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Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
My complete profile...
Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich
His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole
[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos
Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead
There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
| Why I am not an Egalitarian (Part -II-)
In my first post (here), I explained that the verse most often cited as foundational in an argument for an egalitarian position, is Galatians 3:28 ("There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." [ESV]). I explored the context of that verse to unfold for the reader, the point that Paul was supporting, and in doing so, to limit the scope of what Paul wrote, to the intention that Paul wrote it for, specifically, that every person whose faith is like Abraham's is a spiritual child of Abraham, and therefore an equal partaker of the promise God made to Abraham. Paul was arguing that this promise was not dependent upon physical ancestry, so it didn't matter if you were a Jew or a Gentile (and for the sake of hyperbole, a free man, or a slave, a man or a woman, etc.), your physical birth adds nothing to your spiritual birth - that is the point Paul was making.
Once this is understood, it becomes self-evident that Paul is not jumping out of that context to arbitrarily suggest that Christians are unilaterally equal in all things. The implied equality in that verse is linked in the context the idea that the Jew and the Gentile are on equal footing with regards to becoming partakers of the New Covenant, i.e. entrance into the promise given to Abraham.
Think of it this way, if you were a Jew and believed yourself to be a recipient of the promise given to Abraham, it didn't matter if you were a slave or free, a man or a woman - you were a "Jew" - and as such you were a partaker of that promise. Paul is saying that the promise isn't based on ancestry, but on faith, so you're a "Jew" (by this definition) regardless of whether you're a man, woman, slave, free, or of Jewish ancestry or not.
This is not unlike what Peter is recorded (by Luke) as saying to the congregation at Jerusalem concerning the salvation of the Gentiles in Acts 10:34-35, "So Peter opened his mouth and said: 'Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him."
Like Peter, Paul is simply saying that God shows no partiality based on nationality, gender or liberty when it comes to who is acceptable to Him - this lack of partiality is not connected to roles in the church, but rather to entrance into the church - where such circumstances are no hindrance whatsoever.
So when Paul states years later in a letter to Timothy explaining how church is supposed to be organized, that he (Paul) does not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather she is to remain quiet. (c.f. 1 Timothy 2:12) he is not saying something here that contradicts what he said to the Galatians. Christian women and men are equal partakers of the promise made to Abraham, because they are equally qualified through grace by faith.
But being equally partakers of the same salvific promise does not mean that women and men may hold the same offices in the church - and frankly, our culture frowns on such "archaic" distinctions.
Have you heard a preacher read more into Paul's words to the Galatians, in order to make less of Paul's words to the Church through Timothy? They will say they are interpreting scripture through the lens of scripture, but rather they are taking a very clear passage, and attempting to obfuscate its clear meaning, by taking another passage entirely out of context.
Since it is almost impossible to do that with just these two verses - an appeal must be made to bolster the notion that men and women have always enjoyed the proposed "equality" that a shallow, context ignoring reading of Galatians 3:28 suggests - and this appeal is what I want to talk about today.
What about all those women in scripture who did great and marvelous things?
The teaching that God makes no distinction whatsoever when it comes to various ministries within the church, is easily frustrated by the text of 1 Timothy 2:12, and the context that qualifies it. In order to dismiss the text, an appeal is made to Galatians 3:28 - which will inject into the text a foreign, but nuanced emphasis on gender equality in roles in the church. Since that point cannot be made from the context the verse is being pulled from - the verse is held up outside its context, then bolstered with every (apparent) exception to the "rule" the scriptures can muster.
Many have been so influenced by the philosophies of our culture, that their default position is that Paul was being a bit draconian (at best) and more likely a little bigoted or even misogynistic. He was a cave man, surrounded by other cave men, and these restrictions are not so much inspired by God as a product of the repressive culture of first century Palestine.
But even this notion, which sits right with so many, cannot easily wipe out the clear words of Paul in his letter to Timothy.
I should say that a great many sincere believers are paying lip-service to the notion that scripture should interpret scripture. They do compare scripture with scripture - but they compare the scriptures with the same care in which they read them - which is to say, void of, or at least with little or no regard to, context.
Interpreting obscure scripture through clear scripture involves comparing what is being discussed, and not the wording of a particular snippet pulled from its context. Proof-texting only works when the passage actually means what you are using it to prove.
So consider with me the handful of passages that will typically be used to bolster the notion that women and men can hold the same offices/roles in the church "according to Galatians 3:28):
"Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment." - Judges 4:4-5 [ESV]
"So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter), and they talked with her." - 2 Kings 22:14 [ESV]
"Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing. And Miriam sang to them: Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea." - Exodus 15:20-21 [ESV]
"And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said to me, Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz;" - Isaiah 8:3 [ESV]
"And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin," - Luke 2:36 [ESV]
"On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied." - Acts 21:8-9 [ESV]
"And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;" - Acts 2:17 [ESV]
You'll note immediately that none of these verses actually support an egalitarian position. No woman mentioned in any of these verses is described in terms of being a pastor or an elder in a church - and you will note that not one of these verses has anything to do with how we are supposed to organize ourselves as a church.
These verses show that long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers through various means - including *gasp!* through a few specific women in very specific situations.
Twice in the book of Judges we read, "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (c.f. Judges 17:6, 21:25). Consider in this light, that two women Deborah and Huldah, were judges in Israel.
Yes they judged Israel, and make no mistake - the Lord raised them up as judges - but what exactly was a judge?
In Exodus, Moses "judged" the people - that is, he sat down and listened to various legal complaints, and judged between the two parties as to what ought to be done. He was, for a time, the only judge amongst the whole of Israel. Finally when his father-in-law Jethro saw him doing this in Exodus 18, he gave Moses this instruction, which we can assume was inspired instruction, since Moses heeded it:
"Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you." - Exodus 18:21-22 [ESV]
We see from Exodus 18:21-22, that from the beginning, the role of a Judge was supposed to be limited to men, yet many decades later, when Israel had put aside the teachings of Moses to pursue what seemed right in their own eyes, God raised a "prophetess" named Deborah the wife of Lappidoth to judge Israel.
Any honest reading of the account will suggest that Deborah was aware of Barak's call to deliver Israel when she sent for him. The fact that Barak came at her summons tells us that she truly was given the respect and courtesy of a judge in Israel. We would be remiss to note that Deborah did not appoint herself a judge - but earlier in the book of Judges, we read that after Joshua died, God Himself raised up judges for Israel.
So one might be inclined to say, "Because God raised up Deborah to be both a prophetess and a judge in Israel, it shows that God makes no distinctions between men and women, and therefore the restrictions Paul makes concerning the roles of women in the church, should be relaxed." But this is not a logical argument.
Recall from the opening passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews: that God spoke to the fathers through various means long ago - but now speaks to us through His son. (c.f. Hebrews 1:1-3) In other words we can say, Yes, Deborah was a prophetess, and a judge. It was exceptional because God called her contrary to the pattern given to Moses - but the pattern given to Moses was set aside by men who chose to do whatever seemed right in their own eyes, and so the fact that God raised up a woman to be a prophetess and judge in Israel, marks something God did, in His mercy, for His people who were ignoring the directives He had given them.
It falls under the umbrella of God having spoken through a variety of means, none of which (we are told) represent the means that God uses today.
We know even less about Huldah, but same goes for her.
Then we have Isaiah's unnamed wife, and Moses' older sister Miriam, both were called prophetesses, but neither uttered any words of prophesy. It seems likely that their title was honorary, given their close relation to a known prophet. We can say nothing of gifting or office, since neither of these is recorded as having either. They are mentioned, but their does not nothing to support the claims that a womans ought to be allowed to become an elder in a church.
Having exhausted the Old Testament, we come to the New Testament. Here we find Anna in the temple the daughters of Philip the evangelist - all of whom prophesied. We also recognize that this period was unique in human history - the Old Covenant had been abolished, and the New Covenant was being established, the whole matter of which had been prophesied before, by the prophet Joel as being a time when sons and daughters would prophesy.
Think that through. If it was "normal" for sons and (especially) daughters to prophesy, then (good gravy!) Joel's prophesy would be utterly useless - since it would fail miserably to identify the time of our Lord's coming.
The only way Joel's prophesy makes sense is if sons and daughters were historically -not- prophesying, such that one would know the time by the fact that something -exceptional- (out of the ordinary) was happening.
So even if we collect every text from the scriptures that might possibly bolster the notion that Galatians 3:8 promotes egalitarianism we find instead that most of the texts do nothing of the sort. They show only that God has been merciful to Israel in spite of it's rebellion - and that God has used women to do this.
That all falls under the same umbrella: "In various times and in many ways". Not to put too fine a point on this, but the logic being employed to make the Egalitarian argument is that if God has spoken through women in the past, He will speak through women in the future, therefore women should be allowed to be pastors. The same logic is applied to this argument: God has spoken through burning bushes and talking donkeys in the past, therefore regular bushes and all kinds of Donkeys should be allowed to become pastors/elders in any church.
Do you see what I did there. Not every bush burned without being consumed in the Old Testament, nor was every Donkey given the ability to speak - yet the fact that there are these rare exceptions in scripture cannot be funneled into a serious argument for a rule of conduct elsewhere. To argue that the exception is actually the rule is a faulty argument.
God spoke through various (exceptional) means in the past, but the message to the church is not that what was formerly exceptional and rare is now common and plentiful. The message is rather that God doesn't do that anymore.
Women and men stand on the same ground in Christ when it comes to their inclusion in the promises that were given to Abraham: they are standing in the righteousness and merit of Christ Jesus and they are fellow heirs with Christ. Amen.
The New Testament teaching on who can and cannot become an elder in the church doesn't contradict the fact that we stand (in Christ) on equal ground. Not everyone is qualified to be an elder, and if God Himself decrees that women cannot be elders, then the question before is not whether or not that agrees with our culture - it is a question of whether God's word has more authority than our culture.
The reason there have been no women pastors or elders until only recently (historically speaking), is not because our generation is more enlightened than previous generations, or even because our bible are better translated, or because this generation finally understands what the scriptures really meant. There probably isn't any single reason above all others. Certainly the fact that pastors are being academically qualified rather than biblically qualified plays into it. The fact that fewer and fewer Christians are biblically literate is a large factor as well.
Whatever the reasons are, the fact remains - a great many people think it is okay for a woman to hold the office of elder in the church - not because of what the bible says or doesn't say - but rather because they are so sold out to their culture, or alternately afraid to offend it, that refuse to stand on the clear word of God, because that would mean rocking the boat. The idea that only men can be elders is to them an antiquated, out of style notion that has no place is the "enlightened" church age.
If I go onto a third part in this series, I'll address the appeal to modern knowledge - the kind that says, "oh no, the text doesn't actually mean what it says, it means the opposite, you're just misunderstanding it."
That is typically the third cord in the rope that binds this nonsense to some people's conscience. No promises though.
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| Why I'm not an Egalitarian - Part -I-
|A couple of questions we should answer for ourselves as we consider this topic:
Is the bible true?
If we don't believe the bible is entirely true, then what we're saying is that it is only a somewhat reliable witness to truth. it can be relied upon for some things, and not for other things. How do we know what it can be relied upon? We don't - and because we don't, we set ourselves up as the judge of what is true. If something seems true to us, it is true, and if it seems false to us, it is false. Said another way - we all do what seems right in our own eyes. If I think the bible is only as true as it feels to me - then it may as well all be false, because I have no way of knowing which parts are really true, and which parts are not.
Is the bible the word of God?
If the bible is true, then it must be what it claims to be, the inspired word of God.
Are we as Christians subject to the word of God?
If the bible is true, and it is the word of God, it follows that it in matters of conduct, the word of God is mankind's ultimate authority - and moreso for those who claim that God, in the person of Jesus Christ, is their Lord (i.e. Sovereign King). If the bible is the word of God, then Christians are obligated to obey its teachings in our personal lives, and in the corporate life of the church - as ordained and constrained by the word of God.
If we can't agree on these these three points up front, no discussion on egalitarianism is going to amount to more than a sharing of dissimilar opinions, and a polite agreement to accept each others position, regardless of whether or not they line up with the scriptures.
First - for those of you who hear such words and Egalitarian and Complementarian, and wonder, what do these to $20 words mean - I will quickly explain them:
An Egalitarian is someone who believes that woman can be pastors and justifies this believe by appealing to those passages in the scriptures which either seem to suggest that there is no distinction between men and women in the church, and/or which show women in the scriptures exercising (in various capacities) that seem congruous to an opinion that women can be pastors.
A Complementarian is someone who believes that men and women are equal partakers of the promises given to Abraham (concerning his Seed: Christ), and therefore equal in their reliance upon God's grace for both their entrance into, and the health of their subsequent life within, the church are never-the-less allowed roles within the church which complement one another, but are limited in some cases by gender.
Why I am not an Egalitarian (Part 1)
OKAY HOLD UP! If you haven't read the first three chapters in Paul's epistle to the Galatians in a while - you should give it a quick read before embarking on this journey with me. Seriously, better to have these things in your head as you look at what I have set forth here, in order to confirm or deny the things I say.
Arguably, the "holy grail" verse for the Egalitarianism position inevitably ends up being Galatians 3:28:
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." [ESV]
Without knowing the underlying context, the only qualifying context available to us (in this small snippet which is all to often recklessly lifted from its much larger context) is found in the final qualifying phrase, "for (i.e. for this reason or because) you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Note that Paul doesn't use the word equal here, but in saying that former distinctions such as ethnicity, gender, and citizenship are now irrelevant in Christ, the notion of equality is to some extent obviously implied - though nuanced in a way that is unclear from the snippet itself. So Paul isn't saying that everyone is unilaterally equal, so much as he is saying that all distinctions are removed in Christ.
One thing that is clear from the snippet: If Paul intends to say that God makes no personal distinctions, he intends to limit this equality to those in Christ - and whatever distinctions we feel God is ignoring in the church, we have no grounds to imagine that God ignores the same distinctions outside of the church. Just because Paul has said that this is something that is true for those in Christ, we shouldn't (and certainly have no grounds to) imagine that this same thing is true outside the church.
In other words, if Paul is saying that God unilaterally makes no distinction between ethnicity, citizenship, or gender within the church, the only reason one would need to identify that this is something that is true "in Christ" - would be because it is not true for those who are not in Christ - if it were true of all, adding "in Christ" would be not only unnecessary, but somewhat confusing.
Without further context, we really can't mine much more out of this passage than that.
There is an implied equality amongst Christians - all are equally... something. ...We don't know from the snippet what that something is. Whatever it is, we know that it ignores external distinctives such as ethnicity, citizenship, and gender - things that might otherwise have been regarded or thought to be either an help or an hindrance.
It is not like God is hiding what the something is. It is clear and plain from the context, but to understand what it and the scope of what Paul is saying (and to avoid the error of taking Paul's words out of context to serve as a pretext to ideas and notions that Paul was neither promoting nor even imagined) we need to look back in the text and see just what Paul was talking about when he wrote this snippet.
We know that after Paul had founded various churches throughout Galatia, certain Jewish converts visited these churches and taught them that Paul messed up the gospel (when in fact they were the ones who were messing up the gospel). They taught that both justification and (subsequent) sanctification were all dependent upon keeping the Mosaic Laws (i.e. "Old Covenant"). These Judaizers regarded Christianity as a Jewish sect, and concluded that in order to join the sect you had to first become a Jew.
To be fair - this was how the Gentiles converts had always been proselyted under Judaism. The Judaizers must have believed themselves to be correcting an oversight on Paul's part - since Paul was treating these Gentiles as though they were already Christians when they hadn't yet become Jews. They didn't understand that Christianity (i.e. the New Covenant) was something God had promised would eventually replace Judaism (ie. the Old Covenant) - and in ignorance of this fact, they imagined that Christianity was just another Jewish sect.
Of course, they didn't realize that the Mosaic Covenant was a place holder, and that Christ had ushered in this new and better covenant all according to what the prophets had said would happen, etc. They regarded Christianity as a patch sewn into the fabric of Judaism or as new wine which was poured into the old wineskin of Judaism. Christianity to them was a teaching to be appended to the Mosaic Covenant, it added to it, and clarified it a bit - but they didn't understand and/or believe that Christianity was supposed to replace it.
Their (i.e. the Judaizers) teaching demonstrated a profound misunderstanding of Christianity, Christ, the gospel, and the purpose of the Law. They didn't realize that they were corrupting the gospel, and polluting the church with their false teaching. What Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia (his epistle to the Galatians) was written to correct (in whole or in part) the corrupt doctrine the churches had received from these false teachers.
It should be plain, from even a cursory reading of this epistle, that what these Judaizers had been teaching stood in stark contrast to the gospel of grace that Paul had previously taught to those new believers in Galatia when Paul originally planted those churches.
That is a sound starting point.
Whatever Paul says in Galatians 3:28 should (and will) make sense in the context of a letter intended to correct whatever errors these false teachers had introduced.
In other words, if we understand the point Paul is making when he gets to Galatians 3:28, we will be able to understand how Galatians 3:28 satisfies or serves that point. What we want to do is understand what Paul was saying, so that we don't make the mistake of reading something else into the passage - and running with that instead of the truth.
Paul opens his epistle to the churches in Galatia with a charge against these churches - that they were setting aside the gospel he had preached to them, in favor of the distorted gospel that these Judaizers had brought to them. He introduces himself and quickly begins to defend both the (true) gospel which he had formerly preached to them and they received, and he defends also his ministry and his credentials as a genuine Apostle of Christ.
To demonstrate his genuine authority, Paul recalls the day that he had to rebuke the Apostle Peter - for giving into the very sort of thing that these Judaizers had been teaching the Galatians. In this retelling of the events at Antioch, Paul makes it crystal clear, that his authority is genuine, and that these Judaizers are the real charlatans.
He then goes on to correct the errors he suspects have been propagated. We are made righteous by grace through faith and not through the keeping of the Mosaic Laws. Paul summarizes the difference between the true gospel and the doctrine of these Judaizers by showing that if the righteousness we need for our salvation came through the law then Christ would have died for nothing.
Following Paul's line of reason (in typical Pauline fashion) the Apostle takes the teaching of the Judaizers to its logical conclusion to demonstrate how wrong it is. These false teachers had been teaching that you needed to become a Jew before you could become a Christian. So Paul explained to his readers what exactly a Jew was (and was not) and how entrance into the kingdom was neither dependent upon, or hindered by the fact that one was or was not a Jew.
Ethnically speaking, a Jew was a physical descendant of Abraham. Many Jews at the time believed that they were partakers of the promise given to Abraham because of their ancestry, and irregardless of their conduct, faith, or anything else.
Paul argued that being a physical descendant of Abraham counted for nothing since the promise given to Abraham was referring to spiritual descendants and not physical ones. Abraham was promised to be the father of many nations - which should make clear this one thing: one doesn't have to be a Jew to count Abraham as his or her father.
As we get close to Galatians 3:28 - Paul is showing that being a physical descendant of Abraham counts for nothing insofar as being under the promise given to Abraham was concerned. Paul explained that Gentiles become children of the promise given to Abraham through their holding to a faith that was like Abraham's. He showed that the promise given to Abraham was received by the gentiles, not through their ancestry lineage, but through faith. He shows that the Jews are no different: they also must become children of Abraham through faith (as opposed to depending upon their physical ancestry).
Here is the context then for Galatians 3:28 - Paul is saying that neither your ancestry, your citizenship, or your gender contribute anything to becoming a partaker of the promise given to Abraham. You cannot merit this promise, nor bring it into being through your ancestry, your gender, or your citizenship - nor will any of these hinder you in inheriting it - for the promise is received by faith, not by ancestry, citizenship or gender.
So Paul isn't saying, or trying to say/suggest that everyone is so unilaterally equal that God makes no distinctions between the roles of men and women in the church.
There are a great many people who feel that women should be allowed to be elders/pastors. Most believe this, or strive to believe it, because it is culturally savvy to do so - and who wants to be thought of us insensitive or unfair (or worse, as a closet misogynist)?
Egalitarianism is becoming quite popular in those churches where scripture is routinely understood through the rose colored lens of our modern culture. Today's lick-spittle generation bends over backwards to conform itself to the moral of the moment - and in our "moment", gender roles are bad, everyone should be "equal" - whatever that is - and people who think otherwise are just ignorant bigots.
Since we all live in the culture we are born into, it shouldn't surprise people that this sort of thinking finds its way into the church - and in doing so it clashes against those passages in scripture that I will discuss in Part II of this series.
The question you should be asking yourself if you still believe that this verse is unilaterally implying that God no longer makes distinctions between genders, such that what Paul writes elsewhere specifically disqualifying women from certain roles in the church - is how would declaring that God makes no distinction whatsoever between men and women prove the point Paul was laboring to prove in Galatians 3:28?
Think that through.
Would declaring that men and women are equal and as such can hold any office in the church really contribute to convincing a church that the doctrine they received from the Judaizers was in fact flawed?
Remember, Paul was arguing that gentiles did not need to become Jews in order to become Christians. That is the point he was making and supporting in Galatians 3:28. He only mentions women/men and slaves/free to exaggerate the point he was making: it doesn't matter if you were born a Jew or a Gentile, a man or a woman, a free man or a slave - what matters is not what you were born into, it matters that you are born from above. It matters that you become a partaker of the promise given to Abraham - and you don't become a partaker of that promise through being born into the right ethnicity, gender, or social rank.
The notion that Paul (in the middle of an argument that is concerned with whether or not you need to become a Jew in order to become a Christian) decided to arbitrarily mention that all
people Christians are so unilaterally equal that you should hereafter interpret everything that was ever written in the scriptures through this new and capricious lens - which has nothing to do with the point he is making -- is preposterous. In fact, Paul had yet to write the epistles to Titus and Timothy at this point - Paul wasn't writing this to clarify what he would write - I say, if anything, he was clarifying this in his later writings which disqualified women from the office of elder/pastor, etc.
Surely dear reader, you see that being a Jew or a Gentile is neither a hindrance nor a help to your becoming a Christian - that is, to your becoming a partaker of the promise given to Abraham? How would pontificating on gender roles in the middle of convincing you of that serve the point I am making? This has nothing to do with gender roles, and no one reading it in Paul's day would have ever pulled from it the notions that people are trying to support from it today.
This passage has nothing to do with roles in the church. The only reason people go to this verse to support an egalitarian position, is because they want to use it as a pretext to dismiss other verses (which were written later on by Paul) which clearly disqualify women from the role of elder and pastor.
In Part II I am going to show that most of the remaining arguments for egalitarianism fall under the umbrella of Hebrews 1:1-2
"Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world." [ESV]
In Part III I hope to show what Paul's letters teach concerning the roles of women in ministry is neither complex nor complicated - it just counter-cultural and offends people because the bible teaches something that this culture (mistakenly) rejects.
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