It is an interesting article on a topic we are fully aware. We do not agree with Mr. Shanks or Dr. Rollston as neither person has the spirit of truth guiding them to the truth. This is the confusing thing about scholarship. Many people claim to be Christian, who are scholars, yet they throw out God’s rules that would guide them to the truth of a topic and embrace the rules of man. Rarely do scholars come to the truth using that formula. They try to please men, not God.
Christopher Rollston is one of the world’s leading paleographers of ancient Near Eastern inscriptions. I have been harshly critical of some of his views, principally regarding unprovenanced inscriptions—inscriptions that have surfaced only from the antiquities market, not from a professional archaeological excavation. They may be forgeries, he argues. Although my criticism of Chris’s position is intense,1 we remain good friends and regularly share a meal.
Yes he is a leading scholar but we find his answer wanting and lacking in anything that is helpful to the believer. We know this as he refused to provide a direct answer to some our questions when we asked him point-blank, when does a Hebrew script mean a Hebrew script? Scholarship should be dedicated to finding the truth and informing the people of that truth. Sadly, too many Christians opt for constructing new theories for discussion and avoid the truth like the plague. This is why we used the word ‘confusing’ earlier. Even Christian scholars bring confusion to the church and confusion is not of God. These men and women are trained in ancient languages and other disciplines thus they are in a unique position to help the church…unfortunately, this rarely happens.
Rollston finds the marginalization of women obvious and “clear” in the Ten Commandments: “The wife is classified as her husband’s property, and she’s listed with the slaves and work animals. There is also a striking omission in this commandment: Never does it say, ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s husband.’”
People like Rollston tend to read too much of their own or some other secular person’s views into scripture and make a mole hill into a mountain. When the word woman is or wife is used in the 10 commandments she is not being listed as property. That is an idea that is read into the passage of scripture. The idea that women were ancient men’s property is more of a secular cultural idea than a spiritual one for we never read any passage of scripture instructing men to make women their property. But when a couple marries and becomes one they do belong to each other and no one else. it is a different concept than the one proposed by Dr. Rollston.
Men have specific instructions from God on how to treat women and none of them tell the man to make a woman their property.But these passages are ignored when scholars, like Dr. Rollston, publish their views on scripture.
Rollston continues with other examples:
An unmarried woman could be compelled to marry her rapist, as long as the rapist could pay the standard bride price and the woman’s father was comfortable with the marriage (Deuteronomy 22:28–29). Polygyny (a man having multiple wives at the same time) was not condemned, but was an accepted and legal custom (Deuteronomy 21:15–17; Genesis 4:19–24; and 2 Samuel 3:2–5). A woman’s religious vow could be nullified by her father or her husband (Numbers 30:3–15). And the assumption of the text is that the priesthood is all male (Leviticus 21). In short, within the legal literature of the Bible, women were not accorded the same status as men.
What we find when scholars make these type of points is that it is not God who is in error. Rather, it is the scholar who does not understand scripture properly and attack the passage from their own understanding not using God’s wisdom or spirit of truth to help them grasp what God is saying. Dr. Rollston, there, is pulling passages out of context and without proper exegetical work to understand why God said what he said. Scholars cherry pick as well. They also ignore passages that would clarify what God is saying for those passages stop the scholar from writing what they do.
But there’s more: “Let a woman learn in silence and full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to be silent” (vv. 11–12). The author’s rationale: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (vv. 13–14). According to this text, women were to be silent in worship gatherings (and men were certainly not told to be silent)
Another example of cherry picking a verse to support a bad agenda and another example of understanding what God is saying. Does the word silent mean that women cannot worship or pray? We do not think so. Most likely the women was not to teach or preach to men but as you can read it looks like Dr. Rollston is importing his own ideas to the text and not taking out exactly what God means. We get a clue when men are not told to be silent. Dr. Rollston seems to forget that if men are to be silent then there is no teaching, preaching or worship going on in the service, everyone just sits around watching each other grow. This is the problem with scholars and scholarship. They leave God out of the process and think their conclusions trump what God wants for his church. God owns the church thus he gets the say how it will operate.
Rollston recently told us in writing what we already knew. This criticism of the Bible led to his “forced ouster” from Emmanuel Christian Seminary.
We know this story and yes there was nothing wrong with his ouster. He was teaching contrary to the ideology of the institution that employed him and he taught things that were not of God.This is the result of scholarship when you leave the spirit of truth out of helping–you leave God and speak something God did not teach or say. Dr. Rollston, then, becomes a false teacher and those people have no place in God’s academic institutions or churches. He has no business teaching young Christians nor do those pastors who do not believe God’s word any more. The Bible warns us against false teachers and the church and academic institution must obey God and get rid of those who do not teach what God wants or commanded. There is no alternative to that position.
If you cannot believe, preach or teach what God wants, then you have no right to teach or preach in what is God’s. Christian scholars are to be servants of God and they must present what God wants– the truth in love– not contrary theories or lead people to false teaching. They are to obey God in all areas of life and cannot adopt secular ideas to guide them in their work. Christian scholars need to bring the truth for they have a great responsibility given to them by God and they fail God and the people when they allow themselves to be led astray by those who reject God, Jesus and the aid of the Holy Spirit.