Okay, time to dive in. I'd like to take one point at a time on this issue of pastors, elders, and apostles.
I want to make clear first that my husband and I are huge supporters of Sarah Palin and believe that it is completely appropriate for women to hold public office.
Second, I want to make clear that the specific disallowing argument we have is for women authoritatively teaching men in the home or the church. I want to look at what the bible does say and what it doesn't say. I want to be honest and not avoid when there is something left to debate.
In the argument for women allowed in authoritative leadership in the church there is brought up the issue of Junia. I have been researching a great deal and found that this question answer format discussion on Junia had the most fair, biblically founded, and historically researched response.
In Romans 16:7, Paul wrote, “Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.” Isn’t Junias a woman? And wasn’t she an apostle? And doesn’t that mean that Paul was willing to acknowledge that a woman held a very authoritative position over men in the early church?
Let’s take these three questions one at a time.
1. Was Junias a woman? We cannot know. The evidence is indecisive. We did a
complete search of all the Greek writings from Homer (b.c. ninth century?) into the fifth century a.d. available now on computer through the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (Pilot CD ROM #C, University of California at Irvine, 1987), which contains 2,889 authors and 8,203 works. We asked the computer for all forms of Iounia- so that we would pick up all the possible cases. (We did not search for the possible first declension masculine genitive Iouniou, which morphologically could come from a masculine Iounias, because there is no way to tell if Iouniou might come from the man’s name Iounios; so that all these genitive forms would be useless in establishing a masculine Iounias.)
The result of our computer search is this: Besides the one instance in Romans 16:7
there were three others.
1. Plutarch (ca. a.d. 50-ca. 120), in his Life of Marcus Brutus, wrote about the tension between Brutus and Cassius, “. . . though they were connected in their families, Cassius having married Junia, the sister of Brutus (Iounia gar adelphe¯ Broutou sunoikei Kassios).”17
2. Epiphanius (a.d. 315-403), the bishop of Salamis in Cyprus, wrote an Index of
Disciples, in which he includes this line: “Iounias, of whom Paul makes mention, became bishop of Apameia of Syria” (Index disciplulorum, 125.19-20). In Greek, the phrase “of whom” is a masculine relative pronoun (hou) and shows that Epiphanius thought Iounias was a man.
3. John Chrysostom (a.d. 347-407), in preaching on Romans 16:7, said in reference to
Junias, “Oh! how great is the devotion of this woman, that she should be even counted
worthy of the appellation of apostle!”1873
What we may learn from these three uses is that Junias was used as a woman’s name
in the time around the New Testament (Plutarch). The Church Fathers were evidently
divided as to whether Paul was using Junias that way, Epiphanius assuming it is
masculine, Chrysostom assuming it is feminine. Perhaps somewhat more weight may be
given to the statement by Epiphanius, since he appears to know more specific information about Junias (that he became bishop of Apameia), while Chrysostom gives no more information than what he could deduce from Romans 16:7).19
Perhaps more significant than either of these, however, is a Latin quotation from
Origen (died 252 a.d.), in the earliest extant commentary on Romans: He says that Paul refers to “Andronicus and Junias and Herodian, all of whom he calls relatives and fellow captives (Andronicus, et Junias, et Herodion, quos omnes et cognatos suos, et concaptivos appellat)” (Origen’s commentary on Romas, preserved in a Latin translation by Rufinus, c. 345-c.410 a.d., in J. P. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, vol. 14, col. 1289). The name Junias here is a Latin masculine singular nominative, implying-if this ancient translation is reliable-that Origin (who was one of the ancient world’s most proficient scholars) thought Junias was a man. Coupled with the quotation from Epiphanias, this quotation makes the weight of ancient evidence support this view.
Masculine names ending in -as are not unusual even in the New Testament: Andrew
(Andreas, Matthew 10:2), Elijah (Elias, Matthew 11:14), Isaiah (Esaias, John 1:23),
Zacharias (Luke 1:5). A. T. Robertson (Grammar of the Greek New Testament [New
York: Hodder and Stoughton, 1914], pp. 171-173) shows that numerous names ending in
-as are shortened forms for clearly masculine forms. The clearest example in the New
Testament is Silas (Acts 15:22) from Silvanus (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Peter 5:12).
So there is no way to be dogmatic about what the form of the name signifies. It could
be feminine or it could be masculine. Certainly no one should claim that Junia was a
common woman’s name in the Greek speaking world, since there are only these three
known examples in all of ancient Greek literature. Moreover the fact that Andronicus and Junias, like Prisca and Aquila (16:3), are given as a pair does not demand that they be husband and wife, because in 16:12 two women are greeted as a pair: “Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord.” Andronicus and Junias could be addressed as two men, since Tryphena and Tryphosa are addressed as two women.
2. Was Junias an apostle? Possibly so, but this is not certain. Grammatically “of note among the apostles” could mean that the apostles held Andronicus and Junias in high regard. Thus they would not be themselves apostles. But this is unlikely because Paul himself is an apostle and would probably not refer to them in the third person. On the other hand, since Andronicus and Junias were Christians before Paul was, it may be that their longstanding ministry (reaching back before Paul’s) is precisely what Paul might have in mind when he says “of note among the apostles.” They may well have been known among the apostles before Paul was even converted. Here again we cannot be certain.
3. Did Junias have a very authoritative position in the early church? Probably not. The word apostle is used for servants of Christ at different levels of authority in the New Testament. Revelation 21:14 refers to “the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (cf. Matthew19:28; Acts 1:15-26). The twelve had a unique role in bearing witness to the resurrectionof Jesus. Paul counted himself among the privileged group by insisting on having seen and been called by the risen Christ (Galatians 1:1, 12; 1 Corinthians 9:1-2). Very closely related with this unique inner ring were the missionary partners of Paul, Barnabas (Acts14:14) and Silvanus and Timothy (1 Thessalonians 2:6), as well as James, the Lord’s brother (Galatians 1:19) and perhaps others (1 Corinthians 15:7).
Finally, the word apostle is used in a broad sense as “messenger,” for example, of
Epaphroditus in Philippians 2:25, and of several “messengers of the churches” in 2
Corinthians 8:23. Therefore, if Andronicus and Junias were apostles, they were probably 74 among the third group serving in some kind of itinerant ministry. If Junias is a woman,this would seem to put her in the same category with Priscilla, who with her husband seemed to do at least a little travelling with the Apostle Paul (Acts 18:18). The ministry would be significant but not necessarily in the category of an authoritative governor of the churches like Paul (2 Corinthians 10:8; 13:10).
(the above is taken from this article sorry it got chopped up like that)
What are my thoughts?
I agree that there is great lack of surety on this one person in the scripture. So, when there is a lack of clarity in the bible I can go to what is clear.
1) Every single Apostle (other than this one that may or may not be a woman) are men. I find that a strong statement.
2) Plenty of men in history have feminine gender names
Let's look at the name Junia:
Feminine gender of Lunius, derived from Roman goddess Juno
Origin and meaning of the name from the word "Junius" An original form of Junia is the Latin "Junius". The Roman name Junius could be from the Roman goddess Juno. The name Junia was borne by an early Christian mentioned by Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, who was described as an important person, the gender of the person is not clear. (reference here)
Note that the original for of Junia is the masculine "Junius".
3) Not a valid point in the proof this is a man, but still notable is the fact that men can have names given to them that are of the feminine gender. As the above article also states. We all know that girls are also given boy gender names as well.
4) It does not fit the biblical pattern, that being, that men are to be the leaders when it comes to authoritative leadership in the home and the church. If the only fray in the fabric of this pattern is possibly not a fray at all, then we should stick with the patterns strength.
My conclusion on women apostles: To come up with a theology you need to look at what is clear and not what is unclear. It is clear to me that every Apostle is a man. It is not clear that one is a woman. The weight is on the side of the allowance for men. I admit that the unclear allows for a possible hole (and even the fact that there is this hole is uncertain) in the structure of the argument. So, I go again to where there is clarity. That is in 1 Timothy 2. That is where it is supported. That is where I will be going next with this topic. There is no where in scripture where the uncertain issue of women apostles is supported. No where. If I'm wrong, I want to be shown.
This is how I draw my conclusion.
On a final side note: where are the women standing up for this issue? I am reading many women chatting about it and all the women in disagreement are biting their tongues. Now is not the time for timidity. It is probably a virtue that you are quiet but there is no need to be quiet when the Word of God is being stretched into another belief system. This is not about who has the better argument, this is about loving God with our minds by digging, finding, and then defending. Where are the women who will stand up for biblical womanhood and defend it?