Thursday, September 25, 2008

Can Women Be Pastors, Elders or Apostles? Part II: 1 Timothy 2 Is For the Church and Family

Thank you for those of you who shared in the last post. Wonderful, thought provoking stuff. I love having my brain stretched and joyfully challenged when it comes to the Word and it's Truth. I love to be reminded to be patient (and I need it, let me tell ya) and loving (thank you Julie!) and I love the absolute simplicity of faith from Tricia who said:

"I am not a scholar and do not claim to know everything about the Bible. I know a few important facts the Bible is the truth, it is God's Word, and it does not contradict itself. Since the Bible does not contract itself, Paul would not be saying in one place that men are the leaders (elders and teachers) of a church and then in another place say that a woman was a teacher (an apostle). This is a contraction. Junia would have to be male. Maybe, my thinking is to simple."

WOW! That was just so profound to me!!!! Yikes, it was like the lights went on in the realm of my faith and dimmed in the room of intellect. Both are important but it all comes down to having Faith to take God at his Word and believe that He will not let His Word contradict itself!! Excellent! Praise Him for using you Trish! It reminded me too that God meant for things to be clear and simple. We are the ones who start chopping and jumbling until what was so straight forward a child could see it, to scrounging though with our human brains to find what we think it "really" means when God has all ready told us what it means. It reminds me of what I tell the kids all the time:
"Don't come and keep asking me something until you get the answer you REALLY want." "I have answered you, you know what I have said."
We do the same to God and we somehow think that he will be quiet while we change his Words to mean what we want them to mean. The sad thing for us is that we will miss out on the blessing of taking Him at His word. That is why speaking the Truth is so important for the Glory of God and the joy of all peoples! His ways are best, even if we don't agree with them (thanks for that point Donna!)

So, if God does not contradict Himself. Then all of this issue is resting on one thing, and one thing alone. It does not rest on Junia because this coming point negates the concern to solve that mystery since God would never let His word contradict itself. The issue is whether 1 Timothy 2 is talking to the family ALONE or to the church as well.

1 Timothy 2 says:
1First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
8I desire then that in every place the men should pray,lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control."

The first paragraph is setting the stage for the process of the testimony of Jesus (the gospel) being proclaimed. This takes place in three places the home, the church, and in public to the unsaved men and women (gentiles at the time) who need to be taught the Word of God.
What we do see:
1) "in every place"- this does not allow the detailed relation to only the home.
2) "men" and "women"
3)"Adam" and "Eve" (referred to not because JUST because they are man and wife, but because they are the beginning of the pattern God set down for roles of manhood and womanhood . Basically, they are the beginning of man and woman. The reference is to point out that God's intent was for this to be the way of blessing from the very beginning, and yes, that means before sin. Sin did not make it so women could not authoritatively preach, God designed those roles from the get go. Sin made us have a rebellion of it and mess it up from what it aught to be. The enemy wanted it messed up, Christ wants us to get back to the way God wants it)
4) "childbearing" (is is common sense that childbearing in its actually physical sense takes place in the home (or at the hospital if you want get picky). This does not mean these passages are referring to the home only, because children are born into the church, and the world for that matter. So, this word along cannot give us the context of where these rules are to take place. Remember too, that "home" is included in the spheres where men women interact. Paul did not intend for us to think that women birth at church. :* I think he knew we would not assume that specific element.

What we don't see:
1) home (though it would be included in the places men and women interact so it is part of the whole, not excluding the whole)
2) family (again, part of the whole sphere of where women and men relate, not excluding the whole)
3) husband (we all know husbands are men, but not every man is your husband, so the admonishment is all inclusive and purposefully non-specific)
4) wife (again, we know wives are women there is no question, yet not all wives are you! The passage intently says women to refer to the women of the family, and the church. Otherwise it would say "wives" as it does in other places in scripture)

Other related passages:
1 Corinthians 14:34-36; 11:2-16.

Again this article address MANY of the questions circulating this topic and I would never bore you with putting them all here. The format is question and answer so you can scroll down and read the question you would like some information on.

In summary:
The limitation is not as huge as we make it out to be. The setting is the home and the church or the place of congregated unbelievers who need to be taught the gospel but include men. The restriction is on authoritative teaching roles (pastor, elder, apostle in it's greatest sense). It is on nothing else. Christ has give women amazing freedoms and opportunities to teach, lead, and minister. A woman whining about not getting to preach is like a man who's angry he can't birth children. It is what God made it to be, and we don't have to like it, we have to obey it if we honor the words of God.
The Old Testament has women leaders and prophets. It is of note that they do not have ongoing ministries as the male leaders and prophets did and their intervention, though profound and from God is brief and in desperate times. This is not an argument against them however.
The role closest to pastor and elder in the OT is the priest. There are no women priest.

The importance of 1 Timothy 2 's application is massive. We must recognize the admonishment to the church and not just specifically the home. Again, we have to look at what it says, and what it does not say. Adam and Eve were man and woman before they were husband and wife. The problem is when we look at what the Word says and say, "this is what it means specifically" when the adress is not specific, it is general. All husbands and wives are men and women, but not all men and women are husbands and wives. That is why the passage is general and inclusive not specific and exclusive.

My conclusion:
The evidence proves that 1 Timothy 2 is speaking to the family and the church. It is referring to all women and all men. So, if God does not want women being authoritative teachers, then they should not be. Since he does not contradict himself, if Junia was a woman apostle, she was not an authoritative teacher of the scriptures to men. Otherwise, Junia is a short version of Junius and he was a male.
Simple, and straightforward. Just like most things God wants us to know.

There will only be one more part to this this weekend. In everything that comes my way, especially the things that shake me up and get me seeking Truth, I want to ask God one thing "What do you want ME to learn from this." Boy has he been showing me! One thing about this blog is that you get to see me rise and fall. Sometimes that scares me, especially because I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve in my writing. These writings are from a sinful woman. These reactions are from a sinful woman. So, you will find many faults here. Yet, if I was trying to hide that, I would not be doing God the justice of showing His glory in my life. Where I am weak, He is strong. Where I fail, He forgives. What I screw up, He uses for His glory. So, I have to be welcoming some mud on my face in order to show how He can shine despite it.
I have learned a lot from this study. God has stirred up some things in my personal life that he used this dive into womanhood and manhood to show me. He showed me the importance of studying to give an answer. I took a class that I loved in highschool (from Donna actually) in critical thinking. We learned how to debate and how to dissect faulty logic. It was one of the best classes I've every taken. There is no better place to put it to practice than in the defence of the Word of God. The lesson I learned was to keep it to my own blog. I always think everyone is as eager to stir the pot and find what's true as I am. That was conceited of me I think . So, from now on, I will be free to bring up my topics, but I will do it here. And you can come if you want to, and leave if you want to. But if you stay, I hope you always see Veritas. Challenge me if you don't.

Tomorrow I am off to second grade again! This weekend there will be a part three, and next week I am taking a break from blogging. Besides, if it were me, I would be way behind on all this reading and probably too intimidated by it's length to start!


Puddles said...

And yet another comment....

Don't mean to throw a loop in your bible study but have you considered this verse?

Act 21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.
Act 21:9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

From Strongs -G4395 προφητεύω prophēteuō [prof-ate-yoo'-o]
From G4396; to foretell events, divine, speak under inspiration, exercise the prophetic office: - prophesy.

The gift of Prophesy can include anointed preaching

Alicia said...

First of all THANK YOU for being brave enough to ask a question! I welcome them fully!

I know this is long but I think it gives a good biblical response to your question.
It is also taken from that wonderfully helpful question and answer article I lined to.
23. How can you be in favor of women prophesying in church but not in favor of
women being pastors and elders? Isn’t prophecy at the very heart of those roles?
No. The role of pastor/elder is primarily governance and teaching (1 Timothy 5:17).
In the list of qualifications for elders the prophetic gift is not mentioned, but the ability to
teach is (1 Timothy 3:2). In Ephesians 4:11, prophets are distinguished from pastorteachers.
And even though men learn from prophecies that women give, Paul
distinguishes the gift of prophecy from the gift of teaching (Romans 12:6-7; 1
Corinthians 12:28). Women are nowhere forbidden to prophesy. Paul simply regulates
the demeanor in which they prophesy so as not to compromise the principle of the
spiritual leadership of men (1 Corinthians 11:5-10).
Prophecy in the worship of the early church was not the kind of authoritative,
infallible revelation we associate with the written prophecies of the Old Testament.6 It
was a report in human words based on a spontaneous, personal revelation from the Holy
Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:30) for the purpose of edification, encouragement, consolation,
conviction, and guidance (1 Corinthians 14:3, 24-25; Acts 21:4; 16:6-10). It was not
necessarily free from a mixture of human error, and thus needed assessment (1
Thessalonians 5:19-20; 1 Corinthians 14:29) on the basis of the apostolic (Biblical)
teaching (1 Corinthians 14:36-38; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3). Prophecy in the early church
did not correspond to the sermon today or to a formal exposition of Scripture. Both
women and men could stand and share what they believed God had brought to mind for
the good of the church. The testing of this word and the regular teaching ministry was the
responsibility of the elder-teachers. This latter role is the one Paul assigns uniquely to
24. Are you saying then that you accept the freedom of women to publicly prophesy
as described in Acts 2:17, 1 Corinthians 11:5, and Acts 21:9?
25. Since it says in 1 Corinthians 14:34 that “women should remain silent in the
churches,” it doesn’t seem like your position is really Biblical because of how much
speaking you really do allow to women. How do you account for this straightforward
prohibition of women speaking?
The reason we believe Paul does not mean for women to be totally silent in the
church is that in 1 Corinthians 11:5 he permits women to pray and prophesy in church:
“[E]very woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head.”
But someone may ask, “Why do you choose to let 1 Corinthians 11:5 limit the meaning
of 1 Corinthians 14:34 rather than the other way around?”
To begin our answer, we notice in both 1 Corinthians 14:35 and 1 Corinthians 11:6
that Paul’s concern is for what is “shameful” or “disgraceful” for women (aischron in
both verses and only here in 1 Corinthians). The issue is not whether women are
competent or intelligent or wise or well-taught. The issue is how they relate to the men of
the church. In 1 Corinthians 14:34 Paul speaks of submission, and in 1 Corinthians 11:3
he speaks of man as head. So the issue of shamefulness is at root an issue of doing
something that would dishonor the role of the men as leaders of the congregation. If all
speaking were shameful in this way, then Paul could not have condoned a woman’s
praying and prophesying, as he does in 1 Corinthians 11:5 precisely when the issue of
shamefulness is what is at stake. But Paul shows in 1 Corinthians 11:5-16 that what is at
stake is not that women are praying and prophesying in public but how they are doing it.
That is, are they doing it with the dress and demeanor that signify their affirmation of the
headship of the men who are called to lead the church?
In a similar way we look into the context of 1 Corinthians 14:33-36 to find similar
clues for the kind of speaking Paul may have in mind when he says it is “shameful” for a
woman to speak. We notice again that the issue is not the ability or the wisdom of women
to speak intelligently but how women are relating to men (hypotassestho¯son-”let them be
in submission”). Some kind of interaction is taking place that Paul thinks compromises
the calling of the men to be the primary leaders of the church. Chapter 6 of this book
argues in detail that the inappropriate interaction relates to the testing of prophecies
referred to in 1 Corinthians 14:29. Women are taking a role here that Paul thinks is
inappropriate. This is the activity in which they are to be silent.9 In other words, what
Paul is calling for is not the total silence of women but a kind of involvement that
signifies, in various ways, their glad affirmation of the leadership of the men God has
called to be the guardians and overseers of the flock.

(written by John Pieper and Wayne Grudem)