Do not camp out here!

I’m passionate about men and women working together, as co-equals, for the sake of the harvest.

I’m passionate to see women released into their full potential, unmuzzled, unfettered, free to follow God wherever he might lead them.

I’m passionate to see men and women released from centuries of patriarchal tradition.

I’m passionate to see the Scriptures expounded with integrity in a way that doesn’t limit women (or men).

As I look around at what is happening in this country, I believe this is a move of God.

But it’s no place to camp out. It’s a transitory place, not a place to stay.

I’m even more passionate about men and women being transformed by these truths and then quickly moving on into whatever Jesus has for them.

 Photo Credit: Al_HikesAZ via Compfight cc

28 thoughts on “Do not camp out here!”

  1. “I’m passionate to see men and women released from centuries of patriarchal tradition.”

    Are you referring to the ‘patriarchal tradition’ that God Himself pronounced in the garden of Eden?

    “Your desire shall be for your husband,
    And he shall rule over you.”

    ~ Genesis 3:16b

    I know that in Christ there is neither male nor female, but in time and this world their is – for order. The apostle Paul was very clear about the positional authority of man over woman in a natural sense.

    Woman is not any less than man in the eyes of God, but she did come from man and was created for man. In a natural sense women are not to have authority over men, and it follows that it is best for order and honor to leave the (administrative and theological/doctrinal) leadership of the church of Jesus Christ to men – and the women are to lead in the sense that they are to be a picture of submission and humility and service to the world.

    This can go a long way in ‘leading’ a man in the way of God.

    I understand that you will (strongly?) disagree with what I am saying, but it is the truth nonetheless.

    I would encourage you to test the spirit behind your enthusiasm in fighting for ‘liberation’ for women in the church – and humbly and sincerely ask God to reveal to you His will for women in the functioning of His church and society as a whole.

    Blessings dear sister,

    Forrest.

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    1. Forest, I think the whole point is that Felicity (and others) are reexamining the “traditional understanding of God’s will for women” and they are finding those “understandings” lacking. I appreciate that your perspectives seem true to you, but, if we will be honest with ourselves, we don’t have perfect doctrine and it’s always good to hold what we believe lightly and reexamine what we believe from time to time. God leads us into truth a step at a time. We don’t land in all truth in one day.

      As I study, I have found there is another way of understanding those same scriptures with intellectual and scriptural integrity, one that means that men and women can step out together in ministry in the body of Christ.

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      1. I do not deny that God uses women, greatly. Yet there are many plain scriptures that reveal that God’s order (at least after the fall of man) is that men are in authority and women are subject to them.

        It would take no small amount of contortion and ‘research’ in order to squeeze the scripture into this thinly (if at all) veiled feminism…

        “Wives, likewise, be submissive to
        your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without
        a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For
        in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also
        adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” – 1 Peter 3:1-6

        Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. – Ephesians 5:22,23

        This type of teaching (the “christian feminism” addressed above) is clearly not the apostles doctrine – it sounds more like Gnosticism and/or worldly thinking to me.

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      2. Forrest, according to theologian Philip B Payne, author of Man and Woman, One in Christ, “Likewise the reason Peter calls wives to submit to their husbands is not to uphold a hierarchical social structure but “so that [their husbands] will be won over” by purity, reverence, gentleness, submission and courageous good deeds. Peter’s affirmation that wives and husbands are “heirs with you of the gracious gift of live” implies their equal standing in Christ, not their subordination.

        The Ephesians passage is easier to understand. The word “submit” comes in the Greek in verse 21–submitting yourselves to one another… wives to husbands, husbands loving wives. (The command in that passage is back in verse 18, “be filled with the Spirit.”) It was added by the translators elsewhere. The word “head” in that same passage is taken by most prominent theologians to mean “source” rather than head. It’s a problem with the English. Head (kephale) can mean source (like head of a river). In Greek the same word is rarely taken to mean leader or boss–there were plenty of other words Paul could have used to convey that clearly.

        I’m all for submitting to my husband–as he lays down his life for me. It’s a race to go lower!

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      3. Mrs. Dale,

        Here is the Ephesians passage in question:

        “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

        ~Ephesians 5:22-24

        If you simply read it for what it is saying and take the immediate context of it, it is clear that ‘head’ is used as ‘leader’ or ‘boss’ – for it is in direct reference to submission (as to the Lord). Paul even uses the example of Christs authority and dominion over the church (really, all things) in painting the picture of the submission that is to be in the wife toward the husband.

        Also, a great explanation for the use of the word ‘head’ in this passage and not some other word is that throughout the letter Paul uses the imagery of the physical body to show the spiritual truth of the church and believers in relation to one another and Christ – beginning with ‘And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all,’ in 1:22 and also in 4:11-16 and alluded to elsewhere.

        The word ‘head’ is used because the Holy Spirit was making a point and using the physical body to make it. Of all of the members of my physical body, my head is in authority over the rest.

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      4. Just think of this response as a bit of goofy humor, Forrest, but when I read your closing comment about your head being in authority over the rest of your body, I immediately wished that my head had enough persuasion over my aching frame after several days of recent landscaping! Ha!

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      5. Forrest I Just came across your comments and I must commend you,… you make an excellent defense of the truth of God’s word.
        But what difference does it make, it is like people are under a strong delusion to believe a Feminist Lie rather than God’s truth , which sometimes does cut, but also does heal.
        Blessings

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      6. Thank you for your encouragement, if it were not for the Spirit of Truth in me confirming that I am not completely wrong on this issue I may well have drawn back due to the amount of people who clearly disagree and at times seemingly make compelling arguments (to the carnal mind, that is – they don’t hold up under scrutiny and the revealed Wisdom of God).

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      7. I felt the same way, why waste my time ? but the convicting power of God’s truth gives passion to Contend for the Faith Once delivered…. there so many ” Christians ” opposing God’s word , it’s unbelievable but truth crush down will always rise again… keep up the good fight of faith in love.
        Blessings !

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      8. Lori, I totally agree. This isn’t about men being over women or women being over men, but about men and women working together as co-equals for the sake of the Kingdom.

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    2. Why would we think that when God spoke, “”Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you”, that He was being prescriptive (i.e. declaring an order that He wants, according to His wisdom)? Why wouldn’t we assume that He is being descriptive ( i.e. declaring how it will be because of the darkness that will rule the earth)? Why isn’t liberation from being “ruled” by other than God a good thing? Any possibility that ruling might be of a contrary, although historically entrenched spirit, and that mutual submission is God’s desire — looking out first for the interests of others in all relational contexts?

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      1. You say: “Why would we think that when God spoke, ‘Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you’,
        that He was being prescriptive (i.e. declaring an order that He wants,
        according to His wisdom)?”

        Are you saying that the word of God does not command a wife to be subject to her husband in everything?

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      2. Greetings, Forrest. if you read what Felicity has written (above) concerning Genesis 3:16b, you will understand why I hold the view of that verse that I commented upon. I also hold the view that God desires that His people be subject to one another. That applies in all relational contexts. That oneness is fundamentally demonstrated among Father, Son and Holy Spirit and is to be exhibited as the oneness of His body, the church. Serving the interests of one another — including, but not restricted to, building up one another into Christ — is essential for oneness. Marriage is one of God’s exquisite contexts for illustrating such love.

        I would need help in understanding what you mean by a wife being “subject to her husband in everything”

        , Forrest. The short answer would be “no” if you actually mean in everything. That would be some kind of tyranny. A wife is not to be fashioned into the image of her husband. I do, though, seek, myself, to be subject to her by lovingly serving her in gladness and by however I have opportunity. She does the same toward me. Neither of us do it as well as we desire, but we help each other to learn — and that is a rich mutual bond for growth.
        I’m wondering whether we need help in all of our relationships, including marriage, to obtain God’s understanding of what being “subject” actually means to Him? It seems to me to be the crux of the matter. I don’t at all think it’s a matter of “who is the boss?”

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      3. Jim,

        When I say “subject to her husband in everything,” I mean: “subject to her husband in everything.”

        That’s the word of God – just as the Church is under Christ’s authority (headship) and is in all things to be subject to Him; so (in like manner) is a wife to be toward her husband.

        That’s what God says, not me:

        “Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

        ~Ephesians 5:24

        As for saying that we are to be subject to one another in that we are to submit ourselves to one another in the fear of God, I agree. In a humble and godly way we are to submit to our brothers and sisters so far as it does not contradict scripture or conscience.

        Yet I am yet to read anywhere in the bible where God commands men to submit to their wives or be subject to them.

        It is clear from God’s word that hierarchical authority is in God’s order between the man and wife in marriage – again, so far as scripture and conscience be not sacrificed in the obeying of the husband.

        To quote your above comment: “Marriage is one of God’s exquisite contexts for illustrating such love.”

        I agree, and God uses the imagery of the man’s authority over the wife as a picture of Christ’s authority over the church. You surely wouldn’t claim that we (the church) are not commanded to be subject to Christ in everything, would you?

        In eternity I have little doubt that things will be much different, yet while we are in this fallen world and yet un-perfected ourselves – God does still prescribe hierarchical authority in natural relationships (i.e. marriages, institutions such as companies, governments and families).

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    3. Forrest, thank you for weighing in on these discussions in such a thoughtful and non-combative way.

      Here’s how I’ve come to my position on this.

      I’ve checked with a couple of theologians about the tense of the verb “He shall rule over you” in the original Hebrew. (I’m no Hebrew scholar so I wanted to be sure I understood it right.) It’s a simple future tense–he will rule over you. Not an imperative or command, (which would read “he must rule over you” or “he should rule over you,” or “he ought to rule over you.” If God had wanted it to be a command, the Hebrew could easily have read that way. That’s why I’m confident that one can say with integrity that it can/should be interpreted as descriptive rather than prescriptive.

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      1. Ms. Dale,

        I do tend to take the position that the scripture is to be taken in it’s simplest meaning – that it is to the layperson and common man and that it can be understood by such (even by the revelation of God). So to lean too heavily on theologians and tenses and Hebrew and Greek and Latin and whatever else might be used is a warning sign to me that their may be some contorting of the scripture going on.

        If that was God’s intention (in the case of Gen. 3:16 being descriptive and not prescriptive – as you put it) then the rest of the word of God would no doubt agree – and a person who doesn’t know Hebrew would be able to draw the same conclusion (again, by the revelation of the Holy Spirit)…

        But I don’t see this, and I understand that you have other explanations of the apostle’s teachings on women’s roles in the church and likely in the home as well…but I find that from what little I’ve read of your blog posts that you seem to also use a lot of ‘original language’ reasons and the like in explaining the meaning of the verses…

        My question is, can a person come to the same conclusion as you have with just the English language translation of the bible and the ability to read and hear from God?

        I would argue the answer to that is, “No”.

        The apostles taught that women are to be quiet and gentle and subject to their husbands and that they ought not to teach or have authority over a man. Peter even pointed back to Abraham and Sarah’s extremely “patriarchal” marriage in instructing women in Christian conduct and referred to them as Sarah’s daughters (no doubt in a spiritual sense in the same manner that we are sons of Abraham in sharing like faith with him) when pointing them toward her conduct and exhorting them to mimic her.

        Again, I know you very likely disagree with all of this and even have your justifications in your mind for doing so, but I just encourage you to seek to Lord in this matter and listen to what Heaven has to say in the matter.

        Blessings sister,

        Forrest.

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      2. Forrest, when we are reading “just the English language translation of the Bible”, do we not need to recognize that the “simple English” is a product of scholarship? There has been a translation from Hebrew and Greek texts, into another language — whether into English or any other language. The choices from one language to another are made from a spectrum of options. Over some decades I have personally sat in courses of seminary instructors who were on translation teams for a couple of translations into English of the “literal” disposition. They agonize and consult for months over which rendering they will apply from all the options — just for a single word or phrase. Their choices are based on many criteria that they regard as objective — but they do acknowledge that common previous renderings that produced earlier versions have guided their choices. So when there is a latitude in how a portion of text can be rendered, we do well, don’t we, to be aware of the options? I also have personal long-time friends who have given their lives to translate into languages that are completely foreign to me. They make choices based on many cultural, linguistic, technical considerations. Can we accept that there are, indeed, shades of meaning in language, and that sometimes the selected shade can have an outcome that takes us into dialogue that needs to recognize potential, or even likely, impact of the personal persuasion of the translators? That’s why there are “notes” in many translations that indicate what alternate renderings are possible. That’s why historical context, as best as we can discover it, can contribute to the understanding of text. It is also vital that we are attentive to Biblical context — both immediate and broad.

        Having said all this, Forrest, I am fully in agreement with you that we need to listen from heaven. The Spirit of God is our teacher. We are dependent upon Him for revelation. And we need each other to discern what is of God. I am very pleased that you are a seeker of God and His truth. You are an encouragement to me!
        Blessings

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      3. Forrest, I would say that the English version is perfectly plain in this case. He will (some versions have shall) rule over you. Not he must rule over you, he should rule over you or he ought to rule over you.

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      4. This is not the easiest passage – for example the Hebrew could be “BUT he shall rule over you” or “AND he shall rule over you. I tend toward the idea that in this context God is pronouncing a curse on the serpent, the woman, and the man. The woman’s curse is two-fold: A. pain in childbirth, and B. a broken relationship with her husband characterized by his domination.

        A. “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
        in pain you shall bring forth children.

        B. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

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      5. I can tell you, Forrest, that I’ve put in many years in the study of Greek, I hope toward the end of humble obedience to the simple meaning of God’s Word. There is no contradiction between close study of the Bible and obedient submission.

        In fact, I find that people who have only a little Hebrew or Greek are the ones who pass along half-truths or traditional interpretations.

        And remember, each English version that you use was produced by scores of scholars. For example, the New Living was translated by about 100 top people in the field. If we don’t perceive the need to go “digging in the Greek” it’s because someone spent years translating the original meaning so that you and I don’t have to when we open our English Bibles. Similarly, I don’t have to understand code in order to be able to read this blog page – all I have to know is that SOMEONE knows how to do it, and that the message arrives clearly.

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  2. Jesus’s death on the cross was a once and for all time act to free us from sin and death. When we focus on His redeeming work and make that our start point rather than what was written before or after, it free’s us from having the perennial debate about what God did or did not mean when He was quoted by whoever in their writings. God is love. Jesus embodied that. Christ did not die and shed his blood just so we can build and continue to promote an institution that degrades over half its adherents to second class status. That cannot, despite what those who would wish to maintain the status quo and have us believe, be His overarching purpose. At Pentecost, Christ sent us His in built authority to act on His behalf until He returns; He did not send a blue holy spirit for boys and a pink one for girls! We each receive the same spirit and authority in Jesus’s name male or female. If we continue to stand on Paulian arguments that even by a cursory glance at his letters, were heavily waited towards the culture and context of his day. Then we will be condemned to remain where we are and be left behind as Jesus moves forward. Thankfully, I left that institution 5 years ago and have never been nearer to Jesus, Able to hear Him clearly and function completely as part of His body. A body that includes male and female parts none of which are less than the whole. Felicity, as a fellow country-person of yours, I greatly appreciate your work and example.

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    1. Thanks, Ian. I wholeheartedly agree with what you say. (And I love your comments about a blue Holy Spirit and a pink Holy Spirit!)

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  3. A good word. The entire process of redemption and all that goes with it (including trudging through all of the social inequalities like gender hierarchies) is really just Plan B. Father God did not create us in order for us to fall and be restored. He created us for Himself and His purposes, and the entire point of our restoration is just to get us back to where He originally started us out at. This is no diminishing of our great Lord and Father — He has made good from our evil through His great sacrifice and unending love. If anything, the implementation of “Plan B” as a response to our sinfulness magnifies Him all the more. But our fall and rescue is not the main thing — He is! I long for the day when every heart beats with the fullness of the Lord’s life and love, when all are restored to their proper place of full dependence on Him, and when we can get on with His original “Plan A”! Because if you think He is an awesome God in how He has handled redemption, then you haven’t seen anything yet. “‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.'” All praise and glory to Him.

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