or with only other women

Luke 2:36 – Anna; a prophetess

Acts 21:9 – Philip’s daughters

Joel 28:32

I Corinthians 11:5 – women prophesy with proper adornment

Acts 18:26 – Precilla and Aquilla correct Apollo’s teaching of the gospel and reteach him

Romans 16:3; I Corinthians 16:19 – Precilla and Aquilla seen as co-laborers with Paul

I Corinthians 12:28 &14:26; Titus 2:3 – what is the order of authority? Women given the gift to teach and to prophesy is the definitive word of God, therefore women should be able to teach God’s word in any context; is this true?

We should be subject to authority of laborers in the church, including women (see Philippians 4:2; I Corinthians 16:16; I Corinthians 4:12; I Corinthians 15:10; Galatians 4:11; Colossians 1:29; I Timothy 4:10)

Women as deacons:

I Timothy 3:11 - Paul introduces women as he did men by using the word “likewise”

Romans 16:1 – “deaconess” (same language as I Timothy 3:8); actually calls the women “deacons”

Women as Elders – II John 1:4

Women as Apostles – Romans 16:7 (Junius is a woman’s name)

I apologize for the disorganized feel of this post. There didn’t seem to be much of an outline to the material presented, so I tried to organize it as best I could. I also am not linking all of the Scripture references as I did last time because this cold/ flu thing has greatly shortened my ability to sit in front of the computer screen. If you want to look-up the passages in an online Bible, I highly recommend BibleGateway. You can search any version of the Bible you’d like. Our church uses the NIV for class and worship purposes, but I linked to the NASB in the last post. I’m looking for a meatier discussion for the next post. Keep your fingers crossed.


Heather_in_WI said...

Waiting with bated breath here.... no, seriously, I am. ;)

I don't understand the connection between ordaining women pastors and homosexuals. I've seen that argument before, but don't buy it. I haven't formally studied logic (yet!), but isn't that a fallacious argument?

1) Women are not scriptually allowed to teach or hold authority over men in the Bible. (1 Tim. 2:5)
2) Homosexuality is a sin. (1 Cor. 6:9-10)
3) If women are allowed to preach, then homosexuals will be allowed to preach.

So, are you and your pastor leaning towards egalitarianism? Is 1 Timothy 2:5 just something Paul threw in as his opinion or has it been mistranslated?


TheTutor said...

NO. Neither of us is leaning towards egalitarianism. He was throwing it out there since it is a common philosophy floating around in evangelical circles and wanted to explain it... he didn't really explain it much.

I don't think the egalitarian argument here holds much weight for the very reasons that you mentioned. The sticking point for many egalitarians is what is often seen as a contradiction in Paul's teaching between I Timothy (women should be quiet in church) and Galatians (?- I think that's where it is but don't have time to look it up now - about there being "no male or female").
I will be posting an addendum to this series (hopefully tonight) with links to some articles and books I have read in preparation for discussing this topic. I hope to learn more about the egalitarian viewpoint by reading "Finally Feminist". My library doesn't have it, so I am waiting to see it I can get it on interlibrary loan. Once I read that, I hope to clear up the muddy waters stirred up on the mention of that point. :)

Heather_in_WI said...

Oh..... {big sigh}. Whew!

I was confused because I thought you were setting up to make that argument!

I still will be waiting with bated breath for the next post...

Heather_in_WI said...

FYI, just read this and thought I'd pass it along:

Evangelical Feminism

Aduladi' said...

I am dying to know what happened yesterday and if the covering topic came up!!!

Love you and I hope you are feeling better.