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Women Authority & The Bible- 2

24 Apr

I decided to do a second post on this topic because there were some specific quotes that I wanted to address separately from the others. I am going to start with one that was taken from the list I compiled the other day, it is in 4 parts.

#1. Through the exegetical and hermeneutical considerations offered here, four basic conclusions have emerged.
1. 1 Tim. 2:9-15 should be understood as a unified paragraph on the place of women in the church in Ephesus. It provided instructions for and was limited to a particular situation of false teaching. (pg. 218)

Notice the author says that instead of through prayer and careful following of the HS. While we need to study the Bible by using different techniques, those techniques should not be seen as superior to God’s instructions on how to get to the truth. The HS can use the exegetical and hermeneutical process but that process is not exclusive to finding the truth. Like all tools it can be manipulated to produce a desired result and avoid the truth.

This conclusion is untenable for if that were true, we then have no instruction how we can use women in the church nor have any guidelines to govern their behavior.  The instructions for ministers and elders, in the Bible, were designed for men only thus women have nothing to which to check their behavior or words and see if they are qualified for their duties.

We have to ask, why was it designed for ‘false teaching’ when we already have other passages dealing directly with that topic and it does not exclude women from their words?  People can be short-sighted when dealing with issues they have a personal preference, I do it sometimes as well, and we need to be careful when declaring what a text says and not import ideas that are dealt with better and in greater clarity than those passages talking about the woman and their role in the church.

2. 1 Tim. 2:11-12 cannot legitimately be divorced from its immediate context of 1 Tim. 2:9-15 or its larger context of 1 and 2 Tim. …Paul’s words in 1 Tim.2:9-15 must also be placed in the context of all other Pauline datas on the participation of women in ministry. (pgs. 218-19)

If someone is going to use ALL of Paul’s data on women in ministry then they need to include the passages in 2 Tim. and Titus that spell out the qualifications for one wanting to be in the ministry or church leadership. If you ignore or exclude these passages then you are not covering the whole topic but tilting the playing field in order to get the results you desire.

One has to be honest and realize that Paul is not saying anything new about who leads God’s church and this discussion must include all pertinent OT passages where God outlines his instructions for the temple and worship to him. God doesn’t change nor did his instructions concerning his church.

3. It should be acknowledged within the evangelical communities that the type of interpretation of 1 Tim. 2:9-15 offered here and by many others is a completely acceptable and legitimate option within the framework of evangelical theological and ecclesiastical traditions and institutions. (pg. 219)

Actually it isn’t. The ‘type of interpretation’ in that chapter is basically false teaching or misguided thinking. It is not acceptable for it is telling the church to do things that are not of God. The other concern with this quote is that ‘the framework of evangelical theological and ecclesiastical traditions and institutions’ are not the framework we should be appeasing or obeying.

We were instructed to find the truth not just what is acceptable to human institutions or denominational thinking. We are to obey God not appease those who do not want to abide by his instructions.

4. All persons concerned with biblical interpretation must admit the reality of agenda other than simply a commitment to biblical authority and biblical teaching…and the very nature of the controversies over women in ministry within the evangelical communities demonstrate that there are many motivations and interests that deeply touch our interpretations of scriptures (pg. 219)

This would be fine if the writer applied it to those who are advocating that it is okay for women to be ministers and church leaders.  Why must it be those who defend God’s will for the church are the only ones with an ‘agenda’?  They aren’t, of course, that behavior comes from those who wish to alter God’s word in order to shoehorn their agendas into church doctrine and practice.

Defending God’s instructions is not ‘having an agenda’ but fighting to keep the truth in the church.

The next three quotes come from Dr. J. I, Packer’s chapter and I am very disappointed by its content and direction.

#2. 1. First, the colloquium suffered from the built-in awkwardness of a double-barreled agenda. On the one hand, we were begged to function as a task force, strategizing to help the many gifted and godly women  who have been hurt by the restrictions and put-downs pseudo-Christian legalism in the realm of church order. (pg 298)

I find the generalization to be disappointing and the over-reaching identification ‘pseudo-Christian legalism’ to be insulting as keeping people in line and obedience to God is not legalism nor is it pseudo-Christianity. It is what we are supposed to do. Packer further qualifies that term to mean ‘anxious observance of the letter of the law in disregard of its spirit…’ Yet he fails to clarify how those who implement Paul’s teaching on women in the church as violating the spirit of the law. Also, why would the ‘spirit of the law’ lead people to disobey God?.

Packer does not explain that difference either and that is why his words are found to be disappointing. If we are to go with the ‘spirit of the law’ why then are there no passages from the biblical authors telling us to ignore their words and just go with that form of subjective instruction? Yes, the ‘spirit of the law’ is subjective and will mean different things to different people.

We also find at no time any biblical passage where God is disciplining disobedient people by excusing some as ‘being obedient to the spirit of the law’. They were ALL punished for disobeying the law and in the NT’s case, the law would be biblical instruction. When the Bible says ‘The Spirit gives life…’ it does not mean the HS leads us to sin against God’s instruction and that disobedience is life. Nor does it mean we get to alter God’s instructions to the church. We get life by obeying God’s instructions not ignoring them.

2. I think that the New Testament papers in particular make it evident that the burden of proof regarding the exclusion of women from the office of teaching and ruling within the congregation now lies on those who maintain the exclusion rather than on those who challenge it. (pg. 298)

He would be in error there as those of us who maintain the exclusion have the Bible to stand upon and it is the final word for the church not some hermeneutical and exegetical human study by those who are far from objective, honest, and without agenda. Billy graham used to say that whenever he said ‘the Bible says…’ he experienced great power in those words and those of us who point to the Bible and say ‘the Bible says women …’ have the same great power behind us, because the Bible speaks God’s words not our own.

We are not the ones altering God’s word or looking for excuses to disobey God’s instruction. The other side of the issue is doing that and they have yet to point to one passage that presents God’s approval for their position. The papers Dr. Packer is referring to in those quoted words all cherry pick their passages and do not deal with all the biblical verses dealing with the issue thus the burden of proof has not passed to anyone yet. They still need to show that God is behind them and so far they have been negligent in doing so.

3. Third, while I am not keen on hierarchy and patriarchy as terms describing man-woman relationship in scripture… (pg. 298)

Except that in the man-woman relationship there is a hierarchy and God made it known from the beginning

Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” (Gen. 3:16 NASB)

then throughout scripture he made it clear to his followers the family and church order he desires and man was always placed in the lead or top position. God never changes that order thus hierarchy is evident and God’s will; though that hierarchy does not make man and woman unequal. Someone has to be at the top and men come before women.

So whether he is keen on those words or not, they are God’s will for the church and the family. We as humans do not have authority to change or alter God’s will for this world and though women may not like the submissive role, that is the one that is for them. Two heads are not greater than one when it comes to leadership and God knows this. God also gave his reasons why this order is so and we must abide by those reasons and accept it.

Humble obedience to God’s word is the key and men, yet this hierarchy does not grant men the right to be morons towards women. We have to give an account on how we treat women, especially our wives and children so it is a word to the wise that we treat them as God would want, helping them become spiritual giants, while leading them to their proper spiritual roles where God allows.

We do not let them disobey God and aid their attempts to procure positions and duties God has made off-limits to them. To do otherwise is not helping them become spiritual giants.

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Posted by on April 24, 2015 in academics, Bible, church, controversial issues, faith, family, leadership, theology

 

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