Marriage, Women in Ministry

If You Give a Girl a Bible

Excellent! This is a reblog from a reblog! It’s about being female and in the image of God. Loved it!!!
Rob Morley

Everyday Encounters With the Creator

biblegirl

If you give a girl a Bible, she’s going to ask her Father what it means.  When he begins to explain it to her in the quiet of her soul, she’s going to know she has a gift and know she’s made for more.  When the gift becomes his glory, she’s going to use it all the time.  So she will sing or plan or teach or write.  When she’s done she’ll share those gifts with you and she’ll want to read some more.

She might do something unrefined or something strange indeed, but she is more than mommy, sister, wife, and matcher of the socks.  She is the very image of a God who lives outside the box.

If you give a girl a label, though, and strip away her clothes, Her Almighty Father will run right back to her and tell you where to keep your nose.  The…

View original post 703 more words

Women in Ministry

Can Women be Elders? – Part 2

by Dez Pain http://www.rgbstock.com/images/dez+pain
by Dez Pain
http://www.rgbstock.com/images/dez+pain

In Part 1, I consider that Gender neutrality is evident in 1 Tim 3:1, indicating that from the outset God is open to both male and female elders. 1Tim 3:1 reads, “This is a true saying, If a man (Gk. tis – anyone) desire the office of a bishop, he (not in Gk.) desireth a good work.

However, even if Paul had only males in mind for elders when writing to Timothy, we need to keep in mind that Paul was not writing a manual, but a letter for an occasion and our interpretation of God’s word needs to keep this in mind. As such, we should consider that Paul was quite easily being descriptive of elders and deacons as males, for this was where the church was at socially, but that this was not necessarily being prescriptive for eternity.

This is obvious for us in our time on the issue of slavery, about which Paul also wrote on concerning slaves and slave-owners, and yet we do not take what he wrote as an endorsement of slavery. Also, we do not believe that his writing on slavery within the church requires it to be an eternally prescriptive element for church and society, though it is in the eternal word of God. Why? Because we have learned to interpret, sensitive to the context and not willy-nilly apply what we read.

So, just as slavery was not being endorsed by its inclusion in Paul’s writings, female eldership is not to be disallowed by its exclusion from his writings, if indeed it was excluded.

Remember, that in Christ we are restored to the equality at creation (Gen 1:28), male rule since the fall (Gen 3:16) is ended, and there is “neither male nor female”, we are all “Sons of God” and we regard “no man according to the flesh”. What reason then would God have to be gender exclusive when it comes to the role of eldership? None!

Rob Morley

Women in Ministry

Can Women be Elders? – Part 1

by Dez Pain http://www.rgbstock.com/images/dez+pain
by Dez Pain http://www.rgbstock.com/images/dez+pain

Complementarians prohibit women from eldership citing 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Tit. 1:5-9, which refer to the need for elders to be the “husband of one wife”. However, they fail to see the flaw in this logic because, by doing this, they would have to prohibit single men and widowers too, for these are not “husband of one wife” either.

Clearly, the stipulation of “husband of one wife” was concerning the typical candidate of Paul’s day – an experienced married man. In his instructions to Timothy and Titus, Paul focusses in on the typical. As such, he was not giving a blueprint that would reject single men and women. No doubt, women would have been unusual candidates in that period of history and especially in a religion born from Judaism, but not for the Spirit and the future that He had in mind as illustrated in His word. The stipulation of “husband of one wife” has its focus on the necessity for monogamy if married and not on gender or marriage status, i.e. being single or married.

Gender neutrality is evident in 1 Tim 3:1, indicating that from the outset God is open to both male and female elders. 1Tim 3:1 reads, “This is a true saying, If a man (Gk. tis – anyone) desire the office of a bishop, he (not in Gk.) desireth a good work.

When describing the requirements for elders (and deacons), Paul focusses on the typical candidate of his time, a spiritually sound and experienced married man. As such, he does not mention women, single men and widowers, but he is in no way excluding them. He then returns to gender neutrality in 1 Tim 3:5

Gender neutral:

1Tim 3:1, This is a true saying, If a man (Gk. tis – anyone) desire the office of a bishop, he (not in Gk.) desireth a good work.

Focus on a typical married male candidate:

1Tim 3:2-4 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity

Gender neutral:

1Tim 3:5 For if a man (Gk. Tis –anyone) know not how to rule his (not in Gk.) own house, how shall he (not in Gk.) take care of the church of God?

As I see it, The Holy Spirit’s choice of the gender-neutral word “tis” in 1 Tim 3:1 and 3:5, indicates His intention for the meaning to include both males and females. Also, the obvious calling of single men as elders clearly shows that these texts were not as prohibiting as they may first appear.

(I would like to add that even if only males were meant in these texts, this still does not imply that they prohibit females. I will explore this idea in part two.)

Remember, that in Christ we are restored to the equality at creation (Gen 1:28), male rule since the fall (Gen 3:16) is ended, and there is “neither male nor female”, we are all “Sons of God” and we regard “no man according to the flesh”. What reason then would God have to be gender exclusive when it comes to the role of eldership? None!

Rob Morley

Women in Ministry

Naming of Eve and Adam’s Authority

Ready to Rule Together
Photo by Lajla Borg Jensen @ RGBStock.com

MISUSING A CUSTOM

There is no evidence in both the incidents of Adam “naming” Eve that God had given him authority over her. I say this to counter the willy-nilly correlating of these incidents with a Hebrew custom that if you named something it indicated that you had authority over it.

If it was a Biblical custom, then its origins may lie in Adam naming the animals. However, the naming of the animals was only shown to be out of God’s interest to see what Adam WOULD name them. Yet, even if it did imply authority over the animals, this incident was by God’s leading, whereas the “naming” of his counterpart was not.

ADAM CALLED HER “WOMAN” AND NAMED HER “EVE”

Note, that the first time that Adam saw the woman, he exclaimed out of his free will and NOT by God’s command, leading or for His interest (as with the animals), “she shall be called Woman.” By doing this, he did nothing wrong, but neither was he under God’s direction. He was simply responding to having seen His counterpart.

Then, later, when Adam names the woman, “Eve”, in Genesis 3:20, it is after the fall and God did not command this either (though He may have inspired the choice of name). So, once again, this could be simply Adam’s free will (perhaps with God’s inspiration), but because it is after the fall, it could also be argued that this was Adam’s first act of ruling Eve as Genesis 3:16 said would happen.

There is therefore no evidence that by Adam calling the person made from his side “Woman” and later naming her “Eve”, that these acts of naming her had any connection to having authority over her.

EZER KENEGDO

In an effort to prove their point that Adam had authority over Eve, some have argued that slaves, children, and animals were named by those who were over them. This was true, but slaves, children, and animals don’t equate to the Counter-part Woman given to Adam. She was not a slave, child or animal, but that teaching produces the fruit of people treating women this way.

Rather than be subject to him, the Woman was to be a strength alongside Adam (his Ezer Kenegdo – a help as his counterpart). She would be strong where he was weak and together they would have co-dominion over every living thing, with the mission to subdue the earth (see Gen 1:28).

(Note: Ezer is often used of God helping us. Kenegdo shows the help is of an equal. From word study of “help meet”, EZER KENEGDO, God’s Word to Women).

Rob

Women in Ministry

Let Women Teach and with Authority

Image by Dez Pain http://www.rgbstock.com/user/xymonau
Image by Dez Pain
http://www.rgbstock.com/user/xymonau

Reflecting on 1 Timothy 2:11-15

The issue of a woman leading or teaching in the church is clearly misunderstood by many and is a contentious subject that divides the body of Christ. The stumbling block is generally over scripture, with 1 Timothy 2:11-15 being perhaps the most prominent of these.

Let’s consider what it says:

“Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.”

To some of us, it’s as plain as day what Paul is saying in these words. Others of us believe he cannot possibly be saying what a simple reading of the text seems to indicate.

In order to understand the issues that Paul addresses here, we need to have context in two areas. Firstly, we need to get textual context by examining these verses in the light of the whole letter. And, secondly, we need to get the historical context.

Scriptural Context

If we look at Paul’s opening address to Timothy at the beginning of the letter, we can see that Timothy, a co-worker in Paul’s church planting team, had been asked to “remain at Ephesus so that [he] may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine…” (1 Timothy 1:3).

Historical Context

Then, in 1 Tim 2:11-15 Paul addresses one of these “different doctrines”, the idea of female religious superiority. It was the prevalent belief in Ephesian religion that man came from a woman deity and then subsequently sinned. Also, men were to be subject to women teaching them and to their authority. This idea had apparently infiltrated into the local church’s thinking.

Let’s examine Paul’s instruction that corrects this:

Quiet & Submissive?

Paul tells Timothy, “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.” This describes the proper demeanor in which both men and women should learn. Except, in this case, it was evidently the women who needed instruction and correction. Let’s consider this:

Firstly, “let a woman learn” was huge progress in that women were often untaught and relegated to the sidelines of life, including among the Jews. Now they were among those being taught.

Then, “quietly” suggests refraining from the bustle and chatter that some may have been previously used to, but that would disrupt a learning environment. This may also be the start of Paul correcting the opposite extreme of female dominance that was prevalent in that society’s religion.

And, “with all submissiveness” is a call to appropriate Christian behavior where men and women are “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).

No Teaching or Authority?

Paul goes on, “I do not permit a woman to teach …a man.” Here Paul is addressing the false idea of women being the source of truth. The Spirit of God is the source of truth and it can be through men and women. Consider this in the light of “the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him” (1 John 2:27).

Paul goes on, “or to exercise authority over a man”. Prohibiting the exercise of authority over one another is not foreign to Christianity. Consider Jesus’ prohibition on disciples having authority over one another in Matthew 20:25-27. Again, here, Paul recognized that certain women, in the church at Ephesus specifically, needed addressing on this issue.

Paul continues with, “rather, she is to remain quiet.” This is again an attitude for learning and not a strict prohibition from any interaction.

Tearing Down the False Teaching

Then he says, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing — if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.”

Here Paul corrects the false teaching that man came from a woman deity by stating that Adam was formed first and then Eve. He doesn’t do this in order to place Adam over Eve, but to simply pull to pieces the false teaching. Then, to further take it apart, Paul states that it was actually the woman who was initially deceived and who became the first transgressor. Not the man as the false teaching taught.

The Mess from Misunderstanding

Some in the church today suggest the prohibition on women teaching is based on Paul’s reference here to a propensity for women to be more easily deceived. However, Paul was not saying anything of the sort. He was merely showing up the false teaching. Frankly, as I look around and at our past, the devil hasn’t needed help from women for this. Men themselves have been deceived and have done a right royal job in promoting false teaching.

Through our misunderstanding of the context and what Paul was addressing, we have swung the pendulum from the false teaching of female dominance in teaching and leadership to an equally false teaching of male dominance in teaching and headship.

Paul was not prohibiting women from teaching men or from speaking God’s word with authority. He was simply bringing wayward thinking in line with the equality that should exist in the body of Christ.

Rob

(Note that Timothy was not the pastor of the church in Ephesus as has been mistakenly attributed to him. For more on this, see my post on Church Leadership).

Women in Ministry

Women – Our False Religious Notions

Man and Woman

When it comes to issues, life experience often tells the truth best, mocks our false religious notions and is more compatible to good Biblical exegesis.

The post, Women in the Church: An Anecdote on Submission by Tim Day from his blog Synerchomai, has a good example of this. Enjoy!

Rob

Women in Ministry

Women in the Body of Christ – Part 1

In my experiences from a number of different churches and denominations, I have found that women have very little room when it comes to adding their voices in spiritual matters. This stems from the fact that many churches are dogmatic about unclear Scriptures regarding women in ministry.

I have been in churches where women were expected to wear head-coverings, not because of the culture, but because of the desire to be biblically correct. All churches want to be biblically correct, so where do we draw the line when making the decisions that we make when interpreting and applying Scriptures to us today?

My husband and I were visiting a non-denominational church a few years back. We were invited to join a Bible study for married couples. We all sat in a circle with the wives seated next to their husbands. Our Bibles were open, and one gentleman read from a portion of Scripture. He then asked questions from the text.

The women remained silent. They wore polite faces, but kept their eyes averted. It was as if they had checked out long ago and no one had helped them find their way back. I knew that I had permission to speak, so I joined in the conversation along with the men. The women looked startled when I spoke up and the men looked surprised.

I don’t think this small congregation meant to do their women in, but the church’s stand on these unclear texts that I mentioned above did not help the women to feel that their opinion would be respected. I even think the women didn’t realize that they were not being obedient to God’s voice or His Word by taking a “back seat.”

By Tina Morley