When a theologian agrees…

I am no theologian. Nor do I have a background in ancient languages. So I’m very grateful for the many prominent theologians who hold the same position that I do on the topic of women in ministry. Scot McKnight, in his excellent book, The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible, describes a visit to one of the most distinguished scholars of his day, FF Bruce, who specialized in the writings of Paul. Scot, (one of the best known theologians of our day) says this:

In the spring of 1981, as a doctoral student in Nottingham England, I piled Kris and our two kids, Laura and Lukas, into our small car and drove to Buxton. Professor F. F. Bruce, perhaps the most widely known evangelical scholar of the previous generation and a specialist on Paul, had invited our family to his home for late-afternoon tea. When we arrived, we were welcomed into the home by Professor Bruce, and we sat in the living room for about two hours. During that time our son managed to spill a glass of orange squash on the Bruce’s rug, which Professor Bruce dismissed with a “whatever can be spilled has been spilled on that rug.”

During a break, as Kris was talking to Mrs. Bruce, I asked Professor Bruce a question that I had stored up for him (and I repeat our conversation from my memory): “Professor Bruce, what do you think of women’s ordination?”

” I don’t think the New Testament talks about ordination,” he replied.

“What about the silencing passages of Paul on women?” I asked.

“I think Paul would roll over in his grave if he knew we were turning his letters into torah.”

Wow! I thought. That’s a good point to think about. Thereupon I asked a question that he answered in such a way that it reshaped my thinking:

“What do you think, then, about women in church ministries?”

Professor Bruce’s answer was as Pauline as Paul was: “I’m for whatever God’s Spirit grants women gifts to do.”

So am I . Let the blue parakeets sing!

(Used with permission)

63 thoughts on “When a theologian agrees…”

  1. FF Bruce was certainly a “guru” when In was a young evangelical (a long time ago now!), so it is interesting to hear this. I wonder what view he held about the Bible’s authority?

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    1. I don’t know for sure, but he was highly respected amongst conservative Christians back in the UK so I would be surprised if had anything but a conventional view of the Scriptures.

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  2. All three answers from F.F. Bruce are spot on. And the book you’re referencing sounds very interesting…will have to check it out. 🙂 It’s interesting to me that F.F. Bruce used the “gifted by the Holy Spirit” argument because that’s what first led me to question my assumptions regarding the worthiness of women in “ministry leadership” (I put that in scare quotes because I don’t even like the term ministry leadership anymore). How can we tell someone who has the Holy Spirit indwelling her and has freedom in Christ that she is still in chains and not able to speak of spiritual things to the church?

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    1. Absolutely, Jared. It comes back to Acts 2 where God speaks through Peter saying that he’s pouring out his Holy Spirit on all flesh–men and women alike. He is no respecter of race, liberty or gender (Gal 3:28).

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  3. Peter referred to Paul’s letters as scripture and therefor they fall into the category of “God-breathed” and the word and will of God for the church. Interesting how the truth comes out now… When you oppose the word of God and do not want to conform to it, eventually you end up exchanging it for a lie and you deny it’s authority and authenticity (as a decree from God Himself) and you build on the sands of the carnal mind and are always subject to every wind of doctrine.

    Paul, as one of the chief apostles of Christ plainly described (as one who knew the Torah and had a great anointing of the Holy Spirit to be a ‘seer’ and rightly divide the word of truth) the will of God for the people of God.

    Once we reject the bible as our rule and basis of faith we have nothing solid and unchanging to stand and build on and we are subject to our carnal minds and our finite and flawed natural reasoning and we will surely drift and stray from the Truth.

    We are exhorted to ‘hold fast the (instructive) traditions’ which we have been taught, ‘whether by word or by [the true apostles] epistles’. 2Thess 2

    If we don’t hold fast we drift. I’m afraid many are drifting.

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    1. Forrest, we’ll have to agree to disagree. There are many theologians who take the position that FF Bruce and Scot McKnight take. I doubt that either you or I are qualified (from an ancient language viewpoint) to enter that discussion. Each of us has to lay open our hearts and seek to hear from God as to our own position. I’ve done so. I assume you have too. Therefore, we each have to follow our conscience. I respect your position, and you’re not very likely to persuade me to change mine.

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      1. Well, I HAVE been teaching Greek for decades, and the more I study the Scriptures the more I conclude that the Bible’s mandates – not “suggestions”, Forrest – push women and men to the forefront as believer-priests, redeemed and filled by the Spirit. This is what is known as “exegetical egalitarianism”.

        Where I minister, we are neck-deep in false teaching, 90+ percent of which is created and proclaimed by men as opposed to women. The church is in a war for its very existence, and I believe that the Bible tells us to deploy every good soldier to the front, without regard to sex.

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      2. Gary, thank you so much for your incredibly helpful contributions to this conversation. I highly value your input. And Forrest, thank you for being true to your convictions too.

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    2. The Lord told Israel that they were to be a Kingdom of Priests (Ex19v6), yet that never happened!
      On two counts they rejected that mandate of God. When they were called up the mountain of God for a direct visitation, they refused and told Moses to go on their behalf.
      When they made the Golden Calf, and Moses demanded to know who was on the Lord’s side (Ex32v26), only Levi crossed over to him.
      That is why Israel never became a kingdom of priests, and why only Levi possessed the priesthood. It was their own direct choice, completely counter to what God had said.

      Interestingly, in Egypt, at the very inauguration of Israel as a free nation before God, it was the heads of every family who were the priests. It was these heads who killed the passover for the family -on their own doorstep!
      Look how far things changed!

      Unfortunately, since Pentecost, people have been modeling the church on a completely wrong perspective of the OT priesthood, as if it somehow represented God’s plan.
      We have established an exclusive ordained male hierarchy as intermediaries between men and God. Despite what they claim to believe, that Jesus is the only mediator, the saints still seek a priest, vicar, minister, pastor, bishop, pope etc to do that work for them. believing themselves unqualified, they seek authority from man instead of God.

      We are falsely taught that obeying the minister equates with obeying God. Believers have thus abdicated their own responsibility to seek and heed God for the easy option of seeking instructions from university educated men.

      The argument is not about whether a woman should teach men, but should ANY man or woman ever rule over fellow saints.

      That is something Jesus never did. He always gave total freedom to his followers to walk away from him.
      Leadership in the body of Christ is not about ruling. It is about pioneering, or walking in new ground that other might see the reality of Christ in our lives and become jealous.
      If I see a woman with a precious anointing or understanding of Christ in some area that is beyond mine, I have no interest in her gender.
      I JUST WANT WHAT SHE HAS GOT!!!

      The whole debate has been polluted because we mistake position with power. For myself, I have only one head above mine and that is Christ alone. For the last 2000 years, building the church on either men’s or women’s headship has dishonoured Christ every day!

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      1. I agree 99.8% with everything you said here. I too agree that there isn’t a clear hierarchy in a body – it’s the head and many equal members (of one another). We do submit to one another in the fear of God and observe gifting and calling in our brothers and sisters and allow them to function as Christ has set them in His body – but this does not negate Paul and Peter’s teachings on how Christian women ought to conduct themselves in general and in the assembly.

        I see these as two separate (though related) issues.

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      2. I also believe that we must humble ourselves and submit to one another. That submission has absolutely zero to do with any dog collar or badge of office. I do it to honour the other person for his maturity and wisdom in Christ. I can only receive what he has from God if I am humble of heart. Perhaps in contrast to you, I willingly submit to younger or female members, if they have the goods! Doing such does not place them above my head.

        I have read your various comments Forrest and don’t entirely agree, nor do I want to get into a debate about it. However I believe that before there can ever be any real understanding on what a women’s role might be in ministry, we must first eradicate the falsehood of church hierarchy. Virtually all of Christendom is functioning under an anti-biblical structure. With no biblical context to slot Paul’s instructions into, we all have difficulty comprehending what he really mean.

        It seems to me that too many women are chasing the recognition that they see male leaders as having, when that recognition is based on error. Two wrongs will never make a right!

        If a man is operating as any sort of head over other Christians in the body, then he is serving a man made organisation, and not the church of God!
        If a woman desires that same recognition then she is also wrong.

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      3. Again, I am 99.8% in agreement with you. Thanks for sharing. It is clear that Paul had women who were co-workers of sorts, I just find that God has a different calling for women in general. I know that God can use a woman for whatever He wants, but if He does she will be in line with all of the other things He has already spoken regarding how a godly woman ought to conduct herself (in general and in the assembly).

        The same is true for a man. If he is to be used of God he first must be what God requires of a man of God. There will be certain traits and characteristics that will be there that bear witness to the grace of God working in him.

        But women fighting for ‘equality’ with men , in a ministry sense, is not of Christ and missing the purpose of God (just like selfish ambition and self seeking and authority driven men striving for power and authority in the church).

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      4. Is it impossible by definition, then, that a woman will want to serve God in a fuller way, that is not selfish ambition? Or anti-men?

        I know there are some angry feminists, but I have run into very few of them. The women I see in God’s service seem to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, including humility, love, regarding others as better than themselves.

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      5. Sure it is, and I encourage it – so long as she needn’t ignore, twist, deny or otherwise subvert the word of God in the process..

        We are all members in the body (of one another) and need one another. I don’t discount the need of the sisters in the assembly, I just seek to obey God’s word. They too are gifted and called to serve a purpose in the body of Christ, but if they feel called to do something that the word of God forbids, that is not God calling them to it.

        Honestly, when I look at the apostolic letters in the bible, I see the women primarily serving their husbands and the church as a whole. I do see women who helped the apostles in a special measure, and those that were called prophetess’ – but even then it is to be done according to God’s word.

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      6. Thanks Forrest, and thanks for your positive tone, etc.

        I am a bit puzzled by the phrase “I see the women primarily serving their husbands…” I am sure there is a woman in the NT who is pictured primarily as serving her husband, but I can’t seem to think of any one in particular. Do you have someone in mind?

        And primarily serving “the church as a whole” – I agree, and if God wills, that’s what all men and women should be doing, correct? That is, isn’t it also a male Christian virtue to serve the church?

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      7. Good point, GaryS, about “women primarily serving their husbands.” I really don’t think Junia, prominent among the apostles, was imprisoned like Paul for serving her husband tea or doing his laundry. That would serve no threat to those in power, but like Paul, she and Andronicus, were likely imprisoned for preaching in Jesus’ name, planting churches, and upsetting the status quo. Also, I have no doubt Chloe was responsible for the church who met in her home. I think we tend to see what we are expecting to see from the text. If we are expecting to see women co-labouring with full participation as God designed them from the beginning, then we see God is faithful to call and equip with sufficient grace both his male and female priests.

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      8. I cannot argue that it seems from scripture that women did labor in some of these things, but we still can’t ignore the general instructions to women by the apostles (not to mention the lack of letters written by or directly to women in the bible).

        Even most of the epistles seem to me to be written to the brothers, hence “brethren”.

        And we have 1 Cor. 14 (and other texts)

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      9. 1. If scriptures so-called “general instructions” contradict what we now to be spoken plainly elsewhere then it is likely our understanding, interpretation, and application of these “general instructions” is lacking.

        2. “Brethren” (adelphos) is gender inclusive when addressing more than one with even one female present or when referring to fellow Christians within the family of God, both male or female. When “brethern” was first used in the English translation, it was well understood it included both males and females, unless context was speaking of something specific like male siblings. However, “brethern” is not common usage in recent times, so this understanding can be lost on the modern reader. This is why some new English versions help the reader by adding “brothers and sisters.” This is why reading from multiple translations helps in understanding and interpretation.

        3. You keep throwing up 1 Co 14, but have yet to address the arguments presented about it i.e. where is the so-called law that is referred to that disallows women from speaking.

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      10. “As for My people, children are their oppressors,
        And women rule over them.
        O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err,
        And destroy the way of your paths.”
        ~Isaiah 3:12

        Thus says the Lord:

        “Stand in the ways and see,
        And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
        And walk in it;
        Then you will find rest for your souls.

        But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

        ~Jeremiah 6:16

        I have answered your question on 1 Cor 14 a number of times now.

        I am finished here. As Paul said, “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant.”

        I would just look at who it is that is with you in this fight for ‘female liberation’ and see what company you are in. I am afraid that this is one of many fronts that the enemy will use to draw the world and the church closer together in preparation for his agenda. Look back throughout history and see what the world was like (in terms of egalitarianism) in times of awakening and revival compared with how it is in times (such as these) of moral darkness and depravity.

        Is not the world also alongside you in this battle? For ‘equality’ and ‘rights’ for women? I don’t see the apostles fighting for such things. Surely we aren’t in a day of enlightenment like never before in the church… Surely we haven’t moved forward to some deeper truth that the church has never walked in… For God says seek out the old way and walk in it, and there is nothing new under the sun to Him…

        Also, this is an important issue because Christ Jesus is the Bridegroom of the bride (the true and faithful church) and if we don’t acknowledge the authority of a man over his wife and see how she is to be subject to him in everything, we may soon arrive (as I feel some in this discussion already have) to a place where the word of Christ is a suggestion and not a commandment – as we are co-equal with one another, the Bridegroom and the bride…

        I will leave you all with that and wish you Grace and Truth in Jesus Christ.

        Farewell.

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      11. I’ll let readers decide whose argument stands on its own merits and trust God will lead into greater understanding.

        My best to you as you seek to know and make Christ known.

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      12. “As for My people, children are their oppressors,
        And women rule over them.
        O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err,
        And destroy the way of your paths.”
        ~Isaiah 3:12

        I suggest that this is not the current debate.
        Any woman who seeks authority (or rule) over other men is out of order.
        Any man who seeks authority (or rule) over other men is also out of order.
        Any man who puts any authority (or rule) over his head except Christ has dishonoured Christ, his true head.

        Until these things are recognised, we will never have the church of Christ, it will be just another manmade construct we are arguing over, a false church, like most churches in the land.

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      13. This is true – when used in the plural, “brothers” (adelphoi) may mean “brothers and sisters”. It is gender inclusive. The ESV renders it “brothers” and then weasles a bit by saying in a footnote, “well, it really means brothers and sisters.”

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      14. Also, just being imprisoned isn’t proof of being ‘in ministry’ (I put it in quotes because all true Christians, male and female, are in ministry). Here is what Saul of Tarsus did to anyone found in ‘the Way’:

        Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Acts 9:1,2

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      15. I didn’t offer it as “proof” of being “in ministry.” I offered it as proof that Junia, who is prominent among the apostles, was not imprisoned for her domestic skills. We know what got Paul imprisoned e.g. preaching in Jesus’ name, planting churches, and upsetting the status quo, and I suspect Junia alongside Andronicus were doing much the same. What was threatening was not women doing what was expected of them, but women (and men) of the Way proclaiming the good news of the gospel and aiding and abetting its progress, however that may look.

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      16. Junia, with Andronicus, was an “apostle”, not one of the Twelve, but a pioneer church planter/teacher. Saul punished female Christians, but that was extraordinary, since neither Jews nor Romans bothered enough with women to punish them for their religion.

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      17. Good call, Angie! I’m writing a commentary on Romans, and my sense is that Junia is definitely a girl’s name (that was debated for some time), that she and Andronicus are prominent apostles in the sense of church-planting pioneers and teachers, that they were a married couple, that they were imprisoned. Amazing that they imprisoned Junia, a woman – typically the Romans just patted women on their head and sent them back home. She must have been a fire-brand.

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      18. I guess what I mean is that judging by the instructions given to the women:

        “…the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” -Titus 2

        “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” 1 Tim 2

        “For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves,being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” 1 Peter

        But I will not ignore passages such as these as well:

        “I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also. ”

        ~ Romans 16

        “And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.” Phil. 4:3

        Though I see that the women who were exceptions in the sense of ‘laboring in the gospel’ would surely have met all of the other ‘criteria’ set forth by God through the apostles for a woman’s conduct and character…

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    3. I’m afraid many are drifting. I’m also afraid that over the centuries many have drifted into a form of traditionalism that the apostles would not have approved of.

      It is precisely because I believe the Scriptures that I perceive that men and women have become priests in the New Covenant.

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      1. Amen, in a sense they have. But we still cannot ignore the apostolic traditions (teachings) concerning men’s and women’s roles in the assembly…

        To claim that women have a subordinate role in the church’s functioning and assemblies is not the same as saying they are subordinate to men in relation to God or Christ or that they are not able to ‘prophesy’ or evangelize or a number of things. But Paul does forbid women to ‘teach’ and have authority over men. That is the word of God to us through the apostle Paul..

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      2. Hi Forrest, and again, I respect what you’re saying and am sure that you’re not a sexist or anything.

        However, it has been my experience with the so-called Complementarian viewpoint that “To claim that women have a subordinate role in the church’s functioning and assemblies IS the same as saying they are subordinate to men in relation to God…”

        How about “the husband is the high priest of the home”? Forgive me for self-promotion, but here it is: http://openoureyeslord.com/2012/06/09/dad-are-you-my-priest-the-role-of-the-father-in-the-christian-home/

        How about these Complementarians, who say –

        “As head [of their families] men are in a unique prayer position. They, and only they, can offer prayer protection [against Satan] and covering to their wives and children. Nobody else is in the unique position to offer that protection.” This teaches that women go to God through the husband.

        “In our families, it isn’t the woman’s responsibility to teach the children about God’s ways, it’s the man’s.”

        “There is no doubt about the priestly role of the wife in a family (specially for the children), but the husband becomes the ‘Chief Priest’ (or High Priest as Christ was).” That is, the woman goes to God through the man.

        This is not some wild material that I searched far and wide for, I simply googled on the theme and these just popped up. It’s pure traditionalism, and not Biblical.

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  4. Hi Felicity!

    I hadn’t known this, but Bruce published an article on this very topic in 1982: http://www.theologicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/cbr/women_bruce.pdf He more or less mentions the three points given in this article.

    He was from a Plymouth Brethren background, which makes his viewpoint interesting. First, he agreed with them that there should be no appointed ministers or paid clergy. But he critiqued the Brethren as well, since they were very much in favor of women keeping silent in the assembly.

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  5. “As for My people, children are their oppressors,
    And women rule over them.
    O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err,
    And destroy the way of your paths.”
    ~Isaiah 3:12

    Thus says the Lord:

    “Stand in the ways and see,
    And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
    And walk in it;
    Then you will find rest for your souls.

    But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

    ~Jeremiah 6:16

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  6. “Your *desire* shall be for your husband,
    And he shall rule over you.”
    ~Gen. 3:16b

    “…sin lies at the door. And its *desire* is for you, but you should rule over it.”
    ~Gen. 4:7b

    I found it very revealing that Genesis 3:16 and Genesis 4:7 are very
    similar verses (apparently identical in essence).

    In Genesis 4, God warns Cain that “…sin lies at the door. And its *desire* is for you, but you should rule over it.”

    One can easily and honestly conclude that the *desire* spoken of in this verse is clearly a desire to ‘master’ or ‘rule over.’ Sin’s desire was ‘for’ Cain (to rule over him) but God told Cain that he should instead ‘rule over it’.

    The same language is used in Gen 3:16, where God says to Eve that her ‘desire’
    would be ‘for’ her husband – that she would desire to rule over him, but he should instead ‘rule over’ her.

    *(the same word for ‘desire’ is used in both verses)*

    Strong’s Concordance
    8669. teshuqah
    teshuqah: a longing
    Original Word: תְּשׁוּקַת
    Part of Speech: Noun Feminine
    Transliteration: teshuqah
    Phonetic Spelling: (tesh-oo-kaw’)
    Short Definition: desire

    The language itself is unmistakably similar in the two passages.

    A’s “desire” is for B, but B shall ‘rule over’ A instead.

    This is very telling.

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  7. I think about Acts 15 and how they decided if the Gentiles should be circumcised and commanded to follow the law of Moses.

    The testimony from Peter was (my paraphrase) – God filled Cornelius and his household with the Spirit – just like He did the Jewish believers – and they never followed the law – in fact they were eating all kinds of four footed animals – just like Peter’s dream.

    Paul and Barnabas testified how God blessed the Gentiles who had never followed the law….

    So, if we do things the way they did in Acts 15 – wouldn’t we look at what the Lord is doing on the earth and go along with it? I know women who have powerful ministries – so who am I to argue with that? If the Lord’s work in their ministry is very obvious- why wouldn’t that be a witness in itself?

    Jesus said – “”But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish–the very works that I do–bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. (John 5:36)
    So if my doctrine and what the Lord is doing in someone’s life are in disagreement – shouldn’t I seriously consider that maybe something is amiss in my doctrine?
    How about the woman at the well who brought a whole town to Christ? Isn’t that what ministry is in its purist form is – bringing someone to Christ so they can see for themselves? How about Philip’s daughters who prophesied? Isn’t that ministry? Once you see what the Lord is doing somewhere – finding scripture isn’t usually too difficult.

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      1. The commands for public worship and how men and women are to relate to one another.

        We can’t see something that seems to be ‘working’ and run with it, not if it is clearly forbidden in God’s word…

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      2. I have a friend whom about anyone she lays hands on will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues and most of them start prophesying. That’s not a ‘seems to be working’ kind of thing – I’ve seen it happen in groups of 10 or 15 at a time. They’ve used that gift for the rest of their lives. I’ve seen her use that her gift over the years in multiple settings – it’s an awesome gift. I’m not much into ‘seems to be working’ – but I do love to see the Lord touch people.
        I really can’t deny what the Lord is doing in her life – and if the Lord were so much against women ministering in public – why would He fill men with the Spirit when she prays for them? If He hated women doing ministry – He wouldn’t fill anyone and the argument would be over. To me – it’s the exact same situation that Peter had in Cornelius’ house in Acts.
        I don’t claim to understand all of Paul’s writings about women – I don’t claim to understand women much at all actually – but I do know this – there are many, many women on earth whom God uses mightily – and I’m going to support them and encourage them whenever I can. Most ‘men of peace’ are women – just like the woman at the well. When they meet Jesus – they go tell everybody – and that is a good thing!

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      3. Just curious….This past Lord’s day, did you greet your fellow brothers in Christ with a holy kiss?

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      4. Although completely irrelevant, I will indulge you nonetheless: no, I did not.

        But clear doctrine and instruction which has its roots in creation itself and flows throughout the bible and human/church history is not a mere culturally subjective thing, as I suspect that this is what you seek to imply about the doctrinal truth of the word of God.

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      5. It’s not irrelevant; it shows you made a decision “to disregard whole portions of the apostles letters of instruction…” that are straightforwardly clear and based on the ethic of love woven throughout the bible emanating from God who is love and the very personal impetus of the Creation itself. I ask because it shows interpretation on your part and the degree to which, if any, you think the instruction is applicable in your very different context.

        Based on previous comments, presumably your reference to the instruction having “its roots in creation” is an allusion to 1 Ti 2:12. You have repeatedly failed to respond to the way in which your interpretation impugns the character of God. Your interpretation reflects an illogical, capricious, arbitrary God which I find untenable based on the full revelation of God, expressly in Jesus Christ.

        Your interpretation says God bestows preeminence, power, and superior rank on a deliberate, willful sinner who was created first through no merit of his own. Eve, regardless of her strengths and energies, is relegated to an inferior rank because through no fault of her own, she is created second. Further, you state elsewhere your interpretation is based on your belief Eve is created with a greater propensity toward gullibility. Eve who is not deliberate in her sin acts only upon the nature in which you claim God gives her, yet is penalized by subordination to a deliberate sinner. If I understand your interpretation, it asserts that because Adam, the deliberate sinner, is male, all males inherit his awards while Eve, a deceived sinner, is female, all females receive her fate. Your interpretation of 1 Tim 2:12 claims Eve’s actions impose an injunction on all women for all time regardless of their strengths and energies and overrides the clear description of male and female as co-vice regents of Genesis 1 and 2. From my perspective, these conclusions are completely devoid of reason and reflect a god that is illogical, impulsive, and arbitrary.

        Any interpretation that assails the character of God is deficient; therefore, I am compelled to try harder for an understanding that magnifies God’s nature rather than diminishes it. I strive for an understanding of the text in accordance with God’s character and God’s revealed will in Jesus taking into consideration the historical and cultural context and seek the degree to which, if any, it is to be applied in my very different context. Much like you do regarding the “holy kiss.”

        What say you?

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      6. Forrest S,

        These are all quotes of your words:

        “…Paul is saying women may well be more susceptible to
        deception….For this reason it would make sense that men would be in
        authority.” https://simplychurch.com/the-stained-glass-ceiling/

        “The woman was deceived, the man willfully defied God and chose rather to
        obey her than God. This is why Paul commands that the men be in
        authority and the women be subject to them.”

        “Adam sinned willfully and it was Eve that was deceived – just as Paul
        also says in explaining the need for a woman’s submission to her husband
        and the men of the church in general.”

        “Adam did eat too, and as I’ve pointed out, God said “Because you heeded
        the voice of the woman, and…” God held him accountable for obeying and
        following the creature over the Creator. He was placed over all that
        was as God’s delegated lord and appointed head of mankind.”
        https://simplychurch.com/peters-pragmatism/#respond

        This is just a small sampling of your words. I have tried my best to represent your position. I apologize if I was not fair. I would be more than willing to read your explanation of exactly where you feel I twisted your words and how your position does not impugn but magnifies God’s character.

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      7. You failed to include the part where I say that God ordained a certain order before the fall and didn’t “reward” Adam for willful sin or “punish” Eve for being deceived. God’s will and purpose is not based on our merit. God ordained, out of His infinite wisdom and understanding, things to be a certain way irregardless of us. Paul points to both the order of creation and the woman being deceived in instructing in the order and operation of the church in general as well as God’s ordained order between men and women. This much is clear. You do nothing to reconcile or make sense of these verses in light of your doctrine, it is so much easier to ask others to lay out their position and then try to discredit, disprove or otherwise cast doubt upon it by seeming to insinuate there is a contradiction or error I God’s Holy Word than it is to lay out your position for others to scrutinize, test and judge for themselves in light of the word of God.

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      8. Forrest S, I didn’t fail to mention your claim towards an “order”. I write above, “Your interpretation says God bestows preeminence, power, and superior rank on a deliberate, willful sinner who was *created first through no merit of his own*. (* emphasis added) The following logic, from my perspective renders an illogical and arbitrary God:

        1. Adam is created first and therefore given preeminence, power, and superior rank through no merit of his own.
        2. Adam is male.
        3. Therefore, all males for all time are given preeminence, power, and superior rank through no merit of their own.

        Second, I didn’t say God “rewarded” Adam. “Reward” assumes merit. I did say according to your argument God awards, as in bestows, upon Adam preeminence, power, and superior rank, and by extension all men, through no merit of their own. From my perspective, this makes God capricious and illogical.

        Third, I said Eve, and all women by extension, are “penalized” not “punished”, though it could be argued strongly that the disadvantage your interpretation puts upon Eve and all women is a punishment. Women are penalized in your interpretation from Creation–first, by being created gullible and subordinated, and in addition, by Eve acting upon her susceptibility to deception, Eve and all women, are doubly subordinated. From my perspective, this makes God arbitrary and irrational.

        As you mention, God is infinite in wisdom and understanding. God is also fair, just, and rational (Ps 25:8, 1 Jo 1:9, 2 Th 1:6); God holds all these traits and more in tandem. Therefore, any theology that re-presents God as random, irrational, and capricious does not represent the God of Israel and the God fully expressed in Jesus.

        I have offered counter-claims, yet you don’t address them. I would offer you more, but I can’t help but wonder how effective it would be has you have previously expressed you had no intentions of interacting with links, sources, or arguments offered here and on other posts.

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      9. You don’t reconcile Paul’s use of the order of creation and mention of Eve being deceived and not Adam in establishing order in the churches…

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      10. Briefly, given the context was greatly influenced by Gnosticism, I think it is more likely what you perceive as an “order of creation” is a corrective to some of the primary tenets of the false teaching (Gnosticism) referenced in the letter. Rather than establishing or affirming a hierarchy based on chronology of Creation, I think it is more likely a corrective to the false teaching concerning the Creation narrative. This is consistent with the overarching theme of the book and the conditions we know to be true of Ephesus from Ephesians, Acts, and secondary historical sources.

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      11. Angie, perhaps I should not enter this dialogue between you and Forrest, because I do not have the time to elaborate on the single point that I wish to offer. The platform from which you speak has a wide plank that you identify as “logic” or rationality. I offer the perspective that God’s wisdom is not subject to our western notions of what constitutes logic. Figuratively, His wisdom is another creature altogether. There is no commitment in God to linear A-B-C. And we can rejoice that it is so! My interjection, here, should not be construed as being indicative of being in a particular camp vis-à-vis the topic of this thread. It is, however, an effort to counsel care when critiquing any aspect or action of God.
        Blessings.

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      12. Hi, Jim, I appreciate your gracious tone. I think I understand from where you come. If the wide plank from which I speak appears to be “logic” then I have not communicated well. While I can’t lay the blame completely on having six children under my care, a tragic death in my family, and a holiday all this last week, it certainly couldn’t have helped. My concern is not a critique about an aspect or action of God but about how one’s theology can be an affront to God. I had hoped I was clear that I was expressing my perspective, that is, what I would have to think about God if I believed the theology set forth in the quotes above.

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    1. “Finding scripture” to fit what we see/think is where we fall into error. Let us see the world and experiences in the light of God’s word, not seek to see His word in the ‘light’ of our ideas and experiences.

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      1. This can go both ways. When one sees or thinks there is a divine, eternal sanction of hierarchy and the exclusion of women from fully leveraging their strengths for God’s mission, one can “find scripture,” as it were, to buttress their perspective, falling into error that has among consequences misrepresenting the character of God.

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